Monday, February 27, 2012

Hear Me!

Mark 12:29-30 (NKJV), "Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.

The above passage makes two very interesting points. The first point is that God wants us to Hear Him; Jesus said so. The second point is that hearing God will cause you to love Him.

It is interesting how all believers have a desire to hear God. If you are as I was, this poses a problem. The harder that you try; the more difficult it seems to be. God has a personal way to communicate with every believer, so there are no steps to hearing God. However the Bible does teach ways to learn.

The first thing to consider; God will not condemn you. The Bible says in John 3:17, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." Any thoughts of condemnation or guilt are not God.

Communion is a way to hear God. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:16, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" The Greek word translated to the English word communion means social intercourse. After having communion, spend time throughout the day meditating on God. He will talk to you.

Praying in the spirit is another way to hear His voice. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:13, "Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret." Praying in the spirit is a communication that takes place in the spirit realm. God is a Spirit (John 4:24). God will talk to you this way. Just like communion, the word can come several hours later.

During praise and worship is a good time to hear God (2 Chronicles 20:22). The enemy hates this time. If you think something edifying during praise and worship---It very likely is God. You will also hear God whenever you discuss His Word or listen to preaching. Sometimes the word you get is not even what the preacher is preaching. God will also speak through a loved one or a spouse. I often wonder if it is His way of keeping me closely connected to my wife. God talks to me through her so much.

Reading your Bible is a good way to hear God. As you learn to tune into His voice you will gain more than simple direction through His Word. You will gain intimate fellowship with Him. The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is living and powerful..." As you learn to identify the voice of God, the Bible will talk specifically to you. The Bible is also a good place to confirm a word from God. Hebrews 4:12 goes on to say that the Word of God, "is a discerner of the thoughts..." God will never say anything to you that does not agree with Scripture.

Of course, God can talk to you anytime and anywhere. However, it starts with learning to recognize Him. This message should get you started. If you make a mistake do not worry. The Bible says in Jeremiah 23:28, "The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?" says the Lord." Chaff is easily shaken off, our mistakes are too.

It is a wonderful thing to hear God. He talks to us continuously. I have learned this from my own experiences. God wants all of us to hear Him.

Be Blessed!

Monday, February 20, 2012

I can't do it!

Mark 10:21 (NKJV) 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."

The rich man posed the question, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him and said, "Obey the commandments". Jesus was referring to the Ten Commandments (Mark 10:19). The man claimed that he had met the requirements of the law covenant since youth (Mark 10:20). Somehow, he still did not have peace about inheriting eternal life.

Jesus started with the first law, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." This was another way of saying, "do not put any other god's before me" (Exodus 20:3). The Bible then says in verse 22, "the rich man was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions." HE COULD NOT DO IT.

At the conclusion of this story, in verse 27, Jesus says, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible." You see, if you cannot do it; God wants you anyhow. God provided the most perfect sacrifice possible---the firstborn Son of God. The righteousness of any other creation falls short of this perfect standing and it is simply not possible for man to meet the requirements of the Ten Commandments. On the outside people may appear to meet these requirements, but in their heart---no way.

Jesus said in Matthew 23:26, "first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also." When you receive the righteousness of God by grace, you literally have His perfect righteousness inside of you. You have, "the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead" inside you. The Bible says in Romans 8:11, "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." If you want to change some bad behaviors, let God do it for you from inside.

As a believer, His Spirit is inside you. You need to fellowship with His Spirit---even while you sin on the outside. We sometimes think that we can only fellowship with the Holy Spirit when we are being righteous. It is when we sin that we need this fellowship the most. God does not love you less when you sin. He knew you were going to sin before you did. God wants the opportunity to change you. All you have to do is acknowledge His love, grace, and compassion---always. Talk to Him continually, you will see amazing results.

It makes no difference what size the issue is, God wants to make you completely free (Luke 4:18). The changes that He has made in my life are incredible.

Be Blessed!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Remove the Stone---for good!

Genesis 29:8 (NLT) 8 “We can’t water the animals until all the flocks have arrived,” they replied. “Then the shepherds move the stone from the mouth of the well, and we water all the sheep and goats.”

The Bible is so incredible. Every name, every number, and every event can be packed with revelation for a believer. This verse above is a great example. This verse says that God's children come to church on Sunday and experience the grace, compassion, and love of God. However, during the week they disconnect themselves from God. They believe that they have to meet a certain level of righteousness to remain connected to God. Throughout the week they do not experience the wonderful intimacy that they enjoyed at church. So how do I get all of that from this verse?

This comes from a story in Genesis chapter 29. The story is about Jacob and the first time he meets his two wives, Rachel and Leah. Beginning in verse 5, we uncover an interesting message by interpreting the names mentioned. The Bible says in Genesis 29:5, "Then he said to them, "Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?" And they said, "We know him." The first name, Laban, means glorious white. Nahor means, one who breaths through nostrils. When we translate the names, the question becomes; Do you know the glorious white Son of Him who breaths through nostrils? They responded by saying that they know Him.

We know that the glorious white Son is Jesus because we know that God breathed life into Adams nostrils (Genesis 2:7). Now the question becomes---do you know Jesus? They said yes. So we know that this message is about Christians. Now study verse 8 at the top. The shepherds are the pastors of the church. On Sunday, they preach grace and remove the stone [the law]. The law was written on stone tablets and it separates us from our life source. Our life source is God.

Many Christians believe that they have to meet some level of righteousness to fellowship with God. The Bible tells us in Romans 6:14, "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." So no matter what your week is like, talk to God continually. He loves you no matter what. When you stay connected, you will experience the power of God in wonderful ways. Unhealthy desires will fade away. Healthy desires will begin to take over and you will experience a true life worth living. Find time to read your Bible. God will talk to you through His Word. One word from God can change everything.

Be Blessed!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Teach Levi!

Genesis 29:34 34 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, "Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." Therefore his name was called Levi.

When God wants to make a point, He will repeat Himself several times. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13:1, "By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established."

Last Sunday at church, our pastor preached an awesome message about God inside of us. He began by quoting Matthew 7:7-11. Matthew 7:11 says "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" He continued the message with 1 John 4:4, "...He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." What we contain inside of us is powerful!

The name of the message is Pursuing God. You can link to our church here (The Loft Church) if you like and listen to it. I could never do the message justice in a few short words. What made this message remarkable was what happened next. I received the same message four more times, from four different sources, the next day.

I get several Bible devotionals emailed to my smart phone each day. I find it to be a great way for me to start my day. My phone is on a shelf next to me when I sleep and I read devotionals before I even get out of bed.

One devotional I read started with Ephesians 3:19, "to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." An excellent message about learning Gods love for us. As we learn more about His love, we get filled with more God.(Joseph Prince devotional) (I highly recommend Joseph Prince and Joel Osteen devotionals).

Another message quoted Matthew 28:20 that says, "...I am with you always, even to the end of the age." This message made a point how God never leaves you. (God Speaks devotional)

Then I read a devotional that quoted Acts 2:22, "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know--[Jesus was a man]." This devotional made the important point that Jesus was every bit a Man. He was a Man equipped with the Holy Spirit. (Today God is First devotional)

That was now four times within twenty-four hours that I heard the same message. The same message taught four different ways. Of course, that gets my attention and I am meditating on these lessons as much as possible. What happened next makes it even more interesting.

I was pondering what I would put in my next post. I thought I had a good message to share but I just could not seem to start it. I decided to just pray in the spirit for a while and see what happens.  Later on that evening, I heard in my thinking---Teach Levi.

The name Levi means attached. The priests of the Old Testament came from the tribe of Levi. The priest was a way for God to connect to the people. In the New Testament, the born again believer is the priest (revelation 1:6). This means that if you are born again, God is attached to this world through you. God wants you to be a display of His goodness and a source of every good thing for this world.

The Bible says in Ephesians 1:19 (NLT), "I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him ..." This is the message; God is in you, God is on you, God is with you, God works through you, and God is powerful! God used five different sources to deliver this message to you. He wants you to know the full value of His sacrifice on the cross. He wants you to take advantage of this wonderful purchase.

Be Blessed!