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Accessing the power of the Holy Spirit

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My Sunday School Class has been studying the Holy Spirit recently, and it has been a wake up call for me.  I didn’t realize I had drifted.  I used to be the first to tell others to leave room for the Holy Spirit to work, and yet, I found myself not doing that myself at times.  The Holy Spirit, an often neglected part of the Trinity, is vitally important to our life here on earth.  He is in believers.   But, just like I must turn a switch to access power for my computer, I must tune in and turn on that power I’m already plugged in to.  The Spirit is our Need-Meeter in every way as we walk this earth.  How often do we forget we have the power if we would only access it?

English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Dove of the Ho...

English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, stained glass, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who is the Holy Spirit?

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  John 3:6    The Holy Spirit is the third part of the Trinity:  Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  He was sent to us when Jesus ascended to the Father to be our helper and much more.  He is the presence of Christ in our lives and teaches us all things we need to know, if we will but listen.

Why was His coming so important?

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  John 16:7    Jesus told his disciples, sad that He was leaving, the importance of His departure.  Jesus had to go so God could send the Comforter to them, the person of God they would need to do the work He had called them to do.

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.  5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.   Acts 1:4-5     The Holy Spirit was (is) the promise of the Father.  In other words, He is the guarantee of God’s promises.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:13-14    I don’t know about you, but that makes me excited!
Three Important Tasks of the Holy Spirit

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  John 16:8-11

>He will reprove the world of sin.   He is that one who convicts of sin.  He shows us that we are in the wrong and need a Savior.  He doesn’t convict us to make us feel bad, although that is a part of conviction.  He convicts us so we will trust Christ and be set free from our sin.

>and of righteousness.  One way He does this is to show that Jesus was and is righteous.  Another way it convicts us is in showing us the righteousness we have in Christ.  When we give Him our sin, He gives us His righteousness.  No longer do we stand before God or man in our own righteousness (inadequate at best).  We stand in Jesus righteousness!   The Spirit reminds us of this when we hear that whisper in our ear that says “you are not worthy”.  Of course we’re not worthy, but He is, and it is He that is judged for our sin, not us.  So we can stand boldly before God and man clothed in Jesus’ righteousness.   The Spirit points us to righteousness and away from unrighteousness as well.   Even though we are righteous before God, we can still slip into unrighteous living.  The Holy Spirit convicts us about what Jesus expects of us to bring us back to righteous living.

The spirit works in the lives of unbelievers to point out their need for Christ.  He continues that work in believers to cultivate a life of righteousness.

>and of judgment.  The Spirit also reminds of the final end for those who do not trust in Christ.  Satan and his band have been judged.  Hell was made for them.  God does not want people to go to hell, so He made a way for us to escape the judgment.  The Spirit shows us that we must forsake unbelief and unrighteousness in order to avoid the coming judgment.

 

Are you aware of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life?  Do you access the power, ignore it, or refuse it?   The Holy Spirit does much more than this, but that’s for another post.  Ask the Spirit to show His power in your life today.

The light version

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Esau Selling His Birthright (painting circa 16...

Esau Selling His Birthright (painting circa 1627 by Hendrick ter Brugghen) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once again I taught a lesson to Jr. High students and they had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned Jacob and Esau.  Church kids who do not know the stories of the Bible.  Where have we been?  How have they made it this far with no knowledge of these things?

 

One problem is the onset of what I call “Christianity light”.  The Bible is no longer a focal point of teaching in many churches (and families).  I remember having to deal with students (and my kids) boredom at Bible stories they heard repeatedly.  But, I would rather have that problem than this one.

 

Even then, students often failed to see the stories of the Bible, the people of the Bible, as real:  real people with real emotions, real desperation, real problems, real joys, real lives.  Jacob was a real person who became the father of the Israelites.  Esau, his brother, sold his birthright for one bowl of stew!  Have you ever ‘sold your birthright’ (lost something important) for a momentary pleasure of sin?  Do you identify?  How about the drama that went on in this house as parents favored a different twin and Momma helped Jacob take what wasn’t his.

 

bibles

bibles (Photo credit: fancycwabs)

These people are very real people, whose lives were often better than any soap opera.  They are fascinating.  Do we not see them as thus because they’re in the “Bible” so it  must be a lesson or something?  Have we become apathetic about the contents of the Bible and the stories it contains – the HISTORY it contains?

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Bible Study 2

Bible Study 2 (Photo credit: DrGBB)

I guess this post could classify as a rant, but it really isn’t.  I want to understand so I can make a difference.  How can our kids (or we) learn the meat of Christ if we’re not even getting the milk?  How real are these people to you?  Do you tell your children about them?  Grandchildren? Others?  Do you have any ideas about how we could solve this problem?

 

It so makes me sad that I have to spend so much time just telling the story, giving little time for building faith or even learning the basics.

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What about the story of Jesus?  The movie, “The Passion of the Christ”, probably has done a

The Passion of the Christ

The Passion of the Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

great deal toward making the story of Jesus real.  The scenes are difficult to watch at best.  They bring home the very real brutality of what Jesus took for us.  And we have no idea what it was really like, physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, the absolute torture He chose to endure for us.

 

If we really understood, even at a basic level, the reality behind the “stories” we treat so lightly, we would begin to see changed lives.  We would change.  We would become passionate about telling others.   We would understand the depths and height and breadth of His love for us.  Without this understanding, how can we expect the next generation of Christians to really be Christians?  Maybe that’s what was meant by “will I see any faith on the earth” when I return.

 

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Christmas ball - Christianity

Christmas ball – Christianity (Photo credit: nabeel_yoosuf)

Do you get it?  Do you have ideas for ways I can bring this alive to my students?  What went wrong?  What can we do to fix the problem?  . . .

Pride and the Cross

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Why are we so full of pride?  Why do we care what others think?  Why do we need to be in control (an illusion at best)?   The answer to that is our sin nature.

♦It makes us think more of ourselves than we ought.

♦It makes us think we’re the center of the universe.

♦It causes us to justify our own faults (often while judging others’).

♦It makes life a lot harder than it has to be.

♦It causes us to have to learn our lessons the hard way, and often repeatedly.

♦It interrupts our ability to communicate honestly and effectively with others.

♦It drags us down to the depths, causing us to have to claw our way out (when we try to do it ourselves).

♦It brings so much hurt into the lives of others!

What’s the remedy?   That would be: drugs, food, sex, alcohol,…  JESUS!

We are to ‘take up our cross daily’.   The reason we do it daily is that we cannot do it for more than that; we would be overwhelmed.  Our sin nature and spiritual nature fight every day and leave us exhausted at the end of the day.

♦We rest if we can.

♦We surrender ourselves anew to Him;

♦We meet God in a new morning for a time of refreshing.

♦We put on our armor.

♦We pick up our cross.

BUT — we do not carry our cross alone!  We do nothing alone when we have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  He takes the greater burden, but He does it silently.  We often whine and cry that it’s too heavy, when we only feel a portion of the load.  Ahhhhhhhh!  Thank you God that your mercies are new every morning.  Each day, we pick up that cross and walk together through the day.  Each night, we rest while you watch.  How awesome is that!

The above rumination, came out of the fun I’ve had this week with my dad, the funeral, etc.  If you want to read the story, it is at my writing blog.  It is called WARNING:  TMI!  And yes, it is! 🙂

I Princess!

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Yesterday, my granddaughter found my knitting looms.  She put one on her head and walked around going, “I princess!”  She also loaded herself up with treasures (jewels) from Grandma’s treasure box. (A box of kids ‘treasures’ they are allowed to play with.) She wasn’t very cooperative with Grandma trying to get a picture, but here she is:

“I Princess!”

Oh for the trust of a 2 year old!  She is fully aware that she is special with no doubts whatsoever.  The day before we were having a discussion about who loves her.  To my surprise, she said, “Gramma luv me.”  She then proceeded to go down the list, “Jesus luv me”, “Daddy luv me”, “Mommy luv me”, and so on.  Wow!

Later, during the quiet hours after she has gone to sleep and Grandma is nodding off, God reminded me that “I Princess!”  So much of life rubs away at that trust as we proceed through life.  Harsh words, hurt feelings, and worse happen to us and we internalize it, thinking something is wrong with us instead of the other person.  I’m not sure I’ve ever met an adult who does not have  or has had self-esteem issues.  That little devil sits on our shoulder whispering lies to us about the events of our lives.

Grandpa:  “Linda was so cute when she….”

The enemy’s whisper:  “See, he doesn’t think you’re cute or he wouldn’t talk about her all the time.”

The truth:  He is talking about Linda because she is not there and I am.

This is but one minor example of how we take someone’s actions or words and make it all about us when, in reality, it may (and probably does) have nothing at all to do with us.  I see this clearly in my grandchildren as they pout over perceived slights, holler ‘not fair’, or act out to take attention from another.  Ah, that sin nature makes itself seen so early!

As Grandma, I try to counter those lies when I see them.  Unfortunately, they don’t always listen or understand.   As adults, it is imperative that we look back through those hurts in our lives and shine some truth on them.  We all know people who are bitter and negative because of “all the things that happened to them”.  It’s not pretty.  Their lives are not pretty.  They spread their poison to everyone who enters their lives.  How sad!

What lies have you believed?  Do you recognize that God and many others really love you, like you, and want to be with you?  Do you understand that you are a ‘prince’ or ‘princess’.  Do you understand how much God loves you and how much He wants to do for, through, and with you?  Have you allowed the truth to eradicate the negative feelings or behaviors you have picked up over the years?  Do you realize that you only see part of a picture? 

I hope next time you start feeling down about yourself or your accomplishments, you will put on your crown and say, “I Princess!” or “I Prince!” and bask in the love that has been freely given to you.  YOU are SPECIAL!

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