Knowing God’s Voice

Matthew 18: 16        (Amplified Version)

…so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Alright, so now you are beginning to hear the voice of God. Oh, but there seem to be other voices too and you can’t always tell if it is God or you or just the wind blowing through your head. It’s ok, we’ve all been there. Here is a starting point for you in discerning God’s voice until you recognize His voice easily. First, God will never contradict His Word so if you think that it is His voice telling you it is ok for you to be in an adulterous relationship, you are being fooled. That is the voice of Satan. Satan will constantly contradict the Word. Secondly, if you think God is speaking to you and this is about something significant in your life, ask Him to confirm it. He will always confirm His word to you. Now let us also exercise some wisdom, if you get confirmation from your hedonistic friend who is always dragging you into trouble, then you might question it. God is going to use His Word and His anointed ones most often.

Here is an example. One time God was trying to tell me something and I really was not getting it. He had already shown me the applicable scripture, but frankly I still couldn’t see how it applied to me. For about a month everywhere I went that scripture popped up. I really mean it was everywhere. Every preacher I turned on was preaching it. Any publication I picked up had it splashed all over it. I was even given a product on CD to preview and it turned out to be on that section of scripture. Out of all the books in the Bible I was given the CD with that scripture on it. Then I went to a Joyce Meyer conference and the songs they sang were about it and Joyce actually interrupted the praise and worship to preach on it. Ok, finally I got it. It was so loud by then that I really couldn’t miss it. This example, I think, shows a couple of things. First of all, we can all be kinda thick at times, but more importantly, the confirmations of what God told me privately all came from Christian sources. Secondly, He absolutely will confirm His Word to you. And He will keep it up as long as necessary when you are honestly seeking Him as I was. Many of the confirmations came by way of His Word. He would have preachers preach and teach on the scripture that pertained to my situation. He put that verse on every media type I touched. I think that if I had eaten a fortune cookie during that time that scripture would have been my fortune. There is something very secure about seeing your answer in the scripture. I would not have the same confidence if I was watching some TV drama and “got a message.” I am not saying God couldn’t use that forum. I’m just saying that it would not (and should not) inspire the same confidence.

Lastly, let me share this with you. When I was learning how to hear God’s voice, God would often let me practice with little things. He might show me or tell me something unimportant so that if I missed Him, it was not a big deal. When I did hear Him though, and acted on it, I would realize that I had heard the voice of God. From many small things, He has taught me how to hear Him in the big things. I would even talk with Him while I was walking around the grocery store. It sounds weird, I know, but it helped me to learn to be led by Him. And if you knew how much I dislike grocery shopping and how bad I am at it, you could fully appreciate that I needed to be led by God. It was really good practice, and it became fun. Try it with something small and have a good time hanging out with God.

Refreshing Wisdom

Proverb 3: 7 – 8

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.

Interestingly enough, this verse, though it is about healing, does not advise about diet or exercise. What is the root of this? Some people will think it is about doing evil and that evil doings make you sick or that God curses those who are doing bad. That is not what this verse says. You’ve got to start at the beginning of the verse and there are really two parts. First, do not be wise in your own eyes and second, revere the Lord and His wisdom. That is really what this is about. Turning away from evil is a natural by-product of serving the Lord. So, let’s look at this more closely and see what the Lord is teaching us.

This passage is really about whose wisdom you will follow. When we inquire of the Lord, which is step one, we fare well. When we rely on our own wisdom, we don’t always make the choices that lead to healthy bodies and refreshed bones. It isn’t that we do not try to make right decisions. It’s just that we don’t know all God knows. I will tell you another implication of relying on our own wisdom and knowledge. It is stressful. The more we learn to rely on God’s direction, the less stress we are under. The less stress we experience, the healthier our bodies.

I have taught in the past about hearing God. I have even sent you my testimony about when I could not hear Him. It was the most frustrating thing! In our fast-paced society, it is definitely harder to hear Him. Another factor is involved too. As the pace of life increased, people found it harder to hear Him. Now, we are raised in the expectation that we won’t hear God speak to us. Of course, that is unbiblical, but church culture is influenced by societal pressures too. Eventually, a doctrine arises to support our failure. The converse is to have to face up to the failure and that is not so easy.

We, however, are fortunate. We are not the generation that created the problem or accepted not being able to hear God speaking to us. That makes the problem existence emotionally neutral to us as far as blame. We can be the fixers since we carry no guilt. Yes, our generation has accepted the failure and believed pastors who taught us wrong but now we have the ability to get free.

If we can follow God’s wisdom for our health, then surely, we will live healthy. If we forsake any pride we may have, choosing not to be wise in our own eyes, but rather to rely on the Father, we really can turn things around. Even if you are a medical professional, did you know that it is not your responsibility to have all wisdom? Your wisdom, too, is supplied by the healer.

Today’s verse is about relinquishing control and not having to have all the answers. It is about expecting God to be God. In our reverence of Yahweh God, we are to turn to Him with questions and, not only expect Him to answer us, but to demand it. Honestly, He is on the edge of His throne wanting to answer you. Let’s get good at hearing God’s voice. Let’s follow His wisdom to arrive at the place of healing.

God is Missing

Job 23: 2

If only I knew where to find God, I would go to his throne and talk with him there.

Is this not heart-breaking? How sad! Have you read Job recently? It is quite the read. If you decide it is time for you to read it again, let me caution you. Do not take your doctrine from Job’s “friends.” You will see that God was none too pleased with their advice. Anyway, it is a very interesting book to read. We are in a very different place theologically than Job but some of the similarities are alarming.

You know the story, Job was living the high life and he loved God. Then Satan came along and destroyed everything Job had and loved, including his family. Job became very confused and eventually bitter. He worked it out in the end but throughout the book you hear him voice many of the doubts and complaints we have all thought.

Now, in his eighth speech he confesses plainly, “I don’t know where God is.” In the midst of his pain and devastation, he cannot find God. Let me ask you, where was God during this time? We believe God was within reach the whole time. Job was so busy blaming God that he couldn’t find him. I don’t think he tried. He believed God was in some far off place in the clouds separated from the woes of people.

We think differently today and yet . . . I would wager that over 90% of the people reading today’s devotional have thought the same thing Job said and felt as Job must have felt. Where is this God who is supposed to love us so immensely? Why is He allowing me to suffer?

Do you know where to find God? Do you know how to get to His throne room? Do you have a place you can go to speak with God? This is a matter that must be resolved! We cannot leave this to chance any longer. You are entitled to speak with God all the time and you need to.

When I first began learning to talk with God face to face, I had to get out of his throne room. When I was in the throne room, I always felt like a conscripted soldier kneeling at the throne awaiting my marching orders. This was not the posture of a love relationship. It was servitude. I am happy to serve my God, but He was not happy. He didn’t want a servant, nor a soldier. He wanted a child. I was not ready to be a vulnerable, loving child at that time, but I needed to learn to meet Him on more level ground; I needed to be able to speak with Him, actually talk with Him.

I began by picturing the two of us sitting at my conference room table. I could look across the table and see Him. He was in the dimensions of a normal person rather than a gigantic God. I could look at Him and not be intimidated or humbled into servitude. We began there. I could sit in the comfort of my living room but still picture us at the conference room table. With my mind’s eye trained on Him, I could talk with Him, and I began to learn to hear Him.

We’ve come a long way since then. Now He rides my bike with me. Imagine the picture of me, Yahweh, the Holy Spirit and Jesus all riding my bike together. Hilarious, right? I tried leaving Jesus and HS home, but they go everywhere I go, and they go everywhere He goes so we just had to invite them too. Then there was the day I was aware of angels with me too. Look how far we have come from kneeling at the foot of the throne. Now we look like a circus act.

Where is God Job? Where is His throne room? He is right there with you right now. He doesn’t need a throne or a throne room. He is happier sitting beside the creek or on the beach with you. Close your eyes. Picture Yahweh in a cozy chair across from you where you are both seated next to a crackling fire in the fireplace. Or picture the two of you in a two person kayak. Whatever your comfort spot is, close your eyes and see it. Then see Yahweh right there with you. Now, open up your mouth and say, right out loud, whatever it is you’ve been wanting to talk with Him about. Leave the holy prayers for Sunday and just speak. Talk with your best friend. He is right there with you, right now. How’s that?

Healing Word

James 3: 17

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free of hypocrisy.

I told you the story about the rash I had and the miracle healing of it. Well, there are a couple of interesting take aways from that story. First, it really wasn’t a miracle healing at all. It was just God being God. I didn’t receive prayer and “Eureka” the rash was gone. It vanished because God had already provided healing and I finally cooperated with Him. The second important take away was that it wasn’t a Word from God on healing that I needed. It was a revelation on, first, prayer, and second, repentance. The important lesson from this little example is that it might not be healing you need. It might be repentance, or obedience, or something else entirely.

I heard another story like this once. The administrator of the ministry school I attended told this story one evening about praying for her sick child. She faithfully sat at his bedside confessing every healing scripture she knew and praying diligently for his health. The child’s health continued to deteriorate until he was at the point of death. She did everything she knew to do, but she didn’t do everything God knew to do, at least not until she received a revelation from Him. Exhausted and defeated, she turned to God and in those quiet moments, when not even prayer was being said, she heard God’s word. He told her she was praying the wrong thing. As she listened to that calm voice within her, the truth was revealed. She hastened to pray according to the word of wisdom from God and the child recovered.

I could have prayed and prayed and prayed for healing from the virus that caused the rash. I could speak to the rash and tell it to be gone. Those things would have left me frustrated, confused and still covered in a rash. It was the Word from God which healed me. Healing was in doing what Father told me to do.

We don’t always know what we need. We don’t always know the underlying cause of a thing. It looks like we need physical healing, but God might say we need emotional healing. I just read yesterday that 85% of illness has emotional roots. He might show us that we have gotten off course and the path we’re on has unintended, negative consequences so that the remedy is to get back on course. The point is, we just don’t know what we don’t know. However, God is omniscient. He knows. We need to learn how to be still; to be quiet and let Him speak to our hearts. He will lead us if we allow Him to.

This is why I have been encouraging meditation, stillness and quiet. I have written in years past about “busy” being a four-letter word. It all has to do with hearing God and receiving His guidance. When we get so busy that we no longer have the opportunity for quiet time with God, then we are too busy. It’s not healthy for us nor productive in the long term. Take some time to be in the tranquil presence of the Lord and let him speak to your heart.

See also: Psalm 46:10, Psalm 32: 1


Speak Yahweh

Psalm 85: 8

I will hear what God the Lord will say; for He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; but let them not turn back to folly.

I hope you are enjoying Psalm Mondays. The psalms seem to be providing a good start to the week. Hearing God is a good way to begin the week too. As you read through different Bible versions for today’s scripture you gain a perspective that hearing God is an intentional act. In other words, the psalmists determined to listen to God and we can too.

Another thing I find interesting is not only has this psalmist decided to listen to God, but he fully expects to hear. This expectation of hearing God speak is common in the Bible. People heard God speaking to them in many ways but there never seems to be surprise at hearing His voice. People were startled and frightened when angels appeared but apparently accustomed to hearing the voice of God.

I find that so amazing because I do not believe that is our experience today. The Bible says God doesn’t change. If he voiced His thoughts and messages to people in the past, we should expect Him to speak to us now. My experience leads me to conclude that most everyday Christians not only don’t hear God speaking to them but they don’t expect to either. In fact, I am sure there are a great many of us who never stop to listen simply because we don’t expect God to speak to us. Additionally, we don’t stop to listen because we live fast paced lives. Our lives do not contain the quiet, contemplative time of old. Lives used to be slower and quieter. Now we have machines continually filling the space with sound and there is ever so much to available to occupy our time.

I would challenge you to talk with the Lord and expect Him to answer. Stop for a while and listen to the silence. In a few moments you may hear some whispers inside you. One of the ways I recognize God’s voice is when I am thinking of something and an entirely different thought comes to me. If you will hang out in some quiet solitude, I have no doubt that you will hear God speaking to you. He has been talking to you daily. The trick is in the hearing and that begins with an expectation followed by listening and practice. Soon, you could be like this psalmist, just waiting to hear God speak peace into your life.

I can Hear

Isaiah 50: 5

The Lord God has opened my ear.

Do you know that you stand in the shoes of Jesus? That is what it means to be in him and in him is our goal and calling. This is the New Covenant. What does this have to do with today’s verse? You have been positioned to hear the voice of God exactly as Jesus did. Jesus didn’t speak or perform on his own initiative. Everything he did and said was at the direction of the Father. He heard God speaking to him and followed the Father’s instructions. This is the plan for us too! “But I cannot hear Him speak,” you say. I beg to differ. God has opened your ears as He did Jesus’.

Jesus went further. He said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,” (John 10: 27). So, you can hear him. And that is the end of the debate. Jesus says you can hear him, so you can. He knows of what he speaks. The question, then, becomes why are we not following his voice as he said his sheep do? Why are we unaware of our ability to hear him?

When I had my law practice I learned something about this. Often, I would take a vacation to the mountains for a week or two of quiet and solitude. I took my Bibles and books and settled in for some quiet time with God. I noticed, though, that it usually took me a couple of days before I began to hear anything or even receive anything in my spirit. My world was so full of stimulation and noise that it took a couple of days to settle myself. I think of Psalm 46: 10, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” The King James Version reads, “Be still, and know that I am God.” My world was too chaotic, too full of being busy and on the go to ever hear God. I didn’t have the time in my regular day to slow down long enough to hear the Lord speak to my spirit. It took me several days of peace and quiet to be able to really be still in my spirit. I like how the God’s Word translation relates Psalm 46: 10. It says, “Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God.” Most of us don’t let go of our “stuff” long enough to know Him as God. Even when we go to bed at night we still turn things over in our minds. During the day, the TV is on, people are talking to us, we’re working, etc. How much quiet time do you have just to ponder? People don’t think any more. They don’t have time. There is no sitting on the porch in a rocking chair just contemplating the world.

So, even though God has opened our ears, we rarely have space for Him to speak into. It takes a quiet, calm spirit to hear the Lord. He doesn’t yell, He whispers. He speaks into the stillness. I bet if all televisions and cell phones went on the blink for a month two things would happen; you would read a lot more and you would hear God’s voice. What if you made a decision that you and your family would have one hour of quiet time when no electrical or electronic device could be used. Do you think it would impact your life? You might talk with your spouse, your kids. You might even get to know them. Best of all, you might get to know your heavenly Father better too. What about thirty minutes? Will anyone take me up on thirty minutes? Twenty? Even if you only did one hour one day a week it would make a difference. Maybe you could do it two or three days a week.

I promise you – you can hear God, you can hear Jesus. You only need to give them an environment into which they can speak. If you will do that, you will hear them. Don’t forget to use your journaling skills too.

Go Get Gad

1 Chronicles 21: 9

And the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer saying, “Go and speak to David, saying . . ..”

I read this verse this week and it kind of bugged me. “Why did God speak to Gad,” I thought, “instead of speaking directly to David?”

David is a hero to me. He walked with God and talked with God as few people have. He is numbered among God’s personal friends. When I read the psalms, I see a revelation of the Holy Spirit that is completely unprecedented for an Old Covenant believer. In truth, David knew more about the Holy Spirit and followed his leading better than most New Testament saints. Besides that, his intimacy with God is inspiring. I soak in those words, longing for the same close fellowship he enjoyed. Then, this week, I read this verse and it caused me pause. Why did God speak to Gad instead of to David?

I found the answer and it does nothing to assuage my discomfort. 1 Chronicles 29: 2 reads, “Now with all my ability I have provided for the house of my God.” Do you see a problem here? David is now much older. He is the King of Israel but he is preparing to pass the throne to his son Solomon. He has laid up much gold, silver, wood and all manner of other materials for the building and equipping of the temple. By now he has sat upon the throne for many years and been very successful. And there is where the blessing can challenge us all. David’s success has gone to his head.

In the early days David depended on the strength of the Lord. God was his strong right arm. He followed the leading of the Holy Spirit and he trusted his God. He is a grand example of a person who demonstrated active trust in God.

He is famous for his praise and worship. Once he celebrated God so energetically that he danced himself out of his clothes. He was man who loved God, trusted in God’s ability and then praised God for the continuing triumph.

Now we see him at the end of his reign, very successful, very rich but also, a bit self-impressed. He says he used his ability to provide for the temple but the truth is, and he knows it, he would have had nothing if not for the provision of the Lord. Everything David dedicated to the temple project was given to him by God. David didn’t win the gold, silver or any of the other treasures in his might. God went before him and handed the enemies and their spoils into David’s hands. Then in his later years David began to believe his own press. He began to believe that he was mighty and strong. When he was young he knew he was small and weak but that his God was mighty. Oh, how it grieves the heart, but it also explains, so clearly, why God had to speak through Gad. David was no longer listening. He was too busy attending to people’s praises of him.

You know you have gone off track if you are reveling in the praises of people. Only the humility of the truth will keep you or I in power of the Lord. As soon as we start believing we have done something in our own power rather than acknowledging it was the blessing of the Lord, we are bound for disaster. Jesus said, “I can do nothing on my own,” (John 5: 30 TLV). What makes any of us think we can do better? Any success any of us have is because of the grace and blessing of the Lord. David knew that, but he forgot. He became enamored with his success and could no longer hear the voice of God. What a shame.

Look, God wants to bless us. He also wants to speak to each one of us personally but our big egos get in the way. We are so busy trying to feel good about ourselves and pump up ourselves to others that we are losing the intimacy with God. Adam did the same thing and look where that led. God will bless you and keep you in the protective and loving safety of His embrace. He will give you good success. However, as you are blessed, just remember that He is the author of every good thing you have. All good things come from above. It is He who blesses the work of your hand and you could do nothing without Him. So, keep your heart tender towards Him, or make your heart tender if need be. Get you out of the way so you can hear God. Don’t make Him speak to others in order to reach you. Give Him the glory for everything you have. Get off the throne and let God be a Father and best friend to you.