Symbols of the Holy Spirit

by Jack Hayford

And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. (Mark 1:10)

The Holy Spirit doesn’t seek to be mysterious, but He is the most mysterious of the Godhead. We can read in the Word about the Father, and we can read about the Son who came and walked among us. But Jesus tells us that when the Spirit comes, He will not speak of Himself; that “whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13 KJV).

 

The workings of the Holy Spirit are invisible, glorious, and gentle, and within them, He never tells us about Himself. He comes to glorify Jesus—helping us to see Jesus more, to understand Jesus better, to respond to Jesus more obediently, and to love Jesus with a deeper heart of commitment.

So the symbols of the Holy Spirit become essential to our gaining an understanding of what He’s like, not only in an objective way of analyzing truth, but also in the subjective way that He comes to penetrate our lives—ways in which the reality of the invisible penetrate the visible. When we talk about the Holy Spirit as rain, for example, the purpose isn’t to think, “Oh, the Holy Spirit is like rain.” The purpose is to get wet.

In each of the following seven ways, the Lord desires to move into our realm. Just as the Holy Spirit manifested for a moment in a dove and lighted upon Jesus, He wants to penetrate you and me with the glory of the invisible God that becomes visible in us—to flood His life into ours that we might then overflow it to others.

The Holy Spirit Comes as Rain

Rain has a dual implication. First as refreshing where there has been dryness and barrenness (Joel 2:23-29). Second, as restoration where there has been loss (Isa. 28:11-12).

The “pouring out” Peter refers to at Pentecost (Acts 2:17) is not an abstract use of the word; it has to do with “latter rain” that brought about the hastening of the harvest and fruitful crops. The Lord is saying that He will send rain to fields [people] that are totally barren as a promise of hope.

Needing to be refreshed doesn’t mean that I’ve backslid or sinned. When the lawn endures a hot day, it dries up and needs the refreshing of rain. The Holy Spirit, coming as rain, comes to bring refreshing and restoration.

The Holy Spirit Comes as Rivers

Rivers are channels or conduits to places where the refreshing of water is needed. John pinpoints that the work of the Spirit as “rivers of living water” was to become available after Jesus’ ascension (John 7:37-39). The Holy Spirit is manifest in rivers in order that the rain not only be a refreshing upon you, but also that the Lord would make you an overflowing tributary of His Holy Spirit fullness, life, and love to others.

The Lord wants people to get in touch with who He is, and that takes people who will let the rivers of living water be awakened in them and then gush out of their lives. So the Holy Spirit is manifest in rivers.

The Holy Spirit Comes as Wind

The Holy Spirit, coming as wind, depicts His power and His guidance. When Jesus tells Nicodemus about the new birth experience (John 3:8), He tells him that it is not like a tangible birth where you can see the baby is born and check the clock for its time of arrival. The work of the Spirit breathes into a life, and something transpires that people cannot recognize. There’s a dynamism but also a gentleness, like the wisp of a breeze. You can’t necessarily see where it came from or where it goes, but all of us can attest to times when God has come and dealt with us, and no human being knew how it happened.

At Pentecost (Acts 2:3), it wasn’t a wind that blew in; it was the sound of a rushing wind—like a hurricane. That sound, not the sound of the people speaking in tongues, is what drew the crowd in. The Holy Spirit as sovereign God is dynamic, irresistible, and unstoppable.

The Holy Spirit Comes as Oil

The anointing—the oil of Scripture—is directly related to the Holy Spirit’s work in our life (2 Cor. 1:21-22). The Holy Spirit’s anointing makes us sensitive (1 John 2:20). How many times have you sensed something was wrong, or something was right, but you didn’t know why or how you knew? The Holy Spirit, by His anointing and presence, confirms what He is—the Spirit of Truth, of Holiness, of Wisdom. Obeying the Holy Spirit means that He will give us wisdom when we need it in the practicals of our everyday life.

All the primary offices of Scripture—prophets, priests, and kings—involve anointing. And all of these are offices to which all of us are called. As prophets, we are called to speak the Word of the Lord. There are times when the Holy Spirit will give you words of comfort, exhortation, or sensitive counsel to say to other people. As priests, the Lord wants to anoint us for worship to renew us, so that our worship doesn’t become stale, habitual, or formal. And as kings, we don’t just get anointed once for all. It takes fresh anointing from the Holy Spirit for the dominion of His Kingdom and the authority of His life to happen through us. When it does, we can move in confidence about how to rule our homes and our businesses, and how to deal with our kids and our relationships. God’s not going to anoint us with the ability to rule when we try to manage things our own way.

The Lord also wants to anoint those who have been overcome by the spirit of mourning with the oil of rejoicing. That anointing brings the lifting of our heads with the refreshing of seeing beyond today—not with superficial optimism, but with a deep abiding of hope that has been begotten in us by God.

The Holy Spirit Comes as Wine

Ephesians 5:18 draws an analogy for the symbolism of the Holy Spirit as wine. In the Gospels, Jesus describes the new work of God, conveyed by the ministry of the Spirit, as new wine coming into old vessels. So it’s a perfectly appropriate symbol in light of the Word. Still, let me ask you, what does it take to excite your life? The issue isn’t just alcohol; the issue is, how much of what the world offers does it take to get you going?

The Bible doesn’t say we are disallowed from enjoying a number of the things that come with life, but you can find out how much a person is living the Jesus life by how much they need the stimulants of the world. The separated, holy Christian life is not a call to isolation but to insulation. You live in the world, but His Spirit in you keeps out the world’s pollution.

The Holy Spirit Comes as Fire

At Pentecost, the Bible says that tongues as of fire appeared over the heads of each of those who gathered together (Acts 2:3).  The Holy Spirit comes as fire to work something deep into the substance of our lives that will shape things around us, rather than us taking on the shape of the world. As fire, He works in a dual way: to probe the inner recesses of our life and to refine us as gold or silver is refined in the fire; and to temper our personalities by causing there to be the penetration of fire into our system.

The purifying fire burns out the Adversary. When the three Hebrew children were thrown into the furnace, not only were their lives spared, but also their clothes didn’t burn. But the ropes holding them in bondage burned. The Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit being “a spirit of judgment and burning” (Isa. 4:4). Judgment has to do with deliverance, in the way the judges of Israel led people out of bondage. The Holy Spirit, coming like fire, burns away any binding grip that the Enemy has imposed on us.

The Holy Spirit Comes as a Dove

The Holy Spirit, coming as a dove, is gentle and a symbol of peace. What the dove did is important as well—the dove came and rested on Jesus (Matt. 3:16). The Holy Spirit wants to come and rest upon you and me. Not sweeping throughout the world as a tidal wave of revival, but to come to each of us personally.

Today, I want to ask you to invite Him by saying, “Holy Spirit, come upon me.” In fact, for the next week, take one symbol of the Holy Spirit each day and invite Him to do that freshly in your life. Let Jesus minister the richness of the Holy Spirit to you. The Bible says it is Jesus who baptizes with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8), and He will:

  • Pour rain on you
  • Open rivers in you
  • Breathe wind into your life
  • Anoint you with oil
  • Fill you with holy wine
  • Refine and temper you with fire
  • Send the Holy Spirit to come to you
Copyright © 2008, 2010 by Jack W. Hayford, Jack Hayford Ministries

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Worth a Thousand Years of Waiting

THE STAGGERING RISE OF THE CHURCH IN IRAN

May 11, 2019 by Afshin Ziafat
Pastor, Frisco, Texas

Robert Bruce, a Scottish missionary to Iranian Muslims in the late nineteenth century, wrote home to his supporters, “I am not reaping the harvest; I scarcely claim to be sowing the seed; I am hardly ploughing the soil; but I am gathering out the stones. That, too, is missionary work; let it be supported by loving sympathy and fervent prayer.”

For many years, Iran was one of the most difficult regions of the world to reach with the gospel. A significant development occurred in 1979, however, with the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The ruling monarch, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, was overthrown, and in his place an Islamic Republic was birthed, led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Sharia law became the law of the land, and Muslim clerics became the heads of state.

Many in those days believed the revolution would lead to a time of flourishing in Iranian society. The new regime made great promises about rights and economic progress, as Iran was finally free from the influence of the West. The laws of man would be replaced by the laws of God, they claimed. Under the Republic, conversion to any other religion was considered apostasy and could be punished with death.

Door Opens

As we near the fortieth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, however, we see that the prayers of many Christians over the years have been answered, and the climate in Iran is vastly different. The gospel has spread throughout the land in unprecedented fashion despite increased persecution of Christian believers. To use the words of the apostle Paul, “A wide door for effective work has opened . . . and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:9).

As of 1979, there were about five hundred known Christians from a Muslim background in Iran. In 2005, it was estimated that there were 40,000 ethnic Iranian Christians (not including ethnic minority Christians who live in Iran). That number grew to about 175,000 Christians in 2010, according to the Joshua Project. Today, the average estimates of Christians within Iran range from 300,000 to upwards of one million, according to some missions experts. Operation World, a missions research organization, continues to list Iran as having the fastest-growing evangelical church in the world. In fact, more Iranians have become Christians in the last twenty years than in the previous 1,300 years, since Islam came to Iran.

Four Reasons for Growth

Several factors have contributed to the rapid growth of the church in Iran. Here are four of the most important.

1. DISILLUSIONMENT WITH ISLAM

Since the time of the revolution, the Islamic regime, which promised much in the way of economic development and freedom, has not delivered. Rather than prosperity and growth, the economy stagnated. The people also have been oppressed — women punished for not covering their hair, and others punished for speaking out freely in protest. As a result, the country has isolated itself further from the rest of the world.

Ironically, because the Islamic Republic in Iran has tied religion and state so closely together, the people’s disappointment with the government has led to great skepticism of Islam. Consequently, Iranians have become increasingly open to hearing the Christian message.

2. PERSECUTION

The rise of persecution against Christians in Iran has served both as a sign of the rapid growth of Christianity within the country and as fuel for further growth. In the 1990s, several key leaders of the church in Iran were killed. One of the most famous martyrs, Mehdi Dibaj, gave a defense before the Islamic courts prior to his death that has become a rallying cry for many Christians in Iran. Dibaj declared,

I would rather have the whole world against me, but know that the Almighty God is with me; be called an apostate, but know that I have the approval of the God of glory. . . .

Life for me is an opportunity to serve him, and death is a better opportunity to be with Christ. Therefore I am not only satisfied to be in prison for the honor of his Holy Name, but am ready to give my life for the sake of Jesus my Lord and enter his kingdom sooner, the place where the elect of God enter to everlasting life.

Examples like this have emboldened the church as the faithful remember the words of Jesus, “Because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19). In 2010, many church planters and leaders were arrested. I had the privilege of visiting with one of these faithful brothers after he served five years in prison. He recounted the moment when he received news that many of his colleagues were being arrested.

Briefly, he considered fleeing. But then he remembered the words of Jesus from John 10, that he is not the hired hand who sees the wolves coming and flees, but he is rather the good shepherd, who lays his life down for his sheep (John 10:11–12). He told me he went home knowing it would lead to his arrest, but he saw prison as an assignment by God to be a ministry post for him to reach many within prison.

This persecution has served to motivate further evangelistic zeal among Iranian Christians. These faithful servants are modern-day examples of Paul, who once wrote, “Most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (Philippians 1:14).

3. THE DIASPORA AND USE OF MEDIA

A countless number of Iranian Christians have been scattered around the world. Many of these saints sense a unique calling to continue supporting the work of gospel advancement within Iran from the outside.

The advancement of technology through the Internet and satellite TV has made the Christian message more accessible to Iranians who may have never even met a Christian. The diaspora Christians have been active in broadcasting the gospel and Bible teaching into Iran. In the last decade, social media also has been a powerful tool to reach Iranians and teach them the truths of Scripture.

4. BIBLE DISTRIBUTION

Although persecution has not produced the results that the Iranian authorities wanted, they have continued to work hard to stamp out the message of Christianity. The Bible (especially the New Testament) is banned literature in Iran.

But the people have been hungry for the word of God. There have been over two million New Testaments printed in recent years for dissemination in Iran, and about 180,000 entire Bibles have been distributed within the country. As Paul told Timothy, “The word of God is not bound!” (2 Timothy 2:9).

Three Ways to Pray

These are some factors that have contributed to the rapid growth of the church in Iran. But ultimately, the kingdom of Christ is spreading within Iran because God’s Spirit is moving powerfully. Though there has been great progress, the need for prayer and support continues to be great. Would you join me in praying for Iran — its people and leaders? Here are three ways you can pray for the church.

1. COURAGE

Although the number of house churches and believers is growing every day, the opposition continues. Iranian Christians continue to be arrested and charged with acting against national security. House churches continue to meet secretly while shifting their meeting times and locations to stay undetected. Christians continue to evangelize, knowing they are putting their lives at risk.

2. UNITY

Since most of the activity of the church is done secretly, the Christians are isolated from each other. Iranian leaders are forced to work covertly and therefore apart from each other. Security concerns make collaborative efforts difficult, even among ministries outside of Iran that work within the country. All of this creates obstacles for unity.

3. TRAINED LEADERS

The nature of the underground church is such that, many times, house-church leaders are unqualified and untrained, and sometimes, there is no pastor in the group and the gathered believers are being fed solely through satellite TV. Some of the teaching that the church absorbs is not sound theology. Iranians don’t have the same access to Christian literature and training as many believers do throughout the rest of the world. There are ministries who are already working hard to meet this need by making quality training available for leaders, and we need to pray for this work.

These words of Jesus may sum up the situation best in Iran: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37–38). Let’s pray the Lord of the harvest continues to send his laborers throughout Iran, so that millions more Iranians find forgiveness, peace, and the hope of glory through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 (@afshinziafat) is lead pastor of Providence Church in Frisco, Texas. His passion is to teach the word of God as the authority and guide for life, to preach Jesus Christ as the only Savior and Redeemer of mankind, and to proclaim the love of Christ as the greatest treasure and hope in life. He and his wife, Meredith, currently reside in Frisco with their three children.

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Enter His Kitchen With Thanksgiving and His Pantry with Praise

This Mother’s Day and every day, feeding my kids is an opportunity for prayer.
KRISTEN DEEDE JOHNSON

Enter His Kitchen With Thanksgiving and His Pantry with Praise

In recent months, a number of my friends have become converts to the way of the Instant Pot. As I’ve listened to them share the many ways in which Instant Pot cooking makes their lives easier, I’ve found myself wondering: What is it about life today that makes those with an Instant Pot so very grateful for this gadget? Conversely, what makes those of us without one imagine that it could solve every meal-making crisis that we face?

This Mother’s Day, like every day, a lot of women in my demographic face an ongoing quandary: Our ability to tend to the home is often compromised by the pace of life that many of us are living, the norms that we’re trying to uphold, and the multiple callings to which we’re trying to be faithful. Despite our sincere desire to treasure the ordinary and embrace the quotidian, it often feels like the caregiving parts of our calling get relegated to the cracks and margins in our lives. And yet Scripture’s invitations—to “give thanks in all circumstances” and “pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:17–18)—apply as much to those cracks and margins as to any area of our lives. How, then, do we pray and “practice the presence of God” in the midst of these daily pressures?

I’ve found this struggle especially poignant in the context of daily lunch-making. I would buy an Instant Pot in a minute if it could make my kids’ school lunches for me. As I wash grapes and roll up slices of turkey, I can feel welling up inside me the need to do something more productive, the sense that my time would be better spent cranking out emails, and the desire to get this done as fast as humanly possible.

The pressure to squeeze lunch-making into the cracks is not unique to me as a working mom. I watch my single friends struggle to find time to even get groceries in the fridge, never mind to cook and clean. And I listen to my homeschooling friends struggle to fit everything in, too. Even my friends with a deep commitment to hospitality feel the stress that comes from commercially established standards of housekeeping and food-making. We all feel these tensions, even as we long to live differently.

The phenomenon of “feeling rushed” has become so noticeable that it’s now a measure used by the Pew Research Center. A quarter of women surveyed said they feel rushed all of the time. This increase in pressure comes in part from shifting norms around work and also from shifting norms around parenting. Another part of the picture—perhaps the most notable one—is related to the degree to which we as a society have attuned our lives to the cultural values of efficiency and productivity.

As Anne-Marie Slaughter notes in Unfinished Business, American society as a whole has identified the competitive world of breadwinning as more important than caregiving. That means we often don’t know how to value acts of caregiving—from cherishing lunch preparation to tending to our aging relatives to investing in our communities—or to name why they matter.

As a believer, I face the additional challenge of naming why caregiving matters from a Christian perspective. Scripture, however, makes this delightfully clear. When I read the whole biblical story in light of the themes of home, homemaking, and caregiving, I begin to see them everywhere: God created a home for us in which we could dwell with him and care for each other and the rest of his creation. We lost our home when we were expelled from the garden. God made a covenant with Abraham, promising his descendants a promised land in which they could make their homes. Jesus tells his disciples that they will join him in his Father’s home, full of many rooms. God promises that in the age to come, we will dwell with him in his redeemed creation.

All throughout the Bible, we read about God caring for his people by providing food, drink, and clothing (including the very tender act of making Adam and Eve clothes after they had sinned). The psalms, too, reflect themes of caregiving. “The psalmist’s portrayal [in Psalm 104] is of God as a great housekeeper,” writes Margaret Kim Peterson, “pitching a tent, clothing himself with light and the earth with water as with garments, ordering boundaries, making homes for creatures, giving them food, sustaining all life, creating and re-creating through the Spirit.”

If housekeeping and caregiving are significant enough for God to attend to, then surely they are significant enough for me to give focused, loving attention to—even when I’m feeling rushed. Lunch-making, like all things, is a space where I need to practice thanksgiving and prayer.

To help me cultivate this posture, first, I try to savor the God-given gift of having children in my home who need to be fed and nurtured. Their needs—for grapes and sandwiches, carrots and cucumbers—are part of the caregiving calling in my life. As I do, I place myself in the company of Christians like Brother Lawrence and Kathleen Norris who were deeply aware of God’s presence in the ordinary goodness of the kitchen and the laundry line. As Tish Harrison Warren writes, “I want to learn how to spend time over my inbox, laundry, and tax forms, yet, mysteriously, always on my knees, offering up my work as a prayer to the God who blesses and sends.”

Second, I try to think about my small actions as a way to participate in God’s enduring commitment to caregiving and homemaking, as evidenced throughout Scripture. I receive the gift of God’s care through his saving love, which clothes me in righteousness, and through his ongoing presence in my life, which sustains and nurtures me daily. As I eat and drink and put on clothes, I am likewise receiving caregiving gifts from the God who created us to be both physical and spiritual. Accordingly, when I nurture my children’s faith and prepare food that nourishes their bodies, I strive to remember that I’m reflecting God’s care for their whole selves.

Third, as I reflect on these biblical themes of caregiving, I remember those who don’t have enough food or access to safe water. This in turns reminds me of the imagery we see in Scripture that depicts the age to come: feasts, wedding banquets, vineyards bursting with fruit, and the elimination of suffering from hunger and thirst. These biblical images of God’s abundant provision point to his deep-seated desire for us to have our physical needs met, even here and now. As I make lunches, I can pray a Latin American prayer—“O God, to those who have hunger give bread, and to us who have bread give the hunger for justice”—and let those words shape our commitments as a family.

Finally, I try to stop and name my desire to be ever-efficient, and then I offer this impulse to God. As I do, I am reminded of the importance of community. The cultural forces that shape my inclination toward productivity are ones that I can’t resist on my own. Attending to biblical convictions about caregiving does indeed make a difference, but I need other Christians to help me imagine new ways to live and different values to prioritize. I need a larger church community to help counter messages that I’ve absorbed my whole life about productivity and efficiency and what counts at the end of the day. And I need to ask for help from others in the body of Christ, instead of independently rushing to fit it all in and get it all done.

On my own, it’s easy for me to receive this call to praise and thanksgiving as one more burdensome “should” in my life. But when I join with others who are likewise wanting to “practice the presence of God,” it becomes easier to receive Jesus’ promise that his “yoke is easy and [his] burden is light” (Matt. 11:30). Together we have access to a caregiving God who is there to hear our pleas of desperation and our prayers of thanks—even as we bend over the cutting board.

Kristen Deede Johnson is professor of theology and Christian formation at Western Theological Seminary. Her latest book, The Justice Calling (co-written with Bethany Hoang), won the politics and public life category for Christianity Today’s 2017 Book Awards.

 

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Own your GOD given destiny!

May 6, 2019 by Eva

Dear friends,

Sometimes all we need to do is believe and stand on GOD’S promises to us.

It is when you KNOW that GOD will do what HE said HE would do, when you’ve done all the fasting, all the praying, have been delivered of all things standing in your way, done all the pressing, all the crying, the lamenting, have waited patiently…

That’s when you know that now, all you need to do is stand and believe.

When it is all that you actually still CAN do.

The results may not be visible YET in the world – but in your spirit, you simply KNOW that GOD will not only do it, but that HE has already done it for you.

This knowing, it gives you peace, strength and a certain kind of confidence that you never ever had before in your entire life.

It is not pride, it is not arrogance, it is simply a confidence, a sense of being comfortable in your own greatness, in the destiny GOD has meant for you, in the life HE has meant for you to live, even though you may not be seeing it yet in the world, even though you may still SEEM to be living in the same circumstances which let you be sad and desperate, but yet, something has changed in you, in your spirit…

You know that GOD has blessed you, that HE has upgraded your life, that HE has granted you what you have been asking for for sooooo long.

NOW is a crucial moment in your life.

When you are at this point, it is important to be very strong.

It is important now that you don’t make any mistakes in order to KEEP the blessing, which is already yours – you are just one yota away to truly and fully step into your destiny, into the life GOD has meant for YOU.

There is only one more hurdle you will have to master.

Can you guess what it is, my dear friend?
Have you perhaps experienced it and know what I am talking about?

It is the devil – correct!, I bet you knew it already.

So what will happen when you are just about to enter your LIFE is that an angel of satan will stand in front of your open door and will do ALL they can to prevent you from stepping in.

The greatest temptation of your life, the sin you are still prone to, the lust you have not fully conquered yet – no matter what it is, if it is a woman or a man, if it is fame or earthly riches, if it is something or someone else you are still lusting after, something from your past, something you could never get but have been wanting and desiring for soooo long – the devil will now serve it to you on a silver plate!

He will do ANYTHING to keep you from totally, completely and fully living with and for GOD, because he knows that once you have entered through this door, into YOUR GOD GIVEN LIFE, he will have lost you forever.

Even after you have made the step, he will keep following you – he won’t ever admit it, but he will know that he has lost the battle for YOU.
In fact, a part of him knows that he has lost the battle for all souls for good and that he is doomed for damnation and eternal hell fire – but what is he supposed to do?

Shall he give up and go to hell before his time?

He will never do that.

He knows that GOD will not forgive him, that he has lost and that his destiny, too, is determined.

As long as he is still here, he will do whatever he can to drag as many as he can down with him.

Don’t let this be you, my dear friend!

GOD has a plan for YOU!

He wants you to have LIFE and have it more abundantly, that’s why HE came and that’s why HE gave HIS only begotten son, because HE loved us, loved you and me, all of us.

Even before you were born, GOD knew that HE had a plan for you!

JEREMIAH 1:5 
BEFORE I FORMED THEE IN THE BELLY I KNEW THEE; AND BEFORE THOU CAMEST FORTH OUT OF THE WOMB I SANCTIFIED THEE, AND I ORDAINED THEE A PROPHET UNTO THE NATIONS.

The devil is a liar.

You must NEVER, ever forget this, my dear friend.

The challenges which will come your way just before you are about to succeed, just before GOD will grant you the victory, they will intensify, will seem even more unbearable and un-conquerable, but that is A GOOD SIGN!
It means you are almost there, it means that the enemy is gathering all he has left for one final, last blow… just like in a physical battle, when the losing army is calling their headquarters for all the reserves they can send, because they KNOW that the war is already lost, but they don’t want to admit it – not to themselves and not to their leaders.

It is the same with the enemy and his army – perhaps he himself is fighting against you, perhaps it is “just” one of his earls or lords, who is in charge to destroying you personally… but you can be sure that if he loses, whoever he is, it will not go well with him. The devil has no mercy in him and whoever fails him will not take many more breaths or if they are a spirit, they will not be a spirit for very much longer…

This is not to scare you, it is just to make you see just HOW determined the devil IS to make you fall.

Just as mercyful and loving and kind and benevolent as OUR FATHER is and just as HE always has our very best interest in mind and wants us to be well and saved, just as wicked and evil and malevolent and destructive and deceptive is the devil.

And just as OUR FATHER will ALWAYS love us and forgive us and never forsake us and always help us, the devil will do whatever he can to destroy us, to make us perish with him, to lead us astray, to deceive us, to hurt us and he, too, will never give up on us, just not out of love, but out of HATE.
The devil is a hater and violence, hate, betrayal, lies, destruction, oppression, manipulation, rebellion, possession, compulsion, addiction, torture, hate, malice, slander, these are his domains and means – often not openly, but disguised as something more pretty, more attractive, but once your spiritual eyes have been opened by GOD, you will see right through his snares…

My friend, NOTHING and NO ONE can prevent you from living the life GOD has for you.

Once you have a personal relationship with HIM, once you know HIM and once HE has promised something to YOU, to you personally, nothing can prevent this thing from coming to pass.

Only unbelief and fainting on your side…

So if any of this sounds familiar, be encouraged, my dear friend, it means that your breakthrough is very, very close and that all you have to do is STAND.

Stand on GOD’s word, stand on HIS promises, stand on your relationship with HIM.

DO NOT MOVE!
Do not move one inch, you are already standing on YOUR ground!

If you keep standing and believing, the devil will HAVE TO flee, he has no other choice.

Submit to God, Resist the devil and the Devil will flee from you.

Remember the story about GOD’s people when they were told to go around the walls of Jericho SEVEN TIMES…?

They didn’t do anything other the seventh time than they had done the previous times… and yet, after the seventh time, the walls came down!

JOSHUA 6:20
SO THE PEOPLE SHOUTED WHEN THE PRIESTS BLEW WITH THE TRUMPETS: AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN THE PEOPLE HEARD THE SOUND OF THE TRUMPET, AND THE PEOPLE SHOUTED WITH A GREAT SHOUT, THAT THE WALL FELL DOWN FLAT, SO THAT THE PEOPLE WENT UP INTO THE CITY, EVERY MAN STRAIGHT BEFORE HIM, AND THEY TOOK THE CITY.
(PLEASE READ THE FULL STORY IN JOSHUA 6)

If your breakthrough is not fully here yet, has not manifested in the physical realm yet, that doesn’t mean that you did anything wrong or missed anything or that it your breakthrough won’t happen.

All it means that you need to stay strong and believe.

Be encouraged, my friend.

If GOD has said it, HE will do it!

You will see!

If GOD has brought you from a life of sin or from dire circumstances into your destined life, please let us hear your story (here in the comment section or on the “Your testimonies” page) and rejoice with you…

I hope and pray that this will inspire, heal and bless you and that THE LORD will bless you abundantly in all areas of your life, that HE will keep you and shine HIS face upon you and give you peace. In JESUS’ name I pray. AMEN.

 

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Stressed to Temptation

May 9, 2019

 

Good morning everyone and happy Friday! I’d like to talk to you about one of the things that truly brings out the worst in many of us. Stress makes us always want to take the easy way instead of the right way. Stress makes us irritable to even our loved ones. Stress can destroy our lives if not dealt with properly and more importantly our Christ like behavior. We are always going to face it in one form or another so we should be wise to respond appropriately to it!

Here’s some of the ways you shouldn’t respond to it. Everyone wants relief but most of the time they seek the wrong reliever. A reliever that is temporary and imperfect has a habit of being self destructive. The stress of a job can lead a man or woman to substance abuse. The stress of problems in a relationship can lead to adultery or divorce. In short, stress can lead us to sin!

The King of Kings experienced stress unlike any other. When he went into the desert for 40 days, did he falter under the physical stress he endured? No, because the Word was on his heart and lips always: temptation had no power over him. When Jesus knew that he was going to be killed, the religious leaders hated him, or that he was constantly on the move with people always trying to swarm to see him, what was his solution? Prayerful quiet time kept the most stressed human being to ever live at perfect peace.

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Hebrews 5:7

After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. Matthew 14:23

Granted our Lord is perfect and it may make it seem like it’s easier for Him to resist the temptations of the flesh. However, he has simply shown us what to do and we just have to slowly train ourselves to respond in ways that he does. Whether it is stopping what we are doing or separating ourselves from others to cool off. Placing our focus back on God through prayer is a great way along with giving thanks for our undeserved heaven sent amazing GRACE!

Stressed to Temptation

Abide in Me

MAY 5, 2019 | CHRISTIAN MOM

 

Before 2018 ended, we went up to the Cloud of Glory Prayer Mountain in Lilo-an Cebu. It is a place where our church built for us to get away from the hussle of life in the city and seek the face of God.

For the past two years I have asked the Lord for His one word for me every year. Or should I say, my spiritual theme for the year. This year, God’s one word for me was REMAIN. In another translation from the Bible – ABIDE.

While browsing through my online notebook, I came across with one of the exhortations I made last 2017. I may have written this two years ago but this is a good reminder for me this 2019 and for the rest of my life.

In John 15:1 Jesus declared, “I Am the True Vine and my Father is the vinedresser.” , This was the last of the seven “I Am” declarations of Jesus recorded in the Book of John. This was His last message to His disciples before His pending crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension. Knowing that His temporal leaving bothered His disciples, Jesus encouraged them with this beautiful metaphor as the True Vine Himself and God the Vinedresser.

The vine gives us a picture of a close, permanent and vital union with it’s branches. It is symbolic of entirely belonging to the vine. Jesus was saying “You are entirely Mine and I am all you need.” Jesus was saying although I will be physically away, I will continue to nourish, support, and sustain you like a vine sustaining and nourishing it’s own branches as long as it is attached to the Vine, as long as they abide in Christ.

John 15:5 says 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.”

This message goes out not only for the disciples but for every believer of Christ. We are to attach, depend, rely, abide in the True Vine Jesus Christ.

The word abide has been repeated 10x in the first 10 verses of Chapter 15. Jesus emphasized our need to abide in Him.

The word abide in the Greek means “we make our home in.” Abiding in Christ is much more than just being beside Him, it is making our home in Christ. Making our home is His love. And when we make Christ our home, we will see Him in all His beauty, stand in awe of His greatness, glory in His power and experience His strength.

Let it be that we make our home in no one else but Christ. He is the True Vine. He is all that we need. And much more let it be that He is all that we desire and want.

Psalm 27:4 “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord And to meditate in His temple.

Love,

Christian Mom

Abide in Me

VIDEO 8 Moms in the Bible Who Served God Well

 

Eight mothers in the Bible played key roles in the coming of Jesus Christ. None of them was perfect, yet each showed strong faith in God. God, in turn, rewarded them for their confidence in him.

These mothers lived in an age when women were often treated as second-class citizens, yet God appreciated their true worth, just as he does today. Motherhoodis one of life’s highest callings. Learn how these eight mothers in the Bible put their hope in the God of the Impossible, and how he proved that such hope is always well-placed.

Eve – Mother of All the Living

Adam and Eve
God’s Curse by James Tissot. SuperStock / Getty Images

Eve was the first woman and the first mother. Without a single role model or mentor, she paved the maternal way to become “Mother of All the Living.” She and her mate Adam lived in Paradise, but they spoiled it by listening to Satan instead of God. Eve suffered terrible grief when her son Cain murdered his brother Abel, yet despite these tragedies, Eve went on to fulfill her part in God’s plan of populating the Earth.

Sarah – Wife of Abraham

Sarah
Sarah overhears the three visitors confirming she will have a son. Culture Club / Contributor / Getty Images

Sarah was one of the most important women in the Bible. She was the wife of Abraham, which made her the mother of the nation of Israel. Yet Sarah was barren. She conceived through a miracle in spite of her old age. Sarah was a good wife, a loyal helper and builder with Abraham. Her faith serves as a shining example for every person who has to wait on God to act.

Rebekah – Wife of Isaac

Rebekah
Rebekah pours water while Jacob’s servant Eliezer looks on. Getty Images

Rebekah, like her mother-in-law Sarah, was barren. When her husband Isaacprayed for her, God opened Rebekah’s womb and she conceived and gave birth to twin sons, Esau and Jacob. During an age when women were typically submissive, Rebekah was quite assertive. At times Rebekah took matters into her own hands. Sometimes that worked out, but it also resulted in disastrous consequences.

Jochebed – Mother of Moses

Jochebed and Baby Moses
Public Domain

Jochebed, the mother of Moses, is one of the underappreciated mothers in the Bible, yet she also showed tremendous faith in God. To avoid the mass slaughter of Hebrew boys, she set her baby adrift in the Nile River, hoping someone would find him and raise him. God so worked that her baby was found by Pharaoh’s daughter. Jochebed even became her own son’s nurse. God used Moses mightily, to free the Hebrew people from their 400 year, bondage of slavery and take them to the Promised Land. Although little is written about Jochebed in the Bible, her story speaks powerfully to mothers of today.

Hannah – Mother of Samuel the Prophet

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Hannah presents her son Samuel to the priest Eli. Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (circa 1665). Public Domain

Hannah’s story is one of the most touching in the entire Bible. Like several other mothers in the Bible, she knew what it meant to suffer long years of barrenness. In Hannah’s case she was cruelly taunted by her husband’s other wife. But Hannah never gave up on God. Finally, her heartfelt prayers were answered. She gave birth to a son, Samuel, then did something entirely selfless to honor her promise to God. God favored Hannah with five more children, bringing great blessing to her life.

Bathsheba – Wife of David

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Bathsheba oil painting on canvas by Willem Drost (1654). Public Domain

Bathsheba was the object of King David‘s lust. David even arranged to have her husband Uriah the Hittite killed to get him out of the way. God was so displeased with David’s actions that he struck dead the baby from that union. In spite of heartbreaking circumstances, Bathsheba remained loyal to David. Their next son, Solomon, was loved by God and grew up to become Israel’s greatest king. From David’s line would come to Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. And Bathsheba would have the distinguished honor of being one of only five women listed in Messiah’s ancestry.

Elizabeth – Mother of John the Baptist

Elizabeth - Mother of John the Baptist
The Visitation by Carl Heinrich Bloch. SuperStock / Getty Images

Barren in her old age, Elizabeth was another of the miracle mothers in the Bible. She conceived and gave birth to a son. She and her husband named him John, as an angel had instructed. Like Hannah before her, she dedicated her son to God, and like Hannah’s son, he also became a great prophetJohn the Baptist. Elizabeth’s joy was complete when her relative Mary visited her, pregnant with the future Savior of the World.

Mary – Mother of Jesus

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Mary the Mother of Jesus; Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato (1640-1650). Public Domain

Mary was the most honored mother in the Bible, the human mother of Jesus, who saved the world from its sins. Although she was only a young, humble peasant, Mary accepted God’s will for her life. She suffered enormous shame and pain, yet never doubted her Son for a moment. Mary stands as highly favored by God, a shining example of obedience and submission to the Father’s will.

Watch Now: Learn About Mary, the Mother of Jesus


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What Did Mary Know? (Selected Scriptures) John MacArthur