The Holy Spirit

 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. -Romans 8:16-17

As I woke this morning, I kept being urged to read my Bible to write today. I’ll admit that recently I have not been reading as much as I usually do, so I don’t really have a spot to be reading at the moment. So, I just started in Acts. Flipping and scanning, seeing what I’m supposed to be reading. Noting the highlighted areas, reading around those. Finally, I land in Romans 8. I have versus 11 and 26-30 highlighted. But really all of Romans 8 is very good. *Emphasis is my own*

Life Through the Spirit

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Present Suffering and Future Glory

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

More Than Conquerors

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Powerful Chapter!

The Holy Spirit just stirs reading it, like, “YES! YES!”

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. – You are no longer condemned because you are alive in Christ, and you are Free because God has set you free through His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. – You live in this world but you are not of it anymore. You have transcended into becoming a creation of Christ Jesus. You are not dead inside, but alive with the Holy Spirit.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. – You are alive and free in the Holy Spirit. You are a joint-heir with Christ. All His glory is yours, all the Father has to give is yours, you need only to receive. For all that we suffer, we will also receive in glory because of the gifts of the Father and His love.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. – The Holy Spirit is our helper, our intercessor, our right-hand man, our captain. He knows the will of our hearts and cries out to God for us, when our own words cannot express our needs.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Nothing can separate us from God. Absolutely nothing. If we have submitted and given ourselves to be His, then we are alive in Him forever! And we can rest assured in that, have peace in that, know love in that. That we are heirs with Christ and our God will never leave us or forsake us, that we are royalty and will forever be blessed and join in the eternal glory of Christ Jesus.

Note

Now, as I’m reading and writing all of this, I have felt compelled to share a very personal story:

As I had recently come back to the faith, and started praying again. Prayer was very powerful for me, it was almost this other-worldly experience. It felt like my battery was being charged, and also made me want more. Fast-forward several months, maybe even a year, and I realized while I was praying, I was also rocking side-to-side. I would start praying sitting still, then when I would be done praying and kinda “come back”, I would be gently swaying. And, this just kept happening. I wasn’t even thinking about it, and I would forget until I would open my eyes and here I was swaying again. Then, fast forward again, and I would be in the middle of prayer and then my mind would just go blank and I just wanted to groan. Like, I just had no words for my prayers anymore and I just wanted to groan. – Which kinda freaked me out, like why is this happening? Now, at this point, I can’t say that I knew this part in Chapter 8 where – ” In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” So, when I heard this scripture, I was like “OH!” That all makes sense now!

Now, I’m not sure what the story is going to do for anyone, or why I felt really compelled to share it, except that it was a deep revelation in how the Holy Spirit guides us in ways we don’t understand to get us closer to God. That I didn’t even know this scripture, but the Holy Spirit did and he just kept drawing me in and getting me closer and closer to God, and knew that eventually I would catch on. And, that has been a lot of my walk. Just going with this tugging feelings inside me and letting the Holy Spirit guide me to where I’m supposed to be going, and trusting in God that I always get there. Just like this blog. I have grown so much in being able to reflect and share and discover and experience with all of you, and all your encouragement over the year. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Daddy, the Great “I AM”, Thank you! We enter your gates with thanksgiving today, for all the gifts in our lives. The gifts of the holiday season, of your son Jesus, and of the Holy Spirit. Of the fact that you sent your son to die for us that we may live in you. We gratefully accept your abundance of Love and Peace and Hope and Understanding that you bestow on us and in us. We are forever grateful that you love us so much. That we are all your royal children, and that we can live forever in you. That you guide us in the ways we should go, and that you continually help us grow in our new lives as creations of yours in Christ. That we continue to bear fruit and to bless those around us, as you have blessed us. Thank you for all that you do Father, and all that you are. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

Our church supports a lot of missionaries and missions. Including our Pastors – Dave and Jeanne Kaufman! They are about to travel to India this coming January to support the Pastors and Preachers there. Feel free to support this worthy cause and encourage them on their trip, and remember you can always pray for them! – Just choose “missions” in the drop down. 🙂

https://my.simplegive.com/App/Giving/holy241165

‘Tis the season

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:12-15

Ahhh, Christmas. Time to be grateful for what we have, and who we have in our lives. A time where the Hallmark movies make more and more sense with age. A time where I feel more and more concerned about making sure that everyone enjoys the holidays and not necessarily what gifts they get. Don’t get me wrong, like I stated last week, I care about the gift, but I would rather get someone one good gift than 10 meh gifts. But, I really couldn’t tell you 95% of the gifts I’ve received over the years, but I do remember the actual days. The Holiday. How it made me feel. How I hope I made others feel.

This year, I’m finding something interesting though. I’m so grateful that I have my faith. I’m so grateful that God sent his son to die for me, that I may have a personal relationship with Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. I find it interesting that even though it’s not Jesus’s birthday, but simply a time to set aside to observe it, that the joy of Christmas has been in my heart all year. That I really don’t feel that different with the holiday only days away, because I’ve been celebrating all year. I have felt the love, joy, and peace of the season- All year long 💞 and that it doesn’t have to be for just me. It can be something that everyone can enjoy, because Christ has given himself for each of us, and all of us. And if we start letting him in our hearts every day of the year, instead of just Christmas – that anyone can experience the love, joy, and peace of Christmas all year long.

How incredible?!? What a Great God?!? He has given us the best gift any of it could hope for. One that we have free access to, all the time. A gift, that literally, keeps on giving. We just need to accept, need to embrace, need to hold it close, and cherish it for the amazing, incredible, supernatural gift that it is. That we may all be so blessed.

I hope you all have an incredible Christmas. I hope you get everything that you want, and need, and that you cherish those you can spend it with. That God may shine his face upon you, watch over you, and bless you this holiday season. And that the feeling you have in your heart stays with you all year long, since that is part of the gift that Christ died to give you. May you and your loved ones be blessed this holiday season, as God intended. 💞

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day. Thank you for all your blessings, every day of the year. Thank you for sending your son to die for you, that we may receive the eternal gifts you have for us. That we may cherish those close to us, and far away, and not with us anymore, just as you cherish us. So much that you would make the ultimate sacrifice so that we may walk with you, Father. That we may be blessed in all we do, and grow stronger in you, Father.

Bless your holy name, IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

This week, I encourage you to do your own mission. Think of someone or something close to you and do something nice. Reach out where you’re at. Christmas can be some of the loneliest and hardest times of year for some people. Invite someone to dinner, give them a small gift, take them out for coffee. Show you care and that they are not alone. Be a missionary, right where you’re at. 💞

Thankful, Grateful, & Blessed

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 (NIV)

So Thankful

This year, I’ve had a hard time thinking about what I want. I’m a little grateful that no one has really asked. Maybe they all already have something in mind, but even if they don’t, I will be grateful for whatever I receive. I have had Christmases where I’ve hardly received anything, and ones where I have received more than I could possibly imagine. Years of little, and years of plenty. Last year, as I stated last week, was a year of little giving for me, but I still managed to eek out gifts to everyone I cared about – which is what I really care about. It’s one of my “love languages”, if you will. I love to show the people I care about – that I care, by giving gifts. Everyone in my life means so much to me that I just want to show appreciation. I spend a lot of time, thinking about what I’m getting others. Not necessarily stressing over it, but just really trying to make sure I get the perfect gift. The ever-illusive “perfect gift”. Some years, I’ve nailed it, and as my husband has been reminding me this year as he ponders what I got him – some years, I have totally missed the mark. Several years ago, for our anniversary, I got this beautiful quote, blown into a full-size poster and framed and gave it to him…. Not really my husband’s style, but he graciously accepted the gift, and didn’t say much about it for a long time, but I knew as soon as he saw it… not really the gift he wanted. Which happens. Happens to all of us. Both as the giver, and the recipient, but life goes on.

I also have a particularly hard time because I’ve lost someone close. I lost my dad a couple years ago, and this was his FAVORITE Holiday. He was like a giant kid. And he loved giving. After I grew up, we would go shopping for Christmas together, because between you and me – he was not the best at picking what people wanted. He would steal my ideas! I actually started making 2 lists a few years ago, a list of items that he could buy our loved ones, and a list that I would use. But, we would go shopping together, and I would help get him pretty well set for gift-giving at Christmas. And, the year before he died, I was able to give him the best Christmas gift I could imagine. I was able to take him to a Dallas Cowboys Game. An entire trip where we just laughed and had a great time, and had all sorts of memories I will never forget. And I am so grateful that God gave me that opportunity (because I was the runner-up in a drawing to win the tickets, and the first winner had turned them down because they had just watched a game the weekend before! – Are you kidding me? #Godshowedup!) So, that makes this time of year bittersweet. And, I’m sure it’s bittersweet for many.

But, I already feel like I’ve received an incredible gift this year, and I’m just so grateful. So grateful that my God, is such an incredible God, and he knows what we need. This year, I was working with my dad’s Bible Study group to give donations to local charities, and when I called one of the charities to let them know we would be making a donation, and asked where to send the check etc. The lady started telling me that she used to work with this older gentlemen at this same time of year and he was such a great guy, and that sadly he had passed away a few years ago but she was so grateful someone else was doing this. And, I asked, if the gentlemen’s name was my dad’s name. And she said, “Yes, how did you know?” I said, “Yes, that was my dad.” And, she told me how sorry she was that he was gone, but thanked me again profusely… And, I’m just so grateful, that he’s not gone. He lives in here <3, in all the people that he’s touched. And, he will continue to live on.

Now, I’m telling you all of that, to tell you this. My dad wasn’t always like this. But, as he grew in his faith, and followed God, he began giving. He knew it was important to help those in need. It is one of the most important things that we will ever do. To shine the light and love of God on those around us. To give. As Christ gave, as God gives, because we are here to be thankful, to be grateful for what we do have, because there are those that don’t have, or maybe things we don’t have. But we have God. And he will always provide. He will always give us what we need. And, I find it hard to think about what I want, because I don’t want. I have everything I need. I have everything the Lord has given me, and I couldn’t be more grateful, thankful, and blessed.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 (NIV)

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:15 (NIV)

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 5:18-20 (NIV)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 4:6 – 7 (NIV)

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” – 1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV)

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” – Psalm 69:30

“Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.” – Psalm 95:2-3

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” – Psalm 9:1 (NIV)

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for all that you are. Thank you for your blessings of overflow. Thank you for your amazing grace, and for your supernatural peace. Thank you Father, for sending your son to die for us, and giving us the gift of Salvation and the ability to come live in Heaven with you. That you saved us, and that you love us. Thank you for all that you are Father, and all that you would have us be. I pray that each person who reads this is blessed this season. That you ease any suffering they might have, that you mend wounds and bridges, that you bring us all together in your love. That watch over us and guide us in your ways. That everyone may feel as eternally grateful and blessed and thankful as I do. That my heart is overfull, and you are the Good Father who provides that. IN JESUS’ NAME! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

This particular cause is important to me as I have known too many people to be the victims of domestic violence. Please take a moment to consider donating to your local domestic abuse shelter. I’m putting my local one up here because everyone needs help everywhere.

Brookings Domestic Abuse Shelter

Or Donate here

What a difference…

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. – Ecclesiastes 3:11

a year makes

I always find as the year comes to an end, how life has changed in such a seemingly short period of time. Sometimes, for the better, sometimes for the worse. This past year, was thankfully, for the better. I have been quite caught up recently in how different my life looks now, compared to this time last year. And, I know, that all of it is thanks to my Heavenly Father. As previous years had experienced trials and tribulations, as bouts of my life have been roller coasters of madness and mayhem, this past year, was exceptionally great. Don’t get me wrong, it had it’s moments. But in the great, overall comparison. I find myself eternally grateful.

Last year at this time, my ends weren’t just not meeting, they couldn’t even see each other. I’m not sure they were even in the same building, let alone the same room. Our little family was going through a time of transition, a time of flex. I was working two jobs to try to help the ends get closer together, and I started writing this blog, and I was still trying to maneuver keeping a Bible Study together, and the million other little things I do. I was still recovering from the blow of falling and terribly injuring my back. I was still learning what life was like without my dad. My husband had left his old job and was battling his own demons. Our son was just trying to be a kid, who was also dealing with all his own stuff, living in a house, with two parents recovering from all these things. A time of flex. But strong, is what you are, when you have no other choice. And, by God, that is absolutely what my family is. Strong.

And, to think, how different this year looks. I have a new job – which made my ends almost able to make knots ;), my ladies’ bible study group finally got their forever home (I hope!) – we just had our first meeting in our newest location this past week! (Praise God!), my blog has a consistent audience – that I pray reads these words and is encouraged and grows from them. My husband is doing leaps and bounds better than last year, our candle business is taking off and doing seemingly better than ever before. Our son, is also doing better. As any parent knows, when the parents are doing better, generally the children improve, thankfully this is the case this time as well.

I’m telling you all of that, to tell you this. The biggest ways that #Godshowedup sometimes, is in the little things. It’s in the every day. It’s in the small ways and steps that we gradually take forward. In the things we take for granted. He is our strength, when we have no strength. He is the good, good Father, and if we continually trust in him, he will lead our steps. He will bring us forward. He will guide us in the ways that we should go. We just have to trust Him. Each & every day. Because, He doesn’t always show up in the big ways we expect, but he fine-tunes the little things sometimes, that we might miss. Until we take a step back and look at the big picture. At the difference a year can make. We have to trust Him for the battles, because He has won the war. We have to believe that what He has in store for us, is better than we can imagine for ourselves. We cannot see the forest for the trees, but He’s got the whole forest in His hands. My forest, and your forest, and your family’s forest, and He can absolutely see where we need to go, every step of the way. And, if we just trust Him, He will take us there.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for this day, and all the days. Thank you for every thing that you do for me, and for each person that reads this blog, for the lives they touch, for the people they love, for each and every one of them is precious in your eyes. That you may bless their hands, and their steps. That you may guide them every step of the way. That you may watch over them, and protect them, and keep them safe. That you may heal them, inside and out. That you may be the everlasting and everloving light that you are. A lamp unto our feet. That you have our lives in your hands, and we couldn’t ask for anything better. Bless your name Father. Bless our lives. May we all feel the incredible love, and life that you have for us. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!

Mission’s Circle

I’m taking a moment to encourage a mission that isn’t near my home, but it’s focus is near and dear to my heart. PTSD, mental illness, and addictions are serious, and real. They affect millions of people every year, and they’re so deceptive because they typically are dressed in normal clothes, and look like regular people. But, as my entire life has shown me, these people struggle the most. How hard is it to explain that your brain is your own worst enemy? How impossible is it to explain, that there is no tangible reason that you can’t function like everyone else, because you simply can’t. These are the battles that millions of people face. An underlying disease and crisis that sits just below the surface and doesn’t get nearly the attention it should, considering how many people are struggling with it. Feel free to check these guys out, I did find one that has a focus on helping people find Christ while they endure this journey, but really, take a moment and reach out wherever you can. Even if you don’t understand, sometimes the biggest impact you can make is just being there for someone who needs it.

A Place of Hope

Pray for those who need it, and for those who help, and for everyone fighting a battle today ❤