8. God speaks to us today through His Spirit.
When we make a commitment of our lives to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us (John 14:17). The Spirit speaks into our hearts in many ways. Sometimes it may be like a “still, small voice”, other times He nudges us through our conscience.
We may feel a strong urge to do something or go somewhere we wouldn’t have normally thought of—and later we discover how the Lord removed us from danger, or used us to help someone in an amazing way.
As a writer, I often experience a prompt to write about a topic I had no intention of even looking at. (This article is an example.) Perhaps it comes as a result of a question, or a situation I notice. Other times it literally pops into my mind, perhaps during my early morning Quiet Time, or often I wake up thinking about the topic, and I just know I have to write about it.
Strength Renewed, my book of meditations for those on a journey through cancer, was as a result of this sort of nudge. I had already written, and had published, many devotional messages based on the journal I wrote during my cancer treatment. One day, I was riding my exercise bicycle and praying about my writing. Suddenly I knew God was telling me to compile a book based on experiences from that time. I knew it was to have three months’ worth of readings, and that the book was to be based on Isaiah 40:31
“They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings as eagles.”
I chose the title, “Rise and Soar” knowing that would change. To my delight, the publishers held onto the original Scripture and called it Strength Renewed. (But I still have a website for those in the cancer valley called RiseAndSoar.com.)
- God speaks to us today through journaling.
This is a lesser known method of hearing from God. My husband and I went on a retreat with other ministers and their wives. The speaker spoke about journaling with God, and gave us some clear suggestions. He then sent us off to spend time alone with God. He told us to spend time in praise and reading Scriptures. Then we were to get out our notepads and write prayers to God. He suggested we just wrote until we received something from God.
I thought I’d be there all day.
However, I followed his instructions. My heart was heavy that day, as just before we left home the day before, we had gone through a head-on clash with our teenaged son who was rebelling against our authority. I knew we had to deal with the issue when we returned home, and I frankly dreaded the confrontation. He had been extremely disrespectful and downright rebellious.
The more I tried to hear from God, the more anxious I became over this situation. Eventually, I picked up my pen and started to write. I wrote an untidy scrawling letter to God, pouring out my heart about this son of mine. I loved him so dearly, but I was at my wit’s end on how to deal with him. I wrote and I wrote. As I came to the end of the question, “So what do we do when we get home?” I stabbed a large question mark on the page.
More words came to mind, so I continued to write. After I’d written a sentence or two, I realized I was writing out the answer to my question! That was an amazing moment for me.
The answer was totally different to anything I would have thought of myself. It started with the words, “I love him far more than you do!” I hadn’t thought of that! Instead of going home ready to sort out the rebel, I wrote that we were to go via the supermarket and buy some chocolate éclairs (which my son loved). When we got home we were to make some milkshakes and invite him to join us outside on the lawn while we enjoyed the chocolate éclairs and shared with him how much we loved him. Instead of telling him what was wrong with his behavior, we were to tell him how sorry we were for the times we had messed up, and ask him how he thought we could improve our relationship.
Needless to say, this worked. And again, of course, it was in line with God’s Word.
Parent Psychology 101? God wrote the manual!
10. God speaks to us today in unique ways.
We’re all different. We “see” and “hear” Him in different ways. Some hear from Him through a dream, like Joseph did (Matthew 2:13). Others have a revelation of something God wants them to do. Some may experience a vision.
My husband once had a vision when we were praying together about a life-changing decision we faced. He suddenly started to pray along the lines of, “Lord, even as I pray, I see the inside of the cockpit of a plane. In front of me is a vast arrangement of dials and gauges. I don’t know anything about them or how they work. But I do know that they all have to say the right thing before the pilot will take off on his journey.” After a pause he added, “And I believe you’re telling us that You will make it clear to us what we have to do, but that we have to be 100% sure that all the signs are in line with your Word before we make any decision.”
I could well have put that experience as coming from his imagination, except for one thing. I had just returned from driving a speaker home to the hotel where he was staying. My husband had got tied up at the church, and so I had taken the man home. In the car, I shared with him the decision we faced.
Before getting out the car he said to me, “As you were talking, I saw in my mind an airplane on the runway, its engines running. There was a man standing in front waving two flags. I knew that inside the cockpit the pilot was watching all the gauges to check that the plane was ready for takeoff. I believe God is saying to you, ‘Do not make this decision unless you are 100% sure it is what God is telling you to do.'”
At the point that Rob saw the vision, I had not yet shared this conversation with him. And just for the record, when we told this man a few days later that we believed God was saying we were to go ahead with the decision, he was distressed, as he believed it was a wrong decision! God indeed does speak to His children today!
Oh and by the way, the decision led us to the five greatest years of our 37-year period in full-time ministry. We have no way of knowing how many people know the Lord, and how many are in ministry themselves today, as a result of us obeying that word from the Lord.
So does God speak to us today?
We may not hear God’s voice literally, although some do, but I believe this to be rare. Visions and revelations are also rare. Yet He definitely speaks to His children today. Sometimes we just need to learn to listen.
How do we know it’s God speaking and not our imagination?
Well, that’s another article. But just remember that God will never contradict His Word. He will never ask you to do something contrary to Scripture. It may not be something you want to do, but it will always be in agreement with His Living Word as we find it in the Bible.