But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears (John 16:13a).
God speaks to every believer. Period. Sometimes His message hits us like a two-by-four. Other times it is still and quiet and we need to be still and quiet listening for it.
God speaks to us through His word. We may read the same passage over and over again through the years, and then one day, it jumps off the page and is totally relevant to our current situation.
God speaks to us through prayer. We may be praying for a miracle and He may answer by giving us instructions. Really, why couldn’t God give us a thoughtful inspiration? After all, He created our minds. God will never give us a thought that is contradictory to His word or character, but His way is always the best way.
God can speak to us through other believers. Often this can confirm our prayers and should always align with His word.
God wants to talk to us. His ways are the best. His plans for us are the best, and He is more than willing to reveal Himself to us.
Examine me, O Lord, and test me. Evaluate my inner thoughts and motives (Ps 26:2).
It is said that you can’t legislate morality. Governments and societies have been trying for eons. But if a person desires to break the law, whether it is God’s or civil, he can so choose. He may suffer the consequences, but the choice is still his.
Integrity and moral behavior start in our hearts and are carried out by our will. And we must be fed a special diet of God’s word or the deceptive temptations, lies of the world, and our own selfishness steadily creep back in. A fitting example of that is choosing wrong for a good reason (Wrong is never right!!). If we’re not vigilant, we slide right into believing those gray areas.
The words of the song, “Let there be peace (kindness, generosity, honesty…) on earth, and let it begin with me (not enacted by law),” are true if we first allow the motives of out heart to be examined and placed in submission to the Author of goodness and love.
Go and sin no more (John 8:11).
At present I attend two ladies’ Bible studies, both different in a number of ways, but in both the word “judge” came up. In one, the focus was on a person; in the other, as an action. In a well-known scriptural passage, the adulterous woman was brought before Jesus and He was asked, “What do you say?”
The goal of these religious leaders was to trap Him, but His response neither dismissed her sin, nor condemned her. He turned to the accusers and said, “Let the one who never sinned throw the first stone.”
Whenever we point the finger of judgment (accusation) at someone, three fingers are pointing back to us. The ONLY sinless person, the ONLY one who has the right to judge said, “I do not condemn you.” The woman hadn’t even asked for forgiveness!
God’s character is one of both love and justice. Aren’t you glad!? He doesn’t dismiss our unrighteousness (justice); but He doesn’t use it to condemn us (love). Rather His motive is to draw us into an even closer relationship with Him.
So where do I fit into this scenario? Here is my role as a judge—DON’T. And as an unrighteous woman—Go (without condemnation) and sin no more.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him (Ps 37:7a).
For a while food trends in the U.S. were all about speed—microwaved fast food from freezer to table in five minutes or less. Recently we have realized the value of waiting, starting from the real deal and patiently waiting until it reaches the richness of its intended, wholesome end. I’m not sure if it’s me, women in general, or our culture that finds patience at a minimum.
I am beginning to realize that God doesn’t always work on my schedule, nor does He always answer my anxious prayers the way that I think will remedy situations. When I think back on some of my prayers, it’s obvious that God loves me, and has always worked things in His way, in His time, for my best interest. Like Garth says, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
I have found, too, in hindsight, that when God isn’t as fast as I think He should be, that He is preparing me. There is usually something lacking, often in my character, which needs to be dealt with first.
Our Father really does know best and I hope someday to learn not to question Him.
I love those who love Me; And those who diligently seek Me will find Me (Prov 8:17).
In discussions with other believers, the topic of God’s will never fails to eventually come up. God, for sure, wants us to know His will, to desire to do and say things that align with His word. But more than even that, He wants us to grow in the grace and knowledge of His Son. In other words, not to just seek His will, but to KNOW Him.
To understand concepts like this, I have to relate it to my experiences, in this case, as a wife. When my husband and I first began building a relationship, we learned things about each other—likes, dislikes, annoyances…. Later, as our relationship grew, we learned about each other on a much deeper level—what we valued, what was in our hearts. Because of this, we could each anticipate how the other might react to a situation.
The great thing about our perfect Father is that the more we know, the more amazed we are. He is the author of every good thing, the very definition of love. And as knowledge of Him grows, it is both astonishing and humbling to be considered His dearly beloved child.
Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ (Eph 5:21).
Our ladies’ group was discussing submission a few days ago and I was reminded of some of the principles that, as I saunter through the day, are so easy to disregard. I also realized that this topic and related scriptural references were ones that I had never written about—maybe because it is so volatile and misunderstood even among believers, and especially when dealing with less-than-perfect marriage relationships.
The goal of submission is not domination/subservience, but rather unity. And the path to unity is kindness, respect, honor and love—one to another.
Submission is lifting another up—not pulling or dragging, but lifting for the other’s greater good. That is so opposite of pride or even low self-esteem where we’re trying to make ourselves feel good, right, or knowledgeable.
Relationships always work best when we follow the instructions and guidelines of the Creator. And I personally think the connotations of the words arrogant and prideful are much more distasteful than that of one who serves out of love.