16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever—
John 14:16 (AMPC)
Did you know that God only desires the best for our lives? He wants us to experience a taste of heaven and has even set us up for success!
We were set up to succeed when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to stand with us each step of the journey God has planned for us to walk. The Spirit is standing by every Christian waiting to help us but will not force Himself into our lives. He will stand by waiting for us to ask for His help but most will not look to Him.
Paul closed his second letter to the Corinthian church with an exhortation for them to live in communion with the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 13:14). Fellowship is involved in communion. It will not be possible to have fellowship without first acknowledging Him.
The depth of our fellowship with the Holy Spirit will be reflective of our relationship with Him. If we are only making time to spend with Him when we have some spare time, our fellowship will have no depth.
A relationship will require an investment of time. Just as a husband and wife must spend time together to develop a strong marriage we must do the same in our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
You can have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. This will require a commitment to spend time fellowshipping with Him every day. We will find our lives transformed by this relationship!
13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
Paul was “separated” from his mother’s womb to preach the Gospel. This was the plan of God for Him even before there was a Gospel to preach!
God separated Paul to the Gospel ministry before his birth. This is much different than the way ministers are selected today. Selection committees are formed, background checks run, and some denominations even run credit checks. There is a need for us to ensure that men and women entering the ministry are of the highest integrity. It just seems like we’ve moved away from the spiritual qualifications.
1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
This is an interesting account. I’ve been involved with ministry work for more than twenty years. In that time I’ve had the opportunity to attend ministerial fellowships. I cannot remember a single time when we spent time fasting and praying!
God chose Paul and separated him before he was born. This call was recognized by the elders during a time of fasting and prayer. I believe that they spent time in prayer as it is not possible to fast without missing at least one meal!
Paul’s ministry was recognized by church leadership during a time of fasting and prayer. I can’t remember a time where I’ve seen ministerial candidates asked to spend time with church leadership to fast and pray! Most ministerial fellowships I’ve been to have a short prayer to bless the time together and to bless the meal.
Luke tells us in verse four that Paul and Barnabas were “sent forth by the Holy Ghost”. There is no evidence of either a background or credit check being run! The leaders met, fasted, prayed, and then set Paul and Barnabas out into ministry.
Our natural talents and abilities can be an indication of the plan of God. They may even contain a key that will help us along in our journey to discover His plan. The Holy Spirit will reveal them to us and we should spend time developing them but not at the expense of our spiritual development.
The plan of God cannot be discovered with our natural senses. Finding and fulfilling it will require us to first develop our spiritual senses. Fasting, prayer, and meditation in God’s Word are all ingredients for spiritual growth. The Holy Spirit will partner with us in prayer to accelerate our development (Jude 20).
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Joshua was stepping into Moses’ position as leader of Israel. God told him that success would require him to meditate on Scripture “day and night”. The responsibility for success or failure was solely on Joshua! Nothing has changed and the responsibility for finding and fulfilling the plan of God is on us alone as well.
God’s formula for success then is to keep the Word in our mouths (i.e., confession) and continuous meditation. I have heard people confess Scripture from lists provided by their church or ministry. This is an important first step. Confession of God’s Word will not release His power in our lives unless it is coming from our hearts. Our confession will remain a natural head exercise if we are not spending time giving careful and considerate thought to God’s Word every day.
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