I received a free ecopy of this book from BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review.
In Listening to the Voice of God, Christian author Shirley Smith is setting forth a spiritual growth plan based on her personal experiences, and some that others have shared with her. She outlines a path of spiritual process that draws one closer to God, to a place where the believer is attentive — having a seeking heart — and open to the wisdom only God can share through His Word, through the preaching and writing of a “Spirit-filled minister”, and through the support of other believers sharing with us and praying for us.
Much of what Shirley has written here may be familiar to a longtime believer but all of us occasionally lose sight of simple truths that we have learned in the past are true, or we grow away from putting them into practice. For a new believer or one who has perhaps “not yet surrendered to the point of regularly hearing God speak”, this book leads us step by step in understanding how to do that, how to listen attentively, and to listen intentionally with faith. Each of her steps is Biblically-based as she relates truths she has learned and how God has taught her what treasures He has in store for us when we approach Him with an open heart and an open mind, and learn to wait upon His timing. But the first step, always, is accepting who He is and our need for Him. “A life lived without God misses the true substance of life” and reading His Word “without God in our lives is a completely different experience from reading it after we have received Christ . . . [because] spiritual blindness makes understanding the truth of the Word of God impossible.” So the first step is to believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do: He will cleanse us of sin and enable us to be presented before God blameless.
I chose this book because of a Bible study I am doing with a group at my church. The study is called Purposeful Prayer, and it has become part of my experience that God presents me with opportunities to expand on topics I am studying in order to improve my personal growth and my ability and willingness to serve Him. For me, Listening to the Voice of God reinforced the importance of spending time each day in study and prayer to prepare to hear His voice and His direction for my life. Her experiences reminded me of the many times in my life when I knew I wasn’t listening and went my own way, but how He was faithful and brought me back. How much easier life would have been if I had been listening attentively in the first place, and been more willing to obey.
Shirley’s direct presentation of how to accept the treasures of abundant life He has in store for each of us is easy to follow and her examples ring true. Finding the treasure that is different from earthly treasures, free of obsessions for people or things, treasures such as having a faithful God who cares about each of us and will meet all our needs, being able to trust in Him rather than to lean on earthly crutches, having a joy that does not depend on our earthly circumstances, and understanding what a privilege it is to honour Him. When we study His Word, and wait on Him with our questions and desires, He will respond in ways we understand and know that the answer is from Him. This is a really good outline of how to become closer to God, to dialogue with Him, and to rest in His joy and peace in our lives rather than on our own understanding. It is a book full of gems. * * * * *