I’ve been privileged to serve God as a Pastor for 42 years and a hospital chaplain for seven years. I was called to Deer Creek Baptist Church in June of 2014. God has blessed me with opportunities to earn a Bachelor of Sacred Literature with Ozark Christian College, Joplin, MO; Master of Divinity with Lincoln Christian Seminary, Lincoln, IL; Level I and Level II Units of Clinical Pastoral Education, Fort Wayne, IN; and additional credits at Tulsa Junior College, Tulsa, OK. I also currently work with Calvert-Metzler Funeral Home in Bloomington, IL.
Here we are at last. Since 2018 around a breakfast table, somehow the topic came up to plan a trip together for the first time ever. If everyone could come, we would have eleven people including my wife’s brothers and sisters with spouses. We have ten who wound up coming to a distant place.
It was decided that day that we would go to North Myrtle Beach and stay in a four-bedroom, three-bathroom cottage that would sleep fourteen. We would be at a resort with multiple pools, a lazy river, multiple amenities, and of course the beach. We would provide the cottage for this fun group of people. Anna and I would welcome each one of them, as if company, had arrived. We felt blessed to have them and with jobs, families, responsibilities, and aging factors, it may never happen again.
So far, it has been a blast and especially with so many excellent cooks. Of course, this is from a man’s perspective who likes to eat very good food. I have my mother-in-law to thank for passing on her culinary skills to daughters. We will avail ourselves of some fish dinners out with many fine establishments in the area.
The thought of having company led me to ponder on some other company that I never want to leave.
As Jesus was talking to his special group of disciples, he said these words, “16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you” (John 14:16-17 NIV).
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; (I Corinthians 6:19). We are reminded of what the Apostle Peter said on the Day of Pentecost, “38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
Simply put, as Christians we have divine company.
Twice a day, I walk the beach sometimes for miles wading through the edge of the waves coming into shore. I find it amazing that in the midst of so much trouble, anxiety, and turmoil in our society, that so many people can sit on a beach, from various nationalities and races, and find peace. The only common denominator is a desire to enjoy family, sand, sun, waves, birds, and relaxation. It’s as if despite the constant conflicts seemingly in our country right now, nothing else matters in my oasis.
Every day, Christians come to understand that peace doesn’t always depend on conflict somehow being avoided. It also doesn’t depend on a place. We don’t’ have to go to that beach to understand that we can have peace as much as it seems to be available with the waves. After all, the problems back home are still there with our loved ones. The finances are still being stretched to the limit. The health issues and treatment, such as Anna’s chemotherapy, are awaiting our return home. The conflicts don’t go away but the real need to have peace is still available despite everyday life stress.
As the Holy Spirit lives within us, it is vital we understand that the presence of God is within us. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. This Scripture explains how this can be as our lives begin to change.
Consider what the Apostle Paul said about our lives being transformed into something quite different as Christians. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV).
I remember growing up, my father would always say, “There is always room for one more.” That is an old saying but how appropriate regarding the Holy Spirit. It is vital if we are to be Christians. Remember what the Apostle said regarding this, “9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9 NIV). How welcoming are you to the Holy Spirit within you? Everyone here in this cottage at North Myrtle Beach is a Christian. The harmony, love, and peace will be demonstrated for a week because of God’s Spirit within all of us.