Picture of eagle's head with text, "Bible studies"

LISTENING TO GOD

BIBLE STUDIES
(Newest ones are last)
Ask for understanding
Ask for Understanding
Waiting takes work
Waiting Takes Work
Obtaining wisdom
Obtaining Wisdom
Why can't you hear God?
Why Can't You Hear God?
Seek the truth
Seek the Truth
Understanding God
Understanding God
You can hear Him!
You Can Hear Him!
Give me understanding
Give Me Understanding
Knowing more than a teacher
Knowing More Than a Teacher
What promises are yours?
What Promises Are Yours?

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5/10/99 Ask for Understanding
"Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart."
Psalm 119:27 & 34
Why would this psalmist ask for understanding of God's ways and God's laws? Isn't it enough to know what they are? Isn't it enough to be able to read them and understand them with our human understanding? No, it's not.

Every person perceives things differently based on their own life experiences. I can read a verse in the Bible and come up with an entirely different interpretation than you. God intends us to understand what He is saying. The Bible is given to us so that we can know more about God and His plan for our lives!

Too many people read the Bible, feel they have a good understanding of what it says, and start teaching others what they have learned. It is not enough to just read the Bible! We need to ask God to help us to understand what it says! Without knowing God's opinion on what the Bible says, we are spreading false information about God! That is certainly not a good thing!!

No matter how sincere someone seems, no matter how intelligent someone seems, and no matter how spiritual someone seems DO NOT accept everything they say about God until you have checked with God, Himself. It is possible that you know absolutely nothing about God if you have gathered your information by listening to people speak about God or have read what people have written about God. There are two things you have to do. You have to read the Word for yourself and combine that with personal communication with God. God has the facts that you seek and He is a very good Teacher!!

1John 2:27 tells us, "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." The Holy Spirit, which is God in us, teaches us. Find out how to listen to your Teacher!
Link to 5/10/99 welcome message

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12/6/99 Waiting Takes Work
" I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning."
Psalm 130:5-6
When the Lord tells you to wait on Him that doesn't mean to shut down and wait. Waiting is perceived as "do nothing" in the world, but is actually an "action" thing with the Lord.

These verses indicate you need to stay in the Word as that is where your hope lies. They also show where the psalmist is waiting more than those that wait for the morning. If waiting was doing nothing, then how can you wait more? Waiting on God requires action on your part.

"Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day." (Ps 25:5) As you are waiting you are listening for Him and you are reading the Word. He is teaching you.

"Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him. . ." (Ps 37:7) As you are waiting patiently you are resting in Him. You are giving Him your troubles and allowing Him to comfort you and provide for your needs.

"Wait on the LORD, and keep his way. . ." (Ps 37:34) Keeping His way would be doing the things you know He wants you to do. In order to be able to do that you need to find out what those things are. Hopefully, you have already done that by reading the Word and seeking His will. If you haven't, then start immediately.

"And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee." (Ps 39:7) This psalmist doesn't know what he is waiting for, so he is asking while he is waiting. Notice that he has not lost hope. He knows that there is good reason for waiting. I think it's cool that he didn't ask how long he'd have to wait, only why he was waiting.

So, when you are told by the Lord to wait, you better get busy!
Link to 12/6/99 welcome message

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2/29/00 Obtaining Wisdom
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."
1Corinthians 2:12-13
Sometimes I know I am going to need a great deal of wisdom. I ask for it and know that I will receive it. The Bible tells us in 1Corinthians 1:30, "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." Jesus IS our wisdom. We can have it.

It is a very good feeling knowing that you have the wisdom that you need to handle a situation. I can go into a situation knowing that I am not alone. I know that God is helping me to know what to do and what to say. I know when I am done that I didn't leave anything out.

I can't possibly know how my words will affect any situation. I can't see what is coming in the future and plan accordingly. I know that God knows what is coming and He can give me the wisdom that will take everything into consideration.

There are things the world would have us believe. The world would have us believe that it is a cop-out to leave everything up to God. The world would say, "You should have said this or that. You should be worried about the outcome of what you did or said." By walking in the Spirit, by allowing the Spirit to move us we know we have done the right thing. We have no need to seek the world's opinion. We have the Holy Spirit telling us what we should say and what we should do.

We just need to learn how to rest in what we know. We need to understand that the Holy Spirit in us is fully capable of teaching us what to say and then we need to hang on to that understanding IN SPITE OF what the world says.

The sad thing is that we often are swayed by what the world thinks. We bend under pressure. We want to look like we are intelligent so we go along with the worldly way of doing things. We ignore the fact that we have received the Spirit that is of God. We forget that, as Christians, we have the ability and the power to look at things on a spiritual level. We listen to the world tell us that we have to use our "intelligence," our "common sense," and our own abilities to make decisions. The world laughs at us when we seek God's direction.

As I was standing in line in the grocery store today I saw a headline on one of the "sensation tabloids" that said something along the lines of some kind of signal was picked up coming from outer space and "Is this a message from God?" Oh my goodness! God doesn't need to be sending any signals through space to us. He can communicate to us through the Holy Spirit in us!

Don't let the world tell you what you should and shouldn't do. Ask God. He WILL answer. Wait for the answer. Oh, don't forget to listen!
Link to 2/29/00 welcome message

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5/1/00 Why Can't You Hear God?
"And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."
1Kings 19:11-12
Elijah was feeling sorry for himself. He was discouraged because he felt the Israelites were all turned away from God and he was the only righteous one left. God told him to stand on the mountain. God wanted Elijah to rise up out of his discouragement and to get his mind and heart focused back on Him.

He pointed out to Elijah that there were 7,000 people who still worshipped God. He told Elijah the things that He wanted him to be doing. He didn't give any place to Elijah's self pity. He had things for Elijah to be doing and they weren't getting done while Elijah was moping.

Notice how spoke to Elijah. This is important. God showed Elijah some things that many people feel would be God speaking. After all, God created the entire world with His voice. It wouldn't be a surprise to have God speak as a great wind that is strong enough to break boulders. How about His speaking to us in an earthquake? After all, the earth had to tremble as the mountains were being formed!

That would be an appropriate way for the great and powerful God of Creation to speak, wouldn't it? How about in a raging fire? Have you ever heard the sound a large fire makes? The fire, itself, is powerful and consuming and the sound it makes is enough to put terror in your heart. When God speaks it will probably be in a HUGE and IMPRESSIVE fashion! We won't mistake His voice, will we???

God was not in the wind. God was not in the earthquake. God was not in the fire. He spoke in a still, small voice.

Why do you think that most people don't believe that God speaks to us today? They are not listening for a still, small voice. The cares of this world, the phone ringing, the television noise, the bills that need to be paid, the novels that beg to be read, the money that needs to be made, the newspaper that needs to be perused, the rest of the day-to-day living drowns out any still, small voice. Can you hear someone whispering when a room is full of shouting people? It's almost the same thing.

The difference is that the still, small voice comes from within. The Holy Spirit inside you is speaking. God is trying to communicate with you. He wants a one-on-one relationship with you. He has things to say to you. He has things He wants you to be doing. He is speaking to you in a still, small voice.

Learn how to listen. Learn how to hear Him in the midst of everything else. There is an eye in that hurricane you call your life. In that eye is God. The peace, the comfort, the guidance, the love, and all the other things you need are in there with Him. Look within. He is speaking!
Link to 5/1/00 welcome message

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8/28/00 Seek the Truth
"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Acts 17:11
COMMENTS: The Bereans were considered more noble than the people in Thessalonia because they eagerly received the things they heard and they compared those things they were hearing with the scriptures to test them.

That is important. You, alone, will be responsible for your beliefs. You won't be able to blame a pastor or teacher for anything when you are face-to-face with the Lord. He will want to know why you accepted what you had heard when you had everything you needed to prove it was true. You need to be reading your Bible so you are soaking up the truth. Then when something comes along that isn't true you will know it.

You also need to pray for understanding of the scriptures. I am in a situation where I am having to re-evaluate something I have believed for a long time. I heard some things spoken that are making me wonder where I got my beliefs about not being able to lose your salvation.

As I read my Bible I color-code scriptures. One of the categories I have is salvation/losing salvation. I had taken all the scriptures I had found and have typed them up on a list. I had been satisfied that my conclusions were scripturally correct.

Now I wonder where I got those conclusions. I wonder if the interpretations I have accepted of the salvation scriptures have been interpreted by God or by people that taught me. I wonder if my opinions are based on men's opinions or on God's opinions. I have never prayed about this particular subject before. I may have received my interpretations from the Lord as I read my Bible. Then, on the other hand, I may have fit the interpretations into a pre-conceived idea based on what I had been taught.

I want my opinions to be God's opinions. It is important that I not be carrying traditional ideas in my head and treating them as if they are fact. God knows the truth. I'm going to ask Him what to believe.

That is why there are so many different denominations. They are based on different opinions on what the scriptures mean. How can God have so many different interpretations? He doesn't. Men do. They are using their own understanding and making statements about the truth of the scriptures. They have left out one important factor. God is that factor.

Be careful about what you believe. It is entirely up to you to seek the truth. The truth is not being hidden. God wants you to have it!

(I went back through my salvation scripture list, added more scriptures dealing with salvation, and came up with a new list. If you are interested you can view it here.)
Link to 8/28/00 welcome message

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11/27/00 Understanding God
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
1Corinthians 2:9
Your human brain is incapable of understanding God. You cannot comprehend the things that He has for you. You cannot comprehend the depths of what grace, salvation, love, and forgiveness actually mean. As humans we have a tendency to reject the things of God because they are "impossible," "illogical," or "ridiculous."

What are we going to do? How can we develop a closer relationship with God if it is impossible to understand His ways? Verses 10-12 say, "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."

We have to allow the Holy Spirit to do the understanding. We have to turn off our brains and let the Holy Spirit within us speak to our own spirit within us. Panic! Warning! Red flag!! I can't turn off my brain! I need to be ready with my arsenal of experience, logic, understanding, and quick thinking just in case something comes along. If I turn off my brain I have no control!

Is there anything in your experience, logic, understanding, or quick thinking that enables you to see what the full consequences of your action will be? Is there anything in them that even compares to the wisdom of God? All our lives the world teaches us how to survive. The world teaches us how to use our brains to get along. That is the main reason people have such difficulty in even BELIEVING in God, much less having a close relationship with Him.

Don't believe it until you see it. If you can't see, taste, touch, smell, or hear it then it doesn't exist. Sound familiar? God is not defined in earthly terms. He does not fit in our human ideas of everything falls within the categories of animal, vegetable, and mineral. The only way to get close to God is to get away from the world.

How do you get away from the world? Spend time with God. By reading your Bible you will see things He has done in the past. You will see evidence of His heart, His mind, and His ways. Allow the Bible to soak into your heart and mind. Don't over-analyze the things of the Bible. Just let them soak in. Spend time asking God to reveal Himself to you. He will. It will be in ways that you cannot explain in worldly terms. Ask Him for understanding. Ask Him for wisdom.

Then listen. Listen for the Spirit. The Spirit will reveal things to you. How will you know it is of the Spirit and not of yourself or of satan ? Read verse 13, "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." The things the Spirit reveals will align with other spiritual things. They will align with what you have soaked up out of the Bible. They will align with what you have learned about God in spending time with Him.

(WARNING: If you do not read your Bible and allow the Word to soak in and if you do not spend time with God then you will have NO WAY OF KNOWING for sure whether something is of God.)

Verse 14 goes on, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." If you begin fighting against the things the Spirit reveals it is the natural man within you. It is your brain. If it sounds strange or doesn't make sense don't despair. Ask God. Tell Him you don't understand. Tell Him it doesn't make sense. Let Him teach you. He'll do it again and again and again until you allow your spirit to receive it.

Don't reject something just because of your beliefs about what God will and won't do. Don't reject something because it doesn't line up with something you've been taught by a teacher or a pastor. Let the Spirit reveal them to you. Allow God to give you the things He has prepared for you. Don't reject them because they aren't explainable in human terms. God is not human.

I'll leave you with a few more scriptures to ponder.

"But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."
1John 2:27

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9
Link to 11/27/00 welcome message

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3/19/01 You Can Hear Him!
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."
John 10:27
In John 10:11 Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." Jesus is our shepherd. I think most people will not have any problem at all in acknowledging that as a fact. He is our shepherd and we are the sheep.

I don't know all that much about sheep, but I have read that sheep are not very bright animals and that is why they need a shepherd. They are not able to take care of themselves. The shepherd protects them from dangers and leads them to places where they can eat. He also keeps them from straying too far away from the rest.

Another thing that most people accept readily as being fact is that Jesus could not tell a lie. He never sinned. If He had then He would not have been the perfect sacrifice that was necessary to ensure our salvation.

So, if Jesus could not lie, then we can believe everything He said. As you can see in our Bible study verse, Jesus said we hear His voice. It didn't say, "My sheep recognize my voice as written in their Bibles." It didn't say, "As my sheep read my words out loud they, then hear my voice in the words they are reading." It says, "MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE!"

Do not, do not, do not ever let anyone tell you that God doesn't speak to us since the Bible was written!

Let me give you some food for thought if you believe people do not hear God's voice:

Why ask God what you should do if you can't hear His voice?
Why read your Bible if God doesn't speak to you to help you interpret what you read? (You will only be able to interpret it based on your human understanding.)
Link to 3/19/01 welcome message

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5/14/01 Give Me Understanding
"Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart."
Psalm 119:33-34
COMMENTS: We know this psalmist knew God's statutes, His laws and commandments, from the number of times he spoke about them throughout chapter 119. He knew God's statutes, but He wanted God to teach him the WAY of the statutes. He wanted understanding of what God meant rather than what was actually written in the statutes.

That is what we need to do. We need to ask God to reveal His intentions in the things we read in the Bible. We cannot take a scripture and "turn it into fact" just based on our understanding of the words or the phrase. We have to find out what God meant by it or else it is worthless. Our understanding of the Word means absolutely nothing because God will not change His intentions based on our beliefs. It will have to be us changing our beliefs to match up with His intentions if we are to grow in our spiritual walk and in order to be used by Him.

So, how do you find out what God means by something and what He thinks about something? Ask Him. Pray and ask, ask and pray until you receive an answer.

Read your Bible. Read all of it over and over. Sometimes you find answers to your questions where you least expect. God's heart and God's intentions are spread from Genesis to Revelation. The Old Testament and the New Testament are inseperable. They both are woven together and speak of each other.

Search on your own. Get a concordance, Bible dictionary, topical Bible, and other research aids and do searches on the words and topics. Put the related scriptures together and compare them to each other. Continue praying and asking and reading, as well.

Do not make a quick decision. It is never important enough to come up with an answer until you know that answer to be God's answer. You are not doing anyone any favors by sharing your partially formed opinions as truth!

Do not let pride stand in the way. Do not be too embarrassed to say, "I don't know, but I will try to find out."

God never intended for people to have different interpretations of His Word. Each one of us will be held accountable for the things we believe and the things we say. Matthew 12:36 says, "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."

It is up to teachers and pastors to make sure that they are teaching only God's opinions. It is up to you to find out if what your teacher or pastor is teaching you is the truth according to God or the truth according to man. Unfortunately, many teachers and pastors only teach what they have been taught by other teachers and pastors. Their intentions are good, but the results can be very very bad!

Remember, read your Bible, pray, and ask for understanding. Ask God for His opinion about everything!

Here are other Bible studies on the same topic:
What is God's Opinion?
Beware the Traditions of Men
Ask for Understanding
Seek the Truth
Link to 5/14/01 welcome message

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6/11/02 Knowing More Than a Teacher
"I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts."
Psalm 119:99-100
COMMENTS: I had an interesting thing happen a number of years ago. I had the opportunity to see one of my students begin teaching me about the Word. What a strange feeling! It was shocking at first because I was unprepared. I had never thought about that happening.

I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't want to accept it at first. I wanted to remain the more knowledgeable one as I had studied longer and harder than my pupil. I deserved to be able to remain the teacher. Society would back me on that principle, too!

The fact is that God is the teacher. Yes, some of us have been given the gift of teaching, but God teaches through us.

We are to be open to allow God to do as He pleases in us. If He chooses to pour understanding and knowledge into a person faster than in another then He has a reason. After all, each of us is an individual and each of us has a unique relationship with God. He gives to each of us differently so that we can share with the other members of the Body of Christ.

Even brand new baby Christians may have something to share with us. We must be open to those that God sends our way. We must use our spiritual fine tuning to hear what God wants us to hear.

The bottom line is that God is the teacher. It doesn't matter what teaching skills we have. We can't force someone to understand something. We can't force someone to believe something just because we know it is the truth. We must allow God to prove those things to people. As a teacher I must furnish the information and then urge my pupils to take them to God in prayer and to read their Bibles to get more information about the subject. What God does from there is totally up to Him.

Some people will learn very fast because they take the things of God very seriously. They meditate on His Word and obey His commandments. They may end up knowing more than their teachers.

We must be of the mindset that God uses people to edify, instruct, encourage, and to love each other. He gives each person gifts and talents that are designed to be used in the Body of Christ. We must never use our human intelligence and set rules for God such as: the elders must always instruct those younger than they and will never learn from them, the person with the Master's Degree in religious studies can never learn anything from someone without a degree, and other similar rules.

It is important that we stay open minded to what God wants to do.
Link to 6/11/02 welcome message

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10/6/03 What Promises Are Yours?
"And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child."
Acts 7:5
COMMENTS:    This is referring to God's promise to Abraham.  Abraham could not see the reality of it because it hadn't happened yet.  God had a plan for Abraham's life.  He showed part of it to Abraham for a reason.  Perhaps it was to encourage Abraham because Abraham was about to embark on some rather difficult and strenuous adventures.

Have you ever noticed that when you can focus on the end result of your labors, then the "getting-there" part of it seems easier?  It is especially helpful when you know that God promised it and that is a guarantee that He will help you get there! Over and over I've heard people claim promises in the Bible for themselves.  I know that there are many places in the Bible that there are some really great sounding promises.  However, I often wonder if God intended those promises to all be ours.  Perhaps God shows us promises He made to other people back in Bible times to show us that He is faithful.  Perhaps He is demonstrating the types of promises that He makes.  Maybe all those promises really are ours.  I don't know.

 As I read my Bible I feel quickened in my spirit by some of the promises and not by others.  For example, I don't know if I can claim a "mansion" in heaven (John 14:2).  I see that Jesus was speaking to His disciples.  What I do know is that God has a plan for each of us.  I do know that when God personally gives us a promise then we can hang on to it.  We can claim it as our own property.  We can be assured that, as long as we fulfill any portions of the promise that are our responsibility, then it WILL HAPPEN!

So, how do we know what promises are ours?  Ask.  Ask God to show you.  Ask Him what scriptures are for you.  Ask Him for a vision.  Ask Him for a promise.  Oh, yes, I almost forgot to give you the most important part.... LISTEN for the response!

 I asked God for scriptures I can read over each of my sons.  I also asked for a vision for each of them.  That way, no matter what I see them doing, I can focus on and claim the vision that God has for them.  After I prayed and asked I sat still and waited.  After a while I would feel God leading me to a particular book in the Bible.  Then He would zoom in on a chapter, then a verse.  After I would get a scripture He gave me a vision for what my son would be doing.  When I hear from God it comes as a thought in my head.  It is as if I heard a voice and I have the memory of it.  I don't actually hear the voice.  God may speak to you differently.  He may show you a picture.  He may have you open your Bible to a particular scripture.  He may have you thumb through and tell you when to stop.  You may see the name of the book in your mind.  I don't know.  He comes to each of us in a way that is personal and individual.

 There are so many things about the Bible and about God that we think we know but we don't really know.  There are some things that we have the opportunity to know beyond a shadow of a doubt.  Let's hang on to those.  Let's put our faith in what God shows us on a personal level.  That seems to be the smartest thing to do.

Link to 10/6/03 welcome message

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