IS OUR SUFFERING POINTLESS?

Perhaps the greatest test of whether we believe the following Scripture is to identify the very worst things that have happened to us and reflect on whether we believe that God has or will use them for our good.

“In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”. Romans 8:28

Invariably, if you have lived long enough so that enough time has passed since some of those “worst things” happened to you, then you’ll almost certainly find that God has used those circumstances to stop you from relying on your own efforts, grieving the Holy Spirit in the process and quenching His work in your life.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.Ephesians 4:30

Do not quench the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19

Jesus made it possible for God. our Father to send the third person of the Trinity to indwell our Spirit. As Jesus Himself said to His disciples, it is far better I go so the Father can send the Holy Spirit to be your counsellor, comforter, and teacher. If you let Him, He will direct your every step. Until you truly die to self and say to the Holy Spirit, not my will but your will be done this day and every day you truly cannot live the Christian life. The fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness, and self-control will not be evident in your life nor the gifts of the Spirit available for ministry, words of wisdom, words of knowledge, gift of prophecy, gift of faith, healings, miracles, discerning of spirits, gift of tongues, interpretation of tongues. I would venture to say that until you realise the Holy Spirit’s presence and submit to Him, God will continue to bring painful experiences into your life. When you finally realise the immensity of the gift God has provided you will rejoice that God has brought those painful experiences into your life so that you eventually came to experience His wonderful truth. Experiences labeled as the worst things that ever happened to you become some of the best from an eternal perspective. That’s because God uses the painful, difficult experiences of life for our ultimate eternal good.

How is this possible? Because God is both loving and sovereign. Our experiences provide persuasive proof that while evil and suffering are not good, God can use them to accomplish immeasurable good. This knowledge should give us great confidence that even when we don’t immediately see any redemptive meaning in our suffering, God can see it—and one day we will too. Therefore, we need not run from suffering or lose hope if God doesn’t remove it. We can trust that God has a purpose for whatever He permits.

WALKING IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

What a powerful testimony by Torben Sondergaard on the true meaning of Resurrection Sunday.

People have just been celebrating Passover/Easter all over the world, and we have been hearing the words “He has risen,” and yes, indeed He’s risen, but what does that mean for you?  Many people don’t understand what it truly means that Jesus has risen.  How does that influence your life?

Read Torben’s testimony and watch the video. You will be challenged, encouraged and some even inspired to truly start walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Torben’s Testimony

“I went to an Easter service in America for the first time yesterday.  I had not been to church on Easter in the U.S.A. before, because personally I’m not into all of those traditions, as I know its root, but I love Jesus, and I want to celebrate HIM – and we can ALWAYS celebrate that He has risen!  But yesterday I went, and it became very, very powerful! 

I saw a girl there with crutches, and I knew this was her day.  This was her day!  As soon as the meeting was over, I went down and prayed for her, and she got healed!  She got set free!  She got filled with the Holy Spirit, and her life got changed!  And I got it on video.  At the beginning of the service the priest said, “Walk in the resurrection power!”  But what does that indeed mean? 

There were a few thousand people in the church that day.  Many could have prayed for her.  Many could have set her free.  Many could have helped her, but they didn’t.  Why?  Because many don’t understand what it means to walk in the resurrection power of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We are here to help you out there to walk the life Christ has called you to.  Watch the video.”

MARKS OF THE TRUE CHRISTIAN

Marks of the True Christian:

We need to read this section of Romans regularly to remind ourselves what are the true marks of a Christian

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.Romans 12:9-21

Walk in the Spirit

With His first coming to earth, Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to empower those that have repented of their past deeds and put their trust in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Prophecy indicates His second coming to rule and reign with the glorified Saints is soon.

The primary new covenant command is ‘walk in the Spirit.’ To walk or be led by the Spirit, involves a transformation that includes a change of former behaviours so as to live in a way that pleases God and enables us to do the ministry He has planned for us.

But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.: Romans 7:6

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of GodRomans 8:13-14

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.Romans 8:26-27

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22-24

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another, the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.1 Corinthians 12:4-11

In the last days, there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.Jude 1:18-21

GOD DOES HEAL PEOPLE MIRACULOUSLY TODAY

God is in the healing business. He provided you with your immune system. It heals your body of disease. However, on occasions, as this atheist cancer doctor discovered God does answer prayer with miraculous healing.

This article published in USA Today: Cancer Doctor Was an Atheist but Now Has ‘Profound Faith’ After Investigating Power of Prayer to Heal.

A longtime cancer doctor believes prayer can be powerful and effective at healing the afflicted, sharing in a recently-published USA Today opinion piece how his investigation into invocations (the act of calling upon God (Holy Spirit) for healing) led him from “being a scientifically based ’empirical’ atheist to someone with a profound faith.”

Dr. Gary Onik said he has “encountered at least one terminal cancer patient who was healed by a worldwide prayer effort on his behalf,” and shared his journey of investigating how prayer can help the afflicted.

It was the aforementioned case that led Onik to think deeper on the matter.

“Rather than dismiss this miracle as inconsistent with my empiric and rationally based training, it made me consider how the new scientific knowledge of quantum physics and human consciousness might support the idea of prayer-facilitated healing,” he wrote.

Onik spent a decade looking at how prayer and science might coalesce, and then found himself facing his own terminal prostate cancer diagnosis. Like many others, he had a choice: to seek prayer — or not.

Based on Onik’s research, he said he “knew that prayer had to be a major component” of his own treatment. He decided to seek prayer, so he posted a video and people from all over the world — and from a diversity of beliefs — reached out to offer invocations.

Onik decided to avoid surgery for his cancer, which had spread to his lymph nodes and bones, and instead relied on prayer and a special immunotherapy regime he created.

“It is now three years since my diagnosis,” he wrote. “Prayer combined with immunotherapy treatment has left me free of metastatic cancer and potentially cured.”

Onik’s not sure he would have been healed without prayer, but there’s one thing he is certain of: prayer is important, especially when it comes to cancer.

As Faithwire previously reported, the benefits of faith continue to be shown in scientific studies. For instance, a new Gallup poll found better mental health trends among Americans who routinely attend worship services.

Christians, though, know the power of prayer, as the Bible repeatedly implores believers to seek the Lord in this way. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) reads, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This is what Francis Chan had to say about prayer and miraculous healing on a mission trip to Myanmar. His experiences of the miraculous with his wife and family have changed them. They could never go back to the old life regardless of how comfortable it was.

“There’s no way I can communicate to you how much peace I felt,” Chan stressed. “I am sharing the Good News with a village of people who have never heard of this before. I can’t tell you how right it felt.”

Later in his message, Chan revealed that while in the village he asked God to help him heal those suffering. 

“I’m going, ‘God, please, please hear,’” he recalled. “People started coming forward for healing.” “Every person I touched was healed,” “I have never experienced this in 52 years. I’m talking like a little boy and a little girl who were deaf. We laid hands, she starts crying and smiling. These are not Christians who have even heard about Jesus, and she’s freaking out. We lay hands on her little brother, we lay hands on him, and he starts hearing for the first time.” Chan admitted that the entire process was out of his “comfort zone,” adding, “This is stuff I’d read about, but I’m going, ‘Man, it happened. It happened.’ Stuff left and right.” “I thought I had faith, but my faith was at another level, and I think there are some things that contributed — some of it was just faith in His word, that when Jesus says, ‘I am in you and you are in Me,’ to take that literally,” he declared. 

There is no doubt in my mind that in these “last days” before Jesus returns that if we step out in faith and do what God is calling us to do that we will see God’s miraculous power at work just as Francis Chan did, whether it is healing or any of the other eight gifts of the Spirit.,

Are you a spiritual foodie? Chan challenges.

REPENTANCE THAT LEADS TO SALVATION

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you …” 2 Corinthians 7:10-11

To get into Christ’s Kingdom, you have to truly repent, truly dying to self so that you cannot go back to your old life. Paul talks about godly grief, being convicted by the Holy Spirit about your sin. Knowing how abhorrent sin is to God you will have “godly grief that leads to repentance“. You will also realise how good, how gracious and merciful God was to send His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for your sin of rebellion against Him and His values.

Once we have truly repented and accepted Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, God the Father sends the Holy Spirit to indwell our spirit. God’s Word tells us that our spirit is the lamp of the Lord and a lamp requires oil (Holy Spirit) to function as God intended. When Adam and Eve sinned the Holy Spirit departed their spirit, so they died spiritually immediately and their bodies died some 900 years later.

The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.” Proverbs 20:27

Without the Holy Spirit we cannot live the Christian life. He is the one that brings about the sanctification process, making you Christ like. He is the one that produces the fruit of the Spirit in your life; love, joy, peace patience, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness and self control. He is also one that provides the gifts of the Spirit for ministry; words of knowledge, words of wisdom, prophecy, faith, healings, miracles, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues. You are not saved unless the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit are evident in your life.

Sadly, there are many people sitting in the pews of churches that have not experienced “godly grief that produces a repentance that leads to salvation“. The “end times” parable of the Ten Virgins tells us that half of them that are waiting for the bridegroom (Jesus) to return do not have oil for their lamps and Jesus tells them to depart from me I do not know you. This parable reveals that half the people in the “end times” church that think they are Christians and are waiting for Him to return are not saved and will be on earth when the wrath of God is poured out with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements.

For Christians this should be a wake up call, we have a mission field in our churches people who need to experience “godly grief that produces a repentance that leads to salvation.”

LET US CELEBRATE PENTECOST SUNDAY 2021

With Pentecost Sunday coming up, it is an appropriate time for us to reconsider what Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to do when He went to the Cross and died on our behalf.

Our Heavenly Father sends the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer to make it possible for us to live the Christian life.

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.1 Corinthians 2:12-13.

If we have the Spirit, our hearts will be gentle and kind. 

If we have the Spirit, our intentions will be pure.

If we have the Spirit, our words will show compassion and not judgment.

If we have the Spirit, our lives will exhibit the fruit of spirit: love, joy, peace, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness and self control.

And God will give us the right words if we heed His SpiritHe will guide and guard our every step.

When we allow God’s word and His Spirit to shape our actions and our words, we are walking in the Spirit and pleasing God.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.Galatians 5:16-17

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

How are you living your life? According to the works of the flesh or will you follow Jesus and commit your life to walking in the Spirit.  It is never too late to make the right decision! 

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” – Mathew 20:28, Mark 10:45.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Philippians 2:5-8

HOPE FOR AN ETERNAL FUTURE

Saints, by receiving the Holy Spirit, we grow in the knowledge of God through the Word and we experience the power of God producing the fruit of the spirit in our lives, of love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, kindness and self control . The Holy Spirit provides the gifts of the spirit for ministry; gift of faith, tongues, interpretation of tongues, words of knowledge, prophecy, wisdom, discernment, healing and miracles. As a result, we have full hope for an eternal future and full hope for today as well! When we have needs, we are invited to the throne of grace where we can expect the Lord to speak to us, imparting faith.  By faith Jesus is our healer, by faith Jesus is our provider, by faith Jesus sets us at liberty from all that would come against us in this life.

Let’s learn and enjoy the way of faith.  Trust the Lord completely, for He cares for us. Listen and receive the faith that comes by the word He speaks to us by the Holy Spirit. The word that is the sword of the Spirit to defeat our circumstances.

Let us also look at what Paul had to say about living the Christian life.

For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God Romans 15:18-19

SCRIPTURE NEEDS TO CHANGE OUR LIVES

Another life changing message from Francis Chan about how Scripture needs to change our lives. He explains how it has and is changing his own life. Francis is now ministering in places such as Myanmar to the poorest of the poor and he and his family are happier now than they have ever been. For most of his ministry Francis says, he did not believe in the supernatural, that has changed dramatically now as he ministers in places where they have never heard the Gospel before. Now! everyone he touches are healed. The power of God is evident as he goes where God leads. Is it any wonder why Francis is happier now than he has ever been.

HOLY SPIRIT’S GUIDANCE

The “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23), when taught as merely a set of godly character traits (which they are) (and we need to pursue them), stops short of the ultimate purpose of those traits.

The Amplified Version translates the words “fruit of the Holy Spirit,” as “…the work which His presence within accomplishes.” The Holy Spirit’s presence guides us (as a coach) and guards us (comforts: “strong; fort”) throughout each day and in every decision. As we yield to that work of God’s Spirit (“be filled” Ephesians 5:18), God lives, not merely within us and for us, but through us.

Reimagine discipleship as the ongoing filling of the Spirit (“keep on being filled”) to reveal God’s will through God’s Word. Refocus evangelism as the work of the Holy Spirit to connect each disciple to the needs of the people (family, friends, strangers), the places (work, play), and opportunities (activities, events,) God has called them to serve … resulting in the showing and telling of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit’s internal presence is always purposing towards an external expression of the character of God, revealed to the lost and the least through our unexpected actions and uncommon reactions. Each “fruit” is a gift we bring as we walk a bridge into a conversation to pray for someone or a situation, care for them with acts of service or mercy, and share the Gospel of faith in Jesus.

The fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, goodness (a life full of virtue), faith that prevails,  gentleness of heart and self control (strength of spirit).

The purpose of the fruit of the Spirit is not to make us nicer neighbors; it grows within us to make us loving neighbors who enlighten people to the problem-solving, life-transforming character of God. “This is how God loved the world” (John 3:16): look to what Jesus did, look at how Jesus-followers live and give, serve and sacrifice.

Gifting the fruit of the Spirit is intended to be a daily reality for every authentic Christian, not only for those who have the gift of evangelism or the calling of an evangelist. Valuing the fruit of the Spirit as a witnessing tool can be a huge encouragement to believers who deeply desire to share their faith but often hesitate or have been ineffective. Making disciples who reproduce by sharing their faith must include equipping them to simply look for ways to express the love of God through the spiritual traits they most often or easily exhibit. Some display the love of Christ best through acts of kindness and mercy, others as peacemakers. Every Christ follower needs to seek the discernment of the Spirit into how the Spirit is most effective; which “fruit” (character trait) seems most prevalent and effective in which situations?  

Fruit-of-the-Spirit evangelism is walking God’s love over a bridge into a situation or experience with the gift of joy or peace or patience or kindness, goodness, faith, gentle humility, or restoring control. Love motivated gifts, suited to a person or relevant to a problem, bring practical blessings that point lost people to hope that breeds faith…sharing stories can easily ensue.

Instead of looking first at what we should “do” to evangelize (methods), what if we looked at the focus of our prayers for others? Which fruit of the Spirit predominates our intercession? What passion is stirred within us when we are led to care for people; their problems or possibilities? When does our presence result in conversations about spiritual issues or opportunities to share life stories?

Another great article from Phil Miglioratti • The #ReimagineFORUM
How To Equip UnWitnessing Christians to Share Their Faith

TESTIMONY OF A TRANSFORMED LIFE

For me, prison ministry is a no-brainer,” he says. “I’m going to do that until the Lord calls me home. … I want to help the parole board see that people can change. … I want our senators and lawmakers to have a different mentality, and I want the people who are coming home to have the resources they need.

The above quote was made by Jon Kelly the same man who made the following quote

“I was always high every day … always in fights, always getting shot at or shooting at somebody,” Jon Kelly says. “I for sure did not think I would make it past 16.”

Growing up in north Philadelphia with a single mother and a little sister, Jon was the epitome of a disrespectful, troubled teen. He grew up in a rough neighborhood. Multiple schools—including a disciplinary school he says was “like prison, but you get to go home”—couldn’t keep him out of trouble. He dropped out by ninth grade.

Jon began selling crack cocaine when he was only 12 years old, but in his teens, he decided it was more lucrative to rob drug dealers. “I thought it was a good thing,” he says. After all, “I wasn’t bothering law-abiding citizens.”

One night, Jon and his friends went to a drug dealer’s home and robbed him. Things got out of hand, and in the process, one of the group shot and killed their victim.

Jon remembers the day he was arrested. It was a Friday—March 15, 2002—and he had just turned 19 two months before. He was arrested for his role in the murder and brought to jail, but it was overcrowded from the city’s violent crime. The only place with room for Jon was in isolation, or solitary confinement.

A couple of the corrections officers would talk to Jon from time to time. That first week in jail, Jon was so bored he asked if either of the men could bring him something to read. The officers handed him a New Testament. On the cover were the words, “There’s hope for you. Jesus cares.”

“I read God’s Word for the first time,” Jon says, “and I haven’t been the same since.”

pastor jon kelly
Jon Kelly today

Today, Jon Kelly is the pastor of Chicago West Bible Church, a 2-year-old church he helped start after receiving his bachelor’s degree from Moody Bible Institute. He is married and has two children.

“It’s been an amazing journey, and I praise God for that,” Jon says.

Only God can change lives like Jon Kelly’s and provide the people and the resources to make use of that life for the benefit of God’s Kingdom.

Only Holy Spirit led lives are both transformed by God to produce the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness and self-control and be available to be used by the Holy Spirit using the gifts of the Spirit – Revelation Gifts – Words of Wisdom, Words of Knowledge and Discerning of Spirits, Vocal Gifts – Prophecy, Tongues, and interpretations of Tongues, Power Gifts – Faith, Healing and Miracles.