Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Nuggets of Hope 29 – Living Flame of Love

We live in troubled times. As if the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t present enough of a challenge, the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer has placed a spotlight on the reality of white privilege and the pain of the black community. Meanwhile, anti-Semitism is once again rearing its ugly head. A Montreal synagogue was recently torched, and fully 20% of Britons surveyed blame a Jewish conspiracy for COVID-19. And this is only a partial list.

In the midst of all this turmoil comes the Biblical feast of Pentecost (Shavuot in Hebrew), celebrated by Christians today and by Jews three days earlier. Originally a harvest festival, Shavuot was one of three festivals (the others being Tabernacles and Passover) for which Jews were expected to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

The Book of Acts records that after Jesus had ascended into heaven ten days earlier, the community of about 120 disciples had gathered and were holding an extended prayer meeting. Meanwhile the city was filling up with Jewish pilgrims who had come from various places in the Roman empire to celebrate Shavuot. On the feast day, as the apostles were praying – probably on a rooftop terrace – the Holy Spirit was poured out in power, a crowd gathered because they heard God being praised and proclaimed in their various languages, the apostle Simon Peter preached a bold and powerful message, and three thousand Jews turned from their sins on that day, received Jesus as Messiah, and joined the community of His followers. While a nucleus stayed in Jerusalem, many of the pilgrims would have eventually returned to their homes, taking the new faith with them.

The new community of disciples was marked by several powerful features. They were full of joy by the power of the Holy Spirit. They stood in awe of God’s power and holiness. They lived together, shared their goods, walked in humility, loved their enemies and prayed for those who opposed them. Miracles of healing were common. Before long, persecution began to flare up as the new faith was a challenge to the established order.  Yet many were drawn to the new faith because of the undeniable sense that God was with these lovers of Jesus.

Two millennia have passed since those early days. The new movement, which began as a persecuted minority among Jews, soon spread to Gentiles as well and after a couple of generations had rejected its Jewish origins as it began to penetrate Roman society. Within three centuries, the church had become an established institution, supported by the state. Its history is a mixture of good and evil. The list of wrongs perpetrated in the name of Christ is too long for this blog. Yet many of the best features of our Western society are also directly attributed by secular historians to the influence of Christianity. By God’s grace, the same Holy Spirit who fell on the eagerly waiting fellowship on that first Pentecost has continued to bring repentance and renewal, and the number of those who truly love Jesus and His ways, and seek to follow Him in sincerity, has continued to grow.

In these troubled times, when many things are being shaken and stripped away, I believe it’s time for God’s people to return to basics – to our first love. The Holy Spirit was given to empower His people to proclaim the good news. He has given us many gifts of power. But His first assignment – His very nature – is to draw our attention to Jesus himself. I’m very grateful for the gifts of the Spirit. But I am even more grateful that He gives us the power to grow in love for Jesus and His ways. He is the living flame of God’s love, poured into our hearts. Whatever good we do – whether preaching the gospel, giving to the poor or caring for the sick – it counts for nothing with God unless it springs from love. But consistent love for God and His ways – which Jesus called the first commandment – is the one thing we are incapable of without the power of the Spirit. I can’t even love my own wife consistently without His help. We need the Holy Spirit.

In these times of growing turmoil and trouble, it’s increasingly evident that no-one has a solution to the challenges we are facing. There is only one leader capable of bringing peace, justice and healing to the earth – King Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah, who will bring in His Kingdom when He returns. But He has given His people a deposit on our inheritance – the blessed Holy Spirit. In the chaos of our times – in the midst of adversity, when everything within us is crying out to God to change our circumstances – the Spirit empowers us to love and choose the Lamb and His ways. He is coming for a people who have learned to persevere and grow in love. In the end, that is how we will be evaluated.

Come, Holy Spirit.

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Nuggets of Hope 27 – Are you listening?

PSSST … 

Hey you. I have some things to tell you. Secrets. Things that can help you.  Are you listening? This is really important.

God. 

This is a time of many opinions, much commentary, many unknowns and uncertainties, many claims and counter-claims, much fear and anxiety, much suspicion and accusation, much unrest and contention.

In the storm of words, it is a great gift to be able to quiet one’s thoughts by giving our attention to the Holy One.

Before I was born again, I could not do this. I was a young United Church pastor – attempting to be a shepherd to others although I did not yet really know the Good Shepherd. I was driven and anxious much of the time. I wanted peace – wanted it desperately – but I could not think my way into it.

I found that the way to peace was through surrender of my will to Jesus Christ and baptism with the Holy Spirit. Right away my life became much simpler as I no longer felt compelled to solve every problem or come up with a solution for every situation. There was such freedom in not being responsible for everything.

I am very grateful for those who trained me, early on in my walk with Christ, in learning to listen to the quiet whisper of Holy Spirit speaking to my spirit.

Nowadays, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am finding that to stay healthy I need to practice a few simple disciplines.  Physical exercise, prayer, Scripture, work, rest.

One of the most important is to pay more attention to the voice of the Lord than to the voice of man.

From the time I was a young child I always wanted to know what was true and what was false. I also have a strong sense of justice and hate to see lies and wrongs prevail. These are good qualities but I have found that in order to stay in God’s peace – which is the place of order and productivity and fruitfulness and life and hope – I need to discipline myself to listen to His voice in preference to all the other voices. When I forget this, even for a short time, I pay a price. When I remember it, peace returns and I am able to see clearly again because I have heard the voice of the One who is True.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Jesus, John 10:10

My thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways …
as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God, Isaiah 55:8-9

The Lord knows the thoughts of man,
That they are a mere breath.
Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O Lord,
And whom You teach out of Your law;
That You may grant him relief from the days of adversity,
Until a pit is dug for the wicked.
Psalm 94:11-13

The Holy Spirit is such a blessing to me. In an instant He can cut through the confusion of human voices and give me His perspective. He doesn’t answer all my questions but He directs my attention to the one thing that I need to pay attention to in that moment. This brings rest to my thoughts and keeps me stable, focussed and productive.

One of my favourite Psalms speaks of the secret counsel of the Lord which is available only to those who fear Him. It is like the counsel that one gives to a trusted friend. I need that secret counsel on a daily basis, to guide my life, to show me His ways and keep me from trouble.

I daresay you need that daily counsel of the Lord as much as I do.

Are you listening?

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Nuggets of Hope 19 – At All Times

Do you praise the Lord at all times?

That’s what David vowed to do after God rescued him from the crafty Abimilech.

I will bless [praise] the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord ;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Psalm 34:1-2

Twenty-eight years ago today my daughter Bethany was born. It was a day of great rejoicing. Marion and I had not planned on a fourth child but God saw fit to intervene. We had also not expected to have a daughter. I remember the Holy Spirit speaking to me and telling me that He was giving me what I had desired but had not asked for. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and praised the Lord.

Five years ago today my daughter-in-law Carmen lost almost all of her small bowel. I will never forget the phone call from my son Joe telling me that she was about to have surgery and might not survive. I left my desk, went for a long walk and prayed as I have seldom prayed before. I knew that Carmen’s life was ultimately in the hands of the Lord.  That was a hard day, but God has shown himself faithful. I don’t say this only because she survived – although I am very thankful that she not only survived but is now thriving. Even if she had been taken from us, God would have shown himself faithful. He is always faithful to His good, eternal purposes. That is who He is.

We don’t praise the Lord only or primarily to get things from Him, although praise does release God’s blessings into our lives in a powerful way. We praise Him because He is worthy of our attention, worthy of being the primary focus of our lives. There is no-one else more worthy of our loving, appreciative, thankful attention. But we also praise and worship God because we need to.  It’s good for us. Praising and worshipping God has a wonderful way of putting things into perspective for us. As we lay down our concerns and forget ourselves in praising and worshipping Him, everything else takes its place.

Not many months after surrendering my life to the Lord and going through my first series of severe tests after coming to faith, I remember being at a Christian family camp where Harold Harding was ministering in teaching and personal prophecy. I do remember some of what he said – in fact his personal prophetic word to me had a profound impact on me – but what had the greatest impact was his habit of pacing up and down the platform, praying over and over again “Thank you Lord” as he waited for prophetic words to come. I saw in him qualities of perseverance, constancy and steadiness that had developed over a lifetime of both blessings and trials. He looked for the hand of God in both, and so his life remained stable and fruitful until the day he passed into the presence of Jesus.

There’s something very stabilizing about praise. At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is shaking the nations, and we can all feel its impact in multiple ways, one of the best things we can do is to turn our attention to God and praise Him. When we turn our attention away from ourselves and our concerns, and away from the opinions, judgments, mistakes, achievements and social media pronouncements of others, and fix our attention on the Maker of the Universe, we soon begin to realize how very small people are and how very big God is.

Paul wrote to the young church in Corinth during a time when they needed a dose of encouragement due to a crisis in their life together. He reminded them of their foundations.

Now it is God who makes both us and you
stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,
set his seal of ownership on us,
and put his Spirit in our hearts
as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22

When we turn our attention to Him and surrender to His good work in our lives, God puts a firm foundation under our feet, and He anoints us and seals us with His Spirit – the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead and empowered Him for his ministry. None of this is from us. It’s all from God. He redeems us from the pit and gives us stability and hope, He gives us the power to live a new life, and He gives us the promise that His good work in us will be completed and that we will get to share in His eternal inheritance if we remain faithful.

It’s good for us, sometimes, to be reminded of the losses that others have suffered. It was good for me today to be reminded of the pain that Carmen has been through and the grief, sorrow and travail that so many of us experienced as we were waiting anxiously for news about her first and second surgeries during that horrible period of testing five years ago. It’s also good to remember our joys, as Marion and I take delight in remembering Bethany’s birth twenty-eight years ago today. But it’s even better, having revisited both past joys and past sorrows, and having taken stock of present challenges like the current pandemic, to turn our faces and our hearts to the God of the universe who alone is worthy to be worshipped and praised.

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Nuggets of Hope 7 – Called to Shine

“I’m no saint”.

When someone says these words they are usually admitting that they’re far from perfect. But is that what it means to be a saint? Does it mean that you have achieved moral perfection? If that were the case, no-one would qualify except Jesus.

For the past week I’ve been offering these daily reflections on Scripture to bring hope and courage into the hearts and homes of God’s beloved people during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Today we are going to look at a Biblical concept that is often misunderstood, and may not seem very relevant or encouraging at first glance. Like some long-lost family heirloom, many people don’t appreciate its value, or don’t even know it’s there. In this short post I want to try to blow the dust off and shed some light on this gem of life-giving truth.

Most people have a great deal of respect for Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She was renowned for her works of mercy and charity. She was also recognized for her simplicity and humility. Many would have no problem calling her a saint.

These are all great qualities, and they do indeed flow from a genuine relationship with Jesus. But it’s not actually our character traits that make us saints. Believe it or not, being a saint is actually very simple. The only qualification is that you have to belong to Jesus. It’s really that simple.

This doesn’t just mean saying a quick prayer. It means letting Him change us day by day, by the power of His Spirit living in us. So, for example, if we truly belong to Jesus, we won’t be panicked by this pandemic. Yes, we’ll experience feelings of fear like everyone else, but we won’t let fear rule us. Why not? Because we have Jesus living in us, and we are letting Him renew our minds with His word, and pour His peace and joy into us by His Spirit.

Being holy is a gift, but it’s also a daily choice. It’s something that happens over time, as you respond to Jesus day by day. The pull of darkness and despair is strong – not just during COVID-19, but all the time. But the resurrection power of Jesus is stronger. We are the ones who get to decide what defines our lives. It took a lifetime of daily choices for Mother Teresa to become someone who was defined by the Light. We can feed ourselves on Jesus, or we can feed ourselves on things that pull us away from him. One way is the path of life, the other is the path of death.

The Apostle Paul frequently referred to those who believe in Jesus as saints (e.g. Colossians 1:3-4, 12). The word saint simply means someone who is holy, set apart for God, and in the process of being purified. He wasn’t saying that they were already perfect. Far from it. He was saying that the life of Jesus in them was changing them day by day, and that their destiny was to be like Him. Their destiny was to shine. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, he wrote, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12)

The Apostle John put it this way (1 John 3:2-3).

Beloved, we are God’s children now,
and what we will be has not yet appeared;
but we know that when he
appears
we shall be like him,
because we shall see him as he is.
And everyone who thus hopes in him

purifies himself as he
is pure.

If you already belong to Jesus, you are a saint – a holy one. The power of God is at work in you to make you new. And if you don’t belong to Jesus, this amazing gift is freely available. All you have to do is surrender to Him and trade your life for his. It’s that simple.

What a hope! What a promise! When we wake up to the glorious destiny that we have in Jesus, what hold does a virus have on us?

God bless you today with hope and courage. You are called to shine.

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Nuggets of Hope 4 – God’s Spirit in us

His Spirit lives in us.

In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, I am offering these brief reflections as a way of finding hope by turning our attention to God. Today I want to focus on the good news that those who have put their hope in Jesus have His Spirit living within them.

Writing to the believers in Corinth long ago, Paul penned these words – whoever is united with the Lord is one with Him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17 NIV). As Jesus promised, I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17 ESV).

This is powerfully good news.

If you have put your hope in Jesus, if you belong to Him, then even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the daily onslaught of bad news, the Spirit of Jesus dwells within you. Your thoughts and feelings do not have to be ruled by the latest frightening report. He is willing and able to give you wisdom, insight, comfort and direction. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

My friends, those are not just nice-sounding words. This is truth to live by. We don’t have to be paralyzed by fear. Jesus is holding us securely. Each day we can get up and set our hearts to trust Him, and direct our hearts to listen to what His Spirit wants to say to us about the affairs of the day. I have found that Holy Spirit is ready and willing to speak to me about anything that concerns me. It’s an amazing blessing that has brought me peace and perspective more times than I can count.

Not only that, the Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.  We have the hope of eternal life.  As Paul wrote to the believers in Rome long ago, if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:11 ESV). We don’t live for this life only. A million years from now, this current trouble will be only a memory, but how we respond to Him in the midst of it will have an eternal impact. He is developing our hearts, training us to trust Him, preparing us for glory. The rulers of this age quite clearly do not know what to do. They are making it up as they go along. I speak this with no disrespect. They are doing their best, and they are in need of our prayers, but they are clearly overwhelmed.

Our God, however, is far from overwhelmed. He is at work in this situation for the good of those who love Him. He is not worried or anxious. He is working in those who trust Him, preparing them for what is to come.

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NKJV

People of God, let us rise up in courage and seize the day. His Spirit lives in us.

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Streams in the Desert

All along the way that I lead My people, I provide them with springs of living water, streams in the desert, to refresh them. Sometimes they camp by those springs and conclude that My Kingdom has come. Sometimes they dig deeper and bring forth a greater flow. They bring forth a good harvest and then conclude “This is the Kingdom!”. But the springs in the desert are not the goal. They are at once for refreshing, for blessing and for encouragement. They are signs of what is to come. Keep moving forward. Don’t camp for too long in one place or you will conclude that this age is your true home. Enjoy My blessing but don’t make your home in this age. The Day is coming.

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My sheep hear my voice

Just a few days ago I met with a man who told me he wanted to know God better. I believe his cry for a closer relationship with God is not unique to him.

Before Adam chose the way of independence, he used to walk in the garden with God. Ever since, there has been a longing in the human heart to overcome the separation between us and God. That’s why Jesus came – so we could be reconciled to the God who made us and for whom our hearts yearn.

One of the most precious promises that Jesus gives to His people is the promise of intimacy. My sheep hear My voice, He affirmed.

But to hear His voice you have to know His voice. Sheep listen to the voice of a shepherd that they have come to know and trust. The sheep-shepherd metaphor speaks of safety, familiarity and trust. Jesus wants us to be so familiar with His voice that we have no trouble knowing when He has something to tell us.

I hear lots of Christians saying things like I wish I knew God’s will for my life or I wish I could hear God’s voice more clearly, or I think I missed God’s will and now I can’t get back on track.  I can identify with their frustration because it’s where I used to live.

But God never intended for us to be stuck in this dilemma. Jesus doesn’t want us to have to follow him from a distance, like on a road trip in a convoy, when you are trying desperately to stay in view of a set of distant tail-lights in heavy traffic on a dark, rainy night.

Some people’s expectation of God is a bit like a car rally where they have to decipher a set of mysterious clues, hoping they end up at the right destination. I was in a car rally like that once. It was an adventure and a bit of a guessing game.

Our life in Christ is an adventure, for sure, but it’s not supposed to be a guessing game. Just before He went to the cross, Jesus promised His little band of followers that He would send His Spirit to be their helper – a word that also means comforter, counsellor and advocate. He was not leaving them to figure it out on their own. He promised to come to them.

The same promises apply to us. We don’t have to figure out how to follow God on our own. My sheep hear My voice. In future posts I’ll have more to say about some of the keys to knowing God’s voice and hearing Him reliably. For today, I simply want to underline that a close walk with God is how we were meant to live.

In the darkness of this age, as we look for the Kingdom that is coming, many voices compete for our attention, and we have an enemy who seeks to run interference and keep us from our goal. Even so, the Father wants you to be confident that you have access to His throne, that He listens when you speak, that He has things to say to you and that you have an eternal inheritance in Him.

I am praying for everyone who reads this, that you will be richly blessed and greatly encouraged as you cultivate your God-given capacity to know Him and hear His voice.

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What is in your hand?

Satan wants you to think about what you don’t have and what you can’t do. God wants to you think about what you do have and what you can do. 

This gem of practical wisdom came to me many years ago through the teaching of Craig Hill, although it may not have originated with him. It is a distillation of what we know from Scripture and practical experience about the character of God and the character of the Enemy of our souls.

When Moses was called by God to set his people free, he objected that he wouldn’t be able to succeed because Pharaoh would not listen to him. God’s response to Moses was simple. What is that in your hand? The staff in Moses’ hand was a simple object, but by God’s power it would become a powerful instrument of deliverance.

Like most of us, I am all too aware of my own weaknesses. I have learned that there are talents I do not have, things I am not good at, spiritual gifts that do not seem to come easily to me. This used to trouble me, and to be truthful, it still does at times. At times I get distracted by the voice of the enemy of my soul, who wants to trap me in regret and self-recrimination. I want to be a servant of God and people, and over the years since giving my life to Jesus I have stepped out into many areas of faith and service, but when I look back, I have to be honest and acknowledge that some of my attempts didn’t turn out so well. But when I listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, He reminds me to focus on the gifts I do have and the things I can do. He reminds me that He is still a God of increase, a God who rewards faith, courage and perseverance.

This is the message of the Parable of the Talents. Do not bury your one ability in the ground, thinking that God will surely not be pleased with you because you are not like that ten-talent guy or girl over there. Take it and use it to serve God and others, and God will reward you for your faithfulness, and set you over larger fields of service in the Age to Come.

What is that in your hand? Take it and use it for God’s glory.

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St Patrick and the Holy Spirit

Tomorrow, of course, is St Patrick’s Day. It’s a day of partying for people of Irish extraction and those who wish they were.

But how many of the people celebrating their Irish heritage on St. Patrick’s day have any idea what kind of man he was?

Patrick was a great leader, a man of influence. Having been carried off by a raiding party to Ireland in his youth and forced into slavery, Patrick eventually learned to love and forgive his captors. In the course of time, God prepared him as an instrument of His mercy and sent Patrick back to the land where he had been carried off into slavery. His purpose in returning to the land of his captivity was to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ, and he pursued this mission with great energy, creativity and perseverance.

Patrick was also a man of prayer, who had many powerful encounters with the Holy Spirit. He believed that God speaks through dreams and visions, and experienced many such encounters in his own life.

I mention this last factoid because of my own recent experience with the Holy Spirit, and in particular with dreams and visions.

I was raised in a skeptical, rational environment in which I was taught to believe that whatever cannot be proven or explained rationally is not real. I am grateful to God for giving me the capacity for analytical and rational thought. Among other things, it is responsible for my success in my current line of work as an information technology professional. I have an inquiring mind and derive satisfaction from understanding the mysteries of life.

To some extent, this thirst for understanding can be pursued by human reason. And yet, at an early age I was introduced to realities that cannot be understood or explained by human reason alone. As a child, growing up in a small town in Northern Quebec, I spent many hours outdoors in God’s creation and was in awe of the hills, the rocks, the great blue sky, the trees, the snow in winter and the heat in summer, the great Gulf of St Lawrence that was not far from my door, and all the other wonders of the created world that was so much bigger than I was.

I was also introduced to the message of Jesus, and there came a point in my life where I became convinced that this Jesus was not just a historical figure but the Lord of the universe, who came to earth to save lost humanity. I now know Jesus as the One who died for me, who rose for me, who reigns now from His heavenly throne and who is coming again as King to reign openly on earth.

I also know Him as the One who pours out His Holy Spirit on those who seek Him. It was a struggle for me to yield to the Holy Spirit. I was afraid of losing control. However, a wise friend reassured me by pointing me to the words of Jesus that God only gives good gifts, and that the Holy Spirit is the best gift of all – and so I yielded my life to Jesus and welcomed the power of the Holy Spirit, although there was much I did not understand.

Among the things I know to be true, but cannot explain rationally, is the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This comes in many forms, but one of those forms is dreams and visions. In an article that I read recently by Will Graham on St Patrick, I was struck by the prominence of this aspect of St. Patrick’s experience with the Holy Spirit.

The belief that God guides his people through dreams and visions is entirely Biblical. There are hundreds of examples of this in both Old and New Testaments. Guidance and revelation by means of dreams and visions featured prominently in the lives of the apostles and have been part of the experience of God’s people down through the ages. On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, the Apostle Peter explained the event by quoting a prophecy from the Book of Joel which specifically mentioned that in the last days, when God poured out the Holy Spirit, dreams and visions would become common. 

In my own life, although I have never stopped being a rational and analytical thinker, I have come a long way from my earlier skepticism about supernatural experiences, so much so that I now consider such experiences to be a normal part of my daily life. This does not mean that I have stopped reading or studying my Bible. On the contrary, I find that my study of the Scriptures has been greatly enriched by my experiences with the Holy Spirit, and I have an increasing desire to know God by all possible means – among which His written word will always be primary.

In recent months God has been speaking to me quite frequently and powerfully through dreams. Some of the dreams contain guidance for my own life, but others have a much wider application. One of my recent dreams gave significant insight about a major Biblical theme – the meaning of the Bride of Christ and the relationship between this present age and the Age to Come. I plan to share this dream and its meaning in a future post. For now, if the idea that God speaks through dreams and visions is new to you, I would simply encourage you to open yourself to this refreshing possibility. Ask the Lord to speak to you, and trust Him to interpret what He shows you. To those who approach Him with humility and an expectant heart, God is always faithful and true to His promise. Jesus is preparing His bride, and dreams and visions are one of His chosen instruments, as our brother St Patrick also discovered so many centuries ago.

 

 

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The river

This summer I have done a lot of cycling on the paths by the Rideau and Ottawa Rivers. I do it for the exercise, but I also do it because being outdoors helps me to pray.

I have been without work for four months now. This has been a faith-stretching time for me, as I have been waiting for God to supply me with work, but it has also been a season of spiritual refreshing. This has been especially true in recent weeks as Marion and I have been devoting ourselves to the word of God and prayer to an extent that we have not done for a long time. It has been deeply challenging and also fruitful. But I know there is much more that the Lord wants to do in me – in fact, I feel as though I am just touching the edge of what he wants to lead me into. The earth is coming into a pivotal time, a season when everything that can be shaken will be shaken, so that only those things which cannot be shaken will remain. To fulfil God’s purposes for us so that we come forth in glory through the upheavals that are coming, we will need to be deeply anchored in God and full of His life. The other day the Lord reminded me of this quite powerfully during one of my bike rides.

About ten days ago Ottawa had a major thunderstorm after several weeks of drought. The storm was accompanied by heavy rains. The Rideau had gotten very low, and many of the shallower areas were choked with algae and water weeds. But the day after the rain, there was noticeably more water in the river, and the parkland along its banks didn’t seem quite so dry. The rain wasn’t enough to truly end the drought, but it helped. I had been praying for rain, so I was thankful.

A couple of days after the rainstorm, I was pedalling along the bicycle path by the Rideau River and I sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to me.

See this river. See how low, and polluted, the water is after this season of drought. It is a picture of your soul (mind, will, emotions). My river of life flows in you but it is at a much lower level than it could be, and it is polluted by other things. The other day there was a rainfall. It was an answer to your prayers, and you were happy. The rain was good, but the river is still low. In the same way, you must not be content with the refreshing you are now experiencing. It feels good, but do not conclude that this is all you need. Let this time of refreshing stir up your desire for more. Your soul needs to be filled to overflowing with my river of life. When my river of life is flowing at flood tide in you, like a raging torrent, it will purify all uncleanness and bring life to you and many others. 

Reflecting more on this, the other day the Lord spoke to me using a different analogy. He showed me that much of my life as a Christian I had been playing in the shallows of a huge swimming pool – like a little child splashing in the shallow water on the beach – and he is calling me to humble myself, recognize that I need much more, and apply myself to going much deeper in him.

God, I don’t want to be satisfied too easily. I choose to be content in you, but at the same time I do not want to be easily satisfied with the measure of the Holy Spirit that I have received. I am refreshed by the streams of living water that you have been pouring out, but I want more. You say that the Holy Spirit is a deposit, a down payment on our inheritance. I want to maximize that deposit – make the most of it – so that you will reward me with much more on that Day. Even now, Lord, I want as much of your revelation as I can have in this age, so that I can testify with grace and power to the new life that you are prepared to give to anyone who is truly hungry for you.

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