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June 11th, 2010

Authority From Holy Spirit

Apostles of the Holy Spirit

Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. Then he said, “You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord?” – (Acts 13:9-10)

In today’s world where we always question authority, we can often wonder if there is any true and trustworthy authority. What gave the apostles their authority was not position, name, rank, or even reputation: it was the Holy Spirit of God who operated through them. In the Old Testament, the prophets spoke with confidence: they were filled with the Spirit of God and spoke the words of God (2 Pet. 1:19-21). This is true as well of Jesus’ messengers.

While all true followers of Jesus have the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9), the apostles spoke with a unique authority directly related to the work of the Holy Spirit through them. Jesus built his church on their testimony and authority and we ignore their teaching at our own peril and rebellious risk (Eph. 2:20; 1 Thess. 4:8).

Prayer : O Father, I thank you for speaking authoritatively through your servants, the prophets. I thank you for speaking authoritatively through Jesus’ apostles. Now I ask, dear Father, that I can take what they have spoken and apply it in my life with the guidance and conviction that the Holy Spirit brings. I want my life to bring you honor as the Spirit conforms me to be like Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.

June 6th, 2010

The Spirit Told Me

The Spirt Told Me

“The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house.” – (Acts 11:12)

The apostle Peter had to justify why he went to the house of a Gentile and ate with him (Acts 11:1-3). Clearly Peter went to share the good news of Jesus, but the sticking point was table fellowship with Gentiles. While this seems unbelievable to me, I can still remember the time when racism was more widely accepted and openly practiced. Jesus had promised, the Holy Spirit — the promised power from God (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8) — would lead his followers to be witnesses to the “ends of the earth.” Peter makes clear that in this case, the Holy Spirit directly spoke to him and told him to go (Acts 10:19).

Once Cornelius and his household were brothers and sisters in Christ, fellowship was the result (Acts 10:48). While that seems so clear, think of the ways we segment people to keep from dealing with them as people, and even worse, as brothers and sisters in Christ. The Holy Spirit makes clear that we belong together, we are family, we are God’s children, and all those old worldly distinctions have to melt away (Gal. 3:26-39).

Prayer : Father, forgive us. Please forgive your children for our prejudice, selfishness, pettiness, and divisive attitudes. But more than forgive us, dear Father, transform us. Through the unifying power of the Holy Spirit, cleanse us and make us yearn to be with each other. Help us demonstrate the unity that outsiders need in our strife torn world. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

June 6th, 2010

How Could I Stand In The Way Of God

How Could I Stand In The Way Of God

“As I began to speak,” Peter continued, “the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as he fell on us at the beginning. Then I thought of the Lord’s words when he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God’s way?” – (Acts 11:15-17)

Breaking through prejudice and hatred is tough. We often need some dramatic act that captures our attention and moves our hearts. God gave his people that dramatic act through the work of dreams, visions, and direction of the Holy Spirit in the conversion of Cornelius. God was determined to break down the barriers that stood between peoples and nations and races (Eph. 2:14-18).

If we oppose “the Spirit of unity” (Eph. 4:3), we need to understand that we are standing in the way of God! Disunity, prejudice, and division are actions that directly oppose and grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:29-32).

Prayer : Dear Father, I know that Jesus prayed for unity, so I join my Savior in his prayer. Help us be one. Convict us when we are divisive. Open our eyes to the damage our hurtful and hateful words can cause. Send your Holy Spirit to move us, change us, and draw us closer together in you. In Jesus’ name I offer my prayer. Amen.

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