LIVING IN THE SPIRIT

Have you ever had one of those days when you just wanted to be somewhere else? It’s time to be there, you know you’re late, and there’s nothing you can do about it? That happened to me as I was on my way to the jail, but I had to work late. My flesh was throwing a fit, like a two-year-old. I was so mad. I knew there was nothing I could do about it so I started to focus on the fruit of the Spirit, knowing I already have the fruit of self control. Before I knew it, I was at the jail with a sigh of relief.

The Lord had prepared me to talk about Hebrews 4:12 and what it teaches us about soul and Spirit, joints and marrow, thoughts and intentions of the heart; it’s okay to have temptations and pulls. We talked about how our circumstances don’t have to rule how we behave, when Jesus lives on the inside, He exercises Spirit living inside us. I don’t understand it all, but I do know we can trust Him to do it.

Afterward I talked with a lady whom I have seen a bunch of times. Her note indicated that we haven’t talked in a while. She is leaving for rehab in a couple of weeks and wanted to let me know about it.

The next woman I chatted with had given her life to Jesus the week before. She had tears in her eyes as she poured out her heart about how it bothers her about the negativity from the other girls in her cell. I asked her if this was anything different than other times she was in jail. “It’s me that has changed this time,” she said. “That stuff never bothered me before, but now, I can’t wait to get out of here,” she continued. She proclaimed how she is never coming back to this place ever again. Her ex-husband, who is in prison has written to her and asked to be reconciled. I asked her if she was still in love with him and she said yes. He has also given his life to Jesus and wants to be the Christian husband he was intended to be.

It was getting late, so I looked for the other ministers to say good-bye. They invited me into the law box with them and an inmate who was struggling with anger and unforgiveness. Wait till you hear what happened next. She shared with us the hurts and anguish she has suffered throughout her life since she was 12 years old. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and prayer, she began to let go of some horrific things. Each of the ministers were laying hands on her as she started to confess forgiveness for each person by naming them out loud. When it came time to forgive the man who sexually molested her as a child, she began to shake and her body temperature rose. I wanted to lay my hand on her head, but when she said this man’s name, God told me, “now”. When I put my hand on her head, the shaking immediately ceased and she became visibly calm. Everyone in the room knew a miracle had taken place. You should have seen the smile on her face once we left that room!

These are the very things that make my heart long to be where Jesus is, and this is one of the places He likes to manifest Himself for His glory.

Thank you, Jesus for who you are and what you are doing in the lives of people who seek your face. Thank you for you grace and mercy and love.

Tracey

 

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THE HOPE OF HIS CALLING

While it is true that God sent Jesus here to die for our sins there is more to it than that. Yes, mankind has sinned, and we are in need of a savior; but there is so much more to the story. God not only wants to deal with our sins he wants us to fulfill our role as his sons and daughters.

It seems most of the time when teaching and preaching the gospel man is at the center of attention. God sees we are in need so he comes swooping in to save us. While that is very true it isn’t the ultimate goal. Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” While we tend to be focused on the sin part God is looking at the missed glory. His plan is for his glory to shine. In order for that to happen he had to take care of the sin issue and thank God he did.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:4-6 that God planned before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the kind intention of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace…” So the plan all along has been that we would be holy and blameless before him in Christ to bring praise and glory to him for his grace. His grace, or favor, has done all of this. Our sin didn’t derail, stop or change God’s plan in any way at all. He is still on track to birth as many sons and daughters as possible in order to bring glory to himself.

Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the idea that God is simply here for us as if everything revolves around us and what we need. While love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are all fruit of the Spirit of God they aren’t the goal. These are the result or byproduct of living in the Spirit, but the goal is the glory of God. Don’t misunderstand me I do believe God wants these things to be displayed in our lives and in fact I think these are part of what brings glory to God. When someone is at peace when everything is falling apart around them it is an opportunity for God to shine. When you love others even when they aren’t very loveable it shows the watching world something supernatural and is itself a witness to the glory of God.

There has been many times when I have heard someone say something like “God used me in spite of myself!” I understand what the person probably means by that kind of statement, but I would like to suggest it is untrue. God works through us, not in spite of, but rather because of us. You see he’s looking for someone that is available to him and in us he can and will be glorified. The Holy Spirit was given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession…” You see we’re his own possession and he is glorifying himself through us. We are God’s children and oh that we could come to see it.

Paul prayed “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” Did you catch that! The saints (we) are the riches of the glory of his inheritance. We are his inheritance. There is plenty of scripture and talk of what we inherit but here we see that we are his inheritance. I’m with Paul when he says, “That they eyes of our hearts be enlightened.”

Father, give us your eyes to see ourselves and your calling as you do.

Amen

Written by Louie