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Posts Tagged ‘encourage’

The Spirit Made Me Do It

by Jim Gordon

Many of us in the Christian world have had questions as to how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. Does the Spirit control us, speak to us, guide us or teach us? If so, how? These are certainly good questions and not always easy to answer.

We read in the bible, that after Jesus ascended into heaven, he said he would send us another Comforter. The Holy Spirit came to live within us, and we became the new temple of God. God’s Spirit now lives within us, his people, and not in a building made by hands.

The purpose of the Spirit is to be our comforter and to remind us of who we are in Christ. For those who are followers of Christ, the Spirit no longer convicts us of sin. Jesus destroyed the sin nature and we are forgiven by his grace. The Spirit is in our lives to teach, guide, encourage and remind us of our righteousness in Christ. The Spirit ultimately leads us to become more like Jesus.

The Spirit can speak to us through many sources. Most people think of the bible first, but we cannot limit the Spirit to only a book. The Spirit can speak through people, dreams, intuitions and common sense. God gave us a mind. The bible says we have the mind of Christ. Do not limit the Spirit to only one way of communication.

We have to be careful to discern what is Spirit and what is natural. Since we still live in an earthen body, we will have thoughts that are natural and some that are spiritual. For me, I have noticed that sometimes a thought will come to me, seemingly out of nowhere, and I have a feeling of peace or a sense of knowing this is not from me.

I also believe there are many instances when we give more credit to spiritual things than we should. How often have we heard someone say the devil made me do it? Or we hear someone tell us that God told them to do this or that, or to tell us something supposedly direct from God?

I do not believe we should say the devil made me do it, no more than we should say the Holy Spirit made me do it. God gave us free will. Free will is an act of love, and God is love. The Holy Spirit guides and teaches us, but does not control us.

If the Spirit controlled us to the point we had no choice, what kind of love would that be? True love of God is done from free will. We choose to love God and we decide to follow him. We are not forced or controlled by some spiritual force within us.

As an example, there are many people who do not even believe in God who are more loving and kinder than some who call themselves Christian. I believe this is due to our upbringing and circumstances that mold us into the kind of person we become. Obviously, the Holy Spirit changes us and guides us, but as mentioned before, we do have free will. What we were taught by our parents, our circumstances and environment while growing up, will still have an effect on the kind of people we are in general. The Holy Spirit is certainly with us, teaching, encouraging, uplifting us in our walk with God. He is our comforter and our guide, yet God has given us free will to do as we please.

Truly loving God is wanting to do what is pleasing to him because we love him, not because we are controlled to do so. Listen for the still, small voice within you as you seek to be guided daily by the Spirit.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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1 John 2:27 But as for you, Christ has poured out his Spirit on you. As long as his Spirit remains in you, you do not need anyone to teach you. For his Spirit teaches you about everything, and what he teaches is true, not false. Obey the Spirit’s teaching, then, and remain in union with Christ…….

Matthew 23:10 – Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ….

These verses talk about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within each of us as followers of Christ. He is within us to comfort, teach and lead us.

I see a common problem among those of us who follow Christ these days. We talk about Jesus as a person from the past and seem to learn about him only from books, pastors and the so-called spiritually educated. We know it in our head, but do not act on the fact that Jesus is alive and it is his Spirit that lives within each of us as his followers. We have a living relationship and daily fellowship with him through his Spirit.

HolySpiritwithin

The bible says that he gives us his Spirit and we do not need anyone to teach us. The Spirit will guide us into all truth. We need to let that get deep down within us and quit looking to only books and people to tell us what they think about Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to teach us and lead us into his truth.

We Christians get so caught up on which pastor, evangelist or Christian leader to follow. We listen to this one or that one, read books from this guy or listen to tapes by that woman. We attend a fellowship because we like the pastor, or we will drive miles to listen to a popular TV or radio evangelist.

Yet God says we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all fellow-servants. We are not to be called leaders in an authoritative way, no one is higher up than anyone else. Leadership is done in love and from experience as equals. Those who have been walking with God longer can encourage those who are newer in their walk.

We do not need anyone to teach us because we have the Spirit of Christ within us, the true living Word lives in each of us (1 John 2:27).

We can learn and be encouraged by reading the bible with the guidance of the Spirit. We can learn and be encouraged through fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet we seem to forget the most important truth which is the Spirit is within us. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

In Christ we are all his children, no one should be looked up to or revered more than anyone else. We should stop putting all our hope in other people and listen to the Holy Spirit who is within us to teach us his truth and guide us in the way he has for us.

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Kindness is something you do not find very often in our world today.

The Bible speaks about kindness many times. Kindness is one of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22.

The dictionary says kindness is being considerate or helpful. I think the world would be a better place if everyone treated each other with kindness. Being kind and accepting others does not mean we are always going to agree, yet we can be kind and respect each other in our differences.

It usually does not take a lot to be kind. Sometimes I think we make it too hard, especially when something so simple and easy as a genuine smile can brighten someone’s day. Being polite and kind to others can sometimes be just what they need to make their day. Holding the door for someone, letting them go ahead of you in line, smiling and saying hello, you never know.

kindness1a

The little everyday things we can do to show others kindness can be an encouragement to them and a way of living out the love of Christ.

These days it seems we even have a hard time with Christians treating each other with kindness. We want to fight and argue over our views and interpretations and forget that as Christians, we all have the common ground of faith in Christ.

A friend of mine recently talked about relationships and how they seem to come to an end. He said it is based on what the relationship is about. If it is based on some thing or some activity, once we get tired of that particular thing and move on, the relationships based on that activity willl usually come to an end. Only the common ground of faith in Christ and His grace is what does not change and the one thing that can hold together a friendship.

Let’s see if we can make a point to do one act of kindness each day. You never know where it may lead.

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Philippians 2:3-7 – Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

In our world today it seems everyone has the I am number one attitude. We are all interested in what is best for us, what makes us happy, how to make ourselves more comfortable and satisfied in life. It seems we will do anything to get ahead in life and to get all the comforts and ‘things’ to make it easier for us.

The above verses from Philippians state that as followers of Christ we should be doing just the opposite. Our thoughts and attitudes should be how we can show the love of God to others, what we can do to help those in need, how can we use the money and things God has blessed us with to help the less fortunate.

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God says that the fulfillment of the law is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and to love others as yourself. While the jobs and things we have been given and blessed with by God are not wrong, we need to keep in mind that they are not the important part of our lives. We are to be thinking of others and their need for love, acceptance and help. We are to consider how we can encourage and build up someone and how can we help meet a need in their life.

There is nothing wrong with taking thought of our wants, needs and interests but the verse states ‘do not merely look out for your own interests’. Unfortunately, many times our own interests are all that concern us. May we daily ask God to help us think of others and be ready to care for them in any way possible with God’s leading.

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To me Church is a group of people. When we get together, or ‘assemble ourselves together’, it is for a time of fellowship, fun, eating and getting to know one another.

As far as I’m concerned, the traditional view of church, which is a building we go to on a particular day at a set time and sit and listen, is not what Jesus meant when he talked about building his Church.

My wife and I were part of the organized church for years and years, and although there were a lot of good experiences and friendships made, it is not what I would consider the true Church.

When we get together with other believers, maybe only two or three, the Church has assembled. This can be at someone’s home, at a restaurant, in a park, or anywhere we are able to spend some time together.

Outside the Walls

Since the Spirit of God lives within us, He is always with us, no matter where we may be, no matter what day or time it is, and no matter if there is a set agenda, singing or sermon to be preached.

Church is you and me. It happens anywhere, anytime. My wife and I have had more meaningful fellowship in the past couple years of being out of the organized church, and just meeting with others as God leads. We may have dinner and talk about what God is doing, we may pray for one another, we may sing a song or two, or we may just talk about things in general, laughing, and getting to know one another better.

I know there are a lot of people who attend a regular ‘church’ service each week, and there is nothing wrong with it. Although for my wife and me, we came to be very dissatisfied with the normal gathering each week, listening to one person talk and going home without hardly a handshake from others.

The Spirit of God is our teacher and each of us are equal participants in the Kingdom of God. We each have something to say that the Spirit can use to encourage others. It has been so much more meaningful for us to be in a group where everyone gets to talk, pray, encourage and build up one another.

I know many who are in the traditional church who do not agree with this, but for my wife and me, we would not want to go back into the organized church setting. Things outside the walls have been so much better, and we have enjoyed much closer fellowship with those God brings into our lives.

So, I guess the best thing is for all of us, inside or outside the walls of religion, is to accept each other the way we are and let God do any teaching or changing that needs to be done. Rather than look down on one group or the other, accept the fact that what we do, we do for God. We want to learn from Him and enjoy the gift of Grace He provided. Let’s love and accept one another no matter what we do or do not do on Sundays.

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Philippians 2:3-7 – Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

In today’s world, it seems everyone has the I’m number 1 attitude. We are all interested in what is best for us, what makes us happy, how to be more comfortable and satisfied in our lives. Seems like we will do anything we can to get ahead in life, to get all the comforts and ‘things’ to make it easier for us.

These verses state that as followers of Christ, we should be doing just the opposite. Our thoughts and attitudes should be how we can show the love of God to others, what we can do to help those in need, how can we use the money God has blessed us with to help the less fortunate.

God says that the fulfillment of the Law is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and to love others as yourself. While the jobs and ‘things’ we have been given and blessed with by God are not wrong, we need to keep in mind that they are not the important part of our lives. We are to be thinking of others and their need for love, acceptance and help. How can we encourage and build up someone, how can we help meet a need in their life.

There is nothing wrong with taking thought of our wants, needs and interests. The verse states ‘do not merely look our for your own interests’. Unfortunately, many times our own interests are all that concern us. May we daily ask for God to help us think of others and be ready to care for them in any way possible with God’s leading.

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