Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Come Holy Spirit

Scripture:  Acts 2:4--All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Along with the early disciples, we have eagerly awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit and until now, our pursuit of the Holy Spirit has been primarily for the comfort, guidance and protection promised through the indwelling the Holy Spirit. But there is a greater measure than just what the Lord can do for us or accomplish through us. 

The greater measure is intimate, real-time communion with our triune God.  It is being so integrated with God’s Word, God’s Son and God’s Holy Spirit, that His thoughts are ours and what moves His heart moves ours. God’s divine invitation is essentially an invitation to communion. It is an invitation towards intimate partnership, participation, and fellowship.

The early church understood this term as koinónia. So vital was this understanding of relationship with God amongst the New Testament community that it is the essence of  Paul’s final blessing for the Corinthian church. He prays: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all”. (2 Corinthians 13:14). 

If anyone knew the difference between simply having the Word of God but not the Spirit, Paul understood. A zealous upholder of the word, Paul never experienced the full power and salvific love of God until His encounter with Jesus and His baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps today, some of us are realizing that we have always, only had the word of God. Perhaps today, some of us are realizing that we have never experienced an upper room encounter with the Spirit of God. If that is where you find yourself today, be encouraged! He is near and more eager to commune with you than you could ever imagine. 

Today, invite the Holy Spirit to commune with you. And may your new tongues of praise and prophetic proclamation shine forth the light and love of God in ways miraculous and unimagined.

"More" by Kimberly and Alberto Rivera

Prayer:  Lord God, you know every language of every people and tribe all over this great planet that you have created. Help me today not to be bound by cultural identity to the point that I reject the moving of your Holy Spirit. Enable me to receive your love through people who do not look like me, who do not worship the way that I do and people who do not speak my language. Holy Spirit, give me a deeper appreciation of the many ways in which you speak in the earth: the chirping of a bird, the laughter of children, or the gentle breeze on a lovely day. Help me to discern your voice. For those of us who speak in tongues, or in a language received from your Holy Spirit, help us to use that language for the building up of our own faith and help us use that gift to be a blessing to our families and communities. In the many ways that you commune with your creation, Lord, help me to be more aware, appreciative and responsive! Holy Spirit, give me the ability to increase the ways in which I communicate with you. Expand my spiritual horizons this day!

   Elder Leslie Nambo

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday, May 25. 2012

The Holy Spirit is Our Guide

Scripture:  John 16:12-13--I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.

“My Prayer” by Kimberly and Alberto Rivera

The Lord has so much to say to us. Often times, the distractions of everyday life, trials and our own self-will make it difficult to hear clearly from the Lord.  When was the last time that you heard clearly from the Lord? What did you hear and how did you react? How we interact with the Holy Spirit is of the utmost importance in our relationship with the Triune God. Today’s passage continues to develop  our knowledge and understanding of the person-hood of the Holy Spirit.

Building upon yesterday’s introduction of the Holy Spirit as Advocate, and Spirit of Truth, we see these attributes clearly as Jesus describes the Holy Spirit “proving the world wrong about sin, righteousness and judgment. He further introduces the Holy Spirit as an indispensable person of the Holy Trinity. We learn that the Holy Spirit will teach the disciples, will speak what he hears from Jesus and will prophesy about the future. He will glorify Jesus because He will make Jesus’ words known to the disciples, who in turn, will testify to the world. 

So important is the person of the Holy Spirit that both Matthew and Mark testify that every blasphemy will be forgiven except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is to be sought after, respected, and cherished.

As we draw closer to the Holy Spirit during this season, have you begun to cultivate a lifestyle that seeks after, respects and cherishes the Holy Spirit? During this season, may we open our hearts, our minds and our ears to hear what the Spirit of the Lord would say to us each and every day. May we allow the Spirit of Truth to illumine our understanding so that we, being filled with the Holy Spirit, may bear God’s great light into the uttermost parts of the world.

PrayerGracious God, guide me this day and always by the power of your Holy Spirit. Guide me in my daily decisions great and small. I invite your Holy Spirit into every aspect of my life. Holy Spirit, be my guide and help me to be quick to obey, so that I may enjoy the fruit of life and peace as I walk in the truth with you. Thank you Lord! Amen!

  Elder Leslie Nambo

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Power of the Holy Spirit

Scripture:  John 15:26--When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.

In Today’s passage, we receive valuable insight into the person-hood and function of the Holy Spirit. As we continue to reflect upon the early believers of Christ, we can imagine a community reeling from perceived failures as well as victories. They would no longer interact with their Messiah in the ways in which they had grown accustomed. They would now have to relate to God in new ways. In anticipation of this transition, Jesus reveals another great mystery to them, the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Rather than their circumstances being radically transformed, they themselves would be transformed.
This transforming power is introduced as the Advocate and the Spirit of Truth. We come to understand the Holy Spirit as living and active, personal and powerful.

The Greek term for Advocate is Paraklétos and is defined as a divine adviser, intercessor or helper. “The Spirit of Truth” is defined as alétheia meaning reality or divine truth. The ultimate source of truth of course, is God and since God is truth, we come to understand the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Holy Trinity. 

Since the adversary is known as “the accuser of the brethren”, Jesus’ use of this terminology conveys more than simply a helper. In a heavenly court, facing a determined prosecutor, our Advocate is our divinely empowered lawyer!

I wonder if any of us are being required to relate to God in new ways in this season. I wonder how many of us need to be reminded today of the Holy Spirit’s ability to advocate for us and to reveal the God’s truth in our circumstances. Perhaps today, you are in need of an advocate, adviser and helper. Whatever your transition, this day, allow the Holy Spirit to testify about the goodness, faithfulness and ultimate victory of Jesus Christ in your lives. 

PrayerLord, thank you for teaching me today about the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for teaching me today that your Holy Spirit is a reliable counselor, helper, and divine advocate. Lord, you have not left me exposed to the wiles of the adversary.  You have provided me with all the help that I need, your very spirit within me. Your word says that if God is for me, who can be against me. Help me to rely upon that word when I am in the middle of trials. When I am being harassed and persecuted by the adversary, I thank you for providing the Holy Spirit as a powerful and righteous advocate. Thank you Lord! Amen.

    Elder Leslie Nambo

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Life Through the Spirit

Scripture:  Romans set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

"Abide in Me" by Kimberly and Alberto Rivera

Today’s passage offers very clear guidelines for discerning what is of the Spirit and what is of the flesh. I wonder if we are able to do so as easily in our daily lives. Could you use more peace within your life? Would you like greater fulfillment in your life? The wisdom of the matter is this: life and peace will not come through circumstances. It can only come from a thriving and fruitful relationship with the Triune God. 

As we embark upon today’s journey towards Pentecost, this is an ideal time to set our minds on the Spirit. We find same this sentiment echoed throughout the scriptures:

  • Jeremiah 29:13--And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
  • Amos 5:4--This is what the LORD says to the house of Israel: "Seek me and live;
  • Proverbs 8:17--I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. 
This theme of divine invitation emerges as a gracious extension of God’s love. In praying with and for the Holy Spirit, we discover that we are already responding to this invitation!
In today’s reading, Paul teaches us that to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace! Can you cultivate an atmosphere that ushers you into a mindset of worship or praise? Perhaps music, art, dancing, playing, creating, taking a walk, or speaking with a kindred spirit? Are there ways in which you can incorporate more of these elements into your life? If so, you may be amazed to discover that as you set your mind on the Spirit, more life and peace will abound in every area of your life.

PrayerHoly God, I thank you for teaching me today that it is the Spirit that brings life and peace and none other. I thank you for making that distinction crystal clear for me today. Help me to identify the areas of my life that do no bear the life and peace of your Holy Spirit, and help me to transform those dead areas of my life into wellsprings of your Spirit. Thank you Lord, for teaching me that every effort that I make to seek you will be rewarded with your presence. Increase my appetite for the things of the Spirit today Lord. Bless me with a hunger and a thirst for the things that lead to you. And I will live to proclaim your praise! Amen.

    Elder Leslie Nambo

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Sending of the Spirit

Scripture:  Psalm 104: 30--When you send forth your spirit, they are created.

Today’s scripture invites us to continue to reflect upon the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit. Amazement and awe fill the psalmist's mouth as he considers the foundations of the earth and everything therein. He marvels at the magnificent complexity of all systems and created life. 

Interestingly, in today’s psalm, human beings occupy only two verses (15 and 23). This Psalm invites us humans to leave behind false notions of responsibility, superiority, and inflated self-image. It also disrupts false notions of inferiority and inadequacy. Rather than the focus being upon humans, we are enveloped into the wider constellation of a creation. We are rightly positioned as part of a created world, not the center of it. God is the creator and sustainer of us all. 

This psalm positions us below God, yet joyful recipients of God’s extravagant grace and love. This psalm positions us on our knees with hands raised in joyful surrender and songs of praise filling our mouths.

Today, as we continue our journey towards Pentecost, may we look towards Pentecost with open hands, reminded that in due time, and in due season, the breathing of the Holy Spirit will both create and sustain life.

Let us simply take a look around at all of the miraculous reminders of God’s presence in the earth. Consider the budding flowers, the buzzing of the bees, consider the return of butterflies and other insects as we transition through Spring. Where do you  notice the breathing of God’s spirit?

What has the Lord been forming in your life? What areas within your life do you discern the breathing of the Holy Spirit? What areas in your life are awaiting the breathing of the Holy Spirit?

PrayerLord, when you send forth your Spirit, life is created. I ask you today to send forth your Spirit into every area of my life. Send forth your Spirit upon my relationships, the work of my hands and the meditations of my heart. I need more of you in every area of my life. Sometimes I can get so sidetracked and the focus becomes all about me. Help me today to properly position myself into a posture of openness to the moving and breathing of your Holy Spirit. Like the Psalmist, may prophetic songs of praise and worship spring forth from my lips. May my heart's desire be simply to cultivate a closer relationship with you today. Amen.

   Elder Leslie Nambo

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

By the Spirit of the Lord

Scripture: Ezekial 37:4--Then He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.

"Your Heart" by Kimberly and Alberto Rivera

In today’s passage, we witness Israel in a somber light. By her own admission, “Her hope” was lost, she was spiritually dead (v.11). In response, Ezekiel was taken away into the spiritual realm to receive instructions for the people of Israel. While there, God issues a divine invitation- to prophesy. The hope of Israel, which had been lost, would miraculously come together and be given new life.
This theme of divine invitation abounds throughout the holy scriptures as we consider God’s invitation to co-create extended to Adam (Genesis 2:19). We recall God’s divine invitation to covenant relation extended to the people of Israel (Leviticus 26:12). This divine invitation to birth the Word of God, as Mary responds “be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). 
Today, God’s invitation to Ezekiel reinforces God’s preference for the use of prophecy in communicating with humanity. As we reflect upon the miraculous power of God’s prophetic word in our reading from Ezekiel,  may we come to realize the power available to us through this mode of communication with God.  May we grow more sensitive to the prophetic utterances of God in our own lives and within our communities. 

This week, as we prepare for Pentecost, the breathing of the Holy Spirit upon our lives, let us remember God’s invitation to Ezekiel to prophesy. Today, reflect upon the areas within your life that may seem dead. Where have you lost hope? Where are the dry bones in your life? 
Then receive God’s invitation “to prophesy”.  Speak the Word of God over those areas, and, like Ezekiel, allow God’s Spirit to breathe life once again, into areas that you thought to be long ago dead.  May we, like Ezekiel, prophesy to those dry bones and say to them “O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!”

Prayer:  Gracious God, in the midst of a loud and noisy world it is sometimes difficult to discern the whispering of your still small voice.  Today, please increase my discernment so that I may clearly hear you speaking. I want to be so close with you that you are able to take me away in the Spirit like you did with Ezekiel. I want to be so close with you that when you tell me to prophesy, I will be quick to obey, trusting that you will provide the words, as I open my mouth in faith. Deliver me from unbelief and fear Lord.  Bless me today with the courage to prophesy to every valley of dry bones in my life and within my community. Amen.

  Elder Leslie Nambo

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I'm Covered!

Scripture:  John 17: 13-15

Somebody prayed for me, had me on their mind,
they took the time and prayed for me.
I’m so glad they prayed (2x),
I’m so glad they prayed for me.

As a child, I remember singing a song entitled, “Somebody Prayed for Me” by Dorothy Norwood. The lyrics of the song later pay homage to the mother and the preacher who prayed for her. I recall gleefully singing this song, joyful that “somebody” had prayed for me!  It is a great feeling to know that even when we don’t have the minds to pray for ourselves, we are covered by the prayers of others interceding on our behalf. We’re covered! 

In our scripture, Jesus prays for the disciples and asks for their protection. I believe that His prayer for the disciples extends to us today. It reminds us that not only are our mothers and the preacher praying for us, but Jesus is also standing in the gap to ensure our protection. We’re covered!

Prayer:  My Lord and my God, despite the magnitude of evil that exists in this world and its persistence I experience all around me, I rejoice in the assurance that I am protected by your presence and your power. I’m covered!

 The Reverend Regina C. Groff

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