I'M A CHRISTIAN...NOW WHAT?
Chapter One: TALKING TO GOD
This is an excerpt from the book, I’m A Christian…Now What?
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In feeble human words I am going to attempt to describe what talking to God is like for me, personally………………………………………………………………………………
I have never heard God’s voice audibly. I have heard of people who say they have heard Him speak to them vocally…they say it is very scary…I suppose that it is depending on His message...I haven’t heard Him audibly…I would love to and certain that I will someday. But for now I am quite content ‘hearing’ Him in the way He intends most of us to.
It is very simple. I know my own voice…my own thoughts. I also know God’s Will…His voice through what people call a conscience. That little voice in our head that tells us when we are doing something that is not right…………………………………………
Every child is born with a conscience. Even the naughty little boy who is caught stealing from the cookie jar knows he is guilty…that is why he will lie about it…to try and stay out of trouble…he has “consciousness of guilt”. God gave that to us as part of our design.
The conscience is an innate part of our design. It is not something learned from societal rules or from our parents…the conscience is that little twinge of pain in our soul that we feel when we have wronged someone.
Is it possible to ignore the conscience to the point that it becomes ‘seared over’…calloused? Certainly! Ask any serial murderer or serial rapist…it is possible to follow the enemy’s suggestions to the point that we loose all empathy.
Is it possible to regain that God Given conscience? Of course! Ask the Apostle Paul who, as Saul of Tarsus murdered and persecuted Christians until God had a word with him. The Scriptural references that we ask you to prayerfully study will be in subsequent chapters of this book.
God is building this work one brick at a time beginning with the foundation. It is presented in a certain order beginning with the basics and leading into the deepest of His Inspiration…His Will.
He is the Author…I am just a witness of His Work and a reporter on His Work…I am certain that He has commissioned many others in our modern times to deliver His Word appropriate for these times.
I am just a tour guide here to point out certain features of His Will. God drew the road map and created everything on it.
As always we turn to the Scriptures as our Authority…so let us see what the Bible has to say about conscience:
In the New King James Bible there are 32 occurrences in 24 articles where the word ‘conscience’ appears…wow…it must be an important subject.
In 1st Timothy 4:1-3 it speaks of false teachers, something that has become known in Christian Theology as ‘The Great Apostasy’: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, (2) speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, (3) forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth”.
Well …doesn’t sound good to have one’s conscience ‘seared over’…does it? This is an interesting choice of words to ‘sear over’. In the days prior to anti-biotic medicine and state of the art surgery when one received a very serious wound they would put a red hot piece of metal to the area to cauterize it…to ‘seal it off’.
The false teachers spoken about in the above Scripture…the ones who have fallen away and are listening to deceiving spirits and teaching the ‘doctrines of demons’ have had their own consciences ‘seared’…over time…to the point they no longer feel God in their souls…they have cut off communication with Him.
The following Scriptures all refer to having a clear conscience before God. Remember, under the old Mosaic Law, certain foods were forbidden by God. This was as a symbol of obedience to Him. But under the New Covenant with mankind, God did away with hundreds of laws and ceremonies. This is the very reason Christ came. More will be studied in this regard throughout this book just as it is in Scripture.
This one Scripture points us in the direction of the importance and significance of the human conscience…after all, we are the only flesh and blood creature on planet earth who has a conscience. God designed us that way…it separates us from the animals…it equips us to do many things that are in God’s Will…His Work.
Among countless other Administrative tasks…having a conscience, perfectly used, would go a long way in us being as He originally intended: Genesis 1: 26 it says:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the live-stock, over the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
Wow…just imagine His plan for us…dominion over the entire planet as good stewards…tending His garden and enjoying it without toil.
Then it continues in the 27th verse of Genesis 1 “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them”. Let’s think about that for a moment...His attributes are our attributes…perfected. He is a person…think of Him that way…the ultimate, wise…loving Parent.
He created us in “His own image”. So much is said in so few words. In His image. He has a wonderful sense of humor…He has emotions and it is up to us to get to know Him as individuals…because that is what we are to Him. Each one of us is His child.
He expects us to seek Him out…and He makes it easy…He is always there…if we think to ask…consistently…as a life style…and all we have to ask is “What is your Will Father? What do You want me to do?” He will answer in our conscience…if we listen for Him and ONLY Him…through Christ with the Holy Spirit inside our minds, hearts and souls…to the One True Creator…the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Amen.
Then…listen for Him in your conscience…and if your conscience is not currently healthy…He will heal it over time.
It requires personal prayer and study to develop a personal relationship with Father…an investment of time like any relationship…lots and lots of time.
So…what do the Scriptures say about the conscience? We will learn much more about this subject in subsequent chapters of this book…it is a re-occurring subject and woven throughout this book…this ‘tour’ of the Scriptures…just as the subject of the conscience is a re-occurring subject throughout the Scriptures.
So when I say “God told me”…I am saying that I spend a lot of time with Him and I know when I am hearing His thoughts for me. The confirmation comes when I feel the Holy Spirit at the same time…and in those times there is only pure, basic truth…no confusion. If there is any kind of confusion I know it is the enemy trying to sneak in…so I simply say my prayers, giving myself over to the Holy Spirit, knowing that where God dwells, the enemy cannot dwell.
The enemy is allergic to God. There are times…and this is important…that even in prayer, the enemy can sneak in if we allow our own, selfish human agenda to be present…and it happens with all of us…God knows that and has made provisions for every individual circumstance. It is all part of ‘discernment’ working with free will…our individual free will…and His Judgment of our individual heart condition. God knows us as individuals…as a Parent…He is Just and Loving…more so than we humans can imagine.
He has dreams for us as individuals and as couples and as communities.
He doesn’t force anyone to be happy.
His blessings occur now…and into eternity. As humans He wants us to be prosperous in every way and in balance with His Will at the same time.
Satan can and does plant thoughts in our minds. One good example is when satan went to Eve and deceived her into believing she could be as great as God by rebelling against God and learning about evil (Genesis 3:4).
Cain was contemplating murdering his brother Abel. God came to Cain and basically told him to not even think those thoughts and if Cain would turn himself around, he would find exaltation…because where the mind wanders actions will follow. (Gen.4:6&7 – Php. 4:7)
There are only two powers…God and satan. If our thoughts are not from God…they are from satan. (Gen. 3:15)
God does not want us to be depressed or anxious or angry or anything that will steal our joy. (Heb. 12:1-7)
Some of satan’s most successful tools against us are fear and confusion… panic, depression and anxiety…these distract us from what God wants us to do. (1 PE. 3; 13-15)
The only way to shield ourselves from the deceiver is to have God inside of us…in our minds, hearts and souls…24/7. (Gen. 15:1, 2 Sam. 22:3, Ps. 94:1, Eph. 6:16)
How do we accomplish this? How do we shield ourselves from the deceiver?
All we have to do is ask (Mat. 7:7, James 1:16). Remember, God is omnipotent …He can be everywhere at the same time…satan is not omnipotent…satan has to depend on his demons’ (his little helpers, his fallen angel helpers) to try and have influence on us…sometimes, through either the thoughts he places in our minds, or the thoughts he places in other people who are subject to satan’s thoughts…to enter our lives and create the negativities that distract us. Bad associations spoil useful habits.
Being human and given the fact that the lower powers are much more clever than any human…it is easy to let our guard down and forget to ask God to be inside of our minds, hearts and souls. It is easy for us to drift away from God…when this happens we open all kinds of doors and windows for the lower powers to slither into our thought processes.
The Scriptural solution:
Given we humans are creatures of habit…a great way to guard against this is to develop the habit or discipline (a fruitage of the Spirit) to have God inside of us constantly. (Galatians 5:22)
Studies have shown that it takes a person about 30 days to develop a new habit.
Once that habit or discipline is established, it requires little to maintain…it becomes part of our routine…like looking at the gas gauge or temperature gauge on the car…or paying bills at a certain time of the month…or what time to wake up for school or work…etc.
The Scriptures tell us that once God is inside of us we strip off the old personality and put on a new one. (Romans 6:6, Ephesians 4:22-24, Colossians 3:9).
Does this mean that we loose the unique attributes with which God endowed us as individuals? No.
What it does mean is that we become more of what God intends us to be. Our Spiritual gifts and temperaments are enhanced and our weaknesses are diminished…to the point that someone who might have previously been quick to anger…will be much less so because of their love for God and all humans…even their enemies. Someone who was timid and shy about ministry will be bolder for God. Someone who was once insensitive to others will become more compassionate and so on.
A great example is the Apostle Paul…a man who persecuted and murdered Christians…he became a faithful follower of Christ…a leader whose good points grew until they crowded out his shortcomings…at least as much as any human can…he had afflictions and dealt with them.
As long as God is inside of your mind, heart and soul…there is no room for satan’s influence in your mind, heart and soul…His very Name Is a tower for our protection.(Proverbs 18:10).
God will not allow satan to occupy your thoughts as long as God is in your thoughts…in your mind, heart and soul.
How do we develop this habit…this discipline of having God inside of us 24/7?
One great idea is to have a “faith tool”. Remember it only takes about a month for us humans to develop a new habit…a discipline.
This faith tool can be anything as long as you can carry it around in one hand. It can be a coin or a piece of cloth or even a string tied around your finger…anything you choose.
The idea is that this object reminds you to think of having God inside of you. It is okay to set it down to shower, eat etc. The important thing is that you keep it close to you and never loose track of it.
*Note to our legalistic friends…this does not constitute idol worship. We are not bowing down to a string tied to our finger.
It is important that you not wear it around your neck or in your pocket…because the old adage “out of sight, out of mind,” is true.
Remember, this is a reminder to you that God is always wanting to be inside of you…and you need Him always…especially in difficult moments when the enemy is trying to influence you…either through direct implant of bad thoughts in our own minds, or through others…the enemy uses his ability to place thoughts in everyone’s minds to manipulate us… to cause us to feel confusion or fear or depression or anything else that does not come from God.
By having this faith tool always in reach and taking responsibility for its safety, you will develop a habit…a discipline…to think of God and have Him inside of you and turn to Him for His Answers, His Inspiration, His Will…to your dilemmas…from the simplest problems to the most complex.
And in these moments when you need His Answers…and turn to Him with a simple prayer such as; “Father, I’m missing something here…please inspire me through Jesus’ name and Jesus’ authority with the Holy Spirit inside my mind, heart and soul, ”…He will inspire you!!! He will rock your world!!!
Human analogy; your child just moved out of the house…away to college or where ever. Every parent loves to have the phone ring and hear their child’s voice…even if it is to ask for money…at least they are thinking about you.
Even better, your child calls and says; “I just wanted to call and thank you for giving me life…for everything you have done for me…I have a problem…I haven’t been able to find a solution…I’ve overlooked something…would you please give me your advice’?
What parent doesn’t melt when they hear those words?
God is the ultimate, wise, loving parent…give it a try for 30 days…develop that habit of thinking about Him…acting in prayer rather than reacting in the way the enemy tries to manipulate you…that discipline of keeping Him inside of you always…and strap on your seat belt…the results will be amazing!!!
Here are more Scriptures regarding the subject of ‘conscience’:
Hebrews 13:8: The Apostle Paul certainly, eventually had a clear conscience toward God but never took it for granted.
1 Timothy 1:18: Paul writing to Timothy talks about 2 men who were delivered to satan because they had ‘shipwrecked’ their faith because of abandoning their conscience.
1 Timothy 3:9: Paul again addresses the conscience when giving instructions regarding leadership roles in the church.
2 Corinthians 1:12: One of the few places in Scripture where boasting is approved: “…the boasting of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in the simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God…”.
2nd Timothy 1:3: “I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience”.
1st Peter 3:16: Points out that a clear conscience before God is our protection against ‘evildoers’…those who revile your good conduct in Christ...” As in our brother’s case noted above when the others were trying to defame God at his work…he quietly walked away…just as Jesus had.
1st Peter 3:18: Actually ties in the importance of the conscience from Noah’s Day into today…the New Covenant.
Hebrews 10:22: Beginning in the 19th verse Paul recounts the passing of the old Mosaic Law and how through the blood of Christ we have “had our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience”.
1st Timothy 1:5: Paul is talking about a ‘pure heart’ from a good conscience.
2nd Corinthians 4:2: It speaks about the universality of a conscience that every man has…and how, through the conscience, truth can be known.
1st Peter 2:19: How the conscience helps us endure grief and suffering wrongly.
Acts 23:1: Paul speaks of living in good conscience.
Acts 24:16: Paul speaks of having a clear conscience before all men and God.
Finally in Romans 2:15 Paul talks about how God judges our hearts and that the conscience ‘bears witness’ in the day when God will judge the secrets of men…either accusing them or excusing them…the conscience bears witness…it is evidence of our love, faith and obedience to Father.
This is a poem God gave to me at a time that I needed His Inspiration:
GOD SMILES WHEN WE THNK OF HIM
Our True God smiles when we think of Him
Billions He counts, His children
The smallest sparrow He knows so well
The grandest canyons He carved to tell
The grandeur of His works in life
The largest things need not cause strife
For all our questions He gives to us
His Answers for us to choose to trust
For every question we give to Him
Instructions from Him will follow
Obey His will and His answers
Our lives will never be hollow
There is a calling for each of us
Daily chores to do
To make Him smile upon our life
For He is always true
In His image we were made
He’s the ultimate Father
He smiles when we think of Him
Why else would He bother
He created us with a will that’s free
Because He was lonely
He wants what any parent wants
Faithful children only
Even when we stray and falter
He loves us any way
But when we’re thinking of His Will
He smiles and blesses our day
COPYRIGHT 2009 MARK DIAZ
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That concludes chapter 1 of the book “I’m A Christian…Now What?”
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Until next time God Bless you and remember to hate what God hates and love what He Loves…hate the sin but love the sinner.