Category Archives: Knowing God

The Abundance of God

And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed,

“The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering,

and abundant in goodness and truth.”

Exodus 34:6 (KJV)

In an age of scarcity, high costs, and uncertainty, God offers abundance.  God’s abundance extends beyond a measure of material quantity but is seen in its “spiritual quality”.  Abundance infers power and ability.

God offers abundance in many areas that mankind is in desperate need of today.

  • He offers for all who would believe in Him an abundance of mercy—relief from the punishment we deserve. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)
  • He offers grace—His unmerited favor. “For where sin abound, grace did much more abound.” (Rom. 5:20)
  • He offers an abundance of lovingkindness. “For I know that You are gracious…and abundant in lovingkindness. “ (Jonah 4:2) Who couldn’t use more of that!

The place where this type of abundance was desperately needed was in the area of human sin.  Throughout history, God had sought solutions to man’s sin condition.  He used mediators to “stand in the gap”—prophets and priests (Heb. 8:6).   He instituted sacrifices to cover man’s sin—the blood of goats and calves (Heb. 12:9) but none proved to be sufficient and effective in extinguishing sin.

However, when Christ entered the landscape of time, God offered an abundance of grace through His Son’s precious blood thereby eliminating sin’s power and obtaining eternal redemption.  Christ also offered the gift of righteousness—the state or condition of perfectly conforming to God’s perfect law and holy character (Romans 3:21-26).

Abundance, by its very definition, offers the promise of great supply and more than sufficient quantity.   God offers abundance plus much more for our daily wants and needs.  There is no need to worry or fear that we will deplete God’s abundance of grace.  In an age of scarcity, high costs, and uncertainty, God alone offers us inexhaustible abundance.  

Fellowship with God

“That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.   And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”    1 John 1:3-4

What does “fellowship with God” look like in the life of the believer?  Fellowship has been described as the sharing of experiences with likeminded people.  However, fellowship with God is much more, for “who has known the mind of God?” (Romans 11:34)  The believer’s fellowship with the Father is dependent upon accepting His Son as Lord and Savior.  It is through Jesus Christ that believers begin to “know by experience” God’s heart and mind.  Such was the case with the Apostle John and the disciples were uniquely privileged to witness, first hand, the person and works of Christ.

  • “That which was seen” included the many miracles of Christ; miracles that would attest to the coming of the promised Messiah (Matt. 11:2-5). 
  • “That which was heard” were truths that Christ declared concerning the kingdom of God and His offer of eternal life (Luke 4:43; 9:11).
  • “That which was looked upon and our hands handed” recounted the disciples’ examination of Christ’s glorified body after the resurrection (John 20:27).

All of the disciples’ senses were engaged as Christ manifested (revealed) Himself and the Father.  Since Father and Son were one (John 17:11, 22), the disciples concurrently experienced fellowship with the Father (v. 3).  The disciple’s experience with Christ was not viewed from a distance but up close and personal.

Fellowship (koinonia or koy-nohn-ee’-ah) is translated as “communion” and “joint participation in a common life.”   John’s personal witness was an invitation to the early church to participate in a life style that centered on relationship—unending communion with God the Father and the Son.    Therein is the basis for John’s reason for sharing about fellowship with God:  so that their “joy may be full” (v.4).

Joy (pleroo or play-ro’o) means “to fill to the top so nothing is wanting; to complete”.  One explanation of joy is to cause God’s will to be obeyed as it should be and God’s promises to receive fulfillment.  Joy begins and ends with fellowship with the Father and the Son (Luke 4:21).

How would you describe your fellowship with God?  Have you seen, heard, and looked upon Christ presence in you daily walk of faith?  Do you have joy and is it full?  Many times we miss the opportunity to fellowship with God because of competing priorities and the busyness of life.  Perhaps sinful behavior patterns and unhealthy influences have interrupted your fellowship with God.  We are to walk daily in fellowship with God, armed with the knowledge that you are no longer “slaves to sin” but “servants of righteousness” producing fruit of holiness (Rom. 6: 22).

Though John’s letter was written thousands of years ago, its message is still relevant for today.  To both the believer and unbeliever, it is an invitation to participate with the only true Source of joy.  Jesus invites us to draw near with faith (Heb. 10:22) and learn of Him (Matt. 11:29). In return, those in Christ enjoy glorious fellowship with Him.  Let us be faithful witnesses to what it means to live in fellowship with God.

The Lord Reigns

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; And let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” 1 Chronicles 16:31 (NKJ)

The Lord reigns?  To some this may be a question spoken in general disbelief.  As one looks around this world and our nation, there is question as to the reality of God and God’s involvement in the activities of mankind.  Does God really care about me? Does God see me in “my” situation—in my humanness?

  • We look around and see the effects of sin on our world. Even in the midst of “peril, sword, and nakedness”, God extends to mankind love, mercy, and grace.  In gratitude for God’s reign, David cried out:  “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”  (1 Chron. 1:34)
  • Outside God’s reign, man struggles with and against “life”; his intent is to control the challenges of 21st century living. Doing what feels “right in their own eyes” (Prov. 21:2), men often disregard the plans of God and God’s purpose for this world.
  • “God reigns” whether people choose to believe it or not. Their unbelief does not reduce or minimize the reality of God’s reign.  God is patient and long suffering not wishing that anyone would perish but that all will come to the knowledge and recognition of His lordship (1 Tim. 2:4).

The Lord reigns!  This is the reality and declaration of people of faith who anchor their lives to the “King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God” (1 Tim. 1:17).  God is the only One worthy of our loyalty and praise.

  • As we witness the impact of economic disparity, social injustice, and moral failure in the world, our expectation of fairness is founded in the fact that God reigns!
  • As the doctor renders a diagnosis that leads to extensive treatments yet no guarantee of success, our hope for healing lies in the belief that God reigns!
  • As we face our own mortality evidenced in the frailty of our bodies and failure of our souls, our eternal security is guaranteed in Christ, our inheritance because God reigns!

People of faith trust that even in the suffering and pain, God is working all things together for His glory and ultimately our good (Rom. 8:28).  We know that our God is eternal—reigning both in “human time” (chronos) and “His perfect time” (kiros).  We wait and watch for His hand at work around us and in our life (Psa. 123:1-2).

The Lord reigns.  To you I offer this as a statement of reality and personal identity.  The reality is that God alone is sovereign.  It is because of His goodness and greatness that He alone is worthy to rule over the hearts of men and nations.  Our personal identity in Christ guarantees our reign with Him in glory (Rom. 8:17).

  • God alone is motivated by love—in first loving us (1 John 4:9-10) God offers grace and mercy to all who humbly come to Him by faith with no fear of retribution or risk of punishment.
  • God’s perfection, purity and trustworthiness enable Him to rule impartially and fairly. God alone can be both “just” and the justifier” for sinful man (Rom. 3:24-26).
  • God is the only real answer for the “heart issues” we face in 21st century living. The Lord’s reign over heaven and earth gives us hope in the midst of a “fallen” (Gen. 3) and “falling” world (1 John 2:16-17).

The Lord’s reign is fully realized in the coming of Jesus the Christ.  In Jesus’ arrival the kingdom of God is ushered into this world we now live in.  It is here that those who are in Christ are to take authority and witness to this glorious fact—God reigns!

Rehearsing God’s Mercy

“Hallelujah!  Thank God! And why?
Because He’s good, because His love lasts.”  Psalm 106:1 (The Message)

When we hear the word “rehearse”, we conjure up visions of singing, dancing, or acting. A rehearsal is a preparatory event that is performed before the official public performance, as a form of practice. The intent of a rehearsal is to ensure that all details of the performance are adequately prepared and coordinated for presentation. This Psalm is a timely rehearsal for recounting God’s loving protection and provision in our lives.

In Psalm 106, the psalmist rehearses or prepares the Jews who have returned from Exile by recounting the mercies extended by God to the nation of Israel. Can you imagine returning to your hometown after a seventy-year absence?  Many of the older Jews had died in captivity; younger Jews had little to draw upon to refresh their memory of God’s love and provision for Israel during her glory days. They arrived to burnt gates and broken walls. Many would have even forgotten God’s reason for allowing them to go into captivity–their habitual, sinful nature and rebellious lifestyle (v.43).  It was the psalmist intent to prepare the returning Jews’ hearts and minds for spiritual revival—a return to God.

There are several key learnings to be gained in reading this psalm.

  • Confess and repent of your sins to avoid God’s judgment. “We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.” (v. 6)
  • Seek God’s wisdom and acknowledge in all your decision making. “They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel.” (v. 13)
  • Eliminate complaints about what you don’t have and express gratitude for God’s provision. “Yea they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.” (w.24-25)

Even in Israel’s rebellion and sin, God never failed to extend His mercy and grace. “Nevertheless he regarded their distress when he heard their cry.  For their sake he remembered His covenant, and showed compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love” (vv.44-45).  God always gives mercy and restoration.

Also read:  “God in and among us:  The Presence of the Lord

If the psalmist were to rehearse God’s mercy in our life, what would he write? Would it be similar to Israel’s history reflecting a life pattern of sin and backsliding? If we now walk under the guidance and direction of God’s Spirit, remembrance of our life B.C. (Before Christ) should not be an indictment against us but evidence of the immense love God has for us. While Satan uses our memory to evoke shame and guilt, we can use it in our testimony to others about the saving love of Christ. What God has done for you, He will do for others. There is nothing better than living in God’s A.D. (Abundant Dominion). Let us continually rehearse God’s mercy in our hearts and minds as we prepare for effective service and kingdom building.

SELAH:   Do you see evidence of God’s love and mercy?  It is through God’s divine love and mercy that we receive care and protection, regardless of the circumstance we may face.  Take time to reflect on where you’ve come from and then write your own psalm reflecting when and how God’s love and mercy was extended to you.

The Voice of the Good Shepherd

“When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” John 10:4 (NIV)

It is God’s desire to speak to His children.  As we’ve discussed, God speaks in a number of ways.  In the past, He spoke through the prophets.  In our lives, God speaks through circumstances, including closed doors and even in His silence.

Hebrew 1:2 states that:  “God has spoken to us in these last days through His Son Jesus Christ”.  Jesus’ incarnation became the anointed vehicle by which God would reveal not only His plan of salvation but also Who He was.  In His teachings, Jesus would disclose to believers that God not only listens to their cry but also speaks to them through both their expressed and unspoken needs. We complete this series, When God Speaks, by focusing on the believer’s need to listen for God voice as Jesus teaches about the “Good Shepherd”.

In John 10, Jesus launches a scathing charge against the religious leaders of that day.  Instead of caring for the people, like a true shepherd, they would perpetrate theft and abuse against the most vulnerable of the community. They are described in this illustration as thieves, robbers (John 10:1) and hirelings (John 10:1; 12, 13).  Jesus uses this familiar occupation to illustrate to His disciples, and us, an important fact about followers of Christ—they know His voice.

Followers of Christ know His voice.  He “calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3).  To call His sheep by name infers a personal relationship with the Good Shepherd.  As He approaches, the sheep “hear His voice” and prepare to respond to His lead.  We must be prepared to hear Jesus’ voice as we move through the busyness of our daily lives.  These activities, though necessary, often deprive us of important time to receive God’s guidance and instruction for the “sheep of His pasture” (Ps. 100:3).

Followers of Christ know His voice.  They know His voice through experiencing His love.  He first loved us (1 John 4:19) and gave himself as a ransom for all men (1Tim. 2:6). The hireling doesn’t care about the sheep—he flees when trouble (the wolf) draws near.  God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners, He died for us (Rom. 5:8).

Followers of Christ know His voice.  They do not know a stranger’s voice (John 10:4, 5) and therefore, will not follow them. The voice of the stranger represents the world and its trappings.  The stranger attempts to lure followers of Christ away from the safety and the will of the Good Shepherd.  However, even if the sheep goes astray, they can be  assured that He will come to find them (Luke 15:4-6).

The Good Shepherd still calls out today. It is up to each of His “sheep” to listen for His voice.   This can be accomplished by reading His Word and spending time in prayer and meditation.  The 23rd Psalm is the most familiar and most popular of the Psalms; this is because of the reassurance and comfort individuals receive while reading it.  Jesus’ presence as the Good Shepherd promises provision, rest and restoration, and protection (Ps. 23:4).  Take a spiritual break and read the 23rd Psalm.  Listen for His voice—He’s calling your name.

SELAH:  Read the 23rd Psalm and visualize yourself as an actual sheep in God’s flock.  Write down the things God says to you as a result of doing this exercise.

The Silence of God

“These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought that I was altogether like you; But I will rebuke you, And set them in order, before your eyes.” Psalm 50:21 (KJV)

As I survey current events, my heart weeps.  Crime against mankind continues to escalate.  Abuse of the poor and defenseless, witness to the selfish society we now live in.  The “heavens and the earth” suffer from the blatant disregard of man for God’s creation so that he might accumulates monies to squander on his various “lusts and pleasures” (Titus 3:3).  As social and religious groups unite in prayer to regain their community and their country, many ask, does God hear?  Does He see?  Why does God remain silent when there is so much injustice and wrongdoing?  God does hear and see. He will not remain silent forever.  He will set His house in order.  God speaks even in silence.

Also Read:  The Things Revealed 

Of the many attributes of God, the one most misunderstood is His justice. Believers are quick to acknowledge God’s moral attributes—grace, mercy, and love, but His justice seems out of character with who they believe Him to be.  Perhaps these misinformed believers hope that His moral qualities will “ignore or overlook” their obvious disregard for His laws and commandments.  God dministers His kingdom in accordance with His law and expects His moral agents, believers, to adhere to the standards of justice which He has established (Micah 6:8).

At times the rule of God does not appear to be “just.” The evil (people) continue to prosper and everything continues as it always has before.  Sin appears unpunished and righteousness seems to go unrewarded (Psalm 73:3-12).   C. S. Lewis, acclaimed novelist and lay theologian, helps us keep God’s justice in perspective:

The justice of God must not be evaluated on a short-term basis.  Within this life it will often appear incomplete or imperfect. Earthly life is not all there is, however.  There is a life beyond and in the scope of all eternity; God’s justice will be complete.

In His perceived silence, God is speaking loudly.  Perhaps believers have chosen to close their ears—not listening to His instructions.  As a result they now live in spiritual blindness rather than newness of life (Romans 6:4).  God’s longsuffering grace should never be looked upon as laxity nor abused (2 Peter 3:3-10).  God’s reckoning with rebellion and disobedience will indeed be manifested.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day suffered from both hypocrisy and rebellion.  They refused the Living Word who lived among them.  Today God has given us both His Word and His Holy Spirit to lead us into truth and righteousness. Do not turn Him away.  Hear God speaking today.

SELAH:  Have you ever felt God was silent in your life?  Ask God to share with you what He was doing in your life during that period of “silence.”

Closed Doors

“The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them,

for the LORD has told you, ‘You are not to go back that way again.’ ” Deut. 17:16 (NIV)

My favorite aunt gave me a small wood plaque to hang on the wall in my office. On it are written these words, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” The inference is that God in His wisdom and providence will always provide a “way” for us.  God’s way sometimes involves closed doors.  This week we continue our series, “When God Speaks.”  God speaks volumes when He closes doors.  Ever ask yourself, “What is God saying?”

Closed doors often lead to new opportunities in our lives. Closed doors force us to try new options, meet new people, and exercise spiritual gifts and talents that may never have been used. Joseph faced many closed doors in his life. The first door closed when his brothers sold him into slavery; the second door slam in his face when Potiphar’s had him falsely imprisoned. The final door, he thought, shut tight when the cup bearer forgot him for two years. Though the closed doors were first “used for evil, God used them for good.” (Gen. 50:20)

Closed doors result in the strengthening of two important spiritual muscles–“trusting by faith” and “learning to wait.” In Hebrews 11 we see the “Faith Hall of Fame”, made up of those individuals who trusted God even when the doors appeared closed. (Hebrews 11:4-31) Though the closed doors were first viewed as obstacles, they trusted in God’s promises and waited … even unto death. The results were both rewards and “great faith.”

Closed doors position us to accomplish God’s purpose and plan for kingdom building. The Holy Spirit forbade Paul to preach the word in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). God had a different plan for Paul that would first take the gospel to Macedonia (Acts 16:6-10).  Though this door was first viewed as a detour from proclaiming the gospel, God expanded Paul’s ministry beyond anything he could have imaged; his Epistles would become part of Holy Scripture, read and preached in countries around the world.

In the game show, “Let’s Make a Deal,” contestants choose from “prize doors” that offer either a rich reward or an ugly, disgusting “zonk”. Knowing this, contestants must choose to open the right door and leave others closed. Our omniscient God doesn’t operate like this game show. Whenever God speaks through a closed door, we can be assured it will lead to our good and His glory.

SELAH:  What door has God recently closed in your life?  What was He saying to you in that action?

God Speaks Through Circumstances

“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Romans 8:28-29 (NRS)

 

In our culture, it is not unusual for people to greet one another with the inquiry, “How are you?”  In response, a multitude of replies are available but my favorite is, “I doing fairly well under the circumstances.”  This is my opportunity to respond, “Why are you under your circumstances and what are you doing to get back on top?”  Circumstances are conditions or facts that affect a situation.  These can be either positive or negative.  They define a state in which an individual, group, or even a nation may find itself.  This week we will explore how God speaks to us through circumstances.

There are many biblical examples that illustrate how God used circumstances to speak to His people.  Circumstances dictated that Moses would be set adrift in the Nile.  It was there that he would be found by the king’s daughter and adopted into the royal household by the ruling Pharaoh (Ex. 2:1-10). God later spoke to Moses after his 40-year circumstance and re-directed him to deliver Israel from bondage.   In the book of Acts, we find God speaking to the early church by using the political and social circumstances around them.  Jesus had clearly articulated the scope of the church’s ministry:  “and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  While it was within their “comfort zone” to stay in Jerusalem, God spoke through the circumstance of persecution to move the gospel to a larger audience.   Throughout the Bible we find God speaking to people through special favor, through personal loss, or through miraculous deliverance.  God spoke to them through their circumstances.

God still speaks today through circumstances.  He will use conditions and situations from our everyday life to place us in a position to hear His voice.  Does God create circumstances to make us do His will?  No, God has created us as freewill agents and desires that we choose to live within His divine plan. But God will allow circumstances to flow into our life to accomplish His glory and our good (Rom. 8:24).  In addition, to conform us to the image of Christ, God will permit circumstances in our lives that will mature us and grow our faith (1 Pet. 1:5-7).  What may appear at first to be a “stumbling block” may, in actuality, turn out to be a “stepping stone”.  God speaks through closed doors as well as opened doors; through delayed prayers as well as answered ones.

As believers proceed in this Christian walk, we must remember that the intent of our life is to glorify God and to accomplish His purpose on earth (2 Cor. 5:15). That’s why it is important to be intentional in prayer and reading God’s Word especially during difficult and challenging times, regardless of the circumstance (Phil. 4:6-13).

Also read:  Divine Inquiry

As we develop our personal relationship with God, we will understand that He loves us and can be trusted with every aspect of our life. Then circumstances will not overcome us nor will we live “under them” (1 John 4:4).

SELAH:  Think about a time when you were “under your circumstances”.  What was God saying to you?

The Word of the Lord Came

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways.” Heb. 1:1 (NIV)

It’s not unusual for companies to employ individuals to interface with the public to share information about their company and its activities.  Countries appoint ambassadors to communicate their foreign policies and opinions with regard to world events.  In this nation, it is the presidential press secretary who frequently convenes press conferences with the media to communicate key messages from the White House.  Such positions, though not unusual, pale in comparison with a special groups of individuals called by God to speak His Word.  As we continue our teaching series, “When God Speaks”, we focus that unique group, the Old Testament prophets.

The Nation.  The people of Israel had become a nation.  They had been redeemed from slavery in Egypt and given the Law to guide their activities as God’s chosen people (Deut. 7:7-9).  God fully expected them to be committed to a life of obedience to those laws and to honor the “call” He had made on their life.  Unfortunately Israel constantly fell down in their calling.  God’s Law no longer proved effective in shaping Israel and the society in which they lived.

Also Read:  “Why Did God Choose Israel as His Chosen People?”

The Need.    The people’s slackness had grown into forgetfulness (Deut. 8:11-14).  Sometimes the fault was a result of the wrong priorities.  Other times, the people had allowed themselves to be pulled into the culture and worldview of their times, resulting in idolatry and sinful practices.  Even the nation’s religion was corrupted into “non-moral ritualism”—“having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:5).

The Notice.  The prophets were men raised up by God to put Israel on notice—they were to return to God or suffer the consequences.  In examination of both the Major and Minor Prophets, God’s message remained consistent and sure:  The Lord is Ruler of all history and He calls all to repentance. The prophets’ pronouncements always included a blend of judgement and hope, reflecting God’s heart and His desire that all would come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9).  If Israel repented and returned, God would extend mercy and receive them to Himself once again.

The prophets did not share in their writings much about how they received their instructions from God.  We simply read:  “Thus says the Lord” or “the Word of the Lord came” (Jer.47:1; Ezek. 17:1; Zech. 8:1).  Came translates the Hebrew verb “to be” meaning “the word of the Lord became a living, present reality.”    In examining the historical books of the Old Testament and other writings from ancient historians, i.e., Josephus, Philo, it is clear that, when God spoke, things happened.

So how does God speaking through the Old Testament prophets relate to us living in the 21st century? My first observation is that for both believers and unbelievers, the view of our current world strongly resembles that expressed in “The Need.”   For believers, God still expects those He has chosen (Ep. 1:4-5) to follow His Word.  It is God’s moral instruction for living; for by it we are both warned and blessed (Ps. 19:11).  Old Testament prophecy provides for believer’s “blessed assurance” that God is still sovereign ruler of all history, including the 21st century.   For the unbeliever, the words of the prophets offer an opportunity for restoration with the God who sees and knows all—in time and in eternity.  For the unbeliever, it’s time to “come and see” Jesus (John 4:29) and accept His offer of salvation.  When God spoke through the prophets, His Word did not return “void” but accomplished all that it was sent to do (Is. 55:11). Even today it is still critical to listen as God speaks through His prophets.

SELAH:  The Old Testament prophets spoke of the salvation we have received.  Read 1 Peter 1:10-12.

God Speaks–Are You Listening?

For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.  Psalm 95:7-8 (NIV)

God speaks.  For many people this is hard to understand and even more difficult for others to believe.  I’m often asked, “How do I know if God spoke to me?”   In response to that question, we will begin a new study series entitled, “When God Speaks.”  As believers, “the people of God’s pasture”, we believe that God does speak to us.  The more appropriate question is, “are we listening?”

Our belief in God’s speaking is sometimes tied to “false narratives” (wrong tapes playing in our head) about Who God is.  Some see God as an indifferent creator looking down on us ready to punish us for doing wrong.  Others see God as a benevolent grandfather patiently waiting to indulge our every need.  Unfortunately both views are incorrect.   Who is God and why does God want to speak to us?

First, God wants to be in relationship (not religion) with us (Isa. 49:15-16).  When we spend time with Him, we begin to understand the love He has for us.  During those intimate moments together, we discover His ways (how He operates in the world) and His paths (how He operates in our individual lives).  (Ps. 25:4-5)

Secondly, God desires that we live free from the bondage of sin (Heb. 2:14-15).  Satan and the world want to keep us in darkness through lies.  These lies result in guilt, shame, and fear.   God, however, wants us to know the truth—His truth concerning our identity (heirs of God and children of light) and our destiny (eternity with Him).  It is this truth that sets us free (John 8:32).

Lastly, God longs for us to walk in the purpose He has ordained for our lives (Jer. 29:11).   We are God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10) created for “good works” which include service to others.   True joy in the Christian life is found in discovering the plans that God has for our lives.  All things are possible with God (Mar. 10:27).

Although God desires to speak to believers, we have, unfortunately, developed “habits of behavior” that often hinder our ability to hear Him clearly.  As we move through life, we have, metaphorically, “gotten on the wrong BUS”—a bus that frequently takes us away from God and toward the things of the world.    

Busyness robs us of both energy and our ability to hear.  Busyness most often is the result of wrong priorities.  As a rule, we place importance on the things we value.  Hearing from God deserves first priority. It’s hard to hear God when you’re multitasking; He gets caught between our thoughts and His voice becomes “muted”.

Unbelief houses all the lies we hold about ourselves and about God.  We believe that God speaks to others but not us.  We attribute this excuse to “being humble” but in reality we don’t believe that God is (His existence) or God can (His power) or God will (His promises)—so why talk to Him?  There is always a “lie” in unbelief.

Self (sin, too) keep us from hearing from God.  This happens when “self” (versus God) rules our life—self-righteousness, self-esteem, self-sufficiency, self-promotion.  When self is on the “throne of our heart”, God finds no place for Him to sit (except on the outside).  Sin separates us from a holy God.  When sin dominates our life, God won’t talk or listen (Gen. 17:1).  This condition, however, can be corrected (1 John 1:9).

Bob Sorge offers these thoughts concerning hearing God’s in his book, Secret of the Secret Places.

Hearing the voice of God is largely a matter of the will.  We must choose to hear Him.  We must make the choice of setting aside time to listen quietly.  This hearing is a today thing that we do.  Hearing His (God’s) voice is conditional—built upon the condition of quieting out hearts to listen.”

Want to hear God speak?  Begin “today” spending time at least 15 minutes per day reading God’s Word and listening for His voice.  Journal what God tells you!  Make the choice to get off the BUS!

SELAH:    What are the things that interfere with your hearing God speak?

IS GOD SPEAKING IN THE MIDST OF ALL THE SOCIAL UNREST?  YES! READ “DISCOVERING GOD IN THE PSALMS: THE SILENCE OF GOD”