Here With Us
by Deanna Favre
Words of LIFE Weekly Devotional
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17, NIV)
When I was informed that I had breast cancer, I remember the sensation of knowing that there was something inside of me that was doing harm to my body. It was like the cancer became its own living entity, the monster hiding under the bed. In fact, for a few days, it was all I could think about as I got my mind around what this meant for me, my family, and our future.
However, a friend of mine, who came by the house to drop off casseroles and “get well” notes and gifts, could tell that I was struggling with this newfound diagnosis. I shared with my friend my feelings of not being able to outrun whatever this was inside of me, and the fear and doubt it caused.
My friend said, “Sure, you have cancer inside your body, but you also have Christ.” I will never forget those words. They were simple, to the point, and incredibly true. To know that whatever we are facing inside our bodies, or our lives, God is right there living in us, too, ready to protect and care for us from the inside out.
My friend’s words were comforting because I had forgotten that I had someone much stronger and bigger than cancer living within me, and that would be my refuge and my source of strength. But it does not stop there. As John 14 states, the goal is to then share what God has placed inside you with those around you. This is one gift that you want to give away.
Disease and illness may permeate our bodies, but God promises that they cannot permeate our souls and spirits unless we let them. And to help in the fight, Scripture says that God has given us the Holy Spirit, a Friend, to go along on the journey with us and to help us help others make the steps as well.
John talks about a friend whom God has given to us. Who is that friend, and why does that gift mean so much to our relationship with God? God’s goal in this passage is to encourage us to live more like God and to share love with those around us. Why does God offer us a friend to assist us in the process and journey? When the Scripture says that “the godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him,” why is that important for us in drawing close to God through the Holy Spirit?
Make a list of some of your friends today. What qualities do you love most in them? How do you see those qualities in your relationship with God?
Pray: Father and Friend, we cannot understand the grace we have been offered until we have been able to step out of our own shoes and walk in the shoes of others. Help us set down our struggles and take up the gift and blessing of what you offer in Christ. We love you. Amen.
Adapted from The Cure for the Chronic Life by Deanna Favre & Shane Stanford, © 2010 Abingdon Press.
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
"We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him." - Acts 5:32
So often we as a society equate numbers with success. The larger the conference, the more successful we deem it. The larger a church, the more we believe that God is blessing. And so on. I recall planning a conference one time. Registrations were not where I felt they needed to be a few weeks before the date of the event. It wasn't long before I began to get "under the pile" about the level of attendance. My friend, who was organizing this conference with me, called and asked how I was doing. I had to confess where I was. He immediately reminded me of my own teaching in this area. We are all called to be led by the Spirit, not by outcomes. "If God called us to put on this conference, then the outcome is up to Him if we have done our part." He went on to explain how he learned this lesson in a similar way a few years earlier.
He and a friend were led to host a Bible study group. His friend was to speak. It was nine o'clock and they were the only two people there. His friend was discouraged and was ready to leave.
"No," said my friend. "We have done what the Holy Spirit directed." He then stood up and began to welcome people as though there were many in the room. (No one was in the room.) He introduced his friend and they began the meeting. A few minutes later, people began to straggle in. By the time the meeting was over, ten had shown up, and one man in particular was impacted by the meeting.
Being led by the Spirit often means we must not use the world's standard for success as our measuring stick. You never know what an act of obedience will yield at the time. We must leave results to God. Our role is to obey. His role is to bring results from our obedience.
Do you make decisions based on the potential outcome or by the direction of the Holy Spirit in your life? Do you overly evaluate the pros and cons without consideration to what the Holy Spirit might be saying deep inside? We are all prone to make decisions based on reasoning alone. Ask God to give you a willingness and ability to hear the Holy Spirit and to obey His promptings.
God, please show me how you want me to use the skills, spiritual gifts, resources you have given me and the relationships you have allowed me to have to prepare for the great harvest You have planned. I pray that I will be a tool in your hands to draw people to you. With that in mind, I ask you to please forgive me of my sins, sins that stand in the way of a closer fellowship with you and that would be a hindrance to my living testimony. Please help me start fresh and new again right now. Thank you and bless you, Lord. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.
Here With Us - Joy Williams
By SIMPLY DIVINE LOVE on Tuesday, November 30, 2010