Who is the Holy Spirit?

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T H E H O LY S P I R I T I S M Y F R I E N D :

He Is Always With Me



T H E H O LY S P I R I T I S M Y H E L P E R :

He Helps Me Walk With Christ



T H E H O LY S P I R I T I S M Y P U R I F I E R :

He Makes Me More Like Jesus




He Whispers Truth to Me


He Speaks From the Father to Me




T H E H O LY S P I R I T I S M Y Friend: H E I S always W I T H M E For many summers, Dennis and I attended annual training events in Colorado as part of our work with Campus Crusade for Christ (now called Cru). We took our entire family, and we usually tacked on a week of vacation in the mountains. This conference supplied childcare and youth camps for all the kids, so I was usually able to attend all the adult meetings. It was a great gift


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to me as a mom of six. But normal family challenges followed us west every summer. I learned that vacations or trips away from home are never free from selfishness, sin, or childhood sickness. One summer all our kids got chicken pox; every two weeks another one or two developed the tell-tale rash. It was a long summer for me. On one of these days in the summer of 1985 I wrote in my journal:

“I really wanted to go to the meetings today especially because this is the day of praise and worship. But here I am in the apartment being a mother to a sick child. Mothering doesn’t stop. Their needs don’t stop. Once again I am isolated and my husband is not. I’m not feeling sorry for myself … this time. I know I can worship anywhere. I’m sorting out my feelings about how to know closeness with God as a mom.” I was always inspired by speakers and missionaries who told stories of God’s work around the world. But on that day I began to wonder why I never heard a woman—specifically a mother— stand on stage and share how she experienced God in her life with her children, in her home. It seemed to be a void.


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I asked, “If

the Holy Spirit dwells in and with me and other Christian mothers I know, how do I see Him work in my life, in my sometimes very little unexciting world?” That question lodged itself in my thinking, and it began an ongoing quest to learn more about the Holy Spirit.

Who I S T H E

H O LY S P I R I T ?

Throughout the Bible there are verses which mention the plurality of God—that He is One yet three persons. In the first chapter of Genesis it is written, “Let Us make man in Our

image, in Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). His unity and oneness is again evident in the very next verse: “So God created man in his

own image … male and female he created them.” The Spirit is a member of the Trinity … eternal and fully God, as is the Son and the Father.


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The Holy Spirit was equally involved in creation, for it says in Genesis 1:2, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” His presence in the workings of God from these first pages to the end of the Bible is evident in many other verses. But we learn specific details about Him when Jesus explained to His disciples what the Spirit would do for them after Jesus departed to go back to the Father. Many of those descriptors are found in the book of John in chapters 14 and 16. In this ebook I will focus on five that Jesus explained during His last supper discourses; the first is His role as our Friend who is always with us.


Within U S

Did you know that having the Holy Spirit is better than having the physical person of Jesus? That may sound strange to say, but Jesus said it Himself:

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” ( J O H N



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Jesus was confined to a body when He lived on earth. He could only be in a single place at a time. But the Spirit is in every place around the globe where a believer is found, because when you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Spirit comes to dwell with you and in you (John 14:16-17). I find that truth amazing, stunning actually, that the Spirit of God who is eternal, perfect, holy, all-powerful, and all-knowing (among many other attributes) actually lives within me! Do you? Because the Spirit is with us and in us, if we know Jesus as Savior He helps us walk with Jesus Christ and gives us the power or strength to choose His ways, to follow Him, and to serve Him. He does this in so many ways that I’ll never cover all of them in this ebook, so I’ll focus on a few that are particularly meaningful to me as a woman, a mother, and a grandmother.


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Friends W I T H T H E


My best friend on earth is my husband. We have shared life together for five decades. In that journey we have talked about everything together, suffered losses together, and loved each other in sickness and in health, in good and in bad times. We have proven we are committed to each other forever. We promised to never leave or forsake each other, and we have never wavered from those vows, even when our marriage felt impossible at times. But even a great marriage is temporary. There is always the reality that one of us will die before the other.


Always W I T H


What a delight to know I have a friend even closer than my husband! In John 15:15 Jesus says, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”


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“Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.” BECAUSE I HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT JESUS SENT LIVING IN ME, AND BECAUSE HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME, I KNOW HE IS MY DEAREST FRIEND! Pause and think about this for a second: the Holy Spirit, present at creation with God the Father and God the Son, who is Himself fully God and is one with Jesus, desires a friend relationship with you. A real heart-to-heart relationship where you talk to Him and He to you. Does that stun you with wonder? Quite honestly, I felt a little odd at first calling the Spirit my Friend. It sounded presumptuous. But over the years I’ve talked to Him more and more, asked Him to guide me and reveal Himself to me, shared my life with Him, and asked Him almost everything. I’ve become increasingly comfortable calling Him Friend. He is not offended at all by my familiarity with Him because God is the One who initiated a relationship with us. He pursues us. He invites and desires a relationship. God called Moses and David His friend and Jesus called His disciples friends; so too the Spirit is our Friend.


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THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM JESUS SENT ON PENTECOST CAN BE YOUR BEST FRIEND BECAUSE HE IS ALWAYS WITH YOU. Before I believed and gave my life to Jesus, I only hoped God was with me. I knew about Him but didn’t know Him personally. But when I surrendered my life to Him and invited Him to live within me, THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST CAME TO DWELL BOTH IN AND WITH ME! HE HAS BEEN GIVEN TO BE MY CONSTANT COMPANION. When Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, He said, “He will be with you forever” (John 14:16). So no matter where you go, He is always with you. You will never outgrow this friendship. You’ll never mature out of this friendship. You’ll never drift apart from this dearest of any Friend.


“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” YOU CANNOT ESCAPE HIM, BECAUSE IF YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD HE PROMISED NEVER TO LEAVE YOU.


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Just as God the Father delights in us His children, so the Spirit delights in hearing from us. He listens to our challenges, our prayers, even our questions and doubts. This is how we experience God. And we moms understand this. Moms know our children very well yet delight in listening to their faltering prayers to God, their questions … well, sometimes … and their exuberant tales of discovering and learning things we have known for decades. It helps me to think of myself as God’s child. He already knows what I’m going to say, but He wants me to ask and share anyway because He delights in me (Psalm 41:11), which encourages me to talk more, to share more instead of withdrawing into silence because He already knows. THE HOLY SPIRIT LONGS TO CONVERSE WITH YOU. The rest of this ebook contains specifics on how to know Him, hear from Him and learn from Him. He’s waiting to listen and be heard. DO YOU WANT TO BECOME FRIENDS WITH HIM TOO?


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Reflection 1. If the information in this chapter about the Holy Spirit is new to you, find a Bible and read these passages: John 14:1521 and John 16:12-15. If you have time, read all of both chapters. They are the last words of Jesus and worth reading closely. 2. What do you think about the Holy Spirit as your Friend? Is this a new idea to you? Do you want to be His friend? If you do, pray and tell Him how you feel about Him and that you’d like to know Him better. 3. If you are like me, amazed that the majestic God of the universe wants to be with me and is in fact with me and in me, give Him thanks for this incredible privilege. And then if you want to explore this more, look up all the verses where God tells us He is with us. You’ll be equally amazed by how many times He promised us His presence!


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T H E H O LY S P I R I T I S M Y Helper: H E H E L P S M E Walk W I T H C H R I S T On the night of the Last Supper, Jesus was with His disciples, His dearest friends on earth. In the familiar comfort of shared camaraderie, they gathered to enjoy the Passover meal. Bound together by this Jewish tradition and by their loyalty to their Master, the disciples listened once again as He taught them. Though the 12 were totally unaware, Jesus knew these would be His last moments alone with them, so His final instructions were intensely and intentionally focused. 11

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Tenderly woven throughout those hours, from Judas’s departure to Jesus’ entrance into the Garden of Gethsemane, are beautiful words of comfort and hope, of deep love and concern for His soon-to-bedevastated friends. He knew paralyzing fear and bewilderment would be theirs by morning. By Passover’s dusk, deep grief and lost hope would banish sleep as their minds replayed the nightmare of the Crucifixion. JESUS KNEW THAT WE, TOO, WOULD FACE DAYS OR SEASONS OF FEAR, GREAT LOSS, AND CONFUSION WHEN WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT OUR NEXT STEP SHOULD BE. The eternal words of comfort He spoke to the disciples are just as true for you and me, His disciples, today. JESUS TOLD THEM NOT TO BE TROUBLED BECAUSE HE WOULD SEND THE HOLY SPIRIT:

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (JOHN 14:15-18).



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When Jesus introduced the Spirit to His disciples He used the name “Helper.” Just as we have a name most people know us by, so the Holy Spirit is often called Helper. In Greek, the word is paraclete, which means comforter, advocate, or counselor. It’s a name with layers of meaning. Jesus wanted His disciples, and us, to hear His heart of love:

I will not abandon you. I will not leave you alone and without help. I often reassured my little ones, “Mommy will be back. I promise. I will not abandon you.” So Jesus does the same with us. THE HELPER WILL BE WITH YOU FOREVER.



These were not new concepts for the men and women who followed Jesus. Even nominal Jews, Gentiles, and other nationalities knew the stories of Israel’s famous King David, who was helped by God. David, the author of most of the Psalms, cried out to God, “O Lord, be my helper!” (Psalm 30:10). He also reminded himself and his people, “God

is my

helper; The Lord is the upholder of my life” (Psalm 54:4) and, “The Lord is on my side as my helper” (Psalm 118:7). 13

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Sprinkled from Genesis to Revelation are a plethora of descriptions of the help the Lord provides for His people. And He provides that help within us through the invisible, hidden, yet very real work of His Spirit. • He helps by giving us strength to withstand temptation. 1 Corinthians 10:13 • He helps by giving us courage when we are afraid. 2 Timothy 1:7 • He helps by giving us strength when we are weak and in need. Psalm 28:7-8 • He helps by interceding for us in prayer. Romans 8:26 • He helps by giving us the power to live the Christian life. Acts 1:8 • He helps us by giving peace in times of turmoil. Psalm 4:8


I enjoy a relationship with the Spirit in my life as I talk to Him every day, multiple times from dawn to night. One circumstance common to many women that I’ve experienced for decades is sleepless nights. When I sleep terribly at night and have many things to do the next day, I ask Him for strength. Psalm 28:7 says, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped.”


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I don’t feel instant supernatural physical strength, but He gives me enough to do what is before me. Importantly, His strength isn’t just physical; He also supplies His strength to help me choose what is pleasing to Him on days when I’d rather do what feels best for my tired body. He knows all truth about what my mind and body are experiencing, and I choose to trust Him that He is sufficient. And when I don’t feel suddenly stronger or more alert, which is usually the case, I still trust Him that He is strengthening me in ways I can’t see or feel. It’s how I walk by faith with my Savior. I also ask Him to help me focus when I’m distracted because He

knows the truth of my heart and my circumstances.

When my life seems chaotic, the Spirit gives me patience when I ask and He helps me trust that He is in control. When I don’t know what my husband or child is really saying, I ask Him to give me understanding because He knows the truth about their hearts. When someone asks for advice, I try to send a quick prayer for His words to be mine when I reply. The Spirit knows what she is really asking. SO WHY DON’T WE GO TO HIM MORE QUICKLY?


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The God who made us knows we need lots of help. THE PROBLEM IS WE USUALLY DON’T GO TO HIM UNLESS WE ARE DESPERATE. Why? Because too often we think we can help ourselves first. When I was parenting full time, I eagerly read all the best books on discipline, birth order, how to raise boys and girls, growing creative kids, and more. When all this advice didn’t work as promised, I often asked friends, or my husband, who often didn’t have answers either. Why didn’t I ask the Spirit for advice? Not that reading books and asking others for their view is wrong. It’s just that I often didn’t ask the Holy Spirit at all or not until I’d exhausted every other option.


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HERE ARE SOME OF THE REASONS, LOOKING AT MY LIFE IN HINDSIGHT: My impatience was part of my motive … I wanted answers now. My fear factored in too … I was afraid He wouldn’t reply at all, and I didn’t want to experience disappointment in God. I misunderstood how much God the Spirit loves me and longs to help me … I secretly believed He was too busy with more important crises in the world than to help me with my kids. My pride was the ultimate reason I delayed asking Him … I should be able to handle this, I reasoned. Do you live under the pressure of the “shoulds” too? Moms are especially guilty of the shoulds. We think, “I should be able to figure this out.” … “I should be able to handle my kids.” … “I should be in a better place in my marriage by now.” … “This shouldn’t freak me out!” Believing we should be able to do something on our own is nothing but pride. It’s merely an attitude that says, “I don’t need God’s help for this. I can figure it out.” MY GOD WAS TOO SMALL AND MY PRIDE WAS TOO BIG TO EVEN ADMIT I HAD PRIDE AT ALL!


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Does that describe you as well? Do you go online to look for help in parenting or marriage, or read a book, before asking the Holy Spirit for help? The Helper wants us to go to Him first. Ask Him for wisdom, ideas, and guidance to the right information. Then read the books and talk to your girlfriends and ask Him to show you truth in those sources and discern what isn’t. Thankfully, God does for all of His children what He did with me. He patiently waits for us to realize our need. He knows that we will eventually see that we can’t rescue ourselves, can’t manage it all, can’t be the perfect mom, wife, or friend, and can’t do all the “shoulds” we think we should! RECOGNIZING I CAN’T IS WHAT THE SPIRIT, OUR HELPER, LONGS FOR AND MOST DELIGHTS IN.


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Man’s help is often a one-size-fits-all, but God relates to us and helps us as individuals, each unique in His sight. God is intensely personal with us. He gives me what I need, which is different than what you may need. In our culture, we often believe we are more advanced and much smarter than previous generations. But the truth is that our hearts and our self-will … the flesh … remain equally depraved and utterly unchanged. We are still like the children of Israel who ran to other countries for help when threatened by an enemy instead of going to God, their maker and defender. As the prophet Isaiah lamented, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in chariots … but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord!” (Isaiah 31:1). Jesus said it this way: “It

is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all” (John 6:63). So why would we rely on ourselves or anyone else over the Holy Spirit, who has the answers and help for this life? What do you need help with?


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Battles O F L I F E

Have you noticed how much of the Old Testament is about battles and wars? To me it used to seem so male-focused and not what I dealt with as a woman. But as a mom, many of my days felt like a battle. I had six children whose wills were often against mine. Our home was a battlefield daily with sibling rivalry and disobedience and conflict. OH, HOW I NEEDED THE HELPER WITH MY FAMILY … AND STILL DO TODAY! But the battle isn’t just with our children. Your marriage is always in the enemy’s crosshairs. Every marriage Satan can destroy creates a tsunami of destruction with children, in extended families, and in our communities. The father of lies has deceived more than one generation into believing divorce is okay because personal happiness is the highest goal in life. Every Christian is in a battle with the enemy of our souls. OH, HOW WE NEED THE HELPER WITH OUR MARRIAGES! Complicating both of these battle zones is the internal conflict we women face every day with enemies common to us all: comparison, jealousy, fear, insecurity, feeling unloved or unappreciated or unseen, anger or frustration, feeling inadequate or irrelevant.


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OH, HOW WE ALL NEED THE HELPER! Our emotions and thinking can be fed by the whispered lies of our enemy. Or our minds and hearts can be fed by our Helper who uses God’s Word to strengthen us, to shield us from enemy fire, to provide solutions to our many needs, to heal us, to remind us of His great love and His ever near presence. He will be your victory! Psalm 103:14 tells us, “For

He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Because of

His great love, He is eager to be our help, every day in countless situations and circumstances if we will ask. Invite Him into the mundane moments of your days. Talk to Him about everything … even how to find something that’s lost, because He is all-knowing so He knows where it is. Be sure to thank Him for His every provision and His “always with you” presence. As Philippians 4:6 says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”


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Every H O U R I need T H E E ”

The Holy Spirit is the greatest gift to believers! We cannot live the Christian life as God intends on our own strength. Sure, we can pretend, create a nice exterior, and even deceive ourselves that we’ve got it under control. But the next disagreement with our husband or angry outburst at our kids reminds us of the truth of this old hymn: “I

need Thee, Oh I need Thee. Every hour I need Thee.”

When I make these mistakes, which I do daily, I acknowledge them and give thanks to God for my salvation in Jesus. As 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And then I ask the Helper to help me refuse sin and trust Him. He never tires of hearing prayers like these. AND THOUGH I AM STILL PRONE TO FEELINGS OF FAILURE AND DISCOURAGEMENT BECAUSE OF MY INADEQUACY, I AM LEARNING TO BE QUICK TO REMEMBER, “There

is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus … the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free … to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (ROMANS 8:1-2, 6).


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Reflection 1. Do you ever talk to yourself thinking, “You should be able to do this! Get it together.” Are you willing to ask the Spirit to help you even with those things you have always thought you should be able to do? 2. What is the biggest battleground in your life right now? Your children? Your relationship with your husband? Your extended family, or your co-worker? Will you ask your Helper Friend to give you what you need that you cannot produce on your own? 3. What struggle do you face most often with yourself? Comparison? Discouragement? Fatigue? Do you believe He might have what you need to be less burdened and set free? Are you willing to risk asking Him? Believe He loves you and wants to help, but remember that often it takes time for us to see what He wants us to see from His perspective. Be patient with yourself and with the Spirit and His timing. 4. From the list in this chapter of all the many ways the Spirit helps us, chose two or three and begin to talk to Him about how He can help you in these ways. And ask Him to do just that. Remember, we are God’s children and as our perfect Parent He longs for us to come to Him and ask for His help.


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T H E H O LY S P I R I T I S M Y Purifier: H E M A K E S M E More L I K E J E S U S Years ago we had neighbors with children about the ages of our middle kids. One of them was an angry child who knew bad words and used them at times. He played rough with our kids and found kindness difficult.


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The mama bear in me wanted to protect my little cubs. But I also wanted to have a positive influence on our neighbors, so I chose to continue letting this child come over to play occasionally while I closely supervised the interactions. When needed I had conversations with my children after he went home. Even with my noble intentions, over time I began to dislike our little neighbor’s presence, attitude, and actions more and more. Anger was growing in my heart. I knew Jesus wanted me to love him, but in truth I didn’t want to love this child. In my mind, behavior like this didn’t deserve to be rewarded with grace and love. One day I realized my attitude and my lack of love was not pleasing to my God. The Holy Spirit showed me the truth about my attitude. THE SPIRIT WAS INVITING ME TO LET HIM MAKE MY HEART MORE PURE AND CLEAN LIKE JESUS, WHO LOVED EVEN THOSE WHO HATED HIM.


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“ B E H O LY F O R I A M


As a member of the Trinity, part of the Holy Spirit’s job is to “sanctify” me, to purify me, to make me more holy. “Sanctify” means to set apart from that which is evil and not like God. God commanded His people, Israel, to be holy in Leviticus 11:45. He repeated the instruction to us in 1 Peter 1:16, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Jesus demonstrated how to love and forgive and be holy toward those who didn’t deserve it—which meant everyone. We are called to be like Him. EVEN THOUGH GOD KNEW HE WAS ASKING THE IMPOSSIBLE OF HIS SINFUL CHILDREN, NEVERTHELESS HE ASKED, KNOWING HE WAS GIVING US THE ABILITY TO BECOME HOLY BY THE POWER OF HIS SPIRIT. He initiates this relationship and then gives us what we need to please Him.


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HERE ARE SOME SCRIPTURES THAT SPEAK OF THIS ONGOING PURIFYING WORK OF THE SPIRIT: • The Spirit calls and urges us to become holy … “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 • The Spirit makes us holy by giving us His divine nature … “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness … he has granted us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature.” 2 Peter 1:3-4 • He purifies us by giving us the fruits of the Spirit, giving us the power to be loving, peaceful, kind, patient, etc., especially in difficult circumstances (Galatians 5:22-23). • He purifies us so we become more like Christ … “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 • He convicts us of sin which means He shows or helps us see our sin … “And when he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” John 16:8


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The Holy Spirit convicted me that my attitude toward our neighbor child was sin. It was not a holy response because I was responding out of my own human nature, which is compromised, broken, set on serving self. I needed God’s divine nature to rule over my own nature so that I could then become sanctified and holy. Once I see what the Holy Spirit has shown me about my heart, I have a choice to either refuse out of pride or to surrender to Him and His desires, which are for my good and for the good of others. It is then, when surrendered to the will of the Spirit, that my motives can become pure. With our neighbor child, I knew my opinion, my sense of what was right, didn’t matter before a holy God. Jesus loved this child and died for this child as much as He did for me. MY PROUD HEART COULD ONLY BE CHANGED BY JESUS. The Spirit delights to help all of His children recognize our naturally sinful responses. Only He can produce purity in a surrendered human heart. One of my role models, Elisabeth Elliot, said, “One doesn’t surrender a life in an instant. That which is lifelong can only be surrendered over a lifetime.” So be encouraged that our inability to stay surrendered is normal!


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I surrendered to the whisper of the Spirit and prayed God would give me His love because mine was insufficient. I asked Him to remove the coldness in my heart and replace it with His love that was pure, kind, patient, compassionate, did not act unbecomingly or take into account a wrong suffered. To my great surprise, I discovered soon after I prayed that my animosity toward this child was gone. I didn’t cringe when I saw this little one walk down our driveway. I began to feel compassion instead of anger. My eyes were opened to see it wasn’t all the child’s fault. His home life was a significant factor. What I experienced was the work of the Holy Spirit, my Purifier, who loved me enough to show me the truth about my heart and possessed the power to change me. I experienced the truth of Romans 5:5: “…

God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”


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After I saw what God could do with my heart over a neighbor child, I began asking Him to help me love others, like my own children when they weren’t so easy to like. Or my husband on some days, because let’s be honest … those closest to us are those whose flaws we see most clearly. They hurt us and disappoint us more often than others. Changing a cold, hard, stubborn heart is a miracle of God. Why? Because we humans have a free will. No other living creature resists His voice. But we can resist the desire of God’s Spirit to change our hearts.



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Reflection 1. Who are those you have a hard time loving? Whose name suddenly popped into your mind as you read this question? If no one’s name was obvious then review your family, your co-workers, your neighbors, and those you know in church. Be willing to be brutally honest with yourself. Remember God already knows anyway. These relationships are between you and Him alone. 2. Talk to the Holy Spirit about these people. Tell Him how you feel if you want. But most importantly, surrender your inability to love to God and invite His Holy Spirit to change your heart. It’s a liberating wonder to experience heart change! There’s nothing like cooperating with God. 3. To learn more here are five verses about the desire of God to make us pure and holy as He is. • 1 Corinthians 13 • Galatians 5:22-23 • Philippians 4:8 • Matthew 5:8 • 1 John 3:3 As you read these, remember it is impossible for you to change yourself. Only God can create a new heart that is holy and pure like His.


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T H E H O LY S P I R I T I S M Y Teacher: H E W H I S P E R S Truth T O M E Do you know of Elijah, prophet of God, who challenged 450 idol worshipers to a contest to see whose God was best? With thousands of spectators watching, the competition of gods felt like a championship football game or soccer match (1 Kings 18:17-38). Whose god was the real God? They all wanted to know.


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Each side built a wooden altar on which they laid a sacrifice, but neither was allowed to set fire to their sacrifice. Each side had to cry out to their respective god to provide the flames. The prophets of Baal went first. They thought they had this match won because their god was the god of fire. Surely it would be easy for him to show his power and dominance. Once the altar was built and the sacrifice laid on top, the 450 began their chants and prayers with all the earnestness they could show. This went on for hours and hours until late afternoon. Finally Elijah was tired of waiting. He called a halt to the madness and began building his altar of twelve stones on which he laid his sacrifice. He then dug a large trench around the altar and poured jars of water into the trench and all over the ox and the stones. Then, Elijah, the one-man team, convincingly conquered the powerless opposition by calling on God to show Himself and to let the people see that He alone is God. Dramatically God answered. He sent fire from the sky, burned up the ox offering, the wood altar, and 12 stones stacked beneath. God’s fire even “licked up the water that was in the trench” around the altar.


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He is God …” (1 KINGS 18:39).


No doubt Elijah felt an adrenaline rush! He was ecstatic for the vindication of God’s name and emboldened to believe God for more. It’s easy to feel that way when you’re certain something you see is from God. Yet even Elijah was still very human. Just a few verses later, Queen Jezebel sent a courier with a threat on Elijah’s life. 1 Kings 19:3 says, “Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life …” and hid in a cave.


The word of the Lord came to Elijah and told him to go stand outside the cave. A great strong wind came that dashed rocks in pieces “… but the Lord was not in the wind.” After the wind, an earthquake came “… but the Lord was not in the earthquake.” Then a fire “… but the Lord was not in the fire.” After the fire came THE SOUND OF A LOW WHISPER.


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Elijah sensed that God was present in the soft whispers. He covered his face in humility and listened as God spoke. (See 1 Kings 19:11-13.) This is how we too can recognize the voice of the Spirit, by paying attention to the soft whisper amidst the loud shouting of competing voices in our lives.



During His final meal with the disciples before He was crucified, Jesus spoke often of the Holy Spirit who would be sent by the Father and the Son after Jesus’ death and resurrection:

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. … These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” JOHN 14:16-17, 25-26


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The Helper will also be your teacher, Jesus explained. While Jesus was walking on earth, He was Teacher to His disciples and His many followers who had come to depend on His presence, leading, teaching, giving direction and correction. Then Jesus reassures them He will still lead them but by “the Spirit of truth.” The Helper, He said, “will teach you all things…” (John 14:26).



Speaks T O D AY

1. THE HOLY SPIRIT SPEAKS BY QUOTING THE WORDS OF GOD. In John 14:26, Jesus says that the Spirit of truth will “teach you all things.” The Spirit wants us to know all that Jesus said because that is how we get to know God as a Person. Over our lifetime this is His goal for each of us: to know and become like Jesus as much as we can before heaven. Therefore, you can know the voice of the Spirit because He will quote the Bible. The Holy Spirit will never whisper anything to you that contradicts what God says in His Word. (More on recognizing His voice in Chapter 5.) 36

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As you read books or listen to sermons, always pay attention to how the teaching lines up with the Bible. Look up the Bible verses and pay attention to the context. There are many teachers who quote phrases out of the Bible to make their point, but the verse doesn’t actually mean what the speaker or author said. Know too that the Bible never contradicts itself. 2. THE HOLY SPIRIT TEACHES BY ILLUMINING GOD’S WORD. The Spirit is the One who illumines our minds to see truth, who opens our eyes to understand. He helps God’s Word make sense and then He helps apply it to the circumstances of our lives. You may be reading through a passage in the Scripture and suddenly you see it in a new way—almost like reading it for the first time. Like turning on a light in a dark room, so the Spirit of truth enlightens our understanding. Without His active work in our minds we would not recognize truth. Years ago I made a discovery that was life-changing—a “light bulb moment” as we sometimes say—about the illuminating work of the Spirit. While doing a Bible study for a class I was taking, I found this passage in the Old Testament:

“Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God” ( D E U T E R O N O M Y



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This is, of course, one of the 10 Commandments. I had heard of this commandment many times, but on this day the Spirit gave me eyes to see. At the time I was a tired mom with a bunch of little kids. Every Sunday we made it to church … barely clothed, but always smiling as if we had everything perfectly together! Going to church. Check. Learning about a holy God. Check. Got the first part of the verse right. But the part about a day of rest? Not so much for me as wife and mom. After reflecting on the words of this verse about the Sabbath, I realized our weekly church attendance was more a historical habit than one of obedience to Scripture. And then I began to think about how we spent the remainder of the day. The Sabbath was anything but a rest for us. It is very healthy to question why we do what we do in light of God’s Word. When we follow a pattern without understanding why, it can lead to legalism instead of life. That day I heard God’s heart for me as a woman and a mom built into these Scriptures about the Sabbath. I saw it personally for the first time. And I decided God planned the Sabbath for women! The old saying, “A woman’s work is never done,” is proof that women need a Sabbath rest once a week.


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Most important, I experienced the Holy Spirit’s personal leading of me, His child. I asked Him how we could practice the Sabbath as a family beyond the Sunday morning hour at church. He gave me several ideas that helped our whole family actually enjoy a day of rest. And we’ve planned ways to keep the Sabbath rest ever since—for nearly 40 years. I knew these thoughts and ideas were all from God and not my own imagination because, first, this inspiration originated with Scripture. Also, God is “not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33) and so His peace assures us we are doing the right thing. Conversely a lack of peace or feeling disturbed or unsettled means we are not being led by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit affirms God’s truth within us. 3. THE HOLY SPIRIT SOMETIMES SPEAKS IN OTHER WAYS BUT ALWAYS IN PERFECT ALIGNMENT WITH THE BIBLE. For me personally I have discovered the Holy Spirit often uses hymns and song lyrics that are theologically accurate, meaning they line up with Scripture, to remind me of His truth. I remember a morning when I woke up hearing the melody, “Jesus loves me, this I know.” I was surprised because I hadn’t heard those words in a long time, and I wondered why the Spirit had given me that reminder.


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Later that day I found myself in a conversation with friends. Instead of feeling comfortable with these people I had known for many years, I felt alienated as the talk increasingly focused on topics I couldn’t engage in. As I sat in silence, feeling out of place and insignificant amidst the happy chatter, I remembered Jesus loves me. He reminded me, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in My love” (John 15:9). It was a sweet comfort from the Comforter Himself that He loved me even though I didn’t feel loved by my friends in that moment. Learning to recognize the whispers of the Holy Spirit is a process that develops over a lifetime. The Spirit speaks the language of God and we shouldn’t be surprised when we don’t understand or find ourselves confused. He is patient with us and will never give up on us. We too must be patient with ourselves and never give up on God. Over time I have learned to recognize His voice teaching me more quickly and easily than I used to. And you can too if you ask Him to teach you.


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Reflection 1. Ask God to show you the truth about your relationship with His Spirit. Do you know Him well or only a little bit? Do you want to hear Him speak to you? A good evaluation helps invite truth in our lives which in turn makes us more receptive to growth. 2. Print the words of some of the commands of Jesus, like the commands to love one another, or His words in the Sermon on the Mount. Tape them on your refrigerator or near your desk or on your car steering wheel. As you are evaluating decisions or ideas, look at those words of God about how to live and compare your possible decisions against the list. Scripture is our teacher. Then ask, “Would doing this or that be in line with what God has commanded?” Ask the Holy Spirit to use these written words, His language, to teach us what to do. 3. Ask the Spirit to teach you by illuminating His Words every time you read the Bible. Ask Him to remind you of Jesus’ teaching so you can be more careful about following Him. Either of these prayers will please God and will usher you into a more intimate exciting relationship with God Himself!


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Speaks F R O M



While the Spirit is our Teacher, He doesn’t often speak out loud as Jesus did when He was on earth. He does often whisper to us as we saw in the story about Elijah, reminding us of the words of Jesus, of the truth of God’s word and His standards. For us in these generations since the Resurrection, it is by His Spirit that God guides us with these words of truth.


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Jesus explained to the Twelve during the Last Supper that the “Holy Spirit will guide you into all the truth for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak …” (John 16:13). One of the most frequent questions we all ask is: How do I know it’s the Spirit speaking to me, guiding me to do or not do this? BECAUSE THE HOLY SPIRIT SPEAKS TO US AND TEACHES US INWARDLY IN WHISPERS, we find it difficult to recognize when He is speaking to us, when it’s our own voice, or when it’s the voice of the enemy, the “father of lies” (John 8:44) who tries to deceive us away from following God and His plan. Just as employees of banks and many businesses are taught to recognize counterfeit money by studying closely the details of authentic bills, so we can learn to distinguish the deceptive voice of the enemy and even our own selfish desires by comparing those words to the truth which the Spirit always speaks.


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So let’s focus on the authentic voice of God which will make recognizing the counterfeits more obvious.



1. LEARN THE LANGUAGE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. I only speak one language, English. I envy those who are bilingual or multilingual. But just imagine the multiplicity of languages God speaks—He is fluent in every dialect of every language from every civilization and tribe who ever populated this earth! Yet His eternal words containing the secrets to knowing, pleasing, and living rightly before God have never changed since time began. The Bible is the Spirit-inspired vocabulary God uses to speak to us. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, “All Scripture is breathed out by God …” and 2 Peter 1:21 says the Word of God was written by men who “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Our first goal in recognizing the Spirit’s voice is to become more fluent in His Word. The more you know His Word, His language, the more easily you will recognize His Spirit’s voice. Remember, learning a new language takes time. Ask your Helper to be your translator as you continue growing in fluency.


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But this is important. He cannot remind you of something you didn’t ever know. Just as you can’t lose something you didn’t first possess, so the Spirit can’t remind you of Jesus words if you don’t first possess them in your memory bank. The Holy Spirit doesn’t put random words into our heads, though He certainly could as He did on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. His assignment is to bring to our remembrance what we have heard, which makes it essential for us to know the words of Jesus, the words of the Bible. This is one way He teaches and guides us. Over a recent lunch conversation, a friend encouraged Dennis and me about a looming decision. “The eventual outcome is NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY; IT IS GOD’S,” he said. In the moment, I thought it was a good reminder. But upon later reflection, I understood the Holy Spirit was shining His light on those words that were so strongly based on the truth of Scripture. I needed that reminder that God was sovereign which is solidly biblical. Remembering this truth about God helped me realign my anxious heart with the truth of God’s control and purposes. And it gave me peace. This reminder was clearly the whisper of the Holy Spirit. He was saying to me, “Trust Me and relax in My sovereign control.”


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2. REMEMBER THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL NEVER CONTRADICT GOD’S WORD. A good starting place to measure what we hear is the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus. Any thought in your own mind about cheating, stealing, lying, jealousy, adultery, or harming someone else is clearly not from the Spirit. When you think, “I could pick up that cute little bookmark and drop it in my purse … no one would know,” that’s not the Holy Spirit’s idea. The Holy Spirit’s whispered words will always match the unchanging truth of God’s Word.


3. LEARN TO RECOGNIZE THE SOUND OF HIS VOICE. It’s unflattering to learn that God likens us to sheep who are quite gullible, defenseless, and susceptible to disease and injury. Jesus knows our every weakness and so in His great love and kindness, He teaches us to stay close to Him for our safety and protection. “I am the good Shepherd … I came that they might have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10-11).


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There is a very real thief who knows our weaknesses and who intends to steal, kill, and destroy the sheep Jesus came to save. The safety Jesus longs to give us is found in following His voice: “My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Jesus told us the devil is the father of lies. So, every suggestion, every single word, from Satan will be contrary to God. Anything from his voice is obviously wrong, even if it might feel comfortable, inviting, or convenient. The world we live is not yet voluntarily subject to the King of kings. God, in His mercy, allows people to exercise their free will to live in disobedience to His authority. From these millions of people on earth come voices: opinions on how to live, choices we should make, and a plethora of ways to be happy. Some voices contain elements of truth that line up with God’s Word, as Satan usually does, but many don’t.



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Other messages come from the flesh. The flesh is the invisibly broken soul, “the law of sin” that dwells within (Romans 7:22). Every human inherited this from Adam and Eve when they rebelled against God.

But there’s hope! Paul, the apostle, teaches us how to live set free from the always-with-us desire to sin. He explained, “Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh” ( G A L A T I A N S 5:16-18).

The Spirit-flesh dichotomy, our heavy-duty theology for this chapter, is the essence of our question. Here’s a litmus test to give yourself when you can’t decide if the voice you’re hearing is the Spirit or the flesh: • Is your first instinct to defend yourself or prove you’re right? If so, that is your flesh. It is not the Holy Spirit. First ask Him what He wants you to say or not say. Maybe He wants you to listen first. • Are you looking down on someone or feeling disdain for another person? If yes, that is your flesh, your sinful nature at work. The Holy Spirit is always love and wants to give you love for every person .•• Are you envious of what someone else has, feeling you deserve the same thing? If so, that is your flesh. The Holy Spirit never condones jealousy. 48

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• Are you struggling to apologize and admit you’re wrong? That too is your flesh. The Spirit’s desire is for your pride to decrease and the humility of Christ to grow in its place. • Do you see the toddler version of yourself coming alive? Do you want what you want, when you want it? That’s walking in the flesh, not the Spirit. The Holy Spirit desires sacrifice for God that is also God-dependent, not sacrifice for self-glory. • Are you ungrateful and discontent? If so, you’re being led by your flesh. Ingratitude is never from the Holy Spirit. Romans 12:2 tells us that God’s will for each of us is, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind …” The Bible teaches there are two realms with two populations: the realm or kingdom of God with those who belong to Him, and the realm of Satan and those people who belong to Him. Jesus even said in the church there will be wheat and tares, meaning those who follow God and those who don’t.


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So in this verse Paul reminds us not to be shaped or transformed by the world which is the sphere or realm ruled by Satan whose plan is to conform you to his plan to destroy you. But the Holy Spirit’s work in us is this—renewing our minds to be in conformity to God’s truth and God’s will. The verse continues: “ … that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” What a comfort it is to know that, even while living in a world opposed to God, through the Spirit’s teaching we can know Him, know His Word, and know His plan for our lives. And we can, by the Spirit who lives in us, learn to recognize His voice and have the power and strength to resist Satan.



As Dennis and I prepare to celebrate our 50th anniversary, I remember our engagement, which was only six weeks long. Yet in the midst of all the fast-paced wedding planning we began a deep immersion of learning about each other. He was in Colorado and I was living in South Carolina, so our


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communication was all by phone or by old-fashioned letter writing. Our phone calls often lasted till after midnight as we asked lots of questions and shared answers back and forth … “Tell me more about your mother.” “Tell me more about your father.” “What are your hopes for our future family?” “What are your dreams for our life?” “What are your fears?” “What are your likes and dislikes?” Essentially we were eagerly pleading, “I want to know all about you. Don’t leave anything out!” Even though we could never have imagined then the depths that we’d share over the next five decades, the intentional exciting whirlwind of our engagement whet our appetites with a desire to know more and more of each other. In a similar way, I hope this ebook whets your appetite for knowing and


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our minds and hearts, speaking truth about Jesus, about ourselves, and about His world! Ask Him what He wants you to remember and to do. Then thank Him abundantly for every way He works on your behalf. Keep studying Him, meeting with Him, talking with Him, and meditating on Him. He longs for a relationship with you. May we as women who know God grow hearts of love that look more and more like the heart of Jesus our Savior!


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Reflection 1. A very good practice is to begin asking God to teach you, to illumine your understanding, and to show you more of Himself every single time you read the Bible. Too often, if we read it at all we are in a hurry. But good relationships take time, so be willing to ask Him these questions. If you do that with a sincere heart, you’ll be surprised and delighted to discover more of Him. 2. Which of the three ways to recognize His voice is new to you? Are you willing to ask Him to help you grow in this way of hearing from Him? 3. Was the information about the difference between the desires of the flesh and the Spirit new to you? Will you choose to practice discerning the voice of your flesh from the voice of the Spirit? 4. If you’ve never memorized Romans 12:1-2, I’d highly recommend it. One of the first verses I learned as a new baby believer, it’s been a constant reminder of many truths over the years of my journey with Jesus.


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W H O I S T H E H O LY S P I R I T : How You Can Hear From Him Ever Thine Home® 1 Chenal Village Circle Little Rock, AR, 72223 Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Some scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org © 2021 Ever Thine Home All rights reserved. Ever Thine Home is a registered trademark of ETHI and a donor supported ministry.

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