Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

What They Received, so Have You.

READ
John 20:19-23

REFLECT
Breath: without it we die. One of the life-saving measures we learned in the military was restoration of breathing. If a person could not breath it was of paramount importance to get air into their lungs less they suffer brain damage and ultimately death. It was as equally as important as stopping bleeding, covering wounds and treating for shock.

When babies are born, medical techs clean out their airways – not sure if they give them a slap on the backside – so important is it to get them breathing.

Breath is life. God breathed life and all Creation into existence.

By breathing up His Disciples – His Church – Jesus gave a different kind of life. He gave eternal life. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we have faith, and by faith we are saved.

PRAY
Lord, breathe anew your Holy Spirit into my life daily, no hourly. Not hourly, but constantly. Give my your life-saving breath so as to keep me in the true faith, with you, your Father, and the Holy Spirit. AMEN.

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Jesus Teaches and Calls us to Him

READ
Luke 24:13-35

REFLECT
Jesus has something to teach us, perhaps this is why it took him so long to reveal himself on the Road to Emmaus. All that Jesus wanted the two disciples in the story to know about him and what he wanted those at table to know about him was of utmost importance and it needed time to be told. Had Jesus revealed himself prematurely the revelation would have likely become a distraction for those he wanted to inform. Yet Jesus did reveal himself, and he chose to do so in the breaking of the bread.

Today’s Gospel account tells us two things: firstly, Jesus wants us to know about him. Secondly, Jesus is telling us where we can find him – where he is certain to be with us, without question. Thus, we are to study the Word and engage with him in prayer and we are to come to the table of the Lord regularly so that we might be in constant corporal and spiritual  communion with him.

So much for the idea that one can be a Christian and never engage with the Word, never pray, never attend worship, and never commune.

PRAY
Lord God, by the power of your Holy Spirit, keep us ever desiring to know more about you and about the precious gift that is Jesus Christ. Help us to seek you in Word, worship, prayer and the sacraments, increasing our faith and drawing us into closer relationship with you. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

Remembered, Known, Loved

READ
Luke 23:33-43

REFLECT
It is nice to be remembered. Who has not felt really bad when their birthday has been forgotten? Who has felt really good when someone you haven’t seen for years remembers your face and name when passing on the street?

No one wants to be forgotten, which is probably why we have tombstones and monuments and other such things. This probably why we name things after people – not just to honor them but so who they were and what they did can be remembered.

The thief on the cross wanted Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom so that he might be with him (lot of pronouns there – but you get the idea). This is good. But what is even better is this: Jesus remembers His faithful not just in His Kingdom, not at some latter time when the Kingdom is fully realized. No matter where you are or what you have going on in your life Jesus remembers you now. He knows you now. He is with you now.

Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. As such the Word of God was with God in the beginning and through Him all things that were made were made through him. From the beginning to the end you are known and remembered and most importantly loved.

 

PRAY
Lord Jesus, I give thanks you know me and that you are my king. Keep me steadfast in your way so that I might realized, at last, eternal life and joy with You in Your kingdom and be with me all the days of my life from now until then AMEN.

Bliss

READ
Luke 6:20-31

REFLECT
When we hear the world “beatitude” we often think of the Sermon on the Mount or the Sermon on the Plain – “Blessed are you…” etc and so forth. But what does “beatitude”  mean? Surprisingly beatitude does not necessarily refer to a thing but a state of being. Webster defines beatitude as “a state of ultimate bliss.”

So what then is Jesus saying in these sermons that contain what we call “The Beatitudes”? Simply this: those who suffer and those who are faithful in this world will experience ultimate joy (bliss) when the Kingdom of God is fully realized.

As people we often like to focus on the goodies and not the bad stuff which is why what follows the beatitudes is often problematic for us. We don’t like to think that bliss might not be ours, but rather the woe. Jesus tell us that if you are making this world your focus – if you are making yourself the focus – you might well have good stuff here but the Kingdom and its bliss is not yours. You will lose what you have. You will hunger, weep and the praises sung of you will fade. Bliss will be eternal. This world’s pleasures will pass away.

God gave us a great world with wonderful things to enjoy but we should never value them above God and above others.

PRAY
Heavenly Father, helps us to keep our enjoyment of the things of this world in perspective. Help us not to love earthly things above you and above others, rather helps us to a friend to the friendless and care for those who are forgotten and neglected. Above all move us to love you firstly. In Jesus name we pray. AMEN.

God Doesn’t Give Gold Watches.

READ
Luke 17:5-10

REFLECT
People really are full of themselves and, sadly, Christians are often overflowing with this fullness. Somehow Christians – and what I really am speaking about are church members, as opposed to disciples- think that faith and following God ends after Sunday worship or at some self-appointed age of retirement. They think they have somehow made the mark, earned the points and can now coast along. You have probably heard this is some form or another, “I am too old to…” or “I have done … long enough. Let someone else do it.” I do realize that as people age there are things they cannot do or not do as well, but ministry never ends. There is no retirement party and no gold watch. There is always something to be done for the Kingdom.

How interesting it is that many Christians can muster the time ,strength and effort to do things for themselves and for their friends and family but are completely devoid of time, energy, ability and talent when it comes to helping others. They can build and fix at home but will not fix a stranger’s porch. They can bake and cook for family and friends but will not prepare a meal for the homeless.

Often people fall into the habit of living their Christian life vicariously through others – often their pastor. However, as John the Baptist said to the Pharisees and Sadduccees , “Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.'”  People must produce good fruit and not rely on the fruit of others.

It is all a matter of faith and motivation and to be honest a pastor cannot give you faith, cannot strengthen your faith and cannot motivate you. As one of my faithful and very energetic parishioners said the other day, “that has to come from within” and “God is talking to you but are you listening.”

So, are you listening? Can you hear God calling you to greater faith and motivation? Will you respond?

PRAY
Holy Spirit, increase our faith and empower us to do the work of God’s Kingdom in this world. Help us to not be lazy or self-centered but motivate us to do for others the things we would gladly do for ourselves. Help us to never think we have earned the right to do nothing or think the nothing we do is something in the eyes of God. AMEN.

Come Holy Spirit, Come.

READ
Mark 9:2-9

REFLECT

Being in the Spirit is like being in love. I remember years ago teaching “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. In it he talked about “FALLING IN LOVE” versus being loved and loving.

“FALLING IN LOVE” is an enrapturing thing that grabs all your attention and clouds your mind to most everything but the target of your affections. It truly is a wonderful thing. How great it is to be so focused on the object of your love and have that person feel the same about you. The problem with falling in love is you cannot stay in that state forever – and thank God. You would never get anything done and would probably walk out in front of a bus.

Being loved and loving – let’s just call it “being in love” is something else. It has all the good stuff of falling in love but is a much deeper thing. It allows you to function and it allows your love to become something deeper. It’s a long-term thing that takes effort but gives great rewards.

Being in the Spirit is the same thing. In the Gospel, Peter, James and John are in the presences of Moses, Elijah and Christ – in his transfigured form. They were truly experiencing something very spiritual and they wanted to stay there. I think we can see this from their desire to “build tents” for these three spiritual being to reside. The moment, however, passed but not before an important truth was revealed to them, namely the true identity of Jesus.

Often we try to get ourselves into a spiritual place but fail and feel discouraged.Today’s Gospel shows us that we cannot put ourselves in a spiritual place but are often lead there, as the Apostles were lead up the mountain. Once there we remain so long as God deems fit for a truth to be communicated and then we are to go forth and communicate that truth or be lead to action by that truth.

Prayer, worship and the study of God’s Word can certainly open us up to follow the leading of the Spirit and it is right we do these things but ultimately it is His choosing when, where and how long we remain in this spiritual place.

PRAY
Come Holy Spirit Come. We pray to you that you would so open our hearts to your leading and that you would guide us to deeper truth found in the life of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. AMEN.

Preparing a Place for the Lord

READ
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

REFLECT
“Our Father who art in Heaven, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.” So begins the Lord’s Prayer with these words, but what do they mean?

In the late 19th century, Liberal theology envisioned these words to mean we are to prepare our earthly home so that it would be a place for the Lord to dwell – in essence making the world ready for Christ to return, as if the world was really ready for His first appearance. In our times certain sects who follow “rapture ideology”  look to a similar idea – in essence “forcing” (my words not theirs) Jesus to return by making prophecy, as they understand it, happen. This is usually centered around rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem, leading to a sort of “Christian Zionism,” an “ism” that many Jews find disturbing and self-serving.

But what does it really mean to prepare a place for the Lord to dwell? For David it meant preparing an appropriate and holy place for the Ark of the Covenant to reside, thought this task was to fall upon his son Solomon. We see this reflected in the placement of tabernacles in some churches to house the consecrated body and blood of Christ – rather than sticking it in a cupboard somewhere, which is tantamount to leaving the Ark in a tent.

Making heaven on Earth, restoring the Temple, building a resting place for the Ark, tabernacles in churches: while all might have their merits, they all miss the point to some degree. Indeed, God’s best and most precious dwelling place on Earth is in our hearts and it is in our hearts where God can truly be with us and thus be most efficacious. No better manifestation of God can be found that Jesus Christ.

Advent is drawing to a close, but before we leave this more important season of the church year it is important that we reflect on what John the Baptist called us to – preparing the way for the Lord, and on what Mary evidenced in her joy at being blessed to carry the Christ child.

Both examples are calls to not only develop a deeper relationship with God in Christ Jesus but also to find joy in it; not seeing pray or worship as a burden or obligation but as our greatest privilege and delight – as a calling. This relationship is not something to be confined to an hour on Sunday that must be completed in order to get to coffee and cake.

Soon we will enter the Christmas season and celebrate the manifestation of God’s Word in our world. If we see Christmas as the epitome of the God/human relationship we should strive, as Charles Dickens said in the words of his reformed Scrooge, to honor Christmas in our hearts and try to keep it all the year. This is culmination of the Advent message of the return of the King and God dwelling with us.

Let us strive to continuously prepare a place in our heart for the Lord to dwell and do so joyfully.

PRAY
Heavenly Father, come into our hearts by the manifestation of your Son Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus dwell within us teaching us to love and be loved. Holy Spirit strength us and encourage us to walk in close relationship with God and with one another.  AMEN.