THE FATHER’S BLESSING

Acts 1:4,5 ¶ And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now”.

Not every one admits it or is even in touch with it themselves but everyone wants their father’s blessing. I have some fond memories of my dad from my childhood. My father was old school, never told you he was proud of you or loved you and but he had very high expectations that he placed on all of his children. He taught me how to hit a baseball when I could barely walk. Actually he made the mistake of tossing a golf ball to me when I was about two. I had a little bat and hit a line drive into his Adam’s apple; that was the last batting practice we had with a golf ball. I remember him making it to a baseball game I played in when I was in high school, I was so proud when my dad told me I had played a great game.

The Bible is full of stories about the Father’s blessing. Abraham blessed Isaac, Isaac blessed Jacob, and Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph; Ephraim and Manasseh. Today’s verse describes the fulfillment of the Heavenly Fathers’ blessing. Of course Jesus had lived in His Father’s blessing from eternity as the Son of God. Something was changing now. Jesus had become a man and was about to receive the Father’s blessing as a man for all mankind. The Father had made His Son an eternal promise; if He would become a man and redeem fallen man with His blood, He would secure the blessing of the Father for all who believe in Him.

What exactly is the promise of the Father? Paul tells us in Gal. 3:13,14 ¶ Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith”. Do you see it now? The blessing of the Father is the Holy Spirit; He comes to live in us, immerse us in Himself, and cause us to experience all the benefits of being His Son. He is the Father’s promise and the blessing of the Father. Today, the favor and blessing of the Father is available for all who believe in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

POWER FAILURE

POWER FAILURE

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Acts 1:8

Power, or energy, is part of everything we do, electric power to power our computers, televisions, and air conditioners. Then there is fuel for our cars and natural gas for stoves and heaters, without power we would be living back in the stone age overnight. Recently, we have been stunned by the crisis in Japan and the unfolding drama in the middle east. Both of these situations are deeply effected by “power”. The middle east is where most of our oil comes from. Problems there always end up with higher fuel prices here, which always leads to higher prices in almost everything. In Japan, we have been shocked by the horrific, unfolding, nuclear crisis. What an ironic dilemma. The nuclear plant that provides power for millions of people has lost power itself. Not only has its power failed, its backup generators failed, leaving them dependent on a long cable (an extention cord?) to try to power up their pumps to cool off their reactors, talk about a power crisis.
That brings us to our spiritual power failure. Our churches seem to be operating in a brown out, if not total black out, in our modern “relevant church” age. Our lives are designed to operate on the power of God, not catchy slogans, or trendy success tactics. We were designed for much more than that. Jesus told his disciples they would be filled with power, dunamis, to fulfill His plans on the earth. Without this dunamis, we are reduced to living off of human ingenuity and and natural abilities. That pretty much describes what most churches are working with today. This power that Jesus described is the God given ability to live the Christian life, the power to bring healing to the sick, the power to bring freedom to the alcoholics and deliverance to those bound by substance abuse. This power can free a man’s soul from sex addictions, depression, and fear. This power from on high is what separates Christianity from all of the other religions and philosophies of the world. Without God’s power, we are like the darkened nuclear plant in Japan trying desperately to deal with damage control with no tools to work with.
The good news is that this supernatural power is available for us today. Jesus is seated at the Father’s right hand, He is pouring out His glory upon all who are thirsty. Why wait another day, why try to live a supernatural life with only natural resources? Look to Jesus, He is the “Baptizer in the Holy Spirit”. He is pouring out His Spirit on all who look to Him today.

THE POWER OF GOD

THE POWER OF GOD

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Acts 1:8

What changed in the life of Jesus that caused Him to leave the safety of the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth, and start in the path of His controversial ministry of signs and wonders? It all started that day when John the Baptist laid his hands on Jesus and baptized Him in the Jordan River. From that day forward there was no going back. The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus and He began to experience the power of God upon His life. It had been years since anything like this had happened in Israel, but now miracles began to flow from this new anointing Jesus had begun to experience. This is the same power that came upon the disciples as they prayed in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, several years later. Like Jesus, they too began to experience this power for miracles beginning to flow through their lives. This word power is one of the most important words in the New Testament. It is the greek word dunamis. Here are Strong’s and Thayer’s definition of this powerful word.

Strong’s definition
dunamis -doo’-nam-is – force (literally or figuratively); specifically miraculous power (usually by implication a miracle itself)
dunamis
Thayer Definition:
1) strength power, ability
1a) inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth
1b) power for performing miracles
1c) moral power and excellence of soul

This dunamis is a game changer. Everything changed for Jesus and for His followers after they experienced the “dunamis” of God. In the same way today, the power of God will change your life significantly. The verse of scripture for today’s devotion is a direct word from Jesus Himself. He told His disciples not to leave Jerusalem on their charge of world evangelism until they were clothed with power from above. In the same way, in our dark, secular world, we are in great need of the power of God. His power on our life will give us the ability to live this Christian life and lead us into the supernatural life that the early church enjoyed, without this power, we are sadly left to our own inept attempts to change our lives.

THE LITTLE KING

THE LITTLE KING

 

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.*
Acts 1:13-14

Important people don’t seem to need miracles. They normally have a safer version of spirituality. They believe in God, they just want a toned down expression of their spiritual life, after all, they have done pretty good on their own. The man in this story is called a nobleman, in the Vulgate he is called regulus, which means little king. He was actually an official in Herod’s court, not the kind of person who was following around this itinerant preacher. This man had more important matters to attend to, he was too busy for these religious meetings. After all, Jesus’ meetings could last for hours, with preaching and singing and praying for the poor miserable people, this man was far too busy for all of that.
Then one day, all of that changed. The nobleman’s son was sick. He was beyond the help of the doctors. He was beyond the little king’s ability to handle his problem, he was like all of the other poor miserable people. He needed the help of God.
Maybe you have some problems beyond your ability to fix. It may be debt, sickness, a child in trouble, or maybe a broken heart. All of us have been there before, or will be there someday. The place of desperation can suddenly become the place of faith.
The nobleman heard that Jesus was in Cana, that was about twenty miles from Capernaum where the little king was. Twenty miles in those days was quite a trip. Twenty miles is nothing when your son is on his death bed. The nobleman headed for Cana where he found Jesus, and was begging Him to come heal his son.” Go your way, your son lives”. The nobleman believed His words and headed home to find his son well.
Things could never be the same for ” the little king from Capernaum”.
That day, he had met the King of Kings who answered his cry of desperation. Maybe you are like that little king. Self importance can rob us of any awareness of God. All of us find ourselves, from time to time, with problems way beyond us. If that is your story, twenty miles is not too far to go. You may have to go out of your way for a miracle, but you won’t be disappointed.

Waiting in One Accord

Hungering Together

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.*

There is something powerful that comes from corporate spiritual hunger. These followers of Jesus had spent three years with a close relationship with Christ. Nothing ceremonial or symbolic could replace that incredible intimacy that had experienced with the Lord. They knew something was coming. Jesus had promised. The Father had promised. The coming of the Holy Spirit was certain. Today we live in a time of similar expectancy. The world is filled with tragedy, prophetic fulfillment is all around us. It is apparent,creation, society, and His church are in trevail, anticipating the coming of the Lord. Jesus promised an incredible outpouring of His Spirit before He returned. The time is near, His coming is imminent.” Lord, pour out a hunger for You in this critical time. ” As we come together in one accord, He will certainly pour out His Spirit on all flesh in these last days.