Posts Tagged With: Jesus

Beatitudes & Humble Pie

A Series on Humility

(Lord willing)

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Coming to Christ first requires humility: we must acknowledge our need for someone else to save us. But then, each virtue of righteousness, all of the characteristics of a godly life require increasingly greater humility. A problem presents itself, however, for it seems the more we try to be humble, the more prideful we become. What we seek is a humble, servant mindset which Jesus demostrated so poignantly.

 

“The proud man can learn humility, but he will be proud of it.”

Mignon McLaughlin

 

My assertion is that absolute dependence on God is the only means to successfully obtain any degree of humility. Focusing on Christ: the paragon of all heavenly virtue, self is progressively swallowed up by His glory as we become one with Him. By comparing ourselves vertically to God, we depart from the horizontal and skewed comparison of ourselves to each other, opening a clear view to our personal inadequacies—our need for continuing grace.

 

I’ve discovered a hazardous pitfall in my own walk—one that’s difficult to detect. It’s called false humility. Something I’d done in te past , which, I thought was making me humble, was self-deprecation. I’d put myself down, or launch a bad spin on my actions, talking about the bad stuff I’ve done. But it only produces a false humility—not at all conducive to eliminating a hunger to be noted. While I thought it would be destructive to my pride, it only fed my ego. If we’re honest, we’ll see it’s the same for all of us. I’ve been doing a deep dive on the subject, and found that nearly every great thinker down through history has percieved the importance of this trait and written on the topic of humility.

 

 Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.”

C.S. Lewis

 

“A great man is always willing to be little.”

Ralph Emerson Palmer

 

Bryant H. McGill is more stoic, stating “True love is quiescent, except in the nascent moments of true humility”

 

Only by emulating the love of God do we transform into humble servants, which in turn elevates our eternal ranking.

 

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. 1st Peter 5:6

 

The assorted virtues of Christ-likeness expounded by Jesus in His great manifesto on the mount are all rooted in, and dependent upon a prior condition of humility. Assuming we all agree that the antithesis of humility is pride, we can easily recognize pride to be the primary, or root sin which so deceives mankind in its many forms. Pride hinders our growth in Christ-likeness.

It’s the #1 sin—not merely the first sin perpetrated chronologically, but also the sin which underlies all others. Pride and humility can never coexist in the same arena, that’s why Satan promotes pride in mankind. He knows it to be the root from which springs every form of ungodliness.

 

“Let us carry ourselves as God’s children in humility. ‘Be ye clothed with humility’ (1 Peter 5:5). It is a becoming garment. Let a child of God look at his face every morning in the glass of God’s Word and see his sinful spots. This will make him walk humbly all the day after. God cannot endure to see his children grow proud. He suffers them to fall into sin, as he did Peter, that their plumes may fall, and that they may learn to go on lower ground.” Puritan, Thomas Watson

 

Each week I hope to spotlight one heavenly virtue from Matthew 5: 3-10, demonstrating how every righteous trait flows from, and is anchored in, humility.

 

This is one trait that appears to act as a huingepin for developing the godly traits Jesus talks about.

Since humility is the condition of heart and mind every soul must possess, if they hope to approach God and be reconciled to Him through trusting faith, learning to lean on this virtue becomes paramount.

In chronicling the characteristics of citizens of God’s kingdom, Jesus seems to demand we presuppose humility as a type of key to all of them. Certainly, if I am to become “poor in spirit” I must first humble myself. Note how essential humility is in becoming what Christ calls us to be.

It will be fruitful for us to disseminate the precondition of humility that’s common to each of the virtues Christ provides. I’ll do so by first defining each characteristic Jesus extols, then by considering examples in the context of current culture, and finally view the whole matter in relationship to ourselves as individuals—making personal application to our hearts.

 

Bring your bibles and join us for the next post as we look at the first virtue found in Matthew 5:3. Please click on notifications and watch for “Poor in Spirit.” 

 

 

Categories: Bible, Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, Jesus, new nature, Sanctification, Theology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Are God’s Masterpiece

Have you ever noticed how adeptly Jesus addressed the issues of life? He always goes straight to the heart of every difficulty, and shines the light of truth to expose the root of everything that’s wrong with the world, along with the real cause of every sin. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Heb. 4:13)

I find it to be so very awesome to have a relationship with Christ Jesus—His wisdom is beyond the scope of my comprehension. And yet, He knows how to convey truths to each individual person in a manner that can be clearly understood. But there are some qualifiers—things He requires of us before He does so.

 

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He sets it forth like this—“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)

“Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:21)

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Col. 3:1)

We love from our hearts, or from the center of our being, at the very root of who and what we are.

Jesus Christ is “The Truth.”  Love desires to know the Truth.

Love desires to obey Truth—to act & speak in a manner consistent with and faithful to the Truth.

Love remains in the light—it doesn’t hide in darkness from the Truth.

A child of God who has been born from above, lives moment to moment seeking to perfect this Love.

Jesus has planted that seed of love in our hearts—in each of those who belong to Him. We are given a new nature and a softened heart that can be shaped by the hands of the Master. As the gardener of our hearts, our heavenly Father is faithful to nurture, prune, test, grow, and constantly tend that love until it finds completion on the glorious day when Christ Jesus returns.

God continues to impact who and what we are with His dynamic love, which produces transformation in us. Then He begins to love all others through us, for we have entered into Christ, and He dwells within us through His Spirit.

I have discovered a fantastic truth. The more I let God’s love flow out of me to others, the more of His love He pours in! So I say, let His love flow!

 

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Categories: Bible, Christian Living, Devotional, God's Faithfulness, Growing in Faith, Jesus, Love, new nature, Testimony, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Plan For You

Dear Christian,

God has one all-encompassing purpose for you, and He has promised to bring it to pass. That is, to make you like His Son, Jesus, which is the highest and greatest position anyone could ever possibly have! We are predestined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son. This in no way negates man’s freedom of choice. I’m not a determinist, yet do I believe in the sovereignty of God.

 

“…Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

Romans 8:29

 

Once you and I agree with God on this particular part of His plan, which says we are to be conformed to the image of Christ, it should become like a juggernaut, driving all that we do. It’s a process, and we grow into it. Our delight in doing God’s will takes all the sting out of life’s disappointments. It’s a love thing.

 

Whatever you may have aspired to, that God has thus far withheld, He has something far better for you. Sometimes, it might not look that way, but faith sees the invisible, including the future that Christ has promised to those who love Him. If you’re a Christian, then when you placed your faith in Christ to be saved, in essence you were saying that you trust in Jesus, so trust Him. He’s more than worthy, and immutably faithful to His word. 

 

In order for us to remain joyful and fully satisfied right now, He teaches us to be eternally minded. The bible refers to it as spiritually minded, and, we trust in His Promises. That’s how we embrace God’s will. It’s a way for us to grow to love Him and His plan, perfectly. 

 

It may be of benefit to list just a few of the plenteous eternal promises God has given to you.

  • God will not stop working inside you (making you like Jesus): “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” 
  • You will reign with Christ: “…if we endure, we will also reign with him.” (2 Tim. 2:12), 
  • You Will inherit all things: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17
  • There will be no more: sorrow, sin, death, night, pain, suffering—all the bad things in life will be forever gone (in eternity).
  • God will reveal Himself to you: “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” (He reveals Himself to His own, in this life, right now).
  • God will provide for your physical, spiritual and emotional needs:And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
  • He will give you power (supernatural assistance) to do what pleases Him. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13

      

(Be advised, this series will be coming in short bursts, and the next 4 posts will be coming approximately 2-3 days apart.)

 How can we become eternally and spiritually minded, yet still live and operate in this temporal realm?

 

The answer’s right here, in God’s word.  We find the “How-To” peppered throughout scripture. Look at our main, recurring text for this series:  Paul summarizes it like this, in Romans 12:1-2.

 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

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Don’t miss the next post, when the above verses will be fully examined, and the “How-To” explained.  You are Christ’s most treasured possession, and as the church we are the Bride of Christ.

Categories: Bible, Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, Growing in Faith, LIstening to God, Salvation, Sanctification, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

God’s Will For You II

2nd intro: An Inside Track on God’s Plan — Partnering with Christ 

Jesus wants you and I to have an inside track into heaven’s operations here on earth. He wants us to know and understand His plan. You and I are like the soldiersonly, in this army, the top brass invites all soldiers to see and understand a whole lot of the strategy and plan. When I was in the U.S. Army, officers didn’t tell us soldiers anything, except to bark orders at us.  

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Christ Jesus affords discernment to know how to walk in the Spirit, which, basically, is obeying/doing God’s will. After our salvation has been obtained, we develop a deep desire to please our Lord. It’s a love relationship. We then secure the requisite changes in who we are, through the step by step training God’s word affordsThe problem is, the bible isn’t always easy to understand, and that’s why we need good bible teachers. The Spirit will confirm our understanding of truth. 

God does mighty works in us, so that He can then do mighty works through our lives. That’s what He wants to do, and that’s a part of His will for each of us.  S.B.

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Dr. Lehman Strauss

Even though we’re still in the introduction phase of this series, you’ll note nuggets of truths from the bible that we’ll want to treasure up in our hearts, so we can be mentally prepared to garner the greatest benefit from the much meatier things to come. Milk first, meat later. 

 

ENTRY 

 “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21  

Here, Jesus makes it abundantly clear that true salvation always  will result in obedience to the will of God. If we’re to be obedient to God’s will, we certainly must know what His will consists of.  

 

So if we’re not at least seeking God’s will, wanting to know the next step in His plan for us corporately and as individuals, how can we believe we have a close relationship with Him? 

 

It’s important that we’re all on the same page in our understanding of what we mean by “God’s will.” There are different aspects to His will. Each of these facets fit together to form God’s ever unfolding plan from eternity past, which impacts the present, and reveals eternity future. His plan (God’s will) was developed before He created thworld, as we see revealed throughout scripture (e.g., 1st Peter 1:20).  

Sometimes I may interchange the words, God’s “will” with God’s “plan” as well as God’s “purposes.” And let’s not forget the awesome promises He’s made concerning His plan. Here are some of the different aspects of God’s will, each of which will be examined according to their component parts. But we want to focus on numbers 6, 7 & 8. 

 

  1. The redemption of man 
  2. God’s eternal kingdom 
  3. God’s purpose for allowing the existence of wickedness 
  4. God’s promises to us for life on this earth 
  5. God’s promises to us for eternity 
  6. Our transformation into children like Jesus 
  7. The church’s role in His plan on earth today 
  8. Your role as an individual Saint 

 

I’ll be setting forth and expounding scriptures in an attempt to reveal how all of God’s plan fits together. I did not come up with all of this on my own. I’ll be drawing from bible lessons of 27 Doctors of Theology. God has used a plethora of blessed saints to assist my understanding.  It’s important for each of us to find good sound bible teachers whom we can trust. There are lots of them out there who surpass my abilities by leaps and bounds. But God has called me to put this together using my unique way of presenting the truths of His word. Recently I’ve been studying under several dozen leading bible professors who truly walk what they talk. And you can do the same. I highly recommend BBN’s Bible Institute. It’s free!  

BBN Radio

Oh, how I praise God for the collection of Godly men who teach those lessons! What a tremendous blessing it has been to my relationship with Jesus, and also to my comprehension. Out of the 3 dozen or so collection of courses I’ve been through, BBN’s BI is at the top of the list for learnability. The Bible Institute is merely one of many online resources to find trusted conference speakers, seminary professors, bible expositors and wonderful pastors. I myself have been a sub-shepherd under Christ and serving a growing congregation for over 9 years now. I have another pastor over me, and also a chief elder. Thank you, Jesus—I’m so blessed! 

 

Please understand, it’s not my intention to tell you what Christ’s specific will is for your unique service in God’s plan. Each of us must do what is needed for God Himself to show us how we, individually, fit into the overall plan. I will, however, walk you through the steps of how to discover that for yourself.  

 

But the majority of God’s will is universal for all who are saved. Such as His plan for Jesus’ church. It’s God’s will that we all love one another, that we all become more like Jesus, and that we encourage and edify one another. It’s God’s will for every believer to share the gospel with others—He’s going to teach us what to say.  The steps, and acts of obedience, which lead to accomplishing these and many other things, are the same for everyone. But He has a special plan just for you too. It’s highly specific to the talents he’s progrmmed into your DNA. Once we start doing it, WOW! We receive a tremendous sense of purpose and draw great delight from Him.

 

 I heard Dr. Howard Hendricks say: 

 

“Prayer is the hand of faith that translates God’s promises into performances.”  

 

I mention that quote because each action we’ll need to take, and which we’ll be talking about here, is; preceded by prayer, activated by prayer, and performed during prayer. This makes understanding prayer a vital, and valuable parallel study for discerning and doing God’s will. Without communicating with God, we cannot, and will not, know and understand God’s will, nor His plan. 

 

As an example of God’s promises, here’s one you’ve probably heard before. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 

If we’d like to understand how we could possibly have everything our heart desires, this study is for us. This delight in Him, it’s like a secret key. When the way God thinks is delightful to us, He offers more understanding. And when His laws, His holiness and righteousness become delightful to us, our level of wisdom takes a giant leap upward. And since our desires will then be in harmony with His desires, we receive everything we desire. Our desire will be for God’s will to be done. Being united with Christ is very delightful.

Two important points 

  1. God teaches us in increments—bits at a time.  
  2. We will not move forward in understanding, until we’ve been obedient to what He’s already revealed to us (let that sink in). 

 

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:17 

 Davey2

Dr. Stephan Davey

The way we come to love the will of God is by obeying it—doing it. The result is stupendous joy! and great discernment! We begin to see God’s purposes, even in the really horrible things that happens on planet earth. When we obey (do) God’s will we experience the results—the wisdom of His will. Before we can actually experience God’s will, we must do it. Before we can do His will, we must know what it is. And before we can know what it is, we must trust it. Faith in God, is trust in God and in His infallible, authoritative word: the bible. Each one in succession is a prerequisite for the next. 

 

Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths.”  

 

 

From these two verses we learn four dynamic truths. As you read each numbered point, go back to the verses and absorb them again.

  1. We must trust God implicitly. 
  2. We cannot trust our own thinking without Him leading our thoughts (I will demonstrate how this is unequivocal, using many clear scriptures). 
  3. Our relationship with God is to impact the way we do anything and everything. We acknowledge Him in every decision we make and every action we take. 
  4. God will show us the way we are to proceed, each and every step of the way. 

 

But there’s a pitfall to watch out for. 

 

It’s in our human nature to become proud of our spiritual knowledge, and pride is always destructive to the human heart. God had revealed so many things to the Apostle Paul to pass on to us, that the Lord allowed Satan to inflict him with a thorn in the flesh, to keep him humble. In 2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul writes: “…Because of these surpassingly great revelations, therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” 

 

That’s very revealing to us. It’s something we need to pay attention to, because pride will also halt our learning—our inculcation of God’s program. Our goal is to remain plugged into His power and wisdom, and continue growing in understanding and doing His will, working in partnership with Christ Jesus. 

Yes, we will make mistakes and come unplugged every once in a while, but we simply confess our sin, He forgives us, and we move on a little wiser than beforeGod often uses our mistakes to teach us, and to keep us dependent upon His grace, driving us to cling that much more tightly to our Savior. We’ll endure hardshiplearn and grow. There’s nothing easy about walking in the Spirit, obeying God. But doing so is the best that life has to offer. He’s going to empower us to succeed!  

 

“For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13 

“…equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:21 

 

We’ve now had the two part introduction and laid the groundwork, offering some of what this series will entail, but we’ve barely spoken of the dynamic and wonderful benefits of walking with Jesus, partnering with God.

Categories: Bible, Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, Church, Faith, God's Kingdom, God's Will, Leadership, Salvation, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hearing of the Soul

Discerning Thought Voices

 

 

Benefits

  1. Recognition of God’s Voice  
  2. Distinguish Nefarious Thought Suggestions  
  3. Better Self-control  

 

Tell a psychiatrist here in the western world that you’re hearing voices in your head and there’s a high probability you’ll be assessed for some type of mental disorder, like schizophrenia. According to the Mental Health Foundation, staticians estimate that from 5 to 28% of the population hear voices others do not, or are not able to hear. (1)

 

But doctors are now aware of a small percentage of people who simply have an amplified version of what all of us experience in our minds.

 

On the other side of the globe, in India, the concept of silent inner voices is well accepted. They refer to these as angles, with good angles being the conscience, and bad angles are that which encourage us to ignore it. The bad keeps our minds zeroed in on materialism, and includes things like lust for power and wealth. A high level of awareness in this regard is referred to as a type of inner sight, or an inner eye. We’re familiar with the symbol of the all-seeing eye in the forehead. Mankind is capable of coming up with all sorts of creative imaginings to explain away things in the spiritual realm using anything but the truth.

 

It is my assertion that we all have various silent voices that sound from within us, and while it’s certainly interesting to hear the beliefs of those who love to mystify the spiritual, those are simply manifestations of human pride. It’s very similar to the Gnostics of Apostle Paul’s day. They loved to set themselves up as gurus—mystics who possessed some secret knowledge to impart to their disciples. And some tried to mix this with Christianity, giving rise to the gnostic heresies. Today Gnosticism is alive and well, yet has taken on many different faces; that’s a topic for another time.

 

After reading medical journal articles about people who do not have a mental disorder, yet still hear voices in their heads, I was intrigued. Later the same day while studying the bible, I connected some stuff God had already taught me with what the psychiatrists, psychologists and other researchers have avowed. Thank the Lord! He’s helped me sift through the falsehoods espoused by those in psychiatric feilds who do not hold with a Christian view. That’s not to say they don’t get many things right.

 

I’d heard it often: Christians who say, “God told me such and such…” I remember dismissing them without a second thought, but I was wrong to do that. Allowing God to educate me on how to be more gracious, I now understand what those believers meant. God does speak to His own. The bible often refers to heeding the voice of the Lord. It is in the way God goes about speaking to us that we sometimes get confused.

 

The fact is, all of us hear voices inside our heads, we simply don’t hear them with our ears. We think in words, and technically we can hear ourselves think. As we read this sentence right now, we can hear ourselves reading in our minds. Everyone has hearing of the mind, or what most theologians refer to as the soul. To each of us it sounds a lot like ourselves, because it’s our own inner voice. Yet, we hear these thought voices at various levels of amplification. If these were external sounds we could measure the volume in decibels. About now, some might hear the voice of their thoughts asking, Where the heck is this guy going with this? 

 

Let’s just say that I am convinced—some of us are able to distinguish voices from within, which are not our own, in the same manner that you hear your own thoughts. How distinct and loud these thought voices sound to us, is in proportion to each person’s level of awareness, combined with practice—learning the requisite discipline. Yes, this ability can be developed. Again, it’s louder and more pronounced for some folks than for others. In fact, before we’re through I hope we’ll note the benefit of fine tuning our capacity for distinction in this type of inner hearing. It’s my prayer that if we haven’t already, each of us will learn to differentiate between inner voices, but especially to recognize the voice of the Lord. And yes, I am connoting that we all hear silent voices in our minds, some that are our own thoughts, and some that are not, but sound like they are.

 

The importance, then, of knowing whose voice said what becomes vital. Aware of it or not, we have bad thought influencers that sound from inside us, which often come as suggestions, yet they masquerade as having come from ourselves. And then we have the voice of the Lord. If you’re keeping track that’s three sources, or voices, contributing to our thoughts: our own, the forces of darkness, and God. The Holy Spirit will often prick our consciences, which then actually does become our own inner voice, influenced by God’s goodness.

 

With my interest peaked, I sought whatever secular resources I could dig up on the subject of inner voices. Then I went to the bible in hopes of discovering if there were any scriptures which might pertain to the same. After all, if I’m being deceived into believing every single thought in my mind originated from myself, when in fact it did not, I need to know about it. It’s my mind and I don’t need some nefarious influence deceiving my thought processes. I’m quite capable of thinking wrong thoughts all by myself. If someone, or something is suggesting corrupt thoughts and fooling me into thinking they are from my own mind, that could prove to be catastrophic.

 

My substantiation for this post is God’s word. I believe the entire bible to be the infallible word of Almighty God, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. That’s why I’m citing the bible as my corroboration of these things, for the purpose of validating the existence of various inner voices that speak to our minds. And the necessity of recognizing whose voice said what.

 

Silent Prayer 

Do we pray? Do we expect an answer to our prayers? More precisely, do we expect to hear an audible voice in response to our prayer? No? Then why did we ask a question in prayer, if we did not expect an audible answer? That’s right, God utilizes many different means of communicating with us. We hear mentally audible answers far less than we’d like. Nothing worthwhile ever seems to be easy. But then, thousands of believers testify that they sometimes hear God’s voice, usually in the mind. There are also some who believe they’ve heard God’s voice with their external ears. I believe it just happened to be louder than usual in their minds, and so they thought they heard it with their ears.

 

Pandemic difficulties arise when we do not distinguish God speaking through our thoughts, speaking to our hearts.

Many true Believers are not aware of ever having heard the voice of God inside them at all. But the fact is, they have! They’ve heard it, and not realized it. More often than not, they attributed what they heard to their own thoughts.

 

Peppered throughout Scripture we find references to heeding, hearing, listening, obeying, and following God. We have Jesus the Son, God the Father and His Holy Spirit—AKA: Spirit of Christ. When a believer is walking in the Spirit, they are fully capable of hearing an actual voice from within: the voice of the Spirit.

 

In John 10, Jesus reveals Himself as the Good Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep.

 

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…” John 10:27. If we follow Jesus then we are His sheep. He said we hear His voice. I want to make certain I always recognize the voice of the Spirit of Christ. That’s why I practice and exercise this ability, and every believer can do the same.

 

Was Jesus talking only metaphorically about hearing (in modern translations it’s listening), or did He mean it in a more literal sense? I believe it to be literal as to Him speaking in our minds. But yes, He also means paying attention to Him — obeying Him.

 

God’s voice has a primary means of speaking—it’s called the bible. It saddens me to hear Christians say they’ve never heard God’s voice, when they’ve never read the bible all the way through, even once.

 

A little earlier in John 10:4, Jesus had said, And when he (the Good Shepherd) puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” Jesus says that we who follow Him will recognize His voice leading us. He leads us both from within, and from without. This connotes God’s word (the bible) and an audible inner, or “thought” voice from His Spirit. Both are paramount.

 

Verse 5 saysBut they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will flee from him because they do not recognize his voice.”

 

Anyone pretending to be Christ is an anti-Christ, a false shepherd and is of the evil one. The bible warns us about our powerful adversary, the devil. He is quite capable of suggesting thoughts to us, often about another person. He employs our weaknesses of the flesh against us, especially our pride, or lust, or greed, or self-centeredness. He offers thoughts that fit right into our flesh’s view of things—and makes it feel good. But because something feels good does not make it right.

 

Recognizing Christ’s voice, here in John ten, I believe indicates both determinates. We gauge the source of each thought by what was said, and by the actual sound of the voice. Optimal results are gained by using both measures concomitantly.

 

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

 

The primary way we distinguish the Lord’s voice requires knowing Him through His word. The Spirit speaks to us as we read and study the bible to help our understanding of what we’re reading. But we can benefit from this ONLY when our minds are yielded to Him. Everyone has preconceived ideas of what the bible means before they open it the first time.  Some preachers may tell us to leave those notions outside the door. Yet what we really need to leave outside the door is our pride—what we think we know. One must diligently guard against confirmation bias!—truly allow God to lead our thinking.  I’ve found that often the Lord will use the false notions we had, and show us how ludicrous they are. As He straightens out our false beliefs we can say, “But Lord I thought such and such was true.” He can then show us how what we had thought was wrong, and the light of His truth will bring the greatest clarity, with joy, to our hearts and minds.

 

Once we understand theological truth better—when we know what God says in His word, about Himself and about mankind, and we know the accurate meaning of His words (hermeneutically), the Spirit can then bring those truths to our remembrance when we need it. I recall a time when I was all set to give in to a particular temptation, which I’d done periodically (a sin in my thoughts accompanied by a physical action). I knew it was wrong, but just couldn’t seem to overcome it. Well, I was getting ready to do it again.

 

I heard the Lord very loud in my thoughts, speaking a bible verse that I had known well.  But I hadn’t read it in several years. It sounded a bit like my own thoughts, but was different. Trust me when I say, at that moment my thoughts were as far away from the bible as they could be, and from God. It rang like an ultimatum: “Choose you this day whom you will serve!” (Joshua 24:15)

 

I was terrified, trembling like a leaf in the wind, and almost soiled myself. It was suddenly a whole lot easier to resist that temptation! What I heard that day was definitely NOT my own thoughts. It was so loud that, at first, I believed I’d heard it externally.

 

 Knowing the Lord and understanding His word will insulate us in the truth.  

 

Knowing God intimately also empowers us to instantly detect false teaching or preaching. And can set off alarm signals when the evil one suggests wrong thoughts to our minds. When a demon suggests a thought that goes against what we know God has said, we automatically know it is not the voice of our Lord. Remember the devil is an imitator and he’s extremely good at it. He does thought-voice impersonations—both our own, and God’s.  We do not heed, or listen to that voice. Instead, we resist that thought/voice, and the evil influence will flee at the mention of Jesus’ name (if we are in fact in Christ).

 

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

 

The enemy, Satan, is also capable of making suggestions to our minds. He’s very good at imitating the sound of our own inner voices, and every so often, he tries to imitate the voice of the Lord. But to the astute listener, subtle, yet distinct differences are detectable between the actual sound of a demon’s voice, their own thoughts, and the voice of Christ. The difference in the sound, however, is the secondary manner in which to distinguish who said what. The best and primary determining factor of whether or not to heed the voices inside our heads (thoughts) is comparing what’s said with what God’s word says.

 

The Spirit and the Bible will always be in perfect harmony.

 

The Spirit will NEVER contradict, or go against what the bible says, but the enemy, of course, will. Ideally, God’s word and His Holy Spirit, should have complete rule over both: our words and actions. After spending much time being obedient, our thoughts are also trained in righteousness, and when that’s the case, we are extremely difficult to fool! Allow me to restate this—The Spirit and the bible will always be in perfect harmony. They are the double check, to be certain we are doing and saying the right things in the right way. It is learning to discern the Lord’s voice and comparing what we hear with God’s word, these are the two fail safes that victorious Christians employ.

 

There is a ton of information I want to share here, but this post is too long already, so I’ll drive in a peg right here until next time.

 

The following is a link to great post to edify and further prep our minds.  https://www.allaboutprayer.org/hearing-gods-voice.htm

 

  1. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/h/hearing-voices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Bible, Christian Living, Faith, Growing in Faith, LIstening to God, Research, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Heart Auction

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I’d actully forgotten about this draft for a post, written…who knows how long ago? Right now I’m living my next instructive post. It’s something I do before-hand, to make certain it’s what God wants me to say and share. When He teaches me something I have to really taste it first—kick the tires, if you will. I have no special connection to the Almighty that’s not available to each of us, I simply do a lot of heart & soul searching and spend lots of time in prayer. It always seems to begin with me being really sad and mourning over my mistakes and sins. But God is such a loving Father and always transforms my sorrow into the most awesome joy! It’s difficult to describe what happens in the Spirit—that’s something everyone simply has to experience for themselves. I pray that each one reading here knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. There’s just no other way.

 

Heart Auction

 

The loneliest heart sits throbbing in ice

Flotsam in vast sea—I paid love’s huge price,

As crowds press from every side to hear,

The auctioneer taking bids for me, dear.

A bared soul before the gawking masses,

Their love appears as frozen molasses,

Every hand outstretched to receive,

Bidding “Ten for the slave-heart so naïve.”

 

With beet reddened face hung low as can be

I know there are none who want me, as me.

 

From clear blue skies thunder voice crashes,

Hushes all, and all other bids smashes.

“For this beautiful heart I give my life,”

“I’ll sanctify her and make her my wife.”

 

The voice, the Savior’s, sweet Jesus my King,

He gave me His joy and makes me to sing,

Forever He’s now my everything.

 

Inviting He calls, “All who are teary,”

“Come unto me, all you who are weary,”

“All who are sore, heavy heart burdened,”

“Believe I arose, am God, my words and,”

“The life I give is free and abundant.”

 

Your price has been paid, in white you’ll be dressed,

Come taste of His love and He’ll give you rest.

 

This heart is still bare, its beauty to share,

Transformed by the Master with hands that care.

He heals hurting hearts who simply believe,

Soon He is coming, His bride to receive.

 

 

 

Categories: Christian Living, Faith, Love, Poem, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trust & Obey

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All people have short comings—we are fallible beings, and that’s why it’s sometimes difficult to trust those who may have rule over us. But with God it is much different. He never makes a mistake. The Lord is perfect, holy and filled with love. 

 

“O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29 KJV) 

 

What have I gotten myself into?  That was the predominant thought in my mind at basic-training for the Army. A drill-instructor was demonstrating his control over the men under him. On the roof of a three-story barracks, the drill-sargent ordered a young private to dive head first onto the rocky ground below.  

 

Without hesitation, the trusting soldier took two steps towards the edge, bent his legs for the leap, and sprang up and out to his certain death. Swiftly the Sargent reached out and grabbed the back of the private’s breeches and belt, catching the soldier just in time. 

 

My second thought: There’s no way Id obey such a futile and dangerous order. Observing the imperfections and failings of superior officers stimulated the rebel in me. I didn’t follow every order I was given as a soldier.  

 

Yet, years later I grew very close to my first love. He’s now my Commander in-Chief: Jesus Christ. It wasn’t always easy to trust Him the way that Private trusted his drill-instructor. I have learned, however, of God’s perfect love for me, and of His all-knowing and all-powerful nature. I can trust my life to Him. He’s not a man, who might make a mistake, or tell me to do something futile or foolish.  

 

There are times I don’t understand the Why of a command from God. But I can obey with confidence, knowing He has my best interest at heart. His purposes are flawless.  

 

Thank you, Lord, for your wise leadership. In hindsight we’ll always see the wisdom of trusting and obeying you in all things. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

 

Categories: Christian Living, Devotional, Faith, Military, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What You Need To Know

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An insidious influence of wickedness has been embraced by our society, as evidenced by the fact that it is legal. Ted Bundy, a name that invokes horror, and before he was apprehended, terror, into the hearts and minds of Americans, testified about this disease that America seems to love. He told of the affect it had upon him, and how addicted he became to it, until he began acting out the sexual violence that this pandemic invariably produces in those who partake of it. Bundy raped and killed 30 young women and girls.

 

Ted Bundy, however, is far from the only person to have had his moral and ethical restraint enervated by pornography. In his final interview just hours before his execution, he speaks of his many years in prison and the myriad of other men who testify of how pornography had so corrupted their thinking that they too had reacted violently in the perpetration of sexual crimes and murder. Invariably, these men point to the exact same underlying socially accepted evil that led to their crimes: pornography.

 

There have been scores of underdogs who have championed the cause of eradicating pornography, at least displace it from resting under the flags of legitimacy with some groups hoping to make even soft porn a crime. Many of these people operate under the banner of halting the objectification of women. But porn did not stop with women. Today it does not discriminate, and men too are painted as objects to be used and abused for the satiation of unnatural sexual gratification.

 

It is human life that is devalued, degraded, and cheapened by the inundation of sexual stimulus throughout the entire spectrum of the entertainment industry. Television shows, commercials, movies, magazines, music—it has hijacked every form of stimulus that comes into our homes. Everywhere we look we see and hear SEX, SEX, SEX! America is preoccupied with sex. We’ve created the market for pornography by our rebellious demand for the legalization of everything that we think will bring pleasure. We are a hedonistic society and have gone absolutely mad with pleasure seeking. Monogamy has become an outdated concept. Never mind how well the biblical model of marriage works, and how much better a society of monogamists get along together.

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Freedom of speech and freedom of expression have been used as licenses to do anything our little hearts may desire. As a nation, under the laws established to make us free to worship God, we now worship Satan, the nemesis of God, who is blatantly anti-God, antichrist and is in fact the father of disorder and chaos. Teens wear the anarchist symbol hoping for freedom from all restraint, without having the faintest idea of what anarchy is, nor the results of such a chaotic society. But we can clearly see the results. Rebelling against God has never brought the freedom we expected. Lucifer approached Eve in the Garden of Eden, convincing her that rebelling against God she could be like God, having to answer to nobody but herself, and Adam went along with it. He was deceived too. Instead of becoming free, they were enslaved to sin, depravity, sickness disease and death. Even the earth itself became cursed. It’s the very same temptations facing the world today.

 

Freedom from the restraint of God’s laws enslaves us to everything that is harming us, everything against God, against peace, harmony, order, safety, blessing, and love, against everything that is good. Our sins have separated us from our God, and He is the One we need to turn back to, if we hope to be truly free. “He whom Christ sets free is free indeed!” Free from what? Free from the powerful and negative and addictive sins that have made our world a place that is totally unfit for human habitation.

 

The war of the ages will come to a climax, and we call this the apocalypse, the end of days, just before Christ’s return. You will either be in Christ, and fully for Him, or you will be against Him. He is the winner in the end, and if you hope to be on the winning side, you’d best get right with God by placing your faith in His Son, Jesus the Christ. The first time Jesus came it was as a suffering servant, the meek lamb, so that He could redeem mankind back to God, to reconcile us to Him. The next time Jesus comes He will come with His Saints as the Lion of Judah, in great power and glory.

 

We have the testimony of Enoch telling us in Jude verses 14 &15, “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, also prophesied about them: “Behold, the Lord is coming with myriads of His holy ones to execute judgment on everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of every ungodly act of wickedness and every harsh word spoken against Him by ungodly sinners.”

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Image from rikberry.com

 

But addressing again the nefarious evil influences upon the world…  We know that the prince of the power of the air, the god of this world (Satan) is behind all of the evil things perpetrated upon the earth. But there are also his human servants, many of whom are organized groups motivated by huge money, power and sex. Hollywood and the major media outlets are nothing but puppets of those who truly hold the strings of power and control all major industries, high ranking political and military offices, including banking.

 

It’s not as if Spirit led Christians have ever been unaware of what is happening, or why—nothing has caught them unawares. God’s word has prophesied most of this, and the Spirit gives insight and discernment into the remainder.

 

So what is the point of this message? Why do I open myself up to ridicule and persecution by speaking the truth? I assure you, this is not a segway into any form of retaliation, or motivated by hatred, bitterness or pride. This is a call to safeguard your children from participating in the things of this world that are against God and the bible and human decency.

 

Please speak to your children about the dangers of pornography. Talk to them about the beauty of sex in the home between a man and his wife, as an intimate expression of real love, not lust.

 

One man and one woman, living under the authority of our Creator, reconciled to Him through a relationship with Christ Jesus who bore the penalty for all sins.

 

If you’ve not yet done so, cry out to the Lord—humble yourself before Him and agree with what the bible says about all of mankind: we are all sinners in need of a Savior. God has provided that Savior for us: Jesus, God’s only begotten Son died for you and me, and all who will place their faith and trust in Him. For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God and not of works that nobody can boast” Ephesians 2:8-9. God loves you!

 

He demonstrates his love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

He has made a way for us to escape condemnation, simply by placing our faith in Jesus and in His finished work at the cross and at the grave in rising from the dead on the third day, according to the scriptures.

 

“”Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” Acts 16:31

 

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9&10

 

I would not wish eternal torment upon anyone. My heart aches in the knowledge that out of the quintillions of people who have ever lived, a small percentage shall be saved. That’s what Jesus indicates in His teaching.

 

Please! Be one of the few, the godly, the loving, the saved. ♥

 

 

 

Categories: Addictions & Suicides, Current Event, Salvation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love is Powerful

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The Everly Brothers hit the music charts with a wildly popular song titled LOVE HURTS. That was back in 1960. The haunting lyrics were first written in 1957 by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant.

 

A year later Roy Orbison remade the song in his own distinct and endearing sound, bringing it into the top five on the Australian Single Play.

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Then in 1975 the heavy metal band Nazareth re-popularized: Love Hurts. The song moans out words that expound the hazards a heart in love may encounter: Love hurts—Love scars—Love wounds and marks—Any heart not tough or strong enough to take a lot of pain… And so on.

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Country artist Emmy Lou Harris also included it in her repertoire. The song Love Hurts has always resonated with us, because most everyone has at one time or another experienced the pain that love has the capacity to inflict.

 

This leads us to one irrefutable truth concerning love:  It wields tremendous power. It has the power to heal or to hurt, to sway, or to bring us in line—to kill, or to save. And it possesses many other dynamics as well. Of course there are also lots of other songs that elucidate Love’s dynamics, like The Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News.

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While most folks equate these facts only with a romantic type of love, it is true of all kinds of love, such as paternal love, and even brotherly and social love. Who would be foolish enough to argue that the love of a mother is not scary powerful? The nature of paternal love can quickly become a protective juggernaut that is not to be taken lightly.

 

See the links at the end of this short piece for some exciting true stories of heroic mothers protecting their children.

 

Love has been the cause of many notorious actions, and notable deeds.

 

But there is absolutely nothing that can measure the lengths that a Father will go to in protecting his children.  You will also find the amazing story of a father’s love included in the links below.

Try to wrap your head around the fact that you and I have a Heavenly Father who feels more strongly for us that any human parent is capable. His love is exceedingly great. Imagine that every soul who has ever lived, all throughout history is your child! That’s the burden our Heavenly Father carries.

Oh, how many have turned their backs on our Heavenly Father and rebelled against Him? A rebellious child always brings deep, indescribable pain to their parents’ hearts. What about when one of our children is struck by a car and is killed? Or is diagnosed with cancer? Sent to prison? What if someone were to deliberately injure our child? Just think of the intensely strong feelings that would produce in us, and then multiply it by several billion. Actually, even that would not come close to the monolithic ache and power of God’s awesome love.

 

God’s love is pure and much higher than ours, and likewise the pain that His love produces in His own heart is greater than anything we could possibly fathom. It was this same paternal love that caused Father God to send His only begotten Son to die in our behalf—so that His created children could be saved.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1st John 4:9

 

The Author of Life willingly gave His life to save ours. In John 15:13 Jesus said, Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Not long after teaching this profound truth, Jesus stretched out His hands to be nailed to a cross beam and brutally suffered a horrendous death. He had the power to stop it—He could have wiped all mankind off the face of the earth and started over, with just a single word from His lips. But the power of His love held Him up on that cross. He endured it all. Besides, He knew He was going to rise again, and usher in a new path for you and I, that we may live forever with our awesome God in His new world of mansions, where even the streets are made of gold. Love has made a way.

 

Motherly Protection                                 A Father’s Love

 

Notation: For those waiting for the Bible Origins Series to continue I extend my apolgies for taking so long. I’m not going to offer excuses, but please know that God is working, and His timing is always right. Blessings!

 

Categories: Christian Living, Community, People, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In the Custody of Humans

 

Gracie

Pictured is Gracie

The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel. Proverbs 12:10

It is crucial for those who are seeking a pet to understand the commitment that they are making before taking on such an enduring responsibility.

Responsible pet care begins with a commitment that extends throughout the animal’s lifetime. If you are no longer able to provide proper care for your pet, often, putting the animal up for adoption and fully vetting each inquiry, is the best route to take. Abandoning your pet, and or surrendering their life to an Animal Control agency, is both heinous and cruel.

When caring for a pet, in addition to their physical health, we also have their emotional and psychological health to consider—similar to people.

For a moment, set your thinker on the psychological and emotional trauma of children whose parents have died. The damage is even worse when the child is simply unwanted, unloved, and given away. Those scars will endure a lifetime. The same holds true for dogs and cats and many other furry critters we love. They become attached to those whom they’ve grown dependent upon. Most creatures natural inclinations are to form family bonds. You are their family. For a dog, the family is the pack. Cats too, are more comfortable and at ease in a clowder. Groups of feral cats have been jokingly called prides, but that term still seems to stick in certain regions.

A very smart Golden Retriever named Harvey had a people daddy who was known as Ronnie March. The two would spend most of their days and nights together. After their daily, morning jog they would enjoy breakfast together in their dine-in kitchen. Then together, they would travel to Ronnie’s YouTube film set. Most evenings were spent snuggled up on a couch, watching television. The two were inseparable.

When Ronnie was killed in a car crash, Harvey was injured too. His master was gone, and Harvey understood that Ronnie was dead. They’d been together when it happened. Finally, Harvey’s two broken legs and two broken ribs healed. But this faithful golden retriever had other wounds of the heart that were much more severe than his physical injuries. Harvey exhibited such depression that he would refuse to eat, and he moaned and whined incessantly. He was a highly intelligent dog, and expertly street-wise. On the pair’s early morning jogs their normal route had crossed over a busy highway so that they could access a nearby park. During the four months after Ronnie passed, poor Harvey was so heavyhearted that he would go and stand in the middle of that same highway, as if he were attempting suicide. After those four months, Harvey died too. There was no reason found for Harvey’s death, but most people are convinced: He died from a broken heart.

Yet, animals are distinctly different creatures than people are. People were made in the very image of Creator God, and were given by God the responsibility to care for all of the earth and its many denizens.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “Animal welfare is the ethical responsibility of ensuring animal well-being.” Animal well-being is the condition in which animals experience good health, are able to effectively cope with their environment, and are able to express a diversity of specie-typical behaviors.”—Dogs Naturally Magazine

It is my belief that animals also need a sense of belonging and lots of love.

Please! If you are having difficulty with offering proper care to your animals, there are lots of us out here who are willing to help. Be kind to animals.

Wait! I’ve heard a number of good people talking about how they love their pets more than they love people. It’s possible I may have said something similar in the past. But we definitely should not harbor, nor feed that attitude. Human life is above animal life, no matter how we may feel. Yes, people are often much more difficult to love, but that in no way negates God’s commands. Truth is never based upon feelings, but upon what God says. Continue to love your pets, but we must learn to love each other too.

There are many great reasons to get an animal companion as most already know, so I’m not going to bother listing them. There are also wrong reasons to obtain an animal, and I want to address just one. My apologies beforehand to my animal loving friends, but for just a moment I need to directly address some rather unscrupulous types.

To those who are involved with dog fighting, for fun, or for money, or for any other reason… Well, let me put it this way: “If I can’t whoop you myself, there’s plenty of others out here who will jump in to help me put you where you belong: Behind bars. Because we feel very strongly about this, and we will no longer tolerate your cruelty.”

To everyone else I say, let’s continue to be kind to animals, love them and especially love one another, just as Jesus commands.

My little Maltese Yorkie “Gracie” has a shirt that says, “I’m not French, I just kiss that way.”

Until next time, blessings, and wet slobbery kisses to you from our furry friends!

Categories: Animal Companions--Pets, Christian Living, Community, People, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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