IN YOU I AM WELL PLEASED

Mark 1:11 – A voice came out of the heavens: You are My beloved Son, in You I am well pleased.

The Father loves to confirm the faithfulness of His sons and daughters.  Jesus is the One who made it possible for us to be reconciled to the Father.  He is the One who gives us “the right to become the children of God” (John 1:12).  Every believer stands accepted before God because Jesus was fully accepted by the Father. In Mark 1:11, the Father audibly declared His pleasure from the heavens over Jesus.  Many believers have a hard time receiving the love of our Heavenly Father because of bad experiences with an earthly father.  Many people have not heard their earthly father speak words of acceptance and affirmation, but rather judgments and condemnation.  Jesus came for the specific purpose of revealing the Father.  “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).  The disciples experienced how Jesus treated them and saw how He treated others.  Through this, the Father’s love was revealed. The disciples had known of God through the Law, but now they were learning of Him through God’s love and grace.

The Scriptures make it clear how much the Father loves humanity. The three letters recorded in the Bible, written by John the Beloved, express the Father’s focused love for every believer.  The Gospel of John declares that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son” (John 3:16).  Paul wrote that “He hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6 KJV).  The Holy Spirit has come to reveal the Father’s love. He is grieved when we have barriers to receiving His love.  Those barriers can be broken if you will allow the Spirit of Grace to open your heart to the Father’s love.  He will give you a spirit of forgiveness toward an earthly father who wounded you.  He will give you courage to trust and believe your Heavenly Father’s word of acceptance.  He will help you not only to know His love, but to be empowered to share His love. Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and expose any area hindering you from hearing the Father say, “You are my beloved one, in whom I am well pleased through my Son, Jesus.”

Father, today, I open my heart to the fullness of Your love. Please give me grace to forgive anyone I need to forgive.  I realize that my unforgiveness stands in the way of receiving Your love.  By faith, I receive Your love made possible through Your Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.  

IMMEDIATELY, HE SAW THE HEAVENS OPEN

Mark 1:10 – Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him.

As Jesus stood in the waters of baptism, He saw the heavens open. Jesus was standing in the very center of God’s will. The water spoke of His coming death, burial, and resurrection. By His action, publically and before heaven, He was declaring, “I am committed to do the Father’s will! I am dead to Myself and alive to the Father’s purpose.” He stood as a man, in the weakness of His flesh, in the same way we are weak. He could only accomplish what He had been sent to do with the Father’s help. Seeing His only begotten Son’s surrender, the Father immediately responded by opening the heavens and sending the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God descended in the form of a dove, his wings spread, and ready to land. The Holy Spirit came to fully cover the Lord Jesus during His earthly ministry. Jesus was totally under the wings of His Heavenly Father’s love and grace. The Spirit of God knew that earth would be His home until the full purpose of the Father was completed. Jesus was the first man whom the Spirit came to rest and remain, but many more would follow.

In like manner, the disciples obeyed their Lord when He instructed them to “wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father” (Luke 24:49). They truly did not know what to expect, but they obeyed. Ten days later, the Holy Spirit came “like a violent rushing wind” (Acts 2:2). He came upon them just as Jesus had promised. One hundred and twenty were waiting in that upper room. This was the same room where the disciples, fifty days earlier, had shared their last meal with Jesus before His crucifixion. Now, God was about to anoint with His Spirit all those who obeyed Jesus’ instructions to wait. The disciples waited to be empowered to do all that Jesus had commanded. We must surrender, as Jesus did, with determination to do the will of the Father. We too, must do what the disciples did, and wait for the promise of the Father. It is one thing to experience the Holy Spirit in a meeting, and quite another to be anointed in order to fulfill the call of God in one’s life.

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal if you have only known an experience of His presence or if you have truly been anointed to fulfill God’s will. An experience is made up of feelings, whereas an anointing comes with power and authority to carry out a command. Heavenly Father, I ask You for power to live fully in Your will and be Your witness in my sphere of influence.

I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT UPON HIM

Matthew 12:18 – Behold My Servant whom I have chosen, My beloved in whom My soul is well pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him.

The Spirit of God does not come upon us out of our choosing, but rather God Himself has chosen us.  God chose to send His only begotten Son and redeem us from all unrighteousness. The Spirit of the Lord is the one who draws us to the Father through Christ. Jesus said that “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44). It is the Father, who works by His Spirit to draw an individual to Christ. The Father initiates and the Spirit responds. It is the Holy Spirit, who convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8). God’s great joy is to put His Spirit upon all those who will embrace His Son, embracing Him as God’s Anointed One, and accepting all Jesus did through His earthly ministry.

Matthew 12:18-21 fulfills what the prophet Isaiah spoke (hundreds of years before Christ) when the Father promised “His Spirit would be upon His Servant.” The Father promised the Son that He would give the Holy Spirit to all those who believed on the Son. Jesus’ instruction to His disciples was, “I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

Many are still following Jesus’ instructions to wait for the promise of His Father. Multitudes today have received the Lord’s salvation and this promise of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is still being poured out today in general church gatherings, in house meetings, and even in the privacy of one’s own home.  Unfortunately for some, it has only been an experience. Many of the Lord’s precious people have not waited on the Lord for the empowerment of His Holy Spirit. Please don’t only seek an experience, but rather seek the person of the Holy Spirit that you might be filled and empowered to do the Father’s will.

Ask the Holy Spirit to create in you a desire to wait for His empowerment to do God’s will. Waiting on the Lord is not a natural response, but a desire which comes from God Himself. As you wait upon Him, the Spirit of God will manifest His transforming presence. His power will reveal God’s will in your life.  His power will release the fruit of the Spirit. His power will be the key to His gifts operating through you.

THEN THE SPIRIT LIFTED ME UP

Ezekiel 3:12 – Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard a great rumbling sound behind me, “Blessed be the glory of the Lord in His place.”

The Spirit of God comes with a single purpose, to declare the glory of the Lord. Ezekiel’s commission is described in Ezekiel chapter 3.  The Lord commanded him to go to his people which are in exile and speak to them whether they listen or not (Ezekiel 3:11).  The Spirit of God is not dissuaded by those who do not listen.  He still proclaims God’s will and purpose.  The Spirit speaks through any individual willing to be a servant.  Once, when I was overseas, I was a speaker for a large evangelistic meeting.  The minister that had invited me, in my view, was not handling the meeting properly on the first night.  He was elevating himself and not listening to the Spirit’s desire. That evening as I laid in bed, the Holy Spirit spoke to me.  “Tell the brother he is not handling the meeting properly, that he is making it about himself and the promotion of his ministry.”  I told the Lord that I did not want to confront the man.  The Lord spoke to me in no uncertain terms that I was of no use to Him unless I obeyed and did what He was instructing me to do. Well, I repented and obeyed the Spirit.

What the Spirit of God was commanding Ezekiel to do was not easy.  The Spirit of God lifted Ezekiel up so He could hear what the Lord wanted done.  He then gave Ezekiel the ability to declare the Word of the Lord and perform all that God instructed.  The same Spirit that lifted up the prophet lifted up the Lord Jesus. Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (John 12:32).  God lifted up His Son to draw men into a relationship with Himself. The Spirit of God has come to lift us up too.  The Holy Spirit lifts us up before the Father and presents us as righteous and holy through the blood of Jesus.  He also wants to lift us up before men, that they might see what God has done in our lives and magnify the Lord.  “Humble yourselves therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Father, I ask for the Holy Spirit to create in me a great desire to obey all You have commanded. I ask for grace to walk in humility so You can lift me up at Your choosing.  I want to make myself available to the Holy Spirit. Father, I am Your servant and You have the right to command me.  Give me grace to obey whatever You command.

MANIFEST YOUR SALVATION BY GIVING ME SELF-CONTROL

Galatians 5:22-23 – The fruit of the Spirit is self-control; against such things there is no law.

The last attribute Paul mentions to the Galatians is self-control.  The word temperance used in KJV is translated self-control in the NASB.  Paul shared Christ with Felix in Acts 24:25. He discussed righteousness, self-control, and judgment.  God’s desire for every believer is self-government.  That was God’s plan in the beginning for Adam and Eve. Out of a relationship with God, Adam was expected to govern his own life within the surroundings where the Lord had placed him.  Jesus, whom Paul calls “the last Adam, who is a life giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45), governed Himself out of His relationship with the Father through the Holy Spirit.  It is possible for each believer to be self-governing if one is fully surrendered to the Spirit of God.

Self-control is very important in the marriage bond.  Consider Paul’s instruction to “Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:5-6).  Paul also gave instructions concerning the unmarried.  “If they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn” (1 Corinthians 7:9-10).  Peter also dealt with the subject of self-control by writing, “in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance” (2 Peter 1:6).  Peter gave his own list of disciplines for the Christian life, and self-control is right in the center.  Are there areas in your life that are out of control and need the power of this attribute?  Can you list areas in your life in which self-control operates freely?

I want to be clear that I am not speaking about a person by their own strength or effort living a life of self-control.  I am addressing an attribute of the Holy Spirit.  We can live a life of self-control by surrendering our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, through the power of His Spirit. 

Father, I ask for the Holy Spirit to show me areas of my life needing Your power for self-control. I ask for the Spirit to strengthen me with this attribute in specific areas in which You make me aware.  Lord, I want to live under Your governmental rule and demonstrate a lifestyle of self-control in all I do.  Thank you, Holy Spirit, for this part of Your nature in me!

YOUR GENTLENESS HAS MADE ME GREAT

Galatians 5:22-23 – The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness.

King David gave this testimony of the Lord in 2 Samuel 22:36, “Your gentleness has made me great” (NKJV).  In 2 Samuel 22, David wrote a song to the Lord in gratitude for God’s deliverance from the hands of his enemies, including King Saul.  David began by declaring that the Lord is his rock, his fortress, and his deliverer. In verse 36 (KJV), David spoke of God’s “gentleness.”  In the NASB, the word gentleness is translated “help.”  Gentleness speaks of the Lord’s help.  Our God is an ever-present help in the time of need for He said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you, so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?’”  (Hebrews 13:5-6). The writer of Hebrews also exhorted us by saying, “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). In all these exhortations, we find the gentleness of the Lord revealed.

The Scriptures repeat David’s conviction of God’s help in Psalm 18:35. “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation and Your right hand upholds me; and Your gentleness makes me great.”  In this verse, the translators use the word gentleness.   Paul, as he instructed the church at Corinth, spoke about the attitude in which he handled them.  “Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent!” (2 Corinthians 10:1).  Paul strongly depended upon Christ and His meek and gentle spirit to be manifested in and through him as he ministered to God’s people. Before Paul’s encounter with Jesus, he was hard and legalistic in his dealings with God’s people. Later, as Christ’s apostle to the Gentiles, he was the representative of Christ. He understood that it was Christ’s Spirit in him ministering to the Lord’s people.

The fruit of the Spirit in the believer is gentle.  He administers the salvation of God with gentleness and meekness.  God does not come with the attitude, “I am the Lord, and you had better obey me”!  Rather, He draws us to Himself through His mercy and grace.  He takes His time ministering His salvation to each of us.  At times, He cries for the lost through an intercessor. Other times, He lays His burden for the salvation of a person on the heart of a believer.  The Spirit of God is gentle in His dealings.  The testimony of David should be ours as well.

Father, I pray for the Holy Spirit to give me the shield of salvation for every problem I face.  I ask You to uphold me with the nature of Jesus and then to strengthen me with Your gentleness. Make me great for Your Glory.  Your right hand upholds me, and Your gentleness makes me great.