These are the words I read from a story about one of our presidents: “[He] talked about the absolute need to believe that with hard work and faith in God there is every reason to start each day in the Oval Office with hope.”
After I read those words I found a thought creeping into my head – when was the last time I told a client or a business associate or anyone in my day to day business world something like that?
I wrote the italicized words and left them up on my computer for a week, unfinished. Just a thought that impressed me.
In the White House, with the awesome responsibility that rests on the most influential nation in the world, a president must surely feel the import of that office and the weight of that responsibility. Relying on God must be real, immediate and present with that kind of responsibility. I can see how God’s presence and my reliance on Him would be so immediate in that kind of position.
How immediate is the presence of God in your life? Do you wake up each morning filled with faith and hope for the day ahead? I don’t.
But, I want to!
I just finished watching Holy Ghost, the movie by Darren Wilson. It was streamed for free this weekend, and the DVD will be available September 16th. (You can get it here.) What if we lived liked that?
I started meeting a guy in our church at 5:30 in the morning at a local Dunkin’ Donuts for a Bible study. He invited a friend. I don’t really know these guys… not well… not yet. Tom, one of them, is thinking like me. The people in the body of Christ should spend time together, read the Bible together, encourage each other, do things together.
Tom asked, what would it look like if we lived like what we believe?
Isn’t Paul’s prayer for Ephesus meant for us also? :
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family] in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:14-21)
Is that strengthening with power through God’s Spirit meant for my inner being? It is, isn’t it?
I have felt and experienced the Holy Spirit in my life. Anyone who has a relationship with God has had an encounter with the Holy Spirit: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God….” (Rom. 8:16) Unless we have had such an encounter, we cannot know God:
“‘[U]nless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.'” (John 3:5-8)
We have connection to God through His Spirit. Jesus said that, “I am the way and the truth and the light, and no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6); but Jesus died. He rose again from the dead, but then He left. He ascended into Heaven where he sits at the right hand of the Father. (Mark 16:19) Where does that leave us?
Amazingly, this is what happened after Jesus ascended into Heaven: “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” (Mark 16:20) How could Jesus be working with them after he left? Here is the answer:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with 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 14:15-26)
Holy Spirit come!
Do we really want Him to come?