Posts Tagged ‘ Holy Spirit ’

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 02/23/2014

Proverbial Thought finished going through Proverbs on Thursday, but much wisdom and guidance can still be garnered!

It amazes me the number of people who confess belief in Jesus Christ as Savior, yet they remain content to keep living life the same way or in way of “just getting through.”

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:6-7, ESV

 

my life is moving
i try to follow
but what is missing
i still feel hollow
it is Your Spirit
moving inside me
that i have needed
fill me completely
i can do nothing
without Your power
make me a new thing
one that shares Your heart

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things …

As the book of Proverbs is finally “all commentaried out”, go catch some of the final wise words this week at Proverbial Thought!

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
Psalm 119:37, ESV

I made a covenant with my eyes . . .
Job 31:1, NIV

A couple of weeks ago, I announced through Facebook that my wife and I were cancelling our Netflix and Hulu accounts.

This decision had very little to do with what we watch. We try to be rather discerning in what we watch because we do not want to let too many immoral and/or blasphemous things in our minds if we can help it.

Rather, the decision came after a comment made by one of seminary professors.

While working through the book of Acts, we were discussing whether Christianity was a threat to the Roman Empire. My reply was “Technically. I mean, look at when Paul got upset with the girl with the Serpent spirit and cast it out of her in the name of Jesus. The people who were making money off of her fortune-telling were suddenly out of a means of income.”

The conversation then focused on how Christianity messed with the economy of the Empire. This is because makers of idols, workers in pagan temples, and even tour guides around cities with temples would lose business throwing off the entire economy of entire cities if not the entire Empire.

Then the professor made this comment: “Imagine if Christians still gave up all of their idolatrous and ungodly pursuits. How many Christians pay for pornography in our society?

My initial thought was “I’m glad that is not us!” (Caitlin and me)

Then some conviction set in.

How much have Netflix and Hulu used their profit to produce shows or movies that glorify sex and nudity?

How much have Netflix and Hulu used their profit to produce shows or movies that mock or blaspheme Christians and God?

At first I tried to justify having these accounts:

How many Christian-based things do they show?

It is not like I watch those things!

Netflix especially comes in handy working in a school, for both my wife and me!

I found myself getting angry that I should have to give up something.

Why was I angry and finding such a need to justify my actions if I was doing nothing wrong?

More than anything, I needed to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

So, instead, I turned to my classmate and said “I am not very happy with the professor right now.” We then laughed about my silliness.

Most people I talked with about it went through the same justifications. A couple of them even said I was being too legalistic.

To combat that, a) I am not saying everyone needs to cancel Netflix and Hulu. This is a personal conviction. I certainly will argue for others to let go, because how much do we really need Netflix, Hulu, and television in general? This is especially true when we consider how useless most television is, how ungodly most television is, and how much God and Christians are blasphemed and mocked. b) We still occasionally watch TV. We enjoy being entertained as much as anyone, and not everything on TV is bad for us. c) We will still go to some movies (Speaking of which, The Lego Movie is rather fantastic in a purely entertaining vain!), for through this we might still be able to show Hollywood what kind of content we prefer while supporting some local businesses (or at least our friends who work at local businesses.

More importantly, though, is that we want to not only obey God in our lives but push others toward Christ by refusing to be a part in causing others to stumble:

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where

“‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’

Everyone will be salted with fire.

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
Mark 9:42-50, NIV

We both felt that our continued subscription to these businesses supported content that could cause others to stumble or even be led astray. We would rather not have these forms of entertainment and be closer to Christ than have to have our conscience troubled if what we are doing is moral and godly. Christ and other people are more important than our temporary enjoyment.

How many things in our lives do we devote too much of our time and money to instead of focusing on loving God and people?

In our culture of instant gratification, pleasure, and stuff, how often do we unplug, sacrifice, and get quiet?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 02/02/2014

Get a closer look at wisdom over at Proverbial Thought!

O Christian, may this be a blessing to you, a reminder that our God is always close at hand. Always.

Proverbs 18:24 says, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

And Jesus tells us in John 15:15, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” And in Matthew 28:20, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” with John 14:16-17, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.


objects are closer than they appear

we pray for Your closeness
we expect to turn and see Jesus
we expect to see Your angels
we watch for great miracles

what if we are looking too hard
what if we are looking the wrong way
what if we are looking too far
we only need to hear You say

“I am closer than you are aware.
 There is no need to look here and there.
 My servants and signs are closer than they appear.
 Believe when I say I am near.”

we may not always see Christ
because we refuse to look inside
some great miracles are missed
because we may be looking for the big

we need to remember Christ lives within
and that angels appear as men
and miracles come both small and large
but God always resides within our hearts

A Simple Look at the Trinity

Look at the wisdom available at Proverbial Thought!

There is an objection to Christianity, or even within Christianity, which may be raised: the Doctrine of the Trinity.

There are various sources of this argument: Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or LDS), Jehovah’s Witnesses, Unitarians, Muslims, Jews, and many other sources including some people from church who may have doubts.

The biggest reason is that the word “Trinity” is not used in the Bible. The Trinity is the belief that God is one Being with three distinct Persons (not simply personalities): God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit.

This is true, but there are many things that are believed by Jews, Christians, Muslims, and various cults and belief systems that are not found in scriptures. They are inferred from readings. (One example could be “falling in love with Jesus”. Not in the Bible, but the phrase conveys the need to discover the truth, grace, and love of God that can change your life.)

However, the title says this is a simple look at the Trinity. Therefore, I will merely give a mental exercise which can also be used as a form of apologetics:

To the objection that there is no Trinity and Christians worship three gods:

Look at this man (any man, really). He is a father. There is his child. Do you dispute he is a father?

Look at this same man. Here is his father. Is this man also a son? How can he be two different people.

Look at this same man. He has a license to heal the sick and prescribe medicine. Is this man also a doctor? How can he be three different people.

Obviously I must be talking about three different men, right?

Please remember, there is no perfect analogy for describing/explaining God. This is not me trying to say I understand God. This is merely a tool to help us understand a little better how God can be three and one at the same time.

It is my prayer that this may help you in understanding your faith in a better way or in sharing your faith with others.

If you are not a Christian as you read this, I pray you may understand better what Christians truly believe. Naturally, I hope you would also come to believe as I do in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world!

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 05/05/2013

Find some hope through the wisdom discovered at Proverbial Thought.

A major problem with most of us is that we feel like we have to do things right, clean things up, and live rightly before God can use us or change us. We feel like we have to fill our lives with so many things to help us grow and be better.

If there is one thing Eastern religions have right, it is that we need to clean out. We need to clear out all of the rubble, all of the frustrations, all of the things.

Where those religions fall short is that we must then be filled again.

in emptiness

in emptiness
He can be found
when you feel empty
He fills you up
in times of need
He is there
empty hearts
are where He lives
empty souls
His best friends
in emptiness
He draws you close
in emptiness
He calls out to you
in emptiness
He fills you

with Himself

 

The Bittersweetness of the Living Water

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
John 7:38

There are many songs today that declare the greatness of life in the Spirit, who is often called the Living Water. Many teachings discuss the great life Christians have through the Holy Spirit.

One teaching was lacking in many churches, especially those which reached and some still reaching very large audiences, has been what life in the Spirit was promised to truly be like.

Life is indeed amazing when the Holy Spirit is free to move through us, but a better understanding of “great” should be made clear.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Jesus said we would experience trouble. With or without Christ, life in this world will be hard. In fact, it can be even harsher on Christians due to persecution in many different ways.

In other words, the gift of the Holy Spirit might be exactly what causes much of our grief:

Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
John 16:7-11

People do not like feeling convicted. Especially in our Western culture in which we are told we are to love ourselves as we are, that we are born the way we are supposed to be and cannot really help some or all of the things we do, being told we need to change can be dangerous. If the Holy Spirit moves through us to touch the lives of others, we should expect to be on the receiving end of at least some backlash of a frightened and wounded soul confronted with its sin.

When our internet connection slows down, in most cases we blame our computers first, when it is something with the internet itself (such as high traffic).

When the hot water in the shower turns cold, we get upset with the shower head or the knob(s) which control the water, when it is the water heater being unable to keep up with our consumption of hot water.

When we feel convicted, we blame the person delivering the words that reveal our shame and guilt, when God is the One who convicts of our mistakes and sins.

Notice, however, that at the root of all of these is human activity. This, though, is another topic for discussion later!

In all of this bitterness, our Lord has promised sweetness, as well:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

We can have hope and peace in the middle of trouble and persecution through the Holy Spirit. Also:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him
James 1:2-12

Trials help to prepare us. They prepare us for eternity, but, in the more immediate, to help others.

As stated, the Holy Spirit moves through us to convict others and bring glory to God. More often than not, we are used to help people who experience something through which we have been.

There is a definite bittersweetness to life as a Christian, but as the Living Water flows through us we are strengthened and are used to strengthen others. Ultimately this is all to bring glory to God.

Endure. Persevere. Be a part of bringing glory to God.

Do you know where there are any personages of historical significance around here?

Earlier I talked about Bill and Ted demonstrating the most excellent story ever told, and really how we just need to always be ready to explain our faith to anyone we can.

If God can use this guy ...

Today is a short but sweet message.

Bill and Ted were two young men who lacked many intellectual capabilities, yet they changed their world (and ultimately the galaxy) into a peaceful and prosperous one.

You may already know where I am going with this …

If two know-nothings can change their world with a tiny bit of help from God, how much more do you think you can do? Believers in Jesus Christ are given His power through the Holy Spirit. You can deny He still works in us today. You can even deny that miracles still happen. I love to break it to you, but the Holy Spirit does indeed still work and perform miracles through His people.

Do not think for a moment that you are not good enough to ever do anything. With the power of the Holy Spirit working through you, you can make drastic changes to your own little part of the world and maybe even the rest of the world!

Remember that Billy Graham was a boy who heard a message in a tent and went on to become the most famous evangelist in the world. Bill Gates is a college dropout who is now one of the richest people in the world. Barack Obama is the son of a Kenyan foreign student and a middle-class woman, yet today he is the leader of the free-world.

Do not think you are any less. Jesus did say “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31, NIV … and I suggest reading the entire chapter).

You can do anything through the power of Christ. You were meant to do great things, even if it is “merely” being somebody’s friend.

The Gospel of Nothing

Nothing to offerWhat are we able to give God?

What is it that we can give God to get closer to God?

Creator of Everything

God is the Creator of everything. All things we are able to measure. Almost all things we are not able to measure.

God created light. God created atoms and molecules. God created mass. God created single-celled organisms. God created plants. God created animals. God created us. God created emotions and infact has emotions. God created and is goodness. God created and is truth. God created and is Life.

God did not create lies. God did not create hurts. God did not create pain. God did not create hate. God did not create evil. God did not create sin.

What we give God

This last line is what we can give God … at least at first.

This is the gospel: We have nothing to give God but our filth, our hurts, our lies, our hate, our evil, our sin.

In other words, nothing.

But we also give God our choice to follow.

In other words, we choose to love God.

God takes all this and gives us in exchange grace, forgiveness, grace, the Holy Spirit, grace, a new car new life, grace, and hope for a future in Eternity.

God also does not want us to continue living as we have. That is why there is new life with the Holy Spirit. This is also why there is so much grace: we will continue to mess up.

But God wants more.Empty to receive

After clearing us out of all of our nothing, God knows we need something.

If we present ourselves as ready and willing for whatever, God fills us with Himself – the Holy Spirit – to go out and perform good works for the benefit of others to bring glory to God.

After giving God our nothing, God gives us the ability to give our very lives, to give the Love given to us, to give forgiveness to ourselves and to others, to give our all.

My Spirited Response

This week’s conversation has been about the Holy Spirit: Should we pray to and/or worship the Holy Spirit?

Finally, my personal take. It might come across as rather diplomatic or even politically correct at times while being politically incorrect at others, but it is where I stand.

I have prayed “Holy Spirit, continue to guide us today” and other such prayers. I have said “Holy Spirit, you are amazing the way you work” and “Thank you for the connection with Christ” and things similar.

This makes it sound like I completely agree.

There are things such as “anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven” and “with the Father and with the Son he is worshiped and glorified” which are compelling.

There is also the fact that the Father and Son are in Heaven, but the Holy Spirit is among us. The Holy Spirit connects us to them, but we are to pray to the Father and in the name of Jesus.

This also raises the point of the Trinity. If the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all equally God in one being, then it would make sense to pray to and worship Him.

There are times it is definitely not okay, however.

I have been in churches who worship the Holy Spirit to the point of almost forgetting or even leaving out mention of the Father and/or the Son. I heard a preacher call it a “Holy Spirit fetish” and heretical. The Holy Spirit will always point towards the Son to glorify the Father. If this is not happening, then you are worshiping something not the Holy Spirit and caught in idolatry.

I have been in churches where prayers sound like a shopping list. If you are asking the Holy Spirit to work certain situations and/or people into ways that do not edify the church or are ungodly, you are caught in idolatry, using the Lord’s name in vain, and (honestly) selfishness.

It sure seems to me that the Holy Spirit is to be “worshiped and glorified”, but I would advise caution. Check your heart before moving forward. Make sure you are worshiping and glorifying in the proper manner. This is true for each member of the Trinity! Each can be twisted into evil dimensions and for ridiculous endeavors.

Just remember, our focus should be on bringing glory to God. If there is doubt, you are in dangerous territory. The things of God will always edify the Church, glorify the risen Son of God, and bring praise to God (each part/the whole).

Holy Spirit History, Batman!

There is a lot of history behind beliefs of the Trinity and the Holy Spirit. Way more than I could really fit into one blog. Therefore, I will keep this short.

One of the big controversies started (or became famous) with Arius around the beginning of the 4th Century, and some people still hold to some of his teachings today. His teachings – known as Arianism – stated that Jesus Christ was born in eternity and that He and the Father created the Holy Spirit. If this is true, then worship of and prayers to the Holy Spirit would be wrong since they are going to a created being. This is idolatry.

However, a man by the name of Constantine became a Christian early in the 4th Century. In 323 he became Emperor of the Roman Empire. In 325 he called together the Council of Nicaea to help dispel any disagreements and even heresies (as well as help unite the Empire). It was at this council that we got the beginnings of what is known as the Nicene Creed, which basically took the Apostles’ Creed and expounded on it. It was not until the Council of Constantinople in 381 that it was completed. This Creed is still used in almost all churches in the world. There is one part in particular that we are going to read:

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

It sure seems we should worship (and maybe even pray to) the Holy Spirit.

New (old) information is fun! After reading the last post and now this one, what thoughts do we have? (The next post I will put out some views of my own)