The Voice of Contentment

Whose voice leads you?
Infants begin life under the influence of parents, and then grow up hearing family and friends. Intermingled with familiar voices, the world speaks volumes of ideas that are embedded in our minds, hearts and souls. Except we are trained in our thinking, we become the voice of the world. Our voices echo what is processed through our minds. Processing includes the foundational ideas from our childhood by which we compare all new information.

What we see, read, hear, and repeat through the years become our basis and voice of truth.

The Voice of the Majority
The voice of the majority is one of discontent.

The voice of contentment is rarely heard and known except from those who hear this voice within them. This voice, however, is not a self-produced voice, but the still, small voice of our heavenly Father and Creator. Contentment is not found in the voices and the noises of everyday life, as we know it. It is the voice of the new heart, new spirit, and new life that is ours in Christ, spoken by the Holy Spirit, kept alive through the reading, and hearing of God’s Word.

The Voice of the Oppressor
The voice of the world is the voice of Satan, the oppressor. If you have been with us from the beginning of A Year for Contentment, you may remember that we started with the two extremes in Born for Contentment. Oppression and contentment are the voices that God’s children hear every day. Either one has the power to drown the other. The voice of contentment must be practiced if it is to overcome the voice of oppression.

God said, “Let there be light. And there was light.” Genesis 1:3

Eve listened to the voice of Satan, the voice of the oppressor, so as to put out the light and to silence His voice.

After the promise of restoration in Genesis 3:15, God sent His prophets to voice His Words. Moses spoke God’s Words to His people.

“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” Exodus 19: 5-6

“And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 28:2

These and other passages speak of the blessings and contentment that come to those who hear and obey God’s voice. There are also those that speak of the curses that come to those who do not obey His voice. This is what we see and hear in the world, from generation to generation.

The writer begins the book of Hebrews with these words, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:1-3

God’s people would not listen to the voice of the prophets. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day would not listen to Him and their voices influenced the people. They were accustomed to the voice of the enemy and did not recognize God’s voice through those whom He sent.


Jesus’ voice still speaks today by His Spirit and His Word, and His is the voice of contentment. The voice of contentment is the voice of LIFE, life in Christ. In John 6:63, He said to the people, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

The voice of oppression says, “More, more. Give me more.”

The voice of contentment says, “Christ is enough. He is all I need.”

Repetition
Ministers today must speak warnings against the voice of the world. They are called to be the voice of the gospel, of truth that brings contentment in a world of oppression. Repetition is what keeps either voice alive.

Do we continually listen and share what the world is saying and doing? Does the world need our voice to speak of its oppression? Or do we, as those of God’s kingdom and family, voice His words, words that inform and encourage others by our contentment; a voice that draws others in obedience to Him?

“Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving,
and the voices of those who celebrate.
I will multiply them, and they shall not be few;
I will make them honored,
and they shall not be small.
Jeremiah 30:19

God, our Father has given us voices to speak for Him, to praise and honor Him, and to witness of His grace and glory. Are we using our voices to share what He has given us?

“Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.” Psalm 63:3

“My mouth is filled with your praise,
    and with your glory all the day.” Psalm 71:8

“My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
    of your deeds of salvation all the day,
    for their number is past my knowledge.”
Psalm 71:15

Gracious Father, forgive us for voicing the words and actions of the oppressor. Work in us your voice of thanksgiving and praise, from a heart of peace and joy in Christ our Lord. Enable us to share your kingdom of grace with our family and others around us. While others speak the voice of the world, let us respond with the voice of your kingdom. Fill us with your Spirit of contentment that draws others to you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen


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Humility and Contentment

How do we relate humility to contentment? Think of humility as the Alpha and contentment as the Omega of the Christian life. Humility leads to contentment. There can be no divine contentment without humility. The Spirit of Christ, supernaturally working in the heart and life of God’s children, produces them both.

Pride and discontent are the root and fruit of the natural life.

The new birth brings us with a new heart to a new start ~ the Alpha ~ where He teaches us what He intended in His work of creation. The humility of Christ that enabled Him to give Himself as a sacrifice for us is the same humility that His Spirit works in us; so that through us He can demonstrate the humility of Christ in the world.

Andrew Murray in his book, Humility ~ The Beauty of Holiness,* stresses the need for us to understand the power of Christ’s life and work for and in us.

“Nothing can avail but that the new nature, in its divine humility, will be revealed in power to take the place of the old. It will become as truly our very nature as the old ever was.’’ Andrew Murray

Humility at work in us depends on three things:

  1. The teaching (revelation from the written word and the Holy Spirit) and Christ’s example.
  2. Our convictions, our desires, our prayers, waiting on God in faith for His promise.
  3. The reality of the Spirit of Christ living in us and producing His own nature and disposition.

Humility and contentment are divine traits of God’s kingdom, and gifts of God’s grace to His children. Even as our natural and spiritual births are beyond our doing, humility and contentment are His work alone, and all to His glory.

“Humility is simply acknowledging the truth of our position as man and yielding to God His place. It is the sense of entire nothingness, which comes when we see how truly God is all, and in which we make way for God to be all. Such humility (the humility of Christ) is not a thing that will come on its own. It must be made as the object of special desire, prayer, faith, and practice.” Humility

What Murray says of humility can be said of contentment, as we continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

When all is yielded and we live in faith, for Him to be all and to provide all that we need, contentment will be the result.

Humility and Contentment Work Together

“Humility is like the lead in the net, which keeps the soul down when it is rising through passion; and contentment is like the cork which keeps the heart up when it is sinking through discouragement. Contentment is the great support; it is like the beam which bears whatever weight is laid upon it. It is like a rock that breaks the waves.” The Art of Divine Contentment   Thomas Watson

Do we experience divine contentment in Christ? If not, let us look to Him, with conviction of the need for humility, the desire in prayer and supplication, in faith through His Word and Spirit, waiting for this “mystery of grace, which teaches us that as we lose ourselves in the overwhelming greatness of redeeming love, humility becomes to us the consummation of everlasting blessedness and adoration.Humility

Dear Father, how do we thank you for so great a love that displaces our sin and old life with the graces of the Spirit of Christ in us. Let us be so overwhelmed so as to bow in thankfulness and humility for all you have done for us in creation and our salvation. Make us to know the power of your Spirit to humble us; let us wait patiently with a new heart’s desire for all that you have prepared for us. Let us live content and praising you for all things working to your glory, our good and joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

*A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility
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What is Happenin’?”

Nathan, our only grandson, now seventeen, used this expression when he was younger, being the middle child of five granddaughters. 

He learned this from my reading to him The Man Who Couldn’t See from Ella K. Lindvall’s READ ALOUD BIBLE STORIES.

Children and adults are asking the same question today? Children are growing up in a culture unlike any other in our history. There is a lot of walking and talking, and our children are becoming more anxious, affected by all that is going on in the world.

No one is blind to the news of evil. It is very evident through mass communication for the world to hear and see. We are blind, however, to the causes. We cannot see behind the scenes. And the world is blind to the solution.

What we hear and see is a prelude to what hell will be like for those who are blind to the good news of Christ.

Imagine, if things continue as they are, where the chaos will take us. Without Christ there is no hope.

It is as if God has removed Himself from the world, to show us what it is like without His rule and presence with us. All we need for more evil and  destruction is for the world to be left alone to decide what is good in our own eyes.

Imagine the worst scene in history. Multiply this in our day with all that is happening, and you can imagine hell. Our only hope is Jesus Christ.

Dear Heavenly Father, show us your mercy. As we hear and see what this world is like, in disobedience to you, rend the heavens and come down, as the melting fire burneth, and make your name known to the adversaries. Enable us to see Jesus as our only hope. Open our eyes to see Him and to tell others about your marvelous grace through Him for our deliverance. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

How the Holy Spirit Works ~ Part Three

Do you question God’s power to work in your life? Do you doubt or wonder at His supernatural working what He has planned and desires in your life? We are continuing to learn how God, who is Spirit, works supernaturally, whether it is for our salvation, our sanctification or contentment. His kingdom begins here on earth, His Spirit working in ours. He made us spiritual creatures in a physical body with the intentions of living His own Spirit in us, and portraying His own image. Jesus, being the example and the means through which He would accomplish His plan, is through the power of His Spirit, revealing and fulfilling His plan in us.

We have seen in our previous posts, the first and Part Two, where He begins. In this post we will continue to see the flow of His Spirit bearing the fruit of His own work (John 7:37-39; Galatians 5:22-23).

The Holy Spirit works in the spirit of man through the soul and the body; in the body, through the mind, heart and will. Here we see how He works in our impressions, our affections, emotions and expressions for His desired results.

The Spirit and Impressions

The Spirit works with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

“For freedom Christ, (through His Spirit and Word) has set us free” to know, fear, love, obey, and bear the fruit of His Spirit.” Galatians 5:1

Jesus promised His disciples to send the Spirit of truth, explained in the priestly prayer in John 17:17.

We cannot avoid the impressions of the Holy Spirit when the Father sends Him to witness of Christ in us. He brings us to read or hear His Word, and He brings conviction ~ “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:” John 16:8

“the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you:”
1 Peter 4:14
“lively stones, built up a spiritual house .”
1 Peter 2:5
“Sealed with the holy Spirit of promise.”
Ephesians 1:13

The Spirit and Affections

Do we sense the stirring of the Spirit within us? Where are our affections when the Holy Spirit does the will of the Father and the work of the Son within us? Where are our affections when we learn the truth of God’s love for us?

“Seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2
“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Galatians 5:24

The Holy Spirit impresses us with the Father and Son’s love for us, so that we respond in brokenness, humility, repentance and faith.

“God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” Romans 2:4

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1-2

The Spirit and Emotions

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Romans 8:11
“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”
Romans 12:11

“The meek and quiet spirit” 1 Peter 3:4

The Holy Spirit works through our emotions and zeal in the body of the church.

“Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.”
1 Corinthians 14:12

“in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:”
1 Peter 1:22

The Spirit and Expressions

From the Spirit’s working in our spirit, soul and body, through our mind, heart and will, He is able to make His impressions real, and to express what the Father and the Son do in and through us as His people. In the following references we see what He expects to do in and through us to the Father’s glory.

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Hebrews 9:14

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Ephesians 6:18

“in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27

By the power of the Holy Spirit we are brought together as His people to live the abundant life here, bearing the fruit of the life of Christ, by the power of the Spirit, content with what He is doing in us until He brings us home to glory ~ ready to answer those who ask our reason for hope and contentment.

Dear Heavenly Father, as we close this segment of our series on Contentment, I praise you for leading us to know how you work through your Holy Spirit to prepare your people for our eternal glory with you. As we wait and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, continue to bear the fruit of your Spirit within us. Conform us to the image of Christ by His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and temperance. Thank you for loving us and making us your children. Enable us to be content with your glorious blessings in and through us. ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, by the power that works in us; to Him be glory in the church throughout all ages, world without end.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Recommended Reading: The Power of the Spirit
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Grazing in the Right Pasture

Like sheep, my thoughts often wander. When the Lord gets my attention, I realize that I have left the green pastures to dwell on what is going on around me. My thoughts take me wherever they want to go. They must be trained by the Shepherd, so that I stay close to Him.

The apostle Paul tells us, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

When the things of the world come to mind I am easily led into the barren fields among the rocks and thistles. In the cares and distractions of this world, I forget that my thoughts should be on that which is true, honest, just and pure, that which is lovely, of good report, of virtue and worthy of praise.

When my thoughts dwell on what I hear of the world, I am negating the Word of God, nurturing the seeds of the tares and wasting time that I could be sharing the good news of God’s grace.

Our Lord teaches us to remember whose we are. Once we were sheep without a shepherd going our own way, led by the god of this world through a barren wilderness, but now are returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.

Jesus, our Lord, has prepared green pastures and still waters; He restores my soul and leads me in the paths of righteousness.

Yes, we pray for our enemies and those who despitefully use us, but we don’t take up their lament, captive to the lost region in this world. Instead, we bring our thoughts captive to Christ so that we may speak the truth of God’s Word in love and compassion to those who live in this wilderness. This is our weapon against the stronghold in which the enemy would keep us bound. We focus on and praise our Lord for His goodness and His wonderful works to the children of men (Psalm 107:8).

The less we speak of what is happening in the world, the opinions and arguments ~ its grazing habits ~ the more we experience the obedience and happiness in our own pastures. Through our witness of Him, He draws others to Himself.

Gracious Father, we praise you that you have bought us, sought us, caught us, and brought us to Christ and taught us how to live as your children, your sheep in your pastures. Let us proclaim the legacy of your kingdom, so that you may draw more of your sheep to Christ where you have every good thing prepared for us. In Jesus’ name we pray and praise you. Amen.

Related Article: A Sheep’s View

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How the Holy Spirit Works ~ Part Two

I should have known when I started How The Holy Spirit Works that it was not possible to condense it to one post. We continue with our diagram where the Holy Spirit centers His work.

The Spirit and the Heart

God’s Spirit in our spirit, soul, and body, works through the mind to “shine in our hearts the knowledge of the glory of God in the face (the person and humanity) of Jesus Christ.” This “treasure,” the apostle Paul states, is “in earthen vessels that the power may be of God and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:6-7

We are given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 
2 Corinthians 1:22
The love of God is spread abroad in our hearts by the Spirit. 
Romans 5:5
Our hearts are circumcised in the Spirit.
Romans 2:29

God’s Spirit of love and circumcision of the heart is the fulfillment of the promise made in Ezekiel 36:26.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

It is this “new heart and new spirit” through which His Spirit works to reveal, and fulfill all that He wants to do in us as His children. This is the “new birth”  so that by His Spirit working in our spirits, we are being conformed to the image of Christ, His Son.“ (Romans 8:29)

Whoever believes in me, as he Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:38-39

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, the Son.

“God sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”
Galatians 4:6
“that Christ may dwell in your hearts”
Ephesians 3:17
“the hidden man of the heart, the meek and quiet spirit”
1 Peter 3:4

The Holy Spirit reveals what only the new heart and spirit can understand.

“having the eyes of your hearts enlightened.”
Ephesians 1:17-23
“the heart of man has not conceived the things of God,
but they are revealed by His Spirit”

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

Paul prayed for the early church to “be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may comprehend and know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19  It is in knowing the love of Christ in the heart, the fullness of God in the heart, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the heart that we come to the understanding of the Spirit in the will. 

The Spirit and The Will

If we were speaking of God alone or man alone, we would separate His will from man’s will, but as we come to this section, we cannot separate the two. As we started with God’s Spirit and our spirit united, and follow His work through the soul and body, in which the mind, heart and will are encompassed, we have the two wills, God’s and man’s, united by the power of His Spirit. From the beginning God created man from the dust of the earth and breathed His Spirit into him, providing a soul through which God would direct and care for His creation. His Holy Spirit, by the power of Christ’s resurrection has redeemed the soul and body from the law of sin and death and brought us by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ to know His will (Romans 8:2). His Spirit of love and grace draws us to Christ, so that we willingly come to Him and desire His will, not our own (John 6:44-45). Other references include Mark 3:35; John 7:17; John 9:31; Romans 8:27

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

“So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”
Romans 9:16

Our ultimate reference is from Jesus’ words, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Luke 22:42

If we follow the path of the Holy Spirit, we see the power that works to bring all things together for us in Christ, so that the knowledge and His light in our hearts melts our hearts and our wills and they are melded into His.

“And the Spirit says , Come ~
whosoever will may come.”
Revelation 22:17

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness.”
Psalm 110:3

“We do hold and teach that though the will of man is not ignored, and men are not saved against their wills, that the work of the Spirit, which is the effect of the will of God, is to change the human will, and so make men willing in the day of God’s power, working in them to will to do his own good pleasure. The Spirit makes a revelation of truth to the soul, whereby it sees things in a different light from what it ever did before, and then the will cheerfully bows that neck which once was stiff as iron, and wears the yoke which it once despised, and wears it gladly, cheerfully, and joyfully. Yet, note that the will is not gone; the will is treated as it should be treated; man is not acted on as a machine, he is not polished like a piece of marble; he is not planed and smoothed like a plank of wood; but his mind is acted on by the Spirit of God, in a manner quite consistent with mental laws. Man is thus made a new creature in Christ Jesus, by the will of God, and his own will is blessedly and sweetly made to yield.” Charles Spurgeon

Dear Father, as the knowledge of your Spirit’s working is too much to include in even two posts, we will stop here and finish the last part next week. You have so blessed us to take us though this path of your Holy Spirit’s working in us as your children. Thank you for our creation and redemption that is secured by the power of your Holy Spirit as you are preparing us for eternity with you. Continue to work your will in and through us to do your will, for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

How the Holy Spirit Works ~ Part 3

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How the Holy Spirit Works

Continuing from our last post The Spirit of Contentment, and using the following diagram, we will explain how the Holy Spirit works in man to produce the fruit of the Spirit. Scripture explains all the Holy Spirit does, so to fully understand how our contentment depends solely on the working of the supernatural power of God’s Spirit, we will need to spend time in these passages. I love the word “passages” as it pertains to the Scriptures of God’s Holy Word, Through this wilderness on our way to eternity with our Lord, we are spending time in the passages that He has given us, so that we know how to get through with the contentment that He has planned and works in us.
While in one sitting you may not get what we have included here. Please, save this segment and refer to it often, as these passages continually speak to us and direct us. We will only get to mid-point in this post. We will continue in our next post to how the Spirit works through the heart to our expressions.holy-spirit

God’s Spirit With Our Spirit

We are born of the Spirit of God
by His will and Word .
(John 1:12-13; John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:2-3, 23)
The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
(Romans 8:9-11; 14-17; 23-24)
The second Adam (Christ) is a quickening Spirit.
(1 Corinthians 15:45)

Spirt, Soul and Body

Sanctified wholly, spirit, soul and body; preserved until the coming of Christ.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23)
The Word of God, piercing to the division of soul and spirit discerning the intentions of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12).
A steadfast anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19)
The salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:9).
The body and spirit; faith and works
(James 2:26)

Soul and Body

Now returned to Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).
The body and soul (Matthew 10:28).
The body, more than clothing (Luke 12:23).
The body and its passions (Romans 6:12).
The Spirit, the body, and life  (Romans 8:12-13).
The body for the Lord, and the Lord for the body (1 Corinthians 6:13).
Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit
(1 Corinthians 6:19).
A natural body, and a spiritual body
(1 Corinthians 15:44).

“Who will transform our lowly body
to be like his glorious body, 

by the power that enables him
even to subject all things to himself.”

Philippians 3;21

Mind
 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love,
and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7

 “Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”
Luke 10:27
“received the word with all readiness of mind.”
Acts 17:11
“serving the Lord with humility of mind
Acts 20:19
mind the things of the Spirit” Romans 8:5
“to be spiritually minded is life and peace”
Romans 8:6
“transformed by the renewing of the mind
Romans 12:2
mind not high things” Romans 12:16
“we have the mind of Christ” 1 Corinthians 2:16
“a willing mind” 2 Corinthians 18:12
“renewed in the spirit of your mind
Ephesians 4:12
“keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 4:7
 “humbleness of mind” Colossians 3:12
“I will my put laws into their minds
and write them in their hearts
Hebrews 8:10
“Gird up the loins of your mind” 1 Peter 1:13
“pure minds” 2 Peter 3:1phil-2-5

Dear Father, it is difficult to stop at this point. It seems we are just getting started, knowing we can never cover all that you are opening to us. I pray that those who read will by your Spirit be given wisdom and understanding into how you work in us as your children. Thank you for trusting me with your Word. By the power of your Spirit, please enable me to carry this over to our next post as we come to the center ~ the heart of the matter ~ how your Spirit works in and through our hearts to bring forth the fruit of your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, temperance; even your holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, humility, godliness, your fulness, the fulness of your Spirit, and the fulness of Christ, who in us is the hope of glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

“Seeing ye have purified your souls
in obeying the truth
through the Spirit
unto unfeigned love of the brethren,

see that ye love one another
with a pure heart fervently:”
1 Peter 1:22

How the Holy Spirit Works ~ Part Two

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