My Advocate

I just started taking a new Bible study class 3 weeks ago.  Tonight’s class got the gears turning inside my head so much I decided to write about it.

The verses we studied in tonight’s class were John 14:15-24

This is the NIV version

John 14:15-24 

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

We talked about how in this scripture Jesus was telling His disciples that though He was leaving them, He was going to ask the Father give them another advocate, that advocate being the Holy Spirit.

A question that we pondered for quite some time was…

  • Once we accept Jesus as our savior is the Holy Spirit with us forever?  If we later would fall away from Jesus and say we do not believe in Him or do not love Him is the Holy Spirit still with us??

The people in the class seem to me to be a group of well seasoned Christians and since I am a new person to the class I struggle a bit with speaking up, I guess its the fear that I may be wrong?  Though I am sure that in this class it would not matter if I was right or wrong because they all seem very nice and seem to respect each others opinions very well.  I almost spoke up a few times but found myself keeping quiet. I still am not sure if we ever came to a conclusion or not but this is just what I think so what I am writing is what I most likely would have said had I the courage to open my mouth.

First thing I notice is that Jesus says the word ‘if’,  I think the scripture could be taken in the way that says if we keep his commands and love him only then will the Holy Spirit be with us forever…BUT  what if we don’t keep his commands and love him? Will the Holy Spirit then leave us?

I personally think that the part that says ‘He will give you another advocate to Help you and be with you forever’   means forever no matter what and this is why I think that.  I think that the key words here are  ‘help you’ .  Remember I am a person who has not always walked with Jesus.

A long time ago I tried to do the “church thing” though I never really understood it.  I even felt moved to be saved, I went forward during a church service a long time ago and I accepted Jesus as my savior.  I even got Baptized but unfortunately I did not really understand what it all meant and I eventually fell away from church and God.  I then spent a lot of years being angry and saying I did not believe in God.

  • Did I not receive the Holy Spirit when I went forward?  I did not know what the Holy Spirit was at that time, but something nudged me to go forward, I am thinking that was the Holy Spirit.
  •  Did I believe in Jesus at the time?  Yes I did believe in Jesus.
  •  Do I think that after I fell away from God the Holy Spirit left me?   No I don’t.  Just like the scripture says Jesus sent another advocate to help me and be with me forever.  So I think that even though I fell away and said I did not believe in God, the Holy Spirit stayed with me.  He stayed right here with me as my advocate, waiting for just the right moment to show me that God was real and help me find my way, that was the night I saw my father in law go to heaven… (click to read that story here)

Then the Holy Spirit began to nudge me to act on that newly found knowledge that God was real.

He then nudged me to pick up and read a daily devotional book that gradually led me look up stuff in the Bible which in turn caused a lot of Bible reading.

Then gradually he nudged me that it was time to find a church. I would go to churches but then I would chicken out from going in the buildings.  I remember sitting in the parking lot of the church I now belong to, trying to get the courage to go in and hearing this voice in my head telling me I was not alone to go on in.  That was the Holy Spirit again being my advocate.  When I felt so paralyzed with fear that I could not move He helped me get out of my car and walk in the building.

One Sunday about a month after attending the church I belong to now the pastor’s sermon was on the Holy Spirit.  He also did a baptism that day and then afterwards offered that anyone who wanted to could come up and dip their fingers in the water to remember their own baptisms.  I can’t remember the pastors exact words or even much of the sermon but I do remember feeling so emotional as I was realizing what I had missed at my first Baptism and then I felt the nudging and the word “Go”.   I stood up, went to the front and dipped my fingers in the water.  As I put the water on my face a feeling of peace came washing over me and I knew I was finally back where I belonged in my Saviors Arms.

Do I think the Holy Spirit stays with us forever?  Yes I do.   The Holy spirit is my advocate,  he stood up for me when I could not stand up for myself, He came to my rescue to nudge me back into the right direction.  God loved me even when I was denying Him.  He sent me Jesus.  Jesus died for my sins and He sent me an advocate in the Holy Spirit, the advocate who is with me forever because Jesus sent him.  I finally after all these years do know who I am when I am in Christ.

If you would like to have Jesus help guide your life you can get more information by clicking the link below.

Thanks for reading and God bless you 🙂

Fearless in Faith

**Correction today 9/30/2012 I re-listened to my pastor’s sermon from last week, the word was ‘worry’ not ‘fear’  as I said in this post, so I wanted to correct that.. Though I still keep my same feelings I wrote here I feel I should correct this since I quoted him wrong. 

Fearless in Faith

Sunday my pastor said in his sermon that anything that replaces faith is sin, therefore fear is sin.  I have thought about that all week and I know he is right.

How many times have I been scared and held onto fear and felt better?  NEVER.

How many times have I put my faith in God and felt better?  EVERY single time.

Before I knew God I was afraid all the time, I was afraid to fly, I was afraid of people but yet afraid to be alone, I had social anxiety, was afraid of being sick, afraid of the doctor, I was afraid to take medicine for fear of the side effects, I was afraid of heights, and had claustrophobia, the list goes on and on and on and on…

The social anxiety part was the worst and I almost let it take over my life.  I would make up excuses saying I had things to do so I could skip meetings at work.  If I managed to stay in a meeting I was miserable the whole time I was there.  I also avoided fun things like baby showers, weddings and parties. I only went to the ones I could not get out of.  I never told my family or friends about my ‘problem’ and many probably just thought I was a snob.

Since I gave my life to Jesus I have been learning to give my fears to him.  I have never been sick much during my life and have not ever went to the doctor a whole lot.   The last two and a half years I have had a lot of illnesses. I know in looking back there is no way on earth I would have ever made it through those without giving my fear to God.

Without giving a lot of detail I will just say my illnesses have included a heart issue, a liver issue, knee surgery, hysterectomy & an eye issue.  Treatments and tests included drinking scary stuff and going into in scary medical devices.  I have had tons of new medications and injections put in my eye.  I am not complaining at all, the coolest thing is I made it through all those things with a whole lot of peace, HIS peace.  I am not saying I was never scared believe me some of the things gave me panic attacks.  I did discover though that worry did nothing at all to help me at all.  When I gave it all to Him I was free and full of peace.  Another cool thing is I also came out stronger and found many blessings along the way.

I also feel as if I am getting over my social anxiety also.  I spoke in front of my church for the children of Compassion. I could not tell you this day what came out of my mouth or if it sounded good or bad.  I know God did the speaking that day.   All that really matters is God was in control and kids were sponsored.

I have led a Bible study even though I used to be afraid to just sit in the room and attend a study. Yet again God had it under control

I drove to the top of Pikes Peak and looked down at the magnificent view.

Did I mention that I am scared to fly?  Well now I am actually enjoying flying.  I notice the blessings when I fly now instead of hiding my face and guzzling down wine.  I now look out the window.  Have you ever seen clouds from above them?  The sun still shines up there on a cloudy day.   How would I know had I not looked out of the plane?

How many blessings did I use to miss while I was being afraid?  Every time I gave a fear to God He not only gave me peace He also gave me an unexpected blessing.

I am not saying I am fearless or will never be afraid again.  But I do know now who to give that fear to and when I give it to Him I do feel quite fearless.

I do know that bad things still happen but we have to have faith.  Have the faith he will get us through them and he has a really good plan, we just can’t see it yet.  God never said he would not give us more than we can handle, but he did say he will get us through it.

Philippians 4:6-7  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Can You Survive on $1.25 A Day?

As many of you know who read my blog I have a passion that was placed on my heart by God.  It is for children who are suffering in extreme poverty.  About a month ago I submitted my blog to a website called Compassionbloggers.com. They are partnering with bloggers around the world to help get the word out about extreme poverty and to help release children from its grip.  They have accepted me to be one of their bloggers and each month they will be sending me a topic to blog about.  Today’s blog is my first assignment.

So today I would like to tell you about “58” and ask you, Can you survive on $1.25 a day?

58” is a global alliance of Christians, churches and world-class poverty-fighting organizations working together to end extreme poverty in our lifetime by living out Isaiah 58.

I decided to copy this next part from the 58 website so as to make sure it is correct-

we are a movement of Christians who are willing to make personal sacrifices (or “fast”) to free up resources to help the poor… who give to effective projects led by world-class poverty fighting organizations (the 58: Alliance), and who pray to align our hearts with God’s will as expressed in Isaiah 58: to loose the chains of injustice… to set the oppressed free… to share your food with the hungry…to provide the poor wanderer with shelter… when you see the naked, to clothe them”

Next is Isaiah 58 from the NIV version of the bible

Isaiah 58

1“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the house of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please 
and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter —
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath 
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
The mouth of the Lord has spoken.

That’s a lot to think about isn’t it?   Did you ever notice how we just expect the poor to be here?  Everywhere you go there is always a slum area of town.  Most of the time we just go on with our lives and never think too much about it because we just expect poverty to be here.  Did you ever think about there not being any poverty in the world?  What if we did not expect poverty to be in our world?  What if we decided to do something about it?  What if we were to allow ourselves to hope the world would be different?  To expect that poverty would be gone?  Think about that.

Did you know that 1,400,000,000 people in the world live in extreme poverty?  By extreme poverty I mean they live on less than $1.25 a day.  That’s not very much money.  I can not even by a coffee for that much money.   Did you know that poverty is a killer? Each year thousands of children in poverty die from preventable diseases, hunger and natural disasters.  But those things are not the killers it is the poverty that is the killer.  People in poverty have no money for vaccinations, doctors or food.  When an Earthquake hit Los Angeles 63 people died but when the same magnitude of Earthquake hit Haiti 220,000 people died!  That information astounded me when I heard it!

In preparing for this assignment I played a game called Survive 125.  The object of the game is to survive on $1.25 a day.  I played it several times each time picking a different path hoping for a different outcome. Each time I played I found myself feeling more hopeless.  No matter how I played or which scenario I chose I became more and more frustrated. It left me feeling like there was no way out.  I can not imagine how someone who is living this in real life must feel.  Each and every day people in our world have to live this and it is NOT a game.

Parents have to make hard decisions every single day such as –

Do I by medicine for my sick child or save the money for food?   

Do I send my child to school or send her to work?

If I send her to work is it a scam or a prostitution ring? 

Do I vaccinate my child or eat? 

If I vaccinate my child we go hungry, but if I don’t vaccinate him he may get sick and then we go hungry to buy the medicine to make him well or if I chose not to buy medicine for his sickness so we can eat and then he dies. 

The more times I played the game I began to see how desperate and hopeless someone living this type of life could become.

Here are some statistics for you and proof that ending poverty is possible:

In 1981 52% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. 

Today that number is 26%. 

That means it was cut in half in only one generation. 

Wow can we hope to end poverty it in ours?  Yes! It is possible! 

In America alone there are $138,000,000 Christians. 

We make an average of 2.5 trillion dollars per year.  God has given us extreme wealth!

We can choose to keep that wealth for us alone or we can use it to set the oppressed free.  God does not want his people to suffer or die of preventable diseases.  He has clearly told us what to do.  In Isaiah 58 we were not asked to take care of the poor we were commanded to take care of them and he also gave us the tools to end their suffering.  So we must do as commanded by living the life we were called to live.

We need to stop waiting for someone else to do it. Stop saying the government needs to do this or that.  It is our job, all of ours, God gave us the job. He wrote it down in Isaiah 58:6-7 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice 
and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter —
when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? –
Its all right there, God, said those words.

Children should not be dying from preventable diseases when we have the resources to make a difference.  The solution is us.  When we follow God’s command something that we want for us because it is really good such as a latte’ or a donut could be given up to save a life.  We can make that sacrifice and we should.   If each one of us makes the commitment to step up it can turn into something huge… you and I can be a part of something really great 🙂

I challenge you today to make a difference.  You will not be sorry.

Click here to Play “Survive 125” then take what you learn and release a child from poverty. 

If you would like more information about 58 you can click here http://www.live58.org/

For more information about Compassion or how you can sponsor a child click here http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm?referer=121431  

What will you do with what you read today?  Do you have any thoughts on this or stories you would like to share? Comment by clicking the comment icon at the top right of this blog.

Thank you for reading and God bless you 🙂

The Body

I didn’t go to church today and I feel like I missed something.  I know I don’t have to go into a building to worship God but there is just something really wonderful about worshipping together with other Christians that I do not like to miss.  The feeling of the love in the room is awesome.  We are all there together as one to worship our God.  We are a mixed group of people all from different backgrounds and different lives but in that church we can see that we are one, when we are there we can see and feel that we are the body of Christ.   We are all there with one thing in common.  We are His children, we are brothers and sisters united together, sharing the love for our Lord and Savior and we are there to praise Him.  It doesn’t matter who we are, where we come from or what we wear.  It’s just come as you are because we all belong to Him and He loves us.  In life sometimes easy to  forget those things and  feel divided although He loves us all exactly the same.  It does not matter where we are when we worship Him but in the church we can feel our unity as one body, as his body all of us together to worship Him in Our church. I know I did not have to go to a building today to spend time with God,  but next week I plan to go to church and worship with my family.

for we are members of his body. Ephesians 5:30 

Acts 2:46-47  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,  praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Colossians 3:16  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

Thank you for reading and God Bless you 🙂