Recently when talking with a friend who has a big decision to make regarding where her son will attend school, she asked me “How do you know what God’s plan is? How can you hear God speak?”
I like to use the acronym P.E.W.S. to remember the most common ways that God speaks to us. God can speak to us in any way He chooses, He is God, but below are some of the most common ways God speaks to us as revealed in Scripture:
P - Through other PEOPLE
E - Through EVENTS
W - Through His WORD
S - Through His SPIRIT living in us
Using part of the Christmas story I would like to show examples of these methods in action:
God first chose to speak to Mary through His angel Gabriel, and this EVENT began a new chapter in Mary’s life. He clearly told Mary what was going to happen, answered questions she had and provided additional information regarding Elizabeth’s pregnancy as well.
EVENT: In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be borne will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26-38 ESV
God then confirms what had been told to Mary in secret by another PERSON, her relative Elizabeth who had no knowledge of Mary’s revelation until she saw her and was given insight from the Holy Spirit.
PEOPLE: In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would beg a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:39-45 ESV
Other people that brought confirmation that all was as the angel Gabriel proclaimed were the shepherds that came to see Jesus in the manger after they were visited by the angels. Luke 2:8-21 ESV
God’s WORD also confirmed these events. God will never ask us to do something that goes against His written Word to us, for example God wouldn’t tell you to steal something when His Word tells us to not steal. In Mary’s situation, God’s Word also confirmed what she was told by the angel and was happening: These prophesies were given hundreds of years before Mary was visited by an angel.
The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem: But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2
Born of a virgin: "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
God’s SPIRIT lives in each of us that believe in His Son Jesus and can guide, direct and teach us many things. We see God’s Spirit at work in Elizabeth when she sees Mary and proclaims truth that she would not have otherwise known. Today in our lives, the Spirit of God can warn us, or speak to our Spirits to help us discern God’s plan for our lives of the lives of our children.
While Mary was being prepared to bring the Savior of mankind into the world, and God made His plans for her clear. God also has a plan for you and I. God promises us that He does not have favorites, and He is the same yesterday, today and forever…God still speaks and makes His plan known to His children. This Christmas it is my prayer that you would thank God for the gift of purpose in your life, and always be willing to respond to the plan God has for you by using the words Mary spoke, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Written by Jamie