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Monday, December 5, 2011

2--Hear the Voice of God - Chapter 1

Hear the Voice of God
By Faith

So then faith cometh by hearing,
and hearing
by the word of God.

-Romans 10:17

In the Alpha and Omega style of God, we see how faith and the Word of God are infinitely bound to each other.

True faith is a result of hearing the Word of God and it is only “by faith” that we can hear and have the capacity to understand the Voice of God.

(See details in the blog book, “Hidden Manna,” also posted at this site.)

Therefore we must first understand what “faith” really is.

The World’s Definition of “Faith”

When I first thought about faith and what it is, of course, I considered all of the common phrases I had heard as a child growing up:

“Faith is believing hard enough to make something happen.”

At first this seems like the Christian thing to do. But the next logical questions are:

1) “Just what is being believed?”

2) “How do we apply enough effort?”

Do we need to force ourselves to believe that God can do something? Not at all, if we believe that there is a God we usually understand that He can do anything.

If we are simply trying to will the thing that we want into existence, then we are definitely in trouble with God. Trying to will something into existence or trying to convince ourselves that something is going to happen, is not going to make it happen.

Like spoiled children who can only selfishly think of what they want, we tell God, “If you only knew how much I want this, you would surely give it to me.” So we proceed to convince ourselves that wanting something enough is ultimately going to give it to us and believing it can happen is actually what is going to make it happen.

While it is perfectly okay with God for us to “come boldly” before His throne with our petitions, what is not okay is to think that we will more likely get what we want if we invest the proper amount of believing and effort. Then how can we ever know what the proper amount is?

It is even okay with God if we ask Him about the thing we desire every time it comes to mind. However, we can really get into trouble with God when we take Him out of the driver’s seat and presumptuously take over the controls where believing is concerned and decide how we will define the word, "believe;" for this is where we exchange faith for works. Like everything else, what we believe must also be according to God’s definition.

The desire to control something ourselves (even the amount of belief we put into it) instead of seeking God’s will, His power, and intervention, is what can turn our own efforts into idolatry and witchcraft.

Trying to convince God that we know that He can do what we ask, is not the type of “believing” God wants to see in those who belong to Him.

Then we must ask ourselves, “What if God does not want me to have what I am asking for because it does not work into His plan for me, or it isn’t the wisest, or the safest thing to ask for?”

While it is true that God often leads us according to our heart’s desire, this only takes place when that desire happens to be His desire as well. Trying to control circumstances to get what we want instead of trying to align our desires with His will is what turns this process into witchcraft.

The Bible tells us that if we are stubborn enough we may just get what we want, but it may also bring “leanness to our soul” (Psalm 106:15) also the Bible says “stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” (1 Samuel 15:23)

Contrary to what most people believe, the opposite of control is not tolerance and passivity, but responsibility.

To passively disengage when we should be responsibly taking action is also a form of rebellion. We simply must find balance and taking responsibility according to His will is what gives the balance required to harmonize our desires with God’s will for our life.

We learn how to find this balance in our life by seeking balance in and through the Word of God and using Scripture to balance Scripture instead of pulling out verses that support what we want or that line up with our desires (even religious desires), preconceived opinions, worldly belief system, or denominational doctrines.

In fact, it is our own very unique experiences in life that motivate us to search out the truth and balance of God’s Word, provided that we do so with a pure heart and are willing to accept God’s will and take responsibility for acting accordingly when He reveals it to us.

The appropriate response should be, “Amen. Whatever You ask, Lord, the answer is, ‘Yes.’”

In ancient times, God chose Noah and Joseph to prepare to endure what was about to come upon the land.

Because these are examples of how God intervenes to preserve His people, we also must be committed to taking responsibility and acting according to God’s will. Then we will be prepared to endure what is about to come upon the land in this time in history as well.

Regardless of our eschatology, we are admonished to watch and pray always. When we see trouble on the horizon we must ask God what He wants us to do and then act responsibly. Trouble can come in the form of bad weather, pestilence, fire, attacks from animal and human predators, or anything else that comes into our life.

Let us not be caught up in end time debates and be guilty of adjusting the pictures on the wall while the ship is sinking, but pray that God will help us be responsible and wise as we respond to the knowledge and warnings He gives us concerning how and when we should prepare for future events.

“Faith is wishing on a star.” (It helps to close your eyes, cross your fingers, and click your heels together while doing this, we are told by Hollywood producers.)

This also qualifies as a form of witchcraft and idolatry for the same reasons mentioned above.

It is interesting to note, that in the movie, The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy followed this procedure, the “good witch” came swooping out of nowhere enveloped in a beautiful orb. However, the glowing orb just happens to be the same method of transportation evil spirits use today as they go to and fro over the earth.

Nevertheless, God’s Word tells us that a witch is a witch is a witch, whether it appears to be a “good” witch or not. The trademark of witches is their compulsive desire to control by trying to call on supernatural powers.

Like Dorothy, Hollywood educated worldlings have been tricked into calling on ungodly powers to fulfill their desires.

Today it is not the “good witch” worldlings are usually looking for, but “good angels” or their “alien space brothers” who are usurping God’s position as Creator by trying to teach all who come in contact with them that they, not God, are the real creators. Sad to say, many people would rather believe that they were created by aliens from other planets than by a benevolent God who gave His only Son so their sins might be forgiven and they might enjoy eternal life forever with Him.

“Faith? Why, it’s just a giant leap into the dark, Honey!”

This reckless attitude turns faith into a presumptuous gamble. We are really tempting God to protect us, just because we are willing to “play the game of chicken.”

This is the game where opponents face each other, rev their engines and put the pedal to the metal for a head on collision. The “chicken” is the one who veers off first to save his life. Hold this thought up to the truth regarding our God-given responsibility and the hidden deception becomes obvious.

This may even be the worst form of idolatry and witchcraft, because it is really an attempt to usurp God’s authority by thinking that He has to do what we want, because His reputation is at stake. What we may fail to realize is that God is perfectly capable of protecting His own reputation even if he lets us fall flat on our face. So we can expect a trip to the woodshed if we engage in this sort of foolishness, trying to blackmail God for what we want.

More recently from the New Age sector: “Faith happens when we exercise our own power of intention.” Here is another form of witchcraft and attempt to control.

While God wants us to interact with others with the good intention of ministering to them, results do not depend on our own intention. It is God alone who supplies the power of His Holy Spirit to enable us to minister to one another as we focus on what He wants, according to His Word and the needs of those we are called to help.

“By the way, just what faith are you?—the Catholic faith, the Lutheran faith, the Baptist faith?” This concept of faith has taken a giant step backwards and distorted the fulfilling intimate personal relationship we are meant to have with our Creator.

By substituting men’s fabricated rules, ceremonies, and regulations the religious have changed the true concept of faith, based on a real flesh and blood Church that has a viable relationship with God through His Word, into a building and an empty system of legalistic denominational requirements, “ministries,” and activities.

This smorgasbord of events can keep members running to and fro through the doors of the church for religious rituals, revival meetings, psychological counseling, socialization, fun activities and music without ever providing the real spiritual food Jesus told us to feed on.

Because of this, members can become so overwhelmed with church activities that they are unable to find time to even think about feeding on the Word of God themselves. Perhaps they would be better off disconnecting the phone and staying home to spend time in the Word.

God’s Definition of Faith

A little word search in my Strong’s Concordance revealed that God’s definition of faith is quite different from what we might think at first. From this study, I realized that faith is the power we receive when God pours Himself into us as we feed on His Word.

This power provides the ability to believe all that He has said. It also creates the desire and strength needed to carefully follow His instructions, one step at a time.

(8)For by grace are ye saved
through faith;
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:

(9)Not of works,
lest any man should boast.

–Ephesians 2:8-9

Therefore, faith is a gift He gives to us through grace. It isn’t something we are able to conjure up ourselves so we can boast about it.

How to Exercise Faith

The World Tells Us How to Exercise Faith:

“Toughen up.”

“It sounds good. Just do it.”

“Pull yourself up by your own boot straps.”

“Never give up.”

God Tells Us How to Exercise Faith:

* Believe what God has said and He will guide you with truth and wisdom.

* Believe what God has said and He will heal you and make you whole.

* Believe what God has said and He will give you the strength to do what is right.

* Believe what God has said and He will protect you from your enemies.

* Believe what God has said and He will give you eternal life.

(3)The voice of the LORD
is upon the waters:

the God of glory thundereth:
the LORD
is upon many waters.

(4)The voice of the LORD
is powerful;
the voice of the LORD
is full of majesty.

(5)The voice of the LORD
breaketh the cedars;

yea, the LORD
breaketh the cedars

of Lebanon.

(6)He maketh them also to skip like a calf;
Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.

(7)The voice of the LORD
divideth the flames of fire.

(8)The voice of the LORD
shaketh the wilderness;

the LORD
shaketh the wilderness

of Kadesh.

-Psalm 29:3-8

Psalm 29 is referring to the creative power in the voice of God. It is this same power which speaks to us from the pages of Scripture today, working to accomplish His purpose in us, and sustaining every dimension of our being.

Verses 3, 5, & 8 indicate that the voice of the Lord is the Lord.

In other words, the Lord resides in His voice.

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