Monday, June 23, 2014

Five Keys To Hearing God's Voice

Hearing the voice of God is the birthright of a born-again believer and there are several scriptures in the Bible that help us realize this.  John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow me.  In Rev 3:20 it says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

We see in Genesis 3:8a, "...they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day..." 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.  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. 

The writer of Hebrews tells us that we can train our ear to recognize the voice of God above all the noise. "But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14). It is by practicing, by reason of use, that we are able to discern whether what we hear is of God, our flesh, or the Devil.  However, when you know someone intimately, you know their voice.

In the book of Habakkuk he is asking the Lord questions pertaining to his life and why things are the way they are; not unlike those things we ask the Lord today.  In Chapter one verse two he says, “O Lord how long shall I cry, and You will not hear?”  But the Lord did hear and He did answer Him, which gives us the full assurance that the Lord answers when we call.  He is not a dead God, He’s alive, which means when He speaks we can hear His voice. 

As I write this blog, Pastor Tim Clark, senior pastor of The Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California, has declared a season of “PAUSE.”  During this time we are waiting for a powerful move of the Holy Spirit and for the Lord to utterly have His way in our personal lives, and in the life of our church.  We are expecting God to order our steps as we wait for Him to speak.  However, in order to hear Him, we must quiet ourselves and “listen.” This was the "word of the Lord' given by one of our most respected elders and a world renowned Bible teacher and author, Joy Dawson. 

Like Habakkuk we can take a position before God that enables us to hear His voice.  The five keys to hearing God’s voice below are just a few ways God speaks to us today. 

Habakkuk 2:1-3 says:

I will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected.
Then the Lord answered me and said:
“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.

1)      Meet with the Lord regularly in a special place of prayer. “I will stand my watch” I will set myself on rampart, or I will stand fortified, I will strengthen myself.

My friends recently gave me a plaque that says, “The Throne Room.”  It’s in my living room.  It’s what I consider my prayer closet; a place where I meet the Lord every day and have intimate conversations.  It’s where I worship Him and give Him all my petitions.  Designate a place to meet the Lord in your home.

2)      Look for God to speak to you in dreams and visions. I will “watch to see.”

This is where I get the most revelation.  God has always given me prophetic dreams and visions.  And whether it is a vision in prayer or a dream when I am sleeping, God speaks to me by giving direction, exhortation or reproof.  Listen to what the Lord is saying to you through your dreams.  They may be prophetic.  They may also be bad pizza, but the action word here is, “watch to see”.

3)      Listen for the word of the Lord - It must be motivating to you and cause you to run with it. “He will say to me.” It’s not always easy to listen to God especially when it’s a reproof—we are innately against correction. That’s because we are sin nature.

And listening is an art in itself.  In 1 Kings Chp. 19:11, 12 it says: “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake, and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” 

God spoke to Elijah in a still small voice’, I’ve also known God to be very loud.  The key is to quiet yourself so you can listen, really listen.  Elijah went to the mountain, but your mountain can be any place you are quiet, a place where you set your heart to hear what God has to say.

Listening requires a great deal of maturity.  Some of you are gifted at listening, while others are not; but it is extremely important if you are expecting to hear from God.  There are times when we are all desperate to hear from the Lord.  I've literally begged God to speak to me about certain things and heard nothing.  Until one day I realized, I was doing all the talking.  I hadn’t positioned myself to listen.  After recalling when the Lord had spoken to me, I decided it was usually when I wasn’t thinking, I wasn’t talking, I wasn’t busy doing things, in fact it’s almost always when I’m in the restroom or doing the dishes (private confessions).  A place where my body, soul and spirit are paused—a quiet place.  A place where God knows I am perfectly still.  It seems I’m able to listen better when I am in one of those two places. 

There are other places the Lord speaks to me too.  For example, first thing in the morning before I have poured my coffee, when my brain isn’t working, I’m sitting on the side of my bed feeling cold and sleepy, He almost always gives me scripture.  Another place God’s speaks to me is when I am in prayer.  Recently I attended a prayer meeting with my girlfriends and the Lord showed me a picture of everyone in the room wearing a different colored robe and the meaning of each color pertaining to their lives.  God was not only speaking to me, but to every person in the room. 

You may be saying to yourself, but God doesn’t speak to me that way.  One thing I know for sure, God speaks to all His children, we must learn to discern His voice, like we would our children or our parents. After hearing from the Lord—we must trust that what He has spoken will come to pass.  Why trust? Because then we are in a position to obey.  After all, why listen if you’re not going to obey.  Pastor Jeff Lyle wrote this on his twitter today:  "What a challenge it is for those who would hear the voice of God on a matter concerning which their minds are already made up."

God can speak to you through your pastor, God TV, a friend, or even an ungodly person. God can use anyone to speak into our lives.  Even as I was readying this blog, I heard the same message twice before I finally sat down to finish it.  That was God speaking to me!

4)       Keep a journal of the things that God says to you.  Write the vision, the vision must be plain and written on tablets.

I find if I don’t write things down, I forget them or the enemy steals them from me.  Mark it in your Bible and date it.  That way, you are building an altar of sort on the page or scripture to remember what God said to you on that specific day.  It’s also nice to go back and see what the Lord has promised you and/or the scriptures He has given you to stand on.  I find when I write it down I meditate on it all day.  I’m actually feeding myself with spiritual food.

5)      Wait for God to bring it to pass. It must be received with patience, “It will surely come.”

God immediately reassures us that the message is truth. It may not be fulfilled right away. But it is God's truth, so we must believe it.  "Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry" is also a parallel construction.

It says the vision is for an appointed time and there are often delays. When God delays, there is a purpose.  He fulfills our promises when He knows we are ready for them; thus the parallel construction.  Though they tarry, they will not tarry.

Scripture says, He will never give us more than we can take, it also means He will never give us what He hasn’t already prepared our hearts for.  The good news is fulfillment is certain. For example, I was given a promise 20 years ago.  When I heard the Lord speak to me, I said, “Oh I can’t do that Lord.”  It still hasn’t come to pass, but I know God has it for me, and now I’m ready for it.

I think that’s the biggest misconception.  God’s timing is not a Timex or Rolex or any other kind of earthly watch maker.  It is a prophetic time, a Kairos time, an appointed time that only God knows.  Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment—the supreme moment.  God may speak to you about what He’s going to do in your life, however, if you get ahead of His timing the results unfortunately will not be the same.  Waiting is acknowledging He is Lord over your life.

We must also recognize a very vital part of God’s voice in the church are visions and prophecy, they must stay alive for the church to thrive, for warnings and for edification.  The presence of vision creates hope and brings change when articulated with enthusiasm. Luke 24:23 says, “When they did not find Jesus’ body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angles who said He was alive!”  This gave them hope. 

In Hosea 12:10 it says, “I have spoken by the prophets, And have multiplied visions. I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets.  In Prov. 29:18 it says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law is happy.  We must receive and believe that God-given dreams are possible. The presence or absence of vision will determine whether or not people become lethargic or worse “cast off restraint” oblivious to the law.  In other words, there is no self-discipline.

In Matt. 2:12 it says, “They, being divinely warned in a dream, that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.  What will you answer when you are told to go another way?  When God speaks, do you listen?  And after you hear, do you obey? 

God desires to manifest those things He has promised you in this new season.  He longs to give you the kind of eternal hope and life changing vision that turns your world upside down.  He is ready to open a door for you that no man can shut and give you all the desires of your heart.   My prayer is, when He speaks—we listen and obey!

Rev. Daina House


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