Ears to Hear

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Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.  To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.  Ecclesiastes 5:1

שָׁמַע

shama`

to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively, to tell, etc.):— attentively, call (gather) together, carefully, certainly, consent, consider, be content, declare, diligently, discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to) hear(-ken, tell), indeed, listen, make (a) noise, (be) obedient, obey, perceive, (make a) proclaim(-ation), publish, regard, report, shew (forth), (make a) sound, surely, tell, understand, whosoever, witness.

How then will they call on Him in Whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in Him of Whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  And how are they to preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”  But they have not all obeyed the gospel.  For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.  Romans 10:14-17

ἀκοή

akoē

hearing (the act, the sense or the thing heard):—audience, ear, fame, which ye heard, hearing, preached, report, rumor

to perceive by hearing

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In both the Old and the New Testament, we find the words listen, hear, hearing again and again.  Our parents often told us to listen, to pay attention, or they asked us, “Did you hear me?”  They knew we did not always hear them because we were not listening.  Does that ring any bells?!!  It does for me, even though I was a pretty obedient kid.  I still was a kid.

Then I grew up and went my own ways.  God spoke to me often but I did not always listen to Him either.  When I disobeyed the Father, I often fell and then could not always get out of the rabbit holes I found myself in.

Prophets, throughout the Bible, spoke God’s Word, calling on His people to listen, to hear, to obey:

You shall say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle.  Jeremiah 19:3

God gives us His Word to direct our paths:

Your Word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.  Psalm 130:5-6

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 8:3

Jesus calls us to listen, to hear, to obey:

“Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.  Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  He who has ears, let him hear.”  Matthew 13:7-9

The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace.  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  He who has ears, let him hear.  Matthew 13:41-43

I have ears.  I am to hear.  I am to pay attention. I am to be faithful in my obedience to the One Who calls me to Him.  His Word is where the Truth is…and only there.  The Word is Christ.

  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1

I read this and wonder how and why I can possibly NOT listen, NOT hear, NOT obey.  He is the Word and the Word is All.

Look at these precious gifts afforded to us:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truthJohn 1:14

“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”   And He said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.  For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”  Mark 4:23-25

In Him you also, when you heard the Word of Truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:13-14

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.  1 Thessalonians 1:6-7

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.  1 Peter 1:22-25

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:31-32

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Oh, I praise You, LORD, for the love that You have for us, Your creations who do not deserve such love, yet are given it because of Who You are.  In Your bounty, we receive the gift of Your Holy Word filled with Your Truth.  Your Holy Son, in His death, gives us the opportunity to come to the foot of the Cross to receive forgiveness and salvation.  The Holy Spirit comes to live in us to teach us and pray as our mediator when we know not how to pray.  You, my Father, are the Giver of all gifts to Your children.  I am so grateful to be one of those blessed to be under Your wing.  I want to have ears to hear and know the Truth.  May I be obediently listening and willing to follow Your ways.  May I walk closely to You, my Abba Father.  Forgive me when my ears are closed or I am “too busy” with worldly things that I miss the message that is right before me.  Forgive me when I am disobedient to You even when I hear Your words.   Father, teach me Your ways that I may walk in faithfulness.  I pray in the Name of Jesus.  Amen. 

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photo of child:  https://michaelanthonygagliardi.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/faith-comes-by-hearing-the-word-of-god/

graphic: https://marthabailey.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/omaha-omaha-kill-kill/

Bible: unknown

God is Sovereign

god-is-sovereign

This is what the Sovereign LORD,
the Holy One of Israel, says:
“Only in returning to Me
and resting in Me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.
But you would have none of it.  Isaiah 30:15

אֲדֹנָי

‘Adonay

The LORD

used only of God

where God is submissively and reverently addressed

Other interpretations in various Bible translations:

Sovereign LORD

LORD

Lord GOD

Lord Jehovah

the master, the LORD

LORD GOD, the Holy One of Israel

As I read the news, even just the headlines, all seems chaotic, disorderly, out-of-control in our world.  YET…God is in control.  It is His world.  It always has been.  ‘My small world,’ the one in which I curl up within, seems much calmer, quieter, more peace-filled, but I also live in this big world, this world of so many unknowns.  I know the world has been through many awful periods – wars, famines, droughts, annihilation, etc…from the beginning of time.  Yet, I do not want this chaos now.  I just want peace.  I do not have control, though.  What I continue to unravel is that my peace only lies in the One Who does have the reins in His hands.  He has absolute control of His creation…each and every bit of His creation.  He is sovereign.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 
Ecclesiastes 3:11

In Psalm 147, we see that He has all in His power:

He counts the stars
and calls them all by name.  verse 4

He sends the snow like white wool;
He scatters frost upon the ground like ashes.  verse 16

He hurls the hail like stones.  verse 17a

He sends His winds, and the ice thaws. verse 18b

and in Amos 4:

“I kept the rain from falling
when your crops needed it the most.
I sent rain on one town
but withheld it from another.
Rain fell on one field,
while another field withered away.”  verse 7

“I struck your farms and vineyards with blight and mildew.
Locusts devoured all your fig and olive trees.”  verse 9a

“I sent plagues on you
like the plagues I sent on Egypt long ago.
I killed your young men in war
and led all your horses away.
The stench of death filled the air!”  verse 10a

God can do all – everything and anything.  At the end of many verses in the Bible, the words that sting me are: “But still you would not return to Me,” says the LORD.

Oh, that we would turn from our wicked ways and return to our Creator, the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel.  God’s heart is towards us and He wants us each and all to repent, coming back to Him.  Let us each begin with ourselves.  Do not expect everyone else to go first.  One at a time, we face ourselves and then face our God with humility and repentance, handing our hearts back to the One Who molded those hearts.

heart

Look at the gifts that await us when we turn to God:

God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam,

though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;

God will help her when morning dawns.

The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;

He utters His voice, the earth melts.

The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,

how He has brought desolations on the earth.

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;

He burns the chariots with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah  Psalm 46

Most Sovereign God, I pray for Your world and all that is in it.  You created everyone and everything.  May Your mercies flow upon this earth.  May we each and all repent of our ways, returning to You just as there was a turning of Your people (during the reign of King Hezekiah):

Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD and come to His sanctuary, which He has consecrated forever, and serve the LORD your God, that His fierce anger may turn away from you.  2 Chronicles 30:8

“For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away His face from you, if you return to Him.”  2 Chronicles 30:9b

At the same time, God’s hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the LORD 2 Chronicles 30:12

Oh, LORD, that we would follow You and Your Word, trusting in Your sovereignty.  You are the One Who loved us first and Who loves us still.  Thank You for cherishing us, my Father.  In Your Powerful Name, I pray.  Amen. 

Turn to Me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.”  Isaiah 45:22

There is no other.  Amen and Amen.

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Graphic: https://livingselah.com/

The Holy Spirit in Me

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When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Acts 2:1-4 ESV

Oh, LORD, Your Holy Spirit rained on me in Your mighty rushing wind the day I told You I was a sinner…I asked for forgiveness…I wanted Jesus to be my LORD and Savior.  The language I am learning is Your language, LORD,  Your Words.   I know that I hear Your still, small voice.  I have ears to hear the beauty of Your words.  I have eyes to see the words in Your Word and I am able to understand them, little by little.  Your Spirit teaches me.  My heart pounds with thrill at this moment.  You fill me.  I am that house, Your body temple.  You came to live in me.  Thank You.   

I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. Acts 2:17

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Oh, Holy Spirit, You are the living rain pouring out upon me.  You drench me in Your wisdom and knowledge.  You give me what I need at the moment of that need, IF I am ready, willing, and asking for it.  May I seek Your forgiveness, Your comfort, Your love…in all times.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2:21

Amen.  Everyone.  I pray they call upon You as I have.  

(For David says concerning him,…) “You have made known to me the paths of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your Presence.” Acts 2:28 

Years before Jesus, David was a man after God’s own heart.  He wanted to be in step with his Father God.  He loved His Father.  He sought forgiveness when he sinned.  He knew he had done wrong in the sight of His God.  He listened.  He delighted in the LORD.  Pentecost is about rejoicing and dancing under the beauty of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Pentecost opens us to newness and community.  Pentecost is change and repentance.  

May my heart be open and ready every day.  

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  Acts 2:36-37

LORD, my heart is repelled from these thoughts.  I am one of them.  I feel their agony and know their wrong.  I refused to accept Jesus as my LORD for many years.  I asked, “What shall I do?”

 “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.  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.”  …“Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”   Acts 2:38-40

Yes, Yes…to repent and be baptized in Your Name, O Christ, for I seek forgiveness of my sins.  I seek You.  I live in a crooked generation.  I am thankful that You saved me, LORD.  I praise You.  The Holy Spirit has led me away and is teaching me and showing me the way.

 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.   Zechariah 4:6

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“…but by My Spirit.”  Yes!  May I trust in You always, LORD.  You guide and love and plan and know the ways in which I should go.  My delight is not in the way I say or I run ahead, nor is it by my strength and power.  I want to trust.  Your Spirit will take me through the wilderness of life, the troubles and trials, the joys and the beauty of Your creation.  May I know Your Spirit deeply. 

And
 they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to 
the breaking of bread and the prayers.  And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.  Acts:2:42-43

...with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.  Acts 2:46-47

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LORD, the words that are being ingrained into my heart from these verses are
“devoted” in community.  It is the fellowship of believers that You call us to.  Guide me.  Instruct me.  “Awe” – reverence in looking at Who You are and what You have done.  May no act of mine be none other than the Yours, the Glory of my LORD.  A “glad” heart, a “generous” heart “praising”
God that His Spirit reigns within us–what a beautiful and full array of outcomes of Pentecost.  We serve a Mighty God. 

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  1 Corinthians 12:7

May my every day be to seek You and know You.  May my every day be a day of Pentecost…the mighty rushing wind fills me to overflowing with the peace of Your Kingdom.  May I know the words to speak in each circumstance as You set before me one who needs You,  one who needs forgiveness, one who needs love, a refuge, peace.  Father, guide me and equip me.  In Your Name, I pray.  Amen.

bwturq sig 

 

Rushing wind:  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/06/79/8d/06798da585100dd496568bb2288747d9.jpg

Fire:   https://simonmarsh.org/tag/pentecost

Water:  http://naomirice.weebly.com/uploads/6/9/7/9/69791709/4113466.png

Dove:  http://lovepeaceandharmony.org/

Prepare the Way

let-every-heart-prepare1

As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make His paths straight.

Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,

and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”  Luke 3:4-6

highway

Preparation for…

The birth of our Lord on Earth

The beauty of the Lord to be magnified

The Breath of Heaven bringing life

The Bread of Life nourishing soul-bones

The Living Water quenching thirst

He is coming!

stepping-stones-at-sunset

Prepare the way for I want to be with Him forever and ever.

Don’t you?

Oh, come with me to adore Him.

Let us bring Him our hearts for we need Him so.

Thank you, John, for preparing the way to the King…

the Shepherd…

the Holy Child…

the Door…

the Glory of the Lord…

the Lamb of God…

the Only Begotten Son.

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Father, may my heart be prepared for the coming of Your Son.  May my life be lived in the light of my Savior Who will come again for me.  I want this time on earth to be well spent as unto Him.  With anticipation I wait.  I thank You for sending Your Son to meet me in the stable, lying in the manger.  Thank You for bringing the Light of the World to meet me in this world that I may walk in His Light, as I leave the darkness that surrounds.  He is the Messiah and has come to save me from satan and the ways of evil.  Oh, thank You.  You blessed me so by watching over me for all those years when I wandered lost, when I fell down, wanting to stay down, when I cried myself to sleep because I knew You not, yet I knew Who or What I was missing in my life.  I needed Him then, and still need Him now…the Savior, the Lord, the Mighty One.  Yes, I need and I want You.  My heart is prepared to receive the Love that You send.  My heart is prepared to accept You wholly as You bring Yourself to me and to the world.  May more and more seek and find You, Jesus.  I want all to know You, Jesus.  You are the Holy One.  I lift up special people in my life that they will knock at the door only to find their One and Only Savior.  Oh, how I pray this for them.  May they be prepared for the coming of their Savior as well as the end of this world.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

beblacksig

“Let Every Heart Prepare” graphic – https://chapcalvert.com/

second graphic: whowillyouserve.blogspot.com/

“Stepping Stones at Sunset”http://publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=154285&picture=stepping-stones-at-sunset

Why, oh Why?

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A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.  Isaiah 42:3 (+ Matthew 12:20)

He will tend His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs in His arms;
He will carry them in His bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.  Isaiah 40:11

He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.  Isaiah 40:21

Jesus cares about me. He loves me more than I can even fathom.  He does not break me.  He gathers me into His arms.  He leads me into the way I should go.  He gives me strength and power.  

YET…I doubt…I worry…I fear…I mistrust.  WHY?  Why do I doubt Him?  Why do I question whether He will provide for me?  Why do I lack the trust to know that He is always…ALWAYS…with me?  WHY?  

As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him.  Psalm 103:13

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3

“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”  Jeremiah 31:25

He heals me and rains compassion upon me.  He refreshes me. 

Over and over again, the Bible tells me that I can place my trust in Him completely.  I do not need to feel the scars and holes in His body to know Who He is.  I know Jesus gave His all as the most beautiful Gift possible for me, for us all and each.  I know this, yet I doubt. 

I fall by the wayside and wonder why I feel so alone.  Yet, I am not.  I am held in the Savior’s arms and know that He will never leave me nor forsake me.  He will not drop me on my head or tail. 

I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy.  I will feed them in justice.  Ezekiel 34:16

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

He gives me rest.  He gives me justice.  He carries my heavy burdens and looks for me when I am lost.  So much Jesus does for me.  He cares for me. 

I seek Your forgiveness, LORD, for my doubt, my lack of trust, my faithless spine.  I am sorry, my LORD.  I have fed myself so much self-doubt that I forget just Whose I am.  I have allowed my ears to hear lies about myself.  I shout to satan to get behind me and he does because You are with me.  I want to trust You in Your care for me.  Precious Jesus, I love You.  May my walk be along the straight and narrow pathway with You…and You alone.   Jesus, You prayed for Simon Peter and You have given the Holy Spirit to be my Intercessor.  He knows the prayers I want to utter but cannot.  He prays for me. 

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”  Luke 22:31-32

I read the many ways that God cares for me, all of the time, in so many ways, in every kind of way.  Where do I read this?  In His Word.  The Word of God is the pivotal place from which I know.  I KNOW that He loves me and cares for me because He tells me through His Word.  I KNOW His care because I feel it in my heart.  I can see it too.  I KNOW it in my head.  His Truth speaks volumes to me when I doubt…when I fall…when I mistrust…when I feel alone. 

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the Word of God, which is at work in you believers.  1 Thessalonians 2:13

LORD, I thank You for loving me so perfectly.  I want the hard places in me to soften and know that You are LORD.  That this body of mine is Yours and made perfectly.  That this mind was woven by Your hands in my mother’s womb and continues to function well.  That this heart is knit with the Love of Your heart for You loved me first.  That trust, faith, love, hope all come from You.  I believe.  I truly do know that just in this one heartfelt acknowledgment…belief in You…I am so filled with all of Your gifts.  Can I trust and walk in faith?  Can I love without conditions and be loved without conditions?  Can I be filled with hope?

“It is the LORD who goes before you.  He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

You are my Hope, my Peace, my Love.  May the hard and broken parts of me open up to You for Your loving touch, for Your gentle and tough molding so that I know that I am the one You created me to be.  I want to be a gift to those I encounter as You were and are for me.  For me!  You love me and care for me.  The Bible tells me so.  Thank You.  No more whys, LORD.  I believe and I trust in You.  In the loving Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

befuschiasig

Rushing Mighty Wind

rushing_wind_40__240x335

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.  Acts 17:24-25

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  Acts 2:2

These two verses in the Bible use the same Greek word to mean both breath and wind.  In a gentle way, I can easily picture the duplicate meaning here.  Yet, in Acts 2:2, the adjectives describing this wind are rushing and mighty, neither of which fit the usual gentle nature of breath or a breeze that I initially picture.

πνοή

pnoē

respiration, breath of life

a breeze:—breath, wind

God gives man life and breath and everything.  He gives us all that we need to live.  He also gives us the rushing mighty wind, filling us to overflowing.  The Holy Spirit gives us a life in Christ Jesus that goes so deep, so wide, so high.  The Holy Spirit breathes life into us so that we may walk in the Spirit while we live our lives here on earth, sharing the Truth of God.

The wind:

 βίαιος

biaios

violent, forcible

mighty

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φέρω

pherō

to move by bearing; move or, to be conveyed or borne, with the suggestion of force or speed

of a gust of wind, to rush

of the mind, to be moved inwardly, prompted

God’s wind can be strong, able to move things.  It can be forceful as we are seeing with Hurricane Matthew in the Atlantic this very day.   It can be a breeze that barely ruffles the hairs on our head.  But the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples of Jesus that day of Pentecost with force, made to move the minds and hearts of those who followed Him.  The wind in God’s hands is formidable, awesome, and able to accomplish all that God intends.

He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
Who makes lightnings for the rain,
Who brings forth the wind from His treasuries.  Psalm 135:7

Who has ascended into heaven and descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has wrapped the waters in His garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name or His son’s name?
Surely you know!  Proverbs 30:4

Matthew Henry spoke of this wind:

We often read in the old Testament of God’s coming down in a cloud; as when He took possession first of the tabernacle, and afterwards of the temple, which intimates the darkness of that dispensation. And Christ went up to heaven in a cloud, to intimate how much we are kept in the dark concerning the upper world.  But the Holy Ghost did not descend in a cloud; for He was to dispel and scatter the clouds that overspread men’s minds, and to bring light into the world.

The Spirit of God came upon those gathered together in one accord, without dissension as the apostles had indulged in while Jesus was still with them (i.e., …for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.  Mark 9:34).  Yet over the three years of the ministry of Jesus, they had been prepared by the LORD to live together, pray as one, eat together, fellowship with others.  Through lessons, love, and the example of Christ, they had seen His ways.  When Christ returned to them after His crucifixion, He had told them to wait in Jerusalem before heading out to spread the Gospel.  They did.  They broke bread together and prayed together.  They were in one accord, loving one another.  The Holy Spirit, the precious dove, came in the calm, over the still waters, where noise and chaos were not.

When the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, the force of the wind would signify the influence He would and could have over the minds and hearts of men.  By that, men, women, and children can be mighty through God.

Matthew Henry:

Let us be all of one accord, and, notwithstanding variety of sentiments and interests, as no doubt there was among those disciples, let us agree to love one another; for, where brethren dwell together in unity, there it is that the Lord commands his blessing.

The Spirit came upon the apostles in a rushing mighty wind.  His powerful and secure direction through the hearts of believers is compared to the breathing of the wind.

Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”’”  Ezekiel 37:9

His sweet effect on the souls of saints to the north and south wind…

“Awake, O north wind,
And come, wind of the south;
Make my garden breathe out fragrance,
Let its spices be wafted abroad.
May my beloved come into his garden
And eat its choice fruits!”  Song of Solomon 4:16

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  John 3:8

The Spirit works randomly, not abiding by our ways of order, nor is He subject to our command.  God directs Him.  The Spirit fulfills God’s Word.

…fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling His word!  Psalm 148:8

The Holy Spirit distributes His influences where, and when, on whom, and in what measure and degree He pleases.

All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, Who apportions to each one individually as He wills.  1 Corinthians 12:11

A filling of the Holy Spirit brings the graces of the Spirit into this body temple, sanctifying the one indwelled to be more holy, more spiritual, more weaned from this world. The comforts of the Spirit, the love of Christ, and the hope of heaven are endowed.

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Father God, thank You for living me dearly.  I pray that as I write these words, that they be Your Truth.  As the wind breathes into me, filling me to overflowing, may I know Your Holy Spirit in my very being.  If I am tossed upon the waves of this life, may I recall that the Holy Spirit is with me in all ways.  May my heart reach for Your best and know the Divine nature from which I have been created.  May I trust in You as I walk in the Spirit.  I want to know You, LORD.  I want to know You in all Your Ways.  Breathe on me, O LORD.  I love You and seek You.  I pray in the Name of Christ, Your Son.  Amen.  

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Graphic: “Rushing Wind” by  Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre

Photo:  Jill Wellington, CC0 Public Domain @https://pixabay.com/en/users/jill111-334088/

 

The Measure of an Aging Woman – Guest post on Blessed Transgressions

 

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Just what is the measure of a woman who has grown to an old age? When the joints hurt doing simple household chores? When she feels unable to help herself or those she cares about? What if she lives in a total care facility — even has to wear a diaper? Or when Dementia or Alzheimer’s or a stroke or heart attack has taken the mind or abilities away? From a physical standpoint, old age seems immeasurable.

The world measures by physical beauty — slender figure, wholesome complexion, youthful hair color and agility. When so much of that worldly beauty changes, what is there to measure? Gray hairs, wrinkles, poor eyesight, hearing loss, protruding belly, mental slowness? The world’s yardstick is tough on her.  The moral and spiritual character often is torn asunder. Yet, God measures differently.

Creator God made His children in His Image. Can one allow the world to be the judge? God is Judge — He sets the standard. No other. Beginning to end, He sustains, carries, and promises.

Follow me to Ericka’s site ~ Blessed Transgressions for the rest of this post.

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The Way of Holiness – Isaiah 35

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God speaks to us through His Word.  I continue to ponder this highway that I am on.  I feel His nearness, His love for me, His joy as I learn from Him.  I walk the road with God.

Isaiah 35:1-10:

1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. 

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.  John 15:16

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. …. So there was much joy in that city.  Acts 8:5, 8

I desire to abide in You, my LORD, being obedient and submissive to You.  I want to be a fruit bearer, honoring You with joy and song.

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”  Luke 22:32

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.  1 Thessalonians 5:14

May I serve You, my LORD, with boldness and strength, acceptably, with reverence and awe.

5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.  For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

“…to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in Me.’  Acts 26:18

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.  Psalm 46:4

Oh, LORD, You are my All in all.  You are the One Who turns me from darkness to light, from blind to seeing, from deaf to hearing.  You set me apart for Yourself.  I am so very grateful.  May the springs flow through me as I walk in this world…that I would be Your witness, Your light, Your salt.

8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it.  It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.

Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. ….”  Jeremiah 6:16a

This highway stands before me.  I ask for the ancient paths and walk upon them for this is the good way.  I know I shall find rest there.  Thank You, LORD.

10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  Revelation 7:17

I praise You, LORD.  I sing and rejoice for I know You.  You are my Guide.  You are the Way of Holiness.  Hallelujah!  and Amen!

 
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Photo 1:  Patricio Hurtado from Chile:  https://pixabay.com/en/hills-flowering-desert-flowers-960126/  CCO Public Domain (from Pixabay)

Photo 2:  Stas Kulesh, a Russian travel photographer living in Auckland, New Zealand.  https://hd.unsplash.com/photo-1451817045432-8c40f15299f9; https://unsplash.com/@kulesh; licensed under Creative Commons Zero

A Highway

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And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.  Isaiah 35:8

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Isaiah 40:3

Father God, I want to walk in Your ways, the highway of holiness.  You are Holiness that I seek and desire.  You are Love and Righteousness.  You are Holiness.  You make me whole.  When I walk on this highway, I walk toward You.  I so want to be wholly Yours, and walk the remainder of this life on earth in holiness. 

But my people have forgotten Me;
they make offerings to false gods;
they made them stumble in their ways,
in the ancient roads,
and to walk into side roads,
not the highway,  making their land a horror,
a thing to be hissed at forever.
Everyone who passes by it is horrified
and shakes his head.  Jeremiah 18:15-16

I do not want to wander from this highway yet I am human.  I have; I do; I will.  I have made and will make mistakes and I do error.  Yet, LORD, I do not want to.  You have forgiven me of my many past wrong steps.  I seek Your face, asking forgiveness for these paths I walk down when they are not Yours.  Thank You for loving me back into Your arms, my Precious Father. 

“Set up road markers for yourself;
make yourself guideposts;
consider well the highway,
the road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities.”  Jeremiah 31:21

I read Your Word, Father, as It is truly filled with the road markers that You have set before me.  I may wander off the highway, yet I want to be able to find You and Your way no matter what happens, no matter which way I turn.  I seek You and am learning to be quiet so that I may hear Your still and small voice, for I want to know You in the beauty of Who You are.  You are my God.  In the dark of night when the highway is black and there is no moonlight, I want to know that I am on Your path for me, for my life.   

But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace.  2 Peter 3:13-14

With anticipation, with joy, and with expectancy, I continue taking step after step.  Today, I desire to stay in this very moment with You, my LORD.  Tomorrow, I want to walk beside You on Your road for me. 

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.  Romans 6:17-18

God, You have transformed my heart, beginning with my conversion to be Your daughter in Christ Jesus.  I walk as closely to You as I can.  I hope to stay near You from this moment on.  When I stray, LORD, please draw me near.  I sense Your strength as I am drawn under the shadow of Your wing, into the cleft of the rock.  I want to grow in love and righteousness, live according to Your Word, and be pleasing to You now and for always.  In the Powerful Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

But this command I gave them: ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’  Jeremiah 7:23

Amen and Amen. 

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Photo 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7895628@N03/2807135427; “Endless Road” via http://photopin.com;  licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Photo 2:  Stas Kulesh, a Russian travel photographer living in Auckland, New Zealand.  https://hd.unsplash.com/photo-1451817045432-8c40f15299f9; https://unsplash.com/@kulesh; licensed under Creative Commons Zero

My Spirit Faints Within Me

Fainting

The word “faint(s)” in Psalm 142 and 143 seemed unusual as I read these Psalms.  We read 142 one evening and then 143 the next and there that word was again.  So I decided to look it up and see where God would lead me.

When my spirit faints within me,
You know my way!
In the path where I walk
they have hidden a trap for me.  Psalm 142:4

When my spirit grows faint within me,
    it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
    people have hidden a snare for me.  NIV

When I am afraid,
    you, Lord, know the way out.
In the path where I walk,
    a trap is hidden for me.   NCV

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
You knew my path.
In the way where I walk
They have hidden a trap for me.  NASB

Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled Psalm 143:3

Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart is desolate within me.  NASB

Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart within me is distressed.  NKJV

So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.  NIV

My spirit is weak within me; my heart is overcome with dismay.  HCSB

עָטַף

`ataph

(aw-taf’)

a primitive root; to shroud, i.e. clothe (whether transitive or reflexive); hence (from the idea of darkness) to languish:—cover (over), fail, faint, feebler, weak, hide self, be overwhelmed, swoon

David reminds me that I may become overwhelmed with fears, with darkness, with frustration, with a variety of emotions, with the things that are happening all around us…in our country and world.  A mind can become oppressed from the inside, while outward troubles can bring on these fears as well.   Matthew Henry states in his Commentary, “It is sometimes the lot of the best men to have their spirits for a time almost overwhelmed and their hearts desolate, and doubtless it is their infirmity.  David was not only a great saint, but a great soldier, and yet even he was sometimes ready to faint in a day of adversity.” *

I have not literally fainted to the ground, but the fears and emotions have overtaken me over and over during my life.  It is just human for most of us, I believe.  Yet, David reminds me that, although, the likes of Saul, Absalom, armies of many sorts may be holding us captive, reaching out to God is the answer.  God listens.  He hears our prayers.  God knows where we are…physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally.  He watches our backs.

Jonah calls out to God ~

When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to You,
into Your holy temple.  Jonah 2:7

Jonah knew that God was with him.  He desired to be close to his LORD.

David also knew just Who to call upon and Who would hear him.  These men praise God for His faithfulness and His protection.  I can sense the love of God through their words too.  I know God is near.  I know He is with me.  I know these truths.  Teach me more, my Father. 

Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;

from the end of the earth I call to You
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,

for You have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.

Let me dwell in Your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of Your wings!  Selah  Psalm 61:1-4

Father God, You are my Refuge, my Shelter when I become afraid of the future, of growing older, serious family illnesses, the violence in our country and in our world.  Father, my heart feels weak and weary sometimes.  You know how things affect me.  Yet, there is only one answer to any darkness of heart or mind…You are that Answer.  I call upon Your Name and You hear me, my Father.  You treat me with love and care.  You nestle me near to Your breast and I know comfort.  I know love.  I know gentleness.  I know You…more and more with each day.  Oh, how grateful I am, my Father.  Thank You for teaching me the Truth in Your Word.  Thank You for healing my faint and stumbling heart.  I want to walk in Your ways and only those.  I fail and yet You forgive this child.  I desire to walk uprightly.  Guide me, LORD.  I love You so.  How can I love You more yet I do with the passing of each day.  I pray in the Truth of Your Son, Jesus.  Amen.

Illustration of heart with heartbeat, electrocardiogram. Vector illustration

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* from “Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Psalm 143”