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Joined: 2005/5/9
Posts: 14

 Hearing God's Voice

I expect this subject has been raised before and apologies if it has but....

How can I know God's voice? In particular, how can I distinguish between God's voice and my own thoughts.

Let me explain what I mean. A few times I have felt that I should pursue a particular course of action. It is a course of action that I am reluctant to follow. However, the thought persists. I would say that it is insistent to the point of dominating my mind e.g. in worship. I pray the Gideon type prayers (Lord, if you want me to do this then bring the issue up in conversation etc) but nothing happens. I then go to church and there is a prophecy about taking burdens on to yourself that the Lord has not given. I respond and am liberated to worship. However, the next week the preacher says something that makes me think the opposite.

Now, how can I know if this really is the voice of God or not? I would really love to clear this up so that I can move on.

 2008/5/27 10:14Profile

Joined: 2007/11/3
Posts: 2
Fort Wayne, IN

 Re: Hearing God's Voice

You have asked a very good question - I don't know all the answers, but here are some aspects that may help:

1. Is what you are feeling biblical? (if it's not, then it is clearly not of God.)

2. Is it presented in a confusing or condemning manner? - often this also can be an indication that it is not from the Lord.

3. On the other hand, God often has us do things that we don't want to do, or that don't make sense, so that we learn, besides other things, to trust only and completely on Him. He can be very persistant, and to many people that in itself is a sign of God's hand. I would advise getting alone before God and seeing if the thoughts continue to bug you. I know this may be controversial for some people, but if you resist the devil, he will flee from you (Jas 4:7
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."). Once you have resisted him in Jesus' name, and the thoughts still come back, then it is probably from the Lord. When I have had experiences like you have explained, I will often ask God to show me if it is really from Him by letting me positively know that He is the one speaking to me - and He does! God will help you to know if you are trully seeking the truth.

I hope this has made sense and is a help to you.

 2008/5/27 14:23Profile

Joined: 2008/4/7
Posts: 797

 Re: Hearing God's Voice

[u][b]What a wonderful opportunity for you to grow! [/b][/u]Discerning the will of God in your life in a particular issue. You probable know all the things below, but just to remind you these come to my mind:

1. God is not the author of confusion.

2. I understand seeking the counsel of many. Just remember that you will not be taking your pastor with you in your “new course of action” nor will he answer to God for your action.

3. In the seeking counsel department, consider sharing, off-line if need be, this new course of action (if it is too risky/public here). Or, with a mature believer that knows you, your past failings, your growth in Christ.

4. The certainty of a call is essential. Real Peace. The certainty of a call is a point in future prayer, as in, “Father, you said …” If God cannot get through to you clearly and directly now, what will be the case later? He knows you/your heart intension. He can show that to you. Satan only recognizes your flesh and Christ. Did God not reach you in salvation? He says, “Be still and know that I am God.” That is a good place to rest. You already have too many contradictory thoughts/graspings.

5. Examine your past “sticking points” with God. God can show you. A central lesson I learned is: [u][b]It is not until a man is dead that his goods can be dispersed. [/b][/u]

6. Some Saints say wait for three things, ALL THREE: Straight from His Word, perfect peace, and opening circumstances.

7. What is your prayer life like? When I am clear that I am seeking only to obey Him, every time I have been dispirit in prayer, regarding walking issues, I have heard from Him and it always corrects my perception, and the issue is settled immediately (a loving rebuke).

8. In reviewing your post, I notice that what you call “the Gideon type prayers” are either not that type or you are not hearing from God. He asked [u][b]twice and got the same answer[/b][/u]. I suppose that is why you are reaching out here. Consider the Blood of Christ in this situation.

9. We can pray that there be nothing between your Lord and you as you rest in #4.

10. [u][b]If you report how this works out, what you learn, you could help others.[/b][/u]

 2008/5/27 16:32Profile

Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991

 Re: Hearing God's Voice

If you have time you might want to listen to Erlo Stegen in this sermon, he gives scripture and expounds and shares some testimonies and the importance on knowing the Shepard's voice.

[url=]Learning to know the Shepard's voice by Erlo Stegen[/url]



 2008/5/27 16:38Profile

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


This is a tough question. I'm finding there are almost always three voices when faced with a decision or some other choice: the Holy Spirit, the Devil (or a demonic spirit) and my own spirit. How do I know which is which...

The Holy Spirit will never tell you something that's contrary to scripture. That's a good general rule. If I obey God's will, it won't make be somebody, it will likely be the opposite end because God can only provide grace to the humble of heart.

There's always a battle of will to twist what God wants into what I want or what I think that God should want rather than what He wants or what He requires. We have to come to a place where the cry of our heart is not my will, but thy will be done. That's oftentimes a place of great tears and brokenness of heart.

The best way to hear God's voice is to quickly obey Him when He asks you to do something (or not to do something, which is equally important). If you're slow to obey, he'll be slow to speak. It's not complicated but I oftentimes forget this simple concept.

The second question is do I have an agenda other than the kingdom of God? If the answer is yes, they'll be a mixture of self with God and it's gets very difficult to discern between the two. The only way out of this is for the self to die. This has been quite painful and I've often fought against this.

The third question to ask oneself is "Am I believing a lie of the devil?" He'll always portray God in a negative light. For example, when asked to fast by the Holy Spirit, he'll say that's not fair to fast one day or week or for a prolonged period. If he asks me to give something I don't want to give, than will I do it or say I'm not sure that was God and not do it.

That's the great fear of my heart, is that we simply ignore the Holy Spirit when He's not telling us what we want to hear. He has not been unkind to me but is very straight and honest with my heart...

Sorry I'm rambling but hope this helped a bit...

Ed Pugh

 2008/5/27 17:01Profile

Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927

 Re: Hearing God's Voice

I may be breaking from the usual crowd here...

But could you, or anyone else, please post a Biblical example of God leading someone by speaking to them in their thoughts/minds?

All of the examples in the Bible of God speaking to someone is either audible or visual. As far as I know, it is never clearly said to be via thoughts.

The Lord's Scripture is the perfect guide to His will. We have a responsibility to study His Scripture and make wise decisions. Sometimes the Lord gives freedom in an area, and that means we are free to make a godly decision informed by His Scripture.

For further reading on the topic of Biblical decision making, please check out the book "Decision Making and the Will of God" by Frieson

Taylor Otwell

 2008/5/27 22:07Profile

Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927


Also, just to kind of expand upon my post and discuss how this would work in your life.

For example, if you are contemplating whether to share the Gospel with someone, we already know it is God's will to share the Gospel via the Scripture; however, you need to take into consideration whether this is a wise time to share the Gospel, what would be good ways to approach this person about the Gospel, etc.

For example, if you are contemplating whether to take a certain job. We already know it is God's will that we work to provide for ourselves. Is this job going to detract from your ability to live as a Christian? Will this job detract from your ability to care for your family? Will this job break any other Scriptural guideline? If not, do you want to work this job? You actually have some freedom to decide. You can take the job or not, what is the wisest thing to do in light of Scripture?

I know waiting on God to specifically tell you what to do outside of the Scripture sounds kind of spiritual and advanced, but it is really an unnecessary burden. Read the Bible. It is God-breathed that the man of God may be perfect and complete. Every decision can be made in light of the Bible, and if the Scripture gives no clear teaching or the situation is something indifferent, you are free to decide.

Taylor Otwell

 2008/5/27 22:13Profile

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

 Re: Knowing hearing

But could you, or anyone else, please post a Biblical example of God leading someone by speaking to them in their thoughts/minds?

Act 21:11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

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

Joh 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Mar 13:11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

Just a few brother. Even the first instance does not suggest audible speaking but intimation, inspiration ...

[b]Act 15:28 -
For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost[/b] - This is a strong and undoubted claim to inspiration. It was with special reference to the organization of the church that the Holy Spirit had been promised to them by the Lord Jesus, Mat_18:18-20; Joh_14:26.

Albert Barnes

Mike Balog

 2008/5/28 8:21Profile

 Re: Hearing God's Voice.....Griffo..orig. post

griffo: One thing that has helped me in understanding God's voice is that I "hear" it in my heart, rather than my mind. The voice in my head often is obsessive and adamant....the voice in my heart is warm, peaceable, and loving.

Let us take the instance of giving. Giving is very important to me. I do not give by rote, or compulsion, but by burden. Burden, to me is deeper than thought. It is "heartfelt". It is always rational. I may be burdened about a particular brother or sister , and compelled to give to them, and even specific sums of money, without knowing anything about there financial situation. This has worked out well for me. The burdens I get are always covered in prayer, somewhat at least, and often I am quite confident when putting them into action, here on Earth.

This is not as mystical as it sounds. "As many as are [b]led[/b] by the Spirit, these are the son's of God." "If a son asks for a fish, will his father give him a scorpion?"

God desires to lead us, and rejoices when we follow Him above all others.

This is why we must [b]wait on the Lord[/b] , live a life of the kind of submission and worship that positions our self to be led by Him, and to hear him. Ask God to lead you and guide you each an every time you leave your house. Ask him to bring the "order of the Lord" into every day as you begin your day. Begin each and every day with that spirit. Begin every day with devotions, bible reading, and worship until it becomes habitual, and then as you know Him more, you will hear Him more, naturally.

Develop a secret life with God. Stop depending on any other to hear God for you, and he will give you ears to hear Him.

Stop looking for instant, minute by minute impressions to guide you. Begin to believe the Bible, subduing [b]all[/b] of your heart,, and its truth, for the Word and the Spirit agree. This means that you must begin to know the bible, and to know it not for knowledge sake, but to obey and understand to know Him.

The Lord is much, much, more interested in who you become, than what you do. Godly Character means that your inner man has become like God's character, and that is what He is after. Then you will grow and grow in hearing, as you grow to become like Him.

P. S. ].......There are times when we don't know what to do, or where to go. Sometimes we just have to trust Him, as Job did.

"Even though He slay me, Yet Will I Worship Him!" We all have those times. These are the storms that are promised in every believer's life. In these times, often, the voice of the Lord is not present. He allows these to test our true love for Him, and to refine us. This is when our faith must rise, and we say, "I love you Lord Jesus, whether or not I see, or hear you. I trust you." This faith comes only by our knowing Him.

 2008/5/28 9:58

Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927


Regarding the post that was made citing Scriptures:

Acts 21:11 says nothing about the thoughts or mind. The Holy Spirit could have easily spoken this audibly to the prophet.

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

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.

Mark 13:11 is Jesus speaking to the Apostles (Peter, James, and John specifically) and He makes no promise that the Lord will whisper into our thoughts what we should do everyday life circumstances.

Also, regarding another member's post. Be careful not to read meanings into "being led by the Spirit" that are not really indicated in the Scripture.

God certainly has a determined plan for our life. The Lord has purposes He is going to work in the Earth. However, we are never instructed to beg the Lord to reveal these plans to us. He has graciously given us His Scripture as our perfect guide, and we are to live in light of that Scripture and make wise, godly decisions.

To claim that God is constantly speaking things into your mind is to elevate your thoughts to the level of Scripture, and is a good way to open the doors wide open for everyone to "do what is right in their own eyes".

I would encourage you all to enjoy the freedom of knowing the Bible is truly perfect to guide our lives.

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.

If you want a thorough refute of the view, you can also look into Jonathan Edward's "Religious Affections".

Taylor Otwell

 2008/5/28 11:30Profile

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