Holy Spirit

Readings for this week November 13 – 17
Click here for a pdf of this week’s readings

Day 1 – Love is the Reason

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Romans 5:5

Why has the Holy Spirit been given to us? What is the point of the presence of the Spirit in our lives? Why was Jesus so insistent on the importance of the Spirit in the lives of his followers?

If the purpose behind the gift of the Holy Spirit to us was to be boiled down to one phrase that encapsulates everything about God’s plan through giving the gift it would be this: the Holy Spirit is given to us to reveal to us God’s love for each one of us. That’s it. Behind everything we know of the Spirit, behind all that Jesus says about the Spirit and the coming of the Spirit to us, and the various gifts and fruits of the Spirit, is the simple fact that God loves us deeply and he wants us to know it. Intimately, powerfully and undeniably.

The ways in which the Spirit will tell, reveal and remind us of God’s love will be different for each one of us. These moments of revelation may sometimes seem slight, or silly or bizarre to us. But that’s only because the reality of God for each of us personally will be different. The thing that we will all have in common is that, however the Spirit speaks to us, it will be timely, intensely meaningful and unique. God knows us more intimately than we know ourselves. He knows how best to speak to us and reveal himself to us in ways that are unique and special for each of us so that we can thrive and enjoy the richness and fullness of life.

Questions to Consider
How have you experienced the love of God for you recently? How has the Spirit been revealing more of God’s love in your life?

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for your love for me, for constantly holding me in your hand, in good times and bad times. Your love never fails and you never leave me, even when I stumble or turn away. Thank you for your faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 2 – Called into the Mission of God

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – 1 Peter 2:9-10

God loves us and, through his Spirit, wants us to know that he loves us, and know it deeply, profoundly. And this love of God that the Holy Spirit reveals to us is not a love that is static, solitary or safe. It is a love that wants to take us deeper into the mission of God, and deeper into the lives of the broken and the hurting of this world. The Spirit gives us a calling and a passion to be deeply involved in God’s world because God’s love – this love that the Spirit is continually revealing to us – is for the whole world.

The Spirit draws us into the mission of God’s love for the world, calling us to be involved in what God is doing in the world. By inspiring us with dreams and visions and ideas and passions the Spirit of God shapes us into God’s people for the world. The deep love we know is a love to be shared deeply.

People’s passions are different, and the callings that God issues are unique and special and different. We are all called, and we are all called into the loving mission of God, but we are called in different ways and to different vocations and places.

The Spirit of God wants all of us to know intimately and understand deeply that God is pouring his love into our hearts, revealing to us the depth and nature and character of his love for each of us and his love for the world. We are to be part of his love in action.

Questions to Consider
How has the Spirit been leading you into the world lately? What new relationships and insights has the Holy Spirit been leading you to?

Prayer
Holy God, lead me on. Take me further into the lives of others and further open my life and heart up to your world and your people. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 3 – Being Ready and Open

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Acts 16:6-10

What a tantalising phrase: “having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak.” Paul is receiving instructions and promptings from the Holy Spirit about where to go and what to do. How exactly is it happening? What is Paul experiencing? How specifically is God communicating with him?

As much as we might like to know how the Holy Spirit was speaking to Paul, we aren’t told. There are many ways God speaks to us and reveals his will, often differing based on who he is speaking to, our personality, our situation and the urgency of the message (and whether we’re listening!). Sometimes what he reveals might not be what we expect. Twice Paul had an idea of where he and his companions might go, places where the gospel had not been preached before – good stuff, right? But twice the Holy Spirit said no, shutting the door on those destinations.

What’s important is our openness to God, and that we be constantly seeking him. The Holy Spirit shows us and guides us in the way we should go and what we should do, but if we’re not “listening” and not prepared to hear, then we won’t know what God wants us to do. We need to listen for the promptings of the Spirit and be obedient like Paul and his companions were, however surprising or contrary to our expectations such promptings might be. Being open to the Spirit’s ‘nudge’ – however that nudge comes – and being obedient – whatever that looks like – are the important things.

Questions to Consider
Have there been times when God has surprised you with what he has said to you? What happened? How was God at work in what occurred?

Prayer
Heavenly Father, help me stay focused on your will more than what I think is right. Help me remain open to your promptings, and continually seeking to hear your voice in all I do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 4 – WDJD – What Did Jesus Do?

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – John 14:12-14

WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? A very important question that is nevertheless very hard to answer if you don’t actually know what Jesus did! And we need to know what he did because he specifically told his disciples (including us) that they/we would do what he had been doing – in fact, they/we would do even greater things, in the power of the Spirit.

Just think for a moment of all the things the disciples would have heard Jesus saying and seen him doing, in John’s Gospel alone up to this point: turning water into wine; healing a dying child; healing a lame man; feeding more than five thousand people with five loaves and a couple of fish; walking on water; healing a man born blind; raising Lazarus from the dead; speaking of God with intimate knowledge and identifying himself with him; forgiving sins; sharing love with sinners and outcasts. This, the work of Jesus, the work of proclaiming the kingdom in word, sign and deed, sharing the good news, healing and restoring fractured lives, is also our work, as part of our call as his followers in the mission of God.

It’s not about competing with what Jesus did and trying to outdo him. It’s about carrying on the work Jesus was doing, taking the gospel further into the world, expanding the kingdom, displaying the love and power of the king to all, the Holy Spirit working through us to transform and renew the entirety of God’s creation. That is What We Do. There is no greater thing we can do, or be a part of.

Questions to Consider
What do these verses mean to you? How do you see them working themselves out in your life?

Prayer
Lord God, may all I do and all I say be great things in your kingdom, and great things in the lives of people around me who don’t know you. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 5 – What’s in a Name?

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – John 14:15-17

Names are evocative. Say someone’s name and we think of them and our feelings about them, our view and opinion of them and what we know of them. This is doubly so for God. He has many names, and those names reveal something of who he is and what he does. “I am who I am,” he told Moses. “The God of Abraham, the God of Issac, the God of Jacob” was how he often chose to identify himself to – and with – the Israelites. Their experience of God led them to call him by other names, like Jehovah Jireh (the God who provides), and Jehovah Rapha (the God who heals). Jesus, too, has many names: Saviour, Redeemer, Emmanuel, Son of God, Son of Man, Lamb of God, Son of David, and of course the title that is now treated as a name by most, Christ. The names of God tell us who he is and what he does. They are descriptive of his character and are also, more often than not, relational too, connecting him to his people, and reminding them of what he has done for them and on their behalf.

It is the same with the Holy Spirit. Even the different translations of just these verses from John give a sense of the scope of the nature and activity of the Holy Spirit, his purpose, his task, his character – the very character of God. The NIV says Counsellor, the NLT calls him our Advocate, the Good News Bible says Helper, and the KJV designates the Holy Spirit as Comforter and Spirit of Truth. But, as would be expected, the Amplified Bible puts them all together and adds a few more: Helper, Intercessor and Strengthener. This is who the Holy Spirit is for us.

Questions to Consider
What names of God mean most to you? Why?

Prayer
Lord God, blessed be your names, names that reveal the depth and character of your love for the world and that tell us of all you do and have done for us. I praise your holy name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)