452:  How to Hear God’s Voice

452: How to Hear God’s Voice

As we see the day of His return approaching, we must be more diligent to make sure we don’t fall for the great deception Jesus spoke about (Matt. 24:4) and prepare ourselves for the coming apostasy (2 Thes. 2:3). Why?  Because as our Lord warned the deception would be so great even the elect, if possible, would be deceived and fall away (Matt. 24:214).

So what are we to do?  How do we become a faith prepper and guard ourselves against such great deception?  The answer is simple to understand, yet difficult to do.  In Cliff Notes style:

You must personally experience God yourself.
Second-hand faith won’t cut it.
Your faith must be first-person, personal.
You cannot live on the faith of another.
And your encounters with God must be on-going and habitual.
Especially as we see the darkness approaching.
This is what becoming a faith prepper is all about.

In essence, you must know God.  Intimately.  Personally.   And you do that by learning to hear His voice.

“And this is eternal life, that they may know (ginōskō) You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)

The key to not falling for falsehood and deception is an experience with God.  After all, a relationship between two people must include talking and listening from both parties.  And so it is the same with each of us and the Lord.  We talk. We ask. We beg. Sometimes we demand.  But does God ever speak personally to us?  If so, how?  And how often?


How To Hear God’s Voice

The key to learning to hear God’s voice is desire.  Do you have a desire to thirst after Him and His righteousness more than you do, for example, to keep abreast of current events?  Do you watch FOX News more than you spend time in His Word?  Are you on Facebook more than on your knees in prayer?  If so, why are we surprised we seldom if ever, hear the voice of our Lord?

Remember, a key characteristic of being one of the Lord’s sheep is being able to hear His voice.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know (ginōskō) them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27)

Did you get that?  Jesus’ sheep hear His voice.  It’s the defining characteristic of being His sheep.  But what does that say if we don’t hear His voice?  What are the implications?

The key to intimacy with anyone is communication. That’s two-way communication.  Between each of us and the Lord.  So one of the most important things we can learn in our life with Christ is how to hear his voice?

Do you long to hear His voice?  Do you have a hard time differentiating between His voice and your own voice?  If so, keep on listening.

The following is a study on How to Hear God’s Voice.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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451:  Everything Follows Faith

451: Everything Follows Faith

One of the questions each of us will have to come to grips with as we see the time of our Lord’s return approaching is this:  Do you believe what you say you believe?  Or, more pointedly, how does your life reflect what you claim to believe?  In other words, do we really believe everything the Scriptures say about God, this world, heaven and hell, our lives, the future, whatever?  Or are we somehow hedging our bet in His Word to fit what we feel or think?   Consider the following scriptures and ask yourself if you truly believe what they say.

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Do you believe this statement to be true of you?  If so, make it personal by putting your name in the place of “those”.

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for (your name) who love Him.”

Let’s try one more.  Do you believe this statement to be true?

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

If you believe God can do more than you can ask or think, then put your name in this verse.  Make it first-person, personal.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that (I can) ask or think, according to the power that works in (me), to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.

So why is this important?  Because your relationship with God, your intimacy with the Father, will rise and fall on your belief in Him and in His character. Your beliefs always determine your actions.  Always.  In everything.  For example, if you don’t believe God can do “exceedingly abundantly above all that (I can) ask or think,” then you will be overcome by your doubts and fears and feel like a helpless kitten abandoned in the dark.  But if you believe God is who He says He is, then you will be invincible in faith before anything that comes your way.

Why?  Because everything follows faith!


Everything Follows Faith

Search your soul and ask yourself the following questions:

Do you really believe what the Scriptures say about God, life, His church, and you?
Do you really think it’s possible to learn how to hear His voice speak to you in a way that is unmistakable?
Do you believe you will ever experience an outpouring of His Spirit like what is revealed in Scripture during your lifetime?

Or let’s hit a little closer to home.

Do you believe these statements are true?
Do you believe what God’s Word proclaims is true as reality, and not necessarily what we see, feel, or hear?
How are you going to begin to change your life to live in His Kingdom and not in the world that is fallen and passing away?
And are you ready to begin today?

If you answer yes to the last question, you are just beginning the great adventure.  So hang on, it’s going to be quite a ride!

The following is a study on Faith and Actions and focuses on Numbers 9 and 2 Kings 8.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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Certainty in the Days of Uncertainty, Part 2

Certainty in the Days of Uncertainty, Part 2

As a brief word of encouragement today, let’s look at one of the most profound and powerful chapters in all the New Testament, Romans 8.  And let’s look at just the last two verses and see if we can get something for today to help us smile.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).

In the middle of these uncertain times, when we seem to have more questions than answers, it is always good to rest and meditate on the certainties in God’s word.  And this is one of them.


Nor Any Other Created Thing…

As you read and meditate on these two verses, try thinking about it this way:

For I am persuaded, assured, and convinced, that neither the coronavirus or the possible loss of my income, nor the uncertain future and all that is unknown, nor a stock market surge or collapse, nor the graph of active coronavirus cases in my home town increasing or decreasing, nor having my kids around me 24/7 and not quite knowing how to do this homeschool thing, nor social isolation and canceled church services, nor not being able to hug my grandkids and those I love, nor boredom and weight gain from too much comfort food, nor an ever-growing list of to-do projects, nor loneliness, depression, fear, and despair, nor any other thing that might happen during the next thirty days, shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now, don’t you feel a bit better?  I sure do.

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Certainty in the Days of Uncertainty

Certainty in the Days of Uncertainty

Yesterday was the second Sunday we met together virtually, and I for one can’t wait until we can put aside social distancing and meet again face-to-face.  I miss your voice as you sing songs to the Lord and offer prayers to Him for the sake of others.  I miss your attentiveness as we look into His Word together and I especially miss our times of fellowship when we can catch up on things and see how everyone’s doing.

But since it appears this ordeal our nation is going through will last for several more weeks (hopefully not longer), I thought it would be encouraging to remember in the face of uncertainty what we do know for certain, and in our world of constant change, what is unchangeable and will remain forever.


Things We Know For Certain

There are so many things in our life right now that we have no control over.  How long will the coronavirus last?  What’s going to happen to our economy?  Am I going to have enough money to pay my bills and feed my family?  How can I protect myself and those I love from all of this?  And the list of questions seems to be endless.

There are so many uncertainties right now.  And nobody can give us any definite answers.

But there are some things that are certain and will never change, no matter what happens.  And as long as we keep our heart focused on these unchangeables, we will not get swept away by the swirling tides of doubt, fear, dread, and depression that often follow.


Certainty Number One:  God Loves You!

Scripture repeatedly reveals the wonderous fact that God loves you and you are loved by Him.  The word that describes the love God has for you is, of course, agapē.  This is the highest form of love.  It is a covenant love, an altruistic, unconditional love that describes the love God has for His own Son and even for you and me.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love” (John 15:9).

Just think about this statement for a moment.  As God the Father loved His own Son, so the Son has chosen to love each of us, regardless of how undeserving we are.  This love is not based on what we think we deserve or what good we have done, but on the nature of God whose very essence is love (1 John 4:8).  And in every instance cited the word used to describe this kind of love is agapē.

So rest or abide in this love that is unchangeable and will last forever.


Certainty Number Two:  God is Sovereign

As you know, my life verse is Psalm 115:3, which reads, “But our God is in heaven; He does what He pleases.”  In other words, our God exists beyond what we can touch, see, hear, taste or feel.  He resides far above our financial problems or worries about the future.  His abode is in heaven and from His throne, He does what He wills.  His desire can never be thwarted, delayed, or hindered.  Never.  This can be either good news or bad.  If you trust God and see him as your loving, forgiving, merciful Father, these are very encouraging words.  But if you view God through the eyes of an abused child and see Him as an angry, selfish, narcissistic, bully (that many of us may have had as earthly fathers), then His sovereignty becomes frightening.

But the Bible constantly reveals the character of God to us.  And His character coincides precisely with the fruits of the Spirit He gives to us.  He manifests Himself by the fruits of His character.  They are an extension of Himself and only come when He, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, resides in each of us.  This is who God is:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

This is a perfect description of your sovereign Father.  No need to live in fear or doubt.

So as you see wall-to-wall news coverage on how terrible the coronavirus is and how our economy is going to collapse and how one party is not doing what’s right for the other party or now everybody is a racist…  whew.  Just remember Certainty One and Two:  God is Sovereign, and in His sovereignty, He has chosen to love you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

Rest in that love.  Abide in that love.  Take a deep breath and relax in that love.

And live secure in the fact that God sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), and as long as you are in Him, you’ll be okay.

If there’s anything I can do to help you or if you have any specific prayer needs, please let me know.

Until tomorrow or until we see each other again face-to-face,

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450:  How to Prepare for the Coming Apostasy

450: How to Prepare for the Coming Apostasy

When we have the discernment that Jesus spoke about to know the “signs of the times” (Matt. 16:3), it becomes clear we are living in the last days.  In fact, there are several key signs that bring us to this conclusion.

  1. The regathering of Israel into their own land
  2. The surging apostasy
  3. The coming Middle East peace
  4. The reuniting of the Roman Empire (East, West, both?)
  5. Globalism

For the church today, the most important of these prophetic signs is the rising tide of apostasy or defection from God and the Christian faith.  We see this happening almost daily within the ranks of the church.  As we have already discussed, apostasy means to “depart, revolt, or forsake.  It is a deliberate defection from a formerly held religious position.”  Apostasy doesn’t necessarily mean a total rejection of God or the authority of His Scripture.  Apostasy can come in stages.  It usually begins with a defection from a section of Scripture or a specific teaching that is incompatible with the current cultural church mood.  Some examples are the issue of homosexuality, divorce, women pastors, abortion, or a myriad of other issues that divide the Body today.  And once a small defection takes place, full-blown apostasy is not far behind.

But this shouldn’t surprise us.  After all, Jesus said in Matthew 24 the greatest sign of His return was deception.  And He warned His disciples about that deception four times (Matt. 24:4, 5,11, 24).  He even went so far as to say the deception at the end would be so great that, if it was possible, even the elect would be deceived (Matt. 24:24).  And the elect includes Peter, Paul, James and John, Martin Luther, D.L. Moody, Spurgeon, Billy Graham, and you and me.  That’s a sobering thought that should not be taken lightly.

So what can we do to prepare for the coming apostasy?


The Apostasy is Coming

Or, how do we prevent falling prey to the deception that will only get greater as the Day approaches?  Great question.  You must know what you believe, and why.  You must personally experience God for who He is.  You cannot ride on the coattails of another’s faith.  Your faith must be your own.  And you must understand how overwhelmingly powerful the deception will be in the end times and be prepared.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Has God ever revealed Himself to you in an unmistakable fashion that left no doubt?  Has He ever revealed Himself to you through His Word?  If so, what was that experience like?  How did it change your view of Scripture?  Do you hunger for more of Him?  Has that hunger led you to read more of His Word?  And if not, why?

Once you begin to understand the power of His Word and the wisdom He gives you through His Word, what the world offers is nothing more than pocket change.  You, through Him, have more wisdom than the talking heads on CNN.  You have more understanding than those who make acceptance speeches at the Academy Awards and spend that time telling you how to live.  You are the dwelling place of God Himself, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, which makes you a living sanctuary of the Presence of God.

Tell me what the world has that you don’t.  Exactly.  Nuthin’!

The following is a study on How to Prepare for the Coming Apostasy and 1 Corinthians 2.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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