Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Spirit is there to empower you, believer.

Tall Ships, Sailing Ship, Model Boats, Decorative Ships, Decorating With Ship Models
Every missions-minded Christian is happy to allow the winds of the Spirit to fill their sails. 

I’m no Paul, but as I muse over those missionary travels of the Apostle Paul in Acts, they kind of remind me of the joy of sailing like I enjoyed growing up. It was to, from and around different Islands off the coasts of California and North Africa.  

You know how the Apostle Paul walked in victory and love--he was controlled by the Spirit as he ministered to disciples everywhere he went. Sometimes the carnal, worldly and nominal Christians we meet can act nice. Sometimes juicy-sinners will act generous and kind as well, but HOW CAN WE DEAL WITH saints and sinners who act like the unregenerate typically like to act? We simply must die to our old fleshly nature and be filled up with the Spirit. To overflowing with His JOY!

How else can we be empowered to be and give witness with our story and the Gospel? Listen, the Christian experience can be more enjoyable than just sailing a vessel on the Mediterranean Sea.. if your sails are FULL. Being a mere religious church attender is so dry, powerless and boring—that’s not at all what it’s like following Christ. No, NO! Normal Christianity ain’t like that. It’s a joy-filled adventure of faith! Remember this; there is zero spiritual growth apart from the Word and the Spirit of God. Yes, Jesus made it clear that we grow in grace and truth. We cannot be productive witnesses for His glory apart from being filled with the Power of the Holy Spirit. Paul in Ephesians 5:18 speaks of being "filled with the Spirit," – it reminds me of that metaphor of cruisin’ out in a sailboat while yielding to the direction and power of the wind. God corrects and directs.

It’s a choice of faith before us. I challenge you to decide.. to be ‘filled with the Spirit,’ to ask. Even for a refill if needed. This indeed can be like the wind filling the sails of an ancient vessel. When the wind fills the sails, the boat has power to go forward (See Acts 1:8). Travel on purpose. Go brag on Christ! 

His purpose for your life. Ask, which direction is the wind of the Holy Spirit specifically blowing me? He works in us both the will and to do, but it’s not primarily our job to determine which way we go, which way we want the wind to blow us. We are to adjust our sails according to the will and word of God. Here are four ways to practically adjust your sails everyday…
1. Surrender the control of your life to God – Being filled with the Spirit starts with the volitional relinquishment of the control of your life. A believer does have self-control as a fruit, but the direction is the Lord’s deal. Christ is the CEO. He and the Holy Spirit call the shots, not us anymore. First God step, repentance and faith in Jesus—turning and trusting plus nothing. Then He calls us into the waters of baptism and to surrender our old way of living for God’s way. For burial of the old life. Our lovely Savior becomes our Lord—the chief Shepherd. It’s out of the driver’s seat for me, and on into the JOY of obedience.. including more fruitfulness and world-changing effectiveness! It’s about being a witness and as He directs. Yes, giving a good witness.. to the last, the lost and the least of this world. Paul puts this discipleship thing so beautifully, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). 
2. Regularly saturate your mind in the truth – If we want the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us, we need to prayerfully read the Bible and hear God’s voice. He still communicates. Duh. We just need to recognize the Spirit’s promptings. God’s Word is living, active and powerful for life-change and ministry (Hebrews 4:12). There is great profit in just reading it publicly or privately. You know how the Holy Spirit often times will use specific Scriptures to comfort, heal, equip and guide us daily – it’s the way to live! The more we meditate on Scripture, the bigger we build our sails if ya will, and the easier it will be to intercede and recognize when the Holy Spirit is speaking to us. All need air to breathe well, and we all need the word to serve well. 
3. Dialogue with God throughout the day with humble willingness – Jesus knows it all anyways so be candid and transparent. The Spirit is like a mighty wind, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Adjusting your sails to the Holy Spirit. Remain constantly vigilant to where and how the wind of the Holy Spirit is blowing having others in mind. As great as a sound church service might be or even a daily quiet time all alone… more is needed moment by moment. The Holy Spirit is constantly on the move, and it’s imperative for us to stay in step with Him..constantly attentive to Him. Practically speaking, we need to have an ongoing conversation with God throughout the day because every single life we meet and every day are important. It’s about talking, asking, listening, and properly acting. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul tells the church to “pray without ceasing.” Constant intimate contact – abiding in the Spirit, instead of strivin’ in the flesh. It’s about tuning-in so to speak, listening, wisely applying well..’til WELL ..yup, accurately hearing (and it will agree with the Bible). Work on the discipline of being aware of God’s presence wherever you go. It never need be spooky-weird or creepy at all. Who needs that religiousity!? None. You’ll find that the wind of the Holy Spirit blows in a lot of places where people go because He cares about them, not just within the four walls of a church building. The wind is winsome and doesn’t scare people away from Jesus Christ! 
4. Daily, obey the Living Word – Hearing, hearin’, hearin’ alone? Ehhh!. The first three above are useless if you don’t obey. God is practical, come to Him to know how to apply. The Holy Spirit doesn’t speak to you for your amusement or to simply give you nice advice to merely contemplate. Look in the book of Acts (like in chapter 16) when Paul takes the Gospel from Asia to Europe. Did he endlessly ponder? Nope. Those moments changed world history because the early believers not content merely to listen to the Spirit only, they were zealous to obey the Word. 
If you’re not sure what to do, the safest thing to do is pause and inquire of Him again. Don't act hasty and run ahead of the Lord. Did you do the last thing God told you to do? Read my Acts 21 notes on this.  

When you surrender the directional and attitudinal control, and saturate yourself in the Word, and dialogue with God throughout the day ..and obey the Holy Spirit’s promptings, then buckle up Buckaroo! You’re about to LIVE with IMPACT! Every missions-minded Christian is reborn and spiritual instead of carnal, as they allow the winds of the Spirit to KEEP ON FILLING THEIR SAILS.
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