Friday, May 23, 2014
Friday, August 16, 2013
The Holy Spirit – A Brief Introduction
Remember the case of Saul and David in 1 Samuel 16? Here we see God's Spirit leave Saul and then come upon the newly anointed King David. The Spirit is referred to prophetically in the Old Testament and in the Gospels prior to Jesus' ascension. Joel 2 gives an example of the promise of the general outpouring of the Holy Spirit to be given. Peter later shows this is fulfilled in the Day of Pentecost. See Genesis 1:2, 26, 6:3; Judges 3:10, 11:29, 16:20; Psalm 51:11; John 7:39; Luke 1:15, 41, 57; Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:1-21; John 13-16.
He makes us part of the Body of Christ, the Church, and gifts us to serve. He seals and secures us until Jesus comes for us or we go to be with Him at death. He longs to control, guide and teach us truth from God's word, which He had written by committed men. He is ever present in all believers and seeks to develop Christ-likeness in us. See John 3:5-6, 14:16-17, 26, 16:12-13; 1 Corinthians 2:4-16, 12:13; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30, 5:18-21; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Corinthian 12-14; Ephesians 4-5.
The Holy Spirit – A Biblical Investigation
v 1 Corinthians 2:9-12
What are some of the things the Holy Spirit does according to these verses?
v John 16:12-13
Note how we are to relate to the Spirit:
Fellowship (an EFCA)
Sarver, PA - http://www.ccffriends.org/
A Reminder to Be Mindful of God
Kerry S. Doyal
You never know when or where God will remind you of an important truth. A recent chance encounter at a hotel continental breakfast bar reminded me of God's passion to teach us. It reminded me of the need to be mindful of Him.
Our family was traveling back to Kingsport recently when my son and I met a kind retiree from Oklahoma. Coincidentally, she too who was on her way to Kingsport, to visit a daughter and family.
By the way, it is said that a "coincidence" is when God chooses to work anonymously. Lucky for us - yes, that was a joke - He does this often.
Having noticed that she looked Hispanic or Native American and that she had on a shirt saying "Mexico," I asked if she was Mexican or Cherokee. She was in fact first generation Mexican American and she then relayed an interesting life development.
Our new friend told how she used to think in Spanish as well as she could in English. But, in the past few years, she has noticed that skill slipping. At a recent reception, she was able to speak to someone in Spanish. Yet, much to her chagrin, she got stuck in efforts to communicate.
Having no one to speak Spanish to on a regular basis has made it harder to think in Spanish as easily as she used to. What used to be natural to her now takes effort due to lack of practice, less use.
Hmmm... With a long drive ahead and being a person prone to parabolize, apt to allegorize, this got me to thinking about my thinking. (I will not be offended if you need to re read that sentence.) How fluent do I stay in thinking about God, His word, His truths, His will and ways?
Can I, with Willie Nelson, sing to my sweet Lord, "You were always on my mind?" Being on the road again, I could not outlaw that line of thinking.
How consistently do I meditate on Him, His word, mulling Him over? How well do I think biblically? Have my skills and habits of thinking in God's language - the Bible - stayed strong or have they slipped?
We are to love God with all our minds, as well as our hearts, soul and strength. A lack of use of our language of re-birth can lead to one dimensional living and thinking - a life that is too earthy (see Psalm 1).
To my new friend, I say "mucho gusto, mucho gracias mi amiga y Dios Te bendaga." "Good to meet you, thank you very much my friend and God bless you!" I hope you are duly impressed, that is half of my Spanish. And, yes, I had it double checked!
To my Lord, who has provided cleaner, clearer thoughts for us to think, I say thank you for the reminder. Feel free to keep me mindful to keep you in mind.
"Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God's right hand in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:1-3 (NLT)
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." Joshua 1:8 (NKJV)
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
So many options
So many choices - too many!
If you don't know what you are looking for
(i.e. the wife didn't send you with a specific list),
many things look like viable options:
All brands of toilet paper are in play.
Detergents - what's the difference?
Shampoo, soups & salad dressings: seen one, seen 'em all.
~ NOT HARDLY SO! ~
Don't do it Bucky!
Stick to the approved items on the list.
HORRIBLE analogy, but when's that stooped me...
God's list of Saviors is short: His Son. Period!
His pick of paths away from perdition is particular.
Thus despite all the choices - faith paths, philosophies -
that parade themselves, clamoring for our allegiance,
we must hear what Jesus says in Matthew 7:13-15:
"Enter through the narrow gate.
For wide is the gate and broad is the road
that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life,
and only a few find it.
Watch out for false prophets.
They come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ferocious wolves..."
"Narrow, small, few"
Sounds selective, specific...
Glad He warns & informs us!
He further warns us in vs. 21-23:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'
will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name,
and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
Then I will tell them plainly,
'I never knew you.
Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matt. 7:21-23 - NIV)
The point of distinction?
Those who Know Him.
They live differently.
They do His Father's will.
They are entering God's gate, on His narrow path.
Their fruit is evident (see vs. 16-21).
Do you know HIM?
Jesus is the only way,
the true truth,
the proper path
See John 14:6; 3:16, 36
1 John 5:11-13
Thank You Lord for making the choices obvious.
May I, having chosen YOU, keep choosing You daily.
Help me stay on the straight and narrow.
Monday, September 08, 2008
For further study about God being close,
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Who has peace? Who is steady & sure - unshakable? “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” - Psalm 119:165 Law-lovers live loose (i.e. not strung out in anxiety) They are sure of foot, on a safe path, warned about the things that others trip over. When you know the path, the right way, when you follow the directions, it eliminates a lot of getting lost, being frustrated, and tense. The Message - Ps. 119:165 For those who love what you reveal, everything fits— no stumbling around in the dark for them. KSD
Saturday, July 19, 2008
"fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed,
for I am your God; I will strengthen you,
I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Is. 41:10 - ESV No need to be fearful
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” - Isaiah 41:10 - NIV Note to self - do not fear! KSD
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
The temple was the place of God's presence on earth. To bow towards it was to bow
Monday, June 30, 2008
“For whoever wants to save
his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life
for me will find it.”
Matthew 16:25 (NIV)
To live in Christ, we need to die to self
& do so daily.
Jesus calls us to lose our life for Him.
That - HE - is how we find our life.
To avoid Him to try & save your life
is to waste, forfeit your life.
In Him is life.
He is life.
To live is Christ.
Don't worry about getting a life
give yours to Him - that's life.
KSD / GEFC
Is & will be:
“The LORD will be king
over the whole earth.
On that day there will be one LORD,
and his name the only name.”
- Zechariah 14:9
Jesus IS Lord - no doubt.
Pockets of rebellion, outposts of uprisings exist
- true too.
His reign is unequaled and some day
will be unchallenged.
Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess
the lordship of Jesus.
Inaugurated eschatology, some call it.
More than just good practice is the life
that already lives under His kingship.
Better than just avoiding the last minute rush
- make His name your only one.
Name above all names - supreme allegiance.
And He shall reign forever & ever.
KSD / GEFC
Monday, March 17, 2008
Righteousness: A Primer, A Review The Righteousness He Requires Is the Righteous His Righteousness Requires Him to Require (quote by ? ? ?) This "tricky" phrase is worth some thought. - go ahead . . . It contains some of the essential truths of the gospel. To help you grasp it better, lets study the subject of Righteousness and His Righteous Requirement of Righteousness. The Problem: God requires us to be righteous to have fellowship with Him. To be righteous is to be in right standing with God, to be morally upright, sinless. None of us are righteous, not even one of us (Romans 2:11, 12; 3:10-18). Our own efforts to be righteous are as filthy rags in Gods sight (Isaiah 64:6). So, an obvious question is: "How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of a woman be pure?" (Job 25:4). The Solution: Since God is a holy and just Judge, He cannot change or lower the standard and remain just (Romans 3:26). Instead, God provided some one to meet the standard for us (Isaiah 45:17, 24; Jeremiah 33:15-16; Matthew 3:15). Jesus is our substitute, our vicar (Vicarious atonement). God made Him become sin for us and has declared those who receive Him righteous (Romans 3:21-30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). The Gospel is the message of Gods righteousness available to man by faith in Jesus (Romans 1:16, 17; 3:21-14; 4:1-8; Philippians 3:9). Like Abraham, we can be declared righteous by God through faith. This is a Righteousness given and not obtained by works of the law (Romans 4:4-6; 5:6-11; 17:21; Galatians 2:15, 16; 3:6-14). Having been declared righteous, we are to live a righteous life, living consistent with who we are (Ephesians 4:1,2; I Peter 1:13-16).
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Encouraging Yourself in the Lord from 1 Samuel 30:1-6 Discouragement is a ruthless thief. It not only robs us of "full steam ahead" service for the Lord, it also decreases the spiritual goods and services others receive from us. Despair is a despot who despoils its servants. Those faith-filled and faithful souls who press on in the face of fear and despondency have treasures to share with others. By God's grace, these God-bolstered bad boys - in the nicest sense of the word - bless others with booty from life's battles. When life assaults one's heart and leaves breaches and scars, when retreat seems the only sensible and survivable option, we need to follow not-yet-king David's example in 1 Samuel 30:1-6. "Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. "And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. David's two wives also had been taken captive... "And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God" (ESV). How David zapped back at Ziklag - went from cinders to spoils to share - is beyond inspirational. It is instructional. He models how to move ahead in the Lord when we would rather just move away. Charred houses, kidnapped families, despair and near mutiny greet David when he came home to Ziklag. He had been excused from going to war alongside the Philistines against Israel. They knew his heart - that he would turn and fight for his people - God's people (1 Samuel 27-31). A loyal man. Relieved at being spared another battle, David and his 600 men returned to a burnt city and abducted loved ones. What a way to come home! After intense grieving, David's men considered finding comfort in stoning him. Note: leadership means wearing a target and leaders often get too much blame or credit. David, lonely and discouraged, sought and found comfort and strength in the LORD. He "strengthened himself in the LORD his God" (vs. 6). Instead of digging a hole, he fled to the Holy One. He rediscovered resolve in His redeemer. Like Nehemiah would later tell of those who "repaired" Jerusalem's torn down walls, so too David found help, repair for his breached soul. David found fortification in the Father. The word "strengthened" is often used militaristically - beefed up troops. It speaks of being strong, courageous, to fasten to. David fastened his hope in the LORD and it turned this tale around. Read Psalms 27:14 and 46; Proverbs 3:5, 6; Isaiah 40 and 35:4. To what or whom do you turn for encouragement, fortification, help, soul-repair and mind-mending? Who is your source of inner strength, resolve, courage (see Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, 18)? Friends are great blessings, but when they edge out God, we rob ourselves of God's help. Note: such help that David found comes not from gods of our own making. We idol-crafters need to turn fully to the LORD God (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10). Ask Israel if their dallying with idols gets proven results? "Judgment," they say? To recovering, still-stinging freshly spanked idolaters we read: "For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, Fear not, I am the one who helps you" (Isaiah 41:13). Is the LORD your God? Take a self-test from Jeremiah 2:5, 11-13; Joshua 23-24. Finding gumption in God, David seeks His will, then pursues and whips the bad guys. The Lord blesses him with full recovery of their wives, children and stuff. In celebration and as a witness, David sends out gifts from the goodies, perks from the plunder to several cities. Had he stayed in his funk, sunk into his bog of despair, the story might have a very different ending. Yet, he allowed God to gird him up for life and the battles ahead. What circumstances have you hidden behind? What excuses do you need to confess as sin? For us to have spoils to share from wars won by God's grace, we must find solace and strength in the LORD (see Jude 20; 1 Peter 1:3- 2:3; Psalm 37). Who has enjoyed the benefits of your seeking God? Who has been enriched by your encouragement in the LORD? Who has gone without - physically or spiritually - because you cling to your circumstances and not the God of the universe? Read Matthew 6:25-34 and Jeremiah 33:1-8. What spoils can you share as a testimony of God's greatness? We must seek strength and comfort from the Lord as if lives depend on it.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
When foot soldiers deploy, they set up their tents, temporarily occupy foreign soil, get acquainted with the "locals” and seek to bring peace and safety. When their mission is accomplished, they pack up and go home.
Nomadic Bedouins live on the move, seeking pasture for their sheep or camels, looking for food for their families. Encampment means setting up their huge tents, settling in for a few weeks or months while ready to head on.
The Jews in the wilderness – after Egypt - had no permanent place to worship God. So, the LORD gave them plans for a mobile worship facility - the Tabernacle, the Tent of meeting. Here they sacrificed to and served the LORD.
When the Cloud or Fire that lead them stopped, they camped. It was God saying: stay here, set up the Tabernacle, My Tent and worship. When the days were complete, they struck the Tent and the Cloud led them along.
How do these Christmas images grab ya? If I threw in some wise men, would it help? How about mutant flying reindeer or a bloated, bearded Senior in slick red P.J.s? "Ho, ho, NO" you say?
If you want the classic Christmas story, turn to Matthew or Luke. If you want tent talk, read John's gospel. Do not expect any angels, mangers or maligned Inn Keepers. John tells us about the eternal Word who was with the Father who took on skin and bones. He speaks of a Life that is light. He - well, read it for yourself from John 1:1-4 & 14:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men... vs. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (NKJV)
While this offers little to market for the holidays, it makes up for it with some awesome theology. It also takes us back to our bivouac and answers: Who sneaked tents into the already crowed Christmas panoply? The "dwelt among us" in verse 14 is camping talk. It literally means: Jesus tabernacled, pitched His tent, encamped among us.
From John, we learn that the Word, Jesus, is co-eternal with God - not a new part of God's product line for the holidays. No, Jesus, also self-existing, created all of God's product line (see also Colossians 1:14-17). Jesus is called life: the kind of talk reserved for the Divine.
Keep in mind this Christmas that His birth was not His beginning. He was from the beginning and was the beginning, the Creator of all. Yet, He left the Father’s side to be with us. The Word became flesh and moved in our neighborhood.
As if this was not deep enough, the eternal Creator who is life - just like the Father - is also light. When the Light came into the sin-darkened world, He provided illumination, a “show and tell” of the Holy God.
So the spiritual (the Word), became physical. The eternal One became temporal (i.e. "in time", not temporary). God as man with us, or as John put it: He pitched His tent among us.
Did God's ultimate Scout, the firstborn, leave a trace? Yes! Talk about getting to know and fixing up the place!
Jesus, the ultimate Army of One, is our means of peace with God. His mission was accomplished. Remember His powerful "It is finished" battle cry? Can you say simper fi - always faithful? Hooah!
Was He on foreign soil? Yes and no. Though He made it, and came to the ones and place He made, they did not receive Him. The Master of the house returned to be treated like an intruder.
Thankfully, those who do accept Him as the true Owner are given the authority to become God's sons and daughters - all the ones believing in His name (see John 1:11-13). How hospitable to Him are you?
Jesus himself is both God's holy Tabernacle and the lamb offered for our sins. He is the eternal Word who chose to reside in humble, temporary fashion among us to provide a means of fellowship with God.
This homeless Nomad from birth still wants to feed His sheep. He wants to gather all those who are His, be their living water and heavenly food. Jesus invites us into His tent for fellowship, a life relationship. He alone can make us happy campers.
In his first letter, John wrote that this Word was no mythical figure. No, Jesus, the Word of life could be heard, seen, studied carefully and even handled. He reminds us that Jesus' followers - that he - did just that.
John continued: "... that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:3 & 4 - NKJV). Jesus, John tells us, is to be experienced, declared and shared with all.
When we look at our new pup-tenting Neighbor, we see glory. This unique One, the Father's Son, is still full of grace and truth. Merry CHRISTmas and happy camping with Him.
Monday, November 26, 2007
It was just a short car ride with Uncle Roy, just down the path at Bancroft Bible Camp. Yet, it yielded two great phrases that I’ve been pondering for months.
Though retired, Rev. Roy Thomas is part of the staff of Bancroft Bible Camp. A WWII Vet – he was across the island from Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 – Uncle Roy has learned a thing or two in his many and often hard years.
An orphan boy from Chicago’s south side, Roy was a pastor for many years. He and his hard working spouse Evelyn, have faithfully and diligently served the Lord in many roles and places.
Getting out of my car that day to go into chapel and lead singing at camp, Roy cheerfully told me: "Keep looking up." Live with an eye to the sky, anticipating the Lord’s return. Things may be bad down here, but be encouraged, He will return. This is a source of hope and accountability; be ready.
This gentle, playful soul must have sensed the humor of telling someone who was about to drive off to "Keep looking up". So Uncle Roy – as he known by countless campers at Bancroft – added with a smile and twinkle in his eyes: "But keep your eyes on the road."
This was more than just a witty word of driving advice. This in fact completed the encouragement to "Keep looking up." Yes, we must live in light of the blessed hope, the return of Jesus, the setting up of His kingdom, the consummation of the ages. We are also to be faithful and wise servants day by day.
"Keep looking up. Keep your eyes on the road" - not a bad couplet. One could do worse for spur of the moment advice. Live in light of the hope of heaven. Live out your calling while here on earth.
Can one be – as the phrase goes – so heavenly minded you are no earthly good? Yes, if you do not keep your eyes on the road, traveling the path Jesus laid out for you, fulfilling your calling which God sovereignly designed just for you (Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 8:28-39; Jeremiah 1:1-11; Psalm 139).
I recently looked through a Hymnal and noted that the first 80 plus songs were about heaven. Not about God per se, but about mansions, streets of gold, rest and the sweet bye and bye. Frankly, the impression I had was one of escapism.
Do not misunderstand: I praise God for His gracious promise of heaven through Christ (John 14; Revelation 20-22). Yet, I somehow sense He did not mean it to be an excuse to just wait out our time here.
Much like the exiled Jews in Babylon, we are told to settle in and serve Him until the time is right (see Jeremiah 29:4-14); an eye on the road, and an eye towards heaven.
With apologies to my Catholic friends, there are more Protestant monks than any other variety. You know them – might be one. People who have so orchestrated their lives that they have all but eliminated life-contact with anyone but other Christians. God warned against such faulty living (Matthew 5:13-16; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13).
Between continual internal church events, having Christian mechanics, grocers, beauticians, these functional Monks rarely have to risk involvement with the lost. Even their dog goes to a Christian Vet, where other Christian dogs congregate. May I add, Christian fleas are the worst.
Such Monk’s quick forays into the world are done holding their spiritual breath: in and out, avoid contamination, minimize risk of compromise. Yet, they also eliminate any chance of helping others, having impact, being salt or light. People who live only looking up will not be found in service to their Master, wasting their talents (Matthew 25:14-30).
We can also be consumed with keeping our eyes on the road. I find that when I am solely looking ahead and not looking up, as I ought – remembering Him and why - I become frazzled and fruitless. Remember Martha (see Luke 10:38-42)?
When we get too busy going and serving, taking care of life’s business every day, in every way, living in overdrive, we need to get back to turning ours eyes towards heaven.
Casting an eye upward helps me remember why I am running so hard (see Colossians 3:1-11). As Twila Paris sang: the warrior is a child, who needs in the midst of life’s battles to drop their sword and look up for a smile.
Wisdom can’t be contained. Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. We bring out what we have stashed in. Roy was kind enough to remind me to keep the faith, be hopeful, live with obedience and anticipation: keep looking up.
Roy was also seasoned, sensible and – with all due respect – silly enough to remind me to be alert, take care, fulfill the job that was at hand: keep my eyes on the road.
The Lord took my dad home about three years ago. When an older man is now fatherly to me, I have a new appreciation for it, even at age 46. Young pups, don’t kid yourself: we always need wisdom that comes from those with experience. Especially those like Uncle Roy & Aunt Evelyn who keep looking up and keep their eyes on the road.