Joy Triggers the Holy Spirit

jumper-cables-926308_1920When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth both were unexpectedly and miraculously pregnant (Mary as a virgin and Elizabeth because… she was old. Forgive me Elizabeth, but that’s what the Good Book says). When they greet each other for the first time, something extraordinary happens: John leaps for joy… in the womb! And not only that; Elizabeth is immediately “filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 1:41)

Now, this raises 2 interesting points:

1. Luke (a doctor, mind you) considered the fetus to be a “babe.” We know this because he used the same Greek word (“brephos“) in 2:12, 16 – “You will find a baby lying in a manger.” [More on this subject Sunday Dec. 17th!]

2. John’s JOY triggered Elizabeth’s filling of the Holy Spirit. Let that sink in. John (who was given a full dose of the Holy Spirit in the womb, Luke 1:15) “leaped for joy” and THEN Elizabeth was filled.

Could it be that joy sparks the Holy Spirit? Does it help activate Him? Is joy a catalyst? Could it be that those who have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can help ignite others by being joyful? It would appear so. After all, joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, is it not (Gal. 5:22-23)?

In this manner, joy can be like jumper cables infusing a dead car battery with life and energy! It does so by sharing that life and energy. We do likewise by sharing the joy that the Holy Spirit gives us to those who are dead (spiritually-speaking)!

Let us then be joyful. Who knows who we may vicariously jump-start in the process?

Pray Like Jesus

John 17
John 17

There have been many great prayers prayed by many great men. Notable supplications have been made by Solomon (1 King 8), Abraham (Gen. 18), and Moses (Exodus 32).

Naturally, the all-time greatest prayer was made by Jesus Christ, Himself.

You might be thinking of the prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 & Luke 11:2-4. You know, the one that starts out with: “Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy Name…” That’s the one commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” However, a more accurate title might be “The Apostle’s Prayer” seeing as it was the prayer Jesus gave the apostles when they asked how they should pray.

I am talking about Jesus’ prayer in John 17. This one is sometimes called, “The High Priestly Prayer.” Take a second to look it up and read it today. I’m not going to quote the whole prayer here, but I will give you a quick outline.

Jesus “lifted up His eyes.” We tend to bow our heads and close our eyes, don’t we? Whether we lift or bow our head doesn’t matter as long as we are praying with humility, praise, and love. Customs are not essential. A right heart is.

First, Jesus prays for Himself. Do you pray for yourself? I know, it may seem selfish. But it’s OK to pray for yourself. Jesus did. But notice that He prayed for Himself so that the Father would be glorified. If we are petitioning God for ourselves with the end result being the glorification of God, then by all means, pray for yourself!

Second, Jesus prays for His disciples. He taught them all that He could and now He commits them to His Father. Often we are hard on the Apostles, but here Jesus gives His assessment. “They have kept Your word, they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You and they believed that You sent Me. I have been glorified in them.” Not too bad. I hope Jesus can say the same about me!

Third, Jesus prays for YOU. Say what now?! Me? How is that? He extends that scope of His prayer to all who would come to faith by the testimony of these disciples. That would include you and me! It’s pretty cool to think that Jesus prayed for us specifically.

There is a common thread throughout this prayer. Did you notice it? Oneness. “That they all me be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Jesus prays that every race of every social class of every language would be united. We are to be equally unified just as the Trinity is equally unified. We do this not just for our benefit, but also so the world may believe in Jesus. If we are always fighting among ourselves, how can we be one? The world is watching.

Finally, Jesus ends His prayer in triumphant love. “That the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” Jesus and His Love lives in every believer. We serve a living God. We serve a loving God.

Simple. Beautiful. Perfect.

May God’s Love be with you

The LORD Sits

Psalms 29:10
Psalms 29:10

For our honeymoon my wife and I were blessed with a trip to Paris. While we were there, we visited the Palace of Versailles. Once the center of political power, Versailles is now France’s foremost tourist attraction. Besides it’s sheer grandeur, one thing stuck with me about that palace: the thrones.

It is there that I learned what a throne represents. I mean, of course I knew that a throne represented power. It is obvious that to have people come to you is a demonstration of power. But, it is absolute power to have people come to you as you remain seated.

Ever thought of that before?

The Throne of God is mentioned several times throughout scripture. I won’t bombard you with all of them. Most famously it is described by Ezekiel (chapter 1). I’d like to mention also that the angel Gabriel refers to the Throne of God in Luke 1:32-33 because… he should know, he’s been there. He’s actually seen it!

God is mentioned as “sitting” multiple times as well.

• “The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever.” – Psalms 29:10

• “He that sits in the heavens laughs” (at the futile efforts of man’s rebellion) – Psalms 2:4

• “Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high?” – Psalms 113:5

Sitting on His Throne, God is The Absolute Power. He is the Power of the Power. There is none above and all below. Yet, He makes Himself low to guide and love His fragile creation.

In your quiet time with the LORD today, reflect on our God’s astounding ability to speak stars into being and also whisper encouragement to His children all in the same all-powerful breath. He does so with perfect love from His magnificent Throne.

God Bless!