Life Verses – The Spirit Intercedes

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

Perhaps many of you have gone to the doctor and heard the dreaded C word. If not cancer, maybe another take-your-breath-away word.

We had been watching my husband’s TSA score gradually elevate. Then came the day when the doctor said he had prostate cancer. Jim began searching the treatment options—so many directions, each with their sets of pros and cons. At last, he decided to have it surgically removed.

In my stunned state, I recalled sitting in a Bible class as a young bride long ago, when the teacher asked, “What is your greatest fear?” Immediately, I thought of the devastation I would feel to lose my husband. Those thoughts came again when I faced this possibility.

Obviously, one prays for healing, for the Lord’s will to be done, for strength to go through this valley which ever way it goes, but at some point I just didn’t know what else to pray. It is at that point that I turned to Romans.

. . . if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we need to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:25-26

Jesus spoke often of the Holy Spirit. The disciples had the advantage of being with Jesus, God in the flesh, but after his resurrection, he told them,

“. . . Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5

That same Holy Spirit is at work in today’s believers, ever guiding, ever judging, ever strengthening.

In other times in my life, I have asked or offered directions in which the Lord might lead and finally realized I have no more words. In those times, I must plead for the Spirit to intercede with holy groanings for me.

In my husband’s case, the surgery was successful and there was no spread of the cancer. The cancer was small, but testing showed that it had been a fast growing kind. Thankfully, the Lord led us to take care of it in a timely manner.

We “leaned not on our own understanding, but acknowledged Him.” These verses come around again and again. That’s why I call them “life verses.”

No doubt many of you have experienced a frightening diagnosis and could share verses that have sustained you. Please do that in the comments section so others might benefit.

~ Joyce ~

 

Thanksgiving – Spiritual Blessings

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

I hoped you enjoyed giving thanks last week for the blessings of relationships in your life.

You will receive this post on Thanksgiving day. Some of you will celebrate with large families and others may be with only one or two. As the turkey and pumpkin pie settles, I challenge you to give thanks beyond material blessings or relational blessings and focus this week on the highest and holiest of all—spiritual blessings.

We will follow this through with Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In the very first chapter, he highlights the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

Every spiritual blessing. What does that mean for you?

  • For me, it is humbling to think that I can call the great Almighty Creator of this universe, “Father.”
  • That, marred as I am, He still loves me
  • That he has the power to make possible what seems impossible to me

Do you have some favorite words? One of mine is “lavish.” It just sounds so complete and beautiful. Listen to what we owe the Son, our Savior:

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:7-8

  • Jesus provides redemption and forgiveness
  • The rich blessing of God’s grace in spite of my unworthiness
  • Being “lavished” with His wisdom and understanding

And finally, we are given the Holy Spirit.

…Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13

  • I think of the joy I felt last Sunday seeing two girls come to know Christ as Savior.
  • Peace in the midst of the uncertainty of surgery
  • Love from a friend who sent banana bread coated in sugar cinnamon.

What other fruit of the Spirit have you experienced recently? 

As you move through your week, may you continue your spirit of thanksgiving, digging a little deeper into the “spiritual” blessings. As your branch clings to the main vine, think how the master has nourished you this year. Fall before Him to give thanks and praise for who He is and what He means in your life. Happy Thanksgiving!

Next week we will begin to explore some of the Christmas narrative.

~ Joyce ~

Fruit of the Spirit – PEACE

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

If you should ever journey to Israel, the first greeting you will hear is “Shalom”—peace be with you.

We occasionally sing the little chorus,

I’ve got peace like a river,

I’ve got peace like a river,

I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.

As is often said for the Christ follower, peace is not just the absence of war; it is the presence of peace in your soul. Having the “peace fruit” means you have a sense of harmony and tranquility, a rest in your soul in spite of chaos in your life. While it is  always available, our awareness and benefit is once again dependent on staying connected to the “vine” (Jesus.)

At times, we become overwhelmed with work loads, responsibilities, activities, and expectations which crowd out peace.  Unresolved issues and worry, fretfulness and bitterness also serve as enemies to our peace.

As we allow the Spirit to grow that inner peace, it provides us a place to go when the storms and heavy winds of life try to overpower and bring defeat. I heard a beautiful illustration of this very thing.

Once there was a king who offered a prize to the artist who could paint the best picture of peace. Many artists submitted their masterpieces, but the king narrowed it down to two paintings.

One picture had a calm lake that mirrored beautiful mountains complete with fluffy white clouds in a pale blue sky. Many thought this a perfect picture of peace. 

The second picture had rugged, bare mountains with an angry, dark sky full of torrential rain and lightning. A foaming waterfall rushed down the mountain. This did not look peaceful at all, but then the king noticed behind the waterfall a bush growing. In the bush, a mother bird had built a nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry waters, the mother bird sat on her nest—a picture of perfect peace.

The king chose the second picture, because, he said, “Peace does not mean a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.

A tip—when you feel overwhelmed, stop, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Inhale the Spirit, exhale anxiety. Try that right now. Close your eyes and as you breath deeply, say in your mind, “Inhale the Spirit, exhale anxiety. Inhale the Spirit, exhale anxiety.” Memorize it, practice it.

Peace is not a place, it is a person—Jesus Christ. While Jesus was at a dinner, a sinful woman wept and washed the feet of Jesus with her tears. He said to her,

“Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50

Jesus explained things to His disciples before He was crucified.

“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. Peace I leave you; my peace I give you.” John 14:26-27

When Jesus appeared to His disciples after the crucifixion, the first thing He said was,

Peace be with you.” John 20;19

Inhale the Spirit (of peace), exhale anxiety.

Shalom.

~ Joyce ~