5 Habits - Spirit #3

Welcome to Everyday Devotions. These daily Bible readings and Prayer Pathways are designed to help you go deeper with God each day in response to what you are hearing at the Everyday Church services and Life Group gatherings.

Wednesday 29th January

Over the past three weeks, we have looked at three healthy habits that promote spiritual growth in us – Bible Meditation and Prayer Pathways and Sung Worship. In this week’s Everyday Devotions, we are looking at a fourth healthy habit – being filled with the Holy Spirit and then walking in step with him each day.

Bible Meditation

Acts 2:1-21

1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” 14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

1) We saw yesterday that Jesus told the disciples in Acts 1 to “wait” for the Holy Spirit to come before they attempted to proclaim the Gospel to others. Yet here they start preaching to the crowd about Jesus. What happened in the first four verses of Acts 2 that convinced them that the Holy Spirit had come and that it was now ‘game on’ for the Gospel?

2) What do you think about when you hear people refer to ‘speaking in tongues’? Is this something outside your frame of reference and that slightly scares you, or is it something you are familiar with and that you want to experience more and more?

3) How is it significant that Peter firmly locates his own experience on the Day of Pentecost to the promise that we read yesterday in Joel 2. On what basis do you think he announces in verse 17 that “the last days” have now begun?

4) What would you say to somebody who claims that the events described in Acts 2 are only for the original followers of Jesus? How significant is it that Peter refers to “both men and women”, to both “young and old” and to “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord”?

Acts 2:32-33

32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
5) What explanation does Peter give in these verses for the fact that ‘the last days’ have begun and that God has now begun to pour out his Holy Spirit on all people?

6) How has the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus created such a sudden sea-change in the world? Why are we able to be filled with the Spirit of God now in a way that people were unable to be filled before Jesus came?

Acts 2:37-41

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

7) If we repent of our sins and are baptised in water as a sign of our faith in Jesus, then what two things does Peter say the Lord will definitely do in response to our repentance and obedience?

8) How does verse 39 answer the idea that we cannot expect God to fill us with the Holy Spirit today in the same way that he filled the early Christians on the Day of Pentecost?

9) What do you think it would mean for you to respond to Peter’s urgent command today: “Save yourself from this corrupt generation?” How is this linked to God’s promise to fill us with his Holy Spirit?

Prayer Pathway

Let’s take as our prayer pathway for today The Examen Prayer that we have been learning together. If picks up on Peter’s call to repent of our sins and to renounce the ways of our corrupt generation. Let’s therefore pray its 4Rs together as part of our response to God’s invitation to fill us with his Holy Spirit.

REJOICE: Look back on the past few hours since you spent time in focused prayer to God. What has happened that is good and that you need to say thank you to God for? Make sure you check in with grateful rejoicing for what he has done for you.

REPENT: Look back on the past few hours and say sorry to God for anything that you have done that you know was sinful or displeasing to him. God is eager to forgive you and to lead you forward from here.

RENOUNCE: Look back on the past few hours and reflect on the ways in which you have seen a clash between the way God wants you to live and the way that the world around you is living. These are the battlefields on which your daily fight for holiness is being fought right now. Renounce wrong ways of thinking, declaring that you are siding with God and with his Word in each of those areas, no matter what price is to pay. If you have not yet been baptised in water, then you really must take the words of Peter very seriously as you pray. One of the reasons why we obey the call of Jesus to be baptised is that it speaks of our having renounced the world – dying to its values and being raised to new life in Christ.

REBOOT: Look forward to the next few hours before your next check-in of focused prayer to God. What challenges and opportunities lie ahead of you? What discouragements and failures are you likely to drag with you into those next few hours unless you leave them here with God? Deal with those things now and let God reboot your life for the next few hours. Go into them empty of baggage and full of expectation. Let God commission you to serve him joyfully for the next few hours until you return to check in through these 4Rs again.

Be encouraged by Daniel 6:13 – “Then they said to the king, ‘Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.’” Come back later to pray these 4Rs when you wake up in the morning, when you take a break for lunch and in the evening before you go to bed.

End with Worship

In order to help you to respond to God in sung worship, we have created two playlists for you on Spotify:

The Everyday Devotions playlist contains a handful of songs which are particularly relevant to our Everyday Devotions this week. This song list changes each week along with our devotions.

The Everyday Church Song List playlist contains most of the songs that we are singing right now across the venues of Everyday Church. This is a wider song list for you to play throughout the day to help you worship as you wash up, as you drive, as you shower, as you sit on the bus and as you go about your day.

If you are somewhere where you can sing loudly, why not use these two playlists to end by singing some songs of worship to the Lord? If you are on the bus or train, why not put on your headphones and sing in your heart to God instead?

This week the songs are largely prayers for God to fill us with his Holy Spirit.
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These Everyday Devotions have been produced and edited by Phil and Ruth Moore on behalf of the Everyday Church Elders

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