Friday, December 30, 2011

Obeying God

Abraham obeyed God when he went to sacrifice his only son after God requested it.  Would we make a big gesture like this, to prove our devotion?


I don't think this is an ordinary situation, so I would doubt your sanity if you were to try to replicate this event today.  Big gestures are easy anyway.  Or easier.  


Giving your life to save someone else is fast and simple, even if it is a huge thing.  How much harder to obey God over the course of an entire life though?  How hard it is to obey when He says to love your neighbour, or not to covet!


Easier to give your life in a moment (when heaven awaits) than to struggle with obedience for 50+ years of a Christian life.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011


God, spouse, children, family, Christian friends, everyone else.


Priorities are determined by who you should listen too first.  If you get contradictory instructions/requests, listen to God first and then down the line.  Your Christian friends can't trump your family obligations but if your family is not Christian they might have to lose out to God's commands.


When do you make yourself a priority?  When you are able to fullfil less and less of the top priorities.  If you see yourself losing ability to serve, cut off one step completely and trust that God will take care of the gap you leave.  


Even if you have to leave your children to your wife, taking time out alone with God, this will be time well spent.


Friday, December 23, 2011

The personality excuse

It's just the way I am!  I can't help who God made me to be!


You are not called to excuse your behaviour.   If it is immoral, then change!  Nobody who is born again remains the same.  You can count on it.


Some personality traits are neither good nor bad.  Some cultural traits are neither good nor bad.  Some are clearly against God though.


First sort out the obvious one or two things that you carried over from your un-born-again life.  The rest will come in time as God's Spirit works on your heart.


Thursday, December 22, 2011


I've seen a lot of death this year, in real life as well as through media.  


This continues to challenge my faith.  Not so much in my biblically informed position, but in my ability to communicate that position to non-believers.


Are you able to speak to someone who has recently lost a loved one?  What about a loved one who is most likely in hell... for eternity...?


Here are three things of many that occur to me:

  1. You can't live if you're not prepared to die (or for loved ones to die), at least on some rational level - emotions will always surprise you...

  2. If your "philosophy" (I prefer theology) of death isn't robust it is unable to provide hope.

  3. God is ultimately in control of every death and His absolutely just judgement, along with mercy through Christ, is the foundation for any real hope of eternal life.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Are you prepared to fight for what is right?  To fight to do right?


Just when you think you're getting ahead of things, the world, the flesh, or the devil will rise up to wear you down.


Those old habits come back with a vengence, that person comes back into your life, and perhaps your prayer and discipline in godly habits may be lacking.


Will you fight?  Maybe, but will you fight now rather than leaving it till another day to enter the battle?  Do you have the Spirit of overcoming on your side?


Monday, December 19, 2011


What is the main lifestyle characteristic of a Christian?  An outside point of view might yeild a different answer from an inside point of view.


How about these: abundant joy, unshakable love, an abiding peace in times of trouble?


Yes, yes, and yes.  But so much depends on context - these things can be hard to see, even when they are there.


The Christian, in whom the Spirit works, will display an increasing level of personal morality.  With some inevitable ups and downs, but overall upward in direction.  


From the outside, people will be continually surprised at what lengths you go to to help others.  From the inside you are daily considering your weaknesses, trusting God for forgiveness of them, and praying for strength to overcome them.


Saturday, December 17, 2011


Do you value that person in your life who seems to know just the right thing to say or gives the right piece of advice at the right time?  Do you value that person who seems to have their life in order and responds to tricky circumstances in a way that always seems to work out?


Wisdom is not merely knowledge, and not merely knowledge of how to apply knowledge either.  


True wisdom requires spiritual "unction" to make that application happen.  This is why wisdom is a spiritual gift and a spiritual growth in every Christian (at least in some measure).


This is why we are to "get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding" (wisdom and understanding are parallel in this proverb)



Friday, December 16, 2011


The world won't stop without you.  You can trust God to fill in the gaps left by your presence.


Does your ministry (personal or professional) demand a lot of your time?  What happens when you get sick, or need an unplanned break?


God doesn't need you to keep the universe ticking over.  While our lives never stop, and our growth in Christ continues every moment, sometimes our rest is a part of the bigger action.


Learning to rest, learning to show the world that you do trust God with what you can't do.  Knowing that anyone else could do your work, if God wills it.


Enjoy your holiday breaks to the glory of God.


Monday, December 12, 2011


Do you acknowledge your wicked deeds?  or do you attempt to justify your actions?


You can pass the blame onto someone else or onto circumstances that you feel are beyond your control.  You can say, "It's not really that bad!" and then forget about what you have done.


Or, you can take full responsibility for your actions, "Yes, I did it.  Yes, I deserve hell for it.  Lord, help me not to do it again!"


God loves to honour prayers like that!  He will justify you through Christ and give you the strength to repent.


Sunday, December 11, 2011


What does it even mean to be meek?  Meek rhymes with weak, but someone can be both strong and meek!


Restrained strength.  Knowing that you are right, but deliberately failing to assert your dominance.  If this is meek, why would Jesus ever claim that it is good to act this way?


Have you ever been in an argument where you knew you were in the right - the other side being either too stubborn to admit, or simply couldn't understand?  Rather than escalating so that you can prove yourself right, or even so that you can receive the justice due to you, giving up the argument and trusting in God - that is meekness.


Sometimes it is suffering as Jesus did, like a silent lamb to the slaughter.  Sometimes it is letting the other person have the last say.  Restrained strength, a virtue, trusting God for deliverance or justice.



Not toward God but toward man.


How do you deal with praise given to you?  Does it puff you up or can you remain humble?  It can be very hard to react rightly.


Knowing that all gifts come from God, including the ability to be disciplined and dedicated to a long and difficult task; this is a good start to remaining humble.


Knowing that, "but for the grace of God" I too would be swallowed in sinful self-indulgence and destruction - that knowledge continues to keep one humble and forgiving of others.



Being able to see the long-term consequences of honesty.  That is a spiritual development which is rare.


Make someone feel better with an untruth, a "white" lie, when what they really need to hear will set them up for future success.


"I'm sorry my love, but you are not gifted in that area.  I think you should try something else and then come back to it in a year or two if you still feel that is where you are called."


"That's great.  You certainly put a lot of effort in..."  Setting them up for years of lost time and loss of perspective of their own worth in this area... 


I know which I would rather hear.  God's people will thrive in the truth, and through this they will glorify Him.  That is a worthy motive for honesty that hurts.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Prayer versus Vain Repetition

Like everything we do, our minds should be engaged in prayer.  More in prayer because we are speaking to the God who created the entire universe.  The God who holds the power of life and death, salvation and damnation.


Would you waste the time of an earthly ruler?  How much more should you consider your words to be pleasing to God who puts those rulers in their position.


He already knows every thought you ever had, so why do you even need to use a lot of fancy words?  If you are troubled, pray for help and let your heart cry out with the great emotion you feel which is beyond verbal expression.


Guard your mouth and let the words you speak, to others or in prayer, be pleasing to God.





Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Loving your enemies

Mercy is one thing, but can you find it in yourself to actively love someone who hates you or wants to hurt you?


Jesus was clear about this.  He has given us a command to love our enemies.  


The Spirit gives God's people the strength to love when love seems impossible.  It even seems as though God deliberately uses such foolishness to save sinners.


You can read accounts of those who loved their enemies while being killed for Christ in Fox's Book of Martyrs.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011


In a sense, there is nothing natural about the "natural" world.


The universe wouldn't exist if it was left up to nature to bring it into existence.  This would be like the universe causing itself to exist before it had existed...


The "super-natural" hand of God was required.  He spoke, and then all of creation was brought into existence.  Within creation you can find much to move you to praise and worship.


The sky: vast, clear, powder-blue, stretching into infinity on a cool, crisp winter morning.  That's what stirs in me an awareness of the holiness and awesomeness of God.  Do you hear His glory declared in this?



Monday, December 5, 2011


What happens in your mind, in your heart, when the authority of God's Word is challenged?


Evolution versus the Genesis account of creation, abortion versus pro-life, homosexual "marriage", miracles, etc...


While doubting is normal, long-term spiritual growth sees an enduring confidence in God that cannot be shaken.  Submitting to His Word when seeking truth, trusting that what He has said is true.  


Trusting that our understanding of His Word, or our understanding of the evidence against it, is what is lacking.  Trusting that diligent study will eventually reveal the truth, that your faith is not misplaced, that the reasons He has previously given to trust Him are not made void.


Submission in this way takes years.  Be prepared.



Sunday, December 4, 2011


As years pass we return again to the same lessons and kick ourselves for forgetting.


When times are low, and it feels like sin is overwhelming once again; it sometimes takes a while to remember to seek comfort in the words from God, His promises to us.  


We finally remember to open the Bible, or submit in prayer, searching for peace.  Then we realise just how wonderful these words of wisdom or hope are.  Then we wonder how we could ever forget.


As new challenges in life are faced, we must apply ourselves to the basics of The Faith once again.  Hopefully it takes less and less time to realise where our assurance can be found.


Thursday, December 1, 2011


A display of mercy can be a spiritual thing.  Even something as simple as forgiving that driver who cut you off in their car.


Wisdom says that you have, or will, make mistakes of a similar kind.  But you should forgive because you have been forgiven.


Can you control your temper?  Can you take a deep breath and forgive?  Can you learn to make forgiveness a habit?


Wednesday, November 30, 2011


If you do, why do you follow the rules?


People have widely different motivations for following rules.  Some spiritual and some not.  There can even be wicked motivations for following rules.


Do you follow them because... can see the purpose of the rules? helps you to fit in? trust the person/people who set the rules? want to please the person who set the rules? want to avoid punishment? (but you would break the rules if you could get away with it)


Pharisees were not some of Jesus's favourite people, yet they kept the law in a very strict way.  Whether you keep the law and follow the rules or not, if you are not concerned with love, mercy, and justice in a wise balance, you have not the Spirit.


Aim to please God by understanding the spirit of the law - the reason it exists.  When particular laws fail to serve that purpose, don't follow them.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Do you ever face situations where any decision you make will lead to undesirable outcomes?  There is no clear pathway forward and all you can do is pick one choice at random.


A more concrete example:  your 16 year old gets in an argument with you because they want to drop out of school.  They say they will leave home if you don't let them.  What do you do?  One way they ruin their education, the other way they cut you off.


With God, in Christ, there is always hope.  


It might not feel very loving or spiritual, but the spiritual way forward is first to pray - commiting the situation to God, second decide - if it comes down to a coin toss so be it, third is to keep praying and hoping in the knowledge that God is in control and will use the decision for ultimate good.


What is ultimately good is what brings glory to God.  God's glory is seen in the demonstration of his character.  God is merciful and pours out overflowing blessing upon his people.  You can know that he will either sort the situation out, or use it to strengthen you for something that is to come.


Monday, November 28, 2011


Do you expect to find it in this life?  In part or in full?


Nothing can bring us perfect joy until Jesus returns and our transformation is completed.


Until then, search out satisfaction in the blessings that God has given to us to help us get a taste of the endless satisfaction that begins in eternity.  


Family, children, gifts and talents, the pursuit of holiness, the display of the glory of God in our lives, music, food, pets, exercise, and much more.  Done mindlessly, pleasing merely the flesh, will not bring satisfaction.  Done with God in mind, with a thankful attitude, appreciated in balance with all that is good, that is a spiritual thing of beauty to God.


Sunday, November 27, 2011


Some need personal accountability to other believers in a more significant way.  


We are all weak, and we are all ultimately accountable to God, before whom we will all stand to be judged.  We are not judged in this strong sense by any man, so surely we should fear God more?  


He sees everything, and nobody can lie to Him and deceive Him the way one man can deceive another.  There is no hiding your sin from God.


Better to be directly accountable to God, and to know the presence of His Spirit in conviction of sin.  Keeping your hand from that which is evil because the God who has had great mercy on you can see you always.


But... we are so weak and filled with unbelief that we need an accountability partner at our own level.  This should be an encouraging and growing relationship to make each other better believers, walking in the fruit of righteousness more convincingly.  And we should make a practice of learning to do this because God is with us, rather than because we will meet once a month with a friend we don't want to disappoint.


God is real.  Aim not to disappoint Him before man.


Thursday, November 24, 2011


What happens when you make a mistake?  A moral mistake.


Do you admit in humility that you have done wrong, in committing an offense against the Most Holy; an offense that is worthy of eternal punishment because any offense is an infinite crime when against an infinitely holy God?


Do you then throw yourself on His mercy, trusting that He is as merciful to His children as He is Holy?


It sounds dramatic when considered in these terms, but it should be dramatic.  Wildly so.  As dramatic as the sacrifice of the life of the greatest man who has ever walked the earth.  As dramatic as the death of God the Son.  As dramatic as his return to life and subsequent ascension to the heavens.


Most of us do not appreciate the great glory of God in the moment-by-moment forgiveness of God.  But even in the smallest appreciation, which puts trust in Christ for forgiveness, there you will find the work of the Spirit.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Who you really are is what comes out when you are spontaneous.


Are you spontaneously spiritual; displaying: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, meekness, gentleness, self-control?


Or are you more likely to demonstrate: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions,divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Knowing God (more)

Are you happy with your current knowledge of God?  Do you know His character and His will inside and out?  Maybe you've read the Bible so many times that you don't think there is any more to learn about God?


You can always know more of God.  Even though you grow for a billion years or more, you will still be merely scraping the surface of His great glory.  If not through His word, through walking with Him amongst His people.


If you are not overjoyed to learn more of your Maker, after whom you are created, in His image, then seek it.  Seek joy though knowing more of God.


The one in whom the Spirit dwells will receive much joy at the growing knowledge of, and communion with God.  Share the joy.


Monday, November 21, 2011


What happens in your life when you get off track?  When your particular weaknesses lead you from the straight path?


If you make a practice of reflecting on these situations, you can see God's hand in them to chasten you and draw you back.  If you do not come back, you are not one of His.


It should be a joy to know that God will provide fatherly discipline to keep you in His hand.  It is not in your power to keep yourself - if it weren't for the work of the Spirit you would self destruct in sinful indulgence.


It should also be a joy to know that God is at work in you to reduce your wanderings, making you less sinful and more Christ-like.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blessing Food

2, 4, 6, 8, dig in, don't wait!  This is not a prayer for God to bless the food to the bodies present at the meal.


Lord, you are a mighty God, worthy of all praise!  Thank you for your provision of this food.  Please bless it so that it gives us strength and health to do your will.


It is possible to under-do prayer and it is possible to over-do prayer.  The lines will be different for different people.  Pray as if God is in the room beside you (because He is).  Don't make a scene, but be grateful in your words and sincere.  Simple substance is better than flowery emptiness in prayer.


Also believe the truth of God's ability to bless you.


Thursday, November 17, 2011


When you have trained yourself to be regularly disciplined with your body; it's hormonal changes, energy levels, and peculiar unsettling functions will be easier to ignore.  Rather than a burst of frustration and anger, you can remain steady (perhaps after an extra deep breath!).


So bodily training is of some value.  More for one person, less for another though.


Patience, self-control, and the joy in physical movement are just some fruit of the Spirit you can experience through regular exercise.


But don't be fooled into thinking that exercise will keep you from sin.  Sport can become an idol, or God can bring you a bigger challenge - in fact He most likely will.  As you grow stronger you will always find yourself weaker and consistently reminded of your reliance on God for strength and forgiveness.


At the very least you can honour the gift of your body by using it and stewarding it faithfully.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The first step in Spirit-filled health is to acknowledge that, no matter what you do, at the end of the day God is in control. 


If God designs sickness or injury into your life to test you, teach you, grow you; then that will happen no matter how disciplined your diet and exercise.


That doesn't mean that you shouldn't be a faithful steward of your own body, gifted to you by God.  You have worth as a being who is created in the image of your Maker.  Honour God in this and He will honour you. 



It is common occult practice to say a mantra (repeating a phrase or phrases) that alters the state of mind of the speaker.  Jesus warns of "vain repetitions" in prayer (heaping up empty phrases is the ESV wording).


Is there a link between some of our "worship" songs and these empty phrases?


If your mind is easily engaged in the song and your heart leaps for joy at our amazing God's glory and in thanks at the knowledge of His blessings; you are on safe ground and the Spirit is there.


If you have a hard time remembering what the song was about, and this is a regular thing, you are in the danger zone.  


There is a huge grey area here, but search your heart to make sure you are worshiping in Spirit and in truth as you sing.


Monday, November 14, 2011


After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, John Piper wrote a resource called "Don't Waste Your Cancer" (Free article of the same material here)


God's glory can be seen in everything that seems bad.  Sometimes the worse the situation, the more the glory.  


Endure for the sake of His glory.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Being Late

God models the way to make and keep agreements.  He says He will do something and He does it.


Do we aim to do the same?  Or perhaps our agreements with others are more "flexible".


They won't mind if I pay just a little less.  I can just call/message ahead to let them know I'll be late.  They'll understand if I don't show up.


You can see the work of the Spirit in a life that turns from chaos to order.  


Tidiness, punctuality, cleanliness, integrity in keeping your word.  Saying what you mean and communicating clearly, with an awareness of the future so that you don't muck others around.  Valuing their time and their humanity.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011


It is far easier to tell a lie than you might think.  If you were to take a careful look at your conversations you might be surprised at just how many you tell.


Lying can become such a habit that you don't even notice yourself doing it.


You can see the work of the Spirit in the person who once told lies, but now they will feel so terrible if they even embellish the truth a little.  In later steps of this part of the sanctification journey, this person will relax more as they don't need to guard their tongue quite so closely.  Honesty has become an instinct that will grow even stronger in the future.


How is this different from someone who is not a Christian but is honest to a fault?  It's a question of motivation.  God's glory versus man's pride in himself.  Or they are not as honest as they think.  Some people never have to transform in this way though, and that is just how God has made them.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


It is wise to plan and it is wise to expect your plan to fail.  This is why we need to learn to be adaptable.


How do you respond when your plans fail, or when something unexpected and unwelcome occurs?


You can get angry, you can break down, you can ignore it and run.  You can be led by the Spirit and be patient, trusting in God for the strength and wisdom to make it through.  


Even so, spiritual planning prepares for the worst, trusts God for the best, and knows that in the end, even if all crumbles, all things still work for good for those who are in Christ.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Bible and Pretenders

It's hard to avoid the Bible if you have the Spirit working in you.


Some read it without the Spirit and can't help but focus on irrelevant details which suit their self-centered view of reality.  They expect the world to revolve around themself and their own desires.


When you read under the influence of the Spirit you will start with God, not self, and you will be changed.  When it is seen that all of creation revolves around God, the over-active sense of entitlement crumbles away.


Those without the Spirit are good pretenders though.  They like to fit in.  But if you watch carefully, they cannot escape their own nature.  They will still seek to reshape the Spirit-filled community around them rather than God.


Saturday, November 5, 2011


Observing teenagers can be painful.  


Teenagers are often unaware of just how much destruction they cause.  Until taught through regular, patient, guidance, they remain blind to their chaos causing ways.


There is danger in seeing this as being void of the Spirit.


Even through to adulthood, many remain untaught.  They can still share signs of the Spirit in other ways, but a lack of social maturity does not guarantee a lack of spiritual growth.


Leaders must be aware of the work of the Spirit and do their bit to help - not that God needs help in His work, but to better see it and praise Him for it while being faithful shepherds.  After all, one of the ways to learn social maturity is through discipleship and active mentoring.  God will use His Spirit in you to teach others maturity.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Getting there

In being a better person, changing into the image of Christ, there are two obvious considerations:

  1. What we want to become, and

  2. How to get there

Sometimes it's easy enough to see the perfect picture of Christ that we are aiming for, but it seems impossible to get there when it is so far away.


The way is through many small steps that add up over time.  In this, the Spirit works to make it happen.  Some give up before making any progress.


Until Jesus returns, you won't ever really get there.  Whether you make progress, or not... that is where you find the Spirit, or not...


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Conscience (or not)

Do we see the Spirit at work in our consciences? Perhaps. Perhaps not.


Your conscience can be trained with practise. Trained to ignore some things that shouldn't be ignored maybe. When our own wicked actions fail to produce sorrow, that is a well trained conscience... unfortunately.


Even if we are trained to hear our conscience we can still fail to act on it in the right way.


See the work of the Spirit in those who change over time in response to their conscience - becoming more like Christ.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Time and Decisions

Sometimes the Spirit is seen in patterns of decisions over a long period of time.


Sure, those flash-point decisions in the heat of the moment are important in our spiritual walk, e.g. taking a breath rather than exploding in anger.


And the decisions that you need to pray about over days, weeks, and months. How to deal with a conflict with a colleague at work perhaps.


But, there are some decisions that are established over years and decades. Contribution to a community of believers, faithful commitment to a spouse, and a lifestyle of repentance that sees you always willing to act on the promptings of a tender conscience.


An awareness of time can certainly help to see the Spirit and to motivate one to praise God.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cleaning and Tidying

Knowing that every little (and big) part of our life can be a reflection of the work of God in us, we should seek to be dedicated and disciplined in cleaning and tidying.  In this, others can see the work of the Spirit in your life.


Does it matter if you clean under the rug?  Nobody will see it either way.  God will see it, but more important is that He will see your heart and the reason why you did or didn't clean there.


Some people are just obsessive about cleanliness, and this can go way too far.  This isn't likely to be a fruit of the Spirit.


Desiring to do a job properly, to show the character of God in you, not showing off but wanting to show off God, a demonstration of character and not words.  This is how the Spirit works in cleaning and tidying.


Monday, October 31, 2011

When you don't feel saved

Ever feel like you are outside of the grace of God?  If so, this could be a situation where the Spirit works mightily in you.


Being patient, trusting your knowledge of God and not your feelings about what you have done (or failed to do).  You don't have to feel the Spirit to know that God is at work in you.  


It helps to look at the span of your life and to see where you've come from.  Looking at the trajectory of your life, the same way you might look at the flight-path of a thrown ball, you should be able to see where you are going - eternally speaking.  This picture becomes clearer as the years and decades pass.


Growing in assurance, through times when you don't feel it much, there is a powerful work of God.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Feeling Saved (or not)

Do you struggle with assurance of your salvation?  One thing is certain, if you have never had to deal with the possibility that you are eternally doomed then you have missed something essential.  Even if it was in a very brief moment when you saw the value of Christ's cross and trusted immediately.


Some agonise over whether they are saved for years rather than for moments, but in this agonising is the work of the Spirit.


Remember that a bruised reed he will not break, a smouldering wick he will not put out (Isaiah 42:3).  Also remember that whoever comes to him he will never cast out (John 6:37).  But you have to work out the balance between these verses and whether you are one who has said Lord, Lord (yet he will say he never knew you (Matthew 7:21)).  The Spirit, and your assurance, is in and through this battle.


A tale of assurance worth reading:


Friday, October 28, 2011


Some Christians flit from church to church.  This can be an interesting journey from both the inside and the outside view. 


If you look closely, you can see a few patterns to this journey through the churches.


Some are looking for their personal taste in worship that will help them "connect" with the worship better.  Some are looking for worship they believe is most pleasing to God.  Some are looking for a worship structure that honours and protects the truth the best.


You can find the Spirit working in all of these people and in all of these church "styles":

Matthew 18:20 ESV  For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."


You will also find the Spirit in those who can't keep away from good preaching.  They will crave the spiritual nourishment and God will not let them slip through His fingers.  The Father has given them to Jesus and He is the greatest of all - none can cause them to be lost (John 10:29).

Thursday, October 27, 2011


While a person might appear to be going backwards in their career, can we say for sure that this is due to Spiritual deficiency?


Made redundant or fired for refusing to follow the party line - while this can be the result of a rebellious streak, it can also come from a principled life.


God would have us live by His principles and values. A part of His work in building our character is to gradually change us into the image of Christ. Christ lived these values and principles perfectly.


As the Spirit works in a person to grow their character, there will be times when the cost is high to do what is right. In the keeping of godly character, despite the cost, you will find the joy that comes with the Spirit.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Assurance of Salvation

For some, their assurance of salvation rests in their ability to be good. For others their assurance rests in God's power to hold tight.

Only one of these views leads to glory for God. The same view is where you will find the Spirit.

If you find someone who rests in the assurance from God's power, but who does not grow in obedience to His will, you have not found the work of the Spirit. Keep looking.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Speaking, Not Necessarily Responding

Ezekiel 2:4-5 ESV  I send you to them, and you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD.'  (5)  And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them.

Isaiah 6:9-10 ESV  And he said, "Go, and say to this people: "'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.'  (10)  Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."


Sometimes God does not want people to be saved.  Sometimes he wants to demonstrate a measure of His Judgement.  That doesn't mean that we should not speak the gospel.


The Spirit is in speaking the truth.  And sometimes despite the lack of response, or expected response.

Through Self-Restraint

Jumping on every opportunity to share the gospel, getting in everyone's face with the truth, plastering the town with tracts...  Sometimes I think that evangelists want to test God's ability to save by driving away those they are witnessing to.  


While the gospel must be preached, it must also be lived.


You can see the Spirit in the person who watches for signs that their "target" for conversion has had enough.  You are not loving your neighbour by wearing them down until they accept Christ just to get a rest from you.


God will ensure that everyone who will be saved will hear the Word.  You concentrate on being a graceful and loving ambassador who lives the gospel as well as speaking it.  In this you will see the Spirit.



Monday, October 24, 2011

In Death

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4 ESV)


Can you face your own death without fear?


If you are not ready to die at a moment's notice, without fear for your own fate, has the Spirit really given life to your soul?


We can feel sad about separation from loved ones, but if we go to be with the Lord our joy will be complete.  We must trust God to take care of those who we leave behind.


The Spirit is not seen in a fearful expectation of Judgment, or fear of the unknown, or in a baseless trust in empty religions.  Where full assurance of salvation exists, and the confidence in God to deliver according to His promises, in that person you will see the work of the Spirit.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

In marriage

If you are married, do you see your marriage as a parallel relationship to that of Christ and his bride (the church)?


Husbands, do you work fervently at your own sanctification, knowing how much your wife can frustrate you, and how much you could frustrate Jesus yourself (if he did not have infinite patience)?


Or perhaps you should be more patient and steady in leading, knowing how much Christ has done this for you!


The Spirit is not in frustration because this is not a path to trusting God for the best outcome.  Be patient, and trust God, in this we can see the Spirit at work.


Wives, what is the flip side of your husband exercising patience?


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Where is the Spirit?

It's not necessarily in the tale of a miraculous healing - there are many false signs in the world.

It's not necessarily in the amount put in the collection bag - rich men go to hell beside poor men.

And it's not necessarily in the amount of theological knowledge attained - look at the Pharisees.


When your spouse hurts you and you do what is right, despite the urge to do what is spiteful, there is the Spirit of God.  Doing what is right because you love God, because it hurts more to hurt your spouse back than it does to be hurt by them.

Where the Spirit of God works, there is a willingness to suffer for nothing in return but His glory.