Saturday, October 26, 2019

Enduring By The Spirit's Guidance

        Today's blog is about having endurance in this difficult and harsh world.  Paul encourages us in Acts 20:23-24 by saying "I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.  However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."   We should all have the same mindset, when our lives become entangled with struggles, stress, and hardships in all areas of our lives.  God isn't surprised by what we are facing or going through, but He gives believers the Holy Spirit to guide them through it all.  Our life mission is stated in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."

        "The way that a person responds to hardship reveals his or her true character. And tough situations are the times when God’s children most need to match actions to words. It’s easy to say, “I trust the Lord” or “My God is faithful” when life is good. But unless believers recognize that He is sovereign even in adversity, they may be tempted to complain and seek pity. Christians who trust in the Lord’s faithfulness and supremacy will steadfastly focus on Him and as a result will see their anxiety and doubt subside.  Giving the Lord free rein allows Him to mature our faith, conform us to the likeness of His Son, and fulfill His unique plan for our lives."  []

       "If someone asked you what the Holy Spirit does, how would you answer? Some Christians may not be aware of what He is accomplishing in their life, but the Spirit’s work isn’t a total mystery—Scripture tells us what the role of our divine Helper is.
       Although the Holy Spirit indwells and seals us immediately upon salvation, His work within each believer takes a lifetime. He is our constant Helper, who transforms us into Christ’s image and equips us for our daily challenges so we don’t have to struggle through life in our own strength. In all of our difficulties, conflicts, and heartaches, He guides our way, guards our hearts, and gives us His wisdom."  []

He convicts us of sin (John 16:8). This is the first step in awakening us to our need for salvation. But even afterwards, the Spirit continues revealing sin in our life so we can immediately confess and receive forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
He guides us into all truth (John 16:13-14). The Holy Spirit teaches about Jesus Christ and God’s Word, and He helps us discern the difference between truth and error.
He fills us (Eph. 5:18). To be filled with the Spirit means that He is directing our path, much like a ship that is driven along by the wind filling its sails. This requires that we surrender our life to Him, acknowledging that He owns us and has the right to lead.
He bears fruit through us (Gal. 5:22-23). The Spirit produces qualities we could never consistently display on our own: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

         How we live comes from who we are, as we cling to the living hope found in Jesus alone, and there we will find strength to persevere.   Philippians 4:13  "I can do all this through him who gives me strength."

         As for myself, this past week has not been easy or smooth sailing, regarding my health and comfort.  I do cling to my faith and seek to run the race, set before me by God, to the best of my ability.  When able, I surround myself with those who encourage me and allow blessings to be given and received with one another.  I do not isolate myself or have a pity party, where in which the devil wants to plant doubtful and negative thoughts.  I remind myself of past experiences, where I felt small, but God showed His strength and faithfulness.
         I'll share one of those stories because I shared it this week with a friend:  The second year I lived in Chicago [94-95], I went for an interview.  Driving alone in 5-lane Chicago traffic without GPS back then was scary to say the least, for me.  I got to my interview location on-time, but I discovered it wasn't accessible.  Although I could walk back then, I couldn't manage the steps without a rail.  I called the employer and explained my dilemma.  We had the interview in my van, but obviously I didn't get the job.  It wasn't all for nothing, I gained experience and courage.

In my distress, anxiety, and fear, Lord, teach
me to rely on You and draw close to You. Then I
know I’ll be able to stand strong in Your power
and won’t be dependent on my own strength.