The Scripture tells us ,”blessed is he who perseveres,” James 1:12. I’m sure I am not the only one that at times has felt like giving up, just throwing my hands up in the air and quitting…am I? Probably not. Simply because trouble comes to all of we believers, trouble that is especially designed to smooth off rough edges, teach us some valuable lesson God knows we would not learn any other way, or something along that line. I’ve been a believer for 36 years and in full time ministry for 29, believe me when I tell you I have learned some hard lessons…all at God’s hand, and looking back, I would not have missed even one. I said, “looking back.” At the time the emotion was not always positive. I’ve noticed in myself, every time God wants to make a major change/shift in my ministering, I initially fight Him…not always consciously, but a battle goes on in my heart and mind. Possibly, it would be better said the battle is in my mind. I’ve learned over the years, my mind is not reliable and neither are my emotions. My spirit is because it is controlled by the Lord. Very early on He begins to teach us discernment, some people have the spiritual gift of discernment, don’t always recognize it and frequently don’t trust it until someone much older in the Lord teaches them how and why. They are truly blessed because that gift is badly needed today within the body of Christ. There are many, many false teachers and con men coming into our churches and taking advantage of the flock. People with the gift of discernment can “sense” they are not really what they say they are. God knows this kind of thing would come about which is why He provides the church with such gifted people. They need to trust their relationship with the Lord and exercise the gift and not “feel” as if they are judging. I used those quotation marks on purpose because many times that happens…we make judgments all the time, all of us. But spiritual discernment is another whole thing…when the Spirit of God speaks in that still small voice, that’s discernment and we need to listen. Discernment needs to be exercised…trained. To do that and discern correctly, you must meditate on the Word, memorizing passages that speak to you and your gift, always compare what God is saying to your spirit with what He says in His Word. We know He will never contradict Himself so knowledge of Scripture is important. Be willing to observe and obey the conditions that go with His promises.Hebrews 5:14 tells us that “who by constant use have trained themselves and their senses to discern.” Practice means you may make mistakes, so be willing to learn from them, and grow in this area. When your head doesn’t know which way to go, trust your spirit, your Spirit trained spirit will guide you correctly. It takes faith to operate in the spiritual area, not reason, and if you are going to go for reasonable answers and guidance, you will not develop discernment and will make many wrong choices and decisions. These times are usually when we most want to give up…we feel like a failure and are ready to quit. Don’t, just cling to God and remember this: “reasoning is a product of your head, discernment is a product of your spirit. Your head doesn’t comprehend/understand spiritual things, you cannot count on it leading you correctly. But…God in His mercy will, and He will never let you down or leave you all alone. he will be there, especially when you want to give up because for many of us that is a “bottoming out “ experience and God meets lots of people at the bottom, and then makes great saints out of them because they have learned they can’t do it….but He can…and will.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Have you ever considered how much time you spend with the Lord???? I dare say, most of us don’t We may be fairly serious about tithing our money, but not too serious about tithing time. It works out to 2 hours and 20 minutes a day…how do you rate? The Word tells us to learn to pray without ceasing, not to hard a task if you are in the habit of consulting God about your daily itinery…again, most of us aren’t, we go ahead and make our own decisions without bringing God into the equation. You might be surprised at how much He would have to say about the matter. That still, small voice of His can powerfully affect our hearts and minds, and change them. He always sees the bigger picture and the other people involved plus, the long term implications for all concerned. He always wants what’s best for us…all the time.
Personally, I think this present generation is so self-centered it rarely if ever thinks beyond “me” and that’s a pity. The Godhead constantly thinks of us and the outworkings of our lives. We don’t make it easy for them either…beside being selfish, we’re stubborn and don’t want to be corrected, even by God! I teach a class to prisoners on Healing For Damaged Emotions. It takes us back to the way we were raised, by whom, and how. It is pretty amazing how much the Holy Spirit can bring back to memory scenes long forgotten, or thot to be. We are all as product of our upbringing, good and bad. It is those bad habits and character traits
God wants to change by the power of the Holy Spirit in us. However, and it’s a big however, we must voluntarily give Him the time through the reading of the Word, prayer, meditation, memorization to show us our flaws and lead us in the proper way to correct them in order for us to be whole, emotionally. Every generation that allows that to happen on a personal basis, breaks the cycle of bad character and it’s effect on the next generation. It is sin that is transmitted through the genes and causes the sin to show up in flaws. Only God can correct the mess.That’s why Christ came, paid the penalty price for us all, went back to the right hand of the Father and sent the Holy Spirit to finish what He started. The Father desires many sons for His glory, and we, as redeemed sinners are those sons…glory!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Did you ever wonder why you are here? I’m sure you have, you’d be very unusual if you didn’t. If you listen to the world and contemplate evolution, you might think there was no purpose for you, at least nothing in particular, just chance. Cultural thinking says we are totally in control of our own destiny, we make or break our own way. The popular religions today tell us life is all about “us” and what God can do for us…never what we can and should do for Him.
In reality, God made us for Himself, to be loved by Him, to learn to love Him back, to allow Him and the written Word to so change us, to “conform us to the image of Christ,” that we bring glory and pleasure to Him. Do we think about that? I doubt many of us do on any kind of regular basis, and probably rarely work on it. We are required to allow the Holy Spirit to change us morally, spiritually and even physically…we should all be aware that our inner self or character NEEDS changing…we all have trouble with self-image, our view of ourselves. We frequently put ourselves down even if it is in our own minds, and think negative thoughts about us. There is a verse I like that speaks to that: “Hear my prayer my Father, listen to my plea and answer, for my thoughts trouble me and I am distraught,” Psa 55:1-2.
We also need to remember that it takes the Lord along time to make the changes He wants to make in us. We don’t get that way over night, and we are not going to change over night. It may take years of prayer and Bible reading for Him to get across to us the character flaws He desires to correct. Other believers can act like “sandpaper” on us, rubbing rough spots of our character with rough spots of their own until they smooth out. Lots of Christians don’t even realize they need to make changes, that it is part of our growth process to allow the Holy Spirit to change things about us that are not Christlike. And believe me, He can put His finger on problems and convict us until we see what He is driving at. Sometimes other believers will tell us flaws they see, which we should then take to the Lord and ask Him for verification and then act on it. Never ,never should we ignore the Lord. Usually He will pursue us by bringing some circumstance around again to remind us He is pointing to some change. The truly unfortunate people are the ones that go through life thinking they are perfect or nearly so, and have no need for change. They can make life very unhappy for lots of others around them and cause a lot of disruption in the church. That’s not what God wants from us, He wants us to be as loving, kind, and peaceful as Jesus and to share our loving ways with others.
So the answer to the question, “why are we here?” We are created to bring glory to God, love Him and be loved by Him forever…what great purpose!!!!