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This is a devotion based on 2 Cor. 5:17. "New creation."
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16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Gal 5:16 (ESV)
The Apostle Paul planted many churches, two of which are the church in Galatia, and he church in corinth. Both had their problems, but from Pauls first letter to the Corinthian church, he says this:
1 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
1 Cor 3:1-3 (ESV)
Here, he states that they are still in the flesh. "Flesh" here is juxtaposed with "Spirit." They are still following the spirit and the wisdom of the world. The ironic thing is that, while chapter 12 and 14 reveal that the gifts of the Spirit are in operation in this church, the Corinthians are still in the flesh. It appears that a person can practice a gift of the Holy Spirit, but not be walking in the Spirit! It has often been said that Satan can duplicate the gifts, but not the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). This is so, since according to I Cor. 3, the fruit of jealousy, envy and strife are evident in a church where the gifts of the Spirit are in operation.
As one studies the theology of the Spirit, especially from Paul's letters, it is evident that being "spiritual" is the work of the Holy Spirit. It has little to do with "acting spiritual"... from a secular perspective. For example, it is not popular to say that one is religious, but it is good to say that one is spiritual. So, a spiritual person can practice certain things, such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, etc., which are considered spiritual disciplines. However, unless they are from the Holy Spirit, then the Apostle Paul would say that these practices are still "of the flesh." They depend on worldly wisdom. This results is confusion, where people think that an increase in spiritual disciplines demonstrates a revival is taking place. Actually, unless it is accompanied by the fruit of the Spirit, it may be a deception.
It is the Holy Spirit who not only fills our lives with God's love, but mediates the knowledge of God to us.
9 But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
1 Cor 2:9-10 (ESV)
It is therefore vital that we walk, or keep in step with the spirit. He is like the conductor of the orchestra, who makes sure that everyone follows the conductors lead and rhythm.
As the musician follows the rhythm of the conductor; the true believer follows the rhythm of the Spirit.
|Posted by A.Totire on March 22, 2019 at 9:15 PM||comments (0)|
Psalm 80:14-19 (NLT)
14 Come back, we beg you, O God of Heaven’s Armies. Look down from heaven and see our plight. Take care of this grapevine15 that you yourself have planted, this son you have raised for yourself.16 For we are chopped up and burned by our enemies. May they perish at the sight of your frown.17 Strengthen the man you love, the son of your choice.18 Then we will never abandon you again. Revive us so we can call on your name once more.
19 Turn us again to yourself, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.
The writer of Psalm 80 undersatnds that Israel had fallen away from God, and needs to be revived. It is not enough just to resume their religious worship to God: Their very relationship with God needs to be revived. In other words, Israel needs to come to Yahweh with true heart affections and love for Him.
In recent history, England, America, and other parts of the world have experienced revivals, also called "The Great Awakening." These revivals were preceded by intense time of people praying, fasting, and confessing sins. I also want to say that such meetings often were not called "in order get a revival started", but to call people to repenatnce and to return to a saving relationship wiht God. Many of our current Pentecostal churches came from revivals that began in Wales, India, and at Azusa Street in Los Angeles.
True revival will always be a revival of the heart, with the heart's affections turned towards God and his glory. True revival will always be accompanied by a desire for holiness, a repentance of sin, as well as a renewed sense and urgency of God's mission. Often, the result of a revival includes a changed society, an increase in foreign missions, greater church attendance, and greater love for one another.
Today, however, many people use the word "revival" in ways that tend to water down the original meaning. For example, many churches utilize contemporary worship songs with lights, fog machines, and a clever worship set that is desinged to induce a certain psychological effect on its listeners. Others tend to emphasize the spiritual gifts, such as prophecy, where people are taught that anyone can prophesy. While good music and spiritual igfts are good things, there is an assumption that dependency on these things will cause people to fall in love with God more. This is not the case, in fact, these things tend to displace the work of the Holy Spirit in people's lives. The Spirit does not need such enticements.
I am concerned that people are being inoculated against the real work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Let us seek the Lord and repent of worldly enticements.
Psalms 63:1 (ESV)
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
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17 And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, 18 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death 19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” 22 Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” 23 He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” 24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matt 20:17-28 (ESV)
It has often been said that hurting people hurt people. This is true, for people who are hurting inside often strike back at others as a means of self-protection, even when the other person only intended to bless the hurting person. Deep down inside, we really are poeple who are insecure.
Insecure about many things in our lives.
It all started in the Garden of Eden when the serpent succeeded in getting Adam and Eve to disobey God. As the story unfolds, they ate the fruit, and their eyes were opened...and they knew they were naked. As a result, they hid from God and tried to cover themselves by sewing fig leaves. Instead, they needed to approach God and let him cover them.
From that point on, humanity has been beset by our fears and insecurities. The results are murder, wars, corrutpion, violence, etc.
In the story above, Jesus talks yet again about his impending death, a death that would correct our insecurities and aversion towards God our Father. Yet, His disciples did not understand, since the youngest members of his disciples wanted to correct their insecurities by requesting positions of power in the coming kingdom. While there is certainly a touch of humor to the story, it underscores how insecure we are, and that we are to trust God with our lives so that we can serve others in His love. Yes, it is true that hurting people hurt people, but if we allow our savior Jesus Christ to come and heal us and be our security, we then can learn how to love others, spreading hope and comfort to a broken world. Jesus has you covered!
|Posted by A.Totire on March 5, 2019 at 7:30 PM||comments (0)|
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
Phil 3:17 (ESV)
This devotion is based upon the message "Modeling in Community," which is a continuation of this year's theme of pressing on to the higher calling in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:12). A part of our mission statement says that, as a community, we are learning how to model Jesus' message of love, hope, and reconciliation. We do this together as a community. It is not a do-it-yourself journey done in solitude.
The Apostle Paul says, "join in imitating me." To imitate the Apostle Paul is to imitate the life of Jesus Christ. We see this in his letter to the chuch in Corinth "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." (1 Cor. 11:1). Here, the Apostle Paul explains that, as a follower of Jesus, his aim is to be a blessing to others so that he can share Jesus' love for them, so that they may also have a saving relationship with Jesus. So, rather than pursuing his own life, his own agenda so that he can bless himself, he does what it takes to reach others for Christ (I Cor. 9:19-25).
To illustrate this further, the Apostle Paul tells the poeple at the chuch in Philippi,
2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Phil 2:2-4 (ESV)
This "having the same mind" and "having the same love" and "one mind", seems rather idealistic today. As long as people go to chuch in order to get a blessing or to feel justified for doing so ("I went to chuch, therefore, I am ok), such a community seems too difficult to attain. However, it is not impossible, as long as we take ownnership of our journey with Christ and pursue the love of Jesus, it is certianly possible! In fact, that is God's will, that we seek to live for Him and to have His love fill us so that we are a blessing for others. In verse 5, the Apostle Paul writes, "Have this mind in yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus." He continues on to describe how Jesus Christ, even though He is God, came a servant and died on a cross for us. As a result, God highly exalted Jesus Christ.
How do we live that out today? Realize that it is God's intention to bless others, but those who do not know God seek out those blessings for themselves. They do whatever it takes, even cheating or stealing from others to get ahead. But, trusting God is to put your life in His hands, trusting in Him to take care of your needs, that you would not be taken advantage of. Rather, as a follower of Jesus Christ who puts his/her trust in God's provision, we are then positioned to be a conduit for God's blessings.
As a community, we are learning how to do that better and better. It is a community marked by God's love, trust, and faithfulness. It is a community of Christ-followers who model the love of Jesus Christ.
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