Friday, October 26, 2012

Be Filled With The Spirit

Be Filled With The Holy Spirit

As the world thinks of ghost & goblins, remember the ONE who is HOLY. "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." [1 John 4:4]

"For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection--and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both." Acts 23:8 (NKJV)

"Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Eph 5:18-20 (NLT)

The goal is not to abandon the world, but to keep ourselves IN CHRIST and salvage as much as possible from this evil world. Christians do renounce the falseness of the world, but do not reject Creation itself.

Following repentance (change your heart and life), a surge of Holy Joy springs up! But a kind of joy can spring up from darkness also. The temporary joy of wine will ruin your life. For Christians the Holy Spirit gives true HOLY JOY. This JOY is the New Testament worship of GOD who is Father, Son, Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). In the Lord's Supper we give thanks to the Father through the Son. Wine will ruin your life. But he who is filled with the Holy Spirit is rooted in Christ and is gloriously sober. Quoting Scripture and singing hymns would not be spiritual if there if not also humility, submission and the fear (reverence) for God.

"And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will." Romans 8:26-27 (NLT)

Helps. "He greatly assists or aids us."

Our weakness. Assists us in our infirmities, or aids us to bear them. The weaknesses to which we are subject, and to our various trials in this life. The Spirit helps us in this,

(1.) by giving us strength to bear them;

(2.) by encouraging us to make efforts to sustain them;

(3.) by showing us power, and truth, and our Christian blessings, which help us to endure our trials.

For we know not. This tells us of the aid which the Holy Spirit gives us. The reasons why Christians do not know what to pray for may be -

(1.) that we do not know what would be really best for us. (2.) we do not know what God might be willing to grant us. (3.) we are to a great extent ignorant of the character of God, the reason of His dealings, the principles of His government, and our own real needs.

(4.) we are often in real, deep perplexity. We are encompassed with trials, exposed to temptations, feeble by disease, and subject to calamities. In these circumstances, if left alone, we would neither be able to bear the trials, nor know what to ask at the hand of God.

Strength in weakness.

Mr. Christmas Evans (in the 1800s) now made a solemn promise to God, made, as he says, "under a deep sense of the evil of his heart, and in dependence upon the infinite grace and merit of the Redeemer." Some of this renewed determination can be seen in the following. [I have revised the language.]

1. "I give my soul and body to You, Jesus, true God and eternal life. Deliver me from sin, and from eternal death, and bring me into life everlasting. Amen."

2. "I call on the day, the sun, the earth, the trees, the stones, the bed, the table, and the books, to witness that I come to You, Redeemer of sinners, that I may obtain rest for my soul from the thunders of guilt and the dread of eternity."

3. "I do, through confidence in Your power, ask You to give me a circumcised heart of love for You, and create in me a right spirit, that I may seek Your glory. Grant me that strength which You will confess in the day of judgment, that I may hear You speak my name. Grant me this, for the sake of Your Most Precious Blood. Amen."

4. "I plead with You, Jesus, Son of God, in Your power, grant me, by Your agonizing death, a covenant-interest in Your blood, which cleanses; in Your righteousness, which justifies; and in Your redemption, which delivers. As You have tasted death for all men, grant me eternal life. Amen."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012





      ”Shouldn’t there be a standard church for your Bible?”  “When you visit a church in a distant city, shouldn’t it be a clone of your home church?”  “What happened to the Church I remember from my childhood?”


      This from some Sci-Fi things I borrowed and rewrote.  Note this is a parody but also a parable. 


      What might a standard church be like?  Would there be a three-ring manual giving exact details of all the services down to the smallest detail?  Would all the churches (buildings) be clones of the pattern?  Sci-Fi writers ask what if a brotherhood of churches were set up as a franchise, much like the Fast Food Industry does.


      The entrance room of First Church is, of course, just like all the others in the franchise.  A picture of Evangelist Brother Billy-Bob is placed so you will see it as you enter.  A stylized picture of Jesus receives the emphasis.  A counter sits to one side, done up in fake wood so it looks like something from an old church. Behind the counter, an elderly lady sits, a flimsy sort of choir robe thrown over her shoulders.


       There's a little rack along the front of the counter bearing gospel tracts, free for the taking, donation requested. The lady types some stuff into the computer. The worshiper snaps her Visa © card down on the fake wood counter top; it sounds like a rifle shot. The lady pries the card up, then she swipes the card through its electromagnetic slot with a carefully modulated sweep of the arm, as though tearing back a veil, hands over the slip, mumbling that she needs a signature and daytime phone number.  Since cash and checks are no longer used, the collection must be taken up before the service.  (We are in a cashless society.  We are to “lay by in store.”)


Then it just remains for the “Word from On High.” But computers and communications are awfully good these days, and it usually doesn't take longer than a couple of seconds to perform a charge-card verification. The little machine beeps out its approval code. "Thank you for your donation," the lady says, slurring the words together into a single syllable.


       The worshipper hurried toward the double doors. The song leader had already walked to his place to convene the service. The interior of the church is weirdly colored.  Fluorescent fixtures are wedged into the ceiling.  Large colored light boxes simulate stained-glass windows. The largest of these, shaped like a fattened Gothic arch, is bolted to the back wall, above the pulpit, and features a waterfall pouring into a river basin.  The baptistery is placed beneath this.  The song leader announces the first number and the singing begins.


       Again, this is both a parody and a parable.  It is the worshipper who is being served and involved.  We NEED fellowship (koinonia), sharing and intimacy, in whatever form we choose.  “Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise. 24 Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. 25 Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.”  Heb 10:23-25 (TEV)


        See “Time For A Standard Church.”



Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Silver Threads Among The Gold

If we knew Armageddon was just around the corner, would it change the way we live now? If we knew we were going to die tomorrow, would this make a difference?

"Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it."  Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 (NLT)

"Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life." Proverbs 16:31 (NLT)

1. We all grow older in our world of time.

"The world needs to do more to prepare for the impact of a rapidly aging population, the UN has warned - particularly in developing countries. Within 10 years the number of people aged over 60 will pass one billion, a report by the UN Population Fund said." BBC News

"China's population is aging. By 2050 more than a quarter of the population will be over 65 years old and younger generations face an unprecedented burden of care." BBC News

By 2030 about 1 in 3 West Virginians will be 60 or over. The US will average about 1 in 4 over 60.

The number of centenarians (age 100+) in the world is projected to increase from fewer than 316,600 in 2011 to 3.2 million in 2050.

a) "Population control" adds to the problem.

Many babies are not allowed to be born. And gender selection is being practiced by some.

Lianyungang, a booming port city, has China's most extreme gender ratio for children under four: 163 boys for every 100 girls. Asia now has 163 million females "missing" from its population. Gender imbalance reaches far beyond Asia. The world, therefore, is becoming increasingly male, and this mismatch is likely to create profound social upheaval.

b) Many are living longer.

"This rising proportion of older people is a consequence of success - improved nutrition, sanitation, healthcare, education and economic well-being are contributing factors, the report says." BBC News

"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people." Matt 4:23

"No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities." 1 Tim 5:23

c) As the flower of the field.

King David breathed pure air, drank unpolluted water, ate unprocessed organically grown food, yet died at age 70.

But Moses: "Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever." Deut 34:7 (NLT)

"The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away." Psalms 90:10

"As the Scriptures say, "People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever." And that word is the Good News [Gospel] that was preached to you."
1 Peter 1:24-25 (NLT) [Isaiah 40:6-8] Gospel is an old word that means Good News.

"I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is the gift of God."  Ecclesiastes 3:10-13