2.4 God Speaks to His People

If you’ve been attending church and in fellowship regularly, mainly an evangelical Christian church, you’ll hear people say things like they felt led by the Lord, or God told me…”

Often times Christians who have not been in God’s Word regularly and don’t take the time to study the Word, or non-believers just plainly don’t know what it is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ think, “how does God talk to these people?”  How do you know it’s really God speaking. Or, “Does God just come to you in some spiritual form and sit at your dining room table and say, “We should talk?”

In the scriptures below you’ll find that many ears will hear, but many will not understand.  Today’s devotion touches on how God speaks to His people, in the past and now in the present.  If you desire to learn more about how to hear from the Lord, start writing a daily devotional journal.  (Click here or see the link on the right).  You’ll be glad you did.

S – Scripture:

Hebrews 1:1 “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.”

John 14:26 “The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

John 8:47 “He who belongs to God hears what God says.  The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

O – Obeservation:

In today Experiencing God workbook – Blackaby reminds us that in the Old Testament God spoke in a variety of ways.  During Jesus’ time, God spoke through Jesus.  Now God speaks through the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit will teach you all things, will call to your memory the things Jesus said, will guide you into the truth, will speak what He hears from the Father, will tell you what is yet to come, and glorify Christ as He reveals Christ to you.”

The key words to look at here and in the Bible is that through the Holy Spirit, God will speak by:

-teaching

-recalling to your memory

-guidance in truth (His Word)

-speak, tell, glorify.

A – Application:

The main thing people say is, “How Do I Know When God Speaks?”

The four ways that God speaks is through:

The Bible, Prayer, Circumstance, Church

Writing a Devotional Journal is key in my hearing from the Lord.  I can pray, read my Bible, attend church, observe circumstances – all of which need to be done and we need to participate in, however it’s when I journal (to learn more about journaling with your devotions, click on the link about Journaling) I hear most clearly from the Lord.  Through the Word of God I learn, and when I write the SOAP method of what I learn, along with prayer – confirmation of God’s teaching is from circumstances and the Word and fellowship through the church.

Personally I notice that if I lack direction, or I feel that I haven’t heard from the Lord – it’s usually because I’ve been robbing my time with the Lord to listen to Him during devotions and I haven’t made the time to stop and wait for guidance.  When we do everything we can in “our power” – based on our education, our finances, our work, our families – sure we are being resourceful – but why do we wait until we can’t fathom anymore and we surrender to the Lord saying, “I give up, Lord help me!”  Why did we not go to Him from the very beginning?

P – Prayer:

Life would be so much easier if we remember to go to our Lord from the beginning and say, “Father, I can’t do this on my own, please help me, guide me and allow me to know your will.”

Advertisements

Make Time for God

Make time for God. Not enough time in the day? What's your relationship like when you run out of time. -Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Make time for God. Not enough time in the day? What's your relationship like when you run out of time. -Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Walking with God. Quiet time with God. In the busy-ness of life we need to make time, because we can. We make time to get up, go to work, spend time with our friends/family, go to the gym, go on vacation – yet so many of us say, “there’s just not enough time in the day to have ‘quiet time’ with God.”

S – Scripture:

Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. ~2 Corinthians 5:14 NLT

Read from: Experiencing God – Unit 2 – Day 3

O – Observation:

Paul wrote in Corinthians that the love of Christ controls us, in the NKJV it says that the ‘love of Christ compels us,’ and in the Amplified Bible it says that, ‘the love of Christ controls, and urges and impels us.’  The love of Christ strongly moves us to love.

A – Application:

In Day 3, Blackaby reminds of the story of Adam and Eve – whom God created for a love relationship with God. When they sinned, they hid from the Lord, when he asked where they were (as if he didn’t already know), God knew that there was something wrong with their relationship.

Are we hiding from God? What would happen if you didn’t talk to your kids, your spouse, your coworkers, for a whole day, let alone, week and months?  Some of you might think, ‘hey I wish I could, but they keep talking to me and no one’s listening.’

Maybe we need to relook at how we spend time with God. Are we going to Him, only when we want or need something? Is it a one-way conversation?  What is “quiet time?”

Daily we need to spend time, reading his word so that we can hear from the Lord, receive guidance, instruction, inspiration, words of wisdom.  When we pray we should start with adoration, how much we love and appreciate the Lord for all that he has done for us. We can then ask for our needs or desires, even though he knows our heart, he still wants to hear from you.  Then, we need to sit in quiet. In the still of time, I can hear the Lord most clearly.

I have found that when I have traveled to foreign countries I hear God best. It’s most likely because I don’t speak the language, although I travel with other English speakers, there’s more time to just watch, observe, and listen. God wants to speak to us – please take that time to hear him, take quiet time daily, you’ll receive the peace he speaks about and promises in scripture.

P – Prayer:

Father, I thank you for your love, your grace, your mercy. You are the true and living God. Forgive me when I rush through my devotions and don’t always take the ‘quiet’ part of my devotional time to hear you. Help me to know and do your will with a joyful heart.

You are my all and all. You are my rock and my salvation for which I shall not fear. Thank you for your blessings, for provision, for health. In Jesus name, amen.

Date: 28 April 2010

© @mLehua – 2010 – All Rights Reserved

2.2 Not by my will, nor strength, but in God’s strength

Excerpt: The Lord God spoke about the people of Israel, doing their own thing, worshipping other gods, not following God’s commandments; they didn’t want to have anything to do with the only true and living God. – Experiencing God – Unit 2, Day 2 S – Scripture: Psalm 81:13-14 “Oh, that My people would listen to Me, That Israel would walk in My ways! I would soon subdue their enemies, And turn My hand against their adversaries.” O–Observation: In Psalm 81, The Lord God spoke about the people of Israel, doing their own thing, worshipping other gods, not following God’s commandments; they didn’t want to do have anything to do with the only true and living God.  Because of this rebellion and their refusal to repent of their evil ways, God allowed the people of Israel to suffer the consequences of their actions. God would not protect them from their enemies and blessed them; however, God allowed them to continue to NOT receive his best.

A – Application: Experiencing God workbook – pg 30 – Blackaby encourages us as Christ followers to be aware of what God is doing around us, to be obedient to His Word, to know that we cannot do the things that the Lord may be showing us to do on our own. However, we can allow God to use us and through His power and will, we can accomplish His work. By following the desire of God, we are pleasing to him. We can be assured that He will guide us and protect us and that nothing will be done that is not His will. If we choose to follow a route that is not God’s will, or try to do things on our own, the Lord will try to guide us back on track, but we have free will.

P – Prayer: Lord I pray that my will is always your will. I know that I cannot do many things; however, in you I can do all things as the scripture says. I ask that you forgive me for my sins, help me to be aware of your work around me and create opportunities for me to be involved in your work. In Jesus name, amen.

2.1 God Centered Living: focus your life on God’s purpose not your own plans

O – Observation:

Blackaby states that, “Self-centeredness is a subtle trap… Like King Asa, you can avoid it (self-centeredness) at one time and fall right into the trap at another time. God-centeredness requires a daily death of self and submission to God.”

In reading John 12:20-36 – Jesus predicts his death; he tells the analogy of a wheat kernel which must be planted in soil and dies, or it is alone. However, in its death, the kernel will produce many new kernels.  Jesus said that if a person loves their life (more than anything else does) they would lose it, as all people will eventually die. Those who do not care about their lives, (give sacrificially for others, even if they lose their earthly lives) will keep it for eternity. It’s difficult to read the two statements here and not ask yourself the question, “why?”.

In regards to Blackaby’s interpretation, we as Christ followers must die daily to our selfishness in order to be God-centered and submit to God.

A – Application:

How can I apply this to my life? I would need to start my day and seek the Lord first as it states in Matthew 6:33, I would also need to be consciously aware in my thought process of, “What would Jesus do?”  In order to be God-centered, my decisions are based on what is pleasing to the Lord. This is a challenge, surrounded by the world’s influence of “What’s in it for me?” – Life as we know it is temporary. How do we place God first and have him in the center of our lives and not be stampeded upon or used like a rug. How do we take one scripture and say, “I want to know and do God’s purpose not my own.”

Read from: Experiencing God – Unit 2 – Day 1

S – Scripture:

John 12:24-25 “24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. Nevertheless, its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. NLT

P – Prayer:

Father forgive me for my sins, help me to know and do your will. Lord may your grace fall upon me. Help me to do what is expected. Allow me eyes to see and ears to hear, the beauty and blessings you have given me. Give me strength, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to do your will.  Let not the things I do be my plans, but yours.  Help me to die daily to self-centeredness and help me to be God-centered. In Jesus name, amen.

Date:  04 April 2010

©   @mLehua – 2010 – All Rights Reserved

2.0 When Someone Asks About Spiritual Matters

Photo by: SiliconChaos via Flickr

2.0  Jesus Has You on Speed Dial — Why Don’t You Pick Up?
O – Observation: “No one will ask after spiritual matters unless God is at work in his life.” Blackaby, 2.0 — Is God working around you and you just don’t know? Did you ask God to use you to minister to others, yet you’re not sure if an opportunity arises, if that is really God? The scripture is plain, in John 6:44 — “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”

If that’s the case, then you should know, that God is already working in a person’s life when they come to you and ask about spiritual matters. When that person comes to you and ask about your faith, why you believe in God, why you go to church, what’s with “religion”.  Know that this is an opportunity that God has created to use you in his Kingdom Work, to share the Good News with this person.

The author of EG aka Experiencing God opens unit two with several key scriptures. It’s interesting how each time I have gone through the EG workbook I am awakened to verses that I have read many times over, yet a new revelation is revealed. That is the power of God’s word. It’s also the reason, if we had no other reading material for the rest of our lives, if we seek God first, to speak to us through his Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit that lives within us; we would never need another book or news source.

The “S” or scriptures for today are three verses that explain that if anyone, even when you and I were asking, and seeking God; it wasn’t because of us or something someone else did. It was because God was drawing us to him, John 6:44 is the best all the verses, it’s plain and simple.

Read from: Experiencing God – Unit 2 : Looking to God

S – Scripture:

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” – Psalm 20:7;

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.” –Romans 3:10-11;

“No one can come to me (Jesus) unless the Father who sent me draws him.” – John 6:44

A – Application:

I can apply these verses to my life by remembering that if someone around me is asking questions about the Lord; seeking the meaning of God’s creation; that is the Lord working.

We’ve already ready that we need to seek where God is working and get involved. If we question a situation in our lives and ask, “Is that really you Lord?”  The answer is simple, if someone asks you about God, your faith, why you believe what you believe, consider the answer to be, “Yes”.  God is working in that person’s life, drawing that person to him, and wants to use you to plant seeds, and possible bring that person to a personal relationship to Jesus Christ.

P – Prayer:

Father we thank you for the revelation of your word. There are signs and wonders everywhere. Yet we are only to look at the relationships in our day to day life, to look for the opportunities around us that say, “here I am send me”. God wants to use us in his work. Let us be aware of the situations around us that ask us to participate in his calling to him. In Jesus name, amen.

Date: 29 March 2010

© @mLehua – 2010 – All Rights Reserved

1.5 Accepting Gods Invitation

O – Observation: The first three realities of the “Seven Realities of God – are about what God is doing around us; God pursuing us; and inviting us to become involved with him and his work.  The other four realties are what are we going to do – how do we react or respond to God’s invitation?

 Reality number four: God speaking and revealing his purpose and his ways, this is the invitation to join him in his work.

 Reality number five: a ‘crisis of belief’ in the example of God inviting Moses to get involved. Moses’ first reaction was to say, “Who am I” and can’t you send someone else to do your work? – Ex. 3:11, 13, 4:1, 10, 13) – this seems to be the common response from a large group of Christians who are not doing as Matthew 6:33, Seeking God First.

Reality number six: We need to make major adjustments to our life to join God in what he is doing.  All too often we find ourselves very comfortable in our daily routine, even if that routine has nothing to do with God’s work. It’s a safe life to stay within the boundaries that we feel no one will reject us nor judge us.  However, the Lord may have other plans and he may be calling you out of your comfort zone to get involved in his work. Will you obey?

Realty number seven: We as children of God come to know God by experience as we obey God and see how God can accomplish his work through our obedience.  This of course is where the life lessons are learned and imprinted into our hearts and minds. These are the experiences that increase our faith and our walk with the Lord becomes stronger.

 Read from: Experiencing God – Unit 1 – Day 5: God Works Through His Servants, Part 2

S – Scripture: Exodus 3:2-8 and Numbers 12:6-8

 A – Application:

Don’t allow fear, laziness, or the unknown – hinder my ability to step out in faith when I feel that God is calling me to get involved with the work that he is doing around me. It is my responsibility to see what God is doing and get take action and accept the invitation. I cannot wait for God to use me; his work is already being done, waiting for me to accept the call.

P – Prayer:

Father forgive me for the times that I have not paid attention to your voice, your direction. Help me to see and hear where you are working and receive the invitation to be used for your glory. Help me to move quickly through the “crisis of belief” and to know that I can do nothing alone, only through Christ – all things are possible. In Jesus name, amen.

Date: 24 March 2010

©   @mLehua – 2010 – All Rights Reserved

The Seven Realities of Experiencing God

1.4.1   God Works Through His Servants

O – Observation:

Blackaby created the foundation of the Experiencing God teaching on what he called the “Seven Realities of Experiencing God,” they are:

  1. God is always at work around you.
  2. God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal.
  3. God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.
  4. God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church.
  5. God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
  6. You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.
  7. You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.

 

Throughout the Experiencing God teaching – the author reveals each part of the Seven Realities to help us understand how to truly “experience” our relationship with Christ. Blackaby refers often to the Seven Realities, so it’s important to know them and understand the meaning. When I studied this I was especially moved by number 4 – God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church. Because of Reality #4, I was able to know when and how God was speaking to me. Especially as I journal and read the bible, journaling helps me to look back at what I learn and in the present, journaling helps me to take a piece of a larger part of the scripture reading and apply it to my life.

 

It’s important to see that S.O.A.P. works well with the Seven Realities – because we can read and have “head knowledge”; however nothing the dictionary definitions of the bible mean nothing unless we apply biblical teachings to our lives.  In Reality #6 – you may find the most challenging – because this is where we apply, “make major adjustments” in our lives and “join God in what He is doing,” not just what we want to be doing.

 

Read from: Experiencing God – Unit 1 – Day 4: God Works Through His Servants Part 1

S – Scripture:

“Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7

 

A – Application:

I can apply this reading and scripture to my life by remembering the Seven Realities of God – mainly by knowing when and how the Lord is speaking to me and making both major and minor adjustments in my life to join God in His work; by doing these things, I am pleasing to the Lord. My desire is work towards the goal, of the Lord saying, “well done, my good and faithful servant.”

 

P – Prayer:

Father, I thank you for your love and grace. I ask that you forgive me for my sins, my actions and words that were not uplifting to others and did not bring you glory. I ask that you help me to remove the pride and ‘chip off my shoulder’, to know and do your will with a grateful heart. In Jesus name, amen.

Date: 23 March 2010

©   @mLehua – 2010 – All Rights Reserved

Greatness Comes from Serving Others

1.3  Learning to Be a Servant of God;    O – ObservationThrough the example of Jesus, we should not expect others to serve us, in the sense that we are always receiving and never giving.  There are some cultures in our society that expect others to take care of them, ask for hand-outs instead of working, if we are physically and mentally able to care for ourselves and help others then we should.  Even with limitations, we should still serve as we are able.   A good example is my brother who was born with cerebral palsy. Paralyzed on his left side, challenged by a speech impediment, balance, and developmentally delayed; he has the spirit of a servant.  He tries his best to help those who are both able and less able than he. If the simplest things like pushing someone in a wheelchair, even though his left hand doesn’t open completely, he will try to push the other person who has no use of their feet. I can and still learn much from my brother.

S – Scripture:  Read from: Experiencing God – Unit 1 – Day 3

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt 20:26-28

A – Application:

I can apply this scripture to my life by thinking first how can I help others before I can think what’s in it for me.  There is always a way to give back. When someone wants to bless me by doing things or giving me something, I can receive it by God’s grace and blessing and if the person has no “needs”, I can share a blessing to another person. Service doesn’t need to be to the same person who blesses you, we are all to share our gifts and talents with one another and then give to those who maybe in need of what we have or can do for them.

P – Prayer:

Father thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for giving us your Son who died on the cross for our sins. Thank you for Jesus, who with a servant’s attitude, came to serve us, your children, and to give us the ultimate gift. In Jesus name, amen.

Date: 22 March 2010

©   @mLehua – 2010 – All Rights Reserved

Jesus Is Your Role Model

1.2 – Jesus: A Role Model –

 S – Scripture: “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too, am working. I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.” – John 5:17, 19-20        Reading: Experiencing God Unit 1 – Day 2 Jesus Is Your Model

O – Observation:

In today lesson, Blackaby describes the “Bible as Your Guide” and “What is God’s Will for My Life.” It’s true that we often hear people say, “Why should I follow the laws of the bible, that’s so old fashion.” Or, “What does the bible have to do with what’s going on in my life today?”

As Christ followers God called us to be one of His followers before we even knew his name. When God calls people to follow him, he most likely won’t give you all the details of what your future will be. I know for myself if he did, I probably wouldn’t like what I’m hearing, or I may think, “How can I do any of what he needs me to do?” That’s where faith comes and the Lord knows that we lack faith and understanding when we first come to him that comes with time and studying his Word.

We study his Word, the scriptures, the Holy Bible, so that we can know God’s will and receive His guidance. God actually tells us everything that we need to know through the lives of those who came before us. The bible is a guide, our instruction book to life here on earth and all that we are to do.

If you look at the workbook, Blackaby mentions several scriptures which describe God’s call to men to follow Him, without being given the “full story” of what his expectations were of them. Here are the scriptures and the people mentioned:

  1. Matthew 4:18:20 – Simon Peter and Andrew
  2. Matthew 4:21-22 – James and John
  3. Matthew 9:9 – Matthew
  4. Acts 9:1-20 – Saul and Ananias

One of the most profound statements that I received the first time I studied Experiencing God – was the that we should not be asking ourselves, “What is God’s Will for My Life?” But we should ask ourselves, “What is God’s Will (period).” That’s all, because this is not about us; it’s about what is God’s will and for me to adjust my life to Him.

Through the entire study and throughout the years it the one most quoted section that I remember. I even wrote, “eye opener” in my workbook, back in 2001 when I first read it.

A – Application:

I will apply this to my life by remembering that it is not, “how can I be used for God?” but where is He at work and getting involved in His will.

P – Prayer:

Father I thank you for your love, kindness, and mercy. Show me your will and your ways so that I may adjust my life to you. In Jesus name, amen.

Today’s Date: March 15, 2010

© elehua808 – 2010- All Rights Reserved

Gods Will and Your Life

1.1. Let’s Begin!

O – Observation:

The introduction of this study explains that this is NOT a “program” nor a “method” but a “love relationship with God. Through this relationship God reveals His will and invites you to join Him where He is already at work.

John 15:5 is the example of Jesus is “I” and you and I are the “you” – when you think about a vine and its branches – you’ll understand that if the grape branches are not connected to the vine which provides its water and nutrients – the branch will die. This is a simple analogy of Jesus saying, he’s the vine and we are the branches of the vine, if we are not connected to Him, then like a vine branch, we will die. We are nothing without the life-blood, the nutrients that feed our souls.

Here’s a link to blueletterbible.com – check out Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, CA Pastor Chuck Smith’s audio message on John 15.

The important parts of this study are on page 8 which clearly states some of the expectations, hopes and desires, that people have about going through the Experiencing God series – “Looking for More in Your Experience of God:”

  • Hear when God is speaking to you
  • Clearly identify the activity of God in your life
  • Believe Him to be and do everything He promises
  • Adjust your beliefs, character, and behavior to Him and His ways
  • See a direction that He is taking in your life and what He wants to do through your life
  • Clearly know what you need to do in response to His activity in your life and
  • Experience God doing through you what only God can do!

Reading from Unit 1 – Day 1, Jesus is Your Way

S – Scripture: John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

A – Application:

There are so many great scriptures in each daily study of each Unit in Experiencing God. I can only choose one. It’s great to be excited about each scripture opening up to me as I pray to ask God to reveal His ways to me. Applying today’s study is a reminder that we need to have a personal relationship with Christ before we can even begin to understand what His Word is teaching us. And if we separate ourselves from God, we will wither and die, for we are no longer feed and given our life source, our nutrients to survive in this world.

John 14:26 (in the side bars of the workbook) it says, “Your Teacher” – who is your teacher? The Holy Spirit. “The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things.” We can be thankful that all of the things we hope to get out of our daily devotions and studying the word of God, studying Experiencing God, does not and cannot come from “head knowledge” but from having a personal relationship with Christ and the Holy Spirit will be our teacher and reveal 1st Corinthians 2:14 to us.

P – Prayer:

I ask that the Lord forgive me for my sins. I seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and ask that spiritually I be aware of the things that God would like to reveal to me, through his word.  I am thankful that I live in a country that is allows me to learn and study the Holy Bible freely. I pray that I can share the things that I learn and it would help others to seek the Lord for themselves. In Jesus name, amen.

© elehua808 – 2010- All Rights Reserved

07March2010