Flash

"DO THE MATH" 06/13/11

Let’s do the math.  The life expectancy of an average U.S. citizen is 77 years.  The average resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute.  100 heartbeats per minute times 60 minutes in an hour times 24 hours in a day means that our hearts beat around 144,000 times a day.  144,000 times a day times 365 days a year, means 52,560,000 heartbeats a year.  52,560,000 heartbeats a year times the average lifespan of 77 years means that in their lifetime the average person’s heart beats over 4 billion times.

 

You woke up this morning.  This is important.  Not everybody did.  No matter how we calculate it, we have a finite number of heartbeats. And remember, we are eternal, we will live somewhere forever.  Thousands of people across the world died in their sleep last night.  Faith in Jesus Christ, bestows a believer with the wisdom of Solomon to that know that we cannot change our past and have no control over our tomorrows, and so we adjust accordingly. We know that there is no power of life, in and of ourselves, something we control and have authority over, that can make our personal waking up “guaranteed” or “absolute.”

 

Howard Hughes, at one time the richest man in the world, tried to ward off his death by living in a constantly sterilized environment, this did not help, he died.  You see, we wake up not because we are powerful, even the most powerful man in the world, President Obama cannot guarantee that he will have a tomorrow.  We wake up not because we are wealthy, the wealthiest man in the world, Carlos Slim can offer all his billions to doctors, lawyers, and hedge fund managers in lieu of their guaranteeing him a tomorrow and not one of them has the power to make that happen.

 

We wake up not because we are famous, intelligent, beautiful, healthy, or holy, no, we wake up because God grants us another day of life.  Awakening everyday is a personal gift from our creator Jesus Christ, “All things came to be through him and without him nothing came to be.”  John 1:3.  “For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth.”  Colossians 1:16.  Today is literally everything we have. Seriously, today is everything you and I have.  Take a moment  to think about all the things you possess, all the physical things you own and work so hard to get, and now imagine that last night Jesus called you to himself, instead of four billion heartbeats you only had two billion.

 

Who will possess what you thought you owned?  Your spouse, your children, a favorite niece or nephew, a charity, the government, a Church?  Who?  The harsh reality is: anybody but you or I.  So in the long run, in the eternal: CD’s, investments, bank accounts, plasma TV’s, houses, jewelry, cars, and clothes are not ours, we buy them, we use them, we “own” them, but in reality, every material object we possess is just rented, all is rented, we lease them for a few or hundred years, they are of this world and will stay in this world when we leave it.  This is important.

 

The best way to understand this truth is to put it in the “Augustinian” perspective, yes, as St. Augustine once said, “The only things we can keep are the things we give to God.”  Brilliant.  Amen.  What this means is that because of your faith in Jesus, every act of mercy, kindness, forgiveness, and love you have shown in this world has been received and accepted and recorded by the Father.  Every penny you have ever given to a stranger, a friend or family member in need, a charity, a Church, has been received and accepted by the Father.

 

Yes, my brothers and sisters in Christ, all your charity and love, done in the name of Jesus Christ, brings glory to our Father, “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”  Matthew 5:16.  All your charity and love has been given by Jesus to the Father and no one will ever take that from you, these are eternally yours, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroys and thieves break in and steal. Store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroy, nor thieves break in and steal.  Matthew 6:19-20. St. Paul saw possessions and earthly things in light of eternity, as he taught the Church in Corinth, “For what is seen is transitory and what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Cor. 4:18.

 

Acknowledging this truth allows a mathetes, those born from above, John 3:3,  to never seek the things of the world but the things of God, that which is above and not below, that which the Pharisees sought through tainted claims of righteousness, as Jesus revealed to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world.”  John 8:23.  It allows a mathetes to take nothing for granted and to give Jesus Christ the glory and praise for all they accomplish in life.  It allows a mathetes to give everyday to their Creator, and acknowledge that everyday is precious and to be used for the plan and purpose in which Jesus Christ has set forth and reveals to those who “have ears to hear,” who are “listening,” who are “prepared.”

 

That is you. Let me explain why that is you by going into greater depth about an expression of faith I have been using, you see, yesterday you woke up in the world because you sought the things of the world, but today, through the grace of God, through metanoia and receiving of the Holy Spirit, you seek the things from above, you woke up in the Father’s vineyard, your daily life is now a “walk in the Father’s vineyard.”

 

This is a vineyard you never walked in before.  How can you know, without a doubt, that you are with Jesus and in the vineyard?  In the same way the Johannine community did, “This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has give us his Spirit.”  1 John 4:13.  This is a vineyard that everyone can see and many know about but only those who have faith in Jesus Christ and receive the Holy Spirit can walk in.  You are in the Father’s vineyard because of your faith in Jesus, “I am the true vine, and my Father in the vine grower,” (it’s his vineyard!).  John 15:1. “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went down to hire laborers for his vineyard.” Matthew 20:1

 

In this parable, Jesus isn’t worried about picking grapes in the Napa valley at harvest time, no, the landowner is the Father, we are his day laborers, when we have a metanoia, the change and renewal of our minds and hearts, we repent and surrender our “selves,” to Jesus Christ, and then the Holy Spirit sends us to work in the Father’s vineyard, but always remember that without Jesus there are no jobs.  Yesterday you walked in YOUR world, in your vineyard, today you walk in his.  Everything in the vineyard belongs to the Father.

 

This truth will never be understood by the world because the world is opposed to Jesus, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first,” John 15:18 and only through faith in Jesus Christ, is his Word, is this truth revealed.  This is a big deal.  This is the change of mind, heart, and life that is brought about by your metanoia, the authentic surrender of yourself, your life, to Jesus Christ.  What will “waking up in the Father’s vineyard” mean for your life personally?  Here is the “good news.”   It is based on the Word of God, “A lamp to my feet is your Word, a light to my path.”  Psalm 119:105

 

What the Psalmist means is this: today, you will hear conversations differently, today, you will treat people, all people, including those you love and once despised differently.  Today, you will deal with stressful situations, problems, things that annoy and anger you differently.  Today you will be aware of the needs and lives of others, in a totally new and amazing way.  Why?  Why all these changes?

 

Because your repentance was real, of the heart and not of the lips and there is “evidence” of a true repentance through your good works which, the works which John the Baptist called the Pharisees too, “Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance,”  Matthew 3:8, and St. Paul’s powerful words to King Agrippa, “I preached the need to repent and turn to God, and to works giving evidence of  repentance.”  Acts 26:20   Because today, like no other day before, with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, you have the word “servant” on your heart, you have a new understanding of the Word, of your Church, of Sacraments, of prayer, and a power and authority over temptation and sin that you did not have yesterday.  Believe this, receive this, this is the power of your faith in Jesus Christ.

 

Through faith in Jesus Christ, you are bestowed a divine, a heavenly, a supernatural power from Jesus, from his Blood, his sacrifice, his love, his Spirit, receive this.  Because of this divine power which now dwells within you, today, you can say “NO” to spirits and thoughts and inclinations that you could not have said “NO” to yesterday.  This is big.  This is important.  Anything that we could not say “No” to, things in our past that we tried to overcome but just could not, the things we treated as gods, we were literally slaves to: drugs, violence, jealousy, spite, anger turned to hatred, alcohol, revenge, and prejudice, just as the Word of God reveals, “For a person is a slave of whatever overcomes him.”  2 Peter 2:19.

 

It also means something else that is big, something important: today you “hear and see,” differently, because today, you are keenly aware that not everyone has said yes to being saved through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and you want them to receive Jesus into their lives and you are willing to do anything to make that happen.  “Hearing and seeing,” also means that for the first time ever you are willing to use your talent, time, and finances to alleviate the suffering of others in any way Jesus calls you to.

 

You have always been aware that others are in need but up until today your response has been, as mine too often was, “Whatever, let someone else help them,” or “Hey they brought this upon themselves,” or “It’s not my problem.”  Not today, today you live with a new Spirit and a new heart, yes today the prophecy of Ezekiel, through faith in the Blood and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is fulfilled in your person, “I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodied your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my Spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees. Ezekiel 36: 26-27.

 

In the Father’s vineyard we are aware that there will be times of stress, tornadoes, disappointment, illness, family issues, tsunamis and earthquakes, but now we will deal with them in the power of the Holy Spirit as opposed to with the power of the evil spirit.  In the Father’s vineyard we acknowledge that instead of approaching Jesus only in times of fear and suffering, we now approach him daily with joy, thanks, praise, and peace: this is different!

 

Give Jesus the glory for this miracle in your lives right now, yes, say these words with me, “Thank you Jesus for taking my heart of stone, a stone the size of Mount Rushmore, and replacing it with your heart of mercy and love.  Jesus bless me by casting my old heart into the Pacific Ocean, far from me, never to be seen or heard from again.  Thank you Jesus for all the ridicule, sorrow, and suffering that you endured from your enemies and on the cross, to make our Father’s plan come true in my life.  Thank you Jesus, for the new Spirit you sent after your resurrection, the Holy Spirit that now dwells in me, thank you.”  Amen to the Blood of the Father’s Lamb, Jesus Christ.

 

Now bothers and sister, here comes the power of the Word that is for you, the power of the Word that helps us as mathetes walk in the Father’s vineyard, yes, this is the Word of God that is being sent directly to your heart by the Holy Spirit, to convict you of the truth that you are loved by Jesus, to convince you that Jesus has a plan and a purpose for you and that plan is fulfilled in our obedience to his Word, receive and reflect on this Word because what Jesus Christ gave his Apostles, he now gives to you, “He summoned the Twelve and gave them power (dynamis) and authority (exousia) over ALL demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”  Luke 9:1-2.  Amen to the Blood of the Father’s Lamb, Jesus Christ.

 

Please put these two Greek words into your Christian vocabulary so that when you go to work and your colleagues and friends begin to ask, “Why are you smiling so much these days?” “Why are you so happy?” “Why are you so fired up?” “Why were you so nice to that guy, you know he despises you?”  You simply say, “I got the dynamis brother,” “I got the exousia flowing in my spirit, it’s all about Jesus.”

 

But the most important place that I want you to put these two new words is in your heart, and as you walk in the Father’s vineyard, know absolutely, without a doubt, guaranteed by the Blood, Resurrection, and sending of the Holy Spirit, the power and authority of Jesus Christ is within you, yes, the words which Jesus spoke to his Apostles are eternal, they are yours now in the same way they were received and active within the Apostles 2,000 years ago.

 

So walking in the Father’s vineyard means that there is a power, an authority, bestowed upon you by Jesus Christ, through the sending of the Holy Spirit, a power and authority that is active within you in a way that was not present and active within you before metanoia. That is big.  That is important.  That is something that should cause you to rejoice and experiment. Yes, today the Spirit is alive and active within you: encouraging, sanctifying, purposed, revealing, guiding, fighting for and protecting you.

 

Yes, through an authentic repentance and surrender of the self, through this new, intimate, and personal relationship with him, Jesus Christ has filled the hole in your heart. Our hearts were once filled with the wrong things, the things of the world, the flesh, darkness, and in reality they were empty because anger, addiction, revenge, spite, a sense of always being disrespected, fear, greed, pride and lust, reveal their emptiness by always encouraging us to seek more, knowing that we can never be satisfied by the world.

 

Jesus has replaced that emptiness with himself, manifested through his Spirit and the bestowal of a spiritual power and authority over the demons and selfishness that have controlled you in the past.  Now Jesus wants to build a new foundation, he wants to daily strengthen you with the gifts of love, joy, peace, humility, kindness, and self-control.  It is of extreme importance that you acknowledge, accept, and follow this spiritual power and authority that Jesus literally died to gift you.   So “Walking in the Father’s vineyard,” is a completely new way of life which allows us to see the world as God sees it and not the way the enemy attempts to control and conditioned our minds and hearts to see it.

 

To get a better understanding of this “Walk,” reflect on the words of the Apostle, “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, and what is good and pleasing and perfect.”  Romans 12:2.  Before I came to know the person of Jesus Christ, there was no way to know the will of God.  Discerning God’s will was not something I ever cared to do.  Pleasing God is hard to do if all we do is please ourselves.  How was it for you?

 

Finding out what is pleasing and perfect to him, is not the normal thought pattern for those who do not seek God, no one will follow the Word’s command unless their minds and hearts are conformed to the Word, and conforming ourselves to the Word only takes place when our minds and hearts have been transformed by the love of Jesus Christ.  Today, because the Spirit is alive and active within you, just as God and your Catholic Church has planned and prayed for, you will see everything, including your faith in a new magnificent Light.

 

Daily distractions and temptations that once made you crazy and caused you to lash out, seek revenge, condemn, or slander someone, are now in your control because your metanoia has activated and bestowed the power and authority of the Holy Spirit within you.  Yes, today you are able to respond to the world in a biblical, apostolic, mathetes way, like St. Paul did, “When ridiculed, we BLESS, when persecuted, we ENDURE, when slandered, we RESPOND GENTLY.”  1 Corinthians 4:12-13.

 

If your past was like mine instead of blessing, enduring, and responding gently to ridiculed, persecution, or slander, I would respond in kind,  “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” meaning I responded to ridicule with ridicule, persecution with persecution, and slander with slander?  Not today, today when you go to work and the same co-worker who always says, “Hey Catholic boy, how many saints did you worship on Sunday?” Instead of your usual response of “satan speaks again,” you say, “can we sit down at lunch with the bible and I will show you how wrong and offensive your words are and that the by saying these things you serve the wrong spirit because the Catholic Church teaches and has always taught that only God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are to be worshipped?”

 

This will be a life transforming experience for both of you.  The Spirit has just made a breakthrough in hate, revenge, and slander and seeks to mend the division amongst us as Christians.  This transformation, this walk in the Spirit, allows you to be focused on your work and the things of God and not on how to plan the best way to avenge his ridicule and slander.   Know this also, one of the subtle but effective tactics of the enemy is to divide Christians along lines of doctrine, yes, the enemy attempts to have us misunderstand and judged each others doctrines, so we will stay divided and weak instead of united and strong.

 

Please be aware of this, and whenever you see division taking place at work, in the family, the ministry, the Church, know that the wrong spirit is present, the enemy is attempting to divide by spreading his gifts: lies, pride, slander, and revenge.  Rebuke these attempts with prayer, Word, Eucharist, forgiveness, and love.  Another aspect of our “Walk in the vineyard” that I want you to be aware of is that all the things that were really important to you and controlled so many of your thoughts and emotions and took so much of your time are now in a “hierarchy of importance.”

 

The hierarchy begins like this: faith and fidelity to Jesus Christ, his gospel and Church.  There can be nothing in your life above Jesus, nothing, Jesus first Jesus always.  Some may say, “Not even my wife and children?”  Trust me, when you put Jesus first in your life, your spouse and children will be happier than ever before, your faith in Jesus will help transform them.  Your ability to communicate, forgive, understand, and encourage them, will all be enhanced when Jesus is first in your life.

 

Another salient point to be aware of as we walk in our Father’s vineyard with the power and authority of Jesus, is that Jesus sent his disciples and now you, with HIS power and authority not their own. Because of their faith in Jesus, the Apostles had the power and authority to cast out and destroy the enemy, the evil spirits of hate, greed, fear, revenge, addiction and violence, to heal God’s family physically and spiritually, and they did all these things.

 

Never be arrogant enough to think that this is coming from you, that this power and authority is you working through you, the enemy wants to destroy your power and authority, and one quick way to do that is through the enemy’s gift of pride/arrogance.   All mathetes always give Jesus the praise and glory for the victories and power that he manifests through them.  If you try to exalt yourself, the enemy will use your personal exaltation against God’s plan and purpose for you, this is a disaster, be aware of this tactic of the enemy against those whom Jesus’ power is being manifested through, as the Word reveals, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Luke 14:11.

 

What else do we need to know about this walking the Father’s vineyard?  Know that this is the path to eternal life.  Jesus’ victory over the enemy is final and you share in this victory, yes, Jesus is coming again, and when he comes back, he is not coming to fight another battle, the battle was won on the cross, proved by his resurrection and sending of the Holy Spirit.

 

Jesus’ second coming, also called the parousia, will be in GLORY, and those who love and serve him will rejoice abundantly because they will share in his glory, as St. Paul reveals to the Romans, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared to the glory to be revealed to us.”  Romans 8:18. “For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an and eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”            2 Cor. 4:17.  Some of the early Christians believed that the parousia was coming in their lifetime, St. Paul taught about Jesus’ second coming to the Christians in Thessalonica and ended his teaching with, “Thus we shall always be with the Lord.”  1 Thess. 4:17.

 

As we learned last week, we should never go into a spiritual battle without this victory over satan and sin that Jesus has won through his Blood and resurrection, if we do, as already made clear, we will fail, every time.  We can liken our spiritual battles with whatever is trying to bind, attack, and attach itself to our souls and spirit, to the World War II battles when for example the Polish army tried to withstand the German blitzkrieg.  It was horses against tanks, muzzles against machine guns, canons against artillery. The outcome was written, slaughter and defeat were inevitable, the more powerful army won.

 

We apply this to our own lives by reflecting on our personal weaknesses and failures, the sins that once controlled our thoughts and time, our souls and spirit.  To see how the Holy Spirit gives us a victory over that which has consumed and controlled us, answer these questions: how many times have you tried to stop cursing, clicking that porn site, or trash talking a co-worker and  failed?  How many times have you said “I am going to stop lying, or stealing or sleeping with my girl/boyfriend, or drinking or gambling or being violent and failed?

 

The reason we failed is because although we had really good intentions, and it is a noble goal to want to stop sinning, we were unable too because we tried to do this on our own and not in and with the power of the Holy Spirit that comes with metanoia, so we were  literally powerless to battle an invisible enemy.  We cannot defeat an enemy, a living evil spirit with human power.  Nothing of our human nature is any match for the wits and strategies that the enemy is capable of, so the obvious outcome is that we loose the battle.

 

Hello, this fool is an evil “invisible man,” and if we cannot see the enemy, how can we possibly think we can fight him?  Invisible is what the enemy remains to all those who are not empower with the Holy Spirit, through metanoia, faith in Jesus Christ.  Why will the enemy remain invisible to all those who do not know and serve Jesus Christ?  Because selfishness and sin had us trapped in a world of darkness, and darkness/sin is what satan is all about, that’s who he is, that his vineyard, that’s where he lives, that’s how he walks, that’s how he sees, and when we live a life of selfishness and sin, we walked that road with him, “And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but the people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.”  John 3:19.

 

So if darkness is our world, our vineyard, then the enemy remains invisible because we are in his kingdom, in his domain.  Not today, today, the battle and battle ground has changed, yes, today as you walk in the Father’s vineyard, satan is an intruder not an owner, and now the Holy Spirit will make this intruder, this thief, this enemy visible to you, very visible.  Today, praise be to God, you now follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ, you cannot walk in darkness, there is no darkness with Jesus, Jesus is all Light, the Light exposes the enemy and all his temptations and darkness.

 

Today, you are blessed, you are anointed with power and authority, follow Jesus and the enemy’s darkness will always be visible to you, “Jesus spoke to them again saying, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12.  Wow!! This is big!! This is about you!! Jesus is saying whoever walks in my Father’s vineyard, is in the Spirit and on the Vine, I AM the Vine, and those who remain on the Vine shall never walk in darkness but live in the Light of eternal Life.

 

Amen to the Blood of the Father’s Lamb, walk with that Lamb, walk in the Lamb’s Light, stay on the Vine and in the Vineyard, and let all darkness be exposed in your life, as we said there are NO secrets, “On the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge peoples hidden works (secrets) through Jesus Christ.”  Romans 2:16.

 

Now with all that good news about power, authority, victories, and walking in the Light, I want you to know something else, something just as important for a mathetes to understand, so they will not despair when things are not “perfect.” I am a reality guy, I like to deal in reason/Truth, like we say at the Sower, “Bring it to me real,” and this is the reality, this is the Truth, even with everything that the Blood and the Spirit bless us with, we still remain sinners.

 

You will continue to sin, not in the same selfish ways, but the walk is a process, a pilgrimage, a journey to sanctification, this is reality.  The most bless, kindest, loving, and holiest people you know are all sinners, no human being living today will ever be able to say, “I gave my life to Jesus, now I no longer sin.”  If they do, and some have, they go against the Word of God, “If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar and his word is not in us.”   1 John 1: 8-10.

 

We remain sinners.  We will always be in need of sincere confession and the sacrament of Reconciliation. Having said that, here is another reality of our walk in the vineyard with the power and authority of the Holy Spirit: the sins that once controlled and chained us, no longer do.  I remain a sinner, but the sins I commit today, differ in kind and frequency from the sins I committed before being introduced to the person of Jesus Christ, before metanoia, before the surrender of my “self” to my Lord and Savior.

 

If your friends and family cannot identify your new life in the Spirit, something is wrong. If there is no visible, knowable, palpable change from the old you to the new you, something is wrong.  Yes, if a person does not manifest a new life in the Spirit by making the fruits of the Spirit a visible habit of their heart: love, joy, peace, patience, obedience, courage, kindness, self-control and continues in a life of: hate, revenge, selfishness, etc. then their surrender to Jesus was of the lips and not of the heart, there was no metanoia, they have not received the Holy Spirit but remain in bondage to the self and the enemy.

 

Today our metanoia and power in the Holy Spirit IS VISIBILE, visible in the choices we make, visible in the forgiveness we offer.  This should be your lived experience, an experience you did not have before knowing Jesus in this personal way and receiving his Spirit. Yes, today you have the power to say, “I choose not to be a greedy, self serving, jealous person,” and change the way you love and behave.  Today you can say, “I forgive you,” and mean it. Today you can know when someone walks in the wrong vineyard and is trying to deceive, con, or take advantage of you.  This is a beautiful day.

 

Other graces of the Holy Spirit are: for the first time in your life you can walk into work and not be afraid to let your co-workers know that you are a Christian.  For the first time in your life you can say, “Alcohol no longer dominates and controls my life.” “Cocaine, speed, pills, no longer dictate my plans and schedule.”  For the first time in your life you have the authority to say to that spirit of revenge that seeks to make you a person of slander and hate, “In the name of Jesus Christ be bound and cast into the wasteland of your origins.”  This is power, spiritual power.  This is authority, spiritual authority.

 

This is dynamis, this is exousia. It is not your power, it is not your authority, this only comes from Jesus Christ “All power in heaven and earth has been given to me.”  Mt. 28: 18.    This is given to the family Jesus chooses to share this with.  Yes, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit upon all those who believe in his Blood and Resurrection, those who repent and believe that Jesus has died for their sins and is preparing an eternal home for them in his Father.  Those who make the Word of God active in their lives through works of love.

 

That is you.  Today, acknowledge and be obedient to this Word, do what the Apostles did once Jesus bestowed these gifts upon them, “They set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.”  Luke 9:6.  Notice they immediately went forth proclaiming God’s Word.  Notice they were successful. Notice that their power was not contained to a person, a spirit, and area, no, their power was successful EVERYWHERE.  Amen to the Blood of the Father’s Lamb, Jesus Christ.

 

Today, my brothers and sisters in Christ, allow the power of the Holy Spirit within you to be made manifest to the world, let your power and authority be visible to the world. When you show up to work and everybody is expecting Ms. Angry, let them all be surprised that you’re smiling and pleasant to be around, and evangelize them, tell them about your metanoia and new way of life. When you’re at del taco, Stater brothers, the gym, picking up the kids at school, be bold and allow the Holy Spirit to change others lives through your testimony, speak up.

 

Look for people to rescue from homelessness, fear, jealousy, gangs, false gods of possessions, anger, and violence.  I know this truth personally and through the lives of countless Sowers and Christians, that in the name of Jesus you have the dynamis and exousia to cast out spirits of fear, spite, revenge, and hate, and today Jesus sends you to look for opportunities to put Jesus’ victory over satan into action.  Yesterday you were hesitant to say you are a Christian, today you’re not.  Yesterday you were hesitant to let the name Jesus Christ be a part of your normal conversation, today you’re not.  Be bold.  Be proud.  Be prophetic.  Be amazing.

 

Let your metanoia, your renewed mind and heart, and spiritual gifts, be visible to all those you meet. Begin to build a new foundation.  Let the supernatural love from heaven, present in the power of the Holy Spirit, confirm to you that Jesus has a plan for you, that today you are walking in a new vineyard, the Father’s vineyard, and his purpose is being fulfilled and revealed within you.  Know that your testimony is one of the most powerful gifts you have and Jesus will now use you and your testimony in the dynamis and exousia of the Holy Spirit to find others that are living the life you once lived.  Amen to the Blood of the Father’s Lamb, Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Exercises

 

  1. Read Acts of the Apostle 2, 29-41.  The power of Pentecost in alive and active within you, identify some new ways the world is now different to you.
  2. What were some of the characteristics of the old vineyard you once walked in?
  3. What is the most profound change in life brought by your metanoia and receiving of the Holy Spirit?
  4. What are some of the tactics the enemy is using to try to get you back to his vineyard?
  5. Share your testimony with a friend, family member, or stranger.
  6. Tonight and every evening before going to sleep, remember that you have a finite number of heartbeats, tonight Jesus may call you to himself.  Examine your conscience and say thank you Jesus for all the blessings and I am sorry for any failures.

 

 

 

 

Closing Prayer

 

Jesus, I love you.  You know I love you because you read my heart, and today my heart fulfills the prophesy of Ezekiel, “I will give you a new heart and place a new Spirit within you.”

 

Thank you Jesus, thank you for cleansing my heart through your Blood and Church.  Thank you for offering me life eternal in your resurrection and sending of the Holy Spirit.

 

Thank you Jesus for freeing me from my self, filled with lust and pride and addiction, thank you for being patient with me and not casting me out into the wilderness.

 

Jesus, here is where talking to you in this way gets a little difficult for me, Jesus, I know you have called me, I know you are sending  me, but my heart is so new, my metanoia so fresh, that I cannot as yet read your signs, I’m listening for your voice but I’m not really sure that it’s you speaking to me.

 

Jesus, send me in a way that speaks directly to my new heart, speak to me in a way in which even a neophyte like me can know who and where to go too and that I am being sent by the right Spirit.

 

Yes Jesus you know my heart, you know that I am all in, that I want to help in anyway I can.  Jesus, send me to the homeless, the sick, the hungry, the hopeless, the betrayed, send me to a friend, a family member, a stranger, send me next door or far away.

 

Jesus, my heart yearns with a burning desire to do your will, to fulfill your plan and walk in our Father’s vineyard in the manner in which you Jesus, my Lord, my Savior have chosen.  I love you.  Amen to your Blood and Resurrection.