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Heart Thoughts -Silent Partner


“But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
I’ve mentioned before that I keep a prayer journal. I do so not because I am so “super-spiritual” but because I am so prone in my flesh to not be spiritual at all. One of the prayers I have written down is based on the above scripture, and simply reads, “Father, may I at all times pray in the Spirit, speak in the Spirit, hear in the Spirit, and live in the Spirit.” This is the only way we will not live in a manner that consistently sees to it that we carry out the desires of our flesh. Many of those desires will be good ones. The great problem for us lies in the fact that they are not necessarily God’s desires. Watchman Nee asked the question, “How much of our work for Him has been based on a clear command from the Lord, and how much simply on the ground that it was a good thing to do?” There were many good things Paul wished to do. The Holy Spirit closed the door on all of them in order that he would go to where the Father wished him to be; in Macedonia and Greece. He saw a “wide open door for effective service.” He also saw the “many adversaries” that would be against it.I think we seem much more comfortable in the Church in the west with the idea of the Holy Spirit being a “silent partner” in all we do. This would be true even in those fellowships that say they are Holy Spirit centered bodies. Indeed, the consistent observation of those brethren from non-western cultures who fellowship with us is how much we are able to get done without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. There are a number of books out right now from prominent church leaders saying that the voice of the Spirit ceased at the end of the first century of the Church. That the Lord has said all He needs to in His Word, and He doesn’t need to say anything more. Now scripture is the final authority in all things, especially that which we hear in and from the Spirit, for He will never speak anything contrary to it. This is where spiritual discernment comes in. It’s what Paul meant when he told us to “test the spirits” in order to discern what was and was not from the voice and heart of God. I would also add this to those that hold the view that He no longer speaks to us. In those same congregations, the people are regularly asked to “pray about” how much they should give to building programs, mission efforts, and special projects. Somehow the Lord finds His voice when it comes to money. I’m only partly joking with that.

I heard James Robison say recently in the midst of interviewing one of his guests, that he, “heard the Spirit speaking over their conversation.” What he meant was that in the midst of their talking, He heard the Lord break in and speak into it all. He said that some might find this “spooky,” but that it was his life in Christ reality to hear the Lord in such a way regularly. What struck me was that the Holy Spirit, so integral a part of our three in one God, would be perceived with fear by so many in His Church. So much so that we proceed in our walk, relationships and ministries with far more reliance upon ourselves and our own understanding, than in His leading. We don’t recognize His checks or His voice, and so we miss both His open doors, and His closed ones.To our own harm and loss. He remains our “silent partner.” We mention Him, but we don’t walk in Him. We’re not overly anxious for Him to “show up” either, unless it’s in ways that allow us to maintain control. We build a lot of things, but they don’t last.  In the end they’re just wood and stubble. We miss that which is His silver and gold. If we doubt that, we can simply look at how many of those things we’ve built in our own strength have crumbled after the human architect of the building left the scene.

Paul wrote to two totally different fellowships; the Corinthians and the Ephesians. The Corinthians were a flesh centered fellowship, and though He spoke in love and encouragement, his words also carried His rebuke. To the Ephesians he wrote in exhortation of their going on in the life and fullness of the Holy Spirit. Through those letters, he writes to our own fellowships. Which letter is for us? Corinthians or Ephesians? Wood and stubble or silver and gold? Which are we really, and which do we really want to be? Are we living in Corinth or Ephesus?

Blessings,
Pastor O

(Shared by permission)

“He Leads Us On”


2015, the newest frontier for everyone today is the same.  What does 2015 hold in store?  What new challenges and new opportunities await?  How will you and I purpose to embrace all that 2015 has in store?

Make no mistake, life will happen and we must decide today to participate in the journey of 2015.  Whether we get to today only, a few days or weeks or months, or the entire year… One thing is certain, we will either join in the journey or watch it pass by.  As a child in Jesus Christ, you and I are called to embrace each and everyday of this journey!

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~John 10:10  God our Father expects us to live this life to the fullest and doing so means we participate and do so with intention.

We get to know right now that God is in this journey with us!  He will provide for our every need and that regardless of what takes place this year, HE already knows what is in store for this year.  He has already provided for every mountain, valley, and obstacle.  He already knows the great heights of joy and the deepest of hurts and sorrow that we will face; these too HE has already provided the way for us to experience with HIS grace and strength.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

Make no mistake, God is already active in 2015.  He is eager to fulfill HIS plan in our life and to see us fulfill His will for ours.  “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~Ephesians 2:10

God calls us to enjoy this journey we call “life” and to do so means that we must actively participate in every aspect of what is to come.  We must intentionally move toward all HE has for us this year seeking to be walking in harmony with HIS perfect will.  The “Great Commission” calls us to, “… go and make disciples of all nations…” ~Matthew 28:19.  The key word to focus on here is “GO”, participate in God’s plan.

The choice IS ours, participate or spectate.  I respectfully submit to you that the great experience will be had in choosing to join in with God.  Seek to walk in step, in harmony with God our Father to fulfill HIS plan to reconcile mankind to Himself!  The glory and honor will all belong to HIM and we will get to enjoy the moments of victory along the way.  2015 will be filled with victories and losses, make no mistake HE will be in it all and go through all of it with you and I, such a great blessing!!!

In closing, I pray that you will experience the very best that God has for you.  That you will know the depths of HIS peace as never before and that HIS blessings upon you will flow as rivers into the lives of those you encounter.  Lastly, in my quite time this morning, the following poem stood out to me.

He leads us on by paths we did not know;
Upward He leads us, though our steps be slow,
Though oft we faint and falter on the way,
Though storms and darkness oft obscure the day;
Yet when the clouds are gone,
We know He leads us on.
He leads us on through all the unquiet years;
Past all our dreamland hopes, and doubts and fears,
He guides our steps, through all the tangled maze
Of losses, sorrows, and o’er clouded days;
We know His will is done;
And still He leads us on.”

–Nicholaus Ludwig Zinzendorf

Blessings and Peace Always,

~Robert

Always Thank God the Father…


I have a classmate from an online class that stays in contact with me.  Today’s post is the result of his challenge to me in that email.  He called my attention to Ephesians 5:20 and believing that God’s word alone can rightly divide itself in context, I backed up to start with verse 17.  I hope you enjoy this and I look forward to your comments.
Turning our attention to the passage you referenced yesterday, it is very familiar to me.  I read it though for the first time in the God’s Word translation and noticed a couple of “new” things.  Here’s the translation for easy reference: 17So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord wants. 18Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit 19by reciting psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for your own good. Sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts. 20Always thank God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
First; “Instead, be filled with the Spirit by reciting psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs…”.  The NIV says, “…speaking to one another…”  What caught my attention this time is the implication that being filled with the Spirit starts with reciting psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to ourselves, first.  As with everything else in our lives, the spiritual, emotional, and physical all begin from within and work their way our in our actions, deeds, and words.  This is why is it so important that we constantly fill our heart, mind, and soul with God’s word and everything that will edify our spirit.  Jesus said, “…it’s what comes out of a person that makes him unclean.” God’s Word  The original question was about physical food and Jesus declared that what goes into the stomach doesn’t make us unclean.  But, what we take into our souls can corrupt.  So, we must be diligent to feed our souls those things which edify.
Second; “Always thank God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  I believe that Job said, both good and bad are from the LORD.  Meaning that HE allows both to come into our life.  Romans 8:28-29, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God—those whom He has called according to HIS plan.  This is true because He already knew His people and had already appointed them to have the same form as the image of His Son.  Therefore, His Son is the firstborn among many children.”  Everything that God allows to take place in our life has the sole purpose of bringing us into the image of Jesus.  So even though our life is filled with what we call “good” and “bad,” the best and worst of what takes place (when we are pursuing a relationship with Jesus) has purpose in God’s plan for our life and growth into the image of Jesus.  Every time that I think about this, I am reminded of Paul and Silas singing in the prison.  Arguably, to us, the worst of times for them and yet their joy in Jesus overflowed from their hearts and into the air.
I believe, if we follow God’s word and fill our spirit with only those things that edify and vocalize those same truths, we will soon find ourselves being able to live out verse 20.

The Boiling Point


The Boiling Point.  That extra degree, that extra step…. Julie Harris helps us to see that we ARE in fact called to that extra degree and step for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He’s taken the step for us and God has stated in His word, “For we are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which GOD prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 – ESV.  Make no mistake, we are called to take the extra step.  You can also be assured of this, HE will bless our obedience with peace and joy.

As you read Julie’s latest entry, ask HIM to guide you and lead you to submit freely to HIS work in your life.  The work we have only appears to be our own, in reality as HIS children, all the work belongs to HIM.

Blessings and Peace Always,

~Robert

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