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And the Word was made 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. (John 1:14)

Jesus in us, the hope of Glory!!

And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the first born among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.…(Rom.:8:28-30)

Dear Fellow Pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

This Lent I have proposed to intentionally yield myself totally to the Holy Spirit so that I may intentionally cooperate with His process of bringing me into conformance to the image of Christ!!

I do this because I am just realizing that unless I yield myself fully to His will, through Love, that He will not initiate the process of conforming me to the image of Christ in me!

As a result of the activation of my conversion and the attending revelation, the Holy Spirit has brought to life my understanding of His Word and a fuller understanding of the Mystery of the Incarnation, that in His birth through the virgin Mary, Jesus, the Son of God, became one of us while at the same time Retaining His Divinity, so that he would be the Father’s atonement for the sins of all humanity.

What has been harder for me to truly grasp is that through His Birth , Passion, Death and Resurrection the door has also been opened for me (and all believers) to become partakers of His Divinity (see, 2 Peter 1:4) – to be reborn in HIM! This is what I found hard to fully comprehend. Especially how He works out my transformation to the image of Jesus in me and through me. It became clear to me, through His inspiration that I need to willingly surrender to Him in Love in before He will initiate the process!

As John also states in His Gospel… “He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God”. (John 1:13 )

Now, all the new communities founded by the apostles faced the challenge of bringing the new believers to a deeper understanding of what it meant to be “Children of God”. In order to enhance the understanding of the Galatian community (and us) regarding being “heirs” or “adopted” children of God, the Apostle Paul, in his letter to them tried to explain to them using the Roman legal system of their day. At that time a legally born child, although an “heir” could not exercise his privileges as an heir until such a time, determined by tradition and His Father, that he was legally “adopted” as an official “son” or “heir”. Only after that point could he exercise his authority as a “son” within the family.

Using this comparison to explain to the Galatians what our “adoption” meant, Paul expanded on this theme as follows…

“I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Gal. 4:1-7)

We believers have the power (choice) to become “Adopted” children of God

“He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power [“choice” ] to become [“adopted” ] children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-18)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17)

As we mature spiritually, our challenge in living a truly Christian life comes in understanding exactly when it is that we are “empowered” spiritually, what our spiritual “authority” is, and how to operate within that authority. First of all we need to have have the awareness that we are a New Creation “in Christ” or as St. Peter said: “ You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter1:23)

Operating in our traditional Cristian culture we are formed as “un-empowered” children and learn to obey and follow our beliefs and traditions faithfully. But as we grow in faith and maturity we are never taught how to go deeper regarding the use our faith and spiritual authority properly within our normal sphere of influence and prayer life so as to bring forth the Kingdom of God that is in us. Instead we passively permit the circumstances of our lives to overwhelm God’s purposes for our lives, especially that we are being conformed to the image of Christ in us (our Hope of Glory).

“And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.…” (Rom. 8:28-30)

We must understand that we cannot enter into the use of our authority in Christ without yielding our selves to Him as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2) so that the process of our conformance may begin. This is how we activate the Spirit of Christ in us and permit us to act “in His Name”! In doing this we may restart our lives by walking as a new creation in Him! ( see, 2 Cor. 5:17)

God makes us into a new creation in Christ so that with His Divinity in us we become partners with Him so that by His Love working through us we become participants in bringing forth His Kingdom in and through His Son Christ Jesus! Yes, it is the intent of the Lord to bring forth his Kingdom right now, in the present day! He does this because His Kingdom begins in the hearts of those who believe in Him!

Entering into the Kingdom

Entering into the Kingdom to be partners with Jesus however does not come automatically to us. We have to make a decision — a decision of Agape Love, to willingly, and without compulsion, give our very selves to Christ so that He can enter into our spiritual temple, our spirits, and let Him truly reign in our hearts as Our King and Savior. In entering in we must understand that we will also share in the cup of His suffering.

This is the lesson Jesus was trying to teach Nicodemus when he sought out Jesus (John 3) coming to Him at night to ask Him about his awareness of what God was doing through Him. In meeting with him, Jesus told Him that it was one thing to be made aware of “the Kingdom” and another to “enter into the Kingdom”. That is, God can permit you to be partially aware of His doings, but you cannot participate in His doings unless you have been “born again” spiritually!

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot [truly] enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)

How does this happen?

While it is true that we receive the Spirit of Christ when we receive Baptism and Confirmation, yet because of our free will, the Holy Spirit will not take us further in our transformation into conformance until we willingly, out of love for our Savior, activate the seed of His Spirit that is in us by yielding ourselves completely to the Holy Spirit so that His Kingdom may rule in our hearts and body and soul.

Only those who have activated their spiritual seed in this way can be sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Without this awareness and His anointing you cannot Hear the Word of the Shepherd, and thus be able to carry out the acts needed to be a partner with Jesus and the Father in bringing forth His Kingdom!

This is what it takes to be a true disciple of Christ. It is also why Nicodemus remained a “disciple-in-waiting” until he made his decision after Jesus’ passion and crucifixion. Because he was afraid of the repercussions in the Sanhedrin, of which the was a member, he kept his belief in Christ as a private matter, at least until Jesus Passion and Death!

Don’t follow Nicodemus’ example, instead, follow Mary who responded to the Angel of God immediately, saying, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.”(Luke 1:38) !

Faith Formation is Important

We must also be careful not to deviate from the Faith while we are in process of having our faith formed.

The Galatian community at its inception, for instance, was very much like young child heir, who did not fully understand their responsibility in the faith as a newly initiated children of the Father. Children who were being led astray by the Judaizers from Jerusalem who were telling them that they needed to be circumcised in order to be part of the religion.

Here is what St. Paul said to them….You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?” (Gal. 3:1-3)

Paul also felt so strained in straightening them out that he had to explain to them that they were no longer un-empowered babes that were governed by slavish rules, but were fully adopted sons an daughters responding to their relationship with the Father directly… “… because you are His [adopted] children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, of God Himself…” (Gal. 4:6-7)

Paul also cautions them however, that because they are behaving like babes still in the womb, that they are open to falling prey to the “circumcision sect” and are at risk of losing their inheritance in Christ, Therefore, he, Paul, is concerned about them to the point that he informs them that he is constantly praying for them because “…I travail in birth again until Christ [is truly] formed in you” (Gal. 4:19).

Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ — An Urgent Appeal

As you can see, in order to be truly formed in Christ we have to make an act of the will in accordance with the faith and grace given us at salvation. The apostle Paul expresses that act of faith to the Roman community as an urgent appeal to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”.

“Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Rom. 13:11-14)

In is letter to the Galatians he expands that appeal further implying that “putting on the Spirit of Christ” also means “living and walking in the Spirit of Christ:

“Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:16-26)

The Results of Living and Walking in the Spirit

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

“But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, [if indeed] the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.” (Rom. 8: 1-11)

Pray about Making a Resolution

So Brethren, in this coming year meditate about what has just been presented to  you, consult the Lord and find out what His purpose and desires are for you. Then ask for the Holy Spirit’s help in making a decision to truly “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” ( I mean literally) and so that we may truly “enter into His Kingdom”!

May the Lord Bless you and keep you. May His Face Shine upon you and Bring you His Peace!

Your Brother in Christ … Bartimaeus

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Recommended Links

<> Jesus the Source of Living Water

<> The Kingdom of God; Our Spiritual Inheritance

<> Reclaiming Our Legacy in Christ

<> Receiving the  the Holy Spirit

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2021]

The Birth of Messiah and Us

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.

While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:1-7)

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

(Luke 2:8-14)

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we approach the celebration of the birth of Messiah, the Christ, Let us prepare our hearts by humbling ourselves in the knowledge of whom it is we are coming to worship and our own unworthiness before Him.  For it is only in approaching Him in humility and repentance that we can fully experience His presence in our hearts, for it is to the poor in spirit that He reveals Himself and invites into His Kingdom.

The first persons invited to celebrate the birth of the Messiah were not those from the elite classes of Judea, certainly not its king or its princes or magistrates. Nor was it anyone from the religious class, the Priests and Sanhedrin, or the Pharisees and Sadducees. No, it was a group of poor shepherds tending their sheep who were called as first witnesses to the birth that changed destiny of humanity for all time – the birth of its savior-redeemer, indeed its King! Even the wise men, magi, or Kings from the east were strangers to Israel, but they came days or months later – it was this group of poor humble shepherds that were granted the privilege of being the first to honor the Messiah and be Blessed by His Presence – to be the first to see the Light of the World manifested in human form.

As it was then, so it is today, regarding our ability to come into the presence of the King of the Universe. Those who are considered last by human society, and consequently by themselves, are to be the first and those who are considered first by human society because of their status, whether religious, secular or political, will be last in coming to a renewed spiritual awareness of His Person, not because their status itself prevents them, but because their status puffs up their human pride and self-esteem to the point that it takes them longer open their hearts to be receptive to God’s grace and, thus, transition to the level of humility required to receive the spiritual awareness needed to come into His presence.

Unfortunately, the materialistic manner with which we celebrate the Christmas holidays works against us – for our social customs places the emphasis on the gifts (to each other) rather than on the Giver (of Himself for our salvation). Instead of leading us an awareness of our own unworthiness, our worldly traditions lead us to think more highly of ourselves than we really ought, thus blinding us to our individual need for salvation and diminishing the infinite value of the Father’s Gift of His only son for our redemption.

Note that the Father did not select any one from the esteemed classes of the time, Joseph, Mary, and the shepherds were from the poor and needy class which scripture terms the “Anawim” (Zeph.3:12).  “Anawim” is a Hebrew term meaning “poor,” “humble,” or “afflicted.” Some scholars note that, it came to mean those who, because of their condition, could not rely upon their own strength but had to rely completely upon God. These same scholars speculate that, because of their simple faith and piety, most of the early believers in Messiah were from the Anawim, the poor and needy class and composed their own Jewish-Christian canticles of praise for God’s salvation in Jesus.

Listen to what the Old Testament had to say regarding the Anawim:

1 Ah, soiled, defiled, oppressing city! 2 It has listened to no voice; it has accepted no correction. It has not trusted in the LORD; it has not drawn near to its God. 9 At that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord. 10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, my scattered ones, shall bring my offering. 11 On that day you shall not be put to shame because of all the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain.12 For I will leave in the midst of you a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD– 13 the remnant of Israel; they shall do no wrong and utter no lies, nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths. Then they will pasture and lie down, and no one shall make them afraid. (Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13)

With this scripture in mind Let us briefly review the list of the participants at the Birth of Messiah:

Joseph, was from a branch of the Davidic lineage (Jeconiah a descendant of Jehoiakim, cf. Jeremiah 36:1-32) that was under a curse, a divine curse that stated that no one from this lineage would succeed to the throne of David and would not prosper.

Mary, although a descendant of David, through Nathan, herself was under a cloud of shame because, to the uninformed, she became pregnant out of wedlock and thus was under a possible judgment of stoning.

Those who tended the sheep were from the lowest classes in Judea – they were usually uneducated, simple people living day-to-day in the most meager of circumstances, not being sure where their next meal would be coming from, relying totally on their trust in God.

Jesus, then, came from this class of disenfranchised people, the son of a carpenter, who offended His hometown residents when He claimed that God had anointed him. Essentially, they said to Him, “Who do you think you are? You are nothing but the son of a carpenter, you don’t have any religious training and we know all your relatives and they are also of no consequence, and here you are claiming to be God’s Messiah” (Luke 4:16-30).

Jesus’ disciples were no better, they were fishermen, tax collectors, political rebels, and people of no reputation. This, then, is the class of people the Lord calls to Himself, the disenfranchised, the despised, the poor in spirit. These are the ones the scriptures refer to as “my Hidden Ones”. These are the ones that the Lord told the despairing Elijah, that “… I have Seven Thousand who have not bowed the Knee to Baal” (Rom. 11:1-6).

This, my brothers and sisters is what we need to remind ourselves when the Lord calls us to discipleship. It is the grace to be formed and united to this class of people that we need to ask of the Lord as we approach Him on this the celebration of His Birth. Here is what the Apostle Paul says indirectly to us regarding our attitude in coming to Christ:

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature, God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:4-8)

It is only when we permit the Holy Spirit to purify us of our pride and self-centeredness, and begins to form us into the image of Christ, that we can approach the Babe in the manger of Bethlehem and present Him our gifts. Yes my bothers and sisters, I said “our gifts”, for you see, the gift He wants from us is our very selves, and only when we have stripped our selves of our attachments to this world and become poor in spirit that we are able to open and offer our presents before Him for the Glory of His Name!  Baruch ha Shem! Amen and Amen!

Keep in mind what Our Lord Jesus said to His disciples:

“…Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (Matt. 19:23-29)

I confess to you my brethren that, I, myself  am struggling to be one of those who are poor in spirit and thus join myself spiritually to the Anawim, In this struggle I am having trouble in detaching myself from the affairs of this world and giving myself totally to the Lord.  I pray daily for the grace to draw closer and closer to Him and to the Anawim of old. Will you not join me, then my brothers and sisters, in this, my pilgrim quest, as I “… follow the Bright and Morning Star to the dawning of the Day, to the revelation of the Christ as He in His cradle Lay”? And, As you travel on your way, remember what our Master had to say..,”

“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. (John 15:18-21)

“… ‘I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes [anawim?]. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him’ ”. (Matt. 11: 25-27)

As you approach His presence in the hay, give yourself to Him today – become one of the Anawim and let Him reveal Himself to you this Christmas day !

With this said, I take leave for now, that I may go to worship the King on the day of His appearing. May the Lord richly bless you and your loved ones during this wonderful Christmas Season.

Your Brother in Christ … Bartimeaus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2020])

Related Links

God’s Call to Personal Intimacy

Sweet Yoke of Love

Opening the Door to Jesus and His Love

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Our Legacy is to live “In Christ”!

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit !!!

“In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:11-1)

Dear Fellow Pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

By now most of you have read my previous articles on the Sanctifying Gifts and Empowerment Gifts (cf. Resource Links, below) and have been sufficiently stirred up by the Word of God and the inspiration of the Spirit referenced in those articles so that you now want to know how you may personally receive the “Promise of the Father” and activate the Spiritual Gifts in your lives.

As Christians “The Promise of the Father” and the Nine Empowerment Gifts (1 Cor. 12:7-11) are all part of the Legacy we have in Christ Jesus.  When we are converted, repent of our sins, and are baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit (cf., Gal. 3:27), not only are our sins forgiven and given new Life in Christ but we also receive the Seven Sanctifying Gifts of the Spirit  through which the Holy Spirit conforms us to His image (cf., Is. 11: 1-3, Rom. 8:29) and covers us with the cloak of His Righteousness (cf., Rom. 4:5).

We are Heirs to the Kingdom

But as if that were not enough, the Holy Spirit, through the immeasurable grace of redemption also makes us new creations in Christ (cf., 2 Cor. 5:17) and provides entrance into the Kingdom where, by the unmerited grace and Love of the Father, we are seated at His right hand of Christ to share in His reign forever (cf., Eph. 2:6). By this grace granted us through His sacrifice on the cross and His victory over death, we are, upon acting on our faith, made heirs of the Kingdom and the adopted children of the Father. Praised be His Holy Name!

“But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” (Eph. 2:4-10)

The “..good works” spoken of here are those works through which Jesus continues His ministry in us and through us for the Glory of the Father and the benefit of the community (cf., Acts 10:38). As His adopted children, then, we form the Body of Christ and, thus, are also the Father’s representatives or envoys in world to continue the ministry of His Son so that the Glory of the Father’s love may be manifested through us to all humanity.

However, in order to fulfill this calling on our lives it is necessary that we also share in the empowerment that was on Christ when he was in the world. This is the mantle that He passed on to us at Pentecost (cf., “The Double portion Anointing”), this is what the “Promise of the Father” is all about. And, it is in accepting and receiving the Promise of the Father through the baptism of the Spirit that we reclaim the fullness of our spiritual inheritance in Christ (cf., Eph. 1: 16-18).

At Pentecost, “The Promise of the Father” was purposely given to the body of Christ, a body composed of all who believe in Him and are called according to His purpose, specifically to empower us to carry on His ministry in this world. The Spirit endows all believers with this empowerment from generation to generation until Jesus comes again to judge and to reign over His Kingdom (cf., Acts 2:38-39).

Because He gave us a free will, He does not impose these latter gifts upon us, but instead, they are offered to us free of any obligation or condemnation. Our salvation is not contingent on our acceptance of the Promise of the Father – it must be by our own choice – our choice of becoming His partners in the work He continues to do in this world to bring more of humankind to Himself. There is only one pre-condition, you must be a child of God through repentance and baptism (cf., Acts 2:38) in order to be considered an inheritor of the Kingdom and the empowerment that comes with it (cf., “The Kingdom of God Our Spiritual Inheritance”). (see also 1 Cor. 12, which tells us of the nine Empowerment Gifts)

Now, normally, we receive this “empowerment” or “strengthening” when we receive the sacrament of confirmation. However, as with all things of faith, if you receive without faith, the manifestation of the sacrament remains latent in you (cf., Heb. 4:2). For instance, in my case, I am a cultural cradle catholic and have been baptized and confirmed, but I never manifested the empowerment gifts on the receipt of the sacrament because I was never taught to expect these gifts at confirmation, so my faith was not awakened. If I had been taught from the Word, and my faith had been awakened appropriately, I would have received them, then and there. It was not until later in my adult life that the Holy Spirit worked in my life through His Word and circumstances to bring me to conversion, accept Jesus as my personal Lord and savior, and baptize me in the Holy Spirit. It was not until then that I began to manifest the special supernatural gifts the Spirit had destined for me.

As the empowerment gifts were realized in me, the Spirit opened up the Word of God in a deeper more intimate way so that I began to understand the gifts I had just received (cf., “The Key to the Kingdom”). This understanding clearly led me to the knowledge that these gifts a were part of my legacy in Christ Jesus and that they were there, not for my benefit but so that Jesus Himself could minister to the community through my person (along with others who have been likewise blessed).

In responding to the prayer for renewal of Pope John XXIII (ca.1962), the Lord has, in His own sovereign power, initiated a work of spiritual renewal in His Church that permits us to reclaim the fullness of our legacy in Christ (cf., “The Charismatic Renewal”). By His Grace, I am a participant in this movement of His Grace and I am here to proclaim to you the Good News that the grace of God is here for you also – the Kingdom of God is here for you to enter into the fullness of His blessings and receive the Empowerment Gifts of the Spirit through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, just as was prophesied by the Apostle Peter at Pentecost (cf., Acts 2:38-39).  As the Apostle Paul once said, “As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor. 6:1-2)

If your faith has stirred you to action then the next step for you is prayer. Faith without action is “dead faith”(cf., James 2:26) so by asking we are taking action and thus activating the faith that the Holy Spirit has placed in us. This is in accord with what the Lord told his disciples,

“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13)

In order to facilitate your asking, I present to you in the sections below, two prayers that encompass re-dedication to Christ and Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Normally this type of prayer(s) are presented at the conclusion of what is called a “Life in the Spirit Seminar” conducted within a Charismatic Prayer Group or a Charismatic Parish. This seminar is the usual venue where one is prayed for to receive the “Baptism in the Spirit”. The community setting is appropriate because it is within such a community that the spiritual gifts are, fostered, nurtured and practiced.  However, in the global outreach of these articles there are many who do not have direct access to a charismatic community, thus these prayers are provided so that you may, in private or in your own small group pray for the Baptism In the Holy Spirit.  You do not need to wait to find a prayer group – activate your faith as soon as possible, while the fire of your faith is strong. Later when you do encounter a Charismatic community you can revitalize your commitment at their services (see Community Links below). And, I might add, if the Spirit leads you, begin your own prayer group!

Prayer of Dedication

Lord Jesus, I believe that you, the Son of the Living God came down from heaven to reveal the Father’s Love to me by suffering and dying for my sins. I believe that through your death and resurrection you have brought redemption and life not only to me but also all else who believe in you. I further believe that it is only through knowing you in a loving personal relationship that I can know the Father.              …

It is because I have a burning desire to know you and abide in you that I now yield myself completely to you and your love. I open the door to my heart so you can come in and sup with me and thus begin the special relationship with you for which you died and for which I hunger. At this moment I yield myself to your love. Enter in and activate my spirit with your Holy Spirit so that I can go beyond just mere intellectual belief in you to a personal spiritual knowledge of you and the Father.                       …

Lord, cleanse me from my sins and make me a fit vessel for your presence. Permeate my entire being with your life and your love so that I can truly be your instrument in this world. Be my Lord, Be My God, Be my King to rule and to reign in me. In faith and by your grace I receive You and I receive Your word. Abide in me just as you abide in the Father and the Father in You! Thank You for giving Yourself for me. Amen!

Prayer for Empowerment in the Holy Spirit

Father, as your child in Jesus I desire to be totally an instrument for Your Kingdom to manifest through my life. I desire to receive your Promise of the Holy Spirit to those who believe. Jesus, my Savior and King, baptize me in the Holy Spirit so that the power of your resurrection will work in me and transform me according to your will. Holy Spirit, empower me and fill me to overflowing. I hold nothing back from you. Work your gifts in me and through me so that the Father’s Kingdom may be manifested in and through my life. I ask this in Jesus’ mighty Name. Amen!

Now, begin praising and worshipping God with all your heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you, renew you, and praise God through you. Release yourself from all the inhibitions you have and raise your voice in songs and psalms. Express those longings you have held in your heart for so long but were unable to let loose because of your inhibitions. As you sing and worship release yourself to the Holy Spirit so that He can pray and worship through you.

As you enter this time of praise and worship you will begin to experience a sense of the presence of the Lord. You will begin to lose your self-consciousness and you will sense that the flow of your prayers and song is coming as if from out of nowhere. In fact, as your praise increases you sense that you are uttering words that are no longer in your mother tongue. But you know in your spirit that these words are honoring God so your flow in these phrases increases. You have just received your prayer language. You are feeling so blessed, you find that you don’t want to stop. Don’t stop. Pray and sing your heart out, glorifying God!

Praised be His Holy Name! You have now ”Entered the Kingdom” of the Father! Walk in the leading of the Holy Spirit and be obedient to His call! May the Lord Bless you and anoint you with the Holy Spirit in all that you do!

Your Brother In Christ,

Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2020])

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Resource Links In Preparing for the Baptism In the Spirit

# Catholic Charismatic History

§ Releasing the Spirit

§ The Double Portion Anointing

§ Jesus, the Source of Living Water, and Us

§ Pentecost and the Promise of the Father

§ The sanctifying Gifts (Part 1)

§ The Sanctifying Gifts (Part 2)

§ Praying in The Spirit

§ The Empowerment Gifts (Part 1)

§ The Empowerment Gifts (Part 2)

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The Word is a Double Edged Sword

The Word is a Double Edged Sword

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)

My Dear Brothers  and Sisters in Christ Jesus,Self assessment

Assessing Our Inner Self

Yes, God does make a distinction between “Soul” and “Spirit”, but it takes the inspired Word of God to help us discern between them.

The inspired Word of God is key to discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Without access to the inspired Word and prayer we cannot fully come to the sincere self-assessment appropriate not only during the sesson of season of Lent … but also during difficult spiritual times.

As we enter the season then, let us remember that the main objective of this liturgical season is to stir our minds and our hearts to look at ourselves in God’s spiritual mirror and, upon seeing what God sees in us, to turn to Him in sincere and deep repentance, asking not only His forgiveness, but also for His transforming grace to conform us to the image of His Son.

This is, a transformation that activates the Spirit of Christ in us so that His will, His thoughts, and His desires become one with our own. This transformation does not happen automatically – one must yield and permit the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us!

We must also remember that the traditional group or personal devotions we observe during lent are only meant to act as spiritually inspired  catalysts to enable us to go deeper into our very spirits and hear what His Word is telling us about where we need to change.

The Holy Spirit must also lead us to open ourselves for Him to work in us and through us, to effect the changes that will enable Him to fulfill His purpose in our lives – that is, to permit God to use the circumstances of our earthly lives to form us to His Image, thus fully becoming another of Jesus’ spiritual brothers and sisters.

<> This Season we need to Re-affirm Our On-Going Transformation

“For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son; that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren.”  (Rom.8:29)

As always we should never enter this season with fear and trepidation regarding our sins and failures for the Lord has already reconciled us to Himself through the sacrifice of His Son on the Cross. All we need to do to continue our progress is to sincerely repent and reaffirm our commitment for Him to continue our transformation.

Because of God’s Mercy at our sincere repentance, our sins and failures can no longer impede us. As St. Paul indicates to us, “Therefore there is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” ( Rom. 8:1).

And again, we find words of encouragement in the Letter to the Hebrews:
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)

<>  Confession and  Sincere Repentance Is Gateway to Reconciliation

In order to ensure our access to the reconciliation procured for us in Christ Jesus we must come before the Father in Faith and sincere repentance.

Listen to what scripture tells us about our ability to enter into fellowship with Him if our sin  get in the way: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”—Psalm 66:18

So it is that  without confession and repentance our sins impede God’s ability to hear our prayers and thus hinders us from cooperation with His Grace for His purposes.

“If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true;  but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 Jn 1: 6-10)

Thus Scripture makes it clear that Repentance is key to the  Good News of His Reconciliation that is feely offered through His Son’s sacrifice on the Cross and His Resurrection. As Jesus told His Apostles …

“…Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24: 46-47)

Since our sins have already been forgiven by Him in eternity, All that the Father wants us to do receive His Reconciliation is to reach out to Him in sincere repentance, as an act of faith – to freely draw in His eternal forgiveness for the salvation of our souls to meet our present day need for justification through the Blood of Jesus.

<> Our Practice of Repentance Needs to be Continuous

Saint Paul, in order to help us cooperate with the Father’s Grace in conforming us to the image  of His Son, explains our need to continuously receive the Father’s Reconciliation …
“…namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  (2Cor. 5: 19-21)

And, at the same time he (Paul) exhorts them (and us), that because of the above we are to consider every day of continuous repentance as a day of “Salvation”…
“Working together [with the Spirit], we entreat also that you not receive the grace of God in vain, For he says, “At an acceptable time I listened to you, in a day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is the acceptable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation. ” (2 Cor. 6:1-2)

Our main challenge, then, to freely and continuously to receive this Grace of Reconciliation, is to remain in Christ, as branches on the Vine, so as to maintain our attachment to the Vine, through Faith, otherwise,unless we repent, we may fall from Grace and be be cut off and cast into the fire (cf., Jn. 15:5ff).

Now, even though the Father has eternally reconciled  us to Himself, we can only cooperate and receive that reconciliation in our present “today” through the continuous practice of sincere repentance. This is so because we can only “sincerely” repent of our past and present sins and, thus, we must also continue in our practice of repentance to receive our share in the “eternal” reconciliation until we come into the heavenly realm where day-to-day “time” no longer reigns.

<> Our Continuous Repentance Reaffirms Our Continuing Transformation

The Father cannot begin His process of conforming us to His Son as His adopted Children until we have first been reconciled to Him, and since it is beyond our ability to do so, He, through the death of His Son, has paid the price for all the sins of humanity, to reconcile us to Himself for all eternity. So, since in order to remain in the sanctifying Grace of Reconciliation, we must likewise practice continuous repentance in order for the Holy Spirit to continue His work of Conforming us to the Image of Christ, whose Spirit Lives in us.

If we break this process through our sinfulness, The Father has graciously provided provided us the necessary Graces through the sacraments of Confirmation, Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist. These sacraments restore us to the necessary state of Reconciliation and provide us the spiritual strength to overcome the World and the evil spirits that control the world system that surrounds us.

<> Understanding Sincere Faith-Inspired Repentance

From the above reasoning we understand why “repentance” is most certainly one of the Keys for entrance into the Kingdom.

The only condition placed on our repentance is that it must be a sincere act of faith on our part.  That is, it must be a result of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts through His Word to give us the awareness that we done something that is against God’s will for us and, at the same time, an awareness that by turning to The Father for mercy we immediately receive access to the “eternal forgiveness” which has already been obtained for us through Jesus’ death on the Cross.

“Repentance in faith”, then, is the manner which the Lord has ordained through which we humans are to access the eternal blessings of His eternal forgiveness for all humanity. This, without doubt qualifies, the grace of repentance, as a primary Key to the Kingdom.
Just remember that we can only sincerely repent of our past and present sins – we cannot sincerely repent of the sins we commit in our futures. Thus the Lord has ordained that through such a faith-inspired repentance we can continue to draw on His forgiveness as we live out the span of our lives.

Also, Remember that “True Repentance” includes a sincere commitment to turn to God and His grace to keep you from committing, not only the sin(s) you are confessing, but also all thoughts, words, and actions that are counter to God’s will for you. Without such a commitment your “repentance” cannot be considered  “sincere”.

<> Carrying Out Our Commitment

Since we as fallible human beings are not capable of living a transformed life out of our own effort, the way the scripture indicates for us to truly live a life surrendered to Christ is to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to Him so that the the Spirit of Christ that is in us  may live out His Life through us, in our submitted body and soul.

St. Paul expresses this commitment to a New Transformed Life in Christ as follows:
“ I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2))

He also tells us the effects such a commitment had on him and, through inference, the effect it will have on those of us, who commit ourselves to live a New Life In Christ.Jesus-crucified

It is finished!

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  (Gal. 2:20)

<>  Living out Our Renewed Life In Christ

In conclusion. I add the exhortation Paul gave the Colossians about how to begin to live out this Renewed Life in our Communities:

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus, the Lord, continue to live your lives 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 through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in Him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.” (Col. 2:6-10)

May the Lord Bless You and Keep You and may the Holy Spirit inspire you, to not only make this commitment (see below), but also provide you the faith, strength and graces you need to carry out the Father’s purposes for you in your Renewed Life in Christ Jesus.
Praised Be His Holy Name!  Amen and Amen!

Your Fellow Pilgrim In Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus.

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2020])

PS:  The following are some additional items that may help you in making your decision:

<> A Quote from St.Ignatius:
“There are very few people
who realize what God would make of them 
if they abandoned themselves into his hands,
and let themselves be formed by his grace.”

<> A prayer of personal commitment:
“Lord Jesus, I am deeply aware that my sins have separated me from you and from the eternal life which you have promised to those who believe. I also acknowledge that these sins impede me from fulfilling the Father’s purposes for me. I, therefore, repent of my sins and turn to you in faith for the salvation and forgiveness you won for me on the cross through the shedding of your blood even when I was yet a sinner and without merit before God.

In addition, I abandon my life to you totally, body soul, and spirit as a Living Sacrifice So that Your Spirit in me may be the driving force to let your Love work through me.  Come into my heart, be the Lord of my Life, as well as my Savior and my King.  Live in me and through me so that I can truly represent you in my service to others in your Name.” Amen.

His Word Is What Brings Our Spirit To Life!….  Because His Word IS LIFE!

Exploding_Star_by_duragan

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“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”  (John 1:1-5)

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el-greco-light-a-candle

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psa. 119:105)

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“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”   (John 6:63)

Flaming_master_sword_by_MagicMushroomTony

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)

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Dear Fellow Pilgrims in Christ,

Some of you who follow my posts are probably asking yourselves…, “why does this fellow Bartimaeus write so much about Spiritual Renewal  and Discipleship? Aren’t there more important topics today that need to be discussed?”.

My answer to this last question is, no!  Not for me. My reason is, that, just like Paul, I am impelled by the Spirit to reach out to those, who, like myself, are cradle or cultural Christians, but who, for some reason or other, have never come to a personal spiritual encounter with Jesus, the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer. Although my writings may be of value to others along our Pilgrim walk, it is mainly these lacking brethren to which I am most eager to reach. Because God in His Love and Grace reached out to me through His Word and opened my eyes to see the spiritual horizons that Christ has opened to us all, I to wish to freely share what the Lord has given me to see, with those spiritually hungry souls who, though seeking, have not yet encountered the Lover of their souls in a personal and spiritual way.

It is my purpose that my testimony here be considered a witness to the work the Word of God accomplished in me by reviving my spirit  to hear His Voice and reactivating my spiritual life in Christ Jesus. Praised be His Holy Name!

My Background in Brief

“For indeed the good news came to [me] just as to [every one else]; but the message [I] heard did not benefit  [me], because [I ] did not receive it in faith as those others who listened [with their hearts]. “  (Heb. 4:2 )

I was just such a person,  I had heard the Word, but, because of the hardness of my heart, I had not received it in Faith so that  I could understand the Word spiritually and thus permit it to have its effect in me.

I was brought up in a Catholic home, exposed to  and taught all of the basic tenets of Christianity from elementary school through college and compliant with the basic traditions of the Church, of which I am still a member. Yet, even though I knew a lot about Jesus, the scriptures, and even a smattering of theology, I not only did not know Jesus personally in the spirit, I did not even think such a thing was possible for normal people (I thought it was only for the “Saints”).  I did not even know what “in the spirit” meant much less getting to know Jesus personally!

I was spiritually blind and handicapped but I did not know it!

Now don’t get me wrong, I was not in denial about Jesus or my faith, it is just that all that I knew about Jesus and His Church was in my head instead of my heart. I was not in rebellion against what I had learned or the theology of it, I just really did not understand that the whole meaning of being “Christian” is not merely to be immersed intellectually and socially by practice into a religious culture but to be united in Spirit with Christ, in the spirit. United, to such a degree that you come to a personal awareness that He is in you and you in Him!  And, that through that communion with Him, you are empowered by Him to Be His Envoy to the world and proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom to those all around you! Praised be His Holy Name!

In the state of spiritual blindness I was in, I had become co-dependent on the religious culture I was nurtured in. Instead of the culture leading me to encounter Jesus in the Spirit, as it rightly should, and lead me to place my total dependence on Him, I had  become overly attached and comfortable with the religious ambience in which I was brought up and in which I was living – so comfortable, that I avoided anything that might bring me out of my comfort zone. Like a pre-emergent butterfly in its cocoon, I was so attached to the cocoon that I was afraid to stretch out my spiritual wings and fly into the hands of my Master!

And that, my brethren, brings up a point I wish to make clear: the obsatcles and hindrances I had in entering in to the Kingdom were mainly of my own making and my own undoing. I was comfortable because, I was using my religious compliance as a fig leaf to ease my conscience regarding the fact that I had made a god out of my career and my family was suffering for it. Also, because of my engineering education, I was very focused on the world of science  around me and the ability of man’s intellect to assess what is real and what is not. I  tended to view and filter everything religious that I read and thought, through these glasses of intellectual human skepticism and pride.

Because of these personal foibles, I filtered out the spiritual message of the Gospel and the Word of God although I was presented it every Sunday when I went to Mass. I was essentially like the rocky or weedy ground that the seed of the Word fell upon but was unable to establish roots ( see the parable of the Sower, Matt.13:18-23 )

How the Word of God Revived Me Spiritually

Now I know that many of you may have been graced by God to be the “good Soil” into which the “seed” was planted and thus avoided this challenge of faith that I and many others have faced. But for me, I was in a state of spiritual apathy and ignorance that prevented me from truly experiencing the energy, life, and dynamics of the living waters that Jesus was offering to sate my thirst. It required a transformation or transition that I would never have entered on my own, had not the Lord unexpectedly shaken up my life and opened up my heart with His Word so that I could truly experience Him and His Love!

It was this personal conversion experience that brought me to understand that there is a spiritual reality accessible to all Christians – a reality that cannot be attained through mere study and intellectual understanding of scripture and theology. This reality was sometimes termed by Jesus as “The Kingdom of God” and the Good News that He proclaimed was that this spiritual  Kingdom is “at hand”, for all who believe, right where they are, as they come to faith and repentance. The problem we have is that we have to accept His Reign over us by believing in His Son and acting in  obedience to His Word and His Promises in order to enter into His Kingdom (Jn. 3:16)! If we don’t believe in His Lordship and His Promises, then how can He be King over us? If we don’t have faith in His Word how can we claim to be submitted to Him as Lord?

Through my conversion experience, the Lord gave me the faith to enter into His Kingdom and placed in me a strong call to reach out to those, who like me, were spiritually hungry but unaware of how to open the door to Christ and let Him come into their hearts to sup together with Him beginning an eternal and life-giving relationship with Him.  All because the Holy Spirit opened my heart to hear His Word and obey its call on my life. Praised be His Holy Name!

Please refer to my previous Post, “I Stand At the Door and Knock”. to understand that Jesus is, in  fact, knocking at your door  to sup with you, “in the spirit”.

The understanding the Lord gave me when I opened the door of my heart was focused on getting me to comprehend, in my spirit, the basic spiritual principles involving His Word and its importance to all the phases of our spiritual growth, including where I had gone astray, and where He was working in me to make the changes in the inner man that I needed to enter fully into the Kingdom to bring forth fruit for His Glory!

The following is a brief summary of  these Seven Principles, which I term, The Seven R’s.  Please, when you read them, pray and meditate on the relevant scriptures presented so that the Holy Spirit can speak to your heart about them. Don’t just believe my witness, I am human and can certainly err, ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart about these principles and learn from what He says. In fact, He may add or modify what I present here so that it may be of greater meaning to you personally. Blessed be our Counselor from on High!

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The Seven R’s of Spiritual Revival …

How The Word of God Activates The Life of Believers

<>    Receive Faith (through the Word)

Jesus: “[It is] The Spirit [that] gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. (Jn. 6:63)

Paul: “So then, Faith comes by hearing and hearing from the Word of God” (Rom. !0:17)

<>    Repent and Believe (through the Word)

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
(Mk. 1:14-15)

<>    Regeneration – Your Spirit Man comes to life (through the Word)

Peter: “You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Ptr. 1:23)

<>    Relationship – A living, active relationship with dialogue (through the Word)

Jesus:  “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them [… have a relationship with them], and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.”  (Jn. 10:26-28)

Jesus: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.”  (Rev.2::20)

Jesus: “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge [through relationship with God]; you did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”  (Luke 11:52)

Peter: “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge [derived from relationship[ of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (1 Ptr.1:2-4)

<>    Reproduction – Bringing Forth Fruit (through the Word)

Jesus: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (Jn. 15:-6)

Paul: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom     He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Rom. 8:28-30)

Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” (Gal. 2:20)

<>    Representation – We are His Envoys (through the Word)

Jesus: “And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed  and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. (Mk. 16:15-16)

Jesus:  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and  lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)

<>    Reconciliation and Reaffirmation of  Divine Fellowship and Sustenance (through the Word)

[John’s Witness] That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.  (1 Jn. 1:1-3)

We write this to make our joy complete. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from     all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in  our lives.  (1Jn. 1:4-10)

[Jesus’ Witness] “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”  (Jn 6:46-51)

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.      For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will  live because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but  he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” (Jn. 6:53-58)

[ Paul’s Witness]  When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat  and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!  For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The  Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said,   “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the     body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.  (Rom.11:20-32)

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May the Holy Sprit Guide You as you meditate on the Word of Life!

Your Brother in Christ … Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2020])

Recommended Links…

The Making of a Disciple (Through Obedience to the Word!)

The Prayer of Dedication

Cast Your Net on the Other Side!

Sweet Yoke of Love

Regarding Spiritual Growth

 Letting your Light Shine Before Others

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“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt: 5: 14-16)

My fellow pilgrims,

I have to confess to you that I was introduced to this saying of Jesus in my religious classes in a catholic elementary school and it certainly helped me in a human way to build up my self esteem as a christian and incite me to live a more disciplined christian life in this world. But it wasn’t until I was an adult, and began to understand the deeper meaning of what Jesus was saying, that the Word He spoke began to affect my inner spiritual life as well in such a way that I began to mature in my spiritual wisdom as well.

You see as I progressed in my adult life I remembered the words clearly but I also began to realize that in the life I was living I was not really being a light to anyone, in fact, I became more sensitive to my relationship problems and how I was contributing more to darkness than to God’s light. More and more, by God’s Grace, it became apparent to me that most of us Christians take our “life in Christ” for granted. First of all this is probably so because we don’t understand the spiritual responsibility behind having the Spirit of Christ living in us!

Although we have been taught the correct scriptural doctrine based on His Word – “Christ In us the Hope of Glory” ( Col. 1:27), we have not been properly catechized to truly understand, in the spirit, not in our minds, the true spiritual implications of the faith and responsibility we have in making this doctrine a true spiritual expression of faith in our lives. That is we are not taught how the Lord desires for us to be “His Spiritual Partners” and not just human individuals seeking to do what we call “good works”

Activating the Light in us

pictures-of-jesus-baptism-holy-spiritWhen the majority of us cradle Christians, after confirmation, take personal responsibility for our religious principles and belief system, we do so from an intellectually sincere basis founded on our inbred desire to be faithful to our traditions, schooling, and our family religious culture. We do this because they represent our human identity of who we are, to ourselves as a person and to our families. However, most of us, at this stage, are not introduced into the spiritual understanding of of the Word nor the Faith in the Word we need to really enter into the Kingdom!

Of course as christian initiates, we also desire, in a human way, to do good, But what is lacking is a spritual understanding that the “good” that the Lord wants us to do is in partnership with Him and His Grace – not out of our own merit-based self-righteous human effort. This partnership with Him must come from a total yielding of our “self” to Him and to His Holy Spirit. It begins with in-depth true spiritual conversion where we come to believe in Christ as our Lord and Savior, and give ourselves to Him out of a deep personal faith encounter and not just out of an intellectual agreement with the doctrine, scriptural tradition, and principles we have been taught.

In other words, we need to understand how to activate the “light”of Christ that is in us through baptism and confirmation before we can truly be a “light” to others. And that activation has to come through a spiritually revealed “faith” encounter and relationship with Jesus Himself!

Using a story from scripture as a metaphor, I refer you to the story of the encounter the “Samaritan Woman” had with Jesus (John Chapter 4), where Jesus told her not only about receiving the Living Water but also made it clear that she needed to change her lifestyle. She not only responded positively, but went back to to her village and told the people about Jesus whom she now believed was the Jewish Messiah! The villagers not only believed her but were incited with a strong desire to encounter Jesus for themselves.

That my friends, is what Jesus is seeking from us. He uses the witness and the Word, that the church presents to us, to entice us to seek Him out so that each of us can encounter Him personally so that His Word (His Light) permeates our new-born spirit. This opens our inner lives so that He can be our light and the light that we project to the world! It is only then that the seven Sanctifying gifts of the Spirit (Is. 11) can truly begin to work in us in order to conform us to the image of Jesus (see Rom. 8:28-30). It is this conformance to Jesus that activates our inner light as we enter into the process of the renewal of out minds – “and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and [thus] put on the new nature, which was created according to God in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:23-24).

Letting Your Light Shine Out

Once your inner light is activated your next step is to yield yourself to the Holy Spirit so that through His power you can be a channel of your light to others (eg., to the community). When you enter this phase and yield yourself to the Holy Spirit (see 1Cor. 12), He will provide you the “empowerment gifts” you need to fulfill the divine purpose for you to reach others (including the community) with the appropriate gifts needed to extend His Kingdom in the world. These are sometimes called the “Charismatic Gifts”.

Note: St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologia, explains that there are two types of Spiritual Grace: Sanctifying Grace and Actual Grace. The spiritual gifts just mentioned are emanations of these two types of Grace. Sanctifying Grace helps us to grow spiritually in the inner man. While Actual Grace permits us to be channels of Grace to the community so the Lord may extend His Kingdom into the world. The gifts emanating from latter type of grace are sometimes termed as “empowerment”gifts exactly because they empower us with the grace needed to each others for Christ Jesus!

“So I tell you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.…” (Luke 11:9-10)

As I end this posting I present to you a couple of prayers that you may use to encounter Jesus for yourself by, (1) first activating the Light of Jesus that is in you through Baptism and (2) receive the empowerment gifts you need to fill out the role in community-building that the Lord has in mind for you!

May the Lord Bless you and Keep you, May The Lord Shine His Face on you and be gracious to in all that you pray, say and do in His Holy Name!
… Your Brother In Christ, Bartimaeus

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Suggested Prayers Regarding Activating your Light …

Activating the Sanctifying Gifts
As I have indicated before, a true and sincere conversion is the scriptural prerequisite to receiving the “Promise of the Father”, the Gift of the Holy Spirit, in your own personal Pentecost. This means you first need to discern whether you are indeed a converted Christian and not just a cultural one as I was. If you are not sure, and you have determined in prayer that you want to be right with God and have a hunger to know the Lord Jesus personally then that is easy to remedy.  Just pray as follows:

“Lord Jesus, I am deeply aware that my sins have separated me from you and from the eternal life which you have promised to those who believe. I repent of my sins and turn to you in faith for the salvation and forgiveness you won for me on the cross through the shedding of your blood even when I was yet a sinner and without merit before God. I surrender my life to you. Come into my heart, be the Lord of my Life. Be my Savior and my King. Live in me and through me so that I can truly represent you in my service to others in your Name. Amen.

If you made this request sincerely and in Faith you can be sure that the Sanctifying Gifts of Isaiah 11 – representing the spiritual virtues of “Christ in you”are now active in your Life! Praised Be His Holy Name!

Activating the Empowerment Gifts
Now, if the terminology,  “baptism in/with the Holy Spirit”, creates a theological hurdle for you receiving the empowerment gifts of the Holy Spirit, just think of what you are desiring as a  “release of the Holy Spirit” that is already in you through baptism and confirmation. The Holy Spirit is not so much concerned as to your theological understanding of the Promise of the Father as much as He is looking for your sincere desire to be open to His working within you and through you, no matter how or what you call it! All He wants is your permission! Your surrender to His purposes in and through you!

Once this is settled in your mind, then you need to pray about what you are sensing in your spirit. If, after prayer and meditation on the scripture you sense a strong sincere desire to receive all that the Holy Spirit has for you and to be open to His working in and through your life (without restrictions on your part), then you are ready to proceed to the next step.

In asking for the Holy Spirit to empower you (whether in a community setting or a personal one) come into the Father’s presence and ask (something like this):

“ Father, as your child in Jesus I desire to be totally an instrument for Your Kingdom to manifest through my life. I desire to receive your Promise of the Holy Spirit to those who believe. Jesus, my Savior and King, baptize me in the Holy Spirit so that the power of your resurrection will work in me and transform me according to your will. Holy Spirit, empower me and fill me to overflowing. I hold nothing back from you. Work your gifts in me and through me, all of me, so that the Father’s Kingdom may be manifested in and through my life. I ask this in Jesus’ mighty Name. Amen!”

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Now, begin praising and worshiping God with all your heart. Release yourself from all the inhibitions you have and raise your voice in songs and psalms. Express those longings you have held in your heart for so long but were unable to let loose because of your inhibitions. As you sing and worship release yourself to the Holy Spirit so that He can pray and worship through you.

As you enter this time of praise and worship you will begin to experience a sense of the presence of the Lord. You will begin to lose your self-consciousness and you will sense that the flow of your prayers and song is coming as if from out of nowhere. In fact, as your praise increases you sense that you are uttering words that are no longer in your mother tongue. But you know in your spirit that these words are honoring God so your flow in these phrases increases. You have just received your prayer language. You are feeling so blessed, you find that you don’t want to stop. Don’t stop. Pray and sing your heart out, glorifying God!

Praised be His Holy Name! You have now ”Entered the Kingdom” of the Father! Walk in the leading of the Holy Spirit and be obedient to His call!
© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2020].

Related Link (click on Video URL below)
A Catholic Pentecost is Here (video)

Disciple Praying

And the Word was made 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. (John 1:14)

— I believe in Jesus’ Miraculous Birth, The Incarnation, …
                    But what about My being Reborn as a New Creation in Jesus?

Dear Fellow Pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

As a result of the activation of my conversion and the attending revelation, the Holy Spirit has brought to life my understanding of His Word and a fuller understanding of the Mystery of the Incarnation, that in His birth through the virgin Mary, Jesus, the Son of God, became one of us while at the same time Retaining His Divinity, so that he would be the Father’s atonement for the sins of all humanity.

What has been harder for me to truly grasp is that through His Birth , Passion, Death and Resurrection the door has also been opened for me (and all believers) to become partakers of His Divinity (see, 2 Peter 1:4) – to be reborn in HIM! This is what I found hard to fully comprehend.

As John also states in His Gospel… “He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God”. (John 1:13 )

Now, all the new communities founded by the apostles faced the challenge of bringing the new believers to a deeper understanding of what it meant to be “Children of God”. In order to enhance the understanding of the Galatian community (and us) regarding being “heirs” or “adopted” children of God, the Apostle Paul, in his letter to them tried to explain to them using the Roman legal system of their day. At that time a legally born child, although an “heir” could not exercise his privileges as an heir until such a time, determined by tradition and His Father, that he was legally “adopted” as an official “son” or “heir”. Only after that point could he exercise his authority as a “son” within the family.

Using this comparison to explain to the Galatians what our “adoption” meant, Paul expanded on this theme as follows…

“I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Gal. 4:1-7)

We believers have the power (choice) to become “Adopted” children of God

“He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power [“choice” ] to become [“adopted” ] children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-18)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17)

As we mature spiritually, our challenge in living a truly Christian life comes in understanding exactly when it is that we are “empowered” spiritually, what our spiritual “authority” is, and how to operate within that authority. First of all we need to have have the awareness that we are a New Creation “in Christ” or as St. Peter said: “ You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter1:23)

Operating in our traditional Cristian culture we are formed as “un-empowered” children and learn to obey and follow our beliefs and traditions faithfully. But as we grow in faith and maturity we are never taught how to go deeper regarding the use our faith and spiritual authority properly within our normal sphere of influence and prayer life so as to bring forth the Kingdom of God that is in us. Instead we passively permit the circumstances of our lives to overwhelm God’s purposes for our lives, especially that we are being conformed to the image of Christ in us (our Hope of Glory).

“And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.…” (Rom. 8:28-30)

We must understand that we cannot enter into the use of our authority in Christ without yielding our selves to Him as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2) so that the process of our conformance may begin. This is how we activate the Spirit of Christ in us and permit us to act “in His Name”! In doing this we may restart our lives by walking as a new creation in Him! ( see, 2 Cor. 5:17)

God makes us into a new creation in Christ so that with His Divinity in us we become partners with Him so that by His Love working through us we become participants in bringing forth His Kingdom in and through His Son Christ Jesus! Yes, it is the intent of the Lord to bring forth his Kingdom right now, in the present day! He does this because His Kingdom begins in the hearts of those who believe in Him!

Entering into the Kingdom

Entering into the Kingdom to be partners with Jesus however does not come automatically to us. We have to make a decision — a decision of Agape Love, to willingly, and without compulsion, give our very selves to Christ so that He can enter into our spiritual temple, our spirits, and let Him truly reign in our hearts as Our King and Savior. In entering in we must understand that we will also share in the cup of His suffering.

This is the lesson Jesus was trying to teach Nicodemus when he sought out Jesus (John 3) coming to Him at night to ask Him about his awareness of what God was doing through Him. In meeting with him, Jesus told Him that it was one thing to be made aware of “the Kingdom” and another to “enter into the Kingdom”. That is, God can permit you to be partially aware of His doings, but you cannot participate in His doings unless you have been “born again” spiritually!

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot [truly] enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)

How does this happen?

While it is true that we receive the Spirit of Christ when we receive Baptism and Confirmation, yet because of our free will, the Holy Spirit will not take us further in our transformation into conformance until we willingly, out of love for our Savior, activate the seed of His Spirit that is in us by yielding ourselves completely to the Holy Spirit so that His Kingdom may rule in our hearts and body and soul.

Only those who have activated their spiritual seed in this way can be sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Without this awareness and His anointing you cannot Hear the Word of the Shepherd, and thus be able to carry out the acts needed to be a partner with Jesus and the Father in bringing forth His Kingdom!

This is what it takes to be a true disciple of Christ. It is also why Nicodemus remained a “disciple-in-waiting” until he made his decision after Jesus’ passion and crucifixion. Because he was afraid of the repercussions in the Sanhedrin, of which the was a member, he kept his belief in Christ as a private matter, at least until Jesus Passion and Death!

Don’t follow Nicodemus’ example, instead, follow Mary who responded to the Angel of God immediately, saying, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.”(Luke 1:38) !

Faith Formation is Important

We must also be careful not to deviate from the Faith while we are in process of having our faith formed.

The Galatian community at its inception, for instance, was very much like young child heir, who did not fully understand their responsibility in the faith as a newly initiated children of the Father. Children who were being led astray by the Judaizers from Jerusalem who were telling them that they needed to be circumcised in order to be part of the religion.

Here is what St. Paul said to them….You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?” (Gal. 3:1-3)

Paul also felt so strained in straightening them out that he had to explain to them that they were no longer un-empowered babes that were governed by slavish rules, but were fully adopted sons an daughters responding to their relationship with the Father directly… “… because you are His [adopted] children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, of God Himself…” (Gal. 4:6-7)

Paul also cautions them however, that because they are behaving like babes still in the womb, that they are open to falling prey to the “circumcision sect” and are at risk of losing their inheritance in Christ, Therefore, he, Paul, is concerned about them to the point that he informs them that he is constantly praying for them because “…I travail in birth again until Christ [is truly] formed in you” (Gal. 4:19).

Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ — An Urgent Appeal

As you can see, in order to be truly formed in Christ we have to make an act of the will in accordance with the faith and grace given us at salvation. The apostle Paul expresses that act of faith to the Roman community as an urgent appeal to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”.

“Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Rom. 13:11-14)

In is letter to the Galatians he expands that appeal further implying that “putting on the Spirit of Christ” also means “living and walking in the Spirit of Christ:

“Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:16-26)

The Results of Living and Walking in the Spirit

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

“But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, [if indeed] the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.” (Rom. 8: 1-11)

Pray about Making a Resolution

So Brethren, in this coming year meditate about what has just been presented to  you, consult the Lord and find out what His purpose and desires are for you. Then ask for the Holy Spirit’s help in making a decision to truly “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” and “enter into His Kingdom”!

May the Lord Bless you and keep you. May His Face Shine upon you and Bring you His Peace!

Your Brother in Christ … Bartimaeus

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Recommended Links

<> Jesus the Source of Living Water

<> The Kingdom of God; Our Spiritual Inheritance

<> Reclaiming Our Legacy in Christ

<> Receiving the  the Holy Spirit

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2020]

 

Ark-within-the-Holy-of-Holies

Within-the-Holy-of-Holies

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of The Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
    my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler,
    and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
    Under his wings you will take refuge. (Psalm 91 v1-4)

My dear fellow pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

One of the psalms I have been drawn to during this COVID pandemic is Psalm 91.  I always include this psalm as I commence my personal fellowship with my creator every night or evening. Of course, one of the reasons I chose to pray the this psalm is to express and place my trust in the Almighty for His Protection and Love for myself, my family and my country from the dark pestilence that is hovering over today’s world.

Then, one night, as I was meditating on the first verse, I suddenly realized, that, while my intent to seek Him for shelter was justifiable, this was not the way to enter into a divine relationship with Him. As the first verse implies, it is really about a deep personal relationship with the Divine that this psalm is about! His uppermost desire for us is that we join with Him in an intimate secret place to satisfy our spiritual hunger to know Him and His Person. My interaction with Him in this manner would activate a true, self-less yielding of myself to Him in Worship.

After I repented and began praying for more spiritual understanding, I was then led to first mediate on the spirit of the psalm and what the Lord is attempting to communicate to us all, In this way I was able to truly respond to Him and His desire for me to open myself up to Him – Praised Be His Holy Name!!

As My prayer journey into the psalm began, I was confronted with a challenge, namely,

He who dwells in the “secret place” of the Most High
     will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I asked myself, how can I even contemplate to make this psalm as a prayer for myself or my family. I am a sinner how can I even think of entering “The Holy of Holies” (ie., the “Secret Place”), or the Sanctuary of the Divine, and think of myself as standing under His Cloud of Holiness? Is not this word meant for the high priest in the temple, who could only once a year enter in to the Sanctuary of the Most High?

At this point, the following Word came to mind, “We do have such a high priest (Jesus), who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, …” (Heb. 8:1)

Furthermore, through His Death and Resurrection “… He made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our trespasses. It is by grace you have been saved! And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, .… (Eph 2:6)

Thus, it appears from the Word, that if we are truly in Christ and Christ in us, and we are walking in His Spirit, then who can deny that we also dwell with Him and In Him in His Secret Place. For “This is how we know that we dwell in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” (1 John 4:13)

Here, the Lord was enlightening me to a truth that had escaped me. The truth that being “in Jesus” enables me to enter into His Presence and maintain an inner spiritual relation with Him. I was surprised by this because I had already had an initial conversion experience with Him and was already walking with Him faithfully. But in my naive human nature I had been taking my relationship with Him too much for granted and not really understood that He, through His Word had been trying to reach me for many, many years calling me into a deeper relationship in His Holy Place!

What the Spirit telling me now was that, the Lord wanted me to enter into a closer relationship with Him, by going deeper in His Word and living it to the core by meeting with me in His Sanctuary. He wanted me to know that I had been given the Grace to not only be in fellowship with Him during my everyday life but that I also had the opportunity to enter into a more intimate spiritual union with him where I would yield more and more of my inner self to Him!

For those of you who have not yet found your own Secret Place with Him, I urge you to do so as soon as you can. For He stands at the Door and Knocks and is waiting for you to dine with Him (Rev, 3:20). Upon, committing yourself, in Faith, to such a relationship and union with Him you will find not only the Rest in Him that you are seeking but also the Grace to let His Holiness conform you to the Father’s Will .

I believe, the Apostle Paul exhorts the Roman Community (and us) as to how such a consecration of ourselves is made…“Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.…” (Rom. 12: 1-3)

Later in his ministry, Paul provides us a view as to where his own consecration to Christ has led him “… it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

Our commitment to follow Him is not just to try to imitate Jesus in our live, rather it is the giving our lives completely to Him so that we may be conformed to His Image by the Holy Spirit. This is in keeping with his teaching to the Roman community which stated that “… For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom 8:29)

Now, knowing the weakness of our humanity, we may think that these words do certainly not apply to you and me. And to a certain degree that may be true, because if we ever make such a consecration, it is a commitment to enter into an intentional discipleship with Him that will transform your life completely. However, I believe that He gives us the time to enter in Faith contingent on our discerning our ability to make such a commitment.

In vowing ourselves to Christ, we enter into an intimate prayer life with Him, entering into what the Psalm terms as the “Secret Place”. In using this term or its equivalent, the psalm refers to the “Holy of Holies” containing the Ark of the Covenant, over which the Almighty presented Himself to the High Priest and communicated directly with Him once every year! Thus, in the Spirit, we, in union with our High Priest (Jesus) may also enter before the Presence!

Psalm 91 summarizes the end result of the high priest’s commitment being as follows:
I will (consecrate myself and…) say of The Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”… Meaning that Yahweh is now everything in the life the High Priest will be leading.

This truth is also for us today, as we enter in with Jesus our High Priest, who tells us: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). In committing our lives to Him, He must become the Way, the Truth, and the Life for YOU!!

Jesus then is our “The True Secret Place” where we can not only find Him but where we can unite ourselves and abide in full communion with Him and the Father, through The Holy Spirit! Yes! Praised be His Holy Name!

How then shall we respond?  (re., Psalm 116:12-17)

What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,
I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints (consecrated ones).
O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your handmaid.
(because) You have loosed my bonds…
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.

My own act of personal consecration is based on the Eucharist. In doing so I am able to reaffirm my vow every time I receive of His Body and His Blood.

I have based my yielding of myself to Him on His own words…, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in Me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.” (John 6: 53-57)

I also, keep clearly in mind that in giving myself to Him, I am asking for Him to receive me as a “branch” clinging completely to Him (the Vine) so I can bear fruit in His Name.  This is in accord with His Word  …

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:1-4)

Regardless of what decision you make in following Him you be sure of this: He will Never leave us or forsake us — He will always dwell in us and we in Him. It is only our level of self denial that is in question, and that is determined by the level of our response to His LOVE in us. Isn’t that it may be why Jesus asked the Apostle Peter three times, “Do you Love me?”

It is clear however that Selfless Love, Agape Love, is the pure intent of our hearts that Jesus is looking for in order to join Him in His “Secret Place”.

Also, as scripture tells us, the word used for “Secret Place” may also be understood as His “Shelter”. This helps us understand the protection and shelter promised in the remaining verses of Psalm 91. These indicate clearly that as you dwell in Him and He in you, so that even without asking, you will be enveloped with His Protective Love and Presence.

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler,
     and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers.
     Under his wings you will take refuge.

In affirmation, Psalm 27 also indicates to us that: “… in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:5)

My dear fellow pilgrims I have shared all my thoughts regarding this matter with you so you yourselves can discern His will for you and not be deprived of making an appropriate choice for your entrance into a deeper fellowship with Him!

May His Holy Spirit guide you as you seek Him with all your Hearts!
Your Brother in Christ Jesus… Bartimaeus

Recommended Links to help you follow through on your commitment!
<> Prayer of Dedication
<> Prayer to Receive the Holy Spirit!
<> Jesus, The Source of Living Water and Us!
<> Are You Ready?   (A Prophetic Warning)

<> Video: Analysis of Prophetic warning

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2020].

A Secular Culture Aasks for Signs

“The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test Jesus they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times? An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Then he left them and went away. “ (Matt16:1-)

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,

Signs of the Times

Jesus chided the Pharisees because they and the culture they lived in claimed to be able to discern changes in the weather through observation of signs of changes in the sky but yet were unable to understand from the “signs of the times” that the time of the Messiah was at handWe humans today are now being posed with the same question: “How is it that we have instruments and computers to help us to predict weather, storms, and “Global Warming” and yet we cannot interpret the signs of the eschatological times that are in plain view”

Iceland Volcano

Some Signs are Self Evident

The evidential eschatological signs are all around us, and increasing in occurrence:  Earthquakes, tsunamis, famines, plagues, wars, volcanoes, meteor showers, rampant immorality, and persecution of Christians.

The  Current Pandemic

The judgments of God are not only evident in our physical environment but are evident in the world’s moral environment as well. For instance, all the human institutions that we have idealized are being shaken right before our eyes and hearing: governments, legislatures, the courts, the military, the medical establishments, lawyers, bankers, and even our religious establishments are being shaken to their roots by revelations of corruption, dishonesty, immorality, especially in sexual aberrations and child abuse. All of these things that were being done in secret are now being brought into the light of God’s judgment

Just as Jesus told us: “Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed”. All of these institutional idols in which we have placed our trust are being broken before our eyes so that humanity may be made aware of the wretchedness of our fleshly nature and our dire need to turn to God for salvation. The signs point us to turn to the Lord in repentance by turning from these idols and placing our trust in Him and Him alone for the salvation and reform that He alone can bring. Praised be the Glory of His Name!

The world, however is blind to the significance of these signs, as if these are merely severe but random happenings. But for us, brethren, who have had our eyes opened, it must be clear that these signs are being given to us as a warning that we are at the end of age when the time of separation has been ordained. A time when the wheat is separated from the chaff (Matt. 3:12) and, thus, a time when we must prepare ourselves for the tests trials that will surely come as the separation process proceeds.  It is a time when all our works will be held to the light of God’s judgment and when we will be called to stand before governors and councils (Matt.10: 18) to give witness to our faith. It will be just as the Lord has told us… “So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 13:49-50)

As for the religious establishment, it will be even as St. Peter warned us,
“For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”  (1Ptr. 4:17)

We see Christian churches everywhere being shaken and divided so that the five faithful virgins (Matt. 25:1-13) may be set apart from the five unfaithful virgins who let their lamps go out, these latter virgins, representing those churches who keep a pretense of the gospel but deny its power. But we, brethren, who are blessed to be open to this awareness of the signs of the times have a great responsibility to be ready to heed the Lord’s call to be His witnesses to the unbelieving world so that we may be His partners in announcing His Mercy to the world.  Yes, it will be a time of darkness but also a time of glory for His Bride, His people, who He will purify and empower to carry forth Good News of His Mercy in the days that are coming on the whole world.

You may be sure of this brothers and sisters, that all of us who believe will be called to be the Father’s partners in evangelization. In these last days there will be no distinction between the ordained and un-ordained when it comes to proclaiming the Good News of Salvation! So, when each of us discerns his/her call it is incumbent on us to respond by proclaiming the Gospel in whatever situation we find ourselves and to whoever is within our reach. So that all may know that Jesus, the Son of God died for the sins of the whole world regardless of their religion or ethnicity and that only by believing in Him and accepting Him is mankind’s only hope for salvation!

It is the Father’s desire that this final outreach of His Mercy reach to the furthest outposts of the world so that every person on earth will have heard the message and will have been given a choice before the “Wrath of The Lamb” (Rev. 6:12-17) falls on the whole world. Will you be ready to respond?  Pray my brethren, that we all will be ready when we hear His call!

But,  “how”, you ask, “may I make myself ready?”

You make yourself ready by understanding our weaknesses, being  repentant and opening ourselves to the Holy Spirit and His empowerment. For this is HIS work and not ours. All He wants of us is to be totally surrendered to Him and put aside those human traditions and religious limitations that quench the Spirit and hinder His ability to work in us and through us. You must be ready to stand up against the challenges that will be posed to what He is calling you to do. For, I guarantee that you will be challenged, not only by the world, but by the very religious systems that have denied His power for so long. But we must be steadfast and faithful to what He is calling us to do in the Name of Jesus!

This I what I mean when I say that you must be ready! For even “getting ready” is His work all you have to do is say, “YES LORD!” and stand willing to act on what He tells you to do!  Yes, you must proclaim the Gospel but you must be EMPOWERED by the Holy Spirit as at Pentecost so that your proclamation of the Good News may be confirmed  with Signs following!

But you must be wary, …   “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. ,And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” (Mark 23:22-31)

May the Lord open our eyes to see and our ears to hear that we may obey His Call to carry His Message of Love and Mercy to the whole world!

Your Brother in Christ,
Bartimaeus

Recommended Links to help you follow through on your commitment!
<> Prayer of Dedication
<> Prayer to Receive the Holy Spirit!
<> Jesus, The Source of Living Water and Us!
<> Are You Ready?   (A Prophetic Warning)

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2020].

Let Your Lenten Observance Be A Heart Rending Experience

“Rend your hearts and not your garments” (Joel 2:13)

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As we enter the Lenten season again this year let us open ourselves to the Holy Spirit to let Him guide us in our devotions and our meditations on the Word of God.  Let us not only let Him guide us but also reform us from the inside out!

The Lenten season provides us with the opportunity to identify spiritually with the passion and death of our Lord, Jesus, and prepare ourselves to share with Him the Glory of His resurrection as we observe the devotions and readings of the liturgy for the season

In order to properly consider Jesus’ Passion and Death let us begin by reflecting on His Baptism and ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance so that through our observance and meditations we may grow spiritually closer to the Lover of our souls.

First, consider that Jesus, in accepting His ministry by accepting to be baptized by John the Baptist, identified Himself with all humanity by taking on himself the responsibility for all our sins and thus offering himself – as the Lamb of God as the sacrifice of atonement for man’s sin.

In lowering Himself into the baptismal waters He accepted the death that was due us for our sins. When we, accept our baptism in water, we also identify with Him by lowering ourselves into the waters of His Death. And, by rising up from the waters of baptism we share in the new life in Christ that was won for us at His Resurrection. (cf., Rom.6:3-18)

By reflecting on Jesus’ passion and death we bring to our conscious awareness the magnificence of the Love the Father has for us. For, in sending His only son, the image of Himself, into the world to suffer and die a humiliating death enthroned on the Cross of Calvary, He manifested the magnificence of His Love – a Love that went beyond all imaginable bounds to redeem us and restore us as children of His Love.

Who would ever imagine that the Divine One who created

us would become one of us so as to take on the judgment that was due us for all our sins. And, not only take on the judgment, but to give us His Holy Spirit to remake us in His image so that we could again function as His adopted Children, the objects of His Love!

Such is His Love for us that in order to maintain His Righteousness and Justice as God, the only way left for Him to carry out His Judgment against sin was to come amongst us as a sinless man so that as a man, Jesus the Son of God, could take that judgment on Himself and thus free us from the bondage of sin and envelop us in His Love as his adopted Children.

Because He loves us so much, clearly the main response He desires of us is that we Love Him as He Loved us. He desires our love so much that even our works, though done to Honor Him, are not sufficient to satisfy Him if they are not accomplished in and through Love. That is why the Apostle Paul tells us that unless we respond with this kind of Love (agape Love) we become as a “noisy gong or a tinkling Cymbal” [signifying nothing](cf.,1 Cor. 13:1 ff.).

What we need to ask ourselves this lent is this: “Am I doing what I do during Lent merely out of compliance with tradition, the obligation to participate in a rote procedure, or am I doing it because of my true, intimate, and personal Love for God and in response to the Love He has demonstrated for me through the sacrificial death of His Son in payment for my sins”? Remember that doing something out of obligation or compliance is NOT Love. It may be honorific but it is NOT true Love. Actions that are derived from true Love are done freely out of the desires of our heart for the One we Love and not out of constraint. This is the point of spiritual awareness and purity of motives that we are called to in entering into the season of Lent. This is the kind of heart-rending we need to experience to purify our inner selves in response to His Love. (see also my posting on the second Beatitude)

Listen to what the Lord says through the prophet Joel:

“Yet even now,” declares the LORD,  “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping, and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.  “Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in loving-kindness, And relenting of evil. Who knows whether He will not turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him, Even a grain offering and a libation For the LORD your God?” (Joel 2:12-14)

Notice the emphasis on the purity of the motive behind our turning to Him as being with “all your Heart”. It is the full attention of our Heart that He desires, and it is our hearts, that is, our spirits, that He wants us to “rend”, and not just an external ritual of penance, like the rending of our garments; this the way that our true repentance in Love must be manifested before Him if it is to be considered a response to His Love.

That bring up another item that we must also consider as we come before Him in repentance, and that is, that He and he alone must be at the center of our hearts.  If we come before Him with our hearts centered on the world and what we desire from the world, our motives cannot be pure. In fact, if we have these worldly desires in our heart we are considered as adulterers before Him. For He is our Spouse, He is the bridegroom and we are the bride. Can we be His bride and have anything of the world in us? Hear what the Apostle James tells us about the attitude of repentance that must be taken by those who are in such a state:

“Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, “God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says,

“God opposes the proud,

but gives grace to the humble.”

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:4-10)

Coming before Him in true repentance then, requires that we purify our hearts and strip ourselves of any double-mindedness that somehow deceives us into thinking that we can have two loves – the world and our Loving God! To truly respond to His Love, He and He alone must be our only Love and desire! As John the Apostle tells us, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. “ (1Jn 2:15)

If your conscience bears witness to this, and most of us are in this category, repent from your heart, confess your sin before God and make Him the only Love of your life. In doing so ask for the help of the Holy Spirit, keeping remembrance the following psalm:

Thy Word is a Lamp Unto my Feet

“Your word is a lamp to my feet

and a light to my path.

I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,

to observe your righteous ordinances.

I am severely afflicted;

give me life, O LORD, according to your word.

Accept my offerings of praise, O LORD,

and teach me your ordinances.

I hold my life in my hand continually,

but I do not forget your law.

The wicked have laid a snare for me,

but I do not stray from your precepts.

Your decrees are my heritage forever;

they are the joy of my heart.

I incline my heart to perform your statutes

forever, to the end.

I hate the double-minded,

but I love your law.

You are my hiding place and my shield;

I hope in your word. “

(Psalm 119: 105-114)

In conclusion brethren, remember that we need to forgive in order to receive forgiveness ourselves (cf., Matt. 6:14-15). We cannot respond in love if in our hearts, we harbor un-forgiveness, resentment or bitterness towards anyone, If we truly Love God then our response to His Love and forgiveness must be for us to forgive those who have offended or hurt us in any way; just as He said to those who had Him crucified, ” Father forgive them for they know not what they do”(Luke 23:34).

In coming to a sincere and true repentance, we all need to examine our conscience and assess the quality of our “love” against the standard that was set by Jesus and aptly summarized by Paul:

“Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous;

Love does not brag and is not arrogant,

does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked,

does not take into account a wrong suffered,

does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;

[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails; “ (1 Cor. 13:4-8).

If we have failed in responding to His Love, we need not despair, for His Mercy, Love and Forgiveness are always available to us.

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 Jn 1:8-10)

Thus, brothers and sisters, in entering into Lent , let us be observant, but with the pure motive and intent of responding to the Love that the Father has manifested to us through His Son, Jesus the Christ. Opening ourselves totally to the Holy Spirit who has poured His Love into our hearts (Rom. 5:5), keeping always in mind the following scripture:

“Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.  We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.

He that loves not his brother abides in death. Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 Jn 3:13-14)

I pray that the Love Of God envelop you and His Holy Spirit guide you as you meditate and observe the Passion, Death and Resurrection of His Only Son.

May you grow in His Love and may His Love grow in you!

Your Brother in Christ … Bartimaeus

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Recommended Links

<> Jesus the Source of living Water and Us

<> The Kingdom of God; Our Spiritual Inheritance

<> Reclaiming Our Legacy in Christ

<> Receiving the  the Holy Spirit

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2020].