Soulful Starry Nights

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.  Psalm 139:13-14

Me:
Good morning Father!

ABBA:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
Somewhere, in each of our hearts, we marvel at our own existence; we wonder that we exist. René Descartes famous philosopher’s line, “I think, therefore I am” strikes at the fundamental fact that we have no real understanding of Your bringing us into being, except by faith in Your limitless ability and in Your boundless creativity.  As hard as it is to grasp the expanse of all Your thoughts – not Your thoughts themselves, but the glimmer that we get of the magnitude of creation and the interconnected nature of it all – it is even harder to imagine how some can come to the conclusion that every interdependent particle in the unknowable universal expanse developed by some chance.  A thermally induced wiggle here, a random interaction there … and somehow … eventually … life … sentience … complete with musing philosophers, no less.  Like David, my soul knows well that You are our Maker.  I am grateful that I don’t have to have faith in an endless stream of random occurrences!

ABBA:
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to search out a matter. (Proverbs 25:2) If one ignores what I have revealed, such as My hand in creation, the likelihood of arriving at the truth by the assumptions of man is also infinitesimally small.

Me:
Last night, we watched the Day of Discovery production  Man of Science, Servant of God, George Washington Carver. It was inspirational to learn how he looked to You and allowed no obstacle to stop him, though there were many possible impediments.

ABBA:
George believed. And he loved.  A heart that is full of thoughts of Me and of things above has little time for lack or fear.  I created man to serve a purpose greater than himself.

You remember laying out in the yard with your dad at night as a young boy, looking up at the heavens, how it came into your mind that it was impossible to actually come to grips with infinity.  You would envision an imaginary box around everything and then wonder, “What is outside the box?”

Me:
I don’t have many clear memories from my childhood, Father, but I clearly remember that.

The stars in the high desert of eastern New Mexico are breathtaking on a moonless night.  The Milky Way looks, well, milky.  To know that the luminous backdrop to uncountable stars is from more uncountable stars even further away, is fascinating and wonderful, even to a young boy.  Even more amazing is the scripture that tells me that You not only created those suns but know them all by name ( Isaiah 40:26).

ABBA:
On those starry nights I was calling to you through what I have made and telling you that I Am.

Me:
I believe that I somehow felt that at the time.  I am grateful for the witness of Your works!

ABBA:
George was also able to hear as I called to him in the woods of his boyhood home.  I prepared his heart and I prepared your heart.  When you heard the good news about Jesus, you were able to accept the truth of it.  So it was with him.  I have and I Am preparing the hearts of many.  All who are open to the Truth will welcome Me and know that If I Am for you, none can successfully stand against you (Romans 8:31).

Me:
Father, I thank You for Your generosity in giving me life and that it is full to overflowing since You are in it.  I thank You that Jesus made it possible for me to be reconciled to You though His offering Himself as a sacrifice to cover my sin that I might be able to commune with You as my Father and not shrink back in fear that Your holy fire would consume me.  I thank You that the Holy Spirit has come to  fill and to guide me into all the Truth.  I thank You for Your patience and for Your plan, and for the chance to discover it.  I love You!

ABBA:
You are welcome!  I love You!

Through Job

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
We read in the Bible Gateway “Verse of the Day” from Job 19:25 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.”  Some say that Job may be the oldest book in the Bible, that it is marvelous poetically and contains rich words and forms not found anywhere else in scripture.  And, at least Copley in his
Gatherings in Beulah posits that Job may have lived before Abraham. Yet, here You were making known to Job the day of salvation!

Holy Spirit:
The need for a Savior is known to Us.  Was known to Us, from your temporal perspective. Even at the end of time, your need for your Savior will persist.  Even as at the last He will take His stand on the earth, you will be standing in Him, for His redemption, with its focus at the cross on your behalf, sends its power both backward and forward in all eternity such that no one is beyond the reach of the efficacy of the sufferings of the Christ and Jesus’ love makes salvation available to everyone who chooses to seek refuge in Him while he may.

Me:
How can one offer adequate thanks, or all the praise that is due God in light of so great a gift?  Help me to live in such a way as to cast no shadow obscuring the brilliance of what has been presented freely.  Let my short-sighted behaviors be reined in and let my choices be guided and empowered by You!  I love you!  Thank You for seeing to it that we have such a mighty witness to this salvation by God’s word and by Your witness, even within us!  I love! You

Holy Spirit:
You are welcome!  I love You!

Not Your Average Guide

5 “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.  (John 16)

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
I have been contemplating this passage for the last couple of days.
  Jesus had some astounding things to say about the relationship that we would have.

Holy Spirit:
Don’t you think our relationship is astounding?

Me:
Yes, it is! However, in this passage, I see that there are things yet to be realized in practice.
  Amazing things from You!

Holy Spirit:
Let’s talk about that a little.
  What does a guide do?

Me:
A guide leads someone where they have not been before, or where they have inadequate knowledge, and points the way and tells about the place or thing that is being explored.

Holy Spirit:
What is the guide’s part?

Me:
He knows the place where the sojourner wants to go and has superior knowledge and skills about the destination.
  He is willing to share his time and his understanding.

Holy Spirit:
What is the traveler’s part?

Me: I suppose he has to trust the guide enough to follow and pay attention.  Probably, he chose the guide.  He has to go with the guide, as he leads.

Holy Spirit:
Is all the superior knowledge of the guide bestowed as soon as the relationship is formed?

Me:
No.
  Some of what the guide knows gets imparted to the learner a little at a time along the journey.

Holy Spirit:
How long do you think it would take to impart infinite knowledge?

Me:
Do you mean “all the truth”?

Holy Spirit:
Yes.

Me:
All eternity?

Holy Spirit:
Good thing you have been granted eternal life!

Me:
I can scarcely comprehend the depth of the riches of our relationship in this moment, much less the totality of it spread across timeless existence.
  I can barely glimpse a little way along the height and breadth and depth of the love that Jesus has bestowed on me in redeeming me and making it possible for the Holy Spirit of the Living God to be my guide to all the truth!

Holy Spirit:
If you continue this path with Me, we will continue to explore that expanse and talk of the priceless value in it, and the cost of it, and of Our intention that you come into the fullness of it.

Me:
I want to be with You, every step!
  I want to hear all that You have for Me!  I love You!  Thank You!

Holy Spirit:
You’re welcome!
  I love you!

A New Perspective

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:

Good morning Jon!

Me:

I heard a teaching this week about getting our statements on the right side of our “buts”. The man reflected that our tendency is to talk about a promise or statement of truth in the scripture and then say “but my experience has been …” and then recount whatever we think is not living up to the promise. For example, one might say, “The scripture says ‘I Am the God who heals you’, but I feel awful.” He (rightly) pointed out that in that grammatical structure, that the thing that comes after the “but” negates the part that came before and that it is better to put the scriptural promise after the negating conjunction.

This morning in my reading, I came to Psalm 13, which seems a good example:

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
4 And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken.

5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Though the Psalmist starts out speaking with the voice of despair, at least in the end he voices the optimism of Truth.

Holy Spirit:
How much better to both start and end with the promise before one decides to spend two-thirds of one’s breath on the depressing things he doesn’t want; in fact, on the depression itself? When David was focused on the negative, he came to the belief that God had forgotten him. Is that the truth? Later, he came to know the truth:

Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. Psalm 40:5

 

There was good reason that We included in the scripture statements like Matthew 18:18

Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

and Matthew 21:21

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen.

Many things can have you bound.  Even your attitude can bind you. Are you likely to get something done if you believe that you can’t? There are no hand-holds in the pit of depression by which to lift yourself up even to peer over the rim. You have to look for My Hand extended to you to lift you out. Here is a truth about that:

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

There is nothing more binding than believing lies about Me. That is why the serpent started with that tactic in the garden, calling into question the veracity of My Word.  Also, do not miss the import of the contrast of the temporal nature of “on earth” and “in heaven” as given in Matthew 18:18. The attitudes you espouse and the words with which you express them may be active and observable “on earth” –which is passing away but be not deceived, the freedom or bondage you are choosing here and now has spiritual consequences which are not passing away and are affecting you and all of existence in ways that are spiritual and are unseen and is not constrained by time as the physical universe is.

Me:
Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You! Please help me ingrain Your Truth into my life and improve my attitude and the things I reinforce with what I say!

Holy Spirit:
You’re welcome! I love you! I Am helping you.

Not Roughshod

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. Romans 15:1-2

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
I need Your hope, Holy Spirit! In dealing with my brother, I am prone to expect only more of the same. More of the same that led to his state of homelessness, though we were paying his rent and utilities. I don’t know what Paul was talking about here. What did he mean to “bear the weaknesses of those without strength”? I plainly see my brothers physical impairments. How would one bear those weaknesses of his? Does paying his rent because he in not equipped to work qualify? That did not keep him from getting tossed out last June because of his actions and refusal to cooperate with his landlord about her demand that he stop running a cockroach breeding operation in her apartment; or his insistence in accommodating feral cats in a doors-always-open fashion. Once he was evicted, we didn’t even know where he was for more than six months. Six months including the punishing heat of summer and freezing cold of winter. When he called week before last because his car quit, he said he had been staying in an “unheated barn” and that he had to get out of there. After a couple of other calls, it came out that he was really staying in town in the metal building of an auto repair business. And, he said he had seen us “sneaking around” when we drove a thousand miles one way last June to try to help him. Now he says “he is dieing here” and doesn’t know what to do. I don’t doubt that is close to true. Yet he vehemently refuses to call his doctor, though that amazing man has continued to treat him in spite of enduring many curses to his face. He also rejects the many that are ministering to the homeless in various ways.

Well, You see what I mean. I need Your hope. And wisdom. The help given to him before only led to reinforcement of the hate toward me that our mother fed in him for her own inscrutable reasons. I can see the resentment because he can’t do for himself, though he is wired to be fiercely independent. I get that. I also know You wired me to be responsible. Please help me do that with the right attitude: in joy and not in guilt.

Holy Spirit:
I Am well aware of these things. You should not lose sight of the fact that he has survived six months with no contact from you whatsoever. It is Me that you need to be believing in, if you want all joy and peace. I have not given you an end-all answer for how to proceed because if I did, you would feel driven to embark on it in your own power. That is not a harsh criticism. I know the way you are formed in your inmost parts. I Am at work in this situation and you will be involved with Me one step at a time. As for your brother, strong motivation is necessary in order to get change in a stubborn heart. You would rescue immediately, if it were possible. Trust me when I tell you that would be counter-productive. Even the salvation that Jesus purchased for you, in His own blood, does not automatically cover you. You must recognize your need and repent of your wrongdoing and surrender your pride and consent by asking Him to bring you in. Though this is your greatest need, We do not run roughshod over your will.

Me:
Thank You Holy Spirit! I love you! I submit myself to Your plan, though I have not seen it yet. I will follow the steps that You reveal.

Holy Spirit:
You are welcome! I love you!

Courage Within from Above

And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:31

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Me:

Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:

Good morning Jon!

Me:

Thank you for the reassurances that Your work involves giving courage to do that which You call me to do, even when the truth is unpopular and the enemy appears to make inroads of corruption into every life. We hear so many lies that we become accustomed to them. What a contrast to You unfaltering truth and to Your reliability!

Holy Spirit:

Consider this psalm: Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call; This I know, that God is for me. Psalm 56:9 I Am listening for the cry of your heart. My help does not require you to foresee the plan or the method. If you seek Me for what I Am doing, and you run to wherever I show you that My banner is raised, there you will see the mighty hand of Jehovah Nissi, God your Banner. The battle is fierce and the enemy is ruthless and he misleads many after him, but My victory is assured and all who can find courage in Me will see triumph and will play a part even in snatching the perishing from the flames.

Me:

Oh, let me keep my eyes on the Lord and walk in confidence in You! Often the enemy reminds me how I fall short. Thank You that the strength required is Yours and not mine! In You I trust! Only you can get through to us when we are blinded by our willfulness. Only Your voice can penetrate our ears deafened by falsehood. I cannot count the times that You have spoken gently to me when I deserved only condemnation; when You have shown light into dark dungeons of fear in which I was bound. I treasure the freedom that is granted in Jesus! Thank You, Holy Spirit, for enabling a new life of liberty!

I love You!

Holy Spirit:

You are welcome! I love You!

The Stars by Name

But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” John 4:23-26
Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!
Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!
Me:
These words from Jesus concerning the argument between Jews and Samaritans on the proper place for worship speak to the difficulty we have touching anything spiritual with the “rational” mind.  I can read this, and even give accent to its truth.  But with my mind, I cannot truly “get it”.  I cannot “get” how to worship in spirit though I am able to do it daily.
Holy Spirit:
The mind can give the heart a supply of things to contemplate.  But love, awe, worship, thankfulness, and joy; these are of the heart. Analysis of facts without involvement of the heart is dispassionate. Cold. Inaccurate. Dead.
Me:
I recognize sitting here that in Your power in the beginning at the Word of the Father – and Your movement with His Word, who is Jesus – the stars sprang into being.  I can know the estimates of how many we can see with the naked eye, or look up the parsecs their light would have traveled from the current arrangement. It is, however, with my heart that I feel awe at Your majesty at the glory of Your work when I look up into the clarity of a pristine Winter sky and see Your mighty handiwork.  It is then that I know that I cannot attain to true knowledge, for You are God and I am only a child. It is then that my spirit is overwhelmed with the magnitude of Isaiah’s observation:
Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.
Holy Spirit:
As I called forth this host, if you desire it, so I Am able to enable you to worship in spirit and truth as Jesus said.
Me:
I do desire it, Holy Spirit!  Let me see with the eyes of my heart the glory of Your presence and revel in it!
Holy Spirit:
Have I not been giving you this gift without you explicitly asking?  For I see your desire when it comes before Me and it pleases Me to do for you that in which you delight.
Me:
I love You Holy Spirit!  I love You!  And thank You!
Holy Spirit:
You are welcome!  I love You!  You know that. In your spirit, today, you know.