Respect dare series – day 24 – Time with God

Psalm 119:9-16

Beth. How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

Getting into the Word and spending time with the Holy Spirit are the two greatest actions I can take to invest in my marriage. Intimacy with God the Father, Son, and Spirit is where my energies, convictions and actions must stem from.

My action for today: I took time to read and meditate on Philippians.

My prayer for today: Abba Father, keep me hungry. Make my heart’s desire to be running after you and sitting at your feet. Remain my first love. May my love for Glenn be the purest of love that stems from you. Amen

Time in the Word

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A new year’s resolution?

I must admit that I like taking time to set a list of goals in the lead up to each new year. I find it fun to look back on what I hoped for the year before, too. My love of introspection might play a role in the enjoyment factor! There is usually two sets of goals – one set about what I want spiritually or feel God calling me to, and another set just things I’d like to do.

This year with baby soon to arrive my whole list is pretty much “subject to motherhood”! But the top three remain important – God first, then Glenn, then baby/our family. But what does this look like? What is it to put God first, and what should I be doing in order to set Him first? It’s a fairly ambiguous goal as simply “God first”.

We currently have some friends staying with us who are pastoring a church. They commented that the outcome of a big pastor’s conference was that Christians grow the most when they read the Bible; that discipleship must start by getting people into His Word. My first reaction was a little judgemental – “Really? They had to have a conference to figure that one out?” But then again, the Word is my passion so of course I’m going to feel that way.

Last night, reflecting on the conversation with friends and my ambiguous goal, I was able to come back to a very simple truth. God has given us two incredible gifts to enable us to walk with Him and draw close with Him. One is His Word, and the other is His Holy Spirit, who dwells in all believers.  How blessed we are to have the Spirit and the Word. But it is up to us to read, study, and meditate on the Word. It is also up to us to keep up a connection with the Spirit; a relationship only grows when both sides invest in it.

If you haven’t set a New Year’s resolution yet, or even if you have, I would encourage you to set this as one too: Spend time daily with the Spirit and daily in the Word. Set aside time to pray and listen to the Holy Spirit, and find a study or reading plan that gets you into God’s Word.

May His richest blessings be upon you this year. May He give you strength to persevere through trials, and joy to celebrate achievements and times of abundance.

Experience God this year through His Word and Spirit

Experience God this year through His Word and Spirit

Holy Spirit

But the Helper, 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

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:14-17

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-17

Word of God

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Achieved vs Received

Tonight the question popped into my head: “What have you achieved so far in life?”

My initial reaction was to start pondering the physical achievements I’ve made, the measurable accomplishments I’ve obtained, and the worldly successes I’ve had. But then another word popped into my head: “Peace”. And then another word: “Joy”. And finally a defining word: Received.

I realised that what I have achieved is not nearly of as much importance, or value, as what I have received.

I have received Christ’s gifts of mercy and grace. I have received salvation.

I have received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I have received His peace, and His joy.

I have received His love.

I have received an eternal hope.

Any fruit I bear and any seeds I sow are only as a result of the work of the Spirit in me: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). Therefore, I do not wish to dwell on my achievements, and I certainly do not want to boast of any personal strength. Rather, I want to celebrate what I have received from God and what I have been blessed with.

What have you received?

Walking with the Spirit

Holy Spirit in the House

Acts gives an account on how the Holy Spirit worked during the early years of the church as the Gospel began to go out. Acts mentions miracles, signs and healing so we know that these occurred, but they are not the author’s focus when he discusses the results of the Spirit’s presence.

There were only a handful of times where He came with a physical sign, such as when His presence came with a rushing wind and tongues of fire at Pentecost. Likewise, the number of references to a “spiritual gift” are very few.

More commonly, the results of the Holy Spirit’s presence were related to the preaching of the message. He emboldened believers to witness faithfully and gave them wise words to speak before rulers. The unbelievers usually responded in one of two ways: they were converted, adding to the number of believers, or they were enraged and sought to persecute those sharing the message. In the midst of this persecution we see the disciples rejoicing. There seems to be joy where the Holy Spirit is present regardless of the circumstances.

All this shows that we cannot effectively do missions without the help of the Holy Spirit. Acts demonstrates that the Holy Spirit was behind the spread of the Gospel.

Box the Spirit? 

We can see from Acts that you cannot put the Holy Spirit in a box! He does what He wants to do, where He wants to do it, and when He wants to do it. Sometimes we try to put Him into a box based on our experience or theology. But Acts shows us that the Holy Spirit is uncontainable! He does not belong in a box. He is without limits and confines!

The Holy Spirit is God!

Sometimes when we think of the Holy Spirit we think of something that we can use. We think of Him as a tool at our disposal. But He is God! We cannot command Him when we want Him to move! We treat Him like a tool in our toolbox but this is not who He is. If we think this way, then we need to deepen our relationship with Him!

The book of Acts destroys our boxes! He is not a figment of our imagination. HE IS GOD!

Application:

The Holy Spirit comes at salvation as a down payment for eternal life. Every believer, whether they can speak in tongues or not, whether they see the gifts of the Spirit or not, have received the Spirit.

Titus 3:5-7 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Ephesians 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

We need to remain in a continual receiving spirit as the Holy Spirit fills us more than once. We need more and more of Him. Receive and receive and receive from the Spirit. He carries out sanctification in our lives.

The Holy Spirit manifests Himself in many different ways, but always for the glory of God, up building of His church, and the spread of His Gospel of hope.