Page 143 of the year 2016 was a Sunday which meant the opportunity to gather with my Deer Run church family to study God’s Word and worship together. It also meant a day of rest and rejuvenation of mind, body, and spirit. Our Sunday School class continued our journey through the book of Proverbs where God has a lot to say about living a life that honors Him and not straying from a path of wisdom that only He can give. The morning worship gathering included a message from Matthew 7 as David continued a sermon series through the Sermon on the Mount. In a culture where it seems to be increasingly commonplace for churches to dismiss God’s Word as irrelevant, or redefine it to fit a shifting culture if not willing to completely dismiss it, it is good to be a part of a church which preaches and teaches God’s Word as complete truth and completely relevant to life today.
After lunch some of his family was able to get together to celebrate my father-in-law’s 88th birthday. As we gathered around a campfire and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon together, it was good to hear the laughter and joy of a family full of love. While I took a number of photos throughout the afternoon, the one that made inclusion on page 143 is of the fire ring as the flames and smoke danced in its midst. As I watched the fire with the background sounds of playing children, I thought about the scripture passage which talks about our life being but a vapor — a mist which is here for the moment and then no longer found. While we enjoy celebrating birthdays and life, we don’t like to spend much time dwelling on the fact that those exist for a limited time on this earth. When we do think about it, the question shouldn’t focus so much on how much time do we have but rather on how much life will we put into whatever time we do have!
As I thought more about the wisps of smoke and the brevity of life, I began to think about the Spirit of God living inside each of His children. While not visible in the sense that I could take a picture God’s Spirit posing for a directory photo, the results of His presence in my life ought to be clearly seen by all who would observe the way I live. Later in the afternoon I roasted some hot dogs while the flames and smoke were no longer visible. Even without physically seeing them, their presence was clearly demonstrated by the browning that was taking place as the hot dogs cooked. Sometimes God does such miraculous work that His presence is undeniably visible to all who would take the time to observe. Other times, His work is less visible and it requires us to not look directly for Him but to look for the results of God’s Spirit being present. If you’ve forgotten or wondering what those results might look like, a good place to look would be at the list of components that God says are a part of the fruit of His Spirit living within His children — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
I pray that you and I would always value and celebrate life. I pray that we would commit to putting as much life as possible into each day that God gives us. I pray that we would seek to be the best family member that we can be through the power of God’s Spirit within us, regardless of what our family looks like. I pray that we would allow God’s Spirit to work in us each day to produce the things that reflect His presence.