As we began our new sermon series “Even Better Than Eden” we started at the very beginning when God created and his Spirit, his Ruach, was moving over the surface of God’s formless creation (Genesis 1:1-2). God made a faith statement that he was at the very heart and purpose of creation and that his Spirit was poised to breathe life into creation. In the New Testament Jesus tells us that It is the Spirit that gives life (John 6:63).
Today, the Holy Spirit continues to breathe, renew, empower and sustain life in his steadfast creative activity. We are reminded of this as we recall Jesus’ time in the wilderness which we remember during this season of Lent. As Jesus prepared for his ministry it was the Spirit that led him into the wilderness (Luke 4:1). Jesus’ time in the wilderness was full of many challenges. These challenges tested his commitment to follow the will and purpose of God in his life. The trials would not have been easy to face and yet the Spirit used the time to strengthen Jesus for his ministry, filling him with the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:14).
Over this Lent season I have been making the effort to regularly enter into a time of being alone with God. Many people attest that it is during these times of solitude that we can hear God more clearly. Often, people like the idea of hearing God in the dramatic, however that is not always what we need nor when we will hear him. Sometimes we need to make time and find a spot of solitude to listen for his voice in the gentle whisper. The prophet Elijah discovered this as he heard the voice of the Lord in the wilderness:
A mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper … And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13)
During lent we are reminded that we will not hear God unless we are prepared to listen. Many people give up things for lent, while this isn’t necessarily a bad practice it does sometimes miss the point. Certainly, it is helpful considering what might be distracting us from spending time with God, however, the important thing is making time to spend time with God. Finding that place in the wilderness, where you might have to face the challenges of your life, but knowing that you will return renewed with the power of the Spirit.
We know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:5)
This was the dawn of the new creation. The gardener was up at the crack of dawn doing the work the first Adam failed to do. Even now the new creation is breaking into the wilderness of our lives in this world. … This is what Paul means when he says, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17)(1)
Like many Christians, I had read fragments of the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), which had made a deep impression on me, and I also knew he had been executed by the Nazis. This book was published in 1939 as a reflection on life in the illegal seminary he led in Finkenwalde in the tense and dark days before and during World War 2.Read more
As we began our new sermon series “Even Better Than Eden” we started at the very beginning when God created and his Spirit, his Ruach, was moving over the surface of God’s formless creation (Genesis 1:1-2). God made a faith statement that he was at the very heart and purpose of creation and that his Spirit was poised to breathe life into creation. In the New Testament Jesus tells us that It is the Spirit that gives life (John 6:63).Read more
Dunfermline West Baptist Church
Chalmers Street, Dunfermline