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Depleted Spiritual Power Can Be Renewed

By Wesley L. Duewel (1916 – 2016)

    When the Holy Spirit fills us He imparts purity and power.  The person who dedicates his all as a living sacrifice in absolute surrender (the term Andrew Murray loved to use) and asks for and trusts for the Spirit’s infilling is given a new dimension of spiritual life.  The Holy Spirit cleanses and makes one pure in the inner person to a degree he never knew before, and in the same moment fills with a divinely greater power.

    After one is filled with the Spirit, as one walks in the light of the Word as guided by the Spirit, he seeks constantly to please the Lord.  Moment by moment he depends on the Spirit who indwells, and the Spirit enables him to be victorious over temptation.  Through the Spirit’s help purity can be preserved.  In some sense we can keep ourselves pure (1 Tim. 5:22) by careful obedience to the Spirit (1 John 3:3), by testing everything, holding to the good and avoiding the evil (1 Thes. 5:21-22).  We thus help to keep ourselves from being soiled and spotted by sin (2 Pet. 3:14).

    But spiritual power is different.  Spiritual power cannot be preserved indefinitely.  The power of the Spirit is His energy flowing into and through our spirits.  Energy gets used up.  Power must be renewed.  This spiritual secret is beautifully symbolized in Zechariah 4.

    God gave an important vision to Zechariah to strengthen and encourage the two God-anointed leaders who were rebuilding the temple after the captivity – Joshua, the high priest, and Zerubbabel, the governor.  Great opposition had delayed the work for twenty years.

    God used symbolism to illustrate and confirm His powerful statement: “This is the word of the Lord…‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zech. 4:6).  God showed Zechariah a vision of a gold lampstand furnishing light through a bowl that channeled olive oil to seven lamps (symbolizing fullness of light).  The oil supply to the bowl came from two golden pipes that received oil from a living olive tree.  The lamps burned and gave light as long as oil flowed.

    The Spirit’s power is the great essential for doing God’s work, but it is expended by use.  We cannot minister today in yesterday’s power.  We cannot accomplish God’s full purpose on memories of past blessing and empowering.  God does not want us to live in the past, but in a moment-by-moment present appropriation of His power.

    There may be rare occasions when God uses us in spite of ourselves.  That was probably the way He used Samson, Balaam, and King Saul at times.  But the rule of God is that we can give only what we receive.  God wants us to be daily empowered so that we are daily usable for His glory.  God forgive us if the only time He uses us mightily is when He is compelled to work in spite of our spiritual condition.

How Spiritual Power Is Depleted or Lost

    Jesus Christ did not begin His ministry until He received a special bestowal of Holy Spirit power.  Hear His words: “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach…” (Luke 4:18).  Peter summarized Christ’s ministry by saying, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power” (Acts 10:38).  Jesus used the same power in His earthly ministry that we must use today – the power of the Spirit.  He chose primarily not to minister through His inherent deity, but through the anointing of the Spirit.

    Luke 6:19 explains, “The people all tried to touch Him, because power was coming from Him and healing them all.”  This was the power of the Spirit.  When the woman who had been suffering for twelve years touched the edge of Jesus’ cloak, He said, “Someone touched Me; I know that power has gone out from Me” (Luke 8:46).

    What was true of Jesus is true of you.  As you minister to people, you expend spiritual power.  If you want to be used of God, if you want to heal the wounds of humankind, God’s power must be upon you continually and flow through you.

    1.  Spiritual power is expended naturally by your ministry.  The more you minister, the more you need your power renewed.  The busier you become, the more you need your power renewed, the more you need spiritual refreshment and replenishing.  It is not just mental weariness or physical exhaustion that you experience.  Without spiritual renewal you will become a spiritual has-been.

    Once when Luther was asked about his plans for the next day he replied, “Work, work, from early until late.  In fact, I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”  Busy ministry without adequate prayer and spiritual renewal leads to loss of spiritual power.  The input is not keeping up with the outflow.  Have you been giving to others so constantly that you yourself are spiritually depleted?  Have you once known more of the power of God upon you and more of His anointing than you know these days?

    2.  Spiritual power is expended by involvement in non-spiritual affairs.  We are living in a basically secular world.  We are not an island, but live with all kinds of human associations.  God does not want us to be recluses, to isolate ourselves from the contaminating influences of life.  We are to be light and salt in our world.  But the source of light is expended by burning, and salt is expended by use.

    There is no conflict between work and spirituality.  Hard workers make the best Christian workers and the best prayer warriors.  Many people are too lazy to be blessed greatly.  They do not know how to pay the price of self-discipline to find time for God’s Word and prayer.  They let almost anything take priority over spiritual replenishment.  They have not learned the lesson of Zechariah 4.  They try to succeed by their own power rather than by God’s Spirit.

    In many forms of work there are wonderful opportunities for moments of brief prayer, praise, spiritual communion, and expressions of love for the Lord.  But too often we live as if the Lord were not by our side.  We ignore Him.  We fill our minds with fantasies, self-pity, and self-made plans.  We can invest moments with God while washing, grooming, walking, driving, or a thousand other activities, if we only will.

    But there are activities or environments where this is more difficult.  The atmosphere in some places is not conducive to spiritual activity and may even be anti-spiritual.  You cannot breathe the atmosphere of noise, levity, suggestiveness, sinful jokes, materialism, or blaspheming of God’s name without its effect upon you – unless you resort constantly to the Lord.  You will begin to sense gradual loss of spiritual power.  Like Lot (2 Pet. 2:7), you will feel constantly distressed and almost tormented.

    You need quiet of soul for spiritual communion and renewal.  Some people are so accustomed to being entertained by radio or television that they hardly know how to use quiet time for spir­itual refreshment and renewal of soul.  In Bible times the priest washed before ministry in the tent or temple.  We too need to take spiritual baths, or at least to freshen the face, as it were, with frequent moments with the Lord.

    3.  Lack of unity with other Christians depletes our spiritual power.  David says that unity, like the dew from heaven, brings spiritual refreshment and blessing (Psa. 133:3).  Disunity does the opposite.  It dries the soul, withers spiritual life, and evaporates spiritual refreshment and keenness.  Power is dissipated by critical attitudes, thoughts of resentment, or any unforgiveness or bitterness of heart.

    Nothing will drain away God’s blessing, power, and anointing from your life more rapidly than unkind thoughts of others.  Unloving words, gossip, laughter at the expense of others, and negative talking cuts your power and the sweetness of God’s presence.  Anything contrary to the tender love of the Holy Spirit is devastating to spiritual power.

    Are you sensitive enough to recognize quickly what grieves the Holy Spirit?  Whoever touches God’s people touches the apple of God’s eye (Zech. 2:8).  With one critical remark, you can destroy the blessing you received from hours of prayer.  The Holy Spirit is the gentle Spirit of perfect love.  One of His roles is to pour in abundance the love of God into our hearts and out through our lives (Rom. 5:5).  We cannot afford to grieve His loving nature.

    Paul speaks sharply and abruptly to this subject.  “You, then, why do you judge your brother?  Or why do you look down on your brother?” (Rom. 14:10).  “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?” (14:4).  Judgmental thoughts always grieve the Spirit.

    “…Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander…Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us…” (Eph. 4:30 – 5:2).

    4.  Lack of obedience depletes spiritual power.  Failure to continue to walk in God’s light, or failure to accept and use God-given opportunities can bring loss of the power of the Spirit.  God constantly gives us opportunities to do little extra things for Jesus.  They are not demanded of us; it depends upon how intensely we love Jesus, how eager we are to please Him with little gestures of love.

    Just as active expression of your love to Him increases His nearness and blessing upon your life, so neglect of these gestures of love can lead to loss of the sweet awareness of His presence.

    Failure to be alert to express your love in thought, word, or deed can lead to spiritual carelessness and to a gradual decrease in the Spirit’s presence and power upon you.  Are you as sensitive to what pleases the Lord as you are to what pleases your dearest companion?

    Delayed obedience, ignoring the Spirit’s suggestions, any controversy between your heart and the Lord, resisting His highest will for you – these can short circuit the flow of God’s power into your life.  Spiritual power is governed by God’s spiritual laws just as certainly as electrical power or nuclear power is governed by God’s laws of nature.

    5. Self-indulgence, a self-centered, luxurious lifestyle can deplete your spiritual power.  R. A. Torrey, the Bible teacher and co-worker of D. L. Moody, was deeply convinced of this.  He wrote,

    “Power is lost through self-indulgence.  The one who would have God’s power must lead a life of self-denial….  I do not believe that any man can lead a luxurious life, over-indulge his natural appetites, indulge extensively in dainties, and enjoy the fullness of God’s power.  The gratification of the flesh and the fullness of the Spirit do not go hand in hand.

    “…If we would know the continuance of the Spirit’s power we need to be on guard to lead lives of simplicity, free from indulgence and surfeiting, be ready to ‘endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ’ (2 Tim. 2:3).  I frankly confess I am afraid of luxury; not as afraid of it as I am of sin, but it comes next as an object of dread.  It is a very subtle, but a very potent enemy of power.  There are devils today that ‘go not out but by prayer and fasting’ (Matt. 17:21).”

    The Holy Spirit always reaches out to others, is always sensitive to the welfare of the entire church and of the world.  Self-centeredness is the opposite of Christ-centeredness and kingdom-centeredness.  In numerous ways Christians may spend their time or indulge themselves, ways that are contrary to the sacrificial spirit of holiness, the recognition of the needs of a hurting world, and the extension of Christ’s kingdom.  His “inasmuch as you did not” will be said to evangelical Christians of our generation as truly as it was said to some of His generation.  How can the Spirit bless us with outpourings of His power when we are so little concerned about what concerns Him?

    6.  Self-sufficiency and pride will deplete spiritual power.  Power can be almost instantly lost through pride.  God will not share His glory with any other.  God condescends to work through Spirit-filled people, but if anyone reaches out his proud hand and takes to himself the glory of which only God is worthy, He will withdraw His power, often instantly.  That is one reason Satan tempts you so constantly to pride.

    Billy Graham has repeatedly made such statements as, “If God should take His hand from my life, these lips will turn to lips of clay.”  We are only earthen vessels, “jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Cor. 4:7).

    God could reveal Himself so fully to Moses in a more face-to-face relationship than with any other human being and could work more mighty miracles through Moses than through any other person (Deut. 34:10, 12) because Moses was the most humble person on the face of God’s earth (Num. 12:3).

    Uzziah was greatly helped by God until he became strong and grew proud (2 Chr. 26:15-16).  Many a Christian leader’s history could be written in the same words.  God worked mightily on behalf of Hezekiah until almost unbelievably his heart became proud over the answer to his prayer (32:25).  Nebuchadnezzar was honored and used by God until he became proud (Dan. 5:20).

    Satan’s own downfall was through his pride (perhaps Ezekiel 28:2, 5, 17; First Timothy 3:6).  Pride makes us more like Satan than like Christ.  Pride will cause God to turn His face away from us.  God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5).

    Any step of self-sufficiency is the first step to pride.  Any acceptance of praise for oneself is probably denying God the praise due Him.  Self-confidence can be humble if based on God’s usual help and if we remain in complete dependence on Him.  But self-confidence can be carnal, can become a carnal form of self-reliance, and can rob us of God’s sweet presence and His mighty power.

    Any power manifested in the ministry of one who is not marked by deep humility is counterfeit power.  It is not God’s power.  It may be psychological power.  It could even be the power of Satan who delights to pose as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).

    7.  Excessive levity can deplete spiritual power.  Humor is a gift of God to us, but it must be used only in appropriate ways and to a modest extent.  God is obviously a God who Himself enjoys wholesome humor.  That is why He created us to enjoy humor and to be able to laugh.  But there is a time, a place, and a limit on the humor God will bless.  Even too much wholesome humor can dissipate God’s power.  I have noticed that just before a special spiritual responsibility, even when I was not aware that it was just ahead, Satan has at times tried to get me and others so amused that we lost the spiritual preparation we had made.  Satan delights to rob us of God’s anointing and power just before a spiritual crisis or time when we will greatly need His power.  The presence and power of the Spirit available to a person through several hours of prayer can be lost by five minutes of improper humor, or humor at the improper time.

    8.  Sin always depletes and destroys the power of the Spirit.  Conscious disobedience, sin against light, sin against another, and all forms of failure to walk in God’s light will stop the awareness of the presence and smile of God’s favor.  Sin stops the Spirit’s power from filling you and using you.  Sin robs prayer of its effectiveness.  “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psa. 66:18).  This refers, of course, to sin according to the Bible definition of First John 3:4, a willful breaking of God’s law in spite of clear light.

    When Israel disobeyed God and broke the covenant with God, God paid no attention to their tears and prayer (Deut. 1:45).  Just as Samson was shorn both of his locks of hair and of God’s power upon him because he trifled with disobedience and sin, so there have been Christian workers who have just as completely lost the power of God upon their lives.

    Sometimes we may be unaware that we have disobeyed the Lord, but feel in our hearts that we have grieved the Spirit in some way.  This may be merely the accusation of Satan as he tries to depress and discourage.  On the other hand, this may be the restraint of the Spirit.  He is so loving and faithful that if we grieve Him without fully realizing it, He speaks to us or touches us.  If we have developed a listening ear for God’s guidance, God will find it easy to get our attention and will be faithful to speak to us.

    Thank God, there is forgiveness and cleansing available.  There is always a way back to God’s favor, presence, and power (1 John 2:1-2).  Contrition, humbling ourselves before the Lord, repentance where necessary, and forgiveness can open the gate to God’s full favor and the flood tide of His power upon us again

Earnestly Seek God’s Power

By James Smith (1802 – 1862)

    We greatly need spiritual power in the present day.  We need to be endued with the Spirit of power from on high.  The wisdom of men can do little for us in the world in which we are engaged, and, if our faith rests on that, we shall surely fail.

    What is it we need?  We need to be more like Jesus and His early followers!  We need to be just what His precepts require us to be.  But this we shall never be – unless we receive the Spirit of love, power, and of a sound mind, in greater measure than we ever have yet.  O for glowing zeal, active benevolence, and self-denying devotion to the Lord’s service!

    But to bring about such a state of things – to whom shall we look?  The power of God, and the power of God alone – is able to accomplish it.  O what a mercy, that with God, all things are possible; that He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us!

    Without Christ we can do nothing; but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  “Power belongs unto God.”  But then He has promised to give power to the faint, to strengthen us with all might by His Spirit in the inner man.  His power was exerted in His apostles, who became remarkable for holiness and usefulness; and that same power has been given to all in measure, who have ardently desired it, and earnestly sought it.  If we have it not, it is because we do not set our hearts on it, and diligently seek it, or because we seek it for some impure and improper purpose.  For God was never more willing to give – than He is now.  The promise was never more true – than it is now.  The throne of grace was never more accessible – than at present.  And surely the world and the church never more needed the power of God than now.

    It was possessed in fullness once, it has been displayed gloriously in times past; and as Jesus, the giver of power, is the same today as He was yesterday, when His church possessed and exercised it – then the reason for the deficiency must be sought in ourselves, why we have it not.

    Let us then humble ourselves before God for our selfishness, our love of ease, our conformity to the world, and our worldly-minded churches.  Let us also take off our dependence from every creature, and from everything in man – and fix it on the power of God alone.  Let us believe the promise of the Savior to His waiting, watching, praying disciples, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you” (Acts 1:8).

    Let us believe His promise, and pray with downright earnestness and perseverance for the power of God.  It is no use our complaining, finding fault with others, or wishing for a different state of things in the world or the church, without this.  This is the great remedy for all our evils, and this remedy may be obtained – but not in the way many people take; no, we must deeply feel our need, deplore our condition, realize our guilt, confess our sins, and, in dependence on divine grace – make up our minds to give the Lord no rest until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high.

    God is willing – are we?  God is ready, but not to sanction our coldness, indifference, and worldliness.  He will give, but we have no right to expect until we feel our need, believe the promise, and plead it in faith with perseverance.  God may deny us, if we are not earnest; but if like Jacob at Peniel, if like Elijah at Carmel, if like the Syrophenician woman, we will not be put off, but show that we are sincere and earnest, He will open the windows of heaven and pour out a full blessing upon us.

    O Lord, give power to pray, power to believe, power to persevere, and then give the power we need to work with success!

SEVEN REASONS WHY EVANGELISM SHOULD BE A PRIORITY OF YOUR CHURCH

  1. Because Christ commanded it. We typically refer to the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 as our evangelistic and disciples-making command. But there are many other places in the New Testament where the priority of evangelism is clearly evident. Christ commanded it. We must do it.
  2. Because Christ is the only way of salvation. There is no way around it. Salvation is exclusive. There is only one way. Jesus could not have made it clearer in John 14:6: “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” Jesus had an urgent message. He had an exclusive message. We must be conveyors of that narrowly-defined hope.
  3. Because Christ died for the world. There is a reason John 3:16 is the most familiar and most quoted verse in the history of humanity. Jesus died for the world. He is the only way, but He has provided a way for everyone. That is a message that is urgent and worth telling. Indeed it’s the greatest message ever.
  4. Because churches that are not intentional about evangelism typically are weak in evangelism. Many pastors and church leaders will affirm this article. They will give mental assent to the priority of evangelism. But they do not practice the priority of evangelism in their churches. What are you doing today to make certain evangelism is a priority in your church.
  5. Because churches tend to obsess inwardly when they fail to move outwardly. Where has a lot of your church’s energy been expended lately? Rancorous business meetings? Expressions of petty church preferences? Worship wars? Power struggles? Those are inward obsessions. Lead your church to an evangelistic priority and watch the focus shift for the better.
  6. Because churches become content and complacent with transfer growth. Some churches are growing. Others are adding members without significant numerical growth. But many in both categories are growing at the expense of other churches. Some may be reaching unchurched Christians. That’s good, but that’s not evangelism. We can fool ourselves into thinking we are evangelistic when we are simply recirculating the saints.
  7. Because evangelistic Christians actually grow stronger as better discipled Christians. Those who are evangelistic are obedient to Christ. Being obedient to Christ means that we are following His teachings and becoming a better fruit-bearing disciple.

Prayer for Nation Leaders

Prayer for Nations Father, in the name of Jesus, and according to your Word, we pray for those in authority in all nations.We lift up Presidents, their families, their staffs and cabinet members. Let your Word cling to them and let them not depart from your plan. Strengthen them with mighty power by your Spirit to stand against wickedness, lies and deception. Guide Presidents decisions; let Your light shine upon their path and show them the path of reversal for every evil way. Continually surround them with godly men and women who impart wise counsel to them. Cause the way of the wicked to be set to confusion and come to nothing. Deliver them from the traps and snares the enemy has laid for them, and let the wicked be caught in their own devices and be brought to shame.

THE POWER OF PASSING IT ON – (By Dr. Myles Munroe)

🔖 The Greatest Act Of Leadership Is Mentoring.

🔖 If what you learn, achieve, accumulate or accomplish dies with you then you are a generational failure.

🔖 Mentoring is the manifestation of the highest level of personal maturity, security and self confidence.

🔖 An insecure person will never Train People, they will oppress people.

🔖 Mature people create people greater than themselves.

🔖 Your assignment has a shelf life.

🔖 You will die one day; so train your replacement.

🔖 Your Greatest Gift to the world is your mentee.

🔖 True leaders do not seek followers, followers are attracted to true leaders.

🔖 The Greatest obligation of true leadership is to transfer your deposit to the next generation.

🔖 Leadership success is measured by the success of your successor.

🔖 No matter how great you may have been, if you didn’t produce a successor, you are a failure.

🔖 You preserve what you built through mentorship.

🔖 Legacy is about preserving all that you’ve built by raising other people.

🔖 Success without a successor is failure.

🔖 Leadership that serves only it’s generation is destined to failure.

🔖 If your vision dies with you, you have failed.

🔖 Legacy is about living beyond your grave.

🔖 Leadership Is not a Sprint but a relay.

🔖 The most important part of a relay is passing it on-not running.

🔖 The ultimate measure of true leadership is not to maintain followers but to produce leaders.

🔖 True leadership measures it’s success by the diminishing dependency factor of its followers.

🔖 The ultimate measure of leadership is the ability to leave.

🔖 True leadership makes itself increasingly unnecessary.

🔖 You are a successful leader when your followers can lead others.

🔖 Your goal as a leader is to destroy the dependency of the people around you.

🔖 You are a great leader when your people don’t need you.

🔖 Make people greater than you and you will live forever.

🔖 True leaders do not seek power.

🔖 True leaders seek to empower.

🔖 True leaders make themselves increasingly unnecessary.

🔖 Never confuse your position with your value.

🔖 The ultimate goal of true leadership is not to maintain followers but to produce leaders.

🔖 The first act of a true leader is identifying your replacement and you begin mentoring them.

🔖 You become great by producing people greater than yourself.

🔖 When you produce someone greater than yourself, don’t get jealous. Take the credit.

🔖 When you train your replacement, you are freed to expand your work.

🔖 When you mentor people, your legacy will make your tombstone unnecessary.