hearing from God

Making sense of prophetic timing

The Lord isn’t slow to do what he promised, as some people think. 2 Peter 3:9 (God’s Word Translation)
The timing and means of prophetic pronouncements are often cloaked in mystery. And here is why. Prophecy lifts us into the realm of the Spirit which transcends time and space as we know it. Time for God is different than time for us. “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8) Past, present and future for us is simply “now” for God.

There are two things that are often stumbling blocks when it comes to processing personal prophecies and promises from the Lord. They have to do with the timing of their fulfillment and the means by which they ultimately come to pass. Because we are working from a limited understanding, our script of when and how God intends to do something often leaves us scratching our heads. Invariably God’s timing and way of doing something do not match ours. (Isaiah 55:9)

Testing a message from God

How does a person who really wants be directed by the Holy Spirit test whether or not it is God’s voice they are hearing? God speaks in myriads of ways. He speaks primarily through the Bible, but also through inner impressions (thoughts and visions), dreams, circumstances and through other people. The problem is that the voice of the devil and self also use those same means to deceive us.

Consider the fact that the Devil used scripture to try to deceive Jesus. In fact Paul in writing to the Galatians warned that even messages from angels needed to be tested for deception. (Galatians 1:8)

And our own hearts can deceive us. The prophet Jeremiah tells us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (17:9) In other words, it is easy for us to deceive ourselves and to be deceived when we are not crucifying the flesh or keeping strong selfish desires in check.

The simplest approach to determining whether the guidance we are seeking is from God or not is based on an old principle from celestial navigation. You might call it the three point alignment principle. A sailor desiring to determine his location needed three fixed points such as stars, planets or the sun and moon. GPS guidance works on the same principle requiring three satellites to determine latitude and longitude and a fourth to obtain altitude.

So how do we test messages purporting to be from God?

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