Today I begin the closure to the consulting work with each of the schools and districts I’ve served. This will take place twice this week–today and tomorrow. On Thursday I will have the last day meeting with the consulting group I’ve worked with for the past several years. The meeting yesterday morning addressing the counseling start taking place this coming Friday afternoon went well. I am so grateful I get to start this work with someone who has years of experience and is a strong Christian. She is truly a GIFT from GOD.
Today’s devotional lesson is FAITH. Paul is talking about Faith in Romans as he has written this letter to the Christians of Rome. My devotional separated out the difference between small faith and great faith. It is only in great faith that one can find serenity in the midst of the storm. As I had reread my entry yesterday, I was reminded that this new venture is only as successful as my faith allows it to be. Fighting the anxiety is one thing, surrendering it–letting go of it is the great faith. In so doing I can be at peace during this preparation time. One of the questions I asked my mentor yesterday was about preparation for the counseling session. Her response was to prepare your mind and spirit by removing most of the questions you feel you need to ask and allowing the Holy Spirit to prompt the questions one should ask at the right moment. Trusting The Holy Spirit is KEY to GREAT FAITH! Wow, it is a lifetime lesson and well worth the learning.
Each day brings me one day closer to actually starting the new venture of counseling. This morning I am going to meet with the retired licensed counselor who will work with me as we begin this. This coming Friday afternoon we will meet with our first person. He has volunteered to be this first one. He knows me well and I know him well. I also know what he wants to address in counseling and I relate well to it. However, it will be great for me to simply witness this process through the work of an experienced Christian counselor.
I have to say that my anxiety builds as I face this new ministry. I know the truth and I fight the lies. The flesh in me wants to submit to the lies, yet, I know beyond any shadow of doubt God’s leading me so I surrender these lies to Him and listen for the still small voice of The Holy Spirit who says to Trust and Obey. This I want to do well.
As I was reading the first chapter of Romans this morning in the Passion Bible I thought I was reading an article about living in today’s world. What Paul was writing 2000 years ago is hugely prevalent and indicative of our society today. It was as though the Word was not only relevant, but alive. It was then that I was nudged to realize God is wanting me to believe not just the Word I was reading, but to also believe as strongly the very One who motivated man to write this Word.
The realities of being a new creation are growing within me. I believe much more and question less these past few months. But, God is now wanting me to quit trusting more and simply TRUST. The need to question at times is one thing–it brings clarity. But to doubt, as I’ve so readily done in my past to the point of walking away from His nudges, is what I am to face today. As I was journaling this morning Jesus was reminding me that not only is He on the throne of my life, His very Holy Spirit indwells me. I have full access to Him. However, He only acts if I choose to believe–Trust.
I love how faithful God is with His teaching. He just keeps bringing forth His lessons in meaningful ways so we can grow another anchoring root into HIs Kingdom living.
In Romans 1:17 in the Passion Bible it reads, “The gospel unveils a continual revelation of God’s righteousness–a perfect righteousness given to us when we believe. And it moves us from receiving life through faith, to the power of living by faith.” I had to stop reading and reread this several times. Of late, God has been pressing in on me the need to better understand His Gift of The Holy Spirit. I have received The Holy Spirit through faith by asking Jesus into my life. Living by the power of faith in The Holy Spirit within me is a very different step of belief.
The book of Acts reveals over and over again the anointing of The Holy Spirit on the lives of many, many people who had hands laid on them by the apostles. Their lives had changed abundantly as The Holy Spirit came upon them at the start of Acts. This Holy Spirit is the same Holy Spirit we have living within us today.
I am learning to believe that God wants me to not only house His Holy Spirit, but to open myself to His Power by living this faith and doing so very intentionally. Opening my mind and spirit to The Holy Spirit is a belief I never want to doubt again.
The reality of GRACE. Last night I taught the lesson on Grace for our Celebrate Recovery group. There was so much I needed to learn about this Spiritual Gift God has given to each one of us. I use to equate Grace to Kindness. Grace is kind, but one can be kind simply because he is a kind person. An infant can be treated with kindness which has nothing to do with Grace. If one doesn’t know sin, one cannot understand Grace. If one is in denial of their sin/s, they still don’t know Grace. Grace comes to life in our personal understanding when we begin to realize God has removed the punishment we deserve and replaced it with love and acceptance. We get GRACE instead of judgment.
I lived in denial most of my life of my own sins. I measured my sins against those done to me by my brother and my dad. There is no grace in this. Satan had me believing lies rather than my seeing the beauty of God’s forgiveness and His Grace. There is no freedom found in comparing one’s sins with another one. My own sins came before me as I recognized my struggle with porn. Even more, I recognized this battle when I began the counseling which followed the first year of Celebrate Recovery. My sins were mine. I realized God’s work with dad, God’s work with Rich, God’s work with me–all due to GRACE and FORGIVENESS. This model He wants us to learn with His Holy Spirit’s help who lives within us.
God is kind. But kindness is taken to an extreme level when Grace engulfs it through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and the sacrifice our Father God gave us through Him.
Give thanks with a grateful heart! “I will free you when you give Me thanks.” This line was part of my devotional message this morning. I had while journaling, just minutes before, asked God for strength to stand up to a challenge I face and then I read this line in the first paragraph of my devotional reading. Trusting God with everything in our lives is such a shift. In my humanness I tend to only take to God what I battle and then lose–or fear losing. Then and only then do I bring it to God. There was a time in my life when I thought that this is the right way to live. However, the older I get the more I awaken to the truth that God wants to be the center of all my life and living. He wants me to bring all things to Him–big or small for He is interested in my entire being.
Trusting God ahead of His Work is such a huge step of Faith. It is one I still need to learn for each day’s living. Today, I trust!
Can you picture with me the following? Here is a man who is filled with the Power of Mercy–The Holy Spirit given to him by Jesus Christ Himself. Secondly, this same man who is filled with the Power of Mercy, also is covered with a Mantle of Holiness. As I began to realize that a mantle is a covering, I better understood the phrase’s meaning. My word–God has filled us with the Power of Mercy and covered us with the Mantle of Holiness!
Not so long ago I would have taken this rather lightly. I would laugh and say something like, “isn’t that a nice thought”. Today, God is pressing in the genuine truth of His Work in me. When He says we are a new creation because of His Gift to us–His Only Son Jesus Christ–He is not kidding and it isn’t just a nice thought. It is genuine.
As I began my bible reading this morning in the Passion Bible, I started the book of Romans. The preface of the book says in part, “When you receive the grace of God by faith, righteousness is birthed within your life.” The key to this line is FAITH. To receive grace and righteousness I must have faith believing it is true and real. This is finally happening for me. The roots of faith are beginning to take hold. It is such a humbling and powerful reality all at the same time. And, it is for me–just like all of this is for you!
Today’s devotion has a statement in it which leaves me wondering about its depth of meaning. In part, it reads, “I have not called you to judge with a critical heart, but to love–to treat others with the same respect and honor you would like to be treated with…. Ask for my perspective. Seek my heart for those walking in deception. I long for intercessors who carry both the power of mercy and the mantle of holiness.”
I believe I understand the power of mercy but I do not know the depth of meaning for the bolded phrase–mantle of holiness. If a reader has a grasp on this I’d sure like to hear what you’d have to say.
I know that we are not ever called to judge others. Scripture makes that very clear. I know too that we are to show mercy as mercy is shown to us by God our Father. I am perplexed with this one statement that I know must have significance I’m not grasping. The scripture reference for this devotion is Luke 1: 77-78. As I read it I still don’t find the clarity. Today’s journey is starting with me asking for help which I sense God is wanting me to do.
The party for our friend was a very touching time. She has been a warrior for God’s Kingdom work for many years. She is also one who is very human and not afraid to laugh at her “humanness”. There was a good deal of this taking place while God was being glorified.
The day ended with a quartet practice. One of our members has a son facing some very difficult days. I won’t go into the details of it, however, our evening ended with a prayer time for this son and his dad. Satan is attempting to do his evil bringing forth what could be truth, but very contrary to Christ’s teachings about Trust and Faith–those Spiritual anchors Satan knows about but wants us to keep them in the mystery realm where there is little to anchor into.
The devotional our quartet is using for this year is presently talking about God’s miracles and mysteries. It is written as though God is talking directly to you. These past few day has focused on scriptures which help describe why we think God is mysterious. In the Spiritual World where Faith and Trust are commonly seen and applied, nothing looks miraculous or mysterious for they are not mysterious there. We can only see this if we disallow ourselves to doubt, and instead, TRUST. I am having my own awakening into this as I live the life of a new creation which is our opportunity to live spiritually while still human.
God uses all of our human crises as lessons and this is one I’m needing to spend a good deal more time. I’m so glad God is a God of Patience!
We got home without a hitch. The flights were on time and all is well. Julia’s graduation party was astounding. So many people came which was a wonderful support for her. She will be rooming in college with the daughter of her dad’s roommate when he was in college. It is cute to see them together. Both of them have fabulous voices and into drama. It will be fun to see how God uses this combination as their college years begin.
Later today Kathy and I will be attending the 80th birthday party for a dear friend. Jan is the person who helps those in need in capital letters–HELP. It is a regular occurrence for her to stop along the road, in a parking lot, in the store itself, to give help to someone only she notices is in distress. She listens well to God’s Holy Spirit and is always ready to take the step to offer words of encouragement, finances, a helping hand, a ride, a bed to rest in, whatever one needs at the moment. With all of this no one walks away without hearing that God loves them and wants to call them His. She is amazing!
It is good to be home. I’m feeling just a little rummy at the moment, but God and Folgers will take care of that!