Sunday, November 16, 2014

"...the Holy Spirit and fire."

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Matt 3:11
Have you ever been in a "Church" and heard someone start yelling, "Fire Lord, more Fire! Fire!"
I used to hear this all the time at a couple Charismatic Churches we used to attend regularly. I never really thought about what "fire" meant in regard to the Holy Spirit, but it always seemed a little biblically awkward, like it didn't quite add up in "prayers" like these. Imagine my surprise when I began studying Matt 3:11. Let me see if I can break down what I discovered in this instance.
John the Baptist was speaking to a vast crowd at the time of this statement. There were all kinds of people in attendance. Some were serious followers hanging on every word that John spoke, some were open minded to the possibility of what was being proclaimed and then there were the religious leaders namely Pharisees and Sadducees. John the Baptist was fulfilling what the Prophet Isaiah had spoken of somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 years prior.
These religious leaders came to John to get baptised so as to "cover all their bases" so to speak. But John told them how it was and said to them:
“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."
In Acts 1 Jesus is speaking to His disciples and makes reference to John the Baptist when He says,
" “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” These were Jesus' disciples and He knew their hearts and they were "of one accord."
So, here's John baptising the multitude and the "Leaders" show up and want to be baptized for all the wrong reasons. John then makes the statement to the crowd and to the religious leaders in particular and says,
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."
FIRE in this case denotes the consuming flames of Hell. To say that it is some special sign of the Holy Spirit in this instance is not even in keeping with the rest of the chapter. John is clearly saying-when read in context-that some of the throng will be baptized with the Holy Spirit and some will be sent to hell. He's talking to a mixed group.
As I imagine this scene taking place I can see John standing there looking around making eye contact with different ones as he makes the statement. He looks at one group of eager listeners whom he may have just baptized and says, "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit " --then he turns his head and makes eye contact with the pharisees as he continues the statement and says, "and fire."
This is how it reads to me. How could fire add to being baptized with the Holy Spirit anyway?
I have watched people at "Church" walk around in circles with their hands palms up, eyes closed chanting, "fire Lord, fire! More fire Lord." It like they're begging God to consume them with His unquenchable fire that is reserved for Satan and his angels.
I think a better prayer would be "open my eyes Lord and give me wisdom. Open my heart Lord to deepen our relationship and send the Holy Spirit to give me understanding of the revelation you've already given called the Bible. Read my heart Lord and forgive me, have mercy on me and give me grace.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Our Sovereign God

In the midst of the turmoil in America with our declining morals and increasing greed there are actually a few things that have not changed: GOD IS STILL SOVEREIGN. Our Lord is still on His thrown. The Holy Spirit is still active in Believers and Jesus death, resurrection and ascension still mean exactly what they always have. There is power in the name of Jesus!
I sometimes get distracted with the intellectual pursuit of biblical concepts and doctrines and become so enmeshed in the different theories concerning contextual purity that I lose sight of what I am after and that is the person of Jesus Christ and knowing Him. I put entirely too much pressure on myself, as if I can do this God knowledge thing alone, and forget that nothing will become clear unless the Holy Spirit makes it so.
Lately a thought has been surfacing in my head that goes something like this: God knew very clearly that what He wrote in Scripture would be debated, disagreed upon and argued over and that is just in "the Body." Why? You'd think that He would have made Scripture so clear that anyone reading it the first time would get it, acknowledge God and come to Jesus, but He didn't do it that way. I look at who I believe are some of the greatest Christian minds of our time such as; Dr John Macarthur and Dr RC Sproul. You cannot argue successfully against anything they say, or at least that is what I believe. Oh sure, you can take some pet verses out of context and throw them in the arena of debate but men like these are so well studied and researched that they will show you from a historical, language and spiritual prospective why what you believe is in error.
So, what to do? Pray before and during your Bible studying. Keep the line always open (pray without ceasing). Meditate on the Word day and night. Study those things that are on your heart because there is a reason they are on your heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your mind. Get past what you THINK you know is true and ask God to reveal truth and error in your beliefs so that as the relationship grows it doesn't take as many side trips and "ditch visits." Study to show yourself approved... and God is giving you the direction, strength and understanding for this.
Have an incredible day!

Friday, October 24, 2014

What God Did~

From the book of Genesis:
" So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them."
Notice will you that he created HUMAN BEINGS in his image.
How many people reading this had the opportunity to choose what race they were born into? Did anyone put in a request to be white, black, hispanic or asian before they were conceived? No? Of course not. So, in view of this light how do you justify treating people of other races as less than you, or not on the same level as you? Either God did not create every man/woman in his own image, or he did. Not only did he create all human beings, but he said that it was good. Are you going to take what God called good and decide it is not? Who are you to treat others who may be of a different race as if they should be at he back of the bus, or maybe even ban their use of "our" restrooms? We cannot lump some people's criminal behavior onto an entire race and say they are predisposed to crime. Not only is that an insult to everyone of that particular race, but it is a serious issue in and of itself. God called what he created good. In other words he liked what he made and was happy with the way it turned out on that day.
Next time you make a racial smart remark think about what God said when he made man in his image. There was no color code. "It is he that has made us and not we ourselves."(Psalms 100:3) God chose your race and mine. There have been and still are many racial abuses in this country. Stop worrying about what you THINK another group of people are getting via the government or whatever.. More than half of what we hear is complete garbage and propaganda. Put that trash aside and treat your fellow human beings like you want to be treated... not any better and not any worse, but just like you. If you are a Christian you have no excuse for being a racist because Jesus hung on the cross for more than just you and more than just me. I can promise you that if you believe that you are better than your brother or sister because of your race God will open your eyes in a very humbling way. Then again, if your eyes refuse to open then you apparently never saw the light to begin with and the truth is not in you.
Get past yourself and your skin 'cause everyone has some and God created it.