Daily Archives: October 4, 2011
We must remember that
when hope is lost
There is so much
that it does cost
When things do happen
which we don’t understand
We must trust in
what God has planned
For it’s His ways
we do not know
But instead we must
go with the flow
And at all cost
our hope to retain
For in God’s love
our soul must remain
We aren’t all mighty
nor ever so wise
To know the plans
that God does devise
We need to ever
hope in the Lord
‘Cause to do other
we can never afford!
Teresa Marie 10/4/11
http://promisingpoetsparkinglot.blogspot.com/ Week 53 Submission
Thank you Thursday Poets Rally for the Perfect Poet Award
I nominate Anne LeFlore for the next award.
(This Day’s Thought is pleased to bring you Eric Elder’s new sermon series, “Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind.”)
Knowing Who The Holy Spirit Is
Lesson 17 from Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind
By Eric Elder
The Holy Spirit is a person, not a substance. When you understand the difference, it makes a difference in how you talk to Him and how you draw upon His power in your life.
I used to think that the Holy Spirit was like a light inside my heart. But one day, God helped me to understand that His Holy Spirit really is a person—a person who wanted to live and act and move in my life. As Jesus said:
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. … All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. … I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth” (John 14:16-17, 25-26, and 16:12-13a).
You may have heard me tell this story before, but I feel it’s helpful for getting the idea in your mind that the Holy Spirit really is a person, not just some spiritual substance that flows through your body.
I was in the middle of a large sanctuary worshipping God with hundreds of other people. As I was singing, I was thinking about the beauty of Jesus and how great it could be if I could really see Him with my own eyes. Far away at the front of the sanctuary there was a stained glass window with a picture of Jesus on it.
While everyone else was still standing and singing, I just sat down in my seat and closed my eyes. I began to picture what Jesus would look like in my mind—something like that far-away image of Him in the stained glass window. But suddenly, with my eyes still closed, I pictured two eyes directly in front of mine! They were so close that I couldn’t look at both eyes at the same time. I had to look back and forth between them, as you might do when looking close into the eyes of someone you loved.
With my own eyes still closed, I felt that His eyes were coming closer and closer to mine—so close, in fact, that I had to back up in my seat. But when they finally came as close as they possibly could without touching me, the two eyes disappeared. I wondered where they had gone, but I sensed that they hadn’t left me at all. Instead, I realized they had passed right through me and began to turn around inside my head.
I felt my own eyes refocusing, as if Jesus wanted to look through my eyes. I could picture His arm going down inside my arm as if he were putting my arm on like a sleeve. His hand went down inside my hand as if putting on a glove. I could imagine His feet going down into my legs, one at a time, like He was putting on a pair of jeans. He slid His feet into mine as if putting on a pair of shoes.
My mind was flooded with Scriptures about what it meant to have the Spirit of God living inside me, like the Scriptures I mentioned above. I began to understand that He wanted to take up residence within me, living inside me and carrying out His will, to the extent that I allowed Him free reign to do it. I invited Him in and asked Him to push all of me out, so that I could be filled as full as possible with Him, from head to toe and fingertip to fingertip.
I felt like God was telling me that when I opened my eyes again, He wanted me to see it as He saw it. When I used my hands, He wanted me to use them as He would use them. He wanted to walk where He would walk. He wanted me to hear my ears what He would hear, speak with my mouth what He would speak, and feel with my heart what He would feel with His.
When I finally opened my eyes, I did see the world differently. I realized that the Spirit of God wasn’t just a light inside my heart. He was a person—a person who had literally come to take up residence inside my mortal body, giving life to it, as well as power and direction. As Paul said in Romans chapter 8:
“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you” (Romans 8:9-11).
These verses have incredible power if you’ll take them to heart.
I saw their power displayed most clearly when my wife Lana was pregnant with our second child. Lana was having some abnormal bleeding early in the pregnancy, so she went in for a test. They drew her blood on two different days and checked the level of her hormones. If the baby was OK, her hormones would be doubling every day. But if the baby wasn’t OK, then her hormones wouldn’t be rising, but going down instead. When we got the results, we found that her hormones were going down rapidly.
The doctor told us this could only mean one of three things: 1) either the baby had died and was about to miscarry on its own, or 2) the baby had lodged in Lana’s fallopian tubes instead of her womb, which, if it wasn’t removed, would eventually burst the tubes, die anyway and threaten Lana’s life, too. The third option was remote, but possible: the test was wrong.
The only way the doctor would be able to tell for sure was to do an interior ultrasound, which we scheduled for the next day. That night, Lana called a friend to pray for her. The friend suggested she read chapter 8 of Romans. As Lana read these ancient words of the Apostle Paul, she was struck in a new way by verse 11:
“And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you” (Romans 8:11).
She realized that if the Spirit of God was living inside her, the same Spirit could raise this baby from the dead, too. We both both began to call upon God’s Spirit fervently, and asked others to do the same.
The next day, we went to the hospital for the interior ultrasound. The nurse called Lana into the room, and I sat in the waiting room outside. After a long and emotional wait, the nurse called me in. I saw Lana lying on the hospital bed. She was crying. The nurse walked me over to the ultrasound machine and pointed to a black dot in the middle of it. She said, “Do you see that dot on the screen?”
I could see it, the black dot that was my baby. I was about to burst into tears myself when the nurse said, “Do you see how it’s beating? That’s your baby’s heartbeat!”
Lana wasn’t crying because the baby had died. She was crying because the baby was alive! But that couldn’t be with Lana’s hormones dropping so rapidly. The only other option was that the test was wrong. Or at least we thought that was the only other option, until we read Romans 8:11. God gave us a fourth option: to call upon the power of His Spirit, the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead and who now lived in Lana’s mortal body as well! We felt like we had just witnessed the “dunamis” power of God, God’s dynamite that, when ignited by faith, causes miracles to happen!
Lana went on to carry the baby to full term and give birth to a completely healthy little boy—a little boy who is now nineteen years old and full of faith himself, believing that the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead can do all kinds of miracles in the world today.
The Holy Spirit is not just some mysterious spiritual substance that flows in and out of your life. He is a person, who carries with Him the power of God, and who has taken up residence within you, if you belong to Christ. He wants to work in your life in powerful ways, too, and He wants you to call upon Him in faith.
Whether you’re battling with life or death, or battling with a sin that’s overwhelming you, God’s Spirit can give you power to win those battles. If you’re struggling with reading the word of God or struggling to understand how it applies to your life, God’s Spirit can help to guide you into all truth. If you’re trying to mend a broken relationship, or wondering how to go on with life having lost someone who was precious to you, God’s Spirit, the Counselor and Comforter, can bring you wisdom and peace that passes all understanding.
If you want to renew your mind today, renew your thinking about the Holy Spirit. When you see Him as a person, rather than a substance, it changes the way you talk with Him and what you expect of Him. When you have the Holy Spirit living within you, you don’t just get a little bit of a Him, but all of Him! If a friend were to visit you at your house and sit down next to you, you wouldn’t just get a part of him sitting next to you, like an arm or a leg. If a part of your friend is sitting next to you, that means the whole of him is sitting next to you!
A pastor I know says that he always gets super-excited when he sees God’s Spirit moving in even a small way in an audience when he speaks and ministers to them. He gets excited because He knows that since God’s Spirit is a person, if part of Him shows up, that means the whole of Him is there! Hallelujah!
If you belong to Christ, then you don’t just have a little bit of the Holy Spirit living inside of you, but the whole of Him living inside of you—the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead.
Call on Him today, and invite Him to do His powerful work in your life right now.
Will you pray with me?
Father, thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to live inside us when we belong to Christ. We want to call upon Him now to bring life to our mortal bodies, both here on earth, and in heaven forever. Raise to life those things in our lives which seem like they might be dead, so that we can be filled again with the abundant life that You have in store for us instead. We pray this in the strong name of Jesus, Amen.
P.S. God’s Spirit can help you in so many ways, as I was reminded again this weekend when I watched an incredible new movie that just came out called “Courageous.” It gave me hope and encouragement, plus I laughed and I cried more than I’ve done at a movie in a long, long time! If you get a chance, go see it, this weekend if possible as the opening weekend of a movie determines how far and wide it will be distributed in the future. Please note that it’s rated PG-13 because it’s an action-packed thriller. While it’s not for the whole family, it will impact the whole family if those who watch it will take its message to heart. If it’s anywhere near you, I’d encourage you to go see it! You can watch the trailer at the link below.
Courageous Movie Trailer
Questions for Reflection
1. Read Romans 8:9-11. How have you pictured the Holy Spirit who lives in you, if indeed you belong to Christ and He lives within you?
2. What difference might it make in your life to picture Him as a person, rather than a substance?
3. Are there some particular areas of your life where you could really use the Spirit’s power right now? Why not talk to Him right now and invite Him, by faith, to do His life-changing power in your life?
4. If you don’t belong to Christ, and don’t have the Spirit of God living within you, why not invite Him into your life today? Turn away from any sin in your life and ask Jesus to forgive you, then invite His Holy Spirit to take up residence within you, giving you His power to do His work in your life.
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