One of the Greatest Dangers in a Christians’ Life is Stagnation

One of the greatest dangers in a Christians’ life is stagnation (ceasing to run or flow). Christians should fear backsliding, and stagnating in their walk with God.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”  Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV)

Jesus knows your heart and where you stand in your relationship with Him. He will not loosen His grip on you.

I will cover three topics: 1) Flowing with the Holy Spirit: 2) Praise, Worship, and Reverence; and 3) Peace.

As you begin to read, keep this in mind that Jesus does not want you to focus on who you are now, He wants you to focus on what He wants you to become.

Flowing with the holy spirit

This is exactly how the flow of the Holy Spirit operates in our life. You need to put yourself in the shoes of the person wading the river and look at the life giving waters as the Holy Spirit.

Initially you are ankle deep in the water. This itself is a wonderful feeling as your dry and tired feet receive great comfort when they come in contact with the water. As you progress you get deeper into the water, you still are in full control and for the water to flow it has to go around you. Soon you reach a point where you no longer need to wade and the current lifts you and you begin to flow along with the river itself. At this point you no longer have control but you know you are in safe hands with the Spirit of God.

This river itself originated from God’s house and flows into barren lands and deserts which signify people and places that are broken, wounded, dead and desperately need help. Observe as the river flows through these places it brings life. It brings the healing power of God into the lives of those who are touched by it. This river literally blesses anything that comes in contact with it.

It says the very seas get their life and purity from this river but the marshes and swamps will not benefit. In these places water does not flow, it stagnates and over time becomes unfruitful. This means that those who are not willing to grow, change and become better over time cannot benefit from the Holy Spirit. He can work in your life only if you are willing to step outside your boundaries and are willing to let go of your innate desire to control situations and your natural tendency to resist change.

Praise, Worship, and Reverence

What is your way of thinking towards God in your lowest valleys? Do you Praise, Worship and Revere God, or do you lose your peace and find yourself in a state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty?

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart? I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 (NIV)

Jesus wants you to do the following when you’re on the Mountain Top and when you are in your lowest Valley: Praise Him – which means to express one’s respect and gratitude; Worship Him – which is the feeling or expression of exaltation, glorification, devotion, and adoration; Reverence Him – which is to “Honor with profound respect.

The hymn, “Day By Day” was written by Lina Sandell in 1865. Lina and her dad were on their way to Gothenburg and her father fell overboard the ship and drowned. Lina was eyewitness to the tragic death of her father. Lina composed a few hymns out of the depths of her broken heart, and “Day by Day” is one of them.

In this hymn, she takes to her Heavenly Father who is sufficient to meet all her needs and care for her. This hymn depicts the cruel realities of this temporal life and the pains and agonies that come along with it. Yet, it points to the promising help of a divine Father amidst these trials and learn to trust and rest in His promises.

Every day the Lord Himself is near me

With a special mercy for each hour;

All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me.

He whose name is Counselor and power.

peace

If you’re stagnated in your walk with God, you will have no peace.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

As the scripture says, God’s peace is meant to make us content with who we are and what we have. When we aren’t filled with the peace God gives, we end up trying to deal with adversity and worry that God’s peace is meant to relieve. We find ourselves struggling through the adversity and worry in a way that lacks no discipline or restraint. You end up discouraged and your faith falters…meaning that you see-saw, think twice, get cold feet, and waver. You’re basically left sitting on the fence.

When we are filled with God’s peace we are freed up to love God and others.

What distractions, habits, or thought processes in your life are holding you back from being all God wants you to be and also, steeling your peace?

Maybe you get upset over small things, or you’re just too busy. Maybe you become easily bitter in relationships, or you trust yourself more than you trust God. Do you find that you have a lack of compassion? Maybe you are holding on to something that is detrimental to you.

To be all God wants you to be, you must surrender, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life. The scripture below sums it all up:

“…make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”  2 Peter 1:5–7 (NIV)

Lord I want to Return to You

Sometimes our own recklessness, traumatic experiences, or distracting life circumstances take us away from the Church and distance us from God. No matter what, God never despairs over us and always lovingly expects us to return to His shelter.

This prayer is for all who sincerely seek the way back home.

Jesus, I used to enjoy Your trust, and You were close to me. Then I left Your shelter and Your community. You know why.

I want to go back to You, but I don’t know if I can step through the door to You again.

Lord, I remember the beauty of Your church services, the singing, and the comfort I felt as I prayed with others at Your altar. Lord, thank You for bringing back to me this memory and awakening in me a longing for it.

Thank You for all that you have given me throughout my life.

Lord, I long for Your nearness. I desire Your grace, which gives meaning to my life.

I long for Your gentle mercy, and even for Your admonitions, which have kept me from even greater mistakes.

I miss Your patience, which helped me grow in faith and let me know that I am important to You.

Lord, I call on You to break the arrogance and pride that hinder me from coming back to You.

Lord, I’m afraid of looking weak if I begin to search for You. Please free me from the fear of the judgment of others.

Lord, send me the Holy Spirit, so I can cast off my burdens, which grow heavier by the day. Grant me, Your Grace, so that I will no longer hide anything from You. Let the wall that has grown between us be torn down. Amen

“There is no safer place than in the palm of God’s hand; with peace as our shelter, we rest in His plan. Though trials may try us we’ve learned what is true – with wisdom and grace He will carry us through.” – Author Unknown

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Sources: The Holy Spirit By Blue Flames; Day By Day – Top 10 Hymns from ibelieve.com; Lord I Want to Return to You By Operando.

Susan Osten’s Testimony 

I was fifteen years old, when I realized that I loved God, and I wanted to serve Him. I decided to ask my dad about becoming a Nun. He told me there were many ways to serve God, and he handed me a Bible. He told me the Bible would answer all my questions about God. Some nights, I would read the Bible my dad gave to me under one of the lamp posts, near my house. 

I didn’t follow through with my desire to serve God. Instead, I succumbed to peer pressure and I began to hang around with a group of godless teenagers: thereby, I also became a godless teenager. I used drugs, disobeyed my parents, ran away from home, skipped school, etc. My life “ethically” spiraled out of control.

It wasn’t until I was nineteen years old, that things started to fall into place regarding my relationship with God. It was Spring time, and I remember, driving down the highway looking at all the beautiful flowers, while at the same time, wondering, “What could I do to feel as pretty inside, as those flowers looked outside.” I felt so dirty! After I became a Christian, I realized that “Dirty” feeling was the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

It was nighttime, and I was ironing and watching Pat Robertson, the Host of the 700 Club on TV. Pat asked a question that immediately, got my attention. He said, “Is there anyone in our audience, that has not asked Jesus Christ to come into their heart, and forgive them for there sins?” Then he turned his attention to the TV audience and asked that the same question. He then asked all those who wished to ask Jesus into their hearts, and receive forgiveness for their sins, to pray with him. I prayed, with Pat! When we were finished praying together, Pat encouraged all those who prayed, to call somebody that they knew, or to call the 700 Club, and tell the person who answers the phone, about the decision to follow Jesus Christ.

“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:10 (NIV)

I called the 700 Club, and told the lady who answered the phone, about my decision to follow Jesus Christ. She was happy for me, and then, she asked me a question…Would  you like to receive the Holy Spirit? I asked her to, “Please send me more information about that subject.”

As the days passed by, I began to read my Bible regularly, and I learned that I needed to be baptized in water.

Water baptism is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.

I had no church affiliation, and I didn’t know what church to call, to baptize me. I decided to open the telephone book to Churches, close my eyes and point. (No one should ever do this!!) When I opened my eyes, my finger was on a church called: Full Gospel Fellowship, which happened to be just a few miles from my home. I called that church and asked the Pastor Gary Wood, to baptize me in water. He was happy to do so, and he told me when and what time, to be at the church service for the baptism. When I went into the church, the people were very friendly. I was baptized and afterwards, I decided to join the church. Not long after I joined Full Gospel Fellowship, Richard Ford and Tena Ford were given the position as pastors.

Pastors Richard
and Tena Ford

It had been several weeks, since I joined Full Gospel Fellowship Church (which is now called Family Worship Center, located in Stafford, Texas). One day after one of the church services, Tina, the wife of Richard Ford, an Elder at that time, asked me, if I would like to have a Ladies Bible Study in my home? I had a hunger to learn more about God’s Word, so I said Yes!  About a week later, we had a Ladies Bible Study, in my home. At the end of the Bible Study, Tena asked me a the following question, “Have you received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, since you believed?” I told her, no and she asked me, “Would you like to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?” I was a little embarrassed, because I didn’t know what to expect, so I declined.

After everyone went home, I began to think about Tina’s question. I concluded, that if God had more to offer me: I wanted it! I got down on my knees and asked God to baptize me with the Holy Spirit. God answered my prayer. I was so excited! I went to the telephone to call one of my friends and tell them the Holy Spirit was real! I picked up the receiver, and my legs buckled: I dropped the receiver and slid down the wall, to the floor.

After everyone went home, I began to think about Tina’s question. I concluded, that if God had more to offer me: I wanted it! I got down on my knees and asked God to baptize me with the Holy Spirit. God answered my prayer. I was so excited! I went to the telephone to call one of my friends and tell them the Holy Spirit was real! I picked up the receiver, and my legs buckled: I dropped the receiver and slid down the wall, to the floor.

The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is a blessing from God which causes ordinary people to become extraordinarily, effective witnesses for Jesus Christ.

“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, LORD, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  Acts 1:5-8 (KJV)  

By it, God equips believers today with the same power we read about in the New Testament. Since the Day of Pentecost. Please read the second chapter of Acts.

After a while, I found that many of my friends weren’t as happy for me as I thought they’d be; but that didn’t slow me down. I had more “ZEAL” than knowledge of God’s Word, and I didn’t know anything about being led by the Holy Spirit. I began to witness for Jesus, and I suffered some major bumps and bruises. Even so, “Praise God!” I was able to lead some people to Jesus.

God’s plan has been to supernaturally equip every believer, so that the ministry of Jesus Christ may continue through us.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”  John 14:12 (KJV) 

His ascension into Heaven: 

“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”  Acts 1:9 (KJV) 

It did not mean that Jesus’ ministry on earth stopped, but rather it was an essential step which released even more of His ministry. As the Head of His Church He now directs growing multitudes of Spirit-empowered men and women to carry His Gospel around the world:

 “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”   Luke 24:45-49 (KJV).

The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is the impartation of this necessary power so that God’s servants can carry out their calling.

“They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. And they did not love their lives so as to shy away from death.” Revelation 12:11 (NIV)

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” Matthew 7:7 (KJV) 

“The LORD says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name.”  Isaiah 65:1 (NLT)

Barnes’ Notes: God states in general that he had called another people who had not sought him, and extended the blessings of salvation to those who had been strangers to his name Isaiah 65:1. This is evidently intended to show that many of his ancient people would be rejected, and that the blessings of salvation would be extended to others, Romans 10:20. 

The blessing of salvation is being extended to you, the reader. If you haven’t met Jesus Christ, and you wish to ask Jesus to forgive your sins and ask Him into your heart, please click on the following link:

https://jesusiswaitingwithopenarms.com/2020/08/30/god-wants-you-to-know-the-truth/

In † His Service, Susan Osten

The Great Commission!