Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Everybody knows...

Everybody knows that it is wrong to do certain things and that we are obliged to do certain other things.  It's wrong to steal, and you should give up your seat to pregnant or older women. It's wrong to lie, to commit adultery, and so forth. Our conscience informs us of these things and more.


Not everyone wants to obey their conscience though.  Some would rather ignore it and enjoy the pleasures of their actions.  I hope you want to obey your conscience, and a step further I hope you want to shape your conscience by reading what God considers as right and good.


So far, we haven't hit the spiritual mark yet.  You don't have to be spiritual to know right from wrong, and you don't have to be spiritual to want to do right.  It does help though...


You know that you have the Spirit at work in you when you find yourself growing in your ability to do what you want, when what you want is what is good.


A caution though, being able to do right (on its own) is not necessarily spiritual.  You can do things without the right attitude and foundation. Your good deeds should stem from love and grattitude for God who has saved you from your sin, Jesus taking the punishment you deserve.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Welcome to the new look

And welcome to the new web address: www.SeeTheSpirit.org

See the Spirit I hope you like the new look.  It is meant to be plain and simple with a focus on the text - just as our focus on God's word should never be interfered with by the many additional extras that can become so distracting.


Your comments, sharing, and feedback are most welcome. 


Here are some of the favourite posts from the previous incarnation:

Where is the Spirit? (the very first post)

In marriage

When you don't feel saved


Obeting God (for an entire life!)

The personality excuse



And if you still want more, check out the entirety of the archives. Happy reading, and if you think this website is of value then please share! Thank you muchly.





Not succeeding, not failing to try at all though. Somewhere in the middle, but certainly not a feeble attempt.


Being a Christian, having the Spirit at work in you, doesn't automatically guarantee success at everything you try. You might fail to put off temptation one time, you might fail to see what is the right judgment when your kids misbehave, you will certainly get it wrong some time where your spouse is concerned!


Failure is not an excuse to give up. Sadly, some will. But others will endure to the end and receive the reward. How we continue to strive in one thing, not to be quick-tempered for example, parallels how we continue to strive for perfection in the rest of our lives.


Keep trying your best, trust God for your shortcomings, and to complete you at Jesus' return.  At this time, the fruit of our feeble but valiant strivings will be transformed in the twinkling of an eye, and we will rejoice forevermore in the presence of the Lord.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

But for the grace of God, that would be me

What is your response to seeing the great evil and wickedness of the world.  When it wears you down and you struggle to find the energy to do what is right.  But right you do, and you can't help but get frustrated at the way everyone around you behaves...


Your response could be to forget that this would be you unless God intervened and lifted you out of the pit.  This then leads to prideful boasting, as if you somehow had something to do with your own salvation!


You, who were blind to spiritual truth, how did you see for the first time unless you were healed miraculously?  Just remember that God had no good reason to save someone as sinful as you, and if it weren't for His unmerited favour and mercy, He might just have let you descend and decay into worse evil than that around you which pains you so.


Thank God for saving you!  Praise His glorious name and speak of His glory with much gratitude to those who frustrate you.  And pray that you would keep the humble perspective when you grow weary of this world, and pray for Jesus to come quickly.



Authority and qualifications in an argument

You're having a debate over a matter of scriptural interpretation.  Does water baptism save or is it merely something that comes as evidence of faith in Jesus?  Your opponent begins to list his or her qualifications that give authority to their argument.  What do you do?

Every man or woman must have their own personal faith before God.  That means everyone must make up their own mind in the end.  Does that mean you should listen to someone with more authority, believing their position because they are more qualified than you?

Part of being human is being fallen.  Everyone is capable of mistakes.  However, qualifications should give you pause before you reject what the qualified person has said.  

The best qualification is not a degree, or a piece of paper with an amazing seal on it.  The best qualification comes from wrestling with the issues prayerfully, and following the truth where it leads: learning to listen to your conscience, your intuition, and those who are closest to you... and when to reject those same things as being misinformed.

The spiritual person exercises their discerning with care, and understands where they are weak.  The spiritual person seeks wisdom from God because they know there is danger in folly.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Do you fear losing something or someone?

What if it is God's purpose that you are to lose everything?  Your comforts in life, the people that you love, your health?


Sometimes emotions can't be helped, but at least you can sort out your mind when you have a fear.


If it is God's purpose for something to happen, it will happen.  Nothing can stop it.  But if you are His, He will give you the strength to survive and to make it through, either by overcoming or by enduring until the end.


Once you have accepted that God really is in control, and that if He wills bad things to happen they will happen, then you can get on with shaping your life with this in mind.  What decisions would be different?  Would you anticipate material acquisitions so keenly, or their loss? Would your focus be on more immaterial, eternal, and spiritual things?


If you are not living with your own immanent end in mind, then you will not live as you should.  Jesus could come back at any moment or you could be taken at any moment.  


Some might think "at least I won't have to apologise to so-and-so" but really you should be thinking "I should go and apologise as quick as I can, and what is the point in getting upset about this again when I'm going to live for eternity in the joy of the Lord".


The balance: should you stop planning for tomorrow?  No way!  Just as God might take your life tomorrow, He might decide that you should stay another 20 years or more! But the length of your life, or the amount of time of possessions (or dear friends/loved ones) in your hand, shouldn't change your attitude.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Is a spiritual person allowed to have fun?

A better way of asking:  Can it be spiritual to have fun? 


It can definitely be a bad thing to have fun, if what excites you is perverted or evil.


God gave us joy, and children who learn through playing, and various social connections to enjoy.  So yes, I think God wants us to have fun, in a full sense.  Not in an empty, mindless entertainment, sense.


The caution is still entertainment.  Do you love God with your entire mind?  What happens inside your head when you watch a movie, or that favourite TV show, or when you spend time on your hobbies.  Those things may, or may not, be good or bad, but if you fail to consider your saviour during the distraction, then your use of them is bad.


Fun must be centered in God, and He must be thanked for every moment of joy that He grants us.  And He grants us much.  Chiefly in, and through, His son Jesus.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The most important thing

...might not be quite what you expect.


It's not food or nutrition, it's not having a roof over your head, it's not finding the perfect church (which doesn't exist), it's not your family, your spouse, or your children.  It's definitely not you.


The most important thing is not even your salvation...


The most important "thing" is God and His glory.


The rest follows according to His will.



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why that picture?

A spiritual person has values that influence his or her motives.  Not only that, but they are aware of their motives and weigh up every decision carefully.


These are some motives for using the picture for this site that I have:

  • It seems to show a person removing sunglasses to take a good look at something amazing (alluding to the mental reflections on the work of the Spirit)

  • It shows the author so that readers have an idea (or an imagined voice even) of who is speaking to them.  

  • It also keeps me honest because I have to think very carefully about what I write - I am responsible if I mislead readers and public accountability is important (so speak up if I write something disagreeable to you, and thank you to those who have done so already)

  • I like the picture.  A work by me (this blog) should reflect my taste.


I also had to weigh up whether a picture of myself is too pretentious, or whether the face of a person would "get in the way" of communicating about the Spirit.


Overall, I decided that using this picture gives more glory to God than not using this picture.  And that's what every decision should come down to.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Prayer and action

When is the time to pray and when is the time to act?  How do we know which is called for at any particular crisis or tricky situation?


If I pray and then do nothing, it means I'm trusting God more... right?  And if I do not pray, but act in a way that seems wisest, I am just using the gifts God has given me - I don't need to pray... right?


No.  You have to pray, to trust God, and you also have to act if it is within your power.  Both ends are extremes to avoid.  Trust God to bless your actions and decisions and to give you wisdom in both.  Commit your works and your days to God in prayer, every one of them, every morning.


Jacob/Israel finally learned when he both prayed for help and took wise action while coming back to meet Esau after finding a wife.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Sometimes confronting people and issues head on is necessary.  Sometimes a more indirect and "sneaky" method is more suitable.  Prayer is a good way to decide which is best if it is not obvious.


Often it is the harder thing to do to confront something head on.  If that seems like the case, then it is likely this is the way forward.  God rarely makes dealing with issues easy on us.  He wants us to grow and develop.


If you notice a fellow believer (who is close to you) involved in a regular sin, it is usually best to confront directly.  That doesn't mean you have to be harsh.


Some ideas of things to say that can be direct and indirect:

"Do you think your actions here are suitable, my friend?"

"Will you have confidence before God on Judgement Day in the light of these actions?"

"You seem to struggle with this, can I help you in some way?"

"I've noticed that 'so-and-so' does this different to you when faced with the same situation.  What do you think of that?"

"Jesus had this to say about those sorts of actions..."



Monday, January 9, 2012

Competition versus collaboration

Is competition wrong?  That really depends on your concept of competing.  How can we work out if there is something amiss with, say, competitive sports?


If we run through the fruit of the Spirit, that might help us form a picture: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.


My advice: if you can't picture each of these in the context of competition, then your concept of competition is wrong.  Within sports, I think it would be hard (but not impossible) to find a sportsmanly attitude.  After all, winning is the goal.  That makes it hard for both the winner and the loser to be spiritual.


I tend to see collaboration as a more Spiritual form of competition.  Racing to help others improve, and improving myself to be a better help to others.  Thus, sport is about health and social connection for me.  This is not really competition, but I do think it is a better garden for Spiritual development.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fearing God

How many so-called "prophets" have you heard of today?  Amazing TV evangelists who claim to speak words that God has given them , often wearing the latest fashion (or a fashion of a sort), casually throwing around words of prophecy, followed by a plea for money...


Do you think these people actually fear God?  Have they really encountered Him in the way that everyone in the Bible did, who had similar roles these guys claim?


How did Isaiah encounter God?

"Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" - Isaiah Chapter 6


How did Ezekiel encounter God?

"...Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face..." - Ezekiel Chapter 1


Being blessed

While the word "blessing" has several different ways it can be used, do you know where all blessings ultimately come from?  Do you act according to your knowledge?


As Jacob and Esau fought for blessing, and for birthright, Jacob used trickery and manipulation to try and receive what prophecy from God said would come to him anyway.  Jacob failed to trust the knowledge that God would bless him.


Where does the ability come from, to trust God for what you know to be true?  I'll give you a clue, the word starts with an 'S'.  The work of the Spirit gives life to mere knowledge, making you do crazy things like putting your life on the line for what you know and are convinced of.


The irony of Jacob in this example, is that he knows the blessing ultiamtely comes from God.  He even says as much to Isaac when asked how he returned from the hunt so fast, "Because the LORD your God granted me success." - Genesis 27:20



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Being noticed

At some point you will stand out because of the work of the Spirit in you and in your life.  "We see plainly that the Lord has been with you" - Can this be said about you?


While those on the outside will often struggle to identify exactly what it is that is different, they will recognise a certain success about your life.  They will want what you have, even if they don't want the God who has given it.  As you progress with God, He will bless you and make His glory visible in you.


As you are noticed, you should be ready to honour God by speaking of the greatest blessing with which He has blessed His people.  Jesus' sacrifice for all who will come and partake of it.


While a good Christian life is important and glorying to God, the ultimate glory is the cross that our life should point towards.  As people notice you, help them notice the cross also.


The unexpected

When difficult situations arise, personal injury, monetary crisis, natural disasters, or tragic deaths, how well do you deal with it?


If you haven't accepted God's power and His willingness to throw you into testing situations, then you will likely be stunned by surprise too long to make good use of the situation.  If you can master yourself and your own reactions, you will be able to make wiser decisions.  Panic is lethal.


That doesn't mean that the emotion of the situation won't affect you, but when you are aware that all events come from God you can compose yourself faster, knowing that He is in control and His purposes are proceeding.


Many are the plans in the mind of a man, 
   but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand - Proverbs 19:21

God is our refuge and strength, 
   a very present help in trouble. 
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, 
   though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea - Psalm 46:1-2

Monday, January 2, 2012


It's both amazingly simple but incredibly hard to have.  God says, and you believe His words.  There's nothing else.


It can be as simple and as automatic as reading and believing His promise not to break a bruised reed (a tender conscience pricked and convicted He will not cast down).  Or His promise not to cast out any who come to Him.


But it can be as hard as believing that you are really in His grace, that you really do want Him, that you really are one who is called.


If it is hard for you, try to keep it simple.  Do you want to be saved?  Do you see your hopeless state of sinfulness? Do you see Christ as the only way?  What else is there?  Desire to come, and trust God to enable you to come.  Then come and don't look back!