Let God Impress Upon Your Heart His Will

The Father very often speaks to us through impressions. As a leader, you must be open to spiritual impressions from the Father. Nehemiah was impressed to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. After rebuilding the wall, the Father spoke to Him through an impression. Nehemiah said, “So my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials and the common people for registration by families” (Neh. 7:4,5). God wanted Nehemiah to register all the people in the city. There was no audible voice or gentle whisper from the throne room. God put it in his heart. Wow! What an awesome way to hear from the Lord!

He can put impressions into your heart as a way to speak His will to you and for you. He can also put it there to speak His will for your church, your ministry, your business. He is an awesome God who impresses us with His impressions. It is by the Holy Spirit, the Great Communicator, that He can plant something in us to lead others. Let Him impress you.


Impressions Communicate the Father's Heart

I’ve been encouraging last days leaders to hear from God in the many ways He speaks to us. We’ve touched upon hearing from His written Word, which is the foundation for all that we hear in other ways. We’ve touched on hearing His audible voice and His gentle whisper, as well as dreams, visions, and trances.

But the Father very often speaks to us in "impressions." Impressions are God’s influence on our feelings, physical senses, and our minds. Impressions lack precision and detail, but communicate the Father’s heart without having all the natural knowledge or tools for a situation.

Nehemiah had a God-birthed impression to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. There were no dreams, visions, trances, or audible voices documented in Scripture (Neh. 1). He was strongly impressed to the point of weeping, and then passionately pursued the rebuilding. The Father was impressing Him to do it! So it is with you and I. We may have a strong impression to do something, say something, or pray something. These are often impressions of God’s voice leading us in His direction for His purposes.


Be A Leader Who Endorses Hearing From God

Leaders in these last days must create a safe environment for people who hear from the Lord in dreams and visions. You should not discount this language of God and, rather, should endorse it. There are many people in churches who do not dare tell anyone about dreams or visions because they will not be given credibility. Yes, some people do like to get attention and other people may be a little "whacked out" in their dreaming, but leaders in the church must risk the bad stuff in order to pave the way for the good stuff.

You can create a safe environment for people talk about this in your church by you talking about it. The church must embrace it, endorse it, and teach how to interpret it. Be a leader willing to take the risk. Paul was. Peter was. John was. So can you.


Picture Language May Be Used to Warn Us

We know from the Word of God that the Father may speak to us through dreams, visions and trances. When He uses this "picture language," it may be to warn us of something that is going to happen.

God warned Joseph about Herod’s plans for genocide by way of a dream. This allowed Joseph to flee the genocide thus protecting the young Jesus from Herod’s plans. In some cases, He may warn us so that we know that God will bring us through a bad situation. In other cases it is simply for encouragement.

He spoke to Paul in a vision saying: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking; do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city. So Paul stayed on for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God” (Acts 18:9, 10). This picture message kept Paul in that city for eighteen more months when he could have left out of the need to protect his life. So go ahead-- dream dreams and see visions. It’s the picture language of the Father.


God's Picture Language

As leaders in these last days you must hear from the Lord in as many ways as He may desire to talk to you. One way the Lord talks to us is through His picture language. The written word says in Acts 2:17, "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams." One of the many blessings of the new covenant of grace and faith is that we can see visions and dream dreams. The word "all" means not just patriarchs of the Old Testament, or just the apostles Paul and Peter or some select group! The Bible says the Father pours out His Spirit on ALL people. You can hear God’s voice in a dream or vision. God speaks through dreams while we sleep and through visions while we are awake.

The Father changed Peter’s perspective of grace through a vision (Acts 10). The Father warned Joseph in a dream of Herod’s plans to kill babies (Matt. 2). The Father called Paul from Asia to minister in Europe through a vision (Acts 16). Last days leaders can hear from God in His "picture language." It’s okay and better than okay!


Applying the Grid of Grace When Interpreting God's Voice

Last days leaders will hear the voice of God through the "grid" of grace. The Father’s heart is a heart of grace and mercy. One of Paul the Apostle’s greatest challenges was getting the Jewish believers to understand and embrace grace. He opened almost all of his letters with "grace and peace to you" or a similar phrase. Paul got his revelation and interpretation of grace directly from the Holy Spirit. It started on the road to Damascus and continued on for several years as he was equipped for the fullness of his ministry.

God’s voice can come from audible or inner voice, from dreams and visions, from spiritual impressions and experiences, or from preaching, teaching, and prophetic words. As you make yourself available to hear His voice, test it through the grid of grace. This is the grid of the New Covenant of faith in Jesus. This is the New Covenant of relying upon the work of Jesus, not the work of ourselves to be righteous and holy.

As you apply the grid of grace to hear from the Father, you’ll discover a powerful way to interpret and apply what you hear. As you do so, you will bless people in your sphere of influence; you’ll display love and power. The gifts of the Spirit will flow more freely and with power. The grid of grace is the heart of the Father.


A Process of Interpretation For Leaders

Leaders must be confident of the interpretation of God’s voice before they can apply action to it. Then you can obey Him, respond to Him, and walk out whatever He has revealed to you. Application may take courage, discipline, and confidence that you truly heard His voice.

The Father spoke to Paul in Acts 16 as he was ministering in what is now central Turkey. Paul wanted to go farther west to minister but the Holy Spirit said "no," so Paul went northwest to Troas where the Voice of God spoke to him in a vision. The voice in the vision was clear “Come over to Macedonia and help us." The revelation came as a vision with a man vocalizing God’s direction.

Paul’s interpretation was something like this: "help is on the way, we’re coming to give you some good news in Macedonia." His application was to leave immediately, crossing the Aegean Sea and then proceeding on foot to Philippi where they stayed. Paul had to be confident in what he heard, his interpretation of what he heard, and his application of what he heard in order to bear fruit in his ministry.

Paul and his team had two documented converts, Lydia and the jailor. These two converts were the foundation of the new church in Philippi, a church who generously shared financially with Paul in future years. Last days leaders will follow this process to more fully walk in their calling, purpose and provision as they hear His voice.


Broken Link Now Fixed for Brand New Downloadable Sermon

This is just a note to let everyone know that a new free audio sermon called "Defeating the Entitlement Attitude" has just been uploaded to the Crossfire Website! Visit this page and find it under the "Featured Message" section in the center of the page. (Broken link now fixed.)


Godly Counsel Is Important In Interpreting God's Voice

When you hear the Father’s voice, you must correctly interpret and understand him before doing anything with Him. Interpretation may be simple and straight forward. For example, God may tell you to share Jesus with a family member. That is simple. The only unknown is timing for an opportunity to share.

Often, however, there is more than one possible interpretation and you need wisdom to understand. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom according to James 1. Sometimes what He says requires Godly counsel from someone you trust to bring better understanding. Don’t act upon the revelation unless you have interpreted it. Don’t go off ‘half cocked’!

Prov. 15:21, 22 says, "Folly delights a man who lacks judgment, but a man of understanding keeps a straight course. Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed." There is nothing wrong with Godly counsel. Weigh the counsel in conjunction with wisdom the Holy Spirit is giving you. Last days leaders proceed with understanding and wisdom


Revelation, Interpretation, and Application

We’ve been talking about The Voice of God. Last days leaders need to hear the Father’s voice in the many ways He speaks to us. We have the written Word (the Bible), the audible voice, the inner voice or gentle whisper, and many other aspects of His voice that I will address later.

No matter which way God chooses to communicate and/or you choose to hear, you must be able to understand and respond to what He says. Leaders should use the following process as you listen to Him (1) revelation, (2) interpretation, and (3) application. If the Father speaks to you, He is revealing something from His heart to your heart for your benefit, and perhaps, for the benefit of others. This is revelation.

Revelation requires wisdom and understanding and must be measured against the plumb line of Truth. Ask yourself: does it line up with scripture? Does it reflect the nature of Christ? Does it reflect mercy and grace under the new covenant? If what you hear lines up with those conditions, then you can proceed with interpretation of what you heard.


Spaniels Versus Labradors

Many years ago I loved to hunt upland game birds (pheasants, grouse, prairie chickens) in the prairies of the U.S. (For international readers, this means I hunted these birds for sport and food.) I had a great hunting companion in my dog, a springer spaniel. My dog was very responsive to a gentle voice and my commands. She had a sensitive nature and needed little prodding or loud words to get her attention.

In contrast, I had a friend who owned a Labrador retriever. The Lab was a good hunting dog as well. However, the Lab required loud commands, even screaming at the top of the lungs, and sometimes a slap on the head to get his attention. Both were hunting dogs, but only one was a good listener who responded to the "gentle voice."

God the Father would like us all to be like the Springer spaniel; good listeners and quick responders to His voice. God is very willing to work with all the labrador retriever believers; however, they should not complain that God sounds angry (he’s really not) simply because it takes so much effort to get their attention. The fact is they’re not good listeners.

What kind of listener are you?


Listen for God's Inner Voice and You Will Hear His Heart

God speaks to us in many ways, and as last days leaders we desire to hear His voice. He spoke in an audible voice to Moses and Paul, but He also speaks in a gentle whisper or the "inner voice."

Elijah heard it. He was feeling quite alone and was reminding the Lord how zealous he had been and how his enemies were trying to kill him (1 Kings 19:11-13). Elijah was expecting a loud voice. Suddenly there was a powerful wind that shattered rocks. There was an earthquake. There was a fire. But the Lord was in none of those. . .he came as a "gentle whisper," it says. The ‘gentle whisper is the inner voice. The gentle whisper can be a sentence, a fragment of a sentence, or simply a word or two in our heart and mind. It is most common way for many of us to hear His voice.

Under the New Covenant, we have a daily relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s voice is often a whisper, an inner voice. It is so easily ignored, yet so powerful when believed. It is so easily ascribed to your own thoughts rather than to God’s thoughts. Listen for God’s gentle, inner voice and you will hear His heart.


Are You Up to the Task If You Hear God's Audible Voice?

The audible voice of God usually indicates a major call and difficult tasks ahead. Moses talked with God and God talked directly to Moses in an audible voice. There was no indirect, opaque, or mystery surrounding God’s voice with Moses. God spoke to him directly in calling him to be the one who led the people of Israel out of slavery. God spoke to him directly when giving the Ten Commandments and the Law.

Any challenge of Moses’ call or authority was met by God’s direct rebuke. For example, Miriam and Aaron began to complain and talk against Moses saying "hasn’t God also spoken to us?" When God heard this, He emphatically reaffirmed, in an audible voice, and in no uncertain terms that Moses was one to whom he spoke directly, not in riddles or in visions or dreams (Num. 12).

God’s call and task for Moses was huge, as was that of Paul to whom Jesus talked directly on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:1-9). Paul became the primary communicator of the New Covenant of grace and faith. Paul was transformed from persecutor to preacher after hearing the audible voice of God.

So, how badly do you want God the Father to talk audibly to you? Are you up to the task that accompanies Him speaking in an audible voice?


The Condition of Your Heart Is More Important Than the Volume Level of God's Voice

Most Christians want God to speak audibly so they can (1) be sure it’s Him, (2) be clear on the message, and (3) feel confident in their actions. Yet the Hebrews, led by Moses, not only heard God’s audible voice, but experienced His presence and His power, only to tell Moses "you go hear from God and tell us what he says. . .the voice is too frightening for us" (Ex. 20:18,19).

We know that the Pharisees heard God, in the person of Jesus, speaking and doing miracles and still did not believe. The people of Lystra saw miracles and powerful preaching by the Paul yet refused to believe and even stoned him (Acts 14:8-20)! Judas lived with Jesus 24/7 and heard the voice of Jesus daily, yet he was willing to sell his relationship for a few pieces of silver.

The audible voice of God, when He chooses to use it, is no guarantee that the hearer will combine it with faith and act with conviction. The condition of your heart is more important than the volume level of the voice of God. More in the next post about the audible voice of God.