He giveth not the Spirit by measure

“God does not give the Spirit by measure.” (Acts 3:34)

God is the God of abundance. He is not limited by the constraints of time and space. His thoughts are higher than ours. He doesn’t decide our portion according to our acts of righteousness. He pours out the fullness of his love in all he does. It was the fullness of God’s love that brought him down in the image of his creation so that by believing in him we may be turned into his own image. It’s in the fullness of his love that he cries out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” (John 7:37)

God gives without measure, but we try to limit our blessings by comparing them with others. We not only compare our possessions but conclude that others have more than “me” . We don’t realise that by doing so we are filling ourselves with discontentment and frustration which speaks out and declares that God is unjust.

God has a purpose and unique plan for every life and the extent of blessings one receives is in proportion to his/her responsibilities that God has assigned him. Small and great whatever one possesses, it has the same value in the sight of the Lord.

The same principle applies when God sends his spirit out to his people.

The Spirit gives us utterance and enable us to proclaim God’s word in boldness. Without the Spirit no one can declare that Jesus is the Lord. It’s the spirit that joins our spirits to testify that we have an inheritance in God’s family. It’s the Spirit that makes our prayers powerful and turn us into intercessors. It’s the Spirit that fills us with great enthusiasm and fervour to accomplish great works for the Lord. The Spirit is our helper and enables us to believe and see what God has in store for us.

The Spirit connects God with his children. It’s by the power of the spirit that we can offer perfect praise and honour to the one who is Holy and who deserves all honour, praise and Glory. The Spirit equips us with Godly strength in our time of need. The Spirit reminds us to do things that bring glory to the Father. The Spirit strengthens our inner being and enables us to stand on the promises of God. We need the Spirit generated strength every day in our lives. We can never follow Christ without being equipped with the power of the Spirit.

God, in his love, has poured out the Spirit without measure. We are fully equipped to speak and act to bring glory to the Lord. But sometimes we restrict the outflow of the Spirit by not presenting the full gospel. We speak what others love to hear and limit the Spirit given utterance that asks us to proclaim the word of God in all boldness.

It’s written that “Perfect love drives out all fear.” If you are still afraid of others and try to manipulate the word of God to please everyone, you are not prepared to handle the gospel the way Lord wants you to do. Wait upon the Lord and ask him to fill you with his spirit. Let the spirit take over and turn you into the one who proclaims the gospel of life, not to please anyone, but in all truth and sincerity for the praise of HIS glory.

Advertisements

Witnessing v. Preaching

“For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”  (Acts 4:20)

Witnessing is to give an account of what is seen and heard. Not everyone can be a witness of Christ, even though they can be preachers. A witness doesn’t need the credentials to become qualified to preach but his daily walk with the Lord turns him into one.  A witness manifests the power of God that works in him and through him to bless many. People can choose to become preachers but unless the power comes down from above, no one can become a witness for Christ.

A witness preaches even though he/she is not speaking. A witness is a living epistle that others read and come to know the one he follows.  “You yourselves are our letter written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.”  (2Cor. 3:2).

Worldly education can produce well trained preachers who know every single detail of the scripture but a witness’ education begins and ends at the feet of the master. The greatest teacher is ready to break the bread of his word every time we open our ears to listen to his voice.  “If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I come in and eat with him and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)

Our Rabbi chooses different modes of training according to the need and the magnitude of faith of his follower. The Lord acknowledges faith at every level, and rewards his people by taking them from one level to another, but in his time. Everything looks beautiful in his own time and we can’t rush the process to become Christ’ witnesses.  The Lord lets his people wait and learn in humble submission as he himself did. “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” (Heb. 5:8). Once he was made perfect, he became a source and left a pattern that needs to be followed by his followers.

Preaching is a gift that comes down from the Lord to multiply his kingdom. A preacher may or may not follow the teachings of the Lord. “Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name…Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. “ (Mat 7:22). A preacher may have many skills and have brought many to the Lord by his charismatic preaching but he may have never accepted Christ as his Lord.  For such preachers, it is said, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mat. 16:26).

People preach for various reasons and the Lord blesses their efforts irrespective of the motive behind their preaching for the “word of the Lord never comes back void”. Paul declared that he is happy as long as Christ is preached for whatever reasons, “some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition…But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.” (Phil. 1:15-18)

Are you a preacher? Wait upon the Lord!  Waiting is the tool that God uses to turn a mere preacher into a powerful witness who brings glory to him not just by preaching the Word but also by living a Christ centered life.

Don’t abort your hope

Hope precedes faith. Without a living hope faith can’t exist and “those who have faith must believe that the things they are hoping for will come to pass”. (Hebrews 11:1)

Hope doesn’t grow on the ground that has not been melted by the fire of love and reshaped by the word of God. It’s in hope that we cry out, “Abba Father”, for our inner being seeks the one whose love draws us and whose presence makes us whole.

Hope makes us accept the truth that the Almighty and the creator of the whole universe is not someone who is far from us but he lives in us as its written “Your body is the temple of God.” It’s in hope that we long to go from one degree of glory to another to turn into the image of his Son Jesus. Hope is what bridges the gap between what we are to- day to what the heavenly father wants us to be in Christ.

Hope is alive and it waits to see the glory of the living God. It gets rejuvenated to witness things turning into reality and receives its strength from the irrevocable promises of God.  Hope needs to be guarded so that it doesn’t die without seeing its fulfilment.

Determination to see hope turning into reality comes by taking refuge in a place that has been built on the rock of the word of God. If you want to keep your hope alive, meditate on what the Lord says to you. Think about its implications, practise it in daily life, test it to see if it works or not, and once you have seen its power in your life, accept it.

Our hope has a great value in the sight of the Lord for it connects us with him in such a way that we begin to turn into his living abode, “We are his house, if we hold onto our courage and the hope of which we boast.” Hebrews 3:6

Hope that is alive keeps our faith in the Almighty active. An active faith shows itself through actions and waits upon the Lord to receive the promised blessings.

Judging others

Matthew 7:1-2, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

God works in equality. He works through all, works in all, died for all and earned grace for all. He sends rain and shine to all and never holds back his love from anyone, irrespective of whether we acknowledge him as father or not. He is ready to reveal himself to whoever comes to him in faith. He longs to have the fellowship of his children. He chooses people from different nations to work for his kingdom. He desires that all shall know about him as their loving father and call to him in their times of need.

God loves equality. He demonstrated the fullness of his love by bringing himself  down to live among us so that by faith in him we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19). He wants to see his children walking in love with each other as Jesus loved the world and commanded his disciples in John 13:34“Love one another.”

This is just a short glimpse of how much God loves his children whom he has created in his own image. No one is greater or smaller but we all have been equally created to glorify him by using different gifts and talents he has apportioned us according to our capabilities.

Since we all are the same, none of us is in a position to pass judgement on other.

When we judge others, don’t we try to exalt ourselves from the position God has granted us and dishonour him? When we judge others by our own standards, don’t we try to prove that we have special authority and privileges that others are devoid of? Why are we eager to judge others when even the Son of God said in John 8: 15, “I pass judgement on no one.”

Judging others is a manifestation of the hidden rebellious nature that is found in all of us. By judging others, we try to create a position and status for ourselves that was never meant by God for his children to possess. By judging others we distort the image we have been carved in. By judging others we prepare a ground for judgement to pass by us. “In the same way you judge others, you will be judges, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Next time, you are tempted to open your mouth to judge someone, just turn your thoughts to that person and say a prayer for him/her. Let whatever you speak about the person be spoken in the presence of the Lord who is the judge of all. You may call him Lord of your life; let him be the Lord of the moment when you feel tempted to break the law and judge others.

Let the Lord open our eyes and fill us with a desire to see his image in others the way he longs to see in us. May he grant us his grace so that we may be able to take out the rebellious nature that tries to exalt itself in us.  May the word prevail in our lives that is said in Mathew 7:3-5, Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Preach to yourself

Matthew 16:26, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life”.

The verse says that it is possible to save others for the Lord by preaching a way of life that may not be followed by the preacher.

Is it possible to gain the whole world by proclaiming the mighty word of God without being touched by its life changing power?

Yes. God can use anyone to spread his word. He chooses people from different cast, creed and nations to work for his kingdom. Is there anything that the preacher can boast about? Nothing! Someone who has been chosen by God to spread the word is a medium not the source. It’s the work of the Lord to turn the seed into a tree.  The preacher can only sow the seed of the word of God.

A preacher has no special privileges, nor is he any better than the listener. In fact, the one who is preaching the word of God becomes accountable and in danger of judgement if he never follows what he preaches. “The word of God is sharper than any double edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and desires of heart.” (Heb. 4:12).  A preacher with a humble heart and a little knowledge will gain more lives for the kingdom of God than the one who knows every single verse of the scripture but has no desire to follow the word of God.

Why does God choose someone to preach the word that has no desire to be touched by the word of God?

God does it to prove that no one is above the authority of his word. The listener and the speaker both come under the same power and both are equally accountable to what they have heard. The Lord in his love provides opportunities to the preacher to be touched by the word while preaching it to others, so that he may save his own life while in pursuit of saving others.

Next time you rush to preach the word, listen what it says to you! Meditate on it. You may be the one who is in need of this word of encouragement.

Come into the presence of the Lord with the brokenness of heart and readiness to learn rather than with heaps of knowledge. Learn in humility and then go!