Walk by the Spirit

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But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  Galatians 5:16

Oh, that I walk in obedience to the LORD in ALL my steps.  But I am human and that is just not possible UNLESS I let this SELF go, placing her at the foot of the Cross and trust, TRUST, in the Holy Spirit for each and every step.  God gave me free will and I choose to pick this self up and try to do things in my own power.

I want to…

  • …walk humbly
  • …stay close
  • …live and show the fruit of the Spirit to this world in which I live in
  • …accept my inability to do these things as I am
  • …that I must be moldable and tender

 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Galatians 5:24

from Daily Help by Charles H. Spurgeon:

As a man does not make himself spiritually alive, so neither can he keep himself so.  He can feed on spiritual food, and so preserve his spiritual strength; he can walk in the commandments of the Lord, and so enjoy the rest and peace, but still the inner life is dependent upon the Spirit as much for its after existence as for its first begetting.  No man himself, even when converted, hath any power, except as that power is daily, constantly, and perpetually infused into him by the Spirit.

The motive-power of action to a believing man lies hard by the realization that God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven his iniquities.

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For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.  Galatians 5:17-25

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And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 18:2-3

Abba Father, may this world dim in my mind and Your Light draw me nearer to You with each day, in each moment.  May I be the clay that You desire of me that You can mold me into the Linda that You created me to be.  May I be Yours in all ways.  I want to be a light in this world, drawing others to You who live in the darkness of this world.  I want to walk in humility as Your Spirit guides my steps.  Thank You, LORD, for Your love of this imperfect one.  …for I love You.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

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Daily Help (the February 19 reading) by Charles H. Spurgeon, compiled and edited by George Perry Dixon, The Family Inspirational Library, Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap, New York

Am I an Easter Child?

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I ponder falling deeply in love, more than before, with my Jesus.  Opening God’s Word to the Gospels and Acts to read the life of resurrection with Jesus brings me repeatedly to words such as cleanse, heal, anoint, deliver.  Jesus did these things over and over again.  Resurrection in Him gives me powers unknown other than through Christ Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus called me to wait for the Holy Spirit.  He came.  He lives within me.

As Easter nears, I question my being an Easter person (per Ann Voskamp).  Oh, I am.  I was once lost but have been found, was dead and now live in Christ.  Hallelujah! 

Walking with Him yet in this world can make staying the course as an Easter person, as a Christian true to Christ, not easy.  When I am around those who know NOT Jesus as their LORD and Savoir, I struggle at times when I allow them to try to change me to be more like them, the world, rather than allow Christ to continually mold me into His Image.  I was once of this world and do not want to return to those ways.  I try to let others know my limitations, things I do not want to do, words I do not use, things that are no longer appropriate for me. I want to let them know ME, the me that is His.  I am His.  I am an Easter child.  I have been baptized with Christ and now I live.  I live this day for Him.  I ask His forgiveness when I do not open up and share Whose I am and why I am the way I am.  I want to share my spiritual heart as He surely wants me to.  I do not live wholly for Him before others sometimes and I am ashamed.  I am not ashamed of Him nor the Gospel, but am ashamed of myself.  What happens?  I sink into a hole and cannot get out.  The world begins to engulf me.  I feel like I am drowning.  I do not call for His help.  I should.  I must!  I am sorry, my LORD.  Forgive me.  You know I am Your Easter child.  Hold me and make me whole.  Let me start again.  

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25-26

Living the resurrected life does begin again… can begin again.  Thank You, LORD.  Living the resurrected life calls for dependence, for waiting on the Holy Spirit.  Living the resurrected life is forgiveness, forever knowing that I am His.  I want never to forget this.  Living the resurrected life is prayer, kneeful, faceful praying.  Living the resurrected life is searching, pondering, loving the Truth.  Living the resurrected life is emerging from the shelter of the cocoon, not holding tight within it.  It is spreading my wings into the world, but not being of this world, taking flight as the resurrected Easter child I have been created to be.  I am to be His, to grow, to be molded into the beauty of the LORD.  The world has no influence upon me if and when I walk with Him.  And I stand tall, turn to Him, knowing that I do let Him down, knowing that He forgives and loves me.

As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.  And I remembered the Word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’  If then God gave the same gift to them as He gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”  When they heard these things they fell silent.  And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”  Acts 11:15-18

I am praising You, LORD.  Hallelujah!  You forgive me when I am not worthy.  You love me who does not deserve Your love.  You are God and I love You with my whole heart.  You are the Holy One of Israel Who bought the Israelites from captivity and gave them Promised Land.  You are the Blessed Savior Who has brought me out of the captive world to be Your child, Your child who looks forward to spending Eternity with You.  Oh, I am honored and unworthy at the same time.  Oh, how grateful I am to You.  I am an Easter child.  I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus.  Amen.   

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Are You Being Spent in the King’s Service?

Dogwood with John 15-12
“’Lord, I am Thine, wholly Thine; all I am, and all I have, I would devote to Thee.  Thou has bought me with Thy blood; let me spend myself and be spent in Thy service.  In life and in death let me be consecrated to Thee!’ Have we kept this resolve?”
from “Daily Help” by C. H. Spurgeon

As a caregiver, I prayed this prayer and spent quiet time with the LORD to help me answer the question… much I did in God’s service and much I did not.

I spent 15 years as the primary caregiver of my mother, along with the staff of the facilities in which she lived. We needed to move Mama near one of her three daughters. For affordability reasons and because I was the one who would be able to be this primary caregiver, we moved her to Texas.  God had much to teach me and the school’s door seemed open to me 24/7 (still does!).

I attempted to hold the reins of control, to hold back the flood of change. None of us wanted to move Mama. A move is hard for anyone, but for one of 84 and strong willed, that proved especially tough. I also have one sister who truly struggled with the move and had words for me since I “seemed” to be the main decision maker in her eyes. Once the decision was made, then I held those reins for I wanted to control the physical and mental downward spiral of my mother as I watched her age and live with dementia and the related fears, anger, frustration, confusion, jealously, and so much more. Those reins were hard to hold though. Eventually, I had to give them and Mama to God.  I could not control her life nor the changes that were occurring.  I had to allow her to live out her days with the best quality I was able to oblige her and assuring the best care from the others watching over her.

During the fifteen years here, changes of residences from a senior apartment to an assisted living to a nursing home happened according to her abilities, her health.  She received the care she needed from loving staffs.  She was still able to watch her baseball games with the Chicago Cubs and the White Sox, plus the San Diego Padres.  She ate fairly well, and got to enjoy some of her favorites like ice cream sodas and sundaes, my home baked peach muffins, and fresh fruit I brought to her each time I grocery-shopped for myself. She was allowed to choose even with the diabetes.  There must be some independence no matter what the consequences.  Even though there was a narrowness of life because of the need for a nursing home, I found ways to broaden the opening.  We attended a local AA baseball game once or twice during each season, ate lunch out together when she was able or in when she did not feel up to going out. I would bring a meal treat to her as often as I could. We spent time together most every day, just the two of us, or in a small group for a Bingo game or a favorite karaoke singer.  Decisions were hers as often as she was able.  I followed through with her choices when I could.  And if not, I did as she did when I was a child saying, “We shall see, Mama,” and, by the next day, her dementia-riddled mind had usually forgotten.  But, at that moment, she was satisfied because she had made the decision.

Did I keep the resolve?  As best as I could.  I wanted God to orchestrate the care I gave to my mother.  I wanted Him to open my heart to her love, accepting it with the love He gave to me so that I could give back to her.  I wanted to be able to accept the hard and not-so-good days that often came with dementia and being 86, 98, or all those in-between. I wanted God to shield me from words that hurt, but also to help me not take those words personally when they came like grenades.  No matter what the day brought, I wanted to be able to love my mother unconditionally.  God loved me unconditionally (and still does) and I had His love through which to love my Mama. And I did.

I shared my life with many other residents at the various living facilities too.  I learned their names, addressing them when I would see them.  I sometimes was able to touch them on their backs with a little rub or by holding their hands.  I talked with them. I stopped for a conversation or a prayer.  I sat with them when Mama was asleep, when I could dawdle.  I smiled at them.  We all need someone who cares about us.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”  John 15:12

I resolved to be near my God so that I would obediently follow His will for my life, and for my Mama’s life in regards to my part in it.  More than once, I was called to the home because she was not feeling well and needed comforting. At times, she needed to eat something in order to raise her blood sugar (rather unusual for her!) so I would feed her (usually running to get her just what she would desire at the moment…eggs and bacon, an ice cream soda…!).  She, ever so sweetly, would tell me, from time to time, how much she loved me or how much she appreciated all that I did for her.  I returned the love with hugs and words, but my heart felt like it was overflowing.  I knew God was with us.  I prayed I was being spent in the service of my LORD.  (Mama was not always one to get “mushy” yet when she told me how she appreciated something that I did for her or what I meant to her, I knew that her words were really coming from her heart. She became more precious to me with each passing moment. At those moment, I felt that I was being spent in His service.)

We love, because He first loved us.  1 John 4:19

Father God, these precious moments with my mother were far more than doing her laundry or taking her for lunch or cleaning up after her. They were about being Your daughter in her presence. They were about being Your child for her in whatever way she needed me. They were about staying true to You while being there for her and for the other residents too. You are now, and were then, my Beacon from which I was guided. Thank You for lighting my path to be Your best for my Mama. Thank You for loving me so that I could love her as I did. I loved her so, Father. And I miss her now, yet it is with a peaceful heart that I came to know that I did my humanly best to keep Your resolve in the midst of many a moment…sweet ones or extremely difficult ones, all beautifully filled with Your Grace. Thank You for Your forgiveness when I failed to be in Your service for her (and now, LORD, too). Thank You, my Abba Father, for putting these tears of mine in Your bottle for they come, even now. You are the most beautiful Lighthouse, LORD. I am so grateful that You are my LORD. In the Light of Your Son’s Name, I pray. Amen.

How are you keeping this resolve? 

 

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Hungry? Thirsty?

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Jesus said to them, 
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, 
and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”  
John 6:35

I come to Jesus.

I believe in Jesus. 

So how can I be hungry?  hungry for God?

I have an insatiable appetite for my God.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
for they shall be satisfied.”  
Matthew 5:5hunger-and-thirst-01
So I am blessed as I hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God.
 
I will be satisfied.  I yearn for the Only One Who fills me up to full.

“The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers.  And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.  And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.   Deuteronomy 8:1-4

God reminds me of His Ways. 

My heart hungers for the taste of the One Who loves me so. His love is always waiting for me. That insatiable hunger that can never seem to be filled to the brim because I am who I am, this human being.

I hunger for His touch. I want to know He is right here. (He is, Linda. He is with you always…I remind myself.)

I hunger for His very Presence. He tells me He is in my life; He never leaves me nor forsakes me.

I hunger because I look to the world for the fulfillment of that which only God can give me completely.

God has so much more to give to me than I can possibly know.

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.  So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.  Deuteronomy 8:5-6

Only God can quench the hunger and the thirst with His Living Waters, with His Love, with Himself. He calls me to be obedient. He will discipline me. He humbles me. I may be hungry, but He will quench my hunger with Himself. (Only God, Linda.)

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper.  Deuteronomy 8:7-9

The LORD my God leads me into abundance of life, of living, as I follow His ways, walk in obedience to His Voice.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.  And the tempter came and said to him, “If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But He answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”   Matthew 4:1-4

Jesus knew… He knew God’s commandments … the Truth. Jesus’ obedience is sure. His relationship with His Father brought Him through the temptation. I eat the Word. I devour His Truth. I learn of His Ways. I will not hunger nor thirst as I live by the Word.

Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O LORD, God of hosts.  Jeremiah 15:16

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And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.  Deuteronomy 8:10

I shall not live by bread alone, LORD.  I come to You with a hunger and thirst for You, for only You, knowing that You are my Fulfillment.  Forgive me when I look to the world for that filling.  Forgive me for my disobedience, for my closed eyes and ears.  You have promised to take me into Your Promised Land.  I want to eat from Your abundance, from Your Word.  I want to bless You, my Abba.  AsI thirst and hunger for more, I know You are already filling me because You love me.  And I love You, Sweet LORD.  Amen.

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Heaven’s Dew with Charles Spurgeon

IMG_1350I have written about “dew” a few times recently.  Yesterday, I walked out on my back porch to where two Christmas poinsettias are sitting on a plant bench.  Our weather has been damp, foggy, with dew covering everything for much of each day.  This is not like South Texas very often.  I captured the beautiful dew on this bright red plant in some photos and just had to visit “dew” again.

Mr. Spurgeon writes a profound piece (as usual) which is most of my post:

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The Thirteenth of September.

From Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Check Book”

257-The Dew of Heaven

“His heavens shall drop down dew.” (Deuteronomy 33:28)

What the dew in the East is to the world of nature, that is the influence of the Spirit in the realm of grace.  How greatly do I need it!  Without the Spirit of God I am a dry and withered thing.  I droop, I fade, I die.  How sweetly does this dew refresh me!  When once favored with it I feel happy, lively, vigorous, elevated.  I want nothing more.  The Holy Spirit brings me life and all that life requires.  All else without the dew of the Spirit is less than nothing to me: I hear, I read, I pray, I sing, I go to the table of Communion, and I find no blessing there until the Holy Ghost visits me.  But when He bedews me, every means of grace is sweet and profitable.

What a promise is this for me! “His heavens shall drop down dew.”  I shall be visited with grace.  I shall not be left to my natural drought, or to the world’s burning heat, or to the sirocco of satanic temptation. Oh, that l may at this very hour feel the gentle, silent, saturating dew of the Lord!  Why should I not!  He who has made me to live as the grass lives in the meadow will treat me as He treats the grass; He will refresh me from above.  Grass cannot call for dew as I do.  Surely, the Lord who visits the unpraying plant will answer to His pleading child.

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Mr. Spurgeon, you have blessed me this day.

Father God, more than Mr. Spurgeon’s words and word-pictures, Your beautiful dew on these bright red leaves has given me such a thrill, a delight.  They are so lovely.  The edge of the leaf furthest to the right in this photo has dew drops dangling from the its sides for it is at the perfect angle for that to happen.  …Your creation wearing your creation…  How beautiful You are, my LORD.  How beautiful You are!  The refreshment by Your Holy Spirit falls none too often.  The dew covers these leaves as You cover me.  You envelop me with Your Love touching my very soul, bringing life-giving living waters to this dry soul.  You wrap me in the moist air of holiness and teach me about holiness.  You soak me with tenderness and kindness.  I deserve none yet You give so willingly.  I praise You, Father.  I thank You for adopting me and then drenching me with Your dew.  You are Refreshment.  You are the very Dew that my body, soul and mind need.  I want to absorb You, LORD, Your Love, Your gentleness, Your beauty … right on in.  In the Name of Your Wonderful Son, I pray.  Amen. 

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