Holy Spirit, Thou art welcome in this place. There is a chorus with these words. it came to me as I began to journal this morning. As I wrote them I was sensing The Holy Spirit telling me that the place mentioned is not in the room where I have my devotions, it is within me. He dwells within me as promised. The fact that He is present in our world is by creation. The fact He is within me is a Gift given when Christ was invited to be my Lord and Savior. I have to confess that this Gift living in me has been one of my most private and inner struggles. How could someone so tarnished from sin possess something so pure and precious?
After my devotions yesterday I ended up letting my sponsor know how much I was struggling and why I was. I also called one other person I trust well for the same reason. In so doing, the cloud of shame lifted. The rest of my day was one of peace. I spent a couple hours with the gentleman who was my pastor from my late teen years until I was 30. He is turning 90 next month and struggles immensely from dementia, yet, he knows me. He doesn’t know where I go to church or where I live as he asks a dozen or more times, but it doesn’t matter–he knows me and calls me by name. This man will be rewarded richly in heaven. He has been God’s gift to hundreds and hundreds here on earth.
How much I love our TEAM–God the Father, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit. It seems I’m getting to know them more personally now. The battle within is ebbing away. Such a peace is replacing the emptiness of no value I’ve fought so long. It really is a peace–a contentment. It is just what the scripture says: “A peace that passeth all understanding” as stated in Philippians 4:7.
There must be something about the third day. When I began to journal to God in July, 2016 it was the third day when I just had to confess to Him that I was not worthy of doing this–speaking directly to Him. It was then that He told me He’d given Christ to us to show how we could live humanly and still not sin as well as to be the sacrifice for all of us. He did not give Christ to us to replace Himself and our relationship with Him. He wanted me journaling to Him so I could find that He is the very essence of His Son and vise versa. This is truly happening from then until now.
Today would be the third day of journaling to The Holy Spirit. Today I was overwhelmed with the sense of unworthiness to communicate with the very essence of God Himself. I have so much humanness in me! The Holy Spirit is purity at its finest. So, I journaled to God asking if it were the right thing for me to do–journaling to the very Gift He’d given me? His response was not surprising, but confirming. The Holy Spirit is God within each of us if we’ve received Christ into our lives. Christ’s sacrifice has cleansed our body and made it acceptable for The Holy Spirit’s dwelling. I’ve known this for years. However, now that this Magnificent Three in One are becoming so intimate, I simply struggle seeing myself the way They say they see me. This is why God told me it was the right thing to do in journaling to The Holy Spirit. He will confirm Himself to me over time just as God and Christ have done.
The third day is important. It is the day of grappling with the very truth of God’s Kingdom Work. Will I accept it as spiritual truth for me personally or not? This journey has me facing it and I am not turning back. One day at a time, one moment at a time I am submitting to the fullness of The Holy Spirit within me and learning to believe it is true.
Today and yesterday I did something I’ve not done. I shifted from asking God what He wanted me to know when I was at the end of my journaling to asking The Holy Spirit. I’m struggling to find words to express this experience. It is simply HOLY. My first and biggest awakening is that He is Spirit as well as Holy just as His Name says. He told me He is restoring within me a belief that Spirit is substance in and of itself. He is not within me to help me convert spirit to flesh but to do the opposite. I’ve somehow needed or thought I needed to have what is spiritual demonstrated in flesh. Well, The Holy Spirit showed me that He is doing just the opposite. He is helping me see the substance of faith and hope, trust and belief. These intangibles in flesh are rock solid in Spirit. These are demonstrated by a PEACE which transcends all humanness when they are working because I choose to allow them to complete themselves in me.
As I was pondering all of this and letting the Holy Spirit speak to me I thought about the substance of PEACE. There is contentment, recognition and appreciation of others and so much more. When man defines peace we say something like it follows war. Someone has lost and so the result of winning gives me peace. There may be fighting all around me in my flesh, but if I am living as the new creation God has given me I am able to be at peace because I choose not to fight but allow God’s Team to fight for me. I’ve talked these words so many times in my life but this morning I somehow sense them within for the first time. It’s incredible. I’m struggling to not simply breakdown in tears of thanksgiving.
Yesterday had some tough conversations needing to take place. They all materialized and The Holy Spirit did His Work. I’m so grateful for this and experiencing it has only rooted more deeply my need to fully surrender “my control” to His Ultimate Control. It is there I find this PEACE. How glorious our Heavenly Team is.
Today’s journey has me facing some difficulty I would choose to avoid if at all possible. I’ve never run from addressing conflict, but this particular item is bigger than simply conflict–it is addressing beliefs and purpose. I’d like to tell you more about it but I shouldn’t. I’ve mentioned that our church is enlarging our recovery ministry and I will be directing this. Tonight’s challenge will be in this arena. This is simply a prayer request that The Holy Spirit will be totally in charge and I will be His servant only.
Last weekend I had one of our Celebrate Recovery attendees call me. He wanted to talk but he wanted to do it by texting. I wrote on Sunday morning the 14th about this. I was afraid I’d not see him again at CR or in our step study. Last night he came just as we were starting our share group time. He and I met separately for 45 minutes where we were able to talk through what he felt was judgment when I’d shared with him what the Bible says about participating in homosexuality. He didn’t want to sever the relationships he’s begun to development in our group, but he felt judged by what I’d said. It was very healthy to talk face to face with him letting him know that I want to be friends with him and support him. He just needed to know that support and friendship still had boundaries when it comes to participating in something that isn’t scripturally sound. This time he was able to see this and he stayed. He said he’d be back at our step study this coming Sunday. I truly praise God for this answer to prayer.
The Holy Spirit is amazing, kind, endlessly patient and stubbornly consistent to God’s Word. This is exactly what God says He is and this is proven over and over by Him, His Son Jesus and The Holy Spirit. In spite of all my unworthiness, I am made worthy through the blood of Jesus Christ. Just how amazing this is. I am forever grateful!
I think this must be the season for dealing with character defects which Celebrate Recovery addresses so often. Life can teach us (intentionally and unintentionally) some very wrong beliefs or ways of living. In the past few days I’ve written about several of my own. In my devotions this morning God brought out some more. In Romans 13:14 it says in part to “clothe myself in Jesus”. In so doing I am not to dwell on sinful lusts, desires/cravings. Clothing myself in Jesus isn’t just an exterior thing, but it is also an inner thing. Inside and out I am to be clothed in Jesus. God is making it very clear that The very Holy Spirit living in me as His Gift is this spiritual substance of being clothed in Jesus. I get to know this more fully by obeying Him as He speaks to me throughout the day.
The second thing this morning comes from my devotional. It was hitting on Matthew 5:24 where Christ is telling the crowd to be reconciled with your brother before you lay your gift on the alter. I had thought this was all done for me except when I asked God if there was anyone He wanted to bring to my mind, He instantly did. I will be acting on this very soon. To me I had acted on this, but the verse is very clear–be reconciled. It isn’t–think you are reconciled. I need to know that I am.
God wants us only doing His Work in Him, not within ourselves. I can see Him working. To God be all Glory and Honor.
I finished a book yesterday entitled, Wounded. It is written by Terry Wardle. I found it so interesting. One of the major purposes of the author in writing it is God using any and all of our past to lead us into living life fully for Him in spirit-filled living. The human side of man is where man abuses and uses–selfish living. Our spirits get very beat up in this process especially when it begins early in our life. I had to wait a long time to finally be free of the actual abuse of my past. I also learned some disgusting fantasies to appease the pain of it too during this time. Most of this is gone now. Even though I remember, I am not bound by it.
What I’m now seeing about myself is my need to have a timetable built I can live by. This new area of recovery ministry is still being built requiring me to work with a few very busy people. I am not able to get the timetable built as quickly as I’d like. Each morning God reminds me to surrender this to Him. He is building it–not me. He wants me working in it while He is doing His Work. Some of what He is doing is equipping me to know trust and faith like I’ve never known them before. Also in it, He is showing me things like my mind that need to still be surrendered. I am a doer and I want my doing to be meaningful and purposeful. So, the timetable is a must because doing things timely is part of meaning and purpose–so I’ve always thought.
This morning in my prayer time I asked God what He wanted me to know about all of this? He immediately reminded me to worship Him. I began to sing the chorus: “I worship You, Almighty God, there is none like You. I worship You oh Prince of peace, that is what I long to do. I give You praise for You are my Righteousness. I worship You, Almighty God, there is none like You.” A very deep peace began to settle in as I sang this through a couple times. I felt God’s Spirit taking control and my wants being let go. I don’t want to control this. I truly don’t. I do need to recognize however when my selfish desires are interfering with God’s work. He is truly not done with me yet! In fact, sometimes I sense He is just getting started!
I keep getting hit by the truth of God’s Word regarding the topic of spirit-living. God is making it abundantly clear to me that man’s mind is a great gift and tool. From it we get the control of our entire body’s impulse control whether its our heart’s regular beating, our liver and lungs working, etc. It is also the place where we sort through thoughts that come to us and so much more! However, in our mind we continuously make our decisions based on our own selfish motivation. Yes, we (I) try to see and weigh all the variables involved, but I still have my own bias when it comes to making the decisions–we can’t help it–we are human and deal with human limitations.
God has given to each of us who have invited His Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior, His Holy Spirit living within us. The more we allow The Holy Spirit to become our motivating spirit within, the more we become Christ-like. God makes it very clear in Romans 9:1 that The Holy Spirit bears witness in me of what God wants done. I have always lived my life making decisions asking God to bless them. I was thinking The Holy Spirit uses my mind, not trusting my own spirit. I thought my spirit was simply another word for my emotions which I didn’t trust at all. I’m not well grounded on all I’m trying to write here, but I am firm that I’ve got to get much better connected to my spirit awakening to The Holy Spirit within me. My mind certainly recognizes the nudges of The Holy Spirit. This is becoming more clear. Learning to respond immediately to these instead of taking them as a suggestion is the adjustment I want to make.
We are going to live for eternity in spirit. I know God is wanting me to better know Him by better awakening to spirit-living now. I really want to do this too.
I was just rereading my blog from yesterday and thought I had written a silly thing when I said that I need to realize I have to remove choice when I feel The Holy Spirit’s nudge. Good grief, that statement alone was a choice. Each and every time I sense a nudge the item of choice will be present. Being a human keeps it firmly there. I’d like to remove the idea of choice from this so I would automatically be obedient each time I feel the Spirit nudge, but I will never not be human until death separates me from this life.
Yesterday I called my mentor to catch her up to speed on the things of present for which I could sure use her prayers. Her husband is in ill health so I’d procrastinated about getting back to her. She said she’d thought I didn’t want her prayers any longer–that was another lesson for me. God had been nudging me for the past several weeks to call her and I kept rationalizing–another choice. She is now caught up to speed. We had a long conversation which was good for both of us.
Late yesterday afternoon one of the guys in our step study text me wanting to talk through something. He said he wanted to text because he didn’t want to call about it. I said I was ok with that. I know his struggle and I thought that was why he was coming to our Celebrate Recovery and why he’d chosen to attend the step study. It turns out I was off base on both accounts. He does struggle with same sex attraction and had talked to me about this numerous times. However, he never talks about it as a struggle except he struggles with relationships. I kept putting the two struggles together as though they were the same. As we talked last night it was clear he sees nothing wrong with the one. I did the best I could attempting to show how God loves all of us but we are to use the Bible as our guide for living a victorious life. He said he thought Celebrate Recovery wasn’t right for him after all. This morning I know I did the right thing but I hurt for him. He is locked in a struggle that many know in secret. I know God uses all things to His honor and glory and I leave this situation with Him knowing He is not done with it.
The flesh is an incredibly strong. Only with God’s help can we overcome, but we have to come to the place where we want to overcome before any of this transformation can happen. I’ll leave this here for now knowing God is at work and does use all things.
I can’t begin to tell you just how wise our loving Father is. Yesterday I blogged about His Spirit’s nudge to me about being quiet and listening as I went into the building I was to work with. At the end of their leadership meeting where I had attended and listened to each of the school’s dept leaders, I was then asked what my thoughts were. The principal said, “You have been awfully quiet, what would you want us to hear from you?” I was then able to confirm and shed additional insights. But in so doing, the leaders were able to hear and learn from one another by hearing each of them shed light coming from their own depts. I told them I was on assignment to listen this morning rather than speak.
Tomorrow I have a Celebrate Recovery leadership meeting after church ends, where we will be talking about some shifts in our leadership. As I begin to actually get the recovery ministries operational at a training level I need to be able to use my time as such. There is a man in our group God had shown to me would someday take my place when I felt Him nudging me to step aside. He and I have talked a number of times about this and now tomorrow will be the day to take this step. In so doing I also have to address replacing his position which he has had in our leadership. I’ve also had this conversation but haven’t heard back from the one to know if he is ready to say yes.
God is pressing in on me to realize that my choice to serve Him fully is always in the arena of choice. However, if I am going to be the servant of Him He would intend, the idea of choice needs to come to an end. When I sense Him nudging, I am to act on it. If I sense fear, dread, “a sense of yikes” in any of these I can address what the fear may be about, but I need to not dismiss the nudge as an item to disregard. I’ve known this need about serving God for a long, long time. But, living up to it has taken on new meaning. I sense God wanting me to be totally sold out to Him. I want this too. There is less fear these days. More is about the dread of needing to work through tough topics with others, etc. Doing this about topics I’ve always kept hidden is a much newer thing for me. However, God seems to be saying I’m ready to walk into this and so I’m doing it with humble confidence in Him and His Team–God Himself, Jesus The Almighty Son and The Holy Spirit. God is also providing tremendous human support too. For all of this I am most grateful!
Today’s lesson seems simple as I step into it. Don’t push, be present. listen and obey. I’m entering Friday of a very full week. I’m going to a different school to meet with their leadership team and do some semester long planning. God’s message this morning is stressing the importance of “being”. My lesson in this is that my “being” present doesn’t need to be–being heard. I can be present and listen. I will let the relationship of man being with man and bringing God’s presence to the table be my part. God is so able to speak to man and surely doesn’t need me piping up unless I sense His nudge. I want to act on this much more wisely–in God’s Light and Wisdom. And now that I’ve written this, I need to get ready because the meeting starts at 7:00 am and I need to get on my way. I’ll let you know how this goes.