February 28th, 1987                           "Walking and Talking with God"                                        Mrs. N. D. Daniel

Acts 9:1-16

We are taught to speak to God and to hear Him speak to us. God always wants to speak to His children. We know St. Paul’s conversion how Jesus spoke to him and told him that he was persecuting Him. Most of us have learnt this fact from the word of God that with our sins we persecute God and Jesus Christ. After God tells us that we are persecuting Him or grieving Him, He will not stop there. Sinners first speak to God and ask Him, "Lord, show me my sins." When God shows us our sins, He grants us grace to humble ourselves. We start praying humbly. St. Paul was given this teaching, to speak to God and hear God speaking to him. This experience of hearing God speaking to a converted person must continue with him all through his life. Then as Paul was praying, he began to see that a man Ananias, was coming to pray over him. God began to speak to Ananias and Ananias began to speak to God. Ananias said, "Lord, we have heard about this man Saul. He has been persecuting Thy people. He has come to Damascus to persecute us. But God spoke to him very clearly, "He is praying. Go and pray over him. I have a great plan for him." God’s plan was that he should suffer much for the name of Christ. I do not know, how many people have been asking God His plan for their lives. We must know clearly what God wants us His children to do. Even after conversion sometimes people do not easily understand what God is speaking and trying to tell them. But here we see Paul and Ananias understanding what God was speaking to them. Our minds are trained by this world’s education. So our minds tend to guide us in some other direction and Satan also will be speaking to us. But God wants to speak to us and lead us in the right direction. Then how to discern between God speaking to us and our mind’s thinking? Satan went to Jesus and said, "You jump from this high steeple and angels will bear you up in their arms." Jesus did not obey Satan. But how quickly we are seeing even some people obeying Satan. Recently Satan said, "Jump down from this running train, and one sister obeyed. Satan wants to destroy us and wants to destroy God’s kingdom, to destroy our witness and to destroy our families. So there is a caution here, from the Word that every converted person must watch and pray. And that is one of the final commandments of Jesus Christ to His disciples. "Watch and pray lest you fall into temptation."

God gives promises to His children. So many of you have got promises from God. Abraham received promises from God. God said He would bless him and his family. But He taught Abraham from the beginning to obey His voice. "Leave everything, all your people and follow Me," that is what God said. He understood that God was speaking and immediately obeyed God. God makes clear His will. When Saul was traveling along with others on the way to Damascus he was able to hear the voice of Jesus. The Word says, "My sheep will know my voice." So converted people will understand what God is speaking to them. We can hear many other voices around us. Friends will be counseling us and relatives will be advising us. God said to Ezekiel in Ezekiel 3:26 & 27, "And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house." Those who are in the habit of talking too much, they cannot hear the voice of God. But God says to His people, "You be dumb for sometime." The word of God says to His people, when you are sitting among ungodly people, you should not join in their talk and take their counsel. When Job’s friends came, they could not talk for several days with Job. But when they did talk, they did not speak God’s thoughts and God’s word to Job. God is wanting all of His children to listen to His voice and obey Him. God said to prophets, "You may be hearing many voices, but you stand erect without leaning on any side and hear what I speak. You must understand and that you must obey what I say and speak only that." Young people must be very careful. We are warned that pride will bring shame to us and half-confessions and hiding of the other half can bring even death to us. Ananias and Sapphira did that same thing. They were not open. They did not speak the truth before Peter. So the Word cautions us. When we are walking with the Lord, always our own thoughts are our enemies. God says, "My thoughts are very high." St. Paul, developed this habit of hearing God speaking to him. Till the end of his life, God was speaking to him and he was speaking to God. This art of hearing God speaking to us, all of us must learn. God has in store so many plans for us. But we do not give Him time to reveal His plans to us. Some people have wandering thoughts when they sit for prayer. Satan does not want us to hear God. But children of God discerned which was God-speaking, which was Satan-speaking. Converted King David made a mistake once. He was in the habit of asking God’s will for everything and getting answers from Him. But once he could not discern when Satan was by his side giving wrong counsel. Satan put this thought that he must number his army. He know God gave great victory over Goliath. He trusted in God and saw great success on every side. He used to ask counsel from God before he went to battle. But this time even though he was cautioned by his army commander not to count the army, he did not listen. So by disobeying God, he brought death to so many people. Our disobedience will bring death, sickness or trouble to our own people or to us. To Jeremiah God said, "I am going to make you a prophet unto nations." God fulfilled His promises to him. We need to be receiving promises from God and receive strength to obey. When we came first into this city, many people rose against this teaching about God speaking to us. The Brethren-group would not believe that God would speak to people these days. "God has finished speaking and it is all recorded in the Bible for us", they said. But my husband coming from a Brethren-background went to God and said, "Lord, when Jesus was a man He spoke to many people. In the Bible it is written You spoke to many people. Should we of this generation be deprived of hearing you speak?" Then the Lord spoke to him and said, "Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever." And He began to prove to him that Jesus was the same today. He revealed to him His power and will to heal and cast out demons. He also showed that He would send His spirit upon people as in times of old. We came into this work with promises from God that He would provide for us. So till now we never needed to borrow or steal or beg or quarrel for anything of this world. Till now God has been faithful to His promise. He will be faithful to all of you in all the promises He has given you.

We asked God how we should reply newcomers and even seniors who ask, "Why such a big prayer hall? How come there is a car here? How did you get this house?" The Lord spoke to us in Psalm 121:1. The answer, "Our help cometh from the Lord that made heaven and earth." He will not give His glory to others. So we will not say, "People are contributing." Man cannot do much. "Our help cometh from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth."

A new-comer to the Fellowship had to answer his boss who came to see this prayer hall. He asked, "From where are they getting the money?" He replied, "People give tithes. I also give my tithes." That is not the correct answer. God’s answer is, "The Lord supplies." When this work was started 52 years ago, there were no people to give tithes. We felt awkward to receive even gifts into our hands because we had not come to receive anybody’s money. Then God spoke again and said, "That is not for you, but for the work of God." So from that time God has been providing. So God will speak whenever we take our problems to Him. We should not lose this great blessing of God which He has given to us—the blessing of God speaking to us. We have to get into a closer contact with God. We need more of His presence, more of His blessing and many promises from Him. St. Paul knew the plan of God for his life. God fulfilled that plan for His glory. God’s children must hear His voice when they are at work or even on a journey. When God asks us to do a thing, He will give us strength to do it.