Life is a climb but the view is great. (by Eint Chu Hlaing)
“I, James, am a slave of God and the Master Jesus, writing to the twelve tribes scattered to Kingdom Come: Hello! Faith Under Pressure
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.” At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.
Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.
So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.”
-James 1:1-18, the Message translation
Firsties, I am just going to type a meep. Meep because I absolutely love it when I love reading the Bible. Because I know that it is what I am meant to do. I love it, because I know it is pleasing to God. And because I know the Holy Spirit is interceding on my behalf, to open my eyes, to fill me with desire and understanding, with wisdom to accompany and appreciate the value of this knowledge, that is the Holy Word of God our Father.
This morning the preaching went from Solomon’s answer to God’s asking him of what he wanted from 2 Chronicles 1. Solomon asked for wisdom to guide the people that God had put under Solomon for him to rule over. Not wealth or a long life. But wisdom.
Which was already humbling, because what a great act and man of God that truly was. To truly not submit to the ways of this world, to the temptations, but live truly not only through and thanks to, but also for God.
“God answered Solomon, “This is what has come out of your heart: You didn’t grasp for money, wealth, fame, and the doom of your enemies; you didn’t even ask for a long life. You asked for wisdom and knowledge so you could govern well my people over whom I’ve made you king. Because of this, you get what you asked for—wisdom and knowledge. And I’m presenting you the rest as a bonus—money, wealth, and fame beyond anything the kings before or after you had or will have.” -2 Chronicles 1:11-12, MSG
But then the preaching went into how the wisdom we have comes from the Holy Spirit, the gift that God has bestowed upon us.
And He truly is such a Wonderful Gift.
“So let me say it again, this truth: It’s better for you that I leave. If I don’t leave, the Friend won’t come. But if I go, I’ll send him to you. ”When he comes, he’ll expose the error of the godless world’s view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He’ll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin; that righteousness comes from above, where I am with the Father, out of their sight and control; that judgment takes place as the ruler of this godless world is brought to trial and convicted.” -John 16:5-11, MSG
That lives within us. That intercedes on our behalf. That can strengthen our inner man. Through praying to Him is the way to get in tune with God spiritually, to truly concentrate and worship Him. To gain the wisdom, the discernment we need to truly understand the Bible, fully and truthfully. Without Him interceding on our behalf, of course we may get something out of reading the Bible. But we will merely only be reading, acquiring information (knowledge), with Him, we shall have wisdom, discernment between right and wrong. Opened eyes and hearts and souls. To fully be dedicated and dwell with Him.
“But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.” -1 Corinthians 2:10, MSG
“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.” -Ephesians 3:14-19, MSG
And this Holy Spirit that we have in us, in which our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit for (“Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you.” -John 6:19, MSG) is the same one that lived in Jesus Christ when He walked this very same earth. When He was able to resist temptations, of the devil himself, in the desert, in the midst of a forty-day-and-night-long-fast. When He healed the leper spots and gave sight to the blind. Jesus is God, but He was a human being when He was on this earth. What set Him apart was the Holy Spirit. He was so in tune with the Holy Spirit. He had the wisdom, the discernment, the supernatural powers that comes from Him. And we have this same Holy Spirit in ourselves. Each and every one of us! You and you and you and me! Thank You, God!
“But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!” -Romans 8:9-11, MSG
And, as aforementioned, the preacher talked of how the Bible is the knowledge that we have at our disposal.
Knowledge is simply acquiring information, but wisdom is discernment between right and wrong. The Holy Spirit is the discernment we need, the source of the wisdom we need to truly have opened eyes to all that God and His Word have for us at our disposal!
So, thank You Holy Spirit, that when I pray to You, even just a simple prayer modeled after Ephesians 3:14-19, that You respond. That You hear me. That You are always listening. And that You open my eyes, my heart to You and what You want me to hear and read and know. I love You and thank You, so very much! In Your name I pray, Amen!
Also, it is so encouraging to know, and truly not just believe, but to trust. That if we, if I, just focus on God. On fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit, then nothing, nothing, can depreciate the worship. Not the people, not the circumstances, not the church, not the atmosphere, not the quality of the music, because the Holy Spirit is not of this world as all of the aforementioned qualities on the list are. He is of Heaven. And I truly believe and trust, that when we fellowship with Him, the Holy Spirit, when we keep our eyes on God and what He sent His Son to do, and what His Son so obediently did for us (“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16, NIV), that it is then that we will experience unfathomable, unshakable Joy and Peace. That nothing can take that away. No trial or tribulation of this world, of ourselves. Because though satan may be the ruler of this world (“I’ll not be talking with you much more like this because the chief of this godless world is about to attack. But don’t worry-he has nothing on me, no claim on me. -John 14:30, MSG), God is the Ultimate Ruler of an Everlasting World: Heaven, and when we speak to the Holy Spirit, when we dwell with Him, I truly believe that He brings Heaven down here, to invade earth, to invade us.
Thank You, God and in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen, Amen, Amen!