C O M M U N I T Y     C h u r c h

New Christians:  (this is lesson 5) 

Two lessons ago I wrote to you about our relationship with the head . . . both our physical body and head, but also the church body (congregation) and its head who is Jesus Christ. Jesus must become our source for understanding and direction. As a congregation of Christians, our church needs to seek counsel and direction from Jesus in all we do. In our private decision making, we need to take time to seek God's will through study and prayer and then wait for God to give us clear directions.

So how is it that we can know what God's will is for us in our lives, generally and in specific decisions? An important principle for us to remember is that we do not 'discover' God. We can not even 'figure out' what He wants us to do. God's ways are so much higher than the ways that we can comprehend that we would never find them on our own. BUT, God desires very much for us to know Him and His purposes and His promises and His plans. SO . . . He reveals them to those who love Him and pay attention to Him. Both our private and public times of prayer and worship are the keys to knowing God because it is in these times that He tells us about Himself.

Prayer must become for us more of a time of listening to God than it is a time for speaking to God. Too often our prayer times are filled with us telling God what He should do or what we need (as if God doesn't already know!). GOD IS NOT OUR SERVANT! He is the Master (Lord), we are the servants. The servant is supposed to know what the Master expects. We learn this by listening. Does God speak verbally aloud so that we can hear Him with our physical ears? Sometimes; but most often He will speak to you within your spirit with a quiet, gentle voice. Many people never get quiet enough to hear God speak. Many people, even those who pray a lot, never learn how to pray effectively and so they are forever discouraged that God doesn't 'answer' their prayers.

I could easily teach on prayer every week for a year and not finish what needs to be taught. (I've done it before!) So, I surely won't cover everything in this brief lesson but I want to share with you a couple of main principles. First, is that the prayers God answers are prayers that ask Him to do what He has already decided to do. We must be convinced that God's ways are always best, then it becomes very important for us to know what God wants done so that we can ask Him to do it. Knowing what it is that God wants to do requires HEARING GOD. But we must not only hear God, we must understand Him. Understanding comes only after we commit to believing what we have heard. You may have heard people say something like, 'Prove it, and then I'll believe it.' In God's ways, He asks us to believe what He says before He will prove it. That is called faith. As faith is tested, we come to understand God and what He is doing. Can you see that it now is very important to know what God says and be sure that you know that it is God that is saying it?

Now you must learn a whole new way of studying the Bible. You see, we do not study the Bible as we do any other book. We do not study the Bible to learn specifically the history of Israel, or geography, or science, or mathematics. Everything that the Bible says about each of these things is true, but we are studying the Bible to learn who God is and what are His purposes, promises and plans. Studying the Bible is the best way for us to learn what we must pray. But like I said at the beginning of this letter, we can not discover God, God shows Himself to us. Even as we study, we must be praying and listening to God explain what we are studying. We must ask questions in prayer to God as we read and we must listen carefully for God to give us the answers and the understanding. It is very important that our Bible study time not be rushed or that there are not other distractions going on. Remember that when God speaks, it is usually with a soft and gentle voice. If you are busy thinking about other things, you may not hear what God has to say to you. If you do not hear God, then you will not know what to ask Him and you will not know what you are supposed to do. If a person at work never listens to their boss, they probably won't have their job for very long. If we don't listen to our Master, we will have an impossible time doing what He requires us to do.

Pastor Eliot

If you have questions, e-mail Bro. Eliot Roberts, pastor

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