Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hearing from God Pt. 2 (Seeing the Word)

If God’s word came to you in a vision, would you be willing to listen?

When Abraham was 75 years old and childless, God came to him and made him some incredible promises. God promised He would bless him and make him a great nation, and that through him all the families of the earth would be blessed.

Many years later, a still childless Abraham was undoubtedly feeling discouraged and disheartened at so many lofty promises remaining unfulfilled. Then, one starry night, this happened:

The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great.” … Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him … And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” – Genesis 15:1, 4-5 (NASB)

The word of the Lord came to Abraham in a vision and literally took him outside to show him the stars.

The word of the Lord. In a vision.

Maybe you’ve been taught that these days God only speaks through the scriptures. But don’t the New Testament scriptures reveal God using visions as a common method He uses to speak to people? (Some examples include Acts 9:10-16; Acts 10:1-20; Acts 16:9-10; Acts 18:9-11.)

In my church’s gatherings over the last couple of months, we have made it a point to build in about 20-25 minutes of intentional spontaneity. 20-25 minutes of intentionally giving God room to operate. Here’s what I mean.

After we take the Lord’s Supper, we get in groups of 2 or 3 and spend 1 minute asking God to speak to us and show us what He wants to teach us. Then, we spend another minute in those groups quietly listening and waiting on God to show us what is on His heart. For the rest of the time, people are free to share what God has shown them. Admittedly, this practice scares me for multiple reasons, but each week God comes through.

One week a woman saw something like a Polaroid picture of her diverse family sitting together united in Bible study. It seemed like God was calling all of us to be extra intentional in discipling our families. God was saying He doesn’t merely want unity in the family, for we can be unified around lies. He wants unity in His Spirit of truth. He wants us unified in Him. That vision spoke volumes to so many gathered that day.

Of course, we need to test any vision we receive and make sure it is in line with the scriptures. But as 3rd Century Christian writer, Hippolytus, states, God-given visions have been bringing people into relationship with our Creator for thousands of years. “Because of visions, many have come to make their abode with Jesus.” (Hippolytus 205CE, Volume 5, p. 203)

Even today, numerous reports keep surfacing of Muslims coming to faith in various countries due to having visions and dreams of Jesus. An older Southern Baptist friend of mine, and rock-solid man of God, has a similar testimony that occurred right here the good old US of A. His vision of Jesus did not take Him from Islam to Christianity, but simply from a state of unbelief in Jesus to belief.

So, will you join me this week in praying for an outpouring from the Holy Spirit of visions from Jesus? Will you join me in seeking to hear from God like Abraham and so many followers of Yahweh have?

“And it shall be in the last days,” God says, “That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” – Acts 2:17 (NASB)

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