Today’s families — both Christian and non-Christian — are under enormous pressure to conform to society’s views. Both parents and children are struggling beneath the strain of a world gone mad with sin and temptation. At times it seems we are in a war so one-sided we have to hold on, stay in the battle, fight for the integrity of the family — and fight for the souls of our children.
The greatest thing any parent can do for their kids is to lead them into a relationship with Jesus and then mentor them in their faith. Without Jesus, our children are left with no foundation to build on, no measure of right and wrong, no real purpose for their lives. They are forced to look to the world for their value system, and the world always comes up short.
There is an answer to the ills of our culture. There is a way to put an end to violence and hopelessness in every home, school, and neighborhood. We can do it by bringing families back together and introducing them to the power and person of Jesus — by calling on the power of God’s Holy Spirit to redeem our past and redefine our future.
Parents, you can train your children for service in the kingdom as soldiers in a war against spiritual poverty. Building on the foundation of Jesus instills a sense of hope and purpose within a family. When children fall in love with Jesus and allow him to instill in them a sense of passion and a resolve to live for him, they have no time for teen rebellion. They have a greater mission in life.
“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:19-20).
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.
Are there times when you wonder if your prayers will ever be answered? Have you honestly done everything you know to do? The delayed answer to prayer is one of the most common experiences shared by even the saintliest of God’s children.
Ministers and teachers who preach faith stir us to expect miracles and answers to all our prayers — and that is a good thing. We desperately need to be reminded of the power of faith but our faith should not be afraid to investigate Bible passages that deal with God’s delays, his seasons of silence, and even his sovereignty — when he acts without giving man an explanation.
We see in the Word that at times God did not answer a request, no matter how many time it was asked of him or how great the faith. For instance, Paul was not delivered from the challenge that buffeted him, though he prayed diligently for an answer. “I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me” (2 Corinthians 12:8).
Peter warned that faith should not stand alone when he said, “Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8). Faith without patience and virtue and self-control becomes self-centered and unbalanced.
Likewise, Paul prayed he wanted more than deliverance from his prickly thorn, more than success — he wanted Christ! Paul would rather suffer than try to overrule God and that is why he could shout, “I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me … For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
God wants to see the work of his grace completed in you as you seek more of him. He loves you more than you can imagine and nothing you endure can compare with the glory that awaits you!
You may be happy, healthy and on top of the world right now. If so, you probably do not need this message. But if you are feeling down for some reason, under a load of grief or pain, loneliness or suffering, this message is for you.
Very saintly Christians sometimes experience trials so heavy that they wonder if God is letting them hurt more than they can bear. Their heartbreak almost crushes them and they are on the brink of despair. Great men and women of faith have experienced dark and deep trials but God has brought them through to victory because they put their trust in him.
God still permits testing times, times during which the soul is permitted to go through a fiery trial which, according to God’s Word, is to try us. “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange things happened to you” (1 Peter 4:12). The prophet Jeremiah predicted that saints of God would be tried by fire: “Behold, I will refine them and try them” (Jeremiah 9:7).
Any spiritual growth that takes place in our life will always be accompanied by trials, for “He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). While it is natural for us to want to shield ourselves from difficulties, it is an act of faith to entrust all our circumstances to our loving Father.
Avoid Christians who say to you, “If you were really standing on the promises of God and living by faith, you would always be happy and prosperous. You should be praising God and smiling and rejoicing. You must not have a negative mind.”
Not so! What you have is faith that God will never leave you or forsake you, even in your darkest hour. God is always God, He is still on the throne and he hears and answers your prayer. He cares about you and his promises will never fail you. Quietly wait on the Lord to bring you out into a safe place!
“He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). It is possible to turn your life around and discover a life of joy and peace beyond anything yet known. One of the keys to doing this is to learn once and for all that you cannot depend upon someone else for your happiness.
Those who lean on the arm of flesh are digging wells that cannot hold water. They constantly need someone to pour advice into them, or give counsel or encourage them. But they cannot hold these things because they are broken cisterns. Jesus says, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).
The Holy Spirit knows and sees all and He alone has the answers you need. Of course, godly counsel and Christian psychologists are good and can be very helpful at times, but any godly counsel should bring you to this absolute truth: no other human being can be your source of happiness and peace.
There is a great, indescribable power living within you wanting to break forth and there are many, many scriptures to support this notion. “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37). “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).
Is Jesus the lord of your life? Then you do not have to wait for some special revelation. You are ready to walk in the fullness of the Spirit the moment you confess him as lord and follow him absolutely. “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Romans 8:9). What a glorious promise!
Too often Christians want to keep the Holy Spirit confined to their own small world but Jesus said he would pour out his Spirit on all flesh; not just believers but nonbelievers, as well. “I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh” (Acts 2:17). Jesus associated with sinners and ministered to them. Today, the Holy Spirit seeks to lead sinners into all truth, to convict of sin and comfort those who need it most.
The Holy Spirit is Christ’s leading evangelist. “I will shake all nations” (Haggai 2:7). “Whose voice then shook the earth … ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven’” (Hebrews 12:26). He is already at work everywhere Christ sends us, so do not ever be surprised when you go into impossible situations and see his handiwork.
The Holy Spirit is never shocked by what he sees — he came to bring life to those who are dead in sin and living in broken conditions. He is the very breath of God, convicting of sin but not condemning, rebuking or moralizing. We must preach that he is everywhere and working on everybody.
The Holy Spirit responds to a hungry heart but he also comes to those who have not even called upon God’s name. “I was found by those who did not seek Me” (Isaiah 65:1). He will actually enter the dreams of sinners and give them visions. We may think that all dreams and visions are given to Christians but that is not so. Some sinners have recurring dreams in which the Holy Spirit shows them what they could be, what life could be like if they came to Christ. The Word says, “I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh … Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28). The Holy Spirit is doing this miraculous work right now all over the world, healing and bringing people to Christ.
If you are going to be used by the Spirit, you must expand your world and take off all limitations trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit!