Challenge Your Spirit!!! – One Week Prayer Challenge

Aah, I love challenges. The first week is always the best.. until it gets a bit too real. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever started a challenge – be it spiritual, fitness, or other types – and you were hyped for the first few days. Then everything starts getting boring. Maybe you didn’t take it seriously enough?

Maybe you didn’t see just how important it is to challenge yourself once and a while. How important is your spirit to you? Very important. It’s all you’ve got when your body deteriorates away. Chances are, since you’re on my blog, you’ve already got interests in God and Christianity. You know that there is a life after death; there is a heaven and hell. You want to go to Heaven. So, how about a simple challenge to help you get there? Is that serious enough for you?

I found a Prayer Challenge on Pinterest. I couldn’t resist – I have to share it. I’m currently doing a Daniel Fast so this will come just in handy! Join me? Pretty pweaasseee? 🙂

 

 

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ImageJoin me in this prayer challenge and/or one week fast as I seek God, asking Him for guidance, protection, prosperity and His Will. 

But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul – Deuteronomy 4:29

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. – Lamentations 3:25

We are Barabbas

A few weeks ago, friend of mine shared a video on her Facebook and tagged me in it. I had watched that video at least three times since, because it was absolutely lovely and made me think!

[Here is the video in case you missed my earlier blog]

I’d like to add to this video, with my own thoughts and discoveries – a short reflection and commentary. Here are the main points Judah Smith presented:

  • We are Barabbas; we are the prisoner being freed.
  • We did not deserve that freedom. Like Barabbas, we were “thugs” and “rebels” (according to Judah Smith).
  • Like Barabbas, we are not thankful to Jesus for this transaction (not realizing Jesus set him – or us – free). In fact, Barabbas did not even know who Jesus was.
  • Our salvation and help comes from God, not within ourselves.
  • Jesus died so Barabbas (we) can live.
  • God loves us more than we could comprehend.
  • Your greatest challenge is simply BELIEVING.

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Barabbas was the leader of an insurrection, or a violent rebellion, against the government and a murderer. 1 Samuel 15:23 says rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft. Many books in the Old Testament speak against witchcraft. Exodus 22:18 says “you shall not permit a sorceress to live.” Since the two are synonymous sins, then rebels DESERVE their deaths. Revelations 21:8 and Galatians 5:20-21 confirms this. Yet, here comes Jesus, the Son of Man and God in the Second Trinity, to take the place of such shameful sin and place it on Himself. This is love.

This is salvation. A free gift.

We were friends of this world and kin to sin; rebels to God and murderers of all things Holy. Daily we sin, grieve the Holy Spirit, doubt, turn our backs to God, leave un-repented sin, refuse to believe in God and accept His gift of salvation. These are enslaved free slaves. John 8:34 says, “Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” However, as Jesus traded places with us. “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John 8:36). “For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness.” (Romans 6:20) Hence, we can not serve two masters – as we are free from one, we must serve one.

Yet, there are those who profess one and return to their old ways. As Judah Smith puts it, “You can not shake yourself free. There’s no answer within yourself. There’s only ONE – The One who TOOK YOUR PLACE.” God wants your sin. He wants you to live; He has plans for you on Earth (“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11) and a life after this. His blood is sufficient; It IS finished.

Jesus is ENOUGH!

My love

If you feel bound to sin, if you haven’t given your life to the One who gave it to you. I want you to give me 60 more seconds – Just 1 minute. Turn off your television, surround yourself in quietness, clear your mind. Just for 1 minute. You don’t have to know God to pray to Him; you don’t have to be a Saint to seek Him as we all are sinners. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) With all your heart and soul say this prayer. Allow God to make Himself known to you; allow Him to break those chains on your feet and walk with Him; allow Him to love you.

 

God in Heaven, I acknowledge that I am Barabbas – a sinner who has rebelled against you. I no longer what that title, I want to be Your Child and a Brethren of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I am returning to You, Father, as a prodigal son, as a lost sheep and I know You are waiting with open arms and a celebration. I confess in my heart and with my tongue that Jesus is Lord. Jesus, please come into my heart and life, make a home in my soul. I accept You as my personal Savior and Lord. I want to be Your servant, and only Yours! Create a thirst in me to seek You, to do Your Will, to read Your Word, and share You with those I come into contact with. Though I may stumble, I believe and know You will be there to pick me up as You have already carried my burden on the Cross. These things I ask in Your Holy and Gracious Name. Amen.

“You’re not CHRISTIAN enough,” says the liar.

I’ve had these thoughts in my head so many times I’ve lost count, and heard variations of these more than I’d want to.

It’s an insecurity problem. I asked God, “what should I write about today?” He said, “why not the main thing you struggle with.” You see, as confident as many people think I am – “Oh, Philly, you’re so head-strong with such a high self-esteem, people don’t get to you…” etc. This is only half-true. Sure, I don’t care what people think about me but I do care about how I’m representing God. It hurts to think I may mess up and bring shame to Our Community.

Now you know my biggest fear.

I understand that everyone is not perfect; we all sin, we all make mistakes, and we all fall short of God’s Glory. Is it wrong that I WANT to be perfect for Him, no pretending? (“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48) There’s a difference between pretending to be something you’re not and actually striving for an unattainable goal. But it’s a fine line to those who can only go by what they see, as they do not know your heart. It’s a risk you have to take when you profess your faith. All eyes will be on you – no pressure.

The Devil is a liar. He says that you must concentrate on these eyes, instead of keeping yours on Jesus. He wants you to think about the thoughts of others, instead of having thoughts about Jesus. He tells you that you must satisfy man and God, however, your goal is to satisfy only God. Such blatant lies He slithers into our heads!

The only way to illustrate my Christianity is not merely by my words, but by my actions. I want to be fruitful, possessing fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23) but I understand this will not happen overnight. It is a gradual process. Therefore, we also can not expect others to change so quickly and steadily. Sometimes we get distracted on our Walk and step off the path for a bit; the important thing is not how fast we walk, but remaining on that narrow road, returning if we do take a wrong turn. So, do not misunderstand a fellow Christian’s expectations and realities. Expectations lead to judgement, realities lead to the truth. 

Remember: we are not perfect, though we serve a perfect God. We strive for perfection for HIS GLORY, and to make Him proud. But we’re already making Him proud every day when we choose Him or this world, when we thank Him, look to Him, speak with Him, and accept Him. Nothing else matters but Him, no one else matters except Him. Just keep your eyes on Him, love Him as He loves you.

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AMEN.

L.I.L.I.C. – Being Spirit-filled (With Diagrams for explanation!)

LILIC (Lessons I Learned In Church – The “c” is silent, so it sounds like the lily flower.) are recaps of what I learned from church the prior Sunday.

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Last Sunday the sermon was conducted by Pastor Peter Tan-chi; He spoke about something I have wondered and pondered over: being Spirit-filled. He began the sermon by asking, “are you filled with the Holy Spirit right now?” Honestly, I couldn’t raise my hand – I was unsure.

“Unless you are controlled by the Holy Spirit something will control you.”

Being Spirit-filled simply means to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. He holds to reigns to your life and you follow His guidance. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Usually, we take the first part and say, “ok, I won’t get drunk” and be done with that verse. However, in that way we are neglecting the second command – “be filled with the Spirit.” This is a differentiation between morality and Christianity. Morality says ‘don’t get drunk, don’t go to wild parties, don’t curse, etc. because these are wrong,’ Christianity says ‘instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, let the Spirit control you, guide you, and turn to Him for everything all the time.’

Pastor Tan-chi spoke of three types of people, I am so pleased that I found variations of the diagrams he used on Google.com! To further explain, he used verses in 1 Corinthians.

Three types of Men (We are to be the Spirit-filled Man):

THE NATURAL MAN:

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This is how we are naturally, self-centered and with God outside of our lives. We are in charge of our lives (the ‘S’ in the chair) and make our own decisions, ultimately everything is directed to what we want, how we want it. 1 Corinthians 2:14 summarizes this perfectly:

But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.

THE CARNAL MAN:

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The Carnal person is many of us Christians; it’s a good thing God is faithful and just when we confess of our sins. We should have Him leading our lives, sitting on our thrones! We are compared to infants in Christ, worldly and, therefore, we seem no different from those who choose Christ and those who do not. Where is the difference? This should be shown in our lifestyles and who or what we let lead our lives. 1 Corinthians 3: 1-3 explains:

Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?

THE SPIRIT-FILLED MAN:

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The Spirit-filled man has God controlling his life, his own desires come last, and his desires are aligned with God’s. On the left are his characteristics, and he has fruits of the Holy Spirit (characteristics on the right). 1 Corinthians 2: 15-16 says:

15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
    so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

Being Spirit-filled requires us to rely more on God’s instructions. This is step-by-step and after you’ve done this consciously a few times, it will become effortless. Join in on the three-minute challenge to better achieve this by clicking here.

3-Minute Challenge: You IN?!

3-Minute Challenge: You IN?!

How many times have you caved? How many times have you lost grip? If I were to ask you if you’re filled with the Holy Spirit RIGHT NOW, could you wholeheartedly and honestly say yes? Being filled with the Holy … Continue reading

What I’ve been up to lately

I feel the need to give you all an update on what’s been occurring in my life, hence why I haven’t been blogging much. 

For the past two weeks I’ve had so many strange feelings enter and exit my body along with the addition of a distant feeling from Our Creator. I had to focus more on Him and ask Him what was possibly going wrong with my life. Trust me, this was done more dramatically then it sounds. I had relationships to figure out, doubts that needed to be smashed to smithereens, people I needed to let go and habits that needed demolishing. Father, can you hear me?

Of course He can and has been intercepting when things seemed as if they would go wrong. It all started clearing up when I relied more on God and spoke to Him as if He’s my Creator AND Father instead of thinking I should try to fix everything myself. I was doing more bible studies, watching sermons, random internal prayers, social media fasts, and sometimes just aiming to enjoy the things I used to enjoy more as a kid (for e.g. Anime).

One evening as the sun was setting, I turned all the lamps off in my bedroom and let the orange-pink aura highlight my room. I sat on my bed and let everything out to God. From the smallest shred of doubt to the biggest, the littlest worry and fear to the most colossal. 

Not only did it feel great to let everything seep out of my system but I’m sure God was pleased in the growth of our relationship. The very next day I saw big changes. My mother got a job offer and it filled her with so much hope she sprung tears of thankfulness. I had (and still have) this new-found happiness, bubbliness, and joy that only could mean I am filled with the Holy Spirit. My mindset has changed drastically, discernment is now a quality I possess. God’s voice is much clearer and audible to me. I can differentiate from who speaks to me the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. It may sound crazy to many but this is very true: God speaks to us all the time. He told me what to do when I had no clue and no comprehension; I followed His voice and found happiness from being a servant and daughter of the Most High. This is freedom. This is a relationship with God, the Almighty. 

🙂

L.I.L.I.C. – Extraordrinary Acts from the Holy Spirit

LILIC (Lessons I Learned In Church – The “c” is silent, so it sounds like the lily flower.) are recaps of what I learned from church the prior Sunday.

Last Sunday’s sermon was conducted by Pastor Ricky Sarthou in CCF church extending what was said on the prior sermon (Read about Purposeful Acts of Power here). He presents the question: are you making disciples as Christ ordered?

Usually, we look at our abilities and inabilities to determine whether we can and should do something or not. If we want to participate in a Broadway musical, for example, we introspect that we may have singing talents but not dancing and conclude that it’s better to simply participate in an opera or our role must not have any dancing involved. Here we looked at our abilities from our own perception. However, the Christian mentality is much different. Instead, we must look at our God’s abilities, and we must view everything from a Godly perception.

With help from the Holy Spirit, ordinary people are turned into extraordinary people who do extraordinary things. Pastor Ricky spoke of a few stories in which ordinary people completed extraordinary tasks:

3 year-old Alexandra:

Alexandra’s parents would drive around and point out fire stations, police stations, and hospitals – places to go to for help. They had made a game out of it to ensure that their daughter knew these places and understood their importance. One day Alexandra and her father were the only people home. He had accidentally consumed the incorrect mixture of prescription pills and soon passed out. So, what could Alexandra do? She’s just a three-year-old, she knows no medical training and simply shaking her father hadn’t worked. Alexandra walked all the way from her house to the nearest fire station, about three blocks away, all by herself and told them, “Help! My father is frozen!” The firemen were amazed at her bravery and thanks to her, her father did not die.

Poor man makes disciples

Another interesting story, more closely related to the topic at hand, is the story of a poor man who made disciples. This man had nothing; he was living in a small efficiency and had no money. He lived far from his church and could no longer afford to catch a taxi to and fro so he would walk to church everyday. Other men would notice this but as they began talking to him he would share the Gospel. Later, he would have made 11 disciples for Christ and soon after this grew to 56 men he had discipled to.

Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Am I more like Jesus today than yesterday?
  2. Am I making disciples for Him?
  3. Am I glorifying God through my life?

Do not limit God because of your inconveniences or inadequacies; do not disobey Christ’s order to make disciples just because you may feel ordinary or even afraid.  “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but of POWER” (2 Timothy 1:7). A Godly woman, Rebecca Pippert said that, “Being an extrovert isn’t essential to evangelism; obedience and love are.” In our Christian society there are no benchwarmers and on-lookers, every follower of Jesus should be a discipler for Jesus.

Who must we disciple too?

In short, everyone. This includes nonbelievers, Christians whose actions do not show Jesus is worth living for and even our other brothers and sisters. However, we must not only disciple to people we know we can win over (as discussed in the last LILIC) for fear of rejection, differences, and personal inadequacies. Make Jesus known to everyone you come in contact with; He’s worth it. 

So, whatever is holding you back is never something that should stop you from following out Jesus’ command. To ignore it is blatant and overt disobedience; as followers of Jesus we should want the whole world to know what it’s like to believe in Jesus Christ and serve the magnificent God we serve.

L.I.L.I.C. – Purposeful Acts of Power

LILIC (Lessons I Learned In Church – The “c” is silent, so it sounds like the lily flower.) are recaps of what I learned from church the prior Sunday.

Pastor Charles Price conducted the sermon from CCF church, Manila in The Philippines. Its central focus was the Power and Purpose Christ left to His disciples before His Ascension. He paid close attention to the reactions and actions of the disciples; also, everything is found in the Book of Acts.

First off, I must say I’m glad I came to Church on Sunday. I was tired, sleepy, not in the mood, and the Devil was tempting me with my soft bed. If I hadn’t gone I would have missed a wonderful sermon. Whenever this happens to you it’s best to make an even greater attempt (and enthusiasm) to head to Church, there will be a sermon you just have to hear! I learned a lot on Sunday, things I’ve read repeatedly on my own time but hadn’t actually noticed. 

POWER

1. The word used for ‘power’ is ‘donamis’ in the Bible, meaning “Dynamite power.” It is the “action/make” part of our role as disciples. Jesus’ disciples spent more than 3 years with Him; they lived with Him, ate with Him, became a family with Him. He was their Rabbi. However, they all deserted Him. (John stayed up until the crucifixion but left Jesus’ body soon after.) I hadn’t realized how disappointing the disciples were at the time around Christ’s crucifixion.

  • The disciples fought over who was the greatest disciples during the Lord’s Supper.
  • Peter questions Jesus when he is told that he will deny Jesus three times. It is an implication that he believed Jesus did not know him well.
  • While Christ was praying before He was captured His disciples, Peter, James, and John fell asleep when they should have been guarding their Rabbi.
  • Judas’ betrayal
  • The disciples quaked in fear and hid after Jesus’ crucifixion; they didn’t even visit His grave.

Sadly, all this occurred after Jesus had spent YEARS with them. They had learned and lived with God, and yet they became discouraged and small. However, before Christ’s Ascension we see a huge change. In the Book of Acts we see the disciples being brave and faithful to God as they spread the Good News. This brings us to the second kind of power the Holy Spirit gives:

2. ‘Exusia’ used in the Bible means ‘Authority,’ this, as Pastor Charles Price described, is the power to ‘tell.’ I must admit some times it’s scary to speak up and let your voice be heard, you’re target for judgment and ridicule even if you’re right. With this type of power the disciples became bold and courageous, illustrating God’s Word and commands to others. [Question: Do you choose your words carefully when you’re trying to show a fellow Christian when they’re wrong?]

PURPOSE

With these two types of power the disciples are able to complete their purpose – spreading the Gospel and showing others that Christ is worth knowing. “Our lives tell others that Jesus Christ is worth knowing or that Jesus Christ is not worth knowing.”

An interesting fact I learned:

Compare Acts 1:8 with Acts 8:1.

Christ told His disciples to be a witness to people in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all the ends of the earth. However, through chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, the disciples only witnessed in Jerusalem; because this is where they’re welcomed and known. The persecution of Stephen caused them to scatter to Judea and Smaria.

It is not that we need to ask for more of the Holy Spirit and His power; in reality we need to give more of ourselves to Him, wholeheartedly. We are all given the Holy Spirit to guide us, help us, and show us where to go and yet we keep our eyes on our own abilities. If you believe you can do all things through Christ, then you shouldn’t second guess nor look at what you have/don’t have. Just go out into the world and show everyone that Jesus is worth knowing!

Daily Devotion: Being Fruitful

“Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.”

– Colossians 1:10

I’m presenting a new feature to my blog: Devotions. I will try my best to make one each day so that there’s always something new up. Let’s devote time to Our Savior, cherishing Him, studying Him, and praising Him!

The scripture is taken from the Book of Colossians; Paul was Spirit-filled as he wrote to the Church of Colosse. He mainly speaks about the superiority of Jesus Christ and false teachings in his letter. In the first chapter, after Paul’s greeting, he praises the church and prays for them before correcting any misconceptions of Christ (this is a good way to correct someone – compliment them first, show you have good intentions, then correct with a soft tongue.) Before the tenth verse Paul says, “We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding,” then proceeds to say the tenth verse.

Firstly, bearing fruit and being fruitful are quite important. But there are two kinds of fruit: good and bad. Paul clearly means good fruit. In Matthew 7:15-20 it explicates that you can differentiate between good and bad tree by the fruits it bears. We are the tree and our fruits are our actions. (V. 20) Being fruitful does not mean what comes from our lips, so that people who uphold an air of righteousness or a visage of Holiness cannot deceive you. It is by their works, reactions, and actions.

What kind of actions/fruit pleases God?

Read: Galatians 5:19-22.

“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” these are fruits of the Holy Spirit. These are qualities we must embody, improve on, and emanate to everyone around us. We must also possess self control and become abstemious, continuously (and conscientiously) showing these qualities.

Think: Introspect. Are you truly possessing these qualities? Are you giving in to your sinful nature, which does not possess these Holy attributes, and are constantly angry, greedy, jealous, disrespectful, or wild? Be honest with yourself; how do you plan to change?

Returning to the scripture from Colossians, notice that the ninth and tenth verse are connected by a transition. Paul says, “THEN the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit.” This insinuates that there is something we must do in the ninth verse to “honor and please the Lord” and “produce every kind of good fruit.” The ninth verse suggests that we must ask God to give us complete knowledge of His Will, spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Prayer: Father, I come before you with my fruit. Bruised, tainted, and old they are from my former self. I ask that You may renew my roots, water my ground so that I may sprout new, vivacious and colorful fruit. Help me to possess fruits of the Holy Spirit, help me to show these to everyone I come across and not just people who like me. For if I only show love to those who love me than I am no better than the wicked. Lord, please also grant me complete knowledge of Your Will, spiritual wisdom and understanding so that I may honor You and You will be pleased by my efforts. This I pray in Your Holy Name. Amen.