Tag Archive | Holy Spirit

Fields white for harvest

 

‘Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.’ John 4:35

Suggested Further Reading: 3 John 5–12

Grind your sickles; you must go to work with such cutting truths as justification by faith, as the total ruin of mankind, as the hope that is laid up in the cross, as the energy of the Holy Spirit; and when you know these truths, and know how to use them, you shall then be made great reapers in the Master’s harvest. It is idle to say, ‘I will go,’ and then go with no tool in your hand. Get the truth; get a hold of it well, get it sharp and in good order, and who knows, under the blessing of God the Holy Spirit, what you may do! The next want of harvest is some close binders. When the wheat is cut down you must tie it up with sheaves. We want some of you who cannot preach, who cannot use the sickle, to go and gather up the wheat which falls under the sickle when it is used by others.

Invite them to come into church fellowship; talk to them, get them into union with the people of God. And if you happen to be in the church yourselves, try to keep the church knit together in love. Bind the sheaves together. We cannot have good harvest work without loving hands to bind the people of God in one. Then we want beside these some to take the sheaves home. The church of God is the barn; it is the Master’s garner here; he has another garner yonder on the hill-top in heaven, but here we want you to assist in bringing them into the church of Christ. When God has saved them, try if you can get them to practise the ordinances of God, and to be joined with his people. And we want some of you, if you cannot do anything yourselves either in reaping, or binding, or bringing the sheaves home, at least by kind words and loving speeches to bring refreshments to the reapers.

For meditation: There is a great mission-field to be harvested. What part do you play?—praying, labouring (Luke 10:2); sowing, reaping (John 4:36–38) or just sleeping (Proverbs 10:5)?

Sermon no. 706
29 July (1866)

 

Put Your Faith Where Your Action Is!

 

Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth 
Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead – (James 2:17, NIV).

Friend to Friend
I remember a time, back in 1993, when I was swept up in the whimsical world of wedding planning. Every detail mattered. I was excited to be marrying Brad Smith and I wanted our wedding day to be a magical springboard to a life filled with amazing adventures and deep years of God-centered love. From the cake choices – to the dress choices – to the music choices – to the guest list choices – to the bridal registry choices: I was all about the business of wedding prep!

The bride of Christ is purposed to be all about the Father’s business – to prep for eternity by making choices to bring Him glory throughout our days; to intentionally worship the Lord through our service. As daughters of God, we are called to connect our believing to our behaving; our convictions to our conversations; our lip-service to our life-service.

The Biblical mandate for each believer is this: put your faith where your action is. “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17).

Hear me out here. Service is not the key to gaining salvation. Salvation comes by faith in Christ alone (Romans 10:9-10). Service is, however, essential for the believer as a response to her salvation. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

No matter who you are or what your platform is in life, the truth remains that whatever you do and say is being watched. Everyone emanates something. A radiant Christian woman – a radiant bride of Christ – emanates the saltiness and light of Jesus through her life; displayed through the things she does and doesn’t do. Through things she says or doesn’t say.

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16, NIV).

Today, I pray that you are spurred on to be a woman of action for Christ – no matter what the circumstances of your life or the complexities of your relationships may be. From your word choices – to your tone choices – to your television choices – to your music choices – to your service choices – to your activity choices … be all about your Father’s business. Go in His strength, and put your faith where your action is.

Let’s Pray 
Holy Father, I pray that You will help my actions to line up with Your perfect will. Help me to be Your hands and feet to those around me. Shine through my actions so others might be drawn to Your healing hope.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn 
What does your life radiate? What are your actions saying about your faith? Are you salty for Christ in what you do and say? Spend a few moments reflecting on this and then spend some time in prayer.

How can you serve someone today? Perhaps God is leading you to bless someone in your household … or someone in your church … or someone in your neighborhood.

Could you reach out to a single mom, a family member, a widow, or a hurting friend? Ask God to direct you to opportunities to put your faith into action in the lives of others.

Got some great ideas about this? I would love to hear about them! Visit my Facebook page and tell me all about it: http://www.Facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic.

More from the Girlfriends 
Trust me, friend, in no way am I trying to place the burden of “you-must-do-more-things-in-order-to-please-God” on you. I just want to encourage you to make the most of every choice and every action. If you are drained and weary and can’t imagine being able to give anyone anything right now, get alone with God. His presence and His Spirit will strengthen you for each moment.

NEED HELP in putting your actions where your faith is? Gwen’s book, Broken Into Beautiful, will take you by the hand and shows you how God delights to transform lives. Yes. Even yours!! To order the book, go to Amazonor visit the store on Gwen’s website: www.gwensmith.net.

 

The Holy Spirit

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. EPHESIANS 5:18, NIV

When I was a little boy growing up, I remember people in our church referring to the Holy Spirit as the “Holy Ghost.” For a long time I had this image in my mind of the Holy Ghost being something like Casper the Friendly Ghost, floating through walls like a puff of smoke.

I was also wrong about something else: I used to refer to the Holy Ghost as an “it”—as if He were some kind of impersonal machine or space alien. But the Holy Ghost that Jesus talked about is a living, active, personal being, sent to glorify Christ as well as to be our Counselor, Advisor, Advocate, Defender, Director, Encourager and Guide.

If you are interested in living life the way Jesus promised—and if you want a marriage where the two of you are growing spiritually—then a good understanding of the Holy Spirit is vital. Being “filled with the Spirit” is not just a suggestion but a clear command of Scripture. What Paul wrote to the Ephesians in the above verse means being controlled by Him in much the same way that alcohol controls a person’s mind and actions.

When we’re angry with each other about something, for instance, being filled with the Spirit enables us to control our tempers and impatience. He keeps us from saying things we’ll later regret. He battles the selfishness within us, bringing our hearts under His authority and bending our wills to God’s.

We don’t always let Him win, of course. We still fail Him far too often. But every time we submit ourselves to His control, He grows in us the character traits that please Him and bless our spouses. “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

DISCUSS

What have you learned about the Holy Spirit? How much of your understanding of Him has been inaccurate over the years?

PRAY

Pray for hearts that are constantly cleaned and confessed, leaving ample room for the Spirit to dwell in.

A Preacher from the Dead

 

“And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:31

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Samuel 28:3-19

Spirit that hath returned from another world, tell me, how are men judged? Why are they condemned? Why are they saved? I hear him say, “Men are condemned because of sin. Read the ten commandments of Moses, and you will find the ten great condemnations whereby men are for ever cut off.” I knew that before, bright Spirit; thou hast told me nothing! “No,” says he, “and nothing can I tell.” “Because I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was sick, and ye visited me not; I was in prison, and ye came not unto me; therefore, inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it not to me. Depart, ye cursed!” “Why, Spirit, was that the word of the king?” “It was” says he. “I have read that too; thou hast told me no more.”

If you do not know the difference between right and wrong from reading the Scripture, you would not know it if a spirit should tell you; if you do not know the road to hell and the road to heaven from the Bible itself, you would never know it at all. No book could be more clear, no revelation more distinct, no testimony more plain. And since without the agency of the Spirit, these testimonies are insufficient for salvation, it follows that no further declaration would avail. Salvation is ascribed wholly to God, and man’s ruin only to man. What more could a spirit tell us, than a distinct declaration of these two great truths.—“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help found!” Beloved, we do solemnly say again, that Holy Scripture is so perfect, so complete, that it cannot want the supplement of any declaration concerning a future state. All that you ought to know concerning the future you may know from Holy Scripture.

For meditation: The rich man in the account (not called a parable) given by Jesus was full of false doctrine—praying to a saint, seeking some kind of second chance after death, rejecting the sufficiency of Scripture (Luke 16:24,30). Note the place from which these doctrines come (1 Timothy 4:1; James 3:15).

Sermon no. 143
26 July (1857)

 

From death to life

 

‘The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.’ 1 Samuel 2:6

Suggested Further Reading: John 14:4–11

I heard the other day a trembling woman—I hope she will yet be rejoicing in the Lord—I heard her saying she was afraid she never should be saved, and I told her I was afraid so too, for she would not believe in Christ, but was always raising questions, and doubts, and peradventures. Well, she said, she did not know whether the Lord had begun a good work in her. I told her I did not know that either, and that I did not enquire about it; I knew what the gospel said, and that was, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’ But she said, perhaps it was not God’s time.

I said, ‘Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’ Ah! she said, but she could not believe. I asked her why she could not believe. Could she not believe what Christ said? Was he a liar? Could she dare to say that she could not believe her God? Well, she did not exactly mean that, but then there were her sins. But, said I, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ Well, she said, she hoped she should have the strivings of the Spirit, and that one day she should get right. ‘My sister,’ said I, ‘I charge you before God, do not get any hope out of that; your business is to come to Christ and to come to Christ now; but if you stop anywhere short of that, in any sort of feelings or experience, then you will never get to your journey’s end.’ A believing sinner’s business is with Jesus and not with the Spirit’s operations. The Spirit works salvation in him, but he is nowhere bidden to look to the Spirit for salvation. No man can come to the Father but by Christ.

For meditation: The fact that we cannot ‘save ourselves’ but have to ‘be saved’ is no excuse for anyone to sit back and hope for the best. God has revealed to us the way to be saved—by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 16:16; John 3:16–17; Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8) —and that step of faith is commanded, not suggested (Acts 16:30–31).

Sermon no. 523
26 July (1863)

 

Groundbreaker

by: Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of July 22, 2012

“The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, ‘He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming! Clear the road for Him!'”  -Mark 1:6

Has God ever spoken to you to step up and do something outside of your comfort zone? You may have said, “Yes, Lord,” only to find yourself alone in the journey? Did no one else understand what you were doing or what you were going through—when you were in the midst—except you and God? Was the assignment difficult? Did it even look and feel impossible? Did you have to press forward against the odds? Did you endure persecution? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you could be a groundbreaker.

Groundbreakers are more than influencers. They are transformers through the power of God. They run ahead of the pack. They are forerunners, spiritual bulldozers. They clear the path for others to enter. They confront giants on battlefields and co-labor with God to do the physical work, even when no one else shows up.

Groundbreakers are tenacious people who intentionally choose to step out in great faith for the Lord. They are the people who love God so much they will do anything for Him. They are the ones God assigns to His new movements to get the job done. They are carriers of God’s vision, purpose and commitment. And, by God’s enduring grace, they can handle the aloneness and the burdens of the mission.

Groundbreakers receive revelations and understand that others will see God’s vision manifested in His time. They move forward in obedience and confidence unto the Lord. They work unto Him, not man. And they know their rewards come from God.

Modern day groundbreakers look like entrepreneurs, inventors, church planters, missionaries and other ordinary people who are assigned by God to do powerful ventures. They take new ground, pressing through resistance, witnessing God’s extraordinary miracles and manifestations on earth as it is in heaven.

Probably one of the most obvious groundbreakers in the Bible was John the Baptist. God chose John to prepare the way for Jesus’ ministry on earth. John was Jesus’ cousin and champion, the quintessential forerunner. God consecrated this man—who had a heart for Jesus on a blood level—and enabled him to handle the aloneness journey, as is evident by his desert existence. I wonder what exactly happened to John when he leaped in Elizabeth’s womb (Luke 1:41). We know he was filled with the Holy Spirit, as was Elizabeth; but what would he have shared with us if he could’ve spoken about this very early and extraordinary encounter? John was destined for great exploits, commissioned for God’s assignments, a great adventurer, one who could handle solitude.

The Bible is full of groundbreakers. Consider Moses, who led a nation out of slavery. Consider Abraham, who entered into the unknown and became the father of all nations. Consider Joshua who reclaimed the Promised Land, battling giants so that others could be reconciled and live peaceably.

Getting inspired? How is God using you? What is God calling you to do? To love Him with all your heart, soul and strength (Luke 10:27)? To love your neighbor as yourself? To go into all the world and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19)?

You can begin right where you are. Choose to trust God. Surrender your life to Him. Invite Jesus into your heart. Choose to keep Him first in your life. Ask Him where He would like you to go and how He would like to use you to build His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. He will take you to new heights and lead you to new adventures. He will issue you assignments that will feel bigger than you. And the Holy Spirit will help you complete them His way. The rewards will be far better than you can choose to accomplish alone. Are you ready to step out more for God?