Month: February 2021

Is the Holy Spirit the same as God?

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Before we dive too deeply into how the Holy Spirit can help us, let’s take some time to figure out exactly who He is. Where did He come from? Is Holy Spirit just another name for God? How is He different? All great questions.

Imagine as far back in time as you can. Before earth. Before our universe. God was there. But He wasn’t alone. Well, not exactly.

God has three different forms. There’s God the Father, or just God for short. Then there’s Jesus, God’s son. And there’s the Holy Spirit. Mysteriously, all three are different, but they’re all 100 percent God. Each one uniquely expresses God’s nature to us, but none is greater than the other. In Christianity, this three-in-one concept is formally known as the Trinity.

When you read your Bible, it can seem like Jesus first came on the scene as a baby 2,000 years ago. Then, out of nowhere, the Holy Spirit appears in the book of Acts. But the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been hanging out together as far back as you can imagine.

In Genesis, when God created everything, it was actually the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit working together.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Genesis 1:1‭-‬2

Now, you might be wondering, if all of them are God, what’s the point of having three? Another great question.

While Jesus was on the earth, He was only obeying His Father. He didn’t do anything on His own but only what He saw His Father do. When His curious disciples asked Him to show them the Father, He said, “If you’ve seen me, then you’ve seen the Father.” Basically, Jesus was telling them that He was God in physical form. God the Father has no physical form, but Jesus is God with skin on. Through Jesus, the love of God became something tangible we could see and feel.

But, as Jesus’ time on earth was nearing an end, He made a promise. He told His followers it would be best for them if He went back to Heaven because then God would send them the Holy Spirit. In the same way that Jesus became the body of God in tangible form, the Holy Spirit revealed Himself as the mind of God living inside of us.

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 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.
John 14:15‭-‬17 NIV

So, the Holy Spirit leads us to the truth. He’s the very mind of God, available to you at all times because He lives within you when you choose to follow Jesus. He’s the voice that fills your head with God’s thoughts. Intimate. Close. Personal.

In His physical form, Jesus couldn’t engage with people at the level of thought. That’s why He said it was better that the Holy Spirit come.

Let’s talk about Jesus’ promise and what it means for you.

Can you imagine trying to send a group text using pen, paper, and the post office? Imagine writing out letters by hand to your five closest friends, buying stamps, stuffing envelopes, and mailing them to five different addresses. After waiting for two or three days, the letters would start arriving at your friends’ houses. Then, each would respond with a letter of their own, making copies for each person in the group and waiting a few more days for each reply. Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it. It seems silly since you can accomplish the same thing in a few seconds using your smartphone.

The Holy Spirit works sort of like that. He makes it possible for Jesus to communicate with every single one of His followers in real time across the globe. Jesus could only be in one place at a time. His first disciples didn’t know much about the Holy Spirit or His purpose. That’s why Jesus spent His last days on earth preparing them for His death. They didn’t know He was about to die, and they certainly didn’t understand why. So, instead of trying to dump His entire plan on them all at once, He made them a promise.

He said that when He left He’d send someone else in His place—the Holy Spirit. Jesus wasn’t saying that they would be trading their relationship with Him in exchange for the Spirit. Instead, the Holy Spirit would come alongside them and help them understand everything Jesus had taught. Plus, the Holy Spirit could teach them new things as they learned to hear His voice.

When the Holy Spirit came, He would lead them to the truth. He wouldn’t have His own agenda, but He would be totally committed to completing Jesus’ mission on earth. In fact, the Holy Spirit would do everything to bring honor to Jesus. He would relay messages straight from Jesus into the hearts and minds of all His followers. But, here’s the best news of all: That promise wasn’t just for the disciples who were sitting around that night. It was also for you!

Think about how that changed the game. Before Jesus gave us access to the Holy Spirit, Jesus was the single source of information, and He was limited to physically being in one place at a time. He had to spread His message one crowd at a time. But, when the Holy Spirit made His home in the heart of every believer, Jesus’ message was engraved into our hearts.

The Holy Spirit can speak directly into our hearts and minds.

“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
Hebrews 10:16

Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in Prayer, 2 comments

Grumbling to Gratitude

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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. Isaiah 58:11

In this sinful, fallen world, it can often be difficult to see the positives in your life. I, for one, when life knocks me down, sometimes look at worldly disappoints and find myself feeling hopeless and defeated. I like to think of myself as a glass-half-full kind of guy, but it is not always easy.

For a while now, I have felt flustered and sometimes in a panic. 2021 has been kind to me but at the same time there have been moments that have really knocked me down and I am not proud of how I have responded to those moments. The morning wake-up calls from my alarm on my phone has seemed even more shrill than usual, sending the low-grade headaches I’ve been nursing into full-on migraine status. I open the shower door, take a deep breath and sigh because the day ahead already feels like it’s going to be tough.

I grumpily make my way to the kitchen to brew the first of many much-needed cups of coffee. I take another deep breath as I head back to my home office, saying a quick, silent prayer that everyone else would wake up on the right side of the bed.

In the grand scheme of things, most mornings aren’t horrible. Nothing major goes wrong, but nothing goes particularly right, either, and I sometimes do not feel anything like my normally positive self.

Sometimes those not-quite-right days can be even trickier than times of full-on crisis because we are not technically supposed to be grumbling or complaining over such trivial things. Let’s face it, no one is sending flowers or handing out casseroles to comfort you.

I feel the old familiar sting of conviction in Philippians 2:14-15 when we’re told to “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” (NIV)

God has blessed me abundantly. I’m certain it’s frustrating to Him when I complain, just like it’s frustrating to me when someone complains to me (or how I don’t feel any better if I complain).

Misery loves company. And if I grumble my way throughout the day, my attitude would have be picked up by others that interact with me.

We must decide each morning to rise above the annoyances. I’d much rather “shine like stars in the sky” than gather others to stand under my own personal cloud.

Isaiah 58:11 says, “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.

Guide you always?

Satisfy your needs in sun-scorched places?

Be like a well-watered garden?

Yes, please!

If I’m feeling parched, I can imagine that my family, my friends and my co-workers might be, too. But rather than fostering a dreary drought, I can consciously choose to lift others by rising above my own trivial complaints.

What wonderful news that the Lord is with us during days of crisis as well as the mediocre days filled with mundane tasks amd migraines. Remembering this grace in our weakness easily becomes a shining moment for God’s heavenly strength.

God never promised us smooth sailing, but He does promise that He will be right there beside us, restoring us and urging us onward. He is there to fill us up so we can continue to fill others.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to accept both life’s little challenges and Your restoring help with grace and gratitude. Help me remember that no problem is too large or too small for me to call out to You. Please help me remember that a heart can be filled in with joy every day, not just the easy days. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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He promises to be our refuge and strength.

David goes on in Psalm 10 and says…

His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;     he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor;he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net. 10 The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might.11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

The ungodly are compared to a preying lion.  They prey on the weak, helpless and poor.

And David questions again…

  • Has God forgotten?
  • Is God hiding?
  • Does he see all of this pain that is happening?
  • Why is God not stopping it?

Oh I have been there! Many many times I have been there. I am there now.


Where are you God? My life is a mess!
I have wondered these same thoughts and I love David’s example to us.

Where does he go with his questions?

  — He goes straight to God.

Where should we go with our questions? 

 — Straight to God.

In the final 7 verses of Psalm 10 – David gives a call to action.

Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted 13 Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.16 The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear 18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

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It is a great privilege that we can go to the God of the universe in prayer – do not miss this!!  He loves us and wants us to cry out to him. He wants to comfort us and help us.

We may not always understand God’s ways but we can go to God’s throne and say – God – don’t forget about me! Help me! Protect me!

In difficult times, I have asked God to intervene and in that moment – it has not felt like God intervened.  But who knows what he has protected me from – perhaps things could have been ten times worse than they were and I will never know it.  God has protected me and brought me through every trial I have ever faced.  He is faithful!

Are you facing the impossible?  Or maybe struggling with anxiety about something that feels impossible?  That roadblock in front of you may not disappear with one prayer.  But this I can assure you of…

God is not hiding from you.

God does hear your prayers.

And God loves you.

So keep on talking to God about it!

While we may not like the hard circumstances we are stuck in – we can have hope. A day will come when there will be no more tears and no more pain.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
(Revelation 21:4)

Pray Pray Pray

Prayer is the most powerful weapon, the most powerful connection you have with the Father. Pray through your journey and you will succeed.

James 5:15-16 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Rejoice in your sufferings

Romans 5:3-5 – More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Everyone in this world will experience trials and tribulations. God knows that we can become stronger through conflict. God’s ultimate love is our redemption from the suffering we experience as we navigate through the difficult times in our lives. Our moment of rejoicing comes when we realise that no matter how bad our lives are, there is always hope and a chance for a new life. God’s love is always there and we can find hope, courage and strength through a relationship with our Lord.

I must learn to trust God is control. I must listen to His voice for guidance and then obey Him.

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in Devotional, 2 comments

I Am

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Jesus was, and is, and is to come!

  1. And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
  2. Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
  3. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).
  4. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
  5. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
  6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
  7. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1).

I AM

If you think I am What I appear To be You don’t Know me St. John 4:24 “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

He Is

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in Devotional, 0 comments