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THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER  (Part 1)

The Charismatic Gifts are for All Believers:

The Promise of the Father

The Dove of Promise is For Real

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


My fellow Pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

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

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

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

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

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

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

that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,

and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

and your young men shall see visions,

and your old men shall dream dreams.

Even upon my slaves, both men and women,

in those days I will pour out my Spirit;

and they shall prophesy.

And I will show portents in the heaven above

and signs on the earth below,

blood, and fire, and smoky mist.

The sun shall be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood,

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

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

(Acts 2”14-21)

And, continuing …

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

(Acts 2:38-39)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Brother in Christ, Bartimaeus

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

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UNDERSTANDING THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER (Part 1)

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

 

“The LORD is good to all;

he has compassion on all he has made.

All you have made will praise you, O LORD;

 your saints will extol you.

They will tell of the glory of your kingdom

and speak of your might,

So that all men may know of your mighty acts

and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

and your dominion endures through all generations.

The LORD is faithful to all his promises

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

God’s Gifts and Call are Irrevocable[1]

The Word of God is unequivocal about God’s faithfulness to His promises, it is only we humans who equivocate in how we believe and act on His promises. Because we Christians are human we sometimes have a tendency to gloss over or take for granted the fact that our salvation and continued flow of graces from our heavenly Father hinge on His promises – promises that are at the very core of our Judeo-Christian tradition. Here is what the Apostle Peter says regarding the Divine Promises: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2Pet. 1:3-4)

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

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

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

Is the Promise of the Father for Believers Today?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Understanding the Promise of the Father 

Copyright ©2008 by Jorge Alfonso Madrid Sr.,

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

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

2.              No changes or additions are made to the document

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

4.              Not to be used for personal or corporate profit

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

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Recommended Links

Releasing the Spirit

Praying in the Spirit

The Kingdom of God: Our Spiritual Inheritance

Reclaiming Our Legacy In Christ

Hearing God’s Voice, and Obeying It

Pentecost and the Promise of the Father

The Empowerment Gifts (Part 1)

The Empowerment Gifts (Part 2) 


[1] Rom. 11:29

[2] Rom. 11:24

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“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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Coming into the Fullness of the Spirit

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4)

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit

My dear fellow pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

Just recently we celebrated Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the Church, that is, the day when those who first believed in Christ came together as an anointed community to form the Body of Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit to act as His witnesses to the world. Today, we continue in community through the anointing that is imparted to us through the sacraments of baptism and confirmation bringing us to life in Christ so that we, His Body, may continue to be His witnesses to the world until He comes to reign as King of Kings and Lord of lords.

However, for some of us, our celebration of Pentecost tends to be that of half-hearted traditional routines that honors the tradition and spirit of the historical event of Pentecost but not a celebration of something that should be an integral part of our lives in that it is something we have personally experienced – that is, the personal outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our own lives. It is in this sense that the “fullness” of Pentecost has not yet “fully come” for many of us today.

Yes, we all, in faith, have come to a new birth in Christ and have received the Holy Spirit in the inward man”, but for many of us Pentecost remains merely a historic event because we have not fully come to a realization of what that “fullness” really means. We have not fully yielded ourselves to the Holy Spirit and His Gifts so that He may truly take His place in our lives and thus have not released Him to complete the work in us for which He was sent, that is, to bring us into full conformity to the image of Christ – both through an inward transformation and an outward empowerment to preach and live the Gospel with His power working in us and through us. Instead we have taken our consecration as merely being a signal for us to use our own self-willed energies to attempt to please God with our own works and ambitions.

Yes, we are taught and believe that we are recipients of the seven sanctifying gifts that the Spirit of God uses to form the Character of Christ in us. We likewise expect the fruit of the Spirit to be manifest in our lives through the indwelling Spirit of Love that has been poured in us by the Holy Spirit. But, in many of our lives the fruit of the Spirit is unable to come to maturity, mainly because, through ignorance and the gut-wrenching circumstances of our daily lives, our thinking and our behavior is being conformed to the world rather than to Christ. This conformance includes an attitude of pride and self-sufficiency that thinks we can do everything on our own, not understanding that the desire of the Father is that He wants to work through us and in us by the Spirit of His Grace which he so generously places in us. This attitude of conformance to the world also looks to the world for acceptance rather than to the Gracious God who created us.

You can sense this even in how we moderns define the graces received at Pentecost. Note that only the “socially acceptable” gifts of the Spirit (cf., Is. 11, Gal. 6;22) are mentioned in our churches. Whereas, the nine foundational or empowerment Gifts of the Spirit (cf.,1 Cor. 12) which were referred to by Jesus as the “Promise of the Father” and  which were actually the gifts manifested at Pentecost, are hardly ever mentioned in polite religious society. Why do you think this is? I suspect that the main reason is that we don’t want to look or be different from the world. We want to be accepted in the world and so we compromise the Word of God to match the world’s expectations.

This attitude weakens our faith and without faith we cannot please God – thereby hindering us from activating the actual release of the Holy Spirit into our lives and into the lives of those around us.

In this post it is my desire to discuss three of the most common problems (aside from plain ignorance) facing us Christians in exercising the spiritual gifts in the modern world – problems that hinder us in realizing the fullness of the Spirit in our lives. These three problems being: 1) grieving the Spirit, 2) quenching the Spirit, and 3) unbelief or “hardening of our hearts”. It is my hope that by bringing the awareness of these problems to the surface we may take action to repent and ask the Holy Spirit to renew us and restore us to the place in our walk with Christ so that we may truly be fruitful workers in the Kingdom of God! Praised be His Holy Name!

Grieving the Spirit

Grieving the Spirit of God

Grieving the Spirit of God

The Holy Spirit is “grieved” or “saddened” when we turn aside from His leadings in our lives and we instead begin to form attachment to the world and its lifestyles. He is grieved with us just as Jesus was grieved over Jerusalem because their unwillingness to receive Him at the time of His visitation (Matt. 23:37-39).  Let us then not grieve the Spirit by distancing ourselves from the world and welcoming Him and His Gifts into our lives.

Perhaps no one other than other St. Paul is better able to express the need for the Christian community to align itself with Christ and detach itself from the world. Listen to what he says to the church in Ephesus:

“Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. That is not the way you learned Christ! 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.

So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 

Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 4:17-32; 5:1-2)

You may be sure my brethren that, because God is Love, He, in His compassion for us, will lovingly intervene in our lives to confront us with our sin in this regard, because it is a sin. Indeed, a sin that Paul refers to as “grieving the Spirit of God”. A sin that usually leads to another sin, that of “Quenching of the Holy Spirit”.

Quenching the Spirit

Quenching the Spirit

Quenching the Spirit

Scripture commands us not to “quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). To “quench” is to extinguish something, like throwing water on a campfire as you are preparing to break camp. The sin of quenching the Holy Spirit is when God’s Spirit is prompting us to say or do a certain thing and we refuse. Quenching the Spirit could also be failing to discover and use the gifts that God has given us.

The reason this is important is because we are ignoring or not using the charismatic gifts mentioned by St. Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians (cf.,1 Cor. 12). It is through these nine foundational or empowerment gifts that the members of the church are empowered to carry out the church’s ministry of taking the Good News to the world, making disciples, and manifesting the power of Father’s Kingdom to the world. The Sanctifying Gifts (cf., Is.11) permit the Spirit to bring us in conformity to the character and spirit of Christ but it is the endowment with the charismatic gifts, however, that permits us to share in the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that was on Christ so that His ministry of manifesting or enforcing the Kingdom of God in this world may continue through us, His Body!

The World, the Flesh, and the Devil

The World, the Flesh, and the Devil

Because this ministry dethrones the power of the Evil One and the dominance he holds over the world and fallen humanity, he will do everything in his power to extinguish the Holy Fire of the Holy Spirit that has been placed in us, the Body of Christ. He does this on three main battle-fronts: the world, the flesh, and the devil.  We have already spoken of how the world conforms us to its thinking and behavior. This conformity to the world also acts in us to extinguish the fire or leadings of the Holy Spirit in carrying out His purposes for us in this world.

Remember the warning of preparation that Jesus gave 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.” (John 15:16-19)

Thus, you should not be surprised that the world will not accept you if you deviate from what it expects and demands of you. This, of course, includes the “politically correct” suppression of the spiritual gifts that have been distributed to us by the Holy Spirit to accomplish His purposes in us and through us.

In attempting to hinder us, the Ruler of this world takes advantage of our fallacious human reasoning, our weaknesses and our lustful desires (the flesh) so that we might succumb to the lures and demands of this world. And, to our dismay, he sometimes even uses the voice of misguided religious authority to attempt to shut the door to our exercise of the gifts by telling us that they are not needed today or that they (ironically enough) are of the “devil”.

The devil also tempts us by presenting us with counterfeit “gifts” that are really witchcraft under his control rather than from God. He also hinders the use of the actual gifts by presenting skepticism or doubts as to our worthiness or the appropriateness of our exercise of the gifts.

All of the above briefly summarize the means by which we may fall into the sin of quenching the Spirit. For this reason, brethren, it is very important in walking the walk of exercising the spiritual gifts that you keep in mind St. Paul’s exhortation and admonition to the church of Thessalonica:

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Th. 5:16-22)

Hardening of the Heart

Regarding hardness of heart I refer you again brethren to St. Paul’s admonition to the church at Ephesus:

The Hardened Heart

The Hardened Heart

“…. you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness [blindness] of heart. (Eph. 4:17-18)

In this citation Paul makes it clear that the condition he terms “hardness of the heart” (the term “blindness” is used in some translations) alienates us from the life of God. This alienation comes because the “hardness of heart” condition blinds our spiritual understanding, making us ignorant of God, His Grace, and His purposes for us in this world.  In other words it is an attitude of heart that leads to unbelief.

What we sometimes miss in Paul’s exhortation is that he is directing it to baptized Christians with the implication that these Christians, although converted are still living within their un-renewed worldly mindset – that Paul terms the “futility of their minds”. The reason we miss this point is that we modern Christians don’t realize that we are pretty much subject to the same condition, that is, we too are affected by a “hardening of the heart” or “unbelief”, the cure for which involves the “renewing of our minds”.

The main reason we miss this point that Paul makes is, because we consider ourselves faithful Christians, supposedly operating in faith, we find it difficult to understand how there could be unbelief in our lives.

This failure to understand is, in itself a sign of a certain level of unbelief. You see brethren what we don’t understand is that we, as fallible human beings can harbor both faith and unbelief within us at the same time.  The vestiges of our fallen self, although crucified with Christ are still with us, even though we are in the process of transformation into the image of Christ. But we are not there yet and never will we be completely there until we are united with Him in the life to come.

These vestiges of the flesh still mould our thinking into the ways of the world and place a veil over our minds when it comes to understanding the Spirit of God and walking in the Spirit.  Although we may see our spiritual path clearly in some areas of our lives there are some areas where the old way of thinking still holds sway.

For instance, supposing that upon your yearly medical checkup you doctor discovers some shadows in your x-rays and, upon more testing, informs you that you have a variant form, of lymphatic cancer.  The first anxious thoughts and fears you encounter within yourself are those of your old nature. Yes, you believe in healing and Jesus’ promises regarding healing, but you find your heart placed in a test between your faith and your anxieties and fears. If you place more value on your anxieties based on what the doctor said than your faith in what the word of God says, then you have entered the realm of “hardening of your heart” and this places a veil over your faith in the promises of God.

The more our mind is “renewed” in Christ the less influence the world and our “old man” will have on our thinking and judgments because Jesus and His Word will be the center of our focus in life. When our focus is on Him and His Word our faith will overcome the world just as He overcame the world (John 16:33).

There are many instances in the New Testament where Jesus admonishes his disciples for their “weak (or ‘little’) faith” caused by their hardness of heart. This is not because they did not have faith in Jesus it is because their own faith was still linked to what they observed in the world and was thus diluted by the circumstances they were facing, as in the multiplication of the loaves (Matt.14:13-20 and the healing of the demon possessed boy (Cf., Matt. 17). In this latter case, when the father came to Jesus saying that he had taken the child to His disciples and they could not heal the boy, Jesus said, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” ( Matt. 17:17)

After delivering and healing the boy, the disciples asked, “why could we not heal him?”  Jesus answered them saying, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt. 17:20).

So clearly, if we are to exercise our spiritual gifts fruitfully, as Jesus tells us from the citation above, we cannot afford to have this veil of unbelief or “hardness of heart” be a hindrance to us. That is why it is so urgent that we cooperate with God’s grace not only in discerning and exercising the gifts that have been allocated to us, but also in continuing to grow in the Spirit through the renewal of our minds, so as to minimize the hindrances that so easily disable us from carrying out God’s purposes for us in this world. Praised be His Holy Name!

In conclusion, brothers and sisters in Christ, I urge you to take everything I have relayed to you here, that has touched your heart, and present it sincerely, in prayer, to the Holy Spirit for confirmation and impartation so that you may be fully enabled by Him to enforce the Father’s will here on earth as it is in Heaven!

Baruch ha Shem!

Your Brother In Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus

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

Links to Related Articles

<>  Sweet Yoke of Love

<>  Releasing the Spirit

<>  Prayer to Receive the Holy Spirit

<> The Renewal of Our Minds

<>  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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The Sanctifying Gifts (Part1): The Inner Anointing

A Shoot from the Stem of Jesse

The Branch of the Revived Olive tree

“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,

I have spoken to you in the past about my reflections on reconciling the concept of the Sanctifying Gifts (Is. 11:1-3) and the Empowerment Gifts of the Spirit (see my post on Pentecost). Today I wish to continue to share with you my further reflections on the Sanctifying Gifts – the Gifts of the Spirit that bring us into conformance to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29).

The main reason I need to continue my sharing on this subject is that, as the Holy Spirit guides me through Holy Scripture, I am more and more convinced that our human interpretations are sometimes lacking in getting to the deeper meanings that the Lord has embedded in His Word.  I am painfully aware that I am just a layman trying and praying that the Lord would reveal the meaning of His word to me as I plod along with my inherently dimmed human mentality.

I, therefore, come to you in humility of spirit because I am attempting to explain to you something I have only recently learned and find myself completely overawed by what the Spirit has taught me.  I also find myself completely overwhelmed by knowing that I have lived most of my life without clearly understanding the mysteries of God associated with the inner anointing, the sanctifying gifs of the Spirit!

First of all we understand from scripture that these are the spiritual gifts accorded the Messiah and are the Gifts that form His innermost character, that is, His Spirit. or as we Catholics would say, His Sacred Heart. They are imparted to us when we receive the Spirit of Christ in Baptism with the intent by the Father that these gifts be activated in us to bring us into conformity to the image of His Son, Jesus, the Messiah. The gifts represent the inner anointing of which John speaks in his first epistle. Note that the inner anointing includes the gift of “Knowledge”. Later, I will share with you what this gift entails.

“But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge.” (1Jn. 2:20)

“As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him. “ (1 Jn. 2:27)

Some of us inquisitive believers are initially challenged by at least two questions regarding the inner anointing and the sanctifying gifts:

1) Since, according to scripture, we have already received these gifts when we are baptized into Christ, why do we pray annually for these gifts at Pentecost?

And,

2) Why is it that when we attempt to define these Gifts we usually describe them as glorified human traits derived from our nature rather than as supernatural spiritual graces that are completely out of the range of capabilities of fallen humanity?

It is my intent in these two articles, not only, to present to you my views on these two questions, but also to share with you what I believe the Lord is really trying to tell us in His Word regarding the Sanctifying Gifts and the Inner Anointing.

Regarding the First Question

A superficial response to the first question might be that praying for what we have already received, indicates either a lack of faith in the graces we receive at baptism or a lack of understanding of the doctrines of the faith. Such a response is not only misguided and judgmental but fails to comprehend the basic nature of the spiritual gifts and how they function.

A wiser and more spirit-led response is that, the Lord graces our spirits with the sanctifying gifts at baptism, however, our human problem is that, in the course of life events, we lose the awareness that, in each of our individual circumstances, the gifts need to be activated by faith in order to manifest in our lives.

When we ask for the gifts in generic sense such as at Pentecost, our faith is not really active because we are not asking for the Holy Spirit’s help in a particular situation where that gift is to be applied. Yes, we may intellectually believe in the gifts but without an object to apply that belief to we will NOT be operating in faith.

For instance, scripture tells us that,

“If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:5-7)

We see from this that the Lord wants us to ask for these gifts but the asking of the gifts needs to be an act of Faith. When we ask for the gifts in a ritualistic, routine manner, without a need or a purpose in mind, we will not manifest the Gifts at that instance. That is why the Word tells us, regarding the gifts, that our asking is not to be a one-time or annual event but a continuous turning to the Lord and asking at every opportunity.

“And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:9-13)

It should be noted that, in the Greek, the tense of the verbs, “Seek”, “Knock”, and “Ask”, really mean, “Seek and keep on seeking”, Knock and keep on knocking”, and “Ask and keep on asking”. Thus affirming the need for our faith to be activated continuously in order to activate the Spiritual Gifts.

Opened Your Gifts Yet?

Opened Your Gifts Yet?

Another hindrance to activating in the Sanctifying Gifts in our lives is that these Gifts flow out of the personal love relationship between the Father and the Son , thus in order for those gifts to manifest in us we must be partakers in that relationship. All who believe in Christ and have been baptized in Him are partakers in the relationship at our “spirit” level but not necessarily at our “soul“ level. What is usually missing in our training is that we are not taught the basic truth that while we possess the gifts in our inner man (our spirits) we need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit so that these gifts may be activated or released in our outer man (our souls).  That is, we must bring the awareness of that relationship to our “soul’  level through  our willful and Loving  acts of obedience to the Word.

St. Paul terms this process, the “renewal of our minds”[1] and, therefore, we need to understand from the Word just what the “renewal of our mind” entails and for this we do need to pray that the Holy Spirit help us in this process of renewal by activating the Word of God in our daily Lives so that the Gifts which are already in us may be made manifest by His Grace.  Since the inner anointing reflects the personal relationship between the Father and the Son, one of the things that may be hindering us from a renewal of our minds is the lack of a committed personal relationship with Jesus.

Regarding the Second Question

Regarding the second question, I believe that we humans sometimes have a tendency to block out the “spiritual” sense of what the Lord is communicating through His Word.  On of the reasons is that we tend to interpret everything through our cultural filters. These intellectual filters treat anything that is “spiritual” as some “blue sky” opinions or concepts that don’t have a real meaning that is relevant to living out our life. We only focus our concepts on what we can see, feel, hear or otherwise observe and to which we can personally relate or reason.

Operating under these filters we attempt to fit the sanctifying gifts into our better human qualities or character traits, although slightly glorified. For instance, the gift of “Knowledge”, may be taken as an extension of our ability to intellectually evaluate God’s creation and the good things of this world in relation to the Divine. Now there is nothing wrong with placing high expectations on our natural abilities and praying that the Lord will use these abilities for His Glory, but as I will explain later, the Spiritual Gift of “Knowledge” that is in Jesus and which is now in us is much, much more than this, for it is a supernatural gift that reveals to us the true characteristics of the loving relationship between the Father and The Son.

This brings me now to the major discussion regarding just what I believe the Sanctifying Gifts really signify.

The Sanctifying Gifts and Our Personal Relationship with the Divine

Let me begin this discussion by making it very clear that the Sanctifying Gifts represent the Mystical Inner Character of the Lord’s Messiah – they form the basis of the spiritual relationship between the Father and the Son, because the Gifts are the spiritual graces contained in that relationship – a relationship into which we are immersed when we accept Jesus as Lord and redeemer, repent of our sins and are baptized into His Spirit. Thus our interest in understanding these gifts should come from the desire to understand and know the Father in the same way that the Son knows the Father. Just as Jesus said: “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).

It is through the Sanctifying Gifts, then, that Jesus makes the Father’s heart “known” or “revealed” to us believers through the Spirit.

Before continuing, I pause in our sharing by asking all my readers to pray and meditate on the scripture from Isaiah 11. We do this in order that the Holy Spirit will help us to comprehend in our spirits the depths of this “Knowledge” of the Father which we share with the Son through baptism.

The apostle Paul, speaking of this type of Wisdom and Knowledge says,

“O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

‘For who has known the mind of the Lord?

Or who has been his counselor?’

‘Or who has given a gift to him, to receive a gift in return?’

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

To him be the  glory forever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:33-36)

Continuing with his exhortation, Paul then tells the Romans, and us, the manner with which we activate the gifts that are in us so that they may be made manifest in our lives.

“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)

So there it is! In order not to be conformed to this world we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. And we do this by the grace of God when we surrender ourselves totally to Him as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God! When we do this, we enter into a personal relationship with the Divine. It is only through the living out of this relationship that we will begin to see these sanctifying gifts that we so desire and pray for be manifested in our lives. This is so because the Gifts are the embodiment of the “Knowledge” relationship between the Father and the Son into which we are joining ourselves through the Holy Spirit. It is this type of “Knowledge” that is the Key to the Kingdom!

In Part 2 of this discussion, I will be reflecting on the structure of the Gifts and how understanding this structure helps us in activating the Inner Anointing and releasing the gifts that we term the Sanctifying Gifts.

I pray that in reading through this sharing the Holy Spirit will open your Hearts to come to a deeper understanding of His work of Love in us so that not only the gifts of the Spirit but also the fruit of the Spirit may be manifested in your lives.

Your Fellow Pilgrim and Brother In Christ … Bartimaeus

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[1] Rom. 12:12, 2 Cor. 4:16, Eph. 4:23, Col. 34:10

__________________________________

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

Related Links

§ God’s call to Personal Intimacy

§ The Key to the Kingdom

§ A New Commandment

§ The Sweet yoke of Love

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The Holy Spirit and The Double Portion Anointing

My fellow pilgrims,

The Paraclete - Our Helper

The Paraclete - Our Helper

In a previous post, which I titled “Releasing the Spirit”, I mentioned that The Father’s purpose for us in this world is to conform us to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29) so that we may be an extension of His Kingdom of Love here, in this world. I also stated that in order to do this He sent the Holy Spirit to enlighten us, bring us to life in Christ (Eph. 3:13-19), and to empower us (Acts 1:8) to send us forth to minister the Good News of His Love to the Christian community and the world.

This posting is intended to clarify the distinction between the “Indwelling” of the Holy Spirit in us and an “Anointing” by the Holy Spirit. The distinction needs to be made because many of us mistakenly consider the terms to be synonymous. This misunderstanding hinders many of us from coming to a full awareness of the power of the Spirit in us and, thus a barrier to entering fully into the Father’s purpose for our lives.

Under this fairly common misconception we assume that since the Spirit of God dwells in us, no response on our part is required for the graces of the Spirit to manifest themselves in and through our lives.  After all if grace is to be grace why is there a need for us to do anything?

In response to this attitude we point out that St. Luke in his Gospel tells us that, “If you then being human know how to give good things to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11:13). Since Luke was writing to Christians in whom the Spirit already dwelt we must conclude that what the Father desires is for us to freely and willingly ask for the gifts of the indwelling Spirit to be made manifest in us and through us to address the circumstances and challenges we face in each of our lives.

You see the Father sees us as His children and in bringing us in conformity to His Son, He desires that we be His willing partners in bringing forth His Kingdom in this world. By permitting us to ask, we not only are drawn into further intimacy with Him but we now have a part to play in the flow of His Love to this world.

Of Course, all this hinges on the atoning work of Jesus and His resurrection. You see, the Lord sent His Son not only to die for our sins so that we could have access to heaven, but also so that He, Jesus, would be the firstborn of many brethren.  We believers, His body, the church, are then the next-born and we are now here on earth to continue Jesus’ ministry to the world through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

The Indwelling Spirit and the Inner Anointing

“And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.“ (1John 2:27)

When we are converted and baptized we receive the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and begin the work of conforming us to Jesus.  The indwelling Spirit then works through and in us by what the scriptures call an anointing. An anointing is the infusion of Divine Power for manifestation either in our “inner man” or through our “outer man”. Each anointing is manifested through a set of spiritual gifts that permit us to partner with the divine in bringing forth his Kingdom. In this way the Father Himself works through us as He worked through Jesus when He was on Earth.

The gifts associated with the inner anointing relate to the gifts accorded the Messiah in Isaiah Chapter 11, they are often referred to as the sanctifying gifts. When we become new creations in Christ, these gifts operate in our inner being to bring us into conformity with the image of the Son. When activated in our lives through faith, these gifts lead us to an intimate life of holiness, communion with the Father, and worship through prayer and the sacraments.

Now, for myself, the gifts associated with this inner anointing (see Isaiah 11: 1-6) are mainly activated in me through intimate prayer and reception of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. Then, as I live out the Word of God each day of my life, I have the inner assurance that my Helper, the Holy Spirit is there to infuse his Grace into my human attempts to communicate His Love to others. As I grow in loving obedience to His Word so I grow in being conformed to the Spirit of Christ in me.

Being human, I often stumble of course, but the Spirit is right there at my side to hold me up and lead me to repentance, confession, and restoration to the Walk of Love with my Jesus.  All this is in accord with the teaching of the Apostle John, who tells us,

“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.” (1 John 1:8-10)

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)

Baptism of the Spirit and the Outer Anointing

Just as the Spirit anoints our inner man for our sanctification and enlightenment, so also our outer man needs the anointing of the Spirit to empower us for ministry (service) to the community and the world thus bringing us into total conformity to Jesus.

Jesus himself, in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells, set the example for us when received the anointing of the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill His calling as Messiah (Luke 3:21-22).  Then, as He initiated His ministry under the anointing of the Spirit, Jesus declared that:

“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,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
(Luke 4:18-19)

Just as Jesus received the Spirit’s anointing to minister the Father’s Love to the world so to we the members of His Body, the church, receive the anointing of the Dove of Pentecost at confirmation to empower us to minister to the community and to the world the Divine love of the Father through the Spiritual Gifts described in the Book of Acts, Chapters 2, and in 1st Corinthians, Chapter 12. In anointing the outer man with the Power of the Spirit we become the extension of Jesus’ ministry in this world for building up the church and for the propagation of His Kingdom in the world.

This anointing of the Spirit is termed the “Baptism of the Spirit” because this is the term Jesus used to describe it. Remember what he said to his disciples just before his Ascension:

“And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised,  “Which,” He said,  “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” ( Acts 1:4-5)

The Anointing of the Spirit on the outer man is conferred on every baptized Christian at Confirmation. The Spirit Baptism is our is our legacy and all that we need to do is to activate the gifts which correspond to this anointing is by yielding to the Holy Spirit and releasing Him into our lives, asking Him to work through us and in us so that the will of the Father may be accomplished and so that He and He alone may receive the Glory for His works in us.

The  Double Portion Anointing

St. Thomas Aquinas in His  Summa Theologica (Summa Theologica, Vol XI, Nature and Grace, 12ae, Q111, Art.1, Par. 3) affirms the dichotomy of grace just stated above when he states that the graces we receive as Christians may be categorized into two main classes or types: Sanctifying Grace, which is intended to sanctify the individual who receives this type of grace and Actual or Free Grace which is not intended for the individual who receives this type of grace but rather for the community and the individuals to whom the individual ministers. The grace we receive in Baptism is the former type while the grace we receive at Confirmation is the latter. The Indwelling Spirit is above all graces, indeed, He is the source of all graces and divine power.

The Holy Spirit gives us these two types of graces with the intent that they be manifested in tandem in our lives. They are like the two seals on a coin. A coin to be authentic and of value must exhibit the appropriate seal on both of its facets. Likewise, in order for our lives to be fully authentic in Christ, have been sealed by the Holy Spirit on Both of our facets – the inner man and the outer man so that we can be His instruments to the fullest extent.

If we wish to truly enter into discipleship we cannot ignore the seal we carry on either of our facets for it is only with these seals fully active that we can truly represent the Image of the Son in this world. Without the sanctifying gifts our lives will soon be separated from God by sin. And without the empowerment gifts we deny the Holy Spirit the channels He need to bring forth  the Kingdom of the Father in this world. The choice is ours but He provides the Graces if we but accede to the leadings of His Love in us.

Elisha Asking for Elijah's Mantle

Elisha Asking for Elijah's Mantle

To conclude let me make you aware that Elisha’s receipt of Elijah’s mantle as he was taken to heaven by a fiery chariot (2 Kings 2:1,6-14) was a prefiguring of the church of God receiving Jesus’ mantle at Pentecost. And just as Elisha requested a double portion anointing from Elijah so we believers, the church that Jesus founded, have also received the double portion anointing that was on Jesus.

That is why Jesus told the apostles the night before He was crucified that:

“Now I am going to the one who sent me,
and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’
But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts.
But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.
For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.
But if I go, I will send him to you.”
(Jn 16:5-&)

When he appeared to them after His resurrection he promised them his mantle, telling them that:

“… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

On the day of Pentecost the disciples received that mantle and then passed that mantle to the new converts as when the Apostle Peter proclaims to the astonished crowd  …

“Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:  “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Acts 2:14-21)

Then after preaching the Good News to them and calling for them to repent He further states,

… “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And [then] you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is [also] for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)

Since the promise applies to us who have been called even though we are far off, we believers, the church of God, are thus also the receptors of the mantle of Jesus.  Let us then with all urgency take up the mantle with the  double portion anointing, and, by the grace it accords, fulfill our calling to the fullest by releasing the Holy Spirit to do His work in us and through us!

May the Spirit of God be with you and may The Father and the Son be glorified as you release your lives to Him! Amen and Amen!

Bartimaeus

PS: I highly recommend your accessing the following links to receive further encouragement:

Prayer to the Holy Spirit: Come, Holy Spirit!

What Makes A Christian Charismatic?

http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/features/charismaticrenewal/cr_john.asp

The Catholic Experience of Renewal

https://quietplace4prayer.wordpress.com/conversion-and-empowerment/charismatic-renewal/

Video: A History of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal

“Understanding The Promise of the Father” (a pdf  doc.) – Click here to go to our download section

Related Scripture for Meditation :   Acts Chapter 2, 1 Corinthians Chapter 12

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

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