Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Blessing of Intercession

That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keephis commandments, as at this day.  (I Kings 8:60-61)

After the Temple was completed, Solomon prayed.  What a wonderful intercessory prayer on behalf of the children of Israel and even on behalf of those from other nations.  After praying to God on behalf of his people, he then admonished them.  There was no selfishness in his prayer.  We are blessed when we can set aside our own cares and problems and intercede on behalf of others.

Solomon’s Prayer:  (I Kings 8:22-61)

Before the entire congregation of Israel, Solomon took a position before the Altar, spread his hands out before heaven, and prayed,

You kept your word to David my father, your personal word.  You did exactly what you promised - every detail. The proof is before us today!  Keep it up, God, O God of Israel! Continue to keep the promises you made to David my father when you said, "You'll always have a descendant to represent my rule on Israel's throne, on the condition that your sons are as careful to live obediently in my presence as you have." God of Israel, let this all happen; confirm and establish it! Can it be that God will actually move into our neighborhood? Why, the cosmos itself isn't large enough to give you breathing room, let alone this Temple I've built.  Even so, I'm bold to ask: Pay attention to these my prayers, both intercessory and personal, O God, my God. Listen to my prayers, energetic and devout, that I'm setting before you right now.  Keep your eyes open to this Temple night and day, this place of which you said, "My Name will be honored there,"  and listen to the prayers that I pray at this place. Listen from your home in heaven and when you hear, forgive.  

When someone hurts a neighbor and promises to make things right, and then comes and repeats the promise before your Altar in this Temple,  listen from heaven and act accordingly: Judge your servants, making the offender pay for his offense and setting the offended free of any charges.  When your people Israel are beaten by an enemy because they've sinned against you, but then turn to you and acknowledge your rule in prayers desperate and devout in this Temple, Listen from your home in heaven, forgive the sin of your people Israel, return them to the land you gave their ancestors.  When the skies shrivel up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, but then they pray at this place, acknowledging your rule and quitting their sins because you have scourged them, listen from your home in heaven, forgive the sins of your servants, your people Israel. Then start over with them: Train them to live right and well; send rain on the land you gave your people as an inheritance.  When disasters strike, famine or catastrophe, crop failure or disease, locust or beetle, or when an enemy attacks their defenses - calamity of any sort- any prayer that's prayed from anyone at all among your people Israel, hearts penetrated by the disaster, hands and arms thrown out to this Temple for help, Listen from your home in heaven. so that they'll live before you in lifelong reverent and believing obedience on this land you gave our ancestors.  And don't forget the foreigner who is not a member of your people Israel but has come from a far country because of your reputation. People are going to be attracted here by your great reputation, your wonder-working power, who come to pray at this Temple. Listen from your home in heaven. Honor the prayers of the foreigner so that people all over the world will know who you are and what you're like and will live in reverent obedience before you, just as your own people Israel do; so they'll know that you personally make this Temple that I've built what it is. When your people go to war against their enemies at the time and place you send them and they pray to God toward the city you chose and this Temple I've built to honor your Name, Listen from heaven to what they pray and ask for, and do what's right for them.  

When they sin against you - and they certainly will; there's no one without sin! - and in anger you turn them over to the enemy and they are taken captive to the enemy's land, whether far or near,  but repent in the country of their captivity and pray with changed hearts in their exile, "We've sinned; we've done wrong; we've been most wicked,"  and turn back to you heart and soul in the land of the enemy who conquered them, and pray to you toward their homeland, the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you chose, and this Temple I have built to the honor of your Name,  listen from your home in heaven to their prayers desperate and devout and do what is best for them.  Forgive your people who have sinned against you; forgive their gross rebellions and move their captors to treat them with compassion.  They are, after all, your people and your precious inheritance whom you rescued from the heart of that iron-smelting furnace, Egypt!

O be alert and attentive to the needy prayers of me, your servant, and your dear people Israel; listen every time they cry out to you!  You handpicked them from all the peoples on earth to be your very own people, as you announced through your servant Moses when you, O God, in your masterful rule, delivered our ancestors from Egypt.  

Having finished praying to God - all these bold and passionate prayers - Solomon stood up before God's Altar where he had been kneeling all this time, his arms stretched upward to heaven.  Standing, he blessed the whole congregation of Israel, blessing them at the top of his lungs:

"Blessed be God, who has given peace to his people Israel just as he said he'd do. Not one of all those good and wonderful words that he spoke through Moses has misfired.  May God, our very own God, continue to be with us just as he was with our ancestors - may he never give up and walk out on us.   

May he keep us centered and devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms he laid down for our ancestors.  
"And let these words that I've prayed in the presence of God be always right there before him, day and night, so that he'll do what is right for me, to guarantee justice for his people Israel day after day after day.  

Then all the people on earth will know God is the true God; there is no other God. And you, your lives must be totally obedient to God, our personal God, following the life path he has cleared, alert and attentive to everything he has made plain.
We know that after King Solomon completed this prayer on behalf of not only his people but for all people, that God had a conversation with Him.  God let him know that his prayer had been received:

That the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon.  And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.  (I Kings 9:2-3)

Our prayers should not always be self-centered.  Learn to pray for others and watch how  not only they, but you, will be blessed.

The Refreshing

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come , they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Acts 2:1-4

The word of God gives a vivid account of the disciples baptism of the Holy Spirit.  However, there are other types of baptism mentioned in the bible.  The Bible speaks of four different baptisms:

   The baptism of suffering experienced by Jesus.

    The water baptism performed by John the Baptist.
    Christian baptism in water.
    Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The word "baptize" means to completely immerse or submerge in something.

After the resurrection and prior to His return to Heaven, Jesus gave important instructions to His followers:

And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)

The promise to which Jesus referred was the Holy Spirit:

And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you.  I will not leave you comfortless. (John 14:16-18)

This was not a new promise. The gift of the Holy Spirit had been promised since Old Testament times:

For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people. To whom He said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing yet they would not hear.   (Isaiah 28:11-12)

 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.  (Joel 2:28-29)

The Holy Spirit has many purposes in the lives of believers as discussed in the blog, 'Oh Taste and See'. One of the main purposes of the Holy Spirit, however, is to make the Christian a powerful witness for the Gospel:

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  (Acts 1:8)

The true evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was visible immediately in the life of the Apostle Peter. Before the Day of Pentecost he had fearfully denied that he knew Jesus. After his baptism in the Holy Spirit, Peter stood and gave a powerful witness to the Gospel that resulted in the salvation of 3,000 people.

It was the power of the Holy Spirit in the early church that resulted in the spread of the Gospel throughout the world. The book of Acts is a record of this powerful witness which was evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit.

There are seven passages in the New Testament where the word "baptize" is used in relation to the Holy Spirit. Four of these are the words of John the Baptist recorded in the Gospels:

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. (Matthew 3:11)

I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. (Mark 1:8)

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose; He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. (Luke 3:16)

And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. (John 1:33)

Jesus also spoke of the baptism of the Holy Ghost:

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (Acts 1:5)

When Peter spoke of events which took place in the home of Cornelius he quoted the words of Jesus:

Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that He said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.  (Acts 11:16)

Apostle Paul also used the word "baptize" in relation to the Holy Spirit:

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:13)

Use of the phrase "to baptize into" the Holy Spirit is the same as used to describe Christian baptism in water. In both cases baptism is an outward confirmation of an inward spiritual experience.

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven and completely immersed [baptized] believers assembled in the upper room of a house in Jerusalem. They had been waiting or "tarrying" for His coming as they had been commanded to do by Jesus. Peter said this experience was the fulfillment of God's promise,"In the last days...I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh". This promise was given by the prophet Joel:

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions;  And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (Joel 2:28-29)

Male and female, young and old were to be included in this outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They were to prophesy, dream dreams, and see visions. God's Spirit was to empower both servants [men] and handmaidens [women]. On the day the Holy Spirit was given, Peter said:

Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:38-39)

Peter's words revealed that the promise of the Holy Spirit was:

                   A national promise:                   "Unto you" [the Jewish people].
                   A family promise:                       "Your children".
                   A universal promise:                  "To all that are afar off".

(Biblical Studies)


Be Strong and of Good Courage

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  Hebrews 13:5

From the rising of the sun until the going down of the same, the Lord’s name shall be praised.  When I wake each morning, I give God thanks for waking me; for one more opportunity to worship him, for one more opportunity to get it right.  Every day that the Lord makes is good. 

We know that our Lord is the creator and ruler over all things. Knowing this, we shouldn't be fearful of anything that comes up against us. The word tells:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Psalms 23:4

We know that through God all things are possible; not by might nor by power but through the spirit of God.  So, I want to encourage You today to put your hope, trust and reliance in God knowing that He is able. 

Knowing, trusting and believing in God’s word is imperative if we want to achieve success; the success that God talks about to Joshua.  That is a wonderful account and the perfect example of how God wants us to achieve success.  He tells Joshua:   

Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I  swore to their fathers to give them.  Only be strong and very courageous, that You may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded You;  do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from Your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, That You may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then You will make Your way prosperous, and then You will have good success.  Joshua 1:6-8

Be strong and courageous in the Lord, do all that He commands,  don’t waver, meditate on His word unceasingly and then will you make your way prosperous and you will have good success.

God tells Zechariah

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying , This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6

God makes it known again that it is His spirit that accomplishes His will; not by our might or our power.

Here is my prayer for today:

Dear heavenly Father we come to You this morning with an attitude of gratefulness knowing that You are the one true living God, the only wise God who provides shelter, love and protection to Your children.  We are honored and appreciative to come before Your holy throne to give You praise for all of Your many benefits unto us. 

Lord we thank You because we know that when we come to You in prayer and supplication that You will intervene on our behalf.  Help us Lord to trust and obey You, to acknowledge You in all of our ways, to look to You for direction.

Lord we love You for who You are.  You are an awesome God.  We thank You for Your grace and mercy, for Your loving kindness, for Your unmerited favor on our lives.  Lord we thank You because You are faithful to forgive when we come to You in true repentance and a sincere heart. 

We pray to You this day, Lord that You look upon us and meet the need of all those that need a touch from You today, who need to feel Your love, who are looking for a miracle that only You can provide.  Make crooked paths straight. Lord we pray, in the name of Jesus that You bind everything that is not like You.  Lord, we pray that You meet financial needs; that You release jobs for those seeking employment, Lord that You heal those sick in body, mind and spirit.  Lord You said that by Your stripes we are healed.

We thank You Lord because You tell us in Your word that Your grace is sufficient to keep us.  Help those Lord that are struggling to maintain their relationship with You.  Show up and show out Lord.  We pray for a mighty move from You.  Lord You said in Your word that we would do greater works, that power would follow after we receive the Holy Spirit; You said that signs would follow those who believe.   Lord get us to a place where signs and wonders follow after us; a demonstration of Your Holy Spirit alive and working in and through us.  We thank You dear Lord for Your precious gift of the Holy Spirit; the comforter that You promised would be sent to us.   
We thank You Lord for the communion You allow us to have with You.  We thank You Lord for the strength You provide, for Your comfort, Lord for sticking with us for being closer than a brother, for being our rock, our strong tower.  Lord we thank You for the foundation that You laid upon which we can build on and grow our relationship with You.  Lord we thank You because You've given us every thing we need for good success in You. 

Lord we praise and magnify Your name.  We lift You up as the center of our joy; the strength of our joy, our everything.  We thank You for the name of Jesus, the precious name of Jesus that we can call on in our time of sorrow and in our time of need.   Lord we recognize and acknowledge that we are nothing without You, that we can not be anything with out You, but with You Lord, we are everything.   With all of our hearts, Lord we praise and magnify Your holy name name.  Lord we extol You. 

And now Lord, unto You, the one true living God, the only wise God, the God to whom power belongs, we thank You and ask Your will be done in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen

Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.  For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.  Psalms 91:9-11

God’s blessings to You this day. 



Friday, August 30, 2013

Oh, Taste and See

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38)

The word of God tells us that God has not given us the spirit of fear, he has given us the spirit of power, love an a sound mind.  This power comes the Holy spirit dwelling within us.  

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7

It is no wonder that Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were filled with power from on high before they began the ministry he had prepared them for.   

And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.  Luke 24:49

The Holy Spirit ministers in many powerful ways in the lives of believers.  The Holy Spirit:

→   Dwells in us: We are actually the temple or dwelling place of the Holy Ghost.       

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  I Corinthians 6:19  

→  Unites us in one spirit with God and other believers: There is great power in unity as demonstrated in the story of the tower of Babel (See Genesis 11; especially note verse 6).  

But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.  I Corinthians 6:17 
→  Intercedes for us: This powerful intercessor prays for us according to God's will.  

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Romans 8:26
→  Guides us:  The Holy Spirit enables us to walk in power and not confusion. He guides us to the place of power, the perfect will of God.  

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  John 16:13

→  Imparts the love of Christ to us and through us:  

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  Romans 5:5
→  Reveals Biblical truth to us:  Powerful spiritual revelation comes through the Holy Spirit.  

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  I Corinthians 2:10
→  Comforts us: He comforts us in times of grief.  

Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. Acts 9:31 

→  Conforms us to the image of Christ:  We are powerless to change ourselves into the image of Christ. Self-improvement plans are doomed to failure. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be transformed to the image of Jesus.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.  II Corinthians 3:18
→  Teaches us:  The greatest teacher takes up residence within us when we are endued with the power of the Holy Spirit. Knowledge is powerful, and the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual knowledge.  

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance , whatsoever I have said unto you.  John 14:26
→  Inspires us to true worship: Praise and worship are powerful spiritual strategies. In some Old Testament battles they were the main methods used against the enemies of God.  

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.  John 4:24
→  Quickens us: The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us to quicken us. This means we are endued with resurrection-like power while yet in these mortal bodies.  

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.  Romans 8:11

→  Sanctifies us: We do not have to try to live a holy life through self effort. The power of the Holy Spirit sanctifies our thoughts and actions. He enables holy living.  

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:  Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  II Thessalonians 2:13-14
→  Changes us: Power is necessary to effect change and the Holy Spirit gives power for positive change.  

Not by works of righteousness which we have done , but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;  Titus 3:5
→  Convicts us of wrong:  Sin results in spiritual power failure. The Holy Spirit convicts of wrong and leads us to repentance. This enables the continued flow of God's power.   

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. John 16:8-11 
→  Gives assurance of salvation: Knowing your position gives you power. The Holy Spirit assures your position in God.  

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  Romans 8:16
→  Gives him liberty:  Liberty provides the greatest opportunity for power. The Holy Spirit gives liberty through Jesus Christ.  

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 
→  Speaks through us: We are not limited by our own speaking ability. The Holy Spirit speaks God's Words of power and authority through us.

But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.  Mark 13:11

→  Demonstrates God's power: The Holy Spirit enables the demonstration of God's power in every area of life.  

And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:  I Corinthians 2:4
→  Strengthens him: When you are weak, God’s strength is manifested.  

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  Ephesians 3:16

These are all important and wonderful purposes, but there is one main purpose for the power of the Holy Spirit. All the purposes of the Holy Spirit are targeted to accomplish this greater purpose. The greatest purpose of the Holy Spirit is revealed in the promise by Jesus:

But yet shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and YE SHALL BE WITNESSES UNTO ME both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 
Acts 1:8

The power to become witnesses for Jesus is the true evidence of the Holy Spirit. It was present immediately in the life of the Apostle Peter. Before the Holy Spirit experience Peter fearfully denied he knew Jesus. After receiving the endument of power of the Holy Spirit, Peter stood and gave a powerful witness to the Gospel that resulted in the salvation of 3,000 people.

It was the power of the Holy Spirit in the early church that resulted in the spread of the Gospel throughout the world. The book of Acts is a record of the powerful witness which was evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Biblical Studies