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January 14, 2003

Putting Words In My Mouth

Matthew 10:19-20
19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

So often I am guilty of not thinking about what I am saying which usually ends up getting me in trouble. There is the rare occasion that I am overly concerned with what I say because my focus is on how I will be percieved, accepted, etc.

There are two sides to effective and influential communication that God uses in the work of the Kingdom. First, is to be aware of your surroundings. Know who it is you are talking to. Respect and courtesy are not hinderances to a prophetic vioce. Neither should I be concened with my position or accptance. I'm should care less about being impressive and more about being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. This leads me to the other thought...make sure my words have thier source in the HS. Wheter to my family, my congregation, my friends - my words should be filled with the words of God (1 Peter 4:11). It's not only in fromt of kings and rulers that deserve this effort on my part, but all those that I have God-intiatied influence with.

Lord, may the words of my mouth be pleasing in Your sight.

March 16, 2004

Living in the Spirit

Luke 2:25-27
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple...

We are directed to be people who "live in the Spirit." (Galatians 5:25) Here is an example of a man who did just that. The passage says that the Holy Spirit was upon Simeon. It would seem that beyond the inner witness of the Spirit, which in his case was the motivation for his devotion, there was a greater connection to the Spirit. Those who have the Holy Spirit live lives that are more than religious duty - thier devotion to God is an evidence of the active relationship with the H.S.

It says that the Holy Spirit had revealed things to Him. This is a mark of someone who engages and listens to the H.S. Finally, He was led by the Spirit. Daily there are opportunities that are orchestrated by the H.S. I don't think I am as sensitive to His leadings and promtings.

In the end, what the H.S. reveled to Simeon (that he would see the Messiah) came to pass. What will come to pass in my life if I really learn how to live in the Spirit?

Lord, help me to be led by the Spirit, listen for the Spirit, and walk in the spirit.

May 2, 2007

Getting Unstuck

Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

"God give me patience, and give it to me NOW!" That seems to be how I want things to go. In this world of instant gratification, everything is now. This Psalm describes how patience is often developed in my life. Rarely is patience cultivated through self-discipline. It's the result of being "stuck" and having no other options. Somehow (usually because of my impatience) I found myself in a messy, or uncomfortable, or deep pit I can't get out of. Like quicksand, the harder I try to get out, the quicker I sink. Like a deep hole, the more I claw the sides of the hole, the bigger it becomes. In the meantime, I screaming for help and it can seem like God's turned a deaf ear - but I know that's not the case.

God uses the circumstances of my life to transform my character. He doesn't create these "learning opportunities;" I'm good enough at getting myself into those situations. He does use them to change me. And as I'm changed, those around me, who have seen the messes I can get myself into, will credit God with not only delivering me, but will testify to the changes that are happening in my life.

December 16, 2008

Plug the Dam

Proverbs 17:14 (NKJV)
The beginning of strife is like releasing water;
Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.

Man, is this proverb ever true! It always suprises me how much stuff people supress (including me). If you ever want to discover what issues people have with you, get in an argument with them about something. Not too far into it, whatever problems were once held back come flooding out even if it's unrelated to the issue at hand. We (people) can help it. Once the plug is pulled, it's hard to control what comes flooding out.

This proverb instructs to stop contentions before it goes to the next level, but how? First, steer clear of anger (Ephesians 4:31). Just get rid of it. Don't let stuff back up and clog the pipes of the heart.

Then there's the responsibility to walk in self-control (Proverbs 29:11; Galatians 5:22-26). I don't know why I give myself permission to "vent." The scripture says that's foolishness.

When it does come time to confront something, love has to be the boundary for the conversation. The truth does need to be spoken, but both restrained by the speaker and filtered by the hearer through love (Ephesians 4:15).

Issues, problems, misunderstandings are an unavoidable part of life with each other. It takes faith and trust with a healthy dose of self-control to keep them from blowing up. Funny thing is, if conflict is navigated correctly, it becomes a shaping force in one's life, not a destructive one.

Lord, secure the walls of my heart. Help me not to let the pressure internally become disasterous to those around me. Strengthen me, heal me, forgive me, so that I can walk clean with those around me.

February 12, 2009

Quick Change

Exodus 33:7-8,25 (NKJV)
7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them...
25 Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame...)...

Moses is meeting with God on the mountain for 40 days and nights. And in that span, God's people decide to create an idol - the golden calf. The process of this slide is documented in these verses. It says that thay had "corrupted themselves." What was the cause of this corruption? They turned aside quickly from the way God had commanded them. See, God had placed boundaries on thier life that were not intended to restrict thier life, but to protect it. Yet in a very short time they chose to live without that constraint.

Everybody wants the quick change: weight loss, cosmetic surgery, stock speculation...the list goes on. There is no easy way, but it doesn't stop us from looking for one. This is especially true when it comes to our spiritual lives. People want a "bailout" from God, but as soon as we get it, we go back to the old ways that brought us to that desperate position. In my life, I always go backwards when I live without the restraint of God's directives for me. Anytime I step outside of those life principles, corruption creeps in and disipline leaks out.

There is no quick change that produces any real and lasting good in life. Real change is made by little decisions to live with your boundaries, your means, your assignments. This kind of living requires focus, discipline, and perseverance. Without it, we're left to worship the life we've created for ourselves and face the consequences.

February 3, 2010

Hearing God's Voice...literally

Exodus 19:19 (NKJV)
...Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.

Observation:
Wow. What would that be like? Not just the "still, small voice," but to hear God's audible response? It was God who said that He was "in the thick cloud, that the people may hear. When I speak with you and believe you forever." (v 9) Not only did God speak to Moses, He came down to meet with him (v 20). yet the people were afraid - "let not God speak to us lest we die." (v 20) 20:21 says that the people stood afar, but Moses drew near to where God was.

Application:
As a leader, the people you are responsible for want to know that you hear from God; they want (and need) to believe you, to trust you. Why? Because most of them are afraid to or unsure that they are able to hear Him for themselves. Our job is two-fold: to hear from Him, and to teach them how to hear from him. The first is to create confidence in people that God speaks. For them to believe it, they have to experience it. That's why it's important for a leader to hear from God, the otcome of which must bear the fruit of God's approval. The second is to model a method - drawing near to God. Who sees me do that? Do I model it?

Prayer:
Lord, let me hear. Help me lead.

January 21, 2011

Mind Your Own Business

Matthew 16:3b
You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.
...
Matthew 16:9
Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up?
...
Matthew 16:23
But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

OBSERVATION
Jesus has just miraculously fed the multitude (Ch15). The Pharisees/Sadducee present came asking for another sign. Jesus told them how their life's experience has allowed them to learn how to predict the weather, but they had little discernment for things in the spiritual world.

In the next encounter Jesus is trying to teach the disciples a principle from His encounter with the Pharisees, but they weren't hearing Him correctly. They were so focused on the immediate (what they we're going to eat) that they missed what He was trying to teach them (although v13 shows they eventually got it).

Lastly is the discussion about "who Jesus is" with the disciples (which could be an exercise in helping the disciples develop some spiritual discernment). Peter correctly provides the answer and Jesus helps him understand how he got there. But in the follow-up conversation, Jesus tells Peter that he is "not mindful of the things of God."

APPLICATION
Taken together, these three scenes bring to my attention the importance of developing a new (or additional) filter thought which to understand the circumstances of my life. Like the Pharisees, there are certain aspects to my life for which I've accumulated some practical knowledge. But if I only rely on my knowledge, then I'm going to miss the the other layer that is just as real - the spiritual layers. If God is working in everything, that I need to develop the ability to perceive what He's doing in the midst of everything else going on.

Other times I'm so focused on the immediate, that I can miss the moments when God is trying use the circumstances to teach me a spiritual principle. Why? Because like Peter, can often be mindful of earthly thing, and not the things of God.

I'm called to live in these dual (but integrated) world; the material and eternal, physical and spiritual. But as a "new man" I need to be able to live with a new discernment so that I don't miss what God is doing or teaching.

PRAYER
Lord, help me to be mindful of all of the layers if life. Help me to see You in all things. Help me to listen and learn.

March 10, 2011

Along the way to the promise

Numbers 21:31-35 (NKJV)
So Israel settled in the land of the Amorites.
32 After Moses had sent spies to Jazer, the Israelites captured its surrounding settlements and drove out the Amorites who were there. 33 Then they turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan and his whole army marched out to meet them in battle at Edrei.
34 The LORD said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have delivered him into your hands, along with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.”
35 So they struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army, leaving them no survivors. And they took possession of his land.

OBSERVATION
The journey to the promised land was a long one, and one not without discouragement or confrontation. Beginning in Ch20, Moses first asked for passage through Edom and was "refused" (20:21). They were then attacked by Canaanites, whom God helped them to "destroy" (21:4). Bur since they had to go around Edom, it says that "the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way." But eventually they came to the land of the Amorites. After asking for permission to pass through as Moses did with the king of Edom, they again were denied. And like with the the Canaanites, the Amorites attacked. Not only did they win the battle, but established their first settlements as they took possession of the land. By the time they confronted the king of Bashan, they were no longer asking for permission to pass. Instead they went to the Lord for His instruction and promise and initiated a victory.

APPLICATION
Anytime we have to continually battle, it is wearisome. Whenever God's journey takes us the long way around it is discouraging. But it is during these seasons we are being prepared to possess. There are times we have to know the frustration with the change in plans, when things don't go as we think they should. There are times that circumstances are thrust upon us that require extra effort and focus, just to be able to survive. But God's promise is not just to "pass through." His desire is that we possess and occupy. Sometimes, you have to get a little hungry for a win. Diversions and confrontations can discourage and frustrate. Yet they can be something God uses to develop our dependence upon His promise and a determination in our souls.

PRAYER
Lord, there are so many things right now in my life that seem to take longer than they should, are harder than they should be, require more effort and focus...But if its what it takes for me to get hungry for a win, then lets go. Because I want the season of possessing to begin.

About Walk

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to JustJeff | Life Journal in the Walk category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Spiritual Warfare is the previous category.

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