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Posts Tagged ‘divine wisdom’

Let Your Light Shine Before Men

The Light Shines in the Darkness

<> The Light Shines in the Darkness

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 were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

(John 1:1-4)

<> He, himself, when He was with us, affirmed that …

“We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4-5)

<> But now that He is gone we are called to do His works –  for He is in us and as long as we abide in Him, He says to us…

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  (Matt. 5:13-16)

My fellow pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

As we enter a new year in our walk with Christ it is necessary that we become more observant of the “signs of the times” as Jesus would say. Not so much because we are attempting to foresee what is coming, and when, but mainly to be aware of the breakdown of our current culture and its turning away from God. The more our culture turns away from God and His Righteous principles the more we, humanity, become liable to His judgments and chastisements. And, of course, the more the need for the world to come to repentance in order to be restored to fellowship with Him, Praised be His Holy Name!

The role of Christians in these times, therefore, is not to entrench ourselves in fear of what is coming, but rather to put on the armor of light so that we may not only defend ourselves against the attacks of the evil one but also so that the Lord may use us as His envoys of His Light to proclaim the Gospel of Light with an even greater anointing and power to rescue as many in the world as possible from the Tsunami of darkness that is coming over the world. For we are called to let the light divine that is in us shine forth into the darkness that the world may see the power of God working in us and through us for the Glory od His Kingdom!

Unfortunately, many of us pew-dwellers do not wish to get involved but rather prefer to continue compliantly, passively and comfortably in our routine religious practices and devotions, thinking that, after all, we are just lay people and that it is the responsibility of our clergy, our missionaries and our evangelists to go out to the front lines and fight for the faith. After all, hasn’t the clergy told us, implicitly, that our only responsibility is to “pay. pray, and obey?”

Opened Your Gifts Yet?

Opened Your Gifts Yet?

In so doing, we leave unwrapped the spiritual gifts we all, laity and clergy, have available to us, the spiritual gifts that empower all of us to bring the Word of God that enlightens – the Word that activates and brings to life the spirits of those who are embedded in the darkness of this world. We, without understanding it, or knowing it are abdicating our calling to be communicators of the “Light of the world” to the world.

In a modern-day sense, we are not entirely to be blamed for such an attitude, because, in the past, the Lord did mainly use the clergy and missionaries to bring the Gospel to the entire world and while we, the laity, actively supported these outreaches, we pretty well concentrated on bringing up our children and mainlining our family life.

We were complacently thinking that the front lines for defending our faith and Christian traditions was mainly in Communist China, North Korea, Africa and the Middle East. The problem is that the front lines are no longer in some distant nation but in our own families, parishes, school districts and local governments.

Our own children are walking away from the Christian Faith and are being swallowed up in the spiritual darkness and immorality of the world system in which we are all embedded. Today it is easier to evangelize in skid row than in our own families. Because of the influence of their peers, and the liberal unbelieving public education system, our children place more faith in what the world says and announces than in what their parents or their churches are teaching and preaching.

Today, we, the laity have lost our “saltiness”, that is, the anointing of the Holy Spirit over our lives. We have come to believe that only the clergy and consecrated, can exercise any spiritual power in living out their lives. For example, I once prayed for a man who was offended when I prayed over him for a personal problem he was having. He asked me “who do you think you are, praying like this?, You are not a priest or minister – you are just a sinner just as I am”.

Of course, he was right, I am a sinner just as he is, but in Christ, I am “New Creation”, saved by grace, and I am anointed by Him to bring the good news of salvation and healing to all He places in my path. I can do nothing in my name – everything I do is in His Name, and it is through His Name and the anointing that is in Him that I act on His Word to perform His works in this world. This is the calling and legacy he has given to every believer …

Return to Jerusalem

Go into all the world …

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, 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 16:15-18)

But what, we may ask is the Good News, the Gospel, that I am to proclaim not only with words but through my own consecration to that Gospel in my life.  The New Testament Scriptures make that gospel very clear and in fact summarizes it very concisely …

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  (John 3:16-17)

and,

“…[T]he word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” (Rom 10: 8-11)

Yes, like Jesus, who also was a lay person, if you proclaim this, the only true Gospel, you will be rejected, you will be despised. you will be asked, “who gave you this authority?”, but if you, acting in obedience to His command will continue to carry out the “Great Commission” in faith and love just as He ordained, you also will witness to the results that follow. By your obedience to His Word you will open and use the spiritual gifts he has accorded to each one of us who walk after Him in Faith! Praised Be His Holy Name!

And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.” (Mark 16:20)

So let it be with you, brethren, as you enter this New Year renewed in the Spirit of Christ that is in you.

In conclusion I pass on a compendium of the Apostle Paul’s prayers to the Ephesian community (see below), regarding being faithful to their calling (and ours), by acting on and taking into account all the revelation, anointing and graces that we have been given through Christ our Savior and Lord for the Glory of His Kingdom. To Him and to Him alone be Glory and Honor Forever. Amen and Amen!

Your fellow Pilgrim and brother in Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2014])

St. Paul’s Prayers for the Ephesians [and by implication for us]

Jesus receives the Anointing

Jesus Baptized in the Spirit

… [I] Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all. (Eph.1: 5-23)

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen”. (Ephesians 3:14-21)

Related Links

Prayer to Receive the Holy Spirit

I stand at the Door and Knock

Pray to the Lord of the Harvest (part 2)

Reflection on the Beatitudes (part 4)

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Our Father: It all begins with relationship

Disciple Praying

Our Father who art in heaven …

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

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

(Matt.6:7-13)

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My dear fellow pilgrims,

It all begins with relationship.

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

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

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

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

The Foundational Prayer for Discipleship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Necessity of Prayer

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

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

First of all we need to remember, that it is only through the intimacy of prayer that we receive from Him the wisdom, knowledge, empowerment, and Love we will need in preparation for the next day’s events. Secondly, it is through meditative  prayer in union with His Inspired Word, that we continue to be taught by the Holy Spirit in order to be formed and grow spiritually and learn from our experiences. St. Ignatius of Loyola tells us that “…there are very few people who realize what God would make of them if they abandoned themselves into his hands, and let themselves be formed by his grace.”

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

The Need for Discernment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Relationship is Everything

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

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

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

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

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

Baruch Ha Shem! Blessed be the Name!

Your Brother In Christ Jesus …. Bartimaeus

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

Related Links

<> Sweet Yoke of Love

<> Husbands Love your Wives

<> Walking the Walk

<> Discerning the Spirit’ Call 

<>  Hearing God’s Voice and Obeying It

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