Does God speak today?

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2In the Bible, God speaks audibly to people many times (some examples might be Exodus chapter 3, verse 14; Joshua chapter 1, verse 1; and Acts chapter 9, verses 3 to 6). There is no biblical reason why God could not speak to us like this today. But, even though God speaks hundreds of times in the Bible—these events are actually spread out over thousands of years. God speaking audibly is not the ‘normal’ way he makes himself known to us.

Even though he doesn’t often speak audibly, God does still ‘speak’ to us today. Firstly, God speaks to us through the Bible (2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 16 to 17). The Bible is God’s letter to us. Everything we need to know is in there. Through the teaching and stories, we’ll get to know who God is. We see this best in the person of Jesus, who is God and who makes him known (John chapter 14, verse 9; Colossians chapter 1, verse 15). Jesus revealed God through his words and actions. He even said that no one comes to God except through him (John chapter 14, verse 6). If we want to hear God, we need to listen to Jesus in the Bible.

God can also ‘speak’ to us through events. Often we only see this when look back on our lives. Then we can see, for example, how God guided us to certain places using what seemed like disappoints at the time. Or sometimes he’ll speak to us through the helpful advice or caring of Christian friends and family who love us like he does.

Christians known that God will speak to them through the Bible, time spent alone with him, other people and maybe other ways too—because they have his Holy Spirit. Jesus told us: “[The Holy Spirit] will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me” (John chapter 16, verses 13 to 14). God has given Christians his Spirit to speak to them, guide them and remind them of what the Bible says. So not only can we know that God does still speak, he gives the Holy Spirit in order to keep on speaking. Christians actually expect to hear from God and get to know him better.

We should also know that when God speaks, his words will be in full agreement with what he has already said in the Bible (2 Timothy, chapter 3, verses 16 and 17). God does not argue with himself. So, if ever we’re not sure whether something is from God or not, we can ask our Scripture Reader or another Christian to help us check it against the teaching and instructions in the Bible. The Bible is the key way God talks to us today.

— Chris, an Our Daily Bread reader

3In the Bible, God promises to be with us, guide us and speak to us. But we need to make sure that we actually want to follow God’s leading when He gives it.

The main way God speaks and guides us is through the Bible. That is where the main explanation of His plan for our lives is spelled out. This is where we learn how He wants us to live, what sort of things we need to avoid and what it means to become more like Jesus. So we need to spend time reading the Bible and thinking about all it tells us. God will use this to transform our thinking so that we more naturally follow His ways.

Of course, many things are not found specifically in the Bible—like who to marry, where to live, what military career to go after, etc. But through reading the Bible, we get the help we need to make these kinds of decisions with God’s priorities in mind—rather than just doing whatever we think is best.

Prayer is also really important. Talking with God is how we come to know and recognise His voice. Jesus told His friends, “My sheep hear my voice” (John chapter 10, verse 27). It should be a great comfort to know that Jesus takes the role of shepherd in our lives. Shepherds to not expect sheep to be clever and know exactly where to go; they only expect them to follow the shepherd’s voice. He takes the responsibility for speaking to them and leading them. It’s the same with us: God is always speaking through the Bible and in our prayer times.

Often, when we are confused or have to make big decisions, we will spend more time with God, sharing our problems with Him and asking for His leading. These are times when our relationship with Him will grow as we depend more actively on Him. We also need to remember that prayer is a two-way conversation. We must make sure that we spend time in silence as we pray, just listening so that we can hear what God has to say.

Usually, if we are about to take a wrong step, God will give us what I sometimes call a “check in my spirit”. That means He gives an uneasy feeling; a sense that something is not right. When that happens, it is best to stop and talk with God before making any decisions. We need to remember that, no matter how stressed out or pressurised we feel, there is always time to talk things over with God, and listen to His voice.

— Debbi, an Our Daily Bread reader

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