God is Speaking: Are You Listening?
Confucius once said, "The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can't are both usually right." So the question isn't what is possible, but what do you believe is possible? What you seek in life you will find.
Ever wonder how two individuals can come from the same background and yet have two totally different outcomes? If they both started at the same place with the same resources then how is it one can overcome and succeed in life and the other fail? The reason is their belief system.
I heard a story about a set of twins whose father was an alcoholic. They were now in their 30's and one was an alcoholic just like his father and the other one had become very successful. When they asked the one who had become an alcoholic why he was an alcoholic he said, "Because my father was an alcoholic." When they asked the other twin why he didn't become an alcoholic he said, "Because my father was an alcoholic."
The difference between these two men is that one believed he would be an alcoholic because his father was one and, therefore, made choices out of this belief system. Whereas, the other man hated his father's alcoholism so much that he made a commitment to himself that he would do everything possible to become something completely different then his father. All of his choices followed his belief system for his life.
I hear people say that God doesn't talk to them. I tell them, "It's not that God isn't speaking to you. It's that you aren't listening. God is speaking all the time, but too many of us are so busy cluttering up our minds with useless conversations, mindless television shows and hours of voyeuristic scrolling of social media. If you are constantly filling up your mind with other people's conversations and noise how can you possibly hear God's voice?
If every time you tried to talk to someone they started scrolling through their phone, put on headphones or started a conversation with someone else, how often would you continue trying to talk to this person? After awhile you would stop talking to them and go speak to someone else who wants to hear what you have to say.
God is the same way. He is looking for people who want to hear what He has to say, and in order for us to hear Him we have to shut down the noise and seek His voice, and we have to believe that we will hear Him. Chronicles 16:9 says, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him..." Then, once we hear Him speak we need to obey.
So, the question now becomes, how do we know it's God speaking? What I have found in my own life is that His voice usually sounds much like my own thoughts, only different, if that makes sense. It's usually a quiet voice. I've never had Him speak to me through a burning bush or lightning in the sky, but what I have found is the more I step out on faith in hearing His voice, the more He speaks and the easier it becomes to discern His voice from my own thoughts.
I'll give you an example of how this works.
About a month ago a guy named Carter walked into a class I teach at a men's prison. As usual, he quietly walked in and sat down. He tried speaking, but he couldn't open his mouth. He explained that his jaw was wired. Some gang members had jumped him out on the yard and broke his jaw after he told them he didn't want to be in the gang anymore and refused to follow some orders they had given him.
I knew a little bit about Carter's story. I knew he had been in prison since he was 16 and he was now 30 years old. I knew he had been through the foster system, which meant he had been tossed around as a child without the guiding love of a mother and father. I knew that he felt angry and hurt as a teen when he shot his aunt's boyfriend who was beating her up in an attempt to protect her, and instead of being angry at the boyfriend she turned her anger towards him. I knew Carter had been hurt a lot in life.
So as he sat in his chair in my class with his jaw broken I felt God telling me to pray for Carter. Again, it wasn't a loud voice. It was just a little inward nudge. So, I told Carter we were going to pray for him. I told him to go stand in the middle of the room and had the class gather around him and place their hands on him.
I began to pray, "Lord, you've seen everything that Carter has been through in his life. You've seen all the hurt and pain he has experienced. I feel, Carter, that you have a very good heart and the enemy has been relentlessly chasing you causing people to do things to hurt you in an attempt to cause you to harden your heart, to become calloused and violent; but we bind up this spirit of violence. We break this curse and declare no weapon formed against you shall prosper. I pray Lord, that you touch Him from the top of his head to the soles of his feet with your love. Heal him of all the hurt and rejection."
Tears began to fall from his eyes onto the floor.
"Let them tears fall Carter. That's the Holy Spirit healing you," I said. He wiped the tears from his eyes and sat down. "You have no idea what you just prayed," he said. "I had murder on my mind. I just talked to my uncle about sending me some money to have one of these guys taken out."
Everybody in the room decided to rally around Carter and intercede for him by spending the next day in fasting and prayer, that God would heal his jaw and begin to shift his life in a new direction.
The next week Carter walked into class with a huge smile plastered across his face. "You not gonna believe this Miss Julie," he said. "I was in the block after you all fasted and prayed for me, and I was telling the guys that I was sick of these wires in my mouth and I was gonna pull them out. And all the guys were like, man, don't do that, you gonna mess up yo' mouth. So I prayed. I was like, God, make yourself real in my life. As soon as I prayed that I sneezed and all the wires popped off of my mouth. Just like that. I know that was God!"
Indeed it was, but God wasn't done talking.
Two days later I happened to come across a YouTube video titled "The Josephs Are Arising" by Alice Garza. I was intrigued by the message and so decided to find out more about the woman who was teaching the message. When I Googled her name it said her and her husband Pete Garza had a church in Stryker, Ohio.
I then heard the Holy Spirit tell me to go this church because there was a word for me there. I had no idea where Stryker, Ohio was so I looked it up. It said it was over 2 hours north of where I lived.
"Are you sure about this God? A 5 hour round trip drive is a long way to drive just to hear a sermon if this isn't you speaking."
I decided I would purposely not set my alarm and if God wanted me to go to this church the next morning then He would wake me up. Well, at 4:30 a.m. I woke up, but I ended up falling back asleep. Then again at 6:30 a.m. I woke up. I figured this must be God, so I got dressed and started the drive up north.
After driving 2 1/2 hours my GPS finally had me arrive at a church out in the middle of nowhere - literally, it was in the middle of some corn fields. I pulled into the parking lot that had some grass growing through the cracks and 3 cars parked in it.
"Uhhh God, are you sure about this?"
I parked my car and walked to the door, wondering if the church was even open and if possibly I hadn't heard God correctly on this one. But as soon as I opened the door, despite the small number of people that were worshiping, I felt the presence of God sweep over me.
We finished worshiping and the pastor got up to speak. He wasn't up there more than 5 minutes when he looked at me and said, "What is your name?"
"Julie," I answered.
"The Lord has been speaking to me about you. I have a word for you," he said. I love it when God shows up like this! He and his wife went on to prophesy over my life, and man was it accurate. But the Holy Spirit wasn't done speaking. As I drove home He began to speak to me again about Carter. This is the word He gave me.
Tell Carter that in the very area that the enemy attacked him and tried to shut his mouth, I will use him as a mouthpiece to preach the gospel and bring unity to gangs, and just as I broke those wires off in an instant I will use him to break off chains and strongholds on others.
As I am hearing this I look up and I am crossing over a street named "Carter Avenue." Is God not amazing! He certainly knows how to confirm His word. The next week I saw Carter in class and shared all of this with him. When I told him about the street sign you should have seen the smile that flashed across his face.
We never know what people are going through and how much a prophetic word from God can keep someone in the pursuit of their destiny versus throwing in the towel. This is why it's so important for us to be in tune with His frequency.
All I can say is God is definitely speaking in this season, but if we aren't obedient to do what He tells us and we aren't actively pursuing the things of God we will miss what He is saying. I'm so glad I didn't miss His voice that day. Not only did I need this word, but so did Carter.
What do you need to hear from God? I promise if you seek Him, obey and listen, you will hear His voice.