God’s Will, God’s Promises, Part 2

My intention this past week was to move deeper into God’s Promises, categories for classification purposes, and how we apply them by yielding free-will to God’s Will for our lives. But after discussions about Free-will and Satan’s deceptions in our lives, it became clear that most of us do not clearly understand the magnitude of Satan’s scheme and deceptions, including me. I do not profess to know everything about them, but want to share what I do know  Why? If we cannot establish that his schemes exist, the magnitude of his deception, then we will never understand how free-will can adversely affect our lives or lead us to believe and accept God’s Will for our lives.

We live in layers of Deception

Deception is diabolical and innocent people fall prey to it daily, that includes you and me. When we fall prey, we fall into sin and thus temporarily out of God’s Will. I say temporarily because as we become more aware of Satan’s (schemes) deceptions, we are better able to stay in God’s Will and trust His Promises.

‘Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. ‘ Eph. 6:10-12 

Satan controls the airways and the things of this world. Eph 6:10, stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 2 Corinthians 4:4, ‘Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News.) I believe we can extend this to those who don’t believe and those that do not stand by the Word of God, those of us who acquiesce to the draw of this world.

Satan controls the way people think when we are not alert and focuses especially on Christians. How often have you become angered by a leader’s’ path that seems to have gone astray? Any leader, political, corporate, spiritual, or for that matter, anyone you know. When we are at odds with them, philosophically, ethically, or spiritually, we often become disgruntled by their intentions and perhaps, begin to hate their very existence. It is at this very point that we unknowingly are drawn into Satan’s camp.

Let’s unpack what happens when we hate

Many of us are or have become unsettled when our leaders, or those that impact our lives, seem to inspire behavior that we deem unacceptable. We dislike what we see, dislike what we hear, and we develop a hateful attitude and behavior that is inauthentic, misguided and perhaps even evil. When we allowed hate to dwell in us, we immediately separated ourselves from God’s Will. When we hate, we focus on the person and not what is guiding them. The adage, ‘hate the behavior and not the person,’ speaks to our failings as we find ourselves in the midst of the deception. Now, I’m not saying that we have to agree with the person or persons, I am simply saying that we have to discern who the real actor is manipulating the person, and most often it is Satan. Acting our of free-will is often Satan inspired. Yes, sometimes we humans act independent of the principality war, choosing to exercise our free-will rather than God’s Will, but regardless, we must stay awake and alert, our enemy walks the earth looking to devour us. He sets the stage to create chaos, battles, and war. He does not want us to examine ourselves. He wants us to exercise our free-will which leads to eventual destruction. We must be aware of the rise of destruction in our lives.

When lies, manipulations, bigotry, and hate become our acceptable norm, we fall from grace. We are no longer abiding by God’s Will. If we do not abide by His Will, we will not consider His Promises as Truth.

If we look into the heavenlies, we would see the principalities warring and would know that the above is counter to His Word which includes the Ten Commandments, the Fruit of the Spirit, God’s Will for our lives, and His Promises to us.

If we begin to naively believe the deceiver by accepting the deception, Satan has separated us from the Will of God. How does this happen? We feed the deception through our anger, our words, and our actions. Greed, access, control, and power cloud our thinking. We walk around with blinders on. We listen to the ‘nay-sayers’ and join the choir.  Our mind is home to spiritual warfare. When we relax, we open ourselves to the onslaught of the evil one.

The Trap

Do you know who gets caught in this trap? Believers get caught in the trap. It was designed for us. Believers often feel that as God’s children, we are immune to the wiles of the evil one. We are subtly persuaded to let down our guard, accept a little white lie, accept something we have not rightfully earned, spew harmful gossip, become intoxicated by flattery, manipulate people to do our bidding, go along with what is expedient and lucrative, and slip and slide trying to avoid getting caught. We wear our disguise as believers pretending to hold fast to the Word, but in reality, we are so intoxicated by deceptive values we begin to believe our own rhetoric, the rhetoric of the evil one.

Crossing The Line

We unwittingly cross the line. For example – when I was a child, my friend said, let’s steal some candy from the candy store. (One kid in your neighborhood always tried to get everyone else to join him in stealing candy.) I refused for a long time, but then the other kids said it’s easy, you can’t get caught, we do it all of the time. You’re just a scary-cat. I finally gave in, or I should say, caved in. I knew it was wrong but was tired of being on the outside. I stole some candy, but during and after stealing the candy, I felt so guilty that I could not enjoy it. But I knew that it was morally wrong to steal. I knew God’s Commandment, ‘do not steal,’ and I was convicted. I couldn’t rest, so I told my parents. They reprimanded me. My father took me to the store to tell the merchant what I did. (My Dad had spoken with the merchant earlier and they decided to ‘scare me straight.’) I thought I was going to jail. But the merchant accepted my apology and my $.25. My Dad and I went home. I thought it was over, but to my surprise,  I was punished for a week. (Just like our parents, God often chastises us for wrongdoing to help us learn the lesson.) Now, suppose I continued at this pace, the guilt would have subsided and this would have become my new norm. I would have unwittingly fallen prey to the deception – no harm, no foul. Fortunately, Sunday School and my parents prepared me for battle, and while I slipped (ah, free-will), the Holy Spirit helped me self-correct. You see, the soft, quiet voice was alive and active, and most importantly, I was in tune and could hear His voice. What experiences have you had that when you look back, you’ve been suckered into immoral, unethical situations? Think about them and identify where you faltered.

The Soft, Quiet Voice Speaks

People who ignore the quiet, soft voice of the Holy Spirit eventually become deaf and stop hearing His voice. When we stop hearing his voice, They fall into layers of deception: the loss of self-control, gentleness, kindness, honesty, peace, joy, love, and faithfulness(the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23) leaves the void that is filled with the desires of this earth. The void is filled with new norms – greed, access, control, self-righteousness, power and camaraderie with those sharing the same belief.

Responsibility

It is our responsibility, as Christians, to pay attention to everything going on around us, to stay in the Word, and by being alert, ‘stand firm.’ Oh, if it was only that easy. As humans, we relax and let our guard down. When discomfort overwhelms us, we completely cave in, or we come to attention, get back up and realign ourselves with the Word. Some are able to take immediate action, others awaken much later, and still, others remain in the catatonic state of deception, all the while believing the lie that they are faith-filled Christians. Do you know how to get your footing back?

We do not have the luxury of being naive. The world is filled with unbelievers, misdirected believers, and wicked people; to think otherwise is to fall into deception. Our world is in great chaos, and we must make a decision as to where we stand.  I for one will stand and share the Good Word. Now that I know that free-will is not free but can lead me into the lake of destruction I relinquish my will in favor of God’s Will for my life. I fear being enticed by the world, forgo praying, and letting Satan escalate his plans for my eventual destruction. What do you fear? On whose side will you stand?

We cannot allow ourselves to be deceived by what we see or hear, remember the things of this earth below to Satan, and he intends to give this world an HD TV effect, brilliant lighting and effects. If we are going to discern the Truth, we must read and study the Scriptures in the Bible, pray and meditate on the Word on a daily basis. We must wear our spiritual (x-ray) goggles and view the deception for what it is, Satan’s failing attempt to kill, steal, and destroy.

In times such as this and especially in times of crisis, it is important to put on our battle gear, stay in prayer, and bombard the atmosphere with the Word, in the belief that we are the victors through Christ Jesus who died on the cross for us.

Websites – lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com; youngchristianwarriors.com;
biblestudytools.com

Scriptures – Bible.com, Biblegateway.com

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

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

Free-Will, Water Cooler Talk, and Responsibility

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

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

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


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

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

Water Cooler Talk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scriptures – Bible.com, Biblegateway.com

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

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

When You Know Your Prayers are Getting Through

Your world was calm and settled, you’re an effectual, fervent prayer warrior, all is good and then chaos breaks out in your life. This is an indication that your prayers are getting through! Praying is not for the faint of heart. It is a battlefield.

When we pray, our prayers rise through the heavens to reach God’s ears. When He hears our prayers, He sends down blessings. Praying is warfare and in the case of Daniel, blessings were held up in the second heaven while Michael the Archangel fought the demons that were holding back blessings headed to earth.

“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3 NKJV

The second heaven can be considered Satan’s headquarters. From this position he and his fallen angels do everything they can to bring destruction on the earth and resist the purposes of God’s grace, blessings, and mercy.

Yes, heavens plural, there are three heavens. The first is the visible heaven, it is our Blessingsatmosphere, the second heaven is the evil ones’ headquarters, and the third heaven is where God lives. (Derek Prince, pp 128)

The sole purpose of the evil one is to kill, steal and destroy. If prayers are breaking through the heavens and people are being blessed, the evil one in an uproar. We (prayer warriors) become the enemy. Satan doesn’t focus on his followers, those who live a worldly life, he focuses on God’s people, those working to advance the kingdom of God.

Satan is 100% pure evil, and he has a plan to destroy our lives. Satan is our enemy, like it or not. The battle is between good and evil, and we are the prize. Satan desires to keep us from all that God wants for us. He is the enemy of all people, followers of Christ or not.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” John 10:10 NKJV

As our prayers are being answered, he goes on the offensive and stirs up the atmosphere around us. He manipulates circumstances and situations against us. He may cause friction, chaos, loss, and illness, anything that can deter us from our mission. This is deception, he causes us to use our energy to address the things he created around us to dilute and weaken our impact as Prayer Warriors by disrupting our persistent prayer time.

It is our responsibility to learn to discern the battleground and figure out our strategy to succeed. Do we give up our time in prayer with the Lord to address the chaos the evil one created around us, or do we get up earlier, use our lunch time and go to bed a little later to maintain our prayer time? We have to learn to distinguish with our spiritual ears and eyes what is moving around us. “Discernment for the believer is seeing and understanding as God sees and understands. It is the ability to make godly judgments and right appraisals.” (Charles Stanley, pp 53)

When the world turns upside down, take time to discern what is happening and how you will approach it. Do not allow the evil one to dissuade you from your prayer time. We cannot afford to be deceived and sidelined. Our prayers matter and people lives are affected by our praying. Each of our prayers is requesting blessings and resolve to life’s situations and circumstances. The failure to pray for others and you leaves everyone prey to the evil ones’ plan for our lives, to remain slaves to him and the world.

Do not be deceived, always look through your spiritual lens and cast the evil ones’ efforts as far as the east is from the west, Psalm 103:12. Stay focused on your prayers until you see the blessings manifest. They may manifest in a recognizable way, or may take another form as God sees fit to advance you into the kingdom. Our prayers may be answered right away, sometime in the future, or not at all, but every prayer has impact and outcomes. We may see some answers to prayers and may not see others. It is all dependent upon how God sees fit to include us in the blessings.

The most important thing is to never stop praying until God leads you to do so. Just make certain you can discern who you are listening to. See my earlier Post, The Voice of God.

Resources

Books
Prince, Derek. Secrets of a Prayer Warrior
Stanley, Charles. When the Enemy Strikes

Website-Blog

Change Your Filter, Hear His Voice

Images – Google Images
Scriptures-Biblegateway.com

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

 

Second Guessing God – Self Deception

As humans, we have fallen short, made mistakes, said something we shouldn’t have, compromised our integrity, committed a crime, Second Guessing Godhave addictions, and failed. Generally, in these circumstances, we hear ourselves saying, ‘I blew it, God will not have anything else to do with me’. People are self-righteous, and self-condemning thinking we know how God will respond to our failings. We feel God is far from us and our mistakes have created a gulf between our Savior and us. We often second guess God, however, – the Lord clearly expresses that He thinking is not like ours,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

As humans, we stumble and fall, and as Donnie McClurkin sings, ‘we fall down, and we get back up’. It did not say we get back up on our own. The truth is we are helped up by the hand of God. God does not run from us when we fall, he runs to us. If we run away, he runs after us. He has always been with us. Jesus parable stated that the sheepherder went after the one stray sheep and left the ninety-nine alone to recover the one. He did so because he wanted to save the stray, he wanted to restore it to the flock  (Matthew 18:12; Luke 15:4). God works in the same way, He wants to retrieve lost, misguided people and He accomplishes this through (his earthly disciples) people. He may send someone to give you a word of knowledge, to sure you up at your lowest moment, to encourage you, to dust you off and help you recover.

God created us and knew what we would go through before we were a twinkle in our mother’s eyes before our parents were born and before the earth came to be. He knows when we will succeed and walk in our destiny, and he knows when we will fail. He knows when we are a spiritual mess. He knows when we will and will not be obedient to the Word or depend on Him. He knows we will experience hardship and wrongdoings, some brought on by ourselves and others external from our control.

God does not exempt us from hardships and tragedy. He will work with us through theseDependence3 times to allow us to learn to trust in Him. He allows adversity to mold and shape us. Like a child learning to walk, we must let them try to stand and walk on their own. They will stumble and fall, we will pick them up and steady them, and then let them go. We are there with our children and God is here with us.

Once we get this in our spirit. We can forge ahead, stay in prayer, and know ‘God’s Got Us’, no matter how bad we think we are or what we have done. We’re never alone in our trials and tribulations. It is through adversity that God gets our attention, delivers us from our pride, reveals our weaknesses and strengths, increases our hatred for sin, shows His faithfulness, strengthens our faith, removes pride and self-centeredness, prepares us for future service and enables us to comfort others facing adversity.

“Adversity helps us build our faith in Him. Adversity molds us into Christian Gods mercy3Warriors. God does not see us as we see ourselves. He sees a saint sometimes struggling, sometimes falling, but justified, redeemed, forgiven, and reconciled to Him. He sees a saint full of His unconditional love, indwelt by His presence, sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, whose name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. He sees someone in whom adversity can never take up permanent residence”. (John Gill)

God can and does take our tragedies and turn them into a blessing. He knew Jacob was imperfect, he stole his brother’s birthright, swindled others, lied, and cheated, yet when Jacob repented, he changed his name to Israel (which means new beginnings). He takes his imperfect people; the single sheep straying away from the flock and restores us. He blesses us through our newly found obedience and dependency upon him as our Father, our Lord, and our Savior.

God does not want us wallowing in our sins, our mistakes, our poor decisions, and offenses. He knew we would commit them just as he knew Peter would commit the worse offense possible, denying Him three times and setting the crucifixion in motion.

When we fall, God doesn’t run away, He runs to us. When we make a mistake, He pursues us. God chose Peter even though he denied him three times. No matter what we have done, He calls us His children, just as many of our parents have called us, and just as we call our children. He helps us and protects us not because we are perfect and proved ourselves, He does so because of our relationship with Him. It is the relationship he gifted us through the crucifixion of his Son, Jesus Christ, who bore our sins.

When you feel unworthy, remember, He changed Jacobs name to Israel. He sought out the Woman at the well, a Samaritan, who had five husbands and was living with another man. She was the first person He told that He was the Messiah. All He wanted of her was for her to Call upon Him. He chose Thomas (the disciple that said he needed to feel the holesDoubting God Thomas in Jesus’ hand before he believed he was speaking to Jesus; he was nicknamed Doubting Thomas because of disbelief) to disciple 3,000 people in India after the death of Christ. All were sinners and sought after by Christ because He wants everyone to find salvation through Him. The Bible is replete with sinners that have found their way to Christ. Our God is a God of second chances. His mercy is bigger than any mistake we have made. All he asks is that we have a heart for Him. He wants us to love Him as He loves us. He wants us to depend on Him and be obedient to His Word.

We can call on the Lord, and He will save us in times of great need and in moments of silence. The only thing God asks of us is that we must receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior and repent of our sins. As a child, I always thought of repentance as acts of fire and brimstone and thought ‘to fear the Lord’ was to be afraid of an angry God, which cannot be further from the truth. It made our Lord appear as distant and retaliatory. I only wish parents would explain that He is loving and forgiving. Not as words but through His actions towards us. Repentance must never be thought of as something we must do before we can come back to God. To repent means to change directions. Repentance describes what coming to God entails, that we turn away from our sins and embrace Him. We can’t turn towards God without turning from the things He is against. In this sense, to repent implies hope. We don’t have to continue the way we’ve been going, we can turn to God.

God does not judge us the way people judge us. He doesn’t label us as defective, as the masses labeled Thomas, a.k.a. Doubting Thomas. He does not set us aside. He runs after us. He finds the sheep that lost their way. He is a God of second chances. He is faithful. His mercies are new every morning. We are justified by His grace. He is our Lord and Savior who loves us and is our salvation.

Jesus died to pay our sin debt. We cannot pay a debt that does not exist. It is not only paid off, it was finished through the resurrection of Christ.

‘It is finished.’ 
John 19:30 NKJV

We cannot second-guess God. God does not label us. God does not judge us as people do. God does not alienate us when we do wrong. God is not a fire and brimstone God. God does not leave us in our sin.

God wants everyone to receive salvation. God is a God of second chances. God pursues us. God stands with us during times of adversity. God saves us. God loves us. God is our Lord and Savior.

 

Sources

Gill, John. Exposition, Acts 2:21. http://www.biblestudytools.com
Guzik, David. Study Guide for Acts:21. http://www.blueletterbible.org
Osteen, Joel. Tape #537, God Loves Imperfect People
Stanley, Stanley. Life Principle Bible. 1 Samuel, 27-30

Images-Google Images
Scriptures-BibleStudytools.com

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

LOVE – Truth in Action

 

 

This month the central theme has been obedience and dependence, and today we add a third, love. I consider these three actions as defining elements in our lives.

 __

Two require submission and one action.

Love is one of the three things God gave us: Faith, Hope, and Love. We abide in Love through Faith and Hope. Obedience and Dependence are the vehicles in which Faith, Hope, and Love operate.

“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NLT

Obedience and dependence do not require outward interaction, they are a state of being. Love, on the other hand, requires a second party and is an action taken.

God’s love is eternal and our wellspring. It never dries up, we never have to search for the living water. He loves us and it is our place as Christians to love others.

The first step in loving others is loving yourself. The question is, if you are commanded to love your neighbor as you love yourself, how can you love others if you do not love yourself? To love others, you have to first forgive yourself for all your actual and perceived sins that haunt you. Once you have accomplished this and believe you have been forgiven, then and only then can you show God’s truth, which is love, through your actions. 

It is important to note that, we are not saved through our works, we do not live in the Old Testament dispensation. Through the New Testament, we are new creatures in Christ and live through GRACE. We cannot be saved through this action, we are saved by grace and only grace. The action is only a demonstration of our faith.

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT

Further, we should not misinterpret this act as a deed, it manifests itself as action. It is not a work that we do to receive Gods love, it is a gift. God loved us first, and because He loves us, we love others and act to meet their needs. We love others sharing Gods love for us through our actions.We are a branch of His tree. Our actions are demonstrations of God’s love for us.Love4

Fruit of the Spirit3Love is the most important Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22. Without agape love, Christ-centered love, we cannot show the other Fruit listed. It is through the action of Love that all other Fruit of the Spirit is given life.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

Christian love

As Christian Warriors we must all strive to love others as an action. This simply means we step out of our comfort zone to assist others in need of help; others can be a co-worker, friend, family member or stranger.

I find that when I am nudged by the quiet voice of God, I need to step out of my comfort zone. Take a moment to discover when God nudged you and caused you to pay greater attention to others. We should all become more aware and present in the moment. It is important that during these moments we take immediate action. If we do not take action, i.e. the failure to take action, you will find these moments tend to haunt you.

Practice displaying God’s love through your actions. As we do so, we become more Christ-like and mature in the Word as Christian Warriors. You’ll become the person others speak about saying, “I don’t know what it is about Sam, there’s a warmth and caring I sense when I am around him.” This means others are beginning to sense the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. It also is a sign that you are doing God’s work.

Love is truth in action!

 

From Verse-by-Verse Commentary, 1 John 3:18, by Grant Richison, June 17, 2001, BibleStudyTools.com.

Scriptures – BibleGateway.com; BibleHub.com; Bible.com

More on Fruit of the Spirit from Lisa Blair:
lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com/Posts – Change Your Filter, Hear His Voice, Feb 22, 2018; Valentine’s Day, Temporal Love, Feb 21, 2018

YoungchristianWarriors.com/From Punishment to Correction and Healing, Feb 21, 2018; Core Values Early In Life, Sept 23, 2017; Children-Fruit of the Spirit, Sept 22, 2017; Activating the Fruit of the Spirit in Children, Sept 19, 2017
Images – /bible.com/111/1jn.3.18.niv; Google Image

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Blessing + Instructions = Fulfillment of Gods Promise

 

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

Galatians 5:13 NIV

I know without question, God unconditionally loves us. Remember Summer Bible Camp singing, ‘Jesus Loves Me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…’, what I didn’t know as a child was, God always blesses us, but wants it to be an interactive experience, hence the blessing is accompanied by ‘instructions for proper use’.

Most of the time, we receive the blessing, forge ahead and later ask, why is the blessing less than I expected? We see the blessing in its fullest. We acknowledge the blessing. We do not follow the instructions associated with the blessing.

If we unpack the scripture, we read:

  1. We are called to be free.
  2. We should not indulge our freedom in the flesh.
  3. We should humble ourselves.
  4. We should serve one another in love.

 

The Instructions Mean:

1. We know we are called to be free and received Jesus as our Lord and Savior on our own recognizance, we were not forced to ‘saved’, it was our own passion to desire more of God,  we chose to be saved. We think this gives us a license that emboldens us. Spiritually we are emboldened and equate it to its root, to encourage. In the flesh we are not emboldened, we translate the term as, empowered, generated by self-endowed, blazon, and self-righteous attitudes.

2. We know we should not indulge in our freedom through self-indulgence, yet becoming emboldened we forget it is not our own doing, but a gift from God, and is intended to be used to serve others, not ourselves.

3. We know we should be humble, but instead, we insert ourselves as the subject of the equation. This means we omit our Lord as the subject, rather giving ourselves the credit. Being humble takes practice and requires honesty to give credit where it is due.

4. We know we should serve one another in Love. Loving our neighbor and treating them as we treat ourselves in the Great Commandment, Jesus said, “this I leave you…”

These four steps will maximize our blessing. Yet being human, we get caught up in our own aggrandizement and forge ahead without using the instructions. How many of us have bought something and when it arrived we unpacked it, separate the parts and began putting the item together only to find that we should have read the instructions? Prayer is much the same, we can receive the prayer without applying the instructions and receive part of what God intended, or we can gratefully receive the blessing, thank God for answering our prayer, and follow his instructions to fulfill the blessing as intended.

Our problem is that we are not selfless people as God desires, we are self-absorbed people. We tend to follow the instructions but seldom through to the end. As we mature in the Word through our actions and deeds the instructions become involuntary and becomes one with us. We are free, but should not indulge the flesh, and should always be humble and loving.

Big order, but one we should work to strengthen and apply throughout the day because we will never meet perfection on earth, but we can continue to strive to be ‘on the way’.

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One practice in learning to pray is to strengthen our understanding and application by memorizing scripture.

I’ve included a few, but do not stop here, search the Bible for other scriptures to help you mature in the Word. I view this process as a lifelong commitment.

Scriptures

“We love because [God] first loved us.” John 4:1

“Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”  John 4:11-12

“Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we are dead in our transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4

 

 

 

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Scriptures-Bible.com; BibleStudyTools.com

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Change Your Filter, Hear His Voice

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My refrigerator has a water filter symbol that changes color to let me know it’s time to change the water filter. Its purpose is to remove toxins and purify our drinking water. As I ventured to the garage to get the replacement filter, God quipped, ‘filters work, write about how you can filter out the voice of the evil one and change in your life’6B8123ED-07EF-4863-A450-AD942066208C

This could be a figurative process, but my recommendation is to take out your calendars and place a weekly or monthly reminder to evaluate what happened throughout the week or month and how you approached it. It is easier to jot down the day’s events, highlights, good and bad, so at the end of the month, you have a plus/minus chart or checklist. A plus referring to Gods voice and minus to the evil ones’ voice. 1EFF2914-4406-4CC8-AA4D-F1ED7AFB8488

What are we looking for when evaluating the chart or checklist? 784A3D0E-B85D-493A-AB76-5CDA5C051C23We are looking for our level of dependency on the Lord and whether we heard his voice and instructions and acted accordingly. This is a process, but first, we must ask ourselves, do we know how to identify Gods voice because if we cannot, we cannot be obedient.

Filters have agents in them to filter our specific toxins. The Word are the agents. Our filter is the same, filtering out sin. We need to learn how to identify Gods voice and then filter out the activities of the evil ones’ impact on our lives. We must learn to avoid the wiles of evil one, known as sin. Sin is not just listed in the 10 Commandments but every one of the components of the Fruit of the Spirit. It’s our behavior and how we approach life’s situations. The toxins are the grunts of the evil one and our folly. To eradicate the toxins, we must learn to identify and listen to Gods voice.B25734C6-BAAE-4776-B03B-AB1DD6E8BAEB Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
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John 10:27 NIV

I read something that explains how sheep learn to recognize the shepherd’s voice. Lambs, baby sheep, are not born knowing the shepherd’s voice. They are conditioned to hear his voice. Initially, the lambs simply follow the flock wherever they go. Over time they become conditioned to move towards the sheepherder’s voice, they learn that his voice equates to feeding time. When sheep hear a new voice,  their conditioning begins again. “Even sheep that are introduced to a new flock will follow the other sheep until they too recognize the shepherd.” *

We must learn to differentiate between

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God’s voice, the evil one’s voice, and our own foolish folly. We must become familiar with the Word of God by reading the Bible, and studying the scriptures. Samuel, could not identify the Lords voice the first three times he called him, and Eli told him it was the Lord that had been calling him. He began to recognize the Lords voice over time. The same is true today, we must learn the Lords’s voice through trial and error until it becomes a norm.

In 1 Samuel 10:3,1-10, we see Samuel, a young bondservant of Eli’s, learning to identify God’s voice. The chapter is about Samuel’s conditioning. One night everyone was asleep, and Samuel thought he heard Eli calling. He went to him, and Eli was asleep. Samuel asked Eli, did you call master? Eli said, no. This happened two more times, each time Eli said, go back to sleep, I did not call you. The Lord called Samuel’s name a third time, again Eli told him to go back to bed, but before he left, Eli said, if He calls again, answer ‘Speak Lord, for Your servant hears.’

“Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”
1 Samuel 3:8-10, NIV

When God first spoke to Samuel he did not know His voice, he learned to recognize his voice just as the sheep learn to recognize the sheepherders’ voice. Samuel learned to recognize Gods’ voice, and we must learn to do the same.

Both the Old and New Testament informs us that our Lord wants to have a relationship with us and to do so, we must learn to hear His voice. This is not as easy as it sounds, it is a process. 31500D9A-5D1C-449C-85C2-C20490C1FACDAt times we hear the evil one mimicking the Lord’s voice nudging us to do or say something that is not consistent with the Word of God, and sometimes we follow the flock that does not belong to the Lord.

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So, the question becomes, how do we know it is Gods’ voice? We know his voice because God will never tell or suggest anything that is not consistent with His Word. This means that when you hear the quiet voice if it is not the Word of God, it is not His voice. If the voice says, call in sick and go with your friends (lying); take the change off the counter, no one will see you (stealing); look at your friends test and copy their answers (cheating); refusing to help a co-worker (lack of gentleness); lying (dishonesty); and gossiping (lack of self-control).* it is the evil one’s voice you are hearing. His commands or suggestions never impart the Fruit of the spirit 2Fruit of the Spirit or Gods’ laws. We have to learn to identify which voice we are hearing. It is not exactly black or white, there is a third voice, our own, which sends us down a pathway fit for fools.  You may ask, how do we avoid the pitfalls? The answer is, we learn His voice by reading the Bible, studying scriptures, researching commentaries, going to Bible Study and discussing the Word with others more mature in how to apply the Word of God in their lives. This is a lifelong process, but like Olympians, we may fall, stumble or fail, but we get back up and correct our weaknesses.

Changing our Filter

07579BE1-ACE8-4ED8-8686-730F7E87CF6AEach week or month, recap your experiences that you have written down. How often did you identify the quiet voice as the evil one, how often was it the folly of your own making, and how often was it the quiet voice of God. Applying this process provides you the tools to manage your behavior while eliminating negative behavior. This process is similar to the steps Harm Reduction uses  where you identify the attributes you want to maintain as those you want to eliminate.

As you are assessing whose voice you are hearing and following, you will begin to quickly acknowledge whose voice it is. If it’s the Lord, you will follow him, if it is another voice you will reject it and move on. And, as you read scriptures in the Bible, you will more readily begin to understand how the Word applies to our daily activities and become stronger Christian Warriors.

Changing the filter gives you the power to eliminate the toxins that make you ill, weak and subject to the wiles of the evil one. We learn to say and do what is right, not because people are watching, but because we are Gods’ children. We learn to be obedient and not act in a way that is comfortable to the flesh; as the Bible says, ‘not as men-pleasers but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from our heart’. (Eph 6:5,6)

The voice we follow directs our path. Our goal is to become active in the Word, act obediently, and ultimately become wholly dependent on the Word of God. As we regularly change our filter, we will find fewer toxins existing in our lives. God’s voice will be acknowledged earlier and we will become more dependent upon his love for us. Our relationship blossoms and we become radical Christian Warriors.

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Note, I mentioned in yesterdays Post that God often speaks to us three times to get our attention, this is another case of speaking three times before Samuel identifies his Voice and acknowledges the Lord.

Images-Google Images
Scriptures-Bible.com; Bible Studytools.com

* Learning to Recognize the Shepherd’s Voice. Carol Pipes. ww.christianitytoday.com. 2/21/2018

See my Post, From Punishment to Correction and Healing for more about the Fruit of the Spirit.

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