Tuesday, May 31, 2016

GOD IS BIGGER THAN YOUR GIANTS

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
1 John 4:4 (NKJV)


Think about the greatest challenge you’ve ever faced in your life. Maybe you’re facing it now. No matter how great it was or is, God is greater, and He is living in you. Nothing that could ever rise its head in opposition against you is greater than Christ in you (Colossians 1:27). You are positioned to reign over every attack that could come against you because of who is in you!

You may be facing some challenges which seem like they are just bigger that you. Remember that you are not without hope because you’re not without Jesus. We often focus our attention on the circumstances and problems which seem extremely difficult and sometimes impossible. That overwhelms us and leads to fear, discouragement and passivity. But Christ in us is far greater than any challenge we could ever face!

“But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.””
Matthew 19:26 (NKJV) (also see Mark 10:27)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
John 14:12 (NKJV)


With God all things are possible – no situation that you could ever face is beyond His ability to turn it around and transform it. When you believe in Him and trust in Him, then together with Him you can overcome and reign in life. Nothing that you could face today is impossible or too difficult for God!

“‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.”
Jeremiah 32:17 (NKJV)

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?
Jeremiah 32:27 (NKJV)


Rest in the Truth that your loving heavenly Father is with you, and that He is for you – His love, undeserved favour and goodness are always toward you. It’s not based on your goodness or good works, or good attitudes – it’s got nothing to do with your performance or lack thereof – You are deeply loved and highly favoured by grace. His goodness is towards you because He is good, and He loves you because He is love! Your relationship with Him is not performance-based; it's not about what you do, or don't do. Rather it is about what He did.

Whatever giant you’re facing today – it’s nothing for God. Cancer is a piece of cake for Jesus. Jesus isn’t bound to the economy of this world, and so bankruptcy and tough economic times are easy for Him (Philippians 4:19). Choose to focus on God and His promises. Relax, trust Him. And don’t allow your giants to instil fear in your heart.

Thought to focus on for the day:
God is with you, He is for you and nothing is impossible with Him; therefore you have nothing to fear or worry about. Keep looking to Jesus and keep trusting in and relying on His promises.

Monday, May 30, 2016

YOU ARE NEVER WITHOUT HOPE


“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)

Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33). Problems will come our way and circumstances will not always be in our favour, but no matter what happens today: God is with you! (Hebrew 13:5) His power is in you! (Romans 8:11) and He is waiting for you to unleash it in your situation (Ephesians 3:20).

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

God has promised that He would never leave you; He is always with you! With God we always have an answer for any difficult situations we face and we always have hope. As believers there is never a situation where we are hopeless, because God is with us. Even in the area of finances (or lack thereof). We shouldn’t be chasing after money and stuff but rather we should be content with what we have, and what we have is God – He is always with us! When we prioritise God and His kingdom, a supernatural flow kicks in and our needs are supernaturally provided for (Psalm 37:25; Matthew 6:33).

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
Romans 8:11 (NKJV)

If you’re a Christian, you have the Spirit of Christ living in you (Romans 8:9). He dwells in you. That means He isn’t going anywhere – you are His place of residence, you are His address. This is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. This is resurrection power, and it’s living in you, and it’s giving life to your physical body. You have resurrection power in you wherever you go. No matter how dead a situation may seem, God’s resurrection power is in you to bring life to dead or seemingly dead situations.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”
Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)

We often look at negative circumstances and lose hope because we cannot see a way out. But we are never without God; therefore we are never without hope. With God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that you could ever ask or think. The problem is that while God has this ability to do anything, it is ‘limited’ by us - we only experience this ability in proportion to the “the power that works in us”. We have the miracle-working, supernatural ability of God in us, but we have to unleash it in our lives if we want to see it work. We unleash this power by receiving the truth in faith, speaking out in faith and declaring God’s Word over circumstances (Mark 11:22-23).

Thought to focus on for the day:
I am never without hope because I am never without God. His supernatural, miracle-working ability lives in me. I have resurrection life and power living in me. No matter how bad circumstances seem, I can speak God’s Word over them in faith and see things change and turn in my favour (Romans 8:28).

Friday, May 27, 2016

THE HOLY SPIRIT CONVICTS OF JUDGEMENT

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment… 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
John 16:7-8, 11 (KJV)
For years I thought that the Holy Spirit was convicting me that if I didn’t truly repent of sin I would be judged. Thank God that’s not true! The problem with that belief is that even if you always ‘repent’ of everything, you’re bound to miss one sin somewhere - and then what? Is God going to judge you for the sin that you forgot to repent of, and then send you to hell? No. Your past, present and future sins were all dealt with at one time, for all time, in Jesus on the cross (Hebrews 10:10). I was talking to someone about this once and they told me, “to deal with that I have done this for years: every night I ask the Holy Spirit to remind me of the sin I have committed so that I can deal with it through confession and repentance.” The Holy Spirit cannot and will not answer a prayer like that. That sort of prayer reveals a good heart with great intentions, but it’s still wrong. The Holy Spirit doesn’t remind us of sin (He convicts us of the sin of not believing in or trusting Jesus). The Holy Spirit never focuses on sin but rather focuses on and brings glory to Jesus (John 16:14).  Here’s an interesting side note: You cannot glorify Jesus as long as you’re focused on sin, even if you’re simply focused on dealing with sin.

“Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
John 16:9-11 (KJV)
Jesus Himself explained what He meant. He said that the Holy Spirit convicts (or convinces) of sin because they believe not on Me (sin of unbelief), of righteousness (convinces us that because we’re in Christ we are truly righteous) and “of judgement, because the prince of the world is judged.”

The Holy Spirit is revealing to you (convincing you) that the devil had been judged and has no legitimate authority in your life. The devil is judged - not us. When sickness or lack come knocking on your door, or when things are going wrong and it feels like all hell is breaking loose, it’s easy to feel that you’ve done something to deserve this judgement. Many people think that God is the One allowing those negative situations as judgement for some sin you’ve done. But that’s simply not true. All judgement for sin was placed on Jesus on the cross and that is where the devil was judged. In those moments when it feels like you’re just getting what you deserve, the Holy Spirit is ministering to you and encouraging you by reminding you that the devil has been judged.

“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
Colossians 2:15 (KJV)
This is talking about what Jesus did at the cross. Jesus conquered Satan and his forces and He spoiled them: He stripped them of all their power and authority and He made an exhibit of them (openly displayed his defeat).

 “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”
John 12:31 (KJV)
Jesus was specifically referring to His death (John 12:33). He was telling us that at the time of the cross (“now”) was when the world’s sins was dealt with (Hebrews 10:10), and then the devil was dealt with too! The devil has been stripped of all legitimate power and authority, but sadly most believers are completely unaware of this and empower the devil through their ignorance (Hosea 4:6).

The devil is still seeking to try and destroy your life and prevent you from fulfilling the destiny of God on your life (1 Peter 5:8), but he cannot accomplish anything without your permission and participation. You have more authority over the devil than he has over an ant. You are set up to reign in life and live victoriously. You can overcome whatever the devil throws your way because the greater One lives in you (1 John 4:4).

Thought to focus on for the day:
The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to assure you that Satan has been judged and stripped of all authority over you. This encourages us in the battle, and gives us confidence that we are assured victory. The only reason a Christian can lose is if he or she quits.

Scripture for meditation: 1 John 4:17

Thursday, May 26, 2016

THE HOLY SPIRIT CONVINCES YOU OF HOW RIGHTEOUS YOU ARE


“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
John 16:7-11 (KJV)

The Holy Spirit convicts (or convinces) us of sin, righteousness, and judgment. This doesn’t mean that He’s pointing out sin and condemning us for it. Jesus came to save the world, not to condemn the world (John 3:17) and the Holy Spirit comes representing Jesus with the same ministry; to save or lift us up. The Holy Spirit convicts (or convinces) us of the sin of unbelief (not trusting in Jesus), of righteousness and of judgement.

“And when he is come, he will reprove (convict) the world of… Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more”
John 16:8, 10 (KJV) – brackets mine

The first way that we can interpret this is that since Jesus is no longer physically present to reveal to us what is righteous by God’s standards, the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. Deep down in your heart, you know what is right and what you should do because the Spirit is guiding you in truth (John 16:13) and showing you the way you should go. Many people don’t experience this conviction because they have repeatedly rejected the Spirit’s ministry to them, and they have allowed their conscious to become insensitive to the Spirit’s guidance because they have embraced the skewed values of society. God doesn’t force Himself on us; we have to choose to believe, choose to follow and choose to be blessed (Deuteronomy 30:19).

“And when he is come, he will reprove (convict) the world of… Of righteousness…”
John 16:8, 10 (KJV) – brackets mine

Most people read this and default to take it as if it means that the Holy Spirit convicts us of how unrighteous we are, but that is not the case! The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to convince you of how righteous you are in Christ. When you received Jesus and became a Christian, you received the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness…”
Romans 10:10 (NKJV)

You cannot “do unto righteousness”, you have to “believe unto righteousness.” Righteousness (being right before God) isn’t based on your actions or personal holiness – rather, it is based upon what Jesus has done for you and have you received it.

“He will glorify Me…”
John 16:14 (NKJV)

The Holy Spirit’s ministry in your life is to get you to focus on Jesus and what He did for you - not what you should be doing, haven’t done and are not doing. He doesn’t convict you of how unrighteousness you are, or how unlike Jesus you are; rather He convinces you that because you have believed on Jesus you are now the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21). That’s powerful!

Many believers do not experience this wonderful ministry because of bad religious teaching. When we hold to the traditions (and bad teaching) of men, it nullifies the power of God in our lives (Mark 7:13).

Thought to focus on for the day:
The Holy Spirit wants to show you how righteous you are because you are in Christ! He isn’t pointing out your faults and trying to make you feel bad when you miss it and sin – He is trying to get your focus off of sin and onto Jesus; He is trying to get you to stop focusing on your actions and start focusing on what Jesus has done for you. When you allow this ministry of the Spirit in your life it will radically change you and cause you to reign in life!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

THE HOLY SPIRIT DEALS WITH THE ROOT

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
John 16:7-11 (KJV)

Many people think that the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to reveal our sin to us, or make us feel bad for sin until we repent. I’ve heard many testimonies of people saying things like, “I was an alcoholic” or that they struggled with whatever sin, “and the Holy Spirit was on my case until I changed.” That is not the Holy Spirit. He is not the “condemner” -  he is the “Comforter.” It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to reprove of sin, righteousness, and judgment. His ministry is a positive ministry. It is purposed to draw you unto Jesus and get you focused on truth and to help you to draw from His power, and it results in us reigning in life.
 

Legalism focuses on the external. “Thou shalt not… thou shalt…” (“don’t do this… do that…”). Legalism is more interested in your fruit and actions than it is in your heart. The truth is that man looks (and judges) on the outside, but God looks (and judges) on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”
Matthew 23:23 (ESV)

Religion always reduces relationship with God to actions and neglects the more important matters of the heart. Our actions are important, but the heart’s motivation and heart’s focus are much more important. Everything starts in the heart (Proverbs 4:23) and our heart’s focus determines how we live our lives (Proverbs 23:7). Change your heart and you’ll change your actions and your life.

“And when he is come, he will reprove (convict) the world of sin…
John 16:8 (KJV) – brackets mine
 
At first glance, it seems like Jesus is saying that the Holy Spirit deals with our actions of sin. And sadly, this is what many Christians believe, but if you keep reading, the next verse explains it:

“…Of sin, because they believe not on me.”
John 16:9 (KJV)

The Holy Spirit doesn’t point out actions of sin but rather He convicts of the sin of unbelief. The word “world” here doesn’t refer to unbelievers; it comes from the Greek word “kosmos” and refers to inhabitants. And so the Holy Spirit convicts the believer and the unbeliever of the sin of not believing on Jesus.

“It is he who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world's.”
1 John 2:2 (ISV)

Jesus paid for our sins, and the sins of all the inhabitants of the world. What sends a person to hell isn’t their individual actions of sin but rather their sin of unbelief – they didn’t believe on Jesus for salvation (Romans 10:9-10). The Holy Spirit doesn’t convict the believer of the sin of stealing (for example). At its root, the sin of stealing reveals that an individual isn’t trusting Jesus to provide their needs. The root of all sin is unbelief in Jesus. Adam and Eve’s sin wasn’t eating of the forbidden fruit. They didn’t believe in the goodness of God. They chose to believe the devil’s lie that God was withholding something good from them (Genesis 3:5). They doubted God and believed the devil. What was the root of King David’s sin when he committed adultery and then murder to try and cover up his adultery? God told David that he had despised (or disesteemed) God (2 Samuel 12:10). Yes, David has hurt a whole family by “stealing” a man’s wife and killing her husband, but even David acknowledged that the sin was primarily against God (Psalm 51:4). David chose not to follow God’s ways. He didn’t believe that God knew better and that God had good things in store for him. When we are not content in God we seek out sin. It seems to satisfy us, but it is only a momentary pleasure. When we aren’t satisfied in God (which reveals unbelief, a lack of faith) we seek to satisfy ourselves with momentary pleasures. We shouldn’t be seeking to satisfy ourselves, but rather look to Jesus and trust Him to satisfy us.
 

The Holy Spirit deals with our hearts, and convicts us of the root of the problem. Christians live by faith (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). When we choose to sin, it reveals that we’re not believing on Jesus and trusting in Him, but rather we believe that the path we’re choosing is what’s best for us. God’s ways are always better, and so we should simply trust in His goodness and follow His leading.
 
Thought to focus on for the day:
The Holy Spirit is not the source of condemnation, guilt or shame, but rather He lifts you up and always draws your attention to Jesus (John 16:14), leading you to trust in Him. Allow Him to reveal Jesus to you. As you focus on Jesus, faith will rise up in your heart to live in victory and reign in life.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

THE COMFORTER

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever”
John 14:16 (KJV)

As Christians we are never alone (Hebrews 13:5) because the Holy Spirit is with us. Jesus promised to send ‘another Comforter’, which means that the Holy Spirit is a comforter just like Jesus. The ministry that Jesus gave and the ministry that the Holy Spirit gives are the same. This means that in this world, where we can experience so much pain and suffering, we are never without comfort.

 “But when the Helper (Comforter) comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”
John 15:26 (NKJV) – Brackets is King James Version

Jesus calls the Holy Spirit our “parakletos”. This Greek word can be defined in a number of different ways and beautifully describes the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Jesus was calling the Holy Spirit our Comforter, Counsellor, Helper and Guide. If we allow the ministry of the Holy Spirit to flow in our lives we will receive help, comfort and counsel. We all could use a Helper to help lead us on the right paths (John 16:13) and to help us make good decisions, whether they be big or small. The Comforter and Counsellor is with us 24 hours a day, ready to encourage us, build us up and refresh us by reminding us of God’s Word and God’s love and who we are in Christ.  

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”
John 16:7 (NKJV)

Because of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives, we can be the most encouraged, confident, joyful, fearless, positive and motivated people on earth! Jesus said that having the Holy Spirit (the Helper) was to our advantage: we are in a position of advantage (compared to people in the world who do not have the Spirit) because of the Helper who is helping us. We have undeserved favour from God in the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

No matter what you’re going through today, be encouraged because you are not alone and you are not without help. Invite the Holy Spirit into your situation to minister to you. If you’re hurting or experiencing pain, loneliness, anxiety, discouragement or fear, be encouraged knowing that God understands, and that the Spirit of God is right where you are, right now, waiting for you to invite Him to supernaturally comfort you.

Thought to focus on for the day:
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is vital and significant. God wants to minister comfort, help and counsel to you, today, through His Holy Spirit. Whatever your need, He is present with you, and He is willing and able to comfort you fully.

Monday, May 23, 2016

FANNING THE FLAME



“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.”
John 14:16 (NKJV)

“But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you…”
1 John 2:27 (NKJV)

In the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit came on certain people for express purposes at specific times, and then He would leave. But in the New Covenant (which we are now in) the Holy Spirit doesn’t come and go – He “abides forever”. He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). This means that the power, anointing, gifts and ministry of the Holy Spirit are always present in you and available to you. But they will not automatically flow in your life – you determine their flow.

“For the spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets [the prophecy is under the speaker’s control, and he can stop speaking]”
1 Corinthians 14:32 (AMP)

The power, anointing, gifts and ministry of the Holy Spirit are subject to you. You experience their flow in proportion to the degree that you allow them.

“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”
2 Timothy 1:6 (NKJV)

If you don’t stir up the Spirit and His gifts in you, then they won’t be stirred up. If you don’t stir yourself up, you’ll settle to the bottom! The phrase “stir up” shows that it’s a continual exercise. You don’t go to the gym once a month, or once a year and experience results. Likewise, if you want to experience the power of the Holy Spirit and reign in this life, you need be active in stirring up the Holy Spirit and His gifts.  God won’t take away the gifts of the Spirit from you (Romans 11:29), but through neglect they can become inactive.

“Don’t be drunk with wine, which will ruin your life, but be filled with the Spirit.”
Ephesians 5:18 (ERV)

This is a command, not a suggestion. We’re instructed to be filled with the Holy Spirit because it is a vital part to living the lives God destined for us and fulfilling our callings. “But be filled” is in the present tense, making it a command of continual action. There is the initial moment when you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and then you’ve got it! But if we neglect to stir Him up we will grow cold. We need to continually fuel our lives by stirring up the power of the Spirit in us and allowing Him to overflow in our lives.

“That is why I remind you to fan into flame the gracious gift of God, [that inner fire—the special endowment] which is in you through the laying on of my hands...”
2 Timothy 1:6 (AMP)

Picture a fire with a few embers. Unless you fan them (blow on them a little) they will grow cold and the fire will die. We need to rekindle the fire of the Holy Spirit in us. God gives the fire but we need to tend to it.

“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
Acts 4:31 (NKJV)

These were believers who had already received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They were praying for God to give them boldness to speak the Word and they were asking for God to work through them in performing miracles as they ministered. They were stirring up the Spirit in them. They experienced something tangible. And the result was that they ministered with boldness and we see them moving in the supernatural (healing people, standing strong under persecution and changing the world).

Thought to focus on for the day:
Choose to continually stir up the Spirit and His gifts in you. Don’t allow yourself to grow cold and fade out – “fan into flame” the passion and power inside of you. This will cause you to experience more joy and peace, and it will give you boldness to speak God’s Word and be a blessing wherever you go.

Learn more about the empowering of the Holy Spirit and the Gift of Tongues when you download this short study guide. You can also listen to my most recent teaching on the Holy Spirit, "Reign through the power of the Spirit".


Saturday, May 21, 2016

YOU’VE GOT THE POWER (ALWAYS)

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”
Ephesians 1:13 ESV
When you believed the Gospel and got born-again, the Holy Spirit came to live in you. At salvation you received the Holy Spirit as a seal. This means that He came into your spirit and sealed your salvation so that no sin (in your soul or body) could contaminate or negatively affect your spirit - which is now pure, holy, righteous and blameless. Receiving the Holy Spirit as a seal is called the New Birth and this is what makes you a New Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). But there is more for you to experience. There is a separate experience for the believer where we surrender to the Holy Spirit and invite Him to empower us to be effective witnesses and to live supernatural lives. This is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God (they had become believers), they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”
Acts 8:14-17 KJV (Italics mine)
How do we know that having the Holy Spirit by the new birth and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are two different things? This passage of scripture shows us that a group of people in Samaria had received the Word of God and become believers (they were born again, sealed with the Holy Spirit), but that they had not yet received the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

“And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples (this means that they were Christians). And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John's baptism." And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized (in water) in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.”
Acts 19:1-6 ESV (Brackets mine)
It is possible for you to receive Jesus and be born again without having received the empowering of the Holy Spirit. At salvation you get the Holy Spirit, but there is a difference between having the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit having you. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is when we surrender to the Spirit and He has us. Trying to live out the supernatural Christian life without the empowering of the Holy Spirit will frustrate you. The Holy Spirit is the Christian’s source of power. Trying to live without the baptism of the Holy Spirit is like continually driving in first gear in your car; you’ll get to where you’re going but you’re certainly not reaching your full potential.

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever”
John 14:16 (NKJV)

If you’re a Christian, the Holy Spirit will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). He lives in you forever. When you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, His enabling power is with you always. You don’t need to be re-baptised or re-filled. The anointing (power and enabling) of the Holy Spirit lives and stays in you.

“But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you…”
1 John 2:27 (NKJV)

Even on your worst day, the Holy Spirit and His power are in you and available to you. The Spirit is a gift you’ve received, freely and in all its fullness. You don’t keep the gift according to your performance and holy living. It’s not by performance but by grace! That means that when you need God’s presence or power, it is always available, and at a moment’s notice. Even when you think you don’t need it, it’s available. You don’t need to have your “ducks in a row” and be “squeaky clean”. You don’t have to listen to worship music for 3 hours before the Holy Spirit will empower you. By grace, God’s presence and power are yours always, at any time. Even if you don’t physically feel it – it’s there, in you, right now!

Thought to focus on for the day:
Do you need to experience the comfort of the Holy Spirit today? Or do you need to be refreshed in His presence? Do you need a miracle? Is there a situation in your life where you need God’s power to bring you breakthrough and help you reign in life? Stir up the Holy Spirit in you by inviting Him to reveal the Father’s love to you, now, and to minister to you. Spend a few moments in silence allowing Him some space to speak to your heart and minister into your life.

If you haven’t yet had the separate experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, you are missing out! Pray: Father, I recognize my need for Your power to live this new life. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit. By faith, I receive Him right now! Thank You for baptizing me. Holy Spirit, You are welcome in my life.

If you prayed that prayer then I want to celebrate with you. Please contact me so that I can pray for you and send you some complimentary teaching resources to help you grow in your relationship with God.

Learn more about the empowering of the Holy Spirit and the Gift of Tongues when you download this short study guide. You can also listen to my most recent teaching on the Holy Spirit, "Reign through the power of the Spirit". And if you're looking for a theme song for today's devotional, click here.

Friday, May 20, 2016

THE SPIRIT EMPOWERS

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 1:8 (NKJV)

Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit will radically change your life, and change it forever. It will empower you to be victorious and live a life that reveals God’s goodness to those around you. The word “power” here means supernatural miracle-working ability. This shows us that when we receive the empowering of the Spirit, it enables us to live a life which isn’t naturally possible. It’s not naturally possible to resist temptation or to love people unconditionally, to pray for and bless those who use and hurt you. We don’t have any natural ability to lay hands on the sick and see them recover, or to break demonic bondages in people’s lives. The Holy Spirit enables us to live supernatural lives which testify to the goodness of our living God. The Holy Spirit is the source of power in the believer’s life.

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
Acts 10:38 (NKJV)
 

The reason that Jesus lived a supernatural life on earth – how he performed the miraculous (healing the sick, loving people unconditionally, raising the dead, commanding the weather etc.) - was that He was empowered by God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit and “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.” The purpose of the empowering that comes from the Holy Spirit is to help others. Jesus helped others by setting them free from the oppression of the devil. When we are empowered by the Holy Spirit we are enabled to be a blessing to others by helping them walk in victory and freedom.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”
John 14:12 (ESV)
 
When we receive the Holy Spirit we receive the same power source that Jesus had, and when we believe (operate in faith) we are able to do the same works that Jesus did and greater ones. This is divine enabling to live a supernatural life.

“…how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
Luke 11:9-13 (KJV)
 
If you’ve never received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, all you need to do is ask for it. Jesus said that when you ask, you receive (Luke 11:9) for everyone who asks receives (Luke 11:10). Simply believe in the goodness of your heavenly Father to give you this good gift when you ask for it.

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
John 16:7 (KJV) – emphasis mine
 
Jesus said that He would send us the Holy Spirit, which means that the Spirit is a gift. A gift is something that is unearned and undeserved; it’s something freely offered without expectation of payment in return. Jesus sent the Spirit to us as a gift. All you need to do with a gift is receive it and enjoy it. The reason I am making this point is because some people think that before they can receive the Spirit they need to clean up their lives; they need to be holy and perfect. But if that were so then no one would be able to receive the Holy Spirit. You don’t need to have it all together to receive the Holy Spirit. All you need to do is ask and believe.

If you have never received the baptism of the Holy Spirit I encourage you to simply ask God for it now. Pray: Father, I recognize my need for Your power to live this new life. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit. By faith, I receive Him right now! Thank You for baptizing me. Holy Spirit, You are welcome in my life.

If you prayed that prayer then we would love to send you a gift to help you grow. Please email us and let us know that you have prayed to receive the Holy Spirit.

Thought to focus on for the day:
The Holy Spirit is a gift for me from God to help me live in victory and live a supernaturally fruitful life that helps others, serves others and strengthens others and so brings glory and honour to Jesus.

Learn more about the empowering of the Holy Spirit and the Gift of Tongues when you download this short study guide

Thursday, May 19, 2016

EXPERIENCE THE POWER TO BE BOLD AND COURAGEOUS


“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 1:8 (NKJV)

 “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance…. 41 Then those who gladly[g] received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”
Acts 2:1-4, 41 (NKJV)

After His resurrection, Jesus revealed Himself to more than 500 believers (1 Corinthians 15:6) and so there were more than just a few followers who knew He was alive. Before Jesus ascended to heaven (Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9) He commanded them to wait in Jerusalem until they received the empowering of the Holy Spirit to fulfil the mission He gave them (Luke 24: 46-49; Acts 1:4-5, 8). Out of the hundreds of believers who saw the risen Christ, only 120 made it to the Upper Room to wait for the empowering (Acts 1:15).


There are probably many reasons why there weren’t more than 120 who responded to Jesus’ command. At that time it was dangerous to be a believer in Christ and so it’s possible that many decided not to go and wait because it was too risky. Whatever their reasons, a couple hundred believers chose not to obey Jesus’ command and chose to value something else more. I’m sure they were good people and that they loved Jesus; they just valued their lives more than obeying Jesus and thought that whatever else they had to do was more important – and they all missed out! A great lesson to learn here is that when we’re obedient to do what God calls us to do we will always be positioning ourselves to experience His blessings. (It’s important to note that the blessing isn’t the result of your obedience – it’s yours by grace – but you experience the blessing most when you, by faith, do what God leads you to do.)

Jesus knew that His followers needed supernatural empowering to live supernaturally. He knew that they wouldn’t be able to reign in life, and especially over persecution, without the empowering of the Holy Spirit. And the fruit is evident. Before Pentecost (the day when the Holy Spirit came) there were only a couple hundred believers, and only 120 made it to the Upper Room to wait for the empowering. And let me add that the gathering in the Upper Room wasn’t a public meeting – it wasn’t advertised. It was more like they were hiding out somewhere because being a follower of Jesus was dangerous and could easily get you killed! But after the Holy Spirit came they received “power”; they received boldness and became courageous; they received divine (godly) enablement to be witnesses (something public) of Jesus in all the world. And so the 120 received the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tongues (supernaturally proclaiming the good news of God in languages that they had never learned) so loudly that it attracted the attention of more than 3000 people. Then with boldness, formerly fearful Peter (who had forsaken Jesus when He was arrested and denied knowing Christ three times) stood up and boldly preached the first sermon of the New Covenant to all that would listen (see the whole of Acts 2). He was even so bold as to say:

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
Acts 2:36 (NKJV)

That’s boldness! Peter supernaturally transformed from a coward to a bold proclaimer of the truth, and he was even so bold that he was willing to die for what He believed in. Peter was sentenced to be crucified for his faith, and it is said that he didn’t consider himself worthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus, and so he requested that he be crucified upside down. He wasn’t worried about dying anymore!

Even Stephen, when he was experiencing great opposition from the religious folks, had the boldness of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the truth and good news that Jesus was the Son of God (Acts 7:54-60). He was even courageous enough to shout out and ask God to have mercy upon them while they were throwing rocks at him to kill him. The empowering of the Holy Spirit made Stephen a bold, fearless witness of Jesus; and gave him courage to face death with courage.

Before Pentecost there were only 120 Christians gathered together, but after being empowered with the Holy Spirit they began to experience supernatural fruitfulness, and in one day 3000 people received Christ, became Christians and were bold enough to make a public display of their faith through water baptism. (Acts 2:41)

The Christian life isn’t difficult - it’s impossible. Trying to live the abundant life in Christ without the Holy Spirit is like trying to drive a car without petrol, or trying to attack hell with a water-pistol.

Thought to focus on for the day:
The Holy Spirit enables me to experience supernatural fruitfulness. Receiving the empowering of the Holy Spirit enables me to be bold and courageous in being a Christian, and helps me to be fearless in opposition and even in the face of death.

Have a blessed day,

Shayne

PS... Learn more about the empowering of the Holy Spirit and the Gift of Tongues when you download this short study guide

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Why isn't everyone healed?

Comforter, Counsellor, Helper and Guide


“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”
John 16:7 (NKJV)

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.”
John 14:16 (NKJV)
 
Jesus told His disciples that it would be better for them that He leave and go to His Father; and that when He left, He would send His Holy Spirit who would live (abide) with them forever. In the Old Covenant (which Jesus had just fulfilled and brought to a conclusion), God’s Holy Spirit came on certain people, for express purposes, at specific times, and then He would leave. But in the New Covenant (which we are now in) the Holy Spirit would come and stay. He doesn’t come and go – He “abides forever”.
 

In the Gospel of John (John 15:26; 14:16; 16:7), Jesus calls the Holy Spirit our Helper or “parakletos”. This Greek word can be defined in a number of different ways and beautifully describes the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Jesus was calling the Holy Spirit our Comforter, Counsellor, Helper and Guide. Living out the Christian life isn’t difficult, it’s impossible! We certainly need a Helper to help lead us on the right paths (John 16:13) and to help us make good decisions, and what a blessing to have a Comforter and Counsellor who is with us 24 hours a day, ready to encourage us, build us up and refresh us by reminding us of God’s Word and who we are in Christ. We should be the most encouraged, confident, joyful, fearless, positive and motivated people on earth! The role or ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives is vital and significant. But there is another reason we desperately need the Holy Spirit…
 

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 1:8 (NKJV)
 

The baptism (or empowering) of the Holy Spirit enables us to live lives that bring glory to Jesus and enable us to be effective witnesses (ambassadors) for Him in all the earth. After rising from the dead Jesus told His disciples to wait for the empowering of the Holy Spirit before starting to fulfill the Great Commission to tell the World the Good News (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; Acts 1:4-5) because He knew that they wouldn’t be able to fulfill the Commission without the empowering. The Baptism (or empowering) of the Holy Spirit is a gift from God that you receive after becoming a Christian. We have a supernatural call - and therefore we need supernatural power to fulfill the call. Trying to live the Christian life without the baptism of the Holy Spirit is like trying to drive a car without petrol; you’ve got the car but it’s not going anywhere without a push (lots of effort).
 

Jesus said that when we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive “power”. The word “power” in the Greek is Dunamis, which means miraculous working power or ability. When we receive the empowering of the Spirit, we receive supernatural ability to do the miraculous and move in the gifts of the Spirit (these include: words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, and prophecy). Jesus said that we would do the same works that He did and greater works, but we cannot do anything supernatural without supernatural power. The overall purpose of the empowering of the Holy Spirit (and the reason we are enabled to move in these supernatural gifts) is to be effective witnesses of Jesus in all the World (Acts 1:8) and to share the Gospel with boldness (Acts 4:29-31). The power of the Holy Spirit enables us to reign in life and make an eternal impact in people’s lives wherever we go.

Thought to focus on for the day:
The Holy Spirit is my Comforter, Counsellor, Helper and Guide. He will never leave me nor forsake me (John 14:16; Hebrews 13:5). That means that I am never without help, comfort, encouragement, wisdom, guidance or counsel. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit empowers me to live a supernatural life which brings glory to Jesus. This empowering helps me to fulfill the calling of God on my life to be an ambassador of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) and make an eternal impact in people’s lives.

Over the next couple of days we will be looking at the empowering of the Holy Spirit to reign in life. If you'd like a head-start in learning more about the Holy Spirit and the Gift of Tongues, then you can download this short study guide

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

PSALM 23 - THE BLESSING IS HUNTING YOU DOWN

Psalm 23 contains a number of significant keys to reigning in life. Today we conclude our focus on this Psalm;

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 23:6 (NKJV)

Goodness and mercy are chasing after you. The blessing of God is chasing after you and wants to overtake you (Deuteronomy 28:2). Are you chasing after the blessing of God? You shouldn’t because it’s chasing after you!


Did you ever hear the story of The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg? Well, a golden egg is quite valuable but what’s more valuable than a golden egg? A goose that lays golden eggs! You can spend a lot of money on buying a golden egg and all you’ll have is one valuable egg. But if you got the goose that laid it, you’d end up with a constant supply of golden eggs. In other words, go for the source not for the fruit. Seek the Blesser not just the blessing.

“When you said, "Seek my face," my heart said to you, "O LORD, I will seek your face."
Psalms 27:8 (GW)

You can seek the blessing and benefits of God (seeking His hand) or you can seek Him (His face). Seeking His face is seeking relationship with Him. If your prayer-life is usually a shopping list and you’re not spending much time fellowshipping with the Lord and praising Him, then you’re probably seeking the benefits of relationship with God and not an intimate friendship with Him.

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:31-33 (KJV)

Jesus is saying that you shouldn’t worry about your needs; you shouldn’t be worrying about how you’re going to put food on the table, or how you’re going to pay the bills. God is your Father and He wants to provide your needs (Philippians 4:19) – He wants you to give your worries and cares to Him and allow Him to take care of you (1 Peter 5:7).  The Gentiles (or unbelievers) are seeking after having their needs being met – but not you! As a child of God seek Him not stuff. When we seek Him and His kingdom first, then He adds to us everything that we need. We don’t seek the blessing; we seek God and His blessing seeks us. God’s Divine order is that we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all our needs are supplied.


The Hebrew translation of Psalm 23:6 is much stronger and more aggressive than most English translations. It literally says, "Surely goodness and mercy shall hunt me down all the days of my life!" You have God’s favour on your life – not because you’ve done anything to deserve it: It’s undeserved, unearned and unmerited, because of Jesus. It’s grace! And because of God’s grace on your life, goodness, mercy and the blessing of God are attracted to you – they’re hunting you down.

Thought to focus on for the day:
A key to reigning in life is to seek the Blesser, not the blessing! I don’t need to pursue the blessing of God because it’s pursing me. I have the favour of God on my life. I don’t waste time and energy trying to get stuff – I seek God.

Seek an intimate relationship with Him. Prioritize His Kingdom and you’ll see the blessing flow. When we put first things first (Matthew 6:33) things work out much easier.

Listen to my two-part teaching on Psalm 23 by clicking below:

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Monday, May 16, 2016

PSALM 23 – MY CUP RUNS OVER


“You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”
Psalm 23:5b (NKJV)

In Bible times, shepherds would anoint their sheep by pouring oil on their heads. This is because lice and other insects would try to burrow their way into the sheep’s ears, which could eventually kill the sheep. Anointing the sheep’s head would make the wool slippery, causing the insects to slide off and saving the sheep’s life.

When the Bible speaks about ‘anointing’, it often signifies protection, blessing and empowerment. Anointing is also representative of the Holy Spirit, and speaks of His influence on us. The “head” is symbolic of leadership. Your head is like your control room; it’s where your brain is (to make decisions) and it’s where your eyes are (for vision; looking forward).

“You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”
Psalm 23:5b (NKJV)

God blesses and protects you by empowering your control room (your thinking and decision-making, and your vision) with His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers you with divine (godly) wisdom and insight to make good decisions which will protect you and bless you.

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”
John 16:13 (ESV)

The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth; He doesn’t push us into truth. He guides - but we need to be attentive to His leading and we need to choose to follow. And when we follow His leading (His divine wisdom) it will result in protection and blessing.
“My cup runs over” speaks of abundance, excess and prosperity. Because of what Jesus did for you, you have this blessing and provision in all its fullness. It’s yours. But experiencing this blessing isn’t automatic in our lives; we receive it by faith, which is expressed by trusting God enough to follow His leading. God is not the God of enough; He is the God of more than enough. He doesn’t want to just give you enough to satisfy your needs, He wants to bless you so that you can be a blessing (Genesis 12:2).  His will for you is that you prosper and be in good health (3 John 2). He is a good Father who wants good things for you.

“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
Deuteronomy 8:18 (NKJV)

God gives you power, or ability, to get wealth. He anoints (or enables) you with skills, talents and wisdom that together cause blessing to flow in your life. God promised that whatever you put your hand to shall prosper (Deuteronomy 28:8). As you use His wisdom and put your hand to something (work) you will see the blessing flow.
The purpose of “my cup runs over” is “that He may establish His covenant” (spread the Gospel). God wants you to experience His goodness by having your cup running over, but also so that you can be a blessing through giving to help expand His kingdom.

Thought to focus on for the day:

By receiving the Holy Spirit and following His leading I experience protection, blessing and empowerment to be successful and reign in life. This causes “my cup to run over”. As I follow His leading, I experience abundant provision, so that I have more than enough to be a blessing and help expand His kingdom by freely giving of my heart, talents, time and resources.

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

PSALM 23 – GOD’S ABUNDANT PROVISION

“Thou preparest (put in order) a table (a meal) before me in the presence of mine enemies...”
Psalm 23:5 (KJV) – brackets mine

Even though you may be going through the valley of the shadow of death, God is providing for you in full view of your enemies. Right in the middle of the chaos and attack, your Good Shepherd (John 10:11) is letting you know, and declaring to your enemies, that He is taking care of you. He is sending a message; a message that He favours you, loves you and that He is on your side! He is declaring His possession over you; that He is your Provider and He is declaring your victory.

Who are your enemies? Remember that we’re in a spiritual battle against demonic spirits, not against people (Ephesians 6:12). Your boss is not your enemy; neither is your mother-in-law, your neighbours, nor the government. The root of any problem that we have with people is the demonic spirits that are at work behind the scenes.

“Control yourselves and be careful! The devil is your enemy, and he goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to attack and eat.”
1 Peter 5:8 (ERV)

The devil is your enemy – He doesn’t want to see you succeed and he doesn’t want you to enjoy life nor eternity. “The devil’s work” is your enemy. Sin is your enemy. Everything that came in as a result of the fall of man (back in the Garden of Eden), including sickness, curses, poverty, depression – are all your enemies. And God prepares a feast of provision for you in full view of your enemies. The Message Bible says, “You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.” This speaks of abundant provision – it seems as if God is showing off the favour that He has for you.

“The Lord is my shepherd… You prepare a table before me…”
Psalm 23:1a, 5a

The Lord prepares a table before you. It’s “before you” which means that He doesn’t force it on you. He offers it to you. We have the choice to partake in the life and blessings of God, or not (Deuteronomy 30:19). Jesus is our answer for every attack that could come against us and He is more than willing and able to help us in our time of need, but we have to choose it.

The Lord prepares a table before you. It's "the Lord's table", and I believe that this can also be speaking of communion. We partake of communion in remembrance of Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:24) and what He did for us. We should also be remembering what we have in Christ, and it should activate our faith to receive. Communion reminds us of many things, but overall it reminds us of the victory that we have in Christ. Through Christ's victory we have access to a clean conscience (guilt-free living), righteousness, healing, provision, freedom and so much more. Partaking of communion is declaring the victory you have because of Jesus. And since the Lord set the table up for us, when we partake of it I believe He’s declaring His possession of us, over us; He is saying to our enemy (the devil): that child is mine! 

Thought to focus on for the day:
Jesus’ victory is my victory! It doesn’t matter what attack the enemy throws my way, God has lavishly provided for me so that I can live in victory. As I focus on Jesus and His perfect finished work, my faith will be strengthened to receive what He has already freely given me. Even in the midst of difficult situations I can rest in and feast on His abundant blessing and provision and favour offered to me.
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