Truthful lips endure forever

sign post with Truth and Lie

Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

Proverbs 12:19 ESV

The fruit of a lie is always bitter. Marriages can be destroyed by a single lie. Friendship can be shipwrecked by a single act of deception. Relationships built with lies are like houses built upon sand, they never survive hard times.

Truth Has Been Redefined

The odd thing about truth is that it appears to be so simple, so unassuming, so innocuous. Still, Jesus told us to boil the truth down to even less than what we know. He said, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Matthew 5:37 ESV)

I’ve discovered that within my lifetime the meaning of “truth” has been redefined. Several lengthy conversations with people from younger generations have confirmed to me that “truth” is no longer recognized as a “factual thing”. Rather, truth is now believed to be subjective, situational, and malleable. However, I’ve also discovered that there is a hunger within most people for unambiguous, unaltered truth. That’s good news.

Truth Is A Liberator

The personification of truth is Jesus. He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV) Truth is the device by which holiness is attained. Jesus prayed to His Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17) Holiness should be the material from which our moral character is built “since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)

Truth is a liberator. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32) As we just read in John 17:17, God’s word is truth, and we see the Divine power of God’s Word in Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Ten things we learned about Truth

  1. Truth appears unassuming
  2. When answering binary questions (yes/no, true/false, etc.) we should answer simply. We should not try to bolster or expand upon the truth.
  3. When we talk with other people we need to understand that our definition of truth may not be the same as their definition.
  4. Truth finds its genesis within Jesus Christ.
  5. It is God’s requirement for us to be holy. The only means by which we can become holy is through truth.
  6. Truth sanctifies us (sets us apart), and this truth is found in the living Word of God which includes the Old Testament.
  7. Speaking to Father God, Jesus said, “Your word is truth.”
  8. If we live in God’s Word then we are truly disciples of Jesus.
  9. If we do remain in Jesus then the Holy Spirit (i.e., the Spirit of Truth) will reveal truths to us that are in God’s word which will set us free from “the sin that so easily entangles.” (Hebrews 12:1)
  10. We learned that the Word of God is living and active, discerning the thoughts and intentions of our hearts.

Prayer 

Father, thank you for sending the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, John 14:26), who leads us into all truth. Thank you Jesus for communicating Your will and intent to us through the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), and making Your Word alive, active, and powerful. Spirit, thank you for abiding in us, teaching us the truths of the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 2:13) as well as coming along side us (John 14:16-17) to guide and provide for us. And, Holy Spirit, thank you for filling believers who ask you for more. Oh, my God, how marvelous you are.

Father, I ask that you keep us, Your children, aware of the danger that lives inside every lie. Remind us continually that even though truth may appear inadequate, Your power is contained in truth, and Your power is released by Jesus when we ask within your will. Guide us into holy lives I ask. In all of these requests, I pray in the name of Your beloved Son, Jesus. Amen.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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Truth can be hard but lies live forever

Brave New World

a man holding an open Bible in a crowd

Acts 4:32-37 (ESV) 32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

This passage of Scripture is, perhaps, the most threatening in the whole of the New Testament. Over the years, I have heard innumerable Pastors and Evangelists manipulate or even desecrate God’s message contained in these few verses. And I understand why. They appear to fly in the face of Capitalism and they most certainly cut the legs out from under any leader in God’s kingdom that has set their heart upon constructing a magnificent edifice (building).

I’ve been praying to understand what God is doing in the world today and I think I see three things. I’ll save the best for last.

One

Christians were first, and horribly, targeted for persecution as a group by the emperor Nero in 64 AD. A colossal fire broke out at Rome, and destroyed much of the city. Rumours abounded that Nero himself was responsible. He certainly took advantage of the resulting devastation of the city, building a lavish private palace on part of the site of the fire.

Perhaps to divert attention from the rumours, Nero ordered that Christians should be rounded up and killed. Some were torn apart by dogs, others burnt alive as human torches. Over the next hundred years or so, Christians were sporadically persecuted. It was not until the mid-third century that emperors initiated intensive persecutions.

From a BBC article by Dr Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe titled Christianity and the Roman Empire

Note that the date is 64 AD. This persecution occurred after Acts, chapter four. What God did for the early Church, He has repeatedly done for the Church down through the ages. He gives times of rest and refreshing and then He leads the Church into battles where many die a martyr’s death – the greatest growth is during the battles.

Therefore, my first point is that God gave the Western Church a respite but we turned it into a lifestyle.

Two

No doubt, for the early Church, it was from the wealth of the members selling their possessions that funding for the great dispersement provided. This dispersement was triggered by the stoning of Stephen. We find this in Acts 8:1, And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 

There are no times when we can be cruise-control Christians. If God is building the Church’s wealth then a battle is just around the corner.

Three

Throughout all of the history of Adam, God has used peculiarity (i.e. set-apart) to draw the attention of God’s elect to Himself. God’s people have prepared for a flood when none was visible, prepared for a baby when age cried “Impossible!”, birthed a nation from a baby floating in the Nile, trusted God when surrounded and vastly outnumbered by their enemy. Yes, I have Scripture for this and it’s best seen in the KJV, 1 Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;” (emphasis added)

God’s people don’t try to be peculiar, it’s just what happens when we follow God. Peculiar doesn’t mean crazy. As I wrote, it means “set-apart” but being set-apart often makes a person seem peculiar. A good example of peculiar was “Mr. Rogers” on PBS. As an ordained Presbyterian minister, he was certainly peculiar within the staff of PBS. Fred Rogers is quoted as saying,

“I went into television because I hated it so, and I thought there was some way of using this fabulous instrument to be of nurture to those who would watch and listen.” My guess is that we have rarely, if ever, taken a job because we thought we could turn the employer from bad to good.

We, as true believers, are peculiar people. That is God’s way. People living in the world must notice us, and notice that there is something different, a good difference, between the children of God and the children of the world. As true believers, we quickly surrender our possessions, surrender our rights, surrender our lives, to demonstrate the character of Jesus to people who remain under God’s curse.

A missionary once told me that every missionary had to able to do any one of five things at a moment’s notice: 1) preach 2) pray 3) teach 4) sing 5) die. We all should hold our lives as a gift of service to Jesus our Savior.

However, for decades now, while we’ve been living the lifestyle of Christianity, we have continually moved the Church closer and closer to the world. We justified these actions as attempts to remain relevant in a changing world. 

It is Christ Jesus who makes His Church relevant; it’s never within our ability to accomplish this.

God Stopped the Whole World

Never in my lifetime has the whole world stopped. Until now, the closest it came was in 1969 when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon. If you are old enough to remember that then you remember how TV networks cut to locations all across the globe, showing people gathered around TV sets, all gobsmacked. 

Well, this pandemic is more profound than Neil’s history-making step. Trust me on this, God did this out of His great love. You may ask, “How could God allow this to happen to good people?” The answer is simple and painful; there are no good people. And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18)

God stopped the world so we all would consider what life is about. For His Church, we face profound changes, not in the Gospel but in our lifestyle. Comfortable Christianity is not God’s intent. Jesus said, “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:38)

Yes, we are told by the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:11, “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.” We are to have this goal but we are also told to “take up our cross” and told by the Apostle Peter that we are a peculiar people. These messages are from the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit. These messages do not conflict. We are not faced with a dichotomy. So, what does God want from us? 

What does Obedience Look Like?

What Jesus said to His disciples is that He wants us to be obedient, and if we are, then our joy will be full. (John 15:9-11) So, obedience is not something we can choose. Our decision is to either be a Christian, or not. Choosing not to obey is choosing not to love Jesus. (John 14:15)

The Point

I’ve written a lot of words to lead us to the following thoughts, and they are: 

  1. God has prospered the members of Western churches for one hundred years. And countless churches own behemoth buildings that, overnight, have been rendered useless. This is not a mistake, rather it is God’s “bank account.”
  2. God’s blessing of an accumulation of wealth has not been for “us” to look like the world. That wealth is not ours.
  3. God’s people do not overcome the world by being a twin of the world. “And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.” (Revelation 12:11)

No revival, no world movement by God, can start or continue without the Holy Spirit moving and igniting souls. When we are full to overflowing of the Spirit within us then the oil of God’s anointing splashes into the fire of the Holy Spirit and we burst forth with power, testifying to the world the things of God.

What will the Church look like, now that we’re in a post mega-church building era? Perhaps, in cities, we will be those peculiar people that sold our cars and gave the money to churches in Syria and Egypt.

Perhaps we will now flood mass transit systems – and the world will take notice. Perhaps, in the new world, the Church will unwaveringly speak what we know as true even if our testimony costs us our homes, our liberty, or even our lives. Perhaps, we, as God’s children, will choose Truth over political correctness, and not allow God’s Truth to be bridled by godless people.

Brave New World

I don’t know what this new world holds of us. I don’t know if we have the will to rise to the occasion of becoming peculiar to our family, our friends, our workmates, our employers, our community, our country. Will we be a “Fred Rogers?” Will we carry Jesus into places we hate? I just don’t know. However, I do know that God is watching to see how we respond to this brave new world.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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Receive What is Given

girl giving a gift

There are so many needful things, all demanding our attention. Does God not hear them? Of course He does, still, if we’re going to cast ourselves into the fray, it helps to know if we’re in the right “fray.”

Corrie Ten Boom was a Christian survivor of the Holocaust, Hitler’s “final solution.” She had this to say about working for Jesus:

Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.”

Corrie Ten Boom

You or I may pray, “Bless me in this work I’m doing.” But, if we are in the wrong place at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing, then we will find ourselves waiting a long time for God’s blessing. It’s not a matter of doing “good things” or even “great things,” rather it is a matter of doing the “right things.” How else can Jesus say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)

To this John [the Baptist] replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven…” (John 3:27) From my walk with Jesus, the only works that will hold up under God’s inspection are those assignments that I received from Him and did under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Receive What is Given

Take a moment and inspect the work you’ve done. Does it withstand our Lord’s scrutiny?

Many of the works for which I’ve been commended are just chaff that will burn up. Many of the accomplishments which I hold dear will not survive the fire of God. Thankfully, there were times when I didn’t hinder Jesus.

There have been times when a garden of peace sprung up from the work Christ gave me to do. Times when I’ve received a phone call from a long forgotten workmate telling me that they finally accepted Jesus as their Savior. These will withstand God’s inspection; they will not burn up.

“A person can receive only what is given to them.” It’s fruitless to frenetically try to create a ministry. Rather, we must walk in the Spirit, then we will receive the assignments which Jesus calls us to. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:13)

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Direction from the Lord

You’ve probably heard the expression, “Don’t paint yourself into a corner.” Well, I did that when I was young. What a mess! It was my folks garage floor. I couldn’t stay in the corner until the paint dried so I tried to sneak around the edge of the semi-dried paint, which didn’t work. I was so focused on getting the floor finished that I didn’t pay attention to where I was. 🙁

I can honestly say that my cat, Max, has much more awareness of his surroundings than I am of mine. I come in a distant second to a cat! Still, I do try to diligently listen to the Holy Spirit as He directs me in my prayers and in my life, but there are times I hear but I don’t “do;” that always turns out bad.

Following God’s Direction

Just yesterday my wife told me she had heard God’s still small voice a week ago telling her to go to her hairdresser. That “word” came to her several times but she thought it would be fine if she just put it off until the next week – this week. Oops. Things have changed a lot this week so hair appointments are not happening anytime soon.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. – Psalms 32:8

My guess is that we all have heard or felt God’s direction but we put it off, thinking we could get to it later, when it would fit into our schedule. Well, I’m here to testify that delaying God will always paint us into a spiritual corner. God will guide and provide but we must listen and do.

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1 + 1 ≠ 2

childrens wooden blocks

It’s easy to look at something and see what we expect while missing what can be discovered. Those of us who regularly post blogs know the value of “fresh eyes.” If we can put aside a post for a few hours or a day before we need to publish it, we will almost always find something unexpected – errors to fix and better ways to communicate.

When 1 + 1 Does Not Equal 2

Let me give you a simple example of revealing something unexpected. We were taught very early in our lives was that 1+1=2. This math is learned so early in a child’s development that it becomes organic; it’s an axiom that’s not to be questioned. Nevertheless, right now, I’m going to prove that 1+1 does not always equal 2.

What I’m going to show is shockingly simple and staring us right in our faces. (By the way, the ≠ symbol means “not equal.”) Now here’s why 1 + 1 ≠ 2.

Let’s imagine that we have a tub full of children’s wooden building blocks. Each block has either a number, zero through nine, or the mathematical symbols + or -.

Now you reach into the tub and pull out a block that has the number one on it. You repeat and pull out another block that has the number one on it. Finally, you reach in and pull out a block that has the plus symbol, which represents “addition.” So, how many blocks do you have? Yep, you have three blocks. So, 1+1=3. 🙂

Promises

The one true God, the Triune God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, has given promises to us throughout God’s Word, from Genesis through Revelation. They are there to be used. We use them for comfort, and we use them in our prayers to keep our prayers within God’s will. The following Psalm is one to which I hang on.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah – Psalms 46:1-3

The Holy Spirit inspired the Psalmist to write, “We will not fear though the earth gives way.” Right now, many people think the world is collapsing. They predict that economies will fail, populations will be decimated, and our creature-comforts will be lost. But they don’t see with fresh eyes. We, as believers, aren’t to fear any of those things.

We have a hiding place, a place where we can be covered; that place is in God, and Jesus is the only gate (John 10:9) through which we can enter God’s refuge. Sure, bad things may happen, but we serve a good God (Mark 10:18) that will help us through them.

As we walk through each day that God gives us, let’s ask Him for fresh eyes. There are too many wonderful things that God has in store for those that trust Him.

Photo by Susan Holt Simpson on Unsplash

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Do you need a heart check-up?

If you genuinely want to know your spiritual condition, then listen to the words that you spontaneously say when something disagreeable happens. What are the first words out of your mouth when you drop a bag of groceries, or someone cuts you off in traffic or someone cuts in line when you’re boarding Southwest Air 🙁 not a problem right now )? What you will hear is the condition of your heart. Your spontaneous reaction is revealing.

Matthew 12:33-37 (NLT), “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.

What’s in our Hearts?

Good intentions are good, and reading your Bible is good. These indeed appear to be good fruit, but you verbalize what is in your heart when you don’t have time to engage your mouth-filter.

If we dive into the original Greek, we learn the inference from an “evil person produces evil things.” The word produces or brings ἐκβάλλει (ekballeiStrong’s Greek 1544: means to throw (cast, put) out; I banish; I bring forth, produce. From ek and ballo; to eject. The wording indicates the spontaneity of what comes from the heart.

If your words show that your fruit isn’t appealing, then it’s time to ask Jesus for help. God is ready to transform us by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). Don’t ask God for a better mouth-filter. Instead, ask Him for the renewal of your mind, for your transformation will change you, which includes your heart. Good things will be in your heart, so good things will spontaneously come out of your mouth.

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Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

I wanted to use this picture (I love coffee) but it didn’t connote today’s message. Still, I couldn’t pass up that opportunity to use it!

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Unsplash

Is It Dusty In Here?

a car kicking up dust

“…By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” – Genesis 3:19

Today my in-laws are attending a funeral for a middle-aged man that, over a number of years, became something of a son to them. They recently visited him one morning, and later that same day, he unexpectedly died. It’s been a big blow to them, like burying one of their children.

One of the things I’ve become acutely aware of, as I’ve aged, is the increasing frequency of funerals of people I love, people I know, people I know of. This observation has caused an awakening within me of how brief our time truly is for our walk within God’s Creation.

Stories of Dust

At birth, we each step into a story that has already begun. Siblings, cousins, parents, grandparents, friends, all are in our story, but we also step into their story. Wars, famines, conflicts, and more were all underway before we were a twinkle in our mothers’ eyes. Yet when we come upon the stage of life, we somehow feel that we “own” our time, not appreciating that our time is on loan from God. 

Within God’s divine plan, spanning thousands of years for the progeny of Adam, most of us are simple accouterments to His design. Dust we are and dust we shall return to. 

Our story in human history will close. Nevertheless, we are much loved by God. We are offered eternal life in God’s kingdom through Jesus. And out of His love, we are given and provisioned with a role designed just for each of us. How wonderful is our Father, how faithful is our Savior, how trustworthy is the Holy Spirit! Indeed, even as dust, we are greatly blessed.

Photo by Nico on Unsplash

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A Lesson From My Sears Guitar

kid playing guitar

I learned to play guitar when I was in grade school. My parents doubted my commitment, thinking it an interest that would soon pass, like my love for school. They bought me the least expensive guitar that Sears carried. I’m confident Sears gave the guitar to my parents, just to get rid of it. With that Sears guitar in hand, my dad said, “Teach yourself to play a hymn, and I’ll get you a better guitar.” That was like saying, “Win the Indy 500 in this VW Bug, and I’ll buy you a real car!”

The strings on my new guitar were nearly impossible for my young fingers to press down to form a note – “a” musical note and chords were impossible. Since this was way before the Internet, the only guitar information I had was a booklet that came with my Sears acoustic. So every day after school I’d go to my bedroom and try to figure out how to read music and how to make my guitar play those notes. Having at least a modicum of musical talent would have helped.

Show Time!

Finally, the day came when I was confident. Dad got home, Mom finished up in the kitchen, and then I said I wanted to show them something. With my track record, those were frightening words to my folks! They both sat down on the sofa, braced themselves, and stared at me; I don’t blame them.

I ran to my bedroom and ran back into the living room with a hymnal and my guitar. I don’t remember which hymn I chose; no doubt, I’ve blocked it from my memory. Anyway, I played the hymn all the way through including each verse, note perfect’ ish. By the end, my fingers were bleeding; that week, Dad rented an electric guitar and amplifier, and signed me up for lessons – the horrid sound of that Sears guitar was a real blessing!

Wait, you’re writing about fasting?

So what does this narcissistic story have to do with fasting? Before I answer, let’s read what Jesus said about fasting.

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward…” Matthew 6:16

Jesus said, “when you fast,” not “if you fast.” He left us no elbow room. Fasting should be part of every Christian’s life. For those celebrating Lent, your fasting and abstinence from meat are already underway; I’m proud of you! For others, fasting and/or abstinence may be a new or atypical aspect of your walk with Jesus.

Fasting doesn’t need to be total self-denial of food. In fact, that can be dangerous or impossible for many people. The self-denial of food (i.e., fasting) is something you must discuss with your family doctor before trying it.

We each need to pray and ask Jesus to show us the things that have control over us. Food, TV, video games, shopping, and so forth; things that aren’t sin until they are. From your list allow the Holy Spirit to guide you to one and fast it. How long? It’s between you and Jesus.

Why Fast?

Why fast? Well, there is that directive from Jesus we just read. Also, fasting is intended to help us hear from God. We don’t change His will by fasting, and we don’t fast to lose weight. We fast to carve out more time for us to spend in prayer and to draw closer to our God.

Oh, how does the story about my first guitar fit with fasting? Well, learning on that Sears guitar was really difficult and really painful, but I didn’t care. I was learning something I loved; I still play. Like the Sears guitar, fasting is something that can be difficult and uncomfortable, but those annoyances pale in comparison to what we gain from walking more closely with Jesus.

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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/

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