Day Two: Freedom To Change

Romans 6:12-14 (MSG) – “That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time-remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!-into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.”

“Can the Holy Spirit really change a life from the inside and break the power and defilement of sin? Allow me to share a true-life testimony of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. While Chuck is known internationally as a conference speaker, author and prayer leader, many don’t know his background. His father was an alcoholic and gambler who gambled away the family’s sizable inheritance. While his mother struggled to hold the family together, his dad drifted from one adulterous relationship to another. As Chuck moved into his teenage years, his father subjected him to increasingly severe levels of emotional and physical abuse.

As a pastor, I have found that people who have endured heavy abuse are often scarred for life. Abused children become angry adults filled with bitterness and resentment, and they often become trapped in the same lifestyle practice by the parents that abused them.  Chuck’s background was as bad as that of anyone I’ve known, yet somehow Chuck escaped this destructive cycle.  How did Chuck escape the defilement of this background and go onto become a godly Christian leader? Although Chuck came to know Jesus as a child, by the time he graduated from high school he had already begun to follow the destructive example of his father. Even though he hated the things his father had done, Chuck found himself doing much of the same. He pursued a path of destruction for 18 months until he finally suffered a physical collapse and ended in the hospital with double pneumonia.  By the grace of God Chuck was put in a room with a Pentecostal preacher for two weeks. In the hospital room, Chuck read The cross and the switchblade and then he began to read the Bible. As he read the Bible, God began to speak to him. There came a point when God came down into the hospital room and gave Chuck this promise: “I will restore to you that which you have lost.” As Chuck continued to read the word, God began to turn his life around.

When Chuck was 24 years old, God took him to Romans 6:14 where he read “sin shall not have dominion over you.” Chuck determined from that point not to rationalize his sin or excuse it any longer. He would submit to the Lord and allow God to bring his life into obedience to the word. Since that day for the last 25 years, Chuck has read through the entire Bible at least once, sometimes twice each year. He rises early in the morning, and daily saturates his mind with God’s word. As Chuck reads the word, he is committed to obeying what God tells him. God has told Chuck to do some difficult things, and to give up things that were very precious to him. But the result has been that the Holy Spirit has had great freedom to produce the character of Christ within his heart. The vicious cycle of sin and destruction was broken from Chuck’s life.

People who hear chuck minister frequently ask how the power and revelation of God flows freely through him. The answer is that Chuck has allowed the Holy Spirit to transform his life and produce in him a purified vessel. That’s what the Spirit desires to accomplish in every believer. The Holy Spirit is always ready to do his work in our lives. He is looking for men and women who yield their lives to him with repentant hearts and feed their spirits the food of his word, so that the transforming work of the Spirit can be accomplished. If you are spending time in the word of God, searching it with a humble heart and allowing the Spirit to supply it to your life, you will grow from being a weak Christian to becoming a Spirit-filled Christian.” (R. Heidler, Experiencing the Spirit, 76-78)

Today, spend time in prayer as you say the words “Holy Spirit, have your full way with me – in my past, in my present, and in my future.”


Day One: Change That Lasts

Matthew 13:8-9,23 – “Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop-a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear…But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Today’s passage speaks of transformation that lasts, much like a seed that falls on good soil and produces a crop that yields up to a 100-fold. For today’s transmission, watch the following video where Louis Zamperini (whose life story was depicted in the movie Unbroken, 2014), shares of his transformation experience.

Today, spend time in prayer asking that you will experience transformation that lasts.


Day Five: “Christianity is Hopeless Without the Spirit”

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…” (Acts 1:8)

“[The early church] was made up of simple men and women. The leaders were former fishermen and tax collectors who fled in fear… they lacked faith and courage. They were the least likely to be put in charge of any Christian enterprise. Yet after the events in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit is poured out, those same nobodies were suddenly transformed. With courage and faith, they turned their community, and eventually the world, upside down. That wasn’t due to their seminary training; they didn’t have any training. They couldn’t hand out copies of the New Testament, because it hadn’t been written yet. It wasn’t because they were wealthy and had the greatest sound system and light show at their church. They were poor people without a church building. In fact, the Christian church didn’t get its first public building for about three hundred years. To the existing Jewish religious establishment, those early Christians were mocked as unlearned and ignorant people with few resources. To the Roman Empire they seemed fanatical and strange. But one thing they did possess was the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them to rely on the Spirit for everything, including impromptu speech. To paraphrase, he said, ‘Don’t even prepare what you’ll say when you’re in high-pressure situations, because when you open your mouth, it will be given to you. The Father will give it to you through the Holy Spirit. You’ll just know what to say’ (Mark 13:11). The early believers knew all too well that Christianity was hopeless without the Holy Spirit.”  (J. Cymbala, Spirit Rising, Kindle Locations 334-339)


Day Four: “Your Fate Has Been Sealed”

“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)” (Romans 8:9)

“All of God’s children have God’s seal on them. In a word: all who have saving faith are sealed with the Holy Spirit. ‘God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his”‘ (2 Tim. 2:19). First, He authenticates us. We have been given authority to become sons of God (John 1:12). Second, He owns us. We are not our own; we are bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20). Indeed, God ’set his seal of ownership on us’ (2 Cor. 1:22). Third, the seal of God on us guarantees our safety. ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways’ (Ps. 91:11). Fourth, there is nothing greater than having the approval of one whose power, authority, and integrity matters. Timothy had Paul’s approval. ‘I have no one else like him’ …he ‘proved himself’ (Phil. 2:20, 22). Finally, our eternal destiny is sealed. Paul said, ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption’ (Eph. 4:30).

… As for those who have not experienced this [assurance of salvation]-but eagerly want it-Dr. Lloyd-Jones had this to say (quoting Thomas Goodwin)… Don’t give up. Hold God to His own Word. One should remind God of His own promise: Don’t give up ‘until you know you have the life of God in your soul…’”  (R.T. Kendall, Holy Fire, Kindle Locations 1078-1079)


Day Three: “Why the Holy Spirit Wants to Live in You!”

“…[God] has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.” (2 Corinthians 1:22)

“…H.A. Ironside was preaching on a busy street corner…when a well-dressed man walked up and began to ridicule and jeer. Ironside recognized the heckler as a university professor and a well-known and vocal atheist… He criticized the Bible and labeled Christians as ignorant fools… Finally, the man shouted, ‘I challenge you to a debate! Are you afraid to debate me?’

…’I accept your challenge sir… but on one condition! When you come to the debate…bring with you ten men and women whose lives have been changed for the better by the message of atheism! …And when I come, I will gladly bring with me two hundred men and women…whose lives have been transformed…by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ!’

As the professor heard Ironside’s challenge, he stopped his jeering, turned and walked away…

In my church today, I can point out person after person who has been hopeless, rebellious and immoral …alcoholics and drug addicts; women who have had abortions; [people who were] enslaved by pornography…ensnared in witchcraft and the occult…so full of despair… Yet as you look at these people today, they are godly, responsible individuals …and every one of them will tell you that what changed their lives was a relationship with Jesus Christ… And He does it through the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. The indwelling Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus living in the hearts of His people, sent to give them new hope, new love, new peace, new joy and new direction.” (R. Heidler, Experiencing the Spirit, pp. 45 ff)


Day Two: “I Have Done for You More Than They”

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)

“[The Holy Spirit] doesn’t add anything to what Jesus has already said and instituted, but he makes all that Jesus has said and done alive, today. This is who the Holy Spirit is meant to be. The one who accomplishes, who realizes, who re-enacts the work of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is a relationship, a person… There can’t be a more rewarding experience than to experience the Holy Spirit.” (R. Cantalamessa, Alpha Film Series)

“The fire of Christ’s love on the cross has not burnt out. It is not something of the past, of two thousand years ago, of which only the memory lives on. It exists now; it is alive… Jesus has run out of signs for his love. There is nothing more he can do to show his love, for there is no greater sign than to give one’s life. But he has run out of signs for his love, not of love itself. Now his love is entrusted to a special sign, a different one, a sign that is real, a Person: the Holy Spirit. ‘God’s love’-the love we now know-’has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit’ (Rom 5.5). It is therefore a living and real love, just as the Holy Spirit is living and real.” (R. Cantalamessa, The Fire of Christ’s Love, p. 34)

Ask for a greater experience of God’s love. Pray, sing and worship as God pours out his love into your hearts through the Holy Spirit.


Day One: “I’ve Got Jesus. Why Do I Need the Spirit?”

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever-the Spirit of truth…” (John 14:16-17a)

“Have you ever thought about the significance of having ‘another’ Counselor who is ‘just like’ Christ [cf. John 14.16]? Right now, imagine what it would be like to have Christ standing beside you in the flesh, functioning as your personal Counselor… That sounds amazing, and none of us could deny the benefit of having Jesus here physically, guiding and enabling us every step of the way. Yet why do we assume that this would be any better than the literal presence of the Holy Spirit? …When the disciples heard that two thousand years ago, I’m sure it was hard for them to grasp. How could it be better to trade a human Jesus…for a Spirit they couldn’t physically see? …But what do we do with the fact that Jesus says it is better for His followers to have the Holy Spirit? Do we believe Him?

“Take a moment and ask yourself… When was the last time I undeniably saw the Spirit at work in or around me? If it was recently… Thank God for His active presence in your life… If you are having trouble recounting a time when the Spirit was at work in or around you, perhaps that is because you have been ignoring the Spirit. Perhaps it is because you have a lot of head knowledge about the Spirit, but not much of a relationship with Him.” (F. Chan, Forgotten God, Kindle Location 293 ff)


Day Five: Participation Counts

“Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”(Galatians 5:25)

“If the Spirit is a person, how do we relate to Him? …a relationship between any two people involves mutual interaction. They communicate with each other. They experience each other… The Bible is our instruction manual for the Christian life, written to teach us how to live in relationship with God. The people given in the Bible as examples of how to walk with God were people who actually experienced God. They didn’t just know about God; they interacted with Him… Their lives involved constant two-way communication with the Spirit of God. In fact, the only model the Bible gives us for walking with God is an experiential model. Much of the Bible is a record of experiences with God…” (R. Heidler, Experiencing the Spirit, pp. 40 ff)

People in the Bible came alive to God through the Spirit (Gal 3.3)

They walked through life by the Spirit (Gal 5.25)

They experienced the Holy Spirit’s power (1 Cor 5.4)

They recognized His healings and miracles (Acts 2 ff.)

They heard His voice and directions (Acts 13.2)

They were taught by the Spirit (John 16.13)

They were encouraged by the Spirit (Rom 9.1)

They were compelled by the Spirit (Acts 20.22)

They were warned by the Spirit (Acts 20.23)

They were led by the Spirit (Acts 16.7)

They exercised the Spirit’s gifts (1 Cor 12.7)

They matured because of the Spirit (Gal 5.22-23)

They were transformed by the Spirit (2 Cor 3.18)

(Adapted from R. Heidler , Experiencing the Spirit)

Pray to, listen to, experience and interact with the Spirit today!


Day Four: Deep End

“…these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor 2:10-11)

“The Spirit is most frequently spoken of in terms of agency-that is, the Spirit is the agent of God’s activity… the Spirit is not thought of as ‘it,’ but as ‘person.’” (G.D. Fee, Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God, p.26)

The Spirit reveals God’s deep thoughts and wisdom (1 Cor 2:10)

He knows the mind of God (1 Cor 2:11)

He teaches the content of the gospel to believers (1 Cor 2:13)

He dwells within and among believers (Rom 8.11; 1 Cor 3:16)

He executes God’s plans (1 Cor 12:11)

He gives life to those who believe (2 Cor 3:6)

He cries out from within our hearts (Gal 4:6)

He leads us in the ways of God (Rom 8:14; Gal 5:18)

He bears witness with our own spirits (Rom 8:16)

He has desires that oppose our selfishness (Gal 5:17)

He helps us in our weakness (Rom 8:26)

He intercedes on our behalf (Rom 8:26-27)

He works all things together for our ultimate good (Rom 8:28)

He strengthens believers with power (Eph 3:16)

He is grieved by our lack of love for one another (Eph 4:30)

(Adapted from G.D. Fee, Paul, the Spirit and the People of God, p.27)

Pray and ask the Spirit to take you deeper into God’s truth and love.


Day Three: Making Moves

“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16.7)

“The Christian church was born through the power of the Spirit. As we read…the book of Acts and the epistles of the New Testament, we see a picture of the early church the way God intended it to be. ‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer’ (2:42). Here was a community of believers who freely loved the Word of God and were devoted to the apostles’ teaching…

“They shared with one another the deep love the Spirit had put in their hearts. They also became bold witnesses for Christ, filled with wisdom beyond their training. Their hearts were full of the Holy Spirit, and they experienced surprises as God did things that no one could anticipate. Not only had the Holy Spirit been sent to earth, but he was also moving. He acted in and through his people-he demonstrated his power to glorify Christ. The early church experienced him moving in their hearts and in their lives…

“Is the Holy Spirit moving like that in our lives? And in our churches? Many people find it easy to relate to God the Father and Jesus the Son, but when it comes to the role of the Spirit in their lives, they don’t have a clear picture of who he is or what he does. Do you ever feel that way? What about your life and your church?” (J. Cymbala, Spirit Rising, Kindle Locations 307-311)