Tag Archives: God’s Voice

Does God Speak Today?

Ezekiel 13

First let me say an unequivocal YES! But I think we need to be careful what words we put in His mouth.

What would possess someone to say they’ve had a vision or prophecy from God when they haven’t? Can someone who truly knows God lie about such a thing? There are whole religions based on lies claiming came from God. Some even use the Name of Jesus, but have fashioned a Jesus that’s not in the Bible. Do the leaders of these churches sit back and chuckle at the gullibility of their followers? Or have they deceived themselves and are actually convinced God has given them a special word apart from Scripture?

I think there is a test to know if what you are hearing is actually the voice of God. Simply put, if it’s not in the Bible, it’s not God’s Word. I think we need to be careful about what we attribute to God’s voice.

Years ago I heard a woman say God told her she would live in a certain house by a certain date. “God told me as clearly as anything,” she said. But the deadline passed and she didn’t live in the house. Had God lied to her? Could God not make His promise to her happen? Or had she put her wishes in God’s mouth?

I think we need to be careful to claim God has told us anything we can’t put chapter and verse to. It may sound very spiritual to say you’ve had a special word from God, it may seem to give your words more weight. But it’s a serious thing to speak for our Holy God. God has already said everything He wanted too say, then closed the Book.

Jesus IS the Word. God’s Word is alive and active and powerful and used for our correction and growth. God’s Word is Scripture.

So if you are hearing God speak, you’d better write down the words so we can all read it, memorize it, and live by it. (1 Susie 3:16)

I believe God speaks to His children today through the Words He inspired men to write in what we refer to as the Bible. Those are God’s Words. Often I am reading a verse or passage and it jumps out at me and it speaks to a question I have or a circumstance I’m facing. Sometimes I am praying and a verse comes to mind that speaks to a need I have. Those verses are God’s voice to me. And I believe to all of us.

In Ezekiel, God is going to punish people who claim to have a word from God, and don’t. He’s going to punish people for putting words in His mouth, and misrepresenting Him. God is very protective of His Word.

I hear God saying the same today. I want to be very careful what I attribute to God’s voice. Because He takes His Word very seriously.

(Numbers 21-25) Are You Listening?

Two things from the Balak/Balaam account struck me this morning.

The first is the importance of knowing God’s Word. Balaam was adamant when he said he would only speak God’s words and nothing else. He spoke only God’s words to Balak, even though it was not at all what Balak wanted to hear, and in fact, had the potential to cause Balaam a great deal of trouble, maybe even death.

The thing is, many of us can quote a verse here and there to support a belief:

God is love.

Judge not.

I will never leave or forsake you.

He will give you the desires of your heart.

All scriptural. All truth. But what I noticed about Balaam is that he didn’t pick and choose the parts of the words God gave him that would make him look good, or would make Balak happy. God gave Balaam the words, and Balaam quoted them to Balak exactly as God had spoken them.

We can’t quote, “God is love” without also declaring His holiness, His Lordship, and the fact He punishes sin without mercy. We can tell each other “judge not” but we must also tell each other to address sin in lives so those sins can be forgiven by God. We can rest assured God will never leave us, but that promise is for His children only. He does leave those who reject Him by holding onto sin. God gives us the desires of our hearts when we trust Him, when His desires become ours. Do you know where to find the verses that complete the verses I quoted above? You should. They are God’s words.

God not only speaks to us through His written word, He uses Scripture to speak through us to hearts that are in need of His saving grace. When we witness to someone we shouldn’t be sharing our opinions about Scripture. We should be using Scripture honestly, pointing out the very verses that speak to their need of Jesus, and allowing God’s own words to move in hearts.

We have got to put down the commentaries and shut down the internet, and open the precious pages of the Bible to hear God’s voice. We need to study God’s words to show ourselves approved by Him so that we are fully equipped to share God’s Word with others. God’s words. Not ours.

The second thing that struck me today is how Balak tried to finagle God into giving him what he wanted. Three times he tried to manipulate God into putting a curse on the Jews.

Maybe if I sacrifice here I’ll get what I want.

Maybe over there God will give me the desire of my heart.

Maybe there on that mountain. Maybe there God will do what I say.

Have you ever tried to manipulate God? You go to church thinking God will reward you with what you want. You’ve heard that if you claim it, you can have it… so you claim it loud and clear, believing that is the key to getting God to move. You convince yourself that if you quit swearing, or drinking, or if you sing in the choir, lift your hands and pray out loud God will do whatever you ask.

Is that how you see God working in Scripture? Can God be manipulated into being your magic genie?

Goes back to my first point. Read the Bible. Read it again. Pray for understanding. Then live it, use it, love it. The answers to your questions are there. God’s plan of salvation is there. God’s hope for the future is there. God’s instructions about how we should treat others, what He thinks of sin, what Jesus did on the cross, and what He wants you to do because of it is there.

You can’t manipulate God. But you can get to know His heart, and transform into the man or woman He wants you to be by listening to His voice through His own words. You can’t hear Him if you aren’t reading those words for yourself. Read the Bible.

And listen.

What God Wants You To Know (Psalm 94)

God’s Word is alive. Whenever I prayerfully read it, God always – always – speaks to me about something that applies to my life at that very moment. It might be a verse I’ve read many times before, but when I am going through something and need a word from God, that same verse brings on new meaning at just the right time. Oh, what a treasure I forfeit when I don’t spend time reading God’s love letter to me every day.

I’d like to share something Mom had underlined in her Bible, a couple verses that spoke to me from this psalm this morning. I think it might be something God wants us all to hear Him say as our world slowly opens up after the forced separation surrounding the virus.

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. (verses 18-19)

My prayer is that all of us will rest in the supporting love of our Lord. I pray that any anxiety we might feel will be replaced with joy that only God can give as we allow Him to console us.

Dear one, I would ask all of us to stop listening to the media tell us how scared we should be. Stop allowing Satan to cause us anxiety and hopelessness.

Listen instead to God, read His Word instead of the newspaper, and hear Him say that He is able to keep us from falling (Jude 24); He wants us to cast our cares and anxieties on Him because He cares for us (I Peter 5:7).

Then, may we all go through this day, and tomorrow, and the next day with the confidence of God’s support, the joy that is ours through our relationship with the Creator. This is the day the Lord has made. We can rejoice and be glad in it, May 29, 2020, virus and all.

I think that’s what God wants us to know today.

Oh Give Thanks

Psalm 107 begins with these words:

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! For his mercy endures forever.

I am reminded that we have every reason to give thanks. God is good. And the mercy he has shown us is eternal. But it seems that the author of this psalm realized that thankfulness isn’t necessarily one of our strong points. Several times these words are repeated:

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

I’ve been in a funk lately. I find myself sitting alone in my home, watching TV or reading, and sighing a lot. I haven’t been motivated to walk even though the weather in my part of the world is nearly perfect this time of year. I read my Bible every day, and continue to write in my journal. I just haven’t felt led to post anything for several weeks. It seems God has been silent. Can that be? Does he have nothing of value to say to me through his Word?

Then I read Psalm 107 and recognize the problem is in me. I’ve neglected thankfulness. God has rescued me time after time, he has seen me through hard times, he’s revealed himself through victories. Every day there is evidence of his love and his presence. But I think I’m taking him for granted. I’m too busy feeling sorry for me.

So it’s time for an attitude check. I stopped this morning to consider how blessed I am, and the words of an old hymn came to mind. The lyrics are old school, but powerful:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

I don’t know what life is like for you right now. But if you know Jesus as your Savior, you are blessed beyond what could be recorded in the skies. I would encourage you (and me) to take our eyes off situations, other people, the challenges of life, and consider God. He is personal. He is present. And he wants you to know how much he loves you. Isn’t that reason enough to be thankful?

Here’s how my Father nudged me to read this psalm today:

Oh that Connie (you can insert your name if you are led) would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to her personally, lovingly, intimately.

May my life be lived out of a thankful heart to God, through whom all blessings flow.

The Good Shepherd

I was reading in John 10 this morning, and remembered something my pastor shared when he spoke on this text a few weeks ago. Jesus tells us he is the Good Shepherd as well as the door for the sheep. Maybe you already knew this, but this is what I learned:

Shepherds were with their sheep 24/7. They spoke to the sheep often so that they would recognize the shepherd’s voice. The more time the shepherds spent speaking to the sheep, the more familiar their voices became to their flock. Because there were times even shepherds needed a hot meal and a good night’s sleep.

Occasionally, the shepherds would lead their flocks into town, and put them in a community pen with sheep from other flocks. There was a gate and a guard to keep the sheep secure while the shepherd went home for a few hours. (I like thinking of Jesus as the gate, keeping me safe and secure, too).

In the morning, the shepherd fully rested, would go to the pen and begin talking. His sheep would hear his voice and go to him. The other sheep would simply ignore him. Those sheep did not recognize the shepherd’s voice. The shepherd would gather his flock and be on his way, leaving the others behind.

The question is, have I spent enough time with my Good Shepherd so that I know his voice? Have I devoured Scripture, spent time in prayer, listened to sound teaching so that I can distinguish my Shepherd’s voice from all other voices that are calling to me?

Or do I follow many voices, follow many ideas, believe things to be true that are not Scriptural, following this one, then that like a lost lamb? Jesus said his sheep hear his voice and follow him. Does that describe me? Describe you?

May it be so.

My Dear Good Shepherd, thank you for your voice that calls to me from your Holy Word. Thank you for the promptings that lead me where you want me to go. Thank you for loving me, caring for me, protecting me from the enemy who would destroy me if he could. May I stay close enough to you that I not only recognize your voice, but can ignore Satan’s voice as well. And may I follow you wherever you lead.

Hard Hearts and a New Year

The Bible tells us some hearts have become so hard against God that they will never come to him. (Read Revelation 15&16 for example). Prosperity, health, times of peace don’t draw them to the Savior. Poverty, sickness, and times of war don’t either. Some people are so tightly in Satan’s grasp they don’t even recognize the countless ways God is trying to get their attention.

In John’s vision, people watched the destruction of the Great City, Babylon. (chapter 18) Once the rich and powerful center of everything, the city received God’s wrath in a day. The neighboring towns and the merchants watched the destruction and said: That’s too bad. I feel sorry for that city. Now who will buy my wares? (from 18:11)

That got me to thinking. The world thinks they know what love, success, happiness, and contentment are. Satan has manufactured a pretty good imitation of God’s blessings. But in the end, those things which produce a false security, won’t hold. In the end, those people will be like the merchants, alone and ruined, and crying: What about me?

Life is not just the days we walk on planet Earth. It is forever. You will always exist.

One day, those who have humbled themselves and accepted God’s grace, the forgiveness of sin through the sacrifice of Jesus, will stand together and enjoy the best party ever thrown. The rest will find themselves alone, in darkness, crying in a loud voice: What about me?

2014 is almost behind us. It’s that time of year when many people reevaluate their lives, when they look back and think, What if?, and when they look ahead to a new year, a new start, a clean slate. I pray that as you do, you will consider your heart’s condition. God is trying to get your attention. Do you recognize it? Do you respond? Are you sensitive to his voice, or is your heart so hardened by sin  that you don’t even hear it?

Some good things will happen to you in 2015. And so will some bad things. In all that happens, look for what God is saying to you. Trust him. He won’t let you down.

Heavenly Father, some who read this blog are burdened by the events of 2014. Some have lost loved ones, some have faced physical challenges, some are lonely and afraid, some are confused and disheartened. I pray that all of us would check our heart’s condition. May we begin this new year humbled before you, repenting of our sin, accepting your grace, and determined to have hearts that are sensitive to what you have for us in 2015. Go with us God, as you have promised. May you find us faithfully obeying you, loving you, and spending time reading and learning from your written Word.   May our hearts be softened so you can mold us into the people you would have us be. Bless your people, Lord, and make us a blessing to others.