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Foreigner in a Foreign Land

Updated: Aug 8

By: Randy Grathen

I just read Acts 10 & 11. Peter was telling the Apostles why he took the message of salvation to the Gentiles.

15"And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. 16"And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' 17"Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?"… Acts 11: 15-17

That statement alone, assures us “Gentiles” that we are truly grafted onto the vine of Jesus Christ. I choked up as I read how God orchestrated the meeting between Peter and Cornelius. I have a theory about why for me at least, I get Glory Bumps when I read a passage in scripture.

The bible says: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16.) Jesus told His disciples that He had to leave them but would send a helper, the Holy Spirt to teach them. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— (John 14:16) The Holy Spirit becomes our teacher and interpreter.

But, when the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us, He is like a foreigner in a foreign land. He lives in us but he is not us. He remains separate because if He became us, He could not stand outside of our circumstances and lead us in right thoughts and right actions. I believe He would become as corrupt as we are. I imagine this relationship to be similar to you or me visiting a foreign country. During my years in the Air Force I traveled to the Philippines, Okinawa and Japan where you are immersed in a totally foreign culture. All you hear is the native language being spoken. Now suppose, suddenly, you hear a voice speaking English. You would immediately feel a quickening in your heart. You would want to locate the speaker, to speak to them in your native language. I believe that “quickening” in us is the Holy Spirit rejoicing in hearing the Father’s words as we read or hear scripture.

I think that is where my glory-bumps and tears come from. The words go not just to the head, but to our heart. The Holy Spirit unravels the full deeper meaning of what we’ve read or heard. I think this is where “Aha” moments come from. The Spirit revels something in a way that we never understood before.

I remember people would say to me “the Lord spoke to me” or “God gave me a word” and I’d think Ya, right, God spoke to you?!? The creator of the universe said “Hey, Randy…” But now I understand why they say that. The Holy Spirit is our tour guide in God’s country. He is our interpreter and traveling companion. We do not have to do life alone. He is always there; ready to answer our questions, comfort us and guide us. He mentors us as we unravel God’s words. He helps us understand who we are in Christ.

The Holy Spirit said this to me one day. A phrase that sums up my relationship with the Trinity. God loves me, Jesus died for me, and the Holy Spirit lives in me.” How can we possible lose with all that going for us?

We are not of this world. We are foreigners in a foreign land. We are "in" but not "of" this world. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12-2) There is nothing the world can do to us that can make us lose our place in the kingdom. And that, I believe is where the ’joy that surpasses all understanding’ comes from.

I pray that you have a blessed day. One filled with Joy, abundant Grace and Peace.

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