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Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 56 – Set Free in Christ

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 56

Set Free in Christ

Lord, what does it mean to be set free in Christ? Sometimes, I still don’t feel free from the power of sin. I want to be free to become all that You created me to be. Lord, how can I claim Your freedom and remain free?

A Message from God’s Heart to Yours:

Child of Mine, when you accepted Christ as your Savior, you became free from the penalty of your sin. Jesus Christ died in your place and paid the wages of your sin (Romans 6:23). You are a new creation in Christ Jesus; the old is gone, the new is here (2 Corinthians 5:17). He has released you from a life of sin. You may now live a life of righteousness through faith in Christ (Philippians 3:9). Christ has made you righteous in My eyes, so that we now may enjoy an intimate relationship. You have the freedom to approach My throne of grace with boldness (Hebrews 4:16).

You were crucified with Christ, so you no longer live, but Christ lives in you. Live by faith in Jesus, who loved you and gave Himself for you (Galatians 2:20). Your old self was crucified with Him, so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with and you would no longer be a slave to sin—you were set free from it (Romans 6:6). You are dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11). Sin is no longer your master because you are not under the law, but under My grace (Romans 6:14).

You are free from the power of sin. It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1). It is up to you to claim this freedom and walk in the victory over sin that the death of Jesus Christ provided for you. You have the authority of Jesus’ name; you have the power of His Spirit within you. You can overcome the desires of the flesh, by the power and authority I have given you. I will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but I will provide a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13).

I sent My Son to proclaim good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners (Isaiah 61:1-2). He is the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6). My divine truth has exposed the lies of Satan. The light of My salvation has released you from the bondage of Satan’s lies. Do not believe the lies of the enemy, when you know the truth of God. Walk in the freedom of the truth. Do not make vows and agreements with the devil, when Christ has freed you from the prison of the evil one. Now you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:32, 36). Claim the freedom of the truth and walk in it victoriously.

You are free to become what I created you to be. Allow Jesus to live His life in and through you. Be obedient to whatever He asks you to do. He will demonstrate His love and power through you. Do not be distracted by the world, but focus your attention on Christ. Trust Him to live out His perfect will and plan for you, through you. This happens only when you are walking in close relationship with Him through reading the Bible, praying, and listening to His voice. The most important thing you can do is to put Him first, meet with Him daily, talk to Him and listen to His voice.

I will speak to you in your thoughts and from My Word. The Bible will come alive for you when you tune in to the voice of the Holy Spirit within you. He will remind you of what I say, as well as, reveal and interpret Scripture for you, so you are able to understand My wisdom, My promises, and My will for your life. When you hear and recognize My voice, you experience the life of abundance that Christ came to give you. I want the best for you. I am the best! Be free in Me.

Prayer:

Jesus, my Lord, thank You for dying for me, so that I might live. I submit myself to You and ask that You will live out Your will and plan for me, through me. Allow me to live a life of abundance by clearly hearing Your voice and obeying it. Lord, I am always blessed with so much joy whenever I am obedient to Your requests. Give me the desire to obey Your every command, and connect with You daily in two-way conversation. Lord, speak to me now as we meet to maintain a deeper, more intimate relationship. In Your precious name, I pray. Amen.

Two-way Conversation with God: 

  • Heavenly Father, will you expose one area of my life that I remain in the bondage of sin? Please tell me exactly what I need to be free from in this area. (Record every word you hear in your thoughts. Spend some time now confessing your sin and submitting yourself to God.)

 

  • Jesus, my Savior, please expose one of the enemy’s lies that I have believed or bought in to, and then, set me free with Your truth. (Write down whatever you hear Him say, and claim the freedom He gives you.)

 

  • Holy Spirit, please show me Your plan for me to live in freedom from the sin and bondage I just confessed. Please remind me of the truth in God’s Word and remind me to use it when the enemy attacks me in this area. (Write all the thoughts He gives you on this and record any words or verses from Scripture that come to mind.)

Review God’s thoughts and impressions you’ve sensed and written above. What Scripture comes to mind as you review your notes? Use the concordance of your Bible to look up an impression from God’s Word. Record the verse or passage here. Write all insights and encouragement the Holy Spirit illumines for you as you read God’s Word right now.

Prayer:

Sovereign Lord, Your plans and timing are perfect. I submit my will to Yours, and ask that You would live Your life in and through me. Help me become the creation You had in mind when You formed me in the womb. Before you knew me, You set me apart (Jeremiah 1:5). I am grateful that You purchased my freedom from sin and continue to release me from the bondage of sin and the prison of lies I have believed over the years. Lord, I give You access to all areas of my heart and ask that You transform my life so that I might become the creation You called me to be. Thank You for the abundant blessing I receive by hearing Your voice and living in relationship with You. I am so grateful for everything You do for me. I am blessed to be dead to sin and alive to God in Christ (Romans 6:11). In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Supporting Scripture:

Psalm 146:7, He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free.

Isaiah 61:1-3, 1The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, 2to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”

Luke 4:18-19, 18”The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

John 8:31-36, 31To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 14:6, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Romans 6:6-14, 6For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—7because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. 10The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. 11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. 14For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Romans 6:17-18, 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

Romans 6:22-23, 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness , and the result is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:1-2, 1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

1 Corinthians 10:13, No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18, 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 5:1, It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Ephesians 2:10, For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Philippians 3:7-9, 7But whatever were gains to me I know consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

Colossians 1:19-22, 19For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. 21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation.

Hebrews 4:16, Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Revelation 1:5-6, 5and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, 6and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father—to Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

Copyright © Sindy Nagel. All Rights Reserved

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 52 – Renew Your Mind

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 52

 Renew Your Mind

Father in heaven, You have made me a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10). I now submit my mind to Your spirit for complete renewal. Lord, give my mind a makeover, so that I may think and act according to Your will and ways. Lord, let me not focus on the way the world thinks and reasons, but only as You would have me think and reason. Show me what I must do to renew my mind.

A Message from God’s Heart to Yours:

Dear sweet child of Mine—that’s what I want you to hear today—you are My child. Your identity in Christ makes you My child—it completes you. You are uniquely you because I created you in My image and yet different than every other person on earth. Your identity as My child gives you access to all of Me and all that I have. You lack nothing.

You were bought a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), the death of My Son, Jesus Christ. Your redemption was purchased by the blood of Jesus, nailed to a tree, for the sin of all humanity. Your identity in Me became secure when you invited Jesus in to your heart, confessing Him as your Savior and Lord. I placed My Holy Spirit in your heart to seal you as My child, to speak to you on My behalf, to guide you, comfort you, and give you My wisdom. He reminds you of Scripture and interprets the Word of God for you.

You have been given the mind of Christ. One way to renew your mind is to meditate on My Word. Read it, ponder it, digest it, and live it out. You may speak to Me about My Word any time.  My Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). My Spirit will illumine it for you and make it come alive with meaning for every situation you face. Know My wisdom and My will for your life when you spend time in My Word. Discover My character and My love. Hear My instructions and My commands. Allow it to permeate your mind and revitalize your thoughts. Take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Set your mind on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:5-6). You are no longer of this world. You are a stranger to it. Do not live, think and act as the world does. The world causes you to focus on yourself—put yourself first, take care of yourself, please yourself, do whatever makes you happy. This kind of thinking is opposite of kingdom thinking. I say, put others ahead of yourself. Live as Christ who did not come to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). Humble yourself and serve others in love.  

Do not take care of yourself and live independently from Me, but depend on Me for everything. I desire an intimate relationship with you which means that you put Me first, seeking Me and My will before you run ahead making your own decisions and your own plans. I desire only the best for your life. Your plans may be good, but are they My best for you? Begin a new practice of seeking Me first in all you do. Refresh your method of operation. Seek Me first. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

Allow the Spirit of truth to transform your spiritual heart. You may have believed some words that were not true about yourself. You may have bought into the lies of the enemy; an untrue identity. Let the Spirit expose the lies and replace them with the truth—you are a child of God, you are loved, you are radiant, you are smart, and you are talented. Renew your thoughts with the truth by tuning in to the voice of My Spirit within you. Let Me renew your identity in Christ. I will refresh your mind and restore your soul. Remain in Me and be rejuvenated daily.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit who renews my mind, refreshes my spirit and restores my soul. You are an awesome Daddy, and I am so blessed to be called Your child. I love you, and I desire to walk with you and talk with you daily. Please share Your heart with me now regarding my personal circumstances. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Two-way Conversation with God: 

  • Father God, You have adopted me as Your very own. Please renew my thinking along those lines. Tell me more about my personal and individual identity in Christ. (Record every word you hear.)

 

  • Jesus, my Savior, You have made me a new creation with the mind of Christ. Please renew my mind and correct my thinking. How do you see me? (Write down all the thoughts He gives you.)

 

  • Holy Spirit, create in me a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Teach me how to re-connect with You to refresh my thinking and my actions according to God’s will. (Journal all the impressions and thoughts He gives you.)

Review God’s thoughts and impressions you’ve sensed and written above. What Scripture comes to mind as you review your notes? Use the concordance of your Bible to look up an impression from God’s Word. Record the verse or passage here. Write all insights and encouragement the Holy Spirit illumines for you as you read God’s Word right now.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, I am grateful for Your Word, Your Spirit, and Your love. Give me the desire to meditate on Your Word, to connect with Your Spirit, and to understand the depth of Your love for me. Renew my mind, heart, and strength as I pursue a more intimate relationship with You. Thank You for speaking to me daily and refreshing me with Your words of loving kindness and encouragement. Continue to show me more aspects of Your character and Your heart. In the name of Jesus, my Lord, I pray. Amen.

Supporting Scripture:

Psalm 51:10-12, 10Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing sprit to sustain me.”

Jeremiah 29:11-14, 11“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. 14I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

Matthew 20:26-28, 26“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Romans 8:5-6, 5Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 12:2, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 19Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18, 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes form the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 4:16, Therefore we do not lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5, 3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Hebrews 4:12-13, 12For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

Titus 3:5-7, 5He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit 6whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

1 John 5:6, This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

2 John :2-3, 2because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever: 3Grace, mercy, and pace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

3 John 3:4, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Copyright © Sindy Nagel. All Rights Reserved

 

 

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 8 — Forgive Others as I have Forgiven You

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 8 

Forgive Others as I have Forgiven You

Dear Lord Jesus, I know You have been so gracious to forgive me, but now you want me to forgive others, even the ones who hurt me so badly? Lord, I cannot do this in my own strength. Please speak to me about this.

 A Message from God’s Heart to Yours:

You are my child, one of My chosen people. I have set you apart by cleansing you and making you holy. When you confessed Me as your Savior, I forgave you of all your sins. You became a new creation and died to your former ways (2 Corinthians 5:17). You were crucified with Me (Galatians 2:20), and now you also live with Me as I live in you. Put to death all of your old earthly ways like: anger, rage, jealousy, malice, bad language, and lies (Colossians 3:8). Put on your new self, which is being renewed in the image of God your Creator. Therefore, now be kind, compassionate, humble, gentle, and patient (Colossians 3:12). Follow My example and live as I lived on earth.

 Live in righteousness because you belong to Me. Be tolerant of each other, and forgive each other in all things—even the ones who have hurt you the most. Forgive as you have been forgiven. Your Father in heaven does not hold anything against you. When you confess your sin, God forgives you without question. He keeps no record of your wrongs (Hebrews 8:12). You must do the same. When you forgive someone, forget their misdeeds and shortcomings. Remember them no more. God, in His ultimate grace and mercy, has provided the way to forgiveness. Seek God in order to forgive as you have been forgiven. The Holy Spirit will empower you to exercise the same love, grace, and forgiveness toward others that you have experienced yourself.  Not by power or might, but by My Spirit. 

 The Bible is clear: If you forgive others of their sins, God will forgive you of yours; but if you do not forgive others of their sins, God will not forgive yours (Matthew 6:12-15). Don’t let forgiveness stand in the way of your relationship and communication with God. Knock down the roadblock of an unforgiving spirit and clear the path to connection with the Lord.

 Above all things practice My love. This is the most desirable quality you have to give. Love will forgive a multitude of sins. Love binds all these things together in harmony. Do not love as the world does. Practice My love. Love does not fail (See 1 Corinthians 10:1-8). It is the most excellent way. If you have all these good features, and do not display My love, you are just making a loud noise. You have gained nothing; but when you put on My love to love another person, they will experience God Himself through His image bearer—you. Love as you have been loved. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Prayer:

 Lord, thank You for loving me with the most excellent kind of love and grace. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank you that you do not keep a record of my sins, flaws, shortcomings and misbehavior. Lord, I am so blessed to be Your child. Thank You for adopting me into Your kingdom and sealing my eternity You by Your Holy Spirit. Lord, help me to forgive others as I have been forgiven. Fill me to overflowing with the kind of love and grace I need to accomplish this task. I look forward to hearing more from You right now as we spend some time together alone. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Two-way Conversation with God:

  •  Hello, Lord, it’s me. What do you want me to know about Your forgiveness? (Write what you hear.)

 

  • Jesus, I owe my life to You. I submit my heart to You and ask that You will share Your heart with me right now. What do you want me to know about You? (Record all words and impressions now.)

 

  • Holy Spirit, what is Your role in forgiveness? How do I tap into this power You offer? (Note His answer to your question.)

  

Review the Holy Spirit’s thoughts and impressions you’ve sensed and written above. What Scripture comes to mind as you review your notes? Use the concordance of your Bible to look up an impression from God’s Word. Record the verse or passage here. Write all insights and encouragement the Holy Spirit illumines for you as you read God’s Word right now.

 

Prayer:

Dear Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thank You all for Your words and thoughts You gave me as we spoke just now. It means so much to me that I may simply confess my sins and know that I am forgiven and restored to You. Thank You for that privilege as Your child. Thank You for the power You give me to accomplish all that You require of me. I am nothing without You. Thank You for Your love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Thank You for Your protection and power. I am so blessed to be called Your beloved. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Supporting Scripture:

Matthew 6:12-15, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

 Luke 6:37-38, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

1 Corinthians 10:1-8, If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Ephesians 4:32, Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Colossians 3:8-10, But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, range, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off our old self with it practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Colossians 3:12-14, Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Hebrews 8:12, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Copyright © Sindy Nagel. All Rights Reserved

Roadblock #4 – Worry – The Enemy of Trust

Worry does not add anything to our lives; in fact, it sucks the life right out of us. Worry equals not trusting fully in God. When we don’t trust God for everything, we distance ourselves from Him. Not relying completely on God to care for us, protect us, and provide for us, we detach ourselves from Him and His enormous power. God is omniscient: He knows our every need. God is omnipotent: He is the almighty, all-powerful, invincible Lord. God is omnipresent: He never leaves us; He’s always with us. God is the All-Sufficient One: He is enough. God is trustworthy: He will do what He promises.

God does not ask us to have blind faith and complete trust in a human being. He does ask us to put our trust and confidence in Him alone. We can rest in the assurance that He will take care of us. He is the Most High God. He is dependable, reliable, and faithful.

Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? …Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25, 27). Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” God wants us to be completely dependent on Him for everything. Not depending on God and trusting in Him completely may put distance between Him and you.

God loves children and speaks to them. Perhaps He does so because children are more dependent. Are you approaching God as a child? Are you dependent on Him? Remember the story of the boy Samuel? After God had spoken to him, Samuel didn’t question God; he listened and obeyed. (See 1 Samuel 3 for the whole story.) God spoke to the boy because he practiced humility and willingly served the Lord. He did not have preconceived ideas about how God would talk to him. Samuel did not practice the freedom of self-sufficiency. He enthusiastically listened to God however God chose to speak to him, and then he obeyed.

This story offers encouragement. God speaks to people of all ages and all spiritual maturity levels. He doesn’t stop calling you just because you don’t recognize Him. He keeps pursuing you until you learn the sound of His voice. He will speak to you when you are still and ready to listen.

And yet, hearing Him is not enough. God looks for people who are dependent on Him, ready to listen to and obey Him. When we practice our independence and do what we please, God may choose not to speak to us. Depending on God and obeying His lead will keep the doors of communication open between you and the Lord.

To hear God’s voice, you must become like a child: humble, with a simple faith and reverence for the Lord. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” In Mark 10:15, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Become like a child and surrender to the work and power of the Holy Spirit within you. Trust God, and depend on Him for everything. Walk in submission to God by being sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit and acting in obedience to His instruction.

Trusting in the Lord, rather than in ourselves and others, proves to be the most stress-free way to live. Giving our cares over to God, Who controls all things, prevents us from being stifled in our spiritual growth by depending on our own limited understanding. Put your trust in God today, and acknowledge His supreme influence, power, and authority in your life. Permit yourself to relinquish all control and worry to the One who rules and reigns over everything on earth and in heaven. Purchase your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak today and trade in the following lies for the truth in God’s Word.

#1: God won’t provide for all my needs.

#2:  I can’t trust God because He let me down in the past.

#3: I need to take care of things myself because God isn’t.

 

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Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

 

Roadblock #3 – Pride – The Enemy of Humility

Independence, control, and comparison. Those words don’t sound prideful when spoken individually. However, when we rely on ourselves for everything and don’t depend on God for anything, He could view this independent spirit as arrogance or overconfidence. Likewise, it often feels good to be in complete control of ourselves, our lives, an event, a situation, another person, or his actions. The haughty monster of pride rears its ugly head in the condescending creature of control. And when we compare ourselves to others and always come out on top, a conceited nature triumphs over humility in our souls. Be careful—this sounds a bit like sitting in the judgment seat, and that’s not a position you want to claim for yourself. Judgment is reserved for Almighty God alone.

Pride is mentioned in Proverbs 6:16-19 as one of the seven things detestable to God. Pride manifests itself in these forms: arrogance, conceit, self-importance, egotism, vanity, haughty eyes, condescension, scorn, disrespect, snootiness, loftiness, and contemptuousness. The Lord despises proud actions and attitudes. Here are a few of the many verses that describe how God feels about pride:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)

Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar. (Psalm 138:6)

If you are not hearing God’s voice, you may want to perform a pride inventory in your spirit. Do you practice humility and selflessness, or are you responsible for behaviors that are detestable to God? The verses above assure us that God will punish the proud of heart, and He doesn’t go near individuals who are full of pride. If you hold pride in your heart, confess it and ask God’s forgiveness. Get rid of all pride, arrogance, conceit, self-importance, haughtiness, disrespect, loftiness, and condescension before you seek the Lord to listen to His voice. Treat others as more important than yourself. Assume the position of the lowly, the meek, and the servant. Don’t take it to the extreme so that you resemble a doormat, but approaching the Lord with a contrite heart, in humility, opens the door to receiving God’s words of grace, encouragement, and wisdom.

Unfortunately, pride comes much too naturally to all of us, including me. Read about the fall of humankind in Genesis 3. From the very beginning of time, self-importance snuck into human desire. Satan tempted Eve with the idea that she could be all-knowing and wise, like God, if she ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. Deceived by the devil, Eve ate some and gave some to Adam. Pride initiated a sinful response when the evil one presented his temptation.

The need for independence and superiority continues to be the cause of some of our sin today. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” The truth of this verse rang loudly in the Garden of Eden. It still rings true thousands of years later.

Another example of haughtiness is found in Ezekiel 28, the prophecy against the king of Tyre. In verse 17, the Sovereign Lord says, “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.” God detested his arrogance. The king’s pride preceded his destruction.

In Proverbs 8:13, the wise Solomon says, “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Fear in this case is the same reverence for the Lord that we talked about in the previous blog. When you respect the Lord, you will detest all pride and arrogance, as He does. Yet arrogance sneaks into all areas of life. Recall that pride inventory we talked about? It may be necessary to make that assessment daily, even hourly.

If pride in any form resides in your life, don’t expect to be close to God and hear from Him regularly. Psalm 138:6 says, “Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar.” As another passage I’ve already quoted says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:6-8). God spends time with humble people who submit themselves to Him and make time for Him. God distances Himself from the self-righteous, prideful, judgmental person.

When the needle on the pride-o-meter registers anywhere on the gauge, take action immediately to dispose of all forms of pride. Humble yourself before the Lord. Submit yourself to Him and exalt Him, rather than yourself. Show the Lord how much you trust in Him for everything. Relinquish your control to the Most High. Place the desires of others ahead of your own. Do not judge any person or behavior. Assume the servant position in God’s kingdom.

Do you struggle with judging others or promoting yourself to a higher pedestal? What alerts you of your arrogance? I can tell you truly, when I do not practice the humility of a servant, I should not expect God will speak to me. No matter my standing or position in the world, I am but an unworthy sinner, forgiven and saved by God’s grace alone. I am no better than anyone else. If I do not treat others better than myself, God has no business with me, and therefore no reason to talk to me.

Anytime I have seated myself on the judgment throne with regard to another human being, God has given me an opportunity to experience the same affliction, position, or experience as the one I judged. Very soon I’ve gained a new appreciation and respect for the one I condemned because I have walked down a similar path. Becoming the object of my own pride rapidly and effectively cuts me down to size. When the roadblock of pride comes down, my reception of God’s voice dramatically improves.

The Bible provides many significant illustrations of humility. Jesus, God’s own Son, displayed the ultimate humility when He left His throne in heaven and came to earth to be the sacrificial Lamb and die for our sins. Another dramatic demonstration of Christ’s servanthood took place when He washed the feet of His disciples. We can imitate this kind of humility when we selflessly serve our own subordinates, or, better yet, those we judge. This foot washing can be accomplished literally or figuratively. Think of a way you might take an unassuming position with someone you lead, manage, or influence. Is there any type of metaphorical foot washing you could perform for him or her? Maybe picking up a towel and basin of water is what you really need.

Let’s examine some of the enemy’s deceit in our thoughts, which gives birth to overconfidence. You might believe you can take care of yourself; you know what’s best for you. Or, you might think you are in control of your own life. Is it possible that thinking you are better than someone else for any reason could be hampering your clear reception of God’s voice in your thoughts? Grab your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God’s Voice today, and begin identifying what stands in your way of hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, who makes your heart His home.

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Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

Roadblock #2 – Fear – The Enemy of Confidence

Apprehension about the unknown can keep us from understanding the mystery of God. But fear is not from God. Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” I had a fear of God, but not the right kind of fear. Before I got to know God better, apprehension shrouded my desire to speak in conversation with Him. I feared that everything that came out of God’s mouth would convict me. I dreaded His wrath, because I did not know the truth about His character.

God is loving, kind, compassionate, forgiving, faithful, trustworthy, and so much more. He loves us so much He wants to have an intimate relationship with each of us. I had to get to know God more intimately before the only fear I felt toward Him equaled awe and reverence. Psalm 147:11 says, “The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” God delights when we fear Him with a reverence that acknowledges we can put our trust in Him and depend on Him for everything.

Now that I know God better because of spending time in His Word and listening to His voice, I no longer fear Him with anxiety and apprehension. I can’t wait to speak with Him because He amazes me. I now fear God out of reverence and respect because He has made His loving character known to me through His Word and His voice. I can depend on Him to meet all my needs. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10).

            Read Acts 9. It’s the story of Saul, later renamed Paul. After the death and resurrection of Christ, Saul threatened to kill Jesus’ disciples and take His followers as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus, however, he saw a light from heaven flash around him. “He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’” (Acts 9:4) It was the voice of Jesus. Saul could have fallen from the fear and dread of what was about to happen, or from the awe and reverence of being in the presence of the Lord. As he met the Lord face to face, Saul may have feared his own identity as one who persecuted the Jesus who stood before him.

Is it possible your identity causes you anxiety in communicating with Jesus? If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are a child of God. No longer are you a slave to fear. Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” However, you may not feel connected to God. Maybe you’ve strayed from living a life that pleases God, and the shame you feel causes you to fear God’s wrath. Perhaps you have stopped attending church, reading the Bible, or praying regularly. As a result, you experience apprehension about how Jesus would relate to you if He spoke to you.

Many times, we claim our identity from external sources in our lives. My identity branded me early in life when I heard my mom repeatedly refer to me as “an accident.” Accidents are unwanted, unexpected events that we don’t plan for and that sometimes cause pain: physical, emotional, or spiritual. I knew my mom had not planned me; therefore, I believed I was unwanted and unloved. My conception and birth had caused my mother undue emotional pain and then emotionally scarred me for much of my life. The external label “accident” spawned an internal insecurity about my identity that stuck with me for more than thirty years.

Another fear that blocked my communication with God was the fear of intimacy. I feared He wouldn’t speak to me; therefore, I didn’t want to experience the pain of rejection. I wasn’t even sure He listened to me when I talked to Him. I hesitated to get emotionally close to God and become too dependent on Him because I feared He would let me down, as others had.

I knew I was a child of God, but I didn’t feel like His child. What if God also viewed me as an accident? What if He didn’t love me either? What if my sins were too big for God to forgive? God wouldn’t speak to me. I was nothing to Him. I was nobody special. Why would He talk to me? Do you ever experience conversations like this within yourself? Are you insecure about your relationship with Jesus? Are you unsure about your identity in Christ? I was. My uncertainties caused me to approach the throne of God with fear and trembling, not in confidence with awe and wonder.

The first time I sat down to listen for God’s voice, I needed reassurance from God that He wasn’t angry with me. I wanted to know how He felt about me. I longed to know who He saw when He looked at me. I craved His attention, positive or negative. I prepared myself for whatever He would say to me. I wanted to know who I was to God and that He had a plan for my life. Battling depression for the second time, I desperately needed a reason to go on.

My depression counseling sessions had turned into spiritual mentoring meetings. My counselor described how he listened to Jesus’s voice and encouraged me to try it. He instructed me to record my conversations with Jesus in a journal. During one session, we talked about how God has His own special name for each of His children. My counselor invited me to consider asking God, “What is your name for me?”

A name is more than a way to identify someone. It’s a birthright; it represents our heritage, our legacy, our inheritance. It becomes our own challenge to make our names good and live up to our full potential as God’s creation. This starts when we seek God for His name for us. We can’t live into our God-given identity and purpose until we understand what that is.

God’s chosen name for you may be different than the name your parents gave you. Many people throughout the Old and New Testaments received their names, name changes, or identity, directly from the mouth of God and Jesus: Abram (Abraham), Sarai (Sarah), Isaac, Jacob (Israel), John the Baptist, Jesus, Simon (Peter), and Saul (Paul), to cite a few.

Considering the possibility that God had a special name for me, I was excited to learn it.  It was the missing link to my identity, my sanity, and my confidence in Christ. One evening, I escaped the noise of my family and retired to my quiet bedroom. This marked the first time that I really tried to hear God speak. I wanted to capture whatever I heard from God that night, so I wrote all my thoughts in a notebook.

I asked God, “What do you think of me? Who am I to you? Do you have a name for me?” I listened intently but heard nothing. I kept asking the same questions but didn’t know what to expect or how the answer would come to me. Would I hear an audible voice? Again I inquired of God, “Who do you see when you look at me? What is your name for me?”

In one very distinct moment, I heard a name whispered in my thoughts. I wrote it down, but I quickly dismissed it, not being able to relate to it at all. I asked God again, “What is your name for me?” Again, the voice in my head repeated the name. Once more, I thought I’d heard it incorrectly. I couldn’t identify with the name. I didn’t understand its meaning. I had expected to hear a name like “beloved one,” similar to the name one of my friend’s had heard.

A third time, I requested God’s name for me. Yet again, God confirmed it in my thoughts, and this time the words took center stage in my head, displayed in all capital letters. Three times God clearly spoke the same name to me in my thoughts. I knew it must be the name He had given me—but I didn’t recognize the meaning behind it.

One way to confirm and comprehend what God says to us is to go to Scripture. Using the concordance in my Bible, I began a two-hour search for all the verses and meanings I could find about the name God had spoken to me. Seeing the name appear in more than twenty-five verses surprised me. As I read each verse and the surrounding passages, a feeling of peace and joy came over me. Emotion overwhelmed me. When I discovered the meaning of God’s name for me, it resonated with me. This name would most likely not mean the same thing to any other person, but it embodied everything I longed to be to God and everything I desired to hear from God at that moment.

That evening, God met me at the bottom of the pit of depression I occupied. He showered me with His loving kindness. He lifted me up out of the darkness and washed off the mud. I connected with Him in a way I never had before. I had a new understanding that God is alive. He’s a loving Father who cares about me and wants to have a relationship with me. I felt special, wanted, and loved by God. I felt important to God, a priority to Him. When I discovered how God felt about me, nothing else mattered. My fear dissipated and my confidence in the Lord replaced it. When I felt loved and wanted by the God of the universe, I had a new reason to live and a new excitement about what the future would hold for me. No longer did I fear spending time with God.

Shortly after I received God’s name for me and began spending more time alone with Him, my church went through a 40 Days of Purpose study from the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. From this study, God revealed and confirmed many things to me as He healed me and strengthened me.

God brought to light the reason He created me and His purpose for my life here on earth. He wants me to help set His captives free, like He set me free, by awakening hearts to Him. He wants me to help lead His people to the promised land, which is the abundant life in Christ, through a personal, intimate relationship with Him. He wants me to be a light to the Gentiles, people who do not know God yet. Really, these assignments represent activities He calls all of His children to carry out. It’s what Jesus did when He walked the earth. God’s Word promises, in John 14:12, we will do even greater things than Jesus did. Can you believe it?

If you have not yet heard the voice of God, I encourage you to listen. If you do not yet know God’s name for you, I pray you will ask Him. If you find yourself imprisoned by Satan’s lies about your identity, I invite you to seek God’s truth and let God Himself set you straight.

God is a gentleman. He pursues us, but He doesn’t crash in on us and take us over. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” Jesus continually pursues us. He is pursuing you now. He stands at the door to your heart and knocks, saying, “Here I am!” He patiently waits for you to listen, hear His voice, open the door, and let Him in to enjoy intimate relationship with the living God.

Open the door to Jesus. He will come in, sit with you, and eat with you. Are you hungry to hear God’s voice? Are you desperate enough to listen? He waits for your response. Will you open your door, and your ears, to what God has to say to you? He calls you by name. No need to fear God because of who you are or who you are not. You are His child, loved and redeemed by Him. Identify yourself with the name God so carefully chose for you before the world began. Your name is engraved on His palms (see Isaiah 49:16).

Some lies swirling around in our heads evolve from the idea that the only things God will say to you are: He will convict you of your sin, or God will ask you to do something you don’t want to do, or He’s full of only wrath and fury toward you because of your sin. Are these falsehoods feeding your fear of intimacy with God? Get your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak, and start identifying and eliminating any lies you may be unknowingly investing in.

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Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roadblock #1 – Doubt – The Enemy of Belief

DoubtInexperience and ignorance kept me in a bubble for the first two decades of my Christian walk. After I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and invited Him into my heart at the age of eighteen, I lived a good Christian life, doing all the right things. I began a Bible study in the book of John. I continued to attend my childhood church, where I was involved in a young adult group. I prayed and read my Bible regularly. I listened to Christian music and read inspirational books. I tried not to sin too often, but when I did, I asked God’s forgiveness as soon as I felt convicted.

Over the years, I heard other believers, like pastors, talk about hearing God’s voice, but I never considered that God would speak to me. Often, I heard Christ followers say that their faith was more of a relationship than a religion. I thought that praying to God and reading His Word meant I had a relationship with Him. However, I never left room in my prayers—conversations with God—for Him to speak His mind. I never even attempted to listen to His voice, because I didn’t believe He would speak to me. I occasionally sensed God speaking to me through Scripture but never even dreamed He would speak to me in my thoughts. Sound familiar? Can you relate to any part of this story?

Looking back, I see that I fit the description of the lukewarm Christian. I wasn’t cold toward God, but I wasn’t on fire for Him either. I enjoyed a “normal” life, which resembled the lives of many other Christians I knew. And after twenty years of this blissful monotony, I wondered if this was all there was to life. If so, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go on living.

While I was in counseling for clinical depression, my psychologist shared his recent boost in his walk with the Lord. He had learned how to listen to God’s voice. I could see the new passion and excitement he had for Jesus. It sparked my interest in knowing Jesus more intimately. My counselor encouraged me to spend time alone with God: to talk to God and then listen to Him, writing down what I heard Him say. Unfamiliar with this practice, I made many attempts over many weeks before I realized success. 7 Simple Steps to Hearing God’s Voice. The first book in the Hearing God’s Voice Series, walks you through my process of learning how to hear and recognize when God speaks.

I soon realized that the obstacle of doubt had prevented me from hearing God’s voice for all those years. My skepticism profoundly contributed to my deafness toward God’s voice. Actually, it kept me from attempting to listen to God at all. I lacked faith that God would speak to me; therefore, I heard nothing.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” We might add to that: It’s being certain of what we do not hear. To hear God’s voice, we must be certain we will hear it! Do a faith check. Examine your own heart and mind. Do you believe that God will speak to you? Do you understand that God speaks to you through His Holy Spirit, Who lives in you? You can believe it, because Jesus said it in John 16:13-15:

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is Mine and make it known to you.” (Emphasis mine)

Not understanding the role of the Holy Spirit kept me from leaving room in my prayer time for God to speak. I prayed, but I didn’t stop talking long enough to listen. I didn’t believe I would hear God speak to me because I didn’t understand that He spoke through the Holy Spirit. But when I started delving into Scripture and reading inspirational books about the Holy Spirit, my appreciation grew for all that He does for me. A more thorough knowledge of the third person in the Holy Trinity afforded me a better understanding, which led to an increased trust that enabled me to hear His verbal communications in my thoughts.

I could relate to Peter with my doubt. Remember the story of Jesus walking on the water from Matthew 14:22-33? Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side of the lake. Then He went into the hills alone to pray. When evening came and He returned from the hills, the boat was already in the middle of the lake. So He walked on the lake’s surface toward the boat. The disciples were terrified, thinking Jesus was a ghost. But Jesus said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” He said.

Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he began to sink in fear, crying out, “Lord, save me!”

Jesus reached out His hand and caught Peter. He asked Peter, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Notice that Peter did walk on the water. He trusted Jesus enough to get out of the boat, but when the wind came up, his faith took a downward turn. He lost his confidence in Christ and doubted His power to keep him on top of the water. Peter’s doubt put constraints on what Jesus would do for him. This lesson teaches us to be certain that God gives us the power to do what He calls us to do. Jesus would not have called Peter out of the boat to let him drown in the lake. Rather, He invited Peter to believe in His ability to empower him to do the impossible.

Similarly, when I doubted that God would speak to me, I put constraints on what God would do for me. My doubt put up a roadblock between God and me. Uncertainty erected an obstruction in my two-way communication with the Lord. Notice I didn’t say that my doubt limited what God could do. More precisely, my hesitation hindered my own ability to hear my heavenly Father. It wasn’t until I entertained the possibility that God would speak to me that the ears of my heart were opened to hear His voice.

Also observe that Jesus reached out His hand to His friend when Peter’s doubt sprang up. Jesus does not let us perish in our lack of faith and trust. He continues to pursue us and use our trials to 1) make us more dependent on Him, 2) bring us closer to Him, 3) increase our trust in His power, and 4) mature us in our faith. He holds our hand until our trust in His power catches up.

Hebrews 3:7-12 offers a warning against unbelief:

So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried Me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known My ways.’ So I declared on oath in My anger, ‘They shall never enter My rest.’”

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.

As it did with Peter, doubt causes us to lose our footing as believers and sink in our lack of faith in Jesus. It makes us dependent on ourselves, not trusting in the power of God in us. We must remember that we have the Spirit of the living, Almighty God dwelling in us. He gives us the faith to believe and empowers us to do all that He prepares and plans for us to do. Romans 8:11 says, “And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, Who lives in you.” We have the same strength, ability, and authority residing in us that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Pretty amazing, right? All we have to do is recognize that fact, own it, and call on that power of God in us. Praise the Lord that He sent a member of the Holy Trinity to enable us to accomplish all that He has prepared in advance for us to achieve!

We must ask ourselves, what causes the doubt in the first place? One answer to that question is: Satan speaks to our hearts with lies and stirs our spirits to question God’s power and our own abilities.

Doubt is the enemy of belief in the truth, as James 1:5-8 says:

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think He will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

When we doubt God’s promises, power, and abilities, we give a whole lot of undeserved power to the devil, who sows the seed of skepticism in our minds. In each chapter of the 7 Roadblocks book,  I examine three lies that Satan instills in our minds with regard to each encumbrance. Of course, these lies are not the only falsehoods he implants. They represent a sampling to get you thinking about the possible causes of your misgivings. Then, following Jesus’ example of battling Satan with God’s Word when the devil tempted Him in the desert, I dispel each lie with the truth from Scripture.

As long as we accept, believe, and/or invest in Satan’s lies, he is happy because we remain in bondage to him. To break free from the strongholds of the devil, we must recognize the lies and overcome them with the truth of God’s Word. When you find your mind bombarded with the fabricated claims of the father of lies, replace the devil’s deceit with the indisputable truth of Scripture. Wash away the dishonest dirt. Rehearse and repeat the truths of Scripture.

Some falsehoods swirling around in our heads evolve from the idea that God does not still speak to His people today, except to a select few spiritually mature figures, and if we do hear God speak, we can’t be sure it’s actually His voice. Are these lies feeding your doubt? Get your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak, and start identifying and eliminating any falsehoods you may be unknowingly investing in.

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Book Two in Hearing God's Voice Series

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

Step 7 – Share the Good News

image of Stairs to open door. free concept 3d illustration

I followed Christ more than twenty years before I learned the art of listening to God’s voice. I knew God spoke to a few people, but I didn’t believe He would speak to me. If early in my walk of faith a more experienced Christian had practiced “show and tell” with me, I could have been listening to God’s voice for many, many more years. When you know something really great—when you have access to a priceless piece of art—you show and tell others about it. You show them what it means to you and tell them how to achieve it for themselves.

Enable others to enjoy the treasure you already enjoy. Tell people they can hear the voice of God. Show them the art of listening to Him. This is my prayer for you: “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (Philemon 6).

Please do a better job than I have done as a wife and mother in sharing your relationship with Jesus Christ and your ability to hear God’s voice with your spouse, your children, and their children. Satan wants nothing more than for us to keep this priceless treasure to ourselves.

When I started hearing God’s voice, my enemy, the devil, took notice. Satan stood on full alert and wanted to stifle me before I became a threat to his work. He introduced new lies to me, and, naively, I believed them. I crawled into my prison cell once again when I believed in the opponent’s deceit. He cunningly ran these crafty thoughts through my mind: You hear God speak? Really? People will think you are crazy. You’d better keep this one to yourself. No one will believe you. They will think you are foolish. They will lock you up and throw away the key. Your husband won’t believe you. He’ll think you are unstable—after all, you are depressed and taking medication. Your children won’t understand. Don’t even try to share this with them.

Do you feel as unhappy about this as I do? Have you ever had similar thoughts? I allowed Satan, the destroyer, to shame me right into silence. I wasn’t crazy but naïve—not fully aware and alert to my spiritual opponent. I was not knowledgeable and experienced in the ways of the devil. I kept this wonderful news of hearing God’s voice all to myself. I shared it only with my mentor, who heard God’s voice too.

I played right into Satan’s hand. If he could keep me silent about listening to God’s voice, he had me exactly where he wanted me. Nobody would know about it. Nobody would hear the good news. Nobody would be encouraged to listen to God speak. Nobody would believe they could hear the voice of God in their thoughts. The enemy had me believing I lived on an island, all alone. Satan convinced me that many believers do not hear God’s voice, and I’d be crazy to say I do. Therefore, I supposed I should not tell anyone I practice listening to God and I recognize His voice.

As soon as I became wise to Satan’s deceitful ways, I began the battle of breaking free. King Jesus came to my rescue again. The Holy Spirit used Scripture to educate me about the devil’s ways. He instilled confidence in me because Christ has already won the battle against my enemy. Christ has set me free. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” I remain free now to show others what God has done for me and to tell them how to listen to His voice.

I learned to pray the Armor of God, from Ephesians 6:10-18, to protect myself. He showed me how to rebuke the devil and stand strong in the victorious name of Jesus Christ. He gave me the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, as my weapon of choice. Not only did I have a new passion for Christ, I had a new hatred toward the devil. I would stand firm in the finished work of Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ, I would win this battle in my mind. I would be excited to “show and tell” the world how to practice the art of listening to God.

In my weakness, Jesus Christ strengthened me for battle. He protected me from my enemy and equipped me to stand victoriously in authority over Satan. Jesus prepared me to carry out my purpose in God’s greater plan. I’m nobody special, except that I’m a child of God. He had me in mind before He created the world. He wanted me and loved me before He set the stars in the sky.

He uses the common, the lowly, and the unlikely ones to carry out His plans. I represent the common, lowly, and unlikely. I am an ordinary woman who can hear from an extraordinary God. He used my story and prepared me to share it to bring His people into closer relationship with Himself. God has called me to deliver a message to His people. This is the message God wants me to share with you:

God loves you more than you will ever comprehend. He wants to have an intimate relationship with you. He speaks to you, and He wants you to listen. He has more to say than a “yes” or “no” to your requests. He wants you to put Him first in your life by spending time with Him daily, listening to His voice, and carrying out His will.

Spending time in relationship with Jesus Christ to develop the art of listening to God is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. Well, it’s a close second to the decision I made to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. Listening to God and hearing His voice is priceless—a valuable art form. Will you search for it as for silver? Building intimacy with Jesus Christ is building spiritual wealth in the kingdom of God, here on earth and in heaven. Will you pursue it as you would hunt for gold? The wisdom of God is more precious than rubies. Will you seek it around every corner?

Right now, I implore you to reclaim any power you have relinquished to the enemy and empower your family, your friends, your children, and your children’s children by passing on this precious gift of knowledge to them. Do not fear; be strong and courageous. Tell those you influence to put God first—to spend time with Him and listen to His voice. Train them in the ways of God, and then train them in the ways of Satan, their enemy. Educate them and equip them to stand firm and claim Christ’s victory in their own battles.

Demonstrate how to know God better by saturating yourself in His Word and meditating on it day and night. Encourage your children to do the same. Place them into God’s care and protection, so they may develop a greater intimacy with and trust in the One who created them.

Model the practice of listening to God’s voice in front of them so that it can be caught as well as taught. Share your own experiences with them. In the words of Charles Stanley, children will “do what we do before they do what we say.”[4] So be sure you are practicing what you are preaching, and then instruct the next generation and beyond, using the four T’s:

  1. Tell them to put God first by making time for Him, making Him a priority in their lives.
  2. Train them to know God better by reading His Word and meditating on it day and night.
  3. Trust them to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ by spending time with Him in the person of the Holy Spirit and yielding their own spirit to His.
  4. Teach them to “listen” to the voice of God within themselves—listen and obey.

When you believe in God and accept Jesus as your Savior, He sends His Holy Spirit to live in your heart. The living God dwells in you! Look within your own spirit, and tune in to the Spirit of God. Jesus promised the Spirit of Truth would speak to you and make the things of God known to you. You have access to everything that belongs to God—to His very mind and thoughts. God and Jesus speak to you through the Holy Spirit, who speaks to you in your thoughts. Listening to God’s voice within you is one of the keys to experiencing an abundant life—the full life Jesus Christ came to give you. When you can hear the voice of God, you have everything you need; you are filled with all the fullness of Christ. When you hear God speak to you, it will change your life forever.

Now believe it and do it! Go and listen to the voice of God! God will bless you richly as you seek to know Him more intimately.

Respond to God’s voice in the words of the boy, Samuel: “Speak, for Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). May God bless you with His presence and His word as you seek to know Him better every day. Know and cherish God’s voice within you. And then, be sure to ‘Share the Good News’ with the world!

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Book One in Hearing God's Voice Series

Book One in Hearing God’s Voice Series

Step 6 – Enjoy the Rewards – Reward #1

image of Stairs to open door. free concept 3d illustration

Step 6 – Enjoy the Rewards

Hearing God’s voice for the first time resembles discovering a buried treasure. God’s amazing treasure chest holds at least seven priceless jewels.

7 Rewards of Hearing God’s Voice

Healing

Forgiveness

Encouragement

Instruction

Conviction

Wisdom

Peace

CLICK HERE for your FREE infographic of 7 Rewards of Hearing God’s Voice

Reward #1 – Absorb the Healing

My first depression plagued me most severely. The word shattered best describes the way depression feels to me. I felt shattered into a thousand pieces on the inside, held together only by my skin. I appeared completely normal from the outside, but I felt weak, fragile, and broken on the inside. Looking back, I now know God allowed me to hit rock bottom so I had nowhere else to turn but to Him. He permitted me to hit rock bottom, but He didn’t leave me there alone.

Through Christian counseling, God showed me what kept me from the life He intended for me. I had to confront my past. I had to be delivered from the bondage of my belief in Satan’s lies before I could effectively relate to God and worship Him with all my heart. I did the work of digging into my childhood to figure out what caused me to be stuck in this life.

We all have emotional wounds. Some of them are given to us by people we love and people who love us. My most major emotional wound came from believing lies in the words my mom used about me. I’m sure she didn’t intend to wound me, but Satan used the things she said to deceive me into believing his lies. As a young girl, I remember my mom telling other people of me, “She was an accident.” I heard my mom say I was an accident many, many times. Those words stabbed deep into my little girl heart. Those words gave me my identity:

I am an accident. I am not wanted. I am not loved.

Notice how Satan used the words, “You are an accident,” and twisted them to accuse me of his lies: “You are not wanted; you are not loved.” In John 8:44, Jesus exposed the devil’s ways: “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” The enemy wanted me to believe lies that would keep me in bondage so I could not become all God wanted me to be, and I fell for it like a boulder plummeting down a mountainside.

Knowing I was unwanted caused me to become a people-pleaser. My entire life was driven by my desire to be needed and loved. My constant striving to satisfy and delight everyone required me to give large chunks of myself away. The more I gave, the more empty, unloved, and unappreciated I felt. My zest for life slowly drained out of me, leaving me unfulfilled and unhappy. I had a decent life, but if it equaled the life God had planned for me, I wasn’t sure I wanted to live. I had everything I needed and wanted, yet I lacked something. What I had was not enough to carry me through emotionally.

By believing the father of lies, I had let the deceit of Satan rule in my heart. God allowed me to experience depression so I would seek Him for help, answers, and healing. God wanted me to confront the emotional wounds from my past so He could wrap me in His blanket of light. God used my counseling as the venue where He performed the emotional healing I needed.

My counselor and I would spend time in inner healing prayer, bringing my wounds before Christ and asking Him to replace the lies I believed with the truth. Jesus showed me His presence in my childhood memories. He Himself told me of His great love for me and revealed the truth about me and the circumstances of my birth. He crushed the lies of the enemy. God planned me from the beginning; I was no accident. He wanted me and loved me.

This experience compelled me to trust Jesus even more. He is the way, the truth, and the life. The voice of Jesus in my memories transformed my life. When you are set straight by the God of the universe, it’s a permanent healing. It’s a healing you can’t get from counseling alone or from anything anyone else says to you. When God Himself meets you in your memories, shows you His presence in your life, speaks about how much He loves you, and couples it with strong, truthful feelings in your heart, it changes everything.

My beliefs about my own identity began to change. It no longer mattered that my mom didn’t want me, because the God of the universe planned me before He created the world. He wants me and loves me. I am His child, created in His image. I am a high priority to Him. My existence is important to Him. He wants to spend forever showing me how much He loves me. I know He feels the same about you.

God does speak to you in your thoughts. He can use your memories to bring you emotional healing and to show you His presence throughout your whole life. Come to Him, and quiet yourself enough to listen to what He has to say. He will enlighten you with His truth, replacing the darkness of the lies you believe.

In John 8:36, Jesus says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” I live a new life of freedom—a better life—because Christ set me free from my emotional prison, the bondage of the lies I held onto. That’s what Jesus came here to do—to “set the captives free.” (See Isaiah 61:1-3.) He is the truth.

Jesus Christ already won the battle over Satan, sin, and death with His obedience even unto death on the cross. God raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in heaven to rule over everything here on earth and in all eternity. God saved us by His grace, raised us up with Christ, and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms. Satan has been given his place already. He now resides under the feet of Christ, below His authority and below the authority of Christ’s body, the church, which includes all believers.

I believe in Christ; therefore, I have Jesus’ power and authority over Satan, sin, and death. Through the Holy Spirit living in me, I have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. If you believe in Jesus, so do you. Exercise authority and stand firm in the finished work of Christ, believing the truth. Resist the devil, and don’t be trapped by His snares of falsehood and temptation. Don’t give him more power than God has given Him. You are alive in Christ! Live in the grace and authority of Christ so you may carry out the work God prepared in advance for you to do. (See Ephesians 2:4-10.)

Through inner healing prayer and conversations with God, He spoke sincere, truthful words to me, healing the deepest wounds of my heart. He exposed my childhood belief in the deceit Satan had fabricated in my heart and mind. He gave me a new identity: “I am a child of God; He wants me and loves me.” Not only did my thinking change, but Jesus Christ Himself engraved it on my heart. He showed me the truth, and the truth set me free. God loves me more than I will ever comprehend, and He wanted me, even before He created the world. He feels the same about you.

God wants you and loves you very much. He desires to spend time with you daily in two-way conversation. Make time to listen to His voice and absorb His healing words.

When you have some time to yourself, seek God and ask Him to replace the lies you believe in your heart with His perfect truth. Ask for His protection from your enemy. Listen to His voice of truth in your thoughts. Confirm what you hear by finding God’s truth in His Word, the Bible. Spend time developing a deeper intimacy with Him. Ask Him what He wants to teach you. Absorb the healing He gives! Then find it in your heart to forgive the one(s) who hurt you.

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Book One in Hearing God's Voice Series

Book One in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

 

My Light in Shining Armor

Second Coming Jesus 01

My Light in Shining Armor 

By Sindy Nagel

 

You called me out of darkness

Into Your glorious light

Where once my eyes were blinded

You gave me back my sight

 

You freed me from the prison

Where Satan held the key

No longer am I bound by lies

Your truth has set me free

 

You reached down with a mighty hand

And pulled me from the pit

You set my feet on solid ground

A new light in my heart you lit

 

You’re my song every morning

My friend throughout the day

You whisper truth into my ears

When I make the time to pray

 

My comfort and my guide You are

I trust you my life to You

You walk with me in challenges

In trials, You see me through

 

Your praise I will forever sing

Your joy flows from my heart

You’ve blessed my life in countless ways

I don’t know where to start

 

Thank You for your goodness

In my weakness, You are strong

You comfort me in sorrow

And change my grieving into song

 

You’re my bread when I am hungry

My manna for each day

Your living water quenches thirst

You are my hope and stay

 

You took my wretched, dreary soul

And gave my heart new zest

To live a life that pleases You

And offer You my best

 

Accept my praise to You today

As lowly as it seems

You are my Light in Shining Armor

The Man of all my dreams

 

Thank You, Jesus. You’re the Best!