Posts Tagged ‘Spirit-filled’

A Prayer Strategy

January 22nd, 2014

“After they prayed . . they were filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 4:31 NIV.

Prayer and faith are the door through which God enters powerfully.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a prayer strategy.”

There will be times when you have to do something, but don’t know what to do. You will experience situations, unfamiliar or even desperate. The Bible is filled with times and places when people have felt much like you do. Consider Moses facing an impassable Red Sea while pursued by Pharaoh; imagine Daniel awaiting imminent death from ravenous lions; the Apostle Paul endured a terrible storm in a ship being torn apart, and sailors ready to abandon ship; feel the isolation of the Apostle John, callously exiled to die on a remote island. Inevitably, they and others turned to God in their worst circumstances and God did not fail them. You are wise to study others’ faith and its results, and to learn from their experiences.

The Bible reports of Peter and John that the religious leaders, “took note that these men had been with Jesus.” If you spend time with Jesus, others notice a difference. Soon after Jesus’ ascension, Peter and John were arrested and threatened with worse if they dared speak of Jesus again. Read Acts 4:21-33 NIV. Jesus always had faced the opposition, always knowing what to do. But Jesus was no longer with them as before; they were on their own. “After they prayed, the place was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly.” Acts 4:31 NIV. Like those early disciples, this is what you do when you don’t know what to do.

(1) First, pray with faith. “Lord, behold their threatenings.” Acts 4:29 NIV. Prayer is too often the second, third, or last thing you think of doing when facing threatening situations. Begin with prayer; then, you may not need to worry. Here is good advice, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer . . let your requests be made known to God . .” Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV.

(2) Ask God for what you lack. “Lord . . enable Your servants . . with great boldness.” Acts 4:29 NIV. They had reason to be afraid, but fear like faith is really a choice. Fear thrives when you feel threatened. Faith grows when you choose to let God be God. Stop listening to your fears; listen for God’s assuring word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing [comes] by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17 NKJV. The Word in your heart makes you bold in your faith.

(3) Expect God to do the extraordinary. “Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders.” Acts 4:30 NIV. Why pray at all, if you aren’t going to expect something spectacular from God? 2 Chronicles 16:9 KJV. Give God an invitation to display His power. Genesis 18:14 NKJV.

(4) Prepare yourself for things to change. “After they had prayed, they . . spoke the Word of God boldly.” Acts 4:31 NIV. More than expected happens when you pray; not a lot can happen until after you do. Prayer and faith are the door through which God enters a desperate situation powerfully. And His entrance is to fill you with His abiding Spirit. See Ephesians 5:18-20 NKJV. A Spirit-filled heart expects something marvelous and miraculous from God. “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you rely on the power of the Spirit in every situation.

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Spirit Filled

March 16th, 2010

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

“Bring to God a sincere and humble heart to receive a fresh release of His Spirit everyday.”

My thoughts today are about being “Spirit filled.”

I have seen the picturesque, Dutch windmills in Holland that harnessed the wind’s power as early as the 14th century, and Texas windmills drawing water from wells on ranches far from the reach of electrical service, and the modern, towering wind turbines capturing the energy of prevailing winds converted to kinetic energy.  What a picture of the power of the Holy Spirit breathing into a Christ-follower’s life.

Are you trying to live everyday life in your own strength – to be what you should be by your resolve and determination – to understand life’s complexities and uncertainties by your limited knowledge and experiences – struggling to do all the things you should by your natural strength and ability? How is that working for you? Not too well, I would imagine.

Here’s some good news about all of that. You were never intended to live within those confining, self-imposed limits. Your best effort will fall short of success – due to inadequate resource, deficient knowledge, and lack of life-experience.

God has provided the power you need to live joyfully and victoriously. Anything less than that leaves you drinking from an empty cup. You don’t need a little bit of God’s help; all – everything – God offers you will be required. You need to pray as Paul prayed, “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen (me) with power through His Spirit in (my) inner being, so that Christ may dwell in (my) heart through faith . . that (I) may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18 NIV.

The Bible commands you, “Be filled with the Spirit!” And know this, God’s power cannot be stored up.  Today’s strength will not stretch to cover tomorrow’s demands. The life of power you desire requires your bringing to God a sincere and humble heart to receive a fresh release of His Spirit everyday. The literal translation of today’s verse would more clearly be stated this way, “Be (being) filled with the Spirit,” progressively and continuously, in the measure each day demands and your faith requires. Inner power is a work in process everyday!

The word the Holy Spirit chose to describe this daily empowering is a picture of a sail boat with its sails intentionally set to harness the energy of the wind, and then moving responsively and powerfully under its sheer power. It describes the kinetic effect of a life responding to the wind of the Spirit rather than the passive filling of some measure or volume. See Acts 1:8 NIV.

And what will be the visible and practical impact of being filled with the Spirit? Your life will evidence the character of Christ. “When the Holy Spirit controls your life, He will produce this kind of fruit in you: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control . . if you are living now by the spirit, follow the spirit’s leading in every part of your life.” Galatians 5:22-23/25 NLT. The secret is simply allowing the Spirit’s control, following His leading everyday in every part of your life.

My prayer for you today is that you breathe deeply of the invigorating Spirit of God.

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