Keep in Step With the Spirit

Keep in Step With the Spirit

You may well ask, “How do we keep in step with the Holy Spirit?”  Let’s study that today.

  • Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Gal 5:25 NIV) 

This verse reminds us that we live by the Spirit (of God), so it is important that we walk in unity and harmony with Him.

  • It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (Joh 6:63 NKJV)

The Holy Spirit is the author of spiritual truth and life in all of its forms—physical, spiritual, and mental.  The Lord tells us in this verse that His words are spirit and life, so the more that we read, meditate upon, and memorize the word of God, the more that we are renewed, revived, and refreshed by it.

  • . . . who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor 3:6 NKJV)

Again the Bible affirms in the verse above that the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of life in all of its forms:

  1. A long life (Ps 91:16)
  2. An abundant life (Joh 10:10)
  3. A blessed life (Joh 10:10; Jam 1:12; Rev 22:14)
  4. Health and healing (Pro 3:7-8; 4:21-22; 3 Joh 1:2)

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  11 But if [since] the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.  (Rom 8:10-11 KJV, emphasis & bracketed word added)

This passage from the book of Romans (above) reminds us that the Spirit is life, as well as the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells within each and every believer.

The Holy Spirit’s perfect, holy, healthy life is continuously quickened (accelerated, renewed) in each believer because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 6:19) 

So, we may reasonably conclude that we “keep in step with the Spirit” by living in agreement with and in obedience to the Word of God, the Bible.  God bless you.

Reverence for the House of God

Reverence for the House of God

It pleases the Lord when we honor the place where He resides.  Since the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the “house of God” is any building or gathering place where two or more people assemble to study the Word of God, to teach others spiritual truths from the Bible, and to praise and worship the Lord. 

 ‘You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord.’  (Lev 19:30)

Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.  (Eccl 5:1)

And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” (Mt 21:13)

From these passages of Scripture we can recognize a number of truths.

The Lord tells us to reverence (respect; regard with awe) His sanctuary.  A sanctuary is a refuge, safe haven, or place of safety.  When we meet with fellow Christians to praise and worship God and to partake of His Word, we are in a place of safety and protection.  Our collective attitude of honor and respect contribute to the free flowing of the Holy Spirit to minister in our midst.

It isn’t a building that is the church—it is the people and the gathering of God’s people together that forms “the church.”  The sanctuary, the House of God, and the church are all synonymous terms.  Any place or building where God’s people gather together to give Him honor and praise can be understood to be “the church”; whether it’s an event room at a bowling alley, a rented meeting room in a hotel, or a family room in a private home.

The Word also reminds us to behave wisely as we enter into the meeting of the body of Christ.  How do we do that?  We “draw near to hear” with a heart full of obedience and true worship.

Lastly, the Scriptures remind us that the church is a “house of prayer” and that its main purpose is a spiritual one and not a monetary one.  God forbid that a body of believers would focus upon money instead of honoring God and His Holy Word.

It is very understandable that God would ask us to show honor and respect for any place where He meets with His people—all who call Him Savior and Lord.  Remember that GOD IS PRESENT when His people come together in His Name.  God bless you.

Why Did Jesus Use Parables?

Why Did Jesus Use Parables?

But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.  (Mk 4:34)

. . . that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:  “I will open My mouth in parables;  will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”  (Mt 13:35)

Why did Jesus speak in parables so regularly?  Jesus used parables frequently as a means to illuminate weighty, divine truth.  He also had other reasons to use parables to communicate in public.

  • And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, 54 lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him. (Lk 11:53-54)  The scribes and Pharisees were always looking to find fault with Jesus and to discredit Jesus in the eyes of all of the people.  By using parables, Jesus could thwart the plans of His enemies.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. (Mt 5:6)  Through the use of parables, Jesus could spiritually feed those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness.  Those who had a good heart, who were truly seeking God, could find what they needed in His teachings.
  • “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Mt 7:13-14)  This story of the two roads (one narrow, one wide) caused people to think about where their lives were headed.  Using parables motivated people to stop and think about such profound topics.
  • Jesus’ parables brought pressure upon people to cause them to choose whether they wanted to be a sheep or a goat. “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left . . .”  (Mt 25:31-33, for full story see Mt 25:31-46)
  • Give ear, O my people, to my law; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. (Ps 78:1-3)  As we can see by this passage, by speaking in parables, Jesus fulfilled prophecy concerning Himself.  (see also Mt 13:34-35)

Jesus always had very good reasons for His actions.  He listened for and obeyed the voice of the Holy Spirit, and followed the leading of the Holy Spirit.  He has set us an excellent example, hasn’t He?

Children of Promise

Children of Promise

Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.  (Gal 4:21-26, emphases added)

That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.  (Rom 9:8, emphasis added)

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. (Gal 4:28)

Children of the Promise is another way of saying “children of God.” (see Rom 9:8 above)  But what, exactly, is the significance of this for us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior?

One thing to note is that the Bible says that we become children of the promise when we’re baptized into Christ through water baptism. 

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”  (Act 2:38-39)

This teaching is verified in Ephesians 3:

. . . that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel . . . (Eph 3:6)

Upon our acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and our water baptism into Christ, we become Children of Promise—children of God!  Hallelujah!

For you are all sons [children] of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.  (Gal 3:26-29, explanatory word inserted)

Being Children of the Promise means that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ!  Glory to God!  (Rom 8:17) 

This means that we are entitled to all of the blessings that Jesus earned for Himself by living a sinless, perfect life in loving obedience to His Father while He lived on earth.  In accepting Christ as Savior and being baptized into Him through water baptism, we become qualified to receive this vast and rich inheritance!  Rejoice, O children of promise!

Holy Boldness

Holy Boldness

Spending time in the presence of the Lord Jesus will impart holy boldness!  What a beautiful sign of how God sanctifies and prepares us for ministry.  The Bible informs us of this blessed benefit in several passages.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.  (Acts 4:13)  Notice how other people observe and remark upon the impact of Jesus upon His followers.  God calls and anoints ordinary people to serve Him.

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.  (Acts 4:31)  Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ courageously with other people is a sign of Jesus’ influence upon us.

Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—  (2 Cor 3:12)  Hope imparts boldness!

. . . in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.  (Eph 3:12)  In Jesus Christ, we have both holy boldness and assurance of our salvation through faith in Christ.   We have access to the throne of God through faith in Jesus.

Why do I call this article “Holy Boldness”?  I do so because the unique boldness imparted to us through our relationship with Jesus is a consecration and sanctification of our very persons. 

We are set apart for service unto our Lord and King.  We are destined to bring glory to God, our Savior, as the verses quoted above confirm.  So, brothers and sisters, share your testimony with holy boldness.  It is within you; it’s available to you through Jesus who lives within every believer.  God bless you.

God’s Standard Against the Enemy

God’s Standard Against the Enemy

So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.  (Isa 59:19 NKJV)

In the New King James Version, the word STANDARD represents a force, like a narrow flood, that flows with great speed and force, and carries away everything before it.  By the word of the Lord and by His power, the attack of the enemy shall be broken.

Here’s the same Scripture from two other versions of the Bible. 

From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.  (Isa 59:19 NIV)

So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives.  (Isa 59:19 ESV)

The Lord’s power shall come like a rushing stream driven along by the wind of the Lord.  The WIND OF THE LORD signifies the power and might of the Holy Spirit. This word image allows us to image the majestic power and authority of our God.  He is worthy of all praise!

How appropriate is the passage in Jeremiah:

There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might. Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?  For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you.  (Jer 10:6-7 ESV)

Whenever the Lord drives the enemy to flight as described in the verses above, it will trigger a wave of humanity glorifying God and giving Him thanks, praise and honor.

If your church, community or family comes under an unprecedented campaign against you, meditate upon Isaiah 59:19 and ask the Lord to bring it to pass in your situation.

Song in the Night

Song in the Night

I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search.  (Ps 77:6)

The psalmist ransacked his knowledge, his memory, his intelligence—his whole nature, and his entire soul, either to find comfort or to recall the songs of praise that he remembered singing in past times unto the Lord.  He was recalling his songs of praise, making a diligent search for them in his heart.

The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me—a prayer to the God of my life.  (Ps 42:8) 

The psalmist is trusting in the mercy of God.  His song in the night is a song of praise to God for His salvation and goodness.  It’s a remembrance of all the good things that God has done for him.

You shall have a song as in the night when a holy festival is kept, and gladness of heart as when one goes with a flute, to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the Mighty One of Israel. (Isa 30:29)

In this Bible verse, the prophet reminds the people that the song in the night arises due to gladness of heart, such as the joyous sound of a flute, when praising God and approaching Him in worship.  A wakeful, unsettled night may be relieved with a heartfelt song in the night.

At such times, it’s good for us to remember the Lord, and to know that we need Him.  When troubles, trials, or pains assail us in the night, keeping us awake and in anguish, it is the time to allow the Holy Spirit to instruct us.  It’s a time to feed upon and meditate upon the Word of God—which has the power to comfort us and to teach us. 

This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.  (Ps 119:50, emphasis added)

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.  (Rom 15:4, emphasis added)

Permit a song in the night and the comfort of God’s Word to minister to your heart when illness, turmoil, or anxieties assail you and attack your sleep.  God’s loving plan for you is that you have peaceful sleep.

I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.  (Ps 4:8)

. . . For so He gives His beloved sleep.  (Ps 127:2)

Strive for Peace & Holiness

Strive for Peace & Holiness

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  (Heb 12:14 ESV)

. . . let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.  (1 Pet 3:11 NKJV)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.
  (Mt 5:8-9)

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  (1 Tim 6:11)

STRIVE means to struggle, do your utmost, and to make every effort.  So the Bible is instructing us to pull out all the stops to be at peace with everyone and to live holy lives so that we will see the Lord. 

We want to turn away from evil, and live moral, virtuous and upright lives.  A certain path towards good is to look for peace and to take every opportunity to promote and to practice peace.  Jesus said that peacemakers would be called sons of God.  (Mt 5:9)

The Holy Spirit leads us to flee evil, vice and iniquity.  The Holy Spirit will inspire us to chase after and to exercise righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.  The Lord also gives us His empowering grace in order to live each day victoriously and with joy.

The Bible reminds us in several passages that the Holy Spirit is our teacher.  (Lk 12:12; Joh 14:26; 1 Cor 2:13)  We need to allow Him to teach us and to lead us in the paths where He wants us to walk.  Submit to the Lord’s wisdom and guidance joyfully.

Extreme Mercy & Forgiveness

Extreme Mercy & Forgiveness

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.  (Ac 7:59-60)

Focus on the extreme mercy and forgiveness that Stephen displayed!  Here are people in the process of killing him, and he forgives them and asks the Lord to forgive them.  Then he dies. What mercy!  What forgiveness!  Stephen went to heaven as a martyr for the gospel.

According to Daniel 9:9, mercy and forgiveness belong to God.  The Bible says (see below) that mercy and unlimited forgiveness belong to God.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, because with the Lord there is mercy and with Him there is unlimited forgiveness.  (Ps 130:7 GW)

In the church of Jerusalem, Stephen was chosen along with six other men to serve as deacons.  As deacons, they would take charge of the gifts of the people, and give assistance to those who were in need, including widows.  The criteria for choosing these men was that they had to have the Spirit of God and to have wisdom. 

Stephen not only cared for the poor, but he began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone—Jews and Gentiles both.  This conduct enraged some of Jews, who plotted against him.

Clearly, as Stephen shared the Good News, the Holy Spirit used Stephen as an instrument for the Kingdom of God.  History records that Stephen, as he ministered to the people, performed signs, wonders, and miracles among them.  Glory to God!

Stephen clearly loved and obeyed Jesus Christ, his Savior and example in all things.  Stephen emulated the Lord Jesus Christ in his life, work, and even in death. 

This is a good moment to reflect upon our own lives; and to determine whether we are allowing mercy and forgiveness to operate in our lives, our responses, and our actions.

The Inexorable Force

The Inexorable Force

Our God is the Inexorable Force of the universe.  What He says always, ALWAYS comes to pass.  When we become born again, He places His hand upon us in such a way that we must share His Truth and His Word.  These verses illustrate what I’m saying:

But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Ac 4:19-20 NIV, underlining added)

But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.  I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.  (Jer 20:9 NIV)

 “Well, I have come to you now,” Balaam replied. “But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.”  (Num 22:38 NIV)

In our hearts, we feel that force within us that compels us to testify that Jesus is the Redeemer of all mankind—the hope of all the world.  If we are not aware of an inner inducement to share the Good News with others, then it is time to renew our commitment to the Lord and to rededicate ourselves to His purposes.

In Acts 17:16-17, we read that Paul was provoked to share the gospel message with the people in Athens.  Jesus addressed His followers in Acts 1:8 to tell them that they would be His witnesses in this world.

We must confess, along with 2 Samuel 23:2:  “The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; His word is on my tongue.”  Let us lift our voices and testify to the loving goodness and kindness of our God and Savior.  The Holy Spirit (The Inexorable Force) within each one of us lovingly requires it of us all.