It's our last day together, so I wanted to close out the journey talking about the very last item on our list of ways we hear from God.
How Do We Hear from God ?
How Do We Hear from God ?
- spoken word from preachers and teachers of the Word / church
- reading and studying God's Word
- talking to God and quieting ourselves to let Him talk to us (prayer)
- convictions (the tugging at our hearts, the push and pull in our spirits)
- fellowship with other believers
- warning and foresight, spoken directly to our spirits
warning - something that serves to give notice or caution
foresight - knowledge or insight gained by or as by looking forward; a view of the future
Keeping those definitions in mind, let's open up this installment with a story from the Bible. Read Genesis 40.
You don't have to write the answers to the following questions in your journal, but before we move on, think through each of the questions to make sure you understand what we just read.
- Who had the dream?
- Who interpreted the dream?
- Was the dream a warning? A foretelling? Both?
- What, specifically, did Joseph say in verse 8 about interpretations of dreams?
Just as Joseph said in the text, all interpretation is from God. When God sends a dream, He's the interpreter. He's the giver of the dream, so He'll be the giver of its meaning. There are stories upon stories in the Bible of God speaking to His people through dreams, and there are stories upon stories of people today who are hearing from the Lord through dreams. And this, in my eyes, is one of the coolest ways God speaks to our hearts. He has our full attention when we're asleep because we're not engaged in the hustle and bustle of our days. And sometimes, because we are so busy with the hustle and bustle, God has to speak to us this way because He is determined to have us hear what He wants to say to our hearts. (If that's not love, I don't know what is!)
I learned a lot (and am learning a lot) about dreams and the way God gives warning and foresight through dreams from Dr. Joe Ibojie. If you're a dreamer and your dreams tell stories in a sense, meaning you can recall the events rather clearly, no matter how weird those events are or how fragmented they may be, 9 times out a 10, those dreams came from the Lord. (I've been in a flying bus before that landed on water and everyone who was on the bus had to swim out into the water that was a wall leading up to the sky kind of like an aquarium, but with no walls. CRAZY! But the Lord was speaking a VERY CLEAR message.)
Dr. Ibojie helped me understand the symbolism that God uses when He speaks through dreams because God still speaks in parables and illustrations like He did through Jesus in Bible days. When I take the dreams to the Lord with a clearer understanding of how He speaks through the symbols and illustrations, I can pray a little more boldly and thoughtfully for Him to show me what He's saying.
God can send a warning or give foresight directly to your spirit too. It doesn't have to come through a dream. When we are in constant communication with the Lord through prayer and the reading and studying of His word, He speaks to us in the quiet of our spirits.
I was in college and I had been saved maybe a year. I was in God's face for hours at a time every day because I was hungry to learn of Him. I remember one day having to leave my quiet time with the Lord to go and have my car serviced. If I didn't get up and go soon, I would miss the window of time for them to take my car that day. If I missed that window of time, I would have to wait until the next day, but the next day I would be leaving town, so I had to get up. On my way to the Wal-Mart Auto Department, I remember getting words in my thoughts to tell a man if he asked me if I was dating anyone. It was the weirdest thing because it literally came out of nowhere. I had a rundown of what to say if I was asked and what to say if his response to my answer was "this", or if his response to my answer was "that". I didn't think anything of it. I just kept it in my "back pocket".
While my car was being serviced, I walked the Wal-Mart aisles to pick up a few things, and while on one aisle, I was approached by a guy. He made small talk about what I had picked up from one of the shelves, and in almost the same breath, he asked me if I was dating anyone. I was cool, calm and collected on the outside, but on the inside I was about to die of shock! This was one of the first times I had received foresight from the Lord spoken directly to my spirit! He had literally prepared me, minutes prior, for that encounter. He had told me what would be asked of me and He told me how to respond. Y'all, it literally blew my mind!
I had another instance not long after that one when the Lord told me I would be getting a check in the mail. I didn't know who it would be from or that it would be for $1,000 to go toward the tuition for my post-graduate intern studies, but everything in me knew when I was walking to that mailbox that there was a check in there for me. I wasn't even expecting anyone to send me anything because I was already done with gathering all of my funds for the internship and had already determined with my parents what we would have left to pay since all of the contributions had already come in. I was so sure that there was a check in the mail that day that I was already in tears by the time I made it to the mailbox. He had made me so sure of it and told me to expect it. I was more in awe of His foresight than I was the check. He had blown my mind yet again!
God can give you a warning or give you foresight through a dream, or He can speak directly to your spirit. The same way you "heard" God through the push and pull of conviction in your spirit is the same way you'll "hear" from God when He wants to warn you or give you foresight of something to come. Don't ignore it. It's so important that you hear what He has to say. If you have dreams, write them down. When you go back to look at the patterns of how God speaks to you in dreams, that can help with interpretation down the line. It has certainly helped me.
- Grab and date your journal.
- Answer the following questions, knowing that it's God who's asking you. When you respond, respond like you're talking to God.
- After doing today's installment, do you believe I've ever spoken to you in a dream?
- If so, what was one of those dreams? Write it down.
- Do you remember a time when I sent you a warning or foresight directly to your spirit?
- If so, give me an example.
- Now, stop writing and let's talk. Do you desire for me to speak to you in dreams and/or more clearly directly to your spirit? You're no different from Joseph or Iantha or anyone else I speak to in these ways. If this is what you desire, ask me, and I will do it. If you desire to hear my voice, learn of me (in prayer and through my word), and you will learn my voice. I'm always talking. I'm looking forward to having your ear.
I know this is our final installment, but I will have one last word for you all tomorrow just to kinda close things up. It's been quite a journey!
I'm praying for you.