Devotional by Elder Jessie Swinehart
Sermon by Pastor Mary Rathke, of the Great Lakes Dream Center.
We live in a natural world. Humans can and do get sick. They also usually get better and their immune systems get stronger. Jesus said “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV). Part of that overcoming of the world is the gift of the Holy Spirit that God has given each and every one of us! “7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7(NKJV) So what exactly does that mean? Let’s break it down.
Power – We’ve been given the power and authority of the name of Jesus. (Luke 10:1,8-9, 17-20) Jesus gave his disciples and other followers the right to use his name for the forgiveness of sins, to heal the sick and cast out demons. Through the Holy Spirit that power has been given to us, too! Because we are children of the Most High God and even though we will face struggles and sickness in this life, He will be with us through it all if we build our lives upon His word.
Love- As humans our capacity to love is limited and conditional, but this is not the case with God. When we are in Him, it is His love that works through us, and His love is a powerful thing! (1 John 4:7-18) Once we fully understand how greatly God loves us, we will know that He will also take care of us, then we are able to love others out of the abundance of His love. If you have never entered into the fullness of that love before, now is a great opportunity to ask Jesus into your heart!
Pray this prayer:
“Father God, I accept Jesus into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior. Fill me with your Spirit, fill me with your love, fill me with your power! Forgive me of all my sins. Watch over me and be with me always. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.”
Today is a fresh day!
Finally let’s talk about having a sound mind. “2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV) What are the current patterns of the world? Panic, worry, mass buying… God doesn’t want that for us, but He isn’t saying to do the opposite, either and not care that anything is happening. Rather we are being encouraged to pray and to listen to the leading of His Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us peace, wisdom, guidance and common sense, but we must keep our focus on those things and not get caught up in the mindset of the world. Maybe at this time it means limiting media exposure and focusing on Jesus so that the fears of the world do not drown out the peace that is being offered to us. “7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 … And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:7-9 The peace and joy that God can provide will filter out the fear so that you can see the reality of what is happening in the world, then use the information available and God’s wisdom to know how you are meant to uniquely handle this situation for your own life.
Fear will come, but we must recognize it and pray for God to help us not to live in it and operate from that mindset. We have been given the power to pray for ourselves and others: “Father God, I plead the blood of Jesus over my body right now, let me be healthy, strong and safe.” We are tasked to walk in love, to pray for each other and help where we are safely able out of our abundance. Ultimately, God has blessed us with a sound mind, common sense and the ability to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, to filter our decisions through prayer so we can know that we are not conforming to the world, but transformed by His Spirit.