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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Do You HEAR It?

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  I hope that this day finds you filled with a heart full of love and grace.  I do have to admit that Valentine’s Day was never a big deal for Piper and I.  I’m sure that it was more special before we were married than after…  I can hear all of your minds screaming about now… “WHAT… I thought you love your wife?”  Well, I do, extremely so!  I guess you could say that I tended to treat everyday like it was Valentine’s Day since we both said “I do” back on that sunny Saturday afternoon on July 12, 1975.

And yes, I always bought my darling wife a special gift of flowers or candy (although I think she enjoyed the flowers more than the chocolates…) and tried my best to make that day extra special for her.  But you know, I bought her flowers throughout the year.  Our last house that we were in for about nine years before moving to Oklahoma was near a Walgreens that I had to pass on the way home from my job at HP or from the church and although it might not have been extravagant, they normally had fresh long stem roses on sale so that I could stop in and get one for her!

Throughout the 47 years of our relationship I can honestly say that Piper was never far from my thoughts.  When you’re in a relationship as close as we have been it is only logical that I would (and still do) think about her A LOT!  It is similar to Piper’s and my relationship with the Lord.  Over the years we have gotten closer and closer to Him and keep His Word near to our hearts and minds.

Most times when strange situations spring themselves upon us, the first thing we normally do is to consider what God’s Word says about it.  It has become such a normal reaction to us that we’ll sometimes look at each other in amazement when someone in our company responds in fear with words and action that do not line up with God’s plan as defined in His Word… The Bible.  As I have gotten older, I notice that I also tend to feel more and more sadness and compassion for others when they respond to life in an opposite manner than what God’s Word proposes.

This happened yesterday when I read a report in the news were a well-known celebrity was publicly criticizing our Vice President for his strong Christian beliefs, and in particular his stating that Jesus talks to him.  Later in the evening we briefly watched a news report on the TV were the members of a daytime talk show were also criticizing and making fun of the Vice President for his comments.  They even inferred that such beliefs were dangerous and border on mental illness.

What saddened me was when one of the personalities stated that they she was devout in her beliefs, while another declared that she was a Christian and loved Jesus but that Jesus talking to us was just crazy and unbalanced.  When Piper and I sat down at the breakfast table this morning my thoughts went back to the news program as we listened to Chris Tomlin singing a modern version of “Amazing Grace.”  My eyes filled with tears as those two words “Amazing Grace” swelled throughout my thoughts and I considered how shallow the TV personalities lives must be if they need to make fun of someone I consider to be a man of God in our country’s political theater.

And if they are Christians, and I have no information to doubt that they may actually be Believers, how young they are in their Christian walk and/or untaught in the truths of God’s Word.  I hurt for them because they seem to be living a life devoid of the love, grace, peace, wisdom and knowledge of our Lord and Savior… and with little to no knowledge of whom the Bible says that they are in Christ Jesus.

In my understanding of Christianity, the truth of Jesus being able to communicate with us is one of the basic foundations of our faith.  The Apostle Paul talked to one of his proteges Titus, about what happens when an individual accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord explaining that Jesus “saved us, but not because of anything we had done to gain his approval. Instead, because of his mercy he saved us through the washing in which the Holy Spirit gives us new birth and renewal.” (Titus 3:5 God’s Word ©)

In the process of the new birth one’s dead spirit becomes alive as the Holy Spirit comes to live within them.  Once there, Jesus through the Holy Spirit, is able to communicate with the new Believer.  How?  Through the Word of God and that small still voice inside of you.  Being able to hear that voice takes time and consistency in the Word and in prayer though.  I would be led to believe that if the TV personalities really are born-again, that Jesus through His Holy Spirit has spoken to them but they have failed to recognize His voice.

That deeply saddens me.  Over the years Piper and I have ministered to many adults, young singles, youth and children who are born-again, but have very little knowledge of the Word of God.  I’ve actually witnessed my wife in tears when she heard about some of the things that these folks went through and could have avoided had they known, believed and stood in faith upon what Jesus said about their situation.  II Timothy 3:16 informs us that “Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God's approval.” (God’s Word ©)

The keys for a more meaningful, joyful and victorious life are all found within the pages of God’s Word. 

When I flipped off the TV last night, I paused for a moment in thought and then stated to my wife just how relative the Bible is in today’s society as I considered Proverbs 29:18 where it is prophesied that: “If people can't see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves…” (The Message) or as another translation says “the people cast off restraint…” (ESV)

After seeing what is going on around us in today’s modern society, I can only thank God that my wife and I made the decision a long time ago that we would be students of the Word who: “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV) And thereby live our lives under the covering of our loving and grace-filled God and His Word. 

How about you?

Have a super-duper rest of the week and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose guidance am I expecting to hear today?”

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