A Person of Ministry (Part II)

(All Scriptures are from The Amplified Bible, except when otherwise noted.)

Mrs Holt and me

(My dear home tutor, Mrs. Holt and me, in the ’60s)

When I was a little girl, I was terrified of speaking to strangers, especially my peers. I was so afraid of being laughed at. For me, “imitation was [NOT] the best form of flattery.” When kids laughed at me and imitated my cerebral-palsied speech I wanted to crawl under a rock and cry. And I did cry and cry and cry when I was alone. During grade school, the town education department provided a home tutor for me. During second-grade, I went to a regular classroom for an hour a week and was given speech therapy, in the town over, for an hour a week. During that time, I was introduced to how cruel children can be, even as young as second-graders. In addition to kids laughing at how I talked, the speech therapist made a recording of my voice and played it back to me. I was devastated. I was not ready for what turned out to be an extremely traumatic experience. I did not have any idea what I sounded like. From that time on, I would not speak to anyone but my family and a few kids in the neighborhood. I told my mom that I was too tired to go to school. My mom thought I was just not ready for regular school, so she let me stop going and had my home tutoring continue. I tried going to school again at fifth grade and this time a young new teacher talked to the class about me and I had a better experience.

High School Graduation

(Mom and Dad and me at my high school graduation)

By junior high, I was attending regular public school, without home tutoring. But, I still would not talk to anyone. Instead, I wrote notes to the teachers and students, up until high school. (I think that’s when my writing skills began to develop.) Then, during my junior year of high school, the Holy Spirit got a hold of me and I became a Christian, a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. The Lord used my only friend in high school to take me to a Christian youth group. It was there that the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see, opened ears to hear and opened my heart to understand who Jesus is and that He was the One for me! Jesus took my fear away, including my fear of speaking to strangers. And I have not stopped talking since!

PERFECT LOVENO TIMIDITY

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, Today, if you hear His Voice, Do not harden your hearts…” (Hebrews 3:7-8a).

“By this [Christian love] we come to know (perceive, recognize and understand) that we abide (live and remain) in Him [Christ] and He in us: because He has given (imparted) to us of His (Holy) Spirit…There is no fear in [God‘s] love – dread does not exist; but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror!” (I John 4:13, 18a)

HS on men and womenPeter at Pentecost

In “A Person of Ministry (Part I)”, we read how Peter (the same Peter with “foot-in-mouth disease” who denied knowing Jesus, three time, for fear of his life) boldly spoke to the crowd about what was taking place on that special Pentecost and explained what they were all seeing and what it meant. Later on, in Acts chapter 2, Peter continues to speak with boldness about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and explains how the prophets of old pointed to Jesus as Messiah. Peter urged the crowd to “Repent – change your views, and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it – and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise (of the Holy Spirit) is to and for you and your children, and to and for all that are far away, [even] to as many as the Lord our God invites and bids come to Himself” (vv.38-39; also see Isaiah 57:19 and Joel 2:32) God used Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, to convince many to give their lives to Christ. The disciples were “Constantly praising God and being in favor and goodwill with all the people, and the Lord kept adding [to their number] daily those who were being saved (from spiritual death)” (v. 47).

casting crowns 1Helper Holy Spirit

Have you received the Gift of New Life from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit? He wants to give you His Free Gift of Eternal Life. God’s love wants to take away your fears and love you with an everlasting love. He wants you “to accept the will of God in your inner self” and trust in “Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins” and He wants you to “receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit” Who will be with you always to comfort you and to help you on your life’s journey. Sometimes, it is difficult to receive the Free Gift of Salvation and to admit we need counseling and HELP of the Spirit of Truth. Some think they are unworthy to receive anything from God… But all of us are unworthy. Some think they do not need any help and are basically good people. The Truth is: “…all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives” (Romans 3:20).and “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the Truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:8-9 [N.I.V.]). God wants to give us His Free Gift of New Life in His Son to be lived out by the Power of the Holy Spirit. There are no strings attached. God only wants to love us and desires for us to love Him back.

a spirit of truthGod is LOVE

But wait! There’s more. The Gift of the Holy Spirit is the Gift that keeps on giving. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are many and they come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Tune in next time for “A Person of Ministry (Part III) to find out more.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit

The Lyd

Lydia

P.S. If you are a teacher, please know that you play a very important role in each of your students’ lives, just as Mrs. Holt and Miss Stack made a huge difference in mine. I thank the Lord for them and for others who saw my potential and helped me grow.

 

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A Person of Ministry

christmas gifts

(All Scriptures are from The Amplified Bible, except when otherwise noted.)

Who doesn’t like to receive gifts? Some actually may not like to receive gifts because they don’t know what to say or do when they are given a gift. Some feel awkward because they do not have a gift to reciprocate this gesture of friendship and caring. Sadly, some even feel unworthy and cannot possibly accept a gift. Sadder still, some think they are better off than the giver and the gift is far too beneath their standards. As for me, I love to receive gifts. On the first of December, I give copies of my “Christmas Wish List”, printed in red and green ink, to my family members. The gifts range from costing a few dollars to about $20.00 or a little more, so there’s something affordable for everyone to buy me gifts (When in doubt, a fine French red or white Burgundy or a California or Washington Brut Sparkling wine will do).

birthday giftsIMG_1887SHARP HILL ENTRANCE

When I hit the BIG 40, I started celebrating my “Birth-Month” and did something special everyday, during the month of August, from treating myself to a medium Dunkin Donuts iced coffee with cream and a Turbo Shot, to taking a road trip to the Bridge of Flowers, in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, with “the Four Sisters”, to dining at a rustically elegant restaurant at a Connecticut Vineyard, with my “Winers and Diners Bible Study Group”. Because I celebrate for the whole month, it gives my family and friends plenty of time to send me birthday cards and buy birthday gifts. It takes the pressure off trying to remember the exact date of my actual birthday. When I am asked, “When is your birthday?” I say, “August.” When I am asked, “August what?” I reply, “August.” Although, lately, my birthday celebrations are starting in July and spilling over into September and sometimes October (if the RED SOX are still playing). As I get older, I need more time to celebrate and do all the things on my “pre-bucket” list.

casting crowns 1Helper Holy Spirit

The best gift I have ever received was the Free Gift of Salvation from God’s Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ and His Gift of the Holy Spirit. It was a “package deal”. At the age of eighteen, I realized that I needed God’s help in living life with a disability (cerebral palsy) and life was not getting easier. It is very easy to fall into the “trap” of self-pity and self-centeredness and self-doubt. If we are truthful with ourselves, every one of us struggles with sin and doubt. Sin is “missing the mark” of where God wants us to be. I often fall short in practicing the “Golden Rule”: “So then whatever you desire others would do to and for you, even so do you also to and for them [others]…” (Matthew 7:12 ; Also see Luke 6:31). Instead of practicing the “Golden Rule”, I want to use the “Get-Even Rule” Every one of us finds the “Get-Even Rule” easier to follow: “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, and lash for lash” (Exodus 21:24-25). Because of our human tendency to “lash” out none of us are where God wants us to be. God wants us to enjoy a close relationship with Him. But, we want what we want. We are selfish by nature. Even the good things we do may be done for selfish motives. Yet, God loves every one of us and wants to shower us with every good gift. God gave us His Only Begotten Son to die in our place and to free us from the power of sin (our natural tendencies) and (spiritual) death. God also gave us His Holy Sprit. The Greek word Parakletos is used in the Bible to describe the Holy Spirit as “Counselor” (RSV, NIV), “Comforter” (KJV, ASV) or “HELPER” (NASB, NKJV).

glasses on Biblelamp unto my feetJesus Hug

“And He – that same Jesus Himself – is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours alone but also [the sins of] the whole world” (I John 2:2).

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only-begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish – come to destruction, be lost – but have eternal (everlasting) life” (John 2:16).

“He Who did not withhold or spare [even] His Own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?” (Romans 8:32).

“Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse]” (James 1:17).

“See what [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are!” (I John 3:1a).

Father, Son and Holy Spirit 2

We have learned from the “A Person of Mystery” series, that after Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, He promised to send His disciples (including us), “A Person of Ministry ” – the Gift of His Holy Spirit.

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, HELPER, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby) that He may remain with you forever, The Spirit of Truth…The Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall – will remind you of, bring to your remembrance – everything I told you…I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say, it is profitable – good, expedient, advantageous – for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (…HELPER…) will not come to you – into close fellowship with you. But if I go away, I will send Him to you – to be in close fellowship with you” ((John 14:16-17a, 26b; 16:7).

c. praying prostrateb. kneeing in prayer

In the Book of Acts, chapter 2, on the Day of Pentecost, we read about the birth of the Christian Church and how the disciples were filled with the Gift of the Holy Spirit and were able to speak in different languages to the crowd that had gathered. And Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke of the prophecy in Joel that was being fulfilled right before their eyes: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy – telling forth the divine counsels – your young men shall see visions (that is, divinely granted appearances), and your old men shall dream [divinely suggested] dreams. Yes, and on My menservants also and on My maidservants in those days I will pour out My Spirit, and they shall prophesy – telling forth the divine counsels and predicting future events pertaining especially to God’s kingdom (vv. 17-18; also see Joel 2:28-32).

comforter hsHelper Holy Spirit

At the first Pentecost, we see that the Holy Spirit is not “gender biased” “For God [The Holy Trinity] shows no partiality” (Roman 2:11). After Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross, “There is [now no distinction], neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). To truly understand what this means, we need to understand what the word “HELPER” means in the Bible and not rely on the definition found in our modern culture. In today’s culture, “HELPER” means someone who is in a subservient role. In the Bible, the word “HELPER” means “HELPER/MEET”. In Genesis 2: 18 “…God said, It is not good [sufficient, satisfactory] that the man should be alone; I will make him a HELPER MEET (suitable, adapted, completing) for him.” In the Hebrew, the word for the HELPER/HELPMEET” is “ezer”, which is used in the Old Testament as “one who comes to the aid, to rescue, or deliver those in NEED of HELP (See I Samuel 7:12, II Kings 14:26, Job 29:12, Psalms 121:1-2). In the Book of Psalms, whenever the word “HELPER” is used, it refers to God Himself.

holy spirit over water

In the beginning, God created woman from man as a “suitable” (kenegdo), which denotes “equal” and “adequate” partner, and the two were created by God to demonstrate the unity and the equality of all human beings (See Genesis 2:18-20). As God the Holy Spirit is equally God as God the Father and God the Son, Adam and Eve were to share in that same kind of unity and equality as the Holy Trinity and enjoy close fellowship with the Triune God. Both man and woman were created in God’s image and were created to have a close relationship with God. They also shared the responsibilities of raising children and caring for God’s creation (See Genesis 1:26-28). It was only after the Fall, when sin entered the hearts of Adam and Eve, that caused the relationship between man and woman to be distorted with each other and with God (See Genesis 3:16). BUT GOD had a plan to redeem the human race from sin [wanting to be God and to lord over others]. That Plan was to give us Jesus, “His Gift, [precious] beyond telling – His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift!” (II Corinthians 9:15), to die for the our sins and for the sins of the world. God’s “INDESCRIBABLE” Gift includes the Gift of His [indwelling] Holy Spirit (See I Corinthians 6:19) – the HELPER – Who aids us in our walk with God, rescues us when we walk away from God and delivers us from the lies of the world by revealing God’s Truth to us. What a Gift! How can anyone refuse this AWESOME Gift of God?

a spirit of truth

What a wonderful message Peter shared on the first Pentecost! But Peter was not done. What else did Peter say on that first Pentecost when God’s Spirit was poured out on His first disciples? Tune in next time to find out.

a nap with Tannin

I know I wrote “Be back at July-Thirty”, but the RED SOX were on the West Coast and the World Cup makes me crazy. How can a 90+-minute sporting event end in a 0-0 tie? I don’t get it!

(For more information Google: “Biblical Ishshah (Woman): The True Role of Helper/Help Meet” and “Men, Women and Biblical Equality [CBE International].)

This is my prayer for all of us:

“For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from Whom His family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through FAITH. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in LOVE, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the LOVE of Christ, and to know this LOVE that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him Who is able to do more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:14-21 [NIV]).

The LydJesua, heart, sand

Lydia

A Person of Mystery (3-Page Special Season Final Finale)

Christ trustingChrist's peace

“Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus, Just from sin and self to cease,
Just from Jesus simply taking life and rest and joy and peace.”
(From “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” by Louisa M. R Stead; 3rd Stanza)

[Please read the whole post or, at least, more than the first paragraph.]

Jesus in templegospels

Sadly, some people never respond to the Holy Spirit’s call to “trust in Jesus.” Just as the scribes in Jesus’ day, they “BLASPHEME the Holy Spirit” by denying His truth about Jesus being the Messiah, the Savior of the world (See Mark 3:21-30). Just as the scribes did, they think Jesus was “possessed” and His teachings were from Satan or they just continue to believe that the story about Jesus is just plain ridiculous and they never change their minds about Him. This is called “the BLASPHEMY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT”. In the Gospel of Mark Jesus gives a solemn warning: “Truly and solemnly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever abusive and blasphemous things they utter; But whoever speaks abusively against or maliciously misrepresents the Holy Spirit can never get forgiveness, but is guilty of and in the grasps of an everlasting trespass. For they persisted in saying, He [Jesus] has an unclean spirit” (Mark 3:28-30 [The Amplified Bible]). People who hate Jesus Christ and all they think He stands for will be separated from God forever. Sadly, instead of searching the Scriptures and asking the Holy Spirit to guide them to the truth, they base their feelings about Jesus on the actions of people who call themselves Christians, but are nowhere near being Christ-like.

c. praying prostrateb. kneeing in prayer

Because of this, believers in Jesus Christ need to be all the more diligent to pray for those who do not yet know and love the Triune God., We need our lives to “be filled with” (Ephesians 5:18b) and “controlled by the Spirit of life and peace” (Romans 8:6), in order to live out the love of Christ to a world which so desperately needs His Love. As Christians, we need to “live by the (Holy) Spirit” and “keep in step with the (Holy) Spirit” (Galatians 5:25a) because the world is watching us. When the world is watching, do they see our lives filled with “the fruit of the Spirit [which is] love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:26).

Christ's joyChrist's hope

Do we, as Christ’s representatives, love others as Christ loves us? Do we light up a room with the “”joy of the Lord [in Whom we get] our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10)? Do we “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievance [we] may have against one another…[just as] the Lord forgave [us]” (Colossians 3:13)? Do we “[rejoice] with the truth” (I Corinthians 13:6b) and “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who morn [and] Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:15-16)? Are we “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer [and] Share with God’s people in need [and] Practice hospitality [and] Bless those who persecute [us]’ bless and do not curse” (Romans 12:12-14a)? Or are we known by our political ideology and by our hatred towards certain people? These are hard questions, but these are the questions Christians need to ask themselves and come to grips with, seek forgiveness and repent. It is only by God’s grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can ever hope to change to be more like Christ and to be known by His love.

believe god's love 2banana split love

When Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment, He replies: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’…And the second is like it; ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37,39). In the Gospel of Luke, immediately following the discussion of the “Greatest Commandment”, Jesus teaches about the “Good Samaritan” (10:25-37). Jesus uses a person belonging to a highly despised people group to the Hebrews, a Samaritan, as the “hero” of His parable. He also uses a needy stranger whom the Samaritan helps as a good “neighbor” would. Jesus continues to increase the kinds of people Christians are to love in Matthew 5:43-48: “You have heard that if was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Jesua, heart, sandCrossJesus Hug
What does it mean, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”? I believe it means that we ought to love others as Christ loves us. Jesus raises the bar even higher when He says, in John 13:34-35: “A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

The apostle Paul writes to the church in Galatia: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9-10).

imagesCAGPKDSLimages

Sadly, some Christians who are ministered to by the Holy Spirit, with all the riches God wants to bestow on them, choose to GRIEVE the Holy Spirit by their actions. The Apostle Paul warns against this: “And do not GRIEVE the Holy Spirit of God, with Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 4:30-5:3).

give thanksgatitude3

Sadly, some Christians who are ministered to by the Holy Spirit, with all the riches God wants to bless them with, choose to QUENCH the Holy Spirit’s fire. Paul also warns against this: “See that none of you repays another with evil for evil, but always aim to show kindness and seek to do good to one another and to everybody. Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually – always – Be unceasing in prayer – praying perseveringly; Thank [God] in everything – no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks; for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. Do not QUENCH (suppress or subdue) the (Holy) Spirit. Do not spurn the gifts and utterances of the prophets – do not depreciate prophetic revelations nor despise inspired instruction or exhortation or warning. But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast. Abstain from evil – shrink from it and keep aloof from it – in whatever form or whatever kind it may be…Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [that is, fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you]” (I Thessalonians 5:15-23, 24 [The Amplified Bible]).

God is LOVE

How do we know when something is not of the Holy Spirit? When something is said or done without God’s perfect love (the love Jesus has for His Father, His followers, the “stranger“ and His enemies [See Luke 23:34]) , it is not of the Spirit of God. No matter how good it may seem (even in the practice of Spiritual Gifts), if it is done out of self-pride, hatred, greed, jealousy or any other kind of self-love, it is not inspired, nor is it from the Holy Spirit of God. (Spiritual Gifts is a topic for another time – Romans 12:3-13, I Corinthians 12:7-11 and 27-31, Ephesians 4:11, I Peter 4:8-11).

God's Love

The Apostle Peter urges followers of Christ: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8).

With God there is always hope and the power to change: “To Him Who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the Only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen” (Jude 24).

casting crowns 1

Jesus, Friend of Sinners
(By Casting Crowns)

Jesus, Friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away.
We have cut down people in Your Name, but the sword was never ours to swing.
Jesus, Friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see.
The world is on their way to You, but they’re tripping over me.
Always looking around, but never looking up, I’m so double-minded –
A plank-eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided.

Oh Jesus, Friend of sinners, open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers Let our hearts be led to mercy. Help us reach with open hearts and open doors.

Oh Jesus. Friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours.

Jesus, Friend of sinners, the One’s Who’s writing in the sand,
Make the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands.
Help us remember we are all the least of these.
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees.

Nobody knows what we’re for, only what we’re against when we judge the wounded.
What if we put down our signs, crossed over the picket lines and love like You did?

You love every lost cause; You reach for the outcast,
For the leper and the lame; they’re the reason why You came.
Lord, I was that lost cause and I was the outcast.
But You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet.

‘Cause You are good, You are good. And Your love endures forever
(Repeat 3 times)

Oh Jesus, Friend of sinners, open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers.Let our hearts be led by mercy. Help us reach with open hearts and open doors.

casting crowns 2

Oh Jesus, Friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours.

And I was the lost cause and I was the outcast.
You died for sinners, just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet.

Check out this song on You Tube (Thank you Linda Smith for introducing me to this song). What a conscience-convicting and spirit-stirring song! I pray for me and for all of us who know and love the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to let “Jesus, Friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks Yours.” Holy Spirit, change us to be more like Jesus! Amen.

“God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13:b).

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

Gone Fishin'

“Gone Fishin’… Be Back At July-Thirty!”

The Lydchicken computer1

 

Lydia

A Person of Mystery (Season Finale – Part 2)

?????????????????????????????????????????????????towel and basin

How do we recognize the Holy Spirit? We recognize the Holy Spirit by what He does to build us up and make us more like Christ. For example, people who know and love God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, know Him personally and trust Him completely to meet their every need. God the Father sent His Son to free us from sin and death. God the Son sent the Holy Spirit to keep us on the path that leads to abundant life and unspeakable joy. For those who love God, the Holy Spirit is no longer a “Person of Mystery”, but a “Person of Ministry.” While other deities demand service from their creatures, the Triune God saves His people from self-destruction and continually serves them, in order for them to become great in His Kingdom. The Trinity is truly “ The Stooping God”, as the Psalmist says in Psalm 18:35-36: “You give me Your Shield of Victory, and Your Right Hand sustains me; You stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.” The Apostle Paul also says in Ephesians 1:13-14: “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory.“

The Holy Spirit serves those who love the Triune God in many ways.

Christ's peacecomforter hs

The Holy Spirit is our Counselor and Teacher: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid…When the Counselor comes, Whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth Who goes out from the Father, He will testify about Me [Jesus]. And you also must testify, for you have been with Me from the beginning” (John 14:26-27 and 15:26-27).

Christ's hopeChrist's Power Sprit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding: “I [Paul] have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms…And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 1:16-20, 22-23)

Christ's Spirit prayedA Song 4

The Holy Spirit is our Intercessor and Helper in our times of weakness: “In the same way, the Spirit helps in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints [followers of Christ] in accordance with God’s will” (Romans 8:26-27).

Christ's joyChrist's joy in trialscomforter hs

The Holy Spirit gives us joy in the midst of suffering: “For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our Gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction…You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit” (I Thessalonians 1:4-5a, 6).

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The Holy Spirit helps us know the deep things of God: “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’ – but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (I Corinthians 2:9-10). [See Isaiah 64:4]

dad and babyHolding hands

The Holy Spirit assures us that we belong to God: “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry ‘Abba [Daddy], Father.’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children…” (Romans 8:15-16).

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The Holy Spirit will expose and convict the worldly of their guilt: “But I [Jesus] tell you the truth: It is for your good that I go away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in Me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you will see Me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:7-11).

But wait! There’s more! Tune in to “A Person of Mystery (Season Finale – Part 3).

Father, Son and Holy Spirit

me writing

Lydia

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO MY HEAVENLY FATHER AND TO ALL THE FATHERS WHO READ MY BLOG! I thank the Lord for my father who is now with our Heavenly Father.

A Person of Mystery (Season Finale – Part 1)

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The Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, Jesus’ Spirit, the Spirit of the LORD, the Third Person of the Triune God, is much more to me than a ghost or mystical vapor or “the spirit of the holy gods” or “the Great Spirit” or “the Great Mystery” or even “the Spirit in the Sky” (or “the Man Upstairs” – In my case, that would be my brother-in-law. My sister and he live upstairs from me. We live in a two-family house). I mean no disrespect, but those names describe something that is very far away, untouchable and impersonal to me. The Holy Spirit is Someone (a Person) with Whom I have a personal relationship. Just as God is my Father and I am His daughter and Jesus is my Savior who died for my sins, the Holy Spirit is my personal Life Coach.

(My favorite song about the Holy Spirit, believe it or not, is not a hymn. It is actually a song about the Holy Trinity, written in 1987, by Cliff Richard. I will share it throughout this blog post.)

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When did the Holy Spirit come to stay?

When Jesus’ time on earth was completed, He spent forty days with His disciples after His resurrection. Before He ascended into heaven, He told them to wait in Jerusalem for the “promised Holy Spirit” (See Acts 2:33). Ten days later, at Pentecost, Jesus was overjoyed that it finally time to send the Gift of the Holy Spirit to His first disciples and to all His future disciples who would believe in Him through their testimony. The rest is His Story! (For more information about Pentecost, see my posts, see “Waiting to Get Fired Up!” and “Why Get so FIRED UP?” and “Holy Birthday Bothers and Sisters!)

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“In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him Who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory. And you also were included in Christ, when you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:11-14).

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Where do you see the Holy Spirit working? Why did Jesus send Him to us? How does the Holy Spirit work?

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The Holy Spirit works inside every follower of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gives each follower of Jesus a new life and a new purpose in life. Jesus did not want to leave us alone. He gave us His Holy Spirit, from the Father, to live inside of us, not far away somewhere in the cosmos. The Holy Spirit personally teaches us, comforts us, counsels us, and gives us the strength and wisdom to live a life which is pleasing to God. He also gives us joy in the process and immeasurable joy at the “Finish Line” (See II Timothy 4:7-8). The Holy Spirit encourages us, even in our sufferings and helps us use our sufferings for the purpose of sharing in Christ’s sufferings, so that we may get to know Him better. It is only through our hardships that we can realize the Holy Spirit’s power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead!

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“In reply, Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again…I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.’” (John 3:3,5).

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (II Corinthians 5:16-17).

“But when the kindness and love of our God and Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).

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“As we gaze on Your Kingly brightness,

So our faces display Your likeness.

Ever changing from glory to glory,

Mirrored here may our lives tell Your Story.

Shine on me. Shine on me.”

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“And I [Jesus] will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby) that He may remain in you forever, the Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him, nor know and recognize Him. But you know Him and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans – comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless – I will come [back] to you.” (John 14:16-18; The Amplified Bible).

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This Sunday, June 8th, is Pentecost Sunday. Let us rejoice with hearts of gratitude and great joy and thank the Lord Jesus Christ for giving us the Holy Spirit, His Spirit of Grace and TRUTH.

gratitudegive thanks

But Wait! There’s more! Tune in to “A Person of Mystery (Season Finale – Part 2)”.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit

The Lyd

Lydia

 

A Person of Mystery (Episode 3)

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“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
– Juliet, in Shakespeare’s, “Romeo and Juliet” (ll, ii, 1-2)

What IS in a name? Did you ever search your genealogy to solve the mystery of where your last name comes from? I have never done this, since my last name is a twelve-letter Polish name, but some of you may have more common last names. For example, “Smith” is an English name, meaning “metal worker, blacksmith” from Old English “smio”, derived from “smiten – to strike, to hit”. “Smith” is the most common surname in most of the English-speaking world. Many surnames are derived from occupations: Butler, Miller, Taylor (to name a few).

Daniel

God was given the name “Spirit”, not only in Judeo-Christian circles, but by many ancient people groups. For example, in the Old Testament Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzer, who did not believe in the God of the Hebrews, told Daniel he needed help interpreting his dream: ‘‘Finally, Daniel came into my room and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.) I said, ‘Belteshazzer, chief of the magicians, I know the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Here is my dream; interpret it for me’” (4:8-9). Daniel, a Hebrew in captivity, was the only one who was able to interpret the dream because Daniel believed in the Holy Spirit of God (See the rest of Daniel 4).

a great spirit

Among some Native American Tribes, such as the Sioux and the Algonquian, there is a belief in a supreme being named “The Great Spirit” or “The Great Mystery.” Chief Dan Eveheme, a spiritual leader of the Hopi Nation, describes the Great Spirit as follows:

“To the Hopi, the Great Spirit is all powerful. He taught us how to live, to worship, where to go and what food to carry, gave us seeds to plant and harvest. He gave us a set of sacred stone tables into which he breathed all teachings in order to safeguard his land and life. In these stones tablets were inscribed instructions, prophecies and warnings” (From “Great Spirit”- Wikipedia).

A Spirit in the sky

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Then, there’s our friend, Norman Greenbaum, who is (you guessed it) Jewish, who wrote a “religious-Rock” song, and named it “Spirit in the Sky.” Here are the first two stanzas:

“When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that’s the best
When I lay me down to die
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that’s the best

Prepare yourself you know it’s a must
Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you die
He’s gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
Gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
That’s where you’re gonna go when you die
When you die and they lay you to rest
You’re gonna go to the place that’s the best”

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When Greenbaum was asked about why he wrote song about Jesus, he said, “I’m just some Jewish musician who really dug Gospel music. I decided there was a larger Jesus Gospel market out there than a Jehovah one.” He was right about that! The single sold 2 million copies in 1969 and 1970 and got to number 3 in the U.S. Billboard chart. When asked about the song’s popularity, a scholarly theologian pontificating in perfunctory platitudes couldn’t have said it any better: “It appeals to one’s inner self and the need for redemption, plus, heck, who wants to go to hell?” (Google Norman Greenbaum-Spirit in the Sky Lyrics). I do not if Greenbaum has a personal relationship with the God of the Christian Bible, but I hope he does.

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In a book written in 1670, entitled “Pensees”, by Blaise Pascal, he wrote one of His most famous quotes: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.” This can be seen in many cultures and in various ways through the testimony of the Holy Spirit.

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“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are God’s children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we also may share in His glory” (Romans 8:15-17).

“The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First He says: ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, say the Lord. I will put My laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.’ Then He adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’ And where these are forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin’” (Hebrews 10:15-18).

a spirit of truth

In the New Testament, WHAT are the names of the Holy Spirit and WHERE do they come from? Just as surnames come from occupations, the Names of the Holy Spirit come from His essential nature. The Holy Spirit is:

The Spirit of Truth: “But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all Truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is to come. He will bring glory to Me [Jesus] by taking what is Mine and making it known to you” (John 16:13-14).

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The Spirit of Holiness: “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God – the Gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding His Son…and Who through the Spirit of Holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord…And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1-2a, 4).

The Spirit of Life: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of Life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).

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The Spirit of Glory: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the Name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of Glory and of God rests on you” (I Peter 4:12-14).

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The Eternal Spirit: “The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonial unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself to God, to cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the Living God!” (Hebrews 9:13-14).

Jesus' Baptism

In all the above Names of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit always points us to Jesus and never claims honor for Himself. This is very important.

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WHEN did the Holy Spirit come to stay and WHY did He come to stay? HOW do we know whether something is from the Holy Spirit or from our own human nature and will? Tune in to the Season Finale.

A Very Joyful Pentecost (Birthday) Dear Christian Church Everywhere!

The Lydbunch of yellow roses

Lydia