Does God Really Speak To Us Today?
For far too long, I didn’t bother to share my thoughts. I felt like everyone was talking but nobody was really listening. So much noise and confusion and I didn’t see the point in adding to it. One day I was complaining to God about nobody listening and I felt him say “I am”. That thought took my breath away. He began to show me that he talks, listens, and responds to us. Every. Single. Time.
Take A Moment
Before you begin reading, I want you to close your eyes a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to speak his truth to you. Take a moment to think about that still small voice you hear whispering to you. Think about the passage in Scripture that speaks specifically to the issue you are struggling with. Think about the unexpected word from the stranger that stopped you the other day. Think about the softly spoken voice you heard coming from everywhere and nowhere. What about the song lyrics that speak to you and grabs ahold of your heart.
All of those are ways in which God speaks to us. God has spoken to his people since the beginning of time. Unfortunately, we don’t always talk to him, let alone listen.
“Now, because you have done all these works,” says Yahweh, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you didn’t hear; and I called you, but you didn’t answer.” (Jeremiah 7:13 WEB)
Prayer Is Talking With God
God says in James 4:8 that if we want to know something we are to ask him. Why would he say that if he has no intention of responding to us? He says he will happily tell us what he wants us to do. He craves talking with us and being welcomed as part of our life. He isn’t a one-sided God; he does all the talking and we listen without responding (obeying) or we do all the talking and God listens without responding. God is a very personal God. He longs for a one-on-one relationship with us and he will not settle for less.
How do I know God talks to us and wants to be a part of our life? According to Malachi 3:6, God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. So when I go to any book in the Bible and read about God talking to his children, I can know that if he did it then, he will do it now.
How does God speak to us?
1. The Bible.
God never changes and since God is the Word, we know it never changes either. Scripture is living and active…the breath of God. He might speak to you through a passage you are reading to give you a warning or encouragement you need at that moment.
For example, I could be reading and a word or phrase will “jump out” at me. It might be something that sticks in my mind all day long. Or it could be a story about someone in the Bible and I feel God impressing on me what that person went through. Almost like he was saying, “See, this happened to them and this is what they did. Pay attention, look closely, and learn.” God wants us to understand and he will reveal things to us if we are willing to receive.
2. Other people.
God may choose anyone to bring a message to you. It could be your pastor, the person in the pew next to you, or someone else. It could be someone close to you or someone you’ve never met before. Usually, they will have no clue that God is using them to bless you unless you share it with them. Test what you are being told as false prophets are many (Matthew 7:15). Just because someone says “God told me…” doesn’t mean God really told them anything. Keep in mind that God will never share something about you with someone else without sharing it with you first.
3. Audibly/Holy Spirit.
Read 1 Cor 2:10-15. God has a plan for each of us and the Holy Spirit blesses us with discernment to know what to do. He will strongly impress on us or speak to us in a still, small voice. Or he might speak to us in an audible voice that comes from everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. It will be clear and distinct and will quicken your spirit. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman and will not intrude or force himself on you in any way. This is why we must be so intentional about welcoming him into our lives daily. He will impress upon you things that your natural man could never know on your own.
4. Our thoughts.
You might be doing something totally random and someone you don’t normally think about comes into your thoughts repeatedly. That may be your nudge from God that this person needs prayer and you are the person to do it. Or you might be meditating on something you read in your Bible and God puts a thought in your mind to reveal something he wants you to know. But be careful. The devil can whisper thoughts into our minds too.
5. Dreams and visions.
Daniel is one of the most famous in the Bible for his dreams and visions but they were not an unusual occurrence for the children of God. In Acts 9:10-16 God gave a man named Ananias a vision in which he gave him very specific instructions. He told him what was happening at that very moment and what he wanted Ananias to do. God even took the time to reassure Ananias about the situation. God isn’t random in his dreams and visions or who he blesses with these forms of communication.
6. Our circumstances.
Sometimes, no matter what we try to do to change things in our life, they go in a different direction. Just like the Israelites in the desert or the lives of Moses, Joseph, and David. God has a plan that he has set in motion and his plan will happen. But along the way, he might be taking time to teach us a lesson, to build our faith, or to help us grow in any number of ways.
I remember when I decided to start making homemade, organic beauty and cleaning products. I had invested in lots of research and developed great recipes. Looking back, my prayers were off. I prayed simply to tell God I wanted to do this, not for his direction. Everything seemed to be going along the way it needed to but various roadblocks began to pop up. Things felt “one step forward and 2 steps back”.
Finally, I decided to seek God and ask him if this was how he wanted me to spend my time. On paper, everything seemed to be a perfect fit. But in reality, God had a different plan that I ignored because I lacked faith. No matter how hard I worked or what I did, I could not make this venture work because it was not God’s will for my life.
When God speaks to you with your circumstances, you need to stop, take a step back and ask him what he is trying to teach or show you. Then listen.
7. Heavenly Angels.
God will use his mighty angels to speak to us just as he did in Matt 28:5-7, Luke 1:11-17, Acts 8:26, throughout the book of Daniel, and many other places in the Bible. God sends his angels to minister as well as to deliver messages.
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2 KJV)
8. In any manner God chooses.
God has used nature and animals to speak to his people. If he wants to tell you something he is going to tell you whether you think his way is normal and acceptable or not. Do you think Ballam thought his donkey talking to him was normal? I doubt it.
A Living Example
When God called my husband to ministry, God gave him specific verses. Mike never shared what those verses were. One quiet evening we were sitting in front of the fire reading our Bibles and talking about things of God. Out of the blue, I was drawn to two verses. I said, “Hey, I think this is for you. Listen to this…” and read them to Mike. He was speechless and humbled.
I had no way of knowing the verses God had given Mike for his ministry. But God used this experience to reassure us and to build our faith. I didn’t do that on my own. The Holy Spirit led me to the two verses that would speak to Mike in a way that God knew Mike needed at that very moment.
I Don’t Listen Near Enough
God speaks to me in each of the ways listed above. I did nothing to deserve or earn it. He does it because he loves us and wants us to know things. I don’t know about you but I don’t listen to him near enough. I get caught up in my own head and sometimes I worry that it is my desire to do something and not God’s voice I am hearing. For a long time that stopped me from acting on what God told me because I was worried it was me and not God.
Leading us into confusion and doubting ourselves and God is a trick of Satan that we have to catch and take to God. According to 2 Timothy, God is not a God of confusion, fear, or doubts. When we become confused and doubt, we need to pray that God will make clear to us what he is asking and take away our fear.
Anything and everything you believe you receive from God must be tested for Biblical truth. God will not be offended and he will never contradict himself.
Keep in mind Satan mimics God and talks to us too. He is an expert at deceiving us. Satan will do everything in his power to make us so busy chasing our own tails that we don’t hear God’s voice or his nudging.
In part 2 we will look at how to test what you believe you are hearing from God. You can read part 2 by clicking this link here.
God is speaking. Are you listening?
In what way has God spoken to you? Does God seem to speak to you primarily in one particular way?