Monday, September 29, 2014
The prophet Jeremiah uses the Ethiopian and the leopard to explain the habit of sin. Man is creature of habit. Man sins by habit, having had a lifetime of practice to ensure that they are good at it! Just as we can easily tie your shoe while thinking of ten other things that we need to do, while never once thinking about the process of tying that shoe, we can sin just as easily. The reason for this is that we have spent a lifetime failing in one way or the other until it is consistent enough to be considered habit.
Only God alone is able to bring for the change in our lives.God has made a way for a person to change. As we surrender to Him in complete obedience, He will begin the transformation in our lives. Change is two - factored. It is not breaking habits alone, but also replacing them. Change is a focus on both putting off and putting on. An examples of put off and put on is found in Ephesians 4:25. The apostle Paul exhorts the Ephesians to put off lying and put on speaking the truth. Also, in 1 Peter 3:9 Christians are exhorted to put off returning evil and put on returning good.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
First of all, being a Christian, my thought process and answer will be from the Word of God, the Bible. The Bible is my guiding principle. As the Psalmist says “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
The Bible records God speaking audibly to people many times on many occasions. He conversed with Adam in the Garden of Eden. He told Noah to build an ark. He spoke to Moses in a burning bush. He promised Abraham a son. Paul heard His voice on the way to Damascus. So, God can speak to people, even audibly, if He desires. There is no biblical reason why God could not speak to a person audibly today.
There are many ways that God can speak to us. Firstly, He speaks to us through His written Word, the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 notes, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." Scripture comes from God and is therefore one clear way in which God speaks to people today. Isaiah 55:11 tells us, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” His Word sometimes gives us a warning, a word of encouragement, or a lesson for life. It’s “His-story”–written with love as God’s guide for life, “so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” In the New Testament, God speaks to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. It is recorded in the gospel: the good news of Jesus Christ. The New Testament was the fulfillment of God’s special plan. Hebrews 1:1-2 says “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe”.
Secondly, God speaks to us through nature. God has revealed Himself through the created world. Psalm 19:1-3 says "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard". Through the intricate details and magnificent beauty of all that God has made, we can “hear” His voice. How? By observing the ant’s strength to store up food all summer long, we learn about wisdom and industriousness. By studying the heavens, we understand more of God’s greatness. And through planting and growing a garden, we “hear” about miracles of death and rebirth. God designed–and spoke them all into existence. Romans 1:20 says “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse ”.
Thirdly, God speaks through other Christian too. God may use a friend, a teacher, a parent, or a preacher to convey His message of truth to us. Their words may come as a warning, a blessing, or as a prophetic truth about our lives. Whether we choose to hear it or ignore it, depends on us. James 3:17 says “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere”. The Bible records many instances in which God used one individual to deliver His message to another individual. (1 Samuel 13:13–14, 15:23; 2 Samuel 12:7–15; Acts 9:10–18, 10:1–33.)
Our creative God is not limited to one form of communication. He is all-powerful; He is omnipresent; He is sovereign. God made this promise to His people in Jeremiah 29:13: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” God keeps His promises. Seek Him with all of your heart, and you will hear His voice. If God were to speak today, His words would be in full agreement with what He has said in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16–17). God does not contradict Himself.