As the Deer…

I am grateful that the creation itself tells us of You! That it speaks plainly of Your majesty, and of Your magnificent nature, that You are an infinitely competent Creator!

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

Psalm 42:1

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Romans 1:20

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

I took these pictures with my phone on the way in to work one recent morning before I got to the pavement. In the this one, the deer that was leaping in the first snap is now peeking back at me over the little hill on the left.

One of the Hebrew names of God is transliterated as Jehovah Shalom, meaning God our Peace. Praise His Holy Name!

Boasting – more than annoyance

Father, I am grateful for today, for today’s opportunities, for its promise, for Your creation of it, and for Your presence in it.

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Proverbs 27:1

Me: Good morning Father!

ABBA: Good morning Jon!

Me: Rejoice now, wait-and-see for tomorrow? No boasting?

ABBA: Boast not of self.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

James 3:5

Here is a list, containing reference to boasters. See what company it keeps:

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Romans 1:28-32

If, instead, you speak truthfully of Me and of My workmanship in your life you will unleash My power for good.

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Ephesians 4:15-16

These things apply to you as an individual. Individuals make up families, organizations (from churches to governments), to all of society. I Am able to make the difference between health & joy and rot. The choice is yours.

Me: Thank You Father! I love you!

ABBA: You are welcome! I love you!

Kingdom of God

I am grateful for Your faithfulness!

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:33

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 2:14

Me: Good morning Father!

ABBA: Good morning Jon!

Me: Jesus told us in Matthew 6:33 to seek first Your kingdom. How does one do that?

ABBA: It would be beneficial for you to look at what the scripture says about My kingdom. How does one recognize it?

Me: Sounds like a good idea, of course.

ABBA:

5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

from Exodus 19 (please read all)

For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

Leviticus 11:45

I Am the Lord. The citizens of My kingdom are to listen to My voice, do what I say (from the heart, for what I say is from My heart and is good).

[My] throne … is for ever and ever: the sceptre of [My] kingdom is a right sceptre.

Psalm 45:6

I Am equipping them to be as I Am. In fact, if you try to be as I Am in your own strength, you will surely fail. I created you to abide in Me (John 15:7). I send My Spirit to guide you (John 16:13). Your fleshly desire to be an independent agent is of the evil one. Do not entertain his lies, which are designed to get My children to defect from My kingdom.

I Am the Truth. Those who would worship Me must worship in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) What is worship but acknowledging My sovereignty in My kingdom and your proper relationship with Me?

27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.

from Psalm 22 (please read all this Messianic Psalm)

In My Son Jesus, I Am making a way, a way for salvation available to the ends of the earth, to any who will receive Him:

28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40 (also Messianic – read it all, if you please)

Strength in Me is the lot of those who tarry with Me, strength not known even in the youth of men. In Me, they are changed:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2

Such are the laws of My kingdom, written in the hearts of My children, every one doing My perfect will because it is right, not out of fear of retribution, but for love (1 John 4:18).

[My] kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and [My] dominion endureth throughout all generations.

Psalm 145:13

The decay that has entered the world and all flesh through sin is defeated in My kingdom. My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 3:2

None may enter without repentance. And the time for that is now (Joel 2:1):

At that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:17

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3

The downcast shall give up their depression, for My children walk in light and joy.

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:10

Those in My kingdom always do right, no matter the cost.

Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:19

Woe to those who obfuscates the truth, but blessed is he who shows it by word and deed.

“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:20

It does not matter what men deem acceptable. I Am judge.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

Matthew 7:21

Lip service does not bring change, but My will is a transformation:

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

John 7:38

I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;

Matthew 8:11

I Am not willing that any should perish.

2 Peter 3:9

And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

Matthew 10:7

Those who are after My own heart want the best for everyone and make the most of the time they are given.

Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Matthew 11:11

For even John had doubts relating to being able to distinguish between My eternal promises, the power of the Spirit, and the merely temporal things affecting the flesh.

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.

Matthew 11:12

Those who would, enter the kingdom by seizing upon the chance with everything that is within them.

Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. Matthew

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Matthew 13:11, 1 Corinthians 2:9

There is definitely more to the kingdom than meets the eye, for the eye has never seen the things of the Spirit.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 14:2-3

There are many wonderful surprises ahead!

Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field…

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Beware of the deceptions of the enemy, clearing away the resulting destruction of sin requires hard work and patience. His work tends to have residual effects which have to be battled long into the future, like tares[1] shedding seeds in a field of wheat. As Jesus’ explanation to the disciples makes clear, you must endure the children of the devil with you until I come for you. My fervent desire is that some of them will listen to you, turn, and come to Me. They can be transformed from tares – which only look like wheat until they begin to produce their toxic fruit – into real wheat by My power. Do you not realize that since the fall all were sprouted as tares? Corrupt men reproducing after their kind:

[Note 1: Tares: the bearded darnel, mentioned (only) in Matthew 13:25-30 . It is the Lolium temulentum, a species of rye-grass, the seeds of which are a strong soporific poison. It bears the closest resemblance to wheat till the ear appears, and only then the difference is discovered. It grows plentifully in Syria and Palestine. – from https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/tares/]

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Psalm 51:51, 1 Corinthians 6:11

He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Matthew 13:3-32

From the smallest start, work in the kingdom becomes great. I Am the Lord. Did not the Ransom of mankind spend His first night in a manger as a helpless infant?

He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”

Matthew 13:33

Never underestimate the effect your words may have when you encourage another to seek life in the Son.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Matthew 13:44-46

There is nothing in the physical realm which compares to the riches of the kingdom, which I Am.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; Matthew 13:47-51

Matthew 13:47-51 (please read)

I Am going to sort the good from the bad. I Am a righteous judge.

And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

Matthew 13:52

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

Matthew 16:19

Even so, your body, mind and emotions will respond (transform to be conformed) to My Spirit as you bring them into subjection by your own choice.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:1-4

Little children are guileless, loving, and humbly accepting their parents.

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves… So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Matthew 18:23-35

Forgive. It is the way of the kingdom. All the ways of the kingdom are My ways. My nature and character are the nature and character of the kingdom. Be holy, for I Am holy. This is your kingdom calling.

Me: Wow! I had not noticed lately that Jesus had so much to say about the kingdom of heaven. Thank You Father! I love You!

ABBA: You are welcome! I love you!

Dear Reader,
Thanks for hanging in there if you have read this far! Here is an earlier post about Covid the Cat (today’s Featured Image) and how he came to be with us.

Also, if you don’t really care for the King James version of the scriptures, I understand. They take some getting used to. I am using the KJV because it is the only version that is in the public domain (not under copyright). Please feel free to follow along in whatever version you choose! I guarantee you will benefit from the comparison anyway. – Jon

Land of Uprightness

I am grateful for Your Spirit of all Truth whom you sent to guide us into all truth. (John 16:13) 

Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Psalm 143:10 (King James Version) 

Me: Good evening Jesus! 

Jesus: Good evening Jon! 

Me: Tell me about the land of uprightness.  Is it a place? 

Jesus: If you abide in Me and give heed to the Spirit’s guidance, it is intended to be wherever you are. Did I not come to destroy the works of the devil? (1 John 3:8) Did I not tell you to do the works that I do? I Am supporting you in this with My power. (John 14:12) 

Me: I was telling a friend on Sunday, who is already doing some journalling, that although there is much one can and should do to make oneself more receptive, there is no closed-form formula for hearing from or following You. I told him that what we truly hear from You internally, will always be in concert with what is revealed in the Bible. It seems that having memory of scripture is a big part for me, that the Spirit calls passages to mind when I am seeking to hear from You.

Jesus: If I made it a formula, it would be static and men would see no need of relationship with Me. There would be no humility or bond of loving conversation. My ways are not your ways, nor are my thoughts your thoughts, except you  yield your mind to My Spirit. Have your heard the phrase “thinking God’s thoughts after Him”? It is paraphrased from words written by Johannes Kepler in humility of his research and the revelation in My word that man is made in My image. He believed man was  therefore capable of understanding the nature of My creation because I desire it to be understood and made it plainly visible. (Genesis 1:27, Romans 1:20) I am telling you that John 14:12 is calling you to do My works after Me.

Me: How can I live up to this charge? 

Jesus: If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will bear much fruit, glorifying My Father, proving to be My disciple and friend. (John 15:7-8) Let My words abide in you; make their home in you, have their effect on you through obedience, fill the environment around you because they have crossed your lips from their place of abundance in your heart (Matthew 12:34). Neither let any faithless or unbelieving word take that same path. Speak love, and joy, truth and peace, hope, and trust in Me. Let not words of fear, or doubt, anger or ungratefulness dilute and pollute the power of faith. Remember the power of My word by which all creation came into being. Remember that if I had coerced man to respond to me by a formula, rather than making our relationship the way, he would not reflect My image (John 10:30). As for the land of uprightness, I Am leading you.

Me: Thank You Jesus! I love You! 

Jesus: You are welcome! I love you!

Harvest Today

Lord, I am grateful for a good potato harvest and the satisfaction of manual labor.

For the past couple of years, I have been raising some redskin potatoes in our garden. My approach has been to till in a fair amount of composted manure to prepare the plot. Potatoes are heavy feeders, so the manure really helps. I rake a shallow trench for a row in the newly tilled soil and place the seed potatoes, eye up. Then I rake the soil back over to just cover.

My approach is much easier than the common approach of placing them in a 6″-8″ deep trench; easier to plant and easier to harvest. The deep-trench method is designed to keep the potatoes covered as they grow. I followed the traditional approach three years ago and found it backbreaking work. When it came time to harvest, I damaged many trying to dig them up in the tight Iowa soil.

Potatoes exposed to the sun will turn green and be toxic. (Potatoes belong to the Nightshade family.) I avoid exposure of the tubers to the sun by deeply mulching them with clean straw or even grass clippings. When it comes time to harvest, they can be carefully exposed with a rake and digging will be minimal. The fork may still be necessary to free tubers that end up a little deeper (on their own). It is best to dig further away from the vine and pry up the soil to loosen.

I wash off any dirt that clings to the potatoes. This year, I filled the wheelbarrow with water and allowed them to soak for a couple of hours. Most didn’t require any extra cleaning.

After allowing them to dry in the driveway, I pack them in open tubs in layers of straw for storage in the basement.The straw prevents the potatoes from packing too closely together and improves storage. I usually have usable potatoes right up to planting time and can provide seed potatoes from last year’s harvest.

Freedom’s Source

I am grateful that my freedom comes from You.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Luke 11:13

Me: Good evening, Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good evening, Jon!

Me: We met with the Tea Party group today and talked about how readily people laid down their freedom to assemble together and to to pursue their pursuits. Really, to pursue Your pursuits.

Holy Spirit: There was a bit of imprecision in that gaze backwards.

Me: In what way, Holy Spirit?

Holy Spirit: You were told that by giving those things up temporarily you could help save the lives of the vulnerable. No one wanted to put others at undue risk. As good citizens, you complied with the instructions you were given (with great emphasis on how critical they were). I told you in the scriptures to obey those who rule over you. (Romans 13) In that same chapter, you find this verse:

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Romans 13:10

It is only as the situation with Covid-19 unfolded, that you realized that much of the information that was given at first was mere guesswork, followed by fearful speculation, followed by manipulation by those with agendas aimed at control which was itself aimed at grasping power. Power at terrible expense to many, I would add.

Me: Hardly any of us want to be responsible for the sickness or death of another. We hear of ones who have died. Most imagine them innocent victims of random illness. There is little recognition that we are all appointed to die on account of the wages of sin is death and therefore our own doing. The only question, really, is the precise time of death. The ones aiming at control certainly never mentioned the name of Jehovah Rapha, lest hope derail their plans.

Holy Spirit: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23

If one knows Me, then he knows that not even death will separate from Me. It is My perfect love that cast out fear.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18

Your freedoms are from Me. They are not granted by any government. You need not fear those who can only kill the body. (Matthew 10:28)

Me: I wouldn’t consider myself brave enough to face the power of the government the way Jesus did.

Holy Spirit: He was looking ahead to His death when He spoke the words of Matthew 10:28. You are not trapped by the empty naturalistic dogma that has enslaved many, for you believe what I say to you.

It is only the most evil who would use the love you hold for others as a weakness to be manipulated. He does this because he does not understand the very power of the love he would use to control is Me, and I will be his undoing. Blinded by his rage, your enemy does not even recognize he is attempting to lay hands on Me. Imagine his surprise when his scheme goes wrong.

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!

All, All, All

I am grateful for the guidance You give us! I am grateful for Your love and example!

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. – Proverbs 14:34

Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. – Matthew 22:35-40

Me: Good afternoon, Jesus!

Jesus: Good afternoon, Jon!

Me: Why did you say, “And the second is like unto it”?

Jesus: Both have their basis in love. Both require an unequivocal attitude; all, all, all. “All your heart” will result in your desiring the most intimate relationship you can have. Not the most you can muster in yourself, but the most you can have in the power of My Spirit as you purpose to submit your heart to Him. “[A]ll your soul” involves your hands and feet and the practical outworking of what you can do. Again, with My empowerment (John 15:5). “[W]ith all your mind”, of course, is talking about what you think of Me (and your neighbor). Is is the truth? Do you see your neighbor as made in My image?

Me: Thank You Jesus! I love You!

Jesus: You are welcome! I love you!

Walk with Our Healer

I am grateful for health!

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. – Exodus 15:26 KJV

Me: Good morning Father!

Jehovah Rapha: Good morning Jon!

Me: This part of your nature, stated in Exodus 15, certainly seems little understood in our day.

Jehovah Rapha: Many have been inoculated with naturalism, now believing that-which-is came in to being by chance through eons of random processes. Plus, the prophets of fear are peddling hopelessness and fear over the very air that I made to sustain you.

I created you with a marvelous “immune” system make you able to withstand and fight invaders too small for you to see. It works without you having to think about it. But what you think – what you believe – certainly does affect its effectiveness. If you are filled with hope because of confidence (faith) in Me, it works best. If you are stressed because of fear and doubt and worry and negativity, it will be suppressed. The channel of fear into your life generally has an off switch. I recommend that you use it. If it comes person to person, consider that interaction an opportunity to counter fear with the truth. In so doing you will help the other one as well as yourself. What keeps coming out of your mouth is very important (Mark 11:23 KJV).

One of the points of fear that is coming out is that the virus making its rounds now is “novel” and you therefore do not have immunity. However, I made your immune system to learn and remember. Otherwise, vaccinations would be useless. Those who are already compromised in some way are said to be at greater risk. This should be common sense. They are already weakened by some issue and have not been walking fully in My promises, usually for a long time. The medical profession would call their condition “chronic”. Notice the root of the word is from khronos – time.

Me: None of us have been successful at walking in all that You have said, at least not on our own. We did not fulfill the requirements of Exodus 15:26.

Jehovah Rapha: I Am the One who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Nothing surprises me. I Am Jehovah Jireh – your provider. As I provided the sacrifice for Abraham (Genesis 22:14), so I have provided My Son Jesus as sacrifice for your sin. He Himself has said that there is none righteous except God (Mark 10:18). As you are in Him, consistently walking in the Spirit that I have given to empower you, you become righteous in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). He has fulfilled the requirements of Exodus 15:26 on your behalf, if you accept that He has and choose to abide in Him (John 15:4). Is this the hallmark of your life? I know that it is. Many, though, only call on me in times when they are already in trouble. Trouble in mind, trouble in body, or trouble in circumstance. It is harder to exit the mire than to avoid it. They want something from from Me when they call rather than to be in My presence. I desire fellowship with you. That is why I Am redeeming you and you are to walk in that promise. What do you think? If you draw near to Me, will evil like the surroundings?

Me: Thank You Father! How much better to run into the shelter you provide and avoid all kinds of trouble. How much better to enjoy health and peace and all of your mighty promises to those that truly love you! I do love You!

Jehovah Rapha: You are welcome! Thank you for spending this time with Me! I love you!

Law and Unfailing Love

I am grateful for Your grace.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1f

Me: Good evening, Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good evening, Jon!

Me: Holy Spirit, I kind of get the “law of sin and death”; that under the law no flesh is justified. But I am puzzled that this passage in Romans 8 talks of “the law of the Spirit and of Life in Christ Jesus”, as compared to “the law of sin and death”.

Holy Spirit: What puzzles you?

Me: I suppose I generally think of the law as prohibitive. Speed limits, prohibitions against theft, assault, murder, and mayhem. How does the law of the Spirit fit with that?

Holy Spirit: What about the law of physics, biology, chemistry? What do they do?

Me: They describe how something works. If we can observe that something always works the same way, given the conditions, we classify it as a law.

Holy Spirit: My Word never fails. It always works the same way. The laws spoken of in Romans 8 are spiritual laws. They are more sure than they laws of physics, biology, and chemistry, as understood by men.

Me: In that sense, then, “the law of sin and death” is not prohibitive, but instead describes how sin works?

Holy Spirit: You are made in the image of God; you have free will. I have simply told you how sin works (what it pays and the predictable outcome), as I have told you how life in Christ Jesus by My Spirit works.

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!

Conformed to Christ’s Sufferings?

I am grateful that Jesus endured such suffering on my behalf, taking on Himself the penalty that is justly due to me.

Colossians 1:24

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in [literally “of”] Christ’s afflictions. NASB

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: KJV

Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. NIV

https://biblehub.com/interlinear/colossians/1-24.htm

Me: Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good Morning Jon!

Me: When I read that passage in Colossians 1:24 in the NASB it sounds like Paul was saying there was something lacking in Christ’s afflictions that Paul had to finish filling up. I know there was (is) nothing lacking in Christ’s afflictions because He said “It is finished” from the cross (John 19:30). It gets better if one puts in the footnote version of “of Christs afflictions” instead of “in Christ’s afflictions”. It seems to me with the NASB, the literal thing that they put in the footnotes is usually better than the thing they put in the text instead. [I don’t know why they do that.] How could anyone who knows You at all think there could be anything lacking in You or in what You do?

Holy Spirit: It is true that there is nothing lacking in Christ’s suffering. He is the faultless Lamb of God, a perfect sacrifice. His offering is more than sufficient to atone for your every sin. Your sense of My nature not lacking in anything is correct. What did you find when you looked at the interlinear rendering on Bible Hub?

Me: It seems much clearer that Paul was talking about filling up in himself what was lacking in his identification with Jesus in His suffering (or passions) for the church. I got more of a sense that he wanted to be conformed to the Image of Christ in himself (Paul). I know there are other places that the scripture talks about being conformed to the suffering of Christ. I don’t yet have a good sense of how that should work in my life. I would say that compared to Your promises and grace that any suffering that I have had to endure has been negligible!

Holy Spirit: Consider what it says in Romans 8:

11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Me: I pray you will help me learn these things from the heart.

Holy Spirit: Jesus prayed that you and He would be one. From the heart. That is what these things mean; one in heart, seeking the same purpose, operating in the same love and power.

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I pray you will help me grow in this oneness! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I Am and I love you!