Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hearing the Voice of God

Samuel heard it and mistook it for the voice of the priest. It was an audible voice, just like a human voice (1 Sam. 3). Moses heard it too. Elijah had to go all the way to Mt. Horeb to hear it, and then it came in a still whisper. Jesus heard it at his baptism in a vision and so did Paul, and we could go on. Throughout the history of God's people and even unto today people have been hearing God's voice. What characterizes most, if not all these direct communications (without aid of cellphone) is that they are brief and direct, and often they involve the direct calling by name of the human being involved.

One of the reasons this phenomenon interests me so much is that it happened to me--- once and only once. It was in the turbulent times when I was at Carolina at the beginning of the 70s. Our national support for the Vietnam war was waning or winding down, but still we were being drafted to go and fight. I remember vividly watching TV in Graham Dorm with my friends when they showed the draft lottery for that day. One of my friends was drafted no. 1-- he put a chair through his TV and went off and joined the Peace Corps immediately. Me, I was just praying hard. My number was 192. I had real issues with this whole involuntary process. I had even gotten the papers to file to be a conscientious objector on religious grounds, but then I never filled them out. I was in a lot of internal turmoil and I was pretty distant and alienated from God. I was even angry with God some, because of the war and what it was doing to my friends.

But God was coming after me it seems, in the person of several of my roommates and friends, most of whom were devout Christians. At this point something strange happened. No, I was not smoking dope, nor dropping acid. I didn't ever do those kinds of things anyway. I was a musician and drugs mess with your voice and abilities to play. I liked having a clear head, so I mostly didn't drink either--- just the occasional glass of wine or beer with a friend at a meal. Like I said, I liked being clear headed.

But pressure was building up inside me. I went to the UNC clinic one day because my ears were ringing and I was having a bout of high blood pressure. When they couldn't find anything wrong with me, they sent me to the counselor. After a superficial chat he decided that what I needed was a girlfriend. That wasn't the problem-- I needed God. One night, late one night, I was walking across the quad mulling my life over when I heard a voice. Now at first I thought it was a friend shouting across the quad at me-- the voice kept saying "Ben, Ben". I looked everywhere, and there was absolutely no one around. I do mean no one. No human soul was there at that hour in the wee hours of the morning but me. This experience was unsettling. I was not expecting it, it literally came out of the blue. I wasn't in a time of prayer or anything like that. My memory is I was heading out to go get one of my favorite North Carolina doughnuts--- Krispy Kreme, which originated in Winston Salem. That's my story and I'm stickin to it--- I went looking for a doughnut and found God.

Later on when I was puzzling about this experience a friend pointed me to a Bible verse. I really didn't know the Bible all that well. The first time I tried to read the whole thing front to back I got stuck in the early 'begats' and Levitical rules and gave up. What a weird book, I thought. These particular verses however seemed to have been written just for me--- John 10.3-4- "He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out...and his sheep follow him because they recognize the sound of his voice." I have to tell you when I read those verses it freaked me smooth! You see, my name 'Ben' means 'son' in Hebrew. And when I heard that voice it sounded so much like a familiar voice calling my name, like it could almost be my Daddy calling me, which was impossible since he was in Charlotte working away. Hearing that voice, set me on a different path, one I am still treding today.

I have been enjoying reading Don Miller's popular book Blue like Jazz of late. There is a wonderful passage in it where he tells a story about his friend Penny who was born to two hippies (who named her Plenty-- which she managed to change later). She grew up in an atheistic environment and went to perhaps the most 'free thinking' non-Christian college in America-- Reed College in Portland. She met Don there however and she told him an amazing story--- Don and Penny were having a chat and then she said: (Blue like Jazz pp.48-49)

"Now you have to promise to believe me."

"Promise what?" [Don said]

"Okay but I'm not crazy." She took a deep breath. "I heard God speak to me."

"Speak to you?" I questioned.
"What did he say?"

He said "Penny I have a better life for you, not only now but forever." When Penny said that she put her hand over her mouth, as if that would stop her from crying.

"Really,' I said, "God said that to you"

"Yes" Penny talked through her hand "Do you believe me?"

"I guess."

"It doesn't matter whether you believe me or not." Penny started walking again. "That is what happened, Don it was crazy. God said it... I should read you my journal from that night. It was like, oh my God, God talked to me. I am having this trippy God thing right now. God talked to me. I kept asking Him to say it again, but He wouldn't. I guess its because I heard Him the first time, you know."

Don then asked her if that is when she became a Christian. She said no, and he asked why.

She said "I was drunk and high, Don. You should be sober when you make important decisions."

"That's a good point." I agreed But I still thought she was crazy. "So what happened next?"

"Well" Penny started, "A couple of nights later I got on my knees and said I didn't want to be like this anymore. I wanted to be good, you know. I wanted God to help me care about other people,because that's all I wanted to do, but I wasn't any good at it." And that's when Penny became a Christian.

The thing I find so striking about this story is the similarities to my own, minus the drugs and booze. God spoke to her once to get her to or past the point of crisis and decision I suppose. The same happened to me. I haven't heard from Him in that way sense. But then, I wasn't reading his Word then--- I've been doing that ever since and both the Word and my life make much better sense now :)

So how about you? Have you ever audibly heard the voice of God? I would like to hear from you if you have. After the posting I did a few weeks ago about the phone call from God one of my fellow NT scholars in the guild Dale Allison sent me an email with a book title-- turns out lots of folks have gotten actual phone calls from the deceased, and they are not all certifiably crazy. Indeed most of them are quite sane-- Here's the book title--- "Phone Calls from the
Dead", the authors D. Scott Rogo and Raymond Bayless.

Are you listening????


Mark said...

This is a very interesting subject. I have never personally heard a voice that I thought was the voice of God. However, at the small congregation where I preach, we have a woman who has claimed precisely this. On the rare occassions when God "speaks" to her, it is by waking her up at 5 in the morning (much like Samuel) and telling her something brief, like the Blue Like Jazz quote.

Unfortunately, several of the things God has been "telling" her to do have involved trying to split our church in half. If anyone was speaking to her, I'm suspecting it wasn't God.

I believe that God is certainly able to speak to people if he wants to. I'm sure you see the potential Pandora's Box this can open, though.

How do you think we are to handle people who've had these experiences in a way that remains true to Scriptural revelation? People (just as you're doing here) will insist on the validity of their own experiences. Do we need to work on learning to discern true voices from false voices? How do we handle this stuff in an ecclesial context?

Mark said...

This is a very interesting subject. I have never personally heard a voice that I thought was the voice of God. However, at the small congregation where I preach, we have a woman who has claimed precisely this. On the rare occassions when God "speaks" to her, it is by waking her up at 5 in the morning (much like Samuel) and telling her something brief, like the Blue Like Jazz quote.

Unfortunately, several of the things God has been "telling" her to do have involved trying to split our church in half. If anyone was speaking to her, I'm suspecting it wasn't God.

I believe that God is certainly able to speak to people if he wants to. I'm sure you see the potential Pandora's Box this can open, though.

How do you think we are to handle people who've had these experiences in a way that remains true to Scriptural revelation? People (just as you're doing here) will insist on the validity of their own experiences. Do we need to work on learning to discern true voices from false voices? How do we handle this stuff in an ecclesial context?

Mark said...

This is a very interesting subject. I have never personally heard a voice that I thought was the voice of God. However, at the small congregation where I preach, we have a woman who has claimed precisely this. On the rare occassions when God "speaks" to her, it is by waking her up at 5 in the morning (much like Samuel) and telling her something brief, like the Blue Like Jazz quote.

Unfortunately, several of the things God has been "telling" her to do have involved trying to split our church in half. If anyone was speaking to her, I'm suspecting it wasn't God.

I believe that God is certainly able to speak to people if he wants to. I'm sure you see the potential Pandora's Box this can open, though.

How do you think we are to handle people who've had these experiences in a way that remains true to Scriptural revelation? People (just as you're doing here) will insist on the validity of their own experiences. Do we need to work on learning to discern true voices from false voices? How do we handle this stuff in an ecclesial context?

Ben Witherington said...

Hi Mark:

You are so right about this, discernment is needed, especially in an age of Biblical illiteracy. In a sense you answered your own question-- the answer is that if it doesn't comport with what the Bible says, or what experienced Christian interpreters say, then it should be considered suspect.


Ben W.

Elvis Elvisberg said...

Terrific post.

Also, I regret to say that you've been misinformed about drugs and music. In reality, you can make some pretty awesome music on drugs. Charlie Parker, Jerry Garcia, etc.

Actually, a friend told me the other day that his experience with certain drugs made him believe that God either didn't exist, or is obnoxious. Reality-on-drugs, he reported, is much more awesome than normal reality. I was unpersuaded-- God's ways are His ways, not ours.

But then, I've never tried shrooms.

Anyhow, no. No one's ever talked to me.

I don't begrudge or suspect others to whom it's happened, but mark has, unfortunately, a point that it is difficult to verify and potentially dangerous.

Matthew D. Montonini said...

Thanks so much for this post. First, God has used you to hit me between the eyes with the Holy Spirit post last week and now this!
Previously, my story has been told to a couple of people and has not been spoken about in several years.
It was the summer of 2000 and I had only been out on my own for little more than a year. (I had been living with several friends in my church, renting a house.) I had finally moved into my own apartment, and I recall the uneasiness I felt living by myself for the first time in my life. I was in the process of moving things into my new apartment, putting away eating utensils and the like, when I heard my name called, "Matt!" Well, needless to say I was a bit spooked, chalked it up to my imagination and went back to unpacking. Not more than a minute later the same voice spoke again, "Matt!" This time my heart was racing, and my palms were sweating, as I approached my door to peer out into the hallway. I said rather loudly, "Hello!?" When I was convinced that no one was in the hallway coupled with the fact that no one at the apartment complex had any idea who I was, I took a deep breath and went back to work. Just at the moment, I remembered a recent conversation I had with a good friend of mine about the audible voice of God. He too claimed that as a young man he was watching TV when he heard his name being called. He thought maybe it was his grandmother, so when he went up to her on two different occasions to see what she wanted, she finally said to him "The next time you here your name being called, ask 'Is that you Lord?'" Sure enough it happened to him once more and he did just as his grandmother instructed him and the voice stopped.
Not more than a couple of moments later I heard the voice call to me again, "Matt!"
I did what my friend's grandmother instructed me to do and asked, "Is that you Lord?" The voice stopped and a strange sensation of peace swept over me. I am convinced that God was letting me know that no matter where I lived I was never out of his reach and I no longer had to worry about living on my own.
Admittedly, I would have a hard time believing this if it had not happened to me, despite what the biblical evidence suggests. Although one cannot subject these stories to empirical analysis, it proves to me that sane,lucid, human beings can experience the God who can break into time and space and audibly speak peace into our hearts anytime he chooses to.
This has never happened to me since, nor am I counting on it happening again, but if God chose to do so I would be ready with my question, "Is that you Lord?"

left coast Lee said...

It's very hard to communicate to others the sense of certainty that comes with the voice of God or of God's messengers. Three times when I was a very young Christian (not a child, but three of my earliest memories once I decided to believe in the Christian story). The first experience came as I said to myself, "o ho, I've been refusing to believe out of pride, I am strong, I don't NEED this mythology," and then I felt and heard a fountain of joyful laughter, the kind of laughter one hears and sees in parents when a baby takes a first step or utters a clearly ennunciated word and I had a strong sense of being warmly welcomed home, no words, just experienced knowings. I've clung to that welcoming delight ever since. The second experience of a being told something struck me as comedic. I had been on my knees praying to be a good mother and a voice said, very clearly and a bit sharply, "then put the dime under the pillow" so I got off my knees, dug out a coin and traded it for the tooth that had been put under the pillow for close to a week. It was my older son's last baby tooth and of course he knew that the tooth fairy really was Mother. We were retaining the fiction for his much younger brother. The third time I experienced a voice of God occurred when I was again on my knees, observing my first vigil on the Maundy. For some reason I kept focussing on the statue of Mary, which I disliked intensely as it seemed to me to be a portrait of a a girl who never did become a woman, ever virgin, ever pure, ever untouched, ever not truly human. In my head I screamed at her "Why did you have to be a virgin?!!" And she answered "because I had to be free" Her answer made no sense to me, I pondered it in my heart for several years, until I learned that the only time in an orthodox girl's life that she is not owned by a human male occurs when she is betrothed but not yet 'known' by her husband. so the mother of our Lord had to be a betrothed virgin because she had to be free.

I feel somewhat strange sharing these experiences. This is not the first time I've given public utterance to these experiences, but I've shared only with very few, very trusted friends in Christ. Iguess I am almost able to let go and publish is that I am still fairly anonymous

yuckabuck said...

In 1991, I was listening to the Bob Larson radio show. I was a new Christian at the time. The guest on the show was an ordained Baptist minister who was also the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and he was trying to show that the Bible taught that the black race was under a curse, etc. In my heart, I said, "Lord, he's crazy." Immediately, I had this real strong impression (not audible) clearly saying, "I know. I want you to teach the truth."

Still don't know what that really means, 16 years later.

Nick said...

This is a subject I find fascinating. Have you read Jack Deere's "Surprised by the Voice of God"?

Ben, what do you think about God speaking not only audibly, but in different sorts of ways, for instance, through inward impressions or dreams?

I've always held to a kind of charismatic viewpoint on these matters. Nevertheless, I was wondering about your opinions on the dangers of expecting such phenomena, particularly for those with a depressive/subjective temperament.

By the way, I love the blog!

Ben Witherington said...

Nick I think that all the genuine experiences like this that I know of were not induced or cultivated. They just came, and usually out of the blue. I am very skeptical of mere inward impressions. Of course the Bible does say that some dreams are sent by God--- he warns and promises in some dreams. But one must know enough of the Biblical character and will of God to be able to discern the difference between a heart warming experience and heart burn!


Bill Barnwell said...

Supposedly there's been a lot of cases of Muslims having encounters with Christ through dreams which has led to their conversion. I hear a lot about this, but I haven't seen any kind of study, either Christian or secular looking at the reported cases. That doesn't mean they don't exist though. I haven't done too much digging on that subject. Anyone happen to know of any resources that examine these claims?

yuckabuck said...

There is no analysis of them, but the some of the stories of Muslims hearing Christ can be found in Joel Rosenberg's book "Epicenter." He allegedly "Foretold" 9/11 and the Iraq war by having a dispensational reading of Ezekiel 36-38.

Ben Witherington said...

In regard to Muslims who worship Issah, the Arabaic name for Jesus, you might want to contact Dr. Darrell Whiteman who has worked with them. He now works for the Mission Society in Atlanta. You can contact him at



PamBG said...

This experience rings a lot of bells to me. My own experiences have never been audible although they are often "in words" and sometimes simply a picture or concept.

The most vivid example I've had is somewhat ironic. I was actively seeking a charismatic experience and had two failed attempts to "manufacture" one. I was on an excursion with a friend on my third failed attempt and the words came to my mind (not audibly) "This experience is not for you. It's fine for others, but you should just be who you are and trust me." At that point, my friend turned to me and said "I think that God is saying this experience is not for us. I think he's saying its fine for others, but that we should just be who we are and trust him."

The other day, I got a very strong impression before visiting someone in hospital that they would like me to bring a particular prayer aid with me. I brought that prayer aid only to have the person say "I gave mine away and as the ambulance was coming last night, I was thinking that I wished I had one".

I do believe that God "speaks" to us although there are some big caveats. I think the experience of being spoken to must be tested against scripture first and then tradition and reason. The Great Commandment is also a test: is this about self-giving love or is it selfish?

For me, there is no issue whatsoever about the example in the book because I think this was clearly of God. I have heard many testimonies like this. The experience in the book certainly does not go against scripture or tradition. I would even say that the fact that the woman had a strong desire to help others was a strong indication of God's grace. Agape love is about self-giving.

PamBG said...

Some more testimonies from real life people.

1) I have a friend who was in solitary confinement and in prison. Jesus appeared to him during this time and he committed his life to Christ later when he left prison. (I know there is a similar story somewhere in a published book of testimonies, but I'm talking of someone I know personally.)

2) On a retreat, I roomed with a woman who told me of her conversion. She had reached the end of her hope and was planning her suicide for Sunday evening. She went to church that morning as a last-ditch effort. Totally unchurched with no Christian background (a common thing in the UK), she was overwhelmed by a sense of God's love and care for her as she stepped over the threshold. That church of 12 people didn't quite know what to make of this but they taught her about Jesus over the following years and she ended up offering herself for ministry.

3) Another ministerial candidate I met during my training was a woman who was unchurched and a committed atheist. She told me that she hated Christians with a passion although she knew nothing of the bible or the Christian religion. Walking through the hall between classes (she was a teacher), Jesus appeared to her, told her that he loved her and told her to follow him and she committed her life to him right that moment.

Yep, God works this way. Ben, your story sounds familiar and totally consistent with others I've heard. I'm not sure why this is a surprise? (I'm also moderately bemused since I've always thought I was supposed to be be an apostate liberal.)

Ben Witherington said...

Hi Pam: Thanks so much for sharing.

Two of my dearest friends live in Worcester and I spent a week with them last summer. I like Worcestershire (both the place and the sauce :)

Blessings on your ministry,

Ben W.

José Solano said...

Dr. Witherington, have you heard any voices, seen visions, had dreams or enocuntered any paranormal phenomena that you would attribute to the working of God?

Has anyone commenting had such an experience?

B. said...

I have never heard the audible voice of God, but have felt a strong sense...even word, from God. Usually, it is a "YES" which seems to hit me deep in my stomach. I have sensed, while preaching, God saying, "Yes! That's It!", something of a divine Amen (although, it has not occurred on a regular basis and always comes as a shock).

My husband, on the other hand, heard God speak Bible verses to him as a child, and then he would go look them up. The verses always brought comfort. My husband now has a passion for the ministry of teaching the Bible.

Years back, I sensed the gut punching, but delightful experience, of God saying "Yes" concerning a step towards ministry. It brought a state of perfect peace when I spoke out loud what I was considering.

At a very young age, I visited an old bookstore with my parents and finally urged them to leave the building, as I had an extremely strong impression that it was an evil place (I even had a vision of a dungeon beneath the surface of the building). Years later, I heard that this may have had a literal possiblity, although there could have been another kind of bondage represented there.

José Solano said...

Thanks for the many shared experiences. I had not read them carefully when I asked. It's amazing that a word or a few words heard can make such a profound impression. If they move you in the right direction who can say they are not from God?

It is strange how things are repeating themselves on this post.

PamBG said...

Two of my dearest friends live in Worcester and I spent a week with them last summer. I like Worcestershire (both the place and the sauce :)

We love Wocester which is 12 miles from Kidderminster (I was just stationed in September). The weird British Methodist system puts Kidderminister and Worcester in both different circuits and different districts, so I don't know any other Methodists there yet - but I hope I'll have the opportunity to meet some people over time. Because Kidde and Worcester ARE in the same Anglican diocese, I already know quite a few of the Cathedral's Canons! Thanks for your good wishes.

Roger said...

Yes, I have heard God call. I was back from my tour in Vietnam. I was awaked from sleep in the BOQ by someone calling my name. I went to the door and opened it to find no one there. It was a chilling experience. But one I have recalled on many occassions, "I have heard God call my name."

Bonnie said...

I have not heard a voice, but did have a wierd experience that led to my conversion. (Never had this type of experience again.) I was sitting on my bed in my dorm room, perfectly sober, and suddenly it seemed as if the window was getting huge, and I was by the sill, about to fall out.

I realized that I was being told something: if I didn't make some changes soon, I would, in some form, "fall out the window." I was on the brink, being challenged to choose my path.

At that point I prayed, as a friend had encouraged me to do, "God, if you're real, please show me." There was no bolt of lightning or grand revelation. But I had the sense that I had come home. Though my knowledge of Christian faith was quite limited and I didn't really understand the gospel, this proved to be a turning point in my life.

That was nearly 25 years ago. The rest, as they say, is history :-)

George Mlay said...


I had multiple gunshots in the abdomen and on my right thigh on June 22nd 2006 around 11:45pm, of which one bullet is still lodged in my right knee(lower femur). Since the bullet is encased inside the bone the doctor said it is of best interest to leave it alone, hence it will stay there for the rest of my life. The whole episode began as I was about to open the security door lobby of my apartment building, when a stranger dark-skinned teenager appeared out of the darkness. The stranger pursued with great speed and swiftness towards me and without saying a word fired four rounds with rapid succession. Then he said "give me what you got" after shooting me. I instinctively reached in my bag as if pulling a gun, and the teenager fled like the speed of light to a dark tinted get-away car parked on the street Strangely enough when I was shot, I never felt any pain at all, I guess its because I never believed it was real. I didn’t believe I was shot even though I heard the sounds of the gunshots very clear, I thought it was some kind of a trick. All the time in the ambulance I still didn't believe it even though I could see my own blood oozing. I was just amazingly cool, calm and collected. I knew it was real when I woke up at Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee Wisconsin intensive care unit in the morning and found myself hooked up with an NG tube(nasogastric) - a tube inserted through the nose, extending into the stomach for emptying the stomach of gas and liquids. I was also hooked up with blood transfusion, oxygen and a foley catheter. My first surgical operation was done at midnight June 23rd 2006. I was brought in the operating room and placed under general anesthesia, prepped and draped in sterile fashion. Midline incision was made, and abdominal cavity was entered with moderate amount of blood found. They fished out the bullet. The small bowel was run, and there were 4 holes in the small bowel, two in one segment and two in another. These were over-sewn with running lembert sutures. There was a defect in the left colon mesentery with no clear indication of the track of the bullet across midline. The hole in the right colon mesentery was over-sewn. The abdomen was irrigated, and the fascia was closed with running looped #1 PDS. The wound was irrigated, and the skin was closed with staples. However three days later, my blood count was still low despite the fact I was receiving blood transfusion. I was put in a CAT scan, and a leaking artery was detected. Hence on June 26th 2006 I had a second surgical operation, they had to remove the staples and re-cut me open again for a missed injury. There was internal bleeding due to the leaking artery. I was taken back again to the operating room and placed on the table in the supine position. After adequate general anesthesia was achieved, the abdomen was prepped and draped in sterile fashion using Bedatine scrub and paint. The staples were removed. When they re-opened the incision there was moderate amount of blood in the abdomen, approximately 1200cc, and this was all aspirated [drawn out by suction]. Large amounts of clots were taken out of the pelvis. They identified the iliac artery, dissected up and down from the course of the bifurcation to where it bifurcated to the internal and external. They identified a bleeding point on the medial side on the right common iliac a centimeter above the bifurcation. The lumbar artery was ligated[tied] with a 5-0 prolene hitch suture. At that point the bleeding was controlled. They explored the rest of the abdomen. The liver, spleen, duodenum, stomach and gallbladder all appeared normal. The previous small-bowel repairs of the first surgery were identified and felt to be intact. They irrigated the abdomen out with copious amounts of normal saline and then closed the abdomen in layers using 0 Maxon in the fascia and staples for the skin. The second surgery went very well and the doctor's tied the leaking blood vessel. I was hospitalized for 13 days, for I was discharged on July 5th 2006.
On June 29th 2006 I had an out of body experience and a dreadful, horrendous vision around 8:00pm. Doctors and visitors were visiting me just like any other day asking about my developments and the like, daily routine questions. Then all of a sudden a powerful dreadful vision[not a dream for I was fully awake] came from nowhere, out of the blue and I saw the whole world burning in front of my eyes to ashes, and I was disappearing with it, burning in it, dying in it. I saw missiles fired from all over the seven continents and the entire world was at war and was reduced to ashes, it was like a globe where I could see the whole world at once in an apocalypse of a nuclear disaster[Armageddon]. There was nothing left except for a huge pile of ashes. Nothing survived, no buildings no humans, and there was one final blast and the entire world was unbelievably gone. And I smelt death the odor of sulfur. I was terrorized by this powerful vision, the kind of terror I have never experienced in my life. This horrendous vision disappeared as abruptly as it had come, and I was surprised that the world was still here and I was not dead. Then in a twinkling of an eye, I was enveloped in darkness again, but this time the darkness came with great inner peace. I was so relieved and felt very light,[feather-light] it was as if somebody had lifted the whole world off my back. I was floating in the air with total inner peace. Then somewhere in the horizon of the darkness, I heard a very clear audible voice which said “I AM GOD and I will show you a sign. The doctors will bring in an electrocardiograph machine, and the first test will indicate you are having a heart attack, they will do a second test and you will be as perfectly as normal.” And that’s exactly what happened next. The doctors rushed out to get an ECG machine. They did the first test, and no pulse was found. They were panic-stricken thinking I was dead. I could see panic in their eyes and panic on the face of my friend Sia Prosper who was also visiting me at the time. They did a second test and my pulse was perfectly normal. Everyone was asking me what was the matter? But I could not respond to them for I was busy talking and responding to this voice. It was as if they(doctors) were talking to a stone, for I was only paying attention to the voice, and not the doctors. And amidst the darkness there was a small green light dot moving in circles. Now the voice came again and said “Now do you believe Me”? I was shocked by the miracle just performed and amazed beyond reach for it was far more convincing beyond reasonable doubt, and yet strangely enough, I never gave an answer for a yes or no to the voice, I just said “I do believe in the Bible” Then I tested God for the first time and said “ If you are God what are the names of everyone here in this room” The voice mentioned every doctors name and there was a female nurse whose name tag was backwards so I flipped her name tag to check if the name I was given by the voice was correct. I was totally thrown off balance with such accuracy of her name. The nurse later on admitted to me that there was some kind of supernatural powers going on, for they were mystified with the first test reading of the ECG machine. The voice also mentioned my friends name Sia Prosper, he was the only one without a name tag. I tested God for the second time. “I said if you are God, let me move out everybody in this room without touching or telling them, and that’s exactly what happened next.” I moved them and could also move other objects without touching them like the phone and other things in the room. Then the debate with the voice resumed like four five times and yet I still stood firm with my final answer that I believed in the Bible. But yet strangely deep down at the bottom of my heart and at the center of my spirit soul I believed the voice100% as truth and yet one part of me made me to stick with the Bible answer for that’s the only thing I was sure of the written word of God[The Bible]. I had no means of checking that voice out so my only tool was to lean on the Word, for the Word became flesh which is Jesus Christ, the eternal ultimate expression of God. In (John 1:18) the Bible says “No one has seen God” Also in (John 6:46) Jesus Himself said “No one has seen the Father except He who is from God; He has seen the Father”. Hence I was in a dilemma to give a yes or no answer to the voice but deep in my heart I knew it was God. Then the voice seemed very very frustrated with my final answer-the Bible. But with the second miracle of being able to move people and things around, I was going to admit “Yes God I do believe You” but I was timed out and once again I was enveloped in total blackness. This time the blackness was absolutely darker than before and there was complete silence like the original silence. I could see nothing but total blackness like ten minutes I wasn’t existing it was just absolute blackness. I stopped breathing and I was dead. Then the blackness faded a little bit, and now I could breath again. But I was still in the spirit form and could see nothing but absolute blackness, and the silence was broken with the same voice which now said “This day you will be in Heaven and the doctors down there won’t even be able to figure out what happened and your death will remain a mystery to them”. As my spirit was hovering above the horizon, I could see my own body and the doctor's down there trying to figure out whats going on. Instantaneously in a split-second I said “No I am waiting for my Mom who is now in Africa for she is coming to visit me here in the United States”. And that’s how I got back. But one strange thing about the voice, was that it was absolutely crystal-clear. I have never heard a voice with such clarity in my life, its clarity was as if it was being spoken from my inner ear, but it was actually coming from above. And amazingly enough the voice was so humble and gentle, down to earth neither proud nor arrogant but meek in tone, soothing and pleading to the soul. Now that I am back in my human nature I sometimes wonder whether and as to why I denied God’s choices. And sometimes I wonder why would God tell me in advance that I will be in Heaven, instead of taking me right away. And sometimes I wonder whether He does not break his own rules by snatching our choice(free-will) which he gave us when He created us. For deep down at the center of my spirit-soul I strongly believe that He allowed my request and choice. Sometimes I regret why I chose this fallen world over Heaven. However I am glad for I have found my purpose. And that is to have undoubting faith in God and have a personal relationship with Him, and bringing others to Christ. When the voice announced "I AM GOD" there was absolute power in the room and indescribable peace. But one thing I do know for sure is, I will carefully read and listen to the Bible and become increasingly aware of my sins. I can pray and I can plead with God and beg for his mercy and for some understanding of what I am reading. And I can pray for Him to make me more obedient to his law book the Bible. I will become increasingly aware that the words of the Bible are God’s voice speaking directly to me. And I must patiently wait upon the mercy of God. Just like we are told in (Lamentations 3:26) “It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” In the Bible, conversion is represented as a miraculous, life-transforming process- a process that is impossible without the direct, active intervention and participation of God. In fact, He initiates the conversion process. He first opens the minds of those He is calling, or inviting, to conversion so they can begin to understand the scriptures with a clarity and depth they could never attain on their own. This wonderful, miraculous process usually begins when the individuals God is calling hear, or read the truth of God accurately explained from His true servants. Our Creator begins to open their minds at that time to comprehend the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. God’s word now begins to make sense to them. Just as a picture emerges when the pieces of a puzzle are fitted together, so those whom God is inviting to be converted begin to understand the Holy Scriptures. This is a miracle of God’s calling. Although He clearly encourages human beings to “Choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19), God does not force anyone to make the right choice. But as we shall soon see, the consequences of our choices are enormous. Many a people have asked me if they ever caught that boy who shot me, I honestly tell them that, I have forgiven him and I am praying for his salvation. And I will always try to bear 3 things in my mind which are 1: Believing 2: Repenting 3:Obedience.

When I stood firm with my final answer that I do believe in the Bible, that answer was insufficient before God. I had faith in the Bible but I lacked saving faith, the kind of faith that saves[Abraham’s Faith]. It was okay to believe His book, but He wanted me to extend and stretch my faith further and believe in Him[God] Himself. But I doubted God. To believe in the Bible and to know God are two different things. Even the devil believes and trembles(James 2:19). But to obey the Bible and to apply the faith expressed in the Bible is to know God Himself. Obeying Jesus Christ is different from simply believing in Him. A change of heart through rebirth and an obedient walk of faith are the real signs of a true relationship with God. We need faith because it is the only way by which we please God. Listen to Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him…” For many people believe in the Bible, but do not obey its commandments. We need faith because it is the channel through which we receive His blessings. Many human attitudes, such as love, joy, patience, peace, kindness, humility, courage and mercy can be somewhat worked up by our own effort. But faith occurs when we cease trying to do something by our own efforts, and trust someone else to do it for us. Faith is the one attitude that is exactly the opposite of trusting ourselves. Apparently this is why God decided that faith would be the attitude of heart by which we could obtain Salvation, that it might be according to grace, that is, that it might be an entirely free gift of God, not dependent on any merit of our own. I am so grateful to God, for I reported back to work 3 months later on October 2nd 2006. At first I learned how to walk with crutches, then a walker, eventually I graduated to a walking cane. I limped for 11 months, but as of June 2007 I have no limp at all in my gait. It’s as if nothing happened to me, only for the remaining evident scars which are always covered in clothing. It’s like a dream. Praise the Lord.

The Bible is one of the results of God speaking. It is the unique written word of God, and with conjunction with it God presently speaks to the devout heart ever anew. It is inerrant[not liable to error] in its original form, and infallible on all of its forms for the purpose of guiding man into a saving relationship with God in His Kingdom; and it is thus infallible because God never leaves it alone. The Bible is the written word of God , but the word of God is not just simply the Bible. The word is much greater than the Bible, though inclusive of it. The Bible is the Word of God in its unique written form. But the Bible is not Jesus Christ, who is the living Word. And the Bible is not the word of God that is settled eternally in the heavens, as the psalmist says(Psalm 119:89) and expresses itself in the order of nature(Psalm 19:1-4). The Bible is not the word of God which in the book of Acts expanded and grew and multiplied(Acts 12:24). It is not the word which Jesus spoke of as by being sown of the active speaking of the ministry(Matthew 13). But all these are God speaking. The Bible is the unique, infallible, written Word of God. But the word of God is just not the Bible, and if we try to dignify the Bible by saying false things about it-we do not dignify it. We betray its content by denying what it says about the nature of the word of God. God reigns in His Kingdom through speaking. That “speaking” is reserved to Himself and those who work in union with Him. The Bible is finite, written record of what the infinite, living God has spoken, and reliably fixes the boundaries in the principle, though it does not provide the detailed communications which God may have with individual believers. The Bible has a special and irreplaceable role in redemption. We can refer any person to it with the assurance if they approach it openly, honestly, intelligently, and persistently, God will meet them through its pages and speak peace to their souls. This is assured to any person whose deepest self cries out. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that man and God may be adequate, equipped for every good work(2 Timothy 3:15-17). The written word is the expression of God’s mind. As we read and study it intelligently, humbly, and openly, we come evermore to share God’s mind. We will be spiritually safe in our use of the Bible if we follow a simple rule: Read it in a repentant attitude. Remember your aim is not to become a scholar or to impress others with your knowledge of the Bible which is quite a deadly trap for so many Biblical fellowships, which only cultivates pride and lays the foundation for the petty, quarrelsome spirit so commonly observed in students of the scripture. Your aim is to nourish your soul on God’s word to you. Secondly do not try to read a great deal. If you read quickly, it will benefit you little. You will be like a bee that merely skims at the surface of a flower. Instead, in this new way of reading with prayer, you must become like the bee who penetrates deeply into the depths of the flower. You plunge deeply within to remove its deepest nectar. Better in one year to have good ten verses transferred into the substance into our lives than to have every word in the Bible flash before our eyes. Remember the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life(2 Corinthians 3:6).