Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Tough Love…

We’ve all heard the phrase “tough love”, maybe even experienced it in our adolescence as we clumsily navigated through some rebellious patch of our life growing up.  Hopefully you are not still stuck there.  It can be painful both as a parent and a recipient of tough love.  I however, have been experiencing tough love of a different nature lately and this morning took a moment to meditate on it.  What I’m dealing with is how love can be tough.  It’s hard to love people sometimes.

I have had a number of instances over the last year and especially recently where I was deeply struggling to feel and be loving toward people.  I have felt like the Apostle Paul in Romans where he said:

“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.”  Romans 7:18

Paul endured all kinds of things at the hands of other people and he struggled with doing the right thing, the loving thing.  He reveals our inner conflict between the spirit and the flesh in us.  I have a desire to do the loving thing but sometimes my mind is saying stick it to them.  We have a tendency to justify our feelings or subsequent actions, because after all we were done wrong, they are being unreasonable or we are the victim.  That all may be true but the conflict remains and reveals our true problem.  To be true to the Spirit in us, we must love and be loving. 

As I read Romans 5 I find the problem with and answer to my dilemma:

“and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the holy Spirit who was given to us.”  Romans 5:5

The demands of life and the demands of God are so great that I don’t have a chance to do right without Him.  God knows the selfish and self-preserving nature of our flesh.  We are without the hope of consistent love without the presence of the Holy Spirit in us.  Without Jesus and the gift of His Spirit we do not have the capacity to love the unloveable.  We will revert to our flesh and flesh will always protect flesh.  It defaults to self-preservation. 

However, even as a believer we will have to believe the promise of God’s love.  Through His Spirit He has poured out His love in our hearts giving us His capacity to love even in the harshest of conditions.  Love is tough, but its impossible without God’s love.  So before we begin to excuse our unloving behavior by what others have done to us, we need to draw deep from the well of God’s love and remember that even in moments of injustice and persecution God gives us the capacity to manifest the love of Jesus through our mortal flesh.

Love may be tough, but not impossible.

Who do you need to forgive today?

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Insecurity in Church Movements…

Can’t we all just get along!  This expresses how I feel so many times when I read what people write about the church and others get their two cents worth in how they think.  I am all for a free … Continue reading

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Love + Incarnational = Transformation

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I stopped by my Grand Mother’s house today to pick up some flowers she wanted us to have.  Granny Hobbs is 91 now and for as long as I can remember she has given everything away.  My daughter asked me, “Why … Continue reading

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Grace and Freedom in Christ…

For those of you who are a part of The Dwelling Place, here is a great short message by Francis Chan on Freedom in Christ and Grace. Francis Chan: “Grace, Grace, Grace”  (This and other massages at http://www.cornerstonesimi.com)

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Going Deep – Pt.2 The Word

going-deepIn our second week of this series we looked at Going Deep in God’s Word.

“And they devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching…”   Acts2:42

In Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, he says “One evidence of conversion is a desire to be instructed in the doctrines and duties of religion, and a willingness to attend on the preaching of the gospel.”  When we come to Jesus there is a desire stirred to know Him and our new life in a deeper way, both in knowledge and experience. 

God, from before time has been a God who reveals Himself and wants to be known, not out of His need but ours.  In this He has not left us without a way to know Him.  He has done so in His Word, both written and incarnate.

“You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness of me…”  John 5:39

In the scriptures we find the revelation of Jesus.  As we behold Him we are transformed. (2 Corinthians 3:18)  For God’s plan has always been to conform us to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29)  

The new believers in Acts 2 were responding to this desire by devoting themselves to the Apostle to be taught.  And as a result they were experiencing the change of this new life in Christ.  They were going deeper in the Word through the Apostles’ teaching.  The word for teaching here is also the word doctrine, which is not meant to be a systematic order if information.  It is deeper than just knowledge.  Referring again to Albert Barnes Notes, Barnes says it was not to just hold or believe the doctrine of the Apostles, but to adhere to or attend on those teachings.  This was a new and deepening life in God’s Word.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”   2 Timothy 3:16-17

To understand why and how going deeper in the Word and devoting ourselves to it’s teaching changes us, we can look at 2nd Timothy.  It says “All scripture is breathed out by God…”  In the Greek it literally means by the breath of God the Scriptures were formed.  Peter says it this way:

“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”   2 Peter 1:16-21

The Greek “carried along” actually means “borne” from the root “to bear.”  Benjamine Warfield says:

“What is “borne” is taken up by the “bearer,” and conveyed by the “bearer’s” power, not its own, to the “bearer’s” goal, not its own.  The men who spoke from God are here declared, therefore, to have been taken up by the Holy Spirit and brought by His power to the goal of His choosing.  The things which they spoke under this operation of the Holy Spirit were, therefore, His things, not theirs.”  Benjamine Warfield

This is why our human words only have power to the degree of our own limited ability and authority, but when we are borne of the Holy Spirit, we are taken up by Him andwhat we then do in Him is by Him through us.  This kindof power is supernatural.  This is the power of the Word given by these men borne of the Spirit.  This makes the Word of God powerful and as we go deeper into it, it works in us powerfully to the end and goal of the Spirit to which the Word belongs.

“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”  1 Thessalonians 2:13

In the life of the “borne” again believer, the Word performs powerful and life changing things for those who go deeper into it and put it to practice – obey it.  This is why it says in Ephesians:

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”   Ephesians 4:11-16

No one is going to do it for us.  Our new life is a journey and the change we must experience is a process.  It is a process that is hindered if we do not go deeper in God’s Word.  It is amazing that as much as  we (believers) hold the Apostle Paul up on a pedestal, that we would fine this in his writings:

“The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:10-11

Let me invite you to GO DEEPinto God’s Word.  Take advantage of the opportunities you have to devote yourself to Apostolic teaching.  Your pastors and spiritual leaders humbly labor to lead you into a deep and rich encounter the the Word of the Word, Jesus.  God is faithful to bring favor in your life from devotion to the teaching of His Word.

“But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who bear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”  Mark 4:20