The Spirit Changes Everything!

19 10 2011

Wednesday October 19, 2011: Scripture Reading  Acts 2:1-47

Sometimes I wonder privately (and from time to time out loud) how we Christians can be so averse to change when our God is all about the business of change…primarily changing us. We are, without a doubt, creatures of habit. We get into a rut of living and going about our business from day to day and over time routines become established. I’ve noticed that the older I get the more settled the routines can become and that when someone or some life circumstance shakes me from my routine I am apt to respond in not-so-kind ways. My challenge (and quite possibly yours too) is to not allow myself to settle into the routines of life. My challenge spiritually is to not settle into the routines of worship. When we settle into a strict and unbreakable routine we are limiting the working of God in our lives and robbing ourselves of living with the fullness of His Spirit.

That’s one of the lessons I learn from Acts 2. The disciples have been with Jesus for over 3 years and suddenly He is gone…crucified, dead and buried, risen from the dead, and ascended into heaven. Their routine of walking in the bodily presence of the Lord is now broken and they are left waiting. However the waiting ends when the Holy Spirit falls upon them in the upper room and fills them with His power. These once timid souls are now filled with boldness, filled with wisdom, filled with the Word of God. The presence of the Holy Spirit is their new “routine.” However there is nothing routine about God’s Spirit moving in the hearts of believers. The new normal for the disciples is a life broken from the chains of “normalcy.”

We today have that same Holy Spirit living in us. Will we avail ourselves to Him? As believers we have all of Him we will ever have. He is at our moment-by-moment disposal. The question is this: Does He have all of us today? On the day of Pentecost He had all of the disciples and He used them to turn their world upside down for the glory of the gospel. He wants to do the same with us on this day!

Pray: Father, I confess right now that I can do nothing without the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life, filling me, emboldening me for mighty works for the glory of Christ. I yield my heart, my life, my possessions, my dreams, and my cares all to You today. I come open handed, clinging to nothing, and pray for the moment-by-moment filling of Your Spirit in my life. Use me for Your glory wherever I go today. I pray this for Jesus’ sake and for the glory of His holy name. Amen!

One Lord > one arm of flesh

11 10 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011: Scripture Reading, 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 and Haggai 2:1-5

2 Chronicles 32:7-8¬†¬† In the face of a stronger enemy who threatened to overwhelm Hezekiah and the people, Hezekiah rallies his troops and fortifies the city and speaks words of encouragement in order to strengthen the courage of the people to trust in the Lord. His words were a familiar refrain throughout Israel’s history: “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed…with him (Sennacherib, king of Assyria) is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.”

It’s so easy to look at life and the circumstances of life and to simply see with eyes of flesh. Often times the eyes of flesh see the reality that our enemies appear so much stronger and far outnumber us and our resources. But faith sees with more than eyes of flesh. Faith sees with spiritual eyes. Faith sees the greatness and faithfulness of God and faith chooses to trust the Lord of glory rather than the eyes of flesh.

This is exactly the kind of forward looking faith-filled eyesight that God was challenging the returning Jewish exiles to have in the book of Haggai (2:1-5). God emboldens their faith to look ahead and not behind and to see the reality that God would fight on their behalf if they would just be strong in the Lord.

What mountains are you facing in life right now? Are you tempted to simply see the mountains through eyes of the flesh? Will you commit in your heart and through prayer today to a forward looking faith-filled eyesight that will choose to trust the strength of the Lord rather than your own strength? Will you confess to God right now that He is so much greater than the one arm of flesh that is coming against you?

PRAY: Father in Heaven, I confess to You today that too often my tendency is to see life through the lenses of fleshly eyesight and as a result to be overwhelmed and doubting in the face of obstacles. But today, Father, I ask you to strengthen my faith to be a forward looking faith that will trust You for greater things than I could ever imagine. Help me to live in mission partnership with You today in order to conquer the spiritual enemies that want to keep me from sharing the gospel.

The Tale of Two Choices

9 10 2011

Monday October 10, 2011: Scripture Reading: 2 Chronicles 14:9-11 and Isaiah 63:10-14

“And Asa cried out to the Lord his God, and said, ‘Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!” 2 Chronicles 14:11

“But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; So He turned Himself against them as an enemy, and He fought against them.” Isaiah 63:10

These two passages of Scripture tell the story of two opposite ends of the spectrum. One generation that grieves the Person of the Holy Spirit by rebelling against God and as a result not only robbed themselves of God’s blessing but invited Him to fight against them (Isa. 63). The other, a generation that chose in their distress to cry out to the Lord and to depend on His strength and grace to fight for them (2 Chron. 14). The faith of Asa is captured in his prayer in which he stated “Lord, it is nothing for You to help.” The Lord delights to help His people. He delights to assist those who humble themselves, admit their need for His empowering, and then lean upon Him for strength to overcome their enemies. On the flip side the wilderness generation of Israel rebelled against God’s Spirit and forsook His power and strength but invited God to fight against them. God resists the proud! God stiff arms those who are self-reliant.

As we approach each day we are faced with a tale of two choices: Humble ourselves and rely on His Divine enablement and power OR pridefully rebel and forsake His power and invite His resistance against us.

Is there some command of Scripture that you know you must choose to obey today that will be a struggle? How can you resist the temptation to trust in your own power and let go of self-reliance and invite the power of God into the situation?

Is there someone in your life that you can encourage today by sharing these truths with them?

PRAY: Lord today I relinquish any and all rights to this life You’ve given to me. I confess that it is Yours and long to be used for Your purposes. In light of this truth I invite the power of Your Spirit into all of my circumstances today and ask that You use me to impact others around for the sake of the gospel.

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