Linda Larsen - Palmerston Library, Darwin, Australia Special Meeting - September 2, 2007

Hymn 408  

In Acts 7:59, it’s part of Stephen’s experience and it just says, “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'” I was remembering back a couple of years ago when we were standing at the graveside of a little old lady and there was a little girl standing beside me. It was her grandmother who was being laid to rest and after the service the little girl said, “Is Granny’s head in the box?” And I said, “Yes.” Then she asked, “Is Granny’s arms and legs in the box?” And I said, “Yes.” She asked, “Is Granny’s whole body in the box?” And I said, “Yes.” Then she asked, “If Granny is in the box, how can Granny be in heaven, too?” So I tried to explain to her what had gone to heaven was of God. Some of the children here know what happens after we die, and what it is that goes to God.

In Ecclesiastes 12:7, it tells us, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” It speaks about the spirit returning to God; and it was God who first gave it to us. That gave me the essence of the little thought today that we are caretakers of our spirit. In Proverbs 16:32, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” It’s speaking about us ruling our spirit; it means having control of the spirit that we have. We live our life and go through experiences of life just ruling our spirit. It gives us an example: slow to anger; having a little control of the spirit of anger; having control of our spirit.

We were at the parliament house the other day and a sitting was in progress. There was a man talking there; well he wasn’t talking, he was yelling. There didn’t seem to be a lot accomplished; just calling others names. I don’t know that man but there was something proud and arrogant about his spirit that made me dislike him. Our spirit is something we feel. When you are talking to people and are amongst them; yes, you hear their words but there’s something that you feel as well. You feel when there’s somebody who loves you, when somebody disapproves of you, when somebody is proud or when somebody is humble. We feel that, don’t we? Jesus on one occasion, in Luke 9 had to say to His disciples, “You know not what spirit you are of.” That put a little warning in my heart that if we are to be caretakers of our spirit, we want to know what spirit we are of and we want to have the right spirit, don’t we?

I have been thinking a little about being a feeder in our spirit, when we are with others. I appreciate the fellowship that we have here; our Sunday morning meetings. I often find maybe it isn’t so much as what has been said in the spirit but what others would bring that has fed my soul. The prayer in my heart as I came today was not that I had something prepared to speak about, but that my spirit would be prepared to come here. I was praying about how to prepare my spirit to get here and it came to me in John 9 about the blind man. You remember the story that this man, after Jesus healed him of his blindness, he was cast out of the city. We read Jesus went and found him and said unto him, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" He answered and said, "Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?" And Jesus said unto him, "Thou hast both seen Him and it is He that talketh with thee." He said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshipped Him.

I wondered about coming to fellowship with a spirit of worship in our hearts. This was a man who had just got to know Jesus and he had proved Jesus in giving him sight. What do you think would be the feeling of this man’s heart? Wouldn’t it be of great thankfulness? Not only a spirit of thankfulness but a spirit of worship, a spirit of just bowing himself down. Wouldn’t that add something special to our meetings, if we came not only with a thankfulness for all Jesus has done for us, but bowing down to worship – the One who has given us a place in the family of God – bowing ourselves down?

There are some I have appreciated very much because they were feeders simply in their spirit. The first one was in I Samuel 25. Abigail who was married to a man called Nabal. He wasn’t an easy man to be married to; it sounds he was churlish and quick to anger. Because of this man, David and all his men had cause to be angry and were getting ready to slay him. They were going to his house but Abigail found out and she quickly prepared and took 200 loaves, 2 bottles of wine, 5 sheep ready dressed, 5 measures of parched corn, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 cakes of figs. Immediately, she went to David and his men and we read of her bowing herself to the ground and saying, “Upon me, my lord, let this iniquity be and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid.” That lady, just by the soft spirit that she brought before David and his angry men, was willing to take the fault of her husband upon her shoulders, bowed herself down to be a servant of those men. After this man, Nabal, had lost his life, we read David took this lady to be his wife and she entered his house with a beautiful spirit. She was going into David’s house as a wife yet she was choosing the place of a servant of the servants in her spirit. Wasn’t that a beautiful spirit that lady had in that household? I felt I have much to learn from Abigail, how to be amongst you and amongst the world if I can always take this spirit of being a servant amongst the world and then a servant of servants.

Genesis 24, when Abraham’s servant was seeking a bride for Isaac, what was it about this lady that impressed this servant? When he asked for a little drink of water, she ran to draw water for him and said, “I’ll draw for your camels, also.” She drew and drew water until both he and his camels were satisfied. What a beautiful spirit; a spirit of willingness and it touched that man that he bowed his head and worshipped and thanked God. Don’t we appreciate that kind of spirit in the kingdom; those that take the humble place, the place of a servant and a willingness to serve? I feel many times I have bowed my head and said, "Thank you," to our Father for what He has done, for other people and for His servants, too.

In Daniel 5:12, we read of that queen and she was able to say of Daniel that an excellent spirit was found in him. What was the secret of this excellent spirit that she found in Daniel? He was a praying man. He prayed 3 times a day and that was the secret behind the spirit that he had. What was it that he was praying for? He was a captive in the land of Babylon. He would have been praying for God’s guidance and God’s wisdom 3 times a day, and God gave him this excellent spirit. There are many others we could read about but one thing summed it up for me: our spirit is what gives sincerity to our actions. You know if somebody said, "Sorry" to you, it would only be words if there wasn’t a spirit of repentance behind the word. It’s the spirit that gives sincerity to our actions.

When somebody gives us a little gift, it’s a spirit of love behind their actions. We have all felt it when the spirit is insincere. It bugs me when somebody has the pretence of humility yet they have a proud spirit. We can only be what we feel in our hearts. If we have that feeling of pride, we can never produce humility of spirit. If we disapprove of somebody, we can’t show them love if we have a spirit of judgment, can we? I would like to know more of the Holy Spirit guiding my spirit so the fruits of the Spirit could be seen in my life: this love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. We are caretakers of our spirit; we want to have control over our pride, anger, and bitterness so that there could be a softness, love, and gentleness shining forth from our lives.