Mike Pilavachi

Readings for this week November 6 – 10
Click here for a pdf of this week’s readings

Day 1 – A Parting Gift

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – John 20:19-23

One of the last things Jesus told his disciples was that he would be with them always. At the last supper he breathed on them so that they might receive the Holy Spirit. This promise is for us too. Jesus said no matter what happens he will not leave us on our own. Just as God gave us his son, when Jesus returned to heaven he left us – all of us – the Holy Spirit. God is always with us.

Although as his followers we have been given the Spirit, we are encouraged to always keep asking for the Holy Spirit to fill us. The Holy Spirit is given to the whole community of Jesus’ followers. The Spirit leads us on, guides us, prompts and nudges us, above all reminding us to follow him in love and obedience. When we feel we don’t know the way, the Spirit shows us the next step. When we’re not sure what to do, he tells us. When we feel weak and unable to carry on, he strengthens us. He baptises each of us into the body of his followers, joining us together as his people. He helps us love and forgive one another. He teaches us to be humble, and live demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit: “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). These are the very characteristics of Jesus; when they start to develop in us, we know that we are being transformed into his very likeness by his Spirit. God’s gift to us is himself. He is in front of us, beside us, and inside us. His Spirit is always with us—we have no need to worry about anything.

Question to Consider
How long since you asked God to fill you with his Spirit? Do this on your own or with a friend today, but also together as a community this week.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for your Spirit and for your desire to be with us, guide us and transform us into the likeness of your Son, in whose name we pray, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 2 – Accepting the Gift

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – 1 John 4:16

God has made it abundantly plain that he loves us and desires nothing more than to shower his love upon us, starting with the promise of his Spirit, his presence with us, his power within us. But like any gift, we need to be willing to step forward and accept the gift. God is not coercive; he does not and will not override the very will and volition that allows us to freely choose to love him. He will not force himself on us.

All the gifts and consolations and promptings and power of the Holy Spirit are useless and will pass us by if we refuse to open ourselves up to the Spirit’s presence. If we won’t open ourselves up to the life of the Spirit, if we won’t take the time to seek God and be filled with his Spirit, then all the wonderful gifts of the Spirit are pointless, wasted, and all the vital roles the Holy Spirit is meant to play in our lives are left unfilled.

If we are too busy to seek God, or too afraid to open ourselves up to him, or just simply apathetic about whether or not we want to be vessels of his Spirit, then our lives will not be what they should be, what God wants them to be for our benefit and the benefit of his kingdom. Being open to the Spirit means taking the time to be open, making sure our lives have deliberately chosen spaces and times that we seek to be filled and guided and prompted by the Holy Spirit, so that all moments of our life can be so filled and guided.

Questions to Consider
How do you make time and space in your life to be filled with the Holy Spirit? How have you noticed the effect this has on your daily life?

Prayer
Lord God, fill me once again with your Spirit. Make me a Spirit-filled ambassador of your love and grace to this world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 3 – An Embodied Spirituality

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Matthew 3:13-17

‘The Spirit rests on Jesus’s body. The Spirit does so fully in unity with the Father and the Son. That the Holy Spirit rests on Jesus’s body suggests […] that the Spirit has a proclivity for the material, in particular, the materiality of the body. For those who believe that Christianity is a vague, “spiritual” experience, the Holy Spirit’s propensity to embodiment will be a challenge.

The Holy Spirit rests on the body of Jesus….The church, as the body of Christ, implies that by the Holy Spirit’s descent upon the body we are made participants in the life of the Trinity.

Integral to our confession of our belief in the Holy Spirit is our belief in the resurrection of the body. Because Christianity is an incarnational, bodily faith, we believe that there is nothing more spiritual than the body. The resurrection of Jesus was the resurrection of a body. While the Gospel accounts of Jesus’s post-resurrection appearances say that Christ’s resurrected body moved through doors, was mistaken for a ghost or a gardener, appeared and disappeared, it is clear that the resurrection is an embodied event. In his resurrected body Christ continued in relationship with his disciples, ate and drank with them, showed up unexpectedly, and continued to take up room in the world. The presence of Christ among us, in the power of the Holy Spirit, is embodied. Few ideas are more detrimental to an understanding of the Holy Spirit, as presented in scripture or experienced in the church, than the notion that Christianity is essentially ethereal and spiritual rather than, by the descent of the Spirit, material and embodied. Jesus commanded us not only to love one another but to get down on our knees and wash someone’s dusty feet (John 13:14). There’s not much more carnal, somatic, and bodily than that.’
-Stanley Hauerwas & William H. Willimon, The Holy Spirit, pp.13-14, 17-18.

Question to Consider
What does this reading make you think about the presence and purpose of the Holy Spirit in your life, and your place in the body of Christ?

Prayer
Loving Father, you came amongst us and took on all that human life involved so that we might take on the life of your Spirit. Thank you for loving us so much you would not leave us to die. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 4 – A Life Completely Out of Control

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – 2 Timothy 1:7

We aren’t called to live by our wits and our intelligence. God’s kingdom people are not a people called because we have perfected the optimum church growth technique, or because we have at our fingertips the solution to all of life’s ills. We have nothing. Christians are supposed to be the polar opposite of self-sufficient.

That is why we are to live entirely dependent on God. Day by day, moment by moment, at all times and in every place, we are to live under the influence of the Holy Spirit. We are to rest, wait, act and move within, under, through and in his power. We are to come to him empty and empty-handed, so that he can fill us and provision us to live the sacrificial kingdom-life that he calls all of his disciples to live for the sake of the world. We are to live completely out-of-control lives – completely out of our own control, and under the guidance of our loving, gracious, merciful God.

The life that Jesus calls us to is completely beyond us. We cannot do it. We cannot live the way he wants us to. We cannot love the way God wants us to love. We cannot pray the way we ought to, the way we know we need to. We cannot live the sacrificial, selfless life he showed us. But Jesus, through his spirit, gives us exactly what we need in order to be able to accomplish all of these “too hard” tasks. Only through the gifts of the spirit can we do these things. Only a completely out-of-control, under-his-control life can do this.

Questions to Consider
How do we live an “out-of-control” life? How do we give God more of ourselves and how do we make sure we don’t try and take it back?

Prayer
Gracious God, through you all things are possible, if only I would give you more of myself. More of you, less of me Lord; help me make it so. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 5 – Ready to be Filled

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Psalm 143:10

God of grace and peace,

In this place, in this moment,

When for once I am stopped and stilled

And have let go and forgotten myself,

Choosing to live as if I believe I have nothing

Other than what you choose to give me,

I seek you.

I need you.

There is a way of being that I cannot be

Without you.

There is a way of seeing that I cannot see

Without you.

There is a way of doing that I cannot do

Without you.

There is a way of loving yet I cannot love

Without you.

But with open hands

Releasing all that I think I have and all that I think I want,

And with an open heart

Yielding all that I think I am and all that I want to be,

I empty myself,

And submit.

 

And wait.

 

Ready to be filled.

 

Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)