How to Hear God’s Voice and Not Your Own (or Others’)

i hear voicesHow do I know it’s GOD speaking, and not ME speaking? How do I know it’s the voice of GOD, and not the voice of the enemy? These are valid questions because 2 Corinthians 11:14 says, “…Satan disguises himself as an angel of light…” which means it will sometimes be difficult to discern between the voice of God and the voice of Satan.

In John 10:4 & 5, Jesus says His sheep know His voice, and they follow Him, but they also do NOT follow the stranger and run away from him because they do NOT know the stranger’s voice. That means, it’s not enough just to know the Shepherd’s voice, but we must also be unacquainted with the voice of the enemy!

Adam and Eve spent time hearing God’s voice in face-to-face encounters, but it wasn’t enough just knowing what God said. Adam and Eve knew God’s words, but they entertained the enemy! Likewise, our Bible helps us to know what God said! But it’s NOT enough to just know your Word. You have to defamiliarize yourself with the voice of the enemy!

2min 30 second VIDEO with brief story:

Christ Didn’t JUST Come Down; He Moved In

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood…” ~John 1:14 (MSG). Think of a neighborhood you’ve wanted to move out of or wouldn’t want to move into. He didn’t just come to clean us up; He desires to dwell with us, long-term. The God of the universe moved into the middle of the mess we made for ourselves. That’s commitment. That’s love. {Lev. 26:11-12; 2 Cor. 6:16; Rev. 21:3}

LIVE the Word

Hebrews 4:12 – For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…

I’ve had a few interactions this week regarding God’s Word and how it’s manifested in our lives. The conversations have basically centered on seeing God’s promises fulfilled. One question raised, was “What about when we DON’T see His Word being manifest in our lives?” Well, I can tell you relevant things I believe about God, like that His Word does not return to Him void, but it accomplishes the purpose for which it was sent (Hebrews 4:12). I can give a litany of biblical facts that would still require only our belief. However, I have another idea: let’s actively LIVE the Word, instead of passively waiting for it to cloak us.

Shall we not be doers of the Word, and not hearers only (James 1:22)? Instead of looking for the promises we want GOD to fulfill, consider how WE can manifest God’s Word, daily! We can bless the Lord at ALL times and let His praise continually be in our mouths (Psalm 34:1). We can comfort others with the same comfort with which we have been comforted (2 Corinthians 1:4). We can rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). We can go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations(Matthew28:19)The list could go on, but you get the point. Live by the Word and LIVE. THE. WORD!

While we may feel broken and want to see God fulfill the promise that by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24), we should also want to see James 5: 16 manifested in our lives – that we should confess our faults one to another that we might be healed. We must consider that our present trials are also an indicator of God’s Word being manifest in our lives – that in this world we WILL have tribulation, but hallelujah for the remainder of that text. We can be of good cheer, because He’s overcome the world (John 16:33)! So even when we don’t see all of the promises of God fulfilled, let us find hope in what we do see, and persevere in our petitions.

Continue faithfully petitioning our Father as Jesus admonishes us to do in Luke 18:1-8. He gives a parable of a woman repeatedly pleading her case before a Godless judge who eventually grants her request because he’s had enough of her, and how much more will God answer His children, whom He loves, who cry out to Him day and night. In conclusion, He asks when He returns, “Will He find faith?” Will WE be faithful? Will we persevere in praying and praising, persevere in His Word when we don’t see His way? I’ll leave you with a declaration that has become a daily mantra of mine:

I declare that all God’s promises I’ve yet to see fulfilled will find me expectantly waiting and ever worshiping! For ALL the promises of God are yes and amen. Worship while you wait!

John 17:17 – Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth

Broken for His Purpose

I was in a chat app with a few brilliant, beautiful souls with whom I shared what God has again been reminding me of lately: It probably seemed like forever between the time Joseph proclaimed the truths of his dream and when it finally came to pass. He found himself in a pit, was sold into slavery, and no doubt praised God for his time in Potiphar’s house. Maybe he even thought he was on the heels of realizing that dream, but then found himself wrongfully accused and imprisoned. He even had to watch as others were freed before him. But ultimately, God’s vision is for HIS appointed time, and if GOD says it, it WILL come to pass (Habakkuk 2:3)!

One awesome chat member questioned how we “Josephs” of today can avoid such perilous lessons and why God can’t just trust us without such hefty trials. My response was this: I don’t believe there’s ONE human being so trustworthy. God’s Word warns us that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it (Jeremiah 17:9)? To address our heart condition, the Word declares that silver is refined in the fire, but God uses the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10). However, assuming some of us are so upright that we would remain chaste without chastening, have we considered that our trials may be solely for the purpose of meeting someone else in the depth of their pain, used solely for the purpose of bringing someone else to Christ, solely for the purpose of bringing HIM glory? Maybe some things we go through JUST so that we can comfort others with the same comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted (2 Corinthians 1:4). As Pastor Burden recently illuminated for me, God cares more about His eternal purposes than your immediate deliverance. Sometimes what you’re going through is because God is looking for an occasion with someone (as He was with the Philistines through Samson; Judges 14:1-4).

Later I received a Words with Friends game board from a wonderful lady who thought I was someone who helped her after a life-changing car accident 7 years ago. The accident left her with numerous broken bones, bionic prostheses, and enduring pain from traumatic nerve damage. At the end of the day, her testimony is that she’s had an opportunity to be a witness of God’s sustaining power in places she’d have never been if God didn’t see fit to break her for His purpose. Her hospital roommate accepted Christ into her life before dying, and while she wishes she were still able to ski, but can’t because of the accident, she swims instead and has worshiped and prayed poolside with Christians, Jews, Muslims, you name it! How would they have known, if she had not been sent, if God had not seen fit to break her for His purposes (Romans 10:14)?

To sum things up, when you find yourself wondering, “Why me?” or “Why this?” Consider the beauty of being broken for His glory! I don’t know what my new friend’s body must be like, given the crushed bones and mangled nerves, but I do know others are grateful for her beautiful feet, which are precious because she’s carrying the gospel wherever she goes.

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

~Romans 10:15

HIS purpose for your life may bring pain, but will remove stain.

HIS purpose for your life may bring pain, but will remove stain.