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Archive for May, 2012

THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER  (Part 1)

The Charismatic Gifts are for All Believers:

The Promise of the Father

The Dove of Promise is For Real

“While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples.He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. [Then…] When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:1-20)


My fellow Pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

Are you one of those that have never experienced the Holy Spirit?

As we approach another memorial of Pentecost I believe it is appropriate to bring to your attention some matters that require you prayerful discernment regarding the manifestation of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Unfortunately for too many of us, this Holy Day does not carry the spiritual weight it ought to have; this mainly due to the fact that we have never experienced our own personal Pentecost.

Yes, we all believe that one of the reasons this feast is celebrated is that it is considered as the birthday of the church, and that through the gifts that were imparted on that occasion on the 120 disciples in the upper room the Gospel began to be preached and witnessed with power to the whole world, multiplying its members by the thousands day-by-day.

What is sometimes lost in our celebrations is that the impartation of the Spiritual Gifts at Pentecost was not meant to be a one time affair – it was meant to be a notice to us all that the Promise of the Father – the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, that the apostles, disciples and their converts all received was a promise to be experienced by all Christians throughout the generations to come. Listen to what Peter preached on that day …,

“But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares,

that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,

and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

and your young men shall see visions,

and your old men shall dream dreams.

Even upon my slaves, both men and women,

in those days I will pour out my Spirit;

and they shall prophesy.

And I will show portents in the heaven above

and signs on the earth below,

blood, and fire, and smoky mist.

The sun shall be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood,

before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.

Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

(Acts 2”14-21)

And, continuing …

Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”

(Acts 2:38-39)

This promise He mentions is the promise of the Father that Jesus passed on to them when, before His Ascension He told them…

While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4-5)

It is through this promise, the Promise of the Father, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, that we all are to be empowered to be His witnesses. It is by the Great Commission (Mark 16:15, Matt. 28:19) that we are all called to be His witnesses.  Yet it is this very promise for our empowerment that is neglected in our celebrations and our sacramental practices.

Yes, at these annual celebrations we are led to acknowledge of the Seven Enlightenment Gifts that represent the Spiritual virtues of the Messiah (cf., Isaiah 11), whose Spirit indwells us through baptism. Yet, It is notable that this Old Testament scripture about the Messiah is used to specify the “gifts” received at Pentecost but the New Testament Scriptures regarding the actual “spiritual gifts” are never mentioned. This odd attitude that pervades proclamations the feast of Pentecost seems to neglect entirely the Nine Spiritual Gifts (cf., 1 Cor.12) that were actually manifested at Pentecost and thereafter by the newly converted (Cf.,Acts 10:42-48; Acts 19:1-6 ).

It is this omission, which we Christians need to remedy, and for which I have intended this article so that, through prayer and discernment, the Holy Spirit, in His Wisdom, may guide you and lead you to the fullness of our inheritance in Christ.

Remember this, The Father NEVER repents of His Promises(2 Cor.1:20; 2 Ptr.1:4)! All you need to do to receive His Promise is to ask (Luke 11:9), in Faith – then you shall receive the Promise yourself!

With the consent of the author, I am presenting to you an article which I believe will instruct you further in this matter so that you may take action as the Spirit leads you. The article will be presented in two separate postings of which this is the first.

May the Spirit of Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding guide you through His Word and lead you into His Truth – For He is the Spirit of Truth and he will NOT deceive you!

Your Brother in Christ, Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2012])

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UNDERSTANDING THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER (Part 1)

(Excerpted from the booklet, “Personal Reflections on the Holy Spirit Baptism”,  by  Jorge Alfonso Madrid Sr., with the authors permission)

 

“The LORD is good to all;

he has compassion on all he has made.

All you have made will praise you, O LORD;

 your saints will extol you.

They will tell of the glory of your kingdom

and speak of your might,

So that all men may know of your mighty acts

and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

and your dominion endures through all generations.

The LORD is faithful to all his promises

and loving toward all he has made.”  (Psalm 145:9-13)

God’s Gifts and Call are Irrevocable[1]

The Word of God is unequivocal about God’s faithfulness to His promises, it is only we humans who equivocate in how we believe and act on His promises. Because we Christians are human we sometimes have a tendency to gloss over or take for granted the fact that our salvation and continued flow of graces from our heavenly Father hinge on His promises – promises that are at the very core of our Judeo-Christian tradition. Here is what the Apostle Peter says regarding the Divine Promises: “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.” (2Pet. 1:3-4)

            Among the more direct of the Lord’s promises that His people are to participate in His nature is one found in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, speaking about how, in the latter times, the Lord promises to put His Spirit into those called by His Name: “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws’”. (Ezek. 36:24-27)

As Abraham’s Children through faith in the death and resurrection of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we Christians experience a fulfillment of that promise when we are grafted into the trunk of the cultivated olive tree[2] (Israel) through baptism into Christ, being sprinkled clean with water and receiving His Spirit in us. Soon, at Jesus’ coming, our brothers and sisters descended from Abraham, the branches of the cultivated olive tree by natural descent, will be grafted back into the divinely ordained olive tree so that we may all be gathered as one under the Messiah, Our Lord Jesus the Anointed of God.

And just as The Father, through this promise, sanctifies us and endows us inwardly with the Holy Spirit, so also there is another promise through which He also empowers us to be channels of His grace and power to the community of believers and to those who have yet to believe. It is this divine promise that is termed by Jesus himself as the “Promise of the Father” as cited in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles: “And, he (the resurrected Jesus) being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, you have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1: 4-5) (see also, CCC 1286,1287)

Is the Promise of the Father for Believers Today?

After His Resurrection Jesus commanded his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for “the Promise of the Father” which would be fulfilled by what Jesus called “baptism with the Holy Spirit”.  Then, just prior to His ascension, He further told them that, “…But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.(Acts 1:8), thus making it clear that the intent of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, as manifested at Pentecost, is to empower the church to carry out the mission to which it has been entrusted by Jesus.

After His ascension, in obedience to Jesus’ command, the apostles along with the other disciples (about 120, men and women, in all) went to the upper room in Jerusalem there to pray and wait for the Promise of the Father. Ten days later,

… when the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2: 1-2).

The people in the area near the building, who were in Jerusalem to celebrate Jewish feast of Pentecost, heard all the commotion and in their astonishment they rushed to the house to see what was happening and saw people streaming from the building and acting extremely disoriented, loudly praising God and speaking in other tongues. “Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:  “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:12-18).

Thus, on the day of Pentecost, when the Promise of the Father was fulfilled, we see the process the Holy Spirit used, through the disciples, to bring forth His church and empower it. The Apostle Peter proclaimed the Good News to the astonished crowd, then on calling them to conversion he tells them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And [then] you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)

In these two citations we see that the Apostle Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, was telling the believers at the original Pentecost event that what they were witnessing (ie., prophecy, speaking in tongues, etc. ) was  the manifestation or verification of the “Promise of the Father” and that this promise was not only for the 120 disciples that gathered in the upper room but for all believers and their descendants for future generations, whom the Lord will call.

We are the future generations that were indicated and thus the “Promise of the Father”, as manifested in the nine Empowering Gifts of the Spirit, is clearly meant for us today, as baptized Christians, as much as it was for the original believers at Pentecost!

 

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Understanding the Promise of the Father 

Copyright ©2008 by Jorge Alfonso Madrid Sr.,

All rights reserved.  Permission is granted to any individual or group to reproduce this document (via photocopy or the internet) and to imprint no more than 1000 copies at each instance under the following conditions:

1.              For the purpose of Building up the Body of Christ (the church)

2.              No changes or additions are made to the document

3.              If a fee is charged it must only be to cover printing costs

4.              Not to be used for personal or corporate profit

Appropriate credit be given to the author, contributors, and publisher

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Recommended Links

Releasing the Spirit

Praying in the Spirit

The Kingdom of God: Our Spiritual Inheritance

Reclaiming Our Legacy In Christ

Hearing God’s Voice, and Obeying It

Pentecost and the Promise of the Father

The Empowerment Gifts (Part 1)

The Empowerment Gifts (Part 2) 


[1] Rom. 11:29

[2] Rom. 11:24

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§ Yielding to The Kingdom Anointing

Return to Jerusalem

Go into all the world …

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …”  (Matt. 28:19)

 “And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened” (Luke11:9-10)

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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

One of the major problems we have as Christian laity today is not only that we are not aware of being able to enter the Kingdom that is “at hand” but we are also unaware of how to operate in the Kingdom Anointing that is our heritage in Christ.  In fact, without this anointing we cannot fully carry out the “Great Commission” wherein Christ directed us to go out to the world, not only to proclaim the Good News but to make disciples as well (Matt. 28:19). Without the Kingdom Anointing working in us and through us as disciples, we are powerless to “make disciples”, since we have to be a disciple to participate in the process

The Anointing  Empowers us to be His Witnesses

The unspoken implications we laity receive from the religious culture today is that only the “ordained” may operate under the “anointing” and, that, unless you have an Master of Divinity Degree from an approved seminary you are out of your element in attempting to comply with the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19).  What they obscure with this type of thinking is the scriptural reality that all who believe and are baptized have the “anointing” residing in them  – that is, through the Spirit of the Christ the Anointed One of the Father, who abides in us. This anointing that empowers us to be His witnesses, comes with our conversion, Baptism in water and the Holy Spirit.  The only thing we lack is an awareness of our spiritual inheritance an adequate  instruction in the Word to activate the Kingdom and the anointing which is “at hand” within each of us.

St. Luke tells us that to enter the Kingdom, and the anointing that comes with our entry, all we need to do is “ask, seek and knock” (cf. Luke 11:9-10).  However, we in our modern religious culture have been blinded as to the real meaning of this scripture, thinking of it as merely a promise to fulfill our own personal desires rather than the Father’s desire to empower us to fulfill the roles He in His infinite sovereignty has determined for us.

When we are called to  “enter the Kingdom”, as Jesus explained to Nicodemus (cf., John, Chapter 3), we are entering into a continuation of His ministry here on earth through us who believe. This is the “Kingdom” that He declared was at hand and which he commanded His disciples to proclaim with signs following to affirm the reality of the manifestation of His commission to bring the reality of the Father’s Love to all humanity.

Yes, The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of His Love, and since the Love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom.5;5) through Baptism and Confirmation we also are called to be sharers in Christ’s ministry by proclaiming the Kingdom and calling down the power of His Love to the very place in which we live! Praised be His Holy Name!

The Kingdom Anointing as Manifested in Jesus’ Ministry

When, in doing His will, we act on the Word in His Name, the power of His Kingdom is made manifest on Earth through us to the degree necessary to communicate His Love.  In His Ministry Jesus demonstrates for us how He called forth the manifestation of the Father’s Love by casting out demons:

“And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.

 The Finger of GodBut if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the Kingdom of God is come upon you. (Luke 11:14-20)

Here Luke is attempting to communicate that Jesus, acting in the will of the Father, and with the authority given Him, exercises that authority through the Kingdom Anointing (the power of the Holy Spirit)  he has received to carry out His calling.  As Jesus himself stated, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.” (Luke 4:18).

The Kingdom Anointing is a special manifestation of the Spirit of God that empowers the authority under which Jesus was operating. Jesus received this anointing immediately after His baptism when the Holy Spirit descended upon Him.  He, the Son of God, when he became human, emptied Himself of His divine prerogatives (cf., Phil. 2:5-11) and totally submitted Himself as “the Son of Man” to the Father to be empowered by the Spirit to do the works of the Father. As the Father’s “only begotten Son” the fullness of god’s Spirit was placed on Him not only to do the Father’s works of power but to sacrifice His life for humanity as the “Lamb of God”. As King, the Kingdom Anointing is His anointing to accomplish the work the Father destined for Him

All Believers Share in Jesus’ Anointing

Now, each of us, as members of the body of Christ, are partakers of His anointing but NOT in its fullness. We are each to be empowered as the spirit wills (cf.,1 Cor.12:7-11). Our empowerment is given according to our calling so that we can manifest the Kingdom in the particular circumstances of our lives, where the Father has placed us. Think of the anointing as the “talents” (cf.,Matt.25: 14-30) with which the Lord of Life has entrusted us. Let us not bury these “talents” but use them wisely for the Glory of God.

In the scripture previously quoted, Luke uses the example of Jesus’ casting out of a demon to demonstrate that it was through this anointing of God (the “finger of God”) by which He cast out evil spirits. Jesus explains to his critics that since He casts out demons by God’s power then God’s Kingdom is being manifested in their midst (the Kingdom of God is come upon you). It is through this Kingdom Anointing that God’s Kingdom is made manifest in this world!

Now, you and I may not be called to be exorcists, but we are called to be wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, teachers, students, businessmen, professionals, tradesmen, lectors, choir leaders as well as clergy. Whatever the Lord has called us to do, just as He empowered Jesus, He will provide us the anointing of the Holy Spirit we need to help us fulfill that role in His Name. So that we, like Jesus, can be His instruments to bring the salvation of His Kingdom into this world. All we have to do in every occasion in our lives is ask (for the anointing) and keep on asking and we shall receive!

Under the Kingdom anointing, we activate our Faith and His calling by acting on His Word as He directs us, thus bringing forth His Kingdom for the Glory of His Name!.

The Kingdom Anointing must be used wisely

Jesus further implies that those who operate under the anointing also need to use it wisely, under the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit,  not only casting out evil spirits but bringing the possessed person to conversion and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, to prevent a worse situation in the satanic victim.

 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

[Luke 11:21-26, NRSV]

This leads us to the awareness that we need also ask for the gift of wisdom when operating under the anointing. The wisdom to understand that the situations the Lord will lead us to work under His anointing are not always simple situations where we merely exercise the authority we have been given to bring about a deliverance. We must look deeper and bring a complete ministry to the person or persons we are serving in the Lord’s name.

Yes, we may pray for and see a great deliverance of a person from drugs or sexual immorality but we also have a responsibility to see to that person’s welfare afterwards so that he is removed from the circumstances that brought that person into addiction in the first place and to pray for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. That responsibility means having to be personally involved in the details of that person’s life and to bring that person into the caring context of a believing community. This will require a different type of anointing, an anointing of self-denying love, which we must also ask for and act on.

To be an instrument of God’s Kingdom involves a total giving of ones self to the task at hand. It involves a dying to self, to do things which we would not normally do, so that God’s love may be properly communicated to those in the world to which we are called to minister. Most of the time the actions the Father requires go against our very natures, against our instincts for self-preservation and self-aggrandizement.

For this reason we are all called to be disciples, because we are all called to become like Jesus in every aspect of our lives. And it is through the process of discipleship that we permit the Holy Spirit to work in our lives Not only to transform us in His Holiness but also to permit us to share in His empowerment and anointing so that we can be His partners in bringing to fulfillment His mission  in this world, namely,  …

Jesus receives the Anointing“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

            because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.

            He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives

            and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,…”

( Luke 4:18)

Becoming a disciple, however, requires a decision by us – a decision that goes beyond our baptismal confession – a decision to yield ourselves completely to Jesus and His Holy Spirit – a decision to yoke ourselves to our master and to follow Him and Him alone in the obedience of Love!  Praised be His Holy Name!

We cannot call Him Lord and then attempt to pick and choose what we will do for Him and what we will not. We cannot call ourselves disciples and decide that we will not receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit to be empowered to do His work.  As disciples we place ourselves at His beck and call in obedience to His Word, not on what and how we think we ought to do or act. As His disciples we must open ourselves to hear the voice of the Spirit so we can respond to His Call. As disciples we must be continuously into His Word and in prayer consult Him regarding everything in our lives. In order to follow Him these are the issues you must respond in the affirmative, because that is what it takes to begin to be a disciple.

Becoming a disciple thus entails not only an intimate relationship with The Master but also the taking up the cross of self-denial and to put aside our own desires and ambitions to fulfill only the direction and desires that He Himself places in our hearts. God in His compassions and grace does not compel us in making this decision and there is no condemnation regarding our salvation facing us if we decide not to enter into a full discipleship relationship. As Jesus told his disciples, “… many are called but few are chosen”.   And as St. Francis de Sales stated in his motto, “All through love, nothing through constraint!”.

Entering into discipleship is first and foremost, an act of agape Love, and such Love is not Love if it is coerced or forced. It is a sacrificial offering of yourselves as is well stated by the apostle Paul:

“ I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, 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 renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom. 12:1-2)

It is this transformation process, the renewing of our minds, working in us that marks a true disciple; and it is only through the Spirit’s transforming work in us that we can truly become channels of His Divine Love and Power! Glory be to Him forever and ever! Amen!

So I tell you .ask and thus yield yourself to His Anointing, seek HIM with all your Heart, knock at the portals of His Loving Heart and you can be sure He will open the Door into His Kingdom!

With this said, brethren, I commend you to God’s Grace that His Spirit may speak to your hearts so that you may truly understand His Calling and His Love for you.

May His Face Shine upon you and bring you Peace!

Your Brother and Fellow Pilgrim  …  Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2012])

Related Links

Releasing the Spirit

Praying in the Spirit

The Kingdom of God: Our Spiritual Inheritance

Reclaiming Our Legacy In Christ

Hearing God’s Voice, and Obeying It

Pentecost and the Promise of the Father

The Empowerment Gifts (Part 1)

The Empowerment Gifts (Part 2) 

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