Word of the Day

The Gift with Gifts

1 Corinthians 12: 4

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is referenced as the gift from God no less than twelve times in the New Testament. He also, however, brings with him gifts. These are called “The Gifts of the Spirit.” What they are is the manifested presence and power of the Holy Spirit. As we already know, the Spirit is the power of God. In this letter from Paul we learn of the application of the Spirit’s power. We are taught about the variety of ways these gifts manifest in the physical realm. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive his gifts too. All these gifts are bestowed on the body of Christ through the Holy Spirit to bring peace, healing and deliverance to the members of the body. Every person who calls Jesus “Lord” is entitled to have the Holy Spirit living in them and all his good gifts operating through them by the might and power of Spirit.

There are nine gifts. “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills,” (1 Corinthians 12: 8 – 11). All these gifts can operate through you because they are manifestations of the Holy Spirit living within you. You may tend to move more freely in a particular gift but they are given by God and dwell in the person of the Holy Spirit for the building up of the body of Christ. Therefore, the Holy Spirit will use the appropriate gift for the situation.

There is peace in knowing that you do not have to become a healer or miracle worker. You need not feel the weight of the world on your shoulders to have words of wisdom or knowledge for those in need. The Spirit of God has all these nine gifts. We are the carriers of his immense power. Where ever we go, we take the Spirit. We can take him into someone’s living room or into the most remote parts of the earth. Then we simply allow him to do through us what he knows is needful.

I will say, though, that our cooperation, our partnership with the Spirit is required. Not only are we the cups, bowls and jars that convey his presence, we are his hands and his mouth. Our challenge is to learn to work with the Spirit to reach and to touch others. We need to become more adept at hearing his voice within guiding and directing us. Then we must have the bold courage to do as he directs. When he shows us a person in need and tells us to pray for them, we must follow his guidance. That is the hard part, just doing what he says. The real heavy lifting is his, but we must come out of our cocoons and be part of the miracle.

We have spent years isolating ourselves, building impenetrable walls of stone. Now God asks us to convey His grace, power, peace, love and glory to a world in desperate need of Him. He has given us this blessed Spirit to be our constant companion, our buddy. All the miracle working power and divine ministry gifts are bubbling within us. Let’s do something with it, shall we?

Immersed

Acts 1: 4 – 5

Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

John the Baptist was the voice crying out in the desert, “Prepare the way for the Lord,” (Matthew 3: 3). He announced the coming of the Messiah and prepared the way of his coming. “As for me,” he said, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire,” (Matthew 3: 11).

I don’t know if there is any more misunderstood spiritual directive in the whole Bible as this. I think it may be so challenging, in part at least, because there is nothing physical in this baptism. The practice of water baptism is easy to recognize and follow because there is a physical element involved. Whether a person is sprinkled, dunked or has a pail of water poured over them, we understand the principle involved.

This idea was baffling for the early church believers as well. Even John the Baptist said, “And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit,” (John 1: 33). John didn’t know exactly what to expect either, but he knew God had spoken about this new baptism and how to recognize he who would author it. As we see from this scripture, the first phase of this new paradigm was for Jesus to receive the Holy Spirit. God identified the Holy Spirit baptizer to John the Baptist as the one upon whom the Spirit remains.

Fast forward – Jesus has come, gone to the cross, was buried and arose. After his resurrection he appeared to his followers. After greeting them, “He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” (John 20: 22). Are some of the circles beginning to close for you? Jesus has taken us right back to breath. After this he appeared to them again and told them not to leave Jerusalem but rather to await for that which the Father promised. Then he spoke today’s verse. The Apostles were commanded to remain and receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

This baptism is recorded in Acts 2, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance,” (Acts 2: 1 – 4). Don’t you find this exciting? It makes me want to shout. Can you picture how elated the Apostles were that day?

This became the new normal for the Apostles. They now had a revelation of what was spoken in the earliest days of Jesus’ ministry. No longer was it theology for them. This baptism in the fire of the Holy Spirit became their reality. Later when Peter was called to minister to the Gentiles he saw the same outpouring of the Spirit on them whereupon he remarked, “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 11: 16).

I would fail you if I didn’t include the Apostle Paul. Paul came to understand this new baptism as well or better than anyone. In fact, if you run your search on the Spirit in the New Testament you will get a feel for how well acquainted with the Holy Spirit Paul was. Related to the Holy Spirit baptism, “He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said to him, ‘No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ And they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying,” (Acts 19: 2 – 6).

Paul divulges that there is a new baptism, the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a free gift from the Father. None the less, there appears to be something required of us. Otherwise, all of these faithful believers would have automatically received the gift when first they believed. When they heard from Paul about the baptism of Jesus in the Holy Spirit, they must have asked to receive the baptism right then because the next thing that happened is that Paul laid his hands on them and the Holy Spirit came on them.

This baptism is for all of us too. Our Father promised thousands of years ago that He would pour out His Spirit to every person. No one is left out of the promise. John the Baptist came and prepared the way for Jesus proclaiming that Jesus would baptize us in the Holy Spirit and fire. Jesus ushered in the Spirit saying, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth,” (John 14: 16). We know that Jesus does not lie and we have the evidence of Acts 2 that He and the Father have fulfilled their obligation. There is nothing left but for us to bathe ourselves in this anointing from God and be showered with the Holy Spirit of God.

Power Generator

Acts 10: 38

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Let’s talk power! Power is what we all need for our lives. We need to overcome obstacles, defeat enemy attacks and we need to create. Jesus went about doing good, healing and delivering ALL who were oppressed by the devil. This verse reveals that it was through the power of the Holy Spirit that he was able to accomplish these things.

God has given you a vision. You need creative power to complete it. The Holy Spirit is that creative power. Let’s look at the creation of the earth in Genesis 1, “The Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light,” (Genesis 1: 2 – 3). What is the purpose of disclosing that the Spirit was hovering over the formless earth before God spoke? Through it we learn that the Holy Spirit is the creative power of God. God had a vision, spoke The Word, who we know to be Jesus, and the Holy Spirit brought the vision into being.

The Holy Spirit is the power of God. Micah 3: 8 reads, “I am filled with power—With the Spirit of the Lord—And with justice and courage.” Micah understood that the power he exhibited to prophesy was the power from the Spirit of the Lord. Of course, Jesus was well aware of the source of his power. “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you,” (Matthew 12: 28).

Paul described his ministry in 1 Corinthians 2: 4, when he wrote, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,” (NIV). His desire was that all believers would know this same power that is in the Holy Spirit. He prayed, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” (Romans 15: 13).

That which Jesus had, which Paul embraced is what we also need. That is the Holy Spirit and the power that comes with him. There are more scriptures in the New Testament that reveal the Holy Spirit as the source of power. Go to www.Biblegateway.com and search “power” in the New Testament for further study. More importantly though, make it a point to search out in your heart and with the Father what you can do to increase your daily fellowship with His Spirit. Seek the Lord and His Spirit.

My Buddy

John 14: 16 – 17

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

I started to send you scriptures today which show the Holy Spirit as the promise of God, there are quite a few, but perhaps you have already come to that conclusion. This scripture from Haggai spells it out simply enough, “As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!” (Haggai 2: 5). This scripture is great assurance that God fulfilled the promise He made. The bigger question, therefore, may be, why is this so important? What does the fulfillment of this promise mean to me? That is the question I would like to attempt to answer today.

Jesus was the first to teach about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was referred to by many prophets and writers, but Jesus told us about the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives. We find key language in today’s verse. Jesus called the Holy Spirit our “Helper.” If you check this word in your Strong’s Concordance or even in the footnotes, you find the word here which is translated into English as helper also means comforter, intercessor and most interesting of all, one who is called to go alongside. This is the idea I would like you take away from today’s Word of the Day. The Holy Spirit was sent to us by God as a fulfillment of His promise so that we would have a constant companion, someone who will go along beside us regardless of the circumstance.

It is remarkable that God, at the request of Jesus, would send His Own Spirit to be our companion. Even more remarkable, though, is that this cohort, this third person of the Trinity, is called to walk along beside us. This should give even greater insight to the idea of partnership with the Holy Spirit. God didn’t send us a boss. There is absolutely nothing tyrannical in our relationship with the Spirit. At the deepest level of truth, Father God sent us a friend, a buddy. That is the key revelation of the Holy Spirit. That is the revelation that could, and dare I say, should, change your life forever.

There is so much more that he does for us but it all flows from this relationship, or friendship. He is our teacher, an intercessor, he assists us in prayer. He is the Spirit of Truth and leads us in all truth. He is our guide and our confidante. The big revelation, though, is that he is your friend. He is with you every moment of your life. He is the breath in your lungs. There is a scripture which says, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” (Proverb 18: 24). This is the Spirit, the living water which quenches our thirst. This is our friend.

Fill ‘er Up!

Ephesians 5: 18

Be filled with the Spirit.

If you thought yesterday’s scriptures and the miraculous acts of ordinary people was something, just wait until the New Testament revelation of the Holy Spirit unfolds for you. We saw from the Old Testament scriptures how the Spirit would settle “upon” individuals. When the Spirit came upon people, they were emboldened and empowered. People who were moments before afraid became great leaders, prophets and miracle workers under the power that came upon them with the Holy Spirit.

The story of the New Testament is quite different though. In the New Testament, a different word appears in the context of the Holy Spirit working with and through people. Whereas the Old Testament regales us with stories of the Holy Spirit being “on” people, the New Testament transitions us to the Holy Spirit “infilling” us. He is now in us rather than upon us. There are only three Old Testament scriptures about someone being filled with the Spirit while there are twelve New Testament scriptures about being filled. Likewise, there are very few New Testament scriptures about the Spirit being upon a person. One notable exception is Jesus.

In Matthew 3: 16 is the account of Jesus’ baptism. When he came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended and alit upon him. Shortly thereafter, Jesus was led, by the Spirit, into the wilderness where he was tempted by Satan. Luke’s description of this event says Jesus was “filled” with the Spirit (Luke 4: 1). So, which is it? Did the Spirit alight upon him, as in the Old Testament or did he fill Jesus? I believe the answer is that Jesus, again, is the exception to the rule. Jesus was an Old Testament Jew, but he ushered in the New Testament. In this sense, he was the bridge between how the Holy Spirit interacted with people in the Old Testament and how we are supposed to interact with him now.

At Jesus’ baptism the Holy Spirit descended and rested upon him. That language is clear and consistent. A short time later Jesus is described as being filled with the Spirit. In the intervening time Jesus bridged the gap between the Old and the New. He was the conduit through which the Old and New Testaments were reconciled. In him, the Father found the unity of paradigms which orchestrated the fulfillment of His promise to Israel, namely, the pouring out of the Spirit.

We have the greatest of all situations in Christ. He told his disciples that it was to their advantage that he depart because in his leaving he would send us another helper who would be with us and in us forever, the Holy Spirit (John 16: 7, John 14: 16). In this new dispensation the Spirit does not rest upon us for a time and then leave. He is with us and in us all of the time. He is as close as your next breath. In fact, you and he can be so intertwined that he is part of your DNA and that is where we want to go.

The Holy Spirit is who made Jesus the miracle worker he was. It was the Holy Spirit which made Jesus so attractive that he could simply say, “Follow me” and people would leave their occupations and follow him. The Holy Spirit was the power of articulation that gave Jesus perfect teachings and wisdom in his speech. How do I know? “Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner (John 5: 19). Now, the one who empowered Jesus to do all that he did, is available to us. We can be as intimately intertwined with the Holy Spirit as Jesus was which means that we can be led as Jesus was led and we can do everything he did (John 14: 12).

(See Also: Exodus 31: 3, Exodus 35: 31, Micah 4: 8, Matthew 4: 1, Luke 1: 15, Luke 1: 41, Acts 2: 4, Acts 4: 8, Acts 4: 31, Acts 6: 3, Acts 6: 5, Acts 7: 55, Acts 11: 24)

Put Upon

Numbers 11: 17

Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone.

In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit would rest “upon” individuals. When the Spirit came upon them, they were empowered to do great things. It was the Old Testament version of the intertwined partner relationship with the Holy Spirit which we have been discussing.

In this passage from the book of Numbers, God spoke to Moses regarding the heavy burden of leading the Israelites through the desert. First one sees the recognition that the Spirit was upon Moses. It seems both God and Moses were well aware of the anointing of the Holy Spirit which was upon Moses. Management of over a million people is a burdensome task so God had Moses set out leaders from the tribes, then He took of His own Spirit and put it upon them also in order that they could help Moses lead the people.

This is a key administrative point – leaders and administrative heads should always be people who have the Holy Spirit. God’s intent is not about appointing the most intelligent, or the most learned people. He teaches us to choose and He chooses people who are led by His Spirit.

In this study on the Holy Spirit, I am endeavoring to give you a brief survey of Holy Spirit Scriptures. Of course, I cannot recite all 248 or so in this forum but let me give you some examples of the Holy Spirit resting “upon” someone. This series on the Holy Spirit might prove a good resource for your own study. Remember that the Spirit empowered people. You will likely want to read these in greater context to see the effect the Spirit had on these people and those around them.

Numbers 24: 2
And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe; and the Spirit of God came upon him.

Judges 3: 10
The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim.

Judges 6: 34
So the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him.

1 Samuel 10: 6
Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man.

1 Samuel 11: 6
Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul mightily when he heard these words, and he became very angry.

Judges 14: 6
The Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand.

2 Chronicles 15: 1
Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded.

2 Chronicles 24: 20
Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah.

This study is not about history. History is the study. Through it we learn, but still, that is not the end game. These scriptures demonstrate what is possible in our own lives when we apply ourselves in a collaborative effort with the Holy Spirit. All things are possible when we abide in the leading and company of the Holy Spirit.

The Brass Ring

Isaiah 42: 1

Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.

I am sometimes asked which book is my favorite of the Old Testament. That’s easy! I love the book of Isaiah. The prophet Isaiah undoubtedly was in the flow of the Holy Spirit. He saw into Jesus’ life and ministry as no one else did. Because of Isaiah’s own intertwining with the Spirit, one can see the person of Jesus all through this book.

Obviously, in this verse, Isaiah foretold the coming of the Messiah. He also was shown the partnership that would exist between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Before the Chosen One would bring forth justice to the nations, he would experience his own union with the Spirit.

It is through this partnership with the Holy Spirit that Jesus was empowered to do any of the things he did. Without the power of the Spirit, Jesus could do nothing (John 5: 19). This is one of the most profound realities of Christian life. Isaiah’s fullness of understanding of Jesus’ anointing is seen in the sixty-first chapter. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me,” (Isaiah 61: 1). These are the very words which Jesus read in the temple that launched his earthly ministry (Luke 4: 18). This prophesy shows two examples of partnership with the Spirit. First, it shows that Isaiah spoke by the power, leading and unction of the Holy Spirit. Second, it reveals Jesus’ collaborative relationship with the Spirit. This is Jesus’ commission. I have only given a small part of it but you will appreciate reading the entire chapter.

Nowhere is this cooperative relationship defined more precisely than in Zechariah 4: 6, “Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord . . . saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” This is critical language but an idea that we, perhaps, are yet to fully realize. While simple in theory, it is a bit more challenging in application, especially in that most of this applied theory is new in many parts of the body of Christ. We are only just now learning how to work in the flow with the Holy Spirit as Jesus did. However, he is giving us this revelation at this time in Church history so that we may go forward as a dynamic body of believers. As we increase our walk in and with the Spirit, we bring his power and wisdom to our own lives. That must be our first step. Only when we, through the Spirit, have met the pressing needs of our own lives can we set our eyes upon the horizon. However, having learned how to cooperate with the Spirit of the Lord for our own needs, we then take his power to the world. Our perspective changes along with our vision. We can then begin to cooperate with the Father on His goals and His vision instead of constantly being bogged down by earthly issues.

This intertwining with the Spirit is the key element necessary for us to arise as the mighty church of God, The Eternal. If there is any singular expression of needed deep revelation for believers it is the knowledge of how to walk with the Spirit such that every one of us is in continual communion with him, following him step by step. God spoke through Zechariah to reveal to us that everything we need to do, everything we are called to do is to be accomplished in the strength and power of the Spirit. What does this mean? This is the critical question. When we can answer this question definitively, we will have laid hold of the Kingdom of God. This is the brass ring!

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