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.

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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/

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.  

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Rushing Mighty Wind

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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 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 Whole Heart

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With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!

I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.  Psalm 119:10-11

לֵב

leb

inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding:

inner part, midst:

midst (of things)

heart (of man)

soul, heart (of man)

mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory

inclination, resolution, determination (of will)

conscience

heart (of moral character)

as seat of appetites

as seat of emotions and passions

as seat of courage

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Our heart is a place where we can be filled to the brim with things of God or things of this world.  We have choices to make.  Our heart can be wholly set apart to God and for Him.  Or it can be wholly or even partially set upon the things that lead us away from God, lead us astray.

God calls us to Him.  He wants us near to His heart.  He loves us so and draws us to Him.  He has given us many promises which are truly ours through obedience to Him.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.  And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey My rules.  Ezekiel 36:26-27

The meaning of the word heart that is in Psalm 119:10 (the Hebrew לֵב  {leb} ) occurs 591 times in 546 verses in the Hebrew concordance of the NASB.  Throughout these many verses, heart can be interpreted to mean one of the many definitions listed above.  Yet, they each and all lead to the same place: our steadfast relationship with God, our Maker.

Dependent upon what that relationship with God is at any given moment, we stand with Him or against Him.  He wants us with Him always, but we are sinful and can reject Him.

See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking.  For if they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject Him Who warns from heaven.  Hebrews 12:25

In our darkness, we can easily walk away from the One Who made us for Himself.  We take that which He gives to us and then pretend we never knew Him.  He is the One Who knit us in our mother’s womb and saw us before the world even existed.  Yet we can be stubborn and stiff-necked, thinking that we know what is best for us.

It was I who knew you in the wilderness,
in the land of drought; but when they had grazed, they became full,
they were filled, and their heart was lifted up;
therefore they forgot Me.  Hosea 13:5-6

I know I have walked away and thought I could control my own life and would control it.  I thought I had the ability to be in charge.  I wandered in the desert without enough water.  I left peace and found agitation.  I shooed comfort away only to know fear.  I could not find shelter because I wanted to pitch my own tent, yet had nothing from which to make it.

My God will reject them
because they have not listened to Him;
they shall be wanderers among the nations.  Hosea 9:17

But, one day, I looked to the heavens and saw the Hand of God reaching to me.  I knew He had never left me nor did He forsake me even though I was one miserable person.

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.  Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.  Revelation 3:17:20

God blesses me so.  I want to praise Him with my whole heart.  I come wholly to Him.  I know I am not able to be whole for Him at every moment, yet I desire to be.  My heart and soul and mind and body are His, wholly His.  When a part fails God, I seek His forgiveness and His comforting arms.  I praise You, Father. 

Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!  Zephaniah 3:14

My Abba Father, thank You for loving me unconditionally.  I do not deserve it, but I desire You more than anyone or anything.  I am hungry and thirsty and tired and needy.  You have fed me with the Bread of Life, given me Living Water, rested me on Your bosom, sheltered me under Your wing, provided all that I need.  You are gracious to me, Father.  I am so grateful.  LORD, I offer my whole self and pray that I stay on Your straight path.  I want to be wholly Yours with my whole heart.  May this be so.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

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Photo of Fuchsias:  http://flowerinfo.org/fuchsia-plants

Permission

 

please

“Mommy, please let me go to Suzie’s house to spend the night.”

“Daddy, can I have this toy?”

“Mr. Jones, I would like your permission to go on the field trip.”

How often have you heard questions such as these?  How often have you, yourself, asked such questions?  We ask permission throughout life.  We are taught early to ask for permission rather than just assume that the world is ours…at least we are blessed if we have been taught so.

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Many people today do not think that asking permission needs to be done.  Many believe that they can have or take what they believe is rightfully theirs, no matter what that may be.

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.  And this we will do if God permits.  Hebrew 6:1-3

ἐπιτρέπω

epitrepō

to turn over (transfer), i.e. allow:—give leave (liberty, license), let, permit, suffer

And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.  Acts 28:16

He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.  Matthew 19:8

To another He said, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  Luke 9:59

But our God has taught us through His Word that receiving permission to do something, to have something, to say something, is very important.

Jesus prayed:

And He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Luke 11:2

and

He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.  Matthew 26:42

Through our LORD, we learn that asking the Father for permission is the way we are to come to Him.  Our gratefulness and love is in the asking, in the humility, in the respect, and in the love we show to the One to Whom we ask.  A child asking for permission to do something is showing respect to the parents.  A student asking the teacher if they may share something with the class is done out of respect and courtesy to the teacher and to the class.  A caregiver asking her mother if she is ready to allow her to change the bed sheets or a diaper is coming from a place of respect and love.

God’s will is what we should seek, want to seek, for He reigns over all.  This is His world and we are His creations.  To walk in His will, we must seek His will and walk in His way.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.  Isaiah 30:21

One of the definitions of “allow” is to suffer.  Surely, I do not want to ask permission to suffer?  Yet, times bring hardships and trials.  God knows just what we need to grow in Christian maturity.  Suffering may be a part of what I need.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.  Romans 5:1-5

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Father, guide me, correct me in all that I am, in all that I do.  I desire to be obedient to You and to all who have authority over me.  Father, may I walk in faith as You call me in Your Name.  Show me Your way in all things.  Jesus taught and still teaches today.  He shows, by example, the ways You called Him and now You call me.  Thank You, LORD.  May I walk in the way I should go.  In the Name of Christ, my Savior, I pray.  Amen.  

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Scrabble “Please:” http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2012/04/03/please/

“Asking Permission” graphic:  http://lebarronpark.yisd.net/MediaGallery/tabid/1135/AlbumID/2447-143/Default.aspx

Hebrews 4:16 graphic:  http://www.amazingfacts.org/news-and-features/scripture-pictures/image/e/11359/t/hebrews-416

 

 

Resting – Sheep and Shepherds

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He makes me lie down in green pastures.  Psalm 23:2a

Sheep will lie down when they are:

  • free from fear
  • free from friction (within the flock)
  • free of pests (flies, parasites, etc.)
  • free from hunger

The shepherd makes it possible for sheep to lie down, to rest, to be quiet, content, and relaxed.

* Free from fear

Sheep are timid and can be panicked so very easily.  A jackrabbit can bound before a flock, sending them all into a stampede.  Most do not know what they are fleeing, but follow in fright.

  • Sheep are quieted and reassured when they actually see their shepherd, knowing he or she is near.

* Free from friction

Sheep, like most animals, have an order of dominance within the flock.  Shepherds call this the “butting order.”  This may bring tension, rivalry, conflict, even cruelty within the flock.  The sheep are always ready to defend their place in that order or against intruders.

  • The shepherd’s presence calms them.  They tend to forget their contests and discontent.  The less aggressive sheep will be more content as well as more restful and calm.  Sheep do not need to defend themselves when the shepherd is around.

* Free from pests

Sheep can be tormented by a number of insects and parasites.  It is virtually impossible for them to lie down and rest when this occurs.  They are shaking their heads, stamping around, always up on their feet.

  • A good shepherd is diligent to keep his flock free from these pests.  Insect repellents, dips, and other methods of care are most important to the sheep’s health.  The shepherd is in and among his flock, keeping a watchful eye for problems.  He wants to catch them early so as not to allow them to spread or cause serious disease in the flock.  He is there to provide relief.

* Free from hunger

Sheep will remain on their feet as long as they are hungry.  They are not content while they search for food.

  • David was a shepherd boy before he was a king.  He raised his father’s flocks in an arid, barren land.  Green pastures of rich foliage needed to be produced in such a place.  A shepherd works hard to clear land of rocks and brush.  The land is then plowed and prepared for seeds of grass, grain and legumes.  Watering the grasses is part of this preparation.  The sheep need to be moved from one pasture to another as they will eat the grasses down to stubble, even into the root, if left in one area for too long.  When sheep have this land of plenty, they flourish for they fill up quickly and then will lie down to rest and ruminate.

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How does our Shepherd, Jesus Christ, guide us into rest?

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.  Psalm 4:8

* Free from fear

We live in a world where anxiety, fear, and stress often knock upon our doors.  We can dwell upon these things or we can rest in the Lord.  When we are in the midst of those overwhelming feelings, it is truly hard to draw near to the One Who shepherds us.  We tend to run without knowing what we run from or stand still while shaking in our boots.   Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit Who reassures us that Christ is near, has all things under His control.  We do not need to do anything but rest in Him.

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.  2 Timothy 1:7

“It is the special office work of God’s gracious Spirit to convey this sense of the Christ to our fearful hearts.  He comes quietly to reassure us that Christ Himself is aware of our dilemma and deeply involved in it with us.”  W. Phillip Keller

* Free from friction

We also can live in friction.  We struggle with competition, keeping up with our neighbors, jealousy, hatred, rivalry, covetousness, and discontent.  When we are near to our Shepherd, in prayer, in reading His Word, in communion, in love, His Presence takes the discontent, hatred, and all else away.  Abiding in the One Who is worthy to be praised removes those feelings because we are praising Him, loving Him, and walking with Him.

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.  He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.  But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.  1 Timothy 6:3-7

And He said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  Luke 12:15

“It is the humble heart walking quietly and contentedly in the close and intimate companionship of Christ that is at rest, that can relax, simply glad to lie down and let the world go by.  When my eyes are on my Master they are not on those around me.  This is the place of peace.”   W. Phillip Keller

* Free from pests

We live with many small irritations, things that “bug” us.  They may include disagreements with family members or friends, frustrations in traffic or at work, irritations that keep us awake at night.  Our tendency is to hash and rehash things while they keep us restless.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:26-28

We have been given the Holy Spirit for intercession.  He is there for us.

“In Scripture He is often symbolized by oil — by that which brings healing and comfort and relief from harsh and abrasive aspects of life.  The gracious Holy Spirit makes real in me the very presence of Christ.  He brings quietness, serenity, strength and calmness in the face of frustrations and futility.”  W. Phillip Keller 

Resting in the Shepherd  by trusting Him with our cares and concerns is vital.

* Free from hunger

We have been given salvation and life in Christ.  He is our Shepherd, the Good Shepherd.  We have been given the gift to move from our sin into a life of overcoming victory.  Jesus desires a life of abundant joy and contentment for us if we will come to Him.  He will provide those green pastures.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”  Matthew 5:6

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

“How He works to clear the life of rocks of stoney unbelief.  How He tries to tear out the roots of bitterness.  He attempts to break up the hard, proud human heart that is set like sun-dried clay.  He then sows the seed of His own precious Word, which, if given half a chance to grow, will produce rich crops of contentment and peace.  He waters this with the dews and rain of His own presence by the Holy Spirit.  He tends and cares and cultivates the life, longing to see it become rich and green and productive.”  W. Phillip Keller

Our Good Shepherd prepares and then leads us to the lush green pastures where we can feed on His Word and rest in Him.

Will we follow Him there?

Will we obey His lead?

Father, I pray that this is so.  I ask You to open our eyes to the One Who gave His life for us.  He is our Shepherd.  I pray that we will obediently follow Him to these beautiful pastures of His loving care.  I pray that we will feed upon Your Word ravenously.  I pray that we will know the feeling of fulfillment so that our time of rest is calm, peaceful, filled with contentment.  Thank You, Father, for the words and thoughts of Mr. Keller for he has taught beautifully while Your Word is a fountain of knowledge from You.  I am grateful for this pasture.  I lie in it more often than not.  May I call upon Your Holy Spirit when I stray, finding myself lost.  I want to lie in it always.  Thank You, Lord, for being my Shepherd.  Thank You for Your forgiveness.  You are Beautiful to me, Lord Jesus.  I pray in Your Holy Name.  Amen.

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Photo 1:  https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=sheep+lie+down&view=detailv2&&id=9BC7072561ABB6981FAA1618A883ACE23BB9525E&selectedIndex=33&ccid=8gPrAn%2fY&simid=608030665586708327&thid=OIP.Mf203eb027fd81a768de47d6d20879251H0&ajaxhist=0

Photo 2: by Biegun Wschodni  https://unsplash.com/photos/vD3L-rN_qNw

and http://www.biegunwschodni.pl/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unsplash

Quotes from A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm by W. Phillip Keller

W. Phillip Keller, author of A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm, is due credit for the outline of this post. The 4 points of freedom are from this book.

The Mystery

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μυστήριον

mystērion

from a derivative of μύω mýō (to shut the mouth); a secret or “mystery” (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites):—mystery

Mystery

  • something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain, a riddle
  • the condition or quality of being secret, strange; a person or thing whose identity or nature is puzzling or unknown
  • the secret rites of Greek and Roman pagan religion, or of any ancient or tribal religion, to which only initiates are admitted
  • the practices, skills, or lore peculiar to a particular trade or activity, regarded as baffling to those without specialized knowledge
  • and chiefly Christian Theology–a religious belief based on divine revelation, esp. one regarded as beyond human understanding, an incident in the life of Jesus or of a saint as a focus of devotion in the Roman Catholic Church, esp. each of those commemorated during recitation of successive decades of the rosary.

For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.  When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.  This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.  Ephesians 3:1-6

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Colossians 1:27

God chose the time and the place for His mystery to be revealed.  Just as we are able to understand a Truth in His Word, He knows when to reveal something to our individual hearts and minds.  In Paul’s time, God knew that the time was His to reveal the Truth in order to break down the wall between the Jew and Gentile.  He wanted the Gospel preached to the Gentile world and they would, then, be partakers of the privileges instead of lying in ignorance and idolatry forever.  He surely desired that the Jews, His Chosen People, would also see clearly now.

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:1-3

The veil would be removed in Christ.

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end.  But their minds were hardened.  For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.  But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.  2 Corinthians 3:12-18

This mystery, thus made known, is Christ in you (or among you) the hope of glory. Observe, Christ is the hope of glory. The ground of our hope is Christ in the word, or the gospel revelation, declaring the nature and methods of obtaining it. The evidence of our hope is Christ in the heart, or the sanctification of the soul, and its preparation for the heavenly glory.”  Matthew Henry

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  1 Corinthians 15:51-52

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Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.  1 Timothy 3:16

Father God, I shout Hallelujah! because You have removed the veil for all to see the Truth of Your blessings, this greatest of all mysteries.  I am so grateful that I know You through Your Son, Christ Jesus.  I have Christ in me, hope of glory in me.  Such blessed moments!  May I seek Your face and kneel before You for You are power and glory and honor and blessing.  You are the God of all, All in all…Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent.  Praising You, Father for revealing Your mystery to us.  I pray in the Name of Your Glorious Son, Christ Jesus.  Amen.  

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Daniel 2:27-28a photo/Scripture

1 Timothy 3:16 Photo/Scripture

 

Read

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Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.  Revelation 1:3

ἀναγινώσκω

anaginōskō

  •  to distinguish between, to recognize, to know accurately, to acknowledge…hence…
    • to read

As a school teacher, children’s librarian, and now a private tutor for primary school-aged children, I teach reading among a few other subjects.  Reading is my favorite because once a child grasps the ability to read, to sound out words, to put words into sentences and paragraphs, they begin to see those black marks on pages with a new perspective.  It is such a pleasure to watch and is a joyous moment for these little ones.

Reading is made up of learning phonics, memorizing sight words, or reading all by sight rather than phonetically.  It also is realizing that some/many words in the English language just do not make sense because they break the “rules.”  I called them ‘outlaw words’ when I taught school; actually, I still do.  The schools around here call them ‘rule breakers’…same thing.  With a paper jail placed up on the bulletin board of the classroom, those words are put in jail and whenever a child has a hard time sounding a word out, I tell them that it is an ‘outlaw word.’  They immediately look to the jail and know the word.  Funny how those little tricks work!  Reading also includes comprehension, grammar, and so much more.

In the verse above, ‘to read’ goes deeper than learning to read.  As we read God’s Word, spending time in His Word to us requires a relationship with the One Who wrote these words.  We may hear far more than a simple reading might divulge.  We may receive insight and knowledge of just what God means, what He is wanting to say to us, what God expects of us.  There is so much buried in this beautiful Treasure.  The Bible is a jewel that we have been given to read, to dive into, delve, explore, search, dwell upon, mull over, reflect upon.

There is so much to learn in God’s Word.

When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,….  Ephesian 3:4

LORD, I love Your Word.  I can read it, but I pray that I will understand just what You intend for me to learn.  I want to grow and gain in wisdom, in integrity, in genuineness, and in love as I listen to You through Your Word and through the Holy Spirit.  May words that seem foreign to me not be outlaw words for You make them clear to me.  As I read Your Word, I ask Your Holy Spirit to guide and direct me so that the words coming from me are sincere and loving toward all I encounter.  I want to reflect Jesus to others, and that will come by knowing You, LORD.  

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14

I pray in the solid Name of Jesus.  Amen.

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More Than Enough

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No matter what version of the Bible you are reading, the word “commit” and “committed” appear over and over again.

“You shall not commit adultery.”  Exodus 20:14

And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you.  Deuteronomy 19:20

Almost every time, the word is in regard to committing a sin, warnings about committing a sin, or the consequences of committing a sin.

So this is my 2016 word.

Commit

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I do not want to commit any sin against God.  I am also human and, most likely, will commit some thing(s) against Him.  I am sorry before I even do such as I do not want that for myself nor to do such against the God I love with all of my heart.

When I chose “commit” as my word, I included those meanings listed above, but, actually, I am focusing on committing my life, my walk, my heart, my all to God, desiring His orchestration of me…all of me!

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in Him, and He will act.  Psalm 37:5

I do not want to be half-hearted and need extra proof from Jesus to commit my life, my days, my moments to Him.

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”  Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know Me, Philip?   Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father.  How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?  The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own authority, but the Father Who dwells in Me does His works.  Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.  John 14:8-11

I believe, LORD.  Please help my unbelief. 

“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,

and perform your vows to the Most High,

and call upon Me in the day of trouble;

I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”  Psalm 50:14-15

“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me;

to one who orders his way rightly.

I will show the salvation of God!”  Psalm 50:23

In thanksgiving, I commit myself to You because of all the You have done for me.  I praise You, Abba Father, for in Your sacrifice of Your Son, I am now saved from death, having eternal life with You.  I give You all the glory because You are All…ALL!  Teach me to walk in Your ways and Your way alone.  I am so in love with You.  I am committed to You because You are truly Enough.  Uphold me when I stumble; lift me when I fall.  Your arms are strong enough and wide enough for me.   Your touch is tender enough for me.  Your love is true enough for me.  You are enough, Father.  Enough.  In the Name that is Enough, I pray.  Amen.  

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