The BlogShipwrecked Faith from a Shipwrecked Church
Today is the second day of a 40 day adventure with the Lord.
Yesterday, day one, was a good day. I experienced much peace and was able to pray more than I have in a long time. It seemed like my prayers were effortless and more natural and I had a deeper sense of His presence with me. I know this is only the beginning, but I am greatly encouraged. I was able to spend more time in prayer and meditation on His Word as my mind seemed to be more in tune with spiritual things, rather than carnal things. I find it amazing that after just one day, I can already see changes in my life.
Today I arose early, a little before 6:00 am. For some reason, I couldn’t turn my mind off. I was thinking about our conversation yesterday, how the Lord wants to speak with each of us, with me and you, in a more personal, intimate way that maybe we have not allowed Him to do in the past. I am convinced He wants to reveal His heart to us in ways we’ve never understood or experienced before.
This is what my desire is with Him. And this is what I have been praying this time with Him will accomplish.
Then I started thinking about my fear of the Holy Spirit. No, you heard that right. To be completely honest, I’ve always been a little frightened of the Holy Spirit. Why? Because I don’t understand Him. I find it difficult to get close to Him. I can’t get an image of Him in my mind and He’s hard for me to relate to.
God the Father, not so much. From the Old Testament, I see Him as unapproachable, fire and smoke and thunder from Mt. Sinai erupting like an active volcano (Ex. 19:18). When I think of His voice, I see it booming from the heavens, loud, frightening, much like I viewed the Wizard of Oz when I was a young child. To me, He seems more like a boss, or a ruling monarch, and less like a father. I know much of my caricature of God is based on my own dysfunctional and somewhat abusive relationship with my own father. And I know I’ve imposed character traits and motives on Him that belonged to my earthly father, and that’s unfair and wrong. But that’s something we’ll have to talk about at another time.
One out of every six people in the world is missing. If 1.5 billion children had not been systematically killed over the past 50 years, the total population of the planet would be 9 billion instead of the current level of 7.5 billion. And of course, I am not even counting the children and the grandchildren that the missing 1.5 billion would have had if they had been allowed to grow up. There have been other great genocides throughout human history, but there has never been one that has literally wiped out one-sixth of humanity. Virtually every nation in the world has eagerly participated in this horrific genocide, and that arguably makes us the most evil generation to ever walk the face of the Earth.
So what would the appropriate punishment be for killing 1.5 billion children?
Not a lot of people think about this. In fact, most of those that approve of all this killing think that they are totally going to get away with it.
These days, even most Christians seem to think that there won’t be any consequences for all of the great evil that we see throughout our society. According to them, it really doesn’t matter that virtually every form of evil imaginable is exploding all around us, because America and the rest of the globe are heading into a golden new era of peace and prosperity that will be greater than anything we have ever seen before whether there is repentance or not.
I am sorry, but it simply does not work that way.
The other day I got an email from one of these believers. He was all upset that my articles were not more “positive”, and I guess he wanted some sort of an explanation.
1.5 billion children are dead and great wickedness is running rampant everywhere we look. Does he actually believe that this is going to lead to a positive ending to our story?
The modern era of abortion began in 1970 when some U.S. states began to pass laws legalizing the practice. The following comes from Wikipedia:
In 1970, Hawaii became the first state to legalize abortions on the request of the woman, and New York repealed its 1830 law and allowed abortions up to the 24th week of pregnancy. Similar laws were soon passed in Alaska and Washington. A law in Washington, D.C., which allowed abortion to protect the life or health of the woman, was challenged in the Supreme Court in 1971 in United States v. Vuitch. The court upheld the law, deeming that “health” meant “psychological and physical well-being”, essentially allowing abortion in Washington, DC. By the end of 1972, 13 states had a law similar to that of Colorado, while Mississippi allowed abortion in cases of rape or incest only and Alabama and Massachusetts allowed abortions only in cases where the woman’s physical health was endangered.
The landmark judicial ruling of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade ruled that a Texas statute forbidding abortion except when necessary to save the life of the mother was unconstitutional. The immediate result was that all state laws to the contrary were null. The Court arrived at its decision by concluding that the issue of abortion and abortion rights falls under the right to privacy.
Today is the first day of a 40 day adventure.
No, this adventure is not about a mission trip to Haiti or a hike down the Appalachian Trail. This 40 day adventure is a time set aside to discover more about the Lord and to specifically learn to hear Him speak. That’s right, it’s my desire during this adventure to draw closer to the Lord than I’ve ever been before and to learn to hear His voice. I’m not talking about hearing Him speak to me through His Word, which is wonderful. But I long for something more personal, more intimate. I long to hear Him speak to me like He has others in Scripture, and as He has also done for me several times in the past. In fact, those times of hearing His voice are some of the high points in my spiritual life.
I know what many of you may be thinking.
“Oh, here we go again. It looks like somebody else is wanting to move beyond the sufficiency of Scripture. I guess Scripture’s not enough for Steve and now He wants more than God has already provided for him. Maybe he wants an encounter like the one described in The Shack or to hear God speak like Sarah Young claims in Jesus Calling or something like that. Doesn’t he know that God only speaks today through His Word?”
No, I don’t know that. In fact, I see many places in Scripture where God speaks to His children in other ways than through the Scriptures. Let me give you a few examples.
In Acts 9, we find Jesus verbally speaking to Paul on the Damascus Road. It wasn’t just a command or some proclamation declared from heaven. It was a conversation where both He and Paul spoke to each other. And in this conversation, Jesus did not only speak through the written Word, which for Paul would have been the Old Testament. Instead, He verbally communicated His personal message and will to Paul. And that personal message could not be found from reading, for example, the Psalms or Isaiah.
Acts 9:4-6 – Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
“Got it,” you say. “But that’s the apostle Paul. He was an apostle and could, therefore, hear God speak to him verbally in ways He doesn’t do today, to anybody, ever. You and I are not apostles. We don’t even have apostles anymore. So how God spoke to Paul back then was just for Paul— and not for us today.”
Jesus said in John 5:39 that the entire Old Testament testifies about Him. And this means everything. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2, we see that the account of Moses leading Israel from Egypt and across the Red Sea also speaks of Jesus and, amazingly, the Holy...
There is an incredible statement in John 5:39 regarding finding Jesus in the Old Testament. In essence, it says you can find Jesus in the Old Testament wherever you look. He is found in every verse, every feast, every sacrifice, every strange ritual. Jesus is revealed in both the Old and New Testament. Consider His words in John 5:39:
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
Remember, Jesus was talking to the Pharisees. And the Scriptures He was referring to was the Old Testament.
In this podcast, we will look at the strange list of names found in Genesis 5 and show, amazingly, how they present the message of Christ in an unmistakable way. And this process begins by simply seeing what each name means. But we have some clues.
For example, we know that Adam means “man” and Seth means “appointed”. We can see that in Genesis 4:25:
And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.”
But what do the rest of the names mean? Let’s dig a bit deeper and see if we can enjoy finding Jesus in the Old Testament, beginning with Genesis 5.
When looking at the description of the baptism of Jesus, John the Baptist lets us know how the Lord told him he would recognize the Messiah. And that one cryptic statement is of profound importance. John the Baptist said he was told he would recognize the Lord when he saw the Holy Spirit descending and remaining on Him (John 1:31-32). Let’s look at this account in context.
And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'”
And why was John told to describe Jesus’ ministry as the One who will “baptize with the Holy Spirit? What does that even mean?
The Lord obviously wanted us to know that when the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus, He descended and rested and remained on Him in a totally different fashion than what we see in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, every time the Holy Spirit came upon somebody, He came upon them for a season, a short time, for a specific purpose. And then, when what the Holy Spirit wanted to accomplish was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was removed.
He came upon a carnal man like Samson. He did a mighty work and then the Holy Spirit was gone, leaving Samson still a carnal man. Same with King Saul and many others.
What is happening here? What does it mean for the Holy Spirit to be descending and remaining on Jesus? Let’s take a look at this together.