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Identifying the Voice of the Lord

August 7, 2005

Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,

So many of you expressed interest and gratitude for last monthís message that I am elaborating on the subject this month. Many of you asked, "How do I know if I am hearing God and not the devil?"

Every believer can identify the voice of God by following a few suggested guidelines.

1. Be very familiar with the written Word of God. Whatever Godís voice tells you, it will be consistent with His written Word, not contrary to His Word. Many things concerning "Godís will" are plain on their face in the Bible. Take time to do some research on a general topic, finances or relationships, for example, and pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal to you Godís heart and mind. Check out whether that little "desire of your heart" is determined by Godís written Word to be "good" or "evil," "righteous" or "sinful." Jesus countered the voice of Satan with the written word rightly applied.

2. Start by obeying the plain, obvious commands of the written Word first and foremost. Remember, hearing Godís voice results in our obedience to it. We want to obey truth, not lies, so we must become most familiar with truth. As you obey the obvious, God will lead you into greater revelation of Himself, of truth, of the obedience of Christ, of His obedience for you.

3. Recognize and discern between the characteristics of God and those of Satan, between truth and deception. In John 8, Jesus responds to the Pharisees, the outwardly righteous religious leaders of His day. He cuts to the core of their beings. He distinguishes Himself from those whose father is the devil. Study the attributes of God and let God speak for Himself. God is who He says He is, not what you think He is. The God in our minds and hearts must align with the God of the Word. Satan lies, murders, and steals. He uses deception, mixes truth with error, hates God and Godís people, and never has your best interest in mind. God tells the truth, brings life, gives, loves, and always has your best interest in mind. Satan rebukes in order to condemn and lead you to kill yourself in some way. God rebukes in order to conform you to Jesus Christ and lead you to love and live in the light of His countenance.

4. Become familiar with Godís ways by studying Bible characters as examples. God came to Gideon, for example, and called him a mighty warrior. He gave Gideon a call, commission, commands, and His commitment to the process. Gideonís response was something like, "Who, me?" Does it remind you of Moses and even the disciples?

Jesus took ordinary men who were in the fishing business and told them He would make them fishers of men if they would follow Him. Jesus often did the unexpected, and unreasonable. Godís wisdom differs from human wisdom, and many times what Godís voice tells you will conflict or clash with what you determine to be natural or reasonable. God sent Moses back to Egypt, let Daniel enter the lionsí den, and Jesus sent out the disciples with a gospel that would turn the world upside down and inside out.

Another thing. God moves us out of our comfort zones and doesnít tell us to do things that gratify the flesh, that involve carnal instincts or clattering, or that speak to the old sensual nature. Instead, we are to be crucified with Christ, crucified to the world, and crucified to the flesh with its passions and lusts (Galatians).

We see in our Bible examples how God challenges faith, stretching individuals in order to strengthen relationship with Him. Many times there is a "GO" in order to "COME" closer to Jesus. As the disciples received the call and commission to "Go and make disciples" and take the gospel to all creation, they received specific commands and also Jesusí commitment that He would be with them always, even unto the end of the age. Separation unto God involves separation from the world and from the sensuality of the fleshly nature. It will take courage and a fear of the Lord that overrules other fears. It will take a desire to know the One, true and living God that exceeds lesser desires.

5. Pray. You communicate with God and He communicates with you. Learn to be still and know that He is God. Learn to wait before Him and listen. Have a clearly defined enemy, declare war on Satan and evil, and follow the rules of the war between Christ and Satan, between those who are Christís and those who are not. Renounce the hidden things of darkness openly. Tell the spirit world that you hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, and the voice of a stranger you will not follow. When you receive a directive, write it down and examine it with Scripture. Look for pepper in the saltshaker, and if in doubt, ask the "voice" to identify itself and make itself known. If you are hearing God, you will discover that God is never offended. He tells us to test the spirits. He will identify His own Voice in no uncertain terms until all doubt is removed. Remember, anything that is not of faith is sin, so when in doubt donít.

6. Seek confirmation. Seek godly counsel. If you get some thought or hear some voice and it seems sketchy, find a pastor or someone well versed in the Word and talk it over before acting. God isnít in a rush, but the devil usually pushes through condemning and controlling thoughts to cause a person to act impulsively and rashly. While God did tell Abraham to go to the mount with Isaac, and Abraham obeyed immediately, it was a three days journey with a lot of time to pray, reflect, have confirmation, etc. Godís people are a resource in determining Godís will when they are seeking His holiness and purposes in their own life.

7. Respond with a heart to obey and do Godís will. God searches your heart and sees the desires of your heart. He will help your unbelief and your obedience to the Holy Spirit. Yes, you will be tested in the School of the Spirit, but as you progress, you will know the Voice of the LORD better and better because you will know His character, His thoughts and ways better and better. He will help you discern between good and evil, between Himself and Satan. Godís heart is holy, pure, good, and loving. He is trustworthy, and worthy of your worship and your obedience. Hear Him, and you will live.

Susan Smith and I recently returned from Eastern Europe. We prayed for the salvation of the people as we traveled to Hungary, Croatia, Serbia & Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania, and Switzerland. Susan reports how we confessed the sins of the nations and broke generation curses upon these nations. They have suffered much bloodshed and persecution because they were conquered by ancient tribes, Greeks, Romans, Ottoman Turks, the Hapsburgs and were occupied by the Communists after WWII. We anointed various rivers and the Black Sea, claimed territory for Jesus Christ, broke strongholds and bound the forces of darkness as the Lord directed us to do. We spoke forth the Word, knowing God causes it to manifest in the spirit and physical realms.

We also had the chance to share the love of Jesus with a man and his wife who were very helpful to us with information about the areaís history and geography. Susan shared with two couples about the dangers of "Course in Miracles," a deceptive false teaching in which she was involved in the late 1970ís. One woman was a leader in this teaching and somewhat upset as Susan shared with the other couple her testimony. However, as these couples prodded and probed into our Christianity, we were able to present Christ. Eventually, one man asked me to pray for his healing, which I did. We both shared with several others and noticed how people were either drawn to us and to our testimony of Christ or repelled by us. Either way, we are the fragrance of life to those destined for life and the fragrance of death to the dying. (2 Cor. 2.14-17)

It was about 4:00 a.m. June 28th, and we were docking in Serbia. The voice of the Lord was pounding in my ear, so I got up and started writing everything down. The word was for Bulgaria. Later, Susan and I examined it, as have others since our return. This is that.

Now hear what the Sovereign Lord says. I have come to you Bulgaria and as you have abandoned Me and My laws and ways, so I abandon you. Nevertheless there is a remnant which shall be saved so as by fire. These come through much persecution, through the narrow door, but beyond that narrow door is a broad place and there I will meet them in My glory. I am to them the Refuge of the Rock. These are My people and I am their God. I will bless them as they purify their hearts and souls and I will heal their woundedness and reveal Myself to them. To these, take heart. Be strong and of good courage for you shall testify of Me. Vengeance is Mine saith the Lord. I will repay the evildoer to his face as I keep covenant with My elect ones. You will come through both fire and flood (Isaiah 43 and Isaiah 46, all) and will be with you to overcome even death and destruction. I will break bloodguilt off you and your families and deliver you from the oppressor.

Now hear what the Sovereign Lord says. Before you were born I knew you. Before you entered your motherís womb I chose you. I have loved you with an everlasting love and you are Mine. Though the people perish, you resurrect. Fear not. Isaiah 41.10

I come as conquering king to cross your land with the fire of My presence. In My holiness you will find peace as they find wrath, the wrath of the Lamb, for I come to My own to execute My judgments upon the earth and to call the nations to justice and recompense. I am the Lord and Victory is My name. Behold, I stand on your shores a Mighty Warrior, as Jehovah Gibbor, as Lord Sabbaoth, as El Shaddai, as the Faithful Amen.

The people are in darkness, and the land is plagued with their own lawlessness but for My people I command light into their darkness and into their hearts will I give My joy. As I overcame so are they to overcome. Follow the Lamb wherever He goes. The blessings of Abraham are yours only as you keep covenant with Me, for I am the Covenant LORD and My covenants are one and I am One. I am your Shield and exceeding Great Reward as you walk before Me and are holy as I am holy. And how shall you be holy? I have declared you such as justified by faith in My Son and sanctify you by My truth which is in Me. Sanctify, separate, serve, stand still, stand in the Surety of the Covenant and I will provide, protect, pity, preserve, empower, and pursue My enemies to their destruction. Prevail as I prevail.

Prepare for war, but the Lamb shall overcome and the kings of the earth will bow to the Creator/Redeemer and the glory of the LORD will fill heaven and earth. Psalm 24 (Remember, these words are not in the category of Scripture, which applies to all persons everywhere throughout time.)

Our MCM mission team soon leaves for Turkey, including Haran, a Kurdish area. We need your prayers-for safety, as there have been terrorist bombings in Istanbul and Kusadasi and earthquakes in Ankara; for our travel documents to be in order; for our luggage; for our health, as this is a mosquito zone; for our obedience to the Lord; for God's purposes to be fulfilled; for souls to be saved and God's kingdom extended.

Just the Messenger,

Mary Craig

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and
He will direct your paths. Be not wise in your
own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3.5-7)

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