Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Holy Spirit

When most of us  think of the Holy Spirit, we refer to Acts 1:8, which states , “And when the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all in one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting and it appeared that there were tougues of fire that sat upon each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues (languages).”

Can this happen again? I’m sure it has. Do the manifestations like speaking in tongues , seeing flames of fire , and hearing a mighty wind always accompany the infilling of the Spirit? I believe that this is possible but it doesn’t always happen like this. We need to understand why the Spirit is given to believers in the first place in order to answer these questions:

Jesus said to his disciples, ” It is necessary that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Spirit will not come……… The Spirit will reprove the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment………when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth……” (John 16:6-13)

However, we have to remember that God is God and if He wants to send fire down from heaven He will, in order to accomplish His divine purposes. Does He always send the Spirit in this way? I think not, and it burdens me when I think of many solid Christians who have been told that they are not “saved”, because they haven’t spoken in tongues. The Bible never makes that distinction, but instead it says, “If you confess with  your mouth the Lord jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Having hopefully cleared up any misconceptions, we can now talk about how the Spirit can enpower our lives. The function of the Holy Spirit or third person of the triune God, is to make a way for Jesus to be here with His people. In the old testament, the Spirit came to certain people for certain reasons, but now He is available to anyone who believes and trusts in Jesus. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit, but not every Christian is filled with the Spirit at all times.
God desires that we be filled so that grace and love will flow out to others. The anointing from the Spirit flows “like rivers of living water”. (John 7:38) that penetrates every part of our being. F.E. Marsh in his book, The Discipler’s Manual” states that this river “flows freer than any fountain, and neither fails, nor empties, nor stagnates.”

The more Christ-like we become, the more of His Spirit we realize. The Holy Spirit helps us pray and understand the Bible. As we spend more time with God we will be able to produce fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control. The Spirit helps us witness to others and beginning with our own family, the whole world becomes our mission field.

On the contrary, the more we harbor unconfessed sin and false idols, the more we block the channel of outpouriing. When sin and idols have been removed, wait on  God in prayer, read His Word, and by faith believe that God will do what He says He will do. “As we do the trusting, He will do the keeping; as we do the yielding, He will do the filling; as we do the obeying, He will do the enpowering; as we do the submitting, He will give the victories, and this He will do by the indwelling, inflowing, and outflowing of the Holy Spirit.” (F.E. Marsh)

Being filled with the Spirit is not a one-time experience but a continuous spiritual dimension in a believer’s life. All we have to do is obey God’s Word and “…….how much more will your heavenly Father give the holy spirit to those who ask him?” so if you want to receive the Holy Spirit, all you have to do is ask! (Judy Whittaker)

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Wrestling Against God

 It is possible to wrestle against God but it is not possible to win the match. When we wrestle with God it means that we are finding fault with His will for our lives, and how can we please Him if He is not pleasing us? It is showing a lack of faith in His promise that “I will never fail you or forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5), instead of trusting that He knows what’s best for us.

When we wrestle against God we stand on dangerous ground, because if we continue to oppose Him, eventually He will remove Himself from us altogether and give us over to a retrobate mind. (Romans 1:21-32). Our conscience will be seared until we can’t tell the difference between right and wrong. Good becomes evil and evil becomes good. We may appear to have won the fight, but some day we will all have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

We wrestle against God when we wrestle against sin without asking for God’s help, because we are substituting our rules for His. Our conscience may supress temptation for a season, but ultimately we give into the sin that entangles us and punish ourselves once again. One sin is exchanged for another but because we love our sin the pattern continues. Deliverence can only begin when the love of Christ quenches the love of sin.

God wants to be engaged in our battles, not as our opponent, but as our protector. When we call on Him through prayer, the enemy will fall at our feet. God wants to remove our self-destructive habits and fill our spirit with love and grace. He knows there will always be a war between our old nature (before knowing Christ) and our new nature (after receiving Christ) while we are still in our mortal bodies. We overcome one temptation and another one flares up. Believers are not called to triumph, but only to begin to fight. “If God is for us, then who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) (Judy Whittaker)

Jealousy—The Green Monster!

“I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)

Jealousy can eat you up! This monster may change our thought processes to bitterness, negativism, and even self-destruction. In his book, It Came From Within, Andy Stanley wrote, “Jealousy is just a manifestation of the fact that you aren’t getting what you want. What complicates things is that your dissatisfaction gets reflected of of those around you. But these people are not the source of the problem any more than the moon is a source of light–they’re just reflecting back at you what has originated in your heart.”

In the Bible, the book of 1 Samuel portrays the tension that developed between king Saul and his servant David, because Saul was jealous of David’s political triumphs. Saul spent a great deal of time in pursuit of David to the point where Saul was seeking David’s life. He was consumed with jealousy until he finally realized that God Himself anointed David as the next king of Israel. When Saul finally saw David’s goodness and integrity, he repented of his evil heart.

So, how can we fight off this evil monster of jealousy? It begins by looking in the mirror. Ask God to forgive us for thinking that He owes us something. After all, isn’t that the root of jealousy? Aren’t we angry at God because He didn’t give us what we want—fame, good looks, power, or any other obsession that we are dealing with? We have to realize that the promises of God to His children are not about wants, but needs. He gives us everything we need, including the sacrifice of His Son, so that we can be forgiven in Christ.

Thank God for how we are made—flaws and all, because God can turn weaknesses into strengths. If we are unsatisfied with our lot, He will not be able to use us to encourage others. Let’s look beyond ourselves, for we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) (Judy Whittaker)

Choosing the Right Road

“Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end.” ( Deuteronomy 32:29)

     The road less traveled is not necessarily the best choice; it depends where it leads to. Before we take any road it is wise to know what is at the end of it. Perhaps we learn from others who have traveled the same road, or from maps. If we knew in advance where certain roads led, we would not have taken them at all!
     God is our supreme cartographer who plans our path by means of the Bible. In Psalm 32:8 He tells us, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go; I will guide you with my eye.” All we need to do in order to choose the right road is to read His Word and obey it.
     Proverbs 4:26 admonishes us to ponder the feet of our path by observing the signposts and warnings God has placed along the way. Some signs may read, “DO NOT ENTER”, and if we do, we proceed at our own risk.
     There is a road that is narrow and difficult, but it leads to eternal life. It is the road that Jesus and his followers traveled throughout the centuries, and it is filled with unspeakable joy. There is still time to change your direction today, but tomorrow may be too late! (Judy Whittaker)