Psalm 87:7

There is a verse that I’ve come across in different contexts three times in the last couple weeks. One of those verses I know I’ve seen and read before but it never stood out, and now that It has stood out, I see it!

The verse is Psalm 87:7, particularly the phrase from it, “all my springs are in thee.”

What a neat little phrase. The word “spring” is referring to a fountain, a source not to the season.

All our resources are in God. There is no source of life anywhere else. He has indeed given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. He is the only One who can abundantly supply what it is we need.

All our springs are in Him. I like that. I will leave you on that happy note until tomorrow when I unveil my plan for the month of February. Tingle with anticipation.

Why We Quote Christian Authors

One of the problems of being in established Christianity, where everything that can possibly be said has already been said, is that you can talk a good game while at the same time having no idea what you’re talking about.

I get cornered by a particular individual in my life who likes to dump Christian clichés on me, “But God has a plan.” “There but for the grace of God go I.” “Can’t wait until heaven.” And various other statements said to ensure that their life is A-OK with Jesus.

One of the more troubling aspects of this person is that for quite some time their life has been markedly, obviously messed up. But they throw in the clichés and it sounds so simple, so nice, so Christian.

I say with A. W. Tozer, “Now I do not want to reflect on the sincerity of any Christian soul, but this stock testimony is too neat to be real. It is obviously what the speaker thinks should be true rather than what he has proved to be true by the test of experience.”

Most Christian cliché is evidence that the individual has no idea what he or she is talking about. Instead of actually learning, growing, struggling, seeking and asking, it’s easier to borrow what someone else said.

I say with Oswald Chambers, “If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can. If you do not, someone will be the poorer all the days of his life. Struggle to re-express some truth of God to yourself, and God will use that expression to someone else. Go through the winepress of God where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle to get expression experimentally, then there will come a time when that expression will become the very wine of strengthening to someone else; but if you say lazily – “I am not going to struggle to express this thing for myself, I will borrow what I say,” the expression will not only be of no use to you, but of no use to anyone.”

There. I have now quoted two other guys to make a point about using other’s words in place of your own experiential knowledge. I do this because Oswald Chambers also said:

“The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance.”

So, which is it for you? Do you quote others words because you have no idea what you’re talking about, or because those authors express more clearly what you know? Make sure there’s no confusion!

Romans 8, The Holy Spirit and Sin

Many try to prove they have “the Spirit” by outward manifestations of spiritual gifts (usually only the exciting ones, not ones like mercy), or the fact that they hear God directing them to good parking spots, or brag about supposed evidence of a spiritual fruit (“Like, totally, when my fingernail got cut off, I was like, soooo patient, it was totally the Spirit.”).

It is my contention that the main way the Spirit manifests Himself in a believer is by producing a spiritual life, which begins by making war with sin.

Sin is bad. Sin is natural. Sin cannot be overcome by the flesh. We have no strength within ourselves to defeat sin, which is why we need the Spirit. Once we have the Spirit, if we actually obey Him, and not quench or resist Him, we can overcome sin.

In fact, if a person is not overcoming sin, the case can be made they do not have the Spirit and are thus not saved.

Undoubtedly a guy gets in trouble for such words in our day of sinful abandon and gracious license, but it’s what Paul said.

“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.”

“Live” is referring to salvation, in my mind, based on the fact that Christ will “quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” “Quicken” means to make alive.

The Spirit brings life (Romans 8:11). We have no obligation to live to the flesh because it hasn’t done anything for us (Romans 8:12). Fleshly living is evidence of still being in the flesh; living in the Spirit is evidence of spiritual life (Romans 8:13). Those who are led by the Spirit are God’s children (Romans 8:14).

Sticking together Paul’s point we see that the presence of the Spirit changes a person fundamentally. A person who has been changed by the Spirit, who mortifies sin by the Spirit, is the true child of God.

Having a spooky dream about dead people, or going to heaven, or healing your knee, or getting tingling sensations during praise choruses with minor chords, is not biblical evidence for the Spirit’s presence.

The reality of eternal life is that we are truly dead and then born again! It’s a new life! The Gospel is the power of God. Once we get over our fixation with ourselves and truly trust Jesus Christ to raise us up, things happen! Join in!

The Holy Spirit and Sin

Lots of people think they have the Holy Spirit. Their proof for this is that they experience healing, hear a voice from God, get inner directions to a shortcut to Wal-Mart and other such things.

All of these may indeed be a sign of something, but they are not necessarily a sign you have the Holy Spirit.

One of the first ways to know the Holy Spirit is at work in you is that sin really bugs you. When Jesus said He would send another Comforter who would “reprove the world of sin,” I’d begin with your proof of having the Spirit right there.

“Reprove” means to “convict, refute, confute a) generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted b) by conviction to bring to the light, to expose,” according to Thayer’s Lexicon.

In other words, the Spirit makes you feel bad about your sin, exposes it for what it is and it is ugly.

Healing a knee problem or hearing an inner voice giving you the “OK” to quit your job is more exciting than feeling bad about sin, which is why we go with the first group of proofs.

But true spiritual living sees that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, so shape up. What fellowship has light with darkness, righteousness with unrighteousness? None at all.

The presence of the Spirit in your life will always result in you having a huge problem with your own sin to the extent that not doing sin becomes way more enjoyable and comfortable than the fleshly pleasure of doing sin.

A sign the Spirit has not moved in is when other people’s sins bother you more than your own. When your sin doesn’t even phase you. When you live with a total lack of remorse over your behavior that fails to meet God’s standards.

I know, I know, it’s more fun to speak in tongues, but hey, that’s what the Book says.

Church History, Gnosticism and Calvinism

I know I irritate Calvinists on here from time to time. I do this for two reasons:

1) Calvinism is wrong
2) It’s my blog

I honestly think Calvinism is bad stuff and a view of church history shows I’m not the only one who thinks so. I’d encourage you to watch the following video. If you disagree, that’s fine, but it demonstrates one main reason why I don’t buy into Calvinism.

Feast of St. Paul’s Conversion

I am not from a mainline denomination nor a liturgical church background. Therefore, I have no idea what’s going on in that Church Calendar thing. But I saw today that it is the Feast of St. Paul’s Conversion.

This feast marks the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Seriously.

I find this ironical! If there is one guy in Scripture who has caused the most Christian Disunity, it is St. Paul.

I have a feeling that if Paul preached in our churches today, a vast majority of professed Christians would not like him. I know this for two main reasons:

1) People in Paul’s day didn’t like him. Every time he turned around some mob of people was trying to kill him.

2) I’ve read his writings and know for a fact that they are vastly in opposition to what most people believe and think he said.

My conclusion on Paul is: if you haven’t actually read many times what he actually said, it’s easier to be a fan of his.

Much of what Paul said that doesn’t sit well with people is dismissed in some way. We take the annoying submissive-women bits and dismiss them as cultural backwardness. We take his stance against sin and pretend the grace bits are really more what he meant. His warnings about Gentiles blowing it are ignored while we debate election. His explanation of justification by faith is either ignored and replaced with legalism or so over-hyped sin is no longer bad. Head coverings? Are you serious?

Yup, Paul is a tough guy. He’s a fascinating character but not easily swallowed. His writings contain things hard to be understood and people have been wrestling them to their own destruction for about 2,000 years now.

Remember brother Paul today. Thank God for his faithfulness and ministry. Then get busy conforming your life to what he taught.