The Gift revisited

The Gift

 
This blog usually features the prayerful writings of others. One major exception is the series, “The Gift”: 12 meditations with readings and original prayer poems on the Holy Spirit that I published between Ascension Day and Pentecost last year.

As a gift to you for Pentecost 2018, I’ve repackaged the 2017 series as a 16-page booklet in PDF format, ready for printing. To get your copy, click here.

For the original blog posts, click here.

Also, check out the Index to see what else this blog has on offer (past posts/series) and maybe consider signing up (if you haven’t yet done so) to receive future posts in your email inbox.
 

The Gift ||| My favourite photograph

I had a lot of fun and some headaches selecting photographs to complement the readings and reflections in “The Gift” series.

Do you have a favourite photograph?

My favourite is #10 (In us). I was visiting a friend near Muizenberg, Cape Town at the time. I was a little early, so I found a shady place a few streets away to park the car. I spent about 30 minutes watching this man at work – pruning the tree from within.

"The Gift" series - photographs


The Gift ||| The ground we covered

The Gift

It was good to reflect with you over a twelve-day period on different aspects of “The Gift” the Father has sent to minister to us and through us as we seek to live as Jesus’ disciples and witness to the new life we have in Christ.
May the Scriptures that were featured in the series continue to bear fruit in our lives as we go forward, led by the Spirit, in step with the Spirit, living by the Spirit (Galatians 5:13, 25).

 
The Gift #1 : The Holy Spirit ||| Acts 1:4-5 (NIV)
On one occasion, while he was eating with the apostles, Jesus gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’

The Gift #2 : For the asking ||| Luke 11:13 (NIV)
Jesus said: ‘If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’

The Gift #3 : Re-minder ||| John 14:26 (NIV)
Jesus said: ‘The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.’

The Gift #4 : Counsel ||| Luke 12:11-12 (NIV)
Jesus said: ‘When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.’

The Gift #5 : Tell me ||| John 15:26 (NIV)
Jesus said: ‘When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me.’

The Gift #6 : Guidance ||| John 16:13 (NIV)
Jesus said: ‘When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.’

The Gift #7 : Traces ||| Acts 1:8 (NIV)
Jesus said: ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

The Gift #8 : Adoption ||| Romans 8:15 (NIV)
Paul writes, ‘The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”’

The Gift #9 : Joy ||| 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 (NIV)
Paul writes, ‘You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.’

The Gift #10 : In us ||| 2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NIV)
Paul writes, ‘What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.’

The Gift #11 : Promised ||| Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV)
Paul writes, ‘And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.’

The Gift #12 : Recreator ||| Titus 3:3-8 (NIV)
Paul writes: ‘At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.’

The Gift #12 : Recreator

Pentecost banner and stole handmade by Linda Walker
Linda Walker’s Pentecost Banner and Stole (photos: Linda Walker)
 

Titus 3:3-8 (NIV)
Paul writes: ‘At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.’

 

Reflection

Generous God,
this is a trustworthy saying:
Once I was foolish,
disobedient,
deceived, enslaved.

Then kindness,
love and mercy
came my way
and I was
saved, washed,
reborn, renewed,
justified, accepted,
and soaked in hope.

You make
all the difference.
May my gratitude and trust
in you
grow and show itself
in deep-rooted, practical
devotion.
Amen

by Irene Bom


Related Scriptures

Romans 5:1-5

The Gift #11 : Promised

Quayside, Rotterdam - Snoopy-looking mooring bollard, including scarf
Quayside, Rotterdam (photo: Irene Bom)

 

Eph 1:13-14 (NIV)
Paul writes, ‘And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.’

 

Reflection

Holy Spirit of promise,
the pledge and foretaste
of all to come,
I’ve been marked in Jesus,
sealed by you as a sign that
I am God’s possession now,
destined for great things,
to the praise of God’s glory.

This is just the beginning.
Help me to live in that reality.
Amen.

by Irene Bom


Related Scriptures

2 Corinthians 1:21-22
 

The Gift #10 : In us

The pruner in the pruned
‘Pruner in the Pruned’ (photo: Irene Bom)
 

2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NIV)
Paul writes, ‘What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.’

 

Reflection

Spirit who lives in me,
help me guard the good deposit treasure
entrusted to me.
Help me keep going strong.

I am a potential joy and crown
to those invested in me,
if I keep the faith
and pass it on.

I can’t do it without you.

by Irene Bom


Related Scriptures

Philippians 4:1
1 Corinthians 16:13
2 Timothy 1:12

All related Scriptures (in one go)
 

The Gift #9 : Joy

Irene's geranium in bloom
Irene’s geranium in bloom (photo: Irene Bom)

 

1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 (NIV)
Paul writes, ‘You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.’

 

Reflection

Spirit,
thank you for those
who model to me
how to live
as a joy-receiver,
and to-joy-transformer,
even in the midst of
severe suffering.

May I have the faith and courage
to do the same.
Amen.

by Irene Bom


Joy-related Scriptures

Philippians 4:4
Romans 12:12
Romans 15:13
1 Thessalonians 3:9
Hebrews 12:1-3
James 1:2

All related Scriptures (in one go)


Interesting …

Joy is a hot topic in Luke (NIV: 12 references)
Faith is a hot topic in Romans (NIV: 40 references)
Love is a hot topic in John (NIV: 39 references)
Hope is a hot topic in Acts (NIV: 9 references)

Research tool: www.biblegateway.com
 

The Gift #8 : Adoption

Irene's geranium in bud
Irene’s geranium in bud (photo: Irene Bom)
 

Rom 8:15 (NIV)
Paul writes, ‘The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”’

Reflection

Slaves have reason
to fear the unreasonable,
the shocking,
the arduous,
the harsh,
the unyielding,
the uncalled-for,
the arbitrary,
the excessive,
the unbridled,
the severe.

I am not a slave.
I am a child of Abba, Father.
Jesus’ Abba,
Jesus’ Father.
Spirit, inspire in me
the appropriate response:
Cries of joy!

by Irene Bom


Related Scriptures
John 1:12-13


Tip (repeat from yesterday)

The Pray as you go website has a short 5-part retreat on the Acts of the Apostles. Listen to the story of the early Christian community, and discover what effect the Resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost had on that first, very small group of Jesus’ followers. By reflecting on this, we can discern the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our own lives, and open ourselves more fully to the spirit of Pentecost.

The Gift #7 : Traces

Road sign Scotland
Scotland (photo: Irene Bom)

Acts 1:8 (NIV)
Jesus said: ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

 

Reflection

Like ripples,
like soundwaves,
like seeds carried aloft by the wind,
may we leave traces
of the Spirit-transformed,
Spirit-transforming
life within us,
traces that echo on
and bear fruit.
Amen.

by Irene Bom


Related Scriptures
2 Corinthians 2:14-16


A true story
Talking about “seeds carried aloft by the wind”, I was sitting on a terrace in Amsterdam recently, next to the tram track. The wind and passing trams regularly sent the heaps of elm tree seeds a-swirling around me. That evening I found one of the seeds had found its way to my home in Rotterdam. It was lodged under my bra!


Tip
The Pray as you go website has a short 5-part retreat on the Acts of the Apostles. Listen to the story of the early Christian community, and discover what effect the Resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost had on that first, very small group of Jesus’ followers. By reflecting on this, we can discern the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our own lives, and open ourselves more fully to the spirit of Pentecost.

The Gift #6 : Guidance

'Keerom' (turn around), Cape Town, South Africa
‘Keerom’ (turn around), Cape Town, South Africa (photo: Irene Bom)
 

John 16:13 (NIV)
Jesus said: ‘When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.’

 

Reflection

Thank you, God,
for the truth,
all the truth,
imparted,
from Father
to Son
to Spirit
to us.

May I receive the truth you impart
with open arms, open heart,
and handle it
in ways that bring you pleasure.
Amen.

by Irene Bom


Related Scriptures
2 Timothy 2:15