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W Pat Cunningham
God's Will is Best
Angels are pure spirits, but it was God's intention to raise human beings, who are lower than the angels, to divine status, to union with the Trinity. An ancient tradition tells us that this was the cause of Lucifer's rebellion, jealousy over one day being ruled by a mere human. The great army of Michael got it rightĖ-God's will is best, and serving God's will is the highest happiness, even if it causes us some inconvenience.
ANTIVIRUS: HOLY SPIRIT
Jesus said in verse 7 of John 16, "For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."
Jesus was God in the flesh, of course. He could have spoken this world out of existence at any given time, but, I would like to use an illustration of the Holy Spirit to those who use the computer and realize what a great tool it is for the cause of Christ.
Before you accept Christ as your Saviour, you are full of sin without any hope of living the life that Jesus calls more abundant. You have been given a death sentence. While you are here on this Earth, you learn and fill your memory full of things--even good things--that will get you nowhere with God. Itís like a computer with no protection and full of viruses and things that are not useful and headed for self destruction.
Satan, the extreme virus that invades your mind. (Hard drive) When you accept Jesus as your Saviour, there are a few things that happen when you do:
First of all, God sends the Holy Spirit to live inside you. Jesus said He comes: he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. The Greek word for "reprove" is elegchŰ which means "to convict."
Number 1. He convicts us of our sin. (He scans us and calls for removal)
Number 2. He was raised from the dead that you and I could not only have our sins subtracted, but so we could have His righteousness. added. (Sin is deleted and the antivirus takes over)
Number 3. He convicts of judgment: Itís not the judgment that is to come. This world has already been judged, and itís guilty of sin. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. We are guilty, and the Holy Spirit speaks to us and shows us that we are only filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) in the sight of God, but because of Jesus, we are accepted and forgiven by His grace and mercy. (We see the need for a antivirus because we are vulnerable to all)
Once you ask Jesus into your heart, itís as if you would download a file in your computer for an antivirus program, except this is a living holy being called the Holy Spirit and the subscription will last forever.
Itís the third of the trinity, Father (God), Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit (indwells the believer) We need the Holy Spirit as our computers need an antivirus. There are many brand names of the program, but there is only one that works. There is only one that never needs updating, always the same yesterday, today and forever. Best of all its free for the asking. Romans 10: 9-10
The only way truth and life, Jesus Christ our Lord.
A small boy had been consistently late for dinner. One particular day his parents had warned him to be on time, but he arrived later than ever. He found his parents already seated at the table, about to start eating. Quickly he sat at his place, and then noticed what was set before him--a slice of bread and a glass of water. There was silence as he sat staring at his plate, crushed. Suddenly he saw his fatherís hand reach over, pick up his plate and set it before himself. Then his dad put his own full plate in front of his son, smiling warmly as he made the exchange. When the boy became a man, he said, "All my life Iíve known what God was like by what my father did that night." Homemade, May, 1989
There is a story about a sunken ship that illustrates the quietness of the spirit, but at the same time His Power in our lives.
"Several years ago engineers building a new bridge over the East River in New York, discovered that the wrecked hull of a ship, sunk many years before, lay right where the center piers were to be built. Powerful machinery was brought in to remove the ship, but it would not budge.
Then one of the engineers had an unusual idea-why not have the tide raise the ship!! Some strong cables were attached to the hull when the tide was low. The other ends were fastened to the barge above. As the tide came in, the barge gradually lifted the sunken ship. It was then towed out into the ocean and sunk at a spot that would not cause future problems."
A. Todd Coget
[How Godís Children Change, Citation: Craig Barnes, author and pastor of National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.; from sermon "The Blessed Trinity" (5-30-99)]
When I was a child, my minister father brought home a 12-year-old boy named Roger, whose parents had died from a drug overdose.
There was no one to care for Roger, so my folks decided theyíd just raise him as if he were one of their own sons.
At first it was quite difficult for Roger to adjust to his new homeóan environment free of heroine-addicted adults!
Every day, several times a day, I heard my parents saying to Roger:
"No, no. Thatís not how we behave in this family."
"No, no. You donít have to scream or fight or hurt other people to get what you want."
"No, no, Roger, we expect you to show respect in this family."
And in time Roger began to change.
Now, did Roger have to make all those changes in order to become a part of the family?
No. He was made a part of the family simply by the grace of my father.
But did he then have to do a lot of hard work because he was in the family?
You bet he did.
It was tough for him to change, and he had to work at it.
But he was motivated by gratitude for the incredible love he had received.
Do you have a lot of hard work to do now that the Spirit has adopted you into Godís family?
Certainly. But not in order to become a son or a daughter of the heavenly Father.
No, you make those changes because you are a son or daughter.
And every time you start to revert back to the old addictions to sin, the Holy Spirit will say to you, "No, no. Thatís not how we act in this family."
R. Darrel Davis
The Bible says, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." How do I know if I am hearing his voice you say?
One time, I made a homemade kite. I used about a thousand yards of my grandmothers crochet thread for the string. I let that kite out as far as I could on that string. So far in fact, I could not even see it. But I knew it was there because I could feel it pulling on the line.
If God is there speaking to your heart today, you know it. He will pull on your strings of your heart. You may be experiencing a tugging of your heartstrings right now. Some have described it as a "want to." Don’t allow this moment to go by without saying yes to Jesus.
When Karl Barth was speaking at Chicago University, he was asked by one of the students what was the most profound theological statement he had ever reached. He paused for a moment and said, "Jesus loves me, this I know Ö "
AN INFINITE GOD, A FINITE MIND
Augustine, while puzzling over the doctrine of the Trinity, was walking along the beach one day when he observed a young boy with a bucket, running back and forth to pour water into a little hole. Augustine asked, "What are you doing?" The boy replied, "Iím trying to put the ocean into this hole." Then Augustine realized that he had been trying to put an infinite God into his finite mind.
Evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman recounted a testimony given by a man in one of his meetings. The man said: I got off at the train depot one day as a tramp. For a year I had begged on the streets. Badly in need of food, I touched a man on the shoulder and said, "Mister, please give me a dime." As soon as I saw his face, I recognized my aging father. "Donít you know me?" I asked. Throwing his arms around me, he cried, "Oh, my son, I have found you at last! All I have is yours!" Think of it -- I was a tramp who begged for 10 cents from a man I didnít know was my father, when for 18 years he had been looking for me to give me all he possessed!
Illus.: “Adopted by Christ”
John was born into a family of 12 children. They were very poor. He was the youngest. He never remembered his father eating a meal with the rest of the family. He had to work long hours to feed his family. One day his father ran off with another woman, leaving his mother to care for all 12 children. At age 6, his mother told him through tears that she was going to put him up for adoption along with 3 of his sisters. She told him she had no choice. If she didn’t take this step they would likely starve.
She placed an ad in a newspaper of a nearby town and within 3 days a couple responded. When the day finally came for John to leave, he said it was the worst day of his life. They were at the train station, ready to say their last good-byes. He said, “When the conductor reached down to take me from my mother’s arms I felt something die on the inside of me.
His new family was very loving and kind but it was just not the same. John lived with the constant fear that one day they would give him away too. He grew into adulthood and finally went out on his own. He spent year after year absorbed in his work, trying to bury the deep hurt in his soul
One day something beautiful happened. In a moment of great discouragement, he visited a church, hoping he would hear a word that would boost his spirits. Little did he know that his life would be changed forever. The preacher talked about how God loves to adopt people into his forever family. At the end of the sermon he asked if anyone would like to join God’s family. John raised his hand and then went to the altar. At last, the ache in his heart was healed. Jesus told him He would never abandon him, never send him away. After years of turmoil and hate, John felt loved and accepted. He now had a security he never dreamed possible. He felt the Lord saying to him, “John, I know about that day at the train station. I know how you felt and I’ve been waiting all these years to adopt you into my family.”
There is never a single, horrible memory but what God plans to eclipse it with a better one. Like green grass sprouting to recolor a burned-over field, so God brings along beauty for ashes.