Today is a great day to be alive. The body of Christ seems to be awakening to the reality of God’s desire to be personally involved in our lives. I know, we hear all the time how being a Christain means having a personal relationship with God. However, we don’t really see good examples of such relationship. I mean, when you think of a personal relationship, things such as conversations about personal matters come to mind. Hanging out and enjoying each other’s company is another thing that comes to mind. But when you meet Christians who tell you they have a personal relationship with God you see neither of these things play out in their lives.
I have seen people boasting about loving Jesus and singing how good of a friend we have in Him. Then I see those same people not know how to get an answer to basic problems. Or, I’ve seen those in leadership positions completely stumped by problems that come before them that don’t fit into their training. I always wonder to myself, “What happened to that personal relationship with God? Why don’t they just ask Him for the answer?” It soon became clear to me that we use the words “personal relationship” as just a part of our Christian jargon. You know what I mean, it’s one of the things we are “supposed” to say.
Today, however, there are those who have dared to take those words literally. They have not only chosen to take these cliche words seriously, they have also dared to teach others to take them seriously too. I am one such person. I took the challenge 20 plus years ago to know God personally, and not just in theory. As a result, today I am teaching and inspiring others to do the same.
Knowing God personally is the highlight of my life. I grew up in a Christian home where my mother was a serious woman of God. She was so serious that she had a few over-the-top religious beliefs that almost made me not want to have anything to do with God. Looking back, I guess having a parent that had integrity in her commitment to Christ was better than one that lived the life of a hypocrite. Either way, without a balance between the two extremes, Christianity can be quite the turn-off. Anyway, my mother was a godly woman. When she died and folks spoke at her funeral, they all testified to the consistency in her commitment to the teachings of Christ. Likewise, I can attest to the reality that she tried to pass that on to all of her children. So my first and only concept of Jesus centered around him as the man who taught us how to live right. But I did not know that He would speak to us.
Now, my mother was not completely devoid of supernatural experiences. She deeply believed in trusting God to supply our needs, As a result, I have childhood memories of great testimonies of seeing God supernaturally provide for us. That was the only thing that made me keep the faith in light of my life at the time. She even told us that she once heard the voice of God. But it was just the one time. She did not teach us that hearing from God was supposed to be normal. Like many in the Church at that time, there was the belief that God seldom spoke and because it was deemed to be a rare experience, it was important to listen when He did. Then one day I went to a Charismatic church service at a Baptist church. It was there that I first saw incredible miracles. Not only did I see incredible miracles, but I saw a man dialoguing with God like a man talking to another man. He was even calling out people’s names and medical conditions. In addition, he said that it was God telling him these things. It was amazing. (If you are interested in my full testimony you can read it in my book, God, Is that You, Me, or the Devil.)
Naturally, that led me to seek out knowing God personally. Getting to know God personally meant learning to hear His voice, how He speaks, and the way that He does things. Little did I know that learning His voice would also mean being available to speak what I hear to others. I know I should have known this, but I was not seeking God for an anointing. In fact, I did not even know what an anointing was. I just wanted to know Him and in the process, He anointed me.
Now I share His thoughts with people all the time. I share them through speaking engagements, online blogging, books that I have written, videos that I post on YouTube, and to persons in one-on-one encounters.
And today I want to share some ideas on how you receive the voice of God and convey His messages. This article is the first in a series of articles that will provide tips that will help encourage your faith as you step out into releasing God’s voice to the world.
What Comes To Mind
“Now the word of the Lord came to me saying…” Ezekiel 6:1
We have all read these words in various places in the Bible, especially in the prophetic books. What do they mean and how can we apply that meaning to improve our prophetic operation?
To really understand what this phrase means we need to consider another verse that gives us insight into the matter. One thing that I teach people is to pay attention to the illustrated biblical accounts. They are keys to getting the proper interpretation. God taught me that He always presents us with a principle and an illustrated account of that principle. So if you say women must be quiet in the Church based on Paul’s teaching, then read in the book of Acts that Philip the Evangelist had four virgin daughters that prophesied, then you know that your interpretation is somehow off. Well, God has done the same as it relates to the saying “and the word of the Lord came to me saying…” Read the passage below from Daniel 2:29 for an illustrated account of this idea.
“Your Majesty, while you were in your bed, thoughts came to your mind about what will happen in the future. The revealer of mysteries has let you know what will happen. “(Hollman Christian Standard Bible)
Notice the wording; as you lay on your bed thoughts came into your mind… This is an incredible insight into this subject. Why? Well for starters the idea behind it does not originate with the king of the foreign nation. The person making this statement is Daniel and he knows what he is talking about. Remember, this is the guy who sought God for a specific answer and got it. Think about it. He not only got the interpretation of the dream from God but every single detail of the dream. He went after an answer and received one. That means that Daniel knows what it takes to hear from God. Therefore, we should consider his advice on the matter. He said thoughts “came to mind”. The verse even goes on to say that those thoughts that entered into the king’s mind were from the Ancient of Days—in other words, they were God’s thoughts!
So my first prophetic tip is this; pay attention to what comes to mind. Now let me clear up any confusion. 2 Peter 1:21 says that prophecy did not “come” by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In other words, they did not conjure up a word. That is important to note. In fact, it is distinctly different from the false prophets who used divination. In biblical times and even today, diviners used and still use rituals for engaging spirits. They did such things as use amulets, and charms, dances, chants, and even sacrifices. We even have a great example of it in 1 Kings 18, the story of Elisha challenging the false prophets on Mount Carmel. Notice that to get a response from their gods the false prophets tried dancing, cutting themselves, screaming and more. In their minds, they thought that they could force something to happen. Now, consider Elijah’s approach to getting an answer from God. He merely prepared a place for God’s answer to be received and said a prayer. Then the answer came down as fire from heaven.
You see, bad prophetic teaching always promotes the idea that a person must earn God’s answer. They teach you that you can force God’s hand by some action. You have to pray first, worship first, be more holy, fast first, anything that can be offered as a sacrifice to a God who will not respond otherwise. But the truth is that Elijah on Mount Carmel teaches us that our God is more than willing to speak to us. Likewise, He desires to do so freely. James 1 says if a man lacks wisdom God will freely provide him with the answer—freely and without reproach! I could go on and on with examples of God freely giving His answer. In fact, I always challenge people to search the scriptures and see if God ever refused to speak. The only exception is King Saul. And His example is important to consider. But the overwhelming number of examples in the scriptures point to a God who freely and willingly speaks to His people.
Understanding that God freely gives us answers is important because it allows you to pay attention to what “comes to mind” when you are talking with God. It is especially important as you learn to speak to others. Ask yourself, why is so and so on my mind? Why is it that when I see this person I think about their childhood or their marriage or see them as hurting even though they are smiling? Why is it I am thinking about how money works? What information comes to mind that you did not have to work to get?
Here is an example. One day a friend of mine began to share with me that she was dating a new person. When she shared this information with me, out of nowhere I saw a fist flying past my face. It was so sudden that it startled me. I knew immediately that whoever she was dating was abusive. A month later she came to me describing the horrors of the relationship. I tried at that moment to counsel her into a better direction, but she wanted to give him another try. Of course, that did not work out too well and she was calling me again. This time she showed me a letter that was unbelievable. In it was verbally abusive language that was something to see. Likewise, it was tearing apart her emotions.
What I want you to notice about this situation is that I did not have to force God to speak. I did not have to pray, fast, worship, moan, speak in tongues, or anything else. I didn’t need to do anything because He wanted to speak to her. He loved her enough that He was freely reaching out to protect her from danger. He only needed me to be sensitive enough to detect His movements as His word (thoughts on the matter) came to me.
God’s Word Comes To Us One of Two Ways
One thing you should know as you consider the idea that God’s voice will come to you is the fact that it will appear one of two ways; it may be auditory, or visual. In Daniel 2:29 we read of God’s thoughts becoming visual. That is what we call “visions”. I won’t go into detail about different types and levels of visions in this article. But it is important that you know that a vision can be something as simple as a dream at night or a daydream during the day. It may appear as a mental picture or a mental movie. And sometimes it is an encounter with the spiritual realm. Regardless, one of the tools God uses is the imagination and He does so to as assist us with receiving His message visually.
The other way God’s voice may come to us is auditory. This means that we might hear a literal voice with our physical ears, or we may hear a literal voice internally with our spiritual ears. (For more on this subject of spiritual ears read my book You Can Hear the Voice of God Clearly.)
(Sometimes the voice of God actually comes in a feeling or perception, but since I am dealing with things coming to mind I’ll omit that particular sense. It should be noted, however, that even with perception you will have a feeling about something that comes to mind)
What Kind of Ideas Are Coming To You
When it comes to prophesying I find that most people are extremely limited in their understanding of God’s ways. Whenever people think of prophecy they think of foretelling. That means, as they are learning to hear God’s voice for others they only focus on trying to tell the other person what is going to happen next in their life. The problem with this dynamic is that it often leads to bad prophecy. And the reason is that it omits the understanding that we don’t control the voice of God. We merely release to others what He is releasing to us. That means that we must come to understand that God does not only talk about the future.
The other thing that I noticed that limits people’s ability prophetically is how we define prophesying. Some are teaching that prophecy edifies, comfort, and exhorts. That is true and I appreciate their teachings. They have started the ball rolling in the Body of Christ as it related to prophesy. My problem, however, with this teaching is that it attempts to define prophecy as edifying, comforting, and exhorting. These traits are related to prophecy but do not define what a prophecy is. They are really just traits that define what prophecy accomplishes in us. In other words, when you hear from God you will feel edified, comforted, or encouraged. That is one way that we discern whether or not God is speaking. I won’t go into detail here because I want to deal with this subject in a later prophetic tip. But for now, it sets up how I want you to see prophecy. Plus, what I share with you going forward will take you beyond surface words that don’t really say anything. What I share with you going forward will tune your ear so that you can speak directly to the heart of a person. Remember, prophecy speaks to the heart and brings people to repentance.
So as you learn how to listen for His voice to come to you, don’t listen for words of edification, comfort, or exhortation. If you really have a word from God these will define how accurate your words are. What you should actually start listening for are these three things. Either God is going to give you a word of knowledge, a word of wisdom, or a prophecy. Here that list is in simpler terms. The word of the Lord that comes to you will either be knowledge, advice, or foreknowledge: knowledge, advice, or foreknowledge! That is what you are listening for. (I wrote an extensive three part article on these three so I won’t go over them again in detail. https://wordpress.com/posts/doinglifeonfire.org)
As you are listening for God to speak to you pay attention to the type of thoughts that are entering your mind. Are they “knowledge thoughts” that inform you in some way? I have had God speak to me about all kinds of subjects. In fact, that is what I am admired for, my revelations. It is obvious to most that it is impossible for me to know what I know without divine help. I have even counseled senior level executive with the supernatural knowledge of God. It was not knowledge that I got from a book or from school or even from studying. It was supernaturally imparted knowledge that came to me.
Second, maybe you are having thoughts that are advisory in nature (advisory thoughts). I have these all the time. It is how I answer complex questions. At this point in my life, I don’t even care if I am familiar with the subject. I just know how to open myself up to receive the advice that supernaturally comes to me. People ask me questions all the time that I have no clue how to answer. Again, even high-level government people in my organization ask me for advice. For instance, if a subject comes up at work and they need an answer I can get it. So sometimes my faith makes me raise my hand to answer hard questions. Then the words flow out of my mouth and I often say to my self, “How in the world do I know this stuff?” Trust me, one way God’s voice will come to you is in the form of wisdom or advice. Sometimes it is for you. Other times it is for others. But when prophesying, some words from God may simply appear as divine counsel and advice. I’ve given words as simple as, “You have been walking around in life allowing your past to make you a victim. But God said He’s giving you a new word to replace the old. OVERCOMER. Every time you feel like a victim say I am an overcomer. ” That word forever changed the person’s life and till this day they thank me for that word of wisdom.
Words of advice, in my opinion, are the most undervalued expression of the word of the Lord. We would prefer people to tell us what is going to happen next. But sometimes what happens next depends on what you do next, hence the need for words of advice from God. In addition, when you think about the illustrated accounts of people seeking God through prophets, they were not seeking to know the future. They were seeking God’s advice for how to move forward. That may have included a prediction and it may not. But it always provided God’s advice and wisdom. Wisdom is important. In fact, of all the things the Bible declares important, wisdom is given the highest place. We are told to search for it, that obtaining is like gaining gold, and we are further told that above all else we should get wisdom. It is even called the principle thing; in all your getting understanding. So listen for advisory thoughts. The word you give is no less prophetic because it doesn’t contain an element of foretelling. Moses has a very simple prophet word for Pharoh… “Let My people go!”
Last, is the one that most people are chasing after—foreknowledge. God may speak to you and the thought that comes to mind may be about future events (future thoughts). Sometimes they are future events on the world’s stage, or about the nation, or the church you attend, or another person. Regardless of the subject, we all know that sometimes God’s word comes to us about the future. Again, Daniel tells the king that the thoughts that came into his mind are about the future.
Let Me Leave You With This
Jesus said in John 10, “My sheep know my voice and they follow Me.” I like to tell people that the voice of God is something that you know. That means it is something that creates certainty. It also means that it causes us to “know” (to be informed about) something. Again, the word of God comes to us. It is not the product of our will. Anytime you think God has spoken to you ask yourself what do I know at this moment that I didn’t know just a moment ago. Sometimes it will be knowledge about subjects, or others—even about you! Sometimes it will be advice for you or others. And last, sometimes it will be about the future. But whatever it is it will be something that you suddenly know that you didn’t know a moment ago.
In fact, this is how I write my books, blogs, and record my videos. I wait to see what comes to me; what I suddenly know. I have never had to seek God for a word to preach or teach. Never once! I wouldn’t even know where to begin if I had to. It just comes to me and it is always timely and accurate. I have also been known to troll the internet answering questions with the wisdom of God. He highlights for me who He wants me to speak to and gives me the advice the person needs to move forward. Again, it just comes to me.
That’s tip number one, “the word comes to you”. Stay tuned for the next article “Proceeding Words”. I’ve got a lot to show you on that subject.
Thanks for reading and welcome to Doing Life On Fire!