DEVELOPING SPIRITUAL STRENGTH
21.02.16 | SANTINO HAMBERIS
Discipleship groups take place this week on Tuesday at 12.30pm and Friday at 6am. Come in groups or individually, or you can also use the blog and life application questions in your own small group settings.
Words are powerful. What we speak out can either build up or tear down. Their impact can last for decades. Your words are not only powerful to other people, but they are powerful to your own soul. Proverbs 18:21 says: “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” (The Message)
The Apostle Paul wrote that we should: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22)
If we are filled with the Spirit, it is easier to do the things that we are commanded to do. Actually, it’s impossible to fulfil them if we’re not! Giving thanks in all circumstances? Really? When we thank God, it keeps us open to receiving from Him.
We don’t thank God for the bad circumstances. We thank Him despite them. We thank Him because He has wonderfully saved us. We thank Him because He is good and works all things together for our good. We thank Him because He is a generous, good Father who is worthy to be thanked. It is a faith thing: believing His promises and thanking Him for His goodness and grace and blessings.
“As I give thanks for the good gifts he has put in my life, I present convincing evidence that He is my Father, He is for me, and His opinion pretty much cancels out all others.” Bill Johnson
Let me encourage you: if you’re not a thankful person, start writing an inventory of all the things you have to thank God for and then start each day thanking Him. It will do your soul good. If you’re facing difficult circumstances, mix your pain with thanksgiving to God. Keep facing God and opening yourself up to Him. When we're thankful, it gives a platform for Him to pour out more into our lives.
If giving thanks in all circumstances is difficult, “rejoice always” sounds completely unreasonable! But if we go far enough in thanksgiving, we reach rejoicing. Rejoicing isn’t an emotion – it’s an act of the will. If you’re not a particularly joyful person – if you have joy issues – be a rejoicer!
The Psalms describe those who rejoice in God as those who worship with their whole bodies – our physical actions affect what happens on the inside. You can clap, kneel, dance, sing, raise your hands – let your body express something of your worship, and celebrate yourself into a place of praise. It’s a sacrifice of praise, but right actions release right emotions and right thinking.
My ambition is that we are the most joyful place in Hastings & 1066 Country! Because of what He’s given for us and done for us. Our Father is smiling over us and loves watching us. Doesn’t that make you smile? God’s good!
We’re also to “pray without ceasing”! One of the things I love about this church is our prayerful past. As we pray, we’re saying we can’t do it on our own; we need God. If you’re not prayerful, you’re arrogant, because you’re saying you don’t need His help. I want to connect with my Father! I love our prayerful past, but I want a prayerful future. It’s not that we’ve got to pray; it’s that we get to pray! Jesus has made a way so that there’s no barrier between me and God!
Finally, we’re to prophesy. Prophecy builds up the church – it brings strength to us individually and corporately. When I pray, I speak to God, but I also want to hear from Him. We’re told to test prophecy – we need to ask if it lines up with the Bible, if others have a sense of God in what was said, if there is integrity in the life of the person bringing it, if there are other confirming words, etc.
But once we’ve tested the prophetic, we’re told to “hold fast” to it – are you holding fast to prophetic words? When was the last time God spoke to you? He wants to speak to you today!
We need to be powerful with our words. Words can persuade a group of men to climb up out of the trenches and run to their certain deaths. How much more powerful are the words of those who speak God’s truth?
We need to guard our hearts and be careful with our words as they either bring life to my soul or someone else’s, or they poison it. There is life in our words. What we speak has incredible power.
Posted by Paul Mann
21.02.16 | EPHESIANS
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