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Posts Tagged ‘Key of Knowledge’

His Word Is What Brings Our Spirit To Life!

….  Because His Word IS LIFE!

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Exploding_Star_by_duragan“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”  (John 1:1-5)

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el-greco-light-a-candle“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psa. 119:105)

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“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”   (John 6:63)

Flaming_master_sword_by_MagicMushroomTony“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)

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Dear Fellow Pilgrims in Christ,

Some of you who follow my posts are probably asking yourselves…, “why does this fellow Bartimaeus write so much about Spiritual Renewal  and Discipleship? Aren’t there more important topics today that need to be discussed?”.

My answer to this last question is, no!  Not for me. My reason is, that, just like Paul, I am impelled by the Spirit to reach out to those, who, like myself, are cradle or cultural Christians, but who, for some reason or other, have never come to a personal spiritual encounter with Jesus, the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer. Although my writings may be of value to others along our Pilgrim walk, it is mainly these lacking brethren to which I am most eager to reach. Because God in His Love and Grace reached out to me through His Word and opened my eyes to see the spiritual horizons that Christ has opened to us all, I to wish to freely share what the Lord has given me to see, with those spiritually hungry souls who, though seeking, have not yet encountered the Lover of their souls in a personal and spiritual way.

It is my purpose that my testimony here be considered a witness to the work the Word of God accomplished in me by reviving my spirit  to hear His Voice and reactivating my spiritual life in Christ Jesus. Praised be His Holy Name!

My Background in Brief

“For indeed the good news came to [me] just as to [every one else]; but the message [I] heard did not benefit  [me], because [I ] did not receive it in faith as those others who listened [with their hearts]. “  (Heb. 4:2 )

I was just such a person,  I had heard the Word, but, because of the hardness of my heart, I had not received it in Faith so that  I could understand the Word spiritually and thus permit it to have its effect in me.

I was brought up in a Catholic home, exposed to  and taught all of the basic tenets of Christianity from elementary school through college and compliant with the basic traditions of the Church, of which I am still a member. Yet, even though I knew a lot about Jesus, the scriptures, and even a smattering of theology, I not only did not know Jesus personally in the spirit, I did not even think such a thing was possible for normal people (I thought it was only for the “Saints”).  I did not even know what “in the spirit” meant much less getting to know Jesus personally!

I was spiritually blind and handicapped but I did not know it!

Now don’t get me wrong, I was not in denial about Jesus or my faith, it is just that all that I knew about Jesus and His Church was in my head instead of my heart. I was not in rebellion against what I had learned or the theology of it, I just really did not understand that the whole meaning of being “Christian” is not merely to be immersed intellectually and socially by practice into a religious culture but to be united in Spirit with Christ, in the spirit. United, to such a degree that you come to a personal awareness that He is in you and you in Him!  And, that through that communion with Him, you are empowered by Him to Be His Envoy to the world and proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom to those all around you! Praised be His Holy Name!

In the state of spiritual blindness I was in, I had become co-dependent on the religious culture I was nurtured in. Instead of the culture leading me to encounter Jesus in the Spirit, as it rightly should, and lead me to place my total dependence on Him, I had  become overly attached and comfortable with the religious ambience in which I was brought up and in which I was living – so comfortable, that I avoided anything that might bring me out of my comfort zone. Like a pre-emergent butterfly in its cocoon, I was so attached to the cocoon that I was afraid to stretch out my spiritual wings and fly into the hands of my Master!

And that, my brethren, brings up a point I wish to make clear: the obsatcles and hindrances I had in entering in to the Kingdom were mainly of my own making and my own undoing. I was comfortable because, I was using my religious compliance as a fig leaf to ease my conscience regarding the fact that I had made a god out of my career and my family was suffering for it. Also, because of my engineering education, I was very focused on the world of science  around me and the ability of man’s intellect to assess what is real and what is not. I  tended to view and filter everything religious that I read and thought, through these glasses of intellectual human skepticism and pride.

Because of these personal foibles, I filtered out the spiritual message of the Gospel and the Word of God although I was presented it every Sunday when I went to Mass. I was essentially like the rocky or weedy ground that the seed of the Word fell upon but was unable to establish roots ( see the parable of the Sower, Matt.13:18-23 )

How the Word of God Revived Me Spiritually

Now I know that many of you may have been graced by God to be the “good Soil” into which the “seed” was planted and thus avoided this challenge of faith that I and many others have faced. But for me, I was in a state of spiritual apathy and ignorance that prevented me from truly experiencing the energy, life, and dynamics of the living waters that Jesus was offering to sate my thirst. It required a transformation or transition that I would never have entered on my own, had not the Lord unexpectedly shaken up my life and opened up my heart with His Word so that I could truly experience Him and His Love!

It was this personal conversion experience that brought me to understand that there is a spiritual reality accessible to all Christians – a reality that cannot be attained through mere study and intellectual understanding of scripture and theology. This reality was sometimes termed by Jesus as “The Kingdom of God” and the Good News that He proclaimed was that this spiritual  Kingdom is “at hand”, for all who believe, right where they are, as they come to faith and repentance. The problem we have is that we have to accept His Reign over us by believing in His Son and acting in  obedience to His Word and His Promises in order to enter into His Kingdom (Jn. 3:16)! If we don’t believe in His Lordship and His Promises, then how can He be King over us? If we don’t have faith in His Word how can we claim to be submitted to Him as Lord?

Through my conversion experience, the Lord gave me the faith to enter into His Kingdom and placed in me a strong call to reach out to those, who like me, were spiritually hungry but unaware of how to open the door to Christ and let Him come into their hearts to sup together with Him beginning an eternal and life-giving relationship with Him.  All because the Holy Spirit opened my heart to hear His Word and obey its call on my life. Praised be His Holy Name!

Please refer to my previous Post, “I Stand At the Door and Knock”. to understand that Jesus is, in  fact, knocking at your door  to sup with you, “in the spirit”.

The understanding the Lord gave me when I opened the door of my heart was focused on getting me to comprehend, in my spirit, the basic spiritual principles involving His Word and its importance to all the phases of our spiritual growth, including where I had gone astray, and where He was working in me to make the changes in the inner man that I needed to enter fully into the Kingdom to bring forth fruit for His Glory!

The following is a brief summary of  these Seven Principles, which I term, The Seven R’s.  Please, when you read them, pray and meditate on the relevant scriptures presented so that the Holy Spirit can speak to your heart about them. Don’t just believe my witness, I am human and can certainly err, ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart about these principles and learn from what He says. In fact, He may add or modify what I present here so that it may be of greater meaning to you personally. Blessed be our Counselor from on High!

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The Seven R’s of Spiritual Revival …

How The Word of God Activates The Life of Believers

<>    Receive Faith (through the Word)

Jesus: “[It is] The Spirit [that] gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. (Jn. 6:63)

Paul: “So then, Faith comes by hearing and hearing from the Word of God” (Rom. !0:17)

<>    Repent and Believe (through the Word)

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
(Mk. 1:14-15)

<>    Regeneration – Your Spirit Man comes to life (through the Word)

Peter: “You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Ptr. 1:23)

<>    Relationship – A living, active relationship with dialogue (through the Word)

Jesus:  “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them [… have a relationship with them], and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.”  (Jn. 10:26-28)

Jesus: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.”  (Rev.2::20)

Jesus: “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge [through relationship with God]; you did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”  (Luke 11:52)

Peter: “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge [derived from relationship[ of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (1 Ptr.1:2-4)

<>    Reproduction – Bringing Forth Fruit (through the Word)

Jesus: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (Jn. 15:-6)

Paul: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom     He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Rom. 8:28-30)

Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” (Gal. 2:20)

<>    Representation – We are His Envoys (through the Word)

Jesus: “And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed  and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. (Mk. 16:15-16)

Jesus:  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and  lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)

<>    Reconciliation and Reaffirmation of  Divine Fellowship and Sustenance (through the Word)

[John’s Witness] That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.  (1 Jn. 1:1-3)

We write this to make our joy complete. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from     all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in  our lives.  (1Jn. 1:4-10)

[Jesus’ Witness] “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”  (Jn 6:46-51)

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.      For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will  live because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but  he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” (Jn. 6:53-58)

[ Paul’s Witness]  When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat  and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!  For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The  Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said,   “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the     body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.  (Rom.11:20-32)

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May the Holy Sprit Guide You as you meditate on the Word of Life!

Your Brother in Christ … Bartimaeus

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

Recommended Links…

The Making of a Disciple (Through Obedience to the Word!)

The Prayer of Dedication

Cast Your Net on the Other Side!

Sweet Yoke of Love

Regarding Spiritual Growth

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The Hidden Kingdom: Finding our Lost Spirituality

By Jorge Madrid Sr.  (Posted with author’s permission)

.. as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.”’ (Rom 11:8)

Young Schliemann

Young Schliemann

Around the time of the California gold rush a brilliant German entrepreneur named Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890) came into prominence because of his astute business acumen which led him to become a multimillionaire at the young age of 26. In addition to his acuity in the business world young Schliemann was fluent in several languages and trained by his father in the classics of western civilization. But above everything in his life he became enamored with the Greek culture, language and folkways. So much so, that he wrote to a Greek friend to find him a Greek Lady who shared his love for Greece and the Greek people so that they could study the Greek Classics together.

Of all the Greek classics none seemed to appeal more to him than those of Homer and his epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. As he studied these books of poetry. He became more and more convinced that the State-City of Troy vividly described in the works was not merely  a figment of Homer’s imagination, but, in fact, was a place that actually had existed. In his determination, he researched all of the pertinent characteristics and geography he could glean from the Homer’s poetic classics. Armed with this information, he set out to locate this fabled city. After much effort he finally located a hill in northwest Asia Minor where he was sure the city of Troy once stood. Since money was not a problem, he financed and directed the dig himself.

From the very beginning his efforts were met with ridicule and scorn. All the notable classicists, historians, and archeologists were united in declaring Schliemann’s project as sheer folly and merely a publicity stunt to raise money. After all everyone knew that Homer’s  Iliad and Odyssey were just mythical poetry and that only someone completely devoid of his senses would be willing to believe it literally.

But Schliemann did believe it and he began his excavation with great awe and expectancy. Several months into his project, nothing had been found other than the usual sort of artifacts found in the general area.

One day as Schliemann and his wife were digging in the area of an arch they believed to be the entrance to a palace, a small hole appeared as they moved a stone behind a wall. Peering through the hole the Schliemanns caught  a glimpse of  what appeared to be gold. Immediately he told his wife to declare a holiday for the workers to celebrate his “birthday”. Going back to the dig later they uncovered a treasure unequaled in beauty and wealth except for that discovered in Tutanhkamen’s tomb.

Skeletons in Golden armor were everywhere, the golden death mask of a king, whom Schliemann presumed was King Priam, the King of Troy, was also found. It was presumed to be one of greatest archeological finds of the century![1]

By now, you might well ask, what does all this have to do with helping us to live a spiritually empowered Christian life?

By analogy, I make the following application of this story to our lives as Christians. We have in our hands the greatest book in the world – The Word of God as contained in the sacred scriptures, a book that contains indescribable spiritual treasures. Yet because we fail to understand it or believe it, we wander about looking for a deeper understanding and knowledge of God elsewhere without realizing that God himself has placed the very means of achieving that in the hands of every believing Christian, namely, the sacred scriptures! Our problem is our lack of spiritual understanding of the Word and its importance to living a life that draws on its energy and power.

How often do we treat the Word of God as merely “religious poetry” or “apocalyptic symbolism” or a “book of rules and mythical morality stories” and in this way close our minds to the great spiritual truths that are to be found in every book of scripture. How often have we laughed to scorn those who have come into revelation knowledge of the Word and have attempted to share their treasure with us? How long has not the Treasure of the Ages been buried in the hills and mountains of our traditions?  How few there are that actually believe this Guide-Book to that treasure and begin to enter in to the depths of the Lord’s Messiah.

If a secular and profane man such as Schliemann can study and believe in a worldly book of poetry written by a long-dead human author and discover the reality of what was thought to be a mythological kingdom, why is it so difficult for some Christians to believe the words of the Living God?  The words of the Father, who not only made us inheritors of the Kingdom through the death and resurrection of His Son, but who also, gives us His Holy Spirit TODAY, so that His words may bring us to a deeper understanding of the eternal life he has placed in us?  Is it possible that the words of the Living God are less meaningful than those of Homer? Why is it that man cannot understand that the Lord God wants to lead us not to a kingdom of the dead , but into His Kingdom of Life through the Archway of Salvation in Christ Jesus, His Son? A kingdom we can enter TODAY and not after we have left our physical bodies!

The basic problem is ignorance – ignorance in the spiritual sense. For you see, when the Lord, speaking through the prophet Hosea said, “ my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”[2], he was not referring to intellectual knowledge. For of all the people of the Near East, perhaps none were as assiduous as the Israelites in undertaking the study of the Word of God. Yet God’s word stands true not only regarding them but also for all of us living in this modern world, where theological studies abound. Because we have not come into the spiritual understanding we need to know God and His Ways, we are prevented from functioning effectively as the people of God.

The main cause for this lack of spiritual ignorance is clearly attributable to western society’s emphasis on the rational, intellectual, psychological, and physical nature of man and the rejection of anything spiritual. A rejection, which is sometimes covertly covered over by presuming that man’s spiritual side, is demonstrable through his psyche or his intellect and the assumed notion that there is nothing else in man’s nature beyond this. The current wisdom being, “ if a phenomenon cannot be categorized into one of our existing sciences or medical disciplines it does not exist”. Unfortunately, this type of thinking has so crept into our churches that true spirituality, instead of being sought, is avidly avoided (especially by us men).

Yet it is only through a renewed spirituality that we can know God and come to an understanding of His Word. For Jesus, said, “the words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are Life”[3].  Thus, since the unspiritual man cannot understand spiritual things[4] we could study the Bible for a thousand years and not obtain a single spiritual value from it. It is only when we let The Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh in Hebrew) enter our hearts, that is our spirit, that the Word of God can be  of any spiritual value to us. The Lord provides the grace for His Word to enter our hearts. All we have to do is receive it and act on it. When this happens we begin to have a true understanding of what the Lord really wants to say to us individually through His Word. It is a manifestation of the grace of revelation knowledge. Once you have experienced such a grace you can personally understand the comment made by the two travelers to Emmaus who were privileged to have the Lord explain scripture to them: “..were not our hearts burning within us?”[5]. This infused understanding is the spiritual heritage of every Christian.

You see, the spiritual understanding of scripture is not something you get automatically by going through a course of study, it is a grace given by God to all who ask. Just as for the disciples, Jesus “opened their mind so they could understand the scriptures[6], so must each of us ask to receive the revelation we need from our daily reading of God’s Word. This is the reason that whenever scripture mentions belief, it is with the heart not with the intellect. For example, when Paul exhorted the Christian community in Rome, he said “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that Jesus rose from the dead you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the lips and so is saved[7]. This is not to say that our intellects do not come into play – because they do, but not to discern spiritual things but as a filter to determine the veracity and type of materials we permit into our spirits and as a reasoning engine to “rightly divide the Word of Truth”[8].

Once we have received the Word, meditating on the Word of God is the means the Lord has instituted for permitting His word to go deeply into our hearts. Acting on His revealed word to us as individuals is what brings forth fruit. Once we understand that to access God, we must approach Him in the spirit, then the Lord is able to be in fellowship with us. Without that understanding we cannot expect progress in our spiritual lives, nor can we expect to discover the Glory of His Kingdom through the scriptures.

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(excerpted with permission from “Thy Kingdom Come” by Jorge Madrid Sr.; © 2003 Madrid Family Trust, all rights reserved)

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[1] There is a great deal of controversy regarding Schliemann’s discovery of Troy. There is no doubt today that the site he discovered is that of the City of  Troy. The only problem is that there were nine cities built on the same site over 2000 years so which one was really Homer’s Troy?

[2] Hosea 4;6

[3] John 6:63

[4] 1 Corinthians 2:14

[5] Luke 24:32

[6] Luke 24:45

[7] Romans 10:9-10

[8] 2 Timothy 2:15

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The Sanctifying Gifts (Part 2) : Understanding the Gifts

“Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,

And a branch from his roots will bear fruit,

And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,

The spirit of Wisdom and Understanding,

The spirit of Counsel and Strength,

The spirit of Knowledge and the Fear of the LORD,

And He will delight in the Fear of the LORD “ (Is. 11:1-3)

My fellow pilgrims and brothers and sisters in Christ,

In my previous article I reflected on the Sanctifying Gifts and the Inner Anointing as the expression of our partaking in the personal relationship between the Father and the Son. In this article I expand my reflection to the structure of the Gifts and what that structure tells us about their manifestation in our lives.

First of all, let me summarize the Sanctifying Gifts as they are normally adduced from the quoted scripture from Isaiah Chapter 11.  They are, namely: wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, piety (devotion) and the fear (reverence) of the Lord.

Now, activating these gifts with which the Lord has graced us, let us, prayerfully, begin our journey into understanding the nature of these gifts.

In the quote from Isaiah 11 regarding the Gifts of the Messiah, we see that the first six gifts are coupled or linked in pairs. This coupling is not accidental (everything in the Word of God has a reason). The coupling is such that it indicates the manner with which the Holy Spirit works in order to infuse Himself into our lives, First He infuses His gifts into our hearts (spirits) and then uses that infusion to activate a corresponding gift in our minds (souls) which then causes our will to act, thus, bringing forth God’s will and His fruit in our lives.

For instance, Wisdom and Understanding are linked (with an “and”) because the operation of the Holy Spirit is such that He first infuses His gift of Wisdom in our hearts. Then He further helps us by translating that non-verbal inspiration into an understanding in our minds that will lead us to take an action in consonance with God’s will.

WISDOM

The Gift of Wisdom

Now, Wisdom, is the non-verbal, non-conceptual infused spiritual ability to discern God’s will, His judgments, and the desires of His heart in our spirits. However in order to actualize that wisdom in our lives by acting on it, we must first come to an intellectual understanding of what the Lord has placed in our hearts. Thus, the statement of these gifts: “… the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding”, infers that the Holy Spirit not only places the specific wisdom we need to understand God’s will in a particular circumstance in our hearts but He also assists our minds in converting that non-verbal inspiration into a particular set of thoughts that will move our will to act in accord with God’s will. It is through this, the process of  “renewal of our minds”, that this transition can occur. This is the Divine Wisdom under which Jesus lived His life here on earth and now wants us to share in it!

Wisdom, then, leads us to understanding God’s ways with our minds. For since the Lord has told us that,  “ … my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways (Is 55:8), He must, of necessity, infuse us spiritually with the capacity to come to an understanding as to what His thoughts and His ways are if we are to be truly in fellowship with Him. That is why this is a spiritual gift and NOT just a natural human gift that is blessed by God.

In the same manner, the statement, “… the Spirit of Counsel and Strength”, infers that the grace of steadfastness (fortitude, or strength) to remain in God’s will and way regardless of circumstances derives from the gift of spiritual counsel or guidance we first receive in our hearts from the Holy Spirit. For He alone indeed is our Counsel and our Strength! And if we know in our hearts that we are following the guidance of the Shepherd of our souls and what we are called to do is HIS will then we will, through this gift, obtain the strength to not deviate from His Way!

“Who has learned Your counsel,

unless You have given wisdom

and sent your holy spirit from on high?” (Wis. 9:17)

The Gift of Knowledge

The Gift of Knowledge

The statement, “… the Spirit of Knowledge and Fear of the Lord” is perhaps the most awesome gift because it tells us that we share in Jesus’ knowledge of the person of the Father. You see, the term “knowledge here refers not to human intellectual knowledge but to the intimate relational “Knowledge” or “Love” that exists between the father and the Son at the spirit level and it this Knowledge of the Father’s Love in our hearts that brings us to our knees (indeed on our faces) before Him. Thus our response to this “Knowledge” is a heartfelt, sincere adoration of Him who is above all – Our Creator and our God. It is a Knowledge that Jesus promised to all who believe in Him. For as scripture tells us, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). And as , Jesus himself told the Pharisees, “…if you had known me you would have known my Father” (John 8:19)

This gift of Knowledge, then leads to a reverence of God that is born of this intimate “Love” relationship with Jesus who reveals the Father to us. This is the “fear” or reverence that God desires in us, not an insincere reverence that is based on legalism, an outward reverence that is not based on Love,  but rather, a reverence such as is derived from a personal intimate “Knowledge” of His Person. The Apostle Peter corroborates the concept that this spiritual Gift of a personal and intimate Knowledge of God as a person brings us into a sharing in the Divine nature.

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust ”(2 Peter 1:2-4).

The last statement , “… And He will delight in the Fear of the LORD”, is  probably the most misinterpreted and therefore most misunderstood of all the Gifts. Because it mentions Fear or Reverence a second time, most interpretations interpret the first time it is mentioned as “Piety”, whereas at this mention it is interpreted as the gift of “Fear” or “Reverence” although it is the same term or word in the original Hebrew.

The misunderstanding arises because the statement is taken out of context.  In order to fully understand this “gift” we must look at the verses that follow as well.  Thus the full statement we are attempting to understand should be read as:

The Mercy Seat

The Mercy Seat

“And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with mercy for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.” (Is 11:3-5)

Taken In the full context, and in the appropriate understanding of the original Hebrew, the full quotation might be better transliterated as follows:

The Gift of Divine Mercy

The Gift of Divine Mercy

“Because He (the Messiah) will be extremely sensitive to the reverential Majesty of God and His Righteousness (Justice), He will not judge in human terms but will rely on the Spirit of Divine Mercy and Justice to guide Him and with that sense of Mercy and Justice He will judge the poor and decide with fairness for the afflicted and execute judgment on those who mistreat them.”

When understood in this manner this last Gift really sounds more like what we would call Social Justice, but it really exposes the Heart of God’s Love for the poor and oppressed, which is expressed through the Spirit of His Divine Mercy  or Justice. I, somehow, think this gift should be renamed.

What we have to ask ourselves is, “Am I living this gift out in my life?”, and if not, why not?

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Now, my brothers and sisters, I don’t expect you to totally agree with me on these my reflections on the sanctifying Gifts, rather, I present this theme to you to challenge you.  Yes, to challenge you to test my reflections against the inspired Word of God by calling forth the Inner Anointing you have received in Baptism, and you, yourself, asking the Holy Spirit to give you the Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding to comprehend to the depths the scripture regarding the Gifts of the Messiah in Isaiah Chapter 11 and see what He will reveal to you. For has not God promised: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jer 33:3)?.

For you see brethren, you can only grow in these spiritual gifts if you experience them yourself and continue using them in your lives.  You will not experience or grow in these gifts if you merely take for granted every religious or theological concept that is handed you (including mine), and you accept these uncritically without understanding the depths of the Word of God from which they should proceed. The Gifts of Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding and others are activated by any inquiry directed to the indwelling Holy Spirit that is impelled by the sincere desire to Know God, to Obey Him, and to Love Him and Him alone!

Be careful, however! In opening our spirits we must also be aware that not all that our spirits sense is of God. That is why the Apostle John tells us (1 John 4:1), that in order to truly discern the Holy Spirit’s work in us we must test every spirit, including our own. That grace also comes through prayer and practice!

I pray, brethren that that by sharing my reflections on this subject you will be incited to really desire the true Gifts of the Inner Anointing so that, in doing so, you may truly come to truly KNOW Christ intimately and not just know about Him!

Praised be His Holy Name!

Your Fellow Pilgrim and Brother in Christ!

Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2010])

Related Links

§ The sanctifying Gifts (Part 1)

§ The sweet Yoke of Love

§ The Key of Knowledge

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THE KEY OF KNOWLEDGE

The Key of Knowledge

The Key of Knowledge

“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” (Luke 11:52)

My fellow pilgrims,

There is nothing more important to “entering the Kingdom” than spiritual knowledge.  I say “spiritual” because our modern mentality seems to think that the only kind of knowledge is intellectual or conceptual.

When speaking of “Knowledge of God” scripture is not referring to intellectual knowledge but of an intimate “knowledge” of the person of God that can only come through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  John’s Gospel clearly tells us that … “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.” (John 1:18)

The reason that Jesus accuses the scribes[1] for taking away the “key of knowledge” was that, as the custodians of the Word of God, they were interpreting the Word in a legalistic manner, mainly to maintain control over the people and augment their own religious stature rather than to help the people understand  the spirit of the Word rather than the letter.  As a result they were obscuring the Good News of the Father’s Love and true character of the Messiah who would manifest that love to Israel.

As a result, through their culturally biased teaching they were hindering those disciples to were drawn to Christ by presenting a human-based interpretation of the Word  and the prophesies relating to the Messiah.

The Word of God in the Old testament was not only meant to be God’s way of guiding His people into  how to live a full life in His Love but really He intended that through the Word they would come to understand His Love for them and thereby come to know His person and thus  through that knowledge enter into a relationship with Him . That is why He said through the prophet Hosea that He desires steadfast love and not sacrifice (Hos. 6:6).

In the New Testament He reveals His love through His Son and it is through His Son, the Living Word of God, that He reveals himself to us so that through Jesus we may enter into the true intimacy of Knowledge He desires for us; a knowledge that comes only through a relationship with Him through Jesus His Son. It is this gift or “Spirit” of Knowledge which Isaiah  prophesied would be  one of the seven spiritual character traits of the Messiah, (Is. 11:1-3) and ours when we are baptized by the Spirit into Christ (Rom. 6:3, Gal. 3:27).

Simon Peter, our first pope, who ought to know about the Keys to the Kingdom, states the following in his second epistle:

2Pet. 1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2Pet. 1:2 May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2Pet. 1:3 His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

…..

2Pet. 1:8 For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful     in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pet. 1:9 For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins.
2Pet. 1:10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble.
2Pet. 1:11 For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.

Later in this epistle Peter also exhorts all Christians that this gift needs to be nurtured so that through this gift we may grow spiritually.

2Pet. 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability.
2Pet. 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen

As one of the sanctifying gifts we receive at baptism and conversion, growing in the gift of knowledge is key to the process of being conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). It is not a gift that we can just take for granted, it is a gift that has to be received and acted on daily through an act of our will. All we have to do is ask in faith.

St. Paul, through his epistle to the Colossians, exhorts us about this process of renewing the new self as follows:

Col. 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
Col. 1:10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.

……

Col. 3:9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices
Col. 3:10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.

But how, you may ask… “can I come to this ‘knowledge’ of which you speak? I have been baptized and confirmed but I don’t know whether I have such knowledge. And although I consider myself a faithful Christian, I ‘m not sure I can say I have a “personal” relationship with Jesus.”

My dear brother or sister in Christ, let me assure you all you have to do to intiate a relationship to Jesus is to sincerely ask in prayer and faith for Him to come into your Heart and reveal himself to you!

Of course, when I say sincerely, I mean that you are willing to surrender yourself to his Love and let Him reign as King in your life.

When you do this, the Holy Spirit will activate your spirit so that you become sensitive to His presence in you.  He will also activate your prayer life so that you may dialogue with Him and strengthen your relationship as you let him tell you about yourself and the Love He has for you! The fruit you then bear will, in itself, be a witness of His Life in you and of His relationship with you; for without Him you can do nothing (John 15:51)!

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

Then, in order to nurture the relationship and grow in Him, turn to His Word and meditate daily on it so that the Holy Spirit may continue to communicate the Knowledge of Him through His Word.

“My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;

if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding;

if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures—

then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. “ (Prov. 2:1-5)

Thus scripture reveals to us how the seven sanctifying gifts of the Spirit interact in us to activate the transforming gift of knowledge which brings us into conformity to Christ.

May the Lord richly bless you as you proceed on your walk with Him to whom all honor and glory belong! Praised be His Holy Name!

Your Brother in Christ … Bartimaeus

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2009]


[1] The scribes were also responsible for teaching and interpreting the “Law” or the Torah to the Jewish people. Because of this they were also sometimes termed “lawyers”

 

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