Recognizing A Word From The Lord

By Sister Renee
For God does speak- now one way, now another- though man may not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men as they slumber in their beds, he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings, to turn man from wrongdoing and keep him from pride, to preserve his soul from the pit, his life from perishing by the sword….Job 33:14-18NIV.
In faith we believe that we always receive an answer to our prayers. If we have not received a word from the Lord, there are usually two reasons for it:
1. The answer hasn’t been given yet, but it will be. Patience and waiting on the Lord are what we must do, no matter how difficult. If we have true faith that we will receive our answer, it doesn’t matter if we don’t receive it right away. We may not receive an answer right away, but we will always receive it in time for it to help us. God is never late, He is always on time!
2. The answer has been given but we don’t see it or understand it. Our failure to perceive or receive a word is the problem, rather than God’s failure to answer us. The word is sometimes easy to miss. It often comes in unexpected ways or from unexpected sources. Not just unexpected, but frequently the last thing you would expect, and something you would never have thought of on your own. If you pray to receive a word about your sister’s envy toward you, for instance, and then, in our next newsletter, we addressed that very topic, you would be a little shocked, but you would also likely believe that you had received your word, because it would seem so obvious. However, what if you overheard a stranger’s conversation, or saw a movie, of which a small part concerns the envy of one sister for another. Rather than tell you directly how to handle this situation with your sister, you may receive encouragement from knowing that others are targeted by their loved ones in the same way you are, and that you are not alone in your sadness at this reality. You may also receive a re-direction, a new perspective, as you observe the target of sibling envy accept her sister’s jealousy by taking it in stride, feeling pity for her envious sibling, who obviously has so little in her life, or even handling it with humor and joking about it. This may not be exactly the kind of answer you were expecting, but it is an answer just the same. Now you must pray for the wisdom to apply that answer to your personal situation.
Perceiving the Word and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit are actually Gifts of the Spirit. The Gift of the Word of Knowledge is the ability to know something in the past or present, which you would have no way of knowing by natural means. The Gift of the Word of Wisdom has been defined as understanding what to do with the knowledge you have been given, and also as the ability to know something that will happen in the future, which you would have no way of knowing by natural means. The gift of Discernment of Spirits is the ability to perceive the human spirit in a person’s heart- whether he is a person of God, of the world, or of Satan. Together, these gifts reveal to us many truths.
Understanding comes to us in a number of ways. Some see visions or actually hear the Voice of God. Some have angels communicate with them. Some have dreams.
To some, the Lord speaks in “dark speech”- a kind of a puzzle we have to figure out. You can’t quite understand dark speech. You know it means something, but you have to depend on the Holy Spirit to clarify it further.
Sometimes, something occurs that is unusual, or just a little out of context, and that gets our attention. Sometimes we will get an insight from a friend, or even the words of a stranger.
As we read the Bible, the Lord will often lead us to a verse that He wants us to read and apply.
Sometimes, we may not feel “right” about something, which may be the Spirit telling us it is not a good thing. The absence of a good “feeling” may be your clue. You should feel peace about the word you are hearing, or even jubilation. If you are getting neither a good nor bad feeling about a word, don’t act on it. Just wait. If it is from God, eventually another word will come which will confirm the first word.
You may have a revelation- a kind of “Aha!” type experience. You may realize now “it all makes sense”when taken in the light of God’s revealed word, as if the pieces of a puzzle have suddenly fallen into place.
Or we may just “know” something. I am often given topic to write about while in bed, and I keep a notebook by the bed for this purpose. Sometimes I am given many thoughts, other times, just one word or sentence. I have been given the name of an article the Lord wanted written, but I also was given what I can only describe as a very strong feeling that Sister Denise should write it, and not me. In obedience to the Lord, that is exactly what we did.
You may get just a quick flash of a thought or an undeveloped idea.
Usually, we only receive a small part of God’s word at one time. After we accept or act on that small part, in faith, more and more is gradually revealed to us. The full prophecy may not be revealed to us for many years, perhaps not until we go home to be with the Lord. For we know in part and we prophecy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known….1Corinthians 13:9-12NIV. The Lord gives us information on a “need-to-know” basis. He will often tell you to do something without telling you why, when, or how. That is where your faith comes in. If you are obedient even though you don’t know all the details, the Lord will reveal more and more to you later.
Often, there will be a number of signs pointing in the same direction. As you wait for an answer, you may have a co-worker confide a similar problem to you, then find a scripture in the Bible that addresses that issue, and then hear a song about it on the radio! Be alert to these coincidences, which are really not “coincidences” at all.
Sometimes, when we ask in prayer, we receive immediately and in an obvious way. Many times, in the beginning of this ministry, I would go to bed at night praying for help on something I knew absolutely nothing about, such as how to start a website, and the very next morning I would have my answer! And the answers would keep coming, one at a time, until it was done!
I have learned that I need to always tell the Lord that I will gratefully accept whatever His will is, even if it is not what I would like or what I am thinking of. Without fail, God will open the doors and give you whatever you need to carry out His will. He will lead you in the direction he wants you to go, making his way the obvious and easy way, while other ways will be more difficult, if not impossible.
Again, in starting this ministry, I envisioned a sisterhood, with “support group”- like get-togethers. That just never came to pass, at least not yet. Instead, even though I always disliked writing and found it very difficult to think of even one line to write on a greeting card, our ministry has evolved into one of writing, in both the newsletter and a website. At the time, I did not even have a computer online at home, and had very little knowledge of the web. This was a completely unexpected direction, one which I would never have thought of myself. I find that when I am in the Spirit, the words flow, and I am able to write as I never could before. I often read an article I had written a few weeks before and don’t even remember writing it- it may not even sound like anything I would have written. I am also willing to do whatever it takes, including baring my heart and writing about very personal issues, and resurrecting very painful memories, to do God’s will. The Lord has rewarded me by helping me tremendously. He has removed many obstacles and opened many doors to allow me to serve him. He has led me gently but firmly in the direction he wants his ministry to go.
In time, with practice and God’s grace, you will be able to recognize the small voice of the Holy Spirit more quickly and with greater accuracy.
If you are not feeling peace and joy about the word you are hearing, then it is not from God and you are not to act on it.
Always give thanks to the Lord for revealing His word to you and answering your prayers. Humbly, and in faith, promise him that you will obey his voice, even if you are not hearing what you want to hear.
Finally, remember that many times a word will not become meaningful to you until much later, possibly years later. God’s time frame is not the same as ours. I keep a notebook and write down any word I receive. Then, when it comes to pass, I have a record of it, and therefore, a confirmation.
***If you would like to learn more about personal prophecy and receiving and recognizing a word from the Lord, I found these books to be very helpful:
The Elijah Task, by John & Paula Sandford, Elijah House,1000 S. Richards Rd., Post Falls, ID83854 (208)773-1647 Victory House Publishers-(800)262-2631
Prophets and Personal Prophecy- God’s Prophetic Voice Today, by Dr. Bill Hamon,( foreword by Oral Roberts), Christian International Ministries Network, PO Box 9000, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 (800 388-5308) www.christianinternational. org Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., (800)722-6774