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Setting aside comfort for a dynamic life.

February 16, 2010

Galatians 5:16-17 :  16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. (New International Version)

The other night something absolutely extraordinary happened to me.  I was chatting to a friend, discussing some of the challenges in their life when suddenly I felt this very strong lead from God to share some very specific things. As I attempted to share, waves of emotion swept across me, filling me with God’s love as I was touched by the Holy Spirit.  This is not normal for me, and yet I absolutely loved it!  And the words I shared in the midst of that experience were spot on for my friend.

I so yearn to be in God’s will, and being open to the Holy Spirit offers support and advice in my walk towards this happening (John 15:26). How wonderful!  And in this Galatians reading we see the opposite as gratifying the desires of the sinful nature. This means to fix my heart, my attention on me, to make my focus the accumulation of possessions, to allow myself to get angry often, to be caught up in lust, or whatever it is where my needs become most important  (see: Galatians 5:19-21 for a list).   But perhaps the one that I struggle with most is the pursuit of comfort.  The desire for comfort for me is my greatest challenge.

So I seek to set aside my desire for comfort, for all those things that focus on me, and I commit to yearning after God, to opening myself up to the Holy Spirit so that I can have more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)  Oh yes!

God bless,

Mark

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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for today is:  Judges Chapters 7-11

To access the complete plan for the year click here.

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37 Comments
  1. Sister Pam OP permalink

    On rare occasions I have felt that touch of the Holy Spirit and it literally feels like heaven. Wouldn’t it be great to sustain that feeling? Still, we are creatures bound to earth and our earthly ways. We must continue to give up the immediate gratification of this world which is often damaging to our lives. We can only do this by relying on God for strength. During Lent I plan to use fasting as a means to tap into God’s strength while examining my conscience, repenting, asking for forgiveness and going forth to live a better life.

    • ido enjoy visiting reading the msgs . i am also studying Bible all over again and agin every year through http://www.biblepathway.org . But now when i began studying this year i come to know each word must be learnt mediate with much slow process and with praying enlightened by the Holy Spirit that will transform me into christ’s image . it’s really gradual and we need to seek Him every moment of life journey with good and bad experiemces . about Fasting i feel whatever we like or bondage in any luxury ,we need to avoid that and it’ll be more valuable rather than sitting and not eating food ,making one sick physically later.

      • Sister Pam OP permalink

        Dear Molly,
        Fasting can take many forms other than abstaining from food. As you said it is good to avoid those things in which we are in bondage. That could be many things, lottery tickets, TV, the internet. Abstaining from any of those could be a fast of sorts. I agree that fasting to the point of becoming ill is not a good idea. Many of us are able to fast for short periods without physical harm. The whole point of fasting is to draw closer to God by drawing on His strength. It is a time for prayer and rededicating our lives to God. If one is not called to fast by the Holy Spirit, it will most likely not be a fast for spiritual renewal. In the past, when I had a fast day it was often a day that was invigorating and productive. Fasting from food may be good for one person and not for another.

  2. James permalink

    Hi Pastor,
    I easily identify with your messages since you always share your life experience. I am always grateful and blessed by your messages.
    God bless you

  3. Garrett Stewart permalink

    WOW! This is spot on for me, as well. Currently, I stuggle with the same thing, the pursuit of being comfortable. I actually would not be up at this time in the morning, if it would not have been for a bad dream that led me to eating and calling a friend for comfort!!! God is amazing!! Thanks for all God has done in you, through you, but most importantly, inspite of you. Thanks alot for letting Him work. ~ Your brother in Christ, Garrett.

  4. Sara Sue permalink

    Discomfort for the sake of feeling spiritual, however, must be avoided! There is such a balance with the Word and with the Lord. The temptation with our diverse personalities is to misapply a warning or a command. That is why it is so important to know the whole Bible, to understand the context of each verse.

  5. Joyce Kesterman permalink

    I loved your message today.

  6. Belinda permalink

    I have experienced this a few times. It makes you hunger for more times. That feeling is like no other, to have the presence of God on you and you feel it. WOW. Great post.

  7. tonie permalink

    This is a really timely message for me also. I attend Bible Study Fellowship, and we are studing John 14 right now. the whole message that Jesus is sharing with the decisples then is how he will send the counsler to teach them, to remind them of all they have been told, to guide them. I love how the Holy Spirit arrives on the scene in the way you described. When the words flowing are so profound that you know they are directly from God. Wow, what a rush that is, so much so that afterwards, one cant truly remember what all was said!! Thank you for a timely message, and for sharing!!

  8. MARK, ANOTHER BLESSED WORD FROM GOD THRU YOU, I ASK GOD TO HELP ME TOO FEAST MORE ON HIS WORD,ALSO HELP ME TO OVER FLOW WITH THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT,LOVE ALWAYS. JOY-PEACE-PATIENCE-KINDNESS-GOODNESS-FAITH-GENTLENESS-MEEKNESS AND TEMPEANCE. IF WE LIVE IN THE SPIRIT LET US ALSO WALK IN THE SPIRIT. YOU KNOW GOD SPIRIT IS A AWESOME FEELING IT COMES BRING ABOUT PEACE WHATEVER YOU NEED IT’S A BEAUTIFUL COMFORT….

  9. Faith G permalink

    I need to draw even closer to God I desire the constant touch of Holy Spirit and I ask that you stand with me in prayer.

  10. MARILYN TURNER permalink

    MARK, ANOTHER GREAT WORD GOD HAS GIVEN YOU TOO GIVE US HOT OFF THE PRESS. I ASK GOD TO HELP ME TOO FEAST MORE ,MORE ON HIS WORD.AND ALSO HELP ME TO OVER FLOW WITH THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT LOVE ALWAYS. JOY-PEACE-PATIENCE-KINDNESS-GOODNESS-FAITH-GENTENESS-MEEKNESS AND TEMPEANCE. IF WE LIVE IN THE SPIRIT LET US ALSO WALK IN THE SPIRIT.HAVING THE SPIRIT IS A AWESOME FEELING GOD SPIRIT IS BEAUTIFUL WHEN IT IS APOND YOU …..

  11. Kathy permalink

    This is good, Rev. Mark, and it’s wonderful that you are walking in the Spirit. I’m wondering what comfort means to you, however, that you believe you should give it up. To me, comfort does not mean being wealthy and spoiled, having everything money can buy. Comfort means being able to live without suffering, having a home to live in with heat in the winter, having enough food to eat, having enough money to pay my bills and get food and clothing – to not merely survive, but to thrive. That doesn’t mean owning a yacht, but God has promised to supply all our need. Jesus told us not to worry about it because the Father knows what we need, and he will take care of it. That is comfort to me!

  12. howard permalink

    It’s comforting to know I am not the only one who craves to be able to dwell in my comfort zones. Like you I feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit saying hey come on step outside those things. The film “IN God’s hands” has always been an inspiration as big wave riders say that going out to face 40 ft wave is to put yourself in God’s hands

  13. Jo Heatley permalink

    Hi mark!

    Your message seems to be confirming what I think God has been talking to me about for awhile. Definately the second time this week i have heard this message about getting out of our comfort zones and going all out for God no matter what we perceive as the cost to us.

    As I have been digging deeper into God, or should I say as He has been drawing me nearer to Him( I’m not sure which as the lines have become blurred!), I have been aware that I need to hear what He has been trying to say to me , not what I want Him to say to me.

    When I have had to face the uncomfortable truths that the Lord has brought to my attention, for example when I have prayed Lord I only want to do Your will, He has replied Are you sure that is what you want? I have had to face the truth that I can not even desire this wihout the Lord’s help! So I have changed to asking the Lord please place the desire on my heart to do Your will and only Your will. Help me die to self and live only to serve and glorify Your name.

    The flesh doesn’t want to give up and seems to put up a fight!! I pray God transforms me and gives me a heart after His own heart. x x

  14. Nelosn Santos permalink

    At first when I was crawling in faith to become a christian, I did¨t undestand the meaning of trinity, It was so hard to figure out, but time has passed by and i see it clearly because God has cleared it, what a lovely is God because before leaving us, left the holly spirit not to be alone.
    to cheer us up, to confort to advice when were in trouble.

    because God is like water, has three conditions ,FATHER, SON AND SPIRIT AND HE THE VERY SAME GOD

    God blees you

  15. Sheena permalink

    Hi Mark,
    Please pray for me to become more in connection with my Lord and understand his words. I pray but i know i do not pray as i should I am trying as the Lord knows . I ask him to forgive me all my past sins and I believe he has. God Bless you and I pray your ministry is an outreach to all like me who need to understand better the word of the lord.

  16. I know where you are coming from I have been having,the Holy Spirit visiting mighty in the past few Months and I have Church about every day with the word of God and annointed teachers on my e-mail and my tv, It is awesom what God is doing today and I try to get every one I see or talk to on Phone to recieve Him I was Blind with Cancer, Had a massive heart attack Dr said the only way I came back was a Higher power,in 3 days I had 20/20 vision God Is Awesom, God Bless you my Brother, God has had me praying and travailing before Him and I love it

    Inez

  17. Emily permalink

    Thank you for sharing – your message are always so inspiring and eye-opening.

  18. Joy permalink

    I’ve always lived in my comfort zones, but now I am being challenged to live outside of them and trust God to lead me. I have felt the touch of the Holy spirit in my life in a more deeper way while I am doing this seeking God in a deeper way study. God is working on my inner life so that my outer life will reflect Him in truth.

  19. Mark ,God is using ur devotion to reach me at my point of need.God be praised.

  20. Pastor Mark,
    Maybe I am way off (mentally) but I feel that the Holy Spirit is reaching out to me everyday. I am so new to a life filled with God and joy that I am intoxicated. My fiance’ is about to lose his job. We live in Florida the worst place to find a job. I just smile when we talk on the phone and tell him all will be fine. I can feel God telling me that he has a plan for us and it will be greater that anything we could ever imagine. What even is more astounding I know that I am going to be able to go to Africa to help work with the “Abandon Baby Program” through “Feeed the Children”. I just know that This is what he has planned for me to do soon. As for my personal needs yes I would love to have the best of everything but average is just tine for me. I feel so fortunate that God loved me enough that though his son I was pulled out of the river of slim that I was living in. For I have done things that I am very ashamed of and God still loved me. If we could just get the human race to see this. God bless you Mark keep it up for you are so needed. 🙂

  21. Caroline York permalink

    Living a life after the spirit and not the flesh is very difficult but so rewarding. I remember my first missions trip to Africa and how we had to sacrifice many comforts of home: how I missed my warm, cozy bed, air conditioning, fans, electricity, hot showers, cheeseburgers and smoothies! But through the discomfort I focused on Jesus and how he sacrificed everything to give us eternal life. I found a joy that I had never known before as I looked beyond my discomfort and reached out to the lost who opened their hearts and homes to us. In the midst of serving the Lord, it’s amazing how little our discomforts really bothered us and how His grace was poured out upon us to enable us to live in the Spirit. Only by His grace are we able to live in the Spirit and not the flesh.

  22. george permalink

    Mark, I have been sensing the same as well. I been walking with God a long time and I must tell this…It is possible to get comfortable when living for God. Sometimes I would think in my heart God is blessing me today, I’m good! and do nothing in return cause I thought “hey..I’m saved, and what I hung my life on with God in my spiritual walk started to just be a “check the block lifestyle”!! And what I did not realize was that I started drifting away from the fire of the Holy Spirit and just started not being as commited as I used to be. (believe me the fruits of the flesh were in full effect and it was slowly tearing me down)! The flesh has a way a sneaking in. I thank God for the Holy Spirit! cause just recently, I got back into my word just as I did when I first believed and with the help and friends of the Bible page, it just encouraged me more to come out of my comfort zone and as you say “jouney deeper” into God’s word. And you know what…the Holy Spirit has begun to give me that loving /feeling/that don’t forget to do this which comes in the form of what I may have read in the word a while back/ and the desire that I started out with. Thank God that he never leaves us nor forsake us!

  23. I do not feel as though the Holy Spirit has been much in my presence, because the last couple of days I have found myself ridden with anger over a problem that my family of siblings left have swept under the rug for such a long long time now. It angers me so much to even think about it, and I don’t know what to do. My explosion this morning just came at a sudden notice with no holds barred. I used to think my problem was the church and the organized religious efforts put forth by so many once a week. Sometimes I think it is where i work and the way I’ve allowed myself to be treated over the years because of my severe lack of education. Now I’m not entirely convinced that it hasn’t been all related to my siblings since my birth and the way I’ve failed in just about every endeavor I’ve gone into over the years.

    This may just be an awakening for me and them, hopefully, that this issue may once and for all be resolved, not merely swept under the rug.

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      Dear Ed, I am praying for you right now. Tell Satan to be gone, in the name of Jesus Christ to leave you alone. Satan will try to convince you that your anger is good and justified; whereas, the truth is that it only harms you and others. Life is difficult, no doubt. This is a time when we learn to trust God. Invite the Holy Spirit to fill you with peace. That is what I am praying for you. I pray that your awaking is full of grace, righteousness and faith that following Jesus will lead you to peace with your situation.

  24. I wonder if we sense God’s spirit in a very unique and powerful way when we are exercising the gifts He’s given us? Cause I’ve sensed God’s peace and assurance when I was extremely sick, when I got saved, and when I was listening to a missionary speak. But, I sensed His “pleasure” when I was exercising a gift. Similar to what I think Eric Liddell experienced (Chariots of Fire), “When I run, I feel His pleasure.”

    (Eric Liddell, Scottish Olympian athlete)

  25. Kim permalink

    I really like that. Live by the Spirit. In all my ways acknowledge Him & He will direct my path. I must continue to be in a cleansing spirit to make room for the Holy Spirit so that I may hear Him when he speaks to me and leads me. I need to keep this vessel swept clean to make ample room for the Holy Spirit. Amen!

  26. Sister Pam OP permalink

    Today I was reading Bishop N.T. Wright’s book, Simply Christian, and sure enough the chapter heading was, The Holy Spirit. Bishop Wright speaks about the interaction of the Holy Spirit and a person as being a time when heaven and earth intersect. He also discusses how in the Jewish faith the temple was considered the place for this special intersection. For Christians, individuals become temples. After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit entered people on a personal level and people became temples where the Holy Spirit dwells.

  27. Ernie permalink

    Dear Mark,
    I appreciate your sharing of your journey wiht us. I am blessed to have this resource and be able to connect your blog. Its not only inspiring and encouraging of reflection and meditation in the word of God and our paths in him, but its also comfortable to be able to access it everyday through the internet. Thinking about this made me meditate on the meaning of comfort and the Paul’s call to seek to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh. And suddenly I find more to give thanks to God for. I am thankful that he allows me to seek him and when I seek him, he blesses me so that I can be of blessings to others, just as you are to so many of us participating of this blog. I thank God for when I put the kingdom first, all elses is added on to me, according to His will. I then welcome the comfort I receive from him, and as a good adminsitrator of his possesions, I pary that I can use it to bless others and continue to expand His kindom. God is good!
    I

  28. Melissa permalink

    God is so GOOD all the time.
    You’re right. Submitting to Him is key.
    Along with His Word, I’ve been reading ‘Touching Godliness Through Submission’ by KP Yohannan (from Gospel for Asia).
    I’m not sure if you’ve read this. What a great message it holds.
    God has shown me so clearly how essential it is for me to submit my will to Him completely. Not just in certain situations, but in all things.
    There are times when I ignore His Holy Spirit and I chose my will/flesh over His Will. I make excuses like, “But this is unbearable, it’s only natural for me to lose my temper.” Then I see the consequences of my actions so clearly, and I stop and submit to Him again. After submitting completely I get to feel His Holy Spirit guiding me again.
    It’s so great to be free of myself. What a load off!

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      Thanks Melissa for the book recommendation. I am always ready to read an enlightening book to help and encourage me to follow Jesus more closely.

  29. Andrew Six permalink

    Look, I hate to be the bad news bear, but I’m not in to this mystic feelings-from-God thing. God communicates to us through his word alone. If he wishes to communicate more directly, he uses the Spirit dwelling within us to bring to mind the parts of his Word that are relevant. Either way, he only communicates via his word. Maybe God does cause us to “feel” his presence, but if he does, you’re better off not saying so, because the Bible places no importance on such feelings. You’ll find yourself using unbiblical language, which is VERY dangerous ground. We’re better off standing on the Word of God alone.

    • You’ve got some good points.

      I think most here would agree that our number one pursuit must be God. Pursuing feelings or signs is setting ourselves up for an enormous dose of disappointment and doubt. But, if we happen to get a splash of His glory here on earth, praise God. These blessings are strong reminders of how great heaven is going to be.

  30. eva permalink

    I understand the need for comfort. Praying for you Mark.

    Although I was always TERRIFIED of receiving the Holy Spirit. Until one early morning hours I woke up speaking in tongues… never been afraid since

  31. Connie permalink

    Mark I like your ref. for the verses you quote. It saves me time in finding exactly where it comes from.
    So, you were ‘touched by the Holy Spirit’. Wow, I am so very happy for you. Being what I call engulfed by the Holy Spirit is the ultimate healing from God. He not only heals us, but He comforts us in knowing that God is indeed at work in our lives. God bless you my friend and your work in Facebook as you reach millions of people throughout the world.
    A year ago, when I first came to town, I remember looking for a church. I was raised a Christian so I knew what I was looking for, but where was it? I searched the phone books, the internet and drove for weeks looking and praying that I find the church that God wants me to attend. One Sunday, I decided not to stress over it and just go to one. As I prayed for God to guide me, I ended up at the local Church of God. They are Pentecostal. I could feel the presence of God very strongly in this church. I heard people talking in tongs. Something I did not understand. I was drawn by this experience, and kept coming back. Every church service was different from the “keep quite and reserved” services that I was used to. They were like mini revivals. The pastor invites the congregation to be anointed and healed by the Holy Spirit. Another thing I did not understand.. . .
    As time went by I went to be anointed. As I was waiting, people who were anointed literally fell to the ground, some spoke in tongs as the Holy Spirit came into them. My first thought was that Benny Hill is for real after all. I have seen his shows on TV and thought it was a bunch of acting to make a buck. Well, I became a believer when it was my turn. I had a feeling that I cannot explain. I only knew that God’s Holy Spirit was inside of me. Acting totally out of my character, I saw glimpses of heaven, the throne with God sitting on it, Jesus leading me through the tour, the book of life with countless names, and much more. All in a matter of minutes. For three days, I was hearing God tell me what he wanted some specific people of the congregation to know. I told them and got a lot of positive feedback from them. What enlightenment!
    As more time went by, and more anointments came my way, I began speaking in tongs while being touched by the Holy Spirit. What an extraordinary enlightenment! God empowered me to speak in His language. I know what I was talking about, that I was speaking in an unknown language and I could not stop. I didn’t want to. I could hear the pastor and his wife shouting praise God, praise God. Just writing about it sends an overwhelming sensation throughout my body.
    This is being touched by God, the engulfment of the Holy Spirit for me.
    I did not mean to get so lengthy, but your message led me to remember what it is like for me to be touched by the Holy Spirit. I’ll never be the same again. Thank you God!

    Thank you Mark for this opportunity to be able to tell others about my experience with the Holy Spirit of God.

  32. Connie permalink

    Ed I believe that you are indeed becomming closer to God. One way I know this to be true is that I know that Satin is doing everything he can to get us on his side. When I am getting closer to God, negative things from my past come to haunt me (skelitons from the past). God does not send us these troubles. However, he may let them happen to increase our faith to HIm. When these troubles attack me, I first pray that God will give me the strength to endure them. I pick up the Bible and read, read, read, sometimes the same thing over and over until I get the message that God wants me to know. The Bilbe calls it “putting on the armor of God”. I call it let go and let God. It is not easy, but I do this until the troubles are gone. Afterwords, I know that the Holy Spirit of God is with me all of the time.
    God will give you confidence and strength to overcome your troubles too.
    I pray for strength in these areas consistantly because Satin is always there to try to get my attention. I know that God will eventually kill Satin forever. But until then it is a constant battle. To me it is like a mini a
    Armigedon (If I spelled that right).. God against Satin.
    Never give up on God. Never forget that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Believe that God will get you throught the storm.
    God bless you as you are in my prayers.

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