"Where is the Holy Spirit in all of this?"

"Where is the Holy Spirit in all of this?"

A mature young Christian woman goes to her regular adult Bible study class. The teachers of the class  are experts in Biblical counseling. Week by week they share from the Scriptures answers to common problems faced by individuals and families in today's culture. One Sunday after learning the "formula" for solving a particular problem biblically, our mature young woman asks, "But where is the Holy Spirit in all of this?

A member of a sound evangelical church is a student in a class on Christian church history.  He reads some articles ... 

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Respecting the Holy Spirit in Your Child's Life

"Respect the Holy Spirit in other believers...including your children." Such was God's message to me years ago when I was raising my precious son and darling daughter.

When each of them came to saving faith, I was surprised by the immediate evidence of the Spirit in each of their young lives. With Jeremy, it was his hunger for God's word through his Bible story book; with Beth, her desire to knock on the doors of our neighbors to tell them about Jesus.

I'm not sure why this should be surprising.  After all, the Spirit of God lives within every believer, no matter how young or how old. Each of them is a sanctuary of God, a holy of holies, a dwelling place of the divine. Even in the midst of the human developmental stages of life, while still being children, God is there.

Many times in the Scriptures, we read of the Spirit of God working dramatically, mightily, profoundly in and through young people. Moses realized at a young age that he would be Israel's deliverer. Young Samuel heard the Lord and received his call as a child. John the Baptist leaped for joy in his mother's womb. And there are others.

You might wonder why this has come to my mind now in the midst of the summer.  Well, these weeks in Delaware, as God's delay unfolded and played out (see my previous post), I've spent lots of time with my grandsons, especially my oldest Kaden.

Kaden was just three years old when his Air Force dad was deployed overseas for six months. So our daughter Beth packed up Kaden, dog, and stuff and moved to Ohio to stay with us for the duration. Of course, this "Babci"* was thrilled! Lots of real life guts, glory, and grace were up ahead. And so we settled in.

It was during that time that I was teaching a ladies' Bible class in the letter to the Hebrews. As I packed up my Bible and notebook the first week, Kaden asked me where I was going.  When I told him that I was going to teach a Bible study, he replied, "When I grow up, I'm going to do that!"

And week by week, little three year old Kaden would remind me of his ambition to be a Bible teacher too when he grew up.

Little did he know that he didn't have to wait to be "grown up" to be a Bible teacher. He has been MY teacher for some time already!  In fact, several months ago I shared Kaden's first blog post (don't miss it!). So Kaden became my youngest "guest branch" at just 8 years old.

Since I gave Kaden a "Bible Reading Challenge" almost a year ago now, we have had awesome discussions ranging from Creation to the meaning of the Trinity to Resurrection of Christ to Paul's missionary journeys to the book of Revelation and everything in between.  The amazing thing is that this "spiritual adult in a 9 year old body" remembers everything he reads and explores in a simple way some of the most profound truths of Scripture.

For instance, before baseball camp started a few weeks ago, we were talking about how much easier it was to start a new thing in a new place when you know someone. Then I said that even if you had to go alone, God is with you.

Kaden thought for a moment and replied, face all aglow, "So then you always really do know Someone, don't you."

So for a week, as we drove together to and from baseball camp, conversations would take a turn from Minecraft and Pokemon to beautifully simple, child-like, faith-filled questions and realizations.

Finally, one day after such truly amazing discussions, as I dropped Kaden off and said good-bye, I was overcome by the manifestation of the Spirit in that precious young life. I had to just sit there awhile as I sobbed. I felt as though I had encountered a burning bush, a holy of holies, all in the person of my nine year old grandson.

What about you, dear mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, teacher, aunt, friend? Do you have the honor of caring for a child? Do you respect the Holy Spirit in your believing child's life?

You have a sanctuary, a holy of holies in your midst.

Yes, there is human development going on...with all the guts and glory that entails. But don't discount the Lord's working in their young lives.  In fact, why not learn from that profound simplicity of truth through the lips of a child who loves his Redeemer?

Jewels

When He cometh, when He comethTo make up His jewels,All His jewels, precious jewels,His loved and His own.

Like the stars of the morningHis bright crown adorning,They shall shine in their beauty,Bright gems for His crown.

He will gather, He will gatherThe gems for His kingdom,All the pure ones, all the bright ones,His loved and His own.

Like the stars of the morningHis bright crown adorning,They shall shine in their beauty,Bright gems for His crown.

Little children, little children,Who love their Redeemer,Are the jewels, precious jewels,His loved and His own.

Like the stars of the morningHis bright crown adorning,They shall shine in their beauty,Bright gems for His crown.

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Morning Prayers

morning
morning

LordAs I begin this day, and as I continue throughout the day, I invite you to walk around in my body, love with my heart, speak with my lips, and think with my mind. I thank you that you promised to do greater things through me than you did when you were here on earth. John 14:12-14 By faith, I acknowledge your greatness, your power, and your authority in my life, and I invite you to do anything you wish in and through me today. Amen.

(author unknown)

HOLY SPIRIT, LIVING BREATH OF GOD Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend © 2006 Thankyou Music

Holy Spirit, living Breath of God, Breathe new life into my willing soul. Bring the presence of the risen Lord To renew my heart and make me whole. Cause Your Word to come alive in me; Give me faith for what I cannot see; Give me passion for Your purity. Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me.

Holy Spirit, come abide within; May Your joy be seen in all I do— Love enough to cover ev'ry sin In each thought and deed and attitude, Kindness to the greatest and the least, Gentleness that sows the path of peace. Turn my striving into works of grace. Breath of God, show Christ in all I do.

Holy Spirit, from creation's birth, Giving life to all that God has made, Show your power once again on earth; Cause Your church to hunger for Your ways. Let the fragrance of our prayers arise. Lead us on the road of sacrifice That in unity the face of Christ Will be clear for all the world to see.

celtic cross
celtic cross

St Patrick's Breastplate

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through belief in the Threeness, Through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.

"Carried Along"...

I've never been a dare devil!  When I was a teenager, I do remember going on the roller coaster at Palisades Park.  But said coaster was nothing compared to what exists today.  Even on those momentous birthdays (like 40, 50, 60), I never even considered para-sailing, sky diving, zip lining, scuba diving, etc.  I guess you would say that I play it safe.  But I know I miss out!

Recently two of my friends were shocked that, at my age, I didn't know how to swim.  In my defense, I never had opportunity to learn as a child...and even more than that, some bratty kid at a community pool had held my head underwater for what seemed like an eternity.  So to this day, I have a hard time yielding myself to water, to just float and be "carried along"...even on a raft or inner tube.

Another area I have difficulty with is dance.  My secret desire is to be able to dance my heart out.  But aside from dancing with my toddler grandsons, I just can't abandon myself to dance...except maybe in private.  My daughter recently posted on facebook:

I’m so stiff. In dance at University of Dayton I remember the instructor saying that true dancing came after learning the steps and just letting it flow. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to do that in dance or life.

My niece is a dancer, and I so admire and envy her. She at a young age learned to abandon herself to the dance and "just let it flow."

But even though physically I have a very difficult time letting myself be "carried along,"  there is one area where I am learning and growing in this kind of abandonment.  And that is in my relationship with God through the Holy Spirit.

For much of my Christian walk, I've been stiff and unyielding, not on purpose, but mostly out of ignorance.  I've  thought I was supposed to live a godly life, minister to others, etc. with God's help...which He would give if I prayed correctly etc.  But now I know that as I abandon myself to "His dance," so to speak, HE will carry me along in the flow of HIS purpose and pleasure.

I've been doing some writing lately to finish a book project.  A spiritual mentor of mine said that he was praying for me that I would be "carried along" by the Holy Spirit as I write.  Here is the verse he shared:

...men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21b ESV

The cool thing is that this word in the Greek is the same one used in Acts 27.  This passage is the account of Paul being taken as a prisoner to Rome.  As the ship carrying him and others encountered a severe storm, the sailors knew not to fight it but rather yield to the wind.  They allowed the ship to be driven along without their control:

...and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along. ...fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor and in this way let themselves be driven along. Acts 27:15,17 NASB.

What a great metaphor for life in the Spirit...not resisting but letting ourselves be carried along in His empowering stream.

This also makes me think of Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus:

Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. John 3:7-8 ESV

The movement of the Spirit is a powerful thing...amazing, beyond comprehension...a mystery.  And those who yield to His flow experience "skill beyond their skill," "words beyond their words," "love beyond their love," "fullness beyond their fullness."

So what does it take?  Jumping into the "Ocean that is God," yielding to His indwelling life, and letting His Spirit carry you along for His purpose and pleasure.

Holy Spirit, living Breath of God,
Breathe new life into my willing soul.
Bring the presence of the risen Lord
To renew my heart and make me whole.
Cause Your Word to come alive in me;
Give me faith for what I cannot see;
Give me passion for Your purity.
Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me.

Holy Spirit, come abide within;
May Your joy be seen in all I do-
Love enough to cover ev'ry sin
In each thought and deed and attitude,
Kindness to the greatest and the least,
Gentleness that sows the path of peace.
Turn my striving into works of grace.
Breath of God, show Christ in all I do.

Holy Spirit, from creation's birth,
Giving life to all that God has made,
Show your power once again on earth;
Cause Your church to hunger for Your ways.
Let the fragrance of our prayers arise.
Lead us on the road of sacrifice
That in unity the face of Christ
Will be clear for all the world to see.

You might also like:  Resurrection Dance...let it flow!

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Morning Prayers with St Patrick's Breastplate

Lord,

sunrise
sunrise

As I begin this day, and as I continue throughout the day, I invite you to walk around in my body, love with my heart, speak with my lips, and think with my mind. I thank you that you promised to do greater things through me than you did when you were here on earth. John 14:12-14 By faith, I acknowledge your greatness, your power, and your authority in my life, and I invite you to do anything you wish in and through me today. Amen. (Bill Bright)

HOLY SPIRIT, LIVING BREATH OF GOD Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend © 2006 Thankyou Music

Holy Spirit, living Breath of God, Breathe new life into my willing soul. Bring the presence of the risen Lord To renew my heart and make me whole. Cause Your Word to come alive in me; Give me faith for what I cannot see; Give me passion for Your purity. Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me.

Holy Spirit, come abide within; May Your joy be seen in all I do— Love enough to cover ev'ry sin In each thought and deed and attitude, Kindness to the greatest and the least, Gentleness that sows the path of peace. Turn my striving into works of grace. Breath of God, show Christ in all I do.

Holy Spirit, from creation's birth, Giving life to all that God has made, Show your power once again on earth; Cause Your church to hunger for Your ways. Let the fragrance of our prayers arise. Lead us on the road of sacrifice That in unity the face of Christ Will be clear for all the world to see.

celtic cross
celtic cross

St Patrick's Breastplate

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through belief in the Threeness, Through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.

Hebrews: Christ's Ascension to the Father...Key to my Life on this Earth!

ascension
ascension

A while ago, I heard a sermon on the Ascension of Christ.  To tell you the truth, I had never thought much of the Lord's Ascension.  My focus has always been on the death, burial, and resurrection of my Lord...and the incredible benefits to me as His child and disciple. But now that I am back in Hebrews again, I've remembered that sermon...and I'm pondering!  Pondering the glory of it all and its vital importance to my own spiritual walk in this sin-cursed world.

Andrew Murray, in his monumental work on the epistle to the Hebrews, says:

Faith has its foundation on four great corner-stones on which the building rests -- the Divinity of Christ, the Incarnation, the Atonement on the Cross, the Ascension to the Throne.  The last is the most wonderful, the crown of all the rest, the perfect revelation of what God has made Christ for us.  And so in the Christian life it is the most important, the glorious fruit of all that goes before. [emphasis mine], Holiest of All, p 65.

He goes on to say,

The Holy Spirit was sent down after the ascension.  Why?  That He might witness to us of a heavenly Christ, and bring the kingdom of heaven into our hearts and lives. [emphasis mine], Holiest of All, p 66.

How about exploring with me the five passages in Hebrews that speak of the ascended Christ sitting on the Throne at the right Hand of the Father?  What do you discover in the context of each?  Here they are --

Hebrews 1:3

Hebrews 1:13

Hebrews 8:1-2

Hebrews 10:11-14

Hebrews 12:1-3

Because our great High Priest is on the Throne, we can...Hebrews 4:14-16

Why?  Because of our key verse:  Hebrews 7:24-25

Now look at other related passages and start making your list of the benefits that are yours because Jesus our Great High Priest ascended to the right hand of the Father and sat down!

John 20:17 -- after the resurrection

Luke 24:44-53 -- the ascension into heaven

Acts 1:6-14; 2:1-36 [see especially 2:33-35!] -- the ascension & Pentecost

John 7:37-39 & John 16:7-14-- promise of the Holy Spirit

John 14:16-17 -- promise of indwelling of the Spirit; also look at Col 1:27

Ephesians 1:3, 20-23 -- spiritual blessings; power toward us who believe!

Ephesians 4:7-14 -- Christ's victorious ascension & giving of spiritual gifts

Col 3:1-4 -- life union with Christ -- Hallelujah!!!!

Romans 8:28-39 -- nothing can separate or condemn (see esp v34)

This brings us back full circle to our  key verse -- Hebrews 7:24-25

And then to the culmination of time:

Revelation 3:20-21; also chapters 21 & 22 -- awesome!

Christ's Ascension and Enthronment is so important, we dare not ignore it:

The ascension completes the resurrection. Without the resurrection Christ’s death would be meaningless as far as the great issues of life are concerned. And without the ascension, the resurrection would also be incomplete and meaningless. We would have a resurrected person, but not one who was now at God’s right hand in the place of authority.

Please note the progression:

  • First there is Christ’s descent to earth--God becoming man, the incarnation.
  • This is followed by Christ’s death and resurrection as the God-Man Savior.
  • But for God’s purposes to be fulfilled and our need supplied, there must also be Christ’s ascent into heaven as the God-Man Savior and King of His people.

“The ascension is the important link between His work on earth and His work in heaven which begins with the ascension” (Walvoord, Jesus Christ Our Lord, p. 224).

It is important to remember that the New Testament was written by men who were thoroughly convinced that Jesus was at the right hand of the Father, and that through the ministry of the Holy Spirit they were in union with this ascended Lord and were, by His commission and through His ascended authority and power, left here to continue the work which He began. J. Hampton Keathley III, "The Ascension of Jesus Christ,"  p.4 on bible.org

right hand of the father
right hand of the father

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At our Friday class in the book of Hebrews, one of our sisters shared that there is just one place in Scripture where it says that Jesus was standing at the right hand of the Father.  It was when He welcomed Stephen, the first martyr of the church, home to heaven.

It's an awesome passage and an awesome thought:  that the reigning King of glory, who had completed the work of redemption and sat down in the privileged place of power, would then get up to receive His child home. Could it be that He receives each of us that same way? Glory!

But he [Stephen], full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments vat the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:55-60 ESV

Jesus receiving us to heaven
Jesus receiving us to heaven

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andrew_murray_book
andrew_murray_book

Here's a free download of Andrew Murray's above mentioned devotional commentary on Hebrews...you will love it!

The Holiest of All by Andrew Murray

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bible.org
bible.org

For a more theological and scholarly approach, check out:

 The Ascension of Jesus Christ by J. Hampton Keathley III

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BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD ABOVE Selah

Before the throne of God above

I have a strong and perfect plea

A great High Priest whose Name is Love

Who ever lives and pleads for me

My name is graven on His hands

My name is written on His heart

I know that while in heaven He stands

No tongue can bid me thence depart

No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair

And tells me of the guilt within

Upward I look and see Him there

Who made an end to all my sin

Because the sinless Savior died

My sinful soul is counted free

For God the Just is satisfied

To look on Him and pardon me

To look on Him and pardon me

Behold Him there the risen Lamb

My perfect spotless righteousness

The great unchangeable I AM

The King of glory and of grace

One with Himself I cannot die

My soul is purchased by His blood

My life is hid with Him on high

With Christ my Savior and my God!

With Christ my Savior and my God!

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A reminder about our homework.  After so many weather cancellations, it's easy to loose track of where we are in our study.  Here is the homework for the next lesson.  After our group discusses Heb 1:1-2:4, I may revise this post or do an addendum.  But in the meantime, here's the next homework:

Homework --   Read Hebrews 2: 5-18 Answer questions in Hoping for Something Better, p. 188-190 Read chapter 2, p. 21-36, Hoping…

Class notes for Hebrews 1:1-2:4 : THE BEAUTY OF THE INCOMPARABLE CHRIST

For a well-known sermon by A.B. Simpson, click on HIMSELF.  It is well-worth the few moments of reading!