Some people may say, “Since there is such danger from false dreams, shouldn’t we ignore all dreams?” No, we are only to ignore false dreams. God is very serious about any false dream or prophet that leads people astray. Anything that adds to or detracts from the Word of God is suspect. God warns us about false dreams and false prophets as this Scripture states:
Deuteronomy 13:1-5 KJV
If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” — (gods you have not known) — “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.
Is a Dream from God?
If the devil brings us false dreams and we begin to arrogantly speak them as if they are from God, we are like a cop gone bad. Dreams are not bad in themselves, and God can speak to us in dreams. Ask yourself these questions to help you discern if a dream is from God or not:
Are You Available?
You may not feel like you have much ability, but if you have availability, God will speak to you. The problem is, it is so tough nowadays to be available to God because we’re so busy working for God. A modern-day prophet, Paul Cain, said, “What if you baked God apple pies all of your life? What if you served Him every day by baking apple pies and when you came to the end of your life, you discovered God doesn’t even like apple pie? You would have wasted your entire life doing something God did not even want you to do.” The key is availability. Jesus was always available to His Father. He said:
John 8:26-29 KJV
“I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.” They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father. Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”
Jesus was never in a rush. He didn’t carry a calendar or an iPhone to keep Him on schedule. He didn’t have to sit up all night writing His sermon for the next day. He was available to do His Father’s will, and the Holy Spirit gave Him the words to speak.
God wants us to be available to Him. He speaks to those who say to Him first thing in the morning, “Lord, I want to make myself available to please You today. I ask You to speak to me, to let me know what’s on Your heart so I can be part of what You’re doing. I don’t want to bake you an apple pie if you don’t like apple pie.”
Are You Humble?
God speaks to the humble but deals with the proud from afar. The apostle Paul had many revelations, dreams, and visions, including a trip to Heaven and back, but he said:
1 Corinthians 15:9 KJV
For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle…
God loves to reveal things to people who stay in a spirit of humility. The greatest men of God in the Bible were the humblest of God’s servants. Moses was said to be the most humble man on earth, and God severely rebuked his sister, Miriam, for speaking against His servant, Moses. Let’s read what God said:
Numbers 12:1-8 KJV
Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the LORD heard this. (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) At once the LORD said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the Tent of Meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them came out. Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When both of them stepped forward, he said, “Listen to my words: ‘When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions; I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses’”
There was such intimacy between Moses and God that God spoke to Moses like a friend as if face to face. When Moses came down off the mountain after talking with God, he had to wear a veil over his face because his face shone with God’s glory.
Exodus 33:11 NLT
Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.
God has no patience with the spiritually proud and arrogant. He spoke quite clearly how He felt about this in Psalm 138:
Psalm 138:6 KJV
Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar.
When a person sees something wrong with everyone else, and the church, and calls it discernment; it is arrogance, not discernment. God loves His church, and He doesn’t send prophets to condemn, find fault and tear down. A true prophet humbly builds up and edifies the church. That isn’t to say the Lord may not send a word of correction or instruction through a prophet, but it is always given in a spirit of love and humility to build up, not tearing down.
God doesn’t speak to the proud and haughty because He can’t trust them, and neither can you or I. If you truly want to hear from the Lord, you must humble yourself before Him.
Do You Hear and Respond?
God doesn’t speak to people who ignore what He says. He speaks to people who hear and obey His voice and His written Word. He knows that if you don’t obey His written Word, you’ll never obey His spoken words. A good example is someone who prays and asks the Lord to give him revelation about financial investments but doesn’t hear anything from God. The first question I would ask is whether that person is tithing and giving offerings unto the Lord. If not, he can’t expect the Lord to answer his prayer. God will not speak any further beyond your obedience to His written Word—the Bible.
God loves to speak to those with whom He shares an intimate relationship because they recognize His voice and obey without question.
I love my wife and I know her voice. However, before I knew Mary Jo very well, one of her sisters could have called, and I wouldn’t have been able to tell which one it was. After I met Mary Jo and she was going to Bible School in Dallas, we spent hours and hours on the phone talking long distance about anything and everything. Before long I knew her voice, and her sisters couldn’t fool me on the phone anymore.
Mary Jo could come to church in disguise and fool me until I heard her speak.
Once we are used to talking with God about anything and everything in life, He can show up packaged in a way in which we are not accustomed, but we will still know His voice when He speaks. God wants us to be so intimate with Him that we know His voice regardless of how He is packaged, even if He comes incognito.
What Are Your Motives?
If you want to hear the voice of the Lord, be sure to check your motives. Your motives should be to be more intimate with Him and to know Him better so you can please Him.
As a pastor, I always pray for three specific spiritual gifts: words of wisdom, discerning of spirits and the gift of faith. Sometimes I check my motives and ask myself, “Why do I want to flow in the supernatural. Why do I want to know something about somebody that isn’t in my notes? Why do I want people to feel like I’m reading their mail?” If it is because I want people to think I’m an awesome minister or to say, “Isn’t he wonderful?” or “Oh, he’s great, isn’t he?” I have to say, “God, get that haughty attitude out of me!”
It has been a long time since I felt that way. Now I pray, “Lord, I want words of wisdom, words of knowledge and prophetic words so I can know what is on Your heart and become more intimate with you. I want to please You today. What is it You want me to be available for today?” I no longer worry whether my sermons will be perfect or not, because my only desire is to please the Lord. And I know that if I’m pleasing Him, then the greatest number of people will be touched and helped.
Dreams are subjective, but God’s Word is objective.
God’s Word is truth. Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s Word will never pass away. Availability, humility, and obedience, bring divine revelation to our lives as we get to know the voice of God. A person who says, “God, I’m available to You, anyway You need me today, and I’m ready to obey your voice,” develops a hearing heart.
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