Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Holy Spirit ABC (1)

This past weekend we were in Ludwigslust, Germany, where we gave workshops on the person and the work of the Holy Spirit during a conference. We absolutely LOVE to do this kind of work: making complicated things simple and practical.

The theme of this conference, which was being held during the Ascension Day weekend, was: Transformation. A great theme in light of the ascension of Jesus. His return to the Father marked the beginning of a new era for all believers. An era of big changes and worldwide revival, we are still in it today! Jesus talked about the reason for his return to the Father, However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you] (John 16:7, AMP). It is profitable for us that Jesus went back to the Father. Why?

Because Jesus was able to reach only a limited amount of people while He walked the earth as a man. On foot and by ship He reached thousands in the Middle East, but as far as we know He never came to Northern Europe, or the USA for that matter. That is why the Holy Spirit had to come, because He can live in millions of people at the same time. And these people can go all over the world and do what Jesus did. This is how God had ordained it. Jesus said: Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father (John 14:12). Please, read and re-read these words in the context. It is so exciting and so clear what Jesus is saying to us.

The Holy Spirit came to replace Jesus here on earth, so we would not be left alone. He is our friend, our teacher and our comforter. He is near us and in us, always. In order to get to know Him better we have to develop our fellowship or friendship with Him. I will write more about that in my next post.

For now, have a wonderful weekend. Here in Holland we celebrate Pentecost big time. It is a public holiday, a long weekend! We will be camping at the Pentecost Festival, where about 60.000 people from all churches and denominations come together over the weekend to celebrate the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Size does not matter

Have you ever looked up at someone because of their unshakeable faith? Have you ever asked God for greater faith? I believe it is not a weird question at all, the disciples asked Jesus the same thing when they saw Him do all kinds of great stuff.

His answer can be found in Matthew 17:20 (TEV), I assure you that if you have faith as big as a mustard seed, you can say to this hill "Go from here to there!" and it will go. You could do anything! Notice that this translation says faith as BIG as a mustard seed. Jesus' perception of size is different than ours! He basically tells the disciples, and us today, what mustard seed faith is: something very small you can use in order to do something very big!

Faith without works is dead. Faith that exists in our head or on paper only, is no faith at all. Faith without works is like a bird in a cage: it cannot spread its wings. So, maybe you have faith for a project, for a change, for healing or deliverance... small faith, big faith, trembling faith... it doesn't really matter. We have no excuse to be passive. Go ahead, take whatever faith you have and talk it over with the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to help you use it in a way that brings results. Together we can move mountains!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Facing fear in prayer

Talking about our fears in prayer exposes them.
Do you have a fear that needs to be dealt with?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Fertile soil

Recently I was reading the parable of the sower again, maybe for the umpteenth time, and again I was pleasantly surprised to discover how timeless Jesus' teachings are. In Luke 8 Jesus tells the parable of the sower to a large crowd and later explains it in detail, to his disciples.

He basically tells them what to expect when sharing the gospel. There are four different ways people will react to the Good News according to His words in verse 11-15,

  • Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. It is really sad when this takes place, and maybe you have seen it happen to someone you know. Remember that we can always pray for another moment to come.
  • Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. Faith without roots will not survive, the first sign of a storm will knock it down. Our faith should be rooted in love, Gods love. Let's remain in His love!
  • The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. I believe, many Christians find themselves in this group nowadays. Jesus mentions worries, riches and pleasures in one sentence; it doesn't matter if life's distractions are good or bad, when they keep us away from the Word, they will eventually choke us. Choking... one of the biggest problems for believers in the Western world. Worries, stress, fear, materialism, luxuries... if not careful they will keep us from maturing.
  • The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. This is our goal, this is where we want to be! Retaining the Word, cherishing it, which means we will keep it close and meditate on it day and night. By PERSEVERING we will produce a crop. Fruit bearing does not happen automatically, we need to be faithful and not give up.
Can you describe the soil of your heart?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Away from keyboard

During the last several weeks I have not written much on this weblog and I haven't had much time to read yours either. We have been traveling throughout Europe and we were often without internet, which was actually really nice :)

Please visit my blog Traveling Light for a report on our mission trip. Thanks for being patient with me, I hope to be back on schedule again soon.