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And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit

“In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:11-1)

Dear Fellow Pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

By now most of you have read my previous articles on the Sanctifying Gifts and Empowerment Gifts (cf. Resource Links, below) and have been sufficiently stirred up by the Word of God and the inspiration of the Spirit referenced in those articles so that you now want to know how you may personally receive the “Promise of the Father” and activate the Spiritual Gifts in your lives.

As Christians “The Promise of the Father” and the Nine Empowerment Gifts are part of the Legacy we have in Christ Jesus.  When we are converted, repent of our sins, and are baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit (cf., Gal. 3:27), not only are our sins forgiven and given new Life in Christ but we also receive the Seven Sanctifying Gifts of the Spirit through which the Holy Spirit conforms us to His image (cf., Rom. 8:29) and covers us with the cloak of His Righteousness (cf., Rom. 4:5).

We are Heirs to the KingdomBut as if that were not enough, the Holy Spirit, through the immeasurable grace of redemption also makes us new creations in Christ (cf., 2 Cor. 5:17) and provides entrance into the Kingdom where, by the unmerited grace and Love of the Father, we are seated at His right hand of Christ to share in His reign forever (cf., Eph. 2:6). By this grace granted us through His sacrifice on the cross and His victory over death, we are, upon acting on our faith, made heirs of the Kingdom and the adopted children of the Father. Praised be His Holy Name!

“But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” (Eph. 2:4-10)

The “..good works” spoken of here are those works through which Jesus contines His ministry in us and through us for the Glory of the Father and the benefit of the community (cf., Acts 10:38). As His adopted children, then, we form the Body of Christ and, thus, are also the Father’s representatives or envoys in world to continue the ministry of His Son so that the Glory of the Father’s love may be manifested through us to all humanity.

However, in order to fulfill this calling on our lives it is necessary that we also share in the empowerment that was on Christ when he was in the world. This is the mantle that He passed on to us at Pentecost (cf., “The Double portion Anointing”), this is what the “Promise of the Father” is all about. And, it is in accepting and receiving the Promise of the Father through the baptism of the Spirit that we reclaim the fullness of our spiritual inheritance in Christ (cf., Eph. 1: 16-18).

At Pentecost, “The Promise of the Father” was purposely given to the body of Christ, a body composed of all who believe in Him and are called according to His purpose, specifically to empower us to carry on His ministry in this world. The Spirit endows all believers with this empowerment from generation to generation until Jesus comes again to judge and to reign over His Kingdom (cf., Acts 2:38-39).

Because He gave us a free will, He does not impose these latter gifts upon us, but instead, they are offered to us free of any obligation or condemnation. Our salvation is not contingent on our acceptance of the Promise of the Father – it must be by our own choice – our choice of becoming His partners in the work He continues to do in this world to bring more of humankind to Himself. There is only one pre-condition, you must be a child of God through repentance and baptism (cf., Acts 2:38) in order to be considered an inheritor of the Kingdom and the empowerment that comes with it (cf., “The Kingdom of God Our Spiritual Inheritance”).

Now, normally, we receive this “empowerment” or “strengthening” when we receive the sacrament of confirmation. However, as with all things of faith, if you receive without faith, the manifestation of the sacrament remains latent in you (cf., Heb. 4:2). For instance, in my case, I am a cultural cradle catholic and have been baptized and confirmed, but I never manifested the empowerment gifts on the receipt of the sacrament because I was never taught to expect these gifts at confirmation, so my faith was not awakened. If I had been taught from the Word, and my faith had been awakened appropriately, I would have received them, then and there. It was not until later in my adult life that the Holy Spirit worked in my life through His Word and circumstances to bring me to conversion, accept Jesus as my personal Lord and savior, and baptize me in the Holy Spirit. It was not until then that I began to manifest the special supernatural gifts the Spirit had destined for me.

As the empowerment gifts were realized in me, the Spirit opened up the Word of God in a deeper more intimate way so that I began to understand the gifts I had just received (cf., “The Key to the Kingdom”). This understanding clearly led me to the knowledge that these gifts a were part of my legacy in Christ Jesus and that they were there, not for my benefit but so that Jesus Himself could minister to the community through my person (along with others who have been likewise blessed).

In responding to the prayer for renewal of Pope John XXIII (ca.1962), the Lord has, in His own sovereign power, initiated a work of spiritual renewal in His Church that permits us to reclaim the fullness of our legacy in Christ (cf., “The Charismatic Renewal”). By His Grace, I am a participant in this movement of His Grace and I am here to proclaim to you the Good News that the grace of God is here for you also – the Kingdom of God is here for you to enter into the fullness of His blessings and receive the Empowerment Gifts of the Spirit through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, just as was prophesied by the Apostle Peter at Pentecost (cf., Acts 2:38-39).  As the Apostle Paul once said, “As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor. 6:1-2)

If your faith has stirred you to action then the next step for you is prayer. Faith without action is “dead faith”(cf., James 2:26) so by asking we are taking action and thus activating the faith that the Holy Spirit has placed in us. This is in accord with what the Lord told his disciples,

“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)

In order to facilitate your asking, I present to you in the sections below, two prayers that encompass re-dedication to Christ and Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Normally this type of prayer(s) are presented at the conclusion of what is called a “Life in the Spirit Seminar” conducted within a Charismatic Prayer Group or a Charismatic Parish. This seminar is the usual venue where one is prayed for to receive the “Baptism in the Spirit”. The community setting is appropriate because it is within such a community that the spiritual gifts are, fostered, nurtured and practiced.  However, in the global outreach of these articles there are many who do not have direct access to a charismatic community, thus these prayers are provided so that you may, in private or in your own small group pray for the Baptism In the Holy Spirit.  You do not need to wait to find a prayer group – activate your faith as soon as possible, while the fire of your faith is strong. Later when you do encounter a Charismatic community you can revitalize your commitment at their services (see Community Links below). And, I might add, if the Spirit leads you, begin your own prayer group!

Prayer of Dedication

Lord Jesus, I believe that you, the Son of the Living God came down from heaven to reveal the Father’s Love to me by suffering and dying for my sins. I believe that through your death and resurrection you have brought redemption and life not only to me but also all else who believe in you. I further believe that it is only through knowing you in a loving personal relationship that I can know the Father.              …

It is because I have a burning desire to know you and abide in you that I now yield myself completely to you and your love. I open the door to my heart so you can come in and sup with me and thus begin the special relationship with you for which you died and for which I hunger. At this moment I yield myself to your love. Enter in and activate my spirit with your Holy Spirit so that I can go beyond just mere intellectual belief in you to a personal spiritual knowledge of you and the Father.                       …

 Lord, cleanse me from my sins and make me a fit vessel for your presence. Permeate my entire being with your life and your love so that I can truly be your instrument in this world. Be my Lord, Be My God, Be my King to rule and to reign in me. In faith and by your grace I receive You and I receive Your word. Abide in me just as you abide in the Father and the Father in You! Thank You for giving Yourself for me. Amen!

Prayer for Empowerment in the Holy Spirit

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

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

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

Praised be His Holy Name! You have now ”Entered the Kingdom” of the Father! Walk in the leading of the Holy Spirit and be obedient to His call! May the Lord Bless you and anoint you with the Holy Spirit in all that you do!

Your Brother In Christ,

Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2016])

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Resource Links In Preparing for the Baptism In the Spirit

# Catholic Charismatic History

§ Releasing the Spirit

§ The Double Portion Anointing

§ Jesus, the Source of Living Water, and Us

§ Pentecost and the Promise of the Father

§ The sanctifying Gifts (Part 1)

§ The Sanctifying Gifts (Part 2)

§ Praying in The Spirit

§ The Empowerment Gifts (Part 1)

§ The Empowerment Gifts (Part 2)

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Christ in Us is Our Hope of Glory  (… His Glory – Not ours)

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

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,

true_repentanceOne of the obstacles we encounter within ourselves that hinders our spiritual growth is that of a spiritual inferiority complex – a weakness which derives from our lack of depth in truly understanding what God’s word tells us of what the Father has destined for us His adopted Children.  Namely, that He sent His Son not only to die for our sins and save us from eternal punishment, but foremost to recreate us spiritually so that each believer may be transformed inwardly into the likeness of Christ and act as His “agent” in our every day lives to bring forth the Glory of His Kingdom in this world.

It is as Paul says, that by Spirit-inspired preaching and teaching the Word of God he may present every man “complete in Christ’. This brethren, is what the Father desires for us, so that Jesus may be the first of many brethren, thus permitting us to act in His stead in bringing God’s Kingdom to manifestation in this world.

Here is what Jesus said regarding this matter:

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:13-16 )*

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His Kingdom is Near

Is it not clear then,that we are envisioned by God to be a city on a hill and a light to the nations, that we are to be spiritually transformed beings only awaiting  the stirring of our faith in order to begin our transformation to be molded into the image of Christ. Should we not then, by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, rise to the occasion?  Why then do we hold back?

When I say we, I mean people like me, regular everyday “Lay People”. Now, it is my assumption that this topic is not news to those in religious orders or the priesthood. But knowing myself and other lay people like me, I can say that we have never been taught that all believers are included in Father’s desires to form us into the image of His Son, and that we all need to do is cooperate with God’s Spirit and surrender to Jesus completely, not only as savior, but as Lord, yielding our person completely to Him so the Spirit can begin conforming us into His image! Praised be His Holy Name!

Yes, I can understand why we are hindered, because I am in the same boat as all of you. I am a sinner and since encountering the Lord I have become extremely aware of my weaknesses and failures that move me to sin against God and my neighbor. It is this awareness that holds me back – with the question im my mind:”how can God use me”? Yet, because of Scripture, it is obvious that most of the people God Chose were certainly “not worthy”, nonetheless, because they yielded to Him and the Holy Spirit He not only used them but molded them to fulfill the assignments they were given. So it will be with me, as long as I obediently abide in Him in Faith and His Word abides in me! praised be His Holy Name!

In my case, because of my conversion experience and sincere repentance, I, by the grace of God have been strengthened in my will more and more to remove myself from my sinful responses and turn more and more of my life over to Jesus, my Lord and Savior, who intercedes with the Father for me and leads me along the path He desires for me. This happens because, as He told us, that since He overcame the World, when we surrender to His Spirit in us,we too, by his strength and inspiration can also overcome the World (if we remain in Him)!

One might ask, what is the scriptural basis for the assertion that “Christ in Us” is the doorway to “our “Hope of Glory”.

<> First of all, it is St. Paul that clarifies that out “hope” is in  God permitting our sharing in His Glory.

Results of Justification : Our Hope is in Sharing the Glory of God
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
(Romans 5:1-2 )

<> It is  also clear that only through our becoming a New Creation in Christ that we can have access to that sharing.

We who believe are a New Creation
So if anyone is in Christ, [he/she] is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17 )

Being a New Creation is what matters in order to be conformed to Christ
For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything!  (Galatians 6:15 )

<> And how do we become a New Creation? – Through the Living and  Enduring Word God!

Obedience to God’s Word Brings you to the New Birth ( a New Creation)
Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart.  [ For] You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. For
“All flesh is like grass
    and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
    and the flower falls,
 … but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
[and] That word is the good news that was announced to you.
(1 Peter 1:22-25)

<> As His new creation we are predetermined to be Conformed to our Redeemer.

The Spirit then uses all the circumstances of our lives to transform us.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn of many brethren.” [… of those having His spiritual DNA]
(Romans 8:28-29 )

I don’t know how the Father’s purpose for us could be made clearer  than what is stated in the scriptures above, that is, that He plans for us to become spiritual descendants of His Son, and therefore also His Sons and Daughters in the the spirit.

When we commit ourselves to walk along the path of Discipleship to our Lord and Master, Jesus, we must always keep in mind that, as disciples, we are all predestined to be conformed unto Him so that He may be the Firstborn of many brethren. This means that in order to permit the Holy Spirit to continue His transforming work in us to form us into true, Spiritual “Brethren” of Jesus, we must willingly cooperate with God’s Grace by emptying ourselves of our self-willed approach to living for Christ and, instead, die to our own self-will and begin to permit the Spirit of Christ that is in us to operate sovereignly through us so that it is His Will and NOT ours is what is accomplished through us.  Or, as John the Baptist would say, the “I” in me must decrease so that the “HE” in me may increase.

Getting Started: Decide to Be His Disciple

The first step we must take in order to cooperate with God’s Grace is to “yoke” ourselves to Christ by making a free and sincere commitment of our will to take on his yoke by yielding to Him as “Lord” and “Master” of our lives. in so doing, we surrender our right to ourselves so that every aspect of our lives is placed under His Reign. This is the “cross” that Jesus said anyone who wishes to be His disciple must carry daily.

Of course, such a transition does not take place immediately, and without God’s Grace it would be a tortuous and seemingly impossible challenge. But, because of God’s mercy He provides us the Grace and strength to fulfill our commitment by being yoked to Jesus who submitted Himself to the Father. Remember what he told us, … “my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Matt, 11:30) .

In case you may have not understood scripture properly, this is the same commitment that Jesus asked His disciples to make when the taught them the “Disciple’s Prayer,” (or what we call the “Lord’s Prayer) where the commitment part of it may be understood as, “… may you as my King, Reign In Me and Through Me, so that Your Will May be done today in this Earth as it is In Heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

I pray, brethren, that the words I have shared with you may cause you pray about them and ask the Lord to  indicate you what action, if any, He would like of you that you may strengthen  you walk with Him. Praised be His Holy Name!!

Your Fellow Pilgrim In Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus.

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2016])

PS:  The following are some additional items that may help you in making your decision:

<> A Quote from St.Ignatius:
“There are very few people
who realize what God would make of them 
if they abandoned themselves into his hands,
and let themselves be formed by his grace.”

<> A prayer of personal commitment:
“Lord Jesus, I am deeply aware that my sins have separated me from you and from the eternal life which you have promised to those who believe. I also acknowledge that these sins impede me from fulfilling the Father’s purposes for me. I, therefore, repent of my sins and turn to you in faith for the salvation and forgiveness you won for me on the cross through the shedding of your blood even when I was yet a sinner and without merit before God.

In addition, I abandon my life to you totally, body soul, and spirit as a Living Sacrifice So that Your Spirit in me may be the driving force to let your Love work through me.  Come into my heart, be the Lord of my Life, as well as my Savior and my King.  Live in me and through me so that I can truly represent you in my service to others in your Name.” Amen.

<> Related Links                                                                                                                                                        Has Jesus Arisen in Your Heart?

Cast Your Net on the Other Side!

Jesus, The Source of Living Water and Us!

<>*Note: all scriptural quotes are taken from the “New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition”.

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§ The Transforming Work of the Cross

The Way of True Discipleship

The Way of True Discipleship

“Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 12:1-2)

Dear Pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

One of the problems we Christians have in growing spiritually as “disciples” of Christ is that we take discipleship for granted and lack an awareness that discipleship is the work of the Holy Spirit in us – not something we do of ourselves for God. And, what we also have trouble realizing is that this work of God’s Spirit in us and through us has to begin with a conscious, free,  and willing decision to offer ourselves up to the Father as a “living Sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1-2) , a sacrifice which entails the surrender of the right to our “self” to the Divine, so that He can enter our inner selves and conform us to the image of his Son.

This decision is separate from our decision to accept Jesus as Messiah and our Savior. However what sometimes  is undetermined is our decision to submit ourselves fully to Him as our “Lord”.  In our conversion we receive freely the Father’s gift of salvation that was won for us by Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross. But then , It is only as “freemen” that we can then, out of “agape” love, freely give our “self” to God – not out of obligation or compulsion but totally as a free gift of ourselves to permit God to set us apart for His service to humanity.

Denying our self, then, is the free and conscious commitment we make as redeemed children of God to yield ourselves to Him so that He can separate us to Himself as His instruments of Love to the world. In carrying out this commitment on a daily basis. we  crucify our flesh so that God’s Spirit may truly have full reign over us. That, my brothers and sisters, is, the cross we must carry daily. A cost we must clearly assess if we intend entering into “true” and “intentional” discipleship.

Self-esteem vs. Dying to Self

Once I was discussing “self-denial” or “dying to self”,  as a principle of Christian discipleship, with a friend who had academic training in psychology.. His first take on this concept was that it went against the humanistic principle of “self-assurance” or “self-esteem” that is widely held as the founding principle for good mental health.

I took me several discussions to convince him of the difference between the two.

First of all  let’s begin with the principle of “self-denial” that Jesus was asking of His disciples.

Luke 14: 26“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29“Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30saying, `This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

In the above citation, the scripture author uses the term “his own life” to indicate “his own self”, a term which is alternatively used in another citation, also from Luke,

Where I am -there my dsicple wil be also ...

Where I am -there my dsicple wil be also …

Luke 9: 23And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.24For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.  25For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

From this comparison we derive our understanding that what Jesus was saying is that in order to fully be His Disciple a person must make a clear decision to deny (go against) his own self-driven desires and follow the directions that Jesus is giving  him through the Holy Spirit!

Also we note that this decision by the disciples to renounce their own desires in order to follow Jesus is also termed by the Master as “carrying their own personal cross” daily. If our personal desires are based on the self-esteem derived from what others think of us, then, yes, we must die to those desires because they are humanly derived and keep us from the path to true discipleship. Severing our need for human self-esteem is the foundation for true humility.

It must also be said  that our desire to be a disciple of Jesus indicates that we have come got a point in our lives where our personal relationship with Jesus has brought us to the point where whatever self-esteem we have is now being derived from the LOVE He has poured out on us through His Sacrifice on the Cross. Our understanding of that immense gift of Salvation and the Love of the Father manifested through it, for us sinners who deserve NOTHING from God, has so changed our inner man that ALL our self-esteem is now entirely and positively derived from our relationship with Him!

Now, one of the drivers of our human desires,is self-esteem.  And if we let ourselves be controlled by how others esteem us, then it will be one of the determinants of our actions derived from our humanness. This is what the Apostle Paul terms the “old Man” in some of his letters. Our reaction to how others view us can range from the negative to the positive.. We normally react negatively to criticism and positively to praise. If we are too sensitive to the negative we fall into what is termed “depression”, whereas if we derive pleasure from praise we may be driven to narcissism. These are all traits of the “old Man”, the Old Man that we must crucify daily!

What Jesus is exhorting His followers is to bring us to completely put away the “old Man” in us, by severing our need to base our actions on our regard for human self-esteem and, instead,  to base them only on following Jesus out of faith in Him and selfless, agape. Love! This is how we “crucify the Old man”.

Putting on the “New Man” …

From Colossians Chapter 3:
1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
6On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7In these you once walked, when you lived in them.

8But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices 10and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.

12 [Instead] Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, 13forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

When we do this, we free ourselves from our self-centered controlled life and enter into a God-centered living existence. This is what Jesus referred to as the “Kingdom of God”, where we surrender the right to our selves and let the Lord truly RULE in our lives.

That is why becoming a disciple comes at a cost. And that is why it is a “cross” that we must carry daily! That is also why the Lord tell his followers that to be truly be committed as a disciple you must first asses the strength of your faith and willingness to follow Him as a disciple through  the sacrifice of your right to your “self” to the Holy Spirit so He can work God’s Divine will in you and through you.

Many of think that just because we are true believers that we are also true disciples. No, although our belief in Jesus assures us of Salvation in Him, we cannot enter into a full state of discipleship unless we make the additional commitment to surrender the right to ourselves and  give God full control over our lives so the Holy Spirit can conform us into the image of Christ that is in us!
Note how Jesus presented this choice to Nicodemus (cf., Jn 3). Jesus told him that although his awareness of the Kingdom working in Jesus’ ministry was a step in the right direction. Yet in order to enter the Kingdom Anointing that was over Jesus and take part in His ministry, he ,”Nikky” had to give up all that he was doing and become a follower of Jesus literally, in order to enter into that Anointing. And he could only do this through repentance, conversion and giving himself totally to the Holy Spirit so that the transformation could begin.

Yes, Nicodemus was a hidden disciple but he did not enter into the fulness of that discipleship until later. So it is, unfortunately,  with many of us!

If you feel the Holy Spirit has nudged you regarding “discipleship”, I recommend that, after praying for the Holy Spirits advise, you look into reading Sherry Waddell’s book: “Forming Intentional Disciples – The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus” *

May the Lord Richly Bless you,
Your Brother in Christ Jesus …. Bartimaeus
(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2014])

[* Note:  In her book “Forming Intentional Disciples – The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus” Sherry makes it clear that there are three concurrent spiritual journeys to what one might call “normative” Catholicism.  She lists these as:
    1. The personal interior journey of a relationship with Christ resulting in intentional discipleship.
    2. The ecclesial journey into through the Church through the sacraments of initiation.
    3. The journey of active practice (as evidenced by attending mass, receiving the sacraments and     participating in the life and mission of the Christian community).
She also makes it clear that in a study conducted by her and a Catholic Cleric indicated that the majority of Lay Catholic Christians basically assume that all that is needed to be “Catholic” are to be involved in paths 2 and 3 (the ecclesial journey and the practice of the religious tenets of the faith).  ]

For related comments and links see:

http://marriagepreparation.com/page/?pg=117

http://www.focus.org/blog/posts/forming-intentional-disciples.html

http://www.amazon.com/Forming-Intentional-Disciples-Knowing-Following/dp/1612785905
Catherine of Sienna Institute
http://www.siena.org/Article/who-we-are

CDM Discipleship Resources
http://www.navigators.org/us/ministries/cdm/about/

CDM Intentional Discipleship Ministry
http://www.navigators.org/us/ministries/cdm/idc/

Prayer to Receive the Holy Spirit

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Putting on God’s Armor

You Need Armor to Fight the Battle

You Need Armor to Fight the Battle

“… be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” (Eph. 6:10)

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

There are times in our walk with Christ when the enemy throws everything at us in his attempt to cause us to deviate from the purposes of the Father for our lives by weakening our faith. These attacks often come in multiple fronts. For instance, illnesses, that out of fear and anxiety, cause inordinate tensions between family members combined with problems with our employment or lack thereof that cause us to doubt the Father’s  provision for our families and our faith in His Promises and His Love.

These attacks sometimes appear suddenly, especially when we are spiritually unprepared and leave us even more vulnerable to these incursions. And, because of our unpreparedness we are more likely than not to succumb to these attacks. If we have good faith foundations in the Word and an active prayer relationship with Jesus we are better able to recover from these situations because we can turn to Him immediately for help. But if we have wandered from our relationship with our Lord and Savior we will need the help of spiritually active Christians to assist us in such situations to assist us in returning to Christ who is our refuge and our fortress in such situations.

Of course, St. Paul, who himself was exposed to every type of attack of the enemy, exhorts us to always be prepared by putting on the spiritual armor which the Lord has made available to all of us through His Grace and the power of the Blood of His Son.

“… be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual {forces} of wickedness in the heavenly {places.} Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

images“Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the SHIELD OF FAITH with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil {one.} And [having taken on] THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God … With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints …”  (Eph. 6:10-18)

Before entering the discussion about the armor one thing must be made clear, in order to put on the King’s Armor you must be a soldier under the command of the King and in  good relationship with Him!  In today’s terms, this means we must be in an active relationship with Jesus and not holding to any sin in our lives.

If are holding back some sin or failing before your conscience, the enemy can rightly use this as weakness that can use as a claim against you and your right to put on the King’s Armor.

So the first thing we must do before putting on God’s armor is to repent of our sins and through confession and the Eucharist, thus restore ourselves as loyal and obedient Soldiers of our King and Savior Jesus, the Son of the Living God.

Once this is accomplished we must then understand exactly what is meant by “God’s Armor” so that we can begin the task of putting it on as we prepare to engage the enemy.

Accordingly, St. Paul, the author of the letter to the Ephesians provides us further information in other of his epistles that brings us to a fuller understanding of the elements of the armor and its use in our defense and our offense against  the enemy.

Regarding Truth and Righteousness, St. Paul informs us, as follows:

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it– the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”  (Rom. 3:21-28)

”There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Rom. 8:1-9)

Regarding the Shield of Faith

11-25-1Clearly, a shield is vitally important to a soldier. It provides a blanket of protection. It is meant to be taken up in all circumstances. It is the first barrier against the enemy’s attack. Often, shields were painted with identifying marks; a Christian who takes up the shield of faith identifies himself as a foot soldier who serves the Commander of the Lord’s army (see Joshua 5:14).

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Verse 6 stresses the importance of faith: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Satan’s attacks can sometimes cause us to doubt God. Faith prompts us to believe God. We give in to temptation when we believe what it has to offer is better than what God has promised. Faith reminds us that, though fulfillment of God’s promise may not be readily visible to us, God is true to His Word. When Satan attempts to plague us with doubt or entice us with instant gratification, faith recognizes the deceptiveness of his tactics and quickly extinguishes the arrows. When Satan accuses us, faith chooses to believe that Jesus has redeemed us and that there is no more condemnation (Romans 8:1, 34; Revelation 12:10–12).

Faith is one of the greatest gifts (1 Corinthians 13:13), and it is the means by which we receive grace and come into right relationship with God (Ephesians 2:8–9). It is because we have been justified through faith that we belong to God and have peace with Him (Romans 5:1). Faith is the doorway to hope in God (Romans 5:2). Because we have faith in God, our suffering need not faze us; in fact, we can persevere under it (Romans 5:3–5). The things Satan attempts to use to discourage us can actually become tools in the hands of God.

All believers have this promise: “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). Faith is a protective barrier between us and the schemes of Satan. When we believe God and take Him at His word, we remain grounded in truth, the lies of the enemy lose their power, and we become overcomers. In that way, faith is our shield. (excerpted from gotquestions.org)

Regarding Having our feet “fitted with the Gospel of Peace”

Verse 15 says, “And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” The New Living Translation words it this way: “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.” The gospel of peace is the message that Jesus gave to those who trust in Him (John 14:27; Romans 10:15). It comes with the assurance from God that we are His children and nothing can snatch us out of His hands (John 10:29; 1 John 5:13). It outlines clearly what is required to become a child of God (1 Corinthians 15:1–6; John 1:12; Romans 10:8–10). Any other message is a false gospel.

The word readiness implies constant vigilance. A victorious soldier had to be prepared for battle. He had to have studied his enemy’s strategy, be confident in his own strategy, and have his feet firmly planted so that he could hold his ground when the attacks came. A soldier’s battle shoes were studded with nails or spikes, like cleats, to help him keep his balance in combat. He knew that, if he lost his footing and went down, it wouldn’t matter how great the rest of his armor was; the enemy had him. When we are ready with the gospel of peace, we live with the understanding that we are continually under attack from Satan. Second Timothy 4:2 says to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season.”

The “peace shoes” that God supplies His soldiers have two purposes: defensive and offensive. In order to defend ourselves against the “flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16), we must have confidence of our position in Christ. We must stand firm in the truth of God’s Word, regardless of how terrifying the circumstances may be (1 John 5:14). We must understand grace without abusing it (Romans 6:1–6), remember that our position in Christ is not based on our own abilities or worthiness (Titus 3:5), and keep our belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness securely fastened (2 Timothy 1:12).

When Satan attacks with a flaming missile of doubt, such as “If God really loved you, He wouldn’t have let this happen,” we dig our peace shoes into the turf of God’s Word and reply, “It is written: All things work together for the good to them who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). When Satan stabs from behind with “Remember what you did?” we dig in more deeply and reply, “It is written: If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

In addition to standing our ground, shoes are also for moving. God expects us to go on the offensive and take the gospel of peace to others. First Peter 3:14 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Sharing our faith is one of the best ways to maintain our own sure footing. God knows that, when we are active in speaking of Him to others, we not only charge into Satan’s territory, but we dig our shoes more deeply into truth and will be much harder to dislodge. When we have “studied to show ourselves approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15), we are ready to stand firm in the gospel of peace no matter what the enemy brings against us (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

Regarding the Helmet of Salvation:

Ephesians 6:17 instructs us to put on the whole armor of God and to “take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” When a soldier suited up for battle, the helmet was the last piece of armor to go on. It was the final act of readiness in preparation for combat. A helmet was vital for survival, protecting the brain, the command station for the rest of the body. If the head was badly damaged, the rest of the armor would be of little use.

The assurance of salvation is our impenetrable defense against anything the enemy throws at us. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). The idea in this verse is that, as we prepare for Satan’s attacks, we must grab that helmet and buckle it on tightly. Salvation is not limited to a one-time act of the past or even a future hope. God’s salvation is an ongoing, eternal state that His children enjoy in the present. It is daily protection and deliverance from our sin nature and Satan’s schemes.

Because of the power of the cross, our enemy no longer has any hold on us (Romans 6:10; 8:2; 1 Corinthians 1:18). He knows that, but he also knows that most of God’s children do not know that—or, at least, they do not live as if they know. We must learn to keep our helmets buckled so that his fiery missiles do not lodge in our thoughts and set us on fire. Through this helmet of salvation, we can “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

There are several actions a believer can take to keep this helmet fastened and functioning:

1. Renew our minds. Our minds are battlefields. The outcomes of those battles determine the course of our lives. Romans 12:1–2 instructs us to renew our minds by allowing the truth of God’s Word to wipe out anything contrary to it. Old ideas, opinions, and world-views must be replaced. We must allow God’s truth to continually wash away the world’s filth, lies, and confusion from our minds and adopt God’s perspective.

2. Reject doubts that arise from circumstances. Human beings are sensory creatures. What we cannot fathom with our five senses, we tend to disregard. If we allow them to, circumstances may convince us that God does not really love us or that His Word is not true. It is impossible to have faith and doubt at the same time. God rewards our faith. With the helmet of salvation firmly in place, we can choose to believe what appears impossible (Hebrews 11:6; 1 Peter 1:8–9).

3. Keep an eternal perspective. When life crashes in around us, we must remember to look up. Our salvation is the most precious gift we have received. Keeping our eyes on that can help us weather life’s storms. We can choose to live our lives by the motto “If it doesn’t have eternal significance, it’s not important” (see Matthew 6:20; 1 Corinthians 3:11–13).

4. Remember that victory is already accomplished. When we consider ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God” (Romans 6:11), we eliminate many of the opportunities Satan uses to entrap us. When choosing sin is no longer an option for us because we recognize ourselves to be “new creatures” (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 3:9), we effectively cut off many avenues of failure.

5. Find all our hope in Him. Psalm 73:25 says, “Whom have I in heaven but You? Besides you, I desire nothing on earth.” Our helmet is most effective when we treasure what it represents. The salvation Jesus purchased for us cannot share the place of importance in our hearts with earthly things. When pleasing the Lord is our supreme delight, we eliminate many of Satan’s lures and render his evil suggestions powerless.

As we wear the helmet of salvation every day, our minds become more insulated against the suggestions, desires, and traps the enemy lays for us. We choose to guard our minds from excessive worldly influence and instead think on things that honor Christ (Philippians 4:8). In doing so, we wear our salvation as a protective helmet that will “guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7; cf. Isaiah 26:3; 1 Peter 1:5). (excepted from got questions.org)

Final Word

Regarding the imminent return of Christ, the apostle Paul said, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:11–12).

The Prayer of Engagement

Jesus, You are Lord over the entire universe and I give you the Glory for Your creation and Your Power over all that exists – both physical and spiritual.

Thus, It is In Your Name and Power that I bind all demonic forces that have come against us and our families and I cover all of us in the protection of Your Precious Blood that was shed for us upon the Cross.

In the Name of Jesus, I also take authority  and I bind all powers and forces in the air in the ground, in the water, in the underground, in the netherworld, in nature and in fire.

In the Name of Jesus, and in the power of His Precious Blood, I hereby bind and  command all the powers and forces evil to depart right now, away from us, our bodies, our souls, our spirits ,our homes, and our lands, leave us and never return.

Holy Spirit come and restore all that the enemy has taken and fill us with your presence so that we may thank and glorify Jesus, our Lord, and Our God in the spirit as He, and He alone, deserves.

We thank You Lord Jesus for you are faithful to your Word and compassionate and loving to all those who believe and worship you.  To you be the Glory forever and ever, Amen.

~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~

May the Holy Spirit guide you and may the Blood Of Christ be your covering as you take action against the enemy of our souls.
Your Brother in Christ … Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2015])

Recommended Links

  Prayer to Receive the Holy Spirit

  Responding to the Spirit’s Call

  Regarding Spiritual Freedom

  The Gospel of the Kingdom

  The Cost of Discipleship

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About Personal Modalities pf Prayer

The Essence of Prayer is in Personal Dialog with God

The Essence of Prayer is in Personal Dialog with God

My dear fellow Pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

In my previous article on Worship I presented to you a section from Jorge Madrid’s  reflections on prayer as he has personally experienced it. I intentionally began with his essay on Worship because it emphasizes the importance of coming before the Father “in spirit and in truth” whenever we interact with Him, not only in worship but in all the modalities of prayer the Holy Spirit draws is into.

Of course, there are circumstances in our lives when we need God’s help and do not have the opportunity to move into the appropriate spiritual state. However, you may be sure of this, that if we are “in Christ” the Father will hear us and respond to our prayers for His Help.

I only mention the need to pray “in the spirit and in truth” to indicate to you the level of intimacy that we need to strive for in our prayer in order to reach a closer union with Spirit of the Divine. This is the level of intimacy that Jesus sought when He isolated himself to commune with the Father. Scripture often mentions Jesus withdrawing for prayer to either  a “quiet place” or a “place of soilitude”.

There are modalities of prayer that we can exercise even as we go about the busyness of life. But we usually can only do so through a preparatory solitary prayer session where we consecrate the events of life before us as a continuing prayer.

Amongst the many modalities of prayer we might list the following:

• Praying the Scriptures

• Prayer and Fasting

• Meditating on the Word (Lectio Divina)

* Taize Prayer and Meditative Music   ( Special: Music Section)

Praise and Worship Music

• Prayer Of Dedication

• How then Shall We Pray?

• Preparation For Prayer

• Prayer of Communion with the Divine

Prayer for Healing

• Prayer of Deliverance

• Prayer and the Ministry of the Word

•Marriage as a Living Prayer

•The Prayer of Command

• Redemptive Prayer

Neither I or Jorge Madrid are in a position to inform you on all of these modalities and more.  However simple, I present to you a couple of personal modalities to which Mr. Madrid provides his witness in order to incite you to strike out on your own personal modality with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, of course! The following is an additional excerpt from Mr, Madrid’s personal reflections

I pray they will serve a purpose in moving you towards a more personal and intimate prayer live with the Father through the Spirit of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus HaMashiach, who is the Way The truth and The Light and into whose Spirit we  believers have been immersed. Praised be His Holy Name!

~+~+~+~++~+ Excerpted from Jorge Madrid’s Reflections ~+~+~+~++

Praying the Scriptures

Praying  the Scriptures came naturally to both my wife and I as we grew together in the Spirit. Even before we heard of any one else praying the scriptures we were led by the Spirit into using the psalms to guide our family prayers.  The Lord used the crisis moments in our lives to cause us to seek Him in the scriptures. As we searched the scriptures for guidance as to how to pray for our children or the situations the family was facing in life we found ourselves drawn to the psalms. In reading the psalms we began to find that certain psalms clearly spoke to us of the Lord’s promises and  intervention in the circumstances of the psalmist’s life. These evoked in us a hope and faith  that the Lord would surely respond to  us since we sensed that our needs of the moment were paralleled in the particular psalms to which we were drawn.

As we began reading and meditating on these psalms together, we began to interweave our impromptu prayers with the words of the psalm. Reflecting on this now, I remember how each prayer instance created a spiritual unity between us and the Lord creating a very personal and intimate reaching out of our souls to God. It is now clear to me  that the Holy Spirit was working in us to tailor the prayer to  what the Lord wanted to work in  the lives of ourselves and our family.

Sometimes, because we began to see the effectiveness of these prayers in  a particular circumstance, we had a tendency to attempt to repeat the same psalm-prayer process as a different circumstances arose. As we progressed in our prayer journey, however, we discerned in our spirits that the particular psalm-prayer we were using was not harmonizing with what the Spirit wanted of us for this new circumstance.  The moment either of us sensed this, one of us would say, “I think this is not the right psalm for this occasion”. This would lead us to  a period where each of us would consult the Holy Spirit privately, while meditating over the psalms. When either of us thought we had an insight, we would then come together to share that insight and pray through the psalm for which discernment had been given. When we both had confirmation in our spirits we began to pray again together, working with the Holy Spirit in integrating the prayers coming through our spirits with the words of the psalm.

To give you an example of this type of prayer I will relate one incident which happened as we prayed through Psalm 34. This is a psalm which my wife and I prayed nightly during a particular period in our family’s life. Of course, we had meditated over this psalm prayerfully before we adopted it for this particular epoch in our lives.

One night after we had prayed through this psalm we received a call from a spiritual ministry team who “happened by” the University where our daughter was studying several thousand miles away. The leader of the team told us that as they were walking through the campus they felt led to go to the chapel. As they entered they found only one person there: our daughter. They said they spoke with her and determined that she needed prayer because she had undergone a very stressful examination and was “down” in spirit. As they prayed over her, her optimism returned and her spirits were encouraged. They called to tell us because they felt that we as her parents should know what the Spirit of God was doing in her life and that everything was fine and we need not worry. Praised be His Holy Name!

Here is a re-creation of the way in which we usually prayed through this psalm.

Praying Psalm 34

I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. (v. 1-3)

[Lord, we praise your Holy Name! We exalt you in our lives in all that we say and do. For You are our life, You alone are our hope, You alone are Lord of all that happens in our lives. For You are Lord! And your Glory is forever and ever. Amen]

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. (v.4-6)

[Father, our children are thousands of mile away at their universities and we are extremely concerned for their physical and spiritual welfare. They don’t communicate well with us Lord. They don’t tell us of all the problems and struggles in their lives but we know Lord that they need you and that they may be in serious situations that they are afraid to tell us about. We ask Father, in the Name of Jesus that you send your angels to protect them and guide them through the circumstances they are going through. We trust in You and we thank you because you hear us, you deliver us from our fears and save us out of all our troubles. Amen]

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.  (v-7-10)

[Father, we thank you because your angels encamp around our children and you deliver them. Lord, we take refuge in you and you alone. We know we and our children have been blessed because we have taken refuge in you O Lord! We know that nothing will be lacking in their protection and guidance. Praise Your Holy Name!]

Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.  Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (v 11-14)

[Lord, keep our children from evil. We have done our best to train them in the fear of the Lord. But the world and the flesh are always at the door of their minds seeking to divert them from the truth. Holy Spirit guide them and strengthen them to resist the snare of the fowler and move them in the paths of righteousness and truth. Amen]

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (v. 15-18)

[Lord, we come to you not with our own righteousness but with the righteousness of your Son. It is because of His righteousness that we know You hear us and answer our call to You. It is because of Him and Him alone that we know that our children will be delivered from the troubles that surround them at this very moment. We also know and trust that out of your compassion you will reach out to them in their brokenheartedness and save them not only from their problems in this world but spiritually as well. We thank you for all these graces in the name of your Son who redeemed us by his Blood. Praised be his Holy Name!]

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him. (v. 19-22)

[Lord, even though we live in a sea of troubles we stand in the imputed righteousness of Your son and on Your Word that you will deliver us from them all. As long as we are in You, You are with us in every problem of life and you have delivered us from every trouble and will deliver us from every problem to come. More than that, we know that we are not condemned because we have taken refuge in You! We give you all the praise Glory and Honor for You are Lord of Lords and King of Kings! Amen]

Praying by Proxy

On another occasion, the Lord led me into a type of prayer that I had never envisioned. Prayer by proxy. The following is a summary of the circumstances that led me to comprehend through my direct experience that modality of prayer.

One of my best and closest friends worked at the same institute where I was based. At one time I had been in his organization and we had developed a close working relationship. As I progressed in my career I obtained an appointment in another division of that institute and although our families kept in touch, our official responsibilities were so different that we did not get a chance to see each other much during business hours.

One day my friend called me and told me that he had been relieved of his position within the division and assigned to a more menial task under a supervisor who had some ill feelings toward him. As he continued his story he told me that the supervisor was trumping up some charges of malfeasance so that he would be fired. He had tried to get the attention of his section manager but no one was willing to come to his assistance.

I told him that I would do what I could but since I was no longer in his division I expected that I would likewise get ignored. After contacting some managers in his division I was told  that I should leave the matter to the administrative process and not to interfere.

I began investigating the situation quietly to determine what was really behind this overt effort on the part of some individuals to get my friend fired. As I talked to individuals in the group to which my friend pertained, it became clear that one individual in particular was trying to get my friend’s position. He was doing this by lying to his boss about my friend and impugning his capability, his integrity and his fairness. His boss not only believed the lies but was in fact cooperating with the person in creating a case for his dismissal and beginning proceedings against him.

My heart was heavy  with compassion for my friend for I knew the charges against him were groundless but I was unable to do anything. I began praying every evening for the Lord to help him out of this situation and provide him a defense against this unjust assault on his person.

As I prayed during the first week that I took up his cause, I began to discern the Spirit of the Lord affirming me in my compassion for my friend. I was very surprised to further sense that the Lord wanted to join me in my prayer as well. I was surprised because I expected that His role would be in answering my prayer. Instead He wanted to be a part of it!

So the very next evening, I asked the Lord to join me in prayer. As I began to pray in His Name, I felt led to pray through a particular psalm that I  had never prayed through before. I asked the Spirit to tell me  how to pray this psalm because it was in the first person and I was not sure how to pray it for my friend since he was not praying it with me. In fact, I was not even sure how my friend would take the fact that I was praying for him because he was a non-practicing Jew who was not too happy with his religious training as a child and rejected anything spiritual.

The Lord indicated that I was to pray this psalm in proxy. That is, as if my friend were praying this psalm for himself. Since my friend did not have sufficient faith, The Lord said, He would use my faith for his as I prayed.

My praying through this psalm with the Lord began one of my strongest experiences in intercessory prayer.  The burden for the prayer continued with me during every waking part of each day. Yes, I was able to perform all my duties but I felt as if inside of my spirit the Lord was praying in me and through me in all of my daily activities. Whenever I paused or stopped to actually pray verbally or mentally the word of the psalm would come up in my mind and I would give myself to it totally until I had to break off to attend to another duty. I prayed as I was driving to work, I prayed as I was flying to business meetings, I prayed whenever and wherever I had time to pause.

This kept on for a period of about a month. During that period my friend was reassigned to another supervisor and the immediate threat of dismissal was put off. Later that month an executive in his division took his side and began to question the legitimacy of the charges.

I continued to pray. After two months as I sensed the prayer burden diminishing, my friend was asked to attend a deposition regarding the charges that were being made. After the deposition, the person in charge of the case against him resigned and the case was dropped without comment. Later, we learned, that the person who initiated the charges and his cohorts were themselves discharged from the company.

That year at Thanksgiving, as was customary for our families, we were sharing a holiday dinner together. His wife asked me to say grace. In deference to my friend and his family I began with the standard Hebrew blessing over a meal. Then I offered a prayer of thanks to God for the deliverance He had wrought in my friend’s life and I told Him then that this was the work of God and that I had been praying for him. As a remembrance of what the Lord had done for him, I gave him a copy of the psalm that the Lord had led me to pray for him.

My friend has never forgotten that experience and, even though he is still resists religious expression for himself, occasionally when recalling his miraculous deliverance, he often tells me to remember to thank the “Man Upstairs” for him.

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I pray, Brethren that the Spirit of  the Living God fill you with His Peace and Guide you as you walk long the Way.

Praised  Be His Holy Name!

Your Brother In Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus

Recommended Link(s):

Living and Praying Through Jesus’ Passion

Praying as Jesus Prayed (Part 1)

Praying as Jesus Prayed (Part 2)

Casting Your Net on the Other Side

Pray to the Lord of the Harvest (Part 1)

Pray to the Lord of the Harvest (Part 2)

Overcoming the World

Understanding The Kingdom

Yielding to the Kingdom Anointing

Christ In Us the Hope of Glory!

The Kingdom Of God Our Spiritual Inheritance

The Empowerment Gifts That Manifest The Kingdom Amongst us
(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2014])

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Taizé in Texas

In the spring of 2014, as part of the “pilgrimage of trust on earth,” three weekends for young adults will be held in Texas:

Austin, March 21-23, 2014

Inscriptions open until March 15!

For more information and to register, click here

Dallas – Fort Worth, April 4-6, 2014

For more information and to register, click here

Houston, April 25-27, 2014

For more information and to register, click here

The gatherings will begin with evening prayer on Friday and end with Sunday morning worship in different churches.

Flyers and posters in English and Spanish are available for download:

Austin

Dallas – Fort Worth

Houston

An explanatory video can be seen by clicking here in English or in Spanish.

Excerpted from:  http://www.taize.fr/en_article15814.html

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Jesus said,” I am … the Bright and Morning Star” (Rev. 22:16), The Daystar that signals the Dawn of the Kingdom of God.
This is the season when we celebrate  the  arrival of the Daystar,  the Dawn of a New Day  for humanity is upon us!

Christ the Morning Star

The Daystar Rises

It is Time! Awaken and Put on the Lord Jesus Christ!

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“Brothers and sisters:
You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,
not in orgies and drunkenness,
not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.”
(Rom. 13:11-14)

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Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Our preparation for Christmas is not indulging in orgies, promiscuity and lust but in preparing our hearts, our temples to receive, the presence of the Holy One of Israel, the Only Begotten of the Father, Yeshua HaMashiach, His anointed Redeemer.

The Daystar is Born

The Daystar is Born

With this in mind, let us extend, in our spirits, St. Paul’s exhortation to the Romans, as cited above, for it is as valid for us now, as it was for them in ancient times. The tendency for humans to revel in the flesh, is well evident in how we prepare to celebrate many of our feasts.  Take for example the “carnivals” (ie., festivals of the flesh) we hold prior to entering the lenten season and the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, and now, the type of fleshly feasts we promote as we enter the season of advent, Christmas and the coming New Year.

Whereas, in the traditions of the early church, Advent was intended to be a time of inner reflection and prayer, today it is a time to “let loose” do whatever pleases us!  Advent is not intended to promote self-condemnation, but instead,  to bring us into humble submission to the Holy Spirit so that He may work in us, to prepare to receive our KING and REDEEMER. Our preparation being an act of faith in the Knowledge of who He is and the Holiness of His Being. Our preparation is not in expectation that what we do will buy us anything in the hereafter, but, rather, as an opening of the door of our spirits to let him into our manger of our hearts so that He may be reborn therein.

It is this incentive to … “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh”, that ought to be our attitude as we enter into this Holy season.

Now, “putting on the Lord Jesus Christ”, demands action from us based on a decision driven by Faith. It is not just a passive, live and enjoy life attitude. It is an action that requires our commitment. It is an action that moves us to put aside all aspects of human sinful desires based on the “revelation” or “conviction” that we are indeed in such need of salvation that The Divine One, Himself, needs to come down to be one of us, and, through His Redemptive Suffering, take on all of our sins so that he can transform us and bring us into intimacy with His Holiness and His Love! And, that without this Gift Of Salvation, all humanity would be lost to the relationship with the Divine for which we were all created!

Human revelry, then, is quashed by this revelation or conviction … the revelation that the Day of salvation is at hand, the day when the Only Begotten of the Father, the Lamb of God who is the bearer of our sins, is born of the Virgin Mary, becoming one of us, but without sin so that, as the unblemished Lamb of God He may bear all of our sins, past, present, and future so that we may be reborn as children of the Father and truly become “His brothers and sisters”.

In investing ourselves in Christ we need to use as our model the discipleship of Mary who gave herself, body, soul, and Spirit in obedience to the Word of the Lord as to her calling.  As we pray our prayer of commitment (see below) let Mary’s words to the Lord’s Angel resound in our hearts: ” I am the bondservant of the Lord be it done to me according to Thy Word” (Luke 1:38).

You do well to be attentive to [the prophetic message] as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the day star rises in your hearts” (Second Peter 1:19).

May His Star awaken you and May the Spirit of the Lord Come upon you all to instill His Word in your Heart so that you also may bear the living Christ within for His Glory! Praised be His Holy Name!

Your Brother In Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus

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Lord Jesus, I believe that you, the Son of the Living God came down from heaven to reveal the Father’s Love to me by suffering and dying for my sins. I believe that through your death and resurrection you have brought redemption and life not only to me but also all else who believe in you. I further believe that it is only through knowing you in a loving personal relationship that I can know the Father.

It is because I have a burning desire to know you and abide in you that I now yield myself completely to you and your love. I open the door to my heart so you can come in and sup with me and thus begin the special relationship with you for which you died and for which I hunger.At this moment I yield myself to your love. Enter in and activate my spirit with your Holy Spirit so that I can go beyond just mere intellectual belief in you to a personal spiritual knowledge of you and the Father.

I yoke myself to You Lord, cleanse me from my sins and make me a fit vessel for your presence. Permeate my entire being with your life and your love so that I can truly be your instrument in this world. Be my Lord, Be My God, Be my King to rule and to reign in me. In faith and by your grace I receive You and I receive Your word.

Abide in me just as you abide in the Father and the Father in you! Thank you for giving yourself for me. Amen!

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Recommended Link(s):

Sweet Yoke Of Love

Overcoming the World

Understanding The Kingdom

Yielding to the Kingdom Anointing

The Kingdom Of God Our Spiritual Inheritance

The Empowerment Gifts That Manifest The Kingdom Amongst us
(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2013])

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Finding Strength in our Weakness

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

My fellow pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discipleship Entails Carrying Our Cross Daily

Discipleship Entails Carrying Our Cross Daily

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seek the Spirtual Renewal of Our Minds

Seek the Spiritual Renewal of Our Minds

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

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

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

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

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

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

(1 Peter 5:6-11)

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

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

Links to Related Articles

The Renewal of our mind

The Crucified Life

The Cost of Discipleship

Overcoming the World

The Sweet Yoke of Love

Praying as Jesus Prayed (part 1)

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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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Faith Challenges:  the Renewal of our Minds

“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)

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Praying In the Spirit

Recognizing our need for a renewed mind

In this post, I take another look at the scriptural theme that we discussed in my prior article regarding our conformance to the “world” as being one of the primary impediments to fulfilling our purpose as Disciples of Christ. In that sharing I commented that the way we counter the enticement of the flesh to the ways of the world is by surrendering our very “selves” to the Holy Spirit in cooperation with His Grace so that He can begin the process of renewing our minds to enable us to discern the will of God’s in our lives.

Without such discernment and yielding to the will of the Father, we cannot truly become a living sacrifice because we will not have placed our own self-will on the altar of Love, as St. Paul exhorts us through the cited scripture. Unless we crucify the flesh (especially our egos) we will not be able to be fully responsive to carry out God’s will in our lives – because the ego is so deceptive that, unless we disconnect from it completely, even the religious things we do will be done to satisfy our “selves” and NOT for the Glory of the Father and His Son.

Jesus does not intend for us to bear this burden alone – indeed He offers to ease the burden by asking us to be yoked in Love to Himself (cf., Sweet Yoke of Love). For it is only in being yoked to Him and His Love that the Holy Spirit can begin the process of renewing our minds.

Yielding to the renewal of our minds

Yielding to the renewal of our minds

In this posting I intend to flesh out just what the “renewal of our minds” entails so we may more easily accommodate ourselves to the Graces the Holy Spirit will bring into our lives as He conforms us more and more to the image of Christ (cf., Rom. 8:29) by leading us to follow in His example:

…..

“Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.

  Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

Who, though he was in the form of God,

did not regard equality with God

as something to be exploited,

but emptied himself,

taking the form of a slave,

being born in human likeness.

And being found in human form,

he humbled himself

and became obedient to the point of death—

even death on a cross.” (Phil.2:4-8)

The renewing of our minds, then, is the process the Holy Spirit uses to bring us to the point where we no longer have to ask ourselves. “what would Jesus do?” but instead, without constraint and in response to the agape Love that has  been deposited in us (Rom. 5:5)), we instinctively think and do what Jesus would do in similar circumstances. In bringing us to this point the Spirit works in the particular story of our life experiences to gradually bring the mind of Christ into manifestation in our lives so that we as the Apostle Paul may also say, “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”  But we have the mind of Christ.” (1Cor. 2:16 )

Our access to the mind of Christ is not just an upgrading of our own natural mental processes but an entry into the divine wisdom of God through direct revelation by the power of the Holy Spirit. For as St. Paul also says,

“… a wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,  ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.’ For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God…” (1 Cor. 2:6-12)

For most of us, the renewal of our minds is indeed a difficult task, for first of all we must divest ourselves of the mindset that has been ingrained in us by the world culture since our youth – the self-centered attitude that we must “look out for number one” because if you don’t look out for ourselves no one else will. And the associated attitudes that say: “It matters not how straight the gate/how charged with punishment the scroll/ I am the master of my fate/ I am the captain of my soul” and, that, you must do whatever it takes to survive in human society regardless of the moral fences you have to break.

No my brothers and sisters the TRUTH is that we are not our own (1Cor.6:19-20)! We have been bought at a price through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross and the ONLY way we can fulfill our destiny is to yield ourselves to HIM and to HIM alone so that He and HIS LOVE reigns in our hearts. We must make a decision to renounce the world and the flesh and walk in the Spirit through the renewal of our minds.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”  (Rom. 8:5-9)

In order to set your mind on the indwelling Spirit, you must rid yourself of all those attitudes that place you and your “self” at the center of your universe. You must renounce the false god of “self” and place Jesus at the center of all your life events, thoughts, actions and motivations. If you are to bear fruit for His Glory you must be firmly attached to the TRUE VINE (John 15:1), Jesus, the son of the Living God! For as He says, “without me you can do nothing” (Jn.15:5), and, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, No one comes to the Father but by me” (Jn.14:6).

Divesting ourselves of self-sufficiency, then, becomes one of our greatest challenges because it goes against the world mindset, But if we are attached to the TRUE VINE, He will be the provider of our strength, our resolve, and the faith that is required for the task. If we detach our selves from the vine we will be on our own and thus disable ourselves from brining forth fruit for His Kingdom!

Now, such a life dedicated to the Lord cannot be reached unless our relationship with Him deepens and we are able to discern His voice in us, through every moment of our lives (cf., On Hearing His Voice …) This level of communion and intimacy with the Divine requires that we go deeper and deeper in prayer through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the Light of His Word reaching our hearts.  We cannot come to this level through mere perfunctory religious activity or rote recitation of scripted prayer — it involves our total giving of our deepest self and the emptying of our hearts to Him so that He can place His desires in us. Even in this He will help us if we give ourselves totally to Him.

It is very important brethren that we permit the Holy Spirit to activate and inspire our reading of His Word. For, it is only through His inspiration that the Word can break through the veil of our human minds and reveal and activate the truths He wishes us to act on in faith. The more we imbibe of His Word and interact with the Holy Spirit, the more and deeper our relationship to Jesus becomes to the point where we like Paul can also say, “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).

Now, it is true that all those who abide in Him have access to “His mind”, but if we let the cares and worries of the world occupy us, the “mind” of Christ will never be able to surface in our lives. We, like Jesus, must set time apart from the world to still our hearts and commune with the Divine so that the Spirit of His Love that has been poured into us (Rom. 5:5) may take the appropriate place of dominance in our lives.

As our trust and communion with the Lord increases so will our ability to activate our faith to bring forth fruit for His Kingdom out of the circumstances that He places before us in our lives. So many of us don’t realize that the world systems in which we are embedded affect our ability to live out our faith. This is because the negative emotions and attitudes the world promotes weaken our faith, just as Peter’s faith was weakened by the roar of the waves and the wind when he attempted to walk on water at Jesus’ behest (cf., Matt.14:28-31). For that reason it is important to ignore whatever attitudes the world is attempting to impose on us and to place our entire focus trust and faith in Jesus and His Word regardless of what is going on around us!

Through the renewal of our minds and our renewed fellowship with Christ we develop an increase in trust in HIM, His promises and His directives to us. In this way whatever the world says or thinks is placed into the irrelevant background of our lives, as it rightly should.

As our faith and fellowship with Christ increases through the renewal of our minds so also our ability to enter into worship is increasingly enhanced by the Holy Spirit. Although we may not realize it, the activities we currently categorize as “worship” are really only the means the Lord uses to bring our spirit to the level of awareness where we can enter into and experience true worship “in the Spirit and in truth”. One of the main reasons we are hindered is that our natural minds “get in the way” and act as a veil before the Holy of Holies. The renewal of our minds rips out that veil of self-consciousness and permits us to enter into the Spirit (or God-consciousness) without our human intellects getting in the way.

As our minds continue in the renewal process we will find ourselves being drawn more and more by the Spirit into the true worship that the Father desires (cf., John 4:23), a worship where we lose all consciousness of “self” and are drawn in to a spiritual union with the Divine – a state where He and He alone matters and NOT the attitude and postures of ourselves or others around us. Worship, true worship, only starts when our surrender to Him is so total and complete that our only awareness is of Him and of being enveloped in His Glorious Presence. It is the point where we, like Jacob, personally experience a “Beth El” (cf., Gen.28:10-17) and we can, like Jacob, say ” truly I have been in the Presence Of God”! The Lord has graciously provided the spiritual gifts that enable this entry into His Presence – one of these being “Praying or Singing in the Spirit“. Praised be His Holy Name!

Now, you may say or think to yourself, ” but I know the life I have lived and I am not worthy to enter into His Presence”.  That thought, in itself, brethren, is exactly what qualifies you to enter. For He himself said, “the first shall be last and the last first” (Matt. 19:30), whereas to the Scribes and the Pharisees, who thought themselves to be “first” He said, “…even the prostitutes and tax collectors enter in before you”(Matt.21:31). Yes you are qualified because, “…blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven”.

Recognizing your own unworthiness indicates your poverty of spirit and Fear of the Lord. But the blessing comes with recognizing that He took on your unworthiness to give you His worthiness.  All you need to do is throw yourself at His feet, repent and accept the robe of righteousness that He offers, His Robe of Glory that lets you come before the Heavenly Throne. Let yourself, then, be enveloped in Him and His Mercy by surrendering yourself to Him and His Love. Do this with a pure heart and you will enter into the Kingdom, and inherit the Promise of the Father!

In closing, brethren, I exhort you to deepen your relationship with Jesus so that you may fully realize the spiritual strength He provides us in facing the difficulties of life. He has not left us orphans (Jn. 14:18) to deal with the problems that face us on our own strength. Rather, He has sent us His Holy Spirit to indwell us, enlighten us, strengthen us and guide us through all the intricacies of our lives to reach the point where we are made whole in every sense, in spirit, soul and body. He desires to share with us every portion of our life experiences, our failures, and our successes, our pain and sorrows as well as our joy and happiness. He has a purpose for us but He can only achieve His purpose in us if we let Him.

As long as we want to be in control of our lives in both the material and spiritual spheres we will be disconnected from the TRUE VINE and really be “on our own”. I urge you therefore, do not cling to the world, do not cling to your fleshly pleasures and ambitions, cling only to the VINE. For only in abiding in HIM can the purposes of God for you be realized and you can bear fruit for His Glory!

Do not be afraid then of yielding yourselves to the Holy Spirit and receive all of the Gifts He has set aside for you – for other wise, how can He work in you and through you, if you, in your own willfulness and self-centeredness, refuse to accept the very Spiritual Gifts that will enable you to fulfill His purpose?

May the Lord renew your minds and bless you in all your undertakings for His Glory….. Bartimaeus

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

RECOMMENDED LINKS

<>  Sweet Yoke of Love

<>  Releasing the Spirit

<>  Prayer to Receive the Holy Spirit

<>  Hearing His Voice…. and Obeying it!
<> Praying In the Spirit
<>  Responding To the Spirit’s Call
<>  The Kingdom of God Our Spiritual Inheritance

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