Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

Remember, they can’t receive nor understand.

October 13, 2013

This one is very easy to forget. Why? Because if we have any God-given desire to see the lost saved, we will be out there sharing, trying to get them to receive what we are sharing in hopes that they might be saved.

However, we must all be reminded (I believe continually) that the unregenerate person cannot receive nor understand the things of God which are spiritual. How many hours have we spent trying to convince the natural man, with his natural mind, to understand or believe spiritual things? It happens more than we care to admit for sure. We so easily fall into trying to “convince” them of the truth’s of God. If we are not careful, we would even find ourselves getting into a doctrine debate with one who has yet to be born again. That’s futile.

We have to review the scriptures on a regular basis and be reminded of the fact that they must be born of the Spirit first. This is the starting place. Thus, the great need of sharing the gospel. Always being led to steer the conversation back to their need of being saved first. If not, its guaranteed that we will fall into trying to convince a spiritually dead person to receive and understand spiritual things. It just doesn’t work that way. It was never designed to. The need for Christ is always first.

There are several scriptures we could look at to back this all up with, but we are going to use only a couple here.

First off, I always like to start with the book of John, chapter 3. The very popular story of Nicodemus. Without taking a lot of time on this story, only a few very important points to be reminded about here. Basically, Nicodemus was a teacher of the Jewish religion. No doubt, a very well-educated man. But, our main focus here should be the fact that he was unregenerate like anyone else. His status in life makes no difference here unless you are speaking with someone who thinks that by their religion they can be saved.

After Nicodemus had said to Jesus,  “for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with him”, Jesus’ reply is very key here for our reminder. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. That little three-letter word is of extreme importance here.

SEE: “to see, to know, (have) knowledge, perceive, understand”.

Without being born again first, one cannot SEE the kingdom (realm) of God.

Another scriptural reminder is found in 1 Corinthians the second chapter. Again, some very popular verses that we probably have heard countless times. However, we must be reminded if we are going have an effect on the lost for the kingdom, we must get this.

The whole chapter (2) is good and is highly recommended here, but we will only focus on a few verses.

Verse 9 is a good starting point. The apostle Paul referring to the prophet Isaiah says, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, (what?) the things which God has prepared for those that love him.”

The word “seen” in its spiritual application here is “to see, discern, perceive“. The word “heard” also has to do with “discern, perceive, understand“.

“the things which God has prepared”….. The spiritual things of God.

In the next verse, verse 10, he says, “But God has revealed them to us (who?) (how?) by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yep (added), the deep things of God. By His Spirit they can and are revealed. But only, by His Spirit. We can even know the “deep things of God” if He chooses to reveal them to us. (I will add this though, He knows our heart, the motivations of our heart as to why we want to know the deep things of God. And if there is any wrong, prideful motives, he will not reveal. He does not bypass unholy motives.

In verse 11, he divides the natural man with the Spirit of God. He says that no man can know the things of God except through the Spirit. Its point-blank.

Verse 12 is to all those who have received the Spirit of God that they might know the spiritual things of God which are freely given to us. And I might add here, that in verse 13, it is very important to take notice that “the Holy Spirit (Ghost) teaches“. Man can and has taught, but it can only come through the one who has been born of the Spirit. One who is living in the Spirit and not of the “spirit of the world”. It only comes through a spiritual vessel.

Ok, I am just about finished here. I never have liked “long posts” so I must end here. And this is the way to sum up our study here with a final verse (14) that does truly make its point very clear.

But the natural man (one who has not been regenerated) receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them (why?), because they are spiritually discerned.”

So there it is. Man must be born again of the Spirit of God before he can understand, perceive, know, anything about God and his kingdom (realm). Thus the great need to get the gospel out to all those who He leads you to. Spend little time in debating with an unbeliever. Listen a lot. Remain in the Spirit. Speak only what is given by the Spirit of God to them.

…….and remember………they can’t understand till their born again 🙂

God bless you!

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Holy Spirit can adapt us to any type of people

October 6, 2013

“I’ve read the bible several times. Seems to be a very good piece of literature.”

I love to see God operate right out the gate. I was getting on the first bus this morning on my way to work. Walking to the back, i noticed a young kid sitting in one of the corner seats. I took the other. I asked him how he was doing. He said, “fine, and you?”
I told him i was fine and we began to talked about what a beautiful morning it was. He agreed.
Then i said, “would you like one of my cards?” He said, “Yeah, sure”. I let him glance at it for a minute and then said, “what do you think?”. That’s when he said in a very intelligent voice, “I’ve read the bible several times. It seems to be a very good piece of literature.”
Now this kid was maybe 14 at best. I had asked him earlier where he was going and he told me he was going to the library. He seemed to me, to have a very eccentric personality. On several occasions before, the Lord has led me to these types of people. I find them very intriguing.
This is what i love about the Holy Spirit. He can make us adapt to any type of person. And, make that person adapt to us. Here was i, a much older guy and of seemly far less intelligence, talking with a young kid who could probably blow me out of the water as far as his thinking ability.
The Spirit had me relate to him the story of the ruler (teacher) of the Jews, Nicodemus as recorded in John chapter 3. When i gave attention to the word “see” found where Jesus mentioned that unless one is born again, they cannot “see” the kingdom of God, he perked up. I related to him the meaning of that word, and he took notice.
I believe it was exactly what he needed to hear. He needed to hear that it was a spiritual birth needed to not only begin to understand, but also to enter.
The bus stopped. He got up first and thanked me. I said “God bless you!” and off we parted. He going to the library, i going to the next bus stop.
I am always so blessed to encounter people who God is pointing to.
What about you in your daily travels? Are you aware and in the Spirit when you set out for the day? Do you love people and want to share the gospel with them? Are you too busy to stop for a minute and strike up a conversation? Have you lately said to a perfect stranger, “hey i like your coat!” or “how’s your day going?”. Many times, all it takes, and all God is waiting for, is for us to step out by faith and say something.
Just do it!

Activating the Spirit in your individual environment

August 29, 2013

Most often it takes effort on our part. I believe God desires it that way. He smiles when we do and “want to”. I have seen this on countless occasions.

If we have been born of the Spirit, we have the Spirit of God within us. However, many times in a public environment, we who have the Spirit must step out and make the first move. By doing this, we most often get to partake in what the spirit is doing upon people.

Another example of this was given to me today as I was riding home on the bus. Now, first off, I would like to interject here, that probably most who read this post are not regular or maybe never, bus riders. Don’t let that deter you as you read this from allowing the Holy Spirit to personalize your individual environment where you are around people.

I had just finished being downtown for the day and boarded the light rail train to head home. Like a lot of times, I was just standing there looking around watching people. And as usual, I was on the tired side. Personally, I have seen some of the most awesome times of the Spirit moving during these times.

The train stopped, I got off and headed as usual to the final leg of the trip home, the bus. It was filled with people more than usual already before I boarded. This was due to a previous train that had showed up earlier. I went to the back as usual and took a seat on one of the sides seats. The minute I sat down, I sensed a prompting of the Spirit to immediately pass out some “Born of the Spirit” cards.

Now, I have learned and am learning, that it is good to stay out of any kind of “evangelism” routine. I.E. the minute you sit down, break out the cards 🙂 I must confess that there was a time where this was standard routine. But in the last couple of years, I have learned and continue to learn, that listening and hearing from the Spirit within is key. At the same time, not falling into a routine of not doing anything. That is the easy way out. That is the comfortable way.

From past experience, I know that most often in a public environment, if I don’t say something to someone first, then nothing happens. I know that we who do have the Holy Spirit within, are the ones if anybody, that should speak up, hand out, or do etc. first.

Ok. Back to the bus ride home.

I passed out cards to the people around me. Four out of seven took them. Then, as I usually do, I sat back and prayed and waited for something to happen. Sometimes, nothing noticeable happens. That is Ok. God is bigger than we give him credit for.

The four people were reading them. One girl who had her children with her, didn’t finish  reading it. That’s not all that uncommon. When we see them put it in their purse or pocket, that’s a good thing.

About halfway home, one young guy reaches out and shows me the book that he has been reading. He points to the chapter that says, “Lifting up the serpent”. Wow, I said to him. The card that I had just gave him, talked about that.

Now, the guy next to me was reading the card very slowly. He seemed to be very thorough. When he finished it, he smiled and handed it back. I said the usual when they do that, “Oh, you can keep it”. He then told me that he know all about it. So, for the rest of the ride we had a very good dialogue. He asked some good questions, and I answered with the Spirits help.

I could tell by listening to him and when he asked the questions that he asked, that he seemed to in a “cooled off” state. By his own admission, he said that our visit was just what he needed. I asked him if he had been born again, and he assured me that he had.

During our conversation, he said, “tell me, what makes you pass these out?” I smiled, and said, “It’s all because of God’s love inside me”. He smiled and agreed.

The other guy who had the book, now jumps into the conversation. And……… as I always love to see…..”Church on the back of the bus”. All around get to hear. Well, all around who don’t have their ears taken up with something else 🙂

So, can you see what happen because of being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s prompting? Who made the first move to engage? Did I have to step out and get out of my comfort zone of kicking back and enjoying the ride?

Well, to all those who are saying right about now, “well Richard, that’s your calling, and that’s cool”. With that, I reply, that we are all called to share in how the Holy Spirit desires us to. Wherever we go, in most cases there is going to be people around us. We might be at the Post Office waiting in a line of people. Or at the grocery store. At the gas station waiting in line. At work.

God’s will is that “none perish” and if we have God inside us, then this will is in us, right? Unless of course, we are preventing his will from going out of us. That would be like shutting him up all day in a box, wouldn’t it?

Most often, all it takes to set the Holy Spirit into motion is a simple “Hey, how are you?” or “I like your shoes!” “You have the most beautiful hair!” “So, what’s been going on with you?” ETC. ETC. ETC.

So, will you be willing to step out and “activate” the Spirit in a public place? He’s waiting.

Spirit of God to know

May 4, 2012

Our faith should not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (1Cor.2:5). The power of God is the Spirit of God, by which it is revealed. Only through the Spirit of God can we know the mind of God (2:11). The wisdom of God is revealed in mysterious ways. It is hidden from those who are void of the Spirit of God. The hidden mysterious wisdom of God is only revealed through His Holy Spirit (vs.10). Just as the spirit of man knows the mind of man, the mind of God is only known by the Spirit of God (vs.11), hence, “God is Spirit”. Thus, only by the Spirit can we receive anything from God.

The things about God that we discuss are not dependant on the knowledge of man’s words or wisdom, but it’s dependant upon the teaching of the Spirit (The Teacher). Spiritual things are revealed to the spiritually minded (vs.13). The natural man (one void of the Holy Spirit) rejects spiritual things; they are foolishness to him. His natural mind cannot understand. His intellect cannot even come close to perceiving spiritual things. They are like oil and water, they don’t mix. No wonder he gets frustrated.

The one who has been born again which includes being “born of the Spirit” (Jn.3:3-8) discerns everything, yet no man can discern him (1Cor.2:15). Also, who may teach this kind of stuff, the mind of the Lord? Those who have the mind of Christ, by being born of the Spirit (vs.16).

Power in the simple Gospel

April 27, 2012

The simplicity of the Gospel has been lost. It was never meant to be complicated, but religious minds have and will continue to complicate it. When the intellect and the natural man combine together to try to share the Gospel, it goes into a long run up hill. If the Holy Spirit is presenting it, it will be precise, to the point, short and spoken in love. It will not drag on and on. The natural man wants to try to convince the unbeliever through the intellect when it’s a heart issue.

We need to be continually reminded that it has to be the Father drawing them to himself. And, it’s the Holy Spirit that convicts them of sin (pricks the heart). If the Gospel is not presented in the Spirit, then of course, the Holy Spirit is not going to be doing its work. We could be going through the routine motions, but where is the power? The Holy Spirit power to draw and convict?

Man likes to give the Gospel his own twist. He likes to make it like himself so he can receive some of the credit. The Gospel outside of the simple bible gospel, is only man’s gospel. And, man cannot have any “good news” to offer. Oh, it can be good news in the natural, but there’s no Spirit behind it.

If it’s been a while since you have read the book of Acts, it’s a very good place to find out what the Gospel looks like. Once it is given out in the Spirit, then the offer to “Repent and believe the Gospel” is made.

Bathe yourself in it. It never gets old. Doesn’t matter if you’ve been saved for 50, 60 or 70 years. High theology won’t save a soul.

Afraid to witness and missing out on God

April 20, 2012

“Hey you were sitting way down there before”. “How is your day going?” “What’s God doing in your life?”

If we are not careful we will want our space and our time to relax. Certainly there is time and place for this, but when God places a person “close to us” (our neighbor) shouldn’t we take notice? And should we be listening as to what we might say or do? Also of course bearing in mind, “love thy neighbor”, right?

Today I was headed up to one of the many coffee shops in the city to take a break from “ministering”. The key word here is “take a break”, right? Well not exactly. But, one of the best breaks in a while. And it was truly awesome how it all turned out.

I had just sat down with my bagel and tea on one of the long tables that face looking out the window. After a few minutes, I noticed this lady sit way on the other end, about 6 chairs down. She was busy eating a snack and drinking her coffee. I figured that she was too far down there to say “boo”. So, I settled back and enjoyed my tea and bagel.

After about 20 minutes, she gets up to go to restroom and takes her food with her. I didn’t think anything of it. Soon she returned, and her seat was taken. She moved to the middle which was two seats away from me. I smiled and knotted my head. She smiled back.

Five minutes went by and I was prompted by the Spirit to say something. So, I said “hey weren’t you sitting way down there?” She assured me that yes that was the case. I then asked her how her day was going. She went into telling me a little of how it went. I said something about it to her, then she smiled and went back to enjoying her break.

A few minutes went by, then I was moved upon to say something to her about God. So, I did.

Now this is where I would like to chime in and try to offer some encouragement to those that might be afraid to share or “witness” (as it has been called) to a perfect stranger. First, we must remember that the main thing that keeps us from sharing is Fear. There is only one way to overcome fear, and that is Love. More love for God through loving people, overcomes all fear of people. As one practices this more and more, the love overcomes the fear. Also as a reminder, if you have been “born of water (regenerated) and “born of the Spirit” (baptized in the Holy Spirit) then you have all the “tools” to be a “witness”. This is where the ability/power comes from. Sure, you can take “witness” classes, read books on witnessing etc. but you already got the power, and believe me, that the source! I have been witnessing for over 30+yrs, and never have taken a “witness” course/class. I have looked at some books on the subject, but never ever really found anywhere close to the power of the Holy Spirit that can just take over. And, take over to a point where you will not even know what the next word is that you are going to say. And, if someone would ask you what did you say to them, you would be at a lost to fully described it. Why? Because that way, man doesn’t get any credit whatsoever. It wasn’t you, but the Holy Spirit working through you.

On the natural side of witnessing, it is also true that the more you practice it, the more you will get used to it. Will it ever be easy? I would like to think so. Possibly, for some people it comes more natural with “breaking the ice” so to speak with strangers. I wasn’t blessed with that natural gift.

So, back to the lady at the coffee shop. After our five-minute silence, I said to her, “so what has God been doing in your life?” She smiled and said, “Oh, a whole lot”. I said, “awesome, is Jesus you Lord and Savior?” She smiled and said a most definitely “yes!”. So, the next 30 minutes, we had one awesome visit. She shared some of her struggles being a single mother of two, and a former husband who doesn’t pay child support.

Soon she asked me what I did, so I told her. We spent a little time with that, but here is where the story gets really all about God and how he works and what He is up to and what He wants to do in and through people.

After I had shared with her where I worked part-time, she said “really? I just applied their last week!”. Just to let you the reader know, the place where she applied to work was about 25 miles south of where we were enjoying our God visit. She said that she really needed a job and went into sharing a little about her finances. I encouraged her that God is going to supply her with a job as she seeks Him and remains obedient. She agreed.

Before we parted, we had prayer and said our goodbyes.

ARE YOU READY FOR WHAT IS NEXT?

That afternoon she texted me and thanked me for our visit and the encouragement. I assured her that it’s all God. That night, I earnestly prayed for her and believed. The next morning I received a text from her saying “THEY CALLED ME AND I HAVE AN INTERVIEW TODAY!” I texted her back and said “What a God!” Then I went to prayer believing again.

That afternoon she texted me and it said “I GOT THE JOB!”. Just like that He provided. Now of course, God gets all the glory for every single bit of how He moved and provided. BUT……….

How does God work most of the time when people are involved? Who does He usually use? Do you know?

PEOPLE (period). The apex of His creation, He chooses to work through. It’s really a “no brainer” when you look into His word, right? I believe that some of the main reasons for Him working through people is, so that people will be encouraged to seek out people. To love on people. To pray for people. To love your neighbor as yourself. To want to see people provided for, and doing what we can with the abilities that He alone provides. The old adage “were all family” goes a long way. We must do what He lays on our hearts, and then watch Him provide in some of the most awesome ways, right?

People. Give us eyes to see them as you see them Father. Amen

No Spirit in “endless debate”

April 14, 2012

On two occasions today, I seen the power of the Holy Spirit in presenting the birth of the Spirit into the spiritual kingdom of God. And also, the fact that it takes the birth to perceive/understand the things of the kingdom. (See Jn.3:3, 5)

The first was when I was on a “one on one” mission. One guy when approached with the question “what have you done with Jesus in your life” went into spitting bullets in a somewhat mild form. He went into scientific matters. I listened, and when he stopped, I shared with him about God who is Spirit, then how it takes a spiritual birth to enter and perceive the kingdom. After I finished, he was at a loss as to what to say. He got a dose of the Spirit. It might have been the first time for him. When asked what kind of religious background he had, he said “none”. I said to him that he could very well be in a better place than many out there. He smiled and said, “have a good day”.

The other situation, was much more involved spiritually. I will try to give you the short version.

In the afternoon, I was led to stand on this corner which I haven’t been to in about three weeks. Lots of awesome things have taken place here over the years. After standing here for a few minutes, I heard someone yell my name. I looked across the street, and it was this sister who sells newspapers (street roots) on the corner. She came over and we were having a good visit. After about 20 minutes, this Muslim guy walks up and I hand him a tract. He takes it and proceeds to go over and board the train. A few minutes later, he shows up again.

So, this is how it went down.

The guy was a somewhat usual Muslim that wanted to try to convince us that he had the truth. He went into all the usual stuff that they do. Now, here’s the catcher. My friend/sister is well acquainted with the Muslim crowd. Here husband was once one. Now on the outside this appears pretty awesome doesn’t it? Here you have a sister that is well equipped  and very familiar to debate with them, right?

Now, after perceiving in the Spirit what was going on (it took a while), I had noticed on two occasions that my sister mention to me as the guy was talking, “it’s ok, I have it under control” and “just hold your peace”. She said that when I had hardly said anything. Our Muslim friend was doing the majority of the talking, with our sister doing some also. When she had said the last comment about holding your peace, I got a real big check in my spirit. The light went on. The Spirit was being silenced, and I finally caught on. I also heard her agree with the man on some things that threw up a “red flag”.

Now the war was on, and I was right in the middle of it.

The Holy Spirit did give us opportunity to speak truth to him in the Spirit and was also able to help our sister to remain quite. The real eye opener was the fact that our sister was not aware that an “endless debate” was developing back and forth. This is not wisdom to do on a sidewalk in front of lost people walking by. I have never agreed with this approach whither  its believers talking over doctrine or debating with an unbeliever.

Finally, the Spirit gave me what was needed for the man to hear, and he listened to it. We went into how God is Spirit. He agreed. Then we shared how His kingdom is spiritual. And……. it takes a spiritual birth to enter it, and also to perceive/understand it. We shared that it’s not about what religion you’re a member of. We then shared Jesus again. Here is a man who is wrapped up in dead religion, like many. We helped him and our sister to try to understand that it cannot be understood unless one is born again. The intellect was not going to bring about the “light”. It never has and never will.

Then, I looked to my left and it was my ministering brother. He knew right off the bat what was going on. War! Later he shared with me how thick the atmosphere was in warfare. Believe me, when I was finished, I knew that I’d been through the mine-fields.

As I parted, I assured our Muslim friend that it’s all about Jesus. He tried to stop me with some more of his religious junk. I padded him on the shoulder and said, “Jesus!”.

My brother and I took off uptown. We stopped to have prayer and cleansed ourselves of all the different spirits that went with that battle.

One hour later as I was returning to head back home, I passed by that corner again. Guess who was still there? Yep, the Muslim guy and our sister caught up in endless debate. I paused out of sight and had prayer, then proceeded on my way.

We must be reminded that one cannot be convinced nor converted by “intellectual debate”. Why do you think this is so? The answer is, so that man will not get the credit, the glory. It’s God designed. It’s Spirit!

The Spirit will cause you to do and say things that could not be repeated in its entirety if it had to be. Then, you know that it’s Spirit. When man moves out-of-the-way and the Spirit takes over, then God has his way to do what He wants. What He wants to teach also. The Spirit is Light.

Let us get back to the Spirit and out of the mind.