Glimpses of Grace; Victory in Jesus

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area. This is my view of Tampa, from a bench in Ballast Point Park, where I often go to pray at night after a full day of Bible ministry. I love to look out over the city that I am praying for as I pray. I do not only pray for the city. I pray also for myself, that God will give me the skills and opportunity to share His grace amongst great obstacles. When I pray for God’s help in my ministry I am often encouraged by the passages below. Thanks to my friend Adam, who took this picture with his camera, as my camera doesn’t do too well at night.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us Ephesians 3:20

I wanted to share a passage from The Desire of Ages, page 679 that has always brought me hope and encouragement in my ministry.

Christ rejoiced that He could do more for His followers than they could ask or think. He spoke with assurance, knowing that an almighty decree had been given before the world was made. He knew that truth, armed with the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit, would conquer in the contest with evil; and that the bloodstained banner would wave triumphantly over His followers. He knew that the life of His trusting disciples would be like His, a series of uninterrupted victories, not seen to be such here, but recognized as such in the great hereafter. 

  “These things I have spoken unto you,” He said, “that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Christ did not fail, neither was He discouraged, and His followers are to manifest a faith of the same enduring nature. They are to live as He lived, and work as He worked, because they depend on Him as the great Master Worker. Courage, energy, and perseverance they must possess. Though apparent impossibilities obstruct their way, by His grace they are to go forward. Instead of deploring difficulties, they are called upon to surmount them. They are to despair of nothing, and to hope for everything. With the golden chain of His matchless love Christ has bound them to the throne of God. It is His purpose that the highest influence in the universe, emanating from the source of all power, shall be theirs. They are to have power to resist evil, power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master, power that will enable them to overcome as Christ overcame. 

Acts of the Apostles-Paul a Prisoner

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Acts of the Apostles Chapter 38.

This chapter is based on Acts 21:17 to 23:35.

The title of this chapter reminds me of a very simple lesson. In Ephesians 3:1 Paul writes;
 "I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus.." and in Ephesians 4:1 Paul Writes; "I therefore, 
the prisoner of the Lord.." Thus Paul did not recognize himself as a prisoner of the
Romans, or any man. Even though he was in prison he continued to serve the Lord, and 
understood that even in his chains he could do "all things through Christ." So today, 
I often visit with those who are in less than ideal family or career situations, or 
actually in prison. I remind them of what Paul wrote about being a prisoner of Christ
 and not of man. Just like Paul, regardless of whatever situation we are in, we can
 serve Christ and do all things through Him. If we have truly given our lives to Jesus,
 we will not see ourselves as "prisoners" of any man, but rather as prisoners of Jesus
 Christ. Like Paul, our lives are not in the hands of men, but in the hands that were
 nailed to the cross for our good. 
 
Imagine all the letters Paul wrote while in prison, that make up the New Testament.
 If he had been “free” he could have seen those people face to face instead of 
having to write letters. If that had been so though, we would be missing valuable 
instruction in the New Testament.
 
You can allow yourself to be a prisoner of circumstances or you too can be a
 prisoner of the Lord, and be free to be all He wants you to be.
You may find more devotionals and studies at In Light of The Cross.

Acts of the Apostles-The Gift of The Spirit

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Acts of the Apostles Chapter 5

Here are some of my favorite passages of this chapter, reminding us how the Holy Spirit empowers us to be like Christ so that we can win souls for Christ.

 What was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost? The glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the uttermost parts of the inhabited world. As the disciples proclaimed the message of redeeming grace, hearts yielded to the power of this message. The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Backsliders were reconverted. Sinners united with believers in seeking the pearl of great price. Some who had been the bitterest opponents of the gospel became its champions. The prophecy was fulfilled, “He that is feeble . . . shall be as David; and the house of David . . . as the angel of the Lord.” Zechariah 12:8. Every Christian saw in his brother a revelation of divine love and benevolence. One interest prevailed; one subject of emulation swallowed up all others. The ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.  {AA 48.1}

The promise of the Holy Spirit is not limited to any age or to any race. Christ declared that the divine influence of His Spirit was to be with His followers unto the end. From the Day of Pentecost to the present time, the Comforter has been sent to all who have yielded themselves fully to the Lord and to His service. To all who have accepted Christ as a personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit has come as a counselor, sanctifier, guide, and witness. The more closely believers have walked with God, the more clearly and powerfully have they testified of their Redeemer’s love and of His saving grace. The men and women who through the long centuries of persecution and trial enjoyed a large measure of the presence of the Spirit in their lives, have stood as signs and wonders in the world. Before angels and men they have revealed the transforming power of redeeming love.  {AA 49.2} 

Under the Holy Spirit’s working even the weakest, by exercising faith in God, learned to improve their entrusted powers and to become sanctified, refined, and ennobled. As in humility they submitted to the molding influence of the Holy Spirit, they received of the fullness of the Godhead and were fashioned in the likeness of the divine.  {AA 49.3} 

 It is not a conclusive evidence that a man is a Christian because he manifests spiritual ecstasy under extraordinary circumstances. Holiness is not rapture: it is an entire surrender of the will to God; it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father; it is trusting God in trial, in darkness as well as in the light; it is walking by faith and not by sight; it is relying on God with unquestioning confidence, and resting in His love.  {AA 51.2} 

 Having brought conviction of sin, and presented before the mind the standard of righteousness, the Holy Spirit 
 withdraws the affections from the things of this earth and fills the soul with a desire for holiness. {AA 52.4}

  Every worker who follows the example of Christ will be prepared to receive and use the power that God has promised to His church for the ripening of earth’s harvest. Morning by morning, as the heralds of the gospel kneel before the Lord and renew their vows of consecration to Him, He will grant them the presence of His Spirit, with its reviving, sanctifying power. As they go forth to the day’s duties, they have the assurance that the unseen agency of the Holy Spirit enables them to be “laborers together with God.”  {AA 56.2} 

This calls to mind one of my favorite passages, Ephesians 3:14-21: “

 14For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  15Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,  16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,  18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;  19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.  20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,  21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

 

You may find more studies and devotionals at In Light of The Cross