Every story has a beginning. The start of our journey began with a word, but not just any word, the word that made it all begin. According to Genesis, God spoke (communicated) and it was done. God created the heavens, earth, light, waters, vegetation, living creatures and then mankind (in His likeness). With a word, God blessed it all. With a word. God gave it all to mankind to rule and subdue. Unfortunately, with a word, mankind jeopardized it all. If you read the whole story, you discover the redemptive truth about the Good News (good word) that communion (comm-union) and communication are restored with God.
I’m writing this article at 2:57 a.m. EST from 40,000 feet in the air, traveling at 600 miles per hour, and with more than 500 others in this airplane. As I sit in the right row with my side leaning on the window, I can hear the low hum of the plane and feel the cool air ventilating though the cabin. My eyes are looking down, but I can faintly see a dim glow from a few screens showing various motion pictures entertaining the viewers with insomnia. A short while ago, I decided to engage God to speak to me amid all of the things happening around me, traveling time zones, and surrounded by hundreds of others within close proximity. This is a spiritual practice. It’s called spiritual “listening.” When we listen, the speaker is able to communicate desires, hopes, dreams, instructions, commands and beyond. I heard the Maker tonight. I heard His voice loud, clear and intentional.
I’m often asked several questions: “How do I hear from God?” “How do I know this is from God?” “What should I do after I hear from God?”
These questions seem complex and difficult to discern, but the simple fact is that the more you communicate with God, the easier it becomes. Communication with God is like a muscle that gets exercised. The more you do it, the stronger it becomes. The more you hear from Him, the easier it is to discern His voice. The more you listen, the easier it is to identify what is being communicated to you. One way to listen to God is by reading what He has said in the past.
This is where the Word of God comes into play. The Bible is the most tangible expression of God’s words to us. His words have power. God’s words made creation out of chaos, disorder and emptiness — His words created wholeness, complexity and intelligence. For this very reason, we ought to be intentional about learning, hearing and recognizing His word unto our lives.
This new year I’d like to issue an important challenge for Light + Life readers. Learn and know the living Word of God. For an entire year we will be diving deep into the various themes found in the Bible and the impact they have in our daily lives. We are going to discover new concepts and words to help discern the context of the Scriptures, time and audience intended. The 2019 year will kick off with this issue on the “public reading of Scripture.” You will find articles spelling out the significance of canonization, popular ways to engage with God, and the explanation of the most important [and most read] book in history. It’s going to be a great year!
As a reminder, we have intentionally designed Light + Life magazine to be a resource for discipleship. We have partnered with the Bible Project and many authors to bring unique and challenging articles. Additionally, with each issue, you will have the companion Illuminate (fmchr.ch/illuminate), a study for independent reflection and group discussion. We are excited to walk through this journey of reading the Bible together and discovering the Scriptures in a new way, every day. God is the original author, and we are called to be light and life in this world, until the end of the story. I can’t wait to see what new things God will teach us this year! I hope we will take the opportunity to share His Word with others in order to guide new believers and encourage lifelong believers to learn more.
Jay Cordova is an ordained elder who serves as the publisher of Light + Life and the director of communications for the Free Methodist Church – USA. He previously worked as a startup business entrepreneur and coached small businesses.