Wednesday, November 26, 2008

8 in 08

So, since I probably won't be near a computer most of tomorrow (save to post some recipes) I thought I'd use today to go ahead and post 8 things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.
1. Salvation: 2 Corinthians 5.21 - "For our sake, He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God." Love that verse. Yesterday, doing pilates, I was reminded that I don't even take my next breath if not for the mercy of God. I am thankful for that breath and for the mercy of God. That He is enough!
2. Job. I love my job - I love the guys I work for and the fact that I am doing ministry, even in an admin position. It has been since 1999 working at Anastasia that I can honestly say I love what I do. And am thankful that God has allowed me to be in my position for 16 months now! Wow - can you believe it?! God is so gracious to me!
3. Church - Community. I still love the community God has given me in other parts of the world in my former churches: pastors/staff, mentors, families, my girls, precious babies who grow up too fast. But, this year (because last year was such a struggle with no church home) is an added blessing. I just joined Crossing on Sunday (officially, even though I've been going since July). Its great to have friends who care about you, people to push you, minister with, do life with. Love my new Xing Family! :)
4. Friends. One of the sub-things I'm thankful for this year is Facebook. I got on facebook shortly after coming to Louisville. Its been a great tool of ministry and re-connecting with people who spur you on for the sake of the gospel. So thankful for that online tool! But, really, am thankful for the faithfulness of friends, for God teaching me about friendships (how some come and go in life for reasons unbeknownst to us), and how God uses us in each others' lives (Col 3.15-17).
5. Family. My family will be going through some changes. Last year (2007) we all lived pretty close together as I was also in Lakeland for about 6 months. But, come April (I think) we will look very different. Mom and Dad will still be in Lakeland, I will still be in Louisville, but A/T will be in Cameroon, West Africa. So excited to see what God is going to do through them over the next 4 years, but yes, am a little saddened that they won't be a short flight (long drive) away.
6. Independence. I do not mean my freedom (as in USA), although I am very thankful for that as well. I mean my independence. Some people look at that at a negative thing, and I guess it could be. But, I love being an independent person, for moving to a new state (knowing 2 people who live here) and getting to explore and find new things, do what I want when I want, go where I want, etc. It is very fun and I never want to take that for granted.
7. Stuff. Yes, I am thankful for stuff. I am thankful for my 800 Sqft Square I call home. I am thankful for my cute little car, Charlie the Cruiser. Thankful for a new laptop, a free VCR someone gave me, clothes, cooking supplies, etc. There are so many things. Heat for one! God is so gracious to me. May I never rely on these things - but always be grateful for them - and be ready to give them up if the need arises! And share the blessings with others!
8. Mission Folks. I am so thankful to have people in my life who are called to the others sides of the world (in one way or another). Since some of these people are in closed countries: here we go with just their initials. A/T, MS, M and L M, RG, AL, L and K M, J and K R, R and K P and probably many more. But, I'm also thankful for people who have a heart for the world who are living here in the US of A: Sarah, Bruce, Greears, Brad and Jena-Marie, Bacons, Dawkinses, Kathy L, Bob and Jackie, and so many others. They spur me on - keep me focused on God's heartbeat for the Nations for His glory.
All these things to be thankful for - all given by one Good and Gracious God!
Ps 150:
Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (or as David Platt put it: Let everything that praises the Lord have breath!)


With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, (then Christmas, New Years, Birthday), this is a time of the year for great reflection for me. I think I officially started it yesterday when I made my bday plans. Am looking forward to it and the preparation leading up to it as well.
On my walk to work this morning, I started to think and wonder if I've grown any this past year in certain areas. One area is that of satisfaction/desires.
My "life verse" up until my Senior Year of high school was Ps 37.4-5: Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act."
Then I started taking the verses surrounding it for a more complete look at that promise:
Ps 37.3-7a: Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him..."
So here are our commands as believers:
1. Trust in the Lord (this is active, not passive)
2. Do Good (again, active, not passive)
3. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness (this is something I want more of in my life, for people to know me as a faithful person).
4. Delight yourself in the Lord (Sandra keeps reminding me)
5. Commit your way to the Lord
6. Trust in Him (wow, 2 times we are told to actively do this)
7. Be still before the Lord (oh, how hard is this - to listen to the Lord)
8. Wait patiently for Him (I often tend to run ahead of God, thinking I know better than He does).
What He has promised He will do (and He keeps His promises):
1. He will give you the desires of your heart (reminder: read it and believe it in context with the rest of the verse).
2. He will act (and we see so often in our own lives and in the lives of others His faithfulness to do this on our behalf). I was telling someone yesterday that it is very exciting to be at a "turning point" in our lives - because then we get to anticipate the incredible ways God is going to act on our behalf for His glory.
3. He will bring forth our righteousness (He is our righteousness, as Paul clearly says in 2 Cor 5.21 - but I think this also means our works of righteousness he will allow people to see - He will be our crown and our significance.
4. There's that word justice again - see note on last blog.

So...what does all this have to do with how I've grown (or not grown) this year. Do I still have some unmet desires. Yes, I am selfish and human. I am still being sanctified. I have changed this year for the most part - is that I do find my satisfaction in Him. When thoughts of wants or loneliness or desires that aren't met yet come into mind causing me to sin (envy, covetousness, idolatry - wanting something more than Jesus) - I remind myself of who God is for me, Bible verses that deal with those issues, the faithfulness and reward of God. He is so much better.
How have you grown this year?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Psalm 107 and Thanksgiving

I woke up yesterday morning thinking I would hear a topical sermon on Thanksgiving and grace and the cross. No, no...not at Crossing, my official new church home here in Louisville. I heard a great sermon on Ps 107 - and how (in my terms) our thanksgiving should be wrapped up in the character of God.
These are the main points that Dustin pointed out from this Psalm: (and my thoughts on them)
Who God Is and What He Has Done:
Our God is the Merciful Deliverer and the Satisfier of souls who has given His people a place to dwell. How has God delivered you, satisfied your soul, and given you a place to dwell?
He has delivered me from myself and my sinful, harmful tendencies (of gossip, laziness, and eating too much) and He satisfies me more deeply than anything here on this earth - or anything that I think could satisfy me. Oh, how I want to know that more. Even in the literal term of a place to dwell - He has brought me to Louisville and allowed friendships and opportunities out of being here.
Our God is the Chain Breaker who frees His children from their bonds. How has God broken your chains? Where do you need Him to? I need him to continue to break them in terms of competition and trying to impress people and running my mouth (opinions I call them). He has already been doing this - but I need him to continue as He faithfully will.
Our God is the Merciful Healer who brings healing by His Word. How has God brought healing through His Word? How do you need Him to? I need Him to make His Word even more real to me - so that I won't just read it and think He means what He says - but taste and see that the Lord is good in these above areas of satisfaction. And I need Him to make the Word real to me as I read it and get so bored with it at times. He is so gracious - and even when I come to Him out of boredom or halfheartedness - He heals with His Word by His faithfulness to meet me right where I am.
Our God is the Sovereign Ruler over all of His Creation who stills the storms. How has God brought you through the storms? How do you need Him to? I can see the last 15 months of my life and how God has orchestrated it divinely to His specifications. I can see how the last 4 months have been so much better with a church family and the community of believers here. I am thankful for new friendships to weather storms with you. And knowing that God is in control of all of them - no matter how long the winds blow. He is a good God who lets us see.
Our God is Righteous Judge who brings justice. How can God use us to bring justice as an act of thanksgiving? Justice and Thanksgiving. I'll continue to think about that one. Not usually something we put together.
I'm very thankful for another look in Scripture where I can see that the God is far above the worth of my praise - but He desires me to thank Him, have a heart attitude of thankfulness, and share that grace and thanksgiving with others.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Psalm 69 and Prayer

Lately I've been reading through Ephesians for my quiet times, but last night I had no desire to read it. So, I did something different. Sometime yesterday I read a blog on Psalm 69 - so I thought I might read that - and I did - and got so much stuff that tied in with JD's sermon on Sunday and community group last night.
I continued reading and outlining what God was teaching me this morning - so here you go:
Psalm 69 is written by David, the man after God's own heart. He was in some sort of affliction. We often as for intercessory prayer from others or our prayer lives pick up substantially when we are in affliction or experiencing hard times.
These are 5 things I learned about prayer from this psalm:
1. David prayed persistently. Verse 3: "I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God." He uses words like weary, parches, dim, waiting" - these are great words to describe his affliction - not ones of peace, harmony, and joy. These words are specifically used to relay the message of tiresome, long suffering, pain, uncomfortableness. These things aren't pleasant - Yet - he continues in his crying out - he keeps crying out - and he keeps crying out.
2. David acknowledges his sin. This is also something we don't like to do. First, we may recognize sin, but we don't like to confess it - especially to God (funny, because He already knows our sin whether we confess it or not - Ps 139). But, David sees that need. In verse 5, 19, 20 he says "O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you. You know my reproach, and my shame and my dishonor; my foes are all known to you. Reproaches have broken my heart, so that I am in despair. I looked for pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none." He not only acknowledges his sin, but he also is brokenhearted over his sin (Psalm 51). This is also something else I have found. Christians get good at confessing our sin (Catholics in confessionals, Protestants in counseling sessions or small groups), but how often are we broken over our sin - or how often do we HATE SIN?
3. David trusts in the nature of God. Three things are seen in verses 13, 16: "But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness. Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me." Here we see three glimpses into the character of God: good, steadfast love (His covenant, unchangingness), saving faithfulness (how His faithfulness is salvation to us - think about that for a second), and abundant mercy (not just what we need, or just enough - but abundant, overflowing compassion).
4. David gives worship to His God in his time of need. Verses 30-32, 34 are evidence of David's worshipping heart: "I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive. Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them." David praises and worships his God through son, thanksgiving (think about that as we celebrate Thanksgiving next week - Dustin is preaching on it this Sunday, can't wait!), in pleasing sacrifices, humility (obedient piety as Dr. Vogel preached on this morning), he even challenges all creation to worship their God (I think of the Summit Song - "Let the Sea and Everything in it" - that Will sings on the CD.) Oh, how God desires our worship in prayer - and prayer itself is an act of worship.
5. David recognizes God's faithfulness and His willingness to answer. How often would our prayers change if we actually believed God would answer them? How often do we pray with so little faith and so much disbelief - thinking we'll pray - but not counting on God to answer? Verse 33 says this: "For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners." He hears the needy (do you recognize yourself as needy - is that how we come to God or do we come to Him self-sufficient?). He doesn't despise us - He counts us as worthy, not as unworthy. I learned what it means to hold someone in contempt and despise them a few years ago - and then realized what that means in my relationship with Jesus. Oh, thank you Holy Spirit. He also knows our bondage and our need. Oh, how He has freed us from that bondage to sin and death. And He knows exactly what we need and when we need it!
So - my prayer life should change based on this teaching. What I loved about JD's sermon on Sunday - is prayer is not a matter of knowing how God will work or what He has pre-ordained. God tells us to pray - so we need to pray. And then in small group - how we pray for each other, care about each, follow-up with prayer requests. Amazing stuff.
So - pray, consistently pray, pray with worship, hate sin, and pray focused on the goodness and faithfulness of God! That's what this whole blog boils down to.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Psalm 20

This morning in chapel, Dan opened with the call to worship from this Psalm. I didn't even know where he was reading from, but found out later. Don't know what version he was reading from either, but I heard this:
"May the Lord fulfill all your petitions" - 20. 5b (ESV)
Once I found out where he was reading I went back and read it:
This is verse 4 and 5
May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans! May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!
Last night (I know, backing up): I got to talk to Nena, my dear dear friend in St. Aug whom I've known for over 10 years and I love the girl! Anyway, when asked a question - I said something to the effect of "I know God's peace right now". I don't know how to describe it. Am I any richer? Am I married? Do I have a paid church staff ministry position? Am I as thin or as pretty as I want to be? No. But...
God has saved me, made a way for me to know Him, and has given me Himself - that is where my peace comes from. He has fulfilled all my petitions in Himself. This is probably the first time in my life that I can recall that I can honestly say I believe and know and am experiencing that. God is so so so gracious to me.
So, just thought I would share.

God is Good and Faithful in NC

Not that He is only good in the good state - but these are just reflections on this past weekend and God's goodness that He showed me:
1. A Riding Partner. Beth, a friend from here, rode with me down to Raleigh. We stayed at her in-laws' house in Charleston, WVa - so that made the trip shorter because it was broken up. Also, we had great conversation down there - what the Lord was doing, life in general, etc. And God provided financially as we were able to split the trip costs (tolls and gas). Thank you Beth!
2. I went to bed Saturday night and my quiet time was Eph 3.7 - "Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power." - Wow - what timing. I got to speak the next day on the gospel and Hope that is the power of the Cross - and the power of Christ! I was so excited that He gave me a chance to do that!
3. I spoke on Saturday of the doctrine of original sin, what sin looks like in the heart of women (pride, worry, fear, people pleasing, worldliness, ungodliness, etc), and then how our only Hope is the GOSPEL - JESUS. I have been planning and contemplating this for over a year now. As I sat on the floor during the last bit of worship and closing thoughts - I just felt an amazing weight lifted from me - like I could breathe again. God is so good!
4. Sunday morning getting to be at the Summit Church, sit under the worship leading of Jason Douglas. One of the songs we sang was None But Jesus - a song I am quite familiar with and one that I love. Here are the lyrics:
In the quiet, In the stillness, I know that You are God
In the secret of Your presence, I know there I am restored
When You call i won't refuse, Each new day again I'll choose
There is no one else for me, None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free, Now I live to bring Him praise
In the chaos in confusion, I know You're sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness, You give me grace to do Your will
When You call I won't delay, This my song through all my days
All my delight is in You Lord, All of my hope
All of my strength, All my delight is in You Lord, Forever more
Amazing. What a song to capture my thoughts from the weekend and the peace that flowed over me while singing that morning. (More on this in a coming blog)
5. Jason said something while introducing "Oh Glorious Day" - we are to live in light of the gospel. This is what I had said all weekend. Amazing how great the cohesiveness of the weekend was. We have to preach the gospel to ourselves everyday - and not live in the flesh and death of sin.
6. JD preached on prayer from Philippians. 1.9-11 says this: "And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." He brought the word "approve what is excellent" to a new light - we, as Christians, need to be attached to what is good - bind ourselves to Christ, and live in Jesus - through Jesus - all to HIS PRAISE - not ours.
7. Everytime I am at the Summit I am reminded of the 3 things I love about it: a. It is a worshipping church. As Clarissa put it - there is an intensity - that I have never known in another church. Thank you Chris and Jason and the band and choir. b. It is a giving church. Last year for the Christmas Missions offering - we gave over 200k. This money went to Durham, RDU, the IMB, church plants in America, church plants all over the world. Abby and Leslie gave video testimonies yesterday of how newly painted teachers' lounge and paintings on the wall in their elementary schools have made a way for them to share the gospel. c. It is a praying church. Curtis Crutchfield - amazing man of God. This church prays more than any other one I have been a part of as well.
8. I have been gone from NC for almost 2 years now and I still have friends there that push me to the gospel - that love me, that relate to me, that can ask me the tough questions, that I can have fun with - but that show me and point me to Jesus. So thankful!
9. The gorgeous creation. God is so faithful in that too. Even while sitting in my car waiting to get out of Southpoint - looking at the stormy sky mixed with the sunset - gorgeous. Or driving up Hwy 52 north of Winston-Salem, looking at Pilot Mtn and the rolling hills that are so beautiful. I'm so grateful for His continued faithfulness in Creation.

Fun Stuff in NC

This past weekend I was able to go to RDU - the best place in the world outside of St. Augustine! Honestly - the saying for me is - Nothin' can go wrong in Carolina. God blessed that state with beautiful scenery, wonderful people, great churches, great restaurants, a great Seminary, and fantastic state university! are some highlights from the weekend...
Pulled into rainy Wake Forest on Friday around lunch time. After dropping by Stealey Drive on Southeastern's campus to see Rach, met up with Charity at the Tea Room. I love the tea room, but the food wasn't stellar that day. The scones I had been so looking forward to were dry and tasteless that day - even with honey (since I don't like Devonshire cream). But, the company was wonderful. Charity and I had time to sit and chat and see what God was doing in our lives! And drinking hot tea while its raining outside - couldn't get much better than that!
Then the day was crazy after that. Went to get my haircut by Kathleen - love going to a hair dresser that knows what you want and will fit you in when you come visit! Oh, and I stopped by the Inquest offices next door to see Tina and Mike. Then I went to see Leah and Baxter (Georgia was asleep and Nathan I suppose was at the office). It was only momentary - but wonderful to see a cute little baby - who was born just one day after I saw them in September.
Then I drove to the other end of Raleigh to see another newborn - Heather and Billy had baby James Michael on Thursday night and I got to see mother and son on Friday. So cute with a head full of black hair. Billy had to work, so I didn't get to see him. Then went to my famed chiropractor. God is again so good in allowing me doctors who will see me when I come back in town, know exactly the problem, fix it, and give me things to do to help it not happen again - so I can wait until May to get adjusted again. Thank you Dr. Adams! :)
Drove then to Cary to meet up with Frank, Kasey, Katelyn, and Mr. Carter for Ruby Tuesdays! It was yummy and it was fun to see Katelyn devouring and playing in Frank's cake.
Then we had much to do to get ready for the women's conference next day. Finally got to sleep a little after midnight, woke up at 6 to get 'er done - as some friends like to say. God was gracious in letting that little bit of sleep last till almost midnight Saturday night.
The conference was wonderful - more on that in a later blog. Then went to Champps to hang out with Erin, Janel, and Jason while watching the Gator game (Chomp Chomp), the Heel football game (even though they would later lose), and the Heel Bball game - which they did win - it was their first game of the season! Good times. Such a lively place in there. Then it took me about 30 minutes to get out of the Southpoint parking lot - reminded me of the weeks right before Christmas when it took over an hour.
Got to hang out with my favorite family in Durham - the Bacons. Jean Anne was at the One Student retreat from the Summit. Bob's family was in town, and Noah was playing with his new "toy" from Dick's Sporting Goods. Clarissa and I were watching football, eating dinner, and sitting on the couch just talking for 4 hours or so - so wonderful. I miss that woman! :) Really - that family is such a blessing to me! I need to go back when I can stay longer! Thanks Bacons!
Sunday was a great time for me. Went to CMR campus of Summit but Curtis wasn't there yet, so I didn't get to see him. They run a well-oiled machine over there in the set-up and welcome station - hosted by Miss Carla Boast! :) Then on to the Briar Creek campus. It was great to see people, but more importantly - what a great time of musical worship (led by the talented Jason Douglas) and preaching in Philippians by JD on prayer. Then on to the WCC Campus and saw the Captain, Brad and Jena-Marie, the Workmans, Dinglers, etc. Good times too.
Finished off my weekend in Carolina by having lunch with the Wrights. Steve's family was in town as well. But, Tina fixed a great lunch and we all chatted about different things, ministry, and necklaces. Then, unfortunately, it was time for me to head back to the ville. Passed snow in the SW Va mtns on the way back and had a quick drive thanks to Beth. So glad God gave opportunity for a relaxing, do everything, worshipful, fun weekend in Carolina!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sojourn Music: We Are Listening

Crossing, my church here in the ville, planted 3 years ago August from Sojourn here in the ville. Sojourn has some great music you can find here. A friend loaned me their newest regular cd - Before the Throne - and I've been listening to it pretty much non-stop in my car. I have come to appreciate the songs and the Spirit usually convicts on some point while I am intentionally listening to them.
One of the songs, #6 (because I skip to it sometimes), We Are Listening, has been especially convicting. We sang it Sunday at Crossing. I loved it! Its always fun singing songs corporately that have meant a lot to you individually. Here are the lyrics:
Father, I long to be wise, to see with new eyes
The truth that was written by your hand
Father, speak, your truth into me
Because I still believe, that you will help me understand
And we are listening to your word
Morning and evening we come
To delight in the words of our God,
Give us eyes to see, give us faith to hear
That the Word has come, the the Word is here
Father, I long to see Christ
The Truth and New Life, the Word, that made the universe
Father, speak, now I believe
I have been set free, by the Word that lived and died for me.

I'm sure if you listen and meditate on music at all, there seems to be a part that sticks in your brain. Well, the first verse of this song pierced me first. How the Word makes me wise, by listening and obeying the Word of truth (we've been in Proverbs at church). And the doctrine of Scripture is in there too - that the Word is very words inspired by God and breathed by Him into man for our good and sanctification.
Sunday night, the Scripture read right before this song was John 1.1-14 - about Jesus being the Word, creating the universe, dwelling among us, bringing grace and truth into our lives, being God with skin on to us - so that we might see and hear and come and believe. After hearing this passage read in prelude to these songs, I really focused on the second part.
The Incarnation of Christ - how He is the very Word of God brought down to man. How He made everything we see - but came in grace and truth to dwell (pitch his tent) among us. He made it possible for us to know the unseeable God.
Learning point from listening to the sermon from Sunday night in light of this song: Dustin preached on self-discipline. I had already been convicted of still trying to work for my standingi n Christ. My consistent or daily reading of the Word makes me no less "worthy" of participating in communion then if I didn't read the Word at all. My "ability" to take communion is based on His finished work of the Cross. If I start equating my standing before God with what I do and how self-disciplined I am - then I have gone away from the teaching of Scripture and have subscribed to my own form of idolatry with a works-based salvation.
How grateful I am for both - the Word (as in the Bible) and the Word (as in Jesus, the Incarnate God, God with us - as we celebrate at Christmas). And I'm also grateful for talented musicians at Sojourn who wrote the lyrics and music to this song - and for Crossing worship band who played it on Sunday.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Secret Church - Exploring the Holy Spirit

David Platt. Brookhills. Birmingham. Seminary-training. Persecuted Church. Missions. All in one night. Amazing (even better w/o being sick and hitting B'ham traffic).
Really, worth the 6 hour drive. I of course wouldn't give up my seminary education for much, but this would be great if you can't go to seminary, but you want the chance to know core doctrine. This night was dedicated to 5 hours of teaching (83 pages of notes) on the Holy Spirit. During breaks, they had testimonies and videos and prayer for the persecuted church around the world (specifical Friday was Equador and SE Asia).
I actually left about 11pm because I was sick, and coughing, probably annoying the people around me - but seriously 2000 people (most between the ages of 15-25) packed out a sanctuary on a Friday night.
Here are some of the highlights (or ah - ha) moments I had on Friday night:
Exodus 33.11 - Moses is meeting with God. I want to be a woman on whom rests the Spirit of God. I want to be the tent - a friend of God. John records in his gospel Jesus saying a friend of mine is one who obeys my commands. Christ through his death made the relationship possible. Sin keeps us out of it. Sin has got to go!
The Spirit is essential. Acts 19. I am speaking this weekend in Apex - but really - I am nothing. I want the Spirit to impress that fact upon me more than anything else. It doesn't matter how well I speak, how I've prepared or studied, what I wear or look like, what I weigh, how many ladies are there, how well I sing. I think being sick going into this weekend is one of the ways God is going to teach me this. Its not what man brings to the table - it is a work of the Spirit.
Job 34.14-15. We as Baptists usually look at the Spirit as substandard (not really part of the Trinity) or we consider the Spirit in negative terms, controversial terms. We seldom look at him or know Him to be ESSENTIAL! Our very next breath comes from the Spirit.
Luke 2.25-32. Can I please be like Simeon - to wake up every morning just to see Christ. That is all he was living for. To be like him - to have Christ be all that I am breathing for and getting out of bed for.
Acts 2. Do I pour out the Spirit of God? "In Acts, the one who possessed the Spirit now pours out the Spirit" - love, grace, conviction, mercy, God - do these things pour out of me?
Luke 11.11-13. When we ask - He gives us the Spirit. If we are asking for guidance - He gives us the Guide. If we ask to be comforted, He gives us the Comforter. And so on. Everything we need is wrapped up in the Work and Being of the Holy Spirit.