Are you? Am I? #3


I am grateful that I am free from sin.

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14

Me: Good afternoon Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good afternoon Jon!

Me: This third statement on Christy Mitropoulous’ artwork is one that my natural mind resists as presumptuous. It says, “Hey, wait a minute! I (insert reference to last bad attitude or hurtful thing I did here) and I clearly miss the mark of God’s best regularly.” I therefore have to get hold of those thoughts and compare them closely against the message of the gospel to bring them into subjection to the truth.

Holy Spirit: That is certainly one aspect of the necessary work of correcting things you have come to believe that are just not true. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 says, For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

Notice some things about this passage:

  • Every thought matters.
    • The notion that only what you do outwardly matters is as false as false can be. (See Matthew 15:19 or Mark 7:21)
  • Men’s ideas are one of the things that stand against true knowledge of God.
    • Men are proud of these ideas.
  • Getting your thinking straightened out is a war.
    • It is a desperate struggle.
    • Life and death are at stake.
  • I Am providing the power you need to break the strongholds of wrong thinking.
    • It is My power, the power that created the cosmos and all its mechanisms.
  • Correction takes time.
    • Not because I have yet to provide a way, but because of your ability to apply yourself to the process, to do battle in your spirit and reconcile yourself to the truth.

Me: I remember that word “master” also came up with regard to sin in the early chapters of Genesis.

Holy Spirit: Yes. Cain had some trouble with his thinking. He did not master it, and he killed his brother Able while he was still operating in self-centered anger.

Genesis 4:7 “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

The point of Romans 6:14 is that those who are in Christ because they have accepted the salvation purchased by His death for their sin are free from the power of sin. That is, sin’s power over them is broken. There are many passages of scripture that attest to this. Before we look at some of those, note the difference in the message to Cain and the one to believers (after the cross).

  • To Cain – “you must master it.”
  • To believers – “sin shall not be master over you”

This is the grace that has been extended to you.

John 1:29 — The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

John 8:34 — Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.

Romans 6:23 — For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:6-8 — For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 10:10 — for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Philippians 2:12-13 — So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Take this work seriously. Think of a demolition expert working to diffuse a bomb; he wants to get it right. Your life is at stake too. This passage does not mean that the basis of your salvation is your works. The basis of your salvation is the completed work of Christ. The work this passage is referring to is the same work as 2 Corinthians 10:5; the work of aligning your beliefs, and therefore your thoughts, and then therefore your actions to the Truth, which is Christ. Neither are you to attempt this on your own. I Am here to help you.

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you! Here is some more help:

Hebrews 4:12 — For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Meditate on how I Am providing guidance to sort out what you believe and how that affects what you end up doing.

Christy Mitropoulos Signature

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Are you? Am I? #2

I am grateful for the many scripture verses attesting to the availability of a Spirit-filled life!

My wife recently bought this piece of inspirational artwork.

This is the second installment of a series of meditations about the message carried in this Christy Miropoulos’ piece. This second statement has a lot of scriptural backing. I’m therefore not going to editorialize.


I AM full of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:9 – However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

Matthew 3:11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Matthew 10:20 For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 3:34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

John 7:39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

John 14:16,17 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 see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

John 15:26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,

John 16:13 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.

Acts 5:32 And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

[There are hundreds of references to the Holy Spirit in both the Old and New Testaments, beginning with His part in the Creation.]

You and I have a choice to make every moment; follow our own desires, or the leading of the Spirit. It’s life and death. Choose wisely.

Christy Mitropoulos Signature

Are you? Am I? #1

My wife recently bought this piece of inspirational artwork.

This is the first of a series of meditations about the message it carries.


I am grateful to have You as my Father!

O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness. – Isaiah 25:1

The statement at the top of this piece of Christy Mitropoulos’ artwork leaps out at you: “I am a son of God”. At least it leaps out at me. It seems to fall into the category of things that are hard to believe because of pervasive self doubt. The notion of being a child of God acknowledges Him as creator of all, of course. But it is more than that. He created fish, gophers, and earthworms too. To my understanding, none of them are known to be able to read the scripture that man (the species) is made in Their image (Father, Son, Spirit, Genesis 1:26). Jesus got in in big trouble with the religious leaders for Calling God His Father out loud – in public, no less. Who was He, they accused, to claim God as Father? In His days walking around on the dirt, every first son was considered the heir, with all the authority of the father, once he was “of age”. Those with authority constantly questioned Him on the authority issue.

The verse that Christy references is in Romans 8. It bears reading:

So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh — for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:12-17

Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Matthew 23:9

Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” Mark 10:15

You and I have a choice to make every moment; follow our own desires, or the leading of the Spirit. It’s life and death. Choose wisely.

Christy Mitropoulos Signature

Power of God

I am grateful for the astounding warm-up today; 22F below earlier in the week, 52F now.

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written,

“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

[ This quote is from Isaiah;
For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear,
Nor has the eye seen a God besides You,
Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him. – Isaiah 64:4]

10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. – 1 Corinthians 2

Me: Good evening Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good evening Jon!

Me: This passage is chock full of wisdom and the promise of still more wisdom borne (and born) by You! Thank You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome!

Me: I am mystified by Paul’s comment, which I know he got from You, that the rulers would not have crucified Christ had they understood all. Had they not, where would we be?

Holy Spirit: You have often observed that Jesus did not pull any punches in speaking with the rulers. He consistently told the truth in a way that would inflame their indignation and instinct to protect the sin they imagined was righteousness because it was, well, theirs. They were simply respecters of themselves. Not a humble bone in their bodies. Paul is just observing, matter of fact, that they did not get it. Even when bluntly told the truth.

When Paul uses the words “predestined before the ages” in verse seven, he is pointing out that God knew fully from before He created that man was going to need to be rescued from the power of sin. He knew before there was time. He knew before there was any man. He had always known. Yet, He chose. He chose to create. He chose to create man. He chose to create you. He chose that in the Son, He would bear your sin, that in Me, He, who is holy, would be able then to communicate with you who is only made righteous by faith in the Son. Were it not so, communication would be futile. (2 Corinthians 4:4, John 12:40, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Matthew 13, Isaiah 6:9) You observe this in your day; those who see not and hear not because the truth is foreign to them.

Me: Yes, Holy Spirit! If it were not for You, none of us would ever overcome our blindness.

Thank You for speaking with me about these things! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you! I love the ones that still persist in their not seeing and in their not hearing, but I Am unwilling to override their choice.

As You Want…

I am grateful to have the Word of God to hear and the Spirit of God to guide. I can scarcely imagine the universe that some believe exists by some innumerable set of random variations. (That started from what, exactly?)


“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Jesus, Matthew 7:12


Me: Good afternoon Jesus!

Jesus: Good afternoon Jon!

Me: I didn’t mean for it to be afternoon before speaking with You in this journal entry. I went out to plow the snow drifts that accumulated last night, and it was a much bigger job than I expected. Beautiful, though. Thanks for the trio of young deer that ran by, heading North. They were lovely as well. Your creation is full of Your magnificence! Everywhere I look, there is reason for awe and amazement!

Jesus: You are welcome.

Me: Lately my company has been making a distinction in their statement of the “Golden Rule”, that we should treat others the way that they want to be treated. They made that assertion without any further explanation, as though it was self-evident. That has kind of bothered me, because it seemed a modification of my understanding of what the scripture says. I am grateful to You for showing me that I was wrong about that and that my perspective was actually a self-centered one.

Jesus: Yes, I thought it was high time that you had that sorted out. The difference is, of course, seeing it from the perspective of the person you are treating however you are treating them. You are the one who knows how you want to be treated and if you assume that the way that you want to be treated is the way that they want to be treated then you have not afforded them the same freedom as you have exercised over your own desires.

Me: Treating them how they want to be treated instead of how I want to be treated requires me to find out how they want to be treated.

Jesus: Yes.

Me: That is not always easy.

Jesus: It requires building a relationship and being sensitive to their reactions to you.

Me: That seems pretty hard. It certainly is not possible if my focus is on myself.

Jesus: The Spirit is given to guide you into all the truth.

Me: You are saying that truly understanding others is the work of God, aren’t You?

Jesus: Yes. The work of God in you. … and I saw every work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and though the wise man should say, “I know,” he cannot discover. – Ecclesiastes 8:17

Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” John 6:28-29

Me: Thank You Jesus! I am grateful to You for the things you tell me. I love You!

Jesus: You are welcome! I love you!

Jesus, our Way

I am grateful for Jesus, our way.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3

Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”’” 2 Samuel 7:16 (Samuel speaking to David; Jesus is the fulfillment.)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6

Me:Good morning Father!

ABBA:Good morning Jon!

Me: Thank You for the promises You have fulfilled in Jesus!

ABBA: There is an aspect of Jesus being the way that I want you to consider more deeply. Obviously, Jesus’ death in your place paid the legal debt you owed because of sin. (Death because of sin announced in the garden – Genesis 2:17; explicitly countered in Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ) He is the way to escape the deadly consequence of what you have done because He already endured your just deserts.

Besides that, I want you to think of “way” in the sense that Robert Frost used it in his verse about his travels. I want you to think in terms of the process of life, one thing leading to another; one day’s choices building on the decisions laid down the day before to stand as the foundation supporting today. When Jesus said, “I Am the way”, he also meant that His life is our highest example. He marks the way in the manner that a path guides our footsteps to the destination that He intends. A path does not guide one who does not walk on it. Remember Frost’s line, “ And looked down one as far as I could; To where it bent in the undergrowth;”. Reaching the destination requires continuing to put one foot in front of the other until the end of the journey is attained. In just that way, every step in your life is under your control. You can follow Jesus in the way, or you can turn aside and trudge into the woods. It is really always up to you, step by step, choice by choice.

The truth (I Am the truth) is clarifying. As the refiner’s fire causes the dross to rise to the top so it can be removed, walking with Jesus in the way does that sort of purification. When the scripture says “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2, it is speaking of choices you make about that to do with your mind. Here is a signpost along that path: Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. – Philippians 4:8; with the transformation noted in Romans 2:12 as a result and abundant life as the destination of this way (I Am the life).

Me:Thank you Father! I love You!

ABBA: You are welcome! I love you!