Future Glory, Romans 8:18-25

I hope you’ve had a great summer. The glory of summer is soon fading. I enjoy summer, but I really love the changing colors and weather fall brings. I’m thankful for the changing seasons.

Speaking of fading, my computer’s hard-drive died. I’ve told myself that I will never take my computer for granted again! 🙂

Since my hard-drive crashed last week I’ve been using the library’s computer. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to post pictures. With limited time I will also be posting weekly for a while instead of twice a week.

Seasons

As I write about change and seasons I’m reminded of what my pastor said: “Knowing what season you’re in (spiritually) is important.” He suggested that our lives won’t be in perfect balance as we journey here on earth, but we usually have a rhythm in our spiritual growth. Knowing which season we’re in will determine how we respond.

On the tail of verse 17 in Romans 8, after writing about a season of sharing in Christ’s suffering, Paul sets up three reasons for encouragement: 1) the glory that will be revealed (vs. 18-25); 2) the Holy Spirit’s help (vs. 26-27); and 3) all things work together for good (vs. 28-30).

Hope of God’s Final Victory

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from the bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” –vs. 18-22

Genesis 3:17-19 sets the background for this passage. Paul makes three observations about creation:

  1. It eagerly awaits the revelation of God’s children.
  2. By God’s will, it was subjected to frustration.
  3. It will be set free from decay’s bondage and share in transformation along with God’s children.

Paul ties the believer’s present trials to creation in verses 23-25. Similar to creation, we groan inwardly as we await the full adoption as God’s children that will happen at the resurrection. Our present hope is “the first-fruits of the Spirit”, God’s promise of our total victory with Christ in the end.

So What?

Through sin, all creation is subject to frustration and bondage to decay. But one day all creation will be set free and transformed. Because believers look forward to a new heaven and earth that God promised we can be filled with hope now.

Believers resurrected bodies will be glorified like the body Christ now has in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:25-58; 1 John 3:2). Believers have the down payment, “first-fruits”, of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of being resurrected (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14).

If you are a believer who is currently suffering, hold on to hope. Ultimate victory is your final resting place through Jesus Christ!

Trials and Triumphs

Simplicity was a popular trend in 2013, ranging from simplifying gadgets to simple and clean architectural lines. We desire to simplify and understand the why’s in our complex world. For life is anything but simple.

Complexity

How can a person press on despite crippling illness, abusive relationships, the loss of a child, or even the confusion of homosexuality? Does God sometimes forget us, leaving us to maneuver through a muddled painful maze? Or is He near, guiding and supporting us in the middle of the mess?

Trials and Triumphs Trials_&_Triumphs_Final_Cover

I’ve been blessed to be a part of FaithWriters online community. I’m also honored to have my testimony included in their new book, Trials and Triumphs, along with 39 other people facing daily challenges.

In the “Coming to Faith” section, there are stories about discovering the need for a personal Savior. In the “Faith Under Fire” section, you will discover how God helped many people—including me—through various problems.

Trials and Triumphs will be released soon in book format. I will let you know when it’s available for purchase. For information about contributors, author links can be found here: Trials and Triumphs.

Come and journey with us through our challenges, victories, and intimate God-realizing moments. There is hope for the confused, abused, downtrodden, and for those who are suffering.

I hope you have a great week!

K.D.

Goodbye 2013

This marks my last post of 2013. Thank you for visiting my baby blog, which is now one-year old. I am grateful for you! I’ve been encouraged from reading many of your posts and by your likes, follows, and comments.

025I hope you’re finding time to connect with family and friends this Christmas season, and have pondered God’s great love for us through the gift of His son, Jesus Christ.

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Dad & Mom

I also thank and credit God for His provision, guidance and abundant blessings this past year. He has blessed me with a wonderful husband, kids, and extended family.

During a recent snow ridden trip to visit extended family, God protected my immediate family from a head-on collision when another driver passed too close into our lane. We also came across a car—loaded with people—that spun off the road. Their front tires clung to level ground while their back tires angled down an icy embankment. We were glad—as were they—to help transport them to a nearby phone.

During our whirlwind—but worthwhile—weekend family visit, we found ourselves in the hospital three times. In the face of cancer and a fractured hip from a fall, both Eric’s mom and grandma were visible testaments to God’s peace. We’re thankful for God’s healing hand as both Eric’s mom and grandma recover from surgery.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”  –Isaiah 43:2

How has God provided and guided you this past year?

Blessings

K.D.

The Holy Spirit—A Purposeful Person

I love the changes fall brings. Farmers’ Markets boast fresh produce. Traces of winter wheat peek their green blades through fertile fields. Bright pumpkins adorn porches. Sweet plum jam, pear cobbler, and wafts of cinnamon spiced cider linger in the kitchen. The extra hour of sleep is also nice. 🙂

K.D. Manes

(K.D. Manes)

But perhaps fall’s crowning splendor is the glowing foliage. It seems an oxymoron that these color-dyed leaves peak in beauty while simultaneously dying (fading away).

Likewise, when the believer dies by saying “no” to sin and instead follows God’s leading, the Holy Spirit’s beauty is released in that person’s life.

The Holy Spirit—A Unique Person

Like the wind, the Holy Spirit—the third Person of the Trinity—is invisible and intangible. Spirit in the Hebrew and Greek means “wind, breath.” He is the very wind, breath of God who exerts incredible power (Ephesians 3:16-20). But, unlike the wind, He is more than a powerful force just to be used. He is the invisible presence of the perfect loving God—whom we can know and relate to—residing in the believer. (Source: The Promise and Scripture)

The Holy Spirit’s Attributes

  • Intellect: He knows things with His mind (Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11)
  • Emotions: He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30); we are not to sin against Him (Matthew 12:31; Acts 5:3)
  • Will: He acts with purpose (1 Corinthians 12:11)

The Holy Spirit’s Primary Goal

The Holy Spirit isn’t here to bring attention to Himself, or to ourselves, but to glorify Christ (John 14:16). He desires to glorify God through our words and actions.

The Holy Spirit’s Method  

One role of the Spirit is to progressively conform the believer into Christ’s character (sanctification) from the inside-out. He’s in the business of disciplining, refining, and removing sin’s impurities. He prepares us for service here and for living eternally with Him. How does He do this? Tony Evans writes: “God will deal with us in a way that cracks open the hard shell of our sin-scarred soul to release our spirits to live under the control of His Holy Spirit.”
Ouch! But it’s for our own good. And, we have access to . . .

The Holy Spirit’s Limitless Reservoir

Trials are exhausting, but we can be encouraged because He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). But if we want the Spirit’s help maneuvering through life’s obstacle courses, we need to prioritize glorifying Christ since this is the Spirit’s main objective. The Spirit’s presence in the believer is ongoing. He is the source of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:23). He is in the business of change—changing our sin hardened hearts into an oasis of abundant life and freedom in Christ. Verses 23b-24 state: “Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  – vs. 25

Is anything holding you back from experiencing the Holy Spirit’s release in your life?

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Humpty, Hubby and Me

Several years ago I discovered a cracked egg in my fridge—plastered in scotch tape. Like the king’s horses and men who tried piecing Humpty back together again, my son tried repairing our cracked egg. 🙂

cracked egg_1This picture came to mind as I reflected on a much more serious incident that happened to my husband last winter.

Several of you already know this story. But it’s a good reminder to me of the following: We—like egg shells—are fragile; our time here is short, take advantage of God given opportunities; God is the One who holds us together and gives us our every breath (Acts 17:28; Colossians 1:17); we need each other; and, God works powerfully through the prayers of His people (James 5:16).

After fighting a cold nine days, Eric came down with the stomach flu. This set the stage for the “perfect storm.” I was shocked how quickly his breathing became labored. After driving him to the ER, the doctor confirmed a bad case of pneumonia on his left lung.

“He will need to stay in the hospital on antibiotics for a day or two,” the doctor said.

But our two days turned into 10 long days. (I realize that sounds short compared to what some people have gone through, but with both of us being active and healthy, this completely caught us off guard.)

Although the doctor did everything by the book, the medicine wasn’t reaching the infected areas. In fact, the bacteria spread to the other lung and into his blood.

Not a good sign.

After the fourth day, my hopeful outlook began to dim. “I won’t mince words,” the doctor said, “this is one of the worst cases I’ve seen.”

Watching my once healthy husband struggle to breathe—even with an oxygen mask—unnerved me. “If he doesn’t improve by tomorrow morning,” the doctor said, “we’ll need to move him to a larger hospital and connect him to a ventilator.”

Another bad sign. That would disable him from breathing exercises, which the nurses stressed as extremely important for his lungs to get back in shape.

The next morning, Sunday, I needed a break from the hospital. I went to church with my Mom and my sister’s family. At the end of the service, the pastor opened the altar for prayer. I didn’t want to go down because I knew I’d lose it. I’m pretty private (believe it or not). But when I set my pride aside—and yes, lost it—God met me there. His Holy Spirit comforted me with His peace.

I didn’t know what God had in mind for Eric. Lord, are you really calling him home to heaven now? I prayed. His rapid downhill condition indicated yes. But he’s not even 40! Although I knew we would meet again in heaven, the thought of raising our three kids alone and being without him increased my anxiety.

But the Holy Spirit prompted me to trust and wait upon God (Isaiah 64:4-5). During that time, I daily battled to replace my fear and anxiety with His peace and comfort through reliance on Him. I’m thankful He loves us unconditionally, through all the doubts and fears. In fact, He shines brightest during our darkest moments. I’m also thankful for the support from family and friends.

Although I don’t remember the outcome of my son’s taped egg, I’m grateful to share: God has completely restored Eric back to health. He doesn’t even have signs of scarring, which the doctor had predicted.

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June 2013

I credit God’s intervening hand to the many people who prayed for Eric—many who don’t even know him, yet faithfully lifted him to God’s throne room. I can’t predict how or when God moves and works, but I know He hears our prayers (1 Peter 3:12). He chooses to move through our requests that align with His will and purposes.

Whatever difficult circumstance(s) you might be facing, don’t give up. God wants you to come to Him right where you are, even in the middle of your mess. “The Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. . . . Blessed are all who wait for Him!” (Isaiah 30:18) Nothing is too difficult for Him.

Have a great week!

~ K.D.

*This article is also posted in the Gospel Blog by FEBC at http://bit.ly/1dW0z7p.