Sent By The Holy Spirit

Acts 13:4–So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
Sent forth by the Holy Ghost–The Holy Spirit sends members of the body of Christ forth on a mission, to do a service for God and unto others. It is not always those who are called into full time ministry. Sometimes it is a church member that is living close to God and is usable by God. What a blessed event it is to be sent forth by the Holy Spirit.
1. There is the knowledge that God is sending you forth.
2. There may be a consciousness of one’s own inabilities and an uncertainty of what is going to happen.
3. There is an awareness of God’s presence.
4. There often is an awareness of the urgency of what God wants you to do.
5. There is also an understanding that God is in control of all the circumstances surrounding the mission and that success rests in God’s hands.
6. There is an unexplainable experience of the working of God in and through you during the task that cannot truly be explained to others.
7. There is sometimes a miracle or miracles associated with the task.
8. There is rejoicing in the success and blessings that issue from the mission and service.

“I beseech you Brothers and Sisters live close to God, present your body as a living sacrifice unto God which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). “Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13). Experience the sending of the Holy Spirit and the blessings thereof. To God be the glory. Amen!

We Have A Place In Heaven

John 14:1-3–Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Let not your heart be troubled–The disciples were troubled because Jesus had just told them that He was going away and they could not go at that time but that they would follow Him afterwards. They would follow Him after certain necessary things had been completed according to the will and word of God. These included His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, glorification, and His preparing them a place in heaven. We each as brothers and sisters in Christ will follow him as our time comes. Jesus sought to comfort the disciples with these words and when we have had a loved one go home to be with Jesus we should also find great comfort in these words as well.

In my Father’s house are many mansions–Jesus is there in heaven preparing for us a place in our heavenly Father’s house. Those loved ones who have preceded us have taken up residence in their place prepared for them by Jesus.

I will come again–”When he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11). One day “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Praise God!! He will receive us unto Himself that where He is, we shall be also.

Rejoice, Pray, Be Thankful

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19–Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit.
These four things go together and are actually intertwined–Rejoicing, prayer, thanks, and not quenching the Spirit are wound and joined together and give great strength.

Rejoice evermore–We are to rejoice in good times and enjoy them. We are to rejoice in the bad times because of our understanding that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28) and “we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). Earthly joy fades easily when things are not going good but the joy that comes from the new life we have in Christ does not lose its freshness or strength. “The joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

Pray without ceasing–This means that we are to always be in an attitude of prayer, ready and fit to approach and talk with God on the spur of a moment. While in prayer we can rejoice and we can be thankful.

In everything give thanks–Thank God for the good things and thank God that He is working all things toward the goal of good, even the bad things. In the bad things thank Him for His presence, His power, His knowledge, His wisdom, His love, His grace, His mercy, His victory, etc…

Quench not the Spirit–When we fail to rejoice and pray and be thankful we will quench the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is at His best for us when we are following God’s word. Being obedient to God’s word is opening the door for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.

Lord teach us to rejoice, teach us to pray, teach us to be thankful in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Prayer–A Weapon In Spiritual Warfare

Ephesians 6:18–Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
Praying always–Here, as we saw yesterday, God is telling us to pray always. The context here is the subject of spiritual warfare. Prayer is a part of spiritual warfare. It is an offensive weapon in our warfare with evil. Most of this portion of scripture deals with our defensive armor, those things that protect us from the enemies advances. It includes two offensive weapons. We are to “take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” and we are to “pray always”. We are to use the power of prayer against all evil.

With all prayer and supplication–Our prayers should include all kinds of prayer. Our prayers should include supplication which is to humbly ask for help. Our prayers should be done in the Spirit. They should come forth from deep within our being, from that new creature in Christ Jesus and with the help of the Holy Spirit. They should not be motivated with fleshly desires but from godly intent and purpose.

Watching thereunto–We are to always be on guard concerning evil’s advances against us and against others. Perseverance says to keep on with this kind of praying in spite of the opposition or difficulties we encounter.

Supplication for all saints–We are to be watchful and praying not only for ourselves but for all our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all involved in this spiritual warfare and prayer is a powerful weapon we can use to overcome the enemy.

“Lord teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

*****The Subject of Prayer will be continued tomorrow*****

We Ought Always To Pray

Luke 18:1–Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.
Men ought always to pray–God tells us that prayer should be a regular part of our life. It should not be done just when we are in need of something. In my first pastorate I knew a couple who the only time they came to church was when they were having troubles. They would come for a short period of time and when the troubles were over you would not see them until the next time of troubles. Some people are this way with prayer. The only time God hears from them is when they are in trouble. We should have times of prayers of thanksgiving for what God has blessed us with. We should have times of prayer just for fellowship with God. Our prayers should include praise. Our prayers should be times of intercession for others.

And not to faint–Faint in this context means to lack courage and become discouraged. It means to become frustrated and to grow weary. God tells us here that consistent prayer will keep us from becoming faint-hearted. Habitual prayer will keep us aware of God’s presence in our lives, remind us of what He has done for us, and of His many promises He has made to us. Thus, prayer will help us face life with courage and with strength to carry on when things are caving in around us.

Let us pray the prayer of the disciples, “Lord teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

*****The Subject of Prayer will be continued tomorrow*****

Spiritual Warfare

2 Corinthians 10:3-5–For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
We do not war after the flesh–The flesh is weak and hinders us in our spiritual warfare. Since the flesh and the Spirit are contrary to each other (Galatians 5:17) the flesh only gets in the way. Our warfare is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). It is a spiritual warfare and we must deal with it in the spirit. We are not to fight as people who are not Christians do.

The weapons of our warfare–Weapons are instruments used for fighting.
1. Not carnal–Our weapons are not according to the flesh. The weapons of the flesh are words and physical actions.
2. Mighty through God–The Christian is to rely on the spiritual weapons God has given us which are mighty as God works in us and through us. Our weapons are mentioned in Ephesians 6:17-18. There are defensive and offensive weapons. Our offensive weapons–“They are the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: and praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” We are to use the word of God.  When we think and speak the word of God we are placing the sword in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is also a spiritual weapon. Through prayer we call upon God and seek His knowledge, wisdom and power to operate in us and through us.

Pulling down strong holds– These are spiritual fortresses of evil that have been erected against us. We are to tear down and destroy evil fortresses with the word of God and prayer.

Casting down imaginations and every high thing–We are to overcome mental thoughts and images that are evil and lift themselves up against the knowledge of God, again using the word of God and prayer.

Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ–We are to conquer every thought and make them obedient to Christ. We can speak to the thoughts and command them to go in the name of Jesus. Then we can think on things of virtue and praise.  You see that a part of the spiritual warfare is against the mind.

Wandering From The Truth

Mark 12:24–Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
The context of this scripture is a conversation Jesus was having with the Sadducees about the resurrection of the dead. However we can see the far-reaching reality of these words. The reality of these words covers vast and diverse subjects.

Many people do err–To err means to wander away from the truth and not have a firm grasp of it. Jesus gives two reasons people err in reference to God and His mighty works.
1. You know not the scriptures–These Sadducees had the scriptures. They had read them and studied them. Yet in all of their reading, studying, and discussions they failed to know the true meaning of them. Therefore they did err in their thinking concerning them and they came to wrong conclusions. Many people in our world today are like these Sadducees. This erring leads to a misuse and abuse of the scriptures.
2. You know not the power of God–The Sadducees had a limited concept of the power of God. A lack of knowledge of the scriptures or an unbelief in the scriptures leads to this limited knowledge of the power of God. The scriptures declare the power of God from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation. Jesus said, “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).

Let us give ourselves to understanding the truth of the scriptures
and to the Holy Spirit who is our Teacher, that we will not err.

Rest For The Weary Soul

Matthew 11:28-30–Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls, for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
All ye that labor–Jesus speaks here of those who are seeking to be saved by their works. Many church members, who may not be trying to be saved by their works, are loaded down with their laboring.

And are heavy laden–This speaks of those who have let others load them down with the work of the church or with religious traditions and expectations of men. Some work associated with the church is working for the church and not working for the Lord.  Religious traditions and expectations of men must fall in agreement with the word of God.

Come unto me and I will give you rest–If we come to the Lord, He will give us rest.

Take my yoke upon you–Get out of the yoke that you have placed around your neck and the yoke others have placed around your neck. Get in the yoke of the Lord, in the service of the Lord. Do the work that the Lord gives you to do and follow His will.

Learn of me–It is when we come to Him and take His yoke upon ourselves that we begin to learn of Him. His yoke is not a single yoke but a double yoke for He is in the yoke with us. As we labor in connection with Him we will find that He is meek, gentle, lowly in heart, and mild.

Ye shall find rest unto your souls–As we follow the instructions of Jesus given above we will find rest, free from strain and burden, without worry, fears and distress. With this rest we will also find a happiness.

For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light–The work He asks of us will be easy and the burden He asks us to carry will be light. This is true for He is there with us and helping us as we do the work for “we are laborers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9).

Our New Home

Revelation 21:1-2–And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
A new heaven and a new earth–This new heaven and new earth is going to be as different from the present heaven and earth as our new spiritual body will be different from our earthly body of flesh and blood. I think of the beauty of this present heaven. I stare into the present heaven and behold the variety of colors and the various kinds of clouds and their shapes. I look at the beauty of this earth and everything in it that God created and I can’t imagine how glorious the new heaven and earth will be.

The first heaven and the first earth were passed away–The heaven and earth as we know it today will pass away. “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat”? (2 Peter 3:12). There will be no more sea in the new earth.

The holy city, new Jerusalem:
1. Coming down from God out of heaven.
2. Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband–A bride goes to no limits to show off all of her beauty on that wedding day. This holy city New Jerusalem will be the same. God in all His wisdom, knowledge and power will see that this New Jerusalem is perfectly adorned for its occupants.
3. “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).

Keep Yourself In The Love Of God

Jude 1:21–Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Keep yourselves in the love of God–It is our responsibility to remain in the love of God. Obedience is the key to remaining in the love of God: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10). To remain in the love of God is to stay in a close relationship with Him where we can receive all the blessings He desires to bestow on us.

Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life–We are to ever be looking and expecting the coming of the Lord and our entrance into the full reality of eternal life. It is promised many, many times in scripture that He is coming again. He said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3). What an unimaginable joy will be ours when we hear these words: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34), and see Jesus and our heavenly Father in all their glory. What a joy will be ours when we behold the glorious holy city, the New Jerusalem and our mansion that has been prepared for us. What a joy it will be to see all our loved ones who are with the Lord already.

Praise be to God the Father, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.