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The Holy Spirit

August 5th, 2016

The Holy Spirit is God’s answer for your powerlessness.

“Be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “the Holy Spirit.”

Life can be challenging. And that just might be the understatement of the year. Daily life presents situations that confront your lack of knowledge, understanding, ability, and/or resources. That fact we all have in common. Just “toughing it out” doesn’t work so well in many situations. Physical, mental, and emotional fatigue result from those challenges. David, the courageous victor over Goliath, still experienced difficulties beyond his abilities, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:12-13 NKJV.  Don’t lose heart. You will see the goodness of the Lord in this lifetime.

Spiritual life is also challenging. Consequential decisions for yourself and family are a daily occurrence. Previous experience or the advice of friends does not always offer the depth of knowledge and wisdom that you need. Of ourselves, we are insufficient for all of the demands, necessities, and challenges life presents. God always provides the answer. The Holy Spirit is God’s answer for your powerlessness. “The Spirit of the Lord [is] the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” Isaiah 11:2 NKJV. Sufficiency is found in God because God alone is sufficient. Read 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 NKJV.

God’s desire and supply are simple, direct, practical, and achievable. “Be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18 NIV. The New Testament is translated from Greek, which is grammatically distinct and layered with meaning. In Paul’s instruction, “Be filled” is the Greek verb, Pleroo, which is “imperative, present tense, plural, and passive voice.” The command is imperative, a command to be obeyed; present tense, continuous in duration; plural, for all without exception; passive voice, a grace gift to the hungry. A literal translation is: “All of you, be continuously filled with the Spirit and continually controlled by the Spirit.” Our generous, gracious God fills the heart and life where He is invited.

Jesus promised, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6 NIV. “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being . . to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Read Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV.

Today, my prayer for you is as Paul’s prayer for the Corinthians, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV.

Christian Communications 2016

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Holy Spirit

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Daily Bread

October 16th, 2015

“I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry.” John 6:35 NIV.

External things never satisfy eternal cravings.

My thoughts and comments today are about “daily bread.”

Hunger is a powerful motivation, impossible to ignore completely. God crafted your body to recognize its need for replenishing, whether for nutrition, exercise, or rest. The body responds to its lack by sending a signal and demanding a response. When the body’s need is not replenished, the body redirects the diminishing supply of nutritional resources to its vital organs. To adequately supply the heart, lungs, and brain, the body grows weaker waiting for nourishment, as the process of starving begins.

The human spirit is similar, requiring nourishment and replenishing. Make no mistake; there is a hunger of the soul. People ignore the hunger of the inner man or misinterpret their inner longings, trying in vain to fill a growing emptiness with things that never satisfy – money, possessions, busyness, thrills, amusements, sex, drugs, alcohol – always to excess yet never enough. External things never satisfy eternal cravings.

Too many fail to recognize the origin of the soul’s hunger. Jesus spoke plainly and confidently, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 NIV. Listen to your heart; feed your soul; nourish your spirit; discover full satisfaction. Satisfaction is found only in Christ.

The Bread of Life desires that you know He alone will satisfy your supreme longings. His provision is abounding. Jesus is life exalting and eternal life assuring. It’s simple really; you have to come to Him. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11 NIV. Jesus declared Himself to be that daily bread. “I am the living bread which came down from Heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” John 6:51 NIV.

Job got it right, “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12 KJV. Let’s be practical. You receive this life-giving, daily bread through the discipline of spiritual practices: worship (John 4:23-24), prayer and praise (Ephesians 6:18), personal Bible study (Psalm 119:11), meditation of Scripture (Psalm 1:1-3), and meaningful fellowship with others who seek the same Source and satisfaction. (Acts 2:42/46 NIV). Spiritual disciplines provide satisfaction that is much more full and lasting than any and everything else with which you might attempt to appease the spiritual hunger within. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness . . they shall be completely satisfied.” Matthew 5:6 NIV/AMP. In Jesus, your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Today, I pray for you to have an appetite for things that satisfy.

EDL pix basket of bread

 

 

 

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Come Hungry

August 24th, 2010

“The Lord . . prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Psalm 23:5 NIV

“The table He prepares is every bit as much about the person invited, as it is the menu.”

My thoughts today suggest you “come hungry.”

My wife knows how to “prepare a table.” I guess I too easily take that for granted, assuming that when I come home from the office, she will have made plans for our dinner together. She has built an expectation for something special – healthy, nourishing, and satisfying. Right now, Gayle is out of town with one of our granddaughters for a few days before her college classes resume.

I just got home feeling a little hungry, and looking in the refrigerator provided no inspiration to me. There are things available there, but they seem like odd bits and pieces to me. Any of them could satisfy my hunger, but none seem to sufficiently whet my appetite. I am not enough of a cook to either know what to prepare or how best to do so. Of course, I would not starve. I could adequately feed myself, but “preparing a table” is much more than that. At best, my efforts would be a simple, one dish affair – absolutely nothing compared to the table Gayle could prepare with even the most modest of means.

Today’s verse suggests that what the Shepherd provides is a table prepared with thoughtful consideration and pre-planning. I grew up in a home like that. Supper wasn’t just about eating at my Mom’s table; it was about sitting together, being together, enjoying and sharing life together. The Shepherd’s provision is not at all related to the “just anything will do” idea. Merely putting something on the table to appease an appetite is not what God is about. See Ephesians 3:20.

I am going to make some assumptions about truly “preparing a table.” I would assume that a host or hostess with a spirit of hospitality considers: the tastes of their guest, their likes and dislikes – and their appetite, whether modest or ample – and the pleasure and enjoyment of their guests. But still there is more to “preparing a table.” Gayle would be as careful and thoughtful about the presentation as the preparationthe china, silverware, and goblets appropriate to the casual or formal occasion. A meal is not only about food to eat; anybody can do that. Preparing a table is an event with attention to the smallest touches – complementary tastes, pleasing flavors, and table settings. And that table prepared is every bit as much about the person invited, as it is the menu.

That’s what I envision when I read “The Lord . . prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies . . my cup overflows.” The table He prepares has you personally in mind. At the table the Lord prepares, enemies are kept at bay, worries are set aside, wounds are healed, and refreshment of soul is offered. Maybe you need that kind of place today. Maybe you have longings unmet until you wonder if there is any answer for them. Jesus is the answer! Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT.

When Jesus miraculously fed a crowd of thousands with a young boy’s small lunch, He first directed the disciples to have the people “sit down . . and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted . . (until) they all had enough to eat.” Read John 6:1-14 NIV. I observe an obvious connection between their willingness to be seated and the resulting satisfaction they enjoyed. If you are looking for satisfaction of heart and soul, I know the one Person who will provide that. A wondrous table of abundance He prepares, waiting just for you. What are you waiting for?

My prayer for you today is that you come often and linger long at the table prepared.

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