Yesterday, I picked up my daughter from her volleyball practice. On our way home, we were coming to an intersection. At the intersection, there was a 4-lane highway, a traffic light, there was a railroad train crossing, there were two cyclists to my right, on-coming traffic on my left, there was one car in front of me, and a car behind me, and there was a car in front of the car in front of me. That car was turning to merge onto the highway. The driver stopped the car. On the ramp, stopped. Then, put it in reverse. In reverse, and started to come backwards into the road that I was on. The car in front of me, and me and my daughter, were heading towards this car going backwards in the wrong direction. In this situation, there was a potential for total confusion, collision, destruction, and pain. My daughter and I were in the middle of a potentially crazy situation.
At that moment, a still small voice came to me. It said, "Relax." So, I did. I just came to a complete stop, and I relaxed. And watched to see what would happen. Turns out that it all worked out in the end, with no crashes, and no one got hurt.
So, what happened?
To the untrained eye, this situation could be explained by describing what had been observed. But to me, my daughter, to us, something special happened. In this small moment of life, the decision to act in a relaxed manner might have made all the difference. We were in control. Complete control. We were masters of the situation.
Now maybe you have these moments in your life too.
In the next few minutes, I'd like to share how we can walk spiritually and hear that still small voice in certain situations. Here are some tips to help keep ourselves in a position to receive help when we need it.
Tip #1: Watch and be ready. Help from God may come at the most likely or unlikely times and situations. In 1 Corinthians 16:13, we read, "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." The amplified version reads like this: "Be on guard; stand firm in your believing [in God, respecting His precepts and keeping your doctrine sound]. Act like [mature] men and women, and be courageous; be strong." We keep ourselves mentally active and aware in all situations, no matter the place or time, likely or unlikely.
Like a mature person, be on guard, be strong.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 says, "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." The Amplified version reads, "So then let us not sleep [in spiritual indifference] as the rest [of the world does], but let us keep wide awake [alert and cautious] and let us be sober [self-controlled, calm, and wise]."
Watch and be ready.
Here's another tip on how we can walk spiritually and hear that still small voice in certain situations.
Tip #2: Travel light. We want to travel light physically and mentally. II Timothy 2:4 states, "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life." We are to travel light so as to be free to serve God and walk spiritually. We want to be careful in what and with whom we choose to get involved with. We don't want to be burdened, stuck, or held down. We don't want to be entangled in the world's affairs. We avoid those things. We want to be free enough to serve and grow spiritually.
We also want to travel light mentally. Philippians 4:6 says,"Be anxious for nothing." I think the TV news and social media just makes people anxious. We don't want to be battling and entangled mentally in our lives. It's hard to hear from God if our minds are full of anxiety, doubt, worry, and fear.
Here's another tip to keep ourselves in a position to receive help when we need it.
Tip #3: Be meek. Meekness is defined as being gentle, kind, humbly patient, or quiet in nature, even while under provocation or temptation from others. We want to keep our minds open and quiet, and keep our hearts gentle and kind. In the car driving situation with my daughter, I didn't feel "road rage." I became very patient with the person who was driving backwards and endangering others. Throughout the Bible, we can read stories about men and women who walked with meekness and received help from God just at the right time and place.
Tip #4: Study God's Word. Study the spiritual truths in the Word. The Bible is in the category of the five sense in that we can hold it, open it, read it, write notes in it. We study it, and put what we read into our minds. The more we study, the more ready we are to spiritually receive God's love and help just when we need it, which can come to us after we close the good book.
II Timothy 2:15 states, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman (or workwoman) that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Study. The more your know, the farther you can go. The more we study God's written revelation (the Bible), the better position we will be in to recognize God's revelation with our spiritual senses. The more we know, the better we can discern the information coming to us in that still small voice.
Tip #5: Pray. When we are born again, we get to pray perfectly to God. When we receive the gift of holy spirit, we become fully capable of operating the manifestation of perfect prayer, which is fundamental in operating the manifestations of the spirit.
In I Corinthians 14:18 Paul says, "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all." The Apostle Paul knew this tip to walking spiritually.
Tip #6: Don't be deceived by the five senses. The outward appearance of things in life is what we see by our five senses. But we are to walk spiritually, by the spirit, not by the senses. By the five senses, the situation my daughter and I were in didn't look good at all. Not at all. If we didn't know the love of God, I'm not sure how we would have reacted in that situation.
Don't be fooled by what you see.
Tip #7: Take action. God will tell us by our spiritual senses when it is time to act, when it’s time to go, move, and walk. In John 8:2-11, there is a story of Jesus waiting for just the right time to act, “2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
Jesus took action on his own schedule, on his own time. In that situation, he waited for just the right moment to stand and speak. That’s what we want to do. We want to take action just when it’s needed.
We want to be doers of the word. A doer acts on the Word she knows. As we get into the habit of acting on the Word we know, we will also act on the help and love that God gives us with that still small voice.
If we want results in our lives, we have to take action. Believing without action is not believing. When we were born again, we received the gift of holy spirit - that’s potential power, inherent power, spiritual ability that we believers received. That spirit created in you - it's ready to go! And we have the right to put that power into action. When we act or speak out according to God’s Word, the result is manifested power.
Revelation (that still small voice) begins where the Bible ends. The Bible is in the physical world, but the love and help from God is in the spiritual world. God, who is spirit, teaches his creation (spirit) that's in you, which is now your spirit. Your spirit teaches your mind. Then it becomes manifested in the senses realm as you walk out in this world - as you act and speak out.
God has created and designed each believer’s gift of holy spirit to fit our body, our mind. It’s our gift of holy spirit. And we are responsible for operating that gift. We each have the wonderful, believing opportunity to discover how God reveals his will to our inner nature, which then communicates to our mind, so that we understand what God wants us to know, so that we can carry out his will, and become spiritually mature, to live a more than abundant life. That's God, in Christ, in you. That's the unconditional love of God, in your renewed mind, in manifestation.
In summary, we learned how we can walk spiritually and hear that still small voice in certain situations. I encourage you to continue in keeping yourselves in a position to receive help just when we need it. And we can use these tips to walk spiritually.
In order to live an abundant life, a person must be free from mental bondage. The chains that bind one's mind are more painful and defeating than any other. In order to break the chains, we must first become aware about the freedom that has been offered to us. We must learn what has been made available to us, how we can receive it, and how to apply it to our lives in order to free our minds. This article is about the first steps that a person must take in order to break free from mental bondage and live an abundant, powerful life, which is a gift from God.
Right now, take a look at the people around you. Look across the table. Look outside. Look at the folks walking around your neighborhood. Many of them are actually in prison. They're prisoners of their own mindset. I believe every person can be released from their prison, every prison, or the binding chains that encase the mind and make people suffer. There are spiritual truths that have been given to us so that we can learn how to live with freedom, power, and abundance - free from mental bondage.
In John 8:31, 32, 36 of the Amplified Bible, Jesus is talking to his friends, and teaching them, and he says in verse 31, "If you continue in my word (if you hold onto to my teachings and live according to them), you are truly my disciples. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. 36 So if the Son liberates you [makes you a free man], then you are really and unquestionably free."
These three verses contain the key to being released from your prison, breaking the mental chains, and living free. We must believe the spiritual truths written in God's Word, which have been made readily available to us. And then, we must know the Son, the Son of God, who is the way, the truth, and the life. By knowing the truth and knowing his Son, we will be really and unquestionably free.
Prisons. There are all kinds of prisons. Prisons are not just made of concrete and steel bars. There are prisons in people's lives that are the secret things they think about and hold onto, the things they don't share with anyone. They are the most frustrating and defeating things. They are thoughts of condemning or blaming oneself, thoughts of not being good enough, not being beautiful enough, or not smart enough. People can have thoughts that gnaw at the back of their minds, conscious and subconscious minds, for years and years. People can have dwelling, continual thoughts of sickness, disease, fear, worry, doubt, confusion, anxiety, suicide, and death. These are the worst, tormenting kinds of prisons.
I believe it's not God's will for us to be so mentally bound. God's will is just the opposite. God has given us a gift of total release from all darkness in our lives.
In Psalms 103:11 and 12 in the Amplified Bible, it is written in verse 11 that just as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are God's mercies and loving kindness toward those who respect God. Verse 12 continues that as far as the east is from the west, so far has our transgressions been removed from us. Transgression here means a mistake, something bad that you did, or a failure.
So as we see in Psalms, all self-condemnation is to be gone from us, because God wants us to be free. Not halfway free, but all the way free. A totally free person.
God has provided us a way to be free from all the powers of darkness in this world, free from resentments, from pride, from envying, from jealousies, and from obsessions and oppressions that may have been eating away at us. These evil, cunning influences lead only to imprisonment. We want to be released from these prisons. And there is a way that has been provided to us, a way by which people may recognize and receive a greater and more wonderful power than they have ever known. And those who are willing to believe can be released from every prison that imprisons, binds, and suppresses their lives.
Hebrew 4:2 in the 21st Century King James version says, "For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith (believing) in those who heard it."
So, we must not only know what's available and hear what's available, but we must also believe it. We are to mix believing with the spiritual truths taught to us so that they are profitable to us. Because believing equals receiving.
A camera's lens is a good analogy to the means by which we can believe and get results to prayer and find freedom from mental bondage. If you want an answer to prayer, think about taking a picture with a camera or your phone. First, get the subject in mind. Select what you want in your picture. This is step one: get clear, "see" what you want or need. Go ahead. Take this moment to think about taking a picture of something with the "something" in your mind. Maybe it's something you need. Maybe it's something that you're thankful for having, or expecting to have. Move your camera, and put that into the picture.
Step two is to get focused. Use the lens and range finder and focus on the subject. Spend time here. And get into the details. Focus.
When you're focused on what you want in your life, really focused, simply take the picture. Focus on the picture of what you want, and keep your mind stayed on it. If you allow something to distract you from what you're focused on, you'll get a blurred answer to your prayer. You won't get the results you intended. You won't get released from the prison that holds you.
James 1:6 and 7 says, "6 But he must ask [for wisdom] in believing, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind. 7 For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [at all] from the Lord." Wow. Focused believing in prayer is the antidote to being tossed about by the winds of the world. No one should expect to receive an answer to prayer without praying (or asking) with a focused believing action and without any doubt of the results.
If we want to get rid of something from our lives today, we must focus. We must focus or dwell upon what we want or need. It's the introduction of light that dispels darkness, not the dwelling on the darkness. If you want more success and achievement, if you want more business, better relations between you and the ones you love, if you want a sound mind and a more healthy body, then get what you need and desire in mind, point your camera and put it in the picture, then focus on it, and then pray without doubt and with believing. Then, take the picture. And change your thinking.
Right now, take a moment. Think about a situation in your life that isn't yet the best. And change your mind. Immediately change your mind and the way you think about a situation in your life. When you change the way you think about things, those things change. Change the subject of your focused and clear thoughts. As you change your thinking, you will create a pattern of what you're concerned about in your life and about what you want to see light up in your life.
Get clear and concerned. Get clear on what you need. Then get concerned about receiving it. Seek the truth. Know the truth, eat it, drink it, walk it and talk it, get concerned about it, dwell upon it, be mindful about it, continue in the truth, and that truth will set you free. And the result will be a total release from any prison. It can be done.
Philippians 4:13 says that we can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
It can be done. It will be done. You can do it. And that's my advice to you.
If you enjoyed this article, you may want to read how to bring suffering to an end by thinking and also how to renew the mind.
John Wycliffe has been called “the Morning Star of the Reformation,” which refers to the Protestant Reformation. One hundred years before Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg Castle Church door in Germany in 1517 as part of the Protestant Reformation, Wycliffe took a bold stand and worked to bring change or reform to the Roman church by speaking the truth of God’s Word. He translated the Bible into English. And he took a courageous stand by speaking and writing God’s Word in the common language of the English people. He had a tremendous impact in his day.
John Wycliffe was born in 1328 near Richmond in the North Riding of Yorkshire, England. We attended Oxford as a teenager in 1346. He received a bachelors degree in divinity in 1369 and a doctorate in 1372. Wycliffe studied and taught at Oxford for most of his life. He studied hard and became a recognized leading theologian and philosopher at Oxford University.
As he studied, he realized that many of the mainstream religious teachings of the Roman church was not in alignment and harmony with the spiritual truths in the Bible. And he wanted to change that.
In the 1300’s, the Roman church dominated all of Europe. The church was very powerful. It owned a lot of land throughout Europe. It demanded money and allegiance from people and governments. It influenced religion, philosophy, science, morals, politics, art, and education. But the church’s doctrine had become mixed up with half-truths and superstitions. For example, people were (and still are) required to acknowledge the pope as God’s representative on Earth. Anyone who disagreed with the pope and church were prosecuted or executed.
Wycliffe taught what he learned from his studies, which was that all spiritual truth is in the Bible and that to know Christ and have spirit within, one must understand those truths. He questioned the church and its teachings that did not line up with the truth that he understood and was written in the Bible.
For example, the Roman church taught that salvation (to be saved, reborn and connected with God) is NOT by God’s grace and through believing, but is through good works prescribed by the church. According to the church, the way to God is by following the law of the church according to their rules. The church forbade anyone who wasn’t a church-ordained priest to read the Bible or teach from it.
Another example is that the church required people to confess their sins to priests and the church had the authority to forgive people of their sins. Private confession to God for forgiveness of sins had been replaced by confession to priests. But Wycliffe confronted the church on this.
Wycliffe also spoke out again the sales of “indulgences.” According to the church, a person could pay the church money and the church would in turn free them from being punished for their sins. And with the money, the church would purchase more land and build more churches and fund armies for war. The Christian Crusades were church-sanctioned and funded war campaigns to combat paganism and heresy, and to gain political and territorial power.
Wycliffe also spoke out again the church’s greed. Much of England’s land and wealth was in control of the church. The church and everyone who worked in the church (the pope, bishops, clergy, priests, friars, monks) were more interested in wealth and power rather than attending to the spiritual needs of the people who believed in God. Wycliffe proclaimed that the clergy (the body of all people ordained for religious duties in the church) are not to rule over, but rather serve and help people. Wycliffe spoke publicly that the church lived in greed while common folk struggled under a burden of need.
Wycliffe spoke out against celibacy of the priests, praying to saints, and other practices that were not based upon God’s Word. The church was (and still is today) filled with dogma (principles laid down by the church authority as being incontrovertibly true). He also attacked the dogma of transubstantiation. Wycliffe opposed the beliefs that the bread and wine given at communion are literally transformed into the body and blood of Christ. He enraged the church and was condemned as a heretic. He was a dissenter and a non-conformist who held and proclaimed opinions that were at odds with what the church said was the way, the truth, and the rules to follow or else.
But that didn’t stop him from studying, teaching, and speaking spiritual truths. We was one of the most influential preachers in England, and he encouraged others to speak the Word too. He said, “The highest service to which man may attain on earth is to preach the love of God.”
One of Wycliffe’s major concerns was that the church forbade translations of the Bible into the common language of the people. The church used a bible that was written in Latin, a language that most people in England did not understand or speak. For centuries, the church used the Latin translated bible for readings and teachings. Only the university-educated church clergy could read and teach from the Latin bible. But Wycliffe believed and taught that people could not know the basics of believing unless they knew the Bible, and they could best know the Bible when it was in their own language. He said, “People should understand believing and, as the instructions for believing are in the Scriptures, believers should have the Scriptures in a language which they fully understand.”
Wycliffe called for the Bible to be translated into English. He worked with scholars to translate the entire bible from Latin into English, painstakingly making copies of the Bible by hand. Wycliffe wrote the very first translation of the whole bible into English. In 1384, people in England could read the entire bible for themselves. Hundreds were produced by hand and given to people who would carry the English translations of the Bible with them as they preached God’s Word throughout England. The English translation of the Bible was one of Wycliffe’s greatest accomplishments.
In 1382, the church declared John Wycliffe as a heretic and banished him from Oxford University. As he left the school, he declared, “The truth shall prevail!” He also said, "I believe that in the end the truth shall conquer." In 1384, Wycliffe died peacefully in his home. Four years later, Pope Martin V of the Roman church ordered Wycliffe’s bones to be dug up, burned, and his ashes thrown into the river. The church wanted to erase everything of John Wycliffe from the face of the earth. The church also tried to burn and destroy all of Wycliffe’s books and writings, but the church failed. Wycliffe’s teachings and writings had already spread throughout England and Europe.
In 1408, the Roman Church declared that no one was permitted to translate on his own authority any text of Scripture into the English language or any other language. But the invention of the printing press in 1450 changed all of that. Translations of the Bible could not be stopped. The printing press made it possible to replace handwritten copies of the Bible with printed editions that were affordable. The bible was translated into many languages, including German, Italian, and Czech.
In 1522, Martin Luther, a German theologian, monk, and teacher, translated the entire bible from Hebrew and Greek into German. Luther studied and incorporated many of Wycliffe's ideas about the church and the truth for his own reformation activities. By 1530, an estimated two hundred thousand copies of Martin Luther’s translation were printed. Luther’s bible translation became the foundation for all future translations and versions in Europe. In 1526, William Tyndale translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into English. Tyndale was executed by the church soon after. In 1539, King Henry VII used Tyndale's Bible to translate an authorized edition of the bible in English to be read aloud in all of the services of the Church of England. Every parish church in England was required to have a copy of an English translation of the Bible made available to everyone in the congregation. At last, Wycliffe’s vision was fulfilled. All of the people of England had access to the Bible in their own language.
In 1611, the King James Version of the Bible (which as built off of Tyndale's bible) was printed and published. The King James Bible has been translated into about 700 different languages. It’s considered the best-selling book of all time. Wycliffe’s vision to make God’s Word available in the language of the common people has come true.
It took a lot of courage for John Wycliffe to translate the Bible into English back then. He risked everything and inspired other future translators. Because of his dedication and work to speak the truth, the truth did prevail.
How thankful we can be for John Wycliffe. Let’s continue to follow the example of John Wycliffe by standing for truth, and speaking and living the spiritual truths that we know and believe.
If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in reading more at The Kings Guide.
Reference: John Wycliffe article by Rodney Grilliot, The Way Magazine, October 2020.
Photo Credit: Wycliffe by Thomas Kirby, Balliol College