Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Is your “sense” His sense or non-sense? The difference between God’s “will" and God’s “direction.” Part 3

Once when I was riding my bike in the USA I was behind a truck. It was going faster then me, so there was no reason for me to change lanes. Yet, deep inside I felt this sense that I should move to the other lane. Just as I crossed the line into the other lane, I heard a “Bang!” from inside the truck, I saw a piece of chain slide out, followed by a refrigerator! It rolled right past me…what a close call! If I had not move over it would have rolled right over me. Even with my helmet on, traveling at 50 mph I most likely would have been killed. That “sense” I had resonated in me and I am glad I listened to it.

When we are serious about following Gods direction He will give us a sense and a peace that we are where we should be. Yes, this is subjective, but it would never contradict scripture. So if you have a sense to leave your spouse because you deserve to be happy, that is not a sense from God, it is non-sense from your selfish flesh. It may sell on TV talk shows, but it wont be a pass with God! The sense I am talking about comes AFTER we have met the three conditions we have already looked at.

·      Make sure Rom 12:1-2 is a reality.
·      Make sure you are honest
·      Make sure you are open for His specific direction for you no matter where it leads

Then, and only then are we safe to trust those subjective leadings. They merely confirm what God has already confirmed. 

With our heart we feel and trust. With our mind we know and trust. I believe when we combine the two, it brings what I call a “Sense”.

It's meaning - " A Motivating Awareness”  

1. Sense of Power

·       A surrender of life; relying on His Power

Acts 13:45-46 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying. Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.

Acts 14:2-3 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.

Ephesians 6:20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Our life is lost in His plan, so we fear no one, compromise no truth and follow His lead.

2.  Sense of Urgency

·      A surrender of love; Your heart – What is most urgent to you commands your heart.

"Billy Graham says that when he was growing up, there was a man who ran a liquor store in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.  A drunk called him about one o'clock one morning and asked what time he opened up.  The owner sleepily replied that he opened at 9 A.M.  The man hung up.  An hour and a half later he called again and asked the same question.  Again, the store owner replied more irritably that he did not open until nine.  At 3 A.M. the phone rang again.  An even more drunken voice asked the same question.  So the owner lost his temper and said, `Look, if you promise not to call again and let me get a good night's sleep, I will come down there at 8 A.M. and let you in.' There was a pause.  Then a befuddled voice said, `I don't want in--I want out!' "I suspect the owner of that liquor store was there in a matter of minutes to let this guy out before he drank him out of house and home.

Romans 9:1-3 I speak the truth in Christ-- I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit-- I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race,

Pauls heart beat after Gods! When we choose to love as God loves, people become our priorityeven over ourselves.

John Harper, the newly-called pastor of Moody Church in the early 1900s, manifested his Christian character in the sinking of the Titanic. Dr. W. B. Riley related the death of Harper.
  “We have the history of John Harper’s end, for survivors, brought to harbor in safety, told the same. When the Titanic was struck by the iceberg that drove in her sides, and sent the ship to the bottom, John Harper was leaning against the rail pleading with a young man to come to Christ. …
Four years after the Titanic went down, a young Scotchman rose in a meeting in Hamilton, Can., and said, “I am a survivor of the Titanic. When I was drifting alone on a spar that awful night, the tide brought Mr. John Harper, of Glasgow, on a piece of wreck near me. “Man,” he said, “are you saved?” “No,” I said, “I am not.” He replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”
 “The waves bore him away; but, strange to say brought him back a little later, and he said, “Are you saved now?” “No,” I said, “I cannot honestly say that I am.” He said again, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” and shortly after he went down; and there, alone in the night, and with two miles of water under me, I believed. I am John Harper’s last convert.”[1]

Our only accomplishment is what leaks through us that is of Jesus!

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.

3.  Sense of Responsibility

·       A surrender of rights

1 Corinthians 9:16 Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

Acts 20:26-27  Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.

Our life message is not about usits about Him!

4.  Sense of Enlightenment

·       Not snobby – A surrender of Ego

We are no better or more intelligent than others. Our Wisdom is from above and a gift. We share it humbly, knowing that if God had not awakened us we would still be in darkness.

1 John 5:20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true-- even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

1 Corinthians 2:14  The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Titus 3:3-5   At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. [4] But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, [5] he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

CHALLENGE: Are you trying to make yourself have a passion for the things of God, or are you allowing God to produce His passion in you?

[1] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The difference between God’s “will" and God’s “direction.” Faith is from God; arrogant intimidation is from the pit of hell!

There is a story of a woman that decided to host a party at her house for the entire block. She worked all day preparing everything for 20 – 25 people. Finally things were ready and the guest arrived. As they all gathered in the living room, the woman explained how dinner would proceed, and then asked all to hold hands in a circle to dedicate the meal to the Lord. They all bowed their heads and then the woman looked up and asked her 12-year-old daughter to pray. The daughter looked up and said, "Mommy I don't know what to say." Her mother said, "Just say what you have heard Mommy say." So the little girl bowed her head and said "Oh God, why did I invite all these people over here today!"

Perhaps sometimes being totally open in prayer may not always be wise; there are things that not everyone needs to hear. However, when we come to sharing our heart with God our Father, we need to be 100% transparent, yet remembering Who it is we are speaking to.

As we continue to look at discovering how to find God’s direction for your life we need to remember there are some conditions. We looked at one already -

·      Make sure Rom 12:1-2 is a reality.

Considering the next two conditions, our prime example is Jesus in garden.

2. Make sure you are honest

Jesus made it clear to His Father that He did not want to go to the cross. He was not afraid to be totally honest with the Father; neither should we. Remember, prayer is not for God, but for us. God knows every thought, desire and motive we have, the problem is, due to our flesh, we can deceive ourselves as to what we really want and the motive we have. 
Prayer requires us to put out in front of ourselves what we really are saying to God. From that point on, God will then work with us to lead us to understand what He believes is best.

We need to be totally honest - tell God your likes and dislikes; what you really want. Remember, unlike the prosperity doctrine, this is faith, not arrogant intimidation; asking is not demanding!

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.

John 16:24 “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.

3. Make sure you are open for His specific direction for you no matter where it leads
Jesus was honest but yielded to any possibility that would be God’s direction. "Never the less" really equals no except clauses, this is the balance to our honesty and is why it is so important to be totally open with God and yourself.

Matthew 26:39–42 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”  And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.”

James 4:14–5:1 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you.

When we are completely obedient to what God has clearly revealed in His Word, and we are totally honest about our desires, while at the same time absolutely willing to do whatever God's direction will be, then we are ready for God to lead us specifically where He wants us to be. Many people believe that God is playing games and making it hard for them to follow where He is specifically leading. I know that I felt this way too, but after much time in study and meditation, also evaluating my past experiences, I came to the hard reality that it was not God Who's playing games, it was me. Either I was not in the will of God because I was being disobedient, or I was not being honest because it did not sound spiritual, or I had “except clauses” to my willingness to follow God. After being illuminated by the Spirit of God to this reality my life has drastically changed. I move now with confidence knowing that my Lord is eager and delighted to direct me to exactly where He knows is best. Yes, this still requires time in prayer, time in meditation and reflection. However, in the past two decades I have not experienced once, when my life is where it should be, a time when I asked God to direct me specifically that He failed to do so.

Heart check: When was the last time you asked God for specific direction? What happened? Why do you think it happened that way? Are you willing to spend some time evaluating whether or not you are in the will of God, being totally honest about your desires, yet willing to follow wherever He leads? Why not ask God right now to show you how much He desires to guide your life?