ETL 001 – The Inaugural Episode: Introductions and Answering Questions

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Daviditunesbanner150ETL 001: Introducing this new podcast and podcaster, observations on people asking questions, and answering the question, “How do I know when God is talking to me?”

In this episode of The Enjoy True Living Podcast–the inaugural episode–we’ll take care of some necessary introductions.  That means introducing myself as the host, this podcast and how I have it envisioned as we move forward.

So, here’s what you’ll hear:

Chapter 1: Introductions are in order.  This is who I am and this is what this podcast is all about.  I also want you to know where I’m coming from, my vantage point or perspective, if you will.  You can also learn a little more about me, if you were to want to, on the About page of the web site (click HERE).

For all you dog lovers out there, here’s our Bella wondering why we don’t love her favorite past time–playing ball–as much as she does.

Bella

Chapter 2: Some observations on the asking of questions.  I’ve spent a lot of time answering people’s questions about the Bible, religion, faith and spirituality over the past 28 years, including several years of formally answering submitted Bible Questions as a part of an annual preaching series.  I’ve come to learn a few things about people and the asking of questions.

  1. People are hesitant to ask questions.
  2. For every person who asks a question, there are several others who have the same question, but have just never asked.
  3. We benefit from the questions of others.
  4. People ask questions for different reasons.
  5. Finally, some people, even many self-professed believers, have no real interest in what the Bible really says.

Chapter 3: The first question we’ll answer is one asked of me recently by a Christian young lady as part of a Bible study: “How do you know if God is talking to you?”

Submit your Bible questions to be answered in upcoming podcast episodes by sending an email to: feedback@enjoytruleliving.com.

Scripture references in this episode:

  • Mark 7:6-13
  • Genesis 2:16; 6:13; 12:1
  • 1 Samuel 3:10
  • Hebrews 1:1-2; 2:1-4; 12:25
  • John 12:30-31
  • 1 John 4:1

Please visit the website at enjoytrueliving.com.  To find further episodes you can go directly to enjoytrueliving.com/podcast.  You will have the option of subscribing to the podcast through iTunes or by an RSS feed.   Also, please sign up on the email list as well. This will allow you to receive the latest updates and announcements from Enjoy True Living.

Thank you for checking out this episode of the ETL Podcast. Come back again and listen again soon!

God bless!

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Is God Still Talking?

Some people have the public’s ear.  It seems that everything they say or do has to be reported widely and is then consumed hungrily by adoring fans.  We could mention names, but by tomorrow or the next day, interest will have shifted to someone else. The celebrity merry-go-round seems to have a “flavor of the day.”  You’d think that this would cause more people to wonder whether or not what these folks had to say was really worth listening to.

By contrast, if God speaks I don’t want to miss anything He’s got to say.  His words won’t be frivolous or superficial. They won’t be a passing fancy.  They will be worth listening to.  Jesus even said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matt. 24:35).

The Bible plainly says that God at one time spoke to man in a variety of ways but is now speaking to us in His Son (Heb. 1:1-2).  And He’s doing that through the Bible: in the Gospels [see HERE], all of the New Testament [see HERE], and even the entire Bible [see HERE].

So what about the claims, still made to this day, from people who say, “God has spoken to me,” or “The Lord has given me this message,” or the like?  Do we dare to miss what they (or God?)  have to say?

What has God already said about this?

The Bible affirms two very important points in this regard.  First, it is all-sufficient. It says that God “has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3).  In other words, God has already given us everything we need.

Second, it completely equips us  (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  So, truthfully, claims of continued revelations from God in reality contradict the Bible. In other words, either the Bible is right, or these claims are right; but not both.

To that we can add one more statement.  The Bible says its message was “once for all delivered” (Jude 3).  The significance of this is that God is not in the process of continually revealing His message to man.  He has already done so, once for all time.

If the Bible professes to be the final and complete revelation of God’s will to man – and it emphatically does – then claims made of God’s giving other messages today (however well-intentioned they might be) are in direct conflict with the Bible’s own statements.  Whom shall we believe?

To whom should we listen?

Another thing – we hear numerous people claim God is speaking to them or giving them a message.  Which of these do we believe? All of them?  Some of them?  None of them?

We have already discussed the test that can, and must, be applied to anyone proposing to help us to understand God’s will (see HERE).  And if,  as seen there, the Bible itself becomes the measure or test of every message, then they are not providing anything new – it’s already been given.  If they insist they do have a new message from God, that claim runs counter to the Bible’s own statements and places them in a rather dubious position.

Yes, God really is still talking today, but He’s just not in the process of continually revealing His message.  It’s already done and we already have it.

And that’s precisely where another of the Bible’s declarations comes in: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

The Bible is a living document.  It is as relevant and pertinent today as it has ever been. Through it, God is still speaking.

That means our task is to do our best (the Bible calls it diligence) to know and understand the Bible as God intends.

God bless,


Is God Talking to Me? (3)

Here’s a guaranteed way to save lots of money on your grocery bill: only buy every third item on your grocery list.  Would that save money?   Yes.  Would it be practical?  No. You would end up not having two-thirds of the things you need.

What if you only heard every third word of a conversation?  (Ever had cell phone reception like that?)  It’s impossible to get the message.  As God speaks to us, we want to be sure we get the whole message.

You’ve likely noticed by the title that this is the third post in a series.  It all has to do with God speaking to us. Here’s a very quick recap:

  • God is speaking to us in His Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2) [see this post]
  • To hear Jesus, we must focus on the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) in the New Testament. [see this post].
  • Jesus also directs our attention to the remainder of the New Testament.  To hear His message we must go there too. [see this post]

But now the question is, What about the rest of the Bible? What about the Old Testament?  Isn’t it important too?

Absolutely yes!  Of course it is.  As a matter of fact, we cannot fully understand Jesus apart from the Old Testament.

So how does that work?

The Old Gives Way to the New

The Old and New Testaments of the Bible are connected to the two primary covenants between God and man.  A covenant is an agreement or an arrangement that allows for a relationship to exist.  They were quite common among people in biblical times, but these two are between God and men.

In the Old Testament we learn about the covenant God made with the people of Israel through Moses at Mt. Sinai.  It involved the law of Moses, the 10 commandments, the priesthood, sacrifices, and so on.

God never intended for this covenant to be a permanent system.  It was to be replaced by another one – a better one.  God explains this in Jeremiah 31:31-34 (also see Hebrews 8:6-13).

The New Testament shows us the new covenant. This one is made through Jesus Christ.

The Old is Necessary for the New

The covenant God made through Moses plays an extremely important role in preparing man for the coming of Jesus and the relationship we are able to have with God through Him.   As a matter of fact, the old is said to have served the purpose of being our “tutor to lead us to Christ” (Gal. 3:24; NASB).

To say it another way, the things associated with the old covenant were “a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” (Col. 2:17).

That does not render the Old Testament useless to us.  Far from it.  Paul writes, “For whatever was written in former days [a reference to the Old Testament] was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).

So, there is a reason an emphasis is given to the New Testament as it shows us how we are able to have a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  All the while the Old Testament remains very important because it helps us understand much of what the New has to say about Jesus (as a Priest, and as our sacrifice, and so on).  Not only that, but it gives us good instruction and encouragement as we read about God’s gracious and faithful dealing with man, which then strengthens our hope.

If we are going to hear Jesus, through whom God is speaking, we need to spend time in the entire Bible.

God is talking to me.

I need to hear Him.

I need to be in God’s word.

God bless,


Is God Talking to Me? (2)

I’ve been told I suffer from a hearing disorder – it’s selective hearing.  I think it’s a universal human condition.  We all hear what we want to hear.

If God were talking to me, would I want to hear Him?  Boy, I’d hope so!

Well, He is talking to me.  So, if I really do want to hear I need to know how He’s speaking.

The Bible plainly affirms that God spoke in times past in a variety of ways to men, but that has all changed.  He’s now speaking to us in His Son (Heb. 1:1-2).

There is no way we can claim to be hearing God – who speaks in His Son – if we’re not in the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (see THIS POST).  But that’s just a small part of the Bible…doesn’t the rest of it play a role too?  We previously used a target as an illustration: Jesus is the bull’s eye, the Gospels are the first ring immediately surrounding it.  Now we move out to the next ring.

Actually, it’s Jesus Himself who directs us first to the remainder of the New Testament.

Follow Jesus’ Lead

Jesus promised His apostles that after He left this earth He would still provide for them in their work.  That help would come in the person of the Holy Spirit (He’s even called “the Helper” – John 14:26).  What the Spirit would do is to guide them into “all truth” and to cause them to remember all the words Jesus has spoken to them (John 14:26; 16:13).  Consequently, when these men spoke and wrote, their message was in reality the message of Jesus.

And that’s what we find in the rest of the New Testament – things written by these Holy Spirit inspired men.

As one would expect, that’s exactly what the Bible claims.  The apostle Paul says that anyone who is “spiritual” should “acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37).  He also said, “we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God” (1 Thess. 2:13).

The message in all of the New Testament is the message of Jesus.  God is speaking in His Son through these men.  If we ignore or neglect them, we’re ignoring and neglecting God’s speaking to us.

Another Way To Think About This

There’s another way to look at this.  Think about this: the Gospels introduce us to Jesus as God’s Son and the one through whom God provides salvation.  That’s Matthew through John.

Following that, after Jesus leaves this earth, His apostles begin to spread His message (as per his instructions – Matt. 28:19-20).  In the book of Acts we get to see what happened when people heard about Jesus through the preaching of men.  We see their coming to faith and their faith response to the message they heard.  That’s the book of Acts.

Next come the letters written both to congregations and individuals who have come to faith (Romans to Jude).  These are instructions on Christian living and for the church.  It’s Jesus’ instruction to His followers, His church.

Finally comes Revelation, a book of prophecy focusing ultimately on the eternal hope we have in Jesus Christ.

So, in order to hear God we need to listen to Jesus.  In order to listen to Jesus we need to read the Gospel accounts as well as all of the New Testament.

We’re not yet quite done are we?  How about the other half of the Bible?  What about the Old Testament?  Does it play a role too?

As you might have guessed, yes, it does.  So, let’s learn what that role is.  And we will.  Soon

But for now,…

God bless,


Is God Talking to Me?

“You talk to God, you’re religious.  God talks to you, you’re psychotic.”

Leave it to the cynic.

Any valid communication demands speaking and being spoken to.  That’s dialogue.  Relationship demands dialogue.

God wants a relationship with us as His creation and He has made considerable effort to make that possible (see John 3:16).  So, yes, God is talking to us (and wants us to talk to Him – that’s prayer, and a subject for another time).

Yes, But How So?

The question is, how does He do that?  How does God talk to me?  Well, don’t be listening for a voice inside your head – that is psychotic.

Here is how the Bible says it happens: “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).

God used a variety of means to communicate with man in the past.  We know about these from the Bible.  They included things like angelic messengers, visions and dreams, using chosen men (prophets) to deliver His message, and so on.  One time, He even used an animal to speak to a man (that was Balaam’s donkey).  Does that mean we should expect the same kinds of things today?  No, it does not.

Remember, the Bible actually says that a change has taken place.  At one time God used these various means, but He now speaks to us through His Son.

Speaking Through Jesus

Ok, but how does that work?  In what way does He speak to us by His Son?  Should I expect to hear a voice?  Should I anticipate having a vision or a dream?  Will I somehow “see” Jesus and He will speak to me?  Or, am I going to somehow “just know” what God’ wants me to know?

It’s very important to remember that this is not a question of what God could do.  He can do anything (as long as it is consistent with His nature – so, for instance, God cannot be tempted with evil and He tempts no one; see James 1:13).  We have to pay close attention to what God says He does.  If not, we may miss what He is saying to us.  What if I told you I was going to mail you a letter?  Good, old-school US Postal mail.  But you kept checking your e-mail?  Looking for a text or a tweet?  And never looked in your postal service mailbox?  You would miss my message.  In the same way we have to be looking for God’s message where He told us He is communicating.

Where Can I Hear Jesus?

So, if God is speaking to us “by His Son,” we need to pay particular attention to Jesus.   So, how do we know about Jesus?  Of course, the Bible is our source of information about Jesus.  Specifically, we might think about the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  That would be most appropriate.  We need to know all we can about Him.  We need to know what He said and did.  That’s exactly what the Gospels are all about.  For instance, Luke is referenced in the opening of the book Acts (the same man wrote both) by saying it “dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach” (Acts 1:1).

In John’s gospel, he tells us that there were many other things that Jesus did that aren’t recorded “in this book” (John 20:30), but, as He goes on to say, the things that are recorded are so that we can believe and in believing have life in His name (John 20:31).

If we’re going to hear God speaking, we better tune in to Jesus and to do that we better be spending time in the place where we can learn most about Him and from Him – and that’s the Gospels.

And Then…?

“But wait,” you may say, “isn’t that just four books out of the entire Bible?”

Yes, that’s true, and we’re not going to leave the others out by any means.  But, we do need to know exactly where to start.   You might think of it as a target with a bull’s eye.  Jesus is the bull’s eye.  Moving out from there are the rings that expand further and further outward.  Immediately surrounding our bull’s eye are the gospels.  From there we expand, eventually to incorporate the entire Bible. (Be sure to check the following posts!)

God is speaking and He’s speaking “by His Son.”

Let’s be sure we’re listening!

God bless,


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