Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Being Led by the Spirit

As we begin DAY FOUR of our Daniel Fast, I am excited about what God is speaking and doing among us. Our revival service last night was special. As I just soaked in the presence of God, I began to hear the whisper of the Lord that comes from drawing near to Him. I will be sharing in our Sunday morning services some of the things that the Lord spoke into my heart. My Daniel Fast journal is full of things that I feel the Lord speaking to me. I hope that you are using your journal; it is so refreshing to go back and look at what the Lord spoke to you.

Those of you that are going through the fast with us, know that each day we have a theme. Yesterday's theme was: I believe God for greater strength! According to Nehemiah 8:10, the joy of the Lord is our strength, so you and I need more joy in our lives…the joy that can only come from an unbroken relationship with Jesus. This unbroken fellowship is found through DAILY: spending time in God's Word (meditating on it, speaking it out loud, and journaling what God is speaking to you), prayer, praise, worship and Thanksgiving just to name a few things. As we do this, we are placing ourselves in a position to HEAR from the Holy Spirit. We can live by the nudge, or influence of the Spirit. Listen to what God's Word says about this type of living.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

When your journey of faith begins, you may not have all the answers you would like to have before you take your first steps of faith.

Romans 8:14 says, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." The word "led" is the Greek word ago, which describes the act of leading about an animal, such as a cow or a goat, at the end of a rope. The owner would wrap a rope around the animal's neck and then "tug" and "pull" until the animal started to follow him. When the animal decided to cooperate and follow that gentle tug, it could then be gently "led" to where its owner wanted it to go.

Today I want to encourage you to pay careful attention to the "tugging", "pulling" and "nudge" of the Holy Spirit in your heart. He is a Gentleman and does not force you to obey Him. He prompts you, tugs on your heart, and pulls on your spirit to get your attention. Sometimes His "tugs" may be so gentle that you almost miss them. But if you'll develop your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, He will gently "lead" you exactly where He wants you to go with your life. I see this happening with me during this fast. I am more sensitive to his tug, pull, nudge…He is literally cleaning out of my Spirit some things that I had become CARELESS with. I was talking with someone yesterday that told me that God was doing the same thing for him. This particular person was sending a text message to someone, and the text wasn't completely truthful, and just as he was about to send it, the Holy Spirit "tugged" at his heart that he needed to change the text to truth and not a lie. For you see, anything short of the truth is a lie. The Holy Spirit is working in and through us to bring about CHANGE and HOLINESS. That is why many are battling in the flesh with this fast right now. Satan is trying everything that he can to hinder, or stop you from completely this journey. Don't allow him to do that. Fight through the battle of your flesh; listen to the "pull" of the Holy Spirit. Be rejuvenated today KNOWING that you are infuriating the devil, and that is why he has "upped the ante" in fighting against you. You are storming the gates of hell with the new discipline in your life, and he can't stand it.

For those that are reading this blog that are not participating in the Daniel Fast, it is important for you to be led by the Spirit as well. When the Spirit leads us, we don't always understand where and why He is leading us a certain way. That is where we TRUST the relationship that we have with God. I love the verse in 2 Corinthians 13:14…

2 Corinthians 13:14 (AMP) The grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the presence and fellowship (the communion and sharing together, and participation) in the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen (so be it).

What a verse! Thank God for the unmerited FAVOR of Jesus Christ that we call GRACE. I am also thankful for the unconditional LOVE of God the Father. But my friends, we need to be just as thankful for the PRESENCE and FELLOWSHIP with the Holy Spirit. He wants to commune, share and participate in our lives. But we have to allow Him to, how? By inviting Him, TODAY, to lead us, and then submit ourselves to Him as He leads us.

As we do this, we don't demand that the Holy Spirit tell us the whole story first! Trust Him! Remember that Jesus called Him the "Spirit of Truth" (John 16:13) to help you understand that the Holy Spirit and His leading can be trusted! He is the "Spirit of Truth," so if He is leading you to do something, you can know He has a good reason for it. He sees and knows what you cannot see. If you will follow Him, the Holy Spirit will take you exactly where you need to go and help you reach your maximum potential in life.

Luke4:1-2 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, (2) Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

Did you notice that? Jesus was FULL of the Holy Ghost and was LED by the Spirit to where? "Into the wilderness". This word refers to a solitary, lonely, isolated, uninhabited place. He was there for 40 days during which he FASTED and prayed. Notice something…DURING the days of His fasting…He was TEMPTED of the devil. Jesus, Himself, was tempted by the devil during his time of fasting. He has been where you are right now. He has faced the temptation to just forget about this fast. In fact, he was hungry. Can you relate today? I am certain that He faced the feeling of isolation and loneliness. I love the fact that satan did everything he could to make Jesus fall and quit. But Jesus PRESSED ON! What an example that He is for us today. After the fast, He was tempted specifically in three different areas. The devil was tempting Jesus to put His FLESH above His Spirit man, and to do what was best for His FLESH. But each time, with each temptation, He did what you and I need to do…He spoke God's Word TO the devil. And the devil HAD to leave Him. Now…I LOVE THIS. What the devil thought would DESTROY Jesus, actually did the complete OPPOSITE. Remember that Luke 4:1 says that Jesus being FULL of the Holy Ghost was led by the Spirit into a time of testing. When you first look at that, it doesn't make sense does it? But you have to look at the REST OF THE STORY. Look at what Luke 4:14 says happened to Jesus during the FAST, the TEMPATION and the WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE...

Luke 4:13-14 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. (14) And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit
into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

That literally makes me want to SHOUT this morning. Jesus went into the fast FULL of the Holy Ghost. He then fasted, was led BY THE SPIRIT into a lonely place, was tempted, spoke the Word OUTLOUD to the devil, the devil then left Jesus for a season…then Jesus came out of the fast, temptation and wilderness IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT. The word power there is the greek word dunamis which is where we get our word dynamite! Jesus was given dynamite power to explode truth (the Word of God) into every obstacle that the enemy brought into His path! Praise the Lord!

My friends, that is where we are today. We are in the midst of 21-day fast. During this fast the Spirit will lead us to some solitary, lonely places where we will face the temptation to put our self, our FLESH above what God has for our lives. Keep pressing on, because when you make it through this season of fasting, temptation and wilderness experience, YOU WILL RETURN FROM THIS SEASON…IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT!! Isn't that awesome! I am encouraged today as God's Spirit speaks these Words into my heart!

Let's once again, make up our minds to be led by the Spirit, and then trust Him to do His work in our lives!

As you look at your own life today, I urge you to make the decision to let the Spirit be your Leader in every area of your life. Let Him take you by the heart and give you a little "tug" and "pull" in the right direction. Then say, "Lord, I sense that You are tugging on my heart, and I'm ready to let You lead me where You want me to go."

You may not see the full picture from the onset of your journey. But part of the excitement is letting God be in control! Watching where He leads and seeing what He does through you will later give you cause for great rejoicing. You'll be so thankful that you allowed Him to be the undisputed Leader in your life!

I love you guys, and pray that you have a Word-filled day today! Blessings and PRESS ON in Jesus name!

Pastor Rusty

Today's "THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR" reading: March 5, 2008 (Wednesday) 2 Samuel 5:1 – 2 Samuel 7:29

This week's Memory verse to "hide in our heart": Psalm 115:14-16

Psalm 115:14-16 May the Lord give you increase more and more, you and your children. (15) May you be blessed of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth! (16) The heavens are the Lord's heavens, but the earth has He given to the children of men.



8 comments:

Laurie Adams said...

I was studying my Bible Study Lesson last night and this very same point came to my heart about SOLITUDE. I read in Luke 5:15-16 where it says that the people came to hear Jesus and be healed of their sickness but that Jesus often times WITHDREW Himself to lonely places and PRAYED. Wow! That's the solitude you were talking about, but yet, I think If Jesus who is the Son of God recognized the need for solitude and retreat, then why do we (I)suppose that this is an option for us? If I want to be more like Jesus I have to find that place of solitude OFTEN as it says in Luke. Thanks for the reminder today.

Beth said...

Pastor Rusty,
(entry from 2/19)
Thank you for the entries you make every day. They are always good and always speak to me. You know I don't always post a comment, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you about the past couple of days. I didn't feel comfortable posted on the blog because I feel like I'm sharing a big part of my heart and don't want to come across the wrong way. After reading this, if you think it will minister to anyone please feel free to edit it because I don't want to be selfish with my thoughts.
After the last few days that we have talked about the Daniel Fast I really feel like this has been a confirmation for me. Sometime last week I told you that I wanted to start eating healthier and my first goal was to eat 3 veggies and 2 fruits a day. The next day you told me that we (the church) were starting the Daniel Fast in March. WOW!!! I definitely need God to just come right out and say that this was for me. Then Sunday you talked about how we as a nation let our stomach rule us. For so long I've wanted to change this but I always make excuses and just didn't try. One example is I have to eat meat because I don't like beans and I have to have protein. I've really grown tired of eating JUNK. I have known that my eating habits haven't been pleasing to God because I wasn't treating my body as his temple and I want to change that. I've noticed the last couple of days I 'm really not craving meat and sweets. Ok you know that has to be God already making changes because I LOVE chocolate. Then I started reading the Daniel diet book that you got. After reading about the part about meat. I really want to pay more attention to the ingredients. The author mentioned that God told the Israelites not to eat meat that still has blood (I don't remember the exact wording) or animals that have eaten dead animals. The author noted that animal processors today feed cattle a mixture of grain that has dead animals and sawdust. YUCK! Who wants to eat that! I realized that I don't even know what I'm putting in my mouth. I truly want to do better. Jeremy always tells me that he eats to survive not survive to eat. That's what I want.
Another thing I thought about was that I want to be sanctified, set apart. I try to make sure that I act the way God wants me to and dress the He wants. I realized today that my eating needs to be the same way. I don't want to eat the way the world does.
I know that I will have temptations and struggles, but if I didn't then I wouldn't be doing what God wants. I know I may be really cranking but that will be ok because it will be short-term. I can't wait to see what God does through this church after we get through 21 days.
Ok, now to today's post.
Another great message today! I've noticed that I hear the Holy Spirit more and more each today. The other day I was talking to Jeremy about someone in our lives that has been a real thorn. We're saying nice things about him and honestly we didn't care that. All of sudden, I felt the Holy Sprirt nudge me. I stopped dead in my tracks and told Jeremy that if don't stop this, how is God going to touch our lives. Then I said you know what, I'm going to pray for this person that God will soften his heart and work out the situation. God has already taken care of one situation. It's not major. We were needing papers on a dog that Jeremy got and thought they were in a safe and just didn't know if we would get them. Last night, they were found in a closet. Wow! I know some people would say whatever, but I truly believe that God worked it out for us. I think it's so awesome how God works.
Again, Pastor Rusty thank you so much for sharing what God tells you!

PASTOR ERIC said...

I KNOW GOD IS DOING A GREAT THING IN PEOPLES LIVES THROUGH THIS FAST! I HAVE FELT HIS SPIRT NUDGE ME ON SEVERAL OCCASION SINCE WE STARTED JUST A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO. I HAVE BEGAN TO REALIZE THAT IN THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS, HOW I HAVE GROWN SO USE TO GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS OF LIFE, FROM EATING HABITS TOO SPIRTUAL ASPECT OF MY LIFE, THAT I HAVEN'T BEEN AS DISCIPLINE IN MANY AREAS OF MY LIFE THAT I ONCE WAS OR SHOULD BE. BUT HOWEVER THATS WHAT MAKE IT SO GREAT THAT GOD LOVES US SO MUCH THAT EVEN WHEN WE ARE NOT FOCUS ON HIM, HE STILL NUDGES US BACK TO HIM! MAN, WHAT A GREAT GOD THAT WE SERVE!

Pastor Rusty said...

Laurie,

Thanks for your comment. It is very important for us to remember that ISOLATION and SOLITUDE is very important in our relationship with God. Many times during these times of isolation is where we are tempted the greatest with thoughts like, "No one cares about me" or "I'm the only one that has gone through this" but we must remember that Jesus understands because He has been there done that. Thanks again! rlb

Pastor Rusty said...

Beth,

It is so awesome to see what God is doing in you and Jeremy's life. You guys are such good examples of a young couple who is truly striving to follow God wholeheartedly. I appreciate you opening yourself up and sharing some of your thoughts on your Fast journey! Blessings! RLB

Pastor Rusty said...

Pastor Eric,

Thanks for sharing about the battle for DISCIPLINE that we all fight! God is so good!! I appreciate your comment! RLB

Anonymous said...

I agree with Pator Eric. I had grown so used to satisfying myself that I was distracted from those light nudges from the Holy Spirit. That has been the most easy to realize blessing of the fast is that I am sensing those gentle or light nudges from the Spirit of God. In this "wilderness" place I am realizing again how much He is with us and how much we need to open to Him as the enemy comes against us.

PB

Pastor Rusty said...

PB,
thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. It is so easy to begin to ignore or resist the gentle nudges of the Spirit. I am so thankful that our fast is helping us to get re-focused.
RLB