Purified

Quenched

Have you ever asked for something, but then changed your mind when you received it?

Throughout the walk of a believer, inevitably we will ask God to change us. There is a pure desire within the heart of us to become like Jesus. Our prayers beg God to remove things within us that don’t please Him. We pray for development of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Subtle changes appear, and faith is increased. There is a transformation happening.

But then the flesh notices the change. Something is off. It’s territory is threatened, and it will not go silently into the night. Our flesh starts to put up a fight. As Matthew 26:41 says, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

We start to resist the work of the Holy Spirit. We cover our ears, pretending not to hear His whispers. The slow fade begins. We return to our sin. 1 Peter 2:22 is so blunt as to compare it to a dog returning to it’s own vomit. Instead of resting easy in the newness of the Spirit, we prefer the dingy familiarity of our old nature. Why do we not remain?

“Do not quench the Spirit.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:19 

God is an all consuming fire…but He won’t spread if we keep snuffing Him out.

Yielding ourselves to the Holy Spirit is what will truly bring breakthrough, power & freedom in our lives. This means laying down our will…our stubborn, hard-headed wills. Deep down, we know that we don’t know it all. God is not at all put off by any of this. In fact, He wants to use that weakness to display His power in our lives. His best work is done through broken vessels. Ones who have surrendered and admitted that they need Him, and that His ways are higher. If we will allow Him to have His way, imagine what He could do through us.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” – Galatians 5:16

“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” – James 1:4


“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Phillipians 1:6


“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” – Romans 7:15

 

 

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There’s Holiness to be Had

What do you think of when you hear the word “holy”?

Most people will apply it strictly towards God & His character. Some will immediately have the image of nuns & priests appear in their heads. Rarely do we consider ourselves in regards to holiness. Some think it’s an unattainable goal for them, something out of reach. “Only certain people were created for that”. We use the excuse “I’m human” and remain comfortable where we are.

This mentality is hindering the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. There is holiness to be had.

Throughout the Word, God has a consistent message: Be holy. That word hasn’t changed because of the times we live in. Times change, but God remains the same…yesterday, today & forever. Jesus is not a trend. This world will pass away, but His Kingdom won’t. His ways are not our ways…but they can be. We can be on the same page He is. His agenda for our lives can become ours if we allow Him to show us His way. God doesn’t call us to be something without providing a way and enabling us to rise to the occasion.

There is certain surrender when you answer the call to holiness in your life. When you are aligning your will with His, there will be guaranteed sacrifices. It may even be uncomfortable, but not beyond what you’re able to bear. The Holy Spirit will strengthen you to handle the change, and He will give you wisdom to discern what His preference is in daily situations.

Holiness is not the expectation of perfection. Jesus knows & understands that we can never be perfect even if we tried. His patience with us is very vast. He encountered every temptation known to man. He knows exactly what we face and how we feel. Don’t feel pressured to be perfect. But don’t resist the work He will do in your life…no matter how hard it is.

Not everyone will accept who you are becoming.  Expect adversity when you start the journey to holiness. The dynamic of some relationships may change…even those of the same belief. It may surprise you who doesn’t respond to the new you. Don’t take it personal. Stay the course, and show love & grace in the process. You may be the one the Holy Spirit is using to teach them.

You will have new desires & interests. You will lose interest in the things of this world. It doesn’t mean you don’t have fun, or become boring. Your main interest will be Jesus, and all paths to Him. What you watch, listen to and read will start to change. You develop an unquenchable thirst for anything related to Him. He becomes your magnificent obsession.

The closer you get to Jesus, the more you become like Him. The more you become like Him, the more peace you will feel. The fight between your spirit & your flesh gets easier because it’s not a losing battle anymore. The spirit in you is now stronger, and the driving force is Jesus. The flesh will still be a reality until the day of His return, but it’s no longer calling the shots.

God loves us too much us to leave us how He found us. His ultimate goal is to make us like His son, Jesus. He’s preparing us for His Kingdom. Jesus is returning any minute now. You are the reason He is coming back. He is coming to bring you Home. Let yourself be found eagerly awaiting Him without fear or shame.

 

“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” – 2 Corinthians 7:1

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,  he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,  if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard…” – Colossians 1:21

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6

Out of Darkness

October has arrived. This has always been my favorite month of the year. With it’s arrival comes striking shades of autumn, welcome weather changes, and the anticipation of the seasonal holidays.

Until recently, one thing I loved about October was Halloween, even going so far as to claim it as my favorite holiday. I looked forward to celebrating it by getting my scream on at haunted houses &  indulging in scary movies.

My change of heart should come as no surprise after this year of spiritual awakening. Nevertheless, I am floored by what God has opened my eyes to.

The Holy Spirit prompted me to research if it was acceptable for a Christian to acknowledge Halloween. Of course, I turned to Google and found multiple explanations of the history behind the day, and verses to support it. A couple of nights later, the Lord gave me a verse to look up.

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.  But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?  You observe days and months and seasons and years I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.” – Galatians 4:8

I realized quickly He was answering me. He followed that up with a word from a friend about my obsession with scary movies:

“If I haven’t given you a spirit of fear, why do you keep searching for it?”

This wasn’t the first time I had felt the prompting from Him on this subject.  Over the past few years, I have ignored them. Why?  To be honest with you, I blew it off. My thoughts on the subject were pretty common:

“I’m not celebrating satan, taking part in anything evil, and I don’t feel convicted. No biggie.”

What we acknowledge is a big deal to God, and He doesn’t take this lightly. When you become a follower of Jesus Christ, a process begins. (I’ve discussed this in some of the previous posts)  He begins to make you holy & pure, like Jesus. God purges us of things that are not from Him and that do not bear fruit. He made us a royal priesthood, a light to shine in darkness, a city on a hill. Why are we drawn to darkness? His words says that He has called us OUT of darkness and  into light! Why do we continue going back in?

The history behind Halloween is far from holy, and far from what God desires for us. To this day, there are heinous & satanic rituals performed…human & animal sacrifices, invoking of the spirits, and communicating with the dead. God is very clear and firm on this in the Bible. He advises to steer clear of anything that even has the appearance of evil.  (1 Thessalonians 5:22)  Furthermore, He calls us to hate what is evil, and cling to good. (Psalm 27:10)

So, why do we continue to acknowledge this day that celebrates evil but claim to follow Jesus? God has no ulterior motive when He tells us that something is bad for us. He simply wants the best for us, and desires for us to walk in His will. If we ignore His word,  the question is…do we really want to know His opinion?

Don’t take my word for it. Take His word for it.

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“When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead,  for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.” – Deuteronomy 18:9

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2