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!”

 

The Prosperity Test

There are ten character tests that we all have to pass to get from our dream to our destiny. We’ve studied seven and this study is the:

Prosperity Test

Every person takes the prosperity test before they step into their destiny. This simply means that God wants to prosper His children so that they can be a blessing to others. Every time we get paid, who are we going to honor first? If we can’t pass this test, more than likely, the rest of our life will not be in order.

Genesis 41:33 – “Now, therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. (This is Joseph speaking after he interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams.) (Verse 34) “Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. (Verse 35) “And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 

(Verse 36) “Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.” Joseph’s plan was so good that he literally fed the multitude of people during that seven-year famine. Other nations came to Egypt to buy grain. During that time, Egypt’s land was extended because people traded their land for grain.

Let God be first, wait, and live below our means. Genesis 47:26 – And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt to this day, that Pharaoh should have one-fifth, except for the land of the priests only, which did not become Pharaoh’s. The land was God’s. He is the one that gave it to the priests. That land represented the tithe to God from the Jewish people.

Here is one principle that a lot of Christians just don’t get: You will never be able to afford to tithe until you do it. We tithe first and there will be plenty left over. Surely you know that tithing removes the curse? And until we tithe, we are under a curse, but as soon as we tithe, the curse is lifted.

Malachi 3:8 – “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. (Tithing is a test of our character. It’s a matter of the heart. When people want to argue about tithing, it reveals their heart. Why would anyone want to argue about being blessed?) (Verse 9)You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. (Verse 10) Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. (Verse 11) And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” says the LORD of hosts;

We live in a fallen cursed world and God is saying, “I would like to redeem your finances out from under the curse.” So what is this principle of the first?

Exodus 13:1 – Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (Verse 2) “Sanctify to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, birth of man and animals; it is Mine.” God uses the same terminology when He talks about fruit and the tithe.

Malachi 3:12 – “that you shall set apart to the LORD all that open the womb, that is, every firstling that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the LORD’s. (Verse 13) “But every firstling of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. Any first “thing” given is never lost. Any first “thing” kept is always lost. The tithe is going out of our account whether we give it or the devourer takes it.

The Firstborn Must Be Sacrificed or Redeemed

If their animal was unclean, then they had to redeem it with the sacrifice of a clean animal. If the firstborn, like a lamb, was born clean, then they had to sacrifice it. If the firstborn was unclean they had to redeem it with the sacrifice of a clean.

Simple question: Were we born clean or unclean? We were all born in sin – unclean. Now, was Jesus born unclean or clean? The clean had to be sacrificed so the unclean could be redeemed! Jesus is God’s tithe. Tithing brings the blessing because we give it in faith. Faith releases the blessing. God gave Jesus in faith. God gave Jesus while we were still in our sin. God didn’t wait to see if we’d straighten up before He gave Jesus, He did it before! Christ died for us while we were yet sinners!

God gave and sacrificed His Firstborn as a sacrifice so that all the unclean would be made clean – Redeemed! When we give the first portion to God, the rest is redeemed.

The Firstfruits Must Be offered

Exodus 23:19 – “The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God.” Scripture doesn’t say “give” when talking about tithing. We can’t give what doesn’t belong to us. We can only “Bring” it. Over and above the tithe is an offering, but the whole tithe belongs to the house of the LORD.

So do you remember what happened when they conquered Jericho? God said all the silver and gold belong to Me. He said that because Jericho was the first city. (Joshua Chapter 7) Then Achan kept some of it and it was cursed! The firstborn and the firstfruits belong to God. Why did God accept Able’s offering but not Cain’s?

Genesis 4:3 – And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. (notice it doesn’t say that he brought the “firstfruits.”) (Verse 4) Able also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Able and his offering, (Verse 5) but He did not respect Cain and his offering.

The Tithe Must Be First

Leviticus 27:30 – “And all the tithe of the land, whether of seed of the land or of the first of the tree, is the LORD’S. It is holy to the LORD.”

When we set aside money for the month’s bills, the tithe is first, not the mortgage company. If we give God’s first, there will be enough to pay the rest. Now don’t be legalistic about it to the point where if you buy food first, you’re cursed. That’s dumb. It’s a matter of the heart when it comes to the tithe. Does God know you put Him first by your actions? Just don’t curse your finances.

Exodus 13:14 – “So it shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ that you shall say to him, ‘By strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (Verse 15) And it came to pass when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and firstborn of beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all males that open the womb, but all firstborn of my sons I redeem.” ‘

Let us never forget that we too were once in bondage, before Christ redeemed us. We didn’t always have what we have now. When God blesses the tithe, He makes sure to rebuke the one that comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. If we will place Him first in everything in our lives, He will bless the rest. This is about so much more than just our finances.