[ecko_quote source=" 1 Timothy 4:8"]"For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come[/ecko_quote]
If you want to build up muscle, exercise is a must. Left alone, the muscles become soft and weak. Likewise, same thing happens to a spirit that never faces turmoil or struggle. Apart from the strengthening effect of strife and pain, our faith would be weak and nearly useless. That is the reason why God does not remove our fleshly self upon salvation to change us immediately into a perfect obedient person. The tug of the flesh against our spirit gives faith a constant and regular workout.
The Apostle Paul says that believers should “ walk by the Spirit, and (they) will not carry out the desire of the flesh”(Galatians 5:16). That means we have a spiritual trainer in the Holy Spirit- someone committed to getting our spirit into good shape so we can resist the temptations of the flesh. What we have to do is get on His exercise plan for the healthy faith!
We must be fully persuaded that we cannot live the Christian life apart from the Holy Spirit. Until we grasp this truth, we will keep trying to live our lives in our own strength. Frustrated, we will repeatedly fall back into sin. Alone, we repeatedly find ourselves confessing the same old failures, but the Spirit will show us how to have victory if we surrender to Him. In other words, we must ask the Holy Spirit to live through us, guiding us to make wise decisions and teaching us to be loving.
Surrendering is a constant decision. Every new choice brings a fresh opportunity to submit to the guidance of the Spirit rather that the temptations of the flesh. Moreover, each time we choose to walk by God’s Spirit, our faith is strengthened.
Source: Jonah Ravinder- UEC Ministries
[ecko_quote source=" Acts 5:33]When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them[/ecko_quote]
Suppose you were in a battlefield and someone’s charging at you. You warn him, “Don't come any further, I'll shoot!” He answers, “I don't believe in your gun. As a matter of fact,” he says, “I don't believe in guns at all.” That's not going to change anything, is it?
Likewise, the Bible is the Sword of the Spirit. Somebody may say, “Well, I don't believe in the Bible.” But it will cut him anyway! The apostles preached the Bible; and when the people heard it, the word pierced their hearts. The Word cuts even an unbeliever. It's a two-edged sword. It cuts to heal, or it cuts to judge. But it will cut—believe it or not.
Before going into a battle, soldiers are dedicated to training in the use of their weapons. How foolish is it to go into battle without training. How familiar are you with your Sword?
God has given you a powerful weapon for spiritual battles…the Sword of the Spirit. In the armor of God, it is the only offensive weapon—the rest are defensive. To have the victory that God wants for you, you must check to see the sharpness of your sword, the Bible, and you must be trained in it.
Source: Jonah Ravinder- UEC and LMF Ministries
[ecko_quote source=" Isaiah 42:1]Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold[/ecko_quote]
A true servant of God is one who is upheld by God, not by money or by a Fellowship/Church /organization or any other human agency. The Lord is the One Who should uphold us at all times. Men may give us gifts and positions but we must never depend on men. The word "uphold" refers to that which we are dependent on. We must be dependent on the Lord alone. It is when we come to the place of helplessness that God puts His Spirit on us.
In Isaiah 42:5-8, The Lord tells us: "I have called you in righteousness. I have called you to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon." This is a great ministry. But always remember one thing: "The Lord says, 'I will never give My glory to another.'" (Isa. 42:8). We must never take any glory for ourselves in our ministry. To take the credit or the glory for ourselves is a very, very serious crime. It is worse than stealing money. God may bless you and your ministry and use you mightily, but He will never give His glory to anyone. Once you start aiming to get the glory of God, you will destroy yourself. Once you start promoting yourself before people, drawing people to yourself instead of drawing them towards the Lord, and taking credit for what God did, you are on the very dangerous ground. This is how thousands have lost God's anointing over their lives.
In Isaiah 42:19,20: "Who is blind but My Servant? Who is deaf like My Messenger? Who is so blind as the One who is at peace with Me totally, so blind as the Servant of the Lord?" This looks like a puzzling verse, especially since it refers clearly to Jesus (as we can see from Isa. 42:1). What does it mean? It means that a true servant of God will be blind and deaf to many things that he sees and hears around him. He sees many things, but he doesn't observe them (Isa.42:20). He doesn't go around looking for sin in others. He doesn't go around listening to people in order to catch them in something they said. The Pharisees were like that - always waiting to catch Jesus in something which He said in order to accuse Him. Many Christians are unfortunately like that too - always waiting to accuse someone of something that he/she said and often this is because they are jealous of his ministry. Do not be like them.
Be deaf and blind to many things that you hear and see around you. Did you hear that someone made a false accusation against you? If you were deaf you would not have heard it. Be "deaf" then! Isn't it good for a servant of the Lord to be "blind" to attractive women? You have eyes, but you don't see. You are "blind"! You have ears, but you don't hear! Because you do not judge by what your eyes see or what your ears hear. This is how Jesus lived and this is how we must live too (Isa. 11:3).
1 Corinthians 2:15 says that "a spiritual man cannot be discerned by those who are not spiritual". A godly man is, therefore, a very lonely man - because very few can understand him. His actions and words are often misunderstood , even by those who know the Scripture well. Religious people only know facts about God. They don't know God Himself. In the midst of many religious people, we can find only few who actually know God Himself. Job was one of those rare individuals in the Bible. If you are a person who knows God, you will be misunderstood by people who only know about God but not He Himself.
Remember that religious people could not recognize Jesus and thought He was the prince of devils. How can they recognize a godly man today?
[ecko_quote source=" Numbers 12:3]Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth[/ecko_quote]
It took 40 years of living like a shepherd (knowing that how the Egyptians despised shepherds!) to discipline Moses’s ego. Only then, at age 80, he was ready to live life on God’s terms. The man who emerged from the desert was decidedly different from the man who entered it. It’s our “desert experience” that keep our egos in check. Without them, we start believing our own press and get into trouble. God told King Saul, “when you were little in your own eyes, I was able to use you” (1 Samuel 15:17)
When Colonel Samuel Logan Brengle of the Salvation Army was once introduced as “the great Colonel Brengle”, he wrote in his journal; “if I appear great in their eyes, the Lord is most gracious in helping me to see how absolutely nothing I am without Him. He does use me. But I’m so conscious that He uses me, and that it’s not because of me that the work is done.
The axe cannot boast of the trees it has cut down. It could do nothing without the woodman. He made it, he sharpened it, he used it, and the moment he throws it aside it only becomes an old use iron. Oh, that I may never lose sight of this.
A young English man once came to live in the community led by Mahatma Gandhi. When assigned to clean toilets, he protested, “Don’t you know who I am? I have great things to do.” Gandhi replied, I know you can do great things; what I don’t know is if you can do little things”. Check your EGO!
The patience of Moses was tried in his own family, as well as by the people. The pretence was, that he had married a foreign wife; but probably their pride was hurt, and their envy stirred up, by his superior authority. Opposition from our near relations, and from religious friends, is the most painful. But this is to be looked for, and it will be well if in such circumstances, we can preserve the gentleness and meekness of Moses. Moses was thus fitted to the work he was called to do. God not only cleared Moses, but praised him.
Let Miriam and Aaron (type of people) consider whom it was that they insulted. We have reason to be afraid of saying or doing anything against the servants of God. And those are arrogant indeed who are not afraid to speak evil of dignities (2 Peter 2:10). The removal of God's presence is the surest and saddest token of God's displeasure.
[ecko_quote source=" John 4:4"]He must … go through Samaria[/ecko_quote]
In spite of His overwhelming schedule, Jesus walked miles out of His way to speak to a lonely woman at a well. Jesus not only walked to that well, but He also waited until she showed up. Who did He wait for? Some famous personality with all the right connections? Somebody with a big cheque book capable of underwriting His ministry? Many preachers would travel halfway around the world for that assignment. But no, she was a no- name, five times divorced, the promiscuous woman with a bad reputation and a live-in- boyfriend.
Please understand, when others are looking at your past, Jesus has His eyes on your future. People blame, ridicule your past but Jesus would glorify your future. With Him, every weed is a potential rose! Whatever you have done, God is not holding it against you. Jesus did not see this woman as bad- He saw her as lost. Big difference!
Once she was “found” she was the kind of person who’d be as strong for God as she’d been for the devil. This woman was destined to shake up the entire city of Samaria. “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony (John 4:39).
One of the ways that Satan tries to discourage and defeat us is to keep reminding us of our past mistakes and sins. For years, I allowed him to discourage and defeat me until one day God spoke to my heart and said "When the blood of My Son was applied to your heart, I forgave you for all of your sins. I will never hold them against you again. My dear ones, Do not allow Satan to discourage and defeat you anymore. You have been set free by the blood of My Son, now walk in that freedom."
Are you allowing Satan to discourage and defeat you? If so, stop it! Jesus is more than enough for every situation, every trial, every heartache, every burden and every crisis. Instead of thinking about your past life and all the mistakes you made, turn your eyes upon Jesus. If you will keep your eyes on Him, you will have the peace that only He can give to you. You will also have joy and happiness in your heart. Are your eyes on Jesus?