Not Will Power but Spirit Power

Romans 7:18 “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”

There’s no such thing as self-help in God’s kingdom. If self-help was as effective as its promoted to be, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus Christ to die in our place and rise again conquering sin, Satan and death. We all can identify things in our minds, hearts and lives that we’d like to change. Many of us search for answers in the strategies of human reason than the power of the Holy Spirit. The reality is our will is limited in its ability to bring sustainable and permanent change to our hearts. Stop trying to change yourself by your own will and just start following Jesus. When you surrender to Jesus as your Lord, and you start to follow him out of relationship, transformation is a natural byproduct of the work of the Spirit’s power in your life. Paul said to the Romans, “If you live according to the flesh you will die but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons (and daughters) of God.” Selah!

Where is the Power?

Acts 9:33-35 Peter found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralysed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

The Apostle Peter was on the move, preaching the gospel and ministering healing and freedom in Jesus name, wherever he went. In the town of Lydda, Peter encounters a paralysed man, bedridden for eight years. The reality of the situation is intimidating for anyone of us but Peter doesn’t appear to miss a beat. He pray’s a simple but powerful prayer of faith in Jesus name and commands the man to get up. The bible records the man immediately rose up from his paralysed state and started to walk. I’m challenged by Peter’s faith and simple prayer. I’m confronted with the fact that although, I too have seen miracles in other’s lives through the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus name, and yet I hunger for more of God’s love, grace and power to flow through me into the lives of other’s, helping them to be restored into a place of freedom, healing and purpose. Where is the power of God? God’s power is found in a revelation of the name of Jesus Christ. God’s power is found in the expectation of faith that believes God will move in any given situation, no matter how intimidating the circumstances. God’s power is found in the daily pursuit of relationship with Jesus where a greater portion and awareness of his presence grows with each prayer and step of faith. I encourage you to not settle for the comfort zone of your life but to seek God and step out in faith, releasing God’s power into the lives of the people around you. Explosive Insights!

First Hand Revelation!

machine city“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim.” (1 John 1:3)

John the Apostle speaks and tells us that he doesn’t borrow someone else’s testimony to inform his proclamation but he preaches from a first-hand eyewitness account of encounter with God. John, along with the other disciples were ministering out of their personal experience of Jesus and we should do so as well. I can’t be effective in someone else’s revelation but I can be authentic and effective if I am speaking out of something that I have personally encountered along the journey of my relationship with Jesus. Power is imparted to people when it flows from a first hand revelation, not second or third hand. Hearing other’s stories is inspirational and helpful but living an adventure and telling others your story is powerful. First hand revelation requires us to grow in awareness of what God’s saying to us and what we are learning along the way. We are called to be a witness of what God has worked into our lives so that others may come into their own personal encounter with God!

Follow the Cloud, Not the Crowd!

white-clouds

Exodus 13:21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

Wow! I love this verse of scripture. Here is a beautiful picture of God leading his people through night and day seasons by going before them in a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. The people weren’t left without a witness to follow and this must have been so encouraging for Moses in his leadership of what sometimes was a group of very difficult people to lead.

In our lives, we can too easily get distracted by the opinions and voices of the crowd. The crowd can have far too much influence in our lives than what God wants or intended. There will always be someone out there who thinks they know best for you and who has a wonderful plan for your life.

It’s in these moments, that you and I need a conviction that heaven has spoken and that God is going before us to make a way in both dark and light seasons of life.

What about you? Are you following the crowd or the cloud? God loves you and wants to lead you in such a significant way. Stay focused on the cloud before you.

The Oracle!

Stay Flexible in 2013!

flexible-displayAccording to John 3:8 every believer is a child of the wind (symbol of the Holy Spirit). The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound. You don’t know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit of God. Jesus is saying, just as man cannot control what the wind does, so man cannot control what the Spirit does.

The Holy Spirit is a person of cosmic mystery that blows upon our lives in different seasons for different purposes. However, my observation of some believers are, the longer they are saved, the more inflexible they become. The opposite should be taking place, the longer we walk with God, the more flexible and pliable we should become. The more inflexible we become, the more we try to control the outcome in our own flesh.

Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, ‘O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by the works of the law, or by hearing with faith?’ (Gal 3:1,3,5)

How do believers become inflexible towards the blowing of the Spirit in their lives? We stop hearing by faith and start working by the flesh! One reason why we stop hearing by faith is because of a hard heart. A hard heart anaesthetises your capacity to discern what the Holy Spirit is saying and doing in your life. This is a dangerous place to be because your faith is weakened by what you cannot hear. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17).

We can develop a hard heart for lots of different reasons but the primary reason why believers develop a hard heart towards God is, ‘God didn’t do what I wanted him to do’. When God doesn’t perform for us the way we expected him to, we can develop a hard heart towards him which can lead to being defiled by bitterness (Heb 12:15).

God wants to blow his Spirit in your direction in 2013. He wants you to be a kite in his hurricane of favour, blessing and opportunity, as you go about his purpose for your life but you must allow him to soften your heart and you must guard your heart against bitterness because out of it flow the springs and issues of life.

2013 could be your best year yet but it won’t be dependant upon God, whether it is or not, it will be determined on your responsiveness to the blowing of the Holy Spirit in your life.

The Oracle!

Spirit-Led or Self-Led?

I’m fascinated with God! I love the fact that my full-time life on planet earth is pre-occupied with my relationship with God. Could there be a better use of time than living each moment in the presence of God? 

One of the privileges God has extended to us is CHOICES! God has given us free will to exercise our power of choice. We can steward this gift or abuse it. The choices we make in life determine how we spend our moments. It seems like there are an infinite number of potential wrong choices to make in life but living with God at the epicentre of your existence empowers you to make choices that promote light instead of darkness. 

Whenever I read Jesus in the Gospels, I’m fascinated by his rhythm of life. I could spend the rest of my life telling you all that he did, and yet, he carried himself and his waking moments with such grace and purpose that who he was really marked what he did. How did he do it?

Jesus was led by the Spirit! Jesus had a relationship with his Father that made all the difference in how he approached his life. He only did three fundamental things that was routine (Synagogue on the Sabbath, early morning prayer and observe Jewish feasts) in his life but everything else was led by the Spirit of God. Jesus didn’t even speak on his own authority. He said, “What I say, I say as the Father has told me.” (Jn 12:50) Every moment was informed by the Father, not as a robotic event but as a fluid movement of synergistic relationship. The Father started the sentence and Jesus would finish the sentence. Jesus would pray the prayer and Father would answer the prayer. There was such love, unity and honour in the God-head that God’s purposes could be fulfilled through Jesus’ words, actions and relationships.

I believe this is the pattern we are to observe in our own lives today. I’ve experienced the benefits of approaching life in this way and I want to encourage you to do the same. If your life feels more self-led than Spirit-led than reflect on how you view your relationship with God. How you view God will determine how you live your life. There is a relationship with God where what’s in Gods heart becomes so intertwined with what’s in your heart that you don’t know where one begins and the other ends. All great relationships function in this way.

The Oracle!

God’s Letter To The World!

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

I love and esteem God’s Word and I can understand you thinking that with my blog titled, ‘God’s Letter to the world’ I was going to be speaking about the bible. However, I’ve discovered like you have, the world doesn’t read its bible but it does read its Christians.

Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth didn’t need to send a reference letter to them because the people themselves were his letter of recommendation. The credibility of Paul’s ministry was found in the people whom he’d ministered to.

The canvas of ministry is people. A ministers work of art is people. Every minister should look at people like Picasso looked at a blank piece of canvas and see incredible potential. Recently, I had the privilege of baptizing a new believer into the life of the church. At his baptism his family and friends came up and expressed with heartfelt emotion their appreciation for us investing into their loved one’s life. They shared how amazed they were at the difference in the young man’s approach to life and priorities because of the time and energy I and others had invested into him. This is what winning looks like in God’s kingdom. When God takes a person who is broken and restores them, he is sending the world another letter of his love, power and grace.

Your life is a letter from Christ delivered to the world. God is writing on the tablet of your heart. Your heart is the canvas God writes his story upon. He doesn’t use ink but he uses the Holy Spirit. This means you need to pay attention to your story because your story is your brand, your message. Every one loves a story, especially kids. Every night before bed, my youngest son, Joshua, will ask me to read him a story. As we get older, we become weighed down by information but a good story will snap us back to life straight away.

What’s your story? What has God written on your heart through the different experiences you have had in life? Take time out to pause and reflect on your story. Where has God taken you in the different seasons of your life? What have you learnt? What has the devil meant for evil that God has turned into good?

Your story is your work of art and it’s God’s letter to the world!

The Oracle!