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Discussion Forum : General Topics : Hearing God's Voice

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Joined: 2006/9/28
Posts: 192
Washington DC area


I wanted to apologize if I gave the mistaken impression that hearing from God is some kind of mystical experience. It's far from mystical but more specific, like don't contend with your wife, do this, don't do this. There's simply a still small voice...

There's many examples in the scriptures. Here's one of my favorites from Acts 9...

10In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!" "Yes, Lord," he answered.

11The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight."

13"Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."

15But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."

17Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

Ed Pugh

 2008/5/28 11:59Profile

Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927


Dear death2self...

In this passage, the Spirit could have spoken audibly to Ananias. We have no evidence that it was something in the mind. I just wanted to put out to fellow believers there is really not any proof that the Lord is constantly speaking into our minds what to do.

The things like you said, "don't content with your wife", etc. are all Scriptural commands. We do not need any special revelation to know those things. I am simply contending that the Scripture has guidance for every single situation in life, and if it does not speak on a specific topic, then we have freedom to make godly decisions. I believe this is the only position that fully agrees with the Scripture being perfectly sufficient for the believer. It really has been a very liberating thing in my life and I hope has born much fruit since I understood the truth that the Bible is sufficient to guide me and I don't have to be tormented by wondering if the voice in my head is God or not.

Grace to you.

Taylor Otwell

 2008/5/28 12:22Profile

Joined: 2005/12/16
Posts: 54

 Re: Hearing God's Voice


And there is nothing wrong with your question, as long as it’s in the perfect will of God that you ask. When our thoughts get the best of us, and we find ourselves struggling to hear the Voice of God, same as your, hearing gods voice/this is the time when you gather all of your thoughts unto the obedience of Jesus Christ.

Every thought that tries to rise up against the knowledge of God’s word is held captive unto the obedience of Jesus Christ.

Gideon was a man or war, as God is a man of War. Gideon was smart enough to know that he needed confirmation before pursing his triumphant victory. God gave him his confirmation twice. (sorry only because you used Gideon as an ex.)

Moses was a man that needed to know if God would accompany him. Moses felt inadequate yet God told him that he would be his mouth piece, and gave him a staff -- Many miracles were accomplished with that staff, several signs and wonders for the unbelieving.

What can you possibly tell God that he does not already know or should I say that he has always known.

God is looking at your heart and your willingness to submit to him. Obedience is better than sacrifice.

• Your struggles God already knows them
• Your failures God already knows them
• Your weaknesses God already knows them
• Your past history God already knows them

When Moses was having communion with God, he told him that he wanted to see his face, the Lord/Jehovah told him that no one could see his face, so instead he passed by him and Moses discerned his glory. Why did Moses discern his glory? He discerned his glory because he walked in the fear of the Lord/Jehovah, and he knew that there was nothing that could possibly be hidden from Jehovah.

When the Israelites were freed from Egypt, they desired to have communion with God, as Moses did, why should, they be excluded. God granted them there wish, but as soon as they heard his voice they feared him, and said No! Moses you speak to God, and then convey it to us.

It is the Glory of God the Lord / Jehovah you should be pursing not his audible voice.

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever more, he does not change. Yet he requires us to change, he who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying.

 2008/5/28 12:37Profile

Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927


Here is a portion from Jonathan Edwards...

"And if persons have the will of God concerning their actions, suggested to them by some text of Scripture, suddenly and extraordinarily brought to their minds, which text, as the words lay in the Bible before they came to their minds, related to the action and behavior of some other person, but they suppose, as God sent the words to them, he intended something further by them, and meant such a particular action of theirs; I say, if persons
should have the will of God thus suggested to them with texts of Scripture, it alters not the case. The suggestion being accompanied with an apt text of Scripture, does not make the suggestion to be the nature of spiritual instruction. As for instance, if a person in New England, on some occasion, were at a loss whether it was his duty to go into some popish or heathenish land, where he was like to be exposed to many difficulties and dangers, and should pray to God that he would show him the way of his duty; and after earnest prayer, should have those words which God spake to Jacob, Gen. 46, suddenly and extraordinarily brought to his mind, as if they were spoken to him; "Fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will go with thee; and I will also surely bring you up again." In which words, though as they lay in the Bible before they came to his mind, they related only to Jacob, and his behavior; yet he supposes that God has a further meaning, as they were brought and applied to him; that thus they are to be understood in a new sense, that by Egypt is to be understood this particular country he has in his mind, and that the action intended is his going thither, and that the meaning of the promise is, that God would bring him back into New England again. There is nothing of the nature of a spiritual or gracious leading of the Spirit in this; for there is nothing of the nature of spiritual understanding in it. Thus to understand texts of Scripture, is not to have a spiritual understanding of them. Spiritually to understand the Scriptures, is rightly to understand what is in the Scripture, and what was in it before it was understood: it is to understand rightly, what used to be contained in the meaning of it, and not the making of a new meaning...This making a new meaning to the Scripture, is the same thing as making a new Scripture; it is properly adding to the word, which is threatened with so dreadful a curse."

Taylor Otwell

 2008/5/28 13:07Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7421

 Re: Hearing God's Voice


I would suggest you ask the LORD to teach you to recognize his voice when he speaks to you. I would think we would all agree He will not tell you to do something contrary to the Word of God, but what you are interested in is in the everyday things of life which calls for a decision and you are at a loss to know which way to go.

I have learned also that the LORD will often tell you to do something that defies logic - at the moment. When you do the logical thing, you will discover later you should have followed that still small voice instead.

The short of the long is to simply ask the LORD to be taught by Him and mean it when you ask and be willing to follow through with obedience. Disobedience is the greatest hinderance to experiencing the Spirit-filled life. Actually, the scriptures calls it sin.


Sandra Miller

 2008/5/28 19:44Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA


Act 15:28 For it [b]seemed[/b] good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

Acts 15:28 also says nothing regarding thoughts implanted in the mind.

Why 'seemed' then? Why not specific? If it seemed good to the Holy Ghost was He then just a part of a consortium of opinion? Brother, I think you are going too far the other way with all this.

I certainly agree there is far too much in this day and age of the idea, as you put it;

To claim that God is constantly speaking things into your mind ...

But I do not see anyone here suggesting that and noticed you have mentioned more than once, the idea of 'constantly' speaking\hearing.

John 14:26 is a promise directly to the Apostles who would go on to write canonical Scripture breathed by the Holy Spirit in which they recalled what the Lord Jesus said and did. This is not a promise to every believer.

What does 'breathed' mean? Think of it another way. If there is no internal dynamic, a "speaking" if you will then what is the need for the Holy Spirit, why not just the recalling of what the Lord said and did? Or just dictation from audible speaking?

Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Which voice? Audible? Interesting the way the Lord puts this isn't it? We hear His voice and [i]He[/i] knows us, not that we hear His voice and [u]we[/u] know Him. There is something more penetrating than the reverberations of the eardrums going on here.

Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

What is this being "led" to mean? Do you realize the way you are presenting this is to basically extract the Holy Spirit completely, there is no need for Him to take this to the complete end you are heading.

Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

How? By ignoring His audible voice? What about prayer ... ?

Joh 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

How do you know you are born of the Spirit? Did the Lord speak to you audibly? Or just because you read and believed the scriptures ... See where this can go just the other direction, do we not have an abundance of those who have done this very thing (saying the sinners prayer for instance) and yet have no internal evidence of a changed disposition. Certainly there must be this and it is enough ... if ... what? All the other conditions are met, repentance, forsaking of sin ...

What are we to do with;

Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Gal 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

"The Spirit of his Son into your hearts."

Also, I know all this talk about waiting on the Lord to tell you what to do sounds really a lot like the "old paths" and very pietistic; however, you would be suprised just how new a thing it is that this view is widely accepted by Christians.

Psa 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Mike Balog

 2008/5/28 22:20Profile

Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927

 Re: Pendulumitis

With regards to the purpose/need of the Holy Spirit if the Lord is not actively speaking into our thoughts to guide us...

I would suggest a good summary verse is Ezek 36:27.. "And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."

You are right, the Spirit does have a role in comforting and allowing the believer the take hold of Scripture promises. I would suggest one of the main roles of the Holy Spirit is in sanctification (also confer Phil 2:13).

Regarding Acts 15:28... James has just reasoned from the Scripture about what should happen. As I said before, there is no mention of a whisper in their minds. However, doubtless God guided them providentially by His grace; however, it doesn't appear they all sat in silence and waited on the Lord to speak into their thoughts. The Apostle reasoned from the Scripture.

I interpret John 10:27 as speaking of the elect's response to the Gospel proclamation. The Lord seems to be speaking about the converting effect the Gospel has on the elect (sheep). As the Gospel proclamation awakens them to repent and believe, they "hear His voice". Hence, the Pharisees do not hear His voice, because they are not His sheep.

Regarding Romans 8:14 - To be led by the Spirit is to live in such a way that you bring forth the fruit of the Spirit.

Regarding Ephesians 4:30 - Do not grieve the Spirit by sinning... not by ignoring whispers in your mind.

Regarding Galatians 4:6 - Yes, the Lord renews us and gives us a heart of flesh that we love God. This is the Spirit's work. This still does not speak of the Spirit's whisperin into our minds to guide our decision making.

Regarding Psalm 27:14 - I said "waiting on the Lord to tell you what to do"... I believe the Scriptures tell us what to do and is perfectly sufficient to guide our every decision. This verse does not speak of waiting for the Lord to whisper into your mind what to do given a specific situation... I offer John Gill's exposition of the verse:

Ver. 14. Wait on the Lord,.... This, with what follows, is spoken by the psalmist either to himself or to others, or it may be to both, upon the rich experience he declares in Ps 27:13: it becomes believers to wait on the Lord for the common blessings of life, for even the eyes of all wait upon him for their daily food; and for the light of his countenance, when it is withdrawn from them, for he will return again at the set time; and for answers of prayer, which will be given sooner or later; and for the performance of his promises, which are yea and amen in Christ: they should wait upon him in his house and ordinances constantly, with reverence and godly fear; they should wait upon him as servants on their masters, observe his orders, and diligently execute them; and, as beggars for their alms, they should knock and wait at Wisdom's gates, tell their case and wait, take repulses and wait, and, when they succeed, give thanks. It is good to wait upon the Lord; many are the favours and blessings such receive now, and eye has not seen what God has prepared for them that wait for him;


I would just ask all that follow the view that we are guided by having God whisper into our minds and hearts what to do answer this question: Is the Bible sufficient to guide you? As far as I can tell, your answer would have to be "no".

Thanks for interacting on this issue, brother. I pray that we both can learn by examining the Scripture!

Grace to you.

Taylor Otwell

 2008/5/28 23:39Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Hearing God's Voice

Hi Griffo,

This might be helpful ...


[i]"He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."[/i]

In recent months, I have tried to say to God’s people, when you come across very crucial words in the Scripture, don’t turn to Webster’s dictionary for your definition. The dictionary simply gives you the most prevailing use of that term in our society. When you find a word in the Scriptures, you need to let the Scriptures tell you what that means. That is true about meditation.

The first psalm says,

[i]Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers.But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.[/i]
--Psalm 1:1-3 NIV

Scripture is wonderful, if you meditate on it. Our problem is we read without meditation. Your life will never be anchored like a tree without meditation. Some say, "I’ve read through the Bible at least once every year."Well, that’s wonderful, but your life will not be anchored by a river of living water until you stop and meditate on God’s Word.

It’s the one who meditates on God’s Word day and night who becomes like a tree planted by the rivers of water. So, you really need to know what meditating is. Now, in our generation, we talk about transcendental editation. On television we can see the stereotypical meditator, eyes closed, mumbling the same phrase over and over. That’s not biblical meditation at all.

Let me tell you my own definition of meditation. Meditation is that moment when God confronts you with the truth about Himself. It is that moment when you go into the presence of God and let God discuss it with you until you know exactly how to respond to Him, however long it takes.

The Psalms hold a wealth of truth to meditate upon, for instance, Psalm 23. When you read, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing," hopefully, you can realize that to meditate on this wonderful psalm does not mean to bring your thinking into play. It means to let God bring His understanding to you, His relationship to you. You cannot, by thinking, understand the ways of God.

By relationship, God enters your mind and your heart, and suddenly, there is an expansion from the Scripture of what it means for the Lord to be your shepherd. As you move through the psalm, you will stop at the word, "Lord." All of a sudden, if you have a great deal of Scripture that has washed over your mind and heart, those Scriptures will come back to remind you about what it means for God to be your Lord.

Whether the pain is heavy, the mind is bewildered, or the heart has been pierced, right now, He is your Lord. You could stop and say, "I’ve heard the testimony of many others who told me about how the Lord has been real to them. But, right now, Lord, you are telling me that everything You have ever been to anyone else, You are to me, now."

As you move through those thoughts, let the Lord confirm them. Let the Lord enlarge that discovery with wonderful Scriptures. As you meditate on those phrases from Psalm 1, you may suddenly sense that you are in one of the biggest storms that has ever worked itself against you, your marriage, and your family. Those verses alone may be the comfort brought to you by the Holy Spirit, whose assignment it is to teach you all things, to guide you into all truth, and to bring back to your remembrance things God has said to you.

Then your mind comes to the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Peter was a fisherman, and if there were anybody who would know the magnitude of a storm, it would be a fisherman. I grew up in a fishing village and am very, very much aware of the storms that have taken many of my friends’ fathers in the middle of the night.

It was Peter the fisherman who said, "Master! Do you not know that we perish?" And what did the Lord say? "Why is your heart so full of fear?" Jesus stood and stilled the entire storm with one word. As you meditate, the Spirit of the Lord will say, "See that? See that storm? You think you have a storm! Where is your Lord?"

The Scripture says if the Lord is in your little boat, then you are as safe as He is safe. That storm won’t take you and leave the Master in the back of the boat. If the Master’s in your little boat, in your family, in your workplace,you are as safe as He is. Then, you can sense the Master Himself saying,"Why did you let your heart grow so concerned? Let me speak a word to your situation." And, He speaks a word, and everything calms. You find yourself on the other side of the storm. I have been there. I have watched Him do it.

That is meditation. That is letting God bring you to a passage of Scripture and then Him letting you sort of sit with Him to discuss that truth about Himself and bring it home to you and your situation.

[url=]Henry Blackaby[/url]

Another resource that I recall now;

Mike Balog

 2008/5/29 6:53Profile

 Re: Pendulumitis: Has the Holy Spirit vacated?

Mike; I liked your post and think it's important for the body not to settle for second best. "The letter killeth, but the Spirit gives life!"

The Spirit and the Word agree, and the Word is of course paramount in our walk, throughout the Earth; Yet without the Spirit dwelling inside the actions of the Word, you have death.

The pharisees were masters of this hateful illusion. They confronted Jesus at every turn, throwing the letter at Jesus, in a similar fashion that Satan himself did in his desert temptations of the Messiah, hoping He would trip. They did not know that the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Him, which included the fullness of God's expression, both in the Spirit and the Word.

One does not exist, without the other. You cannot possess half of the Heart of God.

I think of Solomon, in the building of the great Temple, Where, I might point out, the Lord himself was present.

He constructed the great pillars of the house, and named them..

Jachin: God Establishes;.... "His Word will not return unto Him void!"

Boaz:..In Yahweh is strength...."Not by power, not by might, but by my Spirit!", says the Lord!.

The Word and the Spirit agree.

The doctrine of cessation [including the arm that states that God no longer speaks or anoints His giftings today; now,] grieves me. It leads to lifelessness and coldness in the heart.

Grieve not the Holy Spirit of PROMISE in which you were sealed unto the day of redemption. How long do we honor him? When do we believe He no longer is alive in us, and thereby mute? "He that has an ear, let him hear what The Spirit is saying to the Churches!"

Without the living Spirit of Christ convicting us of sin, righteousness and Justice, and our submission to Him, we are not Christians, but only have a form of a beautiful but abandoned seashell on the sand.

Seashells cannot hear.

 2008/5/29 12:37

Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927


Dear brothers,

I have yet to see anyone explain straight from the Scripture that the Holy Spirit whispers into our minds what decisions we should make in a given situation.

I am not saying that there is no role of the Holy Spirit, I am just asserting the fact that the majority view of the Holy Spirit as our decision making assistant is not as warranted in the Scripture as people make it out to be.

The Spirit is alive and dwells within us... just not as our personal decision maker. The Spirit illuminates the Word, applies it to our hearts, sanctifies us, comforts us by applying Scripture promises, etc... but I find no warrant in the Bible that the Spirit tells us what to do via implanted thoughts/feelings.

As far as not holding to this view producing cold, lifeless religion; that plainly contradicts Christian history... for example: Jonathan Edwards, David Brainerd, Matthew Henry, John Gill, and a host of other saints of old.

Those who disagree, I would ask what Paul means in these verses:

16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

"That the man of God may be perfect"... that seems to say that the Scripture is sufficient enough to guide me in every decision I face.

Taylor Otwell

 2008/5/29 21:55Profile

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