Oct 27, 2013

I Love Your Presence - Passionate Worship & Praise by Bethel Church in R...

After communicating with a friend in Australia this morning, and speaking about the Presence of God... I wanted to hear this song.  There is nothing like the Presence of God!!

Tramway at Pipestem Resort, WV

Oct 20, 2013

Burning Lights Tour -Chris Tomlin

Thanks Bonita, Carla and Clare for the good company at an awesome concert!

Oct 18, 2013

Priming the Pump!

As I get older, memories of childhood become more valuable and often times I can look back on those experiences and learn something new, God uses it to teach us things. I was thinking back of time spent at my Aunt Alice Banks home some weekends with cousins. They had an old water pump in their back yard and I thought it was the coolest thing to be able to put a little water in it (to prime it) in order to get alot more out! (Of course the well or spring or wherever it was coming from couldn't have been dry). I think it even tasted better because I had to work for it. It makes me think of how our relationship with God often works. Do we have a relationship with His word ONLY and not His Spirit? Sometimes thats very obvious, other times not so much. We must house a well of living water, so that when we are primed, prodded, and even pushed, that well flows freely. Being filled with His word, bears witness to His Spirit living within us and as we are transformed/sanctified, becoming transparent... that living water is able to flow freely and outward to those around us. We are moved by its current and it carries us. And it gives life not only to us, but to those around us. I remember if the well was dry, or if it was not primed properly with the right amount of water going in, all you'd hear was noise.... a gurgling sound that didn't provide much promise. Lord, let my well always be full and let me always be yielded to the process of being primed!

Being filled with His word, bears witness to His Spirit within us as well as within those around us.  I see it as a connection of our mind (knowledge) to His Spirit within us.  The Word (knowledge) gives His Spirit His Voice...  He brings remembrance to the Truth of His word within us when we need it.  The priming is akin to situations and circumstances we come to in our lives... those challenges are the things that cause the Spirit within us to rise up, to respond, to react and the Word (knowledge) in our minds is used to conquer and overcome those situations and circumstances.  This process can be elaborated on much more (from my perspective) but when this process takes place, I see Him writing His Word upon my heart.  Its like a permanent marker on my heart - His Word is proven over and over and my faith grows.  

So One can't exist without the other.  If I only have knowledge but not His spirit, we are spiritually discerned. (Letter of the Law vs the Spirt)  It takes both.  I often see an image of me in the middle.. meaning that His Word (the knowledge, the actual words of the Bible, the precepts, statutes, commands, stories, etc) are in my mind, and I am hidden in Him, surrounded within by His Spirit... the two must connect and this takes place as I become more transparent...  picture that...   We become the conduit, the place where it all connects and the current flows freely as we become yielded and transparent.  Its pretty cool when you think about it.  

Oct 17, 2013

Jesus Tattoo

Oct 16, 2013


Sometimes at night when I'm studying when I'm listening to His words of love, mercy, His goodness... I'm just completely overwhelmed!  Falling in love with Him over and over again!!! I can never tire of telling of His goodness of His indescribable love.... Surely I have found a love greater than life!!! 

I want the whole world to know Him!  I just get so overwhelmed by His presence.... So so in love with Him!!! And I just have to tell someone even if you've heard it before!  

Oh God!!! Be with us!! Show us your glory!!!  Almighty One!!! You are, you are.... The King of Kings, the Great I Am!!! The First and the Last! Alpha and Omega!!  The One who was, who IS and Is To Come!!!!!!!!!  Overwhelm us with your presence Father!!!  Show us your glory!!!  Empower us to preach the Good News, to set the captives free, to cause the blind eyes to see and deaf ears to hear!!!  Let the lame walk and the sick be healed!!! Set our hearts upon you Lord that we would walk in your ways, and delight in your commands!!!!

We love you Lord!!! We love You!!!!   

He's a good, exceedingly good God!  Let my lips forever praise and worship you, for You and You alone are worthy, worthy, worthy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 


I love you with His love! 


Sent from my iPad

Oct 13, 2013

Righteousness - Every Christian's Gift from God

The Purpose and Role of the Holy Spirit Part 2

We have established in Part 1, the basic definition of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, the Spirit of God, who came when Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection.

The Holy Spirit is "God with us" now, today.  He is the Spirit of God living within us once we have have believed in God, Christ, understanding and accepting that Jesus came, lived, died, and was resurrected.  Jesus who was the ultimate sacrifice for the redemption of mankind.

I want to discuss a few things that are important to the believer and follower of Christ and how the Holy Spirit is critical to these topics and for our transformation into mature men and women of God.

The first is sanctification.  Sanctification is the process of becoming sanctified, to be made holy. Sanctification is the work of God's free grace (2 Thess. 2:13)  whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God (Eph. 4:23-24) and are enabled more and more to die unto sin and live unto righteousness (Romans 6:4, 6, 8:1).

Anthony A. Hoekema (1913-1988), in Saved by Grace, defines it as follows: That gracious operation of the Holy Spirit, involving our responsible participation, by which he delivers us from the pollution of sin, renews our entire nature according to the image of God, and enables us to live lives that are pleasing to him.

The verb "sanctify" means to be set apart, to be made holy.  We are to be set apart to be used for God's Kingdom, for sharing the good news, spreading the Gospel.  We are to be set apart to be stewards of His mercy and grace, love and compassion for a lost and dying world.  How can we do this?  We cannot of our own strength, power and will.  This is just one of many reasons God has given us the gift of His Holy Spirit!

The Work of the Holy Spirit in Sanctification
The Bible teaches, that the Holy Spirit works through the Word in the conviction and conversion of the alien. We affirm that he continues his work of sanctifying the Christian through the same means. Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth" (Jn. 17:17).

Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles into all truth. He said, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth" (Jn. 16:13). If Jesus did what he promised, the inspired New Testament writers received, by the Holy Spirit, everything that pertains to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). All was revealed, including all that pertains to our sanctification. He has given complete instructions and guidance in the inspired written revelation. The Holy Spirit is God's agent in the work of sanctification but the means used by the Spirit is the word of truth.

Christians have a responsibility in their own sanctification. Peter said, "Be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living" (1 Pet. 1:15). Sanctification is not something imposed by the Holy Spirit apart from the obedient will and action of the Christian. In speaking of unequal yokes with sinful people in sinful practices, Paul said, "Come ye out from among them and be ye separate saith the Lord" (2 Cor. 6:17). The individual must act in separating himself from sin and he must act in being holy. The Holy Spirit in the written Word has told us how it is to be done. Our part is to give diligence to present ourselves approved unto God (2 Tim. 2:15), and to be doers of the word, and not hearers only (Jas. 1:22). We are to put away filthiness and malice and with meekness receive the implanted word, which is able to save our souls (Jas. 1:21). Wherein we fall short and fail we receive forgiveness by God's grace and in Christ as we meet the conditions for forgiveness. In none of these passages are we told that the Holy Spirit does any of his work of sanctification through a direct intervention or indwelling. He sanctifies us by leading and directing us through the word.

This should confirm to every believer that we need BOTH the Word of God and His Spirit residing in us to live a victorious life. One without the other will render us useless in the Kingdom of God.  We often come upon others who are not true followers of Christ, who have a great deal of knowledge of His Word, but lack the Spirit within them to bring them into repentance and true sanctification and holiness, a true pursuit of righteousness, i.e. right living, actions, thoughts, deeds, etc.  As we study the Word of God, i.e. the Bible and have it stored in our memories, the Holy Spirit will bring it to remembrance when we need it, using it to help steer us in the right direction, down the straight and narrow - and will convict us of both righteousness and sin.  Which is our next topic.

Does the Holy Spirit Convict? 
Absolutely!  The first work of the Holy Spirit as noted in John 16:8, is the conviction of the world of right and wrong.  Right being "righteousness" and wrong being "sin".  The purpose of this conviction is to bring people to repentance. Understanding what is right and wrong, by the Holy Spirit as noted above.  Having this understanding, the sinner would then come into repentance, which is the turning away from wrong/sin and turning toward God.  The goal being salvation, acceptance of this free gift which would also include, grace and righteousness.  To bring a person back into right relationship and standing with God, of whom they rightfully belong through the price paid and sacrifice made on Calvary by Jesus Christ, the One and Only Begotten Son of God.

John 16:13 (Phi) "Yet when that one I have spoken to you about comes--the Spirit of truth--he will guide you into everything that is true."  The Holy Spirit guides us into ALL truth (as some translations say) this means that He WILL convict us of sin, that is to say convince us of sin.  If we sin against God, the Holy Spirit must fulfill His purpose and convince us of that sin, at the same time convincing us of what is Right - literally teaching us what is right from wrong.  This process of sanctification, the convicting/convincing of sin, of right and wrong is to continually bring us into a state of repentance or turning away from wrong and turning toward what is right, which ultimately is God. 

The Holy Spirit never encourages our carnal nature--the flesh. The truth is, our carnal desires and nature must die. We are wicked people. Since we long to fellowship with an utterly holy God, somebody has got to change, and it will not be God. God offers eternal encouragement by the way of the Gospel: death, burial, and resurrection. The starting point is the truth. The truth convicts: we are guilty of sin. Conviction is the first step in the cycle of sanctification, and we should expect it and welcome it as it does its deadly work on the old man.
Phil 4:8 (NIV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure...
John 8:32 (Phi) "...and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."

Does this Conviction continue after we are saved?
Absolutely!  The conviction of sin and of righteousness doesn't stop when we are saved.  In fact, if anything it increases.  When we are saved we are literally like new born babies, having been "born again" as we covered in Part 1 - we still need to learn to walk, talk, think, become wise and live right before God..  If we stayed in this infant stage the rest of our spiritual lives, we wouldn't be much good to the Kingdom of God now would we?  The goal of this conviction by His Spirit is to sanctify us, to make us holy as we just covered. When we are being sanctified, we begin to live more holy lives, to live righteously.  The righteousness that God freely gave us, His own righteous cannot be seen or heard by others, it is our free gift given to us by His grace, that we might be and are saved.  In response to this, we must pursue righteous, right living, as an outward testimony of God, His truth, His ways, and His life for Him and for His Kingdom that others might also come into the knowledge of Him who has saved us!  If we are true children of God, then we will also seek to live and act, say and do accordingly.  This includes living a righteous life, one that has been sanctified and made holy by His Spirit and our yielding to the same. 

In summary of both Parts 1 & 2, the Holy Spirit as I have discussed so far, is required for the convicting of sins to the world, that the world might be saved through Him (Jesus Christ).  This conviction teaches us the difference between right and wrong, righteousness and unrighteousness.  We can say He opens our eyes to the sin in our life, that we might know the difference and as a result turn away from sin, which keeps us separated from God.  Once we accept the free gift of salvation we are born again.  Being new born babies in Christ, we must mature and grow up. This accomplished by our study of the Word (written Word of God) and by the Living Word of His Spirit residing within us.  We can receive power by the baptism of His Spirit as we have also discussed, empowering us for ministry, to share the good news of Christ and His Kingdom.  The Holy Spirit is a vital requirement not only for salvation but for living sanctified, holy, victorious lives.

I will wrap up with Part 3, which will cover various biblical references to the nature, characteristics, personality and roles of the Holy Spirit and how He accomplishes that in our daily lives as we journey toward holiness in God! 

The Purpose and Role of The Holy Spirit Part 1

This post will not cover everything, but I think its important for any believer and non-believer to understand the purpose, role and function of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God with us, the God who is with us and dwells within us today, now.  He is our connection to God the Father and the Son.  He guides, directs, empowers, comforts, leads, teaches and convicts.  He is the living Word within us, the actual Voice of God within us.

I will speak from my own personal experience as well as provide scriptural reference. But by no means should this short article/post replace your own study and pursuit of understanding.

Assuming most people know the story of Christ and the fact that He died on the cross and was resurrected from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father - the first mention of the Holy Spirit we see in scripture actually begins in Genesis:  1: 1-2  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."  From my own contemplation of this passage, it confirms for me that the Spirit of God always existed from the beginning.

Jumping way ahead, again with some assumptions that you the reader understand and have knowledge of the Son of God, we know that Jesus ascended back to heaven and as a result "the comforter" came or was sent.  John 14:26  "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."  NIV.  Other versions speak of the Advocate or Holy Spirit as:  helper, comforter, the friend.  So Jesus the Son, went away back to heaven to be with the Father, and as a parting gift to us, the Holy Spirit was sent.   So the Holy Spirit being the third person of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), is God with us, today, now!

How do we meet or encounter God's Spirit, The Holy Spirit?
First we must acknowledge the One True Living God.  John 3:3 Jesus said:  "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God"..  Being born again is what it requires.  Jesus goes on to say in verse 5, "Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." NKJV   Nicodemus was perplexed by this idea, because he didn't understand what Jesus' was saying.  But Jesus clarifies it for him:  John 3:10-17" Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?  Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.  If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?  No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.  And Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten, Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."

So Jesus says we must be born of water and the Spirit.  What does this mean? 
Jesus is having a conversation with Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in accordance to the Pharisee’s teaching- to be born of water meant to be born physically. This is proved by Nicodemus remark who thought to be born again meant a physical birth “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?In verse 5, Jesus proceeds to say, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee, believed like the other Jews that because he was born a Jew and kept God’s ordinances that he should automatically enter into the kingdom of God. However, Jesus explains this is not enough. In verse 6, Jesus Himself interprets the water as flesh (a physical birth) "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Jesus says of being born of water is to be born of the flesh. Jesus explains the difference, telling Nicodemus you have already had a physical birth, you are in need of a another birth “Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' Literally from the Spirit above to enter the kingdom. You must be born again “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." The new birth from above is a second birth which gives us eternal life
V.5 The new birth is invisible, he likens it to the wind. It is not from the water beneath (the flesh) but of the Spirit (literally, in the Greek, from above). He is contrasting the natural (flesh) to the spiritual (Spirit).

There is always a distinction between water and Spirit baptism. Scripture tells us that John came baptizing in water but that, “There is one who will come after me. . . He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mk. 1:7-8; Mt. 3:11; Jn. 1:33). The flesh and the spirit are two different properties, two different things. So there are two births- one of the flesh and the other of the spirit that comes from God. John 3:6-7 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
The term born of water is used only once by John but the term born of  God (the Spirit) he uses numerous times.
I Jn 4:7: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” This is the love of God shed in a believers heart by believing the gospel.
I Jn 5:1: “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.” This of course has to do with the gospel.
I Jn 5:4: “ For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-- our faith” The new nature of the spirit of God has our affections change toward God and not toward the fallen world.
I Jn 3:9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. ”
I Jn 5:18: “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.” There is life change where one lives more in righteousness than they do in the old way of life in sin. John explains this in I Jn 2:29: “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him” And Paul teaches this through the book of Romans especially chapter 6-7
Romans 7:6 “But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”
The Bible teaches that a man is “born of God” (Greek- EK - out of). This description occurs four times in John’s epistle alone, 1 Jn. 3:9, 4:7, 5:1,4. In all the instances where the source of the new birth is mentioned, the language is EK Him, EK God, or EK Spirit. John 1:12-13, we receive Christ by believing in His name, “not born by the will of man . . . but of God.” Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God uses creation (born of water) as part of conveying the new birth. The Greek preposition (“out of”) is never used elsewhere in connection anything else but its source which is God Himself.
In John 3:3, the term “born-again” literally means “to be born from above,” is what happens by Jesus sending His Spirit to those who respond to the gospel. The very essence of regeneration is by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is an unseen work that one receives when they believe, they are then sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13).
Born of God” To be begotten of God- to have his life, that is eternal along with the characteristics born anew is to love God and will certainly translate in loving the brethren. 1 Pt.1:22; 2 Pt.1:3 tells us we have been given His divine nature v.:5-8 “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The context of Jn. 3:5 must be related to Jesus’ previous statement in Jn. 3:3 :“Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” There is only one new birth mentioned in this verse and it is from the Spirit as other Scriptures uphold. John 3:6-7: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again. .”’ 

1 Peter 1:22 "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because:  All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.  The grass withers, and its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever.  Now this is the word by which the gospel was preached to you.

We can see clearly from these passages that the Holy Spirit is required, is necessary for us to be saved, to enter into the Kingdom of God.  We know that the Spirit of God is the vehicle, doorway, means by which we are "born again".  We obtain the Holy Spirit when we believe in God and acknowledge the risen Christ, as our Lord and Savior.

What about the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  
The reference of being baptized with or by the Holy Spirit occurs several times in scripture:

Matt. 3:11, "As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

Mark 1:8, "I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

Luke 3:16, "John answered and said to them all, 'As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

John 1:33, "And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, "He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit."

Acts 1:5, "for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

Acts 11:16, "And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, 'John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit." We can clearly see that the phrase is used in the Bible. But, we do not find a clear teaching in the Bible of what the phrase means. Nevertheless, we can conclude that when a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit he has power bestowed upon him. This power is for the purpose of the preaching of the gospel (Acts 4:31), living a purer life, and having a deeper devotion to God. Also, it is frequently accompanied by speaking in tongues.

Acts 2:4, "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance." At this point, I would recommend the reader to examine Acts 1-2 to see the movement of the Holy Spirit upon the early church at Pentecost. The issue now seems to be whether or not Baptism of/in/with the Holy Spirit is a subsequent event occurring after salvation. It would seem that this is the case.

In John 20:22, Jesus commanded that the disciples receive the Holy Spirit, "And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit." This means that they were saved since the Holy Spirit is not received by the unregenerate.

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

It seems to be that while we receive the Holy Spirit at salvation, we can additionally receive empowerment, through baptism of the Holy Spirit.

One definition of baptize is:  to purify or cleanse spiritually especially by a purging experience or ordeal.

A deeper understanding and reference to this practice of baptism and the work of the Holy Spirit in baptism can be found at this link   This reference covers the origins of the word baptism and its Hebrew roots. I highly recommend this additional study, as it lays the foundation of why Jesus Himself was baptized by John in water and also the Holy Spirit - John 3:13-17.  Jesus' baptism is clearly for the preparation and fulfillment of righteousness for ministry.

I will conclude this part of the study and begin work on the second part, which goes into more detail of the various roles and functions of the Spirit as we journey on our walk as followers of Christ.

If we do not understand the purpose and role of the Holy Spirit, recognizing this Spirit dwells within us when we receive salvation, then we may never mature as men and women of God.  This is so critical to understand and accept as we move toward the high call God has placed on our lives, in pursuit of Him, pursuit of righteousness and holiness, true sanctification by His Spirit!

Oct 6, 2013

Feast of Trumpets New Moon October 6, 2013

PITN: Zenith 2016 with Tom Horn