Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Burn Out

“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.” Romans 12:11 MSG

Easier said than done, right? A gentleman in my Wednesday morning bible study made an interesting comment today. He said that a group of college kids had came in on a mission trip and were “on fire for Jesus”. He also stated that he wished we could keep that fire going as we grew older, but the world would eventually beat them down as well. Maybe one would keep the fire but most would “burn out”. I have to admit, when he said this I was taken back, even a little angered that he could say this so nonchalantly. Like it was inevitable and that we could do nothing about it. When I sat down to write this post I was frustrated at his comment, upset with the ease of it. But as I started typing I realized something…he was right. But why? Jesus said in Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” If it’s easy and light, why do so many Christians burn out? As I prayed about it, a thought came to mind. Maybe the reason so many of us burn out is because we are not yoked with Christ, but ourselves. We try to take on the yoke of Christianity without Christ. Instead of leaning on Jesus and trusting in Him and His work on the cross for salvation, we are desperately trying to save ourselves. We trust in our own works, our bible studies, our prayer time, our volunteering to ensure our salvation. We end up trying to be our own savior. Don’t get me wrong, all these things are of great value, but they won’t save us. Only faith in Jesus Christ can save us, and through faith come the works. The bible studies and prayer time, the volunteering and serving should come as a result of faith in Jesus, not the other way around.  So looking back on the comment made of “burning out,” he was right, to an extent. Apart from Jesus we can only sustain the fire for so long. Eventually we will burn out. The world will beat us down and do its very best to douse our flames. If we hope to stand any chance of avoiding exhaustion and spiritual burn out we must rely on Jesus. Only He can sustain us. “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31 ESV. My prayer is that you would find your strength in Jesus Christ, that He would fan your flames until they roar uncontrollably with His spirit. That you would lean on Him in times of weakness. That those of you who don’t know Him would stumble into the wildfires of my Christian brothers and sisters and upon seeing the flames of their passion for Christ, have no other option than to themselves ignite. I pray for those whose coals have all but burned out, that the Holy Spirit would blow in like a hurricane and set your soul ablaze. We are called to be the light of the world. I pray that the Holy Spirit would keep us fueled and aflame. Amen.

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Spiritual Strength

It seems like right after I gave my life to God, I started being tempted in ways that I never imagined. Things that I used to do before without so much as a second thought, suddenly became a struggle for me. I know in my heart what I should and shouldn’t do, but I still struggle with the temptation. Luke 4:1-2 NKJV, “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.” After Jesus was baptized, He was tempted by the devil himself for 40 days. It doesn’t list every single temptation, but I can only imagine what the devil promised Jesus if He would just turn from God and worship him. Power, money, fame, food, authority, women, glory, who knows what else the devil tried to sway Jesus with for 40 days straight. For over a month, the devil threw everything he had at Him. I assure you that the devil is just as real today as he was 2000 years ago. We may not see him like Jesus did back then, but he’s there. Behind every temptation we face, day to day, the devil is trying his best to sway us. He may be using alcohol, or drugs to sway you. Maybe it’s women or money, maybe it’s the fact that you have been questioning if God even exists or not. I heard a quote somewhere that said, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing man he didn’t exist.” I titled this post “Spiritual Strength” for a reason, we have to be strong in our faith to resist the devil. It’s not always going to be easy, in fact, most times it will be quite difficult. The devil will tell us that if we just give in, he can make us feel better. That if we just set our faith in God aside, life would be more enjoyable. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In the beginning of chapter 4 in the book of Luke, the devil took Jesus up to high mountain top and showed him the kingdoms of the world. Luke 4:6-8 NKJV, “And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. “Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord you God, and Him only you shall serve.'” The devil is going to offer you the world to turn from God, we have to have the spiritual strength to see through his lies. I don’t know what you may be struggling with today, but take comfort in knowing that just as you and I are being tempted now, Jesus was also tempted and prevailed! Luke 4:13 NKJV, “Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” An opportune time, the devil will attack you when you are at your weakest. When you are beaten down, depressed, lonely, struggling, that’s when Satan will start his temptations. It says that Jesus ate nothing for 40 days and was hungry. That’s when the devil started to attack Him. When He was hungry, tired, and weak, the devil started tempting Him. The same is true for us today. The devil will wait until we are at our lows to start his attack. Hebrews 4:15-16 NKJV, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Jesus Christ knows us, He knows our weaknesses. He was tempted then just as we are now. We must have the strength to come boldly before God in our time of need, not to Satan and his temptations. God knows that we are not perfect, He understands the temptations that we face, because He also faced them.

Fruit Bearers

When I think of John the Baptist, I can’t help but to think of Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty. He lived in the wilderness and preached the word of God. He wore camel skin and ate locusts and wild honey. I think it’s safe to say, he was a pretty burly dude. Chapter 3 in the book of Luke talks mainly about how John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus Christ to come and begin His ministry. Luke 3:2-3 NKJV, “while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,”. He was one of the first people to preach what we believe today, that you can be forgiven of your sins if you ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart. What I like about this chapter is that it’s a call to action. John says in verse 8, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,”. We have to do more than just recite a verse, we have to bear fruit. Luke 3:9 NKJV, “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” To me, this is a pretty intense verse. So, how does someone bear good fruit and avoid the fire? Luke 3:10-14 NKJV, “So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?” He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” Then the tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed to you.” Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.” Being a good fruit bearer doesn’t mean you have to get up in front of the church and start preaching, bearing good fruit basically means being a decent person. Give to people in need if you have the means, don’t cheat people out of money or anything for that matter, don’t be a bully or a liar, and be happy with what God has given you is basically all this verse is saying. It doesn’t take much to be a good fruit bearer. John must have been a pretty extraordinary guy because the people that heard him speak started to question if he was Jesus Christ. Luke 3:15-16 NKJV, “Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Jesus Christ is about to hit the scene! John said, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” For me, when I got saved, it was a lot like this. I felt the Holy Spirit and it started a fire in my heart like nothing I have ever felt before. I’m 28 years old and just now gave my life to God, verse 23 says that Jesus was about 30 years of age when He began His ministry. I know the saying is often, “You’re never too old!” but I have learned that you’re never too young either. Just because you may not know everything the bible says or you can’t quote verses off the top of your head, doesn’t mean you can’t get out there and spread the Good News. Jesus’ ministry lasted about 3 years and look at the impact He had! Granted He was Jesus Christ, but still. I spoke of Phil Robertson at the beginning of this post. Phil was 28, my age, when he gave his life to God and although he may have looked like John the Baptist, he definitely wasn’t living like it. It doesn’t matter what type of life you lived before, what matters is the life you choose to live now, today and tomorrow.

Wake up, John

Yes, that is a Halo reference. After finishing up 2 Corinthians today, I wasn’t really sure where to go next. As I looked through my bible, I realized that I had read all but one of the gospels in the new testament. For some reason I have yet to read the book of Luke. The first chapter talks about the birth of John the Baptist, or I should say, the events leading up to him being born. If you haven’t read it yet yourself, I highly recommend it. It has the angel, Gabriel, playing God’s messenger to John’s soon to be parents. Gabriel also visits Mary to tell her about Jesus. Here’s a little fact that I didn’t know until reading this, Jesus and John the Baptist are only a few months apart in age (I always pictured John as an old, crazy looking man for some reason). As I was reading through this chapter, I came to a conversation between the angel Gabriel and Mary where he is telling her about Elizabeth (John’s mom) being pregnant. Luke 1:36-37 NKJV, “Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” This is a big deal not only because of her age but also because she was “barren”, she couldn’t have kids. That last verse is what stuck out to me, “For with God nothing will be impossible.” That is a powerful verse. That verse wasn’t said by just anybody either, it was the angel, Gabriel, that said it. I think all too often we tend to forget just how powerful God really is. He can part seas, and move mountains. He can walk on water, and make blind men see. This is the God I serve. A God where nothing will be impossible. I look at the conversation between Zacharias (John’s father) and Gabriel in the beginning of the chapter and can’t help but to feel like he is talking not only about what John the Baptist will grow up to do, but to each of us also. Telling us what we, as true Christians, should be doing now. Luke 1:17 NKJV, “He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Just like John prepared the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, we must now prepare the way for the return of Jesus. It says John will “make ready a people prepared for the Lord,” and now that responsibility falls to us. We must prepare people for the return of the Lord. Whether you believe it or not, Jesus is coming back one day. Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow, maybe in another 2000 years. But the question is not when is Jesus coming back, the question is will you be ready? The last few verses in this chapter are Zacharias’ Holy Spirit filled words to his new born son, John. Luke 1:76-79 NKJV, “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” My hope and prayer for this blog is that I may bring someone far from God, closer to Him. That I can give the knowledge of salvation to someone that may not know about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. To give light to those lost in the darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide them to the way of peace.