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What Determines What I Hear? - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
August 1, 2023 12:00 am

What Determines What I Hear? - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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August 1, 2023 12:00 am

When we pray, we often talk and talk. But do we stop to listen for the still, small voice?

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, August 1st. A biblical perception of God is essential to correctly interpret what he's saying. Let's evaluate our spiritual mindset as we consider the question, What determines what I hear? The greatest influence, the first influence, oftentimes the most lifelong influence of a person's concept of God comes from their father. We don't want to assume that responsibility, but it's already there whether we assume it or not. All of us have been highly influenced in our image of what God is like and our viewpoint of him by our fathers are some authority in our life very, very early.

Now we've described this before and I want to reiterate it for just a moment. When you and I were born, we had a grid system. Into that grid system was placed either positives or negatives in our minds so that we accepted, not volitionally, but unconsciously we accepted, we accepted the viewpoint of ourselves as others told us what we were like. We accepted the viewpoint of God by what we saw in that male authority or what we were taught early in life. So that many of us, all of us, everybody has received into their mental grid system, attitudes, ideas, concepts about God. They never chose to necessarily believe, but they were fed to them as children.

And then they were added by school teachers and Sunday school teachers and preachers and pastors depending upon the approach that pastor made or the approach that Sunday school teacher made or the ideas about God that mother gave or the ideas about God that father gave or the way that father acted toward that son or that daughter. And I'm asking you today, is the God you're listening to the God of this book or is it a God that you've been pre-programmed by and with that is not the God of the Bible? Which God are you listening to? When you talk to the Lord and you bring your heartaches and your hurts and your fears and your anxieties to him, what do you hear?

Do you hear God saying, that's all right. I understand how you feel. I've been there. I know how you're hurting and I know why you're hurting.

I understand exactly why you blew it yesterday. And I want you to know that I love you and you can tell me all about it. Or do you come to a God and you say, Lord, I hate to tell you this as if he didn't know already. I hate to tell you this. I'm really ashamed to come to you. I know I don't even have any business coming to you. I feel so guilty and so condemned. And if you don't forgive me, Lord, I understand I've been so many times with the same situation.

I know I don't have any business coming to you again. Please forgive me, God. Just forgive me one more time.

God, please forgive me. Is that the kind of God you're going to as a counselor? Listen. Understanding counselor—let me tell you something. An understanding counselor, when you unload the garbage of your life or the hurts of your spirit or the frustrations and anxieties and fears out of your life, God doesn't hurl that condemnation, wreaking guilt on top of you.

Listen. Every person needs a counselor before whom they can just open it all up and tell the whole truth about themselves with perfect confidence that the counselor won't hurl back. Someone that you may be able to spout off all of your anger and all of your rejection and get it all out of your system on one person, but never hurl back. Never get on the defense.

Never feel rejected. Everybody needs that kind of a counselor. Someone you can't hide from—see, you can't hide from God.

He knows everything. Is that the kind of counselor you come to, one who is understanding? Or do you come to one who is insensitive? Well, you knew better in the first place.

Don't come to me with the same old stuff. You see, we may not say it quite that harshly. We may not see God saying it that way, but the way we come to him under condemnation and guilt and rejection by him because our behavior hasn't matched up to what we believe he expects of us, we are not listening to an understanding counselor. We hear this insensitive God whose standard is holiness and righteousness and justice and whose hand of punishment is about to be released on you at any moment. If I see my father as an understanding counselor who can take anything I can give him, who can hear me weep, who can hear me hurl my anxieties or my animosities or my anger, who can lovingly put his arms around me and say, Everything is going to be all right.

I want to tell you, that's the God of this book. He's not insensitive. The next one. A generous provider. When you come to the Lord, bring him your petition, your request, what do you hear?

Do you hear him say, Great. Remember my promise? That I'll provide all your needs according to my riches in glory through my son, Jesus Christ. I take great pleasure in prospering my children. If you'll just give, it'll be given back to you again.

Good measure, pressed down, shaken together. I love cheerful givers. Is that the kind of father you hear? Or when you come to this generous provider, do you hear rather a reluctant provider? And in the background, when you're talking to God, you hear the calculating machine going all the time. God has his scratch pad out. How much he gave you yesterday, what he's blessed you with so far, what you did with it. And he's trying to decide whether to give you $49.68 or $49.67.

Generous provider? He talks about abundance. And the reason oftentimes we don't have what we need is because we're not praying to the God of the Bible. We are praying to the God that somebody has wrongly programmed us to pray to. A God who's chinchy, a God who's a little bit greedy, a little bit stingy.

That's not the God of this book. And if I come to him with a financial need or any kind of need, and I do not see him as a generous provider, I'm going to come with two strikes against me. My faith is already faltering. I'm going to have a problem being able to even receive the blessing of God. And all I'm asking for is what I think I deserve.

And the truth is I'm all mixed up because I don't deserve anything that has nothing to do with it. I'm coming out of grace. I'm asking God to bless me out of the infinite resources of a gracious God, a God of grace and love and mercy, not a God who is chinchily checking out the pad to see what I gave him. What kind of God are you listening to? The God who says, can't wait to bless you tomorrow. Or do you get up tomorrow morning thinking, well, I'm just going to make it today?

Listen, my friend, we said in the very beginning, the first thing that matters is my relationship. We are not the enemies of God, but the children of God. And the story of the prodigal son, the emphasis of that passage is this is the response of the Heavenly Father to a rebellious, indifferent, proud rebel of a son. And what do we see in that chapter, the 15th chapter of Luke? We see Almighty God running down the road, grabbing his smelly son who'd been slopping the hogs and saying to his servants, bring forth the robe, sandals for his feet, a ring for his finger, kill the fatted calf. My son who was lost is alive and back.

Hallelujah, we're going to have the biggest party we have ever had. My son has come home. Listen, you're a child of God. You don't come to him as a stingy provider. You come to him as a generous provider. And as my faith is, so shall my blessing be. If I come to him and I see him as one who's chinchy, as one who's calculating just how much he has to bless me with and get by with his own principles, then my friend, I won't receive the blessings of God. I won't receive the prosperity of God. I will not be able to enjoy what God has provided already because I'm coming not in faith but in doubt. I'm talking to the wrong God and I have a wrong perspective on my God. If I see him wrongly, I will hear the wrong message. And then, instead of a generous provider and a reluctant provider, a faithful supporter.

Now what's the opposite of that? Inconsistent. You know what that means, a faithful supporter? It means, friend, that God Almighty is on your team.

That's what that means. He is a faithful supporter. When everybody else has left you, you can count on him. When nobody else is willing to support you, he's always there. A faithful supporter, trustworthy, reliable, consistent, persistent. You can depend on him when you can't depend on anybody else. You can bet your life that the God of this book is a faithful supporter of his children.

Is that the kind of God you hear when you come to him saying, Lord, things are really tough and I just need a little help. I need some support in this area. Do you hear this loving supporter, this faithful supporter say, I'm right in there with you. Just hang in there. I'm with you. All of my sovereignty, all of my omnipotence, all of my omniscience is at your disposal. We're in this thing together. You have my support.

I'm on your team. Is that the kind of Father you listen to, or do you hear one who may be there, Lord? Are you there, Lord? I'm not hearing anything today, God. Why do I keep talking? You don't say anything. You're talking to the wrong God, the God of this book.

What does he say? His mercies are faithful every morning. I don't care if you get up at 12 or one or one second past midnight, mercies are there. They're there all the way till midnight.

They're there all the time. God is on your team. Listen, when you come to him, beseeching him for anything and you see your God, listen, think about this. You don't have to come to him crawling and thinking, oh, I hope I'm coming. I want to say the right things.

Our gracious heavenly Father created the ends of the earth. You don't have to come like that. You just come knowing he's on your team.

I don't care where you are. You say, well, suppose I'm out here in left field. He's still on your team. You say, well, suppose things not turning out right for me and I've really blown it. He's still on your team.

He's still supporting you. You say, you haven't mentioned a thing about sin. You're absolutely right. I want you to think about this. If the God of this book is a loving father, if the God of this book is an intimate friend, a patient teacher, a gentle guide, an understanding counselor, a generous provider, and a faithful supporter, if he's that kind of God and he is, you say, well, where does sin fit in?

Here's where it fits in. When I willfully sin against God or if it slips up on me or whatever the situation may be, what do I have? I still have a loving father. I still have an intimate friend. I still have a patient teacher and a gentle guide and understanding counselor. They haven't changed. I still have a generous provider and a faithful supporter.

Nothing's changed. You say, it looks like to me you're letting us get by with sin. Well, first of all, it's not mine to let you get by. Secondly, do you know anybody who's ever gotten by with sin? You know what I want you to see?

That the God of this Bible who responds to your sin does not respond by trying to destroy you. But he's coming as a loving father. What does a loving father do to a child who's misbehaved?

You can throw him out of the house. What does an intimate friend do when you've broken your trust? What does a patient teacher do when you failed? Or a gentle guide do when you get off track? Or an understanding counselor when you hurl your animosities and your vengeance and your anger and your rejection? What does a generous provider do when you come afraid to ask? And what does an understanding or faithful supporter do when you're in need?

You know what the problem is? There's so many people in this country who've heard so many negative sermons, who've heard so many sermons that have put them in bondage, in emotional imprisonment, in spiritual prisons. The church today is weak. It is faithless. We're not excited about Jesus Christ. We're not glorifying God. We're not hearing the truth. Therefore, we're not living the truth.

Therefore, we're not responding to other people and the truth. And the people in this nation are not getting the truth about who God is. I've not belittled sin or its effect because, you see, a loving father's going to chastise a disobedient son, but he's going to do it in the spirit of love. A patient teacher is going to make the kids stay after school until he learns it, but he's still going to be patient. A gentle guide is not going to throw him off the mountain because he got off track.

He's going to get him back, lead him back to the right path. You know why there's so much rejection among so many of God's people and therefore so many of them feel so defeated and inadequate? Our view of God is all messed up. Now, listen to me.

If you'll take those seven positive words that describe God. My friend, please don't lay this somewhere. Get this in your spirit. When you kneel to pray, if necessary, write in your Bible, open it up and just tell God, Lord, I'm coming on a little different basis today. I'm coming to you as my loving father and intimate friend and patient teacher and my gentle guide and my understanding counselor.

Listen, just go right down the list. I'm going to tell you what will happen. Your first prayer experience will be different than the one before if you can come to him the way he wants you to approach him.

And what you hear when you pray will be different than what you've been listening to. There's one other area and that's our attitude toward him. First of all, our relationship with him. Secondly, our understanding of him. And thirdly, our attitude toward him. And my attitude toward him is greatly, listen, it greatly affects what I hear. What is the proper attitude? Well, if I come to him as a rebellious, indifferent, proud, egotistical, self-sufficient kind of person, what am I going to hear?

I'm not going to hear much of anything. In fact, because I can't hear him. And sometimes people tell me, here's what God told me.

And it's so evident that God, as we've said before, will never speak in contradiction to his word. What is the proper attitude? What is the attitude that will make it possible for me to hear the truth? Three simple things.

There may be more, but I believe these three are basic. First of all, my attitude needs to be submissive. I come to you, Father, submissive to your will, whatever you're saying.

I just want you to know in advance, whatever you say, the answer is yes. You know what I'm going to hear? God's going to be able to tell me what to do next, because I've already told him that I'm willing to do it. Secondly, my attitude must be one of trusting. I'm coming to you, Father, trusting that you'll guide me in the right direction and do the right thing.

You are never because you love me, lead me in the wrong direction, so I'm just coming trusting you today. And thirdly, thankful. My attitude is thankful. Lord, I'm thanking you for the good things. I'm thanking you for yesterday, and yesterday, from all human perspective as a wife. But I just want to thank you, because you're God, and because you're loving Heavenly Father, an intimate friend, and a patient teacher, a gentle guide, because you're a generous provider.

I know that my need yesterday that you're meeting it today, and I want to thank you for that. The attitude with which I come to him is going to greatly determine what I hear God say. And if I come to him with a submissive spirit, trusting him, what am I going to hear?

I'm going to hear the truth from a loving Father who loved me enough to stretch his only begotten Son on a cruel Roman cross to say to me, I love you this much. Now, I simply want to ask you a question. Listen to me carefully. I don't know what you've been hearing, but I want to ask you if your relationship is right. Is your relationship to him right? Secondly, is your viewpoint of God right? And thirdly, is your attitude right? If those three things are right, you're going to hear the truth. Thank you for listening to part two of What Determines What I Hear. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-01 03:42:32 / 2023-08-01 03:49:48 / 7

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