Led by the Spirit

The true children of God are those who let God’s Spirit lead them. ROMANS 8:14

To hear many of us talk, you’d think we didn’t believe that verse. You’d think we didn’t believe in the Trinity. We talk about the Father and study the Son—but when it comes to the Holy Spirit, we are confused at best and frightened at worst. Confused because we’ve never been taught. Frightened because we’ve been taught to be afraid.

May I simplify things a bit? The Holy Spirit is the presence of God in our lives, carrying on the work of Jesus. The Holy Spirit helps us in three directions—inwardly (by granting us the fruits of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22–24), upwardly (by praying for us, Rom. 8:26) and outwardly (by pouring God’s love into our hearts, Rom. 5:5).

When God Whispers Your Name

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CHRIST’S ULTIMATE AIM

“He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people.” MARK 10:45

One of the incredible abilities of Jesus was to stay on target. His life never got off track … He kept his life on course. As Jesus looked across the horizon of his future, he could see many targets. Many flags were flapping in the wind, each of which he could have pursued. He could have been a political revolutionary … He could have been content to be a teacher and educate minds … But in the end he chose to be a Savior and save souls.

Anyone near Christ for any length of time heard it from Jesus himself. “The Son of Man came to find lost people and save them” (Luke 19:10) … The heart of Christ was relentlessly focused on one task. The day he left the carpentry shop of Nazareth he had one ultimate aim—the Cross of Calvary.

from JUST LIKE JESUS

The Flame of Gifts

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, with is in thee by the putting on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6)

The apostle Paul uses more unique words in his writings than any other Bible author. Such is the case with the verb anazopureo, translated as “stir up” in our text for today, which is a compound of three Greek terms.

Ana, a primary preposition and adverb, is most often translated as “again” or “each,” depending on its context. Zoon is a frequently used noun meaning “life” or “living creature.” And pur is a root word meaning “fire” or “fiery.” Since it is only used this one time in the Scriptures, the translation is a bit difficult to coin an adequate English word or phrase.

“Bring the fire alive (again)” is certainly implied from the syntax. “Make each fire alive” would empathize the implied multiplicity of gifts. The tense indicates an ongoing process, and the direct object (the gift) seems to emphasize the need for Timothy’s action–since God gave Timothy the special leadership gift(s) when Paul personally ordained Timothy.

Paul’s first letter to Timothy implies that the young disciple had allowed the “fire” to grow weak in his ministry. Difficulty, discouragement, or doubt can attack anyone. Apathy, pessimism, worry, or lack of confidence can spin into lack of support or encouragement from friends or coworkers. Whatever the cause, the results are the same.

We can quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) so that we no longer sense His leading. We can even grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), bringing conviction to us in an effort to bring repentance and restoration. Such discipline is not pleasant but is necessary (Hebrews 12:11). But If we are to live in active joy while serving the Lord, we must “stir up” the gifts that He has carefully given us.
HMM III

Ben-oni (son of sorrow), but his father called him Benjamin (son of my right hand)

“She called his name Ben-oni (son of sorrow), but his father called him Benjamin (son of my right hand).” Genesis 35:18

To every matter there is a bright as well as a dark side. Rachel was overwhelmed with the sorrow of her own travail and death; Jacob, though weeping the mother’s loss, could see the mercy of the child’s birth. It is well for us if, while the flesh mourns over trials, our faith triumphs in divine faithfulness.

Samson’s lion yielded honey, and so will our adversities, if rightly considered.

The stormy sea feeds multitudes with its fishes; the wild wood blooms with beauteous flowerets; the stormy wind sweeps away the pestilence, and the biting frost loosens the soil.

Dark clouds distil bright drops, and black earth grows flowers. A vein of good is to be found in every mine of evil. Sad hearts have peculiar skill in discovering the most disadvantageous point of view from which to gaze upon a trial; if there were only one slough in the world, they would soon be up to their
necks in it, and if there were only one lion in the desert they would hear it roar.

About us all there is a tinge of this wretched folly, and we are apt, at times, like Jacob, to cry, “All these things are against me.” Faith’s way of walking is to cast all care upon the Lord, and then to anticipate good results from the worst calamities. Like Gideon’s men, she does not fret over the broken pitcher, but rejoices that the lamp blazes forth the more. Out of the rough oyster-shell of difficulty she extracts the rare pearl of honour, and from the deep ocean-caves of distress she uplifts the priceless coral of experience. When her flood of prosperity ebbs, she finds treasures hid in the sands; and when her sun of delight goes down, she turns her telescope of hope to the starry promises of heaven.

When death itself appears, faith points to the light of resurrection beyond the grave, thus making our dying Benoni to be our living Benjamin.

God’s people have their trials

“We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22

God’s people have their trials. It was never designed by God, when He chose His people, that they should be an untried people. They were chosen in the furnace of affliction; they were never chosen to worldly peace and earthly joy. Freedom from sickness and the pains of mortality was never promised them; but when their Lord drew up the charter of privileges, He included chastisements amongst the things to which they should inevitably be heirs.

Trials are a part of our lot; they were predestinated for us in Christ’s last legacy. So surely as the stars are fashioned by his hands, and their orbits fixed by Him, so surely are our trials allotted to us: He has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us. Good men must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed, for none of their predecessors have been without them. Mark the patience of Job; remember Abraham, for he had his trials, and by his faith under them, he became the “Father of the faithful.” Note well the biographies of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and you shall discover none of those whom God made vessels of mercy, who were not made to pass through the fire of affliction.

It is ordained of old that the cross of trouble should be engraved on every vessel of mercy, as the royal mark whereby the King’s vessels of honour are distinguished. But although tribulation is thus the path of God’s children, they have the comfort of knowing that their Master has traversed it before them; they have His presence and sympathy to cheer them, His grace to support them, and His example to teach them how to endure; and when they reach “the kingdom,” it will more than make amends for the “much tribulation” through which they passed to enter it.

Do as thou hast said

“Do as thou hast said, that thy name may be magnified forever.” (1 Chron. 17:23, 24.)

THIS is a most blessed phase of true prayer. Many a time we ask for things which are not absolutely promised. We are not sure therefore until we have persevered for some time whether our petitions are in the line of God’s purpose or no. There are other occasions, and in the life of David this was one, when we are fully persuaded that what we ask is according to God’s will. We feel led to take up and plead some promise from the page of Scripture, under the special impression that it contains a message for us. At such times, in confident faith, we say, “Do as Thou hast said.” There is hardly any position more utterly beautiful, strong, or safe, than to put the finger upon some promise of the Divine word, and claim it. There need be no anguish, or struggle, or wrestling; we simply present the check and ask for cash, produce the promise, and claim its fulfillment; nor can there be any doubt as to the issue. It would give much interest to prayer, if we were more definite. It is far better to claim a few things specifically than a score vaguely.—F. B. Meyer.

Every promise of Scripture is a writing of God, which may be pleaded before Him with this reasonable request: “Do as Thou hast said.” The Creator will not cheat His creature who depends upon His truth; and far more, the Heavenly Father will not break His word to His own child.

“Remember the word unto thy servant, on which thou hast caused me to hope,” is most prevalent pleading. It is a double argument: it is Thy Word. Wilt Thou not keep it? Why hast thou spoken of it, if Thou wilt not make it good. Thou hast caused me to hope in it, wilt Thou disappoint the hope which Thou has Thyself begotten in me?—C. H. Spurgeon.

“Being absolutely certain that whatever promise he is bound by, he is able also to make good.” (Rom. 4:21, Weymouth’s Translation.)

It is the everlasting faithfulness of God that makes a Bible promise “exceeding great and precious.” Human promises are often worthless. Many a broken promise has left a broken heart. But since the world was made, God has never broken a single promise made to one of His trusting children.

Oh, it is sad for a poor Christian to stand at the door of the promise, in the dark night of affliction, afraid to draw the latch, whereas he should then come boldly for shelter as a child into his father’s house.—Gurnal.

Every promise is built upon four pillars: God’s justice and holiness, which will not suffer Him to deceive: His grace or goodness, which will not suffer Him to forget; His truth, which will not suffer Him to change, which makes Him able to accomplish.—Selected.