Does God use the same communication methods today that He used before and during Jesus’ lifetime? Of course He can! But His main methods of communication today are The Bible, The Holy Spirit, and through other believers.
The Bible is God’s foremost method of communication. It’s our instruction Manual. There isn’t a problem today that hasn’t been addressed by the Bible (the methods differ, but the issues are the same!) Nothing needs to be added to this Book, and God made sure to let us know.
You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you. Deut 4:2 (ESV)
What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. Deut 12:32 (KJV)
Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6 Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. Prov 30:5-6 (ESV)
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! Rev 22:18-20 (ESV)
God gives us plenty of notice that He expects us to abide by ALL of the commands in the Bible. We can’t decide that some were cultural, or some don’t apply to us for another reason. It’s very clear that God wants nothing added to or subtracted from. So why do we (starting with the writer) “rip out Scripture” that we don’t like and try to ignore it? If you are in a place that doesn’t preach the ENTIRE Word of God… find one (Gracepoint Church preaches the Word of God. We have readers all over the world, and it’s those readers that I caution).
How can God possibly cover all the stuff we deal with today in a Book written over centuries and completed centuries ago? I dunno. But as you read the Bible, you’ll see the same problems happening back then (the difference is lack of air conditioning and internet service J).
The Old Testament gives God’s laws and commands. It shows how faithfully God responds to the laws He’s created. We see the effects of man’s obedience and disobedience. There are passages that could be replayed on any “reality TV” show in the nation, and there are places where we see the people stop and realize just how sinful they are.
The Psalms and Proverbs in particular give us poetry and wisdom about God’s nature, mankind’s nature, and the relationship God wants to have with mankind. We have promises of God’s presence, and we see the gamut of emotions from the evocative words of Solomon’s Song to David’s anguished cries for mercy and a changed heart.
The New Testament provides insight into the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – the only Son of the Father and the only way to God. We follow the disciples as they wait for the Spirit and see the birth of the Church. We see miracles, callings and unbelievable boldness in the face of certain death. We have letters of instruction and comfort, and we see that the early church is much like ours – many people who want to do good; a few who choose to lie, slander, gossip and stir dissention.
Many people find the Bible difficult to read. It is! Some of it is really hard to muddle through; other places are delightful. But throughout the entire Bible we see a theme – God’s love reaching down to man.
So how does this Bible reading stuff help us communicate with God if we don’t know where to find the answers in the first place? If you are uncertain where to find a specific topic and you use a physical Bible, look in the back. There’s usually a concordance and that can point you in the right direction. I enjoy Nave’s Topical Bible, which is a really, really detailed concordance with a difference. Instead of seeing a list of scriptures to look up, Nave’s has the reference and the scripture in the same place, so it’s easy to see each topic quickly. If you are the internet sort, there are plenty of references out there. I happen to like Bible Explorer which is free and gives you several translations of the Bible plus a wide range of Bible references, devotionals, and so forth for free. Of course, you can also purchase additional titles. There are apps for Android and iPhone which will give you the Bible – for free – right on your smartphone or tablet. There are thousands of ways to find Scripture in times of need.
Another practical way to search the scriptures is to keep a list of those which have touched you. Perhaps you’ll consider getting a notebook and labeling a page with a topic whenever you find a verse that speaks to your heart. Write the verse and its reference on the topic page and you’ll find that you create your own mini-concordance bit by bit. Every time I read the Bible through I find new verses to add to my list!
Most important is communicating with God and asking Him to speak to you through His Word!
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting. James 1:5-6a (ESV)
God will often show you the exact passage that will help you. The more frequently you are in His Word, the easier it will be to find a passage that will help you! Don’t give up if it takes a little while for God to answer. Remember that even in the waiting or the silence, God is communicating. Perhaps you’re stressed and you can’t find a passage to help. Is God telling you to rest…wait? God promises to answer your prayers.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Matt 7:7-8 (ESV)
Make time for God! If you don’t have a set schedule for “meetings” with God, may I suggest you start now? I find it best to take time with God first thing in the morning. I have no excuse to ignore my time with God if I begin my day with Him. Some of you may be an afternoon or an evening person. Take the time with God when you are most alert. Don’t just give him your last five minutes. Worship wholeheartedly. He’s waiting to talk with you. Pray. Ask for wisdom. Dig into your Bible. If it’s not yet a habit, you will be amazed at the change God will make in your life through your study of Scripture.
If you want other suggestions for jump starting devotional time, feel free to email me. on Friday, we’ll talk about the role of the Holy Spirit in communicating with God. see you then!