It seemed good to the Holy Spirit – and us –

The other day I was lying down, not watching television or reading a book, just thinking about various things, and asked myself a question. Why am I here?

Meaning, why am I doing volunteer work, writing for a missions organization. Why am I writing blogs. Why am I writing, period. And the larger question not articulated – why am I still here on earth, not in heaven.

I wasn’t really praying so I didn’t expect the Lord to answer that question. But he surprised me. He instantly answered, as is his usual style when I pray. “Because it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to me.”

That sounded like a Bible verse so I dragged out my Strong’s Concordance, laying it on the bed. I found the reference, turned to it in the Bible I keep on the night stand and read the passage. It’s from Acts 15:28, part of a letter the apostles wrote to Gentile believers.

I laid the Bible on my dresser, still open to that page, then lay back down and let that phrase roll around in my mind, not asking any more questions, just thinking.

Part of that phrase seemed odd to me: “to the Holy Spirit and us.” And us? As if US had any choice in the matter?

The Holy Spirit began to expound on his choice of an answer to my question.

We all have a choice in the matter. We can refuse any of Father God’s requests. Any of his offers. Any of his assignments. Many people do.

We’re not robots, despite some theology about God’s sovereignty. Of course, if we think he will just give up and go away, we’re badly mistaken. He’s very persuasive and very persistent. He won’t give up easy.

He’d like us to go his way without all the messy complications we tend to create for ourselves. If we continually decline, however, he will eventually let us go our own way. We’ll suffer the consequences – not punishment, just consequences. I did, for a while.

I remember the day he told me, “You’ll be a teacher.” It was a simple statement of fact made in a clear, quiet voice. I was in the first grade, sitting in a McKenzie School classroom at the time. I didn’t give him any argument or request any explanation, just took it as one person passing along a bit of information to another.

Of course, I was only 6 years old at the time – what did I know? I’d probably heard wrong, I thought in later years when I was preparing to become a nuclear physicist. Making all A’s on advanced math and science classes in junior high and high school, becoming a teacher was the last thing on my mind.

Entering college with the highest math score they’d ever had, my career path was set, I thought. Then I fell in love, got married and dropped out of college. Horrified everyone I knew, all my family who’d had such high hopes for me. I took a job as a secretary, teaching myself to type from a book.

To digress…

When I was barely old enough to hold a pencil I started writing. Meditations. Stories. Poetry. Letters. Greeting cards. I made excellent grades in English composition. Later on I wrote articles on Bible subjects, two of which were published in a national magazine.

In the late 1970’s I began writing Esther’s Petition, a print newsletter of Bible studies that was circulated to a few hundred people. It didn’t last long, postage was too expensive. But I read, studied, learned, made notes and outlines for my own use in teaching Bible college and Sunday School courses. Note that word, “teaching.”

I had become a teacher. Not of math, not of science, not even of English or literature, and not with a college degree. A teacher of the Bible. The detour had been a little circuitous from first grade days, but the Holy Spirit had been right all along. I could almost feel his amusement the day it dawned on me, as I recalled that first grade statement of fact.

Then one day… clearly and just as determinedly, the Holy Spirit spoke again as if he was standing right by my shoulder. “Write.”

Now, editing for other writers, businessmen and women, had become part of my secular occupation in the 1980’s, but writing anything for others to read had been put on a back burner.

I was busy, taking care of Tim and our business, being involved with politics and other things. I ignored the suggestion. But as though he was following me around, staying right behind my shoulder, every now and then he whispered that one little word, “write.” Not too loud, not too annoying, just persistent.

After several months of stubbornness, I gave in. I started writing again. “Family Memories” newspaper columns. Secular novels and short stories online, personal history articles for myself and a few relatives. After Tim died I began a blog about him. And I started Esther’s Petition again, blog entries instead of paper newsletters this time.

Recently I’ve started another blog, Speaking of Heaven. I have no idea who will read that one; we’ll see. It’s very different…

So why am I here? To write, I guess. Because it seems good to the Holy Spirit, and to me. Patient and persistent, at least he hasn’t written me off as a lost cause yet.

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Authority, delegated

When Jesus told the apostles / disciples to do something that they could not do, did he expect them to do it? Certainly. He said if they loved him, they’d do what he told them to do.

If they couldn’t do it naturally, he enabled them to do it supernaturally. We understand that, we accept that, we teach that in Sunday School.

But we act like it doesn’t apply to us today, when in fact it does. In what we call the great commission, Jesus told them to teach other people to do the same things he’d told them.

When a soldier goes through basic training, he’s taught how to fight and how to use weapons. When he gets into a battle with an enemy soldier, he does not yell, “General, come fight this enemy soldier for me!”

Does he?

Then why does the average Christian do that?