Family + Faith + Encouragement
Our Hearts Cry
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you... –James 4:8
“The value of consistent prayer is not that He will hear us, but that we will hear Him.”
During my Christian walk I have always pictured God as being far away, far beyond the realms we know but yet in His love knows everything there is to know about me. I picture myself as being removed from Him. Removed meaning that I was once with Him and He bestowed the gift of living on His creation to my soul in this body and desires nothing but the best for me. That feeling was secured by my 4 year old one day as he was telling my neighbor a story. He explained to her, in his very young age of trying to understand where we “come from”, that he was once my brother in heaven and we were together there. Now, I am his momma. The story he told my neighbor astonished us both but gave me a glimpse through the veil of what babies in their innocence know about being with our Father. He knew Jeremiah 1:5 when he was still so small.
What feelings are evoked when you read Jeremiah 1:5?
In 1 Corinthians 8:3, Paul writes “But whoever loves God is known by God”. We are so far removed from being in his presence that our heart only wants to be with Him. As we love Him more, we have more of a desire to please Him and begin to move about this life to work for Him. Our desire becomes that His love is so great; we cannot help but share it. When you are filled with the Spirit, the Helper, His Comforter you no longer feel the separation from Him. He will consume your thoughts and your day.
But when God, who set me apart from my mother's womb and called me by his grace, was pleased. Galatians 1:15
When trying to decide on a particular story to share for this study, the love story that kept coming to the front of my thoughts was The Bible. The Bible is the greatest love story ever written and each story in it is a depiction of God’s love and His desire for us to love Him.
In the book of 1 Kings we can read the story of Elijah. Elijah was so faithful to God. At one point in his story, Elijah builds an alter with 12 stones for the 12 tribes, he laid his sacrifice and drenched it in water. Elijah lifted his prayer to God and cried out that the people would know who to turn their hearts to and God sent a fire from the heavens straight to the alter that was so fierce that it burned everything it touched. The people saw God’s power and turned their hearts to Him.
Are there things in your life that are preventing you from turning your life complete over to God?
What are you turning your heart to?
Some of mine were my business, TV shows I loved, my husband, and more.
“A prayer reveals to souls the vanity of earthly goods and pleasures. It fills them with light, strength and consolations, and gives them a foretaste of the calm bliss of our heavenly home.” St. Rose of Viterbo
Read Proverbs 8
The Excellence of Wisdom
As I read this selection the words and depiction of wisdom crying out sound a bit like my own heart. My heart is crying out to know more about God and the more I know and understand the higher my voice is lifted.
Wisdoms call is brilliant, emotional, poetic and convincing. In Proverbs 8 the “wisdom” refers to wisdom that is an attribute of God Himself, going beyond understanding and right decisions. Wisdom invites all men and women to choose their path of life. She calls the foolish and simple because they need her most. Wisdom is available to all but acquired only by those who love her and seek her.
If you are doing this study, your heart is crying out to know God more intimately. Your deepest desire is becoming more and more to know Him. In one word, what is your heart crying out for?
In Billy Graham’s book: The Holy Spirit, he first discusses the two great spiritual needs…
One is for forgiveness
The other is for goodness.
There comes a time in our spiritual walk that we need to cry out to God for forgiveness. We feel our chest pounding, our face twist in anguish, and our voices we hear cry out. We have been feeling like we are dirty and that little light of Christ we may have in us is hidden and no one knows it’s there. There was a time recently that I had been feeling this way; that my light was hidden. I wrote during worship one morning these words.
“I must shrink my desires for the sake of others but be the smallest brightest light at all times. When you are cleaned up by Christ you become transparent so that your light can be seen and is amplified. Shed everything that you suffer from so that others can do the same. God heals! It’s because of Him my life is possible. It’s a miracle that healing happens, not science alone or God given intelligence. Healing in your marriage, home, finances, and health is what God wants to do. First you struggle, then your cry out and release your burdens, and then you receive the Promise.”
As I wrote this I kept picturing an old oil lamp and how dirty they get. But if you take the time to clean them up, refuel them and put in a new wick, they can light the way. Picture yourself as this oil lamp, it’s all dirty with smut and dust and hasn’t been cleaned in awhile. It doesn’t look completely useless, it just needs some care. So, you clean out all the cob webs on the inside, the smut from the smoke, the dust and grime and shine it up a bit. But then, you relight that flame and it burns bright, bright so that everyone can see you coming in the dark. The light of Christ is there, we just need to clean away all the fifth from our lives. Clean out those works of the flesh…
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousness, outburst of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you…” Galatians 5:19-21
“If you believe in Jesus Christ, a power is available to you that can change your life, even in such intimate areas as your marriage, your family relationships, and every other relationship. Unfortunately this power has been ignored, misunderstood, and misused. By our ignorance we have short-circuited the power of the Holy Spirit.” Billy Graham: The Holy Spirit
What my heart had been crying out for was the Spirit. I knew I loved Christ. I knew that God blessed me. I knew that I still felt that something was missing. I cried out to God to fill me up, I was his vessel and I reached out to receive but there was a problem. The problem was me.
During this study we will be reading God’s Word on the Promise of the Holy Spirit, the Promise Fulfilled, and receiving the Spirit. I do not choose to hold out on you how amazing it is to receive the Spirit.
Receiving the Spirit is personal for everyone; everyone feels something different and experiences something amazing, something so supernatural it seems out of this world. This is exactly what I would expect from my Father.
Pray that God open your heart to what you are about to learn and share with me. I am a student of the Holy Spirit always.
The Holy Spirit Promised
When Christ was with His disciples he was preparing them for what He knew was the end. His heart ached for them because He knew they would not understand. Can you imagine knowing your death and how you would speak to your loved ones concerning your death. Can you imagine the love that you would speak into them, the strength and encouragement you would give? Jesus went a step further and made a promise to them. Read John 16:5-7
What does Christ promise?_______________________________________________
The promise was based on the word of the Lord Christ. Notice that there are NO conditions attached. The Helper is not for some and not for others but for everyone. It was also necessary for Christ to leave us so that He could send the Spirit because with the Spirit all disciples could have His power. They would be more powerful on this Earth without Christ’s physical presence than when He was with them in the flesh.
The Promise Fulfilled
Jesus told his disciples he was leaving them for awhile and he did. He died a physical death on the cross and was buried. Can you imagine the doubt that overcame those men who had walked with Christ for so long? Unlike us, they actually walked with Christ in the flesh, saw His works and miracles, and heard His teachings and still the doubt flooded their minds. Praise our Heavenly Father that Christ was about to be glorified. 1 Peter 1:20,21
Wait for the Spirit to come.
This is the part we misunderstand. When we accept Christ and love Him and ask for Him to dwell within us it does not mean that the Spirit fills us completely or at all. There is a period of waiting. We must be ready to receive it and so the Spirit waits. We must be like the disciples, ready to lay down everything and go with Him. We must be willing to leave behind our selfish desires and allow the Spirit to fill us. In order to be filled, we must empty ourselves.
Acts 2:1-4 The Spirit came upon them. For the one for whom they were asked to “wait” had come! The good news: Now, the Holy Spirit is waiting on us!