“But I Will Send the Advocate”

26 “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. 27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry. – John 15:26-27 NLT

Though the disciples don’t know or understand at this point, this is the 2nd greatest gift that God has promised. His best gift was His Son, Jesus, giving His life for us. Now, that Jesus is leaving, God the Father is sending us a Helper. The Helper will tell us more about Jesus and our Father. Jesus has been telling the disciples what the Father says and He has been showing them what the Father is doing. Now this Helper will do the same for each of us. Our job is to tell others what we are told. These are exciting times to be alive! With all the junk that is going on in the world, God is still in control and our Helper will show us the way home. Not only that, but He will teach us how to live and how to pray. Just as the disciples learned when they received the Helper, so are we learning now. Their sadness turned to joy and so should our lives reflect the joy of the indwelling Helper.

“You Can Have the Same Joy”

11 I have told you these things so that you can have the same joy I have and so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy. – John 15:11 NCV

Access

​Jesus wants each of us to know the same joy that He knew because of His relationship with the Father. Because of the Holy Spirit, we have access to that same joy. Happiness is temporary and fleeting but the joy that we have is a fruit of the Spirit. Since the Spirit never leaves us, we always have access to that joy.

22 But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness–Gal. 5:22 (NCV)

We also have access to the same love and the same knowledge. As we learn to love Jesus, obedience becomes an act of adoration and not an act of obligation. One of the results of loving Jesus is that we will also love those around us and it will be easy to show them that we love them thus making it easier to obey the command that we should love each other. The Holy Spirit produces love and joy all the time. The question for us is this: If we are not full of love and joy, why not? Maybe we need to check our connection to the flow of the Spirit. Or as Zig Ziglar said (and I paraphrase here) We need a “checkup from the neck up to get rid of stinking thinking and an attitude of ingratitude”.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“The Spirit Alone Gives Eternal Life”

63 The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  ​ – John 6:63 NLT

Spirit and Life

Many of the people who had followed Jesus and had become His disciples were offended at the words of Jesus when He said you must eat my flesh and drink my blood. They complained that His words were too hard to understand. In today’s society, we have the same thing happening. There are people who go to church, hear the Gospel of Jesus and leave offended. Because they don’t understand, they think that Christianity is a negative, bloody religion. It is only when the Holy Spirit calls us and we come to Jesus and believe His words that we can understand the message. The Spirit leads us into all truth and gives life to the words of Jesus. It is then that we can understand that the spoken words become the living Word, Jesus.

14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.—John 1:14 (NLT)

Once we accept this truth, we become the Children of the Living God.


We are Spirit-bred John 3:5

We are Spirit-led  John 16:13

We are Spirit-fed John 21:15-17

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“We Live In Him”

13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. – 1 John 4:13 NLT

1 John 4:13-17 NLT

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told His disciples and us that He would send us a Comforter and that Comforter would teach us everything.

25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. 26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.—John 14:25-26 (NLT)

 ​The Holy Spirit abides in us and His job is to teach us everything, including how to love God and how to love others. The English language does not have words for different kinds of love. In the Greek, there are at least 6 words for love, Let’s look at four of those. We have philos or phileo (brotherly, friendly love), storge (natural or love for family) eros (sexual) love. These three can be accomplished to a degree in the natural and involve both parties loving and giving. The fourth word is agape (unconditional) love. This is the love that comes only from God, It is the love that only the Spirit can teach us. It is unilateral love, God loves us whether we return that love or not. The flesh can not love in that respect. This is the love that we are striving to show to others. But, as Paul said, we “must strive toward the mark”. We must keep practicing loving without expecting anything in return.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“…Our Love Grows More Perfect.”

17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. – 1 John 4:17a NLT

Perfect Love

Perfect Love!! That is our goal, this is what the Holy Spirit is wanting to teach us each day. If we could achieve perfect love, we would have no fear. Instead of looking forward to tomorrow with fears and worries, we would rest in Jesus, knowing that He is in control and everything is going to be okay. Over 365 times in the Scriptures, in one form or the other, we are told not to fear. Yet, we fear so many things in our lives and the sad part is that very few of those things are under our control anyway. There is no way we can change another person, so we fear their rejection. We worry about our health, our finances, our families, etc. All these worries and fears are from satan. Fear is the opposite of faith and is therefore sin. If we spent more of our time loving and thanking God, we would find our worries and fears disappearing. “God inhabits the praises of His people”. If we want to feel God close to us, then let’s spend time praising Him.

The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“The Lord Is Good”

3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. — 1 Peter 2:3 NIV​

1 Peter 2:1-3 NIV

Do you remember the first time in your life that “you tasted that the Lord is good”?​  ​I actually don’t remember the date but I do remember that it was about 9 in the morning on a hot summer day and I could take you to the exact place that the Holy Spirit miraculously moved in my life and “saved me to the uttermost”. Tears of joy and relief streamed down my face so much that I had to stop on the side of the road and just praise God for His goodness. Since that time I have not lived a sinless life but I can tell you that when I do sin, it grieves the Holy Spirit, breaks the heart of God Himself and now, thanks to His enduring goodness, faithfulness and mercy, it breaks my heart as well.

His love motivates me to rid myself of all malice and sin of any and every kind. When I pray and receive the forgiveness that Jesus bought for me on Calvary, I taste again and again of His goodness and mercy. I crave His Word and a day without it would be a dark, dreary and lonely day. My heart’s desire is to know Him more and more every day. I look forward to the day when I can move from the “milk” of the Word to the “meat” of the Word, so I might grow to be the mature son He wants me to be. Nothing less and nothing more.

Hebrews 5:11-14 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“And Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit…”

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. — Eph. 4:30 NKJV

Ephesians 4:25-30 NCV

Maybe because His name is Holy Spirit we tend not to think of Him as a person.  But the third person of the Trinity is just as much a person and just as much God as Jesus, the second person and God the first person.  Each has a different office and duty but they are One and the Same.  When we ignore God or reject Jesus, we are doing the same thing to the Holy Spirit.  When we grieve God, we cause sadness in the whole Godhead.  When we are obedient and faithful, we bring joy to the Trinity.  There is a person living inside of every Christian who feels grief, sadness, pain and joy just as we feel those things.  None of us like to be ignored, neither does He.  How long would a friendship last if we walked with a human friend 24/7 and never acknowledged his/her presence or spoke to them?  What if we never invited them to join in our conversations and our mealtimes?  What if, for all practical purposes, our words and actions denied that we had a friend with us?  Yet, hour after hour, we treat the Holy Spirit exactly this way.  We deny that He is within us by our actions but more often by our lack of actions.  How many times and places do we have an opportunity to introduce our Friend but we don’t?  How many times does He ask us to introduce Him by that little nudge we feel but we won’t?  If we say that we have never felt that nudge, what does that say about our relationship with our Friend?  Let us all pray that the next time we feel that nudge, we will have the boldness to introduce Him to our other friends and acquaintances.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Go and Make Disciples”

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.– Matt. 28:19 NLT

Matthew 28:16-20 NLT 

We are all very familiar with the Great Commission that Jesus gave His disciples.  Luke tells us that shortly after this, Jesus ascends leaving the disciples without the only leader they had ever known. If we had been there and been one of the disciples of Jesus, what would our initial response have been?  If it were anything similar to what I believe mine would have been, it would have caused me to ask a lot of questions.  Where do I start, which direction do I go, who is going to support me as I make the trip and who is going to take care of my family while I am gone?  I don’t have any speeches prepared to present to the people, what will I say?  I’m not prepared to go on some long journey to some place I have never been and I haven’t prepared my family for such a venture.  I would not only be doubting my abilities to carry out this mission (which is totally true}, I would be doubting God’s ability to enable me to carry out His mission (which is totally wrong and therefore sinful).  I would be doubting His ability to provide for me and to take care of me.  I would be saying “God is able” but my thoughts and my actions would be saying “I don’t really believe that”.  As true believers, our response should not be one of worry and doubt but of agreement, just as Isaiah said when God asked Him “who shall we send?” and Isaiah answers “Here am I, Lord, send me.”.

Isaiah 6:5-8 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“You Rightly Say That I AM”

even-smaller-bug-light1

70 Then they all said, “Are You then the Son of God?”  So He said to them, “You rightly say that I am.” – Luke 22:70 NLT


Luke 22:66-71 NLT

When I read this verse, I often think, “How could these people be face to face with Jesus and refuse to believe?”.   But, then, I am reminded of how many times I was called by the Holy Spirit and refused to believe.  It is easy for us to assume that we would have acted differently than those people did then.  We let ourselves off easy thinking that we would have surely believed Jesus in this situation.  But, just as Abraham told the rich man who requested that he send Lazarus back to his home town to speak to his brothers, if they won’t believe Moses and the prophets, they won’t believe even if they saw someone return from the dead.  On the day that Jesus was crucified, there were prophets and holy people of old whose bodies were released from the grave and they walked the streets of Jerusalem, but not all of Jerusalem was saved.

Matthew 27:50-54 ISV

The point is this, people that have lived since the Holy Spirit was sent to call us, lead us and comfort us, have more reasons to believe than most of those people back then.  We can look back over history and see more of God’s promises fulfilled than they could and yet, there are many that still refuse to believe. We will hear the story multiple times more than most of them heard it, but not all will believe  Every person will hear the story and have the opportunity to receive Jesus as their Savior, yet not all will do so.   As time goes by, hearts grow harder and harder.  A few years ago, it was reported that we had to hear the story seven times before we accepted Jesus. Now, that number is reported to have risen to fourteen. Our work is to keep telling the story and we must keep telling it more and more, so those around us will have more opportunities.  But the results of our telling the story are in God’s hands.  Our work is to tell, His work is to confirm it in the hearts of those He has chosen.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Chosen and Precious”

even-smaller-bug-light1

4 As you come to him, the living stone who was rejected by people but was chosen and precious in God’s sight, – 1 Peter 2:4 ISV 

1 Peter 2:4-6 ISV

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was rejected by His own people.  He could do very few miracles in His own hometown because the people there thought of Him as just a carpenter, the son of Joseph and Mary.  We can expect to be rejected as well, the created should not expect better treatment than the Creator received. Just as Jesus was ridiculed and rejected by those who knew Him only as a human, so can we expect to be treated the same way.  This rejection did not keep Jesus from loving and ministering to those around Him who accepted the words that He spoke. Neither should ridicule or offensive remarks keep us from loving and witnessing to those around us.  Jesus was chosen by God to give up everything, come to earth and live among humans who would not welcome Him as the Son of the Creator.  We are chosen by God to give up nothing to receive everything and live among humans as holy priests.  Our sacrifice is spiritual, we speak the words that the Holy Spirit gives us.  This is acceptable to God.  The ultimate end of the earthly ministry of Jesus was not shame but glory.  If we trust in Him and remain faithful, our ultimate end will not be shame but an eternity in heaven praising Jesus because He was faithful and was chosen to rule the universe.

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:​“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb​ be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” — Rev 5:13 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous