“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.

 

Value His Voice

In theological terms, there is a “specific” and a “general” will of God. Everyone wants to hear the specific voice of God. Anytime we need a specific answer to a hard decision, we want a “specific” answer from God. Sometimes though, we are trying to hear the specific words from God without hearing the general words from God every day.

If a person only spends time listening to God only when they have a big decision to make, they won’t be familiar with how He speaks. They haven’t made it a habit of meeting with Him the rest of the time. It’s so much more difficult to hear those specific words from God in hard times when we haven’t made it a practice to meet with Him every day.

Value His Voice

If we value something, then we will allow time for that. Do you value God’s voice? Yes, but many don’t take the time to actually spend time listening to Him. There are certain things we can do:

1) Set An Appointment

If you want to hear God, set an appointed time to do so.

Exodus 19:10 – Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. (Verse 11) “And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. (God was setting an appointment to meet with the people.)

(Verse 19) And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered by voice.

The people had to prepare to hear the word of the Lord. God comes to a prepared atmosphere! When we look through the Bible at the times people had encounters with God, there was a preparation before that encounter in many of those instances.

Do you realize that a lot of preparation has to go into a church service? There are many churches today that don’t prepare at all and say, “We’ll just let the Holy Spirit lead us today.” And then they blame not having been prepared on the Holy Spirit. Think about that for a moment. Have you ever been to a service like that? I was one time and left before it was over. What a mess! It was the most unorganized mess I’d ever gone to. They sang a couple songs and then some woman walked around with a microphone and let people just say whatever was on their minds.

The Holy Spirit is not disorganized, nor is He the author of confusion! The Holy Spirit can speak on Tuesday what He wants to do on Sunday. But there has to be some preparation. We all set appointments for other things, so why not prepare and set an appointment with God? He is the most important person in our lives! We need to set a time and a place. If a person is at their best in the morning, set a morning time. Some it might be on their lunch hour at work and yet others it might be at night when the house is quiet.

2) Be Still And Worship

Psalm 46:10 – Be still, and know that I am God;

Exodus 14:13 – And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD.”

In this next passage, there are three armies that have surrounded Judah and Jerusalem:

2 Chronicles 20:17 – “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!” (Verse 21) And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: (These singers went in front of the army.) “Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever.”

(Verse 22) Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. (Verse 23) For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. (Verse 24) So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped. 

Every one of us fight battles, stand still and worship! Before we can know that He is God, we need to “be still!”

Acts 13:2 – As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

3) Pray and Read

Mark 1:35 – Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.

Psalm 119:147 – I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in Your word.

We pray about whatever is on our hearts that day. It might be a person or it might be about your job, but just pray and then read Scripture. Before long a person will get very familiar with their Bible. and know exactly where to go in Scripture to help them.

I have found though, over the years there are a lot of lazy Christians that want others to do the praying and reading for them. If I ask them, “How much time do you spend in God’s word?” they just have this guilty look on their faces. How can a person ever expect to know God and hear His voice if they won’t spend time with Him?

4) Listen and Write

Listening seems to be the hardest thing for us to do. When a person talks over another, no one hears what is being said.

Psalm 45:1 – My heart is overflowing with good theme; I recite my composition concerning the king; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Psalm 45:1 (MSG) My heart bursts its banks, spilling beauty and goodness. I pour it out in a poem to the king, shaping the river into words. He’s talking about what it feels like when he meets with God. His heart overflows and the best thing he can do is write it in a poem to the King – Lord.

This is David talking about building the temple: 1 Chronicles 28:19 – “All this,” said David, “the LORD made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans.” When David would meet with the Lord, He would speak and David would write things about the temple.

Habakkuk 2:2 – Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.”

The best way I know to hear the voice of God is to write when you’re meeting with HIm. I’ve done that for years in a journal. You can literally write your prayers. Then write what you think God’s answer would be to your prayers. You can write what you think God is saying through the Scripture you read that day.

1 Samuel 3:1 – Then the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. That word “rare” in Hebrew means “limited supply.” But that’s the secondary meaning. The primary meaning is “valuable’ and “precious.” The word of the Lord was valuable and precious! People valued hearing the word of the Lord. Do you? 

It’s not hard to hear what God is saying to us when we are still!

 

 

I’m A Prophet

We have graduated from being a sheep to a friend, and now a prophet. Before we start in the book of Numbers, Chapter 11, I want to give a little background. This is where Moses just finished praying a prayer that could be a prayer today that every “Burned out,” pastor prays. He prayed, “If you love me, kill me!” Of course, God responds with, “You’re trying to bear the burden alone. You need others to help you.” Then Moses comes and tells the people what God said.

Numbers 11:24 – So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD, and he gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tabernacle. (Verse 25) Then the LORD came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders, and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again.

(Verse 26) But two men had remained in the camp: the name of one was Eldad and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them. Now they were among those listed, but who had not gone out to the tabernacle, yet they prophesied in the camp. (Verse 27) And a young man ran and told Moses, and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the came.”

(Verse 28) So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, “Moses my lord, forbid them!” (Verse 29) Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD’S people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”

All Can Prophesy

Notice what Moses said, “That “all” the LORD’S people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” Wouldn’t that be great that the Lord would put His Spirit on all people? But did He not?

Acts 2:17 – ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. (Verse 18) And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy.’ “

We fall into two categories, either you are a manservant of God or a woman servant of God. If anyone thinks there is an in-between, take it up with the Creator. In the last days, God said He would pour out His Spirit on both men and women and they shall prophesy. We are living in the last days.

1 Corinthians 14:31 – For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. If the Bible says you can, then don’t say you can’t! This just makes sense: If we can speak for God by giving someone a word from God, then we can “hear” God! We couldn’t prophesy if we couldn’t hear God. Prophecy, in essence, is a message from God. Acts Chapter 2, is an answer to Moses’ prayer.

The Bible says that all the seventy elders prophesied, but never did so again. Why? because of the word “rested.” The Spirit rested on them. In other words, “for a moment,” the Holy Spirit ever descended on and remained was Jesus! And it is in the “context” of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

John 1:33 – “I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ ” I’ve gone over this before in previous studies: Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit, so yes, there is another baptism besides being baptized with water. We just read the Scripture in John. 

The people that only believe in water baptism, only have the Holy Spirit “resting” on them for a time. That’s why they can be full of the Spirit at one minute and mean the next. God didn’t intend for His children to live that way. He didn’t intend for the Holy Spirit to come on us one time and then never prophesy again like in the Old Testament!

God wants the Holy Spirit to come on us, be baptized, anointed, emerged with the Holy Spirit all the time! His Spirit wants to come alongside us in our Christian walk “all the time!” In the same way that God walked and talked with Adam and Eve, the Holy Spirit wants to walk and talk with us daily, but we have to receive Him.

Yes, when we get saved, we are baptized into the body of Christ with water, but then the Bible talks exclusively about Jesus wanting to baptize us in the Holy Spirit – Holy fire! Why would people ever be afraid of something that’s in the Bible? The Holy Spirit is not “mute!” He can speak! Don’t ever forget: The Holy Spirit knows all things and tells us what the Father has said.

Prophecy is not manipulative.

Prophecy is not to be used to get others to do what we want them to do. Prophecy does not add “Thus saith the Lord,” to your opinion.

Jeremiah 23:25 – “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ (Verse 26) How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart.”

Jeremiah 23:30 – “Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” says the LORD, “who steal My words every one from his neighbor. (Verse 31) Behold, I am against the prophets,” says the LORD, “who use their tongues and say, ‘He says.’ “

Ezekiel 22:28 – “Her prophet plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them saying, ‘Thus says the LORD God,’ when the LORD had not spoken.”

When a person uses the name of the Lord for selfish reasons, they are violating the third commandment – “Thou shall not take the name of the LORD God in vain!” Don’t just put God’s name on what we are telling someone. We better be sure He said it. When a person has selfish motives, they can’t hear God. When a person’s will is at the forefront, they can’t hear God’s will.

A word of prophecy will have confirmation. Why would God tell someone else something intimate about your life and not tell you? However, if God has already told you something and another tells you the same thing, that’s confirmation.

Prophecy is encouraging.

1 Corinthians 14:1 – Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. (Why would the Bible tell us to especially desire to prophesy if we couldn’t do it? Prophecy is not for only a select few.) (Verse3) he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. Just edify people, build them up, and encourage them.

When I was in a huge congregation and was going through a foreclosure, I didn’t have one person who said, “It will get better. It will be alright.” No, they would say, “What are you going to do? Where are you going to live?” My encouragement came from my clients who were truly concerned. Not even my own family ever said that it would be alright.

However, I know how comforting encouragement can be and want to be that type of person that helps the person try and figure out what to do next. More than likely, every person has a situation that they came out of and know some things on how to help another. Prophecy is an encouragement!

1 Corinthians 14:31 – For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. So apparently, prophecy encourages people. Encourage – “put courage in!” Don’t put fear into people about heir circumstances, put encouragement into them.

God wants us all to learn how to hear God so that we all can prophesy so we can share God’s word with others.

1 Corinthians 14:32 – And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. This is not talking about Ephesians 4, where it speaks about the offices of ministry for the equipping of the saints, apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher. Those are for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry. But we all can encourage.

The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. Notice it didn’t say, “subject to the words,” it said the “spirits.” God’s concerned about our motive and our attitude when we share with people. The word is subject to the Word of God. The prophet may be saying the right words, but the motive or attitude is wrong. The word has to line up with God’s word, but the spirit of the prophet has to line up with the body of Christ!

Acts 4:36 – And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement). Paul was an apostle, Barnabas a prophet, but Barnabas was named Joses by his mother. The apostles changed his name to Barnabas, which means Son of Encouragement. Heres’s what that means: “If encouragement has a son it would be you, Barnabas.” So they changed his name. What would your friends change your name to? Son of “anger?” Daughter of “criticism?” Or would you like to be called “Son or daughter of Encouragement?”

Acts 15:32 – Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words. It doesn’t say, “Corrected, rebuked, and tore them down!” they exhorted and encouraged them. 

I remember my dad saying one time after a service in this particular denomination, “According to this preacher, I don’t do anything right!” My dad would always ask me why he felt worse after the sermon than when he first came to church? I told him it was because this man focuses on the sin more than focusing on the grace of God! The message was always condemning instead of lifting up.

If prophecy is exhorting, building up, and encouraging, and prophecy is from God, what does that say about God’s character? It says that God doesn’t want to tear or discourage anyone. God wants to build each one of us up!

“Every good and perfect gift comes from God!

Every time we have a thought to encourage someone, you are hearing from God!

 

 

 

I’m A Friend

Most people want to know “How do I hear from God?” Why not ask, “Why do we need to hear from God?” and, “Why does God want to speak to us?”

I’m A Friend

Does God want the level of friendship that when He asks us to do something, that we do it, but we really didn’t think about doing it until He asked? Or would He rather have the level of friendship we think about doing something because we know Him and are close to Him, that we just do it without Him asking?

God’s motive for wanting us to hear Him is for us to get to know Him and Him to know us so well that we know that we know what direction to take in our Christian walk.

John 15:15 – “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

John 15:15 (NLT) “I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are My friends since I have told you everything the Father told Me.”

It doesn’t mean that God has stopped talking because He’s already told Jesus everything. It means that while Jesus was on this earth He told the disciples everything that He was supposed to tell them at that time.

So there’s a level of friendship that Jesus establishes. He came so that they and we, could have a right relationship with the Father and part of the relationship is communication. There are three things about being friends with God that might help us to understand this friendship:

1) God does not speak to robots.

God did not create us as robots. He created us as persons with souls, minds, will, and emotions and we have a heart. There are two ways we communicate. We communicate to machines “mechanically.” And we communicate with people “personally.” We’re not machines. God created people, children, and He communicates with us personally.

Genesis 18:17 – And the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, (Verse 18) “since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? (Verse 19) “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

(Verse 20) And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, (Verse 21) “I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”

(Verse 22) Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. (Verse 23) And Abraham came near and said, “Would you also destroy the righteous with the wicked? (Verse 24) “Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? (Verse 25) “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

(Verse 26) And the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” (Verse 27) Then Abraham answered and said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and asks have taken it upon myself to speak to the LORD: (Verse 28) “Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five? And He said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.”

(Verse 29) Then he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose there should be forty found there?” And He said, “I will not do it for the sake of forty.” (Verse 30) And he said, “Let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

(Verse 31) Then he said, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the LORD: Suppose twenty should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.” (Verse 32) And he said, “Let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak but once more; Suppose ten should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” (Verse 33) So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

That is just one conversation that the Lord had in the Bible. But why do you think He stood there all that time discussing this with Abraham? Because He loved Abraham and what Abraham had to say mattered! Just as when we talk to the Lord, we matter because He loves us. God does not just want to put “data” into our lives to get the required results. He wants to talk to us.

2) God speaks to people.

All through the Bible, God talks to a lot of people. God even talked to Cornelius in the New Testament and Cornelius wasn’t even a believer yet but heard the voice of God, so did Paul for that matter. Why do people believe that the indwelling Holy Spirit would speak less today than what we’ve read about in the Bible? So many believe that God doesn’t speak today because they are not drawing near to Him and they aren’t listening! Look what Jesus continued to say to His disciples in John 16:

John 16:12 – “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. (Verse 13) “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

God did not stop speaking two thousand years ago. He sent us His Holy Spirit! Most people think that the way God spoke to people in the Bible is different than the way He speaks now. For instance: Some think God spoke audibly and stronger. People just don’t believe that God spoke the same then as He does now.

However, in Hebrews, Chapter 11, we have the “Hall of Fath.” It says, “By faith, Abraham went out not knowing where he was going. By faith Moses.., by faith and it lists all these people. If it was so much stronger in Biblical times that God spoke to His people, then why does the Bible say, “By Faith?” It’s not any less stronger today. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of the Lord!

Couldn’t they have heard God with spiritual ears like we do today? I’m not saying God didn’t speak audibly because I know He can. Do you remember Gideon? He asked for a sign if it was the Lord that talked to Him. If he had heard Him audibly would he have asked for a sign from God? There are too many churches today teaching that God doesn’t speak today because we have the Bible. Well, guess what? They had the Scripture back then also, so that is just a false excuse not to hear God.

For those who still believe that God doesn’t speak to us today, who then called your preacher to preach? In the same way God speaks to our hearts, God still speaks today! God never says anything contrary to His Word though, but He does still speak!

3) God speaks to friends.

Exodus 33:11 – So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend…

James 2:23 – And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.

God wants to communicate with us as friends, otherwise, we will only try to communicate with Him when we are in trouble. We must understand this. God wanted to be our friend before we wanted to be His. He loved us while we were still sinners!

Zachariah 13:6 – If someone asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ he will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’ “

Matthew 26:48 – Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” (Verse 49) Then immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. (Verse 50) And Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. 

Jesus still called Judas friend even though he betrayed Him.

John 15:13 – “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Think of your closest friend, God’s closer! Don’t you recognize the voice of your friends? Become friends with God and you will hear His voice. The people who hear God’s voice are the people who know God the best.

 

 

I’m A Sheep

Our lives are filled with constant noises competing for our attention. In the midst of it all, God is speaking. Do you hear Him?

We need to tune in and hear God. All of us as believers, want to know how to hear God and know it’s Him. What makes us different from people who don’t believe in Jesus? What is the main difference between us, believers, and people who have not received Jesus Christ as their Savior?

Believers have a personal relationship with God. And, wouldn’t you think that the personal relationship with God would include “communication?” Isn’t it amazing that some people believe that God doesn’t speak anymore? When we read the Bible, is He not speaking? All through the Scripture, we have a record of God speaking directly to people. So why would He ever stop? The Bible says, “I am the Lord, I do not change!”

What would be the difference between a believer and a nonbeliever making an important decision? The believer prays! Shouldn’t we make decisions based on God’s knowledge and not ours? Hearing God is not something we do, it’s someone we are because of whose we are.

In John Chapter 10, Jesus is contrasting Himself with the Good Shepherd and the thief.

John 10:1 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. (Verse 2) “But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. (Verse 3) “To him, the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (Verse 4) “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (Verse 16) “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice, and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (He is talking about the Gentiles.)

(Verse 27) “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

Every believer can hear God because we are sheep. His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. So here are three things about the ability to hear God:

1) It’s Innate

In other words, we are born with this ability. It’s natural, an instinct to hear God. Animals have certain instincts and so do we. I was born to hear in the natural. I was born again to hear in the supernatural! When we are born again, we receive “spiritual ears.” What separates us from the animals is the ability to communicate intimately. Yes, animals can communicate to some degree, but not with words. They can’t communicate with God.

2) It’s Learned

The ability to hear God is not only innate but it’s learned. Example: Children are born with the ability to communicate, but do they still have to be taught? Do they have to be taught words, sentences, grammar, or languages? Sure they do. So even though they have the ability, they still have to be taught.

Hearing God is the second half of prayer. God wants us to pray in order to have a relationship with us. That’s how we communicate.

3) It’s Matured

In other words: When children mature as they learn, they get better at communication. They also learn what “not to say.” They need to mature and learn that some things they just don’t say. Even Christians need to mature in their communication with others. Do you realize how many things are said according to that person’s religious background that God has not said? It’s not true according to Scripture. They say it because they are not mature.

There are certain areas we need to mature in as believers: The first area is when people think that God is going to tell them what to do every second of every day. They don’t think for themselves. No, God wants us to mature and make godly decisions.

Second, is when people think, “What will be will be.” That takes a person totally out of the equation. They think whatever is going to happen will happen whether they are involved or not. Well, guess what, nothing will ever happen if the person never makes a decision on their own.

We are sheep and we hear our Shepherd’s voice, if you are listening. God speaks to us but we have to learn how to listen to Him and we have to mature in our ability to listen.

 

The Purpose Test

How can we know what God’s purpose is for our lives? And how do we fulfill that purpose? Joseph is 39 years old when he sees his brothers again. Egypt has had seven good years of plenty and now the famine is on them. Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt to buy grain and Joseph recognizes them.

Genesis 45:3 – Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. (Verse 4) And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” And they came near. And he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. (Verse 5) “But now, do not, therefore, lie grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.

(Verse 6) “For these two years the famine has been in the land and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. (Verse 7) “And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity (remnant) for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. (Verse 8) “So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

In order to find your purpose, we first have to:

Believe that we have a purpose!

Everything God has created has a purpose. So don’t think that God doesn’t have a specific purpose for you, because He does: Ecclesiastes 3:1 – To everything, there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:

The best way for us to discover our purpose is to look at God and the way He made us. God made each of us unique. For instance: When we look at an object, we usually know what its purpose is. For example, a plunger, a pencil, a phone and on and on. You can look at each of these objects and see that the designer had a specific purpose in mind when they made it. The Great Designer had a specific purpose in mind for us when He designed us. So we need to figure out what we look like in the Spirit, not in the natural. After we believe that we have a purpose then we need to:

Understand that God is in control!

For us to understand our purpose, we are going to go through some difficulties and setbacks. People will say things and do things that are wrong to us, but God still has a purpose for our lives and God is in control of all that. Joseph told his brothers not to be grieved or angry, for God sent him to preserve life. Joseph’s brothers were not the ones that sent him to Egypt, God was.

Some people get held up on what has been done to them by others and stay there on that bitterness instead of moving ahead. Joseph didn’t do that. He knew God had set it all up for him to reach a much bigger purpose that involved many more people. Joseph knew that God was in control of it all! No one can de-rail us from our destiny but us. All of us have been offended and abused at one time or another in our lives. However, we cannot let what others have done stop us from what God wants to do. We have to get over it!

Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. So even when things go wrong, He is working everything out for our good.

Isaiah 55:10 – “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, (Verse 11) so is My word that goes out of MY mouth; it will not return to Me void, but it will accomplish what I please (desire), and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

God’s word has the power to produce the purpose for which He sent it! And the good news is, He has spoken over us! These ten-character tests, if not passed, can de-rail what our purpose was and is. Pride and not having integrity is the biggest de-railer. How about not being humble? I’m not talking about false humility either, where one pretends to be humble in front of others. God knows the heart. We don’t take these tests just one time, we can take them again until we get it right. Don’t sabotage your destiny by not being honest with yourselves when it comes to any of these character tests.

Discover Your Gift and Your Direction

Everyone needs to find out what their gift is. There is a list of what we call the “motivational gifts. These are gifts that come naturally for us.

Romans 12:4 – For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, (Verse 5) so we being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. (Verse 6) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; (Verse 7) or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching: (Verse 8) he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberty; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Motivator – This person desires to motivate people to serve God. A person with the gift of prophecy is a motivator.

Servant – Desires to meet the needs of people on practical bases. This is the duty of ministering to people to serve.

Teacher – Desires to study and present truths to people. This is a person that reads a lot and loves to study the word of God and tell others.

Encourager – Desires to admonish and encourage people. It doesn’t matter what happens, these people will say something encouraging to others.

Giver – Desires to meet the needs of people on financial bases. These people love to help people financially and also give wisdom and counsel to help the person.

Administrator – Desires to lead people through an organization.

Sympathizer – Desires to identify and empathize with people. We always want the encouragers and the people with mercy around us when we go through difficulty.

These gifts will become very plain if we have ever served with a group in church or anywhere else. As soon as a situation or a task is brought up, the gifts will show up. Gifts have to do with serving and helping people.

Joseph’s gift was leadership. His gift worked everywhere he went in his life. He didn’t wait until he got in a place of authority to lead, he did it at whatever level he was in  – prison or palace. He didn’t wait until he was in the position and then minister to those in need, he did it no matter the situation.

People have to learn to be faithful in the position they are in right now. Just start using the gift or gifts God has given you and step out in faith. Joseph didn’t know the specifics of his purpose, he just kept being faithful to God and step by step he was brought into his full destiny and purpose.

Stay faithful to God, operate in your gift right where you are now, and in God’s timing, you will step into your destiny that He has had all along for you!

The Pardon Test

If you’ll remember, Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave when he was a teenager. Could you forgive your own brothers for selling you as a slave?

Genesis 50:15 – When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” (Verse16) So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, (Verse 17) ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespasses of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.” ‘Now, please forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” ‘ And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.

(Verse 18) Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” (Verse 19) Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? (Verse 20) But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. (Verse 21) “Now, therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

The only way that Joseph could have spoken kindly to them was if he had already dealt with the issue of forgiveness in his heart. This is the first time the word “forgive” is in the Bible, Chapter 50 in the book of Genesis. It means to absolve or release from penalty. This Hebrew word is also translated to mean “to lift up”, “to bear.” That is exactly what Jesus did for us. He lifted “off” our sin, trespasses, transgressions, off of us, thereby placing it on Himself and releasing us from the penalty of death.

Here’s the thing: If we can’t learn to pardon or forgive people, we cannot fulfill the destiny God has for our life! I know this is hard to do because people can be horrible to us and others, but there are three keywords to remember:

Release

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they sent messengers to him saying that their father commanded Joseph to forgive them. Could this have been a lie from the brothers? Did their father really command Joseph to forgive them? We have no record of Jacob saying this on his deathbed. Can you not see those brothers saying, “Don’t ask for him to forgive us, tell him our father commanded it.” Then they said for the servants to tell him, “The servants of the God of your father.” They thought if they put God in there it would sound stronger!

Did you notice the brothers never repented of the evil they had done to Joseph? When they came to Joseph, they said, “We are your servants.” That’s not repentance! So, can we forgive someone who lies and manipulates and never asks for forgiveness? That’s the true pardon test! However, here is what Joseph answered them: “Am I in the place of God?” So if we don’t forgive, we put ourselves in the place of God.

Leviticus 19:18 – “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” 

Romans 12:19 – Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the LORD.

Here is why we are not to take vengeance: Because to bring vengeance means to bring justice to an unjust situation. And that is impossible for us to do. Why can we not bring justice to an unjust situation? Because we are not “just!” A big difference in being “just” and being “justified.” We’ve been made “justified” by the only One Just! If we live our lives with unforgiveness, we will always be trying to avenge ourselves. Vengeance will make a person try to prove something all the time.

However, if we release them, the wrong they did will be released. We know they were wrong and did wrong, but we don’t forgive people who are right or do what’s right. We forgive the ones that did wrong. God knows very well they did us wrong! If it’s still going through our minds, over and over, then we haven’t forgiven them in our hearts. God doesn’t go through our sins or wrongs through His mind over and over and neither should we.

Receive

Matthew 6:12 – “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtor.” That word “as” means “in the same way.” So here’s what we pray, “Lord, forgive me in the same way I forgive others.” If we keep bringing up the wrong someone has done to us, then we have not forgiven in the same way that God has forgiven us! God doesn’t keep reminding us of our sin, so why should we do that to others?

“Freely we have received, freely we give.” We have freely received forgiveness, therefore, we can freely give forgiveness. If a person feels in any way that they are earning forgiveness or paying for it, they will make others pay or earn their forgiveness.

When we as believers, have something go wrong or something bad happens to us, God is not getting us back! Please don’t look at everything bad that happens in your life as God getting you back, and now we are even. That’s not true, but you wouldn’t believe the times I’ve heard people actually say that. All our punishment and penalty for sin was placed on Jesus. God is never going to get even with His children.

Believe

Psalm 103:12 – As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Isaiah 53:6 – All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, everyone, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 

Habakkuk 1:13 – You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness.

Job 36:7 – “He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous.” So God can’t look on evil, wickedness, but He never withdraws His eyes off the righteous.

1 Peter 3:12 – For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears open to their prayers… So who is righteous?

2 Corinthians 5:21 – For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Do you realize that something had to be done with our sin just so God could look at us? He did do something, He placed our sin on Jesus at the cross, rose Him from the grave so that we could become the righteousness of God in Jesus. We as believers are the righteousness of God in Him. so now His eyes are forever on us! Not only can He look at us but He can walk with us, talk with us, and have a deep loving relationship with us! And God did this for the whole world, they just need to believe and accept what Jesus did for them.

And because we, I, believe and understand that, I am able to forgive others. Bitterness towards another is like drinking poison over and over. “Freely we received forgiveness, freely we forgive!”