Making Disciples

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An Important Reminder

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Melanie West
Small Group Leader

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. -John 14:26

At the age of thirteen I asked Jesus to come into my heart. He did and He lovingly let me know through His Holy Spirit. His presence was felt to me. How did I know? There have been situations where the Holy Spirit worked through me in such a way that I know, as I know, as I know that the Holy Spirit was working in and through my life.

One such event was early on. I had a long-term childhood boyfriend who professed to be agnostic. Dating was off and on since I did not want to seriously consider a lifelong relationship with a non-Christian. I was reading my Bible regularly and felt convicted to break off the relationship, but also to witness to this young adult. I prayed for the opportunity and that the Holy Spirit would allow me to be a vessel. 2 Timothy 2:21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

The opportunity did present itself. I prayed and prayed prior to getting together. While sharing my testimony the Holy Spirit spoke through me quoting scripture. The experience was surreal. The questions the young man asked were answered with scriptures chapter and verse. They were direct quotes. I was stunned and amazed with a feeling of just looking on. You see, I’ve never been able to memorize verses, never. This is just not my gifting. Unfortunately, the long-term friend did not see a need for a relationship with Jesus. We agreed amicably to go our own ways.

Running upstairs to my room, I opened my Bible and quickly recalled some of the chapters and verses that had been quoted. They were word for word what was written in the Scriptures. I sat in amazement. My prayer was one of gratefulness. I knew through this experience that the Holy Spirit had spoken through me. Those were His words, not mine. I was simply the empty vessel.

Have I always had such incredible experiences? No. But, I’ve had some. I don’t expect anyone to comprehend what took place. You see, the event was an experience and I’ve been told that you can’t explain an experience. You must experience an experience. It was just that, an extraordinary experience. I can only encourage others to ask the Holy Spirit to respond in their lives. But, for me, that night grew my faith exponentially.

The irony: this young man’s sister is the one who testified to me and helped me to receive Jesus into my heart. She is the one who impressed upon me the need for the Holy Spirit to be directing my life. She also presented Christ to my sister who is now a missionary for 27 years in Guatemala. Her son is a missionary in Africa. My girlfriend’s sister and parents were also agnostic, but accepted Christ into their lives late in life prior to their passing. My girlfriend and I still pray for her brother and his wife to find the Truth. But look at the discipleship, the spreading of the word that has taken place by simple obedience and reliance on the Holy Spirit.

Today, I’m married to a wonderful Christian man who believes Joshua 24:15b: But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Of four sisters,  are all Christian. Most of our family is also Christian. My life is full, and I am grateful. Each day I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me; to work in my life and to help me glorify the Father. Sometimes I must wait and be patient. God goes before me in ways I do not know. But what I do know, as I know, as I know is that the Holy Spirit is real.

Prayer: Lord God, please guide me daily with your Holy Spirit. Help me to rely on You. Build my faith through the scriptures. Teach me and remind me of everything you have said. Through my experiences convict me to know, as I know, as I know that you are there and working through me.

Posted by Melanie West with

Teach Us to Pray

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Olivia Ransome
Highlands High School Student

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  -Matthew 6:1-5

At a young age, I tended to believe that prayer was meant only for when we wanted to thank God for blessings or when we desired something or wanted an outcome to go a certain way, which of course is more than applicable, but my knowledge of prayer lacked the fundamental benefits that prayer encompasses. As I grew in my faith as a believer and developed a relationship with the Father, my view on prayer changed completely. Others believe prayer is meant only for a singular use, when we’re in times of trouble or when we seek worldly praise from others (vs. 5). But prayer is far from that. Prayer is a genuine gift from God, a way in which we can communicate with the Father privately and grow our relationship with him. He is our friend who we can go to in times of trouble, but also in times of happiness and joy. 

Through prayer we can also listen to what God has to say to us as well, and let him lead us through our actions. Jesus emphasizes as well in Matthew 6:5 that prayer should also reflect a certain private intimacy between us as believers and God. There is something so intimate within the walls of prayer that we should long to pray in private long before we do so in public. It is good to pray in public, but our prayers should always be genuine prayers before the Father, with intentions to please only him.

Today, let us examine our intentions behind prayer through prayer and answering various questions, as we begin to fully understand the true meanings that come along with it.

  • What does prayer mean to you?
  • When do you most often go to God in prayer? Through trials and tribulations? In joyful times? When seeking appraisal?
  • How does knowing that prayer helps grow and deepen your relationship with God change the way you think about prayer and when you pray?
  • How has prayer changed your relationship with God?

Prayer: Lord, we often come to you with wants or desires, or when seeking praise from the wrong things, but transform us through your love to seek just you and only you. Lead us to pray, with intentions of a deeper and stronger relationship with you. Give us a heart longing for more of you and to learn more about you. Let us pray to you not for our own praise, but for the utmost praise for you. Through our struggles Lord, let us cling to you for strength in prayer. Let going to you privately in prayer be our default when we are caught in times of trouble. Lord, thank you for giving us the gift of prayer, so we can flourish in the fullness of your spirit and advance our relationships with you. 

Posted by Olivia Ransome with