Hearing God’s Voice

I hate to corrupt you guys’ prayer life, but I have a funny quirk in my thoughts and conversations with God. When an awesome thought comes to my brain, I often say, “Wow, that’s a great idea, Lord.” And then for some reason my brain tunes out of the spiritual and to the scene in Monty Python where the cartoon pop-up version of God says to Arthur, “Of course it’s a good idea!”

So I’m sure many people are asking, when people say God told me this or that, what exactly is going on here? Is God speaking in an audible voice? Is it a “feeling”?

And so I continue my trip in Redding, California seeking for answers.  Trying to avoid the Portlandy chains of Starbucks and Heavenly Donuts, this morning I walked over to Weinerschitzel (c’mon Portland, why no Weinerschitzel?).  For breakfast?  Yes, there waSwitch with "airconditioner" handwritten above its bacon in the dog.  On the walk I enjoyed the warmer weather.  You northwesterners might not believe me, but there’s this warm yellow ball in the sky here.  It’s true!  Shield your eyes to avoid melting.  Right now I’m hanging out at the Stardust.  Okay, so rather ghetto, but it has wi-fi and a cool name that sounds like Buck Rogers.  I’d recommend it to any budget traveller.  It even has userfriendly directions for their air system.

The train ride was great.  I even saw some miraculous white stuff in Chemult in southern Oregon.  You might not believe me, but I swear it.  I know this might be something you read about or see in Hand holding snowmovies, but I’m telling you it was real.  It felt cold and solid, not wet like rain or slush in Portland.  Okay, so I can’t bring back any home, because it melts.  I do have a photo though.  Doubters might say I just edited the photo, but hey that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Hung around Mt Shasta for a day, basically killing time with the bus around the towns, taking photos and talking to hippies, since there wasn’t a lot to do without a car.  But the view was awesome and Black Bear Diner and a few other restaurants were great.

And so yesterday I arrived in Redding, where I got some sleep, then had a great weinerschitzel pastrami sandwich, then later took the bus out to Bethel.  Saw some interesting stuff. Of course I have to mention the Cali blondes who were very lovy-huggy, which reminds me of that old Beach Boys song.  While the midwest farmers daughters in KC really make you feel alright, and I like the Northern girls from Portland and Seattle, there is something to be said for these California girls.

Anyway, there was a worship room in the style of IHOP in KC (where do they find these drummers?!).  A prayerhouse/soaking room with a statue with water pouring over the Earth from the top, pillows and blankets for chilling out, art supplies, and little plastic communion cups with a peel-off top like those barbecue sauce thingies you get at Burger King or wherever, but with a wafer and grapejuice.  At the revival service I’m both cynical and open.  The hooting and howling and partying isn’t really new for me, but then my jaw dropped when the speaker said something about being in Oregon and sharing, “Creative acts of risk release the creative power of God.”  Not sure how much that means to you guys, but for me it hit home.  Like I said in my news page, since my life is getting stranger as I follow prophetic words, and I’m trying to hear more of God’s direction right now, I might as well hang out where the prophets hang out at.

Josh, are you a cult leader or something? Chill out guys. I’m going to be writing on the prophetic a lot, and rest assured it’s nothing heebygeeby. This is a normal part of church life that is being brought back from the Biblical these days. It’s from trusted leaders and must line up with Scripture. Yes, you must use discretion, but know that God’s voice is alive and well these days, not only what’s on the page. The prophets are sometimes as uncomfortable with the term “prophet” as the rest of us are, because they’re often very normal people who are just doing their job and aren’t trying to get a lot of attention.

There’s a question that singles wrestle with. Does the Lord tell you someone is to be your spouse, or do you just date like regular people with those you like till you find someone that works, praying and trusting in God, but not overspiritualizing? I’ve talked this over with leaders and friends and everyone seems to give a different answer. Some with successful marriages went the first way and others with great Godly marriages followed the second. I’ve followed both paths of thinking with not much success. Well, here I am to mention to you readers one more question with incomplete answers.

So yeah, let’s just leave things mystical, cuz that’s way cooler. Just kidding. Okay, so what I do have for my blog are “half-solutions”. These are things I’ve learned out of my own search, where I’ve brought up the questions, but have yet to find complete solutions to.

I have to think way back to math classes, but I remember a concept called “imaginary numbers”. How in the world do you squareroot a minus number? This is apparently the best solution the math geeks could come up with. They didn’t answer the question, but the temporary imaginary number could somehow get them through the equation.

It’s not a hard concept. We have an infinite God and we are fallen man. How are we supposed to completely answer all the questions with our fallen brain? We do have the Word, but remember 1 Cor 13 where it says we see through a glass darkly.

Did you ever read Job? He asked a hard question. Why would God let him suffer like this? To put it in today’s terms, why would a loving God allow the holocaust? 9/11, Darfur, Sex-trafficking, abortion? Job and his friends spend much debate into what’s going on, and suddenly God comes on the scene. Does God answer the question? No, He instead puts on a better special effects show than all of Hollywood combined. Where was Job (or insert your name) when the foundations of the Earth were laid? Where was Josh when the heavens were stretched out for billions of light years beyond what the Hubble could ever see? Where were you when God created a universe so vast it boggles the mind? When I play around Google Earth it’s a bit overbearing when it closes in too fast from the world to a place in town. Guys that’s just a grain of sand. When I was a kid I used to ponder eternity. It scared me that there was no end. At least if we died for good we’d finish, but then that’s just depressing.

Mount Shasta

Take a moment and wow at God, before delving into too much theology.

Here’s what I do know about how to hear God. Scripture is always truth. If something is contrary to Scripture then it’s wrong, period, it’s not a debate. And this is the way most Christians hear. They don’t have to say the Lord told them this or that for everything they do, when they’re studying the Word. It’s very simple. I’ve found part of the process of answering questions is just stripping away mindsets and getting to the simplicity of Scripture. And so there’s nothing complex about the prophetic, it’s just following a path laid down by simple Scripture.

If you really want to hear, try fasting. I know, I hate giving up my donuts as well, but the spiritual reward is well worth it. It’s like cable hd tv compared to oldschool antenna with tinfoil.  For me it’s more about shutting out other voices, even if it’s just a meal skip while working an active job, but temporarily limiting my usual media intake.

Pastors, elders, prophets and trusted friends and family can all be outlets for the voice of God. Like I said before sometimes they’ll tell you different answers. It’s nothing like relativism, it just means that man is imperfect. It’s merely a guide. Kind of like those annoying gpses that help you with the general route, but repeat the same annoying wrong phrases when the routes get complicated. Learn to drive. You have to have at least some knowledge and initiative to get to your destination.

Then there’s circumstance and common sense. Often this will be enough when doors open and close. Other times you’ll need to go against common sense.

I personally like nature. In Scripture it constantly compares acts of nature with God’s voice, particularly water and thunder. I love the ocean, I feel so close to God when I go to Ecola or Depot Bay. I’ve sometimes thought I’ll miss the ocean when it all disappears in the new Earth. But then hey, we’ll have God Himself. That thought is incredible.  Seeing Mt. Shasta on the train ride at night is breathtaking.  A silent monument to God’s glory which bows before His might in end.

So I know there’s still a lot of mysticism, but did does this help at all? How do you experience God’s voice? What helps you?

Category: Spiritual Thoughts | 4 comments

  • Lizzie says:

    I think about this every day and then whine about how God doesn’t speak to me when the truth is that I’m just not listening half the time. I worship and hear God in nature, in music and words, and in the eyes of people. It might sound weird, but when I consciously make eye contact with a stranger and smile, I feel like my heart is going to burst with love. Also, I LOVE this: “Creative acts of risk release the creative power of God.” I’m going to tape that over my laptop screen. It hit home for me, too.

  • Listening for God’s voice and learning to recognize it when you hear it – a vital need for those in the church these days. Just wrote on this subject myself, not too long ago. http://www.living-listening-loving.blogspot.com/2012/02/listening-for-logos.html

    Great stuff in here, Josh. Been thinking of taking a trip to Redding myself. A bit longer train ride from Minnesota, though.

    • Josh Taylor says:

      The logos isn’t always as simple as some people claim revelation and yet it’s even simpler, I mean in a divine way, if that makes any sense. Perhaps once barriers are removes it becomes clearer and simpler.

      Yeah, Redding is worth it. Kansas City is great as well and could be driven to from Minnesota.