Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

23
Mar

Are You In or Out?

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Christian Living

Holy Spirit depicted as the dove (detail) abov...
Image via Wikipedia

The Bible is the word of God. Everything we know about the One True and Living God comes from the Bible. And the whole Bible is about Jesus, both the Old and the New Testaments. Jesus is the living Word of God. The Bible is the written word of God about the living Word of God. If you believe the Bible, you must necessarily believe in Jesus.

Jesus is the physical manifestation of the God of the Bible. All of the other so-called “gods” are nothing but idols. That is why Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father but by me.” John 14:6

There are millions of people who give their mental assent to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. But that, in itself, is not enough to save them. It’s too shallow of a form of belief to count as “faith.” They don’t believe it in their hearts, and they don’t know the Lord personally.

They’re going to miss heaven simply because of their ignorance of the Bible. The most important concepts in life are found in the Bible. This is a matter of life and deatheternal life and eternal death.

If you fall into this category, look carefully at what the Bible says about salvation:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10

Don’t forget that salvation is a free gift from God. You don’t have to do anything to earn it or deserve it. All you have to do is to receive it by faith.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Romans 6:23

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Acts 2:38

To “repent” simply means to change your mind and change your direction. To depart from sin and follow Jesus instead of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior and to fill you with the Holy Spirit.

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11
Oct

The Battle is the Lord’s

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

Jesus from the Deesis Mosaic
Image by jakebouma via Flickr

Years ago, When I made a reference to David and Goliath to one of my co-workers, I was very surprised to find that he had never heard of them.

Then, I found out that this is not unusual. Most young people have no idea what is in the Bible. They have no idea what treasures it contains.

I put the story of David and Goliath in my last post for the benefit of any readers who are not familiar with it.

When I read it again, I learned something new that we can apply to our everyday lives. I can hardly wait to tell you about it.

The Philistines hated God. They attacked the people he loved as a way of lashing out at him. They wanted to kill God’s people just for being God’s people. (Isn’t this the same situation that we are are in today?)

To make matters worse Goliath was bad-mouthing God and that was undermining the peoples’ faith in him. Nobody had enough faith in God to stand up for him. But when David showed up, God showed up with him.

David’s faith was stronger than his fear. He stood up for God, and God spoke through him. And the things that he said did come to pass.

When I saw the phrase, “The Battle is the Lord’s,” I remembered that these same words appear in another Bible story. It’s another one of my all time favorites.

I’ll give you the short version of it. Jehoshaphat was the King of Judah, and he walked uprightly before the Lord. God’s people were facing a large invading army. Jehoshaphat called all of the people together and led them in this prayer:

O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. (2 Chronicles 20:12)

The Lord responded to their prayer through this prophetic utterance:

Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. (2 Chronicles 20:15)

And that, my friends, is one of the ways you can tell that the Holy Spirit is the author of the Bible. Different people, different places, different times—the same idea, the same words, the same Spirit of God. He continued to say:

Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you. (2 Chronicles 20:17)

King Jehoshaphat employed an unusual tactic on their way to meet the enemy. And just like God had said, they did not have to fight in this battle.

And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.

And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.

For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy the other.

And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped. (2 Chronicles 20:21-24)

I think that history is going to repeat itself, and we are going to see this same miracle happen in our day. The Lord is going to cause all of our enemies to be destroyed. And all the earth shall know there is a God in Israel, and in the United States. Because the battle is the Lords.

Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth forever!

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27
Jun

What Is More Valuable Than Gold?

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

Gold Key, weighing one kilogram is used to acc...
Image via Wikipedia

True wisdom is the most valuable commodity on earth, because you can only get it from God.

You cannot buy God’s wisdom for any amount of money. But he provides it for free to anyone who asks him for it.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it will be given him.  (James 1:5)

Gold won’t buy wisdom, but wisdom will buy you an abundance of gold. If you will apply God’s wisdom to your life, you will be rich.

But, you don’t have to take my word for it. Look at what the Spirit of God says about wisdom in the Bible.

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

She is more precious than rubies: and all the things that thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is everyone that retaineth her.  (Proverbs 3:13-18)

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16
Jun

Uncertain Riches

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

Wall Street Bull
Image by PittCaleb via Flickr

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. (1 Timothy 6:17)

I know that, as Chistians, we are not supposed to put our trust in money. But I have to confess that I did it anyway—just a little bit.

My 401k was like one of my children, in that I was amazed at how fast it was growing. And I thought, “Here’s some security for the wife and I in our old age.”

That’s what I get for thinking. My 401k became a 201k. Then I was amazed how quickly our money had disappeared. Once again, life experience confirms that what the Bible says is true. There is no such thing as security apart from God.

Labor not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.  (Proverbs 23:4-5)

We were disappointed, but we got over it. This is just another bump in the road of life. We still have the true riches of life which are in Christ Jesus. He is the only true security. That’s because his word will not fail, and he is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

Be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5)

Don’t let the financial crisis get you down. You still have the Bible, and you still have the Holy Spirit. God is always with you, and he will help you make a comeback.


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14
Apr

The Same Spirit That Raised Up Jesus From the Dead

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

When you become a believer in Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God does three things for you. He regenerates you, he baptizes you into the body of believers, and he seals you unto the day of redemption. When you love the Lord, he can do more for you, and you know that he is alive in you.

In John 14:15-18, Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Look at what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

This is not just any old Spirit. He is the same Spirit of God that raised up Jesus from the dead, and he is alive in you. He is the most powerful Spirit in the Universe, and He is alive in you. You have access to him 24 hours a day. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance.

All of the promises of God apply to you. That’s why you can say with confidence. “Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. My God shall supply all your needs, according to his riches in glory.”

You don’t have to be afraid of anything, because the greater one lives in you. He will protect you, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

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24
Mar

God Rewards Everyone Who Loves Him

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

So I finally found the answer to the question, “What am I doing wrong? Why am I not seeing the promises of God fulfilled in my life? I had done a lot of things to gain God’s favor, but I had left out the most important thing of all, which is to love God. That is what he has commanded us to do.

I had to read through the Bible several times, and study my core of Bible verses, before I saw it. The Holy Spirit had to reveal it to me. But when he did, I saw it everywhere I looked. Of course! This is what I had missed. Look at what Romans 8:28 actually says. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE GOD . . .”  This promise does not apply to everyone, but it does apply to everyone who loves God. This is one of God’s most amazing promises, that he will intervene in the circumstances of your life.

In Psalm 91, God has promised to protect you from all kinds of harm. But this promise is conditional too. Look at what God says in verses 14-16. “Because he hath set his love on me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath know my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.”

God’s promise of divine protection is contingent upon your obedience to his commandment. That commandment is to love him by loving your neighbor as yourself.

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10
Mar

The Most Valuable Thing in Life

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

What do you think is the most valuable thing in life? Many people would think it would be their own eternal salvation.

Is it wisdom? That is certainly important. Is it wealth and riches? Is it good health? Is it happiness?

Is it to know the Lord, or to live a godly life? Now we are getting closer to the truth. It has taken me thirty years to find it and experience it in my own life. I want to pass it on to everyone who will listen. You can benefit from it today. The most valuable thing you can do in life is to love God.

I have been a Christian for many years. I believed all the promises of God and expected that they would be fulfilled in my life and in the lives of my children. But there were times when we desperately needed God’s help and there was no help. I am not saying that God let us down. I knew that I had let us down. I was doing something wrong.

But what was it? I had to find out what it was so I could fix it. I began to study the word of God intently to find out what was missing. I discovered that the Bible tells us everything we need to know about life and living, and that it’s all about Jesus. And, I have a strong desire to teach these things to everyone who will hear them.

I had been a Christian for years and, if I had died, I would have gone to heaven. But I have to say that I didn’t know the Lord very well until this time. The Holy Spirit began to explain to me what I was reading, just like the Bible said he would. But we have to know what’s in the Bible before he can “bring all things to your remembrance.”

My most immediate problem was my personal ignorance of the Bible. I always relied on what other people told me it said. When I read the Bible for myself, I found what I was looking for. “Everyone who seeks, finds.”

First, I got to know what Jesus is like and how he thinks. Then, I realized that not only does he know me, but that he also cares about me personally.

Finally, I reached the point where I love Jesus more than anything else, and I want to please him. I am willing to love my neighbor as myself, because I love God. It’s easy for me to love God by loving my neighbor as myself.

What I was doing wrong  for all of these years was that I was not loving God. This was the missing piece in the puzzle of life.

Now that I love the Lord, he has changed my life. I recommend it to everyone. The most valuable thing in life is to love God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength. Jesus said that this is the greatest commandment.

It will improve your relationship with God, and it will change the circumstances of your life. These words spoken by God in Psalm 91:14-16 will apply to you:

“Because he loves me, I will rescue him; I will make him great because he trusts in my name. When he calls on me, I will answer; I will be with him in trouble and rescue him and honor him. I will satisfy him with a full life and give him my salvation.”

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3
Mar

The Secret of Success

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

About ten years ago, God changed my life forever. Here’s what happened.

I had always loved the Bible, and when I found a verse I liked, I made a mental note of it and recorded it on a 3×5 card.

I was particularly interested in verses that teach us how to live. I had collected about a thousand passages of scripture on that subject out of the thirty-five thousand verses in the Bible. I think that these verses that teach us how to live the Christian life.

I took this mix of verses, studied them carefully, and put them together into topics. Then, I added a short explanation for each passage. It took me several years to do all of this.

While I was working on this project, I had to focus my attention on God’s word, and nothing else. I found that I had inadvertently done what God advises us to do. I highly recommend it. Focus your attention on what the Bible says. This is more than just casual Bible reading, it’s intense scrutiny of what is written.

I became addicted to the Bible. It became my drug of choice. When I was troubled, I would escape into the word of God. When  I was happy, I would indulge myself in the word of God. I wasn’t drunk with wine, but, rather, I was filled with the Holy Spirit. I was so full of the word of God that there was no room for anything else.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the Bible. I was meditating on it day and night, and delighting in it. Then, I realized that I was doing what God advises us to do. I set out to write a book, and had inadvertently stumbled onto the secret of success, which is obedience to the word of God.

I was doing what God told Joshua to do in Joshua 1:8, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

And, I was actually becoming the man described in Psalm 1:1-3

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. but his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. and he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

God is certainly blessing me. He healed me of Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder. This was a life-changing miracle for me. I certainly enjoy life more now that I’m not angry all the time. This is one example of the many things God has done for me and my family.

He has given me the desire of my heart, which is to be a writer for him. My book of topical Bible verses, The Bible Believer’s Handbook, was published in July of 2008, and was launched at the International Christian Retail Show in Orlando.

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17
Feb

You Shall Come Forth As Gold

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

I was at home, building a tool shed, when God‘s still small voice spoke to me inside. “You shall come forth as gold.” I knew that it was God for two reasons. It was completely out of context with what was going on in my thought life; and, it was a direct reference to a Bible verse. “When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10) I knew that something important was about to happen to me. I just didn’t know what it was.

I am always excited to hear from the Lord, but I was uneasy about this “fire” business. Immediately, I told my wife, Marie, “Good news, we’re going to come forth as gold. The not-so-good news is that, apparently, we are about to go through some kind of fire.”

The first thing we thought of was King Nebucannezzar’s fiery furnace. But we were sure that we had already been there and done that. This was something that had not happened yet. I knew of two verses where Jesus is associated with fire. But I had never understood either of them.

This is what John the Baptist said about Jesus. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall Baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:” (Matthew 3:11). But the verse that bothered most was this one, “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughtly purge his floor, and gather his wheat unto the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” ( Matthew 3:12)  Honestly, I was afraid of that fire.

I should have known that the Lord would not do anything to hurt me. He would never throw me into a burning fiery furnace. He was doing something to help me. God’s fire is on the inside and he doesn’t burn us. But he does destroy evil desires, addictions, and cravings. That is the most effective way for us to get rid of them. He is a purifying fire who burns up all the trash that’s in our hearts, and leaves only the good things of God.

Here’s an example of what the fire of God has done for me. I used to have a terrible problem with anger. I was like a volcano that could erupt at any time. My wife and kids, and co-workers were terrorized by my fits of rage. That was the first thing to go. It was obvious that God did it because it disappeared overnight, and it has never come back.

I am telling you this because I know that God will do the same for you. He makes it possible for us to live the the Christian life. The Bible is true, and you can apply everything it says to your life.

Let me show you something I find fascinating. John the Baptist is the last of the Old Testament prophets. There was a long period where God was silent between the time of Malachi, and that of Jesus and John the Baptist. Look at what God said through his prophet Malachi.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.”

But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:1-3)

God said that Jesus would refine us like silver and gold, which means, burning away all the impurtities. It excites me to realize that he is presently doing what God said he would do in my life, and in the lives of everyone who is born of God. It’s something that he does for us because he loves us.

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20
Jan

Do You Have the Inward Witness?

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

The Holy Spirit is the same Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead. You have to know whether He lives in you, or not. But how can you tell?

This is what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, and you know that the Bible is true.

“Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”  (1 John 4:13)

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Romans 8:16)

“And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. And there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”  (1 John 5:6-7)

Here is something from my own experience that might be helpful.

I used to be self-absorbed. My thought life was all about me and my interests. I was always thinking about fulfilling my goals, and my hopes and dreams. Always asking myself, “Now what am I going to do for me?”

When I was a young man, just getting out of the Army, I needed a job to support my family. In desperation, I cried out to God for help. He answered my prayer. He gave me a job, and a whole lot more.

I really did appreciate his help and I told him so. I started paying attention to God and reading his word. I read about the Holy Spirit and I believed that was alive in me. But I was still the same selfish person I had always been.

After a while, I could see that I was changing. Instead of being so self-centered, I was genuinely interested in the people around me. I was patient and kind to them, instead of grouchy and impatient. I knew that I had not changed myself. This could only be the work of the Holy Spirit. I was glad to know for sure that he was definitely alive in me.

The Lord was changing from the inside. He was changing my interests and my desires. He was providing me everything I needed. He was providing me faith to believe his word, and love for others that wasn’t there before. And he is still doing these things for me

That is how I knew for sure that I had experienced the new birth.

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