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“I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all” (1 Corinthians 14:18).
Few things in the Bible have created more fuss than the issue of speaking in tongues. Churches have split over it. People have been persecuted for doing it. People have even been killed for it.
Who's behind all the trouble? Satan himself! He's so frightened of our ability to pray in tongues that he's continually trying to steal it from us through persecution and strife.
You see, the devil knows (even if we don't) that praying in tongues is the only way you and I can pray beyond what we know. It's the tool God has given us to use to tap into the mind of the Spirit.
When we pray in tongues, we activate the Holy Spirit within us and He begins to teach us and enlighten us. If you want to see an example of what praying in tongues can do, look at the Apostle Paul. He said he prayed in tongues more than anyone in the whole Corinthian church and he was responsible for writing most of the New Testament!
If you haven't made a commitment to spend some time each day praying in tongues, make one now. Set aside all the disagreements and confusion the devil has stirred up about it and just say, "Lord, I'm going to do it. I don't care what the devil says. I don't care what any man says. I know You have plans for me that are so good my human mind hasn't even conceived them—things that are beyond what I can ask or think. And by praying in the spirit, I'm going to receive them."
Don't let the distractions of the devil disturb you. Tap in to the mind of God. Speak forth His wisdom. Pray in the spirit today.
For more detailed teaching on tongues, get my book, “Tongues in the Upperoom and beyond.”
[Jesus] said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” — Mark 4:40
There is something spectacular about watching a storm while you are safe inside your home. But what if you are out on the water?
Imagine how the disciples felt in the midst of a furious squall! I am sure that life jackets, as we know them, didn’t exist. Water was swamping their boat. And yet, in the midst of their exasperation and anxiety, they saw that Jesus was asleep. He was resting!
Have there been times in your life when you faced a storm and it seemed that Jesus didn’t even notice? Were there times when you were not sure whether you would survive?
The disciples decided to wake Jesus up. It wasn’t enough to have him in the boat; they needed him to be involved. So they woke him, and he got up and calmed the storm. Then he challenged them to really trust in him.
Are you in the midst of a storm? Invite Jesus into your storm and trust in him to be with you and do what is best.
John 21:21 "Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?"
Jesus had just told Peter to follow Him. However, Peter wanted to know what the Lord had planned for John. Instead of Jesus answering Peter's question, the Lord told him that what He had in store for John was none of his business.
Satan diverts many people by getting them preoccupied with what others are doing for the Lord. Comparing ourselves with others, whether we come out better or worse, is unwise (2 Cor. 10:12). We need to be so single-minded following the Lord, that we don't look to the right or to the left to see what others are doing. It doesn't matter if we are doing as much to serve the Lord as someone else. The question is, are we doing all that the Lord wants us to do?
Singleness of purpose and vision is a necessity to victorious Christian living. James said that if we try to master many things we will fail (Jas. 3:1). We have to set priorities and focus on them.
The scriptures teach that memory can be a powerful force for good in our lives. It is always good to remind ourselves that we were once apart from God's saving grace. It is an antidote against pride and self-righteousness. A person who remembers what he used to be will have a clearer understanding of who he is now. We have to cultivate our memories by meditating on the great things God has done for us and spoken to us.
Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
How do you walk in the Spirit? The way you do this is through living by, conducting your actions according to, and following the leading of the Word of God as quickened to you by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God agree perfectly because the Holy Spirit is the one who inspired the written Word of God.
Denying the flesh will not result in walking in the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit will result in denying the flesh. This may seem like a subtle difference to some, but the difference is truly profound. As a whole, false religions teach that as we overcome our flesh, there is a noticeable increase in the presence and power of God in our lives. That was what the Pharisees of Jesus' day and the legalistic Jews of Paul's day taught. Just the opposite is true. As we experience more of the presence and power of the Spirit of God, then the influence of the flesh is diminished. Victory must come in this order. We don't walk in the Spirit as a result of overcoming the flesh, rather overcoming the flesh is the result of walking in the Spirit.
It's similar to how you fill a dark room with light. You don't shovel out the darkness and then light appears. No! You simply turn on the light and the darkness flees. Much of religion preaches to stop sinning (get rid of the darkness) and then the Holy Spirit will come and empower you (the light will come). That's not the way it works. Man can no more get rid of the power of the flesh on his own than he can get rid of the power of darkness without light. We have to receive the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives by grace and then the union with the Holy Spirit breaks the power of the flesh. The key to breaking the dominion of the flesh is to appropriate the power of the Spirit through faith, while the flesh is still causing us problems. Those who are waiting for the Spirit to manifest after they have subdued the flesh, will wait as long as the man who is trying to get rid of the darkness so the light will appear.
In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do to me.
- Psalm 56:11
This poem, written by David when he was caught by Philistines, showed his great faith in God. David had killed many Philistines and established glorious achievements in war before he was caught. Needless to say, the Philistines hated David’s guts. Therefore, when David fell into the hands of the Philistines, he was somewhat afraid. But from this poem, we can see that David still clung to his faith in God and trusted God wholeheartedly without the slightest complaint. His such behavior should be followed by Christians nowadays. Just as God’s words say, “No matter how God works or what kind of environment you are in, you will be able to pursue life, pursue the development of God’s work in you, and pursue the truth. You will have an understanding of God’s actions and you will be able to act according to the truth. This is your genuine faith, and this shows that you have not lost hope in God. You will still seek the truth in refinement, you will be able to truly love God and will not develop doubts of Him. No matter what He does, you will still practice the truth to satisfy Him, and you will be able to deeply seek out His will and be considerate of His will. Only this is true faith in God.”
For followers of Christ, the goal is to become increasingly like Him, and one of the best ways to reflect His character is through forgiveness. Yet sometimes this is a quality we are reluctant to demonstrate because it seems so unfair, especially if the wrong done to us is ongoing or particularly painful. To forgive appears to diminish the offense and counteract justice.
Let’s correct several misperceptions about this aspect of our faith:
The foundation for our forgiveness of others is God’s forgiveness of us. Today’s passage contains a parable in which a man is forgiven a sum too exorbitant to repay. Yet he turns around and demands immediate payment from someone who owes him a small amount. That’s what we are like when we think others’ wrongs against us must be avenged even though God has forgiven us.
Unforgiveness torments us, not the wrongdoer. It’s a caustic poison within us that corrupts our emotions, stunts us spiritually, and stresses our bodies. When we don’t release the offender, we end up imprisoned in bitterness, resentment, and hostility—and that is sin.
Forgiveness doesn’t negate the wrong done to us. It doesn’t deny the offense or the resulting pain but lets go of the right to get even. Vengeance is God’s responsibility, not ours (Romans 12:19). We don’t have all the facts, nor can we know the offender’s true motive. Only God can judge accurately and fairly.
When Jesus suffered the ultimate injustice of the cross, He entrusted Himself to the Father (1 Peter 2:21-24). Can you follow His example and trust God with wrongs done to you?
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”
When the Holy Spirit fell upon the 120 in the Upper Room on Pentecost, Jesus promise of power was fulfilled. What many fail to understand is that the power came in the form of love. Power, as the world knows it, is self serving and self promoting, while power from the Holy Spirit is always outwardly focussed. Today’s text makes very obvious what the purpose of this power was…it was to enable the recipients to reach others with the message of God’s love. God empowered His people to speak in languages that they had never learned so they could bring hope to those who would have otherwise never been able to hear it. When the Holy Spirit equips you with any of His gifts you can rest assured that it is not for your benefit or status. He has simply opened up an avenue through which you get to share with those who are lost ‘the mighty works of God’. So if you want see an outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s power, ask for an outpouring of His love. He loves the lost so much that He created gifts to operate in power to touch and change even the hardest of hearts. You have this same love built into you if you are born again, you simply need to ask Him to help you draw upon it. Let the love of God operate through you in power today.
Doing Life Together
Scripture Reading — Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. — Acts 2:42
We learn a lot about what community looked like in the early church. It included things like sharing meals, caring for one another, worshiping together, and praying together. The early church took community seriously. It wasn’t just an occasional event or gathering. It was regular and ongoing. They valued spending quality time together, and they did it often.
We see in the early church a focus on what matters—the Word of God, fellowship, worship, and prayer. We see who matters—the body of Christ doing life together. And we see that it isn’t just a once-a-week event. It also isn’t about being a church in one place or even in a building. The Bible says the Lord added to their number every day. There was room for others—more and more.
In our culture of focusing so much on individual desires, biblical community can seem a bit strange to us. But it’s all about relationships, and that is something we can grasp even in this “me first” world. Relationships always involve sharing—time, experiences, material goods, and more—and sharing requires an ongoing personal investment. It endures through joys and struggles over the long haul. Doing life together is one of the strengths of biblical community. The gift we share always has room for others, even when it is messy.
In what ways can you invest more in your relationships with God and others today?
Father, with you, we want to live fully together as your people, wherever you have placed us. Thank you for this gift. Amen.
BRING YOUR CHILDREN TO JESUS
“Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children” (Lamentations 2:19).
Dads, we can do this. We can be loyal advocates, stubborn intercessors. We can take our parenting fears to Christ. In fact, if we don’t, we’ll take our fears out on our kids. Fear turns some parents into paranoid prison guards who monitor every minute, check the background of every friend. They stifle growth and communicate distrust. A family with no breathing room suffocates a child.
On the other hand, fear can also create permissive parents. For fear that their child will feel too confined or fenced in, they lower all boundaries. High on hugs and low on discipline. They don’t realize that appropriate discipline is an expression of love. Permissive parents. Paranoid parents. How can we avoid the extremes? We pray.
Prayer is the saucer into which parental fears are poured to cool. Jesus says so little about parenting, makes no comments about spanking, breast-feeding, sibling rivalry, or schooling. Yet his actions speak volumes about prayer. Each time a parent prays, Christ responds. His big message to moms and dads? Bring your children to me. Raise them in a greenhouse of prayer.
When you send them off for the day, do so with a blessing. When you tell them goodnight, cover them in prayer. Is your daughter stumped by geography homework? Pray with her about it. Is your son intimidated by the new girl? Pray with him about her. Pray that your children have a profound sense of place in this world and a heavenly place in the next.
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
God’s mercy endures forever! His willingness to act on man’s behalf is still operating in the earth. His mercy never runs out. Neither has it abated or weakened.
“Praise the Lord! His mercy endureth forever!” Mighty and powerful things happened when Israel said these words. They are words of praise and adoration to God.
When Solomon finished building the house of the Lord, the trumpeters and singers lifted their voices as one, and with trumpets, cymbals and instruments of music, they praised the Lord saying, “For he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”
Jehoshaphat appointed singers unto the Lord to go before the army and say, “Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.”
It has been thousands of years since the Lord said His mercy extended to a thousand generations, and His mercy continues to reach you day after day. He is still plenteous in mercy unto them that call upon Him. With your spirit, dare to stretch your faith to take in the boundless mercy of God. And say with your mouth, “The Lord, He is good and His mercy endureth forever. His mercy surrounds me even today!”
2 Chronicles 5:1-14
One of the most valuable and beautiful things we can do is love others. We can purpose to think about the good things we find in all the people we know, and as we do, our attitudes toward them will improve.
Often we think about what is wrong with people and what we don’t like about them. Focusing on people’s faults is not showing love to them. We can choose to pray for them concerning any weaknesses they may have, and at the same time pray for ourselves that God will help us in our weaknesses also.
Focus on positive, loving thoughts about people. Then, when they do something you don’t like, you are already so full of good thoughts about them, it is easy to just let it go.
Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.
Psychologists refer to a phenomenon known as dissociation to describe a mental state in which someone inhabits two worlds simultaneously. Many of us might have experienced this in its mildest form while driving. Our thoughts drift, and we fly right by our exit, traveling many miles before we recognize our mistake.
As Christians, we sometimes suffer from spiritual dissociation. With good intentions, we open our Bibles and begin reading only to realize several verses later that we have no idea what we just read. Although God was speaking, we failed to hear His voice. Usually, this situation can be easily remedied by rereading with focused concentration, but there are other times when we fail to hear God for more serious reasons.
Sometimes an inability to hear the Lord is simply the result of spiritual immaturity, but it could also indicate a perilous state of spiritual indifference or, worse still, rebellion. In that state, we run the risk of becoming like the man who hardens his neck after much reproof and is suddenly broken beyond remedy (Prov. 29:1).
Let’s not make it difficult for God to get through to us. He’s a loving Father who keeps speaking in order to turn us away from evil and direct us back to Himself. His goal is to transform us from stubborn children needing firm control to mature followers who can be counseled merely by a word or a nudge from Him. The more receptive we become to His instructions, the more we’ll experience His lovingkindness and the joy of obedience and righteousness.
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