Discerning Your Time – Week 4 – Where do I stand?

Where do I stand?

Hosea 10:11 – Jehovah’s view of Spiritual and Practical living

Hosea 10:11 Ephraim is a trained (experienced) Calf that loves to thresh

(to separate); so I will put a yoke on her fair neck. I will drive (the force or power behind) Ephraim, Judah must plow, and Jacob must break up the ground.

Ephraim – Fruitful. The experienced ability to Recognizes fruit and separate the fruit from the vine – discerns wheat from chaff. – lie from truth – One who discerns the truth – fruitful in living and attaches him or her-self to what is fruitful.

Judah – Praise. David and Jesus were defendants of the tribe of Judah.

1Samuel 30:6 – (while in exile) David was in great danger because his men were bitter about losing their sons and daughters (during a raid on their camp), and they began to talk of stoning him. David strengthened (encouraged) himself in the Lord.

Encouraging ourselves in the Lord is a lost ART. We would rather have someone else pray for us, then to take advantage of the weapons, and position we have as sons and daughters of God. This is why the hear, respond, obey movement is so valuable, as it establishes a firm foundation that can be built upon. (t-shirt)

Which reality are you choosing to believe?

Because what we see is becoming more turbulent, and the frequency of the appearance of struggle and distress is in front of us, we must decide which side of reality we land on. Gods reality, or what we see?

Change your perspective, and you will change the way you live and respond to your visible reality.

David changed his perspective by encouraging himself in the Lord

How do I encourage myself in the Lord? Do the very thing that builds your ability to hear and believe God. PRAISE & WORSHIP / PRAYER in the SPIRIT.

Jacob – Sup-planter – takes over, over throw, strategy and scheme. May God protect. Listening to Gods Spirit establishes a plan of strategy for living. Being led by Gods spirit enables us to over-throw the fear our natural reality creates, (abundant living) so that God becomes the ruler of our hearts and Minds – especially our minds, which is where our emotional response exist.

Where are you in this conversation?

3 things we must do today!

1). We must discern what is wheat (fruit) and what is chaff (bad yoke, that produces fear, doubt, anxiousness, worry, stress) in our lives; attach ourselves to what produces fruit.

2). We must praise, worship and pray in the Spirit till our belief in God (and what he is able to do) becomes firm and his voice hear-able.

3). We must mix faith in God (God strategy) with our belief, so that we over-throw the fear of our circumstances (or what our eyes see).

Discerning Your Time – Week 3 – What are we not doing?

What are we not doing?

What you hear, will determine what you do – “faith comes by hearing” – the question is, what voice are you choosing to believe?

James 1:23-24 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (this truth can be attached to every area of our lives in which we are required to believe God) – the application of the truth is what causes a spiritual perspective to become real or tangible.

The status of the Church today is this parable by James. We come into a worship setting, and catch a glimpse of who we are while in Fathers presence, but often walk away forgetting what we look like, or being defined by another identity (past, present, or future). Because faith is established by hearing, we must position ourselves daily to hear God speak to us. If God is the one who gives a measure of faith, then he is the only one who can build upon that measure. He does this through our surrendered obedience. Without obedience, the measure of faith cannot grow, and unless we hear his voice, we cannot obey.

But, the question remains, what are we NOT doing?

1). Not Spending time with Jesus.

2). (We are not) Trusting, believing – we are not Resting in him.

You see, if we are going to remember what we look like, and so change the way we live and respond to God in life, we must SPEND TIME with the very Jesus we love.

Quality over Quantity.

It’s not just time spent with Jesus that matters, but it’s the quality of time spent with him. For example, if I am sitting with my wife, who wants to be with me, but she can tell that I am not engaged in the what she is saying, or that I don’t want to be there, then she will just shut-down and go away. (tell story on balcony in TN) This is not quality time, as it doesn’t allow for real fellowship. This fellowship is needed, because we all have enough noise and chaos in our lives – which keeps us from hearing and believing God.

What does real fellowship with God look like?

Answer: Rest

It is often the case that even in prayer, we are restless and anxious. We are not resting, not being “still” on the inside, even when we pray. In times of turbulent water, rest is so valuable, and unless rest is practiced, we cannot pay attention to the whisper of God that Elijah experienced. Even prayer can be stressful, as it is often tied to what we worry about, what we are anxious about, fearful about etc. this continues perpetuate a lack of trust and belief. (tell story of woman (Theresa) in Guatemala – how I was in my right mind enough to save the creamer)

Spirit-led pray is restful prayer. Let Father set the agenda and talk to us about whatever he wants to talk about. This establishes the potential for faithful living, as it causes us to release the weight or concern of our circumstance, which is burdensome, and allows us to only take on Gods yoke. If we are faithful in this little, (Gods yoke), God will Make us ruler over much. God spoke to me recently when I read this passage and said, Lester, “What you do with the “much” will be determined by what you learned from the little.”

It is through spending quality time with God that we learn to hear and believe God. Unless we believe God and submit our lives to him and his defining, we will set ourselves up for continued deception.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie (to make the lie appear to be the truth), and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth (Jesus is truth) and so be saved (our salvation is the restoration of who we are as children and the living example of that restoration).

 

Discerning Your Times – Week 2 – What are we not seeing?

What are we not seeing?

John 12:27 Jesus declared, Now my soul is deeply troubled (struggle). Should I pray, Father save me from this hour? (many of us stop here and do this because we are looking for emotional release and restoration)

No. For this is the very reason I came to this hour! Father bring glory (reveal yourself) to your name. (Jesus looks (sees) past his pain and emotion struggle and sees the plan of God)

Faith enables us to look past the turbulence of circumstance to see and hear Jesus standing and calling us out of the boat (fear, control) and onto the water. This brings glory to Him.

1 Cor. 10:13

No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].

But God said he would not put more on me than I can handle?

The implication in this passage is that you are living IN HIM. Often people struggle with this passage because they find themselves over-taken by temptation or fear, stress and anxiety. But the reality is, we will be overtaken, if we, as saved Christians, are still trying to control our lives. What makes this passage applicable, is the assumption that you are letting go of your life and allowing yourself to be led by God – trust God – and believe who he says you are. We must remember, God has given us power as spiritual children. But, When we are in control, when cannot live out of the power given us by the spirit of sonship. It is impossible to look past the thing that is controlling us (our problems, circumstances, past, present and future). Here’s the sobering truth! You and I only think we are in control, but truth is, we are slaves to the fear (the boat) our circumstances create. So what you see, is what you continue to focus on the most. But what you are not seeing, is who you are in him, which allows you to look (as Jesus did) past the circumstance and declare “Father bring glory to your name.”

John 12:35 – whoever walks in the dark, does not know where he is going. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of Light.

John 14:15-24 – obedience reveals God

“If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Discerning Your Times – Week 1 – What are we not saying?

What are we not saying?

John 12:37 – 50

Verse Focus

42:Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, (what are we not saying with our actions) they were afraid of being put out of the synagogue; 43: for they loved the praise of men (see, hear, in the natural) more than the praise of God.

The hour of vulnerability is upon us. We can no longer live with a mask of religious expectation. Because the church is tied so much to our heritage, it is easy for us to fall into the act of doing church, instead of being the church.

Doing: to perform, to accomplish

Being: live, reality of the soul, spirit and nature or essence of a person.

The language of God is not found, nor established in what we do in Church, but rather our experiences with God in life. John 12:25-26 – those who love their life (maintain control) in this world will lose it. Those who care (lose control of) nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to serve me must follow (the being) me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

As much as talk is, or, can be cheap, the language of the believer to day must come from our willingness to do life with God. This forms the words we speak and establishes not a religious tone, but a experiential tone that has its origin in vulnerability and truth.

What are we not saying? If the Holy Spirit is charged by God to lead us into all truth, than this leading (if we give up control enough to be led) establishes the very words and language of God (truth) that is needed for declaring or speaking words of discernment that define the time. We must speak, and be willing to speak, by the spirit, the truth that defines the moments in our lives that matter to us – words that flow from doing life with God – our vocation, or economical status, social status, spiritual status, mental status, physical status.

We must be careful. To make statements about the times we live in, that we know are contrary to what God believes concerning the times, or that validate a world view, will keep us spiritually blind to the truth – casting our lot with those who are not Spiritually minded.

Being Spiritually Minded – Part 3 – Godly Fear

Proverbs 3:7-10
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear (revere) the Lord and turn from evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones

Honor the Lord with your wealth (possession, goods, worth – your life) with the first fruits of your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing (there will be no lack).

Godly Fear: Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Reverence is the beginning of Submission. You will never go wrong with Humility. This leads to healthy service and consistent trust in Father to take care of your life.

Often what happens when we do not submit or surrender to God in life, we find ourselves in a place of worry, fear, anxiety and stress – this is because we are unwilling to submit control of our lives. As we submit to God in life through obedience, we see God, which establishes reverence and proper fear for God.

Do Not Worry

Luke 12:22-32
22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

Being Spiritually Minded – Part 2 – Eyes

Proverbs 3:7-10
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear (revere) the Lord and turn from evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones Honor the Lord with your wealth (possession, goods, worth–your life) with the first fruits of your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing (there will be no lack).

Eyes

Perspective is everything. The way you view your life, will be the basis for the actions (verbal and physical) of your life. The Lord requires truth in the inward parts; meaning, God desires that the truth find its way into our lives through experience with Him. It’s not enough that we hear the truth, but that we believe. It’s easier for us to believe the lie than to believe the truth, as the lie takes no effort to believe, and it’s easier to come by. The truth however, although heard, will always require something of us (our lives)–truth must be experienced, so that it becomes reality.

Like how our earth orbits (turns around) the sun. The truth orbits our soul trying to find a way in. “David said you desire truth in the inward parts. God wants us to not just hear the truth, but to receive it in the inward part, so that it changes our lives, making it livable. Jesus said, you shall know the truth and (you receiving and believing) the truth will make you free.

ROMANS 12:1-2
Offer your lives as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God– for this is your real act of worship. Do not be conformed to the ways (thinking) of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may know (have proper perspective of Gods plan), what is the good and perfect will of God for my life.

How do I reestablish myself in God’s will? — By Giving Thanks

1 Thessalonians
In all things, give thanks, for this is Gods will for you. Giving thanks sets your mind back on what he has said. It lowers us in humility, so that we no longer take control of our lives through fear and submit ourselves to Him through thanks and acknowledgement of his power in our lives.

Let your Christianity come from your experience with Him. This is
the perspective that has power.

Back-2-Basics: Relationships – Intro

There are three areas in which we see a break-down in relationship:

1). How we communicate in Relationship
2). Intimacy in Relationship
3). Relationship with Money

When the truth giving spirit is giving revelation, it causes the heart of man to be warm and open to what the spirit is saying.

Example: Emmaus road story –

Luke 24:13 – After Jesus had risen, he met with 2 men as they were talking along a road, but they did not recognize it was Jesus – afterword their eyes were opened to who was with them, and said to each other in verse 32, “were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us and opened the scriptures to us?” The anointing of God causes the hearts of men to be warm, moldable, and pliable, leaving a tangible representation of Gods expression of LOVE.

When a person sees God for who he is, they see love – We have to be careful though, because to often men reject what they don’t understand in their minds – causing them to reject the revealed love of God – because they can’t control it.

 

Matthew 22:37-38 – Jesus replied: “Love the lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all of your mind. This is the first and greatest command. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

It is important as we engage with God in this series, to allow your hearts to opened and warmed by the word of Gods spirit, so that we come out of this series knowing how to have healthy relationship with God, Ourselves, and Others.

As an Introduction to the series, lets look at each topic of conversation we will cover.  Some of my teaching will come out of Edwin Lewis Cole book, Communication, Sex, and Money

 

COMMUNICATION:

John 16:13 – And when he the Spirit of Truth comes, he will lead you into all Truth.

Truth is at the core of having solid communication in relation.  But, the one truth that we all fail to accept is – if we are going to believe the truth that comes from God, we must first accept that we have to learn what the truth looks like. This is because we are accustom to believing the lie (or expect the lie) than we are the truth – as a result of the deceptive nature we must all battle. This perspective (or lack of) creates a distorted view of the truth, which in turn distorts our ability to live the truth – affecting the way in which we communicate with others.

 

2 Corinthians 10:5 – We demolish arguments and every pretension (posture) that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

 

INTIMACY:

“Trust Makes Vulnerability possible. Lack of trust makes it impossible” (Cole, pg.45)

It is often difficult to talk about one’s level of intimacy with others, because in our minds, intimacy equates to Sex. But the truth is, in any relationship, there are levels of intimacy that occur. TRUST is at the core of our interpretation of LOVE. In fact, in order to give oneself away fully, there has to be a level of trust that has been established by extensive experience with someone.

 

TRUST leads to SUBMISSION.

Jesus said in John 14:15 If you LOVE me you will obey what I say – this level of Love has its origin in Obedience, and establishes a strong unbreakable level of Trust through submissive obedient experience. The provisions of this love are, Identity, security, and Stability (Cole, pg.46), which are key for developing a solid relationship. From Submission, Jesus says, we are able to receive (Believe Him) the Spirit of Truth, a helper who dwells in us forever.

Submission (honey pot) is at the core of Intimacy, which leads to unity. Often the great struggle in Intimacy between 2 people is:

SEX:

In a society filled with pornography where lust is glorified, sex is cheap, marriage is portrayed as nothing but a problem and living together a solution, where men and women are viewed as nothing more than a body made to gratify the lust of our flesh and the sexual orientation of a man or woman is compromised by the lie of Satan (Cole pg. 86) – it is refreshing to see that God is raising up a generation who are still willing to do things Gods way. 

MONEY:

“Money is meant to serve you, not you serve money” – much of the reason why we struggle with money in marriage and relationship, is because we are trying to control what is not ours to begin with – We try to control it, because in our minds it is the very thing we believe will buy (or purchase), the living we want – we have put our confidence in our money, instead of the one who gives the money.

1 Timothy 6:10 – For the LOVE of money is the root of ALL kinds of evil Some people eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief’s.