A Great Advantage

If you are a believer in Jesus, He has provided a great advantage through the grace of the Holy Spirit in your life. I say grace, for surely, outside the atoning work of Christ, none of us could avoid being consumed by having the Holy Spirit of Almighty God dwell within us.  Is He making a difference in you?  Is He making a difference in Me?

Our enemy, the devil, has a standard litany of lies he tells anyone who desires to turn their hearts and minds over to the Spirit’s help.  Those who succumb to doubt – about whether they are “doing it right” or “hearing right” or whether they have “quenched the Spirit”– become like the unstable double-minded man who should not expect to receive anything from God.  Satan’s list of lies is practically endless.  You are no doubt familiar with some.   Rather than dwell on such a dismal litany, I want to share a list of promises from the Bible to counter them with, whatever doubt he sends:
•    But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. John 16:7
•    And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.  John 14:16-17,26
•    And when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. Mark 13:11
•    And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them.  And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them.  Then they will be My people and I shall be their God. Ezekiel 11:18
•    ‘And it shall be in the last days’, God says, ‘that I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, any your old men shall dream dreams; Even upon My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My spirit and they shall prophesy.  And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth beneath, blood and fire and vapor of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.  And it shall be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’. Acts 2:17-21

Does the tone of the quote in Acts sound like the Spirit will spend time counseling men to salve their fears by engaging in the latest self-help technique?  No, He counsels everyone to call upon the name of the Lord.  For there is no other Name given under heaven, whereby men may be saved.

I asked before, in so many words, “Am I different today than I was yesterday, or merely fooling myself?”  Those promise passages make it clear that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit because without His help, I would be unable to stand in the trials that are coming.
Father, how can I offer high enough thanks for such promises?  You have provided for Your pure and Holy Spirit to occupy my vessel of earth! Though You formed me from the dust of the ground, You the Potter are sanctifying your children for holy use by the Name of the Son, that Name which is above every other name.  Jesus!  Thank You! I know each moment presents a choice: will I believe Your witness or listen to the enemy’s propaganda?  Your Word tells me that the enemy comes but to steal and kill and destroy.  I know that listening to You leads to victory and glory and eternal life.  Oh, let me be attuned to Your voice always and at every moment!  Let me know that the shield of faith is effective.  Let no lingering doubts creep in disguised as doubts of self, but actually stinking as an affront to belief in Your promises!  I love You, Holy Spirit!  Thank You for dwelling with me.  Teach me to be steadfast in my faith, let my belief in Your promises be quicker than thought, build it into my heart!

Under His Banner at the Front


I was meditating, recently, about the “one another” reference in verse ten of Romans chapter twelve.  Perhaps, because I had just read an article about a call for legal action against Major General Craig Olson for daring to invoke Jesus’ name at the National Day of Prayer Task Force event when crediting Him for his success in life.  The group calling for a court martial was the so-called Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  I was wondering How the Major General felt about the unwanted notoriety and how he would respond.  I was seeking God in the vein of the Who is my neighbor? question that Jesus was asked by the lawyer in Luke chapter ten.  See, the people who are opposing the right of officers to mention their faith claim to be “protecting” Christians, among others, from having religion different from their own imposed on them from higher up the chain of command.  That would kind of make them neighbors, would it not?   Still, I’m having an extremely tough time reconciling the things this group says their aims are with the things they actually seem to be doing.  Anyway, enough about the origin of my quandary.  Down toward the end of the chapter, it starts to talk about “those who persecute you”, and “never pay back evil for evil to anyone”.  Clearly, those are more expansive than even “neighbor”.  I said, “This looks hard, Father!”

The Father reminded me of His provision for my own sin.  “I permitted the un-neighborly sort you are thinking about to crucify My Son.  Did that qualify as persecution?  Did that fit the definition of evil done?  What did I do in return?”

I had to admit that He has blessed me with salvation and a relationship with Him in which I can talk to Him freely.  He is returning immeasurable good for the evil done by me; for the evil amassed by my sin and repeated against Him at intervals over a lifetime.  I am ashamed that the un-neighborly sort has at times been, well, me.

As long as you’re here, I’ll let you eavesdrop on the rest of our conversation:

ABBA: “You must seek My heart about the evildoers.  Outside of becoming one with My heart, this call is too challenging for you.  This is what it means to stand under My banner of Love.  The world can absolutely not understand how good might overcome evil.  They would return evil for evil, retribution for injury.  There is a day of vengeance; a day when the blood of My Son shall be recompensed from those who have not been baptized in its cleansing fountain.  Today is not that day.  Today is a day in which I am patiently waiting for any who would yet avail themselves of that purifying flow.

“When you read or hear of evil in the land, or experience it done to you or the ones you love, remember My heart toward you while Jesus was yet suffering on the cross.  Then, seek Me with your whole heart.  Let My heart become one with yours.  Let My heart guide your attitude toward the evildoer.  Remember they are but slaves of the evil one.  Pray that they may yet see and seek Me to find the Way of Escape.”

Me: I pray You will help me with this, Father.  I have so far to go to have a heart like Yours.  Please help me to learn to love with Your love.  I have not really appreciated the notion of standing under Your banner of love at the front of the battle where evil rages on every side and Your call is still Your limitless love!  I have prayed every morning in Your name, Jehovah Nissi – God our Banner –without comprehending even a fraction of what that means.  Please help me to learn to be like You in this regard too.  I love You!