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The reality is that God hasn't stopped talking. In fact, he is continually speaking. The problem is that we - as human beings - have difficulty hearing. We don't have the direct communication that Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden. But that doesn't mean God isn't talking. Two things about "hearing" God - 1. God is spirit. He speaks on a spiritual level which means we must listen on a spiritual level. Everyone, on some level, has the ability to hear God. It is called "spiritual attunement." This is a spiritual discipline which takes time and practice. It also takes us paying very close attention to our lives and our what is going on in our minds. A good way to practice this is to write down what you are sensing or feeling about what God might be saying to you. Then over a period of time go back and read what you wrote. God speaks to us in a still small voice. Read over Elijah's experience with God at Mount Sanai in 1 Kings 19:11-13. Notice that Elijah is looking for a BIG loud voice. But God shows up in the "still small voice." We have to learn to pay attention to the still small voice. We also have to learn to test what we think God is saying to us. That is why writing it down is so important. You can test it by searching scripture. You can test it by talking to a fellow Christian who is further down the path than you to see what they think. You can test it by watchng how things play out over time. Any way you do it - you must test it to make sure you did not inadvertantly think something else was God. Over time you will be able to look back on periods of your life and realize how loudly God was speaking. He just doesn't speak to us the same way as we talk to each other in the physical world. 2. Generally speaking, the times we hear God speak the loudest is when we find ourselves going through difficulties. Loss of a job. Loss of a loved one. A relationship falling apart. A tragic injury. During these moments it's like all the normal structure in our lives has been removed and we are searching to find our footing. When the structures are removed all of our reliance must go towards God. In these moments, as difficult as they are, we are able to hear God clearer. When God took the Israelites out of Egypt he didn't take them directly to a land flowing with milk and honey. He took them to the desert. The desert is where EVERYTHING is stripped away from you. Complete reliance must be upon God for everything. The Israelites had no choice but to learn to trust and hear God's voice. Have you ever found yourself in a "desert?" Where everything in life is suddenly stripped away? We all go through them. Here is something cool - The verb "to speak" in Hebrew is DBR (dabar) (Strongs 1696). The noun "word" in Hebrew is DBR (dabar) (Strongs 1697). The word for "desert" is mDBR (miDBaR) - it is derived from the word for "word." What's the connection? It is in the deserts of life that we hear God's word clearly. In the desert God's word is everything to lead us. Sometimes - just like the Israelites - God takes us into a desert (mDBR) so we can hear His word (DBR). I hope this helps you on your journey to hear God speaking.
In my view God speaks to us and reveals his will to us in 5 different ways. I learned this from a talk on the Alpha course. In order of God’s priority they are: 1. Commanding Scripture 2. Compelling Spirit 3. Counsel of the Saints 4. Common Sense 5. Circumstantial Signs This is God’s order of priority in revealing his will but, as Christians we often reverse this order when seeking what God wants us to do. Here are some examples of each way that God speaks to us. Commanding Scripture All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) The bible is God’s book, his communication to us so he can bring us his salvation, then train and equip us so we will be mature and complete, able to complete all the good works God has planned for us. Compelling Spirit 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (John 16:13) If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5) The Holy Spirit is our resident teacher. He puts thoughts in our minds and feelings in our hearts to teach and train us. He can give us dreams or visions that show us what God wants us to do. Counsel of the Saints For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21) The Holy Spirit uses other people to communicate to us, people who are mature in their faith and listening to God. We expect our pastor to bring God’s word to us during our church services. Common Sense Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. (Proverbs 4:1-8) We develop common sense using the rational mind God has given us to think through situations to make good decisions. We develop this common sense from the teaching of our parents and by learning from our life experiences. God speaks to us through this kind of wisdom. Circumstantial Signs Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. (Acts 16:6-10) For I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me. (1 Corinthians 16:7-9) In the Christian faith we often ask God to open a door of opportunity so we will know his will. So we can see from all these examples that God loves to speak to his people in so many different ways. Why? So we will obey his will and do what is pleasing in his sight. As the apostle Paul says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
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