Waiting with Stones

In the life of every Christian there will come tests and challenges of the faith that we have confessed. How convinced are we that there is an answer to our problem? Is God really going to provide? There are even answers in His word that confirm his will and desire to provide. But these answers don’t come overnight, the manifest answers to our prayers come often when we least expect or frequently much later than that; but they never come too late – Praise God!!
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. [Hebrews 11:1] We believe that God is going to do something for us in the future. He wants to provide for us [Lk 12:32] but have to wait in confidence that he is going to perform what he has promised. In proof of our conviction, we are to rejoice as if we are in possession of the promise while we still wait.
At one point I was frustrated with waiting [I was waiting for my wife]. A fragment of a verse came to me from John the Baptist. He was admonishing the Pharisees and Sadducees and told them that God was able to make sons of Abraham from stones. [Mt. 3:9]. Intellectually, I knew that God could do ANYTHING but for this verse to walk into my consciousness and declare that even though I didn’t know where my wife was coming from, God is able and willing to create something very special [i.e. a son of Abraham, born to special rights and privilege] from a rock. This [revelation] blew me away!
So all I had to do was wait.
Somewhere I had grabbed Luke 21:19 in my spirit “In your patience, possess ye your souls” The soul is the seat of the mind, will, and emotions of each person. It is separate from the spirit and body. The soul is the place where worry, fear and anxiety can take root.
In a situation where there is loss, sickness or uncertainty, one always has the option of losing heart, or letting their doubt overshadow the word of God. This is the psalmist’s perceived dilemma in Psalm 42 when he asksWhy are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? [vs. 5]
This is the chief question to be asked in light of what we know to be true – the promises of God are Yea and amen [2 Cor 1:20 ] but how do we endure the wait until they come to fruition? This is the work of God as Jesus describes in John 6:28-29. Believing on Him in spite of what the physical world and everyone else says about the matter.
That much more, we hate the wait; we hate the feeling of powerlessness and vulnerability. It’s un-American! Even so is the word “qavah” translated wait as in the oft quoted Isaiah 40:31 “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles . . . and clearly one simply needs to do a word study to find these valuable reminders: Psalms 25:3, 27:14, 37:9, 130:5 and Lamentations 3:25 to know that waiting [and seeking Him] are keen parts of our walk and that we will not be ashamed or disappointed who hope in Him.

Quiet 2

 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

The word rendered vain in verse 3 of this psalm attributed to Solomon is shav, defined as “emptiness, vanity and nothingness”. He says it is vain to spend time worrying, pondering and/or fretting about problems, issues and situations, especially those that you can do very little about.  Notice Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 6:
25Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing ?
and later: 
31Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear?  32For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all.  33But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. 34So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble. [AMP].
If we don’t have to worry about food, clothing or basic necessities, what do we have to worry about?  Doubtless some would say plenty!  The earnestly spiritual of us would say nothing – yet YES! I recognize that this is much easier said than done.  We are working to overcome and restore our ‘natural’ soul that remains prone to fear, intimidation and anxiety.  We have to focus on the solutions and the Solution-maker rather than our problems.   The story of David and Goliath showcases David’s focus on God and his refusal to focus on the size, aggression and braggadocio of Goliath. 
We will inevitably have sleepless nights, we will also have problems that we will attempt to cast upon the Lord only to take back later by trying to solve them ourselves.  Our need for the inherent peace and quiet of God’s kingdom and the need to have ongoing fellowship with the Lord brings us to Psalm 63 where the soul satisfaction theme of this blog is described and David describes his practice of fellowshipping with God in those night hours. 
Psalm 63:5-7
 5My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
 6When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
 7Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.

We would be very prudent to do the same.

Quiet

All Talk Radio
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Fair and Balanced Talk. News.
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up to the minute
on the hour
At this time of the year,  after being fed a nonstop diet of news, talk, enter-pain-ment [read gossip], and o-pain-ion, I’m fed up!
What are the markets doing? What did President Obama do? What is the Party line?  What stymied the congress this time?  What act of aggression against the Chinese? North Korea? 
Which Starlet or Politician has done something utterly noteworthy while we are busy trying to be oblivious?
Is it NEWS or fear mongering?  Has anyone done anything helpful or praiseworthy?  Is there anything actually new under the sun?

As one preacher said, “Always be ready to ignore the world because it hasn’t solved any of it’s problems so we should focus on the One who can solve all of our problems!!”


Hence, we have this study of scriptures that details the quiet that we need to seek and how it will be important to our spiritual, physical, and soulical well-being.**  The world and our adversary create noise that keeps us unsettled and off-balance.  We have to learn to quiet, and to disregard and defuse this noise in order to maintain our place in Him.  

Psalms 131: 2
Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of its mother: my soul [is] even as a weaned child
There is a strong parallel between the psalmist’s declaration and our admonition from the Apostle Paul who tells us to do all things without murmuring.  The psalmist states that his action has internal and external efficacy to silence his complaints and to seek the peace and satisfaction that only comes from communion with the Holy Spirit.
Further, he describes the state of quiet, as that of a weaned child. One of the beauties of the Bible is the continuity of metaphors contained within.  Across the centuries, we are taught that newly born-again Christians need the milk of the Word to grow  [I Peter 2:2], then here we notice that as the newborn grows past the breast-fed stage there is a greater expectation of her resistance to discomfort and real-world events. Weaning away from the mother and her milk assumes a growth path indicative of a more mature child who has the capacity to feed herself.  To quiet herself and to fall asleep without the attentive mothers soothing.  This is the picture of Christ in the bow of the ship traversing the storm.  He is sleeping soundly so that he must be awakened.  The noise and roiling of the sea is not enough to keep him from sleep.  

My mind, will and emotions are as a weaned child, calmed knowing that God is in control,  unflappable and yet open to hope for the future.

Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
This is a not-so-subtle reminder that the temporal things that we encounter and are distracted by are short-lived and completely un-related to the Kingdom that we strive after

I Thessalonians  4:11
And that you study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.
The psalmist says that she quieted herself, but here Paul re-states that we should ” make it your ambition and definitely endeavor to live quietly and peacefully, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you” [AMP].  This state of quiet is an aim and desire, it is not a natural state of affairs but only comes as we submit to the will and purpose of God and learn to maintain our fellowship with him.  We learn the discipline of quietly trusting God, keeping gossip, murmurings and complaints to ourselves.  We begin to understand that it is not acceptable to belittle or berate people whether they be in the household of faith or not. 

I Peter 3:4
But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price.
Notice that this writer says the Lord attributes great value to a meek and quiet spirit cultivated in His children.  

I Corinthians  14:33
For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
I Timothy  2:1-2
I exhort therefore, that , first of all, supplication, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be given for all men;  For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 
We are told to cast all of our cares, anxieties and problems upon Him for He cares for us; to pray without ceasing and in the example of David, the great psalmist – we cry out to him for help.  The other noise we make would be a better witness if considered praise before the world and our adversary.   A Joyful Noise, for the battle has been won!!

**  of the soul, therefore based within the mental, emotional and will of the individual.

quotes from the Amplified Bible [copyrighted by the Lockman Foundation]

Another View of Psalm Ninety-One

Although some question remains on who the author of this psalm is, Moses as author of Psalm 91 rings most true to me.  Moses wrote several of the psalms but this one has inspired me since my bible reading became vital and the Word, a life priority.  

The vision of this psalm describes the camp that the Lord God described to Moses on the mount over 40 sleepless days and nights. Moses was taught how to prepare the camp according to the pattern he was given. The detail he was given showed which tribes were to be placed where, and where the Levites were also to be placed. The protocol for the camp’s movement was also given priority.   

The Israelite tribes wandered in the heat of the desert wilderness but they were under a cloud of divine protection.  A cloud representing the glory of the Lord covered the tent of meeting and quite literally the entire camp.  When the cloud was taken up, that was the signal for them to prepare to travel, the camp was to be dis-assembled and packed for movement.  The uplifting of the cloud then provided shade, [shadow] a covering for those below as they followed it to the next campsite.   Abiding in the secret place under the shadow of the Almighty is a very secure place and clear metaphor for what Moses experienced.

Moses had to learn from experience how to trust God in the midst of his own unbelief including the many trips to the Pharoah’s palace, so many times he left there empty-handed. I can’t imagine how frustrated he must have been to have seen the masses of Egyptians suffer plagues of frogs and locusts, sores and more knowing that the Pharoah’s stubbornness was totally to blame. 

He clearly witnessed the noisome [rank and noxious] pestilence of flies, locusts, dead livestock and water turned blood, he was assured not to fear these things.  


In the moment of great angst, Moses saw the people trapped before the Red Sea and had to learn the hard way that God is a refuge and fortress – when He wraps his arms [wings] around you, you are safe.  As verse eight says “only with your eyes will you behold the reward of the wicked”, he witnessed the Egyptian chariots and horses swallowed in the depth of the Red Sea.  The old song claimed “Mary don’t you weep, Pharoah’s army got drowned” 

The psalmist says that you won’t be afraid of night terrors or any weapons (rendered evil plots and slanders in the Amplified Version). Neither the destruction or sudden death that could happen in broad daylight.  A thousand or even ten thousand  can die before you but you will be safe.  
The psalmist places a conditional promise as does occur frequently throughout the bible. The promise can be considered true as long as the premise is completed. The premise states, “Because he has set his love upon me . . . then sets forth a number of promises but the most striking and amazing to me is I will satisfy him with long life. That is, as a result of loving Him, I will be satisfied with the length of my life, or even,  ” . . .  when I depart this life, I will be satisfied.

The second part of this promise is: ” . . . show him my salvation”.  I Thessalonians 5:23 describes salvation more clearly than most by describing salvation as a whole.  Salvation of the spirit, soul and body as a process incomplete until the Day of the Lord.  Yet the Lord promises to show this salvation process to those who love Him.

. . . to the Victors


4For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4 [The Amplified Bible]
57But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 15:57 [The Amplified Bible]
You have already won!
You have been adopted into the Family of the King! You have an inheritance that no one can steal or ruin!
No matter what the world has to say about it, you win!
But we often don’t act like we have won
1] You must take on the persona of a Winner
We are often like the homeless man walking railroad tracks . . .
He was stopped by a train gang but he retorted “You can’t stop me from walking on these tracks, I got a ticket . . . “
The gang leader said “let me see that”
“This doesn’t authorize you to walk on these tracks, this is a first class ticket! You could sit on the train, rest yourself and check your bag while you eat in the dining car! People would wait on you hand and foot.”
We fail to realize the privilege of being adopted into royalty. We act like beggars when we have every opportunity to press our way in and place our petition in front of the King!
The world is going to try to beat you down;
Your friends are going to treat you like a stepchild.
We cannot act as the world does, much as they appear to have no hope.
The winner knows that he has won with the quiet confidence and assurance of victory. Not in-your-face, but knowing that if not for the Lord who provides the victory and surely the team, no victory is won.
2] You must take on the purpose of a Winner
Caleb’s purpose was to enter the promised land and he completely disregarded the obstacles and enemies placed before him and kept his purpose. Forty years later he was 85 with the same strength and will to enter and receive his inheritance. [Joshua 14] As it was for him so it is now for us.
Winners keep their eyes on the prize – the prizes we receive are the great and wonderful promises He has given us, they are written throughout the Bible. The writer of Hebrews says by faith and patience we inherit the promises [6:12]
Several Bible Heroes have had their names changed. The change denoted not just their recognition of God in their life, but an acceptance of a new nature so Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel, The Babylonians tried to change Daniel’s name to Belteshazzar. Saul became Paul. The Lord promises the overcomers new names that no one else knows or understands! A pet name from the Lord of Lords!
Hence we have a promise that I would like to formalize with you all now:
17He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes (conquers), I will give to eat of the manna that is hidden, and I will give him a white stone with a new name engraved on the stone, which no one knows or understands except he who receives it. [The Amplified Bible]
Revelation Chapter 2

The Word, The Rhema Word and Reality Exposed

The Word of God is alive; sharper than a two-edged sword but is it really true?
What is truth?
Is the Bible really relevant?
What do you believe – what are you willing to believe?
Jonah and the whale? [This must be a biblical fairy tale]
Dinosaurs – they’re not really in the Bible, so where do they fit?
Tithing [do you actually believe that God will meet all of your needs if you give Him the first 10 percent of your money?]
God’s provision for healing – we know He can, but will He?
Spanking and corporal punishment [it’s in the Bible but it can’t be true –can it?]
Homosexuality [man-made or affliction?]
There are so many dissenting words and diverse meanings in the world. People who say that they are Christians, religious, spiritual but they seem just as if not more confused than we are. Yet another sign that these are the last days – as Paul said there would be people who “have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof” [II Tim 3:5]
Translations, canonical
I believe the Bible but there are some parts that I don’t understand – there must have been something wrong in the translation”.
I have a problem understanding people whose concept is so limited that the Almighty God of Hosts couldn’t make a way for His indelible word to be recorded and available for the entire world, to those who want it.
We must remember I Corinthians 2:14 “. . the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.”
You may need to do a self-check; if you are having such difficulty with believing – It has been said that some Christians believe that the bible is inspired in spots, some spots are inspired by God and others are just wrong.
If you have never taken a language course, especially Aramaic, Greek or Hebrew [the biblical languages] you might need to do so and find out not only the intricacy of the languages, but the clarity of the best known translations. One needs to be very clear that while there may be some difference in the nuance of how a phrase is rendered. There is very little difference between one translation and another in what is literally meant, especially in the exegetical light of historical context.
This is a Faith Fight
Unfortunately, the less you know – the better it is for our adversary, who needs us to be ignorant to our rights, responsibilities and privileges as believers and heirs to the Kingdom. If you remain skeptical about the power of God’s word and its efficacy to assist and to conduct warfare – you will remain powerless.
My one-word synonym for faith is “conviction”. Are you convinced that God can do what He says He will do? Are you convinced that His word is literally true? Do you think that He made promises for poetic value? Have you put God in a box?
The writer of Hebrews states that “The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” [4:2]
The word will only be profitable for us but it can only be if we place faith in it – if we are convinced that God’s word is alive [rendered quick in Heb. 4:12 ];
  • enduring [“But the word of the Lord will last forever” – I Pet. 1:25];
  • and powerful [“He sent his word and healed them and delivered them from all of their destructions” – Psa. 107:20]
In John 6:29, Jesus states “This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent” That is, believe that He is Messiah and ergo, believe in the intrinsic value of the work he performed while on earth.
The trick [if you will] of the work is to remain convinced [without regard to circumstance]. This is more difficult than it sounds. Take for example: The Israelites when they left Egypt, they had just witnessed a great deliverance. They experienced the catastrophe of the Passover and the duress that the Egyptians felt as their sons and livestock died. They left Egypt and faced the first hurdle i.e. The Red Sea. They were ready to go back to Egypt.
The Apostle Paul states: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life” Although spiritually you will try to keep your faith, the nature of the fight continually works to shake your faith and confidence in the promises of God. The circumstances and appearances all work against faith but you have to know what you know. The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
To continue with this metaphor, we are in a fight using the weapons(s) given for the fight. The breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the helmet of salvation, loins gird with the truth, above all with the shield of faith.
To open this up even more we need to understand:
1] All items mentioned are defensive armament
Notice how the armor of God is used, the inner most garment is the truth.Jesus said “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” John 8:32
A fighter who cannot get solid traction will surely get knocked out! The traction is the preparation of the good news of God’s peace with man. Above all using the shield of faith – your key defensive weapon because it’s a fight, a faith fight!!
2] The only offensive weapon is the sword
The word of God is a sword, but not the leather and paper – the word that can be used as a weapon is the word that you have embedded in your heart. How is the word of God used? Mt. 4:4, 4:7, 4:10
Jesus said, “heaven and earth will pass away but my word will not pass away” Mk. 13:31
Reality exposed says that the word of God is real and true.

A Quick Pass Through Romans 15:4

Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” KJV

What ever scriptures were written previously were written so that we would learn from them, “for the word of God is alive and sharper than any two-edged sword [Heb 4:12] . . . this learning being the benefit of being spiritually alive as well as a living word that will continue to teach us and the indwelling spirit that will bring things that we have learned to our remembrance.

The bible is not a history of the world, the bible is the history of God’s dealings with man. It does not provide a chronological description of how it all happened. It describes how God made the world then how he dealt with man and showed compassion on him and his plan to reconcile the world after the fall. He documented through Moses how he covered Adam’s sin with the blood of an innocent animal and how he has covered sin since. We needed and continue to need to learn how this was done, so that we can know his ways and can appreciate the good He has done for us – the richness of his grace and mercy!

I Corinthians 10: 1-11 say that the things that happened [and were recorded] were a warning and an example of what not to do so that we don’t end up with a similar circumstance as the Israelites in the wilderness. That we would learn how to walk in this journey, to know that this is not our home, that we cannot murmur against the good that God is doing and how he is leading us. That we can’t spend our time partying and getting involved with the world’s corrupt system.

Learning takes place in the mind, a portion of the soul. Everyone including Jesus had to learn how be true to the spiritual nature in a physical body. He also had to guard himself from mental and/or soulical conflict including emotional conflict, temptation and willfulness. These are temptations that he overcame in 40 days of temptation and spiritual warfare in the wilderness. Hebrews 6:12 states that Even though Jesus was God’s son, He still “learned obedience through the things that he suffered.” What does this mean for us; . . . that we have to learn obedience, humility, that we will have to suffer, and even then learn that Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden is light.

We have to learn that even as priests and kings we will need to learn what it means to be a King and how Kings conduct business. Galatians 4:1-2 talks about how the heir of all still has to learn to be the king and how the kingdom works.

What is the way of patience?

Understanding doesn’t come overnight, so then ” . . . ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” Hebrews 10:36 And again, Hebrews 6:12 “ … be ye followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

Faith and patience are the keys to growth in the long-term. Let’s define what patience is and how it figures into the growth equation. Patience is rendered “endurance and perseverance in many of the translations and dictionaries. Even Jesus tells us that “In your patience, possess ye our souls” Luke. 21:19

Patience with others is Love, Patience with self is Hope, Patience with God is Faith.”–Adel Bestavros

The Kingdom of this World Hates You

The kingdom of this world hates you and will treat you badly but bear
this in mind, as an emissary from the King of Kings: 

*      the world wants to see the kind of love that you manifest

*      the world wants to see the judgment you manifest also

*      the world is in awe and completely overwhelmed by the favor that
        you have

*      it is an incredible blessing to suffer for the gospel

My, How You’ve Grown

Text: I John 2:12-14
In business, in politics, in any number of human endeavors we work to gauge our progress, our attainment, and our achievement. Many examine bank statements, time measurement, games won, awards garnered and other means by which we determine improvement.
Do we do so in spiritual matters? Is there a way that we can make a statement about the way that we have evolved in our spiritual affairs? While there may be some incremental growth that would be harder to determine over short periods of time, the Lord has provided a way to look at our growth over time that allows us to assess where we are and how we need to think about our next steps.
John describes how there are three major categories in the growth cycle of Christians:
Ø Little Children

Ø Young Men

Ø Fathers
Little Children
Examining the text, we find that the children have some clear defining characteristics. He doesn’t say that they are not saved!
Young Christians may say as the disciples said, “Lord, increase our faith” Luke. 17:5
The bible says that “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17
But it doesn’t come overnight, so then we have need of patience Hebrews 10:36
And again, Hebrews 6:12 “ … be ye followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises”
Faith and patience are the keys to growth in the long-term. Let’s define what patience is and how it figures into the growth equation. Patience is rendered “endurance and perseverance in many of the translations and dictionaries.
Even Jesus tells us that “In your patience, possess ye your souls” Luke. 21:19
They “have known the Father” and their ”sins are forgiven . . . for his name’s sake”
The trouble with babies and young children is that they are in danger from a number of dangerous things around that could potentially stunt their growth or endanger their lives! We grow on a physical level in spite of ourselves, in contrast with our spiritual selves that only readily grow as we are fed the Word. We can also gauge our growth against our response to life’s circumstances and temptation.
Didn’t Jesus pray “deliver us from temptation” – that we would fall prey to, “but deliver us from evil” Another translation says “Don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” This prayer petitions the Father to give us the daily bread (feeding) that we need that allows us to grow, while asking His assistance to avoid the wrong things that we would encounter during our days on earth.
An interesting parallel verse is found in Hebrews 5:12,13 &14 where the writer explains that a young Christian whose stunted growth has kept him from teaching so he is forced to continue with the first principles (milk) rather than graduate to other profitable principles available.
He goes on to say that strong meat belongs to those who “by reason of use” [who are mature] who have trained themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong . . . so then the parallel is in the Peter’s 2nd epistle (1:4-7) where we are admonished to add to our faith virtue [moral excellence], and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness all of this to receive the exceeding great and precious promises.
Baby Christians end up trying to see how much wrong they can tolerate and still be Christians not knowing that these practices and philosophy keep them babies.
Young men
Are said to be “strong’ and have the word of God abiding in them. They also have “overcome the wicked one”.
This is a great testimony and of value as a measuring stick against which to gauge your enlistment in God’s army. Logically, one would have to have had some experience in battle with the wicked one to have overcome him. The experienced spiritual warrior understands the nature of spiritual warfare and is equipped with the tools [the Word] to be victorious.
This warfare means victory but that victory yields us the peace of God to continue in the struggle no matter what you encounter. So then the young men learn little by little, that the tribulations that they suffer is the cause for rejoicing. Romans 5:3-5 tells us that tribulations work patience and patience experience and experience hope,
Hope always keeps us looking at the future where we are expectant that God allows us to overcome once and for all.
Fathers
James writes that we may have a thousand instructors in Christ but not many fathers. Notice the single requirement of the Father – “You have known him that is from the beginning”
The spiritual father has a serene grace to his walk with God. He is not overwhelmed with the trappings of outward appearance. Neither is he trying to prove the veracity of his relationship.
He is much like the Husbandman [farmer] in James 5: 7-8 who waits patiently for his crops to grow. He waits for the rains (the enrichment of the Holy Spirit who acts and creates ways for God’s will to be performed on the earth.
Many of the other translations reiterate you have known him that is from the beginning. [Christ]. This statement begs the question of context. Spiritual fathers have a grasp of the nature of the origin of not only Christ but an awareness of his everlasting, unending nature. This is a source of great peace – because of covenant and relationship. There is no need to fear or be apprehensive. So then as James says early on “let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire wanting nothing.” One grows perfect and entire, complete and fully-grown. One is not anxious about external issues but assured that God remains on the throne and in charge. Forever! Amen!

An Act of Will

The Gift

In a discussion of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, conflict and confusion [strife] sometimes arise in part because the prince of the air would like to prevent God’s Children’s access to this gift. Jesus spoke of the gift in two familiar passages. In John chapter 4, He asks the woman at the well if she would like to have the Gift of God (vs. 10) . . . living water so that she would never thirst again (vs. 14) . . .” but the water that I give him shall be in him a well of water springing into everlasting life.”

The other passage in John chapter 7, finds Jesus in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles saying to the crowd, “If any man thirst let him come unto me, and drink (vs. 37). He that believeth on me as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (Vs. 38)

Did Jesus contradict himself in these passages? Both in the book of John, the latter passage adding parenthetically “But this spake he of the Spirit . . . “ I believe that Jesus did not contradict himself, but was speaking of two distinct gifts, the gift of salvation and the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

He characterized the gift of salvation as a well of water. We understand a well as having limitations in contrast with the seemingly endless flow of a river. The difference is a matter of volume, they are both gifts and they are both water, a symbol of the Holy Spirit.

How do we receive these gifts that God has for us? Jesus appeared to understand this confusion we would have about receiving his gift. He responds in the 11th chapter of Luke’s gospel in the midst of teaching on prayer: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Vs. 13)

An Act of Will

One aspect of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that has caused significant controversy is their manifestation. Much ado has been made of the manifestation: “speaking in an unknown tongue”. This highly visible aspect has been much maligned by the “have-nots” and given undue credence by the “haves”. Much of the imbalance in views were plainly evident in the Corinthian church and for that reason I believe the Lord left Paul’s letters to that church for us to study and appreciate the wisdom by which he approached the subject.

Paul’s discussions of the gifts of the spirit begin in Chapter 12 of the first Corinthian letter. He says he wants the church to understand the realities of those gifts. He discusses in detail the differences in administration of the gifts, how the church as a whole (metaphorically described as the ‘body of Christ’) needs the different gifts not only the manifestation gifts but also the gifts given as offices in the church i.e. pastors, prophets, etc. Barclay’s translation of verse 7 reads, “The visible effect which the Spirit produces in each of us is designed for the common good”. In other words, by whatever means the Spirit manifests himself, it is for the good of all.

God is sovereign and He will make himself known by His power working in the earth i.e. the Holy Spirit in whatever ways he see fit. The spirit world is not limited by time or space so the manifestation of the Spirit as exhibited in biblical times cannot be limited or relegated to those times. We must expect that as God lives, and more importantly, lives in us, His spirit will manifest himself in ways we have seen written in the word and in ways unimaginable.

At the end of the chapter Paul makes an amazing statement. He says “But covet earnestly the best gifts, yet I show you a more excellent way” (vs. 31) How could he ask us to set our hearts on something that we can’t have? I don’t believe that he would, which leads the discussion back to “Ask and ye shall receive” (Luke 11). I believe that all of the gifts are available according to the faith of the individual and how he or she is invested in a ministry that will yield to the Holy Spirit. Are not these gifts to the church as evidence of the love of God and his willingness to edify (charge up), give courage and comfort us?

Yet Paul’s point in chapter 13 is that without the Agape (unconditional love of God), none of the gifts have relevance. All of God’s gifts work by love. Without love they have no context and nothing to act upon. Agape love is the string that ties it all together. It is the beginning of the evidence that one has a well of living water within.