Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Guide

“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 2:13-16

If it were up to me, I’d move everyone to Mexico and we’d all live along the area called the Riviera Maya.  It’s a stretch of beaches from Cancun going up the coast to Tulum that was named after the Mayan Indians that once lived there.  The culture along the Riviera Maya is still rooted in Mayan heritage, and you can easily identify those that are of that heritage by large curved noses and wide eyes. The Mayan Indians are fascinating to me.  They were highly intelligent people who built massive structures in Tulum like El Castillo, and the ball court and pyramid named Chichen Itza in the Yucatan. 

They weren’t just builders thought, but had knowledge of sciences as well.  They developed their own mathematical system based on 20 and 5.  In fact they originated of the theory of zero in mathematics.  At Tulum they created their own clock based on the sun that told them the seasons, and in turn created their own round calendar which dated till 2012.  They had their own medicines, and even had midwives to help women bear children.  The structures they build bear hieroglyphics that show their beliefs in God, and some even are thought to show a time when they were visited by Jesus. 

It would seem I had read a lot about the Mayans, but in fact, I’ve not read a single book.  When I go to see the ruins, I always get a guide.  Yes, it’s optional.  But you can pay for a guide, and the guide will walk you through the ruins and explain the structures, the hieroglyphics, the history, and the demise of the Mayan people.  It’s through the words of the guide that the ruins have come back to life for me, as if you can feel their presence there when you walk through and see them going about their day to day activities.  I’ve tried visiting some of the ruins without a guide, and to be honest, I can’t even remember the names of the ruins today.  They just didn’t have the same effect on me.  They weren’t made ‘real’ to me and just didn’t touch me in the way the ones I’d walked through with a guide did.
God’s word is much like the ruins of the Mayans in that we need a guide to go through it and truly understand and feel that connection with it.  In 1 Corinthians 2:13-16 we’re told that a man cannot receive the things that are of the Spirit of God because he doesn’t have a spiritual connection to God.  But once we receive the Holy Spirit through salvation, our guide moves in to our hearts.  We are then recreated as new creatures, having a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26), and we are given the mind of Christ.  We then, through our guide, can understand the spiritual things of God’s word, and it becomes alive to us.

God’s word may feel flat and lifeless, and even become a task to read rather than a joy without the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  It’s like going through Tulum without a guide and walking out saying “wow, those Mayans really knew how to build stuff without tools and stack rocks!” Yet there is so much more to be understood and to be gained when you have a guide.

The Holy Spirit within us teaches us the scriptures intimately – one-on-one.  In John 14:26 Jesus said, But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” The Holy Spirit is to be our teacher, bringing God’s word to mind as we need it, allowing us to discern the deeper meanings of His word.  It’s a spoon-feeding of God’s word, as you need it.  In different times of my life God has made certain verses come alive to me, and bring me deep comfort that I couldn’t get anywhere else.  His words affected my spirit through His Spirit – deep touching deep.
Back in 1988 I was mugged, and held captive with the threat of being rapped for 45 minutes.  Thereafter I had intense fear that crippled me from doing simple things like getting out of the car at the supermarket, walking in to work alone, or even going into my own house.  During that time He made Isaiah 41:13 come to life for me.  It says “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”  In a time when I desperately needed a hand to hold, someone to be present and help me to overcome the fear, God told me through that verse that He was doing just that – holding my hand and walking with me, taking care of me, comforting me, and telling me not to fear the next step because He was there.  It was an intimate word, spoken directly to the heart, and through that verse I became strong again.

Today, as it has been for at least 5 years now, the verse He chooses is Isaiah 26:3, which I have posted by my desk to this day.  It says “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trust in you.”  Over these years, God has used His Holy Spirit to guide me through these words from one comfort to another.  Back when I fought depression and had a deep desire to move off the depression pills, the words “perfect peace” resonated in my soul.  I saw that His peace was PERFECT, needing nothing more, and was able to let go of the pharmaceutical hand up I’d clung to, and take hold of His hand. 
He then moved me on to “whose mind is stayed on you” through a time when I was afraid of what life was bringing to me.  Raising kids isn’t easy, and being a single mom isn’t either.  But through those words His message to me was not to take my eyes off him, not to look at my circumstances, but to look at His love.  It was a message like going across a swinging bridge and hearing, “Don’t look down – just look at me.  Keep your focus on me, keep praising me, and don’t be afraid of the circumstances I’m leading you through.”

Now it’s about worry, and His direct message to me through this verse is in the words “because he trusts in you”.  I’m learning from my guide, the Holy Spirit, that worry is a lack of trust in God.  I worry when I fail to trust Him.  If we truly can trust Him, knowing He has all power and authority, knowing He can and will meet every need and every want, there’s no reason to worry. 
Scripture comes alive through reading it with the Holy Spirit as our guide.  But He also instructs and teaches us the truth about scripture, and how to discern the truth so we cannot be misled.   In 1 John 2:26-27 it says These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him ABIDES IN YOU, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”  Our anointing, which teaches us all things, abides IN US.  He will teach us what is true and what is not.  Without His guidance, we can easily be misled into doctrinal issues that are incorrect, and theories about God that are untrue.  But His word reveals the truth, and His Holy Spirit helps us unwrap it, and find revelations of truth that natural man will not know.

His word is precious not only for the comfort and truth that it brings, but for those spiritual attacks that come.  Yes, I’m talking about spiritual warfare.  And although I don’t like to give satan and his minions my attention, I do like to give him a strong fight, and I refuse to be defeated by him or see my friends and family defeated by him.  Jesus Himself used the same book in which we have been given against him, saying three times in Matthew 4 when satan tried to tempt our Lord, “it is written”.  God’s word is  “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”  (Ephesians 6:17 ).  It is the weapon we have been given, yet it is often not rightly used.  Notice that it is NOT your sword – but the sword of the Spirit living in you.  Unless you read God’s word with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you won’t stand firmly before satan armed with what you need to defend your ground.  PRAY before you read it for guidance, meditate and let the Holy Spirit speak to you through His word, and don’t dare just do a verse-a-day nibble on God’s word.  His word is the BREAD OF LIFE – not a quick snack!
Hebrews 4:12 says For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Read that again.  It divides the soul of man and the spirit of man.  It gives discernment, understanding, of our thoughts and intentions.  That’s deep help.  God’s word is a surgical tool used on our spirit, our very soul.  It carves away our wrong thoughts and wrong intentions and changes us.  But again, it is the sword of the Spirit, yielded perfectly in the hands of the Holy Spirit, our guide.

When we got to Tulum on the day that I first visited it, I remember a row of guides setting off to the side.  They were sitting there, just waiting.  Our guide was a wonderful man who knew the Mayan heritage intimately because he was a Mayan.  In that same way, the Holy Spirit, because He is part of the deity of God, has intimate knowledge.  Is He waiting for you?
If your Bible study hasn’t been all it should be, if you feel that you’re missing some greater nugget of truth, or deeper revelation, ask yourself if you have the guide present with you.  Do you feel that hunger and thirst for God’s word, which comes from the joy of understanding and reading it with Him?  Or is it a daily chore to be checked off the list?  Prayer changes everything – EVERYTHING.  If you need the Holy Spirit as your guide, ask God for salvation.  If you don’t understand what that means, ask me or someone to explain it. If you have salvation, and still don’t feel His Holy Spirit as you read, I beg you to spend alone time with Him.  Get alone with God’s word, no clocks, no interruptions, and allow Him to speak to your heart in that still small voice of reason and love.  Pray for His guidance, and watch God’s word come alive in your very hands. 

If it were up to me, we'd all have a guide.  But it's not.  It's up to you.


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