Pegasus in Us

“Eternal life is not a gift from God; eternal life is the gift of God…not power as a gift from the Holy Spirit; the power is the Holy Spirit. Jesus came to give us an endless supply of life ‘that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.’” (Ephesians 3:19) Oswald Chambers (emphasis mine)

©Sport the library / Brett Crockford
©Sport the library / Brett Crockford

Possessing the Holy Spirit inside us is like being a horse at the starting gate of a race. The horse cannot run the race until the gate is opened. Because we believe, we have this amazing power inside us. Yet, many of us think, speak and act just like someone who isn’t blessed with this mysterious gift. We’re a horse who looks like any other horse. How could this be?

Some of us spend our entire lives without ever allowing the Spirit to come alive in us. He lies dormant, abiding uninvited to participate in our family life, business life, social life, financial life,  emotional life or our spiritual life.

Ah, but once we open the gate and extend an invitation to the Spirit, we will begin to detect the abundant love, the copious grace and extensive power infusing us. As we allow the Spirit to dissolve the blinders from our eyes and the plugs from our ears, we will see and hear clearly the signs of His voice. We will, day by day, grow in the harmonious cadence of our relationship with the One who created us.

When that occurs, we will desire to do nothing less than let Him have His way with us. We will find strength in the surrender. We will seek Him out in every circumstance. We will comprehend the deep and abiding truth that it takes tremendous courage to love, and we can only do it with the Spirit’s infrastructure and tenderness.

As we imagine ourselves bolstered daily by the Spirit, we are able to awaken every day with a new perspective. Yes, we will walk at first, but think how it will feel as we are then able to skip and run. Furthermore, walking with the Spirit allows us to accomplish so much more than if we walked alone. Because it’s not all about us. Until we embrace the Living Water Spirit and begin to live out our lives on the bedrock of His love, we’re unable to offer that love and compassion to someone else – someone who may well be crying out for the life-affirming hope the salvation of Jesus brings.

When a horse picks up speed, he trots, then canters, then gallops, and in each stride of his gallop, his four-beat gait then allows all four feet to lift from the ground at once. Think then, of walking with the Spirit, our Divine Impulsion, as He helps us lift our feet off the ground.

galloping

“I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—a glorious inner strength—that Christ will come alive in you as you allow his Spirit to be stirred in you. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, saturated in the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)

A Line in the Sand

or – Our Three Denials

Line in the Sand

Often, we Christians draw a line in sand around political issues we mistake for biblical issues. Abortion, homosexuality, gun control, Muslims, Israel. Certainly we can find isolated Bible verses that support our position; we quote them often enough. I admit I have.

But I’m here to tell you I’m a red-letter kind of gal. And when I want Truth, I go back to those red letters in my Bible time and time again. And as I reread them and ask the Spirit for clarity to understand them, I continue to see, over and over, the three lines in the sand Jesus drew.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45, Luke 6:27)

As we continue to vilify all who are not like us, treat “them” like groups who need to be condemned, isolated, in some cases obliterated, we act in fear. But Jesus calls us to act in love. He calls us to pray for enemies, whoever we might consider to be a foe, whether a rival, assailant, detractor, terrorist or sinner. We are called to be more than our basest instincts chain us to be.

“I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me into your homes. I needed clothes, and you didn’t give me anything to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t take care of me. They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison and didn’t help you?’ ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you failed to do for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do for me.” (Matthew 25:42-45)

Exactly how many starving immigrants do we have to deny from our warm, spacious homes? How many millions of refugees fleeing for their lives will continue to wander in deserts, in oceans with no opportunity for safety? How many hundreds of thousands of children will have to die before we allow the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts from fear to love?

“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.” (John 13:34-35)

How can we say we love Jesus if we turn our backs on His words? How we can we say we follow Him if we refuse to stand with Him? Peter denied Jesus three times, but that was before he knew what we know. Before the Holy Spirit took up residence in him. Before Jesus allowed him to declare his love three times face to face to repent of those denials.

We need to stop condemning, stop finger-pointing and extend the same loving, grace-filled invitation Jesus extended to Levi the tax collector. And break bread at the same table.

In the face of those lines in the sand, will we continue to deny Jesus three times over and over knowing what we know?