I recently have been asked a very interesting question. I love questions that make me seek the Lord. That question being “ What scriptures tell us that God spoke audibly to believers in the New Testament?” They seemed to be seeking more accounts than the baptism of Jesus and the transfiguration. So I first went to my trusty little Webster’s dictionary to define the word “audible”. Webster’s tell me that it means “ capable of being heard”. Dictionary .com says that it means “ capable of being heard: loud enough to be heard; actually heard. This adjective means heard or hearable. So with this meaning I began to seek scriptural confirmation. Since audible means heard or hearable, the first scripture I came to is in John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God, “ and the word became flesh and dwelt among us.” So now that we know that Jesus is God incarnate (God in the flesh) we can begin to recall the accounts where God audibly spoke to believers in the new testament. You see there were no believers in Christ except for John the Baptist, until Jesus called his disciples and started his ministry. The disciples were not true believers when Jesus called them, they chose to follow him. But it was through his love, his teachings, miracles of healing, provision and deliverance that produced believers. When one becomes born again their spirit comes alive and their spirit bears witness to the Holy Spirit. Since God is Spirit we become able to hear him speak. So we can say that every word that Jesus spoke was the audible voice of God. There are different forms of speaking or should I say different tones of a voice. In public you’ll sometimes here a mother with young children say to them to please use their inside voice. Which leads us to believe there is an outside voice. You’ll often hear Gods voice described as that “still small voice” in your spirit man. Sometimes you’ll even hear a believer say they wished God would just yell the answer to them so they could be sure to hear him. But then there is that audible voice of God that you sometimes hear about. It’s that voice that echoes in the room and you look around to see where that voice is coming from and who’s speaking. If you have ever been one of Gods children that has heard that audible voice and it does happen, you know without a doubt that it is God speaking. So whatever form God chooses to speak to you at any given moment can actually be considered “the audible voice of God”. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word. Jesus is the word of God whether it is written or spoken it is the audible living true word of God that brings life and love into your entire being.
For the past several weeks I have thought much about identity and names. This has me thinking about how important our name is and how much it’s linked to our identity. Proverbs 22:1 says that “ A good name is to be more desired that great riches.” Or in some translations “ a good name is greater than gold.” There are different scenarios in life concerning the name that seems to lead to the same equation of who you are and your identity. One scenario is a blessing for our family but at the same time sadness for another family. One of my sons married a wonderful woman many years ago. In this marriage she brought with her two beautiful young children. We immediately embraced them as our own and now they are grown adults. When our grandson was about to be married he came to my son and asked him to adopt him. This totally took us all by surprise because there is a bio father alive. Without hesitation my son began the process of adoption. It was not difficult because of our grandson being an adult. The adoption went through right before the wedding and we now have a grandson and granddaughter with our name. Soon another adoption went through and it was for our great-grandson who was our grand daughters son when they married. I have often thought about how traumatic of a choice that was for our grandson to relinquish his biological name to bear the name of his step father. All seem to be very happy and thriving in their new identity. Another scenario is a young adult who went through great trauma as a very young child and continued on through their early teens. The two people who gave them their name at birth left this earth when they were still a preschooler and then ended up in a very abusive home until their early teens. I have watched this person struggle in ways that tell they are holding on to the things that they think gives them their identity and security but at the same time they are so insecure and unhappy. These wounds were put on them by others in their young life and now as a young adult they bears the scars. My prayer for them is that they will cry out to the one who can give them true identity and security and that is Jesus. Another is a young teenager who has again been abandoned and neglected all through their formative years. They have an opportunity to be adopted but they aren’t sure about changing their name. They seem to be holding on to the only identity they know. My grandsons decision to change his name was a willful and thought through choice. He isn’t struggling with an identity crisis. The wonderful thing about him is he knows who loves him. The others however are struggling with who they are and they are needing to know they are loved. They don’t’ know what love feels like, looks like and seem to be holding on to a false love. Philippians 2:9 tells us that the name of Jesus is above all names. In him we will have first eternal salvation but peace and security. We will be one with him. In Jesus we will have a name, and know who we are, he tells us we are His. I pray for the walls that have been built up around these hearts, to keep true love out, will begin to crumble. So that they can begin to receive true love, identity and purpose that they were birthed for. To watch an identity crisis play out in one’s life in heartbreaking. It truly takes the love of God in one’s heart to break through the wall and let that person out. 1 Peter 4:8 says“ love covers a multitude of sins.” In these people I see deep wounding and rejection. It’s Gods love that covers sins but it also fills the heart. Opening ones heart to receive love from another human and even God is often a very difficult thing to do when one has been abused. But once we choose to love and be loved and choose forgiveness that love that Peter talks about covers those sins of abuse. Accepting Jesus as your savior is the beginning of eternally knowing Gods love and who we are in Christ and who he is in us. Then we will come to know who we are inside and out.
While reading John chapter 4 I was struck by what happened to the woman at the well. I know much has been said about the woman at the well, but when scripture comes alive in you its worth talking about. It was while she was talking to Jesus a couple of things stood out. One that was when Jesus told her “ that whoever drinks from the water that I give them shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.Then, she asked for that living water. But then the second thing is, He brings her to the place of confessing her sin. Oh how I love Jesus, he is truly the way, the truth and the life. He presents life eternal, brings us to repentance and we confess our sin accept Jesus as savior and lord and are saved. Then the third thing that really struck me is that he filled her with that living water she asked for. Jesus said that the well of living water would spring up to eternal life. That eternal life welled up in her and then she went back to the men in her city and told them all that Jesus had said to her. The interesting thing about that to me is that her words were living water springing up to eternal life to those men and then they went to find Jesus. They said they believed because of the words of the woman, “ He told me all things that I have done.” Oh but then after they found Jesus they said to the woman. “ It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the savior of the world.” That living water, full of life and revelation that leads to eternal life. That’s what our lives say to those we speak to about our Savior, out Lord, our Jesus. For our living lives, filled with living water that flows out of us to cause others to seek after the savior on their own until they find him is glorious and beyond human words to explain. Its eternal! And that’s living life.
The scripture in 2 Timothy 2:15 gives us great instruction if not a command. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”. There are many levels and directions of studying that we may choose from. And as a believer we have added unto us another that seems to be more important and eternal than any others, but bring all the other parts together. From the moment we are born we are constantly learning. Not necessarily studying, but learning. We study all through school until we graduate and then if we choose to go on to college for a degree in a certain specialty we study much more. But there is one form of study that is divine. When I became a believer I couldn’t stay out of the bible. I would read and be involved in bible studies and talk to other believers continually. But then 1 Corinthians 2:13 tells us “ Which things also we speak, not in the words of man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches: comparing spiritual things with spiritual”. Life itself is a continual learning process. From the moment we are born we are learning to become an adult we learn to speak and walk and show respect, and the list goes on and on. But then at the moment of choice to accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord we begin a new chapter of learning and that’s the things of God in the Spirit. We are a three part being. Body, soul, which is our mind, will, emotion and Spirit. As believers we spent the rest of our lives bringing our bodies and our souls into subjection to the Spirit of God and the very likeness of Christ. By allowing the Spirit of God to lead us in truth by his power and submitting ourselves to Him, we are allowing Jesus to become Lord of our lives. It’s a life time of submitting our will to God and allowing Jesus that place in us to become like him and not us. Growing up I didn’t have a great learning curve, not in the natural here on earth as a human being and definitely not in the spiritual. So when I became born again I was like a sponge. I couldn’t get enough of my Jesus; fortunately I still can’t get enough. I consider myself home grown both in the earthly sense and in the spirit. I am a new creation in Christ and still strive to allow him to change me into his image and take mine out. I am fearfully and wonderfully made and I am a child of the most high God. His daughter, his princess, his servant, his chosen generation, his royal priesthood, his holy nation, his peculiar people, who praises him for he has called me out of darkness into his marvelous light. Full of his mercy, grace and love. Home grown by allowing myself to be taught the things that matter here on earth and in the spirit for eternity. Oh his glory and majesty are yea and amen and worthy of all praise and honor.
One of the things I love about my job is the interesting people who come in to the store. A few weeks ago an older woman came into the store and as I was helping her I asked her what project she was working on. She told me and we talked about it for a minute but them she said to me “ hold out your hand I want to give you something” I was not sure what to think but I held out my hand anyway. She placed in the palm of my hand, this little rock that was painted like a ladybug. As I looked at it she began to tell me that she finds these little rocks and paints them to look like little bugs of some sort. This happened to be a ladybug. She then went on to tell me that she selects certain people to give them too and I was the one she selected that day. She went on to tell me that she gave it to me to pray for me and that it was to remind me to pray for someone and her. I felt honored that she chose me that day and placed the rock in my pocket. I did pray for her and someone else that day every time I put my hand in my pocket and felt that rock. But then it ended up on my dresser. Today as I was dusting I saw that ladybug rock and was reminded not only of that beautiful lady but, of what that ladybug rock meant. So now it’s in my office next to my bible and my computer fulfilling it’s purpose to remind me to pray for that precious lady and someone else today. My prayer for that precious lady is for her health and a steady hand to make those little rock bugs and the boldness to reach out and encourage others to pray.
There’s a verse in Genesis that has always fascinated me. It’s Genesis 2:11 and God said, “ Who told you that you were naked”? The reason I love this is first that God was asking a question that he knew the answer too. He knew He did not tell them that they were naked. But he knew who did. This question is accountability first to God then to ourselves. I have had several conversations with believers whether they were friend or acquaintance, as they tell me about situations in their lives and what they are thinking concerning a situation. I would hear from them things that were hindering them or stopping them from doing something. For instance, I went to a banquet with a friend the other night and afterwards we stopped to just talk. She was telling me that she had such a strong desire to go to this certain church. As she talked and explained what she was feeling about going to this church, she said, “ I have to wait”! I looked at her and “said,” “ who told you that you have to wait”? Did God tell you? Did your husband tell you? As she turned to look at me with wide eyes she “said,” “ what do you mean? I again asked her “ who told you that you have to wait? She “said,” “ no one told me. My response was “ why do you have to wait? You see there are two main voices that we hear, Gods and satans. But we also have a voice and often listen to our own reason as we are deciding what to do in our lives. Isaiah, 55:8 says “for my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways,” “saith” the Lord. You see, I asked that question to my friend so she could discern whose voice told her to wait. She was quite surprised as she thought about my question and realized that it was her own voice that was she was listening too. I have learned so much from Gods question to Adam and Eve. You see God, was asking you and me that question. That question alone makes us have to be honest with God and ourselves “who told you”? Hopefully that question will show us if we are truly listening to God and being obedient. So if you are in a conversation with me and struggling with something I will ask you “who told you that” so you can know who’s voice you are listening too. I also will ask myself this question as I’m sorting through life’s choices. Going back to the beginning in Genesis keeps me going forward in my walk with the Lord. I love this question because it brings me face to face with my Father and makes me accountable for me.
Often times in the morning as I’m waking up I find myself in far away places and almost always talking to a group of people. Call it dreaming or vast imagination or even imagining your worst fear. For me speaking in front of people has quite a fear connected. So anyway as I was in this place which happened to be my class reunion. I was telling my fellow classmates my life story from the point of graduation to the present. To the high achievers in my class I’m sure I was quite boring and to those who lived similar lives it was hum drum. But I was telling them the highlights the lowlights the tragedies and the triumphs of my life through the years. I do know that in reality I have the most children and grandchildren of those in my class so I highlighted that quite well in my talk. Besides the fact I shared that early in my adult life I became a believer in Christ.
I even shared some struggles when I made that choice. As I was ending my talk a scripture came to mind and its in Revelation 12:11 “ And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony;” I began to have a revelation of the power of this scripture. I was sharing the tragedies, triumphs and struggles and realizing that at the moment of accepting Jesus in my heart I had the power of the blood of Christ to overcome the adverse things. The “ him” is the one who seeks to kill, steal and destroy us in anyway he can. John 10:10. And the word of their testimony is Jesus Christ who is the word and our testimony is our life in the word, Christ in us. That our lives are a testimony of Jesus in us as Savior and as Lord. As I fully woke up that morning I had a revelation in me that will never leave me or forsake me. For I am that living testimony of the life of Christ in me and the power of the blood of Christ that covers me. And that’s living life!