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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hearing God 101

This is an article written by Barbara Shelton, you can go to her site and read the entire article.

I believe there are a few different methods ~ or tools ~ that God uses to
teach us how to hear His voice. Of course, there are two very foundational
elements to this, and they are both contained in this verse:
"If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart."
It starts with God calling. God is calling us. This is all through the word:
"Come let us reason together…
Come to Me all who labor and are heavy-laden… and learn from Me...
Come to Me with your ears wide open…"
And then the other element, of course, is us listening! If we hear Him calling
us ~ and, by the way, He always is ~ then we
need to choose to listen! Even if we don't think
we can hear Him very well. We start by
Would you like some ideas and tips for
learning how to increase your ability to hear
God? ….. Here are ten things God has used in
my life to help or to teach me how to hear His
1) Read God's Word. Of course, you have
to READ it for this one to work. "Thy word
have I hid in my heart." Notice WHO is doing
the hiding. YOU. This one is up to YOU. God will give you the interest and
desire, if you lack either, and if you want ~ and ask ~ Him to give it to you,
and He will give you the self-discipline, if you lack ~ and ask Him ~ for that.
But YOU have to actually DO it.

2) Prayer. This is two-way conversing ~ where we TALK with God, and
practice LISTENING to Him. (And that "listening" part, of course, is what
we're working on honing here.) "Pour out your longings before Him, for He
can help." (Psalms 62:8) Just as with the conversations we have with
people, there are a few different angles to prayer. They are:
~ Giving Thanks - "I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart..."
Having a thankful heart actually opens up the way to getting into God's
presence. It makes sense... When I have gone to a lot of trouble to give
someone a gift (and I've done NOTHING compared to what GOD has done for
us!), and the recipient thanks me for it, my heart immediately opens up to
them! This pre-supposes that one's heart is already right with God. If it
isn't, then the next angle is necessary, and should be taken care of first...
"If today you
hear His
voice, harden
not your

~ Repentance - In the Lord's Prayer it says: "Forgive us our sins..." Be
specific as the Holy Spirit reminds you of what you need to ask forgiveness
for. Consider this verse: "Who shall stand in God's holy place? He who has
clean hands and a pure heart."
~ Petition - This is probably the most common form of prayer. Even non-
Christians do it! This is because our human nature is inclined to ~ and adept
at ~ ASKING for things! Here's how you can pray another portion of the
Lord's Prayer: "Give us [me] this day our [my] daily bread" ~ which is
whatever needs You, Lord, see that I have spiritually, emotionally, physically,
health-wise, time-wise, etc." We also pray for family, friends – saved and
unsaved – the Body of Christ, etc. as Jesus prayed in the garden: "Keep
them from the evil one... May God's joy be fulfilled in them... Keep them in
God's Name... Sanctify them in the Truth." Pray favorite Scripture verses
over them.
(These ideas are borrowed from my "Commune With Me" Guide." -

3) Worship. This could be considered another
aspect of "Prayer," but it's so important that it merits
its own separate listing. Worship involves focusing
on GOD, not on us. True worship involves both
SPIRIT and TRUTH. True worship is getting our eyes
OFF of ourselves and ONTO God. And there is
something transforming about this!
"But we know this, that when we He
appears, we will be like Him, for we will
see Him as He really is." (I John 3:2-3)
Notice it is the very looking at God that changes
us?!?!?!?!? The converse of this is that it's actually a
principle that holds true in a negative way. The more
we look at ~ and listen to ~ worldly music,
television, books, etc. the more we will become like
those. So even our seemingly "neutral" choices
greatly affect our ability to hear God!

4) Obedience. Think of your own children for a
moment… How likely is it that you will be inclined to
tell your child something else to do if they haven't followed through on the
last thing you asked them to do? John 4:34 reads:
"My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to
accomplish His work." (John 4:34)
Doing God's
will is not
only very
satisfying, it
is also FOOD
~ and is
to our "spirit
man" ~
includes our
Doing God's will is not only very satisfying, it is also FOOD ~ and is
nourishment to our "spirit man" ~ which includes our spiritual eardrums!

5) Mentoring/Discipling/Study/Reading. Reading books is actually
"mentoring" on a one-way basis. When you
read a book, you are actually studying under
the person who wrote it. Discipling is
mentoring on a two-way basis. Unfortunately,
though, we have a great need for mentors.
You can be in a church or support group
without one person who understands where
you're at with homeschooling or your walk
with God. This is not a pride thing; it is a pure
and simple matter of "like-mindedness." If you
do not have a person in your life with whom
you can mentor ~ and it can go both ways ~
then God will provide what you need in
another way. It may be that He doesn't even
want you to have contact with people. After
Paul was knocked off his horse with the
blinding light, it says that he "did not confer
with flesh and blood" for quite some time.

6) Die to Self. There is some "old" stuff in you ~ in your thinking, your
heart, your belief system, your attitudes ~ that God just plain wants to deal
a death blow to, but "old" seldom dies a quick, easy death! It takes time. You
may need to allow God to take you through a season of drawing close to Him
for the purpose of letting Him do the needed work (surgery) in your heart.
And THAT is the exact purpose behind my Season of Re-education and
Renewing of the Mind

7) Rest in the Lord. This is a hard one for those who are the "take
charge" type, yet it's where the most power lies, and where the most work
will be done in us! A perfect example (and the very first one we have from a
human) is: How did Adam "hear God" on who he should marry? He went to
SLEEP! He didn't look at all! He just slept, and "while he was sleeping God
formed the woman... and brought her to him." This "resting" also involves
just "resting our case" before the Lord ~ so that He is free(er) to have His

8) Delight yourself in the Lord. How does THIS one help hone your
ability to hear God?!?! It is where our HEART gets lined up with God's
HEART. And it is in this alignment that we are the most receptive to ~ and
able to hear ~God's voice. Our worldly desires not only distract us, they also
dull our ability to hear God, because they pull our attention and focus away
from Him.
There is some
"old" stuff in you
~ in your
thinking, your
heart, your belief
system, your
attitudes ~ that
God just plain
wants to deal a
death blow to…

(Are you beginning to see how much of "hearing God" has to do with
"clearing the path" ~ so that He has a place to access our hearts and lives?!?
Or we could use the analogy of "clearing the runway so He has a place to
land. )

9) Walk in and by the Spirit. This has to do with not only what we DO
and SAY, but how we RESPOND and THINK. It is our connectedness to the
Holy Spirit that affects that first response, not just repenting over and over
for the same thing. Yes, repenting is good, but walking in and by the Holy
Spirit changes us from the inside out. We need to grow up into the full
stature of the Lord, not just stay on milk all our lives. (See Marilyn
Howshall's article "Walking by the Spirit"
( for much
more in-depth study of this!)

10) Adverse Circumstances. I can pretty much guess that this is the
LEAST favorite means of learning to hear God, yet it is one of the most
effective! Of course, this isn't something we
DO, it's something we YIELD to, and walk with
God through. Because this one is SO important,
and yet probably the most misunderstood and
least talked about in Christianity today, I'm
going to camp here for a bit… How you see and
respond to this could actually be the very thing
that will bring a breakthrough in your ability to
hear God…
The idea of God allowing suffering or bringing
"negative judgment" upon our lives raises
questions that go far beyond the realm of
homeschooling. It is not a popular topic within
the church today, as suffering is often associated with God's judgment, and
we much prefer to live in "grace," me included! But we need to remember
"Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his
son, the Lord your God disciplines you." (Deut.8:5)
There are times that an erring child will do as he/she wishes, and the parent
will allow him or her to suffer the natural consequences of their choice(s)…
But there are other times when this isn't appropriate, and specific action –
which I'm sure my child would interpret as "negative judgment" – is
necessary. It is actually grace that I do this because allowing the error to
continue uncorrected would result down the road in much more serious
consequences than merely my "negative judgment" now.

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