Read 2 Peter 1
I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.
It has a ring to it, but what does it really mean to us?
Peter challenges us to live right with diligence, virtue, knowledge, perseverance, brotherly love, self control, and other qualities.
He challenges those who have precious faith through the righteousness of Jesus Christ to live in the promise and to partake of the divine nature.
Paul might call this divine nature a new creation, but Peter tells us that through Christ we have escaped the corruption of the world. We have discarded what is corrupt in the world.
Sometimes biblical authors get a little reflective and use literary tools and we wonder exactly how do we put those thoughts into practice. How do we take the conceptual and turn it into the practical?
Sometimes we wonder, how do I do that in my day-to-day life?
Peter and others heard a voice from above. They heard the voice of the Father when Jesus was transfigured. Others had heard something similar when Jesus was baptized some time earlier.
God’s voice said, “This is my son. I am very pleased with him.”
But in 2013, we just don’t get to hear a voice from the clouds. You can upload and down load with the cloud these days, but getting a booming voice out of heaven is just not something we get to hear.
We might think that we want to hear a voice from the heavens, audible to all, but do we really?
What if God is already speaking to us?
What if we stopped all of the clutter that fills our minds? Would we hear God then?
What if we checked in with God as often as we checked our email, text messages, and Facebook?
What if we listened for God’s voice the same way that we listen for the end of class bell?
What if we listened for the voice of our Master with the same enthusiasm that we listen for the dinner bell?
James tells us that if we draw near to God, he will draw near to us.
If we move towards him, he will move towards us.
So if we move our thoughts and words towards him, will he not respond as well?
And if he is moving towards us, should we not be looking and listening for him?
Sometimes we think of God sitting on a throne far away and too important to get involved with our day-to-day matters.
Sometimes we think of him as the complaint department and just tell him everything that is wrong.
Sometimes we think of him as only the help line. If life is going just fine, we seldom call. When things get out of control, we start looking for that emergency number.
We need to understand that God is with us. He was with us in a very special way for about 30 some years before we were born, but his Spirit walks beside us right now. His Spirit dwells within us. His Kingdom is not only all around us but within us as well.
The question is, are we listening to God?
Are we expecting to hear from God?
Do we go through our day expecting an encounter with God?
If you want to know what it is to follow Jesus, you have to be looking and listening for directions.
Sometimes they come from what you read in the Bible.
Sometimes these directions skip the entire cognitive process and just take up residence in your heart.
You know exactly what you are supposed to do and you do have a clue how you know. You know it is from God, but you cannot connect the dots.
God spoke to your very soul. You didn’t hear any words. You didn’t have a conversation in your mind. You just knew what you were supposed to do and you knew these directions came from God.
Because you didn’t hear a voice, sometimes you just disregard the directions. Like a minor football injury, you just decided to shake it off.
Perhaps you experienced this spirit to Spirit communication and disregarded it because it didn’t manifest itself in the flesh. You didn’t hear any words.
That’s like exchanging your new wireless phone for an old rotary phone. You can see the phone line on the old one.
It’s like saying; I am not watching television unless it is cable because with dish and direct I cannot see the cable coming to the house. I see the satellite on top of the house but all I see is air. I don’t see the television shows coming into the satellite. It can’t be real.
Last Saturday, I was sitting in front of my television for the Oklahoma State and West Virginia game and said, “This can’t be real.”
Sometimes we might think that unless I see the words in print or hear them come from the clouds above, I don’t think that God is talking to me.
Spirit to spirit communication between God and you is way more efficient that even that bump thing you can do with your phones.
I did a funeral for a family that was struggling just above the poverty line. They did a pot luck meal after the service. At the meal, I sat with some folks from out of town—I’m still not sure how they were connected to the family.
One of the ladies said, “Did they give you anything for doing the service.”
I said, “I don’t ever worry about that. I know I am called to minister to a lot of families who have very little.”
This lady look at two of her friends, reached into her purse, and pulled out her checkbook. She said, “If God put it into my heart and mind, he did it for a reason.”
She handed me a check.
I had expected nothing and told it her was not necessary.
She said that if God told her to do it, then it was necessary.
How many times did you know that you were supposed to take a gallon of milk to someone’s house but didn’t know why?
How many times did you know that you were supposed to help a specific family but didn’t know how you knew?
How many times did you feel compelled to be at a certain place at a certain time but were not sure of the reason why?
It could have been those jalapeno peppers on the burrito you had last night that gave you those thoughts or it could have been God’s Spirit talking directly to your spirit.
How do you know?
You get to know God’s voice, even when he is speaking with his Spirit.
You have a conversation with God every day, and more than once a day. It’s an ongoing thing, sort of like breathing.
Most of that conversation is spent listening.
I am not so sure that I even heard a voice from the clouds above. Well, maybe I did once or twice. The voice said, “On Rappel.”
I answered, “On belay.”
Some Marine came sliding down a rope.
God doesn’t speak to me from the clouds but he speaks to me all of the time.
Sometimes he speaks in very clear thoughts in my mind.
Sometimes he speaks Spirit to spirit. I can’t always put into words what I am supposed to do but I go and do it anyway.
I think he has been speaking to me my entire life, but I haven’t always been listening.
So I ask you, “Are you listening?”
Are you only listening for those things that are within your comfort zone? Do you have some selective listening when it comes to what God is saying to you?
Are you only listening for those things that don’t require you to do something new?
Or are you truly listening for whatever God has to say to you however he is saying it?
Are you listening to him and believing that he has good plans for you?
Are you listening and trusting in him completely?
If you are waiting for a voice to come booming from the clouds, you are missing out on everything that God is saying to you right now.
Will you listen for God?
Will you listen to God?
Will you listen?
Understand that to pray without ceasing involves doing a lot of listening to God.
Will you listen for him and to him?
Are you listening?