Today you’ll read about a three-leaf clover, a book and a cross-stitch.
Our new topic, the Holy Spirit, was inspired by a song. That’s a first on Choosing Peace. We sang the song at church recently and it grabbed my heart. Here’s “Trinity Song” by Sandra McCracken.
Three in one
The Holy Spirit is God. And God is three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is also one.
Hear, Israel: the LORD is our God, the LORD is one.
Deuteronomy 6:4, New Heart English Bible
During our life group last month, a man told us how he described the Trinity—our triune God—to his 10-year-old grandson. They talked about a three-leaf clover—one plant with three distinct leaves. Well done.
The beginning and the end
The Bible begins and ends with the Holy Spirit—also called the Spirit (with a capital s).
We find the Holy Spirit mentioned for the first time in the first chapter of the Bible—in Genesis 1:2. Before God created light or land, the Spirit hovered over the waters. And the waters of the earth were ginormous. So the Holy Spirit is bigger. Much, much bigger.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
Psalm 145:3, King James Version
And that, Peaceful Readers, is my favorite Bible verse. Yes, indeed.
In these next two verses from the last chapter of the Bible, the Holy Spirit calls to people so they’ll receive the gift of salvation and eternal life. And he calls with one word. Come.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David; the bright morning star.”
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” He who hears, let him say, “Come.” He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Revelation 22:16-17, New Heart English Bible
The Holy Spirit, the church and Christians call people with the same word. Come. In other words, “Come with me. Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8a, NHEB).”
Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the call
Those two verses in Revelation are very profound. When Jesus says that he’s the root and the offspring of David, he’s reminding us that he is both Creator—the root of King David—and a descendant of King David—the offspring of David.
In Revelation 22:17, the Holy Spirit and the bride—the church—are calling to people who are thirsty for the truth, for salvation, for Jesus. That reminds me of Isaiah 55, one of the most incredible chapters in the Bible. Come. Listen. Seek. Return.
Revelation 22:17 also reminds me of Matthew 11:28-30. I designed and cross-stitched that passage before I became a Christian. Isn’t that remarkable? God used one of my hobbies at the time to call to me. And he called me with this word.
What does Jesus tell us in that crucial passage—Matthew 11:28-30? He calls us to come, take, learn and find. In his book Gentle and Lowly, Dane Ortlund unpacks—beautifully—this passage in Matthew 11 and many more. I’m halfway through the book. It’s outstanding. I’m drinking it in slowly, one chapter each day that I read it. If you’d like to learn about the heart of Jesus—if you need to explore the depths of his compassion for you—I highly recommend it.
On a hot Saturday afternoon last weekend, I sat outside and read chapter 12 of Gentle and Lowly, about the friendship of Jesus Christ. Sweet. I may have looked strange sitting in a chair in the middle of our driveway, but seeing my favorite pot of flowers from that vantage point made me smile.
Is God calling to you in this season of your life? What word or words do you hear him saying to you?
This year, he’s communicated a word to me.
That reminds me of the last verse of my favorite Psalm.
Wait for the LORD. Be strong, and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27:14, New Heart English Bible
We Americans don’t excel in waiting or patience. Fast cars. Fast food. Fast living. We know that patience is a virtue, but we’d prefer not to get an extended workout in The Patience Department. Know what I mean? Thankfully, the Holy Spirit helps us greatly—with patience and much more.
In the Bible, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit “the Helper” and “the Spirit of truth.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling place with him. …But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you.… When the Helper has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will testify about me.”
John 14:23, 26 and John 15:26, New Heart English Bible
When we put our trust in Jesus and become his followers, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. He dwells in us.
Last month, my experiences with the Holy Spirit—the Helper—warmed my heart.
Before Logan returned to college, I told him something I read in one of Jan Karon’s Mitford books—that everyone needs (1) something to do, (2) someone to love and (3) something to look forward to. Absolutely. I clarified that “someone to love” doesn’t mean romantic love. It means someone to care about and be a part of their life. I hope you’re blessed by these Holy Spirit encounters in those three categories.
1. Something to do
Saturday, August 6
I set up my new post in WordPress and published it. The Lord helped me greatly…. Thank you, Lord, for your inspiration. …Later, the three of us played a quick round of UNO. Logan won. Brandon and I played Farkle. Brandon won. …I read another chapter of Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund. Quite good.
The Holy Spirit inspired me as I wrote an important, deep post about the occult. God gave me good things to do that Saturday—writing, playing games and reading.
Later that month, Logan chose the name Pierre for his dog’s pen name on Choosing Peace. I added a fun photo of Pierre to the post I finished that day, and I journaled, “Thank you, Holy Spirit, for helping me.” That evening I read chapter 8 of Gentle and Lowly. One sentence totally blew my mind. It included a track meet—something I’d written about in that day’s post. This happens to me routinely. I’ll write about something unusual or I’ll use an obscure word or expression, like crowbar or litmus test. Then I’ll read those exact words in the book I’m reading. The Holy Spirit encourages me when the words I write match the words in the book I’m reading. It’s his way of saying, “You’re in my hands. Right words. Right book. Right time. I’m here.” I love that.
2. Someone to love
Thursday, August 25
When I woke up today, the ditty from the song “God Is With Us” kept going thru my mind again and again. (I texted that to Logan today.) When I was looking thru my journals, I read an entry that said, “The Lord is with us. The Lord is with us. The Lord is with us.” That was clearly the message from God today. I shared this with Brandon at bedtime.
Earlier that evening, Brandon told me about something from his childhood that he’d laid down. I wrote about it at the end of that journal entry: “He has let that go, finally. That is amazing. The Lord is working for our good. Thanks be to God.”
Having someone to love blesses us deeply. We’re doubly blessed when we can share with each other what the Lord tells us or shows us. These words and encounters encourage us and unite our hearts.
3. Something to look forward to
Thursday, August 18
Cynthia Wood [—our Someone Cares retreat hospitality coordinator—] texted me about meeting for lunch. I voted for a Monday. She said—how about September 12. Woohoo! That’s my birthday. God is so good.
Cynthia and I hadn’t seen each other since March. Who gave her the idea to text me about getting together for lunch? The Holy Spirit. Who gave me the idea to request a Monday? The Holy Spirit. Who gave her the idea to choose September 12? The Holy Spirit. Who knew that September 12 is my birthday? The Holy Spirit. Who knew that I needed something to look forward to on my birthday? The Holy Spirit.
This is a good place for two sentences from another August journal entry. “Thank you, Holy Spirit! I love you.”
Grab your journal and write about those three needs—something to do, someone to love/care about and something to look forward to. If you look at the week ahead in your life and all three of those needs are met, get down on your knees and thank God. If not, get down on your knees and tell him what you need. Ask God to help you. (If you need some encouragement about praying, read The Prayer—all six parts.) Ask God to show you (1) something he wants you to do; (2) someone he wants you to care about—demonstrated by direct contact; and/or (3) something you can look forward to.
If you attend a quality church, these three needs can all be met there. Something to do? Worship God. Someone to care about? Someone in your life group or a ministry where you serve. Something to look forward to? Being in the Lord’s house; worshiping God through singing; praying; learning; and being with fellow-believers and friends. (If you need to find a quality church, see Attend Church Weekly at the end of this post.)
The blessing of journaling
Would you like to remember how the Holy Spirit has been working in your heart and life? Is it time for you to celebrate what God has done? Journaling really helps me with that.
From the last series: “Journaling provides a clear timeline and clarity in ways that our own memories can’t. And it gives us a way to chronicle our blessings even during the hard times.” To dig more into journaling, read the end of that post, starting with the section called Blessings.
Coming next: I think we’ll be looking at the Spirit of truth. I’m looking forward to that. Thanks for reading and for Choosing Peace.
Healing through truth and music
Peaceful Readers, I’ve found great healing in my life through the beauty and truth of God’s word and through music. I hope the truths and songs that I share at the end of each post will bless you too.
Truth from The Word: John 20:19-31
Song for Healing: “Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God” by Keith & Kristyn Getty