What do I believe about the Holy Spirit?

I think it is important to understand a little bit about me before I started this class and where I am now.  Prior to coming to this class, I had been engaged with a local Anglican church here in my town.  We followed the three streams model.  We were the living fire of the Holy Spirit. We spoke in tongues, healed the sick, and was blessed to be given some prophecy. Our Sheppard ensured he protected us and prayed in the Spirit with us.  However about three weeks before the class started, I had to leave the church due to the calling of the Holy Spirit.

I currently attend an Episcopal church which does not understand the traditions of the Anglican church I had come from. However, they do understand the Holy Spirit and understand the most important aspect of the call to ministry, they live and perform the Great Commission.[1]  The truly love one another and those in their community. The exciting part is they are called The Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit looks and waits for willing vessels. And it wasn’t until I had found my previous Anglican church had I even heard or been a willing vessel for the Holy Spirit. I did not engage with Bible fanatics prior to joining this church. In all honesty, I rarely prayed and when I did it was something for me or someone I cared about.  I never prayed to the Holy Spirit or Jesus.  I just prayed to God.

In 2013 a survey was done comparing the English against American’s and their belief in the devil.[2] They found that American’s are more likely to believe in possession of the devil and that the devil really exists than the British. This is important to recognize because while oppression can occur for Christians it does not mean we can be possessed.  We cannot be possessed after we are Baptized in the Holy Spirit because we are protected by the blood of Jesus Christ.   Prior to attending that church, I suffered from rapid cycle type two bipolar disorder.  I had spent most of my life hearing voices and being placed on and off medications. On and off medications, I heard voices. Angry vile and evil voices.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Those that believe Satan does not sit in the pews at church are wrong. Satan and his demons sit and church.  They communicate with sinners like us to distract us from our service to the Lord. Therefore, intercessory prayer is so important.  Because although we are baptized Satan is a roaring lion that wanders the earth searching for those for whom he can take.  In our discussion group, we have been discussing back and forth about the concept of Sin in relation to the Holy Spirit.  We talked about sin because of the sacrament of Baptism.  The sacrament of Baptism is when original sin is wiped away and you are received in the family of believers but the Holy Spirit enters your Holy of Holies and provides you with gifts.

I believe that the gifts are not something that is permanently provided to you but is provided as needed for the situation by the Holy Spirit.  Sin limits our capabilities with the gifts. Therefore, the repentance of sin is so important prior to assisting or receiving the gifts from the Holy Spirit.  We are all used in God’s divine plan and what we are called to do varies from situation to situation. So, while the most common experience is the receiving of tongues it is not the only gift.   The Holy Spirit provides us with gifts that let others know the presences of God is there and is involved in the activity.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit used by St. Thomas Aquinas are mentioned in Isaiah 11:2-3.  St. Thomas Aquinas discusses the gifts in his writings Prima secundae and Secunda secundae.[3] He aligns the gifts with virtues. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are the gifts for believing in Jesus Christ.[4] In the Bible, the three virtues we are to live in are faith, hope, and charity.[5] As Christians, we desire the virtues to live a virtuous life. These virtues are the theological virtues are faith hope and love. These virtues separated a Christian from the pagan world. Pelser believed that these virtues stemmed from the theological understanding of “human nature, sin, and grace”.[6] There are four cardinal virtues that all individuals can desire and pray for and live in these are prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice.  These four virtues can be practiced by anyone and perfect the capacities of the soul.[7]  Therefore there is a total of seven virtues each of these relate to the seven deadly sins.

Seven Deadly Sins Cardinal & Theological Virtues Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual Sins Theological Virtues Intellectual Gifts
Pride Faith Knowledge
Envy Hope Understanding
Wrath Charity Wisdom
Corporal Sins Cardinal Virtues Ethical Gifts
Sloth Prudence Counsel
Greed Temperance Piety
Gluttony Fortitude Fortitude
Lust Justice Fear of the Lord (Wonder)

 

spiritual sins of pride, envy, and wrath.  The spiritual gifts mentioned in Isaiah 11 is a reflection on understanding and identifying the Messiah. Isaiah expresses the hope that the Messiah would be a unique bearer of the Holy Spirit and with the ratifying of the New Age and Covenant that would impart the Holy Spirit upon all of God’s people.[8]

The gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8–10 are gifts brought to the people in the Christian community.  It is an extension of being given the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  While the Holy Spirit can reside in our Holies of Holies in our souls, we must confess our sins on a regular basis to ensure we have an untarnished communication path with the Lord. This is not to say that every day we will be able to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We must be just waiting and willing vessels although faulty be prepared to do the Lords will although we might not always be called to do great things today we have faith that when our day comes to serve the Lord and do his will, we will be ready and prepared to be the vessel that he uses to ensure his divine plan is fulfilled.

Life and Disconnect from the Holy Spirit

So, as we wait to serve the Lord, life happens. Life is not that easy.  We wander from the path and we obtain and loose gifts. How do we get ourselves back to where we are in harmony with the Holy Spirit? Being human we are prone to sin. Man’s life is full of “vanity, trouble, disappointments, vexations and endless self-dissatisfactions.”[9] We faulty beings not perfect and yet we are blessed with the gift of being able to engage the Holy Spirit. The being, the spark that generates our life, is the breath of God brought by the Holy Spirit.  Owen defends that the cure for our sinful condition is holiness.[10] It is the belief that the image of having God in our souls the Holy Spirit does provide us with an inward peace for our troubled soul. “In the holy soul – the sanctified mind alone – that it composed into an orderly tendency towards the enjoyment of God.”[11]

Life without the Trinity becomes meaningless and pointless. You can literally walk the dessert alone for 40 years.[12] Even as a Christian, with a devout faith we become adults in our Christian faith through trials of the faith. As I write this paper I am experiencing a trial. The way to ordination is a marathon and not a race. As I have suffered the loss of my family and church, I have yet to give up on the faith that the Lord is there to provide for me the tools I need to complete his divine plan. Law writes that if we live in self-denial of those things we indulge on this would bring our mind into exactness which would then lead us to follow the rules of prudence and devotion.[13]

Then the question becomes what does the Lord exactly want from us in this trial?  If we fast, worship, and pray and still feel alone what do we do? The key here is that we must experience the darkness before bringing the light of the world, the Light of the Gospel to others. The darkness is not a time of loneliness but of joy.  Like Job, we must remember that even at the worst times in our lives we must remain faithful and worship the Lord with joy and praise.[14]

The Holy Spirit will provide us with comfort during the storm.  The Holy Spirit gives us gifts that allow ourselves to see the sinful men we are.[15] It provides us with a divine light to examine ourselves. This light in the darkness that surrounds us gives us a path to return to the path of our life in fulfilling God’s divine plan. I would saw that we all follow the same path of the Israelites.  We accept the Lord and then we sin.  He saves us and we sin again. He makes us repent by spending 40 years in the dessert before returning to the Promised Land.  We doubt and have faith.  We sin and repent. However, while we are punished and are lost we are never alone.  Jesus provided his followers the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. This gift provides us with comfort in our times of distress to weather the storms of life and come about being a refined vessel for the Lord Jesus Christ.

How to Weather the Storm with the Gift of the Holy Spirit

So far, we have discussed the gifts of the spirit and our separation from the Holy Spirit in our life.  Now as for future ministers we must look at how we are to Weather the Storm of trails that await us in our ministries. As ministers during our postulant period prior to ordination, we will experience storms and trials. Unlike the first Adam, we will not have the Holy Spirit removed from us. However, if we sin and continue to sin without seeking forgiveness and have repentance we will experience the first Adam’s fall. When Adam chose to sin against God and was banished from the Garden, the Holy Spirit was removed from him and became flesh.[16] Sin then consumed the house of the Holy Spirit and we were no longer made in God’s image but the image of our corruption. It is through Baptism we are then reestablished in God’s divine graces.

As ordained ministers, we must remember that unlike the first Adam we are baptized and free from original sin.  We, therefore, have the Holy Spirit to reside in us and provide us with comfort during our trials. As ministers though we are called to stand apart and lead God’s people. This means we must protect our flock from the roaring Lion that walks about seeking souls to devour.[17]  We cannot stand up against the roaring Lion without the Holy Spirit. As ministers, it is our responsibilities to trust in the Lord and meet the roaring Lion face to face and prevent them from being consumed.

Today as the western church membership drops it is time for us to have the Wind of God blown upon us.[18] As ministers, we must remember once we are ordained we are dead to ourselves and alive in Christ. Therefore, we must walk in the way of the Church and although still sinners we must repent continuously to ensure we lead our sheep as an example of how to live a Christian life in today’s day. Failing to follow in the way of the Holy Spirit will lead to darkness in the Church.  Therefore, brothers and sisters, that have taken orders we must remember we are one body in Christ and although we are all different with different creeds and confessions, we still a living sacrifice unto the Lord.[19]

we will forget our personal family.[20] Again, the failure to engage with the Holy Spirit continually can result in the destruction of this family. Wives must find interpersonal engagement through the reading of the Bible, taking devotional time with the Holy Spirit, and having a strong self-esteem. Having these positive attributes ensures a strong relationship in the personal family as ministers and further ensures there is support from family during times in ministry.

Conclusion

A failure to accept the gifts and virtues of the Holy Spirit leads to us falling for the seven deadly sins. Staying pure and remaining faithful ministers to the Word of God is hard.  We not only are responsible for our flock but also for those we engage daily in our walk with God. If we fail to be in tune with the Holy Spirit we allow for the roaring lion to enter our flock and devour the innocent. We are warriors as ministers of God’s word and God’s church. We are the head of two families, our own and the Church we serve. Therefore, listening to the Holy Spirit and using his gifts is a must to ensure the safety of ourselves and others we are called to protect and defend.

Being the wife of a veteran, I can clearly say that although I have never worn the uniform. I respect and honor all those that have and do. As ministers, we are called to wear another uniform. The uniform of the Body of Christ. And like those service members who put on their boots and actively go into harm’s way to protect the values and traditions of our land, we must be so bold to go and protect our flocks from the roaring Lion.  We personally might sustain injuries and loss of life but we will not experience defeat. We have been told that Jesus will return and win a decisive victory in the final battle. As ministers, we must ensure that people hear that word. Our duties are to prepare our flock for the victory to come.  We do this through

“O Priest of God,

Live this Day As though it were your First Day,

Your last Day, and

Your only Day to do the will of God. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biography

Bouchard, C. E. “Recovering The Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Moral Theology.” Theological Studies 63, no. 3 (2002): 539-58. doi:10.1177/004056390206300305.

Fee, Gordon D. Baptism in the Holy Spirit: the issue of separability and subsequence. Portland, OR: TREN, 1992.

Law, William. A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life; The Spirit of Love. London: SPCK, 1979.

Mcminn, Mark R., R. Allen Lish, Pamela D. Trice, Alicia M. Root, Nicole Gilbert, and Adelene Yap. “Care For Pastors: Learning From Clergy and Their Spouses.” Pastoral Psychology 53, no. 6 (2005): 563-81. doi:10.1007/s11089-005-4821-y.

Omeara, T. F. “Virtues in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas.” Theological Studies 58, no. 2 (1997): 254-285. doi:10.1177/004056399705800203.

Owen, John. John Owen on the Holy Spirit: Pneumatologia. Charleston, SC: Demand Publishing, LLC-Create Space, 2012.

Pelser, Adam. “Virtues and Their Vices.” Edited by Kevin Timpe and Craig A. Boyd. Faith and Philosophy 33, no. 3 (2014): 382-86. doi:10.5840/faithphil201633369.

Rusu, Alexandru. “DEMONS AND EXORCISMS IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC MIND-SET: PROBING THE WESTERN DEMONOLOGICAL MENTALITY.” Revista Romana de Sociologie 27, no. 1/2 (2016): 89-109

Smeaton, George. Doctrine of the Holy spirit. Place of publication not identified: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2016.

Torrey, Reuben Archer. The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit. Place of publication not identified: Project Gutenberg, 2015.

[1] Matthew 28:16-20, KJV.

[2] Alexandru Rusu. “DEMONS AND EXORCISMS IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC MIND-SET: PROBING THE WESTERN DEMONOLOGICAL MENTALITY,”Revista Romana de Sociologie 27, no. 1/2 (2016): 106.

[3] C. E. Bouchard, “Recovering The Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Moral Theology,” Theological Studies 63, no. 3 (2002):539, doi:10.1177/004056390206300305.

[4] T. F. Omeara, “Virtues in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas,” Theological Studies 58, no. 2 (1997): 275, doi:10.1177/004056399705800203

[5] 1 Corinthians 13:13 KJV

[6] Adam Pelser, Virtues and their vices, ed. Kevin Timpe and Craig A. Boyd (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015) pg. 26.

[7] Ibid. pg. 15.

[8] Gordon D. Fee, Baptism in the Holy Spirit: The Issue of Separability and Subsequence (Portland, OR: TREN, 1992) pg. 92.

[9] John Owen. John Owen on the Holy Spirit: Pneumatologia. (Charleston, SC: Demand Publishing, LLC-Create Space, 2012) pg. 643.

[10] Ibid. pg. 644.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Numbers 32:13, KJV.

[13] William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life; The Spirit of Love (London: SPCK, 1979) pg. 142.

[14] James 1:2-5, NASB.

[15] C. E. Bouchard, “Recovering The Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Moral Theology,” Theological Studies 63, no. 3 (2002): pg. 551, doi:10.1177/004056390206300305.

[16] George Smeaton, Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Place of publication not identified: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2016) pg. 15.

[17] 1 Peter 5:8, NASB.

[18] Reuben Archer Torrey, The Person, and Work of The Holy Spirit (Place of publication not identified: Project Gutenberg, 2015) pg. 33.

[19] Romans 12:1-5, NASB.

[20] Mark R. Mcminn et al., “Care For Pastors: Learning From Clergy and Their Spouses,” Pastoral Psychology 53, no. 6 (2005): 566, doi:10.1007/s11089-005-4821-y.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do We Hide Christians?

The numbers attending church are going down.  Those that go are getting older.  The fact of the matter is this. Being a Christian in the secular society is neither cool nor easy.  Those of us that are face daily prosecution for our faith.  Anywhere from the accusations of being a “Bible Thumper” or being laughed at for believing in something one has to have faith in because we cannot see it.  The news does not make it any easier to be a Christian.  It shows many intolerant aggressive Christians protesting various societal norms.  We are often defined by the actions of a few than what the majority do and see.

In many ways true embolden Christians are ostracized by the society they live in more so than any of the LGBT community or Muslims.  As Christians, our Christianity is at its brightest inside the confines of our holy sanctuaries.  Once we leave Holy Ground, we cover up our light with a basket and mask ourselves with our real world personas in order to continue on living in the crumbling society around us. Similar to the actions of the Disciples after the resurrection, we hide in fear to spread the news of salvation, freedom and everlasting life because we live in a survival like manner. Fear is not something that comes from the Lord.  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV).

Therefore, a majority of today’s Christians live in two separate worlds.  The world of our Heavenly Father when we are on Holy Ground and then the world we live in Monday -Saturday.  The thing we fail to remember was individuals have died so that our beliefs may live on and continue.  Some of these individuals include St. Stephen, St. Andrew, and St. Peter. The first martyr for the faith, however, was Jesus Christ. He was killed for his message and those that followed him often died in the same manner because of the message he spread. Our fear for how we are perceived by others should not be what forces us to put on our masks to the world.  We shall not die by showing who we are and professing our beliefs on this world.  We shall find joy in allowing ourselves be the light of the world to future Christians.

In the midst of tragedies of Orlando, California, and New York.  Those that the media focuses on are seen living out their beliefs. Right, wrong or indifferent. So why as Christians do we hide ours?  If individuals are willing to die for their sins, should we not be willing to die for our salvation?  Should we not as Christians embrace the sinner, love the person and not the sin? We should look at ourselves before we begin to judge others in a condemning manner.  (Matthew 7, KJV) Jesus ate with sinners and loved them.  He often healed them of their sins for their faith in him.   Jesus did not judge man by his sins. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17 (KJV).

It is hard being a Christian. “And 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.” Luke 9:23 (KJV). However, the Lord never ask us to do something he would not do himself.  We do not have all the answers but we must be embolden enough to share our faith with others.  Share in the salvation we have received in being in the body of Christ.  Because of the actions of a few the entire Christian world is often judged.  Should it be this way NO!! However, the Lord has given us the power of the Holy Ghost to spread his word and share our faith. Failing to be the same person you are on Holy Ground as you are in your day-to-day life crucifies our Lord again. “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (KJV).  It is time to embolden ourselves Christians and take up the sword of truth, which is the Word of God, and become proud to become a Christian again. Ephesians 6:17.

Theology of Holy Scripture from a Millennial Perspective

Theology of Holy Scripture is the study of Holy Scripture.  In particular, this paper is studying the Christian Holy Scripture referred to as the Bible or the Living Word of God.  Individuals and groups in various congregations have developed their own methods in providing the authenticity and proof that the Bible is the actual Word of God.  One major movement that developed was the Historical-Critical method.  This method is a scientific lineal method that requires evidence of original sources to prove the authentic nature of the gospels.  The historical part of the historical critical method is the development of proof of the historical accuracy of the Bible.  The critical part of the Historical Critical method is finding the proof, purpose, and origins of the writings.

While this method provides logical foundation for the historical accuracy of a man named Jesus it does not provide factual evidence for the validity of the Holy Trinity.  To be a Christian one must have an understanding and faith about Jesus and God.  The faith that God, Holy Spirit, and Jesus are part of the divine trinity.  Failure to have a submission or belief in the actions of the Bible leaves the Historical Critical method void of the spirit and life of the story that the Bible gives us as a way and method to our salvation and eternal life with Jesus.

Timothy Ward provides an aspect to Bible authenticity that is based on the evangelical structure of validating the authenticity of the Bible. These attributes are necessity, sufficiency, clarity and authority by which scholars can define and defend their thoughts and insights into scripture.[1] This authentication and insight brings in the faith and belief elements that the historical critical method. The method in which Ward presents the relevance of the act of God speaking provided some insight into the importance of the personal nature of God and our personal relationship we must as Christians have with him.  Personal salvation is a commitment and covenant with the Lord.  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.[2]  The aspect of the personal nature of the Word of God and its ability to be s living word that despite who reads it or when one reads it, it will always be a relevant to those who are believers.  This manner of looking at the Bible provides a human aspect and personal development which historical critical method neglects to incinerate.  This view of studying the word of God provides a custom personal aspect to the Word while the historical critical method provides generic and cold references that can be applied to the mass population.

Sola Scriptura is an important foundation stone Timothy Ward uses to summarize the attributes of scripture.  Sola Scriptura is the belief that the Bible is the supreme authority of Christian thought and living due to it being it the written word of God and the content of it message.[3]  The attributes as described by Ward are broad theological terms that are broad in nature that allows scholars to develop insights and thoughts that can be built in a standard format that allows for academic discussion and debate. [4]

In Ward’s discussion on the authority vs. the holiness of scripture, it is important to understand that authority of scripture is based on the authority of man and God’s interaction with the writing of the Bible.[5] This is leads to a greater debate over the inerrancy and infallibility of the Word of God.  These debates focus on whether the fallibility of man can actually write the infallible word of God.  Those that see the Word of God as infallibility see the Holy Spirit as divinely inspiring those that wrote the scriptures and while errors might exist in the Bible, they do little in taking away the divine nature of the word.[6] Inerrancy sees the Bible as the perfect divine Word of God that is historically accurate and without fallibility. To be a Christian, one has to see this as the Word of God and thus inerrant because of its divine nature. While the bible might not provide all the answers to all questions, it provides us the means by which we can be saved.  It also does not contradict its self.  Therefore showing the infallible nature of the Word of God.

The basic canon of the Bible was formed in the Council of Carthage in Synod 397.[7] The development of the cannon was not created in an overnight decision but over several decades through prayer and divine intervention.  While not all faiths follow the same cannon, a majority of the 66 book of the bible are acknowledged and seen as the Word of God. The books have stood the test of time through multiple generations and lineages of families, which provides a deeper belief in the divine inerrancy of the document as the actual word of God. Ward focuses not on the argument of whether this is the actual word of God but clarifies it instead to be a discussion on the fallibility of man being able to write the word of God as the Almighty intended.[8]

This leads us the divine nature of the Bible and the sacredness of its Word to individuals when they read, believe, and are willing to die for its teachings. The sacred realm Fr. Martin discuss in the recording is the mystery and insight into the readings of the bible to assist us in interpreting and understanding the Word of God for our personal reflection.  It is the mystical element that the Historical Critical method does not have.  It makes the Bible personal to us every time we read it.  While the stories are the same each time it is the enlightenment we experience in finding answers to our concerns and provides us guidance in how to serve the Lord better.  In this, sacred realm, the individual does not care about who wrote what nor do they care about what text was referenced to obtain the information.  The individual is concerned with how this reading applies to them. As theologians, preachers, ministers, and sharers of the Holy Word, we must seek prophetic wisdom from the Lord to share with others.  The Word is a living applicable application to everyone by dwelling in the sacred realm we can develop a closer relationship to the Lord and bring followers to Christ.

Fr. Martin’s writing in Fr. Scott Carl’s book is an opposing view to which the Catholic Church has resolved the gap that the Historical Critical method provided the Catholic Church in Verbum Domini. [9] Fr. Martin discusses in Fr. Carl’s about the Fire of Sinai being the light of knowledge that provides readers with divine knowledge and understanding to the Word of God.[10] Fr. Martin provides a biblical reference and understanding to the element that occurs when one accepts, believes, and sees truth in which God provides them while reading the word. Describing and identifying it as the Fire of Sinai allows the message to be both personal to the receiver but also enlightening to the group of individuals who hear the word.  This expands on Wards thoughts by being both individual but for multiple people as well.  Fr. Martin focuses on the divine action that occurs when reading the word but does not allow for growth and depth of seeking further knowledge that the historical critical method provides.  Ward discusses Calvin’s point of view that being made in the image and likeness of God that we have this knowledge and understanding of the Lord, but due to our fallibility, we do not see clearly, the Bible like glasses allows us to focus and see the Lord. [11]

The theology of the Holy Scripture is a cycle that continues to repeat itself depending on the nature of the individuals study and period in life.  As s child, I saw the word like Fr. Martin, a straight insight and understanding of the Lord, as I grew older and reached my twenties I found myself like most Millennials going through a spiritual crisis leaning on the historical critical method to tell me what I needed to be a good person. As I found my way back to the church, I have begun to see the word like Ward being a personal covenant with the Lord and being of the inerrant mindset of the word of God.  When our faith is tested by Satan we often will go, back to repeat the cycle to ensure we reaffirm the foundation, which we build our beliefs, and understands of the Lord.  Our soul is the Holy of Holies. It is our responsibility as Christians to repair and fix the temple of faith in which our soul resides. We do this to be ready and willing vessel when the Lord calls us for his purpose.[12]

 

 

Bibliography

[1] Ward, Timothy. Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009, pp.96.

[2] John 14:6 (KJV)

[3] Ward, Timothy. Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009, pp. 102.

[4] Ibid., pp, 96-97.

[5] Ibid., pp.128.

[6] Ibid., pp.130-140.

[7] “Third Council of Carthage (A.D. 397).” The Third Council of Carthage on the Canon of Scripture. Accessed April 08, 2016. http://www.bible-researcher.com/carthage.html.

[8] Ward, Timothy. Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009, pp. 133.

[9] Carl, Scott. Verbum Domini and the Complementarity of Exegesis and Theology. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015.

[10] Ibid., pp. 13.

[11] Ward, Timothy. Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009, pp. 98.

[12] 1 Cori 6:19-20, 2 Tim 2:21 (KJV).

Religious Understanding and Growth Over The Season

It is my prayer that the Lord has blessed you with a beautiful enlightenment and peace this Christmas season. I found a deeper enlightenment period during the Advent and Christmas season than ever before. The week of Christmas was extremely hard.  I found that the only thing that got me through it was the Lord.  I was limited to my chaotic bedroom with no engagement from another human being except the occasional two-minute visit from my husband.  On Christmas, I received no text messages, no visitors, and no presents.  I stayed in bed and stared at the bedroom ceiling wondering how the dust collects and maintains itself with the force of the air moving from the fan.  I finally was able to leave my room on Christmas evening once my husband’s children went to bed.  I was able to make our traditional chip beef on biscuits.

I made homemade biscuits, which was a joy.  It was a joy to be able to talk to my husband.  What allowed me to make it through that time was the midnight Christmas Eve mass at church.  It was an honor to be part of the changing of the Alter during the mass to signify the change of the season from Advent to Christmas.  A reverence and peace comes when you enter into the chancel.  As I entered in to change the alter linens it became very quiet.  A peaceful silence.  It seemed while changing the linens there was a peaceful rhythmic movement as we changed the linens from purple to white.  I felt as if I had been in the silence for almost 20 minutes when we were finally completed.  In actuality, though we had only been in the chancel about five minutes and the organ was going at full volume.  It was a blessing to be able to have participated in that activity.

I have made the leap on prayer and faith to go and obtain my third master’s degree. Like all positives and blessings roadblocks remain.  I found out today at I owe 1874 dollars to my old university for leaving the class.  Normally I would be ok with this but right now with little money coming in this is one bill that I cannot afford.  I admit choosing which bills I am going to pay each month is difficult.  Because inevitably I end of being late on some and not on others that leads to late charges and never-ending phone calls for payments.  I continue to pray that the Lord will provide me with the means to get a job that will help me pay my bills better than what my current situation is or provide me with a viable solution.  I am trying to see this as a way of me developing a relevant relationship of understanding between others and myself as I work towards sharing the Word of God. I pray for the Lord to provide me with a means to repay my debtors for when I have more I shall give more unto the Lord.  Luke 7:40-43 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?  Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

As the year ends, I have been blessed to find the Lord again and hear Him.  Like most millennials I was for a good part of my teenage and twenties stuck in a religious strife being headstrong in my desires of wanting to understand and know more but wanting to fit in with modern society so I could become my own.  The love I found for ritual and fellowship I thought I had found in the masonic orders.  However, after returning to the Church I found a true happiness and peace that can only be found in Church.  I have discovered on my own the demonic nature of the masonic orders.  The oaths on holy books, the proselytizing that they are not a religion but not holding up the men and women in their organization to attend religious services.  Men and women whether knowing or not give up their religious fellowship with one another in Christ when they meet and perform their rituals.  While the members donate millions to non-profits and help their community the underpinning of the organization lacks Christ.

Organizations like Hamas do charitable work to their brothers and sisters but the underlining of them is a terrorist organization.  Masonry is no different.  Many individuals I meet in these organizations I had known over 13 years of my life and once I broke away from them I was, informed vial rumors were spread about me to defame my name and character.  Grown adults older than me by a generation or two were spreading gossip, rumors, and lies about someone half their age. Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.  I fail to see how this is Christian or on their terms of good moral character.  I believe that the masonic lodges are the playground for Satan’s demons.  That once you turn away and go into the Light of Christ that they become angry and hostile.  I realize that when I speak of this many of my masonic acquaintances will be upset and tell me how I am misinformed.  However, after 13 years in multiple organizations and spending almost 6 days a week in various meetings performing various rituals and spreading the word of how masonry was not evil. I can tell you from my own personal experience the truth about how Satan resides in the lodge room. If you have doubts about your masonic activities and question if its morals are what the Supreme architect really intended I encourage you to email me.  I can share with you my experiences, pray with you, and assist you in seeing the God’s true path.

To provide you one insight I had as I was leaving the lodge I found this.

1 Kings 7:14 He was a widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. – Also known in the masonic world as Hiram Abif. Masonic religious context is wrong.  He was not an architect but a brass worker.  He sent his architects to work on King Solomon’s temple.  He was not killed for not releasing a great secret but instead buried in a sarcophagus in Qabr Hiram.

Joshua 24:14 – Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.

May the Lord bless you today and for the year ahead, I pray you find peace and happiness in the Lord’s path for you today.

Power of Prayer Challenge

May the Lord bless you and keep you this day; may His light shine down upon you.  In a world full of technology, information and gadgets we as Christians get caught up sharing on social media our beliefs and engaging in the evilness of the world around us.  Now while we are called to stand out and preach His word, we are not called to spend an average of up to nine hours a day on our social media sites copying memes or responding to prayer requests.  Not every request for prayer needs a response on social media.  God rather hear from you directly that read it online.  So the question becomes why do respond online to prayer requests?  Do we do it for the selfish nature of wanting others to see that we are praying for them?  If this is the case is then not the true intent behind the prayer not about the prayer for resolution and comfort from God but about yourself and your charity?  Some of the most faithful people may not respond to your request for help or prayer but it is not because they are not caring for you.  It is because they may be on their knees communicating with God beseeching favor in behest of you.

The power of prayer is the strongest weapon we have as Christians.  It alone can move mountains.  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matthew 21:22). Yet many Christians today do not use this power.  Many of those that do use it only use it to ask for help.  Giving praise in prayer is extremely important not just requesting help but to give thanks.  Like the lepers healed by Jesus will we be like the Samaritan that comes back to give thanks for the grace that God bestows upon us?  (Luke 17) Often Christians forget that the goodness that is bestowed upon them is not by their will and actions but through His and His alone.  Yet we continue to post on Facebook in our selfish ways to seek the acknowledgement from our brothers and sisters for the prayers we provide.  If this is so how are we any better than those that collected money at the temple? (Matthew 21).

Prayer should be conducted as Jesus instructed in Mathew 18.  In small groups both in silence and out loud. Praying alone can be done but a greater emphasis on prayer must be placed on doing it when two or more are gathered in His name.  By sharing we are able to afford people the opportunity to listen which often does more good to the person hurt than anything else.  Listening is one of those skills my generation is failing to learn or accomplish.  Reading tweets, blurbs and status changes is not the same as listening.  More information can be obtained when we listen to someone share their message.  Their nonverbal ques, their voice pattern, and their facial expressions this information can impact the need and emphasis we place on those requesting us to pray with them.

While social media will never go away, I understand as Christians we will always go there to update and see who needs someone to comfort them.  But least we not forget to communicate verbally with one another to share our praise and burdens so we together can lift them to the Lord.  But if we go on social media to share in each other’s burdens remember to pray first about it and then to follow up in a verbal conversation so the Holy Spirit can move you to comfort each other as you share each other’s burdens.

So this is the challenge I set before all my Christian brothers and sisters:  Formally pray with someone everyday for 30 days for both the good and bad in your life.  See how the Lord comforts you and brings you peace.  If praying out loud makes you nervous pray with someone you trust.  Let them lead you a couple of times.  Pray with your family at every meal even when you go out.  Let the Holy Spirit dwell within you by inviting Him in and see what wonders He will do for you in the next 30 days. Feel free to contact me with your experiences and I will share mine with you.

Prayer for the Human Family Book of Common Prayer 1928

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole
human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let My Mouth Be Filled With Thy Praise Part II

This week’s Gospel readings from the Book of Common Prayer 1928 edition are from St. Luke and his telling of the crucifixion of Jesus. The reading from today is St. Luke 23rd chapter verses 39 through 49.  One of the Roman soldiers challenged and mocked Jesus asking the question that if was truly the son of God then why did he not save himself?  Although a Roman soldier a man rebuked his fellow soldier saying that Jesus’s killing was wrong for he had done nothing wrong. Feeling ashamed and believing he asked Jesus to remember him when he went to heaven.  Even at the end Jesus was converting individuals into believers.  Jesus stood till his final breath fulfilling his mission and beliefs.

Would we do that today?  As Americans we watch in horror the outside world has become.  We watch the endless videos of ISIS beheading Christians.  Yet once we see the video we will turn the channel or go get something to eat.  If Christians make up 2.18 billion of the 6.9 billion individuals in the world, why is it that we cannot mobilize ourselves to protect our beliefs and fellow brothers that share our faith?  Why are we allowed in our country to watch hate crimes based on the religious intolerance of others? As one of the leading countries of the world, why as a Christian nation do we fail to do what is right in the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ?  I on average are at Church four to five days a week.  I spend three of those days in some type of religious service.  We pray for the state of our nation and for the state of the Church yet what are we actually doing about it?

As the outside world drastically changes we become scared and fearful of what our friends, who are not strong about their religious beliefs, will say to us if we share with them about our faith.  We hear words as being a Bible Beater, Religious Nutcase, and Crazy. Therefore we ignore the opportunity to share our faith denying the opportunity for someone to possibly find a closer meaning to God. Isaiah 41 verse 10 states Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

We all have the power to change individuals’ lives and possibly bring them back to the Lord.  We are all disciples.  As disciples we are expected by the term alone to help to spread the teachings of another according to Webster’s dictionary. As disciples the most important tools we have are prayer and the Holy Spirit.  To ignore either is a failure on our part to be prepared to be open willing vessels for the Holy Spirit. This is not an introvert or extrovert issue.  As an introvert I have spent most of my time tucked away from others because of the serenity it provides me. Not until recently decide that I could be a disciple with my own gifts. I share my word through blogging, Facebooking, twittering, and having small one on one conversations with those in need.  I do not go door to door asking if they have accepted God into their heart.  Some people can do that I cannot.  I can however go into a hospital waiting room and talk to people who are upset and alone.  I can talk to them gently about God.

In a world where we spend so much time either wanting to be noticed or to be overlooked as Christian Disciples we have no option.  There is only one truth and responsibility.  We are expected to plant the seeds of truth in everyone we touch.  We spread those seeds through our actions, thoughts, words, and deeds.  Have you spread those seeds today?  Pray often for not only does it provide comfort and focus for you but also provides you the opportunity to allow God to speak to you which you can then share with others you talk to on a daily basis.  Christianity is not a check box designated for service only but should be a daily, moment by moment, activity that courses through our veins to share about daily. Remember to share your joy with others because it brings joy to the Lord. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers. 3 John 3-5.

Father, we pray for your holy Catholic Church; That we all may be one. Grant that every member of the Church may truly and humbly serve you; That your Name may be glorified by all people. We pray for all bishops, priests, and deacons; That they may be faithful ministers of your Word and Sacraments. We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world; That there may be justice and peace on the earth. Give us grace to do your will in all that we undertake; That our works may find favor in your sight. Have compassion on those who suffer from any grief or trouble; That they may be delivered from their distress. Give to the departed eternal rest .Let light perpetual shine upon them. We praise you for your saints who have entered into joy; May we also come to share in your heavenly kingdom. Let us pray for our own needs and those of others. Amen

Let My Mouth Be Filled With Thy Praise

Psalm 71

2 Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.

Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.

Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.

For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth.

By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.

I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.

Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.

9% of Christians have a biblical world view as of 2009 (Barna Group, 2009). 9% 2,184,060,000 Christians in the world is 197,000,000 .  That is roughly equivalent of the Christian populations of the Brazil and half of Ethiopia. In the United States in 2010 we had 246,780,000 comprising of 11% of the world’s Christian population.    What is the biblical world view?

The biblical world view is the foundation of a world view that starts and ends with God. That as Christians we believe that in the timeline we are somewhere between the beginning and the ending of the world.  The difficulty with believing this is that there has to be some faith that Gods word is a record of what happened.  Scientific theory can often conflict Biblical world views but are often found to be not credible the deeper scientist study our origins.   Thomas Bacon who developed the scientific method had a biblical world view.  The simplicity of the scientific method was created by Bacon to simplify discovery in a rapidly changing world.  If one accepts the biblical world view then the scientific method brings about order and a deeper understanding of the mystery and wonder of God.

The Lord is the reason why we are here. Acknowledgement that He is our Creator that He will always deliver us from those that consider us monsters of this world.  Trust, hope and praise must be shared to bring Christ’s lost back into union with us.  Not compromising but igniting the fire and passion through the power of the Holy Spirit to stand apart in the Christian faith. The 9% must stand up and like the Jews that brought down the walls of Jericho must in a loud voice call among their brothers and sisters in Christ to stand for the Word of God.  The truth sets us free.  Seek and ye shall find the truth one so desires and a peace like no other in the House of the Lord.  We are called in Psalm 71 to praise the Lord and glorify him daily in all our words and actions.  I encourage you to speak in the name of the Lord his truth and magnificence.

The development of oneself as a Christian and speaking to the delight of the Lord is a personal ritual that must be developed and explored due to the individual nature of the ritual it becomes one’s own personal praise and worship session with the Lord. We will falter but we will get up and continue on because with the support of our brothers and sisters we share each other’s burdens and triumphs.  Because they are for the glory of God. Praise be His name Our Creator and Redeemer.  May you grow in your trust and faith in the Lord and sing out your praise to Him today.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom

Almighty God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee; and dost promise that when two or three are gathered together in thy Name thou wilt grant their requests; Fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen.

Resources

Group, B. (2009, March 6). Barna Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Christians over the Past 13 Years. Retrieved August 17, 2015, from https://www.barna.org/barna-update/21-transformation/252-barna-survey-examines -changes-in-worldview-among-christians-over-the-past-13-years#.VdHt2vlVjp4