Tag: Holy Spirit

The Power of our choices!

Scripture reading for April 9: 2nd Kings 1-3

“What can I do for you before I am taken from you?”  And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” (2nd Kings 2:9) 

This is essentially the same question God asked Solomon when He appeared to him a few years earlier. (1st Kings 3:5)  Solomon asked for wisdom to rule God’s people.  God gives us choices.  One of the tensions in Scripture is between our free will and God’s sovereign will.  God is sovereign but He has chosen to work with man who is made in His image.  Part of that image is the ability to make choices.

Elijah had been instructed by God to tap Elisha to take his place some ten years earlier.  Elisha was the son of a farmer.  He was plowing with 12 yokes of oxen–a big rig of that day!  (1st Kings 19:19)  At God’s instruction, Elijah threw his mantle over him.  Scripture records that he left his oxen and ran after Elijah.  Then he sacrificed his oxen, burning his plowing equipment to offer the sacrifice.  Choices have consequences and rewards and often lead to more choices.

As the time for Elijah’s departure drew near, Elisha had to continually choose to stay near his mentor.  Elijah kept asking him to stay away, but he kept insisting on staying.  If we are going to get all that the Lord has for us, it means we must persevere!  Elisha asked Elijah for the double portion of his mentor’s spirit.  Elijah could not give that himself.  It must come from the Lord.  Elijah gave him a word of knowledge–that if he could see him when he departed he would have what he asked for.  (2nd Kings 2:10-12)  As they walked on together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind right before Elisha’s eyes and the mantle fell to earth!  It was an exciting exit for the prophet Elijah and an exciting transition for the prophet Elisha as he picked up the anointed mantle and began to do greater things than his mentor!

Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the final word from God. He has told HIs disciples to ask Him for whatever we need and He will do it.  (John 14:14)  He has given us the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and bring forth the gifts of the Spirit as they are needed to glorify the Lord.  He has told us, that we will do even greater works because He has gone to the Father.  (John 14:11-14)  Ask the Lord today for what you need!  How much more will God the Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask! (Luke 11:13)

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Washed and renewed!

Scripture reading for September 27th: Titus 3, Psalm 43, Proverbs 7

Titus 3: 3-7 “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, let astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

We who are followers of Christ have a ‘past life’ that we are not proud of. We were born in sin and until we were ‘born again,’ we lived like the world in the passions of our flesh. But when Jesus Christ laid hold of us and we repented of our sins, we were saved out of the old life and washed from our sins through faith in Jesus’ blood applied on the altar of heaven for us. We received the gift of the Holy Spirit, Whose job it is to form in us the image of Jesus Christ and renew our minds to think the thoughts of God and humbly walk by faith. We are ‘justified’, made right with God, and adopted into His forever family. We are full of exceeding joy as we now have Light and Truth living in us. We respond in worship and embrace Jesus, the Living Word in worship and adoration! He is our Wisdom and Insight now and forever!

Psalm 43:3-4 “Send out Your Light and Your Truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding Joy, and I will praise You with the lyre, O God, my God!”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Light and Truth in Your Son! Thank You for washing me from my sins and adopting me into Your family, renewing my mind and giving me true wisdom and insight through Your Holy Word. You are my ‘exceeding Joy’ and my delight! I trust You to keep me each day from the seduction of this world and my flesh. Use me to proclaim Your goodness and mercy to those still lost.

Proverbs 7:4-5 “Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend, to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.”

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Good news: mercy and justice!

Scripture reading for June 30th: Luke 3, Psalm 130, Proverbs 6

Luke 3:15-18 “As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all saying, “I baptize you with water, but He Who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of Whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, to clear the threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” So with many other exhortations he preached Good News to the people.”

John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, created a stir among the people and religious authorities. His preaching called people to repentance and to baptism or washing of filth in expectation of the coming Messiah. This Messiah, according to John, would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. He would come to bring in the harvest of souls from the earth, symbolized by a winnowing fork, a tool that was used to harvest the wheat. The wheat would then be beaten on the threshing floor to remove the chaff. The Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire, cleansing all sin and creating a new life. Sins would not only be forgiven, but consumed completely because Christ paid our penalty for sin. This message was “Good News” for sinners who were humble enough to repent!

Psalm 130:3-4 “If You, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness, that You may be feared.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your great mercy in sending Your Son to take the fire of judgment for broken law on our behalf on Calvary’s cross. Thank You for Jesus Christ, our Messiah, providing us with an inner baptism of the Holy Spirit and cleansing us with Holy Fire from Your altar of mercy. But for Your mercy, we would be consumed in the fire of judgment as chaff instead of gathered into Your Barn!

Proverbs 6:27-29 “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.”

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Endurance, encouragement and hope!

Scripture reading for June 5th: Romans 15, Psalm 111, Proverbs 18

Romans 15: 4-7, 15 “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through the endurance and through the encouragement of Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Jesus Christ, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. . . . .May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Our God knows exactly what we need and even before we were born, He has written it down for our instruction. His purpose is to encourage us because He is for us, not against us! He has a glorious future planned for us so He wants us to hold fast to Him and His awesome and glorious Name. He wants us to dwell together with our brothers and sisters in harmony, and with one voice to bring Him and our Father glory! We are called to be encouragers and show hospitality by welcoming others into God’s forever family! This brings God eternal joy and fulfills His desire to share His eternal covenant of love, mercy and peace with all people! Praise His awesome and holy Name!

Psalm 111: 9-10 “He sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever. Holy and awesome is His Name! The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”

Prayer: Father God, Your Son Jesus Christ is my strong tower of encouragement and hope in a world that is sometimes very dark and foreboding. Thank You for the eternal covenant of life and peace which brings me hope and joy each day as I anticipate Your coming. Help me to live in harmony with others of like-precious faith and to welcome them into Your forever household. Fill me with the Holy Spirit today!

Proverbs 18:10 “The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.”

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Resisting the Holy Spirit

Scripture reading for January 31st: Acts 6, Psalm 22, Proverbs 22

Acts 6:8-12 “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” And they stirred up the people and elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.”

Stephen was one of the first deacons, chosen by the apostles to help with the ministry needs of the early church. He was full of grace and power because he was filled with the Holy Spirit. This was and should be a requirement of all in church leadership and serving positions. He spoke with God’s wisdom in the power of the Holy Spirit. This brought opposition from some of the Jews and other Gentiles. These who opposed him secretly instigated opposition and false witnesses who made untrue claims concerning Stephen. They accused him of opposing the temple, Law, and customs of Moses. They mocked him and scoffed at him and falsely accused him even as Stephen had graciously spoken God’s wisdom. They were resisting the Holy Spirit, as Jesus also had encountered and those scoffers are still with us today.

Psalm 22:6-7 “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for discernment of spirits, to help me know if a spirit or the Holy Spirit is speaking to me. Thank You for reminding me through Your Word that Jesus, the apostles and believers will be attacked and opposed by Satan and those still in darkness of sin. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and gracious words of wisdom or silence to refute the lies and present Your gracious Good News to them.

Proverbs 22:17-18 “Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips.”

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Fulfilled prophesy in pouring out the Spirit!

Scripture reading for January 25th: Acts 2, Psalm 18, Proverbs 18

Acts 2:14-18 “But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this was what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on My male servants and female servants in those days I will our out My Spirit and they shall prophesy.”

God speaks to His people and His Word never returns void. As the Jews who were present on this first Pentecost listened to the people who had received the gift of the Holy Spirit speak in other tongues, they assumed, wrongly, that they were drunk with wine. But Peter, now bold with the Holy Spirit, stands to explain and preach the Gospel to all who were present. He pointed them to Scripture in the Book of Joel. Joel had, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, foretold how in the last days God would ‘pour out’ the Holy Spirit on all flesh. Men and women, young and old, servants and slaves; all would have access and this would result in prophesy and the gift of prayer and worship in tongues. God was empowering His people to speak His Gospel Good News to the whole world.

Psalm 18:31-32 “For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a Rock, except our God?–the God Who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.”

Prayer: Father God, thank Your for Your gift to those who trust in Jesus of the Holy Spirit. Thank You for pouring it out generously on all those who believe, great or small, man or woman, young or old. Use me today prophetically, to speak in power Your Words of Scripture and tell forth the Good News that will bring eternal life to those who hear and receive. Let the ‘bubbling brook’ of the Holy Spirit flow in me.

Proverbs 18:4 “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

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The ‘Abiding’ anointing!

Scripture reading for November 23rd: Haggai, Zechariah 1, Psalm 138, 1st John 2

1st John 2: 26-29 “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie–just as it has taught you, abide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him.”

To abide in something means to take up residence and remain. John was writing to the believers being attacked by false teachers and warned them to listen to the Holy Spirit, Who abided in them. The Holy Spirit’s anointing brings instruction to us concerning living and applying God’s Word and thereby ‘abiding’ in Jesus Christ. John wanted believers to have confidence in their relationship with God based on Truth, not on some false teaching or opinion of men. A mark of false teachers was that their life was a lie–they failed to practice the Truth and abide in Jesus Christ by faith and through grace. A mark of a true follower of Jesus was practice of right living because of new birth and the abiding Holy Spirit.

Haggai 2:4-6 “Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of Hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.”

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your Name and Your Word and the anointing of Your Holy Spirt to abide in me and help me to abide in Jesus Christ, my Lord. Thank You for being with me always and for empowering me through the Holy Spirit and grace to live in righteousness and have confidence in Your acceptance when You return again. Abide in me and give me opportunity to share Your Word and Name!

Psalm 138:2 “I bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your Name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your Name and Your Word.”

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Prophetic Instruction through Holy Spirit

Scripture reading for May 2nd: 1st Samuel 18-19, 1st Chronicles 3, Psalm 59, Acts 13

Acts 13:1-4 “Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus.”

The early church had certain gift people who were listed by name and called prophets and teachers. In this passage of Acts, Luke lists two of these men, Barnabas and Saul, who were prophetically called out during a time of worship and fasting and set apart for a mission. This mission had already been revealed by the Holy Spirit to both Saul and Barnabas but was now confirmed to them and the entire church body at Antioch. The church then prayed and fasted and then laid their hands on these men and sent them off on their assignment to reach lost people in places where the Gospel had not yet been preached. The Holy Spirit is Who is really speaking the Word of God to those who need it through those He chooses. God’s work is accomplished in God’s time and way in spite of opposition or dangers for God is with them.

Psalm 59:16-17 “But I will sing of Your strength; I will sing aloud of Your steadfast love in the morning. For You have been to me a Fortress and a Refuge in the day of my distress. O my Strength, I will sing praises to You, for You, O God, are my Fortress, the God Who shows me steadfast love.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the Holy Spirit and the gift of prophesy and prophets. I offer my mind, body and tongue to be used by You to speak Your Truth and fulfill Your sacred work. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and wisdom today to speak Truth even in the face of persecution or rejection. I worship You and honor Your Holy Name!

1st Samuel 19:23-24 “And he (King Saul) went there to Naioth in Ramah. And the Spirit of God came upon him also, and as he went he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah. And he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay naked all that day and all that night. Thus it is said, “Is Saul also among the prophets?””

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Repentance leading to Life!

Scripture reading for April 28th: 1st Samuel 15-16, 1st Chronicles 1, Psalm 39, Acts 11

Acts 11: 13-18 “And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter: he will declare to you a message by with you will be saved, you and all your household.’ As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the Word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same Gift to them as He gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.””

The early church leaders, being trained as Jews, often had trouble grasping God’s plan to save Gentiles. They had been taught that they must avoid the Gentiles because they were ‘uncircumcised’ and ‘unclean’. God had to give Peter a vision of a sheet with unclean foods on it coming down from heaven with the command to eat. He then instructed Peter to go to Cornelius’ house and Peter obeyed, taking other Jewish believers with him. When Peter shared the Gospel there, God poured the Holy Spirit out with the evidence of speaking in tongues. This silenced the resistance and broadened the Jewish believers understanding of God’s heart to reach both Jew and Gentile! He hears all cries for help and salvation!

Psalm 39:12-13 “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not Your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers. Look away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more!”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your patience and care for all people, regardless of nationality or social status. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, empowering us to pray and praise Your Name and share the Gospel message. Thank You for bringing repentance leading to eternal life to me and all who will receive the Good News of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!

1st Samuel 16:6-7 “When they came, he looked on Eliab and though, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.””

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Asking, seeking, knocking

Scripture reading for March 25th: Deuteronomy 23-26, Luke 11

Luke 11:9-12 “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?””

God’s Word declares that He is a Good Father and that He gives good gifts to His children. Jesus gave His disciples the privilege of asking, seeking and knocking and promised results from God, His Father. He declared that as an earthly father looks out for the welfare of his children, God, the Father, would give them the best Gift, the Holy Spirit. The asking, seeking and knocking was an act of faith and centering on God and honoring Him. God views His children as His treasured possession and has promised to bless them with fame, honor, and holiness in His family forever and ever! Amen!

Luke 11:13 “”If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!””

Father God, thank You for daily and continual access to speak with You. Thank You for the promise of receiving, finding, and opening. Thank You for the best Gift, the Holy Spirit to live in me and be with me every minute of my journey on earth. Thank You that the Holy Spirit is forming holiness in my soul through taking Your Word and applying it to my life.

Deuteronomy 26:18-19 “And the Lord has declared today that you are a people for His treasured possession, as He has promised you, and you are to keep all His commandments, and that He will set you in praise and in fame and in honor high above all nations that He has made, and that you shall be a people holy to the Lord your God, as He promised.”

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