Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Crazy Thoughts

26 Jun

Do you ever have thoughts that surprise you? Do you ever feel a slight “nudge” inside the pit of your stomach when you are doing something and all of a sudden you get a “feeling” you shouldn’t? Or, maybe a nudge that you should do something and you don’t?

Thoughts run rampant in and out of our heads all the time. How can we know where it all comes from? I wish I had the ability to put into words how important it is for each of us to spend time getting to know God intimately. Just because we may be advanced in years, or really, really smart, doesn’t mean we are hearing God speak to us. Nor, does it mean we are hearing correctly from within.

Think about it. Meditate on it. So many different events in our lives have molded and shaped our attitudes and our beliefs. Whether we intend to or not, we have mind-sets and preconceived ideas. In other words, our minds are “made up” about certain things. We have no intention of listening to anyone tell us anything different. Besides, we don’t have time to slow down!

We are creatures of habit. We like having our own way. We certainly don’t like anyone else telling us anything that goes against what we already know and believe to be true. Seems like today that our patience wears thinner and thinner. Our world moves faster, time is of the essence. We have appointment books that tell us where we’re going next or what we’re going to do in the next hour. We just don’t want that messed with!

Frankly, not listening to what I call “that red flag” inside of us – in the pit of our stomach, can be really bad. I’ll give you an example. A few days ago I was on a trip in an area I was unfamiliar with. I was driving a car I was unfamiliar with. I was far away from home and having a great time. I was sight-seeing along the coast and happened to see a sign stating that there were no more gas stations for the next 30 miles. I looked at my gas gauge and saw that it appeared to be okay. But inside, I “had a feeling” that I should probably stop and get gas. (Wait for it . . .)

It was getting late, and based on the mileage I had gotten so far, I was really sure I would be okay in waiting to get gas. Oops! should have listened to that small voice inside. The dreaded warning light popped up on the gas gauge and I had more that 33 miles to go. Don’t know how that happened, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that I should have listened to that very still voice inside trying to warn me of danger ahead. Obviously, I couldn’t have a “do-over”.

I was on a virtual roller coaster along the mountains and coast of California. It was getting late – would be dark soon. The gauge was fine when I started the journey. What I didn’t count on (and wasn’t familiar with) were the mountains using more gas.

I’m normally calm and at peace. I’ve been down this path so many times you would think by now I would pay attention. It happens – I just didn’t want to take the time to stop if I didn’t have to and it appeared to me I didn’t have to. What frustrated me eventually was that I knew better. I had done it before – ignore the warnings, I mean. I didn’t really realize they were warnings at the time. But, we can always look back and see where we’ve been – think about it.

Anyway, I literally had a panic attack. I kept watching the gas gauge. I tried to read the manual to see how much gas I actually had left – no clue in the book. I wondered if a light would come on to warn me when the gas was getting lower. Got my answer right away – the warning light came on. At that time I had about 20 miles to go. At a red light in the middle of nowhere – don’t ask me – I jumped out of my car and ran to the car behind me. I told them my story and asked them to please keep an eye on us and told them why. I’m not sure what I expected them to do, I just felt like I had to do something. But, they didn’t even respond to me. They just looked at me like I was crazy. I guess I was at that stage.

I jumped back in the car and the light turned green – still don’t know why that light was there. Anyway, while I was stopped at the light I re-set my trip gauge so I could count down the 14 miles I had left to go. One mile down, now five – okay now we’ve gone nine – just maybe we’ll make it. By now it’s getting darker. I see transients along the road. The people I stunned when I jumped out of my car on the mountain top were still behind me. I coasted down the hills, hoping that would help.

My personal vehicle only has eight miles left after the light comes on – my book says so. So, I had no idea what await me. Alas, I began to see houses and lights and we had just about reached civilization. So, at least there was life close by if we did run out of gas. But, we didn’t. We actually made it to the gas station on time. I waved to the lady behind me as if to say “Thank you, I’m okay now”. I’m sure she really didn’t care at all. But, I felt as though I had imposed on her and should at least thank her for keeping an eye on me – even though she had no choice at all since I was in front of her. She was probably more concerned that I not run out of gas and cause her to run into me.

Can you see my point? Had I only listened to that small voice inside warning me. I could have actually enjoyed my sight-seeing trip. But, all I saw was that blazing yellow light calling me a dummy all the way. Just imagine what would have happened had I actually run out of gas – how much fear, frustration, time, trouble I would have had to endure, all because I did not listen to God’s Holy Spirit warn me.

You ask me how I know it was God’s Holy Spirit? Because I know God looks out after me and he warns me of things like that. Why didn’t I listen? The same reason you don’t. I thought I knew better based on what I already knew about the car. And, yes, even though I know God and listen for His voice all the time, I’m not perfect. I get in a hurry. I think it’s my own inner voice speaking and I ignore it. I was talking to my sister, we were laughing and having fun. The voice was small, I even considered it my own imagination because the car appeared to have plenty of gas.

Are you getting the picture? I’m no super human – I love God, I talk to Him and I listen to Him. I should know better because I’ve made enough mistakes in my life. So, why am I telling you all this if I don’t have the right answer? Because it takes a lifetime of training – you won’t “arrive” until you are in heaving at the feet of the Master. We must continually be aware of God – acknowledge Him – as the Scripture tells us. Keep our minds on Him and He will keep us in peace – again a quote from the Bible.

We always need God. We have to listen all the time. We can’t just assume we have all the right answers and we don’t need to stop and ask Him. When, in truth, many of our mistakes are made because we do just that. We are the ones to blame. God tries to warn us. We have to listen and then – yep, obey.

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Can You Just “Be”?

18 Jun

I have been writing about Walking With God.

Have you ever noticed that we have such an empty feeling when we are alone? I mean really alone. By that I mean when we finally sit down – when we are away from the crowd – we pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV – or our music – or try and get away in a book of some sort or some other type of activity.

Still, something always seems to be missing. That emptiness inside that we can never quite manage to satisfy. We may be able to suppress it briefly, but, eventually that feeling finds a way to surface. There is a void in our lives that only God can fill. That’s a given. God created us for fellowship with Himself. He wants our friendship. He didn’t just create this world so we could have a bunch of fun and a bunch of stuff.He didn’t give His son, Jesus, to die on the cross so you and I could have everything we want that makes us happy and keeps us content. Nor, did He intend that each of us have a different set of rules and standards to live our lives by.

I don’t believe we understand friendship and fellowship with God. I think the idea of God wanting to be our friend is just too inconceivable for us. It may even seem a bit sacrilegious. To some of  us it may even lower His dignity in our eyes. After all, He’s God – creator of the universe – maker of all things. He has more important things to do. Besides, we can’t see Him. We can talk to Him and hope He is listening, but we can’t be really sure – can we?

On top of that, our time is really limited. We have a job or daily chores to do and we have all those activities that we have to achieve in order to live up to those internal standards.When we finally do get a little time that we have determined to be “our time” we’ve still got a long list of things we really want to do.

Have you noticed what place “doing” holds in our lives? What about just “being”? When it comes to “being” we don’t know how. “Being” doesn’t fill any of those voids inside. When it comes time to just “be” we must fill that void with something – the TV or the radio – a magazine or a book – alcohol -drugs – something.

Have you ever stopped to consider that the void that is there can never truly be filled until we allow God his rightful place in our hearts? I’m sure many of you must be thinking about now that you have given God that place.

I want to dispel the notion that walking with God in obedience is easy. The Word tells us that we must take up our cross daily to follow God. Our example, Jesus, was crucified. He was made to pick up his cross. He had been so beaten that he could hardly pick up that cross. At one point, he fell and another man helped him continue up to Golgatha.

Jesus Christ went through all he did for us. He died for our sins. He died so we could spend eternity with Him. He died to save us from living a life of torment in hell, apart from Him. He also died to give us power to overcome our enemy, satan, here on this earth. After his death on the cross and before his resurrection, He went down to Sheol (hell) and took away the keys. He took our place in hell.

It is the responsibility of each individual to discover God’s truth for themselves. When we read a book (even this one) or hear a sermon, we are yielding to another person’s interpretation. We read books and go to church and listen to other ministers tell us about God’s Word. That’s wonderful. There are some Spirit-filled, anointed messengers of God’s Word out there. However, there are also some who are not so anointed to teach God’s Word. How are we to know the difference? It becomes clear after listening to a few different speakers that they don’t all agree on about how God’s Word should be interpreted. So, what do we do? Who do we believe? Understand, it is the Holy Spirit who opens our hearts and gives us understanding.

God wants fellowship and friendship with each one of us. He gave His Son to die on the cross to give us eternal life with Him. His death gave us spiritual power over our enemy, satan, and power to do the things Jesus did – even greater things. He has already given us all the answers in The Scriptures.In order to walk with God and follow Him in obedience we must spend time with Him. We must pick up the Bible on some sort of regular basis and give God the opportunity to speak to us, to teach us, to love us.

The Scriptures tell us that we will have trials. It also clearly tells us to expect persecution and misunderstanding and heartache and sickness and even death, and even how to live victoriously. The Old Testament was given to us to give us examples of how things were done in those days and how God dealt with His people.The New Testament teaches us about how God gave His Son, Jesus to come and shed his blood to cover our sins and the power we need to walk through this world.

Our lives are so busy. Almost everything we do today has been streamlined to make our lives easier, faster and smarter. But, there is one thing that hasn’t changed and will never change and that is God’s Word.

We have come to rely on so much of the world’s ever-increasing technology. The pace of our lives has become faster and faster. We move so fast that we can hardly even find the time to spend with God. We talk to Him on the run. That’s okay. We should talk to Him all the time. Many of us give Him a few minutes each day and call it our quiet time. There’s not a thing wrong with that either. However, I believe God wants so much more for us.

Continued. . .Come back later for more of Walking With God

Everyone Is Watching You!

12 Jun

Let’s get back to Lydia. Lydia was raised as a pagan, worshiping idols, but she knew something was missing. She renounced that and became a proselyte (a new convert). God had prepared her heart and upon meeting with Paul, she became a believer. Clearly, Lydia immediately embraced Jesus and her new-found place in His kingdom. Her heart was filled with joy and gratitude and a desire to share Christ. She also immediately wanted to do her part to further God’s message and to minister to His servants.

How could we possibly know all this through the brief mention of Lydia in the Bible? Scripture does not say all of that. Oh! But it does. All throughout God’s Word we learn of God and His ways. We learn through the examples in stories we read about. From that we can determine that Lydia responded just the way God wanted her to. Lydia had no Scriptures to read. She had not heard the gospel before meeting Paul on that divinely appointed day. She hadn’t heard how God wanted her to behave. What she did have now, that she didn’t have before, was the Holy Spirit of God living in her heart in leading her in the way to go!

Lydia had and not read any self-help books or watched any TV preachers, or even gone to church and sat under Sunday School teachers and Bible study leaders. She “just knew” in her heart what to do by the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. Lydia was also humble, as evidenced by the way she spoke to Paul and Silas in invited them to her home.

Let’s bring this story into the 21st century. We don’t much like being around grumpy, whiny people who are always negative and always complaining. The spirit within us rejects this. There is just something about a joyful, smiling individual who offers encouragement and a positive attitude. Our day is brightened and our hearts changed and uplifted. That’s what God is all about. He is a good God. He has given to us promise after promise throughout His Word. We can learn from the Scripture that loving God and following Him doesn’t promise us a life without trials and tribulations. We may also suffer loss and pain. The good news God has for us is that Jesus came to overcome the world and to make us also overcomers through Him.

God wants us to learn dependence upon Him. He wants us to trust Him and let Him lead us. Our actions and our reactions tell others just how much we love and trust God. We can say it all we want. Our actions may confirm what we say or negate what we say. If you think no one is watching – be aware – everyone is watching.

This doesn’t mean we should do everything we can to make others think more of us or like us more. Actually, that would totally backfire. It may work briefly but in time, it would become obvious. The point is, every life around us is on display, today, in this time, more so than ever. Think about those we see every day and the thoughts that run through our minds as we observe them or listen to them. It doesn’t take long for us to notice things that we like or dislike, or things we agree with or object to. Know that the way we live our lives for Christ becomes clear to those around us. Just be careful not to judge. That is not our place, but God’s.

Let Lydia be an example! Live with an open heart, a humble spirit, the joy of the Lord, a willing and serving heart, and a desire to tell others about God and His love. Lydia was brave, conscientious and hospitable. She had a giving spirit. Lydia had been searching for truth and when she found it she knew in her heart her life was forever changed. She wasted no time opening her heart her life and her home to God’s people.

We can also see through Lydia’s actions that she was wise. Lydia was not presumptuous but humble. She presented herself to the men of God in good taste and in reverence. Lydia was a gracious hostess and not intimidated by these mighty men of God. She was confident, yet respectful in approaching them with an invitation to her home. We can surmise that Lydia was experienced in how to approach people and how to present herself because of her ability as a seller of purple, a much sought after item in those times. But, she did not see herself as inferior to these mighty men of God. Nor did she “get in their face”. She was humble in their presence and wanted to be used by God to do what she could to help them. She started with what she had.

Start with what you have. Don’t wait for something to come along that you perceive to be necessary before you can serve God or His people. He gave you gifts and talents and knowledge that only you have. Let Him use you – just as you are!

Another Sinner – Used By God!

12 Jun

Lydia was a woman of substance. She grew up in paganism and became disillusioned with it. She wanted more. Lydia had something very special – an open heart. God had a plan for her life and saw to it that she was at the right place at the right time to receive Him into her life.

Scripture tells us that “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.” We are all called, some just don’t answer.

Lydia loved her family. It has been determined that she was a widow. We pick up her story when she was away from home on a business trip. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatire, famous for its dyeing trade.

It is interesting to note that Lydia had not yet accepted Christ. She was not a child of God. Or, was she? We have the advantage of seeing Lydia’s story from start to finish, through God’s Holy Scripture. We read it in God’s Word, after the fact. God is omnipotent, He sees it before it happens! As a matter of fact, He orchestrates all of the events.

God is always in control. Sometimes, it doesn’t appear that way to us. Circumstances become overwhelming and we just can’t seem to get a handle on things. We do all we can. We take the steps we know to take. This is the point where Scripture tells us to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. We are told to rest in Him as we go about our daily routines.

It is too far out of reach for us to understand how God can orchestrate –arrange our lives – everyone – so that all things work together for everyone’s good. Just think about it. That is exactly what He does. Knowing this should help us to rest in Him, as we are told through the Scriptures. We don’t actually take that as a profound direction. But we should. This story of Lydia and Paul will help us understand a little about how God works all things together for good.

Paul was a mighty man of God by the time he met Lydia. He had been forbidden to preach in her hometown. Interestingly, God arranged for Lydia to be on a sales trip in the same city where Paul was ministering. Had she not been away from home she would never have been where God had arranged for her to meet Paul and be introduced to Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.

On that day, Lydia was at the gate on the Sabbath for her own purposes –to gather with her people to pray. Paul and Silas also journeyed to the gate on that Sabbath. Paul, Silas and Lydia were brought together by the providence of God. This is an example of how God’s plan is working together to bring about good. Paul was shut out of Bithynia and silenced in his journey through Mysia and was now in the same place as was Lydia!

In this case, all circumstances were changed in their lives. God brought them together, and Lydia was introduced to Jesus Christ and became the first European convert. God had prepared Lydia’s heart and opened it to hear and receive Paul’s words.

Why is this story important enough to be in the Bible? Lydia is only mentioned briefly in the Scripture. She was enough of an example for us that she was mentioned by name that we might follow her example.

Meditation upon God’s word is important. If we read through it quickly without understanding, we can miss valuable insights that God has for us. As God gives us revelation to these insights our faith is increased, our trust in God becomes stronger, and we learn more of how to walk in peace and not to fear our future. God is always in control.

God brought His mighty Apostle, Paul, together with this widow proselyte by rearranging both their circumstances. As soon as Lydia heard Paul’s message and believed in Jesus, her heart was at rest. Her destiny had been changed for eternity!

Lydia immediately, with her family, took a stand for Jesus. Her heart was full of excitement and gratitude. She wanted to give back. It did not take weeks or months, it was immediate. The joy of the Lord was now in her heart. Her life had been changed forever. It now had meaning and purpose. Some people never apply the truth they hear. They are hearers only, not doers. Some think what they hear is for others and not for themselves.

Lydia wanted to show her gratitude and invited God’s servants to her home to abide there. God knew Lydia would respond and step forward to provide what his servants needed. Once again, we see God providing for His own.

It is said that actions speak louder than words. Although there aren’t many verses of Scripture in the Bible about Lydia we can learn many things from her example. In fact, Lydia sets an example for all who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives.

Amazing is the fact that one individual made such an impact that the Holy Spirit inspired the writer of Acts to tell her story. Of major significance here are the actions of Lydia upon her conversion. We get a glimpse of how we are to behave in the world around us to show our love for God in our actions. We don’t have to be someone special. Like Lydia, God can use as in a mighty way even if we are a salesman.

There are many people today who only learn about Jesus through our actions. We are not always free to discuss our beliefs with those we love or those we see on a regular basis. When we do try to “preach” at someone and they are not receptive, we are then scrutinized with our every move, and especially every mistake or failure. This indicates clearly that our actions have made more of an impression than our words.

Additionally, we need to realize that it is the Holy Spirit that convicts – not an individual. It is not our words, or our prayers – really, it’s not even our actions that change a person’s heart. It’s the Holy Spirit of God who tells us in his Word that He knew us while we were being formed in our mother’s womb. Still, our actions as we listen and obey God, following His lead, show the world there is something different about born again believers. Even we, as believers, recognize other believers by their actions, as well as their words.

Continued Tomorrow. . .

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