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Dear Partner,

Yogi Berra coined the phrase, "When you come to a fork in the road take it!" That's a witty saying but I have found it impossible to apply in real life. When you come to a fork in the road, you have to make a choice as to which path you are going to take.

We are all faced with choices every day. Some of them are minor choices with minimal consequences if we make the wrong decision, but some of them are life changing and it is extremely important that we choose correctly. When it comes to making difficult decisions in the natural arena, I have often turned to my parents who have always been willing to share their wisdom with me whenever I have needed it. I am blessed to be a man who has never felt like an orphan. The definition of the word "orphan" is "parentless." My earthly parents have been wonderful wellsprings of wisdom and counsel all the days of my life.

But there are times in life when no person on earth can give us the direction that we need. When it comes to our walk with the Lord, especially regarding our individual "calling" in the Kingdom of God, we must receive our counsel from the living Christ who sits upon the throne. When Jesus was explaining to His disciples that He was about to leave planet earth and ascend up into heaven to be with the Father, He told them not to worry because He was going to send them the Holy Spirit to be with them forever.

John 14:16  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
John 14:17  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
John 14:18  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

The original word translated "comfortless" in verse 18 is the Greek word "orphanos." Just as you would expect, it means "orphans." Orphans have no parents to provide for them, protect them, and guide them in the affairs of life. Thank God Jesus did not leave us as orphans to have to find our own way through a lost and dark world. In the early days of my spending long hours in prayer seeking to further develop a closer relationship with the Lord, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart one day and said,

"Hear the word of the Lord to you, my son. I have longed for this day to communicate with you. I have not left you in the dark but I have come as a bright light to guide your path. Know and understand that the Lord your God loves you ... has longed to lead you by the hand. To take you as His child and to lead you into vast, enormous places where you know not. To guide you safely through all sorts of dark and forbidding ways, but with the path in front of you always being so lit that there is no need to fear, there is no lack of safety."

"I am your Friend. I am your Counselor. I will not lead you in paths away from the Lord. For this purpose I have been sent ... to guide you. Not only into the truth of the knowledge of His Word, but into the truth of the knowledge of His will for your life."

I was already very familiar with the Holy Spirit's role as my Teacher. Now He wanted me to understand that He was also my "guide" in life. As always, whenever I hear statements like this from the Holy Spirit, I ask Him to give me a few "witnesses" directly from the written word of God. I asked for a New Testament example of the Holy Spirit giving precise instructions to lead believers through this dark world. One of the examples He showed me was:

Acts 16:6-10  Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

How precise is that? Like all of us, Paul and Silas had the written commandment from the Lord to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel," yet in this passage we see that the Holy Spirit has been sent to give us "present hour" leadership to help us fulfill that general commandment. Is not Asia and Bythynia "in the world?" Of course they are. (At a later time, as a matter of fact, Paul did preach the gospel in Asia).

The point is, even though they had a "blanket" commandment to "go into all the world" it was the "present hour" mind of the Lord that they first go and preach the gospel in Macedonia. This is "present hour" leadership from the "living Christ" who sits upon the throne in heaven. How do we receive these "present hour" instructions from the living Christ? By spending time in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, the one who has been sent to lead us and guide us. We are not orphans!

Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter


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