How God Speaks to Me
So I thought it would be a good idea to show you how God speaks to me to help you identify His voice in your life. It seems to me that we who hear the voice of God should be able to describe the experience for those who follow our ministries. I think it is helpful in assisting others to be able to see God in their lives. I also think it will take some of the “mystique” out of the process.
Earlier this year, while I was on my way to use the restroom at work, a thought crossed my mind regarding “Not exchanging the truth for a lie.” As time went on, Joshua’s encounter with the neighboring kings of Canaan also came to mind (Joshua 9). As I was listening to theses spontaneous thoughts, it began to dawn on me that Joshua was in a war and he didn’t know it.
You see, the kings were neighboring kings who had heard that God was victoriously marching Israel through the land. It was also reported to the kings that they were killing the inhabitants and taking the land. In light of this information, the kings decided to come together in an attempt to save their lives and preserve their culture. To pull off this idea they decided to dress up as beggars and carry old moldy bread. When Joshua encountered them he made a covenant with them to spare their lives. But he only did so because they had altered the facts about themselves. This allowed them to covertly go to war with Israel and they won without ever putting their hands to a sword. Joshua was at war and he didn’t even know it. The primary reason for his failure or lack of information lay in the fact that the Bible says that he did not consult God first.
So get the picture, all of this was coming to my mind as I a walking around. But it occurred to me after it came three times that God was trying to get my attention. If you have read my book “You Can Hear the Voice of God Clearly, then you know that I write about the principle of perception. God will always use something to get your attention. It is called “perception”. Job 33:14 says that God speaks this way and that way but man does not …”PERCEIVE HIM,” therefore He speaks to him in dreams. So perception will always precede the revelation.
So without making a judgment on what God was saying, I said, “Ok, Lord, why are you telling me this?” At this point, now that He has gained my attention, He speaks in a voice. It is a voice that I can hear as clear as anyone else’s, except it is internal.
Then He said, I want you to be sure to consult me on some upcoming decisions. To which I said, “I gotcha ya… will do.” The thoughts I had about Joshua earlier were meant to establish the premise for the conversation. God wants me to avoid making any decisions without consulting Him because there are going to be some decisions that will appear harmless, but in the end will prove otherwise. Like Joshua, if I am not careful I will lose the battle before I even figure out I’m in one! After I got His message I never thought about Joshua again. And that is important… the voice of God is persistent. It stays with you until you obey or pass the time of obedience. That means you don’t have to be so worried about missing it.
One thing I sometimes struggle with is consistency. I have always struggled in this area of my life as far back as I could remember. Even in doing my school work or chores, I always struggled to be consistent. It may have something to do with the fact that by nature I am prone to impulse and spontaneity. That means that I don’t like to do the same thing over and over and over again for too long of a period of time. Likewise, God takes advantage of this quality in me by not allowing me a regular time of prayer and study. Most people get up or set aside a certain time every day to read and pray. I do not and God does not respond to me when I do. It always ends with me sitting and waiting alone for a long time. Then later in the night, or sometime in the middle of the next day, He will call to me then we spend time together. So I don’t even try anymore. I just come when He calls. Those were His instructions to me years ago, anyway. The problem with this situation is that it assumes that I am going to respond. Most of the time I do, but God has this thing about talking in the middle of the night! He talks during the day as well, but it seems sometimes that He enjoys the middle of the night more. You can guess which time of the day I prefer, right! If you guessed taking in the day you guessed right. That means that I don’t always respond when He calls at night.
What do you think happens when a person is being unresponsive? Most times the unresponsive person tries to force the requesting person to meet with them on their terms. That is what I was trying to do with God. I wanted Him to talk during “business hours.” Well, if you know Him, He does not respond so well to us dictating to Him how the relationship will work. Then of course, during the day I can get really busy with my wife, four children, job, business, and ministry. That means that sometimes I am guilty of not responding to Him during the night nor during the day. Before I even realize what is happening I have gone a whole week or two without real prayer. I say “real” prayer because I always talk to Him. I just don’t always date Him like I should. And if you know anything about relationships, you know that a couple needs to date so that they can have alone-time. The same is true with God. Your relationship cannot thrive being lived out in the public. You have to date God; you have to get alone with Him sometimes. Dating God is where I sometimes fall short.
The other thing that is a strength/weakness, is my revelatory relationship with God. As you may have guessed, God spends a great deal of time teaching me things; at least once a week! So I spend a great deal of time in the Bible. But, when He is not speaking, and that sometimes goes for weeks, I don’t read my Bible.
So get the picture, I sometimes don’t date God like I should. And I sometimes don’t read my Bible like I should. This means that there are times when simply put, I neglect God. There, I finally said it. Yes, I sometimes neglect God chasing life and ministry.
But, God doesn’t neglect me in return. He always finds a way to get my attention and let me know how He feels and thinks about me. One way He does this is by using His voice to establish a language between us that makes communicating easier. He understands that it is hard to balance a family, ministry, business, a career, and a relationship with Him. So one thing that He has done is given me a code word for when I am out of balance. To do so He adopted into our relationship vocabulary the chorus of a popular song by a pop artist named Adel. The chorus of the song says this:
“Hello from the other side. I must have called a thousand times.”
When I hear this song spontaneously playing in my head, I know that God is saying. Hey, I am trying to talk to you and you are doing too much. Let’s chat.
The first time I heard the song I was on one of my vacays from my prayer life. So when I heard the song I noticed that it would not leave me. It is a great song, but after a while, I tried to avoid it like the plague because once I heard it, it would play over and over and over again. And it didn’t matter who sung the song. If I heard it, I would be listening to it in my head for hours. So I avoided it.
Having successfully managed to avoid hearing the song, I thought I was off the hook. That was until it started spontaneously playing in my head in the morning, and throughout the day. Again, it just went on and on and on. Finally, I said, “Ok Lord, this is You.” Once I said that the song stopped and I started laughing at the creative nature of the situation. God was using the lyrics of the song as His voice and saying Hello from the other side, the spiritual side. He wanted me to know that I was in the flesh so that is why the other side was both creative and funny to me. The latter part of the song says, “…I must have called a thousand times.” By that, He meant that He had been calling me but I was too busy to respond. So now, whenever I am out of balance I hear this song. Likewise, when I hear it I know exactly what it means and how to respond.
Now for those of you who say you can’t hear God’s voice; when God uses a song it is an audible experience. That means that you “can hear” the song. It may not be audible to the human ear, but the songs in our heart are quite audible.
A Final Example
Sometimes we have a way of complicating the subject of hearing God’s voice by the use of our Christian terminology. For instance, we often say things like, “The Lord spoke to my heart” or “…it was on my heart” or something like that. But what are we really saying? What we are really saying is that we have something weighing or constantly on our mind. That is the non-churchy way to say, “God has spoken something to me.”
Now some of your “churchy” people are going to try to make this deep but hearing God can really boil down to what’s on your mind. Sometimes we miss Him because we forget who we were before we became Christians. What do I mean by that statement? Well, God very clearly says that His thoughts are not like ours. That means, ladies and gentlemen, if you had a bad propensity towards bad thoughts and making bad decisions before Jesus, you still have a propensity to have bad thoughts and make bad decisions after Jesus. If you were not the most intelligent person before Jesus, you are still not the most intelligent person after Jesus. That is the wonder of the Gospel; that He could love us the way we are. Now while He accepts us the way we are, He is clear that His love is changing us, that includes the way we think. So every Christian is on a journey towards having God change him or her into someone that thinks like God. But in the meantime, and during this lifetime transition, your thoughts are not anything like God’s thoughts. That being said, why do we take credit for ideas that are clearly way beyond us? Why do we think that we are able to theorize the complexities of the scriptures on our own? When He says His thoughts are not like ours, He is saying that they are way different and way deeper than ours. So much so that we could never conjure them up by our own will.
One reason it is so easy for me to separate my thoughts and ideas from God’s thoughts and ideas is due to the fact that I know I’m not the most intellectually gifted person. I never have been. More than likely, I never will be. So when I have these great revelatory ideas I know that they are not from me. They are God’s thoughts running through my mind. After all, Paul writes that we have the mind of Christ. (or access to the mind of Christ)
Here is an example of this in action. I once preached one of the most powerful and exciting messages from God. It was a graduation message. At the time, I was in a preaching class and each week we were given a preaching assignment. Sometimes the sermon was developed around a scripture that was assigned to us and other times the sermon was to be developed around an occasion, such as graduation or a funeral. That being the case, on one particular occasion, I was waiting for my next week’s assignment to be delegated to me. The instructor always gave them out a week ahead of time. Sometimes he gave them to us at the beginning of class and other times at the end. This particular time he gave them out at the beginning. So when the instructor told me what I was to preach the following week, I said, “Ok.”
Thinking nothing else of the matter I set my heart to hear those who were assigned to preach that night. As they were preaching their assignment I was supposed to be listening and observing. But while I was trying to listen to the sermon I started to see a memory of an illustration God gave me about a revolving door. Then the memory spawned a series of ideas about the revolving door; things about the revolving door such as the fact that you could only get out to the other side of it if you pushed hard enough to get where you are in the process to are to line up with where you want to be. That was just one thing that came to mind, but there were several other ideas that centered around this revolving glass door.
When I preached it the next week the instructor was absolutely floored and the class was in awe of how I made an incredible graduation message from a revolving glass door. What I want you to notice, however, is that it was just something on my mind. That’s it. I recognized that God wanted to share something with me so I just gave my attention to the images and sounds He showed me in my mind. The same happens with prophecy. When I get a word for someone it will sometimes come in a voice, but most of the time it comes across as something on my mind that I feel I need to share with the person.
The Common Thread
But what is the common thread through these stories? For those wondering, It was spontaneous, uncontrollable, and unprovoked thoughts and ideas. The spontaneous thoughts were the attention-getter. Sometimes they appear as mental images about people, places, things, nations, or events. Sometimes they appear as random songs. But either way, they appear as spontaneous random thoughts. Once He gets your attention, please do not attempt to interpret His communication yourself. Revelation is an invitation to communication… remember that. Sometimes you will automatically know the meaning, other times you will have to wait and listen for the meaning.
Joseph and Daniel said that interpretation comes from God. This is where most people miss it. We act as if God is some type of special needs person (no offense) that needs us to interpret what He is saying. But consider this; every appearance in the Bible whether vision, dream, visitation of an angel, required God to explain His purposes. Even when God spoke in the person of Jesus Christ He spoke then “He” interpreted what He was saying. So the dream, vision, visitation is only meant to get your attention. After God has your attention then listen for His voice.
Hopefully, you saw yourself in today’s article. Maybe those crazy spontaneous ideas about who you are and what you can achieve, that keep coming to you are from God. Maybe that song that your heart seems so drawn to is God trying to tell you something. Just maybe, you can hear the voice of God and you just needed someone to tell you how to not miss what you have already been hearing. I like to tell people that the voice of God is not something that you hear, it’s something that you know. I never find it necessary to help people hear from God. I merely focus on helping them to recognize the voice they already hear!
If you really want to find out how to hear God clearly, confidently, and effectively I invite you to pick up a copy of either of my books, “You Can Hear the Voice of God Cleary: How to go from a still small voice to the clear voice of God, or “God, Is that You, Me, or the Devil: How to confidently know God’s voice.
Welcome to Doing Life of Fire!