"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Experiencing God -- chapters 12-15

These chapters were fantastic! I jotted down many things I simply wanted to quote from the book. GREAT stuff!

Chapter 12 - God Speaks Through the Bible

Some thoughts that stood out to me:

"A person cannot understand spiritual truth unless the Spirit of God reveals it. In fact the Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of truth" (John 14:17). When you come to understand the spiritual meaning and application of a Scripture passage, God's Spirit has been at work. . . . When God speaks to you through the Bible, He is relating to you in a personal and real way." (pg. 103)

"The Spirit of God knows the mind of God. He knows what God is ready to do in my life. The Spirit of God then begins to open my understanding about God and His purposes and His ways." (pg. 104) -- This happens through reading the Scriptures. When the Spirit reveals truth to you, adjust yourself to God's revelation and obey. Also watch to see how God may use that revealed truth in your life during the day.

Chapter 13 - God Speaks Through Prayer

"The Holy Spirit reveals truth. Truth is not just some concept to be studied. Truth is a Person. Jesus did not say, "I will teach you the truth." He said, 'I am . . . the truth' (John 14:6). . . . [The Holy Spirit] is leading you into a relationship with a Person. He is your life! When God gives you eternal life, He gives you a Person. When you became a Christian, Jesus didn't give you some thing; He gave you Himself." (pg. 109)

"Prayer is two-way fellowship and communication with God. You speak to God and He speaks to you. It is not a one-way conversation. ... Prayer includes listening as well. In fact, what God says in prayer is far more important than what you say. Prayer is a relationship, not just a religious activity. Prayer is designed more to adjust you to God than to adjust God to you." (pg. 109)

"You have to decide whether you are going to do what you want and ask God to bless it, or go to work where He is working." (pg. 113)

Spiritual concentration -- "Our problem is that we pray and then never relate anything that happens to our praying. After you pray, the single greatest thing you need to do is turn on your spiritual concentration. When you pray in a direction, immediately anticipate the activity of God in answer to your prayer. I find this all the way through Scripture; when God's people prayed, He responded. Here's what happens if you pray and then forget about what you have prayed. Things start to happen during the day that are not normal for your day. You see them all as distractions and try to get rid of them. You fail to connect them with what you have just prayed." (pg. 113) Pray and immediately watch for God to work. Prepare to make adjustments to what God brings into my life.

Silences of God -- "Sometimes God is silent as He prepares to bring you into a deeper understanding of Himself. Whenever a silence comes, continue doing the last thing God told you and watch and wait for a fresh encounter with Him." (pg. 115)

Chapter 14 - God Speaks Through Circumstances

The author uses this summary of how to respond when we face difficult or confusing circumstances:

  • Settle in your own mind that God has forever demonstrated His absolute love for you on the cross. That love will never change.
  • Do not try to understand what God is like from the middle of your circumstances.
  • Go to God and ask Him to help you see His perspective on your situation.
  • Wait on the Holy Spirit. He may take the Word of God and help you understand your circumstances.
  • Adjust your life to God and what you see Him doing in your circumstances.
  • Do all He tells you to do.
  • Experience God working in and through you to accomplish His purposes.
"Remember God is sovereign. You may face a situation like Job experienced where God does not tell you what He is doing. In those instances acknowledge God's love and sovereignty and depend on His sustaining grace to see you through the situation." (pg. 121)

"The most difficult part of your relationship to God is being God-centered. If you were to record a whole day in your life you might find that your prayers, your attitudes, your thoughts, everything about that day is radically self-centered. You may not be seeing things from God's perspective. You may try to explain to God what your perspective is. When He becomes the Lord of your life, He alone has the right to be:

  • the Focus in your life
  • the Initiator of your life
  • the Director of your life.

That is what is means for Him to be Lord." (pg. 122)

Remember that Truth is a Person! "You never know the truth of any situation until you have heard from Jesus." (pg. 123)

Chapter 15 - God Speaks Through the Church

We are interdependent on fellow believers just as the head, ears and feet are interdependent on each other in the physical body. "All the members of the body belong to each other, and they need each other. You can and should depend on God to speak through other believers and the church to help you know what assignment you are to carry out in the ministry of the kingdom." (pg. 132)

By sharing what God is doing in our lives, we may help others encounter God in meaningful ways. I can vouch for that. God often speaks to me through Christian authors, publications and friends. That has happened to me a couple times this week while reading things others have written. One was from my friend, Leslie, about moving forward with faith and the other was from a Charles Stanley magazine where an author wrote about sins of omission. He challenged us to "chase the lion," and what a needed lesson that was to me and Andrew both this week! (We liked this guy's challenge so much, we ordered the book. :-) )

Interesting thing from this chapter: "One of the problems evangelical churches face today is that they have so emphasized the doctrine of the priesthood of believers they have lost their sense of corporate identity. . . . Christians think they stand alone before God and that they are not accountable to anyone else, including the church." (pg. 129) Hmmmm.

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