God has really been starting to connect a few dots for me, and I’m loving it! I’m still kind of in “processing mode,” so just bear with me. 🙂
As you guys may remember, Chris and I joined a new church a few months ago. A home group we were invited to really made us feel welcome and got us involved right from the start. It was in that group that we started reading through the book called “Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit” by Francis Chan.
We’ve been working on this book all fall, so I’ve had lots of time to think about what it teaches on the Holy Spirit. Some of my “aha” moments include:
– Understanding that the Holy Spirit is a Person – not a “power” or “thing.” He is someone with whom I am called to have a relationship with, not a power I can summon when needed.
– The Spirit has emotions, in fact, the bible tells us “not to grieve the Holy Spirit.” My sin grieves the Holy Spirit…and yet how often do I continue on in sin?
– Through the Spirit we have entered into God’s family through “adoption,” we are brothers and sisters with Christ!
– Recognizing the Holy Spirit as a comforter & counselor…which translates to me needing to call on Him in times of frustration, need, sorrow – instead of calling on my friends or Momma!
– Challenged me to think about why I desire the Holy Spirit’s activity in my life…is it for selfish reasons or that which has eternal value?
– When the Holy Spirit is at work God will be praised – not people.
Anyway, I hope I didn’t botch any of this up. I’m a work in progress & learning more everyday…
You can find out more about the book & author at http://www.forgottengod.com/
Then, in Sunday School, we started doing a study about Heaven by Randy Alcorn. (The lessons were excerpts from his book called “Heaven”…you can find it at his website http://www.epm.org/)
I was really excited about doing this study, for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s where my Pappy is. I think of her so often, and find such joy that I will see her there again someday. Since she is on my mind, Heaven is on my mind also. Secondly, I read a book this past summer called “Heaven is For Real” (by Todd Burpo) and I was curious to see how the two would line up.
Well, God immediately started speaking to me again. Remember when I said it’s all about Him? Yes, well THAT is the reason I should be heaven-focused. My priorities still need a little work I guess.
And, lo and behold, this study talked more about how the life we live here on earth is in preparation for the one we will live in Heaven one day. It is a chance for us to develop a relationship with God the Father, with Jesus Christ, and with the Holy Spirit, so that one day we will know and experience them fully.
He brings out so many things about Heaven that interest me, excite me, and cause me to thank Jesus for dying on the cross so that I can be there one day. One of the things I love most that I’ve learned is about the “new heaven and new earth,” and how God will one day redeem the earth as well as the believers. It’s just another example of how even though the earth feels like Satan’s playground now, God will reign in the end and bring His creation back to the beauty and splendor he created it to be!
And then a few weeks ago the church had an “Experiencing God Weekend” to kick off a church-wide study of the book “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God” by Henry & Richard Blackaby. (See previous post Experiencing God.)
Day 1 tied right into Francis Chan’s book when it kicked the study off by discussing how the Holy Spirit will be guiding my heart through the lessons. Blackaby said “He <the Holy Spirit> will work to reveal God, His purposes, and His ways to you. The Holy Spirit honors and uses God’s word in speaking to you.”
Then he used the scripture John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” That’s Jesus speaking people…and you’ll notice He didn’t say “I will show you the way” or “I will give you a map to show the way.” He IS the way, and having a relationship with Him is key!
I just keep getting hit day by day the truth that it is not about me, that God’s nature and will is outlined in the Bible, that even once you are a Christian He continues to pursue a love relationship with you…and that it’s time to stop spending my time thinking about God’s will for my life and start accepting God’s invitation to join Him in His work.
Oh goodness gracious there is so much more I could say about this study, but I just hardly even know where to start. It is so, so good though.
So here’s where all the connections start…
1. While reading each of these books I kept thinking “Well this is all well and good..but what am I supposed to DO? How am I supposed to RESPOND? Where is the method? The formula? Just lay out the steps for me already and I’ll follow them!
Then Francis Chan slapped me in the face with his words (or was that the Holy Spirit…hum…) by saying that he wasn’t going to give us a plan. “Stop looking ahead in the chapters” he said, “It isn’t there!”
The “Experiencing God” study told me the same thing. Not the ideal answer for a girl who is a planner to the core.
Know why? Because it doesn’t work that way. Recognizing the voice of the Holy Spirit comes through developing a relationship with Him. Knowing and experiencing God come from an intimate love relationship, which is cultivated by time spent in His word, in prayer, in obediance.
It isn’t about a method. It’s about a relationship.
2. Just as I started “Experiencing God,” I read chapter 6 in Chan’s book. And wouldn’t ya know that the two go together perfectly? I said it before & I’ll say it again…I *LOVE* when God does that!
This particular chapter was about forgetting about what “God’s will for my life” is. I mean seriously, how often do we ask that question? (And by we, I mean me.)
What I’m coming to understand is that I’m asking the wrong question. Asking it that way puts the focus on ME…and that’s all wrong. I already learned that when the Holy Spirit is at work Christ will be glorified, not me.
So the more appropriate questions are “What is God’s will?” and “How is God calling me to respond now, in this moment, to the Spirit’s leading?”
It really is all about Him.
So today, I’m thankful for those “duh moments,” when God reveals Himself and His nature to me in a new way. I pray that this next year will be spent getting to know my God, deepending my relationship with Him, and seeing where He would have me to be joining Him at work.
And, I pray for the courage to respond to His call.
KEEP CALM & SEEK GOD!