When I was a kid we used to sing a song in Youth Group called, “Lead me, Guide me”. I remember thinking while we sang that song, “how does God do that”. I had never heard an audible voice that I thought was God’s nor have I heard one since. I think that it is a combination of God giving us wisdom as we seek for wisdom, giving us guidance through wise people that we seek counsel from, from His Word as we read it faithfully, and from promptings that He puts into our mind in the form of thoughts.
God guides those who want to be guided, who want to follow Him and obey Him, who believe that God knows much better than we do what is the best choice among the many that we make every day. A great way to communicate that desire is simply to ask for Him to guide, to seek wisdom, and to read His Word faithfully. These verses from Psalms are great ones to memorize and to pray back to God.
Psalms 5:8. O Lord, lead me in Your righteousness, Make Your way straight before me.
Psalms 25:4-5 Make me know Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.
For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.
Psalms 27:11. Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a level path.
Psalms 143:10. Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
In Galatians 2:20 Paul says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”. Paul is saying, “it is no longer I who am choosing what to do all day long, it is Jesus Christ who lives in me who is choosing, and I am following and obeying Him”. Practically speaking how does a person pull that off and make it happen? It sounds super spiritual and in fact it is super spiritual if lived out that way.
It begins first thing in the morning when we say to the Lord Jesus silently in our thoughts or out loud, “You are Lord of my life and I will follow and obey You today”! Then in another hour we will say that again, and again, and again, all day long. It isn’t hard to do that and it only takes about 10 seconds to pray that simple 14 word prayer. The problem is we won’t remember to do it, we will simply forget because of all that is on our mind. The trick is to attach this simple discipline to something we already do all day long. For me it is looking at the screen on my cell phone to see if there are any new text messages or emails or missed calls. It was pretty simple to put a piece of masking tape cut 1/2 inch wide across the top of my phone with the words, “Jesus is Lord” written on it.
“You are Lord of my life and I will follow and obey You today“. Saying that simple 14 word prayer a dozen times every day will program our mind, our will, and our heart to listen for promptings from God on what to do and what to say all day long. Can you imagine how much more successful we would all be in our relationships and our goals if we followed the promptings of God. Also God will lead the person who will follow, He will speak to the person who will listen and obey, and by saying “I will follow and obey” God is prompted to lead.
“It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me”
There are about 500 verses in the Bible on the topics of angels and demons, and I looked them all up, read them, thought about them, and wrote observations and conclusions from each of them in preparation for my teaching on the topic in my Theology and Doctrines class on Sunday morning at 10:15 am
Some people don’t believe in either angels or demons because they can’t see them, but many people have seen both, especially demons. I have several good friends who aren’t given to seeing things, making things up, or saying things to get attention, and both have seen demons, describing them as a black cloud or vapor the shape and size of an adult person. For me the greatest proof of the existence of a devil and his kingdom of darkness is the depth and extremeness of the evil that is in the world today, there must be a source and driver for all this wickedness.
I came up with about 50 observations from the verses that I studied but I will share just a handful here.
1. The angels of God and the demons of the devil, the kingdom of light and darkness, are fighting and warring continuously.
2. Whoever is winning the war that is being fought over our heads is who controls the affairs of the world in general and the affairs of the individuals who have no clue what is happening.
3. Our part in the whole scheme of things is to pray. When we pray God commission’s more angels to fight and supernaturally energizes the ones who are fighting. The more people who pray the more angels there are fighting against the darkness and the more power they will have to fight. When evil is gaining ground around us it is because there is a supernatural energy crisis because to many people are to busy to pray.
I went to a chiropractor this morning because of the neck pain I have been having for the last couple of months. I found out that he used to take piano lessons from my daughter Sarah before she was married and still lived at home. We had a nice conversation about the good old days and about people who we both new. Then he got to work fixing me. He did what he called an alignment and afterward my neck felt much better. Right now I am sitting in my recliner with ice on my neck trying to get things to feel even better.
I was thinking my life gets out of alignment,that is I let unimportant things take over the very important things. It happens gradually enough that I don’t notice, and then something happens to bring it to my attention. Wouldn’t it be nice if could just go to a spiritual chiropractor and he could give me an alignment and get everything back where it belonged. The best way for me to be my own chiropractor is to do some reflective thinking about who I am becoming and what I am doing that really matters and to make some choices and commitments to change some present out of aligned habits.,
I am obsessed with getting better at my preaching and teaching of the Bible. I am obsessed with reaching more people with the gospel and training them to be fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. The gap between where I am in my preaching/teaching skill and where I want to be is huge, like across the Grand Canyon. The size of that gap can discourage a person or motivate them depending on how they talk to themselves about it. My gap is probably greater than most because what I aspire to be is on another planet. My inner image and target of what I aspire to become as a preacher is hugely impacted by the fact that I listen to the best preachers in the world every day. The gap between how I preach now and what I want to preach like someday is huge, but that gap drives me to do what I need to do to get better, always better. Discouragement comes from thinking that I am stuck, that I can’t get better, that I can’t improve, but I know I can if I work at it hard enough. The immensity of the gap also drives me to prayer, always asking, begging, pleading with God to help me, guide me, anoint me so that my preaching is living and active, sharp as a two edged sword, piercing between soul and spirit, judging the thoughts and motives of all those who hear, that it would be as it were, the very utterances of God. Preaching the Word of God is a supernatural event, because when it is done with a gigantic amount of preparation, with the right attitude, with total dependence on God, and with the right motive it changes people’s heart and character to being more like God, permanently, forever.
Colossians 1:28-29 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
By the way, I am preaching through the book of Philippians on Wednesday night at 7:00 pm, come and join us at Jefferson Baptist Church, and I am also teaching a Theology and Doctrines class at 10:15 am on Sunday mornings.
This weekend was a “Special Offering” at Jefferson Baptist Church. Everything that went into the offering plates this weekend was for our Foreign Missions Budget, the total given on this annual offering event is the budget for our missions ministry. Our goal was $120,000 and we have been praying about it as a church for the last month asking God to bless individuals and stir people’s hearts. As of right now we have $118,000 and more will come in this next week from people who missed church this weekend. We have been holding “Special Offerings” for 40 years and I am pretty sure, guessing from memory, that whatever goal we have set we have made about 90% of the time. We believe in the power of everybody in the church praying for the same goal in agreement.
It is so exciting and rewarding what JBC accomplishes with this money each year. We have started dozens of schools in Sierra Leone and Liberia, West Africa, for kids who wouldn’t get to attend school otherwise. We have started many churches and a Bible College to teach and train pastors so we can plant more churches. The goal is to start 100 churches by 2040 and the same number of new schools. There are a number of other projects in West Africa that are planned as well as around the world.
It is healthy for people to give away some of their hard earned money to serve God and help others. Giving inoculates us against worldliness. Sacrificial giving helps us understand God’s gift of His son, Jesus to save us from our sins and to appreciate it more.