The Wind of the Spirit is Rising-Sheryl

bth_a holy spirit

The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

I love being at the ocean and seeing Your power displayed.  I would also like to see Your power displayed in Your body.  Ready us, ready me for Your work, Lord.

 

“The wind of My Spirit is rising.  Follow the wind.  Flow in the wind.  Keep returning to Me and I will lead you. Each person needs to allow My preparation work in their life so they will be ready for battle and for ministry.  Behold, new things are coming–new ways, new words, new songs, new gifts.  I need clean hands and pure hearts prepared by obedience to My Word.  Sacrifice the old self, old appetites.  I have a new life for you, a healing, renewing new life for you and to overflow on others.”

 

Show me how to understand what I hear and read.  Holy Spirit teach me the ways of Jesus.  Angels, come minister with us.  Help us accomplish the Father’s will.  We would see you. We would know your presence.  Come in power, Lord, to accomplish Your will on the earth.  Let Your kingdom come.  Let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Bless Your Name, Lord.  Bless Your holy Name.

The Significance of Peace [Noval]

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Psalm 34:11-14  New International Version (NIV)

11 Come, my children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
    and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.

 3/8/17 

LORD, I see from yesterday’s journal entry that I cut you off in mid sentence when Sheryl called me downstairs for something.  That was rude-forgive me! 

Apology accepted.  But really, how can you not cut Me off if you turn your attention away from Me?  I’m always speaking, always giving grace, always imparting comfort, wisdom, counsel and insight.  Your heart’s like a radio receiver. Tune to my frequency, or to “flow” as Dr. Mark (Virkler) puts it, and you’ll receive from Me. 

Why does it seem so easy on some days and so difficult on others? 

Static.   There are all sorts of things that bring static-interference- to the heart.  Suppressed anger, shame, unconfessed sin, the type of unyieldedness that tries to grasp the future and solve multiple problems, address multiple issues, all at once. 

Seek peace and pursue it.  This is good counsel, no only for the one who would have healthy human relationships, but for the one who wants to consistently hear My voice. 

When My servant Frances Shaeffer talked about personal peace and prosperity being the dominant idols of 20th Century western man, he wasn’t speaking of the shalom, the sense of flourishing and well-being that come from Me.  Rather, he was speaking of the refusal to sacrifice personal comfort and convenience for the sake of the kingdom of God. 

Those who abide in Me have great peace, but they also bear much fruit- love, service, humility, generosity, self-sacrifice. 

So when your soul’s not at peace, that should concern you.  Like all emotions, lack of peace always indicates a problem in the heart- under the hood, as it were. 

Lack of soul-peace is a problem, not only because it makes it hard to hear My voice, but because it makes you vulnerable to the passions of the flesh.  The restless heart is always a candidate for seduction.

The middle-aged fool  who leaves his family for mistresses and tattoos and sports cars is often throwing a temper tantrum because all of the things he thought would bring him peace-career, status, the trapping of affluence- failed him.  The didn’t deliver the shalom his heart thirsted for.  Of course, they never could.

The Nature of the Battle [Noval]

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Lord, train my hands for war.   I want to move beyond these internal struggles with pride, greed, lust, judgement and the fear of man, out onto the field, behind enemy lines, where there are captives, POWs.  I think of Jesus’ quotation from Isaiah in the synagogue:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

(Luke 4:18-19;Isaiah 61:1-2) 

You have to, first of all, understand the nature of the call and the struggle.  These aren’t battles fought on a human plane.  It’s not ultimately about philosophies or cultures or ideologies.  Yes, there is a place for worldview rhetoric, apologetics and rational discourse.  But the real battle is in the unseen realm of the spirit.  Just as you’ve fought against strongholds and spiritual forces in your own life (as you mentioned), so the same weapons are needed as you seek liberation for others and to fight for your culture.. The weapons are love, faith, humility, service, self-sacrifice, intercession.  Men try to change the world with printing presses and bullhorns and planes and guns.  I changed the world with a towel and a basin, with bread and wine and ultimately with death on a Roman cross. 

Consider the current chaos in your nation over human sexuality and gender.  The idea that one’s gender is sociologically determined or even chosen by the individual is not based on advances in understanding of human psychology or physiology or genetics.  No, it’s a lie planted by the enemy of souls in hearts to kill, steal and destroy. 

The enemy hates human sexuality because it’s such a powerful aspect of My image completed in humanity. The bride and bridegroom are a picture of the mutual love and service and devotion of Christ and His people.  So Satan in his malice seeks to mar this image by sowing confusion and deception about this core aspect of human personality. 

This is a spiritual stronghold.  From your perspective, the idea that people with penises are men and people with vaginas are women just seems like self-evident reality.  It’s basic to human communication: words mean certain things.  You can’t change the nature of an aardvark by calling him a muskrat! 

But deceptions that are spiritual at their core won’t be dislodged by argument and rational discourse and appeals to logic.  It’s not an intellectual problem!  It’s spiritual.  So the weapons must be spiritual: especially fervent, focused prayer.  Pray for strongholds of confusion and deception to be torn down.  Pray for haerts to be healed and captives to be released. 

And guard your own heart.  Beware of anger and arrogant judgement against those who are deceived.  Your anger doesn’t work my righteousness and it blocks your ability to hear My voice and to love and speak prophetically.  Keep the exhortation of Ephesians 6:12 in the foreground: your struggle is NOT against flesh and blood.

Faith and Faithfulness-Sheryl

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“Faith is belief apart from seeing.  It is belief in Me even when I seem not to meet your expectations of how I should work or your interpretation of My Word.  I never contradict Myself, but you do not see as I see.”

 

While I know it can’t be true, when You do not act according to our understanding of Your Word it makes You look unfaithful.  Again, I know You are entirely faithful but we can’t reconcile what we think we read in Your Word with our experience.  Can You help me better understand this and faithfulness in general?  I want to be faithful to You and I don’t want to believe the enemy’s whispering in my ears.  We sing “All Your promises are yes and amen” yet we or our loved ones aren’t healed when we pray, are anointed, call for the elders, or agree together with others.  Why?

 

“As you surmise I am always faithful to My Word, to My people.”

 

Then why do we so often not see the results we are looking for?

 

“At times it is your lack of faith.  At times it is your understanding.  Sentences do not stand alone, but within the whole context of the Word.  There are other reasons I list in your Bible also.”

 

Open more fully my understanding to what You are saying.

 

“You often pray the way you want things done rather than ask Me how I want them done.  The Spirit will show you how to pray if you ask.  I do often give you the desires of your heart, but I am obligated to the whole council of My Word which encompasses both temporal and eternal matters.

 

“Faithfulness is what you see in My servant, Daniel.  He was faithful to Me, to My Word regardless of personal suffering or peril.  He spoke to kings only as I gave him the words though he often put his life on the line for it.  He was steady in reading My Word, sending his petitions regularly to Me, and taught others, also.  He was so incorruptible he was sought out and honored by several changes in national leadership, some violent.  He was faithful though he was ripped away from home and country as a youth and plopped down into the midst of an extremely pagan culture.  Idol worship and intrigue abounded.  He was completely convinced that being true to Me was the best course whether on earth or, if his life was cut short, in heaven.”

 

How can I be that steady and unwavering and unflappable?

 

“Remember My love, My hand in your life, My track record.  Read, come into My Presence with thanksgiving and praise.  Recount My deeds.  Stay close.  Meet Me often like this.  Seek My Sabbath rest from striving and anxious thoughts.”

 

I want to be steady, Lord.

 

“Be in the Word.  Know the truth.  It can set you free and gives you the weapons of warfare, including the belt of truth.  Strap on the armor and you can take up the shield of faith.  Each step of faith taken in series adds up to faithfulness.”

Love and War [Noval]

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Or:  This Woman You Gave Me……

Proverbs 17:1New International Version (NIV)

17 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
    than a house full of feasting, with strife.

 One of the great blessings of the slower paced retirement years has been the joy and satisfaction of sharing a home with my best friend.  Sure, we’re lovers too, and the fires of romance and passion still burn steadily, thank you very much.  But beyond that, we really like each other.  We enjoy one another’s presence, whether it’s sharing a quiet evening reading stuff on our laptops, reading a novel  together or browsing through shops at the beach, or traveling together to see our kids and grandkids, there’s the deep satisfaction of knowing and being known. 

Sure, we irritate one another sometimes.  We can frustrate each other with ourt very different ways of perceiving, communicating and processing information.  But as a wise man (or maybe it was a wise guy) once said, vive la differerence.   So I’m grateful for you, Honey.  Our marriage gives me great peace and satisfaction.  

It’s no wonder that many of the spiritual sages over the generations have observed that Satan seems to harbor a great enmity and hostility toward marriage, despite ( or perhaps because of) its being such a great source of stability and comfort and blessing in our lives.  He started waging war on this divine institution almost from the beginning of Creation. 

When Christians discuss the Genesis 3 account of the Fall of Man and the onset of this war, and we get to the part where Adam, confronted with his sin, tries to shift the blame to Eve  (“this woman you gave me, she brought me the fruit and got me to eat it”), we sometimes laugh.  We chuckle: “ornery old Adam, trying to duck responsibility for his own boneheaded choice and put it on Eve!”  Snicker, snicker. 

We don’t get it.  Otherwise, we’d be weeping. 

Think about it this way.  Before the temptation, Moses observes, the couple were “naked and unashamed.”  Think about when your marriage has been at its absolute best; when the communication flowed freely, the intimacy was at its peak and the sense of cherishing and being cherished by your mate just bubbled all over the surface of your heart.  I suspect that’s only a rough approximation, a fleeting shadow or aroma of what this first couple shared. 

Then came the Fall.  And God’s confrontation.  And Adam’s ugly response: “It was the woman.  It’s her fault.”  

Look, Adam knew what God had said: you eat, you die.  So Adam, in his fear and cowardice, proposed, however indirectly, the death of his wife as an option for saving his own sorry skin. 

I wonder how Eve felt at that moment. 

Look at what was destroyed:  pure, unbroken intimacy, naked and unashamed, became brutal betrayal and abandonment.  Why don’t we weep?? 

And so the war began, and so it continues.  From the very beginning of civilization, Satan focused his wrath and malice on the cornerstone of civilization: marriage and the family. 

Guys, we’re at war.  So here’s our heartfelt request and commitment-mine and Sheryl’s- to you: pray for our marriage and we’ll pray for yours.  This is a war we mustn’t lose and we don’t have to.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5  New International Version (NIV)

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

The Father’s Heart-Sheryl

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The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22,23)”

Lord, draw me closer.  I want to fall more deeply in love with You.  I want to be wrapped up in Your will, delighting in Your service.

 

“Peace, peace.  I need to say it over and over to My people.”

 

I/we need You so much though, especially as the last days progress. I want my life to speak louder than words.  Heal me; teach me; use me.  I just want You.

 

“And Me you have and shall have.  You are mine, in the palm of My hand. I have a secret name for you.  You make My heart glad.”

 

How can I do that, Father?  I feel I do so little.

 

“You are mine and I rejoice over you with singing.  Have you refused to do something I have asked of you?”

 

Sometimes I think I am slow at obeying.  Sometimes I wonder if I don’t stop my ears.  I don’t want to do either of those things.

 

“Peace, beloved.  I have your heart.  I hold it.  You gave it to Me and no one will take it away.  Am I not capable of making you hear and see?”

 

I don’t want my free will to stand in Your way.  I want to honor You.

 

“Come…”

 

The threshold of Your throne room.

 

“Come…”

 

You are leading me down toward your throne.

 

“I am going to take My seat.  Now you, my little daughter, come sit in My lap.  Let Me encircle you with My arms, hold you close to My heart.”

 

I hear every heartbeat of all creation, of the universe.

 

“Things visible and invisible; things temporal and eternal.”

 

Yet You hold me on Your lap?

 

“You are precious and as important to Me as any.  You don’t enjoy your life nearly enough.  Experience each moment to the fullest, savor it.  Savor time with your loved ones.  There is no condemnation for you, ever.  Allow me to teach you, guide you, make My will known to you.  You needn’t strive for it.  Seek My fellowship as  a child does a parent’s.  A little, much-loved child can’t guess what a parent needs or how they will direct them next, but out of love they will obey when directed.  Look with confidence into My face.  Allow Me to love you, fill you, overflow you and you will do My will.  Do not doubt that.  A child should listen for a parent’s voice, but it is the parent who makes his voice and will known.  Precious child rest in Me.”

 

Lord, I think I need to meditate for awhile on that.  You are my Strength, my Comforter, my Abba.  It is way too easy for me to get side-tracked into fears and what ifs that lead to anxiety.  I see it is Your will for me to keep my eyes on Your face and that will lead to faith.  I want to hear Your voice, not the enemy’s.

 

“When you touch My Father’s heart that contact transfers what I have for you in that moment, for that season.  My mercies are new every morning and I provide new manna every day for instruction, for healing, for commissioning.  That is why it is important to come every day.  Just as I told the Israelites to gather manna for each day’s needs, I tell you yesterday’s manna can grow stale. Circumstances and people change.  You need fresh manna for each new day.  Allow Me to touch your life and transfer power to you for each day’s opportunities and challenges.  You are My beloved child. I give bread, blessings, and bounty.  I give direction and discipline.  Stones and scorpions come from the enemy as do fear and fretting.  What could be better than daily, fresh manna and living water from Me, Jehovah Jireh, your Great Provider?”

Fellowship of the Broken [Noval]

earthen-vessel

You are my Hiding Place.  My Strong Tower, my Refuge, my Hope.  You fill my life with Your goodness and surround me with Your faithfulness.  I offer You all that I am.  Use me, Lord.  Make mean instrument of Your peace, an agent of Your love. 

Peace, be still.  I speak in the stillness. 

Lord, I love Your peace.  It’s like nothing else in the world, just as You said.  It’s well with my soul. 

My servant Paul exhorted you to let the peace of Christ rule in your heart.  You still have some work to do in that area.  Consider how the current political environment can stir up your anger, fear and frustration..  Yes, there can be a righteous anger at injustice but that can only be legitimately expressed when the soul is truly at rest in My righteousness. Otherwise there’s too much potential for contaminants like fear, pride, defensiveness, self-interest and self-protection. 

And it will also help you to stay aware of the principle of Ephesians 6:12- your struggle is not against flesh and blood.  You’re pretty aware of the warfare in your own soul and the enemy’s tactics of deception, accusation and seduction.  Have some compassion for your fellow man- he (or she) is also subject to various demonic assaults that kick up insecurity, anger, fear, rebellion and irrationality.  All flesh is weak, including yours. 

That’s the beauty of a 12-step or similar group that meets to address addictions or other issues.  You start with the assumption that all are broken.  That’s actually the basis for fellowship.  The ground is level.  There’s no posture of judgement.  You face a common enemy.  Humility is the foundation of wisdom and fellowship. As you bring your brokenness into the light, your connection to one another deepens.  That’s what My servant John was getting at in his first letter:

1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Now expand your field of vision.  Even the man you consider your bitterest enemy (think ISIS or the Taliban, or the drug lords or those who traffic in the flesh of children) shares this with you- he is broken.  He is marred by the fall.  He is subject to the assaults of Satan.  He can be deceived and manipulated, just as you can.  He is desperately in need of mercy, just as you are. 

Those who are best equipped to war for righteousness and truth are those who have faced and acknowledged the evils in their own souls and have been broken by My mercy.  To be an instrument of peace, you have to put down the gavel of judgement.  It doesn’t mean tolerance of or compromise with evil.  It means you see your fellow man as a prisoner of war.  The real enemy is not the man but the one who holds him captive.