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Holy Spirit

the prayer I’m breathing all day

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This week I’m 39 weeks pregnant. (WHAT. Thank you, God, for getting us this far.) Looking back in my journal the past few months, I noticed a prayer written in one way or another found on almost every page:

You’re here with me. I have all I need.

On every page I’m either rejoicing over the reality of His presence or asking for help to believe He’s near. Verses I’ve known for many years have gone from simply ink on a page to companions walking alongside me:

Your Father knows what you need before you ask (Matthew 6:8).

He is your Shepherd; you lack nothing (Psalm 23).

He perfectly cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

He calls you personally by name and leads you with His voice (John 10:1-18).

Jesus calls you friend. Apart from Him you can do nothing of eternal value (John 15:1-17).

The LORD is in your midst with power to save. And He takes joy in you (Zephaniah 3:17).

Genuine joy is found in His presence (Psalm 16).

He promises to strengthen and help you (Isaiah 41:10).

Walking such unfamiliar territory, I haven’t always known what to ask for, so I settled into a rhythm of simply asking for more of Him. I guess I figured as long as I have the Lord I’m more than okay, no matter what happens.

But it wasn’t the ‘I’ve got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus, Down in my heart, Where? Down in my heart!’ kind of having Him I wanted. (Sorry if the song is stuck in your head now.)

What I wanted (and want) and needed (and need) most to feel ready for motherhood was (and is) a genuine, abiding, experiential friendship with God.

A knowledge of His nature — how He thinks and what He does — that I could stand on when circumstances don’t play out like I hope or expect. A knowing what His voice sounds like for when I felt weary, sad or overwhelmed. A playlist of His words to run on a loop when I began to doubt and fear. An awareness of His presence when I was alone or in a busy crowd.

This might come as a shock to you – it shouldn’t have been one to me – but the request for more of God is a prayer He loves to answer. It’s beautiful. In a time of a gazillion choices to make and a variety of opinions steadily given, this verse has been a wash of peace every time I read it:

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. Psalm 37:23-24 NIV defines delight as ‘a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment.’ It seems unlikely to enjoy God to a high degree when we think of Him as far away, right? I’m going to stumble A LOT, but God is at my elbow, holding me steady.

This pregnancy has been an unexpected training ground for delighting in God as an intimate and sufficient Savior and Friend. But I don’t think I could be more thankful or happy for the practice. I feel needy, hopeful, humbled and excited, breathing all day a desire to know His nearness more confidently.

Is there a prayer you find yourself breathing every day? I’d love to hear about it.

the person I’m most grateful for this Thanksgiving

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If you could hear the inside of my mind, you’d hear me daily thanking the Lord for my husband, our community, and His constant provision of food, home, and flat out help.

This Thanksgiving week, I find myself thanking God even more often for something else – His Spirit inside me.

Do you know this person of God? Who is He to you?

There are many perspectives, different and alike, about Holy Spirit out there:

“The Holy Spirit is neither a passive presence nor emotional excitement.  The Holy Spirit comes from God’s presence, but he is not God’s pervading divine fog floating over the world.  The Holy Spirit is a person, separate and distinct from whom Christians identify as God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ.” Tim Burns

“The Holy Spirit is the Spirit set apart, belonging to God. He is God’s power and presence among his people.” Kevin DeYoung

“The Spirit’s all-consuming passion is to exalt Christ to the end of the earth.” John Piper

“The Holy Spirit is God living inside of us.” Chase Culbertson

“Jesus promised a Helper of the same kind rather than of a different kind. The Spirit is the parakletos, the one who comes alongside. Jesus said He would “be with you forever … he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). In other words, His ministry is both permanent and personal.” Alistair Begg

Graciously, I have always believed in the Holy Spirit of the Bible. What I found in recent years, even recent months, is how much I was NOT depending on and interacting with Him as a real person.

Let me say loudly: there is a vast difference.

There is a difference between knowing things about this person of the Trinity, and engaging with Him personally.

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worldly influence vs. Spirit influence

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“A steady diet of [these] worldly influences will shape our view of what is valuable, what is beautiful, and what is important in life.” Nancy Leigh DeMoss

The these this author is referring to includes television, friends, magazines, movies, and malls.

The older I get, the more I realize just how vital it is to be aware of what I allow into my mind. And even more important, for me, mindful of what I allow to remain there.

I say ‘aware of what I allow’ because while sometimes I can’t help seeing a billboard driving down the interstate, more often than not, it’s my choice. 

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