Tag: Holy Spirit

Raise the Sails

Raise the Sails

Encouragment
For a moment think about a small boat or raft. The kind of vessel you’d see on a small lake or slow-moving river. It’s not a large boat, but one that is rowed with a set of oars. I’ve been in a few of those. Sometimes for fun just to see if I could do it. A few times to fish places that couldn’t be reached from the shore. Sometimes the rowing was easy. More than once it felt like hard work and wasted effort with little movement to show for it. A few years ago my walk with Jesus felt about the same way. Lots of struggle, plenty of effort, but little in the way of progress or fruit. I compared those days to walking in a fog so dense that I could barely make out where to step next. Maybe you’ve had days or even years like that too. What I must share with you today not only impacts those
Signed and Sealed

Signed and Sealed

Encouragment
I don’t recall ever using a wax seal to secure an envelope. Before envelopes could be sealed with glue or wet-able adhesive the only way to secure its contents was with a wax seal. These seals served three purposes. A seal secured the contents with a simple mechanism to keep the flap shut. A broken seal indicated that an envelope had been opened. And the seal was not just a blob of wax but it held an impression declaring ownership. It was a positive indicator that the sender was authentic. Come to think of it, email doesn’t do any of those things. So, what does the Bible mean when it says we’ve been sealed with the Holy Spirit? For instance, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, w
Of Spiritual Gifts, Service, and Activities

Of Spiritual Gifts, Service, and Activities

Encouragment
I recall our first color television set. Our giant RCA black and white was moved upstairs while our new color console from Sears took its place. No remote and only three channels but it was a marvel. Bugs Bunny was so much better in color. One day I looked closely at the picture tube when mom wasn’t watching. She was always telling us to back up from the screen worried that close exposure would hurt our eyes. With my trusty magnifying glass, I examined the tube while Gilligan was inadvertently causing problems. What I discovered where small dots of only three colors, red, green and blue. The principle at work in that old TV is also at work in computer screens, big wall mounted flat panels, and giant electronic billboards. Three simple colors blended to create a multitude of hues and shades
ABCs of Faith – Loving Faith

ABCs of Faith – Loving Faith

Encouragment
Have you ever rode a unicycle?  How about a pogo stick?  Or perhaps you have tried hopping around on one leg. All are doable but not the most stable things in the world. It takes great effort and concentration to maintain balance when there is only one point of contact. Faith works like that too. Focusing only on faith is like trying to ride a unicycle. The hard truth is that faith never stands alone. It is one leg of a comfortable and inviting chair. In a chapter that is often reserved for weddings, Paul describes love in 1 Corinthians 13. In those poetic words there is also a warning about faith. “If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2, NASB9
Walking Through 1st Peter: Suffering Sin

Walking Through 1st Peter: Suffering Sin

Encouragment
We, as followers of Jesus, can be carried away by our convictions. It is good that we’re sensitive to the Holy Spirit and desire to live a life that pleases God. The problem comes when we lay those burdens on others who haven’t yet decided to follow Jesus or been pricked with conviction from the Holy Spirit. I cringe when that happens. The words may be well and true, but the soil isn’t ready for them yet. Especially so when accompanied with condemnation. The result is often a wounded heart that is less receptive to God’s good news. I know because I’ve done it. Our next step through 1st Peter touches on that topic but centers on something else we don’t like to think about. Welcome to our 18th step in our walk through Peter’s first letter to the believers of Asia Minor. Don’t worry if
The Wind of the Spirit

The Wind of the Spirit

Encouragment
There is an unpredictability to life in the Spirit that can be unsettling. In this day and age, we do our best to be predictable. We plan our course. We set goals, write mission statements, and announce our intentions. If we don’t know how to get somewhere, we consult maps, GPS, or some other mapping software. Our lives are often regulated by the clock and calendar. Filling our hours and days well in advance with little space left free. Somehow we think that choosing a restaurant at the last minute is spontaneous all the while knowing we had planned to go out. All this leads me to one question – Who is in control? I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be good stewards of time or that we shouldn’t have plans, goals, and the like. What I am saying is that we can fill our lives to the point whe
Your Tour Guide for Today

Your Tour Guide for Today

Encouragment
It’s vacation season. A time to get away, see some sights, take a few pictures, do something fun, and perhaps just relax somewhere along the way. I ran into a verse recently that reminded me about some of the various tour guides I’ve encountered while on vacation. The guide that steered us through a dark cave and explained the difference between a stalagmite and a stalactite. Another guide who led us through an Alaskan rainforest while describing how life thrives in that environment. The volunteer guide that took us through a Door County lighthouse while describing its history. And if we have ears to hear we also have a life tour guide, the Holy Spirit. In the Gospel of John Jesus said, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not spea
The Set of Our Sails

The Set of Our Sails

Encouragment
A few weeks ago I was reading a biography about the Wright Brothers.  One of the chapters contained these closing lines of a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox... One ship sails East, And another West, By the self-same winds that blow, 'Tis the set of the sails And not the gales, That tells the way we go. Like the winds of the sea Are the waves of time, As we journey along through life, 'Tis the set of the soul, That determines the goal, And not the calm or the strife.  On first blush, Ella's poem sounds like good advice. That our goals in life determine our destination and not fate, circumstances, or happenstance. Whether, according to Ella, we sail in calm seas or through a storm the course is determined by our heart, the set of our souls. And like sailors, we should catch
Spirit of Knowledge and Fear of the Lord

Spirit of Knowledge and Fear of the Lord

Series, Spirit of the Lord
This is the final article based on Isaiah 11:1-2 where he identifies attributes of the Spirit of the Lord.  The last couplet or pairing is the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. Recently my daughter’s family decided to have hobo dinners.  For those that may not know what that that is - Hobo dinners are foil pack meals that usually contain hamburger, potatoes, and carrots.  The foil pack is laid on the coals of a campfire to cook.  In this case their campfire is built in a fire pit made of a shallow steel bowl resting on four legs. Rebekah, our daughter, dutifully warned two and a half year old Eli, to stay away from the fire pit because it was hot and he would be hurt if he touched it. Now, Eli took his mother’s warning to heart. A little while later Rebekah approached the fi
The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding

The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding

Series, Spirit of the Lord
One day some Pharisees and some supporters of Herod attempted to trap Jesus. Traps have three components, the deception of safety, the bait, and the hook.  In this case, the deception was flattery, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.”  The bait was the temptation to be counted among the movers and shakers of society, “Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?”  But Jesus perceived the trap and wisely turned the trap back on them. Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? “Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “T
The Spirit of the Lord

The Spirit of the Lord

Series, Spirit of the Lord
For the next few articles, we are going to explore the Holy Spirit using Isaiah 11:1-2 as our guide. In many ways the Holy Spirit is a mystery to us, being only partly revealed in scriptures. We do know that He participated in the ministry of Jesus and that He convicts, gifts, and guides believers. Yet we are never told His name. Isaiah 11:1-2 provides a prophetic picture of Christ. “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:1–2, NASB95)   For those who may not be familiar with the history of the Old Testament; Jesse is the father of king David, the genealogie