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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trinity, Divinity, Death, and Faith

 

The four chapters I will be discussing from The Spirit of Early Christian Thought by Robert Luis Wilken are chapters 4-7.[1]  The primacy of the scripture in the early church was rudimentary at best. The beliefs of individual churches varied in doctrine due to the lack of an organized structure of texts and beliefs that was universal to the entire Christian body. The Roman Church accepted their Canon of Bible Scripture in Damasine Council of Rome in 332 A.D. and the rest of the western church in the third Council of Carthrage in 397 A.D.[2].

As society grew more advanced in their interpretation and application of Christian theology, the growth and development of concepts of the Holy Trinity began to emerge in the Church.  The discussion and debate over the belief in the Trinity occurred in 325 at the Council of Nicaea.[3] Before the Council of Nicaea theologians had been debating over the validity and description of the Trinity. Theologians would try justifying their position based on scripture readings and adding philosophical logic to gain acceptance.  At the end of the second general council in Constantinople in 381, the church’s acceptance of the Trinity is documented in the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed.[4]

Terrullian contributes to the debate of our likeness to the Lord as like having a fully developed conversation with one’s self.[5] While this debate is adequate to discuss the psychology of one’s self.  It does not adequately discuss the relationship of the separate and unique features of the God and human beings made in his likeness. Terrullian purpose was to discuss how we are like God because we are made in his image and likeness.[6] The failure to establish a secondary object to which we can relate makes Terrullian’s argument weak in selecting conversations with one’s self because there is no unique distinct voice that is completely separate from the other person in the conversation.

Augustine argues in his writings that the Holy Spirit is what can only be described as connecting agent to the Father and Son.  That it is the unifying peace that makes the Holy Trinity possible.[7]  I would argue to say that the Trinity in its unique and separate forms in shown throughout the New Testament. That they work together to create the events we use to define us as Christians.   From the virgin birth the Holy Ghost is said to have been to doer of the conception[8], God presents himself to the wise men in a dream and warns them not to go back to Herod[9], and Jesus is the primary focus of the virgin birth.  This occurs again during Jesus’s baptism when God speaks This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.[10] The Holy Spirit descends upon the Lord during his baptism by John the Baptist like a dove[11]. Jesus is the receiver of the action. This continues during Jesus’s ministry, healing, and death.  The final time we see the trinity working together is in his ascension into heaven, which occurs 40 days after Easter.

Wilken continues to discuss the divine nature of Christ. At the Council of Chalcedon the acknowledgement by most Christian churches was that Jesus was the perfect man and Godhead in one person.  Being perfect man was separate and unique to the Godhead, which was also separate and unique; however, both existed in Christ and thus belonged to the Trinity.[12]  In Lateran 649 the reason for this acceptance of the dual nature of Jesus was so important was that it was able to finally define specific times in Jesus’s life that the various natures where shown.[13] The dual nature is important for understanding who the Christian is and strives to be.  In the Bible we are told that we are made in the image and likeness of God, therefore, we are like Jesus and must strive for his ultimate perfection.  This is an advanced development of thought for the Christian Church.  The concept of the spiritual nature and human nature of Jesus provides us with a model that we can try to obtain. This goal is what we aim for as Christians to set ourselves towards in regards to morality and character.

Chapter 6 focuses on the concept of the physical body. That Christians set goals and live our way towards those goals.[14]  For example, as Christians we affirm that Jesus will come back to defeat our advisory the devil, we prepare ourselves that our souls will be ready for this when it occurs. Therefore, Wilkins discusses how as humans how we take care of our dead because they are the part of the nature of man according to Augustine.[15]  In Matthew 25:31-46 it discusses that when Jesus comes back his followers known as lambs will be placed in his right hand while the goats, or non-followers, will be in his left.  Since we are made in the image and likeness of God, to take care of the dead is to take care of the body of God, for some believe that we will be risen up and reunited with our bodies to share in the Glory of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. [16]

The final chapter discusses the concept of the importance of faith and its importance to the Christian belief.  Faith is a unique perspective in Christian thought because it is contrary to modern thinking and understanding of the world in which we live.  Faith requires an obedience and understanding that the Bible contains the truth and is our only way to salvation and eternal life.[17]  Fr. Rogers discusses that everyone has two forms of belief.  They are referred to doctrine and dogma.  Doctrine he defines as those things that have evidence and reasoning.  That when presented the information there is evidence providing its concept. [18] Dogma on the other hand is the fundamental assumptions that we make because of the reality in which we exist. [19] Faith, like dogma, exists based on trust and fundamental assumptions that it is all part of God’s purpose.

The primacy of scripture in the early church is important to recognize.  Like the growth and development of individuals and Jesus, the church grows and develops in its understanding of our Lord and Savior. In the beginning, it was rudimentary as the church has matured so has the primacy of scripture.   Every individual and generation has to build upon and rediscover the knowledge provided by the scriptures.  The scripture is still as it was in the beginning.  It contains the truth and knowledge of God.  Therefore, while the book remains static and constant in its content, the interpretation it provides us individually makes it a living and breathing document.  The bible provides guidance and wisdom just as it did in the beginnings of the Church, and we must remember that while one might read and see a passage differently, we must understand for us, it will contain a different message, made purposely for us in the proper time.

Psalm 23 a Hermeneutic Study

  1. Starting To Interpret a Text

“Hermeneutics must start from the position that a person seeking to understand something has a bond to the subject matter that comes into language through the traditionary text and has, or acquires, a connection with the tradition from which it speaks.”[20] The text in which I will be discussing is Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. [21]

The passage is important to me because I have made it part of my daily beginning of my devotional prayer time.  After I put on the full armor of God, I lead into praying this in chant. I use the St. Dunstan’s Psalter to provide me with the cords. This psalm is also chanted in evening prayer on the fourth day in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) 1928 edition.  The passage reminds me that while I pray for others and intercede for them that He will provide and protect me from the attacks from the evil one.  That as long as I stand for the rightness of the Lord and serve those as if I am serving Jesus I will always live in the house of the Lord forever.

In my spiritual path like most in my teens and twenties I walked away from the church and doing so lead me to dark places and loneliness.  It was not until I returned to the Church did I find a purpose for my life again.  After going through deliverance ministry I know assist in spiritual healing and prayer for those being attacked spiritually by demons.  This Psalm reminds me that while turmoil might surround us in the world that there is hope and salvation through Jesus Christ.

While studying this text I realize that I have prejudices that due to life circumstances and belief cause me to fail in being able to separate my belief in Jesus as our savior and the Bible being the book of ultimate truth and it is the only way to truth and salvation. These prejudices prevent me from viewing the passage in a historical-critical method because it removes God and replaces him with doubt. I am, however, able to view the text in a more academic and historical manner that will allow me to see the passage from a different perspective due to life experiences of individuals who also interpret this scripture. I am able to take and view the piece in a manner that can allow me to share with others and connect with others by understanding their beliefs and experiences. Gadamer reflects upon this and discusses it as the historical horizon and the superseded understanding horizon merge for a real connection to occur.[22]  This connection allows me to view the text in a different manner and provides me with an opportunity to connect with another individual through a biblical message and spread the word of God.

II In the Process of Interpretation

In Murphy’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Psalms, the psalm is described in its poetic form by describing the psalm in two lines phrasing that is calm and rhythmic.  They discuss the importance of David when he was writing this Psalm as he had just completed his pastoral life. [23] The book describes each of the psalms in the exact same manner.  The focus on Psalm 23 in this book was the literal translation of the text and its importance on being taken care of and sheltered by the Lord.  It also focused on the food and drink aspects of the passage, which for the time when this article was written anti-slavery was beginning to take effect.  This was an important time in history because farmers in the south used slaves to gather food to support their ways of life.  With anti-slavery taking off the emphasis on food and drink becomes more relevant in the passage.

I was unable to find a commentary that showed it through the centuries however I was able to find a commentary on all the Psalms through the entire centuries, however, the library only had a physical book and nothing online available for this. This is not to say that the psalms and their uses have not been changed over the course of the various centuries.  Currently Psalms are rarely used any more except when teaching children or in high orthodox masses as in the Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions.  The psalms where used to instruct the Jews and Christians about history and the Lord and the trials and tribulations of the Jews.  Today in the Anglican tradition, we still chant our Psalms in morning and evening prayer.

Psalm 23 provides us with an affirmation that the Lord protects us and as long as we follow him, he will provide us with what we need.  He is always with us as we lie down and as we drink from the river of life.  He cares for us and leads us to good things that honor and glorify him.  However, we will have tribulation and trials in our life, but not to fear these issues because like in the pasture the Lord remains with us in all that we do.  The Lord will come and collect us if we stray from him and we are comforted in his leadership because he is Lord. He will prepare a feel for us and bless us in the presence of our enemies before their judgement and my love for him will endure forever. As the Lord as my leader and protector I shall be shown goodness and mercy forever as long as I remain a faithful servant to the Lord. [24]

III Concluding the Interpretation

The sacred real of this text has provided me with the understanding that I have to hand off my control and power need to the Lord.  In the world of today, with logic, science, and methods I often will focus on those instead of allowing the Lord to accept and deal with the issues that I try to resolve.  The Lord is our Sheppard we are not.  We are his sheep.  Sheep do not sit on the thrown but instead bow lowly to our Lord and rejoice in his praise. While the Lord will test us and give us tribulations, it is our responsibility to bring it to the Lord in prayer because only when we ask for it shall we receive it. [25]

Agreement with this text that if I wish to endure in happiness I must be allowed to give the Lord the throne and keys to heart and soul.  Failing to do so prevents me from dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.  I agree that tribulations occur and that I must remember that the Lord is there with us by our side.  When he comes for us, we shall be given a feast and blessed by him before our enemies.  The difficult part with the agreement is the fulfillment of the action.  As a problem solver we often will spend, our times take charge and resolve issues for people.  However, when we do that we rob people of the opportunity to serve God and steal from God the opportunity to show is power to others.

While historically, the psalm has been used to provide comfort for the afflictions that individuals experience including those in the past who feared for their ways of living.  Today we are a culture of fear. Fear is the work of the devil.[26]  We are quick to fear something and rush to solve problems instead of lifting our afflictions to Jesus Christ.  The Lord protects those who surrender themselves to him, therefore we must remember that when we are caught in the valley of the shadow of death, that we are not alone and we shall not fear for the Lord is bless us and keep us so we can dwell with him in glory.

As a classical text, I see myself in Psalm 23 as a map to understanding and peace.  That while we experience tribulation and tragedy it is not for nothing but serves a purpose for the Glory of God.  Not allowing the Lord to be our savior we fail to bring him alongside us as we go out into the world. In 1 Peter, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.[27] To ensure we do not fall prey to the devil we must surrender ourselves to the Lord and ensure he is in our thoughts, our lips and hearts.

The text address me personally because while I read and use this text every day in my daily routines.  This is probably the first time in a long time that I have actually read the text, which draws me in a relationship with the Holy Ghost and the Lord.  I have failed to give up my seat on the thrown in various areas and he can only be Lord if I surrender it all to him.  It is important that I acknowledge that now before I am set aside as a deaconess because if I cannot model how a Christian woman is to give herself to the Lord, I have no business expecting woman of the church to do it when I cannot do it myself.

Those that go into ministry we are both shepherds and sheep. We lead others to Christ or assist in their trials and tribulations reminding them of the great shepherd, Jesus Christ. It is important as those who lead others to protect and guide them into communion with the church and with God. Failing to do so weakens the Church and fails in our obligations to become more Christ like in our human nature.

 

[1] Wilken, Robert Louis. The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.

[2] Towns, Elmer L. What the Faith Is All About: A Study of the Basic Doctrines of Christianity. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1983.

[3] Wilken, Robert Louis. The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003, pp. 83.

[4] Ibid., pp. 84.

[5] Ibid., pp. 99.

[6] Ibid., pp. 99.

[7] Ibid., pp. 102-103.

[8] Matt 1:18 (KJV)

[9] Matt 2:12 (KJV)

[10] Matt 3:17 (KJV)

[11] Matt 3:16 (KJV)

[12] Wilken, Robert Louis. The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003, pp. 133.

[13] Ibid., pp. 133.

[14] Ibid., pp. 158-159

[15] Ibid., pp. 160

[16] 1 Cor 15:52 (KJV)

[17] Wilken, Robert Louis. The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003, pp. 133.

[18] Rogers, Homer F., and Mary Patricia. Tuck. The Romance of Orthodoxy. Dallas, TX: Publisher Not Identified, 1991, pp. 2.

[19] Ibid., pp. 2.

[20] Truth and Method. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013, pp.306.

[21] Psalm 23:1-6 (KJV)

[22] Gadamer, Hans-Georg, Truth and Method. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013, pp. 317.

[23] MURPHY, JAMES G., and James G. Murphy. 1875. “A CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF PSALMS.” In Critical & Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Psalms, 1-712. n.p.: 1875. American Theological Library Association (ATLA) Historical Monographs Collection: Series 1, EBSCOhost (accessed April 30, 2016).

[24] Psalm 23:1-6 (KJV)

[25] Matt 7:7 (KJV)

[26] 2 Tim 1:7 (KJV)

[27] 1 Pete 5:8 (KJV)

A Calling To Our Lord To Serve

When religious strife it is our duty and responsibility as Christians to remain quiet and pray.  God will speak to you when He is ready.  Last Thursday I was walking outside to my car at work because I had left a canned soda in the car.  It gets so hot here that it would have exploded leaving sticky residue all over my car.  So in haste I went outside to get my soda can.  I was not even five steps outside the door when I heard the bells calling the Carmelite nuns to prayer.  I just stopped and closed my eyes and listened.  At that moment I was at peace.  I was calm.  I knew what I needed to do again in my life.  Where God wanted me.

I ran back inside when the bells stopped.  I began to google Anglican nuns.  Know give you some back story when I think nuns I think catholic school teachers with rulers.  I remember failing Latin and being told I was failing Latin because Satan had a hold of me.  But then I knew nuns to be fun because I remember the show about the flying nun.  Which interesting side note, she was playing a Daughters of Charity nun which is dedicated nuns of the Catholic faith.  They used to wear those traditional large white habits as their uniform in the 1960s.  But the question became doe Anglicans have nuns?  There are episcopal nuns but was the Anglican Church able to have a group of nuns as well?  The answer to the question is yes.  These nuns can be married as well.  These women often do not do the monastic life but go out into the public and provide charity to those in need.

When I was five I ran up to my parents and told them I wanted to be a priest.  I enjoyed the idea of wearing black and the collar.  I realize women in the priesthood is wrong on multiple levels of the Anglican Church but there must be some way to serve in that kind of function.  Just like me at age five I give everything to everyone that I have even if it leaves me with nothing because we are here on this life to serve and help others.  Before getting married to my husband, I lived with few items.  A table, books, and bed.  I had a computer for work and a TV which I used to play music but there was nothing.  I sat on lawn furniture in my living room for years.  I only got the lawn furniture in the living room so my mother and dad could sit somewhere instead of being on the floor.  I found peace with the clarity and cleanliness.  I would read the Bible and study.

There is a position women can be appointed to in the Anglican Church which is deaconess.  I will be writing about that next week because it is an amazing and honorable position that a women can be bestowed with through God and the Church.  I cannot say how God spoke to me through Church bells.  He just did.  He reawakened that desire of my five year old wanting to take care of others as my primary responsibility and showing individuals how great and good God is.  That it is not about the great large acts of charity but the small every day activities we do to be nice.  The miracles Jesus performed were great and magnificent but also he performed small unselfish acts every day for those society saw a least deserving. Being a Christian is not just something we do on Sundays but something that we must do every day.  It make take me several years before I can spend every day at Church performing ritual and taking care of others.  However at least there is a new end.  I am not stuck in what I am doing now but it is instead just something to move me closer to reaching the position where God wants me to go in this life. It is important though not to lose hope or faith because God will talk to everyone who accepts and desires Him.

Till next week may God bless you and keep you forever.  In Christ Alone.

R. Send out Thy light and Thy truth, that they may lead me.

V. And bring me unto Thy holy hill, and to Thy dwelling.

R. O let us live.

V. And we shall call upon Thy name.

R. Turn us again, O Lord God of Hosts.

V. Show the light of thy countenance, and we shall be whole.

Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty and Merciful God, that Thy Holy Spirit may come unto us, and dwell in us, and make us to be a worthy temple of Thy glory. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Religious Strife

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

It is hard to write this week. I kept away from blogging because actualization is hard to accept sometimes. I spent the past weekend trying to see if God talks to everyone or just to a select few. It says God and the Holy Spirit speak to those that are quite and accept Him in. In the Old Testament individuals knew when God spoke to them. Through a fiery bush and through angels. There was no doubt because God was able to be acknowledged through one of man’s five senses. I speak with people at my Church who hear God through thoughts and songs. I left the Church in high school because I heard nothing. I sat and wanted to hear but there is nothing. I spent years studying various religious texts and ritual to hear nothing. I came back to the Church hoping maybe this time God or the Holy Spirit would talk to me. That they would make their presence known. I came back to church in February. I gone head first and try to stay actively engaged yet like before in my high school years I can answer the questions and do the motions but in the end there still no one there providing me with some insight on where I should go, what I should do, or why I should be even be here. Before I left the church I spent four hours sitting in an empty building in the dark trying to get some knowledge that others around me seem to have. I am now back and again it is hard. I go through the motions I do the ritual and try to understand the readings and how they apply to me but nothing in my head or heart speaks to me.

I guess that is why I always have somehow thought I been God’s little comedy play. But my church has taught me that is Satan just getting his words in edge wise. I talked with my husband about it over dinner on Saturday and he said it was different for everyone but he knows God talks to him. I have derived its either I do not get it or academics have killed the manner in which I analyze and process information that is meant to save me.

If my religious strife was not enough I have come to find out that I am not really excited that freemasons have decided to accept homosexual couples into lodges. This makes those organizations that depend on freemasons for their existence to have to accept homosexual couples. This leads to the questions about how the organizations will adapt their rules such as in the Order of Eastern Star only women can be star points and men can only be worthy patrons. So do we go based on born orientation or role in their relationship? If we do that then were does the Bruce Geners of the world go? So I am in the process of demitting from my organizations except the Order of Eastern Star but will be taking a leave of absence from meetings until the Grand Lodge of Texas decides to do what God has instructed.

So I employ my readers to contact me. How does God talk to you? How do you know him? God has never spoken to me. The pattern and ritual of the church has always enthralled me but having the experiences of Job, Mosses, and others I have not yet had. I have to trust that maybe someday I will be given the ability to hear Him.

Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. Acts 2:33

MEN TAKE YOUR FAMILIES TO CHURCH.

Welcome Whitsunday also known as Pentecost.  This season in the Church is the deliverance of the Holy Spirit among the disciples.  This was the first true baptism of the disciples.  On Friday our Church has a service called koinonia.  This service is a calling of the Holy Spirit via song from the congregation with prayer.  I have spent the last month going to this service.  There is no ritual no real liturgy but a great deal of singing praise and healing.  Now I have had personal negative experiences with the “healing” experience.  A false believe that almost left me in a coma.  Some individuals really get into this experience.  Mostly women.  The men I find to be like myself sitting and trying not to be judgmental but sitting and patient with their wives.  I only go because my step children enjoy it.  I want to make church more than a ritual we perform on Sunday that they do not understand.  I been told that I appreciate more the ritual than the meaning behind the ritual.

This I do not deny.  Ritual is beautiful when done correctly.  Ritual that can be performed by generations of people over and over.  Something is beautiful to watch how a group of people perform and believe.  The belief of the performance of the ritual is what makes it beautiful.  My fiancé and I are doing marriage prep courses.  We talked about the leader of the house is the husband.  That God and Jesus are the head of the Church like man is the head of his house.  He is to lead the family like the priest in worship.  While this is to be so, is that really what is happening today in the American Church?  The impression is no.  Men are begrudgingly requested to go to church.  If the Church want men to lead the spiritual side of the family like the men lead the Church then it is time to educate our men to take charge and lead.  I was asked to help develop a plan for our family because of a lack of understanding of what needed to be done.  Thank you feminism which has been a destruction to a great many rituals.

Is ritual different when there is no faith?  I would believe so.  Faith is a nasty word that I fail to understand. I want to understand it to be trust. Because of my lack of understanding of faith I have to basically just understand it to be trust.  However, when I perform ritual is my lack of understanding of faith remove myself from what others experience when performing ritual?  Ritual is the analytical part to the free flowing part of religion.  For the analytical it is this understanding that keeps them coming back.  However, it is not the whole experience is it?  Does anyone every really feel the full experience that the Lord has given us?

The feminization of our society has left our men in a weakened position.  The lack of understanding the importance of leading the family in worship, the lack of leading their house, and lack of leading one’s self in ritual.  Feminism could be seen the continued death of freemasonry and of the Christian Church.  As women continue to drive in the lanes that men should be driving in the weaker we become as a society.  As a women I am saying…..MEN STEP UP AND LEAD YOUR FAMILIES WE NEED YOU TO LEAD SO OUR FAMILY CAN SEE SALVATION!!!

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24 KJV