I had the honor of attending one of my co-workers ordination services Sunday night. He has a powerful testimony of former alcohol and drug abuse. God has used him in several ministries since then. When he spoke, the one thing he said that really stood out to me was,
"Slow down and take time to listen to God." ~ Bruce (Not almighty)
He gave a few examples of things that happened in his life and how he had missed some chances and almost missed others. One was that someone gave him military clothes. They sat outside of his office for two weeks. Then, he felt a nudge from the Lord to ask one of the guys that was subcontracting on the property if he needed any clothes. He said he did. He was homeless and sleeping in his truck, so he used the clothes as blankets.
This is how we have a relationship with Him. We pray, and He communicates through some of these methods:
1. The Bible. God uses the Bible so that we can learn, grow, and know some of His promises to us. Thankfully, He keeps His promises. If a Scripture jumps out at you while reading, or one comes to your mind while you are going through something, that's Him speaking to you.
2.Worship. I so enjoy music of all types. But when I am singing a worship song, and I just feel God there, it's amazing. Two years ago, just after my now ex husband left, we used to have worship on Wednesday night. We were singing a song, and the lyrics are, "Nothing is wasted, you turn all things for good." I was balling, knowing that God was going to do just that for me. He was telling me through the song that He wasn't going to waste my pain and tears and He would turn it around for my good.
3. Pastor's Messages. I believe there are some Pastors you can't listen to, but for the most part, if they believe correctly, and stay true to the Bible you'll be ok. This is where discernment comes in though. You know if something is "off" or not. However, God really uses my Pastor and Youth Pastor's messages all of the time. I hear something new almost weekly. I also enjoy the Pastor at my work. Part of my job includes me watching his messages on Mondays. I learn from him as well.
4. Devotionals/ Bible Studies. I am currently reading the Jesus Calling Devotional book, a Psalm a day in the Bible, and Beth Moore's Esther study. God will cause something to "jump out at me" and I realize that's His way of wanting me to pay attention to it.
5. Other people. Sometimes in 3's. It has been my experience that if you hear the same message 3 times, from 3 different people who haven't spoken to each other, that's probably God using them. Also, there are other ways He uses people... He might speak right to their heart, and they feel like it's for you and they need to tell you what He said. Maybe you heard a Pastor's message, read a devotional, etc and you share it with someone. That's God using you to speak to that person.
6.The Holy Spirit nudge. I think I've mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating. When I worked at a different church, I ran into a church member on Friday shopping. After leaving the store, I thought, "I wish I had her number, I could see if she wanted to go to lunch." Well, from close to that moment until Monday or Tuesday of the next week, I kept feeling, "Call and invite her to lunch." over and over. I finally emailed and invited her. She sat across the table from me and asked if something from her past was ok. I told her it was, and she teared up. That's all she needed. I don't know why God chose me to be the one to tell her that, but He did.
7. Audible voice. This has only happened to me once in my life. I can't even explain now what the voice sounded like. It was about 10 years ago. It was specific and I knew exactly what it meant.
These are just my ideas. I am not sure if there is a book out there on this topic. If you have any you'd like to add to the list, please let me know. I would love to hear how you hear from God!