Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Help

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Acts 13:52
And the disciples were
 filled with joy and  
with the Holy Spirit.

Hope, honor, healing, heath, hear, hearing, hard, history, horror, hands, heart, hard heart, hopelessness, hurt, holding on, Hebrews,

I find myself going thorough a mental list of words that might work for the alphabet letter of the day. I could write about any of the words, but I find myself wondering what word would the Holy Spirt have me write about. See my list above Holy Spirt was not in it and I had not even thought of it till I started to write this paragraph.

So Jesus dies on the cross, three days later he raise from the dead, Mary and the women go to the tomb and see Jesus, who looks like a gardner, they run to tell the others. The others think the women are talking nonsense but Peter gets up and runs to the tomb and finds the strips of cloth he had been wrapped in, but no body. Hmmmmmm. Then two of them are on the road to Emmaus and meet a stranger and tell him about about what happened to Jesus. They tell the news from the women earlier in the day. Then the stranger says "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to sufer these things and then enter his glory" Luke 24:25-26 . They arrive in Emmaus and still don't realize who is with them but they invite him to stay for diner. As he breaks the bread and gives thanks they finally recognize him and poof he disappears. The two guys run all the way back to the others to tell them what happened and while they are telling their crazy story. Jesus shows up and says "Peace be with you." They are freaked out by this and he says look at my hands and feet-look I have flesh and bones. Then he asks for something to eat. Proving to them he was not a ghost or a figment of their imaginations.

I love verse 45. "Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.  He ends the conversation with "I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

H is for HELP the disciples needed help to see Jesus, to believe he was not a ghost, to understand the Scriptures, and they needed help to be clothed with power from on high.  
Heres the big news flash!
You need HELP. We are like a dirty, cracked, empty clay pot thinking we are to hold the finest of wines. It is simply not possible unless something beyond our frail pitiful selves helps us.

2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in
jars of clay 
to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Just like the disciples we need Jesus to open our minds so we can even begin to understand the Bible.
We need to be clothed with power from on high if we are going to manage to do what it tells us.

The disciples were told to wait - and so are you.  The story picks up again in the book of Acts.
"Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
The story of how this happens is found in Acts 2. It is a story filled with awe and wonder and the people who witnessed it are amazed and perplexed they start to ask what does this mean?

Peter who's mind has been opened to understand the Scriptures and is now filled with power from on high to proclaim it. He starts explaining stuff.  In the last days, God says I will pour out my Spirit on all people...  We need HELP in the form of the Holy Spirit to understand and live out the kingdom life. That help is available to you. You got to get to the place of realizing that you can't do enough good stuff to out weigh the bad stuff, that you can't on your own make things right. You've got to get to a place of realizing you need help. The Holy Spirit has been poured on all flesh which makes it even possible for us to realize we are missing something.

John 14:26
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 2:38
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 5:32
We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Acts 7:51
“You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!

I could find you many more verses but I guess my question to you is are you being stiff-necked and resisting the very help that Jesus has intended for you. Are you trying to live the Christian life in your own strength and limited understanding. Trying to pull yourself up by your own boot straps?
Receive the gift of the promised Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is something, someone that Jesus wants you to be full of. Be filled with power from on high. The Holy Spirit is that power from on high that makes it possible for you, a broken messed up vessel, to run the race set before you. It is the Holy Spirit that is renewing and transforming you, helping you to grow, to desire to be more like Jesus.

Acts 8:15-17
15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

We need to constantly be filled and refilled with the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit much like Jesus waits to be invited. In our stiff-necked posture we think we can manage with out assistance.
Today and everyday we need to ask for help and allow Him room to order and direct our day.

Dear Lord,
You have provided all the help we will ever need but we resist it thinking we've got things under control. Or we mistakenly think that this thing is no big deal, don't worry God, I know your busy, I've got this. Lord help us to see our own blind spots, one of which is to be able to realize we need the help of the Holy Spirit. Not just here and there but everyday in every way. Lord I pray that you will come in this instant and fill each one reading this up with your Holy Spirit. Open our minds that we might understand your word, give us that promised power from on high that we might be living Bibles and be able to better represent all that your Kingdom has to offer to its citizens.
Lord we can't do anything with out your inspiration, and help. Come and fill us now. Help us to learn to be sensitive to the leading of your Holy Spirit. Help us to realize when we need to wait to be filled and refilled.

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