An Everyday Christian Shares
His 30 Years Experience
Walking With God . . .

"What Is God Telling You?"

How To Hear God Speak

William M. Verch

Three Key Preliminaries
#1 The Bible
#2 Other People
#3 Books, Movies & Music
#4 Circumstances
#5 Inner Urges To Act
#6 Dreams, Visions, Miracles and Audible Voices
#7 Nature
#8 Inner Voices & Your Conscience   An Amazing Secret Here!
#9 - Conviction
Final Thoughts


It is an incredible privilege to be able to speak directly to God - the creator of the universe - and have Him speak back to you as His child! The Lord is ready, willing and able to speak to you, but you must know how to listen and, most importantly, you must know how to be sure itís Him.  

For God does speakónow one way, now another
ó though man may not perceive it. Job 33:14

Did you ever wonder why God is so mysterious and seemingly distant? Did you ever wonder why the Bible is so long & daunting to read?   Itís simple really.   God is looking for those who are interested in pursuing Him.  

Come near to God and He will come near to you - James 4:8

We must come to the Lord on His terms and for His purposes.   We can certainly come to Him with our needs, but for most of us - thatís all we do.   Did you ever have a friend who was needy all the time?   Did you ever have a friend who was just interested in what you could do for them?   Thatís hardly a friend and itís a difficult relationship at best.  Is that how we treat God?   God wants you to share so much more of yourself with Him - your joys, your dreams, your failures - all of you.   And God has things to say to YOU!   Sometimes, He just wants you to listen.  

Three Key Preliminaries

1.) Cleanse yourself first.   Ask for forgiveness. Donít be actively engaged in sin and expect God to speak to you.

2.) Have an attitude of submission.  God is God and we are not.   He knows what Heís doing even when it doesnít seem like it to you.   He can be absolutely trusted.

3.) Have faith that God will speak to you.   DECIDE that once you determine His Voice, you will follow it.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.   But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.   That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.   James 1:5-8

So how DO you hear God anyway? There are quite a few ways, but the most important way is first.

#1 - The Bible
There's A Reason Why It's Called "God's Word"

The Bible does not contain the Word of God, the Bible IS the Word of God.   If you are not sure about this, you need to BECOME sure about it.   Itís certainly OK to question the Bible - as long as you are really seeking the truth.   It is NOT OK to stay in a place of questioning.   Investigate and DECIDE the question in your own mind once & for all.

There is a ton of biblical information on the internet and there is plenty of empirical evidence regarding archeology and fulfilled prophecy.   It will come down to a decision of faith, but it is not blind faith.   Test what it says - especially when what it says is different from what the world says.   Jesus said this, "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." John 7:17

For me, personally, it was when I read Romans1:28-32:

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.   Romans 1:28-32

This section describes human nature exactly.   The study of psychology is a relatively new science, yet here is a 2000 year old passage that has the very nature of men - nailed.   I finally knew that the Bible had not been written by men, and so I accepted it as the complete Word of God.   Iíve experienced and tested much of what the Bible says and it has ALWAYS proven to be true.  

Now hereís where it gets really interesting.   The Bible is not just a collection of writings.   It is alive.   What happens when you read it is that youíll be going along and - BAM! - there will be a verse that just jumps off the page at you.   It is like it was written exactly for you alone, for this exact moment in your life.   It is AMAZING, and it happens over & over again.   The Bible will be different every time you read it.   God will speak to you through His Word.   You will know it because your heart will burn within you.   You will be utterly convicted.   It is the Holy Spirit who teaches you and reminds you of Godís Word.  

One Caution - You must interpret Scripture with Scripture.   The Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle.   It becomes a whole lot clearer when you have the whole picture, because it all fits together.   It helps you to make a right judgment.   This was, in fact, a problem that the Teachers of the Law had with Jesus.   Scripture says that the Sabbath is a holy day and that you are not to work on the Sabbath.   They became angry with Jesus because He was healing people on the Sabbath.   Jesus told them "Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment." John 7:24.  

If something strikes you as strange or not right in the Bible, then you need to investigate what else the Bible says about the matter.   You will find that there is a reasonable, fuller picture.

Hereís an example: Jesus was talking and He said, "And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.   It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hellÖ" Mark 9:47   WHAT??!!   Does Jesus really want us to pluck out our eyes?!   What if I told you the answer was "yes!" Now letís look at what it's saying:   "if your eye CAUSES you to sin..." Does your eye cause you to sin?   No, your HEART (your evil desires) causes you to sin.   Do you need a new heart?   YES!   And here is what else Scripture says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."   Ezekiel 26:36.  

One other practical application of the plucking out idea is this: Are there places that you go, sites on the internet or maybe even movies that you watch that entice you to sin?   Maybe God is telling you to pluck those out of your life.  

Before you read the Bible, ask the Lord to open your eyes and your heart to His Word.   He will speak to you through it.   The Holy Spirit will convict you that they are the very words of God.  

#2 - Other People
Preachers, Speakers & Friends

God clearly uses His people to help and speak to His people.   Hereís the key, though.   YOU MUST USE A FILTER.   Whatís the filter?  The BIBLE.   If anyone teaches you something and it does not agree with the Bible - it is NOT from God.  Period.  It does not matter how religious the person looks or talks.   It does not matter how good they make you feel.   It doesnít matter if they have thousands of people lapping up their every word.   It doesnít even matter if you feel "convicted" by their words.   God NEVER contradicts His Holy Word. Everything you experience and learn in this life should be filtered with the Bible.  

Now, with that said, there are some AWESOME preachers and teachers out there that God surely speaks through.   Here is that example again of pursuing God.   When you go to church, you are pursuing God and God will reward you by using His servants to help you to know Him & experience Him.

If you are listening to someone and you feel convicted by what they are saying and IF what is being said agrees with the Bible, then you can be confident that it is God speaking to you.   A feeling of conviction from the Holy Spirit is a strong "Wow, that is REALLY true, feeling."  It's a strong, good feeling.

If you are convicted of guilt, it may or may not be from the Holy Spirit. I have found guilt from the Lord to be gentle.  It's like "Come on, Bill, you know what he's saying is true."  If you feel OVERWHELMINGLY guilty, then it is MOST LIKELY from Satan.   The Evil One LOVES to make you feel awful.  In fact, one of his names is "The Accuser."  In "#8 - Inner Voices & Your Conscience" below, there's more on how to determine who's talking to you.

#3 - Books, Movies And Music

Once again, you must filter what you experience with the Bible.  Most authors, music artists and movie producers have a great desire to influence you with a message.   Even I hope to influence you with a message.   I hope to lead you closer to the Lord.   The question in your mind should always be "Where is this message leading me?"

Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."
1 Corinthians 15:33

The "Bad company" from this verse refers to anyone or anything that you allow in your life that would pull you away from God.   Their influence is often subtle, but, if you are aware of it, you can be on guard against these things.  

Christian Books - Christian books can be a wonderful help, but there is a danger.   It is very easy to read Christian books instead of the Bible. Never do this.   Read your Bible first.   Always.   God will speak to you through Christian writers, but it will not be the same as reading the Bible.   Use the Bible as a filter for everything you read, including what you read from me.   Be sure.   When you use the Bible as a filter, it becomes VERY clear, very quickly, whether or not it is God speaking to you.  

Are you starting to see why knowing whatís in the Bible is important? You need to take the reins of knowing what is right and what is wrong - what is of God and what is not.   If you know the Bible you will be able to judge accurately.   Spending time with God and reading your Bible is the MOST important thing you will do all day.

#4 - Circumstances

Interpret what is happening to you.   If something you are doing isnít being blessed, God MAY be directing you elsewhere.   Note that every problem that comes your way MAY NOT be about God trying to teach you something, or that youíve done something wrong.   Sometimes, while weíre on this planet, God allows you to go through difficulties to see your level of faith and to see how you handle it.  

Sometimes, too, God allows you to go through difficulties and it has NOTHING to do with you.   It has to do with a huge spiritual battle thatís going on behind the scenes that INVOLVES you, but is not ABOUT you.   (Thatís what was really what was happening to Job in the Bible.)  Thereíll be much more about this in an upcoming email about "Why Thereís Evil."

The important thing is that you live life with an eye toward interpreting what is happening to you.   There is no reason to live a clueless life. When trying to interpret circumstances, ask God to show you what Heís trying to say.   He will make it plain and He has promised to guide and direct you.

Here are the potential options when things are not working out like you expect:

1. God is trying to teach you something.
2. God is trying to move you elsewhere.
3. God is measuring the depth of your faith.
4. God is measuring the depth of your patience.
5. You are being attacked by the Evil One.
6. There is a spiritual battle going on that involves you, but is not
    really about you.
7. You have sinned and God is allowing you to suffer the

As a note of encouragement, there is much reward awaiting you regarding 1-6 above.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17

Hereís an example of circumstances showing you Godís direction:

Letís say youíre trying to choose which college to go to.   Letís also say that cost is a big factor to you.   Ask God to show you which college you should attend.   If you ask, and you are expecting God to answer, then what will typically happen is that one of your choices will become overwhelmingly obvious.  You'll get massive scholarships from one school and none of the others, or you'll meet someone who went to BOTH schools and they'll have clear reviews for you.  You might get keen insight from an unexpected source.

Keep praying and expecting an answer and God will make it very clear. You should continue to pray until you have a "peace" about the correct choice, but once you receive some clear or unusual confirmation, move ahead in faith that God has shown you the right choice.  Resist the urge to keep rehashing the decision.  God is pleased that you are looking to Him for guidance and He is faithful to show you the way.

#5 - Inner Urges To Act

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose. Philippians 2:13

You get urges from 3 sources: God (The Holy Spirit), Your own sinful nature & Satan.

So how do you tell which is which?

a.) The urge will NEVER be at odds with the Bible.

For example, "I have an urge to leave my wife for my secretary." Donít be foolish.  This is NOT from God.

b.) If from God, the urge will have an obvious good benefit for someone.  For example, "I feel I need to go talk to that guy over there, he sure looks awfully down."  Do it.  The Holy Spirit is prompting you.

c.) MOST urges are from yourself - neither good nor bad, but are NOT God specifically directing you to do something.

For example, "I really want to watch American Idol, tonight."  No problem, but not really God saying "Watch American Idol."

In this area, Satan loves to make you feel GUILTY about normal urges. Youíll have thoughts like, "It is sinful for you to watch American Idol. You need to be doing more for God."  Use good judgment, but for the most part, this is NOT from God.  Below, "#8 - Inner Voices & Your Conscience" will show you how you can stop these voices cold.

d.) Some strange urges MAY be from God.

For example, "I have this overwhelming urge that I need to go to the park, yet there is no good reason for me to go."  Move ahead & do it if the urge is really strong.  You often canít judge until after the fact that it was God telling you to do that.  Youíll go to the park and run into someone who suddenly opens up to you.  (Urge probably from God.)  You go to the park and no one is there.  (Urge probably not from God)

#6 - Dreams, Visions, Miracles and Audible Voices

God usually reserves these methods for if He canít get your attention any other way.  99.9% of His Will is revealed through the other methods listed.  It easy to be mislead by dreams, because they, too, can come from 3 sources.  You must filter and move cautiously on them.

Usually, people want a miraculous sign so that God will prove himself. God has made it clear that He's given us all we need to believe in Him. Now, it's a matter of whether or not you WANT to follow God.   He is most pleased by faith.   Take small steps of faith and you'll receive all the "proof" you'll need.  

The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus.   To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven.   He sighed deeply and said, "Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign?   I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it."  Mark 8:10-12

#7 - Nature

God doesnít really speak through nature.   Instead, He uses it to reveal His creative ability as an inspiration to us.   Nature is a testimony as to how awesome God is.   There have been innumerable times when Iíve looked up at some incredible twilight sky and have just been overwhelmed with appreciation for Godís talent.   Many times Iíve exclaimed, "God, You sure can paint!"

There is a danger in that we so badly want a God we can see, that weíll take nature and worship it.   God gets exasperated with that because we end up worshiping created things, instead of the creator. Donít miss the point of nature.  

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.  Romans 1:25

#8 - Inner Voices & Your Conscience
An Amazing Secret

You can hear inner voices from 3 places:


When you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives within you and He can and will carry on a regular dialogue with you.  He will speak to your conscience, but your conscience is NOT God.  MUCH inner conversation is YOU talking with yourself.  

God has given us a tool to HELP discern whoís talking to you.

Did you know that God has a password phrase!

Here it is:

"Jesus Christ Has Come In The Flesh"

Here is where it comes from:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.  1 John 4:1-3

Hereís how to use this:

When you hear an voice in your mind - REQUIRE the voice to say the phrase.

If the voice does not immediately say the COMPLETE phrase, then the voice is NOT from God.  It is either Satan or it is you talking to yourself.

If the voice DOES say the phrase, Iíve learned that you still have to be careful.  In my experience, about 98% of the time it IS God, but a few times, it has been my strong desire which has said the phrase.  (I ended up knowing, because what was said did not come to pass!)

So, be careful, but this is a GREAT method to DO AWAY with so many bad thoughts that come into your head.  If the voice does not say the phrase, you can have absolute confidence that it is NOT from God.

#9 - Conviction
Sometimes, You Just Know

Hereís a VERY practical way to have God speak with You.  I use this almost every day.  Write your thoughts down.  (I do it on my computer.)  When I have a question for God,


I then ask the question out loud and pray for the answer.  Now, an absolute KEY - DO NOT try to figure out the answer.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not
on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5

I ask the question and then wait.  The answer may come right away, but usually it takes a day or more.  I WAIT for God to answer on His timetable.  I can not stress enough, that you are NOT to try to figure it out.  Itís ok to write down some thoughts related to the question, but resist the temptation to figure it out on your own.

Later, when I come back, there will be an answer so plain in my mind that there is NO DOUBT that God has answered.  I am absolutely convicted that He has answered me.  Feel free to ask for the password phrase from #8 above regarding the answer.  It usually comes easily.  If it doesnít come, I move cautiously.  Typically, I'll wait for the confirmation.

Like when this is the answer

My computer is now filled with green documents.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it.  How to hear God speak.  And He DOES want to speak to you - if you want to listen.  You must expect God to speak to you and to guide you.  Have faith that Heíll give you clear direction and He surely will.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you. Psalm 32:8

I hope this helps you in your quest to know God and the way He works.  We are incredibly blessed to be able to have a conversation with Almighty God.  He is the Creator of the Universe, the Creator of this world and your loving Father.

In His Love,
   Bill Verch

P.S.   If you would like more insight into the way God works, I'll be happy to share.   Don't worry, I won't ever try to sell you anything or ask you for money.   Just sign up below.  You can unsubscribe at any time.

Bill Verch

Bible quotations are from the New International Version (NIV)
and the New American Standard Version (NASB)

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