On one specific occasion, I was at an important meeting, when I realized I left a much needed item at my home. Since I was close to my house, I decided I had enough time to get there and back before the meeting began. As I drove, I felt the urging of the Holy Spirit telling me to take an alternate route other than the one I was on. Instead of 'acting' upon His instructions, I thought my way was better and quicker. Nonetheless, He kept urging me, and I continued resisting. It was when I reached a certain street, only minutes from my house, that I realized WHY the Spirit was imploring me to go a different way. Right in front of me firetrucks were blocking the road, and I was completely halted. Now what? If only I had acted upon His prompting, I would not have been in this predicament.
We spoke last week of being led by the Holy Spirit. Part of being led, is being obedient. Let's face it, if I would have yielded to His instruction, I could have eliminated stress, delay, and frustration. Learning to follow the Spirit's leading involves taking actions of faith! The Bible says, "...the just live by faith." (Heb. 10:38) Faith is being bold enough to step out and DO what He's telling us to do! In my situation, I thought I had the better way. Isn't that the real problem, we think we know it all, like we've got all the answers, right? But, John 16:13 says, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come." Many times, He is trying to help us stay out of danger and direct us for purposes unknown. What good is hearing the voice of the Spirit and not obeying? If we ignore Him too long, we desensitize our knowing His voice.
Complying to the leading of the Holy Spirit always involves faith. It's trusting Him with all our heart and not leaning to our own understanding. A person in faith, does something to demonstrate his faith. Abraham, the father of faith, is a great example. He trusted God when he was told to sacrifice his son. Doing all that God told him to do, even to the point of raising his knife to slay him. He knew that no matter the outcome, God was going to do something miraculous. And because he obeyed, his faith was validated! (Gen. 22)
It's not enough to know the principles of faith or entirely quote the Word. These things, although important, are not the result of faith. They teach us what and how to exercise faith, but it's in the doing! "..Faith without works is dead", James 2:14-26. Truthfully, we must live a lifestyle of faith! People that say, 'I tried faith, it doesn't work', haven't made it a life style. They believed they were in faith by listening to someone preach about it, mimic someones actions that acted in faith, and quote the scripture ever so often. But they forgot one thing, to be a doer.
Hearing the Word brings faith which then governs our response. Acting upon the Word, according to your measure of faith, will produce the results for which you're believing God. (Matt. 9:29 "...according to your faith let it be to you". The Holy Spirit's leading, quoting scriptures, and hearing the preached Word are the course to actions of faith!
We challenge you when exercising your faith to completion, by doing something that substantiates it. If you're believing for finances, when you quote "My God supplies all my need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." listen and obey the Holy Spirit to act upon your faith. He may tell you to give a certain amount in the offering. Perhaps you're believing for a healing, quoting, "By His stripes I am healed". The act of faith at the Holy Spirit's direction could be getting up out of bed. What ever the measure of your faith, there is an action that is suitable for it. The Spirit of God will lead you, just obey.
Years ago, we were on a youth outing to another city. Because of the number of people that went, we had to take multiple cars. Some of the people that drove were not familiar with the city freeways, so they were following us to the venue. The driver of the second car thought it would be fun to drive along side of our car instead of remaining directly behind. Much to their surprise the lane they were in, happened to be an exit only lane onto another freeway. So without warning, suddenly they were going east and we were going north. Needless to say, had they been following us, they would not have gotten off course. Going the wrong direction can be alarming and disheartening. To be guided by one that knows the way is, definitely, the safest way to go.
In John chapter 16 Jesus tells us of the 'Helper' that will come after He leaves. In verse 13, He says, "...when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth..." This word 'guide' is likened to a tour guide that is trained to go into unknown territory. How many of you know that this life we live, is an unknown territory? Dealing with surprises and difficult circumstances is similar to traveling in unexplored places. Having a guide that can lead us safely through, helping us to avoid pitfalls, disaster, and danger, will keep us on course and in the Truth. I'm all for that!
Truthfully, people are seeking direction every day. Some refer to horoscopes, palm readers, tea leaves, fortune cookies, ouija boards and various other methods. These are NOT the way to finding the truth or true direction from God. Others depend on dreams, visions, prophetic instruction, angels, goosebumps, and good or bad feelings. Again, these are NOT sound in the leading of God.
Realize that the devil can imitate all the outward signs for guidance. In light of this, we understand that we can not depend on dreams, angel visitations, visions, prophetic words, goosebumps or feelings to direct us. If any of these are prevalent, they will ALWAYS be accompanied by the inward witness of the Holy Spirit if they are from the Lord. They should be disregarded if they are not. The people in the old testament were led by these things because the Holy Spirit had not yet come. Today we can depend on His guidance. And since there are no scriptures to support outward leadings, we know veering from the Word is dangerous and can lead to deception.
Romans 8:14 says, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." This IS the true leading from God. If you want to have a guaranteed escort through the course of your life, first become a 'son of God'. Then the Holy Spirit will give you direction every day. Verse 16 tells us how He does this, "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit.."! 'Bearing witness', also considered as 'inner witness', is a knowing within your spirit to His leading. We could also say, it's when something just seems right, although your mind doesn't quite understand.
His unction is directed by God and will always be in line with God's will. Some key points to know about the Holy Spirit's leading is: 1) He's a gentleman, He will not aggressively push us into doing anything, He leads. 2) He will never have us do anything that's contrary to God's Word. and 3) His leading will not always agree with our mind or flesh. (Rom. 8:7 "...the carnal mind is enmity against God...." & Gal. 5:17 "...the flesh lusts against the Spirit...")
Along with His leading, God has also endowed us with knowledge and wisdom. In some instances we won't have a leading of the Holy Spirit because we have a knowing about something. For instance, if I know the temperature outside is 110 degrees, I don't need the Holy Spirits leading to know i shouldn't go running. Or if I know it's dangerous to be in a particular place, I don't need Him to tell me not to go. I have the measure of knowledge needed to govern specific decisions. And if I'm going in a direction that my knowledge tells me is good, unless the Holy Spirit gives me a 'check' or 'stop' then I can proceed.
Learning to follow the leading of the Spirit, will help us in every facet of life. Gaining more insight to being led can be obtained by praying. It increases sensitivity to hearing His voice. Be sure that when you begin to experience His leading, obey instantly. This develops your spirit, and keeps the devil from discouraging you. Stay out of feelings, reasonings and self will. Practice by being a listener. Be sure to know who's in the lead. Following the Holy Spirit will ensure peace, safety, and security.
Some dads are funny, some are serious, others are matter of fact and yet regardless of their personality, they are DAD. No matter the kind of father you have or had, you have gained much from him. Some would say, "but mine wasn't around, they left when I was small". To you I would say, you learned how not to be and the importance of faithfulness. (It's important in the midst of 'life' situations, in spite of the good and bad and the ups and downs, to find the gain.)
Being a father is a big responsibility. First of all there's the task of being the provider for the entire family. He's accountable for making sure the bills are paid, food's in the cabinet, gas is in the car, there's money for extracurricular activities, as well as for clothes. Having and keeping a good job is very important to him. (Pro. 12:11) (Col. 3:23)
A dad also has to be the emotional strength in a family. Assuring that everything's going to be alright. He comforts the family in sad and difficult times and encourages each one according to their persona. Building up and cheering up attitudes. (Josh. 1:9)
He's the disciplinarian, helping to direct and lead in the right direction. As difficult as it may be for him to punish and correct, he does it because of love for his children. When a wrong decision was made, he's there to help, instruct and redirect. (Pro. 3:11-12)
The brunt of decisions lie in his lap, so he must stay tuned in to God, lending his ear to His instructions. He prays continually for each member of the family, lifting up their needs, desires and purpose before the Lord. His mouth daily confesses the Word over his children believing in faith for the manifestation of God's blessings in their lives. His faith is fortified by being faithful in his service to the Lord. And by this example he is showing his family how to be Godly. (Pro. 22:6)
He helps with scientific homework projects, math calculations, rescuing lost items or fixing broken things. Dads are known for making sure there's recreation, like picnics, camping trips, fishing excursions, trips to amusements parks, going to the movies and even birthday parties. Amidst the significant and important tasks, he still has time to laugh, and have fun doing silly things. Jumping into a pool with all his clothes on, letting the dog lick his face, having a tea party with his daughter, or playing games with his son are all part of being a Dad.
And just in case you didn't know or you forgot...... he attended your events, he cried when you got hurt, carried you to bed when you fell asleep in the car, kissed your boo boos, and stayed up praying over you when you were sick. You see a DAD is a lot of things to his family. He IS the extension of God's love! A wonderful gift from the Heavenly Father. And this Sunday is the day we take to say Thank You, and Honor him for his blessing our life. Take time to thank God for the man God gave you as DAD, whether he's your natural father, step-father, father-in-law, grandfather, uncle or a 'DAD like one' - let's give honor where honor is due. Give him your love and attention, after all he's given you his!
Eph. 6:1-4 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
Recently I read a story about a man and his wife that had six children. Explaining how vigorous a household of eight can be, they began to share some of the rules they enforce within the family. One specific edict, caught my attention. They called it 'Double Trouble'! This ordinance specifies that if a child overhears a command that's been given to another, and proceed to disobey, they get 'Double Trouble'. For instance, the instruction to child #1 is no cookies before dinner. Child #2 overheard the direction, but ate cookies before dinner. Therefore, Child #2 received double the punishment based on the awareness of the rule. Although he argued, 'you told Child #1 he couldn't eat cookies, not me', he deliberately disobeyed. A value aspect in life is recognizing that we each are responsible for our actions, especially if we know right from wrong.
It works the same way with our governmental laws. We didn't hear directly from the initiator of the law, but we received the information through other means, and we are responsible for the doing. A great biblical example would be Adam and Eve. Before Eve was, Adam walked and talked with God, Who gave him instructions, especially about the 'tree in the middle of the garden'. The Lord God hadn't spoken directly with Eve about that tree, but she was still responsible for what she heard that God had said.
Acting upon the Old Testament Word of God is similar. The O.T. isn't directly addressed to us, but is there for a guide and for instruction. There are many truths in it. God gave us these so that we would gain understanding of His nature, His will and direction for our life. This makes us accountable to obey regardless of the 'way' we heard. 2 Tim. 3:16 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," Avenues of hearing can be from reading it yourself or hearing it preached.
Upon my daily Bible reading, I came across this powerful truth that gave me insight to a long good life, peace, favor with God and people, direction for decisions, healing in the body and financial freedom. If you're like me, these elements are part of a daily prayer regiment. I don't know of anyone that isn't believing God for long life, favor, healing or financial breakthrough! Let's take a look at Proverbs 3: 1-10 "My son, do not forget my teachings, and keep my commands in mind, because they will bring you long life, good years, and peace. Do not let mercy and truth leave you. Fasten them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will find favor and much success in the sight of God and humanity. Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths smooth. Do not consider yourself wise. Fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. Then your body will be healed, and your bones will have nourishment. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first and best part of all your income. Then your barns will be full, and your vats will overflow with fresh wine."
This instruction from the Lord has it all! To see these things operational in our life, we must be a doer of this Word. That's our responsibility! This Word gives us five key points to activate God's promises for us, 1) Heeding and meditating on the Word of God brings a long, good life with peace. (Josh. 1:8) 2) Always acting in mercy and truth, holding them dear in our heart gives us favor and success with God and man. (Pro. 16:6) 3) Trust the Lord instead of our own thoughts allows God's to direct our steps. (Ps. 18:30) 4) Putting down pride, and making a 180 degree turn from evil brings healing to our body. (Rom. 12:16; Pro. 14:16) and 5) Honoring God by giving and tithing from our income insures that we shall never lack. (Luke 6:38)
We can no longer blame God or others for the situations in our life, we have become responsible by hearing. The truth is, consequences are the outcome of our choices. What happens to us in life isn't about the unfairness, it's about our response to His ability! Whatever arises in life, choose to respond using the Word in order to obtain His promises.
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."