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Hearing His Voice Above All the Distracting Noise

Hearing His Voice Above All the Distracting Noise

Practical Tips to Recognize God’s Voice in Scripture

In these uncertain times, many feel uneasy about the state of the world.  With Trump’s continual indictments, the escalating war in Ukraine, inflation, deception from our sacred institutions, the growing apostasy of the church, and the clear warnings from Scripture about the coming troubles ahead, if you’re not careful, all of this can instill fear and depression in you and make you not want to get out of bed.  But that should never be the case.  Our Lord has not left us alone or without guidance.  He promises we will recognize His voice among the others and be able to follow Him, no matter what circumstances we may find ourselves in (John 10:4).

Remember, God wants to speak to us through His Word.  And when we believe that to be true, then His Word becomes more to us than a bunch of stories that happen to people we can’t relate to a long time ago.  Instead, His Word becomes something alive, active, and powerful in our lives (Heb. 4:12).  His Word becomes the channel through which we come to know Him better.  And when it does, when we see the Scriptures this way, they become the greatest blessing of all.

So, let’s look at a few ways we can learn to hear His voice through His Word so that when we come together on Sunday, we can share with others how God has spoken to us and changed our lives.


Keys to Hearing His Voice

The first key to hearing God’s voice is to have a heart of expectancy and grand anticipation.  We must believe the Bible is much more than an ancient, archaic book— it is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training us in the life of righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).  In essence, God’s Word is right and correct about everything it addresses.  And it addresses everything in life.  Plus, God promises His Word will not return void but will accomplish His purposes (Isa. 55:11), which, among other things, is to conform us to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29).  So come to the Scriptures eagerly expecting God has something personal to say to you each day— you will not be disappointed.

Second, pray for insight and understanding before reading God’s Word.  Ask the Holy Spirit to open your spiritual eyes and ears to receive His truth.  They are right before you, just under the surface, waiting to be discovered.  But you have to have the desire to seek after them to find them.  Before you read, pray something like this, “Open my eyes, that I may see wonderful things in Your law” (Psalm 119:18).  Then watch the Spirit lead you into all truth as you seek God’s wisdom in His Word (John 16:13, James 1:5).

Next, when you read the Scriptures, slow down and take your time.  This is not a race against the clock.  Read them thoughtfully, carefully, and slowly, savoring each word as coming from the lips of God directly to you.  Read the passage once, twice, or multiple times, emphasizing each word as you do, letting the words sink deep into your heart and soul instead of rushing through just to get finished.  And as you meditate on God’s Word, His voice will rise above the noise and distractions of life that seem to demand so much of our attention.  Remember the promise: “Blessed is the man…(whose) delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).

Also, write down the verses, passages, or principles that speak to you so you can later reflect on them and share them with others.  The physical act of writing helps cement God’s words in your mind, making them easier to remember.  And reviewing these key Scriptures regularly, maybe during your prayer times with the Lord, will help train you to discern God’s voice over your own and help you practice what He has revealed to you.

And most importantly, you must put into practice what you are reading and learning from Scripture.  Obedience is the key that unlocks the door of intimacy with God and allows you to hear more of His voice.  Remember the promise of Jesus, “He who has My commandments and keeps them (obedience), it is he who loves Me.  And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and (1) I will love him and (2) manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21).  Manifest in this passage means “to make known, to be seen openly, to experience with the senses.”¹  Just think, God will reveal Himself to you to be experienced by your senses, if you obey what He has told you in your times alone with Him and His Word.  Isn’t that the point of surrendering to Him?


How Does God Speak to Us Through His Word?

As we spend time daily soaking in God’s Word, His voice will become unmistakable to us.  Here are some specific ways He speaks through His Word:²

Through Direct Commands: God gives clear instructions in Scripture for thinking, living, and acting righteously.  For instance, the Ten Commandments provide directives on how to follow God wholeheartedly and love others unselfishly, just like He does.  And if God commands us to do something (or to not do something), we can rest assured we are able to follow His command because God would never require us to do what we cannot do (1 Cor. 10:13).  Remember, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, (promise) and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).  And God often “directs our paths” by revealing His commands to us in Scripture.  From that point forward, all we have to do is obey.

Through Timeless Principles: God’s Word provides timeless truths and principles we can apply to life’s circumstances.  For example, we have principles like: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39), “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31), and “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).  By meditating on these precepts, we can be better prepared to make wise and prudent decisions based on the will of God and not fall prey to lies and deceit of the evil one (John 8:44).

Through Correction and Warning:‌ At times, God speaks through Scripture to correct wrong or selfish thinking or warn against the sinful choices we are about to make.  His rebukes and warnings are often painful but reveal His loving care and desire for our best.  We must welcome and embrace God’s correction and chastisement to walk in freedom from sin and lusts of the flesh, knowing He loves and delights in us.  “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; for whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights” (Prov. 3:11-12).

Through Promises and Reassurance: From Genesis to Revelation, God encourages His people with promises of His presence, power, blessings, faithfulness, peace, protection, and love.  For example, after Joshua’s death, God tells the Israelites, “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).  In a world filled with trouble and strife, God promises to comfort and sustain us in every situation.  “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; (why) for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

In all these ways, and countless others, God faithfully speaks through His Word to instruct, guide, convict, encourage, empower, heal, correct, affirm, challenge, and comfort us.  And as we dedicate time to Scripture reading and memorization, we will soon recognize His voice more and more.  As Jesus promised, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).


Staying Anchored to Him and His Word

Staying anchored in God’s Word is the best way to hear His voice above the noise of life.  Though distractions and busyness threaten to drown out His voice, as we carve out quiet time to meet with God in the Bible each day, He promises to speak to us.  And when He does, everything changes in our spiritual life.  Not sure that’s true?  Then try it for yourself, and you’ll see. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

God has so much He wants to say to you through His Word.  Simply draw near to Him today with a sense of expectancy.  Open your heart to receive whatever He wants to reveal from His Word.  Allow His living voice to bring you hope, healing, conviction, direction, and purpose.  Choose today to listen and obey His voice above all the noise competing for your attention.  And if you do, you will be refreshed and transformed into the image of Christ.


Notes

1. Zodhiates, S. (2000). In The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). AMG Publishers.

2. Actually, God can speak to us any way He chooses, from a “still small voice” in the mouth of a cave (1 Kings 19:12) or through the lips of a donkey (Numbers 22:28-30).  He is God, and He does what He pleases (Psalm 115:3).


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Ephesians 3:8 – The Unsearchable Riches of Christ

Ephesians 3:8 – The Unsearchable Riches of Christ

Once You See It, You Can’t Unsee It

As I shared this last Sunday, I’ve been rather overwhelmed with the phrase found in Ephesians 3:8, the “unsearchable riches in Christ.”  It has literally taken me a few days to get my head around what all that phrase entails.  Paul begins this verse by expressing his profound gratitude for God’s choice of him by verbalizing how unworthy he is of such grace.  He calls himself “less than the least of all the saints,” yet he received from the Lord the divine calling to “preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8).

You and I, like Paul, have different mission fields.  For Paul, it was the Gentiles.  For us, it may be our families, work associates, neighbors, those in our extended sphere of influence, or anyone the Lord places in our path to shine His light in their darkness (Matt. 5:14, Eph. 5:8).  But the message we preach is the same as Paul’s.  And that message is simply this; we preach the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”

Our verse to help focus our prayer time today reads as follows:

To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ – Ephesians 3:8.

The word Paul uses, “unsearchable” (anexichníastos), means “untraceable or impossible to trace,” like looking for fading footprints in the snow.  Elsewhere it’s translated as “unfathomable, incomprehensible, endless, boundless, incalculable, inexplorable, inexhaustible, and without limit.”  It conveys the idea of something never-ending and beyond human measure.


What are Unsearchable Riches?

Paul also expresses the wonder of the riches we have in Christ in his closing doxology at the end of this chapter.  He says in Ephesians 3:20-21:

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.

It appears there are some things the Lord has prepared for us that are simply beyond comprehension.  And our appreciation for what we already possess in Christ should be viewed the same way: as the incomprehensible, unsearchable, boundless, blessings lavished on those “less than the least of the saints.”

The “unsearchable riches of Christ” are not simply the gifts or benefits that come from our position in Him, but Christ Himself.  It is the manifestation of the Son of God.  It is God reconciling Himself to us in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, who “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil 2:7-8).

Often we have a tendency, at least I do, of focusing more on the benefits of knowing Christ than the privilege of actually being able to know Him.  We praise Him for things like eternal life, the peace that passes all understanding, for grace and mercy, protection and redemption, and look more to the gift rather than its’ Giver.  But these are all benefits that extend from the Source of those gifts, which is Christ.  He is more than the sum of His gifts; He is our “unsearchable riches.”

Nevertheless, we want to make sure we do thank Him for the riches of His gifts, namely. “the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering” (Rom. 2:4), the “riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (11:33), His rich mercy and great love (Eph. 2:4), the “riches of His glory” (3:16), that He “gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17), the “riches of the full assurance of understanding” (Col. 2:2), and Him declaring us “complete in Him” (Col. 2:10).

And all this comes in one perfect person. Jesus.


Time to Pray

It is for this reason, on Tuesday nights, we will be focusing on nothing but Christ alone.  We’re going to be embarking on a study of the life of Jesus encompassing chronologically all four Gospel accounts into one.  Our desire is to experience Him like never before.  When you begin to understand the magnitude of our “unsearchable riches in Christ,” it swells in you a hunger to want more of the Giver, and less of the gift.

As you pray today, spend some time thinking about the Lord Jesus and how rich you are in Him.  Ask the Father to give you the desire and unction to know more about His Son.  Seek the will to make time for Jesus, and just Jesus, in your busy life.  And finally, thank Him for His grace and mercy and His willingness to give you the “unsearchable riches” found only in Christ.

And commit today to make plans to join us on Tuesday evenings as we learn more about our Lord Jesus from the four Gospel accounts.

Until tomorrow.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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Prayer: Ephesians 3:5 – Hide and Seek

Prayer: Ephesians 3:5 – Hide and Seek

One of the most amazing privileges of being a Christian is knowing the answers to the so-called hidden mysteries of life God reveals to us in His Word.  Philosophers spend a lifetime trying to determine the meaning of life, and we already know.  Artists and musicians try to capture the image of true, faithful, unselfish love in their paintings and music, and we have an unrivaled masterpiece of love on display in the person of Jesus Christ.

The answer to all of life’s mysteries or hidden truths are available to us because we are beloved children of the Most High – which is one of the most glorious blessings of being in Christ.

Today, we are using Ephesians 3:5 to help focus our prayer time with the Lord.  This passage reads:

Which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets.

We know, of course, this specific mystery has to do with both Jews and Gentiles making up the church together.  But the underlying principle is the fact there is a truth God has chosen to keep hidden from men for thousands of years for His own purpose.  And now, by the Spirit living in each of us, He has decided to reveal His heart and plan to those who belong to Him.  Not to everyone, just to those He calls His children (Rom. 8:16-17).


We Can Know All Things

The answers to questions like, “How did the world begin?” are found only in the Word of God.  “Where did man come from, what is the origin of sin, what happens when we die, is there really a heaven and hell, when will the world end?” and so many others questions are all revealed by the Spirit in the Scriptures.

This ability to know things the world struggles with is often an overlooked blessing to those who know the Lord.  Because God is sovereign, He sees the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10).  Nothing surprises Him.  And since we’re now in Christ who knows all things, nothing should surprise us.  God, in His Word, has made unfathomable promises to His children.  These promises are for life, safety, acceptance, security, unconditional love, an indescribable future, and His abiding Presence living within us.  These are promises not shared with the world.  As His children, they are for us, alone.

Pause, take a deep breath and reflect on how blessed you are to have the Omniscient One, the all-knowing, all-powerful, sovereign God, residing in you.  Today’s passage says other ages were purposely kept in the dark regarding this mystery, or regarding some truth God withheld from them.  But now, in His time, He has chosen to reveal this mystery by the Spirit to the church.  And since you are His church, this marvelous blessing is for you.  It was not just for those in the New Testament.  This same kind of revelation, a rhema, or a personal revelation of truth to you, still exists today.  God still speaks to His people, both individually and as His church.  It is part of our birthright, our inheritance, as children of God.

When you have a question or need direction or are struggling to make sense of the circumstances you face, you can always ask God.  Why?  Because He hears.  Better than just hearing, He listens.  As a loving Father stoops down to hear the voice of his child, so your Father does the same to you.  He cares for you and all your troubles.  Your concerns are now His concerns.

But as encouraging as this may be, it gets even better.  We have something even the angels don’t possess.  We have the Holy Spirit living within us, forever.  We are “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance” in Him (Eph. 1:13-14).  But there is more.  Jesus said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you” (John 14:26).  There’s nothing you can’t ask God.  And there is nothing He is not able to show you.  Why?  Because Jesus said the Spirit, who now lives in you, is there to “teach you all things” (John 14:26).  Read it again, all things.  There’s no confusion nor chaos nor misunderstanding about anything you can’t lovingly ask your Father.  He delights in revealing more of Himself to you.  After all, how else can you be conformed to the image of His Son? (Rom. 8:29).

So today, as you begin to pray, spend some time thanking Him for revealing His heart to you.  He has chosen to place Himself within you and to remain in you, to call your body His home, to reveal “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).  Why?  So we can have an intimate, passionate, loving, trusting relationship with the Son of God forever.  What a blessed people we are!


Time to Pray

When you think about what you need from the Lord today, take a moment to reflect on what you have already received.  The Lord desires to “conform you to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29).  It’s an ongoing process, a good work in you He has begun and promises to complete (Phil. 1:6) to make you “complete in Him” (Col. 2:10).

Father, I thank You for being the All-knowing, All-powerful, and Ever-present God. I thank You for Jesus Who gave me the perfect example of how to live in harmony with You.  And I thank You for Jesus’ promise not to leave me as an orphan (John 14:18), but to send the Spirit to be with me forever (John 14:17).  I can’t thank You enough for that blessing.

Lord, as life gets more troubling and uncertain, I thank You for revealing the future to me through Your Word, not only the future of the world, but my personal future.  I rejoice that You are now preparing a place for me to be with You in Your Father’s house and of Your promise to receive me to Yourself, so I will forever be with You (John 14:2-3).  Knowing all this, please forgive me for my doubt and fear, for my anxiety and needless stress, and for forgetting Whose I am and to Whom I belong.  I confess my vision of You is too small.  But I know I am Yours, Lord.  Thank you for choosing me to be Your child (Eph. 1:4-5).  Thank You for loving and saving and redeeming me and for revealing Your heart to someone like me.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Until tomorrow.

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Prayer: Ephesians 3:3 – Elementary, My Dear Watson

Prayer: Ephesians 3:3 – Elementary, My Dear Watson

The world is full of mysteries. Some have piqued our interest and baffled our imaginations for generations.  They are fascinating, yet remain elusive and unexplainable.  For example, we wonder at the origin of Stonehenge.  Or how an ancient culture had the technology to build the Great Pyramids in Egypt.  Or how to explain the Loch Ness Monster.  Is there life on other planets?  What happened to the city of Atlantis?  For the more practical and political student of current mysteries, who was the shooter on the grassy knoll?  What happened to Jimmy Hoffa?  And the list of mysteries is endless, and the answers few.  But that is the nature of a mystery.

But in the New Testament, the word mystery is not something unknowable, but something always known but only revealed to certain people at a pre-determined time, all decided by our Sovereign God.

The verse we will use to focus our prayer time is Ephesians 3:3-4, which reads:

How that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ).

Take a moment and reflect on the word, mystery. Let your mind explore all the images the word conjures up for you.  We know the mystery spoken in this passage is that Gentiles, along with God’s chosen people, the Jews, are both now citizens in the Kingdom of God.  This truth, ordained by God from the foundation of time, was hidden from the Jews and Gentiles until revealed to Paul— which is precisely what this verse says.  That “by revelation He (God) made known to me (Paul) the mystery” which reveals the Kingdom of God to be inclusive of both Jews and Gentiles who have been chosen and redeemed by the blood of Christ.  It’s a picture of God sovereignly choosing out of two ethnic groups, Jews and Gentiles, those who belong to Him, and creating a new race, a new family, a new people, all redeemed by Christ.


Elementary, My Dear Watson

There are quite a few occurrences of the word mystery in the New Testament.  We have, for example, the “mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way” (2 Tim. 2:7).  This passage reveals to us the restraining power of the Holy Spirit and the future of the antichrist, yet hidden until now.  Also, we find the word used in 1 Corinthians 15 regarding the coming of the Lord and our gathering to meet Him.  It says, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51-52).  Again, this is speaking of a truth God has always known and has always been true, but hidden for a time until it was revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.

But regarding the mystery of Jew and Gentile becoming one in His Kingdom, no passage better explains that than Colossians, chapter one.  In fact, we find the word dispensation translated as a stewardship given to Paul for the Gentiles.  Let’s look at Colossians 1:24-27, which reads:

I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory – Colossians 1:24-27.

Paul became a minister to the Gentiles according to the stewardship he received from God for them, which is exactly what Ephesians 3:2-3 says.  He then describes the nature of the mystery which “has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints” (Col. 1:26).  With great anticipation, like children on Christmas morning, we sit on the edge of our seats waiting to know and understand the full implications of this mystery.  And we are not disappointed. He says, “God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles.”  Note the descriptive terms used: riches, and glory.

So what exactly is the “riches of the glory of this mystery”?  It is nothing less than, “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” (Col. 1:27).

It is a profound mystery God would call unto Himself those from among unfaithful, unbelieving, and unrepentant Jews.  But He did.  It is even more of a mystery He would allow us, as profane, arrogant, lawbreaking Gentiles entrance and acceptance into His Kingdom.  But He did.  And He did so by this amazing, supernatural act of regeneration where our sins are imputed to a sinless Christ, and His righteousness is imputed to us, who are anything but righteous (Isa. 64:6).

It was all done, by grace, through Christ.  This means everything we are, everything we hoped to be, any good we do in this life, any legacy we leave behind, is all because of Christ.  Stop now and meditate on this phrase, “Christ in you, the hope of Glory” (Col. 1:27).  Or, Christ in you, the hope, or confident expectation and divine assurance, of Glory.

So what are we to do now since we know what this mystery is all about?  How are we to live, knowing God has revealed this great mystery to us and given us Christ, our hope and guarantee of glory?  What is our dispensation, or stewardship, our ministry, our responsibility and calling He has given each of us to do?  It is simply this:

Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus – Colossians 1:28.

This is a most worthy calling.  It is the greatest cause in which to devote our lives.  Why?  Because it brings our Lord God glory.


Time to Pray

As we spoke about yesterday, God reveals His plan for your life in His Word.  And the needed empowerment to fulfill His plan is also found in His Word.  Prayer is of vital importance, especially if directed by Scripture.  Remember, it’s the object of our prayers, and the object of our faith, that determines whether they honor Christ and will be answered.  And the content of prayer and faith is best directed by our focus on Scripture.  Hence, the reason you are receiving these emails.

We know God will never answer a prayer contrary to His Word.  Why?  Because God is not divided, nor two-faced, fickle, or changes His mind on a whim based on opinion polls.  God is always true to His Word.  And if every answer to every prayer must agree with His Word, then every answer to every question we have for God is also found in His Word.

That’s why His Word is “living and powerful” (Heb. 4:12) and not out of date, irrelevant, or boring.  It is inspired, “God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16), and of immense value in this life and the next.  Therefore, as we’re still in the first week of January 2020, let’s commit to Him to become a lover of His Word.  To read it, understand it, obey it, and proclaim it to others.

As we talked about yesterday, only in His Word can you find the source of the “abundant life” Jesus promised (John 10:10).  It’s ours for the asking. Join with me in making this quest for the “abundant life” in Him our passion for 2020.

Until tomorrow.

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Prayer: Ephesians 3:3-4 – The Gift of God’s Revelation

Prayer: Ephesians 3:3-4 – The Gift of God’s Revelation

Yesterday, we looked at the word dispensation, which can be translated steward or stewardship, and speaks of our responsibility to complete the task God has given us to do.  We also focused our prayers on Ephesians 3:2, which deals specifically with the dispensation of God’s grace given to Paul for the sake of the Gentiles.

But today, we will look at the next phrase, Ephesians 3:3-4, which reads:

How that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ).

In these two verses, we find the word revelation used once and mystery used twice.  But this is not the first time Paul used these words in his letter to the Ephesians.  In Ephesians 1:17, Paul speaks of praying the Lord would give the “spirit of wisdom and revelation” in the knowledge of Christ.  And in Ephesians 1:9, we find God “having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to the good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.”

As we previously discovered, the word mystery is not something forever unknown.  Instead, it denotes “something hidden or not yet fully manifest.”  It’s knowable truth, but just not to everyone.  This mystery is a truth God has reserved to reveal at a particular time, to a specific group of people, or person, for His unique purpose.

This wondrous mystery, unknown in the Old Testament, was finally revealed to Paul by the revelation of the Holy Spirit.  And this mystery is the Kingdom of God includes, not just Jews, but also Gentiles.  That God truly is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34-35), and the Kingdom of God is far greater than our prejudices, our racial discord, or our cultural preferences.


The Revelation of the Mystery

So what does the word revelation mean?  Revelation (apokálupsis) means “an uncovering, unveiling, or the disclosing of something previously not known.”  We don’t know how Paul received this revelation, whether an angel dictated it to him, or the Holy Spirit confirmed it in his spirit, or he received it through a dream or vision.  We’re not sure how it happened.  But we do know it happened.  It’s almost like in Acts when the elders of the church were praying and fasting, and the Holy Spirit spoke to them collectively, saying, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2).  It appears the entire group understood what the Holy Spirit said.  How did that happen?  Was it an audible voice?  Maybe a confirming spirit in them?  Or was it something else?  We don’t know.  The Scriptures don’t tell us.  But what we do know is everyone received the Holy Spirit’s message about Paul and Barnabas, so they all agreed in unity and sent them on their way (Acts 12:3).  Something similar might have happened here.  It was a revelation of God’s truth revealed to His intended audience.

Do you realize, one trait of being a believer in Christ is hearing from our Father?  We are in tune with God and His Spirit in a way the rest of the world isn’t, and can’t quite comprehend.  We have an understanding, an enlightenment, that comes from the Holy Spirit living in us that takes random circumstances in this chaotic world and reveals to us His order and purpose through them.  We can look at the Book of Revelation, for example, and clearly delineate the signs and symbols and literal interpretation of future events soon to come to pass.  After all, that’s the way God intended.  He promised to bless those who read and those who hear the words of the prophecy (Rev. 1:3).  A promise not given to any other part of God’s Word.

And this gift is not only for Paul, but also for you and me.  Remember, the “message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).  Why?  Because God reveals His truth to us through His Word.  To understand His Word is one of the greatest gifts you and I have received from Him.

This New Year, as you make resolutions and vows about Bible study and prayer and other things regarding your relationship with the Lord, remember you have been given a special gift.  You can have the truth of God revealed to you by the Holy Spirit in such a way it will forever change your life.  In the Scriptures, you will find the answer to every question asked by man, ever!  There is nothing in life God has not revealed to us in His Word.  The Scriptures reveal wisdom, the keys to a happy marriage, instructions on how to raise children, how to discover meaning and purpose in life, how to love your spouse— everything knowable is in His Word.


Time to Pray

When you begin your day with the Lord, ask Him to show you how overwhelmingly beautiful and inspiring and brilliant is His Word.  Plead with Him to give you a hunger for His Word, unlike anything you have ever experienced before.  And when you read His Word, either Old or New Testament, beg Him to reveal Himself to you and to give you the revelation of the mystery of His love for you, a love undeserved, unmatched, and eternal.

Only in His Word can you find the source of the “abundant life” Jesus promised (John 10:10).  It’s ours for the asking.  Join with me in making this quest for the “abundant life” in Him our passion for 2020.

Until tomorrow.

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