Thursday, December 22, 2011

How Does God Speak to Us? 33 Ways

How does God speak to us? This is a list of ways God can speak to us, an enumeration of the multiple contexts God’s message may be conveyed to us. We open up all the vents of our soul to hear God speaking to us. This list is only a beginning, for God can choose to speak to us any way God wants! As needed, God will confirm God’s speaking through a combination of various multiple means or increasing unfolding. There are also boundaries or parameters, so we do not go astray.

1. Verbal Communication - an internal, inaudible message through a word or words spoken through the still, small voice of God, or perhaps, on occasion, the audible voice of God. This communication could be a specific Scripture, a statement, a question, a command. The “still small voice” in 1 Kings 19:12 can also be translated “the sound of gentle stillness” or “a gentle whisper;” the Hebrew is literally “a voice, a small whisper.”

2. Mental Pictures - inner picture-images or symbols, or messages as parables; a picture flashed across the inner screen of our mind.

3. Encounter - a phenomenal experience with God without words, but leaving an overwhelming message or strong impression.

4. Vision - a series of pictorial messages or visual images, literal or symbolic, while awake. These may require some additional reflective and prayerful interpretation.

5. Dream - a series of pictorial messages or visual images, literal or symbolic, while asleep. There are two formats of dreams -- dreams arising from the subconscious mind that God uses to convey a message, and dreams that are directly heaven-sent from God. Dreams may require some additional reflective and prayerful interpretation.

6. Intellectual Reasoning - cognitive, mental processing and evaluating of data leading to clear conclusions like connecting pieces of a puzzle.

7. Imagination - inner images or concepts creatively conceived or formed through guided imagery.

8. Intuition - knowing spontaneously the right thing to do or say.

9. Conscience - knowing right from wrong. See Romans 2:15; 9:1.

10. Thoughts - ideas or principles, words or pictures that grow with increasing awareness, clarity, unfolding, intensity, conviction, or volume in the mind.

11. Emotions - a gut-level feeling, desire, impulse, impression, arresting concern, or insistent nudge.

12. Memory - the remembrance of an event, thought or Scripture previously learned. See John 2:22; 14:26.

13. Common Sense - the ordinary use of rational, good judgment through experience and logical thinking.

14. Observation - a quickening of insight when observing or reflecting on people, art or inanimate objects. For Scriptural examples of listening to God by observing inanimate objects, see Jeremiah and the potter’s wheel in Jeremiah 18:1-10, Amos and the plumb line in Amos 7:7-8, Saul and Samuel’s torn cloak in 1 Samuel 15:27-28.

15. Liturgy - a ritual ceremony or observance that emphasizes or drives home a certain reality or truth.

16. Nature - the silent shouting of God’s creation, or inner messages that occur through ordinary created objects such as a flower or a tree. See Psalm 19:1-4.

17. Circumstances - confirming situations and events that all seem to point in the same direction often combined with a profound sense of inner peace. See Colossians 3:15.

18. Signs and Wonders - external, more dramatic, supernatural and visible demonstrations of God’s love and power to help, heal, care or deliver.

19. Pain - physical suffering serving as God’s megaphone to gain our attention or teach some lesson.

20. Angels - messengers from God.

21. Theophany - a visible manifestation of God bringing a message. See Exodus 3:1-6.

22. Tongues and Interpretation - a spontaneous message from God in an unlearned language with interpretation in order to speak incisively to a situation, or bring immediate and profound comfort and peace to a person in distress.

23. Word of Wisdom - an appropriate, instantaneous insight for a particular occasion, to make a right decision, to discern good from evil, or to resolve, help or heal a particular situation or need.

24. Word of Knowledge - a fragment of knowledge or disclosure of truth implanted by God -- not learned through the mind -- about a particular person or situation for a specific purpose.

25. Prophecy - a timely message or utterance through an individual from God to strengthen, encourage or comfort that person or that group of people at that particular time. See 1 Corinthians 14:3.

26. Music - meditative or worshipful music that brings stillness, a sense of God’s presence, or a spirit of praise.

27. Bible - the holy, super-slow, spiritual reading and application of the Scriptures, and can include using the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. This is sometimes described as “reading with the mind in the heart.” The written revelation of God’s Word is combined together with the way the Holy Spirit quickens particular portions as a direct word in a present circumstance.

28. Meditation - memorization, repetition and prayerful rumination of Scripture texts.

29. Devotional Classics - a holy, super-slow reading of spiritual writings.

30. Journaling - writing down times of communion or conversations with God.

31. Soul Friends - spiritual guides, godly friends or spouses who provide spiritual direction and counsel.

32. Collective Voice - the united voice and decision made by a group of believers.

33. Preaching and Teaching - public presentation of the Word of God and applied by the Holy Spirit to the individual.

What are the top three ways God frequently uses to speak to you? Which one is a current area of spiritual growth?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Qualities God Shares with People -- #1 Personal

If those are qualities unique to God, what about these qualities God shares with people? Let’s focus on four primary aspects.

The first quality God shares with people is that
God is personal, rather than impersonal.

When Moses encountered God in Exodus 3:14 -- "God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

When God announces his name to Moses, God shows that he exists as a person. Even responding to a question reveals personality. The living God speaks!

God possesses personal traits like self-consciousness, intellect, will, and self-determination. He thinks, feels, chooses, and enjoys relationships with other personal beings like us. God is personal, rather than impersonal.