Thursday, August 25, 2011



The seed germ is a soul in seed form OR a soul that is not yet active or quickened. When God breathe into Adam's flesh, formed from the earth in Genesis 2:7, the breath of life (Holy Ghost breath), this breathe came upon something that was quickened. The bible said Adam became a LIVING SOUL. Now His soul became alive or was quickened by the Holy breathe of God.

This breathe of God was the same that came as a rushing mighty wind in Acts 2. It came to do the same thing, which is to quicken, to make alive something.

Soul is the real YOU. It is a being, YOU. It is the nature on the spirit realm. It is the inside of the inside. It is the control tower of the human being. It has only one sense, doubt or faith. Soul is what identifies YOU. It is not a body, it is not celestial. It is way beyond the spirit realm, and it's the nature on the spirit. It is what controls the spirit realm. Animals don't have soul. They have no being controlling their spirit realm.

Now there is a process to the emergence of SOUL. It starts as a THOUGHT (eternal or temporal). This THOUGHT expressed is called SEED (or Word, for God's children). This SEED when quickened or made alive is called a LIVING SOUL.

What is Christianity?

It's amazing to many that Christianity is actually Jewish, both in its roots and heritage. It is the culmination of Judaism. Jesus (Yeshua) was Jewish. He was brought up by faithful parents who regularly took Him to synagogue. He observed Torah perfectly. The last recognized Jewish prophet, John the Baptist, declared that Jesus was the perfect "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

The Apostles, the first disciples of Yeshua, were Jewish men. After His resurrection, in Luke 24:25-27, Jesus explained to them how all the Hebrew prophets of former times pointed to Him, saying, "Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?" Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the [Hebrew] Scriptures.

The central message of Christianity is that Jesus Christ is God the Son who came to earth to rescue sinners not only from a life of sin but also from eternal damnation in hell. Christians believe that the 66 books of the Bible comprise the true and inerrant Word of God. As such, they read it, love its truth, come to know God more deeply by it, and live by its counsel.

The Bible teaches that the only way to know God and enjoy a right relationship with Him is through faith in Christ. Faith assumes that one turns away from his sin and submits to Jesus Christ as the ruler of every aspect of his life, calling Jesus "Lord," a synonym in that context for God (see Romans 10:9-10). Merely nodding the head and giving intellectual assent to truths about God is what characterizes demons, not the children of God (James 2:19).

Who Can Be a Christian?
At the heart of what it means to be a Christian is justification—being right with God (see Romans 4:20-25). So, another way of asking this question is, "Who can be considered right with God?" John 1:12 says that " many as received Him [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." In other words, not everyone is automatically a child of God simply because he or she is born.

Galatians 3:26 says that one becomes a child of God "through faith in Christ Jesus." Notice that a person is not saved by faith. We are saved by Christ through faith in Him. It is the object of our faith, the Divine God-Man Jesus Christ, who saves us. In other words, every person who will cry out to be delivered from his sin and will trust Jesus Christ, the Lord—the Divine Messiah—alone for forgiveness will be justified. Not only will that person be right with God, he will also be a child of God.

Such full forgiveness and reception into this new family relationship produces deep allegiance to God and to His people. An observable result of this new allegiance of heart and mind is that the life of a true child of God is characterized by good works, thoughts and attitudes. Good works do not serve as any ground for one's justification, however. As Romans 10:9 states, "...if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Good works, rather, serve as corroborating evidence that one has truly been "born again" by the Spirit of God who now dwells in the believer (see John 3:1-20; Ephesians 1:13-14).

One of Christ's closest followers while on earth, the Apostle John, wrote these inspired words of Scripture: "And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." (1 John 5:20)

Note well the exclusivity of the Bible's claim. It is not a mistake, nor is it arrogance. It is, quite simply, truth. Therefore, any religion or individual who alters, adds to, or teaches a message contrary to this gospel does not speak in alignment with the true God and eternal life but is teaching damnable heresy.

What makes Christianity different?
1. It is a spiritual belief that is open to all, regardless of age, religion, sex, or economic status.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

2. It is a faith relationship with God that solves the problem of sin. In other words, deliverance from sin is not achieved by one's personal adherence to a system of works. One is delivered from sin by receiving God's grace in Christ. A sinner is declared to be right with God as the merits of Christ's life, death, resurrection and ascension are applied to him through faith. Second Corinthians 5:21 says it this way: "He [God the Father] made Him who knew no sin (i.e. Jesus, God the Son) to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Other faiths believe that salvation is based on good deeds or keeping certain laws. Christianity recognizes that "There is none righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10).

The Bible clearly says that "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy." (Titus 3:5)

3. Unlike Buddha, Mohammad, and other religious leaders, Christianity accepts that its Messiah, Jesus Christ, is still alive today.

"...Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us." (Romans 8:34)

Jesus died on the cross for sinners, but was resurrected after three days. His resurrection vindicated the truthfulness of His message. He was witnessed by many who were eventually martyred for their faith. The historic truth of Christ's life and message has stood the test of time and will ultimately triumph over all other beliefs (Revelation 21:1-8).

Isn't Christianity Just a Political Movement?
No. Real Christianity is not a political movement that seeks to change the world from the outside in. Rather, it is truth that radically changes one's entire worldview from the inside out. Twentieth century British author, C.S. Lewis, said it well: "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

There are many hypocrites and counterfeits in the world. And Christians can and do sin. But the general direction of a real Christian's life is to increasingly love the things that are dear to God's heart such as (see Acts 2:42-47) faithfully handling, believing and obeying His Word, being relationally committed to the people of His Church, worshipping Christ sincerely from the heart, and being winsome in the way one lives and shares His message of hope to the lost.

What's Missing from the Average Person's Picture of Christianity?
One Christian author* has answered the question like this:

It's like we're in a war—in a concentration camp—and suddenly you're hearing on the smuggled-in radio that the troops of deliverance have landed in helicopters five miles away. They're conquering everything in their path and they're just about to get to the gate and open the doors. And having lived all your life in this concentration camp, you're now going to be set free.

That's Christianity. It is news that God sent rescue troops into the world, namely Jesus Christ, and that at great cost to Himself He has conquered our enemy the Devil, opened the gates of the concentration camp, and welcomed us home.

And then you add the beautiful image of bride and bridegroom and realize that this is not just a soldier who simply frees you to go and do what you want to do. He's your Husband, as it were, who has been separated from you for years and years, and you're the wife who has been in the camp. And when the gates are opened, there He stands on the other side, and the affections are huge.

I remember watching at the end of the Vietnam war some of those magnificent videos of men who had been away from their wives—some of them I think up to five years. I remember watching them run toward each other and seeing them sweep their wives off their feet. My heart leapt and my tears flowed when I watched that kind of reunion. I believe it is this deeply emotional response to being rescued and united with God that is missing from so many people's picture of Christianity.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

*Adapted from the article "Is Christianity just a bunch of rules for how to live?" is by John Piper. © Desiring God Website:

Pastoral Ministry & Wartime Thinking

When you’re hurting and needing spiritual counsel, do you immediately think of scheduling an appointment with a soldier? A General, perhaps? No, and that’s why the Army has chaplains.

My guess is during the Civil War young soldiers who became gripped with fear and dread did not seek comfort from General Grant. And no one during WWII looked to Patton for a listening ear. Can you imagine the “counsel” Patton would have given to a young man who came to him needing comfort during the march through France in 1944? More than a slap, I’m sure.

Of course, we expect a certain demeanor from Generals. We want them to always have a wartime mindset for the simple reason that we want them to win wars as quickly and efficiently as possible.

But pastors are not Generals. Which is why I’ve been thinking about a recent article by Paul Tripp titled, “Pastoral Ministry is War.” Tripp argues that the “war” is waged on two battlefields. The first battle is to remember that as pastors we no longer live for ourselves, but for Christ and His kingdom. The second battle is for the gospel — to remember that it is not only the “fundamental paradigm for every ministry of the church,” but also “the resting place of our hearts as pastors.”

Both things, of course, are true. All Christians are called to remember that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Therefore, we “put on the whole armor of God” (Eph. 6:11). And I know we have passions that are at war in us (James 4:1) as we’re called to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12). What I think is unhelpful, however, is framing pastoral ministry in terms of warfare. For if we only think of ourselves at war it will be very difficult to announce peace. And isn’t this the great news of the gospel? “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). Our message is the triumph of Christ (Col. 2:13-15).

Unlike a General leading an army into battle, we are pastors helping people live in the victory our Lord has already won. This is not to deny the intense struggles we have against the world, the flesh, and the devil (I’ve written about this recently). But it is to challenge the usefulness of the paradigm of “warfare” for pastoral ministry.

Brothers, we are pastors, not Generals. So more than thinking of pastoral ministry as war, I pray I think of it more like the Apostle Peter:

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
1 Peter 5:1-4

Five Points and a Poem

“...In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." —John 16:33

I wonder how Jesus feels listening to some of the messages preached from our American pulpits. I wonder if He’s noticed the same thing I have--that most of the messages in our “me-centered” culture come from one of two angles:

1) Either they are nice messages that tell people how to be a better person, how to get their prayers answered, or “how to…” This type of message is usually a very well organized three- to seven-point message that leaves the listener feeling encouraged and ready to go (all too often just to a big lunch). Or...

2) They focus on the fact that Jesus said in John 16:33, “…In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." This makes us feel good if we’re going through life’s trials, which truly can be very tiresome. (Incidentally, use of this verse is also a great way to get people to read articles, which is why I put that scripture on the top of this article; I knew this piece would be a bit challenging, and having it there might get you to read it).

I can’t help but notice that we as ministers spend more time preaching to make people feel good than drawing the body of Christ into a deeper relationship with Him. I know that people need to be encouraged (myself included), but isn’t the emphasis supposed to be on Jesus? It may seem a bit “simple” to some, but in Hebrews 11:6 Paul told us that it is impossible to please God without faith. So shouldn’t the focus of our faith in any situation be Him? If the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, then the shortest way to answered prayer might be faith in God and the finished work of Jesus His son. Lately the old hymn Jesus Paid it All keeps resurfacing in my life, so I thought I would share the words of that incredible work of art with you as a focal point:

Jesus Paid It All

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I Whereby Thy grace to claim,
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.


And now complete in Him
My robe His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.


Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.


When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.


And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down
All down at Jesus’ feet.

WOW! It is finished! Jesus Paid It All! Isn’t it about time we turn to Him for our answers? After all, he truly paid the price for our sins, sickness, weakness, etc. When do we realize that our methods of working the five point sermon becomes "leaning to our own understanding"? I don’t mean to be critical of these types of messages, I too have preached them and been lifted by them. I think that the reason many folks are going through intense tribulation might just be because it took such trials for them to look at Jesus’ work and throw themselves on the mercy of God through the finished work of redemption.

Just a few days ago I was in the woods where I often go to pray and had a very unique encounter with God. I began my prayer time by reading Galatians 2:20:

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

I prayed this verse as a reminder that I needed to get out of the way and let God be God. As I prayed, my eyes fell on the phrase, “…I live by the faith of the Son of God…” I was somewhat taken aback. I asked God to please give me a glimpse of what Jesus’ faith looked like. Very quickly within myself I heard “It’s too big for you to grasp.” I replied, “I know God, but could you just show me one element of it”? Almost instantly these words flooded my heart: “That you would complete what I have called you to do.” I was (and still am) dumbfounded.

For the last couple of weeks He has been making elements of this statement plain to me and He’ll do the same for you. As we press into Him and focus on what Jesus’ faith looks like then we begin to see that Jesus Paid It All for us. We’re the head and not the tail. We are above only and not beneath, the victors and not the victims. All of our needs are met according to His riches in glory. We are healed by the stripes of Jesus. All my sins have been washed away, not just coved as with the blood of a lamb in the old testament, but washed away!

10 Ways to Tell You're Slipping

It's surprising how God's people awaken one day and suddenly realize they have fallen away from the closeness they used to enjoy with the Lord. The signs have been there all along, but they were not paying attention.

Here are some tests I have discovered for spotting signs of slippage in my own walk with the Lord, evidence that I'm losing the intimacy with Him that always meant so much in my personal life.

10. You know you're slipping when the big thing you look forward to on a Sunday is a football game.

9. You know you're slipping when reading the Bible no longer excites you, angers you, or challenges you.

8. You know you're slipping when you finally get up off the couch and get involved in some ministry the Lord has been laying on your heart and the first thing you do is start criticizing all the other couch potatoes who are only doing the same thing you have been doing all this time.

7. You know you're slipping when, after slacking off in your tithing over the past year, instead of feeling guilty, you find yourself criticizing the regular tithers for their self-righteous and legalistic attitudes.

6. You know you're slipping when you can read the Ten Commandments and give yourself a passing grade on all of them.

5. You know you're slipping when you can go a whole day without praying and it not bother you one bit.

4. You know you're slipping when you can have a dirty thought and justify it as "what normal humans do."

3. You know you're slipping when you feel a nudging from the Holy Spirit to speak to that person or give to this one or make a phone call to another and you squelch it.

2. You know you're slipping when you decide to reward yourself for doing well by skipping your Bible reading and prayer for that day.

1. You know you're really, really slipping when the problem of slipping doesn't cause you great concern.

(Feel free to take a moment to respond below and share ways you've noticed when you are slipping from your faithfulness).

10 ways to know if your getting it right

The marks on the door-facing leading into the back yard tell of the growth of the children over the years.

The clothing in back of the closet the kids can no longer wear speak of the growth of your young'uns.

The escalating cost of schoolbooks as the kids move into high school and then into college bear eloquent testimony to the maturation of the offspring.

They're growing up.

But how can you tell when spiritual growth is taking place? Where are the markers? How are we to know if one's development as a disciple of Jesus Christ has plateau'ed or is even regressing?

To my knowledge, there is no answer book for this question. There are only indicators.

Here is my list of ten signs--indicators, markers--that we are growing in Christ, that we are getting it right.

10. A Changing Appetite.

My taste for spiritual things is changing. I find myself loving to study the Word of the Lord and looking forward to it. Far from it being a chore, it's literally fun.

Job said, I have esteemed the words of Thy mouth more than my necessary food (Job 23:12).

At the same time this is happening, my thirst for a trashy novel, an entertainment magazine, a sexy movie or a television celebrity expose' is drying up. My appetite for spiritual junk food is diminishing. And that's a good thing!

Radiation for cancer in the early months of 2005 changed my life forever. Since the cancer was under my tongue, the radiation was directed toward key spots in my head and neck. Although the oncological team did everything they could to program the computer to save saliva glands and taste buds, some were zapped and are gone forever. My doctor said, "Food will never taste as good to you again as it used to." He was right. But that is a small price to pay to go on living and loving and ministering. Some foods--especially dry stuff like chips and fries and breads--have almost no taste. On the other hand, my taste for ice cream and sweets came back with a passion! There's probably a spiritual lesson in here somewhere.

9. A Disgust for the Shameful.

The more we become like Christ--and that is God's plan for every believer--the more we will find ourselves turning away in disgust at activities that used to fascinate us.

Paul spoke of certain activities as "shameful even to speak of" (Ephesians 5:12).

On another occasion, Paul spoke of the enemies of the cross of Christ: "Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame." They "set their minds on earthly things," he said (Philippians 3:19).

No dirty jokes for me, thank you. No porn movies or books or magazines. Not even the (ahem) mildly racy stuff.

We just don't need it anymore. We have better things to do and read.

8. A Love for Believers.

There is something almost uncanny about this: the closer we are to Christ, the more we will love His people. Likewise, the further we stray from Him, the less use we have for them and the more critical we become of them.

It is an ironclad principle, one that never fails: love Christ, love His people. Love the world, despise His people.

Remember that the next time you hear some backslidden church member running down church members. By this shall all men know you are my disciples, that you love one another (John 13:35).

So, you find yourself treasuring those believers at church who are genuinely giving their best to the Lord, even though it's small potatoes to the world. Congratulations. You are becoming like Jesus.

7. An Unusual Peace and Quietness.

The latest upheavals in the economy and in the political realm do not unnerve you the way they used to. You are far steadier than previously. You still care about the country, you work at being a good citizen, and you pray for your leaders. But you know that fixing your hope on them is a sure recipe for disappointment.

If you then be risen with Christ, set your affection on things above where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:1-2).

Some of your Christian friends will be upset with you because you are not upset. They may even accuse you of not caring, of being unpatriotic. Surely, if you were in the know as they are you would be as panicky as they.

You will take that in stride because of Number 6.

6. Your Strange Patience.

Your love for people and your patience with them is becoming stronger and steadier. Sometimes it surprises you. You remember when crazy drivers, unloving people, and ungodly conditions in the world upset you.

As a result, you find yourself able to minister to people who do things displeasing to God. Just as surgeons and nurses in the operating room look past the tragedy of blood and brokenness to treat the patient, you find yourself more and more able to do something similar: you look past the shame and love the person. This enables you to serve in a homeless shelter, in the jail, in certain neighborhoods, in mission centers, all in love.

5. Your Joy and Laughter.

This is a surprising development. You might have expected that becoming like Jesus would mean growing sterner, graver, more serious. And while part of you has deepened in that way, your spirit has sprouted wings. You are now able to soar higher--to laugh at trouble, to find joy in the simplest of pleasures, to rejoice in Christ when nothing is going your way.

Sometimes you find yourself laughing when nothing provokes it.

Joy is like that.

You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine increased (Psalm 4:7).

4. A New Generosity.

You haven't given away all your money, nothing like that. But how you look at money is changing. It has become "a means to an end," and not the goal of anything. Money is a tool to be used to bless people for Christ's sake.

Some say one mark of maturity is to enjoy saving money more than spending it. But we can go that one better: to enjoy putting money to work in the service of God and people is best of all.

When Lawrence Bryant came to know Christ at the age of 43, his priorities were completely rearranged. Instead of amassing wealth, he delighted in blessing others with what God had given him. I still recall his wife Helen remarking to her mother one day, "If you come home and find a moving van backed up to the door, Lawrence has given away the house."

John Dowdle gave a young preacher a large check to assist him in his seminary education. Later he told me, "That same day I made three times that much in a little business transaction." He was quiet for a minute, then said, "That happens so much it almost frightens me."

He was discovering he could not outgive God.

But it's fun to try.

3. Joy in Anonymous Acts.

They said of Jesus that He "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38). That's the idea: leaving a trail of blessed people in your wake.

Not all our giving and working should be anonymous, of course. We are bearing a witness for our Lord through our good deeds, and thus we want people to know their Source and to be directed toward Him as a result. However--and this is the point--we get just as big a delight out of blessing someone without him knowing where it came from.

I've had this done for me, and have done it for others. Someone called from a men's clothing store. "Pastor, you are being invited to come down and buy a suit for yourself. No questions asked, anything in the store." What fun that was, particularly in the days when I needed a new suit and money was scarce. But when money was more plentiful, I have passed that blessing along to others. Best of all was doing this for some preacher who was serving a small congregation and being poorly paid. He never knew the source, and that was more pleasurable to me than if he had known.

Most of our prayer for people should be anonymous. If I feel that I need to keep reminding people "I'm praying for you," it might indicate a lack of faith in my prayer and more confidence in the power of telling them that I'm praying for them.

Much of our praying and giving should be in secret. (See Matthew 6:3-4.)

2. More Silence in Your Prayer Time.

Good friends learn to enjoy silence with each other, with neither feeling the need to fill the vacuum with chatter. So with prayer.

They asked Mother Teresa, "You pray hours a day. What do you talk about all that time?" She said, "Mostly, I just listen." That was puzzling to the questioner. "You listen to God? What does He say?" She answered, "Mostly He just listens too."

I love that little story. I hardly know what it means, but there is something about it that feels right.

I confess to being troubled when I hear a brother--usually a preacher--attacking heaven with a barrage of noisy words in his prayer. He comes on like a Gatling gun, hardly pausing for breath, as though Heaven is charging him so much per minute and he wants to get in all he can before he runs out of coins.

What's the rush, I wonder.

When asked a good way to pray, I often suggest three activities: read the Scripture, talk to the Lord a while, and then sit quietly. After a bit, read some more of the Word, talk to the Lord again, and then sit in silence for a while. Repeat for as long as you are able.

1. Unceasing Prayer.

When asked how long you pray each day, you have no idea. You never stop talking to the Father.

I'm amused by polls that reveal the average Christian prays something like 45 seconds a day. "How do they know?" I wonder.

At the end of a day, would you know how many times you had spoken to a faithful friend who had been at your side all day long? Probably not.

Would you know the total of all the minutes of those conversations? Hardly.

As a third-grader walking up that West Virginia mountaintop to school each morning, I would often talk to the Lord about various subjects. However, in my childlike understanding, I would not say "amen" at the conclusion of the prayer. To do so seemed the equivalent of hanging up the phone, and the last thing I wanted to do was to cut the Lord off. I wanted Him involved in all I was doing all day long.

The Lord wants His children to grow spiritually, to become more and more like Christ. Theologians refer to this as sanctification. Paul expressed it like this: But we all...are being transformed into the same image (of Christ) from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of God (II Corinthians 3:18).

I asked a friend whom I know to be far godlier than I for her list of markers, how she knows she is more like Christ this year than last. Interestingly, my list and hers are as different as we are. And both lists are on the mark.

You will have your own list of indicators of spiritual growth in Christ.

Perhaps, though, the best indicator of all that we are growing in Christ is this: Someone brags on your godly character and you think, "Who? Me? You've got to be kidding!"

Christlikeness seems to be a lot like humility: Those who have it most are least aware of it, but only see how much further they have to go.

From what I know of the subject of Christlikeness, the process of sanctification is not finished until we stand before the Savior Himself. As John said, We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is (I John 3:2).

The completion of sanctification goes by the name of glorification--we are changed into His likeness completely--and then something wonderful happens: we find that in Heaven, we are a perfect fit.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First, fruits of the Spirit

"Ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit." Romans 8:23

Present possession is declared. At this present moment we have the first fruits of the Spirit. We have repentance, that gem of the first water; faith, that priceless pearl; hope, the heavenly emerald; and love, the glorious ruby. We are already made "new creatures in Christ Jesus," by the effectual working of God the Holy Ghost. This is called the firstfruit because it comes first. As the wave-sheaf was the first of the harvest, so the spiritual life, and all the graces which adorn that life, are the first operations of the Spirit of God in our souls. The firstfruits were the pledge of the harvest. As soon as the Israelite had plucked the first handful of ripe ears, he looked forward with glad anticipation to the time when the wain should creak beneath the sheaves. So, brethren, when God gives us things which are pure, lovely, and of good report, as the work of the Holy Spirit, these are to us the prognostics of the coming glory. The firstfruits were always holy to the Lord, and our new nature, with all its powers, is a consecrated thing. The new life is not ours that we should ascribe its excellence to our own merit; it is Christ's image and creation, and is ordained for His glory. But the firstfruits were not the harvest, and the works of the Spirit in us at this moment are not the consummation--the perfection is yet to come. We must not boast that we have attained, and so reckon the wave-sheaf to be all the produce of the year: we must hunger and thirst after righteousness, and pant for the day of full redemption. Dear reader, this evening open your mouth wide, and God will fill it. Let the boon in present possession excite in you a sacred avarice for more grace. Groan within yourself for higher degrees of consecration, and your Lord will grant them to you, for He is able to do exceeding abundantly above what we ask or even think.

God's glory

"Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name." Psalm 29:2

God's glory is the result of His nature and acts. He is glorious in His character, for there is such a store of everything that is holy, and good, and lovely in God, that He must be glorious. The actions which flow from His character are also glorious; but while He intends that they should manifest to His creatures His goodness, and mercy, and justice, He is equally concerned that the glory associated with them should be given only to Himself. Nor is there aught in ourselves in which we may glory; for who maketh us to differ from another? And what have we that we did not receive from the God of all grace? Then how careful ought we to be to walk humbly before the Lord! The moment we glorify ourselves, since there is room for one glory only in the universe, we set ourselves up as rivals to the Most High. Shall the insect of an hour glorify itself against the sun which warmed it into life? Shall the potsherd exalt itself above the man who fashioned it upon the wheel? Shall the dust of the desert strive with the whirlwind? Or the drops of the ocean struggle with the tempest? Give unto the Lord, all ye righteous, give unto the Lord glory and strength; give unto Him the honour that is due unto His name. Yet it is, perhaps, one of the hardest struggles of the Christian life to learn this sentence--"Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Thy name be glory." It is a lesson which God is ever teaching us, and teaching us sometimes by most painful discipline. Let a Christian begin to boast, "I can do all things," without adding "through Christ which strengtheneth me," and before long he will have to groan, "I can do nothing," and bemoan himself in the dust. When we do anything for the Lord, and He is pleased to accept of our doings, let us lay our crown at His feet, and exclaim, "Not I, but the grace of God which was with me!"

Hallowed be your name

Hallowed Be Your Name
Your name be honored as holy.—Matthew 6:9b
Our calling as Christians is to bring glory to the name of God. God's name represents His character. Taking the name of God in vain misrepresents God's character to others (Exod. 20:7). As Christians, we carry the name of our Savior. The way we live and relate to others is a direct reflection on the name of Christ.
Doing something “in Jesus' name” is to do something that is in accordance with His character (John 15:16). It means that Jesus would be pleased to join us in what we are doing. If, however, our actions detract from God's reputation, He will jealously guard His name. Sometimes we are too concerned with protecting the reputation of people but too little concerned with protecting the holy name of God. When the Israelites profaned God's name before the nations by the way they lived, God “hallowed” His name: He made His name holy by punishing them (Ezek. 36:22). When David sinned before his nation, God publicly disciplined him in order to protect the holiness of His name.
We can so tarnish the name father before our children that it hinders them from loving God as their heavenly Father. We can be such unforgiving Christians that our sinfulness discourages people from seeking forgiveness from our God. We can show such disrespect for God as we worship Him that those observing lose their reverence of Him as well.
Our supreme desire should be to glorify the name of God by the way we live.
We ought to pray daily, as Jesus taught us to, that God's name be treated as holy
—Experiencing God Day by Day