The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
I am blessed by God. I am kept by God. He shines His face on me and is gracious to me. He lifts His countenance upon me and He gives me peace. My God is an awesome God. It is He who allows me to write to you, Wanda. I call Him my God, not because I own Him, but because He owns me. He paid the price for my life. I have surrendered to Him. He owns me and I call Him my God like a servant calls his Master “My Master.” It is good that we have such a good God. The Bible says that, “Our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29. That is true too, but fire is such a wonderful thing in the Bible. It does show God’s judgement, but it more shows His glory. His judgement is His glory. But more on that later. Right now, I want to start out simple.
For those of you who don’t know me personally, my name is Jonathan. Well… for those of you who do know me personally, my name is still Jonathan. It’s not a conditional name. There are a few things about me that I would like you to know. As you may have guessed, I consider myself a servant to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is hard for me to talk like this. I really would rather explain the mysteries of God than explain the awkwardness of Jonathan, but I feel it necessary. Those who know me can attest that I do not consider myself a smart person. The truth is that I used to. I would boast about being able to argue away anyone’s excuse for not following God, and I exercised that with a few people, and like a kid with a stick and a pocket-knife, I whittled away people until their understanding was reduced to a toothpick. But when I asked that toothpick to choose Christ, I was hit with a no. My intelligence, no matter how great it may have been, will not be able to convince people to accept Christ. I have not given up on trying to convince people to accept Christ, but I have given up being smart. Like Paul, I have “determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2 It is for the best.
Instead, I have devoted myself to the study of His Word, and in this pursuit, I consider myself the most novice. I know so many men and women who have walked with God longer than I have and can memorize Scripture and have been memorizing Scripture for years. I can’t do that. It is true that I have Scripture memorized, but it not my achievement. I’m horrible at memorizing anything. I have a great short term memory and read something short, look up and say it. But to get it to stick is beyond my ability. Other than being a servant of Jesus Christ, I would want you to know that I have the Holy Spirit living inside me. I know this is a strange and confusing thought. I can and will explain it to the best of my ability, but you’ll have to wait, Wanda. That mystery if for another day. For now, just take it to mean that the Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit, and He dwells in me. He has great power and gives great power to those whom He wishes. He has given me understanding, knowledge, and wisdom. Does this mean that I can understand all things? No. But I understand the mysteries of God. They have been revealed to me for the purpose of teaching and exhorting (encouraging others to act) and it is my responsibility to use my understanding in that way. I have been given knowledge of spiritual matters. It is this gift of knowledge that brings Scriptures to my mind and to my mouth. It is this supernatural power that allows me to rattle off Bible verses and teach on them. I’ve been given wisdom. James 1:5 says that if we lack wisdom, we can just ask for it. I have. 1 Corinthians 12: 31 says to seek the best gifts. I ask God for them daily. I ask God to give me discernment and patience and love. I ask for Him to speak to me, to give me visions and dreams, to lead me and to guide me. He does. This does not mean that I’m better than someone who doesn’t do all these things or ask for all these things. If nothing else, I want to encourage you to seek God closer. Run with me as I run towards Christ. God gives freely the gifts of the Spirit and if you don’t have, you didn’t ask.
So I am a servant of Jesus and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. I am also a child of God. My Father is the One True Father in heaven. I have an earthly dad. I love him too, but my One Father is God. It is Him that I fear and love and obey and wish to commune with. I have a relationship with each member of the Holy Trinity, but I am not special. I am loved, but not special. Anyone can have these relationships. Anyone. God offers to all. I accepted. I believe that is all you need to know about me, Wanda, but I’m also sure that more will come out as time goes on. I have witnessed and performed miracles, given and received many blessings, and have caused both joy and hurt in others. But it’s not about what I have done or what I have seen, it’s about what God has done and who He is.
It is my desire and God’s desire that all people come to know and love God. And through that, they will also know and love each other. It breaks my heart that people don’t choose Him. He made it easy. He paid the price so we could freely accept, but although we have that freedom of choice, there are still costs. I’m hoping, as the days continue, to explain the mysteries of God while counting the cost of following Him. I’ve counted my costs. Everything I lose to follow Him is something I was never meant to bear in the first place. I gave up being strong so that I could be weak. I gave up being smart so I could be simple. I gave up being rich so I could be needy. But where I am weak, He is strong. Where I am a fool, He is wise, and where I need, He provides. The more I surrender and give up, the better I am taken care of. God blesses and keeps me. He shines His face on me and is gracious to me. He lifts up His countenance upon me and gives me peace.
Setting Sun - Sun Setting in SoCal...I forget where exactly.....
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