Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How To Hear God Speak - Part 1

Recently I have received so many emails asking, "How can I hear God speak?" that I knew it was time to talk about it. As I was having my Bible study this morning I was impressed by the Lord that I should do this in two parts....because if we don't get the first part down, then we won't even understand the second part!!


What was so exciting to me was that when I was spending time in the word this morning, the scripture was so perfect for this very topic - that I was giggling - it was God speaking....and I said, "Oh Lord - you are so good! You are showing me what scriptures to use - you are speaking!!" Oh how I love Him!!


Okay, so let's dive right in.



Over the years there have been many, many people who heard me talk about something the Lord has spoken to me or something He has shown me and they ask...."You hear God speak?" followed by "How?"

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them,
and they follow Me."
John 10:27 nasb

Yes, we not only can hear God speak, He longs for us to hear Him speak. He created us for relationship, and it would be awfully one-sided if we did all the talking and He just was supposed to listen, ya' know? Contrary to popular opinion, He is not a giant vending machine in the sky that we are supposed to say a prayer, push the button and the answer falls from the sky.



No....our relationship with Him is supposed to be like that of any best friend. Mutual. We spend time together because we love each other. We talk. He listens. He talks. We listen.




So how is it that it all happens?


First, we cannot hear His voice and know it if we don't spend time together. Here's a perfect example: The other day I received an email from a bloggy friend that I did not know. She told me something in the email that was very exciting about Crazy Love, but she also had a question. In order to answer the question, I thought it would be so much easier to just talk to her on the phone. Emails are so impersonal, my response would be kind of lengthy and I had little time. I dashed her a note and said, "Can we talk on the phone?" I ended up calling her later that day. When she answered the phone she said something like, "I read your blog, but now I hear your voice."


If I called her again the next day she would hear my voice again. But if I did not call her for a month, she might recognize it. But if I did not call for six months, she might think it sounded familiar but would need me to remind her that it was me.

Right? I mean, if you spend time with someone and hear their voice every day you recognize it. But when you only hear it every once in a while? Not so much.

So the same is with the Lord. We will not hear His voice or Him speak as easily if we do not spend time with Him. It is essential that we are spending time alone with Almighty God. As with friendship, if you have a best friend and you never spend time together, you cannot really know them, know what they are thinking, know how they are.


For me, I must get up early to spend time with the Lord. I have seven children at home. I have Uncle Mark {caring for him, shaving him, laundry, taking care of his needs}. I have three grown children {and yes, I talk to all three pretty much daily}. Ten children makes for a busy day. Uncle Mark alone makes for a busy day - LOL. Home schooling makes for a busy day. I am on staff {part-time} at our church as a counselor and the Pastor of Women's ministries which makes for a busy day. Being in ministry {with illness and tragedy among our church family} makes for a busy day. Heck- blogging makes for a busy day! Add it all together, and my day is pleasantly crazy.

If I want to spend time alone, quiet, just me and the Lord, I must get up at 4:30 or 5:00 am. The house is dark and quiet. I can think. I can pray earnestly. I can read my Bible. I can hear His voice.



When I hear people say, "I don't get to spend much time with the Lord, cause I am really busy during the day." I want to say, "So your day is busier than mine?" =) No, actually, we each make a choice, every, single day: Will we spend time with the Lord or will we choose other things to do? Cause it's all about choosing Him over other stuff. Me personally, I would rather spend time with Him than sleep.


There is one other key element to hearing God speak. It is not "second"....it goes hand and hand with spending time with Him. It is having a clean heart. We cannot hear God speak if we have junk {a.k.a. sin} in our hearts and lives.


We cannot expect Him to speak if we are harboring unforgiveness. We cannot expect Him to confide in us if we are spending time doing things we shouldn't. We cannot expect Him to whisper secrets to us if we are indulging in garbage.

One of my favorite verses of all time {infact I mention it in my blogger profile}:

"The Lord confides in those who fear him."
Psalm 25:14



That verse means that my Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God WILL absolutely whisper secrets to me, IF I fear Him. How stinkin' amazing is that? I mean really! "Fear" is not cowering from Him....it's the respect and honor that come with only wanting to please Him and only Him. If I want to please myself, then I am missing the whole thing. I must only want to please Him. Only Him. No.matter.what.


Just think: The God who made the Heavens and the Earth, the God who made the human body, the God who parted the Red Sea for the Isrealites to pass through, the God who raised Lazarus from the dead, the God who sent His son to die a horrible death on the cross for me, yeah, that same God will whisper secrets to you and to me when we fear Him. I am always completely dumbfounded by that idea!!






He did not allow us to know Him as Savior and leave us high and dry till we die. NO! He wants personal relationship with us till we meet Him in eternity. Personal relationship on a daily basis....on an hourly basis....moment by moment....and that, my friend, is incredibly amazing to this chick!


So when it comes to holding onto sin, why would I want to? Let me think: Snuggle with this sin or hearing secrets from God? Ummm, that's a no-brainer!! Dump the sin! Repent of anything that does not honor God.



Regularly I ask the Lord: Is there anything that does not honor you in my life? Whatever He brings to mind I get rid of quick! By the way, if you pray that prayer and He brings something ot mind {and that by the way would be Him speaking to you! How fun is that??!} Whatever it is - repent and turn from it!


For instance: What do you spend your time looking at? What do you spend your time reading? If it is not God-honoring, then is it worth not hearing God speak?



Are you entertaining thoughts of someone other than your spouse? Run from him/her!! Are you not always telling the truth to those around you? Ya' know, "padding" the truth? Turn from it - be only a truth-teller - the whole truth and nothing but the truth!! Are you jealous of those around you? Are you jealous of even bloggy friends? Jealousy is sin. Repent and start praying for that same friend!

How about having a critical heart? Are you critical? It's all sin. Dump it. Envy? Complaining? Unthankfulness? Lust? Gossip? Ask God to forgive you and turn from it.

Find an accountability partner {women with women and men with men} and start having them hold you accountable for the stuff you have just repented of.



None of it is worth holding onto. The secrets you will hear God speak will bring eternal satisfaction and great joy...they will fill your life with purpose! They will give you true contentment. You will be communicating with Almighty God and you will smile and look around with peace, because He's got your back and He's moving on your behalf.


When we are spending time alone with God daily and when we are empty of garbage, sin, yuk, and crud from our lives - then we are set up to hear Him speak. Next time, Part 2!!


43 Simply Sweet Words:

  1. It's all about **intimacy** with him... the more time you spend reading, praying and worshiping... the more you hear his voice!

    Even though you are a busy mom of many (I have 10 myself)... there are SO many ways to spend time with him all day long.

    Blessings,
    K

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  2. Linny you have such an incredible way of sharing from your heart. Wonderful, inspiring post. Hugs

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  3. Love this post- I can hardly wait for part 2! Could feel the Holy Spirit speaking through you!

    The Lord has spoken to me and you know when he has- but not for awhile now and I let it cast doubt on our journey. What a mistake on my part to not spend time with him- there is nothing sweeter than his voice speaking to me!

    Hope ya don't mind that I spill the beans on your blog- very little time for e-mails back and forth so I figure this works!! ;-)

    Great Post!!

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  4. SO true!! :))

    Here's a story about GOD speaking. For a month or so I've been asking GOD to reveal to me how long He would have me stay in Mali for. It went from 3 months, to 6 months to 6 months +, to 8 months.... and drumroll please.............










    A WHOLE YEAR.

    Yep. I didn't hear an audible voice this time, no one prophesied to me as before as to the answer I was seeking. BUT, GOD spoke. In my spirit, in my devotional/Bible time each day. I realized that I wasn't giving Him everything until I gave all I had to give - which is a year. :))

    GOD speaks in various ways, but you are so true as to say you have to have a daily relationship with Him!

    ahhhhhHHH!!! a year! :))

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  5. Hi there,
    I can't remember if I've ever left a comment on your page, but I've been reading your blog for months now. =)
    I really see the Lord using you and other blogs out there to speak to me and encourage me and I'm so thankful.
    This is exactly what I needed to hear.

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  6. Amen, Sister! I also love the fact that He confides in us - completely amazing! I clung to that verse as we waited for Kooper and Kinley. And I also love 5 a.m.!!!

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  7. GREAT post Linny! Really spoke volumes to me! Thank you for sharing and giving your heart! AWESOME!

    It has SO much to do with priorities. WOW. Can't WAIT for part two!

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  8. Thank you for these reminders. I love how you equated knowing God with knowing a friend. If you don't spend time with Him, then you can't really know if it's His voice or something (someone) else speaking to you. What a blessing this post is to me today. I would love to share it on my blog if you don't mind.

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  9. Thank you so much Linny -I needed these words today. looking forward to part 2! You and your husband were brought to my mind during worship Sunday, and it was a joy to pray for you and your family!

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  10. Thank you for this gentle reminder that to hear God, I need to be in the Word.
    I love your blog!
    And I love God and I do hear His voice :)
    Kym

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  11. Linny! So beautifully put and SO, SO, SO true!!! There is nothing I love more than cuddling up with the Lord and hearing Him speak. More and more, it seems the ONLY thing that matters is hearing Him and stepping out as He directs!!!!! I love it!!!!!
    Shannon

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  12. Amazing. Just last night I felt like the Lord was speaking to me an idea of how to handle our house situation. Its so fun. But the best thing was I heard Him.
    Thank you!

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  13. thank you so much for sharing, Linny, I am looking forward to part 2 :)

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  14. Linny, this is a beautiful post. I agree with it wholeheartedly. I have been a Christian for 27 years, and I have heard God speak to me on many, many occasions. I'm so excited right now, in the last 2 months God has been asking for more and more of me, like never before, and it amazes even me that I crazy love him back enough to give Him whatever He wants! Yippee Jesus!

    I can't wait to read part 2!

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  15. Thanks for writing that, Linny!
    Julie

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  16. What an Awesome post!!
    So Great!
    Thank you,
    Julie

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  17. Dear Linny, What a blessing the Lord has given in using you in the lives of so many-just because He loves us. Thank you for sharing, opening and honestly, and for encouraging others through your posts. I pray His blessings on you and yours this day.
    Hugs, Noreen

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  18. You have said it so well. You were obviously listening to "Him".

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  19. This speaks to me in so many ways, you have no idea! Lately I have been trying to do just what you're talking about. This came at just the right moment as a little reminder.

    I love reading your blog. Your posts have inspired me to become closer to God and you have put adoption on my heart as well. It's something that I'm certain that I'm going to do - as soon as I'm legally old enough at least!

    <3 Savi

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  20. What a great explanation. Love it! What a privilege to have a God who wants to communicate with us! Love you friend.

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  21. I love spending time with Him and the more time I do, the more I want with Him. I start longing for it, for Him. Can't wait for part 2!

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  22. Amen! He just loves to be with us, doesn't He?! The CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE loves to be with us! How amazing is that?! And it's just so wonderful to be with Him! He is good, kind, just, compassionate and altogether lovely. What a God we have!!

    Blessings,
    Sarah

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  23. Beautiful post. Thank you. Needed it.

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  24. Linny,
    Thank you for the beautiful picture you offered to all of us of your "phone call with your bloggy friend" and how if you didn't talk with her again for months would she know your voice?? So appropriate in understanding our ability to hear God's voice. Truly beautiful

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  25. Great teaching Linny.

    I had a friend ask me once, "You hear the Lord speak? Does He sound like Darth Vader?"

    It is said that the only dumb question is the one you do not ask! It was the perfect opportunity to try and describe what it feels like (for me anyway) to "hear God speak".

    Linny is right, He will speak to us, but we need to be listening, with clean hearts. Oh what a feeling when He speaks, and you know that you know, that what you just "heard" was straight from your heavenly Father's heart!

    Thanks Linny for sharing your wisdom. A great reminder that no day is too busy, to spend time with our Father.

    Love you ~

    Tina

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  26. Thanks Linny,

    You always seem to know what we need to hear...
    Blessings!
    Alycia

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  27. So funny Linn - I was just asking God to speak to me tonight - this is such a good reminder of what needs to be in place in order to hear his voice! Thank you so much for encouraging us all that God truly does want to speak to us and have a 2 sided relationship with him!

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  28. Linny, you have a freaky way of always posting what I need. Yesterday on the way to pick my girls up at ballet,i was talking with Jesus.
    I asked Him to speak to me like He speaks to you! I'm not really good at telling the difference between my own thoughts and the ones that are from God. I always tell Jesus I need it in black and white. Just keep it simple please.

    Sometimes I know without a doubt when Jesus speaks to me. But sometimes He loses me, or I just get lost!

    I love this post! Waiting for part two!!

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  29. Hi Linny,
    Thank you for that post! I have a question...when you spend time in the Word do you follow a certain pattern of what books you are reading from? In other words, how do you decide what to read each day? Usually I read where it seems the Lord is leading me to read, other times when I have been involved in a group study I study whatever book goes along with the Bible study I am attending. Sometimes with that though I end up trying to "complete the task" and answer all of the questions from the study book.
    God bless you and your beautiful family!!!

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  30. Wow - awesome post!! Cannot wait for Part 2! Bring it on!

    ♥ you guys!

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  31. Great post. I LOVE the analogy of recognizing the voice on the phone. I'm going to read this post in our family devotion time. Can't wait for part 2.

    Much Love,
    Kathie

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  32. Oh Linny. I wondered why it was that I found your blog (clicking on it from Love's blog, another one of my new favorite reads!), but I don't think it was just an accident. I've been opening myself up and really thinking about things, and it's something I really, desperately needed. It must have been part of His plan, I think, for me to find you!

    I tried this morning. I really did. I woke early and tried spending some time with God. It felt good, I don't know that I was really THERE as much as I wanted to be - I was already worried about doctor's appointments and thinking of things to add to my grocery list - but I think that I was beginning to get what I needed to do to hear Him. I'm going to try again tomorrow morning, hopefully this time leaving all that other junk out of my head for the time being!

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  33. AMEN! The Lord confides in those who fear Him has been a scripture held very close at the moment for me. He reveals the most wonderful things sometimes that I just can't help but rejoice! Thank you Linny, as a single woman I often find myself referring to "US" accidentally - meaning The Lord and I - and just can't help but smile to myself when people look as though I've forgotten I'm single- and smile at myself when I realise I have.
    Also, The Lord is encouraging me to start rising earlier than usual (which would mean 5 or 5,30am ) so He has spoken to me through your blog!
    The question is( I'm sure you'll cover it ) when I'm unsure as to whethr I'm tagging what I WANT as God's voice and, the line between acting quickly on things or walking circumspectly to be sure it's God's voice and to be sure it's all born of the Spirit not my flesh.... do you get what i mean?
    sorry it's such a LOOOOONG comment...

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  34. Oh! this was just what I needed to hear today!

    Although I should have gone to Him first thing this morning, I found myself in front of this computer reading your words... and my sweet Savior used them to speak right to my heart!

    You better believe the moment I finished reading this post, I was on my face before Him!!!

    Thank you for sharing your heart! You have blessed mine!

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  35. AMEN! PRAISE GOD! Thank my dear sister in the Lord for this post! The words so true and I love being reminded of all these things!

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  36. Occasional lurker turned follower today.
    Thank you for listening to the Lord and sharing this. I'm anxious to hear part 2. This is something I've been struggling with recently and is exactly what I needed to hear.

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  37. Linny, you seriously need to write a devotional, you have such a gift! Even a small book on this topic alone... you know, those little pocket sized ones you can purchase from the church bookstore. It would be a perfect handout for those who ask this question, as it is one I have gotten often, and you answered it SO well! I look forward to reading pt2 and 3!!

    I'm giggling about you writing this on the bathroom floor so that your hubby could sleep in peace. Such a loving and thoughtful wife!! :)

    God bless! <><

    love,
    Tanya

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  38. Amen and amen! I want part two today! :)

    Thank you. This post is beautiful, timely, and soemthing to come back to!

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  39. Hey Linny,
    I'm the one from NZ - mostly stalking on your blog! What a blessing and inspiration you are!
    Just a practical question: what time do you usually go to bed???
    If you get up that early, how do you manage to get enough sleep and make it through busy days?
    My hubby is a night owl and if I want to spend any time with him, I won't be sleeping before 11pm.
    Makes it really hard to get up at 4:30/5am - to have time with Jesus before the kiddos get up (around 6).
    Would appreciate your thought on this:)
    Blessings,
    Isabel

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  40. I am so very thankful I have found your blog. I too struggle with the excuses of not finding time to spend in the word..ya know I get up at 5:15 to get ready, my kids are up by 6:30, then we are all off to work or wherever by 7, then home with the routine madness after work and etc...I am first praying I can set aside a good time everyday to spend in the word. I feel many things on my heart, a stirring that God it going to do something big and I want to be home with my sweet babes and the list goes on...Thank you for hearing him and writing such beautiful honest things.
    Carrie
    www.hiswillandgrace.blogspot.com

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It's always good to hear from bloggy friends. Bless you.