John 10:27 ~ My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they
One of the greatest days of my life was when I discovered that God speaks to His people personally.
It was November 1988 and I had been saved about two weeks. I had almost no interaction with other Christians for those two weeks because after I was saved, I left town on a job. During those two weeks I had read a little paperback New Testament at night in the hotel room where I was staying. It was the only Bible I had ever been exposed to and I was reading it like a starving man.
When I returned home I sought out the people who had prayed with me and had a million questions. I wanted to know more about this wonderful thing that had happened to me called salvation.
They invited me to a bible study that night and I when I showed up, the house was full of people who were engaged in this discussion about how God had spoken to this one individual a few days ago. As I listened skeptically, one by one they all related stories of how God had spoken to them. I thought they were ALL NUTS!
My Idea of God was somewhat shaken by all this conversation and I wanted some answers. I had to know if this was real or just a bunch of weirdos that went off the deep end, so I politely asked, “what exactly do you mean by God spoke to me?”
A woman named Diane explained to me that God does speak in our hearts, and that we can learn to hear His voice. She went on to add that every night for one whole year she would lay in bed at night and pray, “God, you are my father and I am your child, and I should know my father’s voice, so I am asking you to speak to me.”
Many more words were said and a lot of instruction was given, but what she said stuck with me and I could not get it out of my mind. To help me in my new faith, the group gave me a brand new Amplified bible. I was so excited! I had never seen the Old Testament before and was looking forward to exploring it.
On the long drive home I was wrestling with all this new information about how God speaks to people and I just couldn’t bring myself to accept it. So when I got home, I went to the bedroom, dropped my new bible next to the bed, kicked off my cloths and laid down staring at the ceiling.
With arms crossed, laying there in the dark, I decided to put this woman’s method to the test. So I prayed, “God if you really do speak to people I have to know it for myself. So I am going to lay here until You talk to me if I have to lay here until daylight.”
I was not prepared for what happened. Immediately I heard this strong voice inside me say “Samuel 3.” I sat up on the edge of the bed and turned on the light. I can’t explain how I felt, but I knew one thing for sure, that did not come from me because I did not know what “Samuel 3” meant.
As I was sitting there wondering if that was God that spoke or just my overactive imagination, I looked down on the floor between my feet and saw the new bible. I picked it up and turned to the table of contents thinking this might be a scripture. When I saw the books of first and second Samuel, I was completely shocked! I asked the Lord, “which one?” and that same voice came again and said, “First Samuel,”
You may know the story. The prophet Samuel was just a boy. He was laying in his bed one night, (just like me) and the Lord came and spoke to him (just like me). The boy ran in to the priest because he thought the priest had called him. You see, Samuel did not know God’s voice either (just like me). This happened three times until Eli the priest had to tell Samuel that the Lord was talking.
It was at that point that I stepped over the line from believing that God is real, to KNOWING that God is real, alive, and speaks to His people.