Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Spiritual Growth: Outwardly Inward and Inwardly Outward

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

I asked a young man how his spiritual growth was going.

He said, “I’m reading the Bible a lot, and several devotionals.”

I said, “And how is that impacting you?”

He said, “I’m always looking for personal applications – how I can apply what I learn.”

And that, my friend, is one half of spiritual growth, what I call outwardly inward.

You read the Bible, you hear a sermon, you read your daily devotion, you listen to a teacher, you talk to Christian friends and hold one another accountable.  That is outwardly inward.  It starts outside of you, you receive it, and you allow it inside of you to change your heart and mind.

And then there is inwardly outward.  What is that?

That is when the Holy Spirit inside of you is teaching you and leading you, convicting you and encouraging you and cheering you on...from the inside of you.

In John 7, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be inside of us, and would be like rivers of living water, flowing from the inside out.

Hebrews 10:16 says, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them.”

This is what the Holy Spirit does.  He brings us spiritual growth from the inside out.  It begins inwardly and works outward.

So when you are looking at your spiritual growth, look for two things.

Are you reading and listening and learning from the Bible and teachers and preachers, and applying what you’ve heard?

AND...is the Holy Spirit speaking inside of you, leading and guiding and teaching you, and raising up the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit inside of you?

Because that is how spiritual growth takes place:  outwardly inward and inwardly outward.

May God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

I Am One of the Triumphs of His Grace

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

Maybe you’ve sung it a thousand times.

O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace!

The triumphs of His grace.

When I sing that line, my heart cries out with joy:  I am one!

I am one of the triumphs of His grace.

He set me free!  He delivered me from the net of the fowler.

Have you ever heard that illustration?

Psalm 91:3 says, “Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler...”

A fowler catches birds, so imagine the tricks.

Maybe he throws down bird seed and all the birds come out and eat.  Then he drops the net and they are caught!

That’s what the world does, and our sin and our flesh and our selfishness and our pride.  Out goes the tempting seed, and in we rush, right into the stupid place, where the fowler is waiting.

Have you ever been caught in that trap?  A lot of birds die in that trap, and yet here I am, a trophy of His grace.

How many times has the fowler wanted to spring the trap on me...but God.

But God, my Redeemer, saved me from the snares of the fowler.

The fowler sprung the trap, dropped the net, and many birds were caught.  I can see the net coming down.  I can see it starting to snare my feet, and just in time God snatches me out.

He spared my feet from the net of the fowler.

And that’s why I sing the triumphs of His grace, because I am one!

I am one of the triumphs of His grace...all glory and praise and thanks be to God.

May God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Monday, October 09, 2017

The Jesus Fire

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

Do you have The Jesus Fire?

That’s a question I’ve been asking people lately.

“Do you have The Jesus Fire?”

Unfortunately most people are telling me, “No,” or “I don’t know,” or “Not like I used to.”

One man told me, “I guess I just don’t have the fire like you do.”

I told him, “As a believer, you have the same fire as me or any other believer.  It’s the same fire of the Holy Spirit inside all Christians.”

The question is, are you fanning the flame?  Or are you quenching the Spirit?

What do I mean by The Jesus Fire?

I get that from the words of John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11, where John said that Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit...and fire.

So I call it The Jesus Fire, and when I say, “Do you have The Jesus Fire?” I’m basically asking, “Is the Spirit of God rising up in you as a roaring fire?”

If the answer is yes, then hallelujah!  Thank God!

If the answer is no, now what?

Now you need a healthy dose of James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

As Jesus said in Matthew 6:6, you need to go into your room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in the secret place.

You need to say, “Lord, I love You, and I desire to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness!”

You need a healthy dose of Psalm 25:4, “Show my Thy ways, O Lord, teach me Thy paths.”

Yes, you can be filled with the roaring Jesus Fire if you want it! 

It just means humbling ourselves before God, coming to Him in surrender and saying, “Not my will, but Your will be done.”

So fan the flame, and let The Jesus Fire rise up in you today!

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.