...Ohhh Thomas. Today in particular, I do so appreciate the way the scriptures remind us of our own humanity, through Jesus' own chosen twelve. Isn't it amazing that even those who walked, ate & slept with him...who heard His last words, saw the blood and water flow from His side, and even witnessed first hand, His resurrection, still questioned Him, misunderstood Him, doubted Him. Contrary to some who might lift those earliest followers of our Messiah to an elevated status because they were in the Lord's "inner circle," they too were nothing more than human. Jesus's words to his Apostles in the face of His death speak to us today in the face of our own human sufferings.
We may be tempted just like Thomas; to wonder, to doubt, to ask why is this happening Lord? And "How can we know the way?" Jesus went on to answers Thomas' all too human question with these words;
"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
It was as true for the twelve as it is for us today. With those words, Jesus invites us into his "inner circle." Infact, even better than that; As the apostle Paul puts it;
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Gal 2:20
As Believers, we can truly say "Christ lives IN me!" You can't get more "inner circle" than that!
As the Apostles came to understand the fullness of who Jesus was, and what He did for them, they would soon receive the Great Comforter, the Holy Spirit. When they went on to live out the calling God had put on their lives, the Holy Spirit went before them, and WE can say the same! As a child of God with Christ living IN us, it is the same promised Holy Spirit who ministers to us today, in all circumstances - in God's Perfect Will.
He LEADS us; Rom 8:14
TEACHES us; Jn 14:26
ILLUMINATES the scriptures for us; 2 Tim 3:16-17
CONVICTS us of sin: Gal 5:16
INTERCEDES in prayer for us; Rom 8:26
If you are struggling with life's circumstances today, know Who goes before you and walk in that Truth. Thank you Jesus, for your sacrifice on the cross. Thank you Holy Spirit, for ministering to us. Thank you Father, for providing for us in every way, everyday.
What a great start to the school year! Finally, after enduring what must have been Enterovirus, our immune systems served us well and we’ve started school! It postponed us one week from our desired start date (Sept 8) and two weeks for extra-curricular activities, church, etc. As I mentioned in another post, passing along a virus is something we purposefully avoid.
Once we got started (Sept 15th) we quickly found that adjustments in the schedule were necessary, to accommodate not three students but four, since the three-year-old boy has proclaimed himself an official student! And so, there are four: Ages 12, 10, 6 & 3, and I have to say, the “new addition” which might have been seen as a challenge is really more of a blessing AS LONG as I remember, that trying to redirect him to things to “keep him occupied in the other room…” is totally counter productive. He is much happier and actually more manageable IN the school room, AT the table IN the action! So now, he is fully integrated into the schedule. Luckily, he is very good ;) about speaking up when he’s had enough and we again, adjust accordingly.
I will say though, I do LOVE to hammer out schedules. Actually, it used to be a bit of a problem, meaning I did it....okay, obsessively. It is in this realm that we have learned our most VALUABLE lessons. Click HERE for more on that...
In short, the leaves are changing colors, and so are we! Happy Fall to us ALL!
You might remember our last post on the POPHS page, exactly one week ago today, where we gleefully entered into preparations for the new school year with the Bloopers Video? That week, we did some house cleaning, wardrobe hauls, school supplies, began fighting off a virus. .....Oh, I didn’t mention the virus? Ah well, things were going just too well…time for a roadblock or maybe...something else?
I have to validate myself on this point, in the past this perceived "set back" would have dampened my momentum considerably. Happily, thanks to the work that’s being done “inside” me, my perspective is...improving;) So forward we go! Doing what we must, healing up, and adjusting the calendar as need be, comforted in the knowledge that we are still on track! Infact, better than that; amid all the tea making and lymphatic massages, having this happen has inspired me to begin a Natural Healing Page, the process of which is really blessing me! So I guess even in the “buggiest” of circumstances, what might be perceived as a roadblock might actually be - an unexpected path to blessing. I do Love it when He does that! :)
Here's a link to the Natural Healing Page, in progress!
"Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" ~ Eph 6:10-12.
Well, that started MY day off with a bang! I admit I was at first taken aback when I opened my daily devotional to this on our first day of school-prep...but really, it's right on. This year is a new beginning for us in so many ways, and it's good to be in touch with the reality of what we are dealing with.
- How many times throughout the trials of my daily life, have I looked into the eyes of someone who was struggling, as an opponent to overcome?
- How often have I perceived the effects of their behavior, in a way that resulted in blame and resentment toward them?
The reality that MY FEELINGS are MY RESPONSIBILITY plows into me like a mack truck. How someone else's behavior effects me in entirely within my control. Infact, more than that, how it effects me - is a reflection of ME.
Today's devotional highlighted the only way to embrace this reality from a perspective of Truth with a capital T. It is not the other person that I should look at as the "opposition," but as Ephesians rightly points out, it is rather our flesh, reacting to "the world forces of this darkness."
I remember relaying this verse to my daughter, who in the heat of whatever controversy, translated the verse into yet another accusation: "Hmph, figures so-n-so would be on the wrong side of things."
Aren't we just so human? Even after realizing it's a spiritual battle we are engaged in, it's still quite easy to take this verse as some type of spiritual "green light" to look at our brother as an ally to the enemy, but that too would be a distortion. In all circumstances, rather than placing ourselves on the white horse and our brother on the black, it is best to look at ourselves first, to consider what our Father might be trying to teach US through this difficulty...
"How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." - Luke 6:42
If I still find myself "assigning sides," without looking in the mirror, I too am in the wrong. It is the "spiritual forces of wickedness" working against BOTH of us that are the driving force behind every circumstance that goes against the Will of God, particularly between brothers & sisters. In this case, it is so important to pray for eachother. And while I pray peace and mercy upon the struggling individual, I must be mindful to pray peace, mercy and humility upon myself.
In Mat 5:9, Jesus calls the Peacemakers - Children of God. Let us desire to give the Holy Spirit full reign in our hearts and actions today!