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Archive for September, 2013

His Word Is What Brings Our Spirit To Life!

….  Because His Word IS LIFE!

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Exploding_Star_by_duragan“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, [2008-2013])

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

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