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Sunday, April 15, 2018

How Does God Speak Today?

Does God Still Speak in Dreams and Visions?

In the Old and New Testaments, God spoke in dreams and visions. 

Does He still do that today? 

Short answer: God does whatever He wants. 

He can and does use dreams and visions today, but not as often as in early church history. 

Why? 

1. The Bible is complete and it is an indisputable source of truth.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17  

2. God typically used dreams and visions to speak to prophets and apostles so they could transmit His truth to His people. Those messages became part of Scripture. Now, leaders, teachers, and pastors transmit God’s message by teaching Scripture. 
See Romans 15:4 and Hebrews 4:12.

3. When God speaks today in dreams or visions, it’s for specific instruction, guidance, warning, or encouragement for an individual, group, or church. It's not Scripture (not meant for the Body of Christ as a whole) and should be cautiously tested.(1) 
See Acts 10:1-15.(2) 
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(1) 1 Corinthians 14:29 speaks of prophecy in general, but it would apply to dreams and visions as well. 
(2) This passage gives an example of two types of visions: The first given to an individual for his specific situation, the second given to an apostle for instruction to the whole Body of Christ. The first is a type of vision that may happen today. The second is a type of vision that ended when Scripture was completed.


Bible Study

Does God Still Speak in Dreams and Visions?

1. We must realize that there are false visions as well as legitimate visions.

Where do false dreams and visions originate?

Jeremiah 23:16-18: This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ 18 But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word? 

Verse 18 is key. Now that Scripture is complete, our most reliable source of information is God's Word. 

Ezekiel 13:1-9: Then this message came to me from the Lord: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the false prophets of Israel who are inventing their own prophecies. Say to them, ‘Listen to the word of the Lord. 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: What sorrow awaits the false prophets who are following their own imaginations and have seen nothing at all!’ ... 6 Instead, they have told lies and made false predictions. They say, ‘This message is from the Lord,’ even though the Lord never sent them. And yet they expect him to fulfill their prophecies! 7 Can your visions be anything but false if you claim, ‘This message is from the Lord,’ when I have not even spoken to you? 8 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because what you say is false and your visions are a lie, I will stand against you, says the Sovereign Lord. 9 I will raise my fist against all the prophets who see false visions and make lying predictions, and they will be banished from the community of Israel.

2. Look at each of these dreams or visions and note the purpose and meaning. 

Which were for individual or group guidance? Which were messages for all of God’s people, part of God’s unfolding message of Scripture? 

Does God Still Speak in Dreams and Visions?
Abraham : Genesis 15:1-16

Abimelech: Genesis 20:1-7 

Jacob: Genesis 28:10-17 

Joseph: Genesis 37:1-11 

Pharaoh's cupbearer and baker: Genesis 40 

Pharaoh: Genesis 41 

Samuel : 1 Samuel 3 

The Midianite and Amalekite armies: Judges 7:12-15 

Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14

Nebuchadnezzar: Daniel 2; 4 

New Testament Dreams and Visions 

Zacharias: Luke 1:5-23 

Joseph: Matthew 1:20-24; 2:13 

Pilate's wife: Matthew 27:19 

Ananias: Acts 9:10-15

Cornelius Acts 10:1-6 

Peter : Acts 10:9-15 

Paul: Acts 16:9-10, Acts 18:9-11, 2 Corinthians 12:1-6 

John: Revelation 1

If you want to “cheat” and read a synopsis of each dream and vision, check out Got Questions: Dreams & Visions.

copyright 2018, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Sunday, March 25, 2018

One Day We'll Know the Rest of the Stories

So Many Wonderful, Intriguing God Stories in Matthew 27

I love stories about God’s intervention in people’s lives, whether dramatic or simple.  I imagine we’ll hear some wonderful stories in heaven. 

 For example:  

1. Did Pilate’s wife, who had a dream about Christ’s innocence, later give her life to Him?  

Matthew 27:19: Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: "Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night." 

2. How many who yelled “Crucify Him! His blood is on us and on our children!” later were saved by that precious blood?

Matthew 27:24-25: When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” 25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”  

3. How many soldiers who fell to their knees mocking Jesus later fell to their knees proclaiming Him Savior? 

Matthew 27:28-29: They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.
 
So Many Wonderful, Intriguing God Stories in Matthew 27 4. How many who beat and crucified Christ later were healed by His stripes and forgiven by His crucifixion? 

Verse 54 gives a hint: Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!"  

5. Barabbas was pardoned instead of Christ. Did he ever accept Christ's eternal pardon?

Matthew 27:16-26:
verse 20: But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. verse 26: But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

6. Simon of Cyrene took up Christ’s cross and followed Him on the road to Golgotha.

Did he ever take up his Cross and follow Christ spiritually? 

Matthew 27:32: As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.   

A single day in history, a single chapter in Scripture, and so many God stories that will one day thrill our hearts.

https://biblelovenotes.blogspot.com/2017/09/let-god-write-your-story.html

Take some time this coming week to remember all the God stories in your family. You might enjoy reading this 1-minute devotion: Let God Write Your Story.


https://biblelovenotes.blogspot.com/2013/03/prophetic-whispers.html

Have you recognized the foreshadowing of Christ in the person of Moses?  This 1-minute devotion gives a glimpse: Prophetic Whispers.  



copyright 2018, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
 


Sunday, March 18, 2018

To Whom Much Is Given


To whom much is given, much is required.

God takes into account our knowledge, opportunities, and skills whenever judging our actions.

Scripture states this as a warning:

Luke 12:48: When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.

But Scripture also states it as a privilege:

Ephesians 2:10: we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God gives us knowledge so we will walk in wisdom.

He gives us skills and opportunities so our service to His kingdom can be enjoyable, meaningful, and effective.

We can choose to be the faithful servants or the unfaithful servant described in the parable of the talents.

Whether street cleaner or executive, store owner or homemaker, every resource, skill, and opportunity is a gift from our Lord.

Let’s use them for His glory!
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https://biblelovenotes.blogspot.com/2013/04/waste-or-invest.html 
You might also enjoy this 1-minute devotion: 4 Ways to Develop Your God-Given Gifts.





Bible Study

1. When we know the Lord and understand His Kingdom purposes, we have a responsibility. Much is required of us.


Luke 12:47-48: The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. 

2. What a wonderful privilege to have God design good purposes for each of us according to our gifts and personalities!

Ephesians 2:10:
New International Version: For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

New Living Translation: For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

But it's a privilege with responsibilities attached.

Colossians 3:23-24: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

3. Are you serious about using your skills, knowledge, and experiences for God's purposes? 
This doesn't mean you must have a ministry career. It means that no matter what you do, you do it for the glory of God. You intentionally think about how your words and actions impact those around you. You do your best to be a faithful representative of Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:31: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Peter 4:10-11: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
  
copyright 2018, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com