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Location: Northern California, United States

Monday, September 27, 2004

TV Messages from Jesus

Here's a thought... As Christians, we're supposed to be able to hear God. (What, nobody told you that?) We're supposed to be able to listen and hear Him speak. Sounds radical, doesn't it? I've been doing it for decades and it still sounds scandalously bold to me!

In fact, you can find many books written on the subject. Peter Lord (that's his real name!) wrote a classic on hearing God, but for me the gold standard is a little book by Loren Cunningham of YWAM entitled, "Is That Really You, God?" I like that book because it teaches principles on hearing God in the context of their experience. It not only gives you application for scripture, but it tells you how it worked for them.

In many churches you might find a class or a sermon devoted to the topic of hearing God. Usually they'll at least grant that God is still speaking to us today, and that we can hear from Him through the Bible, through the sermons, and occasionally through other believers. What they mostly leave out, however, is the art of simply hearing for yourself. If God is true to His word (and I don't doubt that He is!) then we're supposed to have a direct hook-up to Him. We have the Holy Spirit *in* us. You can look up all the verses yourself if you want to know what it means to have God-the-Holy-Spirit inside you! Even if you think you already know, I recommend doing the study!

We all know that God can speak to us in a still, small voice... or that He can sound like many waters. Some said it thundered when God spoke. We can feel a "leading" or a direction, or a nudge, or a "knowing" which means that we're open to hearing from God. Some folks have even heard the audible voice of God and lived to tell about it. :)

None of these things should be too unfamiliar to us, right? We've at least heard of these things if we've been around for a bit. But you know what? There's more! MUCH more!

Think of a radio. AM and FM. There's only so much bandwidth on each, and for every point on the frequency dial a station can put something on the air. If you flip through the stations you'll hear many different voices, many different kinds of music.
Now, think of God speaking. Do we limit His ability to speak to us to just a couple of channels? Do we only allow Him to speak through Scripture, Sermons, and Saints? or do we "flip the dial" and listen for Him everywhere we go, and in everything we do?

Oh, I hear some of you thinking, "That's dangerous! The enemy could deceive someone who went around looking for God's voice just anywhere, right?" Well, I believe that too often we put more faith in the enemy's ability to steer us wrong than in God's ability to keep us on the right track!

God promises to give us guardrails in Isaiah 30:21, "Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left." And even more than that, we are ordered to tune in and follow Gods directions. Jeremiah 7:23 tells us this, "But this is what I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice, and I will be your God and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the ways which I command you, that it may be well with you." Pretty clear, eh?

I think I better get to my point. God is speaking to us much more than we're listening to Him. Go back and read that sentence again! Remember the radio? Imagine if all frequencies were filled with messages from God, and there were no limit on the number of channels He could use to speak to His people. What if I told you that He actually is flooding the earth with His voice, so that those who have an ear to hear, can hear?

I'm sure some of you are thinking to yourselves that there are other voices out there... voices of the enemy, voices of other people, even our own voices on all those other channels. But I'm talking about God here; He owns the airwaves, all those other voices -including our own- are nothing more than "interference."
Sometimes we just have to move in such a way that we block out all the interference and static so we can hear the clear channel of God's voice.

What we need to know is that God is speaking to us *all the time*. It's up to us to learn to listen. (But if you ask Him nicely, He'll even help you do that!) Some of us have learned that God speaks to us through dreams and visions (Thats not weird! Go figure up what percentage of the Bible is about God speaking to folks in dreams and visions and then get back to me!). Some of us have learned to look at "coincidences" a little askance, not really believing in coincidence any more. Some of us have even learned to hear God speak to us through the television set! I know, I know, there is much on television that should be avoided as if your life depended on it - and it probably does! But recently I've noticed some interesting messages being delivered by "tube mail" straight to my heart.

My pastor-friend Doug also teaches on this phenomenon... he noted that the wireless phone commercial where the guy is walking all over the place saying, "Can you hear me now?" was really a prophetic message - God is moving throughout the earth, asking us if we can, indeed, hear Him now?!

A while back, I saw a commercial that instructed me to "Obey Your Thirst". I've seen it a thousand times before, but on this particular day I'd asked the Lord to speak to me. "Obey Your Thirst", it said. HOOYAH! What am I thirsty for?? "As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after You!" Psalms 63:1 says it best. Oh God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul *thirsts* for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water." Add a whole bunch of exclamation points to that verse and you'll know exactly how I felt! Upon hearing that I should obey my thrist from the television set, I was immediately reminded of these words, found in John 7. "Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' " Let me tell you, that soft drink commercial *WAS* a message from the Lord! I had a quiet time and a half that day!!!

A few days ago I saw another commercial. It's kind of strange... a guy wakes up with someone sitting on his bed. It's the "king" from Burgerking. He's a rather odd, plastic fellow who feeds the waking man breakfast. At the end of the commercial, it fades to black and the words, "Wake up with the King" flash across the screen. When I saw that, my spirit SOARED within me! YES! Ps. 139 says, "...and when I awake, I am still with Thee!!!" (exclamation points obviously mine!) I was reminded of a whole slew of verses about meditating on your bed at night, about the Lord sealing up our instructions within us as we sleep, about worshipping God in the night watches, and about new mercies every morning, joy that comes in the morning, the bright and morning star and on and on and on! I was also able put two and two together. I realized that lately, I've been waking up a lot during the night. When I do, I've been pulling the love of God over me like a blanket, and pouring out my affection on Him at the same time. In the mornings, however, I tend to wake up and then move too quickly into my day. That TV commercial was a very strong word to me, to "Wake up with the King!" How beautiful are those words the psalmist sung, "...when I awake, I am still with You!" What a marvelous revelation! I already *knew* this, but being reminded of it in such a powerful way is truly inspiring!

So these days, when I'm out and about, I look at billboards to see if there's a hidden message on them. If I watch TV, I'm listening with an ear tilted toward heaven. If I overhear conversations at the sidewalk cafe, I'm pressing in to the Lord, waiting to hear from Him. When I dream, I write them down and ask for their meaning! I expect God to speak to my heart in a thousand ways every day. I'm learning to "tune in" to His voice, and silence all the other voices. A wonderful side-effect of silencing every voice but His is that you're going to like what you hear so much better! Especially what He has to say about you!

So, Obey Your Thirst and Wake Up With the King already!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's refreshing to hear that you try to make all the things inundating you throughout the day glorify God. We so often settle for "dial-up" access to God when we all have ready-made "broadband" accounts :)

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very encouraging to think about hearing God in *unlimited* ways. Walking with Him is truly an adventure!!! ps - This is my new favorite post. :)

9:18 PM  

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