Dialogue

Yesterday I mentioned Jeremiah and how he had asked God why it looked like there was no justice because it was going well with evil people. This is in Jeremiah chapter 12. The beautiful part of this chapter is where God answers Jeremiah and spells out how He is going to cause justice to be delivered.
In the Book of Job there are a lot of questions posed to God and in Job chapters 38 to 41 God gives Job some very complicated answers to his questions. In Daniel 9:22 the angel Gabriel comes to Daniel and gives him the answer to his prayer. And in Daniel 10:12 – 13 Gabriel explains to Daniel that he was held up for 21 days in delivering the answer by The prince of Persia and that the angel Michael had to come and help him.
Moses speaks directly to God through the whole of Exodus and God answers him. Abraham negotiates with God about Lot’s rescue from Sodom and Jacob wrestles with God all night and demands a blessing.
I can go on and on and on about how God speaks to people and about how He answers their prayers. A two way communication with God was a very common occurrence in the Old Testament. There were prophets and priests and kings who were anointed and on who the Holy Spirit rested who had access to God’s ear. Special people. Then Jesus is born and He speaks to His Father all the time. He makes it seem as natural as if He is speaking to a natural person here on earth. When Jesus is taken up to Heaven after his resurrection, the Holy Spirit is given to all believers.
John 14:26 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 that I have said to you.
John 12: 12-14 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
These verses are saying that God sent the Holy Spirit to be our helper and He will teach us all things and He will also allow us to remember things which Jesus said, or in our case it would be to remember things we have heard, and read in the Word. In order to be taught we have to be able to hear. And in this case it is hearing spiritually because He isn’t going to be speaking with audible words. Also Jesus says that whoever believes in Him will be doing greater things than He did. And whatever we ask in His name He will do. Now, if we ask and He does it, it means He hears us, and if He is hearing us, why shouldn’t we be hearing Him?
How come there are so few people who claim to be hearing from God. Even some ordained ministers say that they are sceptical when people say they’ve heard from the Lord. Why should it be such an unusual thing for someone to have heard from God?
I’m speculating that people are often like the Israelites in the desert when they said God should speak to Moses and not directly to them because they were afraid. Are people afraid that God will be showing them where they are going wrong? Maybe they don’t make the effort to spend quality time with God, tuning in to hear His voice. Perhaps they are afraid to say anything when they think they do hear from God because they might embarrass themselves if people ridicule them so they just keep quiet? Have they been hurt by people who didn’t believe them?
I know that God wants to have a relationship with each and every one of us. We cannot have a relationship with anyone if there isn’t communication, and the essence of communication is speech that goes two ways. I know that there is a lot that God wants to share personally with every believer and He isn’t going to tell everything to the prophets to come and tell people. He’s waiting patiently for a dialogue with you and with me. We need to take every opportunity we have to practice hearing God’s voice. Maybe we should ask less and listen more.

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Consequences

My husband and I were speaking to a young lady this morning about the consequences of drinking and gambling. Her opinion was that people are way too judgemental and that she should be left alone to do as she pleases. I have been thinking about events in the Bible and how everything that God told people to do had consequences. Every act is part of a bigger picture, but we don’t always see that picture. Everything has repercussions and does not only touch the person who makes the decision.
Just imagine if Moses had ignored God when He told him to go back to Egypt and lead the Israelites to the Promised Land. Moses really didn’t want to do it and tried very hard to get out of it.
Exodus 3:11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
Verse 13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
Exodus 4:1 Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’”
Verse 10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since You have spoken to Your servant, but I am slow of speech and tongue.”
And when none of those arguments phased God, Moses says in verse 13, “Oh my Lord, please send someone else.”
The consequences of Moses not going would have been far reaching. I’m sure God had a plan B if Moses did refuse, but just think of the consequences for Moses. If he saw someone else leading his people out of Egypt, can you think how he would have felt? And even though Moses had a very tough time in the desert, he was so close to God. He had the kind of relationship with the Lord that every Christian should desire. He spoke to God face to face, he even argued his people’s case so effectively that God changed His mind and didn’t destroy them all.
God called Jeremiah as a prophet and in chapter 1:6 he says, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”
God answers him, Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’ for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”
We have all done things without thinking about the consequences. Sometimes we are desperate and we believe we don’t have a choice in what we do. Other times we simply don’t think. What would you say if God told you to leave your family and friends, your job, your country, your comfort zone and go to a primitive country that you’ve only vaguely heard the name of? You don’t even know where it is on the map. Would God do something like that? Surely not, because you’ve prayed and asked Him to provide you with a stable income and a caring spouse and all the things the world holds dear. That’s what God told Abraham to do. Or what if God told you to do something totally ridiculous that doesn’t make sense at all and you know that everyone is going to ridicule you. Well, God told Noah to build and ark. He wasn’t anywhere near water and it had never rained, thus nobody knew what a flood was. What about Hosea? God told him to marry a prostitute. And look at Isaiah 20:3 Then the Lord said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush…”
Ezekiel 4:4 “Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment on the house of Israel upon it. For the number of the days that you shall lie on it, you shall bear their punishment. For I assign to you a number of days, 390 days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment. So long shall you bear the punishment of the house of Israel. And when you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah. Forty days I assign you, a day for each year.”
Does God tell us to do ridiculous things? Yes, I think so. But everything He tells us is for a purpose. Just like every action we take has consequences, we should learn to think about those consequences before we act.

Casey and fear

We have a dog, a puppy really, she’s almost 6 months old and she’s huge. When she gets up on her hind legs she puts her two front paws on the garden wall and looks over it. She still has all that puppy boisterousness and is extremely busy. She also wants us to think the she is the boss. Her name is Casey which means vigilant and she lives up to her name, in that very little eludes her watchful eye. At this stage I think she’s just afraid she might miss out on something. We have to be so careful when we open the front gate because she will discern it from wherever she is and come running out of nowhere. If we don’t close the gate very quickly she pushes her way past us and then the game begin, because she’s not coming back in on her own, and she’s certainly not intending getting caught. The devil and his demons are just like Casey. If there’s even a little crack in the door they will see it and try to go inside. The door is your life and it is our responsibility to keep those doors closed. If we do something like getting angry repeatedly, we are opening a door. If we keep being fearful we could end up being a nervous wreck because that door is wide open.

2 Timothy 1:7 says: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.” I know it’s easy to say it when you’re not living in fear. It’s easy to tell it to someone else when you’re not in that situation. I also do know what it feels like to fear. You will do anything and everything to avoid feeling that fear. You will lie in someone’s face if you have to. You will steal and cheat. You will do anything to avoid the fear. Then you will go on living in fear anyway. Fear of the fear, so to speak. Fearing the next situation when the fear will arise. Every time you fear, or lie or cheat or whatever it is you do, you open that door a little wider. Once the crack is big enough the enemy will slip in. Ephesians 4:27 says, “And do not give the devil a foothold.”

Just like Casey comes from out of nowhere to push her way through the gate, the devil will use force to get into that open door. He is not like the Holy Spirit, who is gentle. Ephesians 4;28 – 37 tell you what to do. If you’ve been stealing, stop, and get a job. Don’t let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only speak upbuilding words. Get rid of bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander. And verse 32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as God forgave you.”

I know it didn’t mention fear but Paul is saying that we must stop doing the things which cause us trouble. When I see Casey coming towards the gate I react as fast as I can by slamming the gate closed. That’s what we should do in our lives too.

James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Shut that gate as firmly and as quickly as you can. Do not go on the path of fear anymore. I overcame my fears by facing up to myself. Yes, that’s right. Myself. I started to realize who I really am and what my true identity in Christ is. I turned away from the lies that the devil was telling me and started to embrace the truths and the promises the word gives me. I discovered that even Abraham was afraid and God said to him in Genesis 15:1, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” And that Genesis 18;14 asks, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” In Exodus 14:14 Moses tells the Israelites, “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” This is while the Egyptians were behind  them and the Red Sea was ahead of them.

I learned that I am the head and not the tail when I choose to serve the Lord, and that I shall be blessed going out and coming in.  As I went through the bible I found more and more promises. I know now that even if things get herd, I have nothing to fear. I know that God loves me and cares for me. Two of the most powerful verses I found are the following: Isaiah 5:12 -13, “I, even I, am He ho comforts you, who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of the son of a man who will be made like grass? And forget your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, because of the fury of the oppressor, when he was prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor?”

I recognize when I am slipping and I close the door quickly. And as for Casey? Well, she just needs more training!