Monthly Archives: August 2016

O LORD, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. ~ 1 Chronicles 17:20

One of the best commencement speeches, I have ever heard, involved a distinguished retired minister that needed help getting to the podium. He appeared to be in his nineties. He made no attempt to rush. There was an air of resolved calmness about him. I remember thinking, sitting there in my graduation cap and gown. ‘Surely the university could have found someone else. What could he possibly tell us young energetic people?’ That was many years ago.

To my amazement, he shared words of wisdom that I remember and draw upon until this day. Some of which are, “Talk to someone different from you about their faith. Not that it will change you, but it will broaden your view of the world and make you a better advocate for Jesus Christ. Go somewhere you have never been. Do something good that you have never done. Learn about God and grow in grace…” His words of wisdom went on and on…

“There are important reasons for knowing what others think about God, even if it is sometimes uncomfortable or off-putting”.[1] Sometimes knowing what others think, reaffirms what we believe. After reading America’s Four Gods, it occurred to me that our view of God determines how we interact and engage with each other and the world around us. Froese & Bader, proposes four prevalent views of God: 1) an authoritative view, where God is both engaged in the world and judgmental; 2) a benevolent view, where God is engaged, but not judgmental; 3) a critical view, where God is judgmental, but not engaged; and 4) a distant view, where God is nonjudgmental and disengaged.[2] The authors go so far as to imply, that by knowing where one lives, what one looks like, and how much money one makes, they can begin to guess their image of God.[3] It stands to reason that not all these views of God are correct.

Psalms 33:5, tells us that He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. Therefore, it seems that regardless of our view, God is still God and He changes not. Christians must align their view to Scripture, so that they may have the correct view of God. Taking time to learn about God, as advised in 2 Timothy 2:15, in order to know God. So that as Christians, we will reflect the correct image of God in our daily lives through Jesus Christ. For it is difficult, if not impossible to pattern after someone we do not know. According to John 17:3, This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

 

[1] Paul Froese and Christopher Bader, America’s Four Gods, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010), 3.

[2] Ibid., 24.

[3] Ibid., 57.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. ~ John 14:26

What is the function of the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost)? Many do not understand the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and others still do not grasp the Person of the Holy Spirit as God within man.[1]  However, the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity, coequal with and distinct from God the Father and God the Son.[2] The Holy Spirit is God in all His Deity with absolute sovereignty and condescension, in the complete “hiddenness and revealedness of God”.[3] Without the work of the Holy Spirit man is not capable to decide to accept God or have the faith to be saved.[4] According to Scripture, after salvation by Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is the divine authority dwelling with the believer as God in residence. Now, that is a powerful complex thought for consideration!

The Holy Spirit is the “Comforter,” which Jesus Christ referred to in John 14:26. The Holy Spirit guides nonbelievers to Jesus and enable individuals to live as Christians. The Holy Spirit gives gifts, such as wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, interpreting tongues, leadership, and mercy.  In Acts 1:4-8, the Holy Spirit baptizes and empowers.

The Holy Spirit provides grace (Psalm 145:9; Luke 6:35), restraint from sin (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7; Romans 13:14), conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16: 7-11), indwell the believer (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), seal the believer (Ephesians 1:13-14), lead the believer (Galatians 5:16-18), regeneration (John 1:13) as well as salvation (John 3:5). Thus, it is the Holy Spirit who produce “daily, constant communion with God the Father and God the Son”.[5] The Holy Spirit gives God’s divine wisdom for application to everyday situations and circumstances in the life of the believer.

Wisdom that goes beyond an individual’s intellect. Wisdom that is divine in nature, and is supported by Scripture. Wisdom, which enables individuals to know God personally, interact with God, and be in constant fellowship with God.[6] It is the Holy Spirit who enables individuals to progress and profit regardless of difficulties, because the Holy Spirit divinely interacts with and facilitates all facets of a believer’s life (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Hence, the Holy Spirit functions in every area of the believer ‘s life, in supplication through Jesus Christ, in order to commune with God.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

 

[1] Robert A. Wagoner, The Great Debate Regarding The Father, Son, & Holy Spirit, (Santa Ana, California. 1997), 88.

[2] James E. Dolezal, “Trinity, Simplicity and the Status of God’s Personal Relations,” International Journal of Systematic Theology 16, no. 1 (January 2014), 85.

[3] Karl Barth, The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life: The Theological Basis of Ethics, Translated by R. Birch Hoyle with a foreword by Robin W. Lovin. [1st English edition London: F. Muller, 1938] (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press. 1993), 3.

[4] T. S. Caulley, “Holy Spirit,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2d ed., ed. Walter E. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 571.

[5] Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Holy Spirit: Contours of Christian Theology, (Downers Grove, Illinois, 1996), 37-45.

 [6] Ibid., 47-58.

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. ~ John 20:29.

Thomas lived in Galilee. He worked, most likely as a fisherman. When Jesus called him, Thomas followed and for three years he served as one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. Even though, Thomas had a limited role in the synoptic gospels, he becomes an important figure towards the end of John. Where tradition, has labeled him as “Doubting Thomas”.

Yet, when I read about the Apostle Thomas, I’m reminded of how gracious and merciful God is towards those that He loves. Isn’t that just like God, to take the time to consider someone who doesn’t even have to be considered? The humility that Jesus Christ displayed towards Thomas, exemplifies the virtuous nature of His divine character.

The word Thomas is Aramaic for “the twin”. Three of the four verses in John refer to Thomas, as Didymus, which is Greek for “the twin”. Many believe that his nickname meant, he was a twin. While others think that Didymus might have been his actual name. In Matthew 10:3, Thomas is paired with Matthew and in Acts 1:13, we see him paired with Philip. Though, Thomas became synonymous with doubting. However, only viewing Thomas as a doubter, might be misleading.

Thomas wasn’t present at the first appearance of Jesus Christ after the resurrection. The gospels don’t tell us why. But for consideration, one might see Thomas as an individual that wasn’t going to be deceived, mislead, or gullible. Just because Thomas wanted proof, maybe, it was the confirmation that he was desperate to believe.

Is it possible that Thomas valued a personal account of what he was told? Is it possible that Thomas was brave enough to be honest with Jesus about how he felt? When he asked for proof… Nevertheless, Jesus provided the exact proof that Thomas needed. Jesus didn’t scold Thomas. He simply reminded him that the evidence He offered was enough. He allowed Thomas to touch Him and know that He was real, according to John 20:20-29. What a great lesson on faith from the perspective of Thomas! What a beautiful example of humility by the Master Teacher!

Thomas, an honest, seeking, and courageous man. Gets transformed into a loving, faithful, and devoted disciple of Jesus Christ. With the kindness and willingness of Jesus to provide him proof, Thomas became a sincere lifelong believer and martyr for Jesus Christ.

For many are blessed that believe and haven’t seen. Yet, isn’t that just like God, to touch us in love and let us know that He is real… Even in the mist of our doubting and unbelief, the love of God can find us and change us. For His love, makes us better than we know, that we can be…

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; ~ Colossians 1:9

Whether, in the home, in the school, in the church, in the work place, or in the community, successful leadership is needed. Nothing improves leadership more effectively than prayer. In Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High-Impact Leaders, the author declares that prayer is the nonnegotiable tool in every high-impact leader’s repertoire.[1] While, leadership is the ability to influence others. It is actually prayer that gets God’s attention, so that He intervenes and brings about success.

Although prayer is not the only trait that leaders possess, it is without dispute the “common denominator” irrespective of the time period or geographical location.[2] It matters not, if one observes leaders from the 1st century or the 21st century, in a small town or a metropolitan city. Prayer is the timeless, yet often ignored secret to effective leadership.  Nevertheless, it is obvious that successful leaders consistently engage in fervent prayer.

Through prayer, leaders are able to improve their focus, gain wisdom, realize visions, and renew strengths that benefit themselves and others. By understanding the importance of putting first things first, with the determination to start and end each day by talking to God.[3] These individuals hold high expectations, trusting that God will hear and answer their prayers favorably. Effective leaders know how to turn problems into prayers, which result in positive productive solutions.

By improving their prayer life, leaders have a greater impact for good. They can successfully lead others according to the will of God, in Jesus name, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For it is prayer that changes things for the better. When spiritual leaders pray… things change.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

 

[1] Dave Earley, Personal Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High Impact Leaders. (Chattanooga: Tennessee. AMG Publishers, 2008), ix.

[2] Ibid., xi.

[3] Ibid., 1 – 16.

 

By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life. ~ Proverbs 22:4

I have heard many success stories. Heartfelt testimonies, from folks who succeeded in spite of impossible odds. One thing they all had in common… humility! For every person, in addition to their hard work and persistence. All acknowledged that his or her success came from something greater than themselves. Success came from the grace and favor of God.

In the book Humilitas, the author states that most “influential and inspiring” leaders often display humility.[1] Which at first glance seems outrageously contrary. Based on the ordinary use of the word humility. However, when one looks at the teachings of Jesus Christ and the lives of successful leaders, humility takes on a different value.

Our understanding of the term “humility” comes from the influences of “Hebrew-speaking Jews, Latin-speaking Romans and Greeks”, particularly the Christians that spoke Greek during the first century.[2] In those societies the term humility had both a negative and a positive meaning. The negative meaning… “to be placed low” and the positive meaning… “to lower oneself or to be humble”.[3]

From the teachings of Jesus Christ, humility is an admirable, positive trait, even a virtue.[4] Just read Philippians 2:3-11. Therefore, it is correct to define humility as the honorable choice to relinquish ones status, and utilize ones resources, or use ones influence for the good of others before oneself.[5] Wow, that is an amazing idea. Simple, yet… exemplary of the life that Jesus Christ led and encouraged His disciples to follow.

The choice to lift up others through self-sacrifice, by lowering oneself, below ones rightful statues is as a precious hidden treasure. For according to Luke 14:1, those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Since it is God, who leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way as proclaimed in Psalm 25:9.  Finally, the ESV, renders Proverbs 22:4 as… The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

 

 

[1] John Dickson, Humilitas (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 19.

[2] Ibid., 24.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 99-112.

[5] Ibid., 24-25.