How can I share with a friend who does not know God? How can I ‘prove’ God?
We can’t prove what God has deemed an act of faith. But we can reveal God in the everyday – and every night – experiences that we all share. It is up to God to give the insight, desire, and faith to seek and to discover Himself. But we can offer our own appreciation for the beauty of the earth and of the universe, as a gift to help a friend to ‘see’ God.
Look at a full moon. How can anyone doubt God when looking at the stars. Some will. But with those whom God has chosen to know Him, and whom He has put in our path, with those we have the mighty signs and wonders of the universe to share.
Our common ground is the very ground we walk upon, the sky we live beneath, the sun that always rises in the east and the moon that is our light by night.
Ready: Share what you see and how you see it, with those whom you love, and allow your awareness and appreciation to be your witness.
Set: Gaze at the universe. Allow its beauty to guide and encourage your faith and your boldness.
Go: Set before your thoughts your friends and family who do not believe. Pray for them, and be ready to give an account of your walk with the LORD.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to givea defense to everyone who asks you areason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1Peter 3:15)
Prayer is such an amazing tool and gift. Ultimately, it leads us to the throne room of God. Prayer elevates our thinking and reveals God’s perspective to us. It is the means we use to fight and win against the enemy. But until we dig, reflect, relate personally through prayer and worship, and allow ourselves to be broken, we cannot grow to be the spiritual warriors God has created us to be.
Romans 1:9-10 is just one of many scriptures that shows the effort prayer takes:
“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.”
In the end, Paul did get to Rome.
Have you experienced profound practical results directly through your prayer life?
If you find prayer yields less than you hope, rest assured it isn’t because God is absent. You can deepen your prayer life. While it starts with determined effort, through reading the Bible and giving yourself a quiet space and personal room for calm moments of reflection, it doesn’t really blossom until you connect with the Holy Spirit, does it?
You can’t demand the Holy Spirit meet you, but you who have the Holy Spirit inside you, can expect Him to draw near. Everything in the Word that Jesus says about God’s Spirit promises intimacy. God hears our prayers; His Spirit is willing and eager to meet with us.
Let’s look at an issue I have experienced to show how close the Holy Spirit is to us…
Ready: My young son’s spiritual maturity is very much a heart issue for me. I earnestly seek God’s will for his life and pray protection over him daily. I don’t say a prayer and leave it at that. But nor do I repeat the same prayer over and over, because I believe God hears me the first time. I don’t presume and let the issue drop.
Set: I pray daily for my son: for his growth, through the issues that arise in his life, lifting up the challenges and situations he faces, and for his future as a Godly man. The words of my prayers change, but my heart’s desire does not. I also yield my prayers to God, asking Him to reveal His heart for the child, and His timing in the experiences that will teach and grow the boy.
One example of praying without ceasing is covering my son in prayer: for his safety, his maturity, his relationship with God, and his personal identity. I trust God hears me and I allow Him to touch my heart and to guide my prayers, as I surrender my will and my son’s life to God.
By the time he’s 21, my son will be a man. I still won’t stop covering him in prayer, but as now, the prayers will be adapted according to the needs and circumstances he faces, and based on God’s leadership and not my own.
Go: Now, is it your turn to sit with the LORD? Time to talk with Him, and to praise Him for the unfolding of answered prayer.
Earnestly seek Him, His will and His way, and He will reveal Himself and the ways in which He needs you and your prayer life to grow.
Jesus said, “For you have the poorwith you always…” Mark 14:7a.
Did Jesus mean we are to care for them all the more? Or to recognize we can never rescue all of the poor? Or does this mean something else completely?
Recently, I was reading the children’s Bible to my son and, in its simplicity, I was suddenly struck by the notion that, like Lazarus, the LORD carries those who have lived wretched lives on earth; they experience comfort and wholeness after their earthly lives have ended.
The LORD, who exists outside of time, knows the purpose for all events and all of our lives. Perhaps the poor exist for themselves to be redeemed in the next life, and for the rich of this world to discover their own wretchedness in the next.
Ready: We are to value life, this life, irrespective of what our standard of living is. There is a place for all of us after life on earth, and those who are wretched in this life will be comforted in the next.
How this all works theologically remains somewhat of a mystery to me, as I know that Jesus came to save us all from our sins, and that none of us can see the Kingdom of God except through him. We must be born again by faith in the Son of God, just as Jesus said himself in John 3, if we are to have eternal life. BUT perhaps those in abject poverty are: in their humility, in their suffering, and in their despair, more aware of God, unlike the rich in their prosperity and distraction.
After this life, there is another that goes on for eternity. Perhaps, though Lazarus suffered in this life, God was using the suffering as an opportunity for the wealthy to love and to give. God honoured the poor man into eternity, for his suffering; comfort came to Lazarus. But pain and shame came to the rich man who saw nothing beyond himself while on earth.
Set: If we who have much honour the poor who have little, we are able to be grafted into the honour given to the poor man.
I wonder if this is how God sees the value of suffering? Certainly Jesus suffered on behalf of us all, but perhaps in His wisdom, he gives some of us more opportunity to suffer or to be a comfort to others in this life, in order to grow us for the next.
How will we move forward knowing the poor we will always have with us?
We will love, in word and deed.
We will acknowledge with respect and humility.
We will give as we have been provided for.
And then perhaps we may share in some of the Glory that comes through suffering and hardship.
Nation groups are seeking independence, sovereignty, autonomy.
Do I experience prophetic revelation? Am I simply discerning the times? I’m looking into current events, seeking to discern their significance and relevance to Biblical Truth: Why are nation groups in Europe seeking their independence on the rise?
I seem to have had a eureka! moment earlier today. I was listening to Revelation TV live (UK Christian television), as host and guests were discussing the imminent referendum in Scotland regarding the possible separation from the rest of Great Britain.
It occurred to me: in current events we seem to be having a preponderance of nation groups seeking sovereignty – going back to their ‘roots’, their identity. Whether its Ukraine, Iraq or the UK, around the world citizens are seeking to group themselves according to their historic roots. Why?
In the End Times, we see that LORD will judge the earth and nations groups will be sheep or goats, saved or unsaved (Matthew 25:31-46).
Could it be that supernaturally, the nations are being divided according to their spiritual status? Will some nations be found wanting and others delivered from judgment? That is what the Bible says. And it may be that in these times, the Holy Spirit is behind the nations’ efforts for sovereignty, so that God’s justice will prevail over the nations.
Consider current events. What, with your spiritual eyes, do you discern is happening that stands in line with scripture of the End Times?
Practice looking at current events in this light. God can and does speak to us, and we can improve our sensitivity to His activity and His leading when we look beyond the media and toward lining His word with current events and activities.
Baptism means ‘to submerge’ so to be baptized means to be immersed in water. By definition there is no such thing as full immersion baptism as opposed to any other sort, because – at least as I see it – the word implies full immersion and nothing else.
So, if baptism means ‘to be submerged’ then what is Holy Spirit baptism? What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit’?
On the Day of Pentecost, 50 days after the Passover and Christ’s Crucifixion, many were gathered when tongues of fire descended upon them and they spoke in various languages (Acts 2). This is one manifestation of the Holy Spirit. The Pentecostal Church denomination was founded upon this truth, and it is their doctrine which says you will speak in tongues if you are baptized in the Holy Spirit. For me, Baptism in the Holy Spirit is even simpler than that: the manifest presence of God will fall upon anyone it wills and the power and presence of God will be experienced.
The Holy Spirit is our teacher, comforter, and will convict us of sin. He is our helper (John 14, 15, 16) Any who believe and follow Jesus receive the Holy Spirit at the time of rebirth. But how do we experience His presence? How do we know the power from on high? And do we need this power if we are saved by God’s grace? Indeed we do. Why?
We live in dangerous times. Many say it is the End Times.
Jesus had the Holy Spirit’s power and presence. In Luke 4 Jesus quotes Isaiah 61, speaking of the Holy Spirit of the LORD resting upon him. If he operated in and through the Spirit, then how much more do we need Him?
“The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach good news….” (Isaiah 61: 1)
And yet I for one, haven’t enough of Him. I have experienced His power and presence. I have basked in the beauty of His holiness on more than one occasion. And yet, I am fearful of Him whenever He draws near, not because He will hurt me, but because I am anxious when it comes to surrender. Even though it is always good, always refreshing, always renewing, my flesh resists and I struggle to yield.
I experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in the following ways:
He makes me nervous
He makes me tremble
He gives me a rumbling ache in my tummy
My mouth wants to shout praise
I am sleepless
These are just clues to manifestation of Holy Spirit.
The fruit is patience. The fruit is greater love for others and for God
The fruit is joy, peace, goodness, faith, greater kindness, gentleness and/or self control.
Nothing ill comes from Holy Spirit. He does not overtake our bodies or our minds. He does gently and sometimes persistently prompt us to surrender to God’s timing, Word or wisdom. He does wake us up to spiritual understanding, deepening our experience or understanding of God’s word. He does not take over or harm. He is to be awed but not feared, to be followed, to be comforted and nurtured by. He protects, warns and guides.
Yes, in these end times, if indeed they are End Times, we need Holy Spirit. And those operating with Him can do much to bring God’s kingdom here, on Earth, as it is in Heaven.
Plan to experience a deepening awareness of God’s Spirit upon you.
1. Invite Him
2. Choose to trust Him
3. Give Him time to descend upon you and to fill you
5 Aspects of Christ: How can Jesus’ church become like Jesus?
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
Many people say they like Jesus but not the church. The church follows but does not act like Jesus. We are called to be his hands and feet, but making the church like Jesus hasn’t been very successful so far, has it?
Ready: How can the church become like Jesus today? The church has a responsibility to reflect Christ. After 2000 years we are still lacking. How can we finally equip ourselves, and find our perfect character in Christ?
Set: For the church to operate in the way God intends, we need to be led within the structure God intended. One key lies in the five fold ministry, Jesus’ gift to the church. These five fold ministries are: apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher, pastor. Each of these ministries is an aspect of Christ, who had all of these qualities. We need all the qualities of Christ if we are to operate in his authority and power.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to My Father.”(John 14:12)
Through these 5 ministries, the Body is prepared. Within the church, there are people with the particular calling of pastor, teacher, evangelist, prophet, or apostle.
The calling does not have to do with education but everything to do with anointing. You may know the person that just opens his mouth and out comes revelation about God’s Word (teacher). Or whenever someone is in need of wise counsel, you can spot the gifted pastor, ready with just the right word in just the right season. There are those who have a special gift for sharing Jesus with unbelievers, who’s witness seems so easily to affect others toward him; these are evangelists. Some have the ability to see God’s plans and purposes and are designed for the prophetic. Finally, there are apostles who lead naturally, and hold visions for the new things God has for His Church.
With any one of these ministries missing, the church is lacking a necessary part of it’s headship and does not grow as God intends it. So often everything falls to the minister employed by the church; many things cannot be fulfilled by one key person. God loves unity (Psalm 133) and to see His people working together for good.
How to play your part in building the church:
Step 1: Recognize the church structure is imperfect but God has given us the perfect structure to equip the Body of Christ.
Step 2: Study and learn these 5 fold gifts. See if you spot others who are these gifts to the Body of Christ. Could you be one of these gifts?
Step 3: Encourage the gifts in others; identify and practice them. 1 Corinthians chapter 12 tells us the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Romans 12 lists the gifts of God.
Step 4: Encourage your church leaders. Honour them. They too are gifted and seeking to honour God with their lives.
Step 5: Pray, asking God to reveal the gifts of Jesus that are within the congregation. This may be radical thinking for your church, so pray for God’s will to be done and for willing hearts within your congregation and church leaders.
Go: Intercede for your church, your city and your region, that the Body of Believers would be equipped and ready to serve the LORD with gladness, and the people with love. (And when you feel called to step out to share this message, step out in faith and share in love, asking for God’s timing and His window – first.)
The World is full of people yearning to fulfill their destiny. Those of us who are in Christ know where we are going when we die. But do we know how to find our life’s purpose while we are on earth?
All of us are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the Universe. He knows us intimately (Psalm 139) and has a purpose and calling for each of us. But how do I discover what that calling is? We begin by asking, “How do I find my life’s purpose in Christ?”
Ready: Wise Solomon advises us in Proverbs 3:6, to seek the LORD for his plans and purposes: “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (NKJV)
Set: A number of years ago I decided I was going to find out who God had made me to be. It took me two years in discipleship training (for a Diploma in Theology) to discover I was uniquely made for a particular purpose, and a further two years of personal study, prayer & fasting, with deliberate tuning and analysis, to find out what that purpose was. I write this post as a springboard for others to seek and discern their personal calling more easily.
There are 9 spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12, where you can begin to connect with God and His word to find where your spiritual strengths lie. Also, listed in Romans 12 are God’s 7 gifts of grace. The five fold ministry gifts of Jesus are listed in Ephesians
“The most successful Christians are those who come to know their calling, understand their special gifting, and faithfully stay with that calling until they fulfill their membership ministry.” (Dr Bill Hamon, The Day of the Saints, Destiny Image Publishers Inc (c) 2002, p211)
1. Read the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, God’s gifts of grace, Jesus’ gifts to the church, to learn what gifts God has offered us.
2. Pray and “earnestly seek” God’s gifts. (Hebrews 11:6)
3. Consider your own passions for the LORD. What gifts have you got? What talents and abilities? What gifts do you yearn for. Ask.
4. Deepen your lifestyle of prayer, fasting and eagerly seeking His will to be fulfilled in your life.
5. Connect with others. Pray with them. Together, seek the LORD for His gifts, calling and purpose in your lives.
“Therefore I remind you to stirupthegift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6 NKJV)
6. Be diligent and be patient. God is faithful!
Go: Study, pray, seek, knock: God has plans for you, and a purpose, and in due time He will make them known to you.