One can not study the revivals of history without being struck by stories of great faith – men and women with a Hebrews 11:1 kind of faith who were confident in what they hoped for and assured of what they did not see.
Phoebe Palmer, for example, was a bold evangelist and writer in the 1800s and was considered one of the founders of the Holiness Revival in America and the United Kingdom. Greatly criticised for speaking publicly as a woman and for addressing mixed crowds, she was so assured of her calling and confident in relying on God, that she was not shaken from her hard work and persistence. As a result, thousands of men and women came to know Christ under her teaching.
If faith comes from hearing the message of Christ (Romans 10:17) and faith without good works is dead (James 2:17), then let us today take God at His Word and do something!
Write down the name of someone who you would like to share the message of Jesus with. Do something to actively build the relationship or strengthen your friendship with them – it is relationship that will make a way for you to share Jesus with them! What other areas in your life are you believing God for breakthrough?
NOW FAITH IS CONFIDENCE IN WHAT WE HOPE FOR AND ASSURANCE ABOUT WHAT WE DO NOT SEE. THIS IS WHAT THE ANCIENTS WERE COMMENDED FOR.
Hebrews 11:1-2 (NIV)
Every now and then, life presents us with the opportunity to cultivate a grateful heart. A moment when we are suddenly aware that we have much to be thankful for and that we haven’t been thankful at all. A moment when the phrase ‘spoilt-brat’ comes to mind.
Sometimes we shake it off. Other times, with the best intentions, we realign our perspective, only to find it soon slipping away again.
Why do we fail to maintain a grateful heart when we try so hard?
Perhaps the answer lies in the question itself.
Perhaps it is because we try.
A Spirit-led life is one characterised by responding to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. It can be as simple as encouraging someone when we feel that ‘nudge’ in our spirit. When we live empowered beyond our human limitations in this way, we can not help but be astounded by God’s grace, wondering: How can it be that Almighty God chooses to be intimately involved in my life, prompting me by His Spirit? It is too much.
And we find that over time, the Spirit -led life shapes us into someone who is genuinely grateful and doesn’t take life for granted. To be that kind person who makes people want to get right up close and ask ‘why?’
Today, share with someone the daily things you are grateful for and the work of God in your life.
REJOICE ALWAYS, PRAY CONTINUALLY, GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES; FOR THIS IS GOD’S WILL FOR YOU IN CHRIST JESUS.
It is not enough to know that we are ‘empowered by the Holy Spirit,’ we need also need to know what we are enabled to do.
When Peter addressed the people in Acts 4:8, filled with the Holy Spirit, he was fearless in the face of scepticism. Likewise, in verse 33 we read ‘With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus’.
It is the Holy Spirit’s power that enables us to be witnesses for Christ, both in word and in action.
With the Holy Spirit’s empowering we can to go into all the world and tell people that they have a Saviour who loves them and literally died for them! This Spirit who draws, convicts and saves people, is a gift to those who are prone to timidity and pride alike, as we cannot boast in our works at all, but only in the Spirit’s!
As the British Evangelist Smith Wigglesworth said, “We may be nothing but in God we can be mighty.” In what ways do you need the Holy Spirit to enable you to share Christ? Ask Him!
WITH GREAT POWER THE APOSTLES CONTINUED TO TESTIFY TO THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD JESUS. AND GOD’S GRACE WAS SO POWERFULLY AT WORK IN THEM ALL.
Acts 4:33 (NIV)
Graced with POWER
The book of Acts describes how early believers, empowered by the Holy Spirit, carried on the life and work of Jesus Christ after His ascension to Heaven.
This account is well known to most Christians but is worth us pausing to reflect on.
Ordinary men and women were able to carry on with the life-changing work of Jesus after He had returned to Heaven.
Wait. What? The work that had previously been done by the Son of God, Jesus Christ was carried on by ORDINARY men and women?
How? Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the work of Jesus was carried on by ordinary men and women.
And so it is today.
Sometimes we forget that the Holy Spirit is the source of our power and find ourselves in a place where our well-intentioned diligence has become striving. Sometimes we forget and become overwhelmed by feelings of powerlessness. Take a moment today to re-align and invite the Holy Spirit to empower you once again.
ON ONE OCCASION, WHILE HE WAS EATING WITH THEM, HE GAVE THEM THIS COMMAND: “DO NOT LEAVE JERUSALEM, BUT WAIT FOR THE GIFT MY FATHER PROMISED, WHICH YOU HAVE HEARD ME SPEAK ABOUT. FOR JOHN BAPTIZED WITH WATER, BUT IN A FEW DAYS YOU WILL BE BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.”
Acts 1:4-5 (NIV)
BUT YOU WILL RECEIVE POWER WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT COMES ON YOU; AND YOU WILL BE MY WITNESSES IN JERUSALEM, AND IN ALL JUDEA AND SAMARIA, AND TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.”
Acts 1:8 (NIV)
The Evangelical Revival in 1739 – 1791, with preachers like John Wesley and George Whitefield, was known for its teaching on holiness and was given the nickname the ‘Holiness Revival’. It was marked by those who were convicted of their sin, surrendered to Christ, and therefore lived with purity of heart and life.
Emerging from this was an understanding of ‘social holiness’ in the teaching of Wesley who understood that salvation was not only about heaven but about loving God and loving people on earth. Wesley realised that holiness needed to be outworked in the community as a necessary part of church life.
There is nothing like remembering that our pursuit of being Christ-like is not just about ourselves, but for others too. In Galatians 6:9, Paul encouraged believers “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Take Paul’s words to heart today and resolve to continue submitting to the process of purity through Christ, for the sake of all those who are, as yet, unsaved.
THEREFORE, AS GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE, HOLY AND DEARLY LOVED, CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH COMPASSION, KINDNESS, HUMILITY, GENTLENESS AND PATIENCE. BEAR WITH EACH OTHER AND FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER IF ANY OF YOU HAS A GRIEVANCE AGAINST SOMEONE. FORGIVE AS THE LORD FORGAVE YOU. AND OVER ALL THESE VIRTUES PUT ON LOVE, WHICH BINDS THEM ALL TOGETHER IN PERFECT UNITY.
Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
The Process of PURITY
As a result of being in relationship with Christ and the Holy Spirit living within us, we are on a journey of transformation. This is the process of purity. The change is slow, steady and unobtrusive; our thoughts, desires, responses and attitudes are shaped into the image of Christ as we allow Him to work in our hearts. Outwardly our bodies will perish as we age – an inevitable fate of humans. But our inward person – our soul – is renewed and refreshed through our relationship with God.
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul is careful to mention that the renewal of our soul is a daily process set in motion by the Holy Spirit. We will never be perfect and complete until we meet with Christ face-to-face. As we grow in Him and mature in our faith, so we will start to reflect more of who God is in our own nature and conduct.
What characteristics of Christ would you like to most reflect? What areas in your life do you feel most challenged to shape-up?
THEREFORE WE DO NOT LOSE HEART. THOUGH OUTWARDLY WE ARE WASTING AWAY, YET INWARDLY WE ARE BEING RENEWED DAY BY DAY.
2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)
DEAR FRIENDS, NOW WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD, AND WHAT WE WILL BE HAS NOT YET BEEN MADE KNOWN. BUT WE KNOW THAT WHEN CHRIST APPEARS, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, FOR WE SHALL SEE HIM AS HE IS. ALL WHO HAVE THIS HOPE IN HIM PURIFY THEMSELVES, JUST AS HE IS PURE.
1 John 3:2-3 (NIV)
The Process of PURITY
We all influence those around us whether we are aware of it or not. Perhaps it is when we lead in some sphere of life as a parent, teacher, team leader, captain of a sports team or board member. At some point in life there will be people looking up to you or observing you, especially if you are a Christian.
We need to reflect Christ to those who do not yet know Him. Selwyn Hughes, founder of Crusade for World Revival, posed this question, “By our attitudes are we nullifying the Christian message? Does our behaviour contradict the very truths we are trying to get across to others?”
Take a moment to consider Hughes’ question. Does your lifestyle reflect one that is completely in love with Christ and submitted to God? Invite God to work in these areas so that you can be a better influence on others for Him.
DEAR FRIENDS, I URGE YOU, AS FOREIGNERS AND EXILES, TO ABSTAIN FROM SINFUL DESIRES, WHICH WAGE WAR AGAINST YOUR SOUL. LIVE SUCH GOOD LIVES AMONG THE PAGANS THAT, THOUGH THEY ACCUSE YOU OF DOING WRONG, THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD DEEDS AND GLORIFY GOD ON THE DAY HE VISITS US.
1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV)