At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I had awoken early this past Saturday morning. It had been a restless sleep; I occasionally have those. I knew immediately the prompting to awake was the Spirit, so I heeded the invitation to come and be present.
I did my 1 Peter devotions, thinking there was something the Spirit wanted to reveal to me. But though good and insightful, my heart was not satisfied and there was a draw to read Psalm 51. I let my heart wander there, and I read slowly, seeking to discern that which would satisfy my soul. And then there it was:
God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Ps 51:10
It stood out like it had been supernaturally lit in neon lights, especially the word steadfast. So I began to go on a short, but exciting journey to understand more about the word steadfast. Weirdly, though, I felt like I had been here before, but my soul must have needed the reminder.
Steadfast, I wondered. Spirit what are you trying to say to me, today? Then it came.
Carmen, your heart needs to be refocused. It needs to be “dutifully firm” and “unwavering”. Those words are how the dictionary described steadfast, but I knew the Lord was speaking to me. Then I looked in the thesaurus and here are some other interchangeable words for steadfast: relentless, loyal, faithful, dependable, unwavering, single-mindedness, unflinching, uncompromising.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Lord, that’s the kind of heart I want for the things of Your Kingdom. Give me a steadfast heart, oh God.
And we need it right? I mean there are endless things that can draw us away from the purposes of God, countless things that can distract us from our loyalty to God. Infinite things that may tempt us to comprise our unwavering commitment to our Lord.
But, we don’t have to give in. Let us pray to the God who can and will steady our hearts. Who can and will renew our hearts. Who can and will renew a steadfast spirit within us. Amen?
Yay! I’m celebrating and excited to share with you that my friend, Andrew Gabriel’s, new book Simply Spirit-Filled: Experiencing God in the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit has just been released!
And a while back when Andrew (my kids fondly call him Andy, but don’t tell anyone!) approached me, asking me if I would be willing to read his newest book – one written for people on the journey of learning what it means to be Spirit-filled – I jumped on the opportunity. Why? Because he’s the real deal and I hold him in high regard.
I have to tell you, I was shocked, in a good way, by how vulnerable he was about his journey of seeking to live simply Spirit-filled and his process to discover what that means. For me, he captured a journey many of us have but are too afraid to talk about. Andrew shares some of his early experiences of the Spirit (or where they?), his seasons of being a skeptic, his seasons of recovery, his questions and discoveries along the way, while also observing and commenting on some of the different manifestations (e.g., Shaking and Baking, Trembling) which some have over the years attributed to the Spirit.
I love how Andrew not only tells his own story, but he also incorporates the stories of others, including his wife, Krista. Her story of grief over the loss of a child and how God met her on the journey is gripping. You’ll need to read the book to know more. But what I personally drew from the stories in Andrew’s book is this: we cannot put God in a box. And I’m also with Andrew on this: wanting to experience a powerful God (48).
Throughout Andrew’s book, there are places to pause and reflect. Too often we race through life, taking in information at high speeds, and we need to force ourselves to slow down and use the tools that others are giving us. By providing us questions for reflection or discussion at the end of each chapter, we are provided opportunities for us to grow through our own personal devotions or through group discussion. Him spending that time to provide a process of reflection is a gift to us.
Reading Andrew’s newest book reminded me that we’re all on a journey. That it’s going to look different for each one of us. That we’re invited by the Spirit to “join the dance”…and so much more!
I’d encourage you to pick up one of his books today. Read it carefully and mindfully, using the reflection questions as a guide for your own reflective journey. Then, consider whether or not the Spirit might lead you to do a small group study with this book so that others too can grow in their understanding of what it means to be Simply Spirit-Filled: Experiencing God in the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit.
Proud of you Andrew! Thanks for letting me be a part of your journey.