Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

If you’re a Christian, the Holy Spirit plays an important role in your life. He was a gift provided to us from Jesus to help us live the life we are called to live. Because the Holy Spirit is the least understood part of the God-head, many Christians tend to be afraid of it. My pastor says, “The Holy Spirit isn’t weird. People are weird.” Because of how the Holy Spirit has been represented by so many through the years, we tend to shy away from talking about it or incorporating His gifts into our lives.

Because of that, I believe so many of us are missing out on the fullness of the life that God has for us. Today, I want to bring scriptures in the Bible that describe the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives. The New Testament is full of verses to help us understand and incorporate this integral part of our Christian walk. My hope is that each of us will live our lives to the fullest through the Holy Spirit as we know Him and His role in our lives.

1. But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.
Acts 1:8 AMPC

2. The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.
John 14:26 GNT

3. But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!
Jude 1:20-21 MSG

4. And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
Romans 8:26 NLT

5. We have not received this world’s spirit; instead, we have received the Spirit sent by God, so that we may know all that God has given us. So then, we do not speak in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, as we explain spiritual truths to those who have the Spirit. Whoever does not have the Spirit cannot receive the gifts that come from God’s Spirit. Such a person really does not understand them, and they seem to be nonsense, because their value can be judged only on a spiritual basis.
1 Corinthians 2:12-14 GNT

6. “For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice]. So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].
Romans 8:3-4 AMPC

7. So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
Galatians 5:16 NLT

8. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.
1 John 2:27 NLT

9. But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].
Galatians 5:22-23 AMPC

10. The Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people, and this assures us that God will give complete freedom to those who are his. Let us praise his glory!
Ephesians 1:14 GNT

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Effective Replication 

Have you ever wished you could be at two places at one time? It’s a struggle all too real in today’s world. Living in the digital world has made us busier than ever and away from our homes more. It’s become difficult to meet all our obligations that we have for our families who are spread out and have spread us thin. We are coaches, chauffeurs, tutors, chefs, counselors, encouragers, and guardians for our kids. It’s exhausting. If only we could replicate ourselves, we could be more effective. 

We like to think we are the only generation who has wanted or needed to replicate ourselves, but it’s an age old problem. In fact, Jesus experienced it. Think about all the walking around Israel He did. Everywhere He went, there were people who needed His healing touch, His compassion, and His wisdom. Huge crowds followed Him and people were constantly asking Him to go to their town to heal their loved one. 

Sometimes He walked there, and other times He spoke the word and they were Healed from afar. After three years of ministry, Jesus realized what needed to happen. He couldn’t be as effective as He wanted to be in physical form. Since people needed help everywhere, He needed up be everywhere. So in John 14:16 He said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever” (AMP).

Just like our kids need us to be many things for them, we need Him to be many things for us. He’s not just our savior. He’s our comforter, counselor, helper, intercessor, advocate, and strengthener on standby for us. Jesus went to the Father so He could send the Spirit in order to meet the needs of everyone, not just a few. Whatever you need God to be for you today, He’ll be it. You simply need to ask Him. He’s more than our savior. He’s our everything. 

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Open Spaces

Years ago, when I lived in Cairo, I would often go to a man’s home in the desert to ride horses. One of his horses was a beautiful Arabian, and I loved to take her out in the open desert and run her as fast as she could go. Every once in a while, I would come up over a hill and she would see the pyramid of Saqqara. Immediately she would go into a trance like state and start walking towards it. She wouldn’t respond to the bridle pulls I gave her. I usually had to dismount her, pull her, and sometimes whip her with the training stick to pull her out of that trance so we could keep riding.

Since she was little, her owner would take her to the pyramid for tourists to ride her and take photos with her. She was conditioned to go to the pyramids. She was a lot like us. We are born into sin and are often put into a trance like state when we see certain things that call out to that nature in us. The Holy Spirit in us calls to us to tell us it’s wrong. He tries to pull us away, blind us, and does whatever is necessary to get our attention to pull us away from the temptation.

The Lord wants to teach us a better way. He wants to show us how to live and where to go so we can enjoy the freedom of open spaces. He doesn’t want us to live in that hypnotic state controlled by our sinful nature. He wants to set us free to allow us to live the way He intended from the beginning. To do that, we have to listen to what He says and follow Him without having to be pulled away from temptation at whatever cost.

In Psalm 32:8 the LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you” (NLT). He wants to listen to His voice so He can simply teach us where to go in life and how to live. He doesn’t want to have to treat us like that horse. Verse 9 says, “Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” If we are willing to listen, God is giving us freedom to run. If we aren’t, He will use what’s necessary to get us where He wants us to go. 

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Leaving The Doldrums

Not long after Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, other ships began to make the voyage across the pond. Several ships noticed a strange phenomenon as they sailed near the equator. There was very little wind and ships would drift there for weeks or months. In time, this area of the ocean became known as the doldrums. Sailors avoided it because they didn’t take the provisions to survive a trip that got stuck there for a long period. It was a place of stagnation, depression and death which is why it became known as the doldrums.

There are times in life when you and I sail into the doldrums. Everything seems to be going fine, we are moving along and then the wind stops. We begin to float along. We get stuck and can’t seem to get out of the place we are in. It often seems like God has forgotten us. We question ourselves and what we could have done to cause God to leave us in this place. I’ve seen people stay in these types of doldrums for years not knowing how to escape. It seems like their prayers to put wind back in their sails are falling on deaf ears, but that’s not the case.

If you read the first part of Acts, the disciples had been in the doldrums since the crucifixion of Jesus. They had moments where Jesus would appear to them, but when He left, they would feel just as stuck as before. On one of those occasions Jesus spoke to them and said, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift He promised as I told you before. (Acts 1:4 NLT).” Wait? For how long? How could Jesus leave them adrift in the doldrums? It was a dangerous time to be in Jerusalem. Just 40 days before, Jesus had been killed and they feared they were next.

They met in the Upper Room and prayed for the next ten days as they waited. Then Acts 2:2 says, “Suddenly there was a sound from Heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. (NLT)” God sent the wind of the Holy Spirit to fill their sails and push them out of the doldrums. That wind pushed them and the message of Jesus all over the world. They were no longer stuck in their depression and doubt. They were revived and renewed because they waited on the Lord in prayer.

If you’re stuck in the doldrums, let me encourage you not to give up. Wait on the Lord in prayer and ask for Him to send the Wind of the Holy Spirit into your life. I’m talking about spending some serious time in prayer. The disciples prayed and waited in one place until God answered. We need to do the same thing. We need to commit to praying not just a one or two sentence prayer, but an active, waiting on God all day kind of prayer if we truly want out of the doldrums. We need to wait on the Lord until He answers. Be prepared though. When that rushing, mighty wind blows into your life, God will take you farther than you ever dreamed possible.

One final thought: The doldrums are where hurricanes originate from. What seems like a windless place is where God launches the most powerful forces.

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Be Ordinary

We are raised hearing stories about great men and women of history. We have movies that encapsulate their lives in just a few hours. There are thousands of books that tell of their struggles. We also create Superheroes to further train our brains that we must be super or great in order to accomplish anything in history. While that may be mostly true according to this world’s standards, it’s not by God’s standard. He’s ok with you being ordinary. He doesn’t need you to be Super or great in order to change the world.

In Acts 4, Peter and John spent the night in jail for healing a crippled man and preaching that Jesus was the way to Heaven. The next morning, they were brought before the High Priest and the religious council. Knowing the answer, they asked the question, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, stood up and boldly spoke to them about Jesus. Verse 13 says, “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures.”

Peter and John were fishermen before they followed Jesus. That was the low wage, manual labor of their time. Their job required long, hard hours, not an education. People were always surprised when they spoke because no one expects greatness from ordinary. It was the same in Acts 2 when they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues. Acts 2:7-8 says, “And they were all beside themselves in amazement, saying, “Are not all these who are talking Galileans? Then how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own particular dialect to which we were born? (AMP)” No one expected these Galilean fisherman to know anything about the Scriptures, much less to be able to speak another language correctly.

When our lives are controlled by the Holy Spirit, our lives become great. We get a boldness to do things we’ve never been able to do. We speak like we’ve never spoken before. The Holy Spirit can make an ordinary life an extraordinary life. Don’t hold yourself back from ministering to others because you don’t have the education. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your faith because you don’t think you know enough about the Bible. Peter and John were in your shoes yet they spoke with boldness through the Holy Spirit.

God chose these uneducated men and women to turn the world upside down. If He can do that, He can use you. It’s ok to be ordinary because God uses ordinary people everyday. Don’t preclude yourself from God’s plan because you don’t think He can do anything with you. He can use your brokenness to heal someone else. He can use your simplicity to confound the wise. He can take what little you think you have to offer and do great things. It just takes you being willing to get past your excuses and to allow God to do His work through you. Let Him take your ordinary and do extraordinary things.


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Learning To Worship

A few years ago I heard John Bevere say, “Worship is not a slow song.” That’s always stuck with me. We associate it with music because of the genre of music, but worship is more than what you do in church on Sunday during the singing portion of the service. Worship can be an act, an action that you do in reverence to who God is. You can worship God through giving offerings, through serving someone in need, by being still in a busy world and listening to what He says. There are so many ways to worship, but ultimately it has to be part of who you are.

When I think about worship, Job comes to mind. I think back to where he lost all of his kids, all of his animals and all of the things he had that gave him security. When all of that happened, he fell to the ground and worshiped. He didn’t sing the latest song from Hillsong United. He laid prostrate before God, and blessed His name. He recognized who he was in comparison to God and recognized that everything he had been given came from God. He honored God through his words and actions. Scripture even says, “In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.” He chose to worship instead of to blame.

I know it’s crazy, but while I was thinking about all of this, I asked Siri to define worship. She said, “Love unquestioningly and uncritically.” I was blown away because that’s exactly what Job did. He loved God unquestioningly through the darkest time any human has had to endure. When others were critical of God or his response, he remained in that attitude of worship. When his wife said, “Curse God and die,” he defended God. She asked him to give up his integrity, but he refused. Worship wasn’t just something to do when slow music was playing and everything was going right. It was a lifestyle he lived.

Each of us as believers have to get to the point where worship becomes who we are and not what we do. It has to be built into the fibers of our being so we honor God when hard times come instead of blaming Him. It has to come from our heart instead of our head so that it has meaning. It can’t be just something we do when the lights are low, the music is soft and God’s presence is overwhelming. It has to be something we do when we are sitting in traffic that’s making us late. It has to be something we do on Sunday morning when others are making you late for church. It has to be something you do when you’re hit with the worst news possible.

If you’re like me, you’ve got some room to grow in this area. I had to confess to God that worship isn’t my first response when things aren’t going my way. I also prayed that He would help me to make worship part of who I am as a person. I need it to be so deep inside of me that no matter what happens to me in life, I will choose to worship God. Take time today to ask God to help you worship Him in different areas of your life. Take worship beyond the doors of the church and make it what you do every day.


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Times Of Transition

Transitions in life are hard. They mean that one part of your life’s story is over and a new one is about to begin. They are the space between where faith is tested and fear fights to creep in. They are a temporary no man’s land that we have to walk through in order to grow. As we walk through them, it’s hard to see what’s coming next. The territory is so unknown to is that we put our attention and focus on the transition rather than on where we’re being transitioned to. We question God’s providence in our situation during these times.

I remember one of the first lessons I learned working in a child care center was with transitions. Kids hated transitions as much as adults. I learned that if I told them we were going to be making a change in activities in a few minutes, it would give them time to finish what they were doing and to prepare mentally for what was coming next. Now, when I talk to sales reps, I talk to them about transitions in the sale. It’s important for the buyer to know where they are in the sale and what’s coming next. I even encourage them to share with the buyer the why behind the transition.

As I’ve thought about all of that, I started wishing God would give us the warnings about transitions approaching in our lives and the why’s behind them. As I prayed about it, God reminded me how many times Jesus told the disciples what was going to happen to Him in Jerusalem and why. They never heard a word of it and were shocked in the Garden of Gethsemane. They entered a time of transition between having Jesus walk with them daily and having the Holy Spirit coming as their guide. Like us, they were confused, frightened and wondered where God was in the transition.

God speaks to each of us daily. He says things we ignore or don’t want to hear so we block Him. We use our selective hearing when He speaks of things that scare us. The disciples heard Jesus tell them about the transition, but they weren’t listening. Even when we know a transition is coming, it’s still natural to be scared. We’re afraid of change. The last few years have taught me that change is necessary for growth. When we fight it, we fight growing, we fight the future God had for us and we fight God’s will. Our times of transition help prepare us for the change. They grow our faith and trust in God’s plan for our life. It’s something we can only see when we take the time to look back.

Imagine if Peter and the others had stayed locked up in their house and never went to the upper room. Out of 500 people whom Jesus told to go and wait, only 120 made it through the transition. They were tough enough to stick it out and trusted that God had something more on the other side of the transition. As He did for them, so He does for you. God has something greater for you on the other side of this time of transition. It may take longer than you expected, but hang on. The reward will be worth it. The growth you will experience will be like no other time in your life. Don’t give up in the time of transition. Hold strong to your faith and trust God to see you through.


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Strong Enough To Overcome

I’ve been reading in the book of Joshua about the land allotment given to each tribe of Israel. You know the part where, like the genealogy sections, we typically skip over. I saw something interesting in Joshua 17:12-13. It says, “The people of Manasseh never were able to take over these towns – the Canaanites wouldn’t budge. But later, when the Israelites got stronger, they put the Canaanites to forced labor. But they never did get rid of them.” They couldn’t get rid of a few people in a few towns even after all the great conquests in the Promised Land.

As I read this, I began to think of the sins that I have in my life. You know the type. They’re the ones that no matter what I do, I can’t seem to beat. No matter how hard I try, I still succumb to their temptation every time. I’ve done fasting and prayer to get strong enough to beat them out of my life, but they still keep showing up. I’ll see something in the day that starts the process. My thoughts begin to dwell on the things that will eventually lead to the sin and sooner or later I fall. Sound familiar?

Near the last part of that verse, it says that they forced the Canaanites into forced labor when they became strong enough. When I read that, I thought of II Corinthians 10:5 that says, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” It’s our thoughts that keep the temptation alive in our heads that walk us down the road to sin. I’m not strong enough to drive out those thoughts and so I end up sinning. But here, Paul says we have divine power to demolish the strongholds in our lives.

There is a power beyond ourselves, in Christ, that can give us the power to take those thoughts captive and as the book of Joshua says, “put them into forced labor.” When we try to combat these thoughts in our own strength, there isn’t enough power. Those thoughts seem to be fortified against whatever we throw at it. They’re like the Canaanites in Joshua 17:16. The people of Joseph complained that they didn’t have enough land because the Canaanites had iron chariots and couldn’t be moved.

Joshua didn’t care about the iron chariots. He wasn’t looking at this as a physical struggle, but a spiritual one. He spoke into the tribe what they were that they couldn’t see. He saw what God sees when He looks at us. In verses 17-18 he told them, “you are very powerful” and even tough the Canaanites had iron chariots and were strong too, “you can drive them out.” He spoke into their lives and called out in them what God had put in them. He reminded them of their past victories and current realities.

You may see yourself like these two tribes. You’ve forgotten all that God has forgiven and delivered you from. You have strongholds in your life that you’ve allowed to remain because you haven’t seen yourself as strong enough to beat them. You’ve allowed them to shame you and to accept them in your mind. I’m telling you today that you are strong enough to overcome. You are powerful through the Holy Spirit that God has placed in you. If He has forgiven you and given you deliverance from other sins, He can give you the strength to beat the ones you’re struggling with today. Though they seem fortified with iron, God’s Word is more powerful and it is alive in you today. Bring those thoughts into captivity and drive them out of your mind’s landscape. You are very strong.



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Spiritual Fever

My son has had a fever for a couple of days now. Like most parents, our first thought was to grab some Motrin or Tylenol to bring it down. My next thought was, “What’s causing the fever?” Fever is a symptom that something else is going on. It’s the body’s defense mechanism to fight infections. It creates a hostile environment for infections to grow in and it triggers the body to produce more white blood cells that fight infections. Low grade fever is not the problem. It’s an indicator that something else is wrong.

If I treat the fever and not the real problem, I can prolong his sickness. I end up stopping the one thing that truly is fighting the infection. It makes me wonder what “fever” looks like in my spiritual life. What are the indicators that something is wrong in my life? When they show up, do I try to mask them or get rid of them without treating the root cause? Or do I dismiss them all together?

The Holy Spirit works In our lives as an indicator of when something is wrong. If I’m being tempted or in a bad situation, He starts going off like an alarm. Warning me that I’m in danger. When I’ve sinned, He indicates that I need to repent. In John 16, Jesus was introducing us to the Holy Spirit. In verse 8, He said, “When He comes, He will convict the world of its sin.” It’s up to each one of us to decide what to do with the indicators He gives us.

Sometimes we choose to dismiss them. We say, “I’m all right. I can handle this.” That’s when we refuse to listen to His indications that something is wrong. We figure we’ll let the situation run its course. What happens is we don’t get better, the situation gets worse and we get deeper into whatever it is than we intended. By ignoring the indications of the Holy Spirit, we pass on the cure.

We need to recognize the indicators and then respond to them. The Holy Spirit tells us when we’ve sinned and helps us to get back into a right relationship with God. Our response to His promptings should be repentance. Seek forgiveness from whatever it is and then treat the root cause of the sin. If we only treat sin at the surface level, we’ll relapse and fall back into it. Let the Holy Spirit do His work to create a hostile environment in you for sin and to eradicate the infection of it.

What are the indicators He gives you? How have you ignored them in the past? What do you need o do differently in the future when He prompts you? How we respond to the Holy Spirit determines our overall spiritual health. We need to respond quickly and do the things necessary to stay healthy spiritually. Don’t dismiss the indicators that God has given us to keep us healthy.

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The Snooze Button

If you’re like me, you love the snooze button on your alarm. Somehow I feel like I’m pulling a fast one on my body and I am really getting extra sleep. I have mine set to a maximum of five snoozes. On that one, there is no option to hit snooze anymore. It’s just a red “X” on my screen. I have to get up. I have to get out of bed and get ready for work. There other days where it goes off and I don’t remember hitting snooze or hearing the alarm and I wake up late.

Sometimes we treat the Holy Spirit like a snooze alarm. He comes to warn us of approaching sin or danger and we push Him away. He comes right back telling us to run or change our course, but we don’t listen or we tell Him, “I’ll be all right. Just a few more minutes wont hurt.” Eventually, we quit hearing Him because we’ve become immune to the sound of His voice warning us.

There is a war going on inside each of us. The Holy Spirit is wanting us to live one way and our flesh another. We get to choose who we hit the snooze on. Paul put it this way in Galatians 5:16, “But I say, walk and live habitually in the Holy Spirit (responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit); then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh.” He asks us in verse 18, “Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit?”

The Holy Spirit is in our lives to point us to living the way God desires for us to live. His desire is to produce the kind of fruit in our lives that comes from living God’s way. Those fruit are listed in verses 22 and 23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Why would we ever want to push the snooze button when it comes to developing these? These are the qualities God desires to bring out in each one of us.

Paul also makes it clear what fruits come when we snooze the Holy Spirit and choose our flesh. In verses 19-21, some of the fruits he lists are: an accumulation of mental and emotional garbage, paranoid loneliness, all consuming yet never satisfied wants, a brutal temper, divided homes and divided lives and the habit of die personalizing everyone into a rival. These are the things that living according to the flesh produces. There is a clear difference between the two.

Understand that fruit is the end product. When the choices are presented, you don’t see the fruit that will bear from your decision. If you were presented with the end product, it would be easy to choose the Holy Spirit every time. That’s why Paul spelled it out this way. He knew we would see the choices before us and not think of what the end result would be. He knew our internal, fleshly desire is to snooze the Holy Spirit. When we look at the fruit that each choice bears, it should make our choice easier. Who are you going to snooze today?

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