Hearing God is not something you do. Hearing God is someone you are.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we naturally want to know how we can hear God’s voice. Does God speak? Is He speaking to me? The good news is, yes, He is speaking. And like a radio host broadcasting His voice into the airwaves, God speaks all the time. The question is, are we tuned into the right frequency?
In Frequency, Robert Morris reveals a groundbreaking, Bible-based teaching about hearing God’s voice. God communicates with us in multiple ways, whether through the Bible, through circumstances, or even through a whisper. Robert Morris demonstrates how we can mature from hearing His voice as sheep to hearing it as His friend to even hearing it as a prophet. When we begin to understand the general and specific ways God speaks to us, then we can begin to cultivate a life of deeper connection with our Creator.
In Frequency, readers will…
- Gain a better understanding of how to recognize God’s voice
- Value the voice of the Lord
- Discern the general voice of God from the specific voice of God
- Grow in their relationship with the Lord by developing consistent time with His Word
- Enjoy drawing closer to their Creator
Frequency will demystify the process of hearing God and take you to a new level in your faith. God is speaking. Are you listening?
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
ROBERT MORRIS is the founding senior pastor of Gateway Church, a multicampus church in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. He is featured on the weekly television program The Blessed Life and is the bestselling author of twelve books, including The Blessed Life, From Dream to Destiny, The God I Never Knew, and The Blessed Church. Robert and his wife, Debbie, have been married thirty-five years and are blessed with one married daughter, two married sons, and six grandchildren. Follow Robert on Twitter @PsRobertMorris.
Read an Excerpt
Tune in. Hear God
By Robert Morris
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2016 Robert Morris
All rights reserved.
THE BEAUTY OF BEING SHEEP
When he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
Say you're in a small group at your church and want to break the ice, so you play a little game to start things off. A great game for this purpose is called Two Truths and a Lie — have you ever played it? You make three statements about yourself, the more outrageous the better. Two of the statements will be true, and one statement will be false. Then the other people in the room try to guess which statement isn't true about you.
So let's play that game, right here, right now. I'll start by telling you a story that includes three statements about myself. Two will be true, and one won't. You guess the lie. Here it goes:
Statement one: My wife, Debbie, and I have been married for more than thirty-five years. Can you imagine that? Thirty-five years!
Statement two: During that time we've been through highs and lows, joy and sorrow, children and grandchildren, and everything in between. I'd say that after thirty-five years together, Debbie knows me pretty well, and I know Debbie pretty well too.
Statement three (this is actually more than a statement; it's a little story in itself): Just last week, Debbie called me on the phone and greeted me with one word, "Hey."
And I said, "Who is this?"
And she said, "Uh ... it's your wife, Debbie."
And I said, "Debbie who?"
And she said, "You know ... Debbie. Debbie Morris. Your wife. We've been married for more than thirty-five years. You remember me, don't you?"
End of story.
Okay, what are the two truths, and what's the lie?
The part about Debbie and I being married for more than thirty-five years is true.
And the part about us being through highs and lows and everything in between is true.
But the part about me not recognizing Debbie's voice on the phone is false. I'm sure you got that. Do you know why it's false? Because after more than thirty-five years together I can easily recognize her voice. Her voice is instantly familiar to me. I don't even need to ask who it is. All Debbie needs to say is one word on the end of a phone — hey — and there's no doubt in my mind it's my wife.
What's my point?
Jesus calls us to a similarly close relationship with Him where we instantly recognize His voice. And it doesn't take thirty-five years either. Can you imagine how great this is? The God of the universe invites us to enjoy a familiar relationship with Him, a relationship where we pray to Him, and He listens to us, and where He speaks and we listen to Him. A true dialogue.
There's a foundational truth that we need to grasp right up front, the glorious truth that God wants to talk to us in the first place. You need to grab hold of that amazing truth. If you don't, then you could dive into the Bible with a niggling doubt that there's anything to this experience of God speaking. Maybe God doesn't want to talk to you. Maybe He guards His counsel and never lets it out.
But no, God wants to talk to you and me. God even wants us to depend on hearing from Him as we depend on inhaling our next lungful of air to breathe. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus, when being tempted by the Devil, quotes Deuteronomy 8:3: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." Did you catch that? We're to live on the words that come out of God's mouth. They nourish and feed us, even better than real food does.
That truth can be staggering if you've never thought about it before. Because that is how God primarily wants us to live — not by our consciences, or by our pastor's teaching, or by our attendance at church each Sunday.
God wants us to live by His voice.
Living by God's Voice
Sometimes we Christians have a hard time living this way. We aren't familiar with the idea of living by the voice of God. It sounds weird, maybe even a little spooky. The people who go around saying that they hear from God get put in straitjackets, don't they?
But ask yourself this question: What's the main difference between a person who believes in Jesus Christ and a person who doesn't? Or let's make this personal: If you're a Christian, what's the main difference between you and an unbeliever?
It's that you have a personal relationship with God.
In a personal relationship, what you experience with God isn't merely religion. You don't just check a box beside a certain denomination, or mentally agree to a bunch of facts about God. Rather, you experience a deep and profound connection to God by His Son, Jesus Christ. Your relationship is personal because it's something you experience alone. Your grandfather can't have this faith for you. Your pastor can't make this connection for you. A personal relationship with God is what the apostle Paul describes in Ephesians 5:22–33. Jesus Christ is a living, thinking, acting person, and Paul describes by analogy how Jesus loves the church the same way a husband loves his wife.
So a personal relationship must involve communication — it must. Otherwise, how could a person ever have a personal relationship with God? If true dialogue doesn't take place, then it would be a one-sided attempt at communication, with us staring up into the sky, talking to God but hearing nothing in return.
God speaks. That's biblical fact. The pattern is established throughout Scripture that God communicates with humankind. God spoke to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. He spoke to Noah and to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He spoke to Moses and to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel — and to all the prophets. He spoke to men and women, to Deborah and Ruth. In the New Testament, He spoke to Mary, Peter, Paul, Jude, James, and John on the island of Patmos. In the time since then, God hasn't gotten laryngitis. He hasn't decided to change His nature and become mute. God still speaks — and this can give us great confidence in life.
A friend told me he was looking for a new job and had three strong leads. All three looked good, and he was trying to make a decision, so he asked me what he should do. We talked for some time, and I learned that he had done his homework, gathered facts, and carefully weighed the position, location, and salary of each job. Yet he was concerned about unknown factors. Maybe one of the companies would relocate in the future. Maybe the supervisor in one position would turn out to be a tyrant. Or perhaps a company was hiding its true financial picture and about to go bankrupt.
I said to him, "You just need to hear God."
That's one of the big differences between how a Christian makes a decision and how an unbeliever makes a decision. A Christian can hear the voice of God and discern God's will for his life. You can sense the direction God wants you to go. Wouldn't you rather make a decision about your life's future with the help of God's knowledge, rather than merely your own knowledge? We need to hear God's voice in so many areas of our lives — our jobs, our families, our friendships, our health, our areas of service, our futures. The only way we can walk in certainty is by hearing God. It's wrapped into our very identities as believers.
As a senior pastor, I absolutely need to hear from God. There's no way I can fulfill the responsibility of leading a church unless God is leading me. My intellect won't cut it. My seminary studies won't cut it. My talent or personality won't cut it. And I certainly don't have good looks to depend on. The only way I can lead a church is by having a daily, personal, intimate walk with God. I need to listen to God and hear God. He leads. I follow.
So let's take an in-depth look at John 10, one of the foundational Bible passages that describe this type of close relationship with God. John 10 underscores this truth for us: God wants us to live by hearing His voice.
We Are Sheep
Hearing God's voice is a question of identity. Who are you at your core?
The answer is this: you are a sheep.
We need to understand this important distinction right up front. Hearing God's voice is not about something we do. Rather, hearing God is about someone we are. Hearing God is not primarily a behavior. It's a reflection of our identity. We hear God because of who we are and because of whose we are.
In John 10, Jesus explains this idea in depth. Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd, and He contrasts the work He does with the work of Satan, a thief and a robber. Satan comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus the Good Shepherd comes that people might have life, and have it abundantly (vv. 8, 10–11).
We are the sheep in the John 10 passage. How's that for a thought? Next time you meet a Christian friend, greet him by saying, "Hey, I'm a sheep, and guess what — so are you." If he gives you a look like you're completely loony then add, "I thought I smelled something funny."
The whole idea of our being sheep is that our identities are rooted in a shepherd-to-sheep model. Being a sheep is what a human being was designed to be. Sheep, by their very nature, need a guide. It's not that we hear God because of some action we take. Rather, we hear God because we were designed to hear God. Note John 10:1–5:
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.
Notice the sequence of events in this portion of Scripture. It's like a mini-movie playing out right before us. In the first scene, Jesus, the Shepherd of the sheep, enters the sheepfold directly, by way of the door. He doesn't sneak around and climb over the fence as a robber would do. Jesus, by way of His identity as the Good Shepherd, has familiar and direct access to the lives of His sheep.
In this second scene, when Jesus enters the sheepfold, Jesus speaks to the sheep, and the sheep hear His voice. He calls His own sheep by name, and He leads them out. He walks before them, and they follow Him. They wouldn't follow a stranger or a robber because they don't know the voice of a stranger or robber. But they follow Jesus. They know His voice.
Someone might ask: Are you sure that these sheep are actually a picture of us? Maybe John is talking about someone else. To answer that question, note John 10:16: "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd."
The overall context in John 10 is that Jesus is speaking to Jews, telling them that He's their Shepherd. He's their Messiah. If you're not Jewish, then the question of whether this passage applies to you is legitimate. But rest assured, it does apply to you. In John 10:16, Jesus tells the Jews that He has other sheep too — the Gentiles. That's the rest of us — people who aren't Jewish. These sheep, too, hear Jesus' voice, and both Jews and Gentiles ultimately come together in one flock. This is what Paul described in Galatians 3:28, when he said, "There is neither Jew nor Greek ... for you are all one in Christ Jesus." So keep that teaching in mind, and then note John 10:27: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
So this one flock made up of both Jews and Gentiles, what does it do? We hear the voice of Jesus. He knows us, and we follow Him. We sheep hear the voice of Jesus, and Jesus leads us forward.
Where does Jesus lead us? Psalm 23 gives us a beautiful picture. Jesus leads us to green pastures, to areas of provision and rest. He leads us safely through dark valleys filled with troubles and uncertainties. He is always before us with His rod and staff of guidance and comfort. He prepares a bountiful feast of provision, even in the presence of our enemies, right in the very face of opposition. And ultimately, Jesus leads us to heaven, where we dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I love that imagery!
So the teaching in John 10 is clear. Who is Jesus? Jesus is our Good Shepherd. And what are we? We're sheep. And how does the Good Shepherd guide His sheep? By His voice. That's how we're to live: by listening to Jesus' voice. We're to depend on hearing His voice regularly and clearly.
Foundational Truths of Hearing God's Voice
Let's face it. Sometimes sheep don't listen to the Good Shepherd. The Bible shows example after example of people doing their own thing. Sometimes people don't listen because of willful disobedience. At other times people don't listen because they haven't yet learned to hear God's voice. The good news is that we can learn to walk in this part of our identity. We can learn to hear God's voice.
So let's take a closer look at this part of our identity and see how we can cultivate this ability to hear God. My goal in this chapter is to make sure you know that hearing God's voice is something you were designed to do. God has given you the ability to communicate with Him spiritually. He wants to speak to you.
Three truths spring from the greater teaching surrounding John 10.
1. Our Ability to Hear God Is Innate
If something is innate, it is part of our instinct. Hearing God comes naturally to us as believers. Sheep are born as sheep. They're born with the innate ability to hear a shepherd. It's woven into the very sequence of their DNA. Lions don't have this ability. Rhinoceroses don't have this ability. Bumblebees don't have this ability. But sheep do. It's part of their instinct. The Bible calls us sheep, and the sheep instinct is true of us: when we become Christians, we are born with the ability to hear God's voice.
If we ever fear that we won't hear God's voice, we should take heart because God will speak to us. In John 10, He declares that He Himself is the Good Shepherd, and He promises that His sheep hear His voice. When we trusted Christ for our salvation, we were reborn with spiritual ears. When we were born again (John 3:7), and when we came alive in Christ (Eph. 2:4–6), we received this ability. It's part of our new nature, our new instinct, to be able to hear God. We became spiritual sheep, and spiritual sheep hear the Good Shepherd — Jesus. This is a great truth. It takes the worry out of the equation.
Debbie and I have traveled to Israel several times, and we've talked to native Israeli shepherds. One shepherd described to us how several flocks of sheep congregate together in one field, and one flock mixes in with another flock because the grazing is good in that particular location. The shepherds may be on the other side of the field, visiting as a bunch, chatting with other shepherds who've all brought their flocks to the same area that day. The shepherds talk, laugh, tell jokes, and then eventually it becomes time to go home at the end of the day. So one shepherd makes a small specific noise, maybe ep, and he starts walking. All of his sheep hear his voice, leave the rest of the sheep, and follow the shepherd they know. The next shepherd makes a different small, specific noise, maybe ha, and he starts walking. All of his sheep leave and follow him. And so on and so on until all the sheep are following the shepherd they're supposed to be with.
There are two categories in our discussion: (1) literal sheep and a literal shepherd, and (2) Christians and Jesus. A big difference between these two categories is that animals can't communicate intimate details of their lives to their shepherd, but Christians can communicate intimate details of their lives to God. Think of how fantastic that is.
Excerpted from Frequency by Robert Morris. Copyright © 2016 Robert Morris. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsIntroduction: How Can I Hear God?, xv,
Chapter One: The Beauty of Being Sheep, 1,
Chapter Two: Why Hear from God?, 21,
Chapter Three: Go to the Bible, 41,
Chapter Four: Hear God's Voice Through Worship, 61,
Chapter Five: Value His Voice, 79,
Chapter Six: Call for Confirmation, 99,
Chapter Seven: Be a Steward of God's Voice, 117,
Chapter Eight: Recognize God's Voice Through Relationship, 135,
Chapter Nine: Hear God's Voice for Others, 153,
Chapter Ten: Hear God's Voice for a Breakthrough, 171,
Closing Prayer: A Prayer to Hear God's Voice, 191,
About the Author, 199,