Today, in my fourth blog on ‘Listening to the Holy Spirit’, we are going to look at how He speaks to us through dreams, circumstances and creation.
Through Dreams: Holy Spirit often speaks to us through dreams. In many ways dreams and visions are alike: one is experienced whilst awake and the other whilst asleep. Dreams and visions are both mentioned as distinct ways the Holy Spirit would be poured out on His Church.
‘And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.’ Joel 2:28
Why dreams for the old and visions for the young? Well I’m not too sure, except perhaps older men are more prone to falling asleep in their comfy chair and God wont be thwarted in His speaking to us just because we take a nap J.
Dreams can be vivid and range from something very complex to a simple fleeting image. I have had dreams that gave me a prophetic glimpse into the future, and dreams which spoke in to present situations. Other times, a dream has left me with increased hope and faith.
Through Circumstances: Holy Spirit often speaks to us through our circumstances. Again, as with many of these areas, there are all manner of variations in how He uses circumstances.
- Sometimes, a negative circumstance crosses my path, which I know the Holy Spirit has directed me towards because He intends to do good. For example, on a number of times I have met someone who needs healing. I hear their need, my faith rises as I realise that the Holy Spirit has illuminated their need to me. So I partner with Him, and He releases healing over them. The same can be true of someone who needs a word of encouragement, or a person who is open to receive Jesus. It’s more than simply me using my faith and reacting to what is in front of me. Rather, it’s clear that this is a ‘Divine appointment’.
- Another way Holy Spirit speaks to us is through an occurrence in our circumstances. I have had times when I have woken at the same time a few days in a row and realised the time matched a scripture reference God was speaking to me about. I also experienced a time when my camper van stalled and wouldn’t immediately restart. By the time I restarted it and headed out on my journey, I came across an accident, where my wife Nicki and I were able to provide support for one of the drivers who was very distressed, including praying for her. We knew God had delayed us for that very purpose. Another time I was in North Wales. I was due to return home that morning, but I woke unusually early. I decided as I was awake I might as well start traveling home. As I was driving down the deserted A5 in Shropshire, I saw a man standing on the railings of a footbridge over the dual carriage way. I approached him, and another car stopped on the other side of the road. The lady from that car was an off-duty psychiatric nurse. God was certainly reaching out to that suicidal man when I consider that on a deserted early morning, two vehicles converge at the exact moment he was thinking of ending his life. One carried a psychiatric nurse, and the other a suicide intervention negotiator.
Through Creation: Paul says in the letter to the Church in Rome that since the creation of the world, God’s attributes have been made clear to us through that creation. So Holy Spirit can speak to us through our surroundings.
- He often reminds me of His care for every part of my life when I find a flower hidden away from open view. If He has beautified a spot that no one was ever likely to see, then how much more does He desire to bless us, the pinnacle of His creation.
- He can also provide an unusual occurrence in the world to speak to us. My mMum asked God for a sign that He was real. Whilst on the phone to my Aunt a few days later, she suddenly remarked to my Mum, “I knew He would come back one day”. When my Mum asked her who she was talking about, she said Jesus, because there was a huge cross-shaped cloud in the sky. Mum knew this was God answering her prayer. She put her faith in Jesus there and then! Amazingly, My Aunt has no recollection of the incident .
Holy Spirit is always using creative ways to speak to us. There are doubtless many more than I have covered over this blog series. Suffice to say, He never feels limited to speaking to us in only one way. As we walk with Him, our ears and eyes become more attuned to Him, and so our relationship deepens.
My final two thoughts for today’s blog are: Firstly, don’t fall in to the trap of always just waiting for Holy Spirit to speak. He wants to partner with you. So sometimes you can start the conversation. He loves to speak with us. Secondly, for those of you who are afraid of missing what Holy Spirit is trying to say to you, this is not a test! You don’t fail because you miss Him speaking, you have an opportunity to learn how to hear Him more clearly. He is not looking for a successful candidate; He is looking to build a relationship with you. After all, you are one of the family!
Join me in the next blog for the fifth and final post of this series on ‘Listening to the Holy Spirit’, where we will take a moment to consider the enormous privilege we have in hosting God, the Holy Spirit.
We would love to hear more about how you are learning to hear from Holy Spirit. Please leave a comment below.
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