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:

Stanley Frodsham’s 1965 Vision of Coming Deception

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron…
–1 Timothy 4:2 NKJV

The following is an excerpt from a prophecy given at the Elim Bible Institute Summer Camp Meeting in 1965 by the late Stanley Frodsham (1882-1969). Brother Frodsham was a recognized prophet and teacher in the Body of Christ whose life and ministry spanned the Pentecostal Revival, the great Healing Revival, and the early days of the Charismatic Movement. He also authored the well-known book, Smith Wigglesworth: Apostle of Faith.

Stanley Frodsham

When I visit My people in mighty revival power, it is to prepare them for the darkness ahead. With the glory shall come great darkness, for the glory is to prepare My people for the darkness. I will enable My people to go through because of the visitation of My Spirit. Take heed to yourselves lest you be puffed up and think that you have arrived. Many shall be puffed up as in the olden days, for many then received My message but they continued not in it. Did I not anoint Jehu? Yet the things I desired were not accomplished in his life. Listen to the messengers, but do not hold men’s persons in admiration. For many whom I shall anoint mightily, with signs and miracles, shall be lifted up and shall fall away by the wayside. I do not do this willingly; I have made provision that they might stand. I call many into this ministry and equip them; but remember that many shall fall. They shall be like bright lights and people shall delight in them. But they shall be taken over by deceiving spirits and shall lead many of My people away.

Hearken diligently concerning these things, for in the last days will come seducing spirits that shall turn many of My anointed ones away. Many shall fall through various lusts and because of sin abounding. But if you will seek Me diligently, I will put My Spirit within you. When one shall turn to the right hand or to the left you shall not turn with them, but keep your eyes wholly on the Lord. The coming days are most dangerous, difficult and dark, but there shall be a mighty outpouring of My Spirit upon many cities. My people must be diligently warned concerning the days that are ahead. Many shall turn after seducing spirits; many are already seducing My people. It is those who do righteousness that are righteous. Many cover their sins by theological words. But I warn you of seducing spirits who instruct My people in an evil way.

Many shall come with seducing spirits and hold out lustful enticements. You will find that after I have visited My people again, the way shall become more and more narrow, and fewer shall walk therein. But be not deceived, the ways of righteousness are My ways. For though Satan comes as an angel of light, hearken not to him; for those who perform miracles and speak not righteousness are not of Me. I warn you with great intensity that I am going to judge My house and have a church without spot or wrinkle when I come. I desire to open your eyes and give you spiritual understanding, that you may not be deceived but may walk in uprightness of heart before Me, loving righteousness and hating every evil way. Look unto Me, and I will make you to perceive with eyes of
the Spirit the things that lurk in darkness that are not visible to the human eye. Let me lead you in this way that you may perceive the powers of darkness and battle against them. It is not a battle against flesh and blood; for if you battle in that way, you accomplish nothing. But if you let Me take over and battle against the powers of darkness, then they are defeated, and then liberation is brought to My people.

I warn you to search the Scriptures diligently concerning these last days. For the things that are written shall indeed be made manifest. There shall come deceivers among My people in increasing numbers who shall speak for the truth and shall gain the favor of the people. For the people shall examine the Scriptures and say, “What these men say is true.” Then when they have gained the hearts of the people, then and only then shall Satan enter into My people. Watch for seducers. Do you think a seducer will brandish a new heresy and flaunt it before the people? He will speak the words of righteousness and truth, and will appear as a minister of light declaring the Word. The people’s hearts shall be won. Then, when the hearts are won, they will bring out their doctrines, and the people shall be deceived. The people shall say, “Did he not speak thus and thus? And did we not examine it from the Word? Therefore he is a minister of righteousness. This that he has spoken we do not see in the Word, but it must be right, for the other things he spoke were true.”

Be not deceived. For the deceiver will first work to gain the hearts of many, and then shall bring forth his insidious doctrines. You cannot discern those that are of Me and those that are not of Me when they start to preach. But seek Me constantly, and then when these doctrines are brought out you shall have a witness in your heart that these are not of Me. Fear not, for I have warned you. Many will be deceived. But if you walk in holiness and uprightness before the Lord, your eyes shall be open and the Lord will protect you. If you will constantly look unto the Lord, you will know when the doctrine changes and will not be brought into it. If your heart is right I will keep you; and if you will constantly look to Me, I will uphold you.

The minister of righteousness shall be on this wise: his life shall agree with the Word and his lips shall give forth that which is wholly true, and it will be no mixture. When the mixture appears, then you will know he is not a minister of righteousness. The deceivers speak first the truth then error, to cover their own sins which they love. Therefore, I exhort and command you to study the Scriptures relative to seducing spirits, for this is one of the great dangers of these last days.

I desire you to firmly be established in My Word and not in the personalities of men that you will not be moved as so many shall be moved. Take heed to yourselves and follow not the seducing spirits that are already manifesting themselves. Diligently inquire of Me when you hear something that you have not seen in My Word, and do not hold people’s persons in admiration–for it is by this very method Satan will destroy many of My people.

What is a true minister of righteousness? Jesus said, “By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16a NIV). “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NIV). And “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27 NIV). Beware.

“They have an unhealthy interest in… constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:4-6 NIV). “Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness'” (2 Timothy 2:19 NIV).

For a full version of this prophecy, see http://www.inthebeginning.com/articles/1965prophecy.htm.

Intersex Torture Must Cease

Intersex Series

The Intersex Series, #2

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at the 30th session of the Human Rights Council on 14 September 2015 highlighted rights violations perpetrated on those who are intersex. (See What Is Intersex?)

Al Hussein’s findings are reported in an article by Arvind Narrain: “The Right Not To Be Mutilated: Intersex People and the Quest for Justice.” I’ll include a few quotes here, but it was so good, you should read the original article.

Far too few of us are aware of the specific human rights violations faced by millions of intersex people. Because their bodies do not comply with typical definitions of male or female, intersex children and adults are frequently subjected to forced sterilization and other unnecessary and irreversible surgery, and suffer discrimination in schools, workplaces and other settings.

During a meeting focused on ending human rights violations against intersex people, the office of the High Commissioner determined that intersex issues are unique, specific, and not simply add-ons to existing LGBT issues.

While variations of sex characteristics are natural, human cultures treat this natural diversity as a problem. Within human society, this natural diversity of sex characteristics is forced into the gender binary of male and female. It is this imperative of human society, to treat sexual diversity as a problem, which becomes the root cause of the great suffering imposed by society on those whose sex characteristics do not conform to rigid notions of male and female.

Those who don’t fit into the strict categories of male or female are classified as “suffering from a form of pathology.” Once classified, they’re game for surgical modification—often promoted by doctors so that children “fit into a specific sex.” Although such surgery is medically unnecessary, parents often consent to have their child operated on for “psycho-social reasons.”

This amounts to mutilating infants and children simply to make the parents more comfortable because the doctor said it would.

Intersex activists make the point, that to subject children to genital mutilation—which the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture [PDF] considers a form of torture—so that society is not discomfited, is an unconscionable suffering, which is inflicted on children born with the intersex condition.

Narrain points out that “intersex mutilation is not even acknowledged as a rights violation in almost all parts of the world.”

This torture must stop.

God the Creator makes infinite variety, and it’s all beautiful. No children should be forced to undergo the scalpel before they’re able to make their own decision about what, if anything, they want to do with their own bodies.

It’s time for us to refrain from such categorical judgments and accept those who are born toward the middle of the sex spectrum. There are more than two colors in the rainbow of human sexuality. We must ensure that everyone’s light can shine.

More information:
What Is Intersex?

Source: Arvind Narrain: “The Right Not To Be Mutilated: Intersex People and the Quest for Justice” at JURIST – Professional Commentary, Oct. 14, 2015, http://jurist.org/hotline/2015/10/arvind-narrain-intersex-justice.php. Accessed Dec. 13, 2018

What Is Intersex?

Intersex Series

The Intersex Series, #1

Intersex is a general term used for a variety of physical conditions affecting a person’s reproductive or sexual anatomy and chromosomal makeup. The result is that intersex individuals are born with internal or external reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit typical male/female categories.

Examples of intersex

Here are just a few examples of how intersex could manifest itself physiologically:

  • Someone could be born with atypical genetics, some cells having XX chromosomes and some having XY.
  • An individual could be born that looks male externally but with internal female anatomy.
  • A person could be born with genitals that are partially male and partially female:
    • A boy could be born with a conspicuously small penis.
    • A girl could be born with a larger than average clitoris.
    • A boy could be born with a scrotum that is split like labia.
    • A girl could be born without a vaginal opening.

To complicate matters, intersex conditions don’t always show up at birth. Sometimes they’re discovered at puberty, sometimes during adulthood when a reproductive issue crops up, and sometimes they’re never known.

Sex, oversimplified

Intersex is kind of a “kitchen sink” term, covering many conditions. It’s not a “discreet or natural category.” Rather, according to the Intersex Society of North America, “Intersex is a socially constructed category that reflects real biological variation.” The ISNA likens the biological sex spectrum to the color spectrum:

Intersex Spectrum, female to male

Where does pink end and blue begin? How many shades lie between?

Trying to pin down biologic variation in human sex is likewise problematic. Nature doesn’t impose rigid rules on what’s male and what’s female—it produces a wide variety.

However, with our need to categorize and control, we slot nature’s infinite diversity into male and female (and perhaps intersex if we’re magnanimous) to simplify social interactions. To fill out a job application. Or to reduce the threat to our perceived worldview that too often has room for only pink and blue, just another version of black and white.

With our tendency to classify and label, we do injustice to real individuals. There are people out there not quite like the rest of us. They need God’s grace as much as anybody. Christ accepts them as they are. Can we?

If you’re one of the many who was born with neat biology at the far ends of the spectrum, be aware there are many who fall somewhere between the poles. They’re just as precious and unique in the eyes of the Creator as you. Christ died for them and longs for them to come to him. Will you help to bring them—or will you drive them away?

More information:
Intersex Torture Must Cease