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!

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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.

The Truth Will Make You Free

31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”
39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus *said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40 But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 41 You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
48 The Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50 But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’ 53 Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; 55 and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.  [John 8]

Me:
Good morning Father!

ABBA:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
Father, You have provided a wealth of revelation in these words of Jesus, which we know from His own testimony that He got from You!  I even see Him describing for any who would listen exactly how He heard from You: “I speak the things that I have seen with My Father” (v38).

ABBA:
Yes, He was speaking of that facility that I built into you to “see” intuitively or imaginatively.  Some call it “the mind’s eye” or visual imagery.  You know from long experience that it can be used to help focus on solutions to the things you are working on.  In these last few years, I have shown you through Mark Virkler’s teaching that you can turn that aptitude toward spending time with Me and have faith that I will honor your seeking.

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, [g]will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!  [Matthew 7]

Me:
Father, I could scarcely hope to express proper gratitude for the gift of regularly being able to spend time with You!  Since my mid-teen years, I would have acknowledged that I belong to You.  Until I learned the value of honoring our time together by writing it down (Habakkuk 2), though, the progression of my relationship with You was nothing like it is now.  There are many other things that You told the prophet in that chapter that were keeping my relationship with You on the fringes of my life for many years; even preventing me from hearing from You at all for long stretches.

ABBA:
I have given You that insight. Notice even the word insight is descriptive of our meeting.  I give you clues everywhere you look with the capability to visualize that I Myself have placed within you that you might be with Me.  And you are right that many things have the capacity to interfere with our meeting:

  • Pride, for the soul of the proud is not right within him.
  • Inattention, which tells Me you do not care to meet.  It is your choice.
  • Alcohol, for it anesthetizes your ability to see Me or to hear from Me.  In the end, it becomes an idol that you have given the place that belongs to Me.  It is no coincidence that your relationship with me was not really progressing until you confessed and quit.
  • Idol worship of any kind obstructs your ability to see Me, for in your worship, you have placed the thing of your desires in front of Me.
  • Unbelief, for he who would come to Me must believe that I will reward that faith. (Hebrews 11:6).

Me:
Father, I pray You will help me keep these things out of my life!  I don’t want anything to come between us ever again!

ABBA:
What did Jesus say in the passage you opened with?

Me:
“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

ABBA:
Exactly.  All the things in the list I gave you from the second chapter of Habakkuk are shackles of bondage.  I Am free.  Nothing binds me, for I Am above all.   I desire to set you free.  With all that is within Me, I want you to be free.  It is a gift so precious that I was willing to ask Jesus, my own Son, to make the sacrifice for you.  He himself values freedom for you so much that He was willing to make the sacrifice of Himself.  He made the choice freely out of His love for you.  We value freedom so much that we allow you to freely choose to enter in, or not; even though it breaks Our heart that one would reject freedom in favor of an idol that will ultimately prove worthless.

Me:
I love you Father!  Thank You for building into my life the Truth and diligently making it clear that I can be free.  I lament that so few seem to value true freedom.

ABBA:
It is the nature of an idol to obstruct sight of the Truth.  You are welcome!  I Am have and I Am going to great lengths to set you free.  I Am glad that you are one who sees the value in it.

void, Breath, Life!

The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving (hovering) over the surface of the waters. Genesis 1:2
————————————————————–
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Strong’s: 7363 [e] | mə·ra·ḥe·p̄eṯ | מְרַחֶ֖פֶת | moved | Verb

Genesis 1:2 hovering over face of waters, or perhaps brooding (and fertilizing).

Me:
Good evening Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good evening Jon!

Me:
I had not really considered your part in generating
life where none existed before.

Holy Spirit:
I always carry out the Word of the Father.  The nearest human way of looking at how integrated we are – how We are One – is to consider how your breath moves out of you, through your larynx, and words are formed according to your will.  That is why I am often referred to as the Breath of God.  When the Father
said “let there be”, I was going forth as His Breath to do His will.  Where no life was, life became.

Me:
You have done the same in me!

Holy Spirit:
Yes. 
You were dead in your trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).  And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near;  for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father (Paul, speaking of Christ – Ephesians 2:17-18) .

Me:
I am very grateful for Your work!

Holy Spirit:
As you can see, all the work of God is inseparable, indivisible; Father, Son, Spirit, One.

Me:
I love you, Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
I love you, Jon!

Rest and the Vine

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Me:
Good morning Jesus!

Jesus:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
I am grateful for some time off of work to rest and to be able to concentrate more on time with You!

Jesus:
If you would recognize that I have offered to help you with the burdens of your work and bring them to Me more, you would not be so much in need of rest.  The notion that you have the primary responsibility for it all is the world’s notion and you have been programmed with it thoroughly.  It is contrary to the principle of a branch abiding in the vine.  All the life-giving strength comes from the vine.  The leaves of the branch support transpiration, giving the moisture in the sap some place to go.  All this works in the environment that I designed: sunshine and rain and richness of soil.  You know, this process in a plant is a parallel of the process of you learning of Me and growing in understanding.

Me:
How so, Jesus?

Jesus:
The branch is tiny at first.  A mere tendril sprouting from the main trunk of the vine.  It abides in the vine and is nourished, receiving from the vine everything it needs to grow.  As it grows, it is able to take more and more of what the vine supplies.  The branch provides the place for fruit to develop and acts in concert with the vine.  It is part of the whole.  The undeveloped branch does not possess the capacity to carry all the fruit requires.  Nor does it have the physical strength to support the weight of the fruit.  If it abides long enough in the vine, though, it develops both the capacity and the strength to bear fruit.

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding.
 For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold.
She is more precious than jewels;
And nothing you desire compares with her
. [Proverbs 3:13-16]

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
[Proverbs 9:10]
Me:
Thank You Jesus!  I love You!
Jesus:
You’re welcome! I love you!

The Spirit of Christmas Past

20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the Lord.

21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 59)

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
It never ceases to amaze me, Holy Spirit, the sight that You gave to the prophet Isaiah, concerning the coming of Jesus. Last night, we read dozens of passages in Isaiah for our traditional lesson and carol service. Some are almost like they were written at the same time as the Gospel of Luke, though I know they preceded the virgin birth by probably 700 years.

Holy Spirit:
What is seven hundred years to Me? I Am One who is eternal, without beginning and without end.

Me:
You are always amazing in all Your works! I think the thing that is hard to grasp is Isaiah’s willingness and ability to listen to You and to hear so faultlessly.

Holy Spirit:
That is the primary qualification of a prophet.

Me:
Still, I have the scriptures to test what I hear from You and all the New Testament and the benefit of the salvation wrought by Jesus on our behalf. Whereas, Isaiah was only looking forward to the incarnation.

Holy Spirit:
I Am not constrained by time. We have talked about how Jesus’ sacrifice is not constrained by time either. It is the fact that the words of the law and the prophets, which became the scriptures, point to the cross and the desire of God to save that enabled all who would seek and listen to prepare their hearts to receive. The apparent constraint of their lives being in time before the incarnation of the Christ is no hindrance. The true difficulty is lack of faith and an unwilling heart clinging to its sin.

Me:
Oh, Holy Spirit, there is so much that has been beyond me. Trying to grapple with the concept of time and Your freedom from it boggles my mind.

Holy Spirit:
That is why your salvation, and in fact, all your relationship with Us is based on faith and not on understanding. A child can love his mother before he is capable of understanding all that he will eventually come to know about her. Your relationship with Me is like that, and will remain so on this side of the grave. In the end, the limitations imposed on you by the ravages of sin will be swept away and you will know Me face to face.

Me:
I look forward to that, Holy Spirit. Yet, at the same time, I cannot shake the apprehension that accompanies contemplation of the end of my days. Is that a lack of faith?

Holy Spirit:
Do not worry about that. You only feel the sense of self-preservation that I built into all. It is primarily there to counter the evil whispers of the deceiver that either recklessness or suicide are answers to anything. As a woman is prepared for birth during the months of pregnancy, so those who are Mine are prepared for the end of their days, when it is time.

Me:
Then I thank You for being spared the struggles of some in that regard, and I ask You to shine Your light on them and fill them with the knowledge of Your majesty and their hearts with Your Joy! I love You! Thank You for speaking with Me! What a treasure this time is! What a great gift to know You and to be known by You!

Holy Spirit:
You are certainly welcome! This relationship with you is My desire and I place more value on it than you can know. I love you!