Pray in the Spirit at all times

-In light of what has been happening lately from the corruption of Washington DC where those who have power can get away with anything and lying has become a virtue- to the streprayerets of Dallas where those sworn to protect us are gunned down while protecting those who were there to protest the injustices of those in other states as the tension between races which we had largely left behind decades ago are again being fanned to an out of control inferno I just have to set aside my usual feel good family blog and ask the hard question? What are we to do church?

Remember who we are, and pray. Our God is still in control and our God hears our cries, we are not orphans and we are not alone. Here is a promise only those who love him will understand; Jesus is here, and Jesus is coming.

15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:15-18

I will come to you. And that is exactly what he did and continues to do, he did not leave us as orphans but lives with us and in us by way of the Holy Spirit.  Receiving Jesus isn’t just an expression; being born again isn’t just a catch phrase adopted by the evangelical church to make themselves sound special, it is a real, literal, thing. The Holy Spirit really does come into us and our own dead spirit is born again and made new through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ.  We now have the Holy Spirit of God living in us where once there was a spirit that was dead because of the sin that separated us from the life that can only come from God.

But, that is a radical idea in this materialistic world where all roads lead to Heaven if there even is one; or worse – this is even a radical idea amongst a lot of religious traditions who teach that we have to work our way into God’s grace, that we just kind of morph into Christians by learning the right verses and taking part in the right ceremonies.  Or that we just need to get more good stuff on the scale to offset the bad on the other side of the scale— tipping the scale in the right direction by our deeds and prayers.

People who teach or live this way believe that this life is completely devoid of God’s power except to inflict punishment on those who dare to do anything that is deemed wrong by those who know better, deemed unforgivable by those who can quote every “thou shalt not” found in the Bible and haven’t cracked a smile since the Carter administration. Those who teach salvation by works or the law are devoid of all joy and hope— They have no patience; they have no peace and they offer only criticism and rebuke.

Don’t spit on me and tell me it’s raining, don’t throw half the fruits of the Holy Spirit out the window, Love, Joy, Peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and tell me your saved, that you love Jesus!  If you are truly Spirit led, Spirit filled, or even truly born again you will be radically different, you will not be defeated no matter what happens because you have a life inside of you that cannot be defeated, cannot be quenched— you have a joy that is not dependent on your surroundings, it comes from the inside, from the Holy Spirit of God.  It is the peace that passes all understanding and it comes with power, the power of love, the love of God within us, around us, and it needs to emanate from us.

And that is why we need to keep praying in the Spirit, only praying in the Spirit can release the power of the Spirit to build up the faith that will ensure our joy, that will protect us from those that would steal our victory. In this day and age, we need all that power we can get, we need to pray prayers that will change this world, that will protect our hearts and keep us moving in the joy of our salvation in spite of the evil that surrounds us.

You can take my right to speak my mind, my right to worship, you can take my ability to defend myself and my right to say no to that which my Bible teaches me is harmful or wrong; you can take my freedom and even my life but you can never take my Joy, you can never take my peace because my true freedom and my everlasting life comes from Jesus and I have the inexpressible and incomprehensible joy of living in the victory and power of his Kingdom today.

When Jesus said he was bringing the Kingdom of heaven, “Behold the Kingdom is at hand!” He did not fail, that kingdom is right here right now in the hearts of all who love him for he has come to us and made his home in us.

Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:23

That is forever and it has survived wars, fallen empires, concentration camps, beheadings and it will certainly survive corrupt politicians and Supreme Court decisions, terrorists, snipers and
riots. And if we truly believe that it will also overcome and outlast whatever the enemy comes up with next until we either reclaim this land for Jesus, or we are standing before the great white throne where the only thing left is that Kingdom and the books which declare who it was that believed unto life in the promise of his word, the word made alive by his Spirit.

On that day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. And the books will be opened and everyone who was not found written in the Lamb’s book of life will be cast into the lake of fire. It would behoove you to start talking to God before that day, to make the most of this day and to seek and earnestly desire all the power we can get from the Lord who saves us as we fight to survive the here and now and to touch as many lives as we can before it’s too late.

We have to stand strong and we have to stand together and don’t let anyone talk you out of all that the Holy Spirit has for you. Jude, one of Jesus’ brothers wrote to the early Christians:

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.  Jude 1:17-21

Stay strong, Jesus loves you- yes you, and so do I.

 

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