A Tenderized Heart

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In a recent conversation with my daughter-in-law, she made reference to there being a time when God tenderizes our hearts while He prepares us for something more. When I first think of tenderizing something, I relate it to the process of breaking down tough spots in meat before it is grilled. Can I find any similarities between tenderizing a steak and tenderizing our hearts? Let us answer this question by looking at a couple of scripture verses in Ezekiel.

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes
Ezekiel 36:26-27

A heart of stone is a heart full of sin. Jeremiah 17:9 NLT describes the condition of the heart by saying, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” This verse confirms my need of a new heart! A heart of stone refers to a hardened heart that refuses to hear from God. Ephesians 4:18 NLT states, “Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against Him.” Only God can change this condition of a person’s heart. Being born again is how God replaces a heart of stone with a heart of flesh. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:7, “You must be born again.” (To apply the meat tenderizing process, I might say that thawing a hard frozen steak is similar to removing the hardened heart of stone.)

By accepting the new birth offered to us by Jesus Christ, we can be born again and our sins are forgiven. God’s forgiveness removes the sin and stone from our hearts. Going back to my primary scripture for today, Ezekiel describes the heart now as a heart of flesh. Flesh is softer than stone but the Lord offers more. Paul warns in Philippians 3:3 that we are to “put no confidence in the flesh.” (For tenderizing meat, I can say that when the steak is thawed it becomes a pliable piece of beef.)

Referring back to Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus says in John 3:5-6, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” One’s heart can still be tremendously influenced by fleshly, or earthly, desires even though the heart no longer is a hardened stone. The flesh continues to require the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises us in John 14:26, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Now looking closely at the words of Ezekiel, he promises not only a new heart but also a new spirit in verse 26. This new spirit is the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:5-6 says, “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” This Old Testament promise of a new spirit recorded in Ezekiel is fulfilled in the New Testament scripture of II Corinthians 1:21-22, “Now it is God who establishes both us and you in Christ. He anointed us, placed His seal on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a pledge of what is to come. (The work of the Holy Spirit symbolizes the tenderizing process. When meat is allowed to marinate in specific ingredients, “tough stuff” is broken down.)

I want to further develop this concept of tenderizing our hearts. Before I put a piece of meat into a marinade, often I will pierce it with a fork so the marinade, acting as a tenderizer, will penetrate into the meat more deeply. Now consider this from a spiritual perspective. We all encounter experiences when our hearts of flesh feel as if they are pierced with challenges. However, the Lord works in these poked holes of our sensitive hearts. He will also convict us of any sin that might piece our hearts so we will confess our sin.  The Lord’s desire is to pour the Holy Spirit into our hearts so that not only is the Holy Spirit upon us as a seal but the Spirit penetrates our hearts and flesh. We are baptized, or immersed, in the Holy Spirit. This is first recorded in Acts 2:4, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.” I believe the Spirit works within us to tenderize our hearts towards Him before He can move in our lives through more manifestations and revelations of His nature and character. Once again looking at Ezekiel, we notice in verse 27 that the outcome of our tenderized heart is that “He will cause us to walk in His ways.” The New English Translation says, “I will take the initiative and you will obey.” This is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit. We no longer have a hardened heart or just a heart of flesh but a heart controlled by the Holy Spirit. We may have to chew on a tough steak, just like we may need to meditate upon what the Lord is showing us. However, it is easier for us to enjoy and digest a more tender steak. Similarly, we can more easily comprehend the will of God and enjoy serving Him for kingdom purposes when the Holy Spirit has softened our hearts toward the things of God. One final similarity I find interesting is that many marinade recipes include olive oil, and oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit in scripture. Acts 10:38 says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.”

Colossians 3:12 NLT admonishes us, “Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” A tender heart has a softened quality of being gentle, affectionate and compassionate. It is sensitive, pliable and yielding to the Spirit of God. Tenderizing one’s heart is part of the process of a deep commitment to the Lord. Let the tenderizing begin!

 

 

 

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Anchored to Hope

While HOPE is one of my favorite topics to blog about, I have chosen to emphasize it today in honor of a dear friend of mine, Judy, who went to be with Jesus a year ago in April. June 17 was her birthday on earth, and while she is celebrating that day in heaven now, I want to honor her with the following insights regarding HOPE. She anchored her faith to hope throughout her illness. The anchor with a yellow ribbon pictured above, was given to each of us at her celebration of life service. I still cling to this anchor pin as well as to the spiritual promises of hope.

In the bigger picture, the view from which Judy now experiences it, hope is the eternal full manifestation of eternity with God. Our eternal hope is promised in Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” But in the meantime, we walk by faith and not by sight because according to Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

My Reader, what comes to your mind when you hear the word HOPE? Do you perceive hope as a fluffy, flimsy desire floating through your mind or do you picture hope as an anchor uniting with faith in your heart? We often have trouble describing hope because it is invisible. There is an anonymous quote that says, “Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” A scriptural definition of hope is found in Romans 8:24-25, “But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Although HOPE is invisible, I want us to envision the anchor as a picturesque image of hope.
Hebrews 6:19 states, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Sarah Young says in Jesus Calling, “A good way to remain anchored to Jesus is to whisper His name as often as needed. We can pray and proclaim “Jesus, You are my HOPE!’”

With this in mind, I have created an acronym for HOPE that elaborates upon four descriptions of the Lord that will help us understand why He is the One in whom we must put our hope and trust.

H.O.P.E.

H = Helper – Zechariah 4:6
John 14:26 NASV says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” In this verse, Holy Spirit comes from the Latin term paraclete that means advocate or helper. II Corinthians 5:7 tells us to walk by faith and not by sight, but as human beings this is hard for us to do. We tend to want to follow what we see and what we know in our heads, so we need the assistance of the Holy Spirit to help us secure HOPE deep in our hearts.
In Zechariah 4:6, the Lord Almighty declares that victory is attained “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.” So, with this assurance, we can assume that Helper is an accurate word for the letter H in our acronym for HOPE. Only as the Holy Spirit helps us, can we grasp the assurance of hope.

O = Omniscient – Isaiah 55:8-9
Omniscience is defined as “the state of having total knowledge, the quality of knowing everything.” Although God is beyond our full understanding, He is omniscient. He is sovereign and knows all about all His creation. We serve a God who thinks about our lives, our world, and Yis creation on a completely different level than even the smartest human being can think. Psalm 147:5 says, “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.”
With this in mind, I have chosen Isaiah 55:8-9 as our scripture to describe how the omniscience of God is appropriate for the letter O in our acronym for HOPE. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

P = Perfect – Jeremiah 29:11
Psalm 18:30 begins by saying, “As for God, His way is perfectand Deuteronomy 32:4 declares,His works are perfect.” God is the only one who is perfect, being without sin or weakness. As I looked for a definition of perfect I read such phrases as “complete and right in every way; having nothing wrong” – “exactly right for a particular purpose or situation” – “being entirely without fault or defect.” I also think of the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy that describes the Lord as being “perfect in power, love, and purity.” God is the only one who is perfect!
When I want a reason to have hope in God, perfection is a good choice of words to use for the letter P in the acronym for HOPE. Jeremiah 29:11 supports this by stating, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’

E = Emmanuel – Deuteronomy 31:8
When the angel announces that Mary will conceive a child by the Holy Spirit and have a son, it is declared in Matthew 1:23 that they shall call His name Emmanuel which is translated “God with us.” This is a fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. In Genesis 28:15 the Lord says, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.” Not only does He promise to be with us but He also promises to watch over us! So, if God is with us, we can rely upon His help because of what we previously said about the Holy Spirit being our Helper. And, we can trust His help because God is omniscient and perfect, also based on previous statements.
T
he choice of Emmanuel as an applicable word for the letter E of our acronym for HOPE is supported by the scripture found in Deuteronomy 31:8, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” It has been said that “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.”

The anchor of HOPE prevented death from having a hold on Judy. I desire the anchor of hope to prevent hopelessness from having a hold on me. To us, our situation may look hopeless, but according to Mark 10:27, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” I like the New Living Translation of Hebrews 11:1 that says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” These are the words upon which I desire to anchor my heart to God’s heart.

I want to conclude by extending to all of you the message of Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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End the Year with Gideon

 

colored-candlesHow do I describe the month of December? Busy! A good busy, but busy. Now it is time for me to take time to reflect upon not only the past few weeks but the whole year in general. Listen to the message of the quote below taken from the December 24 entry of Streams in the Desert by L. B. Cowman.

Yet our time is never more profitably spent
than when we set aside time for quiet meditation,
talking with God, and looking up to heaven.”

When I first read these words, I was too busy to do what was suggested. I know it would have been to my benefit to sit by the manger and look into the eyes of Jesus, the baby who became my Savior, but I did not choose to tarry in His presence. Now at the end of the year, I want to accept the challenge of setting aside time for quiet meditation. And, My Reader, I challenge you to do the same.

spread yourself like Gideon’s fleece,
allowing itself to be soaked with the moisture of the dew of heaven.
We should have intervals of time when we do nothing, think nothing,
and plan nothing but simply lie on the green lap of nature and “rest awhile.”

These words are also from December 24th reading in Streams in the Desert. I like the image of my lying down and soaking in the presence of God. After all the commotion of Christmas, I tend to have a feeling of spiritual dryness regarding some aspects of my life. The dew of heaven is very appealing! I want to drink in the Lord’s nearness. I desire to sit in the lap of my Lord. I open my Bible to the story of Gideon.

Then Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel
by my hand as You have promised –
look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor.
If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry,
then will I know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You said.”
And that is what happened. Gideon arose early the next day;
he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a bowl full of water.
Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me.
Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test
with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground
covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry;
all the ground was covered with dew.
Judges 6:36-40

Commentators have criticized Gideon for testing God, but that is not my focus today. I want to think about what happened for Gideon with his fleece. I reread some handwritten notes in my Bible that suggested the fleece represented Gideon himself. When the fleece was wet, it promised Gideon that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit who would empower him to fulfill the task the Lord was asking of him. When the fleece was dry, it assured Gideon that even though he felt dry, God could and would still use him. The message for me today is that even though I feel tired and dry at the end of 2016, if I will bring myself before the Lord, I will experience the presence and power of His Spirit. He is just waiting for me to lie down in His green pastures in order to be refreshed with His quiet water. (see Psalm 23:2)

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Mark 6:31

This is how I want to end the year of 2016. I want to take time to be alone with Jesus in a restful quiet place. Judges 6:24 tells how Gideon had made an altar to the Lord and had called it “The Lord is Peace.” I find it interesting that Gideon knew God as his source of peace before he made his petition to the Lord regarding the dryness and wetness of the fleece in Judges 6:36-40. He may have needed this extra reassurance of a sign from the Lord as to how God worked in his life. Maybe he had been busy working on the threshing floor and needed a touch from the Lord before he began his next assignment. Maybe he needed an additional anointing. I have been reading the words “Peace on Earth” on Christmas cards and singing about it through the words of the traditional Christmas carols. However, I have not been experiencing the peace that passes understanding to its fullest extent. I, like Gideon, need a fresh anointing.

My Reader, how are you feeling today? Are you still too caught up in the busyness of Christmas celebrations? I pray you will find a quiet place and take time to drink in some of the dew of heaven. Let the Holy Spirit fill you with His presence so that you will be able to spend your time more profitably in 2017.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Fire with a Purpose

fire-hs2fire-bonfireRecently I attended a Christian women’s retreat and our evening session was held around a bonfire. While the speaker shared what had happened in her life that caused her to feel like trash, many women threw their own garbage into the fire. What happens when the worthlessness of our lives is combined with fire?

The most obvious answer is that all the trash and garbage is burned up. However, ashes remain. Ashes often symbolize sorrow and repentance for sin committed. Job 42:6 NLT says, “I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” When we toss our garbage into the fire, flames are kindled that burn up the useless things that have happened to us.

Malachi 3:2 describes God by saying, “For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.” When we leave our rubbish and rubble at the feet of Jesus, He becomes our fire who refines us to be pure like silver and gold. In Isaiah 48:10 the Lord says to us, See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”  This concept is expanded in I Peter 1:7 NLT that says, These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” Once again we see how God uses everything in our lives for good. (see Romans 8:28) Although we may mess up when difficulties arise in our lives, God will refine our trash into treasure when we throw it into the heat of the fire. God has a flame of forgiveness for us.

I Corinthians 3:15 says,If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” Then Paul goes on to say in verse 16, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” This is possible because of another function of fire. Acts 2:3-4 describes Pentecost and the descending of the Holy Spirit by saying, “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” The Holy Spirit sets us on fire to serve the Lord.

In Daniel 3, we read the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego being thrown into the fire by Nebuchadnezzar, but upon closer look there were four in the fire because God was with them. My Reader, I want to assure you today that if you are in the fire for any reason, God is with you. He will burn up your trash and receive your ashes of repentance. He will turn these ashes into beauty by refining you into someone more precious than gold or silver. He will set you on fire with the Holy Spirit and will live within you. II Timothy 1:6 says, “For this reason I(Paul) remind you (Timothy) to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” I remind you to do the same. Fan the flame of fire within your heart and also fulfill I Thessalonians 5:19 that says, “Do not quench the Spirit.”

The bonfire I experienced at the retreat helped to keep all of us warm on a chilly evening. However, it also provided us with a powerful picture of what the Lord was doing in our spiritual lives that evening.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Wind Empowers Windmills

windmill 3wind of HSwindmill 8

I have always been fascinated by windmills. However, they are worthless objects unless the wind empowers them. The blades of the windmills are so graceful as they go around and around under the direction of whirling air. It is amazing how much productive power they generate. According to Wikipedia, the windmill is defined as a mill that converts the energy of the wind into rotational energy by vanes called blades. Centuries ago, windmills usually were used to mill grain or pump water. The majority of modern windmills take the form of wind turbines used to generate electricity, or windpumps used to pump water. Their appearance has changed dramatically over the years and the use of their power has expanded. As my physical eye looks up to see these towers catching the air’s breeze, my spiritual eye looks up to the wind of the Holy Spirit.

windmill 5Focusing upon physical windmills brings back memories of when I grew up on a farm. There was a windmill on almost every farm and it was the source that provided water for our cattle. Our windmill pumped water from deep beneath the ground. However, it could only function when the wind was blowing. Dad made sure to fill our cattle’s watering tank to capacity on a day when the wind was blowing because there was the possibility that tomorrow he would not be able to add water to the tank if the air was still.

windmill 4Today when traveling across the state of Iowa, we see numerous modern windmills. Instead of one windmill per farm, these groupings of structures are called windmill farms. If the wind is blowing, the blades of the windmills will be rotating. If there is no wind, the three blades of the mill are stationery. The windmill can still only operate when there is wind. However, instead of being a source of water, most modern windmills are used as a source of electricity.

wind of HS 2With the structural use of windmills in mind, I now look for a spiritual application. I am the windmill and the Holy Spirit is my wind. Jesus says in John 3:8, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” In the natural, I cannot see the wind but I can feel it blowing against my face. In the spiritual, I cannot see the Holy Spirit but I am aware of the Spirit’s power and work in my life. Knowing that Pentecost was when the Holy Spirit descended upon the eleven apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ fifty days after His ascension, I think of another scripture. Selected portions of Acts 2:1-4 describe this occasion by saying, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. … All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit….” Here is wind and here is power! This is what Jesus promised in John 16:7, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” Considering how this affects me today, I look at a couple of scriptures found in letters written by Paul. When Paul says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” he is referring to the power of the Holy Spirit at work within him,  This same power is available to me today. Then in Ephesians 3:16 NLT, Paul says, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he (the Father) will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” If the wind of the Spirit is blowing upon my life, I am promised the strength to accomplish the Lord’s will and work. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, I will not succeed.

The windmill uses wind power to create rotational energy for the use in mills and pumps and wind turbines. Similarly, I can rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit to give me energy to fulfill the tasks the Lord has for me. I described physical windmills as having a graceful appearance. It is only possible for me to be the person God wants me to be by being “grace full” – full of His grace. This corresponds with the definition of grace that says it is His empowering presence that allows me to be the person He created me to be and to do what He has planned for me to do. Wind and windmills work together just as the Holy Spirit works with me.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Do Not Interfere

bible-studyDo not interfere with the work on this temple of God.
Ezra 6:7
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit?
I Corinthians 6:19

I realize that this scripture verse in Ezra relates to the rebuilding of the temple by the Jewish people, but I want to connect it with a verse from I Corinthians. As I read Paul’s words in I Corinthians 6:19, he reminds me that I am not my own. Tying these two verses together I can say that I belong to the Holy Spirit and I am not to interfere with the work that the Holy Spirit is doing within me.

I brush up on a little biblical history and discover that the verse of Ezra 6:8 was part of a decree made by King Darius who reigned from 522-386 BC. A group of Jews led by Zerubbabel returned to Jerusalem in 538 BC and 2 years later they began to build the altar and temple foundation. In 530 BC construction halted because of opposition and it was not until ten years later that work resumed. It was during this time when no construction was taking place that King Darius issued the decree saying there was to be no interference with the work on the temple. The temple was finally completed in 516 BC. The primary reason the work was temporarily stalled was because the returning Jews had listened to the accusations and rumors by local pagan inhabitants.

Enough Old Testament history! I want to move on to connecting the dots with Paul’s words in the New Testament. It is sobering for me to think about how easily I can be influenced by accusations and rumors spoken by people around me who are not following the Lord. I can be like the Jews described by Ezra. If I have allowed worldly factors to influence my thoughts and actions, then I want to rebuild my body, soul and spirit to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. It is interesting to note that Ezra’s name means “help” and the Holy Spirit is often referred to as the Helper. Jesus says in John 16:7, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” Ezra’s role in the book of Ezra was as a priest who stood in the gap through prayer for the Jews. He encouraged them to turn from their pagan involvement. He helped them admit and confess their sins. When Ezra arrived in Jerusalem, the temple building had been rebuilt but he helped them to rebuild their lives. II Corinthians 5:17 declares, “we are new creations in Christ,” when we accept Jesus as our Savior. However, I still need the help of the Holy Spirit to rebuild my life so that I can daily live for the Lord.

Going back to the book of Ezra again, in his decree Darius says in Ezra 6:10 the reason for rebuilding the temple was, “so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons.” The temple was where the Jews presented their sacrifices to the Lord. Does this apply to me? Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.” The way I should live my life is to sacrifice, or lay aside, my own desires for God’s desires. Hebrews 13:15 instructs me, Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” I want to be diligent, or careful and persistent, to make praise a priority in my life. This corresponds with the end of Ezra 6:12, “Let it (the rebuilding of the temple) be carried out with diligence.”

I am always amazed as to how words of Old Testament and New Testament scriptures can be connected. While thinking about Ezra and I Corinthians, I realize that I want to be a temple of the Holy Spirit and I do not want to interfere with the Spirit’s work in my life.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Take a Deep Breath

wind

hs-windIt is springtime and the weather is in a constant state of flux. Some days are warm and then the next few days may be cold. Wind usually accompanies a change in these weather fronts. I feel wind but I do not see it. I know wind exists even though I cannot visually validate it. This reminds me of the Holy Spirit who I know exists even though I cannot see Him. Scripture describes the Holy Spirit as wind in Acts 2, so it is applicable for me to make this comparison. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they (the disciples) were sitting….All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…. – Acts 2:2&4. (my emphasis and explanations)

Since wind can be defined as moving air, I think about breathing. I have physical life because I breathe oxygen from the air. This takes me to a scripture in the first book of the Bible. Genesis 2:7 says, “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” There is life in the breath of God. In the creation process, I was formed and then I came alive when God breathed His breath of life into me. God imparted to me eternal, spiritual life only possible through His breath which was not given to any plant or animal He created. I have physical life because I breathe in oxygen, and I have spiritual life because I breathe in the breath of God. I must not try to do His work in our own strength. Paul reminds me in Philippians 4:13 NKJV, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The only way I can accomplish all that the Lord sets before me is to rely upon the spiritual power imparted to me through Christ, through the breath of God. The Lord did not create me to be able to do everything by myself in my own strength. Like the wind, there is power in the breath of God. I cannot see it but I can feel it.

Nature’s wind accompanies storms within the atmosphere. There can be turmoil within the skies and there can be turmoil within my life. There is power in blustery breezes and there is power within the wind of the Holy Spirit. When I am feeling overwhelmed, it helps to relax if I take a few deep breaths. What I am doing in the spiritual realm is expelling my own strength and breathing in God’s strength. I am exhaling my sinfulness and taking in His forgiveness. I am reminded of the words of the hymn Breathe on Me Breath of God by Edwin Hatch

Breathe on me, breath of God
fill me with life anew,
that as you love, so I may love
and do what you would do.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
until my heart is pure,
until my will is one with yours
to do and to endure.

Breathe on me, breath of God;
fulfil my heart’s desire,
until this broken part of me

Breathe on me, breath of God;
so shall I never die,
but live with you the perfect life
of your eternity.

To conclude, I have come to realize that if I can believe in the wind that blows as part of weather, I can believe in the Holy Spirit. Like the wind of the weather, I cannot see the Holy Spirit, yet like the wind, I can feel His presence. Just because I cannot see the wind of the weather, I do not stop believing that wind exists and that there is power within the wind. So, neither should I doubt the existence or the power of the Holy Spirit simply because I cannot visually see Him. I constantly and consistently need the oxygen within the air to live physically and I must continually rely upon the Holy Spirit to give me spiritual life. I need to breathe in God’s divine strength. In John 20:22 it says, “He (Jesus) breathed on them (the disciples) and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Today I ask Jesus to breathe on me and impart to me a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit.

My Reader, will you take a deep breath with me?  Be aware of the breeze around you.  Be filled with the Holy Spirit. 

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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