Fill Me Up Holy Spirit

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Scripture

Matthew 25:1-4 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.”

Observation

In these verses, the Lord is teaching about preparation for his second coming by sharing the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. The wise virgins who were prepared to meet the coming bridegroom had oil in their lamps, but the foolish took their lamps and no oil with them.  Unfortunately, when it was time to go out and meet the bridegroom for the wedding, the foolish virgins had empty lamps. As a result, they were not prepared to meet him and were left out of the wedding banquet.

Application

This parable is a powerful illustration of the importance of continually inviting the Holy Spirit into our lives – to walk with us and sup with us on a daily basis as a friend that sticks closer than a brother. When we refresh ourselves each day with the filling of the Holy Spirit, we are being like the wise virgins – filling our lamps with the oil of His presence, power, and strength so that we can be used by the Lord [our bridegroom] to be a light in this present darkness until He returns and welcomes us into His wedding banquet. Without the oil of the Holy Spirit to light my lamp each day, I am nothing but an empty lamp unable to shine the light of His presence in my life.  Furthermore, in Matthew 5:16, Jesus says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Unfortunately, if I do not invite the Holy Spirit to fill me afresh each day, I am like the foolish virgins in the Lord’s parable – all dressed up and nowhere to go, or in more modern terms, like a car in the driveway without any gas – all ready to go and no power to get there.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I praise You for You are Jehovah Tsebaioth, the Lord of Hosts, who gives me Your precious Holy Spirit to set me apart as a vessel of Your light for Your good and noble use.  Strengthen me Lord and fill me to the top with Your anointing so my light in You may shine brightly before men and glorify You, my loving heavenly Father. I love You Jesus! Amen!

Fill Me Up Holy Spirit Copyright 2010, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the personal devotion, Fill Me Up Holy Spirit, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Inheriting The Promises Of God

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Hebrews 6:11-12 “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” NKJV

Do you know that inheriting the promises of God in our lives is more like a marathon race rather than a sprint race? Not sure. Well then, let me ask you to consider Noah. He didn’t build the ark in a day. It took more like 100 years to build the ark. Or what about David? He didn’t become king overnight. No, it took many years of running for his life before he became the king of Israel. Or how about Abraham? Did he become the father of many nations in a week?  No, he didn’t.  For each of these heroes of faith, it took a long time for the promises of God to be fulfilled in their respective lives.  Unfortunately, it is no different for you and I; therefore, the sobering reality is that inheriting the promises of God in our lives is definitely more like a marathon race and not a sprint race.

If you have ever run a 10k race (6.2 miles), a half marathon (13.1 miles), and a marathon (26.2 miles), you quickly discover that there is most definitely a difference between each of these races. In fact, running a marathon race versus a sprint race requires another whole level of discipline and painstaking diligence in order to successfully run the race to the end.  With that said, it’s interesting to me that the writer of Hebrews 6:11 says that we “should show the same diligence until the full assurance of hope until the end” indicating that the race of faith will require diligence to finish.

Miriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines diligence as: persevering application; being diligent is characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort : PAINSTAKING

In other words being diligent is not easy. Notice that I didn’t say doing diligence. Being diligent is not a doing work, but rather a PAINSTAKING being work in and through us as we run the race of faith and persevere in our faith to the full assurance of hope until the end. Furthermore, being diligent in a persevering application of faith requires patience. For example, constructing  a new building  takes a persevering application of faith and patience. Launching a new campus or a new business takes a persevering application of faith and patience. In fact James 1:4 states, “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” NKJV

In my devotional studies, I’ve learned from Rick Renner’s, Sparkling Gems From The Greek, that the word patience comes from the Greek word hupomeno which means “having the kind of attitude that hangs in there no matter what, never gives up, refuses to surrender to obstacles, and turns down every opportunity to quit.” So then, let me ask this question. Where do you think this kind of staying power or patience comes from?  The Bible says that it comes from the Holy Spirit and is in fact one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 states,  “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” NLT 

When we have the Holy Spirit fruit of patience operating in our lives, nothing can stop us, nothing can break us, no challenge is too difficult for us, no opposition is too fearful, and no dream is too big…because God is WITH us and He is FOR us!

As an illustration let me share how the Holy Spirit fruit of patience helped me to successfully complete the 2007 Florida Ironman triathlon. In the days leading up to the race, I have to be honest that I was a little nervous and a lot afraid, especially when two nights before the race at the kick-off dinner for the athletes, a short video was shown of the prior year race.  I’m not sure if it was meant to encourage me or what, but what it did do was scare the heck out of me.  After watching 2,500 people run into the water like penguins at the north pole and start swimming out into the deep blue ocean one on top of the other for 2.4 miles, I thought…I’m gonna die.  And if I don’t die in the water…how in the world am I going to ride my bike 112 miles and THEN run a 26.2 mile marathon.  I couldn’t help but think, WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Seriously though, I had intimidating thoughts that I might not be able to finish the race. I also had fearful thoughts that my body might just shut down and quit on me.  Did I properly count the cost in my training or was I going to look foolish by not being able to finish what I started? Did I really hear from the Lord about doing the race or was I just trying to find my identity in something outside of Him? As I was wrestling with these questions in my mind the day before the race, the Lord encouraged me that He was with me and that the whole thing was about learning to be patient in Him…learning patience in the 3 years of training that it took to properly prepare for the Ironman and learning patience during the most significant physical challenge of my life at that time.  

So early in the morning around 4 am on Race day, I got up and went on the balcony of our condo overlooking the beach to spend time with the Lord and pray for the patience and strength I would need for the day in order to finish the race. I asked the Lord to be with me throughout the day and I prayed Isaiah 40:31 for His supernatural patience and strength during the race.

“But those who wait on the Lord, Shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

All through-out the race, I prayed this verse in my spirit, took my thoughts captive, and enjoyed my race with the Lord.  When I finished the swim, I was so excited that I had not actually drowned, I couldn’t stop thanking the Lord for being done with that stage and actually being alive… I finished the swim in 1 hr 18 minutes which was a great time for me.

On the bike, I was trained well and was staying disciplined to my heart rate training…no more than 78% of my maximum heart rate; however, 70 miles into the race, I experienced a sharp opposing headwind which caused me to have to drop my pace to around 15 mph instead of the 20 mph that I trained for and had set as a goal.  In fact, at mile 90, the headwind had been so persistent for 20 miles that I had to stop on side of the road to take a short break and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to get some needed strength and refreshment.

Do you know that when we are taking steps of faith and begin moving in the direction of God’s promises for our lives, it is very likely that we may experience opposition from the enemy; therefore, we must be prepared for it and respond with a continued persevering application of faith and patience. Plus, when we are in a long enduring season of faith, we have to remain disciplined in persevering applications of faith and patience if we are going to inherit the promises of God…because all seasons eventually change if we don’t give up. Daily prayer, bible reading, small group, fasting, praise, and refreshing in the Holy Spirit are all great spiritual disciplines that can help us build faith and patience on our journey towards the inheritance of God’s promises in our life. 

At mile 106, the headwind turned into an awesome tailwind and I finished the bike stage at 6 hrs and 15 min which was about 30 minutes later than my training goal.

As I started into the 26.2 mile marathon run, my wife and children along with my mother-in-law and father-in-law were all there to encourage me and cheer me on which was a huge boost for me.  And then 6.5 miles later, my parents, my sisters, my brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews were all at the other end of a 13.1 mile loop to continue cheering me on and encouraging me to finish the race.  Their encouragement and support reminded me of the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 12:1 that watch us as we run the race of faith in Christ.  Hebrews 12:1-2 states,  “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” NKJV

Having my family cheer and support me at critical stages of the race was a huge encouragement that helped me run the race with endurance.  It is the same way for each of us in our personal races of faith in Christ.  Having spiritual family there to support you in the midst of life’s challenges, obstacles, hopes, and dreams is a huge part of the endurance success factor.  As I ran and took each step towards the finish line, I continued praying in the spirit as I thanked God for my family, thanked God for the beautiful sunset, and thanked Him for the ability to actually run the race. In fact, when I crossed the finish line after a long race of 12 hrs and 53 minutes, I walked across the line with my arms raised in the air giving all praise and glory to my heavenly Father for being with me the whole way and giving me everything I needed to strongly finish the race. And lastly, it was a great joy to see my training partner also finish strong and cross the finish line fulfilling our mutual commitment to run the race of life together in the wisdom of Proverbs 27:17 which states in the New International Version of the Bible that “As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another.”  

Finishing Is Better Than Starting. Patience Is Better Than Pride

Topping it all off as God generally likes to do, later that week after the race was over, in my devotional time with the Lord, He led me to discover the scripture verse of Ecclesiastes 7:8 in the New Living Translation of the Bible which states, “Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.” How awesome is that?  As a certified finisher of the 2007 Florida Ironman, I can personally testify that finishing is certainly better than starting and patience is certainly better than pride. How much more awesome will it be when you and I inherit the fullness of the promises of God through faith and patience as we cross the finish line of our race of faith in Christ? So my prayer is that you will inherit the promises of God in your life through faith and patience by hanging in the race of faith no matter what, never giving up, refusing to surrender to obstacles, and turning down every opportunity to quit because God is with you and He is for you! Amen!

For a cool short video recap of the 2007 Florida Ironman race, Click Here.

Inheriting The Promises Of God Copyright 2012, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Inheriting The Promises Of God, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

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