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YWAM Crossroads DTS Hearing God's Voice notes from lectures by Ken Mulligan

 Does God speak today?


God spoke in times past. 

Hebrews 1:1-2 (NASB) 
1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
2 in these last days have spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

Hebrews 13:8 (NASB) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Deuteronomy 4:30 (NASB) When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the LORD your God and listen to His voice. 

Deuteronomy 5:24 (NASB)  You said, 'Behold, the LORD our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire; we have seen today that God speaks with man, yet he lives

1 Samuel 3:10 (NASB) Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for Your servant is listening."

1 Kings 19:9-16 (NASB)
9 Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
10 He said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."
11 So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD was passing by!  And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
12 After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.
When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
Then he said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."
15 The LORD said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram;
16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.  

Jeremiah 33:3 (NASB)  'Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know

Joel 2:28 (NASB)  It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.  

Revelation 3:20 (NASB)  'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

Who does God speak to?

His prophets, and today to His sheep or people.  Henry Blackaby"s book Experiencing God. Blackaby did a study of how God spoke in the Bible and wrote them down. In the Old Testament He spoke through: creation, angels, prophets, dreams, visions, casting lots, the strange thing called the urim and the thummin, a gentle voice, fire, a burning bush, preaching, judgments, symbolic actions, signs, miracles, writing on a wall, a donkey, trumpets, thunder and lightning, smoke and storms, a fleece, sound of marching in the treetops, sometimes face to face, in personal guidance, plus various unspecified ways.

In the New Testament He spoke through: Jesus, the Risen Christ, nature, angels, dreams, visions, prayer, prophets, signs and wonders, preachers, scripture, an unbeliever, the church, sometimes a direct word from God, the Holy Spirit, plus various unspecified ways

How does God speak today? 

He speaks through His creation. 

Romans 1:20 (NASB)  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

2 Timothy 3:16 (NASB)  He speaks through His Word and Jesus is the Word.  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.

1 John 1:1-2 (NASB) 

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.  

He speaks through circumstances.  He speaks through the preaching and teaching of His Word.  He speaks through His Spirit  He speaks in visions and dreams  He speaks in answer to prayer

God communicates with us as friends

He desires relationship.  Our view of God, or what I believe God is like, is shaped by a number of things.  How I've seen others relate to God  What I've seen lived out by friends and family   What others tell me  My personal experience in life

Beliefs -> values -> actions -> habit -> character -> destiny

Beliefs and values need to align with the Word of God.

We may well need to have a paradigm shift in a number of areas that is a significant change from one view to another.  Steve shared a story of a long period of assigned group prayer, praying for a nation.  The group determined to pray for Northern Ireland.  Individuals in the group had impressions, one saw ships, another saw custom officials and another weapons.  They determined that God wanted them to pray for the custom officials safeguarding the country from illegal weapons.  The following day the report came out that custom officials in Northern Ireland had arrested the largest ever gun smuggling ring.  Steve experienced a paradigm shift in his concept of prayer. 

My view of God will determine what degree of relationship I will have and my level of intimacy with Him.  God wants to work with us.  We must ask, "where is my relationship with God?" Do I need a paradigm shift in my thinking and in what I believe 

Types of relationships we have with God 

  1. Academic / head knowledge

John 5:39-47 (NASB)
39 "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;
40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.
41 "I do not receive glory from men;
42 but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.
43 "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him.
44 "How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?
45 "Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope.
46 "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.
47 "But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"

 1 Corinthians 4:20 (NASB)   For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (NASB) 
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to   those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
29 so that no man may boast before God.
30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
31 so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD." [Quotation from Jeremiah 9”24]

2.     Religious / legalistic

2 Corinthians 3:6 (NASB) Who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

3.    Distant, a sense of having to earn favor, or having a fear that we will be asked to something by God that we don’t want to do.  Unresolved sin, guilt, and shame may be involved.  A lack of obedience, and having our emotions cut off.

4.    Business / contractual

James 4:3(NASB)  You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasure 

5.    Casual, lukewarm, easy going. 

Revelation 3:15-16 (NASB) 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

 6.    Growing, hungry, thirsty for more of God. 

 John 6:35 (NASB)  Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

7.    Intimate two way relationship with God. 

Philippians 3:8-11 (NASB) 
8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,
9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Personal application: 

Where I am now?  Academic and religious.  Where would I like to be?  Intimate and growing. 

Acts 3:19 (NASB)  Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

More on His communication with us as friends

God knows what's best for me. 

John 14:14-18 (NASB) 
14 "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.  
15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
16 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper ,that He may be with you forever;
17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  

Just as the disciples were not abandoned by God and left as orphans, neither are we. 

John 14:25-26 (NASB) 
25 "These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.
26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 

Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit abiding in us, to teach us and remind us. 

John 15:14-15 (NASB)
14 "You are My friends if you do what I command you.
15 "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

Very cool to be called friends of Jesus. 

We all hear God, we just need to learn to discern His voice.

Psalms 25:14 (NASB)  The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant.

God wants to share His heart with us.

What do you do when faced with a decision?  

We can be influenced by people’s opinions.  Instead we should be, “destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”  (2 Corinthians 10:5).  You can be influenced by your own thoughts, desires and feelings.  Instead you should:  “ Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 God can use circumstances to guide us but beware of fatalism. if it's God’s will it will happen.  Another false guide are the whispers of the Enemy.  Thankfully, James tells us,

James 4:7 (NASB)  Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 

The best choice of course in making a decision is listening to God.  How does God communicate?  Spirit to spirit.  We are spiritual beings living in a physical world.

Basic principles:

God is spirit.   

Genesis 1:2 (NASB)  The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

John 4:24 (NASB) God is spirit , and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

Man is spiritual.   

Genesis 1:27 (NASB) God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  

1 Corinthians  2:9-13 (NASB) 

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,
13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.  

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NASB) Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ

James 2:26 (NASB) For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

We are led by the Spirit. 

John 3:5-6 (NASB)
5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Romans 7:6 (NASB)  But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

Romans 8:4-8 (NASB)
So that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,
8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:14 (NASB) For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

1 Corinthians 2:12 (NASB) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,

Galatians 4:6 (NASB)  If Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"

Galatians 5:25 (NASB)  We live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Placing ourselves in a position to hear from God.  A position of humility.

Psalms 25:9 (NASB)  He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.

1 Peter 5:5-6 (NASB)
You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,

James 1:23-25 (NASB)
23 Desire to know and do what God says.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;
24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

Willingness to be counted a fool for Christ.  The point being to step out on faith even when you are all alone and even fellow believers may suggest that you are acting foolishly.  It also reminded me of:

1 Corinthians 1:18 (NASB)  For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Doing the last thing God has told you.  Being obedient.  

1 Samuel 15:22 (NASB)  Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.

"Christians in the West are the most challenged but the least changed".  -Billy Graham

Satan will try to stop us with excuses, reasoning, and delay.  You will be tempted every time you take an important step.     A clean conscience is required. 

Areas God has brought to my attention

I was surprised when I prayed and asked the Lord, "what do you think of me?"  And "what is the reason You brought me here to this school?"

The impression I had to the first question was, "you are accepted, forgiven, loved, like David, you are a man after My own heart.  I want to use you to bless others".  Looking for "a man after God's own heart" brought me to:

2 Samuel 7:8-9, and 18-19. (NASB)
8  "Now therefore, thus you shall say to My servant David, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel.
9  "I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth.
18  Then David the king went in and sat before the LORD, and he said, "Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far?
19  "And yet this was insignificant in Your eyes, O Lord GOD, for You have spoken also of the house of Your servant concerning the distant future. And this is the custom of man, O Lord GOD. 

1 Samuel 13:14 (NASB).The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart

Satan's strategies

As Steve Wells mentioned the whispers of the Enemy.  I thought of how the Enemy wants to deceive us as Christians.  Satan has used three great deceptions today, in seducing mankind away from the truth of God's revelation in Jesus Christ.  It is important for us to understand these, since we are not immune to Satan's deception, even though we are God's children.  We have the indwelling Holy Spirit to give us discernment, so that we can be aware of the deception.  The first and foremost deception of Satan is in reference to Biblical truth. He has tried, down through the centuries to produce many false Christs (i.e. so called Prophets); he has tried to undermine the truth of Scripture by addition or subtraction; he has used religious people to twist scripture, to try and get it to say something that it doesn’t.

If Satan is unable to deceive one through a false Christ or false teaching, he then turns to the second great deception, that in regards to sin.

Hebrews 3:13 (NASB) But encourage one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

I have rationalized and justified what I have wanted to selfishly do, to try to shift the guilt or give the okay to something I wanted to do.  I might fool others and I might fool myself, but God calls this being deceived in sin.

Hebrews 4:13 (NASB) all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do".  

The third and most subtle deception of Satan is in regard to Humanistic Philosophy –

Colossians 2:8 (NASB) See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

1 Timothy 4:1 (NASB) In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines that demons teach.

Demons deceive first in doctrine (e.g. most cults and isms deny the Deity of Jesus Christ, the inspiration of Scripture, the work of Christ on the cross, and His resurrection).

2 Timothy 3:1-2 (NASB)
1 In the "Last days perilous times shall come.
2 For mankind shall be lovers of self.

There is much self- centeredness in our world today.

2 Timothy 3:13 (NASB) Evil men and deceivers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived".

2 Timothy 3:15 (NASB) From a child you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto Salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ.

Finally, we have God's antidote to Satan's three deceptions of false doctrine, sin, and humanistic philosophy.[1]

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine [as the antidote to false doctrine], for reproof, for correction [as the antidote to sin,] for instruction in righteousness [as the antidote to humanistic philosophy.]
17  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

What God is saying to me

I enjoyed meditation on Psalm 1.  I paraphrased it, as well as made personal application.  V. 1 Happy is the one who does not listen to worldly wisdom, popular opinion, trying to do the same thing in the same way that unbelievers do.  Even while knowing that many in the majority are mocking the ways of God.  V. 2 Joy comes in meditating on the Word of God in the morning and in the evening.  V. 3 Doing so can be compared to a healthy green fruit tree growing near a river.  The tree produces fruit.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, patience, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  The one who does this will be successful in God's eyes.  V. 4 In contrast,  unbelieving, sinful people are dead in sin and blown around by many different worldly beliefs and opinions.  V. 5 When God’s judgement comes they will not be with those who have been made righteous by Christ.  The Lord knows what is best for us.  He wants to speak to us and lead us.   

Matthew 7:13-14 (NASB)
13 We enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction and there are many who enter through it. 
14 The gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life

John 10:3-4 (NASB)
3 "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 "When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.  

Jesus knows my name, He has called me, He can speak to me. He goes ahead of me.  I need to learn better to know His voice.  I am one of His sheep and He is the Shepherd. 

Psalms 42:1-2 (NASB)
 1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear
before God?   

I must understand how to understand God's will both His active and passive will, and how that applies in my life. I should not expect that whatever happens is God's active will since He gave me the ability to make choices. I realize that God allows me to miss opportunities that I should have taken had I been more faithful in following his leading. This causes me to be more vigilant in seeking out His desires for my life rather than complacently expecting God to have things fall in my lap.


David loved the Word of God, if I meditate on it as he did, God will use me to bless others.  Singing and making melody in my heart to God.  I am tempted as David was tempted and must resist or suffer the consequences that David suffered, realizing that sin of spiritual leaders affects not only himself but also his family, his ministry, perhaps even his nation.

This is an excerpt from chapter 3 of my book YWAM Discipleship copyright 2018 all rights reserved

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB),
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.

[1] John H. Stoll Biblical Principles for Christian Maturity

“Chapter 7 The Conflict Through the Ages” 1996.  (accessed January 12, 2007.)

  1. .Crossroads DTS, EvangelismFather Heart of God,   Hearing God's VoiceLordship, Missions,
    Nature of God, Prayer, Relationships, Repentance, Submission, YWAM Links,, and YWAM Values  

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