Tag Archives: holy spirit

A Weekend Word

Because this is too good not to share…

the God of hope

And who doesn’t need to hear this reminder, this encouragement, this TRUTH?

At the end of a weekend … full of many good and rich and wonderful things that in our weak moments threaten to exhaust and overwhelm?

At the beginning of a week … full of work and routine and busy that tempts us to get lost in the mundane?

In the everyday … as we learn to trust Him more one moment at at time?

Trust the faithful God of hope.

Be filled with joy and peace.

So that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit alone.

—–

ps: just for fun, if you happen to love this print as much as I do, check out StudioJRU for this & others!

Crazy Love

crazy love

And just like that, with a weekend trip to Northern Virginia and some poor planning thrown into the mix, this supposed-to-be-up-on-Friday post turned into a Saturday post.

But before I headed the 6.5ish hours north yesterday, one of the Bible Study groups that I’m in this semester met Thursday evening to discuss chapters 5 & 6 of Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

Towards the end of a great discussion about the central themes of the chapters including following Christ with our all, desiring an intimate relationship with Him first, loving Him above all else, being willing to give up everything in pursuit of Him, and selflessly serving and loving His people as a result of our love for Him, as our conversation shifted to acknowledging we can’t do any of this on our own, someone said this:

“Asking God to help you love others is a really scary prayer.”

And I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it ever since.

Yes, asking for God’s help to love others is scary. Because we know He’s a God who hears and answers our prayers.

And praying that particular prayer requires much of us. It requires that we set aside our own selfish desires for His glory, and it requires a willingness to obey when He makes His answer obvious. But scary or not, oh, how I want that to be the prayer of my heart. I want to love well and love more. And I need Him to do it.

“Is loving God – and, by extension, loving people – what you are about? … Something mysterious, even supernatural must happen in order for genuine love for God to grow in our hearts. The Holy Spirit has to move in our lives.” (Crazy Love, p. 102 & 104)

5 Things

5things

1. I may have more stories of Holy Spirit moments from Guatemala to share at some point (because trust me, it was such a Holy Spirit led and filled trip that there are still many of them!), but my heart needed a break from sharing in this space. So because it’s Friday, a catch-all 5 things post seemed in order.

2. But speaking of Guatemala, have you read this post yet? You should. Seriously. The message is so far beyond me and the story is so worth hearing.

3. Have you noticed there’s a new schedule around here? The goal is new posts on Tuesdays and Fridays with the occasional third post thrown in if necessary. It’s a recent shift, but I like the rhythm of it so far. Tuesdays will be for devo thoughts and Fridays will be for anything goes.

4. It snowed last weekend, y’all! In typical Charlotte style, it snowed on Saturday afternoon and was pretty much completely melted by Sunday afternoon, but it was beautiful while it lasted. The photo is the view out my kitchen window.

5. This verse has been extremely close to my heart all week…

“…for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)

The Night I Rejected Jesus … and the Day I Was Redeemed

It was about 10pm on a Friday night in mid-November. I was driving home from a worship ministries retreat where I had just spent the better part of 4 hours worshiping and rehearsing and where I would be returning early the next morning to do more of the same.

For some unknown reason, I chose to drive home through town rather than taking the interstate.

As I slowed to a stop at a rather rough intersection, I saw him standing on the street corner with a sign asking for money.

rejected_redeemed1

I justified the heck out of why I shouldn’t give…

I was a female by myself, and it was late (there were other cars),
I never give money to homeless people like this (so what?),
I might not have small bills in my purse (I did),
The light would change quickly (it didn’t).

But although I clearly sensed the Lord telling me to give that man money and trust Him with whatever happened after that, I flat-out told God “no”.

After what felt like an eternity, the light eventually did change, but I drove home under the heavy weight of conviction: I had just rejected Jesus on that street corner.

rejected_redeemed2

Fast forward to a Sunday afternoon on the busy streets of Antigua, Guatemala. Our team had just been challenged to spend an hour walking around and observing our surroundings while quietly praying that the Lord would allow us to see through His eyes.

He did.

We were then given another challenge: to take $5 and spend a couple hours walking around the city listening for how the Lord would lead us to use the money. No rules. Just to listen and obey.

rejected_redeemed3

As my partner and I began to walk around, I sensed that I was just supposed to give the money away. That was certainly uncomfortable, and meeting a physical need certainly seemed more practical, but this time, I was ready to listen.

After about an hour of walking, we came to a crowded place in the sidewalk. I was a few steps ahead of my partner, and I literally had to come to a complete stop to allow several people to pass in front of me.

When the sidewalk cleared, I noticed a homeless man sitting against the wall, with his hat beside him, playing an instrument.  He was taking up most of the sidewalk (hence the lack of space), so as I stepped past him, my shoe touched the bottom of his. In that moment, I just knew. The $5 was for this man. It didn’t matter how he would use it, I was simply to be obedient and give.

rejected_redeemed4

As I walked away, I recalled the night I rejected Jesus on that street corner in Charlotte, and I knew that on this day, I had just been redeemed on a street corner in Antigua.

Such a simple moment.

But such beautiful and undeserved redemption that could only be orchestrated by a loving and faithful and gracious God.

He is so good.

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:40 (ESV)

He Told The Story Well

In Acts 7, we encounter Stephen defending himself to the high priest, who along with others intent on silencing the mighty work of the Holy Spirit through Stephen, had accused him {wrongly} of speaking “blasphemous words against Moses and God” (Acts 6:11).

Yet even under the accusation of blasphemy and the threat of imminent death, Stephen told the story. And he told the story well.

Beginning with the promise God had given to Abraham when He called him to the land that God would reveal (Genesis 12), and the covenant God established of giving this land to Abraham’s offspring (of which Abraham had none at the time), to the account of Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, to Moses’ encounter with the burning bush where God spoke the message to deliver His people from Egypt, to the account of David and Solomon, who built the dwelling place for the Most High God, to the Righteous One (Christ) and the power of the Holy Spirit, with whom Stephen was filled, after first living it by example, Stephen told the story … their history … of God’s faithfulness and redemption.

Because of his knowledge of and familiarity with the Scriptures {which he quoted significantly} and because of the Holy Spirit’s presence within, Stephen told the redemptive story, which culminated in convicting questions to his audience. Stoned shortly thereafter, he gave his life to tell the story. To challenge those around him who repeatedly resisted the Holy Spirit. Because this story, HIS story, is everything.

Do you know this story? Are you a living example of this story? Do you know the Scriptures? Are you relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to tell the story in unlikely (and often uncomfortable) situations?

Stephen told the story well. Will you?

**ps: have you heard of “The Story” project (CD pictured above)? if not, go here or here for more information. it. is. awesome.**

Astonished by Common

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.”

– Acts 4:13-14 (English Standard Version – emphasis added)

Jesus has been taken up into heaven after His resurrection, the Holy Spirit has come on believers at Pentecost, Peter has preached a powerful and truth-filled sermon to the masses, Peter has healed a lame beggar and then used the opportunity to again proclaim Christ to those around him, and Peter and John have been jailed overnight by the priests and Sadducees because the message of Jesus Christ was found disturbing and threatening to their power.

That’s a lot going on in a rather short amount of time, but Peter is neither beaten down nor deterred by this series of events.

As Peter and John stand before the council of rulers and elders and teachers, a council in a position to determine whether Peter and John should be kept in jail, Peter again speaks boldly of Christ, of “this Jesus” (see Acts 4:11), of salvation. But not because Peter just has a desire to do so or because he has simply determined to be bold or because he has somehow resolved to be strong.

In contrast to such human effort, Peter – a common and uneducated man – was “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:8).

It is this power, the power that comes from the Holy Spirit alone, that leaves the council astonished. Because even they recognize that the boldness exhibited in these common and uneducated men means that Peter and John had been with Jesus. The power and boldness could come from no other source. And in the wake of this encounter with truth, “they had nothing to say in opposition,” and ultimately release them {at least until the next chapter}.

And as Peter and John share this account, their fellow believers pray this prayer together:

“…now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant, Jesus.”

– Acts 4:29-30 (ESV – emphasis added)

Oh, how I long for that prayer to be granted in my own life as I pray along with them … that others would be astonished … not because of me, but because the power of the Holy Spirit is evident in my common life by the way I live and boldly proclaim the message and truth of Jesus Christ.

Join me in this prayer today?