Not long ago, I began planning a book on the suffering of God's saints. I've wanted to encourage Christians about the Lord's faithfulness to his people in the midst of their trials. Since then, many readers have written to me, testifying of how God has given them grace in their times of suffering. One woman wrote of an enduring physical trial:
The apostle Paul said, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). He also said, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (verse 25).
As Christians, we have heard this phrase throughout our lives: "Walk in the Spirit." Many believers tell me they walk in the Spirit — yet they cannot tell me what that truly means. Now, let me ask you: Do you walk and live in the Spirit? And what does that mean to you?
The following is a prophetic warning from Azusa Street 75 years ago, concerning the dangers of a Christless Pentecost!
Frank Bartleman was an eyewitness to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in 1907 at Azusa Street, Los Angeles. He has been characterized as the Reporter of the Azusa Street Revival. Nearly 75 years ago, during the outpouring, he wrote a tract warning of a Christless Pentecost.
When Israel had crossed the Red Sea they sang God's praises for his mighty deliverance. Think of the amazing miracle they had just experienced. Giant waves of water parted for them but swallowed their powerful enemy. As they beheld what happened they could only marvel. They must have said to each other:
I want to talk to you about three men whom God used mightily — and how he used failure to produce godliness in them.
Today we hear so much talk about success and how people obtain it. Success in biblical terms is vastly different. As we consider those whom God used to stir their generations, we discover that the elements he used to shape them were torment, pain, sorrow and failure.
“Christ…a son over his own house; whose house we are, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Wherefore as the Holy Ghost said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years….
The whole world is trembling right now over the outbreak of terror and calamities happening throughout the earth. Every day we wake up to learn of another disaster. Some observers say we’re witnessing the beginnings of World War III.
First, terrorists blew up trains in Spain, and then masses died in train explosions in India. In Pakistan, a disastrous earthquake devastated entire towns, leaving thousands homeless, hungry and hurting. Multitudes in the Far East are still suffering in the aftermath of the tsunami.
When God birthed his church, he poured out his Holy Spirit on it. He baptized it in the Holy Spirit, filled it with the Spirit, and anointed it with the Spirit. And wherever the Spirit of God is present, there are clear proofs or evidences. Yet if these evidences aren’t seen, then the Holy Spirit isn’t present.
My question is, does the modern-day church show forth these evidences? Does your church? Is it moving in the power of the Holy Spirit? Moreover, does your life show these evidences? Are you living and walking in the fullness of the Spirit?
You've heard of the prayer of faith. I believe there is a mirror image of this prayer. It's a prayer that is based on flesh. I call it the prayer of unbelief.
The Lord knows we don't pray nearly enough. We don't weep before him as we ought. And, sadly, when many Christians do pray, their prayer is one of unbelief. Such prayer is totally unacceptable to God. In fact, Scripture says it's sinful in his eyes.
The apostle Paul assured the Thessalonians that they'd learned how to walk pleasing before the Lord. He told them, "Ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God" (1 Thessalonians 4:1). Paul then added this exhortation: "So ye would abound more and more" (4:1).
To abound means to increase. Paul was saying, "You've been sitting under sound gospel preaching. So now you have a solid foundation beneath you. Therefore, you ought to be increasing in grace in all ways -- in your faith, your knowledge, your love."