I recently posted a video with the testimony of a lawyer who has to land a plane with the pilot having passed out.
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
GOD DOES NOT REVEAL HIMSELF TO THE CASUAL ENQUIRER, BUT TO THOSE WHO SEEK HIM WITH ALL THEIR HEARTS.
John 7:17. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.
There has to first be a willingness and a desire to do God’s will before we know God’s will.
These are the commandments the Lord proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness; and he added nothing more. Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me. When you heard the voice out of the darkness, while the mountain was ablaze with fire, all the leaders of your tribes and your elders came to me. And you said, The Lord our God has shown us his glory and his majesty, and we have heard his voice from the fire.
Today we have seen that a person can live even if God speaks with them. But now, why should we die?
This great fire will consume us, and we will die if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any longer. For what mortal has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived?
Let someone else do the praying
Let someone else do the reading of the Word
Let someone else do the studying of the Word
They simply receive it from them second hand, and consequently they miss out on a face to face encounter with the Lord and they open themselves up to false teachers.
We show how little love we have for God by preferring to listen to His servants rather than to Him. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we don’t want God Himself to speak to us. Why are we so terrified for God to speak to us? Perhaps it’s because we know that when God speaks, we know we have only two choices: Either we will do what He asks or tell Him we will not obey. But if it is simply one of God’s servants speaking to us, we feel obedience is optional, not imperative.
The reason why so many who once professed Christianity are back-slidden and offended by Christians and the Church is because they had their eyes on Moses and when Moses disappears or fails they back worshipping the golden calf.
Your walk must be based on your relationship with God not some leader who could fall.
Moses or god?
Go near and listen to all that the Lord our God says. Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you. We will listen and obey. The Lord heard you when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me, I have heard what this people said to you.
Everything they said was good. Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!
See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks.
If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?
At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.
The words once more indicate the removing of what can be shaken, that is, created things, so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
Communication is the life line of any army, making the difference between victory or defeat.
There has to be two-way communication.
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.
The Lord must hear us.
We too must hear the Lord.
John 10:3-5, 8, 14-16.
The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.....
John 10:3-5, 8, 14-16.
All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them....
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.
I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
Imagine you are hired to open up an office in Anchorage, Alaska. Your new boss gives you a high-tech looking two-way radio, a policy and procedure manual, and tells you that you will receive instructions once you arrive, and off you go.
Upon arrival you hear your boss's voice over the radio, saying, "I will communicate to you through this radio unit. But take note: our competitors, our enemies, also have access to this channel. They will try to impersonate my voice with false messages to thwart our purposes.“
"Oh no!" you panic, "Then how will I know if it is you or the enemy giving me instructions?"
Your boss's voice comes back over the radio "Three ways.
First, considering the situation, check every message supposedly from me against the policy and procedure manual. Since I wrote it, I'm not likely to ask you to violate it, right?
Also, if I am not talking, don't focus in on the noise, pretending that I am. If I am not speaking, let the manual be your guide. Don't let any impersonating voice mislead you, or your own overactive imagination."
"Second, since the Manual does not cover every situation, you will have to get to know my voice. I know, this will take time, and so I am not likely to ask you to do anything radical until we both have some low-risk successes under our belts.
Remember, I understand the situation perfectly well, so I'll go slow at first. A time will come when I will be able to tell you to do the wildest things, and you will know it is me. In the short-term, you must be trained through low-risk experience."
"Third, over time, my overall purpose for your work will begin to come into focus. You will begin to see the grand strategy in the policy and procedure manual, and the overall pattern of my true instructions.
When this happens, you'll know instantly if what you hear through your unit is 'of me', just your imagination, or enemy misinformation. False instructions will begin to appear silly to you then. So take heart, and get to work."
After reflecting on this a few moments, you hear your boss's voice again on the radio unit.
"Take all of the money from petty cash and give it the next person that walks in, no questions asked." Hmmm...
You look in the policy and procedure manual, and this is specifically forbidden.
Besides, you know your boss wouldn't tell you to do something that risky right off. And also there was an certain "twang" to the voice, an appeal to something different within you, and a plan that was not in the long-term interests of the company.
So, even though you are on a hostile channel, you are beginning to have hope that you can indeed do this job.
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.
Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.
Are your prayers been heard?
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears … and He was heard because of His reverent submission.
Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.
Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
Certain behaviour hinders your prayers.
1 Peter 3:7.
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.
Isaiah 1:15-18. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood! Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
Ignoring the plight
of the poor and needy.
We are Not Paying Attention.
At times I miss what my wife is saying to me. It’s not that I am intentionally blocking her out, but sometimes she speaks to me when I’m focussed on something else.
All I know is she just said something, and I missed it.
How many times has God spoken to us and we are distracted by something else?
I wonder why I don’t hear from the Shepherd anymore?
The big problem that confronts modern day Christianity is not a God that doesn’t speak, but Christians, like the Jews in the Old Covenant, do not listen.
Jeremiah 6:10. To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The Word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.
But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen…
So the Lord Almighty was angry. When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen says the Lord Almighty
Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings… as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice.
Obedience is the response that keeps the dialog going. If we refuse to do what God tells us, we risk deafening our spiritual ear.
Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them….
Jesus replied, All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me.
And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.
Luke 6:46-49. So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it.
It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.
But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.
When you stop listening, God stops talking.
Mark 4:23-25. He who has ears to hear let him hear. Consider carefully what you hear, with the measure you use it will be given to you and even more. He who hears will be given more, he who does not hear even that which he has will be taken away.
Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him.
But she was not able to, because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.
Herod liked to listen to John (but he didn’t hear) and so when Jesus stood before Herod he didn’t say a word.
When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him.
From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort.
He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, Here am I. Send me!
He said, Go and tell this people: Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving. Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah.
As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.
My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain.
Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.
Revelation 3:20. Here I am, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.
Jesus will not speak guidance and direction into our lives through a closed door like some unwanted visitor or salesman.
Are you too busy with work or even ministry, you have time for your favourite TV programs or gym or sport, but the Lord gets your left overs?
Songs of Solomon 5:2-6.
I have taken off my robe must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet must I soil them again?
My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening; my heart began to pound for him.
I arose to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with flowing myrrh, on the handles of the bolt.
I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had left; he was gone. My heart sank at his departure. I looked for him but did not find him. I called him but he did not answer.
This second dream sequence is more tragic. Again, the Shulamite sleeps, but she is still somewhat aware of her surroundings (verse 2). The Beloved knocks on the door and beckons her to let him in.
She, however, complains that she has just bathed and undressed for bed (see Revelation 3:17), and she does not want to dirty herself again (verse 3).
When she sees him trying to open the door himself, though it is locked from inside (verse 4), she relents and gets out of bed (verse 5). When she finally unbolts and opens the door, the Beloved is gone (verse 6)!
Due to her lethargy and unwillingness, he had turned away in disappointment to feed his flock (see Song 6:2).
Are we opening the door? There are some easy tests:
Are we diligently praying, studying, meditating, fasting, and not allowing our deceitful and sleepy natures to accept excuses for failure?
Are we opening our minds and hearts during services by being alert and eager?
Are we wise or foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-12)? Have we been lulled to sleep and see no need for urgency (II Peter 3:4)?
God knows the true answers to each one of these questions. Do we?
The Lord is calling you into a relationship with him, all you need to “open” that door is to enter into a relationship with him. Start reading the Bible, seek guidance from a Christian friend, attend a Bible believing truth teaching church, ask questions, and start praying.
The first thing I want to draw to your attention is that you cannot wait for some convenient time.
Anything but a prompt response is an indication that you have something more important to attend to.
Hebrews 3:7 and 15.
So, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.
So, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.
During the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways. So, I declared on oath in my anger, They shall never enter my rest.
See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.
As has just been said: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.
God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.
Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
I would go as far as to say that today is not good enough, and that the time to open the door is right now.
When she finally stopped making excuses and got out of bed to open the door, her beloved was no longer there.
Can you imagine your future spouse, the love of your life asking you to come and visit or telling you that they are coming to visit and you make excuses to put the visit off?
I am washing the car.
I am doing the washing.
I am mowing the lawn.
I am tired, I am going to sleep in.
Yet these and many more excuses are used to avoid meeting with the lover of your soul.
As we have seen, one of the ways to open the door to the Lord is to fellowship with our fellow believers.
This is a truth many ignore mainly because of offence but always because there are other priorities.
But do you really believe the Lord can accept you not having a desire to fellowship with the rest of the “Body of Christ” that he purchased with His own blood and whom He loves dearly.
We are called to be like Jesus, so aren’t we supposed to love what and whom He loves.
I have a theory. For so long, the enemy has tried to get God’s children to turn their back completely to the Lord. But it’s a hard sell to convince someone to go from love to hate that quickly.
Instead, he’s found it’s much easier to distract us from God. We now have Netflix filling the time we used to use to read our Bibles. The world’s constant noise distracts us from praying. And if we’re being honest, it’s so much easier to skip out on church than to get up and go on Sunday morning.
But you know what? We’re stronger than that, and we’re not going down without of a fight. It’s time to take back what’s ours! In order to do that, we need to look our Sunday morning excuses square in the eyes and tell them to hit the road!
So, without further ado, here’s my list of the top 10 worst excuses for missing church.
1. I overslept.
2. The Broncos game is on early.
3. I lost track of time.
4. It's my only day to sleep in.
5. I connect with God better on the golf course, nature trails, at the beach, etc.
6. My kid's traveling sports team only plays on Sundays.
7. I'll just listen to a sermon via podcast.
8. It's too far to drive.
9. I don't feel like going.
10. I'm doing fine. I don't need church.
Podcasts are on the shortlist of things I love. I seriously listen to at least three a day, and a lot of those are sermons.
But it’s time to set the record straight: No matter how thankful I am to have world-renowned teaching at my fingertips, podcasts aren’t a replacement for church. There’s so much power in being in community, having that support system of believers, and always being surrounded by a group of people who love you and can hold you accountable.
So please, keep listening to your sermon podcasts for extra teaching throughout the week or even to catch up if you miss the occasional Sunday. But let’s all make it a priority to find community within a church.
There have been so many times that I’ve woke up Sunday morning and didn’t feel like going to church. Sometimes I stayed home, but when I went, one of two things would happen: Either I heard a sermon that was so impactful that I feel like God was speaking directly to me, or I was a sluggish lame-o the entire time at church.
While one of these situations is far more glamorous than the other, both are important. In the first situation, the enemy was trying to stop God from speaking truth into my life and I didn’t let him! In the second situation, I learned to worship God even when I was tired, groggy, or just not feeling it and that, my friends, is critical.
There will be many times in life that we’re dragging our feet to church, or to read our Bible, or to pray. But every time we push through those feelings, we’re getting another opportunity to connect with God!
Many Christians have no desire for the Lord Himself, they want answers, solutions to their problems.
Revelation 3:20 (TLB)
Look! I have been standing at the door, and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me.
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.