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Accessing the power of the Holy Spirit

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My Sunday School Class has been studying the Holy Spirit recently, and it has been a wake up call for me.  I didn’t realize I had drifted.  I used to be the first to tell others to leave room for the Holy Spirit to work, and yet, I found myself not doing that myself at times.  The Holy Spirit, an often neglected part of the Trinity, is vitally important to our life here on earth.  He is in believers.   But, just like I must turn a switch to access power for my computer, I must tune in and turn on that power I’m already plugged in to.  The Spirit is our Need-Meeter in every way as we walk this earth.  How often do we forget we have the power if we would only access it?

English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Dove of the Ho...

English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, stained glass, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who is the Holy Spirit?

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  John 3:6    The Holy Spirit is the third part of the Trinity:  Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  He was sent to us when Jesus ascended to the Father to be our helper and much more.  He is the presence of Christ in our lives and teaches us all things we need to know, if we will but listen.

Why was His coming so important?

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  John 16:7    Jesus told his disciples, sad that He was leaving, the importance of His departure.  Jesus had to go so God could send the Comforter to them, the person of God they would need to do the work He had called them to do.

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.  5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.   Acts 1:4-5     The Holy Spirit was (is) the promise of the Father.  In other words, He is the guarantee of God’s promises.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:13-14    I don’t know about you, but that makes me excited!
Three Important Tasks of the Holy Spirit

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  John 16:8-11

>He will reprove the world of sin.   He is that one who convicts of sin.  He shows us that we are in the wrong and need a Savior.  He doesn’t convict us to make us feel bad, although that is a part of conviction.  He convicts us so we will trust Christ and be set free from our sin.

>and of righteousness.  One way He does this is to show that Jesus was and is righteous.  Another way it convicts us is in showing us the righteousness we have in Christ.  When we give Him our sin, He gives us His righteousness.  No longer do we stand before God or man in our own righteousness (inadequate at best).  We stand in Jesus righteousness!   The Spirit reminds us of this when we hear that whisper in our ear that says “you are not worthy”.  Of course we’re not worthy, but He is, and it is He that is judged for our sin, not us.  So we can stand boldly before God and man clothed in Jesus’ righteousness.   The Spirit points us to righteousness and away from unrighteousness as well.   Even though we are righteous before God, we can still slip into unrighteous living.  The Holy Spirit convicts us about what Jesus expects of us to bring us back to righteous living.

The spirit works in the lives of unbelievers to point out their need for Christ.  He continues that work in believers to cultivate a life of righteousness.

>and of judgment.  The Spirit also reminds of the final end for those who do not trust in Christ.  Satan and his band have been judged.  Hell was made for them.  God does not want people to go to hell, so He made a way for us to escape the judgment.  The Spirit shows us that we must forsake unbelief and unrighteousness in order to avoid the coming judgment.

 

Are you aware of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life?  Do you access the power, ignore it, or refuse it?   The Holy Spirit does much more than this, but that’s for another post.  Ask the Spirit to show His power in your life today.

Ten Ways to love: Accusations

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The second statement in our ‘Ten ways to love’ series is this:

Anger

Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. (Photo credit: baejaar)

2.  Speak without accusing.

The verse:  James 1:19:  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

I find this one very difficult because it’s so hard to keep accusation out at times.   Because it’s more difficult to see my own stuff, I’m afraid I will have to use what I see in others as examples here.  I am not casting the first stone, however, because I can accuse with the best of them at times.

The backhanded question

A certain person is quite good at speaking with accusation behind seemingly innocent words, usually in the form of questions.  “Why is the front door open?”  translates to “Why didn’t you shut the door, do you want to heat the whole world?”   Implied (and often spoken after the statement) is the hard work trying to earn money to pay the bills while everyone else wastes money like it grows on trees.  This is speaking with accusation.

I saw ‘evidence’ and, I know you’re guilty!

Sometimes, we speak with accusing when we haven’t received all the information needed.  This one seldom happens a LOT in relationships.  If you’ve ever caught some of the Maury Povich type shows, you see people coming on with accusation oozing out of their pores!  I saw a text on your phone, so you MUST be having an affair.  “I only slept with 5 people, but I know you’re the dad.  So why aren’t you stepping up to the plate to take care of YOUR child?”   “I saw you look at her, you don’t love me!”    And so on ad nauseam!!!  This way comes by jumping to conclusions and attacking rather than waiting for more information and strangling him in his sleep DISCUSSING it in an adult manner.

How could you?

Sometimes, in a similar vein to above, we assume another’s motives.  It’s entirely possible we’re wrong, but we think we can read minds, so….  Another person I know seems to be able to find a negative motive in most anything.  I probably attribute good motives more than I should, but I’d rather give a person a chance than to assume  wrongly.  People have different love languages (and other filters), and sometimes they mean well, even if the results are not what they intended.  For example, when my husband does something for me, like going to work every day or fixing a problem, he is saying, “I love you!”   Because I did not understand this for a few years, I attributed wrong motives and didn’t believe he loved me.  I was wrong and caused a lot of heartache to myself and him.   Sometimes we can just accept people, and their motives, at face value.

A Person (Man) exclaiming something

A Person (Man) exclaiming something (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Political Debates gone wrong

If you’ve ever watched a debate, and I use that term loosely.  How often do you hear accusations flying?  Uh, yeah, all the time!  Rather than defending one’s own take on the issues, deflection techniques muddy the waters.  Personally, I would rather hear what a candidate believes than the mistakes of his/her opponent.   A person that can stick with the issues and not get sucked into the vortex of distraction gets my respect.  This type of conversation (no matter who is doing the ‘debating’) should keep the focus on the person speaking and not the other person through accusation and idiocy.

The Children

We do this to children all the time.  They bring us a flower and we yell at them for picking it.  They want to hug us, but we accuse them of ‘bugging’ us or being to clingy.

The rest of the story

If you read the next verse in James, it says, ”

20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

 

I memorized this scripture many years ago and use it often to remind me that my anger, accusations, judgments, etc. do not work God’s righteousness.  In fact, they often get in the way and turn others away from God.  In order to show love, it is necessary to tame that tongue and give thought to our words before we allow them out of our mouth.  No one is perfect, but sometimes that extra second of thought will save some heartache for all.

Have you ever jumped to conclusions and wrongly accused someone?   Have you rightly accused them, but to the relationship’s detriment due to the way you handled it?  Have you attributed negative motives to someone and accused them by word or deed?  Do you distract through accusation in a fight, debate, discussion, argument?  Have you brushed a child aside and spoken with accusation to them?  What are some other ways we speak with accusing?

He loves me, He loves me not. . .

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Even though I’m still very wheezy, I feel like I just might pull through the crud.  The hubs is home sick now.  Nothing like sharing the love???  🙂

♥♥♥♥

I have the television on this morning as I answer my e-mail and do my morning “chores”.  A Christian station provides background noise for me, but then it catches my attention.  What did I just hear?  No, not anything bad.  Something good.  Something very, very good.

The hosts and guest (Nancy Kennedy – “When perfect isn’t enough”) discussed the feelings that plague us concerning our sense of not being pleasing to God.  The host states, “I always feel like I’m a fraud, and I’m going to be found out.”  That was a wow moment for me.  I didn’t even realize I felt that way, but it’s so true.  I’m guessing, at times at least, you feel the same way.

Have you ever thought:  “If you really knew me….”, or “If they ever found out that I …”, or something similar?  I have to tell you I think things like this all the time!  Why do we do this?  Why do we do this to God?  Are we mind readers?  We can’t even read human minds, so what makes us think we can read God’s mind?  We tend to project these things onto Him.  The host of the show said, “We read into His mind….”

What do you read into His mind?   Rejection?   Anger?   Dislike?   Disapproval?  _______? 

 

In reality, God never rejects us!  We can reject Him, but He wants us.  He wants us so much He sent His only Son to earth to die for us so we could be in a real relationship with Him.  Jesus paid our sin debt and opened the door for us.  How can we believe He did all that, and still believe He’s up there with a lightening bolt waiting for us to mess up?

 ♥♥♥♥

Ms Kennedy showed it this way:  hold up your fist – that’s you; cover the fist with your other hand – that’s Jesus; look down and you see the covering hand, not the fist.   When God looks at you, He sees Jesus.  He sees His righteousness that was imputed (given) to you on the cross.

In one of my lessons I like to teach in Sunday School (a simplistic view):

♦Go over the 10 commandments, looking below the obvious to how we break each of these commandments all the time.

♦Give the students an envelope and a list of the 10 commandments.

♦Ask students to cut the commandments apart and place each one they have broken into the envelope, seal it, and put their name on the front – Angie’s Debt.  (Contemplative and Private – no students looking at others.)

♦Go to each student with an envelope marked “Jesus”.  Say something like, “Jesus paid your debt for you, would you like to accept His payment for your sins?”  {Again a very simplistic example, I said a lot more.} If they say yes, hand them the envelope and take theirs.

♦When all students have been approached, have them all open their envelope together.  Inside is a paper that say’s “Jesus’ Righteousness.”

♦Then take the sin envelopes and nail them to a cross, burn them, whatever works for you.

♥♥♥

This is a profound visual for my students.  They finally understand (at least to a greater degree than before) that when Jesus imputed His righteousness to them, He gave them HIS righteousness and took their sin.  Once and for all!  The sins are gone and in their place is Jesus’ righteousness.  We cannot attain that on our own, and yet so often we keep trying to ‘earn’ it, leading us to feel like failures.

When God says, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”  He is saying, “This is my beloved son/daughter in whom I am well pleased” to you.  This is not an excuse for continued sin, but it is a freedom from the consequences of sin and that need to win God’s favor.  It’s already won!

He is pleased with you!  He even likes you!  Just like our children, we may not like everything they do, but we love them and even like them – no matter what!

I’m going to leave you here and let that sink in for a while.

Are you free to be ‘human’?  to be imperfect?  Can you accept that you don’t have to keep trying so hard to be ‘likeable’?  To God?  To others?  What are your thoughts?

Are you covered?

Righteousness begets Righteousness: Seeking to change our world by Angela Masters Young

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The time has come.  I have another blog on blogspot, and  I am in the process of moving those posts to Word press.   This is post number one.

Re-writing an article about Proverbs 28:28 and the definition of wisdom got me thinking.  Proverbs 28:28 reads:  “When the wicked rise, men hide themselves:  but when they perish, the righteous increase.”  The article stirred my heart and got me thinking about my country and its rapid descent into wickedness.  No longer is wickedness merely tolerated, it is accepted and excused.  This ought not to be.

~♥~

Wisdom, defined from I Kings 3:4-11 b Solomon’s response to God’s request to give him anything he wanted, is this:

—->Acknowledging God’s mercy and kindness to those who walk in truth, righteousness and uprightness of heart with God. (v. 6)

—->Recognizing the nothingness of one’s knowledge, understanding, and abilities. (v. 7)

—->Recognizing that the task is impossible for mere man without God. (v. 8)

—->Asking God for an understanding heart, and the ability to discern between good and evil, along with recognizing it all comes from Him and Him alone.  (v. 9)

~♥~

Seems simple doesn’t it?  I can’t; God can; He is my source for everything; without Him I am nothing.

~♥~

Now back to Proverbs 28:28.  When wickedness grows, the righteousness of the land wanes.  Those who are righteous fear for their lives and hide from the wickedness around them.  This, then, leaves the wicked open, with little opposition, and they continue to gobble up everyone they can in their path.  Not only do they do wicked things, they glory (take pleasure) in those who do them, seek to have their wickedness accepted as normal, and hate anyone who tries to tell them otherwise.  When the wicked abound, everyone has to fear for their lives and their property and much more because there is no restraint to keep people from harming themselves and others.

~♥~

On the other hand, “when they perish, the righteous increase.”  Let’s word that this way:  when the righteous increase, the wicked perish.  That may be taking liberties, but stay with me.  The wicked arise because God-fearing people are no longer wise. 

~♥~

—->They become like the world through compromise.

—->They begin to believe their own understanding instead of seeking God’s understanding and God’s purpose.

—->They often have a form of worship, but lack depth and a real connection with the God they are supposedly serving.

—->They begin to laugh at things that would have shocked them at one time.

—->Their standards and morals begin to gradually slide away.

—->They hide their light under a bushel, not allowing it to shine out into and illuminate the wickedness of the world.

~♥~

The world wanders around in increasing darkness, seeking the ever illusive peace and happiness that satan has promised them through his counterfeit offerings.  Where are the righteous?  Many of those that exist have hidden their light for fear of their life or because they have begun to believe the world’s “truths”.

~♥~

What I believe this scripture is pointing out is that, in a time of wickedness, Christians need to seek God and His wisdom and stand tall and firm if they want to affect the nation (and the world).  Instead of buying the “politically correct” notions and the understandings of the world, Christians need to get right and stand tall, letting their light shine out into the darkness.  If death comes from this, then praise the Lord that you get to die for Him.

~♥~

If we want to turn our nation around, we must seek the kind of wisdom Solomon asked for and be a light to the world.

~♥~

Proverbs 28:28 serves as a warning to those of us seeking God’s wisdom and His righteousness to stand up and let our God shine from our lives for others to see.  When the righteous act as a light in the darkness of wickedness, they draw the wicked to God.  Wisdom realizes this and seeks to get the life aligned with God’s ways, eschewing complacency, political-correctness, compromise, and even legalism to stand out in a way that turns the tide from increasing wickedness to increasing righteousness.  This then is wisdom.” (quote from my article)  And this, then, is what God calls His followers to do today to turn around our country AND our churches.

~♥~

Bible study:  Job 28:28  What is wisdom

Do you count yourself wise by this definition? 

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