This post from Colleen is the first in a new series for us, HOPE AT HOME KIDS (H@HKids). In the future, when you see H@HKids in the title, you'll know we are giving you something geared specifically to use with your children. For many, these posts will be good read-alouds for during family devotions, and for some they will be great to email or print out for your older children to read on their own. We'd love your input-- what are some topics you'd like to share with your children? We are excited about this opportunity to share with your children!We are excited to introduce you to our friend, Colleen Coombs! She is the Director of No More Crumbs Ministry and served as the Children's Ministry Director at Southlands Church Int'l for three years and for 10 years as the Orange County, CA, Coordinator for Moms in Touch, Int'l, a prayer ministry focused on children and their schools. She has served as a Practicum Mentor at Hope International University in Fullerton, California, and continues to mentor others as they grow in their ministry calling. Colleen has been an editor for Global Xpress Kids Club Magazine, in partnership with U.S. Center for World Mission and writes curriculum used by many churches worldwide. Over the last four years she has had the privilege of conducting leadership training for children, youth and adults in California, Georgia, North Carolina, Holland, Ukraine, UK, Malaysia and the Philippines. She has been married to Steve for 35 years. They have four grown children and two grandchildren.
You are Created to Know Him
From the moment God knit us together in our mother’s womb, the Bible says that “He has set eternity in our hearts.” (Eccl 3:11) We were created to know Him intimately, personally, closely and confidently.
But how do we do this? Well of course the first step is committing our lives to God and confessing Jesus as Lord, but what comes next? How can we really get to know God if we don’t recognize His voice? We certainly can’t say we ‘know’ someone if we don’t ever talk to them or take time to listen to them talk to us, right?
Take for instance your mother - she can be in the other room and when she speaks, you ‘know’ it’s her speaking. Why is this? Well that’s easy - you know it’s her because you talk to her every day, she talks to you and you take time to listen. When you listen to someone, you begin to recognize who it is that is speaking to you. So we can see it’s important to take time to listen.
The Bible says that we need to “Be still and know that He is God.” (Ps. 46:10). The more we do this, the easier it becomes to recognize His voice. Does this mean we have to sit still? Not necessarily - many people discern God’s voice when they are actively moving, walking or even worshipping Him. It’s about ‘stilling’ our hearts and minds so we can focus on God and not all the other things that fill our minds.
God Wants to Talk to YouBut how do we REALLY know that God truly wants to talk to us? How do we know He speaks to ALL of His children and not just some. Let’s look at some scriptures.
In Psalm 23 it says “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” So we know that if we have committed our lives to Him, then He is our shepherd. But what does that mean to us? Oh so much…
Let’s take a closer look at Psalm 23, because the Shepherd tells a lot about what He does for sheep – you become his sheep when you commit your life to God!
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
In Ezekiel 34:11-15, He tells us we are His and that He looks after us and tends us. It goes on to say in verse 31 that He is our God!
For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers and in all the places where people live. Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord.
He Knows You; You Listen to and Know Him
In John 10:14-15, it says that He knows His sheep and that His sheep know him because he laid down his life for us.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
In John 10:27 He says that His sheep listen to His voice and follow Him.“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
So it seems pretty clear through the scriptures that if we are His sheep, then He will speak to us and we WILL know His voice and follow Him.
So this is the second step – believing what the Bible says is true. He speaks to ALL of His sheep, not just a few, not just the grown up ones and not even just the ‘leadersheep’. He talks to ALL His sheep and that includes you!
Step three is identifying how God speaks to us. It’s important for us to look at the Bible to identify all the different ways God has spoken to His people since creation.