Using the Phone

Posted on 09/14/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:

my mom will be having cyberknife surgery (form of radiation) monday, tuesday and wednesday (sep 15-17). and she'll have some chemo in about a week or two. requesting prayers for healing, peace and comfort for her, and peace and comfort for the whole family. also, need prayers for a safe trip sunday (sep 14) for daughter and me. it's about a 10hr drive to mom's and i am pretty sure that part of the time we'll be travellin with Ike.
   –BudzGirl Polki

Pray for me to have a closer walk with the Lord. Pray that power of the Holy Spirit will bring the Words of Jesus to our memory when we come in contact with people in the world so that we can be a strong witness for Jesus, both my wife and me. Thank you and God bless all and your Ministry.
   –Yasin Wahid

"please pray for me , I am suffering adjustment depression and trying to take the positive steps to move on with my life and find ways to trust in others.
   –Veronica


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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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RIVER OF LIFE

I've got a river of life flowing out of me!
Makes the lame to walk, and the blind to see.
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free!
I've got a river of life flowing out of me!

Spring up, O well, within my soul!
Spring up, O well, and make me whole!
Spring up, O well, and give to me
That life abundantly.

BLESS THE LORD

I will bless the Lord at all times
I will bless the Lord at all times
His praise shall continually
     be in my mouth

GOD IS SO GOOD

Bless the Lord O my soul
     and all that is within me
     bless his holy name

For he has done great things
     he has done great things
     he has done great things
He's so good to me

He saved my soul
     he saved my soul
     he saved my soul
He's so good to me

He is coming soon
     he is coming soon
     he is coming soon
Bless his holy name

*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***

How many times have you heard someone say,  God told me such-and-such...  and you find yourself wondering if he really did?

How often do you hear someone say,  God told me to do thus-and-such...  but you secretly wonder if he said that at all?

And how many times have you thought that maybe God was speaking to you, but you just weren't sure if it was him, your own mind, or the enemy?

There has been endless debate over the issue of hearing the voice of God, and even over whether he still speaks to us at all outside of the words of Scripture.

Now, we've talked about this quite a bit here, and I haven't the slightest doubt in my mind that God speaks to us today. Not in new doctrines, but in things that are specific to our life. After all, he has longed from the moment of the first separating sin in the garden, to have our fellowship with him restored. And all throughout Scripture, God fellowshiped with man, and did so in the New Testament through his promised Holy Spirit, without giving even the slightest hint that he was planning to stop.

So yes, God does talk with us today. The question remains, how can I know God is talking to me or if it's just my own mind or the enemy? And how can I hear the voice of God, how can I have that two-way dialog with him?

Well, I'd like to recommend something to you. Next time you want to talk with God, just pick up the phone and make a call. And the title of my message today is, "Using the Phone."

Although I usually don't bother to read things I've written in the past, I was browsing through a few things from about six years ago, and ran across this, a mini-primer, if you will, for how to use the phone.

First you have to pick up the phone and put it to your ear.

You know, I wonder... How often do we go about our busy day without taking the time to get still in the presence of the Lord? We know we need guidance and direction, we know we need to hear from God, and yet we don t even take the time to pick up the phone.

Just sitting, standing, or kneeling in that place where we're going to meet with God, and setting our attention on him with the purpose of communing with him, opening the Bible, singing a song of praise, just saying, "Good morning Lord! I've come to spend some time with you today, to give you my first and my best." This is picking up the phone, taking that first action to fellowship with God and to hear his voice.

I'm afraid that many of us pick up the phone and, hearing the dial tone, hum along and think that we have successfully connected with the Divine.

"I said my prayers or had a time of meditation today and felt a peace. I have connected with God today." Have you really? Or have you just picked up the phone and heard the dial tone?

People in all religions hear a dial tone when they pick up the phone. As spiritual beings, we are all connected to the spiritual phone line. And when we still ourselves in prayer or meditation, we hear the humming of the spiritual dial tone.

Some have decided that it is beneficial to hum along with the tone. They call this the "Universal Sound." Entire religions and systems of spiritual practice have been formed around the dial tone.

And yet, as much as this is just the beginning, most people don't even go that far. The few who do often think they are highly spiritual and enlightened, because they experience the dial tone.

If it were to be called for what it is, they might say, "The dial tone is so cleansing and refreshing; it is the very voice of God." After all, if you listen very carefully, you just might be able to hear all sorts of things in the dial tone.

Some go a bit further and actually dial a number. These are the deeply-spiritual people. They may use tarot cards, crystal balls, or other forms of divination. They may pray to a false god. They may even knowingly pray to demons or satan himself.

Whatever they do, they realize that the dial tone, the "attuning of one's self to the spiritual," if you will, is only the beginning of a journey.

Now, many say it doesn't matter which number you dial, as long as you use the phone. Just picking up the phone, listening for the dial tone, and dialing any number you choose is the important thing, and whoever answers will be wise and trustworthy enough to hold you life and your future in their hands.

But this is insanity. If you really do want to connect to some random spiritual force, then just dial any old number. But if you want to connect with God, any old number just won't do. If you want to connect with the one true and living God, you must dial HIS number.

And unlike your physical phone, when you connect with someone on your spiritual phone, you let that person come inside of your life, and they then have the power to take control.  So it is VERY important you know with WHOM you are making spiritual contact.

I realize that most of you here today realize this. You know that there is only one way to God. You believe in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. But perhaps there are those here today who believe that all religions and systems of belief are valid, and that you can connect with God, or the "higher power," through any method that is suitable to you.

But Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me."  (John 14:6)

We can't just pray to God and expect him to hear us. There is only ONE way to connect with the Father, only ONE phone number that reaches the ONE God, and that is through his Son, Jesus Christ.

So let's go beyond just listening to the dial tone, realizing there IS a spiritual realm, and let's ponder that there are many numbers, and they all ring different lines, and let's make certain we're calling on the true and living God, for Satan masquerades as an angel of light, and will not hestitate to pick up his phone when you call and say, "God speaking, how may I help you today?"

Even in the Christian arena, there are lots of books and teachings that promote various types of mysticism and new age practices. They use chants, visualizations, repetative sounds, and various types of self-hypnosis and altered states to supposedly connect with God.

But this goes back to the number we dial. And to know God's number, we have to look it up in the spiritual phone book.

Throughout Scripture, there are plenty of names listed of all sorts of deceptions, deceivers, demons, and false gods. And their numbers, while not explicitly listed, are aluded to. Basically, it's quite easy to connect with someone besides God. All you have to do, once again, is pick up the phone and dial.

But to connect with God, we need to dial the number he left for us.

In John 4:24, Jesus says, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

In Jeremiah 19:13, God says, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."

And in 2 Chronicles 7:14, God promises, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Jesus talks about prayer, about praying for God to hear and not man. He says not to be like the hypocrites who are trying to look holy and who think they will be heard because they use lots of holy-sounding words. He tells us not to be like the heathen who think they will be heard because they recite prayers.

But he reflects the rest of Scripture, which spells out for us God's number.

We must worship him in spirit and in truth. We must seek after him with all our heart. We must humble ourselves and turn from wickedness to live lives that are pleasing to him.

The Bible tells us that God loves a humble, contrite spirit. He is close to those who are lowly in heart. He delights in those who do not think themselves great and imagine themselves entitled.

There isn't any magical formula for reaching God. Well, actually, there are a LOT of magical formulas for reaching God, but they all ring the wrong number.

We dial the right number when we come to God humbly, just seeking to fellowship with him on his terms according to his Word. So knowing his Word is vital for growing in our relationship with God. Every single word in Scripture is part of God's phone number. Read it. Meditate upon it. Memorize it. And engrave it on your heart by puting it into practice.


Jesus told his disciples that many would come in that day and say, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name? And in your name cast out devils? And in your name heal the sick?" And he will say, "Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you."

Just saying the name of Jesus or claiming we follow him is not the way we dial his number. Even having a great healing and deliverance ministry does not guarantee we know and talk with God. Rather, we must come to him on his terms, otherwise we are just workers of iniquity, since our own righteousness is as filthy rags; and we must do his will instead of what we want to do or are hoping he will bless.


So how do we dial God?

We pick up the phone when we spend quiet time with God.

We put the phone to our ear when we still ourselves and focus our attention on the Lord.

We hear a dial tone, which is a calm, spiritual sound that brings a sense of peace.

We dial a number when we reach out beyond ourselves in search of contact with another spiritual being.

And we connect with God when we dial the number of his Son, Jesus Christ, on his terms according to his Word.


We cannot dial his number if we are holding on to the numbers we personally like.

We cannot dial his number if we refuse to dial the numbers he gives us in the way he tells us to dial.

We cannot dial his number if we insist on dialing it in the order we think is best.

Many today seem to think, "God put us on this earth to enjoy life. He's not some power-hungry dictator who is going to demand I either dial the numbers HIS way or burn in hell."

And so they dial the numbers their own way, if they dial them at all. And they connect with some being who pretends to be God. And they are deceived, as they walk the wide road that leads to destruction.

To connect with the Father, for him to know your name, to avoid hearing him say, "I never knew you," for you to hear his voice and follow where he leads, you must...

Pick up the phone in daily quiet time with God, reading his Word, worshiping him, speaking with him, and being quiet before him.

Listen for the dial tone, until you know that you have a connection in the heavenlies, not thinking about everything else and rushing off, but waiting on the Lord.

Dial God's number, surrendering everything in your life in full love and obedience to Jesus Christ and his will and Word.

And then you must wait.

"I HEARD GOD SPEAK!!!"

"Really? What did he say?"

"He said, 'Riiiiing! Riiiiing! Riiiiing!'"

Oh yes, you must wait for God to ANSWER.

If you're not going to wait for God to answer the phone, why bother picking up the phone in the first place? Your whole purpose for picking up the phone is to have that desperately-needed time of intimate communion with God.

He might answer before the first ring. Or you may not hear his direction in a matter for months or years. But it's important to realize that God operates on HIS time table, not ours.

So wait upon him in his presence in full surrender, humbling yourself before him, laying all else aside, laying everything in your life and heart before him on the spiritual altar, holding nothing back.

And wait upon the Lord until he answers you from heaven. When he does, you will know that you know that you know that you have had a real and life-changing encounter with the True and Living God.

"But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)


*** listen to the audio for the message closing and altar call ***