REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on October 27, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“What God Said to Me About Publishing a Book”
Acts 16:6-7 (ESV)
“And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.”
In the 1990s, since I wrote regularly for mostly Korean American community publications, a highlight was publishing an article in the L. A. Times. The lowlight, however, was two unsuccessful attempts to publish books (one publishing house showed initial interest but nothing ever came of it). As I was praying one day, the phrase, “Don’t try to publish on your own,” suddenly appeared in my mind. I interpreted his to mean that when I trust God more than my own effort, publishing may happen. Thus, when one doctorate committee member suggested that I publish my dissertation, I ignored it.
God still speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. John states, “When . . . the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth” (Jn. 16:13). But what we receive today is neither new revelation nor equal to the Bible; in fact, they have to fall within the parameter of historic doctrines and ethics. Neither are they always to be trusted since we can err. Nevertheless, the Spirit who resides in the believers “will remind [us] of everything that [Christ] has said” (14:25). This works much better if God’s words are stored in our mind.
Now, are there situations in the Bible where God says, “Don’t publish?” No. But God sometimes said no, like when Paul, who wanted to go east to preach, was told to go west (Acts 16:7). Although a man delivered from demonization begged to go with Jesus, the Lord told him to go home (Mk. 5:18). In the same way, God can still say no to us through the Holy Spirit. So, when my first book, written in Spanish, was published in Mexico in 2005 by the Assemblies of God denomination, thanks to Pastor Casillas who sacrificially worked to make that happen (and republished ten years later), I learned afresh the meaning of Psalm 145: He is faithful to all his promises.
A Christian life without the involvement of the Holy Spirit is not utilizing the best resource God has given us to live a fruitful life. Always download the Word into your mind and practice being silent before God. Then after hearing his voice, obey Him. Work diligently and wait for God’s timing.
Prayer: I sing a praise song unto your name, my Lord Jesus, for you are so good and faithful. I thank you for not only dying to save my life but also sending the promised Holy Spirit to us. Teach me how to be led by the Spirit and discern his voice so that I may glorify the Father through my life. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 33
Lunch Break Study
Read John 16:8-11, 13-4 (ESV): “And when [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. . . . 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
Mk. 1:35 (ESV): “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed”
Ps. 46:10 (ESV):“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Questions to Consider
1. What does it mean that when the Holy Spirit comes, he will convict the world concerning sin,
righteousness, and judgment?
2. So, how can we experience the Holy Spirit in a more personal and spiritual way?
3. Ultimately, what is the main responsibility of the Holy Spirit? What is he trying to accomplish?
1. “Concerning sin” means that unbelievers will recognize their sins as well as the need to repent; “concerning righteousness” means that the Holy Spirit will remind the righteous standard of God through the Scripture (since Christ won’t be on the earth anymore until his second coming); “concerning judgment” means that the devil (“ruler of this world’) was already defeated (1 Jn. 3:8) and judged by Christ.
2. Jesus sought to be alone in a solitary place to commune with God. Many of us are surrounded by too much noise to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. We need to learn to be quiet and be still when we are trying to spend time with the Lord.
3. The job of the Holy Spirit is to ensure that the words of Christ are clearly communicated to us, mostly through reminding us. In other words, the Holy Spirit is not going to create something that was never taught by Jesus. By doing this, he is glorifying Christ.
Turn off whatever devices that are making noise or distraction. Read from Psalm 23 and then meditate on its meaning; keep silent for a few minutes and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you. It could be something very simple as a word like “love” or “hope” popping up. It can be interpreted as “God loves me” or “be hopeful about tomorrow.” Or it can be seen as, “I need to show love to the next person I see” or “I am going to encourage someone who is going through a hopeless situation right now.”