I Believe in the Presence of God

Ancient Creed, Living Faith Blog Series Part 4

I invite you to take time to read the scriptures today.

John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Luke 24:49

Look, I’m sending to you what my Father promised, but you are to stay in the city until you have been furnished with heavenly power.”

 

 

We have been on this journey of looking at the Apostle’s Creed to see what meaning it still has for our lives. I believe we get into the habit of simply reciting this, or any other creed, scripture, or even saying “I love you” to our spouse and can forget or not even think about what it is we are saying.

I believe in the Holy Spirit.

When you read these words, what do you think about. For many of us, the Holy Spirit has become the “Cousin It” of the Trinity simply because we don’t know what to make of this person of the Trinity.

I think the book, The Shack, gives an interesting viewpoint and picture of the Holy Spirit for us: a blurry, fast moving, colorful person.

One of my favorite questions to ask is “where have you experienced God this past week (today)?” God’s presence is all around us and is with us everywhere we go and in everything we are doing. When we ask this kind of question, we invite the Holy Spirit within us to show us were and how God is part of our life and giving us new life each day.

The attribute most commonly connected with the Holy Spirit is comforter. We get to experience God’s peaceful presence and his comfort especially in times of grief, tragedy, or even the in most devastating situations and circumstances of our lives. But this is not all the Holy Spirit gives or does. This person of the Trinity also convicts us when we have strayed from God and have sinned against him and other people, draws us back to God to once again experience grace and forgiveness, convinces us in the reality of God through Jesus Christ and his resurrection from the dead, converts and gives us the gift of faith, consecrates us and sets us apart as God’s children, and even calls us to a higher purpose in life (giving glory to God in everything and calls people into vocational ministry).

Think of the life you are living. It is the Holy Spirit whom Jesus Christ has sent that empowers us to live our life, to be on mission, to be in ministry. I believe the one of greatest callings everyone has on their lives is to tell of God’s presence and activity in and through our lives. The Holy Spirit reminds us and even helps to give us words when we need to speak.

There is so much about God’s presence in our lives and the work of the Holy Spirit than we can fit in this post. I pray you get to experience or continue to experience the reality of God’s presence in our lives through the gift of the Holy Spirit that is given to us.

Where or how have you experienced the presence of God through Jesus Christ this past week?

You are invited to print this out, place this creed in a spot you’ll see every day and recite daily.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;*
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic** church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

 *Adapted from a sermon series idea “Ancient Creed, Living Faith” on www.seedbed.com

Never Forget

stone of grace

Galatians 3:1-5 You irrational Galatians! Who put a spell on you? Jesus Christ was put on display as crucified before your eyes! I just want to know this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the Law or by believing what you heard? Are you so irrational? After you started with the Spirit, are you now finishing up with your own human effort? Did you experience so much for nothing? I wonder if it really was for nothing. So does the one providing you with the Spirit and working miracles among you do this by you doing the works of the Law or by you believing what you heard?

So here we are beginning the third chapter in the letter to the Galatians. This short letter is written to a church of believers who have drifted away from the grace of God and have tried to earn it or just add things and rituals to their faith. Paul writes this letter to admonish them and to remind them of the simple message of the gospel: Jesus Christ brings freedom not bondage!

We do not like to be told we are off base or that we are off track; but I wonder what would happen if we placed ourselves into this passage today. I invite you to read it again, this time putting your personal name in the blanks and see what the Spirit inside you might say or be doing.

You irrational ________! Who put a spell on ________? Jesus Christ was put on display as crucified before ________’s eyes! I just want to know this from ________: Did _________ receive the Spirit by doing the works of the Law or by believing what _________ heard? 3  Is _______ so irrational? After _________ started with the Spirit, is _________ now finishing up with your own human effort? Did _________ experience so much for nothing? I wonder if it really was for nothing. So does the one providing __________ with the Spirit and working miracles among you do this by you doing the works of the Law or by you believing what you heard?

As I was typing this, I placed my name in the blanks. Ouch! These are words I really don’t want to hear; but at the same time, they are words you and I need to hear.

We are often irrational (some translations say “foolish”) because we do not collect enough information before we make a judgment about another person. Typically this is because the other person or group says something or does something we just don’t like.

When we first believe, we knew the incredible presence of Jesus Christ and how his sacrifice has changed everything for us. We can now go to God personally. We can work in the Spirit. We can have the wisdom from heaven. We can do and receive so much. But, we forget this as we go on in our day to day lives. Instead of talking with God, we listen to negative people and news. Instead of praying or reading the Bible, we find others to talk through events, emotions, etc and we’ll read fiction books or anything else that is not the Bible.

There is so much potential in the world but we, like the Galatians, can go back to relying only on human effort. How can we do this? We do this by solely looking at our available resources and can forget that God promises to provide. We will talk bad about an idea before we try to understand what it is or how it will benefit the organization. To rely on human effort means that we forget that God is right here with us and will work and walk with us through everything in life.

This really is kind of a harsh passage; but one that we cannot overlook or assume it is really just meant for another people in another time and another place. I pray that reading the words from Paul in this letter can remind us of the greatness of God’s never-ending love for us. I pray you and I can live in the grace He provides. I pray the spark we experienced when we first believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ never dies down and we remain (or become) passionate for God because He is passionate for us.

Living free in Christ means that we are free to be loving, Spirit-filled people who do the work of God unashamedly and will reach out to all people with love and grace. This love and grace we give comes from God because “He first loved us.”

#LiveFreeInChrist

(Ephesians 4 is a great chapter as well, to help us remember this message.)