Ancient of Days

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We used to sing a song in our church that started like this:

Blessing and honor, glory and power, be unto the Ancient of Days . . .

Some of you nodding and humming the melody in your heads right now. It was a popular song in Christian circles during the 1990’s, and I still hear it occasionally. One of my favourites.

I hadn’t thought about this song for ages, but the other day I was driving in my car and for some reason, the words just popped into my head. Since then, I have been having conversations with God as to why. I’m certain it wasn’t random.

I wanted to find out where in scripture Ancient of Days was mentioned. Surprising to me, Daniel chapter 7 has the only three references in the entire bible – verses 9, 13, and 22. Okay then. The book of Daniel is primarily a prophetic one and my knowledge of its contents, I’m finding, is rather lacking.

Most commentators say that the Ancient of Days is God, the Father. In Daniel 7:9, He is preparing to judge, seated on a fiery throne wearing a garment white as snow and hair like pure wool. I get why we’d assume that we’re reading about God here. This fits our mental picture of Him, right? But one commentator made a good point. The Ancient of Days can be no other than the Son of Man, Jesus. What? In John 5:22, Jesus says, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.” So, if there is to be judgment, the judging will be done by Jesus Christ.

The following description of Him in the book of Revelation corresponds to the one in Daniel.

When I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, I saw seven golden lampstands.And walking among the lampstands, I saw someone like a son of man, wearing a full-length robe with a golden sash over his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool – white as glistening snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire!His feet were gleaming like bright metal, as though they were glowing in a fire, and his voice was like the roar of many rushing waters. Revelation 1:12-15 (TPT)

Stay with me here.

Daniel 7:13 and 22 mention the Ancient of Days again, but this time as God the Father. We know that because the Son of Man, Jesus, came to stand near Him. Two separate beings.

What does all of this have to do with anything, you ask?

The title, Ancient of Days, was used interchangeably, I believe, confirming Jesus’ statement in John 10:30; “The Father and I are one.” John 1:1 says, In the beginning was the Word (the Word is Jesus Christ), and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God. They are One with the Holy Spirit, just as they are separate.

A lot of stuff in this post, I know, but the Ancient of Days, whether He be the Father or the Son or the Spirit, is everlasting – ancient. Outside of time and space. With complete clarity of the reality of all there is to know. He existed before days even were a thing.

This is what God wanted me to know: That He was here before all and will be here after all. He knows the before and the after and everything in between. About me. About you. His love surrounds us, flows in us, through us, and is for us. His love is ancient. It has never failed and it never will.

For none can compare to Your matchless worth! Sing unto the Ancient of Days.

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Help

When I was eight or nine years old, I thought I was going to drown. I was at a lake with my family and, being a dauntless kind of kid, I jumped into the water at the end of the dock. No big deal, right?

Wrong.

The water was deeper than I had anticipated and I couldn’t swim, at least not well enough to compensate for the depth I was in. I started thrashing around, went under, came up and thrashed some more. That’s when I decided it might be a good idea to call for help. Except no one was around. No. One. I think my guardian angel must have rolled his eyes when God gave him the nod to get me out of yet another mess of my own making. By some miracle (thanks, God), my legs straightened out and my feet touched sand. I made it to the shore and upchucked a few gallons of lake water. I was safe.

I don’t know what I expected when I cried out for help. I had no conscious thought of calling on God for assistance while I was flailing around in that water, but He heard me and made certain that a foolish and terrified little girl didn’t drown in the lake that day. I admit that I never even thought to give Him credit until years later.

This memory reminded me of how often we find ourselves drowning. Drowning in trouble, in sorrow, in debt, in broken relationships, in loneliness, in anger, in confusion, in fear, in unforgiveness, etc. It’s an awfully long list. We plead with God to help, asking for answers that don’t seem to come, and we grow weary. Hopeless. Desperate, even. We sink, floundering in the deep water.

In those impossible situations, it’s hard to see the answer, especially if it doesn’t look like we think it should. We have ideas in our heads for what we think the perfect solution is, but our Father, who knows us even better than we know ourselves, always provides the best way to overcome the problem. How often do we miss it because we’re looking for our way and not His? We revert to survival mode instead of trust-in-God mode. Believe me when I tell you that it doesn’t work. At least not as well as it would have had God’s direction been followed.

Trying to keep yourself from drowning isn’t fun. I know this. Neither is relying on your own resources. They may keep you afloat for a while, but you’ll sink eventually. Call for help. Listen to what the Father has to say about your circumstances, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Trust Him.

He really does have the best answers. I know this too.

The following became a life scripture for me when I memorized it as a child. I like it in The Passion Translation:

Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go. Proverbs 3:5-6 (TPT)

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Perception

Now you see it, now you don't: what optical illusions tell us about our  brains

Years ago, someone had the wrong perception about me. They discovered that I was a long-time Beatles fan, which was an appalling flaw, apparently, since I was a leader in the church. Another time, someone was shocked to see me laughing and dancing around with my small grandchildren at a social event. They had the perception that Christians weren’t supposed to have fun. More recently, there have been some who frown upon my current lack of church affiliation, as if that were an indication of declining spiritual commitment. All these perceptions were and are based on people’s personal belief systems and not on actual conversations with me. In most cases, they didn’t really know me at all.

Perception: The act of perceiving or of receiving impressions by the senses; or that act or process of the mind which makes known an external object (Webster’s Dictionary 1828).

We all have notions and ideas – perceptions – that came along for the ride as we grew up. These were formed as a result of what we saw around us, what we were told by our parents, teachers, friends, or the media. While many of our perceptions may have been based on fact and are therefore correct, a whole lot of them were not. We act on those perceptions and they become what we believe. Then we become what we believe.

Think about God the Father and what you believe about Him. Is He going to reject you unless you come to Him in a certain way or believe the right things about Him? Will He love you less if you don’t measure up to the standards of the world, the church, your family, or most of all, His expectations of you? Does that specific sin cancel your ticket to heaven?

You probably answered no to those questions because, of course, everyone knows that God doesn’t operate that way, right? But come on, who hasn’t heard the “God is going to be so disappointed in you” phrase, whether it be a voice in your head or from someone else.

Perceptions.

And so, another question arises. Do you believe and know the Father God? Or do you perceive and so believe and trust something else?

Really knowing God for myself – not someone else’s perception of Him – is an ongoing game-changer. It’s an amazing process. I spent most of my life listening to other people tell me about God, the bible and what His will was for me, and I just accepted it all until it became my perception too. It was gaining knowledge about Him rather than an experience of knowing Him. There’s such a difference. When I allowed myself to respond to the nudging of the Holy Spirit and put aside all those notions and ideas (perceptions) of who I thought He was so I could know and experience Him for who He really is, I also began to know myself in Christ.

Discovering who you really are – who God created you to be in Him – will lead you out of old ways of thinking which keep you convinced that you aren’t who you are. These are Satan’s weapons. Deception. Lies. Surrendering old thought patterns (perceptions) can be scary to your mind, and the devil knows it. Who do you think put the fear there in the first place? When you introduce something new, the neurons in your brain throw up warning flags. It takes work to change how you think. It’s always easier to give up and not make the effort. But there is no victory in that.

For me, there was, and still is opposition. Opposition from others who cling tightly to their perceptions and tell me I’m heading down a dangerous path. Opposition from within – the fight to dredge up my own perceptions and look at them through God’s microscope. Change is hard. Questioning why I believe what I believe is hard, and it’s a process that doesn’t always have simple answers.

But I trust my Father, so I think I’m in pretty good hands. I know He is real. I know He hears me. I know He speaks to me. I know He is in me and around me all the time. I know He loves me and cares about what I think and feel and do.

He is good.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:8 (NKJV)

Another translation puts it this way:

Drink deeply of the pleasures of this God. Experience for yourself the joyous mercies he gives to all who turn to hide themselves in him. Psalm 34:8 (TPT)

If you’re looking for me, I’m hiding in Him.

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Leaning

42 Woman Leaning Against Wall Illustrations, Royalty-Free Vector Graphics &  Clip Art - iStock

Every year around Christmas we watch the 1995 romantic comedy, While You Were Sleeping. We’ve seen it so many times that we can pretty much recite every line from memory. In one scene, the main characters have a conversation about the word leaning as an action between a man and a woman who may be interested in each other. It’s funny, and we chuckle nearly every time we hear the word spoken in any context.

Today, however, I read about leaning toward Jesus – leaning into Him rather than leaning into a religious culture that portrays a vastly different Jesus than the One in the bible. That is, if Jesus is portrayed at all.

My Christian upbringing and subsequent “maturity” in the faith was a litany of Jesus-loves-me-this-I-know, John 3:16, and a steady stream of admonitions about my shortcomings. I am exaggerating a little, because I have also had some excellent bible teaching over the years, but I think you know what I mean. Although the focus seemed to be on Jesus and having a relationship with Him, the how-to was not clearly explained or demonstrated. And to be honest, I didn’t even realize it.

I had questions, though. Lots of them. I was afraid to voice some of those questions for fear of being told I was being disrespectful to God, or to the pastor/teacher/leader I wanted to ask. The few times I did gather up the courage, I was made to feel foolish for asking. Now there’s an example of religious culture. Believe what we tell you to believe and don’t ask questions. Period.

About four or five years ago, I allowed the Lord to begin unraveling some of the tangles in my beliefs, which weren’t wrong per se, but had some gaps and disconnects and a bit of unbiblical basis. I flipped between stubborn and fascinated. Some of the tangles were easy to comb out and it was so good to be free of the mess. But others, well, they required (and still do) continuous care and attention, uprooting and planting, clearing out junk and replacing with new things. The process is another story.

The point is that there was and is a constant.

Leaning.

Leaning on God, the Father. Leaning on Jesus, the Teacher. Leaning on the Holy Spirit, the Helper.

And as I lean on Him, He leans into me. He holds me up and sustains me. He moves through me, in me, and around me. He reveals Himself to me in His Word, with His Word, and around His Word. I am in Him and He is in me.

All. The. Time.

There are still tangles in my beliefs, to be sure, although not as many as before. And there are still gaps and disconnects. But leaning into Him and He into me? There is nowhere else I’d rather be.

But the Lord God has become my divine helper. He leans into my heart and lays his hands upon me! Psalm 54:4 (TPT)

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Out with the Old

I don’t know about you, but after ten months of relative isolation due to Covid-19, I have been forced to come face to face with some habits that need to go. They’re minor things that wouldn’t even be noticed under ordinary conditions. Yet, these seemingly insignificant routines have potential to grow into big problems over time.

One of those dangerous habits is waiting.

I understand that there will always be situations where waiting is required. That’s life. But I’m referring to fruitless waiting. Waiting for the right time to start that project. Waiting for someone else to spark the flame to get motivated. Waiting for the pandemic to end so I can get back to normal. Waiting, waiting, waiting. If I could tack on all the time I’ve spent waiting to the end of my allotment of years, I’d live to be 125.

Here’s the big one. Waiting to do/be something new because it’s scary or might be hard or someone else might not like it or it might not work the way you thought. Guess what? It is scary. It will be hard. Someone, maybe even more than one, won’t like it. And there’s a good chance it’s not going to work exactly the way you thought.

But what if, despite the scary and hard, the new thing is better than the old? What if the new thing can’t happen until you get rid of the old? The problem is that the old stuff has taken root and now there is no place for the new stuff to be planted amidst the gnarled, twisted, unproductive tangle. You’ll never know how much better the new will be until you attack the old growth, get rid of it, and prepare the soil for that new thing.

This is where you decide. Will you yank out old roots – habits, thought patterns, excuses – to make room to plant new things? If you say yes, it will take determination. Commitment. Hard work. Faith.

I am done waiting for something to happen so I can embrace that new thing. The housecleaning process has begun and there is a growing pile of dead stuff in the trash. I am keeping my focus on Jesus Christ, the One who knows everything about me and loves me anyway. He will stick with me while I make room for the astonishing new He is holding out for me to receive. And He will stick with me to see it through.

Out with the old.

Trust Him with the new.

Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (TPT)

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Wearing Pastels

How to Wear Pastels - Pastel Colors Outfit Ideas

I don’t wear pastel colours. They don’t flatter me. Never have and never will. That’s probably the reason why I have never been drawn to pastels. Except for babies. And maybe a wall.

I mentioned in a previous post, That I May Know Him, that I had recently visited a Christian bookstore and found the women’s interest section almost exclusively filled with pastel-coloured covers, many with the smiling faces of their authors. That got me thinking.

Those who don’t look their best in pastel colours may choose to wear them anyway, perhaps accessorizing with a bright scarf or jacket. They can make it work. Good. Others may throw caution to the wind and boldly (?) put on that pale pink sweater or the baby blue dress all on its own even though it makes the wearer look washed out. Not good.

To the ones who can flaunt those pastels with flair and look fantastic, I commend you, and sometimes I even wished I was you. To the ones who can’t, there are other colours in the paintbox. That’s where I’m going with this.

There is a wide-spread expectation for women to look and act and speak a certain way, and that is to be pastel – look good, behave yourself, and be quiet. Don’t make a scene by standing up for yourself and speaking truth, because what would other people say? A mere woman couldn’t possibly have a valuable opinion anyway, right? For all the progress we’ve made in women’s rights, there is still a prevailing mindset that the female gender is inferior in every way that counts in the world’s gauge of dominance. I know there are many, many exceptions, but let’s be honest. It’s not the rule.

Pastel colours are burned into our brains to represent soft and gentle and feminine. That’s okay. But when you extend the reach of pastels to include acquiescence, subservience, and compliance to the extremes, a disconnect occurs and the pretty colours become labels for an unpretty life. The outside may look great, but the inside is in shambles. And I’m not talking about actual colours here, but rather the condition of the heart.

Take a good look at yourself. Have you put on the robe of pastel because that’s what is expected of you? Are you wearing those colours because someone(s) told you that you don’t have what it takes to speak, sing, write, paint, teach, lead, preach, invent what God has placed in your heart because you’re a woman? I will tell you right now that if you believe that, you’ve believed a lie. It’s time to ditch the pastel and put on the robe of many colours. Bright, bold, vibrant colours!

What’s in you – that God-given treasure inside you – does not depend on whether you are a man or a woman. It depends on you, and the boldness God gives you to get it out. You can choose to remain pastel and keep wishing it could be different. Or you can choose to be the colourful, vivid, multi-faceted, talented, extraordinary woman you were created to be.

Allow the Spirit of the Living God to fill you and sustain you and work through you and in you. Amazing things will happen!

Paul grasped the concept when he wrote:

I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 (TPT)

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Okay, I’m a Feminist

7 Things Strong Women After 50 Do Not Do - Prime Women | An Online Magazine

Years ago, I received an email from someone asking about my views on women in church leadership. There was no context provided for the question, but I assumed it was because this acquaintance knew I’d held positions of leadership for decades, both in the church and in the business world.

Furthermore, I was asked if I considered myself to be a feminist, in a tone that suggested it was blasphemous or something. My eyes narrowed at that point. Take note: If you ever want to get me riled up, go ahead and talk down to me like I’m “just a woman” and you’ll find yourself wishing you hadn’t.

Anyway . . .

How does one go about answering two questions like that? Straight forward and to the point, that’s how.

My view on women in church leadership positions: YES. That about says it. I may elaborate further in another post one day. Do I see myself as a feminist? YES. If I go with the dictionary definition of “feminist”, then that’s what I am.

Feminist: advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.

Although I absolutely advocate all of the above, I am not a sign-carrying, protest-marching, yell-in-your-face feminist. I don’t have to be obnoxious or offensive to make a point. In considering the rights for women socially, politically, legally, and economically, yes, I believe in equality for all.

But – and there’s always a but, right? – I also believe that many women have simply accepted that they are diminished in the eyes of men even though it may not be true. Now, before you get your pantyhose in a knot (do women even wear those anymore?), hear me out. They see themselves as lesser than men, beneath men, not as smart as men, and not as capable as men. Who told them that? Their fathers, brothers, uncles, bosses, the church, or even their mothers and grandmothers? I don’t know, but it certainly wasn’t God.

And before you start giving me all kinds of scripture references to support the opposite, just understand that the Bible needs to be absorbed considering the time in which it was written. No, I’m not suggesting a re-interpretation of the Word to suit myself. Not at all. Don’t miss the point.

What I want you to see is that your spirit – that place where the Spirit of God dwells – has no gender. He speaks to you exactly the same as He does to anyone else, male or female (and no, there isn’t a third or fourth gender). God’s expectations of you are the same whether you are a man or a woman, and you are valuable to Him and His work regardless of your plumbing. He just loves YOU. And He wants you to love Him back.

I long to see women take their place in Christ – to know who they are in Him and to take on that identity instead of the false identities placed on them by well-meaning husbands or pastors or parents or friends or the world in general. I long to see more women stand up for truth and life. I long to see real women who have fought spiritual battles and won, and who aren’t afraid to call out the fakes. I long to see women who are done with the fluff (see my previous post That I May Know Him) and want to really know Him, to do His will, no matter what the cost. I know some of those women. They have have had revelation of this for years and years, and they live it out. I honour them.

So, does it really matter whether it is a man or a woman preaching in your church? No, not if that person is truly called of God to do so. Is there a problem with a woman in a church leadership position? No, not if that woman has the skill, desire, and support to serve in that role. Is a woman in leadership a feminist? She probably is (refer to definition), and I applaud her for that.

Circling back to the beginning of this post, you might be wondering what happened with the curious soul who asked me such pointed questions. Well, I provided a lot of scripture to present my case and thought I had done a rather good job of making it clear where I stood. When I followed up some months later, the person confessed that they hadn’t even read my response. Oh well.

Bottom line: It’s not about being a female church leader or a feminist or whatever label you want to use. It’s about Jesus and who you are in Him and who He is in you. Embrace it.

I leave you with Paul’s writing, which is my prayer for you.

So I kneel humbly in awe before the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, the perfect Father of every father and child in heaven and on the earth.  And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.

Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God! Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you. Ephesians 3:14-19 (TPT)

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That I May Know Him

A few days ago, I posted the following on Facebook, requesting responses from my friends:

Do you regularly read content written by Christian authors (books – fiction or non-fiction, articles, blogs, etc.)? If so, what do you like about them? What don’t you like? If you do not read Christian authors, why not Can you give examples of authors you like and those you don’t?

The responses I got were not surprising to me but would perhaps be surprising to some Christian writers and publishers.

Most of those who answered the questions said yes, they did read Christian content, although not many had good things to say about Christian fiction, particularly women’s fiction because much of it tends to stereotype women into very traditional roles and thought patterns. I have found this to be true in my own reading. Several authors’ names did come up as exceptions, though.

Of the I-do-read-Christian-content responses, preferences were primarily well-researched non-fiction books and articles. Some of the authors are well-known and others more obscure. There was an almost overwhelming negative response toward the “feel good” books that play on emotions and fail to address and deal with the root of the issues. My friends who no longer read much Christian content have been disillusioned with the shallowness of what’s out there, the poor quality of the writing, or the false perceptions such material leaves with readers.

Now I’ll tell you why I have embarked on this research.

Recently, I was invited to participate in a webinar for Christian writers and bloggers. I was looking forward to it, as most of the writers’ conferences and seminars I’ve attended have not focused on Christian content. I should have skipped this one. Let’s just say that after the webinar I was not compelled to respond to the “rate us” email. There was no option to give a minus rating. It was horrible. Worse than horrible. Not once was the name of Jesus mentioned. Not once did the speakers talk about digging into the Bible for content, answers, or direction. Not once did I hear anyone say that the focus needed to be on God the Father. As a matter of fact, the “best” advice, they said, was to go to a local Christian bookstore, look around at what is offered there, and write that. Because it’s what’s popular. It’s what sells.

Are you kidding me???

Okay, I calmed down a little and then yesterday, I took myself off to a Christian bookstore – the only one within a 100 km radius that hasn’t gone out of business. As a point of reference, I am a former Christian bookstore owner and I know the pain of having to close the doors on a labour of love.

My fact-finding mission at the bookstore uncovered no surprises. The department occupying the greatest amount of floor space was giftware. Yeah, you know. All those cheesy ornaments with Bible verses on them. The next largest area was fiction, most of which looked eerily the same as my own bookstore did twelve years ago – a HUGE number of Amish romances, a good number of mysteries (also romances), and a few really good books by really good authors.

I moved on and turned the corner and my eyes widened. Rows and rows of floor-to-ceiling shelves of Women’s Interest books. Do publishers not know how bad pastel covers look en-masse? I wanted to run away screaming. While I’m certain there were some truly excellent ones in there, anyone would have been hard pressed to find them among the volumes of drivel.

(drivel – childish, silly, or meaningless talk or thinking; nonsense; twaddle)

Seriously. A good 50% of the books even had the smiling face of the author on the cover. Who are we worshipping here? And the titles! Don’t even get me started.

Here’s my point: Where is Jesus? Who is He? What is He for/to you? Why do you follow Him? How can you know Him and the power of His resurrection?

And I continually long to know the wonders of Jesus more fully and to experience the overflowing power of his resurrection working in me. Philippians 3:10 (TPT)

THIS is what we need. To know and experience the living Spirit of God moving through us, in us, around us. To understand what He is to us and for us. THIS is what it means to be alive in Christ.

Anything that does not point you to Jesus should be questioned. That goes for so-called Christian books that offer answers for every life problem – books that make you feel good about yourself and excuse you from having to actually deal with your issues without giving Jesus the liberty to work with you. I’ve read many of the books I’m generalizing about here. I know what’s in them. And for all the money I’ve spent, words I’ve read, and felt justified in my sanctimonious attitude, nothing, NOTHING worked until I let Jesus show me the areas in my life that needed work. He and I are still housecleaning in that regard.

My greatest desire is to write what the Father God puts on my heart. Not what sells the best. Not what makes readers feel good (aka fluff). Not what other people tell me I should write. I believe that when I write what God has burned in my spirit, lives will change, and He will be glorified.

My little Facebook research project is a good indication that there is an audience for authentic writers who truly hear from God and write what He says. So, if you’re one of those, GO!

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Powerful Wind

SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (WIND) | JESUS WAY 4 YOU

A powerful wind blew through our area last night, leaving wide-spread power outages, downed trees, and property damage in its wake. The sound was deafening at times, like a jet airplane flying at a low altitude directly above our house. Rain poured from the sky in torrents. Visibility was non-existent.

This morning, the sun was shining as a beautiful day began. At first glance, all appeared right with the world. Yet, the evidence of the storm’s effect was there. The wind we could not see had made its presence known in things we could see.

The same thing happens with the Holy Spirit. His role is to glorify the Father and the Son, and to dwell in us – making Him unseen. But like the wind, the Holy Spirit works in unpredictable ways. Even though we can’t control or manipulate Him or make Him to do our bidding or anticipate His next move, we know He is there. We see the evidence of His presence in us and around us. We see the effects of His work in the lives of people who yield to Him.

For the Spirit-wind blows as it chooses. You can hear its sound but you don’t know where it came from or where it’s going. So it is within the hearts of those who are Spirit-born! John 3:8 (TPT)

Be still.

Allow Him to breathe His life into you. Hear His voice speaking to you, whether that be a gentle breeze or a powerful wind.

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Leaning on Our Senses

Making Sense of Your Five Senses - Ask The Scientists

We know what our senses are: sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. Those senses dictate our actions, to a large degree, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. But can we trust them? Of course, a bad odor may indicate a problem somewhere, a hot curling iron burns if we touch it, and not everything we eat has a pleasant taste. So yes, we can trust our senses to give us information about our surroundings.

However . . .

I remember a song we used to sing in Sunday School with the words, “be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear” (see full lyrics below). Why did the song zero in on those two things first? Because, I believe, sight and sound are the two senses where the enemy has initial access to our thoughts and subsequent actions.

This past year, I’ve been more aware of the consequences of allowing brain space to be taken up by things I should not be looking at or listening to. This is particularly true when it comes to the Covid-19 situation, political unrest, conspiracy theories, etc., and watching the world lose all sense of – well – common sense. I’ll even go so far as to say that there are even some pastors and churches out there who are contributing to the problem by ignoring God’s agenda and promoting their own during this time of vulnerability.

None of this is new. It has occurred throughout all history. But today, with our ready access to the news (if you can call it that) and wide-spread social media, our eyes and ears are being bombarded with so much trash and untruth, it’s become difficult to distinguish between what is real and what isn’t.

This is where we, the redeemed of the Lord, the Jesus followers, the believers of the whole Bible, have a responsibility.

We are responsible to ourselves, and to our friends and families, to uphold the Word of God and test everything we are seeing and hearing with that Word. We are responsible to speak the truth as God gives us utterance. We are responsible to cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). We are responsible to take authority over that which would attempt to pull us away from whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things (Philippians 4:8).

I urge you to resist giving place to pessimism, to negativity, to self-condemnation, to fear, to anxiety, to bad habits, to wrong beliefs and attitudes, to lies, and to complacency. These things do not come from a place of victory in Jesus Christ, and if they take root in your mind, they will steal your peace, your joy, and your hope. Eventually, they will destroy you.

Strong words, I know. That’s why it’s vital to stop leaning on your senses.

Lean on the One who is above all. See His words. Hear His voice.

O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love
So, be careful little eyes what you see

O be careful little ears what you hear
O be careful little ears what you hear
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love
So, be careful little ears what you hear

O be careful little tongue what you say
O be careful little tongue what you say
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love
So, be careful little tongue what you say

O be careful little hands what you do
O be careful little hands what you do
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love
So, be careful little hands what you do

O be careful little feet where you go
O be careful little feet where you go
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love
So, be careful little feet where you go

O be careful little heart whom you trust
O be careful little heart whom you trust
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love
So, be careful little heart whom you trust

O be careful little mind what you think
O be careful little mind what you think
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love
So, be careful little mind what you think
So, be careful little mind what you think

Traditional hymn, composer unknown

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