Monday, September 26, 2011

Ways God speaks to us

A few Mondays ago, I posted a blog about keeping our prayers short and learning to spend time quietly in God's presence. Learning to do this has been an uphill battle for someone like me. My mind is always spinning, spinning out of control, going through lists of things I need to accomplish and problems to solve. I'm easily distracted and can often think of more than one thing at a time. Sound like you too?

Never fear! It just takes discipline like everything in life. Whenever my mind drifts, I jerk it right back. Sometimes I sing or hum a praise song while I'm thinking of God's goodness. That seems to help. But I'm still working on it every day. Why? Because I truly want to hear from God.

Like anything, I believe hearing from God takes practice and discipline. It takes work. We must train our spiritual senses to discern things in the spiritual realm.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil Hebrews 5:12-14

So, how does God speak to us?  My bet is that God has been speaking to you for years and you simply haven't recognized Him.  In my experience, God speaks to us in four ways. 
  • Gently guiding us / Revealing 
  • Discerning/Perceiving
  • Direct speech by Angels
  • Direct speech by Holy Spirit
 Gentle Guiding. This is probably the most common.  And the one most people are completely unaware of
John 16:13  However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

Examples of guiding/revealing: 
  • You're reading the Bible and a verse pops out at you, and oddly it applies to your situation perfectly.
  • You hear a particular verse three times or more. On the radio, at a sermon, in a song, and/or in your personal reading
  • A friend says something to you that matches something that you've had on your mind for awhile
  • A series of unusual events occur which lead you down a certain path, or to a specific job.
  • You just "happen" to run into someone you haven't seen in awhile and the meeting changes your life.
  • You had a vision or a dream that showed you something important
  • All of a sudden, you think about someone you haven't thought about in awhile.
  • You have a burning desire in your heart to do something specific. In my case, it was write a novel about a Christian pirate!

  Here's some examples from Scripture
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Matt 16:17

There was a man in the temple in Jerusalem waiting for the Messiah
And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ Luke 2:26

Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.  Phill 3:15-16

Examples of discernment/perceiving
  • The first time you knew in your heart that God was real, He loves you, and Jesus died for you.
  • You've been on multiple job interviews but you just "know" you're going to get this particular one. You don't know how you know.. but the minute you walked into the company, you knew.
  • You have a feeling inside that a friend is in need. She or he is always on your mind lately, so you call and find out they are having a hard day.
  • You walk into a place and a heaviness comes upon you. You get a sick feeling in your gut, uncomfortable. The place is probably filled with demons and wickedness, though you may not see it on the outside
  • You sense someone is lying to you
  • You feel the presence of God, a sense of hope and love.
  • You just "know" God has something important for you to do with your life. Or your "just know" something is about to happen.
  • You make a descision and know inside it wasn't right. Or alternatively, you know inside that it was the right one

 All through the Gospels, we see Jesus 'perceiving' many different things through the power of the Holy Spirit. What people were thinking, feeling, what they held in high regard.  
But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’ Mark 2:8

But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” Luke 8:46

Well, you may say, that's Jesus. I'm just human. Certainly I can't perceive these things. Yet, Jesus told us we would do even greater works than He did when the Holy Spirit came upon us, didn't He? So why can't God grant you supernatural wisdom in certain situations when you ask Him?

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father John 14:12
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him James 1:5
So, do you still think you can't hear from God?  Can you think of other examples from your own experience of guiding/revealing/discerning and perceiving?
Tune in next week when I'll cover direct words from God!


  1. I got goose bumps reading this post. My pastor just preached on Mark 2:8 yesterday! I love how God speaks and works through others in our lives. Whether its through a sermon, a good friend, or a blog makes me feel so loved and cared for by Him. He really wants us to know Him and be known by Him. :)

  2. First of all, where's Brenda? Second, great post. I am going to share this on Facebook, so others can read it as well. Keep them coming!

  3. I love when God does that! I agree with Cathy, it makes me feel loved. And it really lets you feel that God is real. Thanks for posting this, Captain!

  4. Amazing post, MaryLu! I *really* needed this today. I've been so busy with having just started college that it's even been affecting my walk - I just don't have as much time to study the Word and pray as I used to. The scary thing is, I *know* I'm under spiritual attack (I can generally "feel" it), but it's different in this case because it's not just a situation I can get out of or a behavior I can stop doing...I need to figure out how to alter my mindset in these circumstances, whereas in the past I've only had to alter my circumstances (the latter being much easier!). But, until I read your post, it never occurred to me to simply ask God how to do that - big duh on my part! :-) So anyway, thank you for letting God speak through you to help me with this mess I'm in.

    P.S. The busy-ness of college is what's kept me from commenting on your blog the past couple of weeks, too. But I just caught up on the posts, and loved all the ones about women pirates! :-)

    P.P.S. To EVERYONE - on the Bible study blog I host, , we just finished up going through the book of Galatians and are now starting a verse-by-verse study of the book of if you'd like to join an e-small-group, now's a good time to start. :-)

  5. Thanks ladies, I'm so glad this post resonated with you! It certainly did with me. The more time I try and spend in God's presence listening to Him, the more the enemy tries to distract me! No wonder they call it a battle. :-)
    Yes, knowing that God wants to speak to me.. wow, it makes me feel so loved and cherished. (My own natural father didn't even want to speak to me!) God is so incredibly awesome and good and Holy.
    Sapphire.. the devil will try everything he can to keep you from spending time with God. Even good things like college and in my case, writing Christian novels. God will honor your desire to know Him!
    And very cool about your online Bible study blog! May God bless you and your e-group!!

  6. Hi again .... still trying to get on to this blog !

  7. Tues Sept 27th ....
    Well, Praise the Lord .... with thanks to my son Stephen's help !!! This has been the most frustrating thing to do over the past two days .... "trying" to create some new blog-account, just so I can make a comment once again ! Unreal !!! (Plus, you can tell I have NO patience for computer instructions ... very confusing !)
    Anyway .... I'm back -- from the land of -- "continual" sunshine, heat, humidity, and ... beauty everywhere you look ! Maui and Oahu were great ... but, it's good to be back home again (though definitely not as colourful or interesting) ! God IS good, ALL the time, NO matter what !!!
    "Evening, MaryLu" ... and fellow bloggers ! Glad to hear you noticed me missing, Debbie; and I already know that MaryLu missed me. Yes, I've been absent for the past two weeks ! How nice to be missed though ... thanks.
    Anyway ... on to MaryLu's post .... I definitely know that God has led me through various situations and circumstances, via gently guiding/revealing; helping me to discern/perceive. But, to actually 'hear' a voice, 'direct speech' ... that is much more difficult for me ! It takes everything out of me to -- "Be still and KNOW that I AM GOD" - Psalm 46:10. Being still, calming down, focussing, listening, waiting upon the Lord .... those are a challenge for me. My brain seems to be almost in a constant state of -- racing, thinking, planning, organizing, wondering, etc, etc, etc. It is SO very easy to be distracted by many other things going on. And, noise seems to be all around us ... it's even difficult to 'tune out' sounds.
    A while back ... one of your reader's MaryLu ... recommended a book to me: "Walking with God", by John Eldredge. Learning to walk with, wait upon the Lord, and learning how to 'listen' for His reply ... Might help a great deal, if I would get around to reading it, as I did purchase a copy !!!
    Thank-you for everything you shared, MaryLu ... another timely word in due season !
    Now, I need to become much more disciplined, and, aware of God's presence, and 'hopefully' hear His voice .... Thanks again.
    Hope all is well. Take care, and, God Bless, In Him, Brenda Hurley

  8. Welcome back Brenda!! You've been really missed!! But how could we blame you when you've been enjoying the surf and sun in the closest thing to paradise this side of heaven!!
    So glad your son helped you get back on line. I know how frustrating that can be.
    And yes, my mind is much like yours.. always racing, planning, thinking, reacting, plotting... it can cover a mulitude of topics in just one minute! I'm trying to discipline it to shut down and focus on God. First just 5 minutes.. then I'll try 10! And I am hearing more from God lately. It's been cool!
    So God bless you! Sleep well.

  9. Yes, welcome back Brenda. God bless.