Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

A little message of hope

10 Jul

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Jen

The Word is good and perfect

30 Apr

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. James 1:16-18 (ESV)

Also, note how The Message words verse 18:

He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.

He brought you to life. He brought me to life…with the Word. It is a good and perfect gift. Are you receiving it with the same fervency you would receive a brand new car or iPad as gifts?

Jen

Don’t conform, and don’t be conformed

11 Apr

The seriousness of the topic of purity makes my heart ache for people out there who don’t know any better. Who haven’t been taught any better. Or, who have conformed to the world and told themselves, “it’s okay.”

A few weeks ago I posted about purity and about how it is possible. I wanted to share my view about how we shouldn’t use the word “unrealistic” in place of “difficult.” They have two completely different meanings. The way I see it, if the Word calls us to it, we can do it.

Last Thursday during the women’s bible study at my church, we watched session six of Beth Moore’s study on James. I forget what scripture verse we were on, or what fill-in-the-blank we were on, but  I remember her asking us something a little like this: “Do you not take scripture seriously?” It was a reality check for sure.

This makes me think of my generation and the culture around me. I do not claim to be perfect and am no judge of others. No Christian is perfect, myself included. But I’ve watched culture collide with Christianity and the solution to the equation is often a mixture of twisted-up, distorted views on things that are not a matter of opinion. 

You see, I try my best to understand the Word, and I don’t know everything about it. Every day is a journey and a hunger for more. If I’m unsure of something’s meaning, I do my research or ask an older, wiser believer for help.

And then there are times when I read verses like Romans 12:1-2, and I can’t help but think to myself, “This is so clear. This is not up for debate. This is what I’m called to do. I should take this seriously.”

Here’s that portion of scripture I mentioned, in ESV:

 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

I truly believe this scripture is our weapon against the battle of a transforming, ever-changing culture. Although the moral standards of the world continue to decay with each passing day, Romans 12 tells me that I must not be conformed to this world. That means not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow, and not when I’m 54 years old. Not ever.

Crossway’s ESV Study Bible’s commentary on Romans 12:1-2 includes the following:

The present evil age still threatens those who belong to Christ, so they must resist its pressure. Their lives are changed as their minds are made new, so that they are able to “discern” God’s will. “By testing you may discern” translates to Greek “dokimazo,” which often has the sense of finding out the worth of something by putting it to use or testing it in actual practice.

Let me encourage you today: don’t conform to the world (the NIV translation phrases it as an offensive, don’t-conform-on-purpose action) and do not be conformed (the ESV, NASB and KJV translations phrase it as a defensive, don’t-let-anyone-conform-you action).

It will be hard and we will be tested, but that’s how we’ll find the worth of leaving everything behind that is worldly and following Christ. Whether you’re struggling today with staying pure, fighting an addiction, or loving your neighbor, may you not be conformed to the pattern of our world. May you put off your old self and put on righteousness (Ephesians 4:21-24). It is worth it!

Jen

Find comfort, give comfort, repeat

30 Mar

I’ve been a believer my entire life, but I won’t lie to you: I’ve never read the bible cover to cover.

But I’m on my way, and I’m currently moving my way through the New Testament, just drinking it in as I discover how little I’ve known about scriptures and how much there is still to learn. And I am SO excited about it!

Today I started the book of 2 Corinthians, and I came across a few verses that were an encouragement to me. It reminded me of how we are to be selfless, even when we are tempted to be consumed with our own problems.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

This is incredible.

If you’re struggling today–if you have an ill family member, if you’re stressed about your job, if you and your friend are having a dispute, if someone you love has wronged you, etc–remember that you’re not the only one. Remember that God is the one who can bring you comfort, and as you learn that, remember to share it with others!

That’s the primary reason I blog. I don’t spend my time writing because I want compliments and I want to be recognized in the blogging community.

Actually, I just want to share my journey with other believers who fight the same battles I do. Because I’m not alone. I face affliction. I have found comfort in God because of the love of other believers around me who have encouraged me to seek the Lord during any trial. And now it’s my job to comfort others. It’s a chain reaction that I want to be a part of!

Thank you so much for reading, whoever you are out there. I consider it a blessing that God has chosen to use me through my writing. It’s all because of him that I’m able to do this.

Jen

In my weakness, HE is strong

22 Mar

Today I stumbled upon a tweet by John Piper that really got my attention. He wrote:

“I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I’ve really been dwelling on this today. Sometimes life just hurts and things happen to us that we don’t understand. We think we would have been better off if those things had never happened, right?

I beg to differ.

In our weakness, HIS power is made perfect.

My grace is made sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

AND, we get to learn total dependence on the one who will never leave us nor forsake us. It is a sweet thing to think on. A trial can do so so so much good for your relationship with Jesus. He’s making you more like him, I promise…

Jen

Whatever is lovely…

18 Mar

It’s spring again!

Let me ask you this: when you think of spring, what comes to mind? New life? Growth? New opportunities? A bright future? Good change?

These are all things that are so often metaphorically attached to spring, according to most people. But what happens when spring brings pain for you instead? I want to talk a little bit about this today.

A few springs ago was what I used to consider one of the best times of my life. It was so full of what I thought was new, good change. It was exciting and just lovely! But now, because of a recent turn of events, those memories aren’t so sweet. In fact, when I think of them, they don’t bring back the joy they once did. They actually cut very deep if I allow them to. And I don’t want to allow them to!

You see, I’ve been fighting a battle in my thought life this week and one verse keeps coming to mind as I do. Perhaps you’ve heard it, but will you dwell on it with me right now?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

To help myself focus on these things we’re called to think about, I made a note card that simply lists each of these things. Then I ask myself this whenever a painful memory or thought enters my mind: is what I’m thinking about true? Is it honorable? Just? Pure? Lovely? Commendable? Excellent? Worthy of praise? If the answer is no, I have to mentally force myself to STOP. And that’s not enough. I have to think about something else.

So what are some pure and lovely and just things I can go to mentally during these times? One word: Christ. I simply stop thinking about whatever is on my mind and focus on the fact that God sent his one and only son (John 3:16) to die for my sins. Then, when Jesus died and rose again, he left us here on the earth with a beautiful and wonderful gift: his Holy Spirit. And we are so blessed by that. And by the fact that we are given the Word of God to help us and instruct us (Romans 15:4).

The ESV Study Bible by Crossway provides a beautiful commentary on this verse in Philippians. Short and sweet, it says:

The Philippians are to fill their minds with things that will inspire worship of God and service to others.

I truly believe that we as believers, like the Philippians, are to do this very same thing.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love spring! And here in Michigan, we have had an early spring and are enjoying long days with beautiful 75 degree weather. I already have freckles on my face and shoulders, which normally doesn’t happen until May! But this past week in particular has caught me off guard as challenging for my thought life. If you’re experiencing a battle in your own thought life, I pray you’ll use this technique. It’s transforming and it works! And when your brain is tired of thinking at all, just put on the song “Rise” by Kari Jobe. It will lift your spirits, I promise!

We will cry out Your renown
You are the God who has saved us
We will rise to praise You
We lift a glorious sound
You are the one who redeemed us
We will rise to praise You

Now, I’m ready to get back outside and enjoy my spring!

Jen

Whatever is lovely

18 Mar

It’s spring again!

Let me ask you this: when you think of spring, what comes to mind? New life? Growth? New opportunities? A bright future? Good change?

These are all things that are so often metaphorically attached to spring, according to most people. But what happens when spring brings pain for you instead? I want to talk a little bit about this today.

A few springs ago was what I used to consider one of the best times of my life. It was so full of what I thought was new, good change. It was exciting and just lovely! But now, because of a recent turn of events, those memories aren’t so sweet. In fact, when I think of them, they don’t bring back the joy they once did. They actually cut very deep if I allow them to. And I don’t want to allow them to!

You see, I’ve been fighting a battle in my thought life this week and one verse keeps coming to mind as I do. Perhaps you’ve heard it, but will you dwell on it with me right now?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

To help myself focus on these things we’re called to think about, I made a note card that simply lists each of these things. Then I ask myself this whenever a painful memory or thought enters my mind: is what I’m thinking about true? Is it honorable? Just? Pure? Lovely? Commendable? Excellent? Worthy of praise? If the answer is no, I have to mentally force myself to STOP. And that’s not enough. I have to think about something else.

So what are some pure and lovely and just things I can go to mentally during these times? One word: Christ. I simply stop thinking about whatever is on my mind and focus on the fact that God sent his one and only son (John 3:16) to die for my sins. Then, when Jesus died and rose again, he left us here on the earth with a beautiful and wonderful gift: his Holy Spirit. And we are so blessed by that. And by the fact that we are given the Word of God to help us and instruct us (Romans 15:4).

The ESV Study Bible by Crossway provides a beautiful commentary on this verse in Philippians. Short and sweet, it says:

The Philippians are to fill their minds with things that will inspire worship of God and service to others.

I truly believe that we as believers, like the Philippians, are to do this very same thing.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love spring! And here in Michigan, we have had an early spring and are enjoying long days with beautiful 75 degree weather. I already have freckles on my face and shoulders, which normally doesn’t happen until May! But this past week in particular has caught me off guard as challenging for my thought life. If you’re experiencing a battle in your own thought life, I pray you’ll use this technique. It’s transforming and it works! And when your brain is tired of thinking at all, just put on the song “Rise” by Kari Jobe. It will lift your spirits, I promise!

We will cry out Your renown
You are the God who has saved us
We will rise to praise You
We lift a glorious sound
You are the one who redeemed us
We will rise to praise You

Now, I’m ready to get back outside and enjoy my spring!

Jen

Fruitless?

9 Mar

I’m sitting here drinking my morning protein shake and one word comes to my mind: fruitless.

Yep, we’re all out of fruit in the house. No strawberries or bananas for my smoothie. It still tastes okay–a decent mix of peanut butter and chocolate protein powder–but it lacks the nutrients I need that I normally get  from the fruit I put in it.

This makes me think about my life.

Am I bearing fruit in my life or have I been fruitless? Am I adding to the kingdom? Am I using the gifts God has given me to do his work and bring him glory? Have I been more like Christ with each day?

Or am I sitting here, selfishly trying to be a perfectionist so that others look at me and think highly of me? Am I reading my bible every day just so that I can tell my youth group students that they need to read their bibles every day without being convicted myself?

On the outside, I think a person can very well look like they are doing great works for the kingdom. But it’s all about what’s in our hearts. It’s about a desire to have a biblical heart. To be humble, to surrender, to allow the Word of God to speak to our hearts so that we change, we grow and we become more like Christ.

More on fruit

The Word tells us very clearly what the fruits of the Holy Spirit are in Galations 5:22-23.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

When we allow the Holy Spirit to enter in, we are wholly surrendering ourselves to becoming more like Christ and bearing these qualities. But it takes work. Hard work. A lot of effort. It’s hard to have self-control, patience and kindness. But this is our calling.

Will you be challenged with me today to bear more fruit?

Jen

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