It was an interesting sensation. The sand was damp and jiggled under my feet as though I was walking on a bed of gelatin.
My beach shoes had been torn a few days earlier when I tripped over some wood stuck in the sand. The holes were getting larger and wet sand was oozing in around my toes.
It was unpleasant and I decided to turn back. The squishing as I walked was uncomfortable and I stepped into the water to clean my feet. As I stood, watching the clear water of the waves wash over my feet, removing the dirt, I had a revelation.
It was as though I felt the Holy Spirit telling me this was how my sins were washed away. All I needed to do was to be willing to step out and invite the cleansing flow to wash over me. When I confess my sins to the Lord, he is faithful and just to forgive them and to cleanse me.
Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a faithful spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 GWT)
If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us, (1 John 1:9 GWT)
My friend told me about a strange occurrence at her home. At various times of the day and night different young women came to her door. When she answered they would say they had the wrong address and back away to be picked up by a vehicle waiting a few houses away.
After three such visits in a twenty-four hour period, she’d had enough, and said to the young woman, “Who sent you here?” The surprise on this person’s face was obvious as she heard of the others who had been there before her. She hurried to the waiting vehicle. Since this confrontation, no more unexpected visitors have arrived.
We discussed these occurrences and decided it must have been the question, “Who sent you?” that caused the unwanted visits to stop.
As I thought about this I realized this is a very good question. At the time I was experiencing an unsettled time in a previously good relationship. I was hurt and confused by the change in behaviour. The feeling of conflict was examined and I asked, “Who sent you?”
It wasn’t of God because he doesn’t send unrest. Therefore, it was what I refer to as a spiritual attack. This was something unwanted and uninvited. I had the choice to play host to it or to send it away. My choice was obvious. I prayed, asking the Holy Spirit to fill me, leaving no room for the unrest.
The situation became resolved and the relationship restored. The next time I find myself in this kind of situation I need to ask, “Who sent you?” and respond accordingly.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
“It’s nothing to worry about,” the doctor said. “We just need your heart rate to slow down a little more before we do the next test, so we’re going to put you on oxygen for a few minutes. We find it effective in restoring the heart rhythm.”
I’d never had oxygen before and was curious to know what it would be like. Since I felt fine, there was no concern on my part. The gentle flow into my nostrils didn’t cause any discomfort. It didn’t even disrupt my conversation with the nurse!
After a few minutes I was told my heart beat was back to normal and I could move on to the imaging area. I felt no physical difference but the monitor showed an improvement.
I related this experience to the Holy Spirit breathing into my life. Jesus said he would send us a helper, the Holy Spirit. There is no need for regulators and monitors. On the surface things appear the same. When I call out to him, he calms my heart and mind. This is not only during anxious times. Every day I need the guidance and peace that comes when I breathe deeply of him.
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. That helper is the Spirit of Truth. (John 14:16-17 GWT)
What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. (1 Corinthians 2:12 NIV)
The music that is played during my exercise class fades into the back ground and I’m not consciously aware of it. Occasionally though, a few lyrics demand my attention.
Such was the case recently. Several lines from a song provoked deep thought.
The first words to reach through to me were, “Words are like weapons they wound sometimes.” This was followed by, “I didn’t really mean to hurt you.”
I was reminded how easy it is to use words as weapons. They cut deep and the wounds can last longer than physical ones. I know too well that certain situations can cause these wounds to spring to the surface even many years later. Emotions become raw once again.
Apologies can be made and accepted but the damage of careless words can last a lifetime. In the song Cher sings, “If I could turn back time ….I’d take back all the words that have hurt you.” She was lamenting someone who was no longer part of her life.
Unfortunately, words spoken in haste have the ability to alienate us. Harsh words are like fire; I can’t control or take back the damage they have done.
My intention is not to hurt anyone with my words. In my own strength I have difficulty in taming my tongue. That is why I rely on the Holy Spirit to help me learn self-control. The Spirit reminds me of God’s love so I don’t react in a hurtful manner.
He is the one who enables me to speak gracious words that are sweet to the soul for those hearing them.
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24 NIV)
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:8 NIV)
My husband and I were driving and the warmth of the sun shining through the windows soon lulled me to sleep. As we travelled down a rural road Brian purposely drove across the rumble strips to see if the noise and vibration would wake me.
Rumble strips are grooves or rows of indents in the pavement designed to alert distracted or drowsy drivers that they are leaving their lane.
There are center-line rumble strips which are used on undivided highways to reduce cross-over incidents that could result in head-on collisions. Another type are shoulder rumble strips which are used to reduce run-off-road collisions. On a long stretch of rural highway I have also encountered rumble strips across the traffic lane to alert me to the fact an intersection is coming up.
Brian and I talked about how useful rumble strips would be as we travel the road of life. Wouldn’t it be nice to have something to alert us when we are straying of-course? How about a warning for when we are approaching a potentially dangerous situation? I could use something that tells me when to be alert and proceed with caution.
Actually, I have all of this and more. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be with me to teach me all things. When I feel my conscience warning me about something, I know that this is the Holy Spirit working to keep me from harm.
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. (John 14:26 NIV)
Be alert. Be firm in the Christian faith. Be courageous and strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13 GWT)
The morning after a light snowfall, my husband and I were driving on a major highway. The sanding of the road combined with warming temperature had made the road a sloppy mess. We needed to constantly use our windshield washer to ensure visibility was not obstructed.
At one point I remarked to him, “I’m thankful for windshield washer fluid this morning.” Then, I started thinking how this could be an analogy for life.
Life is not always sunny skies and clear roads. Sometimes there is muck that flies up at us. A little here and there is easy to deal with and I carry on unaware that I’m not seeing clearly any more.
If this is not dealt with my vision of things around me becomes so clouded that it becomes difficult to see what is right in front of me.
This is where prayer and reliance on God and the Holy Spirit comes in. God always sees clearly the direction that is best for me. He hears me when I call out to him in prayer. The problem is that I often forge ahead, thinking I can handle things on my own.
God sent his son Jesus so we might have life and have it abundantly. Jesus gave his life for us. When he died he promised to leave us a helper, the Holy Spirit.
It is the Holy Spirit that can clear my vision. In my analogy, he is the washer fluid for my windshield. By calling out to him and relying on his guidance, I can be lead safely along the road that has been set out for me to travel on.
However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you. John 14:26 GWT
My husband and I were driving on a major highway when the traffic slowed and merged to one lane. We were expecting road work to be the cause of the delay. Soon we came upon a large sign that said: Emergency Scene Ahead, and realized that this was not the case.
Up ahead, in the median, we saw a semi with its roof crushed and windows shattered. Its trailer was being loaded onto a flat deck, while another tow truck worked on the cab. The warning signs had given us the time to slow down and move over to give emergency crews space to work.
Thinking about these warning signs, I wondered what signs I have in my life to warn me of emergency situations ahead. The biggest one is my conscience. The Holy Spirit speaks to me, warning me of things that will cause problems. When I heed these warnings, things go smoothly. It is when I ignore the warning and forge ahead that I put myself in danger.
In order to live securely I need to spend time in prayer and pay attention to the leading of the Holy Spirit. By doing this, there will be less emergency scenes in my life.
The Lord’s beloved people will live securely with him. The Lord will shelter them all day long. (Deuteronomy 33:12B) GWT
My husband and I have just started a beginner Spanish language course. The first class started out with simple phrases such as, “Good morning, how are you?” We could handle this without too much difficulty.
Next we were introduced to the way to say this in the formal manner, for someone you don’t know well, or in the familiar manner for family and friends. The words to both the question and answer change depending on your relationship to the person you’re speaking to. Things were starting to get more complicated.
The next thing to know was the masculine and feminine. I hadn’t realized before that morning was masculine while afternoon and evening were feminine! When the teacher showed us how to conjugate a verb, I started to panic, fearing that I was in over my head.
My goal is to be able to converse with the locals when we vacation in Mexico. I will persevere, but am aware that this will be no easy task.
This made me realize that I need no lessons to be able to communicate with God. The maker of the universe doesn’t require me to speak to him in the formal tense. In fact, he prefers that I be familiar with him. I don’t need to struggle with the correct words as the Bible tells me that the Holy Spirit intercedes for me when I don’t have the necessary words. He knows my heart and that is the truest language there is.
At the same time the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we don’t know how to pray for what we need. But the Spirit intercedes along with our groans that cannot be expressed in words. The one who searches our hearts knows what the Spirit has in mind. The Spirit intercedes for God’s people the way God wants him to. Romans 8:26-27 GWT
We woke up to blizzard conditions. The weather forecast had been telling us this was coming for the past few days but I refused to believe it until it was actually here. The snow was falling and the high winds accompanying it were creating immense snow drifts.
It was fascinating to see how the snow was being sculpted. The drifts on the driveway meant that I didn’t have to go anywhere and I looked forward to a quiet day to reflect and write.
Soon the house started to cool off and turning up the furnace didn’t help. It would come on and then seem to blow out again. The little bit of air that did come through was definitely not warm. My husband went outside to investigate and found a large snow drift up against the side of the house, completely blocking the furnace vent. When the fresh air couldn’t be accessed, the furnace wouldn’t work properly. Soon he had it cleared off and heat started to return to our home.
This was another reminder to me not to let things pile up in my life. When the wind blows, my pile of “stuff” causes a chill that makes everything and everyone around me uncomfortable. The warmth disappears and the only way to regain it is to clear away the drifts that caused the problem. Depending on the amount to be cleared, this can be a daunting task. I may not have the words or know how to pray for what is needed, but the Holy Spirit breathes fresh air and life into me. The Spirit interprets what is in my heart. God understands and by coming to him in prayer daily, I can keep those drifts from forming.
At the same time the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we don’t know how to pray for what we need. But the Spirit intercedes along with our groans that cannot be expressed in words. The one who searches our hearts knows what the spirit has in mind. The Spirit intercedes for Gods people the way God wants him to. Romans 8:26-27 God’s Word Translation.
Be inspired today!
Even though a couple of the regular ingredients were missing, my breakfast of choice was a fruit smoothie. I put everything in the blender, pushed the blend button and nothing happened. A couple of other buttons were tried, but still nothing. It was then that I realized I had not plugged it in! Without the power source nothing could happen.
The parallel to my life hit me immediately. Unless I plug into my power source first thing in the morning, my day is not going to have the outcome that would otherwise be possible. My day needs to start with my connection to God, through prayer. The wonderful thing about this is that I don’t need a long extension cord to stay plugged in all day. God has sent the Holy Spirit to be with me constantly. This source of power is available whenever I choose to make the connection. With this source freely available, I would be foolish not to remain plugged in and fully charged.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 1:19 NIV
You won’t [succeed] by might or by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Armies. Zechariah 4:6B GWT