"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
D.L. Moody was a shoe salesman until God moved him into a full-time
preaching ministry, often in the streets of Chicago. There came a point
in his journey with God that he realized he needed more in his life than
what he was experiencing.
"At the close of the Sabbath evening services I remember two holy women
they would say to me, 'We have been praying for you.' I said, 'Why don't
you pray for the people?' They answered, 'You need power.'
'I need power?' I said to myself. Why, I thought I had power. I had a
large Sabbath school and the largest congregation in Chicago. I was in a
sense satisfied. But then came these two godly women who prayed for me,
and their earnest talk about "the anointing for special service" set me
thinking. I asked them to come and talk with me, and we got down on our
knees. They poured out their hearts, that I might receive the anointing
of the Holy Ghost. And there came a great hunger into my soul. I knew
not what it was. I began to cry as I never did before. The hunger
increased. I really felt that I did not want to live any longer if I
could not have this power for service. I kept on crying all the time
that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, in the city of
New York - Oh, what a day! I cannot describe it; I seldom refer to it;
it is almost too sacred an experience to me. Paul had an experience that
he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say, God revealed Himself
to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him
to stay His hand.
I went to preaching again. The sermons were no different; I did not
present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not be
placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you would gave
me all Glasgow.
Monday, May 25, 2015
"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." - John 12:24
The goal of the Christian life is death, not success. A popular teaching says that if we follow God, we will prosper materially. God may, in fact, bless His people materially, but few can make this claim among third-world countries. Wealth must never be the goal of a person's life, only a by-product.
A missionary to a Middle-Eastern country has shared a motto among their ministry team: "God does not require success, but radical, immediate obedience." Jesus' obedience gained Him the cross. It did not gain Him popularity among the heathen, the religious or financial success, or a life of pleasure. His obedience resulted in His death on the cross. This is the same goal Christ has for each of us--death of our old nature so that He might live through us. That may not sell well among outcome-based Christian workplace believers, but it will result in an eternal reward that far exceeds any earthly reward. "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done" (Rev. 22:12).
The Christian life is a paradox--the first will be last, death in return for life, and we are encouraged to offer praise to God to overcome a spirit of heaviness. It requires faith in a God who operates from a different set of values that are sometimes difficult to measure from human standards. Let death work in you a life that only God can raise up.
Friday, May 22, 2015
"He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income." (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
"John," the wise businessman replied to the man, "I've noticed that every time someone thinks they've built a tree that is so tall it almost reaches heaven, God often decides to shake the tree."
The minute we start trusting in riches, God will, in fact, "shake the tree" to demonstrate who is the source of wealth to turn us back to trusting Him completely. He did it in my life, and He'll do it in your life too because He loves us too much to allow us to continue down this destructive path.
Money is mentioned more than 2,000 times in the scripture. Jesus used it many times in illustrating an important lesson to his disciples. He spoke often of being a good steward of the resources He entrusted to us. He wanted a return on His investment and He wanted us to stay away from making money an idol in our lives.
Jesus understood that He was here on earth only to do the will of the Father. "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; He can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does."
As we look at our relationship to our heavenly Father and our use of money, it is clear that we, like Jesus, are here to do the will of the Father in all areas of life. This means seeking to live a life that is totally yielded to His purposes -even in the financial area.
Money, independence, and security are often the reasons many start their own businesses or change jobs. Check your motives today and see if your financial life can stand Jesus' scrutiny. Are you operating as a steward of the financial resources He has entrusted to you?
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power" (1 Cor 2:3-5).
I learned a principle years ago of withholding our natural gifting to insure that God is in whatever we are doing.
Crystal is a businesswoman involved in the manufacture of designer clothing. Her designs are known for their elaborate detail and accessories sewn into the clothing. She had a contract with a major retail chain that agreed to carry here clothing. A call came from the retailer requesting that four designs be sent to them for consideration for the next season's clothing line. She had known that meeting this particular deadline was going to be very difficult due to other circumstances that were going on in her life.
Finally the deadline came and she had not completed the two of the pieces of clothing she wanted them to consider. The elaborate detail and finish work she was known for had not been completed on two of the four pieces they were asking for. She called the retailer and said she had two pieces ready to ship but the other two still needed to be completed. The retailer argued with her and said, "Send the others to us anyway."
Crystal is a perfectionist and the idea of sending her designs to the retailer without the finished detail, creativity, and quality made her very uncomfortable. Then, she recalled a teaching on this principle. She decided to do something in total opposition to her natural inclinations. She sent the two pieces of clothing to the retailer along with the other two "finished" pieces. To her shock and amazement the retailer chose the two pieces of clothing that had not been "finished" and declined the other two.
Crystal realized that God was demonstrating His power through this principle of withholding her natural gifting to show her that it was by His hand that she was being successful in her business. This did not take away her need to be creative or skillful, but there was now a new understanding to move in a dimension that placed greater dependence upon obedience rather than just her natural skill.
Monday, May 18, 2015
But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand." - Matthew 7:26
There were two kinds of people in the days of Jesus. Some heard the words that Jesus spoke and were awed by His wisdom and understanding, but did nothing about what they heard. Others heard those words and acted on them. Jesus said that those who heard the words but failed to put them into practice were foolish and likened them to building a house on sand. How foolish, indeed, it would be to build a house on sand.
The person who followed what Jesus taught was a person who would be sure to weather life's storms.
Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock (Matthew 7:24-25).
You never know how well your house is built until it is tested by the elements. Torrential rains reveal the quality of your roof. Wind and cold reveal how well your home is insulated. Heat and sun reveal the quality of your paint and siding. All these elements reveal whether a solid foundation has been laid to make your home a secure and lasting place to live.
Many of us find that we have given only lip service to God's commands. We are faced with the reality that our foundations are not strong enough to weather life's storms. How do we react when the trials come? Do we fret and worry? Do we take life into our hands? Do we respond inappropriately when we don't get what we want? The Lord uses these times to help us recognize whether our foundations are sand or rock. Ask the Lord today if you have built on His rock. If so, you can be comforted to know that you can weather any storm that may come your way.
Friday, May 15, 2015
..."those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled' (Dan 5:19).
Paul desired a career in the building industry. Early in his career, he was working with a large ministry to help direct several of their construction projects.
As the projects were completed, Paul was asked to stay on for future projects. To keep him busy he was given a number of jobs - one of which was cleaning toilets. He recalls getting down on his knees each day and complaining to the Lord, "Lord, I'm a college graduate!"
Discouraged, Paul told the Lord, "I will not leave here until You promote me. Please give me contentment with my circumstance."
Paul felt totally forgotten by God. A few months later, Paul received a phone call from a man in the Midwest who owned five successful businesses who wanted to interview Paul for a job. This came as a total surprise to Paul. As he drove to the interview, he told the Lord, "I only want your will in my life, nothing else. I am content to remain obscure for the rest of my life if I have You. You must override my lack of experience for me to get this job."
The owner of the company asked Paul a surprising question: "If I asked you to clean a toilet, what would you do?" Paul sat there, stunned. He wanted to burst out laughing. Paul assured him that he would simply pick up a sponge and start cleaning.
Amazingly, Paul was hired even though other candidates were more qualified. After several months of success Paul asked his boss why he hired him. His boss replied, "Paul, I still have a large stack of applications from people who wanted this job. Do you remember the first question I asked you in the interview? I asked each one the same question. You were the only one who said he would clean the toilet. Paul, I am a wealthy man, but I grew up dirt poor. I clean my own toilets at home. I can't have people running my businesses who are too proud to clean a toilet."
Sometimes God places us in situations to see if we will be faithful in those before He is willing to promote us to greater things.