Archive for September, 2011

What is Spirituality Anyway?           

(Excerpted from a booklet by Jorge  Madrid Sr.,  with the Author’s permission)                          

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 double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”  (Hebrews 4:12 emphasis mine)

In our rationalistic culture we somehow believe or think that by assigning a definition or label to a concept that somehow we have captured the spirit of that which we so define. It is like thinking that we can capture the essence of a uniquely aromatic field of lavender by passing the butterfly net of our intellect over it and attempting to describe it with words.

No!  To really capture the essence of that field of lavender you have to be in that field, walking in it, breathing in the air, and smelling and absorbing the richness of its essence under the imbuement of the associated color and light. Then, if we have a poetic or musical strain, we may attempt to convey our experience to others through the inspiration of our art. But it is never the equal of the experience itself. Only a personal visit to the field of lavender will really suffice. And even then each person’s experience, while having some commonality, will differ because the experience will evoke different reactions from the visitor’s inner person, that is, the non-intellectual part of the person.

I bring this up to indicate our need to emphasize that the terms we use to define some of our concepts are but mere place-holders that we use to attempt to communicate a reality that cannot be intellectualized but can only be fully comprehended through our experiencing it! And, that if the person we are trying to communicate with has not experienced something similar, our words will be just that, words. Empty words. Words that will not transmit the essence of our experience but merely a statement that indicated we visited some place called  “a field of lavender” and that we had a “wonderful” experience.

“Spirit”, “spiritual” and “spirituality” are words that are commonly used to attempt to communicate such concepts. In fact, they are so commonly used that our first reaction is to assume that we understand want is meant because we have read so many books and materials on the subject. But if someone were to pin us down with the question: “ when was the last time you experienced something spiritual”, most of us would be hard pressed to answer. And if we did, we would usually respond with something that evoked our emotions, because that is the usual way we tend to misunderstand the meaning of the term, “spiritual”.

It is because of this misunderstanding that many Christians are somewhat afraid of “spiritual” experiences because it might make them appear as too emotional, especially in church. And of course, what Christian wants to be emotional, especially, in a church environment?  After all, anything that looks like emotionalism indicates a lack of self-control and would bring some unwanted attention from the congregants and the ministers[1].

First of all, true “spiritual’ experiences initiated by the Holy Spirit are not emotional outbursts or esoteric feelings. They are exceptional events that occur deep in our “inner selves’. Sometimes they involve visions, dreams, and prophecy, but mainly they are a non-cognitive awareness of something beyond that which can be perceived by our senses but which imparts an infused understanding, knowledge or wisdom beyond ourselves. They involve a perception into that which lies beyond our normal sense or cognitive experience.

These experiences may evoke emotions on our part but our responses are always entirely under our control. The Holy Spirit does not take over our personality but instead values our free will and a cooperative attitude.  What the Holy Spirit desires from us, in granting us these experiences, is “communion” with the divine and that communion takes place in the quiet center of our inner being. What we sometimes term as our “spirit” or our “heart”. It is our “Holy of Holies”, our sanctuary where our spirit can commune with the Holy One.

The human spirit was designed by God to have a desire or a “hunger” for communion with He who created us and those things in our lives which can, in some way, satisfy or satiate this “hunger” or “thirst” are, therefore, referred to as “spiritual”.   Spirituality is the term we use to describe this nature or characteristic of the spirit that yearns for communion with the Divine in the stillness of our inner sanctuary.

Every person on this planet, whether they realize it or not, are seeking to be in touch with their spirituality. This is only natural because it is an essential part of our being and its neglect brings us to a dysfunctional state which we humans, in our ignorance, attempt to repair by attempting to fill our spiritual hunger with ego-satisfying ambitions, and the empty lure of worldly lusts and emotions. Thus, amplifying our state of disarray and personal agony.

Another of the problems in our rationalistic western culture is our inability to comprehend the tripartite nature (body, soul, and spirit) with which we have been endowed.  Since our spiritual nature cannot be observed and studied as our body and our soul (mind, psyche, emotions, etc.) we tend to ignore its needs and demands. As a result when the Holy Spirit knocks at the doors of our hearts we do not know how to open the door or, if we do, we are afraid to because it may lead us to an area of our lives for which our culture has not prepared us, or in fact, has blocked the door because being “spiritual” is considered by some to be “anti-intellectual”.

Before continuing, let me say that because of this, simple, less intellectually sophisticated persons are usually better able to open the door to the Holy Spirit because they are not hampered by the intellectual or philosophical predispositions introduced by our culture.

In order to get past these barriers it is necessary for us to comprehend is that spiritual experiences in the Holy Spirit are our legitimate Christian legacy and, if properly practiced and understood, are perfectly compatible with our Faith. They are, in fact, at the core of our Faith.

That being said, it must also be affirmed that one must be aware that a person can be deceived, not only intellectually, but also spiritually. There are counterfeit spiritual experiences just as there are false teachers of deceptive philosophies. For that reason, the gifts of the Holy Spirit include, the gift of prophecy, teaching,, wisdom, knowledge, and discernment of spirits, so that those leaders of the community that are charismatically endowed can help keep the community from spiritual and intellectual deception.

In the early centuries of the church, both intellectual and spiritual deception was rampant. The Greek intellectual environment of those days scrutinized every religion (new and old) with respect to discovering some “new” wisdom.   Such wisdom was sought both intellectually through philosophy and logic as well as through the esoteric “hidden” wisdom sought out by the mystery cults and the Gnostics.  Because of these trends, the faith of the early Christians was very vulnerable to being hi-jacked by these movements.

In their defense of the true Faith, the early church fathers went to great extremes to establish a solid theological foundation that could counter the attacks of the cultural Greek intellectual elite and the mystery cults. They also attempted to define the clear bounds for discerning orthodox spiritual experiences from the occult and pagan demonic experiences. In doing so they had to define the terms “spirit”, “spiritual” and “spirituality” in a manner that was consistent with orthodox theology and concepts that would become the bulwark against the prevalent deceptions of the Greek intellectual and pseudo-spiritual culture of those days. These diversions from the truth had attempted to twist Paul’s theological concept of “body, soul, and spirit” to accommodate Gnostic and Manichean dualistic concepts of good and evil that usually ended up postulating that we had two natures, one evil and one divine.

In those early theological battles it also became essential to define what was meant by the term “soul” and what was meant by the term “spirit”.  In the Gnostic concept, our spiritual nature was the “good” part of us while our natural self and body were inherently evil. In their view, salvation could only be achieved through an esoteric knowledge (gnosis) through which our real “self” could escape our “evil” nature into the “pleroma”  (union with the highest divinity). This of course implied that our natural soul was part of the evil nature and that we had within us another spiritual entity which, although “good” was imprisoned within the natural. Replete with errors, the ultimate conclusion of this heretical line of reasoning was that our salvation depends on ourselves (through our achieving gnosis) and NOT on the saving sacrifice of God’s son.

In order to quell such heretical dualistic disparities, the church councils clearly established the true teaching that we only have one spiritual nature and that is our soul. What is sometimes lost because of the intricacies of the theological discourse is the fact that the councils did not refute scripture regarding the separate identity of the human spirit. Rather, the councils affirmed that the human spirit, though it has its own intrinsic functions, is embedded in the soul, and is of the same spiritual essence. This unique spiritual entity, together with the body, form one living being[2]. Their main intent was not to negate the existence of man’s spirit but rather to affirm that there are not two spiritual natures (or essences) in man but one.

Today, because we have forgotten the intent of the councils to differentiate essence from function, there is some confusion over the functional distinction between soul and spirit to the degree that, in general, they are generally considered to be synonymous

St. Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, and one of the Fathers of the Christian faith, clearly indicates in his writings that the human spirit exists as the deepest most intimate part of our soul and that it exhibits distinct functions from the rest of the soul. In his letters to a confused cleric, Augustine states: “It now remains for me to show how it is that while the designation spirit is rightly predicated of a part of the soul, not the whole of it,–even as the apostle says, “Your whole spirit, and soul, and body;” or, according to the much more expressive statement in the Book of Job,’ “Thou wilt separate my soul from my spirit,” –yet the whole soul is also called by this name” (cf., A Treatise on the Soul and its Origin, Book 4, Chapter 36)

Now, if we don’t really understand that the term “spirit” as used in scripture refers to a component of man’s being that, although an integral part of the soul, has its own distinct functions[3], how can we really understand what spirituality or spiritual growth entail?

In the past, theologians wrapped themselves around a proverbial axle trying to define the distinction between “spirit” and “soul” by deferring to classical philosophical definitions between essence and form. This usually led to abstruse discussions about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  All we need to know is that the Holy Spirit through His infallible Word has revealed to us that in the eyes of God there is a special part of us that He designates as our “spirit”. If we trust His word we should not need to go into any arcane classifications between form and essence in attempting to understand with our limited human intelligence something beyond what God has revealed to us. We merely trust Him to tell us what we need to know to adequately manage our spiritual lives. And knowing that we have a “spirit” is something we need to know in order to understand the dynamics of what happens in the spiritual domain.

First of all, we read in Genesis 2:7 that when God created man in his image, He breathed His Spirit [Hebrew, neshamah, Strong’s Hebrew #5397] on man so that He could become a living entity or soul [Hebrew, nephesh, Strong’s Hebrew #5315] [4]. This leads us to the following implications: 1) man’s higher spiritual nature [neshamah] is created directly from the creative power of God’s Spirit, 2) the spiritual entity which is created from God’s Spirit is co-natural with the Divine (that is, it is of a similar nature, though not the same essence), and 3) the union of body and a spirit-empowered soul forms one single living entity [nephesh].

The spiritual part of this single living entity created by God contains two separate functional units, much as a peach has two parts apart from the skin: a fruit part, and a seed part. However, when we think about what makes a peach a “peach” we usually have the fruit part in mind.  So also when we think about man’s spiritual essence or “soul” we usually only think about those identifiable intangible personal assets that we are conscious of, namely, our personality, our ego, our intellect, our emotions, our will, our psyche, and so on. The reason we forget to include our “spirit” in our associations is that we are not normally aware of the spiritual organ deep within us that the scripture calls “spirit”.  This part of us, our “seed” part, is just as much “soul” as our self-awareness part. But, just because it is beyond our normal self-awareness, we tend to ignore its existence.

What we normally consider the “soul” part is created as man’s control center, to manage the interface between man, his body, his senses, his mind and the natural space-time environment, while, at the same time, being connected through his “spirit” to the divine which transcends this space-time environment in which we exist. The “spirit” part is created to interface with the divine and contains the necessary faculties to do this. Jesus himself reiterated this fact when he spoke with the Samaritan “woman at the well”, telling her that God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship him in spirit and in truth[5]. Paul, who was clearly aware of the functional distinction[6] between soul (mind) and spirit (heart), says, “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind (soul) is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind[7].

From this and many other scriptural references which affirm the above we see that our spiritual faculties, though intertwined with those of our soul, are there for the purpose of receiving Life from God and for man to fellowship with His Creator. It is that component of our being that is designated to interface God and therefore the enabler our fellowship with Him. What we normally consider our “soul” part, contains the faculties needed to interact with each other and the material universe, including our bodies. Our “spirit” part contains the faculties needed to interact with the divine.

God, through the scripture, tells us that man’s being is functionally composed of spirit, soul and body[8]. The fact that there are three facets or levels of awareness to our human nature may be compared to the statement that the human body is composed of a central nervous system, a circulatory system, a muscular system, a respiratory system, and a skeletal system. Just as the central nervous system can impact our circulatory system, so our spirit has influence over our soul and over our body and vice-versa. Just as sometimes problems in our central nervous system may be misdiagnosed as circulatory problems so problems in our spirit are sometimes misunderstood as being psychological problems. This does not mean that our spiritual faculties are one and the same as those of our soul. It merely means that what is happening in our spirit is reflected in our soul (and vice versa). One of the functions of the spirit is to communicate what it senses in the supernatural realm to the soul whose main function is to permit us to function in the natural realm.

In God’s original design, the spirit (heart) of man was meant to be in submission to the divine and to exercise direct influence over our “soul” just as the “soul” was to have direct influence over the body. When mankind fell from Grace, the faculties in man’s “spirit” became disconnected from God (the spirit “died”) and our “souls” became the dominant part of our nature. Jesus came to take on our death and revive the “spirit” component of our nature so that our renewed spirit could aspire to regain its God-inspired dominance and we could again be truly called God’s children (in the spiritual sense).

With this understanding in mind, the term “spirituality” denotes any improvement in our condition that begins to move our renewed spirit back into the place of influence originally designed by God. The process of improvement cannot begin unless our spirits are revived. Man cannot revive his own spirit, only God, through His Holy Spirit, can revitalize our spirits[9]. When Paul, speaking to the Corinthians says, “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly — mere infants in Christ[10], he is telling them, that although they are truly his brothers in Christ through baptism, he cannot speak to them in spiritual terms because they have not yet reached the place where their renewed spirits exert a direct influence on their minds (soul). Since the unspiritual man cannot understand the things of God[11], he must address them in terms of their reason, so that through their reason he can motivate them to come to spiritual maturity. That is why He exhorts them to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind[12].

The same is true today. I was just like those Corinthians. I was spiritually in Christ through baptism but my mind (soul) needed to be renewed so that I could begin to grow spiritually.  The first barrier I had to remove to receive God’s grace for renewal was to dethrone the “self” which had been ruling my mind (soul) and turn my life over to Jesus so that He and He alone would rule in me through my spirit. Then, as the Holy Spirit worked in me through meditation on the Word of God and prayer, my renewed soul was opened to receive more of God’s life by way of my spirit.

This symbiotic relationship between soul and spirit is what God intended for man. In this way man is led to integrate his spirit, soul, and body to bring about the wholeness for which God destined us. The final step in this integration is union with the Divine. Thus we understand, that true spirituality is achieved when we cooperate with God’s Grace by permitting the Holy Spirit to work through us in those activities which bring us to total integration with God’s will. This will in turn reflect itself in the wholeness (holiness) of our lives (spirit, soul, and body). This is true spirituality.  Anything that diverts us from this goal is unspiritual.

Realizing that we have a spiritual nature and learning to respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit through that nature is only the first step in spiritual growth. We must also come to the realization that the primary reason the Lord created us with such a capacity is so that we can delight in His presence to the point of total worship and for communion And fellowship with Him. At the same time, He also designed us with this spiritual nature so that He could manifest His Kingdom in this world through us, His children. In the process of bringing us to conformity us to the image of His Son, we are to be His partners in all the works He plans for this world[13]. We, therefore, have a great responsibility before God to work with His Grace and Anointing to perform His Will on this earth[14]. The way we do this is through prayer and resulting action. In doing this we become participants in bringing His Kingdom into manifestation in this world. This is, in essence, what we are asking when we pray: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven[15]”, as we say the “Lord’s Prayer”.

Our response to this Grace that the Father has freely provided through the Blood of Jesus is to keep our vessels pure and to abide in Him so that His power and anointing will flow through us to our society to bring His Love, His peace, and His justice to this world. For this reason, when we come into this renewed spiritual awareness we should freely and willingly rededicate ourselves and all of our activities to Him so that all that we undertake and accomplish is truly in His Name and not out of our own zeal and energy.

[1] Just as David was despised by his wife, Saul’s daughter for dancing before the Ark of the Covenant as He was leading the procession bringing it to Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 6:14-16)

[2] Catechism of the Catholic Church: 365, 366, 367

[3] Because of the inadequacy of our language the term “spirit” can be used in two different ways. One is to use the term as a description of the essence of the immaterial part of our being. The other way is to use the term to indicate the set of faculties attributable to a distinct spiritual “organ” within our immaterial being.

[4] The definitions found in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance imply that the primary distinction between Neshamah and Nephesh is that the former refers to  a  spiritual-level life energizing force while the latter refers to a the sentient-level soul life of a created being.

[5] John 4:24

[6]  Hereafter I will use the terms “soul” and “spirit” not  in reference to their essence (which are the same) but rather to their distinctiveness in faculties or functions, which is how scripture mainly uses these terms.

[7] 1 Corinthians 4:14-15

[8] 1 Thessalonians 5;23

[9] John 3:6, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit”

[10] 1 Corinthians 3:1

[11] 1 Corinthians 2:14

[12] Ephesians 4:23

[13]Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?”. (1 Corinthians 6:2)

[14] We must be careful to note that our performance of God’s will on Earth is not a condition for our salvation but rather the outcome of our acceptance of Gods free gift of salvation in Jesus, His Son.

[15] Matt. 6:10

[Excerpt from:  Thy Kingdom Come! Reflections on Personal Spirituality, Prayer and Worship. Copyright ©2006 – 2008 by Jorge Alfonso Madrid Sr.

Recommended Links
<>   §  The Prayer of the Inward Man
<>  § Releasing the Spirit
<>  §  Praying in the Spirit

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2011])

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Our Father: It all begins with relationship

Disciple Praying

Our Father who art in heaven …

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.



My dear fellow pilgrims,

It all begins with relationship.

Only when we enter into the awareness that we are truly The Father’s Spiritual Children in Christ Jesus, and enter into a personal relatiuonship with Him, we can begin to fully understand our inheritance in His Kingdom (cf., § Becoming Children of God). And that, through that understanding and the Divine Wisdom that comes with it, we may find our place and role in the here and now so that, through us, His Kingdom may indeed be manifested here on Earth as it is in Heaven.

For just like children of the flesh in this world who mature to fill distinct and varying roles and positions of responsibility, so too, we, God’s Spiritual Children, are purposed by Him to be His Arms of Love extended to the world – the world He created and redeemed so that He could manifest His Kingdom in their midst.

In His loving will He also has determined where and how are to serve Him and the spiritual gifts we will need to accomplish His will in this world.  That is why it is so important that we discern our individual calling and ask for His Holy Spirit to empower us to carry out that calling. But we cannot do this outside of a relationship with Jesus and the Father.

Lest we let this concept of being His instruments incorrectly exalt us, we must also be aware that this work is not to be accomplished by us, but by the Son of God who lives in us and works through us. He, and He alone, is the author and source of the work of the Kingdom. The only way we may participate in this work is through our complete surrender to Him and His Love. This surrender is not easy and is termed by Jesus as “ carrying your Cross”.  Believe me it is a difficult cup to drink from because requires us to die our own self-sufficient mentality and enter into a God-centered mentality – where we acknowledge to ourselves that, “without Him we can do nothing” (Jn.15:5)!

The Foundational Prayer for Discipleship

That is why the prayer form that Jesus taught His disciples (cf., Matt.6:7-13) begins with the acknowledgement that God is “Our Father” and that we, as His Children, are totally dependent on Him and His Glory and power. A recognition that, although His Name, that is His Character and Person, is Holy and beyond the reach of any human rapprochement, He, through His Son, has breached the gap of holiness that separated us, so that we enter into a full and true relationship with him through His Son!

The prayer further states that, it is only through this relationship of obedience and love with Him, as Father, our source of life, provider, and sustainer, that we can be His instruments in bringing His Reign (Kingdom) into full manifestation in this world.

But of course, before we can be channels of His Love, His Reign must begin in us through our full surrender to Him and His Holy Spirit so that He might begin the work of His Kingdom in us!  The work of His Kingdom in us begins by His Spirit working in our lives to conform us to the image of His Son! Blessed be His Holy Name!

Recognizing that it is His work that must be accomplished, we ask for His daily sustenance and provision.  Although most of us take this request to mean “food for the table”, the reality is, that it is a request for His continual and daily spiritual empowerment, the infilling of His Spirit, to be able to carry out His Will. For us today, it refers to the living spiritual strength that is derived from communion with Christ in the Eucharist.

In the prayer we also recognize that our human failings against Love are a major impediment to the fulfillment of His Will and therefore ask for His forgiveness, in accord with our forgiveness of those who trespass against us.  In doing this we clear out anything in us that would impede His Will from being accomplished.

Recognizing, also, that the enemy will come against us through temptations to impede the Father’s Will from being completed, we also petition that He not permit any testing that goes beyond our ability to resist.

The reason this prayer, which we term “The Our Father”, is so important is because it is foundational to establishing the appropriate spiritual attitude of faith which underlies our ability to serve Him as His Children and fully committed disciples. That is why many have stated that this prayer really ought to have been named “The Disciples Prayer”.

If the problems of your life situation are creating impediments to your progress as a disciple, always keep in mind the admonition Jesus gave His disciples,

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? … [S]eek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you”.  (cf., Mat. t6:25,33)

Or, put in today’s modern dialect, “ Do not let the worries and concerns of everyday life deter you … your first priority must be to let God reign in your life so that you are always faithful to accomplish His Righteous Will, then you will find that the worldly concerns in your life will be resolved appropriately”.

The Necessity of Prayer

Once, when through faith in His Word and Prayer, you have entered into an intimate relationship with the Father through Jesus and deeply desire to follow Jesus in discipleship, you will find that your need for a deeper continuing prayer life increases.  Just as Jesus, spent most of his evenings or early mornings in prayer, so to we who are following Him, must do the same.  We will do so, not so much as an imposed devotional practice, but instead to fill our awareness of the increased spiritual need for His presence in our renewed lives.

As we go deeper into discipleship we will find that we will not be able to adequately deal with the events and situations which we are called to handle without our daily prayer encounters with Jesus and the Father. Once we begin our prayer encounters and see the results in our everyday lives, we will willingly seek out these payer times on our own – for we begin to understand that our continuous need to tap into the source of LIFE without which we cannot function spiritually.

First of all we need to remember, that it is only through the intimacy of prayer that we receive from Him the wisdom, knowledge, empowerment, and Love we will need in preparation for the next day’s events. Secondly, it is through meditative  prayer in union with His Inspired Word, that we continue to be taught by the Holy Spirit in order to be formed and grow spiritually and learn from our experiences. St. Ignatius of Loyola tells us that “…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.”

Once we have entered into true discipleship we will find that we can no more do without daily prayer than we can do without food or water.

The Need for Discernment

One of the problems we face as Lay Disciples of Jesus, is that the modern church is not structured to properly assist lay people, who are not part of the “religious establishment”, to follow the personal path of discipleship the Lord is calling them to follow.  The modern church establishment does not expect lay people to enter into such individual callings.  The establishment expects that any one who has such a call to either enter a seminary to become a priest, deacon, or minister or to join some religious order. It is difficult to overcome the prejudices of the past that have placed lay Christians as passive , un-empowered, servants of the clergy, having no understanding of things spiritual.

As a result, until the Lord works to change the situation we must seek the Lord intensely for personal discernment and guidance for what the Lord wants of us each day– a discernment that goes beyond that of our calling – a discernment that leads us to hear the voice of the Head Shepherd, Jesus Our Lord! (Cf., § Hearing and Obeying His Voice)

It is only through hearing and living His Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit that we will be able to distinguish between our fleshly-driven instincts and the spiritual directives and revelations from Our Heavenly Shepherd. Praised be His Holy name!

Now, I don’t discount our need of our earthly shepherds because they are still the dispensers of the sacraments, especially those of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. It is just that some of them cannot fully comprehend where we Charismatics are, spiritually, making it difficult for them to provide in-depth spiritual guidance for us when they themselves have never experienced the fullness and spiritual gifts of the Spirit and, in many cases, even resist them.

I try to maintain good relations with all members of the clergy, but I usually feel them out before going into spiritual issues until I sense they are on the same page with me and with the Holy Spirit. I know its not their fault, its just that the depth of their spirituality varies depending on their seminary and life experiences especially if they have not been introduced to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

By the way, I expect that this spiritual lethargy that is still evident with some of our clergy will all be changing in the church of the new era we are entering, where the Spirit of God will overwhelm all Christians with His Glory and many of those who are now holding back will be surprisingly renewed in the Spirit. It will be a very difficult era for Christians and He is preparing us for those times when we will need to draw upon His power and strength to manifest His Kingdom on this Earth!

I must also mention that If you are struggling with discerning the Lord’s Will in your life, obedience to the Father is of the essence. If you yoke yourself to the Lord He will bring you though the times when you are being tested because of the fleshly baggage we all have to contend with.

Even the very smallest thing that we allow in our lives that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit is completely sufficient to account for spiritual confusion, and spending all of our time thinking about it will still never make it clear. Spiritual confusion can only be conquered through obedience. As soon as we obey, we have discernment. This is humiliating; because when we are confused we know that the reason lies in the uncertain state of our mind. But when our natural power of sight is devoted and submitted in obedience to the Holy Spirit, it becomes the very power by which we perceive God’s will, and our entire life is kept in simplicity.

Relationship is Everything

Finally brethren, in order to make clear the importance of our relationship with Jesus and the Father, let us recall the words of  Our Teacher when he told His disciples to …

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’  “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’  “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’  (Luke 13:24)

Yes, we also may claim a mundane familiarity with Him through your religious practice and even have worked signs and wonders in His name, but unless you personally “KNOW” Him, He will tell you when you come to His door: “depart from me you workers of iniquity, I do not KNOW you”.

Relationship, then, is everything, and without it our works for God become meaningless for entry into the Kingdom.

I pray brethren that the preceding discussion has been of help in encouraging you to move through the “narrow door” into a personal and private discipleship relationship with the Father through Jesus.  If you have that desire in your heart then you can be sure that the Holy Spirit placed it there. Pay heed, then, to that desire and seek the face of the Lord in prayer. If He placed it there He will confirm it and bring you to the open door to the Kingdom!

Baruch Ha Shem! Blessed be the Name!

Your Brother In Christ Jesus …. Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2011])

Related Links

<> Sweet Yoke of Love

<> Husbands Love your Wives

<> Walking the Walk

<> Discerning the Spirit’ Call 

<>  Hearing God’s Voice and Obeying It

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