Thirty years ago, when I entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ, I had no previous experiences that defined for me, or prepared me, for what it meant to be a Christian. I did not grow up in a Bible-reading, Bible-teaching family attending church every Sunday. I was not familiar with the terminology, I had no knowledge of the deception that I came to discover was rampant in the Church today and neither had I been predisposed to religious traditions that have caused people to stray far from the model the early apostles modeled for us in the early New Testament Church.
I came to God as a blank slate, somewhat ignorant but nevertheless ready and eager to explore His word for what it was. So, when I received my very first Bible, at the tender age of twenty-seven, I embraced God’s word with much anticipation believing it was going to change my life. As I read it and heard it, I accepted God’s word literally and whole-heartedly, and as the result something amazing happened…
As I began reading my Bible as a new Believer I marveled (as I still do) at the relationships that were formed between God and His children. As I observed the communications that took place between God and people like Abraham and Moses, I could find no reason to believe that God could not or would not communicate with me as well. So, I believed that He could and I expected that He would, and began pursuing a deeper, more intimate relationship with the Lord. I was not content with simply reading my Bible and knowing about God. I wanted more. So, I began to seek the Lord so that I could truly come to know God. In those early years, I remember praying often that God would clearly speak to me. God answered my prayer. However, recognizing His voice did not happen for me overnight. It took years of walking with, talking with and experiencing God.
GOD SPEAKS AUDIBLY
In my previous post, Introducing Author Of Life Poetic Inspirations!, I share my amazing experience of the first time I heard the audible voice of God. I’d like to expound upon it here:
Let me start out by saying I am not one who has ever been able to stay up late. I define late as past the hour of 9:00pm (smile). Even as a small child I always rose early and retired early. According to my pediatrician, it was just the way God had wired my body. However, in September of 2001, on the eve of what would become one of the most devastating periods of my life, everything was different. In retrospect, I know now that the Lord was preparing me for a very painful situation that was coming. He was going to draw out of me emotions from that situation that He allowed to teach me lessons and to use for ministry.
Prior to that evening, I had begun to supernaturally receive messages that I was moved to write into psalms and poems. These writings were destined to not only minister to me during some of the most difficult periods of my life but, eventually, would come to minister to many others as well. I had recently been given my first Holy Spirit-inspired message. Eventually, more were to follow.
On this day, I spent the evening stretched out on the living room floor of my home praying, reflecting and writing. Although it had become quite late, surprisingly I was wide awake and had no intentions of going to bed until I finished what I was working on. I don’t remember what time it was, but I do know my family had gone to bed hours before and everyone was sound asleep. After I had finally finished, I prepared for bed then went into my bedroom. I remember it was quiet in the house and all the lights were out however, my bedroom was gently illuminated by the moonlight I could see coming in through my bedroom window.
As I climbed into bed and began to pull the covers up over me, I heard a male voice call out my first name out loud. Startled, I looked around the room but I saw no one. I was frightened so I sunk down into the bed and pulled the covers up over my head. Then, with my left foot, I nudged my husband who was laying beside me sound asleep and snoring. I tried again to wake him to see if he had also heard the voice but he didn’t budge. It was obvious that he had not. As I lay there all night afraid to remove the covers for fear of what I might see, I pondered what I had just heard. I don’t remember how long I lay there, but eventually I know I fell asleep.
The following morning, I was completely beside myself. I told my husband what had happened in hopes of getting some answers. Instead, he was speechless and equally surprised. I then contacted one of my co-pastors and met her later for lunch. She confirmed what I already knew in my spirit. I had, in fact, heard the audible voice of Jesus.
I could not understand why God would speak to me and yet only call out my name. This question plagued me. In an effort to understand, I grabbed my Bible and re-read the story of Samuel. Afterwards, I became completely distraught and disappointed with myself. God had called out my name the night before and I had not responded with a single word. Maybe this was the reason why He had not spoken anything else.
A week later, I received devastating news. It was the kind of news that had I not been grounded in the belief that God was real, it may have destroyed me. I struggled for quite a while trying to process everything. “How could God allow this to happen?” I thought. Much later, I was to receive many answers to that question. However, none of them brought me relief from my pain. Only the reality that God was real grounded me. I knew He was. Along with all the other times He had revealed Himself to me in miraculous ways, now I could tell myself in the most difficult situations that God would see me through it. I was reminded of this every time I drew strength from the fact that He had audibly called out my name.
Although I was surprised by my lack of a reaction when I heard the voice of God, none of it caught God by surprise. He knew exactly how I would respond. Nevertheless, He is using every bit of that experience for His glory.
GOD SPEAKS BY IMPARTATION
Recently, I released some of those psalms and poems that were given to me over the years by the Lord. They are included in the seventeen ‘Gift Books’ (as in gifts from God) that make up my poetic work entitled Author Of Life Poetic Inspirations: A Divinely Inspired Poem & Psalm Collection. The title I chose for this work is a lengthy one and there is a very good reason for that. ‘Divinely Inspired’ implies that there was an impartation that took place between the Holy Spirit and myself. Imparting (or downloading) information into our spirits is another way God speaks to His children. Have you ever received a complete idea or information about something you had never given any thought to before? If that idea or information was not contrary to the word of God, it was probably the Holy Spirit imparting, or downloading, that information into your spirit. Though this type of communication is actually quite common, unfortunately, people assume their information comes from elsewhere and the Holy Spirit does not receive proper credit for it. The reason for the long title of my poetic work: I wanted to be sure to give credit where credit is due.
I’d like to share a very personal story. This story is one I rarely speak about however, as I considered which example in my life would be appropriate to best demonstrate ‘impartation’, the Lord said to use this one.
In 2008, I began to receive very disturbing dreams concerning my mother who was alive and well at the time. The dreams were reoccurring. I say this because even though the scenes and circumstances were different, the subject and the ending were always the same. In every dream was my mother and at the end of every dream, I was shown that my mother was going to Hell.
Naturally, I was extremely alarmed about what was being shown to me so I would attempt to speak with my mother, as well as my father, about whether they had a relationship with the Lord. At the time, however, neither would speak to me about the subject. I did’t know what more to do other than pray, pray and pray some more.
Years later, my mother began to show signs of a debilitating illness. I remember my father telling me that my mother told him before she lost her ability to speak that she felt as if she was slowly fading away. I traveled from Georgia to Texas to help care for her. I took her to several specialists hoping to discover what was wrong with her and trying to believe that there was a cure out there somewhere. But her visits always ended the same. Her illness baffled even the experts. While some symptoms would point to one illness, other symptoms would at the same time rule it out. There was nothing they could do. This was the case throughout the entire course of her illness.
In horror, I watched as my mother very quickly declined from a strong-willed, intelligent and very capable woman and succumb to an infantile state of helplessness. My mother eventually lost her ability to talk, to eat or drink, to walk, stand and even sit. Interestingly enough though, her mind seemed to be intact. It was a strange illness. It was as if her mind was imprisoned inside a body that was shutting down around her. However, eventually, even her cognitive abilities were to go. My family and I knew that my mother was dying. In desperation, each and every one of us did everything that was humanly possible to try and save her but sadly we could do nothing more but keep her comfortable and stand by watching as the enemy slowly pulled her away from us.
While all this was happening, in the back of my mind I could not escape the dreams the Lord had given to me concerning my mother. “Isn’t there anything more I can do, Lord?” I would often ask God as I prayed for my mother. But the Lord was silent. So I just continued to pray.
Eventually, I saw my mother become bed-bound in a nursing home for we could no longer care for her properly at home. But only weeks before she could no longer sit alone, I began to receive news from the nurses that early on Sunday mornings, my mother had begun to wheel herself, alone in her wheelchair, to the other side of the building so that she could attend church services in the little chapel they had there. This shocked me. My mother never had a desire to attend church. In fact, she would become upset with me every time I tried to talk to her about God. Did she believe in God? Was she angry with God about something? These are questions she would never answer.
My mother had lost her ability to speak and write by this time, so I could get nothing out of her whenever I would ask her about her trips to the chapel. “Mommy, the nurses tell me you’ve been attending church services on Sunday mornings. Is this true?” In an attempt to engage my mother, she would only stare at me with an empty look on her face. Sometimes she would yawn as if she wanted to speak but couldn’t. A few weeks later, my mother’s body could no longer sit so she became bed-bound. Not long after this, I returned to Georgia. My mother was declining fast at this point and I knew that the end was near.
One morning, shortly after returning to Georgia, I awoke very early and felt that I needed some time with the Lord. So, I drew a bath and decided to relax to the sounds of the gospel being read to me by audio form. As I lay back in the tub with my eyes closed, the Lord spoke to my spirit. He instructed me to give a message to my mother and began to impart this information into my spirit. There was so much that I was afraid I would not remember it all, so I got out of the tub to get a piece of paper and a pen. I wrote down everything the Lord gave me for my mother.
The Lord instructed me to call my sister, who was in Texas, to go see my mother. It was around 4:00 am or so. God told me to tell my sister when she got to my mother’s room to put the phone on speaker and I was to give her the message. I called my sister and she did exactly what the Lord said. First, the Lord had me tell my mother that He loved her very much. He told me to tell my mother that He had forgiven her of everything. He said that even though there are secrets my mother held onto, He knows about them all and has forgiven her for them all. At this time, I heard my sister call out my name and say, “She’s crying. There are tears running out of her eyes.” I then spoke to my mother and told her I was going to ask her some questions and that I needed her to respond to me. I knew she couldn’t speak so I asked her if she could blink her eyes. I instructed my mother to blink twice for ‘yes’ and once for ‘no’. My sister became excited and confirmed that my mother had blinked her eyes hard – twice! I then continued by asking my mother if she believed that Jesus Christ was the one and only virgin-born son of God. My mother blinked twice. I asked her if she believed He was crucified, buried, rose on the third day and had ascended into Heaven to rule along side of the Father. My mother blinked twice. On the inside, I was rejoicing! Then the Lord had me tell my mother that soon her time here would come to an end for He was going to bring her home to be with Him. He had me tell her that when that time came, He was going to call out her name and when she heard her name called, she was to answer Him. My mother blinked twice, again. I then said some personal words to my mother telling her how much I loved her, what a wonderful mother she had been to me and that I would see her soon. We then cried together and I said my goodbyes.
A few days later, my mother died. The hospice nurse that cared for her in her last hours told me that a strange thing happened right before my mother passed. She said that my mother had slipped into a state of sleep but noticed at the end that her lips began to move. The nurse thought maybe her lips were dry and so she turned to get some moisturizer for my mother. When she turned back to tend to my mother, she was gone. In this, the Lord was showing me that my mother had done what He had instructed her to do when it was her time to go. God called out her name and she answered Him.
The Lord taught me some very important lessons through this experience with my mother. I can sum them up in four words. Prayer, grace, mercy and obedience. Even though I thought there was nothing more I could do for my mother, I still prayed. The Lord extended grace to my mother and showed her mercy even though she did not deserve it, as none of us do. And God honored my obedience to Him and honored my prayers for my mother. My mother received salvation and is at peace, in perfect joy and in perfect health in glorious Heaven with the Lord.
As for me, I am ecstatic! For I will see my beautiful, strong and amazing mother again.
GOD SPEAKS MESSAGES THROUGH OTHERS
In 1997, ten years after I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, I cried out to God one day in the midst of struggling through yet another hurtful situation that was going on in my life. I remember desperately wanting and needing to hear God’s voice. I had been praying and seeking God, but I felt like He was not responding to me in the way that I wanted Him to. What happened that unforgettable day became a milestone in my life. It catapulted my faith and solidified what I had been believing about God for years, which was that God still audibly speaks to His children. For it is written that if you “seek the Lord, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29)
I was working for a company that was located only a few miles from my house at the time. While I was at work, I was having trouble focusing and I felt like I was on the verge of tears, so I decided to go home for lunch so I could spend some time alone with the Lord to pray. I remember coming home and going directly to my bedroom. I placed my purse on the dresser and fell to my knees beside my bed. I then immediately began to cry out to God. I begged Him to appear to me and I explained that I desperately needed Him to physically hold me and audibly tell me that He loved me.
Even though I truly did believe God loved me, that day I truly needed to hear it and feel it. For almost an hour or so, I continued travailing in my bedroom on my knees. Yet, much to my disappointment, God did not appear to me and neither did He speak to me. Then I became angry and I started yelling and challenging God to appear before me in my bedroom. I then lifted my right arm up into the air and begged Him to touch my hand. “I know the Bible says You are real and I believe You are real,” I cried out, “but I really need to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that You are real.” Still, much to my disappointment, God did not appear to me and neither did He speak to me. By this time, I had become completely worn out from all the crying and yelling I was doing. Feeling even more frustrated than I was before I came home, I looked at the clock and realized my lunch hour was almost over. So I got up, grabbed my purse and began walking towards the front door. Just as I turned the knob to open the door, the phone rang. I decided to ignore the call because I did not want to chance being late for work, when the answering machine (this was the year 1997) picked up the call. I was compelled to stand there and listen, then I heard my seven year old daughter, who was calling me from her elementary school, speaking on the other end of the phone.
I have to say that my youngest daughter had never called me from school before that day and never did again after that day. This is what I heard her say: “Hi Mommy. This is Nikki. I asked my teacher if I could call you and she said I could. I just wanted to call and let you know that I love you, Mommy. And when I get home, I’m going to hold you because I want you to know just how much I love you. Mommy, I love you very, very much. Well, I have to go now. I’ll see you when I get home. Bye.”
After I heard my daughter’s message, I quickly closed the door and ran over to the answering machine. I dropped to my knees and began to cry bitterly. I knew that although the voice on the phone belonged to my young daughter, the words I heard belonged to my loving God. The Lord was speaking to me through my daughter. I hit replay on the answering machine over and over again listening intently to every single word. Then I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and wrote down everything my daughter said. Then I carefully tucked that piece of paper into my Bible for safe keeping.
Was I late for work that day? Probably, I don’t remember. But I will never forget that day, for it was a day God revealed Himself to me in a very real and very dramatic way. Why He chose to communicate to me in the way He did, I don’t know. Why He chose to do it through my daughter, I don’t know. Could He have physically appeared to me and spoken to me Himself? Of course He could have. He is God. Only God knows why He does what He does the way He does and for the reasons that He does it. In all the many ways He does it, God still speaks to His children.
GOD SPEAKS MESSAGES DELIVERED BY OTHERS
As a prophet, at times I am given messages from God to deliver to others. However, there are times when God delivers messages to me by others. Either way, it is important to know that communicating messages on behalf of God requires extreme caution – both from the deliverer and from the receiver. It is our responsibility to confirm any and all word we receive as a word from God.
I remember a time in my life when God used a young girl with a sweet spirit to usher me into a ministry I felt unqualified to begin… I was working as Marketing Director in a capacity where it was my responsibility to create programs for a community of youth. I called a meeting and invited the youth to explain to them what I wanted to do. I encouraged their feedback and eagerly anticipated the kinds of programs that would interest them. Following that meeting, a young teenage girl who had attended the meeting began to visit me in my office. After a few visits, she began to share with me her dreams she had for her future and her desire for a better life other than what was being offered to her by her struggling single-parent mother. She asked me if I would consider starting a program that would help her do just that.
In the days following, I could not get the young girl, or our conversation, out of my mind. I considered etiquette classes at first. However, as she continued to come by my office and talk to me about her future, I knew I needed to offer her so much more.
After sharing all of this with my husband, he asked me if I had considered starting a teen ministry for girls. Surprised at his response, I quickly replied that I had not. I was no Bible scholar. Neither did I have any formal training. However, it quickly became clear to me that there was nothing I could possibly offer her, or anyone else who was interested in changing their life, that could benefit them more than would an introduction to Jesus Christ.
Not believing I was qualified to head up such an important task, I prayed continuously for confirmation and direction from the Lord. Things began to happen that confirmed God’s plan for me to begin a teen ministry for girls. So, I gave the Lord my word that if He would clearly open the door, I would walk through it. God did just that! And He opened the door wide! Before too long, a teen ministry for girls was birthed and it grew exponentially! God had a message for me and He used a young girl to deliver it. Today, young women ministers have come out of that ministry and that young girl, who God used to start it all, is a successful young woman with a family who loves the Lord.
God was perfectly capable of communicating to me directly and yet He chose to use a young girl I did not know but came to love as a daughter. God also loves to use His people as vessels He can pour into and pour out of. He is not looking for polished professionals, He is looking for those who are hungry for His word. He is looking for those He can train and who are willing to be obedient. Neither is God put off by our need to confirm His word. In fact, He requires it. 1 John 4:1 states: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH HIS WORD
All Scripture is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16) so when God speaks to us through His word, which is the Holy Bible, He is speaking to us through His Inspired word. These are words that were poured out thousands of years ago by His obedient vessels to deliver messages that were meant to minister to us concerning our past, our present and our future. God’s word is alive! God’s word is active. God’s word is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing and dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. God’s word discerns the thoughts and the intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
When I first began to read my Bible as a new Believer in my early twenties, I remember how I felt. I was at a point of brokenness and despair. My own life was in ruins on account of many decisions I had made and I was seeking answers. As I looked around me, I questioned my own existence. “Is this all there is?” I thought. “Does life merely consist of one’s own selfish pursuit of happiness?” With all the complexities I could see in the world around me, there had to be more to it than that. It was then that I began to wonder about God. It was then that I began to read the Bible for the first time in my life. “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find Him, if you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29) Little did I know, that He was drawing me to Him. Little did I know that it was the beginning of a lifetime journey of seeking God. Little did I know that I would surely find Him…
As I read my Bible for the first time, I felt as though I was being drawn into the words and made to experience everything as though I was right there, real time. I started out reading the Bible as I would any new book, from the beginning. It was there in the Old Testament that I was introduced to the Triune Spirit. Not only did I learn about God, I came to know Him as the one and only God of the universe. As I continued in my journey, I also came to know, love and understand that very same God as my friend, my Father and my Lord.
When I entered into the New Testament – having no previous knowledge of Jesus – I could not understand why some of the words were red throughout this book even though I clearly felt moved to tears every time I would read them. I soon learned that those beautiful red words belonged to Jesus.
It was through the words of Jesus – the one and only virgin-born Son of God and who is also God – that I came to understand the true meaning of love for the very first time in my life. I discovered it to be an unconditional love – nothing like the so-called conditional “what have you done for me lately” kind of love that the world teaches. It was the words of Jesus that drew me to Him and beckoned me to accept Him as my Lord and my Savior. It was the words of Jesus that answered all my questions. It was the words of Jesus that saved my life.
The power behind God’s word is a mystery. It is one of many miracles that cannot be explained. It transcends our natural mind’s ability to comprehend. Nevertheless, as His children, we eagerly trust God and by faith we believe His word for it is written: “His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are our ways His ways says the Lord. For as the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are His ways higher than our ways, and His thoughts than our thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
I have read the Bible from beginning to end several times and every time I read it, the Lord speaks to me as if I was reading it for the first time. The understanding is always deeper and more profound. Even though the Author of Life is the ancient of days, this book of old always delivers a brand new message that is fresh and on par with everything I am experiencing today. The voice of God, as spoken through His word, is yet another supernatural phenomenon you have to experience first hand to understand.
To those of you who are questioning life and your unique place in it, God is calling you to Him. Do not be afraid to answer Him. I urge you to quickly respond with prayer by saying, “I am here, Lord. Speak to me and I will listen. Speak to me and I will obey.” He will. Call out to Jesus and ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a very real and a very personal way. Then, begin reading the Bible for yourself. I recommend that you read the King James version or the New King James version at first. Take your time as you read and study God’s word. The Lord tells us to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
Hold on tight! You are about to embark upon the journey of a lifetime as you personally experience the miraculous, supernaturally living word of God.
GOD SPEAKS BY DIRECTING & REDIRECTING OUR CIRCUMSTANCES
A follower of Jesus Christ has many benefits and privileges… This includes the peace we experience in knowing that God has everything concerning our lives under His control – even when we don’t. Proverbs 16:9 tells us that “A man’s heart may plan his way, but it is the Lord who directs his steps.”
I can’t tell you the number of times God has directed and re-directed me by using various circumstances in my life. Through divine detours, God is saying to you, “I am closing this door because it will lead you to a place I do not want you to go.” Or, “I have allowed this to happen because there is a lesson in this experience that I want you to learn.” Or, “I am removing this from you because I have something better in mind.” Or, “I will open this door because in this place I am going to bless you.”
Change can often be uncomfortable and painful. Yet, you must still trust God in the midst of change to manage your life as He deems necessary. God tells us that He will work all things together for the good of those who love Him, for those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
As we follow our own plans and the desires of our heart, we sometimes knowingly – and even unknowingly – can end up where God does not want us to be. There are times that even with our best intentions at heart, we can still make mistakes. When this happens, God will do whatever is necessary to redirect us so that we are placed back on the path that leads us where He desires us to go. However, if you are not where you should be due to your disobedience to the Lord, He will very often allow you to continue in that direction as well as permit painful consequences into your life to teach you what you are refusing to learn.
It wasn’t that long ago, that God had to re-direct me and my life in a very dramatic way. I thought my life was going according to God’s plan. Where I was and everything I was doing made perfect sense to me but the Lord saw things differently. In order to get me back on track so that God could fulfill His plan for my life, He had to change some things that affected my life and the lives of those who were closest to me. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
It is easy to become distracted by life. For this reason, we must always be in right fellowship with the Lord. It is only then that we are able to pray, seek God’s guidance and know that He will hear us. And it is only then that we are able to hear God respond.
Psalm 1:1-6 tells us that the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly is blessed. Neither does he stand in the path of sinners. Nor does he sit in the seat of the scornful. Instead, he delights in the law of the Lord and in God’s law, he meditates day and night. He that is blessed is like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season and whose leaf shall not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper. However, this is not so with the ungodly for they are like the chaff which the wind blows away. The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor shall the sinners be in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH OUR DREAMS & VISIONS
God also speaks to His children through dreams and visions. If He has given you this, you will find that He speaks to warn, prepare, confirm, convict, encourage, inspire and rebuke His children. This subject alone is worthy of its own post for there is so much to say about it. I will expound on it later in a different message.
ARE YOU MISSING THE VOICE OF GOD?
There is so much more that can be said here about the audible voice of God but the bottom line is that God still very much speaks to His children. However, we need to be mindful to listen for Him for we can miss hearing Him. In fact, God is always speaking but sometimes we, His children, are not always able to hear His voice. God does not scream at you. He will not force Himself on you.
It is possible to miss the voice of God. There are many reasons for this. Are you a Believer in Jesus Christ? Have you made Him the Lord and Savior of your life? Do you believe His word? Do you believe God can and will speak to you? Are you too busy or too distracted to hear God’s voice? Is there sin in your life? All of these things will place a barrier between you and the voice of God. When God’s voice is not resonant in your life, the result is devastating. Prayers are unheard, blessings are blocked and you miss God’s best for you. If you are a Believer, there is a remedy. If you are not a Believer, there is still a remedy – become one. Either way, the remedy is the same… Seek God with all of your heart.
“You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11