Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22‭-‬25 NIV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

I want to live by the Spirit.  I am crucified with Christ, and He now lives in me (2:20); I have been crucified to the world, and the world to me (6:14).  The Lord is producing in me a crop of righteousness.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your mercy of sacrificing Jesus to pay the penalty for my sin, and thank you for the grace of giving me your Spirit of freedom.  Lord Jesus, thank you for your example of life lived in freedom, demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit.  Holy Spirit, please produce more fruit in me, and continually remind me that my flesh has been crucified.  I want to walk in step with you. May others see your goodness and good work through me.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Monday, November 28, 2016

seed, sons, and heirs

Galatians 3:14, 26-29, 4:4‭-‬7 NIV
He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. ... So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. ... But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba , Father." So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

I believe in Christ, and I was baptized into Christ, and He gave me His Spirit.  I am a son of God and an heir of His Kingdom.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace through faith.  Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice and victory.  Holy Spirit, thank you for your presence.  Help me live as a son of God and an heir of the Kingdom.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Stop letting anger control you

James 1:19‭-‬20; 2:12-13; 3:10,18 NIV
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. ... Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. ... Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. ... Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Pretty clear.  The issue with this passage is not with understanding the principle, but with the degree of implementation and obedience.

The Lord is convicting me to be more gentle in how I speak to my boys, especially when they have been disobedient or disrespectful.  I want to sow seeds of peace in their hearts so that they grow a crop of righteousness.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your love, gentleness, and patience with me.  Lord Jesus, thank you for your example of gentleness with sinners.  Holy Spirit, thank you for your conviction in my heart.  Deliver me from anger, from angry behavioral habits, and flow your peace through me into the lives of my children.  I love you and thank you for your work of sanctification.  I pray in the name of Jesus.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Simple Gospel

I want to more faithfully preach the Gospel message.  I love how Peter preached to Cornelius's gathering:

Acts 10:34‭-‬43 NIV
Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.  "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

I want to share these fundamental truths, this simple message of Good News, with people and invite them to come to the altar in Heaven where Christ's blood was given to pay the sin debt for every person, once for all.  The Father's arms are open wide.

Heavenly Father, thank you for stirring me to share the good news of Christ. Jesus, thank you for the privilege of being your ambassador.  May I be a faithful witness of your love, sacrifice, and power to heal and restore.  Holy Spirit, empower me to demonstrate your authority and power, so that people will put their faith in Jesus and be part of God's eternal family.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Collaboration with angels

Yesterday morning, I asked the Lord to show me something that I have never noticed before. 

Acts 8:26‭-‬29 NIV
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means "queen of the Ethiopians"). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it."

It is interesting to me that an angel told Philip where to go, and then the Holy Spirit told Philip to stand by the chariot.  I have known that angels on our side who help us, but I don't think I've thought about intentionally trying to listen to them.  As I think about the whole canon of Scripture, there are a lot of interactions between people and angels. I am particularly curious about the case when angels came and ministered to Jesus after 40 days of fasting and being tempted by Satan. My conclusion is that it might be beneficial to our Kingdom work to be aware of the presence of angels and to be prepared to listen to them. 

I feel like I'm still a novice at listening to the Holy Spirit, let alone angels, but the Lord is gracious.  He will help me.

Heavenly Father, I want to be mindful of you and your work.  Jesus, you focused on saying and doing what you saw the Father saying and doing.  I trust that you will increase my spiritual sensitivity to be aware of angels and how we collaborate to advance your Kingdom.  Also, please improve my understanding of the role and type of work of angels so that I can more effectively partner with them in our collaboration.  Holy Spirit, please lead me.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Hearing God's voice

On Monday afternoon, I was helping a PhD  student try to find an error in her modeling code that was returning negative chloride concentrations in the RO concentrate.  We had tried to figure this out several times over the previous weeks, so she was frustrated with the program.  I whispered to the Lord, "Please help me figure this out." I had a pen and a note pad, and I suddenly got the idea to try to think about a different way of calculating the concentrate concentrations.  Within about five minutes, we had generalized the algebraic calculation of the concentrate concentration to a multiplicative form instead of a difference form, and that solved the problem.  This was a significant breakthrough for my student to continue moving forward in her research, and I wish I had prayed out loud for her to hear the prayer and see the Lord answer.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your love and goodness.  Holy Spirit, thank you for your faithfulness in speaking to me and helping us solve that coding problem.  Help me be bold in speaking to you for others to observe you.  I want them to see you and your kindness.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Healing in the name of Jesus

It is interesting to me that, in the Gospels, sometimes Jesus (a) rebuked the sickness/illness, (b) cast out a demon/evil spirit that was causing an illness, or (c) told the person to do what they previously could not do (e.g., "stretch out your hand", "get up and walk", etc.). In Acts 4, Peter and John emulated style (c). My question is, how do you know which style to do?  (Or is that an ignorant question?)

Acts 3:6‭-‬8‭, ‬16 NIV
Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. ... By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

The priests and Sadducees arrested Peter and John and questioned them the next day.

Acts 4:8‭-‬12 NIV
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is " 'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.'   Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."

After Peter and John were released, they continued to heal and preach.  And even after Ananias and Sapphira messed up, the disciples continued to heal and preach, even to the point that they were following Jesus's example:

Acts 5:12‭-‬16 NIV
The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.

They looked like Jesus!  They were operating just like Him.  They even began to fulfill Jesus's prophecy that they would do even greater things than He.  The grace of the Holy Spirit was so strong that even Peter's shadow was anointed.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace and love.  Jesus, thank you for your example.  Holy Spirit, thank you for your presence and power.  Please give me boldness to show your healing, and give me discernment to know how to approach each situation.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Prophetic words

Over the last several years, Brandi and I have been growing in appreciation of the gift of prophecy within the Body.  When the Lord gives a personalized message for someone, it is very encouraging and helpful.

We are participating in the Global Legacy Leadership Development Program (LDP1), and this word of prophecy was shown to us this week from the leaders of the program:

"Shane & Brandi Walker- United States
John 4:35-38 You're spiritual harvesters in your region. You've planted spiritual seeds and now is the time to reap the harvest. New heavenly downloads that bring fresh kingdom ideas are being released to you right now. Your sphere of influence increases as you continue to seek His perspective. Incredible increase and anointing is on your lives as you usher in His glory."

John 4:35‭-‬38 NIV
Don't you have a saying, 'It's still four months until harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.  Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.  Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true.  I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."

Heavenly Father, thank you for your kindness and love.  We are your beloved children.  May it be to us according to your word.  Thank you for your grace. Holy Spirit, may we be attentive and obedient.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Living out Jesus's commission

Mark 16:15‭-‬20 NIV
[Jesus] said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."  After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

I want to live this out.  Except the snakes and poison stuff.  But seriously, I want to drive out demons, speak in new tongues, and heal sick people.

What does it take to actualize? Read a bunch of books?  I think it is a do-learn process.  I think I just have to try.  Step out in faith and try to be obedient.  And He will direct me.  (It is a lot easier to direct a moving car than a parked car.)

Heavenly Father, thank you for always calling me deeper with you.  Jesus, thank you for your example and commission.  Holy Spirit, thank you for your presence and power.  May I respond in loving obedience.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sentness, empowerment, and grace

On the evening after Christ was raised from the dead, He appeared to His disciples, gave them the Holy Spirit, and commissioned them:

John 20:19‭-‬23 NIV
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.  Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."  And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone's sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

How did the Father send Jesus?  I think Jesus answered that in by explaining His Messianic calling in Luke 4:18-19 (quoting Isaiah 61) and Luke 7:22 (responding to John the Baptist's disciples).  And He has sent us in that same Messianic calling.  We, the Church, are His Body, and He told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for His same empowerment by the Holy Spirit:

Luke 24:46‭-‬49 NIV
He told them, "This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,  and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

The Lord is so gracious.  He sends us and empowers us, and He also meets us where we are and takes us to where He wants us to be.  The Lord knew that Peter was messed up in his soul because He betrayed Jesus, and it seems like Peter had invalidated himself.  Jesus appeared to them on the shore of the lake, blessed them with an abundant catch of fish, fed them breakfast, and then addressed Peter's soul wound:

John 21:15‭-‬17 NIV
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?"  "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."   Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"  He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."   The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.

As previously discussed (https://texasfarmboy.blogspot.com/2014/06/peters-reinstatement.html), there is a difference between agape (the Greek word for "love" that Jesus used in the first two questions), and phileo (the Greek word for "love" that Peter replied, and Jesus used in His third question).  I think Jesus was asking Peter to choose to love Him unconditionally, but perhaps Peter felt like he couldn't.  Maybe Peter felt like he had disqualified himself.  But I think Jesus met Peter where he was.  Perhaps, the third time, Jesus was basically saying, "If you feel like you can't agape me, but you can only phileo me, I'll still take it.  I'll take you where you are, and we will go on together to where I want you to be."  Whatever love you have for the Lord, small as it may be, give it to Him.  He will take it, use it, bless it, and grow it.

Jesus had planted something in Peter.  Over their past three years together, and especially on the shore of the lake that morning, Jesus planted something in Peter's heart.  And within the following two months, it sprouted, grew, and produced a crop of righteousness when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit, and Peter preached for thousands of people to become disciples of Jesus.

Heavenly Father, I feel like my love for you is so fickle. Jesus, I want to agape you.  Holy Spirit, empower me, and take me on higher with you.  I am excited to see what you will do with me in the next two months.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Peace and Joy

On the night before Jesus was crucified, Jesus summarized a lot of teaching with his disciples.  I am impressed with two aspects of the fruit of the Spirit that Jesus wants for us, which I want more of in my life: peace and joy.

John 14:27 NIV
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

John 15:11 NIV
"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

John 16:24 NIV
"Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete."

John 16:33 NIV
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

John 17:13 NIV
"... but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them."

So, if Jesus wants these for me, how do I let Him increase them in me?  I want to abide in Christ.

Heavenly Father, I want to abide in your presence.  Lord Jesus, I want your peace and joy.  Holy Spirit, please increase peace and joy in me.  Shine your glory through increasing your fruit in my life.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Friday, November 4, 2016


"I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am.
John 13:19 NIV

I like this translation of this verse.  On the night before He was crucified, Jesus washed his disciples' feet and told them that one of them would betray Him.  And He told them why He was telling them, "... so that you will believe that ἐγώ εἰμί".  That is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew version of "I AM", God's name that He told Moses.  Jesus was effectively saying, "...so that you will believe that I am who I say I am. I am the Messiah.  I am the God of the Israelites.  I am the I AM."

Heavenly Father, I love you.  Thank you for prophecy that proves that you are eternal, and you see the beginning from the end.  Lord Jesus,  you are the Messiah, the Son of God, and the great I AM.  You are one with the Father in a way that is beyond my comprehension.  Holy Spirit, help me be in more awe of who you are, and how you are one with the Father and the Son.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The end of the world

Mark 13:10 NIV
And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.

Matthew 24:14 NIV
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

I was thinking this morning about how the remote places of the nations probably need clean drinking water and sanitation.  I want to partner with other organizations to meet people's basic needs and share the love and good news of Jesus with them.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to partner with you in your kingdom.  Lord Jesus, I want to help people experience the goodness of your lordship.  Holy Spirit, please guide me in partnering with others to help more people around the world.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.