When Christians hear the phrase “Upper Room,” one of two biblical scenarios comes to mind. For charismatics and Pentecostals, the predominant sequence happens in Acts 1 and 2. In Chapter 1, the disciples gathered in the upper room of a house, and “with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:14, ESV). Then, in Chapter 2, things get really dramatic.
I’m convinced we can’t fully obey God’s Word until we understand why the Lord calls for perfect obedience. Why does God demand this? Is it because he’s a despot, a tyrant who delights in placing heavy yokes and burdens on his people? No, not at all. Jesus tells us the burden he places on us is light and easy (Matthew 11:30). His commands aren’t grievous.
Have you ever been overwhelmed? Are there days when you face things that seem too difficult to deal with? The Bible isn’t silent on the subject. God’s Word provides great encouragement to us as we seek to overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds positioned against us.
I know what it’s like to believe the promises of God and not see them realized. I know the promise of unspeakable joy and also years of discouragement and even depression. I know what it’s like to hear God’s promise of an overcoming, victorious life and spend long seasons overwhelmed and defeated. I know the promise that we’ll know his love—the height, depth and breadth of it—and yet not sense that love but instead feel driven to earn it.
When you’ve been in ministry long enough, you start noticing pendulum shifts in the church’s teaching. Sometimes the emphasis is on one subject for a season. Then it swings in an opposite direction for a while.
Accepting Our High Calling to Share the Joy of the Lord
There are two elements of Jesus’ life that are meant to be part of our lives too. That is, we’re called to be holy and anointed. Some Christians might be intimidated when they hear this. “Sure, I live a moral life, and I do my best to be godly—but holy? And anointed? How could that happen with all my failures?”
Yet here it is, straight from Peter’s pen: “It is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:16, ESV).
Not long ago I was invited to a lavish lunch in a spacious New York City apartment. It was a beautiful home, 20 floors up with a wide balcony and a great view of the city. The woman who hosted the event put on a great feast, with luscious vegetables, salads, and pork loin.
I grew up in a Christian home with a father who believed the powers of darkness are not to be left alone; they’re to be confronted. When we see evil wreaking havoc, we’re not meant to run from it—we’re to run toward it. As Christians, we’re created to do warfare with the enemy of humankind.
Your Best Days Ahead Pursuing God’s Great Purposes
“Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands” (Daniel 10:10).
I made it a study of mine to learn why and how God lays his hand upon certain people. Why does the Lord anoint particular men and women with his touch? Why do certain ones have an incredible urge to pray and seek God, while others in the same spiritual environment go their own way, living a life of ease, complacency, or even compromise?