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.
Jesus said, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). Christ shared these words with his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion. It was meant to give them comfort and reassurance in what would be the darkest hour of their faith. Since that time Christians down through the ages have drawn comfort from Jesus' words here, to sustain them through their most difficult trials.
When God breathes the breath of his Spirit, everyone knows he has come. Luke, the author of Acts, writes, “Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind” (Acts 2:2). I like a different translation of this last phrase, calling it “a strong wind, a blast.”
According to this verse, God’s breath came at Pentecost with a “sound from heaven.” Luke says this sound was mighty, rushing, filling the whole atmosphere: “It filled all the house where they were sitting” (2:2).
“The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
Recently, a dear Christian woman told me, “I’m learning my purpose in life through a class I’m taking.” She was finishing an eight-week course meant to help people discover their calling. She said everyone in the class was anxious to find their purpose.
I heard a pastor on the radio advertising something similar. He offered to help listeners discover their spiritual gifts. If you would request his questionnaire, fill it out and send it in, his staff would evaluate your particular gifts. Then they would tell you how to find your place in the body of Christ.
When God says to humankind, “Believe,” he demands something that’s wholly beyond reason. Faith is totally illogical. Its very definition has to do with something unreasonable. Think about it: Hebrews says faith is the substance of something hoped for, evidence that’s unseen. We’re being told, in short, “There is no tangible substance. There isn’t any evidence at all.” Yet we’re asked to believe. Can you think of any demand that’s more unreasonable than this one? It says, simply, “Accept this without evidence. Trust the unseen.” It’s totally beyond logic.
"The apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith" (Luke 17:5). The men who comprised Christ's close circle were asking something important of their master. They wanted a greater understanding of the meaning and workings of faith. They were saying, in essence, "Lord, what sort of faith do you desire from us? Give us a revelation of the kind that pleases you. We want to grasp faith in its fullest meaning."
Thirty-five years ago, God put it on my heart to start a boys' home in Amityville, New York, on Long Island. I truly sensed the Lord was behind this work. Yet, after just a year and a half, state officials put impossible stringent regulations on the home. They told us we had to have a full-time psychologist on staff, as well as a priest or rabbi if we took in boys who were Catholic or Jewish. We couldn't afford to operate under those restrictions, so we simply shut our doors.