Free-Will, Water Cooler Talk, and Responsibility

We have free-will, but is it really free. God gave us free-will, the ability to act as we see fit, but it is not without responsibility. We have the freedom to choose to

live a Christ-like life or to live in the world allowing sin and self-righteousness to lead us down the earthen path.

But because Christ has risen, we have been given the gift of repentance. Repentance is not a free ’ get out of jail’ card. It does not mean that we can ask for forgiveness and then repeat the action over and over. It means much more. When we study the Bible, we learn the precepts instruct our daily lives. We repent to acknowledge our mistake before God and ask His forgiveness.


Christ has risen and we should not squander our birthright. Christ suffered the cross to save us from sin that was destined to doom us. Today we live a life that is afflicted by sin, but one that we can be redeemed from through repentance.
The sinful and wicked do not fear God. They flatter themselves to much to detect or hate sin. Their words are wicked and deceitful and they fail to act wisely or do good. They lay in bed plotting evil and commit themselves to a sinful course. They do not reject what is wrong, Psalm 36: 1-4 NIV. But for the grace of God, we can turn from our evil ways. Our free-will is like a two edge sword, we can cut away the evil sinful ways of the world and turn to our Lord. We can repent. The requisites of repentance is to turn away from evil and turn to the good. Our free-will gives us the ability to choose. (Read my Post, Pt.2, Wisdom Directs Your Steps.)

But what does that mean in our daily life? We must be diligent and listen to our thoughts and words in much the same way that you listen to your thoughts and how to verbalize them at work, school; to bosses, parents, leaders, associates and friends. Have you ever run free, doing as you pleased, and then looked around and realized you were running in circles – obstructing your ability to move forward into your destiny? How many times have you experienced doing what you pleased only to learn that the end result hurt or adversely affected your wellbeing? How often have you heard His quiet voice, or ignored His nudge only to wish you had followed His direction? As humans we often find ourselves in these situations.

Water Cooler Talk

For example – What about gossiping by the water cooler? How many times have you gossiped at the water cooler, feeling guilty about it, but continuing on to discover the person you are talking about is standing behind you? We know we should not gossip but we do. When I was working I tried to stay out of the gossip circles, away from the water cooler during lunchtime and breaks, but from time to time joined in and found I shared private information that got back to the person that shared it with me. I heard the quiet voice telling me not to get involved in the conversation, was warned through the nudge not to say it and then I heard my voice speaking out anyway. It was quick and I did not take heed. I immediately felt guilty but could not take it back, the act created the consequences, and my relationship with the person ended as abruptly as when I spoke about them. Other times it created a sense of distrust and our conversations became matter-of-fact, no longer friendly or open. These were learning moments. I learned to think before I spoke. I learned how betrayal hurt the person that was the topic of discussion and me. I learned to avoid environments that led to my downfall.

As humans, we always stumble over our own feet. We are always learning from our mistakes and attempting to apply God’s values in our daily lives. Thus, I go back to free-will is not free, it comes with responsibility. God gave us free-will as a gift, and it is our responsibility to use our free-will wisely. It is a lifelong learning process.

The purpose of free-will is to allow us to experience how to use it to further Gods will on earth. We are his ambassadors on earth. Freedom is not free, it is a choice. Freedom permits us to follow God and spread the Good News because we choose to follow our Lord. Free-will requires denying or dying to self, (Read my Post – Dying to Self) and putting God first. It means following his instruction, not picking and choosing, not being selective, but following all of His principles. It means that while we are experiencing our attempts to follow the principles, we mature as Christians, and in the process when we make mistakes or err, we can ask God’s forgiveness.

When we repent, our sin no longer exists, we will no longer carry the weight on our shoulders. It has been removed from us. Living a Christ-like existence leads us down the path of favor. He will help us spend our lives humbling ourselves, choosing to lookout for others and putting ourselves second, helping us to build our Christ-like character in this life. We practice are denying ourselves and following the Lord. Though our decision to deny self, we become obedient to the God’s call on our lives.

This leads us back to obedience, dependence and love, our March focus. No matter what we do, we can never get to far away from being obedient or dependent upon the Lord. It is through obedience that we can exercise our free-will and live a Christ-like life, embodying the character of Christ. It is through dependence that we become aware of our actions, behaviors and outbursts and, it is through love that we have the strength to persevere.

“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:23-24‬ ‭NIV

“But don’t just try to follow a list of rules or be a ‘good Christian.’ Following Christ means believing you have no righteousness of your own and choosing to trust and enjoy Christ, knowing He is all you need.

The more you seek after Him with all of your heart and follow Him fully, the more He will become your All in all, cleansing you, satisfying your longings, healing your wounds, and forming you into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 8:29, Colossians 3:10).” [Know God’s Power and See His Glory. Bible.com]

Free-will is a gift, but like all gifts we choose how to use it. We can stray from the word and live in this world subscribing to its values of selfishness, lust, hate, pride, greed, dishonesty, and trustworthiness or we can turn to turn God and live using the values Jesus demonstrated during his short time on earth. Please do not think that the sin we fear is always boisterous, it is generally subtle and subdued. It sneaks up on you when you are distracted from the Word of God.

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour.
Peter 5:8 AMP

Christ has risen, we have free-will and the responsibility attached to free-will is our gift to live by. Becoming an intentional Christian and joining the body of Christ, is a joy; our salvation is our rock, as we follow the Lord who is our light and our way. Jesus said,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
John 14:6 NKJV

Websites – Other posts on faith, hope, obedience and dependence, and more on lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com
youngchristianwarriors.com
biblestudytools.com

Scriptures – Bible.com, Biblegateway.com

Images – Google Images. Bible.com. LAB’s photo collection

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.

Pt. 2, Wisdom Directs Your Steps

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A few days ago we learned what Solomon said about wisdom in Proverbs 16, Old Testament. Today we are going to learn what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2, New Testament, about wisdom. In the last Post we learned about knowing God’s Voice and acquiring wisdom. I also shared that through this wisdom we develop our character, in fact, I wrote an earlier piece on knowing the Voice of God (February 2018) entitled: Change Your Filter, Hear His Voice. Today we are going deeper into our relationship with our Lord and the benefits of building a Christ-like value structure. 1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:1-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬ is a message written by Paul about hearing the Wisdom of God, referred to as the Mystery of God.


“When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined, what God has prepared  for those who love him.” 10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts God's Master Planexcept that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. 16 For,“Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

‬‬1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:1-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬


Corinthians 2 is about power and wisdom. Power and wisdom are reliant upon one another and together keep the Christian life balanced. Warren Wiersbe succinctly stated, “Allow the Spirit of God to teach you about the Son of God from the Word of God, and grow up in Him.” Holy wisdom calls for us to rely totally on God for spiritual wisdom and rejecting the wisdom of the world. The discussion about Christian maturity speaks to our belief in the cross. Jesus’ accession to heaven by way of the cross. Do we believe God’s wisdom is greater than our interpretation of wisdom?  Do we believe that Christ’s crucifixion is part of God’s unfolding plan?

Without the light of God’s Spirit, we’ll be in the dark. We can either believe in the wisdom of this age or the wisdom of God which is eternal. One theme in most of my Posts is the belief that as Christian Warriors we must live a Christ-like life. As Christian’s, we must first accept Christ as our Lord and Savior to establish our faith. As Christian’s, it is important that we believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – the Trinity. It is important that we establish a relationship with our Lord and learn to hear His voice in prayer.  It is our responsibility to read and study the Word. It is our responsibility to know and embrace the Fruit of the Spirit. Once these have been accomplished we begin to mature as Christian warriors.

1 Corinthians 2-9

The question then becomes, do we apply the Word to govern our lives? Is our faith enough to address how we act or respond to difficulties in our lives? Does it support reconciliation, the restoration of friendly relations? Do we use our faith as the justification for overcoming conflict at home, social settings and work? Do we rest on our faith to maintain a respectful relationship with those we are at odds with or did harm to us? Do we have the right perspective and maintain our Christian walk regardless of what this world offers us?

The Trinity5True wisdom is accepting that God has a master plan that we will never fully understand, but accept as the truth. This faith resides in our relationship of the Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The wisdom of accepting the Trinity opens the door for our relationship with the Holy Spirit who communicates with us through prayer.  God’s thoughts are revealed through the Holy Spirit, who reveals these deep thoughts to us, the believers.

“According to Paul, the Holy Spirit searches the very depths of the heart and mind of God. He can do this because He is God-the third member of the Trinity. Paul’s point is that the Holy Spirit functions within the Trinity the way our human spirit functions within us” (Ben).  The Holy Spirit knows God because He is God. We know our spirit because it is our spirit. The Holy Spirit has access to the workings of the Godhead.

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the direct link to God, do you ask him in prayer to share the Lord’s wisdom in what you are praying about, asking for his guidance? Do you spend time in prayer until you hear from the Lord or is your prayer a drive-by prayer? Spend a few minutes in prayer, do not maintain silence and calmness, say, ‘okay’ get back to me and then, guilt-free, having done your due-diligence, act on your own wisdom? This is exactly what Paul was concerned about so long ago. Do we say we are Christians and live by the wisdom of the Word of God, or do we say we are Christians and default to our own understanding? Paul 00-end-time-bible-prophecy-word-of-god-is-aliveexplained that some people do not respond to the Holy Spirit: “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised.” The natural man is someone who does not have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. If you do not have this relationship you cannot understand the deep wisdom that is being shared. People that do not understand the wisdom of the Word are controlled by their behavior, feelings, urges, logical choices, moods, and worldly goals. People who have access to deep wisdom and abide by the Word have Christ-centered lives, Christ-like values and behaviors, and live according to the Word.

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”  

Romans 8:11 

Are Christians perfect and live Christ-centered lives 24/7? No. The beauty is that through Christ, we are not only saved, but can repent of our sins, our shortcomings, and are forgiven. Our responsibility then becomes a journey to eliminate the sins of omission we commit by not doing something we should have done, as well as sins of commission which we knowingly commit, sins that the Holy Spirit warns of and we do them regardless.  It is difficult to commit a sin of commission and get away with it, but it is quite easy to commit a sin of omission without others knowing.

Omission, comission3Some sins of Commission are:

Committing sexual sin, adultery, fornication, bestiality, molestation, homosexuality, pornography; theft, covetousness, murder, physical abuse, bullying, mental abuse; gossip, slander, backbiting, lying, manipulating, cursing, etc. Many of these things are opposite the Fruit of the Spirit.

Some sins of Omission are:

Failing to pray regularly, failing to pray for others, failing to tithe, failure to be faithful stewards in our finances, failing to help others when nudged from the Holy Spirit, failing to provide for your family, failing to read and study the bible, and failing to fellowship with other Christians (corporate fellowship is important), etc.Sin is Sin2

The fact is, at the end of the day, sin is sin, and God hates all sin. Sin keeps us from our fellowshipping with the Lord, and strengthing our relationship with Him, as well as other Christians.

One sin stands out more than any other, the sin of rejecting the Holy Romans 10-9,10Spirit and not receiving Christ as your Lord and Savior. The most important thing we can and should do is receive Christ as our Lord and Savior and ensure our Salvation through this simple prayer. It is not enough to say it, you must believe it with all your heart in faith.

Johne 316

Romas 8_1

Resources

Hayford’s Bible Handbook. 1 Corinthians 2
Wiersbe, Nelson’s Quick Reference. 1 Corinthians 2

Websites

lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com
youngchristianwarriors.com
Sins of Commission vs Sins of Omission: The Two Types of Sins Humans Commit. http://www.revelation.co/2015/07/21 by Ben

Scriptures – Bible.com
Images – Google Images. LAB’s photo collection, CanStockPhoto.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.

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

Images-Google Images
Scriptures-BibleStudytools.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.