|Various ways God speaks
We read that God spoke to Adam and Eve in the cool of the day in the garden. After man has sinned the interval of communication has got bigger. It became, not daily, rather occasionally.
 Hearing audible voice: He spoke to His prophets in this manner. We can give examples such as Moses, Samuel, Nathan, Isaiah, Jeremiah and so on. In all of these instances God spoke to them audibly. Sin and Iniquity has made our ears deaf. It separates us from God (Isa 59:2). We also read that Holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. For example if a cell phone moves away from the cell phone tower (Base station) the signal strength it receives becomes weaker and lesser. After going further away from a point, one will not be able to hear what other person is saying. Likewise the sin separates us from God. As an exception God can reveal himself to anyone as He wills. He spoke to Elijah. First there was an earthquake, then fire, silence and in the silence He spoke with small still voice. He spoke face to face with Moses. I have also heard his voice. As we get filled with the Holy Spirit when we pray, we will hear voice as if it is from a headphone. Whatsoever the Lord speaks will be in agreement with the Bible. He does not often speak in audible form. If you are adamant telling the Lord that I will believe you only if you speak to me audibly, it is utterly wrong. You will end up in frustration, who are we to command Him?
 Through Dreams: But God did not speak to Joseph in an audible format. He spoke to him through dreams. Wherever He spoke to His people in dreams, the ability to understand the dreams was also given to them. But it was a mystery to non-believers such as Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar. God has spoken to me many times in the dream. When I was a kid (going to school) I saw dream of myself swimming in a river, but I was carried away in the direction of the water flow. Scared, I woke up. I did not know God was speaking to me. I came to know only later that God was speaking to me through that dream. Because the same dream came to me again after a long time, but this time someone put the meaning of it inside of me. River+Water = World. I am being pulled by this world and things of this world. Even if I swim hard against the current, I could not win. In that age I was stuck to TV and watching serials and cinemas. So the Lord was telling me to leave those things. Otherwise I will soon die in my spiritual state. So if you are bound to your couch and stuck to the TV, God is warning you through this article.
We read in Job 33:15-17 "In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man."
During my college days, one night I was reading for a semester exam at my home. That night I saw a dream where it was clearly stood out from rest of my normal dreams, wherein "I saw that one our classmate's father passed away and the exam got cancelled". Next day morning I went to the college for the exam. One of my classmate said "You know our classmate ... and her father passed away last night. So many students have gone to her place and the exam is cancelled today". I was shocked. Some times Jesus Himself will appear and speak in the dream. He has answered to some of my petitions. I can't mention them all. You will know difference when the dream is from God and normal dream. The dream can be bright sometimes. This I say from my experience.
 Through Visions: Dream is when we sleep. Vision is when we pray or not asleep. Jesus appeared to Apostle Paul. He also heard a sound. Jesus appeared to many, after He rose from the dead. Daniel interpreted the meanings to dreams and saw visions. John saw visions in the island of Patmos. Abraham and Isaac had visions. Jacob saw dreams and visions and who wrestled with God. Ezekiel saw many visions and so on.
My first vision was when I was going to fourth standard(grade). My father just got saved. But we were Hindus. He took us to a cottage meeting. We used to walk a couple of kilometers to get there. I was to trying to pray along with others. When I prayed with my eyes closed I saw something. "There was a small park and there was a cross in that park. A man was crucified to it. He did have a shirt, and his head was tilted down. He was alive in the cross and looking at me. I was playing with other kids in that park". The one who conducted the prayer meeting asked us if anybody saw any visions. People told their visions and he interpreted the meaning. Finally I being a kid told what I saw. Even today the memory is so vivid, it looks like I saw the vision just a while ago.
 We read in the book of Acts that the Spirit of the Lord spoke. He spoke to John the Baptist (John 1:33). He spoke to Philip (Acts 8:29). When Peter was praying we read that the Spirit of the Lord spoke (Acts 10:19) Agubus mentioned about a great famine that was coming, saying "says the Spirit of the Lord".
We read that my sheep hear my voice. Also we read "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it" (Isa 30:21). So it will be sound in your ears.
 Reproving of the Holy Spirit: "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (John 16:8). Some times when we get angry and want to say bad words, "That is not good. Grieve not the Holy Spirit which you have received unto the day of redemption. Don't do this. Don't go there. Get away from here". Such impression and convictions are one form of God speaking to us. We have to leave such evil ways when God speaks to us.
 Also in Romans 8:14 we read "Those who are led by the Spirit of God are called the sons of God". When God takes you through few experiences you for sure know that has to be God!. I have shared my experience with a Russian man in Q&A-35.
 When you read the Bible, a verse will jump out, or it will pierce your heart or touch your heart. When you read, you will getting filled with the Holy Spirit and start speaking in tongues. That means God has spoken to you. Heb 4:12 we know that the word of God is a two-edged sword (dagger). God has spoken to me through bible verses many times. One time when God delayed to answer my prayer I did a foolish act, and I was angry and upset with God. I complained to Him saying "You didn't answer, that's why I ended up doing that". Many months I had bitterness against God. One day God spoke to me through Prov 19:3 "The foolishness of man destroys his ways and his heart continues to rage against the LORD." That verse came like a sword to me and pierced my heart. I repented greatly and asked forgiveness to the Lord. There is no other sword sharper than the word of God.
One day one of my friend said, "I want to change my job. I have been trying for many months now, nothing is coming together. I am very discouraged". A week later or so, on one of the usual fasting day, I prayed for him and went to read the bible. I was reading Micah chapter 2, and the Holy Spirit came upon me and I started speaking in tongues, when I came to verse 7. So I called him and told him over the phone. When he read the verse he started crying over the phone as his name appeared in that verse. Within a week or two he got an offer from the company that highly desired to join. There are many instances as this one.
God speaks through the Bible, not through other books.
 God speaks through prophecy. If you go to a church or prayer meeting and if person with a gift of prophecy when gets filled with the Holy Spirit and prophecies, it is a way God speaks to someone. God has spoken to me many times. One day I was in a prayer meeting. I was thinking and worrying that God is speaking to everyone but not to me. One believer sister prophesied that "I will speak to you. Wait for me in my presence - saith the Lord". Yes, that was my issue. I didn't have patience to wait in His presence.
In the year 1910 B.C. Bevington was called to pray for a believer sister who was sick on the bed for nine years. She was a child of God, but her husband was a rough unbeliever. Her husband came and saw Bevington praying for his wife and yelled at him told him to leave his house. Yet Bevington went out to a nearby haystack and hid himself there and continued his prayer for 72 hours more for God to heal her. Right then God healed her and she cooked food for his husband and took a bucket to collect some water from the well. His husband happened to come at the same time from the field and saw her. He was heartbroken and searched for Bevington and found him in the haystack and accepted Jesus as his saviour. (Please read his book: "Remarkable incidents and modern miracles through prayer and faith")
So we need to learn to wait in the presence of God.
 When a pastor of the church is giving a sermon or a message, he himself may not know that God has spoken to some of the people there. When he mentions some incidents and verses, you know that God is speaking to you.
 Sometimes God will send his angels and give information. There are many examples in the Bible. Samson's parents, Gideon, Joseph(Mary), Cornelius, Daniel and so on. My dad also met two Angeles when he was reading his bible. Two angels came down and wrote something on his forehead and went up without flapping their wings. He said that he became very cold, when the angel touched him. Even in this century many people are having encounters with angels.
 Recently God spoke differently in a dream. Though I was sleeping, I was in the Spirit. I was prophesying/repeating after a sound I heard. All of it was in the dream. "I will deliver him. I will bind his wounds. I will lead him to still waters." This is an answer I received for a brother as I was praying for many years.
 Finally: When one of your family member speaks a word, it is as if God spoke. You will come to know only after certain things come to pass. For example the chief priest Caiaphas said "It is good for one man to die for many people". John is writing that he was not just saying, but he was prophesying. So you will know after things come to pass.
Some people falsely understand when God speaks. When we get filled with the Holy Spirit the audible voice will always be right. However when you read a verse or someone said something that you took for yourself, or even a dream, you can misunderstand. So you have to be very careful. Don't misunderstand.
Was it God who spoke?
[a] God's faithfulness: Remember that when we are sincerely seeking after the Lord, the Lord honors that. Deuteronomy 4:35-36 says, Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he [is] God; [there is] none else beside him. Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire. And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;
He loved our fathers. Even today Jesus is interceding for us to the Father.
[b] God's voice makes our heart tremble. We cannot avoid His voice.
Job 37:1-2 says, "At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place. Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound [that] goeth out of his mouth. After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back.
God's voice has a particular sweetness. Songs of Solomon 2:14 says, "O my dove, [that art] in the clefts of the rock, in the secret [places] of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet [is] thy voice, and thy countenance [is] comely." The dove in the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit. It is the voice of the Holy Spirit.
[c] God's voice brings peace.
Psalm 85:8 says, "I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.
[d] God will never speak to you anything that directly contradicts with Scripture.
He will not say: "Go and steal" or "Curse him with bad words" or "Do this sin" or "Explode as a suicidal bomber, then you will get heaven". All such deceiving voices are from the devil.
[e] He will not talk to you from a Buddhist monk, nor from Hindu Guru, not from a group that denies triune nature of God. He will not talk to you from Mormons or Jehovah witness. He will not speak to you from Bhavat Geeta or Quran or Upanishad. Because they deny Jesus as the eternal Son of God. God will not speak to you from such groups. Because the devil is mixing half truth and half lie, many people are getting deceived.
It is more important to obey God, than the method He chooses to speak to us.
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
Let these words ring in our ears.
Once upon a time, I was also searching to know how does God speak to us. I am confident this article will be useful to you.