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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Understanding the Ways God Speaks To You


Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Part Five: Learning to Discern God’s Voice in Your Life

Romans 8:16 TLB reveals God desire to speak to us through His Holy Spirit that lives in the heart of every believer. It says, "For His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God's children.” God wants to communicate with us. In John 10:27 Jesus said, "My sheep know my voice." 

God’s voice is like that of the perfect parent. I grew up with great parents. They always wanted good for me. They gave me wise counsel. They tried to correct me when I was headed down a wrong path or had wrong thinking or a bad attitude. They encouraged me in everything that was good and right. They helped me in any way they could whenever they could. That is how the voice and leading of God is, only exceedingly beyond anything parents could feel and know. God wants good for you and He alone knows His plan and destiny for you. John 16:13 (NLT) "...He (the Holy Spirit) will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. " Only He can reveal that to you and it is His will to do so, if we will open our hearts, read His word, and prayerfully ask and seek Him. Day by day He will speak to us and reveal more of His will for our lives! Isaiah 50:4 (NLT) "The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to His will."

In life, not everyone has had the great home environment and parents that I had. Yet, you've seen the most impoverished, handicapped, and abused people, rise to magnificent achievements and positions of influence. God wants every person to be a recipient of the love and sacrifice of Jesus. And He has created every person to be highly capable of achieving great things. But, we are also highly capable of wandering and going astray—especially when our life is void of Christian atmospheres and environments like church, bible studies, and small groups of some kind. Isaiah 53:6 NLT reveals, “All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him (Jesus) the guilt and sins of us all.” We will go astray without God’s voice and loving guidance and without being in the community of His people. That is why God gave us the Holy Spirit—so that we aren’t left to our own voice and reasoning which is limited and often flawed at best!

There are three voices—the Lords, the devil's, and your own reasoning. Over time we learn to discern Satan’s voice. Jesus described him best by saying, “…He was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44 TLB) And, John 10:10 TLB "The thief's (Satan’s) purpose is to steal and kill and destroy..." 

What is each voice that is trying to influence your thinking and actions saying? Is it leading you in the instruction of God's word to be faithful or diligent or loyal or committed? Is it telling you its okay to call in sick when you are not? Is it thinking angry, or hateful or revengeful thoughts? Is it thinking about how to lead someone to Jesus or seeking about how you can be a better Christian? Is it speaking of restraint regarding sinful or negative things in your life, or encouraging you to indulge your flesh—lust out, and go for the gusto? Is it telling you it's okay to check out that woman in the office or telling you that watching porn on the Internet is just an innocent guy thing? Is it telling you that wrongfully engaging on social media or chat lines with someone outside your spouse is okay? Is that voice trying to legitimize your sinful sexual life outside of marriage? Is that voice giving your permission to gossip about others—after all, they are in the wrong? In all these, check what the voice says by asking the Holy Spirit about it. Check your heart, your motive, and what the Word of God says and you will know who you are listening to. Learning to hear the voice of God is to learn to discern the voices that you hear! There is no benefit in listening to Satan or those infected by his influence. There is little benefit in listening to just yourself. The benefit is in listening to the voice of God.

Because we are children of God made to hear His voice, there are many ways He does speak to us. Sometimes He brings a verse to our remembrance and opens our mind to its meaning and what He is trying to say to us through it. That is why it's so important to put God's word in our heart. It has to be there before He can bring it to our remembrance! There are times where He will bring a thought to my mind reminding us of something we needed to remember or have forgotten. (He has saved me from trouble countless times by reminding me of things I'd forgotten to do!) You'll be frustrated looking for your keys or lost item. You'll ask God to help you find it. Suddenly, He will show you the picture of where you laid them last. Sometimes He leads me to a verse that answers the question and speaks the wisdom I was seeking for. Somehow, because I am praying and asking Him to speak to me and lead me, He finds a way to talk with me. He always speaks to me through His Word or other Christians whom God has put in my life. And His Word is the gatekeeper of all the voices inward and outward I hear—discerning between random thoughts and God voice.

God will not accuse you, guilt you, or condemn you. He will not yell at you or raise His voice. He will not scream at you. He will speak to you, and usually through His word or Pastors, or other Christians in your life. He will challenge you, exhort you, encourage you, correct you, and lead and guide you! Learn to listen for His voice—His impression upon your heart, and spend time in His Word and godly atmospheres where God can get to and speak to you. Do so and you'll learn the voice of God!

Psalm 119:105 (NLT) "Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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