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Stats: 2,281,935 members, 5,003,453 topics. Date: Thursday, 27 June 2019 at 05:43 AM
|Draw Near To God by Kei144(m): 7:40pm On Jun 12|
As a young university student, I lived my life and tried to prepare for the future. I had come to know that this world is quite a tough place. I therefore decided to prepare myself to be able to survive in the world. I learned martial arts for self-defense. I enrolled with the Rosicrucian AMORC as a way of preparing myself spiritually. Then, somebody informed a friend that I made during secondary school days about my involvement with the Rosicrucians. My friend invited me to his hometown during Christmas season and I went to be with him. My friend warned me about the dangers of dabbling into mysticism and advised me to visit the Christian Union fellowship on campus.
When I got back to campus in the following January, I thought of going to CU fellowship, as advised by my friend. “Born again” wasn’t a popular thing in those days. Being a born again had some stigma attached to it in those days. Was I going to join myself to those people hated by many? That was a tough question, but due to the love that I had for my friend, I decided to just visit the CU fellowship one Sunday. I walked into the fellowship venue and sat down. Some teaching was going on. I didn’t quite get what the teaching was all about; I was rather having some experience of the presence of God. The Spirit of God embraced me and I was saying in my mind: “So, God is real like this. Yet, outside there we all thought that these born-again people are low life people.”
Ja. 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
A lot of people wonder if God is real. Are all these things that people say about God really true? Well, as long as you keep away from God, He will remain unreal to you. But if you seek to get near to God, God will come near to you by His Spirit and you will experience Him.
Jn. 5:39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,
Jn. 5:40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
There is one complaint that is rampant in the society today. There is so much church activity and prayer going on in the society, yet ungodliness is growing rapidly. How could so many people seemingly be going near to God in church worships and prayers, yet God is not seen in the lives of many people? The answer is that church activities and prayers are not synonymous with drawing near to God. A person draws near to God only if the person is able to interact with the Spirit of God. In Jn. 5:39-40, we see Jesus telling the people that they diligently study the Scriptures because they think that studying the Scriptures is the same thing as interacting with God, yet the same people refuse to go to interact with the Spirit of God through Jesus.
Does this mean that studying the Bible and praying are not necessary? Well, studying the Bible is necessary because it helps one to gain knowledge about God’s dealings with man. Similarly, prayer is necessary because it is through prayer that we interact with the Spirit of God. However, studying the Bible and prayer should not be seen as ends in themselves, but means to reach the end, which is the Spirit of God. If Christians focus all their minds on interacting with the Spirit of God, there will be mighty spiritual progress. How can you interact with the Spirit of God while you are living ungodly life?
Ro. 8:5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
|Re: Draw Near To God by Kei144(m): 7:51pm On Jun 12|
Beginning a Holy-Spirit-focused life
1Pe. 2:21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
Jesus Christ left an example for us to follow in his steps.
Mt. 3:16 As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.
Mt. 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
Jesus submitted himself to a man of God for baptism in water. Shortly after his water baptism, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. From then onwards, Jesus submitted himself wholly to the Holy Spirit. This was the basis of Jesus’ earthly ministry.
Christianity is supposed to be a life of following the example given to us by Jesus Christ. The early Church, led by the apostles of Jesus Christ laid the foundation of what it means to follow the example given to us by Jesus Christ. Following the example given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ is called “the Way” in the book of Acts (Ac. 9:2, Ac. 19:9, Ac. 19:23, Ac. 24:14, Ac. 24:22). What is “the Way”?
Ac. 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
You begin to follow the Way when you make up your mind (repentance) that you want to follow the pattern of life that Jesus Christ lived. Jesus’ pattern of life is the way of God. Like Jesus did, you begin the way of God by submitting yourself to a man of God, who himself is filled with the Holy Spirit, for baptism in water. As soon as this minister of the gospel baptizes you in water, he should pray over you to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Even though nobody prayed over Jesus before he received the Holy Spirit, the pattern he established through the apostles is that prayer for receiving the Holy Spirit should be said immediately after baptism (Ac. 19:5-6). Lk. 11:13 guarantees that once prayer for the Holy Spirit is said by a spirit-filled man of God, God gives the Holy Spirit.
What about people who were baptized in churches that do not strictly follow the pattern of water baptism followed by prayer for the Holy Spirit, as laid down by the apostles? For example, some churches baptize babies and little children. When these people that were baptized as babies reach age of accountability, the churches conduct ordinance of Confirmation, thereby confirming the person’s membership of the church. During the confirmation ceremony, a bishop of the church lays hand on the person being confirmed, apparently mimicking Ac. 19:6. What I don’t know is if the bishop actually prays for these people to receive the Holy Spirit.
Today’s evangelicals may be quick to condemn the practices of the long-standing churches, but we must consider that some of the practices of these long-standing churches may have their root in the early Church. For example, in the book of Acts, there are instances where whole families were baptized by the apostles. There are no indications that only members of those families that have reached age of accountability were baptized. Little children and even babies may well have been baptized. It is possible that when people that were baptized as babies reach age of accountability, the early Church leaders prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, as the Church went through the centuries and spiritual knowledge decreased, the practice of praying for people who have reached age of accountability to receive the Holy Spirit may well have devolved into ceremony of confirmation of church membership. It is then left to people who were baptized when they were babies either to do proper baptism followed by prayer for receiving the Holy Spirit, as in Ac. 19:1-7, or to just pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
The actual spiritual journey to God begins after a person has received the Holy Spirit. Jesus began his own journey by being led by the Spirit into the desert. Desert is a place of hardship. As soon as you decide to follow the Way, you have turned away from the pattern of life designed by Satan for this world. You therefore become an enemy of the spirits that rule over this world. They are bound to create a lot of obstacles for you. As you begin to encounter difficulties in your life, do not be discouraged; rather get closer and closer to God through Bible study and prayer. You have become a soldier of Jesus Christ. The difficulties you face are just trainings to turn you into a very effective spiritual warrior.
1Jn. 5:19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
Ac. 14:22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
2Ti. 2:3 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
Ro. 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
|Re: Draw Near To God by Kei144(m): 8:01pm On Jun 12|
Living by the Spirit Daily
Lk. 9:23 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
If you want to enter the kingdom of God, you must follow the pattern of life that Jesus lived, daily. In Mk. 9:23, Jesus calls this pattern of life self-denial and carrying the cross. Why?
Ro. 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We are already accustomed to living according to the value system of this world, and it is quite pleasing to the flesh. Following Jesus’ pattern of living will put you in opposition to the value system of this world, and that amounts to crucifying the flesh. You become useless to world in some respects and become useful to God. God becomes interested in you.
Mk. 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Jesus depended on the Holy Spirit for every aspect of his life on earth. He started each day by praying to God, for direction and empowerment for the day ahead. He always prayed to determine what God would have him do and he always restricted himself to doing only what God says do.
Jn. 8:29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”
1Jn. 3:21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God
1Jn. 3:22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
If you want God to be with you as He was with Jesus, make sure that you have the Holy Spirit in you and that you never do anything without praying for God to lead you by the Holy Spirit. Always pray for the Holy Spirit to enable you to do only what pleases God. Then, God will always be with you and will give you anything you ask. Being that the Holy Spirit will make you to know what you really need to ask for, you won’t be asking for what is not God’s will for you.
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