Daily Devotional for Thursday January 22, 2015
Hearing God's Voice and Obeying God's Voice
(1 Samuel 15:22; Joshua 1:8; Exodus 19:5; Revelation 22:14)
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, when a Bible Study is planned to be held in a bar and have a drink of beer, wine, or other form of alcohol, during the study, is it a way of reaching out to the un-churched, especially the younger kids, college age ?? I have been given the argument, when I disagree, that Jesus served wine at the banquet feast, so what is wrong where we meet, if we are learning about God's word and is taught by our Pastor? Is this considered Evangelism? So far, those who have attended the 2 meetings they have had, are people who attend church and are not of college age. Most are retired. I am confused!
ANSWER: Nobody is for reaching people where they live than I am. However, there does have to be a line drawn. Having a Bible Study inside of a bar that is open and operating as a bar is like having a Bible Study inside of an x-rated bookstore! I have done TONS of evangelistic outreaches around bars...but OUTSIDE...trying to reach those going in and coming out. I don't think there is anything wrong if an individual, or group, goes into a bar (not drinking), to engage the patrons. However, the people who own/run the bar will toss you out in a few minutes so you won't accomplish anything. Also, in settings like this, people are NOT there to hear about the Lord or the Bible. What you are trying to accomplish is planting seeds and giving them something to think about. I get the plan of your pastor, but it is a flawed plan. He will accomplish more handing out tracts to people going in, coming out.
Several months ago I received an email from a man who had been watching the Liveprayer TV program for some time. God had moved on his heart recently to get rid of his jewelry. For some reason, he felt his jewelry had become an idol, something that was hindering his relationship with the Lord, and God was speaking to his heart about simply getting rid of it. He contacted me and said after much prayer, he wanted to donate the jewelry to Liveprayer and let us liquidate it and use the funds for the ministry. I told him that I was honored he thought of us and wanted to make such a sacrifice. We arranged to meet the next day.
Now for those who know about jewelry, you understand that it is one of the worst investments you can ever make. Just because you paid $3,000 for an item at Zales, does NOT mean you have something that is worth $3,000. That item will bring only $300 if you went to a pawn shop, and even if you sold it, you are probably not going to get much more than $2,000 in a best-case scenario. In fact, the ONLY jewelry that has any investment value are high-end pieces of $50,000 and above, and even when liquidating those pieces for cash, you will rarely get anything close what they are worth.
I met the young man outside a restaurant and we sat and talked for about 30 minutes. I got to know a bit about his life, he shared some of his struggles with me, and I prayed for him and for God's blessings on his life as he continued to follow the Lord. He gave me a bag that contained his jewelry and I left to meet with a couple who was going through a divorce. Several hours later, I finally got home and had a chance to look at the items this young man had donated to the ministry. Several rings, a gold bracelet, and a necklace, all total probably about $1,000 worth of items. I was grateful for his generosity, but most important, encouraged by his willingness to not just hear God, but obey God!
That is my message to you today. I have talked to you in the past about how to HEAR God. That is obviously very important. However, after we hear God, we then have to OBEY God! That can often be easier said than done. God speaks to us in many ways. Most times, He speaks to us through His Word, through our time in prayer, through others, and through our circumstances. As I have shard often, the more we practice "hearing God," the better we become at hearing His voice. The key is, God will never contradict His Word. When God speaks to you, it will always be in line with His Word. That is the major test to knowing if it is truly God's voice.
Again, hearing God's voice is important, but after you hear His voice you then need to obey His voice. This is where our commitment to the Lord gets tested. Many time, we hear what God is saying to us but we don't want to obey Him. This is usually the case when He is calling us to do something we dislike or calling us to make some sort of sacrifice. Sacrifice is really not something most people want to hear. We love to hear about blessings, but really don't want to hear about sacrifice.
We claim to love the Lord, but the true test of that love comes when He calls us to sacrifice something for Him. Sacrifice calls us to give up something precious. That something precious can be money, it can be possessions, but in most cases it is OURSELVES! You see, the greatest sacrifice you can make to the Lord is YOURSELF! You have nothing more valuable to give to Christ than your life. The fact is, when you accepted Jesus into your heart and life by faith, part of that process is the act of giving your life to Him. The Bible says that we have been bought with a price, that it is no longer our life any longer, but that we belong to Him. So when the Lord speaks to you and you are faced with the opportunity to obey His voice, you are really only giving Him what He already owns anyway . . . YOU!
I love you and care about you so much. I know that this is a very challenging word today. We are all called each day to obey God's voice. Throughout the course of the day God will speak to us . . . and not just hearing his voice, but obeying his voice is what we are required to do as His followers. Obeying God often calls for sacrifice on our part. Whether it is sacrificing our time, talent, or treasure, ALL WE HAVE BELONGS TO HIM! So in essence, He is only asking us to give Him what already belongs to Him anyway.
I thank God for young men like I met with the other day. For this young man, it was a HUGE sacrifice to give up his jewelry. But he heard God's voice telling him this is what God wanted him to do and he was obedient. God will always bless our obedience! Let me say that one more time.
GOD WILL ALWAYS BLESS OUR OBEDIENCE!
I am praying for you today, that as you hear the voice of God in your life, that you will not just hear His voice but obey His voice. God has a purpose and reason for what He asks us to do. Rarely do we fully comprehend that purpose or reason, but that is not our job. Our job is to simply be obedient and do what God is calling us to do, no matter what that may be. May you take time each day to not only hear God's voice, but be faithful to obey God's voice.
***GOLD FOR SOULS!! The Liveprayer Gold for Souls program ( http://secure.goldforsouls.com/ ) works much like the other sites except instead of getting a check back for a fraction of the value of the items you send in, we send you a donation receipt for the full value of your items. For example, if you send one of these many sites $100 worth of materials, you will get back a check for around $10. By donating your valuables to Gold for Souls, we will send you a donation receipt that you can write off your taxes for the full $100.
The big question is why donate your valuables when you can get at least some cash for them. SOULS!!! The little amount you get back from one of these other companies will be gone in a short period of time, and in the scheme of things, is not going to dramatically change your economic situation. However, what you donate to Gold for Souls will not only get you a tax deductible donation receipt for what you send in, but it will pay you eternal dividends since the funds will be used to fund Liveprayer's operations brining God's Truth to the marketplace, praying for people in their hour of need, bringing lost souls to faith in Jesus Christ, and helping to lead this nation back to God and His Truth!!!
In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,