Tag Archives: holy spirit

Charles Spurgeon – None but Jesus

CharlesSpurgeon

“He that believeth on him is not condemned.” John 3:18

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 12:5-11

You are never liable as a believer to punishment for your sins. You will be chastised on account of them, as a father chastises his child; that is part of the gospel dispensation; but you will not be smitten for your sins as the lawgiver smites the criminal. Your Father may often punish you as he punished the wicked, but never for the same reason. The ungodly stand on the ground of their own demerits; their sufferings are awarded as their due deserts. But your sorrows do not come to you as a matter of desert; they come to you as a matter of love. God knows that in one sense your sorrows are such a privilege that you may account of them as a boon you do not deserve. I have often thought of that when I have had a sore trouble. I know some people say, “You deserved the trouble.” Yes, my dear brethren, but there is not enough merit in all the Christians put together, to deserve such a good thing as the loving rebuke of our heavenly Father. Perhaps you cannot see that; you cannot think that a trouble can come to you as a real blessing in the covenant. But I know that the rod of the covenant is as much the gift of grace as the blood of the covenant. It is not a matter of merit; it is given to us because we need it. But I question whether we were ever so good as to deserve it. We were never able to get up to so high a standard as to deserve so rich, so gracious a providence as this covenant blessing—the rod of our chastening God.

For meditation: When disciplined by his heavenly Father, the Christian is experiencing a beatitude (Job 5:17; Psalm 94:12)!

Sermon no. 362

27 October (Preached 17 February 1861)

Joyce Meyer – Step out to Find out

Joyce meyer

The plans of the mind and orderly thinking belong to man, but from the Lord comes the [wise] answer of the tongue. —Proverbs 16:1

We often find it difficult to trust what we believe may be direction from the Lord. It is not that we distrust Him, but we distrust our ability to hear from Him.

I eventually found that I had to take a step of faith, and then I would find out by experience how to recognize the leadership of the Holy Spirit. “Step out and find out” is what I always say. As we are learning to be led by the Holy Spirit, we are bound to make a few mistakes, but God always helps us get back on the right track, and we learn from our mistakes.

The process of learning to be led by God is no different from the process that babies go through when learning to walk. They all fall down in the process, but as long as they get up and try again, eventually they will end up not only walking, but also running at full speed.

James, chapter 1, begins by telling us how to handle the trials of life. There is a natural way of handling problems, but there is also a spiritual way to handle them: If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. (James 1:5–6)

Jesus is saying here, “If you are having trouble, ask God what you should do.” You may not receive an answer immediately upon making your request, but you will find as you go about your business that God’s wisdom is operating through you and His wisdom is divine and beyond your natural knowing.

Trust in Him If you are having trouble trusting your ability to hear from God, “step out and find out!” Learning to discern God’s voice is a process. Even if you fall down, you can trust Him to help you find your way again.

Charles Stanley – The Power of the Holy Spirit

Charles Stanley

Acts 1:1-5

The week before He would die by crucifixion, Jesus talked to His disciples about what was to come: After His resurrection, they would receive a Counselor—the Holy Spirit—who’d be with them forever (John 14:16). He would indwell each believer, providing His power to make it possible to live a victorious Christian life. The Lord will also empower us with His divine strength if we cultivate certain Christlike qualities:

  • Purity of heart. Prior to our salvation, sin separated us from the Father. When we received Jesus as Savior, God washed us clean (Titus 3:5), clothed us in Christ’s righteousness, and purified us so we could become His people (2:14). Now, our part is to pursue holiness so we can become more like the Lord. Regular confession of our ungodly thoughts and actions brings forgiveness and purifies us from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
  • Obedient spirit. Before we were adopted into God’s family, our nature was in rebellion against His authority. But since trusting in Christ, we have both freedom from sin’s power over us and the ability to choose obedience. While we will live imperfectly, the Lord looks to see if our minds and hearts are committed to following Him. Our sincere effort to obey Him brings a release of His power as we carry out His work.

When we make holiness a priority and demonstrate obedience to the Lord, we’ll receive supernatural strength to choose righteousness. Each day, we will be filled with power as we confess any areas of sin (Ps. 51:1-2, 10), maintain our commitment to God, and follow the Spirit’s lead.

Joyce Meyer – The Spirit of Holiness

Joyce meyer

And [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness was openly designated the Son of God in power [in a striking, triumphant and miraculous manner] by His resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord (the Messiah, the Anointed One).—Romans 1:4

Today’s verse refers to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Holiness. He is called by this name because He is the holiness of God and because it is His job to work that holiness in everyone who believes in Jesus Christ as Savior.

God wants and instructs us to be holy (see 1 Peter 1:15–16). He would never tell us to be holy without giving us the help we need to make us that way. An unholy spirit could never make us holy. So God sends His Spirit into our hearts to do a complete and thorough work in us.

In Philippians 1:6, Paul teaches us that God, Who began a good work in us, is well able to complete that work and bring it to its finish. The Holy Spirit will continue to work in us as long as we are alive on this Earth. God hates sin, and anytime He finds it in us, He quickly works to cleanse us of it.

This fact alone explains why we need the Holy Spirit living inside of us. He is there not only to lead and guide us through this life, but also to immediately work in cooperation with the Father to remove from us anything that is displeasing to Him. He will both speak to us about the things that need to change so we can grow in holiness and empower us to make the changes we need to make.

Alistair Begg – Jesus’ Sweet Voice

Alistair Begg

Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?  Luke 24:38

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God?'”1 The Lord cares for everything, and the smallest creatures share in His universal providence, but His particular providence is over His saints. “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him.”2 “Precious is their blood in his sight.”3 “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”4 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”5 Let the fact that He is the Savior of all men but is specially the Savior of those who believe cheer and comfort you.

You are His peculiar care, His royal treasure that He guards as the apple of His eye, His vineyard over which He watches day and night. “Even the hairs of your head are all numbered.”6 Let the thought of His special love to you be a spiritual painkiller, a soothing balm to your woe: “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”7 God says that just as much to you as to any saint of old. “Fear not . . . I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”8 We lose much consolation by the habit of reading His promises for the whole Church instead of taking them directly home for ourselves.

Believer, grasp the divine Word with a personal, appropriating faith. Imagine that you hear Jesus say, “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.”9 Imagine you see Him walking on the water of your trouble, for He is there, and He is saying, “Do not fear—it is I.” These are sweet words of Christ! May the Holy Spirit make you feel them as if they were spoken to you; forget others for a while—accept the voice of Jesus as addressed to you and say, “Jesus whispers consolation; I cannot refuse it; I will sit under His shadow with great delight.”10

1) Isaiah 40:27   2) Psalm 34:7   3) Psalm 72:14   4) Psalm 116:15   5) Romans 8:28    6) Matthew 10:30   7) Hebrews 13:5   8) Genesis 15:1   9) Luke 22:32   10) Seon Song of Solomn 2:3

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The family reading plan for October 21, 2014 * Daniel 6 * Psalm 112, 113

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Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Are Indwelt by God Himself!

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“Haven’t you yet learned that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that He lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

The Bible teaches that there is one God manifested in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and that God lives within everyone who has received Christ.

One of the most important truths I have learned as a Christian is that this omnipotent, holy, righteous, loving, triune God – our heavenly Father, our risen Savior and Holy Spirit, Creator of heaven and earth – comes to dwell within sinful man at the moment he receives Christ! And, through Christ’s blood, sinful man is made righteous at the moment of the new birth!

Meditate with me upon what this means. When you fully grasp that the God of love, grace, wisdom, power and majesty dwells within you waiting to release His matchless love and mighty power is absolutely awesome.

You are His temple, and if you invite Him to, He will actually walk around in your body, think with your mind, love with your heart, speak with your lips and continue to seek and save the lost, for whom He gave His life 2,000 years ago. Incredible! Incomprehensible to our finite minds, this truth is so clearly emphasized in the Word of God and demonstrated in the lives of all who trust and obey Him that there can be no doubt. If you have received Christ, God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – now indwells you and your body has become His temple.

Bible Reading: Acts 2:37-40

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will begin every day by acknowledging that my body is a temple of God. I will invite the Lord Jesus Christ to walk around in my body, think with my mind, love with my heart, speak with my lips and continue to seek and save the lost through me. I will invite the Holy Spirit to empower and enable me to live a holy, supernatural life and be a fruitful witness of God’s love and grace – that my life will bring praise, honor, worship and glory to God the Father.

Alistair Begg – The Holy Spirit’s Role

Alistair Begg

The Helper, the Holy Spirit.   John 14:26

This age is peculiarly the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, in which Jesus cheers us not by His personal presence, as He will do soon enough, but by the indwelling and constant abiding of the Holy Spirit, who is forever the Comforter of the church. It is the Spirit’s role to console the hearts of God’s people. He convinces of sin; He illumines and instructs; but the main part of His work still lies in gladdening the hearts of the renewed, confirming the weak, and lifting up all those who are bowed down. He does this by revealing Jesus to them. The Holy Spirit consoles, but Christ is the consolation.

If we may use the figure, the Holy Spirit is the Physician, but Jesus is the medicine. He heals the wound, but it is by applying the holy ointment of Christ’s name and grace. He does not take of His own things, but of the things of Christ. So if we give to the Holy Spirit the Greek name of Paraclete, as we sometimes do, then our heart confers on our blessed Lord Jesus the title of Paraclesis. If one is the Comforter, the other is the Comfort.

Now, with such rich provision for his need, why should the Christian be sad and despondent? The Holy Spirit has graciously committed to be your Comforter: Do you imagine, weak and trembling believer, that He will neglect this sacred trust? Do you suppose that He has undertaken what He cannot or will not perform? If it is His special work to strengthen you and to comfort you, do you suppose He has forgotten His business or that He will fail in fulfilling His loving task of sustaining you? Don’t think so poorly of the tender and blessed Spirit whose name is the Comforter.

He delights to give the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Trust in Him, and He will surely comfort you until the house of mourning is closed forever, and the marriage feast has begun.

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The family reading plan for October 12, 2014 * Ezekiel 45 * Psalm 99, 100, 101

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Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Charles Spurgeon –  Grieving the Holy Spirit

CharlesSpurgeon

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30

Suggested Further Reading: Isaiah 63:7-19

The Spirit of God is in your heart, and it is very, very easy indeed to grieve him. Sin is as easy as it is wicked. You may grieve him by impure thoughts. He cannot bear sin. If you indulge in lascivious expressions, or even if you allow imagination to dote upon any lascivious act, or if your heart goes after covetousness, if you set your heart upon anything that is evil, the Spirit of God will be grieved, for thus I hear him speaking of himself. “I love this man, I want to have his heart, and yet he is entertaining these filthy lusts. His thoughts, instead of running after me, and after Christ, and after the Father, are running after the temptations that are in the world through lust.” And then his Spirit is grieved. He sorrows in his soul because he knows what sorrow these things must bring to our souls. We grieve him yet more if we indulge in outward acts of sin. Then is he sometimes so grieved that he takes his flight for a season, for the dove will not dwell in our hearts if we take loathsome carrion in there. A cleanly being is the dove, and we must not strew the place which the dove frequents with filth and mire; if we do he will fly elsewhere. If we commit sin, if we openly bring disgrace upon our religion, if we tempt others to go into iniquity by our evil example, it is not long before the Holy Spirit will be grieved. Again, if we neglect prayer; if our closet door is cobwebbed; if we forget to read the Scriptures; if the leaves of our Bible are almost stuck together by neglect; if we never seek to do any good in the world; if we live merely for ourselves and not for Christ, then the Holy Spirit will be grieved.

For meditation: If we are grieving the Spirit, it is absolutely impossible for us to obey the command to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

Sermon no. 278

9 October (1859)

John MacArthur – Why Study the Bible?

John MacArthur

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

The Holy Spirit protects you from false doctrine, but that doesn’t eliminate the need for diligent Bible study.

For the next few days we’ll consider several benefits of Bible study. Today we’ll address the broader question of why Bible study is necessary at all.

Perhaps you know believers who think Bible study is unnecessary. Bible reading, they say, is sufficient because we have the Holy Spirit, who teaches us all things. Often they cite 1 John 2:27 in support of their view: “As for you, the anointing [the Holy Spirit] which you received from [God] abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

That passage, however, isn’t implying that Bible study or Bible teachers aren’t necessary. On the contrary, John was exhorting his readers to abide in what they’d already learned (v. 24) and shun only those teachers who deny Christ and try to deceive believers.

The Holy Spirit is the believer’s resident lie detector, granting discernment to shield him or her from false doctrine. Although a Christian may be temporarily confused by false teachers, ultimately he can never drift into apostasy or deny Christ. If anyone does depart from the faith, his departure is proof that he was never a true believer in the first place (v. 19).

The Spirit protects you from error, but you must fulfill your responsibility as a student of the Word. Even a man of Timothy’s spiritual stature needed to study the Word diligently and handle it accurately (2 Tim. 2:15).

I pray that the psalmist’s attitude toward Scripture will be yours as well: “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97).

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for His precious Word.
  • Ask Him to give you a deeper love for its truths.

For Further Study

Read Titus 1:7-16 and 2 Timothy 2:2.

  • What skills must an overseer have regarding God’s Word?
  • Why are those skills necessary?
  • Do those skills apply to church leaders only? Explain.
  • Are you skilled in handling God’s Word?

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Gives Special Abilities

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“Now God gives us many kinds of special abilities, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. ” (1 Corinthians 12:4).

The late Dr. William Evans, famous Bible teacher and pulpit orator, was one of the most eloquent preachers I have ever heard. He serves as an example of a person who developed his spiritual gift.

Dr. Evans shared with me how he believed as a young man that he had been called of God to be a preacher. But he spoke in a high, squeaky, English cockney accent that was not particularly pleasant to the ear and certainly not conducive to preaching the most “joyful news ever announced.”

So when young Evans told Dwight L. Moody (under whose ministry he had been influenced for Christ) about his calling to be a preacher. Moody unhesitatingly advised him, “Forget it! You don’t have the ability to speak, and no one would listen to you.”

But William Evans determined that he would become a great preacher for the glory of God. So, like Demosthenes of old, he began to practice speaking with pebbles in his mouth and to practice deep diaphragmatic breathing.

After several years, he developed a deep, resonant, bass voice – one of the most beautiful speaking voices I have ever heard. Wherever he went, congregations would pack the pews to hear him preach.

William Evans was an example of Philippians 2:13 in action. Did he have the spiritual gift of preaching? Of course he did! But it did not come to him overnight. He had to work long and hard, by faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit, to develop his spiritual gift.

Philippians 2:13 reminds us that whatever God calls us to do He will enable us to do. Be assured that you do not need to depend on your own abilities to serve Him.

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 12:5-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Instead of spending fruitless time searching for my spiritual gifts, I will depend on the Holy Spirit to guide me, apply myself diligently to excel in whatever He leads me to do and trust God for a fruitful life and witness.

Max Lucado – Prayer Guidance

Max Lucado

When I pray, I think of a thousand things I need to do. I forget the one thing I set out to do: pray! Can you relate? But wouldn’t we all like to pray. . More? Better? Deeper? Stronger? With more fire, faith, or fervency?

Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. We want to pray, but when? We want to pray, but why? We have our doubts about prayer, our checkered history of unmet expectations, unanswered questions. We aren’t the first. The sign-up for Prayer 101 contains familiar names: John, James, Andrew, and Peter. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance.

So here’s my challenge to you! Sign on at BeforeAmen.com.  It will encourage you and give you a building block for your growth in prayer. Then get ready to change your life forever!

Charles Spurgeon – The true position of assurance

 

CharlesSpurgeon‘In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.’ Ephesians 1:13

Suggested Further Reading: 1 John 3:14–24

We know that God is true because we have proved him. Sometimes this comes through the hearing of the Word—as we listen our faith is confirmed. But there is doubtless besides this, a special and supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, whereby men are assured that they are born of God. You will observe in one place the apostle says that the Spirit ‘beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God;’ so that there are two witnesses—first, our spirit bears witness, that is, by evidences: I look at my faith, and see myself depending upon Christ, and then I know, because I love the brethren, and for other reasons, that I am born of God. Then there comes over and above the witness of evidence, faith and feeling, the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit. Have you not felt it? I cannot describe this to you, but you who have felt it know it. Did you not the other day feel a heavenly calm as you meditated upon your state and condition in Christ? You wondered where it came from. It was not the result of protracted devotion, but it stole over you, you knew not how it was, you were bathed in it as in sunlight, and you rejoiced exceedingly. You rejoiced in Christ—that was the basis of confidence, but that confidence came through the Spirit bearing witness with your spirit. And this has occurred sometimes in the midst of sharp conflicts just when dark despair seemed ready to overwhelm you. You may have enjoyed this comfort under peculiar trials, and losses of friends, and you may expect to have it when you come to die. Then, if ever in your life, you should be able to say, ‘I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.’

For meditation: We must not regard the Holy Spirit as a loose cannon giving us feelings, experiences and revelations which are nothing to do with the Scriptures. But he can confirm personally in our hearts what God has said in his Word and done in our lives (Romans 8:14–16; Galatians 4:6; 1 John 3:24; 4:13).

Sermon no. 592

2 October (1862)

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Helping the Church

dr_bright

“The Holy Spirit displays God’s power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church” (1 Corinthians 12:7).

A friend once asked me, “Are all the spiritual gifts for today?” and “How can I discern my spiritual gifts?”

He had been reading a number of books with conflicting views on gifts and had heard sermons – some encouraging him to discover his gifts and others saying the gifts are not for today. He was woefully confused.

I shared with this friend that I have been a Christian for more than 35 years and have known the reality of the fullness of the Spirit for more than 30 years. I explained that I have seen God do remarkable – even miraculous – things in and through my life throughout the years.

Yet, I have not felt the need to “discover” my gifts, because I believe that whatever God calls me to do He will enable me to do if I am willing to trust and obey Him, work hard and discipline myself.

The Holy Spirit obviously controls and distributes all the gifts. So when I am filled, controlled and empowered with the Holy Spirit I possess all of the gifts potentially. God will give me any gifts I need.

I went on to tell my young friend that some of the gifts of the Spirit are supernatural enhancements of abilities common to all men, wisdom for instance. Other gifts, such as healing, are granted by the Holy Spirit to only a select few.

But the gifts differ in another way, too. Some are instantaneous, and others are developmental in nature. Primarily, we need to remember that whatever God calls us to do, He will enable us to do. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13, NAS).

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 12:24-31

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will dwell on God’s ability to do in and through me what ever He calls upon me to do, rather than to spend precious time seeking to discover my spiritual gifts.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Holy Spirit Will Speak

dr_bright

“But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry about what to say in your defense. Just say what God tells you to. Then you will not be speaking, but the Holy Spirit will” (Mark 13:11).

Have you even had the experience of trying to say a word for the Lord, just sharing your faith, and breathing a prayer for guidance – then marveling as the Lord Himself, by His indwelling Holy Spirit, put the very words in your mouth that needed to be said?

Such has been my experience – many times. And I marvel and rejoice each time. On some occasions, I have addressed crowds of varying sizes, often not only feeling totally inadequate but also concluding my message of the evening with the feeling that I had been a poor ambassador of Christ. Then, someone had approached me after the service and thanked my for saying just the word he needed at that moment.

We serve a faithful God. That neighbor who needs a word of encouragement – ask the Lord to give you the right words to say to him or her. That correspondent hundreds of miles away – trust God for His message to him or her through you.

Certain conditions must prevail, of course, before the Holy Spirit can speak through us. But they are easily met. I must come with a clean heart, surrendered to the Holy Spirit, with my sins forgiven, having forgiven other people, holding no resentment or ill feeling against anyone. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18, KJV).

Let us trust God and His indwelling Holy Spirit for the very words of counsel we should say to a loved one or friend today.

Bible Reading: Acts 2:1-4

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will trust God and His Holy Spirit to put the very words in my mouth this day that need to be said to others whose lives I touch.

John MacArthur – Taking the Offensive

John MacArthur

“Take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17).

God’s Word is your primary offensive spiritual weapon.

All the armor Paul lists in Ephesians 6 is defensive, with one exception: the sword of the Spirit. That’s your offensive weapon for defeating Satan.

We’ve seen that Roman soldiers carried two swords: the large broadsword and the small dagger. The Greek word translated “sword” in verse 17 refers to the dagger, which was anywhere from six to eighteen inches in length and was carried in a sheath or scabbard at the soldier’s side.

The dagger was a common weapon. The Roman soldiers who arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane were each armed with one (Matt. 26:47). Peter used one to cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant (Matt. 26:51). A dagger was used to kill James, the brother of John (Acts. 12:2). Hebrews 11:37 tells us that such a weapon was used against the heroes of the faith.

“The sword of the Spirit” isn’t a direct reference to the Holy Spirit as such. The implications is that since our enemy is spiritual, our weapons also must be spiritual (2 Cor. 10:4). Our sword is spiritual because it is the Word given by the Holy Spirit. He inspired its writing and through it convicts and redeems sinners (John 16:8; Heb. 4:12-13). The Word abides in you and transforms you. It supplies everything you need for a godly, victorious life. It builds you up and produces holiness (Acts 20:32). And it equips you for good works by teaching, reproving, correcting, and training you in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).

The Bible is a powerful and effective weapon. The question is, Do you know how to use it? Do you diligently study it and apply its principles to your life? Do you have a storehouse of biblical truth to draw from in the heat of battle?

The Roman dagger was a precision weapon aimed at a specific spot to produce a specific result. Similarly, the sword of the Spirit is most effective when you apply specific biblical principles to specific situations in your life. Do you do that?

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Ask God to increase your desire to know His Word.
  • Ask for wisdom in applying what you already know to the decisions and situations you’ll face today.

For Further Study

Read 1 Peter 1:22—2:3. How are believers to approach the Word?

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Power to Witness

dr_bright

“But ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8, KJV).

While I was speaking to a group of theological students in Australia, one young man became very angry and argumentative when I emphasized the importance of witnessing for Christ daily as a way of life and explained that disobedient Christians cannot be Spirit-filled. Not to witness for Christ is to disobey our Lord’s specific command. Therefore, any Christian who does not regularly share his faith in Christ cannot walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

“I work day and night to maintain good grades,” he declared, “I don’t have time to witness while in seminary. I can witness after I become a pastor.”

Many Christians make similar excuses for their lack of witness, but none are valid. Some say they do not have the gift of evangelism. Others say they are still preparing for the day when they will be witnesses. Some pastors believe it is the responsibility of their members to witness, and they are to preach and teach the Word. Yet the Bible clearly teaches that all believers are to be witnesses with their lives and with their lips. It is a command of God.

On thousands of occasions we have found that pastors, students and laymen who have never introduced anyone to our Lord become fruitful witnesses when they learn how to live a Spirit-filled life and are taught how to share their faith in Christ with others. The apostle Paul, who was a Spirit-filled witness, shares in Colossians 1:28 how everywhere we go we are to tell everyone who will listen about Christ.

Bible Reading: Luke 24:45-49

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today – and every day – I will ask the Holy Spirit to direct me to those whose hearts He has prepared, and to anoint and empower me to speak convincingly, lovingly and effectively of our Savior.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Maturity – In His Timing

dr_bright

“But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control” (Galatians 5:22,23).

One of my dear friends had a 25-year old son who had never grown past the baby stage mentally or physically. He had greeted the birth of his beautiful baby boy with great joy, but his joy turned to heartache and sorrow with the passing years as his son never matured.

Unfortunately and tragically, many Christians never pass the baby or childhood stages. Think of the heartache and sorrow that God experiences when He looks upon those of His children who have never matured, though they have been Christians for many years.

Martha, a new Christian, approached me with this question, “With all my heart I want to be a woman of God, but I do not experience the consistency of Galatians 5:22,23 in my life. What is wrong?”

Maybe you are asking the same question, if so, it will be helpful for you to understand that the Christian life is a life of growth. Just as in our physical lives we begin as babies and progress through childhood into adolescence, young adulthood and mature adulthood, so it is in our spiritual lives.

The Holy Spirit takes up residence within every believer at the moment of new birth. The growth process is greatly accelerated when a believer consciously yields himself to the lordship of Christ and the filling and control of the Holy Spirit. A believer who is empowered by the Holy Spirit and is a faithful student of God’s Word, who has learned to trust and obey God, can pass through the various stages of spiritual growth and become a mature Christian within a brief period of time. Some Spirit-filled Christians demonstrate more of the fruit of the Spirit within one year than others who have been untaught, uncommitted believers for 50 years.

Bible Reading: Romans 5:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I am determined that I will become a spiritually mature Christian, in whose life the fruit of the Spirit will be demonstrated. Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit I will dedicate myself to prayer, reading the Word and witnessing, and living a life of obedience.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Test Your Experience: I

dr_bright

“Talk with each other much about the Lord, quoting psalms and hymns and singing sacred songs, making music in your hearts to the Lord. Always giving thanks for everything to our God and Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ by submitting to each other” (Ephesians 5:19,20).

Mary was one of those ardent, faithful church members – a Sunday school teacher, choir member and active participant in a home Bible study – who just assume they are filled with the Holy Spirit because they do everything their pastor or Christian leader asks of them.

“Why has no one, up to now, ever told me that I needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit?” she asked me just after I had publicly suggested that very thing.

To help Mary better understand her own spiritual condition, I read to her the above passage from Ephesians. Then I asked her several questions relating to that portion of Scripture.

“Are you talking about Christ to others? Is your heart filled with melody to the Lord? Do you spend time in God’s Word daily? Do you have a thankful spirit? Do you submit to others in the Lord?”

Mary hesitated only a moment. “If these are evidence of a Spirit-filled life, I must not be controlled by the Holy Spirit. But I would like to be. What should I do?”

With great delight and joy I shared appropriate Scriptures with her, and together we bowed in prayer as she claimed by faith the fullness and control of the Holy Spirit in her life. Surrendering to the lordship of Christ, turning from all known sin, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, she now knew with certainty that she was filled with the Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit is not a once-and-for-all-decision, but a way of life in which we claim the fullness of the Spirit moment by moment, day by day, by faith.

Bible Reading: Colossians 3:12-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will honestly compare myself with the evidences of the supernatural, Spirit-filled life listed in the fifth chapter of Ephesians. If these are not true in my life, I will claim by faith the fullness and control of God’s Holy Spirit, and ask Him to make these qualities a reality in my daily relationships with the Lord, with my loved ones and with others.

Our Daily Bread — Life-Giving Rain

Our Daily Bread

Acts 6:1-10

They were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. —Acts 6:10

During the August heat of 1891, R. G. Dyrenforth arrived in Midland, Texas, determined to blast rain from the sky. Known as a “concussionist,” he and his team launched and detonated huge balloons filled with explosive gases, fired cannons, and exploded piles of dynamite on the ground—shaking both earth and sky. Some believed he made it rain a little, but most said all he caused was noise. The explosive power was impressive but ineffective.

When the early church needed overseers, they sought people with a different kind of power. They chose “seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:3) to manage the daily distribution of food. One of those was Stephen, a man “full of faith and power, [who] did great wonders and signs among the people” (v.8). When disputes arose, those who argued with Stephen “were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke” (v.10).

The Bible makes it clear that Stephen’s spiritual effectiveness came from being filled with the Holy Spirit, who gave him the right balance of faith, wisdom, and power.

God’s Spirit in our lives today replaces the loud noise of self-interest with His gentle, life-giving rain. —David McCasland

Holy Spirit, I want my life to be marked

by Your power. May my words and actions

give life-giving rain to encourage others

to know You and trust You.

In our life for Christ we accomplish nothing without the power of the Spirit.

Bible in a year: Psalms 87-88; Romans 13

Insight

Today’s text not only highlights the source of the power with which the Christian works—the Holy Spirit (v.5)—but also our responsibility in relation to that power—faith (vv.5,8). Stephen was a man known to be full of both.

Charles Stanley – Our Helper in Bible Study

Charles Stanley

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

The Bible is God’s revelation of truth, and it is intended for regular use by every believer. The Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence is a necessity since He is the one who makes clear the meaning of the Word. He illuminates the mind of each person who genuinely seeks to know God.

When we read, our Helper opens our understanding to the true meaning of the text so that we can grasp its significance. We never outgrow this need for Him. Even a mature believer with decades of experience meditating on Scripture requires as much revelation as a child who has just received Christ. Not long ago, I had reason to recall this fact as I read a passage I had seen often in my studies. For the very first time, my soul opened wide to these verses, the truth burst in, and I felt immediately energized. Grasping a new truth from the Scriptures gets us excited and inspires us to apply what we have learned. Then, as we integrate one truth into our life, the Spirit of God reveals another in order to make us increasingly like our Savior.

Learning about God and conforming to the image of Jesus Christ are the highest ambitions of Christianity, and we can achieve these goals only by learning and applying scriptural principles. But truth cannot be poured into a dirty heart. Nor can we expect to understand the Bible if we refuse to obey its precepts. If we want the Holy Spirit to reveal biblical meaning, we must ask first for a revelation of our sin. When we repent of the wrongdoing brought to mind by our Helper, our heart opens to His illumination.