Watch Your Step… God’s Spirit Will Guide You

watchyourstep

 

God’s Spirit will never guide you where God’s Word forbids you.  God’s Word trumps our instinct, our feelings, our peace and our conscience.

Here are some pointers from Charles Stanley as you explore God’s Word.

Caution:

It is not a good practice to search Scripture for verses that support “what I believe”…  Rather, we look in the Bible with an open heart that says, “I want to peer into the mind and heart of God… teach me.”

With that attitude… now:

*** Look for principles.

Most of us are promise centered which keeps us always on the lookout for something God will do for us.  But when it comes to living life and making decisions, principles are far more helpful than promises.  A principle is like an equation for life… If you do A, you can expect B.  If you don’t do A, you can be confident of C.

For example…

We always reap what we sow.  Gal. 5:7

People you spend time with will influence the direction of your life.  Prov. 13:20

People who hate to be corrected will eventually make stupid mistakes. Prov. 12:1

Liars are always found out.  Prov. 12:19

What you hold onto will diminish but what you give will be multiplied.  2 Cor 9:6

God always provides for the needs of the generous. Phil 4:19

You see, principles are timeless.  they apply to everyone, all the time.  …Like laws of nature.

Be confident, just about every decision you make will intersect with one or more principles of God’s Word.

 

You may say, “But I need answers for my situation now!”   For most of us, the problem is not that God won’t give answers.  The problem is we won’t take the time to look them up.

(Rom. 12:2)

 

*** Read with the context in mind.

God views our human languages as adequate to communicate spiritual truth.  That means… normal rules apply…

Don’t read more into the text than is there.  Don’t look for hidden or deeper meaning.  Take it at face value.  Let it speak.

Remember… each book… God was speaking directly to a specific people group with specific needs, concerns and issues and it is dangerous to read yourself into some of these contexts to find God’s “personal message to you.”  This can be dangerous and lead to strange beliefs, actions and practices that were not intended for you.

 

*** Look for general promises.

These are the promises to all believers for all time.  (for example: Jesus  won’t leave us as orphans in Jn 14:18 or grace and mercy when we approach God in Heb 4:16 or Is 40:31 strength to weary)

 

Another Caution:

Sometimes the Holy Spirit will take a passage out of context and apply it to you.  But that is rare.  That is the exception, not the norm.  When it does happen,  it most often comes when we need encouragement.

Now… go get into His Word.  Let God’s Spirit speak to you.


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Just Keep Adding. ++++

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I’m baffled as to why Christians and Christian leaders continue to add responsibilities, tasks and rules to the list called “What You Must Do and Not Do If You Call Yourself A Christian.”

Were the words of Christ not enough and were the words inspired by God the Holy Spirit not adequate so now we must speak for Him and say things He did not say and demand things He did not demand?

Shame on us for making Christianity a list of hot topics… further expounded upon by us because God must have been unclear, vague or just too sidetracked to address them fully.  “What He really wanted to say is this….”

Shame on us for speaking commands He never spoke and making judgments He never judged upon and rulings He never called for.

No wonder the world who is craving Jesus, runs from Christians.  I have a feeling Jesus would avoid them too.

 

 


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Watch Your Step… Pay attention to His peace

watchyourstep

 

 

The Holy Spirit will guide us so we should watch our steps.  Pay attention to the presence or absence of peace because it is the Holy Spirit Guiding your life.

The absence of peace is not God leaving you.  It is His Spirit trying to get your full attention and trying to guide or redirect you.  Pay attention.

To help you think about your situation, answer these questions related to a decision you are facing:

1. As I think through my options, is there one in particular I really have peace about?

2. Is there one option that looks good on the surface, but as I think about myself following through with it, something just doesn’t seem right?

3. Do any of my options conflict with the Word of God?

4. Is there an option that scares me, but wen I pray about it, I really have peace?

5. Is there an option that disturbs me but my wise friends are encouraging me to follow it?

6. Do I have a feeling I know what God would have me do but I really don’t want to face it?

 

See you next Sunday!!


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The Best You…Now: Give it up… It’s An Inside Job

BestYouNow-logo-small

 

1 Cor. 6:19     Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,  for God bought you with a high price.

The truth… I can’t change myself… for long.  I can create change for a period of time but eventually I get tired and I revert back to the real me.

The truth… Because I am a Christ-follower, God’s Holy Spirit makes His home in my soul.

I don’t have to change.  I don’t have to work on it.  He does all the changing for me… from the inside out… IF (and this is a BIG IF) I will simply submit to the Holy Spirit within me and live in a relationship with Him moment by moment.  After all… I’m His house and He will clean out what needs to be cleaned out IF I will only allow Him.

My Prayer:

Holy Spirit, I admit that I can’t change myself.  I have tried and the results have been disappointing.  I can’t do it.  But I know you live within me.  I know you will change me if I will simply daily live with you and daily walk with you moment by moment.  I am going to talk with you today.  I am going to ask you to lead me today.  I am going to listen.  I am going to follow.  I am going to Your Words of life in scripture and I will listen to you today.

(If you don’t know where to start… maybe start with one chapter of Proverbs a day)

 


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A God That Makes Sense to Me

old gods

 

Why do I think that my mind should be able to make sense of God and his mind?  Why do I insist?

I’m not talking about the advance of our understanding in science.  Everything we learn is simply another step to understanding this amazing creation of God and like a proud parent, God probably celebrates every scientific step we make in understanding this creation of His.  Our growth in scientific understanding is not what this is about because creation itself screams there is a creator God.

The problem, I guess, is we stop our journey short.  Rather than seeing our journey toward God, we stop at each step and create for us a new god.  2000 years ago they did the same thing we do today with the only difference being the shape these gods take.

Some of our gods take the shape of human relationships but most do not.  Our gods take the form of virtual experience.  Our gods are technological wonders (to us).  Most of our gods today require electricity from batteries (a few still plug in by ac only and a few are powered by fuel).  We crave time with our gods and are anxious when our gods are not in our hands or in our pockets (unless it is a god we can drive, we don’t have pocket space for that god).

All of our technology gods have been created using God’s laws of science and physics (and any other laws I’m not smart enough to know about).  These steps make sense to us.  We can understand them.  We created them (using God’s creatively designed universe and universal laws).  We discovered something.  We created something.  Rather than being steps toward our creator, we stop after a step, after an advancement in our understanding, and create a new, little god we can understand.  It is a god that makes sense to us.

Within my reach (without having to move from my chair) I have several of those gods in front of me.  Some still hold prominent places in my life… some have been pushed a little lower to make room for new, faster, more powerful, more spectacular gods.

I have hundreds and hundreds of books within my reach.

I have vcr sitting under a vcr/dvd player.

I have great digital sound system.

I have a wireless keyboard and mouse (pretty cool when these came out)

I have a powerhouse desktop pc.

I have gigs of storage sitting by terabytes of storage.

I have a wireless router.

I have two huge monitors for super desktop productivity.

I have a high resolution scanner and a digital drawing pad plugged into my cpu via usb.

I have a bizhub professional copy machine.

My list can go on… and on… and on…    One more technology step, one more god after god after god.

I give them my time.  I give them my attention.  I give them my devotion.  I study them, learn about them and read everything about them I can so I can improve my life.  I give them my confidence…. which all together means I give them my worship.

Paul describes this process as it happened around him and as it still happens today (just with newer steps) in Romans chapter 1.

” 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.  21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.”

Pause today… consider with me where you have placed your confidence.

 

 


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Addiction. Defeat. Destruction.

an addiction

Of all the tortures of hurt and pain available to the evil one, addiction must be among his mightiest.  The soul who carries the pain of addiction carries many lifetimes of hurt. The precious wounded journeyer is romanced by promises of better times and pain left behind.  Addiction seductively kisses the lips of the addict with the hope of freedom from the torment of life and comfort if one simply takes addiction by the hand and gives oneself away.  Addiction is a liar who walks the addict to a secluded place and watches like a voyeur as anger, violence and self hate perpetrate their evil upon the addicted soul.

The journey through addiction brings some of life’s biggest promises as one desires to change.  The same journey brings some of life’s greatest discouragements as one then fails.   Looking around, the addict can see those who have obtained genuine freedom from addiction which leaves one wondering why not me too?  Why won’t God free me? Self-hate can even be reinforced by the victory of others.  Sadly, many are left feeling they must simply accept their struggle as too great and only hope for better in our life after death.

No matter if your addiction is a substance or a behavior, God can and is willing to set you free.  Beth Moore reminds us that God requires of you time, trust and cooperation.  While He can free you instantly, most slowly, daily, walk toward their freedom allowing God to teach them and grow them exponentially compared to the growth that comes with instant success.  It takes trust to heal slowly because we can’t see the distance traveled while looking at one step at a time.  But the journey is only taken one step at a time so we must trust.  And to make the journey of God’s freedom we must cooperate.  To cooperate means to jointly work toward the same end.  That means God has His parts and the journeyer has his parts… all working together toward the same freeing result.  I believe the addict’s parts (no matter the addiction) can best be summarized in the twelve steps.  The twelve steps help you define your parts and help you understand God’s parts.  The twelve steps help you cooperate with God.

Now add one more thing (for now).  Massive quantities of God’s Word.  Take it in every morning, every break time, every lunch time, every afternoon and every evening.  In it you will find life.  In it you will be infused with power from God Himself as His Spirit moves within you.  Don’t stop.  Force yourself when you don’t feel like it.  Make yourself when you think you are full.  Don’ stop. Don’t quit.  Don’t set it aside.  Become so full your life overflows with the Words of God.  It is the bread of life which can never make you too full because when you get full… you simply overflow and encourage those around you.

Now rename this post.  Time. Trust. Cooperation.

Go and walk with God to freedom.

a freedom


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