The early Church was comfortable in Jerusalem. They were one big happy family – united in loving God and one another. But then persecution broke out against them after the stoning of Stephen, and they were forced to scatter. Would the Church have ventured out on their own to spread the Gospel if it hadn’t been for this persecution? Was this possibly the Lord’s way of saying, “I’ve given you the Great Commission, now go do it!” For the most part, Believers today are just as comfortable in our square box Churches…we’re one big happy family, loving God and each other. But we rarely go outside the walls, and never think about venturing to unknown places with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We’re basically too comfy to care. But the same Great Commission applies to us… the same command to proclaim the Gospel Message to a lost and dying world pertains to us too. And it may take the same kind of persecution of the Church to get us off our backsides.
Jesus told His disciples in John 14:26 that after He left them His Father would send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, in His place…”and the Holy Spirit will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot began to fathom the mysteries of God’s Word. But with the Holy Spirit’s help we can become enlightened, and with that wisdom is given and Spiritual truth revealed.
“Following the Word of the Lord…” Though sometimes, that still small voice of the Holy Spirit is almost drowned out by the incessant noise of the world. Romans 8:14 tells us that, “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” But following the Word of the Lord takes practice… it takes listening carefully, and obeying immediately when prompted, without hesitation…for when we stop to debate if it’s of God or not, we’ll usually not move on it…and His work stops there. By attuning our ears to that still small voice of the Holy Spirit, we are being led down the correct path of life and accomplishing God’s work for His glory.
We all have Spiritual Gifts graciously given to us by the Holy Spirit at conversion. But they are not meant to be hoarded, hidden, or stashed away…they are given to us for the edification of others. But you can’t encourage others if you’re not actively within the Body, and they can’t exhort and inspire you if you’re not attending Church. As Believers, we all need each other for mutual encouragement on a regular basis…so if you haven’t attended Church in quite a while…maybe it’s time to re-engage.
Divine appointments. I firmly believe in, been part of, and have been truly blessed by them. This past weekend a special friend of mine was headed out on a road trip when three times she encountered friends who wished her a safe trip and prayed for her. The Lord used those divine appointments to show her just how much He loved and cared for her. Also this week a good friend of mine texted me with, ” The Lord has brought you across my mind…I’m praying for you.” This was another divine appointment that showed me God’s tremendous love and concern. So I would urge you, when you are moved by the Holy Spirit…when He brings a specific person to mind, be obedient and pray for that person. But more than that, let them know you’re praying for them. For divine appointments bless both parties involved and God’s love shines brightly in the midst.
The Holy Spirit is there as an intermediary when the words won’t come. It might be devastating news from a friend, or maybe it’s a bad report from the Doctor we’ve just received …either way, we sit numb and silent before God. It’s during those times of infirmity of the body and soul that the Holy Spirit intervenes, imparting the knowledge of divine truth on our behalf. For we may not have the words to pray…but He does.
The Holy Spirit is God’s pledge, providing Believers with the assurance of eternal life. In legal terms, the Holy Spirit is like a down payment or earnest money that secures a claim to something…like when we’re buying a car or a house. For when we put our faith and trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within…thus sealing us for eternity through the redemptive work of the Lord.
Even within my lifetime I’ve seen this huge shift of what we consider right and wrong. And with the advent of mass media, the Internet, Snap-Chat, YouTube, and Hollywood…we see our societal mores slowly morphing into something our Great-grandparents would be appalled at. But this blurring of ethical principles and practices didn’t happen overnight…for it relied on man’s pride, rebellion and apathy to flourish. So now we sit, so desensitized, we don’t even react anymore to what we know is wrong…but if we do, we’ll likely find ourselves being chastised for being intolerant and narrow-minded. Job 24:13 warns of this Spiritual blindness…of evildoers who rebel against the light, who don’t know its ways or stay in its path. I ask Heavenly Father, that we would be enlightened by Your Word, and that You would illuminate our minds with Your truth, that we may be able to discern right and wrong correctly. Amen.
The prophet Micah had to make a very personal and difficult decision…be quiet and allow the greed and injustice he saw to continue…or speak out, denouncing the willful rebellion and habitual sinfulness he was witnessing. For Micah, the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit far surpassed any threat in the world…and the righteous indignation within drove him to openly condemn the ungodliness he saw. As Believers, we’re filled with the same Holy Spirit as Micah…the same knowledge between right and wrong…the same ability to bring light into darkness. I pray that a spirit of righteous indignation rise up among God’s people, causing us to boldly speak truth where there’s lies and deception.
When we allow the wise counsel of the Holy Spirit to direct and guide our decisions…our decisions will be excellent ones. When we listen to that still small voice rather than blurting out the first thing that comes to mind…our words will be timely and principled. When our plans align with God’s plans for us…we can stand firm with integrity and strength, knowing we are right where God wants us…in the center of His Will.