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Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

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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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whiteflowerUn tout petit peu de français
– but enough to recognize the French lady sitting across the table from me calling her son a “couchon” when he wolfed down the truffles I’d made for our afternoon play date. I’d had French in high school, college and graduate school – enough to find a good restaurant one weekend in France with my husband – but not qualified for everyday talking.

Ich spreche noch weniger Deutsch
– You would have taken 2 semesters of German, too, if you’d taken the German culture class I did in college. Dr Ursel Boyd – inspired us with her stories of her grandmother marching out of the church when Hitler’s people tried to commandeer God – you would have taken German, too. Sadly, German 2 did me in. If a girl like me reads the ends of books first, then how could I ever survive speaking a language where, in many instances, you have to wait until the end of the sentence for the verb.

Speaking in The Spirit – with  utterings or groanings that only the Holy Spirit can understand. One day, the Holy Spirit gave me the translation the translation:
That my son’s mouth would be loosened
That his ears would be opened
And when he turned to him
his mind would be freed

God wasn’t surprised with the challenges that would unfold as my son grew. He gave me a heads up on His plan. I have held on to that message for 21 years – stood on it during some pretty challenging times. God knew I needed to prepare myself ( click here and here for the story).

Messages from God are available in all languages. You can find the Gospel of Love in Thai, Swahili, in Chinese, Hindi – all languages – even Holy Spirit languages –
Spoken, signed, read with fingertips on Braille.

We read with our hearts
We read with our eyes what the body language says
We read with our ears – not just words but what the tone says

booksflowersWe read rack magazines, shelved books, ipod news alerts
Thank you notes, heart messages from our children’s art, sweetheart letters and notes from our husbands,

But Shaddai – He is not confined to a book though His book’s message is imprinted everywhere – for free – His writes love letters to you, to me, to my sons, to my daughter-in-line, my mother, my aunt, my granddaughter – He has love letters written to us in the stars and fish, the sea and sand, the roots and blooms, in a spider’s web and a rain drop.
Love letters and messages
All around us
All available for each of us to read and if we do read, we should share – like the loaves and the fishes,

Thank you, Ann Voskamp of A Holy Experience and 1,000 Gifts – for showing me how to read– these gifts, these blessings – these messages of His love.

An Arab student one time told me his mother didn’t read. I cannot comprehend not reading – a recipe, The Secret Garden, the prodigal story, a manual on how to use a snake to clear a sink pipe, The Christmas Story, the Wall Street Journal over a cup of coffee, The Brave Cowboy, the U.S. Constitution, or an escape-hatch story like Miss Buncle Married or Pride and Prejudice – or the contrast of Grace over Law, of Salvation, Redemption and forgiveness in the Les Miserable by Hugo.

I cannot comprehend being illiterate.

Seeing my dismay, the student said, “Oh, she still has a full life.”

Her fullness seemed limited to me – like having wings but not knowing you can soar.

Yet, 100 years ago – how many of our parents read? Yet still had full lives? How many since B.C. became A.D. – how many have been illiterate of reading and understanding the Word of God with their own eyes? How many souls relied on others to read His messages – the message of adoption from Abraham, Jacob’s hope in a God-made Ladder, that even prostitutes like Rahab who take risks for God can find true love in a man like Joshua, that bullies like Saul can become Paul’s of the world, that Jesus came so no one could ever come between the individual and God again – not a priest, not a king – no one.

Yet,  I have lived most of my life, illiterate of the His messages to me in the daily.

Thank you for teaching me to read the  message of the cardinal darting out before me on the way home.

The message in the dove call from the roof top – answering back to the call my husband and son send from curved hands, lips and air.

Or the message I found when I freed myself from my work desk to stand under the portico during a torrential down pour, as thunder grumbled to my left – and to my right miniature water rivulets riffled and bubbled through mulch and grass– and the green and the bark deepened richly and the streets glistened like ice.

Or on the way home, so tired, so tangled by how many times Murphy’s Law can jump into my day. It rained – buckets – and the sun shined through the downpour, shined so brightly the rain looked like crystals – and it blew toward my windshield like bits of snow – a rain blizzard.

Or the gift in a cupcake container, once filled with chocolate ganache cupcakes topped with sugared chocolate mint – carried through my back door, returned with a smile and kitchen counter conversations.

poppysOr in the orange poppies grown too tall pulled out revealing perennials wanting more space.

And zinnias that bloom regardless of the weathery moods.

All of these are messages to be read – messages He gives us during the daily. . .
Messages that tell us He loves us, champions us, knows our struggles, knows our hearts desires – and knows how hard it is to live in the wait of a prayer sent out.

And messages that teach us – like the barren creek that rarely flows with water, the path to the blueberry patch, beach birds enacting a madrigal – and the blueberries deep within the bush.

They’re all like letters in an envelope – just waiting to be read.

Have you read much lately? These daily messages from the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?

Each message can be translated into all soul languages.

Guess what the message was I found in the blueberries?

Other messages, gifts and love letters this week – 1067-1072 above

    1. Celebrating 30 years of marriage with my husband
    2. 30 roses for 30 years
    3. My Freshman trying not to smile as I conjugated  each verb he used one on the way to soccer practice.
    4. Listening to my two sons recite in Latin, “I Love. You Love. He, She, It Loves. We Love. You Love. They Love.”
    5. When my 7th grader explained singular and plural, first second and third person.
    6. My boys pulling out classical literature in the first 2 weeks of school, Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, Narnia and Gilgamesh.
    7. That God answered my prayer to move my husband’s heart if we needed to make education changes –
    8. and we were able to enroll them in a Classical Latin School where we no longer feel the need to supplement just support
    9. baby girl greeting me with a fist-bump I taught her – and remembering her pup-pup beanie puppy at our house
    10. the older I get the longer I need to celebrate my birthday (just a few days before my anniversary) – taking the time to savor the relationships the Father has given me – who have become family to my family.
    11. tree frogs in the dark
    12. laughter from my sons’ friends on the porch
    13. rain the slows the schedule, providing an inside refreshing
    14. butterflies in the sunshine
    15. the feeling of home all weekend long

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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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When Jesus was born, he brought with him the gift of Salvation. When he died, he left us the power of the Holy Spirit to help us 1) overcome and 2) help others overcome through prayers that intercede, giving others that Holy Spirit strength to stand when they cannot. It is a season of intercession, of teaming together with the Holy Spirit.

I’m reposting this today because I haven’t the words nor the actions to bind the wounds of grieving parents – but I do have prayer – and prayer can reach further than words or actions. These kindergartent parents, the children of these teachers – they need right now – need for us to support through prayer.

What do you do with second-hand grief?

When crisis and tragedy comes to people you love who aren’t your own, but are – and your heart bursts with grief, empathy, love for those wounded –  what do you do to staunch the flow of their pain.

Cook meals, help clean-up the unthinkable, feel powerless to make things right in our own ability – until remembering Him, I intercede.

Second-hand grief intercedes. Stands in the gap. Maybe in that intercession, in the prayer, in that grief – we carry some of the overwhelming burden of that first-hand grief until they are strong enough to carry it all themselves.

Yesterday, hearts broke in our little neighborhood when a jungle gym/tree house tipped over, falling on one of these precious children, taking her to heaven.

Our little community, our little ones who were all for one and one for all, their spirits are bruised up.

The neighborhood has hushed. A lot of quiet. No children’s laughter right now. No joy sounds. No little feet running and playing. No one knocking on doors seeking their friends.

Bruised up and praying.

Praying that only things of God take root in the hearts of this beautiful, safety-diligent, God-loving, gentle family who lost so much, who just want prayer.

 

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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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