Together

My heart grieves over the anger we are seeing and how divided we are as a nation, and even the people of the Church of the living God. The enemy has done his job well to cause chaos.  As I was reading the book of Nehemiah in my quiet time, I was reminded of what can happen when people from different backgrounds, skills, and opinions, set their minds and hearts to the task God has given them.

In chapter 1-3 we find that the leader Nehemiah, “was sent by God” to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem that had been broken down. He had volunteers to help. I was struck by the way the volunteers were about the work. Together the task was underway.

Eliashib and his brethren built the Sheep gate, next to him the men of Jericho built, next to them Zaccur built, next to him Hassenaah built, next to him Meremoth built, next to him Meshullam built, and so on and so on listing names and brethren throughout the entire 3nd chapter of Nehemiah.  I was struck by all the people of different skills and opinions worked side by side together to rebuild what had been broken down. We must keep in mind that the enemy using Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem all the while was working to get them distracted, discouraged, and divided. They had one goal, to do the task that the Lord had set before them.  The wall was rebuilt in record time.

Can we see any correlation to our chaos and confusion today?

There is strength together.  Working side by side.

I traveled with about 25 ladies in a Women’s Retreat ministry for nearly 15 years.  At the, retirement gathering of that ministry, we were sharing some of the amazing things that we witnessed during our time together. I will forever be touched that during all those 15 years, I never heard a critical or unkind word from any woman on the team.  How could that be?????

We had one purpose:  Honor the Lord, each other, and serve the people, TOGETHER!

Joy,

Phyllis

IT IS TIME TO TURN!

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name……. turn from THEIR wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive THEIR sin and will heal THEIR land.”  2nd Chronicles 7:13,14a, c

 There is little doubt as to the desperate need for change in America.  There does seem to be no small mount of confusion about who is to do the changing, and why!  However, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that it is specifically to His people that the Lord looks to be the prime movers of this needed change.  Long ago the Lord spoke to the young Hebrew King, Solomon and told him there are ways that God can put into motion that if His people are paying attention, these acts will serve as a call to them for a need for radical change.  In recent years the world has witnessed not only an accelerated lack of reverence (respect) for God, but an open defiance of the Lord, and the things of God!  This has been accompanied by economic catastrophe and deadly sicknesses.  It would seem to be obvious!

 The Lord laid down four conditions for returning to a right relationship and fellowship with Him.  The first condition is the Lord’s people must humble ourselves.  I dealt with this condition two months ago in the June article.  If you missed it, scroll up and read “THE FORSAKEN FACTOR IN REVIVAL!”  Today I want to deal with the fourth and final condition for revival…“If My people who are called by My name…TURN from THEIR wicked ways,…”

 Some Believers have a hard time seeing any of their ways as “wicked.”  The Hebrew word in this verse translated “wicked” literally means “deviation from the right way.”  A one degree error in an airplane’s compass, if uncorrected will result in the airplane being one mile off course for every sixty air miles travelled.  If you fly 300 miles, when you land you will miss the runway by five miles!!!  ANY WAY that deviates from the right way is a wicked way!  Do you have any idols in your life?  Keep in mind that an idol is anything or anyone that substitutes for God!  Anything or anyone in your life that ever takes priority over God and His will for your life is an idol!

 The Hebrew word translated “way” in this verse means “trodden path.”  Have you ever lived in a house on a street corner?  Did people ever take a “shortcut” across your yard?  Over and Over again?  Did it create a “trodden path” in your yard?  Do you have any “trodden paths” in your life?  Sometimes we have done things a certain way for such a long time, they become trodden paths.  If they are ways that displease the Lord, they are deviations from the right way!

 

A young deacon on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides Islands back in 1949 had prayed with fellow deacons for many nights for the coming of revival.  One night his praying took a turn.  He began to pray, “Are MY hands clean?  Is My heart pure?”  Then came conviction, followed by confession and cleansing, followed by more following his example.

Then came mighty revival!  Someone needs to lead the way!  It is time to turn.

Jon Moore

Taking the Mask off!

2 Cor 3:18 “And all of us as with unveiled faces, continue to behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are continually being changed into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another from the Lord, the Spirit. (Amplified Bible)

As we have been wearing the masks everywhere during the Covid 19 pandemic that has swept our world, I could not help but think how uncomfortable it has become. My glasses fog up where I can’t see as well, my breathing is impaired, I can’t smile and be friendly with others like I love to do, and certainly having conversations and  being understood is much more difficult.

I am afraid that many times, we as Christians, wear our spiritual masks trying to hide the real condition of our walk with the Lord or the lack there of. Moses face shown with the glory of the Lord after he encountered God on the mountain, however as the days went by, the glory began to fade,  so he wore the face covering so that others might not see it fading).  Exodus 34:25-39 Could that be us?  Are we one way at home and another around other folks. Is the glory fading? What are some of the things that the spiritual mask covers?  Secret sins, ungodly TV or movies, critical spirit, gossiping, self-protection, and others that I am sure the Holy Spirit can bring to our mind.

It is time to repent and take off the spiritual masks!!!

What are we gaining by removing our spiritual masks?  We can see much more clearly the truths in the Bible, we can once again have that personal intimacy, and once again have those amazing conversations with our heavenly Father, and certainly now, we can freely breath in the breath and power of the Holy Spirit.

 And with an “open face,” we are being constantly changed from glory to glory into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Joy

Phyllis

 

THE FORSAKEN FACTOR IN REVIVAL!

“However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah.”

2nd Chronicles 32:26

The Bible is full of promised blessings for those who humble themselves!  Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the wise man Solomon wrote, “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” (Proverbs 29:23).  James reminds us, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6).  Peter writes in 1st Peter 5:6, “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.”  Unfortunately, today’s society does not look on humility with the same admiration as does the Lord!  The question becomes, Why does the Lord put humility first when it comes to the conditions He requires for the coming of revival in 2nd Chronicles 7:14?

A studied look at Scripture reveals that when there is a list of blessings, or conditions for blessings, whatever is listed first is listed first for a reason.  It is the most critical, most important.  Think about it!  Why would one pray, or seek the Lord, or turn from every way that deviates from the right way (the meaning of the word ‘wicked’ in 2nd Chronicles 7:14) if one thinks that we can solve our own problems, or make ourselves right with God in our own way?  When we humble ourselves, the rest tends to follow, but prayer, seeking God and broken repentance are foreign to the prideful.

We need to recognize the scale of mankind’s problem.  First, pride is a perpetual problem.  “So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from Sennacherib the king of Assyria and from the hand of all others…And many were bringing gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem and choice presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter.”(vv 20-23).  Not only is pride perpetual, the enemy will see to it that it is also keenly personal.  After the Lord delivered Hezekiah from certain defeat and imprisonment, He was personally healed by God from a fatal disease!  “ In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill; and he prayed to the Lord, and the Lord spoke to him and gave him a sign.  But Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received, because his heart was proud!”  (vv24-25).

Some years ago, a preacher friend of mine sent me a book of which he had been the general editor.  It is a collection of sayings by people who are noteworthy for their faithfulness and fruitfulness in ministry.  One such is the author and theologian J. C. Ryle who is credited with saying, “We have been too often content with zeal for orthodoxy and have neglected the sober realities of daily practical godliness!  There has been of late years a lower standard of personal holiness among believers than there used to be in the day of our forefathers.  The whole result is THE SPIRIT IS GRIEVED!  And the matter calls for much humiliation and searching of hearts!”

My prayer for myself and each of you who name the Name of Jesus as Lord and Savior is that each of us would begin to humble ourselves before Him!

Jon Moore

My Determined Purpose

Many years ago, I read a little book by Bro. Laurence called, “The Practice of the Presence of God.”  Bro. Laurence had devoted himself to God as a monk and lived his life praying and doing what we might call menial tasks for his fellow brothers. He states that He made a commitment to doing little things for the Lord each day and to never deliberately stray from Him.  Oh, how the Lord gripped my heart of the necessity in my life for a much deeper and more intimate fellowship with my heavenly Father! I had found my self so busy serving the Lord that I had neglected the most important, worshipping and being in His presence daily.

What does it really mean to live and dwell in His presence? In Websters 828 dictionary it states: in close view, within, a spiritual Spirit to be present.  Psalms 27:4, “One thing I ask of Thee, oh Lord, that I will seek, inquire for, and insistently require that I may dwell in Your presence all the days of my life.”

“MY PRAYER”

That I may know Jesus—

That I may__

 progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him.

That I may __

perceive and recognize and understand the wonders of His person more strongly and more clearly.

That I may —

In that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection.

That I may __

 share in His suffering as to be continually being transformed in His Spirit into His likeness even to His death.

Taken from __Philippians 3:10

Joy ,

Phyllis

 

THE FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (PART FOUR)!

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit…”

Ephesians 5:18

Back in January I said I would attempt to address four basic questions about the fullness of the Holy Spirit.  The first question was, “Why should every Believer be filled with the Holy Spirit?”  I dealt with this by examining the 14th, 15th and 16th chapters of the Gospel of John, because they contain an ongoing discussion by the Lord with His disciples about His soon-coming departure, the coming of the Holy Spirit and the role the Spirit would fill in the life and ministries of His followers.  If you have not already done so, I recommend you scroll down and read the last three month’s devotionals.

 This month I will focus on the last three questions.  Question two is, “What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?”  The Greek word “filled” in Ephesians 5:18 means “to fill; to be filled to the full.”  It carries with it a picture of “to be fully taken up with; to be fully under the control of!”  Thus, to be filled with the Holy Spirit means not so much to have more of the Spirit, but for the Spirit to have more (all) of you!

 Question three is, “Do you need to be filled with the Holy Spirit again?”  Some argue they do not need to be filled, because they were filled with the Spirit at conversion!  Certainly, a Biblical view of salvation teaches that it includes a full surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, but guess what?  You leaked!  The commandment to be filled in Ephesians 5:18 is in the present imperfect tense in the original Greek language meaning, “Be always being filled with Holy Spirit!”  Ask yourself this question, “Do I have the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23 fully operative in my life today?”  The absence of any one of this cluster of fruit indicates you need to be filled again with the Spirit.  Likewise, “Is the power of the Holy Spirit demonstrated in your daily living, preaching, teaching, witnessing.  Acts 1:8 says we receive power when the Holy Spirit fills us.  The absence of power is a reminder we need to be filled again!  Note the experiences of the disciples in the book of Acts.  See 13:52 especially.

 The fourth question is, “How is one filled with the Holy Spirit?”  Peter in Acts 2:32-33 tells us that when Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection, the Father exalted Christ to the right hand of God, the place of all authority and power.  He gave the Son the promised Holy Spirit.  Jesus then poured forth the Spirit on the disciples at Pentecost, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit!  In like manner when we as Believers genuinely surrender our life to the Lordship of Christ, crowning Him both Lord and Christ, He once again pours out the Holy Spirit into us in His fullness!

 Jon Moore

THE FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (PART THREE)!

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit!”

Ephesians 5:18

Two months ago, I began to address the question, “Why does every Believer need to be filled with the Holy Spirit?”    This is the first of several questions I will seek to address in this series.  We have been examining chapters 14, 15 and 16 of the gospel of John, because they contain a discussion by the Lord with His disciples about His soon-coming departure, the coming of the Holy Spirit and the role the Spirit will fill in the life and ministries of both the disciples and those who follow them.  I recommend you scroll down and read Part One and Part Two before you read any further.

The third reason every Believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit is not only that He indwells and instructs the Believer, but that He also endows the Believer (John 16:14)!  Remember, the word “disclose” means to tell back!  The blessed Holy Spirit not only makes Christ real to the Believer, but also in the Believer, and ultimately through the Believer!  Remember also the meaning of the word “another” in John 14:16=“Another like Me!”  Jesus, the Son came to disclose (To tell back) the Father (John 16:15), “He is the radiance of the Father’s glory, and the exact representation of His nature!” (Hebrews 1:3) So, the Holy Spirit came to disclose (To tell back) the Son (John 15:26).  Only the Believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit can effectually disclose the Life of Jesus Christ! 

We have examined three reasons from Scripture why every Believer should be filled with Holy Spirit.  Because He indwells the Believer, He instructs the Believer and He endows the Believer!  Yet, there is a fourth reason.  Ephesians 5:18 is not a recommendation, it is a Biblical commandment!  In the original writing of the New Testament (Greek) there is a way sentences can be constructed so that the reader (listener) can know the statement is an imperative commandment!  Such is the case with Ephesians 5:18, it is imperative that every Believer be filled with Holy Spirit!  And how did Jesus Himself tell us we are to express our love to and for Him?  “He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me…” (John 14:21).

Jon Moore

THE FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (PART TWO)!

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit!”

Ephesians 5:18

Last month we began addressing the question of why every Believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit!  Remember that we are focusing on John chapters 14, 15 and 16, because these chapters contain a time of ongoing discussion by Jesus concerning His soon-coming departure, and the ministry His disciples would soon be leading.  A significant part of this discussion focuses on the role the Holy Spirit will fill in the life and ministries of the disciples, and those that will follow them!  In this discussion Jesus deals with three reasons why every Believer needs to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).  The first reason is because the Holy Spirit indwells the Believer, both with you (John 14:16), and in you (John 14:17).  To review scroll down and re-read last month’s devotional!

The second reason every Believer needs to be filled with the Spirit is He instructs the Believer.  “He will teach you all things.” (John 14:26a).  All the Believer truly knows of the Lord is taught/revealed to us by the Holy Spirit!  He instructs us in three ways.  First, He reminds us, “He will bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26b).  Some times we don’t need to learn something new.  Sometimes our memory needs to be prompted to remember Truth we have already learned!  That could happen when we are meditating on Scripture we have just read, or just heard, or in a conversation we are having with a fellow Believer.  The Spirit uses all kinds of instruments in His ministry to us!

The second way the Spirit instructs us is He refines us, “But when He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the Truth.” (John 16:13a).  You may well ask, “Isn’t that the same thing as John 14:26?”  NO!  These are two separate things.  One is that the Spirit teaches us all things; the other is He not only teaches Truth, but He leads us INTO the Truth!  This is one of the ways of God that David referred to in Psalm 103:7, “He made known His way unto Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel!”  He reveals Truth to His servants and follows it by putting them in life experiences that will require them to validate the Truth in personal experience.  Only then can they minister the Truth in the Lord’s power!

Finally, the third way the Holy Spirit instructs the Believer is He reveals to us, “He will  disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13b).  The word “disclose” means to “tell back.”  If you want to know that for which you need to be prepared, pay attention to what the Lord is teaching you today!  There are no “accidents” in the life of a child of God, especially one who is committed to be a loyal follower!  Any educator will tell you the best environment for learning is one teacher for every student, and that is what the Lord has provided for each of His children!  Each Believer has the undivided attention and ministry of the Holy Spirit.  That is another reason every Believer needs to be filled with the Spirit!

Jon Moore

THE FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (PART ONE)

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit…”

Ephesians 5:18 

The decade of the 1960s was marked by rebellion in America!  Against the war in Vietnam, the military draft, the sexual mores of the day and against organized religion.  There was experimentation with foreign religions, “free” sex, often accompanied with hallucinating drugs.  Young people argued they were “searching for the Truth!”  Notably, out of this some came full circle to discover salvation through faith in Jesus Christ!  Yet in this rebellious setting there was widespread false teaching that spread, particularly about the Holy Spirit.  Sadly, some preachers spent more time condemning the false teachers than they did communicating the Truth from the Bible! 

It is often said, “The more things change, the more they stay the same!”  Sadly, rebellion is a present problem, and Believers are not exempted from the temptation!  I am convinced there is a critical need for more teaching of Bible Truth about the Holy Spirit.  That is why I will seek to address four basic questions over the next several months.  Why should a Believer be filled with the Spirit?  What does that mean?  Who should be filled?  And How is one filled?  I will address these issues from the gospel of John, chapters 14, 15 and 16!  These chapters contain an ongoing time of discussion by Jesus concerning His soon-coming departure, and the ministry His disciples would be leading.  A significant part of that discussion deals with the role the Holy Spirit will fill in their life and ministries.  

In this discussion Jesus deals with three specific reasons why every Believer needs to be filled with the Spirit.  The first reason is because the Holy Spirit indwells the Believer.  “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper”  (John 14:16a).  Many know that the Greek word translated Helper is at other times translated Comforter, Advocate, or Intercessor.  The word means, “One called alongside to help.”  Another word important to understand is the word “another”.  That word in the Greek means, “Another like Me.”  Jesus says that the best description of the Holy Spirit is He is another like Me!  Then the Lord expands that statement, “that He may be with you forever” (John 14:16b).  Jesus came for a specific task assigned by the Father, to redeem lost humanity by paying the redemption price, the willing sacrifice of His sinless Life.  Soon He would return to heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand.  With the coming of the Holy Spirit, He (the Spirit) is to abide with us FOREVER!  

Not only that, but the Holy Spirit is now in us, “…that is the Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you” (John 16:17).  When one first believes on the Lord Jesus Christ the temptation is to think that the Christian life will be so wonderful that it will be easy.  Then life happens, and sin enters the picture again.  We begin to realize that living for Christ will be harder that we thought, and finally we come to see it is an impossible task.  Just as we learn that we need Him with us in our loneliness, we realize our need for Him in our weakness.  Praise to God our Father that the Holy Spirit is our Divine Helper who makes the impossible gloriously possible!                                             

Jon Moore

Christmas Joy!

The Christmas season is here once again.  I love the music of the season. I am one that starts listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  So I get to hear the song, ”Joy to the World” a lot.  What exactly does this word joy mean? According to Webster dictionary:  Joy: to rejoice, an emotion evoked by well- being, to have a feeling of great pleasure and delight. That is a human emotion that comes and goes with the sunshine or clouds in our lives.  Is that how we are supposed to live as Christians? Can we have a different and settled joy in our hearts and lives no matter the dark the clouds that surround us?

What is the answer? YES! If God’s Word says that we can, then we can!

Psalms 87:7 “All my springs, my source of LIFE and Joy are found in You , oh Lord.”

John 10:10 “The thief came to steal, kill, and destroy, but I came that you might have Life, and have it more abundantly.” (Agape Life, God’s Life)

In 2nd Peter the Bible states that the Lord has given us everything pertaining to Life. The question that we must ask ourselves is, “Am I experiencing the Life that has been provided to me as God’s child? Am I letting the enemy, people, circumstances, moodiness, etc. rob me of experiencing real joy, God’s Joy ?”

What to do if you are not living in that kind of joy?

  1. Be saved! John 3:16, 2. Be filled with the Spirit, 3. Feed your soul on God’s Word, 4. Decide! How do you want to live, 5. Transfer the eternal truths of God into experiential reality in our life by faith, trusting Him to keep His promises.

We now as children of God have a choice.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!