Psalm 94:19-22, John 14:16-18
Before Jesus left earth, He told His disciples “Peace I leave with you… Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” God is a god of peace. In the passage above, the Holy Spirit is called the Comforter. He is a spirit of Comfort. In the midst of trouble or stress, believers have the person of the Holy Spirit who will bring peace and comfort to every situation. There are many ways to deal with stress. Many times we can relax with distractions like sports, movies and TV; we can alter our thinking with caffeine, energy drinks, alcohol, or other substances; or we can de-stress by talking with friends or our spouse. These things can be healthy or unhealthy, but people who have received Jesus Christ into their heart have the Holy Spirit as the ultimate provider of comfort. Times of prayer and worship draw us closer to the Comforter, who is able to wash away every care. Psalms 34 says “I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” Whatever situation we are in, and whatever pressures we may be feeling, the Holy Spirit is available to us. As we draw closer to Him in prayer, we learn more about His personality. We are able to draw comfort and peace from His presence. He is an ever-present help in time of need. May you receive the comfort of God today!
Spiritual Songs, psalms, and hymns are verses inspired by the Holy Spirit. They incorporate scripture and biblical truths. In both Ephesians and Colossians, Paul encourages the churches to speak to another in spiritual songs, psalms, and hymns. Paul’s instruction is open-ended. It is an instruction to a lifestyle. As a Christian, we are called to encourage one another and lift up the fellow believers in our community.
Songs and Psalms should play an important role in the Christian life. Their poetic nature and connection to music help engrain themselves into our minds. They are quickly recalled. They remind us of what God is like, and keep us in relationship with Him. They also encourage recitation. Speaking the truths of God in song or verse can bring celebration and joy in good times, and encouragement in times of difficulty. The believer who sings, reads, and quotes spiritual songs and psalms from a pure heart is a believer who is living a lifestyle of worship.
Spiritual songs can also bring the comfort of the Holy Spirit to those around them by releasing scripture and the encouragement of the Lord. Often, we are unintentional about our speech. We allow words to flow from us freely to those around us. Psalms and hymns that are proceed from us go out as a blessing and breathe life to those around us, because they are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and declare the promises and goodness of God. Today, may a song fill your heart and then flow from your mouth, and may you be blessed to be a blessing to others.
Hebrews 12,13,1 Peter 1, John 14:1-3
In John chapter 14 Jesus begins to comfort his disciples after telling them that he must leave them, and revealing to Peter that he would deny Jesus three times. Jesus declares to His disciples that He is going to prepare a place for them, and that ‘In my Father’s house are many mansions.’ Similarly, the writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 11:16 that God has prepared a city for those that are faithful. All those that believe in Jesus Christ have a hope and inheritance in the holy city of God that is to come.
It is a city that was revealed to Ezekiel and to John on the isle of Patmos. It is a city that is lit by the glory of God, and whose gates never shut. The inhabitants of the city shall see the face of God. Ezekiel is shown that the city’s name is ‘The Lord is there.’ This is the reward for those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. It is the dwelling place for all those who shall see God face to face at the end of this age. It is the age to come, the eternal future for all who trust on the name of the Lord.
We are not seeking a city or a dwelling place here on this earth, but we have a citizenship in the city of God that is to come. It is a city where the river of God flows from His throne, where the tree of life bears fruits for the healing of the nations, and where God himself lights the city day and night. As those that have been born again, we are citizens of the New Heaven, seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. We are merely ambassadors here on earth. The customs of the world are not our customs. The ways of the culture are not our ways. We are not to hope or trust in the world, but are called to come out from among them and be holy, as God the father is holy. Our fellowship is with Him at His thrown. Today, may you represent your heavenly dwelling, and boldly walk as a son and daughter of God, an inheritor of an eternal home that is to come.
1 Samuel 15:24, 1 Samuel 16:7
When the Israelites demanded a king over the land, Samuel tried to dissuade them. When Samuel brought the situation before the Lord, God spoke to him “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.” God leads Samuel to choose Saul as the new king of Israel. He looked the part. Samuel was handsome, and he was a head taller than everyone else. From the outward appearance, he was the perfect choice.
Saul’s reign began well, but ended poorly. Although he was able to rally the people, he was also swayed by them. He became preoccupied by their opinion of him. He disobeyed God because he was afraid of the people. Later, he grows jealous of David because the people loved him. He looked the part; it was the things on the inside that were missing. God’s next choice wasn’t someone who looked kingly, but someone who God said was “after my own heart.”
People look at outward appearances, but God looks at the heart. It can be easy to become preoccupied by our own appearance, or how we appear to others. Vanity isn’t just admiring our own beauty, it is also admiring and preoccupation with our own achievements, and how we appear to others. Much more important is how our heart appears to God. It is through spending time with God, and meditating on His ways that our heart changes, that we become like Him. Our life is a vapor; the admiration of those around us pales in importance to the approval of our God and king. We will spend eternity with Him. Today, may the cares and influence of the crowd fade, and may you be molded and shaped to the image of Jesus!
Jewish culture (and the Old Testament) often equated wealth with the blessing of the Lord. Jesus’ teachings often challenged conventional religious thinking and would use conventional thinking to provoke thought. The first beatitude that Jesus declared is, “blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God.” God’s kingdom belongs to those who are “poor in spirit.”
Poverty is not pleasant. To be poor implies a level of desperation. Those that are poor “in spirit” are desperate for God. He is not a luxury. God, and His Spirit are the difference between life and death. Those that are desperate for God know that every word from Him is precious. It is our daily bread. If we don’t receive from Him regularly, we won’t survive.
Poverty also implies lack. There is little of value to lose. From a spiritual perspective this is an understanding that the rich young ruler couldn’t grasp: that all of his possessions did not amount to anything in comparison to Jesus. Surrendering everything to Jesus is only possible in a realization that He is the true riches. Without Him we are absolutely spiritually destitute.
Whatever we have in this world, it doesn’t compare to Jesus. To grow spiritually poor is to let a desperation for the presence and voice of God to grow in our hearts to such a degree that we live to be in His presence, to hear His voice, and to see His will accomplished on the earth, in us, and through us. Today may you so hungry for the Lord, that nothing else matters, and let it produce a boldness to surrender everything to Him, and to follow Him wherever He leads!