Day Four: Changed Together!

1 Peter 2:9-10 – “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

“In us and in our communities the Spirit is at work and reproducing the very life of God, so that in our present between-the-times existence, we might live the life of the future, toward which we are walking. This is what lies behind Paul’s command in Philippians 1:27, wherein a wordplay of the fact that Philippi was a Roman colony, whose free people were therefore citizens of Rome, Paul urges them to live out their heavenly citizenship in Philippi in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.  Picking up this same imagery again in 3:20 he says that “our citizenship is in heaven.” God’s people in Philippi were in effect a “colony of heaven” in this colony of Rome. Paul’s point is that if people are to see what heaven is to be like, they should see it now in the way the heavenly citizens live their life together. Obviously, only the Spirit of the living God can pull that off! But that is what it is all about.” (G. Fee, Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God.  Kindle Locations 2105-2106)

Today pray for your church and ministry group, asking that we will become the heavenly colony in this world.

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Three: Changed By The Resurrection!

John 20:24-29 – Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ”Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, ”Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, ”Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

“Life in the power of the Resurrection is no simple and happy life, Without complexity or pain. How did Jesus writes to be our pledge, example, and prototype? When Jesus appeared to Thomas after the resurrection, he did not simply show Thomas healed and antiseptic scars. To Thomas he said, “Put your finger here; here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving anymore; but believe.”

“Jesus rose from the dead in the joy of the Resurrection, and yet he did not cease to be who he had been at the worst moment of his death. He rose with his wounds. In much the same way, as we grow into the image of the resurrected Jesus, our pledge, example, and prototype, we also rise with our wounds. We, too, find that a resurrection in God is not a denial or disparagement of our wounds and vulnerability. It is not a sloughing off of our own past, no matter how painful and full of brokenness our past has been. The resurrection is not an abandonment of the cross but the incorporation of the suffering of the cross into the resurrection itself.

“As we bring to the life of prayer all that has ever happened to us, we find that nothing finally is wasted. Rather than casting off unwanted parts of ourselves, we find instead that childhood pain, adult humiliation, experiences of joy, our own treacheries, confusion, loss-all are gathered in and somehow healed and transformed. We become able to look at our own past with love. Where we saw before only wasteland of pain, now we see rich farmlands sown and watered by God’s grace, bearing crops that become for us the very means of our love.”  (R. Bondi, To Love and to Pray, Kindle Locations 1788-1789)

Today, in light of Jesus’ resurrection power and reality, pray over your past hurts, mistakes, wounds, and experience Jesus’ own nail scarred hands bring healing and life into you.

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

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.”

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

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.

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

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)



FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

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)

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

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)



FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

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.

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

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)



FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

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!



FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail