Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

 

In this video Ronnie talks about the danger of letting things slide. Failure come in many different ways. One way is being passive. This passivity leads us to falling as men and the ones that suffer are our families. Men, I want to challenge you to have the guts to make the hard choice to do what is right for the benefit of the kingdom and your family.  But first you need to know the difference: if you never know what wrong is, then how will you know what is right?

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If the fall of man were to have occurred in our times, one can hardly conceive of the consequences. I would imagine that the American Civil Liberties Union would immediately file-suit against God and in defense of Eve and her husband Adam. The suit would probably be pressed on the grounds of an illegal eviction, “and after all”, we would be told, this alleged sinful act was performed in the privacy of the Garden, and by two consenting adults. But most of all, we would be told that the crime and punishment were totally out of proportion. Could God really be serious in what that account claims to report? Because of a mere bite of some ‘forbidden fruit’, the man and woman are evicted and will sufer a lifetime of consequence? More than this, due to this one act, the whole world and all mankind continue to suffer the evils about us.

Procrastination is the act of willfully delaying the doing of something that should be done. In this video Ronnie talks about the affects that procrastination can have on your life and your family. Although the Bible does not specifically talk about procrastination, it does address the issue of delaying things that are necessary. Proverbs 15:19 warns us against laziness and being slothful. Colossians 3:23 says that whatever you do with all your heart to work for the Lord and not for men.

So, men if you find yourself being a procrastinator, remember that we all must give an account to God based on what He has entrusted to us.

 

This week we are going to take a look at the conclusion of Charles Swindoll’s message about mental barriers that prevent us from hearing the voice of God. Second Cor 5:17 says we are a new creature once we accept Jesus as Savior,  however, we still have our old nature and old habits dwelling within us. Thus far what we have learned about the mind is that it needs to be cleansed, renewed and strengthened in order for us to truly be men of God.

Charles Swindoll:

Along with the mental wall of habitual resistance, the humanistic reasonings that give it strength, and the proud, lofty reactions that keep the truths of Scripture at arm’s length, there are actual thoughts, techniques, and devices we employ that push away God’s Word and His promptings. Let me be specific.

Some of us have formed the habit of  getting even rather than overlooking wrongs done against us. So when we come across scriptural instruction that requires an alternate plan, our inner reaction is “No way!” When God’s counsel encourages us to be generous, to release rather than to keep, we can think of half a dozen reasons it won’t work. It’s like having a “Murphy’s Law” mentality that is immediately ready to spring into action. This keeps us from deciding favorably toward God. That’s a mental barrier.

A vital point I don’t want you to miss is that we really have no reason whatsoever to keep serving our secular mentality. We have been freed. Gloriously freed!

Before salvation we had no hope. We were victims of all those impulses and defenses within us. But at the cross, our Savior and Lord defeated the enemy. He said, “It is finished,” and it was!! No longer does sin reign as victor. But, you see, our old nature doesn’t want us to believe that. It resists all messages that would give us freedom, “All renewed mind information is to be muffled,” commands the sinful nature within us. And with every effort, it puts up a wall, guards, towers, and thoughts to turn all such input away.

Do you realize what our old nature resists the most? It is revealed in 2 cor 10:5: “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” When that happens, the “renewed mind” is in full operation….. and it is marvelous! At that moment, servanthood is neither irksome nor a thing to be feared. It flows freely.

When Jesus Christ truly takes charge of our minds, bringing our every thought captive to Him, we become spiritually invincible. We operate with supernatural power. We walk under God’s complete control.

 

Excerpted from “Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, pg 84-86, 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll.

One of the most tragic things we can do as a Christian is to let our thoughts go unchecked. Another thing I know from my own life is that a thought can hold you captive to the point that  you are unable to move forward in life. This is why the Bible tells us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ in 2 Cor 10:5. The challenge I have for each man is to get up each day and examine your thoughts. This way you will not have to speculate on what God wants from you.

From Charles Swindoll:

As the Spirit of God attempts to communicate His truth to us, He runs up against the “wall” of our overall mental attitude, our natural mind-set. Along with the wall-like fortresses, we have natural, humanistic reasonings that give the wall additional strength.

I’m thinking of those defense mechanisms, rationalizations, and other thinking patterns that are habitual to us. In Romans 2:15 we read of two such “guards” – blaming and justifying.

As the Lord God pushes His truth to enter (and thus “renew”) our minds, our habitual reflex “guards” the entrance of such alien thoughts! This explains why there is often such a battle that rages when biblical truth is introduced into a mind that has been walled and guarded by years of secularized thinking. We defend the old rather that consider and accept the new.

This could have happened in your own mind when you read what the Scriptures teach on forgiveness. It also may occur when you read what the Bible teaches us to do when we have offended someone. More than likely, you found yourself resisting and defending. I certainly did when I first discovered those truths! We would much rather blame the other person than accept our responsibility. Our “speculations” work like that. They put up a guard against change, causing us to rationalize and justify our actions.

Accompanying the resistance of our internal wall and guards are “lofty things” that reinforce our defense system from within (2 cor 10:5). It’s the idea of a thing lifted up or exalted.

What comes to your mind right now? How about pride? And those things pride prompts: argumentation, an unteachable spirit, stubbornness, and refusal to change. Is that striking a nerve yet?

As the principles of the Scriptures are declared, our natural, unrenewed minds not only resist them, they ask, “Who needs that?” or “I’ve gotten along pretty good up ’til now.” These are the lofty things that are “raised up against the knowledge of God,” as Paul put it (2 Cor 10:5).

We need to destroy those things . . . . . before they destroy us.

Excerpted from “Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living.” 1981, by Charles Swindoll

Proverbs 23:7 says: “For as a man thinks within himself, so he is.”

As I travel around to different places and talk to men from all walks of like, the one thing that is clear is that men don’t like to think about deep stuff such as God’s agenda for their home. We think more about things than we do about people. Proverbs 13:22 says a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. I think as men we need to be more about God’s business than our own.

Everyone that has visited this blog long enough knows that Chuck Swindoll is one of my favorite teachers and he has a three part devotion called “Mental Barriers to God’s Voice”, based on 2 Cor 10:1-7. As you read it, I would like you to think about what mental blocks you may have that are keeping you away from God.

Mental Barriers to God’s Voice, Part 1

When the world tries to squeeze us into its mold, God’s message gets muffled. Our minds pick up on the strong secular signals so easily that we subconsciously tune Him out. It comes naturally.

In ancient days, a city, in order to prosper, needed a security system to protect it from enemy attack. Of primary importance was a wall which restrained enemy troops from invading and which also served as a major means of defense in battle. Guards needed to be on constant watch from their sentinel posts on the wall. There needed to be towers within the city high enough for those inside to see over the wall. And finally, at the time of attack, men of military savvy and battle knowledge were needed to give orders and to direct the troops in the heat of combat from within the protection of those towers.

Paul drew a series of analogies from that familiar scene of his day… but remember, he’s not dealing with a city but rather with our minds. The passage in 2 Corinthians 10:1-7 sets forth a vivid description of the mental barriers that block out God’s directives and His counsel. Look closely. Paul uses four terms that we need to understand. If you have a pencil handy, circle each in your Bible:    fortresses….. speculations….. lofty things….. thought.

As the Spirit of God attempts to communicate His truth to us (biblical information on servanthood, for example), He runs up against our “wall,” our overall mental attitude, our natural mind-set. For some, it’s prejudice. With others, it’s limited thinking or a negative mentality. Whatever it is, it’s a huge mental barrier that resists divine input just as firmly as a massive stone wall once resisted invading troops.

We all have our fortresses. And occasionally we get downright obnoxious as we operate under the control of our “walled fortresses.” Need a good example?

A vagrant was looking for a handout in a picturesque old English village. Hungry almost to the point of fainting, he stopped by a pub bearing the classic name, “Inn of St. George and the Dragon.”

“Please ma’am, could you spare me a bite to eat?” he asked the lady who answered his knock at the kitchen door.

“A bite to eat?” she growled. “For a sorry, no-good bum – a foul-smelling beggar? No!” she snapped as  she almost slammed the door on his hand.

Halfway down the lane the tramp stopped, turned around, and eyed the words, “St. George and the Dragon”. He went back and knocked again on the kitchen door.

“Now what do you want?” the woman gruffed.

“Well, ma’am, if  St George is in, may I speak with him this time?”

We at Who Me Be a Leader have a deep desire for you to fall in love with God’s Word. The truth is, how we handle something depends on its value to us, and many people simply don’t realize the absolute treasure God has given them in His Word. Nothing you or I own is more precious than the Bible. People who ignore Scripture suffer as a result and go through life’s hardships without ever realizing the riches at their fingertips. However, those who embrace God’s Word discover benefits that money could never buy.

What is keeping you from the blessing of God’s Word? Some people say they don’t read Scripture because they say it is too difficult to understand. Here are some practical ideas to help you use God’s Word and begin applying it to your life.

First: READ. The first step it to open your Bible and begin reading it daily, small portions at first (Prov 8:33-35). Choose a time when you are able to focus all your attention on reading without interruption. Apart from prayer and worship, reading the Word is one of the primary ways we get to know Him. Those who read only during times of crisis miss the joy of an intimate relationship with the heavenly Father, which develops through consistent fellowship with Him.

Bible reading is a matter of quality not quantity. You should be most concerned with how effectively Scripture is changing your life rather than the number of chapters you have completed. As you go through the Bible, you should be storing the Lord’s truths in your heart. The goal is character transformation and an ever-deepening relationship with your Savior.

Second: MEDITATE. Meditation is simply a conversation with the Lord about the passage you’re reading. It’s a discipline that requires silence, stillness and concentration. Word by word and phrase by phrase, ask the Father to reveal both the meaning and the application He wants you to make in your life.

The process is slow and thoughtful, but as your continue, the Bible’s pages will come to life with significance. Always remembering your goal is a deeper understanding of God and yourself. Ask Him to show you His ways, search your heart, and reveal any changes you need to make.

Three: STUDY. How often do we really look for the Lord, examining Scripture for understanding about His ways? So often we ready the Bible only when we are searching for a verse to help us with a need. But do we care enough about Him to search out His character and learn who He really is? One of the greatest benefits of investing our time in thoughtful Bible study is an ever-increasing love for our Savior.

To supplement your studies, we also recommend investing in a Bible dictionary, a concordance and some Bible commentaries.

Four: APPLY. This step is essential. In order to become a mature Christian, you must learn to apply what you have learned. As we spend time reading the Bible, the Lord reveals what He wants us to do, whether through direct commands, principles, or examples. However, if we ignore His promptings or refuse to obey, we’ll get stuck and stop growing. Why should God reveal deeper truths if we haven’t done the last thing He said? In that case, our understanding of Scripture will be limited, our walk will suffer, and our spiritual fruit will dry up. Remember that obeying God is always the best path. The Father both uses and blesses those who say no to self and yes to Him (Prov 3:5-6).

The Lord has so much to give us if we will just make Bible reading a priority in our lives. He wants us to long for “the pure milk of the word” so that we can grow into mature believers (1 Pet. 2:1-2). Few of us will miss a meal, but how often do we skip spending time in the pages of Scripture? How can we be so careful to feed our bodies, which will one day die, and yet starve our spirits, which will live forever?

If you’ll start seriously “tasting” God’s Word, you will begin to develop a hunger to go deeper. Not only that, but the more familiar we become with the Bible, the more we will value and delight in it (Psalm 119:111). Instead of feeling an obligation to read, we’ll long to spend time hearing from our Savior and growing in our understanding of His character and ways.

Excerpts from “Transformed by The Word” by Charles Stanley

“Many school and community programs emphasize the need to do the right thing. However, society falls short of providing motive or purpose. Doing the right thing is not a part of a grading system with a nine-week progress report. Scripture teaches that the right thing is obeying God’s laws, and our motive is to please Him. It is a heart matter, Jesus, our master example, said, ‘I must be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). God the Father said to His Son, ‘ Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ (Mark 1:11).

As a mother, you have the divine honor (and mandate) of teaching your child matters of the heart. His progress will be measured by the difference he makes in his family and community and in society.

Demonstrate before your child that you ‘love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and will all thy soul, and with all thy mind’ (Matt 22:37). By your example, he will learn to trust and obey the One who answers his prayers. To do less for him is to allow the world to deceive him.

Teach him to be thankful (Col 3:15) by always expressing a spirit of thankfulness for God’s goodness and mercy. One cannot be thankful  and in the same breath have a complaining attitude.

Teach him to love family (Deut 5:16). The earthly family should be an example of the family of God before a lost world. Sibling rivalry provides an opportunity to teach the importance of brotherly love and Christian-like relationships.

Above all, teach him he has a Helper (John 14.26), who is also our Comforter. Whether you lose your keys or have to bury a loved one, let your child see that you call out to the Holy Spirit and trust Him as Provider. He too will turn to his Helper in time of need.

Sometimes I yearn to return to the bedtime Bible stories, family singing and Sunday afternoon picnics on the creek bank. Then all you adult children (and grandchildren) gather at my kitchen or at the outside picnic area for a cookout, and once again we laugh, love and give thanks to God for His blessings. Once again I can cuddle a little one in my arms; and soon I can play marbles in the dirt and carry him piggyback up the hill as we sing about Jesus. We mothers are forever teachers.”

Excerpted from:

 Letter to My Daughter, by Ruth McDaniel; Gospel Herald, Summer 2011.

Our desire at Who Me Be a Leader is to reach men in all areas and all walks of life. In this video Ronnie sits down with his friend Donny Hightower, from The InnerChange Freedom Initiative, a Prisoner Reformation Program. This is an intense values-based program that is taught from a biblical perspective and focuses on Jesus Christ and the model and source of real lifelong change. This program has two parts,  the participants receive 18 months of pre-release programming in a prison unit separated from the general population. After release from prison, they receive 12 months of reentry programming and mentoring to help them get settled back into the community, into a job and a supportive church. They remain in close relationship with IFI staff and volunteers as mentors to receive encouragement and support as needed. It is not an easy program, it is filled with a combination of academic and life-skills classes, small-group discussions, leadership training, and personal study. It is open to prisoners of any faith or no faith. But it is taught from biblical perspective with the focus being on a relationship with Jesus Christ for true lifelong change.

In this video Ronnie talks about the epidemic of pride and how it manifests itself in so many ways. Even though we may hate to admit it, we all have it, and the question is, “Where is it?” and “How much of it do I have?”.