Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

What part of the Bible doncha understand?

smileGod had to get Balaam’s attention by making a donkey talk. You can read it in Numbers 22:28. Apparently profits were running through his mind at this point, and so he was ready to cross God.

Yeah, yeah, I know. You don’t believe in such fanciful stories. As a matter of fact, such a ridiculous story (yes, it’s hilarious!) is proof — you say — that the Bible couldn’t be true.

Well, to the stubbornest, God has resorted to some tough communication. He blinded Paul and knocked him off his donkey. He killed Pharoah’s firstborn.

I’m not trying to scare anybody here. Just remember one thing: God loves you. When He reaches out to you, it’s because of love.

It’s only a recommendation. Don’t it make tough for God to get through to you.

Original image from my friends at https://donkeywhispererfarm2010.wordpress.com/

My peace I give you

forest

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — Jesus in John 14:27 NIV.

Take action based on your dreams, not your fears

take action based on your dreams, not your fears Dream big. Fear small. Based your decisions on your vision for a better future, not on the fears of a bad future.

God doesn’t open doors. He opens seas.

God doesn't open doors. He opens seas.

*I don’t own rights to the original, and I’m not making any money on it.

Please pray for Ricardo

Richard in GuatemalaHe’s my dear brother, who, because he slipped up with drugs, believes there’s no hope. He won’t even come to church.

Ricardo is the nicest guy. God transformed him once, and he was attending service. But he gave into temptation at some point and has been bottom-dwelling for about five years now. I know God has great things for him.

On this blog, I’ve asked for finances on my gofundme account. But today, I don’t need your money. I need your prayers — for my dear son in the Lord.

I love what I do

cute girl | Guatemala

What’s there not to love about this job? (Altruism).

In the USA, I’m surrounded by people who love to make money. I don’t. I love to help people. It makes for awkward conversations, like, “What do you do for a real job?”

Ummmm. Idk. This is what I do.

Fortunately, my wife supports me 100%. Praise the Lord! I’m very sorry to say this, but it seems to make that making money is so empty.

I’m in my old stomping grounds as a I write this, Guatemala, where for 16 years I was a missionary. We planted churches and a school. Just today, I got the chance to talk heart to heart with a kid who needed help. Hopefully, he’ll make some good decisions.

Helping people makes me hum with excitement. I really don’t know why I am this way. God made me this way?

I love these kids. All of them are in a (semi?) safe place, the Door Bilingual School in Guatemala. In addition to doing government paperwork, I’ve been teaching English and Bible. I’ve been helping strategies to help improve finances for the school. I’m making preparations for a medical clinic to be realized by Lighthouse Medical Missions in September.

This is what I love.

Sinners helping sinners

sinners helping sinnersIt’s the great irony of ministry: I’m far from perfect, and yet I attempt — and sometimes succeed! — in helping other imperfect people.

As ministers of God’s grace, we should never lose sight of the fact that we, ourselves, are sinners. We are NOT the inerrant voice of God. Stay humble.

The world hurls “hypocrite!” I don’t snarl in return. Because basically it’s true. Who can say it’s not? Who is without sin to throw stones?

God’s grace is such that He reaches people with His grace THROUGH imperfect people.

Photo source.

I’m still in Guatemala

Mike Ashcraft

With the 4th grade in the school my wife and I founded almost 20 years ago.

Pushing paperwork is slow and tedious in the Third World, so I really had no idea how long it would take and rather arbitrarily bought a round-trip return flight for July 23. Now, I’m going to have to miss that flight, and there is no end in sight.

Because of government requirements for the school in Guatemala, I have to get the national identity card called DPI. To get this, I need to update my permanent residency. That is half done. But they just told me the other half will take at least a week. I’m not crying, though I do miss my wife and kids. I’m taking advantage to preach in the church and encourage the brethren.

All this means costs are rising of this trip. You can contribute by hitting my gofund.me/MikeToGuatemala.

What a difference God’s love makes!

nurturing loveI have found love in God! You can too!

Or you can try to get by without it. Good luck.

*I don’t own the rights to this pic. It’s by crazy-frankenstein. I am not making any money on it. Kudos to the artist who did this. It’s really cool. I just added words to it.

Christ brings color to your life

color to your lifeTired of drab? Jesus will take your black-and-white life of money or sin and paint something beautiful out of it. He made me a person who helps other out of self-destruction. First I was a missionary in Guatemala. Now I work in a Christian school. You can have a purpose in your life!

*Photo Credit: James M. Berry, photographer extraordinaire, and a great friend.

That sun felt like hell

photo(114)I’m sun-whipped. We went to Arches National Park to see some other-worldly geology. It was really incredible, but when the sun came out, I just wanted to hide.

Actually, I panicked. We were doing the 1-and-a-half mile walk to Delicate Arch. I never made it. In fact, I think I very nearly suffered heat stroke. Fortunately, I knew exactly what to do. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough water.

So I begged hikers for some. And my heart beat slowed. The dizziness left. Some people who don’t even know me saved my life — or at least saved me from being sent to a hospital.

Anyhow, I had some thoughts about the sun. I don’t think we’ll ever have an energy crisis. We just need to learn how to harness solar energy better. Also, I reminded myself just how much I really don’t want to go to Hell. If I can’t bear the searing sun, how much more ought I avoid Hell?

Also, I had some thoughts about water. It was foolhardiness to flout the trailhead warning: two liters of water for every hiker. We had one liter for a family of five. It was cloudy when we started, and I wasn’t going to be denied the sight of this exquisite arch. Or so I thought.

Not only was a I denied the sight, but I very nearly had to be air-lifted to a hospital. Scary stuff.

And the antidote was simple: Bring enough water.

Jesus says He’s the Water of Eternal Life. Lots of people are flouting the warning at the trailhead to bring water. Don’t do it. It’s bad.

Your best chance for peace in the world: earbuds and loneliness

peace | earbuds and loneliness


Good luck — if you wish to find peace in the world.

True peace can be found in God.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — John 14:24.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:7

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. — Isaiah 26:3

Ben Franklin’s failure is the Spirit’s success

tongues of fireUltimately Ben Franklin’s attempts to reign in his flesh failed because making lists and checking off behavior charts smacks of religion. Only the Holy Spirit can truly change a person.

We just read in our literature class fragments of Franklin’s autobiography, and Franklin discusses a sort of perpetual New Year’s Resolution scheme he had. He charts his successes and expresses frustration over his failures. While laudable, human power trying to dominate human impulse is doomed.

Instead of a list of “don’ts,” your relationship with Jesus Christ is better seen as love. I didn’t adhere to a list of prohibitions when I fell in love with Dianna. I simply WANTED to be with her and to please her.

This is what the Holy Spirit does, those tongues of fire that descended on the disciples on the Day of Pentecost. Peter, the despicable coward who denied Christ to a child, didn’t need to psyche himself up to eloquence, despite the danger of testifying publicly to the Sanhedrin. Once the Spirit came on him in power, he just flowed.

Don’t strive for less of world but for more of God.

*original image from smashingapps,com by Jayan. You’re awesome. I don’t own the rights to it, and I’m not making any money on it. Thank you.

Deflategate Christians

under inflatedUnder inflated Christians are easier to grip (for the devil).

So make sure to fully inflate with the infilling of the pneuma, the Holy Spirit, the rushing wind, the breath of God.

Holy Spirit Alzheimer’s

holy spirit alzheimers

With some friends in Guatemala. We all pass through episodes of life that would best be forgotten.

My mom had Alzheimer’s, so I don’t mean to make light of this scourge. I remember when she walked out the front door in her pajamas, and Dad drove around looking for her. He found her on a busy street.

What I mean by Holy Spirit Alzheimer’s is to forget what we must forgive, to heal the wounds in our hearts, to remember the good and forget the bad, to move on, to stay in relationship with people who have hurt us deeply. When God forgives, He forgets. Would we could do likewise.

I’m going to pray to forget hurts because remembering them converts them into hinders. They hinder me from serving Jesus fully. Holy Spirit, come and help me to forgive AND forget.

Life’s a beach, so enjoy

life's a beachChristianity is not a list of rules. It’s a wonderful relationship with your Savior. It’s freedom from sin. The Holy Spirit fills you with peace and joy. If you don’t know the good life, this year you should get to know the Good Savior.

I got this picture from Facebook or Google+. I’m not making any money on it. I don’t own the rights to it.

He’s called Comforter

comforter | Holy SpiritIt’s not by chance that the Holy Spirit is called Comforter. He comforts.

Honestly, guys need comforting too! (I googled images for comforting and they were all girls. Not one single guy helping a guy.)

When we go through anguish, when we’re frustrated, when we feel like a failure, the Holy Spirit can comfort us.

He’s like a hug, a word of affirmation, a friend who supports you no matter what.

Many find comfort in liquor. Others in wild living. Still others in money. Some disconnect from harsh realities by T.V. or internet.

Our agents of SHIELD

Holy spirit shield

Thanks to the producers of this TV series for the picture. I’m not making any money on it.

I would have been destroyed myriad times. But God has rescued me with his agents: Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and His angels. It’s shocking how hell-bent and sin-prone I honestly am. I would have left the straight and narrow path many times. But I pray that God keeps me on track.

You through faith are SHIELDED by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. — 1 Peter 1:5 NIV my caps. More often than not, it is God who shields me from harm.

When you are a Christian, you come to depend on God’s loving protection, His grace, His conviction and re-orientation. We are not fighting alone. God is with us.

Just passing by turned into a miracle


“You know we just can´t pass by without stopping in to say Hi.

It is considered the height of rudeness in Guatemala to not dutifully greet EVERYONE. No being too busy.

So Dianna went in to see Surama, and I waited. Apparently the Holy Spirit took over. She asked Surama if she had spoken in her heavenly language lately. The question provoked panic which brought repentance. Surama, who had lived years as a deadened Christian, came alive with a vibrancy with which she is still serving Jesus. She works at the school I started.

When you serve Christ 24-7, you never know when God will use you. Now God is using Surama.

Mimi’s miracles

Mimi, always so vibrant and full of life, at left, with her mother and older sister.

Mimi, always so vibrant and full of life, at left, with her mother and older sister.

Because Mimi was born with two spinal cords, her parents came from the countryside to Guatemala City for successive surgeries. First doctors saved her life. Then they helped her to walk. Eventually she gained control of her bladder. She would have been identical twins but the zygote only partially split.

Pastor Ludving leads the church and school heroically, at great personal sacrifice.

Pastor Ludving leads the church and school heroically, at great personal sacrifice.

Ludving and Nelly wound up attending my church. Ludving was about to buy some alcohol to drown sorrows when he heard the praise music and came in. He didn’t get saved. He had already accepted Jesus. The worship exhilarated and lifted him out of despair. They came to the church.

The Door Church in Guatemala City

The Door Church in Guatemala City

When he decided to do something, Ludving never did it half-way. Right decision after right decision led the couple to hosting, then pastoring, a pioneer church. When thugs chased me off, the Holy Spirit pointed to him as the man to take over.

Pastor Ludving with Mario Artiga

Pastor Ludving with Mario Artiga

To my way of thinking, Mimi should be gloriously and completely healed by now. She is not. On Thursday, she is submitting to her umpteenth surgery, this time to correct kidney failure (she has four kidneys, but only one completely developed and only one works). Urine backflow from her bladder is poisoning her one good kidney.

Faith is not always a snap-of-the-fingers miracle. Faith is grinding out the healing over the long haul. I like the instantaneous variety. But not everything is quick like a fire-cracker. Mimi’s miracles have drawn out inexorably for 16 years, her age. The battle is raging dragging on, and the faithful keep mustering faith.

Ludving and Nelly

Ludving and Nelly

It’s pointless to ask why. Blaming God like an atheist solves nothing (although I suppose he feels high and mightily justified in his bitterness). That’s not what we want. We want final and complete healing for this precious girl.

Mimi is a spunky girl. Despondency affects her parents, her sister, me — but not her. Thanks for helping us pray for her. Let me know how I can help you pray for your needs.

 

An inside job

For a change, I'm actually posting a photo I took. This is Santa Monica's beach. Sorry. I don't mean to make my friends in the Northern States and Canada jealous.

For a change, I’m actually posting a photo I took. This is Santa Monica’s beach. Sorry. I don’t mean to make my friends in the Northern states and Canada jealous.

The motorcycles caught us 5 miles away from the bank. As one of four guys banged the window with a pistol demanding our bags, I had no doubt that it was the bank teller who tipped them off. He had changed our check to cash. Because all our information was in our bags, I figured they’d come back for a kidnapping, so we had to return to America, our 16 years as missionaries in Guatemala at an end.

My 10-year-old son, Hosea, calls this the Leaning Tower of Pizza. I bought these for the Lighthouse Christian Academy's sports banquet yesterday. Go Saints!

My 10-year-old son, Hosea, calls this the Leaning Tower of Pizza. I bought these for the Lighthouse Christian Academy’s sports banquet yesterday. Go Saints!

God does an inside job too! Don’t bother to make external changes in yourself — they lead to (false) religiosity. Instead, surrender to His Holy Spirit in prayer daily, and let God transform you from the inside. Once you are saved, you are forgiven, you are new creation, but then God begins a work of perfecting you that will continue for the rest of your life. But it’s on the inside.

Pastor Ludving from Guatemala sent me this T-shirt. Translated: Everyday I wake up handsome, but today I'm off the charts. Thanks for the joke, Pastor Ludving!

Pastor Ludving from Guatemala sent me this T-shirt. Translated: Everyday I wake up handsome, but today I’m off the charts. Thanks for the joke, Pastor Ludving!

In regards to prayer, remember:

  • A little bit is better than none, but God wants to work on us daily, so pray daily.
  • A little bit more will increment value and power to prayer.
  • The best prayers are ones inspired by the Bible or simply taken from the Bible. Jesus dismisses “vain repetitions” — mumbling by rote words penned by another. But there is much to learn and apply from the experts, the Bible heroes.
  • The Big D (that’s Devil) constantly bombards you with thoughts that prayer is useless, a waste of time, meaningless, etc. He does this because he knows how effective it is.
  • As you pray for others, God also is transforming you — from the inside out.
  • Enjoy prayer! Think of it as a romantic date. You are spending time with your Lover, God.

Remote warfare

1002-DRONES-copy-cat.jpg_full_600As technology has advanced rapidly, military drones are transitioning from remotely-piloted to almost completely autonomous. The “pilot” now only programs the mission, hits the “takeoff” button and the computer-generated drone+chemical+warfareaction-sequencing does the rest. By one account, drone-launched missiles killed up to 1000 people in 2006-09, including 20 leaders of al-Qaeda. The burst of drone use is for one obvious reason: you don’t endanger American lives.

Far away from danger, the pilot wages war.

Far away from danger, the pilot wages war.

As Christians, we need no more advances in technology to practice remote warfare. The Holy Spirit never errs in His air strikes (but we are talking about giving life, not death, now). We can reach 1000s of miles instantly for healing, salvation, deliverance, finances, whatever.

dronesHave you prayed for outside of your little circle of local friends? Let’s set the range for Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia — and other nations behind the “Iron Veil.” Let’s pray for China that God would continue to stoke revival!

I guess the funny thing is kids playing video games these days are actually training for the Air Force. Praying for souls around the world is no game. We should stop “playing” Christianity and start fulfilling our call to work — at prayer.

 

Instead of cutting

imagesPain is off the charts these days. I believe the multiplication of evil prophesied by Jesus for the last days is to blame. There’s more disintegration of families, more sin abounding, so hearts are hurting everywhere from betrayal. Where love is supposed to be, rejection abounds.

English obviously correlates “cry” and “cry out” in the translation of the Bible. O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent — Psalm 22:2 NIV. Distress

from The Landy - Out and About

from The Landy – Out and About

is associated with shouting. Our desperation turns to prayer, our anguish to hope. Prayer, if anything, is pathos.

I asked God for His toughest assignment because I was cocksure of the solution: prayer. Then He allowed me a underwaterstatuestrial that blindsided me and left me staggering and confused. I had to laugh at myself: I got what I asked for, and then I didn’t know what to do.

Prayer is the outpouring of pain, a solution, not a reveling in hurt. Unlike cutting or pity-partying, it doesn’t celebrate the ouch in an upside-down way; it heals it. Turn not your anguish into alcoholism. You have a God above you who loves you and cares for you.

Easy to do the hard thing

180425528793435119_r7rcuiwL_fWhy is it so hard to do the easy thing?

Prayer is easy. But there are 57 kabillion distractions that seem more important.

The hard thing is to do your own effort. But we Americans are always gung-ho to roll up the sleeves.

I should know what I’m talking about. I spent more than a decade of missionary work majoring in my own effort. When that didn’t work too well, I “discovered” what I 222787512785962157_1az3FDYx_bknew all along: God answers prayer.

I started praying more, and the results were spectacular.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t become a couch potato Christian. I still worked: I taught, I preached, I evangelized, I visited the brethren. But I cut down somewhat the hectic schedule and dedicated a more significant portion of time to prayer. No longer was prayer perfunctory, get-thru-it-as-quickly-as-possible. It became the focal point of the day.

prayBlackladyBut you have to clear your schedule, remove distractions, and concentrate on God. That means you turn off your electric devices to be able to turn on your spiritual device! Ha!

Prayer is easy. God works for you. Yet it is hard to pick this option. It is easier for us to try to work ourselves when we want results. That’s our basic human nature. Thus prayer is hard because it’s counterintuitive. Every fiber in our being screams that we are wasting our time.

Only 15 minutes of prayer?

worldonhands

The world is in your hands. Will you pray?

My seminary emphasized God’s sovereignty. They followed it to its extreme logical conclusion: the intercession group prayed 15 minutes a week.

FIFTEEN MINUTES A WEEK??!?#&?

Their theology was good. Their practice bad. Jesus Himself spent whole nights in prayer. If the Son of the LIVING GOD needed loads of prayer, how much more ourselves?

pint15Sovereignty means nobody, nothing stops God. Everything is part of his total-control. Carried to an extreme, hyper-Calvinism rules out the need for evangelism since God already has destined for salvation those who will get saved. Never mind that Jesus told us to go and evangelize.

My seminary didn’t rule out evangelism, and they didn’t rule out prayer in theory — but they sure did in the practice. While I believe in God’s sovereignty, at the same time I believe my prayers make a difference in the war for the world. I’m constantly reproaching myself for prayerlessness.

praycircleWe should not discredit the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, but it lives in tension with calls to action in the Bible. (The atheists have a field day with this doctrine!) I’m comfortable with the uncomfortable tension. Stay calm and keep praying.

She prayed for two hours a night in his room

from pinterest

from pinterest

She showed up mysteriously and asked to be allowed to pray for him. Troubled by poor decisions and an acrimonious divorce, the youth received her warmly enough. Though it seemed strange to him, he let her pray in his room with him there. After the first session, there was another, and then another, and then another. Sometimes he cried, and he didn’t know why.

136867276145697659qfsEv50Wc

from pinterest

She was being led by the Holy Spirit. Just barely known to the family, this saint helped the youth carry a burden he didn’t know how to handle. And at the end of the prayer sessions, he was a transformed man. He no longer acted like a rebel. He became a leader for his brothers, in his school. Everyone marveled at the radical change of heart.

God changes people, and He

from pinterest

from pinterest

uses prayer warriors like this lady. They don’t follow an agenda. They have no personal ambition. They feel promptings in their heart and follow them. The uncomprehending regard them as nutcases. But psychologist, no counselor, no life coach can achieve better results.

When lions are circling…

images-5Circling, circling around their prey, the hungry lions will overpower the man in an instant. The lions’ dungeon is capital punishment in the Persian Empire.

They stride steadily, eyeing the poor Jewish eunuch. At any moment, they will leap crush the helpless man with claw and tooth. Each minute seems like an eternity. And yet each minute passes and give way to another eternity. Strangely not a lion goes for the images-7kill. They menace, gaping hungrily at him. But the entire night passes, and they don’t eat Daniel.

Early in the morning comes the king, who was tricked into throwing his favorite administrator into this hellhole, to see if God delivered him. He calls, and Daniel responds: My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in lion-closeuphis sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king. — Daniel 6:22 NIV.

Similarly, trials are circling you. At every step, they threaten to sink you. Dont panic. Don’t run away. Don’t quit ministry. You only must remember how God delivered Daniel. Though the lions COULD overpower you, they WON’T. Pray and wait for the morning.

Amazing Granada

Granada at night

Granada is the most enchanting place. The Alhambra citadel complex with vast gardens and huge medieval structures graces this Southern city in Spain. It was here that I first met Europe. It was here also that God taught me about prayer.

As a penny-pinching missionary, I never thought I

Part of the Alhambra complex

could visit the Old Continent. By preaching for Bro. Gregorio Ponce, I got housing, transportation, and tour for free. There I saw Carlos V’s palace, a circular structure with an amazing echo when you’re in the exact middle.

There I learned once again how to pray. You see, I was worried. For some reason, I feared that

Part of the Alhambra complex

while I was cavorting in Spain, my church back in Guatemala would go to pot. So I prayed like crazy. When I got back to my church, it was better than ever. Not only had it not crumbled from within, it had blossomed in my absence.

So I didn’t need to be there in person because God was there in person. His Holy Spirit was tending the sheep in my absence. All I did was pray. Prayer is amazing stuff. You can accomplish much more with prayer than you can with your own strength.

Carlos V’s palace

I cherish the memories of Granada — the beauty of the city AND the beauty of prayer.