But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
John 14:26 (NLT)
I like this interpretation from John 3:6 (NLT):
Who is the Holy Spirit? God is three persons in one–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God became a man in Jesus so that Jesus could die for our sins. Jesus rose from the dead to offer salvation to all people through spiritual renewal and rebirth. When Jesus ascended into heaven, his physical presence left the earth, but he promised to send the Holy Spirit so that his spiritual presence would still be among humankind (see Luke 24:49). The Holy Spirit first became available to all believers at Pentecost (Acts 2). Whereas in Old Testament days the Holy Spirit empowered specific individuals for specific purposes, now all believers have the power of the Holy Spirit available to them.
I started a twenty-one day fast on February 1, 2018. The following is an entry from my journal on that day:
Effective in prayer
Deeper Relationship with Jesus
Hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit when praying for others
Kingdom Prayers; not a two-year old’s prayer
To develop my hearing of the Holy Spirit
To grow spiritually for His glory, Kingdom and people
Sweets: cookies, candy, chocolate, cakes, ice cream
Snacks: chips, crackers, graham crackers, goldfish
I need the Holy Spirit (actually, we all need the Holy Spirit) to walk and speak to me daily as I head towards the finish line. I ask for words of reassurance and encouragement–resources around me in people, in reading material, in messages. I know I’m not left to this fast on my own, in my own strength. I know that as each day passes, I will have learned something new. I will have heard something new. I will feel and see my progress. This is not a cold, dark walk and I am not alone. My path will be Lit and I will have company. Jesus will be walking with me as well as His armies of angels. They will shield, protect, encourage, guide and talk to me and I will hear. My desire each day is to recognize His heavenly presence and voice. I will not be left at the end of the day disappointed. I believe there will be many revelations throughout the course of this fast.
It is not about following rules. It’s about putting God first. Don’t get wrapped up in rules such as what you can and cannot eat. This takes away from God. This is a distraction. Your rules are no sweets and no junk-food. That’s it! No need to dwell any further on this. Your priority each day is to put God first. Connect with God as you already do and continue to learn from Him. He will lay each day out for you. God is the planner. He determines your steps and will feed you as you’re ready. He will determine when. It doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming. It’s time with God. There is nothing complicated about this!
Remember why you are doing this. Keep God up front and get in His bubble. It’s not about God calling you to fast. It’s about you wanting to fast to draw closer to Him.
Interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 4:3:
It is God’s will for you to be holy, but how can you go about doing that? The Bible teaches that holiness is not a state of being that you must manufacture on your own with hard work and good deeds and constant fear of failure. Instead, being made holy occurs in the process of living the Christian life. If you have accepted Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf, then you are considered holy and complete in God’s eyes. Yet you must continue to learn and grow during your time on earth. The Holy Spirit works in you, conforming you to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).
On the very first day of my fast, I sat down at the kitchen counter to eat breakfast. I glanced up to look out the window and noticed the tall trees in the distance. There was one tree greener and taller than the others. The Lord whispered:
This is who you are in Me. You are set apart for your own special purpose.
I felt thankful, supported and loved.
Reflecting back to February 1st is a wonderful reminder of where I started! I have four more days to go and then my twenty-one days are complete!
In my last post, Overcome Tribulations, I was feeling great opposition and the potential for misguidance was within my reach. This is just a reminder of what I wrote:
I feel like I’ve missed out on a job opportunity:
You love your residents, coworkers, and the building. The community is small and everyone knows each other. It’s comfortable. Your schedule is flexible (thanks to your supervisor) so you can focus on God, serving, and your writing. Your fulfillment in your current job comes from the residents. They make you feel good. You are valued and they depend on you to care, encourage and love them.
I thought I had, in the power of the Holy Spirit, obliterated that opposition! I emailed the job recruiter and told him this on February 13, 2018:
Hello…I thank you for the invite to your open interview! I am sorry, but I’m too attached to my current residents and leaving them makes me quite sad. I will not be pursuing a job change at this time. Please keep my resume on file!
I felt peace and I moved on. It wasn’t until the following day, Valentine’s Day, that the recruiter called me on my job. He told me that it wouldn’t hurt to come speak to him. He asked if I was aware of their employee opportunities? I was suddenly quite interested and said that I would love to come chat with him, what’s a good time? We set up an interview for February 15, 2018, after I finished work. I felt excited and I looked forward to the next day!
Just because we defeat the Devil (and remember, we don’t do this in our own strength) doesn’t mean he won’t try it again. He knows our weaknesses and he will use those as his weapons, over and over again! We need to recognize his attacks and call on the Holy Spirit to help us fight!
I want to take a few minutes and show you just how faithful, loud and strong the Holy Spirit has become in my life since I began my fast. This revelation is just one of the many!
I went to work on February 15th and had a great day. It, however, was not a normal day. Everything was amplified! The work that I did, the interactions with my coworkers and the care I gave to my residents. I loved my job more than I ever have in the past, on this particular day. I captured every action, thought and conversation that took place during my eight hour shift. I did not do this alone! The Holy Spirit spoke and He turned up the volume of my surroundings so that I could clearly see what it was that I would be missing if I left. There was no chance of opposition because all I could hear was Him.
Ephesians 1:13,14 (NLT) says this about the Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee that we belong to him and that he will do what he has promised. The Holy Spirit is like a down payment, a deposit, a validating signature on the contract. The presence of the Holy Spirit in us demonstrates the genuineness of our faith, proves that we are God’s children, and secures eternal life for us. His power works in us to transform us now, and what we experience now is a taste of the total change we will experience in eternity.
My shift ended and I quickly left the building. It wasn’t until I was halfway to the interview that I realized I forgot to clock out. I called my job, explained that I couldn’t come back and that I would take care of it on Monday. I arrived a few minutes early so I checked my messages, said a prayer, and waited.
I took notice of this new building. It was a big place and it would house all levels of senior care except independent living. The construction was still in progress in some areas. I stepped from my car and cautiously walked towards the fancy, sliding glass doors. The minute I stepped inside, I knew I was not supposed to be there. It felt wrong but I proceeded to the front desk anyway. There was a woman sitting there was a posed smile on her face.
How can I help you?
I told her my name and my interview time and she bent over and picked up an unscathed clipboard and pen, reached for a pile of papers and handed it all to me.
Please fill out this information and return it when you are finished. Here is a name tag, print your name and then apply it to your shirt. You can use the sitting room to the left.
The room was delicately decorated and the couch was puffy and uncomfortable. I took one look at the paperwork and realized it was an application. I had already filled one out online. I became frustrated and as I sat there I heard this:
What are you doing here?
You aren’t supposed to be here?
The place may be new but the grass is never greener on the other side!
Do you really want to learn new faces and new routines?
Didn’t we discuss this job opportunity the other day?
What did you learn from that day?
The interpretation from Psalm 23:2,3 (NLT) came to mind:
When we allow God, our shepherd, to guide us, we have contentment. When we choose to sin and go our own way, however, we cannot blame God for the environment we create for ourselves. Our shepherd knows the “green meadows” and “peaceful streams” that will restore us. We will reach these places only by following him obediently. Rebelling against the shepherd’s leading is actually rebelling against our own best interests. We must remember this the next time we are tempted to go our own way rather than the shepherd’s way.
With that, I got up and headed back to the receptionist:
I’m sorry, I filled this application out online. Do I need to complete another one?
I headed back to the couch, grabbed the paperwork and flicked through it. What else do they need to know about me? Then I saw the questionnaire!
Nope, cannot do this!
I quietly and calmly folded the paperwork in half, clutched the pen and clipboard in my fist and made my way back to the joyous woman at the front desk.
I’m sorry, I cannot finish this application. The recruiter called me to chat about the opportunities here. I didn’t intend on filling out paperwork at this time. I’m fine where I am. I love my job and my residents. Pursuing a new career is not in the plan at this moment. Thank you for your kindness and have a great day.
I turned and left feeling peaceful and free!
Interpretation of Romans 8:9 (NLT) explains Life in the Spirit this way:
Since you now believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and that eternal life comes through him (1 John 5:5), you will begin to act as Christ directs (Romans 8:5; Galatians 5:22,23); you will find help in your daily problems and in your praying (Romans 8:26,27); you will be empowered to serve God and do his will (Acts 1:8; Romans 12:6); and you will become part of God’s plan to build up his church (Ephesians 4:12,13).
I am absolutely amazed at how loud and clear the Holy Spirit was. The longer I sat on that couch, the louder He became. Honestly, I have never felt that sort of strength from Him, ever! It was wonderful!!
I find relief in Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)
You can make many plans but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.