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!

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!