Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Poured Out Overflowing Grace

24 Jan

overflow

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16 (ESV)

Grace upon grace, mercy upon mercy, layers upon layers of undeserved overflowing love and favor; everlasting to everlasting…relentless, constant, infinite—began at the cross; blood spilled on behalf of humanity to satisfy the wrath of God (propitiation), Jesus…

Please continue reading here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Poured Out Overflowing Grace.

Love Covers Spiritual Envy

17 Jan

Old Mirror Standing Against Wall

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Is it just me or do others find it difficult to view themselves through Christ. Am I the only one who distractedly picks apart areas of character or strengths feeling like it is impossible to measure up to some ideal? Has anyone else thought, “Why can’t I be more like..?”

Please click through to continue reading: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Love Covers Spiritual Envy.

Resolutions | Real SOULutions

3 Jan

2015

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12

It is popular to usher in the New Year with resolve and proclamations about making changes and achieving goals. The feeling of renewal and fresh starts symbolized by the new calendar prompts many of us to focus on transformation. In fact, Time Magazine reports the majority of New Years resolutions focus on personal change and that only a few (8%) of those sweeping statements and vows will be realized only to be repeated again the following year.

Why are these resolutions…

Click here to continue reading: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Resolutions | Real SOULutions.

When the Holidays are Hard…Make Room

13 Dec

broken ornament

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

The Christmas holiday season represents generosity and beauty wrapped up in the very presence of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The hymns and carols we sing during this time of year focus on peace, joy, hope, comfort, and the incarnation and its glorious implication for humanity — the lyrics highlight the turning point in which God entered into our history cloaked in flesh; humbled (Philippians 2:8).

“God first enveloped Himself in mortal form and tabernacled among the sons of men!” — Charles Spurgeon.

We look back to that first expectant waiting and look ahead to His coming again. We long for…

Please click here to continue reading: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > When the Holidays are Hard…Make Room.

Body Image and the Gospel | Find Your True Beauty in Christ

11 Oct

scale3_opt

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

For you my sisters; the girl pushing food around the plate so no one will realize you aren’t eating, and for you, the woman secretly bingeing, hoping the ‘full’ will fill the emptiness, I have been there right where you are. I have stood in front of the mirror not seeing the protruding bones outlined in sharp relief—seeing only ‘skinny’ instead of ‘starving’ or in dark colored clothing designed to camouflage the extra weight, lumps, and bumps—the fleshy flaws. I have been the yo-yo master, up and down the scale, numbers taunting or applauding.

According to Womenshealth.gov I have not struggled alone as it is estimated as many as 10 million women nationwide suffer from some type of eating disorder. Fat shaming body police speculate…

Please click here to read the remainder of the article and for additional resources: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Body Image and the Gospel | Find Your True Beauty in Christ.

Why Settle For Less? | Aspire Beyond Regular

19 Jul

potter 2_opt

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” Genesis 1:27

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” Isaiah 64:8

Created as image bearers –reflections of The Lord, our God. When we first become believers we are transformed into new creations 2 Corinthians 5:17 –vessels capable of shining Christ to those around us. He lovingly molds, forms, and fashions us into His likeness, chiseling and polishing, as we die to self, replacing the idols and masters that hold us captive, pursuing holiness, and mirroring the character of our great God…

Please view the remainder of the article here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Why Settle For Less? | Aspire Beyond Regular.

Valentine’s Day | Be Mine

14 Feb

valentine_opt“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” Ephesians 3:16-19

“…we were made to crave — long for, want greatly, desire eagerly, and beg for — God. Only God” (Lysa TerKeurst, Made to Crave).

We long to be romanced (courted, wooed, pursued, chased). Enemy distractions may tempt us into believing the wordly idea that somehow the perfect poetic verse or love note, pounds of chocolate, a fancy restaurant, dozens of flowers and/or some other token of love will leave us satiated this Valentine’s Day. Our misplaced hopes may leave us restless and mired in dissatisfaction craving more; searching for more. 

“Trying to boost our self-esteem by trying to live up to our own standards or someone else’s is a trap. It is not an answer” (Tim Keller, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness).

These intense yearnings emanate from a soul tuned to God; crying out for Him (Psalm 84:2); already in possession of THE ultimate gift freely given; our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ through whom the Holy Spirit was poured out upon us; streaming with God’s love (Romans 5:5, Titus 3:6), drawn in (John 6:44).

“Look at God and understand who He is and what He’s done and when you’ve forgotten about yourself and it’s all about Him, it is then that you have great pleasure; the greatest joy…the glory of God” (Pastor Burris, “The World at War Against Your Soul).

God pursues us, revealing His presence is a thousand little ways like love notes to us His children beckoning us to the cross. If only we would take notice! We need Him, only Him…desperately (Philippians 4:19)!

“Do not underestimate the power of desperation to do good for your soul” (Jon Bloom, The Merciful Gift of Desperation). 

A Prayer on Valentine’s Day (Excerpt) by Scotty Smith

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s Valentine’s Day—the day in our culture in which red hearts, overpriced cards, dark chocolates, and cut flowers abound. For some, it’s a day of incredible kindness, sweetness, and gratitude. For others, it’s a day in which brokenness, loneliness, and emptiness are magnified. For all of us, it should be a day in which our deepest longings for intimacy and connection find their way home to you…

My heart is fickle and fragile—still capable of being sucker-punched by sin within, and susceptible to whisperings without. Most of the time I believe you greatly love, desire, and delight in me; but then I also have moments when I can be blindsided by unbelief, temptation and discontent.

Those are the times when I place unrealistic demands on other relationships, including marriage. Instead of living as a grateful servant, I can act like a grace-less orphan—over-expecting from others and under-believing of you. Forgive me and free me from all such nonsense…

Read in entirety here: A Prayer on Valentine’s Day – Heavenward by Scotty Smith.

Verbal Backspacing: It’s Not A Filter Issue »

29 Oct

Shut Mouth

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” –Proverbs 12:18 (ESV)

Have you ever blurted out something and before your sentence was completed realized you should have said nothing instead?  It is as difficult to recall words better left unspoken as it is to un-ring a bell once the clapper has clanged dissonantly. The following article explores the link between our heart and our tongue recognizing a heart in need of change is the most likely culprit for the lack of internal editor (Matthew 15:18). There are times when ugly thoughts surface verbally to audibly remind us of the need for the ongoing sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

“There is such a supernatural work created in believers by the Holy Spirit which always abides in them. This work of the Holy Spirit inclines the mind, will and heart to deeds of holiness and thus makes us fit to live to God. This work also gives power to the soul enabling it to live to God in all holy obedience. This work differs specifically from all other habits, intellectual or moral, that we may achieve by our own efforts, or by spiritual gifts that we might be given” (John Owen, “The Holy Spirit”).

Verbal Backspacing: It’s Not A Filter Issue

Last week while standing around with some friends, I carelessly commented on something I should have kept my mouth shut about. I criticized someone’s work without knowing it was actually the work of one of my friends. One who was standing right there. Of course I immediately felt like a first-class jerk. In hindsight, my words were idle, self-exalting, and proud, but what initially struck me about the situation was not my sin. It was how foolish I felt knowing I could have prevented the faux pas. Blame it on that faulty brain-to-mouth filter.

I fell all over myself apologizing. I tried to backtrack. I tried to put the comment in a less-offensive context. Ultimately, I tried to prove I really wasn’t such an insensitive and rude friend. All the while, I continued to dig a deeper and deeper hole for myself.

It’s easier to blame biting criticism or flat out rudeness on slow thinking or tiredness, than it is to take personal responsibility for accidentally exposing how you really feel – whether or not it’s socially appropriate. Let’s just call it an editorial problem, one we meant to delete and instead let fly. That’s the beauty of writing, if I type out something obviously foolish, offensive, or bad, I can backspace a few times and it’s like it never happened. But with my mouth, there is no backspacing. My words have “gone to print” so-to-say, too late to retract. If only there were such a thing as verbal backspacing, a delete button for the words I regret publicizing.

Excerpted from: Verbal Backspacing: It’s Not A Filter Issue » Worship Rejoices.

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