Living with purpose and meaning is something we all desire; it’s a desire implanted us by God. In the video below, I talk about three different perspectives to consider in relation to fulfilling our purpose as God desires. I hope it’s an encouragement to you.
For years, I thought sins (anything contrary to God’s truth and ways), the little ones, were not that big of a deal. I assumed they were a part of life. On some level, I accepted them. On some level I enjoyed them – though it was a false joy proliferating pain. How often do you hear among professing believers, “well, we ARE sinners”, as if it’s an excuse for the little sins we knowingly sow? Whether true or not, after hearing something often enough you begin to believe it.
I “faithfully” trusted God’s grace to cover me and believed it would somehow negate the ramifications of those little sins that didn’t seem that big of a deal. (Though my life proved differently, which I refused to acknowledge.) Subconsciously, I assumed “I’m forgiven, this hardship can’t be happening because of those little insignificant sins” so I never learned. More than any other, we are best at deceiving ourselves. Further, for conscious sake, we often don’t call those little sins what they are, but they are covered in excuses, justifications, rationalizations … basically self-deception.
How many of us trust God’s grace to cover the sins of:
Not seeking God as He instructs us? Amos 5:4
Not pursuing His wisdom and understanding? Proverbs 4:7
Relying on our own strength and wisdom of the world to get us what we need? Psalm 147:10, Isaiah 31:1
Not loving God with all our heart, soul and mind as we neglect to spend time with Him and deeply get to know Him one-on-one? Mark 12:30
“Loving” others in a way that is really for our acceptance by them, rather than for true love? Mark 12:31
We overlook certain transgressions in the name of grace. This thinking shows we don’t understand God’s forgiveness in Christ and our new life in Him. (Now no one is perfect, obviously. But do we willing accept sins? Do we tolerate them? Or do we fight to live in God’s truth?)
In rebellion to legalism, many warp the doctrine of grace. True, the Old Testament law was fulfilled in Christ. However, there are instructions of God, like those above, that we are to follow, thus still His “law”. Grace doesn’t mean we don’t have to listen and obey our heavenly Father. It means God forgives us, by no action of ourselves, so we are reconciled back to the Him and able to receive His truth, to walk in it, and gain a spirit that is eternally united to Him.
If we truly understand God’s forgiveness and how that allows us to dwell in His presence, that knowledge changes us. We will act on this new understanding by seeking God and learning truth. This truth refashions our minds; preparing us to dwell in oneness with God.
If we really believe something, what do we do? We act on it. Once we truly understand God’s gift of forgiveness, we embark upon a journey of drawing near to God in truth and spirit. We want to know the One who showed us an incomparable love. This is the natural response to truly believing. What would our response be to someone who shows us true love? We would cultivate a relationship with him/her; same with God.
As we grow in truth, our lives are altered by that truth. John 17:17 We are the sum of our beliefs. In time, our lives are purified by the truth of God, and then God establishes His home in our souls. With Him a part of us, we desire to walk fully in His will. We see the little sins for what they are – the top of the stairs leading to the pit. No matter how small or big, anything contrary to God is following a self-will that creates destruction, pain and hardship. But in Him, our will no longer wants to have anything to do with any sin. This is why John said that those of God are without sin – our will doesn’t desire it. 1 John 3:9
If we have the truth abiding in us, will we willingly continue to sin? No. Will we desire complete obedience to God? Yes; an obedience that comes out of knowing and loving Him. John 14:23
It isn’t legalism; it’s love. What we do doesn’t “save” us. God forgave us, so He “saved” us. Seeking and walking in truth is the outcome of our understanding of God’s forgiveness. As God’s truth begins to dwell in us, our desires change because our truth is changing. We want to obey His truths as they are life and love. They aren’t burdensome because they are love and we abound in love with God. 1 John 5:3 It’s a burden when there is no love.
To willingly sin not only shows we aren’t rightly related to God, but also we readily invite a life of destruction, pain and hardship. There are many professing believers who hae been misled about grace and excusing sin and suffering for it, but have been blinded to the cause of their hardships because of the ill-communicated doctrine of grace.
To continue to knowingly sin shows we are foolish and unwise. We reap what we sow. If we sow truth, by following God’s will, we will reap deliverance, joy and love. If we sow lies, by following our self-will, we will reap pain, hardship, and suffering. There is a way to live that prospers our soul and a way that doesn’t. There are spiritual laws and physical laws. God designed us and this world to function in a certain way. When we honor His design, we live in peace; this is the essence of true wisdom. (verses honoring the world’s wisdom that destroys.) As a child of God, these laws still apply. God will not be mocked. Thinking God’s forgiveness is an excuse to go our own way is to mock God. Not a good idea.
Embrace God’s forgiveness given in grace, which enables you to live in unity with Him, by sowing truth and His love in your life. In time, as your beliefs are purged and renewed, you will reap a prospering soul. As you diligently cultivate a relationship with God, you will experience His love; a treasure that far exceeds anything you’ve known.
In these days as many are facing trials and challenges it’s so important to have the right support of others, for that can make all the difference. In this video, I talk about the support we should seek as well as be and the impact it can have in our walk.
Counting on God
We can’t expect God to answer our prayers according to our expectations … but we can count on His faithfulness in everything. In this brief video, I talk a bit about what can we expect from God and why sometimes our prayers aren’t answered as we expect.
Now, unlike any time before, is the time for God’s elect, those who are united to God in truth and spirit, to pray for the deliverance of the souls of others.
In Job 42, God had “accepted” Job because he saw his true self, and in that awareness he repented and turned to God. After coming through the refining trials and continuing to cling to God and the truth, Job finally saw God. He knew Him. Job 42:5-6 Because of the new spirit within Job, God told Job’s friends to go to Job and have him pray for them because He had “accepted” Job. Job 42:7-9 God would hear Job’s prayers.
Why have the elect pray on others’ behalves? They have traversed a journey like Job’s. Like Job, they have passed through the refining trials. As they’ve clung to the truth through them (very important element), they’ve come to a point of “seeing” themselves and God. This awareness has led to a deep repentance at their core, which has affected every area of their lives. As a result, their will is submitted to God’s, and they hold the Spirit of God, the spirit of truth, in them as a new creation. Their lives are a testimony to them of God’s spirit in them. 2 Corinthians 5:5
In being united to God, they abide in God’s truth and are constantly going deeper into it. They put it above all else. Psalm 138:2 They abide in it daily. They desire to obey the truth and be completely consumed by God. That truth in them has sanctified them and prepared them to be powerfully used by God. And because they hold God’s truth, they pray in unison with it.
Connection Between God’s Word and Prayer
Often people dismiss the connection between abiding in the Word of God (truth) and prayer. But the two go hand in hand. If you turn from God’s truth then your prayers lack power. In Proverbs 28:9 it says they not only lack power, but they are an abomination. One, truth reveals who you truly are and who God is. Only when you honestly know both can you repent of one and turn to the other. Two, if you don’t seek and abide in truth then you don’t know God for He is truth. So if you don’t truly know God, who are you praying to? 1 John 5:19
Once through the refining trials and filled with God’s spirit of truth, a person’s prayers have tremendous power. In Revelation 19, Christ, called the Word of God, comes with His saints to conquer. His method of conquering? The sword that comes out of His mouth; His Word, truth. God’s words have power. By them He creates and destroys. Those filled with His Word, hold its power. May we not underestimate the power of it and neglect the Word and the significance of prayers spoken in line with it.
Now God is very merciful. Truth and mercy go hand in hand – thank goodness. Someone who is seeking God in truth, but immature in their understanding of the God and His ways as they progress through the refining trials, probably aren’t praying in line with God’s will. They are unknowingly praying against God’s will, and they don’t really know what is good. But their heart is to know God and their seeking testifies to that fact. Graciously, the Holy Spirit prays on their behalf as they don’t know what to pray. This is why at times they feel their prayers aren’t answered. God isn’t answering them as they expect because of His love. If He did ramifications would be harmful. This is what Satan does, he gives someone what he superficially wants yet it’s to his destruction. God gives you what is best for you, and as you learn in time it’s what you truly desire.
As a young believer continues to abide in the Word and the instruction of the Holy Spirit, they come to better understand God’s will and pray more in line with it, though the Holy Spirit is always interceding to some degree for God’s people because there is always more to learn.
Conversely, for those who have willingly NOT abided in the Word, their prayers lack power. They’ve been misled by false teachers and religious doctrine that abiding in the Word and diligently seeking God by feasting on His truth daily isn’t thatimportant. As a result their prayers are without strength no matter how good they may appear. Matthew 7:22-23 (Though God still shows them mercy in their lives.)
Powerful prayer comes from knowing God and being united to Him in truth and Spirit. It’s then that your heart, mind and spirit are truly united to Him.
John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
Call To The Elect
In Revelation 11, the two witnesses (the two groups of believers, the two lampstands whose light wasn’t removed, who aren’t bound by local institutions, denominations, or titles) stand before God. Their words have tremendous power. Revelation 11:5-6 They intimatelyknow God. They know His truth. They walk in it. They’ve been purified by it. John 17:17. They’ve honored God’s command by doing what He has instructed; know Him, seek Him, abide and mediate on His pure Word that comes from Him. Revelation 2-3 Thus their words and prayers have tremendous power.
God is calling these elect to pray on others’ behalves. They are able to pray in a power and a manner that those consumed in darkness (lies and deception) cannot. God is using them to deliver many because of His great love for ALL His children. God is longsuffering, patient, and waiting for people to truly repent from following self and turn to Him. He doesn’t want any to perish. Because it’s God who saves, prayers are needed by those accepted by Him to pray to have mercy upon souls bound in darkness. Revelation 6:10-11
Do you see the difference of the power of those who are truly of God, who have His Word abiding in them, and who pray in line with His will? In God’s holiness, God’s elect need to pray to an extent that others cannot. Now is the time to pray; to pray for God’s truth to penetrate others’ lives, for their souls to be united to God’s in truth and Spirit, and for God to have mercy.
James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another (and forsake them), and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
A PODCAST (click here to listen) is available on living in victory in our lives. You can also get it at itunes. Search for Stirring the Deep under podcasts.
Overview: Many of us are facing trials and challenges. It can be frustrating for a believer because you see the promises of God and then look at your life and wonder why the huge gap. Or perhaps you have learned that trials do refine your faith, but wondering when will they ever end. I hope to encourage you by sharing the deeper purpose and reason for many of those trials by giving a different perspective on the situation.
In this two part segment, I talk about two main reasons for why we experience what we do. In part one, I cover the first reason and part two I discuss the second reason and how to journey through them victoriously.
A PODCAST (click here to listen) covering the second part to living in victory is available. Also available through itunes.
Overview: In the previous show, I talked about one of the reasons we experience the trials we do as believers and how we can battle them and come out victoriously.
In this show, I cover another reason we face what we do and again, discuss how to come through it successfully as God intends. We’ve been given all we need in Christ, we need to know what we have, how to act on it, and act on it.
How persistent are you truly? Now is a time when your patience and persistence will be greatly tested.
I sense a significant growing separation among people; a separation between those of the light and those of the darkness.
God is truth. Those who are diligently seeking God are growing stronger in Him, His ways, and truth or light. Those who aren’t diligently seeking God are growing further away from Him and truth, and into lies or darkness.
In Revelation, it talks about the eventual removal of the lampstands from certain professing followers of God. Revelation 1:20, 2:5 The lampstand holds the light. The light is the spirit of God, a spirit of truth. Revelation 4:5 Once the lampstand is removed, those people will no longer dwell with the spirit of God. Thus, their thoughts, ideas and teachings will fall more and more away from truth and into lies. You don’t want to be in a place where the lampstand has been removed.
In line with this falling away from truth, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says there will be many who pose as messengers of truth. Outwardly they appear like those of truth, but in reality they are creating illusions of truth with mouths of consuming graves. These charlatans come in many forms appealing to a wide variety of souls and their particular desperations. Some will fall for some and not others, but the variety of masqueraders ensures that many will fall.
Why these masqueraders of truth? However influenced by evil or their ego, the issue is pride. People think they inherently know best and don’t really need God’s truth to guide them. In not diligently seeking God, they erroneously believe lies are truth. Having others come alongside gives them a false peace and confidence that their lies are truth. Other people agreeing with us validate our beliefs whether right or wrong.
If we are unknowingly a part of their masquerade, then we will greatly suffer for it, for lies destroy the soul. 2 Peter 3:16 Hosea 7:8-9 The truth is our protector and guide. Without a love for it and diligently seeking it from God Himself, we are lost to the influence of those around us. Truth comes from God. He is the only source. If we haven’t been diligently seeking truth, then we don’t know what is right and what isn’t. Are you getting the idea to diligently seek?
As a result of the spirit of God leaving or the lampstand being removed, those who truly know God will be pulling away as well to follow God. John 10:27 The true followers of God go where He goes, thus the massive separation between those of truth and those of lies among those professing to be of God.
This separation was prophesied long ago, and now is coming into fruition. Ezekiel 34, Matthew 13:30, Revelation 18:4 In God’s great mercy, He has allowed the lampstand to remain and the intermingling among those of Him and those not of Him as He patiently waits for people to turn to Him and away from their self-driven ways. 2 Peter 3:9 As a loving Creator while shining His light upon us, He has allowed us to traverse our self-chosen paths, so that when the depravity of our ways comes upon us, we’ll realize the error and turn to Him. However, many have not turned. Hosea 7:10 The time will come when the window to come to God as we can now will close. For when the lampstand, the light, is taken away it means God’s spirit is taken away. The chance for the truth to penetrate the lies is lost, thus there is no way out of the darkness of deception.
Therefore, those of the darkness will grow deeper into lies, while those of the light will grow deeper into truth. Those of darkness will experience torment as lies destroy, inflict and bound. Revelation 9:18 Being in the dark, they don’t understand what is happening and dismiss it as “just life”. Remember, their lies are their truth. Those of the light will continue to transform into the light. Truth will invade every area of their lives. They will feel the intensity of the lies around them but in their spirits they will experience growing oneness with God in truth and spirit.
Here is where patience and endurance comes into utmost importance. Rev 13:10 This time of separation coincides with a growing spiritual battle as the dark grows darker and the light lighter. It will be difficult spiritually. For those who possess little truth and a weak relationship with God, the truth will be slipping from their fingers. Matthew 25:29 Those sealed, so they can’t fall from truth, will still have their truth challenged and tested. Their souls will be burdened by the growing lies, deception, and damage being manifested around them. Psalm 91:7-8 Now more than ever we need to support others who are striving for truth. We need to follow God’s lead about who and who not to embrace. In this battle, it’s our work to seek and know the truth, and cling to it.
I encourage those growing in truth to not grow weary in doing good. You reap what you sow. If you reap truth, that is what will grow in your life. Don’t give up. Leave the results and expectations of your situations up to God. His ways are not our ways. Keep praying, seeking, and drawing near to God. Never underestimate His faithfulness and mercy.
Truth is your armor. Read the Bible each day, God’s grounding tool of truth. Seek instruction from God. Pour out your heart to Him. Obey Him where you know HE has taught and led you. Keep it simple. If you trust Him, He will let you know what you need to know, when you need to know it. Your part is to abide in truth and seek His counsel. Pray for others.
The times we are in take great patience and endurance, and only those who finish the race are able to gain the prize. Run to gain the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Remember in your teenage years the concern that your parents had about you hanging out with the wrong crowd? What was the big deal? Feel the concern you have now for your kids? The influence of others is a powerful force in our lives, was then and is now.
Growing up, my parents often expressed concerned about who I was hanging out with. My mom would give me that “look” when she disapproved of those I was chumming with. You know the one; the one that speaks more clearly, loudly, and deeply than any words could? They didn’t want me involved with the “wrong” group; a group that would lead me astray down the wrong paths in life causing me harm whether physically or emotionally.
God, our Father, is the same with us, yet perfect in love and truth. He doesn’t want us hanging out the wrong group; others, who even if they are well intention, will lead us down the wrong paths. God desires we connect with others who prosper our soul.
In the Bible, God tells us to be extremely careful and discerning about fellowships and friendships. Proverbs 12:26 Their influence is strong over us; a little leaven affects the whole lump. (Now, we are in the world and around those of the world, but what God is referring to are those who we listen to, seek advice, guidance and counsel from; those we see as fellow believers. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13)
The Bible speaks of the lies that abound and the lack of truth, and how it destroys many. Amos 8:11, 2 Thessalonians 2:10, Revelation 9:17-19 Where do lies come from? The mouths of others. So, who we hang around and give our ear to is of utmost importance. If we feel any twinge in our spirit about others we are involved with whether an individual or group, we need to listen carefully to that “prompting” and seek what the Spirit may be trying to tell us.
Like the kids in High School, our need to be a part of a group and accepted is a strong driving force in our lives. That force can override our discernment. It causes us to justify or dismiss what we know or are “sensing” isn’t good. It causes us to overlook the little nudges in our spirit telling us something is off. Thus, it’s important to listen and heed the words of our Father in the Bible telling us what is good for our soul and not justify, but simply listen and obey.
God is prodding a lot of spirits right now about the fellowships they are in. He has been prodding mine. Many are justifying away His promptings to their own detriment; what’s the big deal, they do some good, it’s not all bad, no one is perfect, or I don’t want to be seen as “judging”. (Sound familiar, like what you thought as a kid?) If this is you, stop and listen to God. There is nothing to fear with Him. Seek out the still small voice trying to lead you to the paths of life. God desires your protection and the blessing and prospering of your soul. Trust Him.
Like those teenage years, we often think we know what is good, because it feels good to be a part and involved in a group and to be accepted. But God knows the hearts and we have to trust Him to see what we can’t. We have to trust His lead, and that means we have to seek it. By not quenching His Spirit within us, we will be able to follow Him to what is healthy and good for our souls. In order to not silence His voice, we need to cultivate a place in our lives and spirits to be able to hear His whispers among the shouts. If we don’t, we’ll dismiss it and follow the wrong crowd. Like our parents then, we have to listen to God now. To listen to God means we abide in His presence with the Bible and seek the instruction of the Holy Spirit.
Unhealthy fellowship can lead us unknowingly away from God. It can fill us with lies, which leads to torment in our souls. Psalm 26:4-5, 2 Timothy 3:5, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, 1 Timothy 6:5 God wants to protect us from all of this, as our parents did and as we do now with our children. If we take time to read the Bible and to seek out His instruction and follow His lead, He’ll honor us with fulfilling fellowships; fellowship as He intended. There is no cookie-cutter mold. Fellowship can come in many forms, trust Him. If we don’t, we are very susceptible to hanging out with the wrong group and suffering greatly for it.
True fellowship among believers is like a cool breeze on a hot day. It nourishes our souls. It helps us to bloom into the spirits we are meant to be. It involves vulnerability, openness, trust, transparency, intimacy, care, love and support. It entails each one individually seeking God and coming together to share his/her experiences. It’s in line with God’s Word. In this space, prayer is real, support is genuine and love is without hypocrisy. Romans 12:9
We are all connected. We all affect each other. For this reason it’s important to foster healthy connections and not unhealthy ones. Fellowship is a powerful force in our lives whether for good or bad, don’t underestimate its impact.
When we focus on fellowship with God first, then we’ll have the discernment, listening ear, and counsel about all other fellowships. God comes first, all others second. Put Him first and He’ll guide you to the rest that will bless your soul. As you heard many times growing up, it has never been truer than now – your Father does know best, listen to Him.
A new PODCAST (click here to listen) is available on overcoming discouragement in our lives. You can also get it at itunes. Search for Stirring the Deep under podcasts.
Overview: Discouragement is something we all face. In this show, I talk about how to defeat the discouragement in your life by embracing the truth. It isn’t an “ignorance is bliss” ideal that often comes with the “positive” thinking philiosophy, but it’s looking head on at the truth of our situations and battling them with the truth. God has given us much in Christ. We need to learn and embrace what we have in Him.
Ephesians 1:18-19 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
A new PODCAST (click here to listen) is available on overcoming discouragement in our lives. You can also get it at itunes. Search for Stirring the Deep under podcasts.
Overview: In the previous show, I talked about the source of discouragement and how when we get to the source we are enabled to battle this debilitating emotion.
Here I talk about three consequences of falling into discouragement and the steps to come out of it. This is an emotion that steals many precious moments of our lives that could be filled with growth and peace. It’s an emotion we all experience, yes, but we don’t have to dwell and live in it.