Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Renewal

“You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self…” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

Winter is a challenging season for me.  Cold weather and shorter days affect me physically and mentally.  I am always quite ready for the first signs of spring. The world becomes fresh and new as the cold, brown deadness of winter sprouts into the warm, green aliveness of spring.

Just as springtime brings hope to the earth, this verse brings hope to my soul. My old nature is controlled by many deceitful desires including envy, self-pity, anger, and despair. I am to be made new “in the attitude of my mind”. My mind is sometimes a greater enemy than my body. My mind dwells on past abilities and judgmental attitudes towards others. My mind tells me God is not always good or faithful. My mind says this painful life is too difficult to bear.

I need to renew my mind. God will give me the strength to do this, but it takes willing effort on my part as well. I must constantly monitor my thoughts, evaluating not only where they are coming from but where they are leading me. If they are not Scriptural I need to put them from my mind rather than dwelling on them, allowing them to pull me in a wrong direction.

God’s word says that the mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6). I want life and peace. I want renewal.  When I see flowers blooming and grass growing, I want to remember that as a new creature in Christ, my old ways of thinking can be replaced with the new. Spring can happen within me as well as around me.

Prayer: O God, as You fill the earth with the freshness of Your beauty, fill my mind with the freshness of Your thoughts. By Your power may I be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Amen.

Friday, March 12, 2010

My Divine Comforter

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. . . you know him for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:16,17).

There are times when I have become very burdened by the trials that some of my fellow believers must endure. As I have prayed for God’s Spirit to sustain them, I have been reminded of the Holy Spirit’s work in my own life, and how pain and illness have brought me a new awareness of and relationship with Him.

In difficult times the Holy Spirit brings an appropriate Scripture song or verse to mind. In moments of extreme pain He brings endurance and encouragement. When grieving the losses of abilities or loved ones, He reminds me that my eternal future will be filled with glorious activity and freedom from partings. When I need to make decisions concerning my health or circumstances, the Holy Spirit gives wisdom and insight, either directly, through others, or through His Word. When growth and change come in to my life, He gives me the assurance that God’s grace will be sufficient to handle them. When I am pulled down into the mire of depression, He prompts me to reach out to others rather than dwelling on myself.

I cannot imagine going through life – particularly one of pain and suffering –without the wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit. Living on this side of the cross, we have His presence on a continual basis. He is a special gift from the Father and the Son to help us through this earthly life until we see our Lord face to face. I am sure His work will not end then, and it will be exciting to see His ministry throughout eternity. For now however, we can rejoice in knowing that wherever we go and whatever we are experiencing, His presence is with us continually.

Prayer: O Lord, thank you that You have not left me comfortless in this life, but have given me the wonderful indwelling of the Holy Spirit living in and through me. Whatever I face in this life, I know that Your Spirit is with me, holding me fast. Amen.