Saturday, October 09, 2010

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

"I tell you most solemnly, unless a man is born through water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).

The kingdom of God here and now is something we cannot experience without the Holy Spirit. An old Chinese proverb says: 'When the student is ready, the teacher appears.' The Holy Spirit is the Teacher and Friend who is standing by waiting for us to be ready and invite Him into our lives. Jesus says that we must be born through water and the Holy Spirit. Full acceptance of Jesus Christ ushers the Holy Spirit into our lives. This experience marks our entrance into the kingdom of God which starts here and now. We experience the kingdom of God when we practice justice, truth, love and self-control.

Jesus says that we need the Holy Spirit to succeed as Christians. We respond to this message of our Lord and Savior by seeking everyday, a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit to help us to overcome sin and give us the power to proclaim Jesus Christ with boldness.

Thank you Jesus for your promise to give the Holy Spirit to whoever asks for it. Give us the Holy Spirit, Lord.

Navarre Bible: St John

Friday, October 08, 2010

Jesus and the Spirit

"Jesus, with the power of the Holy Spirit in him, returned to Galilee; and his reputation spread throughout the countryside. He taught in their synagogues and everyone glorified him." (Luke 4: 14 - 15)

It amazing and it is true that even Jesus worked with the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the greatest promise of God to man. It is a gift beyond compare. Christ, the God-man is endowed with the very best gift of God. He taught us to aspire to this gift. He promised that this gift will be ours without fail. God is waiting for the asking to fulfill it immediately.

When the Spirit comes and dwells in us, He will teach us all things we need to fulfill God's unique purpose for us. He will give us the power to fulfill this purpose.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Spirit and Simeon

"Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to the restoration of Israel and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he has set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Promoted by the Spirit he came to the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God." (Luke 2: 25 – 27)

The Spirit and Simeon

  • Habitat of the Spirit: devout and upright man; man of hope; man of expectation
  • The Holy Spirit rested on him: Spirit indwelling
  • The Holy Spirit revealed to him: Spirit and revelation; Spirit and knowledge
  • Prompted by the Spirit: Spirit and inspiration; Spirit and guidance.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Christ Walk

A Story


"And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ"(Phillipians 1:6)

My heart beat a little faster as I read Ken's four-page letter about his worsening situation. To the admiration of his friends and collegues, he climbed the career ladder two steps at a time and after some years earned a promotion as a sales supervisor. After three years of long hours and overtime, Ken thought he deserved a raise. Instead, he received a pink slip when the company restructured. He resolved not to seek employment but started his own consulting firm. But success as a consultant proved elusive. Bills piled up. Desperation settled over his spirit like a thick blanket, nearly smothering him.

His Christian friends assured him that embracing Jesus was the solution to his growing list of problems. They motivated him by Jesus' promise of abundant life: "I have come so that they may have life and have it abundantly"? (John 10:10). Ken desired abundant life and prosperity.

Ken enjoyed Christian fellowship and met useful professional contacts. His business grew. Then tragedy struck. He became ill with gastric ulcers and could not work. He depleted his savings to pay off his mortgage. Suddenly without a financial safety-net, things tumbled from bad to worse. He totaled his uninsured car. A power surge fried his computer. His health continued to sour. Ken's second crisis stretched his friend's resources and some even abandoned him over his persistent problems. "Where was the promise of an abundant life"? He wondered aloud.

Ken's trials almost overwhelmed him. Ken's dilemma reminded me of Job's. He too lost everything -- but despite his loss learned that God can be trusted. Why do we seem to have more problems when we commit our lives to Christ?

Adversity can be a blessing in disguise: "My son, do not think lightly of the Lord's discipline, or be discouraged when he corrects you, for whom the Lord loves he disciplines; he chastises every son whom he acknowledges" (Hebrew 12: 5-6). Our trials are not the catastrophe we paint them to be. When we learn to trust God as Job did, even tribulations can bring their own reward.

An experienced Christian quoted St. Paul and explained that Ken's experience is normal. At the beginning of our walk with Jesus, we are spiritually fed with milk instead of solid food. Solid Christian doctrine helps us relish the joys and sorrows of following Jesus. We know that we can master all conditions by the power of Christ who gives us the strength.

God takes the initiative in calling us to Himself. He will complete the good work he has started in us. It is easy to walk with Christ for a week or a month, but walking with Jesus for the rest of your life requires the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our help and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. St. Paul told a persecuted Church that God is the source of patience and encouragement. If we walk steadfast with Christ, then our tests become testimonies and our crosses become crowns.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Holy Spirit the Teacher

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (John 14: 26, RSV)

This promise is all inclusive. The Holy Spirit will teach me "all things" that I need for my labor of love. What He does not teach me, I do not need to know. The Holy Spirit will also remind me all that Jesus has said to me. This includes everything that Jesus said to me from my childhood to now. I remember one particular thing Jesus said to me as a young man which I call to mind every day:

"I promise to be your strength in proportion to the trust you place on me."

My response to this has always been: "Lord, you know that I want to place 100% trust in you so that I can enjoy your full strength in my life. Help me Lord to trust you completely in everything today."

Monday, October 04, 2010

Holy Spirit the Helper

"I will give them a new heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the stony heart from their bodies, and replace it with natural heart, so that they will live according to my statutes, and observe and carry out my ordinances; thus they shall be my people and I will be their God." (Ezekiel 11: 19 – 20)

Many years ago, I read a moving commentary on the above scripture from Catherine Marshall's book, The Helper. I hope she would not mind my sharing it here.

"The prophet Ezekiel foretold the two steps that must always take place before anyone of us can have the ability to cope with the evil in our world and to possess power for service:

First step is readying and cleansing process.

'A new spirit will I put within you.'

That is, God will, through the Spirit, renew and refresh our attitudes, convict us of sin, begin to teach us about obedience, change the thrust and climate of our inner beings. Thus he will be readying us for the crown and glory of his plan.

The second necessary step was clearly foretold by Ezekiel:

"And I will put my Spirit with you."

(The Helper, Catherine Marshall)

Catherine was the wife of Peter Marshall. Below is what Peter wrote on divine guidance:

"If God is to use us as His hands and feet and voice, it is just as necessary for Him to guide us geographically as in any other way. It does matter to God where we are at any given time."

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Hungry for Jesus

"Happy are you who are hungry row; you will be filled!" (Luke 6:21)

  • Hungry for the knowledge of Jesus
  • Hungry for love of Jesus
  • Hungry to serve Jesus
  • Hungry for the friendship and companionship of Jesus
  • Hungry to be fully supported by Jesus
  • Hungry to have Jesus as security and doctor
  • The promise: be patient. You will be filled.