Weekly Sabbath Survey
Hearing God Speak? — 6-28-2014
The idea of hearing from God personally may be foreign to some of us. I grew up thinking the Bible would tell us what we needed to know, but it didn’t occur to me for many years that God would still SPEAK to us. As it happens, there has never failed to be people here and there in history who heard His voice — some of them audibly. There are reasons why most people do not hear Him. Some aren’t listening or asking Him to speak to them. Others don’t believe it can happen now, so, they won’t hear Him. Still others believe but are afraid of what He will say to them. Like: “Go to Africa!” And, there are those who have heard from Him but did not do what He asked of them, so they don’t hear much any more. When He speaks directly, many times it is with some marching orders.
The Bible is full of instances where God Himself or an angel He sent spoke to people. While there are still angelic encounters, they are usually disguised as people and we don’t realize they were angels. The reason for this could be that after the Holy Spirit was released on Pentecost and made available to all Believers, we can communicate with God directly. Some say ‘God never talks to me.’ Are you talking to Him in prayer? Do you give Him time to answer? The first step in hearing from Him is to realize it will be the Holy Spirit speaking to you. Also, if you don’t have the Holy Spirit, you probably won’t hear. It’s like having a telephone (believing in God) but not having service to your house (The Holy Spirit). We receive the Holy Spirit when we receive Jesus and are Born Again. Then we should make it our bait to ask the Lord often for more of His Spirit. [Luke 11:13] Here are some ways that people hear God speak today:
1. In daily Bible reading we gain information for right living. But at times, something will almost jump off the page. You will stop reading and start thinking about the meaning of what just jumped out at you. You think of another Scripture that would go with this thought. This is the Lord speaking. A text message, as it were.
2. There are times when something will pop into the mind, and we began to think about it, which has nothing to do with what we are doing at that moment. We may say, “Lord, is that you?” Then a back and forth thought process will begin. The Lord is ‘downloading’ something to the heart. If it really is from Him, it will go into your memory bank and add new information or a new perspective.
3. Occasionally God will speak something into our mind that He wants done. ‘Write a letter to someone and tell them’ or ‘phone a certain person and ask them’ or ‘next time you see that guy, say to him ‘ . . .
The key to hearing is to pay attention when you have the sense that it is Him. That third thing, of being given work orders from Him will depend on how willing you are to be obedient. If you dismiss it and don’t obey, it will stop those wheels from turning. You have to be willing to be put yourself out there, stretch out of your comfort zone. At first what He speaks may be something so simple you think it isn’t from Him.
One of the first times I spoke a word from God to a stranger was like this: I was seated in a small chapel at a retreat in the Texas Hill Country. It was the first night. The musicians were warming up, but the pews were empty. I noticed another woman seated in front of me 4-5 rows. Her head was bowed, deep in prayer. I began to pray, asking God to speak to me in the teachings and ministry about to happen. I was new to all this, and eager to move on in what the Lord had for me. I heard in my heart, “See that woman in front of you.” Yes, Lord, I do. “I want you to go tell her that I love her.” I waited for something more. Nothing. I thought, that can’t be you, Lord, you love everybody! What kind of a “word from God” is that? Nothing. I argued with myself, back and forth, since He wasn’t talking any more. Finally, I thought, how bad can it be if it isn’t Him? I can say it and she will thank me even if she thinks I’m a crackpot. I went, sat behind her, touched her shoulder. I said, “I saw you here in prayer, and the Lord wants me to tell you He loves you.” She starred at me for a few seconds, then tears welled up and she began to really cry. She got her breath and said, “I have been sitting here praying and asking Him how He could love somebody like me.” Then, more crying. I hugged her and whispered in her ear, “It doesn’t matter how, He just does, and He sent a total stranger to prove that He does.” I squeezed her once more and went back to my seat. I never spoke with her during the retreat. I have no idea who she was. But God knew her real well, and He was hearing her prayers. It was my privilege to be His messenger.
I have heard it said, “If you want to hear from God twice, obey Him once.” If He sees us willing to do what He asks, He will speak to and use us again and again. We can hear, but, we must also listen.
The people said, The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey. Joshua 24:24
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
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