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Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

I love the promise of Psalm 32:8.

When I embrace it as my own, my life is so much better.

The same better future can be yours, too.

“The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’

I know very well of my random failures that can be traced to thinking I don’t need God’s guidance on a particular matter.

Invariably, I eventually realize that I should have paid closer attention to His Word and His Spirit’s voice.

The older I get, the better I listen.

Better late than never, right?

Listen well, my friend.

And live more successfully, more joyfully and more fruitfully.

It’s what God wants for us, according to Jeremiah 29:11.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I am grateful for the uplifting words of 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.

I read them this morning during my devotional time and that was a very good thing.

For you see, I had read earlier in the morning from the book of Jeremiah about the ominous warnings that God had given to rebellious Hebrews listening to the egocentric teachings of the false prophets in the days before the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem.

It is disheartening to consider that so many people who should have lived surrendered, Spirit-led lives for God were instead obsessed with doing the exact opposite.

It actually sounds much like what is happening today in our world, including the portion of Jeremiah’s book that spoke of prophets saying what the people wanted to hear rather than calling them to repentance.

Listen, God doesn’t want people to suffer and that’s why He is not only a God who loves, but also a God who warns.

When we listen to His warnings in the Word or from the voice of His Holy Spirit calling us to godly living, life is SO much better for us, for those around us and for His Kingdom.

Never forget that we were created by and are to serve a marvelous Abba Father who loves to show mercy rather than punishment.

The next time you feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit because of a poor choice you’re considering — or have already made — please remember the nature of God’s heart as illustrated in this passage:

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

Let’s remember all the good that God has done for mankind and for us individually.

Let’s remember the good that God has done through us on occasion.

And then let’s strive to do more good with our actions and words.

Our hearts will be comforted as a result.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I liked the reminder given me this morning by Solomon:

“For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart and always ready on your lips.” (Proverbs 22:18)

Solomon wrote these words after having shared many, many verses of inspired instruction given him through the leading of the Holy Spirit.

The king wanted his readers to view scripture as they would a trusted workshop tool or kitchen utensil — close by and always ready to make a difference.

I’m trying to learn at least one new verse every week to add to my depth of readiness for personal ministry and intimacy with God.

Galatians 6:10 is a verse that has been cementing itself into my heart and mind lately. It tells me to do good for others whenever I have opportunity, particularly for Christian brothers and sisters.

I’ve found myself quoting that verse in a number of settings lately. It’s rewarding to share the Word with people in ways that helps them to understand the Christian mission and to perhaps start living it out more frequently themselves.

Please consider the start of a verse-memorization initiative in your life. You’ll be glad you did and so with the Lord who observes your efforts and has the power to magnify them as you offer them in faith.

As always, I love you
Martin

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No, the dog didn’t eat my homework. But the cyberspace dog did eat my first Morning Devotion post earlier today and it’s nowhere to be found.

Oh well. Here’s the condensed, hopefully remembered version — don’t flirt with the edge of behavior boundaries of scripture if there is ANY chance that you’ll encourage or influence a weaker believer to try to same.

For there is the real possibility that your choice might prompt another to make a choice that leads them toward crossing the line.

They just don’t have the good spiritual brakes you do. And you and I don’t want that on our life record when we stand before the Lord.

Heed Paul’s words, please, when it comes to your choices for spending on luxury items or with drinking alcohol or with how much skin to reveal with clothing choices or with what jokes you tell or with what movies you watch or with what church gripes you verbalize to others.

“But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.” I Corinthians 8:9

So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.” I Corinthians 8:13

Paul calls us to concentrate on building each other up. Let’s make sure that our examples lead others closer to the center of God’s holy path rather than toward the edges.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Christians wanting to share their faith with very intelligent people sometimes fall into two categories.

Either they become intimidated because they feel intellectually outgunned and might not hold up during a theological debate OR they become overconfident and start trying to persuade with their own wit, wisdom and charisma rather than than relying on the Holy Spirit to do the persuading.

God wants all people to understand and embrace the Gospel as their bridge to salvation and service in the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, so we know that really smart people need to hear the Gospel.

But if we think the approach to them is to based on making it “smart and sophisticated” enough to be worthy of their elite status, then we are mistaken.

The power is in the simplicity and potency of God’s grace toward sinful man. That’s it.

The Apostle Paul demonstrated this in the passage I read this morning from my One-Year Bible.

“When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.” (Ephesians 2:1-5)

I’ve fallen into the trap at times of thinking that I’ve got to sound really smart when talking about the Gospel with really smart people.

There’s a much better way to explain The Way.

God is perfect. Jesus lived without sin so that He could take my place on the cross, a place I deserved because I don’t live without sin. No matter how smart I try to become.

Without Jesus, I have no hope of eternal life.

It’s that simple.

Even the “braniacs” know the soul is eternal. It’s hard-wired into them by God via His creation of their soul (Eccles. 3:10).

They know they sin. We can help them know the Son.

It’s not rocket science.

And that’s a good thing.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Christians being killed in Iraq because of their faith.

The same is happening in Nigeria.

The culprits are hoodlums masquerading as religious zealots ostensibly on a mission to purify their regions of any theology-based threat to their radical, ultra-conservative Islamic belief.

It’s perhaps happening elsewhere and we just haven’t yet heard about it.

Persecution on a non-fatal level is far more widespread, however. Churches are being destroyed or prevented from building.

Congregations are being forced into hiding in order to continue meeting.

Christians are losing jobs because of anti-Christian peer pressure brought against employers or company managers.

Christians are being alienated at work because of ethical principles that won’t go along with the unethical behavior of colleagues.

You and I are likely not encountering anywhere near the degree of religious persecution being faced by believers in some other nations. We should pray for them. And we should learn from them.

If Satan has his way, however, oppressive persecution found in other nations toward Christians will eventually take up residence here.

Until that day comes, let’s do three things.

First, let’s promise in advance that we’ll never compromise on our faith, no matter the pressure we face.

If teens and smaller kids can stay loyal to the Lord when a rifle is pointed at their heads, then we certainly can, too.

Second, let’s look for every opportunity to pray for Christians facing such pressure. God is stronger than Satan and prayers of other believers helps to provide a “covering” of God’s Holy Spirit strength and wisdom for those engaged in spiritual warfare.

Third, let’s look for every opportunity to tell others about the displays of determined faith being exhibited by our overseas spiritual siblings. Even non-Christians will be impressed by the character and determination of people whose love for God and love for people is so strong that they’d give up their lives rather than give up their faith.

The Apostle Paul experienced persecution on a recurring pattern. Why? Because of his overt faith.

He saw that it was growing against other believers, yet Paul wanted them to remain strong in faith because of the great reward in heaven.

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” (Romans 8:19)

I can’t help but to think of the excellent example of Stephen when he was being killed — with Paul’s pre-conversion approval — rather than cave into the religious leaders’ coercion to renounce Christ.

No matter how often or how difficult the hassles attributable to our faith becomes, let’s always profess faith in Christ and encourage others to embrace Him as well.

That way, we’ll arrive in glory no matter how tough the storm of persecution, whether we’re the subject of breakroom gossip or we’re in the crosshairs of a fanatic’s rifle.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Most parents have told their kids that “cheaters never win and winners never cheat.”

Well, the principle is important and should be communicated.

The reality, though, is that cheaters sometimes do get an edge in various settings.

At least temporarily.

  • A better job promotion than the honest person.
  • A better real estate deal.
  • The date with the pretty, rich girl at school.
  • Holding up the championship trophy — before the rules-breaking scheme is discovered.
  • More popularity with community bigshots who love the spotlight on themselves but resent the spotlight on what they did to get there.
  • These are just a few ways that unethical people can sprint to the front of the pack via unsanctified words and deeds.

    It’s a crucial life skill to be at peace with second place or third place…. or last place…. when it comes to maintaining our personal integrity.

    What matters most is how God sees our decision to reject cheating.

    We’re to do what’s right, no matter the earthly outcome.

    And sometimes that means “losing” to cheaters.

    God will always provide for us if we’ll abide in His way.

    I was reminded of this truth today while reading from Proverbs 19.

    “It is better to be poor than dishonest.” (verse 22)

    I’d much rather go through the day with an empty stomach than with an empty heart.

    An empty stomach is only a temporary problem.

    An empty heart can very easily become an eternal problem.

    The next time you’re tempted to cheat, to compromise on your ethics, to disregard the Holy Spirit’s warnings to reject that temptation, please recall Proverbs 19:22.

    Being poor is a temporary problem before the eternal windfall.

    Dishonesty is a poison pill that leads to an eternal fall of another sort.

    Choose wisely.

    Choose truth.

    Choose life.

    As always, I love you
    Martin

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