"Forever And Ever, Amen"

“Forever And Ever, Amen”

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

As many know, I love music. I have loved music since my earliest memories. Thanks to my 11 year older sister, I fell in love with Elvis at a very early age.

My music tastes over the years have sort of branched out and developed from Rock to Classical to Big Band to Jazz to Bluegrass to traditional style Country. I don’t like everything in each of those genres though. I am drawn to certain artists in each one.

Probably the last area of music for me to immerse myself in has been Country. I have a couple of longtime close friends that are Country enthusiasts, particularly towards the more traditional style.

Me too.

As far as Country I like: Buddy Jewell, Randy Travis and George Strait. I like a few others but, primarily, if I’m to listen to Country it’ll be these guys. (If you’re interested in checking out a good online traditional/classic country music station try here — I listen to it a fair amount.)

I’ve also read the biographies and autobiographies of most of my favorite artists. I find it fascinating to enter into the lives and persona of the artist. That way, I get a good feel for the music through an understanding of the artist.

As an aside, I feel this same aspect applies to reading the Bible. To get a good feel for the written material it is most beneficial to come to an understanding of the person doing the writing. This is so true of the Apostle Paul … especially when reading Romans, Galatians and Ephesians. Without knowing the biblical writers you fall prey to the possibility of misconstruing the intent and meaning of what is being conveyed.

So …

I’m in the process of reading the autobiography of Randy Travis: Forever and Ever, Amen. What an interesting read it is. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. If you like Randy Travis it would be well worth it to read it. Through reading his book I’ve come to an even greater appreciation for the man himself.

I’m not going to rehearse his life story for you. But, I want to give you one line from the book that is brilliant. I won’t give you any lead-in information since I just want you to grasp the statement in itself. —

“Well, it’s hard to hear from God if you don’t know His Word.”

There’s nothing earth shattering in that sentence of itself … except for the powerful truth of what he said. To “hear from God” one must “know His Word.”

I can’t tell you how many times people have given me a “word from the Lord” that don’t even know the simple basics of what the Scriptures, in their entirety, say. I have been dumbfounded during conversations with people with special insight from God (quote unquote) who have never ONCE read the Bible during their many years of “knowing God.”

And … I’m not saying that reading the Bible ONCE is good enough. It’s not. Especially considering the many, many years of salvation many claim to have. We don’t have that kind of shallow, short term relationship with any one else EXCEPT God. I fear we know our favorite movie better than our “favorite” Book.

How can anyone know if what they’re “hearing” from God is actually from Him if they don’t even know much of what He has already given us to “hear” in His Word?

I’m not talking about (and neither are these people, for the most part) actually hearing the voice of God with our ears. Rather, we’re talking about hearing from God in the inner man, the spiritual aspect of man. In other words, with a certain level of spiritual hearing apart from physically hearing from God.

When conversing with folks who claim to be believers we need to do a couple of things:

First: Determine the spirit which is emanating from the person. Interestingly, Paul ends his book to the Galatians with a specific admonition: “Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” {Galatians 6:18}

There’s a very important underlying theme in Galatians dealing with the spirits of those perpetuating the mess that was unfolding amongst the Galatians — primarily through the Judaizers. They had a wrong spirit.

Second: Throw out questions in a covert manner to ascertain the knowledge a person may or may not have concerning the Word of God. It’s not unfair to assume that folks “hearing from God” should have a fairly good knowledge of the Word He already gave us to hear. I’m very dubious concerning folks that are hearing from God but don’t know the Word itself.

Back to the book …

I’m sure many folks can, and do, pick apart the life of Randy Travis. It hasn’t been pretty. But through the humbling experiences of his life, he has come to understand a childlike concept — that in order to “hear from God” one should at least “know His Word.”

I’ll trust a “word from the Lord” coming through a man like Randy Travis rather than a whole bunch of self-righteous, sanctimonious, better-than-thou sort of believers that don’t know the Word as well as Randy Travis does. He at least reads it … regularly.

And …

Before casting stones at a Randy Travis, let’s not forget how God used some of our favorite heroes of the Bible: Noah, Abraham, Judah, David, Solomon, Peter …. All men who had actually heard Words from the Lord but were as human and normal as any one of us.

Have you ever thought about why we like these Bible heroes of ours? Maybe because none of them walked on water … except Peter - and he sank.

Let’s be real folks. Hear from God in His Word. Don’t be looking for special delivery messages from God that you can “share” with others. That sort of talk is more about exalting self than it is anything else.

Oh, and by the way. That last little paragraph is a special word I got from the Lord just for you.

He told me so ;-)