20 July 2010

How God Speaks

The following and subsequent postings comes from an A-4 size document on the topic of Prayer by Pastor J some years ago. He was a visiting pastor then from Malaysia when he left this document at the reception desk. Thankfully, he continue to speak at my church when he is over here. I have found his teaching most insightfull and encouraging.

The topics on Prayer covers the following three:
  1. How God Speaks
  2. Recognizing God's Voice
  3. The People Who Hear
How do God speak to his people today is one of the most asked questions as it is foundational to many other questions asked of today, not just on prayers but in such topics as Faith, Healing and Miracles. It can be controversial at times, depending on one's leaning on scripture and what it means for today's time. It can also be controversial as it can be the motivation for why some people chooses a certain course of action in their respective lives that seem to be contrary to today's values and needs.

Regardless to the debate surrounding this topic, I have found the following points helpful with my own journey and I trust it will be for yours too, should you choose to embark on this "mission impossible".

When we come together, we are always supposed to bring a gift to give away.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:26
    Well, my brothers and sisters, let's summarize what I am saying. When you meet, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in an unknown language, while another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must be useful to all and build them up in the Lord.
  • Learn how to hear God consistently.
  • ALL can know the voice of Jesus - John 10 - The Shepherd and His Flock

The most common way that God speaks is throught His written word.
  • Psalm 1
  • Psalm 119
  • Luke 24:13-35 - On the Road to Emmaus

He speaks in person by appearing
  • Revelation 1
  • Acts 9 - Saul's Conversion

He sends angels to speak to us:
  • Acts 5:19-20
    19 But an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates of the jail, and brought them out. Then he told them, 20 "Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life!"
  • Acts 8:26
    As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, "Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza."
  • Acts 10:3-6
    3 One afternoon about three o'clock, he had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. "Cornelius!" the angel said.
He speaks in an audible voice
  • Deuteronomy 4:9-14 (to a whole nation)
  • Exodus 3:1-4 (to an individual)
  • John 12:28-32 (to Jesus and a crowd)
  • Acts 9:4-6 (to an enemy)
  • To people today

He speaks in a voice audible to your ears alone
  • 1 Samuel 3 - The LORD speaks to Samuel
  • Acts 22:9
    The people with me saw the light but didn't hear the voice.
He speaks in an "internal audible" voice. Like when the prophets of the Old Testament said, "the word of the Lord came to me saying ....."

He speaks in sentence fragments. The fragment is clear but the meaning may not be ....as in Isaiah 8:1

He speaks through impressions
  • In the form of a "knowing"
    • Matthew 22:18
      But Jesus knew their evil motives. "You hypocrites!" he said. "Whom are you trying to fool with your trick questions?
    • Mark 2:8
      Jesus knew what they were discussing among themselves, so he said to them, "Why do you think this is blasphemy?
    • John 6:15
      Jesus saw that they were ready to take him by force and make him king, so he went higher into the hills alone.
  • As a "leading" to do something
    • Nehemiah 7:5
      So my God gave me the idea to call together all the leaders of the city, along with the ordinary citizens, for registration. I had found the genealogical record of those who had first returned to Judah.
  • In the ability to "see" something in or on a person that you can't see with your physical eyes.
    • Acts 14:9
      He was listening as Paul preached, and Paul noticed him and realized he had faith to be healed.
He speaks through the natural world
  • Romans 1:19-20 - a revelation of the nature of God
    19 For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. 20 From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.
  • Proverbs 6:6-11 - a revelation of wisdom
    6 Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and be wise! 7 Even though they have no prince, governor, or ruler to make them work, 8 they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. 9But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? I want you to learn this lesson: 10 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-- 11 and poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
  • Joel 2:25-27 - a prophecy
    25 The LORD says, "I will give you back what you lost to the stripping locusts, the cutting locusts, the swarming locusts, and the hopping locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. 26 Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the LORD your God, who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced like this. 27 Then you will know that I am here among my people of Israel and that I alone am the LORD your God. My people will never again be disgraced like this.

He speaks through fleeces and lots
  • Judges 6:36-40
    37 prove it to me in this way. I will put some wool on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised."
  • Acts 1:26
    Then they cast lots, and in this way Matthias was chosen and became an apostle with the other eleven
He speaks through physical manifestation in our bodies
  • Luke 8:45-46
    45 "Who touched me?" Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, "Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you."
    46 But Jesus told him, "No, someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me."
He speaks through dreams, vision and trances
  • Job 33:13-18
    15 He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in bed. 16 He whispers in their ear and terrifies them with his warning.
  • Numbers 12:6
    And the LORD said to them, "Now listen to me! Even with prophets, I the LORD communicate by visions and dreams.
  • Acts 22:17-18
    17 "One day after I returned to Jerusalem, I was praying in the Temple, and I fell into a trance. 18 I saw a vision of Jesus saying to me, `Hurry! Leave Jerusalem, for the people here won't believe you when you give them your testimony about me.'
  • Acts 10:9-10
    9 The next day as Cornelius's messengers were nearing the city, Peter went up to the flat roof to pray. It was about noon, 10 and he was hungry. But while lunch was being prepared, he fell into a trance.

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