Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Unshaken


These are the facts: 
In the early 1500’s, no one in Europe was allowed to own or read a Bible other than Catholic priests or scholars.  
Church services were done exclusively in Latin. 
Common people didn’t speak a word of Latin.
Disobeying the rules of the church could mean imprisonment, death, or being excommunicated, which meant being condemned to hell. 

Along came young William Tyndale who decided to study theology in Oxford. Drinking and carousing with the other future priests was normal in his day, and a relationship with God was not even a consideration. But something happened to William Tyndale as he began to study the Bible in the original Greek and Hebrew. He began discovering amazing truths about God, that He wanted us to know Him, to be forgiven by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and transformed into new creatures by faith. He had never heard these things before, and the more he read, the more he realized that the church had been lying to and abusing its people. He decided that ordinary people needed to have a Bible of their own to read and understand the truth directly from God’s mouth, and not from a bunch of corrupt church leaders.

Tyndale soon became an enemy of the church. He illegally translated the Bible into English with painstaking attention to detail. Martin Luther, another Catholic scholar and monk who rebelled against the Catholic Church, was doing the same thing in German. Tyndale met him in Germany not realizing how God was inspiring them both to create a revolution that would shake the world. Tyndale’s New Testament was one of the first to make use of the Guttenberg printing press and the Bible was mass produced by the thousands in English and smuggled back into England in barrels of flour. Once those Bibles got into the hands of ordinary Englishmen and women, the movement of God’s Spirit was unstoppable. 

The angrier and harsher the church’s punishments for anyone caught with a Bible, the more the English people wanted it. For the first time, farmers, merchants, the elderly and children were reading and being transformed. Souls were being saved, and Tyndale was a wanted criminal. In 1536 he was caught and sentenced to death. He was strangled and then burned at the stake for his crime. His last words were, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” God did, and three years later, the king ordered official Bibles to be printed for the entire country. 

Tyndale was one small man against a massively rich and powerful institution. But his faith won. His sacrificial obedience blesses us now, 500 years later. His burning desire was to do what was right – what God had called him to do. He based all he did on the truth of the word of God, which guaranteed that his life’s work would never be shaken and that he would spend eternity in the joy of his Master.  

Does the world need heroes today? Do you have a burning desire to do what’s right? Do you hear what God is calling you to do? Rise up and be God’s hero for yourself, your family, your community, for His Kingdom. Remember that your fight is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and rulers of this dark world, but the victory is already promised as long as you fight in faith and obedience. Today’s fight could impact lives and save souls for generations to come.
  
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion.  It cannot be shaken; it remains forever.  Jerusalem – the mountains surround her. And the Lord surrounds His people, both now and forever.  (Psalm 125:1-2 HCSB)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

When the Holy Spirit impacts us


Did your child just graduate from a top-notch university with a top-notch job all lined up for his future? I say, way to go! Good job! Did you just start up a great new business and make an unexpected profit? Well done! Did you just come back from a missionary trip to Africa and build an orphanage or give medical aid to refugees? Fantastic! Good for you!

There’s a lot of good done around this world from families raising responsible and productive kids to global relief efforts and charity organizations – they’re all wonderful things that make the world a better place. So much more can and should be done. Way to go to all of you, and yet…

The Spirit of God speaks in 1 Corinthians 13, about how even if we give all we have to the poor and use every ounce of our flesh to do good, but don’t have love, we are nothing. Just noisy clanging cymbals. God’s not referring to our worldly idea of love – He’s teaching us about a supernatural love that only comes from the Holy Spirit.  

Our standards for being good are nowhere near God’s. I’m saddened when people are sure that their loved one is definitely in heaven because they were such good and generous people. Its terrifying to know that if they never learn the truth, they’ll only discover the day they stand before God that their concept of “good” was nothing but filthy rags. It’ll be the day of no return when they’ll be told that He never knew them.  

You may ask, “So if working really hard at being good, to the point of abject poverty, and serving the needy isn’t enough for God, than what does He want? What about Mother Teresa, she’s in heaven for sure, isn’t she?” Only God knows, but the final writings in her diary reveal her bitterness towards God, and many doubts about His goodness and existence. She prayed a lot, but it seems she didn’t have that abundance of joy that comes from His Spirit. It seems as if she didn’t really know Him at all. Her church labels her a “saint,” but good deeds alone do not make a child of God.  

God is so loving, that He made a way for us to live in real goodness, and it doesn’t come by fleshly effort. It comes from allowing the Holy Spirit to create something new in us. He clothes us in His goodness. Our flesh is basically good for nothing when it comes to doing anything of worth. Instead, the Holy Spirit gives us love that pierces through evil, that burns holes in problems thrown at us by the devil. He produces supernatural power in us to have love, joy, peace, goodness, patience and all His fruit to impact this world and transform our lives in a greater way than our flesh could ever do. Who wouldn’t want that?

But we can’t impact the world if we don’t let the Holy Spirit impact us. We have the opportunity to live in a constant state of communion and intimacy with God where no doubt or bitterness could take root, because His Spirit empowers us. We would then enjoy living a sacrificial life, serving others out of a love of obedience to Him. The Church of the Lord Jesus would be a fearsome and awesome force to reckon with once all of His people unite in this desire to live by His Spirit alone. So let’s make that happen.

It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life.  (John 6:63 MEV)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The false gods in your head


It makes no sense to beg God to protect us if we really believe who He says He is.  He shows us over and over just how much He loves His creation, and how eager He is to defend and bless His children.  

Whenever we find ourselves in the act of pleading and imploring Him, overcome with a sense of helplessness, it’s a sign that we’ve gotten a bit off track.  We’ve lost sight of His character.  He is good!  If we, being evil, can give good gifts to our children, won’t our Father in heaven treat us even better and give us all good things?  That’s the logic Jesus invites us to use in times like these. (Read Luke 7)

Then, you ask, why do I end up feeling abandoned and unprotected by God, even after praying so hard and so long?  There could be a variety of reasons for that.  But one big one, is that our own actions and choices block Him from being the protector that He wants to be.  We open breaches in the walls of our lives by our own choices.  We can pray and beg for His mercies on one hand, and then invite the devil and his destruction to march right in and take possession of the same things we’re praying so hard to hold onto.  It sounds ridiculous, even insane, but that’s what human nature drives us to do.  Our selfish emotions sabotage us, and because we are blind and lost sheep without God, we can linger in that state for ages and end up blaming God for being so distant.

“How shall a young man keep his way pure?” says Psalm 119:9, “By keeping it according to Your word.”  If we don’t constantly refresh our minds with God’s word, we will veer off into detours and ruts that are hidden traps of the devil to keep us out of communion with God.  Sinful thoughts and selfish desires settle in, even while we pray and attend church activities, trying to fight with one fist while waving the devil into our lives with the other hand.   As troubles and trials beat down on us, we can form our own false doctrine that God likes to see us defeated by the devil, because we can’t figure out any other reason for our sorry state.  Instead of being our loving Savior, God turns into a sadistic tyrant.  We’d never openly admit it, but the way we end up begging for help as if we’ve been kicked to the curb by an angry judge reveals what we really believe about Him.  It’s like worshipping a demon.  And with that kind of mindset, pure faith is virtually impossible.

The Fast of Daniel is almost here, a great time to reassess what image you actually have of Him.  Do you see Him as deeply loving and eager to bless you?  Then blaming Him for your lack of blessings makes no sense at all.  It’s not Him – it’s you.  Reassess your own choices, search for the chinks in your armor, the breeches in your walls, and begin rebuilding your relationship with Him.

If you find yourself blaming God, asking, “Where are You?  Don’t You even care?”  red lights and sirens should go off in your head immediately.  A false image of Him has been erected in your mind, and you need to do whatever you can to regain the right perspective.  He loves you so much, that He died for you!  He doesn’t abandon His children, He fights for them and defeats their enemies for His glory.  


For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you, and to defeat your enemies before you. Therefore, your camp must be holy, so that He does not see any indecent thing among you, and turn away from you.  (Deuteronomy 23:14 MEV) 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Happiness in the middle of messes


“Count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds,” is a tough verse to put into practice.  (James 1) Another one is, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4) 

Why be happy about terrible experiences? Because through them we discover how good, loving and gracious God is. The world wants us to be miserable when hard times come. Being thankful for hard times and learning from them goes against every ounce of our flesh. It makes us strangers to the world, and extremely pleasing to God. Only someone with his heart set on heaven can do that. They have to have eyes to see beyond the mess they’re in.

Some trials can be described as persecution from unbelievers, like the first century Christians, and even modern day believers in countries that are hostile to God. News broadcasts only reveal the tip of the iceberg when it comes to persecution going on in the world right now. God rushes to the aid of all who remain faithful till the end, as true heroes of faith.

On the other end of the spectrum, the least noble of trials are those that we bring on ourselves by stupid sinfulness. Yet even in our own stupidity, God grants us the joy of learning from our mistakes. We discover His greatness and abundant love when we repent and allow Him to pull us up out of a pit, dust us off and clean us up. But God’s forgiveness is irritating to religious people who find pleasure in branding those who have fallen. They like standing in judgment, watching them wallow in misery, dragging chains of remorse around until they’re deemed pitiful enough to be forgiven. Rather than showing love and making an effort to help the fallen get back on their feet again and resume their journey down the narrow path, false Christians find great satisfaction in turning their backs and gloating. The best way to destroy a wounded believer is to ignore them. 

This leads to another type of trial, that of being misunderstood, even “persecuted” by other churchgoers who are too narrow-minded to find out who their fellow believers really are. That’s why we’re told to count it all joy when we face trials of many kinds, of all shapes and sizes. It’s hard to do, because we want to feel understood and agreed with. But God has called us to the life of an outsider when it come to false and fleshly Christians, standing firm in what we know is His truth no matter what anyone else says. In the midst of our weakness, in the midst of attacks, God promises to make us strong. It doesn’t feel very noble to hold firm to our faith after repenting from sin, and it’s confusing to be attacked by people who we thought were our family of faith, but God rushes to the aid of anyone who is facing trials and counting it all joy. That’s simply who He is, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness (Psalm 103:8). 

So no matter type of trials you’re going through today, rejoice! As long as you’re being obedient to God’s voice, you can confidently choose joy over pity and sorrow. You will look weird, you will irritate the devil and those who listen to him, but know that in the midst of all that weakness He will make you strong. When God strengthens you, no one will be able to tear you down.

So I take pleasure in weaknesses, in reproaches, in hardships, in persecutions, and in distresses for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:10 MEV)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

An end to schizophrenic faith


Growing up knowing nothing about spiritual warfare, demonic attacks or our authority in Jesus to rebuke and bind up demons, meant that I had to passively hope that God would defend us when trials came.  It was assumed that any intervention of God to alleviate suffering or trials was purely because He had chosen to do so with no influence on our part.  

The idea that we could influence God, was considered prideful, even heretical.  When my dad was falsely accused by an unscrupulous man who wanted to undermine his missionary work in Malawi, that would have been the perfect time for God to intervene and defend him, and disprove the evil lies that were being said.  But though we prayed, nothing happened, and it appeared as if evil had won.  Our family was deported and torn away from our beloved home and sent back to Texas after 12 years of opening churches and serving God in Africa. 

We were taught the miracles of the Bible, but we weren’t taught to personally expect them, even though we were always exhorted to pray and taught that His promises were unchangeable.  But if by chance a prayer request was actually granted, we were to thank God while never being so crass as to think our own faith had anything to do with it.  It made God feel very distant and answers to prayer more like a lucky draw.

There were a lot of reasons attributed to why God seemed to ignore us, but when God did answer, it was because He simply wanted to.  If there was suffering in a family or friend’s life, we were all called to pray, but it was all up to God anyway.  The idea that sinful humans could actually move God’s hand was arrogance.  It was kind of schizophrenic to be told to have faith and then be criticized for expecting too much. 

Learning about our authority in Jesus to rebuke demons – manifesting shouting, angry demons as well as subtle and cleverly disguised demons – has transformed my prayer life, my relationship with God and the people who I have been so honored to help.  Of course God has the right to deny any prayer request, but He also has the right to demand that we obey His commands to take up our weapons of warfare and fight!  He will not do the fighting that is specifically assigned to us, His servants.  Yes, suffering and trials come to us all, but the only way we can “count it all joy,” as James 1 tells us, is with the knowledge that we are fully equipped to do battle against the devil and his attacks.  We can battle his lies that try to undermine our faith, we can battle the spirits of infirmity that attack the bodies of our loved ones, we can aggressively confront the demonic powers that are trying to rob us of our financial stability, and we can see miraculous turnarounds because we did what He commanded us in Ephesians 6.  

My present-day image of God is that He is eager to bless, ready to supply all the power we need, in the lives of whoever lives in obedience to Him and has died to their flesh.  But even a new believer who isn’t yet free from old sins, will find that God is ready to hear his prayers to be drawn into closer into communion with Him, to be completely transformed and born of His Spirit.  God is ready to say yes, much more than we realize, but we are called to do battle and not be passive.  What demonic forces have attacked your emotions and tried to make you feel hopeless and fearful?  What spirits are at work to turn the hearts of others against you?  What lies have you fallen for that God wants you to rid your mind of?  What bold actions of faith is God challenging you to take?  There is a joy in this battle, because we’ve been given the gracious gift of authority that Jesus purchased for us on the cross.     

Look, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. And nothing shall by any means hurt you.  Nevertheless do not rejoice that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:19-20  MEV)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Signs of the times?


There’s been a lot of talk lately about fascinating events going on that correspond with the Bible.  According to the Jewish calendar, every seven years old debts were to be canceled and the land given a “Sabbath” rest, meaning that it would lie fallow for that year.  That year of the Sabbath rest is called the Shmita.  

When God’s people were in obedience to Him, that year of rest and restoration was a wonderful blessing of abundance.  When they were not, it was a time of suffering for their disobedience.  God’s people were taken into captivity to Babylon during a Shmita specifically because they had turned their backs on God over and over again.  Many other major events have happened from the time of the Bible right up until now, strangely enough, during years of Shmita.  

Interestingly, the ancient Jewish calendar places us today, right at the end of another year of Shmita from September 25, 2014 to September 13, 2015 – that’s just two days away.  And more than that, a tetrad of Blood Moons have coincidentally fallen exactly upon Jewish holy days within our recent Shmita, one appearing on last October’s Feast of the Tabernacles, another on this years Passover, and the next will appear at the end of this month of September for the next Feast of the Tabernacles. There is a wealth of information available about major historic events that have happened: two World Wars, the reestablishment of the nation of Israel, various stock market crashes, and even the terrorist attacks of 9/11 all coincide with years of Shmita.  There seem to be far too many occurrences to be just coincidence.  What does that mean?  Is something cataclysmic about to happen?  Should we all run for cover?

Be careful of alarmist religious predictions of times and dates of future events, people claiming to know exactly when the return of Jesus will be, exactly how world events will unfold and creating a sense of panic even among Christians.  As Jesus said, “Concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (Matthew 24:36) But Jesus did say that we are to look for signs, and to be prepared.  We are not to be uninformed or so calloused by the skepticism of the world around us that we ignore what God is trying to show us.  

God is calling us all to repentance, to become serious about our commitment to Him because the days are getting shorter.  Exactly how short, only God knows, but are we ready if tribulation does come tomorrow?   Those who have eyes to see realize that the things so dear to us in this life are fleeting and really not that important. It’s a fact that our souls will be living for hundreds of thousands of years in a new body, and our priorities now will determine everything about our future for eternity.  

Now is the time to start valuing God above everything else, to forget about impressing others or accumulating possessions.  No matter what the future holds for us on this earth, we can be sustained by a river of goodness, blessings, and joy flowing out from our own hearts.  That river comes in the form of the Holy Spirit who wants to fill you and overflow you with His presence.  One sure thing about the end days, is that false, lukewarm Christians need to be afraid, just as unbelievers should.  For those under the protection of God’s Spirit, trials and persecutions will bring them even closer to God.  But for those without His protection, this coming destruction being orchestrated by the devil will be hard to escape.  As long as time allows, let’s secure our own salvation and be filled with His rivers of living water.  And from then on out, our greatest task is to bring others into the Kingdom of God.  

On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.”  (John 7:37-38 MEV)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dare to naively believe


“She told me to drop by if I needed any help,” the young girl told the man who had answered the door.  “I could use some help right now, if she’s available,” she continued.  The man looked surprised, and asked her to wait as he walked off to speak to his wife.  The girl could hear the conversation in the back room as his wife exasperatedly explained, “I didn’t really expect her to show up at our door, I was just trying to be nice!  Tell her I’m busy, okay?”  Dejectedly the girl slipped away without a word, embarrassed that she had been so na├»ve.  She determined that next time she wouldn’t trust anyone’s word so freely.

Human nature is changeable, fickle, unfair. We’re changeable because we’re limited.  We have little control over our own lives, and virtually none over events that unfold around us.  Stuff happens beyond our control, and adapting to change is essential.  We have friends and loved ones who we count on, but even so, it’s a given that no one’s perfect.  We’ve even developed a lackadaisical attitude towards our own promises, just saying niceties that we never really plan on carrying out.  But not God.

We have never known anyone as stable and reliable as God.  And because we can’t wrap our heads around His faithfulness, we struggle to really trust Him as we should.  We’re gun-shy.  We’ve been disappointed by life, and we’ve disappointed others too many times. We can believe in an impossible miracle when we read God’s promises, but then over a period of time start to worry that we naively raised false hopes.  When the answer isn’t quick to come, we assume that God probably didn’t really mean what He said, that He wishes we’d just leave Him alone about that request.  We can even feel embarrassed to speak to Him again as if we had overstepped our boundaries to believe in Him so literally.  We reduce Him to the level of a petty insincere human.  He’s nothing like us, He’s everything good.  

Our fleshly sinful nature makes us small-minded.  No one trusts God like they should, not even the strongest Christian.  But God calls us to step out of our boat onto the water and start trusting Him against our fears, because when He promises something, He means it.  The answer may take time, the wait may force us to mature, to cry out to Him more, but it is impossible for Him to take back what He says. 

Maybe you’ve been fighting in faith for a specific answer to prayer.  Maybe it’s taking a lot longer than you thought, and doubts are starting to creep in.  Look again at the promises of God that sparked your faith in the first place.  Was God just being nice, to give you a warm fuzzy feeling when you heard His word?  Is He a petty human like we are?  Does He mean what He says?  Is He steadfast and true? Remember that He loves us with an intensity and fervor, much more that we could ever love our own children.  It’s His joy to see us blessed.  His promises are meant for us to hold onto through thick and thin.  His requirements are always, obey, trust, and persevere.  So if you’re afraid He’s forgotten about you or changed His mind, He understands our weaknesses and doesn’t condemn us for it.  Just step back out onto the water again and start actively trusting.   Expectantly watch and wait for His answer.  Raise your hopes.  Dare to naively believe as a child. He wants to bless you and He will. 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no change or shadow of turning.  Of His own will He brought us forth with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.  (James 1:17-18 MEV)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

When God is repulsed by worship


Soft-spoken and gentle, she came to us years ago, looking for help. She sang in the worship team of a large, well-known church, famous for it’s celebrity musicians and moving praise and worship services. 

She had a long list of difficulties, past and present, and looked stooped and worn for her young age. She’d been drawn to the testimonies on our TV show, and said she wanted to learn how to fight and overcome all the barriers that were blocking her. Many of her current problems stemmed from personality clashes and bitter power struggles in the church where she sang.  

She was emotionally fragile, and recoiled at our encouragement to change the way she prayed, and to take a stand against the negativity in her life, while being forgiving towards those who’d hurt her. After about a month of counseling and reluctant to attend our services, she announced that she didn’t want to fight. She didn’t want to take action at all. She just didn’t have it in her to be bold in faith, she said. She was convinced that the only way to overcome her problems was to keep singing on the worship team, quoting Psalm 22:3, “The Lord inhabits the praises of His people.”  She held the mystical belief that the practice of singing would be enough to heal her of all the trauma of her past and unravel the various messes she was in. It was a doctrine she’d been taught in her church. And like a Buddhist chanting his sutras, she’d lead the congregation by singing herself into a trance, believing that she would find God in the music, and magically be set free.

Only God knows whether a person is worshipping in Spirit and in truth. But with so many churches that are heavy on entertainment and light on obedience, their worship time is most likely more flesh than Spirit. I know, because I’ve had to counsel a steady stream of broken and confused Christians who’ve practically given up on God after finding no help in their former churches, just like this young woman.  

Whether churches teach her type of pseudo-spirituality, or they’re motivated by wanting to be cool, the emphasis on emotionalism through a fancy worship team easily detracts from the simplicity of faith. The simplicity of obedience, sacrifice, perseverance, rational faith, and fighting the good fight. Don’t fight against sin or evil, just sing. Don’t treat others with integrity or fairness or kindness, just sing, shout, hoot and holler. Don’t teach the truth about the narrow path or the narrow door that few enter to reach the Kingdom of God, just put on a big impressive show with the best musicians and watch the crowds pack in. That’s contemporary Christian megachurch strategy, 101.

God loves true worship.  But He doesn’t hear the prayers of everyone. God doesn’t honor the songs of everyone, even when they invoke His name. “If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray…” That’s a big “if.” God places conditions on who He hears and who He answers. His promises are exclusively for those to trust in Him and submit to His commands, not just the sweet and light verses that don’t offend anyone. For those who act on His word, He hears. For those who take a stand against the devil and his schemes, He answers. For those who live in obedience to Him as Lord, He protects and provides. God not only refuses to listen to those who don’t obey, He’s repulsed by the noise of their music. He inhabits the praises of His people when their lives, not just their songs, honor Him as their Lord.

Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like water, and righteousness, like an ever-flowing stream.  (Amos 5:23-24 MEV)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The escape we all long for


So many times we want to just escape – run away from the burdens of work, family obligations, to extract ourselves from complicated situations that we have no idea how we got ourselves into.  We may not always be thinking of it, but in the back our minds, it’s a constant dream.  

Trying to make that dream come true comes in varying manifestations.  To a large portion of the world, rich and poor, it’s escape through alcohol or substance abuse.  To others, it’s hobbies, sports or careers, and for those who can afford it, retail therapy and expensive vacations.  Some even use church busyness as an escape.  If they act really spiritual and really helpful, they can believe they’re doing so much good that they can ignore the negativity permanently ingrained in their own minds, which spills onto their families like battery acid.  They unwittingly contaminate their spouses and kids with thoughts of rejecting God. 

This world is so contaminated with evil that we’re not even conscious of how unhealthy the spiritual state around us is.  Like children raised in cities choked with pollution, we accept it as the only reality we know.  It’s become normal.  But every one of us feels a longing for freedom.  Our souls and spirits know that this is not what we were created for.  We yearn for God but few realize what the yearning is for. 

People who say they believe in God but don’t want to get carried away with spiritual things, are usually just self-labeled Christians.  They’re still looking for distractions, still searching for an escape through any sense of temporary relief, but no real relief comes.  They think they’re having a blast, having the time of their lives, but God is not welcomed to make His home in them.  God can’t live in bodies that just use His name as a label.  They need to be exclusively His.

All He asks is that we fully abide in Him, and that His word fully abides in us. (John 15:7)  That we live by His promises and commands.  That we hand over our lives to Him. Then He can lift us into another dimension, above the storms and evil and heartache.  And more than that, He’ll fully equip us to fight and win against the evil that attacks us.  He’ll enable us to beat back the demonic attacks on our lives and in our communities, cities and countries by our faith because we’ll know what kind of authority we have in Him.  We don’t have to hide from our world, we can change it.  Just learning about God’s authority and power is one thing.  When His Holy Spirit infills us, then we really KNOW His authority and can use it effectively.  

As we’ve taught in church for years, you can’t fill a dirty glass with clean water without contaminating everything.  Clean the glass.  Rid the vessel of your life of sin and attitudes that go against God’s commands.  Throw out the garbage that you’ve been harboring, the rottenness of grudges and pride, the refusal to cede control, the attachment to the world, the obsessive love of your own way of life.  Throw it all out. God won’t leave you empty and dry, like a dull robot programmed to mindlessly obey.  Remember, He’s the one who created this universe that flourishes with beauty and perfection from the microscopic level to the vast expanding galaxies in space.  He’s the one who can transform and equip you with the very best.  He wants to give you His own nature, full of everything good and perfect.  That’s the escape we all are longing for, and He’s holding it out to you to take right now.  

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence, by which He has given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, so that through these things you might become partakers of the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.  (2 Peter 1:3-4 MEV)