A Personal Guide to Walking with God

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Overview

We have a lot to sort through on any given day. A whole lot to navigate over the course of a week or a month. How am I going to come up with enough money to do the things I want to do? And what about love—is this the one? Why can’t I overcome those “habits” that look more and more like addictions? Am I at the right church? What is God doing in my life?

All day long we are making choices. How do we know what to do?

We have two options. We can ...

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Overview

We have a lot to sort through on any given day. A whole lot to navigate over the course of a week or a month. How am I going to come up with enough money to do the things I want to do? And what about love—is this the one? Why can’t I overcome those “habits” that look more and more like addictions? Am I at the right church? What is God doing in my life?

All day long we are making choices. How do we know what to do?

We have two options. We can trudge through on our own, doing our best to figure it all out. Or, we can walk with God. As in, learn to hear his voice. Really. He offers to speak to us and guide us. Every day. It is an incredible offer. To accept that offer is to enter into an adventure filled with joy and risk, transformation and breakthrough. And more clarity than we ever thought possible.

Now in A Personal Guide to Walking with God, you can get started in your personal journey to making God a part of every moment of your day. Complete with discussion questions and personal journaling space, John and Craig will lead you deeper into communion with God. Let the adventure begin.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781418528218
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/15/2008
  • Edition description: Includes DVD
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 703,890
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

John Eldredge is a counselor, teacher, and the author of numerous bestselling books includingWild at Heart,Epic,andBeautiful Outlaw. He is the director of Ransomed Heart, a ministry restoring masculinity to millions of men worldwide. John loves fly fishing, bow hunting, and great books. He lives in Colorado with his wife, Stasi.

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Read an Excerpt


A Personal Guide to Walking with God

By JOHN ELDREDGE CRAIG MCCONNELL Thomas Nelson
Copyright © 2008
John Eldredge
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4185-2821-8


Chapter One prelude summer fall winter spring

learning to hear the voice of God

I began the book with the story of our family's Christmas tree ordeal for two reasons. First, to let you see that my life is just like yours. I face hassles all the time, just as you do. Some of them are exasperating, just like yours. But I also wanted to begin with a confession-this ordeal happened because I didn't follow God.

* Has something like our tree ordeal happened to you this year? But of course it has. Trials are part of every life. What do you make of them? How do you understand all the hassles that come your way? Pick one that's happened to you. Think about it. Did you ask God about it beforehand? Did you even think to ask?

* If you did seek God beforehand, what do you make of the fact that things still fell apart? If you didn't, has it occurred to you that maybe the reason for the trial is that you didn't ask?

* How many things in an ordinary week of your life do you ask God about? (There's no shame here. I'm not asking this to cause you embarrassment or self-reproach. It's just probably a good idea to begin this search for a closer walk with God by admitting where you are.)

Assumptions

Okay. Let's look at assumptions. This is a very good place to dive in. Assumptions govern so much of our lives, or at least, our interpretation of our lives.

I left the store thinking about assumptions-how they are either helping us or hurting us, every single day of our lives. Our assumptions control our interpretation of events, and they supply a great deal of the momentum and direction for our lives. It's important that we take a look at them. And life will provide hundreds of opportunities to take a look at our assumptions in a single week. Especially as we walk with God.

* Think of an event in your life where things didn't turn out the way you hoped, or expected. What did you assume about all of it?

As we get set to enter into a closer walk with God, it would be good to note that so much of what God is doing as we go along is surfacing our assumptions, or challenging them, so that he can help to set them right. After all, Jesus said when we know the truth we are set free. I talked about my friend at the bookstore, how he held to the assumption that A + B = C.

He assumed that God, being a loving God, was going to come through for him. In the sense of, bless his choices. His ministry. Make his life good. He looked sort of dazed and hurt that it hadn't happened. He was trying to put a good face on it, but you could see that he had lost heart. This may be one of the most common, most unquestioned, and most naïve assumptions people who believe in God share. We assume that because we believe in God, and because he is love, he's going to give us a happy life. A + B = C. We may not be so bold as to state our assumption out loud-you may not even think you hold this assumption-but notice your shock when thing don't go well. Notice your feelings of abandonment and betrayal when life doesn't work out. Notice that often you feel as though God isn't really all that close, or involved, feel that he isn't paying attention to your life.

* Can you relate? Do you recognize it in your life or in the lives of those you know?

* It might be good to jot down a few more assumptions you hold about God and life. You might be surprised what you confess. What are you assuming about God these days?

* How about God in your life?

* And happiness-what do you assume about that?

The reason I'm pushing into that with these questions is, as I wrote, "If you don't hold the same assumptions Jesus does, you haven't got a chance of finding the life he has for you."

Does God Still Speak?

* I confessed in the Prelude my assumption that God still speaks, personally, to his people. What do you believe about that?

Seeing as how this book is in part a tutorial on how to hear the voice of God, we'd better pause here and deal with the evidence on which my conviction is based. (I suppose you could still gain a good deal from this book if you don't believe God speaks, but you'll miss a pretty central point.)

* Do you believe God speaks to you?

* What is your assumption based on?

* Reread Psalm 139. How intimately does God know you?

But does God speak to his people?

Can you imagine any relationship where there is no communication whatsoever? What would you think if you met two friends for coffee, good friends, and you knew that they'd been there at the café for an hour before you arrived, and as you sit down you ask them, "So, what have you been talking about?" and they said, "Nothing." "Nothing?" "Nothing. We don't talk to each other. But we're really good friends." Jesus calls us his friends: "I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father" (John 15:15, The Message).

Or what would you think about a father if you asked him, "What have you been talking to your children about lately?" and he said, "Nothing. I don't talk to them. But I love them very much." Wouldn't you say the relationship was missing something? And aren't you God's son or daughter? "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).

* Well-what about those analogies? You are God's child. You are Jesus' friend. Why would he never speak to you, personally?

The Bible is filled with stories of God talking to his people. Abraham, who is called the friend of God, said, "The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father's household and my native land and who spoke to me ..." (Genesis 24:7). God spoke to Moses "as a man speaks with his friend" (Exodus 33:11). He spoke to Aaron, too: "Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites ..." (Exodus 6:13). And David: "In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. 'Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?' he asked. The Lord said, 'Go up.' David asked, 'Where shall I go?' 'To Hebron,' the Lord answered" (2 Samuel 2:1). The Lord spoke to Noah. The Lord spoke to Gideon. The Lord spoke to Samuel. The list goes on and on. Now, if God doesn't also speak to us, why would he have given us all these stories of him speaking to others? "Look-here are hundreds of inspiring and hopeful stories of how God spoke to his people in this and that situation. Isn't it amazing?! But you can't have that. He doesn't speak like that anymore." That makes no sense at all. Why would God give you a book of exceptions? "This is how I used to relate to my people, but I don't do that anymore." What good would a book of exceptions do you? That's like giving you the owner's manual for a Dodge, even though you drive a Mitsubishi. No, the Bible is a book of examples of what it looks like to walk with God.

* Have you assumed the Bible, or at least all those stories of God speaking to his people-those are exceptions?

* Why would God give you a book of exceptions?

The Bible teaches that we hear God's voice: He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught (Isaiah 50:4). ... for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts ... (Psalm 95:7-8). The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice ... 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. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd (John 10:2-4, 14-16).

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:20).

We are his sheep. Jesus says that his sheep hear his voice. He stands and knocks. Who is the offer for? "Anyone." That would include you. What does Jesus say will happen? "Hears my voice."

So there-you have my first assumption. An intimate, conversational walk with God is available. Is normal, even. Or, at least, is meant to be normal. I'm well aware that a majority of people do not enjoy that ... yet. But it is certainly what God desires, and what he offers. My assumption is based on the nature of God, and the nature of man made in his image. We are communicators. It is based on the nature of relationship-it requires communication. It is based on the long record of God speaking to his people, of various ranks and in all sorts of situations. And it is based on the teachings of Jesus, who tells us that we hear his voice.

Well-does this help you believe God wants to speak to you, personally, intimately? What would you love to hear from God on? Make a point to gently ask God about that this week. Keep coming back to the question.

What Is God Up To???

I told the story of God stopping me from sending an email that wasn't going to help me or the person I was planning on roasting. The point is this: You'll find it helps a great deal in your following if you know what God is up to.

True, we may not know exactly what God is up to in this or that event in our life. "Why didn't I get the job?" "How come she won't return my calls?" "Why haven't my prayers healed this cancer?" I don't know. Sometimes we can get clarity, and sometimes we can't. But whatever else is going on, we can know this-he is always up to our transformation.

God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun. (Romans 8:29-30, The Message)

God has something in mind. He is deeply and personally committed to restoring humanity. Restoring you. There was a man or woman he had in mind when he made you. By bringing you back to himself through the work of Jesus Christ, he has established relationship with you. And now, what he's up to is restoring you. The way that happens is to shape your life "along the same lines as the life of his Son." To shape you into the image of Jesus. You can be confident of this. It's a given. Whatever else might be going on in your life, God always has his eye on your transformation.

* How do you feel about going there-to be transformed?

* What might God be after in your life these days-do you have a hunch where transformation is needed, what he might be putting his finger on? Can you name it?

God wants us to be happy. Really. "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full" (John 10:10). But he knows that in order for us to be truly happy, we have to be whole. Another word for that is holy. We have to be restored.

Think of it this way-think of how you feel when you really screw things up. The look on your son's face as you yell at him. The distance that's grown between you, even though you apologized. For the hundredth time. How it tears you up inside to indulge in romantic fantasies about someone else's spouse. You want that but you don't want that but you wish you could but you really don't and why is this going on inside? The guilt you feel when you lie straight-faced to a friend. And they find out. The hours you've wasted harboring resentment. The embarrassment of your addictions. You know what plagues you.

* Now, what would it be like to never, ever do it again? To not even struggle with it. What would your life be like if you were free of all that haunts you?

(Continues...)




Excerpted from A Personal Guide to Walking with God by JOHN ELDREDGE CRAIG MCCONNELL Copyright © 2008 by John Eldredge. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Table of Contents

Introduction     vii
Prelude: learning to hear the voice of God     1
Summer: a time of restoration and renewal, and for finding our way back to joy     15
Fall: a season of crisis and struggle, but then breakthrough and discovery     51
Winter: finding God in our losses, in the mundane, and sustaining our hearts over what can feel like the long path of obedience     93
Spring: a time of resurrection, recovered hope and desire, a time of new beginnings     143
In closing     185
The daily prayer     187

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