GLORIOUS PROMISES OF GOD

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.John 14:12-13

Jesus was speaking to his disciples from the heart, in the knowledge that the cross awaited. Contextually, he is talking about his miracles, urging his disciples to believe in him as the Son of God because of the works he has done in their sight. Caught up in the Spirit, he prophesies that those who believe in him, including believers down through the ages, will perform the same, and even greater miracles. In the power and effectiveness of his children, Father God will be glorified. What a glorious promise!

Also, Jesus’ initial statement is that we would do the miracles He had done. The additional clause of ‘even greater things will you do builds on that, rather than diminishes it. 

Most denominational churches do not see or believe miracles occur today so have lost faith in the word of God.

The consequences of believing false traditions over the word of God are serious. We lower our expectations of God, reducing his incredible promises to match our experience. By doing so, we lose our hold on faith, because we are no longer clinging to his Word – our grip has been transferred instead to the tradition, and we are well adrift of the truth. Once we drift from the truth of God’s active, compassionate, interventionist love, and the promises of his miraculous provision, deliverance, and healing, we lose sight of who God is altogether. We paint a lesser picture and worship it instead.

The testimony of Francis Chan is very revealing in regard to miracles. When he was pastoring a church of 5,000 in California and esteemed highly in the World because of the size of his church and authoring best-selling books like Crazy Love he never saw or expected to see miracles.

Speaking during the virtual International Association of Healing Ministries conference this week, Chan said, “What I do know is for many years I didn’t believe in healing, I didn’t believe in miracles, it was pretty much what I was taught in seminary.

“Humbly, I have to say, I used to ridicule people who spoke in tongues or prophesied or believed they could heal, even though when I personally read the Scriptures, I saw this available.”

Earlier this year, Chan shared that he and a team of other Christians supernaturally healed several people in a rural village in Myanmar, including a little boy and girl who were deaf. 

“Every person I touched was healed,” the Crazy Love author said in a sermon delivered at Moody Bible Institute’s Founders Week Conference.

“OK, this is craziness to me. I have never experienced this in 52 years,” he testified then. “I’m talking like a little boy and a little girl who were deaf. We laid hands on her and 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.

Do you think Francis wants to go back to his church of 5000? No, in fact, he is setting up House Churches with no buildings or paid pastors.

GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT’S ROLE IN OUR SALVATION AND IN OUR LIFE

“The Holy Spirit is how God quickens us to new life and births us from above.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.John 3:5-7

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11

The third person of the Trinity. All three have a role in your Salvation.

The Holy Spirit has a special role as He seals us for eternity. The Apostle Paul says,

In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.John 14:16-17

These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.John 14:25-26

But When He, the Spirit of truth, comes He will guide you into all truth” John 16:13

But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about me.John 15:26

I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” John 16:7

It is the Holy Spirit’s role to convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgement. We cannot convert anyone unless the Holy Spirit has first convicted the person of their sin.

And when he comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:7-11

The Holy Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit in your life.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

He provides the gifts of the Spirit for ministry

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 wills1 Corinthians 12:7-11

SUMMARY

He lives within you forever (John 14:16).

He directs your paths (Prov. 3:4-5, Romans 8:14, Acts 8:29, Acts 8:39)

He guides you into all truth (John 14:17, 16:13a).

He teaches you all things (John 14:26a).

He reveals to you things to come (John 16:13).

He reveals to you the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10).

He produces the fruit of the Spirit in your life. (Galatians 5:22-23)

He equips and empowers you for ministry. (1 Corinth. 12:7-11)

He freely gives you all things (1 Cor. 2:12).

He offers you the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).

You cannot live a Christian life without the Holy Spirit. It is impossible. Make sure you do not grieve the Holy Spirit nor quench His work in your life but follow Paul’s advice that he gave to Timothy, “fan into flame the gift of God“.

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

For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.2 Timothy 1:6

FORMER LESBIAN PROFESSOR ON WHAT CHANGED HER HEART

A former professor of women’s studies at Syracuse University recently shared her personal journey from lesbian feminist to Christ-follower. During an episode of The Becket Cook Show, Rosaria Butterfield explained how converting to Christianity radically transformed her life, identity, and relationships.

She met a Presbyterian pastor who played an integral part in opening her eyes and heart to the Lord. “I talk about what it was like to meet a pastor, who was my neighbour when I was a lesbian, feminist, activist, professor,” Butterfield said. “I met Ken Smith, the pastor who the Lord used in my conversion. I thought this man is really smart. He and his wife Floy welcomed me into their world and they came into my world and they didn’t act as though I was polluting them.

Early on in our friendship, Ken said to me ‘there’s a difference between acceptance and approval and if you can live with that difference, I can live with that difference.’” Butterfield started reading the Bible and routinely met with Pastor Ken and Floy, which allowed her to discuss situations from a Christian perspective. “I saw the way his house functioned, it was amazing. We would talk about hard and heavy things. We would read the Bible, we would pray, and would sing songs. I couldn’t help but notice there was an aesthetic, palpable difference between my house and Ken Smith’s house.” She continued, “My house was filled with anxiety and constant frenetic, political activism. At Ken’s house, they would talk about hard things, but at a certain point, they would open the Bible. They’d pray and they would do this thing called ‘leave it at the cross.’ Then they would go on and laugh, feast, and have fun.

I was intrigued by that. I came to the Bible with a long list of things I was mad about that I needed to work through.” “In two years, I read the Bible seven times. I wanted to understand why Bible-believing Christians believed the things they did. This man-God, Jesus was and is compelling beyond description. I wondered two things: could I trust Him and is it true? And that was really the turning point. That’s when I decided that I needed to stop working with Ken Smith.” Butterfield explained that she came to a critical moment in her spiritual journey where the truth of the Gospel was visible and that frightened her. “At that point, Ken and Floy did not become stalkers but they came very close. They weren’t going to let go of me,” she said. “I stopped reading the Bible for research and started reading it for personal questions of truth, life, and death.

It was at that point that I was convicted of a number of sins. I was convicted of the sin of somehow thinking that I had been on the side of truth, justice, diversity, reparations, kindness, and compassion when it was really Jesus who was persecuted the whole time.” “I started going to church, I just showed up one day,” Butterfield said. “I discovered that sermons were this totally different thing and they would really force me to think about things that I hadn’t thought about before. I realized that part of why I didn’t understand how to be a godly woman was because I didn’t understand how to be a woman, which was hilarious because I’m a professor of women’s studies at the time,” she pointed out. “I was a mess, and I committed my life to Christ because I believed He was true and real and I had no idea what He was going to do with a mess like me.”

“Conversion put me in complicated and comprehensive chaos. I sometimes wonder, when I hear other Christians pray for the salvation of the “lost,” if they realize that this comprehensive chaos is the desired end of such prayers. Often, people asked me to describe the “lessons” that I learned from this experience. I can’t. It was too traumatic. Sometimes in crisis, we don’t really learn lessons. Sometimes the result is simpler and more profound: sometimes our character is simply transformed.” —Rosaria Butterfield

THE HOLY SPIRIT SUSTAINS US THROUGH TRIALS AND TRIBULATION

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30

Coptic Christian martyrs for Christ

While this life is fraught with many trials and tribulations, the sufferings we experience are to be counted as incomparable with the glories to come. We groan, we wail, we suffer—yet with much hope as we persevere to the end, waiting for the redemption of all creation, and even our bodies. Yet in this, the tension that all mankind faces come to the forefront, and the reason for this is simple: we must wait. This anticipation for glory builds more and more anticipation the longer we must endure this life. This anticipation for glory sustains us and brings forth one major reason why we persevere: we hope in the age to come rather than in this broken and fallen age.

Paul says, that in the same way, this hope for glorification sustains us, the Spirit sustains us, for He knows precisely how to intercede on our behalf before the Father.

Where words and utterances fail us in our prayers, the Spirit transforms them into prayers that match the will of God. The very purpose of the Spirit’s intercession is not so we can feel good about His work in doing so, though we should have much joy in this fact. Rather, the Spirit’s work in transforming our failed prayers likewise culminates in us reaching the finish line, where we are ushered into the presence of our Triune Lord for all eternity. In other words, the Spirit’s work of intercession on our behalf is part and parcel of our endurance; we endure not only for the hope of the age to come but specifically because part of the Spirit’s work is to bring about endurance in us.

Here then is where we find our particular reference that God works all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. And what is that purpose? Paul says, the “good” that God is working all things together for, is explicit.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” Romans 8:29-30

Human suffering has a purpose that culminates in glory. To make that ever clearer: the purpose of our trials and sufferings is to bring us to final redemption, where we see God face to face, free from the pain, devastation, and destruction caused by the curse of sin, our adversary Satan, and death itself.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38-39

God sees to it, from eternity past to eternity future, that those who love God, that is, those who are in Christ, will one day be glorified, first to assist Jesus in His Millennial reign on this earth and then, after the White Throne judgement, to be ushered into a world free from the Fall and its effects. All of our groaning, all of our longing, all of our deferred hope for what is to come, shall be satisfied in the fullness and richness of God’s saving love through Christ.

Adapted from an article by Jason Gilbert “God Works All Things for Good” August 23, 2022, http://www.patheos.com

EMPOWERED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:5-11

Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Romans 6:46

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.Romans 8:11

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.Romans 8:16-17

SALVATION

God’s people longed for God’s judgment because it meant that God would set things right (Psalms 72:4). This saving judgment entailed God condemning their enemies but they thought little about what God required of them.

Some readers might need to reorient how they think about “being saved.” Salvation concerns both what we’re saved from and what we’re saved for. Many people think almost exclusively in terms of the former. We are saved from wrath, punishment, condemnation, and hell. Though a glorious truth, it is a partial truth.

Nothing is wrong with stressing the importance of being saved from something. Being saved from the penalty, power, and presence of sin is glorious! But…. and this is an important “but” … no one is saved merely from fear of penalty. Ultimately, salvation requires love for Christ and obedience to Christ by obedience to the guidance of the Holy Spirit that dwells within your spirit.

The goal of salvation is believers’ conformity to the Son of God—their participation in his rule over creation as God’s eschatological family and as renewed humanity—but only and always with the purpose of extending God’s hand of mercy, love, and care to his wider creation. This was humanity’s job in the beginning; it is the believer’s responsibility now and will be the believers’ responsibility and honor in the future, first during Jesus’ Millennial reign on this earth when He and the resurrected Saints will rule the nations with a rod of iron. This is a transitional era when Satan is bound but he is released at the end of the Millennium when he is still able to raise an army like the sand of the sea. He and his army will be defeated and this earth destroyed with fire. The second resurrection and the White Throne judgement follow, before the new earth and heaven where only the righteous dwell.

This vision is compelling and sustaining. It creates a far more robust biblical perspective on following Christ.

People know that the world has problems. Moreover, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin and righteousness and He will guide and direct our steps to evangelize the lost. He will even give us the words to say so they know that we are being used by God. We just need to be obedient to the call of God on our lives regardless of the cost.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:35-39

They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:5-6

CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART, O GOD

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
Psalm 51:1-2

A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet challenged him about his sin with Bathsheba.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.Psalm 51:10-12

“that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippian 3:10

NOTE: God had given David an understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit in living Christ-like and this is one thousand years before Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell believers as a result of His atoning sacrifice.

But also note what Paul says about living Christ-like, we are to forget those things that are behind us and focus on those things ahead.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.Philippians 3:12-16

John 10:10 says that Jesus came to give us life, freedom, and a relationship with Him. He is our only hope—the only source of true peace. Are you experiencing this peace? If not, that can change if you trust in Him as Lord and Savior, repent, and turn to Him (Romans 10:9).

Gordon Cove once challenged his audience: “You have not sought the Lord with ‘your whole heart’ until you have tried a protracted season of prayer and fasting.” Could a lack of prayer, fasting, and repentance be one of the hindrances to a spiritual awakening? Absolutely! Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Fasting doesn’t twist God’s arm, but it does bend our knee. There is simply too much on the line—a massive spiritual awakening is our only hope.

As G. Campbell Morgan said, “We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from Heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.”

It’s time to break up our fallow ground and seek the Lord while He still may be found (Hosea 10:12).

“We prepare the sacrifice with a humble and contrite heart and God will bring the fire of revival.” shaneiIdelman.com

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.”

ARE YOU EMPOWERED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT?

This is important new teaching from Torben Sondergaad. Whilst the series is called FIGHTING FOR THE TRUE GOSPEL, the emphasis is on the Holy Spirit. In the first video Torben looks at the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ life. In the second video he looks at the Holy Spirit in the early disciples’ lives. In this video, the focus is on HOW TO RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT. This is such an important message. He starts by looking at Pentecost and what that day was all about. Torben connects Pentecost with the first harvest, and to the Law given by Moses at Sinai. When you do this, you really see how beautiful it is. At Pentecost God did not write the Law on stones. Now, He came down to write the Law on our hearts by the Holy Spirit! We also see that Acts 2 was really the birth of the church! We are also looking at how people in the early church received the Holy Spirit, and that it was not something which happened automatically when people came to faith, as sadly many people think today, and where they misquote Ephesians 1:13. He also looks at the misunderstandings there are today with the baptism of fire, as John was saying in Matthew 3, that Jesus was baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire. What was that fire baptism?

You will love this teaching, and it will challenge you, and bless you, and give you a clear understanding of how we receive the Holy Spirit!

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