Listening to His Still Small Voice

By Patrick Hawthorne

I was reading a post from blogger friend, Pastor Jim, of “Domain for Truth” concerning growing deeper in Biblical doctrine.  Biblical doctrine, for those who are new to the Christian walk, simply means instruction or teaching.  The main point Pastor Jim wanted us to glean from his post was that we, as individuals, are just as responsible for learning and adhering to sound Biblical doctrine as those who teach it.  To put my country boy spin on it, “Ya ain’t gonna grow healthy vegetables unless you tend the soil.”  Simply put, it is not your Pastor’s responsibility to learn for you.

While reading some of the comments, I found one really interesting one concerning Christian’s being “duped” by false teachers.  This got my wheels to turning as I thought about what this individual had written.  The question I asked myself was, “Are they being duped because they don’t know sound doctrine? Or, are they being duped because the teacher is a really smooth talking con-artist who puts a shiny spin on a truth in such a way that it sounds right but is totally wrong?

In some cases – not all mind you – Christian’s are duped not because of the teachings of the false teacher but because they fail to heed the voice of the Holy Spirit inside of them telling them, “This sounds good but really stinks.”  Just recently, I was listening to a message on the internet.  Without going into details, the speaker said all the right things yet I had a feeling, kind of like a nauseated feeling, that I needed to turn it off.  As soon as I obeyed the unction to turn it off the feeling went away.  This was nothing mystical but was simply the Holy Spirit providing me with discernment.

So, do we need to grow deeper in sound Biblical doctrine, as Pastor Jim teaches?  The answer is an emphatic yes and amen.  However, in addition to growth in Biblical doctrine, we also need to be aware that there are some really solid smooth talkers out there who may be able to pull the wool over our eyes if we are not in tune with the Holy Spirit.  As is written in Matthew 24:24 KJV, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”  Don’t be deceived.  Listen and learn.  Be blessed.

To see Pastor Jim’s post, please click on the following Link:  (https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/431324/posts/19258).

 

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The Thief (A Re-post from Years Past)

By Patrick Hawthorne

 

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The pain was excruciating! Like bolts of lightning, nerve endings screamed in a rhythmic tone as one wave of pain followed another.  Still, the thief pushed through the pain as he forced his body upright.  The need to breath was greater than the agony of the steel spike that had been thrust through his feet.  Pulling against the two other spikes, one through each wrist, he was able to fill his lungs with a fresh supply of air.

The sky was becoming darker, the wind picking up.  Although the steady gusts should have brought a modicum of relief, the air itself seemed to add more weight to his already weary body.  It felt as if heaven itself was crying.

“If you are the Christ, why don’t you come down off the cross and save us,” spat his companion mockingly.  Like the thief, he too was nailed to a wooden cross.  They both were paying for their crimes.  Thieves with no regard for human lives, taking and killing…leaches on society.  Now they were being crucified.  One to the left and one to the right of this man named Jesus.

“Shut up!” The thief spat back at his companion.  “Do you not fear God?  We are getting what we deserve, but not Him.  He did nothing wrong!  Looking to Jesus, their eyes met.

The thief’s mantra had always been, “An eye for an eye.” Not so with this man named Jesus.  Jesus was showing love where there should have been hate; forgiveness where there should have been cursing.  Surely his ears must have deceived him.  Was Jesus really asking God to forgive those who had beat Him beyond all recognition?  Yes!  He was.

Somehow, someway, the hardness of the thief’s heart had begun to melt.  He did not deserve forgiveness, nor was he asking for it.  Yet, each time he looked into the eyes of Jesus, he felt an inward calling…an unction that Jesus could grant him a future beyond the confines of this miserable life he had made for himself.

“Jesus, my Lord, remember me when You enter into Your Kingdom.” At his words, the Roman soldiers laughed.  The thief did not care.  He felt a sudden release as the cords that once bound his cold heart were cut loose.  Eternal life had just flooded his spirit.

Through blood stained lips, Jesus smiled a weak smile.  “Verily I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Be Blessed.

 

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Saturday Keeping up With Wally Fry

Hi Wally…I couldn’t resist!

 

Dog

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Aren’t Praise and Worship the Same?

By Patrick Hawthorne

Praise  & Worship Theme Letterpress Word on Wood Background

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between praise and worship?  I have.  I used to think that they were interchangeable, synonymous in meaning.  After all, the denominational church I once attended treated them both the same.  I am not bashing my old church but simply reporting a truth.  Praise and worship to me and to them was the obligatory event that took place for a scheduled fifteen to twenty minutes prior to the structured and succinct thirty minute sermon.  Oh how wrong we were.

Praise, in its most simple term, is thanksgiving.  Through praise we show our thankfulness to our Heavenly Father for all of His goodness.  An example of praise is found in Psalm 8:1.   “O’ Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens.”

Praise will throw off the avenger and silence God’s enemies which have become our enemies (Psalms 8:2; Matthew 21:16).  Praise will assure us of our victory before the battle has even been fought.  Praise brings out an overwhelming sense of peace and joy.  Praise is sometimes loud… very loud.

Worship, on the other hand, is about surrender.  It is coming into tune with our Father.  Often following praise, true worship is the bowing of our hearts before our King and our Lord.  It is us coming into harmony with the Creator of the universe.  It is saying, “Not my will, but Yours, my Lord.”

Worship – true worship – is not concerned about eloquence of the spoken word.  It is about losing one self in the presence of Almighty God.  In worship, time can seem to stand still, distractions fade, and crowded thoughts vanish.  In worship, the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit will often guide, correct, and move us in a direction that is pleasing to the Father.  Worship is walking heart to heart with our Lord Jesus.

Praise and Worship are equally important.  To praise God, we simply need to open our mouths and declare HIS goodness.  To worship God, we simply need to open our hearts and declare OUR surrender.   I hope this helps.  Be blessed.

 

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Silencing the Enemy and the Avenger

By Patrick Hawthorne

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O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger. (Psalms 8:1-2 NKJV)

My pastor has begun a really interesting sermon series on the importance of praise.  One of the verses that he uses is Psalms 8:2.  “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You (God) have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that you may silence the enemy and the avenger. (Parenthesis mine.)

You might be thinking, “What does a verse about babes and nursing infants have to do with praise?”  Better yet, how does this verse apply to me and my current situation where I feel the attacks of the enemy at every turn?  My comment is, “Everything.”

The word for strength used in the context of this verse is the word, praise.  We know this to be because Jesus spoke this very psalm in Matthew 21:16, “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants, You have perfected praise…”  Therefore in Psalms 8:2, it would not be incorrect to replace the word, ‘Strength’ with the word, ‘Praise.’

“Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained PRAISE, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger.”

This is truly awesome.  Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He has given us, His children, the weapon of praise to silence those things that would try to come against us in order to remove our focus from Him.  Take note, though.  God made the way.  It is up to us to choose the path.

Is depression attacking you?  Praise your way out of it.  Are your loved ones going down a path that leads to destruction?  Praise the Lord for what He is doing behind the scenes that you can’t see.  Is the devil attacking your mind, filling you with fear, doubt, or un-Godly desires?  Praise the Lord in the midst of the storm and trials.

“Oh, Lord… See how they are attacking me.  Please do something!”  That is not praise; that is whining.

“But, I don’t feel like praising God.”  That is when you need to praise Him the most.

Praise was not instituted by God as a way to satisfy His ego.  No, praise is a gift given to us whereby we can shut down the voice of the enemy and set them on the run.  Satan has no power over the born again child of God other than his voice.  If he can get us to believe his lies, he has won. However, once we begin praising our Heavenly Father, the devils voice is silenced and God’s strength rises up in us.

Religion will tell you that praise should be quiet and restrained.  To that, I say, “Ain’t no walls gonna come down without a little “oomph” behind that sledge hammer.”   The devil is not intimidated by some weak knee half-heart praise; he knows there is no power behind it.  But I tell you what… You get to praising God for His goodness, mercy, and grace.  You begin thanking Him for the joy and peace in your life and for the victory He has given you over all His enemies, then the devil will have no choice but to run. It is up to you.  Be miserable or be set free. Be blessed.

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Don’t Lose Hope for Your Lost Loved One’s

By Patrick Hawthorne

Is there anyone so far removed from the love of God that they have lost all hope of salvation?  Better yet, has anyone committed such a egregious act of evil that the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus could never reach them?  These are serious questions in which many Christian’s do not have  sound Biblical answers to.

Stalin, Hitler, and Idi Amin are just a few of the more recent names that pop into my mind when I think of evil at its very core.  Yet, was salvation beyond them if they would have heeded the call of the Holy Spirit and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior?  From the word of God, I say with all confidence the answer is, “no.” No, salvation was not beyond them. Why?  Because the greatest act of evil will never outweigh the greatest act of love.  For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son (Jesus) that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

One of the most comforting passages in the Bible – to me anyways –  is found in 1 Kings 21:28-29.  “And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29 “See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son I will bring the calamity on his house.”’

This is a truly amazing statement when considering that – just a few verses above – Ahab was declared to be one of the most evil kings in the sight of the Lord.  The Bible says, “But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. 26 And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. (1 Kings 21:25-26 NKJV emphasis mine}.

What changed from verse 25 to verse 28?  It was the fact that Ahab humbled himself before God after receiving a stern rebuke from Elijah who was speaking on behalf of the Lord.  This was not some weak apology on behalf of Ahab.  No, the king was so cut to the core by the words of the Lord through Elijah that he tore his cloths, donned sackcloth, and fasted.  Ahab was serious in his repentance.

So, back to the opening questions.  Is there anyone so vile and hateful to be beyond the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus or beyond the love of our Heavenly Father?  Again, the answer is a most definite, no.  So don’t lose hope.  God is not willing that any should perish.  If evil Ahab wasn’t too far from God’s call to repentance,  I am quite confident that neither is your loved one.  Don’t give up on them.  It may be that you just need to pray in an Elijah to cross their path and hit them between the eyes with a word from the Lord.  Be blessed.

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Is Zeal Killing Your Message?  Writing Unto the Lord!

By Patrick Hawthorne

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ZEAL, n. Gr., L. Passionate ardor (enthusiasm) in the pursuit of anything. In general, zeal is an eagerness of desire to accomplish or obtain some object, and it may be manifested either in favor of any person or thing, or in opposition to it, and in a good or bad cause. (Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary)

 

 

Zeal… I really like that word.  It has a real zing to it; a “roll off the tongue” sound that evokes imagery of someone in hot pursuit of something.  “In his zeal for the truth, the lawyer pounced like a rabid leopard on the testimony of the defendant.”  Ok, that example may have been a bit dramatic, but I believe the point is understandable.

Having zeal or a passion for the things of God is not a bad thing.  In truth, zeal for the Lord is a commodity that appears to be in short supply within the Christian community.  Yet, unrestrained zeal may actually be more of a hindrance to one’s message than a help.  This is true if the zeal is not tempered by the Holy Spirit but by the flesh.  This is evident by much of what is seen through social media.

Social media has become one of the fastest growing avenues for people to express their zeal.  By the power invested through social media, many have become self-anointed and appointed apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelist by simply having an account.  “Oh Lord, I beseech Thee… I need more RAM.”

Some of this writing is coming to you through the spirit of “tongue in cheek.”  However, there is much truth in it as well.  Thinking that they are serving up a tasty meal of great truths, many let fly a host of misspelled words, incoherent sentences, and accusatory pronouns that are all inclusive rather than focused on the target of the subject.  “Well, they should know what I mean,” tends to be their battle cry. As a result, offense is served up as the appetizer followed by the main course consisting of much back peddling to explain the intent of the post.  Had the person simply slowed down and actually thought through what it was they wanted to convey, much aggravation and hurt feelings could have been avoided.

Miscommunication is a part of life.  However, much miscommunication can be avoided by developing a few simple habits.  The main habit is praying before the writing begins.  Ask the Holy Spirit if the subject is coming from Him or from you.  Secondly, slow down.  Think about what it is that you feel the Holy Spirit has placed on your heart.  Let Him help you in the delivery of the message.  Thirdly, step back for around thirty minutes after you have completed your writing and before submitting it to the world.  This amount of time is needed to let your eyes and mind rest.  Use this time to pray.  Afterwards, read through your writing once again.  If there is anything that does not appear to flow smoothly, change it.  If it is not smooth to you, it is a guarantee that it will be a stumbling block to your readers.  Lastly, never assume the reader knows what is in your heart.  It is your responsibility to make clear the contents that flow from your cranium to your writings.

The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:11 to not be hesitant in diligence but to be boiling in spirit serving the Lord. (from Disciples Literal New Testament).  Zeal can be a great thing.  Just make sure your zeal points people to Jesus and not away from Him.  Be blessed.

 

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