Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Mind Of The Spirit: Part One

"To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
(Colossians 1:27 ESV)

To feel at home in heaven we will need to have the mind of Christ now. Many of us allow our bodily appetites, and bad thinking to dominate our inner person. We are spiritual beings with physical bodies. And until we allow the Holy Spirit (who is in all believers) to dominate our thinking, we will live a life ruled by carnal and negative thoughts, which produces less than desirable behavior in our lives.

Our outward behavior is a reflection of our true spiritual condition. If we are true believers, then we have been justified by our faith in Jesus Christ, which means we have been made right with God. But God wants more than reconciliation, (which is just the beginning) he wants a living, active relationship with us. So, we must allow Him to correct our thinking. Repentance is giving up our thoughts, and opinions, and replacing them with God's thoughts, and his truth. 

True repentance results in a change of behavior. But this is an ongoing process, so we have to live a life of repentance, which is life lived according to the Kingdom of God (the rule of God). I'm not talking about the repentance that leads to our initial salvation experience, but to that which leads us to greater intimacy with God, on a daily basis.

Many in the Evangelical Church seem to neglect the reality of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Without a good theology of the work of the Spirit, and our ongoing communion, and fellowship with God, we tend to become legalistic, and spiritually dry. It's vital to the life of the believer, and the life of the Church as a whole, to rediscover the third Person of the Trinity. 

"Christ in you, the hope of glory" does not make us little "gods" in the way that new agers perceive themselves. We must acknowledge that we are not divine, but are in desperate need of the life of God inside of us. And God has given us access to that life, through the Holy Spirit.

The two excllent books that I'm presently reading on having the mind of Christ are: "Being At Ease: Thinking At Ease-Lessening Disease" by Jim Hylton, which is deeply thought provoking, and an academic, but readable book, "The Mind Of The Spirit"by Craig S. Keener. - Bobby

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Beast

And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. (Revelation 13:1 ESV)

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear: If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. (Revelation 13:5-10 ESV)

Some say the Beast of Revelation is a diabolical individual who will rule the world for a short time, others say it is a political system. I believe it may be a combination of both. But of this one thing I am sure, we live in world system that is opposed to Jesus Christ, and his eternal Kingdom.

Those that are most vulnerable to the Beast are individuals that desire radical social change apart from the Kingdom of God. This worldview invites a totalitarian form of government, that has no concept of how Christ Kingdom works. The Kingdom of God is "righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" and is based on servant-hood, and sacrificial love, not bullying. 

This present anti-Christ environment in the western world has used a distorted view of Jesus, as merely a social activist, or as in the case of the EU (European Union) they don't use him at all, because they are atheistic to the core. This worldview rejects Christ teaching on sexual ethics, and his authority over their personal lives. And it attacks those that oppose their evil plans.

Globalization, "free trade" and the internet have been used to advance the Beasts' agenda. The minds of individuals are literally being re-wired by digital addiction. Our children are spending much of their days being brainwashed through gaming.  Facebook and other on-line activities are gradually causing us to lose touch with reality. These networks can be used for God's glory, and for good purposes, but overall its' users, are being programmed by an anti-Christ system, that is negatively effecting the way we think and reason.

The Beast has always had his minions in every segment of  our society, opposing Christ, and his people throughout the history of America. But in recent years 'it' has become more brazen. So, a false narrative has been created that intolerant Christians are the reason for our societies lack of social advancement. Ultimately through digital addiction, economics, false religion, and the desensitized masses, the Beast and his dark forces, at some future time, will temporarily enslave the world.

Our call as Christians is to make disciples of all Nations, and to resist this darkness until the Prince of Peace returns. He will return and give his followers, real peace, and prosperity, and a new age called, the Kingdom of God. The Beast will be defeated at Christ appearing. We must align ourselves with King Jesus, doing his work until he comes.  Until then, be careful of all those voices that preach world peace, and are not following the Prince of Peace. - Bobby

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Communion with God by Richard Trader

Hearing God is not some strange or mystical experience. It is not hearing God audibly, but hearing Him with your heart. "Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebrews 3:15). The heart of man is the mind, will, and emotions. It is the spirit of man, that is the inner-man. He gives thoughts for your mind. These thoughts are revealed in the Bible. He gives you desires for the heart, even the desire to know Him. He gives you emotions, such as sorrow for your sins and love for others.

Hearing God is a choice. Not all are willing to hear God. Those who want no part of hearing God have hardened their hearts. Only God can change your heart. He does this through the new birth, by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9; 1 John 5:1). He takes away your hardened heart and gives you a heart sensitive to His Word and Spirit. God says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you" (Ezekiel 36:26).

God's voice is the voice of the Holy Spirit. His Spirit communicates with your spirit. That's the reason God must put a new spirit within you. Otherwise, your heart is hardened toward the things of the Spirit of God. God is able to put a new spirit within you. Then the communication begins. "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans 8:16).

Points to Consider

Communion with God begins through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me" (John 14:6).
Communion with God is through the Holy Spirit bearing witness with our spirit. God's Spirit communicates with our spirit. That communication is in the heart of man, which includes the mind, will, and emotions.
Communion with God is talking to Him and hearing Him. It is a divine-human dialogue. We talk to Him in prayer. He talks to us through the word of truth in the Bible. That's communion with God.
The word communion comes from a Greek word koinonia which refers to fellowship. That is fellowship with God. A relationship with God is ongoing fellowship with Him.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

How Can We Hear The Holy Spirit Accurately? By Craig Keener

The Holy Spirit passes on Jesus’ words as clearly as Jesus passed on the Father’s. We should be able to hear Jesus’ voice as clearly today as his disciples did two thousand years ago and­— since we see things in light of the resurrection— understand his message better. Of course, Christians have often abused the promise of hearing God’s voice, hearing instead only what they wanted or expected to hear. What objective guidelines can help us learn sensitivity to the Spirit and enable us to hear God’s direction accurately?

First of all, the Spirit does not come to testify about himself; He comes to testify about Jesus (John 15:26; 16:14).  He brings to our remembrance and explains what Jesus has already said (14:2 6). What the Spirit teaches us is therefore consistent with the character of the biblical Jesus, the Jesus who came in the flesh (1 John 4:2). The more we know about Jesus from the Bible, the more prepared we are to recognize the voice of his Spirit when he speaks to us. Knowing God well enough to recognize what he would say on a given topic can often inform us what God is saying, because God is always true to his character. But be warned: those who take Scripture out of context thereby render themselves susceptible to hearing God’s voice quite wrongly.

Second,  the Spirit  does not  come  merely  to show us details such as where to find someone’s lost property, although the Spirit is surely capable of doing such things and sometimes does them (1 Sam. 9:6-20). Nor does the Spirit come just to teach us which sweater to put on (especially when it is obvious which one matches) or which dessert to take in the cafeteria line. The Spirit does, however, guide us in evangelism or in encouraging one another (for example, Acts 8:29; 10:19; 11:12.)  The  Spirit  also comes  to reveal God’s  heart  to us,  and  God’s heart  is defined in  this  context as love  (John 13:34-35; 15:9-14, 17). To walk in Christian love is to know God’s heart (1 John 4:7-8; see also Jer. 22:16).

Third, it helps if we have fellowship with others who also are seeking to obey God’s Spirit. In the Old Testament, older prophets mentored younger prophets (1 Sam. 19:20; 2 Kings 2:3-8). And among first-generation prophets in the early church, Paul instructed the prophets to evaluate each others’ prophecies, to keep themselves and the church on target (1 Cor. 14:29). Spiritual mentors or peers who are mature in their relationship with God and whose  present walk with  God  we can trust can seek God with  us and provide us a “safety  net” of sorts.

If we feel that the Spirit is leading us to do something, but recognize that much is at stake if we are wrong, we may do well to talk the matter over with other mature Christians. Proverbs advised rulers that wisdom rests in a multitude of counselors, and that advice remains valid for us as well. In the end, we may not always settle on  the counsel  others  have given us— like us, they too  are fallible— but if they are diligent  students of the Scriptures and persons of prayer, we should humbly consider their counsel. God sometimes shows us things for the church that others may not yet see; at the same time, God may well have shown some of our brothers and sisters things we have not yet seen.  I have a few spiritual mentors and peers whose counsel I especially treasure and whose wisdom time has consistently (though not always) vindicated.

Many of us as young Christians were intrigued by the frequent experience of supernatural guidance from the Holy Spirit. While most of us who have learned to hear the Spirit in that way still experience such guidance regularly today, after a number of years, sensitivity to the Spirit’s guidance in that form becomes almost second nature and thus becomes less of a focus than it once was. Nor is this guidance, exciting as it may be to one discovering it for the first time, always the most important form of guidance God’s Spirit gives us.

By this method of hearing the Spirit, we might help someone in need, because the Spirit specifically directed us to do so. But many of us have also learned to hear God’s Spirit exegetically, as the Spirit has spoken in the Scriptures.  By hearing the Spirit’s voice in Scripture, we might help that same person in need simply because Scripture commands us to do so.  But perhaps the  deepest sensitivity  to the  Spirit comes  when  we learn  to bear the Spirit’s fruit  in our  lives­ when our hearts become  so full of God’s heart that we help that person  in need because God’s love within us leaves us no alter­ native. All three forms of guidance derive from the Spirit and from Scripture. Yet where  needs  clearly exist, God’s  character that we have discovered  by means of Scripture and the Spirit is sufficient to guide us even when we have no other  specific leading of the  Spirit  or  scriptural mandate, provided neither the Spirit  nor  the  Bible argues against it. It is when the Spirit has written the Bible’s teaching in our heart that we become most truly people of the Spirit.

(Adapted from Three Crucial Questions About the Holy Spirit, published by Baker Books.)