What a beautiful reminder that as believers we are different from those disciples because the Spirit has been given to us and the Lord is glorified. As the Lord was glorified in His ascension, the Holy Spirit came into the world and has been here ever since. We have to receive the revealed truth that he is here. It must be done on a continual basis of welcoming and receiving the Holy Spirit into our lives, not just here and there. The Holy Spirit brings reviving life from Christ into our life as we receive Him. The change in one’s life doesn’t come from the baptism but from the power of the ascended Christ coming into our lives through the Holy Spirit. We cannot separate things that the New Testament never separated. The baptism of the Spirit is not an experience apart from Jesus Christ, but the evidence of the ascended Christ. The baptism of the Spirit does not make you think of time or eternity – it is one amazing glorious now. God, may we begin to know You now, today, moment by moment by welcoming You and receiving life. The power that comes from Your ascended Son is available to us through Your Spirit. Grant us strength to depend on Him, to seek after You and continually welcome and receive Your Holy Spirit. And may we never stop.
The correct way to think of prayer is our very breath and the blood that flows through us. They both happen “without ceasing”; it never stops and we are never conscious of it. Chambers says we are not always conscious when Jesus keeps us in perfect oneness with God, but by our obedience, he is doing just that. Prayer is not an exercise. It is the “childlike” habit of offering up prayers in your heart to God at all times. Jesus always prayed with a certainty the His prayers would be answered. I don’t feel I have that certainty about my prayers that Jesus had even though He gave us His Spirit. It may not be because I don’t think of the times God didn’t answer, but more of talking too much, not listening enough and making God a box to check off. God answers prayer in His best way, every single time. It just may not be in the area that we wanted it. Do we expect God to answer prayer, especially my prayers? I don’t. Chambers warns about watering down what Jesus said (“everyone who asks receives”) to align with our common sense. “But if it were only common sense, what He said would not even be worthwhile.” Trust God to do big things. Don’t try to handle it on your own or only give Him things you think He will answer. God is a great big and powerful God who is more than able to handle your small problems, no matter how big they may seem to you. Jesus teaches us about prayer being supernatural truths that He reveals to us. Let God be God and watch His mastery as He answers your prayers.
God has an amazing sense of timing and knowing what is best for me in this world. In my life right now, I feel like there are so many choices that need to be made. Do we move? Do we stay? If we move, where are we to move to? Am I supposed to get a normal job? If so, for how long? Am I seeking after my kingdom or am I seeking after God’s? Simply, am I doing God’s will which is the best for me? Or am I doing what I think is best or what I think God wants me to do? At this point in my life, Chambers’ first sentence strikes me because I feel like there are fascinating and gratifying possibilities in front of me. I really wanted the Whole Foods job, but in this moment, I am not sure if God wants that for me because it may not be what is best. It is amazing to have a right or freedom to choose, but what a great reminder that the life of faith waives that right and lets God make those choices for me. God, I willingly waive my rights that you would lead me down your paths and guide me in your truths (PS 25:5). God will allow us to get to a place where our own welfare is the most appropriate choice, if we were not life the life of faith. But a life of faith leads to the waiving of your rights and allows God to make choices for you. Through this discipline, God will transform the natural into spiritual through obedience. Holy Father, grant me strength to always submit to Your best, Your choosing, Your ways. I want to be obedient to You. While I feel lured by fancy things of this world, titles, success, money; help me to always seek after You with all my heart. Rejoice with others success and be happy and joyful and the spiritual You bring. “Whenever our right becomes the guiding factor of our lives, it dulls our spiritual insight. The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best.” I am all too often guided by what I think is best or right. I forget to consider God in these choices. How amazing our independence takes away from a greater, more satisfying life with Christ. It amazes me that not even sin is our greatest enemy, but our own selves. The choices we make have profound repercussions on future events that we cannot even imagine. Every choice leads to a different path, yet God in His infinite wisdom is able to know all of that. He is even able to correct and get us back on the right path. God, make my choices and help me to always depend on you to choose Your best, not my “good.” We do not grow spiritually because we make decisions based on our rights or our wisdom. What greater things lie before us when we rely on God to make those choices. I pray that each of us, especially me, would learn to walk according to the standard which has its eyes focused on God. May we walk faithfully and blameless before Him.
“Commonsense carefulness in the life of a disciple is unbelief.” God, help me in my unbelief. The Spirit of God will push into our lives to examine where He is at in our priorities. He presses the point until we learn to make Him our first consideration. When we put other things first, we do not honor Him and confusion is inserted. As I thought about this when I read, I was thinking exactly about trying to get this interview set up without ever talking it over with God. I set it up without giving Him any consideration or thought as to what is best. Let alone if it was even right for me to do this interview. I put my desires ahead of Him. I am sorry Lord. As we are reminded to not worry about our life, we should not take the pressure of our provisions upon ourselves. “it is not only wrong to worry, it is unbelief; worrying means we do not believe that God can look after the practical details of our lives, and it is never anything but those details that worry us.” This passage stung! Here I was worrying over getting an interview with Whole Foods setup and rearranged. It was something I desired and wanted, yet I was taking it into my own hands. I was worried about the “practical details” and not trusting God to work it out. Yet, as I prayed through this, God reminded me of the bigger picture and how in this time of nine days before our 60 day notice to the apartment is due and two months until our final day on our lease happens, I was worried. I was worried that God wouldn’t work it out. I was worried that we would have to pay more money. I was worried what are we going to do and we need to do this quick and we need answers. Yet God, in His infinite timing will provide. He will give us what we need exactly when we need it. I will not worry about life, or where we will live, or what we will eat; God is working it out in His infinite wisdom for His great purpose. As I thought more about those convictions, God struck again. This time as I thought about how I didn’t want to lose money by paying monthtomonth on the apartment and masking it by saying I want to be a good steward, I was convicted that money was once again a counterfeit god. The old saying of whatever is threatened to be taken away and hurts the most came true when I realized that losing all this money really upset me. While I want to be a good steward, God is will work out if and when we move and will provide the guidance, means and wisdom to lead us. I let go of my plans to move, I let go of the worry, the what is next, the questions and doubt and will trust in my God my Savior to lead our lives wherever that may be. It is not evil that chokes the Word out of us, but all the little worries and cares of this life. “The only cure for unbelief is obedience to the Spirit. God grant me obedience to trust and follow you. May I abandon all my dreams, desires, hopes, dreams, plans, career, glory, counterfeit gods, marriage and every part of my life for you. I trust in you completely. Help me in my unbelief to believe and be obedient
It never dawned on me that a time of isolation could be an answer to Jesus’ prayer that we “may be one” with the Father as Jesus is. My independence is always trying to take me from being one with the Father. It causes me to not be “helping God to answer that prayer….” I am instead seeking my own goals. Chambers reminds me that in John 17, God’s purpose is not just to answer our prayers, “but that through prayer we might come to discern His mind.” Oh that my prayer life might be like that. That it may be so vital and dynamic and intimate with God that I am able to discern His Will. The prayer that God will answer is that of Jesus that we may be one just as Christ and the Father are one. How I pray that I may be close to Jesus like that. In this time of uncertainty about the future, Chambers reminds me that “God is not concerned about our plans.” He doesn’t ask if we want to go through different difficulties, yet allows these trials to happen to us for “His own purpose.” The things we go through are either making us better or they are going to make us more critical and judgmental, and more independent on our own way. They can make us more evil or godlier, depending on our relationship with God and how personal it is. I choose to be more “saintly” but my human nature gets the best of me and I take my eyes of the only One who can guide me through this time. If we truly believe and pray that God’s Will be done, we will receive encouragement and comfort according to John 17, “knowing that our Father is working according to His own wisdom, accomplishing what is best.” What an amazing thought! That even in the depths and despair of calamities and feeling all alone, we can hold on to the fact that God is working in His infinite wisdom to give us the very best. He knows what is best for us. I focus too much on my own little kingdom while God is preparing me for His big kingdom. Understanding God’s purpose will lead us to focusing on the bigger picture and not being cynical. I am so thankful that Christ prayed that we would be one with God. Yet, as I think about that statement I am racked with guilt because my life has been lived exactly the opposite. I have lived apart and disconnected from the Source of all life. Oh but the great joys of God’s amazing grace. What a great reminder that Chambers leaves us with when he says that “God will not leave us alone until we are one with Him…” because He is answering Jesus’ prayer. In this time, may God bring us near and may we depend on Him. May we seek His will, not ours.
Chambers makes the point that we argue way too much about taking care of our business here on earth instead of being focused on God. We get concerned with how or where we will live, we must have a certain amount of money or wear certain clothes. We at least must be able to eat. We get so consumed with all of the “other” things that our focus is off the main thing. The great concern is not the kingdom of God but how we are going to live. Jesus’ point was exactly the opposite. He told us that the first thing we must do is have a right relationship with our Heavenly Father. The priority of our lives should never be taking care of the other things of this life. Jesus’ main point in verse 25 (“do not worry about anything”) was not to worry or be anxious about how we are to live. He was not saying don’t give it no thought. The person that does that is a fool. But He was saying that His true disciples must make their relationship with God the dominating focus. Chambers says that we should be cautiously carefree about the other cares of this world. “Don’t make food and drink the controlling factor of your life, but be focused absolutely on God. The greatest concern of our lives is our relationship with God, everything else is second. “It is one of the most difficult, yet critical, disciplines of the Christian life to allow the Holy Spirit to bring us into absolute harmony with the teaching of Jesus in these verses.” In this time of wondering where we will be and what is the next step, my biggest concern and stressor has been that. It turns into my biggest priority. As Chambers says, my biggest priority right now and always (even in the chaos) is and always will be my relationship with Him. Everything else will fall into place and He will take care of.
God, I just pray that you would keep forming my mind and maturing me. I pray that you may be expressed in and through me. Luke 21:19 could also be said to stand firm and you will win life. I don’t want to stand at the entrance gate of Christian life, I want that life that is being created and built In accordance with the life Christ has placed within me. I am all too guilty of not living the way you made me Lord. I blame things on Satan more than truly examining my life. Create in me a new nature and heart. Awaken me to the truth that I may be new. How do I kick my bad mood out of my life Lord? I am so guilty of listening and being controlled by my mood. The same with tiredness and hunger. My physical, fleshly self controls me more than I let you sit on the throne. Even in the midst of a decent day, my mood can quickly change and the whole day or night is ruined. Oh but I thank you for your grace. Thank you for loving someone like me who just listens to the wrong thing. Help me in this struggle Lord to turn to you and not submit to my mood any longer. I know it is a constant battle, but you have made me a conqueror. “The Christian life is one of spiritual courage and determination lived out in our flesh.” I don’t want to live by saying I won’t. You give me the strength to be able to do what I am unable to do. By you, I won’t submit to my mood. My soul is yours. May you be seen in me!
How appropriate that I read this today. In the midst of all the calamities and stresses of life comes the reminder that God silences logic. That whatever we are faced with, we do not do it alone, but God promises that He will be with us in the trouble (PS 91:15). God does not keep us from troubles and adversities, but reminds us that nothing can separate us from His love. We are and always will be His child and these adversities should drive us closer to Him. As God leads us through these trials, through the hurt and the pain, God has made us more than conquerors. We are “super-victors” in these times. This is not because we pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps or our own ingenuity, nor is it because of our courage, but only because of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Tribulation is never welcomed and it may be exhausting, irritating or weakening but it will never separate us from God and His love for us. “Never allow tribulations or the ‘cares of this world’ to separate you from remembering that God loves you.” That even in this time of personal conflict and confusion about the future, God loves you so much that He has a plan for you. He is going to do something so extraordinary in this situation that only He gets the glory. He is with you now and will lead you through this desert of confusion. You may not know where to go or what the right decision is, but trust God and trust also in Jesus. God, help me in my unbelief. In distress, God’s love never fails and continues to be constant. When no one else says He loves me, God’s love is there for me. In our famine, He feeds us. It may not be with the food we expect, but He does feed us. “Some extraordinary thing happens to someone who holds on to the love of God when the odds are totally against him.” Watch, be still and see what God does as the odds are stacked against you.
What does it mean to “achieve everything your election as a child of God provides?” How do I direct that power? God help me to depend on your Spirit that by your power I can rise to every occasion. I want to exhibit the salvation I didn’t earn. I need God’s help to work out or live out my salvation that Christ may be evidenced. I don’t want to be some grouchy, miserable person who is and acts like an idiot when doesn’t get his way. God doesn’t shield us from trials but allows them so that we can jump over that wall or rise to the occasion. We will rise because that is what is demanded. No matter the hurt, pain, length or even the odds (thinking of Jericho or Gideon), it is an opportunity for God to manifest Christ and be glorified. God help us not complain but be willing to face whatever adversity comes our way. “The only proper goal of life is that we manifest the Son of God;” our demands don’t matter. Jesus didn’t demand, so neither should we demand. May we submit that God may work through us what He wants. Then in our submission, He can use us to feed others.
The key to expressing God’s grace in our lives is developing godly habits. It is so “the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Cor 4:10). What is being exhibited in my life? Is it the sweetness of Jesus? Or myself that is apart from Him? “The only thing that will enable me to enjoy adversity is the acute sense of eagerness of allowing the Son of God to evidence itself in me.” I must always remember that no matter what comes my way, I must say “Lord, I am delighted to obey You in this.” Jesus will then be in the forefront of my life and will manifest in my body which will glorify Him. There is no debate, just obedience. In that moment, Jesus shines through you in adversity. Debate only leads to grieving His Spirit. Don’t give way to self-pity, but keep yourself in proper condition that will allow Jesus to be manifested. Our circumstances are the means God uses to exhibit how perfect and pure His Son is. Looking for ways to manifest Jesus should make our heart beat with renewed excitement. Don’t just choose adversity but enter into it through God’s sovereignty. Remember that He is adequately sufficient to “supply all your need” (Phil 4:19). God train my soul to be properly conditioned to manifest the life of the Son of God. Don’t live in the past, but allow the Word of God to always be living and active in you.