SPIRIT OF LIFE

SPIRIT OF LIFE

John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

The Holy Spirit is the most ignored and mysterious of the members of the trinity. He is Almighty God, but has taken a role which is not as apparent as the Father and the Son. Today, we live in the age of the Holy Spirit. He began to be poured out on all mankind almost 2000 years ago. From the day of Pentecost until the present hour He is being poured out on whosoever will. If you are thirsty for the real, He is available to you. F.E. Marsh wrote an incredible book about the Holy Spirit called “Emblems of the Holy Spirit”. Here is an excerpt from that book.

“He is the Spirit of Truth to sanctify, but He is not only the Spirit of Truth to communicate truth’s nature, He is also the living expression of it, even as the rays of the sun prove the sun which shines. He is the Spirit of Grace to beautify, but He is not only the Spirit to make the character beautiful with His grace, He has inherent beauty, even as the fragrance of the flower tells the nature of the plant. He is the Spirit of Love to intensify, but He is not only the Spirit of Love to kindle in our hearts the affection of love, He is Love, even as the kindly action of the mother proves the love of her heart. He is the Spirit of Life to fructify, but He is not only the Spirit of Life to quicken us into the life of spiritual things, He is also the Life itself, even as the fruit of the tree owes its being to the sap. He is the Spirit of Christ to qualify, but He is not only the Spirit of Christ to carry out God’s will in us, He is also one with Christ in the spotlessness of His character. He is the Spirit of Holiness to testify, but He is not only the Spirit of Holiness to testify, He is also the personification of holiness, even as the fire is the cause of warmth. And He is the Spirit of Light to Clarify, but He is not only the Spirit of Revelation to enlighten the mind of our understanding, He is also the Light of Life, even as the flame of the lamp proclaims the oil which causes the wick to burn.”

The Holy Spirit is everything we need in this life. He is the revealer who reveals Christ to us. He is the Living Water that quenches the thirst of our soul. He is the Spirit of Resurrection who quickens our spirit, our minds and our bodies. He is Life and anyone who finds Him finds this LIFE EVERMORE.

THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST

John 14:16-18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Have you ever been to the reading of a will? You have surely seen a portrayal of a last will and testament being read in a movie. It is not the sort of thing we look forward to, somebody close to us has probably died, and there we are at the uncomfortable, awkward event of splitting up the inheritance. Actually, if the person was poor the event is rather meaningless, there would be nothing to inherit. But if that person was wealthy, now that is a different story, suddenly everyone is interested, even people who have been invisible for years suddenly show up. This scripture describes the last will and testament of Jesus Christ. He was leaving His inheritance to His disciples. What did He have to leave behind? He may have not been rich according to worldly standards, but He had a heavenly inheritance to leave behind. Jonathan Edwards spoke powerfully about this event. Listen to what he had to say.

“These words are a part of a most affectionate and affecting discourse that Christ had with his disciples, the same evening in which he was betrayed, knowing that he was to be crucified the next day. Christ began his discourse, after he had partook of the Passover with them, after he had instituted and administered the sacrament of the supper, and after Judas was gone out, and none were left but his true and faithful disciples; whom he now addresses as his dear children. This was the last discourse that ever Christ had with them before his death. As it was his parting discourse, and as it were his dying discourse, so it is on many accounts the most remarkable of all the discourses of Christ, which we have recorded in our Bibles.”

Not everyone recognized the kind of wealth Jesus possessed. Most were more concerned with earthly possessions, they had little use for the kind of riches Jesus left behind. For those who had ears to hear, this would turn out to be the most incredible day of their lives. Jesus was leaving, but He wasn’t leaving them as orphans, He was leaving behind the Promise of the Father, or in other words, the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This experience would become the game changer for the disciples. From this day forward they would step into a new life characterized by the power and authority of God. They would lay hands on the sick and they would recover. They would speak in new heavenly tongues. In other words, they would carry on the work of Jesus Christ. Today, the inheritance is still available. Who can receive it? Those that recognize the difference between the world’s inheritance and that which belongs to the kingdom of God.

SUPERNATURAL HELP

SUPERNATURAL HELP

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
Jn.14:16,17

The night before Jesus was killed, He spent the evening with His disciples, telling them about the season of the Holy Spirit that was about to begin. “I will not leave you as orphans”, He said, “I will send the Helper to be with you”. The phrase Jesus used was actually allos paracletos, which means another helper exactly like Him. The disciples had no idea of the magnitude of His promise, but they were certainly about to find out. After about fifty days, the Holy Spirit came upon the followers of Jesus, nothing could ever be the same after that.
What kind of help did the Holy Spirit offer? His help is limitless and effects every area of our lives. Here are some of the ways He helps us today. In Acts 11:18, He gives us the ability to repent, to change our lives. In Romans 8:26, 27, He enables us to pray supernatural prayers. He helps us to worship, in John 4:23,24, we see the Spirit and His involvement in true worship. The Spirit also equips us to testify, in Acts 1:8 He is said to empower us to be witnesses of His work. He is also involved with our spiritual understanding, in John 16:13 we see Him leading us into all truth. Concerning addictions, habits, and fleshly weaknesses, the Holy Spirit joins together with us to overcome all of our struggles in this carnal arena. Paul describes this help quite graphically in Romans 8:26. As far as ministry is concerned, He is the supernatural power of God distributing His gifts for the purpose of ministry and outreach. Just as in the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit will help us reach our world by equipping us with the power of signs, wonders, and miracles.
What kind of help do you need today? The Helper has come, His power is unlimited, and His love is immeasurable. If you are sick, He is the Healer, if you are lost, He is the Savior, if you feel weak and powerless, He is the mighty power of God available to you today. How can you receive His help? That part is simple, call upon the name of Jesus. He promised, that when you call He will answer and all that call upon His Name will be saved.

SOMETHING REAL

SOMETHING REAL

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
John 14:6

When I was in college I remember being on a quest for something real. It felt like the whole world was treading water, spending their time, spinning their wheels on unimportant activities. I was looking for something that matters. I felt getting an education to have a career to earn a living so that my kids could have an education didn’t make much sense. Their needed to be something valuable to live my life for, there needed to be a purpose in life that was truly valuable at the end of the day. In 1973, someone shared today’s scripture verse with me. That verse of scripture was like a laser that penetrated my soul. Jesus claimed to be the truth or the very reality of God. The word truth in greek is aletheia, it means the veritable essence of something, it means reality. I discovered that Jesus Himself was the reality I had been looking for, He was the very purpose of life that made all other purposes worth while. Karl Barth had some interesting observations on this very topic, here is what he said.
“The God of the Gospel, therefore, is neither a thing, an item, an object, a principle, a truth, or a sum of truths. God can be called the truth only when “truth” is understood in the sense of the Greek word aletheia. God’s being, or truth, is the event of His self-disclosure, his radiance as the Lord of all lords, the hallowing of his name, the coming of his kingdom, the fulfillment of his will in all his work. The sum of the truths about God is to be found in all the sequence of events, even in all the events of his being glorious in his work.”
After Christ became real to me, all of the other “insignificant” activities in my life took on new meaning. I began to realize that my whole life was connected, my whole life was spiritual. As the Lord became more and more the center of my life and focus, I discovered that actually my whole life was spiritual. Whether I was at work, at play, spending time with my wife and kids, the Lord was in the midst of it all. I could enjoy Him and glorify Him in the midst of all things. Jesus is the way into God’s presence, Jesus is the reality or truth all of us are looking for, and Jesus is life itself. Maybe it’s time to leave the unimportant and step into the reality of God and finally start living your life.

IF YOU ONLY KNEW

IF YOU ONLY KNEW

Merry Monday by Parris Bailey

“John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
John 4:11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?”

Frank preached out of John 4 this past Sunday and the words “If you knew the gift of God” begin to speak to me. You can’t help but identify with this woman and this story. Jesus was tired, he sent the disciples into the city to fetch something to eat and He rested by this well. Up walks a lady and he strikes up a conversation.
They both had a need; Jesus was thirsty and, well, evidently so was this lady because she brought with her a big bucket.
I think all of us can relate to her bucket. She carried it around probably her whole life. Just when we think our bucket is full we find something else to throw in there. I remember my childhood dream was to travel the country in a VW van, going to music festivals, and living in tents. (It was the 70’s!) That was my bucket at the time. The funny thing about that is, I did live in tents at our bible school as missionary training and travel the country and it wasn’t as romantic as I had imagined!
The point is that the graces of His Spirit and his comfort can satisfy the thirsting soul. There was standing in front of her the biggest bucket of all time and she didn’t even know it.
Jesus is so patient with all of us. We answer back to his fullness with a blunt-
“Thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.” Just as she looked at him with her natural eyes so we too look at all our circumstances and our needs in the natural, after all He wasn’t carrying His bucket and couldn’t possibly draw water.
I’ve seen it over and over again in a person’s life and in my life. We simply can’t believe that He truly can satisfy this thirst. I find the thirst of this world only gives me a transient satisfaction and supply. It might quench my present thirst, but the thirst will return.

“John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

I thank God, Jesus takes the time for all of us just like He took the time for this thirsting soul. He walked her down her past life and told her how she no longer needed to carry that big ol’ bucket anymore. In fact, the more He talked I can imagine she begin to fill so very full, an unbelievably satisfying feeling took over her. I have felt that feeling and still feel it. I love this part of the story in John; she forgot the very errand that brought her to the well. I think she found her very last bucket. If we only knew!

GOD’S GLORY AND MY JOY

GOD GETS THE GLORY, I GET THE JOY

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
Jn.14:13,14
And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Jn.16:23,24

These two passages are part of Jesus’s teaching on prayer. If you look carefully at these passages, they give us an incredible look into the dynamics of prayer. Notice the two results that the Lord said are attributed to prayer, God is glorified and we are filled with joy. This is a great picture of what prayer is, a recognition of God’s incredible wealth and our tremendous lack. His wealth meets our need which results in the overflow of joy in our lives. This is the heart of the message taught by Pastor John Piper.

“The most precious truth in the Bible is that God’s greatest interest is to glorify the wealth of His grace by making sinners happy in Him- IN HIM!!”
John Piper

Prayer is a hungry heart calling out to the “more than enough” God. Prayer is a thirsty soul discovering the fountain of Living Water. Prayer is a hungry homeless man blessed with an “all you can eat buffet”. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about all the wonderful gifts of provision that the Lord so richly distributes, I am talking about Him. I am talking about discovering the greatest of all treasures, Christ Himself.
There are two discoveries in our life that will awaken our souls to this kind of prayer. First, the recognition of the lack and need in our lives, we are empty and thirsty and most of us never see it. Secondly, we must sense the incredible reservoir of spiritual life found in Christ, He is an overflowing fountain of life itself. Once these truths become real in our hearts, we begin our journey down the greatest of all paths. We soon find ourselves realizing and fulfilling our ultimate purpose in life. And, what would that be, to glorify God by enjoying our fellowship with Him.

HELP

HELP

John 14:26
26 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

Have you ever needed help? I have, all kinds of help. We needed help when we were born, we couldn’t do anything. We needed help in school, and as teenagers, we needed all kinds of help, we just didn’t realize it. We needed help getting started as adults, we needed help in our marriages and raising our children. We really needed help after Katrina, we were in need of lots of help for a very long time. Let’s face it, we are very needy people.
All of us have needed the Lord’s help all of our lives, like immature adolescents, we avoided God at all costs. “We have everything handled”, we silently muttered, at least we thought we had it handled. Then, inevitably, the bottom fell out of our lives. The day had finally come when we saw we needed help. We became painfully aware of our greatest need, we are sinners in need of a Savior. In that moment, He came to our rescue. As soon as we turned toward Him, He was already there, ready to move on our behalf. After all Jesus called this unseen person the Helper. He is always there, always ready to show Himself as the Helper in our lives.
What kind of help do you need? He is the Counselor, to those who need guidance. He is the Great Physician to those who need healing. He is the source of all things for those suffering financial lack. He is the greatest of all friends to those who are lonely. He is the faithful High Priest when we need forgiveness. He is Unspeakable Joy to those imprisoned with depression. He is the Opener of prison doors to those captive to alcohol or substance abuse. For those caught in the world of lust and immorality, He has mercy and freedom in His touch.
He is the Helper and there is no problem too big, no sin too dark, no chain to strong that He is not able to overcome in your life. The term Jesus used in greek for Helper is Paracletos, one called alongside to help. When does He come?; when He hears someone calling. Today, I think He heard your cry. He will come Himself to bring His supernatural help into your life.