The Holy Ghost – Our Advocate

The accused entered the room for visitation. In a glance through the somewhat darkened glass between he and his Advocate, he realized he could see both his own reflection and make out the form and face of the Public Defender given responsibility for his case. Looking through the glass the young man could see the gentle smile of the the elderly Advocate.

Sitting down, he took the phone which would be the means of communicating their whole conversation. So close, just feet away from each other and yet their words traveled miles to reach each other.  

The Advocate told the accused, “The news is not good.” He proceeded to let him know there would be no escaping the penalty of death for the crimes charged. Beyond the criminal charges the civil aspects of the case would take the entirety of his earthly goods, depriving his wife, children, and grandchildren. Though small, their little home and treasured possessions meant the world to them.

The final and full weight of his crime was more than he could bear. If only he had known, it would cost him everything. Every position, every possession, every part of personal health and wealth was the cost of payment for his sin. As a poor man, the cost in relationships was his greatest treasure lost. None survived, even though they had been everything to him.

The Advocate looking through the darkened glass shared news that was unbelievable. The Judge had offered a plea deal, that He was very hopeful the accused would accept.

A glimmer of hope rose in the heart and mind of the accused. Even if all it meant was his family could keep the meager possessions to comfort them that would be enough to let him die happy. He asked the Defender what the deal offered. His Advocate told him, the Judge had said He would allow the Advocate to die in the place of the accused, and also allow the Advocate to pay the full civil cost of the crime. And the Accused could walk free at that very moment if he would accept this gift of love from his Advocate.

The accused asked the Advocate, “Why would You agree to such a deal? How could YOU do this? What will I owe you?” The Advocate looked at the accused with eyes of a love deeper than any ocean, and said, “All I ask is that you walk worthy of the freedom I give you. That you live your life reflecting an indebtedness to My love for you.” The accused, somewhat like a child, said, “But You won’t even be around to see if I do.” The Advocate told him, “I have chosen to trust you.” Stunned the accused asked again, “Why would you do this for me?”

The Advocate told him the words that would forever change his life, “What you haven’t known throughout this whole case is what I need to tell you.” The accused asked with anticipation, “What’s that?” “I’m your Father” said the Advocate.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. I John 2:1,2

The word “Advocate” here is the fifth and last occurrence of the Greek word, “Parakletos.” The other four occurrences of the word appear in John’s gospel as Comforter. This final appearance deepens our understanding of the great comfort God offers to us. I pray you accept
the plea deal offered you!

The Wonderful Holy Ghost

John 14-16 
Jesus teaches powerful principles in these three chapters about how the Holy Ghost will work in our lives. A brief aside, both the terms Ghost and Spirit are used interchangeably in English Bibles. Acts 2:4 contains both words, and both come from the same Greek root, pneuma. If you’re more comfortable using one term instead of the other, either is fine.

If you have ever experienced the infilling of the Holy Ghost as the believers in Acts 2, you too know what a revolutionary moment that is in life! Feeling the wonderful power of God, fill you and from out of your belly, rivers of living water flowing is an amazing moment!

The real power of that experience is how it changes our lives after that moment. What a tragedy if we limit the experience to that moment, and fail to allow it to become a part of every day of our life. In the discourse recorded in these chapters, Jesus teaches four powerful principles about the daily work of the Holy Ghost in our lives.

PRINCIPLE 1 – Abides with you forever.

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:15-17

Jesus comes to live inside you forever! A Friend that will stick even closer than a brother. A Heavenly Father who will love with a perfect love, provide all that you need, and never abandon you. This presence of God in your life cannot be matched by anything else in the world. The disciple were told they would recognize this Spirit, because He had dwelt with them, but now would dwell in them. The world can’t receive Him, because they can’t see Him. Revelation will precede reception. Once you receive Him, the journey to truly knowing Him begins. A sometimes uncomfortable aspect of the Holy Ghost abiding forever is that He doesn’t abide just at church on Sunday, or ministry conference, or Bible camp. Sometimes that’s inconvenient to our flesh, when we would rather hide the fleshly/carnal desires, actions, and words. Our hunger and thirst for His presence will make the Holy Ghost welcome in our lives and be invite Him to abide in us.

Principle 2 – Will teach you all things.

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

The Master Teacher comes to take residence in our lives to instruct us in every area of our lives. He will guide us in every human relationship in our home, as an employee or employer, instruct us as citizens and ministers. The Holy Ghost is a very personal Help Desk, Who you should have on the line (Old School reference) at all times. Praying without ceasing. Not only will the Comforter teach us all things, He will supernaturally bring to our remembrance what we need for a particular moment.
The Word we’ve read, heard preached or taught will come to mind at just the right time.

Principle 3 – Will testify of Jesus.

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. John 15:26,27

Dear Beloved Believer, there are many spirits in the world. There are some who have come preaching another Jesus. We are cautioned to try the spirits (I John 4:1). It doesn’t matter how powerful a spiritual experience may have been, if it contradicts the Word of God it must not sway us or blow us off course. In the beginning the Word was with God and was God; the Word made the world, and the Word became flesh. Everything from the Holy Ghost will bear witness with the Word. We are compelled to grow in experience and in knowledge. Growth lacking that balance is unstable.

Principle 4 – The flesh must go for the Spirit to come.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. John 16:7

Jesus example teaches us, you can’t fulfill the work of the Spirit in your flesh. Just as Jesus could not be in them and with them; you and I can’t be in the flesh and in the Spirit. The following verses from Romans 8 further expound on this;

  • 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
  • 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
  • 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

We are finite vessels. More can’t be poured into us, until something is poured out. The only way the Holy Ghost can increase in our lives is if we will decrease. What a Treasure we have the honor of carrying in this earthen vessel. I pray your day and life is filled with the wonderful Holy Ghost!!

Let’s go be great for God!

I See, Part 2

Mark 8:22-26 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town. 

I’m convinced in the sequence of this chapter, the Lord through His vessel Mark is desiring all of us to SEE a powerful truth. Through the two circumstances preceding the record of this miracle and the two conversations that follow it a powerful revelation calls us to follow Christ.  

This 8th chapter of Mark is a revelation of Jesus, the Bread of Life. It opens with bread being blessed, broken, and then meeting a multitude of need; it ends with prophetic word of the Bread of Life being broken to meet the multitude of sinners need.  

At the feeding of the 4,000, Jesus clearly showed His miracle power to feed the multitude. He was moved by compassion, feeling bad for the people; not that He had taught for three days, but that they were hungry and would faint on their way to dinner. In the second circumstance preceding the miracle at Bethsaida, Jesus’ exasperation with the disciples is evident as He desires for them to “get it” about this bread matter. This second circumstance, primarily in the privacy of the boat with the disciples begins with a rebuke of the Pharisees who want a sign. They desired a sign so they could believe, but had done nothing with signs they already had received. These Pharisees are the poster children of church folks, who want a sign before they will function in obedience. As Jesus and the disciples enter the boat, Jesus cautions them to never become a people that see but don’t do. His rebuke against hypocrisy is perceived as being provoked by their lack of bread on the boat. He reminds them of the ignorance of limiting His words by their perception, as they seem to have forgotten the clear evidence that He can do the “bread thing.” This whole emphasis on the broken bread from the Bread of Life is prelude to the revelation He knows they must see. 

Stuck in the middle of the two circumstances where Jesus uses a symbol of broken bread as a prelude to two communications about lives broken as bread is this miracle of one seeing again.     

This miracle record has some fascinating aspects to it: 

  • A blind man, had his sight restored. 
  • Jesus took him outside of the town to heal him. 
  • After the first time Jesus prayed his sight wasn’t fully restored. 
  • Only able to see figures, shadows, movement.  
  • Jesus put His hands on him and prayed again. 
  • After second prayer, vision was fully restored. 

Following this Jesus asked his disciple who do other people say that I am. Following their answers to this question, He asked them, “But whom say ye that I am?” When Peter gave his revelatory answer, Jesus began to tell them how He as the Bread of Life would be broken (Mark 8:31). In one of His most remarkable rebukes, Jesus calls Peter, “Satan” at Peter’s rebuke of Him for declaring the path of brokenness that lay ahead for Him.

The concluding words from Jesus that Mark records in this sequence call each disciple to deny self, take up their cross, and follow Jesus.

Do you see? Broken bread can meet a multitude of need. 

Do you see the Bread of Life broken for you and I? Can you hear His call to us?

I See, Part 1

Occasionally, I gauge a message by how many apologies I need to issue afterwards. It may not seem like it, but generally pastors do prefer to be nice guys but we know often the word can be very abrasive, our flesh would rather apologize for it. Clearly, even though we’d like to apologize, that’s not always the right follow up. I do get that. However, if I make an error or misspeak I never want to get to place where I can’t simply apologize for such.  

While there is some worthwhile points of consideration there; let me not belabor them to avoid any pontificating.  

I messed up this past Sunday, stating Bethesda and Bethsaida were one location. I do apologize for that error, they are two different, distinct locations. You’d think somebody who’s been to Israel in the past month wouldn’t make that mistake. I did make it, I’m sorry. 

I see my error. Really, while it’s humbling to have to say, “I made a mistake”; I hope I never lose the ability to do so. There’s only one way to avoid making mistakes, and that is to do nothing. I never want to go there either. While this error is relatively a small one, I hope the size wouldn’t impact my ability to do the right thing.  

I do want to add in this space an AfterWord from the message this past Sunday, titled “I See”; but I want to pause and just let this portion of what I’ve written today have its own space for emphasis. So stay tuned next week, for an AfterWord from “I See” and let’s spend a little time contemplating how well we’ve been handling mistakes.  

Can we even see them?  

Devotions with David

In morning devotions the reading of Psalm 106 brought to mind the powerful verse,

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. I Corinthians 10:11 

This Psalm contains some amazingly timely AfterWords for the apostolic church of the last century. I have taken to declaring that prophetically, that we are within 100 years of the the end of the this church age. I am convinced we are the people upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Some of these Words that challenge our thinking and actions include:

Our Memory:

Verses 7 & 8 Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea. Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.

Do we remember that He has forgiven us of much? Has the multitude of His mercies to us faded so much in our minds that we fancy ourselves to have been forgiven of little?

Do our actions today reflect a mindfulness of the fact that He saved us for HIS NAME’s SAKE. Yes, what an honor; we are His Namesake in the earth. He will make HIS mighty power known. Not ours.

Our Faithfulness:

Verses 14-15 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

The wilderness best reflects today that part of our life often called “process.” As in there’s a “process” that leads to promise. The promised land for Israel is a symbol for us of the desired destiny of fruitfulness and fulfillment in our earthly calling (It is not a symbol of heaven for us, we won’t have enemies and battles there).

How tragic that we fail to enter the place of profit God desired for our callings and giftings to prosper because of unbelief in our life. Read Hebrews 3-4. Our strong desires (lusts) for things other than God and His perfect will in our process (wilderness) will cause us to miss out on the place of profitability (fruitfulness) God has for us, and while our flesh will fatten from our indulgence our soul will weaken from divine leanness.

Now I know some are either opposed or nervous about talk of any kind of profit/prophets. And they may not take the time for the reading in Hebrews. A key verse is Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For the record (FTR), God is not a non-prophet or non-profit God. He expects a return on every investment. And He has used prophets since the beginning of time, who are always rejected in their time.

Justice:

Verses 37-38 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.

There is no greater social justice cause in our nation, than the Church continuing to be a voice or the unborn. In 1973 abortion was legalized, since then 58 million babies have been aborted. Defunding Planned Parenthood, who provides 30% of our nation’s abortions. 320,000 babies a year, one killed every 97 seconds is a worthy goal. They do this while robbing us of over $500,000,000 in taxpayer dollars that should go to true community health centers; in the meantime they sell baby body parts for a profit. REPENT AMERICA! Church be a voice for the most vulnerable humans! Be ready and available to adopt for young mothers in crisis pregnancies. Don’t just talk. Act. Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

His Great Faithfulness:

Verses 44-45 Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry: And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.

Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

II Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

If we will cry out to God. Even when we have violated the covenant. The multitude of His mercies will cause Him to repent and remember His covenant. In spite of the fact that we broke it, God will repair it. The redemptive purpose of our affliction will be revealed. And Jesus will be glorified!

Choose Truth!!

Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Matthew 13:44-46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!

This past Sunday’s Bible message began with a short video clip, it provoked a chuckle and allowed a current popular voice in our culture to confirm a fact about truth for me. The fact about truth is that it is objective and absolute. Man can’t change truth. My opinion that the world is flat would not change the truth that it’s round. A personal belief that you can fly will not change the truth of gravity and it’s affect on your body.

The greatest revelation of Truth comes from Jesus. He is Truth.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

The most successful lives are those that have captured an eternal Truth, established by God in His Word and applied it to the daily practices of their life.

There are certain truths from the Word of paramount importance for everyone. In the context of the Bride of Christ, His Church, we call those truths “doctrines.” The followers of Jesus in the 1st century were accused of filling their city with the doctrine of Jesus (Acts 5:28). Wow! What a great indictment! May the church of the last century have that same testimony!

There are four areas of doctrine for the Church. They are:

1. The Godhead – Colossians 1:15-20/Christ Is Supreme
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through Him and for Him. He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together. Christ is also the Head of the church, which is His body.
He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything.
For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through Him God reconciled everything to Himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

2. The New Birth – Acts 2:37-39 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”

3. Making Disciples – Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

4. Separation from the World – II Corinthians 6:17-18 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Truth is always a bit controversial. Partly because truth doesn’t care what our opinion is. Let me address two that tend to generate the most discussion in Christianity.

The doctrine I’ve listed as fourth, Separation from the World, is often debated. Especially, when it comes to thoughts, values, apparel, activities, and conduct that the Bible clearly shows God is pleased by a distinction between the world and church. There’s no debate only a desire for distinction when it comes to the provision and protection of God. Ask Noah or his neighbors. Clearly, we must draw a biblical line of difference and live in the ark of God’s provision and protection. It won’t be rain next time.

The foremost doctrine and message of the church remains, Jesus. He is the Cornerstone of our faith. The Rock the builders rejected. That prophetic scripture was fulfilled during the life of Jesus, as established religion could not accept Who Jesus was (Psalm118:22,23; I Peter 2:7). Amazingly today, the parallel is true as well. Established religion, bound in it’s tradition of the trinity refuse to accept that in Jesus dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). When anyone truly sees Jesus, receives that first full revelation of Who He really is. Life can never be the same.

May the Church arise again to CHOOSE TRUTH! Not a one time decision made years ago at an altar. May it be a daily decision to practice the Truths God has revealed to us from His Word!

Fill your Jerusalem with the doctrines of TRUTH! Choose Truth!

Choose Today!

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. (I Kings 18:21)

May 2017 begin with a Joshua declaration in response to the challenging words from Elijah! As for me and my house! We will serve the Lord! (Joshua 24:15)

Elijah’s challenge to Israel contains 5 key words, “If the Lord be God.”

Simple, consistent, repeated actions of our daily life reveal who our god/God really is.

Opening this year, I ask, Is the Lord your God?

CHOOSE TODAY!!

At the start of this new year, just as every day that preceded it, you have permission to make a new choice. The choice you made yesterday, for 100 or even a 1,000 yesterdays does not have to dictate the choice of today. You can make a new choice!

Just as the past sometimes builds a false prison for some the future does for others. Paralyzed by a fear of “What if?” they remain stuck in a cycle of sameness uncertain a right choice today will be repeated tomorrow.
Make the right choice today!

Don’t choose a god that is not The God.

If the Lord be God.

There are many gods in North America that are worshipped. The greatest god that our nation worships is the god of me. Many bow daily to the god of me. They sacrifice to the god of me. This insidious faith creeps into churches in the exaltation of our feelings over our knowledge.

We know the Lord is God.

How is that knowledge reflected in the practices of our daily lives?

One of the best ways to get centered again in the will of God, is to go back to that point of revelation when we first truly saw the Lord. Remember that moment? Choose today to take actions, speak words that spring from that moment of revelation. May the knowledge that came from that revelation, that the Lord is GOD, direct your choices today. And every day of 2017!

May your new year be richly blessed by God!