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"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

I recently returned from a ski trip with my family to Breckenridge, Colorado. Even though I have skied on many different mountains over the years, I have never enjoyed skiing as much as I did during this trip. Because I have a fear of heights and speed, skiing has never been a sport that I desire to do frequently. My fears have never allowed me to enjoy this sport, like my family, and every one else I see zooming past me on the slopes. My focus, the entire time I am skiing, is to control my speed, so that I don’t get out of control, so that I don’t tumble down the hill, so that I don’t hurt myself.

What made this trip different was that for the first time my husband asked me, “Are you using your poles?” I replied, “NO, what do you mean?” He then explained to me the purpose of the two ski poles that I had carried in my hands every time I had skied over the years. Because I never took lessons from a ski instructor, the purpose of these very important tools were never explained to me. Therefore, I typically dragged my ski poles behind me and never used them for the main purpose they were designed for.

What I didn’t know is that the primary function of ski poles is to assist in the timing of turns by rhythmic planting, and as a means of maintaining good body position and balance. What I discovered through my husband’s teaching is that you use your poles by planting them into the snow a little ahead of where you want to turn. When you do this it helps you pivot your skis around the pole. In addition, each time you plant your pole it temporarily slows your upper body down, which gives you balance and control. With more control, you start relaxing and, because you are relaxed, you actually start enjoying your ride down the hill.

Once I started using my poles on this trip, my skiing experience became so much fun. I even commented several times in amazement to my husband, “I am really enjoying myself.” No longer were the steep slopes as intimidating as before, because I finally knew HOW TO rely on and lean into my ski poles. I finally knew the trick to controlling my skis.

Once I got the hang of using these important tools, I started noticing other skiers who obviously looked intimidated by the slopes. I wondered, “Have they been taught HOW TO USE their ski poles?” I thought to myself “I should go tell them what they might not know, before they too go through years of tears, fears, and frustrations.” I believe that I would be a better and more confident skier than what I am if, from the very beginning of learning this sport, I was given instructions for these very important tools. I would have shed fewer TEARS of FEARS, if someone had just explained their purpose to me.

I started pondering and asking God, “What else have people not received instructions on that could be hindering their daily lives?” God immediately brought me to the following verses:

Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Acts 19:1-6

In this scripture, Paul didn’t come upon unbelievers. He came upon disciples of Jesus Christ. Once Paul discovered these people were believers, he could have continued on his journey, assuming they had received the correct information about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But instead, Paul asked these disciples a very critical question, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Because the Gospel was being spread by word of mouth during these times, Paul knew that there might be confusion among the people about the facts of the Gospel, the purpose of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the giving of the Holy Spirit. Even though these disciples believed in Jesus Christ, they were obviously not informed that they needed to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and, by doing so, would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Can you imagine what would have happened if Paul didn’t share this important information with them? They would have gone through the rest of their life believing in Jesus Christ, but would not have received the incredible gift of God’s Holy Spirit, given in Jesus’ name, to reside within them forever. Their lives would never have been transformed. But because Paul took the time to instruct these believers in what they did NOT know, their lives changed forever. Immediately upon receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit manifested itself in them through tongues and prophesy, which are two gifts of the Holy Spirit that are available to believers.

So why did God lead me to these verses when I asked him, “What else have people not received instructions on that could be hindering their daily lives?” It is now almost 2000 years later and the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is readily available to believers through the written word, the Bible. Because of this, most Christians have read or heard about the Holy Spirit, and will tell you that they received the Holy Spirit when they believed. The believers in Paul’s time were truly lacking the gift of Holy Spirit, but we are not. We have everything we need!

Unfortunately, what my two friends and I have discovered through our teaching ministry is that the truth about the Holy Spirit’s purpose and role is still widely unknown to many believers. God led me to these verses about receiving the Holy Spirit because he knows that his disciples, his children, are NOT USING the precious gift they have been given. What a lot of believers have never been instructed on is that the Holy Spirit within you is your own communication link, your personal telephone line, to God:

The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you … Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you … When the Spirit of truth [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but WHATEVER HE HEARS HE WILL SPEAK, and HE WILL DECLARE TO YOU the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and DECLARE IT TO YOU. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and DECLARE IT TO YOU.” John 14:26, 16:7,13-15

So…IF all believers these days know that they have received the Holy Spirit on the day they believed, AND the Holy Spirit’s role, per Jesus, is TO DECLARE to believers what he hears the Father or Jesus speak, THEN why do a majority of Christians say that they don’t hear God voice? There must be confusion, once again, about the Holy Spirit. This time the confusion is due to believers never having been taught the purpose of the Holy Spirit and HOW HE DECLARES what he hears God and Jesus speak?

When you have never been instructed on how to LISTEN to the Holy Spirit’s voice through the myriad of ways God speaks (dreams, visions, words of knowledge, thoughts, impressions, a “knowing”, creation, etc.), you won’t benefit from this precious gift. When you don’t hear the Holy Spirit’s voice, you will live your life as if you NEVER received the Holy Spirit when you believed. God’s Holy Spirit within you will go unused, just like my ski poles where unused for all those years.

However, once you discover how the Holy Spirit speaks, and you start listening to his voice, you will learn to rely on and lean into his voice. As a result of listening and obeying the Holy Spirit’s voice, you will gain control and balance and perfect timing in your life, because you will finally be guided by the Spirit of Truth. When you start experiencing God and Jesus through the Holy Spirit’s voice, your life will become adventurous and exciting, and you will begin to live abundantly and will thrive. Your obstacles won’t seem so large or steep, because you will be receiving personal insight on how to travel across the terrain safely.

Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as a Counselor. The definition of counselor is “a person trained to give guidance on personal, social, or psychological problems.” The synonyms of counselor are advisor, consultant, guide, mentor, expert, specialist.

In the physical realm, when you see a counselor, you tell your counselor your problems. You then wait to listen to the counselor’s expert advice, based on what you just shared with him. When visiting a counselor you expect to receive his advice every day you meet with him. If all you do is talk to your counselor and then leave before you hear his insight, you won’t get very far in resolving your problems will you? Every time you meet with the counselor you expect to come away with some kind of knowledge, revelation, new direction, encouragement, or insight into the root cause of your issues. If all you do is talk when you meet your counselor, you might as well not even have one. It’s the same with the Holy Spirit. He is your ultimate Counselor, Mentor, Expert, and Specialist who wants to DECLARE ALL TRUTH to you so that the steep slopes in your life don’t look intimidating any longer.

The time between, when I became a Christian and the time I knew about the Holy Spirit’s purpose, was a matter of 12 years. For 12 years I basically operated without using the gift that I had been given by my heavenly Father. I wonder at times how much smoother my life would have gone during this time if, from the very beginning, someone had taught me how to hear what the Holy Spirit was declaring to me from God and Jesus. I wonder how much insight, direction, and wisdom I missed out on because of my lack of knowledge. I wonder how many tears of fears and frustrations would have been alleviated if only I knew how to use the Holy Spirit in order to get daily advice from my Lord and Savior.

So, my questions to you are these, “When you believed, did you learn about the Holy Spirit’s purpose of declaring to you what HE hears the Father and Jesus speak?” “Have you been taught how to LISTEN to HIS voice?” “Have you discovered the myriad of ways in which the Holy Spirit speaks?” If your answer is NO, then I suggest that you start asking God to teach you EVERYTHING you currently do not know.

Start learning how to use God’s Holy Spirit within you today! Start a rhythmic planting of your poles of daily praying and listening, praying and listening. If you pray without listening, then you are not letting your ultimate Counselor speak wisdom into your life. Without listening, you will be leaving your free Counseling session without receiving any advice, or instructions, of what to do next or how to handle your next move. You will be leaving your time with your Counselor without receiving your daily bread.

Once you learn how to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice by listening, there becomes a rhythm to your personal relationship with God. The more you listen and obey his voice, the more he will declare to you through the Holy Spirit. The more you hear, the smoother your life will become. Listening to the Holy Spirit allows you to make your next move, your next turn, with ease and confidence, because you will know what God’s will is for you. You will know the next steps you are to take.

In addition, taking time each day to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice temporarily slows you down from the speed with which you are traveling through life. Obeying the Holy Spirit’s voice will then prevent your life from spinning out of control. The Holy Spirit’s personal declarations will bring balance. And finally, as a result of listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit, you are guaranteed to start experiencing heavenly peace, love, and joy that pass all understanding, regardless of your circumstances.

So please, don’t let Satan keep you from discovering the truth about the Holy Spirit’s voice any longer. He wants desperately to keep you from making the voice of the Holy Spirit a reality in your life. For even Satan knows, when a believer starts hearing God’s voice regularly, there is VICTORY. So don’t let Satan win! Start planting your poles of PRAYING and LISTENING today!

“Even though I walk [or ski] through the valley [or mountains] of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff [or ski poles] they comfort me.”

Psalm 23:4 [emphasis mine]

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