Evidence of the New Birth

You must be born again —John 3:7
 

New birth is miraculous; and radical.

The answer to Nicodemus’ question, “How can a man be born when he is old?” is: Only when he is willing to die to everything in his life, including his rights, his virtues, and his religion, and becomes willing to receive into himself a new life that he has never before experienced ( John 3:4  ). This new life exhibits itself in our conscious repentance and through our unconscious holiness.
But as many as received Him. . .” ( John 1:12  ). Is my knowledge of Jesus the result of my own internal spiritual perception, or is it only what I have learned through listening to others? Is there something in my life that unites me with the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior? My spiritual history must have as its underlying foundation a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. To be born again means that I see Jesus.
“. . . unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God ” (John 3:3). Am I seeking only for the evidence of God’s kingdom, or am I actually recognizing His absolute sovereign control? The new birth gives me a new power of vision by which I begin to discern God’s control. His sovereignty was there all the time, but with God being true to His nature, I could not see it until I received His very nature myself.
Whoever has been born of God does not sin. . .” ( 1 John 3:9  ). Am I seeking to stop sinning or have I actually stopped? To be born of God means that I have His supernatural power to stop sinning. The Bible never asks, “Should a Christian sin?” The Bible emphatically states that a Christian must not sin. The work of the new birth is being effective in us when we do not commit sin. It is not merely that we have the power not to sin, but that we have actually stopped sinning. Yet 1 John 3:9 does not mean that we cannot sin— it simply means that if we will obey the life of God in us, that we do not have to sin.
Can you say “I have been born again.”?  There is no other way to be completely blessed.
Nick

Grieving the Spirit by Despising the Discipline of the Lord

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him —Hebrews 12:5 
We quench the Spirit when we don’t listen to His voice. It is very easy to grieve the Spirit of God; we do it by despising the discipline of the Lord, or by becoming discouraged when He rebukes us. We begin to pout, become irritated with God, and then say, “Oh well, I can’t help it. I prayed and things didn’t turn out right anyway. So I’m simply going to give up on everything.” Just think what would happen if we acted like this in any other area of our lives!
Am I fully prepared to allow God to grip me by His power and do a work in me that is truly worthy of Himself? Sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do for me— sanctification is God’s idea of what He wants to do for me.
Lord clear our minds of what we think sanctification means. Place us where you would have us, in your will, make us what you would have us be.
Blessed to be Yours,
Nick

Do Not Quench the Spirit

Do not quench the Spirit —1 Thessalonians 5:19
 
I believe that we quench the Spirit not so much by dumping cold water on His Fire, but by failing to be in close enough relationship with Him to be able to hear His voice. 

The voice of the Spirit of God is as gentle as a summer breeze— so gentle that unless you are living in complete fellowship and oneness with God, you will never hear it. The sense of warning and restraint that the Spirit gives comes to us in the most amazingly gentle ways. And if you are not sensitive enough to detect His voice, you will quench it, and your spiritual life will be impaired. This sense of restraint will always come as a “still small voice” ( 1 Kings 19:12  ), so faint that no one except a saint of God will notice it.
We develop a habit of hearing the Spirit. We hear the still small voice; we respond; we realize by the results that it must have been the Spirit. The next time, it is easier to recognize that voice. 
Why does He speak so softly? Because He respects our free will. If He spoke loudly all resistance to Him would be blown away. He wants our following to flow naturally out of our developing relationship. Anything else is quenching.
Don’t quench and be blessed.
Nick

The Theology of Resting in God

Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? —Matthew 8:26

How can we measure how our walk is going? One reliable way is to consider how much we fear. Trust in God and fear are inversely proportional. I learned that in algebra or something. It means the more we trust the less we fear. As we walk with God our confidence in His guidance, our trust, should be growing and our fear of what lies around the next bend should be less.
I understand that there are no atheists in foxholes. When we are afraid, we turn to God and hope He is there.  When we are afraid, the least we can do is pray to God. But our Lord has a right to expect that those who name His name have an underlying confidence in Him.
“. . . O you of little faith!” What a stinging pain must have shot through the disciples as they surely thought to themselves, “We missed the mark again!” And what a sharp pain will go through us when we suddenly realize that we could have produced complete and utter joy in the heart of Jesus by remaining absolutely confident in Him, in spite of what we were facing.
Our process of sanctification, can be measured by the extent of our peaceful resting in God, which means a total oneness with Him. Let it be our goal that tomorrow we will fear less than we did today and that we will rest more in Him. If so we will surely be blessed.
Nick

This Experience Must Come

Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha . . . saw him no more —2 Kings 2:11-12

I once belonged to a fellowship with a very charismatic leader. The group experienced great growth and saw much movement of the Holy Spirit. Then the leader left; and the church was never the same. Later when asked members seemed more enamored of the church and its past leadership than it was of Christ. 

In the days of Promise Keepers we were taught that each of us should have a mentor and be a mentor to another. This is great advice; but a mentor should always point to Christ not be a substitute for Him.

It is not wrong for you to depend on your “Elijah” or mentor for as long as God gives him to you. But remember that the time will come when he must leave and will no longer be your guide and your leader, because God does not intend for him to stay. Even the thought of that causes you to say, “I cannot continue without my ’Elijah.’ ” Yet God says you must continue.

Who is your mentor? Who are you mentoring? Are you pointing someone to Christ? Is someone helping you in following Him?
We are not meant to walk alone. Walk with another and together follow Christ and
Be blessed.
Nick

Despicable Me

Yesterday I saw the movie Despicable Me. It’s the story of an aging villain, past his prime, and three adorable orphans. It soon becomes clear that he needs them more than they need him. The movie impressed me so that last night I dreamed of orphans and having too much time on my hands. We live in a world starving for the love of Jesus. His love is sufficient, but it’s not getting where it’s needed. The failure is in the delivery system: Us. If we are not doing everything we can to convey His love to a suffering world, then we need to apply the movie title to ourselves, Despicable Me or maybe Poor Poor Pitiful Me. Be a conduit of His love today and be blessed and not Despicable.
Nick

The Holy Suffering of the Saint

Let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good . . . —1 Peter 4:19

When my Dad lay dying many came to visit and to pray with and for him. One I will never forget. He came by and introduced himself as a chaplain. He prayed and even sang a touching song. Dad was out of it and I was glad because this gentleman ended the pray with words like “may the suffering of Mr. Rene make up for anything lacking in the suffering of Christ.” I was shocked. There is nothing “lacking” in the suffering of Christ. Jesus did all that was necessary to purchase our salvation and our “suffering” adds nothing to that.

Over the years of Christianity there have been those who sought suffering as either a payment for sin or for some other “spiritual” reason. Choosing to suffer means that there must be something wrong with you, but choosing God’s will— even if it means you will suffer— is something very different. No normal, healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he simply chooses God’s will, just as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not. And no saint should ever dare to interfere with the lesson of suffering being taught in another saint’s life.

There is no question that life is tough and there is suffering. We often meet Jesus in our suffering and suffering may aid in our growth; but we should in no way ever think that our suffering is necessary to our salvation. That takes away from what Jesus did and is “just wrong.”

We trust God with our lives no matter what joy or sorrow follow Him may lead to. We know Guide loves us more than we love ourselves and know what is good for us more than we ever could. We follow and we are blessed.

Nick

Prayer in the Father’s Hearing

Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ’Father, I thank You that You have heard Me’ —John 11:41

The Life of Christ was the example of a life of prayer. He made no move without consultation with the Father. The unity of Father and Son is such that Jesus responded to Philip when asked to “show us the Father:”
 
Jesus answered, “Philip, I have been with you for a long time. So you should know me. The person that has seen me has seen the Father too. So why do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you truly believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The things I have told you don’t come from me. The Father lives in me, and he is doing his own work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or believe because of the miracles I have done.” John 14:8-11

This unity of Father and Son was maintained by a life of prayer. When the Son of God prays, He is mindful and consciously aware of only His Father. Part of our inheritance as children of God is the potential of such oneness in our relationship with Him.

In order to be one with Our Lord, we must surrender control to Him. His purposes must be ours. His heart ours as well.

A life of prayer and obedience is the only way and what a joyous way it is.

Be one with Him and Be blessed.

Nick