God is an amazing communicator. But the question is, do we know how to hear Him? This is something we are all learning more about ...
After I had spoken at a conference recently, a lady approached me and said "I have never experienced God speaking to me, but I would love to. If only I could..."
I saw the sadness in her eyes and I felt such a compassion for her. But then, in a surge of passion and excitement I said "But you can! Jesus promised "My sheep hear my voice" (John 10). And you are His sheep! Therefore, you can hear His voice."
How does God speak?
I began to explain to this lady that God is not confined to speaking to us in a set way. Not only does He speak to us through the Bible, preaching and worship, but also many other creative ways, such as prophetic words, friends, newspaper headlines, nature, art, or a movie (something I experienced last week) - to name just a few. I also explained that a key to hearing Him speak is to grow in our relationship with Him. The more we do, the more we hear His "still small voice". It was wonderful to see this lady leave our conversation with a new excitement about her relationship with God!
Today I want to share an example of another way God speaks - it is through numbers. In fact, it is a way in which God has powerfully spoken to me over the years.
God speaks through numbers
When I say that God 'speaks through numbers' I am not talking about numerology! I am referring to when we see, with a certain regularity, a number (or often more than one number) in various ways and places. When this continues to happen, it can be God trying to get our attention. The wonderful thing is, if we go through life expecting the Lord to speak to us (which He does) then we will inevitably start to notice when this kind of thing happens. And when it does, we can ask Him ... "Lord, what do you want to say to me through this"? Something else which is important to be aware of, is that in the Bible, certain numbers do have a spiritual significance.
In my life, God has particularly (and powerfully) used the number 111 to speak to me.
The first time the Lord did this, was early one morning in 2013. I had slipped out of bed at 4am to seek Him for direction. As I started to pray, I felt a strong prompting to look up Jeremiah 1:11. When I did, I saw that in this verse, God had given Jeremiah a vision of an Almond Tree which was awakening. God spoke to me powerfully through what I read, and enabled me to see certain things "in the Spirit". I wrote down everything I sensed He was saying. The experience was so impacting, that I strongly sensed God was leading me into something new. Two hours later, I was awoke my husband and excitedly shared it with Him.
The day following this experience, I went to work. At that time, I was a pastor at a church. As usual, I went to my pigeon-hole to collect my mail. I was very surprised to see an anonymous envelope with these words written on the outside "Pastor Carolyn, this is for your future ministry". Inside the envelope was some money. To be more exact, it was a One hundred dollar note, a ten dollar note and a one dollar coin. Yes - a total of $111 dollars. I was shocked and … perplexed.
That night, I said to my husband "a very strange thing happened today" and I showed him the envelope. We agreed there was something very significant about the fact that someone had bothered to put in an amount of money totalling exactly $111. (To this day, I have no idea who left the envelope).
That was eight years ago, and it is no exaggeration to say that since that time, the Lord has spoken to me through the number 111 hundreds and hundreds of times. It "appears" with such astounding frequency and consistency, and in the most surprising and "bizarre" ways that I now recognise this as nothing less than miraculous. This number usually appears randomly, for no specific reason (at least that I can see) so I conclude from this that it is just the Lord reminding me, yet again, of what the significance of the number is and what He has called me to do. Then again, there are other times when 111 "pops up" at key pivotal points in my life when clear direction is needed. For example, the first time we went to our new church, we were asking the Lord "Is this where you are leading us?". That morning, the person preaching stood up and said "today I am preaching on Mark 1:11. We were surprised (but also not surprised!). Another confirmation came that morning by way of a hymn number that was up on the old wooden hymn board (which had not been used for years). There was only one hymn number, and it was 111. This seeing of 111 has continued for the last eight years, in fact it is a very unusual day if I do not see it somewhere, in an usual way! I have taken hundreds of photos and kept them, but no longer do so because there are so many.
What is the significance of 111?
In Jeremiah's prophetic vision (in Jeremiah 1:11) the Almond Tree was Awakening. It was transitioning out of winter and into a new spring season. Jeremiah saw the dormant tree waking up and blossom was forming on its branches.
The number 111 signifies ... Awakening, Wake up Call, A New Season, Transition, Breakthrough, New Growth, Flourishing, Fruitfulness, Favour, Provision, Alignment, Resurrection from death to life. The number 111 is also connected to identity and destiny.
I have provided just a few Bible references below which describe the spiritual significance of the number 111 - but there are many others.
Genesis 1:11 "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds. And it was so."
Joshua 1:11 "Go through the camp and tell the people, 'Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross over the Jordan river (transition) and you will go in and take possession of the new land the LORD your God is giving you for your own."
Mark 1:11 When Jesus came up (transitioned) out of the waters of baptism, the Father declared His true identity with the words "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."
The Awakening Church
Jeremiah's vision of an AWAKENING Almond Tree was a prophetic picture of what God was saying to Israel. It was a reminder from Him of His love and faithfulness for them, at a very difficult period in their history. He declared that they would AWAKEN to a new season of restoration in their true identity and destiny to be a light to the nations.
The word "Awakening" in the Cambridge dictionary means "to wake up, to be aroused, to be alert, to arise, to thrive, to flourish, to be enlivened, to be in the land of the living, to be sleepless, to be activated."
All of these words describe what the Holy Spirit is doing on the earth today. The Bride of Jesus is AWAKENING AND ARISING in her true identity and destiny. We have the joy and privilege of being alive "at such a time as this" and sharing in God's plans to advance heaven on earth and seeing millions of prodigals return home.
The Father's desire is that YOU personally prosper and flourish like the Almond Tree - so that others can "can "pick the fruit of your life and be fed with His goodness." That's what fruit is for.
How Does God Speak To You?
My experience with God speaking to me through the number 111 is just one example of how God speaks to us in "unexpected ways".
God LOVES speaking to His children. To put it in a more personal way, let me say He loves to speak to YOU. Today I encourage you to throw off any lie which says "I can't hear from God". He has given a promise that "my sheep hear my voice". Receive this truth deeply today, and keep a look out for how He might be speaking to you in "many and various" ways in the future! I believe you are going to be amazed at what you discover.
The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.
Carolyn Conway is the Founder of Almond Tree Ministries. She has been in pastoral ministry for more than 35 years and is an itinerant preacher and prophetic voice to the Body of Christ. She is a certified Life Coach and has taught for many years at Bible College helping students to discover their unique destiny.
ABOUT ALMOND TREE MINISTRIES
Our Mission: "Awakening the Body of Christ through the message of the Almond Tree"
Our Ministry: This is an awakening ministry based in Melbourne, Australia. We are a training and equipping resource for the Body of Christ. Our teaching is uniquely based on the identity of the Almond Tree in the Bible. Our events are designed to bring spiritual awakening, breakthrough and commission individuals in their God-given identity and destiny.