Bright, White and Right

Welcome to Journey 7 – Bright, White and Right

Continue your Omniallinfinitude™ Journey Here

 

Bright,  White and Right is the seventh of the twelve Omniallinfinitude™ Journeys.  Each Journey is presented through 16 blog posts.  Even though we are now pausing or blogging a different Journey,  we highly recommend completing the journeys in order at your own pace.

Each Journey is made up of Journey Elements  (click for more information).  You can also view or download the PDF version of this Journey by clicking the Bright, White and Right graphic at the top of the right sidebar.

 

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Read each blog post in the order they were posted.
  2. Complete the Journey Elements contained in each post.  Each Journey covers one attribute group and one spiritual practice.  All of the Elements relate to these in some way.
  3. Return to the Blog Post – we encourage you to comment based on the specific assignment.  Read other’s comments and engage in an online conversation.  These posts and comments are ongoing.
  4. For more information see How Does This Work on the Main Omni page.
  5. Then move on to the next post.  You can access the individual post pages from the top menu bar under Journey Elements,  or by clicking the links below in this post.
  6. When you complete a Journey – move on to the next Journey.  The format and Element structure will be the same in all the Journeys.
  7. Each Journey will also have its own blog,  and each post will have its own page,  in addition to appearing in the complete blog.  This will make it easier to complete the blog at your own speed,  as well as for others who start later.   We will eventually have 12 active blogs with people participating in all of them at the same time.

 

Complete the Blog Posts below in this order:

Click on the links to go to the individual blog posts with their respective comments.  Once you click to the Journal pages,  scroll up to get to the beginning of the blog post.  Each Journal post will also appear on the Journey Element Page that it follows.  For example,  Journal 7.1 will appear on the same page and directly under Remember and Read.

 

Bright, White and Right: What comes to your mind?

Bright, White and Right 1: Remember and Read

Bright, White and Right 2: Journal 7.1 – Dead Right

Bright, White and Right 3: Analyze – Chapter Nitty Gritty

Bright, White and Right 4: Journal 7.2 – Whiter than White

Bright, White and Right 5: Investigate – Holy, Righteous and Just and 10 Things

Bright, White and Right 6: Journal 7.3 – Who Says?

Bright, White and Right 7: Practice – Guidance and Why?

Bright, White and Right 8: Journal 7.4 – Fair is Fair

Bright, White and Right 9: Inventory – U R Uniquely U?

Bright, White and Right 10: Journal 7.5 – The Back Story

Bright, White and Right 11: Adventuring – How about Lunch?

Bright, White and Right 12: Journal 7.6 – The Bright White Light

Bright, White and Right 13: More Cool Stuff – The Long Road Back

Bright, White and Right 14: Journal 7.7 – Nitty Gritty

Bright, White and Right 15: Lyrics

Bright, White and Right 16: Closure

 

While we encourage you to leave Comments,  we totally understand if you want to participate anonymously.  This format also works well for small groups meeting in person.  It’s ok to print out the PDF – just remember to keep a copy on your computer so you can use the links.

 

Credits for quotes,  music,  lyrics and videos appear in the Credits section in the back of the PDF.

Omniallinfinitude™ material may be reproduced as long as credit is given.  There is no fee for using this material.

 

Enjoy the Journey…..take your time….but take the Journey!

 

Bright, White and Right – What comes to mind?

What comes to your mind?

 

We think of bright lights and sparkling diamonds,
Star Bright,  Star Light,  first star I see tonight.
The brightest star stands out in a crowd
The ones with all the bright ideas and the bright futures
They wake up bright and early,  all bright eyed and bushy tailed,  ready to greet the bright morning sun,  hoping all the while to be one of the Best and the Brightest.

 

SpotlightWe work hard to brighten our smiles and keep our eyes clear and bright.
We wear bright colors and seek those bright moments in the brightest spot on the stage,
Showcasing our brightest hour.

Looking on the bright side,  our futures look bright and breezy.
Sometimes it’s too bright,  too white…it hurts our eyes and we must look away.
It’s so bright we are blinded,  like high beams shining in our eyes as we drive.
Where are those sunglasses….to protect our precious eyes?

 

White lights,  too bright,  too clean,  too revealing…showing all the dirt,  like white pants or white carpets.
Purity,  white as snow,  a starting over point,  a clean slate;  like a new piece of white paper.
White sheets,  white clouds,  white knights on white horses…..
Happy white,  virginal white,  like brides with white roses.

 

white flag

We look for the white line in the middle of the road to keep us safe,
And then go to white sales looking for white elephant gifts.

Sometimes we tell white lies,  raise a white flag,  or play white noise,
Preparing to perform a white glove test.

 

White-collar workers use white boards and write white papers.
We hang on for the white-knuckle ride and then get off looking white as a ghost.
Some people will say black is white and then bleed you white…all the while whitewashing their pasts.

 

Angels are white,  pure,  good and holy.
Doctors wear white,  sterile,  clean,  healing,  granting new beginnings.
White is right,  perfect,  true.

 

Big stepWe are told to “Do it the right the first time”.
And that’s a step in the right direction because we all know the customer is always right.
We need to get off on the right foot,  to get our heads screwed on right.

All so we will be on the right track,  going the right way,  and not the wrong way.
Are we in our right minds?  Will we hit the right notes?

 

If we’re lucky we might be at the right place at the right time – and find Mr. Right.
He can be our Right Hand Man.
And hopefully he will not see right through us and catch us dead to rights.
After all,  we do have God given,  inalienable rights,  starting with the right to life.
We can walk right in and step right up.

 

But not without Jesus…
So bright,  so white,  so right
We would never see God without Him.
So attractive,  so pure,  so perfect
He shines into our dark souls and warms our cold hearts.
The Bright,  White,  Right,  Light in the Darkness.

 

COMMENTS:

(In the PDF,  your journal,  or in the Comment section of this post)

Before you begin Journey 7,  what comes to your mind as you ponder Bright, White and Right?

Bright, White and Right 1: Remember and Read

remember

Hebrews 7: 26

“Such a high priest meets our need – one who is holy,  blameless,  pure,  set apart from sinners,  exalted above the heavens.” (NIV)

 

Additional verses to remember :

Matthew 26: 28 – This is my blood of the covenant,  which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  (NIV)

Isaiah 6: 3 – And they were calling to each other,  “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;  the whole earth is filled with his glory.”  (NIV)

Psalm 96: 9 – Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;  tremble before him,  all the earth.  (NIV)

Romans 3: 25 – God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement,  through faith in his blood.  He did this to demonstrate his justice…. (NIV)

 

We always begin by memorizing the theme verse for each journey (including Book,  Chapter and Verse).  Think of this as the necessary foundation for future excellence – like practicing scales on the piano or doing wind sprints or swimming laps,  or taking your vitamins,  or eating your vegetables.

What is that I hear? – OH NO!  Not memorization….

We actually recall or remember all kinds of things we’ve memorized without really even trying.  Can you think of any?

How about your phone number,  email address,  street address,  zip code,  social security number,  birthday,  names of your family,  how to get to work,  how to drive a car,  that secret recipe….or how to spell or multiply,  song lyrics,  movie scenes,  jokes,  what someone was wearing,  what car they drove,  sports statistics,  what chocolate tastes like,  what the ocean smells like,  and on and on.

That’s why we call this element Remember – it’s the remembering that is important.

 

Why do we remember what we remember?

Actually,  recollection is just the tip of the memory iceberg.  Within our marvelous and mysterious brain the memory works in collaboration with us and the world – it uses all our senses and emotions.  We associate smells,  colors,  places,  rituals,  symbols,  landmarks,  even people,  with memories and when we sense the trigger,  we remember.

For now you will just have to take my word for it – there are tremendous spiritual benefits from Remembering Bible verses:

  • Strengthens our faith
  • Shapes how we view the world
  • Makes God’s Word immediately accessible
  • Guards our minds

Here are some hints to help you get started.  We all learn differently – so don’t be afraid to try some of the more unusual methods.  Plus – some of them are just plain fun.   And not only do we need to remember the verse,  we need to remember to work on remembering the verse….double whammy!

  • Write the verse on several post it notes or index cards and put it where you will see it such as the car, the bathroom mirror, the kitchen sink,  a bulletin board,  your computer screen saver,  your cell phone,  your Facebook status,  by your bed…..Or use one of the many Scripture Memory APPs now available for phones and tablets.  Scripture Typer is one of our favorites.
  • Make plans to spend five minutes,  twice a day (usually as you get up and before bed) to review.  Review often…..
  • Say it slowly, 15 times in a row,  emphasizing each word.
  • If you have already learned it in another translation,  review that one.  Once you know it in one,  look it up in a couple of others to see what is different.
  • Review it when you are waiting in line,  or on hold on the phone.
  • Sing it – make up a tune to go with it,  or say it with an accent.
  • Rap it,  paint it,  draw it,  doodle it,  or diagram it like in Pictionary
  • For extra credit,  add the verse before and the verse after.

I like to think of this remember process as Texting or Tweeting My Brain and then having my brain Text or Tweet me back.

 

Also,  remember there is a downloadable PDF available for this Journey – click on the graphic at the top of the right sidebar.   You can download it and save it on your computer where it will link to the online Bible,  a dictionary,  the videos and the songs for this Journey.  You can also type into it and of course you can print it out.  We highly encourage – however you chose to record your discoveries and experiences – everyone to periodically comment online and read each other’s comments.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

Don’t forget the REMEMBER verses from Journeys 1,  2,  3,  4,  5  and 6 – What were they?  Keep reviewing them daily.  Try to use them in conversation and to encourage others.

 

read

John 14-17

(you can change translations after you click the blue chapter links to read in other translations)

Please read through these four chapters in one sitting,  on three separate days;  once from a modern translation,  once in a modern paraphrase,  and then finally with a pad and pencil by as you record your thoughts and observations.  It is also helpful to read the selections aloud.  As you read,  underline words that describe who God is or the names He is called.  The blue Bible Chapter links above will bring up an online Bible and you can change the translation to whatever you want.

This element is about reading what it says – try to put aside any preconceived ideas about what you think it says,  or what you may have concluded based on other studies or classes.   We are not saying those ideas are wrong,  but for this Element,  we just want to read it as if for the first time.  Please read for the storyline – and see if you can then faithfully retell it in your own words.

We suggest you record your answers in your own journal,  the downloadable PDF version or in the Comment section for this post,  below.

First Reading:  Modern Translation – which one did you use?

Second Reading:  Modern Paraphrase – which one did you use?

Third Reading:  Reading Notes

John 14:

John 15:

John 16:

John 17:

Descriptions of God:

Names used for God:

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

Share with us any names or descriptions of God you discovered.  Also share any personal observations or experiences from just reading to see what it says.

Our next blog post will be Bright White,  and Right 2: Journal 7.1 – Dead Right

 

Bright, White and Right 2: Journal 7.1 – Dead Right

 

Jesus died.thumb_normal_Cross_Thorns_01

God sent His One and Only Son,  Jesus Christ,  fully God and fully man,  to earth with the distinct purpose of making Himself known.

And Jesus died.  He was put to death,  crucified.

 

Jesus was a real human being,  a historical person.

And because He was called only things God would be called,
Did things only God could do,
Fulfilled prophecies only God could fulfill,
And embodied attributes that only apply to God……

 

resurrectionWe know Jesus is God.
God’s Man confirmed by God’s signs
God’s Answer to the problem of evil and sin
God’s ultimate Promise that came true.

 

And God let Him die.

 

Why did He come at all?

To Testify to the Truth – as a Prophet – about Himself,  God,  mankind,  and sin
To Fulfill the Law and the Prophets – as the Messiah King
And to Seek and Save the Lost – by providing the final solution to the problem of sin
Granting us access to God and salvation from sin
And a new life now and forever.
He is our Priest.

And He has access.

Prophet,  Priest,  and King….and He died.
Why?

 

Because God had a solution in place all along.  Blood sacrifices atoned for sin.
The blood sacrifice of the perfect,  righteous,  pure,  holy Jesus,  through His death,  paid the penalty for all mankind’s sins for all time.  No one else could do it.

No longer is an earthly High Priest necessary to gain access to God.
In Jesus,  our Priest became our sacrifice and took our punishment – death.
Then He rose again and now sits in Heaven giving us direct access to the Father.

He has access.
We can’t get to through to God without HIM.Card-Reader-300x201

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.) 

List some places you can’t go or things you can’t do without special access.

List some ways you can gain this kind of access.

Our next blog post will be Bright,  White and Right 3: Analyze – Chapter Nitty Gritty.

 

Bright, White and Right 3: Analyze – Chapter Nitty Gritty

analyze

Chapter Nitty Gritty

 

For this exercise we will do a deeper analysis on one of our Reading chapters for this journey.  Read John 17 completely through at least three times.  Write down and divide what is going on into the three categories below.

 

What Jesus did for the Father:

 

 

What Jesus is praying for the Father to do:

 

 

What the disciples did,  what they know,  and what they will do:

 

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

Summarize what you learned in each of the three categories above.

Our next blog post will be Bright,  White and Right 4: Journal 7.2 – Whiter than White.

 

Bright, White and Right 4: Journal 7.2 – Whiter than White

images

 

Pure white.
Absolutely clean,  no blemish,  pure,  virginal,  innocent….
Doctors wear white coats because it symbolizes hope and healing
White ribbons denounce violence against women
Good guys wear white hats,  white sheets give you pleasant dreams.

 

There are more shades of white paint than any other color.  And they all look white until you put one next to the other…add a drop of pink,  or yellow or blue,  and the white becomes Cloudy Day,  Downy,  Snowdrift or Fog…….a pretty name to cover up the impurity.

 

Too much white is hard to handle
Its hard on the eyes – we are forced to look away
It’s austere and uncomfortable and sterile
Pure white light will blind and destroy
It’s so hard to keep clean – like white pants,  white carpets,  white shoes,  and white cars
It shows everything,  reveals everything

Just like the Holiness of God

 

God starts at Holy,  Holy,  Holyimages

His singular attribute of sinless perfection,  untainted,  spotless and pure
Set so far apart from us that we could never ever,  ever,  ever reach Him on our own.
So far beyond our comprehension,  unattainable by man,  unapproachable to us…

 

Sin and Sinners cannot come into His Presence
That’s why Adam and Eve were barred from the Garden
The closer we get to Him,  we are undone,  just like Isaiah,  Moses,  and John
His holiness produces moral shock as our true sinfulness and unworthiness are revealed
He is too bright to be seen,  and if we saw Him,  we would surely die
That’s why He hid Moses in the cleft of the rock as He passed by

 

Unfortunately,  unholiness is so natural for us,  we don’t even notice it.  We consider sin more like a crime where there are degrees and only the really bad ones count.  We have excuses and rationalizations for everything else.

His holiness is why He hates sin – all sin.  We,  on the other hand,  only hate some sins,  put up with most and some we love and defend.

 

His Holiness sets Him so far apart from us that there is nothing we can do to gain His acceptance and access on our own.  Even worse,  He is not just separated from sin,  His Holiness demands hostility towards it.

White as Snow 2

And yet,  we are promised that though our sins are scarlet,  they will be as white as snow.

It all depends on our access.

 

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

Name some sins we might excuse,  love and defend.

List some pure,  unblemished,  clean things and how we try to keep them that way.

Our next blog post will be Bright,  White and Right 5: Investigate – Holy,  Righteous and Just & 10 Things.

 

Bright, White and Right 5: Investigate – Holy, Righteous and Just

investigate

Holy,  Righteous and Just

 

Define:  Please write a brief definition for each word below in your journal or the PDF using a regular dictionary,  not a Bible dictionary.

(Click on any word to link to dictionary.com for the word’s definition)investigate

 

      Holy, Holiness

      Righteous, Right

      Sanctification

      Just, Justice

      Pure

      Beautiful

      Fair

      Equity

      Morality

      Spotless

      Untainted

      Worthy

      Virtuous

      Blessed

      Honorable

      Awesome

      Sacred

 

Now write your own definition for Bright,  White and Right.
Share it as a COMMENT.

 

Review:

Next to each verse below note Who or What is Holy and What Responses are expected to Holiness.

Exodus 3:5-6

Exodus 19: 23-24

Deuteronomy 7:5-6

Psalm 24: 3-4

Psalm 33:21

Psalm 77:12-13

Psalm 96:9

Psalm 98:1

Psalm 99:9

Psalm 145:21

Isaiah 6:3-4

John 6: 68-69

John 14:26-27

John 17:11

I Corinthians 1:30-31

2 Corinthians 7:1

Ephesians 5:25-27

Hebrews 10:10-18

1 Peter 2:9

 

Read the following verses and note what you learn about Justice and Righteousness.

Psalm 96:12-13

Psalm 97:1-6

Isaiah 59:15-20

Matthew 12:18-21

Acts 10:34-35

Romans 3:25-26

 

Conclude:

List some Holy entities.

List some Holy responses.

How do justice and righteousness work together?

 

COMMENT:

(In the PDF,  your journal,  or the Comment section for this post.)

Share your definition for Bright,  White and Right.  Then share some of your answers to the questions in the Conclude section for this post as well as any other insights you gained from investigating the verses above.

 

10  things

Bright,  White and Right

 

  1. Yahweh Ysidqenu is the Hebrew word for God meaning “The Lord our Righteousness”.  He is the One who has intervened on our behalf and brought us back into fellowship with Himself.  This same word for righteousness is also translated honest,  right, and just.  The only righteousness we will ever have is that which Christ provides for us through his death and resurrection.
  1. Holy, Holy, Holy  should probably be read as Holy,  Holier,  Holiest.  It is the only attribute of God that is ever mentioned three times in a row.
  1. The only acceptable response to the holiness of God is  “Woe is me!” as we,  for the first time,  understand our true state and unfortunate fate.  The only acceptable response to Christ’s gift of redemption,  rescuing us from our unfortunate fate,  is to say,  “Here I am,  Lord.  Send me!”
  1. Holiness denotes separation from anything sinful,  impure or morally imperfect.  In describing God it requires He be morally perfect on one hand and totally separate and free from evil on the other.
  1. Stephen Charnock – “Holy,  as a prefix to His name in the Bible,  is used more often than any other attribute.”
  1. God cannot not be Holy,  pure,  moral,  and separate from evil,  he must act Holy which leads to His right and just behavior.  He is always right,  always does the right and fair thing.
  1. A. W. Tozer – “God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered.  It stands apart,  unique, unapproachable,  incomprehensible,  and unattainable.  The natural man is blind to it.  Only the Spirit of the Holy One can impart to the human spirit the knowledge of the holy.”
  1. Arthur Pink – “God has often forgiven sinners,  but he never forgives sin;  and the sinner is only forgiven on the ground of Another having borne his punishment.”
  1. J. I. Packer – “But the character of God is the guarantee that all wrongs shall be righted someday…and no problems of cosmic unfairness will remain to haunt us.  God is the judge,  so justice will be done.  Would a God who did not care about right and wrong be a good and admirable being?”
  1. Apostle John“God is light,  and in Him there is no darkness at all.”  I John 1: 5.  NIV
    Jesus “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,  but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12  NIV

References for the above quotes can be found in the back of the PDF version of Bright,  White and Right.

 

COMMENT:

(In the PDF,  your journal,  or the Comment section of this post.

Pick one or two of the above quotes or statements and share any insights or challenges it presents to you.

Continue to review the Remember Verses and make sure you are up to date on all the prior postings.

Our next blog post will be Bright,  White and Right 6:  Journal 7.3 – Who Says?

 

Bright, White and Right 6: Journal 7.3 – Who Says?

 

From the minute we’re born we start measuring up,  conforming to standards,  being evaluated,  learning right and wrong,  good and bad,  how to get along,  how to get what we want,  how not to get caught…

 

Measuring stickThere are standards and tests and grades.  We soon learn other people aren’t perfect.  We may mess up now and then,  but all in all,  we do more good things than bad.

No one is perfect.

We’re much better than those other folks.  We hope deep down inside that is good enough.

 

We’re self righteous…..setting our own standards so we can save ourselves.

Many seek to justify their decency or rightness through social causes,  environmentalism,  and political action.  The religious add burdensome rules on top of God’s revealed Commandments.  We look at the list of things we don’t do, instead of the good we should do.

 

God,  however,  is not measured by a standard of righteousness set up by man.  He sets the standard and His righteousness stems from his holiness.   It is the attribute that describes how he acts,  how he always does what is right in accordance with his character and includes all his commandments,  promises and actions.

 

Quality Control

It is His ability to possess all the good qualities,  evident in his attributes,  and to maintain them in perfect balance at all times.

So – good enough is not good enough for God.

Perfection is required and He gets to set the standard for judgment – the perfect,  eternal standard of what right actions look like.  This always reveals iniquity,  sin,  missing the mark,  no matter how good and right we think we are.

His standards are so high,  there is no way we can meet them on our own.

 

We think we just have to be better than the next guy.  God says we have to be like Jesus.

We figure we can just clean up our outer life,  while what we do in private is no big deal and no one else’s business.  God says righteousness begins with an assessment of our hearts and all that we have hidden there.

 

Not Good EnoughGod cannot and will not pass over wrong doing.  He knows we need His help.  He is always right no matter how it looks to us and we will never receive less from God than what is right.

The key is to realize we cannot save ourselves by setting our own standards and living up to them.  But how do we live up to God’s standards?  Because He is the only righteous One,  He is the only One who can show and tell us how to be righteous.

Jesus is willing to gift us His righteousness with new power and a new heart if we are willing to stop trying to save ourselves and let Him save us instead.

 

It comes with His access.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post) 

List some ways in your own life you have tried to save yourself by setting standards and then using them to judge yourself and others.

What are God’s standards?  How do you find out?

Our next blog post will be Bright,  White and Right 7:  Practice – Guidance.

 

Bright, White and Right 7: Practice – Guidance & Why?

practice

Guidance

 

The Spiritual Practices put us in a place where we are better able to interact with our environment and God.  God can then reach inside our spirits and transform them.  Just as our body needs to eat,  breathe,  exercise, drink,  sleep,  etc.,  so our spiritual self needs to make sure it is being sustained,  cared for,  and trained.  The results include spiritual growth,  a life controlled by the Holy Spirit,  evidence of the fruit of the spirit,  and the ultimate goal,  living life like Jesus did.

The Spiritual Practices are not:

  • Meritorious laws that earn favor with God
  • A way to show how spiritually mature we are
  • Unpleasant or difficult

Instead, they are:

  • Intentional
  • Activities we do that when practiced allow us to do activities we cannot now do.
  • Adaptable to work with our temperaments and gifts
  • Adjustable according to the rhythm and seasons of our lives

 

There are two kinds:

Abstinence – when we stop doing something that is perfectly normal to allow ourselves to focus more on God,  His Word,  and growing in godliness.  These also help us resist our tendency toward sins of commission  (when we do something we shouldn’t do).  We withdraw to breathe in all that God can provide to us,  breaking the hold that the world has on our lives.  Practices of Abstinence help ready us and create room for the Practices of Engagement.

Engagement – when we do certain activities that help us grow in Christ and obey his commandments.  The Practices of Abstinence have opened up the time and broken up the preoccupations so we are now free to learn of,  focus on,  and practice those things that God commands us to do.  These assist in keeping us from our tendency toward sins of omission  (not doing the things we should do).  We engage to breathe out all that God commands us.

This Journey Element requires more time than most to complete so break it down into sections.   The three opportunities to Comment provide obvious breaking points.

 

Guidance

Learning to Listen and Do

bell-rock-lighthouse-10

 

Guidance is the flip side of Prayer.  It is God communicating to us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit with the ultimate goal of transforming our lives to be more like Christ’s,  to be conformed to the moral law He has already revealed to us in his Word.  He is guiding us to carry out His will and plan for our lives.

Since the Holy Spirit is always with us,  we are receiving guidance from Him all the time.  Most of us need to learn to listen and recognize His voice,  which takes practice in itself.  He speaks to us and guides our thoughts,  often without us even realizing.  We need to be reminded to listen,  to look to Him for guidance in the ordinary daily events and not just in emergencies or the big life changing decisions.

 

Your first assignment this week is to write the word  “Listen” on a couple of 3 x 5 cards and put them where you will see them.  Then Listen. 

 

Guidance is the one spiritual practice that actually is dependent on many others.  You will need to practice prayer,  meditation,  study,  confession,  solitude and silence to fine tune your spiritual senses to recognize the voice of God. His ultimate purpose is not to get you to do the right things,  or to choose the correct path,  but to make you into the right kind of person.

 

The next step is to decide that you want to be guided.  So…..do you?

 

It all comes back to faith that God knows better than we do and can be trusted with our lives.  We can start by learning to listen to the Spirit as we carry out the daily ordinary activities of our lives and interact with people.  We aren’t asking Him what we should do,  we are asking Him if there is anything else we should do,  how can we be Jesus’ representative at this moment?  What would He have us do?  Then wait.  If nothing,  move on.  But,  if you do notice the Spirit nudging,  respond with action.

 

Remember, it only works if you are willing to respond.  Is there something you should have done,  but didn’t?   Now’s the time to do it.

 

 listen_attentively

 

Over time,  we will get to a point where we won’t even have to ask or listen,  it will be obvious what the Spirit wants us to do.  It all depends on our walking in the Spirit,  and continuing our use of the spiritual practices,  ultimately learning to say,  “Not my will,  but thy will be done.”

 

Making Godly Decisions

Do we need to ask God for His input on every decision?  Does He care what I eat for breakfast,  or if I wear black or brown shoes?  Does He care if I buy a car or where I go out to eat?

God cares about everything,  but He is most concerned with our internal spiritual growth,  our heart,  our attitudes,  that we reach our spiritual potential and bring glory to Him.  With that in mind,  He has already provided us with 100% of his moral law in the Bible.  We need to know and understand what it says through meditation,  memorization and study and then apply it to our lives.  Just doing this will take care of most of our decision making problems.

 

For those areas outside His Moral Law,  and there are plenty,  it is useful to run through some of the following criteria and scenarios before you make any decision.
decision-making-processes1

  1. COMMON SENSE:  Use common sense and good judgment – don’t hold out for a “miracle”.
  2. PERSONAL PREFERENCE:  In areas where there are options of equal value,  choose your personal preference.  He has promised us the desires of our hearts.
  3. PROS and CONS:  Take into consideration any circumstances surrounding the situation.  These could include open or closed doors (opportunities),  cost,  value,  availability of others,  supplies,  time, etc.  Make a list of pros and cons based on this information.
  4. PRIOR EXPERIENCES:  Also consider the results or experiences of prior similar decisions.
  5. WISE COUNSEL:  It is always helpful to get the opinion of one or more wise spiritual counselors.  Make sure they have nothing to gain from your decision,  and that they give you Biblical principles and personal experiences to support their counsel.
  6. SPIRITUAL EXPEDIENCY:  Search God’s Word and look for the most spiritually expedient outcome.  Don’t be afraid to take risks for God.
  7. CHECK EMOTIONAL BIAS:  Admit any emotional bias and make sure it does not impact the final outcome.
  8. FREEDOM:  Remember there may be equally good choices and others may not make the same decision as you.
  9. RESPONSIBILITY:  Whatever you decide,  take responsibility for it.

 

How Does the Holy Spirit Guide?

The Bible is full of examples of numerous ways the Holy Spirit guided believers.  From the appearance of angels to a still small voice,  God will use whatever He wills to communicate with us.  The end game is that we gain the mind of Christ so we begin to think as He does,  and are so guided.  Here are some examples of ways believers have heard from the Lord.

  • Dreams and visions
  • Audible voice
  • Word of Scripture captures your attention while reading
  • Word of Scripture comes to your mind
  • A thought or idea comes to mind
  • You “feel” moved to do something
  • Another person speaks to you
  • You are moved to create something
  • Conviction deep in your soul
  • Can’t get something out of your mind
  • Wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it

 

Remember,  whatever His leading,  it will never conflict with the moral code presented in His Word.  If it does,  it is not from Him.

 

Finally,  a few more things that might be helpful as we begin to deepen our relationship and rely on the guidance of the Spirit of God.

  1. Many times you will only get guidance when you need it and not before.
  2. You will not always know and may never know all the circumstances or the reasons why.
  3. Receiving guidance has nothing to do with spiritual maturity.
  4. Guidance is not insider information,  fortune telling,  or a Christian horoscope – He is not going to tell us what is behind Door #3.
  5. God’s will is not always hitting the bull’s eye or staying on a tightrope.  If we stray,  fall off,  or miss the mark,  He will come find us and lead us back.  He is the Shepherd and we are the Sheep.
  6. Standing still is not an option.  He expects us to decide,  move on and mature.  Saying No or deciding to wait is not standing still.
  7. Be careful not to confuse your own voice with that of the Shepherd.
  8. If you understand what you are supposed to do and then don’t do it,  the Spirit’s voice is quenched.
  9. Spiritual maturity is recognized by the amount of time it takes us to respond to the voice of God.

 

Practice Guidance

  1. Identify the decision.  If the decision does not qualify as common sense or personal preference continue on.
  2. Continue to Pray for the guidance of Holy Spirit throughout the entire process.
  3. What counsel does God’s word provide?
  4. Is there a deadline for making this decision?Yes No Maybe
  5. Rate the importance of this decision.  Consider the financial,  moral,  physical impact on yourself and others now and in the future.
  6. Consider the pros and cons of your options.
  7. Consult wise counselors.
  8. Consider your prior experiences with similar decisions.
  9. If possible,  sleep on it,  walk away from it,  clear your mind.
  10. Listen.
  11. Decide.
  12. Do.

 

Final Thoughts……

Sometimes decisions are obvious.  They make sense,  everyone agrees.  It works out well.

Sometimes decisions are difficult.  They go against conventional wisdom.  People think you’re crazy.  And then it doesn’t work out.

Sometimes decisions are easy and we make them difficult.  We over spiritualize them and then miss them altogether. And the answer was right in front of our nose.

Sometimes decisions are to do nothing,  to hold our tongue,  not strike back,  not send that email,  not go to that party,  to wait,  to trust,  to listen.

Sometimes decisions left unmade are opportunities lost,  adventures put on hold,  potential unmet.

 

I love this story below.

I have heard it many,  many times and it always reminds me of how our miraculous,  wonder working God often provides for us in ordinary,  obvious,  and personal ways.

 

A Decision Making Disaster

 

There once was a man who lived in a big house on a river.  One day,  during a horrible rain storm,  the river starting rising.  The wind blew,  the water crashed against the levee and the levee eventually broke.  The town officials sent out an emergency warning over all channels.

The man began to pray to God to rescue him.

The water began to cover his yard and the entire street began to flood.  The local Fire Dept began emergency evacuation procedures,  driving up and down the street,  warning people to leave now while they could still drive their own vehicles.

They knocked on the man’s house.  He said he would be ok because God would miraculous rescue him.

But the water kept rising.  The man had to move upstairs as the water filled the bottom story of his house.  He continued to pray, with complete confidence that God would rescue him.

A police motorboat came by looking for stranded people.  They saw the man looking out his window and urged him to step out the window and into their boat.  “The river is still rising,”  they said,  “but we can take you to safety.”

He said he was fine.  God had promised to rescue him.  They should concentrate on helping others.

Eventually the man had to move up onto the roof of his home as the water filled his entire house.  There was nothing to see but water,  and the tops of trees and houses all around him.  He continued to pray for God to rescue him.

A National Guard rescue helicopter saw him and hovered overhead.  They lowered a basket and urged him to climb in.  The water was inching up the roof.  They told him to hurry,  as the water would soon cover his house and sweep him away.

“No worries”,  he said.  “I have faith God is going to rescue me”.

The helicopter flew away,  leaving the man all alone.  The water covered his roof and swept him away and he drowned.

 

When he got to heaven and met God face to face,  he said he had one question.

“God,  I faithfully prayed for you to rescue me.  But,  you didn’t and now I am dead.  Why didn’t you save me?”

And God said.  “Son,  I sent you a warning,  I sent you a fire truck,  I sent you a police boat,  I sent you a National Guard helicopter.  What more were you looking for?”

 

Personal Reflections on Guidance

  1. List some important decisions people make during their lives.

 

  1. Name a couple of decisions you made with guidance.  Where do you go for guidance?

 

  1. Name a couple of decisions you made that significantly changed your life and that changed someone else’s life?  Did you get guidance for those decisions?

 

  1. What kinds of decisions do you spend too much time contemplating?  Why are these decisions more difficult than others?

 

  1. What kinds of decisions do you ignore or put off?  Why do you do this?

 

  1. What do you do when people ask you for guidance?

 

  1. How do you determine if you have made a good decision?

 

  1. How do you seek God for guidance?

 

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

Share your answers to the Personal Reflections on Guidance questions.  Also share anything you learned from practicing Guidance.

 

Video: Ignorable Calling

 Please watch the video above  (click on the link)  and answer the following questions.

  1. Have you ever struggled with finding your calling?  What do you think the term “calling” means?
  2. Why do we struggle with knowing if our dreams and desires are from God or from ourselves?  How could a dream or desire that comes from God be something we might fear,  ignore,  or deny?
  3. How can wrong choices become positive elements in our life story?
  4. How can our calling become obvious by reviewing our life story?  Or how does God use our Story to reveal our calling to us?

Discuss the questions below in regard to discovering and fulfilling your calling.  Answer each question from the perspective of trying to discover your calling and then from the perspective of already knowing your calling.

  1. Do I go here or here?
  2. Is it just about where I go or what I do?
  3. Or is it about who I am and who I am becoming?
  4. Do you think it is possible to live your whole life and fulfill your calling without actually knowing what it is?

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)
Share your answers to the questions and any other responses to the video,  Ignorable Calling. 

 

why?

Guidance

 

John White – “You may seek guidance,  but God desires to give something better,  Himself.   Which would you prefer to have while driving through a strange city,  a complicated set of instructions from someone on the sidewalk,  or a kindly stranger who says,  “Look,  I’m on my way there right now.  Let me hop in and I’ll show you the way.”

Richard Foster – “God does guide the individual richly and profoundly,  but he also guides groups of people and can instruct the individual through the group experience.“

David“Show me your ways, O Lord,  teach me your paths;  guide me in your truth,  and teach me for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long.”  Psalm 25:4-5  NIV

James“If any of you lacks wisdom,  he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault,  and it will be given to him.   But when he asks,  he must believe and not doubt,  because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea,  blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.”  James 1:5-7  NIV

John Ortberg – “Many people give little thought to spiritual guidance until the face a major decision….What they really want is not guidance…they want insider information so they can know which door to choose.  They want to know beforehand which choice will lead to money,  happiness,  and success.”

John White – “He wants us to know his mind.  He wants us to grasp his very heart.  We need minds so soaked with the content of Scripture,  so imbued with biblical outlooks and principles,  so sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting that we will know instinctively the upright step to take in any circumstance,  small or great.”

Jesus “My sheep listen to my voice;  I know them and they follow me.”   John 10:27  NIV

Sons of Korah“For this God is our God for ever and ever;  he will be our guide even to the end.”  Psalm 48:14  NIV

John Ortberg – “The problem is….that one assumes that whatever happens as a result of our passivity is God’s will.  This is obviously not true. Try going out and sitting in the middle of an expressway saying, ‘I’m not going to move. I’ll just sit right here and if I don’t get run over by a car,  then I will know it is God’s doing and not me acting in the flesh.’ We would consider such action stupid.”

Solomon“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  NIV

References for the above quotes can be found in the back of the PDF version of Bright,  White and Right.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the PDF,  or the Comments section of this post)

Pick one or two of the above quotes or statements and share any insights or challenges it presents to you.

The next post is Bright,  White and Right 8: Journal 7.4 – Fair is Fair.

 

Bright, White and Right 8: Journal 7.4 – Fair is Fair

lady justice

 

That’s not fair!
What we really mean is,  I didn’t get my way.
I didn’t get the same as you.
Maybe we followed the rules perfectly and someone who cheated ended up with the prize.  We earned it and they got it.
Perhaps we got lost in the shuffle,  missed the plane,  lost the part,  showed up late for the interview because of traffic……

 

Or bad things keep happening to us and our neighbors just seem to sail through life with no problems.  Why me?

Or others were born with beauty,  brains and money,  and we weren’t.

What is fairness?  Equal rights,  equal access,  equal distribution,  equal opportunity,  equal outcome?

What about extenuating circumstances?  How many chances do we get for it to be fair?  How many do overs?

 

UnfairLogo01Governments and legal systems spend much of their time creating fairness by making and enforcing the laws,  yet many still seem to be treated more fairly than others.

We want and think we deserve to be valued and treated fairly.

And God has taken us up on that……He is,  in fact,  the Fairest of them all.

 

 

God’s Justice or “Justness” goes hand in hand with His Holiness and Righteousness.  His Justice is the enforcement of the standards of His Righteousness,  which flow from the perfect moral and sinless perfection of His Holiness.  Purity sets the standard and then the bright light of His Righteousness reveals the iniquity and evil of sin so it can be dealt with justly.

 

Fair tradeGod’s Justice is the power to do what is fair and to judge impartially with His Holiness and Righteousness.  He demands sins be dealt with or else.

Everyone receives what they deserve.

Nothing escapes His notice.

 

While He feels anger about sin,  He deals with it in ways that are always holy,  good and just.  It is the universal application of equity to moral situations.

His remunerative justice gives out rewards while his retributive justice metes out punishments.

 

God is Just.  God is Fair.  He sets the standards.

There are no special deals.

There is nowhere to hide.

 

Unless you have access to Jesus.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

Name a time in your life you felt you were treated unfairly.  How could this situation been handled fairly?  Would others have felt they were treated unfairly if you were treated fairly?

List some areas where fairness is important to you.

Our next blog post will be Bright,  White and Right 9: Inventory – U R Uniquely U.