Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

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Prayer Works

June 15, 2011

I just spent a week with my cousins and Aunt from PA and absolutely had a wonderful staycation with them.  Their boys are such a joy to be around and full of life.  Aunt Janice is more like a second mom than my aunt. Kavin, my one-year-old yelled in excitement every day he saw the boys.

In all the fun and the hustle and bustle of a wirlwind vacation, there was a sweeter connection happening that we didn’t have before.  Matt, my cousin, and Barbie, his wife, have been going to church for a while now and are hungry for Jesus.  It blessed my heart to the deepest places to know they are getting fed on a regular basis with scripture and fellowship and I enjoyed listening to them share about their faith journeys.  I learned some new things from them this week about scripture and Matt’s thoughtful questions going further after the sermon energized my spiritual curiousity.  I write this with tears in my eyes, grateful for God answering my prayers for many years: that Matt would desire a deep realtionship with Jesus.  Thank you, GOD!

As I dove into the scriptures myself this morning, the Lord led me to Thessalonians 1:5- “for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.”  I am reminded that it is the Holy Spirit’s work to draw each of us into conviction.  We still have a choice and we need to pray for those we love, but the Holy Spirit’s work, not our own, is what draws us to Himself.  This week I witnessed the Holy Spirit drawing my loved ones to Himself and I am grateful to the very depths of my being.

I never thought I would be sitting in a church worshipping with Matt… and there we were, with both our families… listening to the Word and learning about the disciples.

So, we did lots of fun things this week, and all the boys (including my own) enjoyed romping around So. Cal. together.  For me, the greatest gift was seeing my cousin, whom I love so much, be interested and excited about the things of God.  It encourages me to continue to pray and trust that the Holy Spirit is working… even if I can’t see.  We are all on a journey with ups and downs, smooth times and rough.  I am grateful that the Lord allowed me to spend time with him this week and get a glimpse at Matt on his journey… as a husband, father, and believer.  I am proud of who he is and excited to see him next year when we visit.

Prayer works!  Pray for those you love and don’t lose heart… the Spirit is at work.

 

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Suffering and Pain leads us to Life

July 24, 2010

In the quiet moments of my soul my thoughts reflect upon the suffering so bountiful in this world.  I still question in absolute trust why the Lord allows such pain and sorrow.  My spirit quivers at the thought that the Lord is restraining the boundaries of sin and death.  I thank the Lord for His grace in my life.  If He did not restrain evil, I would be consumed.

This week He brings to mind some truths from scripture and the world that begin to help me understand the way of the universe in this season of life and death comingling.

First He instructs me from Christ’s own sufferings.  His death was necessary to bring about redemption.  Suffering proceeded victory. The pain lasted a day, but joy came three days later.

Then I think of creation itself.  In this imperfect world, affected by the fall of man in the garden, pain and/or death precede new life.  Seeds must die to bear a new crop; mothers must experience pangs to birth new life; the darkness of night leads the way to the light of day.

Another example comes from Jesus’ teachings to His disciples.  He uses the cycle of death and life in nature to illustrate what must happen in our own bodies to experience eternal life that He offers. John 12:24-25 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

Paul also uses death and life to teach us about Christian living.  Romans 8:13 “for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

From these thoughts I ascertain that physical death comes before spiritual life.  I am to put to death the deeds of the sinful flesh to live by the Holy Spirit.  I also see that I must die to myself in order to live for Christ.  The battle to destroy sin and death comes before the victory dance.  Tribulations and trials are here and will continue to come before Christ’s return in glory (Mark 13).  Sorrow lasts for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).  Praise the Lord that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37)!

I simmer in with these thoughts as I watch Kavin nap in his pack ‘n play.  I almost forget the pain of childbirth as I watch the glory of this little life dreaming away.  Yet, I do not forget the suffering of his time in the hospital.  I do not forget the pain I felt in my heart not being able to hold him, watching him squirm in discomfort from the needles and tubes.  I do not forget petitioning the Lord on my knees in the bathroom at the Ronald MacDonald house late into the night, “Lord, please spare the son of Your handmaiden!”  I do not forget the Lord telling me to “offer Kavin to Me.  Lay him on the alter of sacrifice.”  I still do not understand why.  Why the Lord allowed our family to experience such pain. But I know that through the pain, through dying to my unbelief and clinging to Christ, through sacrificing my understanding to trust in Him… God brought about new life.  New life in Kavin’s physical body, yes, but even further, a new depth of spiritual life in me as I walked through the valley of the shadow of death.  His rod and His staff comforted me.

Suffering leads to life, to fruitfulness, to new birth.  I don’t understand why, but I just know it does.  I wish there were another way, but Jesus even Himself asked the Lord, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39)  May we all be strengthened to endure the evil of this present age, knowing that we look forward to His blessed hope.

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Walk by Faith… Not by Sight

May 29, 2010

In the early days of Kavin’s life I saw tubes everywhere, poked into the little newborn bloated body, his chest struggling to expand with his intestines invading the lung cavity.  This was nothing like I imagined my little baby to look.  I don’t remember questioning my trust in God, nor my faith in His existence or goodness… but I lacked much faith in regards to believing in Him to heal Kavin as the doctors filled our minds with risks upon risks and unfavorable possibilities.

Jesus led me to several passages in the Word.  The first, John 9… the man born blind did not receive that infliction because of someone’s sin, but so God’s glory might be revealed.  So too, Kavin’s trial came to display God’s glory.  God’s glory through His power to heal the sick.

Another passage in John 11.  Jesus said about Lazarus, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified.”

I knew in my heart, through the confidence of the Spirit of God in me, that Kavin’s sickness would not end in death.  Then why did I despair and cry as if my God is not able to deliver on His promises?  Because what I SAW and what I HEARD did not compute.  I SAW my baby boy connected to a breathing machine, a tube down his throat to feed him, lines in his veins to administer medicines… and bags and bags of fluids pumped into his blood.  I saw a very sick little guy and God called me, by faith, to believe for a healthy baby boy.

In James Chapter One it says that those who doubt are double minded… and that if I doubt I should “not expect that he should receive anything from the Lord.”  Yet every time the doctors gave us the “worst case senerio”, I consciously fought to choose belief over dispair.

Faith… “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11) I looked to Jason to remind me daily, “we walk by faith, not by sight.”  As I grasped the truth of God’s Word and the strength only His love provides, He took my feeble mutard seed of faith and began to grow a tree where all the birds of the air can nest in its branches. (Mark 4:32)

Another mom in the NICU told me, “we just need to hold onto our faith.”  I understand her encouraging sentiment, but faith is not something to hold onto.  We can place faith in the wrong direction, such as in ourselves or in false teachings… rather, we need to hold onto Christ, “the author and protector of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)  He alone leads us beside still waters and restores our souls (Psalm 23:2-3).

I have yet to understand all the reasons God allows the affects of sin in the fallen world to cause us so much pain, but one thing I learned through my baby boy… faith in Christ can move mountains.   Like Abraham believed God’s promises for Issac, although He told him to sacrifice his son; not until I fully placed my assurance on God’s promise to heal Kavin, and surrendered my plan of how God should fulfill His promise, did I see the waters of sickness reseed and healing waters of life pour out.  Only by walking by faith, not by sight, do we lay hold of the promises of God.

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Successful Living in Christ

January 14, 2010

I just looked outside towards the palm trees and olive trees that sit in our yard. For a moment I imagined myself as Sarah, Abraham’s wife. How I wish I could be like her! She was godly, faithful, and God blessed her with the son of promise- even though she sped ahead of God and tried to make His promise a reality in her time (Book of Genesis).

I also imagined for a moment that our property is God’s provision and direction of where to “pitch our tent.” I thought of no greater honor and privilege than to run a household and raise godly children- and for the first time I really meant it, in the depths of my heart. I know in and of myself I am but dust and not capable. Yet the Father lives in me! Something Sarah herself did not have…

Then the “to dos” rush back in and I become Martha. So focused on the task s and concerns that I miss the presence of the Master (Luke 10:38-42).

It is like static on the radio. The message is clear to me, but the overlay of noise distracts me to think my value is what I do and how “successful” I am. Yet God’s value system is not of this world. His value system is based on obedience. He asks me, “so, have you followed Me today? Not, “So, how successful are your activities?”

It is difficult to cling to the obedience when He calls us to do things that are not so honorable. It is hard for me to do housework and not get recognition, when I do church work and receive positive public response. Yet, Proverbs 31 teaches us that as we remain steadfast to serving our families, our children will rise up and call us “blessed” and our husbands will praise us saying, “many women have done nobly, but you excel them all.” It may not be a paycheck every two weeks, but it is a long haul job that reaps rewards for generations to come.

Yet the voices of this world still crouch at our doors. “You could be so successful if you just put aside the home and pursue a career! Did God give you all your gifts to spend them on your family?” The enemy taunts us women to disregard God’s calling on our lives. Praise be to God who raises His voice so we can hear Him above the static of the world! 1 Peter 3:5-7 teaches us that we can be “daughters” of Sarah if we do what is right and do not give way to fear.

In our home life and in our public life, we are to seek the peace from God. Martha in Luke 10 was not chastised for being organized or efficient, but for “being worried about many things.” It is good to be disciplined and diligent (Prov. 31), but not at the cost of allowing the noise around fill us with anxiety.

Lord, help me to live in obedience and faithfulness to You, no matter the sacrifice or leading. No matter in my private or public life. I often want You to lead me directly to the promise land, yet You lead me to the wilderness to make me holy. I want You to lead me to Jerusalem, but You lead me to Nineveh for fruitfulness. I want You to lead me to worldly success, and You lead me to humble submission to teach me dependance on You. Thank You for your patience and provision. Thank You for leading. Thank You for Your peace. Help me to be a daughter of Sarah and have a heart like Mary so when the baby comes, I will be centered in You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.