THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH

The one thing we desperately need in our world is the spirit of truth (Holy Spirit) to combat satan the father of lies. The problem is, as Christ shared with His Disciples, that many in the world would not receive The Spirit (John 14:17).

In the Old Testament only a few had the Holy Spirit that either came upon them (ex. Moses, Gideon, Samson and David) or that came into them (ex. Joseph and Bezdiel). Today as with the time of the Disciples (John 16:13-15) we can also have the Holy Spirit upon and within us. We also can be guided by all truth apart from a world of lies. We also can receive the supernatural gifts of The Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 not unlike our brothers and sisters in Christ whose time has already passed.

To have the presence of the Holy Spirit is a wondrous thing. He gives us words and emotions that comfort and instruct. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to create, renew and place conviction upon the hearts of mankind. Indeed His indwelling within each of us (Romans 8:11) empowers us (Micah 3:8) in an amazing fashion. Today we should all seek THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The Spirit of Truth satisfies all seeking salvation.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 8:11 “The Holy Spirit can dwell within us”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I desire Your presence within me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are the gifts of the Spirit that can be ours?
  2. Why are satan’s lies gaining such a foothold in our world?
  3. When a lie confronts you how do you respond?
  4. Do you have the Spirit of Truth?

THE DAY MAY BE DRAWING CLOSER!

Theologians and others with a great deal more wisdom than I have, have discussed a subject that bears mentioning in this column. It is the  matter of ‘rapture’. When believers will be taken to return to Jesus (living and deceased).

A great many discussion points are involved here that for most believers are quite confusing. Matters such as the role of Israel in these events (Romans 11:16-24), the Scriptures discussion of a 1000 year reign of Christ (Revelations 20:2-7) and a period of time many believe to be 7 years when the anti-Christ will rule and play havoc with this world.

Of one thing I am certain. When I saw my father on his death bed after his passing, I became convinced his soul and spirit were no longer before me. What I saw before me was simply the human frame God gives each of us to travel through this life with. For me when we accept the Holy Spirit (being born again) into our life we are already starting our journey to that moment when we will meet Christ in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17) and one day be a part of His Kingdom. As one person said: “it is like going to the airport to meet the arrival of the King of Kings”.

Until then what is  important to know about the rapture is that there will be one in some form so prepare yourself now. THE DAY MAY BE DRAWING CLOSER.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The real importance of the rapture is our being received by  our Redeemer.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY:  1 Thessalonians 4:17 “saints caught up in the rapture”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I always be ready for Your coming.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is dispensationalism and its role in end times theology?
  2. How will Christians be protected if at all during the time of tribulation?
  3. Will Christians face the time of tribulation or are we in that period of  time now?
  4. Are you prepared to be taken up with the Lord?

IMPORTANT IN OUR LIVES!

Occasionally we hear that certain food is a gift from God and one of them most certainly is virgin olive oil (Psalm 104:14-15). It is for that reason we will look at olive oil and its many uses and meanings.

One use was for anointing (Psalm 23:5) those whom you deemed special. Our Messiah was anointed numerous times and ways. In fact the act itself was synonymous with brotherly love as in the words of Psalm 133. A message that should speak loudly to the disunity in our day. In fact olive oil for anointing purposes was used in the time of Moses for purification purposes as well (Exodus 40:9-10). Today it still carries that importance.

It is interesting to note that Gethsemane where Jesus prayed comes from the word for oil press and to this day there are gnarled old olive trees there that may have been present at the time of Jesus or so I am told. Likewise we know that the Mount of Olives was a place of retreat for Jesus. Certainly olive trees and oil hold a special place for Christ.

Additional uses of olive oil were for medicine along with wine (Luke 10:34). Its healing value was well known. In James 5:14-15 it was specifically used for someone extremely ill.

The importance of anointing oil is ultimately equated with our being Born Again of the Holy Spirit. It is as 1 John 2:20 and 27 tells us. Purified by the Holy Spirit our eyes will be opened in an almost unbelievable fashion. This to help us understand the Second Coming and the role olive oil will play at that time (Revelations 6:6). Indeed olive oil is IMPORTANT IN OUR LIVES.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  Using olive oil as an ointment or otherwise shows obedience to our Lord.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Psalm 104:14-15 “Olive oil is given by God”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord give me understanding of Your many blessings.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What food or plant items does Scripture consider special gifts from God?
  2. What Scriptural references are there to Christ being anointed?
  3. How do we bestow blessing on our special guests today?
  4. How do you use olive oil?

THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WITH US

There is a right way to act and a wrong way. The question for many is which is which. As always the answer lies in Scripture. For example those not yet ‘born again’ of the Spirit live by conscience (Romans 2:14-15) often living properly yet they need the law to  guide them. In contrast the born again believer bases their action upon their new birth (2 Corinthians 5:17) and having the guidance of the Holy Spirit living according to His way as shown in Galatians 5:22-23.

Unfortunately those not born of the spirit may have positive efforts but they do not have the value of those who are (Isaiah 1:14-15). Those caught in this way of life live according to the head thinking appearance important. Truth tells us we are to live according to the heart which through the guidance of the spirit applies that which is in the mind in the proper fashion (Hebrews 8:10).

Once we understand that we cannot do right by our own actions as in the account of Mark 10:17-20 but only through God’s grace it is then we live in true abundance. The answer to issues of morality or right conduct comes when we have THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WITH US.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Morality motivates best when guided by the Master.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 2 Corinthians 5:17 “morality based upon the new birth”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord help me live morally according to Your will.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. On what do you base your conduct?
  2. Have you ever boasted of your moral actions?
  3. Where does morality begin?
  4. Is your heart and mind connected?

HOMECOMING KING

For those of you who have had the experience of being selected a homecoming king or queen you know the elation and good feeling that comes from the popularity that goes with the selection. Today I want to share the message of a true Homecoming King by the name of Jesus Christ. Christ in His return to Galilee in the message related by John 6:22-71 was drawing large crowds in his homeland but some of those who were disciples discovered that what was expected in the relationship was more than they could handle. The message Christ would share in these verses was that He was the bread and living water that like the bread we consume for physical nourishment would not only nourish the body but more importantly the spirit. Communicating with those who would follow Him on a higher plane (spiritual not just physical) was more than some disciples could understand and accept and so they fell away as verses 60-66 tell us.

Today we need to understand that living in the spirit is indeed special. Our horizon goes far beyond what the eye can see and our vision is far greater than most any man or woman can imagine. Our perspective is eternal and if the Holy Spirit is indeed truly present in our lives we have a spiritual insight that goes with our claiming the moniker of Christian. An insight that the world will not understand.

Bread as we all know obviously does not nourish a body that is not living. So also Christ as our spiritual bread does not nourish a spiritually dead person.Without this spiritual nourishment many are nothing more than ‘Christian Zombies’ walking around in their faith but missing so much. In fact many, I believe, are walking in spiritual blindness not unlike the Pharisees of Christ’s time or the atheists and others of our time.  In fact without the soul the flesh of man is of no value (vs. 63). Sadly that is the case for many including those who may at one time have been selected HOMECOMING KING.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Today seek the Spirit to save the soul.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE: John 6:63 “without the soul the flesh of man is of no value”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for Your presence in my life.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How do you exercise your faith?
  2. In what ways can bread be of both physical and spiritual value?
  3. What are the teachings of the Holy Spirit that keep us away from guilt and danger?
  4. Do you have the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life?

EXPERIENCE ETERNAL LIFE NOW!

As a proponent of living each moment of each day to its max it seems only natural to incorporate eternal life into those moments. For myself and all believers that comes in knowing the one true God through Jesus Christ Whom God sent (John 17:3). This requires obedience to His every command as Christ Himself spoke recorded in John 12:50.

That promise of eternal life is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:1) and Christ Jesus only (John 14:6). Our world places numerous other gods before us who can be very enticing but they lead only to an unpleasant eternal separation from the one true God.

The best part of eternal life is that it is a gift from God (Romans 6:22-23). The worlds richest person can not buy it only receive it. For most in this world they choose not to receive this gift as they are unwilling to love the Son of God (1 John 5:11-12). A Son that is made known to us through the Scripture.

What makes each moment special is that this is my inheritance (Matthew 19:29). Knowing this I can begin to live today in faith, hope and love. In my possession of the Holy Spirit within me I can experience the Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and see the world guided by the Holy Spirit in all truth (John 16:13). This is how I EXPERIENCE ETERNAL LIFE NOW.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Eternal life is everlasting available to everyone.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 19:29 “Eternal life is a believers inheritance”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for Your free gift.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How do you live each moment of each day?
  2. What other gods are before us?
  3. Why do so many choose not to follow Jesus Christ as the Son of God?
  4. Why does the Christian Bible remain the #1 selling book in the world?

A TOTAL LIFE

As I write this millions of people are gathering for an event some call ‘totality’. A total eclipse of the sun hidden behind the moon. As interesting as an eclipse is for me especially from a Scriptural point of view (Amos 8:9), I am more amazed by mankind’s reaction.

Expressing something as a ‘total’ event misses the real essence of the word which is what life is really all about. For me life in its ‘totality’ is a triumphant life. Not 2 minutes where planetary movement hides the sun.

A triumphant life hides or better yet overcomes sorrow, the world, sin, difficult circumstances and even death. This for a Christian is ‘totality’ and it can be ours now and forever. The key is we must be born of God AND believe that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:4-5).

Once we have made this discovery then our goal must be to demonstrate God’s grace as Paul understood in Ephesians 3:7-10. We must share the “unsearchable riches of Christ” with the world. We must glorify Christ even as He has glorified us (Romans 8:16-18).

All this comes through the presence of the Holy Spirit invited into our life (Romans 8:1-2). We are no longer our own. We belong in true totality to our Lord and Savior. This is A TOTAL LIFE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: A triumphant Christian life is lived in the Lord.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: 1 John 5:4-5 “How we find triumphant life”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord You are my totality.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is a total experience?
  2. What does it mean to be a total Christian?
  3. How do you demonstrate God’s grace in your life?
  4. Have you been born of God?

NO LAST WARNING!

As children we may have heard our parents utter the words: “this is my last warning”. If indeed it was the next time we did wrong there was a substantial price to pay. So why should it be any different as children of God? We receive numerous warnings but one day there will be a final judgment.

We know at that point there will be a separation of the righteous and the wicked. Jesus Christ clearly explains this in Matthew 13:36-43. The retribution to the wicked is easy to understand. Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 it will come upon those who do not know God or obey His Word. To the saved will be a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8) and a home in Heaven. Your eternity is up to you and you alone.

Knowing this what are the grounds for judgment? Romans 1:17 makes it clear “the just shall live by faith” but Christ shares in Matthew 7:21-23 there are many who say they believe yet their actions show otherwise. The actions or works that come out of our faith (1 Corinthians 3:11-15) are the so called ‘proof that is in the pudding’. In this we let our conscience be our guide (Romans 2:14-16). A conscience that comes when the Holy Spirit is within us and guides us in receiving and understanding the Words of our Lord and Savior given to us in the Holy Bible. Take time every day to study God’s Word for there will one day be NO LAST WARNING!

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The last judgment will be a time of joy for those justified in the faith.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: John 12:48 “Christ’s Word as grounds of judgment”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord help me bring others to an understanding of You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  What does it mean to be righteous?
  2.  How does the Scripture define wicked?
  3.  What awaits the wicked?
  4.  How does a conscience develop?

WHO OR WHAT DO YOU WORSHIP?

Paying reverence to anyone or anything before God is idolatry. Since the time of Noah it has been one of the seven great sins pointed out to us by God. Therefore taking some time to understand it would be advisable.

In our present society showing reverence other than for God is clearly evident. One example of this are the long lines to hear a fellow human being perform or to catch a glimpse of them in their daily life. Simple enjoyment of their skills is one thing but many carry their adulation much much further. This is just one small example of the many ways that we find ways to place someone or something on a higher plain than our worship of the one true God.

Anything which pushes God out of our life where He should be first and foremost or diminishes his influence is idolatry. In fact idolatry has a demonic basis (1 Corinthians 10:19-21) and we need to be very careful to what we pay homage to. We who are created in God’s image need to understand we must keep our thoughts, words and deeds on that which points to Him (1 Corinthians 6:15-18). This even when we find ways to entertain ourselves.

The danger is that when God is absent in life we become enslaved (Galatians 4:8-9) to that which pulls us away from Him. If our lives continue in this manner God will give us over to our sins. For those who may for the first time or perhaps return to a saving faith there are methods to remove this sense of idolatry from our lives. God made it clear in Isaiah 44:6 that their be no other Gods so it is important we remove any semblance of idolatry from our lives. This can be done in many ways (logic, denunciation,etc.) but best is by new birth. As God promised to restore Israel so He will restore us to Himself. The question now is WHO OR WHAT DO WE WORSHIP?

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Idolatry is part of mans imperfection that destroys his possible spiritual inheritance.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Isaiah 44:6 “one God”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I worship You alone.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  What are examples of misplaced reverence in our society?
  2. How is God growing ever more absent in peoples lives?
  3. How do we understand Christ Jesus to be God?
  4. What one way can we remove any idolatry in our lives?

LIVING A DEAD SPIRITUAL LIFE!

Having a dead spiritual life is called insensibility and it comes in 3 forms. It happens in thought, word and deed. As an example are the immoral actions that occur when anyone causes physical harm to another. A horrific example of that is found in Judges 19:26. Sadly there are many so dead in spirit that doing physical damage to another is done without giving it a second thought.

There is also spiritual insensibility or deadness in those whose hearts have been hardened to the truth. Their lack of understanding (Jeremiah 5:3,21) does not allow them to receive correction and so they also walk through life spiritually dead. Their thought process will not change save for a born again experience.

The final kind of insensibility is the receiving or not of God’s Word (Acts 25:25-28). It is critical if God’s Words are to make an impact and raise us out of spiritual deadness it must be heard. This world will continue to want to silence Scripture but we as believers must proclaim the Word ever more loudly. In fact deadness to the Word (God’s truth) comes from spiritual ignorance (Ephesians 4:18-19). It is impossible for people to live any differently if the Word of God does not reach them. At best they will have a scarred consciousness spoken of in 1 Timothy 5:2. The end result for all who live in thought, word or deed contrary to Scripture is that they will have a life that is best summarized in 1 Timothy 5:6 where we are told that although our lifestyle may give us pleasure if we leave God and His Word out of the equation our living in pleasure will still be as if we are dead. Indeed at that point we are LIVING A DEAD SPIRITUAL LIFE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Insensibility occurs in the absence of Scriptural instruction and inspiration.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 Timothy 5:6 “wanton pleasure is a cause of spiritual deadness”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord help me reach those dead in the Spirit.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Is there an element of insensibility in your life?
  2. Are people capable of doing physical harm and remain oblivious to their actions?
  3. What causes hardening of a person’s heart?
  4. How do we overcome those who would silence Scripture?