The Quest – Day 22

This is the devotional for Tuesday, October 17, 2006 which is the 22nd day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 22 of Frank Moore’s wonderful book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 3 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 22 – Burn It Up!

God’s fire brings purity.

“Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’” (Isaiah 6:6-7 NIV)

Author Frank Moore recounts that during his first year in seminary he worked at a medical center sterilizing surgical instruments used in the operating rooms. He followed strict quality-control procedures; one mistake could endanger a patient’s life. He learned that high temperatures for an extended period of time kill all that contaminates. That’s why the Bible uses fire as a symbol for purity.

One passage that uses fire to symbolize purity is found in Isaiah 6:1-7. When Isaiah saw how holy and spotless God appeared, he immediately looked at himself. He did not like what he saw; he didn’t measure up. Notice in this passage God’s use of fire and its purifying properties. And notice how Isaiah’s close encounter with the presence of Holy God transformed him.

We discussed on Day 5 the fulfillment of Jesus’ Mount of Olives promise to His disciples. The Spirit came upon them in ways they could not doubt. Twenty years later in Jerusalem, Peter recounted again what the Spirit did in their hearts on the Day of Pentecost. Peter said the Spirit “purified their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9). Remember the second symbol on the Day of Pentecost? Fire. So, we see again, God used His fire to bring purity.

Our hearts draw us toward purity. We ask ourselves, “Where can I experience the purity for the life I’ve longed for?” Today’s Bible lesson reminds us: God is the source of purity. Only His fire can truly purify our hearts. What might He want to purge from your heart? Let Isaiah and the disciples motivate you to open yourself to His purging fire today.

The memory verse for this week is Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

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

Build your faith today by asking God to purify your heart. Then receive His purity by faith.

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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.”

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 Holy Spirit is really the Spirit of Jesus.

The Quest – Day 5

This is the devotional for Saturday, September 30, 2006 which is the 5th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 5 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 5 – The Rest of the Story

The answer to our question is found in the Spirit of Christ.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5 NIV)

Yesterday you got a glimpse into the way Jesus’ disciples felt as they tried to come to terms with the sharp disconnect between their promise and resolve to follow Jesus in Mark 14:31 and their actions later in that same chapter. Mark 14:50 says, “Then everyone deserted him and fled.” Sounds like all-out, full-blown desertion to me. How on earth could the pendulum of the disciples’ lives swing so quickly from total commitment to total desertion?

Did the disciples’ failure surprise Jesus? No, He predicted it right down to the smallest detail (vv. 27-30). Jesus talked to His disciples about the need for something more in their spiritual walks long before they even knew they needed it. Jesus answered a question the disciples hadn’t yet asked. It’s the same question we’re seeking to answer in this Quest: How can I live the life I’ve longed for?

In Acts 1, Luke tells us the rest of the story. “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (v. 8 ). Again, He answered a question they had not yet asked, “How do I live the Christian life after Jesus returns to His Father?”

Thankfully they obeyed Jesus. They gathered back in the Upper Room where they had shared the Last Supper with Jesus 40 days earlier. They joined together in prayer. It was a unifying experience. They prayed through each day and into the evening for more than a week.

And something dramatic happened. On the 10th day of their prayer meeting, the heavens broke open and the promised Spirit filled them (Acts 2:1-4). The sights and sounds of Pentecost signaled the presence and power of God. A sound like a great wind was heard, symbolizing power. Flames of fire descended upon each participant, symbolizing purity of heart. They all began proclaiming the gospel message in languages they had never learned. They hit the streets and told thousands of Jerusalem visitors about Jesus Christ. This symbolized the need to take the new gospel message to the ends of the earth, to every language group.

Everything Jesus told us during His ministry about the Spirit and everything we see happening in the Early Church following Acts 2 shows us the secret of spiritual growth, how to overcome spiritual hindrances, and how to live a victorious Christian life. You will learn more about this exciting message as you continue your quest through these days of discovery.

Our memory verse for the week reminds us that every discovery we make on this quest comes by way of God’s grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)