Category Archives: Church

Pray in the Spirit

In chapter 6 of his letter to the believers in Ephesus, Paul commended them to make war properly with their enemies, by first knowing who the enemies were, and then knowing how to arm themselves with the mighty power of God Himself.

You know the armor parts – helmet, shield, breastplate & the rest. Verse 18, however, is also part of the instruction: “Pray in the Spirit…”

Paul used the phrase, “walk in the Spirit” several times in his letters. It makes sense: do what you do under the influence and leadership of the Holy Spirit. “Pray in the Spirit” means the same thing, only with regard to prayer, not walking.

The only influential Scripture that can help explain it is the similar phrase related to walking. Nothing in Ephesians 6 indicates anything different from that meaning. So, to impose on “pray in the Spirit” the idea that it means, “pray in tongues,” or “pray with your spirit” is inappropriate.

Paul wrote that we can speak, pray and sing with our spirit or with our understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15). I could be praying in English and be praying what the Spirit guides me to pray, and I am praying in the Spirit. I could be praying in tongues, not knowing what I am praying, but being led by the Spirit to pray what sounds come out of my spirit, and be praying in the Spirit. I could be praying with my mind or my spirit, in English or in tongues, and be so carnally minded that I am not at all praying in Him.

Galatians 5:16-6:1    (doing things in the Spirit)

Being Fruit Full

It is a very valuable blessing to see things that you say or do bear fruit in others’ lives. As you bear the fruit of the Spirit to anoint your work, people flourish at times because they were with Him in you.

There are other times though, when, because you have been bearing fruit well, the Keeper of the King’s Garden prunes you. Suddenly you cannot even bear leaves, and limbs are gone, so you are quite fruitless as far as blessing others is concerned.

It is a short step to become fruitless with regard to the Holy Spirit, too. Especially if someone (human, and/or demon) is accusing you of having done something wrong. Job’s friends didn’t even consider that he might be receiving an opportunity from Yahweh to give Him glory by facing a trial well. If you stop bearing the fruit of the Spirit, that is not because He pruned you.

Like everything else that happens, when you don’t feel fruitful, ask the Spirit of Jesus what He is doing. Ask Him how to co-operate with Him in a way that makes His work easier and faster. You need more fruit of Him than usual. More faith. More agape. More goodness.

When we learn to value what He values and disregard what He ignores, we will find it productive to respond to trials and tests and challenges with the fruit of Him that is joy. Joy will lead us to patience. When we have given patience full freedom to do her work in us, we will be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Count on it.

Making Good Decisions

Learning to make good decisions happens in a process that includes learning to discern the direction and instruction of the Spirit of God (including what He speaks through other believers), learning to reject the noise your flesh never stops making, learning to reject the deception that unclean spirits never stop attempting (including what they speak through other believers ), and – most important of all – learning from mistakes you make in each of those areas.

This is also true of people you are mentoring. So plan to bear much Spirit fruit, clean up many messes, and offer much courage.

And pray a lot.

Knowing Religion

Religion is a product of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In order to practice religion properly, you have to know the rules. What is right and wrong – good and evil. The arguments religious people get into are always about information, including the rules.

Religion is a foundational part of every culture. Every human is religious about something until freed from it by the Spirit of Jesus. Even barbaric atheists are religious about their practices in some part of their lives.

Religion that Jesus values is being religious about taking care of orphans & widows & strangers. Feel free to be annoyingly religious in those areas!

Being Dead

I have heard many people wondering about where a deceased loved one might be. I don’t remember hearing anyone answer the questions with any Scripture but 2 Corinthians 5:8.

There are many other very relevant words to be found, though.

This article lists a few of those relevant words, with comments.

Worship in Truth

John 4:19-24
The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

If there are true worshipers, does that mean that there are fake worshipers?

How can you tell a fake one from a true one?

How often do you worship, at times when the prompt is not simply that it is sunday and you are in a meeting?

What does it look like when you self-start a time of worship? How long does it last?

 

Don’t Miss Being With Jesus

Song of Solomon 5:2-8
Sometimes Jesus visits us when it is inconvenient.
Focusing on ourselves instead of our Lord will cause us to miss the day of His visitation.

Revelation 3:20

Jesus was speaking to the Church (3:14,22) not unbelievers.
John saw a door opened in Heaven; the closed door is on our end of the ladder.

Matthew 25:31-46
Jesus congratulated the sheep and condemned the goats regarding how they received and served Him.
The sheep and the goats both had the same response to His judgements:
“When did we see You?”

1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Paul chastised the Corinthian congregation for eating their own meal instead of the Lord’s. He warned them that if they continued to eat the meal in an unworthy manner (without discerning the Lord’s Body) that they would continue to get sick and die from it.

Paul is the man to whom Jesus said regarding his persecution of the Church,  “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Paul understands that the Lord considers the Church to be Himself in some mystery. As Saul attacked the Church, he was attacking Jesus. As the Corinthians rejected and cursed each other, they were rejecting and cursing Jesus. What killed them was eating His body after cursing it.

He wants us to discern Him in each other when we gather, whether it is at Taco Bell, K-mart, or some meeting of the Church.

Stop and think about the Believers you know that you feel would be least likely to have any ministry to offer you. If Jesus, Who is being formed in each Believer as allowed, were to try to reveal Himself to you through them, could He? Could you discern Him?

The Salvation of Yah

Yahweh is going to swallow death up forever.
He is going to wipe away tears from every face!

His people will receive their final rebuke 
in front of the rest of the earth one day. 
He says so.

In that day, we will say,

"Hey! Yahweh is our GOD!
We have waited for Him, 
and He is saving us!

This is Yahweh:
We waited for Him, 
and now we get to rejoice 
because of His Salvation!"

Isaiah 25

The Kingdom and the Church

The Kingdom of Heaven is not the Church of Jesus Christ, and it is not “going to Heaven when we die.”

In perhaps the narrowest terms, the Church is the family of Yahweh and the Kingdom is the people who obey Him, whether they are members of His family or not. Identity is only indirectly characterized by work. “Manager” is my work, not my identity. “Son” is my identity, not my job title. You can describe yourself in terms of what you do, but your identity is more truly expressed by your relationships.

John the Baptizer was the greatest prophet that was ever born of a woman, according to Jesus. When faced with the works of the Kingdom being done by Jesus, however, he could not recognize the King. He only knew Jesus as a King because of the revelation he had received as a prophet. He sent word from prison to ask Jesus what was wrong when he couldn’t see Jesus taking up the continuation of John’s ministry of seeing everything through his filter of sin, of right and wrong – good and evil. He was not born of God, so he could not see the Kingdom. Righteousness was out of reach. He could only see sin. Jesus told him to examine His work as manifesting the Kingdom.

To Nicodemus, Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. (John 3:5-8; 1 John 3:9)

Having been born of Yahweh, His sons and daughters have His nature in their spirits. That will never change, without regard for their behavior in flesh. To be able to grasp the stark line dividing the unconditional acceptance of sons from the fierce judgement of servants in the Kingdom makes you able to then easily sift through previously unanswered questions about eternal security as sons and being thrust into outer darkness as disobedient sons.

The disobedient virgins were simply outside when the party began. The unclean creatures caught in the dragnet were thrown into the fire. The virgins all had the same nature, therefore were divided based on obedience, and even then, not to destruction. The fish had different natures, therefore they were divided based on their natures, the unclean to destruction (Matthew 25:1-13; Matthew 13:47-50).

Please read The Kingdom of Our God, a paper I have written on the Kingdom of Heaven.