Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2010

Loving Submission  is a Two-Way Process

Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another…”  ( 1 Thess. 4:9)


Text to be discussed: Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ , etc” (Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-9 )

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In writing to you about today’s topic, I am seemingly going against the Apostle  Paul’s injunction to the Thessalonians cited in the header. However, I feel impelled by the Holy Spirit to present to you an aspect of  “loving one another “ that may have been missed or misunderstood and which has thus impaired many Christian relationships. This aspect of “loving one another” is that which occurs in an authority-based relationship when one of the persons in the relationship has some degree of authority over the other.

In reading several commentaries on the subject, the main emphasis usually given is mainly that the obligation of those under recognized authority to submit to the one in authority out of reverence to the Lord. However, the Apostle Paul makes it explicitly clear in his letter to the Ephesians that he considers submission of this type to be reciprocal and is to be accomplished as an act of mutual agape Love, that is, that in an authority-based relationship the submission of the parties involved must be mutual for the grace of God to fully function in the relationship.

Paul enunciates the reciprocity of this submission in love when he begins his exhortation with the statement: “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph.5:21), thus implying that the ceding of ourselves to each other is reciprocal and is done out of selfless love so that it brings Glory to Christ.

What is usually lacking in most commentaries on this segment of Paul’s letter (cf., Eph.5:21-33; 6:1-9), however, is a clear insight into the reciprocity of the submission that Paul presents his teaching.  If one reads this segment from  the letter to the Ephesians carefully it becomes clear that the apostle is not only indicating how wives are to submit to husbands, children to parents, and servants to masters but that the obligation of submission extends to those in authority as well, that is, the husbands, the parents, and the masters. It is just, that the mode of manifesting that submission depends on the roles between the participants in an authority-based relationship.

For instance, in the marriage relationship, the wife is instructed to obey the husband as unto Christ as her mode of submission, the husband’s mode of submission is by giving of himself to his bride just as Christ gave himself to His Church, the spirit of submission in each instance being an act of agape, self-denying love.

What Paul is outlining here, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is the Lord’s intent as to the ideal manner with which authority-based relationships are to operate as mutual love expressed through the mutual submission of the parties in the relationship. When the one in authority submits to those under him/her by giving of themselves totally for the benefit of their charges, they open themselves to serve as instruments of God’s Love in the relationship. The one under authority also dies to self out of agape love in obeying or submitting himself/herself to the one with authority, thus permitting the full benefit of God’s love and grace to flow between them.

It is this principle or paradigm of mutual submission in self-less, agape love that permits the Lord to work through our interpersonal relationships thus not only building and strengthening or relationships and our spiritual lives but also to the building up of the community. It is for this reason that Paul stressed this process in several of his other letters in order to instruct his apostolic communities to have the spiritually healthy relationships required in community-building for the Glory of God the Father.

[Rom. 12:10] Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.

[Rom. 13:8] Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

[Rom. 14:19] Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

[Heb. 13:1] Let mutual love continue.

Now, in order to help you logically visualize the concept of mutual submission in agape Love expressed in the segment from the letter to the Ephesians under discussion, I present for your discernment the following outline:

Submit one to another out of reverence for Christ (in the following authority based relationships. The symbol “<=>” represents mutual or two-way submission)

Wives <=> Husbands

Children <=> Parents

Servants <=> Masters

• To this we might presumptuously add –

Parishioners <=> Pastors

Students  <=> Teachers

Etc. (anyway, you get the idea)

Now, this analysis brings us face to face with our own shortcomings, especially we husbands. For while it is easy for us to accept the concept of our wives submitting to us – it becomes clear that, if we are not submitting to our wives by giving totally of ourselves for them, we are NOT fulfilling the Lord’s will in how he designed this mutual submission process to work in our marriage.  The fact that many of us husbands are failing at this is evidenced by the divorce rates among Christian couples.  Listen with your heart to what the scriptural mandate for husbands states ….

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.

(Eph. 5: 25-33)

It is clear from this and the scripture segment cited as the text under discussion, that those in authority are those with the most responsibility for the initiation and enactment of this process of submission in mutual love. However, ironically, it is usually the ones in authority that use the other “submission” verses to impose the full weight of the process of submission on those under them, when, in reality, the greater responsibility is theirs. If we husbands, for example, were to fulfill our part as the Lord intended, you would find that our wives would comply with their part not only with ease, but with a joy and energizing love that would transform the marriage relationship to what the Lord intended (cf., Husbands Love Your Wives).

[At this point please read and meditate through the entirety of the cited scriptures for yourselves so that the Holy Spirit may speak to your hearts, making sure that you make a decision in response to His leading.]

Having read and meditated on the segment from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we turn now to the Gospel of John where the Lord Jesus himself originates the divine injunction to “Love one another as I have Loved you” (John 13:34). This  is the commandment which He magnificently demonstrated the principle of “submit to one another as I have submitted to you” by His actions when He washed His disciples feet at the Last Supper  (cf., John 13:3-11).

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them.” (John 13:12-17)

Now, there are many lessons to learn from this event but which I cannot address in this article.  What I wish to emphasize here, is that Jesus, the Master, The Teacher, submitted himself to His disciples out of the Love he had for them and He enjoined them to do likewise to each other (and by implication, to their disciples) thus majestically setting the example for all of us in the matter of the principle of  mutual submission through agape Love.

“For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. (1 John 3: 11)

We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?” (1John 3:14-17)

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. (Eph. 4:32, Eph.:5:2, Eph. 8:9)

In conclusion dear family of God, let me attempt to summarize the foregoing discussion in a manner that you may easily bring to mind the principle of mutual submission in agape Love.  Always remember that in submitting to one another in Love, you are really not submitting to the person whom you relate to – no, when you submit in agape Love, the one you are really submitting to is God the Father! And each of you parties in the relationship, by mutually and willingly submitting to God and His Love are enabling God to work through the relationship for His Glory and for His purposes!

Always remember, your submission is “… as unto the Lord!”, in this way your relationship cannot fail to grow in Love in fulfillment of God’s purpose for you! Amen and Amen!

I pray brethren, that what I have shared with you, has enlightened and empowered you to let the Word of God bring a refreshing change to your lives as it has brought to mine, May the Spirit of Love abide in you as you submit your selves to one another in Love!

Your fellow pilgrim and brother in Christ,

Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2010])

Related Links:

>>Husbands Love Your Wives

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Reclaiming our Spiritual Legacy 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. 1:11-14)

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 are 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., Rom. 8:29) and covers us with the cloak of His Righteousness (cf., Rom. 4:5).

We are Heirs to the KingdomBut 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”).

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, [2008-2010])

O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O

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)

O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~O

Links to Charismatic Communities

In order to assist you in locating a prayer group or in organizing your own prayer group, I list the following links as contact points to obtain further information and materials:

> United States

http://www.nsc-chariscenter.org/AboutCCR/other.asp

http://www.catholiccharismatic.us/

http://www.ccrno.org/Links.php

> Canada

http://www.catholiccharismatic.ca/

> Australia

http://www.ccr.org.au/

http://www.flameministries.org/

> United Kingdom

http://www.ccr.org.uk/

> Europe

http://www.isidor.se/ccreurope/Nations/tabid/348/language/en-GB/Default.aspx

> Scandinavia

http://www.isidor.se/karismatiskfornyelse/Aktuellt/Nordiskkarismatiskkonferens/NordicCharismaticConferenceStockholm/tabid/510/language/sv-SE/Default.aspx

> International

http://www.catholiccharismatic.us/index.php?name=Web_Links

http://www.swordofthespirit.net/communities.html

Read Full Post »