VIDEO What do Christians mean when they say ‘God spoke to me?’ – Mike Pence hits back at Joy Behar, ABC

I must confess that I empathized with Joy Behar, co-host of ABC’s The View, when she recently expressed concern about a claim that Vice President (and Christian believer) Mike Pence has heard the voice of Jesus on occasion.

I didn’t become a Christian until the age of thirty-five, and prior to that time, I also found it disturbing when Christians said, “God spoke to me last night,” or, “Jesus told me I should do this (or that).” Behar expressed a similar concern when she told her co-hosts, “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness if I’m not correct. Hearing voices.”

I can honestly remember saying something similar to a Christian co-worker back when I was a committed atheist. He claimed that God told him something, and I thought he was, well… crazy. But years later, after becoming a Christian myself, I began to understand exactly what believers mean when they use expressions like this, and it’s not necessarily what Joy Behar may think.

I pressed my Christian friend, all those years ago, and asked him if he actually heard the audible voice of God, and if God sounded like George Burns (the movie, Oh, God!, was my only point of reference prior to Morgan Freeman’s role in Bruce Almighty). My friend laughed and explained that the expression, “God spoke to me,” didn’t necessarily mean that God spoke audibly. Christians, he said, believe the Bible is the “word of God,” and by reading it, gain access to the mind of God.

God can certainly speak to me in an audible way if He chooses, but He also speaks to me daily through Scripture, sage advisors and the everyday situations of my life.

As I began to study the New Testament a few years later, I discovered this truth for myself. If the Bible is, indeed, “breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16), and “the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), there might be many ways someone could legitimately say, “God spoke to me.” Here, for example, are four:

“God spoke to me through scripture
The Bible is more than an ancient record of historical events and theological truths, its also a wise and time-tested guidebook, filled with insight and advice. Believers have been reading the Bible to glean Divine wisdom for thousands of years. When a Christian says, “God spoke to me today,” they may simply mean that God’s word, the Bible, provided them with the direction they needed.

“God spoke to me through a sage advisor
As a new Christian, I was grateful to find more mature Christians who had been studying God’s word for many years. They had already learned how to “think Christianly,” and became a source of Divine guidance. They helped me understand, interpret and embody the words of Scripture as they relayed what they had learned. When a Christian says, “God spoke to me today,” they may simply mean that one of God’s children provided them with Biblical wisdom from what they understood by reading the word of God.

“God spoke to me through my situation
There are times when I recognize a Biblical truth only after experiencing a pleasurable or difficult circumstance. C. S. Lewis said it best in The Problem of Pain, when he wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” When a Christian says, “God spoke to me today,” they may simply mean that their situation brought God’s word to mind and His wisdom to life.

“God spoke to me through a supernatural interaction
Of course, there may, in fact, be times when God does something God certainly has the power to do: speak audibly to his children. As a non-believer, I rejected this notion altogether, but if we have good reasons to believe that a supernatural God exists, then it’s equally reasonable to believe such a God may act… supernaturally. Because such supernatural interaction would be, by definition, unusual, I wouldn’t expect to hear audibly from God on a continuous basis. But, when a Christian says, “God spoke to me today,” they may simply mean that God spoke to them today.

As a skeptic (and a detective), I investigated the case for God’s existence, the reliability of the Bible and the Resurrection of Jesus, and I eventually concluded the truth of Christianity was the most reasonable inference from the evidence. After becoming a Christian, I came to understand what the writer of Hebrews meant when he wrote:

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” (Hebrews 1:1-2)

As a Christian, I’ve also heard God (and Jesus) speak to me, just like many other believers. But it hasn’t always happened in the way Joy Behar assumed; God can certainly speak to me in an audible way if He chooses, but He also speaks to me daily through Scripture, sage advisors and the everyday situations of my life. That’s what most Christians probably mean when they say, “God (or Jesus) Spoke to Me.”

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Where Battles Are Won

Exodus 17:8-13

In today’s reading, we find the nation of Israel engaged in combat with the Amalekites. While Joshua led the troops, Moses went up onto a hill overlooking the battlefield and, in an attitude of prayer, observed the action. The Lord gave the Israelites success as long as Moses’ arms were raised, but whenever he lowered them, the enemy gained the advantage. So Aaron and Hur helped him to maintain the posture that assured victory.

This historical account teaches an important lesson for every believer: Life’s battles are won or lost in the place of prayer. We may think that conflicts are decided on the battlefield, but victory depends on children of God coming before their Father and seeking His face. It is not the size of our army or the strength of our opponents’ forces that ultimately determines the outcome. When we spend time alone with God, we will be equipped by the One who knows the end from the beginning and understands the reality of all circumstances, regardless of appearances.

God foresees every snare and temptation of Satan just as He discerns what people are thinking and plotting. So it is wise to trust His battle plan instead of our own instincts—and we can do so with confidence that we will not suffer defeat.

Faith will allow you to keep your eyes focused on the Lord, even in the midst of frightening circumstances. When you acknowledge Him as the source of everything you need, your sense of direction will become clear. No matter what enemy is facing you, God will reveal what needs to be done.

Great Physician

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. John 15:4

When Dr. Rishi Manchanda asks his patients, “Where do you live?” he’s looking for more than an address. He has seen a pattern. Those who come to him for help often live in conditions of environmental stress. Molds, pests, and toxins are making them sick. So Dr. Manchanda has become an advocate of what he calls Upstream Doctors. These are health care workers who, while providing urgent medical care, are working with patients and communities to get to the source of better health.

As Jesus healed those who came to Him (Matthew 4:23–24), He lifted their eyes beyond the need for urgent physical and material care. With His Sermon on the Mount He offered more than a medical miracle (5:1–12). Seven times Jesus described attitudes of mind and heart that reflect a well-being that begins with a new vision and promise of spiritual well-being (vv. 3–9). Two more times he called blessed those who experience relentless persecution and find their hope and home in Him (vv. 10–12).

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. John 15:4

Jesus’s words leave me wondering. Where am I living? How aware am I of my need for a well-being that is greater than my urgent need for physical and material relief? As I long for a miracle, do I embrace as enviable the poor, broken, hungry, merciful, peacemaking heart that Jesus calls blessed?

Father in heaven, it’s so hard to see beyond our pain. Please let us sense Your mercy in this moment. Lift our eyes beyond ourselves. Let us find a new vision and source of health in the care of Christ, who heals.

When God is our home, our hope is in Him.

By Mart DeHaan 

INSIGHT

The end of Matthew 4 implies that people were following Him in the hope of being healed of anything that ailed them. Yet in response to the crowd’s desire to be physically healed, Jesus responds with words that can heal the soul. The Great Physician looks deep into our hearts and heals not just our bodies but our souls as well.

J.R. Hudberg

True Worship Of Him

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

The word “worship” is used frequently today in Christian circles—in addition to worship services, we now have worship choruses, worship teams, worship manuals, worship seminars, etc. Often, however, the basic meaning of worship is misunderstood.

In the original Hebrew and Greek, the words translated “worship” mean simply to “bow down”! The Hebrew is so translated the first time it is used. When Abraham saw God and two angels approaching, “he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground” (Genesis 18:2). That is, he recognized God’s “worthy-ship” and was submitting himself to do His will.

The last time “worship” is used is when John “fell down to worship before the feet of the angel.” He was corrected by the angel with these words: “See thou do it not: . . . worship God” (Revelation 22:8-9). Only God, our Creator and Savior, is worthy of true worship, and that worship involves simply bowing down in submission to do His will.

That is why it must be “in spirit and in truth.” Our spirit must submit to God who is Spirit, and this can only be in truth. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus concerning the Spirit whom He would send to indwell His followers: “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: . . . He shall glorify me” (John 16:13-14).

He would do this by revealing God’s Word to the writers of the New Testament, just as He had for the Old (2 Peter 1:21). In His prayer to the Father, recorded by John, Christ prayed for us, saying, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). True worship is simply submitting to and doing God’s will as made known by His written Word and the guidance of His Holy Spirit, thereby glorifying Christ. HMM

The kingdom shall be the Lord’s

Obadiah 1-12, 15-19, 21

A short time after Jerusalem had been taken by Nebuchadnezzar, the Edomites were also overthrown. This was foretold by the prophet Obadiah. We shall have time to read almost the whole of his little book.

Obadiah 1, 2

Boasting generally ends in the boaster’s being despised.

Obadiah 3, 4

Pride must come down: neither God nor man can bear it.

Obadiah 5

But nothing would be left, the destruction would be complete.

Obadiah 6-12

If we are hard to others in their distress, it will be sure to come home to us. With what measure we mete, it shall be measured to us again; and especially so if we have rejoiced in the sorrows of God’s people.

Obadiah 16

As they drank in derision, so shall they drink to confusion. Woe unto them!

Obadiah 18

Israel must live, but Edom must die. The election survives, the enemy perishes utterly. Happy those who are of the true believing seed.

Obadiah 19, 21

A most sweet ending. It is the inspired answer to our prayer, “Thy kingdom come.”

 

O Lord, thine is the kingdom,

Thine shall it ever be,

And all thy foes like Edom,

Shall perish utterly.

 

Long have they mock’d thy nation,

But thou hast mark’d their pride;

With crushing devastation

Thou wilt their boasts deride

 

Every Has Been Hindrance Removed

Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)

There are many legal and governmental reasons why lost men and women should not go to heaven!

It should not be difficult for us to acknowledge that a holy and righteous God must run His universe according to holy laws—and we do not belong there because we have broken every one of those holy laws in some way!

Therefore, there must be an effective redemption, a justification of some kind if we are to have God and He is to have us!

Thank God, it has been done!

The New Testament language is as plain as can be—in Christ through His death and resurrection, every legal hindrance has been met and satisfied: taken away! There is nothing that can keep us from assurance except our own selves.

Let us quit trying to think our way in, to reason our way in. The only way to get in is to believe Him with our hearts forevermore!

 

Continual Guidance

“The Lord shall guide thee continually.” Isa. 58:11

What aileth thee? Hast thou lost thy way? Art thou entangled in a dark wood, and canst thou not find thy paths? Stand still, and see the salvation of God. He knows the way, and He will direct thee in it if thou cry unto Him.

Every day brings its own perplexity. How sweet to feel that the guidance of the Lord is continual! If we choose our own way, or consult with flesh and blood, we cast off the Lord’s guidance; but if we abstain from self-will, then He will direct every step of our road, every hour of the day, and every day of the year, and every year of our life. If we will but be guided, we shall be guided. If we will commit our way unto the Lord, He will direct our course so that we shall not lose ourselves.

But note to whom this promise is made. Read the previous verse: “If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry.” We must feel for others, and give them, not a few dry crusts, but such things as we ourselves would wish to receive. If we show a tender care for our fellow-creatures in the hour of their need, then will the Lord attend to our necessities, and make Himself our continual Guide. Jesus is the Leader, not of misers, nor of those who oppress the poor, but of the kind and tender-hearted. Such persons are pilgrims, who shall never miss their way.

 

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