LONGING FOR HOLINESS

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience … goodness, faithfulness … self-control.”— Galatians 5:22-23  

It’s hard to “be good.” When people ask, “How are you?” I often reply, “Fine,” or, “Good”—whether I mean it or not.
 
But “being good” is much different. Jesus told people to be as holy—or perfect—as our Heavenly Father is (see Matthew 5:48). I don’t come close! Do you?
 
Help is on the way. Receiving the Father’s gift, the Holy Spirit, promised by Jesus and delivered on Pentecost, is another element to the faith I receive when I am delivered from sin and guilt through the cross. Because of the cross, the Spirit is poured out on God’s people. The Spirit’s specialty is to empower people to take on the character of Jesus Christ—making them holy. The beauty of our redemption is that when we are made right with God through Christ, we’re also launched on a journey to make our lifestyles right. The Spirit lives in the heart of the believer. If we have new life in Christ, we are being made holy. It is all God’s free gift.
 
The question is, Will I give up my desires to run the show myself, and surrender control to the Holy Spirit?
 
The Spirit’s fruit defines holy living. The fruit is unmistakable and so desirable: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control.” Why not ask the God who saves us to give us holiness too?

 
PRAYER: “Father in Heaven, Your gifts through Christ’s cross are immeasurably rich. Thank you for sending your Spirit. I pray to see the Spirit’s fruit in my life.” Amen. 

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COME, HOLY SPIRIT

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”— Acts 1:8  

The book of Acts features the Holy Spirit as the main player in bringing the church to life: Jesus gave instructions to His followers through the Spirit, saying that the Spirit will be given as a gift and that they will be “baptized with the Holy Spirit.” That happened on Pentecost.
 
The Holy Spirit is so prominent in the book of Acts that, as scholars have noted, Luke’s record of the spread of the Gospel from Jerusalem to Rome could well be titled “The Acts of the Holy Spirit.”
 
The sending of the Spirit by the Father and the Son is another breathtaking result and blessing of the risen Jesus (see Luke 24:49). The word for “power” in the original Greek language of our Scripture verse today has come into English in our words “dynamo” and “dynamic.” In other words, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives with the dynamic power of God.
 
Thinking about the astonishing effects of Good Friday and Easter, we might ask, “How does all this become real to me?” The Spirit is God’s gracious answer. Jesus said, “The Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me” (John 15:26). So if you know the Lord, it’s because of the Spirit! If you’ve given your heart and life to Jesus, it’s because of the Spirit! If Christians worship and prayer build you up spiritually, if God speaks to you in the Bible, credit the Spirit!

 
PRAYER: “Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove, with all Your quickening powers. Kindle a flame of sacred love in my cold heart, and teach me to live like Jesus. Amen.” 

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SPIRIT OF TRUTH

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.”—John 16:13 

We have to admit that the truth is hard to handle without help. But Jesus helps by providing a helper, the Spirit of truth.
 
Jesus was preparing to leave his disciples and return to his Father, and his disciples were afraid. They imagined themselves spending much time with Jesus, learning about his kingdom and finding their places in it. The truth they could not handle was that Jesus had to leave them. Their lives had to transition from the God they could see to the God who would be in them.
 
But Jesus gave them truth they could handle. The Spirit of God would remind them of the truth of Jesus as the only Savior whom they—and we—will ever need. The Spirit takes us by the hand and helps us to live into the words and actions of the Father and the Son. We can handle that truth!
 
Has the Spirit been speaking to you this week? Are you taking his counsel to heart? Let the Spirit lead you and guide you every step of the way!
 
 
PRAYER: “Holy Spirit, I need your guidance to take in the truth of God’s Word. Help me as I receive the truth of Jesus as the very words of life.” Amen.

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GIVEN BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. ” – John 3:5 

God’s grace doesn’t just “happen” to come to us. It comes to us from God the Father through the obedience, death, and ­resurrection of Jesus Christ. And the saving work of Jesus comes to us through the Holy Spirit.
 
The Bible teaches that we all share the stain of Adam’s sin. From the moment we are conceived in our mother’s womb, we are in rebellion against God. Our rebellion, though rooted and connected to Adam’s first sin, includes our own inescapable inclination to sin. Our hearts are hardened against God: we have plugs in our ears and blinders over our eyes. On our own, we are hopelessly lost.
 
But the Holy Spirit comes to us and changes our hearts.
 
The Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts is sometimes overlooked or downplayed. Through the sometimes dramatic though often mundane events of our lives, the Spirit woos us, draws us to him, and moves us toward the love of our Father in heaven. And when—and only when—the Holy Spirit has softened our hearts, unstopping our ears and removing the blinders from our eyes, do we turn to God.
 
We are saved by grace alone through the power and work of the Holy Spirit. Be aware of the Spirit working in your life today, filling you with grace and flowing to those around you.

 
PRAYER: “Creator Spirit, you laid the world’s foundations, and you set us free to live in God’s love and mercy. Make us your sacred temples to live and serve and glorify our Father”. Amen.

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WITNESSING IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” – Acts 1:8 

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are nowhere more relevant to our lives than in the area of witness.  The Holy Spirit not only gives us the power to speak, but through His gifts of wisdom and discernment He shows us when and how to speak in any particular situation.  We all live under the shadow of the great commission to go and make disciples of all nations, but we are not left to ourselves in this task.  Jesus promised His first disciples that He would always be with them and He is always with us, giving us power and guidance through the Spirit whom He has sent, to enable us every day in our witness for Him.
 
The Holy Spirit leads men and women into areas of effective witness.  He is always taking the initiative in opening the right doors where He has prepared the ground for the reception of the gospel – e.g. Acts 8:26-39.  Life takes on a new dimension altogether when we are prepared every day to follow the leading of the Spirit on every occasion.  The Holy Spirit will prepare the hearts and lives of those with whom we come into contact, so that they can receive the witness we give them to the power of Jesus.
 
Our whole life is an opportunity and if we will open ourselves to the possibilities of the Holy Spirit, we will be surprised at how many opportunities we will be given to share what our faith in Jesus means to us.  This does not mean that we will always need to be straining to barge into people’s lives: it means that we need to follow the Lord as He opens the door by His Spirit.
 
Witness means many things.  At one time it will mean making a clear statement about what we believe and why we believe it; on other occasions it will mean that we are the outlet for God in that situation, demonstrating His love and power through our attitudes and concern for other people.  In any event, it is not a witness to ourselves, but to the loving power of the Lord Jesus Christ 


 
PRAYER: Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in every situation.

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THE HOLY SPIRIT IS EQUAL TO GOD THE FATHER AND GOD THE SON

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,  set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come..” – 2 Corinthians 1: 21-22

The Holy Spirit is perfectly equal with God the Father and Jesus the Son and this is demonstrated in certain specific events in the New Testament:

At Christ’s baptism the Holy Spirit appeared like a dove and settled on Him while God’s voice was heard expressing His pleasure at the Son – Matthew 3:16-17

In the temptation of Christ – the Bible tells us that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted and throughout the temptations Jesus overcame Satan with the Word of God – Matt. 4:1-7 

While Jesus was in the upper room with His disciples just before His arrest and crucifixion, He talked about asking the Father to send them another Counselor, the Holy Spirit – John 14:16 and 26.

Paul declares in Eph. 2:18 that through Christ we, all Jews and Gentiles, have access to the Father through the same Holy Spirit. The doxology which we so often share also demonstrates the oneness of the Triune Godhead for we sayThe Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowships of the Holy Spirit, be with us all, now and forever.  Amen

Peter also tells us in I Peter 1:2 that we have been chosen by God, Father, made holy by the Spirit and enabled to obey Christ who has cleansed us by His blood.  He also says in I Pet. 4:14 that we are blessed if we are insulted for being Christian because it means that the Holy Spirit and the glory of God rests upon us.  I pray that when we go through trials and sufferings because of our faith in Jesus Christ we will stand firm knowing that it is because of the presence of the glory of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that leads to such insults and ridicule.

In Acts 2:3 Peter also declares the perfect equality of the Holy Spirit to God the Father and God the Son in His powerful evangelistic message on the day of Pentecost.
 
It is awesome to know that God Himself, the Almighty, All-wise – Everywhere present God lives in you and me by His Spirit and that it is the same Holy Spirit who indwelt Jesus and enabled Him to do so much good, exhibiting God’s love and demonstrating God’s compassion through healing, casting out of demons and standing courageously before His enemies. It is this same Holy Spirit who indwells us.  Such knowledge should totally liberate us from all our fears, prejudices, pride and sin and enable us to live lives transformed by God’s power to do good works and spread righteousness all around us.  There is victory in Christ Jesus who lives in us by His spirit.


 
PRAYER: “Dear Lord when I go through trials and sufferings because of my faith in Christ, help me stand firm knowing that You are with me” Amen. 

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THE REALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “And I will give you a new heart with a right desire, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart.  And I will put my Spirit in you so you will obey my laws and do whatever I command.” – Ezekiel. 36:26-27

The Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Godhead, is very central to our coming to faith in Jesus Christ. He is also very central to sustaining our faith. It is therefore essential that Christians recognize the importance of the Holy Spirit in God’s redemptive purpose. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives us power to live our new life in Christ. He also gives us power to share the gospel of God’s salvation of the world through Jesus Christ.  His work is crucial to the believer.
 
Yet though the Holy Spirit is so important, most believers do not have the faintest idea about who the Holy Spirit really is and what He does in the lives of us who believe. God’s plan for believers is that we be transformed in character to become like Jesus Christ as we read in Rom. 8:29: For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son.  So that His Son would become the First Born with many brothers and sisters. This is reiterated in 2 Cor. 3:18b – And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more.
 
God knows that by ourselves we cannot bring any changes in our disposition – that is, the intrinsic nature of ours that seeks to have its own way. That is why God has made His Spirit available to guide us into all truth and righteousness.
 
The Holy Spirit was sent by the Father to bring believers into the intimate presence and fellowship of Jesus Christ as we read in John 14: 15-18;26. We should therefore treat Him as a person and regard Him as the infinite living God within our hearts, worthy of our worship, love and surrender.

 
PRAYER: “Dear Holy Spirit I surrender my all to You, come and live in my heart and help me live in Christ.” Amen. 

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THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”– Galatians 5:22-23

Contrasted to the acts of the sinful nature is a single-minded lifestyle called “the fruit of the Spirit.”  This is produced in God’s children as they allow the Spirit to so direct and influence their lives that they destroy sin’s power, especially the acts of the sinful nature, and walk in fellowship with God – Rom. 8:5-14; 2 Cor. 6:6; Eph. 4:2-3; 5:9; Col. 3:12-15; 2 Pet. 1:4-9.  The fruit of the Spirit includes:

“Love” – a caring for and seeking the highest good of another person without  motive of personal gain.

“Joy” – the feeling of gladness based on the love, grace, blessings, promises and nearness of God that belong to those who believe in Christ – Ps. 119:16; 2 Cor. 6:10; 12:9; 1 Pet. 1:8; Phil. 1:14.
“Peace” – the rest of heart and mind based on the knowledge that all is well between the believer and his or her heavenly Father, resulting in freedom from the turmoil of anxiety – Rom. 15:33; Phil. 4:7; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:20.
“Patience”– endurance, long suffering; being slow to anger or despair –Eph. 4:2; 2 Tim. 3:10; Heb. 13:20.
“Kindness” – not wanting to hurt anyone or cause them pain – Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12; 1Pet. 2:3.
“Goodness” – zeal for truth and righteousness and a hatred of evil; it can be expressed in acts of kindness – Luke 7:37-50, or in rebuking and correcting evil – Mt. 21:12-13.
“Faithfulness” – firm and unswerving loyalty to a person to whom one is united by promise, commitment, trust and honesty – Mt. 23:23; Rom. 3:3; 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 2:2; 4:7; Titus 2:10.
“Gentleness” – restraint coupled with strength and courage; it describes a person who can be angry when anger is needed and humbly submissive when submission is needed – 2 Tim. 2:25; 1 Pet. 3:15; for gentleness in Jesus, compare Mt. 11:29 with Mt. 23 with Mk. 3:5; in Paul, compare 2 Cor.10:1 with 10:4-6 and Gal. 19, in Moses compare Num. 12:3 with Ex. 32:19-20.
“Self-control” – mastering one’s desire and passions, including faithfulness to one’s marriage vows; also purity – 1 Cor. 7:9; 9:25; Tit. 1:8; 2:5. 
Paul’s final comment about the fruit of the Spirit indicates that there are no restrictions to the lifestyle indicated here.  Christians can – in fact, must – practice these virtues over and over again; they will never discover a law prohibiting them from living according to these principles.

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THE HOLY SPIRIT IS LOVE

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”– John 14:15-18

The Holy Spirit continues to bring love and life to us. The harvest that began on the day of Pentecost, more than 2,000 years ago, continues today, and will continue until the end of the Church age. The Holy Spirit is the agent of Pentecost and the revelation of the love of God. God so loved us that He would not leave us as orphans  but sent the Holy Spirit to be always present with us – John 14:18

He is a Person and not a force or a thing as some believe. The Scriptures confirm this by the personal ways in which The Holy Spirit responds and the personal things He does. The Bible also makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is one with God the Father and God the Son – John 14:16.  Since God is Love the Holy Spirit is also Love.  This is seen in the attributes that are given to Him and which are without exception, the attributes of God. He is Eternal, Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient. 

The Holy Spirit is love and out of love gives us spiritual life so that we can relate to God. God is Spirit and the only way to relate to Him is in spirit and in truth. The proof that we belong to God is seen in our love towards one another, for God is love. 

The purpose of the presence of the Holy Spirit is to confirm God’s love and His acceptance of Christ’s perfect sacrifice. The presence of the Holy Spirit reveals and glorifies Jesus Christ and to fill us with His love. The Holy Spirit enables us to understand the revelations of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. He reveals that Jesus’ sacrifice has made the blessings of God available to all of us. The Holy Spirit not only reveals and glorifies Jesus Christ but empowers us to love and to serve Him.

Prayer Point: “Pray that the Holy Spirit should empower you to live for Christ and serve Him.”

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