Monday, August 27, 2012

Praise Be

Praise Be to my Rock
To the Prince of Peace
Who sets my heart at ease 

Praise be to the One I serve
The Way, the Word

Praise be to Jesus Christ
The Lamb of God
Who paid the price

Glory, Glory to the Triune God
In Him my feet are shod 

Let the praises ring
From the mountain tops
To the valleys low
From the highest heights
Reaching down below

With the loudest shout
With a silent heart surrendered 

With the tambourine
With a symphony
With the strings of a guitar
With harmonies heard near and far 

Praise be to my Rock
Who freed my soul
Who made me whole
Who loves me unreservedly
Who clothes me in His glory 

Praise be to The Beginning and the End
My Forever Friend

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Infilling of the Holy Spirit

“But 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.” Acts 1:8

Christ's followers were told by Him to wait in Jerusalem until they had been clothed with power from on high. Jesus said that in a few days they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Then Jesus ascended into heaven. On the day of Pentecost, the 120 believers, who had been waiting in prayer for the arrival of the Holy Spirit, received a mighty visitation from God. The Holy Spirit came, like a mighty wind, and filled them to overflowing. Tongues of fire visibly appeared above each of their heads and they began to speak in other languages (tongues). They spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance. There were various ethnic groups visiting Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost. The empowered believers were enabled by the Holy Spirit to speak in such a way that these different national groups understood them, yet the disciples did not know how to speak in these different languages. It was a miracle! The believers were filled with boldness and Peter, who was among them, preached a sermon so persuasive that about three thousand were added to their number.

What is this baptism in the Holy Spirit? What is this empowering? What is it for? Let me first explain that in many places within the book of Acts we see examples of born again believers receiving this gift. It is described as an experience separate from salvation (See Acts 18:24-28 and Acts 19:1-6). Now I believe that the Holy Spirit lives in every born again believer. When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, but this is not the same as being baptized by the Holy Spirit or as being clothed with His power. To baptize means to immerse and to be filled with the Holy Spirit means to be controlled by Him. When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit he or she is immersed in and controlled by the Holy Spirit. When Jesus does this to His followers, He equips them to be more effective witnesses for Him – that is the reason why He does it.

A person controlled by the Spirit in this way is more sensitive to His leadings. 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 discuss the gifts of the Spirit. There are nine manifestations of the Holy Spirit, such as prophesy and speaking in tongues. When a person receives the infilling of the Holy Spirit, they are able to flow in these nine gifts as the Spirit leads them. Many times when an individual receives the empowering of the Spirit, they speak in tongues. Tongues is a heavenly or human language given to the individual for the purpose of prayer. The Bible says that when a person prays in tongues they become stronger spiritually or they are edified. This function of the Holy Spirit is meant to be private for the most part – between us and God. Scripture also says that when we pray in tongues, we pray the perfect will of God, because He is giving us the words to say. It is not my intention here to discuss all the different gifts of the Holy Spirit, but it would be good to read about them in the Bible if you haven't already.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is available to anyone who is a follower of Christ. We are commanded in Ephesians 5:18 not to get drunk on wine but to be filled with the Holy Spirit. God desires for each of us to receive this infilling but we have a choice. We can either choose to obey and reap the benefits or disobey and dishonor God. The question is not whether you will go to heaven or not, it is whether you will please the Lord in this matter.

Let me also explain that this is not an experience reserved for “super saints”. It is available to all who believe and to all who will ask. Luke 11:9-12 says, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” It is plain from this scripture that God desires to give us His infilling of the Holy Spirit. It is also just as evident that He will give it to us if we only ask in faith. If you would like to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit, please pray this prayer from your heart.

Prayer for receiving Salvation and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit...

Dear Father God,

Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me and to save me. I ask You to forgive me from all of my sins, and I choose to turn my back on any behavior that displeases You. I realize that I cannot earn my way into heaven but I believe that You sent Jesus to pay the price for my sin and rebellion. I realize that it is only by Your grace that I can be saved. Dear Father, thank you for sending Jesus to die for me and to save me. I now ask you to save me and to fill me with Your Holy Spirit.

Come Holy Spirit and take control of my life. Fill me with your power and love. Use me to win a world that is dying without You. Enable me to flow in Your wonderful gifts. I thank you and receive this experience by faith. From this day forth, I declare that I am filled with the Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

His Word

His word cuts
Dividing soul and spirit
Its pages spring forth life within us 

Obedience to it
Builds an enduring foundation
Equips the man or woman of God
For fruitful ministry

His word spoken
Diffuses the enemy
Bolsters faith
Creates the miraculous 

His word is a sword and a shield
Causing us to flourish
Like a jungle paradise 

His word is healing
To all our flesh
Peace to our hearts
Strength to our souls

The word of God
Must be our indispensable companion
Our intimate leader
The champion of all our decisions

The word is a lamp to our feet
Illuminating our way
Towards the righteous path
Accompanied by abundance

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Command to Love

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39

Love is the great commandment of the New Testament. Every directive in the word of God upholds the law of love. Every time we fail to obey the Scriptures we fail to love. A lover of God and man abides in the truth, and true love is defined within the pages of God’s word. 1 John 2:5 says, “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in Him. By this we know we are in Him.”

It is impossible for us to grow in love without a steady diet of God's word. The commandments of the Lord create the boundaries for the river of God's love to flow. Spending time in the Scriptures prepares, equips, and motivates us to love God and others as Jesus does. Our love for God and others is also fueled by having a firm revelation of how much God loves us. We love Him because He first loved us.

The love between a man and a wife is to be tender and passionate, loyal and lasting, but this relationship is to be secondary to the love we have for God. It has been said that there is no love like the love of a mother for her children. Those of us that have children are to love them and nurture them in the ways of the Lord, but still this love is not to be greater than our love for the Savior. We find that when we love God above all others, we have a deeper love for others. Why? Because when we put our relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit first, we tap into the power of God, and God is love.

There are no two commandments greater than the commandment to first love God, and then to love others. Let's make it the goal of our lives to live out these two directives. God's blessing will accompany us as we follow in this way.

Dear Lord of Love,

Help me to make loving You and others my greatest aim. Teach me to put You first in everything I do, and teach me to love all people – even those that are difficult to love. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Friday, August 3, 2012

I'm Taking a Stand

I’m taking a stand
Declaring who I am
In Christ

I’m more than a conqueror
In Christ

I am righteous
In right-standing
With God my Savior-King

I am the head and not the tail
Through Christ’s cross I do prevail

I am an overcomer
Through Jesus the Lover
Of my soul

The joy of the Lord
Is my strength
He causes me to reign

I have favor with God and man
He causes me to stand

The enemy’s under my feet
Satan’s forces must retreat

Greater is the One that’s in me
Greater than any evil army

Thanks be to God who gives me the victory
And causes me to see
Myself as He sees me