Communication With God Apple has just introduced the new 4G I phone.

I do not know much about these phones as I do not own one but my friends have them and they are pretty amazing. You can spend a lot of time playing with all the gadgets and applications available. However shortly after the new phone was introduced people noticed that the phone itself did not work properly, receptivity dropped dramatically when the phone was held a certain way which was the way most people hold the phone when making or receiving a call. If you placed your hand on the edges of the phone you were interfering with the antennae and consequently hindering the reception and communication ability. Some have called this the death grip. I thought about this in terms of our relationship with God and how we can be hindering communication with him by things we do. I think all of us want to have clear communication with God. We want to be heard and hear Him when He speaks to us but often we do things that will hinder two-way communication. The Scriptures are very clear that God does communicate in a personal way and he wants to communicate with each of his children. He is a relational God and relationships that lack communication are not very satisfying. You can track through the Old and New Testament and find numerous verses that verify that God does speak to his people. God spoke directly to Adam and Eve in the garden (Gen 2,3) God spoke to Abram and called him to leave his homeland (Gen 12) God spoke to Moses face to face (Numbers 12) God spoke to young Samuel (1 Sam. 3) In the life of Jesus, he spoke to his Father and only did what his Father told him to do (John 6) God s desire as a Father is to establish regular and meaningful communication with his children. This is normal in human relationship unless there has been something that has gone wrong in the relationship. Floyd McClung wrote about a young man he met in Afghanistan that grew up in a very dysfunctional and hostile home environment. I'll never forget the time Steve asked me if I wanted to know the happiest day of his life. Little did I realize the shock awaiting me as I expressed my eagerness to know more about this young man who until that time had remained closed, and unwilling to talk about himself or engage in normal conversation. The locked-in pain and hostility seemed to explode in a torrent of anger: 'I'll tell you the happiest day of my life,' said Steve with a strange smile on his face. 'It was my eleventh birthday and both my parents were killed in a car accident!'

I could hardly believe what I was hearing as Steve rushed on. 'They told me every day of my life that they hated me and didn't want me. My father resented me, and my mother continually reminded me that I was an accident. They didn't plan on me coming along, and didn't want me either. I'm glad they're dead!' (The Father heart of God) Someone like Steve would find it difficult to believe in a father who loved him and wanted to establish a relationship with him that involved healthy communication. For many people the first step in establishing communication with God is just believing that he truly loves them and wants to talk with them. As I have been studying more about Islam one of the main differences between Christianity and Islam is the view of God as a relational God. This is lacking in Islam and to many people it becomes just a series of rules to follow to make sure you are doing the right things to please Allah. The disciplines and ritual along with all the rules and regulations that you are to follow replace any personal intimate relationship with God. You are told what to do and how to do it and to many people this is a lot simpler than establishing a relationship that has real communication with God. If you have any doubts about God s desire to establish a relationship with you based in his love for you and desire to communicate with you individually, you need to deal with this as it will always be a hindrance to you. A second barrier to communication is disobedience to the Lord. I think of Saul when he was King of Israel and how he was hindered in his communication with God through his willful disobedience. His disobedience caused God s prophet and main spokesperson, Samuel to abandon him. Saul who did not listen and obey the voice of God s prophet was now left on his own which is how he was conducting himself anyway. God gave him what he wanted. In Saul s situation it led to disaster and ultimately he was so desperate to receive advice that he sought a medium who contacted the spirit world and was able to communicate with the spirit of the deceased Samuel. Using mediums was forbidden by God and explicitly stated in the commandments God gave to Moses. But it did not matter to Saul. He was so desperate that he resorted to this form of guidance. 1Sa 28:3-18 Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, "Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her." And his servants said to him,

"Behold, there is a medium at En-dor." So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, "Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you." The woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?" But Saul swore to her by the LORD, "As the LORD lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing." Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" He said, "Bring up Samuel for me." When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul." The king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What do you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I see a god coming up out of the earth." He said to her, "What is his appearance?" And she said, "An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe." And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage. Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" Saul answered, "I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do." And Samuel said, "Why then do you ask me, since the LORD has turned from you and become your enemy? The LORD has done to you as he spoke by me, for the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day. God does not want us to consult with mediums for advice; he wants to communicate directly with us through his Holy Spirit and through his Word. When people seek to use other means such as mediums, fortune tellers, tarot card readers, palm readers, psychics and other forms of communication they expose themselves to the demonic realm and cut themselves off from receiving communication from God. Our disobedience to what God has made clear to us to do or not do, is a major hindrance to receiving further communication from God. When we willfully reject what he has asked of us, we take ourselves out of the communication link with God. Isa 59:1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; Isa 59:2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. If you feel confused or feel like God is not communicating with you, one of the first things you need to do is check your heart and your daily walk with the Lord to see if you are living in disobedience. David felt a heaviness and separation from God after his sin with Bathsheba.

Psa 32:2-4 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah Our sin will hinder our communication with God just as it hinders our communication with people. All of us have experienced this when we have sinned against another person. Our communication is hindered until we get our relationship right with the person we have offended. Restoration will occur when we humble ourselves and have a contrite heart to ask for forgiveness. Once we are forgiven the communication link is restored. We also need to forgive others who have offended us. If we harbor unforgiveness we are putting up a barrier because it is another form of sin. Forgiveness is releasing a person from the punishment they deserve but it also releases us from carrying the burden of our pain and hurt they caused. When we truly forgive we are set free and the communication link to God is restored. Our communication can also be hindered by outside and inside interference. Even though the signal may be clear if there are outside noises competing with your attention, you will not hear properly. I have a slight hearing loss and certain tones are very difficult for me to hear and this becomes even a more pronounced problem when there are other noises in the background. It is hard for me to hear what is being said and I often have to get closer to the person or get away from the noise in order to hear what they are saying. In our communication with God we face the same issue. We are hindered from hearing God s voice when we allow other voices to compete with him or distract us from focusing on hearing his voice. We have to be able to shut off the voices within our head as well as the voices and noise from the outside to accurately hear what God is saying to us. When Jesus wanted to hear from his father he got alone, away from the disciples and crowd so he could focus his attention on his father. We live in a day when there are so many distractions that it is hard to focus. You can be receiving so much information at one time that it is hard to focus unless you shut off the source of input. Quiet your heart and mind so you can focus on hearing and remove all the things that can be a distraction when you want to communicate with God. Get alone, get in a quiet place and enjoy uninterrupted communication with God. All of us need to do this on a daily basis and if you are not spending time alone with God you are hindering receiving the communication he wants to have with you. God can and does speak to us outside of this time but we still need to get alone daily with him. When we spend time alone with God our spiritual reception will be fine tuned and we will recognize how God speaks to us and when we are in those times of busyness and distractions we will be better able to recognize when God is speaking to our spirit. Another hindrance to hearing God s voice can be physical problems and sickness.

Ill health and physical wellbeing affect our ability to hear God clearly. Tiredness, anxiety, headaches, chronic fatigue and depression cause a dullness or fogginess so that God's voice cannot easily be heard clearly. Some illnesses include the hearing of voices so that it is hard for people to hear God's voice at times. Joy Dawson has been a teacher with YWAM for many years and I recommend reading any material she has written. She is one woman who hears from God because she takes time to wait upon the Lord. She suggests some very practical principles for hearing God s voice and these are principles YWAM uses during intercessory prayer. First, expect God to speak to you and thank him in advance. Communicate with God with an expectation that God is going to speak to you. Thank God in advance for what he is going to do to communicate with you. Secondly, Take authority over the voice of the enemy and his demonic forces. We can command him to be silent and not interrupt our time with the Lord. God has given us authority and we must exercise it so the enemy cannot have entrance. The enemy will try to put wrong thoughts into our minds. He will bring up things that have no bearing on what we are doing in order to distract us. He is often forceful and impatient and there is no peace when he speaks but rather we feel agitated. The third thing is to silence our own human voice, our own desires of what we want to hear or see done. We can come to God with our agenda of things we want to tell him but we must be willing to lay these down so we can hear what God wants to speak to us. We simply state that we are dying to our desires, emptying ourselves of our thoughts and demands on God so we can have free and clear communication with him. The fourth area is one we have already mentioned and that is to make sure we have no unconfessed sin that will hinder our communication. Fifthly, After we have done these things, we can expect God to speak to us as we wait upon him. God can speak to us in a variety of ways such as: Bringing to mind a particular Bible verse or simply giving us a reference to look up. Giving us a mental picture or an image. We may have a vision presented to us. Speaking a word or phrase to our mind.

Giving us an impression in our mind, a thought that comes to us that we may or may not understand. A physical sensation. You may have pain in a certain area of your body or a cold or hot feeling. Learning to hear and recognize God s voice takes time to develop. Don t be discouraged if you are not hearing like you think you should. I am constantly asking God to help me hear clearly. How can we test what we hear to be sure that it is really God? Here are some tests that will help us evaluate what we are hearing. Does it correspond with what you read in the Bible? Is it consistent with the character of Jesus? Will its application bring peace and encouragement, or will it produce strife? Does it sit well on my spirit? Do other people or circumstances confirm what you are hearing? Does it lead to life or death - in the widest sense of these terms? Does it cause me to feel the "anointing" of the Spirit (a very subjective test, but useful with experience)? God has communicated very clearly to us through his Word and he has given us the Holy Spirit who is commissioned to teach us and lead us into all truth. We can be confident that God will communicate clearly to us because it is his desire to do so. As we eliminate the hindrances and understand how God speaks to us we will begin to enjoy a deeper and more intimate relationship with him.