9-2-2017 5 Things to get the Spiritual ball rolling
I look back upon my life and my relationship with Father though Jesus Christ and He points me forward to where the He is taking me. The Holy Spirit helps me to realize one reality – though I have grown much since my salvation, I still have a long way to go in my relationship with the Creator of all things.
I don’t remember where “5 Things to get the Spiritual Ball Rolling” came from. Normally, if I see something on the web, I copy the URL from which I obtain information. Father may show me things, in the bible, birds in the front yard, a road sign, I may hear things, whatever. I do know this concept may not be ‘original’. I have no recollection of what inspired this topic. Father gives me the topic then builds on that to show me what He wants me to learn. If “5 Things” was on the web (I don’t remember), my apologies to however it originated, but thank You (Lord) for the spark it presented.
I do remember that for the month of Sept. 2017, our Sunday AM bible study theme was to be “Promises of God”. I originally put the “5 Things” blog on 9/2/2017 post. So the Holy Spirit may have used preparing for Sept. theme or something else in late August to stir this up. Yet nearly three years later Father has said let’s revisit this issue.
When Father showed me this subject, I chuckled to myself because He’s showing me how so many things in this life dovetail together. ‘Promises of God’, ‘Get the Spiritual Ball Rolling’ and how they interface and intertwine with each other. We can’t get the spiritual ball rolling unless we are standing on the promises of God.
To get our Spiritual ball rolling, we have to rely on, or should I say ‘learn’ to live in God’s promises. These five areas of this discussion are not titled, but refer to as 1) our need and our acceptance of salvation, 2) setting fear of the unknown behind us, 3) learning how to hear and listen to God, 4) learning not to limit God and 5) coming to know and understand our benefits in our relationship with our Lord and Savior.
1. Focus on the positive
When I gave my life to the Lord, I had to trust Him. I had to trust Him that His promise of salvation was indeed true and free and for me. Here, God’s first promise to us is that He loves us unconditionally (John 3:16-17, Rom. 5:8-9). Aside from accepting Jesus there is nothing we can do to gain or earn eternal life (Eph. 2:8-9).
Jesus went to the cross for us so we might have eternal life, even before we acknowledged Him, while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8)! So we have confidence knowing that when we vocalize (speak out) our belief in Jesus and believe in our heart that God indeed raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved (Romans 10:9). We take further comfort knowing that he is preparing a place for us and He will come back for us so we can be with Him throughout all eternity (John 14:1-4). These promises are not just for our salvation, but give us hope and to confirm our eternity.
God does not desire evil for us, so His thoughts for us are geared for our peace so He can work His work in us (Jeremiah 29:11) and our growth (Deut. 6:24-25).
He explains that to no matter what happens to us, He has called us according to His purpose (to abide in Him) so all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28). As we seek Jesus Christ, nothing is by chance but by heavenly design. Father guides our steps (Prov. 16:9).
God has known us from before birth and has a plan designed for each one of us (Jeremiah 1:5). All we have to do is ask, seek and knock. God will answer us (Rev. 3:20-21). He will reveal Himself (and His will) to us, and He will surely open the door for us so as to continue our growth in Him (Matt. 7:7-8).
Our walk with Him is not always pleasant, though. Just as we chastise (reprimand) our children, God reprimands us to keep us on track or get us back on track (Heb. 12:11). So we see again, all things work to our good. Wide is the path to destruction but straight and narrow is the path to life (Matt. 7:13-14).
So God approaches us from a positive standpoint. Salvation is for our own good for when He first calls us, we surely aren’t deserving. Then He guides us in His ways so we can be assured fellowship with Him throughout eternity. All so that we can be with Him, when that time comes (natural death or rapture). Read (especially) John’s gospel and his letters. What’s love got to do with it? Yet the whole bible shares God’s love for us so we can know that we can be with Him (1 John 5:13-15).
2. Overcome fear
Fear is our greatest enemy and God promises us that His love conquers all fear. If we fear things, we do not trust God completely. We are not yet totally yielded to Christ because perfect love casts out fear, so those who are afraid are not yet in God’s perfect love (1 John 4:18-19).
I’ve operated in fear, in some form or fashion, for much too long. I know that Father is the same yesterday, today and forever, but translating that into reality into my own life has always been difficult. Too often I’ve not done good things, fearing the outcome may not be what I expect. I’ve held my peace because I thought what I had to say would probably not be received or perhaps not even worth sharing (am I overstepping my bounds). That’s me and that’s being afraid of how people may react to what I do or say. And even though today, I say I don’t care what people think of me, I do care that they receive the good things I say. I’ve also looked at things from an ‘authority level. Other people have more education, better position in life and/or more substantial credentials than I. So I yield to the ‘higher’ authorities letting them take precedence. Now this may sound good on the surface, honoring authority and position, but God has shown me (more than once) that when He has shared something with me that He wants shared with a group, I should speak it out, no matter who is present. Even if I am the bottom of the barrel. At times I haven’t. Though He may not have told anybody else, whom I consider to be in higher honor or authority than myself and more worthy to receive His Word, He chose me.
I have taken the yoke of Jesus upon myself (Mat. 11:29-30) and am still learning how to truly yield my life over to Him. And that’s what ‘taking His yoke means – yielding to Him – all of me.
I have been slowly coming into the reality of boldly speaking in the Lord for He is my helper and when He is with me, why should I be afraid of what man can do to me (or think of me)? (Heb. 13:6). After all, God gives me what to say (John 12:11-12).
When I was young, I looked at the ‘outlaw’ bikers and all the ‘tough’ guys and was concerned that they might kick my butt (I wasn’t a fighter back then, but neither was I a ‘lover’ [lol]), I was afraid of what they might do to me. Father has helped me realize that they people are people, just like me, no matter what the exterior image is. We all have confidence and fears. We have a God-given talent to do some things well and minimal or none in others things. And the same goes for famous people. We’re all still just people! Father has been bringing me to a true realization that even when I consider someone better than me, my soul still belongs to Jesus and when this life ends, that’s where I’ll be, with Jesus (Matt.10:28). And it is He to whom I am responsible. So what is my problem? Truly yielding my spirit over to the Lord, for I am persuaded that no matter what befalls me, unless I tempt the Lord, He has allowed things into my life. It was for my own good, or learning. That’s why Paul said to ‘Praise God in all things’ (Psalm 34:1, 1 Thess. 5:18).
Another truth I know in concept but have trouble truly realizing is if God is for me, who can stand against me? Who can stand against the Creator of all things? (Rom. 8:31, Acts 5:34-39)). So when God carries my burden and picks up for me why do I fear what man can do to me?
Trusting God is yielding to God (all of me, again) and yielding to God is learning to live in His love (John 15:7-11) and living in His love is casting out all fear thus enabling me to do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
Overcoming our fears is putting into action that which is contrary to our fears. Should we be afraid to speak to people, be bold and take a chance and start the
conversation. People may listen. Should the boss give us a new responsibility saying “I think you can do it”, especially if you’re feeling inadequate, be bold and set to the task – you will most likely be pleasantly surprised and find yourself more than capable.
The only way to defeat our fears is to take them head on and don’t back down, but for heaven’s sake, be sensible. Don’t try to fly without an airplane, a parachute, a glider or wings (angel’s preferably). Know our limitations! We ought not to tempt God (Matt. 4:7), but trust Him in all situations (Prov. 3:5). We speak with God’s authority and we serve with His strength, all for the glory of Jesus. We shouldn’t think it strange when things come upon us, rather we should rejoice and consider it an honor to ‘suffer’ with Christ (1 Peter 4”11-13). So I have to ask myself ‘why am I afraid?’ Poor self-image is not an excuse (though I’ve used it). Truly trusting in the Lord overcomes self-image (or anything else) for when we truly trust Father, the Holy Ghost in us overcomes those things we fear.
3. Learn to discern God’s voice
When we love God, we have to learn how to hear God’s voice and we usually hear God’s voice through the Holy Ghost who dwells within us (1 Corinth. 3:16). God’s voice is that inner voice that guides us. Yet it is NOT our voice. Have you ever said “I don’t know where ‘it’ came from but …”? The Holy Ghost IS where ‘it’ came from!
Samuel had to go to Eli, when he thought his teacher had called him by name. “Yes Rabi?” And yet, it took Eli three times to realize that God was calling his charge. Samuel responded to God on the 4th call “Speak, for your servant hears.” (1 Samuel 3:8-10). Samuel had learned not just to hear but recognize God’s voice.
While we are still on milk (spiritually young) it’s difficult to recognize God’s voice out of the many we may hear. As we mature and the ‘meat of the word’ fills our heart, we learn to know God’s voice. As sheep, we come to know our Master’s voice (John 10:14, 27-28)). We know what is good, we know what is evil. We have learned to discern what is the devil and what is God (Heb. 5:14). We even come to realize that God has been talking to us all along – we just haven’t been listening.
The only way we really get to know God’s voice is to know the truths of the bible so we can learn God’s nature (God is love). Jesus recognized a half truth, when He heard it. When Jesus was being tempted by the devil, in the wilderness, He replied with the full truth (Matt. 4:1-10). God’s voice will always be in full agreement with His word.
Of course, we have to have personal prayer time with the Lord. One on one, Mano e mano (or may I say ‘womano e mano – lol). We have to commune with God (Eph. 6:18 & Jude 20). I speak, then I zip my lip and listen. The Holy Ghost dwells within our hearts and that’s from where the Lord usually will speak to us. The Word of God is our gauge as to ‘am I hearing God, or me, or something else’? Our prayer life helps to confirm His voice – the more we hear, the more we know. Peter rebuked Jesus by saying that he would fight for Him and Jesus fired right back, not rebuking Peter but Satan (Matt. 16:22-23) who had motivated Peter’s words.
So, who gets the glory in what you hear. I didn’t say who might benefit. I said who gets the glory. If God does not get the glory, you are listening to someone else – yourself or a devil. Peter may have thought he was doing the right thing, but Jesus knew with whom He was dealing. He plowed right through Peter going straight to the source of the words spoken. God does not glorify us, though we may benefit and receive favor from what He does. That doesn’t mean He won’t edify us. ‘Good job’, or ‘way to go’, encourage and build us up, reward us (blessings), but God reserves the ultimate glory for Himself.
Know people who carry the conversation and you just can’t get a word in edgewise? How do we feel? We need to learn to recognize God’s voice, then listen to it. Knowing God’s Word (the bible) is the first step in knowing God’s voice. Communication is a two-way street. We need to quit just talking ‘to’ God or ‘at’ God but start listening to God as we commune with Him. We come to truly know His voice. Talking, then listening, that’s communication!
4. Don’t limit God
I believe God can and will do all things. I believe He IS the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8), BUT I still have problems accepting that He will do it for me. The worthiness of my own self-image. I’m better than I used to be, but here is where I still have a ways to go. I know God’s calling upon my life and I know He will accomplish it, but if I trusted the Holy Ghost emphatically, I would do as He bids, first time, every time, no fear, no doubt, no hesitation and not wonder about how I’m going to get there.
Father has shown me my ‘comfort zone’, that area in which I am more than willing to accept and work, but He has also put a prayer into my daily life “increase me and grow me that my comfort zone will know no fear, no doubt, no hesitations in serving You.” I am yet a work in progress.
Through my doubt (of myself) I quench the Holy Ghost so He can’t operate in me as He is intended. He is grieved because He can’t do those things in my life He wants to do. I don’t let Him - yet. I remember, Jesus could only heal a few sick folk when He returned to His home, Nazareth, because of the people’s unbelief (Matt. 13:53-58). God will not force Himself upon us. It’s our choice (Josh. 24:15). Jesus is in me through the Holy Ghost. Ergo, in quenching the Holy Ghost, I limit how Jesus operates in my life.
Understanding who God is and what He can do is one thing. Believing it at the personal level is where He wants all His children to be so we can do all that the early apostles and disciples did and follow the great commission which is to go and teach all nations everything. Everything, that He taught His disciples and passed down to us (Matt. 28:19-20). The commission also includes us being able to heal the sick, diseases and to cast out devils in His name (Jesus) (Matt. 10:1, Luke 10:1-17), speak with new tongues (our heavenly language) handle deadly serpents or drink deadly things with no harm and to lay hands on the sick and heal them (Mark 16:17-18).
God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). Forever means that there is no end to who He is and no change in how He operates, even today. We get confused because Father is so long suffering. He endures our stupidity for a season for He desires that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9) and yet, understanding that, He won’t wrestle with us forever (Gen. 6:3). He does ‘bear’ with us until we are ready to move to the next level.
After all, God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1) so all things are subject to Him (Eph. 1:20-23). As all things are subject to Jesus (Phil. 2:10) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13) and because with God all things are possible (Matt. 19:26) why should I limit Him? I can only limit Him through my unbelief, my doubt. Forgive me Father, for limiting your work in my life.
5. Plan of action
So my plan of action is to continue growing, learning what Father wants me to know and applying it into my life for I know that He is with me – all the way. Father has already implemented a plan – in part. Perhaps I should say He has started a plan for I am indeed still a work in progress. But guess what! I will be a work in progress until the day He calls me home, no matter what level of life I may reach at any given time.
I grab hold of God’s vision for my life and make it my own for man will perish where there is no vision (Prov. 29:18).
I count the cost for my vision to come to pass (Luke 14:28), for I need to have a plan to reach my goal and I need the Holy Spirit to reveal that plan for He will lead me into all truth (John 16:13) giving me the understanding that I need (2 Tim. 2:7)
I need to ask God to show me, then, as I press forward, He will open the doors (Matt. 7:7). But I have to implement what He has shown me.
So, write the plan down, in a logical progression of achievement. Here ‘as the Lord shows us’ for He may show us the goal of the plan, but then He may reveal to us each level as we are ready. God is not slack in dealing with us (2 Peter 3:9) but does not put more on us than we are able to bear (1 Corinth. 10:13). Everything is done in His timing (Isaiah 60:22). He knows our hearts (Jer. 17:10), what our very thoughts are and all that we do (Psalms 139:1-24).
We need to write down what we need to do in order to accomplish each task He sets before so we can see our growth. Our tasks could include education or practical experience, then we need to put into practice what we have learned. Personally, He has given me books I needed to read – as He puts those truths into my heart. They contain information He has said is necessary for me to know. I’ve watched movies He has told me to watch and observe attitudes. And He has exposed me to different people and things for the same reason. And He continues to do so.
Father has shown me through the years, the emotions we experience are not uncommon to man reminding me that Father, too has emotions. We desire friends and companionship. Father desires our companionship and Jesus calls us ‘friend’ (John 15:13-16). We desire love and Father tells us to give to receive. Father not only gives love but He desires us to give love back. We do this by abiding in His will via His Word. I also show love for God by loving those around me (Matt. 25:34-40) by helping them by helping them as I can. Helping them to become better people, having their best interests at heart.
I cannot physically embrace Father, giving Him a hug, but I can allow the Holy Spirit freedom in my heart. He gives me a ‘spiritual’ hug which is ten times greater than a ‘natural’ hug. A ‘spiritual hug’? By letting Him fill me with HIs love. A place, where even for a moment, I have yielded completely over to Him.
We need to keep exercising what we learn as we go. After all Rome wasn’t built in a day and even then not until after the first brick was laid and even then one brick at a time until the building is built. Jesus didn’t turn His disciples out on their own the day He first called them. But for three and a half years, He made sure they understood what they needed to know. And even then, before He ‘cut them loose’ He gave them a trial run (Matt. 10:1, Luke 10:1-20).
We have to have a plan of approach. Father may show us the end goal, but then reveal each step to get there as we become ready. We need to write it down (so we don’t forget). We need to look at our ‘battle strategy’ to stay focused on where we are going and to see what Father has already accomplished (in our lives).
Practical experience breeds confidence. We do it (God is with us), we see that we can do it and that encourages us on. Putting it into practice is activating (doing) what Father has given us.
As Confucius says a journey starts with the first step. So taking our first step is giving our life to Jesus. Father will then show us what He wants us to do and to know and how He expects us to go about doing it (1 Sam. 15:22-23). What are we sitting around for?
Get the ball rolling!
I know this seems a bit long, but Father said I needed to revisit this and share it again. I’ve just given you what He has given me. I know that I needed this again. I suspect that someone else out there needs this, as well.