How do you know when God is speaking to you?

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How do you know when God is speaking to you?

Unlike House, I do believe that we can hear the voice of God in our heads and hearts. However, we sometimes want something so badly that we believe our own voice is the voice of God convicting us to do something. So how do we know that we are really hearing from God and not just projecting our own desires as his voice?

I believe we know it is God and not our own desires when the message we hear is not “all about us” and when we cannot shake it off. When God convicts you, I mean really convicts you, you cannot do anything but listen and obey.

So how does God communicate with us?

Bobby Martindale sums it up nicely when he states that we allow God to speak “through his Word–the Bible, through His presence and fellowship, through Godly people, through His creation, through events of my day, and through the pain and difficulty of life.”

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http://dbablogs.com/2012/06/24/listen-to-god/

We call encounters where God speaks to us a religious experience. In reality, anyone involved in any faith is looking for a genuine religious experience. In Christianity, we also seek these experiences because we desire to have a relationship with God.

In order to hear God speak to us through the Bible and through other things such as events that happen throughout our day, we must listen for God. We must listen for his conviction on our hearts. The more we listen for him and look to see what he is communicating with us, the more in-tune to hearing him we become, and the easier it then becomes to recognize his voice.

But what about when we want to hear from God but he is silent?

It is true that sometimes God is silent. This can be frustrating, or it can be empowering. See, God gave us minds. He expects us to use our minds. Sometimes we are presented with choices and we would like him to convict us about what to do, but he is silent because he wants us to have the freedom to make the choice on our own.

Sometimes through talking with other people, God gives us an idea of the best choice to make. But God does not want to dictate our lives. He created us to live and part of living is making our own choices. God wants us to have and exercise a certain amount of freedom in how we live.

Sometimes God seems to be silent because we are not hearing the answer we want. It is important when listening for God to receive his conviction even if it is not the conviction we had hoped for.

Sometimes God is speaking but we are expecting him to speak a certain way. When we do not hear from him in one area, we need to look at the other ways in which God communicates. Perhaps, he is just speaking through a different means.

What thoughts do you have about how God communicates with us?

Faith and The Walking Dead

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It is interesting to note that many sitcoms, even family oriented sitcoms today speak very little about God.

But this stereotype that many current shows fit into is not true for one show that may be somewhat unexpected: The Walking Dead.

If you have seen the show than you know it is less about zombies and more about how people work together to survive in a world that no longer resembles everything they knew and loved. The characters face a number of big threats in the series, but the biggest are always other people who act inhumanely towards humankind. The main characters struggle with accepting that their world has been turned upside down while at the same time continuing to hold on to virtue, goodness, and a moral foundation of right and wrong.

The characters discuss God and either their belief in him or lack thereof fairly regularly. One character, stands out above the rest – Hershel Greene.

In the 4th season of the show, he is pictured a number of times reading directly from the Bible. He is a good man. He is a Christian, and he is not perfect.

One person has even pondered whether or not this character might be the most important Christian character on television.

Click Here to read about what makes Hershel an important Christian.
Click Here to read about what makes Hershel an important Christian.

Needless to say, I really like this show. It is well scripted, well filmed, and the acting is superb. It is by far one of the best current shows on television. I enjoy its thought-provoking nature, and the writers’ willingness to allow bad things to happen to both good and evil characters on the show.

The show does not mock religious faith or practice. It exposes human sin. It recognizes standards of right and wrong. And it presents a worldview of hope in a time of trouble.

To end this post, let me share a quote from Hershel’s character:

“You step outside, you risk your life. You take a drink of water, you risk your life. And nowadays you breathe, and you risk your life. Every moment now…you don’t have a choice. The only thing you can choose is what you are risking it for.”

What are your thoughts about the show? What are your thoughts about Christianity on TV?

 

Can Sponge Bob Teach Us Anything?

Some people love that little square fry cook and his pet snail. Others think he is the “Abomination of Desolation.” How should we as Christians think about Sponge Bob? Should we let our kids watch the cartoon? Should we shelter our children from his influence? What do we do?

While parents know their kids better than anyone and should be able to recognize how what they watch effects their behavior, I want to take a moment to talk about the importance of watching shows with your kids. It is good to know what they are seeing and what messages they are receiving from the shows they watch. When you know what the messages are, it is easier to talk to your kids about things that go hand-in-hand with Christian beliefs and things that do not.

Sponge Bob teaches us a number of things. Mr. Crabs loves money but his love of money almost always causes him grief. Sponge Bob is a nice person who wants to help people. He may be annoying, but he is almost always willing to give of himself for others. Sponge Bob’s friends often share wisdom and different perspectives with Sponge Bob. The show displays some negative behaviors, but it also shows virtues. The material provides many opportunities to discuss with your children how someone’s choice had negative consequences. It also provides opportunities to discuss with your children how we should act when the characters make good choices.

The key is making sure your child is old enough to understand what is going on in the show so that when he or she views the material, you can have a meaningful discussion about it.

What shows do your kids like? What shows do you let them watch? Do you interact with them about the shows? How do you use cartoons to teach lessons, build character, and to teach your children right from wrong?

Using Social Media to Share the Gospel – Whaaaaat?

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Can we use Social Media to share the Gospel? If we aren’t we are falling behind the times. Elder M. Russell Ballard has been encouraging members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to share the Gospel through Social Media since 2007. To learn about his approach, click here and here.

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http://internetcafedevotions.com/

Internet Cafe Devotions is another group that has been around since 2011. This group offers Bible studies and devotional thoughts for women.

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Perhaps the biggest contribution to aiding believers in learning to share the Gospel via social media has been the book listed above. In this work, Erin Ann McBride helps people learn how to connect with others on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. She focuses on what kinds of things to say, how to say those things, and she shares what not to say.

So my question is this: How do you use your online presence to share the Gospel and further the Kingdom of God? What things do you do? What things do you avoid? In what ways does your social media practice glorify the Lord? In what ways does it point others to Jesus?

Why People Need Joel Osteen

Joel Osteen is frequently the subject of controversy, and I will admit that in the past he has said some things that I do not agree with. However, instead of bashing Joel, I want to share today some reasons why I think people need him.

  1. Joel Osteen is encouraging. We all need encouragement and when we listen to Joel we feel like he is building us up. He calls us to place our faith in God and to do what is right. He tells us we can do it. He makes us want to have a healthy spiritual life.
  2. We need help. Bookstores are filled with books about self-help. Most people in America are interested in becoming better. The problem with many of these books is that they make us think we can do it on our own. Joel presents self-help ideas from within a Christian framework. He teaches us that it is God who helps us become the people we are meant to be. He redeems the concept of self-help and re-frames it so that we can glorify God as we learn to rightly think about our self-worth and abilities.
  3. Infants don’t eat steak. Joel may not be the deepest expository preacher on the block, but he does have a high view of Scripture and he desires for people to grow in their walk with the Lord. The Christian faith has a long history and the doctrines run deep. New Christians cannot be force-fed the intricacies of the faith on the first day of their conversion. Joel’s simple messages provide a foundation upon which to grow. As one begins to mature in the faith, it is likely that the individual will begin to seek deeper understandings of the text and of Christian doctrines, but Joel wants to help people understand the basics. It is important to reach people where they are at.