We are in the middle of a major study as a Church Family! That has the potential to change the direction of our…Personal lives... And our Church...For BETTER... And FOREVER!
Last week... Many joined together on a QUEST... An ADVENTURE...To FIRST draw closer to God... To surrender more fully to God... And die to self...To truly, Biblically repent of our lives and turn to HIM!
SO THAT…We might begin discerning HIS WILL in our lives...It began Last Sunday with a decision... A line in the sand… To spend a week in fasting and prayer...Asking God to help us prepare our hearts to HEAR HIM...To show our weaknesses and desires which separate us...And give us a real, humble passion for what He has Planned!
Then Wednesday Night... We took a quick, but thorough look…At what fasting truly entailed... And why it is a vital and powerful inclusion in our Journey!
Today... We will begin the literal process of..."How to Discern and DO God's Will in our lives!"
It is A Journey... Not a Destination!
How many have ever played with a "Magic 8 Ball”?! “Paper fortune teller with colors and numbers”? Some will enter this Study with that mentality...Hoping to shake Him the right way...And get a quick answer for something they feel they need right now...Some have hopes of a "major encounter"...Like a visit to a palm reader or fortune teller...Where their future life... Their entire destiny... Is revealed and spelled out in detail!
BUT... IF YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT HEARING GOD... ABOUT WALKING IN HIS REAL AND REVEALED WILL...Understand that God has NEVER worked this way in all of Scriptures! Yes, He speaks... Yes, EVEN about individual plans and directions...But hearing and doing His Will...Is much more like an ADVENTURE... An ongoing WALK! NOT a "one-stop-shop" for answers to YOUR LIFE...So you can continue doing things your way... IN your strength… On YOUR JOURNEY!
But a Journey WITH... HIM...As He reveals each step... Each turn... Each decision...Growing your intimacy with Him along the way! Teaching you trust as you travel together! Proving your passion for Him and His Will...As you follow and anticipate His Hand and Heart!
Finding HIS WILL…Is coming along for the ride on His Ship! NOT getting a map to sail your own! IT'S ABOUT HIM, AND YOU, TOGETHER... NOT JUST YOU!THAT’S WHY MOST MISS IT TODAY!
Scriptures are ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that God still speaks...In subtle... AND not-so-subtle ways today! And before we are done with this Study...Some will be disappointed…They couldn't have that "Magic 8 Ball!" But still others will say the opposite...That we are fanatical or radical...For believing God WILL STILL MOVE AND SPEAK...In some of the ways clearly stated in Scriptures!
So... We ALL need to DROP OUR PRECONCEIVED IDEAS NOW! Of what tradition has told us...Of what we have or have not experienced in the past...
AND SIMPLY LISTEN TO GOD'S WORD... ACCEPT WHAT IT SAYS... AND WALK IN NOTHING LESS!!
The SHIP! God's Plan for Our Journey Together!
We are not learning steps to follow...Not using this illustration as a "how-to" model...Or a list for your pocket...We are here to discover a NEW THOUGHT PROCESS...A new way of living life...A new reality in God...So... Let's begin our Journey!
FIRST NEW THOUGHT: The Ship
But Seeking HIS WILL... To LIVE HIS LIFE!
Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, (WHY?) who loved me and gave Himself for me.
This is what we have been hopefully focused on through the past week!
The most important step to HEARING God...IS FOLLOWING GOD!!! NOT SELF!
Radically altering your view of life...And giving yourself completely to His Will...Like Mary's response when visited by Gabriel..."BEHOLD... THE BONDSERVANT OF THE LORD... LET IT BE ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD!"
Bring in wrecked, useless car on flatbed wrecker…For new GPS system... What good would it do? So... You no longer have a SHIP of your own...You SINK IT... And get aboard HIS SHIP! The H.M.S. Ratzon A-El !! (God’s Will)
SECOND NEW THOUGHT: (The Rudder!)
Do not even try to fool yourself or God...Into thinking you are interested in His Will...If you are NOT already diligently searching for... And OBEYING...The Words you already have in your hands!
Listen closely to this Statement from Jesus Himself...
John 14:21 (NKJV)
21 He who HAS My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest (disclose, reveal) Myself to him."
If you already have vast amounts of His KNOWN Will...His Boundaries... His Promises... His Ways...And you haven't learned them... Searched them... Or cared to follow THEM... Even when known...If INSTEAD…You have…Stretched them…Changed them…Ignored them...In exchange for your own will...DO NOT DARE PATRONIZE GOD…BY ASKING FOR A PERSONAL WORD FROM HIM...CONCERNING HIS WILL YOUR LIFE!
If you are serious about learning His Will... His direction...In a situation or decision...
FIRST... Search Scriptures diligently…For every possible... Command or Illustration… Concerning your need for wisdom! THIS is an adventure in itself!
And it shows your PASSION and WILLINGNESS for Him...By searching for His Heart and Will… In the matter at hand...In His GIVEN WORD!
And then…PURPOSE TO OBEY WHAT YOU FIND...NO MATTER THE CONSEQUENCES OR DIRECTION! HIS WORD IS THE RUDDER OF THE SHIP! We often cut the rope to the rudder…And then yell, “I only want to go where You LEAD!”
In relationships (Unequally yoked... Gone!) (They’ve got to have sex NOW… Gone!) In jobs (Dishonoring to God... Gone!) In helping others in need (No question) In forgiving AGAIN (No question) In attitude and work ethic towards employer (As to Christ)In whether to stay in an unhappy marriage (Why are you asking?) In hanging with a sinful crowd, doing sinful things (Decided)
LISTEN CLEARLY… NEVER... EVER... EVER...Will a thought you feel is from God... Or a Word from another person... Or a seemingly open door... Or a miraculous chance or opportunity... Or even counsel from a spiritual leader...
EVER… EVER…Stand in even slight contrast or opposition to His WORD!
If it does... Your decision is clear and steadfast!
IT WAS NOT GOD! HIS WORD STEERS EVERYTHING!
THIRD NEW THOUGHT: (Discern with Wisdom and Conviction- Crow's Nest)
VERY, VERY OFTEN... God will not give you a Word or Direction…About a decision in life...Because the answer is already IN YOU! But YOU get in your own way!
Matthew 16:21-23 (NKJV)
21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" 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."
If you are really walking WITH HIM...And your PASSION is to please Him above all...And His Written Words are known to you...The ability to discern His Will in MANY situations…IS PRESENT...AND HE IS WAITING… (Listen!)TO SEE YOU… MAKE HIS WILL YOUR OWN...THROUGH YOUR PASSION AND UNDERSTANDING OF HIM! No matter the cost!
Search YOUR OWN HEART with these questions:
Which direction will draw me closer to Him?
Teach me to trust Him more?
Glorify Him? Benefit others?
Which direction feeds selfish desires, pride and recognition? Which direction holds most opportunity for me to become entrapped or tempted into sin or distraction?Which direction makes way to hurting, confusing or misleading others? If Jesus were standing RIGHT HERE... Which decision would please Him most in His Heart...Which direction would most benefit His Mission in my life?
AND THEN… HAVE THE FORTITUDE AND LOVE FOR HIM…TO SIMPLY DO THE THING THAT HONORS HIM!!
FOURTH NEW THOUGHT: (The Spirit - Wind in Sails!)
We need to accept... And Glory in...The FACT that Our God Who controls the Universe...Died to have an Intimate place in our very Soul!!! So we need to EXPECTANTLY... Listen for His Voice in that Intimacy! He is ALWAYS PRESENT...And it is our goal... Our joy... OUR RESPONSIBILITY! To listen for... And Obey His Will...Every moment of every day!
Romans 8:5-9, 14 (NKJV)
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His... 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
We do not wait for…Big opportunities... Or troublesome times...To begin listening for God! Hearing God is a constant state of mind and soul! (Have the Sails furled always!)
KEY: WHEN WE ARE WALKING IN...REAL SURRENDER AND ANTICIPATION…OF DOING HIS WILL! THAT... IS WHEN we can expect the Spirit to Move in our hearts...In a Real and Supernatural WAY!! (Unmistakable!)
In Cleveland when told share with Brenda...Note written when heard Speak!
BOTH UNPLANNED… BUT UNMISTAKABLE!! BOTH ONLY OCCURRED…Because of the CONDITION of my heart at the time!
I went back and read some of the diary notes during my recovery...Of the moments with God before the Spirit Spoke so clearly...And the reason for hearing was immediately apparent!
18- At that moment when all is taken away... No strength, no plans, no desires... Just pure observance at the raw level of the Spirit's leading... You see people in their worth to God. Life at its sweetest, most precious reality. And there is a strange peace and joy you'll be hard pressed to find in everyday life. I need to try!!!!
32- Never let the closeness, and the study, and the prayer, and the sensitivity end. Or it was for nothing...
Hearing God… Is ALWAYS IN THE PRESENT... ALWAYS IN THE HERE AND NOW! We must be CONNECTED, OPEN, and HUNGRY!
25- Focus on this moment. Worry for what needs to be done in this moment. That takes faith that God has tomorrow, and that He will use yesterday, whatever it brought into your life. Let all your focus, prayer and strength be where He is at now!
We learn to WALK in expectation and obedience...Even... And especially...In the moment by moment SMALL THINGS!
Because if we can't learn to hear Him then...We will not have the intimacy or desire...To hear Him about anything else! If we have yielded in the small things as a way of life...THEN... He will Trust us with more!
Luke 16:10 (NKJV)
10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
And lastly... Concerning the Spirit...Many people read God's Word regularly...
Many people study God's Word diligently...Many people know God's Word better than you or I...But they NEVER SEE GOD in those Words...NEVER understand the Wisdom behind His Ways...NEVER experience the closeness of His Presence...NEVER are truly impacted by His Love and Sacrifice personally!!
BECAUSE THEY ARE…NOT READING WITH A TRUE DESIRE AND PASSION TO SEE HIM! AND THEY ARE NOT EXPECTANTLY LEANING ON THE SPIRIT WHO DWELLS WITH THEM...TO REVEAL THINGS WHICH ONLY OUR SPIRIT CAN SEE AND UNDERSTAND!
DON'T JUST READ... READ WITH THE SPIRIT... IN ANTICIPATION!Then your sails will be filled... And you will begin to move!
1 Corinthians 2:9-16 (NKJV)
9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, THAT WE MIGHT KNOW the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
Conscious and Unconscious Listening! Everything we have discussed today...Has been in the realm of "Consciously Seeking God's Will!" Things we can actively do…In order to make ourselves available and ready to hear Him!
The KEY to hearing God speak...Is having a surrendered heart and a hunger to do His Will FIRST! Seeking all you can about Him with what you already have in hand… HIS WORD! AND LETTING THAT GUIDE YOU FIRST!
Discerning His Will by…Honestly contemplating your own motivations...And the situation at hand…And having a PASSION to Glorify Him in every choice!
And then listening Expectantly... Continuously... To His Presence within you!
1 Kings 19:11-13 (NKJV)
11 Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave...
Next week... We will end this Study with...The ways in which God has spoken to many in Scriptures...Which were beyond their conscious and purposeful seeking!
Does God still speak through other people? Does God still speak through circumstances, events, blessings, tragedies? Does God still speak through visions and dreams?
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