What Does The Spirit Say?

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Romans 8:14 (ISV), “For all who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s children.”

We hear a lot of voices throughout our day, in fact we even hear them while we sleep. There is good advice, bad advice, jokes, cliché’s, sayings, stories, sales ads, preaching, teaching, facts, fiction, doctors diagnosis, kind words, hateful words, and too many things to name here. It isn’t all bad, but it certainly isn’t all good. Whose voice should be listening to? Should we shut off everything that isn’t God’s voice to us? I hate to say it but that really isn’t possible. What is possible is which voice we believe!

I have learned when I hear something I am not sure about, or something that troubles me to ask myself this question, “What does the Spirit say?”

That voice that says I have to look like I am in my early twenties, wear a size four, and not have a wrinkle to be beautiful may be insistent, but is it what the Spirit says? That voice that says I need a few tattoos, some piercing in weird places, and wear a lot of leather to be beautiful may be the current fad, but what does the Spirit say. That voice that says I need Botox, a tummy tuck, and a boob job is socially acceptable, but is that the voice of the Spirit?

Ok, I think you get the picture. I can go on about those words like, “You have cancer,” “I never loved you,” “You just aren’t working out like we’d hoped,” and more, but those are pretty obviously not what the Spirit says. But what about that little voice that says, “I don’t know how I am going to pay the bills this month,” you know that one that sounds just like you. Or the same voice that says, “They helped sister so and so when she was sick, but no one even asked if I needed anything.”

It is so easy to allow those little foxes to spoil the vine. Those seemingly harmless voices, that sometimes are our own flesh talking, to take root. Anything that is contrary to God’s word isn’t Him. Anything that is less than how God sees us isn’t the Spirit talking. He may correct us when needed, but He will never be-little us, spew venom, accuse another, feed jealousy or bitterness, or make us think less of ourselves or another. He will help us to see what God thinks about us and any situation we can face.

Romans 8:6 (NLT), “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”

John 14:17 (NLT), “He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”

The battle takes place mostly in our minds. Which voice are you listening to? Which voice are you entertaining? Which voice are you telling to shut up?

The Spirit of God speaks to us all the time. Are we hearing Him? Are we open to what He has to say and can we even recognize His voice? Start by searching out the scriptures and see what God has to say about you.

And hear is a few things that explicitly say, “Hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.” That’s me and you.

Revelations 2:7, 11, 17, 26-28 3:5, 12, 21 “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death. To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

Time With Gabriel

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Gabriel and Papa

My youngest grandchild, Gabe the Babe, has been at our house since Friday. His parents are in Hawaii. My daughter is having a hard time being away from her little 13 month old, but we are having a great time. Sure getting up at night to pat his back until he goes back to sleep and the winey, crabby boy who is getting some new teeth can try our patience, after all we aren’t young anymore. However, the rewards are great. I keep him weekday while mommy and daddy work, but this is different. I rock him to sleep, give him bath time, and watch my hubby interact with him, just like he did with our children when they were young. We never thought we could love anyone the way we love our children. We know better now.

Proverbs 17:6 (NLT), “Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children.”

So, maybe I haven’t wrote a thing, other than this post, and the house is a little messy. I do still have a few flowers that need to go into the ground and we took a walk when the sun came out instead of planting (it has rained for days). I’ll be glad to give him back to his mommy, but I will be sad too. This ten days is a reminder that life is short, family is so important, and we all need to slow down.

 

Letting Love Motivate Us- Part I

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The most important truth available to us today is this: GOD LOVES US.
He loves you, He loves me.

One of the most familiar verses in the Bible is –
John 3:16 (KJV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

How many of us wish we had a dollar for every time we have heard it, said it, read it (even on t-shirts and cardboard signs at football games)? God so loved the world! He loves the lonely single parent, the latch key kid, the grieving widow, the gay couple next door, and even the child molester. God loves people! We have heard countless messages on God’s love for us. So we know, at least in our heads, that God IS Love. But it isn’t until we hit those road bumps of life that our belief in that love is tested.

God doesn’t stop loving us, ever. We may go through hard times, even horrible things, but His love is still there. We may not understand why we have to face such trials, other than the fact that we do live in a fallen world, with a real enemy, and awful things happen to people. Those people, won’t get saved hearing a ‘turn or burn’ message. In fact the few ‘turn and burn’ messages in the bible, weren’t given to the lost, but to religious people. The lost will come into the family of God when they really believe that He loves them.
How will they know that He loves them?

Leviticus 10:17-18 (NIV) “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”

And Mark 12:31 (NIV), The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

So it starts with two things, we have to love God, and we have to love ourselves. For some of us it is easy to love God, but loving ourselves is a whole different matter. We know us. We know what ugly things we did, the ugly thoughts we have had, those things we don’t want anyone else to know. But it is part of the command. If you have a hard time loving yourself, then you haven’t been listening to God. He has wonderful things to say about you. Find out what He says about you, how He feels about you, what He plans for you. You’ll find it much easier to love yourself. We have to change our ungodly thought patterns into Godly thought patterns. Ungodly thoughts say “I am no good, no one loves me.” Godly thoughts say, “I am accepted in the beloved and God loves me.”

Jesus’ says in John 13:34-35 (NIV) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

After loving God, and learning to love ourselves, we must love one another. If we can’t love our brother and sisters in Christ how can we love those that are lost and without hope. We always think of loving others as a new commandment, but God commanded Israel, in the book of the law (we just read it) to love your neighbor as yourself. My opinion is that part that is “new” is our loving the way Jesus loves us, unconditionally, without restraint or strings attached. It has always been a command of God. Of course, He’s all about love!

Now, we come to the part where the world can see the love of God. They see it by our love, for God, for ourselves, for the family of God, and for them. We can’t stop at any of these steps. If we learn to love God with our whole heart, we won’t be able to stop! God’s love compels us to love others. But if we get hung up on just trying to love ourselves or other Christians, how will those who really need to know about His love ever experience it?

Ephesians 2:10, (KJV) “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

We have to show them the love of our Father. We need to be a reflection of His love.

Ephesians 2:1-7, 10 (AMP) “And you [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins. In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God]. Among these, we as well as you, once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind. But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One). He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Our acceptance off all God’s goodness shows by example God’s love to the world.

Verse 10 again in the Amplified. “For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].”

We were predestined to demonstrate the riches of his kindness and the goodness of His heart. God is our Father, we are His children and this is our “family business.” He has already given us the gifts and talents to do this. We have all of heaven at our disposal to show the world how much He loves them.

Just doing good works isn’t enough. We have to let love motivate our good works. If we work to try to earn God’s favor, we are building with wood, hay and stubble.

Matthew 6:1(New Living), “”Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.”

Verse 16, (New Living), “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.”

God’s word is clear, our motives are important. If we work so other can see us and praise us or admire us, then their praise and admiration are our only rewards. It isn’t pleasing God, or building with anything that will last through the storms. We can bully, beg and harass someone into saying the sinners prayer, but are they really saved? How does that portray God? As someone who doesn’t really care about them, someone who just cares about numbers-how many people I converted today.

Please read Letting Love Motivate Us Part II Tomorrow.