MAY 21,2020 – ASCENSION DAY

Maybe like me you did not grow up in a branch of the church which celebrates the Ascension of Christ. But maybe, especially in our current pandemic reality we should.

See Acts 1:1-14 The New Living Translation — My comments inserted

1 In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God. 4 Once when he was eating with them, (SO NATURAL TO CONTINUE THE TEACHING MINISTRY OVER A MEAL — JUST LIKE THE BEFORE THE CROSS DAY!) he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. (I DON’T THINK THEY COULD IMAGINE WHAT THIS BAPTISM WOULD DO TO THEM but BUT THEY DID OBEY)

6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. (IN OTHER WORDS GOD IS INTO SURPRISES BECAUSE WE COULDN’T HANDLE KNOWING THE END OF THE AGE BUT ALSO THE BIG LESSON IS TO BE ALERT, PREPARED, READY TO STEP UP AT ANY MOMENT) 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Wait in Jerusalem and then go tell everyone. What can God use our time of waiting to accomplish in us? Since we now have the Spirit are we telling people what God has done?)

9 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. 10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. (No it is not weird, and no that was not me jumping when these clean cut guys show up right beside me. So let’s obey his last instructions — wait and then witness) 11“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” 12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile. 

13 When they arrived, they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying. Here are the names of those who were present: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the zealot), and Judas (son of James). 14 They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. (After these ladies were shown to be so deeply in love with Jesus that they were at the cross and were the first to see the risen Lord they were now part of the team. I like The Message right here, “They agreed they were in this for good, completely together in prayer …” (So they are committed for life! They are ALL in. The pandemic or persecution may force them to rethink how they share a witness of the good news. They will learn by Acts 9 that no part what hurdles they will face the Holy Spirit will empower them and equip them with the words and fill with the love of Jesus for the task they are focused on.)

Keep your eyes on Jesus and when you cannot see Him then why not just focus on his last words. His very present Spirit will show us the HOW? and the WHAT? is our mission until Jesus returns.

How to Love God Every Day!

Robertson McQuilkin accepts Lifetime of Service Award

It was FALL 2012 — I was teaching a course at Columbia Int University entitled: Principles of the Christian Life: Ethics and Sanctification.

Robertson McQuilkin created this course during his presidency and his book on ethics and his book on the Holy Spirit came out of class handouts used with several generations of students.  I had the privilege of being one of those students in 1978.

Now, 2012, I was asked to teach the course — a double honor.  Robertson believed that ethics, what we should choose, and sanctification, walking in the power of the Spirit so we can choose well, needed to be together in one course.  As far as I know CIU is the only school that frames the teaching of ethics in that way.

I invited Robertson to come as a guest to share how he practiced his daily love time with God and to answer questions from the students at a halfway point in the course.  This 13 minute video is lifted from that class.  Enjoy — and think about your alone time with the Grand Lover of your soul.

Click Here To View Video

Cultivate Your Friendship With the Holy Spirit

Take a small card that you can carry with you in your pocket.
Write on it, “Cultivate His presence!”
Or have it set as a reminder to go off on your cell phone or tablet every 2 hours.  For one week from 8 am to 8 pm look for ways to acquaint yourself with the one who wants to be with you for eternity.
Inspired by this quote from A W Tozer
Cultivate the art of recognizing the presence of the Spirit everywhere.  Get acquainted with the Holy Spirit and then begin to cultivate his presence. When you wake in the morning, in place of burying your heard behind the Tribune, couldn’t you get in just a few thoughts of God while your eat your grapefruit?
Remember, cultivating the Holy Ghost’s acquaintance is a job.  It is something you do, and yet is so easy and delightful. . . 
Purchase ON THE HOLY SPIRIT (365 devotions from the writings of A W Tozer) by clicking here.

How Are You Decorating Your Heart?

You learn so much about someone when you visit in their home and walk around looking at photos on the wall, decorative items brought from their travels, and the color scheme they use to leave their print on the dwelling.  NOW think of your heart as the dwelling of the Spirit.  And we hear his knocking and open the door he comes in to fellowship with us. (see Rev. 3:20)
God has give me some responsibility in furnishing and decorating the heart.  Are there any posters I would take down if Jesus lived in me?  Is there an inner complaining and judging that pulls the shades on the sunshine of his grace and mercy?  Maybe this quote by A.W. Tozer will help us realize that the spiritual disciplines are not just for me — they are for my “roommate” as well.
 Make your thoughts a clean sanctuary. To God our thoughts are things.  Our thoughts are the decorations inside the sanctuary  where we live.  If our thoughts are purified by the blood of Christ, we are living in a clean  room no matter if we are wearing overalls covered with grease.
Your thoughts pretty much decide the mood and weather and climate inside your heart, and God considers your thoughts as part of you. . . . Therefore, if you would cultivate the Spirit’s acquaintance, you must get hold of your thoughts and not allow your mind to be a wilderness in which every kind of unclean beast rooms and bird flies.  You must have clean heart.
Found in A W Tozer ON THE HOLY SPIRIT  (365 devotions selected from his writings)  (Click Here to Purchase from Amazon)

Why does the Church often ignore the Holy Spirit?

When I teach on the Holy Spirit a question I often encounter is, “Why do so many churches seem to ignore the Holy Spirit?”
Maybe this verse gives us some of the answer.
 

Galatians 4:6 (ESV)  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be one of the disciples when Jesus was walking around?  To eat with him, shop with him, lay down to sleep in the same room with him —- how great!  Or would it?  How often do I want to be like Adam and Eve in the garden and cover up and hide.  Do I REALLY want Jesus close by ALL the time?
Since the Spirit is “the Spirit of his Son” that is exactly what is true.  To all indwelt by the Spirit — Jesus is with me and in me all of the time.  If I seek to ignore him is it because I am still trying to cover my shame and guilt?  Am I wanting to think, speak or act out of my own desire and love of self?
How would my thinking, speaking and choosing be different if I was constantly aware of His presence?  And what if I could sense his warm smile saying, “I love you and made all of the sacrifice needed just so we could be together.”

The Holy Spirit is LIKE…

RoyGLRetrSep2010dThe Holy Spirit is like an owner of a used book store.  He knows where every author, topic and interest is shelved.  His books are precious to him and he loves to walk the rows and point out ones that have delighted him to any reader who is browsing.

He did inspire the writing of the Bible.

He loves to open it up to God’s children.

Ask Him to show you a good word for your current life situation.  Ask Him to take the written Word of God and make it living and fresh for you.

Turn off the media and go for a drive or a walk and ask the Spirit to preach you a sermon.  Then listen and be ready to act on what He pulls out to share!