Galatians 5:16: “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”

Life stories are the most interesting stories to follow, I find, and the Bible is full of them! Here is the story of a guy named Lot:

Lot would never forget that day when they left everything they’d ever known. His grandfather Terah decided to move away from their hometown Ur to embark on a journey into the unknown. He invited Lot and his uncle Abraham to come along.

Following the caravan route, they arrived in Haran one day, a major city near modern day Baghdad in Iraq. They must have temporarily settled there to do some business when an unforeseen event hit the family hard: their beloved patriarch passed away. Lot was in shock! Here they were in a strange city without their clan leader. What now? Were they turning around to go back to Ur? He was seriously considering it. Lot didn’t like to live like a nomad. He liked the city. He liked to build business relationships and settle. But then his uncle Abraham seemed to see things differently.

After some debate, Lot felt that his uncle had a point. They were family, and they should stick together. Finally, Lot decided to travel on with Abraham, and God guided the two families to their destination: the land of Canaan, a region bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Conflict arose between the two families after they had settled in Canaan. Their livestock had grown exponentially, and the land could no longer support all of them. Lot didn’t think he could stay with his uncle Abraham any longer. He felt it was time to separate and be on his own. He had his eye on a region near the Jordan River for a while. It was the perfect location for his flocks and herds. Best of all: two thriving cities were close by. He could finally settle down and build business relationships! So Lot took his wife and children and moved to the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley near Sodom and Gomorrah. Unfortunately, Lot’s decision did not bode too well for him and his family. As it later turned out, his moving location was on the brink of a major disaster!

Lot’s life is a vivid example of how a conflict of interests affects important life decisions. The Holy Spirit wants to guide our lives, but we often think we know better, and for various reasons we fight that inner voice.

Life events and people often overthrow our neat plans. One door closes, another one opens, and we’re grieving over the closed door and are not sure where the open door leads. God is a great change agent, and He uses such things to inspire our hearts; He guides us through the mystery into our destiny. God is not against us, He is for us, and He has a dream for you and me. Guess what: God always dreams big!

Be inspired by the Holy Spirit – and may all of God’s dreams for your life come true!

2 Corinthians 3:6: “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

In the story of The Princess Bride the main character Inigo finally confronts his father’s killer with the words he had waited half his life to say: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Headhunters were pursuing Jesus with increasing intensity as their hatred grew. Even though they had no good reason to hate Him, they were hell-bent to find an excuse to execute Him. According to the Law of Moses, sexual immorality and blasphemy both deserve the death penalty.  So the plan was to trap Jesus into saying something that could be used against Him.

When a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery was brought to Jesus, the idea was to kill two birds with one stone: Jesus for saying something that could be (falsely) interpreted as blasphemy, and the woman for the obvious reason of being caught in the act of illegal sex.

Prepared to die?

Here was their loaded question: “This woman offended the law of Moses, so she dies. Or doesn’t she, Jesus?”

And how did He respond? Jesus stooped down to write in the dirt.

Technically, that’s how mankind started out. God stooped down, got His hands dirty and formed the first man out of clay (Genesis 2:7):

“Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.”

While it is true that we are made out of clay, dust is not our major component. We come to life through the Spirit of God. That also means that once the Spirit is gone, our life is gone. Only our ashes are left behind as our Spirit returns to God, our Maker (Ecclesiastes 12:7):

“For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”

What is true for our bodies is also true for the body of law expressed in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. The letter of the law is the mud in God’s hands. Through God’s Spirit the Law of Moses comes alive. However, take the Spirit out of the equation, and the same law kills. We need God’s Spirit to understand what God has to say. Without God’s Spirit everything is futile, just like dust in the wind.

So, Jesus stooped down and wrote in the lifeless dust because no life comes out of accusation and condemnation. The people who brought the adulteress to Jesus were ready to stone her to death. They kept pressuring Jesus saying: “Now what is the verdict?” Jesus finally got up to face all accusers and silenced them once and for all with His priceless answer (John 8:7):

“All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone”

We are all made out of dust. We are all frail and finite. We can all be killed through the letter of the law, because we all make mistakes. But – here is Jesus first dispersing all accusers and then asking you and me: “Now where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” And with everyone who ever was accused of anything we answer: No, Lord, no one accuses us of anything.” And here is Jesus’ encouraging word for us: “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

We get to start over. What a wonderful thing that is!

“Some people say a man is made out of mud
A poor man’s made out of muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that’s weak and a back that’s strong”
        Tennessee Ernie Ford

John 14:26: “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.”

If we were ambassadors by trade we would know how to navigate between different cultures and how to keep the dialogue open between countries. The use of ambassadors today is widespread. States use diplomatic representatives to deal with any problems that occur within the international system. Ambassadors live in their assigned countries for long periods of time so that they get acquainted with the culture and local people. The Holy Spirit representing God’s kingdom dwells in our realm and is sent to us to inform us of God’s will and explain it in such a way that we can understand it. Languages seem to be the Holy Spirit’s specialty. Speaking every language there is, and most importantly: God’s heart language, the Holy Spirit is an excellent and very unique interpreter. As a member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit re-introduces us to God’s Kingdom – basically back to the way it used to be when we knew God intimately, when we walked the Garden of Eden with Him, and before we engaged in conversations with a treacherous serpent; on that note I call this time era in Eden “Before Serpent”. Just as “Before Christ” is abbreviated BC, “Before Serpent” is abbreviated ….bad joke, I know!

God’s Spirit is known to be gentle. If we reject Him, He respects our decision and lets us go – because apparently we know what we’re doing – or don’t we?

Jesus once prayed for us on the cross saying (Luke 23:34):

“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’”

When Jesus asked the Father to forgive everybody, He gave Him a reason why: “They do not know what they do.” I’ve always wondered if people had known they were actually killing the Son of God on the cross was there a chance that God would not forgive?

This is a theoretical question of course, but in this vein here are some more: Did Adam and Eve understand what they were doing eating that forbidden fruit? Did Satan know what he was doing causing a split in heaven and taking one third of all angels with him? How much can go wrong and how much can be forgiven? I don’t think we really know.

And knowing that we don’t know is the beginning of all wisdom, I believe. Humility goes a long way towards God’s kingdom, and that’s when we are actually open to listen to the Wisdom of Ages, aka the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit has a lot of important things to share (the truth first and foremost!). If you’re busy, take some time out of your busy schedule. If you’re not busy, just come with curiosity and an open mind.  Don’t be afraid to listen what the Holy Spirit has to say. I promise you, it will rock your world and you’ll be amazed!

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord     
Francesca Battistelli

Titus 3:4-7: “When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”

We have a triune God!  This profound insight has been an open secret since the beginning of time, and it is a beautiful testimony that God is not operating as a “Lone Ranger”.  Instead, He chooses to work as a team.

We can discover divine teamwork in the realm of creation. The first chapter of the book of Genesis describes how the Holy Spirit was involved from the get-go:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” 

Hovering over something that was initially formless, empty, and dark, the Holy Spirit went to town – and the magic of transformation began! As the Spirit of God proceeded to cut through dysfunctional chaos, the universe as we know it came into being, and with it our home planet Earth, filled with wonder, color, and beauty.

Reading up on the creation story, we can discern a repeating pattern – the pattern of God speaking and things happening. Following is an inconclusive list of examples, all from the first chapter of Genesis:

  • And God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.’ And it was so.
  • “Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’ And it was so.
  • “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.’ And it was so.

In John’s gospel Jesus is introduced as the One who made things happen, the One who is ultimately responsible for the resulting: “And it was so” each time God spoke.  God forms a thought, communicates it, and Jesus chips in saying: “Consider it done!” So much so, that Jesus is nick-named “The Word” – because whichever Word comes out of the Father’s mouth, Jesus does it, and He does it very well! Incidentally, we read how Jesus, the Word, was successfully involved in the creation process (John 1:1-3):

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.” 

When it comes to saving humans we see the same kind of intricate teamwork between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Paul describes the Trinity’s teamwork to a man named Titus (Titus 3:4-7):

“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

We can see a circle of transformation happening, with:

  • The Holy Spirit hovering over humankind creating a new heart within us
  • While the Father graciously extends His welcome by giving us His Son
  • While Jesus advertises the Father’s kindness and love by sacrificing His life to save us.

As a happy result, spiritually dead humans rise up to be spiritually alive humans, ready to do God’s work – if they are so inclined. We are not saved without our consent, but if we believe, wonderful things are bound to happen.

God’s activities are ongoing, and He is inviting us to join His interesting projects. God’s nature is to be productive; and we know that a lot of great things happen when the Trinity is at work. So, here’s to divine team work – taking care of business! Would you like to get involved?

 “And we’ll be taking care of business – every day! Takin’ care of business – every way! We be takin’ care of business – it’s all mine! Takin’care of business and working overtime.” (Randy Bachman)

 

Exodus 39:2-3: “He [Bezalel, a craftsman] made gold thread by hammering out thin sheets of gold and cutting it into fine strands. With great skill and care, he worked it into the fine linen with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread.”

During Israel’s formation as a nation, the people gathered at Mount Sinai to receive the Law of Moses, which included instructions how to set up their first tabernacle. Craftsmen were working on beautiful garments of blue, purple, and scarlet cloth, interwoven with gold; these garments meant for the priesthood were touching on the entire color spectrum visible to the human eye: from purple (violet), blue, gold, all the way to red. Apparently, priesthood representing God’s presence here on Earth was designed to wear a coat of many colors!

We associate the color “red” most often with love; and red has the farthest reaching wavelength still visible to the human eye, about 650 nm. Incidentally, love always reaches out, so the color “red” suits the love-theme very well.

Radio waves are about 100 meters in length, extremely long, and completely invisible to the human eye; radio waves are able to reach around the world and far into space. So is God’s love – invisible but far-reaching. His innate being reaches out, day and night. His love is an ongoing flow overcoming short and long distances. God will always find a way to reach out to His creation. That’s just who He is.

Blue has the shortest wavelength visible to the human eye: The visible blue light has a wavelength of about 475 nm. Because the blue wavelengths are shorter in the visible spectrum, they are scattered more efficiently by the molecules in the atmosphere. This causes the sky to appear blue during the main part of the day, no matter which direction we look. Similarly, God is both near and everywhere; He is scattered throughout the entire universe – so much so that we have the opportunity to meet Him anywhere we go.

We have a God of many colors! God’s spectrum of His being is wide, from red, to blue, to invisible. He is able to tune into any wavelength and get in touch with all of His creation. That is why He understands our hearts so well. Even when we feel a million miles away from Heaven, God is still near. We might not feel Him, but He is closer to us than our best friend.

Daily He reaches out to us. Our hearts have sensors to notice Him; however, our sensors are in need of repair. The human condition is such that we commonly won’t recognize God’s voice, unless the Holy Spirit steps in.

The Holy Spirit is a cherished member of the Trinity, just as Jesus is. The nature of the Trinity is to share. Jesus was given to us because the Father loved the world so much that He gave His Son; the Holy Spirit was given to us so that we can tune into God’s wavelength and hear His voice.

Our Heavenly Father has given us many good gifts – gifts of life; He is an ear- and eye-opener, healer of broken hearts, stimulator of the human spirit. He puts His gifts out there, waiting for the moment when we are ready to receive. God knows that timing is crucial, especially when it comes to a complicated, multi-layered human heart. So, God waits for a slightest signal, a green light, a “go ahead” from anybody who sincerely asks Him.

God is ready to bless you and me with His finest gifts; why? Because He is a good Father!

“You’re a good, good Father, it’s who You are; and I’m loved by You – it’s who I am.” (Pat Barrett and Tony Brown)

 

Genesis 11:9: “That is why the city was called Babel because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.”

An ambitious building project came to a screeching halt. What happened?  In the 11th chapter of Genesis we read how people got together to build a great city with towering skyscraper. Their goal was to become famous and to unify the world under one capital – incidentally the goal of many rising and falling empires in the history of mankind! With the introduction of foreign languages, however, God threw a mighty curve ball. It became increasingly difficult for people to get on the same page, let alone to pursue world unity by setting up a global government that was to represent all people. Instead of staying together people divided into their respective language groups and formed nations while separating and scattering into the four corners of this world, thus forever abandoning the construction project of the Tower of Babel.

With Babel came native and foreign tongues, and so we have been in dire need of translators to be able to communicate with people all over the world. “Babel” sounds like a Hebrew term that means “confusion.” And the confusion indeed is profound – even among people speaking the same language. Worse still, Heaven and Earth have trouble relating, which we can trace back to the time right after we were expelled from the Garden of Eden. We have been struggling continuously with all kinds of communication problems. We experience difficulties understanding the other person, much less can we make sense of what God has to say to us at times. Consequently, God has been misunderstood, and in the realm of human relations people have been misunderstood.

Here is where the Holy Spirit comes in: the Holy Spirit plays a crucial role as translator. He translates God’s language into human language by explaining God’s thoughts to humans. Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit to His followers as an advocate and His representative.  In the 14th chapter of his gospel John wrote down Jesus’ description of the Holy Spirit. According to John’s eye witness Jesus said: “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.” The Holy Spirit speaks God’s truth into the human heart and opens the door to a deeper level of communication by translating between humans and between God and humans.  This is how the gift of tongues has become the powerful antidote to the Babel event. Instead of confusion there is meaningful conversation. Instead of separation bridges are built. The Spirit of God is the greatest global peace movement ever. Today the Spirit is knocking on everybody’s door asking to draw near to God; and all we have to do is … lend a listening ear!

Revelation 22:17: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who hears this say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.”