Category Archives: The Holy Spirit

21 Day Experiment-Day 13

New! Don’t you just love the sound of that word? New songs, new homes, new seasons, new beginnings. Each kind of new carries its own special magic.

New erases the past. It comes without baggage or wear and tear.  New seems so…well…easy.  That is, at first.  Then, reality sets in.  New must be maintained. And eventually, it becomes worn.  Because new cannot last.

“A new commandment, I give you;” Jesus tells His disciples (John 13:34). Can you imagine how they perked up their ears? They had seen Him do amazing things. And now, He had something new for them.  Wonder what it was?  Would it promise power, or glory, or greatness?

The translated new in this passage is kainos, which means “novel, fresh, unused.”  It points to something previously unknown, unprecedented, never before known to exist.”

So just what was this new command?  Jesus simply says:  “Love one another.”  Whaaat?  That’s it?  Any good Jew knew that love was commanded.  Loving God.  Loving your neighbor.  What was new or novel about that?

But let’s look at the context. Jesus had just given the disciples a hands-on lesson on servanthood by washing their feet. A rather shocking object lesson since foot-washing was a task reserved for the lowliest servant—something akin to scrubbing toilets. The King of Kings stooped that low. Why?

The Key Word Study Bible  –a wonderful study aid I lovingly call “My Big Fat Greek Bible”— explains it this way:  “While the commandment to love was not new (See Lev.19: 18-34), to love as demonstrated by the self-sacrifice of Jesus was unprecedented.”

Self-sacrifice. Laying down one’s life for another.  Serving in a way that costs us something. Becoming less than so someone else can be greater. This kind of love never goes out of style. Never wears out.  Never fails.

I’ve been pondering the weight of this commandment. It’s my watchword for today:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:34-35 NIV).

I’m not sure I fully grasp all that it means, but I know this love is costly. What does it look like to be a “doer” of this Word?  Maybe it means serving in secret so someone else can shine.  Or sacrificing my “want to” for the sake of another.

This much I do know: This brand of love can’t be posted on social media. It starts at home, with my family. Then, moves outward to the Body of Christ—God’s family. If I can’t live out this new command where no one is watching, then nothing else I do matters.

Maybe this quiet, costly kind of love will be your witness today—your testimony. Let’s begin with those close up. Then lift up our eyes to see the hurting and broken around us. They are noticing the price tag on the kind love we show one another. I believe, deep down, they are thirsty for that same kind of love.

21 Day Experiment-Day 10

Consider the miracle of speech.  Our voice sets us apart from the animals. It allows us to communicate with each other.  A voice is a powerful tool for good or for evil.

We’re about half-way through our 21 Day Experiment. I’m so glad you’re hanging in there! In John 10, Jesus encourages us to listen to His voice. “I am the good shepherd,” He tells us.  A good shepherd proves his love by laying down his life for the sheep. He’s willing to defend those in his care, even if it means dying for them. Like any loving parent, I’d give up my life in a heartbeat to defend my kids! Not like the hired hand, who cuts and runs when danger hits (John 10:10-13).

Think of the people whose voice is familiar to you.  When my husband calls, he doesn’t have to identify himself.  I know his voice because I know him so well.

So it is with God. The better we get to know Him, the more easily we recognize His voice. “Tune your ears to my voice” (Proverbs 4:20 MSG), says the Lord. One way we “tune” our hearts is by spending time reading and meditating on His Word.

Training our heart to hear God’s voice is one of our most important tasks as believers. Quite a challenge in our busy, noisy world! Daily, we’re bombarded by so many voices. Some speak truth, but others lead us astray.

God’s Word promises us that listening to His voice will bring blessings and protection.  “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him” (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20).

When we make a decision to follow Jesus, we begin to recognize His voice.  My watchword today encourages me to listen:

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow Me (John 10:27).

A few simple tips that help me sharpen my hearing:

  1. I carve out time first thing for God’s Word and prayer. I call this my “morning launch.”
  2. I have a special chair in my bedroom. I shut my door—and unplug from technology.
  3. I don’t evaluate my day ‘til I run, have my coffee, and pray—not always in that order.
  4. I have a plan and a few tools: My Bible, a journal, and my Chubby Book.
  5. I slowly prayerfully read my Bible selection. I take my Chubby Book (with my verse and prayer list) while folding clothes, driving across town, going for an afternoon walk.
  6. I sometimes text a prayer partner to “agree” with me about a specific prayer.
  7. I am watchful for little “God winks” throughout the day that remind me He’s “got this.”

Prayer: Lord, you’re the Good Shepherd. It’s worth my first and best energy to spend time listening to Your voice. Open my eyes to catch glimpses of how You’re at work all around me today!


21 Day Experiment-Day 7

Even before I believed in Jesus, I knew there was a great divide between those who followed Him and those who did not. As I’ve shared earlier, I was firmly in the “not” camp. Christians seemed so… well…needy. I knew I’d have to admit I was broken before I could accept Jesus as my Savior. And I repeat—I did not want to see myself as needy. Can anyone relate?

Welcome to day seven of our 21 Day Experiment. In John 7, Jesus is speaking at a Jewish Festival. All of a sudden He stands up and singles out the “needy” ones:

Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.) (John 7:37-39 NLT).

Jesus spoke of “living water” only twice. The first time was in John 4. He was sitting by a well when a Samaritan woman came to draw water. Jesus asked her for a drink. She was shocked because he was a Jew—everyone knew Jews hated Samaritans. Jesus said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10).

“Thirsty” is just another word for needy. Jesus promises, not a cup, but a river to fill us to overflowing. “Living water” reminds me of rushing rapids. White water—rough, wild, extravagant. Beyond my need, expectations, or imagination. That’s how Jesus describes the Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit is a person. Not an “it.” The Bible says He dwells in us once we invite Jesus to be our Savior. That means we get to talk to God, by way of the Holy Spirit. We train our heart to recognize His voice—most often a whisper.

To be a doer of the Word means I first admit I am thirsty. Next, I’m going to be intentional to slow myself down today so I can reflect on this wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit.  It helps to eliminate hurry if I want to hear His voice.

The Bible also encourages us to commune with the Holy Spirit.  Listen to His nudges—they’re always consistent with Scripture. They’re personal—just for you. The Holy Spirit knows your need. He speaks your language.

Prayer: Lord, I’m thankful for Your gift of the Holy Spirit. You gave this gift so I could have a relationship—an intimate friendship with You—for all eternity.

May the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you (2 Corinthians 13:14 MSG).