Tag Archive | holy spirit

The One Needful Prayer

Some people think it’s a cop out to pray a simple prayer like this. My thought is, if it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me. Here are a few more considerations related to the idea:

http://www.at-the-crossroad.com/430065897/4468286/posting/the-one-needful-prayer

Hope you like the visual too!

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Praying in Christ’s Victory

Fear Not.png

When it comes to the very real dangers in our world today, it involves more than “keeping on the sunny side” with a positive attitude or a stiff upper lip. Christians have become the target of entrenched diabolical forces which know that their strangle hold over this world is being divinely pried from their clutches. This is very much like a confrontation with a cornered animal; it may get out its strongest most cunning survival tactics as a last effort. We need to realize first of all that the “animal” is supernaturally cornered, although it would have us perceive that it grows stronger with every snap of the jaw and swipe of the claw!

That’s the “bad news” in a nutshell. Eschatologically, however, this view gives us a higher perspective of events in progress, which is something greatly needed first of all, appearances to the contrary. So, what’s the “good news”?

What’s clear is that we need to know how to move through the bad news in a transcendent way, to learn to navigate through this tempest. Who am I? Where am I? How do I get though this? These answers are available for the continual asking, seeking, and knocking – within the context of the full counsel of Scripture.

Once understanding is given, we then need to learn to pray within it. Understanding comes from an enlightened consideration of scriptural truth, not vague begging, but knowing who and where we are in Christ, as well as why we are now here. Affirming and proclaiming what is becomes our testimony whereby the adversary is overcome. “What is” in Jesus is truth! Not what I will, but as Thou will, Lord.

The following (bold italicized) is an example which may be helpful. Emotions can trip us up when we feel down. So we pray by scriptural fact and faith! Feelings often change following the exercise of faithfully affirming our truth in Christ! It is good to pray like this thoughtfully and frequently.

Heavenly Father,
I thank You that You have given me all pardon and peace
through Jesus Christ.
You have granted to me all Your power and protection
over the evil one and the world;
You provide for all my need,
in the midst of all circumstances.

You grant me
full and unrestrained access
to Your infinite love and goodness at all times,
within You – omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient-
so that I may lead a godly life
full of Your joy unspeakable,
abundance, graciousness, and glory.

Please let ever increasing measures
of all blessings within this immeasurable greatness
be revealed, released, and restored to me.
Lord it is so, according to Your word,
that the triumph of Jesus Christ
over sin, death, and the devil
is Your desire
for all who believe in You.

Please let every blessing
with which You bless us in heavenly places
be manifest now,
according to Your promises,
and according to the working of Your great might,
Heavenly Father, which You worked
in Christ Jesus
when You raised Him from the dead
and seated Him at Your right hand, and us with Him!
(Ephesians 1:19,20; 2:6,7)

Come, Holy Spirit;
Please work within me and in my life
all that the Father has for me,
through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
in Whom I live, move, and have my being,
now and forever. Amen.

When we have access to divine power over all evil to this degree – for Christ has given us direct access to the Father – what shall we fear? If the Lord truly is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27). Simple. In Christ

I fear nothing and no one!
And it is this I proclaim,
for the Blood of the Lamb has made it so.

The weapons of our warfare are not of mortal thought or design, nor are they of this world, but rather are mighty in God to the tearing down of adversarial strongholds, and casting down the vain imaginations of everything exalting itself against the Most High. (2 Corinthians 10:4,5)

Psalm 27 in itself is mighty prayer, especially when prayed aloud, contemplatively, and personally! This way we can acknowledge and invoke the protection and power of God.

Praying the Psalms aloud each night before going to sleep (5 at a time, allowing for one complete “Psalm cycle” per month, give or take a few) can be very efficacious. Many of these (but not all) were written and probably sung by King David, who was also a gifted musician.

Through these, David shows us how to pray and praise, never allowing defeat or depression to set in or overtake one’s mind. As a king, he reveals to us – through the powerful praying found in the Psalms – the divine dynamo behind the life he lived. His example reveals to us how we can reign, within the power of God, in the life He sent us here to live and to enjoy in His strength.

David may have had his setbacks, but he never settled for defeat. There is never anything short of victory, joy unspeakable, and full of glory written in this mighty collection of hymns and prayers. They are full of proclamations about how God’s love can be abundantly powerful in life!

Jesus also encourages us with His promise (John 16:33), saying, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

If ever we’ve needed the understanding of the truth about who we are and where we are “positioned” spiritually in Christ, that time is now. Praying the psalms and also reflecting on the life of King David can keep us mindful of what we need to understand and embrace: that we can be people of victory who “reign over giants” in life, even reducing them to nothing, by first being people who walk by truth and faith.

Godspace

Have you ever felt so dreadfully alone, trying to fill up that empty inner space of your heart with things and people that definitely may not be the best choices, and may even be destructive? And the harder you try, the more messed up things tend to be.

That may be a good thing, believe it or not.

As I look back nearly forty years on the path Jesus has called me to walk with Him – especially to its beginnings – sometimes I think of that empty inner space as a gift that had its purpose: it was God’s way of letting me feel my own distance from Him.  It was like always looking across the table at an empty chair when having dinner by yourself. Who is supposed to be sitting in that chair? No other has really fit into it.

But then one day there was a knock on the door of my heart… The Caller had to come back often. He had to be persistent before I answered. And yet there was a point when I had to give up the fear of what the Caller might imply for my lonely, unhappy life. Eventually, when kicked around enough by all the things and people who did not belong in that empty chair, when I got weary enough of all of them, I answered that persistent knocking. I realized that the implication was that the only thing I was giving up was messing up. It was worth surrendering that  to Him!

Friend, has He come calling at the door of your heart?

When Jesus comes, that “Godspace”, that empty space, that vacant chair at the table, is filled up with Him, because it’s supposed to be. That’s why it’s there. It’s the place made for Christ Jesus alone. No one else – nothing else – belongs there. He entreats you, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)

He probably doesn’t care if the table is set perfectly, or even if the dishes match. Or even if some of them were left in the sink from lunch. It doesn’t matter to Him if there’s a stain on the tablecloth, or if there’s a hole in it, or even if there is no tablecloth. He will smile when He sees the chair left just for Him.

He simply wants the pleasure of your company and for you to get to know Him.

Grace Alone!

If by our own self efforts or religious works we think we can “produce” the fruit of the Spirit, it’s essentially counterfeit fruit, a crop failure, so to speak. It may amount to, at best, no more than humanistic philanthropic effort.

This is also the “righteousness” which the Bible calls filthy rags. Works of the flesh.

Yet “… we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Cor 4:7. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us in the fulness of Christ.

Sometimes I think it takes awhile for a disciple to understand the whole idea of what Grace implies – often because Grace is not presented in its completeness in many churches, but as the way to “get saved”, that initial experience.

But then what?

Are we not the temples not made with hands in which God the Holy Spirit takes up His residence and does His work – moving on from the moment of being saved, then through sanctification, on to glorification? And it’s all by grace.

As Paul says Romans 1, “That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Greek. For the gospel reveals the righteousness of God that comes by faith from start to finish, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Seems like words at times are never enough. But it is a good idea to be able to articulate the meanings of the Faith.

“…the righteousness of God that comes by faith from start to finish…” interesting way to put it, via Berean Study Bible.

Or, as in KJV, “from faith to faith.”

The “Name” of Jesus Christ: In His Authority

We Stand in His Stead, As His Body, Administrating The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth!

This is actually what it means to be a Christian – to not only represent but to embody Christ through the Holy Spirit on earth. It is not a simplistic thing. It is a powerful calling, with a two fold intention 1) of destroying the works of the devil: “… The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil”. (1 John 3:8). And 2) “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12)

Let’s repeat that: Jesus came to destroy the works (power / authority of the devil and all its manifestations), and make us into sons of God. If we keep these two purposes in mind, a lot of puzzling things fall into place when we read and contemplate the Holy Scriptures.

Jesus prayed for a divinely empowered Church which would stand on Earth against the evil one and all his works “in His Name” – in His authority, in His stead. It does not come from us; it comes from Him. His “High Priestly Prayer” – His last word before His arrest and crucifixion, was a prayer for the bestowal of this on His people:

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:22-24)

The Apostle Paul reveals to us that the Father raised us up and seated us in Christ Jesus in heavenly places! We are co-participants in Him through His crucifixion, resurrection, and His ascension into Heaven. We perceive ourselves in this way with the eyes of faith – as in Him in all these events of His Passion.

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)

This is not just so we can go on a big power trip, or have a “God complex”, but so that we are also aware that our old sin nature is dead in Him, first of all. Out with the bad and old, in with the good and new – all “in” Jesus. In Jesus’ Passion (His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit), we have access to complete victory over sin, self, Satan and his system of this world.

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”(Galatians 5:24)

We reckon it so and live in what we reckon.

In the “Great Commission” as Jesus was about to ascend, His final reminder was about His authority, and it is in this authority – in His Name – that we’re to go forth and teach all nations to observe all that He commands. Why? Because through us He is calling souls out of the dominion of darkness into His kingdom to be restored as sons of God!

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

The Role of Suffering

The foregoing understanding of Jesus’ name and authority brings meaning and purpose to life’s challenges, adversities, and suffering. This is the part that many today do not wish to acknowledge: the Lord’s disciplining of those He is transforming into sons.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) “And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ – if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:17)

“For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastises everyone He receives as a son.” Endure suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?… (Hebrews 12:6,7)

“And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ – if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him. I consider that our present sufferings are not comparable to the glory that will be revealed IN us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the revelation of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:17-19)

God will use everything that happens in life for our good! Not just the parts that feel good. Just as gold or other precious metals cannot be purified without the refiner’s fire, so we too spiritually require a similar process spiritually. This is not popular thought in today’s “name it, frame it, and claim it” formula Christianity. To our Heavenly Father we are golden. Yet it remains that the impurities must be removed, and we must also be forged into vessels for holy purpose.

These are just a few basic thoughts on the Name of Jesus. It could be summed up thus and affirmed in this way: If Jesus says that all power (authority to reign) in heaven and on earth is given to Him, and I am in Christ Jesus as a participant in His sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension, and if I live, move, and have my being in Him, then I can speak to all things “in His Name” – on behalf of His authority over all of life.

Thus we need to remember to “Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thessalonians 5:17)

Take these things to heart. Ponder them often. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the wisdom in these verses and to expand your understanding of them. Our Lord never refuses wisdom to anyone who asks. It does not happen overnight, however, so persevere.

People talk about “being born again”. That is only where it starts, but so many stop there due to popular shallow teaching. One can, however, look to an Old Testament type concerning this. The process can be stated simply this way: A slave could be set free from Egypt overnight, but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of the slave. For that they were sent wandering in the wilderness, to be prepared for receiving the Promised Land.

You might get free of the devil, in other words, but it takes awhile to get the devil out of you – in a manner of speaking. This inner work of “sonship reconstruction” is done by the sovereign hand of God Himself. We only pray, surrendering our will, “Come, Lord Jesus. They will be done.” And so we show up for work. His work in us by grace.

Becoming Other

(Prefacing remark: This is not a stamp of approval on any humanistic or trans – humanist means of “self alteration”. It is rather the offering of personal insights on the nature of inner transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit.)

I think people tend to cubbyhole each other. We change, transform, “shape shift”, become “other”. Sometimes acquaintances at one point in life know you as a seed, another time as a sprout, then as a tree – to use a nature metaphor. They see you as a role, a job, a stereotype, a trait by which they identify you, or through the filters of their own perceptions. Some may mourn the passing of their image of you. Some may be downright angry about it. But you know – this is what I am just now. I cannot be what you want me to be.

They may be mildly to profoundly disappointed that you are not what you were in former days, that you no longer view things from the same perspectives you did 5, 10, 20 or more years ago. Maybe even 6 months! Or you may not have much in common anymore as far as your spirituality, politics, or interests. Some refuse to see you as other than what they want you to be. But you are no longer “birds of a feather.” And there can be many forces that contribute to this.

I have run into people who have not recognized me, who knew me “back in the day” – whichever of the “days” of my creation or metamorphosis it may have been – because I am not “that” anymore. And in a number of instances, this is an agreeable thing. I walked away from those encounters marveling – and smiling that I was “cloaked” – not by my own hand or design, but because the Supernal Creator brought me through phases where I became other, and it is perhaps a protective mechanism for His Work in those moments.

Sometimes “other” is perceived as beautiful, bold, or brave. Sometimes “other” is perceived as “You are an enigma to me.” Or even, “How dare you mangle my image of you!”

So be it. Creation is messy. You may have walked into the Supernal Studio at a peculiarly messy moment of monumental metamorphosis. God sees the vision of the outcome. This is what matters. “For we are His creatures who are created in Yeshua The Messiah for good works, those things which God had from the first prepared that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 -Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

“Pardon my mess – still under construction”, says the sign on the door. I just show up for work. I am the work. And the work is His through the power of grace. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)