(21 quiet-times as at 06/05/13)
Access all-areas - 1 Thessalonians 5.19
"Do not quench the Spirit"
In the 'old days' there used to be salesmen who would go round and visit people's homes, selling different kinds of goods or services to people. I recently heard the story of someone who used to be a salesman selling central heating to people. He made some interesting points about selling and about the Holy Spirit...
When the sales person would go to a house - if the person wanted to chat more, he would be invited in to the house. He'd go and usually sit down in their living room with a cup of tea and a biscuit. This is what some of us are like with the Holy Spirit. We invite Him in to our 'living room' where it's all comfy and polite, but no further! The salesman would then sometimes be invited to look at the rooms in the house to discuss where the heating would go. This meant a sale was a bit closer as he was allowed greater access in the customer's house. He'd be allowed in the often messy kitchen, or untidy bedrooms etc to make heating suggestions. Some people are like this - they allow the Holy Spirit access beyond the 'showroom' living room (all tidied up carefully). They even allow the Holy Spirit into some messy 'rooms' or situations and untidy places in their life.
But if the customer wanted central heating in their house, this meant they would need an engineer to go in and make a bit of a mess in order to improve their heating and ultimately the house. This takes more trust and a deeper level of 'intimacy' if we think about this spiritually. If we really want God to use us in amazing ways, we have to work with him to allow the Holy Spirit to touch every area of our lives. Sometimes it's a bit messy at first while all the old 'pipes' are thrown out and the new 'system' is put in. But eventually it produces a strong and steady heat that warms people up and improves the lives of others in the house. The same is true with God - as he transforms us, he can then use us to do incredible stuff for him and see other people change too!
Added 06/05/13. Thanks to TS for the idea
The whole picture - Ephesians 5.15-18
Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit...
Some people believe that Christians shouldn't drink alcohol or shouldn't get drunk and this is one of the verses that people use to make this clear. Alcohol causes great damage in every country, costing billions in medical and other help. But these verses aren't really written to talk about alcohol. But verse 16 is also key, telling us to be careful how we live, to live wisely and to make the most of every opportunity. So we shouldn't act foolishly, but need to understand what the Lord's will is.
So we need to think of what Paul is saying in light of what he's said! Sometimes in the church, people are very good at making new theories and new ways of doing things from a single verse of the Bible. But we can't do this as the Bible is a complete picture. We can't take a piece of a huge jigsaw and then tell what the whole jigsaw is! We need to see the whole jigsaw fitted together (or the picture on the box!) to then know what our bit of the jigsaw means in light of the complete picture. The same is true with the Bible. It's important we learn single Bible verses, but let's also learn what the Bible verses around the one we learn say or mean. This way we understand the wider picture.
So bringing it home to Ephesians 5, we see that as Christians we need to understand the times we are in so that we get God's wisdom, understanding what God wants so we can live for him and shine as lights in a dark place. The verses mention alcohol in this light: don't get drunk and do the things that being drunk leads to but instead be filled with God! This is what it means to be filled with the Spirit - being filled with God.
The jigsaw explained - Ephesians 5.18-20
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have seen that when Paul tells the Ephesian church to be filled with the Spirit, we know this is in light of the fact that times are evil, we need God's understanding of his will, so we make the most of every opportunity. But more specifically, when Paul says 'be filled with the Spirit', what does this mean? The literal translation is a bit more like 'go on continually being continually filled with the Spirit.' So how do we do this?! Here's one way of looking at being filled with the Spirit: we are a three-part being - we're made up of a spirit, a soul and a body.
1 Thessalonians 5.23-24 tells us this, "... May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." When we become a Christian, God puts his seal of approval on us by giving us his Holy Spirit and making us new. There are sometimes other experiences that Christians have in their lives where God does new things and gives new outpourings of his Holy Spirit. But here's another way of thinking... If our spirit is made completely pure when we become a Christian, it is possible that 'being filled with the Spirit' simply means allowing that God-filled part of our be the leader of all that we say and do. So we let God be the one in charge of our lives and not us. When people dig for oil in the ground, they dig down and the oil eventually springs up onto the surface. We need to let God's Spirit in us do the same in our lives and do our part too! Let the 'oil' of God (the Holy Spirit) spring up and cover all that we say, think and do!
Filled with the Spirit, Part 1 - 2 Corinthians 5.17
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!"
When we become Christians, God does something incredible on the inside of us. 2 Corinthians 5.17 explains it like this, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!" So in a way, we become a 'new' creation. But we don't change and suddenly start shining, our faces glowing with a healthy beauty that only Photoshopped pictures create! So what becomes 'new'? Well, it's our spirit. Humans are made up of 3 basic parts: the spirit, the soul and the body. The bit that God renews is our 'spirit' by putting his Holy Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit is part of God and unlike when Jesus walked the earth and was with whichever disciples he was with at the time, the Holy Spirit is inside every person who believes in God. God puts his 'seal' on you (not one that flaps in the water), it's like a royal seal that a King would stamp on an official letter in wax in the olden days. God marks you and says, 'they belong to me'. The guarantee of this promise is the Holy Spirit who comes to make his home on the inside of you (Ephesians 1.13). The Holy Spirit helps us to be more like Jesus and more God-like in our thinking.
There are many people who believe that this unique and permanent experience of God putting his Holy Spirit in you, is not the only time that the Holy Spirit moves. Many believe and have seen the Holy Spirit do new things, give new gifts and abilities to people who believe in God. There is also the truth that in Ephesians 5.18 the Bible tells us to go on 'continually go on being continually filled' with the Holy Spirit. So we know that there are things that God does in our life by the Holy Spirit that go beyond when we become a Christian. I've experienced this - with God doing some incredible things in and through me. Never put God in a box, he's not boxable and can't be gift-wrapped to fit your ideas!
Filled with the Spirit, Part 2 - Luke 1.41-42 and 1.67-68
"When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!'" ... "His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.'"
There are some types of churches who teach that when God fills us with the Holy Spirit, the only evidence is that the person speaks in tongues. This this does happen, but there is so much more to being filled with the Holy Spirit than just this way of thinking. First of all, the gift of tongues is available to every believer. The gift of tongues is a supernatural ability to speak another language. It first happened in Acts 2 when the early disciples supernaturally started speaking in the language of the people around them and many came to believe in Jesus. Some people say the gift isn't for today but this isn't true - God gave me the gift of speaking in tongues as he has to millions and millions of others since the Bible time. The apostle Paul who wrote half the New Testament said he wished people could speak in tongues - see 1 Corinthians 14 and clearly these same truths apply to us today. Some people speak in other languages (I've heard this eg in Chinese and a Chinese there was able to understand it perfectly!) And other times it appears to be an unknown or heavenly language.
But let's not get tied up in all this. Some teach if you ask God to fill you with the Spirit, God only does this by you speaking in tongues. As we've said, this is very narrow and isn't even Biblical! Others say that you can only be filled with the Holy Spirit after you've been baptised but again this isn't completely Biblical and God loves to amaze us and do different things! Here in Luke 1, we find both Elizabeth and her husband John later on, "filled with the Holy Spirit". What's amazing is that Jesus hadn't even been born at this time; they clearly hadn't 'accepted Jesus' in our way of thinking today (although they were Godly people); nor had they been baptised yet!! In another shot across some church's religious ways of thinking, they didn't even speak in tongues when they were filled with the Holy Spirit. But, the evidence of the Holy Spirit did come from their tongue, from their mouth. Elizabeth spoke blessings and John spoke prophetically. What can we learn? Being filled with the Spirit through the New Testament is evidenced by the tongue, but it's not always 'speaking in tongues'. God loves to break out of the boxes we try to neatly put him in. Ask God to fill you - with God inside you, God should burst out of you!!
The Spirit Moves - John 16.13-14
Jesus said, "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you."
When you look at the Bible as a whole, we find that it is one complete picture and often the Old Testament and New Testament reflect each other. People that complain the Bible was written by man and put together by man are always those who either hate God or those who have never really read the Bible. You see, just as the Holy Spirit works in our lives, so he was at work throughout history, throughout the Bible and through man to bring together God's complete and true Word, the 'rhema' (written counsel of God).
For example in Exodus 12 (see verse 21) we find God speaking to the people of Israel about the 'Passover' (when God would 'pass over' the houses of Israel and not to kill them, as would happen to the Egyptians, because the houses of Israel were marked with the blood of a passover lamb). This would be the 'first month of the year' (Ex 21.2). In the New Testament (Matthew 26.17) we find that Jesus was killed on the same day as the Passover. Secondly, the crossing of the Red Sea (to escape Egypt and set out towards the Promised Land) corresponds to the resurrection of Jesus from the grave (Matthew 28 for example). Thirdly, in Exodus 19.1 we find the people of Israel coming to Mount Sinai and Moses going up Mount Sinai for 40 days (now that's a mountain trip!) to receive the 10 Commandments from God. This exactly parallels the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, both being 50 days later than the Passover.
The Holy Spirit is deeply involved in history - His Story - God's Story. And he will do the same for you. Invite the Holy Spirit to fill you with his presence and pray continually to be filled with Him.
More powerful than we can imagine - Numbers 11.24-26
Sometimes God moves in power in really visible and clear ways. One time this happened was in Acts 2 when God sent his Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us there were what seemed to be tongues of fire on the heads of the disciples in the room. Imagine the sight! The experience was so dramatic that the disciples were completely changed! God has moved in this kind of way through history. Some people call these moves of the Holy Spirit, 'awakenings' or 'revivals'.
In 1857, God used a guy called Jeremiah Lanphier who started a prayer meeting in a place called Fulton Street in New York. The place quickly filled up as the prayer meetings continued with 1000s of business men coming to faith. Beyond this, people were drawn in and all across New York (and even according to the New York Post), people were being saved (coming to know Jesus) and being transformed, with churches full and people worshipping God. Even a ship from Europe had its crew members all come to faith as a result of hearing what God was doing.
In a place in Wales called Ffald-y-Brenin (a retreat centre), God has been doing some amazing things over recent years. People have experienced God's power with many stories such as one guy drawn to drive into the venue with his family and meeting with God. Even people walking past have encountered God and his presence. Many people have been set free from addictions and others come to faith.
Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again. However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp.
In Numbers 11, we see that when God released some of his power by his Spirit, it wasn't just those 72 elders that had come away from the Israelite camp that God touched. His presence and power was felt back in the camp by two people called Eldad and Medad. God's power is so powerful that it doesn't just stay on us - it goes out from us by his Holy Spirit to touch others. This needs to be our cry out to God - fill me with your presence and use me God!
Quiet-time added 28/12/11
Conceived - Matthew 1.20
But after (Joseph) had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." The Amplified Bible says, "for that which is conceived in her is of (from, out of) the Holy Spirit."
In Psalm 127.1, King Solomon wrote, "Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labour in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."
An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and let him know that he was to marry Mary. He brought reassurance to Joseph that the child inside Mary's womb was from the Holy Spirit. Joseph then did take Mary as his wife, in obedience to God. We'd do well to do the same - obeying what God says!
But there's another important thing going on here. What was conceived inside Mary was from the Holy Spirit. Many of us have good ideas, creative ideas and say lots of things. But God has made us and prepared good works in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2.10). Our part is to partner with what God tells us to do. Whatever we do needs to come from God. It was God who had the idea of sending Jesus (who willingly came and died for us), it was the Holy Spirit who helped Mary conceive. We don't understand how all this happen, but we have to recognise that the initiation came from God. We want God ideas, and we want God's ideas for our own lives. He is the one that needs to 'conceive' the plans for our life, not us. We can't tell God what we're going to do and expect him to OK it. He often will, because he directs us by giving us passions and abilities for things. But we must allow God to be in all we do so he can direct us. We learn from the Bible that Jesus is the head of the church - that includes us. We're not the head, no leader is the head. Jesus is the head, the inspiration.
And don't forget that conception takes 9 months for a baby (normally). If God's planted something in you (an idea, not a garden plant...) then you often have to wait and allow it to develop before 'giving birth' to it. So be patient, let God be God and work with what he's doing. Even Jesus said he didn't do anything except what he saw God doing (John 5.19).
New Wine - John 19.28-30 (Amplified)
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished (ended), said in fulfillment of the Scripture, I thirst. A vessel (jar) full of sour wine (vinegar) was placed there, so they put a sponge soaked in the sour wine on [a stalk, reed of] hyssop, and held it to [His] mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
In John 2, Jesus did his first miracle when he turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana. The wine that Jesus created was far tastier and better than the wine that they'd had at the start of the night. Even the master of the banquet noticed when he said to the bridegroom that people usually have the choice wine first then the cheap wine - "but you've saved the best till now!"
When Jesus died on the cross, he said 'it is finished'. The world could now enter into a new covenant. In the past, people had to follow all the laws, but now God blew open the doors through what Jesus did so now through his sacrifice, we could all be restored to God (if we accept Jesus). On the Cross as we read in John 19, Jesus 'received the sour wine' and then said 'it is finished'.
One of the titles of the Holy Spirit is the 'new wine'. In John 2 with the wedding in Cana, Jesus pointed the way to what he would do on the Cross when he created the 'choicest wine'. Then when Jesus died, he took away the old and brought the new. The people had been under the law (the sour wine), but Jesus would bring in the new covenant with his perfect sacrifice and release the Holy Spirit. Today, you don't have to have 'sour wine' (the law), you can have Jesus and the freedom and new wine of the Holy Spirit!
Rested - Matthew 3.16 and John 1.32
These voices record the time that John the Baptist baptised Jesus in the River Jordan. In Matthew we read that, "As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him." In John's Gospel, John records, "Then John (the Baptist) gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him (Jesus)."
So from Matthew, we find out that the Holy Spirit descended from heaven like a dove onto Jesus and then 'lighting' on him. This isn't some kind of weird light show, but the Spirit coming / accompanying Jesus. But John the disciple's account recalls John the Baptist's testimony that he saw the Spirit come down from heaven like a dove and then remain (abide, continue) on Jesus.
What an incredible testimony. Jesus was the perfect Son of God, fully man and fully God so we'd expect the Spirit of God to remain with him, but this is a challenge to us. The Spirit of God is described as a dove. In Matthew 10.16, Jesus sends out his disciples into the world and tells them to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. Right back to the story of Noah, we find that it was the dove who was sent out from the ark and returned to the ark (possibly a representation of the Holy Spirit). We know that the dove is a peaceful bird and one easily scared away. Yet the 'dove' remained on Jesus. If we are right with God, then the 'dove' of the Holy Spirit remains with us. But when we sin, the dove flies away until we're right with God again by saying sorry. The lesson today is don't frighten away the dove of the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit as dove quiet-time added 23/6/10
Written on our hearts - 2 Corinthians 3.2-3 | TOP
I heard this great point from Joyce Meyer recently.. In the Old Testament, we find Moses going up the mountain to meet God, to get the 10 Commandments from God. We find this in Exodus 19 and then the giving of the commandments in Exodus 20 (or Deuteronomy 4 and 5). These essential 10 laws were given by God and hand-written into physical stone (Exodus 31.18). But the stone tablets reflected the hearts of the people of Israel (and of all humans) in that they were / we are hard-hearted, with stony hearts towards God. Time after time, the people of Israel heard from God and then quickly ended up rejected him. Even when Moses had gone up Mount Sinai to meet with God for just 40 days, we find that the people gathered around Aaron and demanded, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” Aaron gave into their pressure and built a golden calf - one which Moses destroyed... "And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it. He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?” (Ex 32.20-21). Aaron replied pitifully that it was the people who were evil - in itself showing how important that clear and Godly leadership / example is.
God understands that all our hearts are weak, so instead of giving us written commands on stone tablets, God instead imprinting his life in our hearts by his Holy Spirit. We read this in 2 Corinthians 3.2-3 from Paul, "You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." Paul was affirming what God had said in Ezekiel 36.26, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."
It is incredible to think that God has now 'written' his love, character and life into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who he freely gives to us when we accept Jesus in our life. He then works in us through the Holy Spirit to change our hearts to become more like Jesus - although we should choose to work with God in this process and not harden our hearts! This is a lifetime process, although God does often separately pour out his Holy Spirit and fill us with the Spirit of God in ways beyond our understanding! God will change your hard heart, your stony heart and put a new spirit in you, a heart of flesh and make you a letter of love to a broken, hurting and dying world.
Preaching the Gospel, with signs following (Part 1) - Mark 16.19-20 | TOP
There are some people who mistakenly say that what happened in the New Testament with miracles, signs and wonders, deliverance and healing were only for a certain period of time and don't operate today. Unfortunately this speaks more about people's inability to cope with something beyond their understanding than it does with what the Bible actually says! Matthew 28.19 is a famous Bible verse. In it, Jesus tells his disciples, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Jesus had been given all authority from his Father in heaven and so he was passing this authority on to his disciples who would be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Many people agree with this and want to go out and preach the Gospel and baptise people (usually having baptism classes for weeks, even though the Biblical model was immediate baptism after becoming a follower of Jesus!) But the same people don't accept that the Holy Spirit heals today or does miracles. Yet in Mark 16, we find Jesus telling his disciples a similar thing to Matthew 28. He says that in his name, his disciples will drive out demons, speak in new tongues, won't be hurt by deadly poison, snakes won't kill them and heal the sick. This is in the same part that tells the disciples to go and preach the gospel to people and baptise those who believe. The Bible carries on to confirm this: Mark 16.20 (in the Amplified Bible) says, "And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the attesting signs and miracles that closely accompanied [it]." So Jesus clearly confirmed his Word (by the power of the Holy Spirit) by the disciples being enabled to do miraculous things.
Preaching the Gospel, with signs following (Part 2) - Acts 8.6-7 | TOP
Then if we scoot across into the book of Acts, we find the only person in the New Testament directly described as being an evangelist - Philip (although, Jesus and the disciples were 'evangelists' as the same Greek word used for the word 'evangelist' is used often in the New Testament - eg. Luke 4.43, Acts 16.10). In Acts 8.6-7, we read, "When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. So there was great joy in that city." So we know that after Jesus, miracles were still happening. Why was this? Because people still needed healing, deliverance and God was still confirming the preaching of his Word (the Bible). Unfortunately, people who claim miracles don't happen today are wrong. People still need healing, people still need delivering from evil spirits and God is still in the business of confirming his Word. People have not changed. In fact, we know from the Bible that as time marches on and the second coming of Jesus gets nearer, things and people will become more evil. If anything, we need more miracles / signs / wonders / healings and deliverances today than ever before. And this is happening, across the globe. This is the power of God - "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit," says the LORD Almighty (Zechariah 4.6).
Whitsun / Whit Sunday - Jesus goes back to heaven - Acts 1.9-11 | TOP
Jesus had completed his mission. Jesus came into the world to make a way back with the Father in heaven, if people accept him. He had been crucified on the cross and become sin so that through him, we could die to sin and be made right with God. He rose from the dead, to overcome the power of death and the evil one. This was a picture for all those who would follow him as their Lord and Saviour (saving one). Those who follow Christ will also overcome death through what Jesus did. But now it was time for Jesus to return to heaven. In John 16.6-7, Jesus said to the disciples that it was better that he went away so that he could send the counsellor, the Holy Spirit. In Acts 1.9 it was time for Jesus to return to heaven back to what people call his 'high priestly ministry' (see Hebrews 8.1 and Hebrews 10.12). This means that Jesus now sits at the right hand of God in heaven, interceding for us. What is intercession? It is standing between God and us, pleading for us and crying out to God on our behalf (Romans 8.34). So, as he promised, Jesus went back up to heaven (the posh word is that Jesus 'ascended' - that means he went upwards.. must have been fun to watch, pity they didn't have cell phones to video it!) But Jesus didn't just go and leave the disciples with nothing. He promised his Spirit (Acts 1.7) and that the disciples would be God's witnesses to the world. Jesus wasn't going to leave them as orphans (John 14.18), but would send the Spirit who would always be with them. In just the same way, we have God's Spirit with us all the time if we know Jesus. Jesus has also given us a command - to go into the world and be his witnesses. A witness testifies about something that has happened. Through our prayers, words, actions and love - we are God's witnesses on this earth. In a way, we are the 'hands, feet and mouth' of Jesus - representing him and being 'Jesus to people' by acting and loving with his love in us. Jesus went up and up when he went back to heaven. In the same way, we need to be growing more in Jesus and being increasingly like him. We don't go up in the air as Jesus did, but our lives should go 'up and up' spiritually and in our love for people. Are you growing more like Jesus every day? If not, ask Jesus to help you, to change you and shape you. The more you become like him, the more Jesus can and will use you :)
In the beginning - Genesis 1.1-Genesis 2.1 | TOP
We know that the Holy Spirit was at work in the beginning of time. The Spirit of God hovered over the waters of a formless, empty and dark earth. Then God started his work building the earth and all its elements, firstly saying, 'let there be light.." Just as God created light from a dark world, the same is true of God's work towards us as people. Let's think about this further.. In the beginning of time, there was nothing. We know that the world was 3 things: dark, formless and empty. So what did God do? First of all, he said, 'let there be light'. We know that light cancels out darkness - so now there was no darkness. But that wasn't enough. Just having light is great, but there is so much more to life. So, God started to form the earth and shape its foundations, using great wisdom, skill and knowledge (see also Proverbs 4.19-20). The earth now had a form. So there was light - and a formed earth. But again, more was needed. So thirdly, God filled the earth - with plants, creatures, and mankind. So what was once dark, formless and empty - was now light, formed and filled. This is equally true of the life that Jesus gives us. In John 1, we find out that Jesus is the light of the world. Through God's Holy Spirit, we are brought into the light by Jesus, where God forms us and fills us with his Spirit and all that he is, as we are transformed more and more into his likeness. The Bible is full of this kind of symbolism. God's Word isn't dull and lifeless, in fact it is the only thing that brings light and life. Are you feeling dark, lifeless and empty? If you are, then ask God's Spirit today to bring you light, life and to fill you completely with him. Call out to Jesus, whatever stage of life you're in. He will hear you. If you do, tell someone, find a church to support you, or of course, you can contact us :)
Why Do We Need The Holy Spirit? (For more, click here) | TOP
The Spirit is a person that we need in our Christian lives - he is the Counselor, a Helper, Comforter. The Spirit guides us to Jesus and prays on our behalf before God. The Spirit also leads us into all truth. Truth is a person - Jesus. (John 14.6). John 16.13 says the Spirit will guide us into all truth. So, pretty cool stuff really. The Spirit cannot be understood. We see in the Holy Spirit the great depth of God. A depth we can't even begin to imagine.
The Spirit of God gives life. He gave life in the beginning. You need the life of the Spirit in your life too! Want a full, satisfying, wholesome life then get filled with the Spirit! We need this power in our lives and the life of the church. You know, not all Christians seem to want to receive mad stuff from God. This may explain partly why the church in the West is so powerless.
The Spirit also glorifies Jesus; unites all Christians in the local, national, worldwide church. The Spirit convicts us of our sin (John 16); causes people to receive the new life through Christ (John 3.5-6); the Holy Spirit is a witness to us getting saved (Romans 8.15-16). In the life of a Christian, the Spirit reveals God's will to us (2 Peter 1.20-21) and gives us insight into God's Word. IN our lives it is the Spirit who gives us victory over bad stuff that tempts us, he helps us in our praying, and gives us guidance in life.
However, you can't be filled with something without experiencing something. If your Christian life doesn't need the power of the Holy Spirit then you must be superhuman and I doubt that's true. Truth is we all need to be continually filled as the Bible says. If you fit the Spirit into your small, neat theology, it'll be no surprise if your Christian life is small and neat. And probably fairly lifeless too!
The Holy Spirit is a person - read John 14.15-17 | TOP
If we were to live our lives knowing that the Holy Spirit is a person, I think it would make a lot of difference. How do we know the Holy Spirit is a person? Well, the Bible tells us. But the Holy Spirit is not a person as we are people, but something much more. The Holy Spirit is God, part of the Godhead (that's God, Jesus and the Spirit), he can be in many places at once and more, pretty cool.
In John 14, Jesus refers to the Spirit as 'he' - saying, 'But you know him, because he lives with you and he will be in you.' We also find a reference in Ephesians 4.30 in the NIV says, 'do not grieve the Holy Spirit' (do not make the Holy Spirit sad, upset). Then in 1 Thessalonians 5.19 we learn not to hold back the work of the Holy Spirit.
So what can we learn here? We are in a relationship with God. We need to treat the Spirit of God with respect, we need to be in relationship, we need to learn to hear, listen, obey, we need to not upset or grieve the Spirit. Just as you wouldn't want to upset your best mate, so it is with God's Spirit. Just as you need to give and receive in any relationship, so it is with the Spirit. Except the Spirit of God will always be with you to help, guide, discipline, challenge and comfort you better than any friend.
Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty' (Zechariah 4.6, NIV) | TOP
If we do things in our own strength, we often mess up and find things don't seem to go right. Well there's good news - the Holy Spirit!
In John 14.16, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to all his disciples and to us today! The Holy Spirit helps us to be more like Jesus. Jesus called his Spirit the 'Counsellor' or the 'Comforter' and promised that he would help us and always be with us. We can't see the Holy Spirit but if you are a Christian he is always with you!
This week, ask God's Holy Spirit to be in charge of everything you do and say. Try it! All you need to do is to ask and believe. (Read John 16.23)
GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT - read John 16.5-14 | TOP
The Holy Spirit is God's gift to you - it's like having Jesus around all the time to advise you, help you and be with you. Before Jesus went back up into heaven he said to his disciples that 'it is better for you that I go away. When I go away, I will send the Helper to you' (YB). The Holy Spirit is working inside every Christian, changing them and using them for God's work. How much is up to you!
Jesus said that his Holy Spirit is there to help you, always be with you and to show you what is true (John 14.6). The Spirit is there to come and help, to teach and to remind.
This same Holy Spirit radically changed the lives of a bunch of ordinary blokes so much that they preached without fear and the church spread across the whole world. Do you want to be a world changer? It starts with you. 'Holy Spirit, change me to be like Jesus and use me.'
'God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well' (Romans 12.6, TLB) | TOP
If you're a Christian, God has given you at least one gift which is distributed by the Holy Spirit for serving him, building up the church and spreading the Good News (1 Corinthians 12). You have each got at least one gift.
So what gift have you got and what gifts are there? Read 1 Corinthians 12.8-10, 1 Corinthians 12.28, Romans 12.6-8, Ephesians 4.11, 1 Peter 4.9-10, Exodus 31.3, 1 Timothy 2.1-2 and Psalm 150.3-5.
Take a look at what amazing gifts God has for you! Prayer, creative communication, leadership, teaching, prophecy (hearing from God and telling people what God is saying), healing, doing miracles, faith, giving, helping, being a pastor, setting up churches (apostle), telling people about Jesus (evangelist) and more!
UNDERSTANDING AND USING YOUR GIFTS - Read 1 Corinthians 13.1-3 | TOP
Don't forget your special abilities are God-given. Plus, you have to have do things in love. We all know the difference between being taught something by a teacher who enjoys their job and loves their subject, and a teacher who hates his job and can't stand the subject. God wants you to be passionate about him and other people (Matthew 22.37-40).
Answer these questions to find out how you can use your gifts
a. If I could do something in my Christian life that I couldn't fail at, what would it be?
b. At the end of my life, I'd like to look back and say I've achieved
c. If you talked to my mates, they'd say I'm interested in
d. What keeps you talking late into the night?
e. What kind of people would you most like to help?
'Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift.' (Ephesians 4.7, TM) | TOP
We've looked at gifts already. How does it work? Jesus lets you 'share' in a measure of his power. It's like the Internet - Jesus is like the Internet and you are like a computer hooked up to and 'accessing' the Internet/Jesus.
The amazing things is that Jesus freely gives gifts. You don't earn it, you don't deserve it. Jesus gives it out of his kindness. What's more is that right before time began Jesus chose you and chose you to serve him in a particular way, time and place (Ephesians 1.4). Amazing or what?
Jesus has gifted you but have you asked him what your gift is? Are you a bit nervous? Don't be! The Holy Spirit doesn't force himself on you - he won't make you do what you don't feel comfortable with. Today, thank Jesus for his kindness, ask him what your gift is, ask if there's anything stopping you from receiving your gift, then ask God to give you his gift(s)!