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  • Writer's pictureDavid V Burdick

Spirit of God

By David Burdick

To follow the Spirit of God, you must know and recognize the Holy Voice of the Spirit of God. To know and recognize His Holy Voice, you must weigh your hearing against the Word of God. One will never contradict the other. You must know and recognize the given Word of God. Consider the commonly misunderstood words, “God helps those who help themselves.” These are not the words of God. They are the words of Benjamin Franklin and they contradict the Word of God. The Psalmist, King David tells us, “It is better to trust in the LORD, than to put confidence in man” (Psalms 118:8). God desires us to be dependent on Him. Consider also the phrases, “God will never allow you to suffer more than you can endure. He will never burden you with more than you can handle.” Again, these are not the words of God. God often allows us to be taken beyond our breaking point. It is how He grooms us. We must relinquish our faith in man before we can build our faith in God. Overwhelming circumstance is often the only means to bring a prideful man to God. “Trust in him at all times; ye people, poor out your heart before him:  God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Psalms 62:8).

Often a stumbling stone to the struggling believer, the list of contradictions present in organized religion is long and misleading. Despite Paul’s warning against celibacy (1 Corinthians 7:9), the adoption of celibacy within the Catholic Church has ensured acts of perversion in exchange for inheritance of wealth after death. The Word of God tells us, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). It does not say that all are required to attend church on Sunday to ensure a collection of tithes. Though these contradictions are clearly evident, it is not my intent to devalue organized religion. To the contrary, it was these contradictions that stirred my interest and set me on a journey of discovery that ultimately loosened my chains and set me free. Perhaps due to the profits of guilt, one of the most valuable lessons to be learned in the Word of God is conspicuously absent from the teachings of most churches. At the exclusion of a necessary reliance on Christ for the forgiveness of sins, one critical omission fosters an unhealthy reliance on the church. What is missing is the importance of the separation between the Old Testament and the New Testament, the New and Everlasting Covenant that replaced the Law of Moses with the Spirit of God.

The Law that was meant to save us had condemned us (Romans 2:12). From the time of Moses, mankind was tested in the Law again and again, and found to be lacking. Even as Moses was receiving the Law that was written by the finger of God on Mount Saini, Aaron was fashioning a golden calf for the children of Israel to worship (Exodus 32:1-4). Despite all the miracles witnessed by Israel and regardless of hearing the actual voice of God (Exodus 19:16-19), Israel continued to backslide. Speaking through His prophet Jeremiah, God rightfully asked, “What injustice have your fathers found in Me, that they have gone far from Me, have followed idols, and have become idolaters” (Jeremiah 2:5)? My people have forsaken Me. Their wickedness shall correct them and their backsliding shall rebuke them (Jeremiah 2:13, 19). 

Since the founding of the New and Everlasting Covenant (Hebrews 13:20) and the accension of Christ unto the Father (Acts 10:39-44), right and wrong have been written in our hearts and the Holy Spirit of God has been given to all mankind by the Son of God. We are given a compass that supersedes the Law of Moses and the Ten Commandments. I cannot imagine a life before Christ, a life under the law where every choice influenced the possibility of my salvation. Again and again, man has proven that being responsible for his own salvation is not a good thing. Under the Old Testament, perfection was the only path to eternity and many a good man fell short of the law. Even before the sacrifice of the lamb and the gifting of the Holy Spirit, our heavenly Father was always there and He gifted the Holy Spirit to those He would. As true today as it was in the Old Testament, once touched by the Holy Spirit, we are never the same. When God punished King David for having Uriah killed and taking his wife to be his own, David lost everything, including his 7-day-old son (2 Samuel 12:18). Overwhelmed with grief and despair, King David valued the gift of the Holy Spirit above all else. And David sang unto God, “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit” (Psalms 51:11-12). 

The Holy Spirit of God and the New and Everlasting Covenant were never meant to be exclusive to the house of Israel. Speaking again through His prophets, God told the Israelites, “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, …and the nations shall know that I am the Lord when I am hallowed in you” (Ezekiel 36:22-24). Often times, we unknowingly satisfy the desires the Holy Spirit, completely unaware that we are serving God’s purpose. Resulting circumstances are seen as nothing more than coincidence. On March 25, 1983, Thomas Zimmer, a holy man known as the hermit of Loretto, prophesized in Rome that Donald J. Trump would be president of the United States and be responsible for bringing America back to God. Many will not believe this because they so dislike Donald J. Trump. They believe that Trump is an offensive misogynist with a sarcastic tongue and that is enough for them. However, their disdain for Trump has nothing to do with the fulfilment of the hermit’s prophesy. God chooses who He will. 

Twenty years ago, two years after losing my job that I held for twenty-two years, at a point in my career when I was just nine months short of a bridge to full retirement, I found myself having to reinvent myself. Possessing an uncanny ability to buy and sell antique beer bottles for a profit, I managed to keep my family afloat for two years with no real job to speak of. We had only $800 to our name and no means to make the next mortgage payment when I finally hit bottom. The memories are as fresh today as they were twenty years ago.

I was blessed with a wife who had an undying faith in me. She always knew that my first priority was to provide and care for her and she never questioned my ability to do just that. I could comfortably tell her anything, including that I just lost my job and she wouldn’t even flinch. While I was unemployed, I bought her a new laptop and paid for her realtor license because that was something that she wanted to do. Starting at the bottom, she was tasked with selling foreclosures. This amounted to driving people around at her own expense to look at old dilapidated properties that nobody would ever want to buy. It happened one morning when my wife was leaving for work. As she kissed me goodbye and started out the door, she said, “We have only $800 in the bank and no way to make our mortgage payment this month.” I had always lived my life like some saving grace was just around the corner.  I had been looking for work for nearly two years and now we were down to $800. That hit me like a hammer. As soon as my wife pulled out of the driveway, I dropped to my knees and prayed. I prayed, “Oh heavenly father, have not I been faithful? Has not my faith been in you alone? I pray, do not let us go through this. The wife that you gave me Lord is near the end of her rope. She has suffered greatly in life. Please God, do not let her suffer this. I have no idea how we will pay our mortgage this month. Please God, grant us a miracle of finance as only you can. Amen.” I regained my composure and went back to work creating an add on eBay for the last antique beer bottle I would sell.

Then, in less than ten minutes, I got a phone call from a messenger of GOD, Missy. God had chosen her to answer my impossible prayer. She asked if I would be available for a telephone interview that afternoon. It was for a job that I had applied for several months earlier but had completely forgotten about. The position had been categorized as “FILLED” for several weeks. The employer was putting together a recovery team for a plant that had just been placed on the NRC Watch List. I asked, “What does it pay?” Missy told me the typical wage for a similar position. When I told her that I was nervous about the interview because I really needed the job, her response was, “Don’t worry about it. You got this.” A few hours later, I accepted an offer for what would turn out to be, then, the highest paying job of my career. 

That was the first job where Missy served as my agent. Over the next twenty years, she became my friend and advocate. She probably landed me another ten or fifteen jobs, each lasting six to eighteen months. Missy even once got me a $500 bonus for the additional work that I brought to the agency. She was a member of our family. So much so that my wife would sometimes answer the phone and talk with her for ten minutes before handing the phone over to me, jokingly introducing Missy as my imaginary girlfriend. I even started calling her that. The point being, she was my imaginary girlfriend, she was a positive influence on my life, she providing words of encouragement when needed, and she always had my best interest at heart. We don’t always know when or how God works in our lives, only that He does.  Until her reading of this sermon, Missy hadn’t known or recognized that the Holy Spirit of God had nudged her that day to do the work of God and she listened.  

Sometimes we are touched by the Holy Spirit and know that God has worked through us for His purpose; sometimes, we have no idea. We increase our odds of being a God’s sword bearer when we seek to do what is written in our heart and pleasing to God. We must step up to the challenge, even in the dark, when no one is looking. We must pray to overcome the evil one; the voice that would tell us, it’s too inconvenient, they’re too dirty, I don’t have enough time, they wouldn’t appreciate it anyway, I don’t want to ruin my new shoes. 

God’s love endures. What He had planned in the beginning and His prophets had foretold had come to pass. The Apostle Paul explained, “…if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second…’Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah - not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; …I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them’” (Hebrews 8:7-11, Jeremiah 31:21-34). Speaking through His prophet Ezekiel, God said, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

So, this then is the battle that we face, a battle between our corrupt mind and our Godly heart. Recognizing man’s eternal battle, Paul, confessed, “I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:22-25). Key to this passage is, “…the one who wills to do good.” Here it is, we have free will to choose the path of God, the narrow gate that Christ speaks of (Matthew 7:13-14). Follow the heart that you were given to follow Christ. You will know when you do what is right and pleasing to God. If you reason with yourself to go against your heart, that is the evil one seeking to change your path. Let your heart speak the loudest and be filled with the Spirit of God. Follow your unhampered heart that holds the truth and pleases the heart of God.

Let us endeavor to do God’s will. Let us seek to listen to the heart of the Holy Spirit of God that lives within us. Let us weigh our choices against the Word of God that we might please Him in our actions. Look always to the narrow path.

Let us pray.

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