IN THE PURSUIT OF……

In grade school, I decided I would become a musician. I selected the alto saxophone as my instrument. My grandfather procured one. My parents sacrificed money, time and their ears to lessons, performances and practices. It became a passion and I worked hard and excelled over the years. My fourth year, the band director really encouraged and supported student efforts. We wrote and scored material. He let us form independent groups. Yes I had one – an all-female group, but I cannot recall the name of it. It was all a blast.

There was a time period when the director brought in seasoned and professional musicians to coach select students 1:1. I was super excited. The expert I was with shared some highlights from his career and asked me what I wanted to do in the future. I told him I wanted to play my horn maybe like Bobbi Humphrey and Sheila E on their respective instruments – didn’t have to be a solo star…..but work in the studio, be a band member, teacher, whatever. His laugh was throat deep. And he ‘schooled’ me on not wasting my time on such a pipedream. My manners stayed intact for all of our sessions, but my pride made sure he saw/heard my abilities and I stayed focused to get from him what I needed to finish that year with top scores and rank in competitions. I am not sure if he was tired or hungry that day. Perhaps he had a disagreement with a wife, girlfriend or daughter. He could have had a recent rejection or he was on a mission to pick off potential new crew one by one. Don’t know. At the end of that school year, I put my horn down. I just stopped. I passed the horn to my little sister and encouraged her through college.

This reflection is not centered around the gentleman’s words and demeanor. Yes – we are to watch what we say and speak to benefit others and glorify God. But I allowed that seed to stay. I evidently watered and nourished it until I acted on it. I came to believe I needed to do something else. Whenever I was asked about why I stopped, this was never part of my explanation.

I am not longing to get back into playing. I just wonder about other seeds. In the Women Walking in Victory Bible Study class, it was reiterated how we have access to Holy power that will help us reject such seeds even demons. It has nothing to do with our power or ability. We just need to recognize at THE right moment when to call on the name of the Father. In HIS name we reject whatever compromises our faith, obedience and growth in God. Going through the motions does not stimulate growth. Laying the start or fault with another person is stifling. Prevention requires upfront and timely action. Excision can be painful and without a lifetime or side effect guarantee.

You cannot become more spiritual until you know who you are.

Central Questions
1. Definition – Who Am I (in this situation here)?
2. Purpose – Why am I here?
a. Jeremiah 29:11 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.
i. Clear on the destiny in God
b. Matthew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.
i. Part of an overcoming church
c. Galatians 3:27-29 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
i. Roots of a saint
We are spiritual heirs of Abraham. All the promises given to Abraham are also to us. From Genesis chapters 1 and 2 we know we are the image of God.
3. What am I prepared to die for?

We are to submit to the will of God.
Ephesians 5:10-20 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a]
4 Fathers,[b] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

God expects us to think.
Romans 14:5 – One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.
He expects us to discern His Word. You can only use the mind that has been transformed to come to the right conclusion. You don’t think new thoughts on your own. You must have the Holy Spirit guiding your new thinking. Check with God first, then make your decision. Ask yourself the following (integrity screen questions).
• Is it the right thing?
• Is it for the right reason?
• Is it the right way?
• Is it the right result?
• Will it benefit the right people?
• Will it glorify God?
• Is it according to His Word?

1 Peter 1:13-16 13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Apply the integrity screen to
1. Words
2. Deeds
3. Thoughts
4. Attitude
5. Relationships

How are you practice the mind of Christ?
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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. It is not a surface change
2. It is a metamorphosis – a complete one
3. It is inside – out
4. It is a continuous process
Victory is not assured because it looks like a victory or because of indicators. It is because of to whom we belong and who is in us.
You cannot start it (growth), stop and continue to grow. You will go backwards.

1 Peter 1:13-14 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.

Transform

transform 1

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Ready! Aim! Fire!

Have you ever been soooo determined to get something or do something? You reached out, you dedicated time towards it and you were convinced it was the way to go. I certainly get that way. I talk to God about it. I talk to others about it. I confirm to myself what the benefits will be. I shoo away thoughts of negative consequences or ignore warning queues. I especially close the door on the motive – not what I say out loud – but my heart motive. Is it a trust issue? Is it a faith issue? I try to use the integrity screening to check myself – do the right thing, the right way, for the right reason, expecting the right results (all results), to benefit others and glorify God. I confess I don’t always screen…..with integrity that is. My screening can be biased – what I want, when I want, for my reason because I want to think I know what I need to target to make be happy.

God gave us free will. We use this free will to shoot at targets of our desires to fulfill needs and wants. We often think because we are clear where we are aiming, we will have a solid shot. But if we had a close-up view of our target paper, it would be so tattered from the shots we took aiming and shooting at every spot but THE RIGHT TARGET. God wants our target to be Him. Do we agree there is nothing from which He should be excluded? If this is true, then that bull’s eye center (God) should be the only spot marked by our aims. Does my circumstance dictate my aim? My feelings control my trigger? Am I even working on MY target sheet?

Target Acquisition means having a clear vision of the target. At what am I trying to shoot? Am I randomly firing my resources or am I focused on what I need to hit?

Romans 1:18-32
18 God’s anger is revealed from heaven against all the sin and evil of the people whose evil ways prevent the truth from being known. 19 God punishes them, because what can be known about God is plain to them, for God himself made it plain. 20 Ever since God created the world, his invisible qualities, both his eternal power and his divine nature, have been clearly seen; they are perceived in the things that God has made. So those people have no excuse at all! 21 They know God, but they do not give him the honor that belongs to him, nor do they thank him. Instead, their thoughts have become complete nonsense, and their empty minds are filled with darkness. 22 They say they are wise, but they are fools; 23 instead of worshiping the immortal God, they worship images made to look like mortals or birds or animals or reptiles.
24 And so God has given those people over to do the filthy things their hearts desire, and they do shameful things with each other. 25 They exchange the truth about God for a lie; they worship and serve what God has created instead of the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever! Amen. 26 Because they do this, God has given them over to shameful passions. Even the women pervert the natural use of their sex by unnatural acts. 27 In the same way the men give up natural sexual relations with women and burn with passion for each other. Men do shameful things with each other, and as a result they bring upon themselves the punishment they deserve for their wrongdoing. 28 Because those people refuse to keep in mind the true knowledge about God, he has given them over to corrupted minds, so that they do the things that they should not do. 29 They are filled with all kinds of wickedness, evil, greed, and vice; they are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, deceit, and malice. They gossip 30 and speak evil of one another; they are hateful to God, insolent,[a] proud, and boastful; they think of more ways to do evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no conscience; they do not keep their promises, and they show no kindness or pity for others. 32 They know that God’s law says that people who live in this way deserve death. Yet, not only do they continue to do these very things, but they even approve of others who do them.

1 Corinthians 3:18-21
18 You should not fool yourself. If any of you think that you are wise by this world’s standards, you should become a fool, in order to be really wise. 19 For what this world considers to be wisdom is nonsense in God’s sight. As the scripture says, “God traps the wise in their cleverness”; 20 and another scripture says, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are worthless.” 21 No one, then, should boast about what human beings can do. Actually everything belongs to you
1 Corinthians 4:5
So you should not pass judgment on anyone before the right time comes. Final judgment must wait until the Lord comes; he will bring to light the dark secrets and expose the hidden purposes of people’s minds. And then all will receive from God the praise they deserve

What is your target? Your Aim? Your Vision?
Your focus is based on faith which is based on fact.

THE TARGET is your walk before the Lord.

Who I am is meaningless unless I KNOW what that target is to look like.

The target is the right result. We get there by asking “What does God expect?”.

target acquisition

What is YOUR target?
1) God wants us to do what is right. Joshua 7:1 – The LORD’s command to Israel not to take from Jericho anything that was to be destroyed was not obeyed. A man named Achan disobeyed that order, and so the LORD was furious with the Israelites. (Achan was the son of Carmi and grandson of Zabdi, and belonged to the clan of Zerah, a part of the tribe of Judah.)
a. When fact and faith are off, then your focus is off.
b. Eliminate any thoughts, practices or possessions that hinder our devotion to God.
2) God wants us to do what He considers right. Judges 17:6 – 6 There was no king in Israel at that time; everyone did whatever they wanted.
a. God sets the standard.
b. Just because we think it is right, doesn’t make it right.
3) God’s Word reveals to us what is right. Isaiah 5:20 – 20 You are doomed! You call evil good and call good evil. You turn darkness into light and light into darkness. You make what is bitter sweet, and what is sweet you make bitter.
a. Romans 1 tell us we have no excuse. Prov. 17:15 – Condemning the innocent or letting the wicked go—both are hateful to the LORD. Matthew 6:22-23 22 “The eyes are like a lamp for the body. If your eyes are sound, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eyes are no good, your body will be in darkness. So if the light in you is darkness, how terribly dark it will be!
b. And reiterated in Luke 11:34-35 34 Your eyes are like a lamp for the body. When your eyes are sound, your whole body is full of light; but when your eyes are no good, your whole body will be in darkness. 35 Make certain, then, that the light in you is not darkness.
4) God has built an awareness of what is right into every society. Romans 2:12-15 12 The Gentiles do not have the Law of Moses; they sin and are lost apart from the Law. The Jews have the Law; they sin and are judged by the Law. 13 For it is not by hearing the Law that people are put right with God, but by doing what the Law commands. 14 The Gentiles do not have the Law; but whenever they do by instinct what the Law commands, they are their own law, even though they do not have the Law. 15 Their conduct shows that what the Law commands is written in their hearts. Their consciences also show that this is true, since their thoughts sometimes accuse them and sometimes defend them.

Keep Your Eyes On The Road

Distractions.
Yielding to a distraction will ALWAYS lead to consequences. Last week, a distraction led me into a car accident. Oh how I buy the lie that there is a little more room to engage in something else that is outside of the present mission. Multi-tasking used to be an in word – that you were a hard worker, a super worker, do it all. Ummmmm, it is more like unnecessary risks are taken, will overcommit, be unfocused.
Giving in to a distraction is gambling with your first commitment. That first commitment is the one that should command your attention, engaging all of you – not empty promises, not left overs, not when you ‘feel like it’. Procrastinating with your first commitment can cost your life or the life of someone on the journey with you.
The first commitment requires nurturing with a whole heart. Taking your ‘eyes’ or heart or mind off of the first commitment can become habitual and eventually what seemed so natural and easy to manage will become a heap of mess. Using my strength only will result in many heaps. But guess what? God IS faithful. There is no guesswork. We have what we need to know to commit to freedom and maturity in Him. But, we have to keep our eyes on the road.

Characteristics of a Spirit Filled Life
Ephesians 5:18-21 18 Don’t get drunk on wine, which produces depravity. Instead, be filled with the Spirit in the following ways: 19 speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts; 20 always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 and submit to each other out of respect for Christ.
• Speaking ≠ Silent
• Singing ≠ Crying
• Giving thanks ≠ Ingratitude
• Submitting ≠ Rebellion

Satan’s strategy – Scarcity vs. abundance
1. Try to get you to think of the fact that God should give you everything. Genesis 3:1 – The snake was the most intelligent[a] of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say that you shouldn’t eat from any tree in the garden?”
2. The idea that there should be no restriction in the perfect plan of a good God. Darkness is believing you need time for yourself. Have the same attitude as Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:1-8 Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you. You have fellowship with the Spirit,[a] and you have kindness and compassion for one another. 2 I urge you, then, to make me completely happy by having the same thoughts, sharing the same love, and being one in soul and mind. 3 Don’t do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. 4 And look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own. 5 The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had: 6 He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain[b] equal with God. 7 Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. 8 He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death— his death on the cross.
3. Focus on God’s Restrictions instead of his provisions

To Answer: What about taking care of me first?
• Romans 8:29 – Creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice—it was the choice of the one who subjected it—but in the hope
o God desires for us to conform to the image of His Son who died for us
• Luke 9:23 – 23 Jesus said to everyone, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me.
o No negotiating picking up Jesus’ cross – forget who you are outside of Him
• Matthew 6:21, 24, 31, 33, 34 – 21 For your heart will always be where your riches are. 24 “You cannot be a slave of two masters; you will hate one and love the other; you will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. 31 “So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ 33 Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. 34 So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.
o David recreated himself by being in the Word

When you only think about what you don’t have, then that will become your focus and you then lose your abundance. The scarcity vs. abundance situation and Satan’s Strategy situation happens in the soul section (heart).

We try to make a bad thing look right. When we think…, we do wrong. Genesis 3:6 – 6 The woman saw how beautiful the tree was and how good its fruit would be to eat, and she thought how wonderful it would be to become wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, and he also ate it. – Eve began to examine the fruit. Only she could convince herself to do wrong.

Anytime I choose things from MY WAY, there are consequences.
My motives, beliefs and values play into my decision making.
• God’s Way → Benefits
• My Way → Consequences
o We even stay in a commitment because we think our consequences are placating God. It isn’t.
o We are in a situation when we find ourselves constantly complaining about the circumstances.

A promise from God
• Joel 2:18-25 – 18 Then the LORD showed concern for his land; he had mercy on his people. 19 He answered them: “Now I am going to give you grain and wine and olive oil, and you will be satisfied. Other nations will no longer despise you. 20 I will remove the locust army that came from the north and will drive some of them into the desert. Their front ranks will be driven into the Dead Sea, their rear ranks into the Mediterranean. Their dead bodies will stink. I will destroy them because of all they have done to you. 21 “Fields, don’t be afraid, but be joyful and glad because of all the LORD has done for you. 22 Animals, don’t be afraid. The pastures are green; the trees bear their fruit, and there are plenty of figs and grapes. 23 “Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice at what the LORD your God has done for you. He has given you the right amount of autumn rain;[a] he has poured down the winter rain for you and the spring rain as before. 24 The threshing places will be full of grain; the pits beside the presses will overflow with wine and olive oil. 25 I will give you back what you lost in the years when swarms of locusts ate your crops. It was I who sent this army against you.
• You have to recognize your motives were out of rebellion and repent to Him with a pure heart
• Romans 8:28, 29 – 28 We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him,[a] those whom he has called according to his purpose. 29 Those whom God had already chosen he also set apart to become like his Son, so that the Son would be the first among many believers.
• Once my focus is changed, God can make any relationship work. The change has to come from me first. When you get into “I”, the focus is my way. When you focus on God, you toughen up and you don’t think about the hurt and pain.
• SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND THEN HE WILL TOUGHEN YOU

Romans 5: 1-5 Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have[a] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 He has brought us by faith into this experience of God’s grace, in which we now live. And so we boast[b] of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory! 3 We also boast[c] of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, 4 endurance brings God’s approval, and his approval creates hope. 5 This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us.
• We are made right in God’s sight through faith; peace with God is through Jesus
• Through our faith in Christ, we face a bright tomorrow
• Rejoice!
o When? In problems
o Why? They produce patience
o Why? Character is developed and there IS hope
o Result? No disappointment – being able to rise above every circumstance

Romans 12:2 Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.
• The mind MUST be transformed.
• Your mind functions the same, the output is related to the new nature (freedom, maturity in Christ) or the old nature (habits, reflexive behavior).
• The transformation process means you now know the Word of God AND you now have a CHOICE whether to do right or what you want to do.

II Peter 1:2-11 May grace and peace be yours in full measure through your knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.3 God’s divine power has given us everything we need to live a truly religious life through our knowledge of the one who called us to share in his own[a] glory and goodness. 4 In this way he has given us the very great and precious gifts he promised, so that by means of these gifts you may escape from the destructive lust that is in the world, and may come to share the divine nature. 5 For this very reason do your best to add goodness to your faith; to your goodness add knowledge; 6 to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add endurance; to your endurance add godliness; 7 to your godliness add Christian affection; and to your Christian affection add love. 8 These are the qualities you need, and if you have them in abundance, they will make you active and effective in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if you do not have them, you are so shortsighted that you cannot see and have forgotten that you have been purified from your past sins. 10 So then, my friends, try even harder to make God’s call and his choice of you a permanent experience; if you do so, you will never abandon your faith.[b] 11 In this way you will be given the full right to enter the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
• Know Jesus better and better
• It is overthinking I need other things to have a better life

Transformation

Need Milk and Sugar With That?

My love for coffee began around the age of eight or nine. My visits and stays with my grandparents always included a cup of coffee my grandmother, Meme, would make for me when she made a cup for herself and my grandfather. My cup was full of cream/milk with a splash of coffee and sugar. Ohhhh what peace I felt sitting in the formal dining room with them looking out the picture window sipping coffee, reading the newspaper and planning the days. When I first tasted black coffee and espresso during college I was disgusted and couldn’t believe folk actually had coffee that way. It was too hard and harsh. I wanted that milk or cream. It makes the coffee easy, sweet and smooth never mind the extra calories and sugar. This is still my preference. But with the right flavor and freshest bean, I can appreciate and even enjoy the ‘hard stuff’.

This study has often mentioned the Biblical reference of milk as substance for the immature, weak, tender, and slow. Once we are regenerated (accept/confess Jesus), we are given substance beyond milk when we receive the Word (through preaching, teaching and reading). Do you recognize when you have been on milk for too long or when you actually prefer to not take it in? Fear, pride and logic rule in certain or all parts of our life instead of the Word. We look for the miracle or the choices removed for us before we walk in faith and freedom. We are not immediately punished or individually corrected or called out so we don’t make efforts to mature.

Just as I perceived the perfect cup of coffee as an opportunity for a peaceful sitting, receiving and being the Word of God is true and actual peace. There is nothing that the Word does not address. Even when we think our current reality is all well and together, milk cannot satisfy a growing, maturing Christian. Be careful of reading or hearing the Word believing there is no need for you to consider or apply.

What or who is prolonging your weaning from milk? I cannot stay on (or go back to) milk thinking it is enough for my maturity and faith growth. We must allow our palates to take and chew on the truth – not just the easy bits.

Hebrews 5:4-10
4 No one takes this honor for themselves but takes it only when they are called by God, just like Aaron.
5 In the same way Christ also didn’t promote himself to become high priest. Instead, it was the one who said to him, You are my Son. Today I have become your Father, 6 as he also says in another place, You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.[a] 7 During his days on earth, Christ offered prayers and requests with loud cries and tears as his sacrifices to the one who was able to save him from death. He was heard because of his godly devotion. 8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. 9 After he had been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for everyone who obeys him. 10 He was appointed by God to be a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Genesis 14
14 While Amraphel was king of Shinar, Ellasar’s King Arioch, Elam’s King Chedorlaomer, and Goiim’s King Tidal 2 declared war on Sodom’s King Bera, Gomorrah’s King Birsha, Admah’s King Shinab, Zeboiim’s King Shemeber, and the king of Bela, that is, Zoar. 3 These latter kings formed an alliance in the Siddim Valley (that is, the Dead Sea[a]). 4 For twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they revolted. 5 In the fourteenth year, Chedorlaomer and the kings of his alliance came and attacked the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in the mountains of Seir as far as El-paran near the desert. 7 Then they turned back, came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and attacked the territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar.
8 Then the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bera (that is, Zoar) took up battle positions in the Siddim Valley 9 against King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Shinar, and King Arioch of Ellasar, four kings against five. 10 Now the Siddim Valley was filled with tar pits. When the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah retreated, they fell into them; and the rest fled to the mountains. 11 They took everything from Sodom and Gomorrah, including its food supplies, and left. 12 They also took Lot, Abram’s nephew who lived in Sodom, and everything he owned, and took off. 13 When a survivor arrived, he told Abram the Hebrew, who lived near the oaks of the Amorite Mamre, who was the brother of Eshcol and Aner, Abram’s treaty partners. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been captured, he took all of the loyal men born in his household, three hundred eighteen, and went after them as far as Dan. 15 During the night, he and his servants divided themselves up against them, attacked, and chased them to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 He brought back all of the looted property, together with his relative Lot and Lot’s property, wives, and people. 17 After Abram returned from his attack on Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom came out to the Shaveh Valley (that is, the King’s Valley) to meet him. 18 Now Melchizedek the king of Salem and the priest of El Elyon[b] had brought bread and wine, 19 and he blessed him, “Bless Abram by El Elyon, creator of heaven and earth; 20 bless El Elyon, who gave you the victory over your enemies.” Abram gave Melchizedek one-tenth of everything. 21 Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and take the property for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I promised the LORD, El Elyon, creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I wouldn’t take even a thread or a sandal strap from anything that was yours so that you couldn’t say, ‘I’m the one who made Abram rich.’ 24 The only exception is that the young men may keep whatever they have taken to eat, and the men who went with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre—may keep their share.”

Hebrews 7
1 This Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he returned from the defeat of the kings, and Melchizedek blessed him. 2 Abraham gave a tenth of everything to him. His name means first “king of righteousness,” and then “king of Salem,” that is, “king of peace.” 3 He is without father or mother or any family. He has no beginning or end of life, but he’s like God’s Son and remains a priest for all time. 4 See how great Melchizedek was! Abraham, the father of the people, gave him a tenth of everything he captured. 5 The descendants of Levi who receive the office of priest have a commandment under the Law to collect a tenth of everything from the people who are their brothers and sisters, though they also are descended from Abraham. 6 But Melchizedek, who isn’t related to them, received a tenth of everything from Abraham and blessed the one who had received the promises. 7 Without question, the less important person is blessed by the more important person. 8 In addition, in one case a tenth is received by people who die, and in the other case, the tenth is received by someone who continues to live, according to the record. 9 It could be said that Levi, who received a tenth, paid a tenth through Abraham 10 because he was still in his ancestor’s body when Abraham paid the tenth to Melchizedek.
11 So if perfection came through the levitical office of priest (for the people received the Law under the priests), why was there still a need to speak about raising up another priest according to the order of Melchizedek rather than one according to the order of Aaron? 12 When the order of the priest changes, there has to be a change in the Law as well. 13 The person we are talking about belongs to another tribe, and no one ever served at the altar from that tribe. 14 It’s clear that our Lord came from the tribe of Judah, but Moses never said anything about priests from that tribe. 15 And it’s even clearer if another priest appears who is like Melchizedek. 16 He has become a priest by the power of a life that can’t be destroyed, rather than a legal requirement about physical descent. 17 This is confirmed: You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.[a] 18 On the one hand, an earlier command is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (because the Law made nothing perfect). On the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 20 And this was not done without a solemn pledge! The others have become priests without a solemn pledge, 21 but this priest was affirmed with a solemn pledge by the one who said, The Lord has made a solemn pledge
and will not change his mind: You are a priest forever.[b] 22 As a result, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. 23 The others who became priests are numerous because death prevented them from continuing to serve. 24 In contrast, he holds the office of priest permanently because he continues to serve forever. 25 This is why he can completely save those who are approaching God through him, because he always lives to speak with God for them.
26 It’s appropriate for us to have this kind of high priest: holy, innocent, incorrupt, separate from sinners, and raised high above the heavens. 27 He doesn’t need to offer sacrifices every day like the other high priests, first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people. He did this once for all when he offered himself. 28 The Law appoints people who are prone to weakness as high priests, but the content of the solemn pledge, which came after the Law, appointed a Son who has been made perfect forever.

• Melchizedek was a picture of things yet to come; he was a type of Christ
• This is spiritual ‘meat’; if you cannot understand this then you are still on ‘milk’ and thus a babe in Christ
• We waste our time on milk issues; we are addicted to stay young and immature spiritually
• What are meat issues?
• Submission to authority
• Holding thoughts captive
• The Be Attitudes

Isaiah 29:21-24
21all who incriminate others wrongly, who entrap the judge in the gate, and pointlessly postpone justice for the innocent. 22 Therefore, proclaims the LORD, the God of[a] the house of Jacob, who redeemed Abraham: Jacob won’t be ashamed now, and his face won’t grow pale now. 23 When he sees his children among them, the work of my hands, proclaiming my name holy, they will make holy the holy one of Jacob, and stand in awe of Israel’s God. 24 Those who wander in spirit will have understanding, and those who grumble will gain insight.
• Good works are designed so that as you are blessed, others can see what God provides
• We should not acquiesce to the powers of this world
• You shouldn’t do good so others can give you praise/glory, but so that God may get the glory
• When your ego gets in the way, you ‘smell’ badly

Romans 8:29
29 We know this because God knew them in advance, and he decided in advance that they would be conformed to the image of his Son. That way his Son would be the first of many brothers and sisters.

Ephesians 2:11-13
11 So remember that once you were Gentiles by physical descent, who were called “uncircumcised” by Jews who are physically circumcised. 12 At that time you were without Christ. You were aliens rather than citizens of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of God’s promise. In this world you had no hope and no God. 13 But now, thanks to Christ Jesus, you who once were so far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
• Do not try to fool others that you were holy all of your life

Ephesians 4:1-3
4 Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. 2 Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, 3 and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together.
• Be who you say you are
• A mature Christian will always exhibit an attitude of thanksgiving (Ephesians 5:10) and an attitude of peace despite the circumstances; your God, the Father has the ship in control

I Wanna Be Free

To accept Christ as Lord and Savior at your regeneration takes faith.
To believe His sacrifice and resurrection allows for our glorification at His return takes faith.
There is no talent, intellect, barter, payment, skill or anything that earned or deserved them. No control on my part. Now I chose (as you did) to confess my regeneration out loud to a group of others before my baptism and new church membership.
But in between my regeneration and my future glorification, there is sanctification, this time that is my life when I have a lot of choices to make. These choices do not change the regeneration or the glorification, but they surely do say a lot about what I believe God wants of me on this side of glorification.

Maturity is a progression of growth. During the progression there may be some dips and flat lines. But over time we want to see a consistent rise in this line that marks our sanctification. Everyone that goes to the Olympics is starting as a champion in their own country, but once you enter the Olympic competition you work for an even more elevated position by medaling. A medal one time doesn’t guarantee another one. Each event takes effort, work and persistence.

Freedom is an event. Freedom events have to happen over and over and over at such a consistent rate that you get the maturity level raises. Pastor always says to start with what you know. If all you know right now is Psalm 23 or Matthew 6:9-13 (The Lord’s Prayer), then each decision, every action should reflect that.
Can I be mature and not free?
Can I be free and yet immature?
To be free takes faith. It isn’t instinct or being in control.

Nothing is out of our control but out of our obedience.

Trial=Romans 5:1-3
Therefore, since we have been made righteous through his faithfulness[a] combined with our faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand through him, and we boast in the hope of God’s glory. 3 But not only that! We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance
• Our focus is forward therefore of faith
• The victory is Christ’s and Christ is in us
• Anything that shakes that joy is a trial
• We know it is affirming

Ephesians 5:18
Don’t get drunk on wine, which produces depravity. Instead, be filled with the Spirit in the following ways
• Be controlled by the Spirit…be willing to obey the Word of God in every situation
John 16:14
He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and proclaim it to you.
• Gloried=to show, to manifest, to give faith

Evidence of Maturing in Christ
• In character progress – Galatians 5:16-22
• I say be guided by the Spirit and you won’t carry out your selfish desires. 17 A person’s selfish desires are set against the Spirit, and the Spirit is set against one’s selfish desires. They are opposed to each other, so you shouldn’t do whatever you want to do. 18 But if you are being led by the Spirit, you aren’t under the Law. 19 The actions that are produced by selfish motives are obvious, since they include sexual immorality, moral corruption, doing whatever feels good, 20 idolatry, drug use and casting spells, hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, group rivalry, 21 jealousy, drunkenness, partying, and other things like that. I warn you as I have already warned you, that those who do these kinds of things won’t inherit God’s kingdom.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
o The way you should go (:17)
o You don’t have to look at a set of rules (:18)
o The bible gives indicators (:19)
• Bearing fruit of the Spirit is the product of walking with Christ; it is a measurement of maturing in Christ
• Review backslide – Galatians 5:19

The measurement standard – the fruit of the Spirit – Character of Christ
• Conduct should imitate Christ and ALL be filtered through the Word of God
o Character
o Thoughts
o Feelings
o Words
o Attitudes, desires, motivation
o Relationships
o Perspectives (the way you see things)
o Perception (how you understand things)
• Christ showed compassion
o Matthew 9:36 – Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
o Matthew 14:14 – When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick.
o Luke 7:13 – When he saw her, the Lord had compassion for her and said, “Don’t cry.”
• Christ showed love
o Mark 10:21 – Jesus looked at him carefully and loved him. He said, “You are lacking one thing. Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.”
o Luke 19:41 – As Jesus came to the city and observed it, he wept over it.

Review Romans 8
Set free by the Spirit
8 So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 God has done what was impossible for the Law, since it was weak because of selfishness. God condemned sin in the body by sending his own Son to deal with sin in the same body as humans, who are controlled by sin. 4 He did this so that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us. Now the way we live is based on the Spirit, not based on selfishness. 5 People whose lives are based on selfishness think about selfish things, but people whose lives are based on the Spirit think about things that are related to the Spirit. 6 The attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death, but the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace. 7 So the attitude that comes from selfishness is hostile to God. It doesn’t submit to God’s Law, because it can’t. 8 People who are self-centered aren’t able to please God.
9 But you aren’t self-centered. Instead you are in the Spirit, if in fact God’s Spirit lives in you. If anyone doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, they don’t belong to him. 10 If Christ is in you, the Spirit is your life because of God’s righteousness, but the body is dead because of sin. 11 If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your human bodies also, through his Spirit that lives in you.
12 So then, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but it isn’t an obligation to ourselves to live our lives on the basis of selfishness. 13 If you live on the basis of selfishness, you are going to die. But if you put to death the actions of the body with the Spirit, you will live. 14 All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. 15 You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. 17 But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him.
Our suffering and our hope
18 I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters. 20 Creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice—it was the choice of the one who subjected it—but in the hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22 We know that the whole creation is groaning together and suffering labor pains up until now. 23 And it’s not only the creation. We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free. 24 We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? 25 But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.
26 In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans. 27 The one who searches hearts knows how the Spirit thinks, because he pleads for the saints, consistent with God’s will. 28 We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 We know this because God knew them in advance, and he decided in advance that they would be conformed to the image of his Son. That way his Son would be the first of many brothers and sisters. 30 Those who God decided in advance would be conformed to his Son, he also called. Those whom he called, he also made righteous. Those whom he made righteous, he also glorified.
31 So what are we going to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He didn’t spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. Won’t he also freely give us all things with him?
33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect people? It is God who acquits them. 34 Who is going to convict them? It is Christ Jesus who died, even more, who was raised, and who also is at God’s right side. It is Christ Jesus who also pleads our case for us.
35 Who will separate us from Christ’s love? Will we be separated by trouble, or distress, or harassment, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
We are being put to death all day long for your sake.
We are treated like sheep for slaughter.[a]
37 But in all these things we win a sweeping victory through the one who loved us. 38 I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers 39 or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.

You’re Not You When You’re Not Free

We don’t live isolated from others, do we? Not even when we try to steal or hide away for a moment or longer.
Often our maturity is exhibited in our relationships and interactions – from the intimate to the having no familiarity.

Are your interactions few because it is kind of known you are bothered?
Are you giving and patient to everyone else leaving little for those in your own home? Or perhaps it is the other way around?
What do you threaten when someone catches you impatient?
Oh how circumstantial is our treatment of others. Sometimes it is a hassle to be the one that has to put up, put out, give in and then there is a disappointment to not be the one called upon. How fickle we can be.

Is it not reasonable to expect temperaments to match my own? Shouldn’t I defend my feelings? I cannot help but to respond according to my conditions and situations.

The Snickers© commercials come to mind. When a person’s hunger causes him/her to act out in a way that is offensive and uncooperative and ‘the friend’ hands over and demands ‘the jerk’ to eat the Snickers©. And the candy bar restores everything to as it should be. What a friend. I am definitely not advocating having candy as a meal or in between to keep peace. HA. Jesus fasted from food AND water for forty days before there was even an attempt to cause Him to act out of character. But it is the Holy Spirit that is THAT friend AND the thing to guide and support us in our interactions and activities. How often are we too quick with our retorts? How often do we get the convictions after we threaten, cut, hurt, ignore or whatever we do to save face or protect our feelings?

Do we realize we are treating God with this impetuosity and instability? It isn’t that you are hungry or tired or inconvenienced. It is a maturity thing….a freedom thing.

JERKISM

What is a jerk?
1. Being a jerk means being selfish
2. Being a jerk means exhibiting any selfish thoughts or behavior that are ultimately harmful to someone
3. A Jerk is anyone who selfishly uses or abuses human beings or any one of God’s creation in any way, shape or form

We are all jerks.

What is the root cause of jerkiness?
• The root cause is a sense of selfish entitlement that is inborn and learned (babies come into the world as jerks)
• “I deserve to act, be or have what I want when and where I want it”
• Instead of talking about ‘my responsibilities’ we say “my rights”

Are you a jerk?
Jerkiness is old fashion narcissism.
Self-centeredness
“selfishness”
1st degree jerks – mild to moderate selfishness; no harm intended
2nd degree jerks – serious to acute selfishness purposely; manipulate with guild
Nth degree jerks – severe to sociopathic selfishness; enjoys using and abusing others with no guilt
Sociopathic – the tendency to selfishly use and abuse others; knowingly or unknowingly

How to escape the Jerk Trap:
1. You must be born again
2. Study, believe, become and apply the Word of God
3. Become more like Jesus Christ
4. Seek first the Kingdom of God
5. Live one day at a time

New Life
Colossians 2
• :6 So live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him.
o Just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord…(you were not forced, it was voluntary)
• YOU MUST…
• :7,8 Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught. See to it that nobody enslaves you with philosophy and foolish deception, which conform to human traditions and the way the world thinks and acts rather than Christ.
1. Continue to live in obedience
2. Grow (if the roots aren’t right, the fruit won’t be right)
3. Be nourished (ingest regularly God’s Word)
4. Increase in faith (don’t run from the same stuff as before)
5. Be thankful
6. Not be misled

Living a New Life
Colossians 3
• :1 Therefore, if you were raised with Christ, look for the things that are above where Christ is sitting at God’s right side.
o …since you have been raised to new life with Christ…..
1. Set your signs on heavenly standards
2. Let heaven fill your thoughts
3. Don’t be common
4. Put to death sin
5. Reject sinful involvements
6. Don’t be greedy
7. Get rid of sick beliefs
8. Don’t lie
9. Be renewed
10. Know that Christ is all that matters

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED

Contentment is satisfaction, having ease of mind.
What/who motivates you? What speaks to you to cause you to seek something else, something more?
Is it comfort? Is it convenience? Is it comparison? For me, it could be any of those at a given moment. Schedules, budgets and the considerations of others all get impacted.

When you get the relationship change; you get the job/budget change; you get the titles/credentials; you get the thing, the stuff, the feeling, your way…..the contentment doesn’t last. Does it? Those things will become outdated or broken or insignificant/inconsequential; but definitely all will burn up.

When there is a spark of discontent, these other things are immediately inventoried. I should FIRST look at my alignment with God, His Word, my walk in Christ, my engagement with the Holy Spirit. For me (for any of us) to be satisfied with the spiritual life just as it is at this point is simple laziness, rebellion or perhaps unbelief of who I am and should be in Christ. Putting up blinders or playing the ignorance card is what Pastor calls a ‘ghetto mindset’. This was shared in an earlier post – sense of entitlement, victim mentality, blame game, hopelessness and haplessness. We use these excuses with ourselves and actually God when we seem satisfied just where we are spiritually. Let us not confuse peace and freedom with getting what we want (when, where and how we want).

Do I need to wait until I am in a circumstance to recognize my discontent with my spirituality?
Do I need to wait until I hear the Word from the pulpit on Sunday or Wednesday to recognize I am grieving the Spirit?

Peace and freedom afford contentment. Peace and freedom are what God provides through spiritual maturation.

STATES OF MATURITY
1. Baby Christian
a. A new born Christian is not spiritual
b. Even church members can be carnal, being only babes in Christ (1Corinthians 3:1-4) – such Christians are jealous of one another and quarrel with one another instead of solving problems with different “weapons” (2 Corinthians 10:4) to serve God’s purposes, destroy human arguments and human divisions, and bring glory to Christ
c. 2 Corinthians 10:1-8 I, Paul, make a personal request to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ. I’m shy when I’m with you, but I’m bossy when I’m away from you! 2 I beg you that when I’m with you in person, I won’t have to boss you around. I’m afraid that I may have to use that kind of behavior with those people who think we live by human standards. 3 Although we live in the world, we don’t fight our battles with human methods. 4 Our weapons that we fight with aren’t human, but instead they are powered by God for the destruction of fortresses. They destroy arguments, 5 and every defense that is raised up to oppose the knowledge of God. They capture every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 Once your obedience is complete, we are ready to punish any disobedience. 7 Look at what is right in front of you! If anyone is sure about belonging to Christ, that person should think again. We belong to Christ just like that person. 8 Even if I went on to brag about our authority, I wouldn’t be ashamed of it. The Lord gave us that authority to build you up and not to destroy you.
2. Carnal Christian
a. Carnal is anything related to the fleshly or worldly appetites and desires rather than to the Godly and spiritual desires
b. Been around long enough but unwilling to yield; estranged from God and prone to sin; whatever in the soul is week and tends toward ungodliness
c. Romans 1:28-32 Since they didn’t think it was worthwhile to acknowledge God, God abandoned them to a defective mind to do inappropriate things. 29 So they were filled with all injustice, wicked behavior, greed, and evil behavior. They are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, deception, and malice. They are gossips, 30 they slander people, and they hate God. They are rude and proud, and they brag. They invent ways to be evil, and they are disobedient to their parents. 31 They are without understanding, disloyal, without affection, and without mercy. 32 Though they know God’s decision that those who persist in such practices deserve death, they not only keep doing these things but also approve others who practice them.
d. Carnality causes include:
i. Corrupt motives – John 6:26-27
ii. Failure to see the cross – Luke 22:33-37
iii. Living after the flesh – Romans 8:12-13
iv. Twofold – John 13:36-38
v. Commitment of the carnal – Matthew 26:51-52
e. Results of carnality include:
i. A divided church – 1 Corinthians 1:10-21
ii. A struggling soul – Romans 7:14-25
iii. Death – Romans 6:23, 8:5-8, 12-13
iv. Deformation and stymied growth thus remaining a babe in Christ – 1 Corinthians 3:1-2
v. Dullness of hearing – Hebrews 5:11
vi. Falling and failing – Luke 22:33-37, Hebrews 6:9-20
vii. Grieving the Lord – Mark 9:19-22
viii. Has be to be treated as a babe in Christ – 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, Hebrews 5:11-6:3
ix. Hurting and cutting a minister – 2 Corinthians 2:3-4
x. Self –deception – 1 Corinthians 3:18-23
xi. Works shall be burned up in the judgment – 1 Corinthians 3:13-15
3. Back Slider Christian
a. Longer time Christians may be deficient in their yielding to the Spirit
b. You can back slide in certain areas but be steadfast and committed to others
c. Backsliding is:
i. Turning from God 1 – Kings 11:9
ii. Leaving the first love – Revelation 2:4
iii. Departing from the simplicity of the gospel – 2 Corinthians 11:3; Galatians 3:1-3; Galatians 5:4,7
d. Results of backsliding include:
i. A failing faith – Luke 22:21-32
ii. A shipwrecked faith – 1 Timothy 1:19
iii. Being immature – Hebrews 5:11-6:2
iv. Being offended by Christ – Matthew 26:31-35; Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:27-31
v. Compromising and being permissive – Revelation 2:18-29
vi. Denying Christ – Matthew 26:31-34, 54-62; Mark 14-27-31; Luke 22:31-34, 54-62; John 13:36-38, 15-18, 25-27
vii. Drifting away – Hebrews 2:1-4
viii. Falling away – Hebrews 5:11-6:8
ix. Hardening one’s heart, depravity – Hebrews 3:7-19
x. Loving the world – 2 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:15-16
xi. Missing God’s rest – Hebrews 12:14-17
xii. Satan sifting as wheat – Luke 22:31-32
xiii. Withdrawing from the church – Hebrews 10:25
xiv. Flailing – Romans 6:1-2, 7:14-25; Galatians 1:6-9; Hebrews 10:26-39; 1 John 5:16; Rev. 2:4-6
e. The flesh may control the period of backsliding, but when coming back to the Lord the growth process doesn’t have to start at zero
f. Colossians 2 I want you to know how much I struggle for you, for those in Laodicea, and for all who haven’t known me personally. 2 My goal is that their hearts would be encouraged and united together in love so that they might have all the riches of assurance that come with understanding, so that they might have the knowledge of the secret plan[a] of God, namely Christ. 3 All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him. 4 I’m telling you this so that no one deceives you with convincing arguments, 5 because even though I am absent physically, I’m with you in spirit. I’m happy to see the discipline and stability of your faith in Christ.6 So live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him. 7 Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught. 8 See to it that nobody enslaves you with philosophy and foolish deception, which conform to human traditions and the way the world thinks and acts rather than Christ. 9 All the fullness of deity lives in Christ’s body. 10 And you have been filled by him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11 You were also circumcised by him. This wasn’t performed by human hands—the whole body was removed through this circumcision by Christ. 12 You were buried with him through baptism and raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead because of the things you had done wrong and because your body wasn’t circumcised, God made you alive with Christ and forgave all the things you had done wrong. 14 He destroyed the record of the debt we owed, with its requirements that worked against us. He canceled it by nailing it to the cross. 15 When he disarmed the rulers and authorities, he exposed them to public disgrace by leading them in a triumphal parade. 16 So don’t let anyone judge you about eating or drinking or about a festival, a new moon observance, or sabbaths. 17 These religious practices are only a shadow of what was coming—the body that cast the shadow is Christ. 18 Don’t let anyone who wants to practice harsh self-denial and worship angels rob you of the prize. They go into detail about what they have seen in visions and have become unjustifiably arrogant by their selfish way of thinking. 19 They don’t stay connected to the head. The head nourishes and supports the whole body through the joints and ligaments, so the body grows with a growth that is from God. 20 If you died with Christ to the way the world thinks and acts, why do you submit to rules and regulations as though you were living in the world? 21 “Don’t handle!” “Don’t taste!” “Don’t touch!” 22 All these things cease to exist when they are used. Such rules are human commandments and teachings. 23 They look like they are wise with this self-made religion and their self-denial by the harsh treatment of the body, but they are no help against indulging in selfish immoral behavior.
g. Colossians 3 Therefore, if you were raised with Christ, look for the things that are above where Christ is sitting at God’s right side. 2 Think about the things above and not things on earth. 3 You died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. 5 So put to death the parts of your life that belong to the earth, such as sexual immorality, moral corruption, lust, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6 The wrath of God is coming upon disobedient people because of these things. 7 You used to live this way, when you were alive to these things. 8 But now set aside these things, such as anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene language. 9 Don’t lie to each other. Take off the old human nature with its practices 10 and put on the new nature, which is renewed in knowledge by conforming to the image of the one who created it. 11 In this image there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all things and in all people. 12 Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. 14 And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. 16 The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him. 18 Wives, submit to your husbands in a way that is appropriate in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and don’t be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, because this pleases the Lord. 21 Parents, don’t provoke your children in a way that ends up discouraging them. 22 Slaves, obey your masters on earth in everything. Don’t just obey like people pleasers when they are watching. Instead, obey with the single motivation of fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people. 24 You know that you will receive an inheritance as a reward. You serve the Lord Christ. 25 But evildoers will receive their reward for their evil actions. There is no discrimination.

1 Corinthians 3 – Brothers and sisters, I couldn’t talk to you like spiritual people but like unspiritual people, like babies in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink instead of solid food, because you weren’t up to it yet. 3 Now you are still not up to it because you are still unspiritual. When jealousy and fighting exist between you, aren’t you unspiritual and living by human standards? 4 When someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and someone else says, “I belong to Apollos,” aren’t you acting like people without the Spirit?
• :1 – Talk to you not as an adult but a baby
• :2 – saints must be sensitive
• :3 – you are still controlled by your flesh
• :4 – it doesn’t matter what church you go to

These are stages of growth within maturity
• Romans 12:2 Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.
Stages of Maturity Growth

• We are born using our head and head.
• Our head needs a new birth so that our heart is now involved.

Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.
• People you hang around should exhibit this scripture

John 15:1, 2 – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit.
• The storms I go through are not compared to those of the heathen.
• I am pruned instead of destroyed

John 15: 4, 5 – Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything.
• Your growth rate is your willingness to submit
Growth Rate with Willingness to Submit
Sanctification involves not being carnal and not backsliding
• Abstaining from fleshly lusts – 1 Peter 2:11-12
• Being spiritual minded – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
• Prayer – 2 Corinthians 13:7-10
• Taking precautions against carnality – Hebrews 6:9-20,12:1
• Power of the Spirit – Romans 8:1-17, 12-13; Romans 7:14-17; 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:14; Hebrews 5:11-6:3
• Doing no evil 2 Corinthians 13:7
• Fighting and warring against carnality – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
• Praying and fasting – Mark 9:28-29
• Purging our carnality – 1 Corinthians 5:7
• Watching and standing fast – 1 Corinthians 16:13
• Not being corrupted under a man’s ministry; lukewarm – Revelations 3:14-22
• Address spiritual immaturity – 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; Hebrews 5:11-6:3
• Address the carnal mind of mind – Romans 8:5-8
• Address the natural, fleshly nature of man – Romans 7:14-17
• Heeding advice for drifters – Hebrews 10:32-39
• Not to turn back – Galatians 4:8-11
• Restoration – Galatians 6:1-5; James 5:19-20

Does Your Attendance Count?

Some of us earned the ‘Perfect Attendance’ award at the end of school years not because of how happy we were to walk into that academic building and soak in all the knowledge available, but because we had parents who truly believed if bodily fluids stayed in for 10 seconds or no limbs disappeared, school attendance was a must. The tardy and absentee counts were monitored as closely as the grades reflected on a report card. A student just showing up to school meant so many things to different people. The community anticipates future citizens and their contributions. The school got money just for the warm bodies present. Many of the parents/guardians expected scholarship and leadership progress while others just wanted compliance. And for each student, the motive changes with the day and opportunity – security, significance, acceptance or to compare, compete, control. The right attitude or focus helps the time pass by AND we actually get something out of attending.

Just showing up is often used to track commitment, loyalty, belief in the program or worth of a program. If no one shows up it gets cancelled, right? Well…not always, so sometimes attendance is used as a passive/aggressive way to express satisfaction or acceptance. Our motives and our priorities are reflected in our attendance. Do I go just for show? Or do I go to get more?

The point?

I fool myself if I think by just attending and hoping for growth it will happen. Maturity and freedom are not automatic or received through osmosis as we age. It doesn’t happen just because conditions or circumstances change over a course of time. And trial and error will wear us out unnecessarily. Effort is required on my part in engaging my heart, mind and body to progress. I won’t run a mile if I cannot walk for 15 minutes. I won’t get a space cleaned walking past it or just talking about it. Relationship, job, education, goal fulfillment just won’t happen without continuous effort through completion.

All of these sound good and can be important but once you accept Jesus as your personal savior AND you acknowledge God as THE source of life, freedom, success, wisdom, contentment….THEN we should be on a quest to know AND do what that means. Right? If not, then we are speaking volumes what our priority or belief really is. We hope our attendance says one thing, but we work on the other thing. We hope we will suddenly lose a taste for whatever holds us. We hope somehow, someway there is a switch on the 100th day of attendance – like the 100th customer coming through the line and the balloons, confetti, music, cheers and fat oversized check come out with a surprise. Whew!!!

To believe the Bible (And I do. Don’t you?) …we see example after example after example of folk in attendance but longing for something else.
• Adam was JUST THERE. He wasn’t even in the conversation.
• Lot’s wife was ON THE ROAD to safety and JUST WANTED to see what she was leaving.
• Judas was present WITH THE LORD and yet he chose to be THAT GUY. Now without Christ’s sacrifice I would be outside of God’s family….but to be THAT GUY.
Selah.

life growth timeline b
Rate x Time = Distance
R x T = D
If my travel rate is 50 miles an hour and I travel for an entire hour then my distance will be 50 miles.

Time does not produce maturity.

• Time AND diligence in applying, studying AND obeying God’s Word will result in maturity.

• If you want to accelerate in maturity, you must totally commit to giving God total control of every aspect of your life.

• Spirituality is a grown up relation to the Holy Spirit. The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

Hebrews 5
Every high priest is taken from the people and put in charge of things that relate to God for their sake, in order to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 The high priest is able to deal gently with the ignorant and those who are misled since he himself is prone to weakness. 3 Because of his weakness, he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as for the people. 4 No one takes this honor for themselves but takes it only when they are called by God, just like Aaron.
5 In the same way Christ also didn’t promote himself to become high priest. Instead, it was the one who said to him, You are my Son. Today I have become your Father,
6 as he also says in another place, You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.[a]
7 During his days on earth, Christ offered prayers and requests with loud cries and tears as his sacrifices to the one who was able to save him from death. He was heard because of his godly devotion. 8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. 9 After he had been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for everyone who obeys him. 10 He was appointed by God to be a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
11 We have a lot to say about this topic, and it’s difficult to explain, because you have been lazy and you haven’t been listening. 12 Although you should have been teachers by now, you need someone to teach you an introduction to the basics about God’s message. You have come to the place where you need milk instead of solid food. 13 Everyone who lives on milk is not used to the word of righteousness, because they are babies. 14 But solid food is for the mature, whose senses are trained by practice to distinguish between good and evil.

• You cannot physically grow up if you ignore certain muscles.

• God wants us to grow up in Christ.

Ephesians 4
Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. 2 Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, 3 and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. 4 You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.
7 God has given his grace to each one of us measured out by the gift that is given by Christ. 8 That’s why scripture says, When he climbed up to the heights, he captured prisoners, and he gave gifts to people.[a]
9 What does the phrase “he climbed up” mean if it doesn’t mean that he had first gone down into the lower regions, the earth? 10 The one who went down is the same one who climbed up above all the heavens so that he might fill everything.
11 He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. 12 His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ 13 until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we aren’t supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. 15 Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, 16 who is the head. The whole body grows from him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does their part.
The old and new life
17 So I’m telling you this, and I insist on it in the Lord: you shouldn’t live your life like the Gentiles anymore. They base their lives on pointless thinking, 18 and they are in the dark in their reasoning. They are disconnected from God’s life because of their ignorance and their closed hearts. 19 They are people who lack all sense of right and wrong, and who have turned themselves over to doing whatever feels good and to practicing every sort of corruption along with greed.
20 But you didn’t learn that sort of thing from Christ. 21 Since you really listened to him and you were taught how the truth is in Jesus, 22 change the former way of life that was part of the person you once were, corrupted by deceitful desires. 23 Instead, renew the thinking in your mind by the Spirit 24 and clothe yourself with the new person created according to God’s image in justice and true holiness.
25 Therefore, after you have gotten rid of lying, Each of you must tell the truth to your neighbor[b] because we are parts of each other in the same body. 26 Be angry without sinning.[c] Don’t let the sun set on your anger. 27 Don’t provide an opportunity for the devil. 28 Thieves should no longer steal. Instead, they should go to work, using their hands to do good so that they will have something to share with whoever is in need.
29 Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say. 30 Don’t make the Holy Spirit of God unhappy—you were sealed by him for the day of redemption. 31 Put aside all bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil. 32 Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.

I Corinthians 4:15
You may have ten thousand mentors in Christ, but you don’t have many fathers. I gave birth to you in Christ Jesus through the gospel

HELLO. My Name Is…..

I have trust issues.

There, I have said it.

Admission is the first step.

Circumstances and feelings have ruled my days for the longest. The hurts and disappointments, the close calls, the broken promises and lies, the inconveniences and the wasted energies, the got out of hands were land mines I planted for future relationships and interactions. It wasn’t that pay backs were being planned. It was more of how do I ‘fix me’ so that future experiences are not such a surprise or as painful so that I make each day as comfortable or successful as I can. At times, conviction would swell in me about responding in a way to hurt or shame the accused, so I reduce it to self-soothing, curtness and a hardening heart. Although I presumed I am protecting me, I am actually MORE vulnerable and distanced from God. I am not trusting HIM to protect me. I am looking at my circumstance to define if God loves and provides for me. I cannot say from where the thought came that God is about forcing the elements to bring me happiness or that I can only serve when I am happy. Not only that, I am seeping in poison. Whether I choose to maim someone when there is a blow up or it is more like killing ‘em softly like the continual intake of sugar, salt, processed foods, and hydrogenated oils –there is a diagnosis lying in wait or it be just may be too late and the damage is final. Fear and pride drive trust issues and feed the coping and fixing.

Trust is a faith walk. Not how to make it sound right. Not about who or how many agree with or feel me. Not about how I handle things to survive. Trust by faith cannot become a habit unless it is practiced, consistently practiced – not reserved for certain circumstances or the right conditions. Otherwise, my peace and focus yo-yo. Not submitting to one’s own survival instincts feels like self-mutilation or Russian roulette or suicide. Feelings surely are strong and convincing and deceiving. AND I cannot compare my track record with someone else’s to feel better or worse about myself…..those feelings driving behavior again. Ezekiel 33:12-20. Being more responsive to someone else being inconsiderate is delaying MY opportunity to mature in Christ. I am pretending someone else is in more need. I love catching myself in mid attitude breaking into the song “It’s me-e-e, Ohhhh Lord….”.

I am not a Star Wars fan, but there is a quote so applicable from the character Yoda. “Do or do not. There is no try.” Each time I DO walk by the Spirit, I am not trusting in myself. Each time I DO walk by the Spirit, my circumstances are not by which I am defined, but my faith is. It isn’t about who hears or sees or what they hear or see. Then it is fear and pride again. It is not about comparing my steps to another person’s steps or the perfect alignment with another person’s. The Word provides example after example of those who do by faith – no details of guilt, force, or an immediate reward promised. It is just that we can now read what the results were.
• Joshua 2:1-21 Rehab, a prostitute, acted only by what she heard of God and became part of the family line from which Jesus was born
• Joshua 3:15-17 priests obediently carried the chest to the Jordan banks without a hint of dry land
• Ezra 3:3 the people of Israel were released from a takeover for the sole purpose to rebuild God’s temple and they did so even though they were afraid of the people who occupied their areas
• Job a man purposely tested and continued to honor God
• John 6:9-12 a young person gave up a small lunch that became a feeding miracle
• The disciples leaving their families and livelihoods to follow Jesus

What results are we (our homes, our children, our ministry, our communities) missing out on because of a lack of trust?

REVIEW
• Premise: Genuine and wholesome spirituality is the goal of all Christian Living
• Philosophy/Principle: I Corinthians 2; Ephesians 5

1. Regeneration or new birth is required before you can walk in the Spirit
2. The Holy Spirit is preeminently involved in the Spirit walk
3. To be filled with the Spirit means to be controlled by the Spirit
4. The Spirit walk is a process
5. Rate multiplies by time equals distance

• Psalms 1 – The truly happy person doesn’t follow wicked advice, doesn’t stand on the road of sinners, and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful.2 Instead of doing those things, these persons love the LORD’s Instruction, and they recite God’s Instruction day and night!3 They are like a tree replanted by streams of water, which bears fruit at just the right time and whose leaves don’t fade. Whatever they do succeeds.4 That’s not true for the wicked!
They are like dust that the wind blows away.5 And that’s why the wicked will have no standing in the court of justice—neither will sinners in the assembly of the righteous.6 The LORD is intimately acquainted with the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is destroyed.
• Ephesians 5:1-11 – Therefore, imitate God like dearly loved children. 2 Live your life with love, following the example of Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us. He was a sacrificial offering that smelled sweet to God.
3 Sexual immorality, and any kind of impurity or greed, shouldn’t even be mentioned among you, which is right for holy persons. 4 Obscene language, silly talk, or vulgar jokes aren’t acceptable for believers. Instead, there should be thanksgiving. 5 Because you know for sure that persons who are sexually immoral, impure, or greedy—which happens when things become gods—those persons won’t inherit the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Nobody should deceive you with stupid ideas. God’s anger comes down on those who are disobedient because of this kind of thing. 7 So you shouldn’t have anything to do with them. 8 You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, so live your life as children of light. 9 Light produces fruit that consists of every sort of goodness, justice, and truth. 10 Therefore, test everything to see what’s pleasing to the Lord, 11 and don’t participate in the unfruitful actions of darkness. Instead, you should reveal the truth about them.
• Ephesians 5:12 – It’s embarrassing to even talk about what certain persons do in secret.
o Don’t even talk about the sins of others
• Ephesians 5:13-14 – But everything exposed to the light is revealed by the light. Everything that is revealed by the light is light. Therefore, it says, “Wake up, sleeper! Get up from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
o Folk ought to get uncomfortable around you; and you are not to be holier than thou but thankful for grace, mercy
• Ephesians 5:15 – So be careful to live your life wisely, not foolishly.
o Don’t do wrong to just get along
• Ephesians 5:16-17 – Take advantage of every opportunity because these are evil times. Because of this, don’t be ignorant, but understand the Lord’s will.
o Engage your brain before engaging your mouth, hands, feet
• Ephesians 5:18 – Don’t get drunk on wine, which produces depravity. Instead, be filled with the Spirit in the following ways:
o You are guided and directed by demonic forces which will wreck your life
• Ephesians 5:19-21 – speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts; always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; and submit to each other out of respect for Christ
o If you are Spirit filled, controlled by the Spirit, you will submit to another out of reverence for Christ not another’s position
• Ephesians 5:22-33 – For example, wives should submit to their husbands as if to the Lord. 23 A husband is the head of his wife like Christ is head of the church, that is, the savior of the body. 24 So wives submit to their husbands in everything like the church submits to Christ. 25 As for husbands, love your wives just like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. 26 He did this to make her holy by washing her in a bath of water with the word. 27 He did this to present himself with a splendid church, one without any sort of stain or wrinkle on her clothes, but rather one that is holy and blameless. 28 That’s how husbands ought to love their wives—in the same way as they do their own bodies. Anyone who loves his wife loves himself. 29 No one ever hates his own body, but feeds it and takes care of it just like Christ does for the church 30 because we are parts of his body. 31 This is why a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two of them will be one body.[a] 32 Marriage is a significant allegory,[b] and I’m applying it to Christ and the church. 33 In any case, as for you individually, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and wives should respect[c] their husbands.
o You must be filled with the Spirit (controlled by the Spirit) in order to fulfill this chapter

Problems raining on people

Feelings are shadows. When you get feelings….as long as you don’t act on that negative feeling, you are still under the umbrella of God.

The Spirit walk is a process not an event.
• Hebrews 5:11-14 – We have a lot to say about this topic, and it’s difficult to explain, because you have been lazy and you haven’t been listening. 12 Although you should have been teachers by now, you need someone to teach you an introduction to the basics about God’s message. You have come to the place where you need milk instead of solid food. 13 Everyone who lives on milk is not used to the word of righteousness, because they are babies. 14 But solid food is for the mature, whose senses are trained by practice to distinguish between good and evil.

• Hebrews 6:1 – So let’s press on to maturity, by moving on from the basics about Christ’s word. Let’s not lay a foundation of turning away from dead works, of faith in God

Improvising or Real Growth?

We seek professional guidance for our education, careers, jobs, hobbies, interests, health, justice and appearance – for whenever we have a goal in mind. We want a sure fire thing. We want the best route and an easy one is bonus. We go to accredited people or organizations to earn degrees, certifications, credits, plans of action or titles of specialty. These credentials may help in getting started or a boost, but it is the actual practice over time where you discover and display the knowhow, expertise and reap the benefits. Right?

When we get tired or don’t see the results we expected by a certain time we take a break or change course or find new guidance or just say ‘done’. Sometimes we are reminded of what was unfinished when opportunities pass because of the ‘missing paper’ or time reveals the lack of discipline in our health and lifestyle. And other times, we are thankful and relieved for the course change. Can’t remember why we started in the first place?

These professional and personal goals and accomplishments show moments in our lives. I am all about goals and checklists. But if I am not careful there is almost a sense of desperation if it isn’t working out as I expected. Attitudes and interactions get all skewed. There are long stints of frustration and fix it attempts. I start to major in the minors (like events, circumstance, feelings and setbacks) and treating the majors (like faith, God’s will and relationships) like minors. SIDE NOTE: Reiterated in this week’s New Living Bible Study class a person can become prideful with a long string of success and accomplishments which can potentially lead you to take on what you shouldn’t and do/speak outside of God’s will. See II Chronicles 26, Proverbs 18:12, 13, Proverbs 16:18, Proverbs 16:9, Deuteronomy 32:13-15. Pastor says to be constantly mindful of who and whose you are and recognize God in all of it.

What WILL show achievements and accomplishments in maturity? Freedom? Growth? Character? This is where lives, homes, families, communities, generations are actually impacted. Credentialed or not, idols and false foundations will have me compromising and inconsistent.

There is no paper to certify or prove that personal achievement. Age does not guarantee it. Just having the knowledge is just that – knowing better. But that is the first step – to know. It has to be truth. Perhaps this is confused with legal or acceptable or even desirable. Just because it is legal, tolerated or just simply my will, it does not equate with truth or freedom.

Who/what is the sure fire guide with unfaltering credentials to guide me… guide us through each day of our lives? Not look the part or speak the part when certain folk are around or when I think it counts or not a circumstantial thing but is ingrained.

It is revealed you must have the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

Nothing says the means by which the Spirit teaches us. It may be in meditation, teachers in the church, books, etc. but it is the Spirit of God that does the teaching no matter how. You can’t know truth outside the Spirit of God.

John 16:12:15
• 12 “I have much more to say to you, but you can’t handle it now. 13 However, when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you in all truth. He won’t speak on his own, but will say whatever he hears and will proclaim to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and proclaim it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is mine. That’s why I said that the Spirit takes what is mine and will proclaim it to you.
1 Corinthians 2:12-12
• 10 God has revealed these things to us through the Spirit. The Spirit searches everything, including the depths of God. 11 Who knows a person’s depths except their own spirit that lives in them? In the same way, no one has known the depths of God except God’s Spirit. 12 We haven’t received the world’s spirit but God’s Spirit so that we can know the things given to us by God.

The concept of spirituality is seldom defined. What are the attributes or requirements? Faith is what you know and believe about God, His Word and you. Believe includes the component DO.

There are many born again people who are in bondage and don’t know or have knowledge of the Spirit. Being born again doesn’t free you from bondage.
Ephesians 2:1-10
• At one time you were like a dead person because of the things you did wrong and your offenses against God. 2 You used to act like most people in our world do. You followed the rule of a destructive spiritual power. This is the spirit of disobedience to God’s will that is now at work in persons whose lives are characterized by disobedience. 3 At one time you were like those persons. All of you used to do whatever felt good and whatever you thought you wanted so that you were children headed for punishment just like everyone else.
• 4-5 However, God is rich in mercy. He brought us to life with Christ while we were dead as a result of those things that we did wrong. He did this because of the great love that he has for us. You are saved by God’s grace! 6 And God raised us up and seated us in the heavens with Christ Jesus. 7 God did this to show future generations the greatness of his grace by the goodness that God has shown us in Christ Jesus.
• 8 You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith.[a] This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. 9 It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. 10 Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.

Growth Life Timeline Chart

I Corinthians 2:15 – Spiritual people comprehend everything, but they themselves aren’t understood by anyone.
When do you get the mind of Christ – spirituality?
• Romans 12:2 – Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.
• Although the heart is fixed once you confess Christ, your mind isn’t fixed
o Psalm 1:1-6 – The truly happy person doesn’t follow wicked advice, doesn’t stand on the road of sinners, and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful.2 Instead of doing those things,
these persons love the LORD’s Instruction, and they recite God’s Instruction day and night!3 They are like a tree replanted by streams of water, which bears fruit at just the right time and whose leaves don’t fade. Whatever they do succeeds.4 That’s not true for the wicked! They are like dust that the wind blows away.5 And that’s why the wicked will have no standing in the court of justice—neither will sinners in the assembly of the righteous.6 The LORD is intimately acquainted with the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is destroyed.
• The mind of Christ can only be procured if the Word of God is read, studied, heard.

Genuine spirituality involves
1. Regeneration (new life in Christ) – transformation is through God – John 3
2. The Holy Spirit is involved in producing spirituality by putting God first – Matthew 6:33