Filled With the Holy Spirit

Filled with the Holy Spirit

“Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord-Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here-has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit'” (Acts 9:1).

Billy Graham, the great evangelist, shared a personal story about the role of the Holy Spirit in his life-long ministry and how he came to see the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

In my own life there have been times when I have also had the sense of being filled with the Spirit, knowing that some special strength was added for some task I was being called to perform. We sailed for England in 1954 for a crusade that was to last for three months. While on the ship, I experienced a definite sense of oppression. Satan seemed to have assembled a formidable array of his artillery against me. Not only was I oppressed, I was overtaken by a sense of depression, accomplished by a frightening feeling of inadequacy for the task that lay ahead. Almost night and day I prayed. I knew in a new way what Paul was telling us when he spoke about ‘praying without ceasing.’ Then one day in a prayer meeting with my wife and colleagues, a break came. As I wept before the Lord, I was filled with deep assurance that power belonged to God and He was faithful. I had been baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ when I was saved, but I believe God gave me a special anointing on the way to England. From that moment on I was confident that God the Holy Spirit was in control for the tasks that lay ahead. That proved true.*

As a believer, God has provided the Holy Spirit for you and I so that we can experience the power of the gospel that allows us to live the Christian life.

Today, if you have not done so, invite the Holy Spirit to fill your life to overflowing so that you can be a witness in your workplace, city and nation.

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Going Against Public Opinion

Going Against Public Opinion

“On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, ‘No! He is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘There is no one among your relatives who has that name'” (Luke 1:59-61).

Have you ever had to go against public opinion or advice from family members or peers? Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist. It was time to name the child. Tradition said the name would be in honor of a family member. The family members were insistent. When Elizabeth didn’t agree with them, they appealed to Zechariah who supported Elizabeth.

Zechariah was told by the angel Gabriel the name was to be “John.” They were being obedient to the Lord’s command which went against tradition and public opinion.

We live in a day when leaders are often driven more by public opinion than what is right. We are each called to live a life based on obedience-based decisions, not public opinion. Living a life of obedience will often go against the tide of public opinion. Jesus lived a life based on a purity of purpose and mission. The Pharisees wanted Him to conform to the rules of religious tradition. The result was He died because He lived to obey an audience of One, not public opinion.

Are you challenged to live a life of conviction versus pleasing others? Be true to what God has called you to do no matter the cost.

John the Baptist Was the Greatest

John the Baptist Was the Greatest

“I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11-12).

John the Baptist did no miracles. Elijah performed miracle after miracle. Daniel interpreted dreams for kings and he and his friends impacted an entire nation. Jeremiah and Isaiah were two of Israel’s greatest prophetic voices. Jesus built his church through the twelve disciples. But Jesus made a profound declaration about this man who performed no miracles – He is the greatest among all the prophets.

Why did Jesus make such a claim? Because he did one very important thing – he fulfilled his purpose on earth in every way.

The disciples asked John the Baptist, “Are you the one we have been waiting for? John responded quickly, “No.” Then he made a profound statement: “A man can receive only what God gives him” (John 3:27). He had a complete understanding of why he was placed on earth.

Jesus proclaimed John the Baptist was the greatest because he (John) knew and fulfilled his purpose. The angel Gabriel described John’s purpose to his father: “And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).

His purpose was absolutely necessary to be achieved in order to prepare the way for Jesus. Do you know why God made you? Are you fulfilling the destiny He has planned for you since the foundation of the earth?

Understanding your work life purpose is key to receiving your inheritance. Paul said no matter what kind of work you do, if God has called you to do it, you will receive an inheritance for doing it. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Col 3:23-25).{C}

Arguing With God

Arguing with God

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5).

Have you ever argued with God? One of the first sermons Jesus ever gave was from a boat. It was Simon Peter’s boat. Jesus used a businessman’s business to preach the Gospel. However, Peter had to first make his business available to the Master. When he did, something wonderful happened to his business.

You see, Peter’s fishing business was in a slump. They had just fished all night and caught nothing. Nevertheless, Peter made his boat available to Jesus to use as He wished. Jesus used it to preach to the multitudes. After Jesus used Peter’s boat for His purposes Jesus did something interesting for Peter. He blessed his business. However, Peter almost missed the blessing because he began to argue with Jesus. Peter was looking at the market conditions instead of the instruction of Jesus. Something inside of him made him reconsider Jesus’ instruction. Jesus rewarded his obedience. “When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink?” (Luke 5:6-7).

We see a number of Kingdom principles we can apply in our work lives in this story:

We must be willing to let God use our work life for His purposes.

We must not look at circumstances and argue with Jesus when His instruction seems to contradict what we have seen or experienced already.

We must obey the Lord. When we obey the Lord we might just see Jesus use us for His glory and bless our obedience.

Ruffled Feathers

Ruffled Feathers

Do all things without complaining…. In everything give thanks….
Philippians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Recommended Reading
Psalm 34:1-3
According to a news item, a man in California had a pet parrot with a lovely British accent, but somehow the bird escaped and went missing four years. Finally the owner and bird were reunited, but there’s an odd twist in the tale. The parrot now speaks Spanish. No one knows where the bird went during his sabbatical, but he came back with a whole new vocabulary, jabbering away with words like: gracias, amigo, and por favor.

Life has its odd twists and ruffled feathers; but as we grow in Christ, our vocabulary changes. As we mature in Christ, we do less complaining and more thanking. We learn to look at things through the lens of God’s providence and to thank Him for His overruling grace. The apostle Paul said, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Our lips are the barometer of the heart, and His praise should be continually in our mouths. Today, try to restrain the complaining spirit; in everything give thanks.

Open your windows toward the sun rising.
Amy Carmichael

The Trinity’s Teamwork

The Trinity’s Teamwork

“Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand”
(Isaiah 64:8).

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit make up three distinct aspects of the God-head. Each of these persons form the trinity and contribute to the overall work of God. The trinity reveals God’s belief in teamwork. Even God brought a team together to accomplish His purposes. The Leadership Bible gives us further insight into the distinct roles the Trinity plays.

The three Persons of the Godhead are never independent but always work together in concert. Scripture records the work of the divine trinity in the creation cosmos (see Genesis 1:1-2, John 1:1-3 and Colossians 1:15-17), but this perfect and harmonious interaction was especially evident in how God made it possible for people who were formerly alienated from him to be transformed into his beloved children.

Paul first spoke of the work of the Father in accomplishing our salvation in Colossians 1:3-6. The Father chose us before the creation of the world and sent his Son into the world so that through him we could be adopted into his family. Second, the apostle focused on the work of the Son in Colossians 1:7-12. Christ’s blood sacrifice on our behalf paid the penalty for our sins so that we could enjoy forgiveness and lay hold of God’s purpose for our lives. Third, the work of the Holy Spirit, identified in verses 13-14, seals and guarantees our spiritual inheritance. Thus, the Father initiated our salvation, The Son accomplished it and the Holy Spirit made it real in our lives. At the end of each of these three sections the phrase ‘to the praise of his glory’ appears. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit perform distinct roles, but they work together in perfect harmony and agreement.*

This three-fold team of the trinity is committed to bringing you into full maturity in Jesus Christ. May the Father, Son and Holy Spirit take your feet of clay and build a solid foundation for the praise of His Son.

Three Nails

Three Nails

“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).

It took three nails to crucify our Savior to the cross. God says that if we are to allow Christ to live through us then the old man must be crucified. We can each voluntarily crucify our flesh, but we often cannot complete the process by ourselves. It usually requires a third party to put the third nail into the old man that allows the work to be completed in us.

For Jesus, it was Judas.
For David, it was Absalom.
For Joseph, it was his brothers.

Betrayal is a nail that will either complete the death process, or we will linger in unforgiveness and bitterness that will result in an even worse state – partial death.

This condition never allows you and me to experience true freedom.

When Jesus died He was freed to fulfill His mission on earth. He was resurrected from death to glory. When you and I die we are freed to become all God wants us to become in our lives before God. God gives us the cross to give us God and a new life in Christ.

Is someone in your life trying to put the third nail into your death process? Do not fight it. Allow God to complete His process.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. You have freed me from my chains” Psalm 116:15, 16b.