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Empowered by God's spirit Part 1-3

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Empowered by God's spirit Part 1-3

Post  Admin on Wed 16 Dec 2009, 2:09 pm

Empowered by God's Spirit, Part I

"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit."1

Some time ago a lovely Broadway actress wondered how one person could possibly fill Madison Square Gardens with 20,000 people every night for four months? Impossible, she thought. And the only reason she attended Billy Graham's New York Crusade was to find out how he did it.

This actress had a longstanding illness that she described as "a terrible cavity somewhere in the abdominal region." Fearing she had some dreaded disease, she had been examined by several doctors and had insisted on exploratory surgery. Not one doctor could find anything physically wrong with her. But that night as she sat listening to Billy Graham and trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, without warning, she was gripped with this dreaded emptiness more severely than ever.

Suddenly, she realized that its cause wasn't physical at all. It was spiritual. So she responded to the invitation to receive Jesus Christ into her heart as personal Lord and Savior—and her overwhelming emptiness vanished, never to return.

Not all emptiness has a spiritual cause by any means, but much of the emptiness that plagues modern society does. Or it may be a combination of causes, including the spiritual.

People are not only physical and emotional beings with a need for food and friends, but they are also spiritual beings with a need for God.

Without Christ in our lives we are spiritually dead, but when we receive him as our personal Lord and Savior, we become spiritually alive2 and are immediately indwelt by God's Spirit (the Holy Spirit), and become a part of the body of Christ and the family of God. As the Apostle Paul said, "For we were all baptized (immersed) by one Spirit [God's Spirit] into one body ... and are all given the one Spirit."3

Every true Christian, therefore, has God's Spirit dwelling within him or her. But God doesn't only want us to be merely indwelt by, but also to be filled with his Spirit. His injunction is to "go on being filled with the Spirit”4 which is not a once-for-all experience, but needs to be a continuous, daily experience.

When we are filled with God's Spirit, he fills the spiritual vacuum in our life and empowers us to help us overcome temptation and sin,5 and to produce in us the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.6 The Holy Spirit also helps us to become effective witnesses for Jesus Christ.7

How then can we be filled with and empowered by God's Holy Spirit? We will answer this question in Parts II and III in Tuesday's and Wednesday's Daily Encounters.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that when I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I was indwelt by your Holy Spirit. But I don't want to be a half-hearted Christian and only be indwelt by your Spirit. Help me to understand and learn how to be daily filled with your Spirit so that your light will shine through me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

To be continued.

1. Ephesians 5:15-18 (NIV).
2. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV).
3. I Corinthians 12:13 (NIV),
4. Ephesians 5:18 (literal translation, NIV).
5. Romans 8:12 (NIV).
6. Galatians 5:22, 23 (NIV).
7. Acts 1:8 (NIV).

<Smile)))><




Empowered by God's Spirit, Part II

"On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus
stood and said in a loud voice, 'If anyone is thirsty,
let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me,
as the scripture has said, streams of living water
will flow from within him.' By this he meant the
Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to
receive."1

Yesterday we explained how every Christian can be
filled with and empowered by God's Spirit, the Holy
Spirit, and thus have God's presence and power
dwelling within him or her at all times.

Today and tomorrow we want to answer the question:
"How can we be filled with and thus empowered by the
Holy Spirit?"

First, desire and faith. As with all of God's gifts,
so is the filling of the Holy Spirit. We need to truly
want it, and we need to believe that God will give it
to us as he said he would.

As noted in today's Bible verse, "Jesus said, 'If
anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said,
streams of living water will flow from within him.' By
this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in
him were later to receive."2

Second, commitment. If my heart and mind are filled
with anxiety, anxiety will control me. If anger, anger
will control me. If fear, fear will control me. But if
my heart and mind are filled with God's Spirit, my
life will be filled with his love, joy, and peace and
these will control me.

And what we are filled with is what we are committed
to. If we are committed to ourselves, we will be
controlled by our selfish desires plus our anxieties,
fears, and so on. But if we are genuinely committed to
Christ and make him Lord of our everyday life, we will
be controlled by his Spirit and our life will exhibit
the fruits of the Spirit.

Third, confession. It should go without saying that if
we have any unresolved sin in our life, we need to
confess it and put it behind us. We cannot be living
in sin and be controlled by God's Spirit at the same
time. The good news is that, as the Bible says, "If we
confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just and
will forgive us our sins and purify us from all
unrighteousness."3 When we confess our sins and make
our life right with God, we are able to receive the
fullness of God's Spirit.

Fourth, openness. The real issue isn't how much of the
Holy Spirit I have, but how much of me does the Holy
Spirit have? As we have said, when we receive Christ
as Lord and Savior, we are given the Holy Spirit in
all his fullness. The difficulty is that most of us
don't know how to open ourselves to the fullness of
God’s Holy Spirit.

For instance, if I am a closed, defensive person, or
have any areas of my life that are repressed--areas of
my life out of which I have shut both myself and
others--I automatically shut God and his Spirit out of
these areas, too. Therefore, to be fully filled with
God's Spirit, I need to learn how to be fully open
about my secret thoughts, feelings, motives, and my
total inner person--to myself, to at least one other
trusted person, and to God.

Fifth, personal honesty. The Holy Spirit is also known
as the Spirit of Truth. Thus, to be filled with the
Spirit of Truth, we need to be truthful with ourselves
as well as with God. If we have committed our lives to
Jesus and dedicated our hearts and minds to his
control but still don't have his love, joy, and peace,
it isn't because God or his Spirit has left us. It can
be because of barriers in us that block the flow of
God's Spirit.

These barriers can be unresolved feelings of fear,
inadequacy, guilt, hurt, anger, hatred, resentment,
and so on, that we have either consciously or
unconsciously hidden or repressed. In many ways these
unresolved issues keep us bound within ourselves,
which in turn, block out God's Spirit. Therefore, to
be filled with the Holy Spirit, I need to ask God if
there are any areas of my life that are causing
barriers between me and him. If so, I need to be
courageously honest about these, and with God's help,
and the help of a qualified counselor if necessary,
confront and resolve these.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I want to be filled with
and empowered by your Holy Spirit. To the best of my
ability I surrender the control of my life to you. If
there are any unresolved issues in my life that are
hindering or blocking my being filled with your
Spirit, please reveal these to me, and lead me to the
help I need to resolve them so I can be fully filled
with your Holy Spirit. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

To be concluded in Part III.

1. John 7:37-39 (NIV).
2. John 7:37-39 NIV).
3. John 1:9 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

Empowered by God's Spirit, Part III

Jesus said, "If you then, though you are evil, know
how to give good gifts to your children, how much more
will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to
those who ask him!."1

Yesterday we discussed several of the steps we need to
take to be filled with and empowered by the Holy
Spirit. Desire and faith, commitment, confession of
sins, openness, and personal honesty. Today we want to
discuss four more steps.

Sixth, removing barriers. Another barrier that blocks
God's Spirit can be a spirit of unforgiveness, which
usually has its roots in an impaired relationship or a
hurtful experience from the past. To be filled with the
Holy Spirit it is essential that, wherever humanly
possible, impaired relationships be resolved, hurt and
angry feelings dealt with, and forgiveness extended to
those who may have hurt us. If it isn't possible to
reconcile the relationship (which takes both parties),
we need to at least deal with our side of the conflict,
resolve our negative feelings, and forgive the one who
hurt us.

Seventh, obedience. Another requirement for the
filling of the Holy Spirit is living in harmony with,
and obedience to, the will of God. As Peter said, the
Holy Spirit is given to those who obey God.2

Eighth, ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said, "If you then, though you are evil, know
how to give good gifts to your children, how much more
will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to
those who ask him."3

Finally, abiding. As Jesus said: "I am the vine, you
are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him
will bear much fruit; for apart from me you can do
nothing."4

Christ's allegory is a good illustration of how to
have a fruitful life. As we, the branches, abide in
Christ, the vine, by spending time with him (learning
what his Word teaches, praying regularly, and living
in obedience to him by practicing what his Word
teaches), so the life, the Holy Spirit, flows from
Christ through us, the branches. Fruit is the natural
outcome.

The good news is that we don't have to struggle to
produce God's fruit. We can't anyhow; and if we try
to, the fruit is stunted and useless. That's what
Christ meant when he said that without him, we can do
nothing. Only his Spirit within can produce his fruit
without.

As we commit our lives in full surrender to Jesus
Christ, abide in him, and resolve the barriers in us,
the Holy Spirit fills us and the fruit of the
Spirit--love, joy, peace, longsuffering--are produced
automatically like the grapes on a healthy vine. The
vinedresser doesn't put the grapes on the vine from
without. The fruit comes from within.

In conclusion, let me add that the evidence of the
filling of God's Spirit is the fruit of the
Spirit--not the gifts of the Spirit as many claim and
are thus confused. "By their fruit you will know
them," Jesus said, not "by their gifts."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, again today I surrender
the control of my heart and life to you. Help me to
live according to the principles as found in your
Word, and as I do, please fill me to overflowing with
your Holy Spirit so that the fruit of the Spirit will
be so evident in my life that others seeing Jesus in
me, will want Jesus for themselves. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. Luke 11:13 (NIV).
2. Acts 5:32 (NIV).
3. Luke 11:13 (NIV).
4. John 15:5 (NKJV).

<Smile)))><

* * * * * * *

Copyright (c) 2009 by ACTS International.

When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2009
ACTS International.
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