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Archive for March 7th, 2016

(No new sermon this week.)

Commenter Meme asked some questions, my reply to which got so enormous that I decided to post it:

When you focus your entire life on God, when you have absolute faith, when you pray all day long, and when God can count on you to act in absolute obedience, if you pay close attention and keep careful track, over time you’ll be able to distinguish subtle clues that will tell you that something you’re experiencing is almost certainly from God… but what these clues are differs from person to person.  My personal experience is that God speaks more quietly in my mind than my own voice does:

1 Kings 19:12 (NKJV)

12 … a still small voice

That doesn’t mean that every quiet voice in my mind is God, though; sometimes it’s a faint memory, of something someone said, a line from a movie or TV show, etc.  I’m PRETTY sure that I can tell the difference… but not totally sure.  And I have no idea whatsoever how God’s messages to YOU, if any, differ from other things going on in your head.

If I had a way to determine with 100% certainty whether or not what someone heard, saw, or felt was from God, I’d be making a fortune from my book and on the lecture circuit… but I’m not. And neither is anyone else.  As desperately as we want to be certain about communicating with or receiving messages from God, we can’t be. God could MAKE us certain, in other words give us a way to BE certain, if He wanted to, but He does not do so… because He wants us to have FAITH.

So, unfortunately, there isn’t any way to know for sure if you’re hearing from God, or if what you think God told you will come to pass. As you have probably experienced yourself, you can be certain that something will happen and it doesn’t, or that something won’t happen but it does, or totally uncertain, but things still happen.  You can be 100% positive that God has indicated one thing or another, and be wrong; it happens all the time.  Much of the time, when we believe that we’re hearing God, all we’re hearing is our own minds talking to us, telling us what we want to hear.  There’s just no way to prove one way or the other if what we’re hearing is our subconscious mind or God.

This is why we need FAITH.  If you have total faith, you can be totally certain that God will do a certain thing for you, even though you don’t have proof, and even though you remember that in the past there were things that you prayed for that God did NOT give you.  That may seem crazy to you, I know it used to seem crazy to ME, but once your faith becomes absolute, it does actually work that way.

(As I was writing the above, I was thinking that I should look up and include the verse that explains what faith is. I got distracted, and didn’t do it… and then I took a break from writing, checked my inbox, and saw that the email containing JO’s daily newsletter had arrived.  Most days, I have to delete newsletters unopened, because I don’t have time to read them, but I followed the urge to click on it, to find that the verse of the day, right at the top of the email, was, you guessed it:

Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)
11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

That’s a perfect example of God communicating with me, giving me His approval of this post.)

And what about those situations where you keep getting miraculous-seeming coincidences? Are they signs from God? Much of the time, yes, but not always. Albert Einstein said: “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”  I have seen that this is true, BUT, actual coincidences do still exist; the only way to know with 100% certainty is AFTER the events have occurred, when you can see if what you believed to be messages from God were or were not in fact messages from God, based on whether or not what you believe God told you is what actually occurred (God never lies, and is never wrong). Again, you need FAITH, not proof.

There is no one way that you are supposed to feel when you are hearing from God, so you can’t use that for verification. You can feel overwhelmed, you can feel upset or ecstatic, depending on if it’s good news or bad news, or you can feel peaceful, or anything in between.  My own experience is that when God speaks to me, I often feel… puzzled (*** see example at the end of the post).  Words drop into my brain out of nowhere, not connected to what I’m thinking about, and I stop and think about what it means… which is probably the reason God does it that way, to make me stop and think, to FOCUS on His message.  Sometimes my head will swim when a bunch of signs show up. And sometimes, God will just totally surprise me.

That’s the thing of it; God does not give us a signal that tells us that it’s Him.  I’m certainly not hearing from God every time something puzzling pops into my brain!! Sometimes, people become certain that they can tell when God is speaking to them, because there are a bunch of times that they thought that and things ended up the way they thought they would. The problem with that is, firstly, that they’re conveniently forgetting all the times they were certain that they heard from God that things did NOT go the way that they thought God had promised, and secondly, and more importantly, good things happen in our lives more often than not, so if we’re predicting good things, we’ll usually be right just by common sense, not because we’ve heard divine messages.

It’s natural to want to figure out how to prove if God is speaking to you and what it means, but it just isn’t possible. Just stay in faith;  GOD has it all figured out.

 

*** OK, ok, here’s an example: I was talking at great length to God about something, I no longer remember what, when suddenly, quietly, inside my mind:

Call Jane

That’s all there was. I called her, thinking that she might know why I needed to talk to her; she didn’t. She speculated about several things that were going on in her life that might be the reason; as it turned out, they weren’t. Since she couldn’t come up with a definitive answer, she decided that she needed to do some serious Bible reading to be ready for something big to happen. A week later, her father, who we had no idea was even sick, was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  You can never be prepared to hear that kind of news, but God made sure that she was as ready as she could be; He knew that she would not recognize the message from Him, so He gave a message to ME so that she would pay attention and start bracing herself emotionally.  This is another amazing example of how, if God wants you to know something, He ALWAYS finds a way.

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