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.
We know from Scripture that Ezekiel was a great prophet who moved mightily in the Spirit. In Ezekiel 37, God gave him a vision that I believe holds a timely message of spiritual awakening for the dry church of today.
Nehemiah is known as the man who led the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls. Israel was in captivity when God first stirred Nehemiah’s heart toward this noble work. And when Nehemiah asked the Persian king to let him return to Jerusalem for this purpose, God moved the king’s heart to grant his request.
David wrote about brokenness often in his Psalms. He spoke of God’s nearness to those who are broken: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). “The Lord is near unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (34:18).
“Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36, my italics).
Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (John 14:27). This word had to amaze the disciples. In their eyes, it was almost an unbelievable promise: Christ's peace was to become their peace.
These twelve men had marveled at the peace they'd witnessed in Jesus for the past three years. Their Master was never afraid. He was always calm, never ruffled by any circumstance.
You’re probably familiar with the story of King David and his adulterous, one-time affair with Bathsheba. The incident resulted in Bathsheba’s pregnancy. And as soon as she discovered her condition, she sent a note to David, saying, “I’m with child.”
When David read the note, he panicked. His reputation as a godly, upright man was in jeopardy. Here was a man who had written more than 3,000 Psalms and spiritual songs. He had been God’s instrument in slaying Israel’s enemies. And he’d illustrated to the world what it meant to have a great heart for God.
Every Christian is called to ministry. The Bible makes this very clear. Paul writes, "We [all] have this ministry" (2 Corinthians 4:1).
Yet most Christians' concept of ministry today isn't very biblical. We often see ministry as something that's done only by ordained preachers or missionaries. We think of ministers as seminary graduates who marry and bury people, build churches, lead worship meetings and teach doctrine. We see them as spiritual doctors who are meant to heal the wounds of the sick and hurting.