Posts Tagged: holy spirit

A Counselor Familiar with Dust

A Counselor Familiar with Dust

A Counselor Familiar with Dust

You didn’t impatiently check your watch like
you had someplace more important to be.
A God who listens.
You didn’t stare down my vulnerability
in disgust. As I poured out my broken heart,
you grabbed a tissue and sobbed with me.
A God who cries.

Your counsel didn’t come down from a distant marble throne.
You stepped into the crowd, looking for me.
A God who draws near.
ME—A single lost sheep.
You took my hand
into your callused carpenter’s hand,
and walked the journey of hope with me.
A God who touches humanity.

Turning My Page

I have had counselors of all sorts through my healing process and God used every single one of them to grow me. There remains only one counselor, the Holy Spirit, who has changed me from the inside out, while all the world’s counselors have the power to do is to change me from the outside in.

Just today I was tempted to bitterness and hardness, but God softened my heart with the following words, “I know it hurts. I see you.” We live in a messed-up fallen world and we are all prone to hurt one another. It was comforting to know that He knows my pain and gives a way for me to live differently than my sinful nature. The Holy Spirit has helped me to keep a short account of the wounds I have caused and the ones received. It has taken practice, oh so much practice, to listen and discern the crowed voices of self-help advice versus the genuine voice of the Holy Spirit in me.

I have learned that the Holy Spirit will never contradict scripture. His goal is to reveal truth and testify about Jesus.

“But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.

John 15:26 NLT

What a comfort to know I have an advocate who walks this journey with me.

Turning Your Page

  • List some of the voices that currently direct your path. Anyone or anything that steers you in a direction away from the voice of truth. They may come in the form of critics, well-meaning friends, religion, or enemies.
  • The world will always tell you that there is always peace in following the Holy Counselor. This is a false direction. The Holy Spirit has led men and women throughout history to stand against enemies, lay down a life for a friend, and took Jesus to the cross. Test spiritual direction against scripture and if you mishear, as all the original disciples did, pick yourself up again and try again.
  • Romans 8 lists what the Holy Spirit Does and Does Not Do on our behalf:

Not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see? But if we hope for what we do not yet see, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:23-27

Lord, tune my heart to your voice.  I have so many negative and destructive voices vying for my attention. Your love and direction come in a still small voice. Amen

 

The Holy Spirit Sang Over Me (Guest Blogger)

Our guest blogger Kay Em Ellis and I met at a Serious Writers Conference recently. She share how the Holy Spirit Sang his encouragement to her in her darkest moment of doubt. Be encouraged by her story!

Serious Writer

Christian Writers Conference a Place of Connection

Immediately I felt a kindred heart in the fight against despair. At the end of our weekend, with our arms up in worship, Kay came to stand beside me, and I felt deeply encouraged. Such a sweet and amazing woman who is sensitive to the Spirit’s calling.

Kay has traveled the world! She uses her gift of writing to reflect God’s love through poetry, fiction, and lessons God is teaching as she travels.

Check out her travel and faith blog: Awaken the Dawn.

 

 

The Holy Spirit Sang Over Me

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Romans 8:15, ESV

 

I thought depression would go away. It didn’t.

 

When I gave my life to Christ, I signed up for the World Race mission trip. I lived in eleven countries in eleven months. I felt whole and complete and at peace in Christ.

 

Living the Christian life in ministry six to seven days per week, constant community, intensive Bible study while living out of a backpack, God used many opportunities to refine me. He sifted me through several bouts of depression and stretched me to what felt like the breaking point multiple times.

 

He didn’t do it to be mean. He did it because He loves me, and I needed it. But when I melted down at a bus station in Lima, Peru, I failed to lean into God and rest in His strength. I crumbled.

 

I’ve felt unworthy of love and blessing like I don’t deserve a joyful life, spouse, or even children. So much changed in my heart and life after I met Jesus, but that didn’t mean all my problems vanished.

 

The Lord had to teach me to break agreement with shame and depression to wage war against them. The battle wasn’t easy, and I came close to calling it quits several times.

 

It’s too hard! I cried out in my heart and even aloud during heartfelt prayer. I can’t do it anymore! But, each time I said I can’t, God countered the lie with, YOU CAN. Sometimes I believed Him; sometimes I didn’t.

 

It was seven in the morning when I broke in Lima, Peru. I sat at the bus station, waiting to climb aboard the bus that would take my squad to Ecuador. Silent tears poured as I replayed how badly I always messed everything up, specifically one thing I’d been struggling with from my past. I criticized myself, heading toward a destructive path of self-condemnation.

 

Shame bubbled up. My thoughts spiraled into a dark chasm I hadn’t realized still existed in me. But God knew just how deep that darkness ran.

 

He wanted me to face the shame so I could overcome it.

 

Cheeks moist, I tipped my head back and closed my eyes. The peace of God overshadowed me; then He showed me a vision I’ll never forget, Jesus on the Cross.

 

Jesus loves you. The concept of love is so skewed in our society, and I don’t think people understand what it means when I try to share His love. I certainly didn’t before I really encountered that love. Even after I chose to follow Christ, it took a long time to comprehend that God could love us so completely, despite our rejection and the muck of our deepest sins.

 

God loved us first. He loved us when we hated him. It’s His nature. He loves like no one else because God isn’t like anyone else. He sent the Holy Spirit to live in those who have repented of their sins and turned to the Son: to advocate for us, to convict us, and, in this case, to comfort us.

 

My conviction came through the song. You Are More by Tenth Avenue North. The Holy Spirit sang that song over me, and I soaked in the lyrics while in Ecuador. I am so much more than who this world tells me I am. Reader, you are not the sum of your past mistakes. Allow the Holy Spirit to remake you. Lean back, absorb the truth of God’s redeeming love.

 

Please contact me if you would like to appear as a guest blogger.

Freelance Fridays: Listening

Luke 23:46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Daniel asked for advice this morning . . . or at least that’s what I gave him. Every suggestion he shot down as incorrect, and our conversation concluded with him stomping off declaring that I wasn’t listening, and me frustrated that he is such a “know it all”.

The question: Why did he come for me for help, if he didn’t really want it?

About 5 minutes later, the Holy Spirit breathed into my mind. “He’s right, you weren’t really listening.”

My eyes were suddenly opened to the truth of my own heart, Daniel’s, and the heart of Christ. I did not seek God, I just dove into fixing mode. Daniel needed me to listen and understand. The only answer was to take him to Jesus, and allow Jesus to work with him on this matter, not me. My answers, right though they sounded to me, and most certainly biblically based were not what was needed. He needed Jesus. I was a Pharisee giving him a to do list, while God is more interested in helping his being.

I went to Daniel, apologized for not listening. Empathized with his tough situation  and offered to pray. We held hands and prayed together. I trusted God more deeply to give Daniel the wisdom and insight to address the problem in a spectacular way I didn’t come up with.

 

 

Depression, my Jericho Wall: How do I defeat my enemy?

Joshua 5:13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

The wall! I expect it these days, so I don’t go running into it full force,but sometimes it looms so large I can’t breathe. I don’t know what caused this wall of depression, maybe starting another round of insomnia,my kids grief, or my own. It is so real I can see it and touch it. I can’t go further, and I refuse to go backwards, so what are my options?

My option is to cry out to my heavenly father! I cannot move, climb over, or go around this wall, but he can. In college I was reading about Joshua in my Navigator Bible; the caption spoke about the ruins of Jericho. The way the stones are positioned it is clear that the walls fell outward, not inward. A mighty force pushed from the inside!

I need a mighty force knocking down the wall of depression from the inside. If we are in Christ we have a mighty warrior on the inside–the Holy Spirit!

Acts 2:1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tonguesa as the Spirit enabled them.

Much of what has transpired since the death of my son has been through the Comforter (another name for the Holy Spirit). I thank you father for what you have done, what you are doing, and what you will do. Direct my path so that I may be a living witness to your power and strength over depression. This is my Jericho wall! You are a force to be reckoned with and no wall can stand against you.  Maybe you have allowed this wall in my life to show others that nothing is too big for you! Not our doubts, not our fears, not our enemies, not depression–nothing can separate us from your love! Thank you for giving me your peace, that makes absolutely no sense in these circumstances. Teach me to abide in your will no matter where you lead me. Amen!

A Snowflake of Refreshment: The Gift of Frienship

Proverbs 25:13 Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master.

I dreamed about my son Jonathan last night and awoke in deep heartache; the world of the present was difficult to embrace. I walked outside to take the kids to school and saw this snowflake hung from our Jonathan tree.

At just the right moment, when my soul needed refreshment friends brought it to me. WE NEED FRIENDS! I spent the majority of my young life pushing people away and isolated. When Jesus showed me my need for him, my need for friends soon followed. Jesus was not a lone wolf, he started his ministry by calling disciples. He called them friends! The God of the universe called broken man friend. Amazing. So don’t wait until you have it all together (never happening) or mankind has it together (also never happening). I let my friends down, they let me down, but the cool thing is that I now see it as opportunity for grace, growth, and maturing together in faith.

Ecclesiastes 4:9Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. 11Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?…

Guided by the Comforter: Learning to listen to God’s voice

Acts 4:31And 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.

Daniel wanted Jonathan to be a part of Halloween. So we took the huge poster that the funeral home created and stuck it in the window with a talk bubble. I had to smile at Daniel’s insistence, and that my spirit so readily agreed to it. I’ve had more of those moments this week. A calmness has infused my being that certainly wasn’t there a week ago. I have no illusion that I am no where near the end of grieving, but what is happening is that I am having more and more moments of genuine joy. It was a pleasure to take the kids trick or treating.

Even though the disciples had Jesus back for forty days, they still had to grieve the loss of their friend after he ascended to heaven. But boy the difference in how they grieved. They went from locking themselves in a room and hiding away to praying together, celebrating the resurrection and waiting for the comforter (the Holy Spirit) to come. They didn’t have to wait long before things began moving and shaking. The Comforter had arrived!

In my previous posts I have mentioned that I am allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me. This isn’t rocket science, but it also isn’t simple either. Just like the disciples we need to spend time with Jesus, get to know his voice, his character, and his love for humanity. Otherwise, we will may find ourselves being guided by our own selfish desires or the voices of others who do not have our best interests in mind. These voices will always lead us away from God. I love the song of Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns, it describes the struggle we have with knowing the Shepherd’s voice. Since I was a little girl I’ve had a lot of voices in my head (don’t laugh, unless you’re my siblings) and the loudest was my overpowering, obnoxious critic. Nothing I did or ever could do was good enough. It got to the point that I stopped trying and quit a lot of things I actually enjoyed.

A couple of year ago I really began asking, ‘How do I know God’s voice?’ My question sprung from John 10:27 Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” I began discerning what the Holy Spirit sounded like and practicing stepping out in faith and acting upon that voice’s direction. Amazing things began to happen, and a power that I had never been able to tap into began surging through my spirit. Following the direction of the Holy Spirit takes practice and a solid knowledge of the other parts of the Trinity. I’m still learning and growing in this area, but since Jonathan’s death, the fear that had once held me back from trusting the Holy Spirit’s direction and acting on it is getting kicked out.

I had a bit of fear when I approached a complete stranger on the prompting of the Lord. I held back, but the urging became even stronger, and she kept looking at the books I had on the table as she waited for her coffee. I felt awkward, but managed to introduce myself and a new connection was born, very much in line with the previous connections that God has been forming since Jonathan’s death.

Here is the criteria that I follow:
1. The voice of the Holy Spirit will never contradict the other parts of the Trinity (revealed in scripture).
2. I will never have to rush in, or be impulsive, the Lord is not limited by time.
3. The Holy Spirit will always be affirmed. (Example: The woman at the coffee shop thought that we might be in the same field)
4. Pray and be open each day.
5. The Holy Spirit always has humanity’s best in mind. He will strengthen us and bring the resources for us to help others.

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