Does God still speak to us today? If so, when, how? Today is Part 2 of last week’s blog: Eight Ways God Speaks to Us Today. We covered four of those ways last week. I hope they were helpful to you. Here are the last four ways:
5. God Speaks to Us Through Music
Perhaps one of the ways I can sense God’s presence the most and “hear” His voice the best is when I am praising Him through music. Maybe it’s because in times of depression and difficult trials in the past, I would pour over David’s songs in Psalms, often singing them back to God with my own tunes. Praise brings me instantly to attention, like a sergeant’s command to his soldiers. The words and the notes bring a soothing comfort, excitement, and passion that open my ears and heart and lifts my spirits immediately.
In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat faced a huge army of enemies who could have easily destroyed His people, but he did a strange thing. With a declaration that his eyes were on God, he sent in a choir of praise singers: “Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.’” (2 Chronicles 20:21, NIV).
God “spoke” clearly. He released His power, and Jehoshaphat’s army defeated their enemies!
6. God Speaks to Us Through Circumstances
When others claim to hear God through circumstances, I try to caution them to test their conclusions with other evidence. God is a Holy God, and often uses circumstances to get our attention. But He will usually confirm it in other ways.
This happened to us before my husband and I married. We were dating in high school and were both involved in what could have been a deadly accident, when a speeding pick-up hit our car broadside. Our car was totaled, but we were spared. Through that accident, my husband felt God had a special purpose for his life. Did he “hear” God’s literal “Yes?” No, but through much prayer, seeking God’s Word, and talking to others, he felt God’s confirmation. Several months later, he committed his life to full-time Christian service. The rest is history.
Someone once told me they just knew God was telling them it was okay to buy a brand-new pickup. They’d prayed about it, and circumstances confirmed it: the local car dealership had just the color and model they wanted. But there was one small problem they were neglecting. They couldn’t afford it on their income. And they ignored other red flags as well.
Through Moses, God used circumstances (plagues) to convince Egypt’s leader to release God’s people from slavery. But Pharaoh wouldn’t listen.
Sometimes God uses our circumstances to test our faith. We don’t always know how to interpret the things that happen to us. A few years ago I took my first trip in an ambulance to the local ER–unfortunately as a patient. My pulse, along with my blood pressure, dropped dangerously low. For several minutes my world looked like a spinning photo negative. Scary, to say the least. Four hours of testing later found no cause as to why it happened. The doctor pronounced me healthy and sent me home, after encouraging me to get a follow-up–which I did. Nothing showed up.
I don’t know if God was speaking to me about something special, but the first thing I did was tell Him I was listening! If nothing else, life–and loved ones–suddenly became much more precious to me. One of the first things I usually ask God when circumstances change is: “God, is there something you want to teach me through this?” Yes, I know everything is “fodder” for writers. But I want to make it personal and learn the lesson first.
7. God Speaks to Us Through His Spirit
I once heard someone teach about “minding the checks” in your spirit. Some may call it “God’s whispers,” while others say, “God’s still, small voice.” We are made in the image of God, and when we confess Jesus and follow Him as our Lord and Savior, His Spirit comes to live in us (John 14:17, 1 Corinthians 3:16). God’s Spirit speaks to us through our conscience, helping to make the right decision. When we’re tempted, that same Spirit warns and nudges us to do the right thing.
As a writer, I depend on God’s Spirit to give me direction. There are times when ideas pop into my mind totally unexpectedly–and sometimes directly after a plea for help from God. The good ideas I credit to God, because after all, He is the source of every good and perfect gift. The others? They’re in file 13. Even the good ones need developing and rewriting, but that’s a different blog subject. 🙂
Why do you suppose ten people can “hear” a sermon, but each person will walk away with a different truth that applies to him? In some cases, the speaker never spoke what the people say they “heard.” Many times, that may be the result of God’s Spirit speaking a personal “Rhema,” a living, breathing word of truth to our spirits. It’s when Scripture comes alive to us–because it is truly “God-breathed.”
8. God Speaks to Us Through Prayer
Each way I’ve shared that God may speak to us today meshes into the other. God often speaks to us through His Spirit, through prayer. We may not know how to pray, but God’s Word tells us His spirit makes intercession for us (Romans 8:26, 27).
Often through a combination of fasting and prayer, our minds become clearer and our hearts are more sensitive to God. Again, we may not hear God’s literal voice, but His Spirit confirms a certain direction or answer for us. As the distractions fade, we can sense His leading in a new way. Sometimes while praying, God’s Spirit will remind us of a Scripture or a truth in His Word that we can directly apply to the situation.
Does that happen immediately? Not always. There have been occasions where I still had no clue what to do, but in faith I thanked God whenever and however He would answer. A day, a week, maybe even months pass. Then one day in the shower or on a walk, a thought comes–that gentle “whisper” that could only come from Him, accompanied by His peace.
You Are Unique
Does God speak to all of us the same way? No, we are all unique. Are these the only ways God speaks today? No. He’s a creative God. He speaks so many ways, including through miracles. In other countries where Christianity is taboo, God is also revealing Himself repeatedly through dreams. Report after report confirms that an unbeliever who has never heard of Jesus dreams of Him–but doesn’t know who the “man” is–or what the dream means. Then a messenger comes, shows a film about Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the one who has dreamed recognizes the man in his dream: It’s Jesus, the Son of God!
Remember One Truth
Regardless of the way God chooses to reveal Himself or “speak” to us today, remember one truth. He will never contradict His Word, and the message He gives will always be out of love, bringing glory to God. The Bible warns about adding anything to the already written, God-breathed Word of God, or accepting any other messenger who claims to be superior to Jesus (Revelation 22:18-19; 2 Corinthians 11:4).
A Personal Prayer for You
Lord Jesus, give us listening ears so we can hear Your Spirit; give us spiritual eyes so we can recognize truth; give us a submissive spirit so we can follow Your heart; give us a sound mind so we can discern Your words. May God’s Word be our guide, our light, and our joy as we listen, learn, and obey. You will not lead us astray. Your purposes are always destined for good and are always prompted by love. When you speak, help us to listen. And always, help us to speak–and act–in love.
* This is the second part of a popular blog series I published in the past, but felt its truths were timeless.
How does God speak to you? Are there times when God has been silent in your life?