...How do you hear God's voice?

Back in the "day," 1970 to be exact, the rock and roll group Five Man Electrical Band did a
song called "Signs." The chorus went like this:
    Sign, Sign, everywhere a sign
    Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind
    Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?

In the previous letter to you, I wrote about some of the quirky road signs I've seen, some in
person and some through photos that have been sent to me. I'll share a few more with you.
Psalm 29:4 declares, "The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty."

God gives us lots of road signs, speaking to us in a number of ways, each distinct and different.  
He may choose to speak in any way He chooses (and we can choose to respond in a number of
given ways, as well). Here are seven of the most common road signs and ways He reveals His will:

God’s Road Sign # 1: His Word
Daniel 9:1-2 tells us, "And in the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the
Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign I
Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to
Jeremiah the prophet."

    Daniel makes clear in this passage that the avenue
    through which God most often speaks to us is His
    word.  Daniel tells us that he “understood by books,”
    in this case through his reading of Jeremiah. That’s
    how the brave man of God knew what God’s will was
    for his life.

    The Bible is God’s written word, and God uses it to
    speak to us as we read. I have read the Bible cover
    to cover several times, and during each reading I
    discover new meanings in even the most familiar
    passages of Scripture.  As He allows me to see words
    or teachings in a whole new light, God speaks to me
    about a specific matter for which I am seeking His

God’s Road Sign # 2: Dreams and Visions
At times God speaks to His children through visions and dreams, as in Acts 22:17: "And it came to
pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a

The Apostle Paul related an especially remarkable and history-
changing vision of Jesus:
"…and saw him saying unto me, Make
haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not
receive thy testimony concerning me.  And I said, Lord, they
know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that
believed on thee."
(Acts 22:18, 19).

Paul’s plan was to stay in Jerusalem and preach to those who
knew him. He had made up his mind on what to do for God.Yet
in a vision, Paul learns from God that his plan was not God’s
plan for his life. Paul had his own plan for his life and God
changed it through a vision. As a well-known Pharisee, Paul may
have thought that his profile among the Jews would allow him to
use his influence to persuade them to follow Jesus and that this,
surely, would please God.

This was not God’s will, and only as Paul prayed for direction was God’s guidance revealed.  
Knowing that the Jews would not receive Paul’s message, God spoke to Paul in a vision and told
him that He was sending Paul among the Gentiles. Paul’s life was changed because of God’s
visionary response to Paul’s prayers and obedience. As a result, the Gospel was preached
throughout the known world.  

God’s Road Sign # 3: Circumstances
Circumstances can be very tricky. Some people go through life, bouncing from one stumbling
stone to the next, blaming God for all everything that happens to them. It doesn’t take too much
discernment to realize the fact that satan loves to trip believers anyway he can, then blame the
Lord for what happens. People fall for this ruse all the time.

On the other hand, God sometimes speaks through circumstances because the answers are
difficult to miss. Circumstances can be excellent ways in which God chooses to show His direction.
There are many examples throughout the Bible. One of my favorites is when Abraham’s servant
Aleazar prayed that God would lead him in the matter of choosing a wife for Isaac:  

And he said O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed
this day, and shew kindness on my master Abraham. Behold, I stand here by the well
of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: and let it
come to pass, that the damsel to whom I say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that
I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same
be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac.
(Genesis 24:12–14)

We are told that Aleazar asked God to have the appropriate choice fulfill certain conditions. By
having a woman fulfill those conditions for Aleazar, God used circumstances to convey His will to
Aleazar regarding Isaac’s future wife.

Another excellent story of circumstances is Gideon and his fleece (Judges 6). He asked for
specific circumstances to make sure God was really directing him into battle against the
Midianites. God moved specifically. God could have chosen to direct Gideon through some other
manner, but in this case, He answered through very specific circumstances.

God’s Road Sign # 4: Prophecy and the Gifts of the Spirit
The Apostle Paul was a mighty man of God, yet it’s recorded in Acts 21:10 that the Lord sent
Agabus to speak to Paul through prophecy, thereby confirming something that the apostle
already knew deep in his heart.

Today, some individuals are so desperate to hear from God that they go from place to place in
search of a “word from God.”  I believe that God speaks through prophecy at times, but I am
convinced that we must be very careful. The best place to get direction regarding God’s will for
your life is with a Bible open or in your prayer closet. Get to know the Lord, and you will hear from
him and get to know what He is saying to you.

In the end, prophecy is intended for three specific purposes: “Be he that prophesieth speaketh
unto men to
edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3). Edification
means building you up in faith.
Exhortation encourages you to move forward. Comfort
reassures and calms.

A prophetic word should confirm what you already know deep down in your heart. Above all, it
must agree with Scripture:

God’s Road Sign # 5: An Audible Voice
Occasionally, God speaks to His children through an audible voice. The Scriptures record that
God spoke audibly to and, indeed, face-to-face (“mouth to mouth”) with Moses:
"Hear now my
words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision,
and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
With him will I speak mouth to mouth"
(Numbers 12:6–8).

Many believers go an entire lifetime without hearing God's audible voice. Others believe that they
hear His voice often. I believe you will know if this happens to you. I know that it will line up with

God’s Road Sign # 6: Pictures or Images
Sometimes, God speaks through a likeness or image (what in Hebrew is known as t’mnuah), so
powerful you cannot get it out of your mind. Hosea 12:10 spoke of this:
"I have also spoken by the
prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets."

Lots of believers see pictures or images, then God unfolds what is in that picture. Great
cathedrals have been designed this way. Entire ministries have been built upon a single picture or
image received that outlined what would happen.

When you receive these pictures, write them down:
"And the LORD answered me, and said, Write
the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it"
(Habakkuk 2:2).

God’s Road Sign # 7: Supernatural Peace
God’s peace always resides where He is. Therefore, when there is no peace, it’s a good
possibility that you are heading the wrong way:
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds
through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

    The late William Barclay, a world-renowned Bible
    commentator and minister with the Church of
    Scotland, made the following profound observation
    regarding God’s peace: "It may be that one of our
    great faults in prayer is that we talk too much and
    listen too little. When prayer is at its highest we wait
    in silence for God’s voice to us; we linger in His
    presence for His peace and His power to flow over us
    and around us; we lean back in His everlasting arms
    and feel the serenity of perfect security in Him.  

I have learned from personal experience that this kind of perfect peace is an important key to
discerning God’s will.  When my heart is filled with an indescribable peace that surpasses all
human understanding, I am in the center of God’s will.

The wonderful minister and writer, R. A. Torrey, wrote this simple-yet-profound statement: "The
only man who is at all competent to interpret the will of God is the man who is in harmony with
God, and the only man who is in harmony with God is the man whose will is fully surrendered to

Remember that song I mentioned from the Five Man Electrical Band. Do you recall the last verse
in the tune?

    And the sign said everybody welcome, come in, kneel down and pray
    But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all,
    I didn't have a penny to pay, so I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign
    I said thank you Lord for thinking about me, I'm alive and doing fine

I guess there was a lot of truth in that song that we didn't always grasp.

Throughout Scripture we read of a loving God who seeks to communicate with His people, who is
"thinking about me." His purpose for creating us, in fact, was to enjoy a close relationship with us.

He wants us to follow the Lord’s example as He said:
“My meat (purpose) is to do the will of him
that sent me, and to finish his work”
(John 4:34).

To be
IN the will of God, we must be willing to obey Him and DO His will.

And that's the topic for an entirely different COUNTRY PARSON.

Trust in the Lord with all
thine heart; and lean not
unto thine own
In all thy ways
acknowledge him,
and he shall direct
thy paths.
—Proverbs 3:5-6
Benjamin Parsons,
has tended to hurts
and hearts in North
America's most
remote frontier
regions, including
the Pacific
Northwest, the
Canadian Rockies
and Alaska.

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