James W. Goll

B. Childress
May 28 2010

    "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household
    of God."   Ephesians 2:19

    "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth
    the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."   I Peter 2:9

    "And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.
    Amen."   Revelation 1:6

Everyone who is a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has been translated from the Kingdom of darkness into
the kingdom of light.  We are citizens of a new nation, a holy nation.  We are priests in this new Kingdom, and we have
the privilege of ministering to God Himself.  Whether we are Asian, Russian, Mexican, African, French, Spanish, British,
Chinese, Indian, German, American, Canadian or any other nationality by natural birth, by supernatural birth we are
members of the best family, the best bloodline and the best race on the planet.  You and I are God's own possession,
members of a Chosen Race!

Just as we have rights, privileges, and responsibilities that come with our natural citizenship, so it is in the spiritual.  As
citizens of the kingdom of God, we have rights, privileges and responsibilities to the King of kings and Lord of lords.

A Priest and a Prophet

As full citizens and members of this royal priesthood of the Lord, we have the right to request, at any time, a personal
audience with the Master of the Universe.  We can come boldly before His throne of grace to bring our requests.  As
priests, we represent our nations, our neighborhoods, our families and our friends before the throne of Almighty God.  
We can cast our cares upon the Lord, make intercession on behalf of others or simply come to commune with the lover
of our soul.

Just as we have the right as Kingdom citizens to make our appeals before the King, the King has the right to issue
commands, decrees, desires and orders to His people.  He is more eager than most people realize to exercise His
sovereignty, especially when He speaks from heaven to invade our comfort zones, although we can misinterpret His
intentions.  Sometimes, even the idea that God speaks is too much for us to handle.

Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, Jack Deere writes about how his personal paradigm shifted.  He says that the
most difficult transition from his old kind of Christianity to a new and improved one was not learning to accept that God
heals and does miracles today.  Rather, the thing that took the most convincing, that he resisted the most and that he
was most afraid of, was accepting that God still speaks today.  

Yes, God still speaks today, and He has the authority to speak to whomever He wants, whenever He wants, however He
wants.  As citizens of this Kingdom, we need to know that He wants to speak to us and that it is part of our birthright to be
able to hear His voice.

The thing is, His ways are not our ways, so even when we accept that He wants to communicate with us, we have a long-
term learning process ahead of us.  We all have some unlearning as well as some new learning to do.

Baby Steps

Before a child runs, he or she walks.  Before walking comes toddling.  Even this half-observant father of four can attest
that before toddling comes
falling.  Babies, holding on to anything they can, launch out over and over - then topple or
trip back down to the floor.  Each of us started this way.  The amazing thing is how kids just get up and try to walk again.  
Babies don't see this falling business as discouraging.  The goal-walking-is way too enticing to let a few troubles be a

Likewise, no one has a perfect start as he or she learns the Kingdom walk.  We all learn by trial and error.  However,
persistence will be rewarded.

will fall.  I can't recount how many times I thought I had heard God, only to find out later that I had missed something
important.  Of course, I can also look back at some of those times when I thought I must have heard Him incorrectly, only
to find out later that I really had heard Him correctly after all.  It's all part of the learning process.  Today, some people
acknowledge me as an international prophet.  But I had many baby steps along the way.

One such baby step occurred in one of our Jesus People meetings.  I thought I was receiving a "word" from God, so I
launched out to make it public.  The worship had come to a hush; it seemed like the appropriate moment.  All ears were
directed my way as I blurted out, "Out of your innermost being shall come forth
livers of living water."  The place erupted
into laughter.  I wanted to find an escape hatch in the floor somewhere so that I could quickly slip out of view!  I corrected
myself - "I mean
rivers!" - but it was too late.  The livers were already out on the table for all to see, never to be stuffed
back down again!  I really don't recall how the rest of the meeting went.  I guess the teacher taught something and the
meeting came to a close.  But, oh, how I wanted to just go home!

When I did go home, I went to His Word.  I found this in Proverbs 24:16: "For a righteous man falls seven times, and
rises again."  I decided God's people are not quitters and neither was I.  The next time out of the stalls, I realized that a
bunch of hurdles, such as the fear of man and the fear of rejection, would be standing right in front of me.  By the grace
of God, I continued to use His gift and respond to His call to convey His word to people, in spite of a few more bleeps
and blunders and escapades.  Through my mistakes, I learned to hear God's voice and release His word more
accurately and effectively.

We all must learn lessons of humility, swallow some pride, seek the Lord for strength and wisdom and move on past
mistakes.  The important thing is to just keep
moving on.  Making mistakes is not unpardonable.  We all have made
them, and all will make them in the future.  We must learn from our mistakes.  We need to turn them over to our Master
and let Him use them for His own glory.  We can depend on it:  All things do work together for the good of those who
keep on loving God in spite of their temporary setbacks.

It is not always an easy walk or even an easy learning curve.  It can be very difficult to find out that we were wrong,
especially when we really think we have heard God's voice.  Only the Lord's mercy and goodness keep us going as
progress comes by trial and error.  It's a relationship that we're growing in, not just a set of skills.  If we engage the Lord
and His will with our whole heart, persistently, we will become proficient in discerning His voice.  This is His desire for us,
our birthright, the Kingdom walk into which we have been invited.

A Few More Steps - A Few More Lessons

Besides being willing to mess up and to pull ourselves back up whenever we fall, how do we grow in our ability to hear
from God?  The simplest answer to this question is this:  He teaches us one step at a time!

Andy Reese is my neighbor and one of the leaders of my family's church, Grace Center, in Franklin, Tennessee.  When
Andy teaches about hearing God's voice, he reminds us of how children grow.  When we are young in the Lord, our
Papa is there to speak to us in ways we can easily understand.  Like young children, when we begin to follow Him we
need the directions spelled out of us.  Andy says that each of us has a sweet spot in our heart.  The Holy Spirit knows
where it is and how to touch it.  He speaks right to it.  We melt; we swoon - we are in love.  God talks; we hear; we
respond.  We are on a honeymoon with Jesus and it is great!  Then, before we know it, we reduce what God has said
into pat equations.  But to keep us in a fresh love relationship with God, it seems as if He changes the rules without
telling us.  We are no longer "babes in Toyland."  It can seem that God is no longer speaking at all, or at least He's not
speaking in a way we can understand.

We know He loves us.  We know He is there - at least we think He is.  But the heavens are brass, and it seems that our
Papa just isn't interested in us anymore.  At those times we think He has gone on vacation or out to lunch.  We are
tempted to feel,
He used to know my address, but either I moved, He moved or He lost it somewhere!  I call this "When
God Seems Silent" or "When the Lollipop Ends."

The truth of the situation is that God is making sure we grow up.  Gifts of grace are given in the wet, rainy seasons of
life, but the personal character traits we will need in order to carry the gifts are forged in the testing of the desert times.  
God knows we need both.

By the way, even when we get older in God, those sweet spots in our heart are still there.  When He touches one of
those areas, we weep, we become a puddle, we're captured once again.  He knows how to reel us into His heart.

Papa God speaks to us on our present level while at the same time always prodding us to move on, to grow and to
mature.  Our Father wants us to reach higher levels.  To do so, we can't keep communicating at our familiar level.  We
can't forever be talking baby talk, so to speak.

We must make another shift, go through another time of growth and take another lesson in His language of love.  We
must embrace another opportunity to exercise faith in the reality that He is with us whether we "feel" His presence or
not.  He has promised never to leave us or forsake us, and we can take that one to the bank any day of the week.  I love
to feel His presence, but my faith in Him is not based on how much I feel.  It is based on His Word of promise.  His name
is Emmanuel - God with us.

His loving desire to be in communication with us never ebbs or ceases.  We will soon find out that we are the ones who
need to change.  We are the ones who must lean into His heart to hear His sweet love language.  "When I was a child, I
used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things" (I
Corinthians 13:11).

Speaking Less and Listening More

We can't leapfrog down the road the fast way; rather, learning to hear God takes time.  Hearing God takes patience,
too.  If we don't realize this, we won't set aside enough time to listen, to seek Him or to inquire of Him.  Our Western
society does not teach us the art of listening.  But the connection is obvious:  If we want to hear, we must listen.  I
recommend speaking a little less and listening a whole lot more.  Here is another hint:  If we don't make time, He will help
us to make time.  He knows how to get our attention.

My personal Tutor has taught me many lessons about this.  For example, over the years, I have been awakened in the
middle of the night hundreds if not thousands of times.  At first I did not understand what was going on.  I tried
(unsuccessfully) to just turn over in bed and go back to sleep.  I rebuked sleep disorders: "Get out of here in Jesus'
name!"  But it didn't work.  It took a while to figure out what He wanted me to do, which was to wait up and watch with Him
for a while, after which I could do what I wanted to do - sleep!

Over a period of time, I learned to get up out of bed (highly important - get
out of the bed!) in the middle of the night and
go sit in my recliner chair in our living room.  I didn't do a lot of heavy intercession or spiritual burden-bearing - I was just
there.  For a while I thought I was wasting both God's time and my own.  But eventually I learned the lesson:  All He
wanted was me.  He simply wanted a friend, a companion, a lover with whom He could share His heart.  I have learned
more about His voice in the wee hours of the morning than any other time.  Now I love being on call to be with Him.  It is a
privilege to be called and chosen to be His friend.

During the quiet hours of the night, I have learned to turn the ear of my spirit in His direction.  One of the most common
ways I hear from the Lord is simply by hearing the quiet inner voice of the Holy Spirit.  God can and does speak to me in
many ways, but He comes to me most often through His peaceful inner voice communing with my heart.

As a mother trains her ear to hear her babe, even when she's asleep, we need to train our ears to hear the slightest
whisper from God.  It will take time and repetition, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, who really is our private personal
Tutor, we can learn how to pay attention.  We need to make the effort, take the time and set aside portions of our days
or nights.  He greatly desires to help us and empower us.  Hearing God's voice just won't happen automatically.  If we
take time to be with Him, we will hear what the Lord our God is speaking.  I guarantee it.

There's Going to be a Revolution!

About 40 years ago, a new sound broke forth from England and it quickly swept the world: A singing group called the
Beatles took the nations by storm.  Their simple, catchy lyrics captured hearts and promoted changes.  One of their top
sons was "Revolution."  It helped throw an impressionable generation into a wild frenzy of drugs, free love and rebellion
against authority.

Forty years later another new sound can be heard.  Another generation of people is discontented with the status quo.  A
radical yet intimate sound of prayer and worship is invading the Church and beginning to make a worldwide impact.  I
believe we are on the verge of a societal prophetic revolution, a dramatic shift.  Watch out, world; watch out, slumbering
Church!  This sleepy Bride is about to shake off her passivity, arise and become all that God has destined her to be.  A
clarion call to change and intimacy is ringing across the land.  Draft notices are being sent out from heaven: Wanted -
Passionate, Consecrated Warriors.

Great change is coming.  But first, great change must come to us in our own personal walks with God.  When this
happens, if and only when this happens, then great change will suddenly appear in the global Body of Christ.  My heart
echoes the cries of Michael Brown, theologian and leader of the FIRE schools on the east coast of the United States.  In
his radical book
Revolution! The Call to Holy War, he declares:

    Why is this dedication to a cause - this passionate, often selfless, sometimes murderous, always fanatical
    dedication - characteristic of revolutionary movements?  It is because the revolutionary has an unshakable
    conviction that something is terribly wrong with society, that something very important is missing, that something
    major needs to change, indeed, that it must change now.

Sam Storms, teacher, author and present faculty member of Wheaton College, trumpets similar thoughts in his book
Beginner's Guide to Spiritual Gifts

    I want you to be expectant about what God can do for you and for those he's called you to help with his power.  I
    want your faith and confidence in both God's goodness and his greatness to grow and intensify.  Skeptics about
    what God can do will rarely experience his power.

Let's dare to believe that when we ask for directions we will receive them.  Let's start out by changing our expectations
and looking for the blueprints that God wants to release.  Let's believe that the Holy Spirit is our personal Tutor and that
He has plans for our lives.  Let's believe that we have a Kingdom birthright to hear from God.  Let's believe that God
actually does hear our prayers!

God really does want us to hear His voice more than we want to hear it.  As our Father, He wants to speak to His
children.  Let every day be Father's Day.  Honor Him.  Listen to Him.  Let's do what He tells us to do.

Are you beginning to be a believing believer?  Are you engaging your spirit to expect to receive revelation from God?  
Before you know it, you will be hearing His present-day voice in your life and you will be passing on your contagious
passion to others.


THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO HEARING GOD, by James W. Goll, Copyright 2008, Regal From Gospel Light.