A blog for all who would choose to follow Jesus with uncompromising faith
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Have you ever heard a prophet, friend, or church leader say to you, “The Lord told me you must do this… ”, or “Jesus said you have to… ”, or “The Holy Spirit says you should…”? When we hear those words with the name of God in front, they impact us. <ul> <li > Those...
Have you ever heard a prophet, friend, or church leader say to you, “The Lord told me you must do this… ”, or “Jesus said you have to… ”, or “The Holy Spirit says you should…”? When we hear those words with the name of God in front, they impact us.
Wait… what? At the heart of these words lies something more sinister that we realize.
When someone speaks to us and uses the name of the Lord to add emphasis to their words they may, or may not, be speaking on His behalf. How can we know the difference? Satan can mimic God’s voice and for an immature believer they may think it is the Lord speaking. When these words go out, they often have a dreadful impact on others.
As believers, we need to learn how to discern when someone is speaking on behalf of the Lord and when they are not.
To do this, we need to become familiar with satan’s ‘tell’. As much as satan can mimic God’s voice, he cannot mimic His character or truth. Satan is a liar and a manipulator, so his words will reflect this. So what is satan’s ‘tell’?
Satan’s tell is in these simple words: ‘must’, ‘have to’ and ‘should’.
Now there is nothing remarkable about these words except they all have one thing in common; guilt. Whenever they are used, the context often involves some level of manipulation of will through guilt. These are from the enemy and are designed to bind us up.
At the very core of every person is a free will. The will can decide to love or to hate, to do wrong or do right. Our free will is God’s gift to us. He treats our will with respect and dignity; never violating its sanctity. God will never tell us we ‘must’ do something, we ‘have to’ do something, or we ‘should’ do something because this would violate our ability to choose. What God desires is that we willingly obey Him.
Only when we follow God free of such guilt and manipulation will we truly grow into spiritual maturity.
Satan knows about the free will. He willingly and knowingly violates the free will with words like ‘must’, ‘have to’ and ‘should’ to get people to do his bidding. The enemy does this for it is only through guilt and manipulation can he keep people in bondage to do what he wants. Satan continually tells us we ‘must’ do things, we ‘should’ do things and we ‘have to’ obey him. His way is not God’s way.
Jesus leads by going before us. Satan pushes us from behind.
Today, as we listen to others using the name of Lord, do not accept the word if it contains satan’s ‘tell’. God has given us a free will to exercise our uncompromising faith. Let us use wisdom and reject all guilt and manipulation that comes from the enemy in the name of God. When we do so we can follow Jesus of our own free will.
Homer and Wanda
When we lived in P.E.I. we once had a crazy thought. Now this is wild, and we are scared of throwing it out there because it is so bizarre. Well, here goes. We often talk, as believers, about what God has done for us. Webpages, blogs and books wax eloquent on the gracious, giving nature...
When we lived in P.E.I. we once had a crazy thought. Now this is wild, and we are scared of throwing it out there because it is so bizarre. Well, here goes. We often talk, as believers, about what God has done for us. Webpages, blogs and books wax eloquent on the gracious, giving nature of God and how much we receive from Him.
Now think on this, for all of God’s magnanimity and Jesus’ horrific sacrifice what does God receive? I am sure we are clear on what we get from God, but what does the cost benefit analysis look like from His perspective?
One day last summer, after taking Milo for his usual morning stroll, we returned to the motel to find a woman with many bags around her car. Wanda joked that this lady packed like she did, which is all too true (sigh). Anyway, being a gregarious person, Wanda struck up a conversation with our fellow traveler. We found out the ex-husband had kicked this lady of out her house and she was now homeless. She was diabetic and had little money, so we gave her some of our food. The next day bought her an Amplified Bible. With that gift, Wanda and I prayed with, and comforted, this abandoned woman until she had to leave the motel.
Events like this are common when we walk with Jesus in obedience and faith. As we see how He leads and follow Him , we become like Jesus in thought, word and deed. This is a long, hard process but God has a purpose here. The Father desires for Jesus a Bride who reflects and carries His character. The only way to achieve this goal is to draw the believer through a wilderness and rid them of ‘self’. As ‘self’ is brought down, Jesus fills the empty void with His sacrificial nature. This means we learn to give of ourselves, no matter the cost, because His character is being formed in us.
Jesus gave up His own life for us but what does He receive for His sacrifice?
Back in P.E.I. God started us down this road where we could not see our walk of faith in terms of ‘self’. He was teaching us to see things from His perspective because He has no ‘self’. Too often we had to come back to seeing everything in our life as ‘what is in this for God?’
God was grabbing our attention away from our default focus on ‘self’ and turning it to Jesus. This wasn’t easy, but we began to understand, and then appreciate, what He was doing. By getting our focus off of ‘self’ we denied ‘self’ a platform our lives. In this way God was showing us how He sees His people.
We learned character and spiritual maturity are more important to God than religious leaders taught us to believe.
Gifts and talents come and go but character defines who a person is. What is inside of a person affects how they will behave. To God this is very important and He will go to great lengths to form His character in us.
When we visited a Bible bookstore to buy the Bible for our friend, we noticed the books and books from authors who have written about God, church and religion. We hadn’t been to a bookstore for a very long time so it was a shock for us to see this. As we wandered the aisles, we got the sense of the noise of ‘words’ bombarding believers today.
As we pondered over the useless words, we wondered how many of these authors live sacrificially as Jesus did.
We were curious if these people had the experiential authority to write about what they claimed to be authorities over. We do not know the answer nor will we ever. It appears, however, that many people have replaced a living dynamic faith of walking with God with armchair intellectualism. People are writing out of their minds rather than their experience with Jesus.
Looking at all the churches, books, webpages, conferences and media gives us the impression God only cares about gifts, talents and personalities. Slight correction. Gifts, talents and personalities are things ‘self’ cares about, not God. What God values is maturity and character.
If you read God’s Word you will see words like ‘mature’, ‘patient endurance’, ‘suffering’. They occur far more often than we like to admit but they are there. God has given us many gifts, including His Son but He is looking for something in return. What God is looking for, in His cost benefit analysis, are His people to grow up into spiritual maturity. We believe many people today have missed this point. The church has had the gifts over character perspective for far too long. We are in a time for correction in God’s cost benefit analysis.
We suggest it is time to put aside our selfish desire to ‘get’ from God and give serious attention to our relationship with Him.
Wouldn’t it be better to give up our ideas about what we ‘think’ He wants and let God speak for Himself? Jesus has given us everything we need for life and godliness. Don’t you believe it is time He receives something from our relationship with Him, something God values? Is it not time His people mature into adult sons, becoming like Jesus, living sacrificially as He did? We told you this was a crazy idea.
Homer and Wanda
Do you have a crumby relationship with Jesus? If so you are not alone. The more we think about this, we believe most people have a crumby relationship with God. Not that having a crumby relationship with God is His fault. No, we are quite sure the responsibility for this lay with us. Ever since...
Do you have a crumby relationship with Jesus? If so you are not alone. The more we think about this, we believe most people have a crumby relationship with God.
Not that having a crumby relationship with God is His fault. No, we are quite sure the responsibility for this lay with us. Ever since God ejected Adam from Eden, we have not had a relationship with God either of us would like. We are distant, estranged, separated from Him. God wanted us back in relationship. He had a plan.
God prepared a banquet in heaven for His Beloved Son and His Bride; expecting a grand reunion one day. A beautiful banquet of love, truth and faithfulness for us and Jesus. But how will people know a feast awaits them? Simple. The Father took the crumbs from His table and scattered them across the globe and throughout history. God was giving us a trail to follow; a trail of crumbs.
The ancients gathered these clues together into one book we call the Bible. In this wonderful book, we can see all the crumbs leading people to one destination, Jesus. Those who ate the crumbs began to grow into the likeness of Jesus. Their testimonies became crumbs for others.
The Bible, testimonies of faith, beautiful as they are, are still just crumbs. They are not the banquet that awaits, only clues and shadows of the goodness beyond. The Father call us to eat these crumbs, following the trail to the destination, Jesus. This journey takes patient endurance, but the crumbs provide sustenance as we travel. As we follow God He leads us ever onward to enjoy the fullness of Himself and restore what Adam lost.
“And He answered, It is not right (proper, becoming, or fair) to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs. She said, Yes, Lord, yet even the little pups (little whelps) eat the crumbs that fall from their [young] masters’ table. Then Jesus answered her, O woman, great is your faith!” Matthew 15:26-28 AMPC
It is our lot to have a crumby relationship with Jesus. This will only last a time. If we are faithful to follow the trail, it will lead to a banquet where we can feast on the goodness that is Jesus. Without restriction. No more crumbs. Until then enjoy your bit of manna for this day.
Homer and Wanda
“Scientists have found a trove of “super-deep” diamonds from hundreds of miles below the Earth’s surface. The diamonds were found in the Juina area of Brazil and likely came from a depth of 255 miles to 410 miles, according to an international team of researchers. A volcanic eruption brought the rocks to the surface, The Independent reports.”...
“Scientists have found a trove of “super-deep” diamonds from hundreds of miles below the Earth’s surface.
The diamonds were found in the Juina area of Brazil and likely came from a depth of 255 miles to 410 miles, according to an international team of researchers. A volcanic eruption brought the rocks to the surface, The Independent reports.” – © Fox News
Sometimes I am dense; I mean, diamond dense. Saw this news item yesterday and thought nothing of it other than it was interesting. Maybe it was the fact that our family was going through a spiritual whirlwind or that I was my typical dense self. Either way, I missed the obvious. God was giving us a lesson, and I missed it.
In the past 72 hours God has tested our faith yet again. Although our homelessness has ended, the life of faith never ends. It is far too exciting. This time we faced a very interesting choice. We cannot share the details, but for many it would be a shocking decision. For us, not so much. In walking with God through the wilderness, we learned such life altering decisions to be normal, run of the mill, events.
After we had made our decision life continued. We are at peace. God is pleased for we have been blessed in interesting ways; encountering new people on this blog and having very satisfying conversations. Sharing what God has revealed in our wilderness journey has been wonderful.
Then Wanda and I went for an afternoon walk. God spoke. Not an audible voice, just a thought. Out of the blue. Straight into my spirit. He reminded me of the news article about the diamonds and I knew at once what He was saying.
When we walk in faith so little of the decisions we make, and actions we take, are visible to others. They are hidden deep in our spirit. We may not even be aware when we are deciding for faith. Jesus is so subtle and humble that we often miss His moves. But He watches, waits, and builds faith in us. Each act of obedience to His will through pressure and heat is creating something magnificent inside.
Over time we often forget these steps of faith until one day an eruption occurs. An act or event which brings our faith to the surface. Once tested in the fire our faith is no longer forming, but formed. Our character has changed. We are not who we once were but different; made in His image. What comes forth is a sight to behold.
These are the precious diamonds of faith that come from deep within the bowels of our spirit. The treasure God wants to bring to the world. Yes, they are ugly rocks to a natural man but to those hungry for Jesus our faith is a precious gem. Faith is not to be hidden but exposed.
We are to live our faith before others so they know Jesus to be real, because He is.
As you obey Jesus today, your faith is growing. Keep walking in obedience and those diamonds will someday be huge. The spiritual riches formed in you will bless many.
Homer and Wanda
When the Word talks about the testing of our faith, I have a sneaking suspicion more than a few of us are unsure of what that means. We may have faced testing but not understood what Jesus was doing. Testing of our faith can be summarized in one word; choice. To explain how this works...
When the Word talks about the testing of our faith, I have a sneaking suspicion more than a few of us are unsure of what that means. We may have faced testing but not understood what Jesus was doing. Testing of our faith can be summarized in one word; choice. To explain how this works will require a few more words.
All choices that we make come from our free will. The free will God gave us is sacred and He will never violate it. We cannot violate the will of any individual either, without severe consequences. That is how serious it is. The will is so important that Jesus tells us about it in His Prayer, “Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be your Name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10. He also refers to His will when He was in the garden, “Saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.” Luke 22:42.
The ‘will’ of any person is the gatekeeper to the spirit core of every person and determines their eternal fate.
I was at a grocery store once and noticed that just past the clerk were two conveyor belts for purchased groceries. After a person had purchased their groceries, and was bagging them, the clerk would swing a gate to one side so she could slide the next person’s groceries to the unused conveyor belt. That gate allowed the clerk to control where the groceries would go. This illustrates how the will works.
We all have experiences that come to us throughout our day; funneled by the will into our spirit core. Likewise, we have many thoughts and feelings that arise from within our spirit core. They could be from our spirit or they could come from ‘self’. We may not know which, in fact when we are immature it is almost impossible to know the difference. Whatever the source, it is our will, our choice, that determines whether we will act on these thoughts and emotions. With thousands of choices made each day, many done unconsciously, our choices affects others around us as well as ourselves. All of these decisions will determine the growth and power of either our spirit or ‘self’.
Each decision, especially the tiny ones we don’t think matter, build and strengthen either our ‘self’ or spirit. If we feed ‘self’ it will control more and more of our decisions. If we feed spirit, then our spirit will control more and more of our decisions.
Every person has a will that grows and matures. The unfortunate reality is the spirit and ‘self’ nature inside battle for control all the time. The first assault we face on earth from the moment we are born is against our ‘will’ by our ‘self’ nature. ‘Self’ takes control of our will so we pursue ‘self’; aided and abetted by the world and satan. It is not a fair fight because satan and ‘self’ have no qualms about violating the sovereignty of our will. Once our will is co-opted only a pitched battle will free us from the control of ‘self’. Thankfully God has made provisions to help but He will not make our decisions for us. These decisions are our responsibility alone.
Our choice will always be, will we follow ‘self’ or spirit?
If we make too many choices for ‘self’ we find ourselves distanced from God. This is our choice, not His. ‘Self’ is an enemy to God just as satan is, for ‘self’ comes from satan. By agreeing with, feeding and making choices for, ‘self’ we are choosing to be God’s enemy. This saddens God but He will not violate our sovereign will. He accepts our choices. That does not mean there won’t be consequences though. A righteous God cannot dwell with ‘self’. Therefore, when we choose for ‘self’, we voluntarily separate ourselves from His presence.
If, instead, we make decisions for spirit, we will draw closer to Him. He gives us great help and support as we grow in these choices. Over time we will grow in spiritual maturity and may even become His Bride. We see this grace as real spiritual progress in Song of Songs 6:8-9. The virgin becomes the concubine, the concubine becomes the queen, and the queen becomes the dove; the undefiled, without spot or wrinkle Bride.
Remember God can not, and will not, make our choices for us. Our will is sovereign and He will never violate it. I cannot stress this enough. Once we make our choice, we will experience all the consequences of that choice. If we err, our only recourse is to repent.
Decisions are neither ‘good’ or ‘bad’, they just feed either ‘self’ or spirit. Once a decision is made, it is settled in the spiritual realm. We then experience the consequences; physically, emotionally and spiritually. To correct any decision requires repentance. Repenting means that we turn from our decision; we choose the opposite of what we did. We need to declare and act on this repentance otherwise it is just remorse. For real repentance requires action that must flow from a change within.
Be careful! We can repent of choices for ‘self’ and we can repent of choices for spirit.
Repenting of selfish choices is rare as many desire to feed and encourage their ‘self’ nature rather than kill it. Repenting of spirit choices is far more common. Many times on our journey we witnessed people give something of themselves only to repent of the choice later. That we could repent of our spirit choices sobered us to the all importance of the will.
We have studied the will, ‘self’, spirit and the nature of repentance. What do these components have to do with the testing of our faith? Everything. As we walk with Jesus, He will continually give us opportunities to obey Him. These will appear as small choices, but these are all important because they are tests of faith. If we will obey we move on. If we don’t we will have to retry until we get things right. We will not progress until we pass the test of faith; the choice Jesus has placed before us. You may not recognize the lessons God gives. That is ok and normal. It takes time to recognize His handiwork. The important step is to ask Jesus what test of faith He is giving you. When you know, obey. Learn this lesson well. As your faith is tested, it will grow.
Homer and Wanda
What do you think would be the hardest trial Jesus could lead you through in a walk of uncompromising faith? Death of a child? Loss of job and home? Physical pain and suffering? All those are very traumatic and difficult to endure but they are not the hardest lessons God gives us as we follow...
What do you think would be the hardest trial Jesus could lead you through in a walk of uncompromising faith? Death of a child? Loss of job and home? Physical pain and suffering? All those are very traumatic and difficult to endure but they are not the hardest lessons God gives us as we follow Him. The hardest lesson is the simplest; to wait on Him.
Sounds strange, doesn’t it? After all, waiting is the absence of action. How can waiting be the hardest lesson we have to endure? There is a good reason for this. Waiting is hard because it exposes our ‘self’ nature. In all other lessons we can learn from God, but our ‘self’ nature can hide. In the broad daylight of waiting, however, ‘self’ has no place to go. It will come out with a vengeance when we try to wait on God or show any faith in Jesus.
‘Self is addicted to the ‘do’, pushing us to action, trusting in man, becoming our own savior. ‘Self’ does not trust in anything but itself. Spirit rests in the ‘be’, knowing that God is our Savior and is completely trustworthy. Spirit rests in Him and waits for His lead. Think that waiting on God is easy? Try it. Settle yourself down to wait on God and see how long you last. As long as you think you can wait, God will always make you wait longer. Why? He isn’t cruel, but He wants you to learn that when you wait on Him, He will come to you. Not on your timetable but His. Remember that He is a sovereign being and you are to serve Him, not the other way around.
Waiting is the hardest lesson we will be called to endure but is key to our spiritual maturity. When you can learn to wait on the Father, resisting the wailing of your ‘self’ to just ‘do’ something, you will find a peace you have not known before. Today, as you are busy with all the activities of life, think on this. Take time to wait on God. Leave it open ended. Don’t put a time limit on Him; just wait. You will find a reward you never expected and a lesson you’ll never forget.
Homer and Wanda
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