July 29, 2016
“Hearing God Speak…
Personally To You”
Since this is technically an East event and not everyone is here that normally are; we will again deviate from our study in the Book of James today.
Hearing God speak is an expansive subject and even today I still get amazed at new ways I have either experienced Him speak to me or friends have shared with me about their experience.
Personally, I have a lot to say about this subject. I love to share my experiences and also sort of enjoy the strange looks I get when I share. So, today let’s look at a few reasons to seek to understand that God really does want to speak back and forth with you just like a normal person would.
And yes; there are lots of reasons. Maybe one of the main ones are understanding some of life’s questions and finding answers for some of those “questions for the ages” …or at least “getting that one off your chest” whether you are answered now or not.
For example most of us have ask ourselves these questions:
- What am I going to do with the rest of my life?
- Where should I go to school?
- Should I take this job, or is there something I would be better at or like more out there?
- Should I marry this person?
Life is a never-ending series of choices. But, we can know whether we are making the right decisions more often than not. How? Simple! Have you asked God? God wants to not only speak to us, but answer our questions …and yes, you can ‘know’ that you are hearing His voice.
God wants to fellowship and communicate with us. That’s two-way communication. It’s the same way we make friends. …by talking with them and listening to them. At least that is the normal way I see it done.
It’s the same with our relationship with God. He talks, we listen. We talk, He listens. However with Him there are some different dynamics in play.
God wants us to be fulfilled, blessed and successful in the plan that He has established for our lives — so that we can be a reflection of His love and blessing in the Earth. In Jeremiah 29:11 the Lord makes clear His intentions for you and I, “For I know both My thoughts that I think toward you, and the plans I have for you says the Lord, thoughts and plans of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Note Vs. 12 & 13 a bit later here)
From the beginning as we see in Genesis 2 and 3; God communicated with man. This is how God wants to relate to us today as well. It is God’s desire to walk with and to communicate with His children. He wants to talk to us. And He wants us to listen and talk to Him, too.
The Bible, God’s love letter to mankind, makes it clear that we were created to have two-way communication with Him. Jesus tells us in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
In Romans 8:14 God says through Paul: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Conversely, this scripture implies that if we are God’s children, and born-again, we will be led by His Spirit.
We have further assurance of this promise in Psalm 37:23 – 24, “The steps of a good (righteous, born-again) person are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly thrown out; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.” God will order our steps, and even when we blow it, if we are truly trying to do His will, He will lift us up and give us a second chance. Better yet; He will walk with us!
The most difficult part of hearing God is the fact that it takes time to learn to discern God’s voice — and it takes a humble heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13 says, “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Note this followed what we read in Jeremiah 29: 11)
We can’t make demands on our Creator, Almighty God. We can’t shake our fist at the sky and say, ‘all right God, let me hear you!’ But God will reveal Himself to those who humbly seek Him.
The Lord manifests Himself to us and through us as we humbly seek Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
Note at this point that we need to be alerted to the fact that there are two other voices whispering or screaming into our ears as well: …the voice of our own fleshly desires which screams loud, and the sneaky,deceiving voice of the devil. But remember that Jesus tells us in John 10:4b and 5, that His sheep follow Him, for they know His voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
Thankfully, Hebrews 5:14 tells us that we can train our ear to recognize the voice of God above all the noise. “Solid food (instead of baby food) belongs to those who by constant practice and exercise have trained their senses to discern both good and evil” Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whenever you turn to the right hand or to the left, Your ears will hear His word spoken to you saying, this is the correct way you should go, walk in it,.”
The Bible gives us seven basic keys or filters through which every possible leading should be judged.
- Scripture: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17).
- The Holy Spirit speaking to our heart: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, ‘know the Lord,’ for all will know Me, from the least to the greatest of them” (Hebrews 8:10-11).
- The Prophetic (word of knowledge, word of wisdom, personal prophecy): “Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good”(I Thessalonians 5:19-21)
- Godly counsel: “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).
- Confirmation: “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed” (Matthew 18:16). God always confirms things.
- The peace of God: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15). And a note here, that this was the exact reason our court system use to require the same confirmation by witnesses.
- Circumstances/Timing: “After these things he (Paul) left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working; for by trade they were tent-makers” (Acts 18:1-3) This relationship between Paul, Aquila and Priscilla — which happened as a result of circumstances — became one of the most important strategic partnerships in the book of Acts).
Many times the Lord will confirm His direction to us through three, four or more of these keys — especially when we are in the process of making an important, life-changing decision.
The bottom line is that big decisions take big prayer.
The New Testament talks of the early disciples — people like Paul, Aquila and Priscilla — as people who heard the voice of God. This was the report made of them: “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too” (Acts 17:6b). Yes, you can hear and know the voice of God and become one of these also! And because of this the world is changing — more than perhaps you’ve heard.
Lastly, my personal two cents: “Whatever is the last thing God told you to do …DO IT …because until you do, He won’t tell you the next step!”
There are numerous accounts in scripture that display the truth to this statement. Maybe one of the best comes from the prophet Jeremiah. Throughout the book God instructs Jeremiah to speak specific warnings to Israel and Judah even though the actual events are in the future which makes Jeremiah look like a fool.
Then in Jeremiah 13 God tells him to perform tangible demonstrations before the people. As you read through the chapter you note that step by step after Jeremiah obeys God’s direction the next step is revealed. It makes for not only interesting reading, but sets some of my own experiences of being directed by God into perspective.
If you remember one of the very first things we learned from our study in the Book of James was James 1:23-24:
“For if someone merely listens to Gods message and does not do what He says and live it out, he is like someone who gazes at his own face in a mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, or even what they look like.”