Bob: Whatever you’re facing today—whatever the challenges are—Barbara Rainey wants you to remember that you are not alone. God’s Holy Spirit is with you everywhere you go.
Barbara: In Romans He is our intercessor. The Holy Spirit is constantly praying for us, and I am so, so grateful, because there are many, many times in my life when I don’t know what to pray—I don’t know what to say—and He is praying for me—He is interceding for me before the Father.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, August 3rd. Our host is Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.
God’s Spirit is described in Scripture as our Comforter—and there are days when we need to know He is there providing comfort. We’ll hear more about that today from Barbara Rainey. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us.
We’ve been hearing from your wife this week, and I’ve been thinking—this is really about those times in life when we find ourselves in the low places—in the valleys of life, when we’re not on the mountaintop, when we’re in the slog. The psalmist talks about the valley of the shadow of death. Sometimes it’s not the shadow of death we’re feeling, it’s other shadows—but it’s about times when life is dark and we’re uncertain about where God is leading us or if He even is still with us.
Dennis: We’re in need of being reminded of the truth about God and who He is—and also that He has a plan for our lives and He can be trusted. I think sometimes, Bob, it’s just as simple as that. We just need somebody reaching into our lives. I think in those times we need to avoid being isolated.
Let me tell you—your enemy, in the midst of the low places—is the enemy of isolating yourself from other people who can remind you of the truth about God—
—the truth about yourself—and the truth about your future. You need friends. Every one of us has times—and I mean, some of them are game times. I mean, they’re really, really tough—it feels like it’s all on the line. Those are times when you can’t isolate from other people and try to handle it yourself by gritting your teeth and say, “We’re just going to persevere.”
No, let some other people into your space, and share your sorrow, your worry—actually, what’s going on in your heart.
Bob: We’re going to hear part three of a message from your wife, Barbara Rainey. She spoke to a group of women—not long ago—on the sufficiency of Christ to deal with issues from the past, issues we’re facing in our present, and for the issues that are ahead for us—for the darkness that we may be walking into. One of the things she says in this message is that we need to recognize that Jesus—who has promised to be always with us and to never forsake us—
—is with us—by His Holy Spirit—as we head into the future. Here’s Barbara.
Barbara: Number three: God the Holy Spirit is enough for my future. God the Holy Spirit is enough for my future.
I’ve noticed through the years that the Bible talks a good bit about dwelling-places—about homes. In the Old Testament, God’s residence on earth was the tabernacle. You remember they built that tent and they carried it around the wilderness and they rolled it up and they carried it and reset it up all over the place.
Then, during Solomon’s reign, they built an actual, physical temple that never moved—it sat in one place. In that temple, God’s presence lived in a particular room called the Holy of Holies. So God’s presence was in one place—physically—on earth.
But in John 1:1 it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”
Then in John 1:14 it says, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.”
So, when Jesus came and walked around the earth, He actually occupied a physical place on the planet, and His presence was way beyond that little square room inside the temple. God’s presence was all over the land of Israel. God wasn’t confined anymore to one room. In fact, Jesus’s name—Immanuel—means “God with us.”
But there was more change coming. Turn to John 14, and we’re going to read some verses from the Last Supper. The context for these verses is Jesus’s last words to His disciples. The end of His life was near—in fact—it was only 24 hours away. This was His last meal—and these were His last words to His dearest friends on earth. In those last words He introduced us to a new dwelling-place that He was going to give.
John 14:16 and 17—
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;” Forever! Jesus knew He was leaving, but He wanted to give them Someone who would be with them forever.
Verse 17—“that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him, because He abides with you and will be in you.”
If you have a Bible that you can underline in—and maybe you can do it on your phone—I don’t know how to do that yet—but in my real Bible I have underlined “with you” and “in you,”—both “with you” and “in you.”
Jesus knew that the next day He was going to be on the cross and He was going to be gone—and He knew His disciples were going to feel abandoned and forsaken. In fact, in the next verse—verse 18—He said, “I will not leave you as orphans.” He knew they were going to feel like orphans the next day—on Good Friday—so He promised them that He was going to send Someone who would be with them forever.
I love the concept of those two phrases in verse 17: He will be “with you” and “in you.” So, Jesus is here with me. He’s all around me. He’s before me, He’s beside me, He’s behind me, He’s above me, He goes before me—but He’s also in me.
I think today—as Christians—we’re so used to that concept that we just kind of go, “Yes. Okay. He’s with me.” But think about the magnitude of that—of the God of the universe—the Creator—coming to live within me?—so that He’s not just next to me—but He’s in me. I’m standing here with Jesus in me. The Spirit of Christ is in me, and He’s in every one of you—with you. He’s next to you and He’s in you. That’s a concept that I think we need to understand more—we need to appreciate more—we need to ask Him to reveal how important that is to us.
Paul explained this whole concept more clearly when he wrote that our bodies are the temple, the dwelling-place of God’s Spirit. In 2nd Corinthians 6:16 Paul wrote, “For we are the temple of the living God.” We forget sometimes that God is living. The living God lives within me—and He lives within you.
C.S. Lewis wrote this little paragraph about us being the temple, and I really have loved it. He wrote, “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house.” He’s come into all of us, right? He’s living in every single one of us, and He wants to rule. He wants to be on the throne, He wants to change all of our lives. He wants to fix our houses.
So, you think you understand what He’s doing—you go, “Okay, I need some changing, I need some fixing up. Yes, I have some problems that need to be fixed.” You watch what He’s doing.
C.S. Lewis writes it this way—“You think you understand what He is doing. He’s getting the drains right, He’s stopping the leaks in the roof, and so on. You knew those jobs needed doing, so you’re not too terribly surprised; you’re actually kind of glad that He is. But presently He starts knocking about the house in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense to you whatsoever. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house than the one you thought of. He’s throwing up a new wing here, He’s putting on an extra floor, He’s running up towers and making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage, but He is building a palace that He intends to live in Himself.”
I love that description, because He wants a palace, and so often I’m content with being who I am and who I want to be instead of realizing that my body—my person—who I am—
—is the temple, a dwelling-place—and He wants it to be a palace for His presence.
I want you all to look with me for a few minutes at the Holy Spirit. I don’t think we talk nearly enough about the Holy Spirit—I don’t think we understand who He is. We think of Him as a ghost—and He’s not—He’s the third person of the Trinity. So, I want to introduce you a little bit more to the Holy Spirit in the time we have left.
The Holy Spirit is enough for my tomorrows because He lives within me. He will never leave me and He will never forsake me, so I can know that no matter what tomorrow brings or next week brings, or next month or next year or ten years from now—He is never going to leave me—so He is enough for my tomorrows.
The Holy Spirit is my dearest Friend and Companion. I have learned to talk to Him all the time throughout my days, because He is always with me.
It is He who lives within me—It is the Spirit of Christ who dwells inside of me. He is our Helper—we just read a verse where Jesus promised that He was the Helper. He is our Teacher—He said, “He will teach you all things.” He is our Friend.
Number four—He is our Guide. In chapter 16 Jesus said that “the Holy Spirit will be your guide.” I talk to Him all the time as my guide. I say, “Holy Spirit—my Guide—I need You to show me what to do. I need You to lead me. I need You to show me what is next for me to do.” I love that He is my Guide.
He is our Purifier. In John 16 Jesus talks about how the Holy Spirit will convict us of sin. It’s a part of making our home—our body, our temple—into a pure and holy dwelling-place for the Spirit of God.
He is our Pledge—He is our promise of things to come.
He is our Life. Romans 8:11 talks about how the Spirit—the Holy Spirit—gives us life.
He is our Power. Jesus said this in Acts 1:8, “When the Holy Spirit comes, He will give you power.” He wants us to be aware of the power—He wants us to use His power.
In Romans, He is our Intercessor. The Holy Spirit is constantly praying for us, and I am so, so grateful, because there are many, many times in my life when I don’t know what to pray, I don’t know what to say, and He is praying for me. He is interceding for me before the Father.
Then the last one is in John 7, where Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is the Living Water. It means He’s constantly bubbling up in my heart—He is constantly refreshing me with the living water.
I want to ask you: Are you listening for His voice? I want to encourage you to be listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit.
As Sharon talked about the other night, He whispers, so we have to be attentive—we have to be close—we have to be paying attention. You can’t know His voice if you don’t know the language He speaks—and the language that the Holy Spirit speaks is God’s Word. It says, “He will guide you into all truth,” God’s Word—so the more you get into the Bible—the more you read His Word—the more Holy Spirit has to speak to you. So know His Word.
I want to encourage you to talk to Him as a person—He is not a ghost—He is a person. I want us to pray for a minute about the Holy Spirit, and I’m going to talk to the Holy Spirit and model for you how you can talk to the Holy Spirit, too—if this is not something that you’re used to doing. Let’s pray.
Holy Spirit, my Friend—my closest Companion—my Teacher, and my Guide, thank You that You never leave me or forsake me.
Thank You that You are my Guide. Oh, how I need You every moment of every day for my life—for I am often so lost and confused and unsure. Thank You that You will be present in my every tomorrow—as promised by Jesus before the cross. Teach me to know You and to recognize Your voice, to follow Your leading, to let You purify and transform my selfish, broken heart. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
As we close our session together, I want to turn to one more verse—and it’s in Romans. When I was a brand new Christian this is one of the first verses that I ever memorized, and it continues to be an amazing verse in my life. Romans 12:1, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies—”
—here we are talking about the temple again, where Jesus lives, but present your body “a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
Does your body—the living dwelling-place of God—does it belong to Him? Does He have all of it? Does He have all of you? Are you daily surrendering to Him? Surrender is not a one-time thing. We need to surrender to Christ and to the leading of the Spirit every day—every moment of every day—in every situation with our kids, in every circumstance with our husbands, in every relationship with our friends or our church—or whatever it is.
Surrender is a way of life—it’s not a one-time event or a couple of times event—He wants us to surrender to Him every day—every minute of every day.
I want to ask—does He have access in your life to every room, every closet, every secret passageway, every back staircase, every corner of your life? Does He have access to every part of you?
We’re going to finish by singing a song that’s one of my very favorites. It’s an old hymn, but it’s one of my very favorites, and part of the reason it’s my favorite—one of my favorites—is because of the story behind it. The hymn is “It Is Well with My Soul.” I’ve already told Dennis I want it sung at my funeral.
But the story of the song—in case you don’t know it—is it was written by a man named Horatio Spafford, who was a businessman in Chicago in the late 1800s. He and his family were supposed to go to England to join Dwight Moody on a crusade in England. At the last minute, he was unable to go because of some business situations—
—and he said to his wife, “You and the children go on ahead, and I’ll get the next ship.” Of course, they had no planes in those days—they went by ship.
So his wife and children got on this ocean liner and sailed across the Atlantic to go to England. Not far from England they encountered a great storm, and the ship sank, and all his children died—but his wife lived, and she sent a telegram back that said, “All lost. I am alive,”—or something like that—very, very short.
He came then—on the next ship. He got the telegram—and he knew—and he came on the next ship across the ocean. As he got to the spot where the drowning had happened, the captain came to him and said, “This is where the ship went down. This is where your four daughters died.”
As he stood there and grieved and looked at the place where his children were now buried in the sea—
—he wrote the words to this song, and I have loved this song ever since I heard that story. I want you to take this with you—because this is what the Holy Spirit does for us. This is what God wants for us. He wants us to know that He is enough—no matter what—and when He is enough we can say, “It is well with my soul.”
[Audrey Assad singing]
“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul.”
“It is well
With my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.”
Bob: That is Audrey Assad and the song “It Is Well with My Soul,” which—whether you’re dealing with challenges from the past or in the present or fear about the future—you can remember that when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever your lot God has taught you to say, “It is well with your soul.”
Dennis: Bob, that is Barbara’s favorite song. She’s talked about in her message God being enough for our past, our present—and yes, Bob, sometimes, too—we look out to the horizon and we’re not quite sure what’s out there. I can just tell you, Barbara and I—we’ve lived a few days here in the past six months looking out to the horizon because—as you know—we stepped out of leadership of FamilyLife—and God is guiding us and taking steps of faith—trusting Him that He is enough and He has a plan for our lives.
This is just what I’ve been learning, okay? You never outgrow your need for faith. This message Barbara gave—it’s not theory—she’s talking about our future, and we’re both looking at each other going, “How does this work?” We have felt for a number of years that FamilyLife—in order to reach the next generation—needed a younger leader.
David and Meg Robbins are those leaders. Many people say, “Congratulations on your retirement!” And I say, “No, no, no, no. We did not retire—we refired.”
Dennis: Now, the question is—where are we refiring toward?
Dennis: We are going to have fun—but we are going to be about what God is up to in this generation.
Bob: There’s nothing in life that is certain other than the fact that there is a God who loves you and who has promised to never leave you or forsake you—He’ll be with you. That’s where our hope lies, and that’s where we have to find our peace in the midst of uncertainty about the future.
Dennis: I don’t know who we’re talking to and where they are in life, but let me tell you, you’re not the only person going through something like you’re experiencing right now. Everybody has a story. Some of them are epic—they’re huge—they’re big. I mean, you’re facing a major fork in the road. Don’t try to do it on your own.
The message of the Bible is God does love you—He does have a plan for your life—He has ordered your steps. You may wonder—as you step out in faith, “Will He be there?”—but that’s the promise of the Psalms. I don’t think I’ve ever spent more time in the Psalms than I have in the past six months, to just read the Psalms, meditate on the truth about who God is, and write my thoughts down as I go.
That’s not solving all my problems, it’s not settling all the issues, it doesn’t mean there aren’t moments of angst and worry and anxiety and frustration—but what’s your alternative? What are you going to do? Are you going to try to control it yourself? That’s not a good path—not at all.
Bob: Yes. I’m sitting here thinking about somebody who may have a friend who is going through a time of doubt or discouragement. They may want to send a copy of Barbara’s message to their friend.
You’ll find the entire message available online at FamilyLifeToday.com. I want to mention, you and Barbara have just completed work on your book, The Art of Parenting. We don’t have copies of it yet—but it is due in from the publisher sometime this month.
We want to make it available to our FamilyLife Today listeners as soon as it arrives, and here’s what we’re asking—during the month of August, we’ve had a friend of the ministry who has come along and said he will match any donation we receive as an end-of-summer donation. He will match it up to 500,000 dollars. So, if you can make a donation today in support of all that we’re doing here at FamilyLife, your donation will be doubled—and as soon as we receive Dennis and Barbara’s new book we’ll send a copy to you as our thank you gift for supporting the ministry.
You can donate online at FamilyLifeToday.com—you can call to donate at 1-800-FL-TODAY.
Or you can mail your donation—along with your request for the book—to FamilyLife Today, Box 7111, Little Rock, Arkansas; our zip code is 72223.
Speaking of The Art of Parenting, there are a lot of couples, a lot of churches that are forming small groups or putting together church classes to go through The Art of Parenting™ video series this fall. There are some churches that are kicking off the event by showing our movie, “Like Arrows,”—the movie that was in theaters back a few months ago. If you’d like more information about The Art of Parenting video series, the eight-part series, and the movie that can be used as a kickoff event, go to FamilyLifeToday.com and the information is all available there.
You can also sign up for the 30-day Parenting Prayer Challenge. As your kids head back to school, we want to prompt you every day with things you can be praying for as your kids get ready for the new school year. The prayer prompts are free. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com—
—for more information about the Prayer Challenge or about The Art of Parenting video series.
We hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday, when we’re going to hear from Brian Houseman about how we can be tech-savvy parents—and I think a lot of us could use some help with that; right? We’ll talk about it Monday. Hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you on Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. A Cru® Ministry.
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