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Believing Life is Better Lived with the Holy Spirit!

Don’t Miss Out By Jeannie Cunnion-Daring to Believe Life is Better with the Holy Spirit!

Week Five-Chapters 21-25

For a recap of week four

Benefits of the Holy Spirit

Read John 15

I can’t believe I am almost done with this study. Usually by the time I get to the end of a study I am excited for my next one. Not so with Don’t Miss Out by Jeannie Cunnion. I find myself not wanting to be done with the Holy Spirit. He is not done with me, this I am sure of. As I put this book away and turn to my next study, I will keep it close. I have a feeling I will be opening this book constantly to gain more of the Holy Spirit.

This week we covered five topics.

  • The Holy Spirit Empowers Us to Obey
  • He Makes Us More Like Jesus
  • He Produces Fruit in Our Lives
  • The Holy Spirit Fills Us
  • He Keeps Filling Us
He Empowers Us to Obey

Usually, there are rules to follow with consequences if they are not. For example, to motivated kids to follow the rules of our homes, we often entice them? A system of rewards for good behavior is what I see many parents do. Of course, that does not always work. Kids will be kids, right?

A major role of the Holy Spirit is to motivate us by making Jesus beautiful to us. He does this by awakening our hearts to all that Jesus has done for us. He also provides the power we need to fight our weaknesses. The only way to obey is to let the Spirit guide us and grant us power.

"Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. The Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions."
Galatians 5:16-17

To be obedient we must work with the Holy Spirit, yielding and submitting to His leading in our life. It means knowing Him, knowing His voice so we can choose His guidance when our weak nature wants to take control.

He Makes Us More Like Jesus

I love this the most, most importantly, there is nothing I want more than being like Jesus. I am positive that the more I get to know and love the Holy Spirit the closer Christ will be.

Sanctification. This is a word that confused and scared me for a long time, therefore, let’s talk about it. Sanctification means to be ‘set apart, for a purpose. I’ve got goosebumps on my arms. Being set aside, for a purpose that God made strictly for me, makes me a little light-headed with excitement.

The more we are led by the Holy Spirit the more we want to be more like Jesus. We can not accomplish this in our power, we must rely on the Spirit. The Spirit helps us become more of who God says we ALREADY ARE in Christ. Let that sink in! Our pursuit of Christ is the proof that the Spirit is at work in our life, purifying our desires and producing holiness in our lives.

He Produces Fruit in Our Live

The closer we grow in a relationship with the Holy Spirit, His attributes will show up more in our lives.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,self-control. Against such things there are no laws." 
 Galatians 5:22-23

Growing a deeper relationship with the Spirit means we are living IN Christ. Without the power of Christ working in us and through us, we are incapable of producing the fruit that is God-glorifying. Jesus said:

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
John 15:4-5
He Fills Us

Jeannie writes on four things about being filled by the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit is:

  • to be under the influence of the Spirits presense and power
  • a command, not a suggestins
  • essential to living the full and abundant life promised to us in Christ
  • continual

People who love and are filled with the Spirit are living under its influence. They choose to live with the guidance of the Spirit in their lives, following His lead.

Be filled with the Spirit is a command for every Christian. We can not be like Christ if we do not have the Spirit living in us, therefore it is essential to be filled with Him.

Our lives will not live up to their full potential if we are not Spirit-filled. The Spirit guides us to be more like Christ. If He is not pointing us back to Jesus, we can’t possibly bear His fruit. To bear fruit for Jesus you have to be abiding IN Him.

It is a continual action to be close to the Spirit and Jesus. It is not a one-and-done type thing, for that reason, we have to continually pursue Him.

He Keeps Filling Us

Just like anything we love and want to keep, we need to spend time with it. Getting to know it more, cultivate it, making it the center of our lives. Our God is so loving to us, when we spend time with Him, He will continue to pour Himself into us. It’s all about what we choose to do. Jeannie writes it best with this step-by-step guide.

  • Confess
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
John 1:9
  • Repent
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord 
Acts 3:9
  • Yeild

Jeannie helps by putting this one to prayer, she said:

Everything I am and everything I have is yours. I want you at the center of my life so that everything I desire and do will emanate from you. Help me submit my will to yours.
  • Abide
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
Colossians 3:16
  • Ask
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:13
  • REPEAT

Friends, our spiritual journey is a journey of a lifetime. Ever growing and changing. It is a lifelong story that will continue to be told as. you grow in the Spirit.

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Believing Life is Better Lived with the Holy Spirit!

Don’t Miss Out By Jeannie Cunnion-Daring to Believe Life is Better with the Holy Spirit!

Week Four-Chapters 16-20

For a recap of Week Three.

Once again Jeannie Cunnion simply outdoes herself. If I could shake all the words of her book into a tub I would lay back and soak myself in them. I use the words bath and soak for two reasons. The word bathe, as we all know, implies something is clean. To soak means to immerse and absorb. This study has washed away many preconceived notions I had of the Holy Spirit and all I want to do is absorb all these words into my soul.

He Communicates with Us!

One thing we learned and discussed in depth was that the Holy Spirit communicates to us and speaks through us what He receives from God! To imagine that we have a direct line to God through the Holy Spirit was new and thrilling to me. It took me reading and rereading to absorb what that means. Whatever God wants us to hear is conveyed through His Spirit.

Have you ever been in a situation where you feel you have to say something? Maybe something you have been thinking about, something you feel you need to do? That, my friend, is what Jeannie calls the Nudge. The Holy Spirit is gently nudging you to do or say what God is leading you to. Sometimes it is all about being still, to hear him, to answer him.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
John 10:27

The Spirit speaks to us on Jesus’s behalf, it’s an amazing gift. He knows us intimately, therefore He speaks to us however we hear him best. Possibly through worship songs, maybe through a verse that just by chance comes to your attention. Maybe you have a friend that always seems to say what you need to hear. I hear him best when I am in His word and doing my studies with my study group. Things just seem to come alive and make sense. If you are not sure how you hear the Spirit, ask Him, He will let speak to you.

He Communicates Through Us

I know it is easy to try and take care of the world (wink wink) but if we just let the Spirit in He can speak through us. There will be times when we won’t know the right thing say. Someone will need to hear words that ease their hurts or sweeps away their anger, words that need to touch their souls. These will be the times that we need to step back and let the Spirit speak through us. He will heal wounds and make anger fade if we allow him to just speak.

He Makes God’s Love Real to Us

The Holy Spirit makes God’s love real for us. He makes our hearts tender toward Jesus by always pointing us back to Him. I love how the apostle Paul wrote.

"God's love has been poured into our heards through the Holy Spirit who He has given to us." Romans 5:5

Isn’t that beautiful? I envision a gorgeous crystal pitcher filled with the Spirit as a hand from above pours it out on us. All we need to do is lift our eyes to him, accept it and let it soak in. God wants us to accept it, to accept him. The more we accept, the more intimate our relationship with God is.

He Convicts Us

Many people seem to struggle with the concept of being convicted of our sin. The Holy Spirit convicts us of three things: sin, righteousness, and judgment. Jeannie did a great job explaining this, I am going to take the liberty of using the words she writes in her book.

First, the word convict can be likened to convince. The Spirit convinces us we need Jesus because of our sin. Without the Holy Spirit, we would stay spiritually dead and separated from God. The Holy Spirits’ job is to continually show us our sin and convince us to choose obedience.

Second, is concerning righteousness. The sense of peace we experience about our salvation with the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit shows us our security in our Savior.

Finally, the Spirit convicts us concerning judgment. The Holy Spirit convinces us that the enemy (Satan) no longer holds authority over us. He has been judged by Jesus and lost.

He Helps Us Live in Freedom

Paul writes in Romans 8

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

When Jesus took our sins to the cross, he took away the shame of our sin. We no longer have to live in fear of making a mistake and losing the love of Christ. Being filled with the Spirit shapes our life, but we live in a world that is filled with temptation to lead us away from God. The enemy would love for us to pick a sin-filled life, but we don’t have to. Jesus paid for our sins on the cross, setting us FREE. I pray you will let the Holy Spirit’s power help you LIVE FREE.

Believing Life is Lived Better with the Holy Spirit!

Don’t Miss Out by Jeannie Cunnion-Daring To Believe Life is Better with the Holy Spirit!

Week Three Chapters 11-15

For a recap of Week Two

Read Acts 2

I have to be totally honest with you, as I read this book, I think that “this” week is the best. So much to learn and appreciate. Then, I read the next week’s assignments and think, no, “this is the best week. Jeannie Cunnion really dives into the Holy Spirit and makes it so easy to understand and relate to. I know these are my notes on the study and what I gleaned from them, but if you are curious to know more, I encourage you to read Don’t Miss Out. I can not remember the last time I have been so spelled bond by a book.

He Empowers Jesus!

Let’s jump right in with learning who empowered Jesus. Yup, you guessed it! The Holy Spirit is who empowered Jesus as He started His ministry. We know Jesus was baptized with water by John the Baptist. But what some may have missed is what happened next, two awe-inspiring things.

  • First, the Spirit of God filled Jesus and empowered Him for his ministry.
  • Second, God the Father affirmed Jesus as His Son in whom He was well pleased
And a voice from heaven said, "This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17
"I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him." John 1:32

Let’s talk about the significance of the dove. John noted he saw the dove ( the Holy Spirit) come down and remain on Jesus. The fascinating tidbit revolves around the word ‘remains.’ If you know anything about doves (which I really did not, only that they are white), they are very skittish. Suppose they are startled in any way; they tend to fly away quickly. To think that Jesus had such peaceful continence, that the dove felt comfortable enough to stay on him tells us how pure and sinless our Jesus is.

To Wait or Not to Wait?

Jesus told the disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit is sent to them, Luke 24:49. Just as the disciples had to wait for the Holy Spirit, Jesus too had to wait until the Spirit of God indwelled him. It’s clear to see that without the Spirit of God, Jesus could not complete his ministry. It’s wonderful to know that God’s timing is perfect.

He Gave Power to the Disciples!

So the disciples waited for the Spirit to come upon them. Not only did they wait, but they waited with joyful hearts, praising Jesus. I love that image of them waiting for the promised Spirit and had to think about my waiting on the Lord. Though I know His timing is perfect, goodness, it can be hard to wait for his answer. Let’s remember to turn to scripture when we struggle with being patient with God. Here are a few verses to help.

Romans 12:12
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation,be constant in prayer." 
Psalm 27:14
"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
2 Peter 3:9
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
Exodus 14:14
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
Isaiah 30:18 
"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!"
2 Peter 3:8
"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."
He Gave His P0wer to Peter!

Jeannie gave a great example of the power of the Holy Spirit at work, in Peter. It was Peter who struggled with being loyal to Jesus and all that He offered. He was a man who cared very much what his peers thought of him, and he was the one that denied Jesus 3 times. I share this because it is so important when you see Peter after receiving the indwelling of the Spirit. He was bold and confident, speaking with authority on Jesus.

He Gives His Power to Us!

Let’s think about that for a minute. The Spirit of God was sent to Jesus when it was his time to start his ministry. The Holy Spirit was sent to the disciples when it was time to start their ministry after Jesus ascended to heaven. When we believe in faith that Jesus is our Savior, we receive the Spirit as well. Therefore, it’s with a sense of profound peace that I know he gave his power to us as well. Did you catch that? The Spirit of God lives in US! I don’t know about you, but that stops me in my tracks and gives me goosebumps all at the same time.

But wait, there’s more; think about what the power of the Spirit does. It makes us alive with the power of God, it gives us the confidence to share the gospel with others, it has the power to transform hearts for His glory, and the power to live boldly in Jesus. Can you say Amen! I know it would be easy to be intimidated by that, but friends, if the power of the Spirit can do all that is mentioned above, let’s not fear it; let’s rest in faith that He will give us the power to activate him in our lives.

Knowing he lives in us, we must make Him feel welcome in our lives. Just because He lives in us doesn’t mean he is fully at work in us. We need to spend time in prayer with him, asking for his guidance.

He is the Spirit of Truth!

One important role the Holy Spirit plays is to lead us to the truth, Jesus! The Spirit will always lead us back to Jesus. He is our personal guide to know Jesus more intimately. The Spirit will never lie. He is completely trustworthy and faithful. He guides us in the Truth. I have to say; I never again want to walk this world without the best guide, the Holy Spirit.

I pray you will welcome him into your life as your guide for this turbulent world we live in.

"I am the way and the truth and life."John 14:6

Believing life is better lived with the Holy Spirit!

Don’t Miss Out by Jeannie Cunnion-Daring to believe life is better with the Holy Spirit!

Week Two- Chapters 6-10

For a recap of Week One.

Please read Ephesians 1

He is Equal

We continue this week with more insight into who the Holy Spirit is. Not only did we see that He is Equal to God and Jesus, but he is essential. There is no way we can live the life made solely for us without the Holy Spirit. Why do you say, why do I need the Holy Spirit? Is Jesus not enough? I admit I went many years believing I had all I needed because I was saved and Jesus lives in me.

I absolutely love how Jeannie answered those questions. She reminds us that we are trying to be a witness for Jesus, and to do that without the power of Christ–the Holy Spirit–we would be frustrated and discouraged.

Did you catch that? The POWER of Christ, the Holy Spirit, is within us. To try to be as like Jesus as we all strive to be, with his POWER, to do all things for HIS glory, would be impossible without HIS power. The Holy Spirit.

This is why the Holy Spirit is essential. When you put your trust in Jesus, the Spirit of God is fully available to you.

Jeannie uses a quote from Robert Morris.

“Having the Holy Spirit’s power available to us isn’t the same thing as making ourselves available to the Holy Spirit’s life-changing power. We have to yield. Our stubborn, prideful selves have to submit. We have to receive.”

He is Better Than Self-Help

If I were to ask, have you ever read a book meant to change something about yourself, what would your answer be? I’ll be honest and say I wanted to fix myself as much as the next person over the years. A friend would tell me how great a certain book was and how it helped her; of course, I had to run out to get it, hoping it would help me too. It’s no surprise to me that I did not make it through one of those many books. Truthfully, I never read one where I agreed with the concept of the ‘self-help’ that was being given.

The author would say one thing that I could identify with than follow up with many things I disagreed with. Many of these books boast of methods to help people feel better, mainly by concentrating on themselves. Friends, if we put all this effort into fixing our problems, we miss something amazing. We miss that the Almighty God indwells us and is just waiting for us to let him empower us to fight out battles in HIS might for HIS name.

No book is necessary when we have the fixer of all wrongs breathing life into us. Or should I say, breathing HIS life into us?

He Is Our Guarantee

To be given a guarantee on something is to be able to trust. To rely on what has been given to you. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee that we belong to God’s heavenly kingdom. We are daughters of the King. He gave up his life for us, and he will not let us go.

"When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of his glory." Ephisians 1:13-14

We are sealed up with the Holy Spirit, with the promise of eternal life in heaven with our Heavenly Father. This humbles me and fills me with such joy; I weep with gratitude and peace. Peace because I know my future is secure in Him.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He annointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
He Makes Much of Jesus
Jesus said, "He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you. John 16:14-15

I loved how Jeannie wrote that the Holy Spirit is the one who woos us to Jesus. I love that word, woos! That is how I feel when I think of my feelings for Jesus, I am wood by him. I want to be with him. To know him is to love him. And he loves me.

One goal of the Spirit is to put the focus back on Jesus, always leading us back to him. That is an amazing honor to do what the disciples did, to point others to the goodness of our God. With the Holy Spirit guiding us, we will help to lead people to Jesus as well.

He Authored the Bible

If you are like so many of us, you may answer Jesus’s disciples if asked who wrote the Bible. That is technically correct; they are credited with writing it. What most of us have missed is that the Holy Spirit has empowered everything they say. As Jesus intended the Spirit to do, He breathed the words of the Bible into existence.

For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21

Men communicated the words of the Bible under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I love sitting back and digesting that. Human authors were writing and speaking what was shared with them from God’s Spirit. This makes scripture the faultless Word of God.

Let’s talk about God’s Word and the necessity of having it in our life. God’s Word is like my navigation in a world with so many twists and turns that it is easy to get lost, even when you are in your own neighborhood. The Word for me is a set of instructions that, without nothing, can be built. I need the Word like I need a tall glass of water on a hot August day.

Through God’s Word, he gives understanding. We know God’s Word is alive, but we also know it can be difficult to understand. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand it AND apply it as we study. I can remember when I would open the bible and read, and unfortunately, closing it up because what I read was not clear to me.

I know many of us have felt that, but I can assure you that by seeking Jesus with a sincere heart, the Holy Spirit will open the bible up to you.

So, I leave you this week with a heartfelt prayer. That the Spirit will open your heart as you read the bible, that a newfound sense of clarity and understanding fill you as you seek Him.

Believing life is better lived with the Holy Spirit!

Don’t Miss Out by Jeannie Cunnion-Daring to believe life is better with the Holy Spirit!

Week One- Introduction thru Chapter 5

Please read John 16

Last week, I finished our study, Truthfilled by Ruth Chou Simons, and I am thrilled to share my new study with you. This one is different for me as it is a book we are reading and discussing. Not my normal study. II am the type that loves a good thick workbook with my study with questions that lead me to dig into my bible.

My passion over the last few years have turned to obedience to my Lord. More recently, I have become fixated on the Holy Spirit. Who is He? What does He do, and how is he meant to work in my life. Therefore, my new study won’t be a big surprise. It’s Don’t Miss Out-Daring to believe life is better with the Holy Spirit by Jeannie Cunnion.

How my walk began

The way my walk has gone over the years, I am blessed to look back and see growth! Real spiritual growth. I like to joke and say my spiritual growth is similar to an onion……you know, layers! I grew up in a home where we went to church every week, were baptized, and had our first communion and confirmation. I truly believed in God and that Jesus died on the cross, but beyond that, there was not a lot of thought. As a result, there was a huge hole in my faith. I realize now I did not have the full picture, or should I say the full Trinity? 🙂

Relationship with Jesus

The one thing I was missing was the personal relationship with Jesus. I was lucky after years of study to correct that, but I will be honest and say I did not know the Holy Spirit. Yes, that’s right, as we will see in a bit, he is a person. That is why over the last few years I have been learning more about Him.

This study is going to help me do with the Holy Spirit what happened with Jesus. I will spend time with him, learn his purpose, and learn to love him for himself. It will be exciting to know his purpose and how it benefits us.

In the first week, we read and discussed who he is.

Who is the Holy Spirit?
  • He is to our advantage
  • He makes his home in us
  • Never leaves us
  • He is God
  • Last but not least, He is a person

One of the things I took away from him being to our advantage was that he is our helper. The Holy Spirit is God in us. Isn’t that the most exhilarating thought you can have? It completely blows my mind that I walk around with a piece of God in me!! Do I hear an Amen!

But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, "Where are you going?" But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:5-7
How he helps us.

With Jesus leaving, he was able to send us our amazing Helper. Sit back and let that soak in; think about those words. HE LIVES IN US! We must remember He lives in us!

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 John 14:16-17

Did you notice verse 16? That he will be with us forever, he will never leave us. He is in our souls forever. He will be our constant companion.

And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20
Learning who he is!

I will be bold and say I never did see the significance of the Holy Spirit. I really didn’t know who he was, nor did I give him the acknowledgment he rightly deserves. My heart nearly exploded when all the dot’s connected for me. HE IS GOD! I have known about the holy trinity all my life, but my lack of knowledge robbed him of his holiness.

As Jeannie says in her book, the Holy Spirit is God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit coexist as the eternal (no beginning and no end), omnipresent (existing everywhere at all times), omniscient (knowing everything), omnipotent (all-powerful), Godhead.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2
He has a purpose to fulfill!

We also discussed his purpose. God, the Holy Spirit, does specific work in us. Jeannie quoted J.I. Packer as saying,

“The Christians life in all its aspects–intellectual and ethical, devotional and relational, upsurging in worship and outgoing in witness, is supernatural; only the Spirit can initiate it and sustain it. So apart from Him, not only will there be no lively believers and no lively congregations, there will be no believers and no congregations at all.”

That is quite a statement that I too, wanted to share, think about it. Jeannie challenged us to look in the mirror every day and remind ourselves that God Almighty is the one who indwells us by HIS HOLY SPIRIT. He is the power of God inside us.

In his image!

I know for many people, the Spirit was seen as a dove, rushing wind, or maybe a burning flame. It is easy to see him as a symbol, but it’s important to know that he is a person like God and Jesus.

Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea, and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27

Read the first sentence of the verse. Did you catch the ‘us’ in there? We were created in the image of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, all of them their own person.

Please read John 16

Last week, I finished our study, Truthfilled by Ruth Chou Simons, and I am thrilled to share my new study with you. This one is different for me as it is a book we are reading and discussing. Not my typical study. I am the type that loves a good thick workbook with questions that lead me to dig into my bible.

My passion over the last few years have turned to obedience to my Lord. More recently, I have become fixated on the Holy Spirit. Who is He? What does He do, and how is he meant to work in my life. Therefore, my new study won’t be a big surprise. It’s Don’t Miss Out-Daring to believe life is better with the Holy Spirit by Jeannie Cunnion.

How my walk began

The way my walk has gone over the years, I am blessed to look back and see growth! Real spiritual growth. I like to joke and say my spiritual growth is similar to an onion……you know, layers! I grew up in a home where we went to church every week, were baptized, and had our first communion and confirmation. I truly believed in God and that Jesus died on the cross, but there was no real commitment beyond that. As a result, there was a huge hole in my faith. I realize now I did not have the full picture, or should I say the full Trinity? 🙂

Relationship with Jesus

The one thing I was missing was the personal relationship with Jesus. I was lucky after years of study to correct that, but I will be honest and say I did not know the Holy Spirit. Yes, that’s right, as we will see in a bit, he is a person. That is why over the last few years I have been learning more about Him.

This study is going to help me do with the Holy Spirit what happened with Jesus. I will spend time with him, learn his purpose, and learn to love him for himself. It will be exciting to know his purpose and how it benefits us.

In the first week, we read and discussed who he is.

Who is the Holy Spirit?
  • He is to our advantage
  • He makes his home in us
  • Never leaves us
  • He is God
  • Last but not least, He is a person

One of the things I took away from him being to our advantage was that he is our helper. The Holy Spirit is God in us. Isn’t that the most exhilarating thought you can have? It completely blows my mind that I walk around with a piece of God in me!! Do I hear an Amen!

But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, "Where are you going?" But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:5-7
How he helps us.

With Jesus leaving, he was able to send us our amazing Helper. Sit back and let that soak in; think about those words. HE LIVES IN US! We must remember He lives in us!

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 John 14:16-17

Did you notice verse 16? That he will be with us forever, he will never leave us. He is in our souls forever. He will be our constant companion.

And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20
Learning who he is!

I will be bold and say I never did see the significance of the Holy Spirit. I really didn’t know who he was, nor did I give him the acknowledgment he rightly deserves. My heart nearly exploded when all the dot’s connected for me. HE IS GOD! I have known about the holy trinity all my life, but my lack of knowledge robbed him of his holiness.

As Jeannie says in her book, the Holy Spirit is God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit coexist as the eternal (no beginning and no end), omnipresent (existing everywhere at all times), omniscient (knowing everything), omnipotent (all-powerful), Godhead.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2
He has a purpose to fulfill!

We also discussed his purpose. God, the Holy Spirit, does specific work in us. Jeannie quoted J.I. Packer as saying,

“The Christians life in all its aspects–intellectual and ethical, devotional and relational, upsurging in worship and outgoing in witness, is supernatural; only the Spirit can initiate it and sustain it. So apart from Him, not only will there be no lively believers and no lively congregations, there will be no believers and no congregations at all.”

That is quite a statement that I, too, wanted to share, think about it. Jeannie challenged us to look in the mirror every day and remind ourselves that God Almighty is the one who indwells us by HIS HOLY SPIRIT. He is the power of God inside us.

In his image!

I know for many people, the Spirit was seen as a dove, rushing wind, or maybe a burning flame. It is easy to see him as a symbol, but it’s important to know that he is a person like God and Jesus.

Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea, and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27

Read the first sentence of the verse. Did you catch the ‘us’ in there? We were created in the image of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, all of them their own person.

Preach God’s Truth to Yourself and Practice what you Preach!

Truthfilled by Ruth Chou Simons

In Conclusion; Week five and week six

Let’s read Colossians 4:2-18

Well, Friends, it’s that time. Time to summarize and conclude our study. This study, in particular, has shown me how much we all need to preach to ourselves. Ruth said it best in that if we don’t preach to ourselves, someone else will. It’s your choice who you want to listen to.

This world can seem like a black hole for many of us. It’s filled with sadness and unhappiness, with unrest and fear. People that do not know the Word, what it says, and how it can save us will preach what they ‘hear.’ They will take for gospel the news or what they see on their computer as the truth.

Is this the person you want preaching to you on how you should be living your life?

Perhaps then, you want to listen to someone that knows and studies the word of God! Someone that knows how much he loves you. Someone that hurts when you hurt and laughs when you laugh. Someone who encourages and promotes instead of discourages and demotes.

Wait! This person sounds a lot like YOU! That’s right, friends; as believers and students of God’s word, we have the love letters from our Source to talk ourselves right into being the people we were made to be. God’s people.

I decided to put week 5 and week 6 together because they go hand and hand, you need to remember what God gives us, and we need to put it into practice. Therefore, let me share what I learned about our mighty God and how he wants us to preach to ourselves.

Ruth talked about growth and what it really looks like.

Growth can…
  • looks messy
  • stretches all our resources
  • takes work
  • makes everything worth it

I chuckled when I saw she used the word messy….can you relate? How often do you feel like your spiritual path is just a collage of disfunction? On my best day, I feel like I am scattered in several different areas. Can I get an Amen? That is why I resonated with how often Ruth says you have to work at knowing the Lord and the provisions he extends to us. If we do not know what He wants to give us, how can we preach it to ourselves?

Read Philippians 1:6 below.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Phillipians 1:6

We must remember his provisions daily.

Here are just a few provisions we discussed, its funny; we know them in our head, but to see them on paper helps you remember them in your heart.

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want"
"He makes me lay down in green pastures"
"He leads me besidw still waters"
"He restores my soul"

Psalm 23 

These are just a few of the beautiful promises He makes to us in Psalm 23. I would encourage you to read it in its entirety. It is well worth it.

Consequently, knowing what the Lord wants us to have and actually taking it and practicing it are, unfortunately, two very different actions.

In conclusion, we must make it a daily practice to preach to ourselves, to fill our own heads and hearts with the desires of our Lord. He wants you to breathe in his words of promise from scripture.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

I wish I could tell you the practice part is easy, but we all know that it’s not. We all know how life is like a rushing river that can sweep you along on a course you did not set. Nevertheless, we must strive toward that goal.

Since we have the source of what to preach, it’s the matter of making ourselves a priority.

To illustrate how easy it is to not focus on yourself, think about where you spend time during your day. Having a few extra minutes to unwind, do you look at Facebook, Instagram, maybe the news channel? Despite believing it is fun and harmless, I will tell you that I sign out of my page many times feeling defeated.

All the perfect pictures leaving me feeling like I am nowhere near as good as the people I see there. The perfect pictures, the success stories of another goal achieved, children, behaving like they actually like their siblings? I mean, come on!! When we shake our heads and clear the muck of deception out there, we know there is no true perfect picture. Equally important is that we know these posts are where some are getting their affirmation.

Dedication and determination are what keeps me preaching to my heart.

PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!

  • I have what I need.
  • I am well care for by God.
  • I am secure in Christ because of the gospel.

Promises from our God, the true resource of our happiness and spiritual growth.

I pray, sisters, take this practice to heart and make it a daily occurrence in your life. One thing I can promise is you will be rewarded with God’s holy presence and abounding love.

“Truthfilled-Respond in Faith!

Week Four

By Ruth Chou Simons

Read Colossians 2:4-23

Do you have identity issues? Most of us would say ‘no’ I know exactly who I am if asked that question. But do you? It is so easy in today’s world to get lost in the ‘perfection’ of what others present to us as their normal on whatever social platform they use.

When I spend too much time on Instagram or Facebook, I can really start to feel depressed. I don’t see that the pictures people post may have taken all day for them to capture. All I feel is ineptness. Of course, that leaves me feeling like I should be more like them, wondering why my life is not the perfect ‘show ‘n tell” story they present of theirs.

I have forgotten who I am and WHOSE I am. That is the main lesson in this week’s video with Ruth. I feel that it is one of our biggest pulls away from who we are in Christ.

I have to be so careful that I don’t let someone else tempt me to forget that I belong to Jesus and because I absolutely believe in him and know who he is, I know where I can find my identity.

Ruth said: “Without Christ, we would be trying to define ourselves with degrees, labels, achievements, associations, awards, and appearances. Without Jesus, I would always be trying to define myself through another’s approval.”

Ruth also talks about how practicing something over and over will create a habit. Is there something you do that you do so often, you feel like you can do it in your sleep? Think about what that is. Think about how often you do it. Are the consequences of that action good for you? How often do you do it, so it is a habit?

That is how we need to preach to ourselves the triumphant words of Jesus ourselves. If we don’t habitually tell ourselves who we are and whose we are, the social media of the world will!

Below is a snippet from our study that I really wanted to share. Its Ruths steps on how to preach to your own heart.

Practice Preaching To Your Own Heart

First, read the below scripture.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,

my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:5

  1. Identify the care. What’s the issue? Why are yoyu “downcast”?
  2. Tell your sould waht to do. Put your hope in God.
  3. Embrace gospel hope. How does the good news of Christ (the gospel) change your perspective?

These are 3 wonderful steps to start learning how to practice preaching what your heart and mind need to hear.

I encourage you to read Colossians 2:4-23. The best place to start is scripture. Over and over again.

Truthfilled – Rehearse who you are!

By Ruth Chou Simons

Week Three

Colossians 1:15-2:3

This week we study God’s Character and the worthiness of Christ. I have to say. I loved every minute of it. When you take the time to really focused on God’s Character, it is humbling to realize how big our God is really is. Let’s go back and list a few characteristics of our God.

The Colossians knew God, but they did not have it embedded in their hearts, and when negative things were being said about Jesus, they were in danger of slipping away from all they had learned. 

Ruth talks about how we must rest in the character of God but to do this; we must believe what God says is true. We must believe who God is, what he says about himself, so when he talks to us about us, you can rest in that what he says is true. 

Characteristics of God:

He is sovereign, wise, and good

He is trustworthy

Hi is in control 

He is worthy

He loves us 

Preach the Truth of Who He is

When we rest in this information, we make an active choice to follow God and know him intimately. We must continuously speak the truth of God to ourselves, so it is what we fill our heads and heart with. 

It is easy to be pulled away from your focus when you don’t, deep in your soul, trust all that God is. Ruth says, ‘we must preach to ourselves the truth of who Hi is, why His trustworthy and how He is sufficient for our every spiritual and physical need.’

When we study His characteristics and rest in Him, we can find our identity in HIm. Once we rest in who he is, we can believe and rehearse the truth to ourselves, believing it is true.

Knowing His Heart

We must take the time to dig deep in the Word so we can get to know Him, his heart, and how much he loves us. We must fill ourselves up with Jesus and what he did on the cross for us. His death opened the door for us to know God and establish an active relationship with him. If we do not get to know God and Jesus the way they want us to, it lessens the sacrifice He made on the cross.

This week was filled with why we want to be Truthfilled and how we can do that. When we believe what God says about himself, we can rest in the truth of what he says about us. We must spend our time learning about him, trusting him in what he tells us.

Below are some verses we read with this week’s study. I love the one below as it tells us the exact identity of Christ.

Characters of God

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For b him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him, all things hold together. And his is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he might be preeminent in everything.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.  Colossians 1:15-20 ESV

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, to present you holy ad blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Colossians 1:21-23 ESV

Holy

For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians  5:21 ESV

Blameless

How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Hebrews 9:14 ESV

Beyond Reproach

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, persecution, famine or nakedness, danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake, we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us, for I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:33-39

Truthfilled-Rest in God’s Character

Week two

By Ruth Chou Simons

This week’s study was very impactful for me. It tells us how God tells us who we are. Read Psalm 42

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:14

But to actually believe him, we must first know him. The gospel is God’s invitation that makes the instructions we follow possible. Our obedience must be first and foremost in our lives.

This week Ruth spoke about the imperatives and the indicative of our faith walk.

Imperative-Right conduct or practice. The do’s and don’t

Indicative– This is what we believe. Serving as a sign or indication

We seem to gravitate toward the imperatives and tend to skip the indicative. We want to rush out there and do something. Fortunately, God knows this about us, that we find our hope in doing things rather than learning the character of our amazing Father.

Ruth shares how we must learn who God is, know his character, know that he is truth. Knowing that allows us to rest our weary souls in him.

Being strengthened with all [power according to his glorious might, so that you may have great endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. In him, we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.

Colossians 1:11-14

Without the indicative, or what’s truer about who God is and what He’s done, the imperatives would be basically impossible. Without knowing our God and resting in the love and care of him, his character, and who he is, our attempt at obedience would more likely lead us to our own pride and self-righteousness.

Everything we have, all that we believe, must rest on the character of our God.

As Paul wrote to the Colossians, he is also talking for us, that God is the one that calls us, God qualifies us, and God delivers us. God alone enables us to walk in a way that is pleasing to Him.

” But now he has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him. If indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a servant of it.”

Colossians 1:22-23

We can not know how to walk our Christ-like walk without first knowing who enables us. That is what we need to learn to preach to ourselves.

Placing our hope and trust in our God, believing he is everything he says he is, is how we can believe what he says about us.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Corinthians 5:17

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

John 1:12

For in Christ Jesus, you are all sons of God through faith.

Galatians 3:26

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant, does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:15

If we do not tell our soul what is true, someone else will. That is the most important point I received out of this week’s study. When Ruth said that, everything in me stopped. It is so true but oh so hard to do. The only way we can preach to ourselves is to know and trust our God. If we can believe what he says about us, we should believe it about us too.

Week Nine- God of Covenant- by Jen Wilkin

A Study of Genesis 48- 50

Wow, I can’t believe this is our last week of this study. It was so informative and intense at times. Please remember, what I wrote was only some of what I got out of the study personally. There is so much more that wasn’t covered. If you are interested in really learning more about God’s covenant with his people, how mighty it is, I encourage you to check out this study. You will truly have a sound foundation on how the covenant with God came about and so much more.

At the end of chapter 47, we thought that Jacob had breathed his last, but we see Chapter 48 open with the fact that he is still alive. Joseph hears that his father is very ill and takes his sons to see him so Jacob can bless them. Do you remember back in week four, when Jacob stole his older brother’s birthright? Well, it looks like we have gone full circle. We see that Jacob blesses the younger son and then the older one. They would both be successful, but the younger one would inherit the position of leader and most of the wealth. 

Jacob gathers all his boys to tell them all how their lives will go in the last days. 

Rueben: He was the firstborn, but he gave up his birthright by his evil actions

Simeon and Levi: Their land would be divided

Judah: would be a leader of the other tribes

Zebulun: Would be given lots of lands

Issachar: Would be a farmer

Dan: Would become a judge in Israel

Gad: He would be good in military struggles

Asher: would have fertile land

Naphtali: He will be liked by all other tribes

Joseph: He received many blessings

Benjamin: Would become a warrior

At the end of chapter 49 and the beginning of 50, we see Jacob finally dies. He had Joseph promise to take him back to where his family is all buried. Joseph goes to Pharaoh for permission to go back to Canaan to bury his father. Not only was that the resting place of all his family, but Jacob knew his tomb would forever be in God’s promised land. 

At this point, the brothers became afraid of Joseph, thinking that Joseph would now exact his revenge on them for selling him into slavery with their father gone. Joseph assured them that he had forgiven them, and he was exactly where God put him for a reason, to do what God wanted him to do. 

Joseph lived in Egypt for the rest of his days. He said to his brothers: “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and Jacob.” Genesis 50:24

He instructed the sons of Israel to promise, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” Genesis 50:25

Joseph died at 110.