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First, it is great that you desire Him to speak to you! I was a Sunday Christian all my life, but God first spoke to me at age 44 on June 28, 2004 at 1 am. I had never heard anyone say that God speaks to people. Once He spoke, I did what He commanded me to do, and I started seeking to hear from Him as much as I could. I had never read the Bible on my own. I sat with my Bible a few months later, told God that I had heard that it was alive, and asked Him to show me what He wanted to tell me. He had me open to the exact page that applied to what He had told me that first time He spoke. Then I found out that my three children all heard from God. 9 months later, I cried out to God to save me and surrendered my life to Him, and I was born again to have a new heart and be a new creation who loves to read the Bible daily. I spent a week's vacation alone with God (while my husband and children were gone) to spend time listening, journaling and reading the Bible. Three times that week, He "spoke" to me by having me open to the same page with Psalm 50:15. I used that verse in my baptism testimony. I also started looking for books to teach me how to learn to listen better so that I could obey and walk by the Spirit to serve God--my Lord. Galatians 5:16,22-25, John 16:13, James 4:5-8, 1 John 2:27 I know a woman who was un-churched who became a Christian just by listening to people like my daughters and I tell her about what God had said to them. She finally asked us how to have God to speak to her. My daughter told her: 1) Ask God to speak to you 2) be still and quiet your mind (the self talk that is always going on) 3) wait on the Lord 4) write down what you believe you hear 5) go confirm that it agrees with Scripture and 6) OBEY. We prayed for her and the next morning she called to say that God woke her up four times during the night saying "1 Corinthians 1". When she got up to read it, she started sobbing at verses 4-9. God gave her repentance and a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. She started going to a Bible-only teaching church and was baptized. Then she started telling everyone what God and knowing Jesus personally had done to transform her life. Her husband and children have been saved now too. I was reading Acts 7 today where Stephen details God speaking to Abraham. Throughout the Bible, God spoke to His people (the prophets, Moses, Abraham, Samuel, Elijah, those He is calling and those born again by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection to be followers/disciples). Isaiah 30:21, Revelation 1:10, John 5:25, John 10:3-16, Hebrews 3:15-16, 1 Samuel 3, Matthew 10:27, Jeremiah 33:3. I believe God is speaking all the time to those He has given "ears to hear", but we must learn to listen and obey to serve His purposes in the kingdom. To those who refuse to submit to His authority over them as their Creator-- Romans 11:8 and Acts 28:27, Matthew 13:15. For those who want to hear from Him and obey, Jesus clearly taught that they would be given ears to hear and understanding. For example, He explained to the disciples why He spoke in parables in Matthew 10:13-23 and why they were blessed to hear. With the Holy Spirit indwelling we are guided, taught, given wisdom, able to make decisions to stay in God's will, are given the mind of Christ, and witness to those that God directs us to share the gospel with (faith comes by hearing). Most frequently for me daily He speaks to me to direct me where to read the Bible (word or address) to do my quiet time and if I am out of my house, He speaks in the still, small voice internally to send me to encounters with people that I am to share the gospel with or encourage as other believers that I haven't met. Yes, sometimes it is even as specific as go to this highway exit, turn left and go to Lowe's to get out of my car and have a divine appointment. It makes intimacy and life IN Christ so vibrant and exciting! Using your spiritual gifts brings great joy.
LISTENING FOR GOD is an expectation for God's presence and guidance. God, being the creator, encourages that man must be ready to follow a path of decency and be morally good in their actions and relationships with other humans, as adequately explained in the holy scriptures. Hebrew 4:16,"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need". Listening is a behavioral process, cognitive and affective. It includes the motivation to attend to others, and to understand, receive, and interpret the context of messages. Therefore, to listen for God's message requires close interactions and adequate relationship. God is a Spirit and our creator, and must be able to determine that his information is perceived important and useful in the life of man. John 1:14, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth". To listen effectively to God requires faithfulness, righteousness, humility, diligence, respect, and the general Christian norms of worship and praise to the Lord. All these attributes are determined by a believers faith; Faith is confidence or trust attributed to something of importance, and an observance of loyalty and belief, and also with the belief that faith in Christ brings eternal life. Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Colossians 3:1-2, "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things". The scriptural advice is to be focused on specific things that could make God see us as important and worthy for his messages, and also to be an example worthy of emulation by other believers.
Listening for God is a two-fold process. In Psalm 46:10 we are told to "be still" and know that He is God. Being still means a quietness in our hearts and minds. That kind of stillness is a gift from God if we ask Him for it. His peaceful presence is like no other. Once we have His peace, we are to spend time in His Word. Reading our Bibles is akin to hearing the voice of God as He speaks to us. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you where to read. 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 tells us how the Spirit reveals things to us. Everything we want to know, God has already answered for us in His Word.
Please do not expect to hear voices in your head. Do not think that the stray ideas that seem to come to your mind from nowhere are from God. Do not think that the strong impressions that come into your thoughts are messages from God. Do not think that the feelings you have or the ideas you get or the leading you experience are from God. That is not the way you listen to God. That is just your own heart talking to you. And sometimes its right and sometimes its wrong. But its not infallible and its not God's word. Jer 17:9 Prov 28:26 The only way to listen to God and be sure that it is God, is to read your Bible. That's how God speaks to us. Do that and you'll never be led astray. Regards Phil
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