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-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
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Author: Teresa Seputis ts@godspeak.net http://www.godspeak.net

Discerning God's Voice

Lesson 3
Experiencing God

By Teresa Seputis

John 10:27 tells us that God still speaks to us today. But the problem we have is that not everything that claims to be God's voice speaking to us really is His voice. There are two things that try to imitate God's voice to us to deceive us: our own hearts/minds/desires and the enemy. Because of that, we need to prayerfully judge and evaluate what we hear in order to make sure that it really was God speaking to us.

We judge/evaluate by measuring what we hear against God's truth. There are two tools that God has given us to know His truth: His written word and direct personal revelation of Himself, of His character and nature. Our last lesson talked about using His word to judge what we hear. When we judge things, we always put the greater/higher emphasis on Gods written word, the Bible, because we know that is the infallible word of God that cannot lead us astray.

But we also must not discount the times when God has revealed Himself directly to us. He does this in two ways: through experience and through direct supernatural revelation. Let's talk about experience first.

God loves to reveal Himself to us through relational prayer, where we come before Him and over time, He makes one of His characteristics more and more real to us by showing it to us over and over again: maybe His love or maybe His holiness or maybe His power, etc. He allows us to repeatedly experience that aspect of His nature and over again until it becomes fully real to us. Let me share an example from my own life, the way that God make His love real to me.

I used to struggle with whether or not God could possibly love me the way the Bible said He did. One day when I was praying, God told me that He was going to make me secure in His love for me. I heard Him speak that into my thoughts, but I sort of discounted it, figuring it was probably just my imagination. But for months and months after that, every time I came into God's presence, He would surround me with His nearness and just love on me.

One day I fell in an old recurring sin that I thought I'd gotten the victory over. I repented, but I felt terrible about it. I was sure God would be mad at me and disappointed in me. I was afraid to come into His presence. I figured He would not want to be anywhere near me because I had messed up. But I came anyhow. And to my amazement, God did not rebuke me nor did He hold back His nearness from me. He met me just like always and He loved on me. It was so amazing to me that He could love me on the same day that I had sinned against Him!

Over time His love became more and more real to me and I really started to become secure in it. He allowed me to experience His love so many times that it became very tangible to me. And that is one of the ways that God reveals Himself to His children. He shows us one of His characteristics and He lets us keep experiencing it over and over again until it is real to us.

The other way is through direct supernatural revelation, which is often in the form of a vision or of a divine visitation. I am going to share one of these vision type of experiences with you of a time when God revealed an aspect of His nature to me. It is a very precious experience for me and one that I did not think I would every share publicly. I have kept it private for years and treasured it. But now it seems that the Lord wants me to share it in this teaching, to give you an example of what I am talking about.

This experience took place several years ago in the form of an open vision. The vision started with God the Father meeting me during my prayer time. Just before the vision began, He told me that He lived in all times at once and was not limited to any one time. While He was here with me right now, He was also at the moment of my birth, and at the moment of my death. He inhabits all times because He transcends time. And because of this, He could be with me now and also be at the very moment when Jesus had the last supper with His disciples, just before He laid down His life for us.

The Father said that He was with Jesus just before He laid down His life for us. And He wanted to minister to His Son by bringing some of the people that Jesus saved to see Jesus, to show Him what His sacrifice would do in people's lives. The Father said that He wanted to show Jesus some of the lives that He was effecting as He laid down His life for our sins, in order to strengthen Him for what lay ahead. The Father asked me if I would like to be one of those people and I said "Yes."

I don't know if this was simply a vision for my own sake, or if this was something that really happened for Jesus sake. I don't know whether or not I was really transported back through time to have an encounter with Jesus that was real to Him back when He still walked on the earth. Either way, from my perspective, it was an incredibly powerful encounter with the Lord.

Suddenly I found myself in an open vision. I was no longer in my prayer room, but in the house where Jesus had His last supper. I was standing just outside the upper room. Some of the disciples had already left the room and others were still milling about inside. I glanced down at myself and discovered that I was no longer in my regular clothes, but wearing what I assume was appropriate attire for women in that era. I did not have time to ponder this change of attire, as two of the disciples came out of the room and almost bumped into me. I moved out of their way.

Somehow, when God told me that I was going to see Jesus, it never occurred to me that I might see His disciples as well. I suddenly felt extremely self-conscious in being around the disciples, even though they seemed sort of ordinary in this setting. I became worried about what they might think of me being there. So I decided to pretend I was a serving girl and tried to look like I "fit in" to the environment. Part of me wanted to go straight up to Jesus, but I was afraid to do so. Instead, I walked in the room and began picking up dishes as if I was clearing the table.

Within seconds, I heard the Lord say, "Teresa, what are you doing?" I tried to stutter out an answer about not wanting to look conspicuous. But before I could get any words out of my mouth, He said, "Put that down and come here." I obeyed His command. It was a relief to have permission to approach Him, and to drop all pretense about why I was there. It felt much better that way because He was truth and pretense felt "wrong" around Him.

I was not sure what to say to Him. I could see pain and great sadness in the Lord's eyes, and that really bothered me. I am not sure that I had any clue of how hard it was for Him to face the crucifixion until I looked into His face in that vision. My heart absolutely melted. I felt such gratitude for what He did for me, but such dismay at the suffering He was about to go through. There was no doubt that Jesus fully comprehended every detail of what lay ahead for Him and of how hard it would be for Him to go through that. I could see the pain on His face and I wanted to comfort Him.

He looked at me and it felt like His eyes were looking directly into my soul. I realized that He was fully knowing me -- every detail of who I was and what I experienced. Even though He was physically at that point in time, He seemed to be instantly seeing my life in every detail. He was silent as He looked into my heart. The silence felt awkward, so I decided to say something to Him. It did not come out all that well. I tried to tell Him how much I loved Him, how I had dedicated my life to serving Him and how grateful I was for all that He did for me in saving me.

I had somehow assumed that He would feel that it was all worth it when He saw the effect His sacrifice had on my life. I was presumptuous in that. I mean, I knew He loved me and He was pleased that I had put my faith in Him. But before that experience, I saw the crucifixion all wrong. I had always been told it was about me, and people would say things like "Jesus loves you so much that if you had been the only person on earth to receive Him, He would have still come to die for you." But it was not really about me. It was about Jesus and the Father, and about Jesus' commitment to obey the Father and whatever He commanded Him.

Jesus was full of grief and sadness at what lay ahead for Him. He knew He would obey the Father, but He was not looking forward to the experience at all. He seemed to be truly dreading it. I could not stand seeing Him in that kind of pain, so I tried to comfort Him. Jesus stopped me. He sort of rebuked me and put me in my place and loved on me all at the same time.

I can't remember His exact words any more, but He said something to the effect of, "Do you think My suffering and death is such a light thing that you, My creation, are able to comfort your God? My sorrow is bigger than you can possibly comprehend but it is not your place to try and alleviate it."

He was not unkind, but He spoke truth and I knew He spoke truth. It was not my place to try to comfort God. As He spoke, I knew He was right and that I had been out of line. But I also knew that He was not angry with me. I felt very humbled, but I could not feel ashamed before Him or afraid of Him because there was something so wonderful about being near Him. I knew that He could see every detail of my life, the bad as well as the good, the sin as well as the obedience. But He loved me despite all He saw, and His love was incredibly powerful. Even in His sadness and even in His agony, He still loved me. I was undone.

I did not try to say anything else, I knew I was not expected to. I could not bare to see how He was suffering, but I also knew that I could not do anything to alleviate it. He was the Lord and the master and I was not His comforter. It was not the creation's place to try and comfort the Creator. I knew it would be great presumption to behave that way again. I am not sure how long I stood before Him. It might have been just a few minutes or it might have been much longer. Or perhaps we were transported out of the realm of time all together? But I knew Him as My lord and master. He had put me in my place, yet it felt good and right to be there. I was so in awe of Him that I can not begin to describe it.

The vision lasted a little longer and then suddenly it was gone. But the impact that it made on my life still effects me today. This was a very significant event in my walk with God, a place where God revealed some of what He was really like to me. A piece of His lordship and sovereignty became real to me through that experience, and I have drawn from it at times when processing revelation. I will give an example of that in our next lesson.

-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

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