VIDEO Walking in the Spirit

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2

A man in one early chapter of Acts was confused about the work of the Holy Spirit. He thought he could have the power of the Holy Spirit without a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. He thought he could buy the Holy Spirit’s power with money—which led to a sharp rebuke from the apostles (Acts 8:9-25).

At Pentecost, Peter spelled it out clearly: “Repent . . . be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ . . . and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Life in the Spirit is preceded by life in Christ—faith and repentance of sin so that Christ’s Lordship is the priority in our life. We can’t walk in the Spirit while grieving the Spirit with sin (Ephesians 4:30). When Christ is Lord, the fruit of the Holy Spirit—that is, the life of Christ in us—becomes evident to those around us (Galatians 5:16, 22-23).

If Christ is the Lord of your life, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit are yours. Walking in the Spirit means walking with Christ.

He who has the Holy Spirit in his heart and the Scriptures in his hands has all he needs. Alexander MacLaren

Giving Thanks to the Spirit (Romans 8:1-3)

Reaching Others for Jesus

Go and make disciples of all nations. Matthew 28:19

A decade ago, they didn’t know the name of Jesus. Hidden in the mountains of Mindanao in the Philippines, the Banwaon people had little contact with the outside world. A trip for supplies could take two days, requiring an arduous hike over rugged terrain. The world took no notice of them.

Then a mission group reached out, shuttling people in and out of the region via helicopter. This gained the Banwaon access to needed supplies, crucial medical help, and an awareness of the larger world. It also introduced them to Jesus. Now, instead of singing to the spirits, they chant their traditional tribal songs with new words that praise the one true God. Mission aviation established the critical link.

When Jesus returned to His heavenly Father, He gave His disciples these instructions: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). That command still stands.

Unreached people groups aren’t limited to exotic locales we haven’t heard of. Often, they live among us. Reaching the Banwaon people took creativity and resourcefulness, and it inspires us to find creative ways to overcome the barriers in our communities. That might include an “inaccessible” group you haven’t even considered—someone right in your neighborhood. How might God use you to reach others for Jesus?

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

Who are the hardest-to-reach people in your community? In what ways can you tell them about Jesus?

Father, please use me as You see fit in order that ________ might turn to You in faith.

Read Evangelism: Reaching Out Through Relationships.

Living Above Your Circumstances

God is in complete control over every circumstance; even in our trials, He’s working all things to accomplish His good purpose in our life

Philippians 1:12-20 

When we’re going through hard times, it’s comforting to know that nothing can touch a believer’s life unless the Lord allows it. He has complete control even in our most difficult and painful circumstances. Through it all, we’re being held firmly in our Father’s loving hand, and His good purpose is being worked out in our life. 

We may desperately wish for our circumstances to change. But to achieve His purposes, God allows us to go through trials that are designed to make us more like Christ. We’ll reap the spiritual benefits if, instead of trying to extricate ourselves, we let the Lord finish the work. 

Paul’s time in prison proved to be a benefit for the gospel. Logically, incarceration should have hindered his ministry, but it had the opposite effect. During that time Paul was guarded by many Roman soldiers, and each new shift gave him the opportunity to explain the gospel to another “captive audience.”  

We’re not promised an easy life, but God uses our trials to accomplish His will. Difficult experiences are given to us for our good, for the benefit of others, and for God’s glory.

The Counting God

Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? (Job 31:4)

God is surely the Great Mathematician. All the intricacies of structure and process of His mighty cosmos are, at least in principle, capable of being described mathematically, and the goal of science is to do just that. This precise intelligibility of the universe clearly points to a marvelous intelligence as its Creator.

God even “telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names” (Psalm 147:4). Astronomers estimate that at least 10 trillion trillion stars exist in the heavens, and God has counted and identified each one! And that is not all: “The very hairs of your head are all numbered,” Jesus said (Matthew 10:30). From the most massive star to the tiniest hair, God has counted each component of His creation.

Such countings are far beyond human capabilities, for “the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured” (Jeremiah 33:22). But God has also created “an innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22) and has promised that the redeemed will include “a great multitude, which no man could number” (Revelation 7:9).

No wonder David exclaimed, “Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered” (Psalm 40:5).

Perhaps the most wonderful of all God’s counting activities is that implied in Job’s rhetorical question: “Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?” If He has numbered the hairs on our heads, we can be certain He numbers our steps along the way and guides them all. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way” (Psalm 37:23). HMM

Joy And Restoration

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Our mouths were filled with laughter then, and our tongues with shouts of joy. Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord had done great things for us; we were joyful (Psalm 126 vv. 1-3).

Anyone who has ever experienced the loss of a loved one, financial reverses, serious illness, or imprisonment of any kind will treasure this psalm! The first few verses vibrate with the sheer joy of deliverance after long years of burden-bearing and captivity!

Most likely the psalmist is referring to the time immediately after the return of the nation Israel from it’s exile in Babylon (537 BC). Happiness and exuberance reign supreme, God’s people probably have to pinch themselves to believe they are really free! Laughter comes easily. Jubilant shouting is heard often. The Israelites, in typical Oriental abandonment, release their pent-up feelings in a flood of healing, restorative praise.

The Gentile outsiders looking on say in amazement, “The Lord has done great things for them” (v. 2). No nation has ever been restored after deportation! It is as incomprehensible to these ancient people.

It is this euphoric sensation of delight and joy that should seize me every time I meditate on all the great things the Lord has done for me. If I spent more time dwelling on God’s major triad—”the great things”—there would be less time for the minor irritations and frustrations of life!

Personal Prayer

Remind me, O Lord, of the major triumphs you have accomplished in my behalf—my salvation, my eternal security, my constant protection— and don’t let my song lapse into a minor mode!

The Language of Music


From the Latin imperative, “jubilare.”

Refers to the 100th Psalm in the Authorized Version ( “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord …”). It also refers to a joyous song or outburst.

Spiritual Digestion

How I love Your instruction! It is my meditation all day long…. I have more insight than all my teachers because Your decrees are my meditation.—Psalm 119:97, 99

One of the highest priorities in order to stay spiritually fresh is to cultivate the art of Scripture meditation.

For some reason, Bible meditation has become a lost art in our day. A survey conducted among Christians in the United States showed that only one in ten thousand knew how to meditate on the Scriptures.

What, then, is the art of Scripture meditation? Is it reading parts of the Bible as slowly as possible so that every word sinks in? No. Is it studying a passage with the aid of a commentary so that one understands exactly what the Scripture is saying? No. Is it memorizing certain texts and recalling them to mind whenever one has a spare moment? No. You can do all of these things and still not know how to meditate.

Andrew Murray describes it as “holding the word of God in your heart and mind until it has affected every area of your life.” My own definition is this: meditation is the process by which we place the Word of God into the digestive system of the soul, where it is transformed into faith and spiritual energy.

Psalm 1:2-3 paints a picture of amazing freshness and vitality: “His delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.” What is the secret of this amazing freshness? It is simple—meditation. To draw from Scripture the inspiration and power we need to stay spiritually fresh, we must do more than read it, study it, or even memorize it—we must meditate on it.


O Father, I want so much to learn the art of meditation. Quicken my desire to hide Your Word in my heart so that it becomes the hidden springs of action and determines my character and my conduct. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Jos 1:1-9; 24:31

What was God’s promise to Joshua?

What was the condition—and the result?

The Grace of Dependency

Luke 23:43

A reminder from St. Augustine guarantees to warm the heart yet chill the blood: “Two criminals were crucified with Christ: one was saved—do not despair; one was not—do not presume.”

About these two, we know absolutely nothing, a fact that hasn’t prevented pious speculation from building whole biographies about the one whose eleventh-hour discovery of Christ allows us to say of him, in the words of Shakespeare, “Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it.”

But I’m not one to slight the other criminal. Perhaps he was an associate of Barabbas, the revolutionary hero released that same morning at the behest of the mob. Perhaps he was a freedom fighter, determined to see Israel’s independence or to see Rome leveled by his attempt to gain it. In any case, in his harshest hour, he shows spirit. That’s what his taunting of Jesus reflects—a defiant spirit similar to what Dylan Thomas wanted his father to show even as his life expired:

Do not go gently into that good night,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

He raged all right, this thief; no whiner, he was a fighter to the end. Frederick Buechner writes: “To grit your teeth and to clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still.” The defiant thief could not be saved because a clenched fist cannot accept a helping hand.

The other criminal is also on a cross of isolation. He who is guilty hears the One, who of all people is the victim of injustice, pray for the forgiveness of His executioners. Such love proves too much. His own defiant heart breaks. He cries out, “Jesus, remember me” (Luke 23:42). And in his last hour, on a cross, Christ performs His last miracle.

In portraying the story of Creation on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo pictures the bond of love as it was first established. Surrounded by cherubim and seraphim, God simply reaches down His arm from heaven to touch Adam’s extended hand. But the bond, once rent, is not easily restored. Sin has its price, and so has forgiveness.

Restoration takes place on two crosses when One in agony stretches out His hand and says, “Today, you will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). That is what atonement (at-one-ment) is all about.

Peter & Grace Chang, The Gift of God