Nuggets – In the Spirit

“For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” (Ephesians 2:18)

We cannot see or hear the Holy Spirit, but He is very real and is, in fact, the very life of each true Christian. It is only through Him that we have access in prayer to the Father, as our text points out. Christ in His resurrection body is seated at the right hand of the Father in the distant heavens, but the Holy Spirit has His temple in our very bodies.

He not only hears each spoken prayer, but also each thought of our hearts. From the moment we receive Christ, we live in the Spirit; He is always with us, to guide our steps, to bear witness with our spirits that we belong to God, to illumine our understanding, and, when needed, to convict and chasten when we get out of His will.

Therefore, “if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). When we yield to some worldly temptation, it is because we have ignored this admonition, for the promise is “walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). The very presence of the Holy Spirit assures our eternal salvation, so how can we ignore His holy constraints on our behavior? “Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). We speak of worshiping God in church, or home, or elsewhere, but if we really worship Him, we must “worship God in the spirit” (Philippians 3:3), for we have access to the Father, and the Son, only in the Spirit.

When we pray, we must be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18). “Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His….For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:9, 14). HMM

From Days of Praise

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Desert Water

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19

God has advised us that we must forgive. We must let go of the past. And that we should also forget the past. He promises if we will do this He will restore our minds. Assuage our Hearts – and refresh us as streams In the desert.

This past week my sister and I went to visit our elderly mother. We flew in from different parts of the country to give our brother a much needed respite. Arrived with groceries. Flowers and presents to shower on her.

5 days of taking care of her like she was our child. Cooking. Cleaning. Washing. Dressing her. We doted. Did her hair and makeup. We fed her. Planted gardens. Told her stories. Showed her pictures of the family. We did as much as we could think of for her.

And she would smile. And she would nod. And she seemed to truly be happy we were there. She spent many hours listening to her music. Leaning in to the hustle and bustle of the now noisy house. We even took her to sit in the fresh air all wrapped up in blankets so she could feel the cool evening off the fields near her home.

But she was not “there” a lot. She would look at me with her china blue eyes and smile pleasantly….and then drift off into her cat nap dreams. She occasionally wanted to talk about things. But much of it was snatches of memories that I maybe didn’t have.

Not once did she speak of her husband. My dad. Deceased nearly 3 years now. There was much much turmoil which had been building for years when he died. A fragmented family. Courts. Elderly protection. Financial malfeasance at the hands of a family member. It is too too ugly for me to even revisit in this writing. I don’t think I will ever completely heal from it.

And as I looked into the face of my Mother and remembered her part in it all I found myself praying. Oh God. Please Forgive me. Show me how to move on. I have forgiven. I think. But I haven’t forgotten. So, please steal the memories from me, Lord. I want to let go. But my trust was crushed. And now, I just can’t open up. Lest I get hurt. I. Just. Can’t.

And so I buried my feelings and busied myself to get to the next act of service I performed for her. Surely God sees my intent. Even if I felt blank inside.

I think there comes a time in the human heart when it carries too much. For too long. It just shuts off. Its not good. It’s not bad. It’s not angry. Its not happy. It just…Is.

I liken it to one day the power bolts through the electric wires and then another day it doesn’t. The power source is still there. The heart. It just doesn’t send any signals. Maybe that is her heart too. We all had so much damage. And she lost nearly everything she held dear too.

I hope that one day I will feel something again. More than duty. More than resignation to what was and is and will be.

As I left my mother’s side today I kissed her forehead. Told her I loved her. Promised to come back…And shut the door softly. I glimpsed her through the window. She looked straight ahead. Not turning to show me her face once more. And I had this strange flip in my heart. Will I ever see her again?

I have so much still to process. And I thought that I had gotten past the trauma of several years ago. I look to forgive. I want to let go. And I desire peace for her and for us all.

I am still waiting. But I cannot wait too long. Because the child in me still wants to see those china blue eyes at least one more time and hear my mom call my name like she knows me. I need to release… and to wallow into God’s sweet healing waters – those promised streams in the desert.

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Nuggets – A First-Century Hymn

“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:11-13)

It has been noted that our text for the day is in poetic language and form. It probably consists of an early hymn that Timothy and the other readers of this epistle knew. It consists of a series of “if…then” statements, each an important conditional promise, two with negative connotations and two with positive.

“If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him.” Elsewhere we read, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:13).

“If we suffer [literally, ‘endure’], we shall also reign with him.” “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:21).

“If we deny him, he also will deny us.” Christ said, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33).

“If we believe not [literally, are unfaithful], yet he abideth faithful.” His promises are sure whether they be warnings of judgment or promises of blessing. God promised Joshua: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage” (Joshua 1:5-6).

Our text begins with the statement “It is a faithful saying,” and ends with “he cannot deny himself.” We can be sure that He will live up to His end of the bargain. His very nature demands it. JDM

From Days of Praise

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Filipino Expat Encouragement 22074

In the end-times, purpose in your heart not to be moved no matter what.

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Nuggets – The Way of Cain

“Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.” (Proverbs 25:14)

Cain initially was a religious man, evidently proud of his achievements as a “tiller of the ground” that God had “cursed” (Genesis 4:2; 3:17). He assumed that God would be much impressed with the beautiful basket of his “fruit of the ground” that he presented as an “offering unto the LORD.” Cain became bitterly angry when God “had not respect” to Cain and his offering (Genesis 4:3-5).

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,” shedding the blood of an innocent lamb in substitution for his own sin and guilt before God, “by which he obtained witness that he was righteous” (Hebrews 11:4). Since “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17), Abel was merely obeying God’s Word, but Cain, proud and self-righteous in attitude, was presuming to offer up his own merits in payment for the privilege of coming to God.

This was a “false gift,” however, with no meritorious value at all before God, “like clouds and wind without rain.” The apostle Jude warns against any such presumption, especially now that we can freely come to God through His own perfect “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). “Woe unto them!” says Jude, “for they have gone in the way of Cain…clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots” (Jude 1:11-12). This severe indictment was lodged against all who, like Cain, are superficially religious but who, by their self-righteous resentment against God, are “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4). We must not boast of our gifts to God, but only of His gift to us. HMM

From Days of Praise

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