STRENGTH

power to

EMBRACE THE HOLY SPIRIT

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. – John 16:7

The Greek word translated “expedient” means “to be an advantage; profitable.”

How could any situation be more advantageous or profitable than having Jesus physically with you?

When Jesus walked on this earth in His physical body, He was subject to many physical limitations. For instance, He could not always be with every one of His disciples all the time. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, He could. Instead of Satan getting rid of Jesus, 120 “little Christs” (that is literally what the word “Christian” means) came out of the upper room on the day of Pentecost.

Jesus taught His disciples as no teacher ever had, yet they had very little understanding because they were not born again. However, when the Holy Spirit came, He lead them into all truth and even showed them things to come.

The list of advantages of having the Holy Spirit in us as compared to having Jesus with us in His physical body, goes on and on. The advantages can all be summed up in that Jesus’ power is now complete (Mt. 28:18) and no longer confined to one physical body.

There is no such thing as victorious Christian living without a moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day dependence upon the Spirit of God. Not only is the Christian life hard to live but it is impossible to live without the power of God Himself.

THE LIFE OF JESUS IS IN YOU

John 10:10 – …I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Though Jesus is completely God, He was born completely human. He went through temptation after temptation and conquered every one of them. (Hebrews 4:15) And all that overcoming power is found in His life. And He put that life in you—the life of Christ is in you!

During Jesus’ ministry on earth, He conquered sickness, the winds and waves, the powers of darkness and death. It is His life that brings victory over the devil and all his works. And He put that life in you—the life of Christ is in you!

Finally, Jesus went to the cross. And that life in Him put an end to everything that was natural of the Adamic race—sickness, poverty, failures, pains, curses and death. All that was natural ceased to be in that life of His. But all that was supernatural remained in Him. And He put that life in you—the life of Christ is in you!

Then, Jesus rose from the dead. And in that life of His was added the power of resurrection. And He put that life in you—the life of Christ is in you!

After His resurrection, Jesus went back to heaven to His Father. Today, He is seated at the right hand of God, resting in His finished work, occupying a place of the highest authority. And He put that life in you—the life of Christ is in you!

And because Jesus went back to the Father, the Holy Spirit came to indwell you (John 16:7), so that you will live life with His anointing in you and walk in His overcoming power.

All that Jesus is, God meant for you to be. All that He has, God meant for you to have. All the exciting things that you read in the Bible about Jesus, all the treasures of Him hidden in the Old Testament and the unsearchable riches in Him that you find in the New Testament, all of that life of His, is not out there somewhere. God has deposited all of it in you, so that you can live the abundant life that Jesus came to give you!

GOD’S FORGIVENESS, MERCY, AND GRACE (1)

…perfect love expels all fear… – 1 John 4:18

God cares about you too much to leave you in any doubt about His love. The Bible says His ‘perfect love expels all fear.’ If God loved us with an imperfect love, we’d have cause to worry. Human love is flawed; it keeps a checklist of our sins and shortcomings—and consults it often. God keeps no such list. His love casts out our fear because it casts out our guilt. John writes, ‘…if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart…’ (1 John 3:20 NKJV) When you feel unforgiven, question your feelings but don’t question God. Go back to His Word; it outranks self–criticism and self–doubt. Nothing fosters confidence like a clear grasp of God’s grace, and nothing fosters fear like ignorance of it. The fact is if you haven’t accepted God’s grace, you’re doomed to live in fear. No pill, pep talk, psychiatrist or earthly possession can put your mind at ease. Those things may help numb your fear, but they can’t eradicate it. Only God’s grace can do that. Have you accepted Christ’s forgiveness? If not, get down on your knees and do it now. The Bible says, ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us…and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ (1 John 1:9 NKJV) The place of confession is also the place of cleansing and restored confidence towards God. Your prayer can be as simple as this: ‘Lord, I admit I’ve turned away from You. Please forgive me. I place my soul in Your hands and my trust in Your grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.’ Now, having received God’s forgiveness, mercy and grace—live like it!

YOU MISSED THE CHANCE

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. —1 Corinthians 13:2

I heard the saddest words today. Two believers in Christ were discussing an issue about which they had differing opinions. The older of the two seemed smug as he wielded Scripture like a weapon, chopping away at the things he saw as wrong in the other’s life. The younger man just seemed weary of the lecture, weary of the other person, and discouraged.

As the exchange drew to a close, the older man commented on the other’s apparent disinterest. “You used to be eager,” he started, and then abruptly quit. “I don’t know what it is you want.”

“You missed the chance to love me,” the young man said. “In all the time you’ve known me, what has seemed to matter most to you is pointing out what you think is wrong about me. What do I want? I want to see Jesus—in you and through you.”

Had this been said to me, I thought, I would have been devastated. In that moment I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me there had been people I had missed the chance to love. And I knew there were people who couldn’t see Jesus in me either.

The apostle Paul tells us that love must be the underlying motive in anything we do; in everything we do (1 Cor. 13:1-4). Let’s not miss the next chance to show love.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you today who it is you’ve missed the chance to love. Then ask Him to give you another opportunity. Start your conversation with these words: “I’m sorry . . .”

Love beats lectures every time.

ALWAYS KEEP A GOOD ATTITUDE

‘…meditate on these things…and the God of peace will be with you.’ Philippians 4:8-9 NKJV

When you’re going through bad times, your goal should be to keep a good attitude. And with God’s help you can. Dr Viktor Frankl, a Nazi Holocaust camp survivor, said: ‘If a prisoner felt that he could no longer endure the realities of camp life, he found a way out in his mental life—an invaluable op-portunity to dwell in the spiritual domain, the one that the SS was unable to destroy. Spiritual life strengthened the prisoner, helped him to adapt, and thereby improved his chances of survival.’ Here is some practical advice on keeping a good attitude in bad times: (1) Always believe the best about others, but don’t get bent out of shape when they disappoint you. Nobody is perfect, including you. Just be grateful for the people that bring joy and endeavour to be counted among them. (2) When you are tempted to retaliate, judge or become impatient, say to yourself, ‘This is an opportunity for me to model a great attitude for the glory of God.’ You say, ‘But this person is driving me crazy.’ Then refuse to be a ‘passenger’ and go along with them. Take back the wheel, get into the driver’s seat of your life, and determine which direction you’ll go and what attitude you’ll have. The Bible says: ‘…whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things…and the God of peace will be with you.’

EXPECT PERSECUTION …

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. – John 15:19

We should not think it is strange to be persecuted. “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). We can actually rejoice because we are being persecuted for Jesus’ sake, and the Lord will be with us in the midst of the persecution. When we stand before Him, there will be more than ample reward.

Persecution is a token that those persecuting you are under conviction. They realize that they are not living what your words or actions are advocating and in self defense, they attack you, who they perceive is the source of their conviction. If you understand this, it makes persecution much easier to take. They aren’t just mad at you; they are convicted. When the gospel is presented in the power of the Holy Spirit, there will always be either revival or riot, but not indifference.

In the midst of persecution, Satan will try to convince us that the strife is all our fault. If he succeeds, then we back down and the pressure is off his followers. However, Jesus suffered continual rejection and persecution, yet we know that the problem was not with Him, but with those who rejected Him.

Jesus makes it clear that persecution is an inevitable part of living a godly life, so that we will not fall prey to introspection and self-condemnation when rejection comes. If our sinless Savior was rejected, then certainly we will be too. Don’t feel guilty or condemned when persecution comes. The Word strips people of the disguises they have been hiding their sins behind, and the result is persecution.

POSITIONED FOR BLESSING …

How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity…for there the Lord has commanded the blessing… – Psalm 133:1–3, KJV

God loves you so much. He longs to bless you in every area of your life. Deuteronomy says that He wants to bless you when you come in, and when you go out. He wants to bless you when you’re in the city, and bless you when you’re in the country. He wants to bless and prosper everything you set your hand to. When you are living in peace and unity with the people in your life, you are positioning yourself for God’s blessing. Living in unity doesn’t mean you always have to agree with everyone. It means that you look for common ground in Christ and refuse to allow strife to enter into your relationships.

Today, focus on the things that bring you together. Focus on your faith in God and dependence on His Word. Build one another up and watch how God will pour out His favor and blessing!

SET YOUR THOUGHTS …

Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. – Colossians 3:2

Faith is simply seeing what God sees. It’s choosing God’s way even when things look differently in the natural. When you set your thoughts on higher things, like today’s verse suggests, you are looking at life through your eyes of faith and seeing what God sees. For example, you may have a financial need today, but when you look higher, you see that God promises to supply all your needs according to His riches in glory. You may have sickness in your body today, but when you look higher, you see that Jesus paid for your sickness and disease. You may feel lonely today, but when you look higher, you see that God has promised to never leave you nor forsake you.

As you meditate on God’s Word, you are setting your thoughts on higher things and setting your life in the direction of the good plan He has in store for you!

http://billyburke.org/PrayerMinistryRoom/JourneyofYourPrayerRequest/tabid/142/Default.aspx

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