Is Your Spiritual Life Dormant?

 

Daffodils, gladiolas, and tulips are blooming in full colors, a sign of spring and new life. Their blooms burst out from bulbs that lie dormant during the cold winter months, hiding in the dark ground until the days become warmer and the power of the sun shines in the sky.

Much like the flowering bulbs, many Christians are hiding in the cold ground, lying dormant even though they have the potential to bloom and produce abundant fruit. Instead, there is no sign of new life. They seem frozen in their walks with God, at a standstill. Because of a cold heart towards God and His Word, the Holy Spirit’s power is dormant. Apathy ensues and soon there is little or no sign of life. They wonder why they can’t love others, can’t be patient, have no desire to forgive, don’t have self-control to stop certain actions, or don’t experience peace but instead fear and strife. They just don’t desire the things of God.

Believers in Jesus have been given an inner power, the Holy Spirit, who gives new life which produces spiritual fruit in those who desire to live godly lives. Jesus promised his disciples the Holy Spirit would come to guide and instruct them, giving them the power to obey his commands.

“[God] will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you…He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” John 14:16-17

The Holy Spirit is the One who gives us new life in our thinking and actions when we come to receive Jesus as Savior:

“the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God…you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his children.”  Romans 8:10, 15

“He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth, and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5

So why are some Christians not experiencing this new life?  Many do not rely on the power given to them by the Holy Spirit, and some walk away from God and his commands to be different from the world. They have gone back to their sinful ways and look no different than the world. Evidently, the Christians in Galatia also had this problem:

You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?. So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves… the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires…But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. “Galatians 3: 2-3, 5:16, 22-23, 25

There is hope from God’s Word. He says to take action. Don’t make the Holy Spirit sad, but choose to put away the sinful actions that keep us dormant in the cold:

throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception…Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live.” Ephesians 4:22-24, 30

When we as Christians admit that our lives are not fruitful and the Holy Spirit is dormant, we can go to God in prayer. He desires us to ask him to change us.

“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” James 5:15

Maybe you need to pray right now, asking God to make you alive and fruitful through the Holy Spirit. Ask him to produce the spiritual fruits in your daily life. Then watch for the beautiful blooms as God works and renews your life through the Spirit.

 “When it is a question of God’s almighty Spirit, never say, I can’t.”            Oswald Chambers

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Are You Fearless for God?

Many Christians have lost everything fleeing there homes instead of giving up their faith in Jesus. They live in “tent cities” with no where to go.

 

This week, on October 31, among the “noise” of Halloween, some people celebrated the fearless act of a godly man who just couldn’t remain silent about the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Martin Luther had studied God’s Word and came to see that forgiveness and salvation, our righteousness “is by a gift of God, namely by faith.” He believed, “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).

This belief was not accepted by the religious people and the culture of his day. But with great courage and boldness, in 1517 Martin fearlessly nailed his 95 Theses proclaiming these truths on the door of Whittenberg Castle church. He was summoned to a trial by the Holy Roman Emperor to recant his beliefs but passionately proclaimed, “I cannot and will not recant…here I stand, I can do no other.”

Martin Luther is only one of thousands, millions, since the resurrection of Jesus Christ who have fearlessly, passionately and courageously proclaimed their faith in Jesus and God’s Word, and would not “recant” even if it meant death. These believers just couldn’t remain silent. Through torture, imprisonment, accusations, loss of homes and family – these are the persecuted who desire to obey God instead of follow the world.

In the early church, great persecution came to the followers of Jesus who wouldn’t stay silent about the One who had forgiven and loved them. It was assumed that this would be a part of their lives, as Paul wrote:

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life, in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  2 Timothy 3:12 

 Every believer in Jesus, who abides with Him, loves God’s Word, and boldly shares its truth with others will be persecuted in some way. Around the world we have seen Christians beheaded and crucified, refugees forced to leave their homes, countries and families and others who have stayed in those countries to share the love of Christ with their enemies. These are all part of the body of Christ. They feel alone and left behind by the rest of the world – even by other believers who have more of the world’s goods and more freedom. Most of them only ask for prayers or Christian materials so that they can continue to share the goods news of Jesus with others. They have truly given their whole lives to Jesus and live with a passion to tell others about their God who saved them from their sins and has given them hope. They must continue the work. They remain fearless.

I count it a privilege to be a volunteer voice for my persecuted brothers and sisters around the world through the ministry of Voice of the Martyrs. Although I may not be able to visit them and personally cry with them in prison, I can pray for them and share their stories with others. Through Voice of the Martyrs and other ministries, I can support them and their families financially sending clothing, food and Bibles.

God commands us as followers of Jesus to not forget our family who are persecuted:

“Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.”     Hebrews 13:3

This Sunday, November 6, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. How will you remember them? Will you tell others their stories? Will you share them with your Bible study or church? I strongly encourage you to go to http://persecution.com and sign up for their newsletter, adopt a front-line worker to pray for, be a voice for the voiceless – remember those in prison for their faith in Jesus. And if you want someone to be a voice at your church or community group contact me. I would love to share their stories.

Many Christians meet secretly to read the Bible

Many Christians meet secretly to read the Bible.

Disease in the Vineyard

Book Photo 3

Did you wake up this morning to more bad news?  More killings around the world? More political disappointments? Are you mortified over the continual celebration of corruption, deception, vulgar speech, rage, slander, and mockery of God and His people?  As Christ’s followers, we understand the world condones this type of behavior. But, like me, you may be shocked to see many of God’s people, who claim to follow Jesus, succumb to this indwelling evil. They, like the world, support and encourage leaders and political figures that have no respect for God or His laws. These leaders are depraved and full of arrogance, rage, slander, and division.

There is bad news in God’s vineyard; a disease is spreading and the branches are becoming weak and fruitless. Some have no interest in remaining in the Vine, Jesus. Worldly thinking has taken their thoughts captive. Perhaps, these members in the church accept such behavior because it reflects their own behavior.  They are not bothered by their own acceptance of deceiving to get their own way and using anger and slander to bully others. They have left God’s standards and embraced the world because it feeds their selfish desires. Their acceptance of worldly pride in others is a mockery to God.

Paul warned the new believers in Colossae of following after worldly godless leaders:

“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” Colossians 2:8

Jesus told his disciples to “remain in me” but he also gave a warning to those who chose not to remain and joined with the world:

“If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” John 15:6

Yet, Jesus continued to remind his followers of God’s love, even in the midst of warning:

“’As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.’” John 15:9 

God the Father, motivated by His love, is warning His people and desiring for the prodigals to return and remain with Him. Consider His words that still speak to His people today in the midst of their sin and turning away from Him:

“Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”  Joel 2:13

 “Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us…” Hosea 6:1

“…let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him.” Isaiah 55:6-7

There are dire consequences for continuing down the path of worldliness, away from God – in our personal lives and our nation. God is calling those who have left His side to return back to Him again. It is time to wake up and return to God!

My book, Wake Up! Return to God- a call to personal revival from God’s Word is now on sale at amazon.com. God is using this book to change lives and encourage those who have strayed away to return to Him. Are you ready for a change in direction? Do you know others who need that change in their lives? The time is now to wake up!  We can’t wait any longer while evil continues to rule our land!

Trained for Faithful Obedience

BuzzBibby-onShip

Captain of submarines and large ships, my father-in-law, Captain Lowe Bibby III, had to be prepared at any minute to faithfully serve wherever needed, even in battle. But He didn’t get to that confident ability overnight. It took years, a lifetime of training. First, he learned and observed from his own father, also a Navy Captain. Then he studied and applied for an appointment to the Naval Academy. After four years of rigorous training, education, memorizing systems, and learning to obey orders, he graduated from the Academy. He was then assigned to serve in Korea, practicing what he had learned. With continual experience and education throughout his career he was prepared, ready and faithful to serve his country in peace time or in battle.

The key to my father-in-law’s success and service as a trained officer was in being faithful to his promise to obey orders. Whether in a submarine, on a ship, at the Pentagon, or in constantly moving from base to base with his family every 2 to 3 years, he was faithful to obey. If he didn’t obey orders it could cost the lives of men who served under him as well as his job and career.

Just like the military men and women who train and serve, Jesus’s followers more than ever need to be trained and ready to serve being faithful to obey orders at any minute. Our training begins with knowing God through His Word, memorizing, studying and applying the Words of our Commander. Then as we walk with Him in faithful obedience we are prepared for the inevitable battle which is upon us daily. Even Jesus learned this obedience as He obeyed His Father,

“I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.” John 17:4 “…I have kept My Father’s commandments…” John 15:10

As followers of Jesus, abiding in Him, we need to be faithful to be at our “post” obeying and serving whenever and wherever we are needed. We may be suffering through time spent in training, or serving on the front lines in prayer, overseas in another culture, or supporting those in need. We show our faithfulness as we obey His commands, staying focused on our Commander.

Paul wrote to Timothy, “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4

Have I been trained to know His Word and use it effectively? Am I being faithful at my “post” pleasing the One who has enlisted me? Do I give support to others who are serving? Or am I becoming “entangled” in the worldly pursuits around me and have totally forgotten that I am a soldier in a daily battle? As I abide with Jesus, thankfully, He will train me and produce the fruit of faithfulness as I “share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” Are you being trained and faithfully serving where you are?

Faithful to Follow

Today, people around the world are remembering the brave men- soldiers, airmen and sailors, from World War II who stormed the beaches and flew into occupied France on D-Day 70 years ago. These united forces were brave and devoted in their fight to save the world from an evil tyrant. They were faithful to their commanders and to their orders no matter what their roles were on that infamous day. Every man’s job was crucial as they worked together as a team, fighting alongside each other. More than 9,000 allied forces were killed or wounded on that day because of their faithfulness to their leaders.

 

My own father was there on D-Day. Leaving behind a widowed mother and a handicapped brother whom he had to financially support, he wanted to serve his country. He was a radio operator for the 439th Troop Carrier Group serving at their base headquarters in England on D-Day. My dad was sending and receiving coded messages as the pilots flew troops over to France. At age 92, he still talks about being ready at any moment on that day to fly over on one of the planes as a radio operator if ordered to do so.

 

We honor such faithfulness – maybe because we don’t see this in many people today. We live in a culture that says, “Do what you want”, “It’s all about me”, “I don’t need to follow commands”. As a follower of Jesus I choose to follow Him and His commands for my life. He is my example. Jesus was faithful to obey God, His Father’s orders for his life which meant ultimate sacrifice to save the whole world.

 
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” John 6:38
“I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” John 14:31

 
If I abide with Jesus and He abides in me I will bear the fruit of faithfulness to Him. Jesus showed his love for His Father, by obeying His commands. As a follower of Jesus I am to be faithful to obey His commands. My faithful obedience to my Lord and commander shows others how much I love Him. Jesus made it clear, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15

 
I can trust that His commands are good for me. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3 Jesus promises to be faithful to give us the strength and power through His Spirit to obey His commands. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

 

Like a soldier am I faithful to obey orders, faithful to God? Is Jesus my Lord who I would not want to disappoint but devote myself to serve? Am I brave like the D-day soldiers accepting that I may suffer or even die for my faith? Or do I desire my own will and sometimes want to desert my post where He has placed me? What do you think about D-Day and being faithful?

Yvonne and Daddy at Alabama

My father, a World War II – D Day veteran was faithful to serve!