Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

a history lesson

looking up

One of the special things most mornings bring is our reading, sharing together The Word and the Truths revealed to us as we linger over breakfast and coffee.  Some mornings though with schedules and appointments, the time is unable to be shared together, but we both know even if one of us is not physically present we are still share in this time.  Today happen to be one of those time alone mornings.  And what a sweet Truth God revealed to me in the stillness of my surroundings.  

For the last week or so, we’ve been reading through 1 Chronicles.  I know most will probably react with the same questions that have rolled through my mind.  “Why read through this book in the book in the Bible?”   Afterall, it’s nothing but long lists of genealogy and the basic recording of events from Genesis through the kings of Judah, and the exile and the people returning to Jerusalem after the exile. It reads a lot like a history book, an ongoing account of events.  In fact, much of what’s in Chronicles is repeated material from the earlier books.  So much so my mind keeps asking, “Why does all this need to be repeated over again?”  “Why do these people keep doing the same things over and over?”  “Why don’t they learn from their past?”  “Why? Why? Why?”  I know God does all this for a reason.  So the student in me wants to try to put all the facts and pieces together and figure out all the Whys.  I want to focus on the horizontal look at this panoramic picture of the Old Testament.

But today was different.  Today as the mind started to ask these same questions over again, the heart responded directly. The Lord was telling my heart to stop focusing on all the Whys and to look at the Who.  At this time was it really important for me to know who was reigning and who ruling?  Was it important to figure out who had absolute authority and why was this one overthrown, or that one dethroned?  Was it important to question why these people kept doing the same things over and over?  The Spirit told me to stop looking all across the pages – going backward and forwards . . .  from one commentary to the next . . .  and to look up.  

So for today, my answer was right there as I looked up.  Who was reigning and ruling?  – GOD.  Who has absolute authority? – GOD.  Always has and always will.  He has never been overthrown.  He has always been on his throne and always will be.   I was getting so caught up in looking at things horizontally, from the side-to-side, the back-and-forth, that I was forgetting to look up.

Today was different.  Today reminded me that recently I’ve become so caught up in all the hoopla of the worldly things going on in my life, the lives of those ones I love and care deeply for, and the conundrum of details that seem to surround me.  I’ve become caught up in all the horizontal details of life – all those nitty, gritty frustrations of the details of life that want me to take my eyes off Jesus.

Looking across, side-to-side, front-to-back is full of unknowns, of fears, what ifs, unrest, upheaval, distrust and discontent.  Looking across and around is mucky and off-center.  I can’t truly gaze if I’m looking horizontally.  He tells me to put down the hoopla of the world.  To not fret over the horizontal details of life that really do not matter – those details that want to pull me down, to pull me apart, to pull me away.  He tells me those things do not matter because He is on His throne.  He will not step down, nor will He be pushed aside.  He IS in control.

He has all my details covered because He knows my story.  Seeing all my details, He moves in His own time and at His own pace.  I need to stop looking across at all the earthly details and fretting over the earthly “kings” that change at the drop of a hat. He calls to me, “Daughter, look up to Me, your Heavenly King.  I have all the details of your life covered. Surrender them all to me and leave them at the foot of the Cross and at the foot of My throne. The one and only throne that has never or will ever change.”

Yes, today is different.  Looking up and over the page. I fix my gaze – I see the One that is unchangeable, full of grace and mercy and peace. Looking up is transformational.    

 


no fear

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Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

With the turning of the new calendar page again this year, I have been wrestling over the last few weeks *the one word* I wanted to claim for this year.  For a while it seemed as if I was coming up empty-handed, the words that would come across the page just did not seem to be right.  The Spirit was leading me elsewhere.  For some reason this past Christmas the phrases, “Do not be afraid,” and “Fear not,” as the angel spoke to Mary and to the shepherds continued tugging at my heart.

So this year, it’s not just one word that I am claiming for my spiritual focus.  I’m claiming the phrase no fear because I know that His Word tells me to “not be afraid” throughout scripture.  I know this, but yet it seems many days I don’t live it.  And truthfully, it’s not about my being afraid – it’s about my trusting in the One who tells me to not be afraid. 

I could make a list of things I’m afraid of. On that list some of those things seem big to me, and some small.  Some of the things stem from my own insecurities, from worry.  My mind tells me there are so many things I need to fear, I should be afraid of.  But my heart tells me, I want to live in freedom, not in fear!  


no blurred lines

 

Glassing for elk

Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne

Hebrews 12:2

Do I spend my day, questioning whether there is really a plan He has for me?
or
Do I expect it, seeking it with intention and focus?

Do I stumble around trying to see my life carrying a broad beam flashlight of self-reliance to find my own path?

or

Am I guided with laser focus, the intense energy provided the Holy Spirit steering me to follow God’s perfect plan?

Do I question that He has a plan for me?

or

Do I joyfully expect it, hungry for Him to build me into the one He desires for me to be?

Is my daily prayer . . . USE ME? 

 


Hope for the filthy rags

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Even at my very best, I have nothing to offer but filthy rags.

But I have the Hope that will not disappoint!

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ. 
We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 
 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5: 1-5


helpless

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Helpless was the cry I heard. The other day I spent a few hours with my sweet teaching partner and her precious six-week old baby boy.  When she answered the door, the sounds of her precious little one’s petitions were crying out.  Readily taking him into my arms, I thought about how this little infant couldn’t tell his momma exactly what he wanted or needed at that moment.  He was calling out the best way he knew how.  All he could do was cry, but we understood his demonstration of need.  His helplessness, his dependence touched this mother’s heart.  

So it is with our Father. My helplessness, my dependence on Him is what He desires of me.

So many times I feel helpless in my heart, as I cry out to Him.  It seems that at times I don’t even know what to pray. The words are frozen on my lips.  It’s in those times of helplessness that my heart calls out best to my Abba Father.  My prayers and my helplessness go hand in hand to the One who knows me.  The helplessness of my heart is heard even if I can’t say a word out loud.  He hears and He listens to my heart as I call out to His heart, even in the silence.

He hears today the prayers of this mother’s heart in its helplessness.  The prayer that is stronger than the loudest cry.

Who do I have in heaven but You?
And I desire nothing on earth but You.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart,
my portion forever.
Psalm 73:25-26


Mind-boggling

Collection of hundreds of Free Bible Verse from all over the world.

However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

It’s so easy to read through these words without really thinking about the words.   Take some time . . . read each phrase . . . ponder on what each says.

What no eye has seen . . . 

What no ear has heard. . . 

What no human mind has conceived. . .

I think I have a pretty lofty imagination, but not even stretching my five senses, each to its utmost limits, my understanding falls vastly short. I can’t even begin to have an inkling of the glory, the riches, God has in store for those He calls His own.

Mind-boggling.  Inconceivable.  Unimaginable.

Rejoicing in His Promises  . . . because these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.


the grass, the birds, the lilies and me

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If God so clothes the grass of the field . . . , will He not much more clothe you . . . ? Matthew 6:30

Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?  The problem is as much as I want simplicity, something inside me fights it.
I let the cares of the world come in to my mind and my heart. I allow myself to think I know better than Him.  And every time I allow this to happen, I push my Creator aside, losing that intimate place of close relationship with Him. 

How do I let the simplicity of the grass of the fields be my simplicity?  I set aside myself for Him.  I listen – receive His Spirit.  I am learning to rely on Him, not on my feeble attempts at “doing life.”

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“Look at the birds of the air . . .” Matthew 6:26.

I enjoy walking through the woods and the meadows at our country place.  The cacophony of sounds from all types of birds resonates through the ever-present stillness.  All you have to so is look up and the birds are there.  Are they dependent on me?   Absolutely not.  These feathered creatures, from the tiny little blue bird to the beautiful hawks that soar overhead as they intently watch our fields, follow the instincts their Creator places inside of each one.  He watches over every single one.

So why do I doubt?  Why would I think He wouldn’t watch over me?  Me.  The one he says He has known before I was created?  I want that freedom, freedom from worry.

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“Consider the lilies of the field . . .” Matthew 6:28.

We don’t have lilies in our fields, but we do have most of the beautiful Texas wildflowers one can find in the Hill Country.  The ever-changing landscape reminds me that these flowers always grow right where they are planted.  Not planted by our hands, but by the Hand of their Creator.  How many times do I refuse to grow right where God has planted me?  How many times do I not allow my roots to go down into His Ground?

Jesus said if we would obey the life of God within us, He would look after all other things. Did Jesus Christ lie to us? Are we experiencing the “much more” He promised? If we are not, it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us and have cluttered our minds with confusing thoughts and worries. How much time have we wasted asking God senseless questions while we should be absolutely free to concentrate on our service to Him?
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

And just like with the grasses, the birds, and the lilies, this is not just a one-time thing for me either.  It’s a daily act. I need to stop and look again each day. Give myself up daily. Not just when I “need” Him, but give Him every single moment of every single day of my life.

Looking for Him in the little things, as well as the big things of my day.


renewing

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The other day while thumbing through some notes found in the Bible I had used for many years, I ran across these words that had been shared in a past study.  I had to smile because of the coincidence of the content and my *2014 word* RENEW —— Coincidence?  Ummm…. no, I don’t think so!

Renewing the mind is a little like refinishing furniture. It is a two-stage process. It involves taking off the old and replacing it with the new. The old is the lies you have learned to tell or were taught by those around you; it is the attitudes and ideas that have become a part of your thinking but do not reflect reality. The new is the truth. To renew your mind is to involve yourself in the process of allowing God to bring to the surface the lies you have mistakenly accepted and replace them with truth. To the degree that you do this, your behavior will be transformed.  (source unknown)

Growing up with parents who enjoyed antique shopping and a grandmother who had her own little shop, I spent quite a bit of time being my dad’s “helper” when it came time to refinish many of the furniture finds.  Some of the pieces were unbelievably ugly, and often I would think “there’s no way this piece is going to ever find its way into our home.”  But as my dad would painstakingly strip away the layers upon layers of paint, the beautiful original wood would be exposed.  After all the steps of the taking away the old were complete, the process of replacing it with a new finish would result in a total transformation of the piece.

So stumbling across the words I had written down years ago, the message was clear.  The transformation that I desire is not just a switch of one behavior to another, but it is a process.  And just like refinishing furniture, it’s tedious and messy work.  It’s not a one-time exercise, but it is one that I need to do daily. This renewal must come not only from the outside in, but more importantly from the inside out.

What does this look like?  For me, the old are the lies that I have allowed the enemy to whisper into me; it’s the walls that I had built up over the years to protect myself; it’s the healing of hurts and scars.  The new is daily asking the Spirit to show me the things I have hidden deep in the recesses of my mind and heart.  To show me, to break my heart and my mind of anything that blinds me, no matter how much it may still hurt, from His Truth.  

The great Exchange – new for the old.

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stopping in at  Bonnie Gray’s . . .  come join us


stepping into nowhere

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peace beyond understanding

from ann voskamp ~ a holy experience

photo from Ann Voskamp ~ a holy experience

 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4: 6-7

Shalom – Hebrew for Peace.
A study of Hebrew words reveals meaning beyond their spoken pronunciation. Each Hebrew word conveys feeling, intent and emotion.
Shalom is more than just simply peace.
It is complete Peace – contentment, completeness, wholeness, well-being and harmony.

The Shalom that can only come from Him who created and put all things into place.

Experiencing this peace – this Shalom – came this past weekend.  It was more than just the intimate, serene outdoor wedding setting.  Even more than the beautiful sun-filled, blue skies that filled the Austin Hill Country.  Yes, it was even more than friends and family that gathered to share in the Joy of the joining of the oldest son, C and his bride as one in marriage.

This Shalom was the Peace that could only come from fervent prayers asking for the Peace of God that goes beyond my mind and heart’s understanding.  

During the weeks before the wedding, many nights of sleep were interrupted by a bad dream night after night. Only this wasn’t really a dream, it was like a movie replaying in my mind the deep wounds from venomous words and divisive actions at another such wedding scene eight years ago.  There was no Shalom.

Knowing that unlike at the beautiful wedding of daughter K a little more than a year ago, this time the wall of space and people would not be there to protect the Joy my heart desired for this occasion.  With each replaying of this late night “movie,” an overwhelming sense of unrest would stir in my heart because I did not want anything to take the Joy away from this wedding day either.

In the dark of those nights, I would call out in my heart to my Abba Father, Yahweh.  His Peace was always present with me there in the dark, night after night after night.  And peaceful sleep would soon return.

Each morning after, I would wake wondering,
Was this some sort of spiritual attack? 
A portent of possible pending drama? 
Something designed to take the joy from this time?

Sharing these thoughts with my dear friend L, the weeks and days before the wedding found us praying together.  We prayed for Peace that would transcend, that would eclipse, that would go so far beyond what my mind and heart could understand.  We prayed for that Complete Peace, His Shalom.

Last Saturday, the big day had finally arrived!  The venue was absolutely serene.  Despite earlier reports of rain coming in with our first “big” cool front, the weather was beautiful.  Skies were blue and the sun was shining through the shadows of the massive oak trees.  There was even a herd of Longhorns nonchalantly greeting the guests as we drove through the ranch gates.  Was this the peace I had prayed for?  No.

As we were walking up the stone walk towards the early arriving family members and a few other guests, I heard a still, small voice say to me . . .

“The Peace you’ve prayed for is here, He goes before you.”

It was in that moment, I understood.  That movie that had been playing over and over in my head in the nights before had been a reminder to me that in the dark, in those uncertain times of my life, His Shalom, His Complete Peace has never been absent from me. 

Now instead of those anxious thoughts, an overwhelming sense of Peace washed over me – the assurance His Presence walks every step of the way with me.  I have that Peace that surpassed all my understanding.  The Prince of Peace is guarding my mind and my heart!


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