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  • 2 hours ago
    Posted by Dion Todd
    For he satisfies the longing soul. He fills the hungry soul with good' Psalms 107:9 WEBThere are so many things in this life that promise, or would appear to offer satisfaction, but they all fall far short of truly satisfying you inside. Temporary pleasures offer temporary satisfaction, and often wi...
  • Tue at 3:01 AM
    Posted by Dion Todd
    I have said these things to you, while still living with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you.' John 14:25 WEBOne of the most challenging and rewarding things that you will ever unde...
  • Dec 16
    Posted by Dion Todd
    RHM Devotional: The Chain of Command from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo. Today I want to talk about the chain of command in the Kingdom of God. When we began RHM, I was blown away by some of the prayer requests that we received. Many people confused God with Santa Claus. I remember one in p...
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Hearing God Speak - Part 2

  • Hearing God Speak - Part 2

    Hearing God Speak, Part 2 from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

     

    Transcript:
    Today we are going to be continuing our series on “Hearing God Speak” and in this message I want to focus on some of the ways that He speaks to us. I am going to be sharing some very personal things from my life that are true stories. If you missed the first message, then you really should watch it to catch up. As a short summary: Jesus told us that we would hear His voice.

    When speaking about the Shepherd in John 10:3 He said: “To Him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear His voice; and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.” Jesus was the Shepherd, we are the sheep that hear His voice.
     
    In John 10:8, He said: “All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.” The sheep did not listen to the thieves and robbers, but we will recognize the voice of the Shepherd speaking.

    Then in John 10:16, He said: “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” That verse is speaking about the gentiles that would come into the flock, us. Jesus said that the gentiles would also hear His voice, and this would be after He was crucified. The gospel came to the gentiles through Paul who met Jesus long after He was crucified, resurrected, and ascended to heaven. Jesus said “They Will Hear My Voice” so in someway, He planned to speak to them.

    God has always wanted to communicate with mankind, but it has been a struggle to find those that will listen. Psalms 14:2 reads: “The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.”

    Most people today are busy in the pursuit of other things. Sex, drugs, and money are what most people are seeking where we live. Sometimes all three. All while the Lord is looking down from heaven to see if there are any who are seeking Him. God speaks to those that are listening.

    It’s always personal:
    God knows each of us better than we know ourselves and He will speak to us in a way that we understand. For instance, I work with computer programming, and sometimes He will speak to me using computer terms, or perhaps a sub routine. He will share things with me like ”Demons are like spyware.”  Why are they? Because:

    1) spyware slows a computer to a crawl and ties it up doing "other" tasks instead of what it should be doing. So will demons.

    2) spyware "hides" itself in a computer in very sophisticated ways. It will use fake names and processes and hide deep down in the file system to avoid being found out. It works best when its presence is unknown. So will demons.

    3) spyware is awful to remove usually. Some of it is very virus like and if you close it out it will respawn itself automatically over and over. It is a struggle. It is never alone and usually has several instances working together. One file’s only task may be to conceal it. Another to relaunch it if the process is stopped. If you end task and rename it, the spyware will often recreate itself under another name. Sometimes it leaves the computer in a broken mess. The same way demons work together in a package.

    4) When you do remove the spyware, if you do not get the security patches for the PC it will just come right back. In fact a lot of it will connect to the internet and download "friends", other spyware files and install them on the computer. Scripture tells us that without the Holy Spirit filling the house, that even when demons leave, they will return with friends. (Matthew 12:43).

    See what I mean? Likewise I am a musician, and He sometimes speaks to me through music, or the words in a song. I will cover this is more detail further into the message.

    Some ways that He speaks to us:
    Now lets cover some ways that He speaks to us. These are only some of the ways that I have seen Him speak. I don’t think any of us know all the ways that He can speak. He is a good bit smarter than us.

    1) The Bible: God speaks to us through His written words in the Bible, the Logos. 2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NKJV) “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”


    The Bible is the inspired word of God. Jesus, and the writers of the New Testament quoted the Old Testament scriptures over 800 times. Every sentence is accurate; it is always our understanding that is warped, though many things changed at the cross when Jesus became the passover lamb for all of mankind. For example, an eye for an eye went out, and turn the other cheek came in.  

    I could not tell you how many times that I would pray about something, then flip my Bible open to a random page, and see the Holy Spirit speak to me through the words there. One particular time that I remember, was several years ago. I was in this room lying on the floor under the keyboard feeling that I had wrecked His plans for me. He had told me when I was young that I would be in ministry one day, but then life kind of fell apart. I went through a long nasty divorce, was alienated from my church, and from Him. I had resolved that I would never be in the ministry, but I would just serve Him as best that I could.

    I prayed for a while and flipped open this Bible to read and it fell on Romans 11:29 (NKJV) — 29 “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” It was the exact verse that I needed to hear. Then I looked at the foot notes and it read: “God never changes His plans for us.” Coincidence? Maybe… Like William Temple said: “All that I know is that when I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don't, they don’t.” Anyway, the verse was accurate: Years later, here I am in ministry. Something that I learned was that God doesn’t write you off just because your critics have.

    2: Dreams and Visions. The Lord often speaks to us through dreams and visions. They are similar but different things so I will cover each of them. They are both completely scriptural, let no one tell you otherwise:

    Acts 2:14–18 (NKJV) “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.”

    So the Apostle Peter said, “THIS is what was spoken of by the prophet Joel.” Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the 120 disciples in the upper room in Acts chapter 2, was the beginning, and it is still going on today. The church is still recovering what was lost during the dark ages.

    I view Joel’s prophecy as an inclusive statement, not exclusive. Sons and daughters without distinction of sex; old men and young men without reference to age; servants and handmaids without regard to social position. Everyone will hear from God, from the least to the greatest, from the youngest to the oldest. I have had dreams when I was a young man, and visions while an older man. I have had visions while inside of a dream, so I don’t see that one is exclusive of the other.


    Dreams are one of the oldest methods of God speaking to mankind. The Bible speaks of dreams over 100 times, and dream interpretation is a core subject in the life of Joseph and Daniel. A key difference is that Dreams happen while you are sleeping / Visions happen while you are awake.  

    God spoke to Abimelech, Jacob, Joseph, Pharaoh, his butler and baker, Solomon, Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel. Joseph, the husband of Mary was guided mostly by dreams. In Matthew 1:20 Joseph was told by an angel that it was OK to take Mary as his wife because she had conceived by the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 2:13 he was warned in a dream that Herod would try and kill them, and to flee to Egypt. In Matthew 2:19 an Angel appeared to him in a dream and told him that Herod was now dead, and it was now safe to return. In Matthew 2:22 he was warned again in a dream and turned aside to stay in Galilee. Yes, God speaks to us through dreams.

    Now the type of dreams that I am talking about are very vivid and I still remember them years later. The dreams that I don’t remember when I wake up, I just ignore. Many of the dreams that I have are prophetic. Some come to me in a series, one following the other. Before Sylvia and I left a ministry that we were part of, The Lord gave me 7 consecutive dreams over that summer. Each one progressively worse than the last. Here is an example of a prophetic dream that I had. True story:

    Once upon a time I was in a praise and worship team at a church. It was led by a husband and wife and we were a pretty good group of musicians working on recording a CD. We had already raised the money for it and were practicing hard on the music. I thought the team was going great. Then I felt led to fast and pray for a week, so I did. That Friday night, I had an extremely vivid dream.

    It was a dream of me having two visions. In the dream, I was standing beside the Lord, looking down into a house. I saw myself standing in the bathroom and the toilet was overflowing. I had a plunger and I was trying to fix it. While in the living room, members of the praise team were arguing, pointing, and blaming each other.

    I asked the Lord: “What does this mean?”
    And He said: “There is a lot of crap backed up.” Yes, He used those exact words. Much to our surprise, the Lord knows about excrement…

    Then the dream changed from the house to a track and field, green with white stripes to mark the lanes. We were all running / foot racing on the track within our white lines and a dark cloud was overtaking us. You could see the shadow of it coming up behind us.

    I asked the Lord: “What does this mean?”
    And He said: “It is catching up.”

    Then I awoke. I was troubled by the dream. I didn’t understand it. I thought that it was about me, because often dreams are about me, but this time something inside me felt that it concerned the praise team.

    The following night, Saturday, we had band practice for the musicians, so as we gathered in a circle to pray, I shared the dream with them. As I said, the praise and worship team was led by a husband and wife. The husband who was the praise and worship leader, began to laugh at me because I said that the Lord said “crap” and then he made a joke out of it. They all had a good laugh, except for his wife. She turned white and all the color left her face.

    The next morning was Sunday, and as we gathered together to pray, the praise and worship leader laughingly told those that missed practice that “Dion had a dream that the band was going to be flushed down the toilet or something” and they all had a good laugh about it.

    That evening as we were tuning our guitars, an argument broke out between the husband and wife in front of our guest speaker. He got mad and stormed off the stage leaving us to wing it through the songs. That fight escalated on through the night and his wife threw him out of the house. Then the bands drummer moved in with her. It came out that they had been having an affair for the past year, but no one knew. They did not even speak to one another on stage.

    I had the dream on a Friday night, then Sunday night all of that began to be exposed. Coincidence? Doubtful. Do not let anyone convince you that God does not speak through dreams today, or that He does not know what is going on inside your church.


     3: Visions. Visions are like dreams, but happen while you are wide awake, possibly in a trance like state. Again, the word visions occurs more than 100 times in the Bible. God spoke to so many people in scripture using visions including Abraham, Jacob, Samuel, Nathan, Zechariah, Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Ananias, Cornelius, Peter, Paul. The Apostle John received most of the Revelation of Jesus Christ by a vision. No where in scripture does it tell us that God no longer speaks in this way, and I can tell you from experience that He still does.

    I tend to have more dreams than visions, but I will share one with you that changed our life. About 2012 we went through a very dark season of our life. The Lord had put me in my own computer business decades ago, but after the downturn in the economy, our work began to slow. Our clients were just going out of business one after another.

    Finally in about 2012, we were out of money, out of work, and in debt up to our ears. At the beginning of the year, for about two months, I felt an usually strong urge to pray every single day. Every day at 3 PM I would come into this room, shut the door, put on some worship music like Michael W. Smith, and lay on the carpet. Then I would pray in the Spirit from 1 to 3 hours. Time I shut the door, the Holy Spirit would descend and I would begin to weep. It was an unusual time, and I have never prayed that hard before, or since. Then as suddenly as it began, it ended, and the Spirit and anointing on my life dried completely up like I had never seen before.

    That is when it got bad. For about six months, when I would pray, I only heard silence. When we gave, we just had less. When we fasted, we were just hungry. When we advertised, it was like throwing money in the trash. I began to get bitter and angry and hurt, and He wouldn’t speak to me. I felt that God had abandoned me. My once best Friend was now nowhere to be found when I needed Him the most. I think there were a few times that I even cussed at Him.   

    Finally the week came when we decided to move our of our home. We could not afford to pay the upcoming electric bill. Our credit cards were maxed out and after several months of searching, I hadn’t been able to find a job anywhere. We decided to move in with some family and we began to sort things and make plans of what we would ship, and what we would sell or leave behind.

    That Tuesday morning, I came into this room and sat down on a bean bag in the corner. I didn’t have the strength or will to pray anymore. I just sat down in the quiet mostly thinking how much that I would miss our home.

    Without saying a word, I suddenly had an open vision. It looked like a movie screen appeared before me, while I was wide awake. I saw myself entering a boxing ring and preparing to fight. The camera view was behind me and it looked like I was alone in the ring. The opponent had not entered the ring yet. Then the camera began to pan around to my face and as it did, I saw the Lord standing behind me, outside of the ring like a Coach. The camera focused on Him and He said these words:

    “You are not alone, for I am in your corner, and I have prepared you for this day. Now get in there and fight!”

    Then the screen closed. I just began to weep, I was so broken. It had been so long since I had heard His voice, and it was such a relief. I came out of the room and told Sylvia “We are going to be OK. I don’t know how yet, but we are going to be OK.”

    I went to my computer to search for jobs like I did every morning and I pulled up Craigslist. At the very top of the page was a job: “Creative Arts Pastor wanted - must have computer skills.” Well I had a bachelors in Theology and had owned a computer business for 17 years, so I sent them a quick email. To shorten this up, by that Friday I was a pastor and a friend suddenly stepped in and paid all of our bills for the month. I started to work the following Monday in full time ministry. After the vision, everything in our life changed in about 72 hours. Perhaps another coincidence? Suffice it to say that the Lord still speaks to us through visions.

    4. Through Music. There have been many times that the Lord has spoken to us through a song. Maybe its because I am a musician, I am not sure. You know that song that is playing in your head first thing in the morning? Sometimes mine has meaning. I have woke up and heard Bob Segar singing “You’re still the same…” after falling back into the same ditch that I was trying to get out of.

    I once had some questions about somethings that I did not understand, and I prayed about it. A couple of nights I had two dreams with music, back to back: In the first dream, my older brother Randy (who has passed on) was in a church and singing an old church hymn. The chorus was this:

    Farther along we’ll know more about it,
    Farther along we’ll understand why;
    Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
    We’ll understand it all by and by.

    Then another dream followed this one, and it was by Creedence Clearwater Revival and the words were: “First thing I remember was askin' papa, "Why?", for there were many things I didn't know. And daddy always smiled; took me by the hand, sayin', "Someday you'll understand.”

    Through the lyrics in these songs, He told me that He had heard my prayer and that Someday, I would understand.

    Now the Bible warns us about casting our pearls before swine lest they trample them. I am about to take a risk and share a pearl of mine with you. This will make the religion in you squirm and want to call me a devil. I understand. I used to be like that before I knew Him. I want to share with you how beautiful the Holy Spirit can be. One of the most intimate times that I have spent with the Holy Spirit was during a week-long fast about 2006, when I was seeking Him and asking Him, no begging Him, to be caught up in the Spirit or to heaven like Paul talked about in 2 Corinthians 12:2.

    2 Corinthians 12:2 (NKJV) I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.

    Well, I was really pressing in and seeking this experience. I mean why not? God did it for others, we can ask for what is in the Bible. Every day I was lying on the carpet in this room praying and asking Him to take me into His very presence. I wanted to be with Him, literally in the same room. Everyday I came back again and I prayed about it.

    Then one morning when I was exhausted from praying, I was just laying there on the floor beneath the keyboard, and I heard a voice / felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me.

    He said: “Listen”
    I said: “Ok” and began to listen quietly.
    He said: “Do you want to know a secret?”
    I said: “Yea!”
    He said: “Do you promise not to tell?”
    I said: “Ok”
    He said: “Closer”
    So I began to listen closer.
    He said: “Let me whisper in your ear.
    Say the words you long to hear.
    I'm in love with you...”

    Then His presence just rushed into the room and overwhelmed me. Luckily I was already laying on the floor because I almost passed out. He showed me that I could be in the same room with Him literally, without being taken to heaven. We can walk in His presence anywhere we are. It wrecked me, it changed my life, and it came through the words of a Beatles song. He loves me, and He told me so. There is nothing that could convince me otherwise.

    I hope that this message has been a blessing to you. Next week we will continue on with more ways that God speaks to us, if He is willing.


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Sylvia Todd likes this
5 comments
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Kristi Smith
Kristi Smith

Thank you so much for this. I have been experiencing almost all of things that you have talked about over the last few years and it just confirms to me that our wonderful, awesome Father speaks to us uniquely and individually.  I was born again 5 years ago and when these things would happen I knew it was God but people would try to talk me out of it by telling me that God doesnt talk that way. Or it was just a coincidence.  You do not know how wonderful it is to have someone else have the same experience I have with Him. It just encourages me so much.

I have been reading your devotionals for over a year and I just must say (God told me to encourage you) they are so spot on almost every single day for the last 18 months that it cannot be a coincidence.  You are so blessed and annointed. It was a long wait for you but I bet every single day is exciting now that you are living your purpose.

 

God bless you

March 14, 2017
  • 1
Dion Todd
Dion Todd

Thank you for taking a moment to encourage us Kristi! It is always exciting to see what the Lord is bringing about next. We are just along for the ride, for He is certainly driving. 

March 14, 2017
  • 1
Celestina Ndunda
Celestina Ndunda

I love these series so so much. God bless you for these wonderful teachings.

March 15, 2017
  • 1
Janet Marsh-Lord
Janet Marsh-Lord

Thank you Pastor Dion for all that you're teaching me. I'm learning so much and things are becoming a lot clearer for me. 

March 22, 2017
  • 1
Kevin Moore
Kevin Moore

Thank you for this teaching pastor and thankyou for sharing you personal experiences 

Jul 21