The Secret to Staying in the Spirit’s Flow
Our lives should overflow with the Holy Spirit so much that we are infectious—spreading God’s presence wherever we go. Yet why is the Spirit’s flow hindered sometimes?
One obvious blockage is sin. The good news is that we simply need to repent and turn to Jesus, and He will cleanse and restore us.
Another major hindrance is unforgiveness. We may feel justified in holding a grudge because someone hurt us, stole from us, mocked or betrayed us.
Yet Jesus says,
“If you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you” (Mark 11:25 NKJV).
While I was living in the Philippines, a man betrayed me in a big way. It was tempting to daydream about getting even. Fortunately, I had to leave for India, where I was supposed to minister with evangelist D.G.S. Dhinakaran. When he looked at my countenance, however, he said, “You are not ready to minister to anybody right now.”
When you hold onto an offense, bitterness gets deep in your spirit. It affects what you say and do, and you can’t minister to anyone.
He gave me the verse,
I pour out my complaint before Him (Psalm 142:2).
He explained that this doesn’t mean you complain to God; rather, you pour out your complaint before Him—and as you do, forgive.
Then he looked at me and said gently, “When Jesus was betrayed, He said,
‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do’” (Luke 23:34).
He added, “Jesus poured out His forgiveness for them, and at that point He entered into His greatest ministry.”
Those words changed my life. I have learned that the secret to staying in the flow of the Spirit is to continue to forgive. Something amazing happens when you say, “I’m not going to hold that against them anymore,” and you release forgiveness toward those who hurt you.
Once you get in the habit, you can quickly sense dislocation in your relationships and take steps to make things right. Pour unforgiveness out of your spirit and out of your heart—and if it ever comes back into your memory, pour it out again.
Offenses will come into your life; yet Ephesians 4:26-27 says,
Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.
Being Merciful to Others
By Emily Rose Massey, Crosswalk. com
“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, [t]expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36, NASB).
A couple of months ago, I shared in a blog post about a situation some years back where my husband and I were unnecessarily judged with some harsh words spoken behind our backs by some former pastors. They were warning others to not make associations with us because we are “dangerous.” I offered the readers some wisdom found in Luke 6: “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28, NASB).
I was trying to make the point in the blog post that instead of holding onto a grudge and allowing bitterness to form in my heart, I needed to forgive and pray for these pastors just as Christ encourages us to do. Then recently, I received an email from a reader criticizing this blog post and explaining how we can only forgive someone of the wrong that they have done to us unless they repent. This individual essentially was making the assertion that since God holds someone’s sin against them (when they are not in Christ), we needed to do the same. This argument cannot be found anywhere in the Bible, dear ones. On top of the criticism, I was accused of being prideful, not sincere, not a believer, spreading falsehoods about the gospel, and was told to “be dammed.” What a perfectly timed opportunity for me to put these scriptures on showing mercy into practice once again!
Friends, we don’t have to look very far in the scriptures to see how we are to treat others who have sinned against us (some helpful passages are listed below). In fact, Luke 6 is a wonderful chapter to reflect upon. I mentioned Luke 6:27-28 above, and Jesus repeats this sentiment again further in this same passage:
“But love your enemies, and do goo, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36, NASB).
Numbers 14:28, 33 28So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say:
33Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert.
The nation had come right up to the boundaries of the Promised Land and been afraid to trust God. They wanted to kill Moses and Joshua and elect a new leader to take them back to Egypt. Their lament was, “If only we had died in Egypt or in this wilderness.” So God gave them their request. They wished they had died in the wilderness, and their sentence is exactly what they asked for. God’s sentence is often to give man what he demands. If we could just have faith that what He has planned for us is so much better than our own ideas, we would move forward into the Promised Land. Instead, many demand death in the desert.
That is sad, and yet it is what we asked for. But the saddest of all is that our children suffer from our faithless choices. While we are wandering in the wilderness, they are wandering with us. Instead of settling them down in the Promised Land, and giving them a better start in life, we leave the battles ahead to them. Faith and the fruit of it are the greatest inheritances you could possibly leave your children. A nice cave in the desert near a spring does not compare.
How is your life affecting your children? Are you beginning a legacy of faith or building a foundation on shifting sand? Our lives are so much more important than our own daily comfort. What are you sowing?
Meditation: What kind of spiritual legacy will I leave my childr