Receiving A New Heart and New Spirit to Reach Our Potential

Ezekiel 36:26-27 in the Amplified Bible:

[26] A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  [27] And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall heed My ordinances and do them.”

Ezekiel 36:26: A Heart of Stone Transferred to a Heart of Flesh
Ezekiel 36:26: A Heart of Stone Transferred to a Heart of Flesh

For the past month, I have been leading a small group at our home, calling the study Being Gifted for a Purpose.  I am using The 9 SPIRITUAL GIFTS listed in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 as an introduction to the study.

In using my Bible Concordance, listing specific verses concerning Spiritual Gifts, I found some interesting facts in the Old Testament which refer to Spiritual Gifting.  So much so, I decided to write down my thoughts in a Blog-post.

I also learned from God’s Word, I should have presented a portion of the facts found in the Old Testament before launching into the Spiritual Gifts Study mentioned in I Corinthians 12, and Romans 12.  Lesson learned.

Renewal Is Promised–

According to Ezekiel 36:26,27, the hardened heart of man is replaced with a soft heart [“a heart of flesh”], where RENEWAL is promised at this occurrence.  Now compare this with the New Testament verse of being “born again” (John 3:3)–meaning to be RESTORED to what we were created to be according to God’s plan.

What is God’s Plan After Receiving “A New Heart”?

Your specific calling is related to the Spirit’s work in several areas:

1.  CREATION.

2.  REGENERATION.

3.  EMPOWERING BELIEVERS FOR THE WORK IN THE CHURCH & THE WORLD.

The GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT Found in the Old Testament and the New Testament:

Three Basic Areas in The Old Testament:

1.  COSMIC – referring to the Spirit’s role in the CREATION.

2.  INDIVIDUAL – referring to the Spirit’s role in REGENERATION and the SANCTIFICATION (setting apart) of individuals.

3.  THEOCRATIC – referring to the Spirit’s role in EMPOWERING the children of Israel.

A.  HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK IN THE CREATION PROCESS:

In my detective work in Scripture this week, I found a number of biblical passages pertaining to the COSMIC area.

“By His breath the heavens are cleared…”  ~  Job 26:13.

“The Spirit of God has made me,  And the breath of the Almighty gives me life” ~ Job 33:4.

“When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth” ~ Psalms 104:30.

We can look at the GIFTS we’ve expressed throughout our lives; indicating where we are to SERVE in the church and in the world.  BUT, how does this whole process even begin?

B.  Individual: the Spirit’s work in us–

JESUS talks about this process, when He discusses the topic about being “BORN AGAIN” or “BORN FROM ABOVE”:

3 times in a conversation with Nicodemus in The Gospel of John 3:1-10:  “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”  (verse 3).

In Verse 10, JESUS asks Nicodemus,  “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet do not know or understand these things?”  

JESUS is making a clear point, that based on Nicodemus’ knowledge of the Old Testament, he should have a grasp about the Spirit’s RENEWAL or REBIRTH of individuals.  Ezekiel 36:26 speaks of this language.

Note the new heart and new spirit that is promised–the HARDENED heart is REPLACED with a soft heart.  RENEWAL is promised to take place.

Being “born again” means the beginning process–being RESTORED to what we were created to be according to God’s plan.  Again, this PROCESS includes our gifts.

C.  Theocratic: where the Spirit is, There is POWER–

In some ancient languages, the words for “spirit”, “breath”, and “wind” are identical.

The Old Testament uses two Hebrew words “breath” and “wind”–  

1.  Ruach, refers to heavy breathing, or breathing through the nose with violence.  Exodus 15:8 uses ruach to refer to a “blast” of the nostrils:

“With the blast of Your nostrils the waters piled up, the floods stood fixed in a heap, the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea”  (Amplified Bible).

2.  Neshamah, refers to quiet breathing.

“when the breath (or Spirit) of the Lord” is used, Ruach Yahweh could mean Spirit of the Lord or Wind of the Lord.  In both cases, the idea is POWER.

Holy Spirit gives GIFTS and He can and will…EMPOWER those GIFTS in our lives.

In The Book of Acts, we see an instance where the empowerment is given and the results:

“AND WHEN the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place.  When suddenly there came a sound from heaven like a rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting.  And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them.  And they were ALL FILLED (DIFFUSED THROUGHOUT THEIR SOULS) with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other (different, foreign) languages (tongues), as the Spirit kept giving them clear and loud expression [in each tongue in appropriate words]”  (Acts 2:1-4 AMP).

OUR “GIFTS” ARE FROM THE SPIRIT:

Being EMPOWERED by the Spirit of God is to accomplish the PURPOSE for which they are given.

Empowerment of the Spirit On Display From the Old Testament–

Do the GIFTS of the Holy Spirit really matter in our everyday work, our ministry, our witness?

In the Old Testament, there are a number of gifts the Holy Spirit gives Israel which I found applicable to our life and work today.

Strength and Leadership–

The Holy Spirit EMPOWERED various people in different ways which establish and protected the kingdom of Israel.

GIDEON in Judges 6:34:

“Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon GIDEON…”

The words “came upon” literally mean “clothed”; the Spirit put on GIDEON as a cloak.

JEPHTHAH in Judges 11:29-33:

In a similar way, “the Spirit of the Lord came upon [or “fell on”] Jephthah,” when he was able to win the battle that was rapidly approaching.

SAMPSON:

When the Spirit of the Lord fell on Sampson, he became supernaturally strong.  Now he was strong to begin with, but Holy Spirit used this God-given ability to make him stronger.

“And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion as he would have torn a kid…”  (Judges 14:6).

Clothed With Power From On High.

“And behold, I will send forth upon you what My Father has PROMISED; but remain in the city [Jerusalem] until you are CLOTHED WITH THE POWER FROM ON HIGH”  (Luke 24:49 AMP).  [I capitalized words for emphasis]

QUESTION:  Why did Jesus choose the word “clothed” ?

He lifted it from the pages of what we call as the Old Testament.

Thinking it all through, it’s plain to see. The Spirit is a spirit; He does not have a body.  Holy Spirit needs a human body to accomplish the works, the gifts listed in Scripture [both in the Old Testament and the New Testament] God wants done on Earth–To SPEAK THE WORDS God wants spoken.

God’s Spirit clothed Himself with Gideon, Jephthah, Samson and the RESULT?:

Gideon’s mind, voice, and hands became tools the Spirit used to accomplish God’s purposes.

REACHING OUR POTENTIAL:

What is POTENTIAL?  The Online Dictionary defines it as,  “latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.”

How does the Lord define POTENTIAL?  The Lord takes people who are already GIFTED by His Spirit, causing their gifts which are already present, to reach their full potential.

An Old Testament Example — Bezalel, A Gifted Artist and More! :

“And I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, understanding

in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship

to make artistic design for work in gold, in silver, in bronze, and in cutting

of stones, and in carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.”

Exodus 31:1-5

All of your GIFTS are affected by the Fall (SIN).  Holy Spirit can take our GIFTS and cause them to be renewed and energized:

1.  Be directed to His glory.

2.  Unfold and reach their potential.

The Work of Holy Spirit Gives Direction in Our Work and the World–whether in Creation or Regeneration.

The Spirit constantly EMPOWERS us to carry out the CALLINGS God places in our lives.  The examples that I gave in the Old Testament should bear witness for our work in  the Church and the World today.

1.  The Spirit gives us POWER!

Where we have GIFTS of the Holy Spirit given to each one of us as Christians, we have power.  Now we can fail to take ownership; bury them in the ground, fail to fully utilize them from either false-humility or lack of discernment of God’s potential in our lives.  In either case, using these GIFTS is our responsibility, yet in our failure to do so doesn’t deny their potential POWER in this temporary residence we call “the world.”

2.  We shouldn’t separate “natural” and “spiritual” gifts.

It’s wrong to depreciate or separate our natural (created) gifts and our “spiritual” gifts.  Both gifts are from the Holy Spirit.

Although God can give each one of us new capacities at anytime He so chooses, in most cases, He empowers or develops the POTENTIAL from our created gifts; for the use in the Church or the World.

3.  The Spirit helps us reach our true potential.

Both the Old Testament and New Testament, people need the Holy Spirit to overcome spiritual blindness and grab hold of spiritual realities.  People in both testaments needed to be born again, their hearts made anew.  This transformation kindled by the Holy Spirit enables us to develop and reach our potential.

4.  The Spirit can increase our gifts for specific tasks.

God gave people the artistic skill and even more skill through the Holy Spirit, so they could fulfill His plans; building the Tabernacle and fashioning its utensils.

GOD’S PROMISE:

Likewise, God can unfold, redirect, or develop our potential with the Spiritual Gifts He has given each one of us.  That’s His PROMISE to those who have received a New Heart and New Spirit.

This applies to people with a variety of skill sets, not just those with artistic gifts.  And by-the-way, it’s okay to pray that the Lord will unfold the partially developed GIFTS.

Holy Spirit Empowerment
Holy Spirit Empowerment

My Personal Story–

Several years back, I was asked by a pastor if I could come up with an idea for an Easter Play.  One that would include some of the people in church as cast members.

Over the years, I had acquired some acting experience; even came up with an idea for a church choir performing an Easter Musical .  But to write, cast, set-design, and produce an original Christian play…NO EXPERIENCE AT ALL!  NONE!!

With the days passing, with fervent prayer in my spirit asking God for direction, I still found myself at a dead-end.  And then one night, while sound asleep, I felt a touch on my right shoulder.  I turned to see if my wife was still asleep and not standing beside the bed trying to get my attention for some reason. But she was sound asleep.  As I rolled over on my side, I felt another touch, but this time it was more forceful.  Still unaware, I looked at the alarm clock on the bed stand noticing it was 3:30 AM.   The room was dark and still and at that moment, I heard a soft voice:  “Mel, get up! Grab your notepad, a pencil and your Bible and go out to the kitchen table.  I’ll tell you what to write and do.”  I’ve learned from previous experiences, when God’s Spirit speaks, you better listen and do!

Following the Instructions and Directions–

Starting at 4 AM and finishing at 6:30 AM (seemed like 10 minutes and not hours), the play was done: the staged set sketched out on paper, lighting diagram positioned,  and the title:  MERCY On Trial.  My only problem…I had no clue how to write a Script for actors to follow including stage directions.   But I did have HOPE in reaching what God had planned.  I love one definition of HOPE:  “A heartfelt expectation of something with an out-stretched neck.” By, was I ever stretching my neck out, HOPING God’s Spirit would develop my potential.

And then I remembered.  My daughter-in-law graduated from college with a minor degree in Performing Arts.  She could help.  Thank You Jesus!

Later that morning, I called her at work and presented my hopes and the time frame I was up against to have a finished product.  “Can you help out Loretta?”  

Loretta:  How much time will I have?

Dad:  Two weeks?  (holding my breath).

Loretta:  Dad, if you will call me late Saturday morning and present me with your ideas, I’ll see what I can do.  I’m going down to Phoenix on business next week and I’ll take my laptop computer.

Two weeks later, I had a finished Script and had her FAX the 3 Act Play to the church.  On a Monday night, the play was cast and rehearsals began.  God gifted my daughter-in-law’s talented abilities along with my natural desire, to present a Spirit-led prophetic, Resurrection Day drama.  Thank You Father for developing my potential and empowering the both of us for Your glory.

What is your POTENTIAL?  With a new heart and a new spirit, God promises to reveal His plans to you.  It’s up to you to have a willing heart that will be transformed!  He promises!

“We’re All Children Of God” IS A LIE!

John 8:38:

“I tell the things which I have seen and learned at My Father’s side, and your actions also reflect what you have heard and learned from your father.”

The Thinking of Almost Everyone Today–Thinks They Are a Child of God.

It doesn’t seem to matter if you are a Hindu, Buddhist, animist, new age or Christian or none of the above.  Almost everyone seems to hold the belief we are all children of God.

Bit is it TRUE?  Have you ever wondered who the REAL CHILDREN of God are?  Does God possibly have anything to say about it?

THE WORDS OF CHRIST JESUS AND THEIR MEANING:

The words spoken in John 8:38 were the words spoken of JESUS to those who surrounded Him with piercing and angry eyes and cruel tongues.

Our Lord and Savior declared that He had been with His Father before He spoke with the religious Jews around about Him.  And, He had been, for He was with the Father before the worlds were formed.  He saw all that the Father did and He helped in doing it–“without Him was not anything made that was made.”  He was the Father’s eternal delight!

Implication Of The Relationship of father and son among men.

JESUS says that one exists before the other but it’s not implied of the relationship between Father and Son.  It is a great mystery in explanation, in the terms FATHER and SON.  The nearest similarity that can be given in our poor understanding of the relationship existing between them.  And yet is the Father eternal and the Son eternal–the Son coequal and co-eternal with the Father.

Though JESUS is…unto us the Child born and the Son given, YET He is equally “the Everlasting Father,” who was and is and ever shall be One with the eternal God!

THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF “UNIVERSAL FATHERHOOD”:

The 2 or 3 things that stand out in the John 8:38 passage that point out “Universal Fatherhood” is A LIE:

“I tell the things which I have seen and learned at My Father’s side…”

Then there are two fathers; there are two sets of children–there is a Father who Jesus calls, “My Father”–and there is another father who He calls in speaking to the Jews who hated Him– “your father.”

The prayers beginning, “Our Father, Who is in heaven,” never meant to be used by every body.  In the mouths of the ungodly, it’s out-of-place.  God is not their Father.  “You must be born again” before coming the children of God.

The Scripture statement is clear: 

[12]  “But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name–“

[13]  “Who owe their birth neither to bloods nor to the will of the flesh [that physical impulse] nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God.  [They are born of God]”  (John 1:12, 13 AMP).

RECEIVING CHRIST–

An evangelist was trying to help a woman understand John 1:12; what it means to receive Christ:

“Your last name is Wilson, isn’t it?”  he asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“How long has it been that?”

“Ever since my husband and I were married 30 years ago.”

“Tell me,” he said, “how did you become Mrs. Wilson?”

She paused.  “It was at the wedding.  The minister asked me, ‘Will you have this man to be your lawful, wedded husband?’  and I said, “I will‘.  With those words I became his wife.”

“Didn’t you say, ‘I hope so,’ or I’ll try to take him as my husband?”  asked the evangelist.

“No,” replied the woman.  “I said, ‘I will and I did.’  That’s all there was to it.”

The evangelist explained that God wanted her to receive Christ Jesus as her Savior in the same way.  She saw the point made and stated, “HOW SIMPLE!”  Wondering why she hadn’t said “I will” long before.

All of us are ALL Children of God”–

I’ve heard this statement from a minister in religious garb,  in a TV political ad supporting Gay Marriage on the Washington State ballot this November.  I have heard the same view many times before:  “well…ya know…I mean……after all…no matter who we are and where we come from…when its all said and done…we are ALL God’s children.” 

I’m not sure where these statements originate from…but it has no Biblical basis in fact.

The Gospel of John–

One of my favorite verses in the ‘Renewed Covenant’ is found in the 1st Chapter:

“There it was–the true Light [was then] coming into the world [the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light] that illuminates every person”  (John 1:9 AMP).

THE “TRUE CHILDREN OF GOD” HAVE, THE NATURE OF THEIR FATHER:

We re not full-grown yet, some of us are tiny babies.  It’s not always easy to detect the Father’s likeness in His infants.  That likeness comes out as the child grows up and as the man appears.

The similarities between father and son can be striking at times and it could be hardly traced when the boy was little.  It is the same scenario with us in our relationship with our heavenly Father.

The Spirit of God, in Regeneration.

Man/Women has only body and soul when entering this world; until this miracle is worked, but then when born-gain–they become body, soul and spirit–rising into a higher sphere, entering into another world which he could not enter before.

I like this passage of Scripture in 1 Corinthians:

“But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated”  (1 Corinthians 2:14 AMP).

“The first man Adam, was made a living soul” and we are made in his likeness.  “The last Adam was made a quickening Spirit” and when we are born again, we receive His likeness; we participate in the quickening and rise into the Nature and Image of God.

True Children Imitate Their Father–

“THEREFORE BE imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]”  (Ephesians 5:1 AMP).

It curious to see how children will imitate their parents.  I remember when our daughters were little girls and they would go into their moms closet, pull out her high-heeled shoes and model them in front of us.  They seemed to feel so grown-up and be like mom.

I remember having 4- cords of wood stacked in front of our house and then spend hours, days stacking the cut wood along side the property line.  And then to my surprise, my son Kevin came up to me with an arm full of cut fir and asked, Dad…where do you want this wood stacked.  In his own young way, he was helping and imitating his dad in chores.

It’s a habit of children to imitate–they can’t help it.  So, if we are the children of God, if we dwell with God, the instinct of imitation manifest itself.  We try doing those deeds of kindness and love, acts of righteousness which God is doing!

And it will be said of us:  “You do that which you have seen with your father.”

THE DEVIL’S FAMILY SHARES IN THE DEVIL’S NATURE:

The “gloomy” side of the story.

The devil’s family members are sure to speak that which they have seen and heard their father, too.  For instance, there are some people who speak in opposition to most Christian beliefs.  They cannot stand them–never a good word spoken and denounce their motives.

Now, I don’t wonder or speculate why the say and do the things they do and say because their father did the same long time ago.  I loved the line in the 1994 movie, Forrest Gump:  Stupid is as stupid does.  If ones father practiced stupidity, then it only comes to reason their children would copy their stupidity.  One of Satan’s names is “the accuser of the brethren.”

Did the devil ever have a good word for our Father?  NO!  Then he will never have a good word for His children.  Charles Spurgeon once said, “The highest compliment the devil can pay to virtue, is to hate it.”

The Devil’s Children Frequently Speak In Untruths.

UNTRUTH in speaking becomes…“white lies” and becomes tolerable in society.  Do you know who was a liar from the beginning?–the father of lies–and they who cannot or will not speak the Truth of God.  Children of that ancient liar–they will have to go home to their father one day.  They are not the children of God, for God’s children should hate a lie!  When their word is once given, they will stand to it, even if it hurts.

When you are not TRUE, you’ve not been with the great Father of Truth; you must have learned the “half-truths” from the great father of lies.

A “NATURE TO BE CHANGED” IS NEEDED IN TODAY’S WORLD:

It is of little use for you to try to change your outward character or someone else:

–language,

–attitudes,

–rebellion.

–self-will and so forth.

What you need is for your NATURE or theirs, to be changed.  “When the fountain is made sweet, the streams will be sweet” ~ Charles Spurgeon.  In other words, Mr. Spurgeon is saying that what comes out of it will still be impure.

You must be born again!

Believe in Christ and you are born again!

“[1]  NOW THERE was a certain man among the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler ( a leader, an authority) among the Jews,  [2] Who came to Jesus at night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know and are certain that You have come from God [as] a Teacher; for no one can do these signs (these wonderworks, these miracles–and produce the proofs) that You do unless God is with him.  [3]  Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God”  (John 3:1-3 AMP).

JESUS continues the conversation with Nicodemus and we pick up His emphasis in verse 6:

“What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

The ACT OF FAITH indicates that the new birth has taken place; from spiritual death to spiritual life; a new creature in Christ Jesus.  The moment that God gives you the Grace to TRUST yourself with Christ, He also has renewed you nature!

When you believe and trust in the Lord Jesus, you become a new person in Christ; a child of God.  That is THE TRUTH!  Anything else is a LIE!!

If you are then a child of the King, go out and tell all what you have seen and heard while in the presence with your Father.  I’m proud to be a Child of God–how about you?

“I ‘m A Child of the King”

by Bill and Gloria Gaither

CHORUS:

Oh, yes, oh yes, I’m a child of the King

His royal blood now flows in my veins.

And I who was wretched and poor now can sing

Praise God, praise God, I’m a child of the King.