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Showing posts with label Holy Spirit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holy Spirit. Show all posts

Friday, July 21, 2017

6 of 6 ... The Heart: The Key to Everything in the Christian Life - Book Review

This fourth soil of the heart is what every Christian should strive for in their walk with God for this is the fertile ground that bears fruit for our Lord.

The other three soils were not allowed to dominate the heart. The heart did not allow any of the five thorns to take root, spread and dominate its soil to the point where it choked and suffocated the Word of God. To get the fourth point where it chocked and suffocated the Word of God.

We must hear the Word of God, gladly receive it into our hearts, understand its message of truth, then hold fast to it in order to bring forth fruit reaping a harvest thirty, sixty, a hundred times of what has been sown.

We must also receive this word into our hearts to enter into this blessed fourth soil. The Greek word for "receive" means to accept deliberately, willingly, favorably and readily and to embrace with favor and delight.

We are God's tilled field according to 1 Corinthians 3:9.

Simply being a Christian does not guarantee that the soil of the heart is in this fourth category. We have a responsibility before God to guard the soil of our heart and, as James says, "get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness."

The Word of God must also be understood if we are to abide in this fourth category of soil. All spiritual growth comes by the way of understanding the Word of God. Without understanding the seed cannot grow and produce fruit.

The next requirement of this fourth soil of the heart is that we keep and hold fast the Word of God in an honest and good heart.

The soil of our hearts is most fertile when it is living love by helping, caring for, rescuing and comforting others.

Secondly, the Word of God must be kept in a heart that is a beautiful representation of Jesus Christ so people can see our good deeds and glorify our Heavenly Father.

The last requirement of the fourth soil of the fourth soil of the heart is that it brings forth fruit with patience. The Greek word for "patience" means steadfastness, perseverance, and to remain or abide under.

Look at the patience of the farmer. He does not plant his seed and then rushes to his window the next day expecting to see a full harvest.

God's desire is that we bear much fruit, and this is His faithful promise.

Our heart needs steadfast patience and endurance to finish the race God has called us to and fully accomplish the will of God in our lives. Without this patient and endurance our heart's soil will fall into the second or third category of soil in the parable of the sower and the seed.

No one exercised more patience when he lived upon the earth than Jesus Christ.

Only when we look to Jesus can we run the appointed race with patience, steadfast endurance and not grow weary, faint, or lose heart. How many lives have been wasted by a lack of patience!

When all of the requirements of the fourth soil are met, Jesus makes an astounding promise that we shall reap a harvest thirty, sixty to hundred times what was sown. This is a yield of three thousand, six thousand and ten thousand percent.

Is this the return that we are having in the church?

Sadly, very few Christians have ever reached this forth soil. The world with all its philosophies, mantras, formulas, and education can never manufacture, replicate or create the fruit of the spirit in the human heart.

Idols have more influence on the condition of the heart than any other thing in the world! Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis and the introduction of sin into the human race, the heart has become an idol factory countless idols to love, worship and obey.

Isaiah 24:5 states that the entire earth has been polluted by idolatry and a curse has devoured the world.

The Bible is the life manual and instruction book on the ways of God and its urgent warnings against idolatry should not be ignored.

All humanity has been seduced into the snare of idolatry. Idolatry is based upon deception.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned us "Wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many enter therein" (Matthew 7:13).

Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."

God never lies about about who He is and what He will do.

Perfect order, peace and joy are restored when the Almighty is exalted, praised and worshipped.

The Bible teaches that the heart is the battleground of idolatry.

The heart was never meant to be a place for idols. Idolatry turns the dwelling place of God into a pagan temple.

The heart becomes what it worship.

So what exactly is an idol? An idol is anything that is more valued, loved, sought after, desired and honored than God.

What are you most devoted to?

Your eyes guide your heart as all idolatry begins with the gaze of the eye.

How could Aaron, that stood by Moses and witnessed firsthand some of the most amazing manifestations of the power of God, be so easily persuaded to fashion a false god for the children of Israel?

You can never serve two masters.

It is too dangerous to leave even one piece of any idol in the temple of our hearts. We should never utter the name of any other god, but Yahweh.

Every idol has a spirit from the kingdom of darkness behind it that drives a person to love and worship it.

Baal was believed to be the giver of life, and entire nations were devoted to Baal because they believed he was the one who would sustain their farms, flocks, and families.

The first usage of the word "believe" in the entire Bible concerns the faith of Abraham in the name of Yahweh (Genesis 15:6).

Do you have a heart for God or an idol?

Too often we have honored God with our lips, but our heart is far from Him.

We will not be able to hold our ground as Christians and stand fast in the Lord, if we allow His mighty works, powerful words and glorious presence to fade from our conscious thinking.

The Spirit of God is always teaching, leading, comforting, encouraging, helping, enlightening, reminding and instructing our hearts so we live for Christ, and do not forget God or His precious words of life.

The old nature brings to the mind, the lusts of the flesh, and the seductive trappings of this world. The new nature exercises its influence to bring us to a place where God is supreme in all our thoughts, motives, and emotions.

Doesn't God deserve to be your first love?

Lord help me to never, ever forget you!

The author, Tim Rowe has a doctorate and bachelor's degree in biblical studies, history, and classics. An attorney and author. President of Goodness of God's Ministries and lives in Indianapolis with his wife and son.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday - Samson's Call - Judges 13:1-7, 24-25 - 6/25/17

The Philistines lived on the west side of Canaan, along the Mediterranean seacoast. From Samson's day until the time of David they were the major enemy force in the land & a constant threat to Israel. The Philistines were fierce warriors; they had the advantage over Israel in numbers, tactical expertise, & technology. They knew the secret of making weapons out of iron. But none of that mattered when God was fighting for Israel.

Once again the cycle of sin, judgment, & repentance began. The Israelites would not turn to God unless they had been stunned by suffering, oppression, & death. This suffered was not caused by God, but resulted from the fact that the people ignored God, their Judge & Ruler. The warnings in God's Word are clear; if we continue to harden our hearts against God, we can expect the same fate as Israel.

The angel of the Lord could have been a special divine messenger sent from God or a pre-incarnation appearance of Jesus Christ. The reason for the angel's visit was to give Samson's parents the vital news that Samson would begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.

Samson was to be a Nazarite - a person who took a vow to be set apart for God's service. Samson's parents made the vow for him. A Nazarite vow was sometimes for him. A Nazarite vow was sometimes temporary, but in Samson's case, it was for life. As a Nazarite, Samson could not cut his hair, touch a dead body, or drink anything containing alcohol.

Although Samson often used poor judgment & sinned terribly, he accomplished much when he determined to be set apart for God. In this way he was like the nation Israel. As long as the Israelites remained set apart for God, the nation thrived. But they into terrible sin when they ignored God.

Manoah's wife was told that her son would begin to rescue the Israelites from Philistine oppression. It wasn't until David's day that the Philistine opposition was completely crushed. Samson's part in subduing the Philistines was just the beginning, but it was important nonetheless. It was the task God had given Samson to do. Be faithful in following God even if you don't see instant results, because you might be beginning an important job that others will finish.

Samson's tribe, Dan, continued to wander in their inherited land, which was yet unconquered. Samson must have grown up with his warlike tribe's yearnings for a permanent & settled territory. Thus his visits to the tribal army camp stirred his heart, & God's Spirit began preparing him for his role as judge & leader against the Philistines.

God uses a variety of means to develop & prepare us: hereditary traits, environmental influences, & personal experiences. As with Samson, this preparation often begins long before adulthood. Work at being sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading & the tasks God has prepared for you. Your past may be more useful to you than you imagine.

Samson's Ventures: He grew up in Zorah & wanted to marry a Philistine girl from Timnah (Timnath). Tricked at his own wedding feast, he went to Ashkelon & killed some Philistine men & stole their coats to pay off a bet. Samson then let himself be captured & brought to Lehi where he snapped his ropes & killed 1,000 people.

Reference summary used from Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sunday - The Source of All Love - I John 4:7-19 - 3/5/17

In reality, love is a choice & an action. God is the source of our love: he loved is enough to sacrifice his son for us. Jesus is our example of what it means to love; everything he did in life & death was supremely loving. The Holy Spirit gives us power to love; he lives in our hearts & makes more & more like Jesus. God's love always involves a choice & an action, & our love should be like his.


The world thinks love is what make you feel good, & it is willing to sacrifice moral principles & others' rights in order to obtain such "love." Our definition of love must come from God who is holy, just, & perfect. At the same time, if we truly know God, we must learn to love as he does.


"Only begotten" means God's unique Son.


Love explains (1) why God creates; (2) why God cares; (3) whey we are free to choose; (4) why Christ died; & (5) why we receive eternal life.


Nothing sinful or evil can exist in God's presence. He cannot overlook, condone, or excuse sin as if it never happened. We can be acquitted (Romans 5:18) by his atoning sacrifice ("propitiation").


Jesus is the complete expression of God in human form & he has revealed God to us. When we love one another, the invisible God reveals himself to others through us, & his love is made complete ("perfect").


John isn't telling us how many people to love, but how much to love the people we already know. Our job is to faithfully love the people God has given us to love, whether there are two or two hundred of them. If God sees we are ready to love others, he will bring them to us. God provides us the strength to do what he asks.


When we become Christians, we receive the Holy Spirit. God's presence in our lives is a proof that we really belong to him & gives us the power to love. If you lack assurance of your salvation, listen to the Holy Spirit within you (Romans 8:16).


The day of judgment is that final day when we will appear before Christ & be held accountable for our actions. We can look forward to the judgment, because it will mean the end of sin & the beginning of a face-to-face relationship with Jesus Christ.


If we ever begin to dear eternity, heaven, or God's judgment, we can remind ourselves of God's love. We can be confident of what lies ahead if in this life we have determined to be more like Jesus.


God's love is the source of all human love, & it spreads like fire. In turn, they love others, who are warmed by God's love through them.

Reference summary used from Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday - Christ Creates Holy Living - Galatians 5:18-6:10 - 2/26/17

Live each day controlled & guided by the Holy Spirit. Then the words of Christ will be in your mind, the love of Christ in your actions, & the power of Christ will help you control your selfish desires.


In order for us to follow the Holy Spirit's guidance, we must deal with them decisively (crucify them). These desires include obvious sins such as sexual immorality & witchcraft.


The Spirit produces character traits, which are found in the nature of Christ. The result will be that we will fulfill the intended purpose of the Law - loving God & man. Which of these qualities do you desire to produce in you?


Because the God who sent the Law also sent the Spirit, the by-products of the Spirit-filled life are in perfect harmony with the intent of God's Law.


When you do your very best, you feel good about the results & there is no need to compare yourself with others. When you are tempted to compare look at Jesus Christ. His example will inspire you to do your very best, & his loving acceptance will comfort you when you fall short of your goals.


It would be certainly be a surprise if you planted corn in the ground & pumpkins came up. Every actions has results. If you plant to please your own desires ("soweth to the flesh"), you'll reap a crop of sorrow & evil; if you plant to please God you'll reap joy & everlasting life.


It is discouraging to continue to do right & receive no word of thanks or see no tangible results. In due time, we will reap a harvest of blessing.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday - Practice Mutal Discipline - Matthew 18:15-20 - 2/24/17

These are Jesus' guidelines for dealing with those who sin against us. Jesus' words are not a license for a frontal attack on every person who hurts or slights us. They are designed to reconcile those who disagree so that all Christians can live in harmony.

By contrast, we should go to the person first, as difficult as that may be. Then we should forgive that person as often as he or she needs it.


Ideally, the church's decisions should be God-guided & based on discernment of his Word. Handling problems God's way will have an impact now & for eternity.


Jesus looks ahead to a new day when he will be present with his followers not in body, but through his Holy Spirit. Two or more believers, filled with the Holy Ghost, will pray according to God's will, not their own; & thus their requests will be granted.

Reference summary used from Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday - Gifts that Lead to Faithfulness - I Peter 1:3-9 - 2/22/17

The term "begotten again" or "born again" refers to spiritual birth - the Holy Spirit's act of bringing believers into God's family. Jesus used this term when he explained salvation to Nicodemus (John 3).


Our hope is not only for the future: eternal life begins when we believe in God & join his family. No matter what pain or trial we face in this life, we know it is not our final experience. One day we will live with Christ forever.


Christians now look forward to a family inheritance in the eternal city of God.


God will help us remain true to our faith, whatever difficult times we must face.


Peter mentions suffering several times in this letter 1:6,7,; 3:13-17; 4:12-19; 5:9. When he speaks of trials, he is not talking about natural disasters or God's punishments, but the response of an unbelieving world to people of faith. All believers face such trials such trials when they let their light shine into the darkness. Trials teach us patience & help us grow to be the kind of people God wants us to be.


As gold is heated, impurities float to the top & can be skimmed off. Likewise our trials, struggles, & persecutions strength our faith & make us useful to God.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illionis

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Monday - Walk in Newness of Life - Romans 6:1-11 - 2/20/17

This section deals with sanctification - the change God makes in our lives when we become Christians. Chapter 6 discusses the continuing struggle believers have with sin.


God forgiveness does not make sin less serious. The availability of God's mercy must not become an excuse for careless living & moral laxness.


In the church in the apostle Paul's day, immersion was the usual form of baptism - that is, new Christians were completely "buried" in water. They understood this form of baptism to symbolize the death & burial of the old way of life. Coming up out of the water symbolized resurrection to new life with Christ.


We can enjoy our new life in Christ because we are united ("planted") with him in his death & resurrection.


The power & penalty of sin died with Christ on the cross. Our "old man," our sinful nature, died once & for all, so we are freed from its power. The "body of sin" is not the human body, but our rebellious sin-loving nature inherited from Adam. The apostle Paul has already stated that through faith in Christ we stand acquitted, "not guilty" before God.


Because of Christ's death & resurrection, his followers need never fear death. This will affect all our activities - work & worship, play & Bible study, quiet times & times caring for others.


We are fully fenced off (because of our union & identification with Christ) from all the old ways of believing & behaving. We have a new start & the Holy Spirit will help us become in our daily experience what Christ has declared us to be.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday - Freedom in Christ - Galatians 5:1-17 - 2/19/17

Christ died to set us free from sin & from a long list of laws & regulations.


Trying to be saved by keeping the Law & being saved by grace are two different approaches.


We are saved by faith, not works, but love for others & for God is the response of those whom God has been forgiven.


It only takes one person to infect all the others by persuasion.


Persecution proved that the apostle Paul was preaching the true Gospel.


The "flesh" is not a reference to the body, but to the sinful nature that attempts to use our bodies to lead us into sin.


At the same time, you must beware of confusing your feelings with the Spirit's leading. Being led by the Holy Spirit involves the desire to hear, the readiness to obey God's Word, & the sensitivity to discern between your feelings & his promptings.


The Holy Spirit is infinitely stronger, but we are weak. Our only way to freedom from our natural evil desires is through the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday - Produce the Fruit of the Spirit - Galatians 5:22-16 - 2/18/17

The "fruit of the Spirit: is the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit in us. They are the by-products of Christ's control, & we can't obtain them by trying to get them. If we want the fruit of the Spirit to grow in us, we must join our lives to his. We must know him, love him, remember him, imitate him.


A person who is rich in the fruit of the Spirit fulfills the Law for better than a person who observes the rituals but has little love in his heart.


In order to accept Christ as Saviour, we need to turn from our sins & willingly nail our natural evil desires to the cross. As Christians we still have the capacity to sin, but we have been set free from sin's power over us & no longer have to give in to it. We must daily commit our sinful tendencies to God's control, daily crucify them, & moment by moment draw on the Spirit's power to overcome them.


As we live by the Holy Spirit's power, we need to submit every aspect of our lives to God - emotional, physical, social, intellectual, vocational. The Holy Spirit is the source of your new life, so walk with him.


Those who look to God for approval won't need to seek it from others.

Reference summary used from the Life Application KJV Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Saturday - Led by the Spirit of Christ - Romans 8:12-17 -2/11/17

"Mortify the deeds of the body" in verse thirteen means to put to death or regard as dead the power of sin in your body.


The apostle Paul uses adoption to illustrate the believer's new relationship with God. In Roman culture, the adopted person lost all rights in his old family & gained all the rights of a legitimate child in his new family. He became a full heir to his new father's estate. Likewise, when a person becomes a Christian, he gains all the privileges & responsibilities of a child in God's family. One of these outstanding privileges is being led by the Spirit. We may not always feel like we belong to God, but the Holy Spirit is our witness. His inward presence reminds us of who we are & encourages us with his love.


Because we are God's children, we share in great treasures as joint-heirs. God has already given us his best gifts: his Son, forgiveness, & eternal life; & he encourages us to ask him for whatever we need.


There is a price for being identified with Jesus. Along with the great treasures, the apostle Paul mentions the suffering that Christians must face. In many parts of today's world, Christians face pressure just as severe as those faced by Christ's first followers. Even in countries where Christianity is tolerated or encouraged Christians must not become complacent. Nothing we suffer however, can compare to the great price Jesus paid to save us.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Friday - The Spirit Brings Life - Romans 8:1-11 - 2/10/17

The "flesh" as used throughout this chapter refers not to our human bodies, but to the principle & power of sin. Sin is present & often operating in our body, not to be equaled with the body.


"Not guilty; let him go free"- what would those words mean to you if you were on death row? The fact is that the whole human race is on death row, justly condemned for repeatedly breaking God's holy Law. Without Jesus we would have no hope at all. But thank God! He has delivered us not guilty & has offered us freedom from sin & power to do his will.


The Spirit of life is the Holy Spirit. He was present at the creation of the world, & he is the power behind the rebirth of every Christian. He gives us the power we need to live the Christian life.


Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins. In Old Testament times, animal sacrifices were continually offered at the Temple. The sacrifices showed the Israelites the seriousness of sin: blood had to be shed before sins could be pardoned. But animal blood could not really remove sins. The sacrifices could only point to Jesus' sacrifice, which paid the penalty for all sins.


Daily we must consciously choose to center our lives lives on God. Use the Bible to discover God's guidelines, & then follow them. When the Holy Spirit points out what is right, do it eagerly.


A Christian is anyone who has the Spirit of God living in him. If you have sincerely trusted Christ for for your salvation & acknowledged him as Lord, then the Holy Spirit has come into your life, & you are a Christian. When the Holy Spirit is working within you, you will believe that Jesus Christ is God's Son & that eternal life comes through him; you will begin to act as Christ directs; you will find help in your daily problems & in your praying; you will be empowered to serve God & do his will; & you will become part of God's plan to build up his church.


The Holy Spirit is God's promise or guarantee of eternal life for those who believe in him. He is in us now by faith, & by faith we are certain to live with Christ forever.

Reference summary used from the Life Application KJV Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Monday - The Spirit Made You a Believer - Galatians 3:1-5 - 1/30/17

The Galatian believers had become fascinated by the false teachers arguments, almost as thou they had been bewitched. Magic was common in the apostle Paul day. Magicians used both illusions & Satan's power to perform miracles.


The believers in Galatia, many of whom may have been in Jerusalem at Pentecost & received the Holy Spirit there, knew they didn't receive God's Spirit by obeying the Jewish laws. We must realize that we grow spiritually because of God's work in us, not by following special rules.


The Galatians knew they received the Holy Spirit when they believed, not when they obeyed the Law.


The Holy Spirit gives Christians great power to live for God. Some Christians want more than this.

Reference summary used from the KJV Life Application Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois