Archive for the ‘Spirit’ Tag

Listening   Leave a comment


Image provided by turningpointsearch.net

Image provided by turningpointsearch.net

I think that one of the most difficult things for most of us is truly listening.  I am a person that moves through the day mainly in the order of a task list.  I frequently look at, revise, and add to my task list.  I prioritize those tasks and only feel a sense of accomplishment if I can end the day with all items checked off my task list.  Since my task list drives me, I have very little “down time” in my life.  What unassigned times I do encounter, I fill with usually mindless activity.  The problem with this is that it does not provide time for me to listen.

As a believer, I declare that I have chosen to let the Spirit of God guide my life.  In fact, during my prayer time and during my devotional time each day, I ask the Lord to guide me by the Spirit.  So I make this request at least two times every day.  However, I do not make room for the Spirit.  I do not take time outside those brief, assigned times to listen for the Spirit’s guidance.  I treat my prayer and devotional time as one more task on my list for the day and when I have completed those items, I move on.

However, the Lord tends to occasionally break into my day and cause me to listen even when I do not have time scheduled.  This happened to me this morning.  I was going along with my daily routine and all of a sudden, God showed up.  The Spirit spoke to me at a time when I did not expect it.  It was absolutely wonderful!  The message which the Lord had for me today was very timely and much-needed.

This breaking in on my day set me back on my heels.  It reminded me about what amazing things the Lord had to say to me if I just would listen. It reminded me of a commitment which I made in March of this year to do a better job of spending time to just listen to the Lord.  It reminded me of the great value found in listening.

So today, I recommit myself to that which I said in March….. I WILL take time to listen.  I WILL place listening for the Spirit on my list of items which I need to accomplish.

Will you make a similar commitment?  You may be surprised what you discover.

Perfected   1 comment


We live in an imperfect world and we are imperfect people.  I really do not think that I have shared anything which is an earth-shattering truth in the very first sentence of this post.  Nor am I sharing any new revelation with any of you which you did not already know.  However, I wonder how often we forget this reality.  I wonder how often we expect perfection and become upset when either ourselves or someone else show imperfection.

This morning when I came to my office I encountered a laundry list of issues with the state of the building.  I was out of the office yesterday and there was activity here last night.  Now, this is not the first time that I have encountered situations such as this one.  My reaction was from the gut and I would have to admit that it was less than a positive reaction.  I spent the first fifteen minutes of the time in my office correcting the issues which I discovered.  Again, this was not part of my early arrival plans so my frustration was building with each correction I made.  When I actually was able to sit down at my desk, I wanted to impulsively send an email to the individual responsible for the building last night and share my displeasure.  However, something (or should I say someone) held me back and led me to wait until I had returned from my morning coffee time.  I am grateful that I made that decision.  While I still intend to follow-up on the issues with the appropriate person, I have determined a different way to do that follow-up.

For me what made the change was something which arose during my morning devotions.  I was looking at a passage from the Bible which included a statement from Jesus about the promise of the resurrection.  When most people think about a bodily resurrection, they are not convinced that they want to have their current physical body resurrected.  They often list all the imperfections which they have identified with their current body.  These people are fine with the concept of spiritual resurrection but shy away from the idea of the bodily resurrection which we who believe in Christ include in our understandings.  I think the issue here is the hope of everything being perfect in the presence of God and that the way they understand their physical bodies as imperfect does not fit with their desire to be perfect in the presence of God.

The key here for me is to realize that the Spirit has the power and does perfect the imperfect us.  Even at the point of our spiritual resurrection, our spirit is not perfect.  Our spirit is marred and marked by the sin of our life.  However, the Spirit perfects our spirit when Jesus places the cloak of righteousness on us as we are spiritually resurrected.  If the Lord can do this with our spirit, how do we think the Lord is any less capable of perfecting our bodies at the point of our bodily resurrection.

Yes, we are imperfect.  We are imperfect inside and out.  However, the Spirit of the Lord is capable of perfecting us.  This is important truth that we must keep in mind as we deal with one another and as we consider the promise of the resurrection.

So I want to leave you with these reminders:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, NIV)

Keep the Nugget   Leave a comment


This time of year it is so very easy to become overwhelmed.  There seems to be so many tasks to get completed.  There is a long list of activities in which to engage.  There are traditions to uphold and a hunger for some new ones.  In all the hustle and bustle of the season, being overwhelmed can lead to a distaste for the season.  Instead of having the joy of the season which we had at childhood, adults can become more eager about the end of the season.

So here is my advice…..  Reclaim the nugget of joy from which the season came into existence.  Christmas was intended to be a time of great celebration.  That celebration, as a result of great joy, was due to the realization that a child had been born many years ago.  This child was no “ordinary” child.  This child was the incarnation of our God.  This child would grow to be a man who reached out to those who had been rejected, who had brought healing to bodies and spirits, who did not only speak about love but demonstrated it in the way he lived.  This man would give the ultimate demonstration of love by willingly dying so that any punishment for sin would be erased from anyone who believed in him.  This man would defeat death through the power of the Spirit and open the opportunity for all people to defeat death.  This is the nugget that must never be lost.

So whenever you are feeling overwhelmed in your preparation for Christmas, reclaim the nugget of joy which began all of this.  Then you will still be busy and have many tasks but the joy will carry you through them.

Listening to the Voice   1 comment


Image from almostsavy.com

Image from almostsavy.com

One of the struggles that I face is that sometimes the noise of my life seems so overwhelming.  I think that I am like many others living in a very busy world.  There seems to be so much busyness around me.  There seems to be so many people wanting to tell me something or wanting to ask me something.  This is how our world has become.  With the various methods of communication available to us these days, there seems to be voices around us almost twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  The struggle in all of this is that with all this “noise”, it can be difficult to hear the voice that is inside.

I am becoming aware of the great need to give space to the voice inside myself.  I find that there are times that this voice almost screams to be heard.  As a believer, I believe this voice is the voice of the Spirit.  It is the voice that became a part of me when the Lord claimed me as a child.  It is the voice that brings with it guidance based on who I am.  It is the voice that speaks to me as the unique person I have been created to be.

When I fail to provide opportunity to listen to the voice, I find the result is confusion.  I am left with only the many outside voices that have differing opinions and suggestions.  I am left with the outside voices that can often be so contradicting.  I need to listen for that voice within me.  I need to follow that voice within me.  Because that voice within me is the voice of the Spirit.

Now I am not advocating ignoring the voices of others.  Sometimes the Spirit chooses to speak and guide through the voices of others in our lives.  What I am stating is that those voices without the voice within me creates an unbalance.  So I am going to strive today for balance.  I am going to work at making space for the voice inside me.  I am going to strive to listen to the Spirit.

 

Seeking Warmth   Leave a comment


Hiding

(Photo credit: Rachel Elaine.)

Today is one of those rainy, cool fall days.  It is like you can feel winter in the air.  It reminds me that it will not be long and the wind from the north will be blowing and I will once again experience those chills that go directly to the bone.  So this has brought to mind my gratitude for warm office spaces and a warm home.  I am thinking about being wrapped up in one of my many blankets and just wanting to stay in that warmth.  (It also means it is a lot harder to get out of a warm bed in the morning.)

Sometimes our spirits can experience the chills of life.  Events occur or situations arise and they bring about a chill to our very spirit.  These chills are not resolved by turning up a thermostat or wrapping up in a blanket.  They require a much different kind of warmth.  At times, that warmth can come from other people.  Others in our lives, friends, family, co-workers, can say something or do something for us and it replaces the chill on our spirit with a warmth.  On different occasions, the warmth needed is provided by an action which we take.  We might help another person or act in a way which benefits others and our spirit feels the warmth produced by that activity.  Still, another opportunity for us to experience a move from chill to warmth of our spirit is when we encounter the Lord.  We can take the time to interact with the Lord and the Spirit is the one that warms our Spirit.

So if you are feeling a chill upon your spirit, seek out a way to warm up your spirit.  Interact with others in some fashion.  Take the time to engage in conversation with the Lord.  You may be surprised how a warm spiritual blanket will wrap around your own spirit.

A Lift   1 comment


English: One of the last Aerostar Internationa...

English: One of the last Aerostar International, Inc. balloons own by Guru Balloon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I find it truly amazing how much laughter can lift my spirit.  I had the privilege this morning of working with a wonderful group of individuals on a project.  Throughout the morning, there was laughter.  Even though there have been two very early mornings in a row because of work and I am a bit on the tired side do to activities at night that made going to bed early impossible, the laughter this morning has caused my spirit to rise tremendously.

Life can some days become a bit of burden.  It is easy to find yourself so wrapped up in the serious aspects of life that you quickly lose the joy of living.  God did not create us to experience life as only a drudgery.  God created us to enjoy laugh as we worked along the way.  I have a picture of a laughing Jesus in front of fishing boats that I assume are on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.  This is an image of Jesus that I treasure because it is a reminder to me that laughter and joy should always be a part of life, even in the midst of work.

This morning was work at a very early time of the day.  However, the laughter made the work easier.  The laughter among those who worked side-by-side lifted my spirit.  The joy of this morning will be what carries me through this day.

So get a lift, laugh a lot today!

Day 4 of Holy Week   Leave a comment


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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I was reading from the Gospel according to John and focused in on 19:28.

“Later, knowing that all was not completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.'” 
(John 19:28, NIV)

I read so much more into Jesus’ words than just a physical thirst.  After all that he had been through and having already been crucified, I think that Jesus was thirsty for release.  He wanted release from the physical pain but he also wanted release from the spiritual pain.  As a believer, I believe that as Jesus hung on that cross all the sins of the people hung on him.  That would be a great spiritual burden.  During that last week of his life he wept for the people according to Scripture.  He saw all their spiritual battles and how their sinful choices added so much pain and heartache to their lives.  Jesus was thirsty for spiritual health for those whom he loved.

I think that Jesus also was thirsty for peace.  Again, this is a spiritual reality.  He was not looking for an absence of conflict but instead peace for his spirit.  He had seen and experienced so much conflict in the spirits of the people that he almost ached for peace to flow over him and the people.  This peace would only be obtained when the people were restored to the state in which God created them.  A peace that would be evident when there is harmony between the will of God and the wills of the people.  Jesus thirst for this peace.

My spirit often times thirsts for release from the spiritual pain that sin brings into my life and the peace that can only exist when my will aligns with God’s will.  I feel like the psalmist who wrote:  “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.”  (Psalm 42:1, NIV)  So I too am thirsty Lord.