FOUNDATIONS (Hearing from God)

Making Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior is the most important and exciting decision you will ever make! 

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You have begun a life-changing journey with God. So, what can you expect?

The foundational teachings below will help prepare you for what lies  ahead!

We encourage you to use these materials throughout the week for your personal Bible studies and discipleship pursuits, even if not attending the sessions. They contain a lifetime of discovery for you to learn and enjoy!

Each teaching begins with a video followed by great information including scripture references for more in-depth discussions.

Session 4 – Hearing from God
A crucial element of any relationship is communication, both listening and speaking. God has spoken to us two basic ways, through creation and through his Word, the Bible. What do the terms “inspiration,” “authority,” and “canonicity” mean? Can we trust the Bible? How do I listen to God as I read his word? Am I supposed to do anything beyond reading it?”

Watch the Bible video

As you now know, God wants you to continuously experience His presence, love and power in your daily life. God made a wonderful plan for your life and even wrote it in His book before you were even conceived (Psalm 139, Jeremiah 29:11). He wants to share it with you and show the way to all the positive change He has planned as the Holy Spirit empowers you to be changed into Jesus likeness and image.

FINDING GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE:

So, how do you find out what His plan is? By listening to God as He speaks to you. By having intimate conversations with Him. Just like with any healthy relationship, God requires open and honest communications (Romans 10:17, Hebrews 4:12, Isaiah 55:11).

GOD IS SPEAKING, ARE YOU LISTENING?

So, how does God speak to you and me? There are many possible ways, but the surest is through His written word in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is critical you continuously read, study and hide God’s word in your heart (Psalm 119:11, Psalm 119:105, Matthew 4:4, 2 Timothy 3:16, James 1:22).

In fact, if He seems to be speaking to you in other ways such as through dreams, visions, impressions, or words of knowledge, it must always agree with His written word. All revelation must be anchored in His word and never be in conflict with it. That is why reading and studying the Bible will always be your best way to hear form God!

THE BIBLE IS YOUR CORNERSTONE!

The Bible is inspired by God. From His very mouth (God-breathed) 2 Peter 1:20. The Holy Spirit guided early men of God to write these books as the complete Bible. It is trustworthy and a faithful witness. The Bible has no contradictions. We know that what it says is true.

It will be helpful to know how the Bible is organized. It was written over a span some 1500 years (about 1400BC – 95AD),  and is accurate and inerrant. There is a total of 66 books written by about 40 different authors.

The old testament has 39 books and chronicles God’s power and works, looking toward the coming of Jesus. The new testament as 27 books and introduces Jesus as savior, describes His earthly ministry and the early church after His ascension.

Each book is organized into chapters, and each chapter into verses so you can find specific scripture. So John 3:16 would be in the book of John, the 3rdchapter’s 16thverse.

Here are suggested ways to begin reading and studying God’s word:

  • Choose a version you can understand. There are:
    • Word for word versions (English Standard Version, New King James Version
    • Thought for thought versions (New Living Translation, New International Version)
    • Paraphrase versions (The Message, The Amplified)
  • Pray before you begin and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into truth (John 16:13)
  • Read a little every day, by yourself or with friends. Read the whole story to understand what was going on when the verses were written.
  • Consider working your way through John, Luke, Matthew, Mark, Genesis, Exodus, Romans, Psalm 1, Psalm 23, Psalm 27, Psalm 51, Psalm 91, Psalm 103, Psalm 121, Psalm 139 Ephesians
  • Journal about
    • What does this teach me about God and the world?
    • What does this teach me about how God wants me to live?

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WAYS GOD CAN SPEAK TO YOU:

We all need to hear from God in both general and specific ways.

For example, God reveals Himself GENERALLY to everyone through the magnificence of creation in nature and conscience (Romans 1:19, Psalm 19:1-4). Learn to listen for and see God in everything.

Here are some ways that God has been known to speak SPECIFICALLY to us:

  • The primary way God speaks to you is through His written word, the Bible(Hebrews 4:12). Scripture is always the voice of God in the general sense that God inspired the words of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16). God can also speak specifically to us through the Bible, by drawing a particular passage to our attention, because the Word of God is living and active (Heb. 4:12). It has God’s stamp of Authority, is true, and is not to be interpreted (2 timothy 3:16). It does not compete with any other source of truth. Learn to read, study, and meditate upon God’s word and He will speak to you and you will be changed.
  • Through circumstance(Jonah 1:4 is a good example). We need to examine our circumstances and ask if we are hearing the Lord through these circumstances. Ask yourself two questions: What’s happening in my life right now? What is the Lord telling me through these circumstances?
  • God can speak through wise counsel. This is shown all through Proverbs. When we seek godly counsel, we can hear the voice of God. This counsel always complements Scripture. When we seek wise, godly mentors in the Lord, we don’t ask them to hear from God for us, but to prayerfully confirm that what we’ve heard from the Lord is correct (Proverbs 11:14, Proverbs 37:30).
  • God can speak through peace. I mentioned Colossians 3:15 in an earlier lesson—that God’s peace can rule in our hearts. The word rule doesn’t simply mean to merely exist. It means to reign or to be a deciding factor. If we don’t have peace about a decision, then it isn’t from the Lord. Don’t move forward unless you have peace.
  • God can speak through people. This pattern is shown all throughout the Bible. God brings wise and godly people into the lives of others and speaks through them (2 Corinthians 13:1).
  • God can speak through dreams and visions. This pattern is shown in the lives of Joseph, Solomon, Jacob, Peter, John, and Paul. This method is available to us today too (see Acts 2:17 where Peter quotes Joel 2:28).
  • God can speak through our thoughts. Amos 4:13 says 
that God makes known His ways to us through our thoughts. In Matthew 1:19–21, while Joseph thought about things, God spoke to him. We need to be careful here because not every thought in our minds comes from the Lord. Thoughts can also be placed in our minds from the Devil. And we can simply think up things on our own. So every time we get a thought, we need to judge if it is from God. Does it align with Scripture? Does it in any way contradict the character of God?
  • God can speak through natural manifestations. Romans 1:18–20 states clearly that God can make Himself known by nature. The voice of God can be revealed through mountains, water, trees, meadows, landscapes, and more. In John 12:27–30, God spoke from heaven, but when God spoke in this incident, some people who stood nearby thought they were hearing thunder. There’s the possibility that this could happen today. Sometimes if we hear thunder or see floods or hurricanes or high winds or volcanoes, it may actually be the voice of God.
  • God can speak through supernatural manifestations. God spoke to Moses through a burning bush (Ex. 3:1–4). He spoke to Gideon through a fleece (Judg. 6:37–40). He spoke to Saul on the Damascus road through a bright light (Acts 9:1–5). He even spoke to Balaam through a donkey (Num. 22:1–35). Do not ignore the guidance of the Holy Spirit!
  • God can speak through a whisper. We discussed in an earlier chapter how God can speak through a still small voice. He spoke this way to Elijah (1 Kings 19:12). Again, the point here is that if we are going to hear God’s voice, then we need to listen to Him. We need to tune in to the frequency of heaven and hear the voice of God. Note the warning held out in Jeremiah 7:13: “While you have been sinning, I have been trying to talk to you, but you refuse to listen” (CEV). Essentially, God is saying to the Israelites that they did any number of wicked things, and He was speaking and speaking to them repeatedly about it, but they did not listen to Him. I love the promise held out for us in Romans 10:17: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” If you’ve ever met a person of great faith, then you’ve met a person of great hearing who knows how to listen to the Word of God.

WORK TO DEVELOP THESE HABITS:

Do your best to develop healthy Bible reading and study habits by scheduling regular quiet time for communications with God. Let the Holy Spirit guide you into all truth. He is your best teacher (1 Corinthian 2:10-16).

Take time to “meditate” on the Word to fill your mind with God’s word (Psalm 1:1-3, Philippians 4:8). Ask for understanding and see how it applies to you at that moment.  Hear and do (obey). This is where true change happens. Being changed by the Holy Spirit is a wonderful experience (Luke 11:28, James 1:22-25)!

Memorize scripture and hide the Word in your heart for encouragement, transformation, safety, warfare and prosperity (Corinthians 3:16, Romans 15:4, Psalm 119:11, Ephesians 6:10-20, Joshua 1:8, John 10:10).

Remember, God’s greatest commandments are to Love, be a disciple, and fully follow Jesus (1 John 3:11, John 13:34-35, John 8:31-32, John 8:12, Matthew Luke 9:23-25).

You have a choice to believe God or to believe the world. It is your choice. DO choose God!

Be encouraged to trust, obey, be transformed, grow, and have a wonderfully blest life (Numbers 23:19)!

The next session is #5 – “Speaking with God