Archive for July, 2011

Obedience Releases Holy Spirit in Believers

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Daily God Walk for Sunday, July 31, 2011

 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. – Acts 5:32

 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. – 1 John 3:24

Many years ago I worked in a state prison. I met many very bad men while I worked there. Among the worst of the gangs in the prison was a group called “Aryan Brotherhood.” One day as I was putting one of their members into his cell he whispered to me, “I would like to be a Christian, but I know I couldn’t live it.”

That man was right, he couldn’t live it. In fact, neither can I and neither can you. That is why God gave us the Holy Spirit. John wrote, “Those who obey his commands live in him.” We could rephrase that to say, “Those who live in him obey his commands,” and that would certainly be accurate.

The passage in Acts says that God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey him. The reference there is obeying God in receiving Jesus as the Christ and allowing him to become our savior. When we obey God in accepting Christ Holy Spirit is released to us.

When we have obeyed God in receiving Christ, Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. The test of whether we have truly accepted Christ is if we obey his commands. How do we get the ability to obey his commands? John tells us, “By the Spirit he gave us.”

Yes, it is true, we cannot fully obey Christ in our own ability, but as we live submitted to God Holy Spirit releases in us the ability to live out the commands of Christ.

It was nearly 40 years ago that I worked in the prison and I didn’t understand the principles of the kingdom of God as well as I do now. If I had I would have told that young man the same thing I am telling you now; you will never be able to live the Christian life without Holy Spirit, but those of us who have believed in Christ were given Holy Spirit – with him we can do it.

 Prayer: Thank you Lord that Holy Spirit lives in me. Amen.

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Holy Spirit Flows When We Submit to God

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Daily God Walk for Saturday, July 30, 2011

 Do you think Scripture says without reason that the Spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. – James 4:5-8

 Coming to Christ involves a lot more than just reciting a formula which includes a belief in the resurrection. It includes making a commitment of our life to him. Paul wrote in Romans, “I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1).

James begins chapter four of his writing by addressing the disunity and in-fighting among the believers. We might say he is addressing gossip and bickering, much the same as we sometimes see today. He states that these problems come from the desires which they have within themselves. Their desire was to answer their own wants without regard to the rest of the body.

It is in this context that James calls believers to submit to God. He seems to be saying that when we submit to God there is grace released to us sufficient to keep us from the evil intended by the devil, the world, and our own human desires.

Verse five makes an interesting observation: “Do you think Scripture says without reason that the Spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?” The Amplified Bible seems a little more clear on this verse: “The Spirit whom he has caused to dwell in us yearns over us and he yearns for the Sprit [to be welcome] with a jealous love.”

James is telling us that God is jealous over us. Anything we desire outside of him leads us away from him. That is why we are called to submit ourselves to him as a living sacrifice. When we live in that manner Holy Spirit lives freely in us and he releases his love, joy and peace in us.

 Prayer: Lord, help me to submit my will to you so that your Holy Spirit may live freely within me. In Jesus name, amen.

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Be Filled With Holy Spirit

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Daily God Walk for Friday, July 29, 2011

 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.                      – Acts 4:31

 Our Scripture today is taken from a time of crisis for the early church. Peter and John had just returned from being interrogated by the Jewish leaders and they were ordered to not teach or do miracles in the name of Jesus.

When they were released they went back to the place where other believers had gathered and reported to them what they had been told. Knowing they could not deny the name of Jesus they did the only thing they could do: They Prayed.

Their prayer is recorded in Acts 4:23-30. Their concluding petition reads, “Now, Lord, Consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (v29-30). They didn’t pray for relief from persecution they only prayed to be given boldness to continue declaring the word of God.

God’s response to their prayer is our Scripture for today. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. They had all been filled with the Holy Spirit earlier, but now they needed another filling to be able to do the work they had been called to do.

I noticed something particular about their prayer. It is this; they were desperate to have God intervene in their circumstances. They were not wavering on whether they should do the work they were just telling God they needed boldness and they needed signs to accompany their ministry.

In observing the church today there seems to be a lack of that kind of desperate crying out to God. He has the same miraculous power and the same boldness for his church today, but do we sense the same desperate need to have it in our lives and ministry? Think about it; then pray about it.

 Prayer: Lord, help me to see the desperate need for power and boldness today and to seek you for that boldness. Amen.

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Holy Spirit Gives Gifts for Ministry

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Daily God Walk for Thursday, July 28, 2011

 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. – 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

 One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is to confirm the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ and He does that by giving people who are filled with the Holy Spirit special abilities, or gifts. Those special abilities are called gifts of the Spirit. These gifts vary from gifting in leadership and administration to literally being helpers in the work of God, but each gift has its’ special place. Some of the gifts are vocal like tongues and prophecy, others are demonstrated in prayers of faith like healings and miracles.

The best teaching on the function of spiritual gifts in the body of Christ is 1 Corinthians 12-14. There is a listing of spiritual gifts and an explanation of how the gifts work within the body. These chapters also deal with the proper administration of the gifts.

Chapter 13 really puts the gifts in perspective. Apostle Paul makes the point that the focus is not the gift, or the person who is manifesting the gift. The point is the expression of God’s love. If we do not minister out of agape love, God’s love, then everything we do becomes hollow and is just a lot of noise and activity. The purpose of God will not be accomplished in it.

The message seems to be that the work of the Holy Spirit is to confirm the preaching of the word of God and to empower the members of the body of Christ in their life and ministry. In accomplishing that purpose He gives spiritual gifts to enable believers to do these works of ministry. Whatever is the need for a particular ministry there is sufficient power and resources in the Holy Spirit to accomplish that task and He will give those who have the call to minister gifts to minister. The gift will match the need in every case.

 Prayer: Holy Spirit, manifest yourself to the world through the gifts of ministry you have placed in me. In Jesus name, amen.

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Holy Spirit is Our Comforter

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Daily God Walk for Wednesday, July 27, 2011

 All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. – John 14:25-26

 Jesus was going away. The disciples were feeling discouraged at his laving. They had had the benefit of his presence for quite some time now and they were looking at the prospect of being alone again. In John 14 Jesus begins to give encouragement to them. He says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (v18)

Then he says, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (v20). Jesus is preparing his disciples for the day when his physical presence would be taken from them, but he would continue with them and in them in the form of the Holy Spirit. Hw was preparing them to receive the most unique experience ever given to mankind; the indwelling presence of the almighty God in the person of the Holy Spirit.

The hope we have in Christ is affirmed by the abiding presence of Holy Spirit. Christ had promised that if he went away he would return and the only evidence we have that he will return is the indwelling Holy Spirit. John wrote, “We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit” (1 John 4:13).

Have you noticed how many Christians are stressed about the economy, the weather, their relations, their job, and a thousand other things? All of that concern comes from not allowing Holy Spirit, our comforter, to give us peace. In the verse following our text Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

If we think about it the things which give us stress are things we have no control over – if we could control them they wouldn’t give us stress! It seems like God is saying, “You take care of the things you can take care of and leave the rest to me.” When we make the decision to take God up on that offer Holy Spirit goes to work giving us peace and comfort.

It is time to let Holy Spirit do his job. Relax in the grace of God and allow Holy Spirit to give you comfort and peace.

 Prayer: Thank you Holy Spirit for giving me peace and comforting me.

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Holy Spirit Teaches Believers

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Daily God Walk for Tuesday, July 26, 2011

 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. – 1 Corinthians 2:12-13

 In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul addresses the limited ability of man to comprehend spiritual truth in the statement, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face” (v12). I like the way KJV renders this passage because of the imagery it projects. It reads, “Now we see through a glass darkly.” His message is that in human ability alone we cannot clearly see spiritual truth.  

One of the purposes of Holy Spirit indwelling believers is to reveal truth to them they would not otherwise understand. Jesus told his disciples, “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). All that is known by Father God, which is everything there is to be known both in this world and in the heavenly realm, is available through an active relationship with Holy Spirit.

Paul speaks of “words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” When we are living a life that is given to the work of the Holy Spirit the things we say will be influenced by the Spirit. There have been many times that I have been praying for someone and a word or a phrase will come to mind to pray for them. When I have finished praying they have said, “How did you know what to pray?” I didn’t, but Holy Spirit did.

  Holy Spirit teaches us through giving us understanding of the meaning of Scripture. He also teaches us through communing with us in prayer. Have you ever been praying and a deeper understanding, or a new application of a Scripture will just pop into your mind? That is Holy Spirit teaching you.

Take time to commune with Holy and listen to what he says.

 Prayer: Lord, grant me the patience to wait on the Holy Spirit to speak wisdom to my spirit. In Jesus name, amen.

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Holy Spirit Guides the Church

Daily God Walk for Monday, July 25, 2011

 The Holy Spirit not only gives guidance to individuals but he also gives guidance to the corporate body of the church. Just as in our personal lives Holy Spirit will not interfere with those who do not invite him. Holy Spirit will guide any person or group if they invite him and submit to his leadership.

Take a look at how the Scripture gives evidence of this:

  •  Holy Spirit directs in the selection of Christian leaders: The believers were gathered in prayer and the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2).
  • Holy Spirit directs where to preach God’s Word: “Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia” (Acts 16:6)
  • Holy Spirit calls specific people and people groups: Acts chapter 10 deals with this idea and specifically when the Holy Spirit inspired Cornelius to send his men to find God’s man. Verses 19-20, “The Spirit said to him, ‘Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them’.”
  • Holy Spirit gives instructions for believers lifestyle: “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality” (Acts 15:28-29).

There is ample evidence of the Holy Spirit guiding the church and that places an awesome responsibility upon church leaders, and upon all of us to seek God for Holy Spirit wisdom and direction.

 Prayer: Holy Spirit, grant me the grace to listen to you and to follow your leading. In Jesus name, amen.

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Holy Spirit Multiplies Believers

Daily God Walk for Sunday, July 24, 2011

 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping and praising God. – Acts 3:6-9

 This is a most powerful story of the effect of Holy Spirit power being manifest in the lives of believers. Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray. Along the way they saw a beggar who had been carried to the temple steps to beg for money so he could survive.

When Peter and John saw the man they were moved with compassion and healed the man. Everyone who regularly went to the temple knew this man. He had sat there for years begging for enough to survive. When the miracle happened to him it was obvious to all. In fact verses 9-10 reads, “When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened.”

Peter used this occasion as an opportunity to preach Jesus the Christ to them. As Peter preached Christ the religious leaders, along with the temple guard, were so disturbed that they took Peter and John into custody.

What was the result of this healing and the subsequent commotion? Chapter 4 verse 4 declares, “Many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.”

Holy Spirit power causes people to be added to the church. We must be aware of our need for this power if we are to be effective in reaching our generation. It may be time for us to pray for signs and wonders as the disciples did (Acts 4:30) so that those who hear our message will realize that the power of Holy Spirit which is released through faith in Christ is greater than the powers in this world.

 Prayer: Lord, build your church with Holy Spirit power. Amen.

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Holy Spirit Power Witnesses to Truth of Christ

Daily God Walk for Saturday, July 23, 2011

 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high… You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Luke 24:49, Acts 1:8

 I was once visiting with a couple of people who came to my door promoting their particular church. They were part of a well known group which covers entire cities door to door. These folks were explaining the meaning of this passage to me. They said that the Holy Spirit gave them the power to knock on doors and without the Holy Spirit they wouldn’t be able to do that.

I suppose there is some truth to that, but I don’t think that is the intended truth of this passage. In fact, if that was the primary application here then I suppose those who sell anything door-to-door could claim to be Spirit filled. I have known encyclopedia salesman, vacuum cleaner salesmen, picture salesmen, and a myriad of other salesman who all go door-to-door and, frankly, they didn’t seem to be Spirit filled (not Holy Spirit anyway).

This passage is referring to the powerful confirmation which is to accompany the telling of the gospel story. Notice Mark 16:20, “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” That is Holy Spirit power.

When Holy Spirit descended upon the believers on the day of Pentecost he did so with a powerful demonstration. There was a mighty wind, tongues of fire and they praised God in a language that all could understand. Think about it: over 15 nations were present and it was said that they all heard the believers praising God in their own language.

Another instance of Holy Spirit power is in Acts 4 when they prayed for the Lord to, “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Then when Holy Spirit came upon them the place where they were praying was shaken and they spoke the word of God boldly. That is Holy Spirit power.

 Prayer: Lord, grant me Holy Spirit power in my witness so that people can easily see the truth of Christ and salvation. In Jesus name, amen.

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Holy Spirit Produces Good Fruit

Daily God Walk Friday, July 22, 2011

 Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature… The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.                                – Galatians 5:16,22-23

 There is no greater life than living in the Spirit. Once you learn the process by which you walk daily, throughout the day, under the influence of the Holy Spirit you won’t want to go back to living normal human life.

Many of us who are Christian and go to church every week still have not found that place in our walk where we are living in the Spirit. O, I know we are born again, but we have not yet allowed Holy Spirit to fully transform us so that the fruit of our life is the fruit of the Spirit.

In verses 19-21 of this chapter Paul gives four categories of sins. There is sexual sin, not difficult to identify. There is God-substitute sins, a little more difficult to recognize. There are Attitude sins, often not thought of as sin. Finally, there are lifestyle sins like drunkenness, orgies and the like (Paul’s words not mine).

The category which seems to most affect us is attitude sins. In fact, these sins are so common that we don’t often think of them as sins. We look at ambition as just wanting to get ahead and envy as simply wanting the better things in life. Our anger is justified and I can’t help it if others don’t fit into my clique. All of those justifications are the result of not living in the Spirit.

So, how does one “live by the Spirit?” First, to live by the Spirit we must be filled with the Spirit. Becoming filled with the Spirit is achieved by seeking God and submitting ourselves to his lordship. Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” I can promise that if you ask, seek and knock you will be filled with Holy Spirit.

When you are filled with Holy Spirit you will then live by the Spirit and the fruit of your life will be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

 Prayer: Fill my Holy Spirit that I may live in the Spirit and so that the fruit of my life will be the fruit of the Spirit. In Jesus name.

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

Messages of inspiration for the journey of faith

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