Monday, April 30, 2012


TEXT: JOHN 15:26-27; 16:13-14
26But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:  27And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

KEY TEXT: John 16:14  “…He shall glorify me…”

REFLECTION:  The Apostle John cautions, “Believe not every spirit, but try [or test] the spirits whether they are of God.” (1 John 4:1).  Jesus taught His disciples how to discern the difference between the Spirit of God and the Spirit of antichrist.  He said, “The Spirit of truth…shall testify of me…and He shall glorify me.”  

All the glory belongs to Jesus. God the Father has given Him a name above every name.  (Philippians 2:9). God the Spirit glorifies Him.  (John 16:14).  And those who are filled with the Spirit will testify of and glorify Him. 

Read the book of Acts and discover that when the first Christians were “filled with the Holy Spirit,” they inevitably testified and glorified Christ.

In promising the Holy Spirit to the disciples, Jesus said, “ye shall receive power…and ye shall be witnesses unto me.” (Acts 1:8)

Filled with the Holy Spirit Peter preached on the first Christian Pentecost, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”  (Acts 2:32) 

The accent of the first Christians was Christ. “With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.”  (Acts 4:33).  ”And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” (Acts 5:42).

I’ve been impressed that at the Gentile Pentecost, Peter’s message to the house of Cornelius was not “You’ve gotta get the Holy Ghost.”  Rather, he preached Jesus—our risen Savior and final Judge.  As He preached Christ, “the Holy Ghost fell on them that heard the word.” (Acts 10:44)

Those who are filled with the Holy Spirit are impressed with Christ and Christ alone.  Those who are filled with another spirit are impressed with themselves. Often they insist that we should be amazed by their spirituality.

Where the Spirit reigns the Christ is exalted.

PRAYER: Our Father in Heaven, “Our hearts are stirred whenever we think of Jesus!  That blessed name that sets the captive free!  The only name through which we find salvation.  No name on earth has meant so much to me.”  Without the Spirit of Truth guiding us we would have never seen the Savior for who He is.  We pray that the Spirit would exalt Christ in us, through us, and to the lost around us this day.  We will forever give Thee all the glory.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.  “Our Father, &c.”

Sunday, April 29, 2012


TEXT: JOHN 16:7-14
7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
 8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
 9Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
12I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

KEY TEXT: John 14:9  …And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment…

REFLECTION:  What was Jesus thinking? He promised the “Paracleton”—the Comforter—and then explained, “He will reprove the world…” That’s no way to market a new church!  Someone needed to explain that you have to be “seeker sensitive” to be a successful Church planter.

Conviction for sin is the Spirit’s first tack. He reproves sin.  He exalts righteousness.  And He warns of certain judgment. 

Modern preachers hawk the blessings of “the HOLY Ghost” like carnies promising prizes to players walking the midway of a low budget carnival.  How tragic.

To be sure, there are blessings promised to the Spirit-filled, but these come only to those who are first convicted of sin, convinced that they are sinners, and converted—born of the Spirit. It is this reproof, or conviction, that is notable for its absence in the contemporary Church world.

If there is no conviction for sin—no awareness of the displeasure of God for specific disobediences—there can be no conversion.  On the first Christian Pentecost Peter preached specifically.  Filled with the unction of a Spirit-Filled preacher, Peter charged his audience with murder, rebelliousness, and wickedness, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

It was then that the people were pierced in their hearts and they cried out, “Men and brethren what must we do?”  (Acts 2:37).

So-called “Holy Ghost Revivals” or “Holy Ghost Services” that have no conviction for sin are charades at best.  Church services that claim to be “Spirit-driven” though no one seems even slightly concerned about their sin—their adulterous relationships, their deceptions and disobediences, their impure motivations, or their self-centeredness—are not inspired by the Holy Spirit.  And Christians who profess to be “filled with the Spirit,” while they “walk after the flesh” are deceived.

When the Spirit comes He will reprove.  Has He come to you?

PRAYER: Our Heavenly Father, we bow before your Throne humbly acknowledging our need of Thy Spirit.  We thank Thee for the day that thy Spirit convicted our hell-bound souls.  We thank Thee for the day that thy Spirit invited us to know Christ. We thank Thee for the moment when the Spirit answered to the blood, and told us we had been born of God.  We thank Thee for all those times when Thy Holy Spirit has checked us, reproved us, reminded us, and led us.  We pray that today we would walk in the Spirit.  We pray that today we would be filled with Thy Spirit.  We pray that today we might be used by Thy Spirit. All the Glory belongs to Jesus! In His name we pray. Amen. “Our Father, &c.”

Saturday, April 28, 2012


TEXT:  JOHN 14:15-21
15If ye love me, keep my commandments.
 16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
 17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
 18I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
 19Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
 20At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
 21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

KEY TEXT:  John 14:18  “…He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever…”

REFLECTION:  The disciples were facing mind-boggling circumstances and the Lord Jesus knew it. (He always knows what we are facing.) Over the course of the next few weeks this small band would gather for the Last Supper, pray in Gethsemane, see the Lord arrested, crucified, and buried, witness his resurrection, and then stand gazing into heaven as He ascended to His Father.

Jesus said, “I’m going to prepare a place for you, and if I go away, I will come again and receive you to myself.” (John 14:5). It must have seemed hard to believe.  In fact the disciples either weren’t listening, or they assumed that He meant something different that what they heard Him say.  Those disciples!  That happened over and over again.  Several times Jesus told His disciples that he would be rejected, be killed, and rise again on the third day.  But they were shocked when it happened.

In the 14th chapter of his Gospel, John records seven specific promises that Jesus made to his anxious followers.  He promised:
…to prepare a place for them in heaven.
…to come again to receive them into heaven to live with Him forever.
…that they would do greater works if He returned to His Father in heaven.
…that if they would ask anything in His name He would hear and answer.
…because He lived, they too would live. And,
…that He would pray to His Father, and He would send another Comforter.

The name Comforter is derived from the Greek “Paracleton.” It is word that elsewhere is translated, “Advocate,” “Defender of a Cause,” “Counselor,” and “Mediator.” It is this word that John chose to describe the Lord Jesus in his First Letter “If any man sins we have an Advocate (Greek: “paraleton”) with the Father.”

Now we see the Lord’s promise in a fuller light.  The Holy Spirit—the Comforter—would bring far more than consolation. He would bring instruction, intercession, and influence.  Christ had been with them.  The Paraclete would be in them. 

What a promise.  What a presence!

PRAYER: Our Heavenly Father, The Promises you have made and kept sustain us in a world of vain words and broken promises.  Hallelujah!  What you promise, you perform! To God be the glory.  We pray that the Spirit of God—our Comforter, our Advocate, our Intercessor, our Defender, our Counselor, our Sanctifier—would fill our hearts to overflowing today.  May we be filled with “all the fullness of God.”  And may we be channels of blessing to those we meet today.  In the name of Jesus, Amen. “Our Father, &c.”

Thursday, April 26, 2012


TEXT: LUKE 3:21,22
 21Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
 22And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

KEY TEXT: Luke 3:22 “…The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him…”

REFLECTION:  Our Lord’s baptism must have been an amazing sight: Jesus coming up out of the water, the voice from heaven, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” and the fluttering wings of the dove overhead.  The Father, the Son, and the Spirit were all present and evident.

That the Spirit appeared in the form of a dove is profoundly proper.  Jesus spoke once of doves, “Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16). To Jesus the dove was a symbol of meekness, purity, innocence, and harmlessness.  One writer noted, “The dove was not majestic like the eagle, or fierce like the hawk, or flamboyant like the cardinal…It was simple, common, and innocent.”  This is the essential character of the Spirit—the Spirit of Christ—who invites “all who labor and are heavy laden…I will give you rest.”

There is one other aspect of the dove’s nature that we must not ignore.  Doves are not only pure, they are perceptive.  My Grandfather used to tell the story of a farmer who discovered a dove’s nest on his farm.  Day by day, week after week, the farmer sought to win the confidence of the doves.  Holding grain in his hand and speaking softly to the doves, the farmer was finally able to convince the doves to eat from his hand.   

After a few weeks, the farmer wondered how long it would take for the doves to distrust him.  When the doves came to be fed, the farmer closed his hand.  The next day the doves were hesitant to come, but when they came the farmer closed his hand.  On the third day, the farmer again coaxed the doves to his open hand of food, and again he closed his hand.  The doves never again returned to the farmer.

Paul warns, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30).  May we never close our hearts to the influence of the Spirit lest we drive him away and forfeit the seal of our redemption.

PRAYER: Our Father, We are truly grateful for the witness of thy Holy Spirit that we are the children of God.  The “Blessed Assurance” that “Jesus is mine” is worth more than anything in the world.  We pray that our hearts would always be open to the Spirit of Holiness.  We pray that our lives would be led by that same Spirit.  And we pray that the Spirit would bear witness with our spirits that we are your children. May we not grieve but believe Thee throughout this day.  In the name of Jesus, Amen. “Our Father, &c.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
 27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
 28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
 29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
 30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
 31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
 33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
 34Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
 35And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
 36And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
 37For with God nothing shall be impossible.
 38And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

KEY TEXT: Luke 3:35  “…The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee:…”

REFLECTION:  The creative power of the Holy Spirit is first witnessed brooding over the face of the deep bringing order and readying the planet for life. In today’s Scripture we see the Spirit’s energy overshadowing the blessed Virgin to create in a single moment the greatest Life—the life Jesus Christ. 

The Scriptures affirm that that the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God was, is, and will be forever. The Apostle John opens His Gospel with these immortal, inspired words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” The ancient Councils of the Church affirmed the truth that Christ is co-existent and co-eternal with the Father.  But it was the work of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit that fused the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ within the womb of Mary.

We read it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  (Colossians 1:27). The Apostle Paul longed to see “Christ formed” in believers. (Galatians 4:19).  And who is it that forms Christ within us?  The Apostle answers: The “Spirit of the Son” (Galatians 4:6). 

Not only did the Spirit brood over the earth to create life, not only did the Spirit overshadow the blessed virgin to conceive Life, but that same Spirit now waits to form the Christ-life in us!  Just as Jesus was conceived in a moment, so Christ in us occurs in a moment--the moment we concur, “Even so come Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20).

Without Him we are lost. “If any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”  (Romans 8:9).

With Him we are “alive unto God,” (Romans 6:11) for “if Christ be in you… the Spirit is life.” (Romans 8:10).

PRAYER: Our Heavenly Father, Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.  We pray that the same Spirit that overshadowed the blessed virgin, the same Spirit that blessed our Lord, the same Spirit that raised Him up from the dead, would dwell within our hearts.  We pray that Christ would be formed in us by the power of His Spirit, purging us of our sins, cleansing us of our sin, and bringing us into conformity with His will.  All this we pray in the name of Jesus, Amen. “Our Father, &c.”