Yes, the journey does continue. Yesterday was an emotionally jolting day. As I was having my devotions and wrestling with the idea of spirit living I had text one of our pastors to meet with him. He has a much more solid background in this topic so I wanted to anchor some thinking with him. We set lunch to do this. I spent the morning doing things here I needed to get done and was headed out the door when my youngest daughter called. She said she’d been given a letter to move out of her place of work by 3:00 pm yesterday and could I help? This totally rearranged my afternoon, but she had work to do until 1:30 so that gave me time to still meet for lunch. As we finished loading her furniture and business things from the room she started coughing and then could hardly breathe. We got the things to her house, unloaded and she left for the doc. After waiting 2.5 hrs and still not being seen him she went home. She is going back today. She also got a call that her car from the wreck two weeks ago has been totaled.
I kept wondering what I could do differently to help make things better? At quartet practice last night I asked the guys to pray for her. I was then informed about two other very serious items to pray about for them which is severely impacting a couple people I know well. As I was having my devotional time with God this morning I read about my need to be righteous conscience rather than sin conscience as I address myself and God. As a new creation I have righteousness within me because of the Holy Spirit living in me. It was amazing to see the difficult situations of yesterday from a righteous perspective rather than a sin one. Human living is always impacted from sin. God asks us to shift our focus to Him and see through His Spirit’s eyes. Seeing sin and its impact on living is emotionally devastating. However, when seeing all of this through righteousness, one sees a pathway from these traumas directly to God through the path Jesus Christ made for us (me). God uses all things to His Glory if we will turn to Him.
Today my journey’s assignment is to stay focused on righteousness rather than sinfulness. This assignment is mine as I see others and also as I see myself. Join me if this fits for you too.
I believe the journey can hit the forward key now. The halt that was hit a week or more ago has begun to complete its purpose. Let me explain. When the halt key was hit I was needing to face the reality of God’s Gift of The Holy Spirit living in me. What I’ve known in my head had to become a reality. I could not continue any longer on this journey of freedom without believing much more fully the truth of this Gift. In this week+ I’ve come to realize this humbling truth.
I knew sin and its impact on me far longer than I knew God’s love for me. So when I found God, accepted Christ into my life and received this precious Gift of The Holy Spirit, I had to earn their worth and live up to the image I had in my head. Add to the sins done to me all of my own sins and I was never going to find worth even remotely good enough for housing this Gift. I see the veil now that has kept me blinded all this time.
Something that The Holy Spirit has been showing me these past several days is the fullness of recovery I hadn’t quite recognized. He was showing me that I along with all others, quit sin because sin has a devastating effect on the relationships we have with others, with God and with ourselves. If we are going to break the cycle of sin we have to also hate the sin itself and just its effect/s. The sin/s that grip us and keep us in bondage have a purpose for us that go deeply within our emotional being. Whatever the sin is, it is giving us a moment of gratification/escape/pleasure that human life robs. The Holy Spirit has been showing me how I cannot just hate the effects of sin but I must hate the sin itself. I’d never separated this out even though intellectually I’ve known this for a long time. When I’m able to hate both sin and the effects of it, I have now seen the full separation of myself from the sin that owned me. For so long I’ve seen myself as sin, both mine and my brother’s sin of sexual use of me. It is then The Holy Spirit showed me He can live in me because Christ has fully cleansed this new creation–me–of its sin so The Holy Spirit can be Holy and live within me.
The Holy Spirit–God’s Spirit–Christ’s Gift is so remarkable. If you’ve struggled with any of this as I have, I hope you will continue on this trek and find the truth of God’s Gift for yourself. This bondage is never what God wanted for us. He gave us His Son and His Holy Spirit to set us free from it. Only now am I more fully recognizing the immensity and pureness of this most Holy and Precious Love God has for you and me.
There is a very important element of God that He is emphasizing right now for me. It has to do with patience on His part, and along with that, it has to do with clarity of purpose. I’ve said of late that I seem to be halted in my journey at this point. It started with getting to know the Holy Spirit and journaling to Him. However, there is so much more God is wanting me to know at this point. What scripture tells me is that The Holy Spirit isn’t separate from me, He is within me and waiting for me to surrender totally to Him as I continue to awaken more fully to the fullness of His indwelling.
As I spoke to our congregation yesterday I found myself free to say what was needed. Last night at church we had a men’s night. I had a young man talk with me for 30+ minutes about his desire to join this work and to be trained. He hates his past and God has granted him freedom from it. He yearns to help others and God nudged him yesterday that this is how He is wanting him to help. On the flip side of this, one of the young men in the step study I co-lead had relapsed this past week. Our lesson title was Relapse. He hates the sin but it is like a magnet to him if he gives the urge a glimmer of a chance. I saw something last night that the Holy Spirit is making much more clear this morning–it is one thing to hate the consequences of sin, but it is another thing to hate the sin itself. It isn’t until we ask for The Holy Spirit to help us hate the sin that we will quit coming back to it. Too often we momentarily quit due to the consequences, but it is a whole different story when we finally begin to hate the sin itself. This is when the full Light of Glory can shine within us. It is then that The Holy Spirit is much freer to work within us.
II Corinthians 3:17 affirms that God wants us to have liberty and not legalism. Liberty is sometimes defined as emancipation from bondage. The bondage from a sin or from sinning itself doesn’t happen fully until we can hate the sin itself that has gripped us. Join me in asking The Holy Spirit within us to teach us to hate this sin which so often wants us to return and keep us in the bondage of our old self. We are learning to live as a new creation and this is exactly what The Holy Spirit within is waiting to do.
Today as my devotional time began I read that we are to pray in the Holy Spirit. Note the word–in. We pray to God and to Jesus but we are to pray in The Holy Spirit. I’m sure I’ve read this before but it hadn’t hit until this morning. As I’ve been halted on my journey so I can get to know The Holy Spirit I’m catching some important details about our relationship. In order for me to pray in the Holy Spirit He has to be within me. Also, to pray in Him, I need to be fully surrendered to Him obeying all He asks. I know I’ve done this somewhat, but this morning I prayed for my grandkids, my kids and their spouse or companions. I prayed for the presentation being made to the congregation about the new ministries for recovery I’m announcing. The Holy Spirit will have me say what He wants said, I know. He has also given me an abundant assurance that He has been working with some in our congregation that He wants joining this leadership training. He will confirm for them that this is His and their time to step into a new area of serving. They may not know it yet, but this serving is also healing. When we take the steps of obedience The Holy Spirit nudges us to take our faith and trust grow.
Yesterday I was very concerned about this morning’s assignment. Today, however, knowing The Holy Spirit in me will do the work, I am a humble servant gladly delivering a message of encouragement and next steps for some spiritually, very hungry people. God is so amazing!
I got home from being gone 4 days in time to take Kathy and 2 others to the airport. The two others are her sis and one other who works for her sis. They are on a buying trip for her sis’s gift shop. My grandson who lives with us says he has a hard time adjusting to all the on-going changes in this house. He’s never sure if he’s coming home to one or the other or both. He says the house is different at each stage.
OK, back to reality. My journey seems to be halted for an important reason right now as I stated yesterday. Tomorrow I’m being interviewed by one of our pastors who is delivering the sermon. He said he wants to use this means to acquaint our congregation with the new recovery ministries we are starting. At this point we are starting with a training for anyone who would like to be a teacher/leader with one of the content areas. It was Thursday that he asked to do it this way. I was glad then. Today, I feel unworthy and incapable. How these emotions of ours lead us up and down the rocky road of human living.
I was journaling this morning about all of this. Instantly this verse came to mind: “My sin; oh the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, oh my soul!” Satan so wants to continue to attempt to defeat you and me with the past we have lived and even with our present struggles from our past. Yet, God has promised us that we are made whole by His precious Son’s sacrifice for you and me. I know this but Satan keeps wanting to test and see if I believe it for this current time. I’m saying, “Yes, I do believe it and in spite of any past, present, future sin, I will stay on this journey of living for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!”
I’m home! Yeah. It was a very worthwhile working trip, but I’m always so glad to get home and sleep in my own bed.
God is really halting the forward motion of my journey right now so I can finally get a much firmer grasp of spirit-living. I can really see why He wanted me to journal to The Holy Spirit for awhile. I need to do this so I could separate my sinful flesh and my spirit from The Holy Spirit’s pureness and love. When I accepted Christ into my heart so many years ago, God made me a new creation. I could never grasp the truth of this for me because my flesh was so badly tarnished. The sexual abuse had left me thinking my flesh was black through and through. Dad’s beatings and emotional abuse left me believing there was no value to this fleshly being anyway. Satan had me believing all through life that I had to hide this past or the world would never allow me to participate in it as I longed to do so in the educational world.
Now, I’m truly beginning to see the truth instead of these lies. First and foremost, the new creation God gave me was my spiritual being. It was now new and it was eternal as He’d created it to be way back with Adam. Yes, my flesh was all those things I said in the above paragraph, but that didn’t matter. The spirit of Earnie was new and it is new. I’m finally seeing this! Your spirit is too! I kept wanting to make my flesh new. However, all my flesh did was want to hide and go back to the old habits so I could momentarily feel good and then live in the guilt and self-condemnation which followed. Satan has a sick hold on mankind when we only life in our flesh.
When God tells us He is Love, I’m now seeing I can be too. My spirit is new and my spirit is loving. It is in my spirit God is wanting me to operate 24-7. I’m wanting that too. This is like a whole-new assignment that is so much clearer than ever before. I Corinthians 13:12 says: “Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” In the past few days of journaling to The Holy Spirit He is helping me to see my own spirit–not darkly, but in the Light of Truth. It is new and it is clean and pure. It is even loving. I write this with tears welling up inside of me for my gratitude and thanks is huge for this gift I’ve had for so long and now I’m finally able to receive it in truth and love. Thank you Father!
I’ve never realized how much God is wanting me to better know His intimate nature. When I read I Corinthians 13–The Love Chapter–this morning I read it for the first time as God’s nature rather than what I’m suppose to work hard to find. Not only did I see this chapter as God’s Love, but it is also the very love for which The Holy Spirit imbeds in me and any of us as we let Him have control of our life by simple surrender.
What is becoming so very clear is the totally reverse order of how I’ve lived my entire life until most recently. Sin lives in darkness and secrecy and it thrives there just life mold. However, love is pureness of God, it’s Light and it brings welcome and health. As I’ve begun to open up about my past I’ve never been ridiculed by anyone, sinner or believer. I thought the whole world would cast me into darkness keeping me from my work with kids in education. The church would disown me from attending or working there. Instead, I’m welcomed with open arms. What I’ve also noticed this morning is how much more I love people who are struggling just as I always have. It is not only easy to love them, I relate to every aspect of their struggle even if the struggle is different than my own. I realized when I was reading I Corinthians 13 that this love is not something to “work” for, it is a natural awakening love that The Holy Spirit has given us. However, it isn’t until we let the human bondage go that our spirit is free to love as God loves us.
Just like everything else I’ve learned about living the Christian life, it isn’t what I endeavor to do, it is resulting from what God is making me into. I’ve got a long way to go, but it is so much fun to have my eyes opening more and more to God’s fullness and what freedom in Him is all about.
In my reading of I Corinthians I’m finding it to be much more about The Holy Spirit than I’d ever realized. I’ve read it so many times and referenced back to it many times, but this time (probably because I’m so focused on the Holy Spirit) I’m recognizing just how much this book emphasizes The Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. It even says that The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts. I found that insightful in that He is a Gift to us from Jesus coming into our lives. He then gives us spiritual gifts to be used to advance God’s Kingdom work. I’m sure I’ve had this taught to me at numerous occasions in my past. Today, God is emphasizing my need to take this teaching a step further in my walk with Him, Christ and The Holy Spirit. The fact that I’m reading all of this in I Corinthians is evidence that God’s timing is always perfect.
I had to stop in the middle of writing this. I had suddenly realized I was so eager to get to this writing I’d forgotten to journal. Always I blog following the journaling and the journaling helps me know what to blog about. Today it was the scripture reading that had me going. I still needed to get what I was reading better grounded in me so I stopped and just finished journaling. I Corinthians 12 ends with the words that the greatest gift the Holy Spirit gives us is love. This gift we really need to pursue. As I began to journal I could see so well that I discipline myself to be committed and steadfast. Yet, The Holy Spirit is showing me that love is to be what drives my discipline so that people don’t see that I’m disciplined but that they see I am loving just as God is loving. I’ve always wanted to be disciplined so I wouldn’t look like my dad who would always give up part way through something. Instead God wants me looking to my Heavenly Father as my example. I needed to wake up to this reality. Thank you Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
This is a trip with God that I am taking right now–not that any other one has been an absence of Him. Being on this trek of learning to know The Holy Spirit is proving to be very amazing. The lady accompanying me with this work is actually the head of the federal program work at our state department of education. She has only been in her position for a couple years and its our first time to work solely together. She is a Christian and a pastor’s wife.
On our lengthy drive yesterday I tested the waters of opening up to her about my quest to know the Holy Spirit. I briefly told her of my past and what my current endeavors have been. I was surprised to find her telling me she has a history of sexual abuse also. She actually then said she’d never told this to anyone except her husband and the counselor she worked with several years ago. My sharing with her allowed her to tell me she said. As we got past this part I was easily able to ask how she experienced knowing the presence of The Holy Spirit within? Yes, she’d struggled with the worthiness factor but had never struggled with the beauty and love of The Holy Spirit and His desire to be within her. Hearing this gave me the confidence that He felt the same about living within me.
Last night I had a dream I’ve had many times in the past year or so. It is a college setting dream where I’m on the cusp of failing a class where I actually love the content. I just am never able to satisfy the professor even though He seems to want to help me. He gave me a project paper back having lost most of it but I’d gotten a low B as my grade. It was my fault he’d lost much of the work and I knew it somehow. I awoke this morning with the same sense of “I will never be good enough”. As I started my devotions I had an instant sense of total emptiness and panic quickly replaced with the assurance I’m ok. My scripture reading was I Corinthians 10 where the 13th verse tells me that no temptation will ever be able to overcome me for God will provide a way of escape–Earnie’s translation. God had given me this verse way back when I was in high school. I’ve always believed it was going to be important to me someday for the truth of it was very assuring. However, I’ve just never yet been able to find the assurance for my “now”. It seemed I failed far more than I ever succeeded.
This morning as I began to journal about all of this The Holy Spirit showed me how the emptiness I’d briefly experienced was what Satan has always wanted to use to keep me ensnared. The replacement sense of assurance was His Presence within me. The way of escape God promises in I Corinthians 10:13 is through the Holy Spirit’s presence. I don’t have to prove myself to God, He proves Himself to me through His Gift of The Holy Spirit. He didn’t give The Holy Spirit to me so I could now prove myself worthy to Him. My choice to accept Christ into my heart so long ago was my step into worthiness–another gift and promise completed.
Satan has always made his deceptions so real to me but God is making His truth much more real now. How grateful I am today for finding this rock-solid truth. Amen and Amen!
It is Monday morning and all the little details that can make writing a blog are fully engaged. The computer was off and we didn’t turn it off, the program wouldn’t open that hosts the blog, all the settings were wrong and wouldn’t cooperate at being reset, etc. I’m leaving this morning to work this week on the other side of our state so I don’t have endless time to play with all of this. However, it is working now and away we go.
As I began my journaling this morning I didn’t find it difficult to write to The Holy Spirit except it isn’t a habit yet. I instantly wrote Father as I began. It seemed right to cross this out and write Holy Spirit because I sense strongly my Father wants me to get much better acquainted with our Holy Spirit. I was telling The Holy Spirit it seemed more awkward writing to Him because God and Jesus have some sense of humanness to them since God sent Jesus to us to redeem us. So as I began to tell The Holy Spirit it would be nice if He would manifest Himself more in a human sense I realized my issue. He is working to help me be more spiritual and NOT so humanlike. I almost laughed out loud just writing this. There are a lot of things I’m getting better awakened to about The Holy Spirit. These are: a message that comes to mind that is truly wise, a nudge from within to say or do something, an environment shift that simply makes you well up in tears, a sense of AWE or a sense of genuine peace. These are all examples of my recognizing The Holy Spirit’s presence. But, He is always present and this is what I want to get better at realizing so I am not so fast to do what my human spirit says to say or do.
Yesterday in our step study, we were working through the lesson called daily inventory where we are to journal daily recapping the good & bad of each day so one can act on whatever needs to be corrected. Most of the guys are not good at this yet. However, I was so touched by their honesty in realizing what is wrong and what is needing to be done. The Holy Spirit was genuinely working and we were responding to Him within us and within the room. This is what I’d love to have happen more commonly because I allow The Holy Spirit to take charge and not me.