Saturday, June 2, 2012

John the Baptist Begins His Ministry; The Holy Spirit Inside Us

Today's Reading:
  • Luke 3:1 - 22
  • Psalm 61:1 - 8
Read Bible Passages Online

Luke 3:1 - 22
These few verses in Luke tells us the story of John the Baptist, starting with when he was called by God to begin his ministry and mission to baptize the people.  The baptism is to signify one's new life as they turn away from sin and towards the salvation of God. 

Verses 7 - 9 were very interesting to me.  John called some of descendants of Abraham a "brood of snakes" (3:7).  He warns them not to just say to each other that they are safe because they are descendants of Abraham.  Instead, John says one must "prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God" (3:8).  He finishes by saying: "Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire" (3:9).

I am 100% aware that without Jesus Christ, not a single person, no matter how righteous, can gain salvation.  But I also feel that more is expected of us than just believing in Jesus Christ.  We need to produce good fruit and good works for the Lord, and live as though we have turned towards God, instead of continuing to live in sin. 

On the other hand, I think that the person who has accepted Jesus Christ as their savior goes through a transformation, and in that transformation our lives naturally evolve to be more righteous, to produce good works, to walk in love, and to turn from sin.  When Jesus Christ enters our heart, it changes us from the inside out. 

If you know Jesus is in your heart, yet you keep Him locked away into a small space inside of you, let Him out!  Allow Him to take over ALL of you.  Allow Him to shine through you.  Show your love for Lord both by your faith and by your actions.  If you allow Jesus to shine through you, the good fruit is produced effortlessly. 

Psalm 61:1 - 8
4  Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!
 This is another psalm of David.  Verse four sticks out to me because of the stark differences between our lives now, and the lives of those in the Old Testament.  David had to flee his home and no longer had access to the Tabernacle.  Without the Tabernacle, David was unable to have to close relationship with God that he once had.  These psalms are filled with the longing of David to be near the Lord again.

Today we take for granted the close relationship we have with the Lord because the Holy Spirit is within us whenever we decide first let it in.  But that was not the case then -- then you had to go inside the Tabernacle to converse with the Lord, but only a choice few were allowed. 

All of that changed with the death of Jesus Christ.  That closeness with the Lord is attainable to all of us.  And if you've lost it, if you can't seem to figure out where it's gone or why you don't feel close to the Lord anymore, then just sit down and start studying your bible again.  Then you will feel the Holy Spirit rise up inside you again. 

Jesus Christ was an incredible gift to the world.  Not only do we have this amazing thing called salvation, we also have the ability to feel the Holy Spirit living within us.  To study the bible and to feel it stir within us.  To transform us, to make us into new people with more fulfilling lives.  To rule us and to shine through us.  Thank you, Lord for the allowing us this awesome gift so that we can forever be near you.

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