The “THIRD PERSON” is more than a Ghost! (Part 2 of 2)

A QUICK REVIEW FIRST:

We saw the PROOF of who the Spirit is; the evidence of His “BEING”.  We talked about what He does and what He says.  And although we can’t visibly see Holy Spirit, where He resides (in the HEART; the center of who we are as BELIEVERS), He testifies to our doings and He is definitely REAL!

I left you with a thought in Part 1–a “question”, and will begin Part 2 with the Biblical answer.

“What is the Biblical Definition of Christian Maturity?” – ( 1 Corinthians 2:1-16).

According to the Apostle Paul, it’s having the mind of Christ Jesus (verse 16):

SPIRITUALLY ALIVE, we have access to every thing God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics.  Isaiah’s question,  “Is there anyone around who knows God’s spirit, anyone who knows what He is doing?”  has been answered:  Christ knows and we have Christ’s Spirit.  (Verse 15-16, The Message Bible – MSG).

Having the mind of JESUS CHRIST is NOT…

1.  NOT WISDOM OF THIS WORLD OR PRESENT AGE  (verse 6).

2.  NOT WORDS TAUGHT TO US BY HUMAN WISDOM  (verse 13).

3.  NOT ACCEPTING, NOT WELCOMING INTO THE HEART THE GIFTS, TEACHINGS, REVELATIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT  (verse 14).

We gain the mind of Christ through…the ministry of the Holy Spirit;

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He reveals it to us through the Word of God and only the HOLY SPIRIT KNOWS the mind of Christ (verse 11).

THE MIND OF CHRIST JESUS is the “once hidden” secret wisdom:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him–but He has revealed it to us by His Spirit.”

THE PROBLEM PRESENTED IN VERSES 13 & 14:

In verse 13, the apostle Paul tells us, since the person with the spirit is expressing spiritual truths with spiritual words–the person without the Spirit of God cannot accept Him.  That is why some people you come in contact with could CARE LESS…about your recent growth in the Lord.

The more we have of the mind of the Lord, the less we have of the blessing of the world around us.

HAVING THE “MIND OF CHRIST” WILL NOT AUTOMATICALLY FOLLOW  PLACING OUR FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS:

We have to make a DECISION–

We have to choose to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, don’t we?  We have to decide, if not already, to have an intimate relationship with a ‘living being’!  Yep, He is more than a Ghost… and of course you can’t see Him.  He’s living on the inside of you.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live,

but Christ lives in me.

The life I live in the body, I live by faith

in the Son of God.  ~Galatians 2:20~

No one can comprehend God (Romans 11:34).   But through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, BELIEVERS have insight into some of God’s plans, thoughts, and actions–they, in fact, have the “mind of Christ.”

The Benefits of Empowerment:

The Holy Spirit empowers us to share our faith and helps us grow in Christian Maturity.  In your spiritual relationship, ask Him to guide you; to make the right decisions for every new day towards maturity in Christ Jesus.

But the most important thing that the Holy spirit does is to bring the opportunity to receive salvation.

Perhaps, as you’ve been reading along in this two-part series,  never heard before that JESUS died on the Cross for your sins.  Perhaps you have never placed your FAITH in what Christ did and instead… trusting in what you might do.  If that is where you are right now, THEN…

TODAY you can know how to be FREE from the penalty of sin.

TODAY you can RECEIVE the Holy Spirit into your life!

TODAY is the DAY!

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If you made these decisions after reading The “THIRD PERSON”  is more than a Ghost, leave me your testimony in the comment section of this POST.  Through the Holy Spirit we can begin to know God’s thoughts–His will for your life–talk with Him, and expect His answers to our prayers.

And if you made the decision to follow JESUS, years ago or recently, are you spending enough time with Christ to have His very own mind in you?

An intimate relationship with Christ comes only from spending time consistently in His presence and in His Word.

The “THIRD PERSON” is more than a Ghost! (Part 1 of 2)

Who is The Holy Spirit and what does He do?

John 1:32
John 1:32

John gave further evidence, saying,  “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven; and it dwelt on Him–not to depart.”

WHERE TO START?   1 Corinthians 2:1-16 (NIV).

[1]  WHEN I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  [2] For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  [3] I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.  [4] My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,  [5] so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.  [6] We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age, who are coming to nothing.  [7] No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.  [8] None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  [9] However, as it is written:

“No eye has seen,

no ear has heard,

no mind has conceived

what God has prepared for those who love him” —

[10] but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  [11] For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  [12] We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.  [13] This is what we speak, not in words taught to us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.  

[14] The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.  

[15] The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:

[16] “For who has known the mind of the Lord

that he may instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

He is More than a Ghost–Verse 14 tells us so!

More than a “GHOST” – HE HAS A HISTORY OR “BEING”:

Let me give you an insert I came across in my detective investigation this past week:

Denying the personality of the Holy spirit.  In their denial of the Trinity, Jehovah Witnesses deny the personality of the Holy Spirit.  They claim that “the holy spirit is the invisible active force of Almighty God which moves his servants to do his will.”  To a Witness, the Spirit is a mere impersonal force similar to electricity.  [from A Guide to Cults & New Religions by Ronald Enroth & Others; page 109].

Non-believers have…

1.   Resisted – “This man without the spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God.”

2.  Ridiculed – “For they are foolishness to him.”

3.  Misunderstood – “And he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

It is completely understandable that of the Trinity; the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit–we are the least knowledgeable of the “Person” and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

My wife and I had decided to join a church fellowship in a new community we had moved into.  The church required that those who DESIRED to become members, must go through a “New Membership Class” conducted by the senior pastor.  At the end of the classes, there was a QUESTION & ANSWER time.  Not being a shy person, I raised my hand and asked,  “Why don’t we talk more about the Holy Spirit in church, is there a REASON?”  After a brief pause by the pastor…”Well, we probably should mention the third Person of the Trinity more often…but I guess the reason might be that ‘certain’ denominational churches have over-emphasized the Spirit, others have backed away.”

I thought, where did that reasoning come from–who told you that and how can a Christian “over-emphasize” Holy Spirit?  That explanation didn’t set right in my spirit and two years later…I swallowed the “RED PILL” and the attributes of the Spirit began to become more personal, more real, more visible [*See “Taking the Red Pill” at the top of my Blog-site].

“Who is the Holy Spirit?”

Simple answer is…the Holy Spirit is GOD!

The Proof–

If you look at the Scripture passage given in 1 Corinthians 2, we see the words of GOD and Spirit are interchangeable or one in the same.  For example; verse 4 and 5, we see the Spirit’s Power is also called GOD’S POWER.

“[4]  And my message and my preaching were very plain.  Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.  [5] I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God”  (New Living Translation).

In verse 11, we see the very thoughts of GOD are the very thoughts of the Spirit:

“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God”  (New International Version).

The SECOND THING we need to be seeing–

The Holy Spirit is  NOT some impersonal force as some cults claim.

HE SPEAKS TO US  (verses 9-10).

HE SEARCHES ALL THINGS  (verse 10).

HE KNOWS THE THOUGHTS OF GOD  (verse 11).

HE TEACHES US WHAT GOD HAS FREELY GIVEN US  (verse 13):  “And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit].”

What Does the Holy Spirit Do?

He EMPOWERS US to share our testimony or as some Bible translations say, “our witness”.  (verses 1-5)–

As the WORD DETECTIVE, when I come across words Christians almost flippantly use, we’ve perhaps lost the meanings of…and I began the search there.

In First Corinthians, Chapter 2, verse one, we come to the word “testimony” or “witness”.  Turning to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, I proceeded to look up the two words and their definitions.  I found the English Word, “testimony”, comes from the Greek Word “maturion” or “marturia”, where we also get the English Word MARTYR from.

The word MARTYR can be defined as “a person who is killed because of their beliefs: “she was martyred for her faith.”

 So, with that definition in mind, to give your testimony to someone or to witness  in your neighborhood gives us an entirely different perspective. To me anyhow.  “Am I willing to be “martyred” to give my testimony?”  Are you?

Vine’s says, that a “… witness or testimony refers to the fact that the missionaries besides proclaiming the truths of the gospel, had borne witness to the POWER of these truths.”

As unlikely as it may seem, the apostle Paul experienced all of the same difficulties we face in sharing OUR FAITH:

In Verse One, he was not eloquent nor did he have superior wisdom.

In Verse Three, he confesses he came to them in weakness, fear and much trembling.

Can you see that Paul could identify we every objection, excuses we have in not sharing our faith with others?  It is only because you and I are NOT QUALIFIED that we are given the Spirit’s POWER to share the gospel with others.  I like an old saying that was given to me in a Evangelism Training class years ago:  “You don’t go out witnessing, you witness as you go!”  BUT, do we?

“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power”  (Verse 4).

If we can only believe verse 4, it will set us free to share our faith and the demonstration of the POWER of the Holy Spirit.

“What do we say?”

Not feeling qualified would be one of the biggest objections in sharing our faith.  And, “What to say in our testimony” might be another objection.

We have to be careful that we don’t make the mistake of putting something else at the center of our testimony–our witness.  The most important thing to share with someone is what God has done for us.  God has done a lot for you and I but we see in verse 2, Paul gives us the answer of the most important thing God has done for us!

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was

with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

According to the Apostle Paul, the crucifixion of His Son Jesus for our sins is the most important thing:

“But God shows and clearly proves His love for us

by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”  (Romans 5:8).

Is it really that simple, to just say, “Christ Jesus was crucified on a Cross; died for your sins and mine? Yes, it’s that simple!

The Holy Spirit Empowers Us to Share Our Faith–

1.  We have seen that despite the fact we’re not qualified, He wants to EMPOWER US!

2.  We have seen that the most important thing to share with others is that Christ Jesus was crucified for their sins.

Before I move on to the next point, I want to direct you to another part of SHARING YOUR FAITH.

“What is the GOAL of SHARING?  And how do we know when someone is SAVED?”

“so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power”  (Verse 5).

EVERYONE is resting their FAITH on something but not everyone is resting their FAITH on the right thing.  Looking back over my Christian life, the biggest thing I’ve found in sharing JESUS with people is that they rest their faith on their own good works.

A person is SAVED only when they rest their faith on the historical fact that JESUS DIED for their sins on the Cross.

“We all like sheep have gone astray but

He has laid on Him the sins of the world.”

1.  The Holy Spirit empowers us to share our testimony (Verses 1-5).

2.  The Holy Spirit helps to bring us to Christian Maturity (Vs. 16).

“We do, however speak a message of wisdom among the mature…”

I am going to break at this point in the study and continue in PART TWO of The “THIRD PERSON” is more than a Ghost!  I will begin with a question for you to ponder:  “WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL DEFINITION OF CHRISTIAN MATURITY?”

Biblical “MUSCLE POWER” On Display!

“SPORTS DEFINITIONS”:

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In my detective investigation this past week, I ran across what the SPORTS WORLD defines as POWER:

“THE ABILITY to exert a maximal force in as short a time as possible, as in accelerating, jumping and throwing implements”.

STRENGTH, on the other hand, is defined in the athletic environment as…

“THE ABILITY to generate as much force as possible with NO CONCERN for the factor of time”.

THE BIBLE’S EXPLANATIONS:c

Years ago, my young son came up to me after I just walked into the house after work.  “Hey dad, do you want to play some catch outside (throw a baseball back and forth)?”  I said “Sure we can but I will need to do a few things first, like get a cup of coffee and relax for a while.”  He says, “THEN will you play with me?”  And I say, “Yes, of course”.  For him it seems like an eternity to wait, but he trusts in my promise to play with him because I said so.  He believes in me because… I am a person who has the authority to make such a promise and also the POWER to fulfill it.  Multiply this POWER and authority to keep a promise by ten thousand and you would not even be close to the POWER OF GOD has to keep His promises to you.

TEXT:  GENESIS 15:1-6 (NASB):

[1] AFTER THESE things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying  “Do not fear, Abram.  I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.”  [2] And Abram said,  “O Lord God, what will Thou give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”  [3] And Abram said,  “Since Thous has given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.”  [4] The behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying,  “This man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.”  [5] And He took him outside and said,  “Now look toward the heavens and count the stars, if you are able to count them.”  And He said to him,  “So shall your descendants be.”  [6] Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”

(verse 1, NLT) –  “the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision” (or “the Word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision – NASB).

This is the first VISION is mentioned in the Bible.  This was not a DREAM.  Abram was awake, and the vision continued all day and into the night, as the Word of the Lord appeared to him.  Also, it is the first time the WORD OF THE LORD is mentioned.  It says the Lord said, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you” (NLT) or (“I am your shield” – NASB), “and your reward will be great.”

The Great Promise – PROTECTION and REWARD:

Every need taken care of is promised and the Lord actually calls Abram by His name.  This is a very personal conversation and Abram was obviously afraid.

When you are afraid and someone says, “DON’T BE AFRAID”, I don’t know about you but I want it to be by someone who has the MUSCLES and AUTHORITY before I am going to feel secure.  And God has the MUSCLES to do it!

When God says,  “Don’t be afraid!”, then I don’t need to be afraid!  Every preacher loves to mention that there are 365 times in the Bible God says, Do not be afraid!”, one for each day of the year:

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully]”  (1 Peter 5:7 AMP).

“Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice”  (Isaiah 41:10 AMP).

BIBLICAL MUSCLE and STRENGTH
BIBLICAL MUSCLE and STRENGTH

OUR PROTECTION–

THE APOSTLE PAUL speaks of Armour in Ephesians 6; speaks about the SHIELD OF FAITH.  Each piece of the Armour is JESUS Himself protecting us. 

PSALMS 18:1-2 says it this way:

“I LOVE you, O Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.  He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold”  (NIV).

Also, look at the word in Proverbs 30:5:

“Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him”  (NASB).

How good is that?  To be SHIELDED BY GOD HIMSELF.

ASSURANCE IS GIVEN BUT…

You’d think Abram would be content and say,  “Yes Lord, anything you say.”  BUT instead he says, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son?”  (Gen. 15:2 NLT).

It’s About Relationship!

ABRAHAM must have a great relationship with God to speak to Him like this, but that’s the way it is with God.  He welcomes our questions.  Abram asks God a lot of questions.  I like this.

He also sees God as SOVEREIGN LORD.  God can do anything He wants to do and seeing this, Abram wants to co-operate with His purposes.

As my relationship with my Heavenly Father grows and to know Him as being my Sovereign Lord, then I want to submit myself; be subject to Him more and more:  Lord, I want to co-operate with your sovereign purposes in my life today!”

“REWARDS”–DESCENDANTS ON DISPLAY (Genesis 15:5 AMP):

“And He brought him outside [his tent into the starlight]  and said, Look now toward the heavens and count the stars–if you are able to number them.  The He said to him, So shall your descendants be.”

One of those descendants was JESUS Himself.

When Abram believed God to give him descendants, he was believing that through him, ALL the nations of the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:3).

Now I found a striking contrast between ADAM and ABRAM in the Bible:

ADAM – The father of ALL MEN — ABRAM – The “father of ALL of them that BELIEVE”  (Romans 4:11).

ADAM had a FIG LEAF — but ABRAM had a SHIELD.

ADAM received a curse — ABRAM a REWARD!

And For the BELIEVER…

Christ is both protection from all harm (“muscle power on display”) and provision for all our needs (“muscle power” continuously on display!).  He is also our “exceedingly great [literally ‘abundant’] reward”  (verse 1).

Genesis 15:6 is an Amazing Verse to study!

“Abram believed the Lord and He credited it to him as righteousness”  (NIV Bible).

“And he [Abram] believed in (trusted in, relied on, remained steadfast to) the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness (right standing with God)”  (AMPLIFIED Bible).

“And he believed!  Believed in God!  God declared him “Set-Right-with-God”  (The MESSAGE Bible).

“…the Lord counted him as righteous because of his FAITH”  (NLT Bible).

So, there you have four different translations of the same Bible verse, virtually saying the same thing.

There it is again in Scripture…FAITH:

4061219237_426f2578fdAND…the first time the word “BELIEVE” is used in the Bible.

From the beginning there is only one way to get right with God–BELIEVING IN HIM with a wholehearted trust in Him and in His promises (His Word).

When it says it was “COUNTED to Abram as righteousness,” the word “COUNTED” is a banking term.  When Abram deposited his FAITH in the vaults of God by believing in Him with his whole heart (his heart, mind, and soul–his whole being), GOD CREDITED RIGHTEOUSNESS to his account.  God counted him “righteous”.

For me, this transaction took place on August 16th, 1972, for I always remember or record my deposits.  It was when I BELIEVED in Jesus alone for my salvation.  I EXCHANGED MY SIN FOR HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!

A Message for The Church–

God Bless you Church as you believe and trust the One who has POWER and AUTHORITY to keep the promises He makes for us each day by His Word.

To SLEEP or Not to SLEEP? That’s the Question!

FIRST OF ALL, THERE IS “GOOD SLEEP” and there’s “BAD SLEEP”:

2489146362_6daf5bee61Have you ever taken a “RED-EYE” flight to a destination?  I did once, from Seattle, Washington to Chicago, Illinois; then transferred, after a two-hour layover at O’Hare Airport… to Detroit, Michigan.  All for a job interview in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Other than the flight duration, shaving in an airport public restroom, and putting on a wrinkled tie out of my briefcase, matching my wrinkled suit…I might have been more refreshed and alert if I could only SLEEP on airplanes!  But alas, unlike the gentlemen in the picture to the left, that didn’t happen.

Now the Flight Attendants on the RED-EYE did their best to make me comfortable, I still couldn’t seem to nod off.  Maybe because my mind was so wired, worried about the interview, I couldn’t sleep; or maybe it was FEAR!  FEAR that I would get lost in an unfamiliar airport, miss the connecting flight, etc.  Regardless my reasons, by the time I arrived at the perspective employer’s corporate office, I was definitely not rested or at peace at my destination.

“Sleep” is a Funny Thing–

When you need rest, SLEEP often doesn’t come.  You toss and turn…fidget…you’re in misery because you can’t sleep.

Then…when you need to stay awake, sometimes, SLEEP overtakes you and you can’t help but fall asleep.  Someone once said:  “You can buy sleep (it comes in a pill form), but you can’t buy rest.”

The Bible has a lot to say about “sleep”–

It’s probably because everybody does it!  But there’s GOOD sleep, there is BAD sleep.

Matthew 26:45-46 NASB:

[45]  “Then He came to the disciples, and said to them,  “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?  Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.  

[46]  “Arise, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!”

JESUS says 2 things about “sleep”:

26:45 – “Sleep on now.”

26:46 – “Rise, let us be going”…get up out of your sleep!

There’s a time to sleep…AND…there’s a time to wake-up.

The verses in Matthew seem to put “sleep” into two categories:

#1.  “Sleep On.”

SLEEP refreshes us for the events of the next day.  And in the verses in Matthew, Jesus is headed for the cross the next day; He wanted the disciples to stay up and pray with Him.

Every time He went to them, they were asleep and missed out on a wonderful experience of ministry.  Now, JESUS says, “sleep on”…for they will need their rest for the events of the next day.

SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING…there are times when we SHOULD sleep.  

We can see this illustrated in several Bible characters found sleeping.

ADAM – Genesis 2:18-22:

“[21]  And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam…”

God caused Adam to SLEEP, yet Adam didn’t sleep because he was tired; he didn’t FAIL God by going asleep (like the Disciples).  God CAUSED him to sleep.

It was GOOD that Adam slept.  WHY?  Because God was going to do SURGERY on Adam.  I would rather be put to SLEEP whenever anybody is going to do surgery on me.

We can apply this to our SPIRITUAL LIVES too!

Some things in our life, God wants to “put to sleep”, so He can do surgery on us–EXAMPLES…

WORRY –

We need to put our WORRY’S to sleep by given them to the Lord; FORGET those things behind, looking in faith to Christ Jesus:

“[13]  I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.  [14] I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in christ Jesus is calling us upward”  (Philippians 3:13-14 AMP).

GRUDGES –

We need to bury them deep, so they never surface again.

Holding GRUDGES or ILL-FEELINGS against someone can become like CANCER–it eats us up!  It doesn’t do near the damage to others as it does to us.

We need to bury the past…not dig it up, again, and again.

Philippians 3:13-14 (again):

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.    I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”  (KJV).

SINFUL HABITS –

2941673519_fd21e82e02We need to put them to sleep… so God can do surgery on us…they’ve been NIGHTMARES for too long…ruling and ruining our lives.

When God put Adam to sleep, he awoke…there was Eve…a help-mate, a companion, a blessing!

Those things that are hindering our SPIRITUAL GROWTH…we need for God to put them to sleep, and do surgery on us.

When I think of “sleep”, I think of…

JESUS – (Matthew 8:23-27)

It is the only time in Scripture we find Him sleeping.  AND…what a time to sleep!

[24]  And suddenly, behold, there arose a violent storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered up by the waves; but He [Jesus] was sleeping.”

Have you ever known someone like this…to sleep no matter what’s going on around them?  BUT…there was a PURPOSE for His sleeping…to test their faith.

What is the PURPOSE of the storms in our life?

I think it is the opportunity for us to cry out to God, like the Disciples cried out to Jesus:  “…Lord, rescue and preserve us!”…and He was ASLEEP!

Remember Psalm 121:4:

“Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”

But sometimes it seems like God is SLEEPING, doesn’t it?  WHY?  Because of the same reason the Disciples found Jesus SLEEPING…to test their faith.

How did they wake JESUS?  With their prayer:  “Lord, save us!”  These trials and storms that come our way in life can bring us to our knees in prayer.  Sometimes, that’s the only way to get us on our knees…get our attention.

PRAYER will AWAKEN the POWER of God:

“If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, PRAY, SEEK, CRAVE, and require of necessity My face, and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land”  (2 Chronicles 7:14).

So…JESUS says, “Sleep on!”

There are good things about “sleep”.  BUT…there are some things that AREN’T so good.

Spiritually speaking, Jesus also said:  “Arise out of your sleep.”

1 Thessalonians 5:6:

“…let us not sleep, as the rest do, but let us keep wide awake (alert, watchful, cautious, and on our guard) and let us be sober (calm, collected, and circumspect”  (AMP).

#2.  “RISE ( ‘get up’ – AMP), LET US BE GOING” —

I found several people in the Bible who could apply the words of JESUS to  “Get up and let’s get going.”

When I think of “sleep”, I think of:

SAMSON – Judges 16:18-19 – Lulled to sleep by Delilah.

Satan loves to do that to us.  THEN…when he gets us to sleep, he starts with the scissors…taking away our strength and our usefulness (16:20-21).

Satan knew Samson’s weakness…WOMEN!  Satan knows OUR weaknesses too.  Maybe it’s love of money…the lust of the flesh…pride…the love of pleasure…I could go on and on.  You know what YOURS is…I know what MINE is.

Satan will lull you to sleep…THEN…get out the scissors…steal your JOY and USEFULNESS.  JESUS says: “Arise out of thy sleep”.

When I think of “sleep”, I think of…

JONAH – Jonah 1:4-5 – Slept in total indifference of the WILL of God and the CALL of God.

JONAH didn’t care about the lost of his generation like God did.  Jonah said:  “Let them ALL go to HELL…I don’t care.”  THEN…he went to SLEEP.

How many of us have done the same thing?  SATISFIED with our own salvation…we’re going to Heaven, and that’s all that matters.  If others don’t want to go there, that’s their tough luck!

What have we done?  We become like Jonah.  It’s time we woke out of our SLEEP.  JESUS said, “Get up, let us be going.”

TEN VIRGINS – (Matthew 25:1-5 AMP).

 Most of us are familiar with the parable Jesus gives regarding the kingdom of Heaven.  I did a study sometime go on the TEN VIRGINS and POSTED with the title, “Shout!  It’s Midnight And The Bridegroom is Here!” if interested.

[1] THEN THE kingdom of heaven shall be likened to TEN VIRGINS who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.  [2] Five of them were foolish (thoughtless, without forethought) and five were wise (sensible, intelligent, and prudent).  [3] For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take any [extra] oil with them;  [4] But the wise took flasks of oil along with them [also] with their lamps.  [5] While the bridegroom lingered and was slow in coming, they ALL began nodding their heads, and they fell asleep.

The ladies weren’t living in light of the Lord’s soon return and were caught SLEEPING!  So whose attention was Jesus trying to reach in the parable?  I believe a “hint” is given in Matthew 24:51:  “…the pretenders…”

FIVE of them were caught UN-PREPARED…no oil…

FIVE of them were PREPARED…oil in their lamps.

BUT…ALL TEN were caught “sleeping”.

What is the LESSON here for us?

We don’t know WHEN Jesus is coming back so, we better not be caught “sleeping”.

THIS IS A “SLEEPY” GENERATION!

JESUS gives this warning in Mark 13:35-36:

“Therefore watch–give strict attention, be cautious and alert–for you do not know when the Master of the house is coming, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning.    [Watch, I say] lest He come suddenly and unexpectedly and find you asleep”  (Amplified Version).

Don’t be so sound ASLEEP, spiritually speaking, that you aren’t ready for the Lord’s coming.  Don’t be caught with EMPTY lamps; UNPREPARED.

Some THINGS need to be “put to sleep”-

…some sin…

…some habit…

…some worries…

…some grudges…

…some ill-feelings…

Maybe we need some trials in our life to see that JESUS isn’t “sleeping”…BUT…He cares about you…and is always there for you.  Maybe we need to see that Satan is trying to lull you to sleep…to steal your joy…our effectiveness as a Christian.  Remember that the five foolish virgins never ran out of oil, they never had it to begin with.

There are some things in our lives that we need to PUT TO SLEEP and other things that we need to WAKE-UP about.  Let’s agree with one another that the Holy Spirit [represented by the “oil”] be our teacher.

25-pent-10-virgins-with-tex1

 

“Why Go to Church?” (Part 2)

WHY I LOVE THE CHURCH
WHY I LOVE THE CHURCH

TEXT:  Psalm 84:1-4, 10 (see Part 1):

“How Lovely Are Your Dwellings”–

[1]  HOW LOVELY are Your tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!  [2] My soul yearns, yes, even pines and is homesick for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out and sing for joy the living God.  [3] Yes, the sparrow has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young–even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.  [4] Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are those who dwell in Your house and Your presence; they will be singing Your praises all the day long.  SELAH [pause, and calmly think of that]!  [10] For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand [anywhere else]; I would rather be a doorkeeper and stand at the threshold in the house of my God than to dwell [at ease] in the tents of wickedness.”

IT IS A Place Of  A PERMANENT DWELLING–

(v. 3 a) – This verse says that the sparrow has found a house; found a permanent place of residence; set down roots and dwell in.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord), knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose]”  (1 Corinthians 15:58 AMP).

IT IS A Place For The Pilgrim–

(v. 3 b) – While the sparrow is more of a permanent resident, the swallow is a pilgrim.

Pilgrim Swallows
Pilgrim Swallows

In the town of San Juan Capistrano in Southern California, the swallows would return to their home on or around March 19th every year after leaving in the Fall.

I just read that the annual event, that everyone looked forward to every year, just might be in jeopardy.  Because of the bird-mess in the town to clean up, they decided to remove the swallow’s dwelling place and now the wandering birds have apparently decided to go somewhere else since the swallow is a wanderer!

Yet at the TABERNACLE, the pilgrim swallow has found a place of shelter in the midst of his journey.

*Note the word “nest”.  It gives the idea of something temporary; a place for a season!  What a blessing!

The CHURCH is a great gift from the Lord, not needed forever!  One day, the journey we are all on will end and those who believe in JESUS will go to our eternal home–our dwelling place in Heaven.

IT IS A Place For The Young–

(v. 3 a) –  The Bible tells us that the swallow had found a place to raise her little ones.  What a great lesson for us all!  The church is the place to raise our children!

Here they can hear about JESUS and the plan of salvation.

It is in the House of God where they can learn how to worship with respect; of who He really is.

To praise the name of the Lord in song.

In the company of the REDEEMED is a good place for children to be brought up.  In fact, if raised in the right atmosphere at church and with the right example at home, they will usually (eventually)  find their way back to the nest.

“When you go, they  [the words of your parents’ God] shall lead you; when you sleep, they shall keep you; and when you waken, they shall talk with you”  (Proverbs 6:22).

It Is A Place For The Weary–

The word “nest” implies a place of rest.

I think the church is a place of rest.  A place where we can come to lay down our burdens, cares of life ALL (not “some”) at the feet of Jesus; where we find peace to worship the King of kings.

When I was singing in Southern California with a men’s Gospel trio in the 70’s, one of my favorite songs to sing was Learning to Lean, made popular by The Blackwood Brothers.  I had a solo part on the verse, where the words have remained with me to this day.  Went something like this:

Sad broken heart-ed at the altar I knelt,

I found peace that was so serene

And all that He asked for was a child-like trust

and a heart that was learning to lean.

I’m glad the Lord has provided the opportunity for His people a haven of rest!  A PLACE in learning to lean on Him.

Not All The Birds That Fill The Heavens Could Have Dwelt At The TABERNACLE!

The Eagle – He is too ambitious!eagles3

The Vulture – He is too foul!

The Hawk – He is too war-like!

The Barnyard Foul – They are too dependent on man!

The Owl – He is too fond of darkness!

The Mockingbird – He is too filled with himself.

HOWEVER, the sparrow and the swallow are lowly and little–not filled with self, but are aware of their needs.  They simply appropriated by FAITH that which the Lord provided for them at the tabernacle!

So it is with the REDEEMED!  All we did was appropriate by FAITH the provisions of the Lord in our Savior Jesus Christ.  We saw Him as our shelter and we moved right in!

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, that no one should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”  (Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB).

THEREFORE, we have found a place available for perfect peace and rest in the TABERNACLE of the soul: JESUS!

IT IS A Place To inspire–

(v. 10 b) – David tells us he would rather serve at the TABERNACLE as the man who opened the door than waste his time-serving the world and the devil.doorkeeper

THE CHURCH IS A PLACE where we can exercise our gifts in the Lord.  There is a job for every BELIEVER!

He SAVED US to serve Him:

“…that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]”  (Ephesians 2:10 b AMP).

“But someone will say [to you then], You [say you] have FAITH, and I have [good] works. Now you show me your [alleged] Faith apart from any [good] works  [if you can], and I by [good] works [of obedience] will show you MY FAITH”  (James 2:18).

You see, when the Lord SAVED your soul, He gave you certain SPIRITUAL GIFTS (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Romans 12:4-8).  He has given you a special gift (s) that I don’t possess and vice versa.

For the church to be effective in the community as it should be, every participant (member) must determine what their gift (s) are and use them for the glory of the Lord and not for their own glory.  After all, you don’t want to be a Mockingbird (“filled with self”) do you?

THIS IS A Place where you can serve and be effective in your doing…if you DESIRE!

There aren’t many who are looking for a place of service in the House of God.  Most in our day are looking for a FREE RIDE–want to be a part of the church but don’t want to have a part in the church.

I’ve given you just some of the things that make the House of God a special place.  I wonder while reading this particular POST, has the Lord spoken to your heart about your relationship to the church?  If the church doesn’t hold the elevated place in your heart that it deserves, then you’ve just lost the DESIRE to be a part of the Assembly.

Come before the Lord, tell Him your heart’s desire and your relationship to His church and be honest!  God knows you better than you think.  He just waiting for your response to His calling.