WHAT HAS GOD CALLED YOU DO?

A great message from David Platt of McLean Bible Church in Virginia. It is part five of his sermon series, titled “Following Jesus: Faith That Changes Lives in a World of Urgent Need, Can I suggest you take the time to view the sermon series, just click on the link.

‘What kind of Christianity have you bought into? Who told you that following Jesus would lead to greater comfort and ease in this world?’ Because that didn’t come from this Book,” said Platt while holding up his Bible. “That came from a very skewed version of this Book that’s being sold all across our culture.”

Platt said that many Christians need God to point them to the reality that “the ultimate need of every single person in the world is to be forgiven for their sins.” However, he said, in order to be reconciled to God, a person needs to first hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Platt emphasized the importance of Christians not being afraid of difficulties that they might face while spreading the Gospel to remote places because, he said, “there are 3 billion people in the world who have never heard the Word of God, and they won’t have their sins forgiven if they never hear the Gospel.” (My add) Moreover, if God has called you to go, He will guide and protect you.

“God made a way for humans to be forgiven for all their sin, to be reconciled to Him, to eternal life, through faith in Jesus, by what He did on the cross, His resurrection from the grave,” he maintained. “We have been commanded to show God’s love in a world of earthly suffering, and ultimately, we have been commanded to proclaim the Gospel to keep people from a second death (David said eternal suffering). “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor will never be harmed by the second death.

“Somebody has to go and tell them. If no one goes and tells them, they will spend eternity separated from Him. Do you see what’s at stake here? Do we see the need?” Platt asked rhetorically. 

BEING OBEDIENT TO THE HOLY SPIRIT PROMPTINGS

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Tim talks about the importance of being obedient to the prompting of the indwelling Holy Spirit

Tim Halfin, a regional director for a pharmacy in Magnolia, Texas, is giving God all the glory after he miraculously found a little boy who had been lost in the woods for three days.

Halfin, who is a Christian, explained to Faithwire he was sitting in a Bible study on Friday when he learned about 3-year-old Christopher Ramirez, who went missing two days earlier after he chased a dog into the woods.

During our prayer for this little boy,” he said, “the Holy Spirit just popped in me, ‘Tomorrow morning, you’ll go look for him,’ and I did. There’s been a few times in my life that the Holy Spirit has really spoken to me and I’ve obeyed and, of course, the outcome is always great.

Christopher had been missing since around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Local law enforcement officials, community members, and the little boy’s mother had been searching for the toddler to no avail. Halfin joined the search just before noon Saturday.

As he was looking, Halfin recalled hearing noises in the woods, though he wasn’t sure if it was Christopher. He nevertheless called sheriff’s deputies, who arrived on ATVs, clearly discouraged by the lack of success they’d had in finding the lost little boy.

It wasn’t too long after that Halfin found Christopher, who had shed all his clothing, even his shoes. He had no protection whatsoever.

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When I saw him, it was immediately, ‘Praise God! This is answered prayer!’” Halfin said, adding that the look on the child’s face when he picked him up was, “I’ve been waiting for you, where have you been?”

“I think God had been protecting this little boy all along,” he continued. “I think Jesus had been talking to him for three nights and now going on four days.”

As a believer, Halfin said he always knew God could perform miracles; he’d read about them all throughout Scripture. But now he has been part of one.

Tim went on to say there is “no explanation” for the rescue, noting he believes God performed three miracles for Christopher.

No. 1, he was protected against all these elements. There are a lot of predators in those wood, wild animals.

No. 2, he would survive for as long as he did without water.

No. 3, he would be found really miles away from where they were even looking for him.

Halfin said, “My prayer is for those who don’t see this as a miracle, that they would come to know Jesus and then they would know that it only had to be a miracle.”

At the centre of the story, Halfin said, is God. He told Faithwire he’s “regretful” so many have focused on him in the story, saying the miraculous outcome for Christopher is truly about “what the Lord has done here.”

The little boy’s mother, Araceli Nunez, is a “strong woman of faith,” Halfin said.

“She knew from the beginning that God was gonna bring her son back to her,” he added. “In between that point, there was a lot of prayers lifted up … and then, at the end, the Lord led me to him and just answered everybody’s prayer right there.”

DOES GOD SPEAK TO US?

Dr Martin Luther King certainly knew He does. God speaks especially to His people but also to anyone in order to achieve His purposes in His world. Even kings such as Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:1-3) and Darius (Daniel 6:28), to name two kings of major empires, Babylon and Persia. Read one of Martin Luther’s encounters from his book Stride Toward Freedom (1958): “I got out of bed and began to walk the floor. Finally I went to the kitchen and heated a pot of coffee. I was ready to give up. With my cup of coffee sitting untouched before me I tried to think of a way to move out of the picture without appearing a coward. In this state of exhaustion, when my courage had all but gone, I decided to take my problem to God. With my head in my hands, I bowed over the kitchen table and prayed aloud. The words I spoke to God that midnight are still vivid in my memory. “I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right. But now I am afraid. The people are looking to me for leadership, and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they too will falter. I am at the end of my powers. I have nothing left. I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone.”

“At that moment I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never experienced Him before. It seemed as though I could hear the quiet assurance of an inner voice saying: “Stand up for righteousness, stand up for truth; and God will be at your side forever.” Almost at once my fears began to go. My uncertainty disappeared. I was ready to face anything. “Three nights later, on January 30, I left home a little before seven to attend our Monday evening mass meeting at the First Baptist Church. A member of my congregation, Mrs. Mary Lucy Williams, had come to the parsonage to keep my wife company in my absence. After putting the baby to bed, Coretta and Mrs. Williams went to the living room to look at television. About nine-thirty they heard a noise in front that sounded as though someone had thrown a brick. In a matter of seconds an explosion rocked the house. A bomb had gone off on the porch.

“The sound was heard many blocks away, and word of the bombing reached the mass meeting almost instantly. Toward the close of the meeting, as I stood on the platform helping to take the collection, I noticed an usher rushing to give Ralph Abernathy a message. Abernathy turned and ran downstairs, soon to reappear with a worried look on his face. Several others rushed in and out of the church. People looked at me and then away; one or two seemed about to approach me and then changed their minds. An usher called me to the side of the platform, presumably to give me a message, but before I could get there S. S. Seay had sent him away. By now I was convinced that whatever had happened affected me. I called Ralph Abernathy, S. S. Seay, and E. N. French and asked them to tell me what was wrong. Ralph looked at Seay and French and then turned to me and said hesitantly “Your house has been bombed.” I asked if my wife and baby were all right. They said, “We are checking on that now.”

“Strangely enough, I accepted the word of the bombing calmly. My religious experience a few nights before had given me the strength to face it. I interrupted the collection and asked all present to give me their undivided attention. After telling them why I had to leave, I urged each person to go straight home after the meeting and adhere strictly to our philosophy of nonviolence. I admonished them not to become panicky and lose their heads. “Let us keep moving,” I urged them, “with the faith that what we are doing is right, and with the even greater faith that God is with us in the struggle.

What is your experience with prayer? Hopefully, we can learn from Martin Luther King’s experience: if we are doing what is right and are moving forward in trust, then God will orchestrate the outcome.

Some of us will have an experience like that of Martin Luther particularly when we come before God in our weariness, confessing our inability to continue confronting a godless world. Sadly, much of the church no longer believes God answers prayer and is in total control of His universe. What about you?

GOD HASN’T QUIT SPEAKING

God hasn’t quit speaking; He is opening our hearts and minds to hear His voice in new ways. He does this so that we will continue to grow progressively in our relationship with Him. He doesn’t want us to become locked in to the same patterns of hearing Him. God’s goal is a real, live relationship with us.

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

Image result for picture of God talking to Elijah still small voice

Here are a few scriptural examples, which portray the multitude of ways the Spirit has used to speak to people:

  1. A dream or vision (see Job 33:14-18)
  2. A voice in a trance (see Acts 10:9-16)
  3. The voice of many angels (see Rev. 5:11)
  4. The voice of the archangel (see 1 Thess. 4:16)
  5. The “sound of many waters” (Rev. 1:15)
  6. The sound of the Lord walking in the garden (see Gen. 3:8)
  7. The sound of the army of God marching in the tops of the trees (see 2 Sam. 5:23-25)
  8. The audible voice of God (see Ex. 3:4)
  9. God “speaking peace” to His people (Ps. 85:8)
  10. God’s written Word (our primary source of His voice and our chief reference point) (see Ps.119:105)
  11. Wonders in the sky and on Earth (see Joel 2:30-31)
  12. Visions and parables to the prophets (see Hos. 12:10)
  13. Words and physical metaphors to the prophets (see Jer. 18:1-6)
  14. The Holy Spirit speaking to a group (see Acts 13:2)
  15. Men, moved by the Holy Spirit, declaring God’s voice (see 2 Pet. 1:21)
  16. Heavenly experiences in which one is brought up before the Lord (see 2 Cor. 12:1-4)
  17. The Holy Spirit bearing witness to our spirit (see Rom. 8:16)
  18. A dumb donkey speaking with the voice of a man (see 2 Pet. 2:16)
  19. One person speaking the revelatory counsel of the Lord to another (see James 5:19-20)
  20. God’s own Son (see Heb. 1:2)

This list is not exhaustive, but it gives a bird’s-eye view of some of the ways God has chosen to speak to (and through) His people. I have been surprised over the years at both how God speaks and what or whom He chooses to use, invariably the most unlikely person.

God is not limited in His attention-getting techniques. He wants to be heard, and He has plenty of approaches He can utilise.

Sadly for me, one of the ways God gets my attention is with an earache in my right ear. To me, it’s like Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”. I invariably have taken myself away from God’s best for me, doing my own thing, and I know it. As soon as I get back on track, and step out to do what God has for me to do that day, the earache is gone. I have to step out, expecting God to turn up and equip me for the task. On several occasions, the earache has gone before I reach the set of lights about 500 metres/yards from my home.

God wants us to hear His voice in all of its manifestations so that we can bear much fruit—fruit that will remain.

We must not forget that ultimately this is not about us. It is about our being transformed into the image of His glorious Son, Jesus. By the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us, you and I will be changed into the image of God’s Son. According to Psalm 29, we will shout praises together as we are changed from glory to glory: “Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 29:2

Based on an article by James Goll: God has a Word for Us; No more Boxes! Charisma Magazine.

 

DO YOU BELIEVE GOD SPEAKS TO US?

Read Bill Yount’s story of how God broke through his doubts, to speak to Bill, and how it changed his life. Jesus said, my sheep hear my voice. His sheep spend time in His Word, they spend time in prayer and they spend time in praise. 

What’s keeping you from hearing God’s voice clearly? This is part 1 of Bill’s message on listening to God. The second part is what Bill believes God wants us do in this “crucial hour” we are in, leading up to His second coming. 

“As a new Christian, out of the gate running, hell took its best shot at me to abort the innate desire to ever hear God’s voice. A wedge of contention drove deep between my Bible teacher and me the moment he said, “God spoke to me.” Those words were alien to me. Immediately, my whole being was flooded with doubts as the enemy unleashed those infamous fatal words: “Indeed, has God said?” (Gen. 3:1). Surely this man had a big ego problem, thinking God Almighty would take the time to speak to him personally among the billions of people on earth.

I left the Bible study in frustration that evening, thinking he was certainly out of his mind. That crazy teacher kept me awake. An hour later a question walked into my bedroom, “But what if you could? What if you could actually hear God speak to you?” As I began to faintly consider the possibility of an answer, that question lit a fire within me that has never gone out. I thought to myself, if God could actually speak to me, I would be willing to wait 30 or 40 years to hear him speak one word: not a whole sentence but just one word.

God wants to speak to you. Two hours later, the Lord Himself walked into my sleepless night. He said, “Son, I want to speak to you more than you want Me to.”

From that moment, my journey began listening for His voice. Now you know what I live for. I live to hear God speak. My worst days have taught me:

When God speaks, you live. When God speaks, you’re healed. When God speaks, you’re delivered. Storm clouds scatter. Dead dreams thunder with life. I’m not talking about man speaking, but when God speaks, you live. His voice has brought me through hell and back, changing doctors’ reports and adding years to my life. The devil’s best shot missed me.”

Bill is a member of Bridge of Life in Hagerstown, Maryland, where he is an elder and a home missionary for the past 40 years. He faithfully served in prison ministry at Mount Hope Inc. for 23 years and now travels full-time, ministering in churches and Aglow circles. Bill has authored several prophetic books. His latest book is The Power of Real / Transparent Prophetic Encouragement. Visit Bill’s website at billyount.com.