VIDEO The Invisible War, Spiritual Terrorism – Clouds and Darkness

Clouds and Darkness

Clouds and darkness surround Him… —Psalm 97:2

Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Once, the Bible was just so many words to us — “clouds and darkness”— then, suddenly, the words become spirit and life because Jesus re-speaks them to us when our circumstances make the words new. That is the way God speaks to us; not by visions and dreams, but by words. When a man gets to God, it is by the most simple way— words.


Dec 19, 2015

Rabbi Hershberg begins a series on the invisible (spiritual) war. Today’s message focuses on the greatness of God – the lover of our soul.

Shining the Light

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Matthew 5:14

Stephen told his parents that he needed to get to school early every day, but for some reason he never explained why it was so important. Yet they made sure he arrived at Northview High School by 7:15 each morning.

On a wintry day during his junior year, Stephen was in a car accident that sadly took his life. Later, his mom and dad found out why he’d been going to school so early. Each morning he and some friends had gathered at the school entrance to greet other students with a smile, a wave, and a kind word. It made all students—even those who weren’t popular—feel welcomed and accepted.

A believer in Jesus, Stephen wanted to share His joy with those who desperately needed it. His example lives on as a reminder that one of the best ways to shine the light of Christ’s love is by gestures of kindness and through a welcoming spirit.

In Matthew 5:14–16, Jesus reveals that in Him we’re “the light of the world” and “a town built on a hill” (v. 14). Ancient cities were often built of white limestone, truly standing out as they reflected the blazing sun. May we choose not to be hidden but to give light “to everyone in the house” (v. 15).

And as we “let [our] light shine before others” (v. 16), may they experience the welcoming love of Christ.

By: Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

What’s one way you could be more welcoming to the lonely and needy around you? How can the Holy Spirit help you be a city set on a hill for others to see?

Heavenly Father, thank You for Stephen’s example. Like him, help me to show kindness and a welcoming spirit to everyone I meet.

Sunday Reflection: The Blessing of God’s Presence

Signs of God’s blessing are all around us, but discerning them can be difficult. We tend to think God is moving and blessing us when things are going well—when marriages are thriving, we get the promotion, or sickness is healed. But He blesses us even in the wilderness of our lives—in the unknown, unpredictable, and uncomfortable.

When things are difficult, it’s common to believe the solution is to move past our problems—to change our circumstances. But God doesn’t just pluck us out of the desert places. Usually, He comes alongside us, bringing life, water, and renewed hope as we journey onward.

Think About It
• Can you list any examples of God’s blessing in your life? It could be something simple. Perhaps He has provided for a need or desire. Or maybe He’s encouraged you by means of an interaction with a friend.

• Imagine the thirst you might experience after days traveling in a desert. How would you feel if water suddenly appeared before you? A similar sense of relief is available to you now, regardless of your circumstances. Call out to the Lord and discover He’s already right there with you.

The Holy Spirit’s Ministry: Identifying the Children of God

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Romans 8:16)

Paul presents a magnificent section in Romans 8 on the resources of the believer. He begins with an affirmation that the Holy Spirit has been tasked to bear witness with our spirit that we are the actual children of God.

No less than 13 times does the phrase “children of God” appear in the New Testament, all written in one way or another to confirm that we “are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26).

Obviously, this does not apply to all humanity, as some would assert. None other than Jesus Himself stated that the wicked Pharisees and Sadducees were “of your father the devil” (John 8:44). The apostle John made the difference crystal clear: “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother” (1 John 3:10).

The children of God are peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) and according to the Lord Jesus are “equal unto the angels” because they are “the children of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36). Furthermore, none other than the Creator Himself promises to “gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” (John 11:52).

Finally, this is how each of us can know that we are, indeed, the children of God—“that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments” (John 5:2). HMM III

Really, Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit!

Ephesians 4:30

Many years ago, when I first studied the word “grieve” in Ephesians 4:30, I ran to my bookshelf and pulled out my Greek New Testament to discover exactly what the word “grieve” meant. I found that this word was taken from the Greek word lupete. This surprised me, because the word lupete is from the word lupe, which denotes a pain or grief that can only be experienced between two people who deeply love each other.

This word lupe would normally be used to picture a husband or wife who has discovered his or her mate has been unfaithful. As a result of this unfaithfulness, the betrayed spouse is shocked, devastated, hurt, wounded, and grieved because of the pain that accompanies unfaithfulness.

This tells us, first of all, that the relationship that exists between us and the Holy Spirit is precious! The Holy Spirit is deeply in love with us. Just as someone in love thinks about, dreams of, and cherishes the one he loves, the Holy Spirit longs for us, thinks about us, desires to be close to us, and wants to reveal Himself to us.

But when we act like the world, talk like the world, behave like the world, and respond the same way the world does, we cause the Spirit of God to feel shock, hurt, and grief. You see, when we deliberately do what is wrong, we drag Him right into the mire of sin with us, because He lives in us and goes wherever we go.

The Holy Spirit convicted us of sin and brought us to Jesus; then He indwelt us, sanctified us, empowered us, and faithfully remains alongside to help us. So when we deliberately enter into sin, it grieves Him. Just as a husband or wife would feel who has just discovered that his or her spouse has committed adultery, the Holy Spirit is shocked when we dishonor His Presence in our lives.

 

One scholar has translated Ephesians 4:30 in the following way:

“Stop deeply wounding and causing such extreme emotional pain to the Spirit of God, by whom you have been sealed until the day of your redemption.”

We need to realize how precious the Holy Spirit is in our lives and honor Him by making sure we live holy and upright lives. If our behavior has been wrong, we should confess our sin and receive cleansing by the blood of Jesus so we can be restored to fellowship with the Spirit of God.

So before you get started with your daily duties today, stop and ask, “Holy Spirit, is there anything in my life that causes You grief? If there is, please reveal it to me so I can change.”

 

Knowing by Experience

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil.

—Isaiah 1:16

In post-biblical times many who were filled and possessed by the Spirit were by the limitations of their literary gifts prevented from telling us much about Him. They had no gifts for self-analysis but lived from within in uncritical simplicity.

To them the Spirit was One to be loved and fellowshiped the same as the Lord Jesus Himself. They would have been lost completely in any metaphysical discussion of the nature of the Spirit, but they had no trouble in claiming the power of the Spirit for holy living and fruitful service.

This is as it should be.

Personal experience must always be first in real life….Knowledge by acquaintance is always better than mere knowledge by description, and the first does not presuppose the second nor require it. POM062-063

Happy is the man who will not allow himself to be diverted and distracted, but having emptied and cleansed his heart, will stand waiting…for Christ to descend, fill and ever remain as the glorious indweller of the soul. SAN037

 

Just A Wonderful Guarantee

“I will strengthen thee.” Isa. 41:10

When called to serve or to suffer, we take stock of our strength, and we find it to be less than we thought, and less than we need. But let not our heart sink within us while we have such a word as this to fall back upon, for it guarantees us all that we can possibly need. God has strength omnipotent; that strength He can communicate to us; and His promise is that He will do so. He will be the food of our souls, and the health of our hearts; and thus He will give us strength. There is no telling how much power God can put into a man. When divine strength comes, human weakness is no more a hindrance.

Do we not remember seasons of labor and trial in which we received such special strength that we wondered at ourselves? In the midst of danger we were calm, under bereavement we were resigned, in slander we were self-contained, and in sickness we were patient. The fact is, that God gives unexpected strength when unusual trials come upon us. We rise out of our feeble selves. Cowards play the man, foolish ones have wisdom given them, and the silent receive in the self-same hour what they shall speak. My own weakness makes me shrink, but God’s promise makes me brave. Lord, strengthen me “according to thy word.”

 

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