The Fire of God

The Fire of God

And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. – Luke 9:54-55

When we are in battles, it’s important for us to know the source of our troubles in order to war effectively. Is it the fire of God or the fire of satan at work in the situation? Whose fire is it? Our warfare is not against what we see in the natural, but what is in the spiritual realm, and we can only fight it in the spirit. We can discern whether the fire is of God or of satan with many easily recognizable clues.

The fire of God comes to lift us higher, not crush us. It purifies us by removing impurities and drawing us closer to His purity. We can walk in the holiness we have in the Lord. The fire of God doesn’t destroy us but makes us whole. It doesn’t hurt but helps. It doesn’t kill but brings life, hope, love, and peace. The fire of satan, on the other hand, comes from outside sources trying to bring destruction, death, despair, and desolation.

God loves us, and His mighty works are to bring us closer to Him and to one another. He moves from above to lift us up, not from beneath to bring us down. He doesn’t condemn us but convicts us so we can walk in the purity of His holiness. We receive His healing and walk in His glory,  from glory to glory!

Walk in the Spirit

Walk in the Spirit

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. – Gal 5:16

The war between the flesh and the spirit can be challenging. The key to conquering the flesh is to walk in the Spirit. To do so, we must feed ourselves spiritually through reading the Bible, praying, and worshiping. We nourish the incorruptible seed of the Word of God that was planted in our spirit when we were born again. As our spirit is nourished, we walk in the Spirit and do not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

When we try in our own ability to come against the lusts of the flesh, defeat often occurs. It is impossible to overcome the flesh by relying on the flesh. The flesh is weak without the enablement of the Spirit of God. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. We feed the seed to meet the most important need we all have: Jesus.

Our focus is on the Lord. He is the bread of life. Daily we pray for our daily bread so we can grow and strengthen in our spirit. When we feel weak in any area, when warfare intensifies, and when peace and joy seem to decrease, we press in to feed ourselves spiritually. We grow in grace, in love, in Christ, from faith to faith, from glory to glory!

The Way of Escape

The Way of Escape

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. – 1 Cor. 10:13

Just as Satan tempted Eve to focus on the one tree she couldn’t have, he tempts us to focus on the one thing we think we must have. He adds urgency and blurs our vision of the truth, making what isn’t God’s best appear matchless. Because his enticements are not obvious, we must seek discernment and wisdom from the Lord.

I recall a story that illustrates a response to temptation. At a market, a little boy standing by the candy aisle looked nervous. He kept walking around it, staring at it with intense desire. The clerk watched the boy for a long time until he confronted him. “Looks like you’re trying to take some candy.” The boy replied, “You’re wrong, sir. I’m trying not to.”

We must attempt to run away from temptation by rushing to the Lord. If we try to justify our desire for what we know is wrong, we want it more and move closer to biting the bait. It is Jesus we must focus on. God is faithful and enables us to bear the enticement by leading us to a better way—His way,  from glory to glory! 

Let Us Press toward the goal

Let Us Press toward the goal

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Phil. 3:13-14

Stretching helps prevent injuries and increase flexibility in physical exercise. To stretch is to expand or extend something to a greater size or length. In our spiritual walk, stretching increases our effectiveness and fruitfulness. Similarly, God stretches us spiritually to assist our growth and our reach for His best.

The Lord stretches us when He leads us to do something our flesh opposes, or to refrain from something our flesh desires. He might lead us to express love that is not reciprocated or to forgive an offender. God might close a door we wanted opened. We learn to press through our physical weaknesses and our inabilities. As we take a step in obedience, we experience His enabling power.

The Lord leads us to press through our limitations so we can depend on Him alone and learn to trust Him at deeper levels. He challenges us to step out of our comfort zones and draws us closer to Him through circumstances. God’s purpose is our transformation into the image of Jesus, and He works all things together for that to be done, from glory to glory!  

We Do not quit

We Do not quit

Then he said, “Take the arrows,” so he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground,” so, he struck three times, and stopped. And the man of God was angry with him, and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it! But now you will strike Syria only three times.”- 2 Kings 13:18-19  

Joash struck the ground but stopped after the third time. Similarly, we should not stop doing what the Lord leads us to do until He tells us to stop. We do not quit; we stay on course. It’s not over until God says it’s over. We press through and do not grow weary in well-doing.

We must shut out the voice of the enemy: “You are not a good shooter; you don’t have enough experience; you have done enough, stop now.” We cannot spend our time talking about the arrows, rearranging them, polishing them, and never shooting them. We must overcome insecurities and uncertainties, trusting the Lord with the results.

God empowers us to stand. As we seek His best, He helps us not settle for less. By His grace, we remain faithful with what is in our quiver and forgive ourselves for the arrows we did not shoot and those we think missed. Let’s give our best shot wholeheartedly to whatever we do. We do not quit. In Christ, whatever arrows we shoot by faith are always arrows of victory, from glory to glory!

Remain in Fellowship with God

Remain in Fellowship with God

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.- 2 Cor. 13:14

Struggles with fleshy temptations might make us feel disconnected from the Lord. Guilt and self-condemnation try to push us away from the very thing we need the most: to draw closer to Him. Understanding the distinction between our relationship and fellowship with God is crucial in overcoming these struggles. Staying in fellowship with the Lord keeps us Christ-centered.

When a parent tells his son to go to his room because he did something he shouldn’t have, it breaks their fellowship, not their relationship. The child is still home. When he returns to fellowship, he finds his dad cooking his favorite meal while they were apart. Our loving Heavenly Father never ceases to amaze us!

As believers, when we trust in our personal relationship with Jesus, we can reach for His forgiveness, love, and grace. Repentance and faith in our relationship leads to the restoration of fellowship. The key to living the abundant life we have in the Lord is through our fellowship with Him. When we remain in fellowship with God, we walk in freedom, from glory to glory!

6 Ways to Triumph Over Tribulations Through the Power of Prayer

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