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About the Author
WILLIAM R. GIBSON earned a M.A. in New Testament from Wheaton Graduate School and a second M.A. in Philosophy from the University of South Florida. He has extensive Ph.D. studies in Philosophy at the University of Florida and D.Min. studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Currently, he guest speaks in churches and along with his wife equips Global Workers in spiritual warfare. Together they engage in inner healing ministries and conduct special meetings on the Holy Spirit.
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January 1 | Genesis 1:1–31
The Spirit Creates a New Reality
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
– Genesis 1:2
The Bible begins with the dynamic action of the Spirit of God. New realities materialize with his creative bustle. No matter that the earth in its initial stage is chaotic, nor that the world is without form and void, dwelling in darkness. What matters is his powerful and artistic creativity to transform it. His presence provides unlimited promise and possibility. This is how the exciting story of creation (and the Bible) begins.
The Bible says the Spirit was "hovering over the waters." To hover means to move or flutter much like an eagle hatching an egg or stirring up its nest. The Spirit of God was present supervising and overseeing creation as a bird watches its nest. The earth was desolate and barren, but the Holy Spirit was available to transform it. He rescued creation from chaos and made it teem with life.
Are you in need of the hovering movement of God's Spirit? He turns chaos into cosmos. His specialty is to convert waste and uninhabitable darkness into something stunning and bright. Did last year have chaos? Darkness? Bareness? Do you feel wasted, tired, unfruitful or dead? Today begins a new year. If your world is void and without form, filled with darkness, then God has a creative solution for you. Be assured that the Spirit of God has been watching over any chaos in your life, keeping it in check and under control. His resourcefulness is available to bring an exquisite new reality into existence, one filled with wonderful new actualities of fruitfulness and glory.
Rhema: This is a prophetic picture of God's plan for your life. No circumstances are so bad that God cannot make something good and magnificent out of them. As at creation, his Spirit is hovering over you to bring light, life, order, loveliness, and joy into your world. He is ready and waiting to transform your chaos with his dynamic power. Imagine his birthing something new in your life — new actualities pulsating with God's glory. Therefore, do not hesitate to invite God's Spirit to move and act in your life.CHAPTER 2
January 2 | Genesis 6:1–22
God's Spirit Contends with Mankind
Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years."
– Genesis 6:3
Two major themes run through the Bible. First, the Spirit gives life. Second, his departure leads to death. In Genesis 1:2, he brought life. His presence and activity turned chaos into a magnificent creation. Luxurious vegetation covered the land, living creatures swam in the waters, and birds filled the heavens. The third rock from the sun exploded with life.
Wherever God withdraws his Spirit, however, life ceases. Chaos erupts. Noah and the Flood teach us this lesson (Gen 6–9). God says, "My Spirit will not contend with humans forever." Throughout God's word the Spirit (Rom 8:2) always brings life but things always end badly when his presence is resisted or removed. As we will see, tragedy results for anyone fighting his Spirit: lives are cut short.
From the beginning of creation, God desired to dwell with us and guide us into unimaginable blessing. But after Eden's catastrophe, sin and death entered the world (Rom 5:12). Ever since, God sent his Spirit to battle against our fallen human nature and stave off the moral deterioration of society. Without him, we are left to our own devices and, consequently, end up ruining ourselves. His Spirit works not only in us but in society. Because of sin, man's days on earth were shortened to 120 years.
God says his Spirit will not contend with humans forever. The word "contend" has several meanings that appear to apply here. It can mean to stay, dwell, rule or govern. When the Holy Spirit is not governing us or dwelling within, we fall victim to our own ways. Therefore, rejecting him cuts life short.
In the days of Noah men grew tired of the Spirit's pleading and refused to heed his urgings. Although Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (v 8), the rest of his generation spurned his preaching and resisted the Spirit's persuasion. When they stopped listening, wickedness and evil increased so much God had no choice but to withdraw his Spirit, destroy them, and shorten life.
Rhema: God gives his Spirit to save us from self-destruction, so let us be sensitive to his voice and discover life!CHAPTER 3
January 3 | Genesis 41:1–40
The Spirit Helps Us Make Wise Decisions
So Pharaoh asked them, "Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?" – Genesis 41:38
Someone said, "It takes twenty years to become an instant success." Overnight, Joseph went from a prisoner to a ruler. How was that possible? His wisdom and discernment exceeded everyone else's in the king's court because the Spirit of God was residing in him. Pharaoh recognized this and made Joseph a head of state. His wise, Spirit-inspired decisions would save many lives.
God's Spirit enabled Joseph to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh and offer sage, life-saving counsel. By divine revelation he knew the next seven years of plenty would be followed by another seven years of severe famine. A suitable response required wisdom from above if they were to avoid devastation. Pharaoh realized he need look no further than Joseph, a man filled with wisdom and the Spirit. Egypt's ruler placed him second in command. That is how Joseph became an instant success. Incidentally, this is the first time the Bible mentions God's Spirit dwells in a person.
Challenging situations need unusual insight. Pharaoh himself perceived that the person he placed in authority needed wisdom and discernment. After hearing Joseph's proposal, he said, "There is no one so discerning and wise as you" (v 39). Staving off the devastating effects of a seven-year famine required drastic action. It would not be easy to enact a twenty percent levy on all the harvests. So, to proceed with such an unpopular decision necessitated great skill and prudence.
Every day we face challenging situations that call for wise decisions. Navigating household rules, financial matters and relationships demand prudent determinations. Because the Spirit knows everything, he can help us understand difficult circumstances and make good choices that do no harm. This way we can avoid undesirable consequences from flawed decisions. God wants us to seek wisdom, so we can help others and escape the follies of life. Joseph received huge rewards for his wisdom as Pharaoh favored and blessed him beyond his wildest dreams (37:5–11).
Rhema: Whenever you are facing a challenging condition, you can ask the indwelling Spirit to supply the insight you need. He will help you make life-enhancing decisions because he loves you. The result of making wise choices is blessing, goodness, and salvation.CHAPTER 4
January 4 | Exodus 31:1–11
Art Beauty and the Spirit
Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills — to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts." – Exodus 31:1–5
What a surprise! The first time the Bible states someone is "filled with the Spirit of God" is in connection with the arts. Why? In art, we share something in common with our Creator. He gives us an ability to transform raw material into something creative and beautiful. God himself is the Master Artisan, the great Craftsman of the cosmos. Creation is the work of his hands.
Beauty and worship often go together. God fills Bezalel with his Spirit to help him make the place of worship delightful. He wants his dwelling place stunning and artistic. The entire tabernacle including its articles and furnishings was smashing and a fitting tribute to God. Psalm 27:4 declares, "One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple."
Beauty is a visible form of what is good. Artists are its creators. Their inspired works often mirror and remind us of the mysteries and splendor of creation. Art has a power to elevate our spirit heavenward when contemplating beauty, order, purpose, and design. Since God made us in his image, our spirit recognizes his Spirit at work. When our Creator finished creation with all its artistic touches, he declared it good.
Rhema: Value and appreciate people with artistic gifts, especially in the church. Recognize the power of music, painting, song writing, poetry, pottery or artistic craft to glorify God. Artists have a vital connection with their Creator and, like the Spirit, can convey meaning beyond words. Aesthetic expressions can transcend the rational, finite dimension of words and point to the infinite, just as the tabernacle does. Let every artistic endeavor' — whether a tabernacle or a painting — tell God's story.CHAPTER 5
January 5 | Exodus 35:30–36:7
Art Prophecy and the Spirit
Then Moses said to the Israelites, "See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills — to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. – Exodus 35:30–33
Art belongs to the Spirit. Symbols and images are his tools to convey the truth of God. Artisans like Bezalel are prisms that reflect heaven's light. He is the first person in the Bible said to be filled with the Spirit of God. What God first said to Moses, Moses now echoes to the people, word for word. These words are repeated so the Israelites will know the importance of every facet of the Lord's dwelling place. Every color, every metal, every shape becomes a prophetic picture of the person, plan, and provision of the Lord Almighty.
Bezalel was like the prophets of old: he was anointed and filled with the Spirit so he could communicate God to his people. He transformed ordinary physical things into powerful prophetic proclamations. Beyond the purple, gold, and gems was a deeper reality of God's nature and his salvation. These artistic creations were oracles from above, conveying meaning in ways that words cannot.
Not all art, unfortunately, is of the Spirit. Many art forms today pervert the power and purpose for which the Lord intended them. Instead of revealing the glorious light of eternity, they express the darkness of the human heart.
The purpose of Bezalel's Spirit-inspired art, however, was to capture the hearts and imaginations of God's people. The only two references in Exodus to the Spirit are these. Do they not show the high importance God attaches to the arts? Worship, the arts, and the Spirit work together. The Spirit fills the artists so their creative works reveal God and tell his story. Bezalel uses art for its highest purpose — to proclaim the glory and majesty of God.
Rhema: Creative arts inspired by the Spirit have the power to help us worship. They are prophetic voices that in dramatic representational language drive our emotions, increase our knowledge, and stimulate our sensations.CHAPTER 6
January 6 | Numbers 11:1–17
The Spirit Lightens the Burden of Leadership
I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone. – Numbers 11:17
Does God ever ask us to do more than we can handle? Moses was stretched beyond his limit and after a brilliant and distinctive career of leading God's people he could do it no longer. He had run out of gas and was worn out. He flamed out. To hear the man who brought Pharaoh to his knees and liberate an enslaved nation ask to die was not a pretty picture. "I can't do it anymore," he cried out to God. "I can't carry them in my arms anymore — the burden is too heavy for me."
This story reminds us even mighty men and women of God equipped with extraordinary gifts cannot carry the burden of leadership alone. To help lighten the load, God redistributes the power of the Spirit. Moses fell into a common leadership trap of assuming everything depended upon him. That deception led him to believe he was a failure unless he provided everything the people wanted. Similarly, we can become depressed when we focus on ourselves and our problems instead of God and his mighty supply of spiritual resources.
As great as Moses was, he was prone to keep power in his own hands and wear himself out. God's answer was an extravagant proliferation of the Spirit. He would put "some of the power of the Spirit" residing on Moses on seventy elders. Endowing them with the same Spirit that rested on Moses provided him with many qualified helpers. From that day forward, he shared the responsibility of leading God's people. To have seventy more who had his wisdom, understanding, and spiritual ability helped him lead the people.
Rhema: The burden of leadership is real. As a leader, you carry the fears, doubts, sins, and needs of the people. Like Moses, you can become overworked and overburdened. God does not want you to burn out because you carry the weight of his assignments alone. Instead, he wants to multiply his Spirit and anoint others, so they can share the load with you.CHAPTER 7
January 7 | Numbers 11:18–25
The Transference of the Spirit
Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. – Numbers 11:25
This is the first occurrence of the transference of the Spirit in the Bible. It will not be the last. Moses, for instance, will lay his hands on his successor to empower Joshua to lead the nation. Elisha will receive a double portion of the Spirit that rested on Elijah. Jesus will give his disciples his own power to heal the sick and to cast out demons. In God, the possibility exists for the power and anointing resting on one person to pass to another.
God does transfer his power, anointing, and authority from person to person. Moses needed it to happen because the people were complaining and dissatisfied with his leadership. Their discontent swept through the entire community until he heard every family wailing. They railed against him because they could no longer eat garlic and leeks. Imagine! God's people had tired of "heavenly food." Everyone was angry; it was a mess. Even God himself became "exceedingly angry."
In this case, Yahweh initiated and executed the transmission of the Spirit. In his mercy, he told Moses to select seventy leaders and have them come and stand before the Tent of Meeting. The Almighty came down and met with them to take "of the Spirit that was on [Moses] and put the Spirit on the seventy elders."
God's solution to their bickering was to transfer a portion of the Spirit from Moses to the seventy elders. The anointing on this great leader passed to others to expand the leadership base. In fact, more than enough of the Spirit existed to go around. Moses' anointing was not lessened by sharing it with others.
Rhema: Do not fear losing out if you impart your gifts and empower others. To fear a loss of effectiveness misunderstands the nature of the Spirit and spiritual gifts. Sharing your anointing with others will not diminish your role but like Moses make you even more effective and powerful. Moreover, the transference of the Spirit is a pattern found throughout Scripture, ultimately climaxing in Jesus who pours out his Spirit so you can share in his work.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Celestial Fire"
Copyright © 2018 William R. Gibson.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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