Thinking of Spring

Is it a coincidence that Easter is in the spring?  Of course not!  The symbolism is staggering.  The rebirth of the land; flowers, new leaves, planting season… the proverbial spring lambs and chicks, birds nesting… Ah, Spring!

What is the symbolism to a Christian?  The resurrection, the “born again” experience, (necessary for believers) and baptism, are all symbolic of the righteousness of Christ and fulfillment of God’s promise.  What we do with this and how we view the promise is up to us.  Our free will is constant in our walk towards Christ.  Sanctification is a continual process, one in which our participation is not just needed but required.

How are we sanctified?  This process of growth is a willful freeing of ourselves from the world around us and our daily immersion in things of God.  Sanctification comes when we read God’s Word, when we pray, when we study and council with other believers. It is the work of the Holy Spirit.  It comes when we stop struggling against a habit or a thought and turn it over to God.  It is the place we stand, when we are in that valley experience, and still cling to the truth that God is with us.  Sanctification and spring, each comes in their season, each comes with a predictability that blesses us with abundance.

It is for that abundant life, the renewal of the earth and our spirit, that we wait.  We are told in scripture to wait on the Lord, to walk, to run, to sit, to stand and most importantly to know.  Do we?  Do we, through sanctification, renew our spirits, rejoice in the spring time of our lives that comes when we look, and see, and know that God is?  He has given us so much and in this season of new hope, let us look at the abundance around us.  Along with the new buds and spring flowers, do we see, with joy, the gifts that are around us?

We are wealthy beyond our dreams.  Look around.  Is that house, big or small, a blessing?  What about the clothes you are wearing; the job that you have, can you see the blessings the abundance that you live in every day?

Look at the people in your life and see how abundant they are.  Friends, family, brothers & sisters in Christ, each bringing who they are to you, to fill you up with their love and joy and needs and opinions and pain.  If they allow you to know them, if you strive to know them, you will be sanctified.  Christ came knowing all of us.  He knows our every need and he sees us as we are, can we do less?

Be sanctified and with each step you will be given the abundance of a life full of God’s gifts.  Be sanctified and the pain that you suffer today will be the gift you can give to another in the future; help them understand and show them God’s grace.  Be sanctified and rest in the abundance of this very moment.  Rejoice in today, tomorrow and in the eternal abundant future with Christ.   Look, see and rejoice!

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John Lesson 17: John 16:7-11

vFor Thought and Discussion, Page 160.(1)

Explain how the Holy Spirit convicts the world about sin, righteousness and Judgement – John 16:7-11.

The Disciples did not really understand that Jesus has to go away for the Holy Spirit, Comforter Counselor to come.

“But in His coming, He will bring the Spirit of Truth” v 13. He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement.

  1. In regard to sin: because men do not believe in me. v 9. People cannot see themselves as sinners. We can always see someone else’s sin but never our own. The issue is you’re sinning by judging those whose sin is great. To God all sin is #1, we give them a number
  1. In regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer. v 10. No one but the Holy Spirit can reveal to a person that a righteous status before God does not depend on good works but on Christ’s death on the cross.  Christ death was to restore us back to the God. So he can see us as righteous by the Spirit, along with Jesus as our Intercessory prayers for us as sinners. Without Jesus, it would be hard to have a relationship with God.
  1. In regard to Judgement, because the prince of this world now stand condemned.  v 11. We are in no position to judge anyone on anything. All judgement is reserved for God and Jesus. We are too sinful to see the entire world as God see’s it. He can use anyone of his Children how He wishes, as we are all His Children. There is one creator.

References:

  1. John, Life Change Series, Nav Press, 1987
  2.  NIV Study Bible, Zondervan 2008 edition,

Born of the Spirit – John 3:1-36

 

Why Should We Be “Born Again?”

Matthew 3:11, 13 15-17, John 3:1-18 NIV Study Bible

Matthew 3:11 (John the Baptist)  I Baptist you with water for repentance.  But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with Fire.

Matthew 3:13 – Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John (15) …Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all of righteousness.”  Then John consented. 

Matthew 3:16 – As soon as Jesus was baptized he went up out of the water.  At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. (17)  And a voice from heaven said, this is my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased.

John 3:1-8 – (1) Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Ruling Council.  (2) He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God.  For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.  (3) In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. (4) “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “ Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born!”  (5) Jesus answered, “ I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.  (6) Flesh gives birth to flesh, but Spirit gives birth to Spirit.  (7)  You should not be surprised at my saying, “you must be born again”.  8.  The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or, where it is going,  so it is with everyone born of the  Spirit.

Respectfully Submitted by

M. E. Stokes, D. S.W.

 

 

 

What Joys Have You Brought into 2014?

Romans 5:1-11

Peace and Joy

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (NIV)

 

To the Believer, it is my hope that our joys from the past year (2013) were so complete that we have a “storehouse filled with joy to bring into this New Year of 2014, and will share our joys with others!

We enter this New Year with the peace of God. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 

Joy to the Believer is not dictated by what is happening in the world around us, or in our immediate circumstances.  It may even appear that we are not being realistic about our situations.  It may also appear to some that we are just “plain crazy”!  Because we are enabled by God, to continuously experience and display joy in the middle of calamity, that’s where “fear turns to faith”. “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18.  When we give our life-issues over to God daily, it’s because we know his track record— that He has always been faithful to us.  “So do not fear, for I am with you.” Isaiah 41:10.  That’s how we are able to experience his joy, peace, love, and mercy.

Will this New Year, 2014, add to your joys? Look around you, through the eyes of faith each day! John 14:12 says this, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Happy New Year!

Reverend Glenda Brunson

(Reprint from January 2012)