All I need

He was parched. For more than a month, He had plastered His footprint around the barren desert. He walked during the cooler parts of the day and found rest during the darkest watches of the night. The sun beat down upon His brow with intense heat. Sitting to rest and pray was necessary to go on. In this wilderness, He was tempted by Satan, but the Holy Spirit had sent Him there (Mk. 1:12). He was with wild animals, but angels cared for Him (1:13).


He had fasted 40 days in the desert. Jesus needed food, right? After all, He was hungry. A hungry man needs food. Satan used that exact argument: “You need food! Turn these stones into bread.” Jesus answered, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4). A hungry man needs a higher sustenance that goes beyond natural food.

When you bore down to the deepest level, we all need this sustenance. What do you need? You need whatever will sustain you to accomplish God’s will for your life. But where does that sustenance come from?

Of course, you need to be eating properly and caring for your body. But food alone will not sustain you. Satan later tried to tempt Jesus with worldly riches (Mt. 4:8-10). Do you need money? We’ve heard often that Jesus clothes lilies and watches over sparrows. Luke records that He feeds the ravens too (Lk. 12:24). This is gripping because, according to Jewish law, ravens were ceremonially unclean birds. These birds could not be given as an acceptable sacrifice. Yet the LORD provides even for them. He sees your need. He knows what will sustain you. We are not to set our hope on “the uncertainty of riches but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17).
 
Are you too dependent upon important people in your life? I’m not saying you should neglect other relationships because you have Jesus. When you follow Christ, you learn that He often encourages and speaks through others in His body. But we must be able to spend time alone with Him, to look to Him first, as we wait upon and listen to Him.

Philippians 4:19 speaks of God meeting all of the believers’ needs “according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” In His wilderness time of need, Christ’s sustenance came through the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the ministry of angels (Lk. 4:1, 4; Mt. 4:11; Mk. 1:13). Followers of Jesus have access to all three of these (Heb. 1:14).

Ultimately, Jesus Christ is our sustenance. In other words, when you introduce someone to Jesus, you give her everything (Col. 3:11). Paul learned to be content in all circumstances, because he trusted the One who always provides (Phil. 4:11-13). The writer of Hebrews states, “Be content with what you have” (Heb. 13:5). But how? The verse continues explaining we’re content because the LORD says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 

You have only one true need. It’s not food or drink, riches, or even friends. If you will hold fast to Jesus, He will provide your daily sustenance that you might carry out His will. Find delight in His presence. He will use whatever means necessary, whether food, people, or supernatural strength during 40 days in the desert, to sustain you. In Christ alone, you truly have all you need.

Bear much fruit

My Momma came bolting up the stairs nearly in tears. She was ecstatic. Something important had clearly transpired in her life. Why the excitement? Why the emotion? What was happening? She proceeded to explain in decibels that demonstrated the masterful design the LORD used in creating the human ear.


“It’s my fig tree!” she exclaimed. “It’s finally produced figs—three of them!”

How long and patiently she had waited for her fig tree to produce figs. My godfather Padrino Gino, a Sicilian immigrant, had given her this treasure two years before in the late summer. Growing figs is a time-honored, Italian tradition. Mamina planted it in an elephantine plastic pot and watered regularly. It displayed nothing but leaves for several years.

You started to wonder, “Is fig season ever coming?” She explained that she told the tree it would be cursed if it didn’t produce. A few short weeks later, her efforts paid off in the form of three plump, tasty figs.

In Matthew 21:18-19, Jesus approaches a fig tree, looking for fruit. He is hungry but finds only leaves. He curses it, saying, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately it withers. Mark 11:13 adds the detail that it was not fig season.

According to Evangelist Ray Comfort, there are only two proper times to preach Word: in season and out of season. Many, who stall, delaying for the exact proper moment to share the Gospel, neglect the Scriptural command to witness and preach the Word in and out of season (2 Tim. 4:2). There is no excuse for neglecting the ministry of the Gospel. We are called to be prepared. We must love, know, and study the Gospel so deeply that it flows from our lips with ease. Believers will continue to discover the glorious depths of the Gospel in Heaven as we pursue knowing Jesus for all eternity. On earth, we must rely on His Holy Spirit to be ever prepared to share His good news.

Jesus taught that true and false prophets are discerned by their fruit. Those without good fruit are cast into the fire of Hell. This fruit is more than good deeds. Jesus explained that unless our works flow from a genuine, personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus, they are worthless (Mt. 7:15-23; Lk. 6:43-45; 13:5-8). Not everyone who calls Jesus “Lord” and does good in His Name will be in Heaven. The true believer has surrendered his life to Jesus, and his life, transformed by the Holy Spirit, evidences it.

Paul urges professing believers to examine themselves to ensure they are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). John the Beloved’s first letter was written as a test we can use. He penned, “I write these things to you who believe in the Name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:13). James reminds us that a fig tree doesn’t produce olives, and a pure heart doesn’t praise and curse (3:9-13). The way we speak and live evidences our true heart condition.

Momma has placed her fig tree in the garage now to protect it from the coming frost. Last season, she covered it with a cardboard box in the garage away from the draft of the door. Once a month, she gives it a cup of water. This year, it’s blossomed so large that she may wrap it with a box and then cover it with a blanket. The leaves will all fall and only the stem will remain.

For those who live in falseness and pretending, the Bible gives a solemn warning. When their lives are called upon to produce figs seemingly out of season when they don’t expect it, their disobedience will be brought into the light, and they will be accountable for their neglect and ultimate fruitlessness. Be connected to the True Vine (Jn. 15:1-5). Bear much fruit.

Two of Momma’s first figs (7-12-10)

Awake, O sleeper!

It was Dec. 15th of last year. I was resting on my top bunk in our Chicago dorm during the earliest hours of the morning. It was cold out there. Suddenly, I was jolted awake by a loud pounding at our door.


An officer entered the room and shouted instructions: “Wake up! Out of bed!” We drifted sleepily out of bed. My exhausted roommate could only mutter, “I need pants. I need pants,” over and over again. The officer demanded we quickly evacuate our room.

I fumbled tiredly through my drawer. “What do I need to bring?” my numb mind wondered to no avail. Thankfully, I thought to put on my glasses. But that’s all I grabbed. I left behind my keys and ID. All the while, the soft reassuring music of my “Bedtime” iTunes playlist sang on the computer. My roommate and I had slept through the fire alarm. Most of the building had already evacuated.

The campus security officer wanted to know our names. He reported us into his walkie-talkie: “Marcus Constantine and Jordan Gilbert found asleep in their beds while the fire alarm rang.” I wondered if our sleepiness made us indirectly guilty of insubordination. Thankfully, there were no lasting repercussions for our slumber.

The officer again goaded us out of our warm room. We took off barreling at top speed down fourteen flights of stairs. Suddenly, the oddity of the situation hit me. There I was donning a pair of black dress shoes below my orange pajama pants and my heavy winter jacket. My roommate modeled a pair of old sweatpants and flip-flops. We were thoroughly unprepared.

Just when we reached the main lobby, security gave the okay to return to our rooms. We joined a crowd of chilled, groggy men, who had been evacuated from their comfy beds. My roommate and I hauled our confused bodies back up the fourteen flights. I used the railings to pull myself up, as my legs were thoroughly disoriented and went on strike for the night.

In the physical, I climbed back under my covers and drifted back to sleep. In the spiritual, I’d received a taste of what it’s like to be caught sleeping when an urgent call is made. Hear Ephesians 5:14, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” The chapter urges hearers to imitate God, live as children of light, expose darkness, make the most of every opportunity, and submit out of reverence for Christ.

We must wake up from slumber, for the end of all things is near (1 Pet. 4:7). Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed (Rom. 13:11-12). Jesus will return soon. Be ready, O unbeliever, and rise from the dead by surrendering your life to Jesus. Don’t be caught sleeping when the judgment bell tolls. Awaken, O believer!  The night is far spent; the day is at hand. 

Are you snoozing through life? Do you enjoy your pillow and your blankie too much to rise, shine and be a bold witness of the Gospel? Are you sluggish to open your mouth and share Jesus? Are you too sleepy to make Him known to a dying world? Are you so busy that you have no time for God’s Word? Are you too tired to awaken, to be watchful and vigilant for your Lord? Will you not wait one hour with the Lord Jesus in the garden as He prays? He’s interceding for you (Jn. 17; Heb. 7:25). How much in your life is truly for the cause of Christ? How much is for yourself? Are you coasting through this life? Are you asleep? Rise.

Unintended curriculum

The speaker shuffled his notes and feet uneasily. Impressionable young eyes stared back at him—some clouded with pain, others glowing with life.


He cleared his throat and told a “funny” story from his youth of a time he’d been intoxicated. The speaker went on to present a well-polished sermon. At the end of this youth meeting, a gray-haired woman waited patiently to address the speaker.

When her turn arrived, she gently questioned, “Were you trying to teach the kids that being drunk is fun?”

“No!” he snapped. “I was teaching from the Book of James.”

Shaking her head sadly, she sighed, “What about your opening? You had ‘em laughing intensely about being drunk.”

“That was just my opening illustration! It was meant to be funny. Didn’t you hear me qualify afterward that being drunk is a sin?”

“Let me be clear. I’m not saying you should hide the fact that you’ve been drunk before, but that story was merely intended to make the kids laugh. It made light of a serious issue in the lives of those learners.”

The true rarity in the story above is the woman’s wise, gentle rebuke. Thoughtlessness on the part of speakers is widespread and can be deadly. 

As a young student, leading the Bible club at my public high school, I read an article on unintended curriculum that confronted my attitude toward using my words. The article questioned, what do you teach without meaning to? What do you lead hearers to infer and what conclusions do they draw from your words? Our curriculum includes both our content and our attitude.

To avoid any unintended curriculum here, let me clarify. I’m not saying we shouldn’t share stories of past sin or present struggles. Growing to be wise and confident in self-disclosure is actually a mark of Christ-like maturity. However, always avoid speaking with an attitude that glorifies sin, sickness, or Satan. The shifty, shiny speaker in the story above neglected this for the sake of humor. As a result, his hearers were fed attitudes that may have led them into temptation and the very lap of evil. 

I have liberty to tell stories and to answer any sort of question. It’s a matter of what I say and how I say it. I often ask myself, “What will listeners hear and learn from what I speak out?” In group settings, I tell stories that lift up Jesus and speak truth clearly. In one-to-one conversations, I aim to communicate with a respectful spirit.

Afterward, I ask the Holy Spirit to convict me of any sin. He is faithful to do so. That’s part of His mission (Jn. 16:7-11). And I’m grateful for it. In fulfilling His mission, the Holy Spirit empowers us to fulfill our great commission. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for convicting and holding us accountable. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for sending Your Spirit in power. 

The Lord judges teachers more strictly, because our words hold the power of life and death for listeners (Jm. 3:1; Prov. 18:21). Oh, let us speak boldly and wisely. Whether an aged saint is present to confront us or not, every time we speak, let us do so with knowledge that we are held accountable for what we teach both intentionally and unintentionally.

The art of asking questions

“If it weren’t for God, I wouldn’t be alive today,” she said. “Before you invited me to Truth Seekers, I was planning on killing myself.” It’s a story I share often because it exemplifies Jesus’ hand on our ministry in high school.


The Bible club started my freshman year and was called Truth Seekers for good reason. We met together weekly to seek the Truth (Jn. 14:6). At one of our meetings, a student shared the above testimony.

The story started when I asked her a simple question in the hall: “Will you join us at Truth Seekers?” She agreed. She heard the Gospel at our meeting. The Holy Spirit led her to Jesus, who did a saving work in her life. It started with one invitation, one question.

I’m grateful for questions. They enable me to engage in conversation and grow to better know those I love. Questions are an effective tool to use in witnessing (Acts 8). It’s through asking questions that we meet with answers. 

I asked many questions growing up. Momma was gracious: “Now, Marcus, you know the answer to that question. Think about it for a minute. It’ll come to you.” Dad, on the other hand: “Open your eyes and you shall see. If it was any more obvious, the answer’d bite you in the nose!”

Since then, I’ve grown immensely in decisiveness, but I will always ask questions. Questions are important for nearly everything I do as a follower of Jesus. When I share the gospel and preach in the open air, I often begin my message with questions to draw a crowd, seeking to engage those walking by. The Holy Spirit electrifies simple questions and uses them to capture attention and draw hearts unto Jesus with a seemingly magnetic pull.

I’ve been so thankful for the ministries of the Way of the Master and Mark Cahill and their emphases on using questions to engage people in witnessing conversations. Using questions, I bring people through the Ten Commandments to an understanding of their sin, preparing the soil of their hearts to hear the glorious message of the Savior. 

Let’s ask questions and listen intently to responses, because we love people deeply as Christ has first loved us (1 Jn. 4:19). When you discover where someone is, you can meet her there and lead her to where Jesus is.

Another week at Truth Seekers, a friend submitted an “anonymous” suggestion card, which read, “Can we have more discussion?” In other words, “Will you ask more questions, so we have opportunity to speak out more?” That suggestion shaped the rest of my ministry. 

Ask questions. What a remarkable idea! Draw the truth out of your listeners. Always submit to the Bible as the absolute measuring rod to evaluate every truth claim. Help others exegete His truth by asking questions.

Ultimately, genuine questions can lead to an encounter with the Living Truth. It’s only the truth of Jesus that sets captives free. When we ask questions, seeking truth, we will find Him. For, He is the Truth, and He is not far from any one who will seek and ask Him (Acts 17:26-31).

Head & Heart – Soulmates

“Would you quit your whimpering?!? I’m trying to think,” Mind growled with an intellectual indifference.

“I can’t help it. This is just so moving!” His companion, Heart, emotionally retorted, sniffling and wiping away tears.
 
I promise, my head and heart don’t have audible conversations within my soul; however, I’ve learned there must be peaceful balance between them. As a follower of Christ, I’m called to think and feel as the Lord Jesus does.
 
I remember learning in a worship music class in Bible college, about the balance between head and heart. Our music professor taught that the arts diverge into two branches: classic, which is orderly and logical, and romantic, which is free and more emotional. Head and heart have arm-wrestled throughout music history. Isn’t this the balance we seek in worship ministry today too?
 
In a preaching class, our professor taught that ministering the Word is both a science, involving mental discipline, and an art, requiring the Holy Spirit’s influence on the speaker’s heart. Head and heart must cooperate under the unction of the Holy Spirit to deliver an effective message.
 
John 1:12 speaks of both receiving Jesus and believing in His Name. The Lord, through John, explains there’s an experiential and an intellectual component to becoming born again as a child of God through Jesus Christ (Jn. 3). We believe the truth of the Gospel and turn from lawbreaking to follow Christ.
 
I was baptized as an infant and grew up in a church where I learned about the Bible. My head was full of knowledge, but I hadn’t encountered the Risen Christ. My heart hadn’t yet been pricked with a godly sorrow that brings repentance (2 Cor. 7:10). When I heard the Gospel call to repent and be saved, the Holy Spirit brought conviction of sin and my need for Jesus. I received and believed.
 
I heard Apologist Josh McDowell explain on the radio once that it was not just intellectual doubt that kept him from faith. Deep emotional wounds from his earthly father hindered his heart from believing in the Heavenly Father. He was convinced an Almighty Father would only cause him more pain. The Holy Spirit used both the love and the intellectual evidence of those who witnessed to McDowell to draw him to Jesus.
 
Everything done well in this life must involve a redeemed head and heart. When we act only from the head, we cause pain. When we’re simply moved by the heart, we cause trouble.
Everything done well in this life must involve a redeemed head and heart. When we act only from the head, we cause pain. When we’re simply moved by the heart, we cause trouble. The unregenerate “heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” and the mind must be renewed (Jer. 17:9; Rom. 12:2).
 
Neither emotion nor reason is inherently evil. They are gifts of God, evidence that people are handcrafted in His Image. There’s an element of reason and emotion required for every wise decision, drawing from Scriptural principles and listening for the Holy Spirit’s still, small voice.
 
This balance between head and heart isn’t something I usually dwell on or am overly introspective about. Instead, we listen to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to convict us of any unconfessed sin. When we act unwisely or uncaringly, He graciously convicts. He wants us to be free (2 Cor. 3:17). When He puts His gentle finger on a specific sin, we turn from the sin toward Jesus and move forward in the freedom of His Spirit.
 
Will Head and Heart ever get along? Through the cleansing Blood of Jesus, they sure can. Let’s eagerly desire both Christ-like thinking and feeling. The head and the heart are, after all, soulmates.

What does this balancing act between intellect and emotion look like in your life and work?

Contentment slays the dragon

A wise friend told me of a time when he wrestled intensely with the leviathan of lust. He lived in beach country, where scantily clad people were in no short supply.

 
By God’s grace, he never acted upon his adulterous thoughts. But, as a married man, he marveled at how violently these “youthful lusts” churned in his mind (2 Tim. 2:22). He loved his faithful wife. She was his ministry partner and dearest friend. He was ashamed of the lustful thoughts stewing in his heart.
 
After a long period of confessing his sin to the LORD, he finally confessed to a close friend, who recommended they pray together for the Lord Jesus to reveal the root of his struggle. After prayer, searching Scripture, and intentional listening to the Holy Spirit’s voice, the root became clear.
 
He was discontent with the wife the LORD had given him. She experienced some health issues that made the sexual part of their relationship difficult. He confessed his discontentment as sin, agreed with Christ that his relationship with his wife was a wonderful gift, and repented. He experienced a renewal of contentment, and the serpent of his lust was slain.
 
For many, a root of lust may be discontentment with singleness. To follow Jesus as a single is to be single-heartedly devoted to Him. It is the opportunity to unreservedly pursue intimacy with Jesus. Christ-focused singleness enables a believer to mature into the man or woman the LORD desires and, in so doing, prepare for the possibility of marriage in the future.
 
The Bible calls believers the Bride of Christ (Rev. 19:6-9). His followers are not available to lust and adulterate ourselves to sin. We belong to Jesus. He is our First Love (Rev. 2:4-5).
 
Every sin can be traced back to roots that need to be weeded out—this tangled mess of weeds can include discontentment, pride, doubt, idolatry, and more.
My godfather, an Italian immigrant and master gardener, would say: “A weed is any plant you no longer want to grow.” As long as we nurture and feed poisonous plants, flourish they will…

Guard your contentment in Jesus by telling yourself the truth, praying the issue through, even declaring aloud: “I am content in Christ. I find my complete fulfillment and have my every need met in Him alone!” When we rest content in Jesus, we drive a cross-shaped stake through the heart of the dragon that is our doubt and discontent, spraying weedkiller all over our sin.

St._George_and_the_Dragon-Briton_Riviere

St. George and the Dragon, by Briton Riviere (public domain)

Did God really say…?

“Did God really say…?” hissed the slimy serpent with fork tongue tickling the ears of the unsuspecting beauty. Tantalized, Eve smiled and was deceived. Adam stood nearby, watching wide-eyed. Knowing the consequences, he willfully believed the lie and ate the forbidden fruit.


That snake is still whispering sugarcoated lies. Satan, the deceiver, loves to take a little bite of truth and coat it with venomous deception.

Eve should have responded, “No! I will not stand in judgment over God’s Word. You’re twisting and perverting what He said! His Word is my final authority.”

Instead Eve took the devil’s bait and deemed herself the authority to decide between God’s Word and the devil’s word. She was unconcerned with the specifics of God’s Word and their application to her practice. The serpent had gotten the general gist of what the LORD had spoken. Eve chose to believe an outside source above the direct revelation of God. She decided she knew better than the LORD.

Professing Christians fall into the same trap by claiming to love and honor the Bible and then disobeying it. When you allow the lens of your human experience to define your interpretation of His Word, you allow external sources to trump God’s utterances. 

This fleshes out all over Christian belief and practice. Concerning spiritual gifts, “normal” is what we experience in America and not what the Bible describes. Some explain away the Biblical doctrine of a literal, physical Hell, because it’s unpleasant to think and preach about. And the Biblical mandate to pursue holiness is forgotten by those, who claim, “Well, we’ll always fall into sin, right?” For the sake of the golden calf, pragmatism, many deny the authority of the Word. The question “Does it work?” is asked more often than “Does it please Jesus?”

I’ll zero in on a specific example. Learn the principle, and apply it to all areas of your life.

“Did God really say, ‘Share your faith with the woman sitting next to you’?” hissed the serpent to the Christian on the El train. After all, you haven’t established a relationship. She hasn’t observed your lifestyle. She might be offended.

True, the Bible urges believers to genuinely relate to others as human beings. People are treasures—created in the Image of God—not projects. In the context of a witnessing conversation, the Bible models asking questions and listening (Acts 8:30-35). Genuinely care. Don’t prepare your rebuttal while others speak. Listen.

Evangelism isn’t true to its definition unless it includes using words to directly share the good news of the Gospel. Evangel means, “good news.” Our excuse that we’re sharing through our lifestyle doesn’t hold a thimbleful of water. We’ve allowed a deception to climb into bed with us.

“You’ve got to wait at least two months before you share the Gospel,” hissed the serpent. That’s absurd! Christ is my life. I can’t go two minutes without mentioning the Name of Jesus!

Remember Paul? He became all things to all people that by all possible means he might save some (1 Cor. 9:22-23). It’s because of Paul’s active, verbal witness to the Gentiles that most of us non-Jews have access to the Gospel today. Paul preached in the open-air at the Areopagus meeting, he had Gospel conversations on public transport, he shared Jesus at family gatherings, he wrote and distributed Gospel literature.

Most people recognize genuine concern. Sometimes it’s surprising to receive it, but most often, people love to be loved. Showing concern for someone’s eternal salvation in a Gospel conversation is an expression of the most excellent way (1 Cor. 12:31; 13).

You’re not loving, if you let someone go to Hell unwarned. You don’t really have your eyes fixed on Jesus, if you don’t see people as valuable and in need of Christ. Charles Spurgeon said, “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.”

There’s a small nugget of truth in relational evangelism. But according to Mark Cahill, 88% of witnessing conversations in the New Testament were with strangers (www.markcahill.org). You may not know how to share your faith. If you’re a believer, the Holy Spirit in you will drive you to learn how. He’ll teach you about Jesus and guide you into all truth (Jn. 16:13-14).

Believe the truth of the Bible—God’s literal, inerrant, authoritative Word—above all methods, ideas, and doctrines of men or devils no matter how “pleasing to the eye and good for food” they may appear (Gen. 2:9).

(Visit www.WayoftheMaster.com — an evangelism ministry that the Lord Jesus has used to better equip me in Christ-like, Biblical witnessing.)

Uncalled for: a call for discernment of God’s will

Junior year at our public high school, English class included a unit on media and society. I was surprised when my teacher, a Christ-follower, showed an episode of a popular cartoon television comedy.


As a young believer, I was appalled. The pseudo-humor denigrated women, depicted soft-core porn, cursed, blasphemed the Lord’s Name, badmouthed family, dishonored parents, and more…

After a conversation with her, I realized my teacher’s wisdom: what a clear way to portray the potentially poisonous effects of media on society. I couldn’t wait for group discussion; now my classmates would certainly understand.

However, to my utter dismay, the majority gushed about how they enjoyed the episode and hoped we’d watch another next class. After all, “it might not be good for children, but it’s perfectly fine for me.” I was troubled by their double standard.

Most of these class members were not believers in Jesus. But many professing Christians similarly lack discernment. It’s concerning and can be quite dangerous.

In Philippians 4:8-9, the Holy Spirit speaks through Paul: if it’s true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy let it into your head, so you can think about it (vs. 8). Whether we like it or not, what we let in our heads sinks down into our hearts and begins to flow out in what we say and do. When you put Christ-honoring things into your heart and into practice, there’s a promise: God will be with you (vs. 9).

Is this passage written centuries ago to a group of Philippians really intended to serve as a filter for modern-day Jesus-followers? That depends on whether or not we want God to be near to us. It depends on how much we desire to walk closely within His will for our lives.

Christian liberty and grace are not licenses to love the things of the world, pursue youthful lusts, or naively believe everything we hear (Rom. 6:1-4; 2 Tim. 2:22). I’d like to sound the alarm and call for discernment.

Discernment is not only required for entertainment choices. It enables believers to test teaching and counsel. We must hold every truth claim up to the standard of the Bible, as the Bereans did (1 Thes. 5:21). They didn’t even take Paul’s word for it; they tested his teaching according to God’s written Word (Acts 17:11). Let’s be wise and not believe all we hear. Let’s not do everything the world around us does.

If we follow Christ, let’s ensure His message is never compromised. Guarding our hearts yields clear minds to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice (Prov. 4:23). Then we can discern the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God (Rom. 12:2). When we discern His will, we ready ourselves to carry it out.  Let’s gear up for the journey!

What has your experience been like with hearing the Spirit’s voice and discerning God’s will?

Do you have any specific media intake boundaries that you’ve set for yourself or decided on together as a family?

We’d love to hear from you…

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Receive God the Holy Spirit

“Oh, Marcus!” exclaimed my roommate, barreling into our dorm room. “My professor said something you would love. He started class by saying, ‘The Trinity is not the Father, the Son, and the Holy Bible. We cannot neglect the Holy Spirit!’”


I smiled. My roommate was right. I do long for professing believers to stop grieving and neglecting the Holy Spirit. Too bad after that class, the professor never mentioned the Holy Spirit again. Must have slipped his mind.

Due to the excesses of some, many professing Christians fear the Holy Spirit and His manifestations. Sure, they might not admit it outright or use that exact wording, but they resist Him.

Reactionary living is deadly. We must always draw our theology from the Bible, not experience. We must embrace the Word and the Spirit.

It must be remembered that Holy Spirit is a co-equal member of the Trinity, the promise of the Father, the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 2:33; 16:7). The Holy Spirit is God (5:3-4). Forgetting Him is a form of blasphemy.

More than a century ago, A.J. Gordon of the Student Volunteer Movement questioned, “Have we forgotten that there is a Holy Ghost, that we must insist upon walking on crutches when we might fly?”

Many of the disorders plaguing believers today—fear, stagnancy, anemic faith—result from neglecting the integral role of Jesus’ Spirit. Christ said it would be better for us when He left, because He would send the Spirit (Jn. 16:7-15). By His Spirit, we will do greater works than Jesus did (Jn. 14:12). Without Him, we’re dead. Intimacy with the Holy Spirit yields His fruit, holiness, power, and passion for the lost (Gal. 5:22-26; 2 Thes. 2:13-14; 1 Pet. 1:2; Acts 1:8).

It’s remarkable. When Jesus came in flesh, He was not recognized (Jn. 1:10-11). Now that He’s sent His Spirit, mankind has given Him the same cold-shoulder treatment.

Most great people of faith have a common element in their testimonies, a personal empowering encounter with the Holy Spirit. Think about Torrey, Tozer, Ravenhill, and Moody. Seeking to experience God is utterly Biblical. We should starve to hear His voice and pant for His nearness.

I issue a challenge: set aside some time in the coming days for a vital appointment. Put it on your calendar. “Meet with Holy Spirit.” Ask Jesus for His Holy Spirit and don’t stop asking until He comes. How will you know when He shows up? Oh, you’ll know. He will bring His gifts and His power for your witness. You’ll never be the same again.