Bringing us back

“All of us must die eventually.
Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.
But God does not just sweep life away;
instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.”
— A wise woman from Tekoa (See 2 Samuel 14)

Thank Him for this!

And when our hearts hear Him say, “Come, and talk with me,”
may our hearts respond, “Lord, I’m coming.”

Amen.

 

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Psalm Prayer:

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”
(Psalm 29:8)   

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More on the promise that the Holy Spirit lives in us:

John 14:15-26; John 16:5-15; Acts 5:32; Romans 5:5; Romans 8:10-11, 15-17; 1 Corinthians 2:9-12; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 2 Corinthians 5:4-5; Galatians 4:4-7; Ephesians 1:13-14,17; Titus 3:5-6; 1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:27; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:13, 15; 1 John 5:20

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

The Guarantee

Once upon a time, way back in my younger days, I wore a treasured locket. My parents gave it to me for Christmas one year. But it was especially precious to me because my dad had picked it out—especially for me!

This may seem a simple thing to you, but understand, shopping for any kind of jewelry was completely out of my dad’s comfort zone. I’m not sure he’s ever done it since. And I know, it probably happened that way at that Christmas time because Mom had dragged him along for shopping and asked his opinion. But still … he had picked it out. He had chosen this one for ME.

No one else understood the worth of that locket to me, but every time I wore it, my heart glowed.

This connection we have to God—doesn’t it make your heart glow? God wants to live with you! Jesus wants to continue His work with you!

The Spirit living in me is like my Father’s locket hanging round my neck. It’s a sign that I do indeed belong to Him:

and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts… (2 Corinthians 1:22)

It’s a guarantee that I can depend on all His promises:

…as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us. (2 Corinthians 1:22)

And it’s even a promise of my future:

God himself has prepared us for this [eternal life with new bodies], and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. (2 Corinthians 5:5)

God is serious about this connection between Him and His children. He’s sealed it with His guaranteeing Spirit.

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Psalm Prayer:

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”
(Psalm 29:8)   

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

“He will …”

One cannot read the Bible and still maintain an image of God as some omnipotent power, remote and uninvolved in our history and lives, simply letting us alone to muddle through. The entire story of the Bible is the story of God constantly creating paths for His creation to come to Him. Even when people aren’t interested in knowing Him, He lays out possibilities and extends the invitation.

Jesus living on the earth was God coming from eternal realms into our time and space. “If you see me and know me,” Jesus said, “you have seen and know God.”

And now, God’s Spirit is still here, still working in our earthly realm.

When Jesus speaks to His disciples about His coming death — leaving them — He promises the Holy Spirit will come and live within them and continue His work. While we can’t possibly cover in a few paragraphs everything the Spirit does in our lives, take a look at the two passages of conversation between Jesus and His disciples as He tries to prepare them for this new phase of His work. In John 14:15-26 and 16:5-15, look at everything Jesus promises the Spirit will do:

* “He will never leave you.”

* “He will guide you into all truth.”

* “He will be in you.”

* “He is my [Christ’s] representative.”

* “He will teach you everything.”

* “He will remind you of everything I’ve told you.” [Jesus speaking.]

* “He will convict the world of its sin.”

* “He will tell you about the future.”

* “He will bring me [Christ] glory because He will pass on to you my truth and continue my teaching and my work.”

Sometimes we’ve said or thought, “Oh, wouldn’t it have been wonderful to live when Jesus was here on the earth…”

We are ! He is !

Jesus didn’t leave His followers as orphans. God doesn’t leave us alone to muddle through.

He lives right here, within, present with us every day, and continuing His work.

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Psalm Prayer:

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”
(Psalm 29:8)   

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

Knowing God’s Secrets

“I’ll tell you, but don’t tell anyone. It’s a secret.”

Oh, the delicious delights of childhood friendship. Your friend always told YOU—and no one else—her secrets.

We grown-ups do the same thing, but in a more adult way. Only a privileged few know our secrets.

That word secret seems to be a special key to friendship, and all of us have very old and deep emotional reactions to the word.

That’s why I was startled to find it here:

For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.
(1 Corinthians 2:10)

What? God tells His children His secrets? Amazing.

Then I read on:

No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
(1 Corinthians 2:10-12)

My Greek word study tells me that here the word secrets does not mean some knowledge that will be kept from all but a chosen few, like our treasured childhood secrets. It refers, instead, to things that have previously been hidden or unseen or unknown.

The Spirit of God tunes us into God’s thoughts and ways. He gives us understanding and insight that our earthly thinking could never grasp. He wants us to know all the wonderful things He has freely given us. He opens our eyes to see things that He is doing that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to see or understand.

Now that is amazing.

Even though God’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours, He gives us this connection to Himself. He wants us to know Him. He wants us to understand what He is doing. And so His Spirit lives within, becomes a part of us…

… and breaks the barriers of our earth-bound minds.

That is very, very amazing.

Oh, the delicious delights of being a child of God!

Spirit, show us the Father and all of the wonderful things He has freely given us.

Amen.

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If you want to read more, here’s an earlier post on the Spirit opening our eyes: Prism of the Spirit. (Click on the title)

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Psalm Prayer:

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”
(Psalm 29:8)   

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

Spirit connection

Can you imagine what life in Eden must have been like? We can’t, of course, but a few ideas do come to mind. For example, I’d love to have life without slithering snakes. And no weeds or thistles. No wardrobe worries. “Work” would have no connotations of difficulty or strain—work in Eden apparently did not involve the sweat and struggle. Most enviable of all—a life without guilt and fear. Adam and Eve enjoyed an intimate and free connection to their Creator without those barriers rising up between them.

We know what happened to that perfect relationship.

As God makes all things new, He also re-establishes that special connection with His new creations. His own breath first made man a living soul; now He breathes His Spirit into each of His children and renews our connection to Him.

Listen with your heart and soul to these words from God to you:

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:15-16)

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (from Ephesians 1:16-17)

For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (from Romans 5:5)

God does not want to make us slaves who live in fear of Him. He puts His Spirit in His children so that you may know him better. 

The Lord of the universe, the Creator, wants us to know Him. He wants our hearts to know His love. He wants us to know that we are His children.

Does that warm your heart, as it does mine?

May our hearts hear, as our Psalm prayer says, our Father God saying, Come. Come talk with me.

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Psalm Prayer:

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”
(Psalm 29:8)   

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)