Thursday, December 24, 2020

Be Filled

Be Filled
It has happened! The “fullness of time” had come, when God sent His Son, born of a woman, under the law, to redeem and set free those walking in darkness and under oppression, that they might receive adoption as sons and daughters of the Most High God. The infant Jesus, born in Bethlehem in a feeding trough for animals that He created took His first breath. And this breath becomes His Spirit in our hearts as we trust in Him and became an heir of God through Christ (Galatians 4:4-6). God was pleased that in Him, “All the fullness of the Godhead should dwell” (Colossians 1:19). Yes ALL, overflowing and abundant in provision. 

At just the right time or fullness means that God knew and He continues to know when He must intercede or incarnate or invade His creation to rescue or restore brokenness and even despair and save. In this time, when our world seems in chaos and America is walking in “practical atheism,” or without God, there is a malaise and malcontent that has crept across our vast land from sea to shining sea. The mountains, forests, rivers and lakes are still beautiful and mostly pristine between the seas. But the cities and the hearts of man within have for the most part become soiled cynical and self-serving. So is there a solution? Is there a Savior? 

He came and He is still here; have you seen or known Him? Are you even looking for Him? You see about 2,600 years ago, Solomon, the son of King David of Israel wrote Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, known as wisdom literature saying, “The fear (awe) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:1). But then he too became bored and disillusioned with life even as the wealthiest man in the world and King of Israel with 700 wives (help!), saying of life, “Vanities of vanities, it is all vanities” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Life is just a vapor or mist and without purpose he proclaimed. Yet, he began in his unfulfilled state to seek after God and concluded: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all (the whole duty of man). For God will bring every work (with every secret thing) into judgment, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). 
God’s Son coming to earth as a sign of God’s promise to save His people Israel as Immanuel- God with uswas prophesied by Isaiah’s uplifting words (Isaiah 7:14) some 700 years before His incarnation. There are over 400 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled.  Matthew’s Gospel tells of the actual birth saying of its detail, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 
 The Psalmist David called to God saying, “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose. We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions” (Psalm 20:4-5). Well, He has done just that by sending us His Son called many things including, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. Of the Increase of His government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9: 6b-7a). The mystery of God’s coming to us and living with and in those who believe is beyond wonderful. The Apostle Paul regarding Christ’s dwelling in us richly through His Spirit in our inner man, prays that we may become rooted and established in His love, and that we may be “filled to the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). 

I have been filled to the fullness of God more than once since coming to a personal faith in God through Jesus Christ, His Son. But it has been through the filling of the Holy Spirit at the times when my selfishness was diminished that I have truly experienced God’s palpable presence with all my senses. God’s Spirit once surrounded, warmly embraced and lifted me off the floor of my basement sacred place when praying for the love of my own father that I had never fully received. He was a great provider, a disabled war hero and full of wisdom, yet I never actually remember having experienced his physical touch, hug or embrace. He had tragically lost his own father and his modeling guidance at nine years of age to suicide during a brutal early 20thcentury recession. Yet for me, that morning in deep grieving prayer somewhere after my 60thyear came a profound and fulfilling sense of not just my father’s love, but that of my Father in heaven overflowing into and through me with warmth and presence beyond earthly understanding. This was the Comforter in the promised Holy Spirit comforting me in loss so that I might comfort others in pain with the same consolation I had received. The Apostle Paul shared this truth of both the sufferings and comforts of Christ abounding in us that we might more than endure (2 Corinthians 1:2-4 paraphrase). In this experience and others I was being filled to the fullness and abundance of life that Christ came to provide to all those who would seek and find Him with all their heart. 

Jesus and His love is more than the “fulfillment of the law” as Romans 13:8 tells us. He has already and will continue fulfill all prophesies and promises in incarnating, dying and resurrecting to life, thereby restoring the fullness of relationship with Him. He will be completing the end times by coming to rule and reign from Jerusalem in the Millennium apocalypse or revealing (Revelation). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Himself said as part of His Beatitudes, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Crowds were “filled with awe”when they heard Jesus. The women who came to His empty tomb were “filled with joy.” 

 What fills you today? Are you filled by what brings wonder, peace and joy, or are you controlled by self-indulgence? The “Fruit of the Spirit” consists of those things and much more to true believers as they are filled with,“love, joy, peace,  patience /forbearance/longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23)So chose to “befilled with the Holy Spirit,speaking to one another with hymns and singing joyous songs,giving thanks always to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:19,20-21). I for one would rather receive the fullness of God’s Spirit of comfort, counsel and even conviction in my waywardness that I might hear the words of God saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21)than anything the world has to offer that never satisfies.  “Be filled.” Amen

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