Category: Spirit

LIFE: breathe

There are two instances in Scripture where God breathes. The first time is in Genesis 2:7 when the Father forms the first man and then breathes life into him. “Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person” (NLT). An important distinction that must be made here is that the man did not come alive until after God gave him the breath of life. This shows us that Humans are integrally both physical and spiritual. I would even go so far as to say that we are souls with bodies, rather than bodies with souls. I know that I’m making a play on words, but I believe it is a subtle but important distinction. Life was not present in the physical body; life was in the neshawmaw (breath). The man came alive through the neshawmaw hakhaheem (breath of life). The spiritual neshawmaw fused with the physical dust and the first man became a living being. So, we must always see ourselves as both spiritual and natural people who were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27) and for His glory (Isaiah 43:7).

On a slight biblically tangent, followers of Jesus, Christians, will experience three types of embodiment. The first is now on earth as embodied souls: Genesis 2:7 “Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person” (NLT). The second will come after physical death in the spiritual realm as a disembodiment: 2 Corinthians 5:8, 9 “Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him” (NLT). The third will come after the final judgment where those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will be burned in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15) while followers of Jesus will experience eternity in Heaven with God in a resurrection embodiment: 1 Corinthians 15:42, 43 “It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength” (NLT).

Now, the second time where God breathes is in John 20:22 “Then he [Jesus] breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit” (NLT). Not only does this speak volumes of Jesus’ divinity, but it also reveals to us that Jesus is the Giver of new life. When a person puts their faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within that person (1 Corinthians 6:19) and they become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). In meditating on how this new creation happens, I believe when a person puts their faith in Jesus a miracle happens, their spirit becomes eternally fused with the Holy Spirit and in this way they become a new creation. Now in being followers of Jesus, who have been equipped, empowered and commissioned by Him to be His ambassador in everyway while all creation awaits His return, we too are called to breathe life into every person we encounter and any situation we may find ourselves in. Where our prophetic words of Truth saturated with the anointing of the Holy Spirit have the power to release the presence of God, to release life wherever we are and with whomever we are with.

So this is my prayer: that the Lord would continue to demolish the strongholds within us that restrain the flow of Living Water that He has promised will flow out from the very center of our being. I pray the Lord would set ablaze the prophetic words of Truth that we speak, igniting life into people and situations moving them to give thanks and praise to our Father in Heaven because of us. In Jesus Name, Amen.

O great Comforter, comfort me.

Over this past month, I’ve been wrestling with the loneliness that has been holding my heart hostage. This loneliness has stolen much of my passion and motivation. I’ve been feeling extremely stuck. Hence, this past short break from blogging. Though it’s only been about a month, it feels much longer because before hitting this speed bump in my heart I’ve been in a pretty good rhythm of faith and life. But, as I have been wrestling within my heart, soul and mind with this growing loneliness I’ve come to realize that unless this loneliness is addressed it will continue to derail me and cause me to stumble You see, I have within me (as we all do) a sexual longing that seeks to be fulfilled.

In the past, I’ve allowed this sexual longing to control me which has propelled me to explore a variety of avenues to gain sexual satisfaction, none of which were at all pleasing to the Lord. Since coming to faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit has taken me on a journey of freedom. Freedom from all the many soul ties I’ve made with the various women of past relationships which have controlled me by keeping me living in the regrets of the past. It’s amazing how past disappoints and moments of rejection and betrayal can linger and fester in one’s heart. But, as Jesus has broken these soul ties and brought healing to my wounded heart, I’ve gained greater freedom to live in the peace of the present while looking forward to a future of hope. 

So, why am I still stuck wrestling with this loneliness today? Well, what the Lord has revealed to me (which has sparked this renewed vigor) is that I’ve been allowing my past relationships, regardless if they were healthy or not, and my inner fantasies of a future wife to comfort me in my loneliness, rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to be my Comforter. It’s not that I wish to live in the past, the Holy Spirit has done that good work of setting me free from the shame, regret and pain of my past, but rather in my loneliness I’ve been comforting myself by remembering moments when I wasn’t lonely to give me relief. I’ve also been finding comforting in fantasizing about what being married will be like, even what I hope my wife will be like which isn’t all that healthy either because both reminiscencing and fantasizing have a way of idealizing and distorting reality.

It’s amazing, I’ve read and prayed Jesus’ Words to myself countless times in asking Holy Spirit to be my Comforter (John 14:16, 26). But, what this recent revelation has revealed to me is that though Holy Spirit is my Comforter, I’ve shunned His comfort in leiu of my own self-constructed comfort which to be honest really hasn’t worked out so well. So, in response to this gentle and loving revelation, I’ve begun to ask Holy Spirit to help me let go of my self-constructed system of comfort, so that I can begin to embrace Him as my Comforter in my loneliness. So this is my prayer: Father in Heaven thank You that You continually pour out Your grace upon our lives. Thank You Jesus for sending the Holy Spirit, Who comforts, helps, intercedes, advocates and strengthens us in our weakness. And Holy Spirit, great Comforter, come and comfort me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

first name Holy, last name Spirit

Leaning into the presence of God in your life means leaning in and on Holy Spirit. Some of you may be wondering why I say Holy Spirit rather than the Holy Spirit. The reason behind this is that Holy Spirit and I are very close friends, so I call Him by His Name: first name Holy, last name Spirit. I get that this may seem strange to some people, but Holy Spirit is more than just a Power, He is a Person with whom all followers of Jesus are in relationship. Too often, the message preached is of Holy Spirit, the intangible Power, rather than Holy Spirit, the Person, which only further complicates the notion of being in relationship with Him. Sure there are times in which I may say “the” Holy Spirit, but I do this more to emphasize His uniqueness and prominence (which maybe more preachers need to explain). It would be like introducing someone really, really important: “And now ladies and gentlemen, I present to you ‘the one and only’ Holy Spirit.” But, when I’m alone with Him, I just call Him by His Name, Holy Spirit. 

Now I understand that there are Scripture passages that describe Holy Spirit as an ethereal Power (I’ve often heard Him described as wind or electricity which is hermeneutically reasonable). But, when our understanding of Him starts from a place of thinghood, rather than personhood, this only further distances people from grasping the relational reality. Now hear me on this, my heart is not about arguing for one (Person) at the exclusion of the other (Power) because Scripturally there are both descriptions. My heart here is to help people embrace the relational intimacy and depth that is possible and is waiting for them with Holy Spirit which has a better chance of happening when people begin from the place of personhood. Jesus told us Holy Spirit will teach us all things and will remind us of everything He has said to us (John 14:26) and will also guide us into all truth and will tell us what is yet to come (John 16:13). There is an emphasis on the relational intimacy we as believer have with Holy Spirit who lives within us (1 Corinthians 6:19) and who is in constant communication with us and with God (Romans 8:16, 26; Galatians 4:6). So, when you pray I want to encourage you to address the third Person of the Trinity by His Name: first name Holy, last name Spirit.


What is it that defines you? Throughout my life I’ve allowed a variety of things to form me. To use biblical language, I’ve allowed a variety of things become my potter, rather than allowing God, the Creator and Giver of life, be my Potter. For the better part of my life drugs formed and defined me. But, even before I started using drugs, I allowed anger and bitterness to control the way I lived my life which when left unattended steadily grew into hated and vengeance. Some of the outward fruit of this showed itself through lying, stealing and eventually drug use while inwardly this hatred and vengeance slowly, yet, relentlessly ate away at my soul; suffocating it from faith, hope and love.

The day I came to faith (solely by the grace of God), the fragrance of Christ invaded my being and a miracle happened, I became a “new creation in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). From that day forward my spirit became eternally joined with the Holy Spirit and He has begun to bring healing, salvation, redemption and restoration to my decaying soul. In many ways the process of sanctification has been like a great airing out of my soul. No longer does hatred and vengeance control the way I live, but rather peace, love and kindness. No longer am I defined by drug addiction, but rather God is my Potter and His Truth defines who I am. Faithfully, He has been purifying my soul by peeling away the many layers of sin that has been suffocating my soul. Do you feel like your soul is suffocating?

The bible says that Jesus offers freedom to those who choose to believe and following Him. I have experienced (as many others have) this freedom. As the Apostle Paul puts it, freedom from the slavery of following the law (Galatians 5:1ff) which can be interpreted as freedom from the yoke of religion. The Creator of Heaven and Earth is a relational God who loves, likes and enjoys spending time with His creation. I believe a lot of people believe God to be a distance, stoic God who angrily puts up with us. But, I don’t think there could be anything further from the Truth. “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5). This same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11) will also teaches us how to live a life out from under the law (Galatians 5:18). A life based on Truth (John 14:26) which Jesus says will set us free (John 8:32).

My prayer is that by God’s grace the Holy Spirit would help you to surrender more of your life to Jesus, so that He can breathe greater measures of faith, hope and love into the areas of your soul that are suffocating. I proclaim freedom over you in Jesus Name, Amen.

Fueled by the Holy Spirit

“For God did not give us a Spirit of timidity, but a Spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV).

There’s this story of a Christian missionary working with people with HIV in Africa. One day a photo journalist comes to the camp where she’s ministering at and begins taking pictures. While watching her, he is moved by her gentle care and obvious love for these people. All day he sees her love and care for these terminally sick people and what he finds so moving is that she actually enjoyed being there. After spending a day there, the journalist begins to leave, but before he does he asks the woman, “How can you stay here, there’s so much death and despair, there’s no hope for these people?” And she answered back, “The love of Jesus compels me to stay, I can really do no other.”

And with that the journalist leaves, but while driving he can’t get the missionary’s words out of his head. As the story goes, he is so moved by her words that he comes to faith while developing the pictures he took. Our Christian service when empowered by Christ’s love becomes a power witness. Though the missionary only said a few words to the photo journalist, what amazed him was the fact that there could be a love so strong that this woman would endure such tragedy willingly and with joy. The missionary’s Christian service fueled by the Holy Spirit truly magnified the Gospel.

This Spirit, who pours out power and love into Christians, also gives us self-discipline. Self-discipline for Timothy as for us means the ability to control our actions and thoughts preventing any reactionary behavior which in turn will help us to assess any situation, especially difficult ones, with the clarity of mind necessary to trust in the invisible God despite any threats, distractions or tragedy. What this means is when we’re in the heat of the moment, when our emotions are running high and we’re feeling a lot of pressure or under a lot of stress, the Holy Spirit helps us to make good and loving decisions, so that when we look back on our lives there will be less regrets about how we acted in any given situation.

living in the anointing

These days, I have been challenged more and more by God to be fully reliant upon Him everyday and in every way. That I am to fully embrace the reality that I live, move and have my being in Him (Acts 17:28). For me this means I need to be consciously engaging with God throughout my day. This doesn’t mean that I connect with God in the morning and then reconnect with Him before meals and then a quiet time before I go to sleep. No, the way I understand this truth is that I need to be in continual and constant contact with God all day, everyday. This may seem like a tall order, but what helps me stay connected with God is the understanding that:“Sure I could probably make it through an average day without too much of a stretch, but life to me is more than just getting through the day. A full and abundant life involves making an eternal impact in this world for Jesus. And for this to happen, I need to be seeking out the specific Kingdom impact that Jesus wants to make  for each moment of the day.” This means that I need to humbly admit that I don’t have the answers, nor the power to achieve this and that I need God to actively lead and empower me if I am to be of any use to Him.

If that’s not enough, Scripture says, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25). How I understand this verse is that God is not interested in what we have to offer Him, He is more interested in letting us know what needs to happen and how it needs to happen. Furthermore, Paul continues on to say, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him” (vv. 27-29). Again, God is in the business of showing us what’s what. Not, the other way around. The last thing we should be trying to do is impress God. Remember, God is the Creator of the univese. impressing Him just won’t happen. The quicker that we admit that we need God’s direct and active guidance in our lives the greater intimacy we will have with Him and the greater impact we will make for His Kingdom here on earth.

Jesus is the good Shepherd who speaks to His sheep because they know His Voice (John 10:4). If we are not use to listening to Him speak to us, then it may take some time to recognize our Shepherd’s Voice. But, we must trust that Jesus knows us and we know Him (John 10:14). Furthermore, I believe that the only way to  consistently recognize Jesus’ Voice is through our dependency on the Holy Spirit, who loves making the things of Jesus known to us (John 16:14) which means He helps us not only know about Jesus, but also to encounter Him. Too often, good intentioned believers shy away from a more experiential (even mystical) approach to encountering Jesus because they are fearful of being deceived and led astray. Now, I can be compassionate towards them and understand where they are coming from, but this is what I have to say to them: “Trust that God is able to sovereignly keep you from being deceived as you pursue to encounter more of Jesus. Don’t you think the Father would bless your pursuit to know more of His Son? Don’t let the fear of being deceived stop you from encountering more of King Jesus in your life and having His Kingdom break in greater measure into your surroundings.”

Living in the anointing means that I am doing all I can to press into the grace that Jesus has apportioned to me (Ephesians 4:7) all day, everyday. This means I am actively seeking to hear His Voice in my life. Jesus, the Anointed One (which is the meaning of Christ),  lived His life fully in the anointing of the Holy Spirit while He walked the earth. Believers today can do no less. We must seek to live in the anointing of the Holy Spirit on each of our lives. I am more and more convinced that what is lacking in the Body of Christ is that believers are not walking in the fullness of God’s grace for them. I believe if we were, the Church truly would be the unstoppable force that Jesus envisioned (Matthew 16:18) because every believer would be living in their God given anointing. So this is my prayer: that the Holy Spirit would impress upon every believer’s heart to consciously pursue walking in the fullness of God’s grace, that He would unshackled their hearts to receive this grace and that He would give them a hunger and thirst to seek out the righteousness of God by empowering them to claim the anointing of God on their lives. In Jesus Name, Amen.

An Eternal Hunger & Thirst

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) says: God has planted eternity in the human heart. Understanding this truth can really help in illuminating the reality of why addiction is so rampant in the world. What is it that can satisfy the hunger and thirst of our hearts? Though we desperately try to find satisfaction in what this world has to offer and maybe it does pacify us for awhile, but (I think we all know from personal experience) this contentment never stays long.  Is it because we hunger and thirst for eternity that we will never find the lasting satisfaction that our hearts long for in this earthly world? If this last question resonated with you, then like me, you have to ask this next question: So, what will satisfy my eternal hunger and thirst?

Now we are all prone to addiction at varying degrees, some more than others and still others (like myself) have been completely captivated by addiction to the point where life became meaningless. For me, life became a vicious cycle of feeding my addictions which made life despairingly tedious. Maybe deep down you are wondering if there is something more to life than what you are currently experiencing. I believe there is. I have personally experienced the riches of eternity in the here and now which has helped me to see the treasures of this world as mere trinkets in comparison.

The Bible also says: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV). In this journey through transformation that God has been taking me on, I have come to cherish this verse in my heart because it has helped to remind me that 1) the power of God runs through me and that 2) there is a far greater treasure within me than any treasure I may encounter in the world. This treasure which has been placed within everyone who believes is “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV).

Whenever I pause long enough to internalize this truth, to really embrace the reality that right now within me dwells eternal hope, the temporal cloudy skies that darken my heart – part – and heaven’s eternal light breaks through. Just as Paul marveled, we too should marvel, because God has entrusted to us, weak and fragile vessels (jars of clay), with the treasure of the gospel of God’s glory that is revealed in Jesus. In Him, our eternal hunger and thirst is satisfied because God has sealed those who believe in Jesus with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our eternal inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14). Right now within each and every believer through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, literally, dwells eternity to the praise of God’s glory. Such amazing grace!

So, when the battle within overwhelms you to the point of despair or when the treasures of this world take you hostage, remember this truth, that within you resides eternity, that within you lives the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11). Be encouraged!

My Struggle

Over these past few months Jesus has been challenging me to really wrestle with this question: “Am I truly submitting to His lordship over my life and His headship over the church?” For me when I think lordship what immediately comes to mind is trust. When I am living a life submitted to the lordship of Christ, it means that I trust Jesus knows what’s best for me. Now, I’m not saying that I need to be at a place where I immediately accept and embrace everything Jesus brings into my life (if that were true, I’d probably be sporting a halo and have wings). No, what I am alluding to here is the resistance and doubt that I have in my heart when it comes to believing and waiting on His plans for my life. It’s when I try to circumvent or even try to answer my own prayers that I reject Jesus’ lordship over my life.

It’s the same with submitting to Jesus’ headship over the church. I was just talking with a fellow brother about his church back in Australia which is a “Presence” driven church. This resonates with me. A “Presence” driven church actively moves in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and allows Him to orchestrate the flow of the service.  I do feel like part of the process of submitting to Jesus’ headship over the church is to be more “Presence” driven. My only concerns are (and this is what I am wrestling in my heart about) “Am I fearful of giving up control of the Sunday gathering because I want to be in control?” Now this can flesh out in a variety of ways: 1) I’m afraid of chaos happening; 2) I’m afraid that the Word will get lost; and 3) I’m afraid of what may happen (supernaturally). Now what these three concerns have in common are: mistrust and control. So, again I am drawn back to submitting to the lordship of Christ (trust) and headship of Christ (control). Of course both of these issues could be interchangeable with control being at odds with lordship and trust hindering headship.

So, where to from here? I’m still in process, but, bottom line, I know that these are good wrestlings. And no matter how long I wrestle, I know that I am growing and maturing in this process. A friend said to me once, “Struggle is good, it’s when there’s no struggle that we should be concerned.” Now, how I’ve always interpreted this is: Struggle shows that I am either in the process of transformation or that I have been transformed by God and am now in the process of walking in that transformation by struggling to not revert back to my old ways of living. It’s when I’ve either grown complacent where I am completely uninterested about being transformed by God or when I have given into my carnal selfish desires which hardens my heart and makes me indifferent and unresponsive to God’s movements of redemption that struggle ceases. This is when there needs to be concern. But, when there’s struggle, this means I am actively joining with Jesus as He fights for my freedom.

Starting down the road…

Wow, I’m really exicted about the response to 4:20 Prayer so far. What really warms my heart is that people from all over are getting involved. The more this happens, the more I feel like “yeah, this can happen, together, we can really begin to make a difference in the lives of millions of people who are right now struggling to find hope.” Sure, it’s a monumental task, but I find comfort in this because it forces me to press that much harder into Jesus.

Now, the more experience that I gain in working with those struggling with addictions the more I am convinced that, sure counseling is good, as is mentoring, as is teaching life skills and acts of genuine kindness and compassion. But, at the end of the day, the bottom line is: God needs to move powerfully in their lives. God is the One who transforms lives by the power of His Word and Spirit as He raises up for Himself worshippers of Spirit and Truth (John 4:23).

The more that God gives me the opportunity to love and care for people, the more I am convinced of this. Transformation happens when God’s Truth and Life are spoken into a person’s life. If the people of God are to truly follow in our Lord’s footsteps in preaching good news to the poor,  proclaiming freedom for the captives and the oppressed and healing for the sick  (Luke 4:19). Then we need to ask God for a deeper sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and accept the cost for this sensitivity.

It may mean cutting out some of the noise in our lives. It may even mean tuning out some of the other voices in our lives. It may also mean drastically simplifying our lifestyles. Whatever it may be, I believe the cost is worth it. Think about it, to be able to impact a life for all eternity. Is there any greater satisfaction? Can there be any greater joy? Save finally embracing Jesus face to face. We have to live our lives from an eternal perspective. It’s when we don’t that the cost becomes too great.

So, begin asking God to bless you with a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. If things need to change in your life in order for you to receive this sensitivity, then ask God to begin moving you into a place of surrender and submission. As He does this, cling to Jesus with all you got and never lose sight of the goal at the end of this journey: that through you, Christ would be glorified in eternally transformed and redeemed lives.