Tag Archives: hearing God’s voice

Finding God in the Waiting

If we were to take a survey to find out how many Christians would like to hear God personally speak to them, I would imagine the vast majority would say, “Of course I want that!” The percentage would plummet, though, if we asked the same people how many actually do hear Him on a regular basis. Why is that?

Some, unfortunately, have been indoctrinated with the false notion that God no longer speaks to us personally. Others have never been taught how to recognize the voice of God. Still others have bought into the lie that they are unworthy to hear God, that they are some kind of second-class believers in God’s eyes. The truth is, God has promised in hundreds of verses throughout the Bible to help us know His will for our personal lives, to give us wisdom and revelation, and that we will know His voice.

John 8:47 says, “He who is of God hears God’s words; you, therefore, do not hear them because you are not of God.” That means, if you love Jesus, you can hear God. You may not recognize that He is speaking to you, but He really is, and having trouble hearing Him is fixable. If you need some help in recognizing how He is speaking to you, I’ve written an article series on the subject. You will also find that information in my book, Hotline to Heaven: Hearing the Voice of God.

Besides simply not discerning that God is already speaking to us, there may be specific hindrances getting in the way — things we can do something about.

We aren’t giving God the quality time He desires to spend with us. Time is one of God’s love languages. James 4:8 promises us, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you….” He speaks to those who make Him their priority. Yes, He can and does communicate with us at random moments throughout the day. But we are more likely to hear Him then if we have already cultivated a listening ear during a time set aside solely for intimate waiting on Him.

You might be thinking, “I don’t have the first idea how to wait on God.” Here are some suggestions to help you:

  • Choose a Bible verse, read it over and over, and ask God to speak to you through it. You’d be surprised at all the new insights you will get as you do that.
  • Ask God questions. Then give Him time to answer you. He may not speak immediately. He might pop the answer into your thoughts later in the day, or even months down the road, but at least you have given Him the opportunity. I have found that God often doesn’t volunteer what we want to know: He waits for us to ask.
  • Think about Jesus.
  • Think about a character quality of God — His mercy, His goodness, His faithfulness, His justness, His purity.  Then praise Him for that quality.
  • Peacefully pray in tongues. As you do that, the Holy Spirit will often bring inspired thoughts, including interpretation of what you are praying, to your consciousness.

Our brain cells are overloaded with other things. Too much news media, social media, video games, or other ear and eye stimulators can so preoccupy us that it is really hard to hear the Lord above all the noise.

Wrong motives for wanting to hear God. Do we spend quiet time with God because we love Him, or only because we want revelation? That’s a selfish motive. It becomes all about us and what we can get out of God, instead of about giving ourselves to Him.

Sinful heart issues harden us to His voice. If we deliberately ignore what He is saying to us, rebelliously do something other than what we know He is directing us to do, or willfully live in sin, His voice becomes gradually fainter. God may even eventually quit speaking. He usually continues to speak for a while before that happens, trying to turn us back in the right direction. And, because He is so merciful, if He can’t reach us by speaking through other avenues, He will still try to turn us from our wrong ways through our circumstances. Remember Balaam and the angel who stood in his way (Numbers 22).

The good news is, even if the Lord has become silent, once we repent, the lines of communication open up again. I didn’t quote all of James 4:8 a little earlier. There is a condition for hearing attached to the rest of the verse: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Repentance goes a long way toward restoring and clarifying our hearing.

While never hearing God is not normal and should be examined for the reason, it’s important to know that every Christian goes through periods when God seems to be silent, through no fault of ours. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we are out of God’s will or doing something else wrong. These are times of growing in faith by learning to trust God in the silence. God uses silent seasons to cause us to seek more diligently for Him. They are a normal part of Christian life. But they are temporary. Continue seeking His company and listening for Him. He will eventually begin speaking again.

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

Holding the Line on Truth (Part 4)

deafchildLast time, we said that there are three uncomplicated, effective steps to keeping free, or getting free, of erroneous teaching. The first step was to read the Bible cover to cover, over and over. Here is Step #2:

Learn to listen to the Holy Spirit.

As you set aside time to listen for His voice, you will become more adept at hearing His checks and promptings. You will develop the ability to discern moment-by-moment what is from Him and what is not. (However, Step #2, listening to the Spirit, is not going to work if you ignore Step #1, reading the Word — because the Bible is still the primary, infallible way that the Holy Spirit speaks to us. Reading the Bible familiarizes us with how the Lord’s voice sounds, too.) When something makes you uneasy, learn to ask Him, “Lord, why am I feeling uncomfortable?”

A consistent, passionate prayer of mine is that the Spirit of Truth would continually adjust my beliefs and the beliefs of my loved ones, so that we increasingly come into perfect alignment with His doctrinal truth. John 16:13 promises, “When He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.” One of the Holy Spirit’s great ministries to the Church is found in John 14:26: “But the Comforter, Who is the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.”

When we are troubled by a “new” teaching, if we will take the time to ask the Holy Spirit to show us in the Word whether it is true or not, He will be faithful to do that. Sometimes He will immediately bring a verse to mind that settles the issue for us. Sometimes He will do it over a period of months, during our regular course of Bible reading, drawing our attention to particular verses which answer our questions.

I’ve had it work both ways — God either revealing the truth of a teaching or the falseness of it. He has shown me verses that refuted certain teachings that troubled me. He has also revealed to me truth that I was resisting because it was contrary to incorrect teachings I had grown up with and had never questioned. The point is, if we ask Him to impart truth to us, He will be faithful to do so. However, many of us are secretly afraid of the truth He might reveal, so we never ask.

The two steps we’ve looked at thus far — continually staying in the Word and listening for the Spirit — will take you a long way toward keeping free of false teaching. In addition, the two work harmoniously together: we cannot accurately understand the counsel of God’s Word without the Spirit’s enlightenment, while measuring everything we are hearing from the Lord by the infallible written Word ensures that we do not hear incorrectly.

Isaiah 8:16-17, 19-20 addresses the importance of the Bible as a measuring stick to detect false teachers and also the importance of waiting on the Lord to hear Him speak to us:

Bind up the testimony, seal the law [the Word] among my disciples. And I will wait upon the LORD … and I will look for Him.

And when they shall say to you, “Seek to them that have familiar spirits, and to wizards which peep and mutter: shouldn’t a people seek to their God? For the living to the dead?

To the law and to the testimony [the Word]: if they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them

Next time, we will look at our final step for keeping free of false teaching.

Holding the Line on Truth (Part 1) 
Previous: Part 3 
Next: Part 5 

A Simple Lesson in Listening

People often tell me that they have difficulty hearing God.  Many times the problem is not that we don’t hear Him, but that we don’t recognize the small ways He is speaking to us in our thoughts every day.  I’m going to share with you a recent experience from my own life, which is a practical example of hearing God’s voice and responding to it — both what I did right and what I did wrong.

One evening last week, a concern popped into my thoughts about our teenage daughter falling down the stairs which lead from her bedroom to the ground level of our house.  The stairs are a little steep and uncarpeted, and she often takes them in a hurry, so this would be a bit of a natural concern for me.  Because I tend to be in a flow of prayer most of the time, my natural response was to say a quick prayer for her safety and then move on. The next morning, several times, I again thought about the possibility of her falling down the stairs, and each time I prayed briefly that she would be safe on the stairs.  At one point I even thought, “I should probably caution her to be extra-careful on the stairs today” — and then I promptly forgot to do it. 

I dozed off during my prayer time that morning, and dreamed (always pay particular attention to doze-off dreams in prayer, because they are usually from God!) of an orange-colored box with an assortment of crackers pictured on the front, and in the dream, I knew that the cracker box belonged to our daughter.  I wrote the dream down, but I had a busy day ahead of me, so I didn’t take the time I should have to ponder the dream.

That evening, my daughter fell down nearly the entire flight of stairs.  She got a little  banged up, but, much to our thankfulness, she was not seriously injured.

Let’s take apart what happened — what went right and what went wrong.  As the thought repeatedly came to mind about her falling down the stairs, I quite naturally prayed for her safety.  So far, so good.  I am absolutely certain that those repeated prayers saved her from serious harm.  However, it never fully hit my consciousness that it was the Lord speaking to me about a danger.  I didn’t think, “Oh! God is speaking! I’d better pay attention!”  I didn’t hear Him say, “Your daughter is going to meet with an accident if you don’t pray for her.”  It was just my natural response to pray about the thoughts I was having, because continual prayer communication with the Lord has become a habit.

Where I went wrong was in not paying better attention than I did, because if I had, we probably could have avoided the stairs incident entirely.  I didn’t listen closely enough to the thought that I should warn my daughter to be careful.  Hence, I didn’t follow through on it.

I also did not pay attention to the dream — until after the accident.  Do you know what orange can symbolize in dreams?  Danger.  The various crackers?  Broken or “cracked” bones.  The dream had indicated that the orange box of crackers belonged to our daughter.   Hindsight is a great teacher, and I may not have understood the crackers’ significance ahead of time, but the orange = danger connection I could have picked up on, especially with what had already been going on in my thoughts — IF I had been paying attention.

This experience became a lesson for me in listening to the Lord.  I am so very grateful that our daughter was kept from serious harm, and that at least I had prayed for her.  Those prayers were answered.  But not listening closely enough allowed some harm to occur.

Probably all of us are hearing from the Lord much more than we realize, and if we will practice tuning in carefully, we will catch a lot more of what He is saying.  He does not generally shout to make Himself heard.  Church bells do not ring and heavenly choirs do not sing to announce that God is about to deliver a message.  Many times, persistent thoughts, although they do not sound like “a voice,” really are from the Lord — especially if we have our minds prepared through much prayer and reading of Scripture.  Paul tells us that “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

If we learn to recognize and respond to the subtle ways God speaks, He will give us ideas which will prosper and bless us, and He will also keep us from many sorrows.  I’ve learned a great lesson, and I hope my experience will help you as well.

Challenges Prophetic People Face: The Future Factor (Part 3)

The Future Factor and Your Personal Destiny (cont.)

As I said in our last post, most of the time, God starts speaking to us about the personal destiny He has planned for us long before we are able to step into it in its entirety.  And this can cause problems for us, because those words often feel like “now” words when we first hear them.  But we are not usually ready to take on those destiny-callings immediately.  God takes His time in preparing us. He has to bring us to a place of greater maturity and humility so that we handle our callings well, and the bigger His purpose for us, the more refining of our character there will have to be.

Joseph and Moses both found out about the future factor the hard way.  Joseph told his brothers about his prophetic dreams of one day being a ruler over them, and they not only hated him for it, but they did their best to stop it from ever happening (Genesis 37).  Moses knew as a young prince in Egypt that he was to deliver Israel from bondage, but he was rejected by his own people when he mistakenly tried to step into that calling prematurely (Exodus 2:11-15).  Acts 7:25 tells us, “For He supposed his brethren would have understood how God by his hand would deliver them, but they did not understand.”  Both Joseph and Moses needed some maturing before they could fulfill their destinies in such a way as to bring the most glory to God and the most benefit to other people.

In summary of these last two posts, let’s briefly list what you can do while waiting for your personal destiny to unfold in your natural world:

  1. Draw ever closer in intimate relationship with the Lord.  (This really is of #1 importance.)
  2. Have faith for the things God has spoken to you.
  3. Don’t give in to being disheartened if the circumstances don’t immediately line up or if people give you flak.
  4. Do what you can to prepare.
  5. Serve to the best of your ability.
  6. Take the baby steps forward as opportunities open up before you.
  7. Don’t beat up on yourself when you make mistakes.
  8. Keep the prophetic vision God has given you before your eyes.

If He spoke it to you, He’s going to do it for you, as you trustingly hold His hand.

In our next post, we’ll look at how our future factor affects prophetic words we release to church leadership or the congregation.

Challenges Prophetic People Face:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 4  

Personal Prophecy

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy

The Listening Place

LeeAnnRubsam.com

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a conversation I had with God quite a few years ago.  He had been laying out for me the three main ways He wanted me to serve for the rest of my life — the first was about the intercession specialty He had given me, the second was about writing for Him, and the third thing He said was just, “Minister to Me.” 

I was not sure what He meant.  “Godhow could I possibly minister to You?”

And He responded with a longing in His tone I will never forget, “By listening to Me.” 

Listening to Him, hanging on His every word — not for any other reason than just because it is Him — He longs for us to do that.  It is the place of lovers.

It is easy, once we become a little bit accustomed to moving in the revelatory gifts, to think that our prophetic words need to “do” something.  We often want a word for the Church, whether the local body or beyond — maybe out of a pure desire to encourage or serve, maybe sometimes out of a human longing for recognition of our prophetic gifts.  But what we hear doesn’t have to have a tangible purpose all the time.  If it does, we’ve slipped into a performance mentality.

As I think this through, I’m coming to understand that listening to the Lord for His sake alone is a higher place of hearing and seeing.  And perhaps if we will come to that loftier plane and stay there for a time, when we do begin to give forth in prophecy to others again, what we say will be of a higher caliber as well.  Perhaps we will be less likely to speak the word of the Lord hastily, and what we share will carry a greater spiritual weight.

Think about it: we have the opportunity for a private audience of the most cordial, intimate nature with the One “who humbles himself to look upon the things that are in heaven and in the earth” (Psalm 113:6).  To listen to Him, purely for Him, and to know that I am ministering to Him by doing so — that’s a place of wonder.  And I want to be there — just because it makes Him happy. 

New Book: The Intercessor Manual

Full Gospel Family Publications

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann RubsamIt’s finally here!  My new book, The Intercessor Manual,  is hot off the press, and eager to answer all of your prayer questions — well, at least all of them that I ever had or could think of!

All the articles you’ve found here at Out of the Fire about intercession, prophecy, spiritual warfare, soaking, getting along with your pastor, and avoiding insanity on the way to your breakthrough are now available in one large book.

We’ve polished it all up a bit, expanded portions, vastly revised some material, and incorporated additional info not available at the blog.

I think you will like it!  🙂 Pastors, this is a great resource for you, too.  It will help you understand how prophetic people tick and how to help them work in harmony with you.  Use it to teach and bring into maturity the intercessors you have within your fellowship. Topics:

  • Your Call to Intercession
  • What Intercessors Do
  • The Bible Helps Our Intercession
  • The Power of Your Prayer Language
  • Prayer that Counts
  • Breakthrough Intercession: Receiving Our Answers
  • Spiritual Warfare
  • Our Spiritual Armor
  • Worship and the Intercessor
  • The Prophetic Connection
  • Maturing in Prophecy
  • Intimacy with God
  • Hearing God
  • Avoiding Deception
  • You Don’t Have to Be Weird
  • Pastors and Intercessors
  • The Pastor Specialty
  • What Can You Expect as an Intercessor?

Paperback, 194 pages

U.S. price: $16.00 (Price includes shipping.)

Order Now

Also available as an e-book and print edition at Amazon:  The Intercessor Manual at Amazon (affiliate link) and as an audio book (CD Set or mp3). E-book also available at  other e-book stores, including Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Scribd.

Hearing from God Through Dreams (Part 3)

God doesn’t always give us an immediate interpretation of our dreams, and this is another reason it is good to keep a journal.  As we reread our dreams, sometimes He drops understanding into us months down the road from when we first had the dream.  Why?  Perhaps events had to unfold in our lives before the dream could become relevant to us.  It could be a matter of maturity in our understanding.

Early in my experience with this type of revelation, I had a dream that explained specifics of what my primary function in the Body of Christ was to be.  There were many details, and the Lord explained most of them to me immediately.  Some details seemed important, but were held from my understanding for another two years.  I read through that dream often, and continued to ask about the unexplained details, and eventually the interpretations were given.

Dreams with recurring themes are particularly important to pay attention to, even if they seem a little silly.  Over a two month period, I dreamed four times about turtles in various situations.  God did not tell me right away what the turtles symbolized, and dream books and people I knew who were familiar with dream interpretation were not able to help me with this one.  I like turtles, so for me, turtles are connected with happy things.  I pondered the turtle dreams before the Lord many times, asking into them, and eventually understood that they represented blessings and God-promises in my life.  The Lord then showed me what He had been speaking about my promises in each of those dreams.

Dreams can be either panoramic, full-blown stories or snapshot pictures of one simple scene.  I sometimes doze off while praying, and when I do, I’m likely to have snapshot dreams from the Lord.  Even the snapshots can be full of important details.  Here is an example:

I had been praying for favor for my husband and myself – God’s favor and also a particular person’s favor.  In a snapshot dream, I saw a man in brown uniform running up to our front porch.  I just saw him from the back as he got to the porch.  I immediately awoke, startled.  I understood from the brown uniform that he was a UPS driver, and then had this conversation with the Lord:

“Lord, what was that?”
“He’s bringing you a package.”
“What is it, Lord?”
“Favor.”
“Is it God’s favor or So-and-so’s favor?”
“It’s both.”
“God, You know that first and foremost I want Your favor!”
“I know that, and that’s why you can have the other one, too.”

Some of the details of this dream continued to nag at my mind over the next couple of days, so I asked more questions, and got more revelation: 

The UPS man was running to show haste. God said we would get this favor quickly.  The package was left at our door – which meant I needed to actively receive it, to take it in.

I asked, “Lord, why was the package left at the front door?  They usually leave it at the back door.”
“It is front-door favor, not back-door favor.  It will not be done in secret.”

A week after the dream, we were given great favor by the person I had prayed about, and it definitely happened in a public manner.  It was also something we could have rejected, but chose to accept. 

If you haven’t yet explored hearing from the Lord through dreams, I encourage you to get started now.  Ask Him to speak to you through this avenue, and be serious about recording your dreams and asking into their interpretations.  Those of you who have difficulty hearing from God in other ways may even find that dreams are the key that unlocks the door of revelation for you.  You will want to expand into other ways of hearing from Him, but dreams are a great place to start. 

Previous: Hearing from God Through Dreams (Part 2) 

New Dream Interpretation Series (2013)

 

Yes, You CAN Be an Intercessor! (CD Set or mp3),
by Lee Ann Rubsam