“I just can't hear God; I know He speaks to some people, but He just doesn't speak to me!”

If that's your situation, there are several possible reasons for it. First, to hear His voice and be sensitive to His promptings you need to have a relationship with the Lord, which means spending quality time with Him on a regular basis. It could be that you have neglected your fellowship with Him.

Second, you may be walking in doubt and unbelief. Jesus said plainly, “'My sheep hear My voice'” (John 10:27, NKJV). If you are a born-again child of God, you can hear God-and should expect to. Begin to confess and believe Scriptures such as this one about being led by the Lord.

Third, you may already hear from God but be unable to recognize His voice because you are listening for the wrong thing. Often people expect God to speak to them forcefully, but His leadings are usually very subtle. They rise up in your heart as holy suggestions. When you sense those “suggestions,” you might even wonder, Was that me, Lord, or was that You?

That's because God doesn't normally inject thoughts directly into your mind from the outside. Instead, He enlightens your spirit, and your spirit translates the impression into a thought. So when you receive it, it sounds like you.

Holy Spirit impressions will hardly ever overwhelm you. Most often they come in the form of an inward witness, a quiet inner prompting or a knowing-you just suddenly know something you didn't know before.

Romans 8:16 gives us an example of how that inner witness works. There the apostle Paul says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are children of God.”

If I were to ask if you know you are one of God's children, no doubt you would answer with a quick, “Yes!” But what would you say if I asked how you know that? You might answer, “I just know!”

What you would actually be trying to convey is that the Holy Spirit within you bears witness, or gives assurance to your own spirit, and lets you know that you indeed belong to God.

The inward witness, or promptings of the Spirit, work much the same way in the other affairs of life. You might be going about your day just doing your normal activities and suddenly you'll think, I need to call Aunt Sally.

You may dismiss the thought at first because you're busy doing other things, but then it recurs. I need to call Aunt Sally, you'll think again.

Then you may notice that even though calling Aunt Sally wasn't on your agenda for today, it just seems like a good thing to do right now. So you pick up the phone and dial her number. Very likely, you will find out that Aunt Sally was in need, and your call came at just the right time.

If you learn to live each day listening to your heart for that inner witness, constantly expecting to be prompted by the Spirit of God, you'll find yourself doing things like that quite often. Sometimes you won't even realize you are hearing from heaven. You'll just think you had a good idea, but later you will see that you were responding to the Holy Spirit.

I know of one man, for example, who was working in San Francisco many years ago when they had a major earthquake there. He was sitting in his office just a few hours before the quake when suddenly he had the thought that he should leave work early so he could avoid the evening traffic that would be heavy because of the World Series ballgame being played nearby.

Though it appeared to be a purely natural thought at the time, it seemed good to him. In other words, his heart bore witness with it. So he left early to walk to his car and drive home. Just a few hours later, at the time he normally would have been driving home, the very freeway he would have been on collapsed in the earthquake.

Staying in vital communion with God can save your life-so expect to hear from heaven, and you will.

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