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Archive for the ‘Holy Spirit’ Category

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(The little foxes don’t stop tearing at us, do they! I wrote this in 2012 – and they haven’t stopped trying to ruin. It’s God’s Holy Spirit that makes the difference, why the vine of whom I am doesn’t break, doesn’t ruin. Challenges don’t go away, but faith, God and the Holy Spirit – they make the difference in how I live through those challenges. I wanted to remind myself today about letting the Holy Spirit wash over me and through me, cleaning me out and filling me up with things of Him.)

The little foxes had torn at the vines of my heart, nipping, trying to ruin the vines, to break the roots. Those little foxes, I am familiar with them. I recognize them for what they are, and though I know them, am prepared to deter them, they weary me. Yesterday evening found me battle fatigued, bruised, smudged by the dirty tactics, needing a Holy Spirit Rain to wash out these little foxes.

As I stepped outside into the Tennessee heat, the hotness touched me tangibly as though I had slipped on a fine kid merino shrug. My husband joined me to watch the sunset with its pinks, oranges hedged with billowing whiteness. Dark clouds encroached. Sunsets delight us both, drawing us close, this shared sensibility that restores much.

Lightening grew, grumbling bouncing in the North, sliding south. My jaded faith doubted it would dip our way. Usually, our rain was a southerly rain. We walked outside, talking about our crowded hydrangea, dwarfed rose bush, untangling the morning glory from the overgrown butterfly bush. Our garden had changed – and we needed to tackle those changes.

We stopped briefly, looking at the growth behind a burning bush. Surprised, my husband said, “Grape Vine.” His Dad grew grape vines – it was as though he somehow crept into our garden and planted it. But he couldn’t have, though. Another change, a sorrow change for us, during our journey, the loss of my father-in-law. Yet, there was a sweet reminder, wrapped around our bird feeder.

As the lightening bullied its way closer, we retreated inside – and inside, lightning cracked, silencing the katydids and tree frogs.  Lightening is bold where we live.

As bedtime arrived, so did the buckets of rain. “Come and smell it,” I called to the boys, the 2 little guys. The littlest showed up, giving me his 10-year-old incredulous-look followed by the “My-mom-is-nuts” look, but he stood with me sniffing the sweet scent of rain washing the dusty worn air of hotness. He decided to sleep on the floor of his room. “It would be safer,” he reasoned with 10-year-old logic.

I joined my husband on the porch, my pausing place, my favorite place to sit, to knit, to read, to grade essays when I taught, to listen, to watch, to be. . .  and the rain poured, in sheets, wave after wave of sheets.

I thought of an afternoon rain 23 years ago, during a heavy summer drought that stymied my cucumbers for my bread and butter pickles. That afternoon, it rained a downpour – and my first born, freshly 2, danced with me outside, in the rain, faces pressed upward, mouths wide open.

Today, in the darkness, my driveway shimmered like a pond, the water shifting in the breeze, in the pummeling sheets. And the lightening – it wasn’t just jagged bolts. It was like watching God draw in the sky with a thin pen over and over and over.

I thought of the Holy Spirit, the unsung member of the Trinity – and I wanted it to wash through my soul, like rainwater washed the dust, the heat from the air.

“And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain” (Job 29:23)

I wanted to be filled, filled like Peter with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, filled so much he never faltered again in his mission.

Sitting in my rocking chair, pushed toward the edge of porch, the rain misted over my legs and arms, cooling, chilling – and I laughed – relishing the moment, the blessing, the washing away.

The rain moved south, and I sighed, wanting more. Like an encore, the clouds backed up, pouring a double portion over our patch of living.

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)

I wanted the Holy Spirit to fill me like that, to fill me with crucifixion courage, overflowing with mountain-moving faith, drawing me closer to the Father, to hear His words to me, His comfort, His power to vanquish the little foxes.

“You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly”
(9a).

I am not alone, Father. You care for me, your creation, sending me living water, The Holy Spirit, to grow me more than I think I am, that I am not what the little foxes taunt; I am precious to you, valuable to you, like land that overflows abundantly.

The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it”
(9b).

You provide nourishment for my spirit, The Word and The Holy Spirit, enabling me to fight off spirit colds, weaknesses and tormenting situations that wear me out like the dusty, hotness of a relentless summer day. Empower my will to seek Your Holy Spirit Provision; let it not be the little foxes nipping and tearing at me that send me running to you. I want to be stronger than that, more faithful than that.

“You drench its furrows
and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers
and bless its crops” (Psalm 65: 9-10).

Holy Spirit, rain on me, filling the hidden places, the high and lows of my soul, softening the soil of my spirit, allowing the gifts my Father planted before I was born to grow, producing abundant fruit, and sharing the seed of that fruit with others – and if that fruit is not taken as given, let it not become a wily fox to my vine.

Let the rain come. Let it come softly or in a downpour – and let me be like an eager child who runs outside, mouth wide open, to receive the living water, a Holy Spirit Rain.

“O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams” (St. Augustine).

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There are moments when my husband dazzles me, moments when the sun just dog-gone shines brighter because he walked in the room. When I feel slimed by the world, it all washes away with one word, one smile from him.  It’s as though someone sprinkled me with. . . pixie dust.

“All the world [marriage] needs is faith and trust. . . and a little pixie dust” (Peter Pan)

An enchanted marriage? Where there is more to our marriage then two people? More than the strength in our 2 pairs of hands, 2 pairs of feet. Where my guy doesn’t ride a horse – and I don’t have hair as long or as sturdy as a rope ladder – but we survive the challenges that threaten us, yet still retain that dazzle, that enchantment, that love. Retain it despite life’s roughness, imperfection, graceless moments, conflict and self.

I’ve always heard about marriage turning two into one – at every single wedding: “Did he not make them one” (Malachi 2:15).

Yeah – there’s a heap of him and an armful of me (Granny’s measurements) – but it is a secret ingredient that mixes us into one, breaks down the individual ingredients for marriage one-ness – one-ness God’s way. We are a mixture with many things dissolved between us: sweetness, saltiness, spice.  According to Chem4Kids some mixtures are better combined “than any of the metals would be alone.”

But nobody every told me about the other ingredient, the secret ingredient, the more-than-pixie dust ingredient, the not-talked-about part of this transformation into one. I never heard the second part of Malachi 2:15:

Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?” (Malachi 2:15)

The Father gives an amazing wedding gift: A portion of the Holy Spirit. The same powerful gift He gave on the day of Pentecost, the gift that enabled Peter the courage to never deny Christ again, the power to overcome adversity, for love to grow big enough that to lay down one’s life for another, faithfulness that never turned away, wisdom to say the right word at the right time, insight to love completely and unconditionally, grace for forgiveness.

I love how The Message translation says Malachi 2:15:  His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage.”

“The smallest details of marriage” – How small can you think? As small as a tear drop? As small as the penny in the bottom of your purse when that’s all you have?  As small as the alone-time with your husband when everybody’s need is so big?  As small as the letting out of the cat at 4 a.m.? As small as the lining of your kitchen drawers? Or the sliver of soap in the shower? As small as the energy left at the end of the day? As small as your confidence in the face of a mighty challenge? As small as your affection in a moment of big anger?

Sadly, this is often the wedding gift most often left unopened. When it is opened, it is a gift no one ever quite knows how to use, so it is shoved to the back of a closet.

It is a gift most successfull when used by both  husband and the wife –  in equal measure. Like cooking, familiarity, skill increases with use. Like spices, the more you use them, the more you understand just how powerful each is. The Holy Spirit is to marriage what yeast is to flour. It enables your relationship to be more than it was. It is the ingredient that dissolves two into one with the strength to maintain that mixture of oneness.

It is a gift that requires interaction. It won’t act until activated – until you mix it into your relationship through prayer, through asking. The Holy Spirit is like a spice in your cupboard. You might have it, but it cannot do anything until you pull it out and mix it in.

It is a gift that requires belief. When both believe  “the Holy Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage.”  The power of 2 married believers (Matt. 18:20) + the Holy Spirit = a blessed marriage.

I tell my sons to pray, ask God to show you the girl He made for you, to pray about it – and to both have God in your marriage. If the Trinity is in it, you can face and overcome anything, your oneness intact.

That special something in your marriage? Not a sprinkle of Pixie Dust. Not that old black magic. Just a powerful portion of the Holy Spirit.  Pull it out of the pantry of your soul and use today! Embrace the Power of One.

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Jumping into puddles
On the street, parking lot
On the sidewalk , on soccer field
Jumping into puddles
cloud made
Of my own making
or hand-made by others
My feet, they step in them
And spash
Residue patterns
All around
And the puddle soaks into
My shoes, through the material
Designed to protect
From outside elements
And the splash soaks
To my feet – and I feel it
Up to my heart, to my mind
These puddle splashes
From life walks, steps and jumps
And I miss
When after-effects of puddle jumping
Didn’t stain the soul
Of my heart.

I love watching my boys jump – when they play video games, when they head soccer balls, when they jump in puddles. Their carefree innocence and exuberance, bottomless energy bursting into jumps and runs – and they don’t think of things like shoe stains – until the stink from shoe shedding makes everyone turn and glare – and they don’t think of things like running out of jumps – like I do now after 3. I think my soul – it jumps and runs – and it wants to not just splash through a Holy Spirit puddle – it wants to swim in it – and when life gets really, really uncomfortable – from my soul feet to my soul heart – to my mind – I have these Holy Spirit Golashes that’s supposed to keep out the bad stuff from seeping inside and soaking into places it doesn’t need to be. I can’t jump as high as I used to – but my soul can – with a Holy Spirit like golashes. Ijust need to remind myself – that I can – jump – high – with Him.

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We went blueberry picking, my boys and I. It was late July, just when the summer heat decided the show itself. We went after the first day of school, a 2 hour day, looking for Hidden Springs Farm beside Hidden Springs Creek.

We drove 6 miles outside of town, winding through curvy roads, past a burned-out store, turning onto a road that spent itself into a one-lane gravel trail that made me wonder how they got to town in the winter.

We turned right onto a road that skirted a huge, dried-out creek-bed called Hidden Springs, moving closer and closer to the blueberry farm, an isolated place where someone could lose the outside world.

“Is there ever any water in the creek?” I asked the blueberry lady, as I handed out buckets to 3 boys and one, very sweet girl friend of The Teen.

In some seasons, it rushes with water, she said.

Hidden Springs Creek was empty. Silent.

“I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory” (Ezekiel 43:2))

No roar. No rushing waters. Just emptiness.

I’d had a dream once, where my family picnicked beside a dried-out creek bed. In my dream, I asked whether it ever flooded– and the guide (for some reason there was a guide) said, “Oh, sometimes it rushes in, over-spilling the creek bank, flooding the family home, washing everything clean.” In my dream, we were talking about the Holy Spirit –that the Holy Spirit had once flowed through my family.

For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring” (Isaiah 44:3).

That creek bed, that rushed with water in seasons, it made me thirsty. I felt the dry, dusty, cracked river-bed in my boys – and I wanted that rain, that Holy Spirit Rain for them, too. I wanted that season to be now.

“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them” (Isaiah 41: :17).

I thought how cool it would be it would be if  Hidden Springs Creek produced a flash flood of Spirit-filled water – kind of like the water that rushed, morphing into horse-shaped rapids in The Lord of the Rings. Something visual. Something Tangible. Something with a Wow-Factor that washes away any doubts.

But the Holy Spirit, it isn’t contained to river beds, creek beds and oceans.

There is a spring in each of us, a Holy Spirit spring – flowing, gushing with Living Water. For so many of us, though, it is a Hidden Spring. Because we don’t understand, we dam up that living stream available to us. We don’t let it wash through our life.

I’m like that with a lot of things. I didn’t use my kitchen Aid Mixer for years because I really didn’t understand what it could do for me. There are programs on my computer I don’t use because I don’t understand. I avoid what I do not understand.

Until, one day, someone said in a Sunday School class where we were talking about the Holy Spirit, “If God has more for me, I want it.”

That resonated. That loosened the foundation of the dam I’d built.

Paul prayed for people like me, who didn’t quite get the Holy Spirit. He prayed this prayer:

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,

far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1: 17-21).

I asked God – is this real? This Holy Spirit Power? The same power you used to raise Jesus from the dead? That’s available for me? In the tool box you gave me when I became your child?

Is it for me? Little me in the big world? The same Holy Spirit Power that fell on the day of Pentecost? That rose Jesus from the dead?

“but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14)

And, if it is for me, can I not only have it. . . but show me how to turn it on in my life, so that the dry, cracked banks of my own Hidden Springs can rush to over-flowering with the Holy Spirit, cleansing me, filling me with energy, conviction, refreshing, helping me pray. . . and yes, praying in the spirit, if that is indeed real, too, for me, too.

I want some of that Living Water Jesus offered; I want that comforter He sent. But I don’t just want it. I want to use it. I want it to flow – not be dammed up behind my lack of understanding, traditions, a watered-down faith. I want my faith watered-up, flash-flooding, over-flowing, covering me, my family, my home.

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 58:11).

I want those Hidden Springs loosed in me. What about you?

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Simply Saturday

The Snow Trees Have Come!

Holy Spirit Rain Down on Me

in Snowflakes

so that I might better see

your Holy presence

when my eyes are blinded

and my spirit weary

when I am too numb to feel,

may your presence linger

like snow on trees

 

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