Why Can’t Our Mondays Look Like Our Fridays?

John Piper, noted Bible scholar and pastor, comments about a curious cultural phenomenon, the T.G.I.F. mentality, in his message, “A Precious Promise: The Outpouring of God’s Spirit.”   (Go to Piper’s website for entire printed message and recording: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/a-precious-promise-the-outpouring-of-gods-spirit)

Piper relates how the T.G.I.F. response occurs. It happens to us after a long, imperfect work week, where things hardly ever go according to plan. We look forward to the weekend, when we get the psychological and emotional boost of something enjoyable ahead, without the burden of the “other stuff” that constantly drags us down. Mondays are bad. Fridays are good.

This change in attitude can be felt and seen. On Fridays, we’re nicer . . . we’re more patient . . . more giving, all because Friday’s here! (Or perhaps it’s a birthday . . .  or a vacation . . . or Christmas . . . or anything else you’ve anticipated for a while–you fill in the blank.)

Think about it. We have the HOPE, the assurance, that something good is coming . . .  of something delicious and wonderful around the corner. This HOPE then translates into a feeling of JOY . . . a sense of deep wellness, happiness  . . this JOY then translates into OVERFLOWING LOVE  . . . An OVERFLOWING LOVE that easily gives out of its abundance in service to others.

That’s really what the fruit of the abiding Holy Spirit is all about.

Paul talks about this very progression in Romans 15:13 (NIV, emphasis mine):

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace

as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope

by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Piper then asks a couple of pointed questions: Would would happen, if believers truly understood how to maintain the day-to-day filling of the Holy Spirit in their lives?

Three Truths To Grasp:

1) First, we must understand and cling to the mystery, the profound truth of the gospel.

Christ came.  Died to completely obliterate our sins and restore us to God the Father. Rose in victory. Gives us the spiritual right, through His sacrifice, to defeat Satan once and for all, and to live with Him in eternity one day. WOW! We are winners, in every way!

2) We must realize we are living in the special age of the Holy Spirit.

Piper says history is roughly divided into three time frames. The first dispensation occurred in Old Testament time, when Jehovah God (the Father) was the Person of the Trinity recognized by the people. Then came the 33 years when Jesus lived upon the earth, visibly recognized and emphasized by believers living then. Now, after Jesus’ ascension into heaven and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit should receive attention for His special visitation. This does not, in any way, diminish our worship of God the Father or Jesus Christ. . we merely recognize the special job of this Person of God in this special time of history. . . we should especially seek the Holy Spirit, His presence, His workings.

3) Lastly, the key to the HOPE . . JOY . . . OVERFLOWING LOVE sequence is found, inasmuch as we personally choose to do it, by SATURATING OUR LIVES WITH SCRIPTURE.

The amount that we read, mediate, digest, absorb God’s message relates to the Holy Spirit’s strength in our lives . . . without God’s Word soaking our very souls, the filling of the Holy Spirit will not occur. This is  where sin is confronted . . . . through which our relationship with God is solidified. Through Scripture, the Holy Spirit inhabits our life, manifests His precious qualities, molds us to the child of God we should be.

How would we, the sleeping church, be transformed through the lens of the Holy Spirit’s daily anointing? Would we no longer be satisfied with our “safe” church gatherings? Would we storm the gates where our human brothers are held captive by Satan, bound by chains of lies and sin, reconciling a dying world back to God?

Would our Mondays look much more like our Fridays, with God receiving all the glory?

Would you pray with me? Lord, I choose hope today, Your hope! You’ve conquered Satan and sin—You’ve won! The certain ending to this story brings me joy, no matter what I am going through .  . and this will overflow into love for others You bring across my path . . . Through the power of the Holy Spirit and with the renewing of my mind through Your Word . . .  Help me to be this person, filled with Your Spirit, Lord . . . so others might be rescued to You. We ask in Jesus’ precious Name. To You be all the Glory!

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

The Holy Spirit – He is Eternal and Omnipotent

Dear Father, We praise You that You are God, high in the realms above the heavens–and that no man can completely figure You out. . .  Yet You surprise us with  revelations from Scripture so we may know You better.  .  . Lord, may Your teaching become alive in us. . .  And may it forever change our lives!    In Jesus Christ’s Name we come, because He alone is Worthy.  Amen.

We know from the Bible that the Holy Spirit is of the same essence as the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is indeed ascribed with the attributes of God, is equated with God, and does work that only God does.  He is as much God as either the Father or Jesus.  Therefore, general attributes of God drawn from Scripture are applicable to the Holy Spirit.

1)  He is Eternal

In the burning bush incident from Exodus 3, Moses asks God about His name.  In Middle Eastern culture, names are more than just a convenient label.  Chosen carefully by a parent or in this case by God to describe Himself,  a chosen name signifies one’s character, reputation and authority.

The name God applies to Himself in this passage transcends the dimension of time:

13Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”And He said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

 Jesus also applies this name of God for Himself in John.8:58  when He stated, ” I tell you before Abraham was, I Am.”

Therefore, just as God the Father and Jesus are eternal, the Holy Spirit is eternal.  The Holy Spirit, the Counselor, will be with us “forever” (John 14:16). The Spirit is “eternal” (Heb. 9:14).

Eternality–just trying to contemplate its reaches blows our minds.  Eternity stretches backwards and forwards, with no end. Think it–there was never a place, a void, a moment, a fraction of inkling when God wasn’t.  He is a self-contained Being, totally independent of any and everything seen or unseen.  He is eternal.

2)  He is Omnipotent

Omnipotent means all powerful.  All the power available to the Father and the Son is manifest in the Holy Spirit.

Where better than creation can we witness the scope of God’s power?  In Genesis 1:26, the plural form of “We” and “Us” is translated in the original Aramaic to indicate that all Persons of the Trinity were indeed present at creation.

But there is even more evidence that the Holy Spirit participated in creation–take a look at verse 2 of Genesis 1:

2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Dr. James Galvin,  noted Bible scholar and co-editor of the Life Application Bible, notes about this verse:  “The image of the Spirit of God hovering over the waters is similar to a mother bird caring for and protecting its young.  .  . God’s care and protection are still active. . . know that God is in control of the world.”

God the Holy Spirit still hovers over the face of the earth today.  We can’t always visibly see Him at work, but He’s nevertheless endlessly working to glorify the name of the Son (John 15:26).   No human can ever come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ unless the Spirit woos him or her. (John 3:6 )

The Spirit also specifically inhabits the bodies of believers.  We are reminded by Paul that we are the Holy Spirit’s  “temple” (I Cor. 3:16 ).  The power that indwelt our magnificent Savior–now indwells us through the omnipotent Holy Spirit  (John 14: 16-17).

Many times in our Western-culture church, evidence of the Spirit’s power on the earth is just plain hard to see.   We have no one to blame but ourselves; believers are responsible for the discrepancy.  Just as a grimy lens will not refract light, we inhibit the Spirit’s power from being clearly seen with our sin and willful ignorance.

That being said, we have no idea what a totally God-less world will look like, but we can imagine.  When the Holy Spirit’s constraint upon evil is lifted and the believers are bodily removed during the rapture of the Church, the earth will be a horrifically dark place.  One of the works attributed to the Holy Spirit it that of restraining.  (2 Thess. 2:6-8)  “The Restrainer will be removed in due time,” says Lewis Perry Chafer in his book Pneumatology, “and then follows an unprecedented tribulation, a period of seven years, before the King returns to exercise complete authority over the earth.”  ( p. 34)  Without the Spirit’s power holding Satan and man’s sinful whims in check, there will be absolute chaos on the earth.  Thank You, Holy Spirit, for Your restraining power while we are still here!

Next time, we will examine the scriptures concerning the attribute of Omnipresence in relation to the Holy Spirit.

Dear Father, again You have been faithful to show truth from Your Word. . .may Your truth sink deep into our minds and hearts. . . may You inhabit our thoughts continuously, may You change us, and may You use it to glorify Yourself. . .we ask these things in Jesus’ name because through Him alone we come to You, Amen.

Getting There

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.  29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.      Isaiah 40:28-31

I knew the Lord had been reading my mail when I ran across this the other day.  Is there a word that personally screams to you from that passage?  For me, the word “weary” jumps off the page; it’s repeated four times in four verses.  What is the Holy Spirit, through the pen of Isaiah, trying to convey?

1.  The LORD God initializes- v. 28

He is the everlasting God.  He is the Creator.  Not just of the tangible physical realm that we can see, touch, and hear, but He’s also Creator of the intangibles of the universe.  Before creation, strength and wisdom began with God.  The LORD God is omnipotent and is without any limitations.

2. The LORD God subsidizes-v. 29

Because of man’s fall from perfection, life is not a bed of roses–actually it’s incredibly hard! We don’t know why God plans things the way He does.  But thanks to be our God because He is an altogether generous God.   He does impart strength and power to those in need!

The first step in receiving these gifts is admitting our own sad state of existence.  If we’re honest, we’re mucking through things the best we can, with our own resources that many times leave us short.

Realize too, that we don’t need His provision only when navigating an especially hard trial.  No, we need His enabling 24/7, period.

Self-sufficiency is the worst failing a Christian can have.  We often pride ourselves as Christians who can “take care of business” and who are “doing things for God.”  Yet God wants us to to cast any confidence we have in ourselves aside, proclaim to the world that He alone is our sufficiency.  He alone, through the power of the Holy Spirit, gives us strength to live each day for Him.  When we are weak, we are made strong in Him. (II Cor. 12:10)

3. The LORD God scrutinizes-v. 30

From His box seat in heaven, God follows the ways of the young and vigorous in their quest through life.  We’ve been there too, for we were once young and invincible.  But even the young with every advantage on their side are destined to stumble and fall.     It’s not a question of “if,” it’s a matter of “when.”

4.  The LORD God energizes-v.31

Isaiah includes a big “but” here–those who’ve fallen, those who’ve gotten lost along the way–will have renewed strength when they hope in the Lord.  Looking to the Lord will empower them to do things they could not do alone.  Not only will they fly, they will soar on wings like eagles, His wings.  They will resume their usual course but now they will run without growing weary, empowered by the Holy Spirit.  They will also return to walking in His Strength (because we know no one can go fast all the time!) and not faint.  They will ultimately make it to the destination because they’ve asked the Holy Spirit to do it through them.

The take-away in this passage is that yes, I’ll grow weary and even stumble and bloody my lip a few times.  But I have to look up to Him, recognize His sufficiency, and ask for His renewing.  Then He will continue me in His power on the course He’s set before me.   His wisdom points me in the right direction; His strength will fuel my will and my body.

Weariness can be good, when it makes us look to our very present Help in the time of need. . . our One and Only God.

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn