Dying To Self

The Bible is our manifest for life. It is our operations manual, others call it our guidebook. Its precepts are designed to teach us how to govern ourselves, as we mature as Christians, and travel down the path to our destiny.

The Old Testament precepts provide our travel instructions and through them we are encouraged to stay the course regardless of how live appears on earth, looking to our destiny, heaven as the purpose of our time on earth. The precepts offer hope in what can be defined as the godless world we live in today.

According to John Gill, learning encompasses: instruction “in the knowledge of Christ, of his person, offices, grace, righteousness, obedience, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension; and of the great salvation and redemption he came to obtain, and has obtained; and to teach us the doctrines of grace, of pardon through the blood of Christ, atonement by his sacrifice, justification by his righteousness, acceptance in his person, and eternal life through him; as also to inform us of our duty, and how we ought to behave both towards God and men.” (Romans 15:4, BibleStudytools.com/commentaries/Gill-exposition. March 23, 2018)

What Does that Mean for Us?

The theme of the month is dependence upon God and our obedience to Him. This scripture is yet another dimension of how we are to follow his instruction and rely on His Word to govern our lives. It informs us as to our duty as Christian Warriors in not only applying the precepts to our lives, but to demonstrate them through obedience to the Word. It describes the Trinity and how we can access the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The application of the precepts ensures that we are living a Christ-like life.

Accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior

When we received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we received our Salvation and insurance that we are part of God’s family. We have been pardoned through the Blood of Christ. We are justified in his likeness and he dwells in our being.  As a member of his family, we received the promise of eternal life.

Instruction Requires Obedience to and a Dependence upon God

In an earlier post I discussed Obedience and Dependency. Both require our allegiance to our faith. By this I mean, it is impossible to live a Christ-like life without being obedient. Obedience is ascribed to the practice of our faith and is one of the initial acts of obedience and is essential to our character. (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, pp 438) This again takes us back to the Fruit of the Spirit defined as the characteristics of Christ. Living by these characteristics is a life long process because we fall daily and are in constant battle with our own demons given birth by Satan, and represent the opposite of Christ’s fruit.

Knowing we are susceptible to failure, we rest on the fact that as long as we are dependent upon our Father and rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance, our ability to overcome our flesh rests in the constant reminder of being obedient. Whenever we feel the nudge or hear the quiet, soft voice warn us of doing wrong, doing things expressed in our fleshly desires (acts of omission), or are not doing things we know we should (acts of commission). Paul said it thusly,

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:15 NKJV

“So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

Dying to Self

Our struggle is harnessing our fleshly desires to live like Christ. One author defines it as ‘carrying the cross’. It’s literally, dying to self. Dying to self is the true essence of the Christian life. It is part of being born again.

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
John 3:3-7 NKJV

We also die continually. To die to self is part of the process of sanctification. Dying to self is both a one-time event and a lifelong process. Dying to self is denying our flesh and living a spiritual symbolic life while living here on earth, and in so doing, as mentioned above, find eternal life in Christ. Dying to self is the reality of the new birth; no one can come to Christ unless they are willing to see the old life crucified with Christ and begin to live anew in obedience to Him. (Got Questions. What does the Bible mean by ‘dying to self’? gotquestions.org. March 23, 2018)

Humility, the Ultimate Dying to Self

Giving up your old self, dying to self, is living in a state of humility. Jesus died to self on the cross, surrendering himself in exchange for our sins. Though our rebirth we are freed from our fallen nature, our sin nature. Jesus accomplished this when he came down from heaven to dwell with us. Through the crucifixion he won life through death. “Humility and death are in their very nature one: humility is the bud; in death the fruit is ripened to perfection.” Humility leads to perfect death. Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to death to set us free.

“The death to self is not our work, it is God’s work…the full manifestation of the power of this death is in our disposition and conduct and depends upon the measure in which the Holy Spirit imparts the power of the death of Christ. We must humble ourselves and surrender to God.” (Humility and Death of Self. biblestudytools.com. March 23, 2018)

Our primary responsibility in life is to die to self through meekness and humility. To accomplish this we should draw our strength from the Lord. We must (fully and completely) trust in God. I discussed sacrificing ourselves for others in an earlier post. We are to become dependent upon the Lord through prayer and study. We generally find that God’s grace abounds when we have come to our own end.

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom [a]every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the [b]saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations [c]forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21, NASB

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

Other Resources
Vine, W.E. Vines Complete Expository Dictionary. 1996
Nouwen, Henri. Can You Drink the Cup. 1996

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.

 

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.

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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

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox.

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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