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The first time I heard God speak I was about 4 minutes old as a Christian.  I had just got saved, in a shearing shed, and had gone back to my seat.  I was all of a sudden filled with a warmth and a peace that i had never felt before.  I felt God speak to me.  It was amazing.  and i was 4 minutes old, brand new.

 

But it’s also a learning process.  We practice hearing His voice and recognising what He is saying and what He is leading us to do.  Sometimes its not as easy and clear cut as it sounds like it should be, sometimes we can be distracted by our emotions and circumstances.

Each of us needs to learn from personal experience what it means to hear God given our unique background, personality, and life situation. They way that you hear God is likely to be somewhat different from how I hear God.   But the beautiful amazing thing is that God speaks to us.

The God that created the universe, breathed the stars out, is eternal and unshakable, all powerful and glorious – that He speaks to us, that He is near and personal, interested in our lives and doing life with us.

 

How did Hosea know he was to marry a prostitute?

How did Isaiah know he was to be a naked prophet – for three whole naked cold years?

How did Paul face the storm and shipwreck without fear?

How did Joshua know the walls would fall down?

How did Elijah know to go to zarapeth?

These are all out there examples of people who did radical out there things when they heard from God.

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SAMSUNG CSCAs Christians we want to hear God speak.  Our hearts long for connection with Him.

There is a great parallel linking between when God passed by Elijah on the mountain in 1 Kings 19 and when God appeared to Moses on the mountain in Exodus 19.

Exodus 19:16-20 describes: “On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.”

Compare this to when God revealed Himself to Elijah on the mountaintop.

1 Kings 19:11-13 says : Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;  and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.   So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Elijah, being a prophet of God, versed in Jewish history and the presence of God would have known about how God works around mountains.  Perhaps he expected, since God had sent him to a mountain that he would hear the thunderous might of His voice, described in psalms as a multitude of waterfalls and thunders.

But God pulled the unexpected on Elijah. He spoke to Moses with power and noise but He spoke to Elijah with stillness and a whisper.  Rather than manifest Himself in all His brilliant glory and splendid power, He chose to use His still quiet voice..

God doesn’t always whisper. Sometimes He shouts and creates quite a moment. When God visited Moses and the multitudes at Mt. Sinai, he didn’t use His “inside voice.”  

It’s important to hear God how He is speaking though.    Sometimes God speaks with great volume… other times He speaks so softly we have to be listening to hear Him.

Dont go looking for the noise and discounting the quiet if that is how God is speaking today. Dont try and turn up the volume when God is whispering.  Listen. God speaks.  

 

 

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BIBLE READING:

1. Take a passage or paragraph and read it 3-4 times.

2. Then make a list of every thing it says about God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit)

3. List anything that it tells you about yourself

4. List example to be followed, commands to obey or things that need to be avoided.

 

MEDITATION:

Then choose one or two thing that you think were most important or the best thing that you learned from the reading. Keller says that mediation is talking to yourself about God, in the presence of God (Psalm 103).

 

Keller recommends 2 ways to meditate upon the passage:

  • The Shorter Way

Ask yourself how you would be different if this truth was explosively alive in my inner being? Secondly, ask why is God showing me this passage today? What is going on in my life that i need to learn this truth?

 

  • The Deeper Way

ACTS= Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving & Supplication

Adoration: What can I praise God for in this truth?

Confession: What false attitudes, behaviour emotions or idols come alive in me whenever I forget it?

Thanksgiving: How is Jesus Christ or the grace that I have in Jesus Christ the key to help me overcome the sin that I have just confessed?

Supplication: What do I need to do or become in light of this?

 

 

“Read a text and begin to mediate on it until the Holy Spirit starts to preach to you” Tim Keller

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Why does having a “quiet time” seem so hard?

Have we forgotten the art of meeting with God and praying?

 

As Christians “we underestimate the Bible.”

We know its God’s Word but we don’t treat it like that, we don’t follow its guidelines or invest time into reading it.  We don’t truly value it because we underestimate it.  We must be re-inspired to reconstruct our times with God and to re prioritize reading our Bibles, to hear His voice.

 

Here are a couple of keys that might help refresh this vital time we have – the opportunity to read God’s Words, His letter to us, His revelation of WHO He is and how He loves us…

 

First.

Get yourself a Bible plan, like one year bible or something. YOUVERSION is amazing.  You can get different plans and devotionals at the click of a button.  Find one that works for you and inspires you.

Now with your Bible plan make sure it is one that you can “have off days” in – we all have days when we don’t get time or make time to read the Bible because of life and things so make sure your plan is one that the whole plan doesn’t collapse if you miss a day or a month or something. The one year Bible plan is good because you just pick up on the date you are. Eventually throughout your 80 year or so life you’ll get to read those other bits… don’t sweat it right now.

It takes 21 days to make a habit – so begin and continue.  Once the habit is formed it will flow a bit more naturally.  When we have a regular time reading our Bible we are creating opportunities for God to speak.

* disclaimer… now many people don’t like plans… they don’t read to hear God’s voice but find themselves reading to check that tick box.. Xo be intentional in reading to hear God’s voice, not just to complete a plan or complete a task…  let it be a framework that points you to a passage and creates a regular rhythm of reading the Bible…

 

Second:

When you are reading the bible you are not reading to absorb and learn the whole thing.

You are looking for THE ONE THING.

The one thing is the thing that jumps out at you.

It is the thing that God is ILLUMINATING to you.

You might not think – oh that is just my mind i am just drawn to that – but the neat thing is that that is how the Holy Spirit speaks! That is good!

God speaks through His Word. So when you are reading you are looking for the one thing. That one thing is the thing to focus on, think about, meditate upon etc.

Write it down.  Record it.  Chew it over.  Write notes about it.  Listen for the life God breathes into it.  Listen to what God is saying.

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God’s Word needs to be alive and active in you NOW. It needs to be acted upon and listened to and done NOW.

we need to STORE it in our hearts BEFORE we need it.  in times we face trials and tests and the Word is our SWORD and SHIELD – it is an offensive weapon and a defensive weapon.  it speaks hope, encouragement, strength, peace, love and joy to our hearts.  sometimes it keeps us sane and pressing forward as we face battles.  store the promises of God BEFORE we need them – know the Word BEFORE we need to know it!

So how do we have God’s Word LOUD within us as the dominant voice:

1. Read it

So be strong and brave! Be careful to do everything my servant Moses taught you. Never stop reading The Book of the Law he gave you. Day and night you must think about what it says. If you obey it completely, you and Israel will be able to take this land. Joshua 1:6-8

Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. 2 Timothy 3:16

 

2. Let the Holy Spirit teach you and speak to you

However, as it is written:  "No eye has seen,  no ear has heard,  no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"— but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.  The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 1 Corinthians 2:9-11

But the Holy Spirit will come and help you, because the Father will send the Spirit to take my place. The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said while I was with you. John 14:26

This takes TIME and practice… its like learning a friends voice over the phone or working out how your husband and wife really think and feel about things or being able to recognize what the baby wants by its cry… it takes time, its relational, it’s a learning process…. It wont happen over night but it will happen. God is in the business of teaching us how to hear His voice. He doesn’t throw us in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and say SWIM – it’s a day by day process and if we’re willing to hear and learn it goes well!

3. Do it. Obey it. Live it…

Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it. If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget. James 1:22-25

Simple eh.

Read it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you. Do it.

Smith Wigglesworth puts it like this:

“There are four principles we need to maintain:

First, read the Word of God.

Second, consume the Word of God until it consumes you.

Third believe the Word of God.

Fourth, act on the Word.” Smith Wigglesworth

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Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.  Acts 16:6-7

 

how often do we blame the devil for the things in our life when it is in fact JESUS who is guiding our steps and ordering our ways, including the door closing  unexpected ways.

 

my sister sent me this text this morning: we must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.

 

the funny thing is my sister isn’t a Christian, yet, and i had looked and thought about buying her a card this morning with the exact same thing on it.  seriously.  a bit of a divine moment.  she has been going through an incredibly difficult year  and i’ve been praying for her and encouraging her.  in a way, she HAS had to let go of what she had planned out for her life, to embrace the now and the opportunities today and the new potentials for tomorrow.

 

sometimes it is Jesus closing the door, to show you a better plan.

in the moment:

  • keep trusting
  • keep praying
  • keep seeking
  • keep moving

 

keep trusting God, even when you don’t understand.  Don’t pull away but push forward and position yourself at His feet.

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We all know that God reveals Himself in many different ways…

But did you know that God reveals Himself through baking?

Yes baking.

The other week we had to get our bath resurfaced and so we had this guy, this tradesman come, and mend the crack and spray some stuff and stink out the house.

While he was there I was doing some baking for children’s church and felt a nudge to give him a coffee and a muffin. So I went down to the bathroom, asked if he wanted a coffee and then went and made it. Took back the coffee and a muffin on a plate.

“I thought you might be hungry” I said, “and I’m doing some baking for our children’s church and thought you could do the taste test.”

“this is home baking?” he replied. “I haven’t had home baking since I was 12.”

Now this trades guy, the bath fix it man, was in his 50s. Gray unkept hair. Lives on a boat. That kinda guy.

He took the muffin in a really humble way and I was really humbled. Since he was 12. my mother heart melted.

About 2 hours later he came into the lounge and straight up asked me “so you’re involved in the church are you?” (did you notice the drop about children’s church) which led into me telling my story about how I became a Christian when I was 16.

God revealed Himself to me with the nudge when I was baking, but God revealed Himself to the bath fix it man with baking. With a muffin.

I love how God speaks. I love that HE DOES.

 

One of my most most most favourite bible verses of all time is this:

However, as it is written:  No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:9-11

God HAS revealed Himself – He is not an unknowable God that we cant pin down so tonight we’re going to explore some of the ways that God speaks to us and makes Himself known.

 

Let me begin with this:

 

1. God is deliberately mysterious.

Now that may sound like a complete contradiction to what I’ve just said but get this: God is deliberately mysterious and also puts Himself totally out there.

We are never – until the other side of eternity – going to understand the depth, breadth, height, width and scope of God.

Isaiah 55:8-9 says: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God is bigger than we can imagine. He breathed out the stars. He knows the path of the lightening. He knows how many hairs you have on your head and how many hairs you have on your toes. He fashioned the mountains and knows the path of the lightening. Unfathomable greatness.

And because of that and those omnis – He knows all and sees all and is out of time – He has perspective that we as finite beings don’t have.

God’s ways are higher. His wisdom is higher. His perception is higher. His love is higher. And because we can’t grasp it all, God sometimes seems mysterious and unpredictable.

But what we can know, even though the mysteriousness and even though the unpredictability is what He has revealed to us – we can trust and be confident in those things He has put out there in black and white about who He is.

The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. Psalm 25:14 NIV

The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, And He will make them know His covenant. NSAB

God invites us to seek Him: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

You see even though He is deliberately mysterious He puts Himself totally out there, inviting us to draw near and find Him. He has given us this book – the Bible – revelation of WHO God is. And the most stunning of all – He sent Jesus – Jesus says in John 14 “if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” Time and time again in the NT it says that Jesus is the exact likeness of God.

Colossians 1:15 – He is the image of the invisible God

Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

Don’t you just love that. God became flesh, Jesus – and the message says The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.

You want to see what God is like… look at Jesus. Look at how Jesus lived and loved and gave and spoke and did.

 

You see one of the things you can stake your life on and that never changes is that God is good.

All the time.

God is good. In every action and in every day and in every moment God is good.

Just a few weeks ago I was priv’d to go to Sistas and Sy Rogers was one of the main speakers and he had the most fantastic analogy about this.

Imagine with me the ocean. Helpful imagination triggers on the screen.

Did you know that The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the world’s five oceans. It covers 155.557 million sq km, covering about 28% of the global surface; larger than the total land area of the world.

Did you know they are still discovering new life forms in the pacific ocean and there are unexplored depths that are even too deep for the bestest marine explorer technology to reach?

The cool thing is you can go to the Pacific Ocean – by going to Eastern Beach. You can swim in the Pacific. Of course you could go to Hawaii or California where the water would be warmer… but you can go there, tonight. You can swim in it. Touch it. Drink it (which I don’t recommend!)

God is a little bit like that ocean. Big. Deep. Unexplored territory. You can experience a bit of God – just like how you can experience a bit of the ocean.

But the cool thing is – if you go to Eastern beach tonight you can scoop up a handful of water and know something about the whole ocean. It is wet and it is salty. From coast to coast and through and through the pacific ocean is wet and salty.

Likewise, with God, you can know what He has said about Himself and know that it is true through and through.

 

God is good and God is love.

 

These are the 2 main revelations of WHO GOD IS that I live my life on and that I colour everything else about God with. I may not get to swim the whole ocean – but this I know. Wet and salty. I may not get to know every detail and revelation about God. But this I know. Good and love.

God is deliberately mysterious and His ways are higher than ours but He is good and He loves us. All the time.

 

So back to the best but in the bible: BUT HE HAS REVEALED

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The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognise a stranger’s voice.  John 10:2-5

 

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i’ve been going through a reconstruction and reinspiration time in my personal bible reading.  for a while i had got slack.  but with fresh determination i’m making it a habbit again, making opportunity for God to speak to me through His Word, making space to hear Him speak.

 

and i so loved what i read in john 10 the other night.  these are the things that jumped out at me from the passage above.

 

1.  the Shepherd enters the PROPER way, through the gate.  He IS The Way.

2.  the sheep are HIS.  they BELONG to Him.

3.  the watchman recognizes the authority and right of the shepherd, the one who goes in the gate.  who or what is the watchman?  is it just part of the narrative?

4.  the sheep HEAR the Shepherd

5.  the sheep RECONGIZE His voice because of relationship and continual hearing, because of practice.

6.  He KNOWS His sheep by NAME

7.  He CALLS them and instructs them with purpose.  He gives them direction

8.  He goes BEFORE them, ensuring the way is safe for them to walk on

9.  The Shepherd doesn’t LEAVE ANYONE behind

10. the sheep FOLLOW him BECAUSE they know His voice, because they recognize Him – as a person of truth, authority and security.  They have loyalty to the Shepherd

11. the sheep can recognize a strangers voice – they will not just follow anyone who speaks but are tuned into the Shepherds voice

12. they will not follow a stranger because the stranger is NOT the Shepherd

13. the sheep will RUN AWAY from a stranger, they will flee from deception

 

 

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand.  John 10:27-28

 

 

isnt it good to know we have a good Shepherd who laid His life down for us, to rescue and redeem us.  who knows us by name and calls us and cares for us.  isnt it good to know that the bible says we WILL hear His voice and recognize Him, that He is a God that speaks and draws near to us!

 

 

 

 

and as an aside: i just signed up for a devotional on YOUVERSION and today’s passage john 10!

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So as Christians the norm should be that we hear God? We are children of God and our Father speaks. Yet in 2010 some Christians find it really hard to hear His voice – why?

Is it lack of trust – we don’t trust ourselves that God would speak to us?

Is it lack of practice/recognition – we haven’t practiced hearing His voice?

Is there an obstacle of sin?

Let’s remember first:

And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:20-22

We are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. Romans 3:24-25

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:89

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

What obstacles do we face in hearing from God?

Last week we talked about how its like God communicating to us via radio – the same radio that has other voices…

“I will communicate to you through this radio unit. But take note: our competitors, our enemies, also have access to this channel. They will try to impersonate my voice with false messages to thwart our purposes.”

So what are we overcoming as we learn to hear God’s voice above all the others?

Our flesh

The enemy

Others

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Flesh vs God

Romans 7:21-23 (NIV) So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:16-21

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. Romans 8:5-9

These 3 passages show us clearly that there is a war going on within us. The war to live our lives our way vs God’s way.

We must align ourselves with God’s way – be led by the Holy Spirit, choosing obedience over temporary satisfaction of our flesh/emotions.

Sometimes it comes down to hard choices – I will CHOOSE to OBEY vs what my whole flesh and heart and emotions cries out to do. Living a life obeying God pleases Him. And in this process He is with us and strengthens us and blesses us and encourages us, rewarding us.

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

Denying self requires us to give up anything that we would want or seek that would hinder our doing the will of God. “Taking up your cross” refers to giving your whole life to God, as Jesus was about to give His life for us upon the cross.

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3 In denying our flesh and choosing to obey God one key that “helps” the process is to fix our eyes upon Jesus, our Saviour, who gave His life for us and loves us and suffered for us to pay the penalty for our sin. The more we see Him, the more we love Him and stand in awe. The more we love Him the more we want to know Him and draw nearer and be clean and holy and pleasing to Him. The more we know His love the easier it is to throw off the entanglements of sin and to choose His ways and His will.

A life choosing obedience is a life that surrenders to God and His ways and His will. It is a life that seeks God above self and others. It is a life that listens for His voice and leading. We live our life in response to Gods love. We don’t earn it or repay it or earn hearing from God – but how we live does matter.

Who will we let win the war inside us?

The things we “want” may seem good and right but God, who is our Father, who loves us, who created the universe, who is wise above all our wisdom, knows best and has a plan and a purpose. He isn’t a killjoy but is at work in our lives to bring about that future that Jeremiah 29:11 promises. Disobedience is sin even if the “thing” we are choosing isn’t sin itself.

Sin, wrong attitudes, rebellion and unforgiveness can get in the way of hearing God’s voice. So can greed, selfish ambition, pride and holding on to your own agenda. God can and does break through the sin barrier – Adam and Eve still heard God in the Garden of Eden even though they had sinned – but sin that hasn’t been dealt with can get in the way and make it difficult to hear God.

Sin can close our ears – dull our spirits as some would say, desensitize us. Jeremiah 6:10 “To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.”

“You must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean” Leviticus 10:10 this was a instruction given to the priesthood in regard to discernment and standards but has practical application for us today… if we are seeking to meet with God and live for Him we must be able to distinguish what His will is and what is clean vs what is unclean.

Thomas Brooks in Precious Remedies against Satan says that in order to overcome sin we should all recognize:

  1. we ought to keep at the greatest distance from sin and from playing with the bait
  2. sin is but a bitter sweet
  3. sin will usher in the greatest and the saddest losses
  4. sin is very deceitful and bewitching
  5. sin cost the life-blood of the Lord Jesus

He goes on to say: Consider that sin is never a whit the less filthy, vile, and abominable—by its being colored and painted with virtue’s colors. A poisonous pill is never a whit the less poisonous because it is gilded over with gold; nor a wolf is never a whit the less a wolf because he has put on a sheep’s skin; nor the devil is never a whit the less a devil because he appears sometimes like an angel of light. So neither is sin any whit the less filthy and abominable by its being painted
over with virtue’s colors.

Lets recognize sin for what it is. Sin. Ugly. Hurtful. Wrong. It is what sent our Saviour to the cross, punished painfully to pay the penalty we deserve.

“A heart that is clean doesn’t desire evil. When evil is appealing, it is a warning sign that compromise is in operation, and that certain precautions must be taken. The roots of such compromises are usually found in the attitudes of the heart. That is why Solomon said, “Watch over the heart with all diligence, for from it flow the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). When a root of compromise is exposed, repent. And repent deeply until there is a true change of heart and mind. It saves a lot of heartache in the long run. If it’s a repeated area of weakness, use the tool of accountability. Accountability gives us great strength as friends bring out the best in us.” Bill Johnson, Bethel Church, Redding.

Living obedient lives begins with making a choice. Live by the Book. Live by God’s Word. Deny self and follow Him.

Practical ways to overcome our flesh:

  1. choose God
  2. know His Word and just do it
  3. get some encouraging people who are doing the same around you
  4. be aware of what your vulnerabilities are and find the satisfaction for them in God
  5. limit/restrict/avoid your exposure to temptation aka alcoholics and bars (2 Timothy 2:22 FLEE!)
  6. find someone to talk to
  7. talk to God about it!

We are all frail fragile flawed people. We all have weaknesses and vulnerabilities which can lead to sin. We all make mistakes. We can’t use “I’m growing” or “I’m working on it” as an excuse for compromise. The mark of Christianity is that we WANT to please God and that when we fall down we get back up again, repenting and allowing God to change us. It is a life leaning towards the direction God sets.

‘Repentance is not merely a change of heart and a change of mind, it is a change of action! God requires that if we are sincerely convinced that sin is wrong, then we will turn from it to God, and commit ourselves to not take part in sinful deeds any longer. God blesses such decisions and commitments with abundant grace.’ – Keith Green

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Enemy vs God

We have a very real enemy who seek to kill, steal and destroy our lives and the good things that God is at work doing. He uses our weaknesses and exploits them to distract us, discourage us and lead us into sin, doubt and rebellion against God.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you James 4:7

We are not ignorant of his ways. 2 Corinthians 2:11

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:11-13

Thomas Brooks says: Your strength to stand and withstand Satan’s fiery darts is from your communion with God. A soul in close communion with God may be tempted—but will not easily be conquered. Such a soul will fight it out to the death. Communion with God furnishes the soul with the greatest and the choicest arguments to withstand Satan’s temptations.

We are aware of his tactics and are empowered and equipped by God to stand strong. Again, as we fix our eyes upon Jesus, as we have FAITH in Him, almighty God, Saviour, Creator of the Universe, Great and Glorious we hold up a shield that deflects his lies, temptations and attacks. Greater is HE in us than he in the world – 1 John 4:4

Again, we make the choice to believe the truth of God vs the lie of the enemy. We make a choice to obey God’s ways and will vs the sin the enemy tries to entangle us with. We repent of our sin and we allow God to strengthen us and transform us and heal our weaknesses and vunerabilities to some sin vs giving in and being deceived.

“We were created with the ability to recognize right from wrong because the law of God is written on our hearts. But that capacity becomes crippled when we fail to uphold what we know to be true.” Bill Johnson

listen

Others vs God

Who do we live to please?

God or others?

This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Matthew 17:5

Whose opinion matters most?

The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” John 8:29

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. Acts 4:19

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17

Others can hinder us in our walk with God. If we live our lives to please them we end up compromising. Don’t let anyone distract you from pursuing what God has called you to do. Don’t let anyone put you down or insult you. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re too spiritual, or not spiritual enough. Choose your friends wisely and choose people that you will accept counsel from.

9-reasons-to-turn-off-tv-af

There are some practical obstacles too: are we making enough TIME for God to speak? Turn off the tv. Turn off the phone or ignore the texts. Step away from the computer. Are we too busy socially? Are we making it a priority or is it the last thing we think of before we fall asleep?

Are we filling our lives with compromise aka watching/reading/listening to ungodly (lacking reverence for God; sinful, immoral or wicked) “stuff”, doing ungodly stuff…? Question: do you think someone living “comfortably” compromised hears from God? What affect does compromise have on our relationship with God?

A daily encounter with the love of God will produce a daily compulsion of obedience to the voice of God. The Ramp

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Worship Wednesday

1000 Things

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