Experiencing a fresh encounter with God

As believers start their faith walk, perhaps one of the most common questions in their hearts is, “How do I know that God is speaking to me?”

Because one of Christianity’s core beliefs is that through our relationship with the Messiah, we gain access to God’s throne and, therefore, can hear directly from him through the Holy Spirit, learning to listen to God is undoubtedly every faithful believer’s desire.

But hearing God speak is only the first step to receiving his guidance and promises. We also need insight into how he operates and where he is at work.

What if we start with the premise that God is always at work around us and wants to invite us to participate in what is already happening in the world?

That is the premise of one of the most popular Bible studies ever written: “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God” by Dr. Henry Blackaby. The study was published over three decades ago and quickly became a global phenomenon, selling over 8 million copies and being translated into over 75 languages.

Blackaby wrote the original book, “Experiencing God,” from the lessons he learned from a lifetime of blind obedience to God’s voice.

God prompted him to leave a comfortable situation pastoring a church in Los Angeles to lead a tiny, dying congregation in Saskatoon, Canada. The small church had collected only $90 in offerings the entire month before the Blackabys’ arrival. Against all earthly advice, they knew they had reached a crossroads in their spiritual lives: The Blackabys’ were certain God had called them to Canada and chose to trust that he would provide and guide them in this seemingly unlikely venture.

From this step of obedience, God opened incredible doors to expand Blackaby’s ministry. In the next 12 years, the Blackaby family saw God work miraculously, expanding their ministry to 38 missions and mission posts and a Bible college.

The original book, “Experiencing God,” was born after numerous people asked Blackaby to share the steps he followed to hear, understand, obey and experience God in supernatural ways.

I participated in the “Experiencing God” Bible study over a decade ago at my church. The lessons and experiences I gathered from the study still impact my spiritual life today. In the book and Bible study, Blackaby shares “Seven Realities” in what he calls the “love relationship” between God and his children.

I recently interviewed Henry and Marilyn Blackaby’s oldest son, Dr. Richard Blackaby, president of Blackaby Ministries International and general editor of the newly revised Experiencing God Bible, released in August 2022.

This new study Bible was compiled using the content of the “Experiencing God” book and Bible Study and the full Bible text. It contains elements common among study Bibles, such as book introductions, cross references, and concordances. But it also offers readers other fresh, unique features, such as “Prepare to meet God” boxes, which highlight the “God Focus” theme in the context of each chapter, challenging the reader to find out what God is saying to them, personally, as they meditate upon the Bible’s passages.

I have been an advocate of study Bibles for many years, as I have experienced firsthand their usefulness in better understanding the historical, social and spiritual context of books that otherwise may be hard to comprehend. These Bibles also offer insightful applications of biblical texts for everyday issues and life questions.

The “Experiencing God” Bible offers a more intimate perspective on hearing God speak and learning how he operates. It is an excellent resource for those who want a fresh encounter with God this year.

It never ceases to amaze me how the creator of the universe poured his glory and wisdom into the hearts of flawed men to pen his love letter to humanity and invite us to take part in his glorious plan.

“When we hear his call and respond accordingly, there will be no limit to what God can and will do through his people. But if we do not even recognize when he is speaking, we are in trouble at the very heart of our relationship with him.” — Henry Blackaby

Find out more about the “Experiencing God” Bible at csbexperiencinggodbible.com/. Listen to Patricia’s interview with Dr. Richard Blackaby on the podcast God-Sized Stories with Patricia Holbrook.

Patricia Holbrook is a columnist, author, podcaster and international speaker. Visit her website www.soaringwithHim.com. Subscribe to her podcast and YouTube channel for all interviews. For speaking engagements and comments, email pholbrook@soaringwithhim.com.