A New Spirit

Thursday, September 19, 2013, 8:17 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with this song:

My Heart’s Desire / An Original Work / June 29, 2013

Based off Rm. 10; Lu. 9:23-26; Ep. 4:20-24

Loved Ones, Oh, my heart’s desire
Is that you might come to Jesus.
Many appear zealous for God,
But they do not trust in Him.
They have not submitted to the One
Who saved them from their sins;
Not forsaken their sins,
Nor have they obeyed their King.

The word of the Lord is near you:
The word of faith we’re proclaiming:
That you must confess your faith
In Jesus as your Lord and King:
Believe in Him as your Lord,
And follow Him where’er He leads.
Share the gospel; be a witness,
And meet others’ needs.

Beautiful are the feet of those
Who bring the good news of Jesus:
Anyone who would come to Him
Must deny himself today;
Die to sin and self, and
Let the Spirit transform you in heart;
Put on your new self in Jesus,
Yielding to the cross.


Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I am still feeling led to continue using passages both from Ezekiel and from the book of Acts. I read Ezekiel 11 and Acts 9 today in the ESV.

Many Appear Zealous

“I will judge you at the border of Israel, and you shall know that I am the Lord. For you have not walked in my statutes, nor obeyed my rules, but have acted according to the rules of the nations that are around you.” ~ Ez. 11:1b-12

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. ~ Ac. 9:1-2

In the time of Ezekiel, the Jews were God’s covenant people. He gave them the commands to turn from their lives of sin and to walk in his ways, just as he does today with those who would choose to follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior (CF Eph. 4:17-24). So, they represent God’s covenant people today, the church, who are not walking in the ways of their God.

Saul/Paul was a Jew and a Pharisee. He followed the letter of all the Jewish laws. Since he lived in the time when Jesus Christ had lived, died, and had risen again, and had ascended back to the Father, and thus in the time period in which God made a new covenant through faith in Jesus Christ, he was no longer part of God’s covenant people, for the old order of things had passed away and now the new covenant had come. So, he represents those who think they know God, and who are even zealous for God, but who have never submitted their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, he was a non-believer in Jesus.

A New Spirit

And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. ~ Ez. 11:18-20

Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” ~ Ac. 9:3-6

The people of God of Ezekiel’s time were in great need of revival and renewal in their relationship with God. Saul was in great need of conversion, away from his old life of religious hypocrisy and unbelief, to new life in Jesus Christ. From these two examples here, I see three basic types of people within today’s church, though there is also a 4th.

1) I see that there are those who are unbelievers in Jesus Christ. They have rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. Saul/Paul had rejected Jesus and was also persecuting Jesus through how he treated the Lord’s servants and witnesses.

2) I also see those who think they know God/Jesus, and who are religiously following a set of man-made rules or even, perhaps, some of the 10 commandments, but whose hearts are far from God. I believe many within today’s church have bought into a false gospel of salvation (absent of repentance and obedience), so they think they know Christ, but truly they do not know him for they have not forsaken their lives of sin, and they have not chosen to walk with him in obedience.

3) And, I see those who have come to true faith in Jesus Christ at some point in their lives, but who have turned back to some of the ways in which they used to live, and who are acting and believing according to the ways of the world, instead of according to the ways of God and his word.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, he did not die merely to remove the punishment (eternal damnation) of sin from our lives so we could go to heaven one day. He did not die just so we could be positionally saved by his grace. He died so we could walk in freedom from bondage to sin and to live and walk according to his truth day by day. And, it is his desire that we not only come to know him, but that we truly trust him with our lives, that we forsake our detestable idols, and that we allow him to give us new or renewed hearts, minds, and lives fully devoted to him and to his service.

How Much He Must Suffer

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened. ~ Ac. 9:15-19a

Once Saul/Paul believed in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and he chose to accept God’s call upon his life, and he began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, he did suffer much persecution and threats against his life. He would now represent the 4th group of people within the church – fully committed followers of Jesus Christ. The Jews plotted to kill him, for he was no longer on their side, but had moved to the side of the “opposition,” in their thinking. They may have seen him as a traitor to the cause, for he had been very zealous in his pursuit of followers of Christ to persecute, arrest and to kill them. Even the Christians were afraid of him and were hesitant to trust him, so he had a very rough beginning to his new life in Christ.

Though the believers did eventually accept him as one of their own, the Jewish leaders continued to pursue him and to persecute, imprison, and beat him, as well as they made many attempts upon his life. Yet, Jesus said we would suffer as he suffered if want to be his true disciples. If someone tells you the Christian life is happy-happy all the time and is about having fun and playing games, they are feeding you lies. Jesus said that we can expect to be hated, persecuted and even killed for our testimony for him and for his saving grace. Yet, we must die daily to sin and to self and follow Jesus Christ (See Lu. 9:23-25).

He Preached Boldly

For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. ~ Ac. 9:19b-22

Despite the threats against his life, and despite all the rejection and persecution he now faced, Paul spoke boldly in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen! May we find encouragement in this story and may we follow his example of tenacity, determination, and perseverance in preaching boldly the gospel of Jesus Christ despite all opposition, rejections, persecutions and even threats against our lives. Amen!

Fully Ready! / An Original Work / June 19, 2013

Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8

Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.

May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”

“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”