Hearing…& Obeying!

Have you ever had an experience where you knew the Lord was telling you to stop doing something, but you did not have enough physical proof that it was a bad thing? And then, because you weren’t totally convinced and you wanted to continue doing it, you didn’t stop?

Yeah. I’ve been there. Just yesterday, in fact. And before I go on, let me say this:

It wasn’t worth it.

No, it really wasn’t. So let me tell you my story.

I like to transcribe. That is, I like to listen to audio recordings or watch a video and then type exactly what is being said. And, I love getting paid for it! It’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had “working.” (Except being a camp counselor at Rhodes Grove Camp in PA during college. Man, that was the best!) Anyway. I started working for this person, a thirty-something female, doing all of her transcriptions for her. I loved it! But every time I did one, there was a tug at my heart and I would think, “Something is just not right about what she is saying here…” But because I could never really put my finger on it, I did nothing about it and just kept going. Like I said, it was fun! And she was my main customer; I knew she appreciated my work and I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that. I even once talked with Rick (my husband) about it. I said, “She seems to be hinting at something about making the universe pay attention to you…she’s not saying anything about God, but I just don’t feel right about it.” I’m embarrassed to say that even then I didn’t really consider breaking our working relationship.

Last week I got the first job from her since October. And it was great timing too, because our daughter Lila has been on a great schedule, so I knew exactly what times I was available to work. I was really excited to finally get some work coming in again. So I finished up that transcription last weekend, with excitement for another.

Yesterday, I received the new assignment. I started typing away, for about an hour before I came across this: “I mentioned the trinity of self. And there are three parts to the self and they are all equal, of equal value and have equal value and purpose. So you have the lower self, which is the subconscious. You have the lower self, which is the conscious, and the higher self, which is the god within.”

I totally freaked out. I have not heard such blasphemy before! She finally came out and said what she had been hinting at the entire time. And suddenly it all came together in my mind. All of her previous talks about making the universe listen to your requests and making your own future…none of it was innocent! I was devastated, and as soon as I heard that, I knew that I could no longer work with her. This time there was no question!

But if only I had listened to the Lord’s voice sooner! Now I see that I have helped her to spread a false gospel! And what’s worse is this–she used a Bible verse to back up these beliefs! (“The Kingdom of God is within you” from Luke!)

2 Corinthians 6:14-16
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

None! There can be no harmony between me (a believer) and she (an unbeliever). I cannot be bound with her for the sake of money! I can no longer deny what I felt the Lord speaking to me long ago.

Last night, after I made this decision…I faced the hard part. Telling her. I sent the email, practically in tears. I can only hope that she accepts and has respect concerning this topic. I had grown fond of her and communicating with her, but I had to choose to obey my God and not further this false gospel with my very own fingers!

Afterwards, I felt terrible. I felt like, yes, I had made the right choice, but I was feeling down. I needed some encouragement. I suddenly felt like I needed to worship the Lord! So I grabbed my husband, and we got out the songbook. I started with prayer, praising God for helping me make the right decision. Then Rick opened the songbook, and the song, “My Reward” by Paul Baloche was the first page opened to. In case you haven’t heard it, here are some of the lyrics:

Jesus, You are my reward. To hear Your voice on that day is all I’m living for. Jesus, You are my reward, to see Your face on that day is all I’m living for.”

It was perfect. We moved on to sing, “Lord, You are more precious than silver. Lord, You are more costly than gold. Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds. And nothing we desire compares with You.”

The funny thing was, earlier that day, I had been praying about becoming foster parents. Rick and I both feel called to do this. I started to listen to the Lord, and this is what I heard:

I am building your family. Trust Me for each nail to be hammered into the walls. The nails symbolize the sacrifice My Son made for you; and they also symbolize the sacrifice it will cost you with each child to make your family grow.
Sacrifices of time, effort and love. Every sacrifice will be remembered as Cornelius’ prayers & alms were piled up before the Lord. Sacrifice will build your family.

Little did I know that the Lord was calling me to make a major sacrifice that very day. Not necessarily to do with children, but still, that sacrifice is building our family, because it is a stepping stone in learning to obey God with all that I do. I must be absolutely willing to give Him everything–money, entertainment, busy-work.I also need to learn how to take immediate steps to obedience when I hear His voice–I don’t want to wait until I see proof in the natural! If  you hear God’s voice calling you away from something, obey Him right away!

Lord You are more beautiful than diamonds, and nothing I desire compares with You.

How about you? Has God called you to give something up and you didn’t until it was almost too late?

Are You Filled with the Spirit?

A few days ago, a good friend of mine asked how to be filled with the Spirit. I thought this was an interesting question, as there seems to be some assumptions in different churches as to what exactly it means to be filled with the Spirit. Specifically, many assume that to be filled with the Spirit is the same thing as speaking in tongues. It is also a common belief that once you are filled with the Spirit, you are always filled with the Spirit.

There is also a difference between being filled with the Spirit and receiving the baptism of the Spirit. Both happened in Scripture. But, let’s focus on what it is to be filled with the Spirit. I can tackle receiving the baptism of the Spirit another day.

Let’s look into Scripture to find out what people actually did when they were filled with the Holy Spirit of God.

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Luke 1:41-45:
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
Elizabeth spoke prophesy and blessings to Mary when she was filled with the Spirit.

Luke 1:67
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied
Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit when he obeyed God and thus prophesied.

Acts 2:4
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”

When they were filled with the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues. (Check out my book for a biblical explanation of tongues!)

Acts 4:5-12
 “
On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and had the right words to speak to the court and the boldness with which to do it.

Acts 4:31
“And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.”
They were filled with the Holy Spirit after their prayer and began to speak the words of God with boldness

Acts 13:8 -11
But Elymas the magician (for so his name is translated) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, and said, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord? Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time.” And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand.
Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke truth against the magician who was attempting to stop God’s word from being spread, and he proclaimed judgment on the sinner. The judgment took place immediately.

Acts 13:52
“And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
They were continually filled with the Spirit and joy

Ephesians 5:18-21
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”

We are instructed to be filled with the Holy Spirit, like a person gets drunk with wine. This terminology is a present perfect tense and means we must be filld over and over again. It is a repeated process- we must be filled with the Spirit continually.

From these Scriptures and my quick summaries, you can see the proof of being filled with the Spirit is not limited to speaking in tongues. Here are the other things that happened when people were filled with the Spirit:

  • Boldness
  • Speaking truth
  • Joy
  • Prophesying
  • Singing to each other
  • Singing to the Lord
  • Giving thanks to God
  • Worshiping God
  • Loving one another

Just think. If speaking in tongues was the only proof of being filled with the Spirit, why would Paul have said in 1 Corinthians 14:5, “Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying”? Paul thinks prophecy is better than tongues!

Here’s another question to ponder. If being filled with the Spirit was a one-time event, would we who have been filled ever sin again??

And if being filled with the Spirit happened only once in a person’s life, why then was Peter filled both on the day of Pentecost and when he spoke to the courts?

My conclusion is that we must be filled over and over again with the Spirit. Yes, tongues is one proof that we have the Spirit, but according to what we have read in the Bible, there are other proofs as well! Take another look at that list, and if you have not experienced these things, maybe it’s time to ask our Lord to fill you with His Spirit, perhaps for the first time!

May He bless you as you seek Him!!

God’s Voice & Sin

A couple nights ago, my husband repented of a sin that I hadn’t known about. It was a very powerful evening, as he confessed in front of two friends visiting from out of state. It was very overwhelming to me, and I didn’t know how in the world to respond.

The next morning, we read the Proverb of the day: Proverbs 3:5-6. These verses suddenly took on a whole new meaning.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”

If you are anything like me, you probably already had understanding of this verse. Even when I studied it in depth, the meaning remained the same to me. This meaning was basically, “Trust the Lord, don’t think you understand. In everything you do, think of God and then He will make His plans succeed.”

But that morning, as we read together, God gave it new meaning tome, simply because of what was going on in my heart and mind. Have you ever read Bible verses over and over and it’s not until something happens in your life that suddenly the Lord breathes anew on that verse and you understand it in a whole different light?

This time, as I read the words “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight,” my new understanding was this: If you acknowledge God in everything you do, if you think of Him while being tempted, and you acknowledge that He truly is right there beside you, simply remembering His presence will help you step away from that sin, and in stepping away from sin, the result will be that God makes your path straighter.

There are many verses in Scripture concerning paths we can have.
First, there are the straight paths. (These paths are very good!)

  • Proverbs 3:6
    In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
  • Jeremiah 31:9
    I will make them walk by streams of waters, On a straight path in which they will not stumble
  • Hebrews 12:13
    Make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

We can follow dark paths, or, walk paths of light!

  • Psalm 119:105
    Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.

There is the path of life, (God’s path) which the righteous follow.

  • Psalm 16:11
    You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
  • Psalm 23:3
    He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Then, there are the paths of sinners.

  • Psalm 1:1
    How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
  • Psalm 17:4
    As for the deeds of men, by the word of Your lips I have kept from the paths of the violent.
  • Proverbs 2:15
    Whose paths are crooked, And who are devious in their ways;
  • Proverbs 4:14
    Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men.

And, God knows your path!

  • Psalm 139:3
    You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
  • Psalm 142:3
    When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path.
  • Proverbs 5:21
    For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He watches all his paths.

See what I mean? May you acknowledge God’s presence in all of your ways and may He guard you from sin because of His loving and strong presence!