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When was the last time you were truly aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in and around you?  

This awareness or lack thereof often dictates how often and to what degree we will be used of God.  Thankfully, the scriptures clearly tell us how can we can increase our awareness of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts.  Let’s check it out!

In Acts chapter 1 and 2, we see that Jesus instructed His disciples to go to Jerusalem and “Wait for the Promise” of the Holy Spirit.  The disciples obeyed Jesus by returning to Jerusalem and the scriptures tell us they “all continued in one accord in prayer“.  Ultimately the Super Power of the Holy Spirit fell upon them.  A group of misfits, by God’s Super Power, would change the world as they became “Witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea an Samaria and to the ends of the earth”.  Wow!

So What is preventing me from experiencing this great power?  Application Questions

1)  Am I fully surrendered to Jesus’ Lordship?

2)  Am walking in obedience to Him?

3)  Am I expecting “waiting on” the Power of the Holy Spirit and associated opportunities in my life?

4)  Have I asked in Prayer, both corporately and individually, for God to work in and through me by the Power of the Holy Spirit?

This  mystery, The Promised HELPER,  that is in those who name Jesus Lord of their life is able to do in and through us more than we ever imagined!

So what is preventing this awesome work in the life of believers?

The raw truth is that most have authority and Lordship issues.  This is the root issue that prevents most from experiencing the work of the Holy Spirit.  The other major issue is the daily distractions of this world we live in that prevent us from abiding in God’s Word.  Anyone who has been on a mission trip will tell you that the Holy Spirit is at work in Power in the lives of people all over the globe.  We are missing it here because of the many distractions we face daily here at home.

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In describing this problem to my 13 year old son (Lane) this morning, I asked him when he was last truly aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in and around him.  As we were talking, my mind went back to when I would try to walk through a busy place with my kids when they were little.  Some of you are there now!  I could not go 5 feet without them desiring to peel off and chase after something that caught their attention.  This example is the best I can think of regarding why our focus is so important to kingdom awareness.  I believe this is why the Lord spent so much time warning us of the dangers of placing our focus on earthly things in lieu of heavenly rewards.  We either focus on kingdom activity or earthly pursuits.  There is no in between and this focus challenge greatly impacts our usefulness to God.  Thankfully, He gets his work done with or without us.  That said, the joy of walking with Him by the Power of the Holy Spirit is lost when we chase the things of the world.

Challenge Questions

1)  What distractions do I need to get rid of in my life?  Where is my focus?

2)  When is the last time I asked God to open up opportunities for me to be used for His purposes in response to His sacrifice on the cross for me?

3)  When is the last time I asked God to make me keenly aware of witnessing opportunities?

Chances are that if you have not meditated on these challenge questions lately, you probably don’t experience much of the Power of the Holy Spirit daily.

Good News Opportunity!  

The Good News is that this Super Power (Promise) of the Holy Spirit is available to all those who place their Faith in Jesus and submit to His Lordship in their life.  

The only difference in you and those God is using mightily is your willingness or unwillingness to follow Jesus.

This  mystery, The Promised HELPER,  that is in those who name Jesus Lord of their life is able to do in and through us more than we ever imagined!

What a Journey!  What an opportunity!

Amen!

 

 

 

 

Matthew Mcconaughey got lots of press, tweets and Facebook posts for his reference to looking up to God.

As you read, understand that this message is NOT meant to bash Mcconaughey in the least.  I hope God draws him and he truly lives His life for Christ!  This post is a rousing message to the Church.  We are in a sad state!  Don’t miss the point because you focus on Mcconaughey and not the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is also part of the problem!

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Yes, giddy Evangelicals, Catholics and Jews alike stood in applause and awe of the famous actor’s comments all across our nation and around the world.  People of Faith scrambled to Facebook to promote the speech and bring hopeless credibly to their Faith with friends who have no Faith.  ”Yes”, some thought to themselves, “If Matthew Mcconaughey can somehow make God cool, revival will break out.”

I have a different take!  It aligns with a devoted saint that has gone before us, A.W. Tozer, who committed his entire converted life from 1915-1963 to preaching the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  As I sit in my hotel room just south of Hollywood, I can’t help but be in awe of God’s timing as I read these words!

“You find some half-converted cowboy from that Sodom and Gomorrah called Hollywood, California; get him to say a nice thing about Jesus, go to the microphone and say everybody ought to go to Sunday school.  Immediately it breaks into print and all poor dumb fundamentalists print his testimony.  When did Jesus Christ have to come in on the testimony of a half-converted actor?  No, No, my brother; Jesus stands alone.  Let all the Senators and all the Presidents and all the Kings and Queens and Lords and Ladies of the world, along with all the great athletes and great actors, let them kneel at his feet and cry, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty.’  Only the Holy Ghost can do this my brethren.  For that reason, I do not bow down to great men.  I bow down to The Great Man (Jesus).  And if you have learned to worship One Man (Jesus), you will not worship other men.” A.W. Tozer

How pitiful that people of Faith would honor the words of someone who does not even mention the mighty name of Jesus when referring to God.  How sad when people of Faith get excited about a man-pleasing speech just because God is referenced.

Brothers and Sisters, Jesus needs no introduction!  He certainly does not need an introduction by someone who points to a future self as “the Hero he is chasing”.  This self-centered idolatry is what is wrong with our society and the Church today.  The only person we chase after as believers is Jesus!  If we chase after any other idol starting with self, we do not know this Jesus.  

This is the Jesus who needs no introduction and is written about in Chapter 19 of the book of Revelation.

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse.  And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.  His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns.  He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.  He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies in Heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.  Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.  And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.  He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written; KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

This is King Jesus!

“I am a good person down deep.” This comment in a nutshell is what is so wrong with us!
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We desperately want to believe we are “good” at our root/heart, yet scripture over and over reminds us we are not. If you are sitting under teaching that promotes man, run!

Before you jump ship as this being another crazy Jesus moment from Todd, understand that until this truth is heard and received, spiritual growth cannot and will not occur in your life. My prayer is that God would set you free with this truth!

We must recognize our total need for a savior not only to be saved, but also to be sanctified or cleaned up after salvation. Yes, our journey to a holy life Pleasing to God starts with our realization that we offer nothing good and left to our own devices, we choose sin. Oh, we may muster a perceived fleshly victory here and there through good works trying to earn the favor of God, but the word of God says these good works are like filthy rags. It’s like a bad diet that never works! Yes, our best day is simply putting lipstick on a pig.

The reality here is that our flesh is ugly (mine included) and fights against everything our New Spirit in Christ desires for us to rest and grow in.

Romans 3 emphasizes this great chasm I have described above that is only overcome by the cross of Jesus.

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as it is written,“There is none righteous, not even one;

There is none who understands,There is none who seeks for God;

All have turned aside, together they have become useless;There is none who does good,There is not even one.”

Now that our theology is straight, we trust/rest in Jesus. The Holy Spirit will continue to grow us (clean us up/sanctify us) in and through His power (not our own works) from the inside out. This process is fulfilled primarily as we pray, read, meditate, memorize and study God’s word.

Remove this statement from your vocabulary. “Me, He or She is a good guy.). Satan uses this lie to prevent many from surrendering to the truth that we are not good apart from the work of God in us made possible by Jesus taking our ugly sin upon Himself on a cross! Oh, what a savior!

I hate my flesh! Thanks be to God that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!

Stop putting your trust in you (humanity) and put it in Jesus. He is the only One who lived a perfect sinless life and overcame the grave! This is the only way to a holy life now and into eternity. This is the only way to true rest!

Amen Amen and Amen!

Love You guys!

When we hear the word “obedience”, we often times cringe and have flashbacks to child-hood rules and regulations.  Growing up, I witnessed parents go to two primary extremes when it came to obedience as related to raising their kids or imparting spiritual disciplines.  Neither are a biblical reflection of God’s Love.

1)  Obedience in the form of legalistic rules, which generally resulted in over-the-top rebellion.

2)  No rules with hopes of obedience, which resulted in confusion and sin associated with no boundary points.

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Today, I would like to offer a biblical picture and purpose in true obedience from the heart.  Throw out your understanding of obedience as defined by the world!  

Biblical obedience is inseparably intertwined with Faith and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We should also consider the reality that the old testament law was put into place to make us aware of our sin, which ultimately points us to our Savior Jesus Christ.  Therefore, the Law is Good!  Yes, even the Law is rooted in Love!   

Why Obedience? 

1)  Jesus is our example!  His obedience led to our Salvation/Faith!  Obedience is summed up in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  

  • “And being found in human form, He (Jesus) humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  Phil 2:8

2)  The purpose of our Salvation is to bring about Obedience/Faith in the lives of people.  

  • “Through whom we have received Grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of Faith among the Gentiles, for His name sake.” Rom 1:5 / See also Rom 16:26 “to bring about the obedience of Faith.”

3)  The commands of Jesus are purposed/wrapped in LOVE to promote the Gospel. Our obedience is found by Living-Out-The-Gospel in light of what Jesus did for us on the cross at calvary!  No greater Love!        

  • “A new commandment I give you , that you Love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will   know that you are My disciples, if you have Love for one another.”  John 13:34-35
  • “If you Love Me, you will keep my commandments.”  John 14:15
  • “He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who Loves me.”  John 14:21
  • “If anyone Loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our abode with him.” John 14:23
  •  ”If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My Love, just as I have kept my fathers commandments and abide in His Love.” John 15:10
  • “This is My commandment that you Love one another, as I have Loved you.” John 15:12
  • “This I command you, that you Love one another.”  John 15:17

4)  Obedience leads to Salvation and is best learned in suffering.  If you struggle with obedience, there is a good chance you have never truly suffered.  Once again, Jesus is our perfect example.  

  • “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered.  And being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who OBEY Him,” Heb 5:8-9

5)  The true test of obedience is a willingness to Forgive and live out a Holy (Sanctified) Life.  

  • “For to this end also I wrote that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.”  2 Cor 2:9 (Context is an Appeal to Forgive)
  • As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts, which were yours in ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be Holy yourselves also in all your behavior.”  1 Pet 1:14 (A call to Holiness!)

My prayer is that God’s word has challenged us to consider the true value and purpose in biblical obedience.  I deeply desire for us to understand the reality that biblical obedience is rooted and lived out in and through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Faith and Obedience are inseparably intertwined and best lived out in Love.     

So What?

If we truly understand and apply obedience from a biblical perspective, God will produce much fruit in our lives and those we come in contact with as we carry out His work (Living-Out-The-Gospel) in a fallen world.  This is the abiding promise of John chapter 15!  Understanding the origin, purpose and value of biblical obedience is foundational to our spiritual journey.  

Good News! 

Perhaps for the very first time in your life, God is revealing the truth to you about the value of biblical obedience?  It is not about rules and regulations.  It is about The Good News that Jesus Christ was obedient to the point of death on a cross.  Yes, He suffered and died in our place for our sins.  Yes, because of this Good News, you too can call upon His name and be reconciled to God!  (Rom 10:9)  Yes, through His obedience, we can have a permanent peace treaty with God that is not dependent on our works!  Yes, Praise God for His Great Kindness!  Yes, in Love, Jesus has shown us Mercy and unmerited Grace!  Won’t you trust and OBEY?      

“If you Love Me, you will obey My commands!” John 14:15