The Rapture of Driverless Cars

You’ve seen the bumper sticker:
When the rapture occurs, this car will be driverless.

You probably chuckle, not sweat.  The way the guy drives, you figure he won’t be counted among the righteous!  And so many cars on the road are driverless now, thanks to texters.

driverless carDaily you hear new ecstatic predictions of driverless cars:  Audi plans to introduce one by 2020.  The Chinese talk of mass production by 2021.  Intel forecasts a $7 trillion driverless car industry by 2050.

So maybe you snicker at the sticker:  “Big deal, if the secret rapture ever comes, all cars will be driverless!”  And if the same goes for the airliners, you can rejoice that there will probably be lots of empty seats to spread out in!  More left for behind!

scofferPew Research in 2010 found that only 41% of Americans believed Christ would return by 2050.  Ironically, as we careen loser to His return, scoffers will abound (2 Pet. 3:3-4).

If you know your Bible, here’s

The real secret: 

lightningThe Bible teaches no secret rapture.  When Jesus Christ returns to collect His saints, He’s coming like lightning from the east  flashing to the west (Matt. 24:27) so that “every eye will see Him” (Rev. 1:7)  The seventh trumpet blasts in every ear (1 Thes. 4:16-17)—enough to wake the dead!

OK, it’s obviously no secret.  But don’t Christians change from physical to spirit “in the twinkling of an eye” and rise up in the air to meet Jesus in the clouds (1 Cor. 15:51-53)?  If that sounds like a rapture, the Bible calls it the first resurrection–the better one  (Heb. 11:35) with double portion for the firstborn (Deut. 21:17).   OK, but could there still be crashing cars and plummeting airliners?

A Different Place, Different Time

The rapture theory calls for Christians being whisked off  to heaven to escape the Great Tribulation.  Actually the Bible promises God’s people will be transported by “two wings of a great eagle … into the wilderness” to the Place of Safety for this same 3-1/2 years preceding Christ’s return (Rev. 12:14).

So escaping the Great Tribulation, but in the Place of Safety, not heaven.   God’s people would be resurrected from there–at the end of the 3-1/2 years, not the beginning.  A much different time!

If it’s from Petra, the mode of transportation is camels,  and those sure-footed beasts would probably easily come to a safe halt.

There are exceptions, such as the Two Witnesses, but Revelation says they rise from lying dead in a street of Jerusalem for three days (Rev. 11:8).   Nothing about any transportation carnage.

When you read about all the chaos in the book of Revelation at the time of the end, where one-fourth of the earth has been killed by the end of the fourth seal (Rev. 6:8), and the Great Tribulation will be the worst time ever experienced so that no flesh would be saved alive if Christ didn’t intervene (Matt. 24:21-22), you have to wonder how many cars and airliners will be in operation anyway.

So let’s not worry about the rapture of driverless cars ahead.  And when the seventh trump blows, here’s hoping we rise to the occasion!

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Entertaining Angels Unawares

It looks like a stranger, but it might be
an “angel unawares” (Heb. 13:1, King James Bible).

puttoThat makes no sense if you think angels resemble the putto of early Renaissance Italian art.  If you saw a Cupid flying around, you’d be aware of it!  Unless you’re from Texas or Florida and used to the size of their flying critters.

angel with haloYou’d especially notice one sporting a halo like the ancient Egyptian sun god.  Ra Ra, people would cheer and hound such  an extraterrestrial so it would hurry home rather than try to phone.  How could such an oddity visit among us incognito?

Nowhere in the Bible are there winged babies referred to as cherubs, so that idea needs to be kaputto!

When God sends angels down to earth, they blend in by appearing as adult males (Gen. 18:2, Acts 1:10).  They are “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14).  They usually help with physical needs, not spiritual ones—such as making sure Elijah had enough to eat before his arduous journey (1 Kings 19:5-7) and mothering Peter to slow down long enough to dress and put his sandals on when the angel sprang him out of prison (Acts 12:7-8).

Angels deliver their message in a straightforward businesslike manner and then disappear.  You won’t encounter one in a chat room.

Angels we don’t want to be unaware of

Angels want us to worship God and build a relationship with the Father and Son, not with them.  That’s true of the two-thirds good angels.

But not true of satan the devil and his one-third demons.   He swooped up to heaven wanting to be God (Isa. 14:14), and he pulls out all stops to thwart God’s would-be family.  Amazing that he gets anybody at all to openly worship him or want to become familiar with him and his demons.

His better plan is to con people into believing he doesn’t exist.   In spy thrillers, the best trick is to fake your death so the other guys aren’t watching for you anymore as you come to take them out.

devil red pitchforkClear back in April 2009 in a Barna survey, nearly six out of ten Christians either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with the statement that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.”  Did you catch that?  Christians!  Who read that Jesus faced the devil in the wilderness.  How  much higher is the percentage at the very end-time when satan is about to bring the greatest deception and tribulation ever suffered (Matt. 24:21).

Satan a myth?  Naturally it follows that people would be ignorant of his devices (2 Cor. 2:11).  He broadcasts powerful satanic atttitudes through his power of the air using pervasive media, culture and peer pressure (Eph. 2:2).   For the spiritually unaware, it’s just entertainment, art and life.

Such sad confusion because so many who sincerely want to be true Christians have no idea that satan has “his ministers” who “transform themselves into ministers of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:15).    Read that shocking scripture again.

Ezekiel warns about false shepherds (chapter 34) and prophets (13:3).  Matt. 24:24 sounds the alarm that satan’s “false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

So yes, let’s entertain strangers who might be good angels unawares.  But let’s be aware of the Enemy, acutely aware of his devices, resist and flee (James 4:7).

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Does the Book of Life Include More Than Just Your Name?

Our names must get written into the Book of Life (Rev. 20:15).
And our names must not get blotted out of it (Rev. 3:5).
But is the Book of Life more than just a list of names?

Why would our omnipotent all-knowing God need or  want a Book of Life anyway?  Our Ancient of Days does not share our senior moments!

Well, yes, but the Bible shows

Records and lists are very important to God

So it’s no wonder they’re important to us.  Many of us have a cherished family book.  My oldest and youngest sisters have put one together and shared it with me.

genealogyOur Creator who fashioned us in His image knows we love genealogical research.  The Book of Genesis contains nine genealogies (chapters 4, 5 and 11).  Chapter 10’s Table of Nations is technically an ethnography.

Nations keep census records.  In Num. 1:2 the Lord directed Moses to take a census of all men age 20 and older who could go to war in Israel.  In Nehemiah’s time, God put it in his heart to register the nobles, rulers and people (7:5).  During the reign of  Darius the Persian, a record was kept of Levites and priests  who had been heads of their fathers’ houses (12:22).

censusIn Acts 1:15 instead of saying there were about 120 disciples gathered  for Pentecost, the wording is “the number of names.”  A church directory?  Granted, they didn’t need phone numbers!  Thanks to Saul, maybe cell numbers.  But don’t we always want to keep track of and contact each other.

God’s Church of the firstborn is registered in heaven” (Heb. 12:23) because they become citizens of God’s Kingdom and Family (Php. 3:20) when they are written into the Book of Life upon receiving the Holy Spirit.

More than our names

Estimates of how many people have ever lived range from 50 billion to 150 billion.  How many names would legibly fit on an 8-1/2″ x 11″ yellow ruled sheet?  If 50, that would require one billion pages.  It’s a good thing the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 21:27) is a spiritual book!  After Jesus adds a name, I’m not sure a human could tote it back to the shelf!  Oh, pardon me, back to the cloud?

The Bible indicates that the Book  of Life holds more than just names.

tears in bottleDavid wrote “You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected  all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book” (Psa. 56:8), New Living Translation).   God wants an intimate relationship with His children and watches us every day (Psa. 139:1-3).  Is the Lamb’s Book of Life like a diary?

Apparently this is the same “book of remembrance” written before God when “those who feared the Lord spoke to one another” (Mal. 3:16).   God treasures good fellowship that builds the Family of God!—that builds life!

A third scripture to consider regarding what’s recorded in the Book of Life, Rev. 20:12 says, “And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were  written in the books.”  This verse mentions the books of the Bible and the separate Book of Life.  Our works will be judged by the standards of the Bible but will our works be written in the Book of Life?  Does the Lamb use a good court reporter for those of us under judgment now (1 Pet. 4:17)?

Is Jesus recording in His Book of Life not only our names but our

Life stories?

Who doesn’t love a good biography!  And what better author than the Lamb to give us all a true and fair write-up!

As we’ve seen, the Bible gives some short but very interesting clues about the Book of Life that we can ponder and speculate about.

What we know for sure:  Let’s each pray we respond to God’s calling.  The goodness of God leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).  Let’s repent, be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit when a minister of God lays hands on us (Acts 2:38).  Our names will  then be written into the Book of Life.

Let’s end this three-part series on the Book of Life by continuing with the Father and Son living in us (John 10:10) through their Holy Spirit until They resurrect us to eternal life in their Family and Kingdom!

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Staying Alive in the Book of Life

golden calfIn  the first mention of the Book of Life in the Bible,
Moses asked God, if you won’t forgive Israel
for making the golden calf,
then “blot me out of Your book
which you have written” (Ex. 31:32).

Is he daft?!  Why did Moses make such a consequential offer—to give up his eternal life?

Yes, he loved his people that much!  Paul expressed the same incredible love in Rom. 9:3:  “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren.”

But Moses said what he said in response to what God said to him.  “Let Me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven” (Deut. 9:14).  Did God only mean physical destruction and they would have their opportunity for salvation in the Great White Judge Judgment?  Moses saw how furious God was and must have thought the worst!

Moses knew about the Book of Life. And he saw that God was “provoked” (verse 7) and “angry enough with you to have destroyed you” (verse 8).   No wonder Moses graciously intervened with a second fast of 40 days and nights.  A simple “They’re sorry and won’t do it again” wouldn’t cut it!

Good thing for Israel that their leader was Moses!  Good thing for Moses that God (the One who became Jesus Christ) rejected Moses’ replacement offer:  “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot him out of my book” (Ex. 32:33).  Yes, it’s

the “Lamb’s Book of Life” (Rev. 21:27)

We mankind should be eternally thankful that our Judge is the Son of Man (John 5:22) who came down and lived 3-1/2 years on the earth and was tempted in all points as we are (Heb. 4:15).

Well-meaning but false teachers wrongly claim “once saved, always saved.”  They try to explain away the warning about sinning willfully in Heb. 10:26-29.  They ignore  Paul’s statement about making sure he wouldn’t be disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27).  They pardon Jesus for talking about unpardonable sin (Matt. 12:31-32).  They add  or take away words  from the Bible, or simply reject and disobey the ones there,  which means “God shall take away his part from the Book of Life” (Rev. 22:19).

David also knew about the Book of Life.  After his terrible sins regarding Bathsheba and Uriah the Hittite, and the courageous life-saving rebuke by God’s prophet Nathan, David humbly pleaded, “Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Psa. 51:11).

In Psa. 69:28 regarding people who “add iniquity to their iniquity,” David asked God, “And let them not come into Your righteousness.  Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and  not be written with the righteous.”

Jesus is the One who writes our names into the Book of Life when we receive the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9) and He will be the One who erases or blots out somebody.  It is so encouraging that Jesus said nobody can pluck us out of His hand” (John 10:28).

When satan asked for Peter, to sift him as wheat, Jesus prayed for him that his strength would not fail! (Luke 22:31).  Satan was only allowed to trouble Job as  much as God (Jesus back then) permitted.  Jesus has our back—and the rest of us!

If Jesus is forced to remove our name from His Book of Life, it will be because we neglected so great a salvation (Heb. 2:3), let another take our crown because we  don’t hold fast what we have (Rev. 3:11), or buried our talent as an unprofitable servant through laziness and fear (Matt. 25:14-31).  It will be our fault!

Acts 2This

Sunday, June 4, we celebrate God’s Holy Day called Pentecost

  God and the Word’s plan before the foundation of the world was to start the New Testament Church of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Pentecost is also called the Feast of Firstfruits because it pictures calling and harvesting firstfruits who will help Jesus Christ reap the big harvest during the Millennium and  Great White Throne Judgment on earth.  The firstfruits will become kings, judges, teachers and priests.

It’s interesting in Nehemiah that priests who returned from Babylon wanting to serve in Jerusalem, unless “registered by genealogy … were excluded from the priesthood as defiled” (Neh. 7:64).  What a striking parallel!  We would-be priests coming out of modern Babylon better be found in the Book of Life!

powerPaul says to each of us:  “This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1:6-7, New Living Translation).

We must “be even more diligent to make your call and election sure” (2 Pet. 1:10).  We must “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Rev. 1:14).

VW accordWe must be like the disciples gathered at Pentecost in Acts 2:1.  Topping modern attempts to see how many bodies they could stuff into a VW, the 120 were “all in one Accord!”  Hope that wasn’t the unpardonable sin in your book!  Today Church of God leaders are ramping up brethren to live in harmony with what the Father and Son are doing, in unity through the Holy Spirit.

bride of ChristWe must “overcome” so we can “be clothed in white garments.”  Engage to become the Bride of Jesus Christ and be registered in the wedding book as the Bride, not a guest!  With God’s help we must overcome now because there is no greater power  than the Holy Spirit so we have everything we need now.  Then the Lamb and husband will say “I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life” (Rev. 3:5).

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A Facebook Friend Asked, “When Is Our Name Written into the Book of Life?”

A crucial question
since “anyone not found written in the Book of Life

was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

As the Schofield Study Bible III puts it so chillingly:
“an awful blank where the name might have been”

That’s supposed to get our rapt attention!  And our grateful response and action because God desires to save not only all Israel (Rom. 11:26) but all humans (1 Tim. 2:4).

The Book of Life is mentioned eight times in the New Testament, seven of those in the book of Revelation.  That tells us that those of us in the end time need to know about it.  This is literally a matter of life and death—of the eternal variety!

barley harvestIf we keep God’s Holy Day called Pentecost which will be Sunday, June 4, we know that God and the Word planned from the foundation of the world that comparatively few “firstfruits” are entered into the Book of Life up to the time of Jesus Christ returning and starting the Millennium.   Barley harvest equals barely harvest.

Consider the few names honored in the Hall of Faith (Heb. 11).  Note that after all the effort by the Son of God for 3-1/2 years, there were only about 120 disciples (Acts 1:15).  The Great Shepherd leads only a “little flock” (Luke 12:32).  Narrow and  difficult is “the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:14).  The corollary result is few names being written into the Book of Life at this time.

In contrast, the great harvest takes place during the Millennium but especially during the Great White Throne Judgment.

BibleRev. 20:12 tells how:  For the billions in this second resurrection, “books were opened”—the books of the Bible [greek biblion].  As Jesus Christ and His saints open the people’s minds to understand the Bible, another  book—“the Book of Life”—is opened.   The Book of Life had been closed while satan was deceiving many at the close of the Millennium.  It is opened now, and this is when the pages really fill up!

The Book of Life is a different book than the Bible, as Rev. 22:19 confirms.  Most of our names aren’t written in the Bible.   How many Lazaruses, Mephibosheths and Sapphiras do you know!

When written into the Book of Life?

powerShort answer:  When we receive the Holy Spirit.

It was on Pentecost when God fired up His Church by giving His Holy Spirit which is His power, essence, presence, nature, character and truth.

“Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Rom. 8:9).  Just as a human life starts at conception, so real spiritual life begins with conception—begettal—of the Holy Spirit.  This is when the Holy Spirit, which is needed to understand the things of God, combines with our spirit in man which enables us to understand the things of man (1 Cor. 2:11).  Not until we receive the Holy Spirit are we really living!

When the startled crowd cried out on Pentecost “what shall we do?”, Peter gave the process that is still the same for us today:  repent, be baptized and you shall receive the Holy Spirit when the minister of God lays hands on you and asks God to grant it to you (Acts 2:38, 8:17).

Friends, family and brethren rejoice with you at your baptism but not as much as angels in heaven (Luke 15:10).  Woo-hoo, get out the book!

bride of ChristThis begins the process of being born again from above.  This puts us into the spiritual Church of God and engages us to become the Bride of Jesus Christ.  Having your name in this wedding book puts you on course to be not a guest but the Bride!

This writes our “citizenship in heaven” (Php. 3:20).  The Church of God is “the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven” (Heb. 12:23).   It sounds like the Book of Life is like a census record.

Paul said Clement and other fellow workers in the faith were written in the Book of Life (Php. 4:3).  Paul knew about this crucial book.

So did Daniel.  God told Daniel that at the end-time of trouble “such as never was … at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book” (12:1).  “Your people” doesn’t refer to the Jews but to God’s people ready for the first resurrection, which included Daniel (verse 13).

Rev. 17:8 sounds as if  names were written into the Book of Life before the foundation of the world.  C’mon, God knowing about you by name before the heavens and earth were created?  With this wrong notion, this verse would also be saying that many names were not written before they have even lived their life of good or evil?  Bedrock principles of the Bible are impartiality and fairness of God and free moral agency.

Pentecost teaches that this verse is saying that from the foundation of the world God planned end-time events and determined that there would be some people in the Book of Life who would not wonder at the Beast.

Paul explains this in Eph. 1:9-14 (New  Living Translation).  ” God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure.   And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.”  In verse 11 when Paul says “he chose us in advance,  and he makes everything work out according to his plan,” in the next verses he talks about Jews and Gentiles as a group.  From the foundation of the world, God and the Word planned that there would be Jews and Gentiles and some being written into His Book of Life.  Where you come into play, Paul says “when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.”

Luke 10:20 seems to not quite agree with the rest of the Bible that we are written in the Book of Life at baptism when we receive the Holy Spirit.  The 70 Jesus sent out may have been baptized by John the Baptist but surely hadn’t received the Holy Spirit yet since the 12 disciples hadn’t yet either.  Did Jesus judge they were an exception?  Or is it a translation issue?  The word “are” is not backed by a Greek word and perhaps should be “will.”  The 70 were undoubtedly part of the 120 at Pentecost.

Rev. 21:27 gives the significant detail that while the Father and Jesus live and work together in perfect harmony and unity,

the Book of Life is the Lamb’s

Jesus came that “they may have life, and … have  it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

How just and fair that the Father “has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22)—the Son of Man who came down and lived as a human.

That’s why we firstfruits are being “redeemed from among men” because we “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Rev. 14:4).  We commit to walking as He walked (1 John 2:6).  We want His mind (Php. 2:5).  We bring every thought into subjection to His obedience (2 Cor. 10:5).  We overcome spiritual lethargy so we can be written into His Book of Life (Rev. 3:5).

Nothing is more important than cooperating with God
to add us to His Book of Life

now as a firstfruit and that we continue to be written into it.  If we want that, we will want to keep His Holy Day called Pentecost June 4.

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The Special Weekend Coming!

thPWAEJ6KIMemorial Weekend?  July 4 Weekend?
No, the special weekend coming 
June 3 and 4.
Yes, on my calendar the squares
are blank.

Nothing marked there!

Funny, you’re special if you even know what’s coming that weekend!

Fifty days after the Exodus, the Lord told Moses to get the people “ready for the third day” when He would “come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people” (Ex. 19:11).

What did this special weekend have in store for Israel?

“You shall be a special treasure to Me above all people … you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (verses 5-6).

10CTradition says it was on God’s Holy Day of Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-22) that the Lord gave His Ten Commandments and judgments (Ex. 20-23).

Since that time, Satan deceives people into claiming they are done away. But Jesus said, “if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17).   Continue to reject them, and we’ll be the ones done away!

David, a man after God’s own heart, wrote “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (Psa. 19:9).   God knew Israel did not have such a heart in them (Deut. 5:29) as a result of Adam and Eve being cast out of the Garden and barred from the Tree of  Life representing the Holy Spirit.

Flash ahead to the resurrected Lord appearing to His stunned disciples for 40 days and telling them to wait in Jerusalem to be

“endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49)

Ten days after Jesus ascended, on God’s Holy Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given to fire up the New Testament Church of God (Acts 2). God’s spiritual Israel (Gal. 6:16) is still promised to be “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (1 Pet. 2:9).

The Holy Spirit is the power, essence, presence, nature, character and truth of God that enables God’s people to overcome their human nature and become new in Christ.  We don’t have to wait two more weeks till Pentecost 2017 to receive the Holy Spirit.  Today it’s available if the Father calls us (John 6:44), we repent, believe, get baptized, and a minister of God lays hands on us (Acts 2:38).  There is no greater power for us to wait for!  Time is short, no time for delay.  We must stir up the Spirit, overcome and grow now!

For all three momentous weekends, the One asking the people to get ready is Jesus Christ. He was the God of the Old Testament.   He is the One a Christian must follow today.

Pentecost pictures the harvest of first fruits “who follow the Lamb wherever He goes” and have been “redeemed from among men” (Rev. 14:4).

Tradition says the book of Ruth, one of the five Megilloth (festival) books of the Bible, is read on Pentecost, and its themes of redemption and marriage inspire those becoming the Bride of Christ (Rev. 19).

With all these amazing spiritual themes, lessons, and rewards, no wonder the Apostle Paul was hurrying to be at Jerusalem for Pentecost (Acts 20:16)!

This special Pentecost Weekend coming up June 3 and 4

gives us much to think about and look forward to.

Our lives are so complicated and busy dealing with the cares of this life.  Maybe we silently scream:  Who has time for God?  For what’s really important?

On this special weekend coming, God the Father and Jesus our Brother have consecrated holy time from Friday sunset to Sunday sunset to build our relationship with Them and with our brothers and sisters in Christ during worship services.   We will have time to delight ourselves in doing God’s pleasure, ways and thoughts (Isa. 58:13-14).

OK, we’re special just by knowing about this special weekend.  But what are we going to do about it?

Except respond to God’s grace in becoming part of His Little Flock (Luke 12:32) on the narrow path to life that few find (Matt. 7:13-14)!

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How to Stir Up the Greatest Power

Tsar BombaOn Oct. 30, 1961 Russia detonated
the most powerful nuclear weapon ever,

nicknamed the Tsar Bomba,
which had a yield of 57 megaton TNT

and a potential of 100 megatons.

That’s power!  But nothing like the Holy Spirit, the greatest power in existence.
The incredible truth is that we can have access to this power NOW.
We shouldn’t be putting off Christian victory waiting for some greater help.
How do we “stir up the gift of God?” (2 Tim. 1:6)?

The Holy Spirit is given through the laying on of hands by a minister of God (2 Tim. 1:7, Acts 8:16-17).  This points us toward the synergistic power of working and fellowshipping with the body of Christ and puts us into His Church.

When the Holy Spirit was given to start the New Testament Church of God on Pentecost in 31 A.D., and the crowd cried out “what shall we do?”,  Peter answered “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

rivers living waterAfter you come up out of the water dripping wet, what better way for you to be prepped for receiving the Holy Spirit which is compared to rivers of living water (John 7:38).

If you haven’t yet received God’s Holy Spirit in you, please make it your top priority to let the Holy Spirit “dwell with you” and spur you to baptism (John 14:17).

What is the Holy Spirit?

♥  God’s Power“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).

One word to sum up your life?  Would it be fear?

“Fear vs. power.  Fear vs. love.  Fear vs. sound-mindedness.  The gift of God’s Spirit has unhealthy fear outnumbered three to one…. It has fear outflanked and outranked on every level” (John Miller, “May the Force (and More) Be With You,” Beyond Today, May-June 2017).

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).

dna♥  Essence & NatureGod the Father and Jesus Christ are Spirit (John 4:24). It’s their nature—spiritual DNA—that you want to replace your human one! (2 Pet. 1:4).

♥  PresenceGod the Father and Jesus Christ live in us through the Holy Spirit.  They don’t come in the door and sit on the couch; they stir us to get up and act like their temple in thought, attitudes and service.

♥  CharacterGod transforms, changes us and makes us a new creation in Christ through the nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).  God is love (1 John 4:8) and love leads the list.  “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5, New Revised Standard Version).

♥  TruthTo help us God gives us “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17).  “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17) and we will be wanting to study the Bible if we have the Holy Spirit.

How stir up the Holy Spirit and use it effectively

♥  Ask for it daily—Luke 11:11-13. How much more than a human father loves to give his kids gifts does our Heavenly Father love to give us His Holy Spirit!

It’s like with asking for wisdom.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally” (James1:5).   We worship the God who paves His streets in gold, opens windows of heaven with blessings that are shaken, pressed down and overflowing! (Mal. 3:10, Luke 6:38).

Maybe you’re thinking like I used to: If I ask for love, God won’t just funnel it into me.  He will give me a trial that will force me to grow in the love I don’t have.  Who wants more trials, so no way am I going to ask for more!  God gives me enough without asking!

But several years ago I realized time is short to be developing the character of God and so I courageously in faith—relaxed trust in God—started asking God daily to give me whichever fruits He in wisdom as the Master Timer thinks I need at this time.  Natch, the Merciful God has not inundated me in trials.  He promises not to allow beyond what we’re able (1 Cor. 10:13).

toolbox♥  Use the four Christian tools: prayer, Bible study, meditation and fasting.  For a stubborn situation, combine tools (Mark 9:29)–all four at once for a maximum dose.

♥  When tempted, immediately cry out for God’s help—not wait until you’ve gone and done it.

♥  Ask God to transform your desires so He can give you the desires of your heart.   Ask daily for the mind of Christ (Php. 2:5) so you have power to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).  This is the solution when you find yourself clawing for your spiritual survival because you’re craving a sin.

Ask God for His Holy Spirit to help you analyze why you want to do something God’s way instead.  Why it would make good outcomes for not only you but all others.  Experience the powerful miracle of waking up one day to see that you no longer want to do the sin,  and you love God and Jesus so much that you want to please them!

♥  Identify your spiritual gifts (Rom. 12 and 1 Cor. 12). Ask God to direct you into ways to use them in His service.  But don’t get the big head and seek great things for yourself (Jer. 45:5).

♥  Seek God’s will, not own. This was Jesus’ final test in the Garden.  When Abraham showed he was willing to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, then God said “Now I know” (Gen. 22:12).  God will test each of us to see how much we treasure His Holy Spirit and whether He can trust us to be spirit beings for all eternity.  He doesn’t want any more satans!

♥  Be “zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:14).   It is so obvious in the Bible that God expects His children to show good works made possible through His grace.

♥  Witness for God. We  must do our part individually and collectively to fulfill the mission of Matt. 24:14 and 28:18-20.  “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me … to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  When God asks for an accounting of His Church, will we be able to respond “been there!”

The Holy Spirit is limitless.  The Holy Spirit powers us to go beyond our physical capabilities.  Every day we should ask God what He would like for us to do to serve Him.

May we be “filled  with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph.3:19-20).

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