Anticipation

Ephesians 1: 18             Amplified

And [I pray] that the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know and cherish the hope [the divine guarantee, the confident expectation] to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people).

I love the expression “confident expectation.” It is the image of us leaning forward, fully assured of God’s continuous attendance to our needs and desires.

When we hear this odd language like “eyes of your heart” it kinda makes sense but not completely. Perhaps the Amplified version provides some clarity. I would like to offer an additional way to think of it. You know how sometimes your sensitivity is heightened and you pick up on things better than at other times? Or, sometimes you know something but you aren’t sure what you perceived. We say, “In my gut, I just knew.” You see, your internal mechanism is operating all the time. Some of us are better at listening to it than others of us, but even the most unreceptive of us have those times when our perceptions are heightened. You pick up a little something in a person’s tone or your mind takes note of a word they used when there was a friendlier synonym. Perhaps you pick up on body language or a cast of the eyes. A plethora of data is flying by you at an enormous rate and you take in more of it than you know. Down in your core, in the very center of your being this data is processed and for those who listen to it, there comes revelation. It is a matter of listening to your inner you. That is what Paul was praying for, that the Holy Spirit would flood your inner being with his light to shine upon that information which available but undiscovered.

The Father is speaking with us continually. The Holy Spirit is whispering into our spiritual ears. Paul prayed that our sensitivity to these things would be improved so we would discern the blessing which is constantly flowing to us from the Trinity. Paul knew that when we allow the Holy Spirit to tune us into the Divine frequency, we receive hope of a kind that has us not only leaning forward but jumping out of bed in the morning. We receive such encouragement from the light of the Spirit that we are absorbed in confident expectation.

Isn’t that exciting? This hope that Paul wants for us is what we are called to. You may have known that you are called, well, this is your calling. Father is calling you to be immersed in the assurance of the rich inheritance which is yours, right now, as a child of God.

Your inheritance is for today. You don’t have to wait for God to die to receive your inheritance. He made it available at Jesus’ death. Father has called you to the confident expectation of your glorious inheritance which is yours in Christ Jesus, our Lord and savior. All of the dying has been done. Now is the time of light and life. Pray this simple prayer with me: Father, I receive all you have for me. Open my eyes and ears that I hear you daily and I see your loving hand everywhere I look. Lead me, Holy Spirit, into this confident expectation of my inheritance through Christ. Father I thank you as I receive this, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

It’s yours. En-joy!

Go Jump in the River

Psalm 46: 4

There is a river whose streams bring joy to the city of God, the holy place where the Most High lives.

This river is the Holy Spirit and the flow of the Holy Spirit brings many benefits to our lives. Among these is joy. The Holy Spirit is often characterized as a flow in addition to water, rivers and fountains. It is the flow of the Spirit which brings revelation and waters the garden of God. We live in and as part of God’s city right now even as we dwell on earth because the earth is part of His realm too. Because there is great, and I do mean great, profit flowing in and from the Spirit, it is important that we come to know him better and better.

One of the things that is interesting about the Spirit is shown in today’s passage and that is that he is often referred to as some form of water. Think about water for a moment and consider not only how important it is for all life forms but also all of the ways water impacts your life. Try washing clothes, dishes or your face and most often you will use water. Most detergents and cleaners have water in them already or combine with water to do their jobs. Just imagine a week without water even if you had drinking water. I would be using some of that potable water to brush my teeth. We use water in cooking. Besides all that, our bodies are mostly water, as you know.

When you consider the importance of water don’t you find it interesting that God identifies the Holy Spirit as living water? In Jeremiah 2: 13 God said, “My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters.” God calls Himself The fountain of living waters referring to Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit. Do you remember the story of the Samaritan woman Jesus met at the well? In verse 10 of John chapter 4, “Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” Again, living water but this time it was Jesus who reveals there is living water, i.e. water that is alive and which gives life. Later in that same chapter, in verse 14, Jesus describes the value of the living water, “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Jesus also said, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water,’” (John 7: 38).

I find these verses exhilarating but I am also impressed by their significance. Water is vital for life and I think that is the point Jesus is making in these verses. From this fountain of living water springs all of life. Perhaps Jesus is saying that the Holy Spirit is vital for life and he, therefore, wants us to seek this living water. Jesus wants us to become cognizant of the role the Holy Spirit is intended to play in all our lives. We cannot live without water and I believe Jesus is saying that none of us will flourish or grow without the flowing river of the Holy Spirit. This river is meant to spring up from our innermost being. We can ask ourselves if we feel we are living in this springing up flow from our innermost selves. We can ask if the Spirit is welling up within us. Then, we can ask the Father for this revelation about the Spirit to be manifested in our lives whether we are experiencing a little creek or a raging river for there is always more of the Holy Spirit for us to receive.

Make it a point to meditate on and come to know this third person of the Holy Trinity. Think about what these water verses mean. What did the Father and Jesus mean for us to get out of them? What was Jesus trying to get the Samaritan woman to see and do? Most of all, jump in the river of living water and drink your fill.

No Power to All Power

Matthew 28: 18          NMB

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, all power is given to me in heaven and in earth.

So, if, as Jesus said, all power was given to him, then why could he do nothing in and of himself? Is this a perplexing problem or a simple question? Remember from yesterday’s Word of the Day that John 5: 19 records Jesus as saying that he could do nothing of himself. So how was he able to perform so many miracles? The answer is, he was given all power when he was given the Holy Spirit. Recall that the Spirit of God came and rested upon him at his baptism. From then on, he walked in the power of the Holy Spirit rather than in his power.

I hope that brief recitation paints a picture in your mind. It can be very perplexing to think of walking as Jesus did, living as he did and carrying on his ministry, which is what we are all called to do. We try, in vain sometimes, to imagine what walking in and with the Spirit looks like. The good news is that we can look at Jesus. He has already modeled it for us. He was just a man, and by his own admission a powerless man. He couldn’t do miracles in himself. He was so aware of human shortcomings that he said that in and of himself he could do nothing. I can relate to that, can you? Doesn’t it seem sometimes that even the simplest things take more power and energy than we can produce?

The brilliance is in understanding we were never meant to stand on our own. It turns out, even to my chagrin, that individualism is a farce. We are not individuals. We are constituent parts of a whole and meant to be woven into the very fabric of our father. Actually, you know that we are called the body of Christ, each of us an important part of the whole. We are also the house of God; “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,” (1 Peter 2: 5). Jesus is the high priest who will offer spiritual sacrifices to God in the temple. It turns out that we are that temple.

My point is this. You were never designed to function on your own. That’s like a one person basketball team. You were created to function as a team; with all the rest of us but more importantly, in harness with the Holy Spirit of God. If we, as the body of Christ, as his spiritual house can grasp this, we can, and I mean this literally, change the world overnight. When we lay hold of this concept our lives will change dramatically as well as the lives of every person around us. You will not be able to contain yourself or that power resident within you. You become a world changer like Jesus. Everywhere you go, he will exude from you. I want so much for us to be that functioning body that Jesus is looking for. It isn’t only up to me. More importantly, it is up to “we.” The world changing phenomenon is in us, and we are learning to walk in the Spirit and emulate Jesus. If we are to ever be true disciples, that is what is called for.

Of yourself, you can’t do much, but then, Jesus said the same of himself. He was given a gift, though, a gift which not only changed him but changed the world. That was the gift of the Holy Spirit. If there is any one message of this age it is that we need to embrace the Spirit of God and walk with him daily. We need to meet this third part of the Trinity and know him as we know and love Jesus. Though you can do nothing on your own, you can do all things with him. That includes caring for your family and being successful in what God has called you to do.

Make this your Spirit day. If you don’t feel you have a relationship with him, make this your day. If you know him, decide to go deeper with the Holy Spirit today. Determine to walk every step with him and purpose in your heart that he will be in your every breath.

No Worms Please

John 5: 19

Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself.”

Jesus said he was nothing without God so consider me, as David said, a worm (Psalm 22: 6). Who are we if Jesus could do nothing without the Father’s assistance? Before Jesus’ ministry began, Father sent him to be baptized by John the Baptist. When John baptized Jesus in water, God baptized him in the Holy Spirit. The text from Matthew says that the Spirit of God descended from heaven and rested upon Jesus (Matthew 3: 16). Everything Jesus did from then on was done in the power of the Spirit of God. So again, I ask, who are we that we can do anything apart from God’s Spirit?

Jesus would have known the scripture from yesterday, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts,” (Zechariah 4: 6). He knew that his ministry was dependent on working with the Holy Spirit. In fact, did you know that even the Father relies on the Spirit’s power? Look at the account of creation from Genesis. The Spirit was hovering over the void. Then when God spoke, the Spirit made it so. He is the power part of God. So, if God operates by the Spirit and Jesus operates by the Spirit, it would seem imperative that we learn how to work with him too.

Of course, this isn’t natural for us but truly, we aren’t supposed to live in the natural anyway. We are part of the super-natural family of God. The natural realm was what we had before Jesus. Now, we are above natural having been adopted into God’s family.

Does this sound a bit far-fetched? I think so, but that is an indication of how far we have slipped. It certainly was not far-fetched or unusual for Peter, John, or Paul. This wouldn’t have even sounded implausible to Doubting Thomas. Remember, he was one of the people who fed the five thousand. They would think our existence is strange. Few miracles, healings or manifestations of the Spirit. And do you know that these people continued to walk in the miracles after Jesus exited? Why? It wasn’t Jesus performing the miracles. It was his Father’s power through the person of the Holy Spirit.

Because of the Holy Spirit, you can lay hands on the sick and they will recover (James 5: 14 – 15). There is no reason you cannot change water to wine, walk on the water and feed the hungry. In fact, Jesus said that you should be doing greater works than he. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father,” (John 14: 12). That scripture has bothered me for some time because I am not doing greater either. I think the first step is for us to wrap our minds around the fact that we are supposed to be supernatural people living in the supernatural world even as we traverse this physical earth. That is what Jesus did and we Christians are all the time talking about walking in his footsteps. Well, this is what it means. We are to partner with the Holy Spirit as he did and believe for the manifestation of God’s miracles everywhere we go. We are too complacent though. It is comfortable to settle for the natural. We don’t want to be weird and frankly, it takes some faith to live in the supernatural. It takes faith to be like Jesus, no doubt. Still, that is what distinguishes us from those who are not under his lordship. We aren’t called to be natural. In a way I guess I am asking you to be unnatural. We are called to be peculiar, unique. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2: 9).

Be anointed by the Holy Spirit as was Jesus and walk out into the world as he did. Sure, it’s a challenge but we have the highest and most holy calling. Let’s honor it.

Spirit Power

Zechariah 4: 6

This is the word of the Lord . . ., ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

Last week we spent a little time with the prophet Habakkuk, and he taught us about partnering with God and not being prideful. Habakkuk told us that leaning on our own strength, might and power, is a result of a prideful soul, a soul which is not right within us. The good news was that our Father has prepared a way for us to renew our souls and make them right. It is about immersing ourselves in Him and part of Him is His Word. That means to bathe ourselves, be baptized in the Father and the Son, since Jesus is the Word and nothing happens apart from him.

Today we are reminded that the power we need was never meant to come from our hands or even our own minds. Our strength and our success is in Him, more specifically in His Spirit. We are to work, think, walk and even breathe by God’s Spirit. We know that anything we do that is not done by and in faith is unpleasing to God. Only by faith in the Son are we justified and it is that faith which guides us.

God sent His Son to redeem us and to establish His family. Then Jesus sent us the Spirit to walk beside us and show us the way. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the way and that is where the Spirit always leads. The Son is the way to the Father. So all culminates in the Father and in His love. It is His master plan. A plan by which we were saved from eternal damnation, made heirs to His riches, given success here in the earth, and restored to Him as a body, whole and perfect. However, it is only in walking with and in the Spirit of God that we function as ordained. Anything not done in the Spirit, by faith, is frankly, an abomination. That sounds harsh but that word keeps ringing through my mind as I write.

An abomination because it is by our works, which is repugnant to God. When we look to our hands, education and wisdom, eschewing God’s gifts, it is to make ourselves Gods. This is the very thing which caused the downfall of humanity. We feign to know good from bad, right from wrong. We decide what is right to do, making ourselves righteousness judges. This is the way that leads away from God. In every sense, it is idolatry because we set ourselves up on the throne of our lives. We succeed or fail by our might, rather than recognizing the true God. Sure, we go to church on Sunday and pay homage to Him but how distasteful must that be to Him when we served ourselves and our needs all week long. We get up each morning and decide what we will do that day when God clearly tells us that it is not by our minds or decisions that we are to labor. We are supposed to turn to Him. We are to trust Him as our superior in intellect, wisdom, and experience. He is supreme in every way but most of us have yet to learn that worship is walking in His ways rather than by our sight and might.

Everything we do is a Spiritual matter, I mean right down to pumping gas into your car. You never know what might be on the mind of the Spirit. He might want to tell you that pump isn’t safe and to go to a different one. There is no part of our day that is not rightfully lived in the Spirit of God. We are to be baptized into Him as we are in the Father and Son, immersed fully in him.

It’s a simple thing to do but it must be done in faith. Simply ask the Spirit to come to you and take up his proper place in your life. Ask him to be your leader, teacher and constant companion. Invite him to be your business partner and your closest confidant. Ask him to come live in you and to be with you. Ask him to fill you to overflowing and to be with you always. There is no one with more power yet it is tempered with the greatest compassion. He is the breath of God, the very breath in your lungs. That’s what the Bible says about him.

How close is your breath? That is how close you are to hold the Spirit of God. Every breath is to be spent with him. We have had little actual contact with the Spirit. We’ve not taken today’s scripture to heart fully. Let’s change that. Make this the day that you invite God’s Spirit to be the power in your life. Relinquish your control and gain true freedom in him. Not by might, nor by power but by God’s Spirit. Let that be your calling card.

Whom Shall I Serve?

Habakkuk 1: 11

But they will be held guilty, they whose strength is their God.

The prophet Habakkuk wrote this sometime around 607 B.C. That means this passage is over 2600 years old. It might have been written yesterday for how appropriate it is to our everyday existence.

I have been writing over the last couple of years about partnership with God. This is the singular message of our time. God sent Jesus to save us from destruction. Having accomplished his task, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our constant companion and helper. We are supposed to learn to work with Him the way the Father did when He created the earth, and indeed, the whole universe. We are called to walk with him the way Jesus did when he worked miracles in the earth. These two persons of the Trinity that we know well, did everything through and by the Holy Spirit. This was God’s plan for us, that the third person of the Trinity would come live with us, actually be in us and that we would rely on His strength rather than our own.

How many of us have learned this way of living though? Don’t most of us look to our “God given” abilities rather than to the Holy Spirit? Don’t we strive and labor? You would be shocked to learn how much of the Bible speaks specifically against our strength, our labor and striving to succeed. Here is just one little taste, straight from the lips of Father God on knowing Him, “Cease striving and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46: 10). Maybe you will like this one, “It is the Lord’s blessing that makes a person rich, and hard work adds nothing to it,” (Proverb 10: 22 GW). Hey, that’s Bible guys and I don’t mean the Bible according to Ivey. That’s the gospel. And don’t look at me like I am any better at this than anyone else but at least I know where the bull’s eye is painted these days. The target is: complete, 100% cooperation with the Holy Spirit. In fact, Jesus said the Spirit is to be the leader (John 16: 13), so not only are we to partner with the Spirit, but we are to listen to him and get our directions, our plans from him.

I think of it this way, imagine every morning that you have a partner meeting (and in truth I advise you to actually do this). In that meeting you lay out what you perceive as the day’s priorities and tasks. You and the Spirit can look at the schedule for the day, the appointments, etc. but then comes the critical piece. Let him show you which are the really important items. He may add some tasks that he identifies as more important than those on your list. He does that with me. Sometimes what he thinks is most important is for me to read or to journal. Sometimes he will move one project in front of another. That’s good. That is what you want him to do because he knows the future and which actions get us to our goals. Talk through everything for that day but, and here is a key, when you leave the conference room table or the kitchen table, don’t forget to keep him right beside you. Listen to him all day.

Another key part of this is that it is his strength, his power that works for us. Look to him. Tell him he has mail. Let him be the miracle worker. You will be surprised what he can accomplish while you are having your lunch, that is, if you will give him the reins.

Look, this takes practice, I grant you. It also takes intentionality. In other words, you have to intend to live and work this way. You must purpose in your heart and in your mind to pay attention to the voice of the Spirit which is speaking within you. You will need to prioritize spending quiet, contemplative time with him. I know you don’t want to. You think you are too busy to sit and meditate but as I pointed out, this is God speaking. This is what the Bible tells us to do.

Sooner or later we have to decide if we are truly disciples of Christ. If so, then it is about doing what he says and following in his footsteps. Sooner or later, you have to decide if you are foremost a Christian or a lawyer, a Christian or a school teacher, a Christian or a banker. I kept making the wrong choice. I was a lawyer first and a Christian second. Don’t be like I was. Learn and practice making God supreme. Don’t let your strength, intelligence, or hard work be your God. Don’t serve your calendar but serve God and humble yourself before Him and His wisdom. Be a great success in Christ, your Lord.

Power, Reward, Recompense

Isaiah 40: 10

Behold, the Lord God will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.

This Word of the Day is for me because yesterday I was feeling very selfish. I didn’t want to look for a verse for you or a Word from God for you. I just wanted to do what I always tell you to do, hang out with Dad. So, I did and this is what he gave me. I do hope it blesses you too.

As is typical, when Dad wants to minister to me, I usually end up in the books of John and Isaiah. I’ve got a fair bit of Isaiah 40 highlighted, you know, the typical verses. I can’t say I have ever seen this one quite like this before.

Isaiah was a visionary. He saw things, especially about Jesus and the New Covenant, that few saw and even fewer comprehended. For the first time, I see the New Testament miracle in this verse. I have written about the power of God before. In this verse Isaiah calls it God’s might. The NIV Bible says He comes with power and rules with a mighty arm. If you do a study on the Holy Spirit you will find that he is the power of God.

This prophecy reveals the coming of the Holy Spirit. It tells us that when God comes as the Holy Spirit, He comes in power. You need God’s power in your life as do I. That is not all, though. When Yahweh sent the Holy Spirit into the earth (See Acts 2) He sent His reward with him. To phrase it differently, the Spirit has come to your life, and mine, with power and reward. Recompense means to make reparation to.

Yahweh God, the Father, sent His Spirit to you so that you would be reimbursed for the years the locust stole, so you would have the power you need for your mission, and to reward you for your devotion to your Father. All good things. So, embrace this verse and cast it forward into your life as prophecy fulfilled.