Tag: Holy Spirit

Need some Traction?

hiking-1582295_640

Ever since I heard the word “Paraclete” I have thought of the Holy Spirit as a “pair of Cleats.”

The Holy Spirit gives us traction in our walk with the Lord.

“Paraclete” is the Greek word that translated, is used to describe the Holy Spirit.  It comes from “para” meaning close or beside, and “kaleo” a legal advocate who makes a right judgment; an advisor, or helper.

sailor-2417265_640

It comes to light in a picturesque way in the verse in James 1 where he says “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.”

Pair that with 1 Cor 10:13 where Paul is speaking of temptation and says God will “provide a way of escape.”

Now we have a picture of a believer walking with the Holy Spirit, (their “pair of cleats”).  And when temptation comes along and tries to drag the believer away, God has provided these cleats so the believer can dig in and have the traction and power to resist and not be dragged away.  That’s the Holy Spirit!

girl-1955797_640

With our “pair of cleats” we can go farther, climb higher, get a better grip on the trail of life.  Our “Pair of Cleats” will take us places we wouldn’t be able to get to on our own.

adventure-1850912_640The Holy Spirit will stick by our side no matter the circumstances – through storms, harsh terrain, cold, heat – more literally challenges, temptations of every kind, hardships, even elections and pandemics.

All these things can make our way seem dark and slippery.  But we have a partner on the journey – teaching us, guiding, course correcting, encouraging, strengthening us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

pray-2558490_640

Praying for you, that you will make use of your Pair of Cleats in your daily walk.  That you will listen to the Holy Spirit and dig in when temptations and challenges come.

That as you walk through life, you will recognize your walking partner’s voice and knowing that you are never alone, you will be encouraged, instructed, equipped, advised, counseled, guided, strengthened and protected.

Stay in the Boat!

I had been having a difficult time making a decision about an opportunity that came up.  Difficult because it involved something that I value highly and really want to do, but feel very inadequate and insecure about.

Are you ever faced with decisions like that?

choice-2692575_640I felt the Holy Spirit was leading me to move forward, in church and through the daily prayers I was working on.  But I also felt my fears holding me back.

Half awake and half asleep, a vision came to me that seemed to sum up my situation.

I am floating in a tube on a river. The water is choppy. I have come through dangerous Rapids and am feeling exhausted by the effort it took to stay afloat. I can hear the loud Rumblings of fast-moving water. Not one but two Mighty Rivers come together at a confluence up ahead of me. They feed into the river I’m on.

They could take me far very quickly but the ride would be dangerous and extremely rough with no guarantee that I would survive.

In this dream/vision I pondered what I should do:

tubing-3506869_6401 – I could get out of the river and camp on the side choosing not to move forward at all. And die there on the riverbank my Journey complete.

2 – I could get out of the water and hike up to the confluence watching the turbulent Waters come together. Maybe there would be a way to go around – there wasn’t.

3 – Or I could put my faith in God, the God who made the rivers and who sent me on this path and move forward into the ride of my life.

I do not think of myself as a risk-taker. Not with money. Not with emotional decisions.  And this involved both.

As God often does, I realized He had placed someone in my life who I could take to about this.  Miraculously,  in about an hour, we were speaking on the phone.

Eric listened to my situation.  And to my vision of floating down a river in a tube.  He loved the analogy since he’s a big white water rafting and adventure experience guy.  And he acknowledged that my fears were real and legitimate.  Then he turned my vision into a devotional for me, right then and there, and said “Now, I’m going to upgrade you!”

“You’re no longer sitting in an inner tube with a little penguin hat on, drifting at the whim of a river of life.”

God is the River. You’re already in Him!  And you will be all of your life.  You can trust The River!

life-raft-241789_640“And you are now in a White-Water Power Raft!  And you have a paddle.  And you have a Guide!” 

I said, “I get it, my guide is the Holy Spirit!” I was feeling more confident and excited about this River trip.

Eric said “Your job, Laura, is to: Stay in the boat, Paddle hard, and Listen to your Guide.”

He continued, “So there is no pulling the boat out of the River to sit on the side.  That is not an option.  Your Guide has a lot to show you downstream.  And He doesn’t want you to miss any of it.  He is there to make sure you make it down the River safely.”

“Plus you have a customer paddle, but your Guide has a much bigger paddle and can out-paddle you.  With that He will make sure you are headed where you need to be headed. You need only do what?” 

I answered, “Stay in the boat, Paddle hard, and Listen to my Guide!

grand-canyon-263773_640

It feels good to have made a decision.  And to feel more confident that the Holy Spirit will continue to “course correct” if I can’t handle it all.

I am still both excited and scared. 

Odd how we can be afraid of failure and afraid of success at the same time.

Is there something you are feeling prompted to do?  Ask God to give you a dream or vision or some way of knowing you’re supposed to go forward.

Ask Him who He has put in your life to encourage you.

Your job, should you choose to accept it is:

Stay in the boat!

Paddle hard!

Listen to your Guide!! 

Go for it!

Googling God part 2

How does hearing from God work?

Physical ears

Outer ear collects sources of sound – the sound waves.  For us to “hear”:

sound-159915_640

It has to be within our range of hearing

It has to be loud enough

It has to be clear enough

 

hearing-106483_640Middle ear directs the sound to the ear drum where the sound is transferred from the vibrations of the ear drum to 3 little bones that conduct the sound through the cochlea where the sound is turned into nerve impulses and sent to the brain to interpret and understand what we hear.

We’ll look at 3 reasons we miss out hearing that have a spiritual similarity:

  1. we don’t hear because we aren’t listening –our ears are not pointed towards where the sound is coming from
  2. there is so much noise that the signal gets muffled or confused
  3. there is infection that needs to be cleaned out to restore our ability to hear clearly

Spiritual ears 

Our spirit hears everything our physical ears hear and our brain processes.  But there is another level of understanding that we can access with our spirit that allows us to filter messages that have a deeper spiritual meaning.

listen-2973319_640

So we need to engage our spirit and focus it on listening, interpreting and understanding those meaningful messages.

 

  1. As with our physical ears, we need to point our spiritual ears where God is speaking.  We need to tune our spirit into God’s frequencies.

What are His frequencies?

HearGod from

The previous blog asked some specific questions and gave ideas to help you identify how to listen in some of these areas.

question-mark-40876__340

 

So the first question is: Are you tuned in and exposing yourself to the sources God is broadcasting on?

solution-2480514_640Listen to Christian sermons and podcasts.  Read the Bible.  Spend time in prayer.  Become aware of God’s Creation around you.  Examine your circumstances for what is bringing you blessing, confusion, pain.  Ask God to make you aware of how He is speaking to you and spend time in that area.

  1. Like our physical ears, the message we are trying to receive won’t be heard if there is too much other noise surrounding and masking it

chairulfajar_-655482-unsplash (1)So many things compete for our attention every day: books to read, movies to see, music to listen to, places to go where there is noise and busyness.  Advertising tries to convince you that their product is exactly what you need to solve all your problems and meet all your needs. Whether it’s insurance, a new car, or the latest tech, we are overwhelmed with media and input and our minds flooded with so many options and choices that they block out the messages God is speaking to us.

too loud

And that’s just the outside noise.  What about the inner voices you speak to yourself every day?  We are usually much more critical of ourselves and those negative voices have an impact on our ability to hear from God as well.

question-mark-40876__340

The next question is: Are you tuning out the world and the other voices that are clamoring for your attention so you can focus on hearing God?

solution-2480514_640There’s a simple solution.

prayer-888757_1920Before you pray, or read scripture, listen to a sermon or podcast, take a nature walk, or search your life circumstances, invite the Holy Spirit to silence all ungodly voices and distractions.  Ask that confusion, preconceived ideas, biases, and misconceptions be sent away.  And ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth, clarify meaning, and show application to your life.

  1. The infection that needs to be treated to restore our spiritual hearing is sin.

Sin is like an infection blocking our ability to communicate with God effectively. Sometimes there is sin we are aware of that needs to be dealt with. Being willing to turn from it and ask for forgiveness is the way to remove that block to your hearing God. If you are unsure of any sin, invite God to search you and show you where sin may be causing a hearing problem, and remove it.

question-mark-40876__340

The question is: Have you cleaned out your spiritual ears lately?

 

solution-2480514_640Thankfully, God has prepared a way for our sin to be forgiven and be removed as far as the east is from the west. 

I John 1:9-10 tells us:  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If it would help to have a guide for personal reflection on possible sin issues, see “When Hearing is Blocked” on my main menu.

listening-3079065_640When you are ready to tune into God’s frequency, and invited the Holy Spirit to silence other noise and lead you into hearing; be prepared to be blown away!

I believe God is speaking to us any time we are willing to listen.  And I believe when He says something, it’s important enough to write it down.  Keep some kind of record of how and when you hear from God.

But don’t run off with some word you think you heard without checking it out. Hold it up against what the Bible says.  And maybe even ask other believers what they think for some confirmation.

Next time I’ll share a simple way to know if what you heard is from God.

 

 

Which bird are you?

After walking around the lake, I sat down to rest and take in the view.  I was there earlier that morning and there must have been 70-80 graceful, delicate swallows swooping over the water.  They zigged and zagged, climbed, then dove down to touch the water for a drink.  Leaving behind a ripple, they darted away and looped around again.  It was hypnotizing to watch.

avian-1280582_1280

 

I picked out a single bird to study its pattern and see if I could predict when it would take its next drink.  I could not.  Sometimes, they would dive four or five times, only to suddenly veer away from the water before coming again to refresh themselves.

 

swan-1281217_1920

 

During this jumble of helter-skelter avionics, I noticed two large, graceful swans in another part of the lake gliding slowly through the water.  They looked regal, graceful, peaceful as they moved effortlessly on top of the water.

 

The whole scene brought to mind Christians in their daily lives.  Like the swallows, so many dart around in their busy schedules, stopping only for a brief moment to refresh themselves in the Holy Spirit.  A few others appear majestic and calm like the swans.   They seem to be more in touch with the Holy Spirit. And I thought how we should all be more like swans than swallows.

But then, I saw the bird I want to imitate.  An awkward looking bird, it rode very low in the water.  Only a bit of its back was showing with a dark, gangly neck and a small head pushing through the surface.  It seemed to be moving purposefully, but then disappeared completely under the water.

double-crested-cormorant-1367266_1920I was surprised when it reappeared, a full thirty seconds later, and quite a great distance away with a fish in its mouth!  This bird had totally submersed itself and traveled through the water to reach a purposeful destination!

This is how I want to be in Christ! Not dipping in here and there for a sip. Not floating on top with my feet dangling. But totally and completely submerged for long periods of time during which I accomplish much.

And in between submersion excursions, so covered by the Holy Spirit that I am more water than bird, more Spirit than self.

God shows me things in nature to teach me about Himself, and about myself. Can you see yourself in nature? In a flower?  In a bird?

Does something you see bring a greater understanding to your own circumstance?

Ask God to speak to you through His own creation. I believe as you listen, you will Hear More From God!

God’s plan is Light

A poem I wrote many years ago speaks to the truth that our lives do not follow the pattern or plan we lay out according to our own desires and wishes. That’s OK when we are Believers because we trust the One who knows more than we do with the ultimate outcome.

20180811_212259(0)

Part of God’s purpose for His people is that we share the Holy Spirit – the light He has placed in us. As containers of that light it can only get out when there is an opening or hole. Sometimes openings or holes are made when our lives are filled to overflowing and we literally burst with joy!

Other times, God allows pain and suffering to cause splits in us and where the sorrow spills out, the hole that’s left allows His Light to shine through.

Some people seem to spill light from places were joy has been. And some seem to have mostly holes that have been formed by pain. I believe God is with us in both times. He rejoices with us when we are filled with joy. And He cries with us when we suffer.

lantern

It breaks His heart that some choose to do evil in this world and cause others pain. But good can come from it when we minister to people who have similar pain in their lives. We can seek the light from those with similar pain, and we can be the light for others.

As Believers, we are also assured that whatever we endure in this life will be laid down at His throne. Whatever we surrender in the future will glorify Him and we will receive an eternity so glorious we cannot even grasp it in our earthly understanding.

I pray you will be encouraged in the remembrance of your sorrows and your joys; and be empowered to move forward and let His Light shine through you.

My Life poem

My life is borrowed, ‘tis not mine

I cannot hold it selfishly

But give it to the One above

Who gave His all, His life, His love

That I might one day see

I see with light that is not mine

I cannot make one star shine bright

Yet through the holes God makes in me

His Spirit shines, so I can be

A lantern, glowing Holy light

This light alone will light my path

It is a course I do not choose

My way, my will I give to Him

Who walked this earth and knew no sin

With Him I cannot lose

And so, my life, my light, my path

Are not for me, but God alone

No pain or sorrow come to me

That I am not assured will be

Exchanged for glory – at His throne