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God's Many Voices
Learning to Listen. Expectant to Hear.
By Liz Ditty
Foreword by John Ortberg
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around August 21, 2018. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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“Liz Ditty writes with warmth, humor, and grace about the spiritual practices that too often feel overwhelming. She approaches the spiritual life with simplicity and generosity and tells a story of learning to listen to the voice of God that inspires me to do the same. God’s Many; Voices is a book for anyone who believes God is still speaking, and anyone who needs a friend to walk them directly toward that Holy Voice.” — Micha Boyett, Author of Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer
Do you wish to hear God speak to you in your everyday life? God’s Many Voices will help you discover a God who is infinitely closer and more involved in our world than we give Him credit for.;
This book is an invitation to learn God’s voice from the scriptures and then recognize it everywhere in daily life. Author Liz Ditty uses biblical teaching and relatable examples, reinforced with reflective exercises at the end of each chapter to open readers’ ears and hearts to what God is telling them.;;
Only His voice in our lives can give us confidence in our decisions and dreams, give us freedom from our fears and failures, and lead us toward the joy of being fully alive, accepted, and loved by God.
Praise for God’s Many Voices
“Many people claim to ‘hear God’s voice,’ though not always with discernment. I’ve found Liz Ditty to be a trustworthy guide in learning how to listen, and how to do so with wise discernment.”
“Through beautifully told personal stories of growing to trust the God Who is love, God’s Many Voices invites us to notice the One who ‘has left invisible Post-it Notes for you on the sunrise and throughout your interrupted day.’ Reading this wise and engaging book is like spending time with a friend. Liz Ditty encourages us to recognize God’s voice by showing us how she has learned to do so: slowly and carefully, with Scripture and loved ones, through thin seasons and thick, and with thanks to good-humored resilience and heaps of grace.”
Susan S. Phillips, Ph.D.
Executive director and professor at New College Berkeley
(Graduate Theological Union) and author of The Cultivated Life
“Learning to listen to God can, in some ways, mimic learning to ride a bike. We need the mechanics explained, and it’s also helpful to have someone running alongside. For novice and experienced riders alike, Liz Ditty provides practical help in hearing God’s many voices. Even more importantly, Ditty inspires the thrill of God’s company. The one-of-a-kind God’s Many Voices is sure to become a trusted resource for many.”
Jen Pollock Michel
Author of Keeping Place and Teach Us to Want
“I have a better language, approach, and understanding of God’s voice because of this book. Liz Ditty has given us a gift that helps us cut through the noise to hear from the one voice that matters. With humor and rich storytelling, God’s Many Voices brings us into the nuanced and mysterious, yet ordinary and accessible, world of a speaking God. Ditty reveals what we’ve always hoped were true: it is possible to hear from God—and we can all listen in.”
Pastor and author of Distant God
“In a world with so many channels vying for our attention, God’s voice is often shut out by a perpetual stream of noise. Yet, as Liz Ditty so thoughtfully teaches us, if we are mindful and intentional we can begin to discern, attune, and respond to God’s voice in our individual lives. Liz’s beautiful book is a personal and practical journey that feels like a feast for the soul. Her intimate writing style intertwines the perfect amount of deep theological insight in everyday conversation. God’s Many Voices is a must-read for anyone longing to grow deeper in their faith and eagerness to understand and hear the voice of God. I devoured this book and plan to return to it again and again.”
Lee Wolfe Blum
Speaker, mental health practitioner, and author of Brave Is the New Beautiful
“Liz Ditty believes she hears the voice of God in everyday experiences, and that we can too. Her wise and faithful teaching invites us to find God in the beauty and mess of our ordinary lives, inspiring us to see sacredness all around. God’s Many Voices reminds us that God can and does speak to all of us, right where we are.”
Author of Long Days of Small Things
“Liz Ditty writes with gentleness, insight, and grace about a topic that has the potential to divide and confuse us all. To read this book is to give yourself a chance to process what it means to hear from God, and to gain some practical direction on what a life of hearing from God might look like. Filled to overflowing with honesty and transparency, God’s Many Voices is worth your time and engagement. A true joy to read.”
Author of Becoming Curious and host of the otherWISE podcast
“In a winsome, approachable style, Liz Ditty teaches and encourages us to freely express ourselves to the Lord and to listen attentively, expecting to hear from Him. Brimming with stories and insights, this book is a delightful guide to developing a rich, conversational relationship with God. God’s Many Voices will be a trusted companion for many as they learn to notice, discern, and respond to the loving voice of God.”
Author of A Spiritual Formation Primer and vice-chair of Renovaré board of trustees
“God’s Many Voices is illuminating, especially for those of us who desperately long to hear from God. I put the book down several times in order to ponder the truths Liz Ditty communicates. It invited me to look at myself, my life with God, and Christian community in a new way. Liz makes a difficult topic easier to understand and also relatable. That is truly a feat. I was convicted. And I can say that God spoke to me through this book. It has been one of his many voices in my life.”
Author of A Beautiful Disaster
“Though I do indeed want all people to know Christ, even more I want Christ to be made known. And because He is found everywhere in life, in all places, in all things, I am not just freed but compelled to discover Him through all the lovely, hideous, fascinating things of this world, which are, after all, His. I’m so thankful for Liz Ditty, who invites us all to hear God’s many voices outside the church walls to make God known for the loving, communicative God He is.”
Leslie Leyland Fields
Author of Crossing the Waters
“Our God speaks, in a variety of different ways. I’m grateful for Liz Ditty, who in God’s Many Voices illuminates a diversity of ways Jesus loves to communicate with us as His people and invites us to listen for His voice like we are expecting to hear it.”
Joshua Ryan Butler
A pastor of Redemption Church (Tempe, AZ) and author of The Skeletons in God’s Closet and The Pursuing God
GOD’S MANY VOICES
LEARNING to LISTEN
EXPECTANT to HEAR
Copyright © 2018 by Liz Ditty
Published by Worthy Books, an imprint of Worthy Publishing Group, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., One Franklin Park, 6100 Tower Circle, Suite 210, Franklin, TN 37067.
WORTHY is a registered trademark of Worthy Media, Inc.
Helping people experience the heart of God
eBook available wherever digital books are sold.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Ditty, Liz, author.
Title: God’s many voices : learning to listen, expectant to hear / Liz Ditty.
Description: Franklin, TN : Worthy Publishing, 2018.
Identifiers: LCCN 2018022250 | ISBN 9781683972525 (tradepaper)
Subjects: LCSH: Discernment (Christian theology) | Listening—Religious aspects—Christianity. | God (Christianity)—Knowableness.
Classification: LCC BV4509.5 .D58 2018 | DDC 248.4—dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018022250
All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™ | Scripture quotations marked BSB are taken from The Holy Bible, Berean Study Bible, BSB. Copyright © 2016 by Bible Hub. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. | Scripture quotations marked ESV are taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. | Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
For foreign and subsidiary rights, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in association with Don Gates of the literary agency The Gates Group, www.the-gates-group.com.
Cover Design: Matt Smartt, Smartt Guys Design
Interior Design and Typesetting: Bart Dawson
Printed in the United States of America
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Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the LORD strikes
with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.
God has many voices.
May we learn to hear them all.
Outside of the Bible, no book has changed me more than Dallas Willard’s The Spirit of the Disciplines. I contacted Dallas after having read it, and—for no particular reason—he invited me to his Southern California home. I experienced there what countless others have: the unhurried, humble, selfless attention of a human being who lived deeply in the genuine awareness of the reality of the kingdom of God.
Dallas’s legacy casts a vision of the nature of the gospel and the kingdom and moral and spiritual truth that is helping the church, which is always reforming to recapture something of the spirit and message of Jesus. Dallas’s work, more than that of anyone I know in our day, is helping us understand more clearly the offer of Jesus, about whom Dallas never ceased to marvel. His influence will ripple along in countless sermons and books and churches and disciples.
When I was introduced to Liz Ditty, I was happy to discover the ripples of Dallas’s impact continuing to spread. I didn’t meet Liz personally while she attended the church I began leading over a decade ago, but she had also learned about Dallas and his work. Liz left church one Sunday and asked a bookstore employee down the road if they had any books written by Dallas Willard. That employee handed her a copy of Hearing God, and she experienced the same radical life changes that I had encountered through Dallas’s words long before. Liz’s faith, fragile from years of spiritual abuse, came to life when she learned that God doesn’t just speak to the spiritually elite or professional church leaders—He speaks to all of us, in so many ways.
God is stretching Himself toward us, waiting for us to notice the words He has been whispering all along. He wants us to live our life with Him—even (especially) the ordinary parts. The central promise of the Bible is not “I will forgive you”; the best promise in the Bible is “I will be with you.” Our individual uniqueness means we will all experience God’s presence and learn to relate to Him in different ways. A strong foundation underlies the diverse ways that God speaks to us and the unique paths that lead us toward His voice.
Foundational truths of my life with God are:
• God is always present and active in my life, whether or not I see Him.
• Coming to recognize and experience God’s presence is a learned behavior—I can cultivate it.
• My task is to meet God in this moment.
• I am always tempted to live “outside” this moment. When I do that, I lose my sense of God’s presence.
• Sometimes God seems far away for reasons I do not understand. Those moments, too, are opportunities to learn.
• Whenever I fail, I can always start again right away. No one knows the full extent to which a human being can experience God’s presence.
• My desire for God ebbs and flows, but His desire for me is constant.
• Every thought carries a “spiritual charge” that moves me a little closer to, or a little farther from, God.
• Every aspect of my life-work, relationships, hobbies, errands … is of immense and genuine interest to God.
• My path to experiencing God’s presence will not look quite like anyone else’s.
• Straining and trying hard do not help.
Your life with God is waiting for you. God is running toward you, now and always. There is no better time to listen for His voice than in this moment. I believe this can be the greatest moment of your life, because this moment is the place where you can meet with God. In fact, this moment is the only place where you can meet God.
You can learn to listen for God’s voice and to hear Him more clearly each time. The same God who is within us is also all about us. He is not restricted to church or the Bible. He speaks in many voices, and we can expect that what He has to say is very, very good.
Senior pastor of Menlo Church and author of I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me
A NEW, FAMILIAR VOICE
Thinking back to God’s first words to me, they were not as kind as I would have scripted….
I was thirteen years old, very awake in the dark of night, lying on the top bunk bed. My younger sister, still in elementary school, was tucked beneath her covers in the bunk below. Although I could only faintly hear her rhythmic breathing, her soundness of sleep emanated through her pale, freckled skin and pink sheets and up the very posts of the bed we shared. Lying anxious and alert, I was unable—or maybe unwilling—to let my eyes close.
I couldn’t stop staring at an orange glow on the ceiling that had a bit of dance to its shadow. It was strangely warmer than the light normally put off by our little night light, as though it were a reflection from a flame. The inner voice that had narrated the first decade or so of my life was busy rambling, frustrated and confused because my dad asked me earlier that day if I was a Christian. He should know. He clapped when I received my Bible memorization trophies, and it was no secret I had asked Jesus to save me from my sins—well, to save me from hell—probably a few hundred times. I stared at my hand in front of my face, fingers splayed open, and tried to see double. That usually helped me calm down.
If my dad didn’t know, how could I know if I was a Christian? Everything I thought I was supposed to do, he had watched me do.
“You don’t know Me.”
The words came suddenly, jolting my inner dialogue.
I thought immediately of a verse I had learned in Sunday school about people calling Jesus “Lord” and His saying, “I never knew you” (see Matthew 7:21–23). I knew a lot about Jesus and the Bible. I had studied Greek and Hebrew dictionaries before I owned my first lip gloss. How could I not know Him?
My father was an influential elder in a hyperlegalistic church that functioned more like a cult. The church called itself The Assembly. It prided itself on having many elders, not just one pastor. In reality it was one elder, my dad’s best friend, who actually held all the power. He and my dad and another elder met to discuss the state of the church regularly, and that included the details of everyone’s life. They arranged marriages, made college and career decisions, oversaw relationships with friends and family, and were also involved in the personal financial decisions of church members. There were no areas in which they did not have input. All of us were accountable to their peering eyes, and their wisdom carried the weight of divine appointment. The elders told us that God had entrusted them with all of our lives, like shepherds over His flock. God gave them His authority and guidance, and He spoke to them regularly. All we had to do was ask them what God said.
The elders were the interpreters of Scripture and the enforcers of the rules. Whenever the church was officially gathered, the women had to be completely silent unless they were joining to sing a hymn. Women also needed to wear a veil, or head covering, as an outward symbol of their inward submission to the men and to God. The veil was worn at all church gatherings but also at home during personal devotion time. I had one made of ivory lace. Modesty was paramount, and I was taught from an early age how seductive my skin was. High necks as well as covered shoulders and knees were required at all times—and nothing clinging to the form of my body.
It slowly dawned on me in college that 99 percent of Christian women did not wear long skirts or head veils. Though I had been taught that we were the only “true believers” who honored Scripture instead of being swept up in worldly culture, I began to study the Bible more voraciously on my own. I went to a very conservative college, and most of the girls at my school also wore head coverings. The strict Assembly I went to was a small offshoot of an offshoot, but this college somehow gathered a couple hundred students with similar backgrounds from across the United States and Canada. It was within my first weeks away from home, when I was settling into my strictly all-female dorm, that I was given the wrong student work assignment that would supplement my tuition. Most freshmen got kitchen jobs, but by some strange fluke I was assigned a job usually reserved for seniors: I showed up for my first day as library proctor, the librarian’s assistant.
I can picture myself in that library, hiding behind the exposed pipes in an area off to the side where there was more space so I could pull tables together. I regularly abandoned the front reception desk where most of the other proctors would sit doing their homework. I stacked books upon books, some open to certain pages and turned over on other open books only to be anchored down by a closed book I hadn’t read yet on the top. Index cards stuck out of books, and a small stack of rejected books sat off to the side. The library was usually empty and always quiet, smells mixing from books, dust piled on untrafficked shelves, and the odor of a musty basement. I started wearing a bandana as a more fashionable, less obvious head covering.
It was when I pored over the worn pages of those aged books—commentaries on 1 Corinthians 11 and the end times—that my world came crashing in around me. Some published works documented what I had been taught, but most of my piles and stacks definitively disproved the theories I had been trained to defend. My dad was wrong. The elders were wrong. I was wrong. I started hyperventilating.
Through a special kind of grace, as my entire universe was spinning around me and beginning to crumble, I heard the echo of God’s words to me years before: “You don’t know Me.”
And I realized God wasn’t disowning me.
His words were an invitation, not an accusation.
He was inviting me into a freedom that I hadn’t learned yet. When I first heard those words as a child, I had imagined being in a crowd and screaming out to Jesus, only to have Him look at me with narrow eyes and slowly say, “You don’t know Me” before He turned to walk away. When these same words came back to me a decade later, I finally understood how Jesus was actually saying them. He was saying them softly, over and over, holding me tightly as I sobbed fearful, angry tears in that library. I still had a lot to learn about Him.
After college, I left our Assembly and was shut out of the lives of pretty much everyone I had ever known. My dad should have taken a harder line to cut off his rebellious daughter (a term that had been reserved for my younger sister up to this point), but it turned out he loved me. And I loved him. That made everything infinitely more complicated, more painful, and more tolerable at the same time. Those last couple years—which we didn’t know would be our last ones together—were actually pretty sweet. I would visit my parents’ house for dinner and agree not to talk about anything but eggplant parmesan and good places to get a pedicure. Once or twice I could have sworn my dad was actually deeply proud of me. He died when I was twenty-five.
Over the next decade I searched for the Jesus I wanted to know. I looked in different denominations and at different authors and teachers. I found myself at a Presbyterian church in Menlo Park, learning from their new pastor, John Ortberg. He talked about a man he had learned a lot from named Dallas Willard, so I went to a local bookstore and found his book titled Hearing God. That was when I first realized that God was talking to me, straight to me, and I didn’t need people who were more authoritative or famous or spiritual to tell me what He was saying. No middleman required, I could live my best life in God’s company.
I didn’t need the elders to tell me where God wanted me to go to school or whom I should marry; all of these decisions and all of life was now an adventure I could take with God. Surprisingly, it was harder than I thought not to have someone telling me what God wanted me to do. I discovered that the cultlike devotion that had been previously demanded of me was far easier for me to transfer to good pastors or celebrity Christians than I thought. It’s convenient to hear “what God says” in social media one-liners or quotable taglines in the foreground of beautiful images—but He has so much more to say to us! Gently, many times, God has reminded me that He isn’t inviting me to follow good teachers and good churches, but that good teachers and good churches are at their best when they help me follow Him.
When Jesus invited the disciples to follow Him, He invited them to learn from Him, to eat with Him, to walk with Him, to listen to His stories and to tell Him theirs. He’s inviting us to the same conversational relationship, the same way to know Him. Jesus tells His stories in lots of different ways and in many voices that we can hear if we’re paying attention. And Jesus has left invisible Post-it Notes for you on the sunrise and throughout your interrupted day. His words are waiting for you on the thin pages of your Bible, in the mouth of your child, and even in the song that comes on the loudspeaker at the grocery store. This book is about learning to recognize God’s voice. About being awake to how God is already extending Himself toward us.
Jesus invited the disciples … to learn from Him, to eat with Him, to walk with Him, to listen to His stories and to tell Him theirs. He’s inviting us to the same conversational relationship.
Did you know that scientists believe the stars make sounds like instruments or singing? They are still learning how to listen for that sound through the vast space and dark vacuum between us and the distant lights. Because they now expect to hear something, they are listening and developing tools for greater awareness. My prayer is that as we listen together, the divine Voice would have its unharnessed role in our lives, singing wildly like the constellations of the night sky over a desert. A voice that’s always been there, that we are just beginning to hear.
Now when I hear God whisper, “You don’t know Me,” it sounds almost playful. He’s inviting all of us to know Him better and experience Him more. God has words for His world, for His people, and just for you. His whispers are carried by His Spirit, riding on the wind, making themselves known to ears that hear. God has something to say. God is speaking to each of us, and all of us are able to hear Him.
LEARNING TO LISTEN
- On Sale
- Aug 21, 2018
- Page Count
- 256 pages
- Worthy Books