Heavenly Help Challenge
Experience Holy Spirit in Everyday Life
May I Have Some Help, Please? • June 2, 2019
Congratulations for reading through this 21-day devotional study on our Heavenly Helper. We hope this has helped you grow in your understanding of the Holy Spirit and has inspired you to desire more of His help in your life. In Luke 11:9-13, Jesus gives us practical instructions in regards to the Helper: “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” In these verses, Jesus is lovingly instructing us to develop the habit of continually asking, seeking, and knocking in order to receive a greater integration of the Helper’s presence in our everyday lives. Let’s allow Jesus’ words to motivate us to live in passionate pursuit of the Helper. Let’s always be asking the Spirit, “What are You doing in this situation? I want to know what’s important to You. Please train me to sense You better. Teach me who You are and how I can be more attentive to you.” There is always room in our hearts to grow and nurture the Helper working in us, on us, and through us. And at the end of the day, the main work that the Holy Spirit does in our hearts make us look and act more like Christ than we did before. Luke 11:9 (NLT) “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” REFLECT & APPLY: How can you practically continue to go on a journey of continuing to access more of the Holy Spirit throughout the course of your life? Maybe you need to make more time for Him, talk to Him more, or do further study on him. He wants to continue to grow closer to you, make sure that you make intentional space for him!
Resisting Help • June 1, 2019
Whether we realize it or not, we can carry unfriendly attitudes that limit or prevent the Holy Spirit from helping us. The Bible mentions at least three unfriendly attitudes: resisting, quenching, and grieving. Let’s take a brief look at each: Resisting is an unwillingness to yield to God’s Spirit. We can resist the Helper by ignoring the impressions He communicates to our hearts. Resisting is displayed through our independence or adopting an “I can do it myself” attitude. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations we do not like and we resist, but these unwanted circumstances may be what the Helper intends to use for our growth (and blessing) if we yield to His leadership. Another way we can be unfriendly toward the Holy Spirit is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 where Paul writes, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” It can be easy to be “skeptical” or when the Holy Spirit moves through somebody else. However, the Bible challenges us to be open to prophetic words (God-inspired encouragements or predictions), and at the very least, investigate them. When we are critical of—or look down upon—the gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy, we can be in danger of quenching or stifling the ministry and help of God’s Spirit in our lives. Grieving the Helper is when we cause Him pain, sadness, distress, or sorrow. In Ephesians 4:30, the Apostle Paul writes, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” When we look at the context in which Paul wrote this verse, we see that it was written as part of directions for how not to treat others. This implies that one way in which we can grieve the Helper is by treating others in hurtful ways that tear them down instead up encouraging and building them up. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (NIV) “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” Ephesians 4:30 (NIV) “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” REFLECT & APPLY: Do you recognize any of these unfriendly attitudes in your life? What can you do to cooperate with the Helper more and cultivate the opposite attitudes?
Fruit • May 31, 2019
Yesterday, we briefly learned that the Holy Spirit gives supernatural gifts to us for the purpose of encouraging others and helping them grow spiritually. In addition to these gifts, the Helper produces in us what the Bible describes as the “fruit of the Spirit.” These are attributes that express God’s personality and character traits. In Galatians 5:22, the Apostle Paul mentions nine fruits of the Spirit: “the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” When you think about the implications of this verse, it is remarkable! Not only are you forgiven of your sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus, you are indwelt by God’s Spirit, and He is working—through every pressure and circumstance—to form the nobility and beauty of Christ’s character in you! This makes everyday life significant, sacred, and purposeful. Just as fruit is formed and ripens as a byproduct of staying connected to a tree, so the fruit of the Spirit grows within us as we stay connected and rooted to Christ. He is our source and we are instructed to draw life from him (see John 15:5). One way the Bible instructs us to do this practically is to “walk in the Spirit.” This means to stay in continuous sync with Him. Galatians 5:22 “...the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Galatians 5:16 “...walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:25 “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” REFLECT & APPLY: Reflect on the “fruits of the Spirit” listed in Galatians 5:22. Is your life producing that kind of fruit? Maybe the most realistic way to find out would be to ask the people closest to you if you are loving, patient, kind, etc. We all have room to grow and produce healthier fruit in our lives. Ask the Holy Spirit to “walk with you” and help you with the areas that you need to grow in the most.
Gifts • May 30, 2019
When you become a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit wants to empower you to help others through spiritual gifts. In 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, the Apostle Paul lists these gifts. They include divine wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, and miracles, to name just a few. It can be challenging or uncomfortable to operate in these gifts because we might not be sure how to give God control. However, since the Holy Spirit’s intention is to be our helper, we can have confidence that any gift God gives us isn’t intended to make us “weird” or “spooky,” but rather to serve those around us out of the deep love that He has for them. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.” 1 Corinthians 14:1 (NIV) “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit.” REFLECT & APPLY: What’s been your experience with spiritual gifts? Do you know people who need encouragement, wisdom, healing, or other gifts described in this passage? Take time to thank God for these gifts and ask the Helper to help you grow in your ability to express them more to others in love. Ask Him to show you opportunities to use His gifts and for the confidence to step into those opportunities eagerly.
Our Guide • May 29, 2019
Another way the Holy Spirit is an upgrade is that He is our guide who helps us understand life’s experiences from God’s perspective. In John 14:17, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will “guide you into all truth.” Like a tour guide who helps people visit unfamiliar places and understand their significance, the Holy Spirit enables us to interpret life—especially challenging times—from God’s point of view so it does not seem meaningless, empty or wasted. If we do not have the Helper as our tour guide of truth, we will not understand the significance of life’s experiences and will become the victim of empty pursuits, destructive deceptions, and futile frustrations. As you go on the journey of trying to see things from God’s perspective, it is often times an adjustment to be able to determine what “truth” is. God gave us his word to help guide us as we learn who he is and how he works. You have the ability to invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you through the Bible to help establish what is “true” about him and about you. John 16:13 “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (TLB) “...no mere man has ever seen, heard, or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love the Lord. But we know about these things because God has sent his Spirit to tell us, and his Spirit searches out and shows us all of God’s deepest secrets.” REFLECT & APPLY: Are there areas in your life in which you feel frustrated, confused, or anxious? What would it be like if you could see those circumstances from God’s perspective? Ask the Helper to guide you. Ask Him to help you experience God’s presence and understand His perspective in those specific circumstances. Use the Word as a tool!
Our Companion • May 28, 2019
In John 16:7, Jesus told his followers that the arrival of the Helper would be an advantage or upgrade. One way that this is true is that the Holy Spirit is our constant companion. When Jesus walked the earth, He was limited to a physical body, just like us. The Helper, however, is not limited to a physical body. He can be present everywhere at the same time. The Holy Spirit can be with us no matter where we are or what time of day or night it is. In other words, the Helper is with us all the time and in every situation, regardless of if we are aware of it or not. This is truly an upgrade of divine proportions. John 16:7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” John 14:16-18 “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever. The Helper is the Spirit of truth. The people of the world cannot accept him, because they don’t see him or know him. But you know him. He lives with you, and he will be in you.” REFLECT & APPLY: How often do you access the Helper in everyday life? It’s awesome to carve out intentional time to spend with the Holy Spirit, but you are not limited to only experiencing Him in those moments. As you go through your week, in moments of business, chaos, or even stress, try taking a deep breath and ask the Helper to draw near.
The Upgrade Advantage • May 27, 2019
We all enjoy perks and upgrades. From an upgraded airline seat to a credit card rewards programs that gives discounts on gas, everyone loves an advantage now and then. Perhaps this desire for advantages, in some respects, is divinely inspired. Maybe it’s what Jesus was addressing when he spoke about the Holy Spirit in John 16:7: “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” In this verse, Jesus states that the Helper is an advantage, or upgrade, to Christ’s own physical presence. John 16:7 (NASB) “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” REFLECT & APPLY: How is the arrival of the Helper, who can seem hard to understand at times, an advantage over the physical presence of Jesus? How could He be an advantage to you in your daily living?
What a Good Student Does • May 26, 2019
If one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is our teacher (see yesterday’s devotional), that implies we are His students. But what does a good student do and how can we position ourselves to become effective learners of the Helper? Here are a few suggestions: Pay attention—eliminate distractions and prioritize your focus on the Helper. Ask for help—good teachers encourage students to bring their problems to them. It is okay to ask the teacher for help. You weren’t meant to solve every problem on your own. Grow your trust—when life throws a test at you, the Helper wants to help you pass it. Lean in and trust He is there and working to help you learn, grow, and be effective. Take advantage of open book tests—the Helper loves helping you understand and apply God’s word, the Bible, to everyday challenges and tests. God has provided remarkable wisdom to life’s most difficult challenges in scripture. Ask the Helper for divine inspiration, wisdom, understanding, and power to apply God’s word. Be curious—consider the awe and wonder of nature and ask the Helper to teach you through it. Let the Holy Spirit inspire you through metaphors, like the daily sunrise, as reminders of God’s faithfulness and power to help you learn and grow. Be flexible—be willing to learn in different ways, not just how your normally like to learn. This is the mark of a lifelong learner. We all have our preferred learning styles, but the Helper likes to use a variety of methods to teach us. Psalm 86:11 (ESV) “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” REFLECT & APPLY: Reflect on your last few days and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal moments to you in which he was trying to teach you something or transform and area of your life. He might speak to you about unhealthy mindsets, responses, or missed opportunities. Ask Him to lead you on a journey of transformation in everyday life.
What Makes a Great Teacher? • May 25, 2019
Are you familiar with the concept of a master teacher? A master teacher is one who not only knows their subject matter, but is also an expert at communicating that content to students in a way that is engaging, memorable, and even transformational. That is who the Holy Spirit is to us. In that famous Last Supper teaching we’ve been studying, Jesus tells his followers, “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26 ESV) The Helper, our Master Teacher, knows how each of us learns. He understands your weaknesses and what motivates you. He is dialed in to the lessons you need most to grow in your identity as a son or daughter of God, and he is committed to helping you succeed in the class of life. Teaching is more than a transfer of information. In many respects, it is about transformation, and no one knows how to lead you through that process better than the Helper. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (GW) “We are being transformed into that same image [Christ’s character] from one degree of glory to the next degree of glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” REFLECT & APPLY: In your life, what might be some areas in which the Holy Spirit could be leading you through a process of transformation (to think and respond more like Jesus)? Ask Him to help you learn according to your unique personality and learning style.
The Foundation of Authentic Trust • May 24, 2019
Yesterday, we briefly explored why transactional faith is not a healthy way to develop trust in God. A better ground for trusting Him is His character rather than the outcomes of our prayers. If you think about it, our deepest relationships are not grounded in what a person does, but who they are in their character. In a similar way, as we grow to really know and experience the character of God (through the help of the Helper), our trust in Him deepens and our relationship grows. The ultimate expression of God’s character was demonstrated through the sending of His Son to die in your place. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) The next time we encounter challenges and struggles, let us turn to the Helper, not away from Him. He is able to help us, and, believe it or not, the Holy Spirit will pray for us according to God’s purposes so that even our struggles can be used by God for good. Romans 8:26-28 (NLT) “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” REFLECT & APPLY: Is there a disappointment in your life that you have had trouble processing or a struggle you’re facing that you aren’t sure what to do with? Take a second to consider that God sent his only Son to die for you, meaning that he absolutely has your best intentions in mind, even if you can’t feel it. Ask the Holy Spirit for help in praying for God’s will to be done in the middle of your disappointments and struggles, and trust that he is working all things out for good!
Is your Trust in God Transactional? • May 23, 2019
Trust is something with which almost everyone struggles. Perhaps you had a friendship that ended in betrayal—maybe an unkept confidence or a moment of miscommunication. Whether we realize it or not, we often withdraw our trust when we feel betrayed. We also determine how much we will trust someone based on what happened previously when we trusted them. In the same way, we tend to trust God based on the outcomes of our prayers. If we get the answers we want, we trust God more. If God does not answer our prayers, we trust Him less, and maybe we pray less, too. If our trust in the Helper is based on outcomes, then our faith and relationship in God becomes transactional. This means that we pursue God (i.e. seek God, pray, read our bible, go to church, practice spiritual habits, etc.) based on what he does for us. If I get my way, then I’ll stay close to Him and develop “good” behaviors. If God doesn’t do what I want, then I’ll put distance between us. This filter for trusting the Helper is not realistic nor beneficial for our lives because God’s ways are our higher than ours. He is sovereign and omnipotent, not our personal puppet. Sometimes he will not give us what we want in order to give us what is actually best. Isaiah 55:9 (NIV) “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” REFLECT & APPLY: Does your trust and faith in God tend to be transactional? Ask the Helper to show you. If you see signs of it, ask God to help you turn from this dead end, and help you cultivate an authentic trust in Him based on what he has done for us through Christ.
The Perfect Parent, Part 2 • May 22, 2019
Whether you had the best parents, the worst parents, or no parents at all, the truth is that the Helper wants to come alongside you and be your perfect parent. An earthly parent has limited ability, but the Holy Spirit wants to parent you according to his unlimited ability. He wants to comfort places of loss, heal wounds, fill in gaps, and transform areas of brokenness into places where His strength, love, and forgiveness abound. Jesus went to the cross for your sins so that he could “adopt you into his family.” Just as an orphan must relearn how to operate in the context of their new family upon adoption, we have to adjust to life with a new father as well. It may be hard to accept the reality that you are no longer an orphan, but rather a son or daughter of Christ, but it is the truest thing about your identity. The Helper can help you accept this as your new reality. Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Romans 8:16 (NLT) “For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” Galatians 4:6 (NLT) “And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.’” REFLECT & APPLY: Take a minute to carefully reflect on the passages above. Thank God for his spiritual adoption of you through the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to help you grow in your understanding and experience of God’s fatherhood.
The Perfect Parent, Part 1 • May 21, 2019
None of our parents who raised us were without mistakes. Despite their best efforts, they did not raise us perfectly. As we continue to mature, how should we respond to that? If we are going to live out God’s calling and destiny, we are must acknowledge the shortcomings of our parents and how those deficiencies affected us in both small and big ways. The way that we see ourselves, interact with those around us, and how we respond to pressure are all affected by the way we were raised. By stepping up to these realities, we invite the Helper—the Spirit of Truth—to speak into our lives and bring about our transformation. The Helper does not want us to remain in the entanglement of human shortcomings, rejection, emptiness, or debilitating pain. The only way out of such a mess is to grow close to the Holy Spirit, ask Him for help, and follow Him along the journey of truth, one step at a time. It is a path that includes surrender, redemption, and transformation. Psalm 27:10 (NLT) "Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close." Isaiah 66:13 (NIV) "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you." Hebrews 13:5 (NLT) “God has said, 'I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.'” REFLECT & APPLY: Which parent—your mom or your dad—was the more difficult relationship for you when you were growing up, and why? In what ways could the Holy Spirit help you resolve those difficulties with that parent?
Adopted, Part 2 • May 20, 2019
In yesterday’s devotion, we discovered that the Holy Spirit helps us experience adoption as God’s sons and daughters. In ancient Roman culture, adoption involved a legal process in which the parents sought out and freely chose the child. In other words, the child was desired. The adopted child received a new identity. Any prior commitments, responsibilities, and debts were erased. Also, in ancient Rome, adoption made the child a legal heir to the father, a shareholder in all his possessions and estate. As a follower of Jesus today, the implications of ancient Roman adoption apply to you. You are sought after and desired by God! You have been legally adopted by a loving, strong, wise, and caring Father! You have received an entirely new identity! All of your spiritual debt and guilt has been erased! You have become an heir of God, a co-heir of Christ Jesus, and a member in the family of God. All of this was made possible through the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. John 1:11-13 (NLT) “He [Jesus] came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT) “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:13-14 (NLT) “And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” REFLECT & APPLY: It is the joy of the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth about God’s fatherhood and make it come alive in your heart. Thank Him for your adoption and receive it by faith. Take time to meditate on the verses above and ask the Holy Spirit to help you experience God’s heart for you in a fresh way.
Adopted, Part 1 • May 19, 2019
The behaviors and feelings of orphans include isolation, apathy, defensiveness, perceiving themselves without comfort, a lack of sensitivity, independence, distrustfulness, vulnerability, fearfulness, and helplessness. Furthermore, orphans often struggle to form healthy relational attachments. While many of us may not be outright orphans, we can relate to feeling abandoned, neglected, or rejected. When we are honest, we can admit that we don’t always manage those feelings well and that we use coping techniques. Those behaviors might include addictions, staying busy, unhealthy eating habits, extreme exercise, becoming hyper-religious, or entering into unhealthy relationships. The most helpful way to resolve this struggle is to remember that having the Holy Spirit – the Helper – makes us God’s adopted sons and daughters. We are no longer orphaned! The apostle Paul wrote that Gods’ Spirit helps us experience the reality of God’s fatherhood. Read the verses below! Romans 8:15-16 (NIV) The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Romans 8:15-16 (TPT) And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!” For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!” REFLECT & APPLY: Thank God for the incredible truth of Romans 8:15-16. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand and grow in your experience of it.