Archive for the ‘God Sense’ Category

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Filters

February 26, 2017

CThe Lord has given us many “filters” in His Word.

As we move through our daily lives, we are bombarded with all kinds of distractions. Jesus told us to have peace and, not only that, He gave us peace that surpasses understanding. He gave us His peace! Wow, that is good news! But, wait a minute…then why don’t I “feel” it? What’s missing?

I know, some of you will say, its sin! I am in a state of sin, so I can’t have that supernatural peace. I have to repent, I have to have the Holy Spirit shine the light inside and show me where I have missed the mark! I have to DO SOMETHING! Well, part of that is true…except for the sin part.

Paul wrote in Colossians 3:15-17:

15 Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

So, there is something we need to do. We need to “let” peace rule. So, the question we might ask ourselves is: how are we blocking it? What are we saying “no” to God about? Again, I am not talking about sin.

Paul gives us some filters here:

  • Does the Word of God dwell in me? Am I familiar enough with the Bible to find a scripture that might apply to whatever I am stressed about? Is it part of me? Can the Holy Spirit bring to my remembrance what God has said?
  • Am I teaching or encouraging another person, or am I angry, judgmental or resentful of the other person. Am I using “wisdom” found in the Word of God about that person or situation? Is that my problem?
  • What’s in my heart? Am I singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God? What am I listening to? I cannot concentrate on singing about my Lord and keep peace at bay. What is in my heart and mind?
  • Grace! Am I operating in grace? Grace is both a person, Jesus, and a gift from God. It’s the freedom to both be “free” and to allow others to be “free” also. It’s unconditional love!
  • Who am I serving? Myself, or my Lord? Am I doing all things in His name? Am I His ambassador? Do people see Him when they see me? If I’m serving me, I’m saying “no” to Him.
  • Am I thankful?

 

The Bible has many “filters”. There is always an answer for us. Again, this is not about sin; it’s about living the abundant life that Jesus gave to us.

We are predestined to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29) and as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) why not use the tools given to us to make our journey peace filled?

Use the Armor of the Lord (Eph. 6:6-18) as another filter:

  • The loin-belt of TRUTH. All the other armor is attached to this belt (except for the helmet). We have to know the truth. His Word is truth. As we use “truth” as a filter: we can check our motives, we can compare our thoughts with His word and find out what is really going on. We can ask the “Spirit or Truth” or the Holy Spirit to show us. (John 16:13).
  • Shoes of PEACE. We already went over peace. This says “shoes of peace”. We need to walk in it.
  • Breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS. This protects our heart! We are the righteousness of God! (2 Cor. 5:21) because Jesus became sin for us and we are righteous because of Him. Sin has no power over us. We need to always remember that! We are new creations. (2 Cor. 5:17). Old things are passed away. God isn’t judging us any more. “It is finished!” Guilt, shame and remorse have no place in us. Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 2:10). There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. (Ro. 8:1)
  • Shield of FAITH. Our faith in what Jesus has done shields us from every dart the enemy can hurl at us. (Eph. 6:16). We can safely stand behind it.
  • Helmet of SALVATION. This protects our minds. No thought can penetrate our minds unless we let it. We can cast down “vain imaginations” (2 Cor. 10:5). We don’t have to listen to negative thoughts or impulses…we can throw them away.
  • Sword of the Spirit—THE WORD OF GOD. The best weapon ever! Learn it, live it…enjoy the peace and joy that God has given us!

 

Be filled with the Spirit! Choose life today!

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Stop, Look and Listen

August 22, 2015

Exodus 3

  1. Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.  So Moses said, “I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.” 

In Exodus 3:1-2 Moses was doing what he always did. He was doing his own thing, minding his own business, just moving along in his life. He’d been living in Midian, had a wife and family and had been there for about 40 years.

So, here he was on the far side of the desert at Mount Horeb. He led his sheep up the mountain.

There was a flame of fire that caught his notice because the bush that was “burning” wasn’t burning! He noticed the fire, but not the Angel of the Lord. The flame drew him to the Angel of the Lord.

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell as tongues of fire.

(Acts 2:3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.)

Most Bible scholars agree that “The angel of the Lord” always refers to a visitation of the pre-incarnate Jesus.  So, the Holy Spirit drew Moses out of his normal, everyday life and introduced him to Jesus.

            When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” Moses answered, “Here I am.”

 When Jesus (The Lord) saw that Moses noticed and came to look, God the Father called to Moses by name. Jesus told us that no one comes to the Father except by Him/Jesus and that no one comes unless the Father draws him. Jesus tells us that He, Jesus, calls us by name.

(John 14:6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 6:44  No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.)

Moses couldn’t even hear God until he responded to the Spirit and the Son. Once he did, he heard God call his name.

God doesn’t change. Even back in the Old Covenant times, He was preparing mankind for the New Covenant.  The trinity works in the same way.

Moses was not seeking God when the Holy Spirit (or the flame) got his attention. Moses couldn’t yield to the Lord until he saw Him in the flame, the Father couldn’t call him to his ministry until Moses went through Jesus first.

It is still the same today. We all yielded to Christ when the Holy Spirit prepared our hearts to see Him. We responded when we heard our own name, when we knew that He was calling us personally. What a wonderful God we serve!

We’ve been told that we have to decide to accept Christ in order to be saved.  Just like Moses, all we did was notice Him and He did the rest. We entered into His kingdom the moment we saw Him. Also, like Moses, we cannot miss our “burning bush” experience. God Almighty, Elohim, gets our attention Himself in whatever way will best capture us, then He completes it in us.

The next thing that happened was that God told Moses to remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground.  He was already in the Kingdom. Again, Moses did nothing but listen.  “Holy” means “set apart for God. ” Moses was standing in a piece of heaven on earth. The “dirt” of this world (his sandals) doesn’t belong there. When we acknowledge Jesus’ call, our “shoes” are removed also and we now stand in God’s kingdom on earth. The great thing about the New Covenant is that Jesus removed our shoes for us. Moses, being Old Covenant, had to remove his own.

                        5 Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Moses, a murderer, one who ran away from God is now afraid. He is face to face with the Almighty. Even we, in the New Covenant, are aware of our sins and our unworthy condition the first time we hear our name called by God. God, however, goes on speaking to Moses without acknowledging Moses’ fear. God wasn’t interested in his shortcomings or his past, God now focuses on the future.  Just like what He did and does with us.

God laid out the whole plan. He told Moses that he would be the one to set the people free from Egypt, that they would leave there wealthy, that the land promised to Abraham was waiting for them. He tells Moses what His Name is and answers all of Moses’ questions.  The next thing Moses did was try and get out of it, but that’s another story.

The takeaway here is that God never changes.  Moses didn’t deserve grace, neither do we. Moses was a sinner, so were we. Moses was called, so are we.

We receive eternal life not because we gave our life to Christ, but because He gave His life for us.

           God So loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

        God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5:19)

        In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

So, like Moses, it’s not about us, it’s about Him and His love. (With Moses, it was His love for the Jewish slaves in Egypt; with us, it’s His love for us who were slaves to the world.)  He is the same, yesterday, today and forever.

Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs  according to the hope of eternal life.      

All we need to do is say “Thank you” and spread the good news to others so they can be set free too!

 

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The “Grace” Controversy

July 28, 2014

GOD’S GRACE. Controversial?

Who’d have ever thought that God’s grace could be controversial?  Yet, it seems to be a controversial topic among preachers and teachers today.  What a strange world we live in (oh, the world has always been strange).

In Paul’s day, the religious Jewish folk said he was “blaspheming the Law of Moses and the temple” because he was not telling Gentiles (non-Jews) to become circumcised or that they had to follow the Jewish laws.  Today, there are those who say that persons who preach grace want to throw out the Old Testament….similar? [If you read the Book of Acts in the Bible, you’ll see this everywhere Paul went.]

The Old Testament was the only “Scripture” available to the first Apostles.  Paul, as a teacher and lawyer, used it to prove that Jesus was the Messiah to the Jews.  Paul proved Jesus was Messiah to the Gentiles by signs and wonders.  The Old Testament scriptures would have had no meaning to non-Jews.  Paul used whatever he could to show the non-Jews that God loved them; however, they wouldn’t be able to connect the dots using a scripture that had no relevance for them.

As Christian believers in this time, we have the wealth of the Old Testament to peruse as we see Jesus Christ throughout.  We can see God’s plan of redemption beginning in Genesis and follow it all the way through.  We can see God’s character and how patient he was to the Jewish people and how He loved them.  We see his plan to return mankind to a place where they are one with Him again.  We see how blessed we are that we have a new contract (covenant/testament) and that, as believers, we have been set free from the law of sin and death. {Romans 2:8}

When Jesus walked the planet among us, he was accused of casting out demons by Beelzebub (Satan).  [Luke 11:15]

When Jesus was here, there were no Christians.  He came to the Jews to explain to them who he was and to show them that they were not able to keep the Mosaic Law perfectly enough to ensure salvation.  He showed them how impossible it is to keep the Law so that they would know that they needed a Savior (Him).  Most of them eventually did not believe and many of them called for his crucifixion.

He had a dual message:  1) that no one can keep the Law well enough to be saved and, therefore, God sent His Messiah to save them; and 2) to prophecy about the New Covenant (or agreement, contract or Testament) and what would happen after He died, took our punishment, and rose again to a new life…ushering in that New Covenant.

I knew the grace of God when Jesus Christ became my Lord and Savior. John 3:16-18 says

16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Just believe?  Isn’t that grace?  This was God’s plan from the beginning.  No hoops to jump through, no Law to obey, just receiving His gift of mercy and grace.

So…we just believe and go on living however we feel like?  Well, we could, but there is another component…the Holy Spirit who comes and lives in us when we turn ourselves over to Jesus Christ, believing He has done it all.  The Holy Spirit bears witness to Jesus in us.  Our lives begin to change as the Spirit begins changing our desires to match up with God’s desires. We cannot remain the same as we were…we are alive for the first time, we KNOW love for the first time and we respond to that love. [John 14:17; 16:5-15]

Many of those who are so uptight about grace forget the Holy Spirit’s empowerment and our new ability to respond.

When you fall in love with someone, even on an earthly level, you want to please them, you want to learn all about them, and you change your life for them.  Think about how it would be if that person’s spirit was in you helping you to understand them, showing you how to love them and, more than that, showing you that they love you more than you could even absorb.  That’s what grace is like…that’s what grace is.

             Grace is Jesus.  Grace is Love.

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He loves me, He loves me not!

June 28, 2014

*This post is geared to born again Christians.  If you are not among us, scroll down to the bottom and I’ll tell you all the hoops you have to go through to become one.

To my brothers and sisters in the Lord:

Why did you accept Christ as your Savior?  What called to you, what intrigued you, what moved you?  What were you responding to?

Think back.  We all have our own story, our “testimony” about our first encounter with the Living Lord.  Did we come to Him because we “had to”?  Did we believe out of fear?  What was our first experience with Him, with Jesus?  Was it LOVE?…just absolute love and acceptance as a beloved child? All of a sudden, did we “know” Him? Did we KNOW that He loved us just because He loves us? Did we just KNOW?

At that beautiful moment, did He give you a list of “do’s and don’ts, or rules and regulations?  Did you feel burdened down by His yoke?  Did you think that you had to do anything to keep His love?

I know I didn’t.  All I knew was that He died for me, paid the penalty for my sins, loved me enough to call me to Himself and He set me free to tell others about this GREAT NEWS!  I couldn’t wait to tell everyone I knew what and Who I found and to tell them that they could find Him too!

I found his unqualified, undeserved, absolute, unconditional acceptance and love.  I was filled with Him and His love.  I was on fire for Him.  Nothing would ever be the same because of Him and His mercy and grace.

That was about 45 years ago for me.  During those years, many things happened and life continued.  I wandered off for a while (all the while knowing He was with me and calling me back). I returned to Him again. I always knew He loved me. I always knew He’d take me back. Did I always feel great about me? No. But, I realize that, just as my salvation was not about me, neither is His love.

His love is about Him.  He IS LOVE.  He has placed His seed in me, has sealed me with the Holy Spirit, and has made me eternally His. I did nothing to deserve His love and I can do nothing to un-deserve it because it’s all about Him.

Over the years, I wanted to learn more about Him. I diligently studied the Bible to learn more.  I found that I was loved and secure. I found out that I was one with Him, just like He was one with the Father.  I was moved from glory to glory!  I discovered the power of faith and of declaring His word. I was baptized in the Spirit and spoke in tongues.

Unfortunately, with my desire to know more, I began taking in the teaching of men.  I began taking in “rules and regulations” into my Spirit and my Spirit began to become heavy…I began trying to “work out my salvation” by doing, or not doing, things to improve my walk with God.  I tried pulling the ox cart all by myself, or yoked with other sincere people…but not yoked with the One who asked me to take “His yoke” which was not heavy, but light. I began to rely on me instead of Him.

Recently, I was blessed by a new/old revelation…It’s not my job!  He, just as in my salvation, has done it all. I repented of my pride, let go of my lopsided yoke and gave myself back to Him.  Now, He does the heavy lifting and I walk along side Him.  He leads, I follow. He teaches me of His Love and I am in love with Him again.

No longer do I live in “He loves me, He loves me not” based on my performance, but in HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME!

Again, I ask you, remember the first things…how you felt in the beginning and drink in the joy of your salvation again.  HE LOVES YOU TOO! JUST THE WAY YOU ARE…JUST AS YOU AND I CAME TO HIM. He still loves us more than we can love Him back and He will lead us from GLORY to GLORY!  He can’t help Himself because He loves us so much.

To Him be the glory forever and ever, amen!

***

*The “hoop” is found in the Gospel of John, Chapter 3, verses 16-18.

 “John 3:16-18  16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

ONE HOOP: BELIEVE IN HIM!   Oh, and before I forget…I didn’t say this, Jesus did.

           Try it, you’ll like it.  He loves you!

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Do You Hear His Voice?

June 23, 2014

My sheep hear My voice (John 10:27).

Jesus spoke, in Chapter 10 of the Book of John in the Bible, about being the Shepherd of His people.  He explains the role of the shepherd and calls Himself both the “Shepherd” and the “Door” to the sheepfold.  He says that anyone who attempts to get into the sheepfold any way but through the Door (Him) is a thief and a robber.

Sheep only listen to their shepherd. They “hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…he goes before them and they follow him because they know his voice” (and only respond to his voice).  He says that they will “by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”  (John 10:1-5)

In verse 14, He says that He is the good shepherd and “I know my sheep and am known by My own.”  He mentions “other sheep” (Gentiles, etc.) that were not of this fold (Israel) and that He will bring all of them together as one flock with one shepherd.

He explains that, in the same way as a shepherd, He will lay down his life for his sheep, and he will do so (die for them) and then take His life back again (resurrect from the dead).  [Which He did with his death on the cross and in His rising from the dead three days later].

He said that those who don’t believe are not “of My sheep”, because his sheep hear His voice and follow Him.  He said, because of that (belief), He gives them eternal life and “they shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand”.  He said the reason for this is that “My Father, who has given them to Me is greater than all (“all” means “all’) and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

There is no doubt that we belong to Him when we can hear His voice.  We have the inward assurance that we are His sheep.  We just know!

So, my question is: Do you hear His voice?

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When Times are Hard

June 14, 2014

So many Christians go through hard times and question God or their faith. This post from Psalm 35 using verses 15 through 20 as it speaks of how He looks over the “righteous”.  (The “righteous” are those who belong to Him:  Phil. 3:9b: that which is [those who are] through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith/ Romans 3:17: For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed–a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”)

The eyes of he LORD are on the righteous and His ears are open to their cry…The righteous cry out and the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

            The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

            Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers them out of them all.

            He guards all their bones; not one of them is broken…

            The LORD redeems the soul of His servants and none of those who trust in Him will be condemned.

***

1 Cor. 10:13:    No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

We can rest assured that He will bring us through, that He hears us and is with us at all times.  He guards us and loves us. Though times get hard, we have a protector and deliverer. Trust in Him, it will work out, it always does.

Psalm 91:1,2:  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”…

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CELL PHONE IDOLATRY

March 26, 2014

The email said “Free iphone 5c!”  All I had to do was upgrade an old phone which was no longer under a contract and renew the contract for 2 years.  Wow!  I love gadgets and I love new cell phones.  I was so excited!  I looked on the website and, yup, it was true.  I could get a brand new, top of the line phone…free!

We use cell phones for business and for personal use.  None of our phones are currently under contract, we are on “month to month”.  Our phones are “obsolete”, I’ve been told.  This sounded like such a great deal.

I have learned not to jump when I see a great deal (the hard way).  So, I talked to my husband about it (he wasn’t excited), I talked to the local store about it (they weren’t excited either-no commission).  I told my friends (no excitement there either).

Well, having all this “counsel”, I decided to wait a little.

I found myself thinking about this phone, arguing with myself as to why it was a good idea (or less: why it was a bad idea).  For a few days, I wrestled with whether or not to do it.

One night, I woke from a deep sleep thinking about THE PHONE!  Oh No!

I realized that I had made the phone an idol!  It was consuming my mind!  I knew at that moment, I could not get the phone.  Not because it would be a sin, but because I agreed with God that it was getting in between Him and me.

It’s amazing how subtle our flesh is, how even a free phone offer can move me from focusing on those things that give me peace, in Christ to obsessing and lusting for an inanimate object.

So, I’ll do with my old “dumb” phone and move forward with a better perspective.  Thank you Lord.