Deposits

Ephesians 3: 16        NLT

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit.

As you can tell, I am still hanging out in Ephesians. It is such a rich book that I sometimes hardly get past one verse before I have to stop and contemplate. When Paul stopped and considered all the great works of God’s hands, he fell to his knees and prayed. Undoubtedly, he praised God for all the glorious things He has done. That isn’t all though. Paul’s pastor’s heart shows here. All that awe and wonder turned into a prayer for the people Paul served. Paul prayed an intense prayer. This is my prayer for you today.

We cannot fathom the quantity of glory and resources God has. It boggles the imagination even trying. Take that imagination, that image, however you see it and try to picture God filling you with it. Imagine His might filling you, making you strong in your inner self. Paul asked for God’s Holy Spirit to flow into people and leave, within them, deposits of God’s glory and His ability. I cannot even imagine what resources Paul might have been thinking about but God’s wisdom, patience, insightfulness, and resilience might be some of the resources the Holy Spirit has for us.

The question is, what do we need? God has a resource for every need. I pray Paul’s prayer, that the Holy Spirit will fill you with every glorified resource you need for your life. I also pray that He gives you a new and bigger dream so that you need to pull on those resources more and more. May the God of Glory, the Son of Righteousness and the Spirit of Life shine on you today and leave deposits of their essence in your spirit. Amen.

Spirit Guide

Romans 8: 26

Now in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

This verse describes my prayer over the last year and a half. If ever there was a time I have not known what to pray or how to pray, this has been it. Yet, never has there been a year when the need for prayer has been so great. Many times, I began praying just to find myself out of words, lost and frustrated. I thank my God, as did the Apostle Paul, that we have the Holy Spirit to help us pray as we ought.

The Spirit helps us pray and brother, we need the help like never before. The Spirit can lead us in prayer in our known language or in an unknown language, though it takes a certain amount of surrender to utter syllables you don’t personally understand. I used to pray in what sounded like French. It was beautiful but I didn’t understand it. He can also inspire your prayer with pictures. That can be quite helpful. During the Covid crisis, the Holy Spirit gave me an image of angels with flame throwers. That picture conveyed a lot of meaning in an instant. Later I was able to wrap words and prayers around it.

Some of us are more in our heads when we pray than others. I find some people are adept at connecting with their spirits and, subsequently, with the Holy Spirit within. I have found it an immense relief to be able to pray with the Holy Spirit and to let him give voice to my desires and emotions, especially over the last year and a half.

If you are not accustomed to praying with the Holy Spirit or just think you would like to encourage a closer communion in prayer, it begins with asking the Spirit to join you. Then try to open your senses to the Spirit’s presence. He is there right now. That I can guarantee. I am not the most sensitive person, so I run with the understanding that he is there and that is my anchor. Knowing he is with me moves me towards sensing his presence and guidance. Then pray and as you pray, try to relinquish some of the control. Don’t hold on so tightly. Try to be in the river, floating along with the current. Relax, breathe, pray. That is your model. Let God’s Spirit guide you and life will get easier. This, I promise you. And do not be surprised if it takes a little practice. Just pray every day asking for the Spirit’s assistance and then intentionally try to flow with him. Let the Spirit intercede for you. You really can’t beat having God pray for you. It is as good as it gets.

Receive the Breath

John 20: 21 – 22

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Why in the world did Jesus breathe on his disciples? After yesterday’s Word of the Day, I bet you know the answer. Let’s ponder this just a moment though. Yesterday we saw that the breath is the Spirit. We also saw that where this breath is there is life and when there is the absence, there is cessation of life. So, I suggested that everything which has life has a measure of the Holy Spirit. I also wrote that there are different measures of the Spirit. That reality is shown in today’s verses.

John 3: 34 reads, “For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit.” This verse is about Jesus and says that God gave him the Holy Spirit in unlimited measure. In John 20, Jesus breathed a new measure of the Spirit upon his disciples. I’m thinking, “Inhale deeply.” As he breathed on them, he said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Wouldn’t you think this to be the end of the story regarding Jesus giving them the Spirit? It’s not. Later, in the first book of Acts, Jesus gave further instructions regarding the Holy Spirit to these same disciples, “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,” (Acts 1: 4 – 5).

I find all of this interesting. We know the connection between the breath, specifically God’s breath, and the Holy Spirit. People who don’t know that the Spirit is the breath of God probably don’t recognize the importance of Jesus breathing on them. In fact, it probably looks odd to them but then Jesus did spit to make clay for a blind man’s eyes, so he has reasons we don’t always recognize the fullness of.

The most interesting thing is this conferring of the Spirit. You get the sense from today’s verse that Jesus was passing his anointing to them. In Acts, it was all about the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Clearly, the two acts are related but there must be some nuance in that Jesus is using two events to give the disciples the fullness of the Holy Spirit. So, every person has some of the Breath of God. Jesus has an unlimited measure of the Spirit and I believe it is this fullness, this unlimited measure that he transfers to us at some point.

The thing to ponder is these different measures. Why? If we recognize we can have a bit, some more, and then a fullness, it might move us to pray for the unlimited fullness of the Holy Spirit that Jesus desires for us. So, let’s all get filled up with the Breath of God.

Helping Hand

Galatians 5: 24 – 25

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

So many times, when people hear about passion and desire they think of sexual desire. That is a very limited view of what this passage is speaking about. Your passion for anything, your desire for anything that is not God can be a problem. When your consuming passion is for a new car, a favorite activity, food, etc. then you are serving the desires of your flesh instead of the desires of the Spirit. So even if sexual lust is not a problem for you there may be something that does consume your thoughts. There is help though. When we crucify the flesh, Jesus stands with the promised gift in His hands. We do not have to fulfill the lusts of the flesh because we have a helper. We are not alone.

For those who belong to Jesus the helper leads and guide. He teaches and He empowers. As He teaches us, He also leads us in our own personal reformation. He changes us from the inside out. We no longer have to adhere to a strict set of rules that we enforce through an act of our willpower. That is life according to the law. Now, in our enlightenment, we walk by the Spirit. The Spirit leads and guides us. As we surrender more fully to His guidance, we just naturally do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh because He leads us by a different path.

The key word, though, is surrender. It takes a person of courage to surrender their lives fully to God. It also requires someone who can sacrifice their ego on the altar of grace. God, through the Holy Spirit, will do all of the heavy lifting but you first have to find the guts to move out of God’s way and give your complete life over to Him. In truth, I find that many just can’t put God ahead of themselves. They do not have the courage to surrender. They are just plain scared, and they don’t really trust God. Look, it is easy to talk the talk, but it is hard to walk the walk. How many will graduate from God’s elementary school to the upper grades? Well, the choice is completely ours. Can you really let go of your control, your thoughts, your plans, your ideas, your power, your ego? If you will really let go, the Holy Spirit will take you by the hand and gently guide you in the way. He will lead you into those green pastures. He will keep you from harm even when enemies approach from all sides and He will turn your problems into victory. Let go of your control and live and walk by the Spirit into all grace.

Receive

Galatians 3: 13 – 14

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”- in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

In the Old Testament when God promised that He would pour out the Holy Spirit He sometimes made the promise to the nation of Israel but more often said that He would pour out the Spirit on all mankind. You see, God already knew the future. He knew that through Jesus and His sacrifice all the world would inherit the blessing of Abraham through adoption into the family of God. It was God’s intent that we would all share in the blessing.

Paul, I believe, demonstrates how important this whole structure is. God put together a plan that would ensure that we received all the best He had. It was an elaborate plan and very expensive. It took the sacrifice of the unblemished lamb in order to extend the blessing of the chosen to those of us who were formerly outside the family. God gave His son as that sacrifice so that He could bring us under the umbrella of His protection and into His family. We are now children of the Most High. It cost God everything but through God’s sacrifice, we receive everything.

That is how important you are to the King. And that is how important the Holy Spirit is that God went through these elaborate measures to get the promise to you. The promise is for you.

Now, what do you do? You invite the Holy Spirit into your life. You ask Him to be a part of your daily life; everything you do. You talk to Him just like you talk to God because He is God. He, being the third part of the trinity, is God with you. Ask Him to come live in you. Ask Him to fill you up with himself. And as Paul wrote in the passage above, you must receive Him by faith. You certainly can study more about the Holy Spirit. There are many more verses about Him. They continue to show who He is and how He operates in this world. Many people in the New Testament received the baptism in the Holy Spirit when someone prayed for them so you can ask a pastor or other spiritually mature person to pray with you if you like. There are also plenty of people who have received Him while alone in their own prayers. There is no secret here. It is all in the scriptures. It boils down to acknowledging Him, asking Him into your life, asking Him to live inside of you, to fill you, and then receiving Him. That is really all there is to it. Don’t miss out on the third person of the Trinity. I believe today’s passage shows how important this part of our relationship with God really is. As Jesus said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20: 22).

Fill ‘er up

Ephesians 5: 18

[B]e filled with the Spirit.

God does not only want you to have a little bit of His Spirit, He wants you to be full to overflowing. Well, that is His nature after all, isn’t it? In everything He does He likes to fill us and more so that our every need is met with plenty left over for others. He never leaves the smallest portion of us unfilled or unfulfilled.

After promising the Holy Spirit for many years, it is not a surprise to me that He wants to completely fill us with this promise. There is no part of us that God, our Father, does not want to inhabit with us. He wants to be a part of everything that is important to you, but He also wants to participate in all of the small things of life with you. To Him, they are all important because they are all a part of you and your life. That is why He wants to fill you to the utmost with Himself. And that is what His Spirit is, His inner being, and He wants to share that most intimate part of Himself with you. God is not a small God and He does not do things in a small way. He gives you His best and He gives you all you can hold and a bit more so that you will have some to share with others. It is God’s intention that you be filled with the Holy Spirit. Make it your ambition to be filled with His Holy Spirit until He, the Holy Spirit, bubbles out of you in your abundance.

For he will be great in the sight of the Lord and … he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb.  Luke 1: 15

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Luke 1: 41

And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Luke 1: 67

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan.  Luke 4: 1

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2: 4

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit …. Acts 4: 8

And when they had prayed the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.  Acts 4: 31

But select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.  Acts 7: 3

And the statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy SpiritActs 6: 5

But being full of the Holy Spirit …. Acts 7: 55

[F]or he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.  Acts 11: 24

But Saul who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze upon him.  Acts 13: 9

And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.  Acts 13: 32

Divine Wisdom

Acts 2: 32 – 33

This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.

This verse unites many of the themes we have seen in the scriptures we have looked at regarding the Holy Spirit. God, multiple times, made a promise to pour out the Holy Spirit upon all mankind. Jesus, then, told us that it was imperative for Him to leave so that He could send that which the Father had promised. Receiving the promise unto Himself from the Father, He then poured the Holy Spirit out to all.

It is done. God has done His part. Jesus has done His. The prophecies and the promises have been fulfilled. These are the days of glory that the Lord spoke about. So why aren’t we living in more victory and in more of that glory?

Just like it took some people a long time to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, even when He walked among them and they witnessed His miracles, we are only just beginning to recognize the Holy Spirit and His role. It is much easier to be wise when one can look back into history and see what others missed. It is quite a bit more difficult to be wise in the days of your own history. That is why we need the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would “teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14: 26). Jesus also said that the Holy Spirit would take what He hears from the Father and will disclose it to you (John 16: 13). So, the Holy Spirit’s job is to lead us into this wisdom of the Father. We have been given the scriptures to help us learn about the Spirit. We have the wisdom to seek Him and to learn to work with him because the Holy Scriptures first taught us to expect Him and then informed us as to role in our lives. The Holy Spirit has the Word as one of His tools. He uses the Word to remind us of the things Jesus said and also to lead us in the way that we should go. The Holy Spirit also has the very thoughts of God to minister to us. What we must do is recognize Him. We must be wiser than those who did not recognize Jesus in His day. Then, having recognized the Spirit of God, we invite Him to take an active role in our lives. We invite him to indwell us, teach us and guide us all day every day. He can have as large a role in your life as you want but you must first ask Him into your life. Then let Him fill you up to overflowing.