Tag Archives: inner 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.

Forever Ruined for the Ordinary

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I love to tell others about reading gems that I have stumbled upon.  Some years ago, I read Joy Dawson’s book, Forever Ruined for the Ordinary: The Adventure of Hearing and Obeying God’s Voice.  It was one of those “keeper” books — the kind you know you will read again, and even if you don’t, you still want to make sure it is on your bookshelf — just in case.  I not only kept it; I bought copies for all the special people in my life.  I don’t do that every day of the week.

So, why was this book so important to me?  It spoke to a deep hunger in my life to better understand hearing the voice of God.  I had been hearing God speak to me for years, yet I wanted more, and Joy helped me with that more.

She’s still helping me.  I picked up the book again a couple of weeks ago and reread it, and it has been a wonderful experience for me.  Joy covers such topics as hearing God is everyone’s privilege, conditions for hearing His voice, ways God speaks to us, reasons guidance is delayed, how to avoid deception, and how obedience relates to clear hearing of God’s voice.  She majors on encouraging her readers to ask God to speak before making even small decisions.  She also majors on assuring us that God’s character is so trustworthy that He will never let us down.

One of the most helpful sections for me was the one about deception.  She asserts that pride is always the trigger to deception.  We do not need to fear deception if our hearts are humble and teachable, because God will quickly correct our course if our hearts are right.  She explains how people get deceived, how to quickly get out of the trap if we are already there, and how to stay out of deception’s snare in the first place.

Joy emphasizes getting quiet before the Lord in order to hear Him.  (I guess this makes her one of the original “soakers” before soaking prayer became popular.)  She exhorts her readers to submit themselves to the authority of their church leadership, if they want to hear God properly.  She talks a great deal about the fear of the Lord protecting us from operating out of a fear of man.  She comments, “[Being] totally submitted to the control of the Holy Spirit in the fear of the Lord … releases us from the fear of other people,” and, about the pressures to perform, “When you’ve chosen to be nothing so that He may become everything, you don’t sweat it.”

Whether you are just now setting out on the journey to hearing God’s voice,  or whether you’ve been on the path for a long time already, I highly recommend Forever Ruined for the Ordinary, by Joy Dawson.

Quotes from Forever Ruined for the Ordinary

Purchase at Amazon: Forever Ruined for the Ordinary

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Hearing God — Through the Word (Part 2)

If you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, you have probably already been hearing from God, whether you have recognized His voice or not.  He speaks to us in many ways.  The key is in becoming sensitive to Him, so that we notice when He is speaking.

The absolutely best way to hear God is through His Word.  Simple, but true.  We hear from Him in a general way as we read, and much wisdom can be acquired just through being faithful to read the Bible daily.  I am a firm believer in reading all the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation – including the genealogies.  If you just visit the parts you like the best, you are going to miss things that God wants you to know.  I personally like to read in the Old and the New Testaments simultaneously.  I also encourage myself daily in either Psalms or Proverbs.  As we go through the Bible continuously, we absorb the things we need in order to relate properly to both God and our fellow man.  Reading the Bible cleanses our minds, especially if we meditate on (think on, or ponder) what we have taken in.  Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you (John 15:3).

There is a second way that we hear from God in His Word.  Have you ever noticed that a certain verse seemed to have a deeper meaning to you at a particular time in your life?  Sometimes we say that the verse suddenly “leaped off the page” at us.  This is the Holy Spirit enlightening a part of Scripture to us as a personal word.  The verse speaks directly to our current need and brings comfort, guidance, or conviction.

Hearing both generally and personally from the Scriptures is one of the most reliable ways to receive revelation from God.  This was the primary way that Rees Howells, the famous Welsh intercessor during the World Wars, heard from the Lord.  God gave him specific direction about how to pray and even revealed future events to him by enlightening a particular passage in the Bible and then giving him understanding of how it applied to current circumstances.

Still another way that the Holy Spirit speaks to us through the Bible is by reminding us of a particular verse we have read in the past.  He plants the remembrance of it in our thoughts at any given moment, so that we can apply it to whatever situation we are in.

Getting a solid foundation in ourselves by reading the Bible regularly is necessary if we are going to hear God accurately.  It will help us to discern whether the revelation we receive through other means is really of the Lord or not.  We will discuss what those other avenues are in coming posts.

Previous: Hearing God — Introduction (Part 1)
Next: Hearing God — The Inner Voice (Part 3)

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Hotline to Heaven

Hotline to Heaven: Hearing the Voice of God