Using Artificial Intelligence with Spiritual Intelligence

As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.” Luke 2:35, NLT

ChatGPT, a generative artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the way we live. The viral artificial intelligence chatbots are finding its way into homes and offices all across the world. We are in the dawn of a new era of human existence. Geoffrey Hinton, the “Godfather of AI,” who created a foundation technology for AI systems, has raised concerns of the profound risks to society and humanity of generative AI. The new generation of chatbots can help anyone to create information about anything.   There is a very dangerous potential for the spread of misinformation created by AI and it would be difficult to know what is true anymore.1 

Nicholas Matthews found that humans are rapidly taking on God-like qualities in our pursuit of creating robots and artificial intelligence. He posed the following thought provoking questions:

  • How do we created humans, create, and how do we then govern this non-human life?
  • How will this new form of life (albeit artificial) interact with humans and interact with each other?
  • Should they remain bound to the service of humans, or should they have the right to exist and determine their mission?  
  • If robots are to have rights, will these rights be their right to freedom of expression and thought, and any subsequent consequence through the legal system?
  • Will they remain as robotic machines, or will they ultimately evolve to be sentient beings who have the ability to perceive, feel, and experience subjectivity?2 

These questions raised by the creation of artificial intelligence by human beings who are made in the image of God filled me with a sense of wonder of the wisdom, power and love of God. If we are not to be deceived and enslaved by artificial intelligence, we need to cultivate our spiritual intelligence (SI)  in order to gain a heart of wisdom. 

A godlike but ungodly and godless creature is doomed for destruction as it will be a vehicle for much evil and suffering. Human beings have the freedom to choose between the love of power and the power of love. God has given us the bible to seek and to develop spiritual intelligence. The stories of Adam and Eve, the Flood and the Tower of Babel in Genesis Chapters 3, Chapters 7 to 8 and Chapter 11 depict the reality and problems of evil and our need for God’s redemptive love. The bible is the sacred record of the truth that love will always be victorious over evil.

When Adam and Eve were tempted by the love of power to seek knowledge, they became more self conscious and hid from God. As a result, they lost their spiritual intelligence. Spiritual intelligence is growing in God’s consciousness and dying to our self consciousness. Jesus came to teach us how to be filled with God’s consciousness and to emptied of self consciousness:

Although he was in the form of God and equal with God, 
He did not take advantage of this equality.
Instead, He emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant,
by becoming like other humans,
by having a human appearance.
He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
death on a cross.”3 

Jesus came to restore our spiritual intelligence so that we can live the abundant life as the children of God. Artificial intelligence can help us to be successful in the world but we need spiritual intelligence to face death and to find meaning in life, especially in times of suffering. 

During the circumcision of Jesus when he was eight days old, the Holy Spirit led Simeon, a righteous and devout man in Jerusalem to the Temple.  Simeon was waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. He was given the assurance by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. When he saw Jesus, he praised God for showing him that Jesus is the light to reveal God to the nations and he prophesied to Mary:

This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”4 

Without an awareness of our deepest thoughts, we are oblivious to our need for spiritual intelligence. Without spiritual intelligence, we cannot know what God wants us to do with our lives. We will be driven by pride, lust and greed to use artificial intelligence to satisfy our sinful desires. To have spiritual intelligence, we need to be devoted to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.5

The story of Anna, a widow for 84 years after just 7 years of marriage, who spent time fasting and praying6, is an inspiration for the elderly to cultivate the habit of prayer and to be witnesses of God’s salvation. The challenge is for the elderly to be the shining beacons of spiritual intelligence – to encourage the young to be less attached to the things of this world and to be more dependent on God. 

Artificial intelligence without spiritual intelligence will lead to the end of the world. The elderly can be the voices crying out in the wilderness to keep a world from going mad with lust, greed, and pride. The elderly can be role models to encourage us to draw closer to God’s loving embrace through suffering. They are also in the best time of life to face and befriend death. Old age is a time to live out the truth that prayer is the vital breath of our souls:

“Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath,

the Christian’s native air,

his watchword at the gates of death:

he enters heaven with prayer.”6



1  CNA 2nd May 2023
2  Nicholas Matthews, Being Flawesome, pg 53
3  Phil 2:6-8 GW
4  Luke 2:29-35, NLT
5  Colossians 4:2, NLT
6  Luke 2:36-38, NLT
7  Prayer Is The Soul’s Sincere Desire, James Montgomery

The Wilderness Of Silence

“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79, NLT

When I lost my voice and an ulcer was found in one of my vocal cords during the season of Advent in 2019, I was ordered not to speak for 2 weeks. I decided to use the time to revisit the discipline of silence through centering prayer. I had attended silent retreats for many years but had not incorporated the discipline of contemplative prayer in my daily life. Losing my voice was one of the defining moments in my life. It was the beginning of a journey to be a voice in the wilderness, like John the Baptist, to prepare the way into the kingdom of heaven. 

Before John the Baptist was born, his father Zechariah, was struck dumb for the duration of the pregnancy of his wife, Elizabeth. It was a time in the wilderness for Zechariah as he found himself isolated and unable to speak about his encounter with the angel Gabriel. It was a time for Zechariah to reflect on what God will be doing through his son, John the Baptist. And when John the Baptist was born, Zechariah regained his voice to praise God for sending a mighty Saviour as He had promised through his prophets. He shared what the angel Gabriel had told him about his son, John:

And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. You will tell his people how to find salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”1

After his birth, John the Baptist lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel – calling the people to repentance and to turn to God.2 The wilderness was also a place where Jesus was led into by the Holy Spirit after His baptism. It was a place where Jesus was with wild beasts and was tempted by Satan. It was a place where angels ministered to Him.3  The wilderness was a time when the Jews had to wander for 40 years before they entered the Promised Land.4 

There is also a wilderness that is deep within us – the space deep within our unconscious where our hurts, fears, doubts, resentment, and guilt are buried. We need to journey through the wilderness of our souls to enter the kingdom of heaven that lies much deeper in our hearts. The wilderness experience of the Jews was to prepare them to take possession of the Promised Land. In the wilderness, they were led by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. God provided them with bread from heaven and water from the rock.5 It was a time when they experienced the wonder of God’s loving provisions and protection.

Fear kept the Jews from entering the Promised Land and they had to wander for 40 years in the wilderness. The Exodus story of the Jews is to teach us that there are no shortcuts to the kingdom of heaven – we need to face our fears and replace them with faith in God’s steadfast love. We have the choice to be imprisoned by our fears or to seek our freedom through faith in what Jesus has done for us on the cross. 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is about being alive in Christ and falling deeper and deeper in love with God. A simple way to do so, but one that needs much discipline is the practice of silence. Silence is not just getting out of a noisy world. It is seeking to be alone with God. We have much to learn from the teachings of the desert fathers and mothers – the ordinary Christians in the 3rd century who chose to renounce the world in order to intentionally follow God’s call to live in solitude in the deserts of Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Arabia. Henri Nouwen found that it is in silence that the Holy Spirit pray in us and fill us with the creative energy of God’s love:

“It is in this silence that the Spirit of God can pray in us and continue his creative work in us. . . . Without silence the Spirit will die in us and the creative energy of our life will float away and leave us alone, cold, and tired. Without silence we will lose our center and become the victim of the many who constantly demand our attention.”6 

The wilderness of silence is the time and space to die to self so that I can be alive to God. The wilderness is a time of preparation to open the eyes of my heart to see the burning bushes of God in creation, to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in my interactions with others and to be the hands of Christ to those in need. It is through the practice of silence that we can be devoted in prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.7

Instead of fearing silence, we can invite the Holy Spirit to be with us in the wilderness of silence. It is in the wilderness of silence, with the Holy Spirit, that we can face our wild thoughts without being discouraged, our inner demons without being deceived, and our angels without being distracted. It is not the practice of silence that is important. Silence is the expression of my intention to wait on God. Before I can be God’s voice in the wilderness, I need to be like Zechariah to spend time in silence and to pray:

“Open my mouth and let me bear
gladly the warm truth ev’rywhere.
Open my heart and let me prepare
love with thy children thus to share.

Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my mouth, illumine me,
Spirit divine!”7



  1. Luke 1:76-79, NLT
  2. Mark 1:4-8, NLT
  3. Mark 1:9-13, NLT
  4. Numbers 14:26-35,NLT
  5. Nehemiah 9:12-15, NLT
  6. Henri Nouwen Society – Nouwen Meditation: The Spirit of God Prays in Us, 2nd May 2023
  7. Colossians 4:2, NLT
  8. Open My Eyes That I May See, Clara H. Scott

Spooky Encounters In The Unseen World

So I was left there all alone to see this amazing vision. My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak.” Daniel 10:8, NLT

Modern technology has made virtual worlds nearly as real as the physical world. We are spending more and more time in virtual space and less and less time in physical relationships. At the same time we are becoming increasingly disconnected from the wonder and beauty of God’s amazing creation. The strongholds of  human philosophies, rebellious thoughts, fake news, and idolatrous beliefs are keeping people from knowing God.1 There is a spiritual war raging in our thought life that we are not aware of. We are blind and deaf to the spiritual reality of our identity as a child of God. We have been distracted from our amazing destiny and deceived about our wonderful final destination.

The spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting in the season of Lent are not practices for perfection but practices of preparation to fully comprehend the unbelievable truth of Easter –  Jesus died and rose from the dead to reconnect us with God, to invite us to rest in the love of Christ and for the Holy Spirit to renew our minds. We need to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit through prayer so that we can be dead to sin and be in tune with the perfect will of God. Prayer is our mysterious communication channel with the unseen spiritual world.

In quantum physics, it was found that if a particle is observed in one place, another particle – even one light-years away, will instantly change its properties, as if the two are connected by a mysterious communication channel. Scientists have observed this phenomenon in tiny objects such as atoms and electrons. This phenomenon of quantum entanglement – the ability of separated objects to share a condition or state – was described by Albert Einstein as “spooky action at a distance.”2

Prayer is our spiritual wifi for “spooky encounters in the unseen spiritual world.” Daniel prayed and fasted as he struggled to understand the times of war and great hardship in the vision he had received in the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia.3 Daniel led a blameless life – he did what was right and spoke the truth from a sincere heart4 to King Nebuchadnezzar and King Belshazzar.5 Daniel was steadfast as he persevered in his prayers. After three weeks of fasting and praying, he found himself in the presence of God. He had a vision that was very similar to the experience of the apostle John on the island of Patmos.6  He met the archangel Gabriel who gave him an account of the spiritual battles that Gabriel and the archangel Michael were fighting.7

Daniel’s prophetic visions are a revelation of the reality of spiritual warfare. Many are tempted to use them to speculate or predict the scenarios for the end of the world. Prophetic visions are revelations of spiritual realities. They affirm the sovereignty of God and reminds us that God alone holds the future. We need to see world events from God’s perspective. The “spooky spiritual encounters” of Daniel encouraged and strengthened him – he was reassured that he was precious to God.  Like Daniel we need to  persevere in prayer – not for personal blessings but to understand the perfect will of God.  

The prophetic visions of Daniel are to open our eyes to the reality of the heavenly realm in our daily lives. Eternal life does not begin after we die, it begins right now when we are in touch with God everyday through prayer. God doesn’t listen to sinners but is ready to hear those who worship Him and do His will.8 We pray to see things from God’s perspective, to grow in faith and to live as a beloved child of God with renewed minds and transformed lives. We pray to live in the kingdom of God and to share Christ with our lives so that others may be touched by the love of God and have a taste of eternal life.

In prayer, the bible becomes the channel of God’s revelations to help us understand the meaning of life, the root cause of suffering and the reality of eternal life. In Christ, we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual disciplines are spiritual exercises to invite the Holy Spirit to renew our minds and to fill our hearts with the fire of love. Without prayer, our souls are dead – for prayer is the vital breath of the soul.9 

Prayer is not a ritual to use God as our spiritual ATM to fulfill our wants. Prayer is a living, transactional relationship with the Holy Trinity – to be in peace with God as our Heavenly Father through faith in the Risen Christ and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Prayer is the simple act of listening to the Holy Spirit through the mystery of silence. The path of silence was Mother Teresa’s simple path:

                The fruit of silence is PRAYER.

                The fruit of prayer is  FAITH.

                The fruit of faith is LOVE.

                The fruit of love is SERVICE.

                The fruit of service is PEACE.10

Silence is a gift that we receive through the practice of the discipline of solitude. In silence, we surrender our wills by being a living sacrifice – we wait to be like the clay that is being molded by the Potter. We wait for the Holy Spirit to fill the love tank in our hearts. As we meditate on God’s Word through silence, we are convicted of our anger and unforgiveness that grieve the Spirit and our pride and envy that quench the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will then lead us to spooky encounters in the unseen world. At times we may be led to taste hell on earth so that we will hunger and thirst for righteousness and be filled with a desire for the love of God with an undivided heart:

“Holy Spirit, Love Divine, glow within this heart of mine;
Kindle every high desire; perish self in thy pure fire.”11



  1. 2 Cor 10:4-5, MSG
  2. Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance” spotted in objects almost big enough to see.
  3. Daniel 10:1, NLT
  4. Psalms 15:2, NLT
  5. Daniel Chapters 1,2,4, 5, NLT
  6. Daniel 10:5-6; Revelation 1:13-16, NLT
  7. Daniel 10:12-11:1, NLT
  8. John 9:31, NLT
  9. Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, James Montgomery
  10. A Simple Path, Mother Teresa
  11. Holy Spirit, Truth Divine, Samuel Longfellow

Condemned Sinner or Convicted Saint

The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God.” Daniel 9:23, NLT

What we think, what we feel and what we do are determined by our beliefs about our identity, our purpose in life and our image of God. Psychologists have found that how we think about our talents and abilities can dramatically influenced success in almost every area of human endeavor. People with a growth mindset – those who believe that abilities can be developed are more likely to succeed in life than those who have a fixed mindset that abilities are fixed.1 Spiritually, a fixed mindset is a “sin” mindset that leads us to struggle through life as a condemned sinner. We need a “grace” mindset to grow spiritually and live the abundant life that Jesus came to give us.2 To become transformed from being flawed sinners into what Nicholas Matthews described as “flawesome” saints.

Jesus Christ came to change our mindset so that we will no longer live as a condemned sinner trying to appease an angry God but to live as a beloved child of God, shining the bright light of God’s agape love in a world full of crooked and perverse people.3 God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world.4 We are created in the image of God5 but we are born into a sinful world where we are programmed to be condemned sinners. We need to be convicted of our need for deliverance from slavery to sin before we will seek God’s gift of salvation:

“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.” 6

We need a reprogramming of our minds so that God can transform us into a new person by changing the way we think.7 The greatest gem of truth in Daniel Chapter 9 is that we are precious in God’s sight. The vision of Daniel also predicted the coming of Jesus Christ.8  Christ’s Kingdom has come and God’s Will is being done. We have a choice to live in fear of God’s wrath as a condemned sinner or with His love in joy and peace as a convicted saint. As a convicted saint, we are on a journey of transformation from perfectly imperfect sinners to imperfectly perfect saints in our life here on earth.

St Augustine wrote that “the very perfection of a man is to find out his own imperfections.” Nicholas Matthews perceptively described perfection as the attitude and knowledge of being perfected through the completed work of Jesus in our lives. Perfection is not an ideal to aim for, not an achievement to pursue nor is it a destination:

“Perfection is the confidence in knowing our identities are based on God’s perfection and not on human behavior. It’s the position of our hearts and the motivation of our minds aligned to the character of God.9” 

The journey of perfection begins with stepping out in faith into the unknown future with a growing confidence in God’s faithful love  – to discover God’s promises of peace and power in the midst of the storms of life. It is to have faith in God’s faithfulness – in what God can do and not what I can do. God is the Potter. I am only the clay which the Teacher of Righteousness in the Essene community described as the sorry state of our human nature:

“I am a vessel of clay and kneaded with water, a foundation of shame and a spring of filth, a melting pot of iniquity and a structure of sin, a spirit of error, perverted without understanding and terrified by righteous judgments ((1QH 9:23-25).10

The visions of Daniel remind us of the omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence of God – that God is with us, God knows everything, and God is in control. Faith is not wishful thinking or blind optimism but having the confidence and assurance in the character, nature and faithfulness of God’s agape love. Faith is not blind but seeing the invisible hand of God. The future may look bleak and uncertain but we have hope because God is our Heavenly Father, Jesus is our Shepherd of Love and the Holy Spirit is our Helper. It is the Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to see the bible as the story of God’s amazing love. To quote Larry Crabb:

“The bible is a love story that begins with a divorce. Everything from the third chapter of Genesis through the end of Revelation is the story of a betrayed lover wooing us back into His arms so we can enjoy the love of family forever.11

As I draw near to God in prayer, I will be tempted by lust, greed and gluttony to seek glory for myself instead of glorifying God – to seek the love of power instead of the power of love. I will be discouraged and drawn into spiritual depression through spiritual dryness, disappointments and distractions. I need to persevere in prayer to declare my total dependence on God, bring my doubts to Christ and ask the Holy Spirit to fill me with holy desires.

To be a disciple of Jesus is not striving to be a successful Christian but to grow up as a faithful child of God.  Jesus Christ is our spiritual I.D. – our Identity and Destiny. The cross of Christ secures my identity as a child of God. Our destiny is to have a vision of the kingdom of God, to seek God’s will as my mission in life, and to be empowered to advance God’s kingdom by the Providence, Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit. In Christ, we are convicted saints and not condemned sinners, we are victors and not victims for we are on the journey of transformation from flawed sinners into flawesome saints:

“In Christ alone, I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the Cross
In every victory, let it be said of me
My source of strength, my source of hope is Christ alone12



  1. Mindset – Carol D
  2.  John 10:10, NKJV
  3. Philippians 2:15, NLT
  4. John 3:17, NKJV 
  5. Genesis 1:26, MSG
  6. Romans 7:18-20, NLT
  7. Romans 12:2, NLT
  8. Daniel 9:23-27, NLT
  9.  Nicholas Matthews, Being Flawesome, pg 17
  10. John Bersma, Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, pg 217) ( Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, 217)
  11. Quote in Nicholas Matthews, Being Flawesome, pg 55
  12.  In Christ Alone I Put My Trust, Brian Littrell

Heaven On Earth

His rule is eternal – it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.” Daniel 7:14, NLT

All the chaos and suffering in the world are to open our eyes to the stark truth that we are living in hell on earth. We are all infected by the virus of sin and live in guilt and in fear of death. We do not have love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, humility and self control because we are driven by lust, guilt, fear, anger, greed, envy, apathy, pride and gluttony. We are living under the judgment of God:

So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” 1

The good news is that Jesus Christ came to inaugurate the kingdom of heaven here on earth. The birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a huge, shining and frightening statue of a man and Daniel’s own dream of the four beasts. Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered – this was the meaning of the rock cut from the mountain, not by human hands, that crushed to pieces the statue of iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. God was showing the king what would be happening in the future.2

In his dream during the first year of King Belshazzar, Daniel had visions of the Ancient of Days sitting on a throne of fiery flames and someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He was given authority, honor and sovereignty over all the nations of the world. People of every race and nation and language would obey him and his rule is eternal. His kingdom will never end and will never be destroyed.3 

The stories in the Old Testament are the testimonies of people of faith who died without receiving what God had promised them but they saw heaven from a distance and lived as strangers with no permanent home on earth. And God has prepared a city for them.4  We are not homesick for heaven when we are so comfortable in hell on earth and have misconceptions about the truths of heaven. There is a war in our mind that must first be won before the fire of love in our heart can be kindled. We are in heaven when we walk in the Lord’s presence as we live here on earth.5 

In prayer we seek  the Presence of God to open our eyes to the awe (a wonderful experience) of God. It is the fearless listening and total obedience to the perfect will of our Heavenly Father that leads us into the kingdom of heaven. It is not trying to see inner spiritual things with our mind but to see the truth that the things of this world are only temporary. Ideas about God blinds us to the mysteries and wonders of heaven.

As a human being seeking spiritual experiences, we are like a caterpillar trying to find heaven. We need to be reborn again to be a child of God living in the kingdom of heaven – to become like a butterfly carrying the pollen of God’s love in a dark and loveless world. There are two ways to see and live our life here on earth – to be tempted by Satan to see things from a human point of view or to follow Christ and to see life from the cross. To follow Christ to the cross is to enter the chrysalis to be transformed from a caterpillar to a butterfly.

Jesus taught that following Him is to let Him be in the driver’s seat. We are to embrace suffering and not to run away from it. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way to finding  our true self. We are to live out the truth that Jesus will return with all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This is not a pie in the sky by and by. Jesus’ promise is that some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen and see with their own eyes the kingdom of God.6 

Poverty and persecution are the two pillars of the kingdom of heaven. The spirit of poverty is the antidote to the lust of power. We need to confess our powerlessness to be filled with the power of love. We will face persecution and we need the spirit of humility to see our trials from God’s perspective instead of reacting from our egoistic instincts. Jesus taught us to pray for God’s Kingdom to come on earth and painted for us a picture of what life is like in the Kingdom of Heaven. The first and last beatitudes enclose the other six beatitudes which describe the be-attitudes of the citizens in the Kingdom of Heaven.7

Heaven is not a pipe dream, a figment of our imagination – it is a reality that is found deep within our hearts. Instead of speculating on the second coming of Christ, we would be living fuller and fruitful lives by remembering that we are called to be the ambassadors of God’s kingdom here on earth. The hallmark of  God’s kingdom is love. We are to follow Christ with radical humility – to turn to Him so that we can live with radical simplicity to demonstrate true love here on earth. To keep turning our eyes upon the cross of Christ and to share the wonder of God’s perfect salvation to weary and troubled souls in a world that is dying:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.”8



  1. Romans 1:24-25, NLT
  2. Daniel 2:27-45, NLT
  3. Daniel 7:9-14, NLT
  4. Hebrews 11:13 – 16, GW
  5. Psalms 116:9, NLT
  6. Luke 9:23-27, MSG
  7. Morton T. Kelsey, What Is Heaven Like? page 19
  8. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Helen H. Lemmel

The Heart Of Worship

But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.” Daniel 6:10, NLT

A sermon by Rev Zach Meerkreebs in an ordinary chapel service at Asbury College on 8th February 2023 ignited a revival that lasted 16 days and drew thousands to the town of Wilmore in Kentucky. It was a sermon based on Romans Chapter 12 in which the issues of guilt, shame, anxiety, abuse and the struggle to sincerely love others were addressed. It was a message that touched the hearts of the young people, many of whom were struggling with feelings of sadness or hopelessness and even suicide. 

There was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the students who were hungry for a God who can change their lives. Asbury Seminary Professor Kenneth J. Collins observed that the students were sick of trying to live without a true hunger for God which they could not find in the culture around them.1 There was a need for a true revival to change the habits of the heart and shape how believers live each day.

It was challenging to see the movement of the Holy Spirit in our day and age. We are living in the end times – this was clear from our small group discussion on the book of Daniel. This was the lesson from the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar that God revealed to Daniel.2 

The story of Daniel being thrown into the den of lions inspires me to cultivate a heart of true worship. Daniel chose to disobey Darius’ decree to worship only the king and no one else, divine or human for 30 days. He did not count the cost of losing his life to put God first in his life. Daniel could have easily refrain from worshiping God for thirty days but he knew how easily his faith would be eroded in 30 days without the habit of worship.3 

Some 40 years ago, I had heard a message by Danny Morris in Barker Road Methodist Church on the Ten Brave Christians: The John Wesley Great Experiment. One of his Sunday School teacher, Sam Teague, was inspired to draw up a 30 day spiritual programme to live a life that matters. The Ten Brave Christians movement gave birth to the revival in Asbury in 1970. Unfortunately, Danny Morris’ sermon fell on thorny soil in my heart and it dawned on me that I had been living in a spiritual wilderness for the past 40 years trying to serve God in my own strength without the Holy Spirit.

I was led to reread the book, The True Wilderness, by H.A. Williams, which convicted me of the truth that sharing second hand convictions, irrespective of whether they are orthodox, modernist or non-Christian, has no transformative power. It is only the truths of God’s love that have been proven true in my own experience, living them and knowing them at first hand, that can lead others to the loving embrace of God.

Williams found that our intellect craves for complete systems of logical explanations and that there are areas of human life, such as personal relationships, where such explanatory systems can falsify as well as illuminate. The wine of life cannot be contained in the bottles of old mindsets – we will find ourselves with no wine when the bottles have been burst by the wine.4

Lent is a time to cultivate spiritual disciplines that will open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit. The most important lesson from the Asbury revival is the need to live a surrendered life so that the Spirit can rewire our minds, renovate our hearts and so transform our lives. It is not trying to live a purpose driven life but a Spirit driven life. It is learning to live life fully in the face of death and suffering.

We need bottles of new mindsets for the new wine of life that God wants to pour into our hearts. It is impossible to live like the followers of Christ in the book of Acts without the Holy Spirit.  We need radical humility to confess that we do not know what to do and our need to turn our eyes upon Jesus.5 Then the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.6

The discipline of prayer prepares us to be a living sacrifice through silence and solitude to abide in Christ. Through the discipline of fasting we  remember that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.7 Instead of trying to turn stones into bread, we are to be living stones.8 The discipline of charity is to learn to be a sheep – to see heaven everyday in every person.9 Through these spiritual disciplines of Lent, we are led to live as a child of God in the family of God and to become the hands and feet of the Risen Christ to heal our broken world.

After the revival, when the music fades and all is stripped away, we need to long for the Spirit to search deep within our hearts. To remind us how weak and poor we are as every single breath comes from our King of endless worth. To come back to the heart of worship:

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus.10



  1. The Ashbury Revival –
  2. Daniel Chapter 2:1-45
  3. Daniel Chapter 6:1-17
  4. The True Wilderness, H.A. Williams
  5. 2 Chronicles 20:12
  6. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
  7. Matthew 4:4, GW
  8. 1 Peter 2:5, NLT
  9.  Patrick Kee, Living With Our Shepherd Of Love
  10. When The Music Fades, Matt Redman

The Hero’s Journey


Daniel 10:1-21


Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.” Daniel 10:12, NLT

To live in the kingdom of heaven here on earth is not a sightseeing tour nor a pilgrimage in the Holy Land. It is to follow the hero’s journey of Jesus Christ. The Good News is that Jesus is our spiritual hero who lived, died and rose from the dead to show us the divinity that lies within us. The stories in the bible are powerful images to open our minds to the reality of the kingdom of heaven. They are to encourage us to seek the kingdom of heaven in a dark and broken world. 

But there are evil forces that are keeping us out of the kingdom of heaven. It is a spiritual battle to lift our hearts to God to seek Him with a humble and total love. We need to let go of anything that distracts us from God and to give ourselves over entirely to God’s pleasure:

“Saints and angels rejoice when you do this and hasten to help you forward. The evil ones are furious, however, and will try in every way to deflect you. But the whole of mankind, in a most mysterious and wonderful way, will be helped by your action.”1

We need to persevere by learning to wait on God in prayer. During the reign of King Cyrus of Persia, Daniel fasted for 3 weeks in mourning after he received a vision of times of war and great hardship in the future. He then received a terrifying vision of “a man dressed in linen with a belt of pure gold around his waist. His body looked like a precious gem. His face flashed like lightning, and his eyes flamed like torches. His arms and feet shone like polished bronze, and his voice roared like a vast multitude of people.”2 The man assured Daniel that he had come  in answer to Daniel’s prayer:

Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.”3

The man told him that he had been fighting the spirit prince of the Kingdom of Persia and had received help from Michael, one of the archangels. But he had to return to fight against the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia who will be followed by the spirit prince of the kingdom of Greece.4 

The story of Daniel inspires us to grow in our character through our problems and trials. We develop endurance and endurance develops strength of character. Daniel was looking forward to the hope of salvation but we have the confident hope of salvation when the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with the love of God.5 We will have trials and sorrows in this life but Jesus has overcome the world.6 To help us find meaning in life it is crucial to see our life in the context of our new life in Jesus Christ. Jesus conquered death so that we can live out the truth: 

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”7

This is the destination of the hero’s journey. The journey involves becoming aware and taking captive of the enslaving thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that keep us from becoming the children of God. Uche Anizor found that our mindset is very critical to the vibrancy of our spiritual lives. If our minds are set on the things of the Spirit, we will experience abundant life and peace. However, if our minds are set on the things of the flesh, we will experience an inner hostility toward God.8

We need purpose and passion to embark on the hero’s journey – to pursue righteousness and unfailing love.9 To find meaning in suffering. To turn adversities into opportunities to develop endurance. To live in the rhythm of God’s loving embrace in the humdrum of life. To see dying as the greatest adventure of our lives – a journey from death to eternal life. 

God is waiting for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth – we need the spirit of love to see others as God’s children in order to live out our true identity as a child of God. We need the wisdom of spiritual truths to balance our scientific knowledge. We become less human with more scientific knowledge when we do not see them as truths that God is revealing to us.10 Let us be like Daniel who outlived kings and outlast kingdoms by seeking the kingdom of God. 

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And His righteousness,
And all these things shall be added unto you.
Hallelu, Hallelujah!”11


Lord, help me to live the hero’s journey with the power of Your Holy Spirit.


1.   What does it mean to live the hero’s journey?

2.   What is keeping me from living the hero’s journey?

3.   How is God leading me to a hero’s journey?

Song of Praise

Seek Ye First



1.  The Cloud of Unknowing, edited by Halcyon Backhouse, page 23
2.  Daniel 10:5-6, NLT
3.  Daniel 10:12, NLT
4.  Daniel 10:13-21, NLT
5.  Romans 5:3-5,NLT
6.  John 16:33, NLT
7. Galatians 2:20, ESV
8.  Uche Anizor, Overcoming Apathy
9.  Proverbs 21:21, NLT
10. Isaiah 48:6-7, NLT
11. Seek Ye First

From Zero To Hero


Judges 6:11-24, NLT


“It’s all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” Judges 6:23, NLT

To be a hero in life is not trying to be the greatest of all time – it is making a difference in the world by being a blessing to others. Times of adversities are times when heroes and heroines are born. Adversities are opportunities to discover our faith and find strength to be a hero for God. In the Old Testament, we have the story of Gideon who was called a “mighty hero” as he was hiding from the Midianites:

“The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”

Gideon was far from being a hero, let alone a mighty one! He was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. He was the least in his entire family and his clan was the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh. He was living in a time when the Jews felt abandoned by God and they were crying out to God for help.1  When his offering of a young goat and unleavened bread was consumed with fire by the angel who then disappeared, Gideon was filled with a sense of doom. But the Lord assured him: “It is all right, Do not be afraid. You will not die.”2

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God when we are living under the wrath of God.3 But when God is our refuge, the angel of the Lord is our guard who surrounds and defends all who fear him.4 God does not want us to be afraid of Him but to love Him with all our hearts so that we can love our neighbors as we love ourselves.5  We need wisdom to use our freedom to do so and the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.6 Wisdom leads to humility, righteousness and life. Without the fear of God, we will do whatever seemed right in our own eyes.7 Like Adam and Eve, we will be tempted to seek knowledge which leads to pride, self righteousness and death.8

Jesus came as a baby with absolutely nothing. He was born under the worst circumstances – there was no room in the inn and he was born in a manger. He died as a nobody on the cross. Jesus lived and died as a zero to show us that we have everything we need to be God’s heroes in the world through the power of the Holy Spirit. All human heroes become zeroes in life or in death. Jesus came to show as the way to be a spiritual hero by becoming a human zero.

God’s grace is always sufficient and His power is made perfect when we are weak.9 The foolish plan of God’s salvation is wiser than the wisest of human plans and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.10 God’s thoughts are nothing like our thoughts and His ways are far beyond anything we can imagine.11 We need to be filled with the awe of God like Gideon. We need to come to the end of ourselves – to understand how small and insignificant we are and cry out in awe with the psalmist:

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers – the moon and the stars you set in place – what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?”

But God has made us a little lower than angels and crowned us with glory and honor. He has given us dominion over the works of His Hands.12 The stories of angels in the bible are to teach us that there is a spiritual or supernatural dimension of life that is beyond our thoughts. The journey of a spiritual hero begins with the awareness that we are nothing without God. Without God we can do nothing but when we are in Christ we can do everything that we are called to do for God.

The practice of spiritual disciplines is to be connected with the spiritual wifi of God. To fill our lives with divine radiance, we need to spend time with God regularly. It is not a burden but a great joy to be with God in silence and solitude. When we have been touched by the Presence of God, there will be a difference in the way we think, feel and act – we will not be zeroes but spiritual heroes who shine brightly like stars as God’s beloved in a dark and meaningless world.13 Pride drives us to be heroes  in the world. To keep our significance of being a part of the body of Christ from getting blown up into self importance,13 we need to be still before the presence of God.14

“Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.”15


Lord, grant me the humility to be a zero so that I can be a hero in Your kingdom.


  1.  How does the story of Gideon encourage me to be a spiritual hero?
  2.  Why is necessary for me to be a “zero” to fulfill God’s will for me?
  3.  How am I taking time to be holy?

Song of Praise:

Take Time To Be Holy



  1. Judges 6:1-15, NLT
  2. Judges 6:16-23, NLT
  3. Hebrews 10: 31, NKJV
  4. Psalms 34:7, NLT
  5. Luke 10:27, NLT
  6. Psalms 111:10, NKJV
  7. Judges 21:25, NLT
  8. Genesis 3:1-19, NLT
  9. 2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV
  10. 1 Cor 1:25, NLT
  11. Isaiah 55:8, NLT
  12. Psalm 8:3-8, NKJV
  13. 1 Corinthians 12:19-24, MSG
  14. Psalm 46:10, NLT
  15. Take Time To Be Holy, William D. Longstaff

A Taste Of The Living Word


Ezekiel 3:1-11


I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! So don’t be afraid of them or fear their angry looks, even though they are rebels.” Ezekiel 3:9, NLT

The Jews were given the Book of the Law by Moses because they were a rebellious and stubborn people. The Law was a witness of their stubborn hearts.1 It was to reveal our human need for God’s grace and love. The Old Testament was the bible of Jesus and the early Christians. The bible is not a magical book to teach us the secrets of spiritual power. The bible is the sacred and mysterious written Word of God to draw us to the Living Word – Jesus Christ.

What is most important is not just what we read in the bible but how we listen to God through the Word of God by the Holy Spirit. It is through God’s Living Word that our hearts are touched by the love of God and our minds transformed by the Holy Spirit. The bible is the Sword of the Spirit2 – the sharpest two-edged sword which is alive and powerful to expose our innermost thoughts and desires.3

The prophet Ezekiel was given a scroll to eat and to give its message to the people of Israel. It tasted as sweet as honey and Ezekiel was directed to share God’s Word to the people whether they listen to him or not. Ezekiel was warned that the people will be hardhearted and stubborn but he was not to be afraid:

“I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! So don’t be afraid of them or fear their angry looks, even though they are rebels.”4

Sharing God’s Word is a spiritual battle. To be a voice in the wilderness we need to be prepared to encounter rejection and ridicule. We need to be thick skinned and fear God rather than hanker after human praise. Like John the Baptist, we may lose our head. Like Jesus, we may be tempted in the wilderness, we may face betrayal and rejection by loved ones, we may encounter opposition, persecution and even crucifixion by religious and political leaders.

But the good news is that the battle belongs to the Lord and Jesus has already won the battle for us on the cross. All we need to do is put on the armor of God through the disciplines of prayer and meditation on God’s Word so that we will not live by bread alone but by every Word from the mouth of God.5 We are to use God’s Word as the Sword of the Spirit instead of weaponizing the bible and using it to control others. Jesus and the early Christians lived out the truths of the Old Testament as God’s Word. The New Testament is the living testimony of the communion of saints. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus who endured opposition from sinners so that we will not be discouraged and give up.6

The challenge is to live our lives as the Fifth Gospel and Chapter 29 of the Acts of the Apostles. As our small group discussed the book of Jonah, we saw how God used Jonah to lead the unbelieving sailors to worship the true God. After our meeting, we prayed for a member of our small group who has a wound in his foot The next morning I felt led to ask my small group to meditate on Jonah Chapter 1 and to reflect on the following:

–  Am I a “Jonah” causing storms in the lives of others?

– Who is a “Jonah” in my life that I am trying to “save” by my own efforts?

– What is the “Jonah” in my life teaching me about prayer and my relationship to God?

I had a taste of the healing power of the Living Word when my small group member shared the following message in response:

“Just to let you know, as I went to sleep, my wound was enormous. And as you prayed and I prayed, it subsided in the late morning. God healed my wound and it looks normal now. God did wonders through the night. I thanked God for His wondrous work for healing me. I have now experienced how Jesus healed the lame man. Praise God.”

It was a reminder of the power of prayer and the importance of reading the bible for transformation and not for information – to have a five-senses relationship with God – to see, hear, taste, smell and be touched by the Holy Spirit. It is not merely reading and studying the bible with our minds but meditating on God’s Word and living it out in our lives with our hearts. Only then will we grow in our trust in the truth of God’s love for us.

God’s Word will be boring and burdensome until we have tasted God’s Word to be as sweet as honey and know that God’s law is perfect, reviving the soul  and making wise the simple.7 Then we will discover the joy of sharing the breaking good news of how God is writing His story of love in the days of our lives:

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord has come
Oh, blessed is he who hides in Him
Oh, fear the Lord, all of you saints
He’ll give You everything, he’ll give You everything”8

Song of Praise

Psalm 34 (Taste and See)


Lord, help me taste Your Living Word each day to be empowered to share Your gospel.


  1. Why was it necessary for Ezekiel to taste the sweetness of the scroll?
  2. How can I taste the sweetness of God’s Word?
  3.  How is God’s Word reviving my soul and simplifying my life?



  1. Deut 31:19-27
  2. Ephesians 6:17, NLT
  3. Hebrews 4:12, NLT
  4. Ezekiel 3:9, NLT
  5. Matthew 4:4, NLT
  6. Hebrews 12:3, GW
  7. Psalms 19:7-10, ESV
  8.  Psalm 34 – Taste and See by Shane & Shane

The Power Of Silence


Acts 18:1-17


One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! Acts 18:9,NLT

A dark, divided and confused world desperately need to hear the good news of God’s S.O.S – Story Of Salvation. God is our Heavenly Father who wants the nations to seek Him and to feel their way toward Him. We can find Him for in Him we live and move and exist – we are His offspring1 The Jews rejected the good news and Paul was led to preach it to the Gentiles. He was encouraged to do so when he had a vision from the Lord telling him:

“Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent!2  

Paul was accused of persuading people to worship God in ways that were contrary to the Jewish laws and faced much persecution.3 The good news is that Jesus opened a new and life-giving way for us to go before God’s throne of grace and seek God’s Presence.4 We are to live with the New Covenant in which God’s laws are put in our hearts and written on our minds.5

God speaks to each one of us in different ways. God spoke to Paul and Isaiah in a vision, to Moses in a burning bush, to Elijah as a still small voice and to John Wesley in a strangely warm heart. Mother Teresa espoused the simple path of silence for silence is the key to true prayer. It is our connection to God’s internet of wisdom and love. Before we can speak out for God, we need the spirit of obedience that flows from a listening heart. There is a time to keep silent and a time to speak.6

When I visited my elder daughter in San Francisco, she took us for a walk through a forest of redwood trees in Muir Woods. A part of the forest was aptly called Cathedral Grove  where visitors were encouraged to enter quietly. It was an awesome experience which filled me with a wonder of silence. It brought Morton Kelsey to mind. He had taught “The Other Side Of Silence” in silent retreats conducted by the Methodist Church in the 1990s, He shared his experience with the red wood trees in his book, Prayer & The Redwood Seed:

“I wonder how these seeds can give birth
 to a living cathedral like this in which I stand.
Gigantic buttresses of wood and bark
support great tapering columns arching overhead,
filtering a stream of soft light
Upon carpets of ferns and fallen twigs.
I feel as tiny as the seed I hold.”7

I feel inspired to sow the seed of the ancient tradition of spending time with God in silence. We need to be in touch with the silence in our hearts for it to have the power to transform our lives. The eyes see and the ears hear the truths of God but it is in the silence of our hearts that we understand how to live them out.

The Covid 19 pandemic provided everyone, poor or rich, sick or healthy, with the golden opportunity to practice solitude and silence. Unfortunately we have not harnessed the power of silence. We fear silence when we have False Expectations that Appear Real. Such fears are justified as silence can bring forth the dark secrets kept hidden in our hearts and expose us to attacks from the evil one.

We need companions for our inner journey.  Morton Kelsey noted that members of the early church emphasized community and fellowship because they knew the dangers of embarking on the inner journey alone. We need prayer groups in which we can one listen and share and test one’s experiences of the Holy as we learn the meaning of real fellowship with one another.We need to develop fellowships of the broken hearted.

To do so, it is important to have the right motive for the practice of silence – desire to be filled with the power of Divine Love. In silence, we may be led to face spiritual battles and to taste death. In silence we learn to number our days that we may grow in wisdom.9 In silence, we seek God’s loving embrace with the reverence that the Lord is in His holy Temple:

“The Lord is in His holy temple,
The Lord is in His holy temple:
Let all the earth keep silence,
Let all the earth keep silence before Him—
Keep silence, keep silence before Him.”10

Our troubled and messy world needs the power of silence – to listen to the wonderful truth that all is calm and all is bright in the silent and holy night when Jesus Christ was born!


Lord, grant me the patience and wisdom to share the power of silence.


  1. Why is it important to practice silence?
  2. How can I practice silence?
  3. What is God saying to me in my silence?

Song of Praise

Silent Night, Holy Night



  1. Acts 17:27, NLT
  2. Acts 18:9, NLT
  3. Acts 18:13-17, NLT
  4. Hebrews 4:16,10:19-22
  5. Hebrews 10:16, NLT
  6. Ecclesiastes 3:7, NET
  7. Morton Kelsey, Prayer & The Redwood Seed, page 2
  8. Morton Kelsey, The Other Side Of Silence, page 102
  9.  Psalms 90:12
  10. The Lord Is In His Holy Temple