God speaks: Are You Listening?
God speaks in many ways and often. The problem is that we aren’t listening half the time. Sometimes we ignore God and push Him away when we don’t want to listen. Or maybe we just don’t know the ways God is speaking. Today I want to help you to recognize God’s voice.
My resources are coming from “Experiencing God” by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King. If you’ve never done this Bible study I highly encourage you to. Also I’ve learned a lot from a local pastor Brother M.R. . I’ll also be quoting the KJV Bible. I’m excited to share what God’s been showing me lately through His word!
- If you are God’s child then He is speaking to you.
“He that is of God hears God’s words: you therefore hear them not, because you are not of God.” John 8:47 KJV
Those that belong to God hear Him. If you’ve never heard from God then you don’t belong to Him. It is possible to ignore God to the point that you no longer recognize His voice. More on disobedience later.
God wants to speak to us because we are His children.
Romans 8:14-17 KJV
“14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
The Bible says that we are adopted. Adopted children legally have more rights than natural children. They can’t be disinherited. Let that sink in.
God shows himself to us so we can join in His plan, because He values us above everything. We are worth the blood of Jesus, His only begotten son. God wants to be with us. He wants to show us His ways.
*Don’t you think he wants to be with us morning and night. Don’t you think it breaks his heart when we don’t even say hello? As Brother M.R. pointed out, most parents would do anything to stop their child from suffering. God watched His son being tortured and He had full power to stop it but He didn’t, why? Because of you and me! He wanted to save us from Hell and a life of bondage to sin. Jesus’ blood…His death and resurrection were the only way we could be free. We are worth ALOT to God! He really does want to spend time with you!
God speaks to us in many ways
Under the Old Covenant, God spoke in several ways and all unique to the individual.
Angels, visions, dreams, the use of the Utim and Thummin, symbolic actions, a gentle whisper, miraculous signs etc…
When God spoke they
1. Knew it was God *It’s not how he spoke but that he spoke.
2.Knew what He was saying
3. It was unique to that individual. God is personal. We don’t all talk to burning bushes.
4. When God spoke that was the encounter.
*Points taken from “Experiencing God” Unit 5 God Speaks Part 1
On pg 74 of Experiencing God it says ” I hear many people say something like this: ‘Lord, I really want to know your will. Stop me if I am wrong and bless me if I am right.’ Another version of this is: ‘Lord, I will proceed in this direction. Close the door if it is not your will.’ The only problem is I don’t see this as a pattern anywhere in the Scripture. You cannot allow yourself to be guided by experience alone. You cannot allow yourself to be guided by tradition, a method, or a formula. Often people trust in these ways because they are easy. People do as they please and put the whole burden of responsibility on God. If they are wrong, He must intervene and stop them. If they make a mistake, they blame Him. If you want to know the will and voice of God, you must give the time and effort to cultivate a love relationship with Him. That is what He wants!”
Under the New Covenant God speaks through:
A.The Holy Spirit– In the gospel, God spoke through His son. From Acts til the present, God speaks through the Holy Spirit. We must remember that the Holy Spirit is God. When you’ve heard from one person in the Trinity you’ve heard from them all. That’s the beauty and mystery of the Trinity, three in one.
We see in John 14:7-10 that seeing Jesus is the same as seeing the Father.
“7If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.8Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”
The Holy Spirit lives in us. 1 Cor 3:16 & 1 Cor 6:19. “Because the Holy Spirit is always present in a believer, He can speak to you clearly at any time.” Pg77 Experiencing God
1 Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
1 Corinthians 6:19 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
How you respond to God is critical. Disobedience and ignoring God can lead to a famine of hearing God’s words. Amos 8:11-12
“11Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.”
These verses are talking about Israel’s disobedience to God and how they did not hear from him for 400 years, the time between the Old and New Testament. We know under the New Covenant we can grieve the Holy Spirit.
“30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30
B. The Bible– 2 Timothy 3:16-17 God’s word instructs us and works in us so we will be complete. It is God’s complete revelation of Himself to humanity.
“16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Here is an article about a sad moment for the church in Korea. I thought it had happened sooner because I heard it from a preacher recently but this actually happened in 1992. This isn’t in the article but the story I was told is that 3 of South Korea’s top preachers had a vision of an angel that told them the Lord was returning at a certain time. The article below says that 20,000 people got ready for this rapture day. It was a disaster. Of course the Lord didn’t come then. The Bible is clear that no one knows the hour when Christ will return. It says not even the son knows! So how would an angel know?!
Others have been tricked in similar ways. The preachers probably did have a real vision. I don’t doubt their experience. But experiences can be wrong. They have to be filtered through God’s word. That is why we have so many cults today. People have visions or see angels etc and they base their decisions on these experiences without looking to God’s word.
Our experiences and thoughts should always be filtered through God’s word. The devil is out to deceive.
“13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 KJV
Isaiah 55:8 God’s thoughts are higher than ours. Our thoughts and feelings can be wrong and we don’t see the full picture. We should use God’s word to guide us…not what we feel or think.
Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”
We should not lean on our own understanding. Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV
“5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
When your experience doesn’t line up with the Bible then it is NOT of God.Galatians 1:8-9 KJV
“8But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
I have to preach for a second about something that really troubles me in the modern church. There are so many spiritual books out there that tell of peoples’ experiences and so many Christians are basing their beliefs on these books instead of the Bible. The sad thing is that these books are supposed to be Christian and most of them do not line up with the Bible. Even if these books did have the truth, we should still base our beliefs on the Bible first. We’ve got God’s words written down for us. Why should we go to other sources to find what He has clearly said. Even with blogs,Christian devotions, and preacher’s sermons…these things should be secondary. God’s word should always be our first source. It is our standard…our plumb line.
We can’t understand spiritual truth unless God reveals it to us. So when you’re reading the Bible and something clicks, you just had an encounter with God. 1 Cor 2:14 KJV
“14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. He is the one who helps you understand God’s word. John 14:17 KJV
John 14:17 “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
Pg 85 of “Experiencing God” says “Understanding spiritual truth does not lead you to an encounter with God, it is the encounter with God.”
C. Prayer– It is a two-way fellowship and communication with God. It is a relationship, not just a religious activity. (from pg 87-88 of Experiencing God)
Truth is a person. Jesus is TRUTH! John 14:6 KJV
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Pg 87 of “Experiencing God” says”When the Holy Spirit reveals Truth, He is not teaching you a concept to be thought about. He is leading you to a relationship with a Person. He is your life! When God give you eternal life, He gives you a Person. When you became a Christian, Jesus didn’t give you some thing; He gave you Himself.”
Now that is powerful!
Prayer is about adjusting to God, not adjusting God to you. We need to take the focus off ourselves and start being God centered. God is already at work. Where does He want you to fit into His plans? It’s not about how you can fit God into your little corner of life.
When you call God don’t hang up on Him before he speaks! How rude would it be if someone called you up, told you about their day and then hung up before you could respond. You would definitely unfriend them on Facebook. Thankfully God is merciful because we do that to Him ALL the time! When you pray, open up the Word and get ready to hear God’s voice. Be aware of Him speaking to you through circumstances and people in your life.
E. The Church/God’s people
I’m still learning about the last two points. I know the first three to be the most reliable. People can be wrong. Circumstances are tricky. I truly believe that God will show you His will first through His word and the Holy Spirit…then people and circumstances may confirm. I highly question self proclaimed prophets who try to tell me what God wants me to do. The beauty of living under the New covenant is that God speaks to His children personally and the Holy Spirit dwells in each of us. We all have the right to boldly go before God’s throne. We don’t have to hear everything second hand from a prophet. I for one do not want to go backwards and live under the old covenant. I’m glad I can go directly to God on my own. I don’t have to pray to saints and I don’t have to wait for a prophet to tell me God’s word. Hallelujah!
Connect to God’s plans. Don’t try to fit God into yours! I mentioned this earlier. Pg 14 says this beautifully, “What is God’s will for my life? -is not the right question. I think the right question is, what is it that God is purposing where I am. Once I know what God is doing, then I know what I need to do. The focus needs to be on God, not my life!”
The shift from being God centered to self centered can be very minute in our prayers. “What is God’s will for my life?” sounds Holy enough. It reminds me of the Purpose Driven life. Having your God given purpose to drive you, sounds Holy enough. But the focus should always be on God’s leading…not our skills or talents…not even our ministries. We may know that our purpose is to be a singer for Jesus. Great! But what if during that calling, God tells you to do something else for Him.?Well, if your purpose (to be a Christian singer) is guiding you then you won’t recognize God’s voice. But when you allow God to guide you (a.k.a. drive your life) then you will follow Him wherever he leads. Your purpose may change often according to life changes and ministry opportunities.
Within my short years, I have seen God change my purpose according to the season He had me in and the ministries he was doing around me. Sometimes God calls us to do things that don’t absolutely tickle us or feel like our calling. A talented singer may not feel her purpose is to wash dishes at a soup kitchen or scrub floors at Burger King. But God may have her in that season to develop character. The point is that being God centered means following God wherever He leads you and purposing to glorify God in every circumstance you find yourself in. The key is to be God-driven and God-centered. It’s a shift in thinking.
3 thoughts I want to leave you with…
1.Jesus could do nothing without the Father. How much more so, does that apply to us mere mortals?
John 5:19-20 KJV
“19Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.20For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.”
It is vital that we listen for God’s voice and that we have a relationship with Jesus. We need the Lord. We can not walk this life without Him. Ignoring God and checking out is not an option. It’s suicide. Please don’t do it. The God of the universe is speaking. You need to hear what He’s saying. If you’re a Christian then you already can hear His voice. If you are not a follower of Jesus then there is one message you can hear and that is God’s call to salvation. Come to Jesus and He will save you!
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
2.Sometimes God calls us to Stand.
We are all about “doing”. We want to be go getters. We often measure our value by our busyness. But sometimes we need to stop and just stand. Sometimes we need to just watch as God works things out. There is a time to “do” but there is also a time to be still and quiet. Here are some examples.
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Abiding in Jesus is very important. Simply being with God brings about fruit (Godly character).
In our spiritual battle, the word stand is mentioned 4 times. Not once do we see “charge”. It is God that fights for us and through us. Ephesians 6:10-18
“10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
There is a time for “doing” but relationship must come first.
Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God!”
We see in the stories below that God had His people stand while He fought their battles. Many times our hardships seem too burdensome. We don’t know how we are going to survive. I encourage you dear one, don’t run. Don’t hide. Don’t wring your hands with worry. Just stand…eyes on Jesus. Have faith and watch what God does in your life. You’ll be amazed at how He comes through.
1 Sam 12:16 “Now then, stand still and see this great things the Lord is about to do before your eyes!”
Exodus 14:13-14 “Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
If you get a chance, search the song “Til the Storm Passes By” by Vestal Goodman on Youtube. It’s very encouraging.
3.God’s standards are different than mans’.
John’s ministry only lasted 6 months but Jesus said there was none greater. “He had six months wholly yielded to God, and the Son of God put that stamp of approval on his life.”(p25 Experiencing God) Luke 7:28 KJV
“For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
God uses the weak things of the world. Jesus is our wisdom. 1 Cor 1:26-31
“26For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
Think about the people Jesus called to spread the Gospel…a tax collector (Matthew), a fishermen (Peter), a former murderer (Paul). Yet, people could see Jesus in them. When pride and self righteousness gets in the way it is SO hard to see Jesus. But a humble person is such a great vessel for Jesus to shine through. So no matter what you come from, God can use you because it’s all about God and His power…not you and yours.
Elijah was a man just like us. God answered his prayers. We know that God answers the prayers of normal people. James 5:17-18
“17Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.18And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”
Pg 25 Experiencing God “Don’t measure your life by the world’s standards…By the world’s standards, a person or church may look pretty good, yet in God’s sight be utterly detestable. Similarly, a person or church may be wholly yielded to Him and very pleasing to Him and in the world’s eyes be insignificant.”
Enoch is recorded as simply having faith and walking with God. He pleased God by simply abiding with Him. Gen 5:21-24 & Heb 11:5-6
“5By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:5-6
“24And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Genesis 5:24
We have no great stories of Enoch preaching to thousands or slaying giants. All we have is that Enoch walked with God and this pleased God. Enoch pleased God so much that he didn’t die. He was simply taken up. Please don’t think your quiet time with God is insignificant. Simply being with God is VERY important. I don’t know what season God has you in now. Maybe you are out in the ministry and all hands on. Maybe you’re doing. Or maybe God has you in a quiet time of just abiding in Him. Maybe you’re standing. Remember that it is FAITH that pleases God….whether you are doing or standing.
I pray you have learned how to hear God’s voice and that God will write these truths on your heart. God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover