Close Out 2021 Series (Day 1): Leveling Up Spiritually

by Rick

This month we are celebrating 24 years of Today’s Word.  When the Lord told me to put His Word in people’s email inboxes in December 1997, I had no idea I would still be doing it 24 years later.  Over this span, the Lord has impacted many lives through this ministry, not the least of which is my own.  Teaching the Word consistently for this long has caused me to grow, develop and mature as a disciple of Christ.  Countless people can say the same as a result of Today’s Word.  To God be the glory!

Here are a few quick thoughts on this before I get into today’s message:

— God’s ways (and His plans) are better than our ways (and our plans).

— The greatest ability in the Kingdom of God is availability. 

— If you make yourself available to God, then He will put His “super” on your natural.  He will give you the words, and He will perform the work (through you).

— Anyone can do anything with and for God in the short term.  God is looking for those who will have the discipline, day in and day out, to do what He leads them to do, for the long term, without regard for personal cost or sacrifice.  

— This long-term commitment to doing whatever the Lord leads you to do, however, He leads you to do it, is what I call “The Grace Life!

Thank you for allowing me to be part of your life on a daily basis.  I don’t take it lightly.  I love you, and I pray for you!

This week is the last week I will share Today’s Word this year.  After Friday, I will take a break and come back to you after the new year.  As we seek to close out the year, I was led to do something different.  Earlier this year, I wrote a book entitled “Level Up Your Life.”  In the book, I provide you with Biblical principles designed to help you level up in five areas.  For the five days of this week, I will share a small excerpt from those areas.  We will start today with leveling up spiritually.

So what does this mean to you today?  Let’s get into it.

1.  The goal of reading the Word of God is getting to know the God of the Word.  

The Word of God contains the character, attributes, and nature of God.  The more you read and meditate on the Word of God, the better you will come to know the God of the Word.

2.  God can speak to you in a myriad of ways.  

God can speak to you with an audible voice or through a still small voice in your heart.  He can speak to you while you are reading His Word or while you are running on the treadmill.  He can speak to you while your Pastor is preaching or through the person sitting next to you in the pews.  He can use a prophet to pick you out of a crowd and give you a Word, or He can use your child to give you a Word in the car on your way home.  He can give you a dream while you are sleeping or an open vision while you are wide awake.  

The point is that if you are listening, God is speaking, and He wants to lead you.  If you are looking for Him to lead you, you will find that He is.

3.  You must make sense of your thoughts.

Our minds are constantly flooded with thoughts from either (1) ourselves, (2) the adversary (satan), or (3) God.  We must learn to discern which thoughts are which so we can know which ones to receive and which ones to reject.  This is critical because thoughts lead to actions.  

Every action, good or bad, starts with a thought.  One quick way of knowing a thought did not come from God is when the thought is contrary to God’s Word.  The Spirit of God will never lead you, contrary to the Word of God.

Beyond checking your thoughts against the Word, you must also learn to discern the voice of God.  This requires spending time with the Holy Spirit.

In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul explains that you cannot know the thoughts of a man unless, in some way, somehow, the man was able to put his spirit inside of you.  That is not possible.  But if it were, you would be walking around with your thoughts and also the thoughts that came from the man who put his spirit inside of you.  While this is clearly not possible with man, it is certainly possible with God.  God put His Spirit down inside of you.  This means that you now have access to His mind, His thoughts, His will, His ways.  

— You are literally walking around with God Himself IN you.  

— 1 Corinthians 2 says that God gave you His Spirit so you can know what He planned for you.  

— Wouldn’t it be a shame if you made it to heaven only to realize that you had God’s Spirit inside of you for 10, 20, 30, 50 years, and you never talked to Him?

— In this season, please renew your commitment to spending time with the Holy Spirit.  

— As you learn His voice, you will quickly discern which thoughts to receive and which ones to reject.  

4.  The Holy Spirit is an inner witness.  

When God leads me by His Spirit, most of the time, it is through what I call an “inner witness.”  God’s inner witness is like an inner-knowing.  It is basically a thought I know did not come from me.  This thought is an inner leading that guides me in the way I should go.  I believe this is what Paul and Silas heard (Acts 16).  This is not an external or audible voice but rather an inner working.  It’s like the still small voice God spoke to Elijah about (1 King 19).

As you prepare to make the most of the season you are in, please make time to spend quiet time with God.  Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you.  You will receive that inner witness.  You will hear that still small voice.

5.  The Holy Spirit will lead you in whatever you have the grace to do.  

Paul and Silas were out on a missionary journey, so the Holy Spirit led them concerning where to go and what to say when they got there.  But don’t think the Holy Spirit’s involvement is limited to church-related activity.  In addition to being called to ministry, I am also a technology professional.  I have heard from God concerning a meeting related to communications, just as many times as I have heard from God concerning what to preach.  

Whatever God expects you to do, He equips you to do.  So yes, the Holy Spirit is just as apt to lead you concerning what to say in a business deal as He is when you are witnessing to someone about Jesus.  Why?  Because God is concerned about every aspect of your life.  

6.  What is prayer?  How do we define it?

Prayer is agreeing with God’s plans and purposes by faith, knowing He prepared them by grace, fully believing He will bring to pass what He planned.

Prayer is how the earth agrees with heaven.  

The way many have put it, “Prayer is an earthly license for heavenly interference.”

Prayer is what happens when man (male and female) exercises his legal authority on the earth to invoke heaven’s influence on the planet. 

Prayer is what happens when the creation gets the Creator involved in any given situation. 

7.  Don’t pray from a position of NEED!

If you start your prayer praying that you don’t have it and that you want God to give it to you, then you are praying from a position of need (not grace) and doubt (not faith).

— God deposited IN YOU everything you would ever need in this life.  He did this by His grace so that you could accomplish His Kingdom plans and purposes.

— Prayer is your consent/agreement with heaven, so God can do through you what He planned to do from the foundations of the world.  This is how God’s will is done on earth, as it is in heaven.

— God will never withhold anything from you that He planned for you to have.  However, this is why discerning God’s will for your life is so important.  Frustration sets in when you make a demand on God for something that’s not yours (that God did not plan for you).

Declaration of Faith:

  • Father, I thank You for teaching me to pray and to pray from a position of grace. 
  • You made plans for me before the world began.  
  • You made those plans by Your unearned grace.  I had nothing to do with it.  My success in life is tied to those plans.  
  • You now freely reveal to me all You planned to do in, with, and through my life.  
  • As I die to self and You reveal Your plans to me, I can live my life with complete confidence, knowing why I am here and what I was born to do.  
  • You give me wisdom and spiritual understanding so I can live a life that is pleasing in Your sight.  
  • As I walk with You and You walk with me, You produce good works of every kind, in me and through me, for Your glory.  
  • Trouble will come, but it cannot stop me.  I press through every challenge, and I overcome every attack.  
  • I don’t do this with my power.  I live life with Your great power, which is freely made available to me by Your grace.  
  • Your power flowing through me equips, enables, and empowers me, as You employ me to be Your emissary in the earth.  
  • You speak through my vocal cords, think through my mind, and operate through my limbs.  As Jesus is, so am I in this world.  I LEVEL UP in this season and beyond!
  • I declare this by faith, in Jesus’ name.  Amen!

I trust this was a blessing to you.  This is just a small excerpt from the book.  If you don’t have a copy of the book, here is a link to get yours.  It also makes for a good Christmas gift.

Rick’s BOOK – Level Up Your Life: 

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper.

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