Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

God’s Promise to pour out His Holy Spirit

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”(Zechariah 12v10)
The pronouncement that God will pour a spirit of grace and supplication on the people is a bitter sweet moment. Sweet in as much that it heralds the coming of Christ who will  facilitate each believer being filled by God’s Holy Spirit. Bitter in that  this coming of the Spirit can only happen after Christ is crucified having taken on himself every sin that will occur in  the world. As he is pierced and dies, so sin dies with him. As he rises and returns to heaven, so will Christ facilitate the Holy Spirit being poured out on those who believe as their spirit being is joined with God’s God’s Holy Spirit.
 

 

 


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Hard as flint or pierced by the Holy Spirit?

‘They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.’ (Zechariah 7v12)
Okay, after a computer glitch on my websites which made it impossible to send out posts to people, we will in the next few weeks complete our study of understanding the term ‘spirit’ as it occurs in the Old and New Testaments in the Bible.
As you remember- but then maybe not – there are three distinctions made in regard to how the term ‘Spirit’ is understood and used in the Bible.
1. Spirit – God’s Holy Spirit  – part of Godhead, hovering over creation and (since Pentecost) living within believers to assist and enable them in their life as they people about God.
2. Spirit – before  the birth of Christ – God’s Spirit is understood to rest on a person (though not enter within them) to guide and direct them in a specific task they have been singles out to do for God.
3. spirit – note the lack of a capital letter – which relates to the human experience  and emotions in which a person describes how their ‘spirit was crushed.’ In other words, not from God but themselves as they detail the high or low they are experiencing as a result of actions happening to them.
In Zechariah 7v12 we see immediately that Zechariah is referencing the distinction between the early prophets who were responsive to God’s Holy Spirit and the state of those  who refused to listen and rejected Him (God).
All of which means we need to be always mindful as to whether we are being obedient to God or doing are own thing. God bless you (and me) as we attempt to walk in that path.
Til next time.

 


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Trusting God’s Spirit!

“So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4v6).

As a new Christian, I’m not sure if I really understood the wording  of this scripture at the time. After all, what is ‘might’ and how does it differ to ‘power’? Moreover, why does God instruct us  to operate in His Holy Spirit rather than rely on human ability?

In researching the scripture for this post , I came across an answer on the Internet in which ‘might’ was described  as ‘strength.’ It was illustrated by the fact that a person can have  ‘might but have no power’ because it is dependent on the ability to do things or know certain information or posses a type of personality that draws people to you. Hence, why Zechariah advises that our human ability to manipulate might, power, popularity, charisma, persuasiveness (et al) need to be set aside if order that the Spirit can be given free reign to convict, encourage, enliven and empower in a way that honours God. In other put our egos aside and allow God through His Spirit to speak.’

 


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The equality of God’s plan and purposes

“Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”          (Joel 2v29).

Recently, while writing on the Genesis account of Noah, I observed how (after the Flood) his sons and grandsons spread out to inhabit the land. A biblical account made more interesting by the fact that there is no record of any women being involved in the process which (as most of us know) requires adult females as well as adult males. The reason for this omission? It was a patriarchal society! Their history was recorded from the perspective of men and women were written out of the script unless somehow significant to the account.

Fast forward, several thousand years and God speaks through Joel about the equality of women and men as God sees and understands His Creation. God’s sending of the Holy Spirit that will fall on both female and male was to address the misogynistic misunderstanding that women were insignificant and very much part of God’s plan of salvation. Sadly, in the two thousand years since, many women still struggle for equal rights in the world and that fight goes on. However, the Holy Spirit now inhabits and enlivens men and women who are receptive to His indwelling within them, Hallelujah!


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Restored by the Spirit?

This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed.”
(Lamentations 1v16)

As the title suggests, this book is a lament to God. The first chapter of Lamentations details the changes that have occurred in which the city is deserted and the people taken into exile. Moreover, in the depth of their despair and pity it feels like God has abandoned them – so much so that there is a real sense that not only has their future been stolen away but the presence of God also. In our busy lives  – find it here.

Although not the same experience as faced by the Israelites, we too – in our busy lives – can also find our world turned upside down. As I write this, the world is under varying degrees of Lockdown in the collective attempt to beat the pandemic (Covid 19).  I am sure that many people in recent months will have (at times) felt alienated, isolated, remote, abandoned, without comfort and even exiled from those they love and cherish. While that might be true in the physical, God’s Spirit will not abandon us – and this is something in the midst of a turbulent and troubled world we can hang on to. For the promise of God is that His Holy Spirit will respond and live within all people – bring comfort, hope and peace.


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The God who lives within!

The Year of the Lord’s Favor ] ‘The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…’(Isaiah 61v1),

If you’ve never read the book of Isaiah and this verses sounds familiar to you, it’s because it is! This is Isaiah’s pronouncement – aka ‘The Year of the Lord’s Favour’  – but it is also spoken by Jesus several hundred years later (Luke 4v18) as he brings to fulfilment the prophesy delivered by Isaiah.

That said, the first century attendees had little or no idea as to the impact the verse would have on their lives. Possibly, they imagined it as a time of peace and prosperity where they could recover and take stock of all that has happened to themselves and ancestors. Maybe a return to their homes to worship God as they used to do. But Jesus’ proclamation goes so much further. It’s a declaration of God’s power coming to live within each person through His Holy Spirit – the Third Person of the Trinity who was there, hovering over the waters in Genesis 1 and now living with each person who believes. A  guide who lives within each person to guide and explain the truth of God and how to live as a spiritual being. To equip and send each person that they too may

proclaim good news to the poor (and) bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…’(Isaiah 61v1). This is the God who lives within all who believe.


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God’s plan for humanity.

‘For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.’ (Isaiah 44v3)

Okay, you might want to read the whole chapter to get the gist of what this verse is about – find it by clicking here.  This verse needs to be understood in the context of future events which breaks into two categories:

  1. The first is a promise from God to meet their physical needs by providing rain and streams to facilitate what would otherwise be a desert land into something that will be inhabitable for the people.
  2. The second – the spiritual promise – carries the most significance as prior to the experience of Pentecost, people would never have presumed that God could live within them – nor even want to!

How significant then is God’s promise in the proclamation that ‘ I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.’  For hundreds of years, God’s people had come to think of the Divine as remote and  inaccessible –  and rightly so! After all,  God was Invisible and beyond understanding.  Moreover, separate from His Creation – but all would change with the birth of Jesus Christ as God becomes man – that is the Divine made human – made accessible to those he will come into contact with. God walking and teaching the people. Explaining what their leaders were unable to fathom, then tragedy: Jesus is slaughtered in the prime of life. Confused and heartbroken, his followers  scatter only for a resurrected Christ to appear to them to reveal that God cannot be killed. Jesus’ instruction to wait for the Counsellor (God’s Holy Spirit) to arrive results in his followers praying fervently for the next 3 weeks – until one day, out of nowhere,  supernatural fire falls from the sky into the room where they’re praying and the disciples fall out into the city, telling everyone about God. And of course as they tell the people so others (aka descendants) come to understand, experience and  believe that God is living within them. ‘I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.’

 


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Invitation to God?

‘Look in the scroll of the Lord and read: None of these will be missing, not one will lack her mate. For it is his mouth that has given the order, and his Spirit will gather them together.’ (Isaiah 34v16)

 In the verses that come before this scripture, a desperate edict is delivered to the people of Israel. More worryingly, it’s not from humans but from God as evidenced that the ‘Spirit’ (note the capital ‘S’ the word starts with which denotes God’s Holy Spirit) who will bring Divine judgement into being. How different is the Holy Spirit understood by those in Old Testament times  from how Christians understand Him today as  content to live within the believer and not to judge or condemn, other than to show  grace at the end of it and reassure each with forgiveness and assurance. However, you understand God, know this – God loves you. Moreover,  a simple prayer of invitation  is all it takes for  God’s Holy Spirit to come and live within each of us.

 


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Understanding ourselves?

‘Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.’
(Ecclesiastes 7v9)

Many years ago, I read Watchman’s Nee’s book ‘Release of the Spirit’ then later on his epic ‘The Spiritual Man.’ Both of which have helped to think of the ‘soul’ as the receptacle in which God’s Spirit operates. Now, while this verse seems strange in the sense that it suggests our spirit can be provoked to anger, there are three things to consider here:

  1. During the time of Ecclesiastes- long before the day of Pentecost – the Holy Spirit did not live within the person but came upon them at God’s direction to facilitate  ‘one off’ acts to achieve God’s will.
  2. Because of this, it’s quite possible the term ‘spirit’ is used here to reference a sense of the person’s emotional response as to what is happening.
  3.  The understanding of our own human spirit is different to that of God’s Spirit. The human spirit being carnal in nature as easily influenced by our human (carnal) nature.

However you understand the term ‘spirit’, one thing is sure – we as humans can easily be provoked to anger where rash actions land us in trouble. That is why we can say something that is cruel in the heat of the moment or hold on to a grudge even though slighted by someone many years earlier. In such times, the advice offered in the wisdom Book of Ecclesiastes is to not be quickly provoked because ‘anger resides in the lap of fools.’

 


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Irrevocable change – the work of God’s Holy Spirit

‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.’   (Ezekiel 36v26)
Continuing our series on the work of the Holy Spirit in History – that is, the period preceding Jesus – we come to this interesting passage that foretells what is to come for all when the Holy Spirit will enter into the disciples and change their world and lives irrevocably.

Of course, this outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit upon all people comes at great expense as it requires Jesus to return to heaven in order that the Spirit might replace Him on earth. Now, while it is amazing that the Holy Spirit who is part of the Godhead Trinity who was present at the start of Creation hovering over the waters  – it is even more remarkable that God uses his life-force to equip the disciples to think, act and be present like Jesus in their thinking, answers and actions.

Hence, Jesus’ promise to remove the peoples’  cynical and jaded hearts and replace them with ones that are more malleable, echo the real promise that each believer will soon receive – namely: Christ in you.., the hope of glory! (Col 1v27) In short, God’s transformation that will transform lives, equip and revolutionise his followers to reach a nation and lead others, also has the provision for a direct ‘one to one’ relationship with God via the Holy Spirit..
The promise that God will place within each wayward believer, a new spirit and a heart  of flesh has been proven by many believers over the centuries as they have found God to be true. Hallelujah!

Continue reading Irrevocable change – the work of God’s Holy Spirit


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