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YOU ARE BORN TO SHINE

2 Corithians Chapter 4 verse 6

LETS WORSHIP TOGETHER

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Friday, June 26 2015

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION:

Last week we considered the place of listening to our hearts; but not just any heart but the regenerated heart as Christians.  We learnt, according to the Bible, that the heart is the centre not only of spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life.
In today’s study we will be looking at how to train our spirits. The Lord enlightens us and guides us through our spirits. It is therefore very important that we become more spirit-conscious. We need to become more conscious of the fact that we are spirit beings, and not just mental or physical beings. We need to train our spirits so they will become safer guides. One thing which has held back the Christian world as a whole is that we are more physical-conscious (body-conscious) and more mental-conscious (soul-conscious) than we are spirit-conscious. We have developed the body and the soul, but we have left the spirit almost untouched.
Our spirits can be educated just as our minds can be educated; and can be built up in strength and trained just as our bodies can be built and trained.

Four rules by which we can train and develop our spirits.
1. Meditate On the Word
2. Practice the Word
3. Giving the Word first place
4. Instantly obeying the voice of your spirit

1. MEDITATE ON THE WORD OF GOD
Most deeply spiritual men and women give time to meditation in the Word of God. We cannot develop spiritual wisdom without meditation. God made that fact known to Joshua just after the death of Moses at the very beginning of Joshua's ministry in Joshua 1:8

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Another version of the last phrase says: "... you shall be able to deal wisely in the affairs of life."
We will know how to deal wisely in the affairs of life when we meditate in the Word of God and walk in the light of that Word. If we ever want to do anything great in life, if we ever want to amount to anything in life, we must take time to meditate in the Word of God. Start out with at least 10 or 15 minutes a day—then increase the time. The Hebrew word translated meditate also carries this thought with it: To mutter. Mutter the Word. We should therefore speak it to ourselves.

2. PRACTICE THE WORD
Practicing the Word means being a doer of the Word.
JAMES 1:22 says: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only....”

We have many "talkers about the Word," and even many "rejoicers about the Word," but we do not have many "doers of the Word."
Begin to practice being a doer of the Word by doing in all circumstances what the Word tells you to do. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another" (John 13:34).
A doer of the Word will do that. If you love someone, you won't steal from him. You won't lie about him. The New Testament says that love is the fulfilling of the law. If we walk in love we won't break any law which was given to curb sin.
Being a doer of the Word means that we are to do primarily what is written in it. They are the letters written to us, the Church. As an example of doing the Word, let us look at some instructions given us in one of the Epistles. Philippians 4:6 says:
“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
So let’s do that!
Mostly, we don't mind practicing part of this verse—the part that says to pray. But if we practice just that part and not the first part, we are not really practicing the Word—we are not really doers of the Word.
The Amplified translation of Philippians 4:6 begins with, "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything...." First we are told not to fret. If we are going to fret and have anxieties, it will do no good to make requests. That kind of praying does not work. An over-anxious prayer full of fretfulness does not work. It is possible to become so fretful over something that we cannot eat or sleep. But all we have to do is practice the Word and we will get results.
Philippians 4:7 which says: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” is a result of practicing Philippians 4:6.
Many of us want what verse 7 talks about—but we don't want to practice what verse 6 says to do to get it. The Amplified translation of verse 7 says, "And God's peace . . . which transcends all understanding, shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
God's peace will keep guard over our hearts and minds.
But we cannot reap these results and have this peace without being a doer of the Word! Verse 6 tells us not to fret. People who worry and fret, continually think on the wrong side of life. Verse 8 tells us what we are to think about. PHILIPPIANS 4:8
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Practice this verse. Think about the right things. On the contrary we continually worry and fret and think on the wrong side of life—and continually talk unbelief. A doer of the Word will not continue to talk unbelief. The more we talk about some things, the bigger they get. If something does not meet all of these qualifications—if it is not true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report—do not think about it and do not talk about it!

3. GIVE THE WORD FIRST PLACE
The training, the developing, the educating of our spirits comes by giving the Word of God first place in our lives. Proverbs 4:20-22:
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.  Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”
The margin of the King James says the word translated health is the Hebrew word for medicine. God's Word is "medicine to all their flesh." There is healing in the Word.
We should train ourselves to ask ourselves concerning any matter, "What does God's Word have to say about this?" We should ask ourselves what God has to say about anything that may come up in our life—and then put that Word first. Sometimes family and friends will try to rush us into things—but we need to think about what the Word of God says and put God's Word first in every area of our lives.

4. INSTANTLY OBEY THE VOICE OF YOUR SPIRIT
The human spirit has a voice. We call that voice conscience. Sometimes we call it intuition, an inner voice, or guidance. The world calls it a hunch. But what it is, is our spirits speaking to us. Every man's spirit, saved or unsaved, has a voice. The human spirit, as we have seen in previous studies, is a spiritual man, a spirit man, an inward hidden man. He is hidden to the physical senses. We cannot see him with the physical eyes, nor touch him with our physical hands. This is the man who has become a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). When a man is born again, his spirit becomes a new spirit.

It is worthy of note that meditation in the Word, practicing the Word, giving the Word first place, all come before obeying our spirits. You see, if our spirits have had the privilege of meditating in the Word, of practicing the Word, of putting the Word first—then our spirits become authoritative guides.
From Prov. 20:27, we know that our new-born spirit has within it the life and nature of God. The Holy Spirit dwells within our spirits. 1 John 4:4 says: "... greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." The Holy Spirit dwells in our spirits. God has to communicate with us through our spirits because that is where He is. Our spirit get information through Him. So we should learn to obey the voice of our spirits.
If we are not accustomed to doing that, of course, we will not get there quickly.

CONCLUSION
Our spirits can be built up and strengthened just as our bodies can be built up and strengthened. Our spirits can be educated just as our minds can be educated. But just as we did not begin school in the first grade one week and graduate from the twelfth grade the next week, our spirits will not be educated and trained overnight. However, if we will follow these four points and practice them, after a while we can know the will of God the Father even in the minor details of life. We will receive guidance and will always instantly get either a yes or a no. We will know in our spirits what we should do in all the affairs of life.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 05:10 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 19 2015

Contributor: Akin Akande

Introduction

Over the last few weeks, we have considered a number of unique ways God, at His prerogative, can guide believers: Guidance through spectacular means, guidance through prophecy and guidance through vision. We understand that we must not relegate those ways of God’s guidance since there are examples of such in both the new and old testaments. We are, however, cautioned not to be seeking those ways as the primary source of guidance. We, as children of God, must primarily depend on the Holy Spirit and the word of God for guidance. In particular, last week we mentioned the importance of being conscious that our angels are on guard.
This week, we shall consider the place of listening to our (regenerated) heart as Christians.
The Heart
The heart is what some consider being a mystery. According to Easton Bible dictionary:
According to the Bible, the heart is the centre not only of spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life. "Heart" and "soul" are often used interchangeably (Deut. 6:5; 26:16; Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30, 33), but this is not generally the case.
The heart is the "home of the personal life," and hence a man is designated, according to his heart, wise (1 Kings 3:12, etc.), pure (Ps. 24:4; Matt. 5:8, etc.), upright and righteous (Gen. 20:5, 6; Ps. 11:2; 78:72), pious and good (Luke 8:15), etc. In these and such passages the word "soul" could not be substituted for "heart."
The heart is also the seat of the conscience (Rom. 2:15). It is naturally wicked (Gen. 8:21), and hence it contaminates the whole life and character (Matt. 12:34; 15:18; Eccl. 8:11; Ps. 73:7). Hence the heart must be changed, regenerated (Ezek. 36:26; 11:19; Ps. 51:10- 14), before a man can willingly obey God.
The process of salvation begins in the heart by the believing reception of the testimony of God, while the rejection of that testimony hardens the heart (Ps. 95:8; Prov. 28:14; 2 Chr. 36:13). "Hardness of heart evidences itself by light views of sin; partial acknowledgment and confession of it; pride and conceit; ingratitude; unconcern about the word and ordinances of God; inattention to divine providences; stifling convictions of conscience; shunning reproof; presumption, and general ignorance of divine things.”
Simply put, it is the core of a regenerated Christian that God is able to work within and through.

Expounding on the Text
Paul did not say, "The Lord told me" that this voyage will be with much hurt and damage. He simply said, "I perceive" that it will. In his spirit, Paul had an inward perception, an inward premonition, and an inward witness that the voyage would be dangerous. This is the primary way God leads all of us.
Paul did not perceive it mentally. He did not have some kind of "vibration" or psychic experience. Spiritual perceptions are not in the psychic realm. You do not find psychic phenomenon in the Bible. Also, Paul did not perceive this physically. In his spirit (heart) he had a witness.
Lesson for us
The Holy Spirit abides in every (true) Christian and He communicates to us through our spirits (hearts) – not (directly) through our minds. That is why ones spirit knows things ones head doesn't know and therefore one must not be reluctant to follow ones heart. Like Paul, we must pay careful attention to those inward perceptions, inward premonitions, and inward witnesses. Don’t let them slip! Listen to them!
One of the reasons that we as Spirit-filled believers miss it, make mistakes, and fail is because our spirits, which should guide us, are kept locked away in prison, so to speak. Knowledge, or intellect, has taken the throne. Please note that there is nothing wrong with knowledge or intellect but we must submit them to our spirits through the Holy Spirit.
Any person who shuts his spirit away and never listens to it – because the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord – becomes crippled in life and becomes an easy prey to selfish and manipulative people.

Conclusion
One devotional says, “Many times we may sense a prompting from the Spirit, and we override that prompting. The result from this is that we miss God, and the opportunity He has provided us. Don’t feel bad, we all do this. What differentiates us from the world is the fact that we, as Christians, have the soft heart, but we have to work at keeping it pliable. When we sense those promptings, or if we hear Him speak to us, we need to be obedient immediately. The sooner we respond with obedience, the easier it becomes to do so. Before you know it, you will hear Him speaking to you all the time.”
If we, as individuals, had listened to our hearts – to an inward witness, or an inward voice – we would not have done some things we did. But just because we make a mistake, we must not quit. If you would just check up on your inside, in most of the affairs of life, you would know what to do.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 01:19 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, June 11 2015

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

INTRODUCTION
We treated the topic titled "Guidance Through Prophecy" during the last digging deep. We considered, among other things, the Office of the Prophets and the Gift of Prophecy. We also learnt how God uses the office of the Prophet to bless His people and more importantly, on the need not to build our lives around prophecy or being dependent on prophecy for guidance. We are encouraged to build our lives around the word of God by putting His word first since the office of the Prophet can be misused by false prophets.
 
This week we will be considering, through various scriptural references, another means of guidance that God (through His magnanimous nature) has provided for us His children. Guidance Through Vision.
                                                           
1.      Three Kinds of Vision
"There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”
[Acts 10:1-3]
 
•         Cornelius had a spiritual experience called a Vision.
•         He was a devout man but not born again. He didn't know Jesus Christ.
•         The angel who appeared to him could not preach the gospel because God did not call angels to preach. He called men (you and I) to do the preaching. The angel only told him how to go about finding someone to tell him how to be saved.
•         Cornelius saw an angel. Angels have the ability to take on a visible form. God gave them this ability - Hebrews 13:2
 
The three kinds of visions are;
 a)         SPIRITUAL VISION: In this case, you only see with the eyes of your spirit and     not your physical eye. A good example is Paul's experience on his way to      Damascus in Acts 9:8. Paul saw no man when his eyes were opened. It          therefore follows that whatever he saw was not with his physical eyes.
b)         TRANCE: Second type of vision is when one falls into a trance. Peter's        experience in Acts 10:9-11 is a very good example. The physical senses are      suspended in a trance. A person in a trance has no knowledge of his physical             location even though he is not unconscious. He is however more spiritual         conscious than he is physically.
c)         OPEN VISION: Pastor Hagin's testimony of Jesus walking into his room in El       Paso in 1959. His physical senses were intact and he was not in a trance. He      saw Jesus Christ with his physical eyes.
 
2.   Different types of Visions
Sometimes, visions can be symbolic in nature. In Acts 10:9-19, Peter's vision was symbolic in nature. He saw all manner of creeping things, both clean and unclean and had to think on the vision in order to understand it. The Spirit spoke to him as he thought upon this vision and instructed him to go with the three men. Things began to unfold to Peter after his obedience.
 
Philip's encounter in Acts 8:26-29 nullifies the myth that God only speaks to BIG Men of God. Such divine visitations in visions are for everyone who will desire such. Philip was not an apostle but was elected first a deacon (Acts 6:5) and then an evangelist (Acts 21:8).  It's sad knowing that quite a number of people have been robbed of such spiritual blessings of supernatural manifestations because of the belief that these are only reserved for selected people.
 
Acts 9:10-12 chronicles the encounter of Ananias. He was also not an apostle, neither was he a deacon. he was a disciple, what we call a layman. Yet mightily used of God. We should all put ourselves in a position where God can use us as He sees fit. We don't have to wait for a vision or angelic visitation before we do something for God. He may chose to give us a vision or not. He may also allow angelic visitation or not. It is God's prerogative.
 
We will conclude this teaching today by reading testimonies about two different encounters from the book How To Be Led By The Holy Spirit by Kenneth E. Hagin. (Pages 117-120) . These will hopefully;
 
•         Make us conscious (spiritually) about the ministry of Angels
•         Appreciate God for being so magnanimous enough to allow us have and enjoy the privilege of having this angelic ministry
•         Also appreciate the Awesomeness and thoughtfulness of our Father God.
 
 
CONCLUSION
Although God chooses to lead through visions and other supernatural manifestations, we are encouraged not to seek vision at all cost as this could get beyond the Word where the devil can deceive. It is often advisable to depend on a more direct word of guidance through the promptings of the Holy Spirit. However, if this is not available, we should not manufacture it. Visions happen, not when people were seeking them , but without anyone seeking them. If all we have is the leading through the inward witness, we should be content. But educate and train and develop your human spirit so that inward witness becomes more and more real to you. Then, if God sees it fit for supernatural visitations and manifestations, just thank God for them.Know that the angels of God are with you. Your angel is with you whether you ever see him or not.
 

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 04:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, May 28 2015

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

Introduction
Last week we treated an interesting topic – “Spectacular Guidance”. We learnt that God does guide through spectacular means! These may involve visions, dreams, through angels, etc. It is, however, important to note that such occurrences do not have to be every time. The primary means of God’s guidance for believers are through His word – the bible and the Holy Spirit bearing witness with our spirit. In this week’s study, we will consider one of the spectacular means of guidance - Guidance through Prophecy.

Text Review
Texts: 1 Corinthians 14.1 “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.”
1 Corinthians 12:29 “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
From our two texts we will notice that we have two different things operating: (1) the gift of prophecy; (2) the ministry of the prophet. These are different; and it will be a mistake to confuse the two. The fact that one prophesies does not make him a prophet. The Word of God plainly teaches that everyone should desire to prophesy (1 Cor. 14:1). The simple gift of prophecy is for speaking unto men for edification, and exhortation, and comfort. In this simple gift of prophecy there is no foretelling—no prediction whatsoever.

The Office of the Prophet
For one to be a prophet, he stands in that office and uses that ministry. Other spiritual gifts besides prophecy must operate in his ministry. In the ministry of the prophet there is foretelling and prediction. A prophet has the revelation gifts (the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, and/or the discerning of spirits) in operation along with prophecy.
• God speaks through prophets: “I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.” (Hosea 12:10);
• He reveals His plans to prophets: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7),
• He uses prophets to lead His people and to protect them: “And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved. (Hosea 12:13).
As wonderful as these are, we should not build our lives on prophecies or depend on prophecies for guidance. Instead, we should build our lives on the Word! Put the Word of God first and let those other things be secondary.

Why?
Firstly, if there are true prophets, we can expect false prophets in the last days. Matthew 24:24 says: “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
Secondly, we should realize that spiritual things can be misused just as natural things can be misused. Because 1 Corinthians 14:32 says: “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.”
For instance, there have been people who were once wealthy who are now bankrupt because they listened to someone prophesy how to invest their money. There have also been ministers who have lost their ministries because of wrong prophecies.
1 Kings Chapter 13 tells us of a man of God who was deceived by a prophet. In verse 18: “He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.”

The Gift of Prophecy
The gift of prophecy is a supernatural gift given to the body of Christ for edification, exhortation, and comfort. As long as the gift of prophecy stays in the realm of speaking to men for edification, exhortation, and comfort, it is wonderful. And should be encouraged. But there are instances where those who prophesy begin to believe they are prophets and begin to offer guidance out of ignorance. Another reason why we should be cautious about building our lives on prophecies or depending on prophecies for guidance.
We should be very careful about personal prophecies because so many lives have been shipwrecked and ruined by not being careful regarding personal prophecy. E.g. marrying someone because someone prophesied you should. Or going into the ministry because somebody prophesied you should. Get it on the inside of you for yourself. Then if a prophecy confirms what you already have, that's all right.
We have to judge personal prophecies by what we have in our own spirits. If we do not have something in our own spirits, along that line, caution should be exercised in accepting a personal prophecy.
The Holy Ghost said in Acts 13:2; "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them" He had already called them. This was just a confirmation of it.

Conclusion
The Spirit of God is perfect. The gifts of the Spirit in themselves are perfect. But they certainly are not always perfect in manifestation, because they are manifested through imperfect vessels. This is the reason prophecy and tongues with interpretation need to be judged by the Word. (1 Corinthians 14:29, 30.) Remember—if it does not bear witness, or confirm something you already have, caution should be exercised in accepting a personal prophecy.
It is very easy for babies to be misled and misguided; that is why we need to know these things. This knowledge helps us mature and grow out of being babies; making us aware that there’s one sure (major) way to be led and guided in this life and it is by the Spirit of God and His word. Romans 8:14 says: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
 

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 04:32 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, May 21 2015

Contributor: Akin Akande

Introduction:
Last week, we treated how we can tell whether it is our flesh or our spirit or the Holy Spirit instructing us to do something. Particularly, we saw that if your spirit is a new creature in Christ Jesus and old things have passed away and all things are become new, and your spirit has the life and nature of God in it and the Holy Spirit in it, and your spirit is in fellowship with God – it is not going to tell you to do something that is not right. Therefore listen to your spirit!
This week, we shall balance inward leading and/or leading via God’s word with spectacular experience for guidance. Essentially, we will attempt to answer the following questions: Does God guide through spectacular means? If yes, is it at believers’ request or at His prerogative? Should believers be seeking for such experiences? Are there examples in the New Testament church?
Early Church vs. Present Church
Sometimes many believers think that the early church is different from the present church. It is wrong! As a matter of fact, the present day church should experience what the early believers experienced since we have the same Holy Spirit as they had. Present day believers must not think that the early church had a lot more than we have. We only need the Person (Holy Spirit) behind all the great exploits that they enjoyed.
Spectacular Guidance
Spectacular: Beautiful in a dramatic and eye-catching way: striking, eye-catching, breathtaking, amazing, glorious, out of this world, etc

Guidance: Advice or information aimed at resolving a problem or difficulty, especially as given by someone in authority.

God does guide through spectacular means! (See examples during the early church in the next section). This might involve visions, dreams, through angels, etc. It is, however, important to note that such occurrences do not have to be every time. Infact, for many of the early believers, we only read about such phenomena once or twice in their lifetime. The primary means of God’s guidance for believers are through His word – the bible and the Holy Spirit bearing witness with our spirit
Rom. 8:14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God
As believers, we should not be seeking for a vision or for an angle to appear to us to be guided. There are no scriptures which say that we should. We do have a right to claim what the Bible promises. If God wants to send an angel, fine. If He wants to give a vision, fine.
Examples of Spectacular Guidance in the Early Church
1. Peter: Cornelius’ house in Acts 10: 9-23.
2. Philip: An encounter with an angel Acts 8:26-29.
3. Paul: Before king Agrippa in Acts 26: 13-19 and regarding the man of Macedonia in Acts 16: 6-10.
One very important thing to note in all these experiences is the synergy between the spectacular means and the Holy Spirit.
1. Peter: In Acts 11:12 when Peter was explaining his action, he said “ the Holy Spirit told me … “
2. Philip: In Acts 8:29, the Holy Spirit spoke.
3. Paul: In Acts 16: 6-7, there had been a connection between Paul/his companions and the Holy Spirit before the vision.
Kenneth’s example: As a young minister he did the same thing most Christians have done in the babyhood stage of their Christianity. He had heard people talking about visions and angels, and he prayed something like that would happen to him. It never did. Then as he matured spiritually so that he never expected it to happen. He did not pray that it would happen. He did not expect it. Guess what? He had a number of such visions/revelations! But it is not at his prerogative but at God’s.
Ministering to the Lord
In Acts 13:1-2, the Holy Spirit spoke. It would be of interest, first of all, to notice under what conditions the Holy Ghost said something. "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said...." We need similar services in our present day church where we gather solely to minister to the Lord. Too often we just minister to one another. Bible studies are good; we need them. Special singing is fine. But too many times we are not singing to the Lord; we are singing to the congregation. Let's have some services where we minister to the Lord; where we wait on Him. In that kind of an atmosphere the Holy Ghost can speak to us.
Conclusion
It has been emphasized during our studies this year that God guides believers primarily via inner witness and His words. This does not exclude the fact that God can still guide through spectacular means, if He wishes to do so. He is God! The wrong attitude will be that while God is trying to bear witness with our spirit, trying to guide us the way He said He would in His Word, we refuse to listen because we want breathtaking experiences such as a vision or an angel to appear or any spectacular means. Such can open up such individual to demonic experiences (2 Cor. 11:14).

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 05:12 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, May 17 2015

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION
To be led by the Great Shepherd; we need to be able to identify His voice. John 10: 4 says: “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice”. Also in verse 14, Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me”
Over the past few months we have been learning to understand how God speaks to us and more importantly that we obey when He does speak.
In today’s study we will be considering the topic “My Spirit, the Flesh or the Holy Spirit?” This is important because it is possible that we may have sometimes wondered "How one can tell whether it is their own spirit, or the Holy Spirit telling them to do something?"
We must have at some time thought to ourselves: "But it may just be me wanting to do it."

First let’s define the terms.
If by "me" you mean the flesh, of course you should not obey the flesh over the spirit.
But if by "me" you mean the inward man, the real you, then it is all right to obey the inward man. Go ahead and do what he wants you to do because it will align with the will of God.
If your spirit is a new creature in Christ Jesus and old things have passed away and all things are become new, and your spirit has the life and nature of God in it and the Holy Spirit in it, and your spirit is in fellowship with God—it is not going to tell you to do something that is not right. If you are a Spirit-filled Christian, your inward man has the Holy Spirit in His fullness—not in a measure, but in His fullness—making His home in you. It is not the inward man of the Christian that wants to do wrong—it is the outward man.
You ought to be able to tell whether it is the flesh wanting to do something, or the spirit.
Here is a text that has been a puzzle to many:

1 JOHN 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
This verse of scripture is talking about the inward man.
Physically we are born of human parents and we partake of their nature. Spiritually we are born of God and partake of His nature. God's nature is not the nature to do wrong.
It is true that we may have missed it a lot of times as Christians. But our “inward man” did not sin.
He didn't even agree with us when we did sin. He tried to get us not to do it but we failed to yield to him. We went ahead to do as we pleased. We allowed our flesh to dominate and we missed it, but our spirits never did consent to it. Our hearts wept because we sinned.
I John refers to God's seed. This seed is in our spirit, not in our flesh.
Most of the time we deceive ourselves; on the outward, our actions “appear” genuine but deep inside our motivation isn’t. Like when for instance we spread gossip in the name of prayer request. We claim to seek peace but our intentions are to inflict hurt on a brother or sister. (Discuss)
Even when our conscience is checking us, we insist and soon our conscience becomes seared and we become insensitive to the Spirit’s promptings and we continue to walk in error! ITimothy1:19 says: “holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.”

Warning!
If we continue to allow our flesh dominate us, if we continue to let our natural mind dominate us, and do not get our mind renewed with the Word we will continue to miss it.
That's why Paul wrote to born-again, Spirit-filled Christians at Rome and told them to do two things: First, they were to present their bodies, and second, they were to renew their minds with the Word (Rom. 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. 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.”
Until our minds are renewed with the Word of God, our flesh and our un-renewed minds will dominate our spirit. That will keep us as baby (or carnal) Christians.
Paul said to the church at Corinth,
"I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ" (1 Cor. 3:1).
"For ye are yet carnal...," he said (v. 3).
One translation says, "For you are yet body-ruled."
Then he told them, "... and [ye] walk as men" (v. 3).
Another translation says, "Ye walk as mere men."

What did he mean?
He meant they were walking and doing things just like unsaved men do.
When we get our minds renewed with the Word, then our minds will side in with our spirits instead of with our bodies. And the two of them—our spirits through our minds—will control our bodies

CONCLUSION
Our spirits will not tell us something wrong; because our spirits have the nature of God and the life of God; the love of God and the Spirit of God! When we go wrong, it is our flesh that leads us astray – not our spirits.
2 PETER 1:4 “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature....”
We are born of God; and to grow, we feed on the Word of God. By so doing we become partakers of the divine nature, God's nature. If we have the divine nature in us, our spirit will not tell us to do something wrong - whatever your spirit tells us will be right.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 02:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 13 2015

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

Lesson 1: THE GREAT SHEPHERD
Psalm 23 can be divided into three parts;
1) The great Shepherd; our provider (vs.1-3)
2) The great Shepherd; our protector (vs.4-5)
3) The great Shepherd; Our preserver (vs.6)
1. The Great Shepherd; Our Provider:
The Lord – The source of David’s comfort, confidence and strength is The Lord.(John 8:58)
Is – David was referring to a present relationship. Not was, like He helped us in the past.
My – This is personal. The terms ‘I, my, me, he, his, you’ etc are used about 30 times in just 6 verses. (Psalm 91:2)
Shepherd – This imagery of the shepherd and sheep spans the entire Bible but is most prominent in the New Testament where Jesus speaks about His relationship with His people, His sheep. (Isaiah 53:6; John 10:1; 11-15)
I shall not want – David was not saying ‘the LORD is my Shepherd, I get everything I want’! Nor was he saying that all our selfish "wants" and cravings will be satisfied if the Lord is our Shepherd. He was talking about genuine needs, not greed’! (Psalm 34:10; Luke 12:22-32).
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters – Let us take note of the phrases He makes me and He leads me. Jesus our Shepherd is in the business of leading and bringing us to a place of rest. It is the responsibility of the great Shepherd to lead us to green pastures and still waters, but it is our responsibility to follow, eat and drink.
He restores my soul – He renews and refreshes my spirit. Literally, He brings it back. Our restoration comes when we follow Him to green pastures (Psalm 55:22).
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake - The paths that the Shepherd takes us on are the righteous or ‘right’ paths (Romans 8:29).

Lesson 2: MAN – AN ETERNAL SPIRIT
1. The Lamp of the Lord - (Romans 8:14,16; Prov. 20:27)
Nowhere does the Bible say God will guide us through our physical senses or mental senses. God will guide us through our spirits.
2. Man: An Eternal Spirit - (Gen.1:26,27; 1 Thess.5:23; John 4:24)
If man is made in God's image, after His likeness, it therefore follow that man must of necessity be a spirit. That is why when the physical body of man is dead and in the grave, the spirit lives on
3. Be Spirit- Conscious - (1 Thess.5:23)
If we are going to be led by the Spirit of God, we must become more spirit-conscious or we'll miss out on the whole thing. Remember, God's Spirit leads us through our spirits.

Lesson 3: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPIRIT AND SOUL
1. The Relationship Between the Spirit and the Soul (1 Thess.5:23; Gen.2:7)
This scripture implies that humans are made of a spirit a soul and a body. It has been said that we are spirit beings, we live in bodies and we possess souls.
2. The Difference Between the Spirit and the Soul (Hebrews 4:12a; 1 Cor.14:14)
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. . .” (Heb.4:12a)
So it follows that if you can divide them, they cannot be the same – they are separate (different) but the Bible tells us that only the Word of God can divide the spirit and the soul.
3. Why It's Important To Know The Difference Between the Spirit and the Soul (Hebrews 4:12a; 1 Cor.14:14)
Let’s consider Prov. 20:27 “The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one's inmost being.” (NIV)
1. We can only contact God (who is Spirit) by our spirits and not our souls.
2. It is by the spirit of man that God provides guidance

Lesson 4: SAVING OF THE SOUL AND OUR BODY
1. The Saving of the Soul - James 1:21, 5:14; Romans 12:2
• At the new birth experience, the spirit of man that is born again and receives eternal life.
• It is the spirit of man (not the soul) that becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus.
• The soul is not the innermost being at all. The saving of the soul is a process.
• The Epistle of James was not written to sinners. James wrote this letter to the Church.
• Though the innermost man (the real man - the spirit) receives eternal life, his intellect and emotions - which is seated in the soul- still needs to be renewed by the Word.
2. Presenting the Body - Romans 12:1
• At the new birth we still have the same body we had before we became a new creature. We must learn (as part of the process) to let the new man (on the inside) dominate.
• We must learn to Crucify (subdue as in passion, sin; to put to death by nailing) the flesh.
• Just because our body wants to do wrong does not  negate the truth that we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. But we will have to contend with the body, the flesh (mindset), as long as we are in the world.
• God has however, given us the means, the ability, and the authority through the Word of God to deal with the devil and the flesh.
• You (and I) are the one who must do it! Paul never said God would do it for you. He said, "You be not conformed

Lesson 5: THE INWARD WITNESS
1. Leading in the Old Testament vs leading in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 6:19; Ezekiel 36:26, 27)
The ultimate guidance for a Christian under the New Testament should be through the Holy Spirit. He or she need not seek guidance through prophets. He or she might receive guidance through prophets, but he should not seek it or rely on it.
2. Being led vs putting out a fleece (Rom. 8:14)
It is dangerous for Spirit-filled Christians to put out fleeces instead of relying on the leading of the Holy Spirit because these “fleeces” could be perverted by the devil.
3. Developing our spirit and following the leading of the Holy Spirit by the inward witness.
• One way to do that is to feed on God’s Word (Matt.4:4).
• Another way to develop our spirit is to follow after love. The Scriptures say that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16).
• A third way to develop our spirit and become more sensitive to the inward witness is by praying much in other tongues.

Lesson 6: FOLLOWING THE INWARD WITNESS
1. The Time of Old (Exodus 28:30)
In the Old Testament, determining God's will appears to have been an easy task. It was all so simple, because it was external and easily apprehended by man's physical senses.
2. These Days
• Knowing God's will appears to be so much more difficult for us in this day and age. The reason is that God wants us to prove for ourselves what His perfect will is (Rom.12:2).
• In the Acts of the Apostles, we find Philip acting on the inner urging of the Spirit and joining the chariot of the Ethiopian statesman (Acts 8:29)
• Peter obeying the inner voice of the Spirit directing him to go to Cornelius's house (Acts 10:19,20)
• The leaders in the church at Antioch recognizing the witness of the Holy Spirit in their spirits confirming the call of Saul and Barnabas to foreign missionary service (Acts 13:2).
3. Following the Witness (John 10:4)
Number 1 requirement is Recognition - recognizing the voice of the Spirit
Most times the inward witness is there but we don't recognize it.
4. How Can We Recognise The Voice of the Spirit? (Romans 8:6 TLB)
• We can distinguish the voice of the Holy Spirit by the increasing pressure He produces in our spirits and the growing peace He gives to our minds, as we pray over a matter.
• Faith doesn't get in a hurry. The devil will try to push you. He will try to move you out of faith, move you into doubt, move you into unbelief, and get you away from the leading of God.
• God invariably gives us sufficient time to consider and be sure of His will.
5. The Place of Our Conscience (Romans 9:1; 1 Tim.1:19 NLT)
• The number one way that we receive the leadership of the Holy Spirit is through the inner witness in our spirits and the conscience is the “voice” of our human spirit.
6. How to lessen the possibility of Falling For The Deceit of Our Hearts
• We should examine our motives and make sure we desire the glory of God alone
• We should be prepared to accept whatever He chooses for us
• God's will may sometimes be just what we like ourselves, but it can also be what we do not instinctively like. We should not think God's will is always the most difficult course of action that lies before us. Neither need it be the easiest course of action.
7. Practical Steps For Decision Making (Col.3:15 AMP)
• Draw a line across a sheet of paper and write down all the reasons for doing a particular thing on one side, and all the reasons against it on the other (like a balance sheet)
• Pray over these reasons daily and revise the list as necessary.
• Be sincerely willing to accept either course of action.
• As you continue to pray, the Holy Spirit will give you a witness in your spirit as to what you are to do. If you experience a growing peace in your spirit about a particular course of action, this will usually be a clear indication of what God wants you to do.
• We should check ourselves when we lose our peace.
• We should proceed ahead only when we have perfect peace in our spirits.

Lesson 7: THE INWARD VOICE (Romans 9:1; John 16:7-14)
1. Ways By Which God Personalises His Messages To Us
a) Inward Witness of Intuition (Rom.8:14)
b) Inward Voice (Rom.9:1-2)
c) God's Audible Voice (1 Sam.3:10)
2. The Spirit Man Has a Voice
The spirit of man (i.e. the inward man or the real man) has a voice. The voice is referred to as the conscience. We call this voice the still small voice.
3.The Holy Spirit and Our spirit (John 16:7-14 AMP)
• Jesus was talking to His disciples about what will happen when He leaves them.
• The Holy Spirit was sent to us to be our counsellor, our adviser on personal problems, the one who gives us advice; our helper, our assistant, our advocate and more.
• However, our conscience (still small voice) can only be enlightened or prompted by the Holy Spirit if we maintain purity of heart - Titus 1:15
• How may we maintain purity of heart? Philippians 4:8 and Colossians 3:1-2 give us the clue.

Lesson 8: EFFECTS OF THE SPIRIT'S INDWELLING (1 Cor.3:16; Romans 8:9; John 14:17)
1. Does the Holy Spirit Dwell In Believers? (John 14:17, 1 Cor. 3:16, Rom. 8:9, 1 John 3:24)
Clearly the Spirit does dwell in people today. In fact, the Spirit dwells in ALL true children of God, and He begins to dwell in us at the moment we become God's children (not at some later point).
2. The nature of Spirit’s indwelling (John 14:23)
What must be evident in our lives are the effects the Holy Spirit has on our lives and our actions (John 3:8). These proofs will show that He dwells in us and He can only have an effect on us and control our lives if we allow Him.
3. The Result of the Spirit’s Indwelling: A Personal Empowering Presence (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19)
As a result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit it is now possible for the Christian to be permanently in communion with God. Not only does the Christian have access to God, but also access to His power (Ephesians 3:16-21).

Lesson 9: GOD INSIDE (2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Cor.3:16)
• How the Holy Spirit Makes Us His Temple
When we become born again, the Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit) starts living and abiding in our spirits.
• How the Holy Spirit Communicates (2 Corinthians. 6:16)
Since God is dwelling in us that is where He will speak to us – from inside of us! And so He communicates with us through our spirits.
1. God (In Us) Wants To Reveal His Plans
• The original relationship God had with Adam and Eve in the beginning is what He wishes to have with us today (1 Cor.2:9-11)
• Our spirit knows things that our heads don’t know, because the Holy Spirit is in our spirits and searches all things.
2. What The Holy Spirit Requires From Us
• Trust
• Patient Waiting
• Obedience
Waiting is not something many of us do well. Our culture engenders a sort of vending machine mentality in us. We want things instantly don’t we? Because we want to do it all and do it now, so when God says "not yet" it would sound like a "not ever" to our ears.
3. Seven Steps for Effective "Waiting On The Holy Spirit"
1. Begin by quieting your own spirit (1 Kings 19:11-13).
2. Open up your life totally to Jesus. Lift your heart toward God.
3. Seek the truth about yourself. Think about what you do that falls short of Christ-likeness and ask for forgiveness.
4. Ask the Holy Spirit to shine His convicting light on any tucked-away rancour and bitterness in your heart. Ask for forgiveness and cleansing from those attitudes (Mark 11:25)
5. Invite the Holy Spirit to take control of your schedule, agendas, timetables and calendars.
6. Realize that waiting on the Holy Spirit doesn't mean aimless thumb twiddling.
7. Yearn to sense the Holy Spirit's presence in your life.

Lesson 10: TENDER HEARTED (1 John 3:20, 21)
How to keep our hearts tender for the Holy Spirit to be able to lead us.
1) Self-Condemnation (1 John 3:20): The Holy Spirit will not condemn us. Why? Because God won't. It is God that justifies (Romans 8:1)
Difference between condemnation and conviction
a) Condemnation causes us to turn away from God in fear, dread, and shame. Conviction causes us to come to God and freshly place our faith in the perfect life and death of Christ.
b) Condemnation leads us to believe that we’ll never change and that we aren't worthy of God's love. Conviction gives us hope that, even though we sinned, God is still at work in us.
c) Condemnation paralyzes faith for change, keeping us in bondage. Conviction bears the fruit of faith for change, freeing us to fully grow in the love of God.
d) Condemnation causes us to wallow in despair and self-pity. Conviction leads to God-centred hope.
e) Condemnation sees God as an angry judge who is waiting in the shadows to strike at any moment. Conviction sees God as a loving Father who disciplines his children through His love for us.
f) Condemnation is inward, self-focused, and always dwelling on the fact that we have sinned. Conviction is outward, God-focused, and always dwelling on the fact that we have sinned against God.
2) Holy Spirit; The Comforter (John 14:16): You will never read in the Bible where the Holy Spirit is referred to as a “condemner”. Jesus called Him the Comforter.
3) How To Keep Our Heart Tender (Eph.4:32,  1 Pet.3:8): If we repent and restitute or apologise whenever we are wrong, we will keep our heart constantly tender before God for the Holy Spirit to communicate and lead us effectively.
4) A Seared Conscience or Hardened Heart (1 Tim.4:1,2): When we constantly fail to follow the voice of our conscience and won’t repent and restitute when we are checked, our hearts can become hardened or seared. If our hearts are hardened or seared, we are on our way to destruction. The voice of the Holy Spirit will no longer be recognisable to us.

Lesson 11: THE VOICE OF THE BODY (Romans 8:16; John 16:13)
• The voice of the body is otherwise known as “Feelings”. When we talk about feelings, we are referring to sensations, moods, thrills, excitement, anger, fear, sorrow, hate, etc.
• Reason is the voice of the soul, or the mind.
• Conscience is the voice of the spirit.
• What the flesh (the body and its voice – our feelings) desires is contrary to what the Spirit desires and what the flesh says is also contrary to what the Spirit says and ultimately what God says! (Gal.5:17)
• To go by feelings is to get into trouble because our feelings are unreliable. Feelings are tied to our ever-changing circumstances; that is the reason so many Christians are up and down; and in and out; because they go by their feelings.
• We should base our faith and ultimately our lives and destinies on the Word—not on our feelings.

Lesson 12: THE VOICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (Acts 10:19; John 14:15-18, 25-26, 16:7-15)
1. Ways By Which God Personalises His Message To Us
a) Inward Witness or Intuition - Romans 8:14
b) The Inward Voice - Romans 9:1-2 (NIV)
c) God's Audible Voice - Voice of The Holy Spirit (I Samuel 3:10)
2. It is Expedient (John 16:7-15 KJV)
Some few points from this scripture.
• IMPORTANCE: First point here is that Jesus himself emphasises the importance of Himself leaving the scene so that the Holy Spirit can come.
• REASON: Reason for Jesus's exit from the scene is so that the Holy Spirit can come.
• PURPOSE: One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit's coming is to provide guidance through revelations and instructions

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 03:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 29 2015

Contributor: Akin Akande

Introduction:
Last week, we recapped the ways by which God personalizes His messages to us namely inward witness or intuition, inward voice and God’s audible voice (the voice of the Holy Spirit). We saw that the voice of the Holy Spirit is authoritative and sometimes can be so real that it appears audible. We concluded that obedience to the Holy Spirit’s messages is most critical and therefore our attitude must be inclined towards carrying out His instructions and directions. May the Lord continue to help and strengthen us to obey (Amen).

This week, we shall look into the importance of putting to test, evaluating and/or judging what we believe the Holy Spirit is impressing on our spirits or the revelations we receive or the voices we hear or even any spiritual experience we have using the Word of God.

Review of I Thess. 5:19-21 and I Cor. 2:15
I Thess. 5:19-21 – Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good (NKJV)
I Thess. 5:19-21 – Don't suppress the Spirit, and don't stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don't be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what's good (The Message)
I Thess. 5:19-21 – Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good (NLT)
I Cor. 2:15 – But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one (NKJV)
I Cor. 2:15 – Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others (NLT)
We have learnt over the last weeks/months during our bible studies to constantly connect with the Holy Spirit via our own spirits for our day-to-day living. We have learnt how we should listen to our inward voices, inner witnesses and our consciences with the readiness to obey since the Holy Spirit oftentimes relays information to us via these means.
A wise believer will go a step further to subject his inward voice, inner witness and conscience to the rigorous test of the Word of God. As a matter of fact, we must always test/judge/evaluate all things, whether from us to others/ourselves or from others to us, using the Word of God.

What does it mean to test/judge/evaluate?
To test means to take measures to check the quality, performance, or reliability of (something), especially before putting it into widespread use or practice or to judge or measure

To judge means to form an opinion or conclusion about or to give a verdict on (someone) in a law court or decide the results of (a competition)

To evaluate means to form an idea of or to assess

One sure/infallible test/evaluation/judge for anything claimed to be from the Holy Spirit is to check whether it aligns with the Scripture, as the noble Bereans did in Acts 17:11. The Spirit of God and the Word of God always agree, II Tim. 3:16 - All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…. Anytime the Spirit of God speaks to you, it will always be in line with the Word of God – The Bible.
You can, and you should, judge all things. You can judge whether spiritual experiences are right or wrong simply by judging them by the Word.
We are not to seek voices. We should not follow voices. We should follow the Word of God.
As believers we are not to accept anything without examining it in the light of the Word of God.

Conclusion
1 Thess. 5:19: … Christians need to test what they hear and read, by comparing it with the Word of God, to determine if it is divine in its origin. This is difficult, but it is possible for a spiritual believer (1 Cor. 2:14). Each Christian has the responsibility and ability to do this, though some have more discernment than others (cf. Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1). What is discovered to be good (i.e. e., in harmony with what has been given by the Holy Spirit in the Word) should be retained (BK Commentary) while the rest should be discarded.
This study is another wake-up call for us to be diligent students of God’s Words (II Tim. 2:15). Our lives depend on His Words!
 

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 03:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 23 2015

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

INTRODUCTION
What an awesome time we had last week. We dwelt on "The Voice of the Flesh - Feeling". We summarised at the end of the teaching that our feelings should draw strength from deep insight (knowledge). We also agreed that though we can not walk with God through feelings but faith, our feelings have been given to us for the purpose of effectively relating with each other and alsoin other to exercise self control. Today, we will be considering The Voice of The Holy Spirit.

1. Ways By Which God Personalises His Message To Us
During one of our past teachings in this series, The Inward Voice to be precise, we outlined the three (3) distinct ways that God relates His messages to us. These ways are;
a) Inward Witness or Intuition:
In Romans 8:14 we read,
"For as many as are led by the Sprit of God, they are the sons of God."

b) The Inward Voice:
In Romans 9:1-2 (NIV), we read:
"I speak the truth in Christ-I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit-I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart."
We call the re-created conscience the "still small voice." In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (NIV) The life of God is inside us. Thinking that the conscience is just natural, many times we turn a "deaf" ear to this voice. Also sometimes we don't listen because we don't want to do what God wants us to do.
c) God's Audible Voice - Voice of The Holy Spirit:
This is the third way that God leads us. Through the voice of the Spirit of God speaking to us. The difference between the inward voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to our spirits and that still small voice (voice of our own spirit) speaking to us is that the Holy Spirit's voice is more authoritative. See I Samuel 3:10:
"The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening." (NIV)
Read the whole third chapter of 1 Samuel for the total story of young Samuel hearing God speaking inside of him. To Samuel, the voice seemed to be audible. Sometimes it is so real it almost seems to be an audible voice; you may even look around to see who said it. It may seem so audible sometimes that you may think someone behind you said something. But then you realise it was in you.
"All of God's leadings are supernatural; some, however, are not so spectacular. But I have found in more than fifty years of ministry that when God moved in a more spectacular way—when He has spoken to me in what seemed to me to be an audible voice—it meant there was rough sailing ahead. If He had not spoken so spectacularly I would not have stayed steady."
[Kenneth Hagin]

2. It is Expedient
The word Expedient is defined as suitable or efficient for accomplishing a purpose. As believers, the voice of the Holy Spirit is expedient in our effective walk with the Lord. John 16:7-15 [KJV];

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Time will not permit us to discuss this scripture in details in the light of the topic today. However, we can quickly highlight some few points from the words of Jesus Christ. .
• IMPORTANCE: He, The LORD, said......"It is expedient". Another translation says "It is important". So the first point here is that Jesus himself emphasises the importance of Himself leaving the scene so that the Holy Spirit can come. Let's pause and think about this for a moment.
• REASON: Reason for Jesus's exit from the scene is so that the Holy Spirit can come. We can reliably conclude that the Holy Spirit would not have come (which would therefore mean that we as believers would have missed out on the blessings of having the Holy Spirit) if Jesus had not gone away!
• PURPOSE: One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit's coming is to provide guidance through revelations and instructions - ".....not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." Can you just imagine (for a moment) what life will be like without the Holy Spirit? Let's pause for a moment and discuss this.
Take note that Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will speak whatever He hears. This reiterates the truth that He has a voice (and he hears too). This is one of the reasons why today's topic is of utmost importance.
3. Obedience Is Critical
Matthew 7:21-27;
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
The following critical lessons will be useful.
• Jesus emphaises the importance of adding action (obedience) to what we say. It is important to note and observe that we (like the Holy Spirit) only say what we hear the Holy Spirit say. The same way the Holy Spirit says only what He hears from the father in John 16:13.
• Notice also the use of the word "practice". The word practice is defined as habitual or customary performane. This simply reiterates the need to be careful of our attitude and response to the promptings or voice of the Holy Spirit.

• Jesus Christ further emphasises the importance of obedience by comparing two categories of people - The Obedient and The Disobedient (lackadaisical/ carelessly lazy) people. Take note that both category of people actually hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. The difference is what each category does with what he/she  hears.

CONCLUSION
As we conclude on today's study, we all need to examine ourselves. Most of us (if not all of us) hear and may have heard in the past, the voice of the Holy Spirit. The question is, what have been (and still is) our attitude towards His instructions and directions? Have we always obey these instructions or are we negligent and careless about them? We must be careful and cautious about our daily attitude towards these instructions so we don't end up developing damaging and destructive habits.   

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 09:26 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 16 2015

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION
Last week, we looked at how to keep our hearts tender for the Holy Spirit to be able to lead us. We learnt that one of the ways is to live above condemnation – that the Holy Spirit does not condemn us but convicts us. We also learnt the differences between condemnation and conviction. We concluded that we must learn to keep a tender conscience and correct our ways once our conscience pricks us if we want to be led by the Spirit.
The ultimate “voice” we need to listen to and follow is the voice of the Spirit. Romans 8:14 says: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” However, it is important to know that there are other voices out there that contend with our faith and distract us. Like the voice of reason (the use of common sense – or logic) or the voice of strangers; Jesus talks about in John 10:5 “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.”
Or the voice we will be looking at today: The voice of the body otherwise known as “Feelings”. When we talk about feelings, we are referring to sensations, moods, thrills, excitement, anger, fear, sorrow, hate, etc.
• Feeling is the voice of the body.
• Reason is the voice of the soul, or the mind.
• Conscience is the voice of the spirit.
TEXT REVIEW [1]
Let's review what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit in John 16:13. "... He will guide you into all truth....
... For he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak...."
The Holy Spirit does speak.
He speaks whatever He hears God say, whatever He hears Jesus say; but when He speaks, He speaks to our spirits.
The Holy Spirit lives in our spirits, and that is where He speaks. He doesn't speak out in the air somewhere. He speaks on the inside. The Holy Spirit passes God's message on to our spirits, either by an inward witness, by the still small voice—the voice of our conscience, or by an inward voice which is the more authoritative voice of the Holy Spirit (as we have learnt in the past weeks). But there’s an ongoing conflict between the flesh and the Spirit. What the flesh (the body and its voice – our feelings) desires is contrary to what the Spirit desires and what the flesh says is also contrary to what the Spirit says and ultimately what God says!
“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:17
Instances of the ongoing conflict
The voice of the body says: “I don’t feel like going to church” when the voice of the Spirit says “we should not forsake the assembly of ourselves”
The voice of the body says: “I’m sick” when the voice of the Spirit says “we were healed by His stripes”
Think about times the voice of the body tried to contradict the voice of the Spirit in your life. Discuss
TEXT REVIEW [2]
Romans 8:16 says: “The Spirit itself [Himself] beareth witness with our spirit....” Emphasis mine
The Spirit of God bears witness with our spirits. He does not bear witness with our bodies. That is the reason why we cannot live our lives by physical feelings.
One of the many definitions of “feeling” is: “to have a particular way of thinking about something, especially one that depends on your emotions rather than on facts or evidence.”
To go by feelings is to get into trouble because our feelings are unreliable. Feelings are tied to our ever-changing circumstances; that is the reason so many Christians are up and down; and in and out; because they go by their feelings. And to go by one’s feelings also means that we fail to walk by faith. Also, feelings are based on our human (physical) senses but 2 Corinthians 5: 7 says: “For we live by faith, not by sight.”
We should base our faith and ultimately our lives and destinies on the Word—not on our feelings.
Romans 8:16 does not say that the Spirit beareth witness with our bodies, or with our feelings.
Smith Wigglesworth, the great English apostle of faith, said, "I am not moved by what I feel. I am not moved by what I see. I am moved only by what I believe. I cannot understand God by feelings. I understand God by what the Word says about Him. I understand the Lord Jesus Christ by what the Word says about Him. He is everything the Word says He is."
We cannot understand ourselves by feelings. Instead we should understand ourselves as born-again, Spirit-filled Christians by what the Word of God says about us. And when we read what the Word says about us—then, whether we feel like it or not, we should say, "Yes, that's me. I have that. The Word says I have that. I can do what the Word says I can do. I am what the Word says I am."
CONCLUSION
Many things may produce an emotional response. Some are in the moment, others are from our past. Still other emotions may be a response to mere fantasies, lies we tell ourselves, etc. They may also be a result of misunderstandings. Feelings are not “evil”; God gave us feelings for a purpose. We need our feelings to interact with one another. Even Jesus is "touched by the feelings of our infirmities". So they have their place in our lives. As a matter of fact, there is no end to the amount of feeling (both positive and negative) that flows through our lives on a daily basis; but they are fleeting (short-lived) reason why we shouldn’t be led by them! Neither should we relate to God based on our feelings. Because when they change or expire we will be left stranded! Proverbs 14:12 (NIV) says: “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”
So let’s flee from the “strange” voices.
 

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 02:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 01 2015

Contributor: Alex Alajiki

INTRODUCTION
In last week’s study, we considered the wonderful experience of being conscious that God is indwelling us by His Spirit. The scripture in 1 Cor. 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” is both a question and a revelation about our relationship with God. It is His indwelling presence that gives us access to His voice. He wants to constantly communicate with us because we are His children.

This week we are looking at how to keep our hearts tender for the Holy Spirit to be able to lead us.


1) Self-Condemnation; 1 John 3:20
“For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.”

Whenever we do something wrong and we sense condemnation in our hearts, we generally think the Holy Spirit was the one condemning us for our wrongs. That is not the truth according to scripture.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Rom.8:1

“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” Rom.:33, 34

The Holy Spirit will not condemn us. Why? Because God won't. It is God that justifies.
Jesus said that the only sin the Holy Spirit will convict the world of is the sin of rejecting Jesus (John 16:7-9). He Himself came not to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved”

“For if our heart condemn us”. It is our own conscience—the voice of our own spirit—that knows when we have done wrong. I have found that even when I do wrong, though my spirit condemns me, the Holy Spirit is there to comfort me, to help me, to show me the way back.

Difference between condemnation and conviction
1) Condemnation causes us to turn away from God in fear, dread, and shame. Conviction causes us to come to God and freshly place our faith in the perfect life and death of Christ.
2) Condemnation leads us to believe that we’ll never change and that we aren't worthy of God's love. Conviction gives us hope that, even though we sinned, God is still at work in us.
3) Condemnation paralyzes faith for change, keeping us in bondage. Conviction bears the fruit of faith for change, freeing us to fully grow in the love of God.
4) Condemnation causes us to wallow in despair and self-pity. Conviction leads to God-centered hope.
5) Condemnation sees God as an angry judge who is waiting in the shadows to strike at any moment. Conviction sees God as a loving Father who disciplines his children through His love for us.
6) Condemnation is inward, self-focused, and always dwelling on the fact that we have sinned. Conviction is outward, God-focused, and always dwelling on the fact that we have sinned against God.

2) Holy Spirit; The Comforter: John 14:16
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever”

You will never read in the Bible where the Holy Spirit is referred to as a “condemner”.
Jesus called Him the Comforter. The seven-fold meaning of that word from the Greek is brought out in The Amplified Bible: “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby) that He may remain with you forever.”
The Holy Spirit is all of those! He will stand by us. When no one else will. He will help us. He is a Helper!
3) How To Keep Our Heart Tender; Eph.4:32,  1 Pet.3:8

“And be you kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you.” Eph.4:32

“Finally, be ye all likeminded, compassionate, loving as brethren, tender-hearted, humble minded.” 1 Pet.3:8(ASV)

The moment we are born again, our spirits become alive unto righteousness; our hearts become tender and “triggers” the moment we do anything wrong. If we were used to anger or cursing before, the new man on the inside - our spirit takes up the responsibility of always checking us whenever we start tending towards the old life.

The Life and Nature of God doesn't accommodate our carnal nature. Now our flesh, the outward man, may want to go on doing some things that we did before, and talking in ways we talked before, but we have to crucify the flesh. A good way to crucify the flesh—the outward man—is to bring our mistakes right out in the open by repentance towards God and man.

If we repent and restitute or apologise whenever we are wrong, we will keep our heart constantly tender before God for the Holy Spirit to communicate and lead us effectively. Unless we keep a tender conscience, spiritual things will be indistinct to us. That's because our conscience is the voice of our spirit and it is our conscience—the voice of our spirit—that will relate to our minds what the Spirit of God is saying to us down in our hearts.

4) A Seared Conscience or Hardened Heart; 1 Tim.4:1,2
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,”

When we constantly fail to follow the voice of our conscience and won’t repent and restitute when we are checked, our hearts can become hardened or seared. If our hearts are hardened or seared, we are on our way to destruction. The voice of the Holy Spirit will no longer be recognisable to us.

“For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should[a] heal them.” Matt.13:15

"Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed." Isa.6:10


CONCLUSION
We must learn to keep a tender conscience. The minute we miss it and our conscience condemns us, we should act immediately and correct the error right there and then. We should not wait until we go to church. Immediately say, "Lord, forgive me. I missed it." If we have to, if someone else saw or heard us, tell that person right away, "I did wrong. Please forgive me. I shouldn't have said that."
We will have to keep our spirits (hearts) tender if we are going to be led by the Holy Spirit.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 04:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, March 26 2015

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION
In last week’s study, we considered the effects of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. We looked at scriptures that tell us the Holy Spirit dwells in us; the nature of Spirit’s indwelling and the result of the Spirit’s indwelling. We concluded that The Holy Spirit, our Counsellor, Teacher and Intercessor indwells us and makes it possible for us to access God’s power. He impacts the life of God (God’s nature) into our spirits. However, it is up to each Christian to surrender his own will and allow himself to be constantly influenced by the Spirit so that He can produce His evident presence in him.
In today’s study, as a continuation, we will consider the topic - God Inside. The Holy Spirit is God inside of us and what he requires from us.

TEXT REVIEW
1 Corinthians 3:16
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

• How the Holy Spirit Makes Us His Temple
When we become born again, the Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit) starts living and abiding in our spirits. The only reason our body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit is because our body is the temple of our own spirits.

• How the Holy Spirit Communicates
2 Corinthians. 6:16
"... for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people"
Since God is dwelling in us that is where He will speak to us – from inside of us! And so He communicates with us through our spirits. It is our spirits that pick up messages from the Holy Spirit and then pass them on to our minds by an inward intuition, or inward witness. It is our conscience that is the voice of our spirits. He does not communicate directly with our minds—He is not in our minds.

GOD (IN US) WANTS TO REVEAL HIS PLANS
The original relationship God had with Adam and Eve in the beginning is what He wishes to have with us today; that’s why He said “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people.” There are amazing things God wishes to reveal to us;  the things He’s prepared for us, but it is by His Spirit as we see in 1 Corinthians 2:9-11

“However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”

Job 32:8 “But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding”
Our spirit knows things that our heads don’t know, because the Holy Spirit is in our spirits and searches all things, even the deep things of God; and divulges such to us through our spirits.

WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT REQUIRES FROM US
There are several requirements but in light of this study, trust, patient waiting, and obedience are essential requirements. All three are closely related.
"The Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!" -- Isaiah 30:18
"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him." -- Psalm 37:7

Waiting is not something many of us do well. Our culture engenders a sort of vending machine mentality in us. We want things instantly don’t we? Because we want to do it all and do it now, so when God says "not yet" it would sound like a "not ever" to our ears.
 A. B. Simpson once wrote: "There are some spiritual conditions that cannot be accomplished in a moment. The breaking up of the fallow ground takes time. The frosts of winter are as necessary as the rains of spring to prepare the soil for fertility. God has to break our hearts to pieces by the slow process of His discipline, and grind every particle to powder, and then to mellow us and saturate us with His blessed Spirit, until we are open for the blessing He has to give us."

Kenneth Hagin shared a story of a Full Gospel minister friend of his who was in three serious automobile accidents. After he heard Kenneth teach along some of these lines he said to him, "Brother Hagin, every one of those accidents could have been avoided if I had listened to that inward intuition." He admitted that he had an intuition that something was about to happen— and that he would have waited a little bit and prayed. Instead he thought, he was too busy and didn't have time to pray."
Many times, if we would have waited (Psalm 37:7), God would have by His Spirit shown us things or guided us aright and we could have avoided many mishaps. (Isaiah 30:18)
   
SEVEN STEPS FOR EFFECTIVE "WAITING ON THE HOLY SPIRIT."

1. Begin by quieting your own spirit. God doesn't always come in dramatic ways like He encountered Moses on Mt. Sinai or Paul on the Damascus Road. Be willing to listen for the "gentle whisper" of the Spirit that Elijah heard (1 Kings 19:11-13).
2. Open up your life totally to Jesus. Lift your heart toward God.
3. Seek the truth about yourself. Think about what you do that falls short of Christ-likeness and ask for forgiveness. Move to eliminate those behaviours.
4. Ask the Holy Spirit to shine His convicting light on any tucked-away rancour and bitterness in your heart. Ask for forgiveness and cleansing from those attitudes (Mark 11:25)
5. Invite the Holy Spirit to take control of your schedule, agendas, timetables and calendars.
6. Realize that waiting on the Holy Spirit doesn't mean aimless thumb twiddling. As you wait, do all things "in a fitting and orderly way" (1 Corinthians 14:40)
7. Yearn to sense the Holy Spirit's presence in your life. In your mind's eye, visualize that He has come and is present.

CONCLUSION
Since God is dwelling in us that is where He will speak to us – from inside of us!
Although we can hear God speak to us through various means ultimately it's our spirits He wishes to communicate with. That's why we hear people say things like "when I heard so and so, something was quickened in my spirit."
Proverbs 20:27 (NIV) tells us that: “The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one's inmost being”
He ultimately wants to commune with us “Spirit to spirit” but when we haven't developed our spirits to that point He uses other means. Let's begin to develop our spirits, and learn to listen to them so we can harness all the amazing precious promises He’s made to us!

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 02:25 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, March 19 2015

Contributor: Akin Akande

Introduction:
In the last two weeks, we have looked at two important ways the Holy Spirit guides believers with a number of examples: inward witness and inward voice. Particularly, we understand that the spirit of a man (the inward man) has a voice—just as the outward man has a voice.  This is often referred to as conscience or the still small voice. The crucial part, as we discussed, is following the witness and/or the still small voice that the Holy Spirit impresses on our heart. This is what we must endeavor to do as we journey through the Christian race. The Lord will continue to help and strengthen us to obey (Amen).
This week, we shall consider the effects of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer and it is my desire these effects will be our daily experiences in the kingdom in Jesus’ name (Amen)

Does the Holy Spirit dwell in believers?
John 14:17, 1 Cor. 3:16, Rom. 8:9, 1 John 3:24
1 Cor. 6:19 - Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in us because we are bought with a price. Everyone who has been purchased (redeemed) by the blood of Christ also has the Spirit of God dwelling in him.
Clearly the Spirit does dwell in people today. In fact, the Spirit dwells in ALL true children of God, and He begins to dwell in us at the moment we become God's children (not at some later point).

The nature of Spirit’s indwelling
John 14:23 says "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."
So how do we know that the Holy Spirit resides in us? Even though we cannot see the indwelling Spirit and most often than not difficult for many believers to sense the indwelling Spirit, what must be evident in our lives are the effects the Holy Spirit has on our lives and our actions (John 3:8). These proofs will show that He dwells in us and He can only have an affect on us and control our lives if we allow Him.
The Result of the Spirit’s Indwelling: A Personal Empowering Presence

As a result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19) it is now possible for the Christian to be permanently in communion with God. Not only does the Christian have access to God, but also access to His power (Ephesians 3:16-21). This power will trigger certain experiences indicating the visible manifestations of the Spirit’s presence (1 Corinthians 2:4-5, Galatians 3:5, Romans 15:19). This is indeed expected as Jesus promised His disciples that they would receive power when the Spirit came (Acts 1:8).

This “power” may imply miraculous manifestations but not necessarily always so. For example, it may just be in a way that believers behave towards one another. Other times the presence of the Holy Spirit reveals miraculous signs either in the lives of believers or in the church.

When you have the life and nature of God in you, your conscience will not permit you to do just anything. And if you are born again, you have the life of God (John 3:16 and Rom. 6:23).
1 JOHN 5:13
 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE....
Have is present tense. We have eternal life now. If you are a born-again Christian, you have the life of God in your spirit now. You have the nature of God in your spirit now.
Oh! If people would learn to follow their spirits! If they would learn to take advantage of the life that is in them!

Kenneth’s example
?X Healing from heart condition
?X Regenerated mental capability by the life of God and following the instruction of the Holy Spirit. He confessed the following daily as directed by the Holy Spirit on his way to school and we can do the same too.
“Now, Lord, I read in the Old Testament where Daniel and the three Hebrew children were in school in Babylon and You gave them favor with the dean of the school (Dan. 1:9). God, give me favor with every teacher. Thank You for it; I have it now. I also read, that when their three years of training were over, the three Hebrew children were ten times smarter than the rest (vv. 18-20). Lord, I have Your life in me. John 1:4 says, 'In him was life; and the life was the light of men.' Light stands for development. Impart to me knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom that I may be ten times better...."
"In Him was life and the life was the light of men. That life is in me. The life of God is in me. That life is the light—it is the development of me. It is developing my spirit. It is developing my mentality. I have God in me. I have God's wisdom in me. I have God's life in me. That life of God in my spirit dominates me. I purpose in my heart to walk in the light of life."
Note: He didn’t skip school; he studied hard and listened attentively in class. In addition the eternal life in him produced tremendous results in his mental faculty revealing the very presence of the Spirit of God in him. That can happen to us too! Not only in the above mentioned aspects of life, but in every area as we trust and depend on Him.

Conclusion
The Holy Spirit, who is our Counselor, Teacher and Intercessor indwells us and makes it possible for us to access God’s power. He impacts the life of God (God’s nature) into our spirits. This deposit can do great and might things in our day-to-day activities that showcase the presence of the Almighty God in the Person of the Holy Spirit residing in us. However, it is up to each Christian to surrender his own will and allow himself to be constantly influenced by the Spirit so that He can produce His evident presence in him.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 02:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 11 2015

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

INTRODUCTION
In the past weeks, we have been studying the primary ways that the Holy Spirit guides us as children of the most high. We have studied on leading through the Inward Witness and subsequently on Following the Inner Witness. Today, by the grace of God, we will be looking at another way that God leads - The Inward Voice. 
1. WAYS BY WHICH GOD PERSONALISES HIS MESSAGE TO US
Although most Christians wish to be led by the Holy Spirit, most end up not figuring out how. By looking through bible teachings, there are three (3) distinct ways that God personalises His messages to us His children. These are;
A) Inward Witness Or Intuition:
We actually dwelt on this at the last bible study. God, as the Holy Spirit, living within us will speak to our spirit. As the direct result we have an understanding of what God's will is! Our mind was not involved, our physical feelings were not involved; but our spirit heard from God and let our mind know. Many times we think we just thought up the idea that God had given us. In Romans 8:14 we read,

"For as many as are led by the Sprit of God, they are the sons of God."
God leads us directly in this present age. Prophets do not lead us. Prophets, however, may confirm or encourage us in the direction that God has already shown to us.
b) The Inward Voice:
We will be considering this in details in this study. In Romans 9:1-2 (NIV), we read:
"I speak the truth in Christ-I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit-I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart."
We call the re-created conscience the "still small voice." In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (NIV) The life of God is inside us. This new creation is the "everlasting life" mentioned in John 3:16 and many other places. Thinking that the conscience is just natural, many times we turn a "deaf" ear to this voice. Also sometimes we don't listen because we don't want to do what God wants us to do.
c) God's Audible Voice:
This is the third way that God passes His message across to us. By speaking inside us. We may look around to see who else is in the room, wondering who just spoke. This voice is more authoritative. Most of the time He uses the first way, sometimes the second way, very seldom the third way. We must not require God to perform for us. He may not speak out loud to you. We must never tell God what to do.

Many times we miss God because we want the spectacular, rather than the supernatural. Any way that God leads is supernatural; the "audible voice" is also spectacular. God does not jump through hoops just because we want Him to meet our expectations. See I Samuel 3:10:
"The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening." (NIV)
Read the whole third chapter of 1 Samuel for the total story of young Samuel hearing God speaking inside of him. To Samuel, the voice seemed to be audible. At first Samuel did not know it was God, but with Prophet Eli's instruction, he listened to God's message. This truly is spectacular as well as supernatural. Yet we don't read of Samuel normally hearing from God in this manner.

2. THE SPIRIT MAN HAS A VOICE.
The number one way that the Spirit guides us is through the inward witness. Number two is by the inward voice. The spirit of man (i.e. the inward man or the real man) has a voice. The voice is referred to as the conscience. We call this voice the still small voice. You know, when you were driving and suddenly you sense - you have a feeling deep inside, telling you to stop, or slow down. You can’t explain it, but you know it is true. Then, as you go further you see a serious accident ahead.

Your spirit (and my spirit) has a voice and our spirit will speak (and is always speaking) to us by picking up what the Holy Spirit is saying . When the Holy Spirit speaks, it is more authoritative. But the still small voice is the voice of our own spirit speaking. Our own spirit receives instructions and guidance from the Holy Spirit, who is in us. It is therefore important to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit of God in this area.

3. THE HOLY SPIRIT AND OUR SPIRIT.
We will study the gospel according to St. John 16:7-14 [AMP] in details.
However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you].
8 And when He comes, He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God) and about judgment:
9 About sin, because they do not believe in Me [trust in, rely on, and adhere to Me];
10 About righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God), because I go to My Father, and you will see Me no longer;
11 About judgment, because the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world [Satan] is judged and condemned and sentence already is passed upon him.
12 I have still many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them or to take them upon you or to grasp them now.
13 But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future].
14 He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you.
Kindly take note of the followings;
• Jesus was talking to His disciples about what will happen when He leaves them. Notice also that He emphasised that it is profitable for us (His disciples) that He should go away.
• The Holy Spirit was sent to us to be our counselor, our adviser on personal problems, the one who gives us advise; our helper, our assistant, our advocate and more. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to help us through anything and everything we could ever face, but in order for that guidance to benefit us, our spirit has to be in agreement with His Spirit. Romans 9:1 [AMP] reads;

I am speaking the truth in Christ. I am not lying; my conscience [enlightened and prompted] by the Holy Spirit bearing witness with me [emphasis mine]

• However, our conscience (still small voice) can only be enlightened or prompted by the Holy Spirit if we maintain purity of heart. Titus 1:15 says;

"To the pure [in heart and conscience] all things are pure, but to the defiledand corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are defiled and polluted."
• How may we maintain purity of heart? Philipians 4:8 and Colosians 3:1-2 give us the clue.
"For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence andis honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovelyand lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtueand excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh andtake account of these things [fix your minds on them]." [Phil.4:8 AMP]
"If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2 And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth." [Colosians 3:1-2]

CONCLUSION
As believers in the Lord Jesus, we must be confident of our status as God's children. No good parent will  leave his or her child or children without directions. That will be bad parenting, right? It is therefore a settled matter that God is always willing at every moment of our lives to give us instructions and directions through the Inward Witness and Inward Voice by our spirit being in agreement with His Spirit. Let's always be conscious of this and confident to always ask for His guidance and directions because it is our right as His beloved. Shalom! 

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 04:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, March 05 2015

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION
Last week we studied the Inward Witness and learnt that it was the number one, or primary way that God mostly leads us as Christians. We also learnt how to develop and trust the witness inside of us. In today’s study, we will consider following or more appropriately obeying the witness. We will from this lesson discover why for most believers it is a struggle to follow the witness inside of us and how we can apply this teaching in our day to day lives.
First we will take a quick look at how it was back in the days of old and now.

THE TIMES OF OLD
In the Old Testament, determining God's will appears to have been an easy task. For instance, the Israelites in the wilderness had only to observe and follow the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. They did not have to be spiritual to know when and where to move. Also, when the high-priest sought to find God's will, all he had to do was to cast the `Urim and Thummim' in the Lord's presence and they indicated `Yes' or `No'. (Exodus 28:30)
It was all so simple, because it was external and easily apprehended by man's physical senses.

THESE DAYS
Knowing God's will appears to be so much more difficult for us in this day and age. The reason is that God wants us to prove for ourselves what His perfect will is (Rom.12:2). The Holy Spirit now lives in a believer to be his Guide, and He replaces all the external means of guidance that existed in the Old Testament. The Lord provided external guidance for the Israelites but inward guidance for us and this demands for our sensitivity to the voice of the Spirit as we see among the early Christians.
• In the Acts of the Apostles, we find Philip acting on the inner urging of the Spirit and joining the chariot of the Ethiopian statesman (Acts 8:29);
• Peter obeying the inner voice of the Spirit directing him to go to Cornelius's house (Acts 10:19,20); and the leaders in the church at Antioch recognizing the witness of the Holy Spirit in their spirits confirming the call of Saul and Barnabas to foreign missionary service (Acts 13:2).
The same Spirit desires to guide each of us today in every decision.

FOLLOWING THE WITNESS
Number 1 requirement is Recognition - recognizing the voice of the Spirit
Most times the inward witness is there but we don't recognize it.
Mostly because we want the Lord to move in some spectacular way—we want some kind of word, tongues and interpretation, a prophecy, or God just to write His mind up in the sky!
“When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” John 10:4

SO HOW CAN WE RECOGNIZE THE VOICE OF THE SPIRIT?
We can distinguish the voice of the Holy Spirit by the increasing pressure He produces in our spirits and the growing peace He gives to our minds, as we pray over a matter.
"Following after the Holy Spirit leads to life and peace" (Rom.8:6-TLB).
The Devil's voice is usually harassing and often accompanied by threats of judgment, if we do not obey instantly. The Bible says, "... he that believeth shall not make haste" (Isa. 28:16).
Faith doesn't get in a hurry. The devil will try to push you. He will try to move you out of faith, move you into doubt, move you into unbelief, and get you away from the leading of God.
God invariably gives us sufficient time to consider and be sure of His will.

THE PLACE OF OUR CONSCIENCE
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost.”  Romans 9:1 
The number one way that we receive the leadership of the Holy Spirit is through the inner witness in our spirits and the conscience is the “voice” of our human spirit; it is the conduit by which that leadership comes. Habitually violating the conscience is the surest path to becoming hardened to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
1Timothy 1:19 [NLT] says:
“Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.”

It is often not easy for us to distinguish between our own heart's voice and the voice of the Spirit, for our hearts are so deceitful. For instance, when considering a possible life-partner, we can easily mistake the emotional pressure and the "growing feeling of peace and joy at every contemplation of the proposed step", for the witness of the Holy Spirit.

HOW TO LESSEN THE POSSIBILITY OF FALLING FOR THE DECEIT OF OUR HEARTS
• We should examine our motives and make sure we desire the glory of God alone
• We should be prepared to accept whatever He chooses for us 
Because it is usually where we fail to yield or where our motives are selfish that we go astray.

God's will may sometimes be just what we like ourselves, but it can also be what we do not instinctively like. We should not think God's will is always the most difficult course of action that lies before us. Neither need it be the easiest course of action.
For instance, when we are in a difficult situation or a tough job, we may be tempted to run away from the place. This can easily be mistaken for the leading of the Spirit. On such occasions, if we are in doubt, it is better to take the more difficult step and to trust God to give us grace to manifest Christ's victory in our situation.

PRACTICAL STEPS FOR DECISION MAKING
Someone once suggested these practical steps, when we need to decide on a course of action, and I think we can practice this:

• Draw a line across a sheet of paper and write down all the reasons for doing a particular thing on one side, and all the reasons against it on the other (like a balance sheet)
• Pray over these reasons daily and revise the list as necessary.
• Be sincerely willing to accept either course of action.
• As you continue to pray, the Holy Spirit will give you a witness in your spirit as to what you are to do. If you experience a growing peace in your spirit about a particular course of action, this will usually be a clear indication of what God wants you to do.

The Bible says, "Let the peace (which comes) from Christ (through the Holy Spirit), rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts - deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds" (Col. 3:15-Amplified).
• We should check ourselves when we lose our peace.
• We should proceed ahead only when we have perfect peace in our spirits.

CONCLUSION
We all will love to be led by the Holy Spirit. We want to be able to make decisions; great or small and be at peace when we make them as we trust God for His ultimate will to come to pass in our lives. But we really don't need any supernatural sign; or a supernatural writing in the sky. These will be “nice to have” but if we know on the inside of us what God wants us to do; we should just go ahead and do it. It is true that quite a number of us really don’t have a problem with hearing God; but our problem is with obeying God. Especially when what He’s asked us to do is contrary to what our flesh desires. But our consciences keep us in check; that is why we should not make it a habit of violating our consciences.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 01:40 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 02 2015

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION
The number one way, the primary way that we are mostly led as Christians is by the inward witness. The inward witness is just as supernatural as guidance through visions and so on; it is just not as spectacular. Many people are looking for the spectacular and missing the supernatural that is right there all the time. Some of us have also spent most of our lives in the mental and physical realm; developing our intellect at the expense of our heart until our intellect has become the dominant force in our life. And our spirit—which should be our guide—has been kept locked away in prison, so to speak, and has not been permitted to function.
In today’s study we will flip the “coin” over and learn how to develop and trust the witness inside of us.

Romans 8:16 “The Spirit itself [Himself] beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”

Leading in the Old Testament vs leading in the New Testament
In the Old Testament the prophets would say, "And the Word of the Lord came unto me saying...."
Have you ever wondered how it came?
It could not have been literally audible.
If it had been audible everyone present would have heard it—the prophet would not have had to tell the people what the Spirit said. The Word of the Lord came to the prophet's spirit from the Spirit of God. It is so real that it seems audible at the time.
The prophet of the New Testament is very similar to the prophet of the Old Testament in that the prophet of the Old Testament was called a 'seer' because he saw and knew things supernaturally.

The ultimate guidance for a Christian under the New Testament should be through the Holy Spirit. He or she need not seek guidance through prophets. He or she might receive guidance through prophets, but he should not seek it or rely on it.
The ministry of the New Testament prophet in this area is only to confirm what people already have in their own spirits.
Under the Old Covenant, only the priest, the prophet, and the king were anointed by the Holy Spirit to stand in those offices. Not all the people had the Spirit of God upon them or in them. Therefore, under the Old Covenant, people would seek guidance through the prophet because he had the Spirit of God."
Under the New Testament, we not only have the Spirit of God upon us—we have Him in us!
1 Corinthians 6:19
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

Ezekiel 36:26, 27 also says:
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

Being led vs putting out a fleece.
In putting out a fleece, one prays something like this: "Lord, if you want me to do this—then You do that." Or, "God, if you want me to do this, then have that happen."
There are instances in the old testament when people of old did that; Gideon, Hezekiah, etc. But God has a better way of leading His children than by a hit-and-miss method such as fleeces.
'For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God'" (Rom. 8:14)
The Bible does not say, "As many as are led by fleeces, they are the children of God."
It is dangerous for Spirit-filled Christians to put out fleeces instead of relying on the leading of the Holy Spirit because these “fleeces” could be perverted by the devil.

Importance of understanding the leading of the Holy Spirit by the inward witness
It prevents us from going astray, missing the mark, engaging in activities that could lead us to ruin, etc.
“And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, this is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21 AMP)
“And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here.” (Isaiah 30:21 TLB) 

Developing our spirit and following the leading of the Holy Spirit by the inward witness.
• One way to do that is to feed on God’s Word. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
• Another way to develop our spirit is to follow after love. The Scriptures say that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). If we’re not listening to love, we’re not listening to the voice of God. If we are walking in love, we are following after God. We’re going to have to train our spirit to hear the voice of God on love in order to develop enough to hear His voice in other areas.
• A third way to develop our spirit and become more sensitive to the inward witness is by praying much in other tongues. When we pray in tongues, our spirit is in contact with the Father of spirits. The more we pray in tongues, the more we become sensitive to our spirit. After a while, we’ll know on the inside whether the Holy Spirit is saying yes or no, even in the minor incidents of life.

CONCLUSION
The inward witness is God’s number-one way of leading His children as we see in Romans 8:16. This inward witness of the Spirit of God is in us already (1 John 5:10).
God lets us know we are His children by the inward witness. We need to trust the witness inside of us and don’t ignore the “checks” in our spirits when He speaks.
When you believe you have the inward witness, you won’t make haste (Isaiah 28:16).

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 01:44 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, January 29 2015

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

INTRODUCTION
Last week, we were able, by God's grace, to study the relationship and difference between the spirit and the soul. We also considered the importance of the need to know the difference between our spirit and our soul. It's interesting to know that when God made man, He made him a" living soul", i.e. the ability to take decisions and make choices was given to man right from creation. We learnt that the soul, which is the seat of our mind, will and emotions is where these decisions and choices are taken. This week, we shall be continuing in the study of the soul and our body.

1. The Saving of the Soul
"So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls." [James 1:21 AMP]

• We have been able to establish, in the past teachings, that at the new birth experience, it is the spirit of man that is born again. This is the part of man that receives eternal life, which is the nature of God.
• It is the spirit of man (not the soul) that becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus.
• The soul is not the innermost being at all. The saving of the soul is a process. Yes, it is a PROCESS.
• The Epistle of James was not written to sinners. James wrote this letter to the Church. Many verses in this book of James attest to this. Take James 5:14 for example;
"Is anyone among you sick? He should call in the church elders (the spiritual guides). And they should pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Lord’s name."
This is talking about anyone sick among the Church calling on the Church Elders.
• In our text today (James 1:18-21), James started by attesting to the truth that we have been begotten or born again by the word of truth and yet encourages us (Spirit-filled people) to receive the engrafted Word, "....which is able to save your souls."
• Though the innermost man (the real man - the spirit) receives eternal life, his intellect and emotions - which is seated in the soul- still needs to be renewed by the Word.

"Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]."         
[Romans 12:2AMP]
He restores my soul; [Psalm 23:3a]

Both Hebrew word translated restore in the old testament, and the Greek word translated renew in the New testament mean the same thing. To dictionary definition of the word Renew means to restore to a former state; make new or as if new again.
There is no place in the bible where it was mentioned that God restores our spirit. Our spirits become brand-new creatures in Christ Jesus. Our souls however, must be renewed or restored.
•  James 1:21; Romans 12:2 tells us how to restore Man's soul - through the Word of God. It is the word of God that saves our soul, that renews our minds and restores our souls.
• Renewing our minds with the Word of God makes us think in line with what God's word says. We are able to prove and ascertain the permissive and the perfect will of God - because His Word is His Will.
• Certified Doctors, Engineers, Architects, Accountants e.t.c. are just normal people who have gone through the process of mind renewal in their respective fields through consitent and diligent routine of immersing themselves in their books for years. It is a PROCESS.
2. Presenting the Body
"I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship". [Romans 12:1 AMP]

• At the new birth, Just like the soul, we still have the same body we had before we became a new creature. We must learn (as part of the process) to let the new man (on the inside) dominate. By doing this, we are able to control the flesh and do something with our bodies.
• We must learn to Crucify (subdue as in passion, sin; to put to death by nailing) the flesh. God does not do this for us, it is what we have to learn to do ourselves.

Paul said (Romans 12:1) ......" I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice,"

Who presents the Body? You. Who is you?  The man on the inside who is born again and has become a new creature!
Paul is not just a leader, he is a leader by example. We see how he subdued his body in 1 Corinthians 9:27;
"But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospeland things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]."

What did Paul bring his body subject to? To the inward man! Instead of letting the body dominate the inward man, Paul saw to it that the inward man dominated the outward man.
As anointed as Paul was, a spiritual giant who wrote half the new testament, yet his body wanted to do things that were wrong, otherwise, why would he have had to bring it under?

• Lesson for us here is that just because our body wants to do wrong does not  negate the truth that we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. But we will have to contend with the body, the flesh (mindset), as long as we are in the world.
• God has however, given us the means, the ability, and the authority through the Word of God to deal with the devil and the flesh. If Paul, the apostle of faith can do it, we can even do much more by the Spirit of the living God.
• You (and I) are the one who must do it! Paul never said God would do it for you. He said, "You be not conformed"....."You be transformed by renewing your mind."..."You present your body". You get your mind renewed with the Word of God. You, You, You and You!!!!

CONCLUSION -
The life and nature of God is inside your spirit. Let that man on the inside be the dominant one. Listen to him (the spirit). It is the spirit of man that is the candle of the Lord and it is through your spirit that God will guide you. He will, if YOU let Him.

*Teaching is culled from "How You Can Be Led By The Spirit of God" by Kenneth E Hagin.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 12:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, January 23 2015

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION

In last week’s study, we considered the spirit of man. That man is an eternal spirit and that the spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord. When we are led, it is by our spirits not our minds (which reside in our souls). There are some who don't believe there is a difference between the spirit and the soul; but the spirit and the soul are not the same.

In today’s study we will consider by looking at the scriptures

1. The relationship between the spirit and the soul
2. The differences between the spirit and the soul
3. Why it is important to know the difference
 

THE RELATIONSHIP

First we will look at the inferred relationship based on two scriptures:

1Thess 5:23 says,

“And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete…”

This scripture implies that humans are made of a spirit a soul and a body. It has been said that we are spirit beings, we live in bodies and we possess souls.

•The real person inside of us is our spirit.
•Our soul consists of our mind, will and emotions; (our understanding and our natural human mentality).
•Our bodies are what we live in (earth suit) while we are here on earth.
Also Genesis 2:7 says:

“And the LORD God formed man (body) of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (spirit); and man became a living soul."

THE DIFFERENCE

Paul, by the Spirit of God, said that the spirit and soul can be divided by the Word of God in Heb. 4:12a.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. . .”

So it follows that if you can divide them, they cannot be the same – they are separate (different) but the Bible tells us that only the Word of God can divide the spirit and the soul.

1. With our spirits we contact the spiritual realm
2. With our souls we contact the intellectual realm.
See also 1 CORINTHIANS 14:14

“For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.”

The Amplified translation reads, "For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit [by the Holy Spirit within me] prays, but my mind is unproductive...."

Notice what Paul said.

"My spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful." He did not say, "When I pray in an unknown tongue my soul prays." He said in effect, "I am not praying out of my soul when I pray in tongues; I am praying out of my spirit, my heart, my innermost being."

3. When we pray in tongues it’s our spirit that prays
4. Our souls (minds) have nothing to do with words we say when we speak in tongues
Jesus said in John 7:37-39

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But He spake of the Holy Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"

As a result of receiving the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, "out of the belly shall flow rivers of living water." Another translation reads, "out of the innermost being will flow rivers of living water."

5. Our spirits are made right with God, and raised to new life the moment we accept Jesus. See 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) 
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

6. Our souls are transformed by the renewing of our minds and by the washing of the Word, see Romans 12:2,
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

SO WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OUR SPIRIT AND OUR SOUL?

Let’s consider Prov. 20:27 “The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one's inmost being.” (NIV)

1. We can only contact God (who is Spirit) by our spirits and not our souls.
2. It is by the spirit of man that God provides guidance
CONCLUSION

God guides us mostly by interacting with our spirits. It is our spirits He uses as a lamp to shed light on our paths. So we need to emphasize on what is more important: keeping our spirits alive and active. When we pray in the spirit, we energize and make our spirits active

Jude 1:20 says: “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit”

Having said that, we also need to pay special attention to our souls (our minds) because the soul is a portal to the spirit; and the decisions we make with our souls determine what happens to our spirits. Phil.4:8 says:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 01:40 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, January 20 2015

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

INTRODUCTION
What an awesome year it has been so far. Thank God for another anticipated awesome experience in His presence. We kicked off this year's bible study discussing in details, the great Shepherd. His word promises in Isaiah 58: 11a "The Lord will guide you continually". That's awesome, isn't it? Assured of the Great Shepherd's guidance all through the year and beyond. Today, we shall take our study further by looking at how the Lord has designed us to be guided. Do you know that both our body and spirit are very relevant and of great value to our God given assignment here on earth? This and many more will be covered in our topic, Man - An Eternal Spirit.

1. The Lamp of the Lord.
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."[Romans 8:14]

"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,"[Romans 8:16]

"The spirit of man [that factor in human personality which proceeds immediately from God] is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts."[Proverbs 20:27]

We will examine these three (3) scriptures collectively and make some spiritual deductions accordingly.

The NASB version of Proverbs 20:27 reads that "The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord....". This means God will enlighten (shed light upon; instruct; impart knowledge to) us. In order words, He will guide us. However, because we live in a sensual world, we are quick to seek guidance by other means, especially our physical senses. This, as you would agree with me, mostly get us into trouble. Nowhere does the Bible say God will guide us through our physical senses or mental senses. God will guide us through our spirits. In order to have a full grasp of this truth, we require a good understanding of our nature as spirit beings.
2. Man: An Eternal Spirit.
"God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness,.... So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them."[Genesis 1:26,27]
We have to understand that man is a spirit being, that he has a soul, and that he lives in the body [1 Thess. 5:23].
"God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worshipHim in spirit and in truth (reality)." [John 4:24]
If man is made in God's image, after His likeness, it therefore follow that man must of necessity be a spirit. That is why when the physical body of man is dead and in the grave, the spirit lives on. That part of man is eternal as Spirits can never die. That why saints don't die. They sleep. Stephen (one of the disciples) was recorded in Acts 7:60 as " And when he had said this, he fell asleep [in death]"Paul was talking in Phillipians 1:23,24, :
"For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you."
Who is going to depart? Paul was not talking about his body. His body was not going to depart. He was talking about the inward man, the spirit man, who lives inside the body. Some false cults teach that when a man dies, he does so like a dog. This is absolutely false. Man is more than a body, he is a spirit! He has a soul and abides in a body! Some also believe in reincarnation. This is unscriptural and unbiblical. Stay and believe on what the word of God teaches. Paul preached the same truths and taught the same facts to all the churches.
"but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." [2 Cor.4:16]
There is an inward man, and there is an inward man. The outward man is not the real you. This is only the house in which you live. The inward man is the real you and never grows older (i.e. corrupted). It is renewed day by day. This is the spirit man. It is this inward man that gets born again (See the account of Nicodemus in John 3: 1-6), the reason why the Bible encourages us to renew our minds. Man's spirit receives eternal life - the very life of God, and the nature of God. It is man's spirit that is made a new creature in Christ.
What Is Our spirit?
Keep in mind our text in Romans 8:14. Verse 16 gives insight into how the Spirit of God leads us - Through bearing witness with our spirit. In other words, the Spirit of God bears witness with the spirit of man.  Paul calls man's spirit "the inward man." while Peter calls man's spirit "the hidden man of the heart" [1 Peter 3:4]
In many places when the Bible speaks of the heart, it is speaking of the spirit, which is the real man. In the New Testament, wherever the word heart is used, substitute the word spirit and you will get a clearer picture of what the Bible is talking about.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." [2 Corinthians 5:17]
This is talking about the inward man and not the outward man. You do not get a new body or any bodily change after the new birth. God does not do anything with the outward man, you have to find out what God wants you to do with the outward man from the Bible and then do it. God makes the man on the inside a new man in Christ, a new creature - a new creation.
3. Be Spirit- Conscious
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." [1 Thess.5:23]
Paul begins with the inside, the innermost part of man, the heart of being, which is his spirit, and comes outside. Most people misquote this verse by reversing the order, why? Because, most of the time, they are body-conscious than spirit-conscious. i.e. the natural mean more to them than spiritual things. We can be sometimes more mental-conscious too because we live in the mental realm.
If we are going to be led by the Spirit of God, we must become more spirit-conscious or we'll miss out on the whole thing. Remember, God's Spirit leads us through our spirits.
Why Body?
As an aside, let's consider the importance of the body. Why did Jesus had to show Thomas His Body in John 20:26-27? Why did He ask him to touch him? What will you do if you hear a movement in you house without seeing anybody?
You see, our body is what makes us authentic dwellers here on the earth. That is why God puts us here, to have dominion. That is why He desires for us to pray so we can invoke mysterious changes here on earth. God is a Spirit and since He does not have a Body, He has entrusted the Power to make changes to us as authentic dwellers (thanks to our Body). You will make great progress with your prayer life if you walk in the consciousness of this.

CONCLUSION -
Realise and walk in the consciousness of the truth that you are a spirit being and that you became a new creature created by God in Christ Jesus. This will help you grow spiritually.

*Teaching is culled from "How You Can Be Led By The Spirit of God" by Kenneth E Hagin.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 05:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, January 11 2015

Contributor: Alex Alajiki

Introduction:
This Psalm was written by David about 3,000 years ago and it is still one of the most popular chapters in the Bible. Amazon, in Nov. 2014, released the most highlighted passages in their most popular books downloaded onto Kindle, their electronic book reader. It included the most highlighted passage in the Bible which turned out to be Psalm 23.
This Psalm is part two of what we could call a Messianic trilogy. Psalm’s 22, 23 and 24 give different glimpses of this wonderful Shepherd.
a) The Past in Ps.22; He is the good Shepherd that laid down His life for His sheeps. Jhn.10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
b) The Present in Ps.23; He presentely cares and provides for the His people. Hebrews 13:20-21  “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him…”
c) The Future in Ps.24; He is the Chief Shepherd that will care for His people eternally. 1 Peter 5:4 “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away”. Rev.7:17 “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water."

Ps. 23 can be divided into three parts;
1) The great Shepherd; our provider (vs.1-3)
2) The great Shepherd; our protector (vs.4-5)
3) The great Shepherd; Our preserver (vs.6)
1) The Great Shepherd; Our Provider:- Ps.23:1-3 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
The Lord – The source of David’s comfort, confidence and strength is The Lord. This name is “Yahweh’, the sovereign, almighty, delivering God. Jesus took this name for Himself when He said ‘Before Abraham was born, I AM!’(Jhn.8:58). We can’t call Him Lord until we come under His authority by giving up our own self-directed foolish ways. The Lord Jesus strongly rebuked those who held such a notion, saying, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Matt. 7:21).

Is – David was referring to a present relationship. Not was, like He helped us in the past. Not will be, like we look forward to something He will do… but IS – present tense. David had extreme confidence in who God IS right now! Do you?

My – This is personal. The terms ‘I, my, me, he, his, you’ etc are used about 30 times in just 6 verses. His care is not just for the entire flock, but He is interested in personal relationship with individual Sheep. The Psalm is only valid for those who truly have Jesus as their own Shepherd. It’s not for goats. Ps.91:2 “I will say of the Lord, He is my….”

Shepherd – This imagery of the shepherd and sheep spans the entire Bible but is most prominent in the New Testament where Jesus speaks about His relationship with His people, His sheep. How would you describe sheep? What are their characteristics? They are dumb, dirty, defenceless and dependant. They are the most stupid animal on the face of the earth. If there was such a thing as animal school, they would be dropouts. If there is a ditch, they will fall in and need to be rescued. If there is a wire fence, they’ll get caught in it. And then the same thing will happen tomorrow. They can’t run all that fast, don’t have the greatest eye sight apparently and, being basically defenceless, are timid and fearful. And let’s not forget they are prone to wander. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”( Isa.53:6).
That’s the animal God choose which best represents you and I! They are in need of a good shepherd who will provide, protect, and guide his sheep. We need to remind ourselves of this all the time. God is the one who looks after our lives. That is why we need the saviour and the comforter in our lives. John 10:1, 11-115.

I shall not want – David was not saying ‘the LORD is my Shepherd, I get everything I want’! Nor was he saying that all our selfish "wants" and cravings will be satisfied if the Lord is our Shepherd. He was talking about genuine needs, not greed’!  Obviously it means that with the Lord protecting and providing for us then we shall not lack that which He knows we need. This verse doesn’t mean that there will not be times of drought, valleys, difficulties and need--- far from it... God loves you too much to just make things always easy! That seldom accomplishes His purposes and the rest of the Psalm show that these things do occur. But the confidence David had is that the great shepherd will always know what we need and when to provide it. Everything will be ok. He is in control. Ps.34:10 “The young lion.”
Luk. 12:22-32 “ And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,[b] yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his[c] kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters – Let us take note of the phrases He makes me and He leads me. Jesus our Shepherd is in the business of leading and bringing us to a place of rest. We often try to work things out in our little minds and end up working ourselves into a place of nervous exhaustion! We have to learn to sit back and thank Him once again. He makes me... He leads me.
It is the responsibility of the great Shepherd to lead us to green pastures and still waters, but it is our responsibility to follow, eat and drink. Whenever He makes us to lie down, we must learn to lie down even if we feel like moving. We can never suffer burn out, break down and depression if we constantly follow Him.

The strange thing about sheep is that because of their very make-up it is almost impossible for them to be made to lie down unless four requirements are met. [1] Owing to their timidity they refuse to lie down unless they are free from all fear. [2] Because of the social behaviour within a flock, sheep will not lie down unless they are free from friction with others of their kind. [3] If tormented by flies or parasites, sheep will not lie down. Only when free of these pests can they relax. [4] Lastly, sheep will not lie down as long as they feel in need of finding food. They must be free from hunger." How does these relate to us?

He restores my soul – He renews and refreshes my spirit. Literally, He brings it back. Our restoration comes when we follow Him to green pastures, still waters and take our rest by casting all our cares upon Him. Ps. 55:22 “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he shall sustain you: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake - The paths that the Shepherd takes us on are the righteous or ‘right’ paths. They will lead us to places of rest and provision. Obviously,
this doesn’t mean that the track that the shepherd takes is always an easy one. Sometimes it goes through the dark valley as the next verse indicates. But it is still the path that leads to righteousness. As you survey your life, what path has God led and guided you through? Was it where you thought you would go? Rom.8:29. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 04:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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