Our Strength - The Spirit of God with Us – Purity 647
Purity 647 02/05/2022 Purity 647 Podcast
Today’s photo of an ice covered evergreen tree at dusk comes to us from a friend who saw some beauty in the circumstances of the “sandy” snowstorm that rolled through upstate New York yesterday. The snow was sandy in my neck of the woods anyway. I am nestled in the upper northwest corner of the Hudson Valley in Columbia County and when I awoke yesterday my estimate of what I saw in terms of snow accumulation was “no big deal” and I almost regretted making arrangements to have the day off from work. But upon further review I discovered that my car and the base of my driveway were covered in ice. The shoveling of snow proved to be more like chiseling and the nearly imperceptible falling ice sandy snow kept adding to our snow fall total as I struggled to clear my driveway.
But when the going gets tough the tough get going, so I fought the good fight to clear my driveway anyway. And after the tough got tired, I made my shoveling a practice of prayer and thanksgiving as I accept my role as the steward of my property and recalled the tumultuous times and much longer driveway of the past and so I began thanking the Lord for my relatively new home “down by the River” and even thanked Him for the snow storm to give me the opportunity to appreciate my new location in life and my job as caretaker for the grounds of my house. So I silently said the “Lord’s prayer” a few times and that practice of gratitude and adoration got me through ½ of the grueling job of chiseling up the 1-3 inches of ice and snow sand that covered my driveway.
After that, the realization that I was “almost done” fueled my efforts as I reached the front of my house and had developed a measure of skill in defeating this latest incarnation of winter. So I pressed on.
But as I got within 2 feet of the end of my driveway I realized that the county snowplows had made my “finish line” the hardest task of the lot. The additional snow and ice were deeper, harder, and heavier and I will not lie to you when I tell you that my exhaustion at the task almost caused me to quit.
Almost. One lesson I have learned in life, and especially through the portion of my life that has been dedicated to Christ and a lifestyle of Christian Discipleship, is that “we don’t quit.” When I say “We”, I mean God and me as since I put my faith in Christ we are a team that doesn’t throw in the towel. Now in retrospect, I probably should have taken a break and had some water at that last stage of shoveling, but my responsibility, my desire to finish, and my calls on the Lord for strength (both mental and physical) wouldn’t let me stop until “it was finished”.
God never gave up on me through the years of my lostness and now He has taught me that one of the things a disciple of Christ does is that they never give up and the only thing they surrender to is God’s will for their life. My responsibility to the stewardship of my home trumped any desire to rest and relax. The calls on the Lord for strength negated any ideas of stopping.
Many times in our lives in Christ we will run into trials where our limits are tested and our human body and emotions may determine that things are hopeless or impossible but our spirit, when it is in communion with the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, will bear down, and try harder and find that the limits we thought we were subject to were only limits that we put on ourselves.
Time and time again in my walk with Christ I have discovered the truth of God’s word that says, “nothing is impossible with God.” And yesterday when I thought I might actually collapse or “die” from my exhaustion (not really, I wish I guess, take me Jesus– but then I thought how my wife would miss me and how I would miss my wife), I just again prayed for the strength to clear that last few mounds of snow and succeeded.
After finishing, I was tired and thanked the Lord for “hot showers” and the warm comfort of the inside of my house. My exhaustion seemed heavy, and I doubted that there was any chance of me doing much of anything else with the rest of my day even though I was surprised that it was only 1pm after my long recuperating shower.
But after I received word that a weekend appointment near my home was cancelled, I found my heart set on seeing my wife at our countryside home in the “great white north” of Easton NY and despite my tiredness and the physical aches and pains in my back, legs, and arms from my fight with old man winter, I found myself hastily throwing my bags into my ice covered Honda CRV and joyously singing praises to the Lord as I took the snowy roads to my northern destination by 3:30 yesterday afternoon.
Yeah the prospect of seeing my beloved wife, who God had dramatically brought into my life, trumped the pain and exhaustion and even the concern that some more sandy snow had covered up what had a completely clear driveway at 1pm.
So I don’t know what I will have to deal with when I return to my “River House” on Sunday but whatever it is I will accept it as a steward to my home. But my desire to spend the weekend with my wife, and to honor my responsibility to love and serve her, erased any negative circumstances from my struggles with the snow. I was filled with joy of the Lord that surpasses life’s difficulties and confirms my identity as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
It’s easy to rejoice when you know the benefits of stretching the limits of what you think you can do and experience the amazing things you can accomplish when you trust the Lord to help you.
So whatever you are facing this weekend or in this latest season of life: keeping going. God doesn’t want you to quit and when you walk and talk with Him on a continually basis you will receive His love, strength, and wisdom to help you to persevere and to do the “impossible”. You may need to press into your faith longer than the few hours it took me to clear my driveway, but the good thing is that God is infinite and the reserves of His love, power, and strength never run out.
So on your journey to the “next good thing” you may need to rest and be committed to a long course of physical and mental work to see results but when you trust the Lord and rely on Him to help you as you “fight the good fight”, you will discover that somehow your victory will be more than the result of just “your hard work”.
If you walk and talk with God on the way out of the valley of darkness that you are in, you will discover that He will help you in unexpected and amazing ways in addition to helping you to do your part. So keep going and keep trusting God to help you get to the good place that lies beyond your current struggles and challenges. Or if you are in that good place already, remember to thank Him and praise His name!
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verses are:
10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.
11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
Today’s verses speak of the truth of how Christ and the Spirit of God lives within us.
Yes! The Spirit of God and Christ live within us! Yes the Trinity can be a little tricky, which just might be the understatement of understatements of our Christian faith, but it is true!
Christ lives with in us! The Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, lives within us! And these verses also indicate that God the Father will give life to our mortal bodies “by this same Spirit living within you.
So our God is One – in three persons – God the Father, sent Jesus to save us, and He gives us the Holy Spirit when we put our faith in Jesus. The mystery of our faith is that God is One but is also Three. He is a singular plurality.
To make an analogy that probably walks the thin line of blasphemy or heresy, it’s like how we are “me, myself, and I” or how we have a physical body, a mental capacity (a soul) and spiritual aspect (a spirit). It is also expressed in how we have different relationships or roles that we can play and still be one person. Now, I make those analogies about ourselves to show how identity or “personhood” can be “complicated” on a human level and so it is exponentially even more difficult to adequately understand when we contemplate our triune God who is the transcendent, self-existent, Creator of all things.
But the good news is that we don’t have to fully understand someone to love and know someone and to be in beneficial relationship with them. And with God, the benefits are amazing and everlasting!
While the intention of today’s verses seem to be pointing to the comfort of an eternal and everlasting life with God because of the acceptance of the fact that we will “die”, today’s verses also speak of our relationship of being “made right with God” and how we are in the midst of the fellowship of God’s triune community with the assurance of the divine mystery of having Christ and the Spirit of God within us and how God the Father will use “the Spirit” to give life to our mortal bodies.
Our relationship with God through our faith in Jesus Christ puts us right with God and in the midst of God -He is with us, and we are with Him – right now and forever more.
My example of drawing on the strength and presence of God in my life to empower me to shovel my driveway is just a small example of how we can experience the reality of God’s Spirit being within us to give us joy, to give us peace, and to help us persevere in our walk of faith.
Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father love us and are with us. So rejoice over the fact that those of us in Christ will never really die but remember it is through our interactive relationship with God that we can really live too!
So keep walking and talking with God and “really live” the life of peace, love, and joy that God gives us when we make Christ our Lord and Savior, and we receive the ability to “walk in the Spirit”!
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 7.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.
PRAYERS FOR SPECIFIC PROBLEMS
Lord Jesus, I confess that I have looked at sexually suggestive and pornographic material for the purpose of stimulating myself sexually. I have attempted to satisfy my lustful desires and polluted my body, soul, and spirit. Thank You for cleansing me and for Your forgiveness. I renounce any satanic bonds I have allowed in my life through the unrighteous use of my body and mind. Lord, I commit myself to destroy any objects in my possession that I have used for sexual stimulation and to turn away from all media that are associated with my sexual sin. I commit myself to the renewing of my mind and to think pure thoughts. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may not carry out the desires of the flesh. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Lord Jesus, I renounce the lie that You have created me or anyone else to be homosexual and I agree that in Your Word You clearly forbid homosexual behavior. I choose to accept myself as a child of God and I thank You that You created me as a man (woman). I renounce all homosexual thoughts, urges, drives, and acts and renounce all ways that Satan has used these things to pervert my relationships. I announce that I am free in Christ to relate to the opposite sex and my own sex in the way that You intended. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Lord Jesus, I confess that I was not a proper guardian and keeper of the life You entrusted to me, and I confess that I have sinned. Thank You that because of Your forgiveness, I can forgive myself. I commit the child to You for all eternity and believe that he or she is in Your caring hands. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Lord Jesus, I renounce all suicidal thoughts and any attempts I’ve made to take my own life or in any way injure myself. I renounce the lie that life is hopeless and that I can find peace and freedom by taking my own life. Satan is a thief and comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I choose life in Christ who said He came to give me life and give it abundantly. Thank You for Your forgiveness that allows me to forgive myself. I choose to believe that there is always hope in Christ and that my heavenly Father loves me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship