Last updated: January 16. 2014 9:56AM -
Becky Spell Vann Contributing columnist

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Have you heard God speaking? Words to a song our choir learned at Christmas echo in my head at two in the morning on a bitter cold January night when school delays this morning could mean sleeping late; yet, I rise from my bed and write what He speaks to my heart. Softly singing the lyrics to “God Speaking” while typing them brings warmth inside my home where all is quiet as a mouse and cold winds play a tune on the wind chimes outside my window. I close my eyes, rest my fingers on the keyboard and remember the day Tim bought those wind chimes at Big Blue and brought them home to me. He smiled as he proudly hung them in the tree and said, “Sometimes music speaks what words can’t. When these chimes ring, feel my love.”

The howling winds play tunes this morning; God is speaking. I ponder about why things happen as they do, how God brings good from the bad, how homeless people survive these cold nights, where our nation is headed, why people take the Lord and loved ones for granted, how God keeps blessing us and speaking to us, why won’t we listen? I pray and softly sing as I write my story.

“Have you ever heard a love song that set your spirit free? Have you ever watched a sunrise and felt you could not breathe? What if it’s Him? What if it’s God speaking?”

“Have you ever cried a tear that you could not explain? Have you ever met a stranger who already knew your name? What if it’s Him? What if it’s God speaking?”

“Who knows how He’ll get ahold of us, get our attention to prove He is enough? He’ll do and He’ll use whatever He wants to to tell us, ‘I love you.’”

“Have you ever lost a loved one who you thought should still be here? Do you know what it feels like to be tangled up in fear? What if He’s somehow involved? What if He’s speaking through it all?”

“His ways are higher. His ways are better though sometimes strange. What could be stranger than God in a manger?”

“Who knows how He’ll get ahold of you, get your attention to prove He is enough. He’ll do and He’ll use whatever He wants to to tell us, ‘I love you!’”

Our heater hums, Tim’s wind chimes ring, James sleeps, and my heart sings in the middle of this dark, cold morning. God is speaking. In this very spot, I have written stories He has spoken to my heart since 2006. Some were penned as tears poured and I wondered where God was; my broken heart cried out for help. Others spewed forth when beauty came from ashes; He opened the eyes of my heart and brought healing and happiness in ways I never imagined possible. God has been beside me, guiding and giving strength to press forward, even when I wasn’t listening. And every time I strayed or stayed stuck in a season of pity or pouting, He got my attention. God speaks, but we must make the choice to listen and rise up in faith while seeking His will in our lives. Even when bad things turn our world upside down and we crumble inside, God is there to pick us up and put us back together again. He still speaks and works miracles. We must listen, trust, obey, and enjoy the blessings He sends our way.

Each season of our lives is filled with opportunities for us to hear Him speaking as we step out in faith to the plans He has for our lives. Are we listening or ignoring His calls to our hearts? He will use whatever He has to to get ahold of us and get our attention. He will do and use whatever He wants to to tell us ‘I love you!’ What is God using to get your attention? He loves you and can bring happiness where heartache has lingered. He can use you to share His love with others and show what an awesome God He is.

God spoke to my heart when I attended a Christian Conference in Charlotte in 2008. His words would not stop ringing in my ears, even when I told Him I was afraid and unsure of how to have such an event in my hometown. His words never changed; they were like headlights in my heart — “Have this at home; fill up the Civic Center for Me!” Some days they were brightly shining; other days they were dim and barely visible. My prayer partner encouraged and helped me take the step of faith to do what God had spoken. Having a faithful friend who hears God speaking and sticks by you through thick and thin is a gift to be cherished. In 2012, the first Rise Up Christian Conference was held in Clinton. The name for the conference came in the middle of the night when I awoke with words ringing in my ears — “Rise Up!”

On January 25th, the third Rise Up Christian Conference will be held at the Civic Center. This year’s theme is “Rise Up – Renew.” God has spoken to the hearts of many people who have helped plan this year’s event. He has lined up mighty men of God to bring messages that will inspire people of all ages to rise up and renew their hearts, minds, and relationships with the Lord and loved ones. My prayer is that God will speak to your heart to rise up and be a part of this year’s Christian conference next Saturday. All are welcome, tickets are free with donations appreciated, prayer room, food and shopping courts, singing, preaching, fun, and fellowship will inspire you to renew yourself and come closer to the Lord and your loved ones.

God is speaking and showing us that ‘for such a time as this,’ when we aren’t listening or seeking Him, when busyness, having much and giving little, when the world makes what is right seem wrong and what is wrong seem right, when signs are fulfilled and time is short, when He longs for His children to rise up, speak out in love and Christian unity, stand on His promises, and let our lights shine… He will use whatever He has to to get our attention and tell us “I love you!”

Are you listening? Are you sure you’re listening? Yes, Mr. Jones, we are listening and thankful God is still speaking. May the eyes of your heart be opened and His love fill your life with a light that shines ‘till Jesus comes.

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