Henry & Richard Blackaby and Claude King

B. Childress
Apr 14 2013

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correction, for training in righteousness,
so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
(II Timothy 3:16-17)


There came a time while I was a pastor in Canada that I faced an unusual onslaught of criticism from other pastors and
denominational leaders.  Some who were critical of the way we were seeking to walk by faith and plant new churches
even went so far as to write letters to those who were financially supporting our mission work.  They misrepresented what
we were doing and how we used our funds.  As a result, some who had been undergirding our work stopped sending

I realized I wasn’t a perfect pastor, but I also knew that in my heart I was trying to honor the Lord in all I did.  Friends who
alerted me to what was happening urged me to refute the criticism and rebuke those who slandered my church and me.  
But during that time, I had been reading through I and II Samuel.  I came across I Samuel 2:30: “I will honor those who
honor Me, but those who despise Me will be disgraced.”  As I read that verse, the Lord confirmed that this was the way
He wanted me to serve Him.  In essence, God said, “Henry, when you began serving Me, you entrusted your reputation
to Me.  It belongs to me now, and I can do with it whatever I wish.  If you want to spend all your time defending your
reputation and seeking honor for yourself, then you can do that on your own.  But if you will seek to honor Me with all
your heart and life, then I will honor you in My own way and in My own time.”

I decided I would never go out of my way to defend myself before my detractors – and there have been many!  Rather, I
would invest my effort in bringing honor to my Lord and leave my reputation in His hands.  That decision has freed me
immensely!  To this day, I don’t spend time disputing critics.  God gave me some extremely practical counsel through His
word at a vulnerable time in my life.  Over and over, God has given me clear instruction as I read the Bible.  As I have
obeyed, God has honored His word in my life a thousandfold.

As we have seen, God speaks to us by the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.  Perhaps the
questions people ask most about God’s speaking are:

  • How does God speak to me?
  • How can I know when God is speaking?
  • How can God be more real and personal to me?


Jesus likened His relationship with His followers to that of a shepherd and his sheep.  He said, “The one who enters by
the door is the shepherd of the sheep…The sheep hear his voice…The sheep follow him because they recognize his
voice” (John 10:2-4).  When God speaks, you will recognize His voice and follow Him.


“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul,
spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).  The Bible chronicles God’
s revelation of Himself to humanity.  It is not a history book, although it certainly contains history.  Nor is it simply a book
of moral teachings, although it provides helpful guidelines for godly living.  It is not merely a record of God’s encounters
with people in times past, though we can learn much about how God relates to people by studying those encounters.  
No, the Bible is much more than these things.  Through the pages of your Bible, you can hear the dynamic, convicting,
living voice of God Himself.

Have you ever been reading the Bible when suddenly you were gripped by a fresh new understanding of God?  That
was God speaking!  A person cannot understand spiritual truth unless the Spirit of God reveals it.  In fact, the Holy Spirit
is “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17).  When you understand the spiritual meaning and application of a Scripture passage,
God’s Holy Spirit has been at work.  Remember: this understanding does not
lead you to an encounter with God; it is the
encounter with God.  When God speaks to you through the Bible, He is relating to you in a personal and real way.

When the Holy Spirit reveals a truth from the Word of God, He is personally relating to you.  The sequence is this:

  • You read God’s Word.
  • The Spirit of truth takes the Word of God and reveals truth to you.
  • You adjust your life to God through the truth of God.
  • You obey Him.
  • God works in and through you to accomplish His purposes.
  • You come to know God in a more personal and real way as a result of this experience.

The Spirit uses the Word of God (the sword of the Spirit – Ephesians 6:17) to reveal God and His purposes and to
instruct us in the ways of God.  On our own, we cannot understand the truths of God: “But the natural man does not
welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated
spiritually.  The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone” (I
Corinthians 2:14-15).

Unaided by the Holy Spirit, the ways of God will appear foolish to us.  Aided by the Spirit, we can understand all things.  
When God reveals spiritual truth to you through a passage of Scripture, you are experiencing God Himself working in
your life!


Opening my Bible is an exciting time of anticipation for me.  The Spirit of God knows the mind of God (see I Corinthians 2:
9-12), and He knows what God is preparing to do in my life.  The Spirit of God then opens my understanding about God’
s purposes and His ways.  I take that process extremely seriously.  Here is how I respond when God reveals truth to me
in His Word:

    I write down the passage of Scripture.  Then I meditate on it.  I try to immerse myself in the meaning of that verse
    or passage.  I adjust my life to the truth and, thus, to God.  That means I agree with God, and I commit to take any
    actions necessary for Him to work in the way He has just revealed to me.  As I leave the place of Bible study, I
    begin looking for ways God will use that truth in my life during the day.

You may want to follow this same process as God reveals truth to you.  When God leads you to a fresh understanding of
Himself or His ways through Scripture, do this:

  • Write down the specific verse or verses in a notebook, spiritual journal, or diary.
  • Meditate on the passage.
  • Study the passage to immerse yourself in its meaning.  What is God revealing about Himself, His purposes, or His
  • Identify the adjustments you need to make in your personal life, your family, your church, and your work life in
    response to God’s revelation.
  • Write a prayer response to God.
  • Begin immediately to make the necessary adjustments in your life to God.
  • Watch to see how God uses that truth in your life during the coming days.
  • Take action!  Obey what God told you to do.  Enjoy a fresh experience as He works in and through you.


Claude King had a practical experience with God in His Word.  One morning while reading Psalm 37, the Holy Spirit
called his attention to verse 21: “The wicked borrows and does not repay.”  The Holy Spirit drew him back to that verse,
and he read it again.  At that moment, he remembered borrowing money from his parents with a promise to repay them
when he received his next paycheck.  Now, months later, he had forgotten about the loan.  God used Psalm 37:21 to
remind him of the unpaid debt.  More importantly, God alerted Claude to the fact that He views those who borrow and
don’t repay as wicked.  Claude said, “I prayed and asked the Lord to forgive me.  Then I wrote a check and immediately
delivered it to my parents.”

Although Claude had read Psalm 37 many times, the Holy Spirit spoke in a special way to Claude that day.  Claude
encountered truth.  Suddenly, he understood that those who borrow but don’t repay are sinful.  The Holy Spirit called his
attention to a specific instance where this verse applied to him.  This was the Holy Spirit convicting him of sin (see John
16:8) to which Claude responded in a prayer of confession.  Then he adjusted his life to the truth, paid the debt, and
was reconciled to his parents and to the Lord.  Claude’s relationship with God proved real, personal, specific, and life-
changing – just as God intends it to be.


God wants no hindrances to His love relationship with you.  Once God has spoken through His Word, how you respond
is crucial.  You must adjust your life to the truth.  In Claude’s case, the adjustment looked like this:

  • He agreed with the truth – those who borrow and do not repay are wicked in God’s sight;
  • He agreed that the truth applied to him in the particular instance that was brought to his memory.

This agreement with God is confession of sin.  But agreeing with God is not enough.  Claude knew he would continue to
sin until he took action.  To obey what God had told him through the Bible, Claude had to repay the debt.

Adjusting your beliefs to the truth God has revealed to you is the first step, but you also must respond to that truth in
obedience.  Then you will experience a closer relationship with God.  Always connect a revealed truth to your
understanding of God and your relationship with Him.


Robert was a dentist in Rusk, Texas, who sensed God calling him into some form of mission service, perhaps as a
pastor.  For more than a year, the sense of God’s call grew stronger.  However, his wife, Gail, didn’t sense God’s call to
be a pastor’s wife, so they continued to pray and seek God’s directions.

During that time, their pastor, James Goforth, announced he was resigning from their church and moving to New York
state to work as a missions director.  Before Goforth moved, he enlisted Robert and two other men to lead a men’s
prayer retreat in New York.  During the retreat, several people approached Robert and said things like: “We don’t have a
dentist in our town.  Why don’t you move up here and become our dentist?”  And, “We don’t have a pastor.  Why don’t
you move up here and become our pastor?”  Robert assumed they were saying similar things to the other two retreat
leaders as well.

Before Goforth left his church for his new missions assignment, his church in Rusk held an “Experiencing God Weekend”
where the congregation studied the Seven Realities of Experiencing God.  On Saturday morning at 2:30 a.m., Gail woke
up.  The Scripture reference Luke 4 kept running through her mind.  She didn’t know what Luke 4 was about, but she
promised the Lord she would read it when she got up later that morning.  Unable to sleep, however, she decided that
she had better read Luke 4 at that moment instead of waiting any longer.

The Lord spoke powerfully through the passage.  Gail realized that even Jesus had to leave His hometown in order to
“proclaim the good news about the kingdom of God to the other towns also” (Luke 4:43).  She sensed the Holy Spirit
saying she would have to leave the comforts and security of home to go with her husband as they served the Lord
together.  Later that morning, in the
Experiencing God seminar, she gave her testimony of what God had said.

The leader asked: “Why did God speak to you today instead of six months ago or six months from now?  Since God
speaks when it is His timing, is it possible that God wants you two involved in missions in New York?”

During the morning break, Robert asked the two other men who led the prayer retreat with him, “When we were in New
York, did anyone ask you to move up there and work or pastor a church?”  When both men responded “No,” Robert and
Gail sensed God’s leadership even more profoundly.  Then a small church in Chataguay, New York, called Robert to be
their part-time pastor.

Robert and Gail sold their new home at a loss and moved a long way from their Texas hometown.  When Robert arrived
in New York, the association of churches was praying about starting a ministry to thousands of Native Americans on a
nearby reservation.  Guess who became the dentist on the reservation?  And God has continued to unfold His plans and
purposes to reach the people of the Adirondacks for Himself.

Can you see how Robert and Gail learned by experience the Seven Realities of Experiencing God?  They had a love
relationship with the Lord.  God invited them to join in His work.  He spoke clearly through the Bible, prayer,
circumstances, and other believers (I will explain these three in more detail in the coming chapters).  Robert and Gail
had to make major adjustments to join the Lord, but when they obeyed, they experienced God working through them to
touch people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The way God spoke to Gail through the Bible was a major turning point in
their knowing and doing God’s will.


EXPERIENCING GOD, by Henry & Richard Blackaby and Claude King, Copyright 2008, B&H Publishing Group.