“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”James 2:14-17 NKJV
The Holy Spirit is the awe inspiring third person in the God head. He is not an It or Thing but a Person.
The first time we hear of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament is when the Angel appears to Zechariah to announce that his wife Elizabeth will conceive a child, John who will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from the womb (Luke 1:15)
John the Baptist would be the forerunner of Jesus Christ, baptising people and encouraging them to repent from their sins.
In Matthew 4, Jesus is led into the wilderness for 40days by the Holy Spirit and then tempted by Satan.
Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well that those who will worship Him shall do so in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23)
And before Jesus Christ is crucified He encourages the disciples at the last supper,
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever– The Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you.” John 14:16-17 AMP
When Jesus rose from the dead, defeated sin, death and the grave, after appearing to Mary in the garden by the empty tomb, He appears to His disciples.
“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:19-22 ESV
Fear will keep us from walking by the leading of the Holy Spirit because His ways are not our own ways and often time our logic, emotions and sense of how things should be, get in the way.
But the Holy Spirit gives us peace and reassures us that we are not alone.
Jesus will always prove Himself worthy not for the sake of our belief but because He is true to Himself and to bring glory to the Father.
God will always give us His peace before sending us out into new terrain.
The only way that we are able to walk out this life of faith is by receiving His Holy Spirit.
“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4 ESV
The disciples were the first to receive the Holy Spirit before Jesus’ resurrection and when they gathered with other believers, God’s Spirit invaded the room and gave them all the ability to utter words that glorify the Lord in order for His praises to be known to other nations.
When we believe in the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we automatically receive the Holy Spirit and for that reason, we have hope in an imperishable inheritance.
“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, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV
However, the indwelling presence of God comes with a responsibility as the apostle Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 and in 1 Corinthians 13.
We must embrace our new identity in Christ and leaving behind old ways of thinking with regards to who we are and how we live.
“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” Romans 8:9 ESV
As we let the Holy Spirit lead and guide us moment by moment, day by day we will begin to see more of God’s character and nature become more evident within us.
We can be bold and confident in our relationship with the Lord God because the Holy Spirit reaffirms our position before God. That we are no longer slaves to sin or our own weaknesses but we are sons and daughters of God.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” Romans 8:15-16 ESV
The Holy Spirit helps us during our moments and seasons of weakness, struggle, failure, depression, anger and confusion.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 ESV
Frustration is probably present within us because we refuse to pray in line with God’s Word, His truth, His commandments and we are seeking things first instead of His Kingdom.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 ESV
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 ESV
This verse says “love God” and not “those who are loved by God”. The difference is, sometimes we can get arrogant to think that God shall bless everything that we ask for, but He knows our heart and He sees the end from the beginning. However, when we love Him, our heart’s desires will naturally become aligned with His.
Jesus told us that if we love Him we would obey His commands.
“If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands.” John 14:15 AMP
“Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” 1 John 3:7, 9-10 ESV
King David knew the importance of repentance and the importance of the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life and fulfilling his God given purpose
“Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalms 51:11 ESV
All in all, the Holy Spirit; reminds us who we are in Christ Jesus, gives us undeserved, unearned gifts from the Father for His glorification and the building up of the Body of Christ and the evangelisation of the nations and enables us to walk through the highs and lows of life.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”1 John 3:1 ESV
Let’s remember and be encouraged
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7 ESV
What happens when you’ve waited, waited and waited. You’ve been patient and diligent, faithful and obedient?
When you’ve focused your attention on God’s Kingdom and His righteousness and you believe that you will see and taste His goodness in that one area of your life?
Maybe you believe that you will soon be in a relationship that honours God, or you are waiting for the promotion at work, a new job offer to come through, a familial relationship to be restored, healing from a long term illness or to experience full freedom from an addiction.
You’re now tired of hearing people encourage you that God will give good things to those who delight themselves in Him. You roll your eyes because it’s easy for them to say because they’ve received breakthrough in X,Y and Z whilst you still wait.
But do not despair.
You’re not the only one and God’s Word provides many examples of what happens when we give up trying to manoeuvre the rhythms of life without Him.
Introducing Hannah (1 Samuel 1)
Hannah’s testimony is one that has provided me with courage and resilience in seasons past and I’m sure in seasons to come.
Hannah endured mocking from Peninnah, the other wife of her husband Elkanah, because she had not bore a son.
“Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat. “Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?”” 1 Samuel 1:7-8 NLT
Sidenote: Hannah had the fruits of the Holy Spirit self-control, gentleness and patience within her because enduring years of mocking must have been a crushing experience but she focused on God; His ability and faithfulness.
“For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.” Isaiah 54:5 NIV
God has promised to comfort us as we wait and endure but oftentimes we want the promise more than we want to receive His comfort. We have to learn to be still in the in-between.
We can learn from the testimonies of others in our season of enduring, pruning and waiting.
I wonder if Hannah knew that Abraham and Sarah also waited to see the seemingly impossible come to pass, for them to have a son although Sarai was barren and Abram was very old. Due to impatience Sarai convinced her husband to impregnate her maidservant in order for them to have a child that they could call their own.
However, Hannah took her grief to the Only One who could do something about her deepest desire – instead of taking matters into her own hands. Hannah pleaded to God, for Him to look upon her, but not because she wanted a son so that she could boast to Peninnah or feel that she was truly loved by Elkanah – Hannah wanted to honour The Lord with the gift that He would give her. Hannah rendered her heart to God and didn’t compare herself to the “other woman”. Hannah doesn’t mention the mocking that she had endured. We must not compare ourselves to others. In Psalm 37 we are told
“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.” Psalm 37:8 NIV
Hannah knew that there would be a specific call on the life of her son. As a result of the intimate relationship that Hannah had cultivated with The Lord through the years, she soon discovered what it means to truly delight in The Lord.
Upon first reading of the scripture, I thought Hannah made her request known to God by wailing at the top of her lunges but we are told that her lips moved but there was no sound coming out.
We can rest assured that God hears the seemingly silent meditations of our heart. The groaning and deep sighs are used by the Holy Spirit to intercede on our behalf.
God is close when we pour out our hearts to Him like a drink offering and although those around us may not understand or may misinterpret what we are walking through, that shouldn’t distract us from being obedient and faith- filled. No one else will be able to directly relate to your unfolding testimony and that’s ok because The Lord has plans and purposes for you that were put in motion before the foundation of the Earth.
King Eli thought Hannah was drunk and totally missed how significant Hannah’s silent prayer was. The son that Hannah gave birth to would serve King Eli.
It’s important that we are listening to the right voices and not getting distracted by what we can see.
Pray for God to bring those who can speak courage, forbearance, fortitude and perseverance into your circumstance and remind you that nothing is impossible with God -because He who promised is faithful.
“Hannah said, Let your handmaid find grace in your sight. So [she] went her way and ate, her countenance no longer sad.” 1 Samuel 1:18 AMP
Hannah left the tabernacle, ate and was no longer weighed down. She exchanged her cloak of heaviness for a robe of assurance. We should remind our soul that God has heard the petitions of our heart and then surrender all to Him – leaving us free to walk in peace.
Cast all your anxieties and cares onto The Lord because He is concerned for you and then move on.
“In due time” Hannah became pregnant. How long after did she become pregnant? Did it take 3 or 6 months, a year or 5 years? Why did it take so long? Also it’s not stated that Hannah was barren, so why didn’t God give her the capacity to conceive before? The questions (in my mind) are endless but all in all, having any of those answers would satisfy my human curiosity.
Take aways from this testimony:
- When we finally come to the end of ourselves, that’s when we can fully rest in The Lord’s undeniable grace, mercy, faithfulness and truth.
- God is more concerned with ensuring that generations know and recognise His faithfulness. Hannah named her son Samuel meaning heard of God
- Our attitude in our present season is crucial because lessons need to be learnt, resilience built and character refined in order for us to be able to maturely navigate the seasons that are to come – all for His glory, honour and praise.
- We can rest knowing that God has made the boundaries fall for us in pleasant places.
Finally, we must be focused on letting His Holy Spirit guide us through each and conforming us to the image of The Lord Jesus Christ.
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV
Faith is the complete assured reliance on the character, ability, strength and truth of God and confidence in and dependency upon Him. Definition pulled together from the NLT dictionary and concordance
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:6-9 NLT
A bad combo.
Last night I was up too late to care and I’m feeling it this morning.
We’ve heard it before, that what we listen, watch and read impacts our minds and our hearts.
This is a blog to admit that I thought scrolling through a hashtag on social media and reading a few articles would have no effect but again I was naive.
Thankfully, I thought before I slept, watching Beyoncé’s video only planted seeds of me wanting to relive my study abroad experience of living in South Carolina and wearing Sofie shorts.
But waking up this morning after under 4 hours sleep, all I can vividly remember are thoughts of me becoming obsessed with refreshing my social media to find any new comments, GIFs, blog articles etc with regards to how she #broketheinternet – surely the early signs of idolatry.
I thank God for yesterday’s Twitter scrolling, as it has highlighted in a fresh way for the wickedness and deceptive nature of my heart and how the enemy will use any entry point to replant a foothold to try and get us to leave the #formation of walking in total submission to The Lord God and to fall into line with the patterns of this world.
You see I was bored, tired but couldn’t sleep. Instead of tuning into a sermon or playing a worship album to soothe me to sleep or praying about the upcoming week – I “humoured” myself in scrolling through hashtags.
God knows that I used to wake up, go to school to, talk about, read magazines about and fall asleep to R’N’B music for over a decade and I knew many albums inside out. However, in my case this music planted and cultivated weeds of sexual sin within me. My thought patterns were warped to say the least.
After my baptism, I asked The Lord God to show me how I would overcome the subconscious battle to gain back my mental & emotional purity, He showed me that I would need to spend time planting new seeds and uprooting the old – creating new neuro patterns (you can find out more by looking up Dr. Caroline Leaf’s 21 day brain detox) within my mind. Forming new thoughts that aligned with God’s way of being and doing. This meant changing what I listened to, watched and read. This impacted my friendships and social interactions too.
This took almost a year. And in that time I saw a change from the inside out.
I won’t make pointless excuses to say that I am trying to be a “culturally relevant” Christian or whatever is politically correct to say these days. I want to be conformed into the pure image of Christ Jesus and it’s time that I start asking the Holy Spirit to check my heart more.
Some of you may read this and think “it’s not that big of a deal” but it is. Whatever you plant in your heart will grow and will hinder you being used by God to be a light in this generation. Waking up this morning to words being repeated in my mind that I would not think speaking with my own mouth, upsets me but God is faithful that if we confess our sins, He will forgive us. But we must repent and not turn back to our old ways.
It’s hard. This I know but by His grace and mercy, we can walk in #formation on the Catwalk of Faith exhibiting His majesty, purity and glory.
Jeremiah 17:9 ESV
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Proverbs 4:23 NLT
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
Matthew 13:4-7 NLT
“As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants.”
Romans 12:1-2 NLT
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Colossians 3:1-3, 5 NLT
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.”
Jehovah Rohi says follow Him and don’t be afraid
This afternoon, banish the thoughts of confusion, comparison, doubt and frustration.
Know that you have been given the mind of The Lord Jesus Christ, which is a sound mind so confusion doesn’t come from Him. Cast down every thought and imagination that doesn’t line up with God’s Word. Be proactive with the sword of the spirit, His Word and make sure your head is covered with the helmet of salvation, you are His and you are safe.
You are one of a kind, His masterpiece that He had His thoughts on you before the foundation of the earth. His plans for you are good and will stand, because He is faithful and has counted every hair on your head and watches you whilst you sleep. Nothing that He has set aside for you will be stolen for you and His goodness is more than enough. Believe that He is able to do far more than you can ask think or imagine. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours. Rest in who you are in Christ Jesus.
The Lord God promises that no word shall return to Him void so have no doubt that The Creator of the Universe pays very close attention to everything that’s going on in your life and around you – so you have nothing to be concerned about. He has not left or forsaken you, He is with you always. Yes always, even if you don’t see any natural evidence of this – it’s His word and therefore it is true.
Lay aside every weight that is tripping you up, confess what is upsetting you, The Lord God can more than handle it and actually delights when we are honest. Let the Holy Spirit guide you through the Psalms and help you find the words to express to The Lord God what you are walking through. If the words escape, find comfort that you have been gifted with the ability to pray in a heavenly tongue, let the Holy Spirit intercede for you.
It is well.
Tomorrow has enough cares of it’s own, focus on following Jehovah Rohi today and be assured that He is already in your tomorrow.
When God brings you to a place where your own strength and ability will no longer get you to the next season of life
When you have to accept that His help is all you require and should desire
When you experience peace that surpasses all understanding
When you finally realise that your security an confidence can only come from the Father, all else is sinking sand and unreliable
When there’s been a change of plan