Tag Archives: hearing gods voice

Listening To His Voice

Several years ago I read a book called “While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks” by Dr. Timothy Laniak. The author lived with nomadic shepherds in the Middle East in order to gain a greater understanding of what Biblical shepherding was all about. In one chapter he discussed the position of the shepherd in relation to the sheep. There are times when the shepherd is out front leading them, and other times when he’s behind them pushing them forward. When the sheep are an open area, the shepherd is out front. The sheep follow for protection and provision. When they’re traveling through a low visibility area, the shepherd will go behind the sheep to keep them moving. The ones in front feel the pressure of the movement to move forward.

In John 10, Jesus was using shepherds to teach the people about Himself in a manner they could relate to. He called Himself the Good Shepherd. He talked about being the gate as the shepherd. They would have understood the shepherds put the sheep in a pin at night and the shepherd sleeps in the doorway to protect them. He talked about how when dangers come, hired hands run, but the shepherd stays. He then discussed how the sheep know His voice and listen when it’s time to leave the pen. Verse 4 says, “When he has brought all his own sheep outside, he walks on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice and recognize his call” (AMP).

Is Jesus out front leading you or is He pushing you from behind right now? Are you listening to His voice as He guides you? There are a lot of competing voices out there trying to get your attention. Jesus said His shepherd know His voice and listen to Him. They know Him and He knows them (verse 27). We must be tuned into His voice each day in order to go where He leads. Whether you have low or high visibility right now for your direction, take time each day to be still and quiet your mind. Pray, “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.” Then wait in silence until you hear Him. He’s speaking to you constantly, trying to lead you, but you must listen for His voice and recognize His call. The more you sit quietly in His presence, the more you will hear Him speak to you.

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Listening In The Gaps

There’s a comedian named Michael Junior who I listen to from time to time. Not only is he funny, he also shares his faith and encourages believers. In one of his shows, he described how he used to think about seven jokes ahead in his act. In between the jokes, while people were laughing, he began to ask God, “What can i give this crowd? What do you want to say?” It changed how he did comedy and the lives of people who go to his shows. God began to point out people in the audience for him to minister to. Sometimes what God spoke to him was for the whole audience. He calls this, “Listening in the gaps.”

Each of us have gaps in our day and in our life. It can be between customers, between reports, between classes, etc. Too often we fill our gaps with music, books, conversation and more. We’ve become good at keeping our mind occupied at all times, which keeps us from being still, listening to God or even asking Him what He’s saying. God is always speaking and He’s always wanting to use us, but we must learn to listen and to ask. In the gaps, we need to say what Samuel said, “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening” (1Samuel 3:10). When we do that it will change how we give ourselves to others and to do some things we may not have normally done.

Psalms 85:8 says, “Now I’ll listen carefully for your voice and wait to hear whatever you say” (TPT). When you ask God to speak to you, He will. He may ask you to do something you think is crazy or He might ask you to speak life to someone. Whatever it is, remember that we must obey without hesitation. You may never know what is on the other side of your obedience or how you will affect someone’s life. I believe God is calling each one of us to make a difference in the lives of people around us and in our path. In order to do that, we have to be praying and listening in the gaps. Look for where your gaps are today and ask God to speak to you. I’d love to hear back how God used you.

If you’d like to see Michael Junior discuss this, click here.

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Listening To God’s Voice

One of my daily prayers is, “Lord, help us to hear your voice more clearly, and give us the courage to do what you say.” That prayer prompted my son to say, “I’ve never heard God’s voice before. Is He speaking?” I told him that God is always speaking. It’s up to us to find a quiet place and listen. I then explained that God rarely speaks to us audibly. He usually speaks to us through the Bible or He whispers in our heart.

One of the times God spoke audibly was in 1 Samuel 3. Samuel was just a boy and lived in the Temple with Eli the priest. In the middle of the night, God called to Samuel. He thought Eli had called him, so he went into the room where Eli was sleeping to ask what he wanted. Eli told him that he hadn’t called him and sent him back to bed. This happened three times before Eli figured out what was going on. He then sent him back with instructions should he hear the voice again.

Verse 10 says, “And the Lord came and called as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel replied, ‘Speak, your servant is listening.’” As I told my son, I believe that God is always speaking to us. It’s up to each one of us to listen. Just like you have to learn to actively listen to someone, we have to purposefully listen for God’s voice. When you open the Bible, pray, “Speak, your servant is listening.” Do it when you pray as well, then give God Time to speak.

We live in such a busy world that we rarely take the time to slow down and listen. The same voice that spoke billions of galaxies into existence wants to speak to you today. Any relationship requires two way communication. God isn’t looking for someone who will just follow a bunch of rules. He’s looking for someone to speak with. That’s why Christianity isn’t about a bunch of regulations, even though we’ve made it that. It’s about having a relationship. All relationships rise and fall on communication. Yours and God’s is no different.

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I’m enjoying one more day of rest today. I hope you enjoyed this devotional I wrote previously. I’ll return with a new devotional tomorrow.

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Being Shepherd Led

One of the things in the Bible that has lost context over the years are the constant metaphors to sheep and shepherds. The Old and New Testament talk about sheep a lot. We know Psalm 23 starts out that the Lord is our shepherd. In Mark 6:34, Jesus had compassion on the crowd because they were sheep without a shepherd. Ezekiel 34:31 says that we are the sheep of God’s pasture. Isaiah 53 says that we are like sheep who have gone astray. Over and over there’s this comparison to sheep, but shepherding sheep isn’t as common as it used to be. I don’t know a lot about them, but I do know that they are defenseless, like to flock together and prefer to be led from the front rather than pushed from behind.

As a person who teaches leadership, I can tell you that people need a want a leader worth following. As John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence.” By that definition, we all have leaders in our life who influence or lead our decisions. 2 Peter 3:17 warns us about who we allow to lead or influence us. It says, “As for you, divinely loved ones, since you are forewarned of these things, be careful that you are not led astray by the error of the lawless and lose your firm grip on the truth” (TPT). We must be careful in who we allow to lead us because there are those who would lead us astray. Even Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1 to only follow Him as he followed Christ. It’s important to know who’s leading the people that are leading us.

Leaders and pastors will be held to a higher standard on judgement day (James3:1), but you will still be held liable for your actions. That’s why it’s important for each of us to not just follow a person. We must also be led by the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:25 says, “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives” (NLT). We must know our shepherd’s voice for ourselves without relying on another leader to hear it for us. If we don’t learn to hear it ourselves, we can easily be led astray. Each of us must take time to listen to what God says through His Word and to our hearts. Anyone who gives contradictory advice to what God says will lead you astray. We are to be Spirit led more than people led, but our sheepish nature simply wants to follow the sheep right in front of us. We must fight against that and listen to the Shepherd ourselves.

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Listening For God

Each year on President’s Day, the pastor of the Church I grew up in would take the men on a day of prayer and fasting. I remember when I was finally old enough to go and got to go on my first trip. Several men from the church had a deer lease not far from town, and that’s where we went. Our day was very structured. There were times of teaching, we would go get alone in the woods, return to discuss and then hear another teaching. On this particular trip, the teachings were about hearing God’s voice. On one of the prayer times, we were instructed to go into the woods, speak a few words of prayer and then listen. That was the first time I heard God speak. I wasn’t sure it was Him until we came back to share and several others had heard the same thing.

I like how my current pastor describes hearing God’s voice. The next time you’re in an auditorium, listen for the air conditioner. When it gets quiet in there, you can hear it. The sound is there all the time, but it’s only when you’re quiet enough and listening for it that you hear it. Too many times, we miss hearing God’s voice because we’re too loud and our lives are filled with peripheral noise. There’s a reason God said in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” When are we ever still anymore? When do we ever go to where it’s quiet and there aren’t any distractions? We’ve grown accustomed to noise so much that our minds crave it. We turn on the radio when we get in the car. We turn on the TV when we walk in the house. We create our own noise without even thinking, and we’re doing it at the expense of hearing God’s voice.

Psalm 81:13-14 says, “O that my people would once and for all listen to me and walk faithfully in my footsteps, following my ways. Then and only then will I conquer your every foe and tell every one of them, ‘You must go!’” (TPT) God is constantly speaking to each of us. He’s not silent, but He is quiet. He’s begging us to once and for all stop and listen so we can go where He’s called us and to follow where He’s leading. In John 10:27 Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (NLT). How can you know His voice or even follow it if you aren’t listening? It’s time to find a place away from the noise in our lives, to put down our phones and to listen to what God is saying. He’s speaking to you this very moment. Are you listening?

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Ready To Listen

I’m the type of person who likes to do things my own way. Once I get an idea in my head of how to do something, I quit listening to others on how they think I should do it, and I start making my way. I’ve been known to fall flat on my face, a few times, but I still keep going. I can tell you that it’s not until I’m all out of options in trying to do things my way that I’m ready to listen to anyone, including God. He, like others, is speaking to me often, trying to help me, but it’s me who refuses to listen. I’m too busy trying to figure things out myself, so I’m not ready to listen. It’s a good thing He is patient. He waits until I’m ready to listen, which is usually when I’m at my rope’s end, and then He guides me back. If only I were ready to listen earlier, it would save a lot of heartache, pain and time.

In 1 Samuel, Eli was the priest. His son’s were also priests, but they were acting like heathen. They were disrespectful of God’s offerings and their position. Eli knew it and softly rebuked them, but didn’t remove them from their office. 1 Samuel 2:25 says, “But they were too far gone in disobedience and refused to listen” (MSG). A prophet came and rebuked Eli telling him that God was going to take the priesthood from him because he hadn’t done anything about it. He still didn’t do anything about his sons. Some time passes and then in chapter 3 it starts out talking about Samuel serving the Lord. It then says, “This was at a time when the revelation of God was rarely heard or seen.” I believe the Word of God was rarely heard because they weren’t ready to listen.

You know the story of how God called out to Samuel 3 times, and 3 times he went to Eli. It was Eli’s advice to the boy I want us to take to heart today. Verse 10 says, “Then GOD came and stood before him exactly as before, calling out, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel answered, ‘Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen.’” I believe God is trying to speak to us during these difficult times, but too many of us aren’t ready to listen. We’re busy arguing over things that don’t matter in light of eternity, yet God is patiently waiting for us. We have the choice to keep trying to do things our way, or we can stand before God and say, “Speak, Lord. I’m your servant, ready to listen.” We don’t have to wait until we’re at the end of our rope or until we’re out of options to listen. God is ready to speak to us the moment we’re ready to listen.

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Watching And Waiting

Have you ever been around a person who loves to hear the sound of their own voice? How does it feel when you try to engage them in conversation and they never give you the opportunity to speak? After a while, you either quit trying to talk to them or you just don’t say anything at all to them because you know it’s going to fall on deaf ears. When you see them approaching you or their caller ID shows up on your phone, you almost sigh because you know what’s coming.

If we don’t like it when people do that to us, then why do we think God likes it when we do it to Him? Think about your prayers to God. How often do you stop talking and start listening? Prayer should be a conversation between you and God, not a wish list of things you’d like to see done to make your life easier. There’s a time for you to talk and a time for God to respond. If it’s been a while since you’ve heard God speak to you, ask yourself, “When’s the last time I was quiet in my prayer time?”

I know it’s a hard concept to some because we think of prayer as a list of things we want, but prayer is so much more than that. It’s designed to be the time you communicate and have a conversation with the creator of the universe. It’s designed for us to spend time with Him getting to know His heart. We have to learn that it’s ok to spend our prayer time listening. If we never listen, how will we know His heart, His desires for our life, or His thoughts on how we should respond to social issues as His representatives on earth?

David said in Psalm 5:3, “In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart]” (AMP). David understood that God wanted to hear his prayers and that God wanted to speak to His heart so he built time to watch and to wait into his prayer time. God wants us to do the same so He can speak to our hearts. If it’s been a while since you’ve heard God speak to you, try watching and waiting today to see what He says.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Be Quiet And Listen

Have you ever been talking with someone and your thoughts took over to wear you quit listening to them? I mean, you can be looking them dead in the eye and not hear a word they say. It’s one of the things I have to constantly fight against. Staying engaged in a conversation can be hard work sometimes. When my mind wanders off, and I tune them out, I have to tell myself, “Stop! Listen! Pay attention. You can figure this out later.” In order to pay attention and to listen, I have to work on it at times. Hearing is passive, but listening requires action.

You and i are to listen to God’s voice. He’s always speaking to us, but we aren’t always listening. That’s why having a quiet time is so important. A quiet time is where you get alone, calm your thoughts and listen for God’s voice. It takes discipline because we are constantly on the go and have a culture that ranks busyness with godliness. However, even Jesus took time to go be alone with God so He could listen to what the Father was saying to Him. If Jesus needed to take time to listen to the Father, how much more do we? If you’re not in the habit of listening for God’s voice, start with a five minute quiet time and then work your way up. When you start listening to what God says and start applying it, your life will change.

Here are some Bible verses on listening to God.

1. “O that my people would once and for all listen to me and walk faithfully in my footsteps, following my ways. Then and only then will I conquer your every foe and tell every one of them, ‘You must go!’”

Psalms 81:13-14 TPT

2. Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let his Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life!

James 1:22 TPT

3. God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.

Hebrews 4:12-13 MSG

4. Everyone who comes to Me and listens to My words and obeys them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a [far-sighted, practical, and sensible] man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and yet could not shake it, because it had been securely built and founded on the rock.

Luke 6:47-48 AMP

5. Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God.

John 8:47 NLT

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Weird Requests

A couple of years ago, my wife and I left visiting with my family a couple of nights before Christmas to go pray for a friend. On our way back to my family’s house, we were approaching the light to turn onto their road when I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Stop right here.” I was about 15 yards back from the light in the middle turn lane. My wife looked at me with a puzzled look and asked, “What are you doing?” I said, “I don’t know. I was told to stop right here.” So we sat there for almost a minute. I rolled my window down to listen. We saw police lights about a mile ahead coming towards us. Just then, a car appeared out of no where traveling at a high speed with no lights on coming up the wrong way to avoid people in their lane at the light. It swerved right in front of us and missed us by inches. It was so fast and close that our SUV shook from the wind of it passing. As we realized if I had been where I was supposed to be, they would have hit us head on.

The Gospel of Luke tells us a story of some fishermen who had been cleaning their nets after unsuccessfully fishing all night. Up walks Jesus preaching to a large crowd. He notices their empty boats and asks if they can take Him out into the water just a bit so He can teach the crowd from there. After He taught the crowd, Luke 5:4 says He told them, “Now row out to deep water to cast your nets and you will have a great catch” (TPT). Peter, the seasoned fisherman, explained that it didn’t make sense and that you fish at night. But then he added, “But if you insist, we’ll go out again and let down our nets because of your word.” When they did, their nets became so full of fish that their nets began to tear. He had to yell for help to the other boat on shore. They had so many fish in their boats that they were on the verge of sinking.

Both of these stories are related. God doesn’t always ask us to do things that make sense. They often go against the way things are normally done. We can argue with God about how it makes us look or we can trust what He’s telling us to do and obey Him at His Word. God asks for obedience from us even when we don’t understand. Sometimes it’s to save our life and other times it’s to bless us or others. As you go about your day, listen to what God is speaking to you. Ask Him for the courage to obey His requests no matter what they are. You and I can only see what’s right in front of us. God sees how everything is connected and into the future. He knows what’s best so we need to obey Him no matter what. You never know what’s riding on your obedience.

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Listening To God

One of my daily prayers is, “Lord, help us to hear your voice more clearly, and give us the courage to do what you say.” That prayer prompted my son to say, “I’ve never heard God’s voice before. Is He speaking?” I told him that God is always speaking. It’s up to us to find a quiet place and listen. I then explained that God rarely speaks to us audibly. He usually speaks to us through the Bible or He whispers in our heart.

One of the times God spoke audibly was in 1 Samuel 3. Samuel was just a boy and lived in the Temple with Eli the priest. In the middle of the night, God called to Samuel. He thought Eli had called him, so he went into the room where Eli was sleeping to ask what he wanted. Eli told him that he hadn’t called him and sent him back to bed. This happened three times before Eli figured out what was going on. He then sent him back with instructions should he hear the voice again.

Verse 10 says, “And the Lord came and called as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel replied, ‘Speak, your servant is listening.’” As I told my son, I believe that God is always speaking to us. It’s up to each one of us to listen. Just like you have to learn to actively listen to someone, we have to purposefully listen for God’s voice. When you open the Bible, pray, “Speak, your servant is listening.” Do it when you pray as well, then give God Time to speak.

We live in such a busy world that we rarely take the time to slow down and listen. The same voice that spoke billions of galaxies into existence wants to speak to you today. Any relationship requires two way communication. God isn’t looking for someone who will follow a bunch of rules. He’s looking for someone to speak with. That’s why christianity isn’t about a bunch of regulations, even thought we’ve made it that. It’s about having a relationship. All relationships rise and fall on communication. Yours and God’s is no different.

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