What NOT To Ask For?

No Dream

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
 No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitant, no opening skies,
 But take the dimness of my soul away. 

Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart
By: George Croly, 1780-1860

Listen as you read.  This is a nice string quartet version.

So our stanza this week takes through a list of things we at first might be inclined to seek, but instead offers us a better alternative when considering the work and presence of the the Holy Spirit.  There are some interesting images conjured through the list and we will consider each as we tune and think.  Won’t you come along as we continue to consider how we might welcome the work of the Heaven-Descended Dove?

No Dream

Look at the little one sleeping peacefully.  All snuggled up and ready for a night of rest.  Maybe there are visions of sugar plums dancing in her head…maybe not.  What’s wrong with asking for a dream?

This is an interesting stanza, left out of many occurrences of the hymn.  It is a litany of things we do not want which builds to a crescendo culminating in the thing we do truly need.  In lieu of what we really need, God give us no nightly visions, or prophetic thrills.  What makes it interesting is that dreams, visions and prophesies are actually promised by God when He pours out HIs Spirit in the last days.

“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; Acts 2:17 ESV

Though they are promised, we will not ask for them.  Why?  Because there is something better in the estimation of the writer.  What is that something?  Well, interestingly it is something that seems far less dramatic than all the things this stanza commits to NOT ask for.

No Prophet Ecstasies

And prophet ecstasies, those can be pretty dramatic.  Even though they should always line up with Scripture and point us to Christ and His cross, this faith we have has a prophetic side to it.  Take for instance the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:2 when he mentions knowing a man who was taken up to the third heaven.  Say what?That sounds like a pretty incredible journey, yet we are invited to ask the Lord NOT to give us these kinds of ecstatic, prophetic experiences.  Why?  Because there is something even better we can ask for according to the writer.  What is that something?  Well, let’s keep going.

Veil of Clay

First, clay does not make a very good veil, unless of course you want to see nothing at all through it.  Second, that is exactly what the stanza is referencing, but obviously there is no actual clay involved in the imagery created.  We are the clay, or more specifically our flesh.

No Sudden Rending

Our flesh is a great weakness.  It seems it would have helped if when sin was defeated, our flesh would have been eradicated, or at least torn to pieces, but God had other designs.  He chose to put something of inestimable value, the light of the Gospel, in these jars of clay that are our bodies, as in says in 2 Corinthians 4:7.  To that end, it seems like tearing the curtain of or flesh so that the Gospel can be put on full display would be a great idea.

And then there is the other perspective.  Not only does our flesh keep others from seeing the Gospel, it keeps us from seeing clearly the things of the Spirit.  It mars our perspective and limits our clarity.  Though it often keeps us from seeing him clearly, ask God to help you trust His better way and better time to address it the veil of clay that is your flesh. Do NOT ask Him to shred it so you can simply see more clearly, though you long for that day.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away…For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  1 Corinthians 13:9-10-12 ESV

Submit your life to the Potter’s Hands again today (Isaiah 64:8), and ask for something better.  What?  We will think about that on Thursday after we consider a couple more things NOT to ask for.

Happy Tuning!

 

Spirit of God, I choose to forego asking for dreams and visions, so I can simply know the power of Your presence.  I choose to trust you to work through this earthen vessel, though I would love to be free of its clouding weaknesses.  Teach me what to ask for today. Jesus name.  Amen.

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Subscribers, please enjoy this video log!  Everyone else the transcript below!

Video 6.2 Transcript

Welcome to Tuesday Tunings at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s tune our hearts.

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
 No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitant, no opening skies,
 But take the dimness of my soul away. 

This is an interesting stanza, left out of many occurrences of the hymn.  It is a litany of things we do not want which builds to a crescendo culminating in the thing we do.  In lieu of what we really want, give us no nightly visions, or prophetic thrills.

Our flesh is a great weakness.  It seems it would have helped if when sin was defeated, the flesh would have been eradicated, or at least torn to pieces, but God had other designs.  Though it often keeps us from seeing him clearly, ask God to help you trust His better way to address it.  

Maybe if an angel visited us, or God would pull the heavenly curtain back so we could see His glory, that would solve our problem.  Still the hymn writer believes there is a better remedy. Will you wait for God to work His plan?

And finally here it is.  The problem is not external, but internal.  God reveals Himself in a myriad of ways. Our soul simply often fails to be aware enough to grasp it.  Ask the Holy Spirit to sharpen the aptitude of your soul.

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has surfaced in your heart, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then we will sing once more.

Sing

Take the awareness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.

Image Attributions
No Dream – Image by stine moe engelsrud from Pixabay
No Prophet Ecstasies – Image by congerdesign from Pixabay
No Sudden Rending – https://gfycat.com/alertfirsticeblueredtopzebra

Power from on High

Spirit Descend

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
 Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move.
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
 And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart
By: George Croly, 1780-1860

Listen as you read.  This is a nice string quartet version.

On Tuesday we considered the first and last lines of this stanza, centered in on inviting the Spirit to come and pour God’s love into our hearts.  Today as we examine the middle two lines we will wrestle with the our weakness and the opportunity it presents for the allures of this world, even as we continue the invite the Spirit to move in every pulse of our hearts.  Let’s think about this.

Weaned from Earth

Weaning is a painful process.  It speaks to the gradual removal of something that we felt at some point and in some measure we had to have, but have since realized otherwise.  It is like working to break a bad habit, at least in terms of the effort required and the pain caused.

One use of wean means to free from an unusually unwholesome habit or interest.  This gets a little closer to what the writer is asking of the Holy Spirit.  The flesh is inclined to unwholesome habits and interests and pursues them diligently among the materials of earth.

Weaned Through Affliction

I think to some extent we really do not know what we are asking for in this noble, earnest prayer.  The end will be truly beneficial, but the means by which we will likely get there will likely be difficult.  Charles Spurgeon put it this way,  “The Lord’s mercy often rides to the door on the black horse of affliction.  Jesus uses the whole range of our experiences to wean us from earth and woo us to Heaven.”

So we ask the Holy Spirit to wean us from earth and His answer just may come in the form of affliction.  That experience generally strips away what we thought mattered and gets us to desire what actually does.  As we transfer our longing from earthly things to Heavenly ones, we find a very different rhythm to living.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  Galatians 5:16 ESV

Those longings for the things of earth effectively make us sick, without even knowing it.  Walking in the Spirit, allowing Him to direct every pulse of our intellect, will and emotions, is the antidote for this malady.  Ask Him to be that for you today.

Pulsating with the Spirit

Pulse of the Spirit

Being weaned from earth and pulsating with the Holy Spirit are two sides of the same coin.  The more we invite the Spirit to beat in our hearts, the less we are inclined to long for the things of earth.  But conversely, the more we long for the things of earth, the less we are inclined to invite the Spirit to beat in our hearts.  

So it becomes a decision of the mind, an act of the will, to pursue a better path.  One marked by the rhythm of the Spirit.  Oh, that the Holy Spirit would help our hearts to manage without some of the things of earth of which we have become increasingly fond.  Oh, that we would sense His presence moving through every pulse of our hearts. Ask Him for these things.

Sounds easy, right?  Wrong!

If you have walked with Jesus for any length of time you know better.  How? By experience.

Stoop to My Weakness

The Spirit Stoops Like Lincoln Here

You have likely experienced the frustration of knowing what to do, but lacking the power to do so.  But the truth is we do not lack the power, we simply fail to tap into it.  Because the Spirit is like Abraham Lincoln in this image.  This quote has been attributed to numerous people so I am uncertain as to who said it, but it illustrates what God has already done and is continually willing to do:  stoop down to help us since He is familiar with how weak we are.

We are weak, but He is strong.  What perfect vessels to put His glory on full display, ones that can truly take no credit for the work He does in them!  Humble yourself, by admitting your weakness, and His strength.  Receive the power He has already made available to you.  Not certain that power is available to you?  Consider this Scripture.

All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.   1 Corinthians 12:11 ESV

The Spirit works in us to produce fruit that is beneficial for our lives and those around us, including the Church.  We need His empowering because we are weak. He gives to each according to His will. Ask Him to give you power from on high to engage in God’s will and work.

Spirit, I realize I do not really know what I am asking for when I express my desire to be weaned from earth, knowing You pulsing through every beat of my heart, but I know I need it.  I know I am weak, and that I need Your strength.  Put it on display in my life as I learn daily to depend on You.  In Jesus name.   Amen.

Deliberate Thinking!

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Subscribers AND Free Members enjoy this podcast! Everyone else, the transcript below.

Podcast 6.1 Transcript

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s think about this.

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;

John 14:26 ESV

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.

The heart is the seat of our intellect, will and emotions.  When we ask the Holy Spirit to settle on our hearts, we are asking Him to teach us, and bring to remembrance everything Jesus said.  Ask the Spirit to instruct your intellect, will and emotions.

 Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move.

Galatians 5:16 ESV

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

One use of wean means to free from an unusually unwholesome habit or interest.  The flesh is inclined to those very things and searches for them among the materials of earth.  Walking in the Spirit, allowing Him to direct every pulse of our intellect, will and emotions, is the antidote for this malady.  Ask Him to be that for you today.

Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,

1 Corinthians 12:11 ESV

All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

The Spirit works in us to produce fruit that is beneficial for our lives and those around us, including the Church.  We need His empowering because we are weak. He gives to each according to His will Ask Him to give you power from on high to engage in God’s will and work.

 And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

Romans 5:5 ESV

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

What a beautiful image this evokes!  God’s love poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.  We are incapable of loving God as we ought to without His help.  We may approximate it but we will always fall short. Ask the Spirit to help you love Him.

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has come to your mind, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then I will read our text once more.

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
 Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move.
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
 And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

Take the mindfulness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.

Image Attributions
Spirit Descend – https://gifer.com/en/Gs03
Wean From Earth – https://imgur.com/gallery/OxBxCLI
Though All Its Pulses Move – https://gifer.com/en/9lfa
Lincoln Stoops – http://www.abelincoln.com/cliffhangers/1-68.htm

Heavenly Dove, Make Me Love

Spirit Descend Upon my Heart

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
 Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move.
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
 And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart
By: George Croly, 1780-1860

Listen as you read.  This is a nice string quartet version.

We begin our journey to greater spiritual resonance with some new material again this week.  The first line mentions our hearts specifically and the last focuses in on loving so we will begin there with today’s Tuning. On Thursday we will use our minds  to think about what it means to ask the Spirit to wean us from the things of earth and empower us with His might.  But first, let’s tune our hearts.

Spirit Descend

Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;

The obvious place to begin our Tuning is the start of Jesus ministry, moment the Holy Spirit came down and settled on Him at His baptism. (Luke 3:21-22) It was a confirmation of the pleasure of the Father in His Son.  The Spirit descended on Christ as a sign, not to do the work for which we need Him.

And what is that work?  To teach us all things and to remind us of everything Jesus has said, as recorded in John.

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 14:26 ESV

We are welcoming the Holy Spirit to come and do that work when we sing “descend upon my heart”.  We want Him to come and make His nest in our intellect, will and emotions.  We want Him to rest there.  

And this is not a once in a while kind of request.  We need to routinely, but not in a religious way going through the motions, sincerely invite Him to come.  To come down from on high.  To make His home in the center of all that we are.

So do you do that?  Do you ask Him every day, several times a day constantly throughout the day to descend on your heart?  He wants to teach you new things and remind you of things you already know.  Ask Him right now to come and do His work in you.  Ask Him to teach you things you do not know, and remind you of things you do.

Seriously, do that right now.  And determine to do it regularly.

Asking Him to come is extending the invitation to teach and remind, but it is so much more than that.

Make Me Love You

 And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

The last line is an interesting one.  It seems counterintuitive with regard to love.  How can God make us love Him?  Is it love if we are made to do it?  

There are at least two things to consider here.  First, is the possible use of the word make.  And second, how God actually does that.

The word make has many meanings.  Look it up here.  I think you will be surprised.  The definition that I think is in use here is the one which means compel, or to cause to act in a certain way.  It is different than being made to do something as in being forced, but implies some of the same sense of not truly being in control of how we respond.

The reason I think we are compelled to love God is simply the response to coming to receive and understand His love for us.

Love Poured Out

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  Romans 5:5 ESV

What a beautiful image that is.  The Holy Spirit pouring God’s love into our hearts.  This makes our hope secure.

In other words, when the Spirit does His work of pouring God’s love into our hearts, our response is being compelled to love Him.  So what we are effectively asking the Holy Spirit to do is come and pour God’s love into us because when He does we will be compelled, or made, to love God.

And that is a very good thing because it is in loving God where we truly need His help, in this most important of endeavors, the pursuit of which influences all others.  Loving the Lord our God with all our hearts. Spirit help us.

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart.  Heavenly Dove, come down and make your nest in my heart.  Teach me what I do not know and remind me what Jesus has said.  Help me to love You by pouring the Father’s love into my heart.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

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Please comment below and share if you have found this helpful in your journey of being more resonant.

Below is content normally available only to Subscribers.  Want to learn more about accessing all the additional material in the Subscriber Content Library, click here, or the Free Member Content Library with some examples of the Subscribers content, click here.

Subscribers, please enjoy this video log!  Everyone else the transcript below!

Video 6.1 Transcript

Welcome to Tuesday Tunings at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s tune our hearts.

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
 Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move.
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
 And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

The third Person of the Trinity, described as the Heavenly Dove like at the baptism of Jesus, is invoked here.  In that occurrence He was a confirmation of the pleasure of the Father in His Son. What we long for is His enabling us to evoke a similar pleasure in the Father through our living.  Welcome Him.

Oh, that the Holy Spirit would help our hearts to manage without some of the things of earth of which we have become increasingly fond.  Oh, that we would sense His presence moving through every pulse of our hearts. Ask Him for these things.

We are weak, but He is strong.  What perfect vessels to put His glory on full display, ones that can truly take no credit for the work He does in them!  Humble yourself, by admitting your weakness, and His strength.

And here is where we truly need His help, in this most important of endeavors, the pursuit of which influences all others.  We must love the Lord. How? With all our hearts. Spirit help us.

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has surfaced in your heart, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then we will sing once more.

Sing

Take the awareness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.

Image Attributions
Spirit Descend Upon My Heart – http://eskipaper.com/love-white-dove.html#gal_post_28130_love-white-dove-1.jpg
Dove flying – http://eskipaper.com/love-white-dove.html#gal_post_28130_love-white-dove-1.jpg
Love Poured Out –
https://breathedeeply.org/2014/02/27/love-poured-out-2/