Listen to The Spirit

S.cripture – Acts 8:

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

O.bservation – One of the major differences in the miraculous events in the lives of the apostles and our lives today is that they were willing to obey the urging of the Spirit.

A.pplication – How many times do we pass up an opportunity to follow God’s lead? How many blessings have we missed out on being a part of and receiving for ourselves by not stepping out in fath as God tells us to. And why is it? Is it that we are afraid that God is going to lead us into a turbulent path? Are we afraid of stepping out of our comfort zone long enough to let God actually have His way in our lives? Do we think that God is going to get us out there and then abandon us to our own abilities? If this is not the case then why do I fail to heed the call of the spirit to speak to a stranger, or reach out to someone in need, or make an extra effort to serve? And if these are my reasons, how sad is my mustard seed of faith.

Phillip gives us an example of being led by God to do His work. May we ever walk the same desert path as which God leads us to.

P.rayer – Father help me to follow the leading of your spirit in all the subtle , still small ways that you speak to me.

Y.ieldedness – I give up my pride and comfort and yield to your leading God!

Stiff Necked People.

S.cripture – Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”

O.bservation – People who get stuck in tradition, don’t learn until its too late – and some never do.

A.pplication – Listen – there are always going to be people who are stiff-necked and stubborn like the Sanhedrin who stoned Stephen. They refused to believe or accept what they had done, and even when confronted head on with the truth – they covered their ears and yelled as they rushed at him so they wouldn’t hear.

Our problem as Christians, as religious people is to not allow ourselves to become like these people who won’t hear the truth of the Holy Spirit as He speaks to our hearts. Because it just may be that God has something He’s trying to tell us today.

P.rayer – Father please help me to be open to the moving of Your Spirit.

Y.ieldedness – Father help me to give up my desire to have to always be right.

Why do men kill what they cant understand?

S.cripture – Acts 6:10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.

11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”

12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”

15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

O.bservation – The religious people of the day were the greatest hinderence to the truth that we encounter in the New Testament. Why is it that we feel the need to surpress anything we don’t understand and lable it as evil?

A.pplication – So many preachers today are against this and against that and they preach against anything they see that comes out that is new and different and that they don’t understand. Harry Potter, Oprah Winphrey, Dungeons and Dragons, Rock and Roll, Television, Radio, Women wearting pants Men with long hair, Women preachers, ect. ect. ect. I could go on and on with more and more examples all the way back through time to this point in our scripture where the religious people of the Synagogue of the Freedmen preached against this Stephen and his new ideas about Jesus of Nazareth.

This isn’t anything new – and I don’t suspect that it will end anytime soon. Even Paul does a bit of this himself later on in the scriptures. I just hope that unlike these poor religious tradition lovers of the first century we will have enough wisdom to see when God is trying to tell us something. That we will not blindly turn our eyes away, and slander what may be a true revelation when God sends us one. Because I personally believe that God is STILL active and involved in our lives enough that He is trying to tell us something, even now!

P.rayer – Father help me today to look for you among things I may not understand and to find your wisdom in places that I would not expect.

Y.eildedness – I give up the thought that I know all about the truth of God and that the things which I don’t understand could not be from Him.

Rejoice in the Struggles

S.cripture – Acts 5: 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

 

O.bservation – they were worthy of suffering.

 

A.pplication – I am constantly battling within myself because of my faith.  I have struggled, I have prayed, I have cried, I have searched, and the more that I search, seek, and struggle, the more questions I have.  It seems that rather than finding more wisdom as I study, instead I find a greater lack thereof. 

 

I have never been flogged for my faith.  I don’t personally know anyone who has.  It may come back to that during our lives, but at this present time the suffering that we as Christians face is not a physical thing, but a spiritual and emotional suffering.  And to me, those can be just as difficult and just as scaring as physical sufferings.

 

But the apostles rejoiced because they had been counted worthy of suffering for Christ.  And I think that is an attitude that we should also adopt.  If the enemy is not afraid of you, then they have no need to attack you.  If you pose no threat, why would you incure any action from them?  And if you are already on the wrong side, then they need not torment you and try to weaken you. 

 However if you are fighting the good fight, running the good race, heading for the goal of Heaven, then the enemies of God have to do all they can to hinder your journey.  If you are facing strong spiritual battles, just know that its because you are well known to the enemy, and that you have been counted worthy of suffering for Christ.  

 Do not hold back, do not turn around, do not falter from your walk – for this is not an angry God trying to punish you, infact it is His enemies trying to hinder you.  Stand strong on the Promises of Christ your King – (as the song says) and through the eternal ages, let HIS praises ring!

 

P.rayer – Father God Almighty Jehovah when I am struggling with my faith – strengthen me and give me the courage and wisdom to stand in the face of the enemy proclaiming YOUR Glory! 

 

Y.ieldedness – I turn over my comfort zones to you God – when I struggle – I struggle for you!

I said… Who do you know?

S.cripture – Acts 4: 13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

O.bservation –

It’s not who you are – its who you know.

A.pplication – That T-shirt that Mary gave me back when we were dating – how many times its message has rang true since then. It had a picture of Jesus and that slogan, “It’s not who you are, it’s who you know.”

You may feel that you are limited by your education, speaking ability, physical condition, past, or any number of other things, but the truth of it is none of those things matter if you have been with Jesus. A relationship with Jesus tips the scales, because once you have Jesus – the Spirit of the Lord resides within, granting you power beyond your own, knowledge, wisdom, speaking ability, and anything you need to accoplish God’s Will. It was not the apostles own power that flowed through to heal the lame man – it was the power of Jesus, it was not their courage, it was the fact that The Spirit was with them.

So it is with you and I. If Christ be for us – WHO CAN EVER BE AGAINST US?

P.rayer – Father thank you for imbueing me with Your Spirit so that I stand not in my own strength, but in yours. Thank you for your Son Jesus and His righteousness, that through acepting and believing in Him I stand reconciled before you. Praise Honor and Glory forever and ever.
Amen

Y.ieldedness – I give up any desire to claim that any good work that is done through me is actually done BY me.

Do you support the 10 commandments?

S.cripture – Exodus 20:

7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

O.bservation – We support the 10 commandments. Don’t we?

A.pplication – Back a few years ago there was a big outpouring of support for the ten commandments as our government went through the proccess of deciding whether or not to allow them to be displayed in public places. There is still a great deal of support for the public display of the ten commandments that is visible today (although I think it has dwendled to some degree).

There were little signs that people would often place in their yards that had the ten commandments listed on them, and it would say “We support the ten commandments.” and then they were listed on the sign.

My question as I looked at those signs was always this – “I wonder if the people of this family know the ten commandments without looking at that (or some other) sign?” The ten commandments were displayed in our yards, but were they displayed in our lives, and were they written on our hearts?

The answer to that may also give us some insight as to why our government has been successful in slowly but surely removing our faith from every area of public view.

Write the commandments on your heart! This is the most important place that we must display them.

*Ok here I go without looking I promise* haha –

1. There is only one God – have no others before Him!

2. Don’t make false idols – and don’t let anything in this world become more important that God!

3. Don’t take God’s name in vain! – Watch your mouth! Don’t make God get the bar of soap out!

4. Remember the sabbath and keep it Holy.

Set one day aside for God and rest and meditate on Him.

5. Honor Your Father and Mother – They are who God meant for them to be.

6. Don’t Murder

7. Don’t commit adultry – and be careful of your thoughts Mat 5:27-30

8. Don’t steal – trust that God can provide for you and meet all your needs.

9. Don’t lie – sometimes the truth hurts, but it doesn’t make it ok to lie.

10. Don’t long for (covet) things that your friends have. Build up treasure for yourself in heaven instead.

But remember that Jesus condenced these to a very easy to remember set of two

Commandments 1-4 are really all about the first one Jesus spoke to us. “you must love God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength;”

Commandments 5-10 are about the second one – ”

you must love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

So … How are we doing? Are we really supporting the ten commandments? Do we have them written on a sign in our yards only or are they also and more importantly written in our hearts and lived in our daily life. We need them in our hearts Church, so that those who really need to see them, don’t see them on some lifeless stone – but rather in our actions of love for God – and our fellow human beings?

P. rayer – Father help me to write your word in my heart and project it into my life more and more every day!

Y. ieldedness – I surrender to your commands Father God! Your plan – Your Will – Your laws are greater and better for me, than anything I could ever do on my own.

The Living WORD

Scripture

Acts 2:
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?

Observation

When God starts moving – people hear what they need to hear. It isn’t about the person who’s talking – or the book that is being read – or the sermon that’s being preached, rather it’s about the Spirit that is being received, and The God who is being served.

Application

Why do we think its about us? It’s not you know… This scene where the apostles were filled with the spirit and began to speak in tongues, I think is misunderstood by so many. It wasn’t about the tongues that were being spoken. It doesn’t really matter whether they were speaking actual languages that they just had never learned, or if they were speaking some unknown language that was totally spiritual. Those things are not the point.

The point is that all the people heard the message that God wanted them to hear.

This is how it is when a tool of God is used to send a message of God. The Bible is such a tool of God as this. How often have you read a scripture that you’ve known for years, but all the sudden you have a new revalation, a new insight, a new stroke of wisdom that God gives you through that same scripture? How often have we noticed that two people may read the same scripture and get two totally different messages? Does that mean one is right and the other is wrong? No – it means that God is revealing one thing to one – and something else to the other.

The Hymns and Songs and Prayers that we use to worship with are such a tool of God as this. The words may be the same that all hear – but the message is different, each one is touched by God in a way that He knows they need.

You and I are also such a tool of God as this. If you are sharing your faith, or singing a song, or praying for someone, or just living your life to the best of your ability as a Christian. What is happening on the surface may seem to be obvious and simple, but the much deeper and complex spiritual reality is that God is working through you to bring about His will in multiple ways and on many different levels.

Here is an experiment. Say the same thing to 100 different people. Say this “If you were to die tonight, are you sure you would go to Heaven?” See how many different ways God uses this same phrase to communicate to those different people, notice how many different messages there are. But also notice – they all accomplish the same thing. **God’s Will**

Prayer

Dear God,
Help me to be a willing tool of your hand- let me speak to those you want me to speak to – and let the words that I speak be manipulated by Your Spirit in such a way that whoever hears, must believe.

Yieldedness

It is not the tool that is responsible for accomplishing the task – it’s the hand that guides the tool. I yield my desires to try and guide myself to the hand of the Master Craftsman!