Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Day Five Monday July 5th, 2010

Day Five
Monday July 5th, 2010

In Him you also trusted, after you have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
-Ephesians 1:13-14

Do you have the Holy Spirit, Wanda? Do you? If you can say yes for sure, then you know you are God’s. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would rest upon people for a time but He might leave them in their disobedience. (He rested on Saul, but left him. He left Samson for a time, but He was with David the rest of his life.) In the New Testament, He is sent by the Father as a Helper and “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29 Jesus said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26.
So do you have the Holy Spirit? How would you know? Well, I would say that the Spirit has a myriad of ways of expressing Himself. Are you understanding Scripture when you read it? That is the Spirit’s job. Are you praying constantly (and not just asking for stuff, but truly giving God glory)? That is the Spirit’s job too. Are you seeing a picture of God in everything from the starts to the grass to the human body to ants? The Spirit reveals God in creation to you. Can you hear God’s still small voice? That’s Him too. He speaks to you what God the Father says and He prays for you when you don’t know what to pray. (Romans 8:26) Do you have peace when circumstances in your life dictate that you should be worried? The Spirit does that. Do you love people with the love of God? That is only possible with the Spirit of God.
I would venture to say that when you know you have the Holy Spirit, you really know it. A lot of people think they have the Holy Spirit because they feel it. They laugh or fall down or clap or stand up and speak in tongues and claim that those are the works of the Spirit. But if those people are drawing attention to themselves, that may be a spirit, but it’s not the Holy Spirit. Jesus told James and John that they don’t know what spirit they are of. The Holy Spirit always gives praise and honor to God, not to man. If man is getting all the attention and glory and honor, that is not the Holy Spirit. How many times did Jesus tell His disciples that if they wanted to be greatest, then they would have to be least. If they wanted to rule, they would have to serve. The Holy Spirit works more in the those who we never notice than the ones we see in TV or making a lot of commotion at church. It’s the Spirit who led the poor widow to give her last two mites and the Spirit of God that recognized that in her. It’s the spirit that noticed the tax collector who beat his breast and announced that he was a sinner because it was the Spirit that convicted his confession.
If you are not of the Holy Spirit, you are of your own. (I don’t envy you.) Our own spirits are destructive and self seeking. Basically, take 1 Corinthians 13 and think the opposite. Our own spirits oppose love. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Left to ourselves, we have no good to offer God. All we have is the feigness of good. Paul said it this way in Philippians 3:8-9, “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” What we have to offer God is no good to God. Paul considers his goodness rubbish. (Do a word study on that one, Wanda.) God doesn’t need what we can bring to the table. He only wants us to trust in Him. “For the eyes o the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those who are weak.” I will admit that I’m weak. God, find me please. Show Yourself strong in my life. I need You.
So I trust Him. I’ve heard the word of truth and I accept it. It is the good news of my salvation. I have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. God has looked at me, paid for me, and has imprinted on me His image so there is no doubt to whom I truly belong. The Holy Spirit is that imprint. The Holy Spirit is my promise that He will return for me like a woman has an engagement ring as a promise of marriage. Just like a lender puts a down payment on the purchase to show that he will pay the rest in due time. God will come back to redeem us. He’s already paid full price.
In ancient Ephesus, there would be hundreds if not thousands of cargo traveling through the port city every day. The way people would figure out whose stuff was whose (before the days of bar codes) was that the shipper would melt wax along the opening and press a signet ring into it (He was basically branding it like they do with cattle.) If the seal was broken when it arrived, then they knew it was opened. The captain of the ship would promise to get the cargo to the destination without the seal being broken or he would be liable for the contents. When the package reached it’s destination, the seal on the package was the proof of ownership and the family member on the other side would match his signet ring to he seal to claim it.
We have been marked with the seal of the Spirit. One day, God will come to claim those that are His and I will be among them. I am assured of this because I have the Holy Spirit. Do you? If you don’t, have you asked for Him? If you are sure you don’t have the Holy Spirit, the only thing in your way is your own stubbornness. It is God’s will that all men be saved (2 Peter 3:9) and He lets nothing stand between us and His love. (Romans 8:38-39.) Give up your pride and surrender to the One and Holy God, who can wash you in His blood and clean you white as snow. It’s not easy since it kills your pride, but your pride is a cancer that is killing you. If you don’t have the Holy Spirit, then your life is not giving glory to God. You are not living out the purpose God has for you.
But as for me, I’m no longer a stranger or a foreigner, but a fellow citizen with the saints and members of the household of God. (Read Ephesians 2:19.) Please join me in the faith. It’s as easy as admitting you’re not perfect and recognizing the result of imperfection is death (regardless of fault. Think of a defective product.) But God loved you so much that He sent Jesus down to the cross to die in your place. And now you have a choice. God made the choice an easy one. Choose the gift of life that Jesus offers or choose to pay the price yourself for your own imperfections. I choose life. I gave up all I had to choose it. I gave up my identity and my independence and intelligence so I could be labeled a follower of someone I don’t really understand. It doesn’t sound like a smart plan, but if you think about it… if I could understand God completely, then why would I follow Him. I don’t understand Him, but I know that He is good and I trust Him. I don’t have to understand someone to follow. I just need to know what He wants me to do. I call myself a servant and a slave to God, but He calls me his child and a friend. Who wouldn’t want to follow someone like that?

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