Monday, June 27, 2011

Embraced, Chapter 1

When I started reading Chapter 2 of Embraced by the Spirit I realized I might need a refresher course on John 13-17. I grabbed up my Bible (The Message) and was caught up in this one verse: "Master, said Peter. Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!" Of course this came after Peter refused to allow Jesus to wash his feet, to which Jesus replied, "Alright then, you can't be a part of what I'm doing." (...that was the Angie translation).
I'm with Peter...if washing my feet lets me be a part of what Jesus has going on, by all means, don't stop there! Of course there was no need for a complete shower, and Jesus let Peter know it, but I see where Peter was coming from. Gentlemen, you will forgive the girly reference here, but I'm just saying, if I'm getting all gussied up to go out on the town, I'm not just going to flat-iron one section of my hair! I'm getting my nails done, I'm using the expensive lotion, and I'm using my best hair fact...I'm even going to apply all three colors of eye shadow! So why is it that when it comes to the Christian life we just go through our everyday routine rather than going all out? I'm not pointing fingers, I'm in this one with you.
So I am shouting out today, "Jesus, don't stop there...give me a good scrub down if you must...I WANT IN ON WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!" (He doesn't mind us just lets Him know just how much we mean it).
How does this apply to our book study? Well, first, I want in on what the Lord has for me. He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, but many Christians haven't really given permission for the Holy Sprit to have His way with them. Some time ago I sat in a church service and the pastor, Steve Meeks of Calvary Baptist, said something like this, "The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He is just waiting for you to give Him permission to have his way in you." Yes, all believers are given the Holy Spirit, but we have to ask Him to be our companion. We have to listen to His voice within us. This brings freedom to the believer. On page 24 Swindoll writes it this way, "...They long for depth, for passion, for satisfying peace and stability instead of a superficial relationship with God made up of religious-souding words without feelings and on-going struggles without healings. Surely there must be more to the life of faith than church meetings, Bible study, religious jargon,and meaningless prayers. Surely the the awesome Spirit of God wishes to do more within us than what is presently going on." That night at Calvary Baptist Steve gave an alter call...not for salvation...but for those Christians who wanted more of God, who wanted to invite the Holy Spirit to have control. There was no head slapping, pastor screaming, people dropping moment. I don't really remember what was going on around me, but I went forward. I had to have more, there had to be more to the Christian life. The prayer I received was gentle and quiet. I asked God to have his way in me through the power of the Holy Spirit.
On pages 26-27 Swindoll refers to Phil. 3:10 from the Amplified Bible, "For my determined purpose is that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in the same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection." Without the guidance from the Holy Spirit we are left with head knowledge, the Holy Spirit is the intimate part of the Trinity. He is the power Jesus promised us (Acts 1:8). He is the promise that we will never be alone.
This week find time to spend alone with God. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you through the Holy Spirit. Then listen. We spend so much of our prayer time me...I'm chuckling a little at that...all of you know how much I like to talk. It is in the quiet time that God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. I have mentioned ministry team training to you before. One of the concepts taught when praying for others is to sit and wait on God to take control. It is difficult to do at first, but I am going to encourage you to just allow time for the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer time with the Father. I can't wait to hear what He has to say to me...and you.
Blessings friends.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Embraced by the Spirit, Introduction

Energized by our time together last night, I came home and immediately delved into Dr. Swindoll's book. I read the introduction...I wanted to read so much more, but that alone gave me more than enough. More than enough. That is Jesus. God's amazing gift of Jesus is more than enough for me, but being the God he is, he gave us more than enough, he gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, a companion to walk with us when Jesus left.
This week I am going to encourage each of you to read the introduction and spend time with Jesus. Seek out the answer to only one question...who is the Holy Spirit to you? Where are in you in your relationship with our Comforter and Companion? My guess is that we are all in different places, my hope is that at the end of our time together we will all be running, jumping, and leaping toward the same relationship...arms open wide.
I am glad you are on this journey with me, post your thoughts here by Sunday, June 26. If you do not yet have the book do not be discouraged. Catch up when you can. I'll see you here in "bloggy land"!