I hope you are experiencing a year of Bible study with daily devotions or a one-year Bible reading program. As I’ve previously quoted in Be the One in Ten Christians That Have , only 1-3 in 10 Christians have ever read their Bible in it’s entirity.
Everytime I read the Bible, important messages pop out at me and some I’ve never heard. It’s like listening to Earl’s sermons every Sunday twice, (I stay for both services). Sometimes I completely miss something the first go-round and pick up on it the second pass. I used to just think that I was at fault in some way – was I not paying attention? But no, that is not so. Let me share with you how God works through the Holy Spirit to enlighten us, and even when we need to hear it!
God the Father created, Jesus saved, The Holy Spirit enlightens, directs and guides.
On May 12, 2013, Earl preached the sermon, How to Recognize the Holy Spirit . I wanted to share that sermon with you via the link, because I believe it will enlighten all who read it about the exact relationship The Holy Spirit has with us – if only we would listen and be led by Him.
Part of The Holy Spirit’s obligation to us is to help us know God better. The Holy Spirit came after Jesus ascended into heaven and as promised by Christ, The Holy Spirit came to remind the desciples of all that Jesus had done and said and this is where we get the words of the New Testament. When reading the Bible, The Holy Spirit will reveal or enlighten us to what we are supposed to hear at that time in our life. He guides us in our learning of our Creator and our Savior.
So getting back to my daily Bible reading….long way around, I have experienced sadness and grief over the illnesses of folks in our church and the passing of some very young people that the loss is far too hard to comprehend. I have had conversations with people who blame God, other folks that cannot comprehend how a loving God could possibly allow such things to happen. They are angry, and some individuals that I know have even turned their backs on God.
While praying and asking God for help in these extremely difficult cases, I asked God for guidance in how to bring His peace to grieving people. Was there anything that I could say or would I make it worse?
My God, who created me, also gave me a Savior in Jesus Christ, so that I don’t have to pay for my sins. God then gave me His Spirit to help me as I traverse along this life on earth with all His other created beings. But we all have choices to make about where we go, who we have as friends and what we do – and a myriad of other choices. All these free choices can sometimes bring us friends or enemies, peace or consternation, wellness or illness, good or evil. And the entire fall of creation brings with it dire consequences even when we are obeying God. Jesus said we would always have the poor and hungry among us – that there would always be wars and natural disasters. Even Jesus being perfect, suffered hunger and terrible storms in His life due to the sin of the world.
But as I was reading Judges 10:15-16, I found a message that the Holy Spirit used to speak to me. “But the Israelites pleaded with the Lord and said, “We have sinned. Punish us as you see fit, only rescue us today from our enemies.” “Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the Lord. And he was grieved by their misery.” Not only is God with us in all that we go through in this life, but when we admit our sinfulness and repent, God grieves for us. He may even step in and remove the consequences, but even if He chooses not to do so, He will help us through it. He will lead us to where we have to go to do our Father’s work. We can be strong and courageous in this life when we rely on His presence to pull us through the seemingly inpossible. We can give Him praise and glory for the pit we’ve found ourselves in, not just resentment, anger and dismissal of His love and will for us.
So as I pray for people who find themselves in such difficult times, and as the Holy Spirit gives me opportunity, I will remind them that God grieves with us in our misery. Maybe they will feel the presence of God surrounding them, uplifting them and holding on to them. I pray that they will feel Him pulling them through the hardships with all the tenderness of His tears and the strength of His love, leading them and guiding them to a fuller and stronger life in Christ.