Thursday, February 23, 2012
I take up the shield of faith and extend it over myself. It extinguishes all the fiery darts of the evil one.
I put on the helmet of salvation, which protects my mind from the enemy's attacks. I have the mind of Christ.
I put on the breastplate of righteousness, which covers my body with the righteousness of God. In Christ, every foothold of evil has been washed away and I am clothed in righteousness!
I gird my loins with the belt of truth. Your word, O God, is truth. Father, sanctify me according to your word and remind me through the Holy Spirit of the truth that destroys the lies of sin.
I shod my feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. I have peace with God through the blood of Jesus. I have favor with God and with man. I walk in my inheritance as an adopted son of God and have authority over evil in Jesus' name.
I will use the Sword of the Spirit by speaking the Word of God as it applies to whatever situation I may face today. Father, please remind me of your Word via the Holy Spirit.
I will continue to pray in the Spirit throughout the day, and intercede for all Christians as the Holy Spirit prompts me. I believe that the Holy Spirit is interceding on my behalf according to my prayers.
Thank you, Father, for the whole armor of God. Please surround me with your hedge of protection as I move forward on the spiritual battlefield today. I praise and worship you now and forever, Amen."
by Stacy Wiebe
Breathe in...breathe out.... You do it 12-14 times a minute without thinking.
At rest, your lungs take in six liters of air per minute. When you're working hard, you can take in more than 100. Breathing is a miracle we don't stop to think about very much. It's involuntary; we just do it. In the same amazing way God created us with the capacity to breathe to sustain our natural lives, He has given us as Christians a way to "breathe spiritually" for our spiritual well-being.
"Spiritual breathing, like physical breathing," says Dr. Bill Bright, founder and president of Campus Crusade for Christ, "is a process of exhaling the impure and inhaling the pure, an exercise in faith that enables you to experience God's love and forgiveness and walk in the Spirit as a way of life."
"But the average Christian does not understand this concept of spiritual breathing as an exercise of faith and, as a result, lives on a spiritual roller coaster. He/she goes from one emotional experience to another living most of his life as a worldly Christian, controlling his/her own life, frustrated and fruitless."1
Betty Lau, now a campus ministry leader, once felt that way:
"I'd get a fresh start in my Christian life, then something would happen, and boom, I'd lose it."
She recalls coming home from college for a break, feeling good spiritually, only to have a blowout with her sister:
"There were words, slamming doors and my sister walked out. Afterwards, I felt, though being filled with the Holy Spirit sounded good in theory, it just didn't work."
Later she would discover the active daily discipline of spiritual breathing and the freedom that discipline would bring.
Spiritual Breathing Defined
Physical breathing provides the body with a constant supply of oxygen, which is necessary for energy production. It also releases the byproduct of the process - carbon dioxide, a gas that is lethal in large quantities. Spiritual breathing is like physical breathing in that:
You "exhale" by confessing your sins immediately to God and claiming His forgiveness
You "inhale" by asking the Holy Spirit to control and empower you and to keep you from returning to sin.
Usually we don't think about our physical breathing. But spiritual breathing is something that requires conscious action - a readiness to "exhale" or confess our sin and to "inhale" or trust God to fill us with His Holy Spirit. Amy Aker, mother of three boys under age six, has found that spiritual breathing makes a difference in her parenting:
"If I'm not disciplining my children correctly, if I yell or use manipulation, once I realize that I've done it, I will calmly tell them, 'Why don't you go to your room for a little while. I'll be right there.' Then, I'll go to my room for a few quiet minutes and God will reveal to me the heart of my sin, whether it's impatience or just wanting to impose my will on others. I'll confess it to Him, and then I ask the Holy Spirit to give me the power to change, because without His help, I can't do it. Then I'm ready to confess my wrong actions to my kids and have a fresh start."
Don't Wait to Exhale
It's been said that one measure of Christian maturity is the shortness of time between when we sin to the time we confess it. If we keep short accounts with God, our "old sin nature" can be kept on a short leash. We can confess our sin as soon as we entertain a sinful thought and before we speak an ugly word or act on evil desires. "Spiritual exhaling" is agreeing with God about our sin, whether in thought or deed, thanking Him for His forgiveness, and expressing a willingness to change our attitude and actions.
"The more immediately sin is confessed and forsaken, the more sensitive and tender the heart remains," says a pamphlet on the subject by Life Action Ministries. "Spiritual breathing is an integral part of maintaining personal purity... The practice of breathing spiritually aids in developing a God-consciousness, which in turn serves to keep the revived heart spiritually focused and less susceptible to continual iniquity."2
This has been Amy Aker's experience.
"Confessing my sin is the key to a peaceful life. If I don't readily confess, it pulls me down and eats me up. As a mom, I don't always have time for an extended quiet time or Bible reading. Spiritual breathing helps me to stick close to God, to get right with Him moment by moment."
"Breathing in" the Holy Spirit
To inhale spiritually is to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit by faith. How do you do that? When you receive Jesus Christ as your leader and forgiver, the Holy Spirit immediately enters your life and He never leaves. (John 1:12; Colossians 2:9,10; John 14:16,17) The Holy Spirit lives in you so that you can:
Demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22,23) and become more like Christ. (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18)
Experience a meaningful prayer life and study of God's Word.
Experience power in witnessing. (Acts 1:8)
Be prepared for spiritual battle against the world, the flesh and the devil.
(1 John 2:15-17; Galatians 5:16,17; 1 Peter 5:7-9; Ephesians 6:10-13)
Experience power to resist temptation and sin (1 Corinthians 10:13; Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 1:19-23; 2 Timothy 1:7; Romans 6:1-16)
Though all born-again Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, not all are filled with the Holy Spirit. Not all are experiencing what He has to offer. To be filled (empowered and controlled) by the Holy Spirit, we must, in faith, acknowledge our dependence on Him and "hand Him the reins" of our life. We are commanded in Ephesians 5:18 to:
"Keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit."
Betty Lau has been learning what that means since she started practicing spiritual breathing ten years ago:
"It is a continuous, conscious choice I make to walk in the Holy Spirit's power. Repentance isn't a one time thing; it's giving my life over to God and asking Him to direct my decisions on a moment-by-moment basis."
"My Christian life is no longer about self-effort and defeat," Betty says. It's about allowing the Holy Spirit to permeate every area of my life. Though spiritual breathing is a conscious thing, the more I choose to do it, the more it becomes second nature."
Are you ready to ask the Holy Spirit to direct your life? Why not pray this simple prayer right now and by faith invite God to fill you with His Spirit:
Dear Father, I need you. I acknowledge that I have sinned against you by directing my own life. I thank you that You have forgiven my sins through Christ's death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Did You Know?
Did you know that a lot of people are dropping out of church because they aren't finding what they hoped for from religion and/or Christianity?
Did you know that most 'Christians' haven't actually experienced the deep joy and fulfilment that Christ wants them to experience?
If you can relate to either of those scenerios I pray that this webpage will change your life.
Christians CAN be happy.
Have You Made the Wonderful Discovery of the Spirit-Filled Life?
Every day can be an exciting adventure for the Christian who knows the reality of being filled with the Holy Spirit and who lives constantly, moment by moment, under His gracious direction.The Bible tells us that there are three kinds of people.
1. Natural Man (one who has not received Christ)
"A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised" (1 Corinthians 2:14).
2. Spiritual Man (One who is directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit)
"He who is spiritual appraises all things...We have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:15)
3. Carnal Man (One who has received Christ, but who lives in defeat because he is trying to live the Christian life in his own strength)
"And I brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to carnal men, as to babes in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still carnal. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshy, and are you not walking like mere men?"
(1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
God has Provided for Us an
Abundant and Fruitful Christian Life
"I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" (John 10:10)."I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5)."But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22, 23)."But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
The Spiritual Man
Some spiritual traits which result from trusting God:
The degree to which these traits are manifested in the life depends upon the extent to which the Christian trusts the Lord with every detail of his life, and upon his maturity in Christ. One who is only beginning to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit should not be discouraged if he is not as fruitful as more mature Christians who have known and experienced this truth for a longer period.
Why is it that most Christians are not experiencing the abundant life?
Carnal Christians cannot experience
the Abundant and Fruitful Christian Life
The carnal man trusts in his own efforts to live the Christian life:
He is either uninformed about, or has forgotten, God's love, forgiveness, and power (Romans 5:8-10; Hebrews 10:1-25; 1 John 1; 2:1-3; 2 Peter 1:9; Acts 1:8). He has an up-and-down spiritual experience. He cannot understand himself - he wants to do what is right, but cannot.
He fails to draw upon the power of the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life.
(1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Romans 7:15-24; 8:7; Galatians 5:16-18)
The Carnal Man
Some or all of the following traits may characterize the Christian who does not fully trust God:
(The individual who professes to be a Christian but who continues to practice sin should realize that he may not be a Christian at all, according to 1 John 2:3; 3:6, 9; Ephesians 5:5).
God Demonstrates His Love - part 2
By Katherine J. Kehler
This is a continuation of my thoughts on ways that God demonstrates His love for us.
He delights in our company. Although there are people who don’t enjoy being with us, we know that God actually enjoys our company.
“Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.” Isaiah 30:18
He is our gentle and humble friend. Matthew 11:29 says,
“Come to me . . . for I am gentle and humble . . .”
Imagine, the King of Kings asks us to come to Him – He loves us and He tells us that He is humble and gentle.
He died for all our sins—past present and future. John 3:16,
“For God so loves the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Because of His death on the cross for our sins and because of His resurrection, we can walk in the power of His Holy Spirit while on earth and spend in the future -- live eternally with Him.
Jesus is bigger than all my problems. We don’t need to worry. He tells us not to worry, but tell Him about our problems. There is not a thing that confronts us me that He can’t fix or give us the strength to go through them. In fact, He is able to do more than you and I could ever imagine.
“With God's power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine.” Ephesians 3:20.
He is our shepherd. He knows us and directs us to places that are best for me.
“I say this because I know what I am planning for you," says the Lord. "I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.” Jeremiah 29:11.
He also keeps us from going places which would be harmful.
He listens to us. Not only is God always with us, He listens to us.
“The Lord sees the good people and listens to their prayers” (1 Peter 3:12).
How helpless we would feel if we didn’t have access to Him. Our hearts agree with Simon Peter when he said,
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” John 6:68.
Many times a day we go to Him for direction, wisdom, answers, peace and comfort. And He always listens.
Father, thank you for opening our eyes and ears so we recognize Your amazing loving care for us. Amen
I am continually amazed and grateful for the many ways God demonstrates His love to us. During my devotional time, I began to make a list of them and want to share them with you. I pray that you’ll be blessed as you are reminded of His great love.
He never changes.
"I the Lord do not change” Malachi 3:6.
His love is always sure. Seasons change, people change, the world is changing, but God never changes. We can rely on Him
He is faithful. God is not moody or fickle. We are. People will love you for a while and then they don’t. But God is not like that. He sticks with you.
Whenever He asks us to obey Him, He also provides everything we need. 1Thess. 5:24
“You can trust the One who calls you to do that for you.”
He is our protector. He is our shield. Our “always there” protector.
“So our hope is in the Lord. He is our help, our shield to protect us.” Psalm 33:20
It is so comforting to know that everything that comes our way has to go through “the shield about us” before it touches us.
He is always thinking about us.
“How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many thoughts turn towards me.” Psalm 139: 17.
This is one of the neatest things. When you think about it--there are over 6 billion people in the world and He still thinks of you and me constantly. He is able to give us His undivided attention.
He is always with you. For He Himself has said,
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5.
He is never to busy for us. He never goes away, or takes breaks or a vacation.
When we are in trouble and think we are going under, we can be encouraged because,
“Underneath are His ever lasting arms.” Deut. 33:27
Lord, we are so grateful for the many ways you show your love to us. Thank you, thank you, for loving and caring for us so much. Help us to love You more. Amen
What is the Christian Life Program (CLP)?
The CLP is an integrated course intended to lead the program participants into a renewed understanding of God's call to them as Christian couples. It runs for a total of 13 separate sessions, usually held once a week. Most sessions consist of three basic ingredients: a teaching, a group discussion, and a time for fellowship. Each session would normally last for about 2 1/2 hours.
What are the goals of the CLP?
The CLP has two basic purposes: evangelism and spiritual renewal. To evangelize is to take the basic message of Christianity and to proclaim it anew so that those who hear it can make a renewed commitment to the Lord in a way which will allow them to receive a fuller experience of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Spiritual renewal works in three ways:
1. For the individual, it brings a person into a stronger relationship with God by discovering and living more fully the power and gifts he or she received through the Holy Spirit.
2. For the family, it brings married couples to a renewed commitment to Christian family Life and it starts to build up a community of committed Christian families.
3. For the Church, it brings people within a particular parish to a fuller experience of life in the Spirit. Consequently it strengthens and revitalizes community life in the parish.
What is the content of the CLP?
The CLP runs for a total of 13 consecutive sessions usually held weekly, divided into an orientation session and then 3 modules of 4 sessions each.
The topics of the 12 sessions are:
Module No. 1: THE BASIC TRUTHS ABOUT CHRISTIANITY
1. God's Love
2. Who is Jesus Christ?
3. What it means to be a Christian.
4. Repentance and Faith.
Module No. 2: THE AUTHENTIC CHRISTIAN LIFE
5. The Christian Ideal: Loving God
6. Loving Your Neighbor
7. The Christian Family
8. Life in the Holy Spirit
Module No. 3: LIVING A SPIRIT-FILLED CHRISTIAN LIFE
9. Receiving the Power of the Holy Spirit
10. Growing in the Spirit
11. The Life and Mission of the Couples of Christ
12. Transformation in Christ
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