Learning to Hear God's Voice

Judd Drake

March 21, 2010

Today, we're going to continue in the series on Learning to Hear God's Voice.  We're going to look specifically at how God talks to you.  When we talk about people listening to God and God talking to people, many people think this is something very mystical, like it's something unusual or extraordinary that God talks to people.  But the fact is, He does it all the time. 

A number of years ago there was a Time magazine that came out with a headline that said, "God is dead".  The next day the reporters lined up at Billy Graham's home and said, "Is God dead, Dr. Graham?"  He said "Are you kidding?  I just talked to Him."  Any of us can talk to God and God wants to talk to you.  The Bible says that God wired you up in order to talk to you, that He created you with the ability to tune into Him, to hear Him, to listen to Him, and to talk back to Him.  It's nothing unusual. All of us can do it.

Job 33:14 "God does speak, sometimes one way and sometimes another, even though people may not understand it."  He's saying the problem is not that God isn't talking.  The problem is our perception.  Sometimes we're just not tuned in.  God wants to communicate with you because you can't have a relationship without communication.  God wants to have a relationship with you.  He wants to talk to you.  He's created you with that capacity to hear His voice. 


God is not limited to any single way.  There are many, many ways. That's why this series is talking about the many different ways that God talks to us.  The Bible has some really spectacular ways.  I would have been shocked by some of them.  God spoke once through a burning bush.  God spoke one time through a cloud.  He often spoke through angels.  One time He spoke through a pillar of fire.  Another He even spoke to Balaam through a donkey. 

Today we're going to identify the four most common ways that God speaks to us.  Honestly, more effective than me explaining it to you is for you to hear a story that illustrates all four of these.  But first let me identify the ways. 

1.   GOD SPEAKS THROUGH THE BIBLE.   This is the number one way God speaks. 

2 Timothy 3:16 "The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and make us realize what is wrong in our lives.  It is God's way of making us well prepared at every point."  Notice it says God's way of talking to us first is through His Bible.  The Bible is not just a good collection of wonderful thoughts and ideas of men, just a nice inspired collection.  Circle "by inspiration".  The word literally means in Greek, "God breathed."  That means that the Bible is absolutely reliable.  There is no other book in the world that is reliable like this book.  It can be counted on.  It will guide you.  It will correct you.  It will comfort you.  It will help you.  But if you don't ever get in it, how can God talk to you?  This is why it's so important to have a daily quiet time where you set down for 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes -- it doesn't matter the amount of time -- and you talk to God in prayer and you let God talk to you through His word.  If you're not doing that on a daily basis, you're missing the number one way God wants to talk to you. 

Someone says, "God never talks to me."  Are you in the Bible every day?  This is how He wants to speak to you.  If you're not reading the Bible, your phone is off the hook.  He's getting the busy signal and He can't get through to you. 

A couple months ago I bought a new car.  When I did, they gave me in the glove compartment, an owner's manual.  That is the designer's original intent for the car.  If I read that owners’ manual and follow what it says, my car is going to last a whole lot longer.  It teaches me how to keep from putting my car under stress. 

That's what the Bible does.  Why many of you are under stress is because you don't know what's in here and you're not following what it says to do.  So you're stressed out.  This is the owner's manual for life.  When in doubt, consult the manual.  God speaks through His word.


He puts ideas in our minds.  When God puts an idea in your mind we call that inspiration.  "I was inspired.  I got a creative idea."  Where do you think that creative idea came from?  It came from the creator!  God is the creator.  When you are being creative you're being most like God.  We're made in God's image. God's the creator, human beings have the ability to be creative. When God puts an idea in your mind we call it an inspiration. When the devil puts an idea in your mind we call that a temptation.  So He's trying to speak to you.

John 14:26 "The Holy Spirit will be your teacher and will bring to your mind [circle this] all that I have said to you."  "Bring to your mind" means He gives us impressions.  He gives us ideas. He gives us hunches.  He gives us these gut feelings.  God often does this.  Some of your most brilliant ideas weren't yours. They were God's.  God was giving them to you.  A brilliant business idea, a brilliant family idea, a brilliant relational idea, a brilliant financial idea.  Where do you think you got some of those ideas?  God, who loves you, who cares about you, who infinitely interested in all the details of your life.  It didn't feel like God because it's so natural.  You were made to receive ideas from God.  A lot of the things you think up, you're just not that smart either.  God gives you those ideas. 

There are two extremes you need avoid when thinking about impressions:  one is the rationalist, the other is the mystic.

          The rationalist denies that God ever speaks to us through the mind.  He says God only speaks through the Bible and never gives you any impressions. 

          The mystic thinks that every impression they get is from God.  That's obviously wrong too. 

I feel sorry for both of these extremes.  The rationalist, who thinks "God never gives m an idea" misses out on God's counsel, God's comfort, God's care, God's concern, God's challenges and guidance in the ways of life.  They miss it all.  On the other hand, the mystic who thinks that every impression they get is from God tends to make a lot of stupid mistakes and they embarrass themselves.  They say, "God told me to do this," and then they go bankrupt.  What happened?  You missed God.  Both extremes are wrong. 

You look on TV at some of these people getting all these weird ideas and you tend to be skeptical of this.  You hear these people say, "There's somebody out there in the audience supposed to give me a million dollars."  Sure, I've had that vision too, many times!  Never let a religious nut keep you from experiencing the real thing. 

Any time you find something counterfeit, that is evidence that there is a real thing somewhere.  Have you ever seen a counterfeit three dollar bill?  No, because there's no such thing as a real three dollar bill.  Wherever you find counterfeit that means there must be something genuine somewhere.  Wherever you find false teachers that means there are true gifted teachers. Wherever you find false leaders, there are also genuine Christian spiritual leaders.  Wherever you find false prophets, that means there are also real prophets.  The existence of something phony, fake, counterfeit implies there must be something real.  Satan does not counterfeit anything that doesn't exist.  He's just trying to throw people off track. 


Are you acquainted with this way?  We don't change when we see the light.  We change when we feel the heat.  None of us really like to change and so we fear what it might do to us.  We fear change and we don't change until the pain becomes greater than the fear of change.  Once the pain is greater than the fear, we change.  God is so interested in speaking to you and so interested in having a personal relationship with you and loving you and you loving Him and being able to talk about everything, He will even resort to this in order to get your attention. 

Proverbs 20:30 "Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways."  Everyone of you know this one by experience.  Not all pain is God speaking to you.  Not every little hurt, ache, and pain that you have is God.  But some of it is.  And God often has to use pain in order to slow us down to get our attention. 

"I used to wander off until you punished me; now I closely follow all you say.  The punishment you gave me was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to your laws." 

Pain gets our attention.  It's God's hearing aid. God whispers to us in our pleasures.  But He shouts to us in our pain.  Pain is God's megaphone.  When you're hurting God is saying, "Hey!  There's somebody here who wants to help!  You can depend on Me.  I'll help you through that tough time if you'll just let Me."  Pain is God's way, often, of getting your attention. 

That's what this church is all about, teaching people to hear God speak.  When you hear God speak, really, in your heart, you are changed.  Nobody can have their life turned around so radically for the good unless you get a power greater than yourself in you to do it and develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.




Irwinton Toomsboro Salem United Methodist Charge
104 Brookwood Dr. . PO. Box 364 Irwinton, GA 30142
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