Have You Believed a Lie?

Do we open a door for the enemy when we believe a lie? Have you ever believed something negative spoken over you? For instance: “You’re accident prone!” “Cancer runs in your family!” And in the back of your mind, you believed that it is true. Are there any areas in your life that something like this was said or you said it about yourself? How about this lie: “You’ll never get ahead in life!”

Before Satan can get us to fall or sin, he has to get us to believe a lie!

Genesis 3:1 – Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (That is the opposite of what God said in Genesis 2:16.) He really said: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; (Verse 17) “but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Satan said it negatively and God said it positively. Genesis 3:2 – And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; (Verse 3) “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”

Eve wasn’t lying, she was just giving her interpretation of what she thought God had said because she wasn’t even there when God had spoken this to Adam.

Genesis 3:4 And the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. (Verse 5) “For God knows that in that day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

This was the first lie Eve had ever heard. She didn’t know what a lie was, because there’s only been her, Adam, and God, and neither of them had ever lied. The serpent comes along and he knows the only way he can get Adam and Eve to sin is for them to believe a lie. This is the only way Satan gets access to our lives. The lie always contains a “little truth.”

Satan told Eve, “In the day you eat, your eyes will be opened…” In verse 7, after they had eaten the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, “Their eyes were opened!”

However, they were like God before they ate the fruit and were like the devil after they ate the fruit. Remember when Satan came to Jesus? He said, “If” You are the Son of God…” He did the same thing with Adam and Eve that he tried to do with Jesus.

In Genesis 4:7, God is talking to Cain and says, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Who is the author of sin? Satan! So Satan is laying at the door. So don’t open the door and let Satan in your life. There are three ways that we open doors and allow Satan to come in:

1) The Sins That We Continue

Any sin that a person continues in, that they persist in, that is habitual, opens the door to the enemy. James tells us that if we practice lawlessness, we are of the devil. Continuing in sin is a wide-open door.

In Matthew 18, Jesus tells a story about a man that’s forgiven, but he won’t forgive his fellow servant: Matthew 18:32 – “Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. (Verse 33) ‘Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ (Verse 34) “And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. (Verse 35) “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

If we keep unforgiveness in our lives, we have an open door to the tormentors to come in and torture us in our lives. Sounds pretty scary, doesn’t it? Well, Jesus is the One that said that is exactly what will happen.

2 Corinthians 2:10 – Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, (Verse 11) lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

When we keep unforgiveness, Satan now has access to our lives. Unforgiveness was just one example of a way that gives Satan an open door into our lives – unforgiveness is continuing in sin – refusing to forgive.

2) The Words That We Speak

Proverbs 18:21 – Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. If you speak death, it will produce fruit and you will “eat it.” If you speak life, it also will produce fruit and you also will eat what it produces. Speak life!

However, let me be clear about something: We do not have creative power with the words we speak as some TV preachers have said. But we do have the power to “agree” with the Creator, who brings life. The destroyer, Satan, brings death. What we speak either opens a door for God to come in or it opens a door for the enemy!

Proverbs 6:2 – You are snared by the words of your own mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth.

But, can words that we speak bind us and can words that we’ve said or words by people spoken over us, be broken?

Numbers 30:1 – Then Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: (Verse 2) “If a man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

(Verse 3) “Or if a woman vows a vow to the LORD, and binds herself by some agreement while in her father’s house in her youth, (Vers 4) “and her father hears her vow and the agreement by which she has bound herself, and her father holds his peace, then all her vows shall stand, and every agreement with which she has bound herself shall stand.

(Verse 5) “But if her father overrules her on the day he hears, then none of her vows nor her agreements by which she has bound herself shall stand; and the LORD will forgive her because her father overruled her.

We can say things that bind us, but we can also have someone who has the spiritual authority to break those words that were spoken. The father in this passage had spiritual authority over the daughter. We bind ourselves by our own words, but they can be broken in the name of Jesus Christ! What was spoken can be “overruled!” If we don’t break the negative things that have been spoken over us, then those words stand and open a door for the enemy.

3) The Thoughts That We Think

Proverbs 23:7 – For as he thinks in his heart, so is he… If you think all the negative things that have been said over you is true, then it will continue. If you dwell on it in your heart then it will more than likely come to pass. John 8:32 – “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” So, if the truth sets us free, what does a lie do? Puts us in bondage!

Do you remember when Moses sent 12 spies into the Promise Land and two brought back a good report and ten bad reports? Numbers 13:32 – And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it were men of great stature. (Verse 33) “There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants), and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Because they thought they looked like grasshoppers in their own sight they became grasshoppers in the enemy’s sight. Do you think that Satan doesn’t know the way we see ourselves? Sure he does, by what we say out loud and tell other people about ourselves.

Keep in mind that there is always some truth to the lie from Satan” The truth about what they saw was there were really giants in the land. But the kingdom truth is, “God loves to kill giants!” Giants are no problem for God. The lie in the story is that they believed they were merely grasshoppers. However, they were men, soldiers.

How do you see yourself as a believer? Are you victorious in Jesus Christ? Here is a way to know if you have believed a lie from Satan or not; If it doesn’t shock you. What is normal for the world, is not normal for the kingdom. For instance; If you’ve believed your accident-prone, then it’s not going to surprise you when something happens. If you think cancer runs in your family, then it’s not going to surprise you when you get that diagnosis.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have been adopted into a new family – the family of God! If what is being said doesn’t shock you, then you have believed a lie straight from the enemy.

Once you figure out the lie, “The Truth will set you free!”

 

 

“O Little Town of Bethlehem”

We’ve all heard the Christmas story over and over, but I think sometimes we miss how powerful it is. All of history, from the past to the future, goes to the books of Matthew, Chapters 1 and 2, and Luke, Chapters 1 and 2. In these four chapters, there are fifteen prophecies to eight different people.

Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus, the Wisemen, the shepherds, Simeon, and Anna, all received prophecies from God.

The Place of Bethlehem

Why did God choose Bethlehem to be the place where the Savoir of the world was to be born?

Matthew 2:1 – Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the day of Herod the king, behold wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, (Verse 2) saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Verse 3) When Herod the king heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 

(Verse 4) And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. (Verse 5) So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea. For thus it is written by the prophet: (Verse 6) ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’ “

Is not the city Bethlehem famous in the whole world? The majority of people in the world know about this small tiny village in Israel called Bethlehem, but not for any of its accomplishments of its own. It’s famous for one reason and that’s the birthplace of Christ. And it was the least of all the cities of all Judea. Bethlehem is about five or six miles south of Jerusalem. Even today, it’s still a small city, 25 or 30 thousand in population.

So why did God choose Bethlehem for the birth of His Son? Could it be because God likes to choose the smallest, inconsequential places to birth miracles? Deuteronomy 7 tells us why God chose Israel. God tells Israel that He chose them because they were the smallest nation in the world. God likes to take the smallest to show Himself the strongest.

The People of Bethlehem

Why did Joseph and Mary go back to Bethlehem in the first place? Was it because their ancestors came from there? 1 Samuel 16:1 – Now the LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.” (Verse 4) So Samuel did what he LORD said, and went to Bethlehem. David was from Bethlehem! And the line of Jesus comes from David.

Joseph and Mary were ordinary people. And God chooses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Joseph was a carpenter. But that word carpenter in the Greek is a little broader than when we think of a carpenter today. The word is “Tekton” and means “builder.” Much of the building in Israel was with stone. Joseph went to work with tools used in working with wood and stone. He was a working man. And Jesus was also a builder. Jesus was in the “construction” business until He was around thirty years old. When Jesus started teaching and preaching, He wasn’t famous for those skills. He was famous for His carpentry.

Mary was probably a teenager. We all have something in common with her. She was carrying a responsibility from God. Do we not? Joseph and Mary were also people of “misunderstanding.” Can we not all relate to that? Have you ever had someone misunderstand or miss interpret your motives? Do you not think the people in town pointed and whispered about them? After all, Mary was pregnant but yet not married. No one believed Joseph and Mary’s story. Can you imagine what people said to Joseph when he went to work? No one had ever been impregnated by the Holy Spirit before and no one ever since.

The Problems of Bethlehem

Luke 2:4 – And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, (Verse 5) to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.

(Verse 6) So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. (Verse 7) And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth which was a lot further than Jerusalem was to Bethlehem. Nazareth is 80 miles north to Bethlehem and Mary’s nine months pregnant. Everything was not all comfortable for them. But they had to travel to Bethlehem because it was required of them to register for taxes.

God doesn’t birth miracles out of perfect places or situations. He birth’s miracles out of problems. Does that not seem how it always is? God can take the worse circumstances and produce a miracle right there in the midst. God chose to have His Son, the Savior of the world, be born in a cave in a feeding trough!

Do you think Joseph might have had some doubts about whether or not this was really God? To think they traveled all that way and Mary was going to give birth to God’s Son in a cave. Joseph and Mary did not get to choose the terms or the timing of this miracle, and neither do we.

Christmas time can come with many problems. Some may have to face it without a loved one for the first time. Some may be facing a bad medical report and it may be their last Christmas. But I know that God is faithful and even though we live in a fallen world that’s filled with problems, there’s a promise!

The Promise of Bethlehem

Micah 5:2 – “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose going forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” In other words: “This is the Ancient of days coming!”

Micah 5:4 – And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; and they shall abide, for now, He shall be great to the ends of the earth; (Verse 5) And this One shall be peace…”

Peace is not the absence of problems, peace is the presence of God in the midst of the problems! Don’t ever think that just because you may not have much money or you are too consumed with problems that you can’t “Have Christmas this year!” Is that what Christmas is really about?

The fact that a person can’t celebrate the birth of God’s Son because of a lack of something, money, or whatever, should never even be considered. Material gifts will fade away, so why not let the birth of a miracle flood your very being this Christmas and watch it overflow into someone’s life? Christmas is the celebration of the greatest gift we could ever receive from a God who loves us!

“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight!”

I Wish You A “Mary” Christmas!

A miracle happened in Mary over two thousand years ago. A miracle conception; she carried the miracle and then delivered the miracle to the world. Is it God’s desire for His Son’s life to be conceived in all of us, grow in all of us, and to be delivered through all of us to the world around us?

Luke 1:26 – Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,) (Verse 27) to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. (Verse 28) And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

This angel went to a specific city, to a specific house, to a specific woman. Here is a clear observation: God knows where you live! I think we all need to be reminded of that, especially at Christmas. Why? Because the enemy can come in our thoughts and tell us that God has forgotten about us! God has not forgotten you or me. And God wants to conceive a miracle in our lives also.

Luke 1:30 – Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. (Verse 31) “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.”

The Conceiving of the Miracle

What did Mary have to do for this miracle to be conceived in her? Many people will say, “nothing.” But that’s not correct.

Luke 1:34 – Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be since I do not know a man?” (Verse 35) And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. (Verse 36) “Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. (Verse 37) “For with God, nothing will be impossible.” (Verse 38) Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed her.

Mary’s first response was unbelief, but then she took what the angel said by faith and believed him. When we first have doubt but then God gives us a word about the situation, be at peace, because with God all things are possible. And then, we respond the same way Mary did, “Be it unto me according to your word.” We make a choice to receive by faith. If we will do that, the miracle will not only be conceived but will begin to grow in us.

The word “angel in Greek is “Aggelos,” meaning “messenger,” messenger of the Lord. However, the power for the miracle is not in the angel, it is in the word of the Lord. It really doesn’t matter who the messenger is. We should not get hung-up on how that word comes!

Do you believe that God wants to conceive a miracle in you? Why not? Always, always remember that you are loved by an awesome loving God and He wants only the best for you and me.

The Carrying of the Miracle

The in-between time from when the miracle is conceived to the time the miracle is complete is often forgotten. However, we know what Mary did during this time.

Luke 1:39 – Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, (Verse 40) and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. (Verse 41) And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 

(Verse 42) Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! (Verse 43) “But why is this granted to me, that the mother of the Lord should come to me? (Verse 44) “For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

(Verse 45) “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Verse 46) And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, (Verse 47) and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. (Verse 48) For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

Yes, we honor Mary, but in no way do we make her a deity or pray to her because that is not Scriptural. But we honor her because God brought the most wonderful miracle through her.

Notice what Mary did first after hearing this miracle would be born through her, she went to another miracle carrying person. Mary was probably surrounded by gossipers who didn’t believe her miracle so she went to her relative that was also carrying a miracle. Mary went to someone who would encourage her. Elizabeth told her because she believed there was going to be a “fulfillment!”

If you want to birth your miracle, you need to be around people who will encourage you and have a miracle within themselves. That shouldn’t be hard to do, but sometimes Christians can be the most negative people around. So find people who have had a miracle or are about to, to be around.

In every circumstance in life, we have a choice whether to make the circumstances larger or make God larger – “magnify the Lord!” The way that we make something larger in our lives, is we focus on it. If a person thinks about the negative circumstances, then they make them appear larger in life. But the way that we magnify God and praise Him is to focus on Him.

Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You. If you can’t find anyone to encourage you, get in God’s word and build yourself up. Believe God’s word and what He says about you and the focus will be on Him and He will bring you peace.

Ephesians 4:1 – I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,… Galatians 4:19 – My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.

In the same way that a woman carries a baby, she does things differently. When they are carrying another life, they eat differently; she’s protective of what she does; she walks different; sits and gets up different, a woman that is pregnant is always conscious of the life she is carrying.

So could we as believers always be conscience that we are carrying Christ and He is growing inside of us? Remember what Paul said in Galatians 4:19, “Until Christ is formed in you.”

The Completion of the Miracle

Luke 2:6 – So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. (Verse 7) And she brought forth her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

This is our wonderful Christmas story that is read all over the world. However, it wasn’t so pleasant for Mary being nine months pregnant and having to travel such a long trip. Her baby is coming and there is no place warm and comfortable to stay. They had to stay in a cave where the animals were kept. Most didn’t have barns back then, they were caves. And she delivers the miracle of God and lays HIm in a feeding trough.

The miracle, when it comes, might not come like we think it’s going to come. Eight days after giving birth, Mary and Joseph travel to the temple in Jerusalem and meet with Simeon. Simeon blesses Jesus and then says to Mary: Luke 2:34 – Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (Verse 35) (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

And thirty-three years later, she’s standing at the foot of a cross, as they take the lifeless body of her baby off the cross. But if not for the cross, we would not be where we are as believers today!

If we will carry the miracle in a worthy manner, God will complete it. Philippians 1:6 – being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

You might be thinking, “But I’m not pure and Mary was. How could God perform a miracle through me?” 1 Corinthians 6:9 – Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, (Verse 10) nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (If the passage stopped there, we’d all be trouble.) 

(Verse 11) And such “were” some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. And by the grace of God, we can all be on another list. We are on a list that qualifies me and you to carry a “Miracle!”

2 Corinthians 11:2 – For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Because of grace, every believer is qualified to carry Jesus to the world!

“Amen!”

We all have used this word which is a universal word. It is the same in every language. It’s like another universal word, Hallelujah. There is something unique about the word “Amen.” It is the same in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English. This word appears in the Bible 183 times, 30 times in the Old Testament, 153 times in the New Testament.

So what does the word “Amen” mean? What’s the popular definition? “So be it.” However, that is not the literal definition.

2 Corinthians 1:20 – For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Without Jesus, no promises of God. In order to understand the true meaning of the word Amen, we need to start with:

1) Amen in the Old Testament

In the book of Deuteronomy 27, the word Amen appears 12 times. In Chapter 27, God had the people say Amen to affirm a curse.

Deuteronomy 27:14 – “And the Levites shall speak with a loud voice and say to all men of Israel: (Verse 15) ‘Cursed is the one who makes any carved or molded image an abomination to the LORD, the work of his hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen!’ (Verse 16) ‘Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ And if you continue reading it lists many more activities.

(Verse 26) ‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ The people were about to enter the Promised Land. God says that He wanted some of the Levites to stand on Mount Ebal and some of the Levites to stand on Mount Gerizim. Those on Mount Gerizim were to recite the blessings over the people when they crossed over the Jordan. Those Levites on Mount Ebal were to recite the cures. When they recited the curses God wanted all the people to say “Amen,” but didn’t have them say “Amen” after the blessings were recited.

Why would God do that? I think it’s easy to agree with a blessing. So what did it mean “Cursed is the one”? A curse is a consequence of disobedience. God doesn’t put the curse on us, it is a law like the law of nature; if you disobey the laws of God there are consequences! God wanted them and us to understand the consequences so they wouldn’t do the wrong thing. So He made them say, “Amen,” to confirm it. He wanted them to all agree that if they disobeyed, it was a curse, and that curse had consequences. Please understand, God is not the one that makes something bad happen when we are disobedient. There are consequences when we are disobedient to God’s laws He has set up to bless us.

However, there is still a literal meaning to the word “Amen.” Isaiah 65:16 – So that he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth, and he who swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten and because they are hidden from My eyes. The Hebrew translation in this passage for “Amen” is the word “TRUTH.”

When it is spoken, it means, “I affirm.” What the person or God is saying is truth! “The one that blesses himself shall bless himself by the God of “Amen!” That’s just a little background of the word “Amen” in the Old Testament.

2) Amen in the New Testament

Twenty four of the twenty-seven New Testament books end with “Amen.” Jesus speaks “Amen” 106 times. Almost half of the time He speaks it, He speaks it in the book of John. Jesus did something with the word “Amen” that had never been done before. He moves it from the end of the sentence to the beginning. However, we don’t actually see the word “Amen” when He speaks it, but Jesus uses the true meaning. What is the word He uses for the word “Amen?” “Truly, truly!” The Old King James uses the word “Fairly, fairly.” That is the word “Amen.”

John 3:3 – Jesus answered and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” In other words: “Amen” and “amen,” this is true what I’m saying.” But why did Jesus put it at the beginning of the sentence and why did He say it twice? Was it just a habit of saying this like some speakers do? I don’t think so. What He was about to say was true and His Father said it and now He was saying it. The Father says it in heaven, and Jesus said it on earth – truth! As it is in heaven so shall it be on earth. Jesus came to earth to establish “Truth!” The Father said it, Jesus said it, and the Spirit confirmed it. 

Creative process – The Father wills it, the Son Words it, and the Spirit works it. That’s “Amen” in the New Testament.

3) The Amen of God

Amen is more than a word. Keep in mind it means “truth.” Amen is a person. In the book of Revelation, Jesus is speaking to John in Chapters 1, 2, and 3.

Revelation 1:18 – “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

Revelation 3:14 – “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:

Jesus is saying, “I am the Amen! I am the Faithful! I am the True Witness! I am the Beginning of the creation!”

So yes, Jesus is our “Amen!” He waits on all of us to say, “I believe that! Amen! Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and is alive forevermore! “Amen!!”

Learn To Recognize His Voice

We are all sheep and Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice.” We are friends of God and Jesus said, “No longer do I call you servants because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing.” He called us His friend. All of us can share a word of encouragement from the Lord to someone. Value God’s voice by setting aside time to spend with Him.

This study will cover: How to recognize the voice of God. How can we know for sure it is God talking and not just our own thoughts?

First, we have to have a personal relationship with God in order to hear Him. The entire foundation of hearing God speak goes back to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Our personal relationship with God must be our:

Highest Priority

In the book of Genesis, Chapter 3, Satan tells Adam and Eve, “If you do this, you’ll be like God.” But weren’t they already created in the image of God? Satan does the same thing today: “If you do this, you’ll have joy.” Guess what? If you have Jesus, you already have joy! The very thing that Satan tells people to do so that they will be happy, is actually the very thing that will cause them to lose what they already had!

Genesis 3:8 – And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (Verse 9) Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” (Verse 10) So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

God had created a paradise and created two children and put them in this paradise. And every morning He would go meet with them and they would talk and maybe do things together during the day. He spent time with them. I believe that God anticipated seeing them every day.

But on this particular morning, God is walking through the garden and He doesn’t see Adam and Eve. He calls out to them, “Where are you?” Just think about how hurt God must have been when they didn’t meet up with Him like they had done on previous mornings.

Then God hears the saddest words He’s ever heard Adam say, “I heard Your voice and was afraid.” That must have been devastating! Do you see what happened? When sin came into the world, people began to fear the voice of God. Adam had never feared God’s voice before.

Sin separates us from God. But here’s the good news: Jesus restored that relationship we could never get on our own! So if Adam and Eve could hear God’s voice before the fall, and Jesus has come now and restored us, can we not hear God’s voice again? We don’t ever have to be afraid when God speaks to us.

When you have had a long relationship with a person, do you not know their voice in an instant? I may spend a small amount of time with my clients while at work, but when they call I know their voice. Imagine how quickly we’d recognize God’s voice the more time we spend with Him. If you want to know His voice, it’s very simple –  spend time with Him. It will become as familiar to you as hearing your child, spouse, or closest friend.

We have a spirit and God is Spirit, and according to the Bible, my spirit can talk and my spirit can hear! We all can learn to hear God’s voice in the spirit. There is no substitute for that relationship. The relationship with Christ should be:

Our Highest Pursuit

There were two trees in the garden: The Tree of life and the Tree of knowledge of good and evil. God wanted Adam and Eve to pursue the Tree of life. Which tree does God want us to pursue now, today? The Tree of Life! God never intended for us to live by the knowledge of good and evil. God wanted Adam and Eve to live by His voice.

Here is where Satan started with Adam and Eve, “Has God said…?” Satan cast doubt on the Word of God, and when Satan got them to doubt God’s voice, then he got them to sin!

Does our conscience play a part in all of this? Certainly, but our conscience has to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus. If the conscience is not cleansed then people will think they have to earn God’s favor. God’s favor is not earned, it’s received!

Hebrews 9:14 – how much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? After our conscience has been cleansed by the blood of Christ, we will know what is wrong and what is right. After being born again, we have a new spirit and the Spirit knows all things, so yes, He will tell us clearly what is right and what is wrong.

Jesus said in John 16 that, “When He comes, He will convict sin, righteousness, and judgment.” Sin is wrong; righteousness is what is right, and judgment is the consequences. Consequences do not always have to be bad. There are consequences of doing right, righteousness. The Holy Spirit will tell us what to do in any situation.

A good conscience does not come from knowing the difference between right and wrong. A good conscience comes from having a close relationship with Jesus Christ.

What do you think Abraham’s conscience told him when God told him to sacrifice Isaac? If Abraham would have relied on his conscience instead of God’s voice, we wouldn’t have read bout Abraham because the story would have stopped. When we have a close relationship with God, we rely on His Spirit that He placed inside every believer to do what is right.

To Hear God’s Voice Should Be Our Highest Passion

Every single believer should have a passion to have a close relationship with the Father and be able to hear His voice.

Luke 10:38 – Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. (Verse 39) And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. (Verse 40) But Martha was distracted with much serving and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 

(Verse 41) And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. (Verse 42) “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to His voice and His Word. Now, let me ask you something: Are you worried and troubled about many things in your personal life? Those worries will stop you from sitting down and listening to Jesus when He’s in your house. Did you know that Jesus waits to meet with us every day? Are you too distracted by everyday life to spend time with Him? Don’t be like Martha, too busy to sit at the Master’s feet.

No one can have a personal relationship with God for you. Exodus 19:5 – “Now, therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. (Verse 6) And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Then the people responded: Exodus 20:19 – Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” (Verse 20) And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” (Verse 21) So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.

If a person doesn’t hear God, it’s because they never developed their own personal relationship with Him. In the same way, we recognize our friend’s and families’ voices, we can recognize our God’s voice!

 

 

Steward His Spoken Word

Stewardship means how we manage someone else’s property. Time and money are two ways. As a believer, our lives are not our own. We have been bought with a price. Our time is not our own and neither is our money. When we give the first to God, the rest is blessed. If we can manage our time and our money, is it possible to manage when God speaks to us?

If God gives us money and we’re faithful with it, does He give us more? Yes. God blesses faithful stewards. So is it possible that when God speaks to us if we are faithful with the word He gives us that He’ll give us more word? But, if we’re not faithful, why would He give us another word? Why then would He not give that word to someone else who would be faithful to it?

Mark 4:24 – And He said to them, “Take heed, what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. (Verse 25) “For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

Jesus is talking in the context of “hearing.” This verse and others like it are always referring to stewardship. If the person doesn’t steward what they have, even what they have will be taken away. In this particular verse, Jesus says we need to apply this to what we hear.

If we are a good steward of what we hear, He will give us more! Let me make this plain: Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God and the more word of God that we have, He will give us more. If God is going to speak, we need to pay attention. There are three ways that we can steward God’s spoken word:

1) Hearing

Jesus said, “Take heed what you hear!” There are several ways in which God will speak to us: (a) Through circumstances (Jonah). God spoke to Jonah with His voice and Jonah did not heed what He had heard so then God spoke to him through circumstances when Jonah ended up in the belly of a fish for three days.

b) Through Counsel (Proverbs). When we seek godly counsel, we can hear the voice of God. (c) Through Peace (Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15). Let the peace of God rule in your heart and the peace of God guard your heart. If you don’t have peace about it, just stop! (d) Through People (Acts 21:10, 11). God speaks through prophets and others. 

e) Through Dreams and Visions (Solomon, Jacob, Peter, John, Joseph, and Paul). (f) Through Thoughts (Amos 4:13; Matthew 1:20). Amos 4:13 …who declares to man what his thought is,… God literally speaks through our thoughts. However, we need to judge every time we get a thought, whether it is from the enemy or God, not just us. 

g)Through Natural Manifestations (Romans1; John 12:29; Revelation). God can speak through nature, floods, wind, thunder, and so on. (h) Through Supernatural Manifestations (burning bush, fleece, and Paul on the road to Damascus). (i) Through the Bible (Romans 10:17) God speaks to us through His word. (j) Through a Whisper (1 Kings 19:12; Elijah). God can whisper to us through a prompting in our spirit.

So, is it possible that God is speaking all the time, but the ones that are hearing are the ones that are “tuning in?” Jesus says throughout the New Testament: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” He says this seven times in the book of Revelation.

Jeremiah 7:13 (NLT) – “While you were doing these wicked things, says the Lord, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer.”

Have you ever met a person that has great faith? Then you have met a person that hears God. The person also knows the word of God because the more he knows the more God will give them. That person always moves forward with confidence because they know that they have heard God because they know His Word! There is something else we have to have in order to hear God:

2) Humility

When God speaks do we have “good ground” or do we have a hard ground with thorns? Jesus talks about our soil in Luke Chapter 8. Luke 8:18 – “Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and whoever does not have even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”

In Mark, He says, “Take heed “what you hear.” In Luke Jesus says, “Take heed “how” you hear.” Jesus is telling us, “When I speak to you, take heed how you receive My word.” Make sure that we receive His word in good ground. Are you teachable? Are you humble? Receiving the word of God with “meekness” which is able to change the way we make decisions and the way we think. Remember this: God does not give His word to people who misuse it.

Remember Joseph? Genesis 37:5 – Now Joseph had a dream, and told it to his brothers, and they hated him even more. Joseph told his brothers of the dream where the sheaves bowed down to Joseph’s sheaves. Why would he tell them that when they already hated him? Because Joseph wasn’t passing that “Pride Test” very well. 

However, the dream Joseph had was from God, but Joseph’s reaction to God speaking to him through this dream was “not” from God. Take heed how you hear! Why would Joseph even tell his brothers the dream in the first place? It wasn’t wise whether it was pride or not.

After Joseph had the first dream and told his brothers about it, God gave him another dream and Joseph told his whole family that time, but his father rebuked him. Guess what? God never spoke to Joseph in a dream again. God had given Joseph two dreams to see how he’d handle them and he immediately went out and bragged about them. Here is the amazing thing though: One of Joseph’s gifts was to “interpret dreams,” but he never had anymore himself.

When Joseph interpreted someone else’s dreams, he wasn’t prideful or selfish about it. We need to understand: Never use God’s word that He gives us to brag on ourselves and make us look better than others! People shouldn’t go around bragging, “I have a Word from God!”

James 4:6 – But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (Verse 7) Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

If we are prideful, God resists us. It’s very difficult for a person to resist the devil when God Himself is resisting us. This word “resist” in the Greek means “opposing.” Meaning “to play on the opposing team.” When we get prideful, we are on our own! How far will they get with a spirit of pride? It’s called “a familiar spirit.” They think they hear God, but it’s really the enemy they hear. But they will tell others, “God told me” when God really said nothing to them.

3) Heeding

Take heed what you hear. Remember Jonah? God speaks to Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach to the people. However, Jonah got on a boat headed in the opposite direction. So God causes a great storm, Jonah is thrown in the sea and swallowed by a big fish. In the belly of the fish Jonah basically tells God that he was wrong. When Jonah didn’t “heed” God’s voice, God had to speak through the circumstance.

Bottom line; If we heed God’s word and then do it, He will speak more to us. If we are faithful in the little things, then God will give us the bigger things.

For instance if you’re not a good steward over what God has already given, then why would He give you more? Too many want the “Big Word” from God, but refuse to do the “Little Words” He has already given.

 

 

 

 

A Call For Confirmation

If a person doesn’t value hearing God’s voice, they will never set aside time to hear Him. Here is maybe the number one question people ask about hearing God: “How do I know if it’s really God?” How do we know it’s not just us making up something in our minds? Would it be alright to ask God to confirm His word?

A Call For Confirmation

God always confirms His word!

Mark 16:20 – And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen. 

In the Old Testament, there was a principle that was part of the law but affirmed in the New Testament, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses, let every word be established.”

Matthew 18:16 – “But if he will not hear you, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ “

Then Paul quotes this several times, but here is just one: 2 Corinthians 13:1 – This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word shall be established.”

In Judges, Chapter 6, we read the story about Gideon. Most of what people know about him is of him laying out a fleece to know if it was God speaking to him. However, there are several times before the fleece, that Gideon asked for confirmation:

Judges 6:17 – Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talks with me. (Verse 18) “Do not depart from here, I pray until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You. And He said, “I will wait until you come back.”

When the Old Testament says, “The Angel of the LORD,” it’s referring to Jesus. So Jesus comes, sits under a tree and begins talking to Gideon. Then Gideon tells the Angel to show him a sign that it is the LORD. Gideon had to go kill a goat, build a fire, cook it, and then bring it back. This was a several hour-long process.

Here is the amazing thing about this: The Creator of the universe waits for Gideon to come back with his offering and the Lord is still there. And here is another amazing thing: God will wait for us to figure out that it’s really Him talking to us!

(Veres 19) Then Gideon went in and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented them. (Verse 20) The Angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on the rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so. (Verse 21) Then the Angel of the LORD put out the end of the staff that was in His hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread, and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.

I’d say that was as big a sign anyone could get. But even after this display of who He was, Gideon keeps asking for the LORD to show him it’s really Him. (Verse 36) Then Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said – (Verse 37) “look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.”

(Verse 38) And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. (Verse 39) Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, and let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” (Verse 40) And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.

So it’s ok for you or I to ask for confirmation. What happens next, with Gideon, you can read in Chapter 7. This is an amazing story of how God took only 300 men with him and delivered Israel. God told Gideon to divide the three-hundred into 100 each and put a trumpet and pitchers in their hands. They surrounded the Midianites and blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers and the army fled.

When we believe that we are hearing something from God, it’s alright to ask Him for confirmation! When we believe that we’ve heard something from the Lord, we can ask Him to confirm it by His word, by His people, and by circumstances. To give us a Scripture on it, for someone else to say something about it and for the circumstances to line up so that we have peace about it is a sure way to know.

His Word, His Wisdom, His Ways

Just ask God to confirm what He’s said through His word, godly counsel, and His ways which are faith, love, peace, joy, and goodness.

His Principles, His People, and His Peace

His principles are found in the Word of God, His people are the godly counsel and His peace is within our spirits.

His Character, His Counsel, and His Calm

His character is found in the Bible, and to seek counsel from godly people, and His calm will be the peace in surrounding circumstances lining up.

Here are three questions we can ask ourselves if we believe we’ve heard a word from God: (1) Does what I think I’ve heard line up with the Bible? In other words: Does the Bible agree with what we think God is telling us to do? God’s voice will never disagree with His word and He will never contradict His own words. 

Matthew 19:3 – Then the Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” (Verse 4) And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who ‘made them at the beginning made them male and female,’ (Verse 5) “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? (Verse 6) “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

(Verse 7) They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” (Verse 8) He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning, it was not so.

Divorce doesn’t line up with the Father’s character. It doesn’t line up with love, kindness, forgiveness and it doesn’t line up with “denying yourself.” This Scripture is a perfect example when someone wants to know if what they are about to do is permissible. Jesus’ answer was to ask them a question: “Have you not read?”

Even though Moses gave a certificate of divorce, it didn’t make it right in God’s eyes. He gave the certificate because of their hard hearts. Yes, God hates divorce, but He didn’t say that He hated divorced people. It’s the exact same thing if He had said, “I hate car wrecks.” Because car wrecks hurt people and so does divorce! He loves people and He loves people who have made mistakes. In every divorce, there is one person with a hard heart. They won’t die to self and lay their life down for the other person.

Do you know that there are people who look for Scriptures to justify their actions?, but it doesn’t line up with the character and nature of God. One Scripture is not going to confirm what we think we heard from God. Does it line up with the character and the Bible as a whole? Don’t forget what Satan did when he tempted Jesus: He quoted “one” Scripture to Him. We can’t take one Scripture out of context to be proof.

2) Does godly counsel agree?

If a person believes God has spoken something to them, submit it to godly counsel. Proverbs 12:15 – The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise. Proverbs 24:6 – For by wise counsel you will wage your own war and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.

So does godly counsel agree with what the person says God told them? Some people will go through several people before they find the one person that agrees with them. They may be talking to other Christians but that’s not getting counsel from God’s wisdom if it doesn’t line up with Scripture.

Seeking godly counsel does not mean that the person has already made up their mind either. If the person has already made up their mind, they are just going to find someone who agrees with them! Too many go to others and actually want that other person to “hear” from God for them. Confirmation is not asking other people to hear or pray for them.

Godly counsel is when we go to godly people and say, “I’ve  been praying about this and I feel God has said, and now will you pray with me about it and see if you get the same answer?”

3) Do I have peace about what I think God said to me?

It always takes faith to follow God. It never takes fear! There is never fear associated with following God. Everything we come up against will take faith to be delivered by God. It took faith for Gideon to do what he did. Read Hebrews 11. If God is leading, He will give peace.

Colossians 3:15 – And let the peace of God rule in your hearts. This word “rule’ in Greek literally means “Umpire!”

Philippians 4:7 – and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. This word “guard” means to protect from a hostile invasion by a military battalion. The mind is where we’ll be invaded by the enemy. They will try to bring fear, worry, and confusion to our minds. However, the “Peace of God” will protect us!

We should not be afraid to say what we feel because of the reaction we might get from others. If it doesn’t sit right with you, say something. Don’t be manipulated by the enemy. And don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t have peace about this!” The peace of God has to rule in our hearts.

Anytime God speaks, His word will confirm it, His counsel will affirm it, and His peace will let you know.