WHY BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT? (Part Three)

“Do not get drunk with wine for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit!”

Ephesians 5:18

“When He, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify me, for He will take of Mine and disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” John 16:13-15

“When the Helper comes…He will testify about Me.”

John 15:26

WHY BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT? (Part Three)

In part one (Aug, 2021) and part two (Oct, 2021) of this series we pointed out there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the ministry of the Holy Spirit that has led to some questionable teaching on the subject. Instead of criticizing false teachers/teachings, I have chosen to spend our time on what the Bible does say about the command to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). As the Lord anticipated the closing of His earthly ministry, He spent less time with the crowds and more time with his disciples. John chapters 14, 15 and 16 record His preparing His followers for the coming presence/ministry of the Spirit!

In John 16:13-15 Jesus uses the term “disclose” three time. In the original language the term means “to tell back”. The Holy Spirit “tells back” to the Believer what Jesus has said, and by doing so, He quickens, or makes alive Christ to the Believer, in the Believer and through the Believer! In the same manner that the Son came to “disclose” the Father (16:15). So, He says in John 15:26, The Holy Spirit came to “disclose” the Son. Note also that the author of Hebrews describes Jesus thusly, as “the radiance of the Father’s glory, and the exact representation of His nature! (1:3a) To expose the meaning only the Believer filled with the Holy Spirit can be used to “disclose” the Life of Jesus Christ!

The Lord promised Abram and Sari a son, but before the promise was fulfilled, an H was added to each of their names. The letter in the Hebrew alphabet that corresponds to the H in our English alphabet is formed in the lower throat. It is a “breathy” sound. The same word in the Hebrew that is translated “breath” can also be translated “wind”, or “spirit”! It is only as we are emptied of self and filled with the Holy Spirit that the life of Jesus Christ can be made real to us, and ultimately through us to others!

So, why should each believer be filled with the Holy Spirit? Because we are commanded to in Ephesians 5:18, an opportunity to demonstrate our love for Christ by obedience. In addition He indwells (John 14:16a), instructs (John 14:26a) and endows us (John 16:14)! So, what does it mean to be filled? It means “To make full; to be filled to the full.” We cannot be filled with the Spirit until we are emptied of self (Matt. 16:24)! Then, who needs to be filled with the Spirit? Anyone lacking any portion of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22,23, or the power promised in Acts 1:8! As the believer denies the ‘self-life’ and crowns Jesus Lord of their life, that one is promised to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Jon Moore

ANCHORED

Another year has come, another year has gone. As I get older it seems that time has hastened its pace. Life is much like an old roll of toilet paper, the older it is, the faster it goes. Just when I get the Christmas tree put away, oh my, it’s time to get out the Christmas tree again. Maybe that just happened to us oldies, but I think the invention of the internet, cell phones, microwaves, and all the other things that help us to hurry, hurry, hurry, have made the pace of life ever changing. It is such a blessing to me when I read the Bible scriptures that remind us that the Lord never changes. The Lord and His Word are strong anchors that we can count on in every situation and at all times.

1. Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

2. Malachi 3:8 “For, I the Lord do not change; therefore you, oh children are not consumed.”

3. Numbers 23:10 “God is not man, that He should lie, or the son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will not do it? Or has He spoken, and will not fulfill it?”

4. Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.”

5. Isaiah 40:28 “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does nor faint or grow weary, His understanding is unsearchable.”

6. Psalms 102:25-27 “Of old, You, oh Lord laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands. They will perish, but You will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, they will pass away, but You are the same, and Your years have no end.”

Seems to me with every part of our lives moving like a whirlwind, it would be a great idea to be sure you are anchored in 2023 in the right place, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST THAT HOLDS HIS CHILDREN IN THE PALM OF HIS STRONG RIGHT HAND

John 10:27-28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal Life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of MY HAND.”

ANCHORED !!!!!!

Joy

Phyllis

THANKING GOD IN TROUBLED TIMES!

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

Let me be clear! The Thanksgiving/Christmas season is my favorite time of the year. I am grateful that I live in a country where our forefathers expressed their thanksgiving to God for His ongoing blessings, and though it may seem hard to believe today, elected officials of a previous day voted to make Thanksgiving Day a national holiday! However, there likely would be some today that would say, ‘We live in a different time, under different (difficult) circumstances.”’ What about the frustrations, anger, hostile words and actions; the increasing attack against Christianity and the Church? The answer to our question, and the counsel for Believers in terms of our response is clearly to be found in God’s Word! James under the guidance of the Holy Spirit gives us wise counsel in James 1:2-4.

He teaches us a systematic method of response in verse 2. The Greek word translated consider is a bookkeeping term. When we encounter circumstances that test our faith in God’s keeping, we should open our spiritual journal and enter that experience under the column titled “Joy”! Note this will not be “if” these times come, but “when” they come. The bottom line is that the Believer’s thanksgiving is not dependent on favorable circumstances, but by a free choice (Not a natural response, but a spiritual response)!

Be sure to recognize that this response is not just “hocus-pocus!” It is affirmed by eternal Truths in verse 3. The first Truth is essential. God is in control of our situations! One of the most mis-quoted, misunderstood verses in the bible is Romans 8:28. This verse does NOT say, “all things are good.” All things that happen in life are not good, but the verse says, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” The question in some minds would be, ‘Why does the Lord do things this way?’ Verse 3 gives the answer. The Lord is building character in the life of His children using adversity. He knows that we will need the quality of “endurance” in us if we are to finish the course. Christian, do you have confidence in God? You can only be thankful in the midst of trials IF you have complete confidence in God!

The Bible clearly reveals God as the God of order from Genesis to Revelation. In verse 4 He says “let” endurance have its perfect result. The Greek word translated perfect here means ended. Don’t focus on the earthly problem, but God’s eternal purpose! Of course the Lord wants an ended work so He can have a “perfect” worker. The second time the word perfect is used, it is translated from the Greek as “whole”! This is what God is after in each of His children.

Consider this bible Truth, “Jesus is Lord!” If this true, and it is, He is in control of the so-called good, and the so-called bad. The pleasurable and the painful. If you have not trusted Christ with your eternity, I encourage you to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved!

If you have trusted Christ for your eternity, trust Him now with your adversity!

Jon Moore

What is Missing?

As I have been reading about the great revivals of God in the earlier days of this country and around the world. I hear many say, oh how we need revival! We need a mighty move of God across this land. The world and our nation are morally decaying. I would like to share in part a few stories that I have read from, “Revival Fires” by Wesley Duewel. What is different today than in those days of Spiritual Awakenings? What is missing today?

Charles Finney was greatly used of God in 1825 to spread the fires of revival to central New York. On a Thursday night the Lord brought much brokenness in the leadership of the church where he was preaching. It was on Sunday that God gave Finney a “burden of prayer.” The power of the Holy Spirit was so powerful that the people were gripped with conviction that they could not contain their emotions. Everyone that came into that town felt the overwhelming sense of God’s presence. The town was FULL of praying. As one would walk around town the sound of praying was everywhere. Finney lists the striking characteristics of the great moving of God and number one on his list was prevailing prayer. According to the Boston Recorder in the 4 months of 1831, 362 places experienced revivals. It was a day of prevailing prayer.

In 1898 while visiting the Keswick convention a Hindu woman named Pandita Ramabai, who had been converted pled with the 4,000 that attended to pray for a Spiritual movement in India like in America. She was at the time caring for some 2,000 girls in Bombay. For several months’ “prayer continued,” and 1200 girls accepted Christ as their Savior. Later another 600 were saved. Pandita started a prayer circle of 10 girls to pray for the salvation of others. That began to spread and encompass many other groups, and many were saved.

A man called, Rev. John Hyde in 1852 began to pray for revival. It was 12 years before he was granted his prayers. He would spend whole nights praying. Hyde became known as the “wrestler with God, a prince prevailing.”

As I read these and other accounts of the great awakenings of old, a couple of things stand out to me about them. God had given them the “burden of prayer.” It seems to me that we are asking for revival without asking for the “burden” (carrying a load, heavy laden, burdensome) to pray. God is the initiator. We cannot even pray without God impowering us. The second thing I noticed, it was months and even many years before God chose to answer their requests. We live in such a microwave society, our expectations are, “I want it yesterday.” We need to ask ourselves, are we willing to ask for the “burden” (carry the heavy load that will cost us time and energy). Are we willing to continue until God chooses to pour out His power on this land and receive the glory that is due Him. Each one must answer that question for themselves.

Joy

Phyllis

 

THE MISSING INGREDIENTS! 

“Now the Lord saw, and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice!  He saw that there was no man, and was astonished that there was no one to intercede…”  Isaiah 59:16a 

The great old founder of Methodism, John Wesley said it well, “Prayer is the fuel that runs the engine that drives revival.”  In this day where there seems to be an abundance of those who point out the need for revival, there is a glaring absence of those who are willing to pay the price to pray down revival!  

Last year (February, 2021) we looked at the prophet Isaiah’s prayer for revival in chapter 64.  Today, I want to take a closer look at that passage, especially at the urgent tone the words suggest. 

“Behold, You were angry, for we sinned.  We continued in them for a long time…All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment, and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities like the wind take us away…  There is no one who arouses himself to take hold of You!  Isaiah 64:5b-7a 

Years ago, a wise person advised me from time to time to close the door to my office and pray the prayer of the Psalmist in 139:23,24.  Then ask the Lord to search ME and know MY heart; Try ME and know MY thoughts; and see if there be any wicked (grievous) way in ME, and lead ME in the way everlasting!  I have become increasingly more convinced that the one Christlike quality that is most lacking in those of us who profess today to be Christians is brokenness!  

Listen to Isaiah again concerning the Lord, “I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”  57:15b 

Oh, that God in His mercy would once again restore the spirit of brokenness among His people.  That each of us would cease blaming other things, or other people for our un-Christlike behavior.  That we would follow the example of Isaiah and go to the Lord (Who is the ONLY ONE who can truly restore and revive)! 

“But NOW, O Lord, You are our Father.  We are the clay and You are our potter; and all of us are the work of your hand.  Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord, nor remember iniquity forever; Behold, look now, all of us are Your people!”  64:8,9 

Is it possible that these are the missing ingredients today in our discussions about the desperate need for the reviving touch of God.  Is it a matter of our failure to humble ourselves before the Lord and ask for His mercy and grace?  Let’s join together in brokenness and begging the Lord in prayer and see for ourselves! 

Jon Moore

 

THE DRY BONES! Part 2

To continue with Ezekiel 37, I will do a very short review of the devotional I shared in DRY BONES part 1. You can scroll to the July devotional and read it to get the full context of the passage.

In the book of Ezekiel, we read that the children of Israel had been taken into Babylonian captivity. God had chosen Ezekiel as a prophet to call the nation to repentance, and that judgement had come upon the nation due to the sinfulness prevailing in Jerusalem. The first half of the book is pronouncing judgement. However, after the word reached Babylon that Jerusalem had been destroyed, Ezekiel began to proclaim a new message from the Lord, a message of hope and restoration!

Ezekiel 37:1-6 The Lord has Ezekiel sit down in the middle of a valley filled with DRY SUNBLEACHED HUMAN BONES. The Lord asks him, “Son of man, can these bones live?” “Oh Lord You know.” Let’s be real, how many times we are faced with that same question about our loved ones, our country, or even our own lives. Will things get any different? Can these bones live? God says, “I WILL,” three different times in verses 1-6 to remind Ezekiel and the dry bones that He is the Lord (the Sovereign Ruler). A good reminder to us as well.

As we continue in the passage for today’s devotional. In verse 7, we see the power of God to do what He says He will do. So, Ezekiel prophesied and there was a great thundering and behold a shaking, a trembling, and a rattling as the bones came together. Oh my, what it must have been like seeing and hearing that happen!

Verse 8… I looked, and behold, it was done, but no breath or spirit was in them, however. They had form, but no LIFE.

Verse 9…Prophesy to the breath and spirit and say, Thus, says the Lord “come from the 4 winds, Oh Spirit and breathe, and these bones will live.”

This is what the bones said, “We are all dried up and all hope is lost.” Once again, how many times have we been guilty of saying that about unanswered prayers?

Verse 10…So I prophesied as God commanded me, and THE BREATH AND THE SPIRIT CAME INTO THESE BONES, AND THEY LIVED, and stood up upon their feet, a great army.

That says to me that our Heavenly Father has the POWER and PROVISION that is needed in every situation in our lives and our loved ones. We are also reminded in this passage that we all must have the breath and the Spirit to truly have LIFE.

Isaiah 46:11 “Yes, I have spoken, I have planned it, and I will bring it to pass.”

Joy

Phyllis

QUALIFICATION FOR ENTRANCE INTO GOD’S KINGDOM!

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3b) “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:5b,6) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Through the ages men have sought to establish standards for entrance into God’s kingdom.  A Jewish official named Nicodemus seemed qualified by race, religion and reputation, but Jesus Christ laid down the one qualification the Lord requires (v 3b), and Nicodemus did not qualify!  As the reigning King of the Kingdom of God, Jesus Christ demands two births! The fact the Lord made the qualification known to one respected by his community emphasized there are no exceptions!  This is not a recommendation, but a requirement!

After demanding two births, Jesus went on to describe both births in verses 4 and 5.  One is a birth of water, and the other is a birth of the Spirit (v 5).  A couple readily recognizes that a fleshly birth is near when the expectant mother’s “water breaks”.  Likewise, when Jesus uses the phrase “born again” (v 3), the alternate translation for “again” is “from above”!  Just as no one ever lived physically without being born physically, the same is true spiritually! 

Next in His conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus defines the two lives that come about as the result of the two births (v 6).  Quite simply, a physical birth results in a physical life (6a), and a spiritual birth results in a spiritual life (6b).  The Lord uses the wind as a great analogy to clarify His meaning (v 8)).  The Greek word translated ‘wind’ can either be translated ‘wind, breath or spirit’!  Just as the wind is not seen (although it’s effects can be seen), so the inner work of the Spirit can’t be seen with the human eye, but the outer difference can be observed.  Only the life that is spiritual in its origin can be spiritual in its operation and effectiveness!

Only the King of the Kingdom of God may determine the qualification for entrance into His Kingdom, and Jesus does that in his conversation with Nicodemus.  Early in that conversation (v 3) Jesus said, one must be “born again!”  So the question becomes, “How?”  Later (v 16), Jesus said, “Whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life!”  There are four Greek words in the New Testament translated “believe”.  They mean, “To trust in; To cling to; To rely on.”  If you will “trust in” what He has done for you: “Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6  If you will “cling to” who He is in you: “Christ in you, the Hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27  If you will rely on what He has said to you: “I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:3.  Have you been “born again?”  If not, trust in Christ, cling to Him and rely on Him today and every day!

Jon Moore

THE DRY BONES! ( Part 1 )

Have you ever asked yourself, “will things ever change in that person’s life?  I have prayed and prayed, but I never see any difference.”  Have you ever said that? Of course, we all have, or if we have not said as much, surely thought those concerns. Maybe it is not others that concern us, but it’s our own lives that are all dried up. Can things ever change for them or for me?

In the book of Ezekiel, we read that the children of Israel had been taken into Babylonian captivity. God had chosen Ezekiel as a prophet to call the nation to repentance and that judgement had come upon the nation due to the sinfulness prevailing in Jerusalem.  The first half of the book is pronouncing judgement, however after the word reached Babylon that Jerusalem had been destroyed, Ezekiel began to proclaim a new message from the Lord. A message of hope and restoration!

Ezekiel 37:1-14 The Lord has Ezekiel sit down in the middle of a valley filled with DRY SUNBLEACHED HUMAN BONES. The Lord asks him, “Son of man, can these bones live?” “Oh Lord You know.” Let’s be real, how many times we are faced with that same question about our loved ones, our country, or even our own lives. Can these bones live?

Verse 4: Ezekiel prophesy to the dry bones, “Oh you, dry bones, hear the WORD of the Lord.”

Verse 5: Thus says the Lord God to the dry bones, “I WILL cause breath and spirit to enter you and you shall live.”

Verse 6: “And I WILL lay sinews upon you and bring up flesh up on you and cover you with skin.   I WILL put breath and spirit in you, and you, dry bones will live. I AM THE LORD SOVEREIGN RULER.”

Verse 7: So, Ezekiel prophesied and there was a thundering noise and behold, a shaking, a trembling and a rattling as the bones came together. Wow! (That would scare the bejabbers out of me, how about you?) Be real now.

The thing that spoke to me in these first few verses of chapter 37 is how many times God said, “I WILL!” Many times, we feel the need to manipulate the situation or try again to change others, or even we try in our own strength to change ourselves.  If we would remember only the Lord can make DRY BONES live!

 We will end part 1 of this devotional with the challenge to read over and over the “I WILL” that God speaks in His Word. It is surely a message of HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT to us. Look for Ezekiel 37 part 2 of THE DRY BONES in September.

JOY

Phyllis

THIRSTING FOR LIVING WATER!

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God…”  Psalm 42:1,2a 

“Then Isaac dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father, Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up…”  Genesis 26:18

Many identify with the psalmist, thirsting to see the reality of God today!  Some have changed churches seeking.  Others have left local churches entirely.  It is an often-used Biblical analogy, the ongoing need for water to sustain life!  The old-testament man Isaac needed water for his household and herds (Genesis 26:12-25), and his need tells a spiritual story of this generation’s desperate need as well!  The need for “living” water is there, but the question is, is there a thirst?  And if so, how is it being attempted to quench?

The old wells of blessings had been covered (Gen 26:18a,b).  Note one of the meanings of the term Philistines=“Rolled with dust!”  Even though the origin of Isaac’s blessings was the Lord (Gen 26:12-14a), the occasion caused bitterness (Gen 26:14b-15).  Just as in ancient days, an over-emphasis on earthly life diverts attention away from preparing for eternal Life!  It reminds me of a comment and question an old minister asked a younger man, “You are going to be in eternity a whole lot longer than you are going to be on earth!  Which side of the grave are you giving the most attention?”

The old wells of blessing could be uncovered-(Gen 26:18a).  This is the history of revival through the ages!  Born again believers in Christ eventually have the thirst for the Person and power of God after an extended absence!  Yet, it requires effort of both time and energy to seek the Lord (vv18-22a), and it will almost certainly result in contention with the devil himself, or through some of his henchmen (vv20-21).  It is true that things truly worth having are worth the energy it takes to have them.  As far as the business world is concerned, research reveals that 80% of all new sales are closed on the fifth sales call.  The same research shows that only 10% of all salespeople make more than three sales calls!

New wells of blessing needed to be discovered (v22).  This required a new position(v22a).  As Isaac left the land of dust, he dug a new well he called Rehoboth!  Rehoboth means “open spaces”, and along with re-opening the old wells of blessing, we need to delve into the “new” wells of different cultures, different ethnicities and different generations!  Not just establishing new works of this or that ethnicity, but new works of mixed ethnicities!  New works of not just the “now generation”, but works of “all generations”!  Can that be successful?  Keep this always in mind, new challenges are simply new opportunities to trust the Lord and see what He can do!

Blessings,

Jon Moore]

The Red Robins

“Consider the birds – do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food. Are you not more valuable than they?”

Mathew 6:26

On this beautiful spring evening, as I was sitting on our patio, I noticed two Red Robin hopping in the grass.  They began to peck at the ground and started eating a worm.  After they finished eating, they both flew up onto the bird bath to flutter their wings and have a bath.  It so reminded me of the Bible scripture already quoted.  I love watching how carefree they seem to be. 

Seems that our world has been turned upside down. So many distractions that grab our attention and cause us to be anxious and worried.  At times it is so difficult to keep our mind and heart on the blessed promises of God. Yet, that is exactly what we must do if we are going to experience the peace that the Lord Jesus promises. John 16:33 says, “I have said these things to you, that in Me (Jesus) you may have peace.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 states, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at ALL times in every way.”

“Why would you worry about your clothing? Look at all the beautiful flowers in the fields. They don’t work or toil, and yet not even Solomon in all his splendor was robed in beauty like these! So, forsake your worries! Why would you say? What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear?  Doesn’t your Father in heaven already know the things you need?” Matthew 6:28 & 31-33.

We must learn to live out of every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God! He has given to us His love letter, the Bible, read it, obey it, but even more, draw close to the Lord and He WILL draw close to you. Commit yourself unto the Lord, trust in Him, yield to Him all that you are and all that you have. Spend time just loving on the Lord and let Him love on you. Be filled with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will experience the peace that He promised.  It is your birthright as His precious child.

Joy

Phyllis