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.
Get out a piece of paper and write down a typical week for you. How is your time divided? What consumes your time? What do you do with your spare time?
The most important activity for believers is building the temple. Was that on your list?
The eternal temple of God is made of the souls of the true believers in Christ. It’s the place God will call home for eternity. So the most important activity we do is prepare/build that place for Him, have you been building?
How do we build?
Among many attributes, God is holy, truth and love. For God to fully manifest Himself through us as the temple we have to be in unison with Him in these areas as noted in the scriptures. As oil and water don’t mix, neither does a corrupt soul lacking these and God’s spirit.
The soul that is able to hold God’s spirit is one that is pure, structured in truth, and consumed in love.
First, Jesus Christ cleansed our souls with His sacrifice. In Him, our slates are wiped clean.
Second, Jesus Christ builds a structure of truth within us. Jesus is the Word of God. It’s the Word, truth, that sanctifies. John 17:17 He gave us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who writes truth on our hearts and minds as He instructs us in the ways of God. 1 John 2:27 As we abide in the Word, putting the truth in us, the Spirit uses that truth in conjunction with our lives and constructs a framework of truth in our souls. I talked a bit about this in the video Prepared for Christ’s Coming.
In Proverbs, it talks about the importance of seeking and obtaining true wisdom and understanding that is of God, not this world. Proverbs 4:5-9. Wisdom and understanding are fundamental to the lives of believers, because these are what make up that framework of truth in our souls, which allows God’s spirit to dwell in us.
An important aside to this concept; we are to seek wisdom, but gaining wisdom isn’t dependent on our IQ. It’s dependent on the ability of the Holy Spirit to teach us and write it on our hearts and minds. Therefore, ANYONE, as God wills, can gain the wisdom and understanding of God. Hebrews 8:10-11 Further, this process varies greatly for everyone. It’s a journey and not instant. You may have many ah-ha moments, but the process of building a framework of truth takes time in abiding in the Bible being taught by the Holy Spirit and Him working out those truths in you and your life.
Finally, Jesus Christ reconciled us back to God, so now we can abide in His presence. When we draw near to God, He draws near to us. Because God is love, when we draw near His love starts filling our lives. Like our earthly relationships, when we cultivate a relationship with God, the fruit is love.
Many professing believers neglect to partake in the second and third phases. They understand the purifying done by Christ, but neglect the latter two – abiding in the truth so that framework can be built and cultivating a relationship with God so that His presence, especially His love will reign in their lives. This is why many operate in their self-will and not in accordance to one who is abiding in truth and love.
I think this negligence is why many are called but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14. Christ died for all people. Christ died that all may be saved. But few move onto walking in the purpose of His tremendous gift.
Look at the list you made at the beginning. Do you spend time abiding in the truth to gain a soul lined with truth? Do you nurture your individual relationship with God like you would do with a spouse (remember He calls us His bride)? This is how the temple is built.
Many people spend incredible amounts of time building up their earthly habitations whether homes, careers, health, families, and relationships and neglect the principle thing – their soul. It’s the one aspect that matters and affects all else, and if they neglect it, the rest greatly suffers as Haggai instructs us.
Haggai 1:6- 7 You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”
Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!
God says seek FIRST the kingdom of God, Him within you, and His righteousness and all else will be added unto you (the physical necessities of life). Matthew 6:33 Many people attend to the physical first, thus lose out on both. If you attend to the spiritual, then both will prosper. It’s God’s law of how He created this life.
Now you see why building the temple is to be the priority. Your belief systems affect EVERYTHING. If you change those, everything changes.
Each one of us is to do our own building of our part of the temple, our soul. No one can do it for us. We can support each other in the building process (which is very important and it’s part of building the temple as well because we are all conncted), but no one can actually do the building for us.
Restructure your list to make building the temple the first priority. Yes we have to work, attend to our families and health, but those should come second, because when you attend to the main thing the rest follows as it should. I’ve tested it out by taking on this promise 10 years ago. My life has proven it true in every way. It isn’t instant by any means because building truth and cultivating a real relationship with God isn’t easy in a world of lies, but it’s the path.
Now you see why this life isn’t just about being comfortable. God has a much greater mission of preparing His eternal dwelling.
God saves us, not ourselves. Therefore, we each are in great need of God’s abundant mercy.
The cry of mercy is a heartfelt cry of wanting nothing of our self-driven life and wanting only the life God has for us. It’s a cry that we are tired of following the dictates of our heart influenced by this world and want to completely follow God. It’s a cry to be governed through and through by God, and thus no longer to govern our own soul. This cry spews from our lips, when we understand the corrupted nature of our self-will and the death and filth it manifests and the perfection of God’s eternal life for us. It’s a desire to forsake all that separates us from God. It’s the response of seeing the truth of ourselves and God. It’s the response to tasting God’s love.
John 12:25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life
When we come to this point in our soul, a point of deeply and honestly wanting to forsake our self-driven life/soul (repentance) and follow God in every way, then it’s God who gives us a new spirit. He replaces the old corrupted nature with a nature that’s of Him. In a very real way, we (our self-driven soul) are crucified with Christ, in Christ and then filled with a new spirit like a new operating system. As we can’t birth ourselves into this physical world, we can’t birth ourselves into the spiritual one. It’s all God’s work in us.
John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Some doctrines can be somewhat misleading on this point by putting salvation into the hand of people as if it is all their choice. Our part is to ask for mercy, for our self-driven life (flesh) to be crucified, and for God to have mercy and give us eternal life by giving us life through His eternal spirit. But He is the one who gives new life.
Christ died for our sins. He conquered sin and death of that self-driven life that we might be identified with Him in His death and be resurrected to a new eternal life as He was. Our part is to call out to God in mercy to ask for that resurrected life, as we willingly crucify our self-driven one. Galatians 2:20 We lay down our life. God raises us to eternal life as He raised Christ.
To gain the new, we have to let go of the old. But, it’s God who gives the new birth. He is our Father. It’s His doing not ours.
Testimony we are God’s
Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
This verse above is the testimony that we are truly born of God … the Spirit of Christ is in us. The Spirit of Christ desires the things of God. It longs for truth; loves the truth. It seeks to do God’s will above all else. It longs to obey God in all areas. It loves God and loves others in purity.
Hebrews 5:9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
How can you truly obey without abiding in the Bible being instructed by the Holy Spirit on what God desires of you in your life? This is much to important to simply rely on what others tell you God wants you to do.This new spirit is very real. You experience a change in how you operate, think, feel and what you desire. You let go of the self-will that has driven and directed your life since birth, and now you are directed by a new spirit from within. 2 Timothy 1:7
The time of the end is very close. Cry out for God’s mercy, repent (turn from self-will), and ask God for His life to consume yours.
With the flooding, earthquakes, fires, and tornados, our hearts should be stirring to repentance. Some think they’ve already repented … back in 1989 when they were “saved” and answered that alter call … but let’s ponder deeper …
Repentance is turning completely in the other direction and walking in it. It’s turning from our self-will, which has dictated our lives since birth, to seek and walk in God’s will and let Him dictate our lives. It’s a very deep soul choice between us and God; our way and His. Luke 13:3 Various sins are simply symptoms of going our own way. Therefore, true repentance is going to the source, our self-will, and choosing not to follow it at all, but choosing to follow God. This requires knowing and trusting God; two things that come from diligently seeking Him. Turning from individual sins is important, but they are only the symptoms to a much deeper repentance, a repentance you come to understand as you seek God with all your heart.
Jesus stood in our place and paid the penalty (death) for our sins (going our way instead of God’s) so we didn’t have to. By paying the penalty, He reconciled us back to God so that now we can live in God’s presence. In removing the barrier of sin, He opened the door so we could dwell in unity with God. NOW it’s our part to walk through that door and the journey entails learning of God and repentance. We can’t walk in God’s way when we are walking in ours. We can’t do what we don’t know, thus the need to seek. As we learn God’s ways, we turn from self and turn to God.
Proof of repentance is abiding in the Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit with the motive to know God, because it shows we are seeking God’s will so we can walk in it. We long to know God so we can walk in His ways and be sanctified to become His living temple. Thus, deep repentance is the response to the gift of grace from Christ.
Because of this gift of grace, for some the compelling need for deep repentance is dampened, when it should be heightened. It was for me. I thought because all sins were forgiven that my obedience wasn’t that big of a deal because I was covered. Yes I should obey, but it wasn’t critical. Therefore, abiding in the Bible wasn’t critical. How misled I was. My lack of desire to obey was a sign something was off; I didn’t bear my cross (crucify my self-will) because I was still following self. Therefore, nothing had really changed. My belief was in vain. Not truly turning from self means there is a lack of understanding of what the sacrifice of Jesus was for.
Luke 14:26 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Coming to understand what Jesus did for us and our falleness is only an acknowledgement of what is. At this point though we may recognize what is, the deep soul choice between following self and following God is still in favor of self. At this infancy of our understanding, we have no idea of the extent in which we follow self verses God.
What should be happening next is an intense journey of individually seeking God to know Him as He is so we can walk in His will. We are to walk through that door that was opened for us by Christ. We are to learn of God from the Holy Spirit given to us by Christ. It’s God’s truth constantly invading our soul that reveals the depths by which we are dominated by self-will. This is the path of sanctification. It’s the natural progression for one who is a child of God. Therefore, if we knowingly continue in habitual sins, we have neglected to understand Christ’s gift.
Repentance isn’t just an acknowledgement that we have sinned against God; it’s the action of turning away from following self and following God. But we can’t follow what we don’t know. This is why God commands that we seek Him and that we abide in His Word, so we can know His ways and walk in them, thus truly repent. This is why abiding in His Word being taught by Him is proof we are on the path of sanctification. John 17:17
Repentance is key and yet sometimes overlooked in the doctrine of grace. God won’t be mocked. What we sow we will reap. Galatians 6:7Grace and repentance work hand in hand. Repentance is the manifestation of Christ’s gift of grace in our lives. Jesus and the apostles taught repentance and the kingdom of God. Repentance is how we come to abide in the kingdom of God; which is God’s reign in our soul with His will dominating.
If you are truly born of God, you’ll hate sin. You’ll long to walk in truth and love. You will hunger for His Word, so you know His will. You’ll be taught by God. John 6:45 You’ll want to know HIS will not someone’s thoughts on His will. You come to this point of desire through the grace of God showing you the truth. You come to it because you have sought God. Romans 8:29-30
Have you experienced a deep hearted repentance? Not just from various sins but from your self-will? This is true repentance. Are you walking more in truth today than a couple of months ago? Do you have a LOVE for the truth so that your life is moving to living in God’s will? You can only know His will for YOU if YOU personally seek it from Him. It’s a lifetime and daily activity. Seeking His will isn’t doing what your church says or some religious leader; it’s seeking God’s personal instruction in your life.
If you said no to these, get to know God by seeking Him in the Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit. When you come to know Him, you will want nothing of your self-will and everything of His.
Romans 2:4b that the goodness of God leads you to repentance
Proverbs 8:17 love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.
When I started cultivating a relationship with God, there were obstacles I had to overcome; barriers that suppressed my motivation to seek God as He calls us to.
Giving up our ways and will isn’t easy but that is what moving into a real relationship with God requires. It’s a willingness to go down another path, to acknowledge our ways might be wrong and to change direction. The very concept of seeking means we are looking for something we haven’t discovered before and when we find it to be willing to let it change us.
Letting go to embrace the truth of God begins with understanding what we are holding onto and why. When we understand the nature of our blockades then we can penetrate it with God’s truth. God showed me two significant lies I held that kept a wall between Him and I, two I believe many others share; a fear of embracing all of God’s character and putting others between us and God so the relationship is impersonal and indirect.
First, I was misled that if I fully embraced God as all powerful, just, righteous, and sovereign, then hardships and intense tribulations would consume my life. What if He led me down a path like Job’s, sent me to places I didn’t want to go, or made me live in outward depravity? I wasn’t ready for that life, nor did I want it. So I kept a safe distance and sought Him very little. It feels similar to thinking about getting married, for some of us. The fear of being hurt, making the wrong choice, and being stuck in something we don’t want can plague our thoughts. These fears block openness and trust that are required to move forward in a relationship. However, when the desire is strong to be united to someone, then the longing starts to override the fears. I came to the point in my life when my desire to be united in truth to God was overriding my fear of letting go and trusting Him. I began to seek within a comfort zone by spending a little time with God each day. God is patient and longsuffering. He meets us where we are at. He knows our thoughts, fears, and doubts about Him. He knows everything. They don’t disappear in an instance, but over time as we get to know Him. He connects with us in whatever season of life we are in and works with the faith we have.
Over time, as I learned about God the fear began to subside. He was much different than what I had been taught. He opened my eyes to the truth and it replaced the fears I held onto. He showed me His true character in the circumstances of my life and my trust grew.
God’s love is unlike any love we know. He desires the very best for us. When we commit to learning about Him, we discover who He is and not who we created Him to be; the image that made us fear being close to Him. This image, which we learned from the world, false teachings, family dynamics, and other mediums, is gradually replaced with the truth producing a real relationship with God; a relationship according to His design, not ours. He taught me I had nothing to fear and that He was my hope, life and the source to everything I needed and truly desired. When you taste of God’s love, mercy, care and goodness, a hunger develops to be consumed by Him.
We don’t need to be afraid to learn who God is. As we spend time with Him we learn this truth. We don’t have to fear what Job went through. Though his trial was intense, it lasted only a season, it wasn’t his life. Job’s life was incredibly blessed. Job 42:10-17 There have been times in my life where I went through something so difficult that I thought I would rather die than live, but those times were only for a season. Overall my life has been exceptionally blessed. In hindsight, I wouldn’t change my past. Those hard times taught me truths that I probably couldn’t have learned any other way and those truths set me free to have a better present. Most of my trials came from my own stubbornness, depravity and living lies. If I would have sought and trusted in God’s way initially I would have avoided many hardships, but those times brought me to Him, so I am thankful. Unfortunately most of us grow by difficulties not ease. We grow by experience not theories.
As we spiritually mature, our fear will continue to fade and the only dread we will have is being separated from God in any way. Bit by bit we surrender a little more. We must fight the influence of this world telling us that a life with God is anything but glorious. God is life. In Him we experience true life.
My second blockade was people. Godly men and women were my bridge to God. I didn’t trust or believe that I could learn and know God like these seemingly godly people. Besides, my time was limited and I didn’t have the time to give to search out His depths like they did. What if God thought about me like that? What kind of relationship is this I am offering Him, one all about me? I depended on others to teach me, lead me and nurture my spirituality. God and I had an indirect relationship. I only knew Him through others because I put the church system and others in place of Him. It’s like spending time with our spouse’s friends instead of your husband. We will learn a little about him, but we lack the intimacy of a true marriage. God calls us to know Him personally, not just hear about Him from another’s words, sermons, books, or teachings. God has given us His spirit, His Word and He is calling each one of us to come to Him directly. This intimacy is Christ’s gift to us.
Letting go of the middle man takes faith and faith comes from the Word. Come to God in the quiet of the day and ask God who He is; to show you His truth and ways. To open your eyes and ears to see and hear Him.
Seek God. Don’t be afraid of drawing near to Him because any fear isn’t real. He is love. But you must fight your fears by drawing a little closer each day so you can experience His goodness. And don’t hand your relationship over to another. It’s yours to nurture and develop. When you do you will discover a relationship that will be your greatest treasure.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
A new PODCAST (click here to listen) is available on our desire for the perfect father. You can also get it at itunes. Search for Stirring the Deep under podcasts.
Overview: The impact that our dads have in our lives, good or bad, is astounding. The desire for a good father comes from the inner longing to be united to our Heavenly Father.
In this show, I talk about how our relationship with our earthly dad affects our relationship with God; how our relationship with God is conveyed through the child/father dynamic; and how coming to know God as the perfect Father we’ve all longed for.
This is a message close to many of our hearts. I pray you are blessed by it and moved to seek your heavenly Father as He is and His love for you.
John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
What would you do for your children and grandchildren? What acts/behaviors would you do for their well-being, joy and safety? What would you do to be closely united to them? Why do you do what you do?
You do what you do, because you love them. This faithfulness to them is an act of obedience. It doesn’t feel like obedience because normally we associate that gritty word with acts we don’t want to do but should. But when it comes to our kids, we want to “do what’s right” because we love them so it doesn’t feel like obedience.
Now take that mindset and apply it to God. We desire to do His will because we love Him. When we know God to a certain depth; His truth, goodness, freedom, peace, rest, joy which are all consumed in love, then we want nothing more than to be united to Him. He is life. He is love. He is the home of our desires. He is our great reward. He is our portion. We desire as much unity as possible, so we strive to walk His paths (obedience) so that we walk with Him.
Love is based on truth; not assumptions or lies because then there is no true bond. It would be all imaginary. Therefore, an aspect of true love is we don’t assume we know what pleases another; we want to make sure we know, therefore we seek. We want to know what brings another joy and delight. We want to know what will foster a deeper purer union. When we do and we act upon that knowledge, then the union solidifies because we are walking within an oneness of will and mind.
When we truly love God or want to love Him, we desire to know Him and His will. We don’t want ignorance, fears or anything else to separate us from Him; therefore we seek. We long to be as close as possible to God even to walk in His footsteps. Therefore we seek the truth of His will in the Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit and walk in that will. It’s our utmost desire because of the love we feel.
How can we do what we don’t know? How can we know without seeking? If we truly are desiring unity with God we will seek to know Him. We will have a passion and hunger for His truth so we can walk in unity with Him.
As we draw near in truth, we begin to surrender to whatever God’s will may be because of His inherent perfection. We fight any compulsion to hold back because we’ve experienced and know His goodness. When you know His goodness and love, you can let go and trust.
Therefore, obedience is the fruit of love, or love in action. It’s the result of knowing God and His truth finding its home in our soul. If we are seeking a true union with God, then we will desire to obey. Our life will show the fruit of that obedience. Faith (belief in and love of God) without works (walking in His truths) is dead. If there is no fruit of walking in His truth, then the truth isn’t in us.
Salvation comes by grace. A testimony that we understand this gift given to us is obedience. Salvation came from God that we might be united to Him. If we aren’t fostering unity in cultivating a deep and real relationship, we missed the whole point of that saving grace. Our heart to walk the path of life that fosters unity with God reveals our understanding of the grace we’ve been shown. It isn’t self-imposed obedience that anyone could do that testifies to our awareness. It’s the flowing desire to want to obey and walk in God’s truth because that truth is in us. Heart-motivated obedience comes from God’s spirit within us.
If you feel resistance to walking in God’s will, then you simply need to know God deeper. When you seek to know Him with all your heart, soul and mind you will encounter His magnificent love and goodness and in return you will love Him and desire Him to a point of being consumed. Therefore to be united to God in love begins by seeking to know Him personally, deeply. God desires you to be in a bond of love with Him that deepens with obedience. Seek Him in truth by abiding in the Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit. As you draw near you will know and abide in His love. In time, you will desire to walk in His will because you know of His goodness and that doing so enhances your union with Him.
This obedience is the kind God desires; an obedience driven by love.
John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
John 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
Some years ago while reading Jeremiah, my heart was deeply stirred by his words. I realized those words were to me; to examine my life by.
For those who believe these old prophets are speaking to the physical seed of Israel, I challenge you in that belief because it greatly affects our understanding of what is occurring these days. If I’m wrong, then we would only benefit from examining our lives by their words. If I’m right, and we dismiss them, it will be a grave mistake. The Bible is written to God’s people, those who are called by His name, so it’s written for us.
Romans 9:8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.
I’m reading Jeremiah once again. As I feel his heart pour off the pages delivering a hard message to his brethren, again my heart is deeply stirred. I want to share with you some of what the Spirit shared with me; messages that continue to get stronger and clearer each time I read them.
The message is about judgment on God’s people who’ve gone their own way, who’ve followed false teachers and leaders, who’ve lacked a LOVE for the Truth. People profess love for the man Christ. He was a manifestation of truth. If you truly love Him, you will love the Truth. You will hunger for it, meditate on it, desire to walk in it and all the things you do when you deeply love someone or something.
Here is a taste of what Jeremiah says. The detail of truth in his words and what is happening today is astounding.
People don’t seek God and honor His words. Jeremiah 4:22, Jeremiah 6:10
People are assembling together, but in “harlots’ houses”. Jeremiah 5:7
People have been willfully led by false religious leaders. Jeremiah 5:12-13
God has stricken them because of their backsliding (Jeremiah 5:3), but they don’t repent. They continue to praise God with their mouths, yet follow their own hearts.
The religious leaders are of their own making. Jeremiah 5:31
People don’t fear God. Jeremiah 5:22
Judgment is upon us. Jeremiah 9:25-26 Each one is accountable to God. If you’ve been diligently seeking God in truth and spirit then you’ve heard the cry to examine your life, repent from self and walk in the truth. It’s a jolting message that wakes you from a sleepy existence. It stirs you to fervently seek God to know truth.
In the messages of this passionate prophet, God is giving those who stray from Him (the Truth, the Word) into the hands of the enemy. Jeremiah 12:7 In other words, many have professed Christ, but it’s a vain belief. 1 Corinthians 15:2 The Spirit searched my heart with this message in these ways — Jesus, the Word, is the Way; have you walked in that way? He is the bread; have you eaten the pure bread of heaven or the doctrines of others? He is the light, have you loved the darkness (own life) more than Him?
God is allowing those professing to be His to walk the path they have truly chosen. Jeremiah 2:17 I’ll ask you what He asked me, what have you truly chosen, not just professed? What does your life show?
People debate which leaders and churches are corrupt. Jeremiah spoke to the whole nation. God is speaking to each one of us. The warning is for us all. It’s not about examining our lives by each other or by our own rational, but by the Word.
I’m passing along the cry of Jeremiah, the warning of the deprived and deceived spiritual state of many and the ramifications to follow. As the end draws near and the new temple is dawning when God will set all things straight, more than ever we need to put God’s Word first. We need to examine our lives by it and know it’s God and His truths we are following and not false doctrines, which abound these days. Jeremiah 5:16-17
A response to his warnings…
Read the prophets. The words were written for your admonishment. Seek God in the Bible trusting the Holy Spirit to teach you, not a person. Seek understanding from Him with all your heart, soul and mind.
What does it mean to seek? To set a time aside each day (what is more important than God?) Read and meditate in the Bible. I’ve found reading a chapter in the Old Testament, one in the New Testament, then a Psalm or Proverb a good balance. Start with Jeremiah and John. Read with the motive to know God as He is; to know His truth. Rely on the Holy Spirit to teach you. 1 John 2:27. Ask God to reveal Himself to you. Ask God to reveal the errors you’ve learned about Him and His truth. Seek to follow His voice above all others.
Each one accountable to God. No one can cultivate a relationship with God for you. No one can pour God’s truth into you, but Him. He is the one to write in on your heart and mind. Your part is to abide in it with a desire to know it so it can be written on your heart. You can’t live by the strength of someone else’s relationship. You don’t want to be the one who has no oil when the bridegroom comes. Matthew 25:1-13
Some of the greatest enemies to your soul are distractions and busyness. Be wise. Spend time in God’s Word seeking the instruction of the Holy Spirit, there is nothing more important. Honor the prophets by hearing their words. They were written for us.
God’s love is great. His mercy has been overwhelming me along with the impeding messages of judgment. But if we don’t heed His Word, we’ll fall prey to what is upon us. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 Each one of us has to spend time with God seeking Him in truth and cultivating our own relationship. This union is what will allow us to stand firm.
How do you NOT quench the Holy Spirit? You cultivate a framework of truth within your soul.
At the gym, I saw a woman who I hadn’t seen in a while. I use to see her just about every time I was there. She looked great! She noticeably had still been coming. I felt a little prompting in my spirit to tell her how good she looked; to tell her the hard effort was paying off. Though, I had seen her many times, we had never exchanged words. The regulars at the gym know each other. We may not always say much, but we know who we are. I walked over and said something like, “I just wanted to tell you, you look great, I mean really good.” She smiled and said, “Thanks”. Then I went on with my workout and she hers. A week later, I saw her again. She handed me a card. She thanked me for what I had said to her. She had been struggling and I said exactly what she needed to hear. By her eyes, there was a lot behind that simple statement. For her to take time to write a note, it must have meant a lot. I thought I was giving a simple and obvious compliment. I’m learning that following a little prompting can manifest something much bigger.
We’ve all felt that little nudge in our spirit to do or say something. Sometimes we listen. Sometimes we don’t.
Why do we listen to some nudges and ignore others? This may seem like a superfluous issue, but it’s important to spend sometime contemplating it. If it’s the Holy Spirit leading us, we want to be responsive to Him and not ignore Him. Following His lead is the life we are to walk. Following His lead takes us down the paths of abundant life. When we listen and respond to Him, our ability to hear Him grows. If we don’t; it diminishes.
As we seek God’s face in the Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit, a framework of truth is established in our soul. This framework enhances the voice of the Holy Spirit because it’s a support system for His words. It allows Him to dwell more fully in us. Imagine your mind as a vast place. It’s filled with lies and truth. Whichever one is more predominant affects your ability to hear the Spirit, the voice of truth, at any one time and in certain areas. In the areas you know truth; you are more likely to hear Him. In the areas you don’t, you are less likely. In other words, if what He says is in line with your beliefs, His voice is more likely to be supported and acted upon. If what He says contradicts what you believe, it’s more likely to be ignored. This is why gaining the truth from the Bible by the instruction of the Spirit is critical.
For example, if you believe that compliments are great encouragements to others no matter how big or small, when the Spirit prompts you to give one you are more likely to. If you believe that they don’t really make a difference, you are more likely to ignore Him.
If we believe something contrary to God’s truth, it will be much harder to hear and thus respond to the Spirit’s leading. As soon as it enters our head, the lies start to quench His voice. Thoughts derived from fears, laziness, or irrelevance begin to smother the prompting.
For example, suppose we are part of an unhealthy fellowship and God wants to move us into a healthy one, so His Spirit starts nudging us. If we are untrained by the Word in this area, then we will be quick to dismiss the prompting. At that nudge, a flood of thoughts will pour into our minds about fear of being excluded, fear of appearing judging, justification that no fellowship is perfect, the lie that there’s no where else to go, and fear of losing friends and that little voice is suppressed. Without an accurate framework of truth about a healthy fellowship, we are more likely to dismiss the prompting to better pastures, because there is nothing to support His leading. Conversely, if we have been abiding in the Bible and building truth, then we are more likely to respond. When we do, then we move into a place where God wants us to be.
The key to walking in truth and following the Spirit’s prompting is to read, abide, and meditate on the ENTIRE Bible trusting the Holy Spirit to teach us. When we understand the lies that abound, then we realize our need for the truth. Truth breeds life, lies breed death. Thus whatever we are following, lies or truth, will manifest death or life in our lives.
Everything in the Bible is for our instruction. It’s the tool by which the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth. Over time, as we abide in His instruction, a framework of truth is constructed in our soul. This framework guards us from deception and allows our spirit to flourish. Then as He prompts us to act, we have the support system within us to respond to His nudges and to follow them. This is how we begin to walk in wisdom, truth and abundant life.
How many times I haven’t followed those promptings, but justified them away. This post has been truly convicting and enlightening to me. But the past is done. It’s time to press forward and persist in cultivating the framework of truth in our souls so we don’t quench the Spirit, but listen and act. When we do, we will become a useful tool of God. We are able to walk in His will of life and not ours of death. We are able to walk in a unity with God. We are able to impact others in ways we’ll never thought we could because the Spirit is moving through us.