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A Renewed New Life for the New Year!

Christ is our New Life

Christ is our New Life

“When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. As proof that you are sons,  God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,  crying out, “Abba, Father!”So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir, through God.” (1 Gal. 4:4-7)

Brothers and Sisters, my fellow Pilgrims in Christ,

Regarding Resolutions for the New Year

It is common practice, for most of us in the west, to make some resolutions at the beginning of each new year that will lead to improvement our lifestyles through the removal of unhealthy habits and/or the initiation of what we may suppose are good ones that will truly bring about the desirable changes in we envision.

Unfortunately, especially for those of us who are Christians, the truth is that we always approach these attempts at personal renewal from a purely worldly viewpoint ,that is, mainly to permit us to live longer and, we hope, more enjoyable and prosperous lives in todays world. Rarely,if ever, do we undertake “New Year” resolutions to improve our spiritual lives to really come to a renewed spiritual  life in Christ, a union so intimate, we can without any hypocrisy, cry out “Abba or Daddy” to His Father and our Father. A union that permits us to dialog with the Divine in such way as to truly experience, in the spirit, our heritage as adopted sons of the Father and heirs of His Kingdom.

The primary reason for this secular tendency on our part, is that our life in this world remains the focus of our reason for living. For many of us the “spiritual life” is merely a theological term that does not resonate with us as being an accessible reality. Oh yes, the songs and hymns we sing in church may stir up some pietistic emotions that we may consider as spirituality but hardly ever do we find these emotions moving us to act in faith so that the Spirit of God may transform our lives so that we can truly see the changes we know we need, so that we may escape from the enticements and lusts of the world that have such a hold on our lives.

A Resolution Where God Brings You To Life – Through His Grace

Because all of us are a composite of spirit, soul, and body we usually have a hunger for true spirituality that goes unfulfilled. The reason for this is, that although we pay great attention to the needs of our soul and body, we tend to ignore and neglect the spiritual side of our being. We mainly attempt to meet the spiritual emptiness inside of us with non-spiritual solutions for our soul and our body,without tending to our spiritual needs first.

Yes, we need to make a resolution for the New Year, but it should  be a resolution to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, to yield ourselves to Him, so that He can activate our spirit, work in  us to feed us with His Word, and bring us to a new life in the Spirit by conforming us daily to the Spirit of Christ that is in us through our conversion and baptism (cf., prayer to the Holy Spirit in the referenced links)

In making such a resolution we must avoid thinking that what we will be doing is a dedication of our own human efforts to enable a spiritual change in ourselves. Please understand, we have NO WAY to bring spiritual life to our selves or to others. Just as Jesus said: “Spirit begets spirit and flesh beget flesh”.  True spiritual life can only come from the source of all Life, Jesus, the Word of Life. As John the Evangelist said: “In Him was Life and the Life was the light of men” (Jn.1:4), Jesus who is the Word made flesh, He is the one who brings us to life, not only in human flesh but in our spirits as well. He, and He alone, is the Door to spiritual life and, as He told us: “I am The Way The Truth, and the Life; No one comes to the Father but by me” (Jn.14:6).

So you see, our resolve must be to yoke ourselves to Jesus (Matt:11-29) and yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit for the rest of our lives. For only through Him and His Word can the Spirit of God be released in us to bring us to new life in Christ and thus satiate our spiritual hunger!  Our only part in the resolve is through an act of faith in Christ, that is, an act of our will where we repent of our attachments to the world system and ask Jesus to come into our hearts and be, not only our savior, but also our Lord, and thus open the door for Him to take control of our lives through the working of the Holy Spirit. In this manner it will be the Holy Spirit working in you and through you who will effect a true living spirituality in your person to the Glory of His Name!

Our Response to God’s Renewing Grace In Believing Communities

It is the making of such a resolution that is the foundation for a sincere and true Christian life. It is a resolution that has has also been the foundation of all historical Christian communities. Yes, God has provided the Graces needed for renewal through Christ, but in order to activate these Graces we must respond in Faith. That is the Challenge for all  Christians and for their communities.

As an example let us look at St. Paul’s dealings with the Colossian community, whom he initially founded. He tells the community, in His letter to them, that he is constantly praying for them that they may be strengthened in Christ who will sustain them in their resolve. He does this because he knows that, although they received the Gospel, they are struggling to extricate themselves from the pagan culture and world in which they are embedded and that they are in need of an affirmation of their faith to strengthen their resolve. Listen to the words of encouragement he gives them and take it to heart for yourselves.

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.”

(Col. 1:9-24)

Then, to the Ephesian community, which was also struggling in being conformed to Christ, Paul exhorts them to “Put of the old nature and  put on their new nature in Christ, which is, of course what yoking yourself to Christ will effect in you!  Listen to Paul in his own words:

“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:17-24)

In accord with Paul’s exhortation and encouragement, I urge you, my brethren and fellow pilgrims, to commit or renew your resolution in this New Year and to separate yourself from the world by to yoking yourself to Christ and by yielding yourself to the Holy Spirit so that , together, we may continue more faithfully in our walk in the spirit through the narrow gate to Life, not the flesh but in the spirit! There is no other way, for it is only in the spirit that we can truly worship and it only through true worship that we can drink from the living water of Life!

To this end I attach a prayer (below) to the Holy Spirit that you may amend or use, as the Spirit leads, to formulate your own personal response for your resolution to enter into Life. I pray that you will listen to what the Spirit is urging you now so that you may take your first step into the Kingdom of God’s Love!  

Praised be His Holy Name! To Him be all the Glory Forever and ever . Amen!

Your brother in Christ Jesus …. Bartimeaus

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-20013].
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# Prayer to Receive the Holy Spirit

Receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Praised be His Holy Name! You have now ”Entered the Kingdom” of the Father! Walk in the leading of the Holy Spirit and be obedient to His call!

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-20013].

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Related Links

I Stand at the Door and Knock

Sweet Yoke of Love

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) 

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2013])

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Living in the Strength of the Kingdom, Now!

“May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son(Col. 1:9-13)

My dear fellow pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

Although the Apostle Paul tells us that we have been transferred into the Kingdom of the Divine Son, how often the circumstances of our lives and the attractions of the world and the flesh divert us from our walk with the Lord and prevent us from fully operating in the Kingdom – the very Kingdom of God which Jesus came to proclaim, and, through His Death and Resurrection, bring into manifestation in the lives of all who believe!

This is the Kingdom that Jesus declared to be “at hand”, that is, it is accessible, through Him, in the NOW of our every day lives. It is just that the accessibility of the Kingdom is sometimes hindered not only by our lack of faith in the Kingdom but also by a variety of obstacles: moral, intellectual and spiritual.

One of the first obstacles is that we Christians tend to center our understanding of the promised “Kingdom” as our future destiny after we pass through the portals of death due to the Saving Grace of Christ’s Sacrificial Death on the Cross. And, although, this is entirely true, there is another aspect of the “Kingdom” which we tend to neglect, or at least give it little thought, and that is that the Good News of the Kingdom that Jesus asked us to preach to the whole world was that the Kingdom, which He preaches, was “at hand” – that is, accessible in the NOW of our lives.

The reason this confuses us is because the Lord Jesus sometime uses the term the “Kingdom of God” or the “Kingdom of Heaven” in a variety of connotations – none of which are contradictory but are sometimes confusing to us because we do not completely understand the context in which they were used by Him.

Without going to extraordinary detail on this subject let me just say that Jesus understood His mission was not only to be a sacrifice for the sins of mankind to open the door to a “heavenly ” Kingdom in eternity, but also to be a reconciler and restorer of the relationship between the Father and His creation here and NOW in this world so that the Father would again reign in the hearts of men and women as it did in the time of Adam and Eve before the Fall. This was an integral part of His ministry, as it also should be for those of us who follow Him as disciples.

Through the Incarnation He became the first of many brethren who would contain the Spirit of the Living God in the temple of their hearts and who, through their yielding to the Holy Spirit, would be empowered to become the Father’s partners in this world and thus bring His Kingdom of Love into manifestation in this time-space continuum, thus overcoming the current kingdom of darkness which currently dominates the world.

Without detracting from the promise of a “heavenly” Kingdom after our passing, Jesus attempted to convey to His disciples that he was appointing them to the task of being envoys of the Father to bring about the restoration of His reign in the hearts of all mankind in this created time frame in which we live – in the Now of our lives.

Return to Jerusalem

Go into all the world ...

That is also why He taught them to pray, by volunteering themselves, to the Father, that His “Kingdom Come” in them and through them, so that, in this way, the Father’s will would be done here on earth as it was in the “heavenly Kingdom”.  This is the Good News of the Kingdom, our partnership with God, that He directed them to preach to the whole world with works of signs and wonders attesting to truth of their preaching and teaching, that the Kingdom of god was to be manifested in the “Now” of this existence.

This, then, is the Kingdom that I also proclaim to you NOW! A Kingdom under the reign of the Father that is accessible by all wherever they may be in this world today! A Kingdom in which we believers are empowered by the Father to bring the reign of God and His Loving Compassion into every nook and cranny of our every day lives!

But it is a Kingdom that we can only enter by yielding ourselves willingly to His Holy Spirit so that His will, and only His will, may be done by us and through us! This is the Door to the Kingdom about which Jesus said, “…many are called but few are Chosen”.

Jesus is the Open Door

Jesus is the Open Door

Yes, there is a door to the Kingdom here and NOW, and that Door is through union with Jesus Himself. It is a door that can only be entered through a relationship with the Lover of our souls and our acceptance of His Kingship over our lives. It is a door that may only be entered when, through sincere repentance, we recognize that we are but hopelessly lost sinners and gratefully accept His Loving sacrifice for us and sincerely desire the new life He offers us through the power of His resurrection. It is also the door to our discipleship where, through loving obedience, we deny our very self and consecrate ourselves to Him – to be dedicated Envoys for His Kingdom. Praised Be His Holy Name!

But, sometimes, because we do not understand the magnificence of God’s gift and our own unworthiness, we attempt to enter that Kingdom on the basis of our own righteousness, that is on the basis of our religious performance. That is why Jesus told the Scribes and the Pharisees that tax collectors and prostitutes would enter the Kingdom before them (cf., Matt. 21:31). The Kingdom He was referring to, in this instance, was the manifestation of the Kingdom of God’s Loving Compassion through Himself and His ministry, and the ability for those who believed in Him to come under His ministerial anointing as disciples, such as Matthew and Mary Magdalene were doing. Because of their self-righteous attitude, the Scribes and the Pharisees did not believe in Him and so, not only could they not enter in, but they hindered others from entering.

In order to bring home this point Jesus told them the parable of a King who gave a wedding feast for his son but the important people of the land made all sorts of excuses in order not to attend. The King then said to his servants …

The Unwelcome Guest Is Cast Out“‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. ‘Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ “And those slaves went out into the streets, and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.  “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him,  ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And he was speechless. “Then the king said to the servants,  ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matt. 22: 9-14)

The Kingdom is the wedding to which we, who hear the Good News of the Kingdom, are invited.  The man that did not put on the wedding robe was a man who received the invitation but believed in his own worthiness (righteousness) to the point that he thought that his clothes and his person were good enough to attend the wedding as he was. That is the way some of us approach our entry in to the Kingdom, and, in our arrogant presumption and un-repentance, neglect to put on Jesus’ robe of righteousness, an act that acknowledges our unworthiness and our dependence on the redeeming Grace of God through the Sacrifice of His Son.

Another obstacle to entering the Kingdom is that we enter with the wrong expectations and when our expectations are not fulfilled, we falter in our walk with Him, because our faith was not focused on Him and His Word but on our own false presumptions of what a walk with Jesus entails and what we would get out of it. Yes, we enter at the behest of the King and we surrender our all to Him but if we expect that the road ahead will be without suffering, trials and rejection we will be very surprised.

Disciples in the making

For you must understand that, in this fallen world, walking the walk of the Kingdom is not acceptable to the World. The world system will reject us just as Jesus was rejected, we will be tested just as Jesus was tested, and, like Daniel’s three friends, we will be placed in a fiery furnace of testing, but through all this Jesus will not only be at our side, He will be IN US to guide us and strengthen us so that we may bring forth the fruit of the Kingdom for His Glory!

Listen to what the Apostle James says:

“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

Yes, we must remember that when we commit ourselves to follow Jesus, the trials we face are but a confirmation that we are on the right path. So we must rejoice knowing that we have indeed been accepted as envoys not just to bring people to Jesus but to bring Jesus to the people.

The Deutero-canonical Book of Sirach gives a clear summary of what the path of discipleship entails. Let us take this segment, taken from Chapter 2, to heart, as we proceed forward into the NOW of the Kingdom that is at hand for us!

1 My Son, when you come to serve the Lord,* prepare yourself for trials.

2Be sincere of heart and steadfast,

and do not be impetuous in time of adversity.

3Cling to him, do not leave him,

that you may prosper in your last days.

4Accept whatever happens to you;

in periods of humiliation be patient.

5For in fire gold is tested,

and the chosen, in the crucible of humiliation.

6Trust in God, and he will help you;

make your ways straight and hope in him.

7You that fear the Lord, wait for his mercy,

do not stray lest you fall.

8You that fear the Lord, trust in him,

and your reward will not be lost.

9You that fear the LORD, hope for good things,

for lasting joy and mercy.

If you read this and still feel you have been called to “enter the Kingdom” – the continuation of Jesus’ ministry in you and through you – then you have not only been called but you have been chosen.

So, then, my brethren, knowing that you, have been chosen, even to be the least in His Kingdom, let us step out boldly on behalf of our King and prayerfully commit your life to HIM, asking for the guidance of His Holy Spirit and the anointed strength of His power in you for the Glory of His Name!.  For as Jesus said …

“I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.”  (Matt. 11:11-12, NIV)

And as you walk the walk of His Love Always keep in your soul the words of encouragement that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” (2 Cor. 4:8-10)

“As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, 

“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,

and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” 

See, NOW is the acceptable time; see, NOW is the day of salvation! “

(2 Cor. 6:1)

To this brothers and sisters, I can only say, Amen and Amen!

Your Brother in Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus

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

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Recommended Links

§ The Cost of discipleship

§ Sweet Yoke of Love

§ Releasing The Spirit

§ Hearing His Voice…. and Obeying it!

§ Praying In the Spirit

§ Responding To the Spirit’s Call

§ The Kingdom of God Our Spiritual Inheritance

# Prayer to Receive The Holy Spirit

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Finding Strength in our Weakness

I am weak but you are strong! “Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10)

My fellow pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

One of the great challenges of faith we face in living in this fallen world is that of maintaining our faith in the midst of the trials that come into our lives as we attempt to walk along the narrow path of discipleship.  What we don’t often realize is that it is exactly these trials that are there to strengthen our faith. God is not the source of these trials but are permitted by Him because by his grace He uses them to bring us to perfection – to bring us to the level of spiritual awareness we need to open ourselves to Him and His strength working in and through us, thus enabling us to bring forth  His Kingdom in  our lives.

We also fail to realize that in bringing us to perfection does NOT mean He is making us any more worthy or spiritually capable than what we already are …  merely simple sinners saved by grace!

No, brethren, just as Moses did not think He was capable of what the Lord was calling Him to do, so also we are most certainly not capable of His calling for us in this world.  He does not upgrade our humanity in order that we might better serve Him, rather, He chooses to use us just as we are, with all of our weaknesses, so that we may not be tempted with spiritual pride into thinking that we have something to do with what He, in His mercy and Grace, accomplishes through us. In fact you might say he chooses us exactly because we have been freed of any illusions of greatness and so extremely aware of our weaknesses, that we have no doubt that without HIM we can do nothing!  That is the point of perfection He is seeking from all who would be His disciples.

The Apostle Paul, who was overwhelmed with the special revelations given Him, was acutely aware of His own weaknesses and yet experienced the temptation to take pride in what the Lord was doing through him. Regarding His experiences, he relates his struggle against these prideful feelings as follows:

“…. on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me,  even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me,  but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for [My] power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong (2Cor, 12:5-10)

It must be noted that Paul (aka, Saul) did not come to this understanding immediately upon his conversion experience. No, indeed, his first reaction to the graces given him upon His encounter with Christ was to basically just reorient his religious zeal from being a promoter of Judaism to being a promoter of his new-found faith in Christ. In principle, that would not seem bad in itself, what was wrong was that he had not relinquished his own self-centered zeal but instead merely re-directed it. Everything he was doing was being done out of his own self-enhancing religiosity and NOT from a surrender to the Spirit of Jesus that was in him.

In order for the Lord to use Him, He had to empty Saul (aka, Paul) of his “self” and cause him to yield himself totally to the Holy Spirit. The Lord accomplished this by letting Saul start a riot in Damascus that resulted in threats to his life so that the small Jewish-Christian community there had to help him escape by taking him out of the city (cf., Acts 9:1-31). After this event the Lord led Him into the Arabian desert for spiritual retreat of three years (Gal 1:15-18). It was during this period that he was given revelations and wisdom to understand the true nature of the Gospel and the Spirit of Self-denying Love that would motivate him the rest of His life.

Yes, brothers and sisters, like Paul/Saul, we must also be emptied of our self -willed religious piety so that the Love of the Lord may truly manifest itself in us for the Glory of His Name and NOT for our exaltation! Just as John the Baptist said, “He must Increase,[therefore] I must decrease” (brackets are my own)  (cf, Jn. 3:30).

To be filled, We  must be first emptied out ...

To be filled, We must be first emptied out ...

Before the Lord can fill our clay vessels with His Spirit of Love, and His power and strength we must be emptied of our self-centered, prideful, approach to life. We must rid ourselves of our fallen human attitude that focuses al our thinking, emotions, and activities on our “self” and NOT on pleasing Our Creator and Loving Father who created us to be an expression of His Love in this world – in the image of His Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Anointed of the Father.

Discipleship Entails Carrying Our Cross Daily

Discipleship Entails Carrying Our Cross Daily

In conforming us to the image of His Son, He gives us His Word and His Spirit to transform us from our self-centeredness to the God-centeredness He desires of us.  It is exactly this transition that is the “cross” Jesus told His disciples that they are to bear daily if they are to be His followers. Because thus transition involves a “dying-to-self” process that goes against the instincts of our fallen human nature, it is, for most of us, a painful and gut-wrenching change, that, of necessity, involves internal pain and suffering. Adding to this already excruciating pain, the world system and its demonic leader, does everything in its power to keep us from bringing this transition to fulfillment in our lives by continually placing worldly temptations in our path to derail us from becoming an earthly expression of the Christ that is in us!

You may think of this disoriented “self” or “ego” we have in us as an unemployed actor coursing through life looking for a stage in which to exalt itself and its lustful desires. The world system provides these stages or platforms that accommodate themselves to bring to life the desires of our flesh. It may even be those activities we consider legal and moral, such as business, science, academics, art, theater, politics, and sports. In each of these arenas the world provides a stage for our un-reformed “self” to create a part for itself, to promote the self, and to assert its self-sufficiency independent of the Living God!

And, even though you may not expect it, the major stage provided may be that of “religion”. This is the stage where the Scribes and the Pharisees played their parts “par excellence”. This is the stage where the wolves put on the “sheep’s clothing”, the clothing of religion, to exalt their unredeemed carnality.

In our Christian tradition, it is the period we call, “Lent”, where we are annually provided the opportunity of “emptying” our clay vessels of all traces of the “Old man” in us and to assist us in putting on our “New Man” in Christ Jesus.

And, just how you might ask, do we put on this “New Man”? In response, we, refer to Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians…

“For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:21-24)

Seek the Spirtual Renewal of Our Minds

Seek the Spiritual Renewal of Our Minds

This “renewing of our minds is not just theological rhetoric, it involves a total transformation in our way of thinking and living, which, if not fully and sincerely put in place in our lives, will grieve the Holy Spirit, who is moving in us to conform us to Christ (cf., Eph.4:30-31,; and Eph.5:1-21)

This makeover of our lives cannot take place without our full cooperation – yes we are called to make a choice to walk in the Spirit, so that through the Spirit we may put to death the works of the flesh (cf., gal. 5:1-26), so that we, like Paul may also state  that … “ it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me [and through me]” (Gal. 2:20).

Only in this way can the strength of the Lord be manifest in our lives so that we may comply with Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians:

“ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:10-18).

In keeping with our desire that you be strengthened in your weaknesses by the power of the Living God, I conclude with the Apostle Peter’s prayer to the Christians dispersed throughout the the Roman Empire:

 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen”.

(1 Peter 5:6-11)

Your Fellow Pilgrim and Brother in Christ Jesus ….. Bartimaeus

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

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Overcoming the World: The Making of  a Disciple

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (Jn 1:1-5)

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ and Fellow Disciples,

The terms “Overcome … ” or “Overcoming …” are used in very important scriptures in the new Testament, but the Apostle John appears to me as really providing inspired insight into its meaning.  An understanding that carries great weight for the disciple, and especially for those of us who are just becoming aware of the Spirit’s call to discipleship and are in the process of opening our hearts to the challenge of following our master, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The terms, I have just mentioned, are used by St. John, in his Gospel and Epistles, in two primary senses: “Overcoming the World” and “Overcoming the Evil One” or, its equivalent, “Overcoming the Darkness”.  He even begins His Gospel with this theme – the tension between God’s Light and the Darkness of Evil. (cf., Jn.1:5).

John further indicates to us God’s eternal purpose – to bring us His Light, His Life, the Light of the Living Word, His Son!

“There was the true light which, [by] coming into the world, enlightens every man.” (Jn. 1:9)

In John’s revealed understanding of God’s intentions in redeeming His creation, the key dynamic behind His plan was the restoration of the Light of His Love into the darkness into which it had fallen due to the deception of the Evil One. In his Gospel, John clearly states that it is this light, the light of God’s Eternal Word that was still shining in the darkness and it was this true light that he was bringing to the world [system] to deliver man from the darkness that envelops us.

Now, the light He provides is the freedom of the light of life, but mankind is darkened to this by the Evil one so he can control us. Because of our fallen state and the deception of Satan, we prefer to live in the darkness of our sin rather than the light of God’s Love.

“And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.” (Jn. 3:9)

In order to “Overcome” the darkness God sent his only Son, The Word of Life” to bring us to the Light of the Father’s Love. So that in bringing all creation under His Light the darkness that envelops us may be dissipated. Jesus tells His Disciples (and us) …

The King within us

“I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness.” (Jn.12:46)

Knowing, however, that those who follow Him would be resisted by the world as He was resisted, He prepares His disciples for their calling by telling them…

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (Jn.15:19)

He also encourages them by disclosing to them that, because He has “Overcome the World”, they are to be at “Peace” in this world  as long a they are “IN HIM”.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (Jn. 16:33)

The Apostle John further exhorts those whom he has discipled (and thus us) to stand against the World [system] by informing them they also are covered by this same Peace Of God (THE SHALOM) that was promised also applies to them because the “Overcoming Spirit of Christ” dwells in them.

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 Jn.4:4)

The apostle Paul, in a similar manner, tells his disciples that we are no longer to serve the Kingdom of darkness because …

“… He [the Father] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves…” (Col. 3:1-13)

From what has been said, brethren, it must be clear to us now, that if we aspire to follow Jesus as His Disciples, we must also overcome the World and the Evil one who controls it, as he overcame it. The first step we take in entering this “overcoming” state is to turn away from the world [system] and place our faith in Jesus, the anointed Son of the Living God.

Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1Jn.5:5)

In the Book Of Revelation, John relates Jesus’ promises pertaining to those who “overcome”…

“… To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Rev.2:7)

“…  He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death.” (Rev. 2:11)

“… To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows except he that receives it.” (Rev. 2:17)

Brethren, I truly believe that many right now are being called by the Spirit to enter into a true and overcoming discipleship under Our Lord and Teacher, Jesus, the Anointed of the Father. Are you one of these? If you are, then this article may give you some guidance. And, even if you do not sense a call right now, I feel the themes I will be touching on will greatly enhance your spiritual life, permitting you to go a step closer to hearing and understanding God’s call on your life – a leading to yoke yourself to Him in loving obedience to His Call.

As we enter into a New Year in Christ Jesus it is important to remember our call to discipleship and rededicate ourselves to make Jesus the very center of our lives.

Return to Jerusalem

Go into all the world ...

In attempting to live our lives for our Master we will find that the closer we come to Him the more stress the world and the evil one puts on us. The tension between world system of darkness and Our Lord’s Kingdom of Light is becoming ever more stressful for us believers as we draw closer to His Coming.

We are the children of the Light and the forces of darkness are doing everything they can to prevent us from shining forth His Light into the darkness of this world. We must always remember that He has called us as beacons of His Light in this present darkness. In order to let our light shine before men, it is therefore our calling as disciples to overcome this world system just as He overcame. And, because we are in Him and He in us, we have every confidence that He is working in us and through us to overcome the World.

 “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”  (1 John 5:4-5)

It is through this process of overcoming the world that we are strengthened and progress in our discipleship as the Holy Spirit is continuously forming us in His image.

In another article, I have already mentioned that the “renewal of our minds” is crucial to our overcoming the world. In this article, I wish to share with you some guidance I received in how to bring some of these concepts into practice in our lives.

One of the things I learned is that, once we have yielded ourselves fully to Christ,  we remove our “selves” from the throne of our lives and enthrone Jesus as Lord and King of our lives. We must begin to recognize Jesus is our LORD in all things and that we are merely stewards of every gift and ability The Father has placed in us. We are no longer acting on our own desires and plans, rather, we are literally acting in Jesus’ Name and, in this role, we must seek all of the Father’s desires that He places in us and, in accordance with His Grace, use our natural talents and gifts to fulfill or carry out those desires.

Except in specific situations, He does not normally dictate the details of what we are to do. He does not want robots for servants. No! What he desires is for us to freely use all our gifts creatively to bring His desires to fruition. When we seek His Spirit to work in us as we seek to manifest His will, the Spirit will augment our natural capabilities with His Spiritual Gifts so, that in this manner He enters into partnership with us in carrying out the work of the Kingdom!

A simple analogy to elucidate the manner with which we are to carry our His calling, would be to compare, God as the owner of a large piece of property in a large city, who wishes to build a hospital on that property. Think of yourself as acting for Jesus in accomplishing the Father’s desires, and as the architect whom He hires to design and build this facility and to whom He has delegated al the resources needed to build it as He desires. Yes, you have to check your plans with the owner every now and then to see if your design is compatible with His wishes, but other wise, He has given you free rein to design the best facility your creative and god-given talents can produce in accordance with His will and desires (think of this project as the particular “calling” the Lord has given you).

In this analogy, the world of darkness, however, is intent on keeping the hospital from being built and when the Prince of Darkness sees that you have been delivered from His control and have been appointed to this task, he will come up with every obstacle possible to keep you from building it. So besides the main task of designing and building the hospital you have to also deal with the politics, regulations, and pure stubbornness on the part of the city officials in order to bring the project to fruition. In effect, you will be opposed in carrying out your charge by the world and the Prince of Darkness.

One of the things that must definitely be avoided is to think of this as YOUR PROJECT or YOUR HOSPITAL. No! This Is the Father’s Project and Hospital and you are merely His steward at the service of the Father (just as Jesus was when He was on Earth). So when things get tough you go to the Father and ask Him to intervene to ensure its successful completion. That is, you use the authority and power that has been given you (in Jesus) to move the mountains that stand in the way and to keep the Devil away.

This is merely an allegorical example of how we, as disciples, are called to overcome the forces of darkness that intervene in our lives to keep us from bringing forth the Kingdom of God in our lives and the attitude to which we must take in responding to our calling.  I only bring this to you in this manner so that when you accept your calling and enter into the work of the Kingdom, you will draw on the power of God that has been allocated to you to fulfill your role as Jesus’ stand-in.

Always remember that without abiding in Jesus you can do nothing. The greatest deception the Evil One will place in you way is to think that YOU are the one behind your calling.  NO, brethren, you must NEVER permit yourself to be tempted by pride in what you have been called to do. This is how Jesus was tempted in the wilderness and we see how Jesus resited the tempter through God’s Word. In the same way, Jesus will help you resist if you abide totally in Him and renounce your own self-interest by dying to your “self” and living for Christ only.

You must also be aware that these temptations come even when you are doing what you think are religious or spiritual tasks. In fact this type of temptation is even more deceptive because, since you think you are doing the Lord’s work, it will meet with His approval.  But if your inner motives are for your own self-gratification, these works will merit you nothing and, in fact, may nullify the work of the Kingdom in and through your life. Remember this principle: if you work for your own self promotion, you are not working for the KING and His Kingdom but for yourself and the Kingdom of Darkness!

I share all these reflections with you brethren to save you from stumbling along your path of discipleship. I tell you these things from the experience of my own failures and so that you may achieve union with Jesus in accordance with His Grace and thus fulfill the Father’s will in your lives to the Glory of His Name!

I conclude this message to you with Paul’s exhortation to the Church at Colossus ( and to us who are also being called into discipleship) …

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus, the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in Him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.” (Col. 2:6-10)

May the Lord strengthen you with His Spirit as you progress along the narrow way of His Love.

Your Brother in Christ Jesus,

Bartimaeus

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

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Praying as Jesus Prayed (Part 2)

And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

(Mark 16:17-18)

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My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In my previous post under this title (Part 1), I commented on the need for us Christians to learn to pray more and more as Christ prayed. Not just because we need to imitate Him and carry out His Teachings on prayer, but because as New Creations In Him we are being conformed into His image by the Holy Spirit (cf.,Rom.8:29) for the purpose that He, working through us, His Body, might continue to bring forth the Kingdom in this world – beginning with each of us individually.

In general, we Christians, are not growing spiritually as we ought, is not so much because of the effects of the world system in which we are embedded, but rather because of our lack of awareness of who we are in Christ, namely, that in coming to a new birth in Christ, we are a new creation in Him and that our that the focus of our lives needs to center on the understanding in faith, that “… it is no longer [we] who live but Christ who lives in [us] and through [us]’’ (cf. Gal 2:20).

I have been crucified with Christ...

And, that Jesus, our lord and Savior by sacrificing Himself on the Cross for us, not only redeemed and saved us but, in effect, exchanged His Life for ours by taking on Himself all of our sinful nature and extending to us His own righteousness so that we might be reborn as new creatures (2Cor.5:17) and spiritually engendered children of God in Him.

If the apostle Paul were with us today, I’m sure that he would repeat his plea to the Galatian church, “My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you..” (Gal 4:19). And as he also reminded the church in Corinth, “Do you Not Know that Christ is in you?” (cf.,2Cor.13:5) or “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (cf.,1Cor.3:16)).

Of course, if we consciously came to this realization, I assure you we would be living the holiest lives we could, by God’s grace. It is for this reason that we need to grow in the awareness of His presence in us, especially when we pray, so that our prayers may emanate from His presence within us and call forth, prophetically, through our prayers the power of The Kingdom to heal the sick, comfort the afflicted, and deliver from the power of darkness those who are calling for His help. In effect, we need to learn to pray as He prayed.

In so doing we must always remember that when we are praying in this mode, that is, as Jesus’ stand-ins under His Anointing, and not as individuals separate from Him, we must constantly be aware that it is He working through us. Recognizing this, that the gifts we receive to operate under His Anointing are His Gifts, not ours, and do not involve us other than we have yielded ourselves to Him so that He may express Himself through us for the Glory of God, the Father. Praised be His Holy Name!

Our problem is that we seldom enter or operate in this mode of prayer.  Yes, we all acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior but when it comes to praying at the level I just described we run into our inferiority complex. Our awareness of our own sinfulness and God’s holiness so dominates us that it seems presumptuous to “the nth degree” to even contemplate that we could pray and do the works of power that Jesus did. And yet the Lord Himself promises that,

“Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”  (John 14:12-14)

Now, it is true that if we intend to do these works out of our own initiative or fleshly desires it would not only be presumptuous but sinful as well.  What Jesus is saying above has some conditions. One of them is that you must be under His anointing and that anointing is ONLY granted when you are obeying the Father in what He is accomplishing. Listen to what Jesus says about operating under this anointing,

“Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished.” (John 5:19-20)

So we see that only through a deep fellowship with the Trinity in prayer are we granted to “see what the Father is doing” and to receive from Jesus the authority to act in His Name in bringing the Father’s work to completion (cf.  The Crucified Life).

But it is exactly to this deeper union with the Divine to which we are being called through prayer, so that, indeed, we, like Elisha (cf., 2Kings-2:9-14), can receive Jesus’ mantle and operate under His anointing. This is essentially what we are praying for when we pray the “Our Father” and  submit ourselves to His Will so that His Kingdom may come, in us and through us in today’s world, here and now. (see part 1 of this series).

This brings us to the next two themes regarding prayer that Luke wants to impress on us. These themes not only address the prayer life we need to attain to operate under His anointing but also our responsibility to share the blessings of our holy fellowship with other pilgrims who are seeking the face of the Lord in their lives.

The next theme addressed by Luke in Chapter 11 is as follows:

The Second Theme:  Sharing the Gift – The Responsibility of the Disciple

“And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him. ’And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.” (Luke 11:5-8)

Now, that we have dedicated ourselves to the Lord as His disciples and have come to a deeper union wit the Holy Trinity, Luke wishes to gently remind us that we have the responsibility to share our relationship with those other pilgrims who are sincerely seeking the Lord. Jesus, in this teaching, refers to this other pilgrim as “a friend of mine has arrived …” – that is, a seeker that God has brought into your life specifically so that you can witness to him.

Three Loaves

Your responsibility is to share what the Lord has done for you with him, namely, your relationship with the Father, the Holy Spirit, your source of sustenance, and Jesus, through whom you have the forgiveness of your sins. These are the three loaves you are asking to bring to “your friend”. You, of course are powerless to provide these loaves (you have nothing to offer) so an “asking” prayer is the way that you intercede for your pilgrim friend so that through your witness He too may come into the Reign of the Father in his life! In this prayer you must be bold and persistent, not because the Lord would hold back, but because the forces of darkness (ie.,the midnight) will resist you.

This second theme is important because without the relationship to the Triune Godhead. we cannot proceed to the next theme: “Asking for the Anointing”.

The Third Theme: Asking for Anointing – by the Holy Spirit

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who seeks 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)

-Note that, Jesus’ quote for this theme is a restatement from the book of the prophet Jeremiah that states: ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’  (Jer.29:10-14)

In this Old Testament Scripture, the terms, “Ask, Seek, and Find” all refer to God Himself.  And similarly, the quote by Jesus in Luke’s Gospel refers to the “Holy Spirit”. This is attested to by the final statement: “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  11:13)

In attempting to comprehend the teaching here, it must be pointed out, that Luke was writing to Baptized Christians, who have already received the Holy Spirit. So, then, what is the point that Luke is intending to make?

Recieving the Anointing

Recieving the Anointing

The point that Luke is making to baptized Christians, is that in order to be empowered as Jesus was empowered, the Anointing of the Holy Spirit that came on Christ must be invoked by us, through prayer so that we may share in Jesus’ anointing. The exhortation quoted above, then, instructs the Christian on the faith and the steps needed to pray for this anointing of the Holy Spirit over our lives. In this way we permit the empowerment that was on Jesus to fall on us in order to accomplish the Father’s perfect will in our service to others.

As a child of the Father, in order to proceed to accomplish the tasks or mission that the Father sets before you in your role in life, you need to ask the Father to empower you to carry our that role (see post on Our Father).  In doing this we follow the example of Jesus who although had the fullness of the Spirit in Him from birth, emptied Himself of the empowerment He was entitled to as the Son of God (Phil. 2:7), so that He, as the Son of Man, could submit Himself to be empowered by the Spirit, as a “MAN”. This happened, when after His Baptism by John the Baptist, the Spirit came upon Him like a dove (Matt. 3:16; Mk.1:10, Lk.3:22; Jn.1:32).  He affirmed this event when he entered Nazareth on the Sabbath and read from Isaiah the following passage from Luke 4:18:

“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…”

We similarly, in following Jesus’ formation in the Spirit through our baptism, must also be anointed by the Spirit in order to carry out our own specific calling accompanied by the spiritual gifts we need to carry out that calling. Yes, we received the “inner” anointing (1Jn.2:27) for our own sanctification when we were baptized into Jesus (Rom. 6:3), but like Jesus we also need to be anointed with the power of the Spirit (Acts 1:8) so that we might be channels of God’s grace to others. This is normally accomplished at our Confirmation or through what is sometimes termed, “the Baptism in the Spirit”. That is how the Lord places us in partnership with Himself to work in this world. When we are obedient and empowered, He will place us where He wants us so that He, working through us may minister His Love and Grace to others for the building up of the Church (1Cor. 14:12).

One of the problems we all face, is in understanding how the empowerment anointing operates in our renewed lives in Christ. The first mistake we all make is to take the Gifts of the Holy Spirit for granted. That is, we assume that after we have been baptized, Grace being Grace, the Spirit will work in us automatically through our lives as long as we remain in a state of grace.

Now, for the sanctifying graces noted in Chapter 11 of Isaiah, that may well be true. But for the actual graces, as manifested in the empowerment gifts listed in 1Cor. Chapter 12, this not true. The main reason being that the Holy Trinity does not want to empower zombies or robots to do the Father’s will. He wants to empower His Children so that He may work through their obedient Love.

In order that LOVE might be supreme in forming a partnership with us, He wants us to freely yield to Him to work in us and through us so that, with our willingness and obedience in place, He might be free to work in us an through us to manifest His Kingdom through our obedience. Normally this would be accomplished through the Sacrament of Confirmation, but since we are not usually prepared to receive the Empowerment Gifts at this instance, the Lord, in His mercy permits us to release the Anointing that was placed on Jesus at a prayer service we term, “the Baptism or release of the Spirit”.

At this service you will be asked to yield yourself to the Holy Spirit and to pray for an infilling and release of the Spirit in your life. This submission, if done in faith, will give the Holy Spirit the Freedom to work in you and through you so that the gifts and anointing that was on Jesus will be on you. This will permit Jesus to work in you and through you to accomplish the Father’s will.  Praised be His Holy Name!

Once thus anointed and in place to serve Him, we might ask, “now, how do I activate this anointing?”.  Luke provides us the answer in this third theme – namely, we ASK., we SEEK, and we KNOCK.

Thus, by implication, if we desire to do the Father’s will and be partners with the Divine in bringing forth His Kingdom, we are urged to ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Only in this way can we bring to fulfillment the desires the Father has placed into our hearts, whether they be ‘moving mountains, healing the sick or casting out demons (Mark 16:17).

Also, we note, that in the Greek, the tense of the verbs ask, seek, find, and knock infer a continuing action such as, “asking and keep on asking”. The reason for this is that the Lord wants us to ask, seek, and knock for His help in every situation we face in life.  By doing so we invite Him and His Holy Spirit to be the dynamic source for our actions thus activating the partnership He wants of us, and yielding all the results for His Glory  – not ours!

In asking, we not only admit our own inability and humility but also affirm our total dependence on HIM and Him alone- so that it is clear that all the Glory attendant to the works of power is His!

In seeking, we understand that only through a personal face-to-face relationship with Him can He act not only as our Empowering Partner, but also as our guiding Parent. Thus our seeking is an act of discerning His will and an affirmation of our personal connection to Him –  who created all things,

In Knocking, we take action, in faith, to test and discern “what the Father is doing” in our circumstances – and, then, again in faith, entering in through that door that He opens for us to bring to completion the Father’s will. Praised be His Holy Name!!

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“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 end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter4:7-11)

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With all I have shared with you my brothers and sisters, I pray the Lord will inspire your discernment in the reading of the Word and the Meditation of your hearts so that these themes will come alive in your spirits and so that you may find and enter through the doors He is opening for you to take the action He desires of you for the Glory of His Kingdom. 

Praised be His Holy Name, forever and ever. Amen.

Your Brother and Fellow Pilgrim in Christ Jesus  …  Bartimaeus

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

Recommended Links

§ The Empowerment Gifts

§ Becoming Children of God

§ Growing in the Spirit

§ Responding to the Spirit’s Call

§ Reclaiming Our Legacy In Christ


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 Praying as Jesus Prayed (Part 1)

Jesus In Deep Prayer

Jesus In Deep Prayer

[Jesus:] “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.  …. On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.  (cf.,Jn.16:24-27)

“I [Paul] am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of gloryIt is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me.” (Col.1:24-29)

“Examine yourselves to see whether y are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test!” (2 Cor. 13:5)

“My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you (Gal. 4:19)

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Dear Pilgrims and Fellow Members of the Body of Christ,

One of the greatest responsibilities we have as members of Christ’s earthly body, His Church, is prayer.  But REAL prayer, not just the rote repetition of scripted religious piety, prayer that is a heart to heart dialogue with the Our God as Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Prayer that flows out of our meditation on His Word. Prayer that is constantly seeking His face and His Will to perform it. Prayer that comes from a yielded spirit that is not seeking anything for “self” but only the Glory of the Father and His Kingdom!  Prayer that comes forth out of the spiritual awareness that we are “in Christ and that Christ is in us” – an awareness that compels us to yield ourselves in Love to Christ so that He may live and pray through us to the Father.

The reason that this level of prayer is required of us is that it is only through this level of prayer that we can fulfill the destiny that Our Father has for us, the Body of Christ – the destiny of being conformed to the image of the Son (Rom. 8:29). For,  “Unto each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ… till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God… unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:7, 13).

In order to grow into the Christ-likeness the Father intends for us, we must pray as Christ prayed, we must walk as He walked, we must be empowered by the Holy Spirit as He was empowered and we must fulfill the Father’s will as He fulfilled the Father’s will to bring forth the Glory of His Kingdom here on this Earth. In effect we are here to continue Jesus’ ministry in this world! This is beyond anything our hapless humanity can accomplish – only the Holy Spirit working in us and through us can transform us and empower us to bring us to this point. We are new creation in HIM, but the Holy Spirit will not activate our new self without our yielding totally to the will of the Father.

“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2Cor.5:15-17)

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” (1Cor.6:19-20)

Yes, brothers and sisters, we have been bought for a price and our lives are no longer our own, it is our destiny, yea even our mission in life to give ourselves totally to the Spirit of God to conform us to Jesus, so that He, living and working through us, might bring to completion the purpose for which He was sent, namely, to bring the Kingdom of His Father to this world and, thus, restore God’s creation to its original Glory!

Yes, he died to save us from the power of evil and to be with Him in Heaven for eternity, but He also gave Himself for His “called out ones” in this world, His Ecclesia”, that so that we could take His mantle and carry on His ministry until He comes to reign. He died for us, taking on our sins so that we could be restored as children of the Father and, that as His Brothers and Sisters, we might become inheritors of the Kingdom with Him who is our King, so we, that as His commissioned envoys, may enforce, through faith, His Word and His Promises to bring forth His Kingdom for the Glory of the Father!

We, His Body, then, are called to be His deputies in bringing forth the Kingdom in this world in preparation for His Coming as King!   However, without true, intimate, spiritual prayer and communion with the Divine we cannot achieve the end for which we were created.  Without prayer we cannot be attached to Him, the Vine, and without being attached we cannot bring forth fruit!

That is why I previously mentioned, in another article, that the foundational prayer model for true discipleship is “the Lord’s Prayer” or what it really should be called, “the Disciples Prayer”. This prayer, mentioned by both Matthew and Luke, once spiritually understood, clearly lays out the Father’s plan to have us be His Partners in enforcing His Promises and His will in order to bring forth His Kingdom in this world.

Looking more carefully at Chapter 11 of Luke’ Gospel we see that the evangelist was not just recounting a series of unrelated stories about Jesus’ prayer life and His sayings, but rather was taking these sayings and teachings to string together a spiritual lesson, laying out the importance of prayer in bringing forth The Kingdom in our world today!

Let us first analyze these initial themes and order of these teachings/sayings so that we may discern what Luke is attempting to tell us through these teachings of Jesus.

Chapter 11 of Luke’s gospel begins with the three major themes that indicate the importance we need to place on our personal prayer in order to begin to fulfill the roles the Father has destined for us in fulfilling the portion of Jesus’ ministry that has been designated for us. The scriptures that specify these themes are: Luke 11: 1-4; Luke 11:5-8; and Luke 11:9-13. In order to help your meditation on these teachings I will go through each with my own annotations, which are there to help you, but which I urge you to read, test and reinterpret these scriptures as the Spirit leads you.

The First Theme:  The Prayer of Dedication (The Disciples’ Prayer)

(Luke 11:1)  He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

– Here, in this situation Luke is attempting to convey that the Holy Spirit moved the disciples to desire to pray as Jesus prayed.  Do you feel led by the Spirit to have Him bring you to the point where you can pray as Jesus prayed? This desire is the starting point to the Way of Discipleship. If you don’t have it yet, pray for it when you pray the “Disciples Prayer”, not out of routine piety but out of a heartfelt desire and need to follow our Master.

(Luke 11:2-4) He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come.

– Here Jesus tells His disciples that through the relationship they have with Him they are to address their prayer directly to the “Father”. In addressing God as   personal “Father” He is going against all the traditions of the Jewish people. In fact this is one of the accusations that was made against Him, that “He claims that God is His ‘Father’ ” (Jn 5:18). Now, Jesus is intimating to His Disciples that if they are to pray as He prays, they are to also address God as their Father not just the Father of the Jewish People, which was acceptable, but as the personal  “Father” for each one of them. Note that the term used by Luke is the more personal, “[my]Father”, not “Our Father”,  as in Mathew’s version. Now, we have to ask ourselves when we say this prayer do we really understand in our spirits that we are addressing our own spiritual parent, the creator of the Universe, the one who has made us a New Creation in Christ, and not just some pietistic name for Deity? Do we really understand the unimaginable upgrade we have in Jesus to be able to address God as “our Father”, presuming, in faith, the same relationship that Jesus had?  And then there is the even more unimaginable offer we are making as His Children, namely. to ask Him to manifest His Kingdom, through us by offering ourselves, through the surrender of our individual will and self to Him? To clarify that this prayer is not to bring you to some “blue sky’ concept of an ethereal paradise, Mathew’s version adds: “…(so that) thy will [may] be done [here and now] on Earth as it is in Heaven”. Now this is what makes this prayer a prayer of dedication for you, as a disciple –  a prayer opens you to the reign of God in your Life!  A prayer that prepares you to “Pray as Jesus Prayed”!

(Luke 11:3) Give us each day our daily bread.

– Here Jesus indicates that our prayer of dedication MUST first acknowledge our humanness and complete dependence on the Father for both our spiritual and material sustenance. Without this sustenance, we cannot our of our own humanness, expect to be effective in being obedient to Him and His Word, That is why Jesus, in John’s Gospel says: “Without me you can do nothing” (Jn.:15:5). And that is also why in another place in John, He says; “I am the Bread of Life” and, “…those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.” (Jn 5:35; Jn 6:56). We, in the Catholic tradition of faith, are able to fulfill this spiritual source of sustenance through the reception of the Eucharist, with the proviso, … “if we receive in faith, so that by partaking of His Body and Blood, He is strengthening and renewing His Presence in us” so that His Kingdom may be realized in us in the events and circumstances into which, by the Father’s grace and providence we have been placed.

(Luke 11:4) “And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”

– In Luke’s version, Jesus concludes the model of the prayer of dedication He is teaching His disciples by also indicating that without forgiveness they cannot be the Father’s envoys to bring forth the Kingdom. For His is a kingdom of Love and since He Is Love, His Love must rule your heart. If we do not forgive, we are in sin and we CANNOT do His will when we are in rebellion against His will! But if we sin we have an advocate before the father, so that if we confess our sins we will be forgiven (1Jn.1:8-10). The concluding line indicates our awareness of our human weaknesses and tendency to sin and asks that He keep us from trials that will lead us to sin. Again, in the Catholic tradition, after we confess our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we ask that He “… keep us from the near occasions of Sin” or situations that are beyond our spiritual maturity and wisdom so that we will not fail to bring forth fruit for His Glory and For His Kingdom.

Psalm 15

1 O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?

2 He who walks blamelessly, and does what is right, and speaks truth from his heart;

3 who does not slander with his tongue, and does no evil to his friend, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;

4 in whose eyes a reprobate is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD;  who swears to his own hurt and does not change;

5 who does not put out his money at interest, and does not take a bribe against the innocent.  He who does these things shall never be moved.

“For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory for ever, Amen.” (Matt. 6;13))

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This, then, in commentary, is what the Disciples’ Prayer is about. It is a prayer, that, when said from the heart, with full understanding of the commitment you are making, reiterates your desire to pray as Jesus prayed, and commit yourself to the “Obedience of Love” as Jesus committed Himself. In doing so, your focus in life, from here on, will be to seek the Father’s will in all that you do. In so doing you will comply with other of Jesus’ exhortations, namely, to  “seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33) and to embody in ourselves Jesus’ own statement of dedication, “… Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise” (John 5:19).

In my next article on this subject (Praying as Jesus Prayed Part 2) I will comment on the remaining two themes on Prayer at the beginning of Luke Chapter 11 (cf., Luke 11:5-8; and Luke 11:9-13).

Please pray, read, and meditate on these scriptures so that you may respond to the Spirit’s call on your life to permit the Spirit of Jesus to live and pray through you!  For it is to this level of prayer we are all called as we are being conformed more and more into the image of Christ.

Praised be His Holy Name!

Your Fellow Pilgrim in Christ …  Bartimaeus

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

Recommended Links

§ Sweet Yoke of Love
§ Releasing The Spirit
§ Hearing His Voice…. and Obeying it
§ Praying In the Spirit
§ Responding To the Spirit’s Call
§ The Kingdom of God Our Spiritual Inheritance

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Healing the Broken Hearted

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised …” (Luke 4:18)

 

Dear Fellow Pilgrims, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

There is perhaps nothing more pernicious that can happen to us than the experience of a broken heart.  Not only does a “broken heart” cause emotional damage to the person involved but it also causes spiritual damage because it provides an entrance to the enemy of our souls into our lives. An unresolved inner hurt that is not spiritually resolved provides the enemy a foothold (stronghold) in our spirit that leads us into un-forgiveness, addictive immoral behavior, or worse, thus preventing us from establishing a full and complete relationship with the Holy Trinity because it inhibits our ability to love as Jesus loved and to walk as Jesus walked.

A broken heart is an inner emotional hurt that can be brought about by a variety of causes, the main ones being [1]:

1. Result of an offense* brought to us from others.

* (People say and do things to hurt us): cf.,Proverbs 18:8.

2. Result from our own sinful behavior: cf., Psalms 25:18, Proverbs 17:19,

II Samuel 24:10.

3. Result from a calamity where one is overcome by the experience:

cf., Job 3:25-26

4. Result of the sins of the forefathers: cf., Exodus 34:6-7.

5. Result from drug and alcohol use:    cf., Proverbs 23:29-35.

6. Result from occult involvement:        cf., Leviticus 20:6.

Now it must be made clear that, in the case of personal offenses, as mentioned in item 1, are, in some cases, only “perceived” offenses. That is, the offense is only perceived by the person affected and is not an intentional offense by the other person. The offense, however, is as real to the affected person as an intentional offense because the affected person makes a judgment about the “intent” of the other party – a judgment that is never resolved because the affected person immediately severs the relationship with the other, thus never engaging the other in dialogue to inquire as to the true motives behind what was taken as an offense. And, even if dialogue later occurs, the person affected has so bought into his/her judgment that admitting an error of judgment would bring about self-condemnation.

That is why the gospels tell us that If we feel we have been emotionally injured we should privately bring it to the attention of the one who hurt us and enter into dialogue with that person. If this is done early in the situation you may find that the person may not even realize he/she had hurt you, and if they did realize it, your initiative provides them the opportunity to apologize and be reconciled with you.

“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.” (Matt. 18:15)

So many times our pride or self-justification gets in the way and something that could be resolved through a logical explanation of some human error that occurred without evil intent grows into a major wounding of the heart and the unnecessary breaking of a relationship. In fact, it becomes a virtual prison for those who cannot forgive. Listen to what Jesus tells His disciples:

“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister [or, mother or father], you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.

So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny”. (Matt. 5:21-26)

In most cases “Broken Heartedness” can also lead to “Hardness of Heart”, where the injured soul retreats into a “shell” to protect itself from further hurt. But in so doing, the heart is hardened so that all communications attempting to break into the shell are ignored and thus a vicious trap closes around the individual. Such traps are termed the “Snare of the Fowler” by certain scriptures (cf.,Psalm 91: 3 ff.)

Now, it must be said that “Broken Heartedness” that is caused by coming to an awareness of one’s own sinful state (see item 2 above) can lead to repentance and conversion. This is the godly sorrow of which scripture speaks. It is the godly sorrow that fell on Peter upon realizing that he had disowned His Master and Lord in the events following the arrest of Jesus at Gethsemani. This godly sorrow usually comes when the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and does not lead us to hardness of heart but instead breaks through the shell we have placed around ourselves. This is what the scripture tells us about his type of sorrow,

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted,

and saves the crushed in spirit.”  (Ps. 34:18)

God also gives the strength to resist or endure a broken heart as when Paul was returning to Jerusalem and was warned by the prophet Agabus about what would happen to him if he continued on his way – setting all the community to weeping…

“ While we were staying there for several days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. He came to us and took Paul’s belt, bound his own feet and hands with it, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Since he would not be persuaded, we remained silent except to say, “The Lord’s will be done.”  (Acts 21:10-14)

The Lord Jesus Himself experienced a broken heart on several occasions but did not let this brokenness hinder his mission and obedience to the Father’s will. For instance when …

a.) Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Lk. 13:34),

b) Jesus wept before the tomb of Lazarus (Jn. 11:35),

c) Jesus, on the cross exclaimed,

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46, Mark 15:34 )

   and then says in faith,

 “Father, Into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46)

It was also prophesied that Jesus’ mother Mary would suffer a broken heart,

“Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed, so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul [heart] too.” (Luke 2:34-35)

In these cases we see that, through Faith in God and His Word, the Grace of God helps us to endure the pain and attain a spiritual victory over a “Wounded Heart” even though we have been exposed to tremendous emotional suffering. It of course requires a deep spiritual maturity which most of us are still lacking.

Because “Broken Heartednss” occurs through a broad spectrum of human events, I am recommending an internet posting that summarizes the main problems that arise when we encounter situations in our lives that deeply wound us in the spirit (ie., our heart). You may connect to the site by clicking on the following title: “Dealing with a Wounded Heart

Of course, since the article is intended only as a summary of several approaches to the problem, you need to pray for the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit before you take any action in this regard. The reason being is that every case is sufficiently different so that only the Lord’s specific guidance will lead you to the specific prayers and resulting actions you need to take for your own or for a friend/s particular situation.

Healing the Heart

In praying, just remember, “Nothing is impossible for God”, pray in faith,  through the Word, in the Spirit and persist,never giving up.  For the Lord cares for the broken-hearted to heal them and deliver them from the oppression of the enemy. Let the Spirit guide you because only the Spirit knows what is in the hearts of men.

I personally have found the guidance provided in this article in conjunction with prayer and meditation on God’s word to be of great benefit and consolation in dealing with emotional hurts. I pray that it will also be of help to you as we all walk along the Lord’s narrow path to spiritual maturity.

Praised Be His Holy Name!

Your fellow Pilgrim and Brother in Christ … Bartimeaus

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

Footnotes:

[1] list excerpted from reference article “The Wounded Heart”

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Other Related Links

§ Escaping the Snare of the Fowler

§ Coming to the Fullness of the Spirit

The Wounded Heart

§ Enter in by the Narrow Gate

§ Walking the Walk

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Here is a brief list scriptures you might consider for your meditation:

(Luke 4:18)  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised …”

(Ps. 51:17) The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

(Ps. 34:18) “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

(Ps. 27:10) “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.”

(Joshua 1:5) “… I will never leave you nor forsake you.”.

(John 15:9) “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love ……..”

More Comfort From the Word of God

(Ps. 41:4) “I said, Lord, be merciful and gracious to me, heal my inner self, for I have sinned against You.  “

(Ps. 146:3) “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” (curing their pains and their sorrows.)

(John 7:38) “He who believes in Me (who cleaves to and trust in and relies on Me) as the Scripture said, From his innermost being shall flow (continuously) springs and rivers of living water”.

(John 15:10-11) “If you keep my commandments (if you continue to obey My instructions), you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.  If have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness be of full measure and complete and overflowing.” 

 

(Eph. 3:16) “May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the (Holy Spirit) (Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality)”.

(Prov. 17:22) “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” 

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“Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come closer to me”; and all the people came closer to him. First he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been thrown down;  Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD came, saying, “Israel shall be your name”; with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD. Then he made a trench around the altar, large enough to contain two measures of seed. Next he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” Then he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a second time. Again he said, “Do it a third time”; and they did it a third time, so that the water ran all around the altar, and filled the trench also with water.

 

At the time of the offering of the oblation, the prophet Elijah came near and said, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”

 

Elijah Contends Against ThePriests Of Baal

Elijah Contends Against ThePriests Of Baal

Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD indeed is God; the LORD indeed is God.” (1 Kings 18: 30-39)

After his confrontation with the priests of Baal (1 kings 18: 17-40), Elijah, the prophet, fled into the wilderness to avoid the wrath of Queen Jezebel who was in the process of executing all the prophets of Israel she could find  (cf., Kings 19). It is interesting to note Elijah’s very human response to the queen’s threats after he had experienced the power and Glory of God overcome the priests of Baal and thus overwhelmingly show the people that there is only one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

His reaction shows that Elijah did not let the anointing the Lord had placed on him go to his head. He knew that he was only a channel and instrument through which the Lord was working and that all of the power manifested during his ministry originated with the Divine and he had nothing to do with it other than being His willing servant. He knew that he was a weak human being in need of God’s protection and blessing. So he cried to the Lord for help.

Elijah in despair

Elijah in despair

“Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.” “(1 Kings 19: 1-5)

As the Lord led him to refuge at various locations Elijah kept complaining to the Lord saying, that he was the last of the prophets who was faithful to the God of Israel, until finally the lord rebuked him telling him that He had seven thousand more who “had not bowed the knee to Baal” (1Kings19:14-18), “Seven Thousand”, hidden ones, who, by implication were His reserve force against the forces of darkness. These, then, were the “hidden ones” of that epoch. They were hidden because they were under the protective cover of the Lord to be used by Him for His purposes in dealing with Israel.

Thy Hidden Ones

Thy Hidden Ones

These former “hidden ones” were “hidden” not only in the sense that they were under the covering of His wings (cf., Ps.91: 4) but also in the sense that they had no rank or status within Israel or the world of that day and thus were indistinguishable from the common people, the poor, the despised, the lay people of that time, sometimes referred to as the “Anawim”.

Yet, it is these simple ones that the Lord holds up to Elijah as his reserve force against the power of evil in the pagan culture into which Israel was being drawn; the term “Seven Thousand” being merely a cultural metaphor for a significant number.

The implication is that these “hidden ones” were the righteous praying ones whose prayers for the restoration of Israel was the reason the Lord was acting through Elijah to bring about the changes needed in the heart of the people so that Israel could once again be considered as “the people of God”.

Today's Golden Calf

Today's Golden Calf

Today, it appears, is no different from the times of Elijah. For we indeed live in a world that worships other “gods” – gods of their own making: money , sexual immorality, lust, power, ambition, greed, narcissism and so on – gods which pervade even our Christian communities and thus prevent the faithful from achieving the personal holiness and service to which they were called.

Today, we also have our “Elijahs”, God’s ministers and prophets who are being persecuted for their stand against the evil world culture through the proclamation of Word of God and His Kingdom! These Elijahs are also being sustained in prayer by God’s elect intercessors, today’s “Seven Thousand”.

These intercessors are also “hidden” in the sense that they attempt, as they ought, to keep in the background of our religious culture. Their relative anonymity provides them the degree of freedom needed to focus and practice the “charism of intercession” under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and apart from any influence that would quench the fire of the Holy Spirit that is working through them.

Because they operate “under the radar”, so to speak, these servants of the Lamb may not have come to your attention. You will find them in almost every Christian denomination eschewing any publicity, because their calling, their Charism, depends on their separation from the world and from the religious politics and worldly influences that surround them. Their great desire is to yield themselves totally to the Spirit of God so that He and He alone rules in their hearts, so that their prayers become the supplications of the Spirit of God for His people.

Each intercessor must be free to express what the Spirit places in his or her heart and thus the modes of prayer will vary form intercessor to intercessor. There will be some who pray and sing in tongues, some who fast and pray continually, some who praise and worship in Song, some who use the prayer of authority to bind the demonic spirits that they are challenging, some who specialize in silent contemplative prayer reaching deep into the Heart of the Divine. Most mainstream Christians would probably not understand the various and distinct modes of prayer and spiritual gifts which come into play when the Spirit of God is given full liberty to express Himself through these intercessors.

Such servants of God would not normally fit in to our over-structured and regimented religious culture where human tradition and formality rule the with regard to the accepted modes of prayer, where there is no liberty to express the true gifts of the Spirit, or to speak the oracles of the Lord as He gives them to us. So it is natural that they would want to congregate in their own small groups, while yet being dedicated to praying for the whole body of Christ.

Today, brothers and sisters, the Lord is calling out for us to pray and support these “hidden ones”, these intercessors of the Lamb. For because they are in fact our front-line prayer warriors against whom the Evil one is waging war against to “take them out”, so to speak, so that he and his evil spiritual companions may continue to disable the church from performing its commission. These “hidden ones” are sent to war against the Satanic powers and thus bring about the Victory of Kingdom of God into manifestation through the power of the charism of the deep prayer of intercession.

The reason the charism of intercession is such a threat to Satan is because it is not merely a human form of supplication but it is, in fact, Christ’s prayer of intercession through His elect servants who yield themselves to His Spirit. For you see, the charism of intercession is the Lord’s charism, for He and He alone, is the one mediator between God and Man (1Tim.2:5). Those who yield themselves to this charism are yielding themselves totally to the Intercessory Spirit of Christ in them so that through that spiritual union they may become His instruments of intercession for His people.

In the Catholic tradition, this type of prayer is not usually well understood because it does not usually follow the traditional forms of prayer but rather depends heavily on the unfettered work of the Holy Spirit through spiritual gifts and contemplative levels of prayer required to enter into spiritual union with the heart of Christ. It is for this reason that most of these type of intercessors usually do their praying inside of convent or monastery walls.

Recently, however, some intercessor communities are coming “out of the closet”, so to speak, but, in certain occasions, are not being welcomed into the mainstream Christian community as they ought. That is why I am asking you, my fellow pilgrims to enter into intercession for them.

In order to focus your prayers for the moment, I am asking that you lift up a specific group of brothers and sisters who have been “crucified with Christ”. Namely, the community of intercessors once called the “Intercessors of the Lamb”, but now, due to suppression by their Diocese [1], humbly call themselves the “Bellwether Lambs” or the “Companions of the Lamb”.  I have placed the links to this organization in my sidebar under the Label: “NEED PRAYER?”, so that you may frequent their prayer site when you also are I need.

Please ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you enter into prayer for them. Ask to be joined in the spirit with them in unity with the Divine so that you may fully comprehend in the Spirit, the Father’s Love and desire for this group and their leader and foundress, M. Nadine Brown.

May the Lord empower you prayers and may He bring them to the place where He wants them for His Glory! Amen and Amen!

Your Brother In Christ Jesus  … Bartimaeus.

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

Recommended Links:

Thy Hidden Ones at Bellwether

The Prayer of Intercession

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[1] Note: keep in mind the suppression of Padre Pio as reported below:

The Suppression of Padre Pio

(Excerpted from the  National Catholic register

http://www.ncregister.com/info/email-a-friend/his_friends_remember_padre_pio )

…  

It was on Sept. 20, 1918, that Padre Pio received the stigmata — the wounds of Christ’s crucifixion — while praying in the choir loft of the 16th-century church attached to the friary. After this event, his fame grew, and by 1922 he had attracted the attention of many people — including the Vatican’s Holy Office, which began an investigation. As a result of this investigation, which concluded that Padre Pio was not experiencing anything supernatural, the Holy Office attempted to transfer him to another monastery in 1923. An uprising of the people in San Giovanni prevented the move. Nevertheless, the friar was not allowed to say Mass publicly, or even to correspond with those who wrote him. In Terlizzi, a small town near Bari, about two hours from San Giovanni, another Capuchin who knew Padre Pio said of him, “Knowing Padre Pio was like knowing Jesus Christ,” he said. The key examples from Padre Pio’s life he says, are “silence and obedience.” Referring to the years when Padre Pio was suppressed, Padre Pancracio noted: “With one word he could have changed things, but he kept silent.”

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False Spiritual Practices and Conforming to the World

“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.

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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)

My dear fellow pilgrims in Christ,

One of the greatest challenges we Christians have in living the Christian life today is that we are immersed in the world’s culture that surrounds us and unfortunately that immersion tends to open us up to forces that lead us into compromising our faith and our walk with Jesus.

As disciples through a loving relationship with Jesus, we have no problem with willingly offering ourselves as a living sacrifice – as indicated in the first verse of the introductory citation above. The area where we tend to have the most problem however is in keeping to the purpose and intent of the second verse, that is, keeping ourselves from being conformed to the world. What we don’t realize is that we cannot be faithful to the first verse without doing what the second verse requires.

The only way we can cooperate with the Grace of God in His work of transformation in us is by separating ourselves in spirit from the world’s systems and culture so that Jesus, and He alone, rules in our hearts. If we let the world encroach on what and how we think and desire, then Christ cannot be fully in control of our lives, thus, keeping us from discerning God’s specific will for us. Only by detaching ourselves from the “world’s lifestyle” through the renewal of our minds can we truly discern God’s will to do what is good acceptable and perfect and so carry out His purpose in us.

Now, the Lord has placed us in the world so that we can minister His Love to the world but, in doing His will this He does not want us to be caught up in the world’s way of thinking and behaving and emulating their sinful behavior. He desires that His desires and His will so take root in us that all our thoughts, word and actions are completely aligned with His will, while yet being immersed in the world.

Always keep in mind, then what Jesus said to His disciples:

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you”. (Jn.15:16-19)

Jesus told His disciples not to be discouraged even though they had to live in the world, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (Jn 16:33)

And John the Apostle tells us that, “… whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” (1 jn.5:4)

However, although, Satan, the former ruler of this world has been cast down through the atoning death of Christ on the Cross and through His glorious resurrection, the evil one still exerts his power over the world through deception, lies and the lust of our fallen flesh. For this is the only way that his rule over this world can persist since he no longer has authority here unless we permit it. For, as His disciples, baptized in water and empowered by the Holy Spirit, each of us has a specific delegation of His authority over the limited sphere of influence we have been given in each of our lives to extend His Kingdom of Love and to resist the evil one.

After His resurrection “Jesus came and said to them, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt.28:18-20)

At His Assumption to the right hand of the Father he also said “…but you shall receive power [authority] when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (acts 1:8)

We, the Church Triumphant, the baptized in the Holy Spirit, then, have been placed in this world to be His witnesses and to enforce the Victory of Our King through the truth of the Gospel and the Power of the Holy Spirit, until He Himself comes in Glory to reign and rule over His Kingdom. We fulfill our calling not only by preaching and teaching the Good news but by living out our lives in such a manner that the Love of God is clearly manifested by our loving sacrifices for each other and for the world as we sow the seed of the Kingdom to bring forth fruit for His Glory.

However, although we have, through the Spirit, received New Life in Baptism, we still retain our fallen human nature and it is mainly this weakness that the forces of darkness use to compromise our faith and our ability to serve as soldiers for Christ in fulfilling our roles to be ministers of His Love. It is through the lustful incitements of the world, which is still in darkness, that the evil one uses to disable us from bringing forth the Kingdom of the Father’s Love.

The battlefield of this struggle between the evil one and the world that he controls is in our minds and in our hearts. Whenever we compromise our principles and attempt to live our lives with one foot in spirit and the other in the world we will lose – and Christ loses our services through our defection to the World because we cannot serve two masters (cf.,Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13).

If we are to serve Him we have to be totally dedicated to Him and to single-mindedly obey His directives through Love. We must be yoked to Him and to Him alone! We CANNOT be double-minded with respect to whom we belong (James 1:8). In fact, James in his Epistle, rebukes those are in this adulterous state: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).

Likewise, we are all challenged by the Apostle John to be single minded in our loyalty, our mission and our purpose and thus to overcome the world in His Name! “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1John 1:6-7)

Now, I must tell you the bad news, that within today’s church many naïve and well-intentioned Christians are compromising their faith and permitting themselves to be double-minded and conformed to the world by unknowingly partaking of the spiritual darkness of the world. Most faithful Christians are, by the grace of God, able to discern and avoid the most evident evil works of the world: drugs, sexual immorality, greed, pride, anger, contention, strife, and dishonesty, and not be caught up in that area of the world lifestyle. However, the forces of darkness, through deceit and subtlety have been enticing otherwise faithful Christians into dark deceptive spiritual practices that permit the enemy to influence their inner spiritual loyalties.

One of the reasons this goes unperceived is that we “egalitarian” moderns have somehow become insensitive to the fact that there are spiritual forces of darkness that are as much a part of the current world system as the works of the flesh which are so self-evident. Somehow in our lopsided modern thinking, there are no such things as evil spirits therefore conclude that all things spiritual must be of God, a philosophy which disables our intellectual defenses and judgment regarding false spiritual practices promoted by those evil spirits that seek to control us and keep us from bring forth the Kingdom of God into this world. Of Course, this is just another way for the enemy and his cohorts to conform us to the world (their world)!

And how do these evil spirits get past our defenses? Well they merely present themselves as alternative paths to an assortment of what they claim are enhanced spiritualities and syncretistic methods, that claim to be extensions of Christian spirituality (which they are not!). These New Age pseudo-spiritual practices, in fact are merely a means to entice us to open our spirit to the wiles of the forces of darkness and their destructive deceptions and thus to keep us from the true spirituality that comes from a deep and transcending relationship with Jesus, who is the Way (the only Way), the Truth and the Life!

“Jesus said to him [Thomas], ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ “. (Jn 14: 6)

While it is true that those Christians who entertain these New Age practices1 are merely seeking to satiate a spiritual hunger that is not being currently supplied by the church, it does not excuse them or prevent the evil one from perturbing up their lives with spiritual deception. How is it I ask myself, that these hungry and thirsty Christians prefer seeking fulfillment in these dark heretical mysteries rather than accept the genuine, supernatural, and magnificent supernatural Gifts of the Spirit that are our inheritance from Pentecost?

Why is it that these so-called Christians have not experienced the power of the real spiritual nourishment that is available through Sacrament of the Eucharist – the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ?

After all did not Jesus say. “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35) ?

Brethren, I believe part of the answer is ignorance – ignorance not only of the dangers of dabbling on the occult and eastern religions, but also ignorance of the power and magnificence of the spiritual life that is available within the Church of God through the inspired Word of God, the Sacraments, and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Sadly, the problem stems from the fact that even some clerics in the Church have never experienced the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and His Gifts and therefore are unable to properly teach others or lead others the true way of enlightenment and spiritual understanding.

In order to help the situation I have added a new section to the “Resources” cited on the right hand margin under the TAB: 5. More! / # Dangers of Deceptive Spirituality. This section contains several articles that will provide some useful information to those that are seeking to truly worship God in Spirit and the Truth!

In making my case, I present to you, below, an article from this section of a priest, who commendably has given His testimony about how he wandered into these New Age practices before He entered the priesthood and how it took him several years into the priesthood before he totally understood the perilous path he had taken and was delivered from this error.

May the Lord Guide you with His Word and His Spirit as you seek to worship Him in Spirit and in TRUTH!

Your Brother In Christ Jesus …. Bartimaeus

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

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Catholics and the dangers of New Age movement
Exerpted from:    http://www.catholicmessenger.org/articles/2011/01/12/opinion/guest_opinions/doc4d2ddb6eb021c530661137.prt

How I was delivered from New Age Practices

By Father Bill Kneemiller
Published:  Wednesday, January 12, 2011 10:55 AM CST

Fr. Kneemiller Comments on New Age practicesThe topic of New Age movements, once a budding campus phenomenon, is now mainstream and as close to us as our local bookstore or DVD movie. New Age refers to forms of spirituality that draw from old systems of knowledge such as Zen, Gnosticism (secret knowledge) and Eastern meditation.

New Age concepts and ideals are even becoming part of our vocabulary. I know this terminology well, as I had a former involvement with Eastern meditation practices before my reconversion to my Catholic roots. I have been steeped in both traditions. So, I may have some insights for Catholics who are dabbling in New Age practices.  I have not publicly written about this before because it has taken time to come out of this New Age involvement.

I was blessed to get a solid Catholic education in St. Charles, Mo., attending Catholic grade school and high school, and being taught by dozens of faith-filled priests and religious Sisters. After high school, I was ready to see more of life. As far as my faith life, Catholicism was OK but I wanted to get a spiritual high. At the University of Missouri I was intrigued by the philosophy of yoga, and in reading my first yoga book “Heaven Lies Within,” it seemed then to fit with me, the new “seeker.” After all, didn’t Jesus use these very words? After about a year of stumbling around with self-help yoga books, I started practicing the Eastern meditation technique, transcendental meditation. From this date in the early 1970s, there followed about 18 years of doing everything with this program. I traveled to half-a-dozen countries spending months, even close to a year overseas at a time studying the technique and advanced programs.

Also, I thought I was meeting the coolest people in the world such as Deepak Chopra, now a self-help guru in his own right, and Johnny Gray, author of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” At the time, it seemed great to me that Catholic leaders such as the Trappists in Massachusetts were practicing this meditation technique along with priests endorsing it. Everything seemed OK at the time because I was taught it is just a technique which enriches everyone’s own religion and the mantra used for this meditation practice was a meaningless word. It would be decades before I learned that mantras are names of Hindu gods.

After about 18 years of Eastern meditation involvement, I started going to a family rosary, at first, out of curiosity. I was taught “prayer with the heart” and it completely changed my concept of prayer from being a rote practice to being a conversation and relationship with Christ. With my newfound rosary friends, I enjoyed going to Catholic conferences and events. The first change I noticed was that I wanted to be around people who believed in the Catholic faith; the conversation and New Age-culture started sounding unusual, even strange.

After a few years, the Catholic culture won out, and I just stopped all involvement with Eastern meditation. I did wonder at the time if I could just walk away; was there any closure? Five years of seminary followed, then, soon after ordination, I started attending the healing Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. One of the priests there offered a prayer of deliverance for me at that time, and recommended that I denounce the mantra, and that was a huge step in cutting my former ties with Eastern meditation.

My story then picks up in 2010, after a tour as a military chaplain in Afghanistan, when I attend a healing conference in Chicago. This conference is held at Mundelein Seminary every August and is for priests involved in the healing ministry, along with training for exorcists. There I meet Father Bob Thorn, a diocesan priest from Wisconsin who had a similar history as me, being a former meditation teacher and now a Catholic priest. Fr. Thorn was helping with reconciliation one evening, so I waited, last in line to go to confession with him. I thought, “Well, Fr. Thorn may have some insights about the Eastern meditation movement, and his subsequent re-conversion to his Catholic roots.  I also thought that when we talked, it would be a friendly social visit, such as “Ha-ha-ha,” wasn’t that kind of crazy back then in the ‘70s, and our involvement with meditation and everything …”

But as soon as I sat down with Fr. Thorn, there was no “Ha-ha-ha” — only seriousness. I told him I was involved as a meditation teacher back then as he was, and he looked fairly concerned. He said, “Bill — you still have that Eastern meditation in you.”  He went on to explain that I needed to denounce every Hindu god that is invoked in the meditation ceremony.  I realized he was right. The transcendental meditation ceremony is filled with dozens of invocations to gods, such as ‘Brahma, Shiva’… you name it; it’s there in the ceremony in which everyone is taught the technique.

So, Fr. Thorn and I went to the conference directors and asked them if they could pray for us that evening. Fr. Thorn downloaded the meditation ceremony from the Internet, and we were ready to be prayed over for this intention.

Three priests helped with this, including one from Canada and one from Peru who I understand to be two of the most skilled exorcists in the world. The priests recommended that I denounce each god and proclaim Jesus Christ as savior, which took about a quarter of an hour.  I did this, and the priest did a casting-out prayer. The healing session was a profound gift and grace. Wow, the effects of spiritual healing! That night, I slept like a baby.

Then, the next week, and in subsequent months I have felt lighter and freer than I have ever experienced in my life. The next week at the healing Mass in Davenport, I gave a talk about healing from New Age practices and spent an hour-and-a-half afterwards hearing confessions and praying for people who had similar involvements. I could never recommend anyone using Eastern meditation for any reason at all. But, I also now see many intrusions of New Age thought, or re-formulated Hinduism in our culture, and some in our parishes.

“Many people are convinced that there is no harm in ‘borrowing’ from the wisdom of the East, but the example of transcendental meditation should make Christians cautious about the prospect of committing themselves unknowingly to another religion (in this case Hinduism),” according to a 2003 Church document entitled: “Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age.”

“There is no problem with learning how to meditate but the object or content of the exercise clearly determines whether it relates to the God revealed by Jesus Christ … or simply to the hidden depths of the self,” the document states.

Our Church’s teachings remind us that we have in the person of Jesus Christ a trustworthy and sure guide, true man and true God, and source of all goodness!

(Fr. Kneemiller is pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Hills and St. Mary parishes in Lone Tree and Nichols.)

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“Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. “  (John 12:23-26)

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we conclude our lenten remembrance of Jesus’ passion, crucifixion, and resurrection let us be sure that we maintain our focus on Jesus and Jesus alone! One of the problems some of us Christians have in observing Lent is that sometimes we place an excessive focus on our sinfulness – leading to an unhealthy and self-centered state of introspection and guilt. Yes, Jesus suffered and died for our sins, but our meditation during lent should not be focused on our sins or our hypocritical attempts to be holy.  Rather, we MUST focus on Jesus and  what He did for us in cleansing us of our sins and gaining the Victory Of God’s Love through His Passion, Crucifixion and  Resurrection.

We need to be like Mary of Bethany (and Magdala) who, realizing the magnificence of Jesus’ forgiveness, “… took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” (Jn 12:3).  We need to magnify the Glory of God for His extravagant Mercy and Forgiveness provided through the Blood of His Son on the  Cross of calvary. And, we must glorify Jesus for giving totally of Himself in Love, subservient to the Father’s will so that The Love of the Father might be manifested for the entire universe to see.

It is all about HIM and any attempt to bring ourselves into the picture, is not only disrespectful but detracts from the Glory that belongs to Him and Him alone! Praised be His Holy Name!

The lenten experience is presented to us as a means of identifying ourselves with Jesus and His Love in a way that we come to a deeper level of understanding the Love of the Father for us and the incredible generosity of His Grace in sacrificing Himself (through His Son) to atone for all the sins of mankind from Adam to the end of time. The victory that Jesus won was completed on the Cross when He said “it is finished”, meaning, the work of redemption of humankind was completed at His death on the Cross. In eternity, before God, every sin was paid for and all humankind has been reconciled to the Father through the Blood of the Lamb!  There is nothing left for us to do but receive this Gift through Faith!

The only problem is that the world doesn’t understand an act of Love such as this.  And, not understanding, many reject this Gift of Eternal Life and Reconciliation with God, thinking instead that it is only through our own merits and suffering that full atonement for our sins can be realized. But the Grace of God and His Love will not be frustrated by mankind’s blindness, rather His magnificent Love desires that those who receive the Blessing of Salvation carry on the Ministry of Christ so that all Humanity has the opportunity to hear and receive the Good News of the Kingdom of His Love!

That is where we come in. As born-again brethren of Jesus, we are called to be the envoys of this message of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18) and in order to be His personal envoys the Father places the Holy Spirit within us to conform us to the Image of His Son (Rom. 8:29) so that He may empower us just as he empowered His Son!

“…. Who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began”.  (2 Timothy 1:9)

Our calling as disciples is to be conformed to His Image in such an intimate and complete manner that He can Live through us right now here in this world to bring forth the Father’s Kingdom of Love. For it is the Father’s intent that Jesus be the firstborn of many brethren (Rom. 8:29) so that as His Body Here on earth we can continue His Ministry to the world until He comes again!

Just as Jesus Himself was taken to the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tested and prepared for His calling, so, we too need to be prepared in the “wilderness” to enter into our calling as Jesus’ disciples and envoys of His Love,

In our own “wilderness” experience the Holy Spirit separates us from the enticements of the flesh and the world to so that we may yield ourselves to Him so that He can move in us to conform us to the image of the Son and prepare us to identify with Him on the Cross of Calvary. For we cannot follow him as disciples without coming to the point where we crucify the flesh so that the life if Christ that is in us may be made manifest through us in our lives. For it is only in entering into the Crucified Life that Christ can Live through us. It must be so for us just as it was for the Apostle Paul who said, “I am crucified with Christ, therefore it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20)

Return to Jerusalem

Go into all the world ...

Brethren, since we are being called to discipleship, it is incumbent on us we that we not limit our wilderness experience to a purely symbolic liturgical forty days of lent. No, we must enter a real, though vicarious, wilderness experience that must be the entry point of a life lived In Christ, For Christ and Through Christ until we can complete the divine mission to which we also have been called and to which we can also come to the point where we can say with Christ, “it is finished”.

The only manner we may enter into the Crucified Life is if we totally yield ourselves to the Spirit of Christ in us so that He and He alone is King and ruler over our lives. And that my brothers and sisters brings up my subsidiary topic, that is, that  the main reason most of us have not been able to fulfill our calling in this world is because we have let ourselves be conformed to the world rather than to Christ (Rom. 12:2).

Yes, if we are Christians at all, we accept Jesus as Our Savior who has atoned for our sins, but yet, in responding to faith for salvation, we nonetheless insist on retaining control of our lives and doing things our way – we dedicate our self-willed religious works to God rather than yielding to the Holy Spirit and letting God work His Will through us For His Glory!

Yes, because of His Great gift of salvation we are destined for heaven, but because we have not fully surrendered to Him, we constrain what God can do through us in this world so that His Will and His Kingdom may be accomplished (cf., Matt. 6:10; Luke 11:2).

Unfortunately, brethren, one of the reasons we are in such a sad state is that our cultural conditioning has structured our thinking and expectations that tell us that discipleship is not for the laity and that the only role of the laity is to “Pray, Pay, and Obey”.  This conditioning boxes us in us into ” religious classes”, each with its own expectation of fulfillment. A concept far from what St. Paul taught, that each of us is a living stone in the temple of God with each of us being of equal importance to the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom in this world (cf.,1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 12:7-31).

Just as Jesus refused to be boxed in by the cultural expectation that he was only a “carpenter” let us also breakaway from the concept that we are only “laity”. We need to recognize that we, each of us, constitute the body of Christ and each of us is called to specifically manifest the person of Christ in whatever role or profession we may be involved in this world. The distinguishing mark of a disciple is that we love as Jesus loves (Jn 13:34-35). Only the Holy Spirit working in us can accomplish this – for it is not our work but His. This the essence and purpose for the Crucified Life.

This Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday). my friends, is the appropriate opportunity to dedicate ourselves to each other and to the Crucified LIfe in Jesus. It was at the Last Supper that the Lord Jesus offered Himself to the Father and to the Church – He, of course , carried out that dedication at Gethsemane but it was at the Supper with His Disciples that He offered Himself as the Passover Lamb:

“Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.  (Luke 22:19-20)

The motive for our dedication should be that, each day, there should be less of us and more of Him so that in our yielding ourselves as a Living Sacrifice to the Father, we might Glorify Jesus in accord with St. Paul’s exhortation:

“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)

Remembering that the carrying out of this dedication is by faith. We act on that faith by submitting ourselves to the renewal of our minds through obedience to His Word as inspired by The Holy Spirit, letting His Spirit Guide you in all matters considering also the following exhortation:

“For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you …; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God,  who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” (2 Timothy 1:6-9)

In conclusion my fellow pilgrims keep in mind the prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas:

“Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart which no unworthy thought can drag downwards; an unconquered heart which no tribulation can wear out; an upright heart which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.  Bestow upon me also, O Lord my God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”  (Prayer of Thomas Aquinas)

Bartimaeus

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Note:  Aside from Jesus Himself, there are many saintly souls in the church who we can model ourselves to in living a crucified life. To name a few: St, Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius Loyola, and St. Therese of Lisieux (etc.), however, I, personally, have taken to a humble monk named Brother Lawrence, because  he exemplified to me how you can take any basic work or office for making a living, such as kitchen work, and  use that as your entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven by living out the Crucified Life within its limited constraints.

The Booklet about Brother Lawrence’s spirituality,  The Practice of the Presence of God. was compiled by Father Joseph de Beaufort, later vicar general to the Archbishop of Paris, after Brother Lawrence died. It became popular among Catholics and Protestants alike, with John Wesley and A.W. Tozer recommending it to others.

To find our more about Brother Lawrence’s biography see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brother_Lawrence

The Booklet may be obtained at the official “Presence of God” web site:

http://www.practicegodspresence.com/

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

Recommended Links

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Growing In the Spirit

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