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Sermon Diary: How to Hear God’s Voice

Sheep

“My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27)

Reading the Scriptures, we understand that man’s life is dependent on his communication with God. The Creator of the universe created us to communicate both with Him and with each other. To fulfil this purpose of His, He has given us a voice and the ability to read, write, and listen. Without the use of the senses, which are the entrance to our consciousness and souls, without our much-needed communication, life is practically impossible.

God wants us to hear His voice much more than we want to because He is not ignorant of our need to be saved, as we are often. We seem to be deluded about His role and will in our lives. For this reason, we often turn away from God as He reaches out His hand to us to give us eternal love, the perfect expression of which we see in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

It is good to know that the Bible gives us many practical instructions on how to hear God‘s voice. In many cases, when we read and study the Scriptures, when we receive dreams from Him, when we converse with and receive advice from mature Christians, when we observe natural phenomena or study historical events, we can hear with our spiritual senses the words of the Lord of all things visible and invisible.

At the same time, we can rarely define God’s voice as audible – in the sense we put when we talk about human relationships. Because of our separation from God through sin, He speaks in a fallen world more covertly—often enigmatically. For this reason, it is necessary to be active in listening in order to be able to hear Him.

There are certain spiritual principles to apply when seeking to hear God’s voice, but three of them are especially effective if we apply them with faith:

1. “My sheep hear my voice”
Jesus said this: “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27). These words make it clear to us that in order to understand the words of the Lord Jesus, we must be His, to be obedient as sheep, to be active in listening, for Him to know us and for us to follow Him.

2. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear…”
In many places in the New Testament, and especially in the parables that Jesus told His followers, we can read these words: “He who has ears to hear, let him listen…”. Of course, we know very well that there are no people without ears. Jesus’ call is about those who are interested in His teaching paying attention to His words and being open to receiving and reflecting on them. Only the listeners will understand the true content of what He is saying.

3. “The Spirit of truth will guide you into all truth”
The Lord declares: “And when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak of himself, but whatever he hears, that will he speak, and he will declare to you the things to come” (John 16:13). From these words we understand that even without having the intellectual capacity to perceive all truth, we will be guided into all truth by the Spirit of God. We also realize that through the words of the Spirit we will receive prophetic vision and knowledge by which we will be informed of things to come.

A Short Bible Study: Matthew 5:10

tied hands and a cross

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

This verse is part of the Lord’s teaching known as the Beatitudes. It is an encouragement to those who are under an oppressive, unjust, and cruel treatment because of their faith in Jesus. Without such a promise one would ask himself “Why am I suffering? Is it in vain?” But the words of Jesus are a promise that standing for the righteousness of God in this world has a great reward — the kingdom of heaven, where eternal righteousness and justice reigns. It is theirs, it is their home, their inheritance. They will live in it, they will be its rulers. It is at their will as they have aligned it with God’s will when it was not easy to do so. Standing with righteousness against the unrighteous, and paying a price has also a great reward.

A second notion is that wherever there is a kingdom there is justice. So the suffering under the persecution of the wicked kingdoms of this world, will be redeemed with the reward of heaven for those who are faithful.

Victory against Religious Restrictions Bill

Evangelical Christians in Bulgaria take to the streets to oppose new anti-religious laws at the end of 2018

Evangelical Christians in Bulgaria take to the streets to oppose new anti-religious laws at the end of 2018

 

Anti-Christian persecution in Bulgaria does not come with violence and imprisonment but by legislature and intimidation. In the 17 years since the last religious law was adopted in 2002 more than 17 attempts to introduce restrictions on religious freedom by a change of the law were attempted by various political factions.

In May last year, all major political parties proposed two highly restrictive bills which if adopted would have ended freedom of religion in Bulgaria and driven the church underground.

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Is the defense of religious freedom a legitimate Christian ministry?

“Nobody should be persecuted because of their faith,” says Robin David, the ADF International allied lawyer defending the pastors in court. “In India, many citizens face fierce harassment because they belong to a religious minority.”

These Christian pastors in India are being persecuted not because they are a minority but because they are Christians.  While “nobody should be persecuted for their religious belief” may be a nice sentiment, the reality is that persecution occurs on a daily basis. In fact, anti-Christian irrational hatred and the resulting persecution is amply talked about and predicted in the Lord’s teachings and throughout the New Testament.

It is right and proper for us to support each other as believers and stand up against persecution and the injustice it represents. The NT teaching that Christians must be ready to embrace suffering for the name of the Lord does not constitute a surrender to the claims of evil without opposition on our side. Jesus suffered ultimately but He never stopped to assert His divine right to be recognized as the Son of God, the Son of Man, and the Savior of the world. We see the same example through the lives of the apostles and the martyrs of the faith.

Being subject to persecution should never be seen as a reason for Christians to approve of persecution, even if they gladly embrace it as a sign of their loyalty to Christ.

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If the Bible is the true word of God, then why are all the Bibles different?

bible

A dust-covered Bible


Text to Speech

Someone asked the above question on one of the now so popular websites that populate the internet. Here is our answer.

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Northwestern Bulgarian Initiative to Secede: A Cry of Despair and a Call to Mission?

map of Northwestern Bulgaria

The Northwestern corner of Bulgaria, from west to east: Vidin, Montana, and Vratza.

We have been serving with the Gospel and mission work in Northwestern Bulgaria since 2001, and by moving to serve in the local church in 2009.

Recently people in the region called for the autonomy of the three Northwestern districts in the country — Vratza, Montana, and Vidin. However, the initiative was withdrawn as its leader, a factory worker from Montana, acknowledged that his idea was to point to the devastating economic situation in the region and feeling of despair people who live there feel. Northwestern Bulgaria is the poorest statistically region of the European Union.

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Answers to Questions in a Worldly, Post-Christian Culture

Holy Bible

Bible

Who shapes our outlook on this life and the life to come? God and His Word, or the words of the culture around us, dominated by the prince of the air?

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” When we don’t want to listen to the truth of Scripture we have ways of reasoning faith away by simply ignoring the Biblical teaching or by twisting it to mean something different from what it actually means. Christians have an obligation to teach those who accept the Gospel of Christ to obey all that He has commanded (Matt. 28:16-18). The Great Commission mandate is not just to listen to and marvel at the Lord’s teachings, but to instruct the nations to obey these teachings.

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Who is Your President?

One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor, states Proverbs 29:23.

With political passions engulfing the globe one must ask if believers should stay away from politics? The answer is negative. Simply our “politics” is different. It is of the Kingdom of God, and not of the kingdoms of this world. When Christ declared to Pilate in John 18 that His kingdom is not of this world He did not mean that He is an escapist. Neither did He want that for His disciples. He  meant that the way He and His followers engage in this world defies its principles of corruption and rebellion. Just the opposite, Jesus’s own mission and the one He gave to the church is one of full engagement with the Gospel with all peoples and worldly powers (Matt 28:16-18).

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