Monday, January 9, 2012

Filled with the Spirit

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

3 Flowers from the Beloved Project by Margot Cioccio

Acts 13:52

And the disciples were filled with joy 
and with the Holy Spirit.

I thought I might spend some time this week on the subject of the Holy Spirit. I have spent about equal amounts of time in both Charasmatic and Evangelical churches. So what ever camp you happen to be in I am likely to step on your toes and maybe stretch you a wee bit. I think part of my calling is to help build bridges of understanding. You may have another insights and opinions on this subject - I'm ok with that too. My hope is that God would continue to move us all forward to become stronger and more effective for His kingdom.

So one of my issues with much of the Charismatic church is the idea that speaking in tongues is "The" evidence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer.  Before some of you get up in arms and storm off in a huff. Let me say I speak in tongues. It is probably one of my strongest gifts. It annoys me when people try to wear their gifts as if they were a badge of spiritually. I'm sorry God can speak through Donkeys if he wants and He says he can make the rocks cry out if we don't praise him. If he chooses give the gift of tongues to some of us lumps he has made from dust, it does not make you a better lump than a lump He decides to use for another purpose in another way. My issue with much of the Evangelical church is that it can have a form of godliness and yet deny the power of God. They can get real busy doing the Word and trying to do it in their own strength. Open your eyes we serve a triune God, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Think about how hard it is to sit on a stool with only two legs with all three there is stability and balance.

Now let me say I am right with Paul in wishing that you all would receive the gift of tongues. But if you don't and you have prayed for the Holy Spirit I believe that the Holy Spirit might be showing up in you in some other way beyond your natural talents or abilities.
  1. 1 Corinthians 14:5
    I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.

  2. 1 Corinthians 14:39
    Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.
When I was a young believer I had a number of friends who were continually pressuring me to receive the gift of tongues. Having grown up and come out of  a new age - occult family I was not receiving anything that I did not find clearly spoken of in the Bible as something God would want for believers.
I had seen the supernatural first hand growing up and wanted nothing to do with manifestations that were not of God. So for a period of months I searched my bible and prayed and when I was fully convinced I received the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands and prayer. I was given a prayer language by the Lord at that time but I have seen the Holy Spirit show up in my life in many ways. He leads me as I study the word. When I pray for people, the Holy Spirit shows me how and what to pray.
Often it shows up in the ability to stand in faith when others have given up and circumstances appear impossible.  In my art I know when my natural tallent ends and the Holy Spirt takes over and moves and inspires me as I create. It shows up in words of wisdom and word of knowledge - some times I just know stuff. My attitude before the Lord in all of this gift and Holy Spirit stuff is Lord, I am yours use me however, whenever and in whatever way you want. I make myself available. I have said like Isaiah "Here I am, Lord send me." I had some one ask me to pray and tell them which of the five fold ministry gifts (apostle, prophet, pastor, evangelist, teacher) God had given them. My answer was no matter what gift it may be I pray that you would be a man of prayer because none of those gifts work well if you do not abide in Christ on a regular basis. He calls us all to be servants and when we minister to the least we minister to Him. All of those five gifts are for the building up and equipping of the church for the work of the ministry. 

In Jude it says to build yourself up by praying in the Spirit.  
17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
 20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21 Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

One of the greatest benefits that I have received is,  that as I do pray in the Spirit, I am built up and strengthened.  When I don't know how to pray, I am confident that the Holy Spirit does. For me it has become like a mighty river that flows from the throne of God thru my life out to others. As I pray in the Holy Spirit I am filled up and my life over flows and I am empowered by God to accomplish the things He gives me to do.

I have had to learn how to use this gift in the Evangelical side of the church. When I pray for people I always ask if they mind if I pray in my prayer language. Most are fine with it - if they are not I pray only in English. I wear my gifts lightly, I am a steward of them and try to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Rather than telling someone that The Lord says this or that, I will say as I was praying for you this came to mind. I let them decide if it was God or not.

I think there are plenty of examples of the Holy Spirit showing up in other ways in the lives of believers since the Holy Spirit gives out gifts as he so chooses. Who am I to say that everyone who is a believer and is filled with the Spirit must speak in tongues. Even Paul encourages and wishes everyone would speak in tongues but he would rather have you prophecy or be able to interpret. He would not need to wish that if everyone did speak in tongues. However the Holy Spirit shows up in your life, I have found that one must grow into a gift, we must add to a gift the faith to step out and use it. 

So this past week in my studies I was looking at two guys in the Old Testament in Exodus 31 named Bezalel and Oholiab. These guys are interesting to me because they are filled with the Holy Spirit and it shows up in their  lives in the understanding, wisdom and ability not only to create all the items needed for the Tabernacle but also to teach others how to create what was needed. These guys still had to be willing, and available to God. God did not turn them in to tabernacle creating robots but men filled and inspired and led by the Holy Spirit to accomplish the task God had set before them. They may or may not have been born with natural abilities in these areas. Israel at that time was just coming out of a life of slavery in Egypt were most were toiling making bricks.

 1 Then the LORD said to Moses, 2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts— 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. 6 Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you: 7 the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the Testimony with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent— 8 the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, 9 the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand— 10 and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you.”

Joshua is filled with the Spirt and his comes out in the ability to lead the people and to lead them in battle. He had some big shoes to fill in being the leader after Moses. Deuteronomy 34:9
Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the LORD had commanded Moses.

Then there is Daniel 4 where Daniel is filled by the Holy Spirit and able to tell the meaning of dreams. 
Daniel 4:18
“This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.”

The Bible is a collection of writings written by those who were empowered by the Holy Spirit to write.
2 Peter 1:21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.  2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

There are others who in times of great persecution are given the words to speak to their accusers in Mark 13:10-12 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

There is a guy named Simeon who is at the time of the birth of Christ is a very old man. He is said to be full of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit in him allows him to live long and see the child of the promise of God with his own eyes. I would say in him the Holy Spirit showed up in the form of great faith and patience.

There are many more examples of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of people in both the old and the new testament. I encourage you to search them out. The last few verses I want to share are spoken by Jesus.

Luke 11:13
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Luke 12:12
For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

John 14:26
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 things that I said to you.

Dear Lord, Stir up the gifts of the Holy Spirit that you have put in us. Cause them to expand, cause our faith to use them to stretch and grow. I pray for those who have not asked to receive your Holy Spirit, that you would help them find in the Word the assurance that we do need your Holy Spirit. I pray that when they ask it of you that you would come and fill them. That you would give them the gifts that they need to accomplish your plans and purposes in their life.


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  4. First of all I wаnt tο sаy аwеsome blog!
    I had а quicκ queѕtion ωhiсh I'd like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I'vе
    hаԁ a tough timе clearіng my thoughts
    in gеtting mу idеas out theгe. І tгuly do enjoy writing howeveг it juѕt sееms like
    the fіrst 10 to 15 minutes аre uѕuallу wаsted sіmply just trуing to
    figurе out hοw to begin. Any suggеstiοnѕ or tіpѕ?

    Appreсіаte it!

    Hеre іs my hοmepаge: augenoperation

    1. Dear Augenoperation,
      I spend a little time just praying and then I turn off my inner editor and just write. I don't worry about if its good or not. I trust the Lord to lead me. I go back afterwards and edit it before I post. I think the biggest thing that has helped me was setting my goal to write and post daily Monday - Friday. I have been writing daily for 19 months at this point. That has helped me to learn to write on days when I don't feel great or am uninspired and not just on the days I feel good about myself.

      I guess if you have trouble clearing your thoughts - just pick one and write about that. Sometimes I give myself a bit of structure for example the A-Z challenge was a fun bit of structure. I had to make my post fit the alphabet letter of the day.

      Hope this helps.


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