June 5th – The One who drives us forward



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The strangest image of the Holy Spirit given to us by Jesus is that of the Comforter. Now that doesn’t mean someone stooping over us stroking our head and saying ‘There there’. The word ‘comforter’ in English means being strengthened, like a fort.Perhaps the word should be changed to ‘REINFORCE’, for that’s what the word ‘comforter’ in the Bible means.
I was amused and helped when, in 1967, I read “The Prayers of the New Testament” by Donald Coggan. In it he referred to the Bayeux Tapestry which pictured Bishop Odo behind a long line of soldiers, belabouring the last man in line with a club, over the words “Bishop Odo comforteth his soldiers” (one who incites, stimulates and drives forward).
In the original language of the New Testament the word Jesus used of the Holy Spirit was ‘paraclete’. That is two Greek words joined together – ‘Para’ which here means alongside or beside, and ‘Kaleo’ which means to summon, or call. Thus the word picture is one ‘called alongside’, as for example in the court of law when the one beside you, on your side, and at your side, speaking on your behalf, is your advocate; and that is why modern translations of the New Testament are so fond of using that word.
Imagine the world saying to us “Who is pleading your cause little man?”, and your barrister, your advocate, God the mighty Holy Spirit replies “I am”. That should be enough to get the attention of any courtroom.
My favourite picture of this work of the Holy Spirit is found in Paul’s description of his first trial before Caesar’s court in Rome. It is in Second Timothy, Chapter 4.v 16-17
At my defence, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.

A Prayer:
Lord God, I praise you that I never stand alone against the world, the flesh and the devil. Therefore, I fear no evil for you are with me.

Now read Judges 14: 1-14.

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Thought 4 The Day

Our salvation depends not on our love for God but His love for us, not our commitment to him but his pledge to us,
not our hold on him but his grasp of us. (Anon)

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