29 March 2015

"STEPS TO HEARING GOD'S VOICE"


By Bonnie Roof

God wants to fellowship and communicate with us, however, it must be a 2-way communication: He talks, we listen - we talk, He listens. How do we get to know a person?? By communicating with them, talking and listening: John 10:27. God sent Jesus to take our place and die for us- because He loves us that much and wanted us to have fellowship with Him again.

There are other voices whispering in our ears as well - the voice of satan, and the voice of our own fleshly desires. However, in John 10:4b, 5, we are told: "and the sheep follow Him because they know His voice. They will never [on any account] follow a stranger, but will run away from him because they do not know the voice of strangers or recognize their call", (Amplified).It takes time to learn to discern God's voice, it also takes a humble heart: Jeremiah 29:12-13. Hebrews 5:14 tells us we can train our ear, by practicing, to recognize the voice of God above the other voices. We can have confidence that we will hear His voice through His Spirit: Romans 8:14, and we can hear His voice, but we must be careful - especially when a young Christian - that we confirm we're following the Holy Spirit, and not another voice. Satan is the great deceiver, and our own flesh can mislead (especially when we are under pressure or want something badly).

Life is full of choices, how do we know we are making the right decisions?? Proverbs 16:3 describes the way our intentions and thoughts lineup with God's will when we submit ourselves fully to the Lord. How can we know whether we're hearing the voice of God?? As we humbly seek Him, He leads us: Proverbs 3:5-6. The Bible gives 7 points on which each possible leading should be based - we are to examine the thoughts and intentions of our hearts, and the words of godly people who influence us by their words and actions; through the use of these 7 points:
(1) The Holy Spirit speaking to our heart: Hebrews 8:10-11
(2) Godly counsel: Proverbs 11:14
(3) Circumstances/Timing: Acts 18:1-3
(4) Confirmation: Matthew 18:16
(5) Scripture: 11 Timothy 3:16-17
(6) The Peace of God: Colossians 3:15
(7) The Prophetic (word of knowledge, word of wisdom, personal prophecy): 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

Many times, the Lord will confirm His direction to us through more than one of these points, especially when we are in the process of making important, life-changing decisions. As we humble ourselves before God, seek His guidance, He will be faithful to lead us, "in paths of righteousness for His name's sake", Psalm 23:3.

Please share your testimony of how you have grown to know the voice of God, or leave another comment - for your opportunity to win this week's giveaway!! 



36 comments:

  1. What a great post Bonnie! I love the Scripture verses you included.

    When I was working I always prayed for God's leading/direction on changing jobs and what job He wanted me to have at that time. Even though I don't work now, I still rely on Him for direction in my life.

    Blessings,Tina

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    1. Thank you, Tina!! Seeking God's leading re: employment is the only way to know that we're where He wants us to be and reaching those people in the workplace He would have us reach, isn't it?? As with you, I am no longer employed, however, continually seek His direction - in all things, large or small. I appreciate your comments, Tina!!

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  2. This is the way, walk ye in it... by being attuned to His still small voice ~ one example, is yesterday I posted this:

    I have read this Scripture in two different unexpected places today ~ take note:

    He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
    --Micah 6:8

    Or an urgent not-so-still voice ~ DO IT! Our Lord loves us so much and speaks to our inner heart through His Word, through the Holy Spirit, through another person who has no idea this is God's Word for you today exactly where you are. His peace will prevail. No peace? Stand still and wait upon Him. His Word is always True. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

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    1. Amen, Kathleen, on each of your comments!! He speaks to us in so many different ways, doesn't He, and is the answer to having peace. Looks like He was sending us each a message on the same subject yesterday, LOL!! Thanks for your insightful comments!!

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  3. Bonnie, thank you so much for this wonderful post. This is an area that I struggle in. My prayer is that He would drown out ALL voices that are not His.

    Happy Palm Sunday!

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    1. You're welcome, Caryl!! We should all pray that prayer. I think we all may struggle at some time, especially, when making life-changing decisions and/or in serious situations. Satan loves to draw us away from God - he can speak loudly and stir up much trouble, if we haven't learned to hear and heed God's voice. Happy Palm Sunday to you, as well - thanks for stopping by!!

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  4. Bonnie
    An absolutely God-sent wonderful post God's light truly shining through you in it.
    Chris

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    1. You are such an encourager, Chris - thank you so much!! His light shines, brightly, through you, also - my friend!! My prayer is always that God will use me to touch others. Thanks for your comments!!

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  5. Thank you, BONNIE, for such an awesome post! I was at a church service some yrs. ago and I felt like God was speaking to me to tell the man behind me that God loved him. I didn't know anything about the man's life. He was clean and nicely dressed. It was during the worship music and I thought, "What will people think if I turn around and whisper to this man?" I also thought it wasn't a very profound word of knowledge. After all, everyone knows that God loves everybody. I felt like I was going to burst, so finally I turned around and motioned for the man to lean forward a bit and I told him that God told me to tell him that he loves him very much, and I then turned back around. I felt a tap and turned around and the man whispered to me that I didn't know how much he needed to hear that and he thanked me. I never spoke to the man again after that.

    What I didn't know was that the man had placed a suicide note at my pastor's house (the pastor told me this himself) right before that church service. He didn't take his life! I have goose bumps right now. What if I had not obeyed that small voice? I shudder to think...

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    1. Oh, Diana - that brought tears to my eyes!! I'm so glad that you found out the story behind what God asked you to do. It offered encouragement to you, and reinforced your faith in doing those things God asks you to do, large or small - and also inspired a man to change his life. There are often times when God asks us to do things that we don't understand, or even feel embarrassed to do. He accomplished so much through what may have seemed like a small, insignificant request - just envision what He can do through the large requests, if we are bold enough to trust His leading!! I think God allowed you to know the situation behind this story, not only as an encouragement - but a blessing, as well, for your faithfulness to Him. Thanks for this beautiful story!!

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    2. I have goose bumps reading about that Diana! What a wonderful testimony of God's intervention and love!!

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    3. Thank you, BONNIE and NOELA. I was also in tears and goose bumps typing this out -- remembering God's love not only to this man, but to me as well!

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    4. I feel that is a confirmation and blessing from God when we are so moved by remembering spiritual moments that happened to us years before. I was in tears today - remembering some of my own spiritual moments from 1996!!

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  6. Thank you, Bonnie, for the excellent blog post. I went through all the verses you cited and kept them for future reference. It is sure to come in handy at some point. I think it is particularly difficult for even a mature Christian, when God is telling us something contrary to our wishes. I had this experience 3 years ago. It was really difficult for me to do what God was asking, but I knew I had to do it.

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    1. So glad you found the scriptures inspiring, Kay. Yes, I agree that there are times when even a mature Christian finds it difficult to do what God asks of he/she. The scripture even tells us that being a Christian won't be easy, therefore - it's so important that we learn to recognize His voice and acquire the faith to follow His leading, as you did - we are also guaranteed that His way, no matter how hard, is always best for us, as He works all situations to our good. Thanks for commenting about your experiences.

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  7. Hi Bonnie! Thank you for this post. I really enjoyed it. For me, it's been a learning process of "not jumping the gun too quickly" when facing ANY decision in my life, which I have done a few times. The last two BIG decisions that I had to make (both within the last year), I laid at the feet of Jesus and said, "Lord, if this is what You want for me, open the door. If not, slam the door in my face." Both of those doors He graciously opened. But if they would've closed, that would have been fine, too, because I know that God knows best and only wants the best for me. Thanks again for your post! :)

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    1. Hi, Angi!! Such a good point - I've experienced "jumping the gun too quickly", in the past, also. When we are given an option of obtaining something that is our heart's desire, it becomes easier to assume that an affirmative decision is God's leading. However, as you said - we should first consult God in prayer, take time to consider all our options and the circumstances/possible results of any decisions considered, wait for His answer, and follow as He leads. Asking that doors be opened or closed is one way to determine God's will for us, as you said - God knows best and wants the best for us. Thank you, so much, for sharing with us, Angi!!

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  8. BONNIE what a wonderful post! I have found myself praying that my sons will learn at a young age to KNOW the voice of GOD, Now days there is so much that distracts us; especially young people with all the handheld gadgets, cell phones, and video game systems. Not saying it's all bad, it just seems to be something that satan uses. There have been many times GOD has spoken to me through the years and when that happens you HAVE to obey or you will be miserable. This past week while at chemo with Carlton there was a new lady there and she was so upset she was crying and wailing. The Lord told me to ask if I could pray with her, I didn't want to intrude but I HAD to get up and go over. I asked her caregiver if was ok to pray for them and she was very receptive and before we left she again thanked me. I'm not sure if it made a huge difference but I know from our standpoint it makes you feel good to know that someone cares enough to pray for you. :-)

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    1. I love that story, Teresa!! I'm sure your prayer did give that lady peace, you are a powerful prayer warrior and caring person - I'm glad you are able to discern His voice so that He can use you to help others!! Speaking as one whose fave things don't include needles/treatments/testing - other's prayers have meant the world to me when I was undergoing testing/treatments/surgeries for my bouts with cancer, and helped bring me peace.

      Yes, I agree that satan will use anything he can - to distract and take our eyes off God, and our ears from hearing God speak. Continued prayers for Carlton. Thank you for your beautiful comments!!

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  9. Hey, Bonnie, another stellar post, my friend, and one of my favorites because I am a bullet kind of gal who LOVES teaching steps and points, so BRAVO!!

    These are all crucial steps, but without question my favorite is #1, The Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts. My best example of this is when I was doing errands one Saturday close to my sister's neighborhood. Suddenly I had the most overpowering feeling to drive to her house. "No way," I said to myself, well aware my brother-in-law would be home, and the man couldn't stand me, I think because he may have been jealous of the close relationship my sister and I shared. Anyway, I disregarded the feeling and drove on, only to have it rise again, so strong I almost couldn't control the car.

    Next thing I know, I'm driving to her house, arguing with God, saying, "This is crazy, God, so you better tell me right now if this is You or not because the last thing I want to do is butt heads with my BIL. Silence. And yet the driving need to go to my sister's house remained, so I followed it through, grumbling all the way. UNTIL I stopped at the stop sign right before her street, when I heard that still small voice say, "She will be crying."

    WHOA ... now I REALLLLLY didn't want to go, but I did anyway, pulling into her driveway with a roiling stomach. When I rang the doorbell, my BIL answered and never said hello, smiled, opened the door, nothing -- simply turned and walked away. A few minutes later, my sister came to the door with her face all tear-stained and swollen. "Do you want to go for a drive?" I asked, and she nodded and followed me out to the car. We drove around for a while while she cried and told me about the awful fight that they had. Then we parked and sat in a church parking lot for two hours, where I was able to lead her to a personal relationship with Jesus. From that moment on, I give more heed and prayer to those strong leadings from the Holy Spirit, never knowing what God has in store. :)

    HUGS!!
    Julie

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    1. Oh, Julie - thank you, my fave is #1, also. I always love reading about your personal experiences because I know you have such a deep relationship with God, He speaks to you continuously and clearly. One of the reasons I love your novels/novellas so much: I know He directs every word you write.

      The thing that impressed me about all 3 stories - yours, Diana's, and Teresa's - you knew God's voice and heeded His request without understanding the reason. Because: (1) you know the way to true happiness is through being in His will, (2) He has promised to work ALL things to our good, large or small. Who knows how many more suicides could be aborted, people comforted with peace found through prayer offered on their behalf, and people drawn to a personal relationship with Jesus - if we all could learn to discern His voice and follow His leading!!

      Hugs back, my dear friend!!

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  10. Wow, what a wonderful and relevant post you've written Bonnie!! I remember being a young Christian and struggling to figure out how to hear God's voice when often I was already... I just had to stop struggling and listen to that calm and sure voice of the Holy Spirit inside of me! I hear God's voice in all those ways you mentioned, but especially through the Holy Spirit and through the peace He gives.
    SO many amazing stories I could share with you but I'm inspired by Diana's testimony above so I'll share this: I came across a cry of defeat and distress from a casual friend on FB one evening. It bothered me but I thought others who knew this girl better would say something. Perhaps others that were in ministry that were her friends. But no one did and those that commented didn't see beyond her words. I was almost wringing my hands and thinking 'Who am I and what could I say to make a difference?' God would NOT let me rest and so I wrote to her on her FB comment. Soon I was counselling her to ring the emergency hotline which she did, praise God! I saw her sometime much later at church one day and she came running up to me crying and with a huge hug shared how she literally would have been dead if I had not reached out. She has since gone through Christian rehab and is now happy and thriving! I shudder to think if I had not listened to insistence of the Holy Spirit's voice. I love my God!!!

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    1. I hope Bonnie doesn't mind me going before her here, but I HAVE to get to bed. Busy day tomorrow! NOELA, your comment brought tears to my eyes and thank God you not only listened to His voice, but obeyed it! We can hear Him, but it's another thing to do what He says do. I'm so proud of you! That girl's life was forever changed!

      TERESA and JULIE, I'm proud of you two as well! Bonnie, this is a wonderful post! Thank YOU for obeying God and for sharing what God laid on your heart to say here to our viewers!

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    2. Amen, Diana!! Noela's experience is so moving!! I just love reading about everyone's experiences - they are so encouraging, show how much He truly loves each of us - orchestrating even the smallest of happenings in each of our lives. And what an honor that He allows us the blessings of being used to reach out to others and have a part in helping draw them closer to Him!! He, often - uses the, seemingly, insignificant things we do as a literal life or death experience in another's life. An absolutely amazing comprehension!! It's just as you said, Diana - it is wonderful to hear His voice, however, that is just the beginning - the blessing comes in having the boldness to step out and follow His leading.

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Noela!! I pray the day comes when we are all able to spend time together sharing our spiritual testimonies and experiences - in person!! I receive blessings in numerous ways in the writing of these posts: God speaks to me through the research, again in the comments left, and more importantly - in knowing that He has used me to speak to others!!

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  11. Bonnie, Thank you for this post. It causes me to stop and remember times when the Lord has so clearly impressed something upon my heart. I needed this in the chaotic order that is life right now. :)

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    1. I feel blessed that you found personal meaning in the post, Anne!! Yes, life can be hectic - we have to make it a point to be alert and receptive to God's voice, pause to hear Him speak, then follow through with His leading!! I appreciate your commenting!!

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  12. I always love your posts, Bonnie, and I am extra blessed because I get to read it first! Thanks so much for joining us on the blog, Bonnie!

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    1. I'm so thankful you enjoy the posts and feel blessed by them, Carrie!! I am blessed to be a part of OWG and thank you, and God, for the opportunity!! Hugs!!

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  13. Bonnie, I always feel so encouraged when I read your posts. If I am having a bad day reading an inspirational post from you always brings me back on track. I feel sunshine of happiness after reading your posts and I thank you for this !

    Deanne Cnnamongirl(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Oh, Deanne - thank you for those incredibly gracious, sweet comments!! Your words reinforce my only reason for doing the posts: to encourage and draw others closer to Him, through His leading. The blessings I receive from doing them, one of which are comments such as yours, are inspiring gifts He gives me in return!!

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  14. I always think that I hear God's word then it all goes wrong but I keep on trying and praying for him to guide me in the right direction. Thank you for this great post.

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    1. My dear Tammy, you are one of the many people for whom I wrote this post. I made so many wrong choices years ago - altho, many of mine were made because I wasn't seeking God's will for my life at that period of my life, I have also experienced misinterpreting another voice for that of God. It was necessary for me to form a deeper relationship with God, and follow the steps I listed above, in order to start hearing His voice - it now is very natural to me, however, it didn't happen overnight.

      As I mentioned above, it may become harder to discern His voice when the choice we need to make concerns something we truly want for ourselves - satan's voice and our own fleshly desires may intercede, those voices may seem even louder to us than that of God. The closer and deeper your relationship with God, the easier it becomes to hear His voice, it can come from any of the 7 sources mentioned above. Continuing to pray, read His Word, and seek counsel from godly people help also - we need to make sure we meditate and pause for His leading, it doesn't always come as quickly as we want - God has His own timing, however, you will have a peace if you are following His leading.

      I'm so glad you were transparent enough to leave your comments. Keep the scriptures I've posted close at hand and review them often - I'm saying a prayer that you will come to know the peace of hearing His voice and the joy experienced from following it!! Hugs!!

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  15. I always love your encouraging words and appreciate your posts, Bonnie. You are such a blessing!

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    1. Thank you so much, Britney - I'm inspired you find my posts encouraging, as I mentioned above - truly, the reason I do them is to encourage and shine God's light to others. Please know that you, also, are a blessing to all of us here at OWG, each of your blog readers, and each author whose books you share there!!

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  16. Thank you Bonnie for such a great post. This whole post was full of encouragement. I will write these scriptures down and study each one. have been sickish al day. Hoping tomorrow will be better. Love to be around all of you. Always feel better after hearing all of you. GOD bless you all my OWG girls. Just keep me in your prayers. Love you.
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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    1. My pleasure, Maxie, truly - I feel blessed you were encouraged!! I know you are experiencing some trials of your own, in addition to health issues - I'm glad that each of us here at OWG bring you joy with our posts. You always bring US joy with your encouraging comments, also!! Continued prayers for you, Maxie - love you, too!! Thanks for your comments!!

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