It’s important to appreciate the people that God has put into your life. Each and every one of them is there for a reason. Before I ever get up to bring God’s word to people, I pray and just ask God to do what only He can do, in me, and for them. There are people that He has put in your life to help you, to guide you, to support you in their prayers and counsel. I always thank Him for the people that He is reaching through this work, and for the people He’s raised up who pray for us and support us with their gifts and help in whatever way God leads them.
It means so much when people make the effort to come out to church, to pray for us, and when they make themselves available for some time in God’s word, and for the Holy Spirit to teach them. When people make themselves available to God, I believe that, in itself is an indicator that God has something for them. I believe God has something for you. I know that the Spirit of God leads people and draws people to His presence and to the truths of God.
When we honor God, He honors us. He says that in First Samuel 2, verse 30. I believe honor, respecting, brings a blessing. Honoring and respecting people is very important. I believe it's a godly thing to do and especially in an age where everybody's so quick to criticize each other.
I believe the church ought to be a place where we show honor and respect to people and where we can feel honored and respected by the other people. I remember saying that a few years ago and a guy at the church I was in came up to me, and he was not happy. He said that a true Christian would only honor God. A true Christian would not honor a human. That sounds nice if you don’t think about it. It’s religious but it isn’t right. It’s not what the Bible says. In fact, God commands us in the Ten Commandments to honor our father and our mother. The Bible says to give honor to whom honor is due. That’s in Romans 13, verse seven.
I believe that the Spirit of God helps us to respect and honor people. Not just those people who are like us, but people who are not like us. There are people who have come to church for years who still haven’t gotten that one. Church meetings really don't change anybody, but the presence of God can use a church meeting to change everybody there. That’s the hope and that’s the goal in every meeting we have. I have no idea what problems, what worries you started off with today, but I know that this could be a day where things begin to change for you.
Being in God’s presence brings joy as well as the next step to take in your life, what path you should take. Psalms 16 verse 11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” It's being in the presence of the Spirit of God when His people are gathered together that brings those changes we need. Yielding to His Spirit and letting Him make those changes in our life. I can tell you, even after Him working in my life for many years, I still get excited and comforted when I’m feeling His presence! I don’t know what I’d do if He didn’t keep working in me and working on me!
God is so good. He loves you enough to call you into His family, exactly as you are. And He also loves us enough that He doesn’t leave us like we are. He grows us, He cleanses us, He directs us, He teaches us, and we begin to mature as children of God, as we let His Spirit have His way in our lives.
When I first started out, hanging around the churches and getting to know people who knew the Lord, I could tell there was such a gap from where I was to where they were. I wanted to be like them. So, I followed their example in as many ways as I could. I cut out the cussing, started trying to dress a little better. I dropped a lot of my bad behaviors and bad habits. People could see and hear a change in me. My old friends, my family, my new friends at church. They all talked about it. But it wasn’t too long before I plateaued. I wasn’t growing, I wasn’t changing. I had done all I could in my own strength. And, as I was telling this to one of the old ladies at the church, she encouraged me to just draw near to God, and let the power of the of the Holy Spirit have free course in my life.
She told me to read my Bible every day, and before I read it, to stop and pray. To ask the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to see His truths in the Bible in a clear way. She showed me where it says, in Psalms 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may see or behold, wondrous things in Thy law.” That became my prayer, and every time I would pray that, and then read my Bible, different verses would seem to jump out at me, and speak to my situation. Then, she said after reading, to pray and ask God to bring His changes in my life, and to just sit in His presence and let His Spirit work in my heart. As I did that, I began to experience deep changes in my mind and my spirit.
She was teaching me how to draw on the strength and power of the Holy Spirit. If we don’t draw on His strength, if we don’t live and walk in His power, before long we will run out of our own strength and power, and will stumble and fall over and over again. We just don’t have it within ourselves to walk uprightly in this fallen world and collapsing society.
Ephesians 6, verse 10 says, “Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.” That’s what God says has to happen. We have to draw on HIS strength and HIS power. Then we can stop stressing ourselves out trying to serve God and being afraid that we left something undone, or that we’re not good enough. Well, guess what? We’re NOT good enough! Not in our own strength! Not in our own power. That’s why we need His strength and power.
First Peter 5:7 says, “To cast your cares on the Lord because He cares for you.” You’re not meant to carry those cares, and worries and burdens. Jesus already paid the price for all that.
Romans 5 :2 says we have direct access to God by faith. We have an open door to our God. Jesus opened the way for us. We have His ear. He hears the cry of our hearts. Like a father loves to hear the voice of His children and like a mother is tuned into the voice of her children, God is that way about hearing your voice. God loves to hear your voice. He listens for it. God gave you your voice. No one else has the exact voice that you have. God responds when He hears your cry, or your joy, your worship, your praise, your laughter or your requests through prayer.
That’s why David prayed, in Psalms 5:3, “My voice you will hear in the morning…” Or, like he prayed in Psalms 61:1, “hear my cry O God, attend to my prayer…” and so many other things, because He KNEW God was listening for His voice. And God is listening for YOUR voice, too.
The Holy Spirit wants to prepare you for Heaven. He wants to bring the thoughts of Heaven and the character of Heaven into your life. He brings you into closer and closer fellowship with God. He brings people into your life, to help you understand Him better, and to bring you some of the answers you’ve been looking for. To open doors for you, and to HELP you in areas where you need help. And He leads YOU to people who need some answers, some guidance and some help.
Jesus said in John 14 verse 26 that the Holy Spirit will “All things to your remembrance, whatever He says.” One thing I like about the Spirit of God is that He not only brings to remembrance the various scriptures that you’ve been reading, but He begins to help you APPLY them to your life and your circumstance.
He directs your steps and guides you along your way. I like How David described it in the 23rd Psalm, verse 3. “You lead me in the paths of righteousness for your name’s sake. You make me to lie down in green pastures, beside the still waters. I don’t have to try and figure everything out. I can trust His leading and guiding, and so can you!
We need to see what the Lord is showing us, and what He is setting before us. Psalm 23 verse 5 says “You prepare a table for me in the midst of my enemies.” God doesn’t want to send you out empty. He wants to fill you up, so you’ll be ready for whatever it is you’re going to be facing. I want to feast at the Lord's table and receive His nourishment and be filled with His nourishment and goodness. Then I’ll have the strength to minister to others, and to be able to lead them to the Lord's table so they can also receive from the fullness of God, and walk in the strength from eating that spiritual food and drink that He gives.
I don’t want to miss anything He sets before me. How many times does the Lord put something in front of us but we don't even see it as an opportunity, we’re not even ready to do what He wants us to do. We’re not yielded to the Holy Spirit enough to even recognize what He is wanting to do through us.
I want to be somebody that God can trust. I want to be somebody that God can use. I want to be able to be used by Him whenever He wants to. And the only way for that is to present myself to Him every day. Saying, “Holy Spirit here I am today, open for You to use me. Help my eyes to see what they need to see. Help my ears to hear what I need to hear. Help me to respond to whatever and whoever you are leading me to today.”
That’s what keeps you fresh in the Lord. Without the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit, without His touch, it all becomes empty religion, with just rules and regulations and all the things you’re not supposed to do, but no power to actually do what God has called you to do.
You can go to church. You can pray. You can sing. You can give your tithe, but without the power of the Holy Spirit, it’s just going to be dead works. And it won’t heal your broken spirit. It won’t bring the changes you need. That’s why there are so many people in seats in so many churches, and they have so many problems and issues in their lives, and they’re not getting the help they need.
Romans 8 verse 11 says, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
When you KNOW that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, it makes all the difference in the world. You might have come in with all kinds of failures, all kinds of drama, but you have the knowledge and the hope that the Spirit, the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead will work in you day and night.
He will grow you and make you better every single day. You will get through that valley. If you fall, the Holy Spirit will give you the power to repent and stand up again and walk through that valley with Him. David said in Psalms 23 verse 4, and it is true for you… Yea, even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death you will fear no evil, for He is WITH YOU.
The Holy Spirit will minister to your spirit, and to your mind, and to your body, and grow you and transform you. He will give you the power you need to get through this life. If you ever look at your life and say, “Lord, I need more of your power, I need more of your strength,” I want you to know that the Spirit of God will gladly you His power and His strength!
A lot of people have had bad experiences in churches that talk a lot about the Holy Spirit, and then engage in all kinds of manipulation and emotionalism and things that are just wrong and unbiblical. And because of that, a lot of people want nothing to do with the Holy Spirit, because some TV evangelists and others have hi-jacked talking about Him and using Him for their own power, for political purposes and their own personal profiteering.
But what is that to you, what is that to me? What is the weed to the flower? Jeremiah 23:28 talks about that. It says, “The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?” says the LORD.”
In other words, go ahead and open your heart and life to the Spirit of God, and listen to Him, and follow His leading. Even if there are people who are phony, or hypocritical, you just keep on following God and yielding to His Holy Spirit and keep speaking the Word of God. Don’t let the hypocrites cause you to draw back.
It takes the Holy Spirit to keep you going forward when there are so many who are faking it, and giving the things of God a bad name. They might hi-jack the things of God, but you and I have access to the real thing. And He will use you, guide you, lead you and bless you with His very real presence and power.
We need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives! Jesus said in Acts 1, verse 8, that you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be witnesses of Him…, or you will have a testimony that you will be able to share wherever you go. At home, out in the community, on the job, at school, wherever you go.
We need His power to live for Him in truth, and in godliness, in all parts of our lives. We need the power of the Holy Spirit. We need His power when we worship. We need His power when we read the Bible. We need His power to GET us to read the Bible. We need His power when we face temptation or feel like giving up. He will lift your head and lift you back up on your feet and press in anyway.
You need to know these things. God may be wanting to send you out and pray for someone who really needs it, and you need to know that you CAN do it, that the Spirit of God will guide you, even if you feel like a nobody. You can invite them to come to church, and know that the Holy Spirit will speak to them, just like He does to you. God isn’t unable to handle your doubt. He's not tripped by your fears. If you give God the opportunity, He will open up your whole life. And He’ll be glad to do it!
A lot of people try so hard to be good Christians and they can’t meet the approval of some of the people around them, and they fall or fail and just can’t get past that. I’ve seen people who get hurt and because of that, they quit; they drop out. What can you do? Just like that old lady in the church where I got saved, you can tell them that the antidote is always drawing on the power of the Holy Spirit. He can heal those wounds and hurts. He can wipe away those tears. He can make you whole again and renew your spirit.
He brings you the change you crave, and the opportunity to change, to be transformed, and that is what begins to change your world. He’ll lead you to people and He’ll lead people to you. He changes the way you think and he changes your goals, your interactions with people and He gives you a hope and a purpose. That’s what He’s done for me. Over and over!
I want you to think about the power of the Holy Spirit. I want to ask you this, does God have more for you to than you’ve experienced? I believe that He does.
My hope for you is this – That you will cry out to God, will you say, “Holy Spirit have your way. Lord, if there's a change in me that can help me reach more people, then change me. If there's something in the Bible I need to take to heart, then I want you to open it up to me. If there’s something I need to know, then teach me. Grow me, Lord.”
I’m praying for you, and in agreement with you, that the Holy Spirit will find a place in your heart and life. And that He will move and grow you and transform you and your world!