Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
Thinking about thinking can be a mundane thing. However, I have come to realize that my own thought patterns are rife with types of philosophies that I have little to no interest or understanding of. I think that is due to the nature of culture in America. We absent mindedly absorb other people’s interpretations of facts and information that may not hold to the true doctrines of what Christianity should be. There are many ideas that are not necessarily void of truth, but they only present a half truth. One of the professors here at Northwest University often quotes his Dad’s saying, “It’s easier to accept a half-truth than the complex full truth.” And now, I find myself wondering how many of those half-truths did I accept? How many of those half-truths have kept me from pursuing forward and hindered me?
But half-truths are a start to knowing more. Half-truths are bad when you let it just rest at that. Half-truths should spark a fire to know more, and I have found that is what many of the half-truths in my life have done. Only ever getting one side of the picture paints a picture half way. You need the other side to understand fully the complexity that is Truth. So, all my time at Biola was preparation for this task. It was foundational information that was missing key pieces, the Pentecostal side of all the theology. It was great for the basics, the understanding of what the Trinity is, and all the ground work, but it always lacked the Pentecostal side of the theology as if the Pentecostal side was not ‘truth’ but rather a misinterpretation. I have found, as I look back over my notes and thoughts from those classes, and I ultimately struggled with it because there is always another side to the coin, and the students were not receiving the other side. If you want head to heart to action kind of faith, you need to embrace the Pentecostal side of theology. It explains and fills in the gaps, but if you want to live a life that is not full of Spirit Empowerment, and your daily existence is all reasoned out—by all means do not approach the Pentecostal side of the theology. Pentecostal Theology extends the application to experience, and what God actually does in our lives. It’s not just this concept you learn and master to pass a test or say that right things to the crowds as you preach. It helps us to bridge the missing gap.
I was once asked by a professor on campus at Biola how to get head knowledge, into the heart and from the heart into hands/action. I now know the answer to this question. It’s through the Holy Spirit empowerment of our knowledge that breaks through to the heart, where God stirs a fire deep within our souls, and from that we begin to move. We need the experiences of life, to break our mental constructs. We need to have these ideas challenged by the fact that God does not work within the boxes that have been so predefined by ‘theology’.
Just because we think we understand or know…does not mean we have knowledge. Knowledge is truly something that is acquired from God, and by knowing Him in all his Truth, including the Holy Spirit who lives and moves and empowers all believers. Something that kind of grieves me is this concept that we don’t need the Holy Spirit empowerment.
The Holy Spirit is something that Jesus said we needed. The Holy Spirit was given to all believers to empower their walk.
“But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
How can we say that the Holy Spirit was not given for empowerment? How can we deny that the Holy Spirit was given with the same authority that Christ has, and that authority is declared to us through and in us as the Holy Spirit dwells in us? How can people begin to say, “I believe the Holy Spirit is just for sanctification, and that miracles do not happen?” How is living a life of misery glorifying to Jesus? Did not Jesus come to set us from that kind of life? Trials are to be expected, but we do not have to be miserable during them. Yes hardships will come, but we don’t have to be the victim of circumstance. These are the things that the Holy Spirit just gives us, but we can go beyond that as well. With the empowerment of the Spirit, your own faith grows more, and the evidence by the bigger steps you take in following God’s footsteps for your life. So, I say again…What good comes from people denying the empowerment of the Spirit?
The more I learn about Pentecostalism, the more I realize that the Holy Spirit is desperately needed for this Age because this Age denies Him. There are many people who live with only a Dualistic God, and deny the Holy Spirit in practice. Their words say something different than their actions. We need to get back to living like the God that we serve is a Triune God. The Holy Spirit is empowering us daily with the wisdom straight from Jesus, with power straight from Jesus, and is our direct source of strength. But we also need to remember that Peter’s shadow healed people, that Paul’s presence made the demons quake. The power and Spirit of God does not keep us part of the group but separates us from it. “We are not of this World, but in it”, “Already but Not Yet”, “Redeemed”. The allure of us will now be the Christ, the Jesus of our Salvation. There is something about accepting the mantle that Christ has given all of us, that makes us different and because we’re different we need to point to the source—Jesus. Who better to help us than the Spirit who has a direct line to Jesus? Why not have that ability 24/7. I am reminded of the song by Newsboys, “I’ve got Your Number”. We have Jesus’ direct pager, cellphone, snap chat, Skype, and all the other ways we connect when we are Baptized and given the empowerment of the Spirit. We have a direct line with JESUS. Really, think about that. A direct line, a link, a tie—we have been connected to Jesus. Dial me up now Jesus, and how often do we forget this? Prayer. Study. Live. Prayer. Study. Live. This is the way Christians need to live their life, and I am guilty of not following this part of the walk. I’m just as guilty as you, but we can take a stand and ask Jesus to empower us to change these behaviors. We have to truly want it though, to live life in submission to Jesus is a light yolk compared to the burden of the law’s judgment, but it’s still a heavy yolk. But with the Holy Spirit’s power living in us, it becomes more and lighter…because Jesus is walking with us the entire time. As we follow God’s call on our lives, we shall find that if the Holy Spirit is active in life, the things that used to trouble us so much will fade away and our fiery passion for Jesus to be exalted will grow more and more…
So—have you thought about thinking yet? Thinking is something that we all do…have you thought about yours? What are those gaps in your knowledge that the Holy Spirit can help you overcome through empowerment?
My prayer is this:
“God, help us to understand our thoughts and actions. Help us to turn to you, and become empowered through the Holy Spirit in our lives. If we do not have the Holy Spirit, Jesus I ask that You help us to seek Him and become aware of our deep need for him. Thank you for the direct line to You, where our strength, hope, and future come from. Give us our daily bread, lead us not into temptation, help us to forgive others, and help us to move the kingdom for Your glory. Amen”.
You see, spring came early this year. And it’s beautifully sunny, and warm. Spring is not like it has always been in the years past, with days of dreary rain and spotty sunshine. This year so far, spring has been more like summer than ever before. This photo, although older, reminds me of what it was like several years ago, that even in the rainy springs, there is beauty abounding. Beauty is something that is always present, even when the sky is gray.
So, Spring reminds me that beauty is what God is and that He created this world to be beautiful. It reminds me of why Jesus had to come, so that sin could be removed, and we are restored to God. Without God, the world look bleak and ugly…
So, this is why I like spring. 🙂
Photo by me, 2012
Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain.[b]
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.
What is Communion?
Communion is a profound, spiritual experience. It was during the Jewish celebration of the Passover, on the eve of His death, that Jesus instituted a new fellowship service that we observe to this day. It is a symbol, metaphor and a teaching tool, remembering our Lord’s death and resurrection, and looking for His return in glory that we now call “Communion.” To best understand communion, we also need to understand a little about Passover and its symbolic meanings. Although the following is not a comprehensive study of all the meanings of Passover and Communion it should help to shed some light on the reasons why we practice communion today.
The Passover is the most sacred feast of the Jewish religious year and is detailed in Exodus 12. It commemorates the final plague on Egypt, when the firstborn of the Egyptians died and the Israelites were spared…
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Lately, I have been facing the big things that I never realized have impacted how I view myself and others. God has been working on me, and I am realizing how deeply impacted one little insecurity can have impact. Many times over, people think that if they show weakness they are invincible. Sure, they may that appearance but in reality they are weaker than the one who admits weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:1-10
I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul’s strength was not in hiding his weakness, but admitting that he was weak and through that he came to understand that his strength is found in weakness. Paul was speaking about how we come to grips with reality, that we as ‘strong’ people really are not strong. It is in our weakness that strength is found.
For example. Many people think that beauty is the cultural style of beauty. That what the world chases is ‘beauty’. But what the world feeds those who run down that road is a bunch of lies, and deceptions. Really, it is sexuality, lust, and lies that the world feeds. Beauty is not necessarily being skinny, have a pretty face, or being squeezed into clothes to make you feel ‘sexy’. Beauty comes from the fact that we are all created in the Image of the Beautiful Creator. Our beauty is not based in the cultural norms, Christian beauty is based in the fact that God is beautiful and he created us in his image. Beauty is not something that can be replaced, because even the ‘ugliest’ person by the worlds standards, is beautiful because they are made in the Image of God. Imago Dei.
I have struggled all my life with this concept, and God has been unraveling me to reveal this fault in my view. In all my short years, I have come to realize this now. My beauty is not by the World’s standards, and when I deny my beauty, I deny God’s beauty. Now this is not to say I pride myself in being ‘beautiful’, but that I recognize the source of beauty–God. To deny being pretty (in terms of the physical) is to deny that God created me in his Image. Why would the beautiful creator of the world create his crowning jewel on creation as ‘ugly’? He does not, he would be a human if that happened. God is so far beyond our scope of understanding, and this little unraveling has revealed more about the heart of my issues. My perspective yet again…
This is why I have come to understand that beauty for ashes does not mean that we will not face pain, it means that God is taking those world standards that we judge ourselves by (ashes) and exchanging them for his beauty. Through God’s work, we are redeemed to be his beautiful creation where we exemplify God’s totality. He’s not just concerned about our souls…but also about our bodies and reclaims them from the standards of the World and into our world. He’s not just redeeming our souls, he’s redeeming the complete person when we accept Christ as Lord and Savior.
Sorry for the extended silence as of late, but that is what God has been working out in my life plus a whole lot of other stuff.
Don’t forget to shout at me if you have a prayer request, or praise report. Feel free to shoot me a tweet at @allisnotgold04
If you’d rather not go there, feel free to leave it in the comments! Be as vague as you need or as detailed as you feel freed to share!
There are so many glitches,
So Many issues.
Am I wrong?
Did I do something wrong?
Was I was in error?
Things are not moving right and I scares me…
But then I realize,
Ultimately He is in Control.
So these errors are a test,
And with the tests I will pass…
I will have faith that this is right.
So was I wrong?
I was wrong to doubt.
I love photography with a passion, and yet it’s my hobby. These are from around a small lake where I travel frequently.
Popularity I despise; it is an empty bubble!
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the shouts of the people,
and a few days after, they clammered against his life.
My aim is the
“well done thou good and faithful servant.”
Brother John Thomas
From Apples of Gold