Hearing God’s Will for your life…….

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hearing GodThis has to be the singular major topic for many Christians – how do you know if you’re hearing God speak to you & if you think you do what is He saying & what is His Will for you.   Well, I’m here to tell you it’s SIMPLE – truly!!!  But more of that later.

In my own life, it happened on a couple of occasions that I learnt how to listen to God speaking.  The first time was shortly after I’d returned from South Africa and realised I would be going back there again within the year.  At that point, there was absolutely NO earthly reason for me to think I’d be going back other than an inner “knowledge” and a certainty I couldn’t explain.  I’d no money left by then and no means of getting the nearly £1000 required to consider returning.  Various events happened over the next few months which confirmed that I was to return and I’d be saving hard but was still well short of what I needed.  During this time I’d been praying hard and seeking God as to the way forward, as time was running out – I’d a deadline of the end of April that year to buy my airline ticket and book things.  God didn’t provide me any hints of what I should do other than a continued quiet reassurance that everything would come together at the right time.

I can’t tell you that I was perfectly calm at this point – a lot of me was getting hugely concerned & nervous about what to do.   But as I’d little choice, I just worked on towards my return trip as best I could.  Three weeks before my cut-off date for buying the plane ticket, an uncle I rarely had contact with, but whom I’d notified of my previous trip to SA in his Christmas Card, contacted me, wanting me to visit him & update him further on all I’d done on the trip.   Part of me was thinking “I don’t have time” as I was frantically trying to figure out what to do if I had to cancel my trip, but I duly fitted in a short visit a few days later, as it was on my mind.  (That’s hint #1 on hearing God speak!)

My uncle & I had an hour long of a chat at the end of which he absolutely floored me – he told me he’d something for me, went off, & a few minutes later came back & handed me a cheque for £1000!!!!  I nearly fell through the floor as he explained to me that he’d enjoyed hearing of my fun on the previous trip & I absolutely HAD to return to fulfil my quest.  I think he was equally shocked when I told him I’d been hoping to do so but just hadn’t the finance to until then!  SO after a whole year of waiting God finally enabled me to do the one thing He’d previously “told” me I’d get to do.

What I learnt about hearing His Voice is firstly, you don’t hear an audible voice, nor words in yourhearing God ear or any such thing – trust me, if you do, or think you do, be extremely cautious, as Satan is more likely to be behind such events than God – we don’t live in Old Testament times when God did speak audibly to His people – you read the NT & you’ll discover that apart from Paul on the road to Damascus, not even the apostles heard an audible voice when God spoke to them!   Secondly, He will never tell you to do something that goes against scripture.

Thirdly, if you really want to hear God speak to you in any sense, the simple method is to READ HIS WORD!!  I know many say that scripture doesn’t answer questions like “Should I move home” or “Is this job right for me” etc, but actually scripture still does hold the key to being sure of His Will even in those situations.

For example – if you’re contending with the option of moving home & wanting to be sure of the right path forward, you would know that God won’t honour you putting yourself into debt in order to buy a home beyond your means, so that’s the financial aspect sorted out to begin with.  Once you choose a home, you’ll know the right one when the doors literally open & open easily for you to move forward on buying it.

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” Pro 22:7 

Scripture will always provide a measure of God’s opinion on pretty much every facet of life, even in our incredibly complex generation, you just have to sometimes dig a bit deeper for it.  Thus, once again, the importance of reading your bible and more so, studying the true meaning of what you read, is abundantly evident.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,…..”2 Titus 3:16

On another note entirely, it reminds me of a well-known joke:

IMG_0206There was a very religious man named Jim, who lived near a river. One day, the river rose over the banks and flooded the town, and Jim was forced to climb onto his porch roof. While sitting there, a man in a boat came along and told Jim to get in the boat with him. Jim said, “No, that’s okay. God will take care of me.”

So, the man in the boat drove off.

The water rose higher, so Jim climbed onto his roof. At that time, another boat came along, and the person in that one told Jim to get in. Jim replied, “No, that’s okay. God will take care of me.”

The person in the boat then left.

The water rose even more, and Jim climbed onto his chimney. A helicopter came along and lowered a ladder for him. The woman in the helicopter told Jim to climb up the ladder and get in.
Jim said, “That’s okay.” The woman said, “Are you sure?” Jim replied, “Yeah, I’m sure God will take care of me.”

Finally, the water rose too high and Jim drowned. Jim got  to heaven and was face-to-face with God. Jim said to God, “You told me that you would take care of me! What happened?”God replied, “Well, I sent you two boats and a helicopter. What else did you want?” 🙂

And if you’ve any stories of how God has spoken to you using scripture to confirm His Will, I’d truly love to hear them!!

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Walking through dark valleys….

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So how many of you know God’s Will for your life?  Have any of you come to a place of understanding anything about what His Will actually means?  I don’t have an answer to the first question for my life, given I’m disabled, & now unwell too, it’s hard to know what His longterm plans actually are for me.  But I have learnt plenty about the second point – and even more so in recent weeks.

GodsWillMy first real understanding of how God brings His Will to fruition was many years ago when I was about 33 or so.   My late husband & I had relocated a few miles from our home, in order for me to take up what I considered to be a dream job – starting up & managing a large Cat Shelter.  With my Vet Nursing background & love of cats, I relished the opportunity, and even put myself through the torture of having to get a driving licence. I was so ridiculously nervous, I had to use self hypnosis just to get myself out the door & into the car for each lesson & even then sweated buckets the entire hour of the lesson – more when I made mistakes, which was quite frequently!!  Incredibly I took 18 lessons in 2 weeks & passed first time.  We threw ourselves into the job & my boss in England told me I was doing an excellent job.   So, it was an absolute huge shock when I took a phonecall from him a week before my 6 months probationary period was up, & he told me they were “letting me go” because of irreconciable differences between myself & the local Branch (long story that one, but suffice to say it came down to in-house politics, power, & money!), but also because they’d discovered that my hubby was an alcoholic which was a no-no in their books.

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Science again playing God – Pt 2

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On a similar yet slightly different note to my last post, medicine is forging ahead rapidly too with many advances it deems to be wonderful in the hope of curing many diseases.  Genetic tampering will know few bounds in the future as more and more genes are being considered for removal prior to birth to prevent all manner of things from Down’s syndrome right through to the entire concept of evil – yep, you heard that right – apparently scientists consider they’ve now located a gene that can predispose someone to evil intent be it becoming a psychopath or just a shoplifter, someday you can have a baby scanned for it, & have it removed (Horizon, BBC 2011-2012   link may not be sustained).

This made me think of how much further God will allow science to progress in the future, and I’m expecting quite a long way indeed.  A verse in Revelation used to have me wondering how it could really come to pass and I’m now beginning I think to see some of what the future my hold. The verse in question is:

And in those days men will seek death and will not find it. And they will long to die, and death will flee from them.  Rev 9:6

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Science once again openly “playing God”….Pt 1

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Spider-goat milking

Adam Rutherford, left, and Randy Lewis milk Freckles, the silk-producing goat. Photograph: BBC

Watching the BBC program “Horizon:  Playing God” recently had me both transfixed and horrified at the depths to which scientists are prepared to go to get ahead of others in their field, & to be the ones to provide the next new world-changing concept.

Having a strong interest in science myself, I can honestly understand where scientists are coming from on one level, in constantly wanting to break new ground, & find new things, or improve on old ideas etc, but at some point there has to be some sanity within the discipline that recognises that some things truly aren’t meant to be tampered with, & while they may feel that need outweighs any possible detriment in the short term, one has to wonder what the long term repercussions will be.   Science now is already well into blurring the boundaries on all levels as we’re continually indoctrinated, by the multitude of natural history TV programs. into believing that we’ve “evolved” from the animal kingdom anyway, so we should be quite comfotrtable about mixing ourselves back into it again.

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Is God schizophrenic….

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Following on from watching a TV programme “Tsunami- Where was God?” some time ago, I got to thinking about how the presenter had talked to those in other faiths (primarily Hinduism, Islam & Buddhism) using the generic term “God” in his conversations with them, asking questions about whether they felt angry with “God”.   The glaring obvious error he was making was in assuming that they worshipped the same God he himself supposedly did in being a somewhat lapsed Catholic.

This is a fundamental error too many make in the world today whether through ignorance or design.   Whether the world likes to know it or hear it, there is only ONE God – and His name is Jehovah.   And the reason I can stand on that statement is not through arrogance but rather revelation.   There is only one God who has not only created everything and told us about it in extensive terms (both physical e.g. creation & written i.e. the Bible), there is only one God who has revealed Himself to the world in human form i.e. Jesus, and there is only one God Who has provided a reason for and an answer to the age old problem of man’s sin/evil, through Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross, and there is only one God who has provided the surety of heaven for those who are willing to accept their sinfulness, repent, and submit to Him and His Will for their lives.

The gods of other religions are false and glaringly so much of the time.   The god of Islam is a god of war not peace and promotes fear, deception, and angst amongst most of his followers who have no peace of anything much nor any surety of what will happen to them when they die.   Their religion of “peace” is a facade, a veneer which got overlaid on the faith after 9/11 in a means to appease the West temporarily and to promote the idea that muslims weren’t seeking trouble.   However, the years since have shown that while there may indeed be many peaceful muslims their religion is certainly not one promoting peace with a plethora of verses that provoke followers to kill Jews & Christians wherever they may find them.   Deception and fear are twin cohorts in this faith that uses them when it suits to force people to submit.   And if they don’t – well the edge of the sword will maybe help them but if not, they can be swiftly despatched without concern.  Again, I say – this is NOT the God of the Bible Who is being followed in any sense of the word.   Indeed the glaring obvious difference is that the God of the Bible has a Son – Jesus – who is the Saviour of the World, and I contend that that fact stands whether both Jews & Muslims deny its truth.

“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.  By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’  Isa 45:22-23 

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What’s in a name?

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Well perhaps more than a name – a term perhaps – this time, it’s the ubiquitous handle of calling oneself a “Christ follower”!  While, for me, it just sounds particularly New Agey, it appears to have been taken on more fully by what’s termed the “Emergent” church and is, at the very least, providing confusion.   For a Christian to take on such a title means little because Mormons and JW’s would consider themselves to be equally a “Christ” follower, but with Mormons in particular, you need to be hugely careful as the words will hold totally different meanings.   They follow a very false Jesus who rather than being the Incarnate Son of God is instead the created brother of Lucifer yet Mormons all consider and describe themselves as being Christians.   So just coming up with a new title of sorts isn’t solving anything and is just going to confuse the masses yet further perhaps.   However, it’s important that those who are true born-again believers in the true Jesus don’t fall into the trap of thinking that labels aren’t important and steer well clear of those like this one which are only designed to cause chaos.

Following is a superb article by Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For The Faith about this very point.

The Problems With The Purpose-Driven Definition of a Christ Follower

Sometimes it is important to step back and review, reflect and summarize your work and look for valuable lessons learned.

I’ve spent some time this weekend doing just that. I’ve been hosting my radio program for almost 2 years. One of the daily features of my program are the sermon reviews. Each week I review 3 to 4 sermons from seeker-driven / purpose-driven churches. I review them in their entirety and am generally mortified and disappointed at the shallow self-help / felt-needs seminars that have replaced true in depth Biblical preaching in so many of these church’s pulpits. After reflecting on the sermons I’ve reviewed from such churches as Saddleback, Willowcreek, Granger, NewSpring, Elevation, Fellowship Church, LCBC, South Hills, Fellowship of the Woodlands, Mosaic, The Orchard, and National Community, I set out to find one question that could tie all these sermons together so that I could identify the common theme in all of them. Here’s the question I came up with:

If I were an unbeliever and I attended these churches and listened to all their sermons week after week, how would I define the term “Christ Follower”?

Here’s the answer I came up with after reviewing the sermons preached at these seeker-driven / purpose-driven churches over the last 24 months:

Christ Follower: Someone who has made the decision to be an emotionally well adjusted self-actualized risk taking leader who knows his purpose, lives a ‘no regrets’ life of significance, has overcome his fears, enjoys a healthy marriage with better than average sex, is an attentive parent, is celebrating recovery from all his hurts, habits and hang ups, practices Biblical stress relief techniques, is financially free from consumer debt, fosters emotionally healthy relationships with his peers, attends a weekly life group, volunteers regularly at church, tithes off the gross and has taken at least one humanitarian aid trip to a third world nation.

Based upon this summarized definition, I’ve come to the conclusion that the world is full of people who can fit this definition but who’ve never repented of their sins and trusted in Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins. This definition could easily apply to Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. In fact, it could apply to Emergent Heretics, Unitarians, Muslims and practicing Jews. The reason why this definition of a Christ Follower could be applied to those outside of Christianity is because this is a definition based upon deeds NOT creeds. (Which is precisely what Rick Warren’s so-called “second reformation” is all about.) Even worse, Rick Warren frequently admonishes the pastors that he trains to measure a person’s spiritual growth by their obedience. If obedience were the true measure of one’s spiritual growth then Jesus would have held the Pharisees up as an example of the most spiritually mature Christ Followers on the planet. Instead, Jesus called down woes on the Pharisees because they were outwardly obedient to the demands of God’s law but inwardly their hearts were far from Christ. Plain and simple, the Pharisees despite their obedience didn’t have FAITH. (Matt. 23:25-28, John 5:39-40).

It is frightening but absolutely true that ANYBODY can modify their actions, just like the Pharisees, so that their behaviors conform with this purpose-driven definition of what it means to be a Christ Follower without ever believing the creeds of the Historic Christian faith and without ever trusting in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins.

Tradgically, the “Jesus” that is presented in the sermons that promote this definition of being a Christ Follower isn’t the savior of the world who died on the cross for the sins of the world and calls all nations to repentance of their sins and the forgiveness of sins won by Christ on the Cross. Instead, the “Jesus” that is presented in these sermons is a “life coach”, a training buddy and the supreme example of an emotionally well adjusted risk taking leader who lived the ultimate life of significance and purpose. This purpose-driven “Jesus” is there to help you achieve what he achieved and invites you to follow his examples and methods so that you can be Christlike too.

This seeker-driven / purpose-driven definition of what it means to be a Christ Follower is fatally flawed and I fear that there will be many people who appear before the judgement seat of Christ saying, “Lord, Lord, we were emotionally well adjusted self-actualized leaders who lived a life of significance and purpose, took risks, enjoyed healthy sex lives in our marriages, celebrated recovery, tithed, volunteered at church and helped dig fresh water wells in Africa” and Jesus will say to them “Depart from me, I never knew you!” (Matt. 7:21-23)

A truly remarkable relationship…

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godThere is one thing that Christianity offers over every other single religion on the planet – well, more than one, but aside from a risen Saviour and forgiveness of sins and a multitude of other vital requirements, our God is the only One with whom we can actually have a relationship!   Unlike the Muslims or the Hindus, Buddhists etc who worship unknown gods and can never be sure if their prayers are even being heard let alone answered, we have a God who actually resides within us through His Holy Spirit and with whom we thus have continual commune.   We have a God who desires to hear His people talk to Him and tell them what He already knows.   And we have a God who absolutely works to help us to hear Him speak to us in a multitude of ways, but especially through our conscience.   How many times you will hear of a Christian who says that they were about to undertake some action, but something stopped them, or they knew instinctively to do something would be wrong.   And I’m not talking the obvious sins here, but more the subtle ones that Paul spoke about when he said that if someone thinks something is wrong, then it is sin for him to do that thing, even if for another person it may not be e.g. eating pork.

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