Today's Foundations Devotional: Times and seasons

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Memory verse:

And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is

not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the

saints.(1 Corinthians 14:32-33)

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We are now in a position to offer a definition of true spiritual liberty: Spiritual liberty consists in acknowledging the effective lordship of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Where the Spirit is Lord, there is liberty.

A wonderful key to true spiritual liberty is found in the words of Solomon.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace (Eccl. 3:1-8).

Solomon here mentions twenty-eight forms of activity, set out in fourteen pairs of opposites. In each pair of opposites it is right at one time to do the one and at another time to do the other. We can never say without qualification, it is always right to do the one or always wrong to do the other. Whether each is right or wrong is decided by the time or the season.

Many of these pairs of opposites relate to the life and worship of a congregation, such as planting or plucking up; killing or healing; breaking down or building up; weeping or laughing; mourning or dancing; gathering or casting away; keeping silence or speaking.

None of these is either absolutely right or absolutely wrong. Each is right if done at the right time and wrong if done at the wrong time.

How, then, shall we know which to do, or when? The answer is, this is the sovereign office of the Holy Spirit as Lord in the Church. He reveals and directs what to do, and when. A congregation that is directed by the Holy Spirit will do the right thing at the right time. This is the source of all true liberty, harmony and unity. Apart from this, there are only varying degrees of bondage, discord and disunity.

In the following week we shall go on to consider one further distinctive feature that marks the life and worship of a congregation where the members have been baptised in the Holy Spirit and have liberty to exercise this power.

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Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for guiding me through Your Spirit and

for constantly either encouraging or restraining me from activities. Set a

guard over my mouth so that I can say yes or no to the right requests ...

Lord, I want to seek Your guidance at every step. Amen.

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