Last week we talked about the tools of the Devil. We spoke of his deceit, lies, fear, stress, sickness and disease as well as death and sorrow.
How many of you got something from that? How many learned to better trust in God and not let the tools of the Devil harm you or, subsequently, destroy your very being?
I don’t want to go over them all again as I know most of you heard them and “kinda-sorta” understood… or, perhaps, you may not have been listening at all?
This too (not listening) is one of our greatest problems in this life we lead. Many of us pray. Many of us ask God to help us and “kinda-sorta” think He may help. The question I have for you this morning is this:
Are you listening? Are you looking for the signs he most assuredly will send? Do you recognize them when they come or has the Devil also deafened your ears, blinded your sight and blackened your heart so you simply cannot feel God’s great mercy and compassion when you need it the most?
I always seem to get the same type of responses from people:
- I Kinda-Sorta believe in the Grace of God.
- I Kinda-Sorta believe in Love and Compassion of Christ
- I Kinda-Sorta read and believe in the Bible.
- I Kinda-Sorta pray.
- I Kinda-Sorta try and listen for His response.
I have to be honest with you. When it comes to God, “Kinda-Sorta” doesn’t work too well. For me, as one with a red-neck background, what works the best in my relationship with God is a “Aw-Heck-Yeah” response!
Talk to God
I know we’ve spoken a lot about how to talk to God. We talked to Him through prayer. We give thanks every morning when we wake and every night before we close our eyes.
I have told you many times of my “private little talks” I have with God… as a friend; as a companion; and, most of all, as a Father… one who Loves me Dearly!
Are you living the life God would have you live? Okay, then you must understand how He listens to your prayer. Sure, none of us are “Perfect Christians” as that is simply an impossibility as we are just human. The only “Perfect” person was Jesus Christ and we’re not even close to being like Him.
Nonetheless, we do Love our God; we do know and understand how Christ died for each and every one of us; and we strive to be filled with The Holy Spirit so we might better ourselves and be more of what God would have us be.
So these simple facts about us let us know we can talk to God…
1 Peter 3:12 – “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.”
There it is right there, in 1 Peter, God’s ears ARE open to our prayer. He IS listening to us and He DOES hear us.
Psalm 145:18-19 – “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him, he also hears their cry and saves them.”
So why, in knowing these truths from the Gospel, do we still allow the Devil’s tools to harm us? Why do we still struggle so badly when it comes to facing life’s challenges?
Perhaps it’s because we believe but we’re simply not listening and hearing God telling us He is there… and He is going to get you through whatever trials you are facing?
(How Does He Speak to Us)
Okay then Pastor Woody, just how are we supposed to“hear God” and know it is Him that is speaking to us? I’m so glad you asked that question… and I’m going to give you a little refresher (as we’ve talked about this before) to help you listen.
- Through Difficulties
We’ve got to remember; our difficulties are sometimes put before us as a lesson from God. Obviously not to harm us but, instead, to teach us something.
1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
God knows we’re going to be tempted. He knows we will face great challenges. But what we’ve just read should give us great hope in knowing, through these things, God is speaking to us… reminding us, that He is there beside us.
- His Creation and The Holy Spirit
This is a big one for me personally. You all know how much I Love God’s creation. I get so much peace and serenity from Nature and I know, this is God speaking to me.
Psalm 19:1-2 – “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.”
Did anyone see my post the other day on Facebook? It was a video of a small child standing in a shopping cart in what looked to be a pretty big store.
As his mother wheeled him around the aisles, his eyes kept getting bigger and bigger with excitement as he “Oooooed” with his mouth in that “baby-like” fashion. He was clearly motivated and inspired by all the things around him.
That’s exactly how God wants us to react… like the children. Remember how Christ spoke about the children?
Matthew 21:16 – “‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked him. ‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’’?”
When I observe Nature (God’s Creation), I am that little baby in the shopping cart. I am the one “ooooing and aahing” at the glorious wonders around us.
This feeling, to me, is The Holy Spirit filling me with God’s word and teaching me who to deal with my adversities.
John 14:26 – “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you”
So you see where through the glory of God’s creation and the filling of The Holy Spirit He is talking to us!
- Through Others
Sometimes, when we’re going through these challenges, we lose our focus on God. We forget what His word has taught us and, therefore, are more easily distracted by the trials we may be facing.
The Bible tells us to encourage one another daily… talk to one another!
Hebrews 3:13 – “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
While you might not be focused, you can be assured there is someone around you… another Brother or Sister in Christ, that hasn’t lost their focus and is stilled filled with God’s word. Let them bring you back and, when they speak, know that it is God speaking.
- Through Music
This is another big one for me… and I know there are quite a few of you here today that feel the same.
There are SO many inspirational songs out there today. Not only from Gospel singers and bands but also from other artists in the music industry also touched by God’s word.
One of my favorites is a song called Believe, from Brooks & Dun in the country world. I’ll tell you the truth, when that song comes on or I play it at my desk alone, I crank up that volume and wait for the ensuing goose-bumps!
Look it up and listen one day. I’m sure you’ll feel the same and know that God is reaching out to you.
We talk about prayer all the time. for and about always giving thanks no matter what the situation. Here’s another thought for you as it’s just another one of those Woody things that I like to do:
The next time you pray, don’t run-on and blabber to God. Talk to Him! Pause throughout your prayers and listen for His answers. Let the peace of The Holy Spirit fill you and listen intently… I’m guessing you’re going to hear something!
- The Bible
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before but I can’t help but to put it in your hearts again. Read your Bible! You will be surprised how suddenly, as you scan through the scriptures, something will Jump-Out and smack you in the face…. That’s God!
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
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Remembering, We are Loved
The last thing we need to remember when we’re suffering through this world is something I spoke about at Freddy & Sharri’s wedding. I wanted to remind everyone what or, more importantly, who Love is:
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Yes, this is true and unconditional Love. Therefore, know and understand, God is Love!
Remember these things…
- When difficult questions tear at you and you are unsure how to respond – Let Love answer them.
- When fire surrounds you and you cannot bear the heat – Let Love douse the flames.
- When the ways of this world separate you, taking you away from one another – Let Love bring you back together.
- When you are confused and have no answers – Let Love bring you understanding, knowledge and wisdom.
- When you fallen to your knees, beaten-down and defeated – Let Love reach-out it’s hand, and lift you up.
Yes, that is Love… and the Love of God surrounds us here today and He gives it to you freely, to share with one another for the rest of your lives until the time He calls you home.
One more thing to never forget. The last words Jesus spoke to His Disciples before joining His Father in Heaven…
Matthew 28:20 – “I am with you always.”
God is with us always. He never leaves our side and will always help us through whatever trials we are facing.
Let’s go a little red-neck this morning. I’ll ask you the question, and if you agree with my statement, please respond with “Aw-Heck-Yeah!”
- Do you believe in the Grace of God? – Aw-Heck-Yeah!
- Do you believe in the Love and Compassion of Christ? Aw-Heck-Yeah!
- Do you read and believe in the Bible? – Aw-Heck-Yeah!
- Do you pray and believe in the power of prayer? Aw-Heck-Yeah!
- Do you try and listen for God’s response? Aw-Heck-Yeah
Then by the Red-Neck Authority of West By-God Virginia and the power vested in me by the Our Father in Heaven, The Almighty God, maker of the Heavens and the Earth… I now pronounce you BLESSED CHILDREN OF GOD!
Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless (Amen)