For this band of brothers, this left them with more questions than answers, uncertainty, and heartache. Amid these emotions, Jesus spoke these really important words;
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].” – (John 16:7 AMP)
Even though they didn’t understand or comprehend what He was saying, these words were about to change the course of not just their lives, but have a big impact that we still walk in today. Jesus was saying to them ‘it is to your benefit that I go away, for when I go the Holy Spirit will come and He will be your Helper, your Comforter, Advocate someone who speaks on your behalf. Your Intercessor the one who prays with you and for you. He will be your Counsellor, the one who strengthens you and your standby who will bring you together.’
It must have seemed strange to the disciples as they listened to Jesus talk about the Holy Spirit. They had become familiar; accustomed with Him always being around. Now they were being asked to follow the Holy Spirit; a person who they couldn’t see, couldn’t touch, or audibly hear. What was it going to be like to have another comforter or helper?
In John 14:15-17 it says,
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (ESV)
The word “another” in these verses is significant. It means that the Holy Spirit would be identical to Jesus in every way. Would He speak, think, see, operate, and behave the same way as Jesus? He would not be limited or restricted to one place at a time. Jesus then goes on say the Holy Spirit, the Helper, the Comforter would be with you forever. He would be the Spirit of truth living within. That you would “know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
What a promise this is for us! As a believer, a child of God, the person of the Holy Spirit lives and dwells within each of us and we can get to know Him personally. It may not be possible to see Him, but He abides within us. We can draw upon His wisdom and counsel at any time. We can seek His direction, know His comfort, and learn to listen to His voice.
I know that in my own life I have learned to listen to the promptings of His voice. In recent days, I have been asking to hear His voice more clearly. At the beginning of the day, I would pray a simple yet profound prayer; “Lord, who would you want me to connect with today?”
Every day whilst I am going about my daily routine, I’m asking but also listening. I’m learning that as I listen the Holy Spirit will drop a name or a person to connect with. Maybe to share a message of encouragement or pick up the phone and speak with them. Almost every time, without fail, the person has responded by saying how did you know to reach out to me today, it was just what I needed?
With one particular friend, Stephen, I asked, “Lord, you have given me the name, now what would you want me to say?” Immediately I was reminded of Scripture, and I messaged the Bible verse to him. Stephen replied a few hours later and said, “thanks for the Bible verse it has come as a confirmation as God gave the same verse to my wife earlier in the week.”
Can I encourage you to pray that simple prayer as well? “Lord, who would you want me to connect with today?” Simply learn to listen to the prompting and the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Several years ago, the phrase which was used to teach children the Green Cross Code was “Stop, Look, and Listen. Why not do that now and make it apart of your daily routine?
- Stop what you are doing.
- Look and see what He is saying.
- Listen and obey.
Remember, He lives and abides in you and will be with you forever. He is speaking
Change Is Good
By Liz Lampkin
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Have you ever taken a moment to notice the beauty in the change of seasons? Think about it. With each season, there is something to appreciate and celebrate. Springtime announces the end of Winter. It represents the beginning of hope and new life. With plants blossoming and a shift into warm weather, Spring is a time to appreciate the newness in nature. After Spring, there’s Summer. Many would say it represents freedom and relaxation. Vacations, the blaring sun, and an abundance of outdoor activities is what this season brings. Some may even say it brings about new energy and the urge to get active.
After Summer, there’s Autumn or Fall. This time of the year often represents preparation, preservation, and comfort. Fall often brings about a sense of comfort. A shift from hot weather to just right warmth coupled with the beautiful colors’ leaves turn, baking, apple cider, and harvest time is what this season is often associated with. Last but not least, Winter. Often associated with bitterly cold weather, hot cocoa, snow, giving, family gatherings, and the gleeful holiday season. Each time of the year brings something to look forward to and celebrate.
Each year, nature shows us how and why change is necessary. So why are we so reluctant to face and accept it? When you think about it, you realize that all of nature’s changes depend on God. As each season begins and ends, things that come about with them are natural, and each of them depends on God’s care and grace. Could you imagine if there were only one season to experience? What would things look like? Would we be able to experience this portion of God’s grace and beauty?
Change is inevitable. It’s unavoidable. It brings about the unexpected, things we didn’t plan for. Whether good or bad, it comes with something new. It pushes us out of our comfort zone. It forces us to adjust to circumstances we may or may not have been ready for. However, no matter how ready or reluctant we are to make or embrace change, one thing is for certain God is with you every step of the way. I believe what we fail to realize is that God orchestrates the changes in our lives for His glory and our good. We do this because we tend to make our plans and trust in them. When we do this, we create the outcome we desire. When things don’t go the way we anticipate we become disheveled. This shouldn’t be. Why? Because as believers our trust should be in God and our will should be His will, changes and all.
God is aware of all that goes on in our lives. He creates the plans, He creates the changes. Shifts in life are a part of His plan. Whether we like it or not, we all know God’s plans are always best.
Molded by the Master
Because God loves us, we can trust how He wants to shape our lives.
There are several Scripture passages that liken God to a potter and us to clay. It’s the Creator’s right to transform and shape His children’s lives as He sees fit, and He is conforming us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). In other words, He is helping us not conform to the world or give in to our former lusts (Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 1:14).
The problem arises when we don’t like the molding process. Then we argue with our Potter and complain about the difficulties and afflictions that sometimes result when He shapes us. Isaiah 45:9 puts it this way: “Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’” Our part as clay is to remain pliable and submit to the Lord’s purposes—not to let parts of our life toughen and resist His attempts to shape us.
God will work to remove those hard lumps so He can form us into vessels that are useful and pleasing to Him. Our responsibility is to accept any changes from the Master Potter. We can do this confidently because we are in His competent, skillful, and loving hands. And that is the safest and most satisfying place we can be.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; put me to the test and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” – Psalm 139:23-24 NASB
Autobiographies allow famous people to tell their stories, explain their actions, and give their perspectives. But as Karl Barth, the 20th-century Swiss theologian, observed, people often use autobiographies to rationalize and justify instead.
Barth realized how easily we develop distorted opinions about ourselves and are biased and blind to our weaknesses. Barth once wrote that “every autobiography is a dubious enterprise.” No person can “survey himself even in the present moment, any more than in the whole of his past.” None of us can be objective.
David reached a similar conclusion. He realized how little he knew about his own life. God alone really knew him. God knew what he would say before he spoke. God knew what David did in secret, for even the “darkness is not dark to You” (v. 12). God knew his future: “In Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me” (v. 16).
Many people reject this attitude, confident that they understand themselves and can chart their own course. But they fail to understand why we need God’s searchlight. True contentment comes when we trust Him. We have peace when we humble ourselves before Him. We have perspective when we fill our hearts and minds with His Word. We have freedom when we are clean in His sight. We are fulfilled when we are open and vulnerable before Him.
Reflection Question: Write a prayer asking God to reveal and forgive any hidden sins in your life.