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John 16.4-6 – “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.”
Prayer during a crisis
The information Jesus’ disciples were attempting to comprehend during Jesus’ last 24 hours with them before the cross, must have been like trying to drink from a fire hose. No doubt, they were overwhelmed with an overload of troubling thoughts. Most especially, they were concerned with the fact that Jesus was leaving them.
In some ways, we can relate to the disciples with what is taking place in the world. In less than four months, the entire world has been upended by the corona virus. Like the disciples, it is understandable that we are full of anxiety, fear and even sorrow.
Jesus wanted his close friends to ask him, “Where are you going?” Apparently, none of them asked him about his upcoming date with a horrific death and glorious resurrection.
What about us? Have we asked Jesus this about the corona virus: “Where is this going, Lord?” If we are going to mold our lives after this Bible passage, we should be asking the Lord to reveal his plans and purposes during this worldwide crisis.
I suggest that we pray something like this: “Lord, where is the corona virus going? How can I best align my life with you at this time in history, so I can be most beneficial to your work in the world?”
The presence of the Holy Spirit is an improvement.
Jesus always tells us the truth. He clearly said that the presence of the Holy Spirit on earth is an improvement over his being on earth.
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16.7).
Since this is true, it is very important that people like us develop a deeper appreciation of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
John 16.8-10 – “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
“Conviction” is a deep, inner sense that something is right. It is a “convincing” in our inner person that something is absolutely true. I have seen people come under the convicting and convincing power of the Holy Spirit at times in my ministry.
(1) Convicted of sin: When people are convicted of sin, they become aware of their profound need for Jesus Christ.
Early in my ministry a woman became very angry with me, because the Holy Spirit was convicting her that she was living her life apart from Jesus. She met me at her sister’s house in tears and cried, “Bob Spradling, you prayed that I would be miserable until I met Jesus. You’ve got to do something about it.”
Praise God! I couldn’t do anything about it, but she could. Later that day, she made the choice to follow Jesus and a friendship relationship with him that totally revolutionized her life and that of her husband.
(2) Convicted of righteousness: For centuries, people have realized that the most righteous act in history was the death and resurrection of Jesus.
All of heaven knows the power of Jesus’ career, his death on the cross and resurrection. They sing his praise:
“And they sang a new song, saying,
Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.'” (Revelation 5.9-10)
Vast multitudes of people from all of history and around the world have experienced the life-changing activity of what Jesus did on the cross and resurrection. They have joined Jesus in his work as members of his kingdom. They serve as priests to God – reaching their heart to God in prayer and their hand to other people in ministry.
The more convinced we are of the rightness of Jesus’ career, the more we will seek to live a life like his. We will live a cross-life of surrender to the will of the Father, so we can live a resurrection-life of power and blessing to others.
(3) Convicted of judgment: It may take some convincing today for us to believe that the devil is a defeated foe. The Bible tells us that Jesus defeated the devil on the cross and resurrection. Like many of God’s realities, this must be appropriated by faith. The Holy Spirit is prepared to convince us of this fact, if we will but ask him.
Our guide into the truth
John 16.12-13 – “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”
A very common refrain through the Gospel of John is Jesus words, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5.19).
One author has found 46 instances where Jesus said something like the John 5 passage that I have quoted frequently in my blog.
Like Jesus, the Holy Spirit is completely trustworthy, because he never speaks on his own authority (verse 13). The Bible teaches that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are in complete harmony in their message.
The Holy Spirit can be completely trusted to guide us into all of the truth on subject of interest today. What if we were to ask the Holy Spirit some questions about the corona virus?
(1) Holy Spirit, what is going on with this corona virus?
(2) What is really real in life? I don’t want to place my energy into something that is worthless in the long run.
(3) Where are you at work in our world?
(4) How can I best join you in your work?
Please consider taking a walk or spend some quiet time, asking the Holy Spirit the answer to questions like these. It may take a while for you to gain clarity, but it will be worth it. Once he shows you something, align your life with the Father, the Son and the Spirit.
Revealing Jesus’ Nature and Character
John 16.14-15 – “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
An idol is anything that is a substitute for God. The Old Testament prophets repeatedly called for the people of God to turn away from their idols. Below are two verses from Isaiah that reveal God’s opinion about idols.
“I am the Lord, that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to idols.”
God refuses to give his glory and praise to anything that is a substitute for the reality of his presence. Sin is giving ourselves to anything that is less than God. The Holy Spirit convinces us of sin. He helps us turn away from idols and turn to the glory of God in praise.
“When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
The wind will carry them off,
a breath will take them away.
But whoever takes refuge in me shall possess the land
and inherit my holy mountain.”
If we serve substitutes for God (idols), we are placing our faith in things that can’t save us. The wind of trouble will blow our idols away and show how worthless they are.
The Holy Spirit glorifies the reality of the Father and the Son, because they, alone, are worthy to be called our “refuge.” They, alone, can save.
The best gift you can give yourself today is to spend time with the Holy Spirit. Review the Bible passages in John 16 and let God’s Spirit direct you into what is needed for your life.
Dear Holy Spirit, thank you for your ministry of showing us our own selves. Even more, thank you for showing us Jesus and the Father. Please help us sense your presence in our lives, so we can better align our lives with what you are doing in the world.
It always delights me when God approaches the same topic from different angles and plops His teachings right down in our laps, saying “Listen to this!”
I have a small number of ladies from our Wednesday night group who join me in daily readings in the Bible App. Today, we started “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” – an abridged look from the book of the same name. I challenged these women, and myself, that as we prepare for the stay-at-home orders to be lifted, we spend time with God, through His Holy Spirit, to ask what NOT to return to. We really have a unique opportunity to stay rid of the busyness that has kept us from a deeper walk with Jesus.
I have many perceived responsibilities of home ownership, of caring family members and job duties. Today, as I plan my budgets of time and resources, I want to be sure that I am letting God lead me and not just my own perception of what needs to be done.
This is a perfect opportunity to align ourselves with His work and avoid the pitfalls of busyness that plague the world. The verse of the day says it perfectly in union with today’s look at the book of John: “Commit your actions to the Lord , and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3
Lord, take my actions, my plans and align them with Your will. Show me how to clearly honor You with my time and resources. I want to join You in Your work. Amen!
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Hi Denise. Thanks for your insightful comment. I resonate with this sentence in your comment: “This is a perfect opportunity to align ourselves with His work and avoid the pitfalls of busyness that plague the world.” So true! Thanks again.
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May 31st is Pentecost, the same calendar date in history the Ten Commandments and Holy Spirit were given albeit 1500 years apart. May the LORD gift us again this year.
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Thanks Rudy. May we follow the example of Jesus’ first followers and be in prayer for God’s activity through the Spirit. Blessings to you today.