Sparkling Gems from the Greek – Week of January 18

The Holy Spirit — A Partner Who Wants To Take Responsibility For You in This Life!

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
— 2 Corinthians 13:14

Most all of us would say we want to live a victorious Christian life. But without daily communion with the Holy Spirit, it’s impossible to attain that goal. Communion with the Holy Spirit is the launching pad for a life of supernatural power and consistency.

In Second Corinthians 13:14, Paul says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” I want you to notice the word “communion” in this verse, because communion with the Spirit is what we are talking about today. The word “communion” is the Greek word koinonia, a word that has a whole flavor of meanings, but one primary meaning is that of partnership.

An example of koinonia conveying the idea of partnership can be found in Luke 5:7 after Jesus supplied a miraculous catch of fish. After the fishermen had fished all night and caught nothing, Jesus told them to cast their nets on the other side. When they obeyed, they caught such a massive amount of fish that the nets began to break!

Peter knew he couldn’t handle this miraculous catch by himself, so he called to other fisher¬men in nearby boats to come and assist him. Luke 5:7 says, “And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.”

Do you see the word “partners” in this verse? It is a form of this word koinonia. However, in Luke 5:7 it refers to real, legitimate business partners. One scholar says that this word used in this context lets us know that Peter was no small-time fisherman. He owned an entire fishing enterprise, and those men in the other boats were his business associates or his company partners. Whether these other fishermen were co-owners or employees who worked for Peter, they were all working together on the same job and were focused on a joint venture to catch and sell fish.

Keeping this in mind, Second Corinthians 13:14 could convey the following idea:

“…and the PARTNERSHIP of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

If you stop and think about it, this really makes a lot of sense. When Jesus’ earthly ministry was in operation, He and the Holy Spirit always worked together. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35); empowered by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16); and led by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 4:1). Jesus also healed people by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38); cast out demons by the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:28); was resurrected from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11); and was seated at God’s right hand in the heavenly places through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:19,20).

Every time we see Jesus in the Gospels, He is working hand in hand with the Holy Spirit. In fact, Jesus even said He wouldn’t initiate anything by Himself, indicating His total dependence on the Spirit of God (John 5:30). Well, if Jesus needed this kind of ongoing partnership with the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish His divine role in the earth, we certainly have to have it as well!

But there is yet another idea conveyed by the word “communion” (koinonia) — that is, the idea of taking responsibility for someone. An example of this is found in Philippians 4:14, when Paul wrote to the Philippians and commended them for the generous gift they sent for his ministry. He told them, “Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.” The word “communicate” here is another use of the word koinonia.

At the time Paul wrote the Philippian letter, he was in prison in Rome. Over the years, he had traveled and preached, raised up churches, worked with leaders, and given his life for the Church. But of all the churches Paul had poured his life into, none of them helped him financially the way they should have.

In order to cover his expenses, Paul worked as a tentmaker during the day; then he preached and trained leaders during the evenings. This wasn’t the best plan, but because no one would sup¬port him, it was what he had to do. He was pouring his heart and soul into churches that were not financially helping him bear his load.
Paul was in prison in Rome when he received a special delivery letter from the Philippians. In that package, he found a sizable offering that the Philippian church had sent to support him during his time of difficulty. In other words, the Philippian church didn’t just say, “We’ll pray for your situation, Brother,” and then forget about Paul.

Instead, they understood their responsibility to help him, so they took up an offering to support him and to communicate their love for him. In other words, they took responsibility for him. Paul uses the Greek word koinonia to convey this meaning — the same word he uses in Second Corinthians 13:14 when he writes about the “communion of the Holy Spirit.”

Thus, Second Corinthians 13:14 could also be read this way:

“…and the RESPONSIBILITY of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

This means that just as the Holy Spirit wants to become your Partner, He also wants to assume great responsibility for you in this world. If you wish, He’ll stand by and watch you try to do it all alone. But if you’ll open your heart to the Spirit of God, He will assume a more active role in your life. He wants you to know that you are not alone — and that He will take responsibility for you!

If the cry of your heart is to know the partnership and the responsibility of the Holy Spirit — not merely as mental doctrines, but as constant, daily realities in your life — then decide today to get to know the Holy Spirit as your intimate Friend. Make Him your Partner. Allow Him to help you fulfill the responsibilities of your calling in Christ.

Begin today to develop a walk of daily communion with the Greater One within. Let Him be all He wants to be in your life — your Source of wisdom, power, and strength to launch you forth into victory!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Holy Spirit, I want to thank You for being my Partner in this world. I need Your partnership. I know that without You, I am so limited in what I am able to do. You see what I can’t see; You know what I don’t know; You have wisdom and insight that I don’t have. I simply must have Your help if I am going to do what God has asked me to do. I ask You to please forgive me for all the times I have gotten in such a hurry that I didn’t take time to fellowship with You. From this moment on, I promise I will do my best to consult You before I make a deci¬sion or take a single step!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am led by the Spirit of God. I am careful not to make big decisions without consulting Him first. The Holy Spirit is my Leader, my Teacher, and my Guide; therefore, I look to Him to help me make the right decisions and take the right actions in every sphere of my life — my family, my business, and my ministry. Every day I experience more and more victory because I allow the Holy Spirit to direct all my steps.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Have you asked the Spirit of God to be your Partner in life and to take respon¬sibility for all your cares and concerns? 
  2. What can you do to make the Holy Spirit a closer, more active Partner in every area of life? 
  3. Have you spent quality time in communion with the Holy Spirit today, being still and simply knowing that He is your God? 

For more from this ministry please visit Renner.org

Human Logic vs. God Logic – Connect with Skip Heitzig – Week of January 15, 2021

January 15, 2021

Human Logic vs. God Logic

By Skip Heitzig

You probably know that the Old Testament prophet Elijah did many miracles. But did you know that his protégé Elisha did even more miracles than him? One such miracle happened to a guy by the name of Naaman. Naaman was the commander in chief of the Syrian army up north, and he came down with a case of leprosy.

Leprosy was essentially a death sentence in those days. But a servant girl who worked for Naaman’s wife and who also happened to be an Israelite said, “Hey, you should go meet this prophet of God named Elisha. He can heal you.” So “Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house” (2 Kings 5:9). Now, typically when someone important like this came to your house, you would go out and make a big show of greeting him and bowing down to him.

Instead we read that “Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.’ But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, ‘Indeed, I said to myself, “He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.” Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So he turned and went away in a rage” (vv. 10-12).

If you’ve seen the Jordan River, you understand why Naaman reacted this way; it’s basically a muddy stream. It can be disappointing, especially if you’re from a place where there are much more impressive rivers like this guy was. So he said, “You want me to what? Where’s the big show? I want that.”

This ties into a principle you find all throughout the Bible that I call the Nazareth principle. It comes from Nathanael’s rebuttal upon hearing that the Messiah was from the little hick town of Nazareth: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). The idea is that God takes human logic and turns it on end.

Why did Jesus grow up in Nazareth? Why was Naaman told to wash in the Jordan? It doesn’t make sense; it’s not logical. But it is theological. It makes God-sense. And it ties into my life verse: “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Now, it took a little convincing from his servants, but Naaman eventually “went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan…and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (v. 14). He was healed. It worked.

Is the Lord calling you to do something that doesn’t make sense humanly speaking? Why not step out in obedience to Him today, trusting that He can use even weak, foolish vessels—you and me—to accomplish His will in this world?

Copyright © 2021 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.

Connect with Skip Heitzig January Resource

Does God exist? Is it possible to know Him? How you answer those two questions shapes how you see the world. In Skip Heitzig’s book Biography of God, Skip helps you gain a better understanding of who God is as you learn what the Bible reveals about God’s character and His plans for mankind—and for you. It’s time to meet your Maker.

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For more from Skip Heitzig, visit ConnectwithSkip.com, and listen to today’s broadcast of The Connection with Skip Heitzig at OnePlace.com.

Prejudice – One Year Devotions for Women

“Always judge your neighbors fairly, neither favoring the poor nor showing deference to the rich.” – Leviticus 19:15

Few of us would admit to being prejudiced. A dictionary defines prejudice as suspicion, intolerance, or hatred of other races or creeds. This type of unfair judging goes against God’s law in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:15). It is also forbidden to the followers of Jesus (Matthew 7:1-2).

Consider the New Testament story of a man called Cornelius, who was a high-ranking Roman officer. Cornelius was “a devout man who feared the God of Israel” (Acts 10:2). Honoring Cornelius’s religious sincerity, God sent Peter to show him the way of salvation. But first God needed to deal with Peter’s prejudice. You see, Peter, like all Jews in his time, would refuse to fellowship in the home or at table with a Gentile (that is, a non-Jew). So God used a Gentile soldier—the very type of person that Peter was prejudiced against—to teach Peter some important lessons! First, God calls no human being common or unclean and offers salvation to all (Acts 10:15, 34-35). Second, if God isn’t prejudiced, we certainly must not be. Peter was a man of principle, but his religious traditions were in danger of overshadowing the truth that is in Jesus.

Do you have “people prejudices”—even subtle ones? Prejudice can be a big barrier to our willingness to share the gospel with people who need it. Many, like Cornelius, have not rejected Jesus; they just haven’t had an opportunity to receive him. Beware of prejudice!

For Further Study: Leviticus 19:1-19

Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

For more from Jill Briscoe, please visit TellingtheTruth.org.

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Pearls of Grace – January 19

January 19

Together for Good

“…The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away… And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Job 1:21 & Romans 8:28

The sun was just beginning to set above the trees as day was giving way to the fall of night. There before me were four headstones bearing the painful reminder of four young lives that had been snatched away too soon carrying with it such sorrow that one could hardly bear to remember its happening. My words to the Father in those moments of remembrance were; “How can anything good come from this?” It was just like every other morning, a rushed morning wrapped in stress as she fixed the boys their breakfast, packed their lunches before heading them out the door to school. There were four boys, the oldest sixteen who would drive his brothers to school every morning since getting his license. They never saw the eighteen wheeler coming as they pulled out in front of it to cross over the highway. A mother had lost all four of her sons that morning, a tragedy so unthinkable that no one could fathom the reality of it. Where was the good in it?

Where do we turn when our lives are ripped apart, shattered without warning? How do we find peace and comfort when the pain is crushing and the loss unbearable? Where do we find refuge when we are hopeless, and the anguish of soul so excruciating that it despairs unto death? Healing would seem an impossibility in the eyes of human reasoning for who could endure such a loss let alone recover. There is a man that I know of who suffered the loss of everything and all of his children in one day and recovered to live life more abundantly than ever before; whose future days following his season of loss, were greater than his former ones. His name was Job. What was Job’s secret? It’s the truth found in Romans 8:28 which tells us, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

It’s not in some things that God will cause for good, but He will use “all” things…that’s “all” things, beloved. Look further with me and note the words, “work together”. Each thing if left on its own is not good, but when it is taken and woven together with the other they become a beautiful masterpiece when God is finished. One isolated event of tragedy, when viewed by itself alone, may stand only as a monument of undue pain and suffering. But take that same tragic event and weave into it all the events in our lives and the monument of suffering becomes a tower of praise unto God. We must remember that there is a greater picture being drawn out by the hand of God, with such purpose and skill, with kindness in every line and mark, even if it’s painful.

You are His masterpiece of grace and mercy that will adorn the streets of glory someday. And as the passerby stops to gaze at its beauty they will see that each stroke of God’s hand blended together so beautifully, so masterfully, that if one stroke were missing, it would have been destroyed. He knows the intended picture He’s drawing, the ending to your story He’s writing, and they are more brilliant than anything our feeble minds could ever comprehend this side of glory. His intended purpose is not to bring forth pain but it’s to unearth the beauty veiled within the earthen vessel. God takes in order to give. He breaks in order to make whole. He brings us through the valley that He may stand us upon the mountain. He leads us to the desert land to give us living waters, and He inflicts in order to heal. Yield to the hand of the artist and your life, the good and bad, will in the end reflect the beauty and skill of the Master.

Make my life a portrait of who You are.

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