So, Saturday was my 56th birthday. Quite uneventful...as John and I both decided this year we'd forget our birthday's and concentrate on the "work" ahead of continual preparation for the big wedding day in September...fast approaching. We were able to have a quiet dinner with friends and the kids and grandkids stopping over for the sweet "happy birthday NANA", it was just as special as any other birthday.
If you did not hear the message this past weekend from Pastor Brad Kittle, it was an excellent opportunity to once again, recount the blessed work of Christ! He surely stepped right into my brain of late with this whole concept of recalling the work of Christ in my own life, taking inventory of not only "what would Jesus do," but what Jesus HAS done! I loved the extensive way he chose to compliment the Apostle Paul as he continually pointed to the work of grace by emphasizing..."Would you look at that? Would you just look at that, look at what HE (Jesus) did...(on the cross, dying for our sins, rising from the grave), would you look at that!!!" Pastor Brad went on to share about the Gospel "work" of Christ, but also in the Philippians passage of 2:19-30 the correlation of physical hard work as well. We had the opportunity to learn from that correlation and understand in a deeper way about the "working with and for" Christ.
I have been in a few conversations of late with the additional work of the Holy Spirit in peoples lives. At times I sense (I have done this myself and was a pro at it years ago) that we think we are the Holy Spirit for our spouse, our children, our family/friends. Or when we are around family, friends, spouse, the person we are dating...we seem to lack in the area of conversation and fellowship because the Holy Spirit in us has no one to identify within that loved one. He (the HS) cannot testify and commune with sin, so if He is not in that person...there is a lack, an emptiness and even a sadness of fellowship.
On my birthday, August 1st, My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers spoke right into this very thought:
"Are we playing the spiritual amateur providence in other lives? Are we so noisy in our instruction of others that God cannot get anywhere near them? We have to keep our mouths shut and our spirits alert. God wants to instruct us in regard to His Son, He wants to turn our time of prayer into mounts of transfiguration, and we will not let Him. When we are certain of the way God is going to work, He will never work in that way anymore. He works where He sends us to wait. "Tarry ye...until..." Wait on God and He will work, but don't wait in spiritual sulks because you cannot see an inch in front of you! Are we detached enough from our own spiritual hysterics to wait on God? To wait is not to sit with folded hands, but to learn to do what we are told. These phrases of His ways we rarely recognize."
Doesn't that just give you a good swift kick in the seat?! It does for me...then when the Philippians passage was read on Sunday, Phil. 2:28 I stopped to ponder the work of Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit, the physical part of hard work and it all just came together..."Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again (sending an encourager) you may rejoice that I may be less concerned about you." And it hit me so very hard...Paul continually points to the work of Christ, the work of the trinity in each person's life and we too push and encourage you to follow HARD after God; pursue, trust, obey, repent, rejoice, submit, follow, wait, work hard, choose a blessing, receive forgiveness...and do it all day after day...so that we "may be less concerned about you." The goal is to get you on your way with this whole process in understanding the work of Christ, and applying it to the hard work of the Gospel and the hard work of daily life so that we may be less concerned about you and the concentration can be fueled to pursue the lost and bring them to that saving knowledge of Christ...then they can experience the work of Christ...and the hard work continues in cycle. Does that mean we don't want to be concerned about your needs...in no way! But even in the process of hard work, there can be joy in your heart and life so that you are constantly not in the cycle of "needing" consolation, needing to be recognized, needing to be pursued, needing to be the center of attention...you learn how to walk with Christ through the trials of each day; you learn how to process the "waiting on God" and the hard times so that your joy is complete, therefore the concern of the church can be upon the work of the lost. I hope that does not sound too hard, or that we want to be less concerned with each of you, but the Apostle Paul was in the perfect place to say...(Marilyn language) "listen folks, the joy of the Lord is real and exists because of grace, pull yourselves up, understand that work done for each of you and live your life...working hard, displaying the Gospel and understand what Christ has done...don't be whiners!!!!"
I am thankful for VGF and for each of you, I am thankful for the rain this morning and the opportunity to live another day with Christ. I remember the words to an old hymn:
"I don't know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day, I don't borrow from it's sunshine for it's skies may turn to gray. I don't worry about my future for I know what Jesus said, and today He walks beside me for He knows what lies ahead. Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand."