Hearing God’s Voice, part 4

Hearing God's Voice

Hearing and discerning God’s voice

For God does speak—now one way, now another—though no one perceives it.
–Job 33:14 NIV

God is always speaking, but we must learn to perceive, recognize, and listen to His voice.

This process is illustrated in the life of the young prophet Samuel.

1 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.
2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place.
3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.
4 Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.”
5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
6 Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
8 The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy.
9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
–1 Samuel 3:1–10 NIV

The voice Samuel heard, he at first did not recognize. It takes faith to recognize and acknowledge that the Lord is speaking. It takes practice to build confidence in hearing the Lord’s voice.

God does indeed speak, so when we ask Him to communicate with us, we must believe and then practice hearing His voice.

Hebrews 11:6 says, “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (NIV). If you earnestly seek the Lord to hear His voice, He promises to reward you.

If we would have the Lord to speak to us, submission is key. Pray for a clean heart and ears to hear. Samuel said, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Then, you must really listen with expectation.

What does God’s voice “sound” like?

What will you hear? An audible voice?

Most likely, it will not be audible. Rather, it will be God’s “still, small voice.”

11 Then [God] said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake;
12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
–1 Kings 19:11–12 NKJV

We may miss hearing God’s voice because we’re expecting something dramatic. While God can speak in dramatic ways, He usually speaks in a quiet whisper. To hear that whisper, we must still our hearts and minds to selectively listen to Him.

How will He speak? Where will His voice originate? Not in our ears, for it’s usually not audible.

Remember that God speaks through the Son, who speaks through the Holy Spirit. Where does the Holy Spirit live now?

Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells IN you?
–1 Corinthians 3:16 NASB

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is IN you
–1 Corinthians 6:19 NASB

You will hear God’s still, small voice in your heart (spirit), because that’s where the Holy Spirit dwells. That inner voice is very similar to your own thoughts.

Can you recite a Scripture or sing a song inaudibly, inside your head? That’s what the voice of the Lord sounds like. It sounds like the voice of your own thoughts.

Tune in next time to learn how we know it’s God speaking and what we should do with what we hear.

More information:

Hearing God’s Voice, part 3

Hearing God's Voice

How God speaks today

1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son….
–Hebrews 1:1–2 NIV

In the New Testament age, God speaks to us through His Son, the Word. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice” (John 10:27).

Now that Jesus has ascended to the right hand of the Father, how does He speak?

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.
15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”
–John 16:12–15 NIV

Jesus speaks to us today through the Holy Spirit.

When we listen, we glorify Jesus. Jesus said, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says…” (Rev. 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22).

Ways that God communicates

God communicates with us in many ways, through various means.

Nature

  • Psalm 19:1–4
  • Romans 1:20 NIV: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

Wise Counsel

  • Proverbs 12:15 NKJV: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.”
  • Proverbs 11:14
  • Proverbs 15:22
  • Proverbs 20:18

An Audible Voice (Rare)

  • Isaiah 30:21 NIV: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”
  • Matthew 17:5

Personal Visitation of the Lord or Angels

  • Acts 9:3–6 NIV: “3 As [Saul] neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ 5 ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked. ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. 6 ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.'”
  • Luke 1:26–38

Dreams and Visions

  • Genesis 20:3–7
  • Acts 18:9–10 NIV: “9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.'”

Revelation through Scriptures or Preaching

  • Daniel 9:2–3 NIV: “2 [I]n the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. 3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.”
  • Acts 14:8–10

Inner Witness of Your Spirit

  • Romans 8:16 NKJV: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”

Voice of the Holy Spirit in Your Spirit

  • Acts 8:29 NIV: “The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.'”

Ministry of the Prophet

  • Acts 21:10–11 NIV: “10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, ‘The Holy Spirit says, “In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.”‘”

Gifts of Holy Spirit Through Other Believers

  • 1 Corinthians 12:7–10 NKJV: “7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”
  • 1 Corinthians 14:3,24–25 NIV: “3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. … 24 But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, 25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, ‘God is really among you!'”

Next installment, we’ll learn more about hearing and discerning God’s voice.

More information:

Hearing God’s Voice, part 2

Hearing God's Voice

God communicates because He loves us

God is thinking about us all the time.

How precious concerning me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
–Psalm 139:17 NIV

God wants to tell us what He’s thinking. God wants to speak to us personally as well as to speak to others through us.

God is not stingy with divine communication. God is speaking all the time. Are we listening?

People God spoke to in the Bible

God didn’t speak only to holy people. The Bible reveals that God spoke to everyone, saint and sinner alike.

  • Adam and Eve – Genesis 2:16
  • The serpent – Genesis 3:14
  • Cain – Genesis 4:6
  • Noah – Genesis 6:13
  • Abraham – Genesis 12:7; 21:1
  • Hagar – Genesis 16:7–13
  • King Abimelech, a heathen – Genesis 20:3
  • Rebekah – Genesis 25:23
  • Isaac – Genesis 26:2–5,24
  • Jacob – Genesis 28:13–15; 31:3; 35:1,10–12
  • Laban, a dishonest man – Genesis 31:24
  • Pharoah, a heathen – Genesis 41:1,25
  • Israel (Joseph) – Genesis 46:2–4
  • Moses – Exodus 3
  • Joshua – Joshua 1
  • Samuel – 1 Samuel 3:4–14
  • David – 1 Samuel 23:2,4; 2 Samuel 2:1; 1 Kings 8:18
  • Solomon – 1 Kings 3:5–14
  • Job – Job 38
  • Balaam, a false prophet! – Numbers 22:10–12
  • Elijah – 1 Kings 17:2–5
  • Pilate’s wife – Matthew 27:19
  • Peter – Acts 10:13–15
  • Apostle Paul – Acts 9:3–6
  • Ananias – Acts 9:10–16
  • Apostle John – The Revelation

God loves to communicate! There is no one He won’t speak to.

We must be willing to hear from God

Since Old Testament times, people—even God’s people—have refused to hear God’s voice for themselves.

Hebrews 12:25 tells us, “do not refuse him who speaks.”

Jesus promises in Revelation 3:20, “…If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in….”

Hearing God’s voice requires a response from us, which begins with a willingness to open and invite His communication and fellowship.

We must desire to hear God’s voice with all our heart.

Cultivate this until next time, when we’ll learn how God speaks today.

More information:

Hearing God’s Voice, part 1

Hearing God's Voice

Some people believe that God only speaks to a special few. But the Bible reveals that God spoke to saint and sinner alike.

God is always speaking. Are we able to hear?

God wants us to recognize His voice so we can hear what God is saying to us and to the Church. God speaks to us because God loves us.

This series will lead you into understanding how God speaks to us today.

God is a communicator

Communication is a primary part of God’s nature. Jesus is the “exact representation” of the Father (Heb. 1:3), and He is called “the Word of God” (see John 1:1; Rev. 19:13).

“The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks…” (Ps. 50:1 NIV).

Sin has damaged our ability to hear

God originally intended to have a personal relationship marked by intimacy and fellowship with everyone born on this planet. This relationship was broken by sin.

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
–Genesis 3:7–10 NIV

Although open communication with God has been damaged by sin, God still wants to communicate. God sent His only Son, the Word, because He loves us and wants to restore that fellowship so we will not be afraid to converse with Him.

7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah…
–Psalm 95:7–8 NIV

Even Old Testament believers could hear His voice.

God is a shepherd, and His people are the flock under His loving care. To shepherd us, He will speak to us as a flock as well as individually.

Hearing God requires a proper heart attitude

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
–John 10:27 NIV

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. This verse is the New Testament counterpart to the Psalm 95 passage. Goats are stubborn and don’t listen, but sheep listen for His voice, recognize it, and follow His leading.

Hebrews 4:7 says: “…‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts’ ” (NIV). Hearing God’s voice is still for today, and it’s still conditional.

If our hearts are right toward God, we will be able to receive His direction. But if we harden our hearts, we won’t be able to hear God.

Having a receptive heart attitude is necessary to hear God’s voice and move in the gifts of the Spirit.

Next issue, we’ll learn why God communicates with us. Stay tuned.

More information:

6 Requirements for Kingdom Christians

Crown

Go to most churches, and you’ll encounter a lot of activity that has nothing to do with building God’s Kingdom.

Prayer books. Electronic worship. Coffee hour. Kids’ plays.

These things are nice, but Jesus never mentioned them.

According to the Bible, what are musts for Christians called to build God’s Kingdom on earth?

The requirements are the things that Jesus did and taught His disciples to do in His Name.

1. You must be born again.

Nicodemus approached Jesus one night and said, “‘Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him'” (John 3:2 NIV).

Knowing Jesus as a teacher from God is not enough. All orthodox churches admit that.

You also must recognize the power behind the miraculous signs that Jesus performed—healings, deliverances, and mastery over nature.

How did Jesus answer Nicodemus?

“‘I tell you the truth, no one can SEE the kingdom of God unless he is born again‘” (John 3:3 NIV).

You can’t understand the spiritual operation of Kingdom power unless you’re born again. In fact, Jesus went on to say, “‘[N]o one can ENTER the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit'” (John 3:5-6 NIV).

To enter the Kingdom of God, you must be born of the Spirit:

4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
–Titus 3:4-7 NIV

Spiritual regeneration doesn’t result from simply knowing about God or Jesus or from going to church. Rather, “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9 NIV).

The new birth is received by turning from sin and turning to God in faith: “‘Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out'” (Acts 3:19 NIV).

To comprehend the Kingdom, to enter the Kingdom, you must be born again.

Spiritual regeneration is actually an Old Testament experience: Abraham is father of all those who have faith (see Rom. 4:12-16). What kind of faith?

Saving faith.

This is why Jesus was incredulous that Nicodemus did not understand the necessity of being born again. He should have. For, Jesus said, “‘the Lord, “the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” … is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive'” (Luke 20:37-38 NIV).

Why are we born again? To have living relationship with God. To enjoy eternal life.

Also to enable us to be filled with the Spirit: “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham [being born again by grace through faith] might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by [that same] faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit” (Gal. 3:14 NIV, bracketed additions mine).

2. You must be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Paul wrote the Ephesians, “Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18 GW). This is a commandment for born again believers.

Jesus told His disciples, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you” (John 15:3 NIV). See also Ephesians 5:26 and Titus 3:5. The disciples were regenerate from Jesus words, which are spirit and life (John 6:63).

Then He said,

16 “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—
17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be IN you.”
–John 14:16-17 NIV

Jesus promised them He would send the Holy Spirit, now with them to regenerate and cleanse them through the word, to be IN them.

He commanded them, “‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit‘” (Acts 1:4-5 NIV).

One hundred twenty born again disciples received the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).

Later, Philip proclaimed Christ in Samaria. The Samaritans “believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, [and] they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12 NIV).

14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.
15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.
17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
–Acts 8:14-17 NIV

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate experience from being converted. The Samaritans, though born again and water baptized, did not receive the indwelling Holy Spirit until hands were laid on them.

The fullness of the Holy Spirit is not automatically received when you’re born again. You must separately receive the Holy Spirit and be “clothed with power from on high” (Lk. 24:49)—the power to be Kingdom witnesses (Acts 1:8).

You need this power to love God, love your neighbor, and move in the gifts of the Spirit.

For more information:

3. You must love God and your neighbor.

Colossians 1:13 says, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (NKJV). Those who inherit the Kingdom are those who love God (see James 2:5).

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
–Luke 10:25-28 NIV

You can’t love God without loving your neighbor (see 1 Jn. 4:8,20-21). And everyone is your neighbor—no exceptions.

If you’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit, love is easy “…because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Rom. 5:5 NIV). The fruit of the Spirit is love (Gal. 5:23).

They will know we are Christians—Kingdom Christians—by our love.

4. You must move in the gifts of the Spirit.

Jesus demonstrated, taught, and trained His disciples to do the miraculous works He did. He commissioned them, saying, “‘As you go, preach this message: “The kingdom of heaven is near.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give'” (Matt. 10:7-8 NIV).

Paul said, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” (1 Cor. 4:20 NIV). There’s a lot of talk in the Church. But where is the power Jesus and the early disciples demonstrated? This is the Kingdom and the true Gospel: signs and wonders.

To minister Kingdom power, we need the Spirit’s enablement. We must submit ourselves to be used of God through the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7-11). We must excel in the gifts that build up the Church (1 Cor. 14:12).

Paul wrote, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1 NIV). The “most excellent way” (1 Cor. 12:31) to move in the gifts is through love. Love sets captives free.

5. You must live an obedient, holy life.

Even if we’re born again and Spirit-filled, moving in the gifts does not guarantee us heaven. Jesus warned His followers,

20 “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’
23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
–Matthew 7:20-23 NIV

Peter preached, “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him” (Acts 5:32 NIV).

John wrote, “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us” (1 Jn. 3:24 NIV).

We must obey God and do the Father’s will. How?

The indwelling Spirit leads us to live a life filled with good fruit, set apart and sanctified for the Lord and His Kingdom. “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14 NIV).

6. You must help fulfill the Great Commission.

Ninety percent of what today’s churches are involved in, Jesus never mentioned nor practiced. What was He about? Peter told Cornelius,

37 “You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”
–Acts 10:37-38 NIV

Jesus said, “‘Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons'” (Matt. 10:8 NIV).

“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 Jn. 3:8b NIV). What’s your reason for following Him?

Jesus set aside his divine powers (Phil. 2:5-8) and instead received the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Lk. 2:21-22), through which He healed and performed miracles and prophesied.

We, likewise, need to be filled with the Spirit; move in the gifts, motivated by love; and set captives free. This is true Kingdom work.

Just before He ascended to heaven after the Resurrection,

18 Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
–Matthew 28:18-20 NIV

Jesus Christ is Lord of heaven and earth. He has delegated His authority to His born again, sanctified, Spirit-filled followers. We are to go in His name and make disciples.

What kind of disciples? The kind who do what He did. The kind who do what He released the Twelve and the seventy-two to do: heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper, drive out demons.

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.
20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked WITH them and CONFIRMED his word by the SIGNS that accompanied it.
–Mark 16:15-20 NIV

We must do the greater works Jesus promised we could do (John 14:12). This is “God’s Kingdom come, God’s will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

Midnight Prophetic Call

bible

On November 17, 1989, I experienced something I’ll never forget.

At the time, I was a new Christian, recently baptized in the Holy Spirit. I’d been doing prophetic journaling, listening to the voice of God and transcribing it for three months.

Soon after I fell asleep that night, I was dramatically awakened by a spiritual presence. Was it God? Jesus? An angel? I didn’t know.

I felt impressed—no, strongly led—downstairs where the streetlight shone through the living room windows onto the hardwood floor.

I opened my Bible there and definitely felt directed to the first chapter of the prophet Daniel.

It was as if an unseen angel stood over my shoulder and highlighted the words of the following passage:

To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
—Daniel 1:17 NIV

Daniel 1:17I say “as if,” but I now believe this is exactly what happened: An angel woke me, led me downstairs, and pointed out this verse as a prophetic calling of my spiritual purpose and destiny. I still remember the powerful presence that overshadowed me.

It has taken 30 years, but this message is finally coming to pass.

I’ve studied and practiced all kinds of writing. I earned a BA in English, a master’s in biblical studies, a master’s in genre fiction writing, been employed as a technical writer in the software industry since 1986, written many short stories and six novels, and read hundreds of books about prophecy, prophets, and ministering the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I pastored a house church for three years. I’ve attended many workshops and conferences and taken classes on prophetic ministry.

In 2007 I experienced a profound spiritual awakening, another in 2016, and am continuing to apply my abilities to pursuing my prophetic call.

If you are diligent to learn and practice the things you are uniquely interested in, one day they may pave the way for you to fulfill your destiny.

May God reveal His call to you and enable you to fulfill it for the glory of His Kingdom.

Secret Council of the Lord

Council of the Lord

Council of the Lord Series #1

There is a place in the heavenly realm where the Lord discusses his secret counsel with confidants—angelic beings; departed saints; and prophets, the friends of the Lord.

But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?
–Jeremiah 23:18 NIV

What is the council of the Lord?

The word council is sôd in Hebrew, meaning, “a session, i.e., a company of persons in close deliberation; by implication intimacy, consultation, a secret: assembly, counsel” (Strong’s, H5475).

Sôd is translated as “secret” nine times out of its twenty-one occurrences in the Old Testament.

The council is a confidential assembly of beings who listen to the counsel of the Lord.

The primary meaning of the word is “confidential speech”…, hence, “counsel” (TWOT, 1471a). The GNT translates it “the Lord’s secret thoughts.” The JUB puts it, “For who has stood in the secret of the LORD and has seen and heard his word?”

Eliphaz asked Job,

8 Do you listen in on God’s council? Do you limit wisdom to yourself?
9 What do you know that we do not know? What insights do you have that we do not have?
–Job 15:8-9 NIV

God’s secret counsel must be “listened in on.” It communicates God’s wisdom, information, and insights that others do not know.

The wise and upright person who walks in the fear of the Lord will be privy to God’s secret counsel. See Ps. 25:14; Prov. 3:32; Amos 3:7; Job 29:4. Angels, seraphim, and cherubim are among the Lord’s council.

Besides heavenly beings, there are human servants of the Lord who have special access to the sôd of God.

Amos 3:7 states that “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets” (NIV). The EXB translates it as “Before the Lord God does anything, he tells his plans to his servants the prophets.” Many Bible versions translate plans as “secrets,” sôd.

Before doing anything on the earth, God shares his secret plans with his servants, the prophets.

The council of the holy ones

5 The heavens praise your wonders, Lord, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord? Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?
7 In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him.
–Psalm 89:5-7 NIV

God is surrounded with holy spiritual beings who greatly fear him. He is the most awesome among them all.

  • “Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Ex. 15:11 NIV)
  • “God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the ‘gods’” (Ps. 82:1 NIV).
  • “Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours” (Ps. 86:8 NIV).

This council of holy ones meets in heavenly places—paradise (see 2 Cor. 12:2-4), perhaps before the throne of God—to discuss the secret plans of the Lord. Daniel 7:9-10 describe the Lord’s throne and a court assembled before Him to hear his counsel.

“Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left” (1 Kings 22:19 NIV).

Accessing the council of the Lord

How do prophets and other righteous followers of the Lord attend this counsel in the heavenlies? By being taken there.

Apostle John wrote, “On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit…” (Rev. 1:10 NIV), and “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this” (Rev. 4:1 NIV).

Isaiah was swept up to the throne of God in a vision: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple” (Isa. 6:1 NIV).

A number of times Ezekiel was escorted in the spirit to see things transpire: “He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head. The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem” (Ezek. 8:3a NIV).

Paul was caught up to the third heaven, although he did not know whether it was in the physical body or only in the spirit (2 Cor. 12:2).

Interacting with the council of the Lord

The primary purpose of attending the council of the Lord is to hear and see what God is communicating and to share it with those on earth.

Carlton Kenney, in his excellent booklet, Standing in the Council of the Lord, states: “While on these trips those servants of God not only saw and observed, but also interacted with the scene before them. This occurred in such a way as to even affect the outcome of the events” (32).

This is the ultimate place of intercession. We have access to the secret council of the Lord and can not only listen in on discussions and decisions made there, but intercede as Abraham and Moses did for the fate of others on the earth.

Isaiah stands before the throne, and after a seraph touches a coal to his lips, this transpires:

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for US?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
9 He said, “Go and tell this people:”
–Isaiah 6:8-9a NIV

Among the council of the mighty, the sôd of the Lord, God asks who will go and speak for them. Isaiah volunteers, and God accepts his offer!

The purpose of Isaiah’s participation in the council of the Lord was to hear and heed God’s command to speak to God’s people.

Although Paul heard things in the council of the Lord he was not permitted to tell (2 Cor. 12:4), Isaiah and other prophets were commanded and commissioned to share what they heard. Why? Because “Before the Lord God does anything, he tells his plans to his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7 EXB).

And what is a prophet’s job? To declare the word of the Lord (Deut. 5:5; 1 Kings 13:32).

This is why God told Abraham his plans for Sodom: “The Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?’” (Gen. 18:17 NIV). He did not hide it; He divulged his secret counsel to His friend and prophet, resulting in Abraham’s intercession and the deliverance of Lot’s family.

Sharing the council of the Lord

On July 9, 2018, I was listening to the Lord, journaling His inner voice, and this is what He said:

My son, we are calling you up higher. We desire that you come up and be where we are. Seek things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God, and we will draw you here.

Know that your intention and your imagination will play a part in this transportation. Know that we will begin to do this as you apply yourself to being here.

God invited me to attend His council in the heavenlies. I asked the Lord how I could get started. The Spirit said:

See yourself in the council of the mighty, surrounded by those who would counsel you and give you direction and guidance.

On August 4, 2018, the Lord said:

My son, we are going before you to prepare the way for you to speak the message, even the word of the Lord. For we desire you to take your instructions from this council and that you share with others that which we share with you.

We will give you the word, we will give you the message, we will give you the confirmation, and we desire that you speak this word in humility yet in boldness, for we are able to bring it to pass.

And you will not be the only one speaking this word, but there will be others who speak it. And it will be confirmed here, and it will be confirmed there. It will be taken up, it will be taught on, and in this way the word of the Lord will be revealed to the Body to guide and to direct and to instruct and to encourage, to inform, and to fortify. For we desire that the Body of Christ be ready to do the will of the Lord and to build the Kingdom.

We will release you with Kingdom power. We will release you with a Kingdom word. We will release to you a word not only for the Church, but for the Body yet to be. We will give you a word that draws others unto the Kingdom. Know that as we reveal our secret plans to you and to others, that we will draw those unto the Kingdom that they may become like Christ, become part of the Church, and to become Kingdom builders and spreaders.

I’m planning a series of experiments, although not without some trepidation.

As I apply myself to attending the council of the Lord, I will share what I hear and see here on my blog. It will be tagged in the category “Council of the Lord.”

If you encounter similar messages from others or through what the Spirit is saying to you, please comment and include links, if any.

Until then, God bless you, and may He share His secrets with you for good!