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Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

In the midst of Philippines staff women

My incredible “job” is to love and encourage our staff around the world.

I have just returned from just such a time—with our staff in the Philippines.  My sweet husband and I got to do this one together.  He spoke five times in two days, plus meetings and a video.  I spoke two times, and shared during two of Steve’s messages.  Plus meetings and a video.

The staff conference theme was Believe Again.  Steve’s messages included Believing in God’s Transforming Grace, in God’s Great Power to Accomplish His Purposes, and in God’s Wonderful Plan for Our Lives.  I talked about Choosing God’s Better Story and A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving.

These joyful men and women were responsive to all we shared, but even more were delightful to be with.  Lots of laughter and love all around.

Interview with Judy and Steve

The tourism motto for the nation is “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.”  One evening we celebrated that with national costumes and dances. 

Finalists in the national costume parade

Noemi, Judy, Mayette

Steve speaking

Surrounded by Campus staff

This boy had a liver transplant.

Best of all was just talking with the staff who have given their lives to take the love of Christ to their countrymen and to the world.  They blessed me tremendously.  I hope I was a blessing to them.

What about you?  Who brings joy into your life?

C2012 Judy Douglass

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My Problem with Vandalism

Shortly after we moved into our new home in a new neighborhood, the house next door started to go up.  A lovely bricked home—unusual in Florida.  Our then 10-year-old son and his friend thought it would be fun to decorate the front of that house.

The bricks had just been finished, and the mortar elements were still there.  So the boys mixed their own mortar and threw small globs of it all over the front of the house.  We were horrified when we discovered it the next morning.  Great neighbors, huh?

We asked the boys to scrape off the dried mortar, but the builder didn’t want their amateur hands ruining the façade.  We asked him to come up with a real consequence for the boys, but he didn’t want to bother.  He just wrote it off as vandalism and hired professionals to clean it off.

I always marvel at vandalism—graffiti, breakage, destruction. Who would do that? Why?

Then I discovered I have a problem with vandalism, one I am reminded of at this time every year.

Three of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, exercise more and get healthier.

True for me.  Why?

Because for the rest of the year I have vandalized my body.

For many it is just an appearance thing.  But as you get older, it becomes a survival thing.  My doctor says I need to raise my breathing capacity and lower my cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.  Nothing is out of control, but everything is creeping up.

The solution:  Lose weight, exercise, eat right, rest more.  Or take lots of meds.

So if I want to stay energetic, healthy, productive, I need to stop vandalizing my body.

But it goes deeper than that.

Scripture tells me that my body is God’s temple.  He no longer lives (on earth) in a big building.  He lives in you and me.  He has made His home in us, His children.  He says our bodies are His temple:

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19)

Every time I choose not to get out and walk, or to eat that yummy dessert, or to cut short my sleep time or to add more activities—and stress—to my days, I am destroying my body.

I am vandalzing the very home of God.

I’m praying that this perspective will help me to make those right choices day by day—to protect and strengthen and even beautify God’s house.

What about you?  Are you a vandal to the house of the Lord?

c2011 Judy Douglass

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Bill Bright

I had the amazing privilege for many years of working closely with Bill Bright.

He was editor-in-chief of the two magazines I edited–Collegiate Challenge and Worldwide Challenge.  I helped him write the first five Transferable Concepts and the first edition of Come Help Change the World.  I edited many articles that he wrote.

Needless to say, his thinking, his faith, his ideas have made an indelible impression on me.  Of course, Bill Bright and I did not agree on everything, and I was grateful that he would listen to my ideas.  And sometimes agree and even change.

What did I learn from Dr. Bright?  More things than I can recount here.  But here are a few of the most enduring truths he taught—by his life.

  1.  The priority is to love God above all else.  If you ever asked him what to pray for him, he always said:  “Pray I never leave my first love.”
  2. Believe God.  Trust God.  Have faith in God.  Bill always believed God for big things—even impossible things.  He would make sure he had heard from God, then ask the rest of us to join him in going for it, in faith.  There is a good reason his biography was called Amazing Faith.
  3. Live every day, every moment in the power of the Holy Spirit.  “The Christian life is not difficult.  It’s impossible.”  So we must depend on the indwelling, empowering Spirit of God to live it through us.
  4. Love others.  He wept when he heard that surveys showed that many students wanted to know Jesus, but they didn’t know how.  A humble, shy man, Bill shared the love of Christ with everyone he encountered.  He never badgered them—he just reached out in love.

I could go on. Be  assured, he was not perfect.  But Bill Bright lived out the love of God as well as anyone I have known.

Fortunately, he made sure the things he had learned were made available to others.  He wrote dozens of books, prepared numerous training videos, appeared on many TV shows, did hundreds of daily radio programs (with my husband).

Here are four books he wrote that have had profound impact on me:

God:  Discover His Character:  “We can trace all our human problems to our view of God” was one of Dr. Bright’s favorite comments.  So he wrote a book to help expand our understanding of who God is and what He is like.   A powerful picture of the God we love and serve.

The Secret:  How to Live with Purpose and Power  Bill Bright probably did as much as anyone else to help believers understand what it meant to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit moment by moment.  He also played a key role in bridging the chasm between evangelicals and charismatics—opening communication and growing trust.

The Journey Home:  Finishing with Joy Written from his sick bed, as he slowly succumbed to pulmonary fibrosis, Dr. Bright paints a beautiful picture of what it means to finish well with the Lord.  He gives a strong but gentle challenge to make life meaningful to the very end!

My Life Is Not My Own:  Following God No Matter the Cost  I can’t count how many times I heard Bill say, “I am just a slave of Jesus Christ.”  In this book he
portrays that all he did to serve God had little to do with his own excellence and everything to do with becoming a “royal slave” to the King of kings.  He presents a compelling vision of the freedom that comes from giving ourselves to Jesus as a bond slave.

So here’s an invitation.  Get to know this man God used to touch so many lives.  Pick one of these books to read and you will be led straight to the feet of Jesus.

How has God used Bill Bright to help you in your walk with Him?  What book or teaching of his was encouraging to you?

C 2011  Judy Douglass

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Do you have hopes and dreams?  Plans for your life?  How are you doing at becoming the person you want to be?  At accomplishing what you want to do?

Enter the longleaf pine tree.  This special tree grows in the southeastern USA, mostly in the state of Georgia.  All pine trees have a center loaded with pine resin—but in the longleaf pine the heartwood is ultra-saturated with a flammable pitch that makes it perfect as quick and powerful kindling.  The stumps and joints of the tree yield this amazing firestarter when cut into sticks called fatwood.

A  close look at a stick of fatwood reveals dense streaks of the pine resin.  Two sticks can start a campfire of much larger logs.  It is 100% natural firestarter—it is super kindling.

100% SUPERNATURAL FIRESTARTER

God has provided Holy Fatwood as super kindling for our lives.

Scripture tells us that Fire is one of the names of God.  He led the Israelites through the wilderness as a pillar of Fire at night (Exodus 13:21).  He called Himself a consuming Fire (Hebrews 12:29), burning away the impurities and idols in our lives.

And then He promised that He would actually come to live in us as Fire:  “But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”  (Matthew 3:11)

The Holy Spirit is God’s fatwood, filling and saturating us with never-ending fuel for all that He wants to do in and through us. He is the 100% supernatural firestarter for igniting our passions, empowering our efforts, and keeping our hearts on fire for Him.
It is my desire to be so saturated with this Holy Fatwood, with the Holy Spirit, that my life is on fire with His light and I walk in that power to be and do all God has for me.

I join Jim Elliot in this prayer:  “Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame.  Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.”

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The fire raced down the mountain, driven by 90 mph Santa Ana winds.

We had about 30 minutes to evacuate before the flames arrived at Arrowhead Springs.  I grabbed a few clothes for Steve and me and baby Debbie, then ran over to the next door child care to get her.  A few other mothers were there, but no time to notify others to get their children.  So each of us took two.

We made it to safety in a friend’s home.  Steve returned from San Diego, and all he could see were flames where our home and office should be.  Where were Debbie and I?

All the phone lines were down (this was long before cell phones); frantic parents had no idea where to find their children. It took hours to reconnect everyone. And all waited to see if they still had a home.

Firestorm

The raging fire swept through the foothills and into the city, consuming 285 homes, claiming four lives, injuring hundreds.  Firefighters could make no headway.  The flames rolled into great fireballs, jumped firebreaks and sent sparks flying into new homes and trees.

The fire exploded.

Spirit Fire

That’s what the spread of the gospel should be like.  Like a firestorm!

We should be sparks flung widely by the wind of the Holy Spirit—fireseeds igniting wildfires of God’s love and forgiveness wherever we go.

These fires should be unstoppable, jumping fire breaks and every other barrier that our enemy throws up.  Our fires, however, should not bring terror and destruction, but life and hope.

The Panorama fire was only contained when the wind stopped days later.  Just so, the fires of God’s good news in Jesus will only be arrested when we no longer allow the wind of the Holy Spirit to enflame our hearts and lives.  When we settle for tame flames in a fireplace, for the gospel contained in four walls.

God is waiting to set us—hearts, minds, lives—aflame for His Kingdom.  Are you ready?  Willing to be consumed by the fire of the Spirit for the redemption of lost people?

(If you would like to know more about the Panorama fire, it is documented in this video:  The Panorama Fire (http://wildfiretube.com/videos/62/)

c 2011 Judy Douglass

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Bacchus, god of wine

Bacchus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy.  He was one of the primary gods worshipped in Ephesus in Roman times.  The infamous celebrations of Bacchus, notorious for their sexual and criminal character, got so out of hand that they were forbidden by the Roman Senate.

The followers of Bacchus had a strong theology:  The more wine they drank, the more Bacchus filled them and controlled them.  They became like him.  Therefore drunkenness was to be highly celebrated as a spiritual experience.

So it is no surprise that the Apostle Paul, in writing to the Ephesians, draws a powerful comparison for the believers in that great city:

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery (dissipation, drunkenness, lasciviousness). Instead, be filled with the Spirit… (Ephesians 5:18).

Why would Paul use such a crude analogy when calling us to such a holy response?  Because it portrays an amazing parallel.

Just as worshipping Bacchus involved detrimental behavior change and negative character transformation when filled with this unholy spirit, so to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit produces positive behavior change and beneficial character transformation.

To be filled with Bacchus required continuing imbibing.  To be filled with the Holy Spirit requires ongoing, repeated filling, to repent and confess and then appropriate the fullness of God on a moment-by-moment basis.

Paul knew his audience and knew what would communicate this essential truth of following Christ.  And it is just as true for us.

Jesus sent His Spirit to live in us, to be with us, to give wisdom, to guide, to teach, to comfort, to encourage, to pray for us, to empower us to carry out His mission on earth.   How do we experience all these benefits?  We walk surrendered to, filled with, controlled by the powerful, loving Holy Spirit of Christ Himself.

What has been helpful to you to stay filled with the Holy Spirit?

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Becoming Kindling

I suppose I could be called an arsonist.

I’ve been known to start a few fires.  Literal ones—in the fireplace of course, so warm and inviting.  A few at a campground—though camping has never been my thing.  And several in the kitchen.

But I am much more interested in starting fires in minds and hearts.  To be kindling to ignite, stir up, excite.

I had the privilege of being mentored by Bill Bright, a charter member of the Fellowship of the Burning Heart.  He often said, “My heart is aflame within me.”  That fiery spirit gave him a passion for reaching the lost, a faith to believe God for impossible tasks, a supernatural energy to keep going no matter what.

I want such a fiery spirit.  I want to think beyond the obvious and ordinary.  I want to believe that God wants to do more in me and through me than I can ask or imagine.  I want to be filled with God’s passion and compassion for the lost, the hurting, the needy, the rebellious.  I want my life to make a difference for others—now and for eternity.

And I want God to use me as a fire starter—to be kindling to others.  I want them to grasp how much God loves and cherishes them.  But I also want to encourage and challenge them to allow God to set their hearts aflame.

God sets hearts on fire through His fiery Holy Spirit, living in, filling, controlling—inflaming hearts and minds and bodies.  And turning us into fireseeds—sparks that spread the holy flames of God’s love and forgiveness.

That’s my dream for this blog—to share my journey as kindling for wildfires that ignite sweeping transformation in God’s children around the globe.

c Judy Douglass

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