God still speaks

Does God still speak today?
I hear many very disdainfully dismissive of anyone who claims to have had a vision or have heard God speak to them. The naysayers claim the one who had the vision or heard God speak are arrogant or need special revelation from God, or that they believe in an open canon of scripture.
 
But God spoke to a child in a time when word from the Lord was rare. GOD decides who receives the gift of prophecy and who receives faith. All true prophecy is from God, but we must test them.
 
Paul wrote that we are to earnestly desire to have the gift of prophecy. He even said we should not forbid the speaking in tongues, but that it was to all be done in an orderly fashion.
 
I have seen people try to use 1 Corinthians 13 to say that we have the Bible and so have no need for prophecy. But that speaks of when we will know in full. None us knows in full and wont until we are with God, which is when we will not need prophecy because we will be with God.
Here is the scripture in question:
1 Samuel 3:1-4
1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord before Eli. And word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. 2 It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), 3 and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was, 4 that the Lord called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.”
 
Amos 3:7-8
7 Surely the Lord God does nothing
Unless He reveals His secret counsel
To His servants the prophets.
8 A lion has roared! Who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?
 
Romans 12:6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;
 
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
 
1 Corinthians 14:1-6
1 Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. 4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying. 6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?
 
1 Corinthians 14:29-33
29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. 30 But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; 33 for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
 
1 Corinthians 14:39-40
39 Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. 40 But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.
 
2 Peter 1:20-21
20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
 
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
 
1 Corinthians 13:8-12
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
I think God does still speak today. Not to everyone, and not all the time, sometimes just once to someone, sometimes repeatedly. God ALWAYS speaks though scripture. But  sometimes God speaks through others. Sometimes God speaks in our hearts. Sometimes God speaks with a still small voice. And sometimes God speaks through circumstances. But I see no reason to try to put God in a box which says He cant speak today.
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Feeling bad when speaking about God

I have heard folks that like to talk with me about God, until they start to feel bad, then they dont want to talk to me any more.

Feeling bad because of who God is or what God wants from us and for us, or what God will do, is not a bad thing. It is one tool God uses to move us closer to being who He wants us to be. It is one tool God uses to give us faith. It is one tool God uses to change us. It is one tool God uses save us.

Look folks, I am not perfect. I was and am a sinner. The difference between before I became a Christian and afterwards is that I now have faith in Christ and so I have the righteousness of Christ. Before I was simply a sinner. Now I am a sinner saved by grace through faith. Before I became a Christian, I had the wrath of God upon me. Now, I have the grace of God upon me and am forgiven – not because of anything I have or will do, but because of what Christ has done.

Look at the worst of sinners you can imagine and there but for the grace of God go I.

Before I had faith in Christ, I could not please God. Now I work out my salvation and try to think and act like Christ would have me and when I fail, because I do and will fail, I feel conviction and contrition. And I change, and I confess and I ask forgiveness. God is faithful to His own nature. Should I walk away from God and stay away, that will prove I did not have saving faith to begin with – regardless of what I thought and did. It is God who saved me, who saves me, who will save me, who gave me faith, and who sealed me and who empowers me and who guides me and who protects me and and keeps me – not me. Yet I have my responsibility to live as God would have me live.

There but for the grace of God go I; I am not facing the condemnation of God, nor am I facing the wrath of God. Because of the grace of God, because of His love for His creation, I was chosen and given faith and saved – not because I am who I am, or I did what I have done, or I will do what I will do, and certainly not because God knew I would choose Christ (for then my salvation would depend upon me and my actions), but because God would give me faith to be able to choose Him and ensured I would and did choose to trust in Christ and follow and obey Christ.

So be glad and grateful and rejoice when you feel bad when you think or speak about God – and change and turn to God in repentance and faith and be saved.

Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God

Have you listened to “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” by the preeminent theologian Jonathan Edwards? Wow. What a message.

The Elements of the pattern of church service and life can be seen in scripture

The elements of the pattern of church service and life can be seen in scripture.

True worshippers are to worship in truth and spirit (John 4:24), by the Spirit of God (Philippians 3:3). True believers remained in the teaching of God (2 John 1:9). They would have obeyed God as opposed to rebelled against God (1 John 3:10).

Men, women, and children would have gathered together to hear what was being taught – It may have been that only children who were old enough to understand who were in church service (such as those who were age 12, the age of when Jewish boys have their bar mitzvah, which happens to be the age of Jesus when he was in the temple courts sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions) (Deuteronomy 31:12; Nehemiah 8:1-3; Luke 2:41-47; Luke 18:15-17; Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20-21; 2 John 1:1).

They met together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). They met in the temple courts, in people’s homes, beside rivers, in synagogues, and in lecture halls (possibly schools) (Acts 2:42-47; Acts 16:13; Acts 19:8-9).

The church leaders were male elders and male deacons and female deaconesses (Acts 6:2-8; Acts 16:13; Romans 16:1; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-10).

The communion supper (also known as the Lord’s Supper) was observed (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:18-32).

Prayers were offered up to God alone, in harmony with the will of God (1 Corinthians 14:15–16; Nehemiah 4:9; Matthew 6:9,;1 John 5:14).

Songs were sung to the glory of God and thanks to God was given (Ephesians 5:19-20; Psalms 95, 96, 98).

A free will collection was taken (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:7). The Church was not involved with business (Matthew 21:12–13).

Sometimes church discipline occurred (Matt. 18:17).

The Scriptures were publically read (Colossians 4:16; 1 Tim. 4:13), and the Word of God was proclaimed (Acts 20:7; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Timothy 4:2).

Indeed, each had a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:28).

God KNEW before Adam and Eve sinned that they would do so.

There are some who believe that God was caught unaware when Adam and Eve sinned. But this flies in the face of what scripture teaches.

Ephesians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love

Revelation 13:8

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

1 Peter 1:20

20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you

So no, God was not caught unaware when Adam and Eve sinned. Jesus was not Plan B. It was always in God’s plan to provide a solution to the problem of man’s sin. That solution is, and has always been, the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God. It is only by grace through faith in the saving work of Christ that we may truly live – live an eternal life.

Jesus is Author and perfecter of faith

Jesus is the one who gives us faith and grows our faith. The bible puts it as “the author and perfecter of faith”.

Hebrews 12:1-3
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart

With what sort of things should Christians be entertained?

So many time I see or hear Christians say they went to see some movie which depicts things God has said are abominable, or said to not do. I have long felt that a Christian should not be entertained by things God has said to not do. Does scripture agree?

First we have to realize There are things of the spirit and things of the flesh.

Galatians 5:19-24 (NKJV)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

So we know from Galatians 5:21 that we should not do the things considered to be works of the flesh, or we will not enter heaven.

Scripture tells us to not look at bad things.

Psalm 101:3 (NKJV)

I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not cling to me.

Scripture also tells us what to focus upon.

Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

We are warned that making ourselves friends with the world will ensure we are enemies with God.

James 4:4  (NKJV)

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Indeed, people who love the world or love the things in the world, do not have the love of God in them.  We are told not to love the things in the world – lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life – because they are of the world, not God.

1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Finally, what ever we do, we are to do it in the name of the Lord.

Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)

17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Should a Christian  be entertained by something that depicts as good that God has said to not do? Magic/witchcraft/sorcery, getting drunk/high, homosexual sex, heterosexual sex with someone to whom you are not married, lying/deceitfulness, covetousness, stealing, murder are all things we are told are not good (Galatians 5:18-21, Romans 1:28-32).

Romans 1:28-32

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

We should seek things which will please God, not the world.

Ephesians 5:8-10(NKJV)

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

And we should not be entertained by things which depict as good the things God has said is evil – regardless of the form said entertainment is packed in – such books, games, movies, TV shows, theatre plays, etc.

 

For further discussion, see What and Who you surround yourself with affects you.

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