Wobbly Stool – Conclusion

3 legged stool - conclusion

Our key Scripture for this series is found in 2 Corinthians 13:14: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

The Holy Spirit in us is one thing, and the Holy Spirit on us is another.

DL Moody

Luke’s Baptism Account

Luke wrote about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This baptism is something Jesus does rather than the universal imparting of the Holy Spirit that came from Father God (1). Luke’s account (2) is obviously not about the salvation of the Apostles since Jesus had already imparted the Holy Spirit into His disciples (3). What we see is that Jesus was quoting what John the Baptist prophesied at the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry (4).

The baptism Luke wrote about in Acts is Christ’s baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ first Holy Spirit baptism was recorded in Acts, chapter 2. This baptism was what John the Baptist prophesied (6) and what DL Moody was referring to for the baptism “on” believers. 

Paul’s Baptism Account

So, we have the universal imparting of the Holy Spirit that Paul wrote about. For all Christians, the Holy Spirit desires our fellowship, leads us into all truth, helps us pray, is the seal of our salvation, and will be with us forever. We can summarize the work that the Holy Spirit does for all believers is this: He guides, comforts, and provides.

The Holy Spirit Brings Power With Him

What if you want more of God? If you feel like your prayers aren’t what they should be, if when you pray with people it seems there’s something lacking, if you know God has a job for you but you don’t know what it is, then ask Jesus for more of the Holy Spirit. Ask Jesus to baptize you as He did the 120 in the upper room (7). Then you can say as Paul said, “What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. (8)”

Though Christian men and women have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, yet He is not dwelling within them in power; in other words, God has a great many sons and daughters without power.

DL Moody

Conclusion

Living for Jesus is an exciting adventure. Thankfully, He provides all we need to do what He desires us to do! That wobbly stool will be rock-steady when we are fully engaged with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.


References:
1) John 14:16: And I [Jesus] will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
2) Acts 1:4–5: And while staying with them he [Jesus] 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.”
3) John 20:19, 22 19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you…” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” 
4) Luke 3:16: “I [John the Baptist] baptize you with water, but he [Jesus] who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
5) 1 Corinthians 12:12-13: 12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves[a] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
6) Acts 19:4-5 4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.”  5 On hearing this, they were baptized in[a] the name of the Lord Jesus.
7) Acts 1:13-15: 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James.  14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. 15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120)
8) 1 Corinthians 14:15: “What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

Wobbly Stool – Part 3

3 jegged stool - part 3

Our key Scripture for this series is found in 2 Corinthians 13:14: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

When it comes to our relationship with God, we sometimes create a wobbly stool. We embrace the truth of the Trinity of God. We pray to Father God, and we fellowship and follow Jesus, but we don’t always know what we should be doing with the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit For All Believers

Apostle Paul wrote that all believers receive the Holy Spirit when they are reborn. And this truth is no doubt based on the promise Jesus made when He said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,” (John 14:16 )

So, when did the disciples get saved? Let’s read John 20:19, 22 which takes place after Jesus rose from the dead: 19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you…” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

We can’t be certain when all of the Apostles personally received Jesus as their Savior but they would have done so before Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit into them.

After the ascension of Jesus, “Then they [the Apostles] returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.” (Acts 1:12) In Jerusalem there were about 120 believers as well as the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. (Acts 1:14-15)

Summary

1. Paul wrote about the universal imparting of the Holy Spirit into every believer in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13.

2. After Jesus rose from the dead, He entered a locked room where the Apostles had gathered. Jesus breathed the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit into the Apostles. (John 20:19-22)

3. After the Apostles received the Holy Spirit in them, then Jesus ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:9). 

4. Next, the Apostles returned to Jerusalem (Acts 1:12) to wait for Christ’s promise. 

5. The promise was for power when the Holy Spirit would come upon them (Acts 1:8). 

We see that Jesus was quite busy during the time after His resurrection and when He ascended into Heaven. All of His activity was in preparation for establishing His Church and empowering believers to go into all the world and make disciples in every nation. This assignment is still being fulfilled through missionaries and laypeople. 

Tomorrow we will look at the promise of the power of the Holy Spirit and what that means for us.

Photo credit: neil cummings on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA

You may like:
https://www.rockexcavationservice.org/jesus-the-pioneer/

A Wobbly Stool – Part 2

3 legged stool - part 2

[Summary from Part 1: When it comes to our relationship with God, I think we sometimes create a wobbly stool. We embrace the truth of the Trinity of God. We pray to Father God, and we talk with Jesus, but we don’t always know what we should be doing with the Holy Spirit.]

In the Apostle Paul’s benediction, found in 2 Corinthians 13:14, we read, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

When we received Jesus as our Savior, we received the Holy Spirit. However, through the grace of Jesus Christ, we can go deeper. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk “but in power.” – 1 Corinthians 4:20

The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick alongside it. – DL Moody

God wants you to be that straight stick and for people to see you alongside the crooked ones, not to fellowship with them but to provide a reference for the people in the world of what Godliness looks like.

That’s a high calling and one that is not easily attained. If what the world sees and hears is only doctrine and history then few people will respond to God’s call. What people want is to be touched by God, to experience God, so they know the difference between the stimulants of this world and the power of God. 

We can’t fake the power of God. For most of us, our salvation experience included someone witnessing to us. A Christian told us about their personal salvation experience and the power of the Holy Spirit’s work in their salvation. When we received Jesus, we experienced that power of the Holy Spirit’s conviction. When we prayed the sinner’s prayer, we KNEW we were unholy and utterly lost. And then we were made clean and reborn and knew the Holy Spirit was inside us.

This truth is confirmed by what the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write: For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. – 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

From this passage of Scripture, we know that every believer has received the Holy Spirit. God lives in each of us. And through us, God touches the lives of others. How wonderful is that! But there’s more. We’ll look at the “more” tomorrow in part three of “A Wobbly Stool.”

Photo credit: neil cummings on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA

You may like:
https://www.rockexcavationservice.org/point-me-to-jesus/

The Wobbly Stool

3-legged stool

Have you ever sat on a three-legged stool where one of the legs was shorter than the other two? I’m not easily annoyed, but I find wobbly 3-legged stools distracting. I don’t own any of these stools, so the only time I sit on one is if I’m visiting someone. The moment I sit down, I know I’ve got a challenge because a wobbly stool is so distracting that I find it quite difficult to follow our conversation.

Wobbly Theology

When it comes to our relationship with God, I think we sometimes create a wobbly stool. We embrace the truth of the Trinity of God. We pray to Father God and talk with Jesus, but we don’t always know what we should be doing with the Holy Spirit.

In the Apostle Paul’s benediction, found in 2 Corinthians 13:14, we read, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

First, notice the order Paul used for the Triune God – Son, Father, Spirit. This order is different from most accounts (2 Corinthians 1:2;), and the Holy Spirit led Paul to do this. Paul is saying that there is equality within God. We find no wobbly stool in God.

In our Scripture, Paul begins with the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we receive the love of God through the grace of Jesus Christ. We have fellowship with the Holy Spirit through the love of God, because of the grace of Jesus Christ. Our understanding of this completeness in God is how we avoid a wobbly theology.

Now, in my experience, I have met many Christians that carry a wobbly stool with them. When they speak of the things of God, they fumble a bit, for they tend to leave the Holy Spirit out of their thoughts. In truth, their faith in God is wobbly. Christ and the Father are fully understood and acknowledged, but the leg of the Holy Spirit is shorter. He is not ignored. It’s just that the believer doesn’t know what to do with the Holy Spirit. That creates wobbly faith, and none of us want that.

The Shy Person of God

Sometimes the Spirit is referred to as the shy Person of God. This perspective is because many references in the Bible show the Holy Spirit pointing us to Jesus, which is His ministry in this world, today. However, He has a very active role in the lives of believers. 

When we pray, we can (should) ask the Holy Spirit to direct our prayer. The Triune God should be active as we pray. The Holy Spirit will help us remember people and circumstances that we need to bring to Father God. He will reveal things in us that need to be dealt with. The Holy Spirit will also reveal to us things we would never have considered, which require prayer. I could go on, but let’s move ahead.

As today’s Scripture reveals, we should be in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. He (not it) desires a profoundly personal, deeply impactful relationship with you. 

I am going to continue this wobbly stool idea in my next blog post. For now, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26) – Amen

Photo credit: neil cummings on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA

You may like:
https://www.rockexcavationservice.org/security-certificate/

Create!

Amish barn raising

It’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. When a dad sees his son or daughter playing at sweeping the deck or a mom sees her child standing beside her mixing imagination while she mixes the ingredients for a cake, their hearts just about burst with joy. 

Our heavenly Father is the same way. All people have some measure of creativity because we all are in the image of God. But, when we are reborn, the Holy Spirit comes and lives within us; the God of all creation comes into these jars of clay.

God’s Creativity in Us

When creative God abides within people made in His image then marvelous creativity bursts forth. Yes, I’m talking about you! Let’s see God’s creativity in three passages of Scripture:

For by him (the Son of God) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. – Colossians 1:16

And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. – 2 Samuel 6:14

“Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” – Jeremiah 18:2

Emulate God’s Creativity

God’s Word affirms His creativity. God’s Word declares His pleasure in His people emulating His creativity. Just as their child’s imagination blesses a parent, so God is blessed when His children dance and sing and paint and create pottery. Let’s not forget that before Jesus began His earthly ministry, He was a tektōn. Most Bibles translate this Greek Word to mean carpenter, but this Greek Word was a common term for an artisan/craftsman– Wikipedia

God wants His children to be creative. When we are, we are worshiping the Creator. So, receive this liberty from God. If God has given you dance, then dance. If He has given you musical skills, then use those to glorify God. If God has given you artistic skills, skills to paint, sculpt, sew, craft wood, or clean tombstones, then do so to the glory of God. Whatever creativity God has placed in you, be emboldened to use it. That’s why God gave it to you. Use it in honorable ways; ways that pull people to God the Creator.

Be Confident

Are you unsure of what creativity God has given you? You can glorify God through the use of software or farming or auto repair or custodial work. Wherever God has placed you, He has provided the means to be creative, ask Him, seek His provision, knock on the door of His opportunities, and you will receive. And the God who created everything that is seen and unseen will be pleased when you imitate Him.

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash, picture of an Amish barn raising.

You may like:
https://www.rockexcavationservice.org/imagined/

My Beloved Son

elderly hands folded in prayer

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” – Matthew 3:16-17 ESV

Prayer is a Healing Activity

Prayer is a healing activity for us. As believers, we pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But when we get alone with God (Matthew 6:6) and pray to the Triune God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, hears us, consoles us, and acts on our behalf.

As part of our healing, before we pray, we need to settle any matter where someone has something against us (Matthew 5:23). As we enter into prayer, we believe that God is and that He answers prayers (James 1:6), knowing that “if we worship God and do His will, God listens to us (John 9:31). 

Preparing for Prayer

Entering prayer, we draw near to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). We are entering our prayer time with confidence (1 John 5:14-15). We give thanks to God (Matthew 6:9-13). We confess our sins to God (1 John 1:9 ) and forgive anyone that has wronged us (Mark 11:25). As we pray, we should take time to be at peace (Philippians 4:6-7).

We Ask

Praying, we go before our Father, praying in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18 ). We pray on behalf of others that are in need (1 Timothy 2:1-2). We ask our Father for spiritual things, material things, emotional things, human things. We ask because our God has told us to ask (Matthew 7:7) and we remember that nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37)

We pray to our Father, trusting that the Spirit leads us as we pray, and we know that Jesus is our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5 ) between our humanity and God’s divinity. Most importantly, we pray for the will of Jesus, our Lord. That is what Jesus meant when He taught us to pray in the name of Jesus (John 14:13). 

God’s Beloved Son

So, whether we begin our prayer in the name of Jesus or close our prayer in His name, when bringing His name before our Father, I think it’s good to acknowledge that our petitions are in the name of God’s beloved Son (Matthew 3:17).

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

You may like:
https://www.rockexcavationservice.org/prayer-can-do-anything-that-god-can-do/

The Problem With Dads

Dad hugging son

Matthew 3:16And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

The Problem With Dads

Not everyone has a meaningful relationship with their dad. Within the complexities of our society, many dads are absent from their children; many more remain in their family but are unapproachable or disengaged or outright damaging to their kids. These Godless actions of dads result in children and adults who are unable to relate to Father God.

Many of these damaged souls hate God, for they resent God, feeling abandoned by Him. These people need us, for we have personally experienced the love of God and have marveled at the beauty of the relationship between our heavenly Father and His Son, our Savior, and God’s Spirit abiding in us.

God’s Beloved Son

God can use us to bring the Good News of God’s beloved Son to those around us that are hurt and damaged by a dysfunctional relationship with their dads. 

Perhaps, you, too, have only bad experiences with your dad or no experience with your dad. Recovery starts with Jesus, with forgiveness, with studying God’s Word to see how the Father loves the Son, and how our loving Father embraces us and desires to bring renewal into the hearts for those that cringe at the thought of fathers. 

Lean In To God

Be bold. Lean in to “Our Father which art in heaven.” And when you pray, pray in the name of the Father’s “beloved Son” with whom He is well pleased.

Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

Imagined

a man kneeling and praying

It Started in a Swamp

Walt Disney imagined building a Florida theme park in 1959, and construction began in 1965. Most of the land was a swamp. However, Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966, during the creation of the complex. Today, Walt Disney World is the most visited vacation resort in the world, with an average annual attendance of more than 52 million.

As I understand it, in 1971, near the opening day of the Magic Kingdom theme park, the chief architect was standing beside the widow of Walk Disney with a map of the 39 square miles targeted to be developed for what became Walk Disney World. He asked Walt’s widow, Lillian, if she could imagine such a large theme park. She said, “I don’t have too. Walt already did.”

Do the Imagined

Acts 2:12-14, 40-41, Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd…With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Peter had learned from the time he sank while walking on water. God’s opportunities may only last for an instant. He stood up in faith. Now Peter had faith, strong faith. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter preached Jesus and the cross; thousands were saved. No doubt, the number of people saved was more than the Pharisees ever imagined.

Throughout history, we have seen God use His people to accomplish things that others couldn’t imagine. God has used believers to build hospitals in impoverished nations, universities in newly formed countries, scientific breakthroughs that astounded academia, and more. Each time God’s servants did imagine these endeavors succeeding. They did these works because they trusted the one true God.

A Modern Example

If we consider just one modern example let’s consider 24-7 Prayer

Their story began in 1999 when some people started a prayer room in a warehouse on the south coast of England. Surprisingly, young people flocked to this prayer room. At some point, a person spray painted a poem on a wall; the poem went viral. 

That first prayer room has now touched more than two million people in more than ten thousand prayer rooms in most denominations and more than half the nations on earth. And it continues today. 

Now It’s Your Turn

God is still at work. He still uses ordinary people, as Jesus did with the fishermen. You’ve probably heard, “God’s not looking for ability but availability.” It’s true. He wants people that will drop what they’re doing and go where the Spirit leads them and not fear the wind and the waves. He wants you. He has a vision of who you could be. If you haven’t already done so, dive in because He’s calling.

Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash

By the way, Lectio365 is part of my morning devotional.

You may like:
https://www.rockexcavationservice.org/security-certificate/

Secrets In God

a closet

If you are going to tell a friend a secret, Starbucks is the wrong setting. In fact, no coffee shop will work because everyone is listening to everyone else’s conversation. No, to tell your friend a secret, you need to go someplace private. That is what Jesus told us to do when we pray:

Jesus said, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you”. – Matthew 6:6

Alone With God

I’ve found that the time I spend alone with God works just like regular friendships; it deepens with time. And with consistency, I don’t have to spend very much time on housekeeping. That way, we have time to intercede in prayer for people, pray for our leaders, our country, our pastor, and so forth. But then there needs to be a time when I speak with my God.

If God should desire to raise us to the position of one who is an intimate and shares his secrets, we ought to accept this gladly. – Saint Teresa of Avila

I need to hear from God, feel His presence, and share our secrets. What secrets? Well, if I told you… 😉 The truth is that in our intimacy with God, He will create secrets. “Give Joe an extra big tip next time.” Don’t tell anyone what you did. Or, “Tell Sue that you will bring her name before the God of all Creation.” It’s just between Us/us.

Profound Secrets

Sometimes God’s secrets are much more profound. They may deal with your relationship with the Holy Spirit. God may be planting a call to foreign missions in your heart. I personally knew a man that, during his prayer time, God promised to carry him through a difficult time. Less than a week later, he was diagnosed with cancer. God brought him through the medical process, and he is a cancer survivor.

If your prayer time tends to be a “shopping list,” carve out a little extra time to strengthen your relationship with the one true God. You may be surprised at the secrets He shares with you.

Photo by Jamesthethomas5 on Unsplash

You may like:
https://www.rockexcavationservice.org/this-is-how-you-pray/

Keep In Time

orchestra

I would like us to consider, today, Galatians 5:25 (ESV), “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” 

Tucked into this brief verse is a powerful truth that we, as Christians, must possess to be effective Christians. If I may, I would like to paraphrase the passage of Scripture this way: “If we are going to be in God’s orchestra, then we need to keep in time with the Conductor.”

For us to contribute to God’s work on earth we need to be synchronized with the will and movement of the Holy Spirit of God. We can’t do that unless we’re in our designated place, doing our assigned work. Then, just like an orchestra, together, we can present to God beautiful, powerful, and glorious music of praise.

Photo by Manuel Nägeli on Unsplash

You may like:
https://www.rockexcavationservice.org/shield-your-treasure/

%d bloggers like this: