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RIVERS OF LIVING WATER

 

KJ Bible

The Holy Spirit will challenge us at various times in our lives. He regularly challenges me about deepening my prayer life and studying His word. I now use my car journeys regularly as times of prayer, talking and listening to God. The Holy Spirit has also prompted me to write to someone recently, so I brought some notelets and did some handwritten letters. The response showed me that the card/letters were very much appreciated. I have also learnt to ask Him when I cannot find something and recently that was the case with some missing artwork. I looked for a while [for an hour!], unsuccessfully, prayed and asked Him where I had put it. As I relaxed and listened He placed the thought in my mind where it was. It was in a folder that I used for a school assembly before Christmas. When I then found the folder, sure enough the artwork was in there. I am learning to listen more & ask sooner!

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The Holy Spirit often challenges me about my service to Him. How can I serve Him in practical ways. This might be to serve Him in Kingdom building work or mundane tasks that nobody else wants to do. Commitment to Him means it is more than just turning up to church on Sundays, it is a Monday to Sunday full time commitment. One area, He has underlined to me recently is the importance of being faithful in the work. In a time of busyness in the nation, volunteers are few and far between. To be faithful in running a club, over the years, despite the weather, is important in His service.

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The Holy Spirit can be likened to a dove of fire. He comes to teach, inspire, prompt, guide, anoint & empower. He convicts of sin in our lives and reminds of the teachings of Jesus. He is part of the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and will never contradict Scripture. He will also illuminate the deep truths of God’s word into our lives for He knows the mind of God.

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When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, one of the Sanhredrin, he shared about the importance of knowing God. You can only do this by having your spirit being made alive to God’s Spirit. This happens when people genuinely turn to Him in faith and make Jesus their Lord and Saviour. Repentance comes before baptism in the Holy Spirit. The disciples were asked to wait in Jerusalem when Jesus had ascended for the One that He would send from the Father. The sound of rushing wind and tongues of fire was unique to the day of Pentecost and those disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. They spoke in languages that they had not learnt and had not been able to speak beforehand. They spoke of the things Jesus had done and testified the greatness of the God, Most High. Around the city many from different countries heard these languages and marveled. As a result Peter addressed the crowd and 3000 people believed in God that day.

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There is one baptism but many fillings in the Holy Spirit. In other words you can go back to Him for a fresh infilling when you are running dry. God doesn’t expect you to live your life as a Christian running on empty but filled with His Spirit. The Spirit is a deposit of things to come. The Spirit brings gifts to the Christian Church. He gives His peace and assurance and brings you into a closer relationship with God. Jesus said it was not about doing good works, or earning millions, or achieving fame or accumulating possessions but knowing God. We can know Him through His Spirit at work in our lives.

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Jesus was led into the wilderness after His baptism in the river Jordan to be tested for 40 days and nights. When Jesus went down into the waters in obedience to His Father and was baptised by John the Baptist, His heavenly Father sent the fulness of the Holy Spirit upon His Son in the form of a dove. John the Baptist testified to seeing the dove come down upon Him. Jesus overcome all the tests and came back in the power of the Spirit to do God’s work from town to town, village to village.

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The Spirit is invisible but His works are visible over time. You can see the difference in a person’s life when the Holy Spirit comes. He starts His work in your life from that point onwards, changing you from one degree of glory to another as you work in partnership with Him. The Holy Spirit requires you to yield to His ways, obey His promptings, learn His thoughts, and as a result you change to be more like Jesus, filled with the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness and self-control.

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One very important and underestimated work of the Spirit of God in the world today is the restraining role He plays. This work is probably linked in with the fruit of ‘self-control’ and I believe is a very important ministry of the Holy Spirit around the world. I believe He does this work in people’s lives on an individual basis but can also do this on a larger capacity. As the Church in a nation is led to seek Him and pray, I believe He does restraining work in countries, holding back evil & upholding righteousness, truth and light.

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We can never exhaust learning from God’s word, the Bible. The Holy Spirit can teach us new things every day of our lives as we humble ourselves before Him, pray and listen to His thoughts. The Holy Spirit brings insight, revelation, can speak prophetically through Scripture of things yet to happen in the world. The Holy Spirit can bring revelation through dreams and visions, He can speak into our minds. Some people will be given pictures, words of knowledge, prophetic words for the Church or the nation. He brings discernment, wisdom, and knowledge. I believe the Holy Spirit wants to speak into our lives far more than we allow. To enable this we need to spend time in quiet with Him, to open His word the Bible and spend time in quiet reflective prayer each day. We can learn to tune into His wavelength, to listen with ‘spiritual ears’ to His words and ways.

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Often in life we do not know how to pray in a given situation. The Holy Spirit can show us how to pray. Some times He might lead us to pray for situations in other countries with people we might not ever meet on the earth. Some people are awakened in the night to pray for a situation because it is critical. We can pray with our eyes open whilst walking, driving, running, swimming, even ironing!

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This is a life long process where the Spirit of God works to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. We may have some rough edges to deal with but lovingly and patiently He works to refine our lives to be more and more like Jesus, who is perfect. One day, when we are promoted to eternity we will see Him as He is in all of His glory and we then will be perfect too. I do believe we can co-operate and yield to the Spirit, working in partnership with Him. So remember, you are a work in progress, not finished yet.

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Jesus demonstrated through His life that the power in Him was greater than the power of the enemy. The power in Him was the fullness of the Spirit of God that filled Him when he was baptised in the river Jordan. When His Spirit came upon the disciples at Pentecost, He said to them, that the Holy Spirit would empower them to be His witnesses in all the world, giving them the words to say, guiding them and leading them, filling them with boldness. You can read the works of the Holy Spirit in the early Church in the book of Acts. See specifically, Acts 2, 4, 8-10, 17.

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We worship Him in the spirit and in truth. To do this we need to be open to Holy Spirit as individuals and corporately as the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit will be active in any church, inspiring worship, giving gifts to enhance the church, mobilizing the church in it’s worldwide mission and outreach into the local community.  Deepening the prayer life of individuals and the church as a whole. The Spirit of God, empowers the church to be the victorious people of God, shining the light of Christ in all kinds of ways, in the fallen world in which we live.

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There are times in life where you do not which way to turn. In those times I have learnt to pray and ask the Lord to guide me and reveal the way forward. Sometimes this has meant praying this prayer and waiting on Him for days, even weeks. Sometimes I have fasted and prayed [gone without food] until I have received the guidance. One job interview led me to pray and fast for a week before getting the answer confirmed that was a ‘no’. It is important to move in the direction God is leading in your life. He promises to guide us continually so stand on that promise and you will see His leading in your life. Rarely does God speak to us in our minds but sometimes He does,  He can also guide through our reading of Scripture, by speaking through other people and by giving us dreams and visions.

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The gifts of the Spirit are particularly given to enhance and serve and benefit the Church for the building up of the body of Christ on earth. The Holy Spirit also enables the Church to be powerfully effective outside Sundays. The witness of the Church happens in the world, in the week primarily Monday to Saturdays. So the Holy Spirit is active in the body of Christ in our prayer life, pastoring visiting, caring practically for those in need, witnessing, outreach and evangelism into our communities. The Holy Spirit is active in this England in inspiring new expressions of Church, so we have Cafe Church, Messy Church as two examples that are effective in reaching and befriending families who do not normally go to church. Holiday clubs are effective in reaching primary aged children in the Easter and summer holidays and school holidays in the year. Many churches are involved in helping set up or to support Food Banks that help those people who are struggling to put meals on the table to feed themselves and their families and are caught up in poverty. Some churches are being led to plant new churches where there is no church perhaps in a new housing estate. Some churches run effective youth ministry to the 11-16’s and others for the 18-25 age group. The Holy Spirit is leading the Church to witness in relevant and practical ways appropriate to the local context and national situation.

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The Holy Spirit can impress a thought on our minds and the following picture and thought has been on my mind over the past week. The Bible says that the words of Jesus can be the strong foundation to build our lives on. Anything else is but sand and will not stand the storms of life. Jesus, can be the Eternal Rock of our lives, the Cornerstone, the most important foundation stone. Many will reject the Capstone, whilst many testify that the ‘Name of the Lord is a strong tower’. My testimony is that He is the strong tower, the Eternal Rock, the One and Only, the immovable Cornerstone of my life.

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In Peru, there is practical ministry to street children where there are many orphans and homeless people; in Zimbabwe, the church runs effective life skills training in schools as this is a priority need amongst young people to be educated and helped in their understanding of how best to live. In Australia, many children and young people go to camps and this is a central thrust of the Church. In America, Salvation Army camps for underprivileged children are powerful to reach children that otherwise would not have an annual holiday. Different expressions of Church depending on the context and needs of the people. In each of these examples, the work of the Holy Spirit is highly important to guide the Churches and reveal the most relevant and effective way[s] forward. This makes a lot of sanctified common sense as the Holy Spirit sees the needs in the local area and can best help the churches who are prepared to listen and be led to minister into those needs. The gospel is both practical and spiritual.

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Have you asked the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit? The Spirit will confirm in our hearts and our spirits that we are God’s property and that He reigns in our lives. This can only happen if we have made Him Lord and Saviour. The Holy Spirit sees into the depth of our beings, He searches the deep things of God. No one can deceive the Holy Spirit, He can never be conned by man, that is why in the Scriptures we see references to God knowing the thoughts of man and Jesus knowing men’s thoughts.

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A momentous and magnificent day, the day the Church was born of the Spirit of God. The Spirit would empower the Church to be the light of Christ in the world, to be the presence of Jesus in their communities, to plant new churches to take the message of hope and salvation through Christ Jesus to the far corners of the world. Study the book of John, chapter 3, verse 16 to find the heart of the gospel message in this one verse. It encapsulates the central message of new life in Christ, eternity through the finished work of Christ on the cross, and the Spirit behind this salvation plan being the indescribable, unfathomable love of God.

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The Holy Spirit is given to those who ask to be filled with the Spirit of God. He is a gift from God, a deposit of things to come, a seal of eternity available to all those who believe in Jesus, confess Him as Lord and Saviour and follow Him. Have you asked Him to be the Lord of your life and asked for the Holy Spirit to fill your life? See John chapter 3 and Romans 10 in the Bible.

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The Holy Spirit speaks, convicts, guides, counsels, comforts, assures, inspires, reveals, empowers & anoints. No doubt there will other words you can think of that describe the ministry of the Spirit of God at work all over the world even in the countries that persecute the Christian Church in the world like North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Maldives, Vietnam [see Open Doors, Handbook of Prayer on the 50 most persecuted countries of the world].

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God is spirit and we worship Him in Spirit and in truth. The Holy Spirit will enable churches to worship God sensitively and powerfully. He will help you as an individual to worship God, to sing and make music to the Lord. The joy of the Lord is a strength in our lives. Praise is powerful because God inhabits the praises of His people. He inspires words of poetry, songs, artwork and creative expression in dance.

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The centurion, Cornelius, encountered an angel who told him to send for the disciple called Peter who was staying in Joppa within walking distance from his house. The Holy Spirit meanwhile showed Peter a vision of a blanket dropping down from heaven full of unclean things and was challenged to take and eat! This was deliberate for him to understand that within a short while Peter would be asked to go with some men to a Roman centurion’s house. He responded as the Holy Spirit confirmed to him that he was to go with the men who had now arrived at the house. The next day they walked to the house of Cornelius and Peter soon addressed the waiting Roman community that had gathered. As Peter spoke the Holy Spirit moved upon the audience and they were baptised with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. The Holy Spirit shows that God has no favourites, He was clearly for Jew and Gentile, for old and young, for people of all nations.

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I personally was baptised by the Holy Spirit in May 1977. It was as though my life was now in colour instead of black and white. My spiritual eyes were opened to a whole new world. I was a new creation in Christ Jesus, my spirit was made alive with God’s Spirit. I was full of questions and hungry to grow spiritually. As I went to Church and read the Bible over the following years my understanding grew. I enjoyed Christian fellowship and started to understand the words of Scripture about: ‘the fellowship of the Holy Spirit’. The Holy Spirit communicates with our spirits that we are His, as we can say: ‘Abba Father’ with heartfelt understanding. It is a wow experience and very humbling. You immediately identify with Peter and the early Church at Pentecost; with Cornelius’s friends and family as they encountered the Holy Spirit in Caesaria, 2000 years ago. You are born into a world wide family, with brothers and sisters in Christ in every continent and country around the world. It is amazing and I firmly believe that the best is yet to come! Hallelujah!

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The Spirit of truth reveals the truth to our minds and spirits. We can be taught by God Himself by His Holy Spirit wherever we are in the world whether on a mountain top, prison cell or on a desert island, there is no place we can go in this world where He cannot be with us. The permission to come into our lives has to be from us to Him. He will knock on our hearts door but we have to do the opening, He will never force His way in, He waits for our willing response. Jesus, said, “I stand at the door and knock, if any man [or woman or child] will open that door, I will come in and have fellowship with him and he with Me.” In other words, if we open the door to the throne room in our lives and invite Him to be Lord and Saviour, then we can ask Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit. We do this by confessing our sin and asking for His forgiveness, through His finished work achieved on the cross, 2000 years ago. If we mean this with sincere hearts, He sees and moves in our lives. Jesus will then baptise us with the Holy Spirit and fire and this will be the confirmatory sign that this eternal work [passing from the kingdom of darkness to light] has been achieved. No one can do this for you it has to be your decision, it is the most important decision you can make in this life. See John 17:3; Acts 4:12; John 3:16; John 14:6

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The apostle Paul teaches on spiritual warfare and the importance of the armour of God. In the book of Daniel we get insight into angelic warfare in the heavenlies. We gain further knowledge from St. Paul that prayer is so very important coupled with the word of truth, the Bible. Knowing the promises of Scripture helps fortify our prayer life and helps us to stand in faith for those things in prayer. We pray with the authority of the name of Jesus. The battle rages on the earth but Jesus has won the victory on the cross, 2000 years ago.

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If the word of God is the Sword of the Spirit, we need to be people studying God’s word each week. Allowing His Spirit to teach us to reveal the deep truths of God’s word to embed in our lives. The Spirit will teach us from the Scriptures and reveal to us things that are yet to come. These things are spiritually discerned, so the spiritual man or woman or child who has encountered the Holy Spirit in their lives, can receive these things and take them to heart. Without the Spirit in our lives, these truths would make no sense, our eyes are spiritually blind.

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The Holy Spirit can fill our lives and when He does He brings boldness, passion for prayer and God’s word, the Bible. He fills our lives with His peace, the peace of the kingdom of heaven. He knows the thoughts and ways of God and can communicate them to us. There is nowhere on earth we can go where He cannot be with us, even in the darkest prison cell, on top of the tallest mountain, in a submarine hundreds of metres deep in the ocean or flying in a plane 35000 feet in the sky!

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Those who are His, are marked by the promised Holy Spirit. This mark is something that can be clearly seen in the spiritual world as His light shines from our lives. Our spirits are made alive with God’s spirit. Greater is He who is in us than he that is in the world. The Spirit of God in us is greater than the spirit that seeks to deceive and destroy and deny God’s existence that is in the world. When Jesus encountered people with evil spirits in them [demons, fallen angels] they immediately knew who He was. He had authority over them and told them to be quiet and come out of the person. They had to respond to the words of the Son of God. In Christ today, we walk in His victory, secured on the cross and demonstrated when He was raised from death after three days. Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth and the spiritual world knows that too. The Holy Spirit will help the church to understand the implications of the victory Jesus has won for today. He will communicate God’s truths, inspire faith, embolden the witness of the Church even in the face of adversity. Look at the early church, even when it was scattered it grew even faster. You cannot fight against God and win, no human  authority or spiritual authority can win against God Almighty. Look at Saul fighting the early church in the book of Acts and what happened to him in Acts chapter 9!

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It is great to find a church that worships Jesus in spirit and in truth. That preaches and teaches His word and obeys His commission to share ‘the good news of salvation through Jesus’, in their local community and into the wider world. A church that cares for people in practical ways as well as spiritual. A church that honours the Lord with bible based teaching and Spirit led worship. Find such a church and go there, be part of it and learn and serve with time and energy as unto the Lord.

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Jesus said that he would baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire. I believe that the fire of the Spirit of God not only burns up the rubbish in our lives that we give to the Lord to deal with, but also to ‘fire up’ the Church to be concerned with a holy passion for those outside the kingdom of God.

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These riches can be found by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, revealing the deep truths of the Kingdom of God. He can teach us if we allow Him. It was the Spirit of God that revealed to Peter that Jesus was and is the Christ. It was the Spirit of God that instructed Ananias to go to Saul and pray for him, causing the scales on Saul’s eyes to fall off and to be baptised in the Holy Spirit. It was the Spirit of Jesus that showed the Peter that he should go to Cornelius’s house and share the good news of salvation through Jesus. As a result of going, the Holy Spirit moved on the Roman audience that had gathered to seek more of God. Spiritual truths are spiritually revealed and discerned by the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. His work is often invisible but incredibly powerful.

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The message of the cross and the subsequent resurrection from the dead, is a central truth to the Bible and the Christian faith. The Bible states that Jesus, the unique Son of God, came to ultimately die for us, so that we could be made right with God because of His death. By accepting this truth by faith and believing in Jesus and confessing Him as Lord and Saviour of our lives, we can receive His forgiveness and salvation. We can ask to be filled by His Holy Spirit as a clear sign of this work within our lives. The Holy Spirit seals our lives by filling us with His peace and guides us into truth. The Holy Spirit will reveal the truth of God’s word, the Bible into our lives. See John 3:16; Acts 4:12; John 15; Acts 1:8; John 16 for further reading.

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We can resist His Spirit, we can disobey, we can grief the Spirit of God. We are instructed to walk with Him to keep in step with His Spirit. We will know His peace and assurance in our lives as we obey His leading. We can also know His inexpressible joy in our lives that is beyond words! The world does not accept Jesus or the Holy Spirit because it does not see Him or know Him. Jesus said he had come to overcome the world, sin and the devil. The work and ministry of the Holy Spirit is to take the truths of Jesus and communicate them into our lives all over the world.  He will confirm the word of God with signs following. Miracles of healing and deliverance abound around the world each day as the Holy Spirit moves in powerful ways through the Church that confesses Jesus and worships Him as Lord of lords and King of kings.

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The Church alive to the Spirit of God will be attractive to people of all ages, will be relevant, will be caring, will be the presence of God in the community. The Church will be different depending on it’s location in the country and the world. Some churches meet in secret, underground because of persecution. Other churches can meet openly, in people’s homes or in public buildings. Some will have dynamic youth ministry, others will work more with the middle aged and senior aged people depending on their congregation mix. Some churches will have quality ministries from toddlers to seniors. I personally work a lot with churches who are running ministries for children, young people and families.

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One baptism but many fillings. You never need to be running on empty, you can go back to the ‘Throne of Grace’ and ask for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit. This is important if you are giving out a lot in life, you will need to receive a lot from the Holy Spirit too.

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You may be interested in the articles: Messiah, who is He? http://www.face2facetrust.org.uk/news/2013/12/messiah/

http://www.face2facetrust.org.uk/questions/names-of-god/

http://www.face2facetrust.org.uk/questions/who-do-you-say-that-i-am/

http://www.face2facetrust.org.uk/questions/how-will-you-use-your-hands-feet/

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