The Holy Spirit: God’s Gifts and Promises

Romans 8:15 (WEB)

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Give Your Shame/Guilt To God’s Spirit

Hebrews 10:22 (WEB)

The Second Death

Revelation 2:11 (WEB)

We have an amazing future in store for us! We do not have to be afraid of judgment because Jesus Himself promises that those who overcome will not be hurt by the second death. When I think of this promise, I think of the verse in 1 Corinthians 15:55 that says… “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (NIV)

Praise God that death no longer has a sting over us! We don’t have to live in fear of death because our Elder Brother Jesus has conquered death and sin and the grave once and for all. Another Bible verse that comes to mind is from Hebrews 2:14-15…

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. (ESV)

Jesus has destroyed the one who once held the power of death so that we can experience true life and freedom of the fear of death! To echo again the words of 1 Corinthians 15:55… “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (NIV)

The Gift of Divine Wisdom

The Foundation of Wisdom

Proverbs 9:7-1

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). Initially, the connection between these two concepts may be difficult to grasp. How can fearing God make us wise?

First, we need to understand what it means to fear the Lord. This term is used to describe an awesome reverence for God that moves us to acknowledge Him as the sovereign ruler of heaven and earth, submit to His will, and walk in obedience. The result of such a response will be the acquisition of wisdom.

If we commit ourselves to living for God’s purposes rather than our own, we will gain greater understanding of Him. The Holy Spirit will enable us to see circumstances and people from His divine perspective. This kind of wisdom reaches beyond human perception and gives us discernment to make decisions that fit into the Lord’s plans for our life. Knowing that He always works for our best interests, we are empowered to walk confidently through both good and bad times.

But if we reject God’s instructions, we dishonor Him with our refusal to acknowledge His right to rule our life. It’s foolish to rebel against His authority and think we can ever win. Those who won’t fear God will never know real wisdom.

What is your attitude toward the Lord? If you truly revere Him, you will listen for His directions and heed His warnings. A desire to honor and please Him will motivate you to turn from evil and seek to live in obedience. The result will be wisdom beyond human understanding.

Waiting On God

Genesis 16:1-16

God answers prayer in one of three ways: “yes,” “no,” or “yes, but not yet.” This last reply seems to be the most dreaded— sometimes even more than an outright “no.” However, patience is an important trait for the Christian, as Scripture stresses repeatedly in stories, psalms, and epistles.

Waiting on the Lord to unlock a door is always wiser than attempting to pry it open ourselves, even when the delay has been long. After God promised him descendants (Gen. 12:2), Abraham lived for 25 years with an answer of “not yet.” After that quarter-century, the answer finally became “yes.” But meanwhile, Abraham and Sarah came up with their own plan to get an heir—Sarah’s servant Hagar bore Ishmael. The couple may have convinced themselves they were “helping” God live up to His prophecy, but really they were disobeying. The consequences were disastrous. Bitterness and blame affected every member of the family (Gen. 16:4-6; Gen. 21:9-10). What’s more, Ishmael’s people lived in enmity with their neighbors, and that hostility persists in the Middle East today (Gen. 21:9-14; Gen. 25:18).

Our patience gives God time to prepare the opportunity on the other side of a closed door. Even if we could force our way by manipulating circumstances, we would not be happy with what we find there. No one in Abraham’s camp was satisfied with the situation they created! We can have contentment and joy only when we access the Lord’s will at the very moment He ordained. The blessings we find on the other side of an open door are always worth the wait.

The Battle Belongs To The Lord

Exodus 14:14 (WEB)

In today’s promise, we have an amazing assurance that the God who spoke the entire universe into existence will fight for us if we will only remain still. The NIV Bible says this verse this way…The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (NIV)

I believe there is something in the heart of God that fights on our behalf when we do not try and fight for ourselves. Waiting on the Lord is not passive, but it is the most active thing we can do. When we wait on God to fight for us, we are putting ourselves in a very vulnerable position and by doing so, we are demonstrating in a very practical way that we know that our heavenly Dad is the source of our help.

Does this mean that we never wage warfare on a spiritual level? After all, the Bible says that we are to ‘resist the devil and he will flee’, ‘take on the full armor of God’, etc. I believe what Exodus 14:14 is talking about is fighting in our own strength. There is a huge difference from fighting our battles in our own best efforts and fighting battles in the power of the Lord’s might.

When we learn that the battle really is the Lord’s, we can rest in His ability to save us and draw from His strength and not our own. Whatever battle you are facing today, be comforted in knowing that you have a  Father (God) and a Big Brother (Jesus) fighting on your behalf. You only need to be at peace and watch what happens.

 

The Power of Prayer

The Power of Prayer

Colossians 1:9-10

Philippians 4:6 says that it’s good to bring requests to the Lord, and we do often ask Him for certain blessings, desired outcomes, and healing for loved ones. But there are times when, in God’s omniscience, He determines that a “no” would ultimately result in greater good.

So, what supplications can you be sure are in accordance with His will? Paul recorded specific petitions he made on behalf of the Colossians, and you can offer these life-changing prayers for people in your own life as well.

First, request that they “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9). In this way, you are asking God to give them direction and the ability to see life from His viewpoint.

Second, ask that they “will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (v. 10). The only way to succeed in this is through the control of the Holy Spirit—He fills hearts with a longing for God and creates the desire to please Him through obedience.

Third, pray that their life would count (v. 10). There is a difference between being busy and being fruitful. Many Christians assume that to have an impact for God, they must volunteer in numerous ministries at church or become a missionary or pastor. But the truth is, effectiveness in God’s work depends on what He calls each person to do.

Too often, Christians pray for others only during hardships. But Paul continuously lifted up the Colossians to our Father (v. 9). As you mention others by name to the Lord, consider the areas that the apostle addressed.