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Dear Partner,

When I originally began spending many hours in the prayer closet, one of the first things the Holy Spirit ever said to me was, "You will come to trust Me completely. You will come to rely upon My voice in the face of all contradictory circumstances. You will come to rely on My leadership even when the entire world gives opposing counsel." I look back in amusement now at how much I "thought" I trusted in His leadership then. In fact, the day He said that to me I felt a little insulted because He implied I was not already trusting Him completely. I thought I was!

As I look back on those days now I have to laugh at how inexperienced I was at trusting the leadership of the Holy Spirit. I thought, then, that He would only lead me in paths that would result in personal blessings for me and my family. In other words, if I "heard and obeyed" and the results were pleasant circumstances I trusted Him. If, however, I "heard and obeyed" and the results were unpleasant circumstances I tended not to trust Him. My understanding of "trust" was very immature. Let's look at how the apostle Paul describes how the Lord taught him to trust in the leadership of the Holy Spirit:

2 Cor 1:8-10  For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;

By following the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Paul and his associates were led into such dire circumstances that they actually thought they were not going to live through it. What was it Paul needed to learn? Not to trust in himself, but to fully trust in God alone.

Let me share a great secret with you: As long as my focus was on "my" life and "my" blessings, I never could bring myself to the place of fully trusting in the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Day by day, little by little, as my focus has changed to Christ living "His" life through me have I been able to more fully trust the leadership that comes by the Holy Spirit. Quite frankly, many of the instructions I receive from the Holy Spirit are not "pleasant" for me personally at the time. This is easy to show from scripture. Here are a few instructions that do not seem pleasant at the time you obey them:

Luke 6:27  But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Luke 6:28  Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
Luke 6:29  And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.

If the focus of your life is on "you" and "your" blessings, it will be really hard for you to trust the Holy Spirit when He whispers similar words of leadership to you in a real situation. How can it bless "you" to give your coat to somebody who has just stolen "your" cloak? The key is, this instruction is not about blessing "you." It is about extending the life, the love, and the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ to the person you are being kind to. It is Christ living His life through you.

I remember when the Holy Spirit instructed me to give all of the cassette tapes away freely to anybody who wanted to have them. It was a struggle to obey that instruction at first because I could not see how it would bless "me" to do so. After all, we were experiencing severe financial difficulties at the time. "My" mind kept telling me I ought to sell the cassette tapes because "we" needed money so badly "ourselves." I was having a difficult time trusting the leadership of the Holy Spirit because my focus was too much on "me" and "my" blessings.

Thank God He gave me the grace to obey Him anyway! Over these many years we have received countless letters of gratitude from people all over the world telling how the messages on the cassette tapes have helped them and how many of them could never have afforded to purchase the tapes if we did not send them for free. It looked like certain "financial death" for us to obey His instruction in the beginning, but we have learned to trust in the living God who quickens the dead. He has delivered us financially time and time again, and we have learned to trust that He will continue to deliver us no matter what instructions He sends our way.

The big "trap" of the enemy is to get believers to focus on meeting "our" needs first. That focus will normally prevent us from obeying the leadership that comes from the mind of Christ by the Holy Spirit. We are to allow Jesus to live His life through us first!

Mat 6:31-33  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter

 

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