Tuesday, April 30, 2019

15. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – (2) Prayer and the Holy Spirit

But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:8 (AMP)

As we continue in our discussion of the Holy Spirit, we share these words from Scott G. Bauer author of The Baptism with the Holy Spirit, there are two different works of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life.  (Romans 8:2) “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”  This is the new birth.  It says in John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 

We receive the Holy Spirit upon receiving Christ as our Savior…. new birth…. born again.  According to Scott G. Bauer in The Baptism with the Holy Spirit, there are two different works of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. 
I continue to quote Scott G. Bauer; “As the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16), Jesus’ instruction to His followers in Luke 11:13 to ‘ask’ for the Holy Spirit and to wait until they received power is pertinent to all believers for all time.  All who believe are to ask and expect God to fill them with His Spirit and to be empowered (Acts1:8) for their mission to serve Him.  This is the fullness of God.

Pentecost is the day of empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  We all need the Holy Spirit empowerment if we fulfill our purpose that God created us.  We confess our sins and receive our salvation the Spirit of life; by the regenerating work in us (Romans 8:11-17).  All we must do is ask God for the power to do our mission.

Zechariah4:6-9, Zerubbabel, the leader of Jewish exiles, returned from Babylon to rebuild the temple.  Great discouragement fell on him and he was told by the prophet:  6 So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty. 

God is giving instructions and encouragement that the temple would be rebuilt by His Spirit and it would be done.  The Scripture goes on to say in Zechariah 4:7, 7‘Who are you, O great mountain (what God wants to do through us)? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!  And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”

Do we try to remove the mountains in our life without the power of the Holy Spirit?  Do we have the faith moved to action believing that we can have that power in us to move the mountains of life?  Remember the scripture Luke 11:13, “13 If you, then, being evil [that is, sinful by nature], know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!”

We have the privilege of prayer to our Heavenly Father and we can ask for the power of the Holy Spirit.  Hallelujah!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

14. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – (1) Prayer and the Holy Spirit

26 “But when the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of Truth who comes from the Father, He will testify and bear witness about Me.  John 15:26 (AMP)

We have just had a weekend of celebration!  The celebration of our risen Lord.  Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit to bring the Spirit of Truth to us who believe in the risen Christ.  Prayer is essential, but effective prayer is all important to bring the promises of God to fruition (Matthew 18:18).  We cannot have effective prayer without the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I begin this Blog with the quoted words of author John Bevere with Addison Bevere; “I began to see the Scriptures in a new light as God opened my eyes to many wonders of His Spirit.”  “I soon discovered that the Holy Spirit is the most misunderstood Person in the Church.   Truer words have never been spoken.  I do not believe the average person really understands the power we can have in our prayer life, the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is what I understand about the Holy Spirit!  When we repent and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior (Romans10:9-10), we receive God’s Spirit of Grace, the Holy Spirit, goodness beyond what we deserve.  God’s character is mercy/grace. 

When Christ ascended to His Father, He promised the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts1:8) in order for those of us to do the mission (Matthew 28:19-20) Jesus gave to us. 

Is there a difference between the saving Grace of the Holy Spirit and the Power of the Holy Spirit?  Are they one and the same?  Are there two Spirits of Grace or one?  These are questions that I asked myself.  Ephesians 2:8 speaks to us regarding God’s saving grace (the Holy Spirit), “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”  Goodness beyond what we deserve. 

When we accept Jesus Christ as the Lord of our life, we receive the Holy Spirit (Spirit of Grace), “Goodness beyond what we deserve.”  We receive our salvation, justification.  Salvation is threefold.  We are saved, justified, when we first trust Christ; we are being saved sanctification as the Holy Spirit continues to work in us; and we will yet be saved, glorification as we share in the Lord’s final triumph.[3]  This is God’s saving grace which is the Holy Spirit in us . . . New Birth.

Christ gave new birth to the disciples before his ascension in (John 20:21-22). The Disciples received new birth, New Life, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Grace.

Join us next week as we continue with the Holy Spirit!

[1] Spirit Filled Bible, Note, p. 1647
[2] Spirit Filled Bible, Note, p.1444
[3] Spirit Filled Bible, Note, P.1688

Saturday, April 20, 2019

13. Growing in Prayer – Easter

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the deadlives in you.  And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the deadhe will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.    --Romans 8:11.

This time of year, many people think of the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts, new and fancy clothes…...new shoes and in the South one begins wearing white shoes.  But this time of year, is the celebration of the risen Christ!

Just as Romans 8:11 says the Spirit of God raised Jesus from the dead and lives today in our very Christian core; all who repent and receives Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  We have a celebration that is good, loving, and the grace of God.  We do not deserve the goodness and grace that He bestows on us for we all fall short of the Glory of God.

Jesus gave us HOPE and that lives in us as we live a life that Jesus gave us.  We all are born with a purpose and to live that purpose is the life given us in Jesus Christ.

I quote you from an article written in “Decision” magazine by Paul Blackham.  The Apostle Paul was caught up in mere self-improvement before he knew the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus.  When we trust Jesus, we press on, work hard, and run with all our strength—not because the Lord, Jesus Christ, calls us (and draws us) to the finish line to give us the prize freely (Philippians 3:14).”

This doesn’t mean we don't live the consequences of our actions as Ruth Bell Graham says regarding the thief on the cross beside Jesus, “He died the thief and yet, before, he’d cried for mercy and, what’s more, his tortured soul had found relief.  He got death that he deserved; a Life that he did not.”

One may feel desperate in this life on Earth, but we have the Hope of Jesus.  All one must do is accept by faith in the risen Lord, Jesus Christ!

I close with this quote from Paul Blackham, “This very day, no matter how dead our heart might feel—Christ and the power of His resurrection can bring us back to life.  Back to fruitfulness and joy.”

Let us celebrate this Easter with power and might in prayer of thankfulness and praise to our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.

Let us pray!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

12. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – Pharisee’s Condemn Christ

“Father forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).  

It is Easter time and it is that time we study the scripture anew.   

A number of years ago, driving home from work during Lent season, Chuck Swindoll was giving a blow by blow description of Christ’s suffering and death on the Cross.  It was a life changing experience to hear all that Christ physically, emotionally and mentally went through from the time the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill him, the Garden of Gethsemane to His asking forgiveness for us.  The piercing pain in my heart I had never experienced.  For the first time I really zeroed into the pain Jesus suffered, and tears flowed freely down my face.  Not only was I experiencing His pain, I realized a love for me (and all peoples) that humbled me prostrate before the Lord of my life.  I knew the story in scripture.  I had heard and read the scripture before, but this day, the Holy Spirit touched me and my knowing became incredible understanding in my heart of a love that goes beyond anything we know on this earth.

For the next week and a half as we approach Easter, we would like to share with you this scripture, all Christians for sure and many non-believers, have heard repeatedly throughout a life time.  Our prayer is that once again hearing this scripture, you will experience a new miracle, a new revelation in the inner depths that reveals new understanding where you are in your walk with the Lord.

After 400 years between the Old and New Testament Christ is born, “For God so loved the world . . . .” (John 3:16).  His Sermon on the Mount is a compilation of His moral teachings and Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:6).  He began His miracles when He turned water into wine, John 2:11.  Jesus continued to do greater and greater miracles and signs until that day the Chief Priests began to plot the death of Jesus. (John 11:45-53).  Their concern was, “If we let Him (Jesus) alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”  Caiaphas, the High Priest, said, “consider . . . is it not expedient for us that one man die for the people than a whole nation should perish and then from that day on, they plotted to put Jesus to death.”  That was their reasoning for killing Jesus, a Man that spoke peace and never fell short of the Glory of God

The Chief Priests became fearful in their hearts and in selfishness and greed they sought to prevent losing their prestige and position.  They feared the people would believe in Jesus as their Messiah.  The Gospel of Mark tells us they used trickery (deception) to put Jesus to death.  Their deception waited until after the Passover because they feared the reaction of the people (followers of Christ).

Let us ask you, were you ever placed in a position that someone premeditated to cause great harm to you by deception and lies?  You are innocent! Yet because of the evil in the heart of another, great pain, damage to your character comes to you.  Once a person speaks a lie, it is exceedingly difficult to prove truth.

We can stand on the same truth that Jesus Christ stood, His Heavenly Father.  Christ is sent into the world with a love beyond comprehension.  The Father had given Him a mission and the Father was with Him, through the power of the Holy Spirit, giving Him strength, courage, and assurance that He (Jesus) would finish the mission for which He was sent.  Jesus Glorified God, “I have glorified You (God) on the earth, I have finished the work which You have given Me to do”. (John 17:4) The High Priests may have lied, cheated with trickery and deception, and schemed until Christ was to hang on the Cross.  Truth prevailed in the resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God, that we may know life eternally.

Regardless of what man can do to us, in the truth of the cross our mission will be complete in the dignity and honor we have in our Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us Pray!!

Friday, April 5, 2019

11. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – (6) Submission

17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  –Ephesians 3:17

All my life I felt I was a Christian, then came the day I submitted my life to Christ.  This submission did not come easy.  In reviewing my reactions to collateral damage in my life, I had come to the Garden of Gethsemane.  During that time God gave me a poem and named it, “God’s Video Tape.”  The words of this poem raged in my head, it would not go away.  For two days I cried and walked the floors . . . the poem raging in my head.  The pain I experienced during this time is indescribable.  It was intense.  On the third morning I sat down at my computer and began to write the words God was giving me.  The words flowed swiftly.  I wrote in paragraphs before I realized it was a poem.  I wrote the words exactly as I received them …. not changing a word.  When I had finished, I realized the message God was trying to give me.  We, as Christians, do not justify our actions by what others did to us.  We stay faithful to God our Father and submit in faith to His will.  Many years went by and I did not share this poem.  I felt it was too personal, too intimate.  Through the years, I began to understand the depth and meaning of this poem.  As I read my Bible through these years, I came across scripture for every line and verse God had given me.  I realized there are times when people all around me live a life of this poem.   I share my God given poem at the end of this Blog. 

After receiving this poem my life changed completely.  My reading of God’s Word became more focused and reading became study.  Then there was the day I honestly began to let go of self and seek only the Will of God.  In that time-frame I said, “Lord I will do anything and go anywhere you send me.  Just don’t send me to China.”  I submitted but not my ALL.  My walk in the Garden of Gethsemane did not end with the poem.  I struggled for several years relinquishing ALL to my God.  Then the day came when I experienced God’s view of submission.     AT that point in my life I confessed, “Lord, I will do anything and go anywhere you send me.  I will even go to China.” 

This submission was not my twelve-year-old confession of faith.  It was not the years I was confident that I was a faithful Christian.  This was the adult, mature Charlsey who gave her life to Christ Jesus in total submission.  At long last I realized through the eyes of my heart what Christ Jesus wanted me to understand.  In the core of my being, I experienced His love in my Garden of Gethsemane!

When I had written the poem as God gave me the words, in an audible voice, God said: “you be faithful to Me; I’ll take care of the rest.”  I read over the poem and began to realize whatever happens in life, collateral damage, choices, mistakes, errors of heart, self-will; we must meet our God in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He calls us to submit to His Will, teachings, and grow in His character.  We must confess and repent of our own falling short (sin).  We cannot live in justification, blaming others; “I wouldn’t have done that IF……”  We cannot continue to excuse self as my little two-year-old daughter once said over a broken toy, “Kitty Tom did it.”  We are responsible for our own actions and no one can do our own submission.  We close with Ephesians 4:1-3.  We claim this scripture with our God given passion.

This is submission!  Have you walked your Garden Gethsemane?

God's Video Tape

God played the videotape
Of the life I've lived on earth.
The things I've said the choices made,
In all their height and girth.
As I watch I ache inside
Because I failed Him so.
The things I see, the pain I've caused
Was not my heart's intent.
My faith is real I love Him so;
It was love I really meant.

I found fault, I complained, I judged,
Anger I displayed.
Frustration grew, sin came in
In sinfulness I swayed.
I lost sight of the love I meant;
The pain grows mightily.
What others do or say
Free choice is theirs to make.
Now I know I cannot judge
God will undertake.

The video plays on, my tears freely flow.
My soul is bleeding too.
He takes my hand and talks to me;
A sweet voice soft and true.
I see the light around His face
And comfort fills within.
He wipes my tears and tells to me
A truth we all should know.                                    
"I shed your tears, I bled for you
I cleanse you white as snow".

I humbly bow before my Lord
As the video tape plays on.
He wants me to see the future;
He wants me to know the dawn.
"Your path is different now
Your eyes are set on Me".
"Your Love is with your heart's intent;
Goodness fills your soul".

Forgiveness in His eyes I see;
Forgiveness is my goal.
Because he cried and bled for me
And love is my intent.
Forgiveness must begin with me
And dwell with me
The reason He was sent.