Wednesday, July 12, 2017

God's Spirit Poured Out

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

"I will not hide my face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out my Spirit on the house of Israel," says the Lord God. - Ezekiel 39:29 (NKJV)

You were marked in Christ with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. - Ephesians 1:13 (NIV)

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 83:13-18; Isaiah 30,31; Ephesians 5:8-20

The guidance of God's Spirit is what stands out for me in today's scriptures. Isaiah 30:15-16 gives one example, of a time when the people of God were anxious and fearful. God offered them a plan, but they rejected God's way for a human way: 
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you refused and said, "No! We will flee upon horses" - therefore you shall flee! and, "We will ride upon swift steeds" - therefore your pursuers shall be swift!
Yet only a few verses later (v.20-21), God forgives and again agrees to lead the people:
Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."
Today's Ephesians 1:13 verse connects the gift of God's guiding Spirit with baptism, our entrance into the church. And in Ephesians 5:18-20, in the middle of a long section encouraging people to live lives worthy of this gift of grace, Paul mentions again the role of the Spirit in our lives:
Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are not in control of whether the Spirit is with us or not - that is just a gift, and the Spirit is always present! But we do have some ability to choose which guidance to listen to, where to look for help, what to fill ourselves with. The Spirit is our power - our only power - to live godly lives.

There are always other forces and voices, temptations and distractions. There is always the self-centered desire to preserve our own power and control. But God calls us to keep returning home, finding rest in God. God pours out the Spirit, a river of living water, and every believer is a part of that outpouring.

When we're spiritually hungry and thirsty, the Spirit is where to find the energy we need to go on. When we're lost, the wind of the Spirit is what blows in the right direction. When we're exhausted, the power of the Spirit is what recharges and renews us and keeps us going.

Thank you, God, for the outpouring of your Spirit! Help me to lean on your strength. Move me to follow where you lead. Let the joy of living with you overflow and bring your joy to others too.

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