Alpha Ministries, Inc

 Church in the Woods at ....
                                                Freedom Ranch

Blog


view:  full / summary

Motives in Grace

Posted on July 1, 2020 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Saints,

 

In these times of chaos and confusion it is important for us to realize that God is not really concerned with what we do as much as he is about why we do it. All our actions are motivated by one of two sources, the flesh or the Spirit. The motives of the flesh are fear, guilt, and pride whereas the motives of the Spirit are faith, hope, and love. Words and actions motivated by fear rather than faith, guilt rather than hope, and pride rather than love will add to the confusion and chaos of this world no matter how “right” they may seem to be.

 

To say that God does not care about what we do sounds like heresy to most Christians, yet that is exactly what Paul told the Galatian churches saying, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” (Galatians 5: 6) To the Jews in the early church the rite of circumcision was considered to be essential for acceptance and blessings by God. It would be analogous to today’s rite of baptism in the modern church and was considered necessary for salvation. Paul, however, made it clear that God was not impressed with what was done or not done, but with the faith, hope, and love that motivates our actions.

 

So how can we be sure the actions we take or the words we speak are properly motivated? An honest evaluation of our motives will always reveal the motives of the flesh as well as the motives of the Spirit. Because we are a new person in Christ and have the Spirit of God living inside we are motivated by faith, hope, and love. But because we still live in this sin-cursed mortal body that also contains the flesh we have the motives of fear, guilt, and pride as well. Our job is to get real with God (what John called walking in the light) and recognize both sets of motives. When we confess the fear, guilt, and pride he is faithful (always there) and just (because he paid for it) to forgive (send it away) and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1: 9).

 

In this present darkness of the Covid-19 lockdowns, rioting in the streets, and political corruption we need people who are walking in the light as John describes. People who are following the Spirit of Truth confessing the false motive of fear, guilt and pride and allowing God to cleanse and empower them with faith, hope, and love. It is our faith in our new identity in Christ that gives us the hope we need to love others in the middle of the chaos. It is also our faith in the personal leadership and power of the indwelling Spirit that assures us of the truth we seek. It is the hope that gives us the confidence and endurance we need to withstand the onslaught of evil in this world. And it is the love of God that overcomes the hatred and violence that is destroying our nation.

Allowing God to replace the selfish motives of fear, guilt, and pride with the Christ-centered motives of faith, hope, and love our words and actions can make a significant difference both now and for eternity. Now more than ever we need to “speak the truth in love” and “stand fast in the liberty where with Christ has made us free”. When our motives are purified by God, we are able to “shine as lights in this crooked and perverse nation” and be Christ to others around us. It is time for all believers motivated by faith, hope, and love to let their voices be heard and their works glorify the Father.

 

John

 

The Overcomer

Posted on June 23, 2020 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Dear Saints,

 

“Be not overcome with evil but overcome evil with good”. These words written by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans are a simple , but profound statement of the life believers are to live in this world. Certainly evil abounds in the world today just as it did two thousand years ago when these words were written and the need to overcome it with good is just as relevant today as then. But how do we do it? What does it take to overcome evil with good? It seems like a never ending and impossible task.

 

John sheds some light on these questions by assuring us that we are, in fact, overcomers. In 1 John 3: 4-5 John writes, “Whosoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that beleiveth that Jesus is the Son of God?” The first and greatest way we overcome evil with good is to believe what God says is true. Jesus told his disciples that what defiles us is the “evil thoughts” that proceed out of our hearts. Those are the thoughts of trusting and depending on everything and everyone but God in our lives to make us secure and significant as persons. Believing that God has already done everything necessary to make us worthy in Christ is the way we overcome evil with good.

 

Although our beliefs, especially about ourselves, are vital to overcoming evil it is just the starting point. The personal hope we get from trusting that God has made us worthy allows us to remain strong resisting the evil forces in this world. Being engaged in a spiritual war we must “put on the whole armor of God” and stand fast against the continual onslaught of evil. That armor includes the “under armor” clothing of truth, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the boots of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, and the sword of the spirit. It is our protection from the lies, the doubts, the fears, the accusations, and the apathy meant by the enemy to destroy us. Our offensive weapon is the “sword of the Spirit”, the Word of God, which is alive and powerful able to cut through the confusion and break the chains of those in captivity.

 

Believing the truth of our new identity and worth in Christ and standing firm in hope against the continual opposition of evil in this world, we are ready to be deployed according to the strategy of the Captain of our salvation, Jesus. Only the Lord of Hosts has the battle plan against the evil of the world and only his Spirit can direct us in our individual missions. Our responsibility is to give “attention to orders” continually trusting the indwelling Spirit of God to direct what we do and say each day. Regardless of the job we are assigned to the mission we are given, all overcomers are engaged in a ministry of eternal value. There is no big or little, no essential or unessential, important, or unimportant work to be done in loving others like Christ.

 

As believers each one of us has been given the privilege of overcoming evil with good. We are not at the mercy of the evil of this world but are made “more than conquerors” in Christ and called to be his ambassadors on earth. Despite the continual threat from various forms of evil in our day, the promise of Jesus remains the same, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16: 33).

 

John

 

More Than Conquerors

Posted on June 17, 2020 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Dear Saints,

We live in a strange time. People who are healthy have been quarantined and their lives disrupted. Businesses, churches, and schools have been closed. Social distancing and wearing masks is the new normal impacting our relationships. And the economy has suffered more than any terrorist attack on our country. On top of that, angry mobs have been rioting in the streets and law enforcement looks more like combat. While news pundits and politicians are quick to blame certain groups and some individuals, the real cause of such chaos is the spirit of anarchy latent in the human soul which is empowered by Satan to pave the way for the antichrist to come. As Paul declared in Ephesians 6: 12 the battle here is “not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”.

 

For those who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear the current events we are living through now is but another manifestation of the invisible war that has been raging for centuries. Since the rebellion of Lucifer before the creation of the world it there has been an underlying spiritual battle that ultimately shapes human history. Today’s events are no different in that the ultimate cause of the current chaos in the world is the same spiritual conflict that has been raging. The apostle John warned us of this time when he wrote, “Little children it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know it is the last time”. John’s reference to “the antichrist” is the same one Paul identifies as “that man of sin”, “the son of perdition”, and “that Wicked one” in his letter to the Thessalonians. Later John wrote of the same person as “the beast” in the prophesy of the Revelation and described him as a world dictator masquerading as God.

 

Although the world has not yet seen this coming dictator there have been many historical figures that have embodied the spirit of the antichrist. Their selfish lust for wealth and power has always led to unspeakable genocide and destruction. Their empires, kingdoms, or governments have always been opposed to God and anti-Christ insisting that people worship them or their system. It is the same spirit that is at work today in the current chaos setting the stage for the coming of the antichrist prophesied in the Scriptures. Those who are blinded by that spirit see only the social or political conflicts reported by the news and seek security from human government and institutions. Their trust is in human effort, wisdom, and ingenuity to find and apply solutions to our greatest problems.

 

In strong contrast to the spirit of antichrist in this world is the Spirit of Christ living within each believer and confronting the evil of this world. Jesus called him the Comforter who comforts each believer in the middle of such chaos. He is also the “Restrainer” who will only allow the spirit of antichrist to accomplish what God allows. No matter how bad it looks, God is still in charge and will ultimately be victorious in the end. Jesus is not a loser in this conflict, but a victor. And he has made you “more than conquerors”.

 

John

 

Hope in the Chaos

Posted on June 10, 2020 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Saints,

My heart is grieved by the state of our nation as reported by the media. I don’t ever recall a time in my life when the hatred and vitriol reported in the news was a severe as it is today. Even considering the fact, that I experienced firsthand the animosity of the anti-war protests of the late sixties I don’t remember the intensity of selfish hatred being reported like it is today. The betrayal of those who seek to protect and serve the communities in which they live is every bit as damaging, if not more, that the betrayal of the soldiers who fought and died in Vietnam. Despite the current movement toward anarchy (the spirit of the anti-christ for biblical scholars) I have two sources of hope for our nation.

 

First, the media reports of any event is always sketchy at best and usually wrong. Because of their limited ability to know the truth on any issue that arises they will naturally spin the story according to their own biases. Add to that the competitive lust for breaking the most sensational story and it is amazing when they produce anything, we might consider newsworthy. What is reported is usually incomplete and just enough to rile our emotions. The end result leaves us feeling “outraged” without any concrete ways to respond. This is why Jesus promised to give his followers the indwelling Comforter whom he called the Spirit of Truth to guide us into all truth. Trusting the Spirit of God to guide us personally in all that we do or say is far superior to trusting the media reports or political leaders and “experts”. I suspect the bad news reported by the media is exaggerated.

 

The second source of hope I have for our nation is the promise Jesus gave concerning the Spirit’s work in this world. In John 16: 7-11 Jesus said, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto You; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment because the prince of this world is judged”. In short, Jesus promised to deal with this world through his Spirit for our benefit. He is convincing the world of the sin of unbelief, what true righteousness really looks like, and that the prince of this world, the Anarchist known as the Anti-Christ, is already condemned.

 

Through the eyes of faith in the Spirit of God working in this world we can look past the fear mongering and propaganda of the news media and see the Spirit of God at work around us. In the midst of the riots and reported hatred for the police I heard a story of a black man who seeing four cops at a table in a restaurant picked up the tab for their meal and thanked them for their service. Such acts of kindness and appreciation for those who serve are out there because the Spirit of God is at work in this world regardless of what the media would have us believe. In the midst of all the suffering occasioned by the pandemic, riots, and civil unrest the Comforter is still working in the hearts and minds of those who will listen.

 

John

 

Cheer up, it is going to get worse

Posted on June 3, 2020 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Saints,

We seem to be going from the pan to the fire as a nation. At least, that is what the media would have us to believe. From the worldwide pandemic to the riots in our cities, never mind the hateful political divisions, our world seems to be on the brink of collapse. These times remind me of an old song by Barry McGuire called “The Eve of Destruction” that described the chaos and cultural revolution during the late sixties. It appeared then as it does now that our country was so divided that it would soon fall apart.

 

But two things come to mind when I consider these current events. First, the motives of the media are not as pure as the folks in charge would have us to believe. Like all other industries the media is driven by the profit margin and bottom line. The fact that Americans are addicted to sensationalism has made the news media much more of an entertainment than educational endeavor. Add to that the power of the media to shape public opinion in a democratic society and it becomes ripe for political groups to manipulate for their own agenda. But above all, the individual members of the media have been conditioned by the secular society we live in to leave God out of the picture altogether.

 

Second, just because the media and even our own elected leaders have marginalized God or rejected him altogether does not mean God is not present or has stopped working. The first century churches faced the same kind of cultural and political issues we are facing and even began to wonder if Jesus had come back and they somehow missed out on it. In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians he assures them that no matter how evil their culture and corrupt their government there are two things that must happen before the end. First, a great “falling away” and second, the appearance of “the man of sin” or antichrist.

 

What we are seeing now is the what Paul calls the “mystery of iniquity” at work in this world according to the power of the god of this world, Satan. It is being held in check from fulfilling its agenda by the operation of God through his Spirit who is continually convincing the world “of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment” that they might be saved. The end will not come until God is ready to remove his restraint and the great “falling away” occurs. While biblical scholars have argued the meaning of the “falling away” Paul is speaking of, it is quite possible a reference to the rapture of the church which would remove the restraining force of evil in the world.

 

The appearance afterward of the “man of sin, the son of perdition” is an obvious reference to rise of the Antichrist to global power. He is the figure prophesied by the Scriptures to establish a global government and religious system that is opposed to God and will fulfill Satan’s ancient desire to be “like the Most High God”. It is then that the Son of God puts and end to the corruption of evil in this world by his coming to establish his righteous kingdom on earth. As bad as it may seem to us now, we haven’t seen anything yet compared to what is to come.

 

Although Paul’s encouragement may seem like, “cheer up boys, it’s going to get worse” the truth is that God is still in charge of this world we live in. Even as the “mystery of iniquity” continues to push its evil agenda around us our hope lies in the sovereign power of a loving God who has promised to never forsake us. As Paul told the Thessalonians, “Now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled…”

 

John

 

Changing from the Inside Out

Posted on May 27, 2020 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Dear Saints,

 

One of the most critical functions of the indwelling Spirit is called the “renewing of the mind”. Even though all believers have been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:14) when they were created in Christ Jesus, the “carnal mind” of the flesh is still present in these mortal bodies we still inhabit. To use the mind of Christ rather than the mind of the flesh in our daily lives requires the power of the indwelling Spirit who is continually teaching us and guiding us into all truth. As with all other issues in the believer’s life this renewal process requires the exercise of faith on our part as well as the resurrection power of the Spirit.

 

In Romans 12: 1,2 Paul tells us to present our bodies as “living sacrifices to God” by refusing to be conformed to the natural conditioning of this world system and allowing our selves to be transformed “by the renewing of the mind”. Likewise, in Ephesians 4: 17-24 he counsels us to put off the old lifestyle and “be renewed in the spirit of the mind” so that we might live a new lifestyle of holiness and true righteousness. The key to healthy, functional living in this world is the spiritual enlightenment from the indwelling Spirit changing our natural, self-centered thinking. This is a process, not an event, that will continue from the moment we are “born again” until we are glorified.

 

Our part in the renewing of our minds is a willingness to allow the Spirit to change the way we think, feel, and act. Like King David said after the Bathsheba affair, “Create in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me” we too must acknowledge our need for renewal and trust God to do the changing. The same inner transformation is described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 3: 18, “But we all, with open face beholding in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord”. What Paul means by the phrase. “with open face beholding in a glass the glory of the Lord” is an honest and continuous study of the Bible (the glass or mirror) to see who God has made us to be in Christ. The Bible is not a rule book to tell us what we must do to change ourselves, but a revelation of what God has already done to make us brand new persons. When we look into the glass or mirror, we see ourselves in Jesus! Believing in our new identity is our part, changing us into the image of Christ is God’s part.

 

By continually seeing ourselves in Christ Jesus we are changed (passive voice in the Greek) into the same image. We do not change ourselves but rather are changed “from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord”. Our part then is to believe what the Word of God says about who we are and be willing to allow the Spirit to change us from the inside out. This is why Paul told Timothy to “study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed” (2 Timothy 2: 15). Rather than worry and fret over how we are going to change ourselves, we simply believe who God said he made us to be and trust his Spirit to transform us from the inside out by the renewing of our minds. It is this simple, child-like faith in our new identity in Christ that gives us “access into this grace wherein we stand” and allows us to “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God”. Our part is to want to believe what God says he has done for us; the Spirit’s part is to make it real to us in our daily lives.

 

John

 

Controlled by the Spirit

Posted on May 19, 2020 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Saints,

Perhaps the best-known scripture concerning the personal leadership of the Spirit is Paul’s command in Ephesians 5: 18, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit”. Although often abused by religious folks wanting to control others (i.e. condemning alcoholics and addicts or other believers who are deemed to be less spiritual), this verse is a key to the practice of spiritual enlightenment needed in our everyday lives. Like all the commands in Paul’s writing this the command to be filled with the Spirit gives us insight into the best lifestyle possible in this world. It is a more detailed explanation of the promise Jesus gave his disciples concerning the Comforter guiding and leading us.

 

The grammar of this command is important to understanding its meaning. Written in the imperative mood we realize that being filled with the Spirit is not really an option. Written in the present tense means that being filled with the Spirit is to be a continuous rather than occasional experience. And the passive voice means that being filled with the Spirit is something that is done to us, not something we can do to ourselves. Based on the grammar a better translation of this verse might be, “Stop allowing yourselves to be drunk with wine and wasting your life, but continually allow yourself to be controlled by the Spirit.”

 

The contrast between being drunk with wine and being filled with the Spirit is meant to illustrate the control the Spirit has in our lives. Just as the wine controls all that the drunk man says or does, so also is the Spirit of God to control our lives. Being “filled” with the Spirit, then, is not that we get more of the Spirit than we already have, but that the Spirit gets more of us than he had before. In all that we do or say on a daily, continuous basis we are to allow the indwelling Spirit of God control our every move. While it may seem awkward at first, we have the privilege to “walk in the Spirit” just as Jesus did while he was here in this world.

 

Elsewhere Paul cautions us against the two main obstacles that keep us from being controlled by the Spirit. In Ephesians 4: 30 he says, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God…” and in 1Thessalonians 5: 19 he warns, “Quench not the Spirit…” Both are written as a command to stop grieving and stop quenching the Spirit which imply that our natural tendency is to do both. We grieve the Spirit when we follow our own plans rather than the control of the Spirit and we quench the Spirit when we follow other people’s plan rather than the Spirit. The only one that has the right to plan your life is Jesus who died for you and gave you his Spirit living in you to direct everything you do and say.

 

The key to the spiritual enlightenment we need to live a healthy and productive life in this world is to allow ourselves to be controlled by the indwelling Spirit of God. This is referred to as “walking in the Spirit” and guarantees we will not fulfill the desires of the self-centered flesh. Like hearing God speak to us being filled with the Spirit requires the exercise of faith. We must believe that he wants to control our lives for our own good and that he will direct us personally in all our decisions. The spiritual enlightenment that comes from being controlled by the Spirit is an exciting lifestyle that allows us to be Christ to others.

 

John

 

Hearing God Speak

Posted on May 13, 2020 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Dear Saints,

 

What is God saying to you? That is the question it all comes down to when we are confused and seeking answers for our life. Jesus promised his followers they would be able to hear and understand what the Father was saying to them through the indwelling Spirit of truth he called the Comforter. But from my experience counseling believers for the past forty years, people today have a difficult time believing they can even hear from God much less understand what he is saying to them.

 

Three factors need to be considered when we try to understand how God speaks to us. First, since he has created us as rational, thinking human beings it is most likely that he will speak to us in the privacy of our own thoughts. The prophet, Elijah, referred to this as that “still, small voice” within. Not ruling out a “neon sign in the sky” or a the “writing on the wall” type of experience, God is most likely to speak to us through our own persistent thoughts. Those thoughts that we cannot shake need to be considered as a possible communication from God.

 

But obviously not all persistent thoughts come from God as in the case of certain fleshly compulsions and obsessions. A second consideration is the comparison of our persistent thoughts with the written Word of God. There is a lot that God has already revealed in the miraculous book we call the Bible. It is not a book of rules and regulations but a revelation of all that God has done for us in Christ (the milk of the Word) and all that he will do for us to love others (the meat of the Word). Any persistent thought that contradicts what we know of the Bible is obviously not from God and should be rejected and ignored.

 

The third consideration has to do with our circumstances in life. What God is saying to us will often be accompanied by what we call an “open door” or a “closed door” of opportunity. Sometimes the closed doors are more important than the open ones. The promise Jesus gave his disciples was to “ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened” referring to checking out our circumstances. What God wants us to know he is able to arrange our circumstances to confirm.

 

Finally, when we consider our persistent thoughts, compare them to the Bible, and view our circumstances we still need to follow in faith. As always our Job is faith in the personal leadership of the Spirit in our own lives. That faith means that we not only consider what God is saying to us, but that we act on it as well. Like everything else in our Christian life hearing from God demands faith in God’s love and provisions for us. Our faith in his speaking to us includes a willingness on our part to submit to his will for our lives as being the very best thing for us. When you ask God to tell you what he wants so that you can decide whether or not you will do it don’t expect an answer from him. But when you ask willing to follow wherever he leads in faith he will speak to you clearly.

 

John

 

Spiritual Enlightment

Posted on May 5, 2020 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Saints,

 

In this time of national uncertainty and confusion due to the threat of a pandemic it is absolutely necessary for us to develop and exercise the personal skill of spiritual enlightenment. I define this skill as the ability to recognize our need for and reliance upon God to cope with the everyday issues of our life. Paul prayed for it in Ephesians 1: 17-19, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling;, and what the riches of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power”.

 

I call this spiritual enlightenment a skill because it is developed with practice. Most baby believers (new to the faith) are not skilled at receiving the wisdom and revelation from God and become reliant upon others to direct them in their lives. While sound teaching and good advice from others is helpful, it can never replace the personal and unique enlightenment that comes directly from the Father. To be skilled at spiritual enlightenment means we become used to hearing and recognizing the voice of Jesus in our everyday lives. In fact, at such times as this we count on it. That skill comes only from practice.

 

The initial step in practicing spiritual enlightenment is to believe that God is communicating with you. Paul assures us in Romans 8: 14 that if you are a child of God he is leading you by his Spirit who not only created you but also lives in you to direct your life. Many believers have trouble hearing the voice of Jesus simply because they do not know or believe he is talking to them. The first step of faith we take is simply to believe the fact that he is talking to us through his Spirit all the time. This is what Jesus promised his disciples when he left them here to continue his work in the world.

 

While this fact may be comforting to some it tends to make many people nervous because they are afraid of what God might have to say to them. An image of God as an impartial judge who will punish us for our sins and shortcomings naturally causes us to cringe at the thought of him talking to us. So Paul goes on to assure us in Romans 8: 15, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again unto fear, but the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father”. God does not threaten us or try to scare us into obedience. He is our Father who loves us far more than we can imagine and wants a loving relationship with us as his adopted children. What he wants to communicate to us is described by Paul in the next verse, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”. He wants you to know who he has made you to be.

 

The first step in practicing spiritual enlightenment is to hear God speak to you about who you really are as his child. From his written word, the Bible, we learn that we are no longer the same person we have always thought we were, but brand-new persons who are joined to Christ. Just giving intellectual assent to this fact is not enough to truly satisfy or change us. We need the personal assurance that comes from the Father telling us every day, “You are my beloved child in whom I am well pleased”. With that personal assurance you can discover how he is leading you throughout you daily life.

 

John

 

The Still Small Voice

Posted on April 29, 2020 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Saints,

 

The threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, whether exaggerated or not, has effectively shut down our normal activities and forced us to make simple decisions in our everyday lives that may be considered “life-threatening”. Should I wear a mask and gloves when I go out? Should I go to the hospital when I’m injured or not feeling well? Should I allow certain friends or family to visit during this time? No amount of government guidelines or CDC precautions can cover all the bases when it comes to our everyday decisions in life. Add to that the underlying fear of contracting the virus and facing the possible death of our loved ones or ourselves, these simple decisions become “life-threatening” at least in our own minds.

 

As the time for the initial “shut down” draws to an end we have another set of decisions to make. When do we resume our “normal activities”? Are such activities worth the possible risk under the current circumstances? Am I doing what I choose because I need to do it to live or am I doing it simply because I want to? Can I rely on the government leaders, medical authorities, and news media to supply me with the information I need to make such decisions? Of course not! How silly of me to even ask.

 

Now more than ever it is imperative we use the provisions of the Comforter Jesus promised his worried disciples on the night before he was crucified. He promised he would not leave us like orphans in this world, worried, confused and helpless. He promised to come to us through his indwelling Spirit of truth to guide us into all truth. He named him the Comforter to underscore his primary role of comforting us in times of stress and promised he would be with us and in us all the days of our lives. The Spirit of God living within the new persons God has made us to be is there to direct us in all that we do or say just as he did Jesus during his life in this world.

 

All our decisions, life-threatening or not, need to be based on the personal leadership of the indwelling Spirit. The very reason he lives within each of us is to direct what we say and do in our daily lives. A significant part of the comfort he offers us is just knowing he is there to lead us in all our decisions (guiding us into all truth). Whatever the issue may be it all comes down to, “What is God telling me”. While this may seem somewhat mystical or overly religious to many people, this provision of the Father is our true “lifeline” in this confusing and chaotic world.

 

In my experience such divine assurance comes in the form of two questions I ask God daily. First, I ask him to remind me of who he has made me to be in Christ. This gives me the personal security I need knowing I am loved, accepted and forgiven. Second I ask him what he wants me to do to love others like Christ today. This gives me the personal significance I need in knowing I am important, meaningful, and adequate. Hearing God speak to me in that “still small voice” of his indwelling Spirit gives me the sense of personal worth I need to actually care about others under any circumstances.

 

The coming transition back to our “new normal” presents a unique opportunity to develop the spiritual enlightenment promised by Jesus for all of us. Hopefully, we will become more skilled at basing our decisions in life on the personal leadership of the indwelling Spirit rather than the opinion of human authority alone. In the days and weeks ahead there will be many decisions, big and little, to be made concerning your everyday lives. I encourage each of you to listen to that “still, small voice” within trusting in the personal leadership of the Spirit.

 

John

 


Rss_feed