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nChrist
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« on: June 24, 2010, 11:32:21 PM »

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How Foolish Can You Be?

Verse

How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?

— Galatians 3:3 nlt


Thought

Try harder! Be better! Achieve more! Approach perfection! These are all messages that we hear every day in our competitive world. In fact, these help in almost every area of our lives. However, there is one area that they do not help -- becoming holy like God! Yes, we need to obey God. Yes, we must offer ourselves to God for his service. Yes, we should yearn to be holy as God is holy. But without the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives to convict us, purify us, gift us, empower us, and transform us, we will never become like Jesus. While this seems counter-intuitive to the ways of our world, this understanding is the essence of grace. God delivered us from sin and death through the gift of his Son. We become like Jesus as we offer ourselves to God through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our own effort, our own power, and our own perfection will always fall short of God's holiness and majesty.

Prayer

O Father, I do want to be holy as you are holy. I do want to live with your righteous character and your gracious compassion. So I offer myself -- my life, my gifts, my time, my money -- to serve you. Yet I know, dear Father, that these will fall far short of your perfection and glory and so I ask for your Holy Spirit to do his work in me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2010, 11:33:24 PM »

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How Did You Receive the Spirit?

Verse

I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?

— Galatians 3:2 tniv


Thought

Most of us love lists that we can check off and show we've completed our tasks or deserve what we get. The Holy Spirit, however, is a gift given to those who believe in Jesus, trusting that his death, burial, and resurrection saves them and sharing with Jesus in these through baptism (1 Cor. 15:1-5; Rom. 6:3-6). Paul is reminding these folks that no list, not even one given in the law, can bring the Holy Spirit to them. They received the Spirit because they truly believed in Jesus and Jesus poured out this gift upon them (Titus 3:3-7). No wonder Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit as one of God's greatest gifts (Luke 11:11-13).

Prayer

O Father, thank you for the gift of your Son who died for my sins and was raised from the dead to give me the victory over sin and death. I also thank you, dear Father, for the gift of the Holy Spirit that is your presence that lives in me. May my life be to your glory O God. In the name of Jesus I offer you my deepest thanks! Amen.
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2010, 11:35:25 PM »

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Special Messenger

Verse

For by God's grace, I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit. So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God.

— Romans 15:15b-17 nlt


Thought

There are moments when we recognize that we are in the center of God's will, doing what God would have us do, exactly when the Father wants us to be there. Paul is at that place when he writes this. Yet underneath his confidence in what he is doing is an even greater confidence -- confidence that the Holy Spirit will take his offering of people and make it holy and acceptable to God. As we live our lives and as our lives bump into and influence other people, let's pray that the Holy Spirit will make them a holy and acceptable offering to God. Let's also pray that we can live in such a way that our words, actions, and influence invite others closer to Jesus!

Prayer

O Father God, thank you for the influence you have given me. Please forgive me for the times I have squandered that influence or used it wrongly. Jesus, help me as I seek to lead people closer to you. O Holy Spirit, please present my efforts and the people I influence as a holy and acceptable offering to God. I ask all of this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2010, 11:36:42 PM »

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Spirit-Foretold

Verse

And after they had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: "The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet ..."

— Acts 28:25 nlt


Thought

Jewish leaders in Rome come to visit Paul while he is under house arrest. He shares the good news of Jesus with them, yet they reject this message. This only convinces Paul even more of the need to share the good news of Jesus with all people because they will listen, even if most of Jesus' own people won't. The Holy Spirit had been working all along through history, using prophets to tell about God's plan to reach all people. Now, just as Jesus had promised (Acts 1:8), the Spirit had propelled Jesus' followers to share the message all over the world and many were responding. When we serve the Lord, we are not working alone or in isolation. We are working as part of a plan going back before the creation of the world to bring God's children back to him (Eph. 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20). Let's ask the Holy Spirit to catch us up in this work of grace as well!

Prayer

O Father of all people, move us through your Holy Spirit to carry on the mission of the early disciples -- to share the good news of Jesus with all people. Empower us, fill us with passion, give us courage, and please grant us success as we seek to share your good news with people all over the world. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2010, 11:37:51 PM »

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Tied in Knots

Verse

After several days of visiting, a prophet from Judea by the name of Agabus came down to see us. He went right up to Paul, took Paul's belt, and, in a dramatic gesture, tied himself up, hands and feet. He said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: The Jews in Jerusalem are going to tie up the man who owns this belt just like this and hand him over to godless unbelievers."

— Acts 21:10-11 msg


Thought

Courage is knowing the danger, yet pressing on to do what we are convicted must be done. Paul demonstrates great courage. He has been repeatedly warned that the great hardship, difficulties, arrest, and danger await him if he goes to Jerusalem. Yet Paul is absolutely convinced that he must go to Jerusalem, and from there, he must go on to Rome and other parts of the Roman empire sharing the good news of Jesus. Paul makes his passion clear in the following words: "I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me -- the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace" (Acts 20:24). Purpose and passion, empowered by the Holy Spirit, make us courageous to do the work of God in spite of clear dangers.

Prayer

O Father, please give me a sense of my purpose and the passion to live out that purpose regardless of the consequences. Lead me and empower me by your Spirit so that I can fulfill your mission for my life and live that mission with integrity and courage. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2010, 11:38:51 PM »

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Spirit-Warned

Verse

We looked up the local disciples and stayed with them seven days. Their message to Paul, from insight given by the Spirit, was "Don’t go to Jerusalem."

— Acts 21:4 msg


Thought

Okay, I admit this is confusing. Paul is convicted that he must go to Jerusalem. At the same time, he knows hardship awaits him. Now this warning and command: "Don't go to Jerusalem!" I don't know any way to understand this other than one of two ways. One, Paul is disobeying the Spirit when he goes to Jerusalem. Two, this is more of the Spirit alerting him that grief and hardship await him if he goes to Jerusalem. Here's the bottom line: either way, God uses this trip to Jerusalem to get Paul to Rome, where the good news of Jesus needed to be heard and where Paul was determined to go. Somewhere in the confusion we all face in trying to follow the Spirit's lead, we have to trust that God will get us where we need to be and doing what we need to do to fully honor him. The question is whether we are willing to fully invest and trust in the Spirit leading us no matter what the short-term consequences of our commitment may be.

Prayer

Gracious Father in heaven, I trust that you will use the Holy Spirit to lead me where I need to be to do the work you want me to do. I ask, dear Father, that my life glorify you no matter where that is or what that entails. My deepest prayer, Lord, is that I never, ever, outlive my love and trust of you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2010, 11:40:37 PM »

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Spirit Appointed

Verse

[Paul said] "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood."

— Acts 20:28 tniv


Thought

Paul reminds the Ephesians elders of three heavenly truths about leaders. First, leaders are to watch, feed, protect and care for ("shepherd") the people of God. Second, the Holy Spirit was involved in putting them into their leadership role. Third, those who lead must always realize that those they lead ("church of God" or "the flock") never belongs to them, but to God who purchased it at such a high cost. This is a powerful and sobering reminder of their call for leaders. For followers, this is a reminder to follow. For each of us, this is a reminder of just how precious the church is to God!

Prayer

Almighty God, please be at work in our churches today through the Holy Spirit calling those you want and we desperately need into leadership roles in your church. I ask forgiveness, dear Father, for not valuing your church more highly and pledge to more fully cherish it as you do. In Jesus' name I offer these thanksgivings and commitments. Amen.
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« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2010, 10:01:03 PM »

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Giving His Spirit

Verse

Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by your observing the law, or by your believing what you heard?

— Galatians 3:5 tniv


Thought

God's Spirit is given and God's power is displayed in those who believe. We don't make the Spirit come to us -- the Spirit is God's gift to followers of Jesus. We cannot make God's power happen in our lives -- this power is released through the work of the Holy Spirit in those who believe. So what is the bottom line? Do we believe or do we try to force God to act by adhering to a set of laws or do we believe in Jesus and trust God will supply what we need?

Prayer

O Father, move among us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We believe in Jesus and his power to save, redeem, and transform. So we ask for you to move with power among us! In Jesus' name. Amen.
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2010, 11:07:40 AM »

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The Same Promised Blessing

Verse

Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.

— Galatians 3:14 NLT


Thought

What breaks down the barriers of cultures and nations and races? The presence of God's Holy Spirit within us. We sense a commonality, we feel a shared bond, and we celebrate the unity of the Spirit that exists because each of us has God's presence -- the Holy Spirit -- within us!

Prayer

O Father, I pray for the Holy Spirit to move among your people in a mighty way to break down barriers that divide us and give us a sense of our common bond through your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2010, 03:43:45 PM »

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The Spirit Calls Out

Verse

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."

— Galatians 4:6 tniv


Thought

We have been adopted by God -- we are children of the One who paints every sunset! To help us celebrate this incredible blessing, God has sent the Holy Spirit to live within us and to cry out with us, "Abba Father." This simple, two syllable word from Jesus' own life was used by babies to call out to their fathers. The Holy Spirit within us guarantees our access to the Father and reminds us with this simple word that we are God's beloved children.

Prayer

O Abba Father, thank you for loving me. Thank you for adopting me. Thank you for paying such a high cost and reminding me of my value to you. Thank you for giving me the Spirit to cry out with me and for me to you, my Abba Father. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2010, 10:46:40 PM »

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Following an Old Pattern

Verse

In the days of Hagar and Sarah, the child who came from faithless connivance (Ishmael) harassed the child who came -- empowered by the Spirit -- from the faithful promise (Isaac). Isn't it clear that the harassment you are now experiencing from the Jerusalem heretics follows that old pattern?

— Galatians 4:29 MSG


Thought

Those who do not understand the way of the Spirit and who do not recognize the gift of the Spirit have always criticized those who live by the Spirit. This was true in Paul's day, and it is still true in our own day. But the promise of God, the gift of the Holy Spirit, doesn't come through law-keeping, but through the gift of God to those who believe. It really is that simple!

Prayer

O Father, thank you for the gift of your Spirit. I believe in Jesus and I believe your promise to have Jesus send your Spirit to his followers. I thank you for this incredible gift in the name of your Son. Amen.
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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2010, 04:06:27 PM »

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Waiting Through the Spirit

Verse

But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.

— Galatians 5:5 TNIV


Thought

Waiting is hard. Waiting for something or someone special is incredibly hard. Waiting for our transformation to be like Jesus, full of righteousness and grace, is impossibly hard without the gift of the Holy Spirit. Yet with the Spirit, we eagerly hope and expect to see all that God has prepared for us and transformed within us!

Prayer

O Father, I eagerly wait to see what your Spirit will do in me and through me. Please use me to your glory! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2010, 05:29:49 PM »

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Let the Holy Spirit Guide Your Lives!

Verse

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves.

— Galatians 5:16 NLT


Thought

What has the most influence in my life? Who guides my steps? What determines the values that I live? Whose voice and whose words are most important for me, especially when I am making my day-to-day decisions? The issue is quite simple: if the answer to those questions is not the Holy Spirit, then we are going to find ourselves repeatedly facing our own failures and sins. The Holy Spirit must guide our lives or we are left to fail by our own weaknesses.

Prayer

Almighty God, eternal Father, King of Glory, please lead me and guide me by the Holy Spirit. I willingly yield my heart to the Spirit's influence. In Jesus' name I ask for this grace. Amen.
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« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2010, 04:34:30 PM »

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Contrary to the Spirit

Verse

For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

— Galatians 5:17-18 TNIV


Thought

Our flesh, our sinful nature, is at odds with the Spirit of God. They are at war. So we must yield to the Spirit's lead rather than doing whatever we want.

Prayer

O Father, I am tired of tripping over my own religious striving. I confess to you my inadequacy at becoming holy on my own will-power and strength. I want to be led by your Holy Spirit. I want to live by the power of your Holy Presence within me. So liberate me from my human desire to show myself righteous and deliver me into the transforming power of your Spirit. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2010, 03:37:11 PM »

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This Kind of Fruit!

Verse

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

— Galatians 5:22-23 NLT


Thought

While we don't have the personal power to manufacture holiness on our own strength, God's miracle happens in us when we yield to the Spirit's lead in our lives: Christ-likeness takes shape in us! We display the character and compassion of Jesus!

Prayer

O Father, I want to be more like Jesus! Produce your character in me through the work of the Holy Spirit. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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