Second Guessing God – Self Deception

As humans, we have fallen short, made mistakes, said something we shouldn’t have, compromised our integrity, committed a crime, Second Guessing Godhave addictions, and failed. Generally, in these circumstances, we hear ourselves saying, ‘I blew it, God will not have anything else to do with me’. People are self-righteous, and self-condemning thinking we know how God will respond to our failings. We feel God is far from us and our mistakes have created a gulf between our Savior and us. We often second guess God, however, – the Lord clearly expresses that He thinking is not like ours,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

As humans, we stumble and fall, and as Donnie McClurkin sings, ‘we fall down, and we get back up’. It did not say we get back up on our own. The truth is we are helped up by the hand of God. God does not run from us when we fall, he runs to us. If we run away, he runs after us. He has always been with us. Jesus parable stated that the sheepherder went after the one stray sheep and left the ninety-nine alone to recover the one. He did so because he wanted to save the stray, he wanted to restore it to the flock  (Matthew 18:12; Luke 15:4). God works in the same way, He wants to retrieve lost, misguided people and He accomplishes this through (his earthly disciples) people. He may send someone to give you a word of knowledge, to sure you up at your lowest moment, to encourage you, to dust you off and help you recover.

God created us and knew what we would go through before we were a twinkle in our mother’s eyes before our parents were born and before the earth came to be. He knows when we will succeed and walk in our destiny, and he knows when we will fail. He knows when we are a spiritual mess. He knows when we will and will not be obedient to the Word or depend on Him. He knows we will experience hardship and wrongdoings, some brought on by ourselves and others external from our control.

God does not exempt us from hardships and tragedy. He will work with us through theseDependence3 times to allow us to learn to trust in Him. He allows adversity to mold and shape us. Like a child learning to walk, we must let them try to stand and walk on their own. They will stumble and fall, we will pick them up and steady them, and then let them go. We are there with our children and God is here with us.

Once we get this in our spirit. We can forge ahead, stay in prayer, and know ‘God’s Got Us’, no matter how bad we think we are or what we have done. We’re never alone in our trials and tribulations. It is through adversity that God gets our attention, delivers us from our pride, reveals our weaknesses and strengths, increases our hatred for sin, shows His faithfulness, strengthens our faith, removes pride and self-centeredness, prepares us for future service and enables us to comfort others facing adversity.

“Adversity helps us build our faith in Him. Adversity molds us into Christian Gods mercy3Warriors. God does not see us as we see ourselves. He sees a saint sometimes struggling, sometimes falling, but justified, redeemed, forgiven, and reconciled to Him. He sees a saint full of His unconditional love, indwelt by His presence, sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, whose name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. He sees someone in whom adversity can never take up permanent residence”. (John Gill)

God can and does take our tragedies and turn them into a blessing. He knew Jacob was imperfect, he stole his brother’s birthright, swindled others, lied, and cheated, yet when Jacob repented, he changed his name to Israel (which means new beginnings). He takes his imperfect people; the single sheep straying away from the flock and restores us. He blesses us through our newly found obedience and dependency upon him as our Father, our Lord, and our Savior.

God does not want us wallowing in our sins, our mistakes, our poor decisions, and offenses. He knew we would commit them just as he knew Peter would commit the worse offense possible, denying Him three times and setting the crucifixion in motion.

When we fall, God doesn’t run away, He runs to us. When we make a mistake, He pursues us. God chose Peter even though he denied him three times. No matter what we have done, He calls us His children, just as many of our parents have called us, and just as we call our children. He helps us and protects us not because we are perfect and proved ourselves, He does so because of our relationship with Him. It is the relationship he gifted us through the crucifixion of his Son, Jesus Christ, who bore our sins.

When you feel unworthy, remember, He changed Jacobs name to Israel. He sought out the Woman at the well, a Samaritan, who had five husbands and was living with another man. She was the first person He told that He was the Messiah. All He wanted of her was for her to Call upon Him. He chose Thomas (the disciple that said he needed to feel the holesDoubting God Thomas in Jesus’ hand before he believed he was speaking to Jesus; he was nicknamed Doubting Thomas because of disbelief) to disciple 3,000 people in India after the death of Christ. All were sinners and sought after by Christ because He wants everyone to find salvation through Him. The Bible is replete with sinners that have found their way to Christ. Our God is a God of second chances. His mercy is bigger than any mistake we have made. All he asks is that we have a heart for Him. He wants us to love Him as He loves us. He wants us to depend on Him and be obedient to His Word.

We can call on the Lord, and He will save us in times of great need and in moments of silence. The only thing God asks of us is that we must receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior and repent of our sins. As a child, I always thought of repentance as acts of fire and brimstone and thought ‘to fear the Lord’ was to be afraid of an angry God, which cannot be further from the truth. It made our Lord appear as distant and retaliatory. I only wish parents would explain that He is loving and forgiving. Not as words but through His actions towards us. Repentance must never be thought of as something we must do before we can come back to God. To repent means to change directions. Repentance describes what coming to God entails, that we turn away from our sins and embrace Him. We can’t turn towards God without turning from the things He is against. In this sense, to repent implies hope. We don’t have to continue the way we’ve been going, we can turn to God.

God does not judge us the way people judge us. He doesn’t label us as defective, as the masses labeled Thomas, a.k.a. Doubting Thomas. He does not set us aside. He runs after us. He finds the sheep that lost their way. He is a God of second chances. He is faithful. His mercies are new every morning. We are justified by His grace. He is our Lord and Savior who loves us and is our salvation.

Jesus died to pay our sin debt. We cannot pay a debt that does not exist. It is not only paid off, it was finished through the resurrection of Christ.

‘It is finished.’ 
John 19:30 NKJV

We cannot second-guess God. God does not label us. God does not judge us as people do. God does not alienate us when we do wrong. God is not a fire and brimstone God. God does not leave us in our sin.

God wants everyone to receive salvation. God is a God of second chances. God pursues us. God stands with us during times of adversity. God saves us. God loves us. God is our Lord and Savior.

 

Sources

Gill, John. Exposition, Acts 2:21. http://www.biblestudytools.com
Guzik, David. Study Guide for Acts:21. http://www.blueletterbible.org
Osteen, Joel. Tape #537, God Loves Imperfect People
Stanley, Stanley. Life Principle Bible. 1 Samuel, 27-30

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Scriptures-BibleStudytools.com

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Naked Without the Armor

The Bible offers everything we need to be active Christian Warriors. It gives us spiritual authority and is our manual for living a Godly life. While in prayer this morning, something came to light. Many of us may read parts of the Bible from time to time, But we do not study what we have read. We understand what we read intellectually, but there is so much more. To understand the spiritual intent, we have to study what was read. When reading Ephesians 6:10-18, we understand we should clothe ourselves in the armor, but do not necessarily understand why we should do so, or what each piece represents. This Post will explain the what and the why. The most important point is that we are naked and vulnerable without the armor. As the adage says, ‘don’t leave home without it.’

In reading the Book of Ephesians, particularly chapter 6, we see Paul wrote to Ephesus alerting them that the enemy is always near and ready to attack. In Ephesians 6: 12, 13 NASB, he warned:

” our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”Armor2

There is no question that our struggle continues to be a war against the rulers of darkness. We can see it in our daily lives, on the news, and social media. The evil forces are in play, we see violence and hate in every aspect of life. We are in the midst of an invisible war, one that works through people. We struggle with uncertainty, fears, and doubts. Scripture makes it clear that much of our self-doubt, our difficulty in keeping healthy relationships, and many of our fears are rooted in the efforts of those same ‘spiritual forces of evil’ that plagued the Ephesians. Paul warned that we cannot be passive Christians. We cannot use the term ‘Christians’ without acting Christ-like. Christians have to exude Christ-like behavior through our actions. We must actively change our position and become Christian Warriors because we live in a time of full engagement against the evil forces of darkness. The evil one is present and works through people, he will not back down and neither can we. We are in the war, like it or not, there are no deferments. God calls for peace, and the evil one calls for chaos in all that we do. We cannot go quietly in the night, we have to rage against the evil forces that try to debilitate, paralyze and destroy us.

‘The evil one continually tries to infect us through our wounds inflicted by sinful words and actions that warp and twist our self-image’. He tells us we are unlovable, useless, hopeless, frail, weak, not good enough, and failures. He intentionally places difficulties, trouble, and chaos in our paths. He tries to destroy our inner peace and distort our harmony that should exist in our relationships with others and our surroundings.

Always be alert. It is important to recognize that we are prey to the evil forces of darkness and as in other parts of our daily living, must protect ourselves, and put on the Amor of God. The Armor of God is our invisible clothing Each morning when dressing for the day, putting on our visible clothing, is the perfect time to also put on our invisible clothing. In fact, we should begin the day with prayer and put on the Armor before getting out of bed.

The Armor

The Helmet of Salvation covers your head, mind, and eyes. 

The helmet is our invisible filter and keeps evil out of our mind. It helps our focus on the Lords will and not on sin. It helps ward off and reject harmful words and actions directed at us by others. It protects us from evil. It deflects hurtful things people say and do to us. It protects us while we live out our ‘true identity in Christ’.

The Breastplate of Righteousness protects your heart.

Righteousness is the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit that lives in us; it is a gift from God, and cannot be earned. Righteousness is much like a filter that strains out unGodly things and reinforces our desire, to be honest, trustworthy, kind, good-hearted, loving, and joyful. (Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23). It guards our mind and emotions.

The Belt of Truth holds us together. 

It keeps all the armor in place. It is like a belt or a girdle-like support strap. It supports our core. It helps keep our heart and mind focused on Christ. Without the belt of truth, we are not prepared to stand and fight. The belt represents living a life of honesty and integrity. It supports our total commitment and devotion to God Almighty.

The Sandals of the Gospel of Peace (the Good News) weaponry covers our feet.

Everywhere we walk, we walk in peace. Our footwear keeps us from hurting our feet. The gospel of peace is the Word of God that we share with others as we walk in His Word. Without the Gospel of Peace, we are barefoot and cannot walk without fear. The footwear brings ‘inner and interpersonal peace when we commit to living by God’s Word, which means forgiving those who may have harmed us.

The Shield of Faith protects us from the weaponry of the enemy. 

God gave is faith to protect ourselves from the things we cannot see and may not understand. It enables us to advance, despite adverse circumstance.

The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.  

Gives us boldness to reject and attack misinformation. We can use it to defend ourselves from things we may or may not know are wrong. The sword cuts through everything the enemy can send our way. It is the only defensive weapon we have. Everything else wards off the offensives of the evil one. The sword is the way, the truth, and the light. It is the Word of God. This sword is able to cut through every defense our enemy can raise. When wielded by us, nothing can withstand its ability to cut straight to the core and uncover the truth.

We are naked when we do not wear the Armor of God. Never go out without it. We put on a coat to protect us from the cold and our armor to protect us from the evil one.

Faith, Hope, Love, Dependency, and Obedience Synopsis

Finally, our March theme is affirmed by this Post. To be Christian Warriors we must have faith, hope, and love. When we are in a relationship with a loved one, we have faith in them, love them, are in a dependent relationship with them and are obedient to the values and intent of the relationship. Putting on the Armor of God is a faith move by which we are dependent upon the fact that it works to protect us. We are obedient in that we put the Armor on every day. We have hope that our armor will hold up and invite others to live as Christian Warriors, and for non-Christians, to receive the Lord’s salvation and join our family. Love, the most important of these, operates in faith and dependence upon the Word of God and his relationship with us.

Sources

Books:
The Full Armor of God, Larry Richards
Waging Prophetic War, Jennifer Claire

Websites:
The Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness. Bible.org, Mar. 3, 2018
The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Freebiblestudyguides.org, Mar. 3, 2018
Helping Children Put On Their Armor Through Prayer, Lisa Blair, Youngchristianwarriors.com

Images – Google Images
Scripture-Biblegateway.com

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

LOVE – Truth in Action

 

 

This month the central theme has been obedience and dependence, and today we add a third, love. I consider these three actions as defining elements in our lives.

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Two require submission and one action.

Love is one of the three things God gave us: Faith, Hope, and Love. We abide in Love through Faith and Hope. Obedience and Dependence are the vehicles in which Faith, Hope, and Love operate.

“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NLT

Obedience and dependence do not require outward interaction, they are a state of being. Love, on the other hand, requires a second party and is an action taken.

God’s love is eternal and our wellspring. It never dries up, we never have to search for the living water. He loves us and it is our place as Christians to love others.

The first step in loving others is loving yourself. The question is, if you are commanded to love your neighbor as you love yourself, how can you love others if you do not love yourself? To love others, you have to first forgive yourself for all your actual and perceived sins that haunt you. Once you have accomplished this and believe you have been forgiven, then and only then can you show God’s truth, which is love, through your actions. 

It is important to note that, we are not saved through our works, we do not live in the Old Testament dispensation. Through the New Testament, we are new creatures in Christ and live through GRACE. We cannot be saved through this action, we are saved by grace and only grace. The action is only a demonstration of our faith.

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 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.” Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT

Further, we should not misinterpret this act as a deed, it manifests itself as action. It is not a work that we do to receive Gods love, it is a gift. God loved us first, and because He loves us, we love others and act to meet their needs. We love others sharing Gods love for us through our actions.We are a branch of His tree. Our actions are demonstrations of God’s love for us.Love4

Fruit of the Spirit3Love is the most important Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22. Without agape love, Christ-centered love, we cannot show the other Fruit listed. It is through the action of Love that all other Fruit of the Spirit is given life.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

Christian love

As Christian Warriors we must all strive to love others as an action. This simply means we step out of our comfort zone to assist others in need of help; others can be a co-worker, friend, family member or stranger.

I find that when I am nudged by the quiet voice of God, I need to step out of my comfort zone. Take a moment to discover when God nudged you and caused you to pay greater attention to others. We should all become more aware and present in the moment. It is important that during these moments we take immediate action. If we do not take action, i.e. the failure to take action, you will find these moments tend to haunt you.

Practice displaying God’s love through your actions. As we do so, we become more Christ-like and mature in the Word as Christian Warriors. You’ll become the person others speak about saying, “I don’t know what it is about Sam, there’s a warmth and caring I sense when I am around him.” This means others are beginning to sense the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. It also is a sign that you are doing God’s work.

Love is truth in action!

 

From Verse-by-Verse Commentary, 1 John 3:18, by Grant Richison, June 17, 2001, BibleStudyTools.com.

Scriptures – BibleGateway.com; BibleHub.com; Bible.com

More on Fruit of the Spirit from Lisa Blair:
lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com/Posts – Change Your Filter, Hear His Voice, Feb 22, 2018; Valentine’s Day, Temporal Love, Feb 21, 2018

YoungchristianWarriors.com/From Punishment to Correction and Healing, Feb 21, 2018; Core Values Early In Life, Sept 23, 2017; Children-Fruit of the Spirit, Sept 22, 2017; Activating the Fruit of the Spirit in Children, Sept 19, 2017
Images – /bible.com/111/1jn.3.18.niv; Google Image

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox.

Blessing + Instructions = Fulfillment of Gods Promise

 

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

Galatians 5:13 NIV

I know without question, God unconditionally loves us. Remember Summer Bible Camp singing, ‘Jesus Loves Me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…’, what I didn’t know as a child was, God always blesses us, but wants it to be an interactive experience, hence the blessing is accompanied by ‘instructions for proper use’.

Most of the time, we receive the blessing, forge ahead and later ask, why is the blessing less than I expected? We see the blessing in its fullest. We acknowledge the blessing. We do not follow the instructions associated with the blessing.

If we unpack the scripture, we read:

  1. We are called to be free.
  2. We should not indulge our freedom in the flesh.
  3. We should humble ourselves.
  4. We should serve one another in love.

 

The Instructions Mean:

1. We know we are called to be free and received Jesus as our Lord and Savior on our own recognizance, we were not forced to ‘saved’, it was our own passion to desire more of God,  we chose to be saved. We think this gives us a license that emboldens us. Spiritually we are emboldened and equate it to its root, to encourage. In the flesh we are not emboldened, we translate the term as, empowered, generated by self-endowed, blazon, and self-righteous attitudes.

2. We know we should not indulge in our freedom through self-indulgence, yet becoming emboldened we forget it is not our own doing, but a gift from God, and is intended to be used to serve others, not ourselves.

3. We know we should be humble, but instead, we insert ourselves as the subject of the equation. This means we omit our Lord as the subject, rather giving ourselves the credit. Being humble takes practice and requires honesty to give credit where it is due.

4. We know we should serve one another in Love. Loving our neighbor and treating them as we treat ourselves in the Great Commandment, Jesus said, “this I leave you…”

These four steps will maximize our blessing. Yet being human, we get caught up in our own aggrandizement and forge ahead without using the instructions. How many of us have bought something and when it arrived we unpacked it, separate the parts and began putting the item together only to find that we should have read the instructions? Prayer is much the same, we can receive the prayer without applying the instructions and receive part of what God intended, or we can gratefully receive the blessing, thank God for answering our prayer, and follow his instructions to fulfill the blessing as intended.

Our problem is that we are not selfless people as God desires, we are self-absorbed people. We tend to follow the instructions but seldom through to the end. As we mature in the Word through our actions and deeds the instructions become involuntary and becomes one with us. We are free, but should not indulge the flesh, and should always be humble and loving.

Big order, but one we should work to strengthen and apply throughout the day because we will never meet perfection on earth, but we can continue to strive to be ‘on the way’.

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One practice in learning to pray is to strengthen our understanding and application by memorizing scripture.

I’ve included a few, but do not stop here, search the Bible for other scriptures to help you mature in the Word. I view this process as a lifelong commitment.

Scriptures

“We love because [God] first loved us.” John 4:1

“Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”  John 4:11-12

“Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we are dead in our transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4

 

 

 

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Scriptures-Bible.com; BibleStudyTools.com

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Change Your Filter, Hear His Voice

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My refrigerator has a water filter symbol that changes color to let me know it’s time to change the water filter. Its purpose is to remove toxins and purify our drinking water. As I ventured to the garage to get the replacement filter, God quipped, ‘filters work, write about how you can filter out the voice of the evil one and change in your life’6B8123ED-07EF-4863-A450-AD942066208C

This could be a figurative process, but my recommendation is to take out your calendars and place a weekly or monthly reminder to evaluate what happened throughout the week or month and how you approached it. It is easier to jot down the day’s events, highlights, good and bad, so at the end of the month, you have a plus/minus chart or checklist. A plus referring to Gods voice and minus to the evil ones’ voice. 1EFF2914-4406-4CC8-AA4D-F1ED7AFB8488

What are we looking for when evaluating the chart or checklist? 784A3D0E-B85D-493A-AB76-5CDA5C051C23We are looking for our level of dependency on the Lord and whether we heard his voice and instructions and acted accordingly. This is a process, but first, we must ask ourselves, do we know how to identify Gods voice because if we cannot, we cannot be obedient.

Filters have agents in them to filter our specific toxins. The Word are the agents. Our filter is the same, filtering out sin. We need to learn how to identify Gods voice and then filter out the activities of the evil ones’ impact on our lives. We must learn to avoid the wiles of evil one, known as sin. Sin is not just listed in the 10 Commandments but every one of the components of the Fruit of the Spirit. It’s our behavior and how we approach life’s situations. The toxins are the grunts of the evil one and our folly. To eradicate the toxins, we must learn to identify and listen to Gods voice.B25734C6-BAAE-4776-B03B-AB1DD6E8BAEB Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
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John 10:27 NIV

I read something that explains how sheep learn to recognize the shepherd’s voice. Lambs, baby sheep, are not born knowing the shepherd’s voice. They are conditioned to hear his voice. Initially, the lambs simply follow the flock wherever they go. Over time they become conditioned to move towards the sheepherder’s voice, they learn that his voice equates to feeding time. When sheep hear a new voice,  their conditioning begins again. “Even sheep that are introduced to a new flock will follow the other sheep until they too recognize the shepherd.” *

We must learn to differentiate between

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God’s voice, the evil one’s voice, and our own foolish folly. We must become familiar with the Word of God by reading the Bible, and studying the scriptures. Samuel, could not identify the Lords voice the first three times he called him, and Eli told him it was the Lord that had been calling him. He began to recognize the Lords voice over time. The same is true today, we must learn the Lords’s voice through trial and error until it becomes a norm.

In 1 Samuel 10:3,1-10, we see Samuel, a young bondservant of Eli’s, learning to identify God’s voice. The chapter is about Samuel’s conditioning. One night everyone was asleep, and Samuel thought he heard Eli calling. He went to him, and Eli was asleep. Samuel asked Eli, did you call master? Eli said, no. This happened two more times, each time Eli said, go back to sleep, I did not call you. The Lord called Samuel’s name a third time, again Eli told him to go back to bed, but before he left, Eli said, if He calls again, answer ‘Speak Lord, for Your servant hears.’

“Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”
1 Samuel 3:8-10, NIV

When God first spoke to Samuel he did not know His voice, he learned to recognize his voice just as the sheep learn to recognize the sheepherders’ voice. Samuel learned to recognize Gods’ voice, and we must learn to do the same.

Both the Old and New Testament informs us that our Lord wants to have a relationship with us and to do so, we must learn to hear His voice. This is not as easy as it sounds, it is a process. 31500D9A-5D1C-449C-85C2-C20490C1FACDAt times we hear the evil one mimicking the Lord’s voice nudging us to do or say something that is not consistent with the Word of God, and sometimes we follow the flock that does not belong to the Lord.

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So, the question becomes, how do we know it is Gods’ voice? We know his voice because God will never tell or suggest anything that is not consistent with His Word. This means that when you hear the quiet voice if it is not the Word of God, it is not His voice. If the voice says, call in sick and go with your friends (lying); take the change off the counter, no one will see you (stealing); look at your friends test and copy their answers (cheating); refusing to help a co-worker (lack of gentleness); lying (dishonesty); and gossiping (lack of self-control).* it is the evil one’s voice you are hearing. His commands or suggestions never impart the Fruit of the spirit 2Fruit of the Spirit or Gods’ laws. We have to learn to identify which voice we are hearing. It is not exactly black or white, there is a third voice, our own, which sends us down a pathway fit for fools.  You may ask, how do we avoid the pitfalls? The answer is, we learn His voice by reading the Bible, studying scriptures, researching commentaries, going to Bible Study and discussing the Word with others more mature in how to apply the Word of God in their lives. This is a lifelong process, but like Olympians, we may fall, stumble or fail, but we get back up and correct our weaknesses.

Changing our Filter

07579BE1-ACE8-4ED8-8686-730F7E87CF6AEach week or month, recap your experiences that you have written down. How often did you identify the quiet voice as the evil one, how often was it the folly of your own making, and how often was it the quiet voice of God. Applying this process provides you the tools to manage your behavior while eliminating negative behavior. This process is similar to the steps Harm Reduction uses  where you identify the attributes you want to maintain as those you want to eliminate.

As you are assessing whose voice you are hearing and following, you will begin to quickly acknowledge whose voice it is. If it’s the Lord, you will follow him, if it is another voice you will reject it and move on. And, as you read scriptures in the Bible, you will more readily begin to understand how the Word applies to our daily activities and become stronger Christian Warriors.

Changing the filter gives you the power to eliminate the toxins that make you ill, weak and subject to the wiles of the evil one. We learn to say and do what is right, not because people are watching, but because we are Gods’ children. We learn to be obedient and not act in a way that is comfortable to the flesh; as the Bible says, ‘not as men-pleasers but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from our heart’. (Eph 6:5,6)

The voice we follow directs our path. Our goal is to become active in the Word, act obediently, and ultimately become wholly dependent on the Word of God. As we regularly change our filter, we will find fewer toxins existing in our lives. God’s voice will be acknowledged earlier and we will become more dependent upon his love for us. Our relationship blossoms and we become radical Christian Warriors.

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Note, I mentioned in yesterdays Post that God often speaks to us three times to get our attention, this is another case of speaking three times before Samuel identifies his Voice and acknowledges the Lord.

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Scriptures-Bible.com; Bible Studytools.com

* Learning to Recognize the Shepherd’s Voice. Carol Pipes. ww.christianitytoday.com. 2/21/2018

See my Post, From Punishment to Correction and Healing for more about the Fruit of the Spirit.

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Caught in The Thought

Have you ever been caught saying something under your breath, only to be ‘called out’ by a person nearby, and your immediate response is, ‘I didn’t say that’! God is somewhat like us, only he hears our inner thoughts. In fact, I believe at times he has a ‘belly laugh’ when he is focusing on us and listens in to our thoughts.

Sarah-GettyImages-171408769-57066c8b3df78c7d9e980d24Genesis 18:1-15 is one such instance when he, to use a colloquialism of the day, ‘called someone out,’ no doubt tickled and laughing. It takes place in the Story of the Three Visitors. Three Visitors visited Abraham. One says to Abraham, Sarah will have a son by next year this time. [If she was of child-bearing age, it would be believable, but she is not, Sarah was I her 90’s.] The hilarious part begins in verse nine.

“Where is your wife, Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he said. Then the Lord said, “I will surely return your way about this time next year, and Sarah, your wife, will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening from the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
Genesis 18:9-15 NIV

One visitor, the Lord, asked, where is Sarah? Abraham responded she’s in the tent. Sarah was not with the men and was listening from the tent.

Then the visitor said,  she will have a son next year this time. When she heard him, she said to herself, why now, I’m too old and so is Abraham.

The Lord asked Abraham, why did Sarah laugh and say, “will I really have a baby now that I’m too old?”

Recognizing that the Lord heard her thought, she lied and said, ‘I did not say that.’ What an internal conversation. She was most likely in a state of shock and disbelief at this time. How could someone hear her most inner thoughts? Still not fully convinced, but frightened, Sarah heard the Lord reply, “Oh, yes you did laugh.” 

Throughout the Bible, there is a reference to the fact that God hears all of our thoughts. There is nothing we voice, internal conversations, or actions we take that He does not hear or see, and yet, we think we hold secret thoughts from God.  Most of us have been put on notice by God during the course of our lives letting us know He hears and sees EVERYTHING. Like Sarah, we hear his voice say, why did you say that, or why did you do that? The Lord hears all and knows all. We, humans, are arrogant and egotistical, thinking we are smart enough to keep our thoughts to ourselves and from God.

Let’s laugh with our Lord about our immaturity and then begin to pay more attention to what we think, take control of our thoughts and shift our actions, which are given life through our self-talk. Let’s work to hold honest conversations with God. Let’s begin to pray earnestly.

In my earlier Post, The Trinity, Consecration, and Lent, we discussed the premise of Consecration and Lent. Both require we enter into prayer with God, still our minds, and have honest conversations with Him. 

Now, all humor aside, I am entering Consecration today, and the issue of dependence is weighing heavily on me. I have been in prayer about how to proceed with my Blog over the next several weeks and it seems we need further discussion about what dependence means to us spiritually. Everything we do, as Christians, rests on Jesus Christ, our cornerstone. Dependence requires radical faith.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.’
Psalms 37:5-6 ESV

Spiritual dependency does not mean sit and wait for the Lord to take over and do our work for us, it means, ask for his direction and when you hear from Him move forward. His way may not seem logical in human context, but it will forge our path and direct us to our purpose.

radicaljesusTo unpack this, we are talking about radical change. You may ask, how does this relate to Consecration or Lent?  Keeping in mind that no one can tell you what to pray about, this is a suggestion – If you plan to take part in this time of introspection, you may consider entering into prayer to discuss your radical change in becoming an active Christian Warrior with God.

Psalm 36 and 37 focuses on Radical faith. “Godly living is radically different from the way we learned to live while in the world. It requires the supernatural assistance of the Holy Spirit” because it is not part of the logical, earthly way of doing things. Living a Godly life requires that our speech, and conduct changes; that we refuse to respond with anger; that we let God fill our thoughts and avoid wickedness; that we honor commitments even when they may be personally costly to do so; that we think and speak in a way that pleases the Lord; and that we understand that righteousness actively rejects wrongdoings.

Radical faith in the Lord requires energy, perseverance, dedication, and concentration. When we enter this process, we have to be aware that the evil one will enter into attack mode because we have become active threats to his existence. We no longer aimlessly commit sin, we stop to think about what we are preparing to say or do instead of strategizing about how to circumvent what you know in your heart to be true. The evil one lives on the plots against the ungodly and we are entering the realm of godliness. Once we have radical faith, we become radical warriors.

Radical warriors walk by faith and not by sight. Radical warriors believe in God’s Word and not what they see with their eyes and feel with their senses. God’s Word is the only true reality.

Martin Luther said, “Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him. ‘In Hebrew, ‘ Be silent to God and let Him mold thee’ Keep still and He will mold thee to the right shape.”

Whether you join others in Consecration or Lent or not, it is time for all of us to enter into radical, life-changing faith with our Lord and Savior and become Radical Warriors. To accomplish this, we must enter into prayer, and as Martin Luther said, ‘be silent’ until we hear God speak to us and lead us to a place of dependency where we stand on the cornerstone of our very existence.

Images – Google Images; Rembrandt – dks.thing.net, Public Domain, Link“>

Resources – Bible.com; Hayford’s Bible Handbook, Jack Hayford, General Editor, 1998, pp. 142,43; Nelson’s Quick Reference, Warren Wiersbe, 1991, pp 330,31

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From Punishment to Correction and Healing

Healing

I was scrolling through the cable stations the other day, and I heard something that caught my attention, to paraphrase, “The Lord does not punish, He corrects. The intention of one is to destroy, and the other is to heal.” This is profound because we tend to blame God for punishing us when things do not go the way we want them to go. We are audacious enough to accuse the Lord of punishing us, when the reality is, we are looking for someone or something to blame.

2 Peter 3:9 (CJB) states that God does not punish, “the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some people think of slow; on the contrary, he is patient with you; for it is not his purpose that anyone should be destroyed, but that everyone should turn from his sins.”Yahuwshuwa-synagogue

The important concepts are:

  • God is patient, He does not want us to perish.
  • His purpose is not to destroy us or allow us to be destroyed.
  • God’s desire is for us to have eternal life and have it more abundantly, to receive salvation.

God wants to give us the chance to change our lives. He is allowing us to live through our mistakes and heal. How do we heal? Emotional healing requires that we acknowledge our faults and learn how to overcome them. We heal through correction. Spiritually, we repent, ask for forgiveness, and work hard to stop committing the sin. Our actions rarely change overnight. Correction requires time. I read somewhere that when changing habits it takes six months of continuous correction before it is embedded in your psyche.

Before and After the Cruxification of Christ

In the Old Testament God punished us for our sins. There was no opportunity to overcome and heal from them. Sin was a type of death sentence, you suffered spiritual and often physical death when you sinned, but God does not want us to perish. He no longer wanted to punish us for our sins, but to ensure that we have the opportunity to changeJesus-Christ-on-the-Cross. He reconciled our relationship with Him by sacrificing His son, Jesus Christ, who bore our sins at Calvary.

We are fortunate to live in the New Testament dispensation. God gives us the opportunity to learn from our misgivings, repent and move on. He has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. Psalm 103:12 NIV. He will cast all our sins into the depths of the ocean! Micah 7:19 ESV. We can recover from our sins and heal.  This process is a test of our faith. We must learn that everything in life is a test of faith. Hebrews 11:6 NLT states,

“Without faith, we do not have the opportunity to learn through our trials, and we do not have the opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the Lord.”

Without faith, we are lost, without faith, we are subject to life’s failings, trials, temptations, and tribulations. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:7 NLT h correction, you can taste the Lords kindness.”                          1 Peter 2:1, 3 NLT

What should we look out for? Most refer to sin as failing to follow the Ten Commandments. I think sin is much broader. Sin is failing to act like Christ, failing to engrain His behavior in our actions. These behaviors are listed in the Bible as the Fruit of the Spirit. Fuit of the Spirit 1When we fail to follow them, we suffer the consequences. Here are some examples: We decide that cutting corners at work will increase the profit margin; we fail to be honest and trustworthy. We cheat on a test in school; we are not honest or trustworthy. We mistreat loved ones, constantly bringing up their faults and disrespecting them, we are not showing love or kindness. You see someone in need, and you rush past them trying not to look them in the eyes, you are not showing affection, love or kindness to others. You are fraught with anxiety and worry when everything is falling apart; you are not demonstrating peace. You want everything today and rush through life; you are not patient; another word for patience is forbearance. Your speech is colored with cussing, and gossip is part of your conversations, you do not walk in integrity. When you are hard and legalistic, you are not demonstrating meekness or being gentle. You are not disciplined, you succumb to bad habits, large and small, deadly and barely perceptible, you lack self-control.

Our failing to use Christ-like behaviors cause us to suffer in two ways, 1) through our failings to apply the characteristics of Christ in itself and, 2) living with the consequences. How often do you hear a quiet voice (of the Holy Spirit) holy-spirit- and man or feel that something is not right when you are getting ready to say or do something out of character?  When we sin, we suffer. When we suffer, we should examine our motives and actions and compare them to the Fruit of the Spirit and determine how we sinned, which is part of the process of correction. It is not God’s intent to punish us. God’s intent is to allow us to learn and correct our actions and through this process, it is His intent to allow us to heal.

We are no longer in the dispensation of punishment, we are in the dispensation of correction and healing.

The Holy Spirit is glowing within all those who receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and are saved through grace.glowing_people

Images-Google Images
Scriptures-Biblegateway.com
Concept-Jimmy Swaggert