Hi Geoff and Paul,
Comment on your statements regarding God speaking to us today, in some way that can be understood as a “voice” directing us in some manner.
Well, I have to differ from your stated opinion that “ideas” popping up in our heads can be construed to be “speaking,” as the only way it is.
This is a much abbreviated story to address that I think both things happen in God’s communication to us today. Popping up ideas, and speaking directly to us as well.
1. The Holy Spirit does give us understanding and ideas that translate into effectively achieving His directions for us. This happened to me during the time that my wife had passed away. She died on Tuesday, I went through a long few days till Thursday, when the Holy Spirit came to me on that day around 10:00 o’clock am and essentially took and held all the grief and hurt that I had endured up to that time. Best way to describe it: The hurt and grief was like a giant beach ball, overwhelming me. The Holy Spirit took the ball in His Gracious Hands, and closed slowly around it, compressing it smaller and smaller until it was entirely enclosed within His Closed Hands. At that moment, everything changed for me. Having previously lost 5 lbs due to not eating or wanting to eat those few days, now immediately I was hungry and went and got some food. I told everyone there about the experience, they really thought, that due to my grief, I had lost it. Even my Presbyterian preacher, who I told about this, just rejected it outright attributing it to my loss.
My mother-in-law said a few days later after the funeral, during which I was totally at peace and resting in Jesus, that I really did not know that Janet, my wife, has died. I was the only one at the funeral that was OK. Everyone else was wiped out.
2.Another event a few days later as I was at home contemplating my plight now that I had to take care of two girls, one 14, one 18 at college, it looked bleak. I had no one to help. No one was available to transport them to doctors, or school. I did not know how to raise girls alone. As I was sitting on the floor looking at a black wall facing me, suddenly the Holy Spirit came down, surrounded me, enveloped me and shared this with me: “Don’t worry about that, I have greater ahead of you than you have ever had before.” Before the visitation I was going downhill fast, but afterward everything was going up and has never stopped going up! Note, His prophecy has happened just as He said.
Again several months later, after a brief courtship, and later marriage of a new wife, Peggy, we were battling over the role of leadership in the family. She is a strong woman, beautiful, perfectionistic, and smart. She wanted to take over the entire role of leading the family. However I knew that the man is the leader and she could not get that through her head. After a number of conflicts, battles, etc,, I decided to leave the marriage, since I was unable to reason with her about leadership. Again, I was immature as well, and not really well schooled in leadership either. I am sure there was a lot of the problems was my fault and I found out it to be true, I had a lot to learn! On the day I decided to leave her, as I was taking a shower, the Holy Spirit again (same voice) spoke to me. He said, “Don’t you leave that woman!” Recognizing who it was, I immediately submitted to the request, saying, “Well, Lord, if that is what you want, I will do as you ask.” No discussion, no discourse, just as direct command. Think everything changed with Peggy after that? No way, nothing changed in her, it began to change in me.
I, today, have been married to that same woman 30 years, same strong willed woman, beautiful, still wanting to tell me every move I need to make, however, I have learned to work around that and keep peace and achieve goals.
God has really blessed us, 4 kids and families, 10 grandchildren, 10 great-grands, no debt, traveled the world, new cars as needed in cash, home paid for, money in my pocket, and a desire to continue to grow and share with others in Christ. Your involvement is testimony to that. God bless. Bill Teal
PS, Lots of college courses, but no degree, Hi-Tech advisor to Community College, employed 37 years in High Tech communications, military background, artist, photographer, graphic designer, but most of all, Saved by Grace.
One further note in previous post: I have to disagree with limiting God in any way. He is Sovereign, and cannot be put in a box. It is not unbiblical because He has given me special benefits and blessings that others do not have. Those who help me, are blessed. those who do not, are not blessed, or in some cases, actually have bad things happen to them. I can explain this if desired. Feelings were not involved as any measurement of His involvement in my life. In fact, after feelings have been put aside, and I have gone on to trust even against the feelings.
I was not actively involved in prayer, seeking God’s will, nor attempting to find out what God wanted me to do in either of these aforementioned situations during my wife’s death and later marriage. I was not after God’s will, He came to me in my distresses, and helped me. All these things changed my life.
I did not have anyone telling me to describe these events as “Holy Spirit Speaking.” Had no need to “discern” it was very plain, and direct. There was no exercise of mental evaluation in these events. God just came, and in my affliction, He dealt with it and gave me a new understanding and strength to go on.
He has directed me in many ways since, but not like this. He was kind to me, Bless His Holy Name, in spite of my sin and rebellion.
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