Is the Holy Spirit real to you in your life or is He just a theological nuance?

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit…” John 20:21, 22 NKJV. RICHARDCIARAN_GALLERY_AUGUST_2009_Page_03_Image_0001_fs

Jesus’ words help to set in context two different works of the person of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. First we are made aware on Easter night, the disciples do, in fact, “receive the Holy Spirit” as “the Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2). Jesus’ word is direct and unequivocal: “Receive”; and in doing so, the disciples are “born again” (John 3:3) by the Holy Spirit’s regenerating work in them (Rom. 8:11-17).

This passage parallels the breath of the Father on Adam in the first creation, as Jesus breathes on them and the “new creation” is begun (2 Cor. 5:17). Second , however, on Pentecost the work of God’s Spirit as the Spirit of power (Isa. 11:2, “might”) is to enable Jesus’ disciples for ministry—witness and service —to fulfill their mission to the world.

In verse 22 “Breathed”: Makes a clear allusion to Genesis 2:7. Now Jesus breathed life into His own. Many interpret the statement “Receive the Holy Spirit” as symbolic and as anticipating Pentecost. Others interpret the Greek to mean immediacy in the sense of “receive right now,” and view the day of the Lord’s Resurrection as marking the transition from the terms of the Old Covenant to those of the New Covenant.

The old creation began with the breath of God; now the new creation began with the breath of God the Son.

 

 

The heart-adorning of a godly women.

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable beauty of a quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3,4 NKJV.

1peterverse_blog

Heart, kardia, Strong’s #2588: The definition of this word is, “thoughts, feelings, mind, middle,” as the deepest, most inner recess of our being. A godly woman, abiding in the Holy Spirit (who Himself lives in the hidden place of our hearts) can grow to learn a trust in the insights and understanding the Lord gives her.
With a gentle and quiet spirit, God wants her to bring insight and value to her husband and their marriage. She is to be “adorned” with a spirit that is not self-exalting or casting herself as her husband’s teacher; yet, they are still ordained to be and become full partners as the husband receives the day-to-day relational “help” God has given to him in his wife.
Genesis 2:18 says, And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” A helper indicates that Adam’s strength for all he was called to be and do was inadequate in itself. Comparable to him denotes complementarity. The needed help is for daily work, procreation, and mutual support through companionship.

 

 

 

 

The Lord is One!

 

“Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One!”  Deuteronomy 6:4 NKJV.

Called Shema by orthodox Jews, after the first word, “Hear,” this famous passage supports the Trinitarian concept of deity—the Lord (Jehovah) our God (Elohim) is one Lord, the one echad, expressing compound unity, not yahid, meaning a single one. He alone to whom the name of Jehovah (Yahweh, “the self-existing One”) belongs is absolutely God (Ex. 3:14).  “Hear, O Israel: YHVH is God, YHVH alone is God,”is also an acceptable translation. good-evening-music

It is at once a testimony against Unitarianism as well as polytheism.

Because He is the one and only God, of one eternal, uncreated essence, yet manifested tripersonally as Scripture shows. He must be loved by the creature (us ins) with the whole being: heart, soul, (mind, will and emotions) and might (v.5), Jesus added the “mind” (Mark 12:30).

We who believe today know this same Yahweh, Israel Redeemer, as our Redeemer, who in the process of time became incarnate and died in our place. “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

One, echad, Strong’s # 259: One, a unit; united; unity. The root of echad is achad, to bring together, to unify; to collect one’s thoughts. Echad paints a range of meaning as “one” does in English, from the very narrowest sense (one and one only, as in Ecc.9:18, one sinner destroys much good”) to the broadest sense (one made up of many, as in Gen.2:24, where a man and his wife “shall become one flesh”).

The foundational truth for the redemption of the world is that there is one God who creates and redeems, and yet the NT shows that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Compare the unity of God to the unity of man made in His image: Man is comprised of spirit, soul and body (1 Thes. 5:23). Man is not three “beings” but “one being” with physical, emotional, and spiritual elements.deu-6-4-web-watermarked

The word God is used here in its plural form in the Hebrew text. So, our God, the Lord is one likely emphasizes the Christian doctrine of the trinity, three Persons of the same substance in the one Godhead; this understanding, however, would not have been apparent to the people of the OT.

The world bullies Israel, but God is the Redeemer of Israel.

Awake, awake! put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean shall no longer come to you. Shake yourself from the dust, arise, sit down, O Jerusalem! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion!…Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem! For the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem.  Isaiah 52:1,2, 9 NKJV.

yahushua

Redeemed, ga’al, Strong’s # 1350. Ransom, redeem, and repurchase; to set free by avenging or repaying. God is the Redeemer of Israel (Isa. 43:1-3), repurchasing them from slavery (Sin).

Ga’al refers to the custom of buying back something a person has lost through helplessness, poverty, or violence. Furthermore, the one who does the redeeming is often a close relative who is in a stronger position and buys back the lost property on behalf of his weaker relative (Ruth 4:1-7).

Psalm 72 is universally understood as speaking of the Messiah; v. 14 states “He will redeem [ga’al] the life of the needy from oppression and violence.” In Isaiah 52:9, God redeems Jerusalem, buying it back from its oppressors on behalf of His people.

The biblical view of redemption is extremely wide, for God has pledged to redeem the whole creation, which currently groans in bondage (Romans 8:20-23).

   

Christlikeness

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8 NKJV.

Humble, tapeinoo, Strong’s # 5013. Literally, “to make low,” used of a mountain in Luke 3:5. Metaphorically, the word means to debase, humble, and lower oneself. It describes a person who is devoid of all arrogance and self-exaltation—a person who is willingly submitted to God and His will.  In the manifestation of Jesus’ incarnation (Phil. 2:8), He brought about the recognition of His humanity by demonstrating His absolute dependence on His Father. washfeet1

The truth of the incarnation is expressed in the complete self-renunciation of Christ as He made Himself of no reputation (emptied Himself of His privileges) see July 8, 2014 post “The Empty God.” He veiled the manifestations of deity and assumed real humanity. Likeness suggests that Jesus was really a man, but not merely a man. His humanity was genuine, yet His being was still divine.

Human viewpoints on humility distort the idea, often “humbling” people by loveless actions that rob them of dignity and nobility. But the example of Christ like humility is manifested in the freedom of God’s Son to affirm the fullness of all of God has placed in Him, without needing to flaunt, prove, or push it through self-advancement.

Jesus’ complete absence of any need to “clutch” for power or attention is manifest humility. It is the royal spirit that the King of heaven Himself displayed in servant like graciousness. Just as Christ’s humility received ultimate exaltation (Phil. 2:9-11), so our call to “humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” points to the way for the rise of God’s highest purpose in each of us (James 4:10).

Humbling ourselves opens us up to increased grace (1 Peter 5:5), and child likeness is the doorway to the liveliness of “kingdom come” in our life and service (Matthew 18:4). 🙂    I need more grace, how about you?

 

Have you experienced the Dark Night of the Soul?

We can experience two types of “being lost.” Both types can be spiritually dangerous. All of us have experienced the loss of something—-wallet, money, car keys. I remember boarding a plane in Tel-Aviv, Isreal and not seeing my wife who was just behind me. I stood in the plane frantically looking for her thinking if she misses the flight, how will she get back? I felt i had lost her. Lost is seperation. We, until our born again experience in Jesus Christ, are seperate from God in terms of an intimate covenant relationship.

The second type of being lost is what St.John of the Cross called “the dark night of the soul.” John was a Spanish Carmelite monk (1542-1591), a student of philosophy and theology. St. John defines the ‘dark night.’ “The ‘dark night’ is when persons lose all the pleasure they once experienced in their devotional life.” The experience feels like God does not exist.

St. John suggests that God wants to wean us from depending even on our own consciousness and experience of God. This is pastorally challenging territory. Some folk just cannot fathom the dark night of the soul and end up jettisoning their faith. Had they the will to persevere, the God on the other side of the dark night would be closer, bigger, much more loving. We’ve produced an American infantile spirituality that requires God to be our security blanket. What if God “disappears”?maxresdefault (1)

 

St. John of the Cross describes new believers as eagerly devoted to Christ and rigidly disciplined in spiritual practices. In their following Jesus they develop a “secret pride.” They become “too spiritual,” condemning others who are not as spiritual as they are. They stay disciplined in order to be esteemed by others. They begin to avoid confession because confession may ruin their image. They become more spiritual for their own sake, not for God’s. Enter the dark night. The dark night is a purging work of the Spirit. John writes, “For the truth is that the feelings we receive from the devotional life are the least of its benefits.

The invisible and unfelt grace of God is much greater, and it is beyond our comprehension (emphasis added). …For true spirituality consists in perseverance, patience, and humility. …No soul will ever grow deep in the spiritual

life unless God works passively in that soul by means of the dark night.” The dark night is called dark for a reason; it is an inner darkness that makes one feel like he or she is wandering toward the inky abyss.

In short, if the Dark Night (DN) of the senses is the move from loving God for pleasures sake to loving God for loves sake (God turns out the light on our sensual spirituality), then the DN of the soul is the move from the love of God for loves sake to the love of God for *Gods* sake (to paint w/ a Broadbrush!).

Ironically, “consolation,” Gods “felt presence,” is for the less mature/younger believers to *encourage us & reinforce behaviors; “desolation,” Gods “felt absence” is for the more mature believers to “‘expose behavior (Spirit takes us deeper into the “putting off’ process-­detachment). We cannot get rid of the self unless we through the self!!!

In the DN of the spirit/soul (love of God for loves sake to love of God for *Gods* sake alone) the Spirit begins to purge us not only of our vices, but now also our virtues we developed as non-christians & young believers.

Most 15,20,40+ year old believers in the faith, if they are honest  will tell you that deep down when trials come we instinctively, & autonomously, tend to appeal more to our own intellect, character formation, will, etc we have accumulated over the years than opening to the Spirit from beginning to end. “Apart from me you can do…”

This does Not mean we get rid of all the *wonderful* important, foundational attributes we have gained over the years! On the contrary, God Himself begins to “darken” these deep parts of the soul in order to bring Deeper dependence on the Spirit’s wisdom in the moment (& ultimately bring more profound insight as they are subordinated to God).

Sanctification nurtures the same psychological soil as justification, “I can’t do it!” only in much deeper places. God also moves us from trusting in our own character to deeply abiding in the Vine. During this process, a DN indeed, anxiety, fear, worry, guilt, shame, etc are *God’s* invitations (idiot lights on the dashboard of our soul) to journey deeper With Him leading the dance & not appealing to our own autonomous “gifts.”

Its been said that feelings are lousy leaders. Absolutely! But they *are* Excellent windows into the soul as well.

The louder they scream will constitute how deep our (disordered) attachments reside, and *that* is when we need to lay down our defensive (often unconscious) shield of acquired wisdom, character, willpower, etc & go with God  as He Lovingly invites us to the spiritual discipline of listening to our hearts (where the Triune God resides!) & to the call of God that echoes*deep* in the heart of every emotion. God Himself will do this in the DN of the spirit/soul.

This was Very brief but hopefully helps a little. There are many signs & temptations that accompany believers here and a good spiritual director/pastor familiar with this terrain is needed.

 

Slaves of Sin to Slaves of God.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourdelves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of docrtine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin you became salves of righteousness. Romans 6:15-18. 13_guy-chained
Obeyed, hupakouo, Strong’s # 5219: to hear as a subordinate, listen attentively, obey as a subject, answer and respond, submit without reservation. To listen to something hearken (Acts 12:13) ; mostly it means to obey, (duh) give heed, follow, yield, of servants, soldiers, students (Matt. 8:27; Mark 1:27; Luke 8:25; Eph. 6:1,5).
The word thus contains the ideas of hearing, responding, and obeying.
This word also refers to the manifestation of faith as revealed in humble acceptance of the Gospel message (Acts 6:7; Rom.6:17; 10:16; 1 Thess. 1:8; 3:14; Heb.5:9).
Slaves of sin do not recognize the obligation to righteousness, but rather abondon themselves to a process of moral deteration, which has death as its end. Slaves of God, on the other hand devote themselves to holiness, a road that leads to everlasting life.

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries