Week Two: The Holy Spirit Shapes Me

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2018 is here!  New resolutions.  New goals.  New hopes.  New dreams.  New prayers.  Excitement of what this new year will entail.  2017 went by way too fast, but this year will be different – I’m sure of it. Just don’t blink!

The beginning of a new year is always a great time to “start fresh” or explore something new.  It’s also a good time to reflect on the year we just wrapped up.  If you’re like us, you may have experienced many ups, downs, and more than your fair share of curveballs.  Setting our hopes high, we can vividly remember ringing in 2017, and we were determined to set a plan for the year.  God probably couldn’t help but chuckle to Himself and think, “I love these children of mine, but they just have no idea what I have planned.”

Reflecting on 2017, we can’t help but see how the Holy Spirit had impacted us even more than the year before.  We like to think we know what’s best, but when the Holy Spirit intervenes, it tends to be a very graceful, and humbling reality check.

We want to be parents, but at this point biological children haven’t been an option for us.  Come to find out (shout out to the Holy Spirit!), conceiving and giving birth to a baby isn’t the only way for that to happen.  There are too many children in this world that need parents because, for whatever reason, they are not able to be placed with their biological parents.  God has opened our hearts and led us on the journey to foster parenthood.  What does all that entail? I guess we’ll have to stay tuned to how God rocks our world in this wonderful year of 2018.

Brett and Lauren Perry

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Father in Heaven, thank you for all the blessings in my life, seen and unseen.  Many of my days may be filled with struggles, but I know that I must go through trials in order to become the fully mature follower You call me to be.  May this new year be filled with more smiles than tears, more hugs than fights, and more love than I can keep contained.  Father, I pray that You would send your Holy Spirit to work in my heart and the hearts of those around me.  Shape me. Mold me.  Guide my steps.  Calm my spirit.  Lead me in the direction of your light.  Amen.


DAILY — PRAYING SCRIPTURE:

Day One: 

Jesus came down to earth to live with and put His unconditional love on display to His people.  While Jesus was still on earth with His disciples, He explained that He must leave but that God the Father would send an Advocate to watch over us, teach us, and guide us.  This Advocate, the Holy Spirit, is with us always, regardless of our circumstances.  Whether we see it or not, the Spirit of Truth works around us and in us, constantly shaping our lives, guiding our footsteps, and advocating for us on behalf of Jesus.

John 14:25-27: Lord Jesus, your Word tells us that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father sent in you name, will teach me all things and will remind me of everything You have said to me...and want to tell me...things like, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Amen.

Ask yourself: Reflecting, in what ways has the Holy Spirit been working in your life that you may not have noticed originally?  How has He reminded you of the truths and promises of God?  What does Jesus mean when He says, “I do not give as the world gives”?

Prayer:  Father in Heaven, thank you for all the blessings in my life, seen and unseen.  Many of my days may be filled with struggles, but I know that I must go through trials in order to become the fully mature follower You call me to be.  May this new year be filled with more smiles than tears, more hugs than fights, and more love than I can keep contained.  Father, I pray that You would send your Holy Spirit to work in my heart and the hearts of those around me.  Shape me. Mold me.  Guide my steps.  Calm my spirit.  Lead me in the direction of your light.  Amen.


Day Two: 

One of the many qualities of God is that He knows what we need before we do.  God has the ability to look into our hearts and know exactly where we are emotionally and spiritually.  While this idea may be overwhelming at times, considering someone knows you more fully than any other being in the world, it should also be a comfort.  On those days when things get too difficult to move forward, God has already sent His Holy Spirit to move in our hearts and minds.  The Holy Spirit is our comfort and counselor in times of need.

Romans 8:26-27: Holy Spirit, You promise to help me in my weakness.  I often do not know what I ought to pray for, but You intercede for me through wordless groans.  And God, who searches my heart, knows your mind, Holy Spirit, because You intercede for me, for all God’s people, in accordance with the will of God. Amen.

Ask yourself: What are the things this past year that have been weighing heavy on your heart?  In what ways may God be using these tough situations to shape and mold you?  Has there been a time when you tried to pray but just couldn’t find the words?

Prayer:  Father in Heaven, thank you for all the blessings in my life, seen and unseen.  Many of my days may be filled with struggles, but I know that I must go through trials in order to become the fully mature follower You call me to be.  May this new year be filled with more smiles than tears, more hugs than fights, and more love than I can keep contained.  Father, I pray that You would send your Holy Spirit to work in my heart and the hearts of those around me.  Shape me. Mold me.  Guide my steps.  Calm my spirit.  Lead me in the direction of your light.  Amen.


Day Three:

When we accept Jesus into our lives, and He sends His Holy Spirit to fill us up, there is a fundamental shift in the way we see the world and interact with people.  It’s often said that Jesus loves you where you are but loves you too much to leave you there.  Once we accept Jesus into our lives, we surrender who we once were and allow the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts and change our lives.

Titus 3:3-7:  Father God, at one time I was foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.  I lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating others. But when the kindness and love of Jesus appeared, He saved me, not because of righteous things I had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved me through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom God poured out on me generously through Jesus Christ my Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, I might become an heir, having the hope of eternal life. Amen.

Ask Yourself: Where did Jesus find you?  Where is his Holy Spirit leading you?  In what ways do you see the world differently than you used to see it because of Christ’s love and work in you?

Prayer: Father in Heaven, thank you for all the blessings in my life, seen and unseen.  Many of my days may be filled with struggles, but I know that I must go through trials in order to become the fully mature follower You call me to be.  May this new year be filled with more smiles than tears, more hugs than fights, and more love than I can keep contained.  Father, I pray that You would send your Holy Spirit to work in my heart and the hearts of those around me.  Shape me. Mold me.  Guide my steps.  Calm my spirit.  Lead me in the direction of your light.  Amen.


Day Four: 

God does not make mistakes.  He chooses each person, including you and me, for a specific purpose. God molds us in such a way that his glory is shown through us.  Gifts of the Spirit are given so that his work may be done in order that we may glorify his name.  Admittedly, sometimes we don’t want to see it that way.  We want to tell God what our gifts are and tell Him what we have in mind for the betterment of His kingdom, but those things don’t usually end up like we imagine.  God knows where we’ve been, and He has a plan for where each of us is going.  We may not always be comfortable with where He is leading us, but as the old saying goes…God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called!

1 Corinthians 12:4-7: Lord, I know there are different kinds of gifts and that the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  Help me to live and believe that I am gifted...that every believer is gifted...for the common good. Amen.

Ask Yourself: Do you know what are your spiritual gifts?  How has God been using those gifts for the common good?  Have you ever prayed that God would reveal your gifts to you?

Prayer: Father in Heaven, thank you for all the blessings in my life, seen and unseen.  Many of my days may be filled with struggles, but I know that I must go through trials in order to become the fully mature follower You call me to be.  May this new year be filled with more smiles than tears, more hugs than fights, and more love than I can keep contained.  Father, I pray that You would send your Holy Spirit to work in my heart and the hearts of those around me.  Shape me. Mold me.  Guide my steps.  Calm my spirit.  Lead me in the direction of your light.  Amen.


Day Five: 

As we begin the new year, we should remember the truths of God, His promises made to us throughout the Bible.  We are to not lean on our own understanding but, instead, consider God in all situations.  Our earthly bodies grow tired, and our minds weaken with the ever-growing stress of daily life, but remember that our God does not grow tired and weary.  He will not stumble and fall.  And if we lean on Him, then he will lift us up on wings like eagles.

Jude 1:20-21: Lord, I love your promise, “You, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, are keeping yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” Help me to live as if I believe this promise everyday! Amen.

Ask Yourself: This year, what are the things that I need to lay at the feet of Jesus?  What are the things that have been bearing down on me?  What can I do to keep focused on Jesus in my heart and mind?

Prayer: Father in Heaven, thank you for all the blessings in my life, seen and unseen.  Many of my days may be filled with struggles, but I know that I must go through trials in order to become the fully mature follower You call me to be.  May this new year be filled with more smiles than tears, more hugs than fights, and more love than I can keep contained.  Father, I pray that You would send your Holy Spirit to work in my heart and the hearts of those around me.  Shape me. Mold me.  Guide my steps.  Calm my spirit.  Lead me in the direction of your light.  Amen.


Day Six: 

The Holy Spirit can shape us individually by invading our hearts and directing us on the path that Jesus intended for us in the beginning, but the Holy Spirit also works in the community of God’s people.  We, as a community, must come together to pray for one another and lift each other up.  Leaning into God can often look like leaning into our faith community where God has placed us.  We were never meant to tackle this life alone.

James 5:13-16:  Lord God, when I find myself in trouble, help me pray.  And when I am happy, let me sing songs of praise.  And, Lord, when I or someone I care for is sick, remind me to call the elders of the church to pray over us and anoint us with oil in Your name because “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.”  Therefore, I confess my sins to You. Help me be brave to confess to a trusted, faithful believer so that we can pray for each other.  I want to believe that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Amen!

Ask Yourself: How will I lean into my brothers and sisters in Christ this year?  What are opportunities that I know of right now that God has put in front of me so I may be a comfort and an encouragement?

Prayer: Father in Heaven, thank you for all the blessings in my life, seen and unseen.  Many of my days may be filled with struggles, but I know that I must go through trials in order to become the fully mature follower You call me to be.  May this new year be filled with more smiles than tears, more hugs than fights, and more love than I can keep contained.  Father, I pray that You would send your Holy Spirit to work in my heart and the hearts of those around me.  Shape me. Mold me.  Guide my steps.  Calm my spirit.  Lead me in the direction of your light.  Amen.


 Day Seven:

Prayer: Father in Heaven, thank you for all the blessings in my life, seen and unseen.  Many of my days may be filled with struggles, but I know that I must go through trials in order to become the fully mature follower You call me to be.  May this new year be filled with more smiles than tears, more hugs than fights, and more love than I can keep contained.  Father, I pray that You would send your Holy Spirit to work in my heart and the hearts of those around me.  Shape me. Mold me.  Guide my steps.  Calm my spirit.  Lead me in the direction of your light.  Amen.

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Take some time to look back on what you have read this week and, perhaps, have written about.  What are some things that stand out to you, or what are some things that have been tugging at your heart?  Someone once told me that when you pursue the things of God and lean into Him, He will always be faithful.  God always shows up in a big way!  As you go forward from this point, be aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life and how He is shaping your life.  Recognize that all good things come from God our Father.  “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.” 

Catherine HortonComment