How to Depend on the Holy Spirit

Similar to "How to depend on the Holy Spirit" would be:
  1. How to trust God (Prov 3:5; Ps 31:14).
  2. How to live by faith (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38; Hab 2:4)?
  3. How to live by the Spirit (Gal 5:16, 25)?
So how do you depend on the Holy Spirit? Learn or consider the following:
  1. Accept "No" from God. Lean not on your own understanding (Prov 3:5). Don't insist on your own way (Prov 14:12; 16:25). God's ways and God's thoughts are different from yours (Isa 55:8-9).

Fearing a Human Being

It is perhaps natural to fear a powerful man. For instance, it might be natural to fear your boss, since he or she has the authority to fire you.

As a Christian, it might also be natural to fear a Christian leader who is in a position of authority. Some might think that the Christian leader is closer to heaven than you. Thus, you might seek your leader's approval and blessing by regarding it as being similar or equivalent to the approval and blessing of God.

But Prov 29:25 states explicitly that fearing a man, any man, even a good man, or a Christian leader, is not wise. "Fearing people is a dangerous trap" (Prov 29:25, NLT). "The fear of man is a snare" (Prov 29:25, HCSB). "The fear of man brings a snare" (Prov 29:25, NASB).


How The Holy Spirit Helped Me To Marry

One of the best stories of my life is that in 1981 the Holy Spirit led me to marry a woman I really did not want to marry (my present wife, Christy Toh), because she looked rather tough and domineering to my eyes. I had shared about this in a blog entitled If Not For UBF I Would Not Have Married.

I was hoping to marry a demure, petite, frail, fragile and foxy sort of woman. I was also expecting to marry a Chinese woman. But the Holy Spirit did not grant me my wish. Instead, the Holy Spirit compelled me to marry Christy by faith in God, trusting and believing that God knew me better than I knew myself. Last year I shared about 12 things I learned after 32 happy years of marriage.


Gospel-Centered Wholesome Christian Living

Where is the gospel as we considered the ABCs of Wholesome (Practical) Christian Living?
  • Accountability: God personally took accountability for us by sending His Son to die for our sins (1 Cor 15:3), though God could have treated us as our sins deserve (Ps 103:10).
  • Beauty: For us to behold the beauty of God (Ps 27:4), Jesus was marred beyond human likeness (Isa 52:14).
  • Boldness: Jesus is both our Lion King and slain Lamb (Rev 5:5-6), who boldly, without flinching, tasted death (Heb 2:17) for us, so that we, through him, might be as bold as a lion (Prov 28:1).


How the Holy Spirit works (Acts 16:6-40)

Acts 16:6-40

"... the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time." "... again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there" (Acts 16:6-7, NLT).
  1. How sensitive do you think you are to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in your life?
  2. Generally, do you intentionally seek the Holy Spirit's leading before making decisions and taking action?
  3. Discuss this quote by A.W. Tozer: "If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference." Do you agree? Why? Why not?


N.T. Wright on the Atonement

"Jesus, the innocent one, was drawing on to himself the holy wrath of God against human sin in general, so that human sinners like you and me can find, as we look at the cross, that the load of sin and guilt we have been carrying is taken away from us. Jesus takes it on himself, and somehow absorbs it, so that when we look back there is nothing there. Our sins have been dealt with, and we need never carry their burden again."

"On the cross Jesus took on himself that separation from God which all other men know. He did not deserve it; he had done nothing to warrant being cut off from God; but as he identified himself totally with sinful humanity, the punishment which that sinful humanity deserved was laid fairly and squarely on his shoulders… That is why he shrank, in Gethsemane, from drinking the 'cup' offered to him. He knew it to be the cup of God's wrath. On the cross, Jesus drank that cup to the dregs, so that his sinful people might not drink it. He drank it to the dregs. He finished it, finished the bitter cup both physically and spiritually… Here is the bill, and on it the word 'finished' – 'paid in full.' The debt is paid. The punishment has been taken. Salvation is accomplished."



παρρησία (parrēsia occurs 31 times in NT) means "free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance," "outspokenness, liberality," "freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech:
  1. openly, frankly, i.e without concealment.
  2. without ambiguity or circumlocution.
Some occurrences of παρρησία:
  • People observe Jesus speaking publicly and openly (Jn 7:26).
  • Jesus declares that he spoke openly to the world (Jn 18:20).
  • "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus" (Ac 4:13, NIV). "Courage" is also translated "boldness" (Ac 4:13, ESV, HCSB, NLT) and "confidence" (Ac 4:13, NASB).


Christian Leadership Assessment

The leader always sets the trail for others to follow. The leader does not intimidate but inspires others.
  1. What is your understanding about being a leader?
  2. Other than Jesus, Paul and Moses, what might your ideal model leader look like?
  3. Do you perceive that God has called you to be a leader? In what way?
  4. How might you serve God as a leader of his church?
  5. What are your strengths? Your weaknesses? How self-aware do you think you are?
  6. Are you led by the Spirit? How so?
  7. How is your life of prayer, silence, solitude, contemplation, meditation?
  8. How much or how often do you read the Bible? Read books?
  9. Are you self-controlled? Reactive? Easily angered?
  10. How well do you take criticism? Being challenged? Over-ruled?
  11. If you are a leader, do people follow you because they want to, or because they have to?


How To Be BOLD

"...the righteous are bold as a lion" (Prov 28:1).

Food for thought: Consider that the boldest man who ever lived was also the gentlest man who ever lived (Rev 5:5-6).

To be bold one must know and believe the following:
  1. God's love for us never changes (Jer 31:3; Heb 13:8).
  2. God is good (Ps 100:5).
  3. God is working all things for our good (Rom 8:28).
  4. God will complete his work in us (Phil 1:5).
  5. God protects his people (Gen 15:1; Ps 18:2).
  6. We are precious to God (Ps 72:14; 116:15; Isa 43:4).
  7. In God we fear no man (Prov 29:25).
  8. God is with us forever (Isa 7:14; Mt 1:23; 28:20).
Knowing and believing the above, what then could one do practically?


Boldness, Confidence, Courage

"...the righteous are bold as a lion" (Prov 28:1b). "...the godly are as bold as lions" (Prov 28:1b, NLT).

"Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident" (Ps 27:3).

"But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high" (Ps 3:3).

"This is my commandbe strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (Josh 1:9, NLT).

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline" (2 Tim 1:7, NLT).

Here are a gazillion quotes:

  • "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." Goethe.
  • "Freedom lies in being bold." Robert Frost.
  • "Boldness be my friend!" William Shakespeare.


12 Writing Rules

My Top 100 Bible Verses

The first 20:
  1. Rom 8:28, NIV: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
  2. Gen 50:20, NLT: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people."
  3. Ac 20:24, NIV: "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task...the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God" (Ac 20:24, NLT).
  4. Ac 20:27, ESV: "...for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God."
  5. Mt 6:33, NLT: "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."
  6. Prov 3:5-6, NLT: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take."


Victory Through The Lamb: A Guide to Revelation in Plain Language

Jesus is called the lamb 29 times in Revelation.

Revelation made easy. Reading or studying Revelation has always felt daunting and overwhelming to many Christians. But Mark Wilson has written "a guide to Revelation in plain language," as the title states. In the non-technical language of non-seminarians, Wilson explains Revelation's many intriguing mysteries, which is so characteristic of apocalyptic literature. Most of the confusing signs, symbols and varied imagery of Revelation find its origins from the Old Testament. Victory Through The Lamb is readable, understandable and insightful, even for those who have not previously read or studied Revelation.

Martyrdom. Each and every chapter begins with a martyr account, followed by Wilson's own English translation of the Greek text of Revelation. The martyr stories are gut wrenching, in particular the recent martyrdom of three Christians in eastern Turkey in the city of Malatya on April 18, 2007. This shocked Turkey's small Christian community as well as many Turkish citizens. Wilson and his wife have lived in Turkey since 2004 and were able to attend their funeral, together with many other Christians from around Turkey. The vivid stories of these and earlier martyrdoms set the mood of the reader into the correct frame of mind for understanding and interpreting Revelation.


Healed at Last: Separating Biblical Truth from Myth

Scott Blackwell, the author, was stricken with meningitis at age three. As a result, he suffered serious health issues, the most noticeable being that he walks with a severe limp. He addresses the apparent conflict between the God who is able to heal a stricken person of diseases and ailments, yet often does not do so physically, as God did not with him. Yet Scott declares without a doubt that God has indeed healed him profoundly and wholly through Christ, even if God did not heal him physically. Reading his book reminds me of the often passionate dichotomy and disagreement between Charismatics (God can and does heal today) and Cessationists (God no longer heals people today as in the time of Jesus and Acts). Scott writes a balanced biblical account between these two sometimes extreme positions that disses the other side.

Several people, noticing his limp in church, have said to him, "Do you know you can be healed, really healed?" to which Scott responded, "Yes, I've been really healed." He does not say this facetiously but truly means it.

A Life Goal, A Single Master Passion

From the Sun sermon, D is for Daily, we considered two questions:
  1. What do you do with your life daily?
  2. What do you think about daily?
Then we considered 10 practical applications. Among them, we suggested:
  1. Think about your life goal.
  2. Develop a single master passion for your life.
Based on these two points, the following questions were asked:


Read the Bible Daily (8/9/14): Preaching Notes

"Oh, how I love your instructions (law)! I think about them all day long" (Ps 119:97, NLT). "Instead, his delight is in the Lord's instruction (law), and he meditates on it day and night" (Ps 1:2, HSCB). "This book of instruction (law) must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite (meditate on) it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do" (Josh 1:8, HSCB).

Theme: We are what we think about. What do you think about? [C is for Contemplation, or DD for Daily Devotion or Daily Delight, or M is for Meditation/or Mind, or R is for Reflection, or S for Silence and Solitude, or T is for Think.]

1 in 5 Christians (19%) read their Bibles [2012 Lifeway survey]. 1 in 4 Christians (26%) read their Bibles regularly (4x/wk or more), [2013 American Bible Society poll]. The majority (57%) read their Bibles 4x/yr or less. Why so infrequently? Doug Birdsall, president of ABS, says, "I see the problem as analogous to obesity in America. We have an awful lot of people who realize they're overweight, but they don't follow a diet. People realize the Bible has values that would help us in our spiritual health, but they just don't read it."


Assess Your Bible Reading and Your Thinking

  1. How often do you read the Bible? Do you read the Bible daily? A few times a week? Not that often?
  2. How much time do you spend reading (meditating on) the Bible? Reading books, blogs or magazines?
  3. When you read the Bible how much of it do you usually read? A few verses at the time? A few chapters? 5-10 chapters?
  4. What do you know about your Bible?