I’ve Met Jesus’ Sister, and so have You!

Did you know that Jesus had a sister?  You know, I really hadn’t thought about it much.  However, in the last year with the controversy that Dan Brown’s book The DaVinci Code sparked, folks have actually taken a look at such things.  Well, what do we know about Jesus’ family?

The story of Jesus’ birth told in the New Testament reveals that Jesus’ birth was a miracle.  Mary was chosen by God and called by an angel to carry a child conceived by the Holy Spirit.  Joseph, realizing that he was not the father, was going to cancel his engagement to Mary quietly.  An angel appeared to him and convinced him to marry Mary anyway.

From here the details of the story are more sketchy.  So, what do we know?  We know that Mary had more children, sons at least, and that we don’t see any other evidence of Joseph beyond that.  The assumption is that, after the birth of Jesus, Mary & Joseph had several other sons and then at some point, probably prior to Jesus’ public ministry, Joseph died.

Mary shows up in the Gospels on several occasions, most notably at Cana of Galilee when Jesus performed a miracle at her request and at Jesus’ crucifixion.  But, there is another reference to Jesus’ family that includes a reference to Jesus’ sister, however. 

In the opening chapters of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is shown beginning His ministry of teaching, healing and delivering those possessed by demons.  Crowds of people flocked to him from all over the area.  Then Jesus’ mother and brothers also show up.  Jesus is in a building, probably a home, teaching a group of people crowded around him.  His family, unable to enter the building, are left standing outside.  Someone conveys to Jesus the message, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you” (Mark 3:32 NIV). 

Jesus said, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”  Then He looked at those seated around Him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:33-35 NIV)

Now this doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t respect his family.  We see that Jesus, later, while He was being crucified, specifically made sure that His mother, Mary, would be cared for after His death and resurrection.  The point that Jesus is making is that you and I can be part of His family!  Anyone who chooses to follow God’s purposes, which includes accepting Jesus as God’s Son and our Savior, is Jesus’ brother, sister or mother.

So, do you know someone who is pursuing God’s purposes in her or his life?  That person is Jesus’ sister or brother!  Chances are, you know Jesus’ brother and probably His sister too!

But a more important question is:  Are you doing God’s will?  If you are, guys, you are Jesus’ brother!  Ladies, if you are, you are Jesus’ sister! 

(Maybe the next topic I write about should be “The need for humility!”)

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Real Love

(Click here to listen to the podcast recording)

 

Each week, it seems, we hear about a new celebrity couple getting together, and the gossip columnists begin taking bets on how long before they will call it quits. It makes me wonder if the popular song, “What’s love got to do with it,” was written about this phenomenon. They call it love, but is it really?

Years ago, a wise man by the name of Paul wrote a classic description of what real love is: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV) Those celebrity relationships rarely, it seems, come anywhere close to Paul’s description.

As we celebrate St. Valentine’s day this month, consider the meaning of real love: it is a daily choice to put the best interests of the one loved before one’s own wants and needs. Love is more than an emotional high; it is a conscious choice, a continuing commitment. You don’t fall into and out of love (that would be infatuation). You must choose to love and you must choose to nurture that love if it is to grow.

Want to know more about love? Don’t look to the celebrities! Look to the best example of love, ever: “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16, NLT)

The Quest – Day 39

This is the devotional for Friday, November 3, 2006 which is the 39th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 39 of Frank Moore’s life-changing book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 39 – Life in the Spirit of Christ

We live life in the Spirit of Christ every day through a thousand daily choices.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2 NIV)

To develop Christlike character we must look to Christ as our example. Then we consecrate ourselves completely to God. Next, we receive His gift of sanctification. Then we move from one growth cycle to another for the rest of our lives.

If you have heard that God quantum-leaps you to Christlike maturity in one moment with one prayer, you have been misled. Yes, our consecration can be accepted and our hearts purified in a moment. But the work of maturity is done in the many choices we make daily.

In our Scripture text for today Paul speaks of God’s incredible freedom that enables you to choose daily the way you think, value, and live. You have the freedom to choose one of two ways of life:

    Two preferences
Life in Christ Jesus, or
Life in the flesh, by which paul means living according to the carnal nature of humanity that prefers self over God

    Two walks
A spiritual walk in step with God’s value system, or
A fleshly walk in step with one’s own value system

    Two laws
The law of the Spirit of life – not a list of dos and don’ts, but the guidance of our deep love for God
The second law is the law of death – the outcome of doing what you please ends in spiritual death.

    Two powers
The power of Christ to forgive and free us from sin, or
The power of the old, condemning law which is powerless to deliver us.

    Two loyalties
Loyalty to the Spirit in which our pleasure is to do His pleasure, or
Loyalty to the flesh in which we become enslaved to our desires, passions and addictions

    Two destinies
Eternal life, or
Eternal death

Each day we have a choice between these two ways of life. You validate your consecration and affirm your sanctification in daily choices as you continue to live out your resolve to make Christ Lord of all!

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

For more information on both the FaithBuilders podcast and the Faith Church podcast visit www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by choosing life in the Spirit of Christ.

The Quest – Day 35

This is the devotional for Monday, October 30, 2006 which is the 35th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 35 of Frank Moore’s thought-provoking book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 35 – Christ in You, Part 2

You can become like Christ!

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27 NIV)

Today we continue the study of Christlike character development we began yesterday. Now, remember that this character development does not occur overnight.

13. Jesus was not vindictive and did not retaliate when others treated Him wrongly.
14. Jesus did not need to make a name for himself.
15. Jesus expressed strong emotion and indignation when the occasion called for it.
16. Jesus showed great courage throughout His life.
17. Jesus had a clear mission and purpose for His life.
18. Jesus lived with eternity’s values in view.
19. Jesus realized and accepted His human limitations.
20. Jesus always sought to do the will of His Father.
21.Jesus lived in constant communion with His Father.
22.Jesus depended on the Holy Spirit for constant spiritual strength and encouragement.
23. Jesus lived a life of service.
24. Jesus submitted himself to suffering on our behalf.
25. Jesus submitted himself to death on the Cross to accomplish our salvation.

Look back over the list of qualities and virtues from yesterday and today. God wants to form these in you as you grow in Him. Resist the tendency to make a list of these character qualities and grade your daily performance, or you’ll fall into the trap of bondage to performance. Just live for God and seek His ways. Growth in Christlikeness will follow as naturally as “April showers bring May flowers.”

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 5 of the Quest, which reveals that “You can develop Christlike character,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net.

Build your faith today by asking the Father to make you like His Son.

The Quest – Day 34

This is the devotional for Sunday, October 29, 2006 which is the 34th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 34 of Frank Moore’s thought-provoking book, The Power To Be Free. 

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 34 – Christ in You, Part 1

 

The Father wants to make you like His Son!

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  (Colossians 1:27 NIV) 

For the past month we’ve been on a quest to discover how we can live the life we’ve longed for.  We’ve learned we have a Guide to show us the way.  Our relationship with this Guide allows us to accept God’s love, experience His purity, and receive His power for this life.

Our quest for the remainder of our 40 days will point us in the direction of a Christlike character.  Christianity’s most unique feature is a close personal relationship with God.  He actually responds to our prayers!  Over time God molds us to think and act as He does.  We become like our God. Paul says in Romans 8:29 that God wants us “to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.”  So what does that look like?  Let’s look at the qualities Christ displayed in His earthly ministry. 

  1. Jesus loved the Father first and foremost, and then He loved us as an outgrowth of the Father’s and Son’s love for each other.
  2. Jesus had a winsome personality.
  3. Jesus lived a life of humility.
  4. Jesus lived a balanced life.
  5. Jesus had a sense of humor.
  6. Jesus had a heart of compassion and gave His hands to compassionate ministry.
  7. Jesus lived a life of fairness.
  8. Jesus was courteous.
  9. Jesus was thoughtful.
  10. Jesus paid compliments and showed appreciation.
  11. Jesus did not attempt to create conflict with His enemies, but when it arose He did not run from it.
  12. Jesus did not contemplate His plight in life and feel sorry for himself.

Think about each of these qualities of Christ throughout the day and imagine ways the Father might make you more like His Son. 

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net.  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.  

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 5 of the Quest, which reveals that “You can develop Christlike character,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.  You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net. 

Build your faith today by asking God to make you more like His Son!

The Quest – Day 19

This is the devotional for Saturday, October 14, 2006 which is the 19th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 19 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 19 – Is This Thing For Real?

God’s love is for real.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NIV)

Love is a good thing! We know we need it and should give it to others. Love gets lots of attention from world religions, secular society and the entertainment sector, yet our hearts long for something more. This longing takes us on a quest to find a deeper kind of love. What we’re searching for can only be found in the love of Christ.

Christian love comes from God, the source of all love. Only though knowing Him and living in relationship with Him can we find love for the live we long for. 1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” But can we love in that way just by willing it? Haven’t you noticed that loving by sheer willpower just doesn’t cut it?

The Bible tells us that we must first accept God’s love for us. Only then can we turn around and love others the way He loved us. Christian love is not something we generate from within by determined willing or imagination. Rather it is God living through us to love others. We do not create Christian love; we simply pass it on as a gift. When God lives in us, His love flows through us, even to our enemies and those who frustrate us.

It may be tempting to dismiss the idea of Christian love as unrealistic. However, remember that God places His love in us the same way He gives us salvation. If you can accept the miracle and mystery of His salvation, you can also accept the miracle and mystery of His love. Receive it; pass it on. It’s that simple.

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith by receiving God’s love and then sharing it with others.


The Quest – Day 16

This is the devotional for Wednesday, October 11, 2006 which is the 16th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 16 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 16 – Imitators of God

Imitate God.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV)

Author Frank Moore says that one of his favorite memories of his son’s childhood occurred during the summer of his third year. There Brent was about three paces behind him pushing his toy mower, imitating every move he made. Like it or not, our kids imitate what they see us do.

That’s the concept Paul had in mind when he admonished us in the Scripture verse above to imitate God. In the verse just prior to it, he explains what he wants us to do, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other” (4:32). Both verses tell us to love as Christ did. We follow His example and show others the same kindness and compassion we have received from Him.

What force drives this love? God’s love flows through us. This love originates in God (see. Romans 5:5). We simply receive it and pass it on to our hurting world. This means that whenever we see something else taking center stage in our lives, we quickly set it aside and restore God to first place. This enables us to reach out to others with the same love with which God reached out to you.

So often when Christians read in the Bible that they must love God and others, they assume they must generate large quantities of this love by themselves. So like the car rental employee, they try harder. Then they become frustrated, because they cannot love God’s way by themselves. The love you’re called to display requires nothing more than receiving God’s love and letting it flow through you to others. You simply imitate God.

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Thank you for reading the FaithBuilders devotional. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by imitating God.

The Quest – Day 14

This is the devotional for Monday, October 9, 2006 which is the 14th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 14 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Click on the recent posts on this site to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast, click on the link in the right margin.

Day 14 – God is Love

God is love.

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (I John 4:16 NIV)

A song attempted to define God’s love, then gave up on the hopeless task and painted a picture instead. God’s love defies description!

Many of us have heard about God’s love from earliest childhood. Songs like “Jesus Loves Me” and verses like John 3:16 which begins, “For God so loved the world….” For some of us it seems we’ve heard so much of God’s love that it has lost its mystery.

But God does not possess love the way someone owns a pickup truck. Rather, God defines all that we know about love by His very nature and being. He is the source of all love, the very personification of it.

The most amazing picture of God’s love which was given in that song is that of the Father sending His Son Jesus Christ to live among us and tell us personally about God’s love. Then He died on the Cross for our sins. What unbelievable love! When pressed to define God’s love, John pointed to a picture, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.” (1 John 3:16)

This picture reminds us that God’s love reached out to us before we even knew we needed Him. He sacrificed His most precious loved one for us. He found no price too high for our ransom. He cared, He gave, and worked for our good long before any of us responded to Him. He did the same for those who never responded. This selfless love always was and forever will remain undeserved by us. Yet, He continues to extend it freely.

So, here’s the map for your Quest. Head straight toward a more comprehensive understanding of this God who equals love.

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by seeking to know this God who is love.

The Quest – Day 11

This is the devotional for Friday, October 6, 2006 which is the 11th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 11 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 1 of the Quest, we’d love you have you participate at our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 11 – A Guide for the World

The Spirit of Christ is at work in our world.

“When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” (John 16:8 NIV)

The Holy Spirit brings God’s presence to our world today. Here are some ways the Holy Spirit is at work:

  1. The Spirit hovered over the work of creation at the very beginning. He is perhaps still involved in hovering over His handiwork as He sustains all creation day by day.
  2. Every living thing except God requires a source of energy to sustain it. God is the source of all energy and the master preserver of all things.
  3. The Holy Spirit is at work in the world to testify about the life, ministry and salvation plan of Christ. (John 15:26)
  4. The Spirit brings conviction to sinners
  5. The Spirit urges people to live righteous lives
  6. The Spirit warns of the coming judgment (John 16:8 ) These last three are examples of “prevenient grace,” which means the grace that goes before our salvation.
  7. The Spirit takes the initiative in seeking us out, like a hound tirelessly sniffing for a ‘possum or a raccoon. He won’t leave us alone until we understand the terms and at least consider His offer of salvation. He reasons and pleads with us. If we refuse, He keeps coming back with fresh appeals to try to convince us to accept Him.

How does the Spirit make His offer of salvation to those who do not know or acknowledge God? He may use:

  • Our conscience
  • A pastor or Christian friend or parent offering sound advice
  • The circumstances of life, when our best efforts at having our own way collapse, or when we are left dry and unsatisfied by the choices we make in life

Any of these and countless others may be used by the Spirit as means of making us stop and pay attention to Him.

If you already have a relationship with God, first let this truth remind you of all God does to bring us to Himself. Second, let it encourage you to continue to pray for your lost friends and loved ones. God hasn’t given up on your lost friends, and neither should you.

The memory verse for this week is John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

Thank you for visiting the FaithBuilders blog. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by praying for your friends and loved ones who are lost.

The Quest – Day 10

This is the devotional for Thursday, October 5, 2006 which is the 10th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 10 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, Week 1 of the Quest, we’d love you have you participate via our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.

Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 10 – A Guide for Jesus

The Spirit actively participated in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me.” (Luke 4:18 NIV)

Author Frank Moore says that he is a household handyman who loves a new challenge. His son Brent worked at his side most of the 13 years they spent working on their “fixer-upper.” The projects gave them good times together and some great memories.

Brent is now married and owns his own home. His father & mother are quite impressed by the home improvements that he and his wife Nikki have made. Now if only his father could get his borrowed tools back!

This reminds us that the Spirit did not work in and with Christ for Christ’s ministry alone. He demonstrated through Christ what He wants to accomplish in your life as a follower of Christ. It might be that just as Brent picked up handyman skills from watching his father Frank work, you can pick up spiritual insights into the way the Spirit works by watching how He worked with Jesus. Let these examples illustrate:

  1. The Spirit placed the fetus of Jesus in Mary’s body (Luke 1:35).
  2. The Spirit spoke through John the Baptist in preparing the way for Jesus.
  3. The Spirit blessed Jesus through Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-40)
  4. The Spirit descended as a dove upon Jesus at His baptism (Luke 3:21-22)
  5. The Spirit prepared Jesus for His temptation ordeal (Luke 4:1)
  6. The Spirit empowered Jesus for His daily ministry (Luke 4:14)
  7. The Spirit instructed Jesus in His teaching ministry (Luke 4:18-21)
  8. The Spirit performed miracles with Jesus (Matthew 12:28 )
  9. The Spirit raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 1:3-4)
  10. The Spirit validated Jesus’ life and ministry by filling believers to continue His work on earth.

How many of these examples prompt your thinking about ways the Spirit wants to work in your life as well? While some of the above examples may not be repeated in your life, the Spirit stands ready:

  • to help you in time of temptation
  • to empower you for your daily ministry
  • to instruct you as you teach others about Christ
  • to work in your life in unexplainable ways

In the end the Spirit will raise you from the dead, as He did Jesus, and you will live with Him in heaven forever!

The memory verse for this week is John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by asking the Spirit to work in you as freely as He did in Jesus!

The Quest – Day 9

This is the devotional for Wednesday, October 4, 2006 which is the 9th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 9 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, Week 1 of the Quest, we’d love you have you participate via our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 9 – A Guide from Days Gone By

The Spirit has been guiding our world and people since the beginning of time.

“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:2 NIV)

Without realizing it, many believers think of the Spirit as a relief pitcher. They think that during the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, the Spirit warmed up and readied himself. As soon as Jesus returned to heaven, the Spirit ran onto the field to assume His presence and ministry in the Church and the world. In other words, He served as a reliever to Jesus’ ministry and became a starter at Pentecost. Nothing could be further from the truth!

The Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity. Anytime you read in the Bible about God working in His world, you can rest assured that Father, Son and Spirit are all somehow involved.

True, we tend to imagine the Father at work in the Old Testament, the Son at work during the Incarnation, and the Spirit at work in the church age. Nevertheless, we must never assume that only one member of the Trinity acts at any given time.

The Spirit has been actively involved in our world since its beginning. His presence permeated the entire Old Testament. These few examples illustrate this:

  1. He worked with other members of the Trinity in creating the world and everything in it. Genesis 1:2 tells us that “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
  2. He inspired the writers of Scripture to record the message of God for us. Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:21, “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
  3. He gave people special skills and abilities to accomplish His will. Exodus 31:3-5 tells us that the Spirit of God filled Bezalel with skill, ability and knowledge of a variety of craftsmanships for the building of the Tabernacle, the worship center for the Hebrew people during their trip from Egypt to the Promised Land.
  4. He guided the leaders of Israel in the Old Testament. Numbers 11:25 says, “Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with [Moses], and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders.”
  5. He spoke through the prophets about a new arrangement that would allow Him to live within human hearts. Isaiah 44:3 says, “I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring.”

These examples only hint at the numerous ways in which the Spirit of God participated with us in our world. Let me challenge you to read through the Old Testament again with an eye for the Spirit’s involvement in its events and messages. You’ll be amazed as you see Him working quietly in the shadows.

The memory verse for this week is John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by remembering the Spirit’s work in our world.

The Quest – Day 7

This is the devotional for Monday, October 2, 2006 which is the 7th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 7 of Frank Moore’s awesome book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s Kickoff service for the Quest, we’d love you have you participate via our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.

Day 7 – What’s in a Name?

The Spirit is really the Spirit of Christ.

I will come to you.” (John 14:18 NIV)

A name communicates volumes. Sometimes you think you’re dealing with a total stranger on the phone. You hear her name, then suddenly realize you live down the street from her or go to church with her.

Our Day 5 devotional ended with Jesus’ fulfillment of a promise He made to His disciples on the Mount of Olives before returning to His Father. When we hear Jesus tell us about the Spirit who filled the disciples at Pentecost, we assume Jesus is talking about someone completely different from himself. But is He?

Who is the Spirit? Think again of the verse we read at the beginning of this devotional. Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Romans 8: 10 tells us, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you…your body is alive because of righteousness.” Paul references the Spirit and then calls Him the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. Then, Paul said those who have the Spirit living in their lives have Christ living within them.

In Acts 16:6-7, Paul received instruction from the “Spirit of Jesus” about the direction to take his travels. Verse 6 refers to the Spirit directing Paul; verse 7 names Him the Spirit of Jesus. In Philippians 1:19 Paul acknowledges the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

So when we hear about the Spirit’s work at Pentecost in Acts 2, we’re not meeting someone new. We’re reconnecting in a new way with our Savior Jesus Christ.

So, what’s in a name? Everything you know about Christ, everything you feel deep in your heart for Christ can be transferred to your understanding of the Spirit. Jesus did not go back to the Father and pass you off to one of His angels for spiritual direction, strength, purity, power and everything else you need to live the Christian life. He Himself is in your heart in a profoundly new way. What could be better than having Jesus Christ as a permanent heart guest?

The memory verse for this week is John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

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Build your faith today by remembering, the Holy Spirit is really the Spirit of Jesus.