Is the Word of God THE Word of God?

Why is this verse important?

I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me. John 14:6

I watched a show on TV last night hosted by Morgan Freeman entitled “The Story of God”.

It furthered my belief that the majority of the world, (even many Christians), believe there are many ways to Heaven.

I’ll start with a baseline verse and then hopefully lay down some principles for life’s choices.

The baseline scripture – Proverbs 16:25 (NIV) 25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

 The way that seems right, not always is. We don’t want to accept a truth that goes against what we prefer to believe.

The ground rule:

The ground rule regards the “Word of God”.

What do we believe about the Word of God?

Is it THE WORD OF GOD?,

Or does it just contain the Word of God?

(There are a lot of professing Christians that believe the Bible just contains the Word of God.)

Or is it, (as many people who claim to be believers contend), it is just a collection of thoughts of people who thought they knew the mind of God and attempted to write it down?

So, our ground rule grows out of this statement,

What you believe ABOUT the Word of God determines what you believe FROM the Word of God.

Read more »

When we are alone

You are what you are when you are alone!

Oswald Chambers in a devotional for March 17 (My Utmost for His Highest), says, “My worth to God publicly is measured by what I really am in my private life.” That is a chilling thought.

The outward life of a Christian is not the measure of our true nature. It is important since we are to be a reflection of Christ as the Holy Spirit reveals Him to us. What others see in us should be Jesus. But, is that really me?

Unfortunately, that reflection may be a façade to what we really are privately. Introspection is the examination of my inner thoughts, it reveals to me what I really am. Introspection often leaves me disappointed when the Holy Spirit points out that my inner person is not the person I want others to see.

The problem is, though others don’t see it, it is the real me. I would be totally embarrassed for others to see the real inner person. Why? Because my thought life often betrays the person I really want to be. The Holy Spirit convicts me as much about my private thoughts and motivations as He does the life that I let others see.

What do we do about it? The Catholic would take it to a priest and confess it. The non-Catholic has a priest also,  Jesus Christ is our priest. The convicting Holy Spirit who brings it to mind in the first place, is also the stand-in for the Christ Priest who stands ready to forgive. Read more »

The Spiritual Disciplines

Spiritual Disciplines are the things we do in order to put ourselves in a position to grow.
They are not rituals.
They are not mantra
They are not secrets

If a person desires to grow in His spiritual life, he will seek ways to provide fertile ground for true growth.
1. Daily Prayer
2. Daily Bible reading/study
3. An openness to the Holy Spirit

Many people develop habits in relation to the things they do in seeking spiritual growth. When something merely becomes a habit, it loses it’s freshness and becomes just a routine. We easily grow tired of routines. They become boring and can be a source of dread.

The key to keeping this from happening is to eliminate the legalism involved.  No one is holding you to a schedule. It is a good thing you have adopted in an effort to be regular and devoted to what you think you need to do in order to grow spiritually. It’s not bad to do that but it does tend to lesson their importance.

Vary your routine. Vary your time spent. Vary the order in which you do them. And, do not feel guilty if one day you are unable to have your “quiet time” as you usually do. Sometimes life gets in the way. If you have a set time for your quiet time and you oversleep, it may just be that you needed the extra sleep. Or, another family member may need your attention at the time you are involved in prayer.

All of this is not to say your quiet time is not important or can be minimized. It is to say, do not be a slave to what you think you should be doing as a committed disciple of Christ.

Read more »

A Ministry of John W. Griffin

Our growth toward the perfection of Jesus Christ

Our Sanctification

My Logo

The logo which I use to illustrate our sanctification shows that once we were saved, our life began a new process in which the Holy Spirit begins to grow us in our new life in Christ.

The blue arrow angled upward illustrates that we are moving ever closer to the image of Jesus Christ. We will never reach that goal but you are somewhere on this line in your spiritual growth.

Some people stop this process by returning to old habits and attitudes that are not spiritually oriented. These people are what the Apostle Paul called Carnal Christians. They are still in their baby (selfish) stage and some stay at that stage for the rest of their lives.

Does the person who falls from that sanctification lose their salvation? Most Baptists believe that once a person is really saved, he is always saved. There are many denominations that believe a person can lose their salvation by willfully turning away and/or denying Christ.

The important thing is not once saved, always saved but once saved!

 

Bad Days

In 2 Corinthians 1:8, Paul writes, “We were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more than we could bear, I feared I would never live through it”

Do you ever have days like that? I do – not often, but every once in a while I have a day when nothing goes right. I have trouble getting along with others, my finances get low, my car breaks down, I feel bad and I just want to stay in bed and sleep all day. Everybody has them.

We pray for our loving Father to make it better, but even our prayers seem to get caught somewhere near the ceiling. These are the days when we really doubt that God cares and neither does anybody else.

In a devotional called “Facts of the Matter” by Dwight Hill, he says that the thing that compounds these troubles are those he calls, “Teflon Christians” who seem impervious to these kind of problems. They seem to be able to smile and excuse their troubles easily. Don’t you just hate that?

The real fact of the matter is, there is no one totally impervious to this kind of trouble. In fact most people go through seasons of depressing times. Granted, a lot of what we feel comes about by chemistry. Whatever those “feel good” hormones are, there are just times when they hide somewhere in the folds of our gray matter and fail us when we need them most.

Read more »

Prayer Part 4 – The Prayer of Thanksgiving

I Thess 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Believe or not, that could also be thanking God for the unwelcomed circumstances that come to us. There are times when we may not feel thankful. There may be a circumstance in your life that you feel God unjustly allows in your life. How can we be thankful in those times?

There is a word in the following passage that is our clue.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (KJV)

17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18 Yet, I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.
Did you spot the word? It is the single, simple word YET in verse 18 that sets apart the thankful heart and honors God the most.

It is easy to be thankful in the good times. But it is faith that enables us to thank God also in the tough times.

Notice I am not thankful FOR the tough times of life. The word in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 does not say “FOR everything give thanks”. It says “IN everything give thanks”. In fact it is easy to be resentful about some of them. They are the times we are not happy.

So, what makes it possible to be thankful in the tough times?

As we are praying and recounting all of our blessings, we can also acknowledge that God is worthy of our praise even in the bad times.

In a post elsewhere in this website called “Life under the Circumstances”, is the idea that God engineers bad times according to His overall plan for our life. If we are willing to accept that God may be using us to accomplish something special, it can change our whole attitude about them. We may never understand what that something special may be but it is by faith that I can pray, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord!”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Can you believe that promise?

Prayer Part 3 – Supplication, Petition & Intercession

Man in prayerSeeking His Will

Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law.
I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes,
O LORD; do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.
Ps 119:29-32

Supplication is for those things of which I am aware and conscious of the need in my own life. Seldom is it material although they sometimes are. Usually however, they are more of “attitude” than “material”. When I am aware that my love and seeking Him are lacking, I ask for more desire for Him.

Sometimes I develop a negative attitude toward another person that I know is not a Godly attitude. My deliberate prayer for that person begins to soften and become more Christ-like.

Sometimes I feel I am becoming resentful for an event or circumstance that I am in. My prayer then should be to seek what God is trying to teach me through that.

Intercession
My supplication and petition also reaches into my intercession for others. When the Holy Spirit brings to my mind a need or needs in others, it is a signal for me to include them in my prayers. I have friends and even acquaintances of which I am aware that are dealing with great burdens.
Then there are those whom the Spirit brings to my mind that have problems of which I am not even aware. Yet, the Holy Spirit brings them to mind even during my prayer time. I know that is His signal that I am to intercede even if I don’t know the nature of their need.
It is a great comfort for me to be the intercedent for people I hardly know, yet having been brought to my mind by the Holy Spirit I am aware that they have a need and I don’t even need to know what it is. If God grants, I may learn later what that need was but He doesn’t really owe me that.

 

 

Prayer Part 2 – Confession

Man prayer

Confession

“Psalms 51:9-10 (KJV)

9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.  10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

I must Confess sins that the Holy Spirit brings to my mind.

Confession and repentance preceeds any prayer

I am convinced that when I try to pray when I have unconfessed sin is totally useless. Prayer without the cleansing process of confession and repentance keeps our doorway to the Father closed.

My first prayer each time I pray must be to allow the Holy Spirit, root out and bring to my mind every sin of which I am guilty. In effect I agree with God that I am guilty.

When I pray fervently that the Holy Spirit bring my unconfessed sin to my mind, I am usually sorry I asked. He brings things to mind that I really did not realize were there. We can be so blinded by Satan that we do not always recognize a thing as sin until the Holy Spirit brings it to mind.

Holy Spirit bring to my mind those things that need to be confessed and repented.

Repentance

My second prayer is the prayer of repentance. Confession without repentance is empty confession and of no use. Only then will I be able to reach God in the fullest way

“Lord, let the Holy Spirit also examine my motives and if I do anything for personal gain or recognition, let me be convicted.

Repentance is the sincere rejection and turning away from each sin of which I am convicted. It means I resolve and declare that I will not return to that sin again.

It also means I do not harbor fond memories of that sin and especially any idea that I would ever visit there again.

Repentance is different from any idea of penance. We must not feel there is anything we can do to regain favor with God. We are not under the Old Testament law that required a sacrifice be made for sin. Jesus Christ is the only sacrifice that was/is required for our sins.

While that doesn’t make human sense for us, it has been declared as the only sacrifice God requires for our sin. We must be willing to let His sacrifice count as the only penance required.

Without repentance, we are still under the guilt of sin. There cannot be forgiveness if we harbor any idea of committing the sin(s) again. The total cleansing of the Holy Spirit for repentance does not reach into any idea that we would go back to it again.

Prayer Part 1

Prayer Part 1 – Empty yourself of yourself

Do you know what it means to empty yourself? It means whatever you think of yourself, deny it. If you think of yourself as a good person, deny it. If you think of yourself as a loving person, deny it. If you think of yourself as spiritual, deny it.

The fact is, that as a Christian, you are no longer anything positive of yourself. That is the only way to give yourself over to the completeness of the Holy Spirit in you. If any man be in Christ, he is a new person, old things are passed away, all things have become new. (2 Cor. 5:17)

We cannot please God in the flesh

Romans 8:8-9 (KJV)
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

The first prayer of my daily prayer life should be to deny any good thing in me as anything other than what the Holy Spirit is in me. Why? Because whatever good feelings about who or what I am is still a source of pride. Pride is sin.

Pray for effectiveness and fervency in your prayer. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16 The prayer that pleases God is the prayer that is fervent. What is a fervent prayer? It is a prayer from the heart, not from memory, not from feelings, not from what I’ve written down but, because I want God to hear and answer.

Too many times I pray because I like to hear myself be humble before God. That also is a point of pride.

The prayer that God hears and answers is that which is prompted by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:26 (NIV)  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express  I don’t completely understand that but I believe it because God’s word says it.

Next: Confession in Prayer

10 Tips For Spiritual Growth

cross-silhouette1Spiritual growth is a process of shedding our wrong and unreal concepts, thoughts, beliefs and ideas, and becoming more conscious and aware of our inner being. This process uncovers the inner spirit that is always present, but hidden beyond the ego-personality.

Spiritual growth is the process of inner awakening, and becoming conscious our inner being. It means the rising of the consciousness beyond the ordinary existence, and awakening to some Universal truths. It means going beyond the mind and the ego and realizing who you really are.

Spiritual growth is of great importance for everyone. Spiritual growth is the basis for a better and more harmonious life for everyone, a life free of tension, fear, and anxiety. It helps us learn not to let circumstances influence our inner being and state of mind. We manifest composure and detachment, and we develop inner power and strength, all of which are very useful and important tools.

Spiritual growth is not a means for escaping from responsibilities, behaving strangely and becoming an impractical person. It is a method of growing and becoming a stronger, happier and more responsible person.

A balanced life requires that we take care not only of the necessities of the body, feelings and mind, but also of the spirit, and this is the role of spiritual growth. Read more »