An Important Word Many Modern Christians Rarely Hear in a Sermon

God has had so much more for you. The apostle Paul told the Ephesians that God desired them to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

The fact that we need to stay filled means it is possible for a Christian to run on empty only to scratch the surface of what God offers us. He does not want us to simply splash in the water or wade in the shallow end of His River. He wants to take us to the deepest depths. Ephesians 5:18 says: "Be filled with the Spirit" (emphasis added).

Some Christians are content to attend church one day a week for an hour and have a quick, 15-minute devotion a few days a week. Their concept of God is one-dimensional, and they really are not interested in spending too much time seeking more of Him. If that is where you are today, then you might as well put this down now because it will not appeal to you! But if you have said in your heart, "I know God has more for me. I want more of Him!" then you are well on your way to experiencing the Spirit-filled life.

This is intended to help you stoke the fires of personal revival so you not only will know God in a deeper way, but also will make Him known to others. God is eager to give you more of His presence and power if you will ask Him for more. But as you ask, you must surrender every part of your life to Him.

People often ask me what the secret is to living a Spirit-filled life. I always respond with the same answer: God cannot fill you with His Spirit if you are full of yourself. If you want more of God, you must let go of some things, quit some things, repent of some things, and change many things. But I can promise you that if you adopt a posture of surrender, then you will be amazed by the way the Holy Spirit changes you! This is the real secret of the Christian life—it is not about changing yourself or working harder to please God. It is about yielding your life to God and allowing His Spirit to live inside you.

Today it has become more acceptable for Christians to raise their hands during worship services. We do this because the Bible instructs us to lift our hands to God when we sing or pray.

But have you ever wondered why we are instructed to raise our hands in worship? The church I grew up in as a child did not practice this. We kept our hands rigidly at our sides when we sang hymns. I never saw one person getting even slightly emotional or exuberant when he sang. So you can imagine my shock when I attended a Christian conference at age 18 and saw more than a thousand people in a hotel ballroom singing with their hands lifted. It was a strange sight to me—it looked as if a bank robbery was under way!

But I soon learned that raising hands was biblical. The Psalmist wrote: "Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You for help, when I lift up my hands toward your holy sanctuary" (Ps. 28:2), and "Lift up your hands to the sanctuary and bless the Lord" (Ps. 134:2). The apostle Paul instructed early Christians to take this same posture in prayer when he told Timothy: "Therefore I want men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension" (1 Tim. 2:8).

Eventually I learned to lift my hands while worshipping God in church, and I also began to practice this in my personal prayer times. I started to realize that our posture in worship is supposed to be an outward sign of an inward attitude. God asks us to lift our hands to Him because it prods us toward full surrender.

When I raise my hands to Him, I am saying, essentially: "Lord, I belong to You. My life is Yours. I don't want to run my life on my own—I want You to direct me. I don't want to control my relationships, my money, my career path, or my future—I want to follow Your will and purpose. I am Yours, Lord."

Can you say those words today? Does your life fully belong to God? This concept of personal surrender is what we call consecration. And that is a word most modern Christians rarely hear sermons about.

I want to ask you to do something very unusual right now. I want you to create your own moment of consecration—even before you finish reading this. Have you given your life fully to Jesus Christ? If not, you can pray right now and settle this.

Have you been living a halfhearted Christian life with one foot on God's side and one foot in the world? Have you been in the driver's seat of your life while Jesus sits on the passenger's side? It is time for you to let Jesus take the wheel and have full ownership of your life. You can lift your hands to God right now and pray this prayer of consecration:

Jesus, I thank You that You died on the cross for me so that I could have a relationship with my heavenly Father. Thank You for paying for all my sins. I want to enjoy intimate fellowship with You, and I don't want anything to separate me from Your love. As I lift my hands to You now, I declare that You are my Lord and Savior. I want You to lead me, direct my choices, and give me the supernatural grace to please You in every way. I surrender my thoughts, my words, my attitudes, and my actions. Take my life and let it be a pleasing sacrifice to You! Amen. {eoa}

set-my-heartAdapted from Set My Heart on Fire by J. Lee Grady, copyright 2016, published by Charisma House. WARNING: Asking the Holy Spirit to ignite a fire in your heart can have serious consequences for you and the people around you. Learn how to fully surrender to the Holy Spirit's power so you can intimately know God and share His love with others. This book will help you reignite your passion for God and fulfill the plans He has for you. To order your copy click here.

Prayer Power for the Week of Oct. 16, 2016

This week as you totally surrender to the Lord, continue to pray that He have His way with you. Thank Him for the plan He has for your life and that He will direct each step you take. Thank Him that the safest place for you is in the center of His will. Remember those who were victimized by Hurricane Matthew and other natural disasters. Pray for first responders and their families as they serve those affected. Continue to ask God to help you make wise choices in the upcoming elections. Pray for revival to sweep across our nation and extend around the world (Ps. 28:2; Ps. 134:2; 1 Tim. 2:8).

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