The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

November 30, 2012

God still speaks today, so listen for Him

From the Pulpit

By Pastor James D. Fleck

---- — Words play an important role in our society. Whether they are written or spoken, they can generate a multitude of emotions ranging from joy to anger. Advertising agencies, manufacturers and political campaigns have people on staff that have been trained to move the masses in a desired direction by properly placing words in a letter, speech or published advertisement. “Have it your way.” “Just do it. “Don’t leave home without it.” They are just a few examples of how words compel us to eat a certain hamburger, wear a particular shoe or carry a specific credit card.

God also knows the value and power of words. In Genesis we find Him calling creation into existence using words: “And God said ...” God communicated His command to Adam to “be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.” He also spoke with Adam and Eve when they disobeyed His command to not eat from a particular tree in the Garden of Eden and informed them of the dire consequences for the earth and all mankind. God’s words were creative, instructional and when needed, carried judgment for their inappropriate actions.

So what about today? Is God continuing to speak to mankind and if He is, how?

The main avenue of communication for God today is the Bible. Why do you think there is such an onslaught of criticism and questioning of the relevance of the scriptures for our society today? People want to pick and choose the portions they like and disregard the ones they disagree with. “God is love” is embraced while Paul’s words in Galatians 5 stating that those who continue “to practice sin as a way of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God,” are labeled judgmental, critical and not fair. Jesus made the statement, “Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). John chapter 1 tells us Jesus is the Word and He is full of grace and truth. He is the standard by which we live and in His love, He still requires us to “go and sin no more.” To better know God’s plans, purposes and will, we must embrace all scriptures.

Do you realize we are another way God can speak to the world? Sometimes we think we have to have a title before our name like reverend, pastor, deacon or something religious-sounding to be a spokesperson for God. This is not so, God will speak and work through all those who believe in Him. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue ...” You and I have the opportunity to be a voice for God on the earth but we must choose wisely in the way we present Him. When Jesus was dealing with the prostitute in John 8, He did not condemn her but with authority He instructed her to leave her life of sin. Jesus used His voice to bring life and not death to the situation. Some people are in a state of hopelessness and helplessness. Just as John the Baptist was a voice crying in the wilderness as a forerunner to Christ, we are often the first representative of Christ a person will see. We  must be ready to present the gospel (Good News) through out lifestyle and our words. “Everyone enjoys a fitting reply: it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time” (Proverbs 15:23). Bring life and not death to your conversations with others about God.

We are entering a time of year that centers on God speaking to mankind about a loving Savior. The Christmas story is filled with examples of divine communications. The angel Gabriel spoke to Mary and proclaimed she would bear a child and he would be called Jesus, the Son of God. The angel that appeared to Joseph in a dream encouraged him to follow through with his marriage commitment to Mary because the son she was carrying would save His people from their sins. God is unique in the way He speaks to mankind through the Bible, individuals or in some cases dreams or visions. Whatever way He uses, keep your ears open.

James Fleck is pastor of Oasis Family Worship Center, Hermitage.