Thursday, February 16, 2017

Prayer Meeting Devotion (2/15/17)

Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”.”
Jesus is about to unleash His disciples to take the message of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. This is an important work. It is an urgent work. However, He does not want them to start just yet. - Acts 1:4 says, "And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father." 
The disciples could have gone out and preached Jesus. But they would have failed. Not because they did not have the Spirit. This is not the first time that the disciples will encounter the Holy Spirit. In John 20:22, Jesus breathes on the disciples and says "receive the Spirit." In other words, coming into Acts 1, the disciples do have the Holy Spirit in them. But there is a difference between them having the Spirit and the Spirit coming upon them. To "come upon" means to "overtake." 
So, even though the disciples has the Spirit in them after John 20, by Acts 1, they are still not ready to go into all the world. They needed to wait for the power of the Spirit to come upon them. How often do we rush out to do work for Jesus assuming that, since the Holy Spirit is in us as believers, the power of the Holy Spirit has not "come upon" us?
Would you open your heart afresh to the anointing power of God's Spirit upon you? Would you pray for this power to come upon your church?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Prayer Meeting Devotion (2/8/17)

I am now blessed to serve as the pastor of Christ Alliance Church in Hopewell, PA! One of my favorite aspects of pastoral ministry is leading God's people in prayer. I would like to share with you, each week, an overview of the devotions I use to set the tone for our weekly prayer meeting. 
Psalm 16:11 – “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Emphasis added)
When this passage uses the word “presence,” it is the Hebrew word paniym which refers to
one’s face, or presence. Even in our culture, we understand the nature of personal space. The reality is, we allow some people to come close to our face, but if other’s come too close we pull away. The difference is the level of intimacy we have with that person. If our relationship is close, we welcome them to be close. Through Jesus Christ, we are allowed to draw near to the very face of God. In that closeness, we find the fullness, or abundance, of joy.
Certainly, we understand the difference between joy and happiness, but sometimes we put too much space between those two concepts. In other words, we allow there to be too much joy with so little happiness. The reality is, true joy will bring with it the emotion of happiness.
The psalmist goes on to say that at the right hand of God are pleasures forevermore. The right side is known as the place of strength and power. In other words, you will know true delight when you stand at the side of God’s power and strength because there is nothing that can come into your life that God is unable to handle.
The Psalmist speaks of finding this joy and delight in the presence of God. Now, this brings up a question we will explore in the coming weeks. Namely, is God is everywhere present, how can we come “into” His presence?
For now, let us ask God to make us a people marked by living and being in His presence.