Lead by the Spirit

Be Led by the Spirit

by Joyce Meyer – posted November 03, 2014

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom).
—2 Corinthians 3:17
One of the most dynamic ways to keep your joy is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you (see Psalm 139:24). If you pray first, asking God for a plan, He will never push you into a work of the flesh. Instead, His Holy Spirit prompts, guides, and gently leads you to a place of joy; He will never manipulate or control you. If you are too consumed with your own plan, too locked into the way you think things ought to be, you won’t even hear God speak to you or recognize the promptings from Him. If you are too determined to follow your own ritualistic rules, you can miss the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit and lose the joy God intends for you to have.It is not wrong to have a plan, but always offer your plan to God and tell Him that if He has something else in mind, you are willing to submit to Him.Power Thought: The Spirit of the Lord has led me out of bondage and into a life of freedom and joy.

The last month of my life has been filled with changes between work, moving back to my grandmother’s house and even changes in my family. Throughout this change God has had to constantly remind me that in the middle of the change, he’s my stability when everything else seems out of place. It’s been a constant lesson I’ve had to learn because of childhood issues I’ve had with instability. But over and over again, he sends reminders to calm my soul’s inner anxiety. I was looking for a devotional scripture to share with a family member this morning and came across the scripture above.

The explanation is what stuck with me the most, about making sure that we’re flexible enough that God can adjust us for HIS will and having joy in making the adjustment. Too often I’ve been the planner who has to have everything go a certain way and if it doesn’t I find myself getting frustrated. But what I’ve learned is that God is not only working on my fear of change, but he’s working the spirit of control out of me as well. As I got older, I thought the remedy to stability was trying to control my life in this box, but God has shown me different. He’s trying to get me to see life outside of my control box and give him more free reign in all areas of my life.

The more changes occur and the more I learn to adjust and trust God during the adjustment period, I’m learning how to let go and trust him more and more. It helps me to lay down my own plans and ideas and instead be more open to hear HIS plans so that I don’t miss where he’s trying to take me.

So I encourage you to follow the Holy Spirit and allow him to guide you in ALL areas of your life. Don’t be afraid to let go of your plans to make the adjustments for where God wants to take you instead. Where ever God wants to lead you will ultimately lead you to eternal joy, while following your own plans might only lead to something temporarily satisfying.

xoxo

#SpiritLeadMe

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Morning Prayer

All this week, I’ve been waking up at 7am and praying with my mentor. I wanted to share with you something that came up in prayer this morning: “Your life doesn’t have to be perfect, for God to use it for his purpose.” 

This phrase is loaded! Think of all the disciples and prophets that went before God and walked with him. None of them had perfect lives, but God used their lives and brought purpose. Peter wasn’t perfect, he denied God and yet God still was able to use his life for a greater purpose. Even John the Baptist, his head was chopped off, but his life had purpose in God. David wasn’t perfect either, but God used his life for a greater purpose as well.

When I heard that in prayer this morning, I thought about everything I’ve been through in the last 3 years and how much of it God has allowed me to come through. Not because he had to allow me to overcome it, but because he’s using what I went through for his purpose. My life by any means is not perfect, and no one’s life is truly ever perfect. Of course God works on us daily to help perfect his word in us, but because we’re human, we’re still capable of missing the mark. But in spite of us missing the mark, God is still faithful.

God isn’t looking for us to be “perfect” Christians. He’s not expecting us to live a life free of problems and no troubles. (If Jesus went through, then we’re going to go through) But he is looking for us to live a life of His purpose.

Devotional Scripture: John 17:1-3; 20-22

Food for Thought

Just wanted to share with my readers, a simple “food for thought” text message I sent to a few of my friends: 

Don’t get get mad when God gives you over to your ways and allows “you to do you.” Know that God can’t ever go against our free will. He has already set before us the choice of life and death and has told us which to choose. Any choices or behaviors made outside of His will cries out for his judgement against our behavior.

 Devotional Scripture:

Deut.30:15-20

15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;

16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;

18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.

19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

The idea of making Godly choices like my life depends on it, has really been sticking with me the last week. Even this past Sunday my pastor talked about repenting from our sins, turning our minds, running for our life towards God and never looking back. 

The more I allow God to groom me, even in the small areas of my life, the more I understand that our life must be devoted to Christ. Everything we do is unto him and for his glory. God is life and anything outside of him and His will , will ultimately lead to your own destruction. Although the troubles of this world may be temporary, God and my salvation are eternal.

Anything looks Good when you’re Hungry,It’s Better to Choose when you’re Full

I was reading over some of my older church notes and I came across something I’d written almost 3 years ago:

“Anything looks good when you’re hungry. It’s better to choose when you’re full.

Meaning, anything looks good when you’re spiritually empty. When you’re empty you start to look for anything to fill you up, even if it’s outside of God’s will. You begin to make choices and decisions out of your own strength versus allowing God’s truth to guide you.

Spiritually empty people can’t make sound decisions meant to be made by people who are whole in Christ.When you’re spiritually empty things can begin to get distorted. That’s why it’s important to me that I’m constantly reading the word daily. I have to make sure to keep God’s truth in my face and on my mind. The constant renewing of the mind. When you’re spiritually empty it’s also easier for the devil to present you with something that looks good, when in reality it’s not. You’re more likely to fall for deception when you don’t have enough truth in you to fight against it. This is what the devil counts on. He counts on us not reading our Bible, or going to church to get enough truth. He’s waiting to feed off of our spiritual ignorance. He’s counting on us not having a sense of discernment.

When you’re full on the other hand, you’re able to make better decisions based on God’s will for you. Instead of making choices out of your own strength you’re able to use God’s truth as a guide. When you’re full you’re also better able to block deception that comes from the devil. Being full in Christ helps you to make more life based choices. Choices that further your relationship with Christ. When you’re spiritually empty you’re more likely to make choices that lead you closer to death and your own fleshly desires outside of God’s will.

So remember every choice we make either push us closer to life or death with Christ. It’s a matter of where we’re making the decisions from. Are we making choices based on our own minds and strength or are we making choices out of truth based on God’s word?

The Lord made it plain and simple when he speaks about choosing life in Deuteronomy 30:19-20. God is our life, anything outside of Him and his will is death.

Fully Persuaded

Romans 8:35-39 (New Living Translation)

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord

This has been my devotion for the last two days. Paul was fully persuaded that nothing could come between himself and the love of Christ. This passage of scripture reminds me that everyday I have to ask myself: Is there anything I’m allowing to come between my relationship with God? This can be a challenge, because I’m sure, there’s always something, and it doesn’t have to be anything big. It can be something simple.

But the challenge is there and I must remind myself to give God his place as the head of my life. Nothing should be more important than my relationship with the Lord. Nothing, or anyone should take my attention away from trying to please God in my daily walk. I know that this passage of scripture may seem elementary, something we’ve all heard or read before but sometimes it’s important to return to the basics. Loving God may seem basic and simple, but you’d be surprised that not enough people love God like they say they do.

Even the past few Sundays, my pastor has been talking about loving God more for who God is.  What it’s like to truly love him more than anything of this world and outside of our own fleshly desires. During these services and in the last week or so, I’ve discovered that there are certain areas of my life where I don’t love God enough. The more you work on loving God, the more vulnerable you’re able to be in your relationship with him. This doesn’t happen over night.

I know for me, there were a lot of walls I had built that God had to tear down; even in the last 2-3 years. Even today, there are walls I have up and I’m fighting because I know that I should trust God in all areas, but it’s a stronghold for me in some areas. It’s one of those things where I have to pray for God to bend my will; and it can be strong. Going back to my devotion, it is just a simple reminder to not allow anything to separate me from the love of Christ. If I have these walls up, then it limits me in fully receiving God’s love in all areas of my life.

I extend the challenge to my readers. Think about areas where you may not be giving God full access. This is the area where you can work on loving God more and allowing him to come into that area and give you the healing only he can give you.

“Dying to Live”…. It’s Not Just a Cliche’

Before I started really getting into my walk with God and going to church, I had heard the term “dying to live” many times before. I had mainly heard it from the world’s stand point. According to the world “dying to live” was their way of saying, you have to do whatever it takes to survive and make a decent living for yourself, or for your family. Even if that means stealing or resorting to prostitution. Whatever, literally means WHATEVER, and I’ve met people who have this mindset. There really is no limit to what they’d do to “live.”

It’s almost like the world is saying that eventually you die and there isn’t anything to live for there after. Once your life is over, no one is really thinking of your soul’s eternal life. For so long I thought it was just a cliche’ without any real meaning. Why would I risk my life trying to do something to the point I die doing it and then I never fully enjoy its benefits?

Then my question became. “What are you living for, and how are you defining your life?”  I just always knew, there was a better way of doing things. (Even if initially I didn’t reference it to God.)

Once I started going back to church regularly and getting more into my walk with God, I also heard this same phrase. Only this time I discovered it from a biblical standpoint.

Mark 8: 34-35 (Amplified Bible)

34: And Jesus called (to Him) the throng with His disciples and said to them, if anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself ( forget, ignore, disown and loose sight of himself and his own interest) and take up his cross, and ( joining Me as a disciple and siding with my party) follow with Me (continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me.)

35:For whosoever wants to save his (higher, spiritual, eternal) life, will lose it ( the lower, the natural, temporal life which is lived only on earth); and whoever gives up his life (which is only lived on earth) for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it (his higher spiritual life in the eternal Kingdom of God).

Now in this sense, “dying to live” means dying in order to gain so much more. Dying is a reference to allowing the old you (before you were saved) to die, in order to take on the new you who God is making you to be through walking with Him. In this sense, dying doesn’t just mean you’re living a life without an end, but that life isn’t just defined by what you do in the natural. Life in this case is based on your walk with God.

The world’s definition of life is based on something tangible and temporary. For them, life is only seen as something in the physical, and once that ends there’s nothing thereafter. However, from walking with God, I learned how to redefine my meaning of “life.”

Life in Christ isn’t based on things that are tangible. It’s based on the things God imparts into your life as you walk and fellowship with Him. While life in the natural is built around material possessions, Life in Christ is about preparing your soul’s eternal home. Eternity doesn’t necessarily mean “forever” but it’s more about the quality of life found in living for Christ.

Walking with Christ I constantly have to ask myself, what am I willing to loose to gain a more fruitful walk with God. Often we want to hold onto our old ways and mindsets. We become selfish in thinking of ways to gratify our flesh. We could easily spend time on earth trying to build ourselves up and define who we are based on status etc, but for what? All of that stuff is temporal. When we die, none of it goes to heaven. God only cares about your obedience to him and your soul. It’s okay to enjoy things while we live, but don’t get more “caught up in the creations than the creator” as my Pastor often puts it.

To lay down our fleshly desires to walk with God really isn’t much. Honestly, it only becomes much in the areas we resist God in. Think for a moment, what areas of your life have you not allowed God to fully come into? These are areas where your flesh is still living and you must tell yourself it’s time to die. I have to think of it this way, if I die in ALL areas, then I’m allowing God to come in and regenerate me in those areas. It’s like he’s breathing a new life into me in that area. I’m not saying to do this is always the easiest; our flesh will resist. But the more you learn to love God and the more you walk with him, then it becomes easier to not resist him and where he’s trying to take you.

When it talks about “denying himself” to me this really meant following God is ALL OR NOTHING. It is, because there’s no way to run after God if you’re still holding on to the old you. That’s a lot of weight to carry around and all you’re going to do is tire yourself out. At some point something must give. It goes back to the idea of serving two masters. You can’t fully serve God and still want to be the old you. God is really trying to create a new you.

I find myself in this struggle constantly. There are still some of my old ways and mindsets I have yet to completely let go and give over to God.It’s because of this I know I’ve spent the last 2 years of my life in this cycle of where I experience “spiritual highs” and I get “sprinkles” of walking with God, but I’ve yet to come into the full benefits of living for Him 100%. I mean I have to admit, there are times I find myself being “religious” and not fully grasping the concept of living according to God’s will. This post is not just for my readers, but it’s a battle I often face myself.

In the end, the truth is that we spend so much time trying to hold onto our temporal life to please the selfishness of flesh vs. trying to grab onto something eternal for our soul’s sake.

So again, I repose my question that I ask myself: “What are you willing to loose in order to gain a more fruitful walk with the Lord?”

A Refreshing Presence

My devotion for today was simple, Acts 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”

Something about God’s presence is always refreshing. If you’ve ever been away from God and then came back, then you can tell the big difference between being around him and what it was like when you left. It’s only in his presence that we can find healing (physically, mentally and spiritually), and also an intimacy.

By saying that God’s presence is “refreshing”, it’s something that’s continuous. A sense of recovery and renewal from simply spending time with him, outside of loving him for what he does. In my amplified study Bible it talks about wanting God’s presence more than his “presents” or anything else. Even if God never did anything great for you, his presence has been enough.

It should be an honor to be in his presence. Not everyone can have an intimate fellowship with him. God only reveals his mystery to those who love him. In order to truly get the full effect of God’s presence we must repent first and submit our wills to align with His and His Word. Otherwise, we can be in God’s presence and fight against it that we’ll never get the full affects of being “refreshed.”  The only way we’ll truly get refreshed in God’s presence is if we kill our old self. The old you before being saved must die, in order to start feeling the full effects of refreshing.

We must kill the flesh but allow God to do the healing in his presence. Can’t want to be “refreshed” and still be the same you, you were before. God wants to create a new creature. If we learn to stay in his presence long enough, we’ll become intentional and deliberate in following God for the change and not just for what he can do.