When God Speaks

Wether you are Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, agnostic, atheist, etc. , God can or will speak to anyone. The Lord’s reach is not limited to a certain group of people, but if you hear from God, how do you know that it’s really God?

I just heard a story on the 700 club about a Muslim lady who became and atheist. She went through many hardships that she stopped believing in God. When she got to a point where she felt like killing herself, she kept hearing, “come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” She ended up sharing what she kept hearing to her Christian friend at work and her friend opened up the Bible and showed her that what her Muslim friend was hearing, is an actual scripture in the Bible.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

In can relate to that story because when I was seeking the Lord and I was questioning, God spoke to my heart like he did with the Muslim lady. God would speak to my heart about something, then I would randomly open up the Bible to any page and end up reading a scripture that followed what the Lord was just teaching me.

There is a reason that the Bible is called the Word of God. I know not everyone believes that Jesus is Lord, the Son of God or part of a triune God. It’s hard to understand the three in one idea. The Bible does associate Jesus with God in the first book of John. The Word is Jesus.

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1

It can sound confusing, but essentially, Jesus is the Word and He was with God and Jesus was God. It goes on to creation and the beginning and Jesus or the Word coming into the world. Thus, He did and the first four books of the New Testament are stories that tell mostly about the last years of Jesus before He was crucified. Written by the disciples of Jesus, they have included words directly from Him. In some bibles, these word of His or in red text.

So how does one know when God speaks? Knowing the word of God is a major part of discerning. But one does not have to know the Bible for God to speak to them. There’s this guy named John Ramirez who was a warlock and he heard from Jesus. He heard from the devil everyday until one day he heard the voice of God asking him, “what are you going to go when your time comes?” This guy was adapted to hearing from the devil so when he heard the voice of God, he knew it wasn’t the same voice nor was the atmosphere in his house the same. It ended well and to make a long story short, he gave his heart to God and now he’s bringing many people in the dark, into the light of Christ.

I’ve heard many testimonies of atheist or Muslims who see Jesus in their dreams or who have had near death experiences and have seen or heard from Jesus. People in prison who have had visions of Him and their life gets changed forever.

When I was a practicing Catholic I never even touched the Bible. I thought it was for the older generation to read before meeting their creator. I tried to find flaws in it, but I was missing the big picture. So maybe the Old Testament has a some boring stories in their like the genealogy or the family tree, but if you are discovering the love of God, but having doubts, thinking, “why would God even care about me or know my name?” you might want to read the book of Psalms. There’s plenty of scriptures that reveal His love for us.

How precious are your thoughts about me,* O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Psalms 139:17-18

Another book to read are the gospels, especially when Jesus gets crucified. That is a show of His love for all man kind. So maybe you feel like the God is speaking to you about something, you may want to check out the Word of God, aka, Bible. It is difficult to flip through pages and find stuff, but there are websites that have searches which make it easier to find things, one good one is Bible Gateway. Searching for the definition of a word in the dictionary is like searching for who God is in the bible.

God loves all.

The Flaw of a One World Religion

Photo from https://www.mediaoffice.abudhabi/en/arts-culture/opening-in-abu-dhabi-the-abrahamic-family-house-marks-20-percent-of-construction/

In the Persian Gulf, on Saadiyat Island of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, a center of worship for three different religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam is being built, to be completed this year. There are three buildings, one for each religion and at the center, an educational center for all. This complex of buildings is called the Abrahamic Family House, designed by architect, David Adjaye , set to be completed this year.

The Abrahamic House Family is not just a center with buildings, but a fraternity where members move towards global interfaith. Pope Francis and the Grand Imam Ahmad el-Tayeb signed a document to establish a human fraternity of religions.

You’ve probably seen the co-exist bumper sticker that spells out co-exist with symbols that represent different faiths. The Abrahamic House has a similar logo, only leaving out some faiths and enclosing it with a roof with chimney.

https://www.abrahamichouse.org/

The idea that religions can co-exist is nothing new at all in America since it’s something that’s been happening for so many years. We have buildings for all faiths where people from different religions come to worship their god and we’ve allowed it. This religious right is protected under the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the freedom for one to exercise his or her religion.

This is one of the things I love about the United States of America, our freedoms. Although my faith is in the salvation of Jesus dying on the cross for my sins, which I can never save myself from, I still hold strongly to the belief that people should freely practice their own religions. This might sound a bit crazy, but I believe that the God I worship, would want people to be able to choose their own religious path. If you read the Genesis 2: 15-17 in the bible. God tells Adam not to eat from the knowledge of good and evil. It wasn’t an apple tree, which most believe. It doesn’t say even say fruit, it just says tree and if you eat from it, you will die. God was not speaking of a physical death, but a spiritual death. The death that one feels inside due to sin, guilt, shame and most of all, separation from God. This sin that has the potential to lead one to eternal damnation.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Genesis 2: 15-17

Even though God told Adam not to eat from the tree, he still did and he also blamed Eve for it. After Adam and Eve ate from the tree, they realized that they were naked and hid from God. However, God already knew they disobeyed, yet He still went looking for them. He still wanted to connect with them. One may ask, if God did not want them to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then why did he allow it to stay in the garden in the first place? Adam and Eve had the freedom to choose to obey or disobey. God knows the way we are wired, He created us. He knows what will bring us joy and what will bring us to emptiness and devastation. When we don’t listen to His commands, we hurt our-self. Sometimes when things are used for the wrong purpose, they can break.

Having being raised catholic, that was my religion. I went to church on Sundays religiously, dressed up and tried my best to pay attention to what the priest was saying. I thought that kissing the feet of a Jesus statue would earn me brownie points with God. I prayed almost every night, the rosary, in repetition or memorized verses, but I didn’t find out until later that God wanted to hear me speak my heart out to Him. I always knew that God existed. I just could not fathom the fact that He actually knows my name and loves me and created me to be loved by Him. It wasn’t that people told me, but I experienced His love through reading the bible that speaks of His love and His voice that spoke to my heart. That inner voice inside that saves you, brings conviction or brings hope, joy and peace is the still voice of God.

The effort of a one world religion is pointless. God is not a religion. Kissing a statue of Jesus is not worshiping God. God does not live in statues nor does he live in a stone. The bible says that God is spirit.

24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

John 4:24

This fraternity of all religions may lead to the compromise of beliefs of each and although it sounds like it would bring unity, which it may, it can evolve into a new religion which combines the beliefs of all faiths into one. The scary part about it, is that if it becomes a one world religion, everyone will be forced to follow it, which negates the whole idea of ones freedom to choose. Although, Jesus in the bible says that there is only one way to God, the Father, we have the freedom to choose whether we want to believe what Jesus said or follow Him.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

We can choose our own path to finding the truth. With all honestly, after finding God through the bible and a real spiritual life-changing experience of God’s love, I’ve found the truth and there was no reason to look any further. When truth comes, doubt does not exist. God already loves us, His creation and He will never force us to love or follow Him. It is our choice whether we want to receive His love for us and love Him back. It is also our choice whether we want to follow His will and His ways. If God knows what will destroy us and tells us to stay away from it because He know what it will do to us, why not follow His voice?

The King Within

Transformation of Jesus painting by Vange
Transformation by Vange L.

If you’ve ever watched the movie, The Gladiator, that is one of my favorite movies. What I like about it, is how it focuses on a character by the name of Maximus who went from a commander of an army to a slave; yet although he became a slave, he still had the same ability to lead a team in a fight to victory. He did not loose his identity because he was no longer a commander. He was still the same man that a dying emperor had chosen to take his place. Although Maximus was not a prince nor in the blood line of one, the man on the inside had what was needed to rule a nation and being a slave did not take away what was already embedded inside of him.

Watching the movie jogged my memory back to a story told by my pastor at church. Occasionally churches do outreaches, where they distribute many items to those in need, within or outside of the country. It takes money, volunteers, preparation and time. Sometimes people choose to volunteer their time, others donate money or personal items. The need was announced at the beginning, then at the end of service, a man who wanted to financially help out requested to meet with the pastor. When the pastor first saw the man he noticed his rundown looking clothing and his scruffy facial hair. He could have passed for a homeless man so when he told the Pastor about the amount of money he wanted to donate, it was an absolute shock. The homeless looking man wasn’t just rich, but he was a King from another country.

Before Jesus came into the world, He sat on a throne as king, but He chose to come into the world as a peasant. He did not come dressed as a king with gold and expensive clothing or with a palace. Some came to the realization of Jesus as King by being around Him. Some experienced His miracles and others, His love and grace. He came for everyone: the rich, the poor, the lame, the sinners, even the ones that the world would consider scum. He hung out with a few people that society abhorred, like a tax collector or a woman who once sold herself for money. He touched and healed lepers or what society considered, the unclean. He did not live extravagantly, although He could have by turning water into wine, healing the sick or by being all knowing. He did not need riches to accomplish His purpose, nor clothing to get people to realize that He is the Son of God. People saw that He is Lord, when they looked at His heart. He took the cross as a criminal would and along with it, the sins of the world: the hatred, anger, pain, bitterness and everything else that needed to be washed away in order for us to be clean and right before God. The sin that would have killed us, He took it upon Himself on the cross. With that powerful love comes surrender and worship.

Isaiah 53: 4-5 “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Love than Religion

There are many types of religions in the world, most commonly: Buddhism, Islam, Catholicism, Judaism, Mormonism, Hinduism and Christianity. Most involve prayer, worship, bowing, singing or offerings. Others have rituals, which they believe would set them up to a higher level of spirituality. All these efforts to make one believe that through certain actions, they will become holy, a good or better person or pleasing to the eyes of God. There’s usually a set of rules or boundaries that set a line not to cross or actions that must be carried out tied to consequences.

The continual trying to be perfect on our own humanly efforts can turn into our religion and trapped us into residual traditions often wondering where is revival? Without knowing our Creator, how do we know where He has placed the true switch of joy? Do we keep believing that our religious traditions will save us? Of all religions in the world, how do we know which one is true or which God is real or fake?

The truth lays inside of each of us, mended into the fabric of who we are created to be. God placed it there before we came out into the world. Unfortunately, when we get older and corrupted by our environment, it eventually gets hidden. Truth is found when there’s no way of denying it. Sometimes it’s hard to know if it’s God speaking, especially when so many lies spoken have been dwelling inside for many years, yet He still speaks.

Aside from the bible or religious books, there are stories of people who had encounters with God, some that wrote about it and have become the basis of a religion, but what about the time when there were no books published in the world, yet there were still stories of God’s mighty hand or visitations from angels or God? People spoken about in these stories had a relationship with God. They knew God and were in communion with Him. God spoke in dreams, visions, by an angelic messenger or a burning bush. Still to this day, God speaks in dreams, visions, angelic messengers, by audible voice, a voice inside and sometimes through events, strangers or friends, but not a burning bush.

Religious traditions are mostly good practices, as the bible says in James 1:27, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” However, besides doing or not doing certain things to keep ourselves feeling a certain way, what’s more important is our relationship with God. Think about all the things you do for the one you love, imagine never spending time with that person just caught up in the job of trying to please them, but never spending quality time, opening up your heart, talking to them and telling them how thankful you are, how much you love them or sharing your sorrows. Spending time talking to someone will get you very antiquated with their voice and character. Similarly, building a relationship with God is spending time in prayer, thanking God for the littlest things, sharing your sorrows and requests and worshiping Him. Sometimes, it’s a matter of just sitting and listening.

How do we know it’s the voice of God? He speaks to our heart and the bible confirms it. Image God speaking to different people and revealing who He is, then all of those people wrote it and down and just so happened to write the same or very similar thing about Him. Similar to the stories in the bible, God appears to people, there are different people spoken about that had a relationship with God and wrote about it. The stories reveal His character as a Father in Heaven. The book of Psalms 103:1-5, reveals God the Father’s love for us,”Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The book of Romans reveal the Christ, the Son of God’s love for us. Romans 8: 35-39 says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. There are many other scriptures that speak of God’s love and throughout the bible we see His character. God is love. Romans 5:8 says,”God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Of all the many religions in the world and gods that people worship, Jesus is the only one that came down to earth from heaven, in human form, to be nailed to a cross and die for the sin of humanity so that we can once again, have a relationship with our Heavenly Father. As Adam and Eve hid from God in the garden after they sinned, we no longer have to hide from God as our sins our taken away from the blood of Jesus on the cross, we can come face to face with Him again, unashamed. We don’t have to go through a ritual or run miles making efforts to be good or right with God, salvation is a love gift from God and having faith in His love, goodness, mercy and grace is what frees us and makes us more like Him. It’s a relationship, not a religion. It starts with inviting God into your heart, confessing and believing. Romans 10:9, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Understanding the Bible

Many years back, in middle school, I was handed a tiny New Testament book, which is the other half of the Bible, beginning with Jesus coming into the world and God’s message that spread like fire after the death of Jesus. Although, I must add, the other half of the Bible, the Old Testament, written before Christ was born into the world, foreshadows His birth and purpose.

I kept the New Testament in my room, not intending to read it. We had a Bible at home, which was gigantic and heavy. It seemed to just serve the purpose of decoration for the coffee table. No one ever read it, just opened it to look through, the rest of the time, it collected dust.

There was a time when I opened up the tiny New Testament sitting on top of my radio. It was a hard time for me, one of those emotionally heart aching times when It felt like things were never going to improve. It was a King James Version, the hardest version to read with the old English. After trying to understand the few versus I read, I got frustrated and just threw it, and questioned, “Why God?”

My recollection of Bible reading was just watching both of my Grandmas read it. I always thought it was something to read when one gets closer to potentially passing away. I didn’t hear a testimony from either of them about what it does for them and just assumed it was preparation for them before leaving this earth.

Many years I spent without knowing the treasure it contained, that it is like a guide for life. It has been said that the BIBLE stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth and that it is. It reveals who God is and answers life’s questions. Although it’s been written decades ago, the words still apply to life today.

The Bible holds the message of faith hope and love, which remains. There are many theories and philosophies about life, but the Bible holds the truth. When something it true, it can never be denied. Of all books, the Bible is the only one that actually reads the reader. It goes hand and hand with a relationship with God. I’ve heard many say that they’ve read the Bible so many times and they cannot understand it. It’s not just any book. It doesn’t matter how intelligent someone might be, the message speaks to the soul, not so much the mind.

When I first started reading it, I had others interpret it for me, but I questioned their perspective of the message behind the words. I question what sounded contradictory. I question Jonah being eaten by a fish and the donkey speaking to a man. There are many stories in the Bible of the miracles of God, but from a world that looks at a dependency on God as a weakness, pride and self-righteousness can be a blindfold to the truth.

It wasn’t until I restarted my prayer life and kept seeking God and His truth and who He is, that the Bible, the Word of God started to seek me. The situations in my life, the confusion or trouble I was facing would be eased as I opened up to the perfect verse in the Bible. When the eyes of my soul started to open up and I started to realize that God is actually speaking me through His word, it started to make sense. Over an over again, consecutively, I would open up to the few words I needed to read at that exact moment. I could no longer deny His existence. I could no longer deny that God didn’t know me by name.

It took me walking out of a totaled car, after God was telling me about it two weeks before it happened and even that morning, that I finally realized who He is. That He loves me. God loves the world as said in John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” A year later I fully surrendered my life to Him and was baptized. That day I opened up the Bible and for the first time, I could clearly understand the scriptures. Although some passages can be straightforward, there are many that can only be comprehended by the spirit and not the mind.

I pray that anyone questioning the meaning behind the scriptures will start on the path to finding the truth, to seeking out who God is and eventually come to the point of realizing that God is love and He knows your name. I would suggest finding a Bible study to join. I pray it would have a good leader strong in interpretation of the Word. The book of John is usually a good starting point, then there’s the book of Romans and Psalms. There are churches out there with small groups/Bible study groups to sign up for through their church website. May this is a a starting point for many to start walking in the truth and the light of God.

Discerning the Voice in Your Head

In the book of Genesis, God made man on the fifth day. In the second chapter, God made a woman from man’s rib. God also told the man not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In chapter 3, the serpent came to tempt the woman to eat the fruit.

God says to Adam in Genesis 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Meaning dying inside.

But in Genesis 3:5, when the serpent tempts Eve, he tells her “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” She fell for the serpents lies and ate the fruit. Then Adam and Eve realized that they were naked and felt ashamed.

Adam and Eve were living in paradise with all the food in the garden that they can eat and weren’t allowed to eat from any but one tree and yet that wasn’t enough. The serpent knew one thing, to change their perspective of God or cause distrust, meant causing them to hide from God, in other words, breaking communication or connection to their Creator. The serpent twisted it in a way where it made God look like He was holding something good back from them. The serpent wants to establish doubt and distrust in God. He also placed in them, the intent of exhaulting themselves when he threw in, “you’ll be as gods.”

The fall of Satan who was called Lucifer in heaven, started with pride.

Ezekiel 28:17 says, “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground…” He was a beautiful angel who couldn’t handle praise, it filled him with pride and made him believe that he can take over the throne of God, his own Creator. How foolish! Thrown out of heaven and fell to earth, then becomes the opposer, the accuser, the tempter, the one that leads the weak astray. His whole goal is to bring as many people as possible to the fiery pit of hell.

The conclusion has already been set, God has the victory, but everyone has a choice on which path to follow or who’s voice to listen to or who to live for. Everyone has a choice to worship God or idolize people, tangible items, the serpent, other false gods or just themselves. Some think that somehow there’s a lack of knowledge for one that believes in God, but there’s a lack of wisdom for someone who thinks there is no Creator of living beings on this earth. There is a recipe for how living things function, a purpose. Nothing is thrown together, there is no random Big Bang, no random universe. Planets aren’t scattered everywhere, there’s a consistent pattern and each has its place in a galaxy.

There’s a song by Nicole C Mullen that I’m reminded of. In her song, my redeemer lives, she sings, “who taught the sun where to stand in the morning? And who told the ocean, you can only come this far? And who showed the moon where to hide ’til evening? Whose words alone can catch a falling star? Well, I know my Redeemer lives…All of creation testifies This life within me cries….yeah The very same God that spins things in orbit Runs to the weary, the worn and the weak And the same gentle hands that hold me when I’m broken They conquered death to bring me victory.”

As time passes walking on the path of life with God, the knowledge of Him grows and the familiarity of His voice grows that when the serpent comes, lies can be easily detected. Trust or faith in God shall leave no room for the serpent to deceive and will be powerless.

Who’s voice are you listening to and what is influencing your decisions in life? Who are you putting your trust on? Do you trust God or are you being led astray with lies entering your mind?

If you’re tired of walking on a path of emptiness, pain, hopelessness or depression and you’re ready to surrender your life to God. If you hate your life, stop living your life for yourself and start living for God.

You can pray this prayer out loud. Lord God, I’m tired of living my life for myself or others. I surrender my life to you. Take me as I am and show me your powerful love. Fill me with your peace, joy and love to overflowing. Change me inside so I can see that you are a good, loving and a faithful Father who will never leave me or forsake me, a Father that knows my name. Lead me to knowing you personally and bring people into my life that can walk this path of life with me. Thank you for your answered prayers. In Jesus name I pray. Amen!

Emotionally Vulnerable In the Right Hands

Some may believe that life is about accumulating saying, “whoever dies with the most toys wins,” yet the Bible says otherwise, it’s the bold truth that never leaves your face. You can run and hide from the truth, but it always seems to catch up and find you.

The truth of the matter is that life is more than collecting tangible items, as God’s greatest commandment is in Matthew 22:36-39 KJV, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. [38] This is the first and great commandment. [39] And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

For some, emotions are like a volcano waiting to explode, yet others, like the ice sitting in Antartica, frozen for millions of years slowly melting away. Being vulnerable can be scary sometimes as it can bring about two extreme opposite results. If you can’t handle the worst result, you may hold yourself back to receiving the best. But my oh my, it’s a sad thing when our emotions get attached to the wrong people or things as they are here today and gone tomorrow…or maybe just eventually. Even if someone stays in your life for so long, no one lives forever. So why attach ourselves? We are bound to love our neighbor, basically, be in communion with other beings.

However, there can be seasons where people have failed us, for some that season never ends, and so we’ve placed our faith to bring about happiness in our lives through things or other non-human beings. Although pets bring much joy, entertainment and companionship, human interaction is still a part of the livelihood of our soul.

For many without pets, money or other tangible items become the reliance for joy, like that new car, new watch or purse, but we all know, that high doesn’t last for too long. We know material items can never love us back.

Then there’s money, probably the number one on most of everyone’s list. It can be the fuel to fulfilling the emptiness inside of us with material items and if that’s not enough, mind or mood altering substances.

After toiling trying to fill that empty hole inside that seems to grow larger, we repeat the same actions, only to realize for the hundredth time that it still leaves us all the more empty.

So why keep doing it? For the many things or people we can loose, we can never loose God and He will never leave us. Which is why, above all things we can subject our own vulnerable emotions in the hands of God and who better than the one that lives forever, the incorruptible, the one who will never leave us or forsake us who’s love for us is always unconditional. He never changes.

So the next time you think you can’t live without someone or something, ask yourself, is your heart in God’s hands? That is where it will be protected. Scared of your emotions? Let God have all of it and give a small portion of it to whom the Lord chooses.