Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

No Power

We are in the middle of loadshedding at the moment.

When that happens, nothing electric works.

We have an electronic gate. Fortunately there is a manual override and when the battery is exhausted, the gate can be pushed. It works, but it is a lot of effort. A nagging background fear is that the battery will go flat when everybody is out and we won’t be able to get in to activate the manual override.

We are designed to be connected to a power source – God himself through the Person of the Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit of power, love and self-discipline. (2 Tim 1:7)

Often I am tempted to try to live the Christian life in my own strength. I call upon my own resources. It is like choosing to switch the gate to manual and push with all my might.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3 NIV)

My Prayer

Lord, please remind me that You have provided everything I need to face the challenges of today and every day. I rest in your arms and allow You to take charge of the situation. Amen.

The Shoot

Soon after we moved into our house about ten years ago, I started my garden. I asked an indigenous nursery what would grow in the shade for my wall near the tap. They sold me a honeysuckle. It grew but has never flourished. The best I get is a tuft of about ten flowers on top of a tangle of old dry stems. Recently I noticed a new shoot.

It is fresh and green and as straight as a broomstick. I thought of Isaiah 11:1. “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
” (NIV)

I’ve mentioned before that my husband and I are members of The Gideons International in South Africa. The Randburg Camp has not been thriving recently. For over five years we prayed for new members without result. In September last year a younger couple joined and today another couple was inaugurated – strong, vibrant Christians, all of them. Perhaps the Lord is sending forth a new shoot from the old gnarled plant. I can’t wait to see growth and vitality taking place among our members.

When Christ comes into our lives, He brings new things, a spurt of growth and vitality. All we have to do is allow Him the supremacy He demands. He will fill us with His Holy Spirit if we ask Him.

My Prayer

Lord, sometimes I feel like an old dry branch set in my ways and unyielding. Please fill me with Your Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord. May I delight in You and allow You to bring new growth and vitality into my life. Amen.

The Little Nut Tree

Today I planted a macadamia nut tree. I bought it from a man who advertises plants on our community group. There was no photo in the ad so I had no idea how big the tree was.

It is tiny.

The pot was donated by a friend who has recently moved into a new house. I’ve been wanting a tree in a large pot for some time so when the pot was offered to me I accepted with gratitude.

I did some research on the internet on macadamia trees and found out that i) yes you can plant them in pots although the yield of nuts might be restricted, and ii) that they require a lot of water, especially when they are young.

That reminded me of the verse I read this morning.

Blessed are those that trust in the Lord… They are like trees, planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit.” (Jer 17:7-8 NLT)

I can just picture trees along the riverbank with a permanent supply of water.

Parys 2017

I’d like to be like that. I’d like my roots to be so deep into trusting God that the heat of the stress of modern day life, the winds of change and disappointment, the drought of Covid or health issues, or loss, or want, or suffering, do not worry me but I can stand firm knowing God is my provider and He is Sovereign.

Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37-38 NIV) By this He meant the Spirit.

Of course, my little nut tree is not planted by a river. It will have to make do with my watering system. And I am not yet in a place where my trust in God is so deep that the circumstances of life do not worry me.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, Please continue to water me with Your Spirit that I might grow deeper in my love of, and my trust in You. Amen.

With Jesus

Sometimes I wish I was with Jesus in the flesh, like those early disciples. Think how exciting it would be!

Image by emilycavins from Pixabay

However, if I think carefully, I don’t think I would have been that comfortable after all. They had given up everything to follow Him. They had no life of their own. They had to go along with Jesus’ plans and couldn’t really plan their own time. They couldn’t decide to look for a new mat for their house or put in a load of washing. Not that I think washing wasn’t done. I’m sure everyday life had to go on. I can’t imagine Jesus and His disciples arriving at a dinner in dirty smelly clothes and unkempt hair. And somebody had to buy groceries. And cook. And clean up afterwards.

The discomfort would not only have been doing household chores without modern appliances, but more on an emotional and personal level. I imagine that, if I made a critical comment about another disciple, or maybe only thought it, Jesus would look across at me and He’d know. I’m sure I’d find plenty that was critical to say about the others – they were a mixed group, coarse fishermen associating with a tax collector and other people I might not trust. I’d be expected to get on with them, even to love them and in time I’d probably learn to.

The disciples were with Jesus, but not in Him. As Christians, we are in Christ and Christ is in us through the Holy Spirit. Jesus said He would not leave his disciples as orphans but would send His Spirit to be with them. E Stanley Jones puts it thus. “The ‘with’ had to end so that the ‘in’ might begin. He withdrew His presence and gave them His omnipresence.”(In Christ 106)

I have Christ’s presence in me. If I am serious about my discipleship, I should also have given up my life to follow Him. I should also regard my time as not my own and rather follow His plans. Yes, they do include ordinary life like paying license fees, fixing broken things and partying with people. Many times God uses exactly these events to carry out His plans. He even uses the bad things like flat batteries or cancelled appointments.

All I have to do is yield to the Holy Spirit as the indwelling, risen Christ, to manifest Christ’s presence to the world. It will be uncomfortable and maybe that’s what prevents me being fully committed. I can only cast myself on His Love and cry, “Breathe on me Breath of God, till I am wholly Thine.”

Wind Chimes and Rainbows

A wind chime hangs outside my kitchen window. In the centre a ball is suspended from a string which continues to a plastic teardrop shaped like cut crystal. Around the main string hang three metal tubes of different lengths. When the wind blows, the ball moves and tings on the sides of the tubes, making the chiming noise. At a certain time of day the teardrop catches the sunlight and scatters it into rainbows which come through my kitchen window and dance around the counter top.

The wind chime has no motor or energy source of its own. All it has to do to make magic is just to be itself and allow itself to be moved by the wind. If it decided to take control and hold its strings rigid like wires, it would not work.

Wind and sun are around us all the time but it takes this simple contraption to draw our attention to them.

Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8)

We are like that wind chime. All we have to do is to be what God created us to be and hold ourselves open to His Spirit. He does the work. His breath blows into us and His light shines through us and we can bring joy to the world and glory to our creator. When we decide to take control and do things our own way, we fall short of the magic for which we were created.

God is around us all the time but I, for one, am not usually aware of Him. Perhaps we all need to try to cultivate more mindfulness. In this way we can become more truly ourselves and bring glory to God. A time of quiet, of bible reading, of contemplation, can help us to cultivate this awareness. I am working through a book called “Taste and See” by Margaret Silf and am finding it helpful to explore different ways to become more mindful of God.

Lockdown Easing

From today South Africa moves from level five to level four lockdown. Pictures flood the news about people out exercising at Emmerentia Dam, Zoo lake, the Promenades in Cape Town and Durban and elsewhere.

I set out to journal the lockdown by posting every day but now I am going to ease off to two or three times a week.

Today’s Lockdownlookup was based on Ephesians 6:18. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” At other times Paul admonishes us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:16)

This sounds impossible but Pastor Richard shared an insight he got from another pastor. Praying at all times in the Spirit is merely inviting the Holy Spirit into the conversations in our minds. We can do that.

Let’s face it, we are all facing a loss of some kind. Loss of control, loss of security, loss of income, loss of loved ones, loss of freedom, loss of our life as it used to be. According to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, the five emotional stages of loss are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I think we are all at different stages and we need to invite the Holy Spirit into all our internal conversations at whatever stage we are in.

At some stage we need to move on to acceptance. I’m not there yet. I’m still hovering around denial, hoping life will go back to what it used to be.

A very wise quote was sent to me by WhatsApp this morning. I don’t know who originally said it.

Lockdown Day 23 Light as Air

It was Saturday. Despite having been retired for almost three years and the fact that during lockdown days merge into each other, weekends still feel like holidays to me. I felt inspired to make scones for breakfast.

Scones are tricky. Sometimes they turn out as light as air but sometimes they are heavy. My scones use baking powder as a leavening agent. If the baking powder is old, it doesn’t work as well. There are other ways to get air into baking or cooking. My chocolate cake relies on bicarbonate of soda. Hot cross buns need yeast to make the ebullient bubbles. Sometimes we need to beat air into substances. Whipping cream or egg whites are examples of this.

Life around us seems gloomy at the moment. Reading the news brings heaviness to our hearts. However, for Christians, God has provided a leavening agent. It is called Joy and it is a fruit of the Spirit as well as a gift.

Act 13:52 reads:

“And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”

In this time of doom and gloom, let us be known for our lightness of heart as we live out the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

The Parable of Balloons

Image by Artturi Mäntysaari from Pixabay

The Kingdom of God is like a bunch of balloons. They are different colours, different shapes, different sizes and different appearances but, unless they are inflated, they are nothing but a gaudy mess of limp plastic. When the Breath of God fills them, however, they become a symbol of joy and fun. They denote party, celebration and special occasion.

From the balloons’ point of view, this process might not be comfortable. They will be stretched and they might do everything in their power to resist. It may even be painful. They may be afraid they will pop as they continue being stretched to their limit.

Our loving Heavenly Father knows exactly what He is doing. He will not allow us to be stretched beyond our limit and He is patient and gentle with us, taking time to stretch us a bit before fully inflating us.