Tag: Holy Spirit

LIFE: words

Do you remember the childhood saying of “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” I remember chanting this when I was young, in order to mask the hurt I felt inside when the other kids picked on me for being different. No matter how much I said it, the words still hurt because words have power to build up or to tear down. Ephesians 4:29 says “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (NLT). In working with people who struggle with addiction, from my experience trauma is one of the leading causes of addiction. Physical, mental, verbal and sexual abuses are all contributing factors that can lead people down the road of addiction in search of relief, self-punishment or misguided vengeance to name a few motivations.

For people who struggle with sexual addiction, rejection is a major catalyst that perpetuates the abnormal behavior. Objectifying people for our own sexual gratification is abnormal. God didn’t create us to use and abuse one another, but to love one another (1 John 3:11). Regardless of the many pro-porn arguments, pornography is demeaning, period. In helping these people work towards freedom the Lord has revealed to me that in many if not all instances, verbal traumas are some of the first attachment points that certain strongholds (rejection, self-pity, self-hatred, shame) began to take root which helped catalyze the road towards sexual addiction. Add on to this, other traumas like physical, mental or sexual abuse and the range of addictions increases (alcohol, drugs, food, anger, etc.).

The book of James talks about the tongue being untamable by human means (James 3:2,8) and how blessings and curses come out of the same mouth (James 3:9). I don’t know about you, but I experience the truth of these verses everyday, be it in my own struggle to control what I say or don’t say or when I’m on the receiving end of some not so self-controlled words from others. But, when I do feel offended, unjustly criticized or even judged, I am grateful for Holy Spirit who restrains me from reacting and reminds me of God’s love and grace. When I first came to faith and read through the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23a), I was always perplexed by self-control. But, the longer I walk with Jesus the more grateful I’ve become of this particular aspect of the Spirit’s fruit.

God’s heart towards His creation is one of love, redemption and restoration. The Father’s desire is to see us saved, redeemed and made whole. This was the precise reason Jesus came down out of Heaven to die on a cross for sin. It is in Jesus that people are set free from the bondage of sin, are delivered from being demonized, healed of sickness and disease and where our brokenness is restored. This is where the supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit in gifting people prophetically has great influence and power in joining with God in His mission of redemption and restoration. All believers have the privilege to speak truth and life into others. But, this must be done in love (Ephesians 4:15). The prophetic gift must be exercised in love, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2 NIV).

Recently, I’ve been reading a book by Kris Vallotton, Developing a Supernatural Lifestyle, and came across this statement: “Never underestimate the redemptive power of God’s supernatural ministry. So many people are starving to know who they really are. You have the ability to alter the history of people who are lost in darkness and broken beyond repair.” This is a true statement. But, we must always remember that our own tongue fights against us and that unless we become more and more dependent on Holy Spirit in taming our tongue we will do more prophetic harm than good. Holy Spirit gifting does not equal maturity; it is through the fruit of the Holy Spirit that brings about maturity. Furthermore, though we should earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially prophecy we must remember that we must pursue love first (1 Corinthians 14:1).

So this is my prayer: that the Lord would continue to cultivate in us a greater capacity to love, that He would impress upon each of us the great need to be fully defined by the Father’s love and the need to always pursue love first and foremost. Help us Lord to allow ourselves to be fully loved by the Father and from out of that place of belovedness love others. For, as Your Word says “We love because God first loved us” (1 John 4:19). In Your Name Jesus we pray, 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.


Today, I’ve been meditating on what it means for God to be the Creator and Giver of life (Genesis 2:7), who literally dwells within me (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Timothy1:14) . The reason being is that lately I’ve been struggling something fierce with my flesh (Romans 7:15). I’ve come to the conclusion that all my flesh desires is to satisfy itself whether it be through greed, lust, gluttony, comfort or laziness (to name some of the usual suspects). But, just today God gave me this revelation: that He is closer to me than even my own flesh. Hearing these words has electrified my spirit and begun filling me with great hope. If I truly am a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) which I am, then it makes perfect sense that because of this I am no longer a slave to sin, but a slave to righteousness (Romans 6:18). This means that the righteousness of Christ is closer to me than the sinfulness of my flesh, right?

To take this a step further, I believe that the life that we are living here on earth will be completely paled in comparison to the eternal life all believers in Jesus get to look forward to. I mean can you even imagine what it will be like to be literally standing before the throne of God? The amount of glory and life that must radiate from God must be simply awesome. I mean He is the very Creator and Giver of life, the one and only true Living God. Everything that God does has eternal ramifications. He holds all of life in the palm of His hands. When He speaks life or death happens. And it is this same fully alive almighty God, who literally dwells within us and is actively breathing more life and glory into us day by day as He recreates us into the image and likeness of His Son, Jesus, through His Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). What an amazing truth! When I really sit down and think about this, it blows my mind. The very notion of this can’t help but to create awe and splendor towards God within me.

So this is my prayer: “Help us Lord to recognize the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us and the amazing truth that You are closer to us than even our own flesh, that it is Your righteousness that now defines us, rather than the sinfulness of our flesh. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

a rhythm of prayer

I was talking with a couple friends and I asked them what kind of rhythm would describe their prayer life: One friend said he felt like he was constantly skipping a beat. It was like he was caught in this broken rhythm that felt like he was taking a step forward, but then would get bumped back or to the side. Another friend said he feels like an erratic metronome that fluctuates from super fast tempos to slow dragging beats. He says he does pray throughout his day (slow beats), but there’s not a lot of passion. The times that he feels passionate about prayer (super fast beats) are when he goes to prayer meetings or conferences. Where are you at on the metronome?


What’s the rhythm of your prayer life?

     – Is it a driving techno beat or a hypnotic trance beat?

     – Is it a slow classic rock anthem beat? 

     – Is it a fast two minute punk beat?

     – Is it a slow bluesy beat or a catchy country beat?

     – Maybe it’s a complicated jazz fusion number?

Whatever it is, is it a rhythm that keeps you in step with the Holy Spirit in your life? If not what needs to change?


There’s this music technique called “syncopation.” Maybe some of you know what it is, but for those of us who don’t, like I didn’t, here’s what it means: Syncopation is the accent of a beat that is normally unaccented.  It is deliberately upsetting a beat by placing a rhythmic accent on an unexpected beat or a weak beat in music. How many times has God forced you to change up the rhythm of your life because of an unexpected surprise, both good and bad; or stretched you by putting you in an uncomfortable “weak” position. Syncopation exists in order to add emphasis on certain notes to liven up a beat or rhythm. Maybe God is trying to liven up your life by bringing in needed change. Regular beats with the same accents can get boring; adding syncopation changes the feel by adding accents to places where you would not expect. Doesn’t that sound like something God would do?


We all have blind spots in our lives and only God can reveal those things that are hidden from us. And more often than not He gets our attention by changing up the rhythm of our lives by breaking us out of our routines of comfort, so that we can begin living the fullness of life that Jesus promises us (John 10:10). It’s real easy for us to get so caught up in the temporal side of life and forget that true living involves eternity where believers begin witnessing the Kingdom of God breaking into their families, their friends, their neighborhoods and towns. I believe God brings syncopation into the rhythm of our lives in order to get us grooving to a new rhythm, an eternal rhythm; one that involves the glory of God and the reconciliation of all things through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and the glory due His Name because of His suffering.


I believe the Holy Spirit wants to orchestrate a rhythm of prayer for every believer’s life. But, we need to start making ourselves available to God, so that He can begin to birth in our lives this rhythm of prayer. Don’t resist the movement of the Spirit to simplify your life, but surrender your schedule to Him. Let Him begin to set up moments of prayer with believers and nonbelievers. Even ask Him to do so. I believe the more we do this, the more we will be grooving to the the eternal rhythms of Heaven.

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.

“he’s a bit tore up, but he’ll fly true”

A verse of Scripture that encourages and touches every part of my being is 2 Corinthians 4:7: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”The reason I like this verse so much is that it not only takes into account my brokenness, but also my redemption. Just recently I was watching a movie and this line came streaming through, “She’s a bit tore up, but she’ll fly true.” He was taking about the plane they were flying, but how this line impacted me was that it made me long to hear God say this about me: “He’s a bit tore up, but he’ll fly true.” Again, the reason being is that it’s honest. I am a bit tore up (broken), but I will fly true (redeemed).

In our frailty, the very power of God is manifested. The more I embrace my brokenness (the reality that I am a jar of clay) the more I will realize just how precious and amazing this treasure that I have within me is (the reality that I am redeemed). So what is this treasure? If we look back to the second half of 2 Corinthians 4:4, we will see it: The treasure is “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Paul contrasts this with the expression jars of clay which would be familiar to the Corinthians because pottery was an everyday item. It could be found everywhere because it was used by the common person. We, just like the Corinthians have either seen or even used a ceramic pot of some sort. And if you have, you know that they hold water really well and are useful for many things, but that they are also easily broken.

Now, the connection that Paul wants to make here is that just like jars of clay, human beings are just as fragile and easily broken. Now I don’t know about you, but I can understand and relate to that. If you’ve ever held a baby you know what I’m talking about, or if you’ve ever broken a bone or know someone who has, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve ever been in any kind of relationship then you know what I’m talking about because we are fragile beings and our hearts and bodies feel pain. But just as Paul marveled, we too should also marvel, because we have an amazing God who has entrusted us, weak vessels, with the treasure of the gospel of God’s glory that is revealed in Jesus. According to this verse, God does this to show that it is His all-surpassing power that is at work in all of us. To be more specific, the power that Paul is talking about is the divine power that enables him to preach the gospel while persevering through personal hardships and trials. Phew! I don’t know about you, but I am glad to hear that because it takes all the pressure off of us and frees us up to speak and be truth, life and love to people.

I believe with all my heart that God has called every believer to do great and amazing things for His Kingdom. But this means that we will have to lean into this power of God within us to 1) be the Gospel to strangers, friends and family and to 2) persevere through the hardships and trials that will come our way because of this. What helps me when I get fearful or discouraged is remembering that I don’t have to do this alone, but that God is always with me. He has given us His Holy Spirit to not only comfort us, but to also empower us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control and has also lavished us with some pretty awesome supernatural gifts. “Though I am a bit tore up, I will fly true” because the same Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead is also living within me.

preaching within the anointing (revised)

I just recently went to visit a church (which will remain unnamed) where I heard a sermon preached on the importance of the having a firm grip on the Bible. The preacher talked about how the Bible is our road map through life. At first, I was in agreement. Yes, we need to be listening, reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on God’s Word which combined helps us apply it to our lives. But, then the preacher said, “…and Jesus is our compass.” Why this concept of Jesus is disconcerting to me is that Jesus is not a tool that we use to give us direction, but a Person with whom we are in relationship. Sure, I get the point he wanted to make (Jesus gives us direction), but reducing Jesus to a compass? I know that Jesus Himself, referred to Himself as living bread (John 6:51), as the light of the world (John 8:12), as the door (John 10:9), as the resurrection (John 11:25), as the true vine (15:1), and  as the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). But, in today’s mindset where efficiency reigns supreme, preacher’s need to be careful that they don’t indirectly convey that Jesus is a tool at our disposal.

Afterwards, what further struck me was that there was no mention of the Holy Spirit’s role. Now, hear me on this, I believe that God desires worshippers of Spirit and Truth (John 4:23, 24). So, He has given us both a road map (the Bible = Truth) and a tour guide (the Holy Spirit = Spirit). If all that is taught is the road map, then what this indirectly teaches is that people can find their own way through understanding the Bible which is misleading. Sure, we may be able to intellectually and morally grasp some truth. But, to be transformed by God’s Word, this comes only from the ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11). He is the One who brings conviction about sin and the need for repentance (v.9). He is the One who reveals the way of salvation through Jesus (v.10). He is the One who demonstrates Jesus’ victory over satan (v.11) because greater is the One who lives in a believer than the evil one of the world (1 John 4:4). I believe it is also the Holy Spirit who cultivates the soil of a person’s heart into the good soil that hears and accepts God’s Word, so that they bear abundant good fruit to the Father’s glory (Mark 4:20). Bottom line, the Holy Spirit is the One who makes the things of Jesus known to us (John 16:14): without Him how can we truly know Jesus?

As a preacher, I am further convinced that I need to be sharing the Gospel in a way that makes room for the Holy Spirit to move in power. There needs to be both the proclamation of the Gospel (preaching God’s Word) and the demonstration of the Gospel (releasing the anointing of the Holy Spirit). (This means of course I will need to wrestle with my own fears on this which is a topic is for another day, but it looks like I’d be in good company with Paul.) In 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Paul tells the Corinth church that he didn’t come to dazzle them with his amazing intellect, but he came to them in his brokenness. He says, “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” What strikes my heart hardest is the last part of Paul’s plea: “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”

Paul’s words challenge me all the more to lean into God’s anointing, rather than my skills as a preacher. When I preach, am I helping people put their faith in my explanation of the Scriptures or in a direct encounter with the living God? To put it another way, am I preaching for transformation where people are opened up towards an encounter with the living God (through the proclamation of the Gospel) and where the Kingdom of God comes near to people (through the releasing of the anointing of the Holy Spirit)? I need to take to heart Paul’s words that say, “…knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes” (1 Corinthians 8:1b-3 NLT). Love is more important than knowledge. Too often, knowledge can produce arrogance and an overly inflated sense of importance, but love listens because love is a relational concept. For love to be fully realized and expressed in fullness, there must be a relationship in place. The way to truly know God and gain knowledge of Him is through loving Him. The more I live out the Christian faith, the more I am convinced that it is through an encounter with the love of the Father that changes everything. Preaching needs to be towards an encounter with the living God where people experience more of the Kingdom of God and where the Father’s love breaks through in greater measure in a person’s life. 

Jesus is pivotal in this. Jesus is the Gospel. Without Jesus, the Gospel is emptied of its purpose and power. Jesus meant it when He said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). But, we must always remember that Jesus walks with us as He shows us the Way, that Truth is a Person, Jesus, whom we can love and get to know through a relationship and that we gain Life because Jesus actually lives His life in and through us. He is more than just a compass. Jesus also made it a point to make sure we understood that He was sending us a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who is more than a spiritual force, but who is also a Person (John 14:15-31; 16:5-16). Too often, preachers forget to remind us that we are not alone in this, that we have a real live tour guide (Holy Spirit) to help us understand the road map (God’s Word), even to actively guide, lead and empower us on this journey of faith through the varying terrain and storms we will be confronted with in this life. I don’t know about you but that’s Good News.

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.