Walk With God (From the Gospel Meetings) Part 1
The first of two guest speakers who spoke on Thursday and Friday night talked about how before we can walk with God, we need to get rid of the bad stuff in our lives (our bad attitudes, bad habits, bad behaviors like cursing/swearing, heavily drinking, sexual sin, smoking, and other deliberate sins that stem from following our earthly desires instead of Godly ones (like pure love, faith, serving God and helping others)). He also talked about how in order to lure more people to the church, we must first work on the church and on our individual selves so that what everyone else sees is the church the way Christ meant for it to be. We need to openly show love for one another (and for ourselves) and fellowship instead of just coming to church to listen to the sermon and then immediately leaving as soon as it’s over. Fellowship is important in order for the members of Christ’s body (spiritual) to grow and mature. Fellowship is also important for members individually because being around other believers helps us grow in our faith in God. I am going to try to sum up more specifically what was said by both speakers on all 4 days of the Gospel meetings and try not to make my summary too long, just clear (hopefully) and helpful and I am hoping inspirational and encouraging too. I will split this up into two notes since there were two different speakers and it would be a short NOVEL if I wrote it ALL in 1 note! I want to help inspire you all and encourage you into a relationship with God – or if you have a relationship with God, to deepen that relationship.
Day 1 of “Walk With God” from Guest speaker # 1
You can’t walk with God or clothe yourself in Christ until you have first gotten rid of all of your bad habits, attitudes, behaviors, and (worldly/bad kinds of) desires. We need to leave ALL of the bad stuff behind when we are baptized instead of putting it in our pocket and sowing it back on later (this is a metaphor the guest speaker used). Most of us do the opposite and instead of leaving our “flesh” (sinful nature) behind in the water during the baptism, carry it around with us then slip back into the way we used to think, talk, and act rather than think, speak, and act more like Christ like we are supposed to. The Holy Spirit will make you get rid of stuff that is not pleasing to God and change your attitude. “Your attitude determines your altitude. If you have a bad attitude, you will fly low. If you have a good attitude, you will fly higher. We should ALWAYS be excited to be in the presence of the Lord You cannot hide ANYTHING from God, for He sees EVERYTHING we do.” (Anywhere I use quotes are direct quotes from what the speaker said. I took lots of notes!)
Next the minister started talking about idols we have in our lives and how idols are not just carved figures like in biblical times, but they can be ANYTHING we put more importance on over God, including significant others/love/spouses. God should be the center of all you do and be # 1 in all areas of your life.
He went through most of the sins listed in Galatians 5:19-21 and after idols is witchcraft. He told us how he did a study on what exactly is considered witchcraft and doing drugs (weed and other illegal drugs) is considered witchcraft. We also need to watch what we say and what we do because others are watching and we need to set a good example. God cares about us. He cared enough to send His only Beloved Son Jesus to die for us so we could be cleansed of all of our sins and raised Jesus 3 days later so we could have a right relationship with God through the Son. In return, we should be excited about God (and live like Christ and for Him). We can no longer walk in the “flesh” but must walk in The Spirit (Holy Spirit) and act more like Christ at ALL times.
We also need to change our attitude about the church. The church is not meant for one or two people to do all of the work. ALL members of the body of Christ must do something to help the church. Faith without works is dead (as the apostle James talks about in James chapter 2). We must also show love because when we do not show love and that we are in Christ, we cannot save souls or bring anyone currently outside of Christ to Him. Jesus is already present in our church, He needs our help in making people feel His presence. The church (right now) is known for having people who look miserable and would rather be somewhere else. We need to be happy about going to church (and I, Lexi, reading between the lines here also believe that we must actively participate in the worshiping of God and in fellowship with others). We should all hug each other (hug EVERYONE) when we first get to church (and get to church a few minutes early so we can do this without interrupting the service I think, and am sure the guest speaker would agree on this) and again before we leave. We should also spend some time in fellowship with one another after the sermon/service and before we leave. We should get filled with the (Holy) Spirit. When we hug others we are showing them your love. Fill this church up with love so that you will be able to bring other people in (and where they will want to keep coming back). Change the attitude of your congregation (and the change starts with your own attitude). Be 100% honest (in a loving way) and grow in quality. Show love for one another.
The guest minister listed the 5 steps to getting into the Body of Christ
1) Hear God’s word 2) Believe it 3) Make the decision to sincerely repent and change to be more like Christ 4) Confess Christ as the son of the living God 5) Be Baptized – which is a symbolism of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and also of your own death to sin and resurrection IN Christ.
A note from me – After you have completed these 5 steps it is important to go to a good bible-based church that does not add, subtract, or twist God’s word in any way but follows what it says so we can become more like Christ as we learn more about Him and the characteristics of God as well as God’s laws and commandments (particularly the most important ones to 1) Love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength and 2) to Love others as you love yourself (which means you need to love yourself) and you must also love each other as Christ loved us and Christ loved us enough to die for us to save us from our sins and that is the kind of love we should be showing to one another. We should love each other unconditionally and always be ready to guide and encourage others in their relationship with God and in following Christ’s way.
Back to the Gospel and what our first Guest Speaker said on day 1
After mentioning the 5 steps on how to become a member of the body of Christ, the minister told us that God forgives all of our sins when we are baptized and we are wiped totally clean. Therefore, from that point forward (after baptism), we must recognize when we have sinned and confess and repent of our sins and ask for God’s forgiveness. Repent means to start over and not commit the sin you just committed and repented for ever again.
Before ending on the first night, the minister urged us NOT to sit around thinking “I have plenty of time to get my life right (and be made right with God).” You never know when your time will be up. You’ve got to stop playing with the church (and with your lives)! NOW is the time to get right with God and get your lives together. If you have done something wrong to someone else, now is the time to ask forgiveness. And if someone has wronged you, NOW is the time to forgive them (remembering that God has forgiven your sins so it is only fair that you forgive others who you feel have wronged you). (You should also ask for God’s forgiveness when you have wronged someone else and when you have sinned against Him).
Day 2 of “Walk With God” with our 1st Guest Speaker/Minister
We are not to look at what others have but be content with what God has given to us. Some people are too busy paying off their nice stuff to enjoy it. We are all given skills by God that we must use. God has promised to take care of us. The rest of the “stuff” we must work for (including owning a car and/or owning a house, since God WILL provide a roof over our heads but if we want to “own” that roof temporarily, until we die, then we must work for it – my interpretation based on what the minister said). We must learn to be satisfied with what God has already given to us and take care of it (for example – if you have a car, you need to take it in for regular maintenance and keep it running smoothly), and when God sees we can take care of what He has already given to us, He will give us more.
Another sin mentioned in Galatians 5 is getting drunk and the minister put emphasis on how it is NEVER OK to get drunk. He said the occasional glass of wine with dinner or social drinking (and knowing your limit and when to STOP) is okay, but drinking to get drunk is NOT okay.
On the subject of murder (his version of the Bible lists murder as one of the sins in Galatians 5:19-21), the minister told us there is more than 1 way to murder someone. There is the obvious way – to kill the physical body – but there is also another way: You can kill someone’s spirit enough to where they become a lost soul with your words (and the way you treat them when you mistreat them). Be careful what you say about others (and to them – which we will get back to in a moment). Your spirits can be high on God and then suddenly you hear someone speaking negatively about you (or about someone else who is in the Body of Christ) and then your spirits are suddenly low and you start to think like the person speaking who poisoned you by speaking negatively (about you or about someone else); and you will stop going to church and maybe even reach the point where you stop going out altogether. (Therefore, be careful 1) what you say ABOUT others and about yourself and 2) be careful what you LISTEN to when others are speaking. If they are speaking negatively then walk away (or ignore it if you are unable to walk away immediately) and be around those speaking positively about you, about others, about God, about life).
When you are wearing the Spirit on right, then you cannot display both the good and the negative at the same time (in other words – the different parts of the fruit of the Holy Spirit will be what others see when they look at you/watch you). The positive (Fruit of the Spirit) should ALWAYS be showing. The first component of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) is love. Once you love, it is easy to have joy (the 2nd component of the fruit of the Spirit). Without love you will be miserable. You must start by loving yourself (in a healthy way) before you can love others. We tend to blame things on others (starting with our upbringing/parents) and then carry the baggage around throughout our life until we are old, which results in living a miserable life. As Christians, we are to be forgiving. No matter how many times 1 person wrongs us (in 1 DAY), if they come to us apologizing and asking for forgiveness, we must forgive them every time. Forgiveness (which is a form of love) changes you and you will walk a whole new way. Start loving yourself and you will see that others will love you, instead of living half of your life angry and miserable. We should all have JOY to be children of God.
If you plan on going to Heaven, get love and wear it everywhere you go! Show love to everyone you meet! Another component of the fruit of the spirit is patience/long suffering (depending on the translation you are reading). Therefore, we must show patience towards others and also our situations/circumstances and to God. Another component to the fruit of the Holy Spirit is faith. Faith is hard for some of us to have, but we must trust God without seeing what’s being done (for us to change our situation). We must also have an even temperament (another aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit) and get to the point where NOTHING upsets us. To truly walk in the Spirit, we must not be (or stay) angry with others (or ourselves or with God for that matter). We must get rid of ALL anger and help the person who made us mad/hurt us get into Heaven. If you need to, pray to God for the Spirit to be with you and to guide your conversation/interaction with the person. A motto that the minister lives by is “BLJ,” OR “Be Like Jesus” —–> We ALL need to do this. (If you need to, during a tough situation, ask “What would Jesus do in this situation?” and if you go to the Gospels, you will see that Jesus was gentle and loving, yet firm when he needed to be (but again, firm but gentle at the same time.)) When you endure long suffering with someone else (and are PATIENT, FORGIVING, AND LOVING towards them), you will grow closer together in your relationship, and be better off (in a better and closer relationship) with God too. When we (truly) believe in God, we can make the changes we need to make.
As Christians, we have duties and if we fail to do them, then there will be suffering. For example, if your child does something bad and neither the mother or father corrects them on their behavior, then the child will most likely repeat the wrong act of behavior and it could lead to other bad behavior and not only will they suffer, but so will the parents and everyone else in the child’s life throughout their life. (This example is from me. The minister used an example of a married man or woman who comes home from a long day of work and expects dinner to be either ready on the table or to be cooking and almost finished and it is the other spouse’s duty to have dinner on the table). It is also important to learn to talk lovingly, gently, and respectfully to one another (starting at home with your spouse and kids) and keep the lines of communication open (and honest but in a loving way).
We all have bad stuff we need to work through to get out of our lives completely. You can start by working on 1 thing for 1 month, whether it be a fruit of your “flesh” like getting rid of anger, sexual sin, bad habits, or any of the other sins listed in Galatians 5:19-21) or if it is a fruit of the Spirit that you NEED MORE of (like joy, faith, love, patience). If you work on subtracting one aspect of the bad stuff in your life (one at a time) for at least 30 days, or add one of the components of the fruit of the Spirit 1 at a time for at least 30 days in a row, then your life will improve immensely (greatly). I picked two things to work on, but I am hoping by focusing on at least 1 of the two things that the 2nd thing will follow. I picked having an even temperament (not getting upset, angry, annoyed, frustrated or offended by ANYTHING) and joy (as in feeling and expressing more joy). I picked both because I know that no matter which one I focus on for any given day, the other one will be easier to gain or lose as well. When I stop letting everything people say or do offend me or upset me or make me angry, then I will instead be calm and have joy. On the other hand, if I decide to focus on joy and reasons I have to be full of joy, then I will be too filled with joy to be easily upset or offended.
So what is one thing you (my readers) can work on for one month, whether it be a bad thing like anger or envy, or a good thing like joy, faith, patience, or love? A great way to help with whatever you decide to work on is daily study of God’s written word (in the Holy Bible) and being around other believers and around people who uplift your spirit and make you feel happy and loved (and stay AWAY FROM negative people who think, speak, and act negatively). I hope you found my notes from days 1 and 2 (as well as my interpretations in parenthesis) helpful and inspirational! I will try to get part 2 (days 3 and 4 from our 2nd guest speaker) typed and posted as soon as I can! Have a blessed day/night and remember that God loves you (and so do I)!