Saturday, January 09, 2010

New Year, New Spirit

Last month we celebrated Christmas, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately for many people the story ends there. However, Jesus went on to live 33 sinless years, sacrifice His life on the cross and on the third day He rose from the dead according to the Scriptures.

Hopefully you received some nice gifts for Christmas. Over 2000 years ago, God gave us the very best gift ever given. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 Before ascending into heaven, Jesus promised another divine gift, the Holy Spirit. "He gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." Acts 1:4,5

On the day of Pentecost (50 days after Jesus' resurrection) the promise of the Holy Spirit was realized. When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4 Then Peter stood before the crowd in Jerusalem and preached the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Over 3000 people became Christians that day.

Just like the original disciples, when we choose to make Jesus Lord of our lives, we receive His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the down payment for our coming redemption and inheritance. "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:13, 14

We are all God creatures, but not all of us are God's children. The Holy Spirit gives us the assurance that we belong to Him. "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." Romans 8:16 Do you have that assurance? The Holy Spirit is also the one that brings conviction in our lives. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment." John 16:7, 8 Later in that same passage (16:13) Jesus informs us that The Spirit will be our Counselor and Teacher. "When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth."

Sometimes we want to pray and the words won't come. Other times we just don't know the right words to say but the Holy Spirit is our silent prayer partner. "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." Romans 8:26, 27

We live in a hurting world and the Holy Spirit is the one who comforts us in our pain. Before He left his disciples Jesus said, "I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." John 14:16, 17

We are to give freely from what God gives to us. He comforts us so that we can return the favor to those around us who are hurting. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4

It's a new year, time for a new beginning. God doesn't want you to try to make it alone in this world. You can have the comfort, peace, wisdom, guidance and strength of His Holy Spirit today. Just talk to Him and tell Him you believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and allow Him to have control of your life. He loves you and has your best interest in mind. Today is the day!

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