Holy Spirit Control!

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32 NKJV)

Whenever we hear foul-mouthed conversations in which every other word is profanity, we know Holy Spirit is not governing the person using the profanity. Whenever we see the end results of raging tempers–violence and death–we know Holy Spirit is not governing the person or persons involved. And usually, when one person demonstrates a lack of self-control, they engage or ignite the same type of reaction in others. The problem–people are too reliant upon their own self-control instead of allowing Holy Spirit to control what they say and do.

Submitting our thought-life and our tongues to Holy Spirit is not easy, but it is definitely a better path to take than depending upon our ability to control anything. What does it mean to submit our thought-life? It means that we stop thinking the thoughts that lead us astray. If the enemy tries to plant a thought in our minds that is not honoring God, we submit our response to Holy Spirit and allow Him to replace those thoughts with thoughts of righteousness.

Since most of us are fighting a constant battle with self-control, we are yet a work-in-progress. We have buttons that can be pushed and when we allow others to push them, we forget who we are and whose we are–to let others know, we are not a doormat. But do we really have to let others know anything other than we belong to God?

When we’re attacked–verbally–we don’t need to respond, but under stressful situations when frustration and agitation get in the way, we engage and the heat rises, sparking fires that sometimes rage out of control.

When we’re attacked–physically–we have a right to defend ourselves (though some would argue this) and our families. We do not have a right to instigate foolishness that embroils others into “never-ending feuds” that do nothing but create hostile environments for all. This is especially true for kids who tend to get caught up in stupidity. If a brother or sister starts a fight with someone else–let them handle on their own. If more than one person attacks a sibling, then by all means, we should do our best to protect them.

However, when people do stupid–no matter who it is–family, friends and neighbors should stay out of the fray. I’ve seen entire neighborhoods destroyed because of stupid people who thought they had a right to treat people any way they wanted to treat them and then expect no response by those who are harmed. Those attacked call in reinforcements to counter the action and the feud mushrooms–out of control until someone ends up dead.

When Holy Spirit is “allowed” to control our thoughts–we don’t think stupid-we think pleasing God. When our thought-life is controlled by Holy Spirit, then our tongues speak those things that build, encourage, and edify others. But Holy Spirit has to be allowed to control–He will not force us to do anything, and will allow us to think, say, or do anything we want to do. Of course when we do things that grieve Him, most of us know we need to repent, back up and give Him control so we don’t bring shame upon ourselves and displease God.

Life would be so much better for everyone, all over the world, if we would just allow Holy Spirit to be in control of our lives.


Understanding Our Ministry Purpose!

” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, and teachers to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:9-13 NIV)

Christ, Himself gave gifts to men and women to function in the roles of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers–all promoting The Word and how to live a Godly life–so that all in the Body of Christ will know what they are to do and how they are to live.  Christ did not set up denominations or religions to divide those who Believe Him, but to bring all who believe into unity–one purpose–teaching all, what God said in preparation for His return.

The ministry gifts–given to those chosen to function in those offices are accompanied with the Spiritual gifts as noted in I Corinthians 12:7-11 (a separate lesson coming soon). All of the spiritual gifts are given as Holy Spirit chooses to those He chooses–not as we desire. Many have been given the gifts of healing and manipulated the gift to bring attention to self and have been exposed for the deception. We are not give gifts to exploit people, but to provide purpose for what we do, magnifying God in all we do–so He gets the glory, not us.

But note this:  The nine gifts listed, cooperatively work in groups of three–faith, healing and miracles; prophecy, speaking in tongues and interpretation, wisdom, knowledge and discernment–all working together for the same purpose, but through different individuals. For anyone to claim they operate in all nine of the spiritual gifts–on their own–I would question the validity of that claim based upon the scriptures and discount anything else they had to say.

This is why it is important for all Believers to know and understand The Word. It is not enough to know what is said without having understanding of what is said and why. It is because so many have gone out–proclaiming and declaring things that God did not say, that we have so much confusion in the Body of Christ today. We must read, study, mediate upon The Word, gaining understanding before we attempt to tell anyone else, anything.

One of the reasons people attempt to manipulate the gift given is because they do not understand their purpose in ministry. They proclaim they have been called by God (when actually some have been called by people) and spend little to no time, preparing to function in the calling they claim. When God calls us–He equips us to do the work He has called us to do–naturally, supernaturally, and spiritually. He inspires us to study, directs us to where we can find information to clarify our roles and in understanding His Word. He speaks to us when we allow ourselves to hear Him, guiding us every step of the way.

When He anoints us to do something out of the ordinary, it is the supernatural gifting and operation of Holy Spirit in control, not us and all we have to do is submit to His leading and by this submission, people will know–whether we are called by God or we have allowed men/women to influence our decision to get into ministry.

Doing the work of ministry is not always a pleasant task, but it is a necessary task and when we do it to the glory of God, we know it is worthwhile.

Before we go out into the world of unsuspecting people trying to make our name for ourselves, let’s seek God and obtain understanding the purpose of the ministry gifts and then allow Him to fill us  to overflowing to function in the gifts, He gives!

Offering Our Complete Selves to God!

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do 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.”(Romans 6:11-13 NIV)

When we are “dead” to sin, we do not allow its stench to be a part of our lives. We know sin has a horrific odor because anything that is dead stinks–and when death occurs of any fleshly thing–the flies gather and other insects that feed off dead things. But with the death of sin–no longer allowing it to reign in our lives–because we are yet alive, physically–there is a sweet fragrance–pleasing to God–that emanates from us and is seen in everything we do. And we offer up ourselves to Him–in total submission to all He has said–the sacrifice of praise for living a Godly life and He rewards us with an eternity with Him.

When our whole beings– our minds, our mouths, our tongues, our ears, our eyes, our hearts, our hands–our entire bodies–especially those parts that are ignited and stirred by thoughts of sin–are submitted to Him, our focus is Him, not us. When our focus is Him and not us, He gives us the power to resist participating in sin and when we submit to God, we can ignore the enemy and he will flee from us.

How do we submit to God–completely? We repent of any sin in our lives and get into The Word. We read The Word–everything–one segment at a time and then meditate on what we’ve read. When we understand The Word, we begin applying The Word to our daily lives. We pay attention to what we read–and will not allow our eyes to stray to ungodly images or communications by any means. We will not watch television shows or movies or videos that promote sin, enticing us to return to the evil.

We pay attention to the music we hear and we will not listen to people or music that could return us to the stench we given up–once and for all.

We keep our minds on things above and not those below–without becoming so heavenly minded we are of no earthly good.

We submit our hearts to the circumcision needed to cut away anger, malice, bitterness, jealousy, envy, and hatred and allow God to fill us with His love to overflowing.

We submit our tongues and mouths to saying only those things that please God and will not grieve Holy Spirit with filthy language that only demonstrates who is really reigning in our lives.

We submit and hands and feet to sharing the good things God has given us with others in promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We submit our hormones to Him to be used in the righteous act of sexual activity–marriage with one man and one woman--and we will not allow the masses of public opinion persuade us to do otherwise.

When we offer ourselves completely to God, He will direct our paths and on His paths–the journey leads to greatness and success in all we do.

What are we waiting for? It’s time to offer our complete selves to God–so all glory is His!

When Our Hearts Are Searched, What Does God Find?

“And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:27 NIV)

When the Lord searches our hearts, He knows who is submitted to the Spirit of God because Holy Spirit will only speak to God’s people and remind them of God’s Will for their lives. Therefore, when we our actions or our speech is subject to question by others, we must know that Holy Spirit does not deviate from anything God says.

I’ve wondered about some people who say, “the Spirit told me…” and what they do is so far from God’s Word that it’s obvious it is not Holy Spirit speaking to them. Holy Spirit does not encourage people to gamble, lie, steal, or commit any other act that is contrary to God’s Word. Satan is a spirit as well and when we see acts committed–murders of children, spouses, former employees, boys beating girlfriends and all this other craziness, this spirit of evil influence is at work.

The evidence of Holy Spirit residing within (our bodies are the temple where He lives, but He will not dwell in filth and ungodliness) is found in Galatians 5:22–begins with love and ends with self-control. If the evidence–seen in the actions of people–is not there, neither is He.

The Word tells us that we should submit to God, resist the devil and he (the devil) shall flee. In other words, if our thought life is submitted to God and we know He speaks to our spirit, then we hear Him and act accordingly. If our actions do not line up with the Word then we are not hearing Holy Spirit and we will not do the Will of God.

God speaks to our hearts and when His search is complete, He tells us whether or not we need a heart adjustment or not. He knows our thoughts from far off (before we ever think them) and He knows what adjustments need to be made in our lives. We cannot allow bitterness, hatefulness, and unforgiveness to dwell in our hearts or we’ll allow it to dictate what we do.

I’m truly grateful for Holy Spirit speaking to my heart. He has saved me from much embarrassment and condemnation from others when I allow Him to guide my actions. When He speaks, I usually listen and obey. Even when some have said they would have handled a situation much differently than the way I did, I know He loves me and I cannot be concerned with how others would do things; especially when the others do not know God.

We need to be careful in listening to other people who would encourage us to do things differently from God’s way. They may think we are weak in some respects, but when we allow Holy Spirit to guide our tongues, God gets the glory! Hallelujah!

Remember this–He searches our hearts to discover anything that is not like Him and then speaks to our spirits through Holy Spirit so we won’t go astray, if we love Him! When we don’t know what to do or say, just wait–Holy Spirit is interceding on our behalf so we won’t come up short in living life God’s Way!

Has That Day Come?

“In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9 NIV)

Looking at all of the natural disasters–those caused by human error, and demonic influence–most people are wondering if God is even paying attention to us. I can imagine people living in some countries where man’s greed and arrogance is causing uproar and chaos are having a difficult time believing God cares. I can imagine that families who have lost children to abductors and tragic accidents cannot believe a loving, caring God still exists. I can imagine that loved ones lost due to the depression of others who for a moment, controlled their environment are not happy with God–how could they be, when such tragedies occur? In the midst of every tragic situation–our God still reigns. It is not that He cannot keep the tragedy from occurring; everything in life is part of a plan and God will not control what other people do, unless He’s invited to do so. This is what we’re missing–God must be invited to situations and everyone must submit to His will before we will see any lasting change in our world. Are we there yet? Does sin still reign in the minds of those who will not submit to God? We’re not there yet, but many are on their way. We realize that everything we do, influences the outcome of how we live and what we are able to do for others. We have submitted and we do all we can to encourage others to seek Him and submit to Him, so we can watch the devil flee. For as long as the enemy can influence the thoughts of those who have not submitted to God, evil will exist and create havoc in the lives of many. But on that day, when we see people turning their lives over to God in total submission, we will see the hand of The Lord, settle the minds of people and peace will reign over all the earth. On that day, we will thank Him for all He is doing and will do on behalf of all who love Him. On that day, we will stand proudly, proclaiming our trust in Him. On that day, we will rejoice in the God of our salvation–who saves to the utmost! Until we get to that day, those of us who know the power of prayer must continue our vigil, interceding on behalf of all who have yet to submit to Him, so we can see change and peace for all of God’s people. Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to understand the urgency of the times, seek You for direction and wisdom in all things, and submit to Your will in everything we do.

Submission Is A Good Thing!

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

So many people tend to think that the word “submit” is a bad word; especially as it pertains to women “submitting” to their husbands. One of the reasons for this disdain of the word is the fact that many have mis-taught the context of the word in the Bible. For clarity’s sake, the definition for submit–deferring to another’s opinion or authority makes it clear that submission is a good thing.

We must learn to accept the fact that none of us know everything and recognize that when we don’t know; it is not a judgment against self to defer to the opinions or authority of someone who does know. Not recognizing the authority of another is not only stupid, but could have detrimental results–depending upon the situation.

James tells us to submit to God–yield, defer to God’s authority. Resist–turn away from, run in the opposite direction, close ears to, anything the devil has to say and when we actively resist the devil, he will flee from us.

The best way to do this is to make sure understanding of The Word has been a priority in life. When we see the attempts the devil makes to cause us to believe anything God did not say; we simply speak The Word against what the enemy has said and do it as often as needed. The devil will get tired of hearing The Word and eventually leave a person alone–for a season. He will return, but if The Word is buried deep in our hearts, whenever he returns, we’ll be ready.

God knows more than we shall ever know! Fact–not opinion–and we know because we have not created a universe and He has. Therefore, we should acknowledge His authority and defer to His authority so we can defeat the enemy at every turn. Submission to God–is a good thing–it guarantees us victory over the enemy!


[tags element not working this morning on WordPress]

#God   #James   #Victory    #devil     #Mary M. Hall-Rayford

Who Gets The Credit?

“…Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (I Corinthians 1:31 NIV).

How many times have we heard someone say, “I did this or that,” I’m the one responsible for everything I have,” No one helped me to do anything?” Really? No one helped!  And then there are those who claimed to have pulled themselves up in the world by their own bootstraps. Must have been some really strong, tough bootstraps to manage such a feat.

Now, I get it! For those who don’t want to believe God or realize it is because of Him that we can do anything, I get it! However, since I “know” that without God we can do absolutely nothing, worthwhile, I wouldn’t be able to take credit for anything I have accomplished.

I’ve mentioned some of this before, but bear with me with my redundancy as I try to make a point here. “Without God, I can do nothing; without Him I will fail,” a song from long ago that really makes sense. First of all, I’m still alive because of who He is, not me. He has saved me from myself and accidents in which I should have been killed.  He gave me strength to keep going, when I didn’t think I could. He made a way out of no way for me to keep my children safe in the midst of gangland activity. He made it possible for me to go back to school, after the age of 40 and succeed. He made it possible for me to maintain a 3.8 GPA at 50 and complete coursework for a Ph.D. successfully. He poured into me the gift of writing, discernment, and wisdom. He keeps my angels alert and watchful during the night and when I travel. He instills in me a sense of purpose and destiny, daily. He grants me understanding of His Word and constantly reminds me of what He has said. He helps me get out bed every morning when He wakes me He guides me in what I say on blog posts, daily. He instructs me in my responses to naysayers pertaining to Him. He helps me to control my tongue when I get angry and frustrated. He guides me with love in training my grandson. When I wrote my first books, it was because of His inspiration. In the midst of every page, He is there and will be there. When the millions of copies are sold on Amazon, it will be because He has touched the hearts of those who purchase them. This is what He has done!

So, what have I done? I am in constant communication with My Daddy, and listen closely to what He says. I try always to be instantly obedient, but I don’t always make it. He understands; He created me and He knows I’ll do whatever He says, eventually. I give Him praise for who He is and what He’s done for me on a consistent basis throughout the day! I have submitted myself to Him as an instrument for Him to use however He chooses. I proclaim that I am walking in His favor every day.  I broadcast my faith in Him, in public venues as well as private ones, to anyone who will listen (or read about it). I profess my confidence in Him and all He has said. That’s what I have done!  Who gets the credit for my accomplishments? My Daddy gets all the credit for who I am and what I am capable of doing!

Who gets the credit for who you are and what you have accomplished?

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to understand that we have accomplished nothing without You, but everything with You.  Help us to see our boasts should be in You, and not in self. Thank You for being a constant presence in our lives–molding, guiding, and correcting us, while loving us into a position of success, all according to Your Word. Amen!