Delegated Authority – What will I do with it?

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government[a] will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government[a] and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. [Isaiah 9; [a] rule, dominion]

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. [Ephesians 1]

Me:
Good morning Father!
ABBA:
Good morning Jon!
Me:
I look forward to the fulfillment of Your plan! In our current governmental systems, we have nothing like unity or unending peace.
ABBA:
I have given among men the freedom to choose. When the times reach their fulfillment, all things will be brought into unity. In the mean time, you have the freedom to choose. All the things that are under your authority can, even today, be brought into unity under the Son.
Me:
What things are under my authority?
ABBA:
What you will believe. What you will do with the time alloted to you. What you will speak. What you will give. Whether you will follow My Word and heed My Spirit, and love my Son. Will you love others? Will you show compassion? Will you trust Me when others deny Me? The matters of your own heart and of your own mind, these are under your authority. Will you stand on the Truth or compromise for safety or convenience? In My Son, I have freely given you life in place of the wage of death that you had earned in sin. No one can take you out of My hand. Therefore, no one can take away the choices of what you decide to do under the authority that I have given you. In these things, under Jesus, in the Spirit, by My zeal for this plan of redemption, let your mind be transformed and let your spirit be renewed. In the world, lies abound, but they will be shown for what they are and will go the way of death to which they lead. My Word is Truth and it will never pass away. Stand on that foundation and you will never be shaken.
Me:
Thank You Father! When I consider Your Word and Your mighty promises, my confidence is renewed and joy rises in my heart! I love You!
ABBA:
You’re welcome! The joy is a gift for you to enjoy and to share. I love you!
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Free Will and Other Things

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you. – from Deuteronomy 13

Me:
Good Morning Father!

ABBA:
Good Morning Jon!

Me:
All of Deuteronomy 13 talks about those – prophet, dreamer, family member, or friend – who would entice others to follow ‘gods’ who are not You and commands their being put to death. Jesus advised tearing out an eye or lopping off a hand if it makes you sin. (Matthew 5:28-30) Yikes!

My question is whether I am making too much of Your intention to give us free will.   You know I have argued stridently that You are free by Your very nature and that being made in Your image, You grant us freedom that we might also love You freely.  These verses about capital punishment in this life for sin always make me wonder if I have understood free will correctly.

ABBA:
Jesus knew that neither a physical eye nor a physical hand was the literal cause of any sin. He wanted to impress upon His listeners the seriousness of sin. He is your Redeemer; a serious solution for a serious problem.  As for the dreamer and the prophet, how do you suppose they would deliver signs and wonders to authenticate their false message?

Me:
By intentional deception or by demonic activity?

ABBA:
Those are the same thing, and the correct answer. Every word from Me is Truth. The devil is a liar. Whether his deceptions come through a “prophet” or he plants his words directly in your mind, the result is the same. Knowing my Word (commandments) and listening to My voice counter his lies with the Truth, for I put forth nothing but the Truth. Serving Me speaks of the intent of the will. Clinging to Me speaks of the desire of the heart.

As for free will, do you suppose that the deceived is even able to exercise free will? Having free will presupposes the true options are known and are present to choose from. The “prophet” or “dreamer” who presents a lie as the Truth has already circumvented free will. Satan cares not a whit for your free will. I present you with this: I cause all things to work together for good to those who love Me, to those who are called according to My purpose (Romans 8:28). If you seek Me in faith, I Am faithful to give you the good gift of of hearing My voice (Deuteronomy 13:4, Habakkuk 2:2, Luke 11:13, Revelation 1:11). Knowing Truth unlocks the possibility of free will.

Joshua spoke of the true option that is always before you if you know the choice I Am giving you. “… choose you this day whom you will serve …” – Joshua 24:15 Your sharing of this choice with those who do not know the truth is the work of your calling.

Me:
Thank You Father! I love You! Strengthen me by Your Spirit to speak only the Truth. Deepen my understanding! Let my heart be purely devoted to You!

ABBA:
You’re welcome! I love you! I Am indeed working in you by My Spirit to accomplish that which you ask.

His Choosing

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!
Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!
Me:
I am blessed to be chosen for salvation, even from the beginning!
Holy Spirit:
I see you are still somewhat puzzled by that language. It is not exclusory, as is human choosing.
Me:
I looked up the word for ‘chosen’ in the Greek. It is not ambiguous. It means simply to lay hold of by personal choice.
Holy Spirit:
Your calling by Me and to Me is by My personal, completely informed, and passionate decision. You cooperate by desiring to be selected. If one does not want to be selected, that free-will decision is honored by Me. Since my choice is completely and eternally informed, that one is excluded simply by My having honored his will. My passionate desire for a relationship with such a resister is not diminished and is no less personal than for you. My ardor toward him does not diminish as time passes for him nor does his doom become fixed prior to his physical death. Unfortunately for him, having rejected the Spirit of Truth, he is laid open to the spirit of untruth and his training in the lies of the darkness only solidifies the habits of his mind and heart with long practice. Pray for him, when you meet him. Remember My love for him is in no way dimmed. Allow My heart for him to be your heart for him.
Me:
I will try to keep that in view and attempt to be more faithful to pray. Please keep reminding me if I forget! Thank you for being the active agent in my sanctification!
Holy Spirit:
Your continuing desire for Me to do that is the sole guidance for the direction of your life; your faith will either develop in the Truth resulting in more a more abundant life and more peace and more joy and more love and more self-control, or if I am not your desire, life will decay under the plan of the one who comes to steal and kill and destroy.
Me:
Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!
Holy Spirit:
You’re welcome! I love you!

Dwelling Places, so to Speak

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Ps 46:4-7

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!
Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!
Me:
I read this passage and it makes me think of You. The river flowing out from the throne spoken of in Revelation in my understanding represents You and Your flow. I love this reference to the river “making glad” the city of God.
Holy Spirit:
But of the fruit Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Me:
Taken all those things together that flow from you, “making glad” seems an apt description.
Holy Spirit:
In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:23)

These “dwelling places” are reference to the fact that we can be together in an intimate setting – at home together, as it were. Safe and secure, no matter what. Most think this talks about some kind of afterlife apartment. There is much loss in that understanding. Jesus said there are many dwelling places. The word translated ‘are’ has the same root as I AM. We are together right now. Jesus’ talk about “going to prepare” was about His death in the disciples (and your) stead which had not yet taken place. He could have said “I am going  to the cross to prepare a place for you.” He was not going on about unfinished drywall in heaven. It is you that have to be made ready; not the dwelling place. He was speaking of preparing a place in the sense of “home”. Home is not a location where you normally feel “there is no place for me here” because you do not fit. The ‘dwelling place’ is a metaphor for being in/one with Him. Rejoice that you are ‘dwelling’ at-one with Us, in the River, made Glad!  When Jesus said ‘I will come again to receive you to Myself’, he was not  looking down through time to the last trumpet of Revelation.  He was looking forward to in-dwelling fellowship with sin atoned for and no longer blocking the relationship.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Neither the individual you, nor the collective ‘you’ of all who ‘dwell’ will be moved, though nations make an uproar until kingdoms totter or natural disasters proliferate.

Me:
Thank You for this explanation! I love You!
Holy Spirit:
You’re welcome! I love You!

His Dominion

19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
22 Bless the Lord, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the Lord, O my soul! (Psalm 103)

Me:
Good morning Father!

ABBA:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
Let my soul be a place of Your dominion! For Your will is flawless and Your loving kindness is endless! How foolish for me to act without due consideration of Your Word; to mindlessly stroll along in the gloom without knowledge of the precipice at hand, or even to charge forth headstrong – as a willful stallion who has clenched the bit in his teeth. Only You know the end from the beginning. I am easily deceived, except I walk steadfastly in Your Spirit. But You by Your Spirit reveal the Truth! Your promises are life and fulfillment! Help me to be intimate with Your Word, that Your precepts might be ever-ready in time of decision. Make me mindful that there are no minor choices. For the path from yesterday is fixed by steps made irrevocable by time’s passing moment and the path to tomorrow known to You alone. Only in this instant resides the moment of my choosing. For my part, let my passion for You be the deciding weight on the scales of decision! Help me to remember that the thing left undone may be of more weight than the thing done. Guide my heart, Lord! Endless possibilities overwhelm the resources of the mind. Help me be faithful in the things that matter to You and not merely indulge myself nor be occupied with taking my ease.

ABBA:
Today is a Sabbath day that I have ordained for rest and for restoration. A day for healing and for rejoicing. Because I AM love, I desire you to know that My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. All power is Mine and I share the work with you that you may revel with Me in the victory. I want you to be able to shout in triumph at the defeat of the enemy, to be glad as evil falters because it is made lame by relying on lies. Hope in My promises. They are for you! Have faith in Me. I AM your Father! Trust in My Word. It never returns, except it accomplishes that which I sent it to do. (Isaiah 55:11) Be filled with My Spirit. He will lead you into all the Truth. He will disclose to you what is to come. (John 16:13) Observe My heart concerning the deception of evil among men. For My wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about Me is evident within them; for I AM making it evident to them. (Romans 1:18-19). See the river that flows out from My throne and from the throne of the Lamb. Enter into its life-giving flow and be renewed. (Revelation 22, John 4:14)

Me:
Thank You Father for such an encouraging Word! Your love is beyond measure! I love You! My ability to express gratitude seems wholly inadequate!

ABBA:
You are welcome! You were made that we might have communion! Do not let past failure be a shadow that keeps you from our time together. The accuser will stop at nothing to bring shame. But I AM quick to forgive and will stop at nothing to bind up the repentant heart. My Own Son has borne the penalty of your sin. By this, I AM showing you continually that I love you with an unending love!

A Great Advantage

If you are a believer in Jesus, He has provided a great advantage through the grace of the Holy Spirit in your life. I say grace, for surely, outside the atoning work of Christ, none of us could avoid being consumed by having the Holy Spirit of Almighty God dwell within us.  Is He making a difference in you?  Is He making a difference in Me?

Our enemy, the devil, has a standard litany of lies he tells anyone who desires to turn their hearts and minds over to the Spirit’s help.  Those who succumb to doubt – about whether they are “doing it right” or “hearing right” or whether they have “quenched the Spirit”– become like the unstable double-minded man who should not expect to receive anything from God.  Satan’s list of lies is practically endless.  You are no doubt familiar with some.   Rather than dwell on such a dismal litany, I want to share a list of promises from the Bible to counter them with, whatever doubt he sends:
•    But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. John 16:7
•    And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.  John 14:16-17,26
•    And when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. Mark 13:11
•    And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them.  And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them.  Then they will be My people and I shall be their God. Ezekiel 11:18
•    ‘And it shall be in the last days’, God says, ‘that I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, any your old men shall dream dreams; Even upon My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My spirit and they shall prophesy.  And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth beneath, blood and fire and vapor of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.  And it shall be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’. Acts 2:17-21

Does the tone of the quote in Acts sound like the Spirit will spend time counseling men to salve their fears by engaging in the latest self-help technique?  No, He counsels everyone to call upon the name of the Lord.  For there is no other Name given under heaven, whereby men may be saved.

I asked before, in so many words, “Am I different today than I was yesterday, or merely fooling myself?”  Those promise passages make it clear that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit because without His help, I would be unable to stand in the trials that are coming.
______________
Father, how can I offer high enough thanks for such promises?  You have provided for Your pure and Holy Spirit to occupy my vessel of earth! Though You formed me from the dust of the ground, You the Potter are sanctifying your children for holy use by the Name of the Son, that Name which is above every other name.  Jesus!  Thank You! I know each moment presents a choice: will I believe Your witness or listen to the enemy’s propaganda?  Your Word tells me that the enemy comes but to steal and kill and destroy.  I know that listening to You leads to victory and glory and eternal life.  Oh, let me be attuned to Your voice always and at every moment!  Let me know that the shield of faith is effective.  Let no lingering doubts creep in disguised as doubts of self, but actually stinking as an affront to belief in Your promises!  I love You, Holy Spirit!  Thank You for dwelling with me.  Teach me to be steadfast in my faith, let my belief in Your promises be quicker than thought, build it into my heart!