1 Corinthians 12:31b (NAS)

And I show you a still more excellent way.
1Corinthians 12:31b (NAS)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

God Speaks Through His Creation

Did you ever see anything so beautiful it made you cry? I've heard the Grand Canyon has that effect on viewers. Maybe it was a sunset, or the mountains, or the night sky that made you stop and stare in wonder and amazement. Our beautiful world has that affect on us at times.

Psalm 19 begins, The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. But what is it that nature tells us about God?
Our world around us is telling us that God is Great. The size of our universe is huge, expanding light years beyond our reach. So our God must be very great since he created it all.

Nature tells us that he is a God of beauty. For he has created a feast for our eyes every where we turn; beautiful forests, magnificent mountains, cascading waterfalls, sugar white beaches, emerald waters, canyons, rivers, hills and valleys. More than we could ever hope see in a lifetime.

When we look at how perfectly ordered Earth's life systems are, we see that God is a god of order. The rainfall, the rivers and streams, the clouds, the wind, the polar ice caps; they all work together in perfect harmony.

Just look at a butterfly or a black-eyed susan or a bird in flight. They all have voices- voices that speak of God's glory. Not voices that we hear with our ears, but voices we hear with our hearts.

Romans 1:20 tells us that we can know what God is like through what he has made. God speaks to us through his creation. He's telling us that he loves us, that he made all this just for us. He made it all so that we would look for him, signs everywhere that point us to God our creator. He speaks in the cleansing rain of forgiveness and he quenches our thirst. The colorful rainbow speaks of his promise to never destroy the earth again by water. His sunlight wakes us, warms us and comforts us. He speaks in the thunderstorm of his wrath and power. And with the changing seasons, he speaks of the Resurrection and new beginnings.  God is speaking.....but are we listening?

Monday, January 30, 2012

God Speaks Through Dreams & Visions

In my last post entitled. God is Speaking.......Are You Listening?  I introduced the many ways that God speaks to us.   One of those ways is through dreams and visions.  Examples can be found throughout scripture of God using dreams and visions to communicate with people. 

Joseph was hated by his brothers we read in Genesis 37 because of his dreams.  He later interpreted the Egyptian king's dream and became second in command of the whole kingdom.  He was able to see into the future and save his people as well as the Egyptians.  God spoke to Joseph through dreams. 

Years later, Daniel also was promoted to second in command by the king of Babylon and was known for his excellent spirit and knowledge and understanding and interpreting of dreams.  Daniel 5:12

Joel's prophecy in Joel 2:28, tells us that the Holy Spirit would be manifest in that your sons and daughters will prophecy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions.  This pouring out of the Holy Spirit took place on the Day of Pentecost as seen in Acts 2.  So we can assume that God will speak to us in dreams.

In Matthew chapters 1 & 2 we read that the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife because the child she was carrying was of the Holy Spirit.  And then later after Jesus' birth the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph again in a dream to warn him to take the child to Egypt because Herod was seeking him to kill him. 

On his second missionary journey the apostle Paul had a vision in the night which must have been like a dream.  A man from Macedonia appeared to him, asking him to come over here.  You can read about this vision in Acts 16:9.  Dreams and visions are one of the ways that God speaks to us.  In the case of Paul, God was leading him in the direction that he would have him go. 

 Was God speaking to me when I awoke that morning with the memory of a dream still lingering in my mind?  Maybe.  Perhaps the point of my dream is to remind us that there are people all around us who think that the idea of God speaking to them is crazy; people who need to know that there is a God in heaven who loves them more than they could ever imagine.  Maybe you or someone you know feels out of control and needs desperately for God to pick them up and cradle them in his arms and care for them.  God is speaking through dreams and visions, but are we listening?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

God is Speaking............Are You Listening?

This morning my alarm clock awoke me from a dream.  The only dreams we remember are those we have right before waking.  So, since then, I have been putting the pieces together to understand exactly what the dream was about.  In my dream, I was  visiting with a family with several small children.  The mother was concerned about her son who was 4 or 5 years old.  He was misbehaving and seemed out of control.  And she was worried too because he was not eating. 

I went over picked up the boy, cuddling him in my arms and said, "Let's pray about this and find out what God would have us do.  Maybe he will give us insight into the problem and a solution to help the child." 

The little boy looked up at me and laughed.  "God doesn't talk to people," he said, "and everyone would think I was crazy if I said I talked to God." 

The alarm sounded at that moment and as I reached to shut it off, I wondered, "Do people really think I'm crazy whenever I say I talk to God?"

Some people may have a problem with the fact that God is real and that he is involved in our lives.  It may be absurd to them to believe that God hears prayers and speaks to us.  But for those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it is a way of life.  They know because they have experienced it for themselves. 

Having a conversation with God starts with faith.  It happens only when you are in a relationship with him, meaning, you have trusted in his son, Jesus Christ for salvation.  You must believe that Jesus is God's son and that he lived a perfect life and that he gave that life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.  You must rely completely on Jesus to save you  for you cannot save yourself.  Your faith in Jesus makes it possible for you to know God, the Father.  He accepts you into his family and you become his child.  As a child of God you can know that he hears your prayers and he will speak to you by his Holy Spirit who lives inside every believer. 

So how does God speak to us?  God speaks to us in many ways.  He speaks through his creation, through his Word, through his Son, and through his Holy Spirit.  He speaks through Christian media, through people,  through angels, and through dreams and visions.

I thought it would be good to explore some of the many ways that God speaks.  Over the next few weeks I will return to this topic to find out what the Bible has to say about it.  For me, it has been a never ending quest, to hear from God and at times, I have been desperate to hear from him.  And if we know the ways that God speaks to us, then we can learn to listen.

Monday, January 2, 2012

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

I awoke with the old hymn, O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing, on my mind.  Since then, I've been thinking about the words and what they mean.  At first, I thought it meant we need a choir of a thousand singers all singing at once.  I got out an old hymnal and read the words and checked it out on the internet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_for_a_Thousand_Tongues_to_Sing . The song was one of more than 6,000 hymns written by Charles Wesley and recalls the words of Peter Bohler, who said, "Had I a thousand tongues I would praise him with them all".  I believe the author is saying that his one voice is not enough, that we need God's help if we are to praise him worthly. 

Somehow, I too feel inadaquate, unable to offer praise that he is deserving of.  I wish that I could praise Jesus in many different ways.  I wish that I could play a musical instrument and make beautiful music for him.  I wish I had a voice like Allison Krauss to sing sweet songs for him.  I wish that I could write songs like Andrew Peterson whose lyrics are amazing.  But alas, I was not gifted in these areas. 

So what am I to do?  My desire is to praise him, but my abilities are limited.  It may take some creative thinking, but there are ways that I can praise God.  I can clap my hands.  I can lift them in adoration.  I can sing, maybe not perfectly, but sing none the less and make a  joyful noise to the Lord.  I can speak, extoling his greatness.  I can dance and kneal down, posturing myself to show my love for him.  I can write a poem, a letter, or a prayer offering my heart in obedience to him.

Maybe you can think of other ways to praise our Savior and God.  I would love to hear your ideas and the ways that you praise him.

Psalm 29:2   Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.