Tag Archives: God’s Voice

The Rewards of Obedience vs. The Cost of Disobedience

18 May

Obedience Or Rebellion?

1 Sam 15:22-23   22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams. 23 Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king.” NLT

As God’s children we want to please Him. Our inner struggle is constant though it might not be prominent. There is a undurcurrent within us that we have become accustomed to. I don’t believe it is because we are bad or purposely rebellious. With me it’s more about sometimes not knowing for sure what the right thing is. Of course, many times it is very obvious what is right and what is wrong, but I want to speak to what is buried deep within our hearts at the root of our reasoning.

I have always been a confident person in most areas of my life. Even as a child I was compliant – always wanting to do the right things. To rebel was not in my nature, at least not to the point of being defiant. When I faced decisions that I believed were wrong, I somehow just couldn’t force myself to comply. In the few times I did, I was in constant turmoil until the situation was terminated.

As I am reaching the winter of my life I can see that even though I was unaware of it, God had a plan for me. (He also has one for you!) Here is proof in a few of my favorite Scriptures from Psalms 139, written by King David:

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise;you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down;you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. . .

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body.All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting.  NIV

Notice starting with verse 13 that God created our inmost being – His eyes saw our unformed body and all our days were ordained for us before one of them came to be! Selah – Pause and calmly think of that.

None of us are here by accident. God made us – He created us with a purpose and He knew today, right now, what you and I would be doing at this very moment. – No words can express the emotion for knowing that.

The Rewards of Obedience

It takes us a while to realize there is more to life that “me.” Seriously? It is human nature from the moment we are born into this world. We spend a lifetime struggling with ourselves vs. the good and the bad.

Recently I had an assignment from God. You might ask “How can you be sure it was from God?” I know because He instructed me clearly to do something I have said at least a million times that I would not do! The interesting thing is that He won’t force me to do it. It won’t even hurt me NOT to do it. In fact, it would be easier for me NOT to do it. After all, I could just chalk it up to “not being sure it was God.” Or, I could just stop thinking about it and move on.

Well, I don’t know about you, but God won’t allow me to do that. It’s that deep, small voice that continually woos me. I can make it go away – at least for a little while. Then, I sense it wooing me again. I then begin to get deliberate in praying about it to make sure I haven’t imagined the entire thing.

God is so good about giving us little sign posts along our journey. If we aren’t sensitive to the Spirit we might not recognize them. We might think “It’s only a coincidence.” God gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us and to counsel us and to lead us into truth. We have the choice as to whether we listen and follow His instruction or to just ignore it until it goes away.

God’s Instruction to Me

That brings me to my main point – My obedience to that still, small voice could be a life changing event for a child of God who is seeking desperately to find a solution to a great problem. My attitude, though I didn’t realize it was wrong, kept me from even considering offering my help. The reason? – I didn’t want to get involved. It was all about me and the price I wasn’t willing to pay to obey God. It wouldn’t really have hurt me, except that I would disappoint God by my disobedience.

No, that’s really not all my disobedience would do. God made it clear to me that to be disobedient could rob someone of a complete change in their life – a life free from hell on earth. I know it sounds drastic. In fact, it is.

Could someone else do it? I don’t know. That’s not the issue. The issue is will I choose to obey or not? Maybe I am the only person that could help. The consequences of my disobedience could be amazingly wonderful or disastrously terrible.

Think about that for a moment. I did. It kept me awake all night asking God if He was really asking me to do something I was adamantly opposed to doing. I’ve missed God before. Not always on purpose but because I am always still evolving (really). I’ve also missed Him out of ignorance of the Scripture or misunderstanding. Sometimes I’m just rebellious. Ugh! It’s hard to even say.

I learned from Charles Stanley that when God is speaking to you and you are struggling with what you think He is saying to you that peace will eventually develop and you will know God is leading you. If that peace does not develop, I call that a “red flag.” There isn’t a deadline that God can’t push back or overcome. Don’t look at the deadlines – look to the God who created you and made you for this day.

Send Me – Yes, No or Maybe?

God was searching for someone to send to His people and Isaiah said:

Isa 6:8  8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me !”
NIV

Have you ever said that? I have, however: I recently discovered that many times my “send me” reply is conditional on  my terms. Goodness! God really has a way to slap us on the wrist, doesn’t He?

I’m hoping you can see that our minds and hearts are so full of the busyness of the world that God’s voice doesn’t always make through to our hearts. It isn’t His fault. It has to do with the condition of our hearts and our natural instinct to rebel. Sorry to have to say it.

The Final Outcome

After struggling with myself and trying to determine whether I had simply lost my resolve or if God was actually trying to get through to me, peace began to develop. Let me add, the peace was in my spirit, not in my head. My mind was spinning with many doubts and questions and concerns about something I had been claiming as impossible for me to do for many years.

But, when I opened my heart and let God – He began to use His sweet Holy Spirit to speak to me in His ways by speaking to me of How Jesus would handle the situation and my purpose for being one of His disciples.

The Future? – What does it hold for this situation? – I don’t know. It’s a little scary. But I know the Creator of the Universe. He made me – formed me from a tiny seed planted within my Mother. He had a plan 69 years ago for what I would do this very day. He’s the One I look to, not the situation I dread. Do I have a plan? No. Do I know what the outcome will be or what will happen along the way? No. Am I nuts? – I’m not sure, but I don’t think so.

God has proved Himself to me over and over and over. As I heard from Sunday’s message by Pastor Scott Jones at Grace Church, not all of the amazing miracles and things Jesus did while He was on earth were recorded. I can identify with that because my Father God – My Friend, Jesus – and the Sweet Holy Spirit – are constantly present in my life doing things for me that are too many to count.

He is trustworthy – are you?

 

 

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COMFORTABLE?

5 Mar

Comfortable?
by Linda Weaver  
6/26/2013 / Christian Living

As God’s children we are sometimes led by Him into uncharted waters – areas we are unfamiliar with. In the Bible there are stories of many who were called by God into unfamiliar territory or directed by Him to do things that were way out of their comfort zone.

In Genesis, Chapter 12, we read that God told Abram (later called Abraham) to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household to go to a place God would later show him.

Wait a minute — do you mean God would ask someone He loved to pick up everything and just go somewhere else without telling them where?

What in the world would you do if God placed that instruction in your heart? Oh, and did I forget to say that Abram was 75 years old at that time? So, in case you are thinking you’re too old think again.

Further, the Scripture says, “So, Abram left, as God had told him”. I mean, Abram packed up everything – his belongings, his family, his animals and left his old life behind.

Okay, I’m sure I can imagine what you may be thinking. I don’t have the space to write about it all here. However; if you think God wouldn’t ask something of you without giving you a map from beginning to end, you are mistaken, my friend. That is what faith is all about.

Besides, I’m sure God may have already directed many of you in some areas of your lives. And, if so, how did you respond? I can probably guess at many of the questions and excuses that you could come up with. (Ask me how I know.)

“God, are you talking to me?”
“I must have imagined that.”
“Where in the world did that come from?”
“Surely God wouldn’t tell me to do that.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“I can’t do that. How would I . . . ”

You see, the very lives we live follow God into many unknown areas and uncharted waters if we are truly listening to Him and letting Him direct us. It may not be about going to a “far country” as God instructed Abram. But, it may be a tug at our hearts to do something else which may take just as much faith. We can’t map out our lives like we do a vacation. When we walk with God, life gets very interesting at many levels. Besides, a “far country” is anywhere that is unfamiliar to us.

Think I’m a little out of balance? Well, it’s okay if you think that. Sometimes I’m not so sure myself. But, I do know this. I trust my God in heaven. I know His voice, and I follow His direction to the best of my ability.

Do I make mistakes? You can be sure of it. Will I again? I’m sure of it. Why? Because I am most certainly human. But, I have plenty to say about how faithful God has been to me in the midst of many a trial and many a storm. Most of them took me on a journey I didn’t think I was ready for with no idea of exactly how I was going to get there. My peace came from within, knowing that God would never fail me because He never has.

Each journey I take with my Heavenly Father, takes more of my trust and faith. And, each journey gets more exciting. Scary, yes, but exciting. God knows where I’m going that’s what is important. He can see around the corner — I can’t.

Walking with God doesn’t allow for being in a rut. Don’t like being uncomfortable? Neither do I, but I want what God wants for my life and that usually means being a bit uncomfortable. It also means not coming to a dead-end.

My friends, God wants you still kicking until He calls you to your mansion in the sky. If you sit down and get comfortable you’ll miss out on some exciting things.

Hearing Voices

14 Jul

Recently, Pastor said “How much do you trust the voice who is giving you your marching orders”?  That statement brought so many things to mind. Scripture tells us that Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 NKJV

I’ve heard many people say that they don’t hear God’s voice or that God doesn’t speak to them. John 10:27 tells a different story. If we are born again Christians we are His children, His sheep, and His Word says that we hear His voice.

I like the way Pastor said it – “How much do you trust the voice who is giving you your marching orders”? We hear voices constantly – so much so at times that we can’t rest. Where do they all come from? They are not all God’s voice. We can’t claim that everything we do is directed by God because it isn’t. God’s Word, the Bible, is His Word. To know God’s Word is to know God. Without reading the Bible, we can’t know which voices we are hearing.

We hear voices on the radio, the television, people all around us, our inner thoughts, the devil and the still small voice of God. Even Jesus was tempted by satan as he fasted. Jesus, in turn, spoke the Word of God to Him and told him to flee.

Today the world around us moves so fast. We do our best to keep up, and in doing so we sometimes don’t take the time to consult with the One who was given to us as a counselor – the Holy Spirit of God. We don’t always have to stop everything we’re doing and get on our knees to talk to God although there is a time and place for that.

God is with us all the time, everywhere we go. We can talk to Him on and off all day. We can thank Him as we are blessed, call out to Him when we have a question and need guidance, or seek His knowledge and direction, as needed. He can, and will, give us instant direction if we need it. One of the shortest prayers in the Bible is “Lord, save me.” He hears us, and He knows us.

Sometimes we blame things on God that He didn’t do. We may not have trained ourselves to  focus on what God is saying to us. Listening to God and taking our marching orders from Him will assure that we remain in His perfect will. Ignoring that “red flag” we sometimes sense in our hearts is dangerous and can get us off track which gets us out of the will of God. Following God’s voice sometimes takes courage – especially if it takes us out of our comfort zone, but our comfort zone is not always part of God’s plan for us.

The “red flag” is that little bit of uneasiness we feel when we’re about to do something we shouldn’t do. A feeling that something isn’t just as it should be,  is reason enough to stop and reconsider our actions. The problem can be that we are facing a deadline and time is of the essence, but God isn’t limited by clocks and deadlines. Our trust in Him should be so great that we trust Him to work beyond a deadline. Ignoring His warning can lead to bigger problems.

God always has our best interest at heart. He knows the path we take and can lead us around the pitfalls. Our part is to listen to Him and obey His direction. The fear we feel inside can be transformed by prayer into faith. God looks on our hearts and knows we are doing our best to follow His lead. He is well able to turn things around for us and will do just that as we dedicate ourselves to following Him as He leads us.

God has a divine plan for each one of us. Getting to the finish line will be much faster and less complicated as we let Him lead us rather than take unwanted detours and distractions by following voices other than His.

 

 

Who’s Voice Are You Following?

21 Aug
Spiritual Gifts (14)

The gifts we are discussing in this series are the Spiritual Gifts from Romans 12:3-8:

  • Rom 12:3-8
  • 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body , and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV
PROPHECY, PROPHESY, PROPHESYING
Propheteia ^4394^ signifies “the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God” (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
  • “Though much of Old Testament prophecy was purely predictive, see <Micah 5:2>, prophecy is not necessarily, nor even primarily, fore-telling.
  • It is the declaration of that which cannot be known by natural means, <Matt. 26:68>
  • It is the forth-telling of the will of God, whether with reference to the past, the present, or the future, see <Gen. 20:7; Deut. 18:18; Rev. 10:11; 11:3>.
  • “With the completion of the canon of Scripture prophecy apparently passed away, (1 Cor. 13:8,9)
  • In his measure the teacher has taken the place of the prophet. . .
  • But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  (2 Pet 2:1) (KJV)
  • The difference is that, whereas the message of the prophet was a direct revelation of the mind of God for the occasion, the message of the teacher is gathered from the completed revelation contained in the Scriptures.”(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)

Continued below are more distinctions of the person whom God has bestowed the Gift of Prophecy – They are:

  • Deeply concerned about the reputation of the church
  • Quick to give advice; sometimes impatient with people and their problems
  • Speak with authority, especially about the Bible
  • Sometimes viewed as negative; have to work to be positive
  • Often accused of talking too much, but just can’t seem to help it!
  • They edify (build up), encourage (exhort), and console (comfort)
  • Their message is incomplete if it stops short of these goals
  • This gift is intended primarily for believers, though an unbeliever who hears their message may come under conviction
The person God uses to serve with the gift of Prophecy is inspired by the Holy Spirit – if they are walking in the Spirit and not the flesh. Inspiration is a technical term for the Holy Spirit’s supernatural guidance of those who received special revelation from God  . . .the end result  . . . the truths which God wants His people to know. (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
  • Inspiration . . . is a statement about God’s greatness. God is intelligent and able to communicate with man, whom He created in His image. (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

God does not only give inspiration to those with the gift of Prophecy. His Word tells us that His sheep know Him and they hear His voice, and the voice of another they will not follow. I didn’t say it – God said it. To me this means that God is speaking to us but we may not be listening, or we may not realize we are hearing God speak to us.

It is important that we develop our hearing – we can do that. It’s like making a new friend and not yet recognizing their voice when they call you. You must get to know them better to immediately recognize their voice.

To know God’s voice it is vital to know His Word through the Bible. God’s voice is not the only voice we hear. If we are not acquainted with His Word to know His ways, we won’t always know where the voice in our hearts or our minds is coming from.

I believe that the person with the gift of Prophecy has a very strong desire to know God’s Word through the Bible. And, I believe that in giving this gift to a person, God causes them to yearn for truth and for understanding of His Scripture. Please understand that God wants this same thing for all of us. The person with the gift of Prophecy is not singled out for this blessing. We are talking about motivation. In order for God to reach us and minister to us, He puts stronger desires in each heart, customized if you will, to meet the needs of His people.

We are all very different – that is a given. We didn’t have to ask for the gift that God gave us, it is part of our personality. Remember, Psalms 139 tells us that God knew us before we were ever born. He knew all about us. He knew what our personalities would be and the circumstances that would surround us, that would influence us and that would define us.

God works all things for our good, if we belong to Him. That means that everything about us makes up our personality and affects us in some way. God takes all of life’s situations to create us into the person He wants us to be. Obviously, we don’t yield at times. But, if we truly love God and want His best for our lives, we seek Him and ask Him for guidance. When we pray for patience, how are we to learn it if we don’t experience situations where patience is needed?

Following God is not easy. But, it’s the most rewarding thing we will ever do. We will understand what true love is all about. He ALWAYS knows what is best for us. He knows our hearts much better than we do. It may take some time to adjust to things that happen in our lives but if we acknowledge Him in all we do (which we are told to do in His Word) we will be molded and shaped into the person He wants us to be.

About Spiritual Gifts. . . I Do Not Want You To Be Ignorant! I Cor. 12:1

11 Aug

SPIRITUAL GIFTS (13)

The words “Gifts or Spiritual Gifts or Ministry Gifts” as they relate to Scripture can cause some to squirm. These terms, along with others from Scripture, can cause confusion and bring up uncomfortable feelings. Some just don’t want to hear anything about them at all. Truthfully, I can relate. I was brought up around these things and I was uncomfortable much of the time.

I want to dispel some of those fears and misunderstandings, to the best of my knowledge and with the help of others who have written about these things.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.  God does not want us ignorant concerning these things. (1 Cor. 12:4) Because of all the confusion and fear surrounding the mis-use of these gifts and the fear surrounding the unknown, we allowed the enemy to steal some of God’s most valuable resources for our edification.

If you have had any of these experiences or have heard of them please realize that God never forces Himself on us. His gifts are given freely and are to build us up and to heal us physically, emotionally, spiritually – and in every other way.

The fears that have kept us from God’s best should be dealt with in prayer and in reading God’s Scriptures for clarification. I am going to do my best to explain these gifts, the way they differ and the way they are used today. There are many who believe that God’s gifts were only for Bible times and are not effective today. That is a big lie of the devil to prevent us from receiving God’s best for our lives.

  • There is no evidence whatever that the Gifts ceased because the Lord withdrew them. (Gordon Lindsay, All About the Gifts of the Spirit)
  • A Scripture that has been commonly used by those who hold the position that the Gifts of the Spirit have ceased is I Cor. 13:8-10.
  • Here we are told that prophecies, and tongues, and knowledge shall cease, or pass away. Just one glance at the Scripture shows however, that the period referred to is not this age at all, but the perfect age which is yet to come! (Lindsay)

The gifts we are discussing in this series are the Spiritual Gifts from Romans 12:3-8:

  • Rom 12:3-8
  • 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body , and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV

Following are Scriptures relating to the other gifts God has given to us and we will discuss them in a future series.

  • Eph 4:9-13
  • 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets , some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. NIV
  • 1 Cor 12:1-13
  • 12:1 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
  • 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
  • 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
  • 12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. NIV

The next Motivational Spiritual Gift we are going to discuss is the gift of PROPHECY. That’s one that turns some off. Many believe that prophecy is no longer relevant today. However; God still gives this gift to many and it is His will that they use it properly. To use it in any way other than directed by God is a very dangerous thing to do.  There are characteristics you will recognize by those with this gift and you will be able to discern whether they are using it properly or not.

We are not speaking of “Prophet” as in the ministry gift or  the gift of prophecy found in   I Corinthians 12, we are learning about the gift found in Romans 12:6-8.

The Gift of PROPHECY:

Today this gift is primarily associated with powerful preaching, however; all preachers do not have the gift of prophecy nor do all persons with the gift of prophecy preach.

The person with this particular gift goes “out of their way” to exercise one or more of these basic points:
  • An analysis of the current situation from God’s perspective
  • The consequences of continuing in that path
  • The need for change/repentance
  • The promise of God’s grace and restoration if the change in direction is made

I believe a person given this gift is tested to the max. They cannot be used effectively unless they are well versed in God’s Scriptures and have learned strict obedience to God.

God knows how to train us for the gift He has given us. That is one of the duties of God’s Holy Spirit. He teaches us to “hear” His voice as He speaks to our hearts. This is for everyone, not just a select few. God’s Word tells us that if you are one of His sheep, you hear His voice and the voice of another you will not follow.

  • John 10:26-27
  • 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. NIV

Some of the characteristics of the gift of PROPHECY are as follows:

  • Prophecy does not usually involve foretelling – predicting the future – as much as it does forthtelling – forcefully speaking the truth. Forcefully is a strong word. What it means here is that the Prophet motivated person wants to make sure God’s Word is understood and that there are consequences to disobeying it.
  • The word proclaim is perhaps a better word than preach to describe what a person with the gift of prophecy does
  • Typically their ministry is a public one
  • They are not as comfortable in smaller groups as others
  • They prefer speaking to larger groups than ministering one on one as do those with other gifts
  • They are tuned in to how God views situations, especially if evil or hypocrisy is present
  • The are Issues-oriented; usually have an opinion about everything! Not fearful to tackle tough issues
  • They proclaim God’s truth with a passion, even if they must do so alone
  • Their message is one of urgency; tend to expect an immediate decision or response (Repent NOW!)

God Is Talking To You – Are You Listening?

24 Jun

Yes, if you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, God speaks to you! You think not? The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus said. “My sheep know my voice and the voice of another they will not follow”! If you are one of His sheep, you know His voice. You may not yet recognize it or even know how to recognize it, but He IS speaking to you.

It is critical that we know how to hear God speak to us if we want to be able to truly know Him and be led by Him into His perfect will for our lives. God speaks to us through His Holy Spirit – to our hearts. There are many different ways He speaks, but when we begin to recognize His voice, it will always, always be in line with the Bible, God’s Word – already given to us. I like to explain it by saying that it is kind of like making a new friend. At first, when our new friend calls us, we may not recognize their voice. But, we talk to them more and more, the better we get to know them. Eventually, we will recognize their voice immediately.

The more time we spend with our new friends, the better we get to know them. It works the same way with God. The big difference is He already knows us. He knew us in our Mother’s womb. As we read His Word, we learn more about Him. As we read about characters in the Bible we find that they all were plain, ordinary people like we are. You see, Moses only performed the mighty task of leading God’s people out of slavery because God called him to do it. Moses, argued with God and did his best to convince God that he was not capable to do what God wanted because he wasn’t good enough. God does not called the equipped – He equips the called. God knows how to get your attention. But, like anyone else talking to us, we have to pay attention. We have to listen.

God wants to be our friend – yes, He does. I know it is hard to believe. Friends talk. And, it’s not just one-sided. We talk, we listen. So, if we listen, God must be speaking. If you are a born-again believer, have accepted Jesus Christ into your heart, then you are His child and he speaks to you. It is as simple as that. You will need to develop a sensitivity to listening to Him. He speaks in many different ways. When you accepted Jesus into your heart, the Holy Spirit took up residence there. Part of His duty is to change your heart so that you understand the ways of God – He helps you to rightly divide God’s Word from the other words that try to overcome you.

You cannot rightly divide God’s Word if you don’t read it. God’s Word, the Holy Bible, was written by men who were inspired by God’s Holy Spirit. There is nothing to be added to it and nothing to be taken away from it. As we read the Scriptures, we learn about God and His ways. We are taught how to distinguish God’s ways from man’s ways. We can clearly identify with the men and women of the Bible because they were the same as we are. They weren’t super human, holy individuals who led perfect lives of peace and glory. They made mistakes – bad mistakes – mistakes like we make today. So, as we read about them, we learn how God dealt with them. We see how much God loved them. We see how they disobeyed and the consequences they paid or the blessings they received from doing as God directed.

The voices we hear in our minds come from a myriad of different places. He speaks in a still small voice to our hearts. Sometimes, so small that we ignore it. God speaks to us through friends, Pastors, nature, children – just about any way you can imagine. What makes it possible is the Holy Spirit within us. So, we can’t just believe everything we think we hear. All things that we hear aren’t in agreement with God’s written Word. If we hear something that doesn’t fall in line with the Bible, it isn’t God speaking. So, how can we know it’s God if we don’t read His Word?

God Is Not Like Grandma, He’s Not Old Fashioned or Behind the Times!

7 Jun

Many of us don’t think much about the spiritual side of things. We believe we have our lives under control and we are ready for what comes our way. Conversely, we are experiencing more and more stress and frustration. We have been taught by the world around us that we need to be strong. We dare not let anyone see us as weak.

Perhaps our spiritual condition doesn’t seem like much of an issue. Some of us may even think that our spiritual lives are separate from our daily lives. Definitely not! We may try to keep it separate thinking it isn’t part of daily living. Besides, it’s not cool to be spiritual. Exactly the opposite is true. Our spiritual condition (our heart of hearts) is where our true character resides.

• Prov 16:9 “ In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” NIV

• Matt 15:18-20 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart , and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.” NIV

The ways of God obviously are not the ways of man. If man had his way there would certainly be no suffering. It is imperative that we realize how much we need God every day with every step. We could not take another breath, or another step if He did not allow it. Whether we believe it to be true or not doesn’t matter. Our denial of God’s truth doesn’t invalidate it.

God is always with us, not just for our bedtime prayers, but as we get dressed, eat breakfast, drive to work, and in all else that we do. We can talk with Him at any time about any and every issue. It’s kind of like being at home with a loved one. We are busy in one room and they are busy in another. We know that we can call out to them at any time and they will answer. Only God is not in the other room, He is right with us – wherever we are.

Our conversations with God are not one way. He will speak to our hearts. He will take away our fears and direct us through our every concern, if we will allow Him to.

• John 10:26-27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” NIV

God has His own time-table. It most often does not agree with ours. He is not intimidated by our deadlines. Don’t think that just because He does not work like the high-speed internet that He is old-fashioned and out of date. To the contrary, His ways far exceed that. He created the universe out of nothing. He knew us before we were formed in our Mothers’ wombs. He can handle today’s technology. God is actually the one who gave knowledge to the creators of our technology. What? You think they did it on their own?

Scripture tells us that there is nothing new in the world. Technology was part of God’s plan from the beginning. Don’t think for a moment that we have moved on without Him. No, Friends, He is the one who made it all possible. He is not just our Grandma’s God. God’s miracles and ancient stories of the Bible didn’t stop when the Bible was made into a book with a cover. God is the reason we have progressed to where we are today.

• Eccl 1:9 “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” NIV

His ways are not outdated. He is the author and finisher or our faith and the reason that we are who we are. We need to recognize His authority. When we read the Scriptures we will find that events do not just happen on their own. God is the force behind them. He places people where He wants them and uses them according to His plan.

God’s Word, the Holy Bible, still operates in our lives as it did in the lives of those ancient men and women of the Bible. They are not fictional like Winnie the Pooh or Alice in Wonderland. Rest assured you will not meet those characters in heaven one day. However; you will meet many of those ancient men and women of the Bible there. You will hear from their own lips of their awesome adventures.

God is just as real today as He was when all the events of the Bible took place. He walks with us, covers us like a shield. He goes before us, behind us, beside us. We cannot go anywhere that He is not there.

God Talks Back

31 Dec
Not only is God a good listener, He is a wonderful conversationalist! Many people tell me that God doesn’t talk to them. God tells us in His Holy Bible that His sheep know His voice! If you are a born again Christian, that means you are one of His sheep and you hear His voice.
 
You don’t have to be a seasoned Christian to hear God speak. Some don’t realize God is talking to them. They think it’s their conscious (sometimes it is). Or, they think they just had a great idea. Then, at times, they wonder why they had a particular thought.
 
God’s voice is generally small and quiet. If we are not familiar with His Word (the Bible), we may confuse His communication with other voices we hear. God gave us a conscious and He gave us common sense. He also gave us Christian friends who can offer us their opinion. Then, there is our enemy, satan, whom the Bible tells us comes to steal, kill and destroy. He is quick to feed us bad thoughts and ideas to get us out of God’s will.
 
God gave us His Word so we could learn about Him. He wanted us to know that throughout all of time men and women  have been just like us. Sometimes we obey God’s Word and sometimes we don’t. As we read God’s Word we learn about how God dealt with His people – how He taught them to walk uprightly. We also learn from those stories how God rewards us and yes, how He disciplines us. Sometimes we see how God punished those who rebelled against Him.
 
So, even though we may be a new Christian and have the ability to hear God, we must spend time with Him in prayer and in reading His Word so that we can learn His ways, thus identifying His voice more clearly.
 
If someone gave you a new car – just handed you the keys and said, “It’s all yours!” – You may find yourself in great danger if you tried to drive without some sort of training. If you decided to hop in the car anyway and take your chances, you could get into a lot of trouble – possibly even die. I know that sounds a bit drastic, but we can’t assume every voice we hear is God. We need to spend time getting to know Him. As we do we will learn to discern God’s voice from all the others.
 
Are you willing to give Him some of your time?
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