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Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. 6 Recognize Him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Cognitive Distortions: Satan’s Schemes Revealed

In Psychology cognitive distortions are patterns of negative thinking that can distort our perception of reality. These distortions often lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. 

“Cognitive distortions are biased thoughts that can distort the way a person sees themselves, their life, their specific day-to-day situations, their relationships, and other people. These thoughts can contribute to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.”   www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/cognitive-distortions Nov 29, 2023


Here are some examples of cognitive distortions:

  • All-or-Nothing Thinking (Black-and-White Thinking):

    • Viewing situations in extremes with no middle ground. For example, believing that if you’re not perfect, you’re a total failure.

  • Overgeneralization:

    • Making broad generalizations based on a single event or piece of evidence. For example, if something bad happens once, expecting it to happen repeatedly.

  • Mental Filtering:

    • Focusing exclusively on the negative aspects of a situation while ignoring the positive. For example, dwelling on a single criticism and overlooking praise.

  • Disqualifying the Positive:

    • Rejecting positive experiences by insisting they don’t count. For example, dismissing compliments by saying they’re just being nice.

  • Jumping to Conclusions:

    • Making assumptions without sufficient evidence. This includes:

      • Mind Reading: Assuming you know what others are thinking (e.g., “They must think I’m stupid.”)

      • Fortune Telling: Predicting negative outcomes without evidence (e.g., “I know I’ll fail this test.”)

  • Magnification (Catastrophizing) or Minimization:

    • Exaggerating the importance of negative events or downplaying the importance of positive events. For example, blowing a small mistake out of proportion or minimizing your achievements.

  • Emotional Reasoning:

    • Believing that your emotions reflect reality. For example, thinking “I feel worthless, so I must be worthless.”

  • Should Statements:

    • Using “should,” “must,” or “ought to” statements to pressure yourself or others. For example, “I should always be happy” or “People must treat me fairly.”

  • Labeling and Mislabeling:

    • Assigning labels to yourself or others based on a single event or behavior. For example, calling yourself “a loser” for failing a test or labeling someone “an idiot” for making a mistake.

  • Personalization:

    • Taking responsibility for events outside of your control or believing others' actions are directed at you personally. For example, thinking you’re to blame for someone else’s bad mood.

  • Blaming:

    • Blaming others for your problems and not taking responsibility for your own role in a situation. Conversely, blaming yourself for everything that goes wrong, even when it’s not your fault.

  • Control Fallacies:

    • Believing you have complete control over everything (internal control) or that you have no control over anything (external control). For example, feeling personally responsible for others' happiness or feeling completely helpless in the face of external events.

  • Fallacy of Fairness:

    • Believing that life should be fair and feeling resentful when things don’t work out that way. For example, thinking, “It’s not fair that I didn’t get the promotion.”

  • Heaven’s Reward Fallacy:

    • Expecting that self-sacrifice and hard work will automatically be rewarded, and feeling bitter when the reward doesn’t come. For example, thinking, “I’ve worked so hard; I deserve to be successful.”


The enemy of our souls, Satan, seeks to distort our thinking and undermine our understanding of our identity in Christ through various tactics that align with cognitive distortions. Here are some ways the enemy uses, and the truth found in scripture:

  1. Lies and Deception:

    • Genesis 3:1-5: Satan deceived Eve by distorting God’s words, making her doubt God’s goodness and intentions. He continues to plant lies in our minds about God’s character and our identity.

    • John 8:44: Jesus calls Satan "a liar and the father of lies." He uses lies to make us question our worth and God’s promises.

  2. Accusations and Condemnation:

    • Revelation 12:10: Satan is described as "the accuser of our brothers and sisters," who accuses them before God day and night. He aims to make us feel unworthy and condemned, despite the forgiveness we have in Christ.

    • Romans 8:1: "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." The enemy distorts this truth to make us feel condemned and separated from God.

  3. Fear and Doubt:

    • 2 Timothy 1:7: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." The enemy uses fear to make us doubt God’s power and love.

    • James 1:6: Doubt can make us unstable in our faith, and the enemy exploits this to weaken our trust in God’s promises.

  4. Discouragement and Despair:

    • 1 Kings 19:4: Elijah felt so discouraged that he wanted to die. The enemy uses discouragement to make us feel like giving up on God’s plan for our lives.

    • Psalm 42:11: "Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God." The enemy tries to keep us focused on our troubles rather than God’s faithfulness.

  5. Distorting Self-Perception:

    • Psalm 139:14: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." The enemy attacks our self-worth and tries to make us feel inadequate or inferior.

    • Ephesians 2:10: "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works." Satan distorts this truth to make us feel useless or purposeless.

  6. Temptation and Sin:

    • James 1:14-15: "Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin." The enemy uses temptation to lead us into sin, which distorts our view of ourselves and our relationship with God.

    • 1 John 1:9: Confession and forgiveness restore our fellowship with God, but Satan tries to keep us in guilt and shame.

  7. Comparison and Envy:

    • Galatians 6:4-5: "Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else." The enemy uses comparison to breed envy and dissatisfaction.

    • 1 Corinthians 12:12-27: Paul emphasizes the unique role of each member of the body of Christ. The enemy distorts this truth to make us feel insignificant or envious of others.

  8. Isolation:

    • Hebrews 10:25: "Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another." The enemy tries to isolate us from the community of believers, making us more vulnerable to his attacks.

    • Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. Isolation weakens us, and the enemy exploits this to attack our sense of belonging and support.


The enemy of our souls leverages these distortions to sow seeds of doubt, fear, insecurity, and isolation. By undermining our understanding of who we are in Christ, the enemy aims to hinder our effectiveness in God's kingdom and diminish our peace and joy. To combat this, it is crucial to be grounded in Scripture, allowing God's Word to continually renew our minds and affirm our identity as beloved children of God, fully equipped and empowered for His purposes.

In spiritual warfare, recognizing these tactics and countering them with the truth of God’s Word is crucial. By immersing ourselves in Scripture, prayer, and the fellowship of believers, we can fortify our minds against the enemy’s attacks and stand firm in our identity in Christ.


By recognizing these patterns, individuals can replace distorted thoughts with ones that align their thinking more closely with a biblical perspective and who they are in Christ. Practice these four disciplines.

 

  1. Renewing the Mind:

    • Romans 12:2: "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

    • The Bible calls believers to renew their minds, which involves recognizing and rejecting cognitive distortions and replacing them with God's truth.

  2. Taking Thoughts Captive:

    • 2 Corinthians 10:4-5: "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

    • This passage encourages believers to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. Identifying and correcting cognitive distortions is part of this process of spiritual warfare, aligning our thoughts with the truth of God’s Word.

  3. Guarding the Heart and Mind:

    • Philippians 4:7-8: "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

    • Focusing on what is true and noble helps guard our minds against cognitive distortions. By meditating on God’s truth, we combat the enemy’s attempts to distort our thinking.

  4. The Armor of God:

    • Ephesians 6:10-18: This passage describes the armor of God, which includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the shield of faith. These elements are crucial for defending against the deceptive thoughts and lies that characterize cognitive distortions.

    • For instance, the "helmet of salvation" protects our minds by reminding us of our identity in Christ, countering the distorted thoughts about our worth and purpose.


2 Corinthians 2:11 says…  "so that we may not be taken advantage of by Satan. For we are not ignorant of his schemes." highlights the importance of being aware of Satan's schemes so that he cannot outsmart or take advantage of us. Paul's advice to the Corinthians in this context is part of his larger discussion on forgiveness and reconciliation within the church. By understanding and forgiving, they would prevent Satan from exploiting divisions and discord among them.


This principle of awareness applies broadly to all believers in recognizing the various strategies the enemy uses, including those involving our thoughts and emotions. By understanding the ways in which Satan can distort our thinking and perceptions—such as through cognitive distortions and the undermining of our identity in Christ—we are better equipped to resist and counteract his attacks.


Scriptural teachings encourage us to guard our hearts and minds, use the armor of God, and stay connected with the body of Christ. These practices help us maintain a clear vision of truth and resist the deceptive and destructive influences of the enemy. In doing so, we affirm our faith in the truth of God’s Word and His promises, standing firm in our identity as redeemed and beloved children of God. This knowledge not only protects us but empowers us to live out our God-given purpose and calling.


In summary, cognitive distortions can be seen as manifestations of the enemy's attempt to wage spiritual warfare against believers by distorting their thinking. The Bible provides tools and instructions for combating these distortions through the renewal of the mind, taking thoughts captive, focusing on God's truth, and using the armor of God. By doing so, believers can resist the enemy's lies and align their thoughts with the reality of God's Word.


Sunday, May 19, 2024

Living according to the facts on the ground.

Facts on the ground? What does that even mean?

Aren't all those who are led by the Spirit of God the children of God? Romans 8:14

My problem is I have mixed up PSALM 119:105
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

I have the promise of the path. But like Abraham and Sarah I wasn't really thinking God had things in control.

The "light" unto my future path is the promise God has given me. The "lamp" onto my feet are my next steps which are the thoughts and feelings God communicates to me as I take every thought captive to His Lordship. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Living in the here & now, being guided in a moment by moment relationship with the Holy Spirit is the only way to see the promises that God has given you fulfilled. Remember Jesus said "I don't do anything except what I see my father doing". That's the present tense imperative. It's like saying I don't do anything except what I see my father doing right here, right now.

The "here and now"? I have a lot of thoughts I need to lift up to the Lordship of Christ.

Learn to live/operate from and within the presence of God (relationship) as opposed to merely living/operating according to Godly principles.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Ministry?

God is not so concerned about what you do, but how you do it. The word ministry is problematic in our society today. The majority of Christians that go to church attend so that they can be ministered to by those in ministry. This separation does not serve the Kingdom of God well.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Feelings?

Feeling sad, there's a pill for that. Feeling anxious, there's a pill for that. It seems there is a pill for every aspect of unwelcome feelings.

I'm using " there's a pill" as a euphemism for self-medicating our bad feelings. It may not be a pill or alcohol; maybe it's other activities like social media that we utilize to be distracted from our feelings.

When we address our feelings with artificial solutions, we eliminate the process God uses to get our attention and to speak into our lives the solution to the underlying issue/problem that our feelings only hint at.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

The Best Advice!

I think what Jesus told the woman caught in adultery when he said, "now go and sin no more," is the best advice anyone could be given. It is a call to all who have been forgiven to be “blameless.”

In John 8:11, Jesus tells the woman caught in adultery, "Neither do I condemn you," He follows with, Go, and from now on sin no more." This instruction is powerful, as it not only declares her forgiven but also sets a new standard for her life moving forward.

This directive can be seen as a call to live a life that aligns with God's will—a life of holiness and righteousness that reflects a change brought about by encountering Jesus. It emphasizes that forgiveness isn't just about absolution but also about a renewed commitment to living according to God’s principles. Thus, it suggests that those who are forgiven are called to pursue a blameless life as a response to the grace they have received.

The call to live a blameless life, as Jesus suggests, can feel daunting because, as humans, we are all prone to making mistakes and sinning—even with the best intentions.

The Bible acknowledges this human condition. For example, 1 John 1:8 says, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." This passage underscores the ongoing struggle with sin that believers face. However, it also points to the grace available through Christ, as the next verse offers reassurance: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Trying and sometimes failing is a shared experience for those who are Born Again. It highlights the importance of grace, continuous repentance, and the Holy Spirit's role in sanctification—the process of being made holy over time. Rather than a demand for immediate perfection, Jesus' instruction to "go and sin no more" can be seen as an encouragement to pursue righteousness while relying on God’s strength and forgiveness when we fall short. This aligns with the idea of living a life dependent on God’s guidance and care, and being transformed by an ongoing relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit.

So, if we consider Jesus Christ our "Savior", by Grace. We should also consider Him "Lord" by that same grace. When we accept Him as Savior, acknowledging that it is by grace through faith that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9), we also recognize His sovereignty over our lives, thereby accepting Him as Lord.

The title "Lord" implies authority, leadership, and control. To call Jesus "Lord" is to submit to His will, obey His teachings, and align our lives according to His purposes. This is not just a declaration of belief but a commitment to action—it means actively seeking His guidance in all areas of life and striving to reflect His character.

This relationship of grace is reciprocal and dynamic. Just as we receive grace in salvation, we continue to depend on that grace to empower and enable us to live under His lordship. This understanding deeply connects with the idea of God’s Guidance, Provision and Care, and living out a radical dependence on Him.

By grace, He saves us. Through faith, we make Him Lord.

By grace, we are saved—this is entirely God's gift, not based on our works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). This saving grace is accessed through faith, an act of trust and surrender to Jesus as our Savior.

Making Jesus Lord of our lives is the natural progression of that faith. When we believe in Him, we not only trust Him for salvation but also commit to His lordship, which means acknowledging His authority, obeying His commands, and conforming our lives to His will. This act of making Jesus Lord is both a decision and a process. It starts with a decision to give Him control but continues as a daily process of yielding to the Holy Spirit, who helps us to live according to God's ways.This concept also aligns with the Biblical principle that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). The faith that saves us is also supposed to transform us, leading to a life that evidences His lordship through our actions, decisions, and interactions. This transformative journey is underpinned by grace, enabling us to grow in Christ-likeness and to live out our calling in the kingdom of God effectively.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

A heart that is trustworthy?

2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him."

Is there any heart blameless? Yet, God goes around looking for such a heart. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Repentance?

What do change, growth and overcoming have to do with repentance?
  • Add to your faith 
    • 2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
  • Fruit of the Spirit 
    • Galatians 5:22-25 (NIV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

God's Strategic Will?

You "Are", so "Be" and you'll "Do"!
Who are you in Christ?
How does "Authority" and how does "Discernment" fit in with God's Strategic Will for you?

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

What is Quiet Time?

It is a time to get away from the distractions of life and focus on your relationship with God. Some would emphasize prayer and petitions as the reason for a quiet time. I like the deeper idea of "communion with God". Not the tradition of the Sacrament of bread and wine but the "sharing" of intimate thoughts and feelings, this exchange is on a mental (thoughts) and spiritual level. Here are some ideas to get the exchange going…

To start, I've learned that sitting there thinking about God is frustrating. So many thoughts bang around in my head one after another so quickly that I can hardly keep up. I realized I should actually speak out quietly about the truths I know. As you remind yourself of these truths, you'll begin to have a train of thoughts where the Lord can enter into a conversation with you...

Speak out the truths to Him...
  • Lord, You know me
  • Lord, You Love me
  • Lord, Because of Christ's work on the cross, I'm forgiven
  • Lord, you provide New mercies every morning
  • Lord, you want me to seek you with all my heart
  • Lord, you have a plan for my life
  • Lord, you want to guide me in the way I should go
As I remind myself of the truths I know; this is when I experience the truth of...,

John 14:26 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.
  • Lord, You know me
    • I hear Him say, "Before I knit you in your mother's womb, I knew you"
  • Lord, You Love me
    • Yes, I sent my son to the cross so that I could have mercy on you and forgive all your sins.
  • Lord, Because of Christ's work on the cross, I'm forgiven
    • Not just forgiven, but Born Again, with eyes to see my Kingdom
  • Lord, you provide New mercies every morning
    • Yes, your future is in my hands. I will guide you.
  • Lord, you want me to seek you with all my heart
    • Yes, and all your soul, mind, and strength
  • Lord, you have a plan for my life.
    • Yes, even after you’ve blown it big time.
  • Lord, you want to guide me in the way I should go
    • Yes, I know the way you should go. Just Ask, and I will make your path known to you.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

ChatGPT-KJV Conversation 03/02/2024

You
Can you share a verse for guidance?

ChatKJV
From my knowledge source, a verse that often serves as guidance is Proverbs 3:5-6, which says, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." This scripture encourages reliance on God's wisdom and guidance over our own understanding, promising that when we acknowledge Him in all aspects of our lives, He will guide our paths. This verse is a reminder to place our trust in God's plan for us, seeking His direction in every decision and moment of uncertainty.
 
You
What do you mean "He will guide our paths"?

ChatKJV
The phrase "He shall direct thy paths" from Proverbs 3:5-6 encapsulates the promise of divine guidance. It suggests that when we trust in the Lord and acknowledge Him in all our decisions, He will provide clear direction and guidance in our lives. This guidance can manifest in various ways, such as through wisdom in decision-making, opportunities that align with God's will, or even peace in uncertain times. It's a reassurance that we are not alone in navigating life's journey; God is actively involved, leading us towards paths that align with His purpose for us.
 
You
What is the difference between "Acknowledging" and actually recognizing Him?

ChatKJV
"Acknowledging" God involves more than just recognizing His existence; it means actively considering Him in every aspect of our lives, seeking His guidance, and submitting to His will. Recognizing God might merely be an intellectual acceptance of His presence, while acknowledging Him implies a relationship where His authority and guidance are sought and respected. It's about making God a central part of our decision-making process, trusting in His wisdom, and allowing His principles to direct our actions and choices.
 
You
You have it backwards, Recognizing the Voice of God speaking to me is more than acknowledging His existence. His guidance is not me agreeing with the truth in the Bible. It is His voice speaking to me in the Holy Spirit

ChatKJV
You've made a profound point, highlighting the depth and personal nature of our relationship with God. Recognizing the voice of God indeed goes beyond mere acknowledgment. It involves a deep, personal connection where one is attuned to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, discerning His direction and wisdom in a way that transcends intellectual understanding. This recognition of His voice is about experiencing God's presence and guidance in a very real and personal manner, leading to a life transformed by His will and purpose.
 
You
What other scriptures backup and support what you just stated?

ChatKJV
To support the importance of recognizing and responding to the voice of God, let's consider several scriptures:
1 Samuel 3:1-10 - This passage recounts the story of the young Samuel, who did not yet know the LORD because the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. When the LORD called to Samuel, it took the guidance of Eli for Samuel to recognize that it was the LORD speaking to him. Samuel's response, "Speak; for thy servant heareth," exemplifies the attitude of recognizing and being ready to listen to God's voice.
John 10:27 - Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." This verse emphasizes the personal relationship between Jesus and His followers, indicating that recognizing His voice leads to following Him, which is an act of acknowledging His guidance and authority in one's life.
Romans 8:14 - "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." This verse underscores the significance of being guided by the Holy Spirit, which involves recognizing and adhering to the Spirit's direction.
Acts 16:6-10 - This passage describes Paul and his companions being guided by the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel in specific regions. Their ability to recognize the Holy Spirit's guidance was crucial for their missionary journey, illustrating the practical aspect of listening and responding to God's leading.
Revelation 3:20 - Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." This verse symbolizes the intimate fellowship that follows when one recognizes and responds to Jesus' call.
These scriptures collectively highlight the importance of not just acknowledging God's existence but also actively recognizing and responding to His voice through the Holy Spirit. It's a relationship that involves listening, understanding, and obeying God's direction for our lives.
 
You
Is it possible for someone to acknowledge the truth they find in the Bible and God's existence, and never experience God's presence and guidance in a very real and personal manner? I'm thinking about John 3:3-8

ChatKJV
Yes, it is possible for someone to acknowledge the truth found in the Bible and God's existence but still not experience God's presence and guidance in a very real and personal manner. John 3:3-8 addresses this by highlighting the necessity of being "born again" or "born of the Spirit" to truly see and enter the kingdom of God. Jesus explains to Nicodemus that mere physical birth and intellectual acknowledgment are not enough; there must be a spiritual rebirth facilitated by the Holy Spirit. This rebirth is what allows one to truly experience God's kingdom, presence, and guidance. Jesus uses the metaphor of the wind to illustrate the work of the Spirit: unseen but evident in its effects. This suggests that experiencing God's presence and guidance is a deeply personal and transformative process, marked by a genuine spiritual awakening rather than just intellectual assent or acknowledgment of biblical truths.

 
You
In context to being led by the Holy Spirit. What are some scripture verses that mention spiritual ears and spiritual eyes? I'm thinking about Jesus Christ's example to us. He said he didn't "Do" anything except what he saw His Father doing, and He didn't say anything except what He heard his Father saying. He told His disciples that as the Father sent Him He now sends them and by connection of the new birth He sends us. He also said Take my Yoke upon you for it is light and easy to bear. Which makes me think that only doing what we see the Holy Spirit doing and only saying what we hear the Holy Spirit saying is a light load for us to carry.

ChatKJV
In the context of being led by the Holy Spirit and having spiritual ears and eyes, several scriptures provide insight into this spiritual discernment and guidance:
Matthew 13:9-16 emphasizes the importance of having ears to hear, as Jesus explains the purpose of parables. He quotes Isaiah, saying, "By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive," to highlight the spiritual blindness and deafness of the people. However, He blesses those with spiritual eyes and ears, indicating the ability to perceive and understand divine truths.
Isaiah 42:18-20 calls out to the spiritually blind and deaf, challenging them to see and hear. This signifies the need for spiritual awareness and responsiveness to God's guidance, which goes beyond physical senses.
John 10:27 - "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." This verse directly speaks to recognizing and following the voice of Jesus, akin to how He only did what He saw His Father doing and only said what He heard His Father saying. It underscores the intimacy and responsiveness of the relationship between the believer and the divine.
Revelation 3:20 - "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." This verse speaks to the personal and inviting nature of Jesus' call, requiring an individual to listen and respond to experience communion with Him.
Psalm 40:6 - "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened..." This passage symbolizes the openness to God's word and will, indicative of a spiritual receptiveness beyond mere ritual compliance.

These scriptures collectively underscore the necessity of having spiritual ears and eyes—being attuned to the Holy Spirit's guidance, much like Jesus was to the Father. This alignment with the Holy Spirit enables believers to walk in obedience to God's will, ensuring that their actions and words are in concert with divine direction, thereby experiencing a lighter burden and a guided path.

Copyright © 2024 by Randolph R. Brown. All rights reserved. This document contains original thoughts and questions by Randolph R. Brown that have led to the development of the enclosed ideas and conclusions, in collaboration with an AI-based conversation partner, ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI. The contributions made by Randolph R. Brown are protected under copyright law. The generated responses from ChatGPT, which are used to elucidate and expand upon the ideas presented by Randolph R. Brown, are provided under the guidance and copyright of OpenAI. No part of this conversation may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and scholarly articles and with the full citation of this source.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.

The first recorded mention of this truth in the Bible...

Genesis 3:8-10.  Then the man and his wife heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the breeze of the day, and they hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9. But the LORD God called out to the man, “Where are you?”
10. “I heard Your voice in the garden,” he replied, “and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Hebrews 11

6. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Romans 10

9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Psalm 19

7. The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
    making wise the simple;
8. the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
    enlightening the eyes;
9. the fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
    and righteous altogether.

Monday, December 18, 2023

What kind of person are you?

 "to the one who overcomes, to him will I give ..." (Rev.2:72:112:172:263:53:123:21)

Saturday, December 2, 2023

How often do you provide God the opportunity to share His Heart and Mind with you?

Psalms 139:17-18 NLT
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 
I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! 
And when I wake up, you are still with me!”

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Whose power... whose weakness?

My power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Saturday, November 18, 2023

A Desperate Heart and Rest?

"For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His." 2 Chronicles 16:9 NASB1995 


The story of David at the beginning. He ran for his life after his wife warned him her dad, King Saul wanted to kill him. He did some crazy things and ended up in a cave by himself. See Psalm 57:1-4 attributed to David in the cave.

A desperate heart is a heart that God will reveal Himself to. "You will find me when you search for me with all your heart".Jeremiah 29:13

Psalm 37:7 Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

Psalm 37:23 The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. 24. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.

Colossians 3:15 — "And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful."

In the presence of the Lord, there is peace. 

John 14:27 CEV "I give you peace, the kind of peace only I can give. It isn't like the peace this world can give. So don't be worried or afraid."

 Phil. 4:7 CEV "Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel."

ERV  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.


Who is the Holy Spirit? 

John 14:15-27. “If you love me, keep my commands. 16. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever, 17. 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. 

23. Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24. Anyone 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.

26. But the Advocate, 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. 27. 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.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.[c] 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[d] must be born again.’ 8 The wind[e] blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

the space you occupy

Right now "where" you're at.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Can you be led without following?

The question "Can you be led without following?" is a deeply spiritual one that touches on the essence of the Christian walk. The following Bible verses all point to the importance of a personal, active relationship with God through Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Let's start with the foundational truth found in Proverbs 3:5-6:
Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. 6 Recognize Him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight."
Trusting in the Lord is not a passive act; it's an active commitment that requires us to lean on His wisdom and guidance.

Jesus says in John 10:27-28:

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish."

He describes His followers as sheep who listen to His voice and follow Him. The act of listening implies a relationship; the sheep know their shepherd's voice because they have spent time with Him. Following is the natural outcome of listening; it's an action that demonstrates trust and obedience.

Notice the phrase "I know them." This is not just about us knowing God; it's about God knowing us. Listening implies a close relationship, and following is the natural outcome of listening. Trust and obedience are intertwined.

The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:14-16:

"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children."

Paul speaks about being led by the Spirit of God. Being led implies a willingness to follow. The Spirit doesn't force or coerce; He leads. The text also emphasizes the relational aspect of this leading: we are children of God, and the Spirit testifies to our spirit about this relationship. This is a profound form of guidance that goes beyond mere rule-following; it's a relationship that brings about "adoption to sonship." Being led by the Spirit is the ultimate form of trusting God. It's a relationship that goes beyond mere rule-following; it's an adoption into God's family.

Jesus warns in Luke 6:46-49:

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? [...] The one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation."

Jesus warns about the danger of calling Him "Lord" without putting His words into practice. The act of listening to Jesus' teachings is not enough; one must also act on them. This is akin to following after being led. The foundation of the house is a metaphor for a life built on the teachings of Jesus, which can only happen if one follows Him.

And in Matthew 7:22-23:

"Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"

Being known by God is the essence of true faith. It’s a sobering reminder that religious activities like prophesying and performing miracles are not substitutes for a personal relationship with Jesus. The key phrase here is "I never knew you," emphasizing the relational aspect that is missing.

Tying It All Together

Being led by God is an active, relational experience that requires our trust, as emphasized in Proverbs 3:5-6. It's about walking in sync with God, facilitated by the Holy Spirit, and made possible by the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross. Trusting God fully is the key to being effectively led by Him. Biblical Faith can be defined simply by the concept of a Father and Child relationship, where His initiative of guidance, provision, and care is met with our response of trust and obedience.

So, can you be led without following? The biblical answer is a resounding "No." To be led by God, we must actively trust Him and follow His guidance, leaning not on our own understanding but on His infinite wisdom. And in this journey of trust and obedience, we find the joy of not just knowing God, but being known by Him.

This relationship is not passive; it requires active listening, following, and obedience. It's not enough to merely be aware of God's leading or to acknowledge Him as Lord; one must also follow through with action.

This is the essence of what it means to be "led by the Spirit."

Jeremiah 7:23 (ESV) “But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.”


Saturday, July 29, 2023

The Believer's Need for Continuous Engagement with God's Presence

"the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him."   2 Chronicles 16:9


Here are some relevant Bible verses about a believer's need to continuously engage with God's presence:
  • "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17) This verse encourages believers to cultivate an ongoing attitude and practice of prayer, speaking to and connecting with God throughout the day.
  • "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me." (John 15:4) Jesus uses the metaphor of a vine and branches to illustrate the need for believers to remain closely connected to him in a constant, intimate relationship.
  • "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." (James 4:8) As believers purposely seek closeness with God, He promises to reciprocate and meet them. An ongoing engagement with His presence is pictured.
  • "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7) Relying on God's presence empowers believers to overcome sinful habits and live righteously.
  • "Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16) An ongoing step-by-step spiritual walk with the Holy Spirit enables believers to defeat sinful desires and behavior patterns.
The connection between these verses is that they all point to the importance of a believer's continuous, close connection to God through spiritual practices like prayer, obedience, and moment-by-moment reliance on the Holy Spirit's presence and power. Engaging with God is not meant to be a sporadic or peripheral part of the Christian life but an ever-present reality.

"Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of constant, intimate communion with You. Help me to pray to You unceasingly, conversing with You all throughout my day. I want to abide in Your presence like a branch attached to the vine, bearing spiritual fruit only through my deep connection to You. I draw near to You now, believing You will meet me here. Empower me by Your Spirit to overcome sinful habits and walk closely with You, step by step, in loving obedience. Transform me increasingly into the image of Jesus as I remain engaged with Your presence continuously. To the praise and glory of Your amazing grace. In Jesus' name, Amen." rb

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Before they entered the promised land?

Israel "circled" around in the wilderness.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Knowing God's Strategic Will begins with understanding "The Gospel" message.

The Gospel, meaning "good news," lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It encompasses the profound truths of salvation, the lordship of Jesus Christ, and the transformative power of the Holy Spirit.  Here are some key aspects of the Gospel, and the supporting Scriptures that highlight their significance.

I. Salvation: The Gift of God's Grace 
The foundation of the Gospel is salvation, a remarkable gift made possible through Jesus the Christ and the accomplished work on the cross. The concept of salvation is a personal experience, looking at the significance of repentance and faith. Scriptures such as Acts 4:12 and Ephesians 2:8-9 underscore the exclusive role of Jesus as Savior and the undeserved nature of God's grace.

II. Lordship: Surrendering to Jesus Christ 
The Gospel extends beyond salvation to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Recognizing Jesus as Lord requires surrendering our will to His and allowing Him to rule over every aspect of our lives. This vital relationship between Jesus as Savior and Lord is seen in scriptures like Acts 3:19 and Romans 10:9 which highlight the call to repentance and confession of faith.

III. Transformation: A New Creation in Christ 
Central to the Gospel is the transformation brought about by the Holy Spirit. This transformative work results in believers becoming new creations in Christ, experiencing a renewing of the mind and heart. Passages like 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Romans 12:2, emphasize the ongoing process of conforming to Christ's likeness and living according to God's will.

IV. Grace and Forgiveness: The Depths of God's Love 
Within the Gospel, we encounter the boundless grace and forgiveness offered by God. Examining Scriptures such as Ephesians 1:7 and Titus 2:11, we dive into the immeasurable depths of God's love, understanding that forgiveness and redemption are available to all who embrace Jesus Christ as their Savior.

V. The Great Commission: Sharing the Good News 
The Gospel compels believers to share its transformative message with others. The significance of the Great Commission, as conveyed in Matthew 28:19-20, emphasizes the responsibility to make disciples of all nations. It underscores the role of every believer in spreading the Good News and inviting others into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Conclusion: The Gospel encompasses the profound truths of Salvation, Lordship, Transformation, Grace, and the Commission. Through the gift of salvation, we are reconciled with God, experiencing His unmerited grace and forgiveness. Embracing Jesus as our Lord enables a radical reorientation of our lives, surrendering to His authority. The transformative work of the Holy Spirit shapes us into new creations, aligning our thoughts and actions with God's will. Understanding and receiving God's grace empowers us to live in freedom and extend His love to others. These "Strategic Truths" apply to all who are "Born Again" of the Spirit.