“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Paul gives good advice for each of us: “Examine yourselves…test yourselves”. This is not a test Satan throws at us, nor is this a test the world presents to us. This is a test of our own design. We are to test ourselves. How is my heart doing toward God? Am I getting closer or am I wandering away? When I’m alone, does my mind wander toward God or something else? Something has captured my imagination; is it God?
Even though he was the Son of God, Jesus found periodic times when He went up on the mountain to pray. Why did He need to pray? Because He needed to strengthen Himself in His Father. When is the last time you got alone with God? Maybe that is the examination or test for yourself.
I’ve had 0opportunities to meet some great leaders over my lifetime. Back in the early 1970s Anita and I attended a Petra and Honeytree concert at the Angola Armory. The acoustics were outrageous and we sat on metal folding chairs.
Honeytree sang first and everyone enjoyed her mellow style. Then Petra began to play their fresh rock sound, with Glover banging that rhythm and Houge running those licks on the guitar. That was all one old guy could handle. He picked up a folding chair and began to bang it up and down on the concrete floor. Everyone was shocked. Then the old guy shuffled off down a hall into a classroom. Nancy Honeytree followed him and calmed him down. He was back out and settled by the time the next band took the stage.
That day I saw pioneering greatness. We’ve come a long way. When have you seen something big beginning?
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit” (Acts 19:2).
One of the problems with the church today is that the subject of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a hushed subject. I don’t know why churches are so afraid of the power of the Spirit unless it is they fear they will lose control of the church. The opposite is true.
I accepted Christ in a rooming house in Butler. It changed my life but I had no power to live it. Nine months later I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and spiritual life exploded inside of me. Conviction of sin and a sensing of God’s leading became prominent in my life. The prayer language I received was (and is) a powerful connector to spiritual gifts.
If you’ve not yet received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, with a prayer language you haven’t learned, talk with your pastor about it today. This is crucial for your spiritual growth.
The world seems to be in turmoil: Israel, Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Iraq are all on the news. Civil Wars and unrest at every corner. Terrorists are pirating ships, kidnapping girls and blowing up innocent civilians. What is the future of peace in the world? Things seemed to go a little better when the USSR and the US were staring each other down during the Cold War. Little guys didn’t try revolts against the big powers.
But now that the USSR has disintegrated and the US has taken the position to down-size our military to pay for entitlement programs back at home, there seems to be little deterrent from these revolutions and mayhem all around the world. It appears that Teddy Roosevelt may be right. The only people who live in peace are those carrying a big stick.
What’s your opinion, should the United States once again get involved as the world’s policeman, or should we turn more inward and focus on ourselves? What’s your counsel?
I went out for an early run Saturday morning. I felt under the weather last weekend so I didn’t run at all. This time I ran 3.31 miles. I was surprised when I ended the run with a message on my iPhone Running App announcing that I had broken my all time speed record. I ran the distance in 10:48. I won’t win any marathons, but that’s not bad for my age. It didn’t seem like I was running faster than normal when I was running, but the numbers don’t lie. It must have been the break from last weekend that gave me a little more energy for this weekend.
God designed periodic breaks from the routine for the Israelites. They were to work six days but the seventh was a Sabbath when they were to do no work. Then there were holy days when they were to fast and feast. And every 49th year even the land was to rest and not be farmed. Maybe we should learn something from God. Rest is not from work, but so we can work more productively. You deserve a break today.
New Hope’s 2014 Vacation Bible School is now over. There was a lot of ministry to kids that took a lot of work to prepare. There was room set-up, snack preparation, games planning, and lesson planning. When you’re well prepared, things tend to go a lot smoother. I saw our people put forth great effort in ministry to kids last week.
But, when its all over, the task is clean-up. Things have to get back to normal when the main ministry is finished. 100+ kids have a way of trashing the building. All the sets have to be removed from rooms and the sanctuary has to be set-up with seats again for church Saturday night. Ministry makes a mess and someone’s got to clean it up.
Ministry to unsaved adults also makes a mess. Dealing with broken and addicted people takes work. But, thank the Lord, Jesus cleaned the mess up in advance. When He paid the price for our rebellion on the cross, He delivered us from that past bondage. But most don’t know it yet. Let Him do the clean-up.
There is a lot of talk these days about the beginning of the space race as we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing. I remember sitting in study hall one day about 1961 when I noticed the current issue of National Geographic magazine. There was an article about the Seven Mercury Astronauts. I was fascinated by a group photo of the seven and the diagrams about how those flights would work.
I was so intrigued by the photos that I spent the rest of the hour reading the entire article (probably the first magazine article I had ever read). I was hooked. From 1961 to 1967 I followed every space flight, both Russian and American, and read every newspaper article. I still have the stack of newspapers I saved, all related to space flight events. My mind was stretched to think how they did all that.
And eventually, by 1968 they reached the desired goal of landing Neil Armstrong on the moon. We felt we had won the space race with Russia, and had American superiority back again. And inside I leapt with excitement at the achievement. But, none of my friends had my excitement or my sense of success. My years of investment made it mine, and I had taken ownership of the space projects. I only wish I had taken ownership of my faith in God like that. Today, He has my heart. What had your heart back in the day?