Tag: Holy Spirit

The ‘more excellent way’

Scripture reading for September 10th: 1st Corinthians 13

Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 12:31; 13:1-3 “But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

Paul understood God’s amazing love and knew that no human could love like God unless God had first revealed His love to them in Christ Jesus. The Corinthians were zealous for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and according to Paul, that was proper to desire them, especially the ‘higher’ gifts. (prophesy?) But there was the ‘more excellent way’ that Paul wanted to emphasize. Love must be pursued first in all things and must flow to empower the gifts of the Holy Spirit. God’s love is “agape” love, a love that always seeks the best for those it loves. God’s Love stands above every form of worldly love and love is God and God is love! Through the Holy Spirit, a river of God’s love is released into our hearts when we repent and place our trust in Jesus. (Romans 5:5) All gifts and service to God must flow with His heart of love!

1st Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Love never ends. . .”

Faith confession and prayer: Loving Father, thank You for the river of love given me by the Holy Spirit that flows from Your heart to this world of lost people. Fill me afresh today with Your love and remind me of it in every conversation, encounter, and activity. May I always use the gifts You have given me in the ‘more excellent way,’ pursuing love first!

1st Corinthians 13:13; 14:1 “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.”

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Our God speaks and empowers!

Scripture reading for September 9th: 1st Corinthians 12

Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 12:1-7 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit; and there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God Who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

The Corinthians church was full of people who were once pagans and served dumb idols. The term ‘dumb’ means the inability to speak. But in the church of Jesus Christ, we serve a God Who is alive and speaks and gives gifts and empowers! Paul wanted none of the church to be ignorant concerning the Holy Spirit and the gifts He gives. He wanted them to grow in the grace of the gifts God had put within each member of the greater body. There is only one God, one Holy Spirit, and one Lord Jesus and when someone has been born again by the Holy Spirit, they will confess “Jesus is Lord.” They will never curse their Lord! There are also varieties of gifts of the Holy Spirit and varieties of service to the Lord, but our God is the only one to empower believers. These gifts and activities are all given for the common good, never to be boasted about or used for selfish purposes.

1st Corinthians 12:8-10 “For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for the wonderful Gift of the Holy Spirit, living in me and all who believe. Help me to grow more knowledgeable about the Holy Spirit and Your gifts that I might use the gifts you give to be a blessing to Your body, the Church. I proclaim by the Holy Spirit: “Jesus is Lord!”

1st Corinthians 12:11 “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, Who apportions to each one individually as He wills.”

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Don’t become a ‘stumbling block’!

Scripture reading for September 3rd: 1st Corinthians 8

Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 8:7-11 “However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.”

Paul was talking to the Corinthian believers who had come out of idolatry and found new freedom in Christ. Some were freely eating meat sacrificed to idols knowing that their eating had nothing to do with their salvation. This liberty was causing some of the believers, whose consciences were still weak, to stumble in their new-found faith. We can be right in our actions, but still be wrong if we cause others to stumble. The law of love says that I temper my actions and liberty to help and encourage my weaker brothers and sisters to grow in grace. I will do nothing that knowingly causes my brothers to stumble. Love never fails! Because of Christ’s love of all people and His desire for their salvation, we who have knowledge can limit our liberty to demonstrate our sincere commitment to Christ and build up weaker believers.

Romans 14:14-15 “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for declaring all foods clean and the liberty given by grace to believers. I am thankful for knowledge through Your Word but mindful of Your great love for all. Give me grace to know when to limit my liberty to help those who are still weak in their faith and not cause them to stumble. Fill me with Your love and wisdom through the Holy Spirit.

Romans 14:17-19 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding.”

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Avoiding deception

Scripture reading for September 1st: 1st Corinthians 6

Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 6:9-11 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God And such were some of you. But you were washed, your were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

The Corinthian believers lived in a very carnal and immoral culture. Most of the believers had been saved from the sins of that culture and were growing in Christ. However, some in the Church still were involved in their past sins and failed to repent or allow the washing and sanctification of the Holy Spirit to cleanse them. Some were deceived and it was also confusing the whole church. Paul reminds them that those failing to repent and turn away from their sins will not inherit the kingdom of God. True repentance and salvation brings cleansing and washing from sin’s grip and increasing holiness as the Spirit sets us apart for Christ alone for eternity. Those claiming to be believers must be held to account by the body and leaders.

1st Corinthians 6:14-15 “And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for clear instructions about what the Holy Spirit truly does for us in washing and cleansing us and preparing us to live in Your presence for eternity. As we await the resurrection of our bodies and total transformation at the return of Jesus Christ, help us to live like Your sanctified children, glorifying You in our bodies.

1st Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, Whom you have from God? You are not you own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

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Saved by miraculous mercy!

Scripture reading for June 28th: Titus 3

Key Scriptures: Titus 3:3-7 “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led 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.”

All believers have a past life. Paul described it in this passage and it is not very complementary. Paul says we were foolish, slaves, full of malice and envy and specializing in hatred and headed for God’s wrath and judgment. This was all that was possible in our sinful condition that we inherited from birth. But God through His Son, Jesus Christ, showed us His own goodness and kindness, leading us to repentance and faith. Through faith, not works, we gained mercy and were washed and renewed and filled with the Holy Spirit. God Himself, through Christ’s sacrifice, justifies all who believe and adopts them into His eternal family giving them an everlasting inheritance: the sure hope of eternal life! What a miraculous turn-around in our life and destiny because of God’s mercy in Christ! In response, we offer ourselves to God for His use in good works through faith.

Titus 3:14 “And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your great mercy and willingness to sacrifice Your own body on my behalf. Thank You for pouring on me and all who believe the Holy Spirit and revealing the hope of eternal life. In response to your great love, I give myself to You to be used as You will to accomplish Your great plan of salvation in all who will believe! To You be all glory, now and forever!

Romans 2:4-5 “Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”

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A preachers dream!

Scripture reading for April 19th: Acts 10

Key Scriptures: Acts 10:30-33 “And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter, He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”

Peter was the chief of the apostles of Jesus Christ and he was a devout Jew. Jews must never go to the house of a Gentile, or so Peter was taught. However, God gave him a dream of a sheet coming down from heaven with all kinds of unclean foods. He was commanded to arise, kill and eat. This happened three times and Peter was struggling to understand when the three men sent by Cornelius arrived at Peter’s lodging. The Holy Spirit spoke to Peter that he should go with them to Cornelius’ home. As he arrived, Cornelius shared his side of God’s directions and asked him to share what God had given him! Now that is a preachers dream come true! Peter preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ and God gave them salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit!

Acts 10:44-46 “While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the Word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for preparing hearts of seekers to hear the Gospel message. Thank You for sending Your people to preach that salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit would be poured out through their obedience. Open doors for me today to share Your Word with seekers who are ready to receive Your Word.

Isaiah 9:2 “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”

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A new chapter of the Story

Scripture reading for April 6th: Acts 1

Key Scriptures: Acts 1:1-5 “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen. He presented Himself alive to them after His suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, which, He said, ‘you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. “”

The book of Acts is a continuation of Luke’s eyewitness account of the events and acts of the Holy Spirit through Jesus’ disciples following Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. He wrote these accounts to Theophilus, whose name means “lover of God”. He was a Gentile convert to Jesus and Luke wrote to give greater understanding to the Gentile church of how our Lord empowered witnesses to take the Gospel from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria and the ends of the earth. Acts is the historical record of the growth of the early Church after the Promise of the Father came upon them. This book has inspired believers throughout history to be filled with the Holy Spirit and allow God to use them to further His mission to reach the ends of the earth before Jesus returns. It records the acts of the Holy Spirit, mentioned over 50 times, through Jesus’ followers. In a sense, it is still being written until Jesus returns.

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for sending the Promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit to empower me and all Your disciples to reach the ends of the earth. Use me to add to the “acts of the Holy Spirit” in my life on earth and to multiply disciples who will take the Gospel of Jesus to the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:10-11 “And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”

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It’s all about love!

Scripture reading for February 2nd: Mark 12

Key Scriptures: Mark 12:28-31 “And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that He answered them well asked Him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important commandment is ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.””

Jesus had been disputing with the scribes and Pharisees concerning different current religious and political issues. They were trying to trap Jesus by their questions but were not successful. One scribe asked about the greatest commandment and Jesus gave a simple answer, quoted from the Scriptures of Moses. The greatest commandment was to love God fully and completely and the second greatest was to love your neighbor as yourself. These two commandments summed up the whole law of God. It was all about love and love drew obedience from the heart. The scribe had to agree with Jesus and Jesus told him he was not far from the kingdom!

Deuteronomy 6:3 “Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I love You will all my heart, soul, mind and strength through the Holy Spirit You gave me. I desire to love my neighbor as myself. Help me daily to walk in Your love and let Your love flow through me.

Romans 5:5 “. . .and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.”

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The time is fulfilled!

Scripture reading for January 18th: Mark 1

Key Scriptures: Mark 1:9-11, 14-15 “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when He came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.”. . . .”Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the Gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.””

Mark wrote this Gospel account of Jesus’ life with much of the eye-witness information gotten from the Apostle Peter, one of the original twelve disciples. He wrote this for the believers in Rome, many who were Gentiles and not acquainted with Jewish history or customs. He records the story of Jesus beginning with John the Baptist and Jesus’ baptism. John baptized in water and called all Jews to repent for the forgiveness of their sins in preparation for the kingdom of God. Jesus was baptized, not because He had sin, but to identify with all sinful men that He might offer Himself on their behalf. Jesus was baptized and heaven opened with God’s voice declaring, “You are My beloved Son, with You I am well pleased.” God confirmed Jesus’ Sonship with the Holy Spirit descending and resting on Him! After this, Jesus was tempted for forty days and then after the temptation and John the Baptist’s arrest, He began His ministry with John’s message of repentance and a call to believe the Gospel. The kingdom of heaven was at hand and the King was inviting all!

Isaiah 40:3 “A voice cries; “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.””

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe You are God’s beloved Son and I have repented of my sins. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the mission to testify and preach the Gospel of the King Jesus to the world. Let Your voice be heard through me today!

Matthew 24:14 “And this Gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

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Are you of God? Or Satan?

Scripture reading for November 24th: Zechariah 2-5; Psalm 93; 1 John 3

Key Scriptures: 1st John 3:7-10 “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s Seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this is it evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

John was concerned about deception in the church. False teachers came and spread the lie that it did not matter how you lived, receiving Christ in your spirit was all that was needed. John set the record straight by repeating the same thing several times and ways. If you practice sin, you are of the devil. If you practice righteousness and love your brothers and sisters, you are born of God and His “Seed” abides in you. We are not saved by works, but by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. God’s “Seed”, His Word and Spirit, come to live in us and transform us into Christ’s image. Our fruit shows which one we belong to: either the devil or God.

Psalm 93:5: “Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits Your house, O Lord, forevermore.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I don’t ever want to be deceived. Thank You for the Holy Spirit and Your “Seed”, the Word given as grace gifts to form Christ’s holy character in me.

Zechariah 4:6 “Then he said to me, “This is the Word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.””

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