October 9, 2016

The Spirit Who Comforts

For the past month we’ve been talking about ways the Holy Spirit of God works in our lives. It is the Spirit that Regenerates our souls, Acts in our lives to Empower and Sanctify our work. The Holy Spirit also comforts and gives us joy as we go about our day-to-day lives, which sometimes seem to be filled with troubles.
It can be easy to get trapped in the cycle of looking at everything from a negative viewpoint. “Government is corrupt”, “School is too hard”, “The world has gone crazy with violence”…the list goes on and on. It can get longer each time we watch the news, too. We can start to believe “Nobody cares about me or my problems”. This is not the attitude Jesus promised to his followers.

If we are able to look at life through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, we might discover that there is a silver lining to all those clouds. Jesus says “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (John 14:16-21)
Notice that Jesus repeats that we are not ‘orphaned’, not left alone in this world to fend for ourselves. He goes on to say that “They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them This raises the question with Judas (not Iscariot), and with us “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” (John 14: 21-26)
It is the Holy Spirit that will be with and within us to teach us, comfort us, and bring us joy as we live our lives in relationship with God. In fact Paul’s Letter to the Romans tells us that For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)
Since we have these promises from the Lord of Life we can be free from the fears and sins that try to drag us down. In Hebrews 12:1-2, we are encouraged by the promise that we are not alone. Not only do we have the Holy Spirit, we also “are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with endurance the race set out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
With the Holy Spirit and other witnesses of the work of God, we can allow the comfort and joy of the Holy Spirit to live in us and overflow in our interactions with each other. God’s promise is that the Spirit of God will live in us and that can offer comfort in troubling times.
Sometimes there are pieces of music or special verses that help remind you of the promises of God. The coloring panel is one of my favorite ones. It would make a nice bookmark for your Bible or devotional. One of my favorite songs is I Will NeverForget You My People, which repeats the promise to ‘not leave you orphans’.   
What is your favorite Bible verse or song that reminds you of the promises of God?
Is there something you can do today to remind yourself of the presence of God’s joy and comfort in your life?


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