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Can we hear the voice of God?

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Can we hear the voice of God? What does the Bible say about hearing God’s voice? The voice of God is the most important part of our relationship with God. The heart of every relationship is communication. If we can’t hear the voice of God then we have no true relationship with God. In this bible study I will explain what the Bible says about the voice of God and how we can hear God’s voice. The Bible speaks a lot about the voice of God: The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets! (Psalm 50:1) Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:3) Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. (Isaiah 55:3) I will listen to what God the Lord says. (Psalm 85:8) voice of god friendsThe Bible says that God had such an intimate relationship with some people that he spoke with them as one speaks to a friend. We are not less than the men or women of God in the Bible! We can develop an intimate heart-to-heart relationship with God as well, if we truly want to. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. (Exodus 33:11) Elijah was a human being, even as we are. (James 5:17) I have called you friends… (John 15:15) The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. (Psalm 25:14) Jesus Christ said that everyone who belongs to him, can hear his voice. My sheep listen to my voice. (John 10:27) The core message of the Bible is that God wants to have an intimate relationship with us. The doctrine that God stopped speaking to us, goes directly against the truth revealed in the Bible that God desires to speak to us and wants us to learn to hear his voice. The voice of God is heard more than ever voice of god pentecost prophecySince pentecost we are living in a time that is characterized by the voice of God. God is speaking more today than he has ever done in the past. Since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of speaking in tongues and prophecy have been poured out abundantly over God’s people all over the world. These gifts release the voice of God! ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.’ (Acts 2:17, 18) The apostle Paul calls the gift of prophecy the most important gift of the Holy Spirit. Eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy…. The one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. (1 Corinthians 14:1-4) Throughout the New Testament we see that the Spirit of God speaks to people: The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. (Acts 11:12) The Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2) The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith. (1 Timothy 4:1) The apostle Peter even instructed us very clearly that we must allow God to speak through us: If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. (1 Peter 4:11) The Bible says we are taught by the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth. How can he teach us, if we can’t hear his voice? However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (John 16:13) But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2: 10) When we read the Bible it is obvious in both the Old as the New Testament that God speaks to us. He wants to have fellowship with us, he wants to fill us with his Holy Spirit so we would prophecy, see visions, receive his dreams etc. God is a speaking God, he wants us to hear his voice and he instructs us to become vessels of his voice to encourage others. Conditions to hear the voice of God The first step to hearing the voice of God in a pure way, is to deeply and radically repent from your selfish life and believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to set you free from your sins. jesus christ cross repentanceOnly Jesus Christ is the way to God and without him you will never be able to hear to hear the voice of God. If you do not submit your life, your pride, your will, your emotions, your spirit – your entire being to the lordship of Jesus Christ, you will start hearing voices of spirits that imitate the Holy Spirit and you will be deceived. Jesus christ came to set us free from the realm of witchcraft, deception and darkness and to bring us close to God. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6) I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. (John 8:12) Only Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose back to life, as Conqueror over every power of lying and deception. Without Jesus Christ we are exposed to spirits and spiritual powers that want to mislead us. But he came into this world to bring the true light, that sets us free. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. (John 1:9) So first of all: bow down before Jesus Christ with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul. Deny once and for all every other spiritual source of influence, close the doors to every form of occult practice, sourcery, new age, witchcraft, fortunetelling… throw it as far from you as the east is from the west, repent from it with all your heart and bow deep before the throne of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who died for you, to forgive your sins and give you a brand new life in him. Let your pride go down the drain, let your own opinions and every form of rebellion fall away and kneel before Jesus Christ. Surrender to him and ask him to become your one and only true Lord, God, King and Source. Here you can read more about Jesus Christ. Be filled with the Holy Spirit It is also important that you have received the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ, may receive the glorious, amazing gift of the Holy Spirit. Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38) holy spirit prophecyThe Spirit of God is also called the Spirit of TRUTH and he will teach you to develop a truthful relationship with Jesus Christ and your heavenly Father. Without being baptized (or filled) with the Spirit of God, it is impossible to hear the voice of God clearly and regularly. So make sure you find pure, loving and trustworthy christians who can pray for you to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Read more about the Holy Spirit here. How to hear the voice of God listening gods voiceGod desires more than anything to talk to you but He is waiting for you to learn to listen. We are so used to just talking TO God and we haven’t learnt that God sometimes would like to say something to us. There is only a relationship when there is communication. You have a friendship when you talk with each other and listen to each other. Learning to listen is the first step. Take time to be with God, without saying anything. Learn to relax with God. Learn to open your heart for Him. Learn to set time apart to come into quietness and rest with God. Get away from the unrest of the world, the many sounds of television and internet and seek the quietness. He will speak. You can count on that. It is unusual to hear God’s voice as loud as Samuel did when he was called out of bed in the middle of the night… God usually speaks softly, in your heart. You know, you live in a body, you possess a soul but you are a SPIRIT. And God? God is spirit too. That is why God speaks to you in a spiritual manner. That is: He speaks to your spirit. So you can hear him with the ears of your spirit. Ears of my spirit? Yes indeed. Your spirit has senses just like your body. Because when you are outside your body, you can STILL see, hear and feel. People who have had a near death experience, left their body for a short period of time and suddenly they could see, hear and feel much better. Your body has senses. But your spirit also has senses. When God speaks, you listen with the ears of your spirit and when God shows you something, you will see it with the eyes of your spirit. True wisdom is not in your physical brains, but in the ‘brains’ of your spirit. That is why the Bible says that only knowing God intimately makes you truly wise. That is why Jesus said: I have taught you for three years, but only if the holy Spirit will come into you, you will understand. He will lead you into truly knowing (by experience) the truth. (Paraphrased from John 14-17) Real knowledge of God doesn’t develop in your brain, but in your spirit. It is given to you by the holy Spirit of God. That is an important difference. A well-known Christian song says: ‘open the eyes of my heart, Lord’. A bible verse says: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling. (Ephesians 1:18) gods voice senses God wants to teach you to use your spiritual senses. As Westerners we have been taught to understand everything from our brains. If our grey cells cannot grasp it, we want to keep a safe distance. However, God is not a set of brain cells, nor is he a book full of words. He is SPIRIT and speaks to our spirit, in a spiritual way, to our spiritual senses. How do you listen with the ears of your spirit? It is like you ‘hear’ something in your heart or in your thoughts. A soft voice. A deep impression in your heart. An inner feeling. Soft, loving, something very clear, sometimes very quiet. You can’t hear it with your physical ears but nonetheless it is a clear thought, a clear sound, a clear meaning. You just hear it. Very simple. Or you know something very strongly. Or you can feel a thought well up from the inward. It comes spontaneously, naturally, quietly. The voice of God is like a spring that spontaneously wells up. Voices that intrude aggressively, voices that chase you up, voice that frighten you or cause agitation, are never God’s voice. Because God is love and He speaks from love. God is a father, a friend, a lover. He is also a loving Shepherd. He doesn’t need to shout in your ears. He is soft, loving and constructive. Even when he corrects you, He will do it from his love and with the desire to bring you more in his love. How do the eyes of your spirit function? You can ‘see’ something with your inner eyes yet it is invisible for your physical eyes. You can just SEE it in front of you. Simple. God shows it to you. Some have a gift of God to ‘see’ very often what God is showing them. With others it is less often. But we all have spiritual eyes and we all have the ability to ‘see’ spiritually. eyes spirit gods voiceYou can always ask God to open your eyes more and to teach you to see with the eyes of your spirit. When God shows you something in your spirit it usually makes a deep impression. I once saw an image of an awesome light. The thought came into my heart ‘This light is God. You are outside of that light. You don’t have to be. You are supposed to be in that light. Don’t be afraid and come completely into the light of God.’ At that same moment I felt suddenly that I was completely surrounded by that enormous light. The lesson God showed me with this was: ‘You are NOT TOO FEEBLE to stand in the full light of God. God doesn’t want you to separate yourself from Him because He forgives your mistakes. Realise that you are allowed to be in the center of the LIGHT of God. Come and be at ease where you are supposed to live: in the full light of God.’ I discovered through this image and the thoughts that followed that God accepts me completely. You will never forget lessons like that. If you want to see something of God, just close your eyes and relax. Ask Jesus Christ to show you something. You can always do that, anytime you want to. My wife and I sometimes do this together with the children. At those moments we ask God if He wants to show us something, to encourage each other. You can always ask God to show you something as an answer to a prayer or a need. After you have made your need known to God, ask Him to show you something. Focus yourself on Jesus Christ and relax. In which ways does God speak? God speaks in many different ways. If you pay attention to God’s voice you will notice that He will use every possible way to reach you. Following are some ways how God can speak to you: God speaks through the Bible bible gods voiceThe Bible is God’s book in which He shows Himself. When you read in it, you can learn so much about Him and yourself. Everything is about his relationship with you and His love. When you read the Bible, always ask God to lead you through his holy Spirit. Because the Bible will only become God’s voice to you if the Spirit of God leads you, for you to get things out of it that God wants to say to you. God speaks with an audible voice Like the young Samuel that heard God’s voice so loudly it woke him up. There is also the example of the baptism of Jesus Christ where God’s voice sounded so loud that the bystanders said it was a thunder strike. Even today God speaks to people with an audible voice, though not very often. God speaks with a soft voice in your heart This is what we already discussed. You can hear that voice essentially in your spirit aka you inner being. In your thoughts you can hear three voices: your own, the voices of demons (who only speak lies) and God’s voice. The more you practise, the better you will be able to discern God’s voice. That is the only way. Try, practise and build up experience. You will learn it as you follow God for a longer period of time. It is important to always check the voice to the message God has revealed in the Bible. When a voice says things that are not in agreement with what the Bible says, it is a deceiving voice. God speaks by giving peace or agitation voice of god - peaceGod always speaks to us by giving us inner peace or unrest when having a certain thought or decision we want to take. God lives in your inner being so He will always confirm something if it is of Him or not, by His inner peace. God can speak very clearly to you by giving you a feeling of sadness when taking a certain decision or a feeling of unrest. In those cases it is better to wait until you receive more clarity from God. Typically, if a decision is in line with the will of God, the holy Spirit will give you peace and joy over it. If you experience a feeling of oppression, agitation or fear, it is not the will of God. Even when making a difficult decision that will ask something of you, when you make that decision it will give you a feeling of freedom and peace. To break free from an ungodly relationship can cause emotional pain for a while, but at a deeper level will the spirit of God give you a profound peace. Jesus Christ had to lay down his life and made the choice to do God’s will. That was a very hard step that involved a lot of pain, but God sent Him an angel to give Him peace and strength. God confirms his will always by peace. Deep inner peace. Agitation is a sign that something is not up to par. God speaks in dreams, visions and images god speaks in dreamsIn the Bible there are many examples of people receiving dreams where God speaks to them. A dream like that can be some kind of allegory or metaphor. Typical for a dream of God is that you can’t forget about it. You keep wondering ‘what does this dream mean?’ That is a sign that God wants you to find the explanation of that dream. A nightmare seldom comes from God. God can give you a disturbing dream to warn you, but in general a dark dream that brings a lot of agitation is not from God. Is there a dream gnawing at you and you don’t understand it? Go and talk to other, more mature Christians. Make sure you don’t run with a human explanation but listen to the inner confirmation in your heart. Sometimes it takes a long time before you find an explanation about a dream. That is ok. A vision is like a dream, but while you are awake. You will see some kind of movie in front of you and it can be real vivid. You can find this in the Bible as well. Ezekiel, Daniel and John all had visions like that. Finally, images are like pictures you can see. God will simply show you something and let you understand the meaning of it. This happens often during prayer. God shows images to make something clearer. God speaks through the gift of prophecy Prophecy is passing on the voice of God. It is a special gift of the holy Spirit of which the Bible says we should desire this gift above all others. Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. (1 Cor. 14:1) The gift of prophecy is meant to encourage others, build them up and correct them. This gift is so important to God because everybody is able to receive it and it so encouraging when it is pure and functioning truly through God’s Spirit. You do have to be careful with prophecy because some people abuse it to manipulate others. Still, that is no reason not to pursue this gift. It just should be a motivation to strive for the pure workings of this important gift of God. God speaks by drawing your attention to something There are moments where you find yourself looking at something for no obvious reason. This could be an object, a text or a person. It often happens that God wants to say something to you through that person, the text or the object. When that is the case, just ask: ‘What do you want to tell me, Lord?’ God speaks by reminding you of something voice of god reminderSome people suddenly get a line, a song or a poem in their thoughts. It might be a good thing to find the complete text because it could be that God wants to tell you something through that text. It can be encouragement or an instruction of something God wants you to do. My wife regularly gets a song in her thoughts, a song she hasn’t heard for years. When we look up the text it turns out to be an answer to something we are struggling with at that moment. It can be very impressive and it gives you the feeling that God is really closely involved with your life. God speaks through people God also uses people to talk to us. Many times those people don’t even realise God is speaking through them, but you will know because a certain line will deeply touch your for one or the other reason. It can be painful at times because God is pointing out a weakness or mistake. But the Bible shows us it is vitally important to listen to the warnings of others. How many Christians, even leaders, go wrong just because they are too proud to recognise God’s voice through others? But God speaks clearly in his Word that we have to pay attention to what He can say to us through others. If you refuse good advice, you are asking for trouble; follow it and you are safe. (Proverbs 13:13) God speaks in countless ways… There are so many others ways in which God can speak to you. The most important thing is that assume the attitude of a real servant and beloved of God and say: ‘Speak Lord, I am listening!’ Seclude yourself from the hustle and bustle of people. Jesus did that all the time as well. He wanted to be alone with his heavenly Father to listen God’s voice. He gave us his life as a perfect example. The holy Spirit can only really get through to you if you take time to be with God. God can change the inner you with the love of God, his power and his goodness. Then you can settle down. Then He can give you His life. It is then that you will be more sensitive to God’s voice. Write down God’s words! journalling gods voiceTake a sheet of paper or a notepad and keep it close. Write down all the thoughts that come to you while spending time with God. Be very relaxed in doing that. Because God speaks more often through your thoughts than you think. If you focus yourself completely on Jesus Christ and then spontaneously start to write, without thinking about what you are writing, you will notice that you are writing down beautiful words. That is often what God wants to tell you. Because God is INSIDE you. His Spirit lives in you. So if you tune in your life to God, if you focus your heart on Jesus Christ and if you in complete relaxation and rest write down the spontaneous flow of words that will well up from your heart, God will speak. This is a way that I often use to listen to God and it is incredibly encouraging. You are God’s own. God is in you and with you. That why it is normal to understand God’s voice. So: take paper and pen, focus completely on Jesus Christ and start writing down words spontaneously. This is a simple method that helps you to express the inner flow of God’s Spirit. Very practical. Very easy. Very spontaneously. The key is: don’t think, because that is when your brain is active. It is about letting the inner source of the holy Spirit flow freely, by writing spontaneously. Later on you can assess the words with your mind and if necessary show to more mature Christians who can help you recognise whether the words are from God indeed or not. Dare to do it! Don’t be afraid. Don’t think wouldn’t want to speak to you. He loves you and He gladly wants to encourage you. So just do it!

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1 Cary W = "This is not just a one time occurrence, but must be done continually...I am sorry; please forgive me; I love you; thank you!  Continually turning away from our own misguided thoughts and beliefs, and seek only to hear Him, just as the Father commanded when the Spirit descended as a dove."
2 Cary W = "Often we don't know it until later, that He has spoken or inspired us in thought or intent.  God does speak, but it is the most intimate of communications, into the delicate and tender, the subtle places of the heart."
3 Cary W = "Paul in Ephesians chapter four tells us that the natural man...the body and brain, cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit, for they are only discerned by the awakened spirit of a man, which alone can comprehend His infinite ways."