Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Deeper Still :: Beth Moore

The last speaker of the weekend, was the highly anticipated Beth Moore. She has a way of hitting you hard while still speaking in such an upbeat manner. She is truly captivating. She'll make you laugh, cry and search your heart. Her teaching style was frank, relateable, comedic--completely enthralling. I was on the edge of my seat throughout her talk. She spoke on discerning the voice of God. On how to, not only know if it is God you are hearing, but on how to discipher what it is He's telling you. Here's what I got from her teachings as well as the passages she referenced.

"If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever -- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot), said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?"
Jesus replied, "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. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
"All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
-John 14.15-27

God promised to be with us always. To lead us, to teach us, to show us His will. All we need to do is listen, not to the outside world, but to His voice. We need to not just hear Him, but to truly listen. If you are not living in His word, obeying the laws He has set forth in the bible, you will not hear Him. Follow in the laws He has set for you and His light will shine upon your path. If you spend time daily with Him, spend time in His book, really divulge yourself in His teachings, His words will ring loud and clear for you.

Some of His disciples said to one another, "What does He mean by saying, 'In a little while you will see me no more, and after a little while you will see me,' and 'Because I am going to the Father'?"
-John 16.17

As humans, we're going to have doubts. It's in our nature. It's how you handle these doubts and fears that matters. Will you let them chip away at your faith? Will you turn them to God? Will you go to His word for reassurance?

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him" Isaiah 64.4 but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" Isaiah 40.13 But we have the mind of Christ.
-1st Corinthians 2.6-16

You can have the highest IQ of anyone you know, and still be lacking in spiritual knowledge. Only when you lay your judgement in the bible, will you gain spiritual discernment. By living in His word, you will gain the ability to know what you cannot humanly know.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God -- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth -- men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings -- what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
-2nd Timothy 3.1-13

To follow the ways of men is to turn from God. These evil ways may seem intriguing and may give you earthly pleasure, but indulging in these sinful lifestyles will be in exchange for your eternal life in heaven. Is a moment of pleasure worth sacrificing eternal bliss? All Christians will be persecuted -- in some way. You may not be stoned or hung or beaten, but as a devout Christ-follower you will face opposition.

A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.
-Ephesians 3.20

God already knows. He knows your heart. He knows what you've done. He knows what you're thinking. He knows where your devotion lies. He knows what you will do. He knows what will happen to you. He knows all.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,
-2nd Timothy 3.14

Who are you learning from? Are you taking advice from your neighbor down the street? A co-worker? An old friend? Are you taking heed of what the Lord has said. Of the words He has spoken. Of what He wants out of your life?

Brothers, I could not address you as spirtual but as wordly -- mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?
-1st Corinthians 3.1-3

It's not just about reading through the bible and memorizing key verses. You need to live in His word. Adhere to His laws. Listen to what His will is for you and then follow it.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,
-Phillipians 1.9-10

When you love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind, you will take heed to His directions. You will live in His word and you will follow in His ways.

The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, 'Who can bring me down to the ground?'
-Obadiah 1.3

Imposters will multiply as we get closer to the kingdom of heaven. Do not confuse the voices of man with the voice of God. Do not let your pride stop you from hearing the words of the Lord. Do not let your fear take you from the path of God.

"All this I have spoken while still with you."
-John 14.25

God is talking to you. Can you hear Him? Are you listening?

There are two dimensions of spiritual revelation we desperately need. Divine revelation in our human encounters and divine revelation in Christ encounters. How do you differentiate God's voice from satans?

How do you know if you can trust what you're sensing? Ask yourself these questions ::
- am I a critical or suspicious person by nature?
- am I jealous or do I feel threatened?
- do I have anything selfish to gain from the outcome?
- are my emotions clouding my discernment?
If you answered yes to any of these questions,, these are things you need to work through with God before you can gain spiritual discernment.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
-Hebrews 12.1-2

Turn your eyes from earthly temptations and set them upon God. Run to Him with all your heart. Look to Him for everything in your life. Look to Him with everything that is within you. He will show you His way.

When looking for spiritual discernment, judge the situation not the person. Remember that it's not only about obedience, you also need a relationship with God. You need to walk in the Spirit. This is a purposeful choice, you cannot accidentally walk in the Spirit. A godly person will seek Him out. Trust in Him because the Holy Spirit is steady.

Can you put trust in your spiritual gut?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Deeper Still :: Priscilla Shirer

Priscilla Shirer is one of the most charismatic and captivating Christian women I've ever encountered. Her style of teaching is warm and welcoming; not at all like a lecture, more like a talk with a good, energetic friend. If you've never heard her speak, I encourage you to change that quickly. I was so enraptured with her talk, I almost forgot to take notes. She will have you laughing while still keeping you on your spiritual toes. At the Deeper Still conference, she spoke mainly from Ephesians 3.20-21 :

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

with supporting notes from several other verses. The key note being; God is able to go beyond beyond. Here's my take on her talk along with the supporting verses she referenced.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
- Proverbs 3:5-6

God is able. He is able in all things at all times. He is able to suprise you. We must know who God is, and what He has, in order to access him. He is the almighty. He is the alpha and the omega. He has access to everything we can imagine -- and beyond.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
- John 10.10

God can counteract anything and everything. He has resurrected the dead, He has parted the seas, He has done beyond what is imaginable. Believe in Him, follow in His will, and you too will have everlasting life.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
- Hebrews 12.2

Just like a flower can only grow in soil rich with the right nutrients, we can only grow in a life filled with God. Now is the time to consider the ability of God.

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
- Psalms 46.10
What is impossible for you, is possible for Him. He deserves our praise and our worship. Turn your attention away from the frustrations, from the seemingly impossible and turn to Jesus. Deliberately shift your fears unto Him.

This, the first of His miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Can in Galilee. He thus revealed His glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him.
- John 2.11

Will you put your faith in Him? Open your eyes to see His ability. Don't let the 'urgent' things in your life outcrowd the important things. Believe in what God says over what you can percieve.

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
- Micah 7.7

God will hear you too. You need only faith. Trust in the Lord, your God, with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul. He can accomplish the unfathomable. He will amaze you. He will do astonishing things in your life when you believe and put your trust wholy in Him. The truth is not relative, it is absolute.

'For I know the plans I have for you,: declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
- Jeremiah 29.11

He can do all things. He has plans for you. You may not understand them, you may not always see where He's taking you, but He has a plan for you. Follow in His will and He will be with you.

Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol Him, all you peoples. For great is His love toward us and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.
- Psalms 117

Shower Him with your doxologies (outpouring of praise and worship to God).

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is He that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died -- more than that, who was raised to life -- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
- Romans 8.32

You may be persecuted here on earth. You will have trials and tribulations in this world. All things are not good, but all things are working for our good. God has a much bigger plan than we can even begin to fathom. The reward for those who believe, those who follow God whole-heartedly, is eternal life with our Father in heaven. He wants this for us. He wants us to be our best. Live life for Him.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession -- to the praise of His glory.
- Ephesians 1.13-14

Everything that concerns you, concerns Him. Take the totality of your needs to God. There is no problem, too big or too small, that He cannot handle. Whether or not He does something is a question of His sovereignty, not His ability.

My God is able.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Deeper Still :: Kay Arthur

Kay Arthur was the first speaker of the Deeper Still weekend. Kay is an amazing woman. She speaks with such knowledge and conviction. She can be a little hard to follow at times though. While she stayed in the book of Hebrews, she flew all over it and I found myself just writing down the verses she mentioned so I could go over them later. I simply couldn't keep up! Don't get me wrong here, she was very inspiring. She's just not someone you can listen to in the background. Kay Arthur demands your undivided attention.

She spoke of having 'rest of faith.' Basically of living your life through God, for God and with God. Whenever you have a doubt, a concern, a question or a decision to be made -- turn to His word. Live by the bible, in the bible, and you will be living out God's will. The book of Hebrews, being all about faith, gave some great examples of those who survived by faith alone, forsaking all things earthly for the glory of God. Here's my take on her speaking and the verses she used.

but in those last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and hrough whom He made the universe.
- Hebrews 1.2

God sent His Son for us. All of us. Imagine sacrificing your child for all of humanity. It's unthinkable. How could you not worship a God who loves you so much?

You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possesions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For in just a very little while, 'He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.' But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
- Hebrews 10.34-39

Would you be able to give up your earthly possesions if that was God's will? Are you willing to be persecuted in His name? Is your faith strong enough to sustain you through what the world may throw at you?

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
- Hebrews 5.11-14

This verse really spoke to me. It's so easy to bypass the 'beginner steps' and go on to bigger, harder things. But it is so important to grow in God in a manner that you will really take His word with you in all that you do. We are so eager to be mature and to know all, that we sometimes forget to focus on the smaller details -- on the beginning. Don't rush through God's word. Take your time. Listen. Hear Him. Talk to other believers, or Christians who are further in their walk than you. Ask questions. Grow in Him --with Him.

God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
- Hebrews 6.10-12

Don't waiver in your great faith. God will sustain you through it all. Times may be rough, you may feel as if you're being overlooked. But God has a plan for you and he will never forget His children.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
- Hebrews 11.1

Anyone who knows me well, knows this is my favorite bible verse (I have it tattooed on me). It gives me a sense of peace and reassurance. Are you sure in your faith? I know that if I'm hoping for a new pair of shoes, chances are, God's not going to bring them to me, but if I'm living in God's word, then my hopes are going to fall in line with His will, and this will be done. Some may argue that you can't see God, how can you believe He is real? I say God is like the wind. I can't see the wind, but I can feel the effects of the wind. I am sure that He is real. I am sure that He is present in my life. I am sure He sent His only Son to forgive me of my sins. I am sure that He has a plan for me.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
- Hebrews 11.6

I always find it a little unnerving when I hear people seek God in their troubled times, then immediately denounce Him when things begin to go better. How can you ask Him to help you and then not give Him credit when He does? Without Him we are nothing.

For this reason he had to be made like His brothers in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.
- Hebrews 2.17-18

Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice in dying for our sins. What did we do to deserve this? Does God not deserve our hearts, our souls, our lives in return?

So, as the Holy Spirit says: 'Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation and I said, "Their hearts are always going astray and they have not known my ways. So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest. ' "
- Hebrews 3.7-11

Will you rest in faith or go for the passing pleasures of sin? We often think we know what's best. That we can do things on our own. How much easier would life be if we just did things His way? He has promised us treasures in heavens, in return for our worship and obedience.

And to whom did God swear that they would never enter His rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
- Hebrews 3.18-19

Don't be passive when it comes to God. He is eternal life. He is with always...not just when we deem Him convenient. Give Him the worship, praise, devotion and respect He deserves.Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you to be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
- Hebrews 4.1-2

Often things go in one ear and out the other. Don't let God's word be one of those things. Have faith in what He says to you. He knows better than you.

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Paraoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
- Hebrews 11.24-26

Keep your eyes upon the Lord. Follow in His word and He will reward you.

By faith he made his home in the promised land like stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
- Hebrews 11.9-10

There is no fear with faith.

Women received back their dead, raised to life again Others were tortured and refused to be released so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated--the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. Thee were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
- Hebrews 11.35-40

Are you willing to be persecuted in the name of God? Or will you forsake Him in the face of fear? Our lives on earth are only the beginning. He has something much better in store for us in the afterlife -- if only we choose to worship and obey Him.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perserverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
- Hebrews 12.1-2

Don't let the weights of this world outshine that which God has promised you.

And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy though his own blood. Let us, then, go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
- Hebrews 13.12-14

I have faith that what the bible says truly is words from God. I have faith that Jesus died so I could live ever after in heaven. I have faith that God is a sovereign God who will accept me time and time again. I have found rest in faith and will continue to do so as I spend daily time in His word. Will you?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Deeper Still :: an overview

Over the weekend, I, along with the ladies of CATB, attended the Deeper Still conference. It was led by Kay Arthur, Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer. These 3 women have a unique way of relaying God's word in a way that not only speaks to you, but that grabs a hold of your heart and lets you feel the word of God eminating through you. By the end of the 2 days, I had been moved to tears, laughed uncontrollably and been led to go deeper still in my walk of faith.

The weekend started off Friday night, with praise and worship led by Travis Cottrell. If you've never heard him before -- he is amazing! We sang well known traditional gospel songs as well as a few contemporary gospel hits. Travis and his team had such awesome talent and presence that even the songs that I'd never heard before felt familiar.

We also heard Kay Arthur speak on Friday night. She is clearly a women in touch with God's word. The common thread of her teaching was 'rest in faith'. She taught from the book of Hebrews and spoke of relying on the Bible in everything you do.

Bright and early Saturday, we were back for day 2. Again, the day started off with an amazing time of worship with Travis and his praise team...though this morning they had a special surprise. Beth and Priscilla came out and performed a rap. It was hilarious! For those who missed it, don't you wish you had left the hotel just a little earlier now?

Priscilla Shirer was the next to speak. She had me in hysterics! Her teaching style was funny and relateable while still incredibly thought provoking. She broke down Ephesians 3.20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Her main point being that God is able! He can go beyond beyond!

We than had a break for lunch. Everyone pretty much went their seperate ways for that. Sarah was kind enough to take Beth, April and myself to her uncles local pizza joint. We ordered several different personal pans as well as some caesar salad and shared it all around. It was delicious! If I could remember the name of it, I would recommend it to anyone in Orlando.

After lunch, we re-congregated at the arena and settled in to enjoy another round of praise with Travis and the gang, where they unveiled the 'prayer wall'. There were glass panes set up friday night for all who attended the conference to write their prayers upon. During this worship session, they displayed the 4 panes and painted a picture of Gods hand holding a single flower over top. It was a great way of joining thousands of women together to lift up our prayers.

This was followed by the teachings of Beth Moore. This was the most anticipated speaker by our group and she did not disappoint! Her high-energy style was captivating, humorus and heart-pulling. She taught on discerning the voice of God -- how to listen to your spiritual gut.

After another rousing round of praise and worship we were then treated to a question and answer segment. Beth, Kay and Priscilla answered questions that were submitted prior and gave real-life, biblically-based answers. Overall, the conference was an amazing, God-filled experience. I am so blessed to have been able to be in the presence of these 3 awe-inspiring women.

Over the next few blog posts, I will be giving you my take on this conference. What I took from these 3 amazing women, what I feel God is saying to me through this, and how I am being led deeper still.

The ladies of CATB who attended this awe-inspiring event.