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January 8th, 2011

In The Power of Holy Spirit

The Presence The Promise The Power

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. – (Luke 4:14)

Galilee is the place of Jesus’ ministry. Luke is telling us that Jesus is conceived by the Spirit, announced by the Spirit through several witnesses, affirmed by the Spirit at his baptism, and led by the Spirit through his temptation. Now, after his victory over Satan in the wilderness, Jesus begins his ministry in the power of
the Holy Spirit. This note is crucial because of its connection to the early believers in the book of Acts.

The Holy Spirit is Jesus’ gift of presence and power to his followers. The Spirit empowers them and fills them and leads them as they share the story of Jesus fearlessly with all people. That same Holy Spirit longs to do the same thing through us today.

We can be Jesus’ witnesses, beginning where we are, moving into the surrounding region, and ultimately touching all the world because of the Holy Spirit working in us and through us. And when we have those doubts that inevitably creep into our hearts, we can remember what the Spirit did through Jesus and realize the Spirit longs to do the same things through us today.

Also read Holy Spirit is God’s Gift

Prayer:

Almighty God, empower us — your children, Jesus’ followers, your Church — with the Holy Spirit. Convict and motivate us to be witnesses to the things Jesus did while on earth and what he is doing now in our own lives. Do what you want to do through us and to your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

November 22nd, 2010

Don’t Be Troubled or Afraid

Don't Be Troubled or Afraid

“I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative — that is, the Holy Spirit — he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid ” – (John 14:25-27)

In a world of chaos and uncertainties as well as trials and difficulties, we rejoice. Not because we are out of touch or in denial, but because the presence of the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, within us brings us our Father’s comfort. The Spirit teaches us about Jesus and his great love and sacrifice for us.

The Spirit comforts us, ministering to our interior world — our spirits. This gift of peace is not something anyone can have without the Spirit. Yet because of the Spirit’s presence, we are blessed in ways that those without the Spirit cannot know.

Prayer: O Father, thank you for the peace that the Spirit brings. Thank you for the peace that comes from the Spirit’s presence. Thank you for the peace that the Spirit leads me to find. Forgive me for trying to rush my way through life out of touch with your Spirit and trying to control the circumstances of my life rather than relying on the guidance of the Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

October 21st, 2010

Hear What The Spirit Says

Hear What The Spirit Says

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Those who are victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death. – (Revelation 2:11)

The voice of God can be heard and understood if we apply certain biblical principles to hearing what the Holy Spirit of God is saying. Jesus challenges those who heard his message to really listen — not just with their ears, but also with their hearts.

Different Ways

Just as the Holy Spirit decides to give different abilities to different people (1 Corinthians 12:11), he works with us in different ways. A person with the gift of miraculous words is likely to hear the Spirit in a different way than a person with the gift of compassion. The Spirit will lead a teacher in a different way than a server, because he has different jobs for each person.

For some people, he speaks subtly, in general principles; for others, he must speak with unmistakable details. Each of us must listen in the way that God has made us, in the way that he chooses to deal with us. The important thing is that we listen—that we are ready and willing to hear what he says. We should be looking for his leadership rather than ignoring it.

No Idle Words

Some people would like to have the Holy Spirit as a conversational companion to keep them company. They want to chat, but the Holy Spirit isn’t involved in idle words. He does not call attention to himself (John 15:26), and is often silent because he has already given us enough information and advice. He wants us to use what he has already given; he has been training our conscience to respond rightly to what faces us. That does not mean that we rely on ourselves, but that we rely on what God has already done in our lives and what he has already taught us.

Through Scripture

The Holy Spirit speaks to us primarily through the Scriptures that he inspired to be written and canonized. This is our foundation of faith and life, the word that everyone has access to, the word that can be studied and discussed most objectively. Often the word that we need to hear has already been written, and the Spirit simply needs to bring it to mind. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, for example, his responses were quoted from Scripture. He had studied and memorized those words, and in each situation the Spirit led him to the appropriate response.

Through Experience

We can also hear the Holy Spirit through experience. God sometimes changes his methods with us, but most often he works with us in a similar way from one year to another. Through experience, we see how he has answered our prayers and led us in past situations. This will help us recognize his “voice” when he speaks to us in the present. Experience comes through time, submission and meditation. The Spirit helps the humble, not the self-exalting.

Sermons are a common means of spiritual speech. Those who speak should strive to speak the words of God (1 Peter 4:11), so those who speak in church should strive to listen to God as they prepare the sermons, and those who hear the sermons should likewise listen for the words of the Lord. We need to let our worship services be times of listening, of thinking, of communing with God so that we are letting him change us to be more like Christ. Let us draw near to him, and he will change us.

Responding To Holy Spirit

If we want to hear, we need to listen. But if we want to hear in the biblical sense, we also need to respond. If we hear his voice, if we believe that God is telling us to do something, then we need to do it. We need to do what he has gifted us to do. We are to submit to God, for what he says is for our own good. We bring him honor, and we bring ourselves blessings, by doing his will. It begins with listening. Can you hear the Holy Spirit? It is something worth thinking about.

Let’s be God’s people who hunger to hear what the Spirit is seeking to say to us through Scripture!

Prayer

Father, forgive us — forgive me! We have very seldom sought to hear your voice and your Word and the message the Spirit has for us in that Word. More than forgiveness, O God, give us a yearning to hear the message the Spirit has for our congregation at this time, with our challenges and opportunities. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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