I pray all who read my blogs and posts be strengthened in hope day by day through the Holy Spirit. I am convinced that our true nature is spirit, not flesh, and that the flesh is a vehicle and a toolkit which our magnificent God has made out of the material of the creation and put together for us, who are his children to live in and grow to maturity.
God breathed the breath of life into his human creation. Genesis 2: 7. God is spirit. John 4: 24. Wind and air are also used to describe spirit. See John 3: 6-8. Our beloved Paul, apostle to we who are descendants of gentiles according to the flesh but are adopted and grafted to the true vine according to the spirit (see Romans 11: 13- 21; John 15: 1- 8) has explained to us that we are not just bodies of flesh. In fact, the flesh is opposed to the spirit in a sense, because the more the spirit grows the more it yearns to be free. See Romans 8: 1-16. We can artificially breathe air into a person, but only God can give the spirit.
But, more than this, look at 2 Corinthians 14: 16- 18. “Outwardly we are wasting away yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” and also “what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Spirit is the eternal portion.
Look at second Corinthians 5: 1- 10. “If the earthly tent that we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven not built with human hands.” And “Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling.”
This is the “tent,” our physical bodies, which represent the pinnacle of God's worldly creation but is nothing in comparison to his heavenly creation. Not that the body is to be despised, because it is created by God for his purposes and is to be used for those purposes. He did not create it for nothing, he did not create it for the purpose of gratifying itself. And he certainly did not create it for the devil.
The spirit, which lives in the body, is God's crop, his harvest. See e.g., Matthew 20, the parable of the workers in the vineyard, and the parable of the tenants, Mt. 21: 33- 45. God's harvest is the human spirit that he breathed into each of us. The eternal part of us that transcends the life of the flesh.
But, through the life we live here we grow and mature the spirits we are given. This is accomplished through our experiences here and much of it is done through our suffering. See Romans 5: 3- 5.
It was for this purpose that Christ suffered and died. In Hebrews 2 9-18 we see that the author of our salvation, that is, Christ, was made perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:10. And since we are flesh and blood, “…he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil-and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Hebrews 2: 14-15. He suffered so he could be a brother to all of us who are a flesh and tempted in our own suffering.
Of course, it is not all suffering. We are called to live godly lives and to fulfill God's purposes. We are intended to have families, and to derive pleasure and satisfaction from godly work. And we are to labor in his vineyard. See Matthew 20; and to help the poor see Matthew 25: 34- 46. See Isaiah 1: 16- 17.
I can tell you that I personally derive great pleasure and satisfaction from my personal calling of working among the homeless. God sent me through the Holy Spirit to go anonymously, to dress and talk like them, to learn their ways and their troubles. But more than this he sent me to become a friend to them, meaning not a “benefactor” but as one of them though not homeless myself. Through the years also by constancy and continuation, I have become a fixture in their world. Always present, thinking of them. When it is cold, I bring them hot coffee. When they are deprived, I bring them chocolate. When it is hot, I bring them cold drinks. The spirit of God guides me to do all of these things. None of them is just me and I cannot boast in any of them. All I do is to act as a water pipe, which is neither the source nor the destination of the water. If someone has a problem that I know how to fix I work on it with them. Otherwise, I try to get someone else to help if I can.
The sum of all of these activities, however, is that through me the Holy Spirit is bringing them hope. And I know it is not me; that is not the that is not the version of me that previously existed and that died and was buried in my baptism, but the spirit of Christ flowing through me that does these things. “Whoever believes in me as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John 7: 38. This is how it works.
I have lived with cancer for 5 1/2 years, and now also with multiple myeloma I recently also spent nine days in the hospital, with septicemia and extremely painful spasms that did not let me sleep or eat. I got through that by the help of angels that God sent to lift me up and people who were so kind to me also blessed by him. But I have been happy and blessed through these experiences and now I'm doing even more, knowing my time may be short, although not knowing how short, I am trying to publish my second book trying to help the shelter and still be help to my precious wife who God gave to me.
But the fruit of all of it is hope, hope through suffering, hope through friendship, hope through the action of the Holy Spirit of God in all of our lives. And our hope will not disappoint us, because it is God himself who is the author and guarantor of this hope; God whose promises are our reliance. And we are liberated to speak of it boldly and fear nothing because it is God's hope. And God’s hope is the greatest gift of all.

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