Tag Results For :: "Holy Spirit"




Amazing. Extravagant. Intimate: God’s grace, love, and friendship

May 14th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , ,

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The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.

— 2 Corinthians 13:14, The Message




Getting in Focus

May 4th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.

— Proverbs 4:25-26

 

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This morning my friend Christine emailed me a copy of this useful chart published by Learning Fundamentals. Its decision tree reminds me of the nerves and synapses that somehow link my heart, mind, and soul together to create focus.

I’m glad that the key element of my decision-making design, not pictured on the chart above, is actually a Person upon whom I can rely for help with getting in focus.

Lord, I need your wisdom today as I focus amidst my distractions. I’m trusting Your Spirit will direct my heart, mind, and soul toward You first. Thank you for the life-giving guidance You alone always provide—in Christ, I pray.

 

Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.

— Phillips Brooks



Courage Patience Peace

May 3rd, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , ,

The LORD will accomplish his purpose for me.

Thy true love, O LORD, endures forever;

leave not thy work unfinished.

— Psalm 138:8, NEB

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Sometimes, I start to think: My rate of growth and how I grow is mainly up to me.

Sometimes, I need to remember: The primary facts shaping my existence, beginning with how I got here, aren’t up to me.

Lord, thank you for reminding me that I live and grow in You. May Your Spirit provide me with the courage, patience, peace, and whatever else I need today. I believe you will accomplish your purpose for me in Christ, I pray.

 

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones. And when you have finished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.

— Victor Hugo



Dear Simeon

April 25th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:

God, you can now release your servant;

release me in peace as you promised.

With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;

it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:

—  Luke 2:25-32, MSG

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Seeing this painting on display at UT’s Blanton Museum of Art stopped me in my tracks: Simeon! How long did he wait until that promised day? What obstacles did he face during those intervening years?

 

I’m asking God for one thing,
only one thing:
To live with him in his house
my whole life long.
I’ll contemplate his beauty;
I’ll study at his feet.

That’s the only quiet, secure place
in a noisy world,
The perfect getaway,
far from the buzz of traffic.

— Psalm 27:4-5, MSG

 



Early

April 14th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Return, O Lord! How long? And have compassion on Your servants.

Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!

Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us,
The years in which we have seen evil.

— Psalm 90:13-15, NKLV

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I’m waiting for you, Lord.

The world we live in is not as it once was and not as it will one day be. Our anxious waiting “for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us” is not a soundless, predictable, easy process. The “foretaste of future glory” we have received from the Holy Spirit, rather than eliminating our groaning hunger for Christ and His kingdom, significantly sharpens our longing.

“Suffering makes us want to go there. Broken homes and broken hearts crush our illusions that earth can keep its promises, that it can really satisfy,” states Joni Eareckson Tada, who has lived most of her life in a wheelchair since being paralyzed in a diving accident. “Only the hope of heaven can truly move our passions off this world—which God knows could never fulfill us anyway—and place them where they will find their glorious fulfillment.”

In spite of what currently popular trends, theories, and theology may tell us, just as there is no painless birth, there is no painless life.

Like pregnancy, life can seem strangely meaningless if we discount or dismiss its eternal purpose and value in the presence of painful, confusing contradictions. But when we stop, focus our eyes of faith on Jesus, and quiet our hearts long enough to truly recognize and feel the discomfort, we find Christ waiting to meet us at the heart of our deep groaning.

I’m waiting for you, Lord.

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Rom. 8:22-25, MSG



Closer

April 8th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , ,

Prayer is the time to be still. It is a way to reflect. It is a time to be honest. It is the time for confession. It is the way by which we may seek God’s help, wisdom, and strength. It is the avenue for fresh inspiration and direction. Little wonder then when we consistently live without this discipline in the Christian life, we lose direction, power, and purpose.

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)

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Have you often wanted to spend time praying but ended up daydreaming or dozing off instead? Do you sometimes find yourself becoming distracted, interrupted, or otherwise dissuaded from spending more than five or ten minutes at a time in focused prayer? What is the secret to engaging wholeheartedly in hour-long—even daylong—prayer times?

No matter how persistent we are in our prayers, we all need help at times to minimize diversions and disruptions. Some of these are practical helps such as making a list of needs to refer to as reminders; praying out loud to keep our mind from wandering; kneeling so that we remain alert; and turning off the phone so that we avoid interruptions.

However, we need another and more powerful source of help also, and that is the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus sends the Holy Spirit into our lives to prepare our hearts and to know how and when to pray. Our part is to be attentive, watchful, ready, and obedient to turn our thoughts toward the thoughts of God.

“As the Spirit breathes out the ‘Father’ cry of a child, which is the prayer-cry, so He helps us in our praying. . . . He is the master-prayer,” writes S. D. Gordon. “He knows God’s will perfectly. He knows what’s best to be praying in all circumstances. And He is within you and me. . . . He prompts us to pray. He calls us to the quiet room to our knees. He inclines us to prayer wherever we are.”

Though we cannot comprehend the mystery of Jesus’ help and the Holy Spirit’s direction as we walk through life this side of heaven, we can choose: to patiently abide in Christ for the remainder of our lives; to sit at Jesus’ feet, quietly listening for His Word in the midst of a discordant chorus of competing voices; to wait on the Lord to renew our strength—before our own strength runs out; to call upon God for wisdom—especially when the way ahead is unclear; to pray “Thy will be done” as we lift our tear-stained hands in solitary gratitude to the only One who sees our hearts, bears our grief, feels our suffering, knows our needs, and understands our failures.

 

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!

— Psalm 27:7-9, ESV

 

Dear Lord and Savior of Mankind,

Forgive our foolish ways!

Reclothe us in our rightful mind;

In purer lives Thy service find,

In deeper reverence, praise.

 

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,

Till all our strivings cease;

Take from our souls the strain and stress,

And let our ordered lives confess

The beauty of Thy peace.

 

Breathe through the heat of our desire

Thy coolness and Thy balm;

Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;

Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,

O still small voice of calm!

— John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)



Real and Eternal

April 5th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said: “Father, it’s time. Display the bright splendor of your Son so the Son in turn may show your bright splendor. You put him in charge of everything human so he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge. And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, the one and only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.” — John 17:1-3, MSG

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Is it not truly amazing how simple it is to impose limits on God’s immeasurable love for us without even realizing what we are doing?

When our Savior’s love seems remote, we may sometimes find ourselves discounting His promises as we push ourselves harder and harder to prove that we are worthy of the Lord’s forgiveness and acceptance. We may somehow think that the love of Christ can be bartered for—earned in exchange for our good works and godly behavior.

The Bible assures us that the Lord’s love for us is permanently dependable—solid, secure, and unshakable. Believing this truth opens up our life in Christ in remarkable and unforeseen ways.

The Savior who invites us to abide in Him also makes it possible for us to draw near to Him by covering our weakness and bearing our pain with and for us. But we must choose: Surrendering our heart to Christ requires our cooperation with the Holy Spirit’s bondage-breaking, liberating, life-giving power.

When rugged circumstances cause the ground beneath us to feel as if the earth is going to slip away, when we know for certain that we cannot stand up by ourselves any longer, when we realize we do not have enough strength or wisdom to cope with our current situation, where will we look for help?