He Travels with Us!

Our beloved granddaughter, Eloise, has a growing collection of various-sized Squishmallows. She has given a name and voice to each one. This is “Eloise being Eloise” who delights to use her creativity and imagination to entertain family, friends and of course, herself. These soft, plush stuffed animals, food items and other cute things in her menagerie surround her at home and some even travel with her to school, church, restaurants and playdates with friends.

When Eloise can’t be in certain places at times because of her busy schedule, she requests that her daddy, Matt, take her stuffed friends on road trips to greet family in her place. So, sometimes you will see an extra passenger belted in the rear seat of his car! We enjoy how Matt relishes these opportunities to introduce Eloise’s “squishy friends” to us and as a result, we know by experience how charming and comforting each of them are to embrace! Of course, we are "required" to document these occasions with a picture! 😉

"Puff" Squishmallow

Jesus taught a great deal about the third person of the Godhead, the Person of the Holy Spirit. He is closer to us than we often realize and just as essential as the air we breathe! Just before the cross and resurrection, Jesus offered the disciples His encouragement and hope, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth… I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:16-17a, 18 KJV).

The word Jesus used for the Spirit can be variously translated as Comforter, Advocate, Helper, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, or Standby (AMP Bible). The word for our Spirit Companion in the original language is paracletos (Greek). It means, “He who is called to come along someone else.” Literally, it was the word for a family defense attorney. This is how Jesus refers to the Person of the Holy Spirit. What assurance! As believers, we never travel alone because the Spirit of Christ indwells and accompanies us throughout our lives.

An awareness of this unseen Presence should give us pause as we sin or miss the mark of what God intends in our behavior and beliefs as a believer. Every time we fail in our Christian life, we grieve the Holy Spirit and God warns us, “Do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own…” (Ephesians 4:30, NLT). As a check against “joining” the indwelling Spirit to something amiss, we’d do well to consider during times of temptation, “I belong to God! Will this thought or action bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit?”

Here’s a statement of fact for all believers that should bring assurance during times of weakness, “You are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit living in you. (Romans 8:9, NLT). John instructed believers that they could overcome adversity, “because the one who is in you is greater is than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). Jesus promised, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33). Traveling with Jesus makes us overcomers in the Spirit!

What are other ways in which our personal Companion comes alongside as defender and helper in time of need? He is our guide during decisions we must make. He assures us of God’s comforting presence in seasons of sorrow. He prays with His understanding when we don’t quite know what to say or think, “and the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.” (Romans 8:27, NLT). Thank God that you and I are sufficiently resourced by the indwelling Spirit every day!

As we enter this Lenten season, we know that it will soon be Easter. Do you remember how the resurrection of Christ completes the longing for Christmas? At Advent we pray, “Come Emmanuel. Be our 'God, with us.'” The answer to that prayer is “trumpeted forth” in the Easter affirmation, “He is alive!” What hope! What help! God is with us!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com 

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