LET'S PRAY TOGETHER Lord, let our souls rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us: wherever He may send us; Lord, our plans and expectations have been turned upside down, Teach us to lean in and listen hard during these times. Heal the sick, lead those in power with wisdom, lift up the powerless, Comfort the bereaved, and show the church how to be faithful today. may You guide us through the wilderness: protect us through the storm; may You bring us home rejoicing: at the wonders You have shown us; may You bring us home rejoicing once again into our doors. Amen MEDITATION “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever” John 14:16 “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!” John 14:15-17 MSG The Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, Advocate, Counselor, wind, the third member of the Trinity... the most mysterious and least well known of God’s three selves. We acknowledge that the Spirit exists. We know that the Spirit is part of the plan, but we are often at a loss as to how to talk about or to God’s Spirit. Jesus seemed pretty excited about the role the Spirit would play. He saw the Spirit as filling the role that He played in the lives of His disciples and then some. Do we understand the benefits? Jesus said that He had to leave so that the Spirit could come. The reality of Jesus’ ministry was the limitations. Jesus was a man, limited by his physical body. He could only be in one place at a time, friends with only so many people, and able to touch only those He could reach. God in the flesh; Jesus chose these limitations to fulfill the covenant by becoming our perfect sacrifice, but in doing so His mission would come to an end. Yet one of the most powerful parts of His coming was His presence and that also would have to come to an end. God (of course) had a plan. As He was leaving, He prepared His disciples for something new, His Spirit. The Spirit is not limited by distance or time. The Holy Spirit of God can not only be with every believer but He can do it at the same moment. God-in-the-flesh left so God-in-the-Spirit could come to every believer. The power of the Living God is nestled in the heart of every Christian. Ready to well up and overflow with rivers of living water. If this is not how you experience God’s presence then perhaps you have not given room for the Spirit to stretch It’s wings? Prayer is coming alongside of God-in-you and bathing in God’s very presence, seeking God’s will, and offering our obedience. It’s laying our heads on God’s chest and listening to His heartbeat. We do this first by acknowledging God’s Spirit in us and daily thanking God for not leaving us alone, but giving so much to fulfill the prophet’s promises (see Jeremiah 31:33-34). Jesus derived power, comfort, and guidance from God’s Spirit, shouldn’t we? DAILY SCRIPTURE READING Our daily scripture reading comes from the following link… http://listenersbible.com/devotionals/biy/ If you have any insights into our daily readings, please feel free to share them with me. I would encourage you to visit https://bibleproject.com/explore/isaiah/ for an overview of Isaiah and https://bibleproject.com/explore/ephesians/ for an overview of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. Isaiah 57:14-59:21 What angers God? (57:17) In spite of God’s anger, what is his promise? (57:16) What is the problem God highlights with fasting in chapter 58? (3-4) Reading on from 58:6, what type of fasting does God desire? If we want to know God, then we must listen to what he says. Isn't that the point we find in chapter 58? To claim to be in relationship with someone, but never listen to what they say, never trust their words, well, what kind of relationship is that? Chapter 59 uses some harsh language to describe those who do not promote justice or live righteously. Do you think God cares about this issue of Justice and Righteousness? (I'm being sarcastic) I have been overwhelmed by just how important these two issues are, as I have been studying Amos and reading the prophets. Israel failed at this concept, horribly, which means as the church we need to pay extra close attention to these issues. We face the same temptations that Israel faced. Ephesians 3:1-21 What is the mystery at the beginning of chapter 3? (v 6) In the devotional the other day, Nicole talked about this distance between God and his people. Israel was afraid to approach God. They wanted an intermediary. Verse 12 talks about approaching God, in Freedom and Confidence. Do you understand that before Christ, God’s presence produced only fear? Before Christ, what were the people afraid of? Do we have any fear coming before God? Verses 17-19 are an amazing prayer. Who do you need to pray this prayer for? (This sounds like a prayer of Jabez moment. Maybe someone should write a book.) Psalm 111:1-10 Psalm 111 is this great psalm of praise. Israel had the Exodus and the promised land, along with all the covenants to base their praise in. In addition to all of that, what are the works of the Lord that WE ponder and delight in?