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Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

Common Excuses Holding You Back

November 2, 2015 3 comments

I have probably used every excuse in the book when it comes to my walk with Jesus.  I’m not unique, so more than likely many of you have as well.

These excuses tend to hold us back.  Too often we give lip service to moving forward in our spiritual growth.  We fail and we find our excuse to make us feel better.  In reality, however, these excuses tend to keep us from actually from getting to where we want to do.  What are they?

I‘m not Jesus.

I’m just a sinner.

So, what how do we address these excuses so that we can actually grow in our spiritual walk?

Well sure, we aren’t Jesus.  No one is.  But He didn’t leave us alone.  Before He left Jesus said that He was sending another Helper, one like Him to go with us.  He gave us the Holy Spirit.  We can give the excuse that we aren’t Jesus, but He has given us everything we need to walk with Him successfully through life.  We just have to take advantage of the One he has given us.

Yes, you were a sinner, but you aren’t just a sinner.  If you know Jesus, you have been saved by grace.  You are an heir to God’s kingdom.  Your identity is no longer of being a sinner.  Saying that you are just a sinner is a defeatist attitude.  It actually makes it easier to continue sinning.  Instead, if you take the attitude that you aren’t bound by sin, you can actually move forward in life.

So, what now?

You can hang on to these excuses and never truly get where you want to be as a believer and follower of Christ.  For every step forward, there could be two steps back.

Or you can toss the excuses.  You can claim who you really are and begin living the victorious life Christ promises.

What excuses have you used that have held you back?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , ,

The Pledge

i was lucky when I asked Jan to marry me.

I was poor and couldn’t afford an engagement ring.  Jan didn’t really mind and married me anyway, with no pledge toward our engagement.

That isn’t standard operating procedure.

Almost every girl now receives a ring before getting married. 

The ring is a pledge. It is a down payment on the coming marriage. It is earnest money, telling her that the guy is serious about marrying her.

God does the same thing for us.

Once we are saved, we become the Bride of Christ. One day He will come back to get us and finalize the marriage.

He gives us a pledge toward the marriage. He puts a down payment on it. He gives us some earnest money.

He gives us the Holy Spirit.

You can read about that in Ephesians 1.

The Holy Spirit is a pledge toward our inheritance, which is our eternal life with Christ.

The Holy Spirit is our engagement ring. He is another example of God’s grace in our lives.

To The Praise Of His Glory

So far in chapter one of Ephesians, Paul has discussed the past and the present.

He wrote how in the past, God chose us before the foundation of the world.  Then, he discusses how now, in the present, we have redemption through Christ’s blood.

Now, Paul moves into the future.

In verse 11, Paul begins discussing our inheritance.  “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance”.  We might think that what God has done in the past and what we currently have in Him is enough.  That would be because we don’t think like God.  He has more in store for us and chooses to let us in on it.  What benefit does that have for us?  As we move closer to that inheritance, the anticipation grows.

When did we obtain this inheritance?  Paul can’t stray far from his original choice of words. Previously he had said that we were “predestined to adoption as sons.”  Now we “having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”  We who are in Christ have been predestined according to His purpose.  All things that come into our life are worked out according to His will .

What is the goal of being predestined according to His purpose?  First of all, it is our salvation. “To the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.”  Salvation is the goal of God’s predestination of us to adoption  and His purpose.  But there is a goal even greater than that.  Ultimately, it is to the praise of His glory.  What we have to change our mindset to is that everything is about God’s glory.

What is wonderful is that God locks us into this inheritance. “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”  After hearing the gospel, putting our faith in it and believing, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said that He would send another Helper to us, and he does that, locking us into the gift of salvation given to us.

But wait, there’s more.

The Holy Spirit does more than just seal our salvation.  “Who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”  He is also a down payment on our of our inheritance.  You might even call him and engagement ring for the Bride of Christ.  He is a promise to what life with Christ will be live.  He is a view to the redemption of God’s own possession.  What is our response to this?

Praise and the glory of God.

God gives us an inheritance and then does much more.  He seals this inheritance by giving us an irrevocable pledge in the Holy Spirit.  He does this for His own sake, to the praise of His glory.  What a God we have.

The Cure For Being Burned Out

February 20, 2015 1 comment

Have you ever been burned out?

If I had to guess, you have.  In fact, if we were all honest with ourselves, we would all admit to times of burnout.  Of course, as the great American philosopher, Neil Young, wrote “it’s better to burn out than fade away.”

Burnout is a time of exhaustion and disinterest in work.  There seem to be a lot factors, both coming directly from one’s work and one’s personal life playing a part in whether one is suffering from burn out.

It’s a sad situation to be burned out.  It’s even sadder to suffer from burnout within one’s faith.  I’ve seen a few people suffer from it.  I’ve even been a victim of it.  I’ve also come to a conclusion or two.

It’s totally unnecessary.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the one of Isaiah’s call in Isaiah 6.  In that chapter, Isaiah sees the seraphim flying around looking praising God on His throne.  These creatures are incredible.  They are on fire as they circle our Lord.

They neither burn up or burn out.  Why?  They are in service to the Lord.  They receive their power to worship and serve the Lord from the Lord.  That’s incredible, isn’t it?

Too many of us try to serve the Lord in our own power.  We think we can handle it.  We believe we’re strong and have what it takes to get the job done on our own.

What if we flipped the script?  What if we truly were dependent on God for the power to serve?  What if we followed the Father in the same way that Christ did?  What if we walked in the Spirit through every day of our lives?

None of us would ever suffer from the burnout that too many of us allow to creep into our lives.  We would accomplish more for the kingdom precisely because we weren’t trying to accomplish more for the kingdom.

Have you ever suffered from burnout in the Church?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , , ,

Seeing The Holy Spirit At Work

January 20, 2015 4 comments

Sunday was a spectacular day at church.  We participated in one the greatest events that any church is able to be involved in.

We had a baptism.  Five, in fact.

Four teenagers were baptized at first.  Two young men.  Two young women.  It was awesome to see these youth give testimony to the faith they are claiming.

What happened next was something I have never seen.  We don’t adhere to a strict schedule.  We might run early one Sunday or a bit later the next.

One lady who is part of our church went down to speak to our pastor following the baptisms.  After a few moments, he told us that she wished to be baptized.  At that moment.  Unplanned.  Without the benefit of extra clothes being brought to church.

So what did we do?  We witnessed our fifth baptism of the day.

And we all clapped and hooted and hollered.  After all, if you can’t get excited about people witnessing to the power of Christ in their lives, what can you?

*****

Here’s what I have been thinking about for the past couple of days.

I grew up in a tradition where everyone followed pretty much the same path to salvation.  We waited until the invitation on Sunday morning, or during a revival meeting, went down and shook the pastor’s hand, prayed a prayer and got baptized when all of our aunts and cousins could be there to see it.

This one was different.

The Holy Spirit spoke to this lady at church through the baptism and led her to be baptized herself.

I saw two things.

I saw the power of baptism like I had never seen it.  I literally saw it totally differently than I had ever seen it before.  And I’ve seen a lot of baptisms.

I also saw the work of the Holy Spirit.  He spoke and this lady obeyed.  It was an awesome experience for us all.

My point?  Most of our church services are probably pretty much the same from Sunday to Sunday.  Sometimes, though, the Holy Spirit has something else in mind.

Have you ever seen the Holy Spirit do something totally unexpected at church?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: ,

Power Outage

Today’s post will be a short one. I had planned on spending the evening writing a couple of posts and create a bit of margin for myself. I had too much earlier in the year and now I don’t have enough. Alas, it was not to be.

As I write this, our power went out an hour or so ago. Given where we live, it might be a few hours before it comes back on. There isn’t much we can do, but it got me to thinking.

We who follow Christ have a source of power in the Holy Spirit. God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. We have every resource to live the kind of life the Father wishes us to live. So, what’s the problem?

With the power at my house, it may simply be that the transformer is faulty. Maybe the “switch” needs to be flipped so it begins working properly. Maybe that’s what we need. Our switch to be flipped.

The power company will drive around to see if there is anything on the lines causing a disruption. It could be that we have something going on in our lives causing a disruption in the powerful life Christ bought for us on the cross.

The main thing is that too many of us are not living the lives we could. What’s our challenge? To make sure we are continuously connected to our source of power.

Are you connected to the Source of power?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , ,

Religion, Relationship or Both

November 29, 2013 3 comments

So often in the past, oh I don’t know how long, we have been told that religion is not where it’s at.  We have learned that it is man’s attempt to reach up to God.  It’s our try to link from here to the Lord on our own.  It’s us building a tower up so that we can reach heaven.  It’s our climbing a ladder, step by step, in our attempt to earn God’s favor.

Instead, the message we hear is that we live in a relationship.  One that is based on the relationship that the Father has with the Son and the Holy Spirit.  A relationship that involves an invasion from Heaven.  One that began with normal familial relationships and spread to friendships among those that followed Him.  A relationship that causes us to be adopted into God’s family and makes us Abraham’s descendants.

What if, though?

What if it’s actually both?

What if the relationship Christ establishes in us creates a religion that is not our attempt to simply reach God on our own?

Since the old things have passed away and the new has come, why isn’t religion new?  Why doesn’t Jesus flip the script?

I think he does.  We just don’t like the word religion once we come to know Christ and that’s ok.  I don’t really care.  As long as the relationship is driving the religion, we’re all good.  As long as it simply isn’t us doing it all on our own, in our own power, in our own flesh, then we’re good.

Is it religion, relationship or both?

I’ll let you answer that one for yourself.

Which is it?