What Foundation is Your House Built Upon?

Have you ever wondered or thought about what the fundamental teachings of your church are? Or even closer to home, do you have a clear understanding of your fundamental ideas? Where do you stand concerning the fallibility of the Holy Scripture? Do you believe the Holy Scriptures to be divinely inspired? Do you believe that those who wrote down the words, including the translators, were divinely inspired? Where do you stand concerning salvation? What is your responsibility? How do you feel about baptism? Do you believe in total submersion or do you believe in the sprinkling of the water, or do you believe in water baptism at all? What does baptism symbolize in your walk toward the promises of the Father? Who is the Father? What roll does He play? What is His connection to Christ? What is our responsibility concerning all these issues?

The word Christian has become a huge blanket that covers a vast world of opinions that are controversial. “Christian” includes the Supreme Being; though some people are not clear of the character of the object of their worship. They never question their church dogma or theology. Under this huge blanket are many opinions of who or what the Supreme Being is.

According to the Holman Book of Biblical Charts, Maps & Reconstruction, the Baptist teach that there is one and only one living and true God who reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

The Catholic believes that the one God is three by reason of three inner personal principles, Father, Son (Word), and Holy Spirit. One God beyond time and space is perfect and changeless. God created freely from love.
The Church of Christ believes in speaking where the Bible speaks and remaining silent where the Bible is silent. They prefer not to use the word “Trinity.” While believing in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, their stress is on the Son, Jesus Christ.

The Episcopal teach that “In unity of the Godhead there are three persons of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

The Lutheran teach that there is one Divine Essence, God; and yet there are three Persons of the same essence and power, co-eternal Father, Son, Holy Ghost.

The Methodist believes that the three persons of the Godhead are “one in substance, power and eternity. God is infinite in power, wisdom, and goodness.” He is spirit and personal, creator and sustainer, and has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

To the Pentecostal God is ultimate authority. The one true God has revealed Himself in three personalities: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All three are essential in revealing the one inseparable God.

The Presbyterians teach God made Himself known to us in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The three Persons are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory, though distinguished by personal properties. There are many more as the list is endless.

There are variations of Pentecost, Baptist and other doctrines. There are the oneness and the trinity and even variations of these. The teachings and opinions are endless and fill volumes of books in libraries and homes all around the world.

People who felt inspired and led by the Supreme Being founded all these denominations mentioned above. Each obviously came up with a different idea and claimed inspiration from the Father. One would have to agree that each of these denominations have a successful following. In all these examples, those who founded the organizations were very devout and extremely dedicated to their calling. I believe if it were not for these devout individuals, even with the varying of ideas, Christianity would not be where it is today. These brave and devout people gave us an idea to ponder on, to study on, and even to search the Scriptures on. These people gave us what they had and held nothing back. A lot even died for it. Whether they were inspired by the Father or not I believe we the church, even with the lack of knowledge on their part, gained tremendously from their endeavors and I am thankful for them. It took dedication and stamina far beyond what most can imagine. We need these people as long as there are those who choose to be bench-warmers.

Paul says, in Ephesians 4:11-16, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

How can we keep from getting tossed to and fro? Paul speaks again to us in 2 Tim. 2:15, saying, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Also, in Heb. 5:12-14, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

American Values

Some two hundred years ago, and a few more added, our founding fathers forged out a system of government that would ensure their progeny to have the right to serve God without interference from the government. These strong devout men and women, regardless of their religious background, made sure that their children were taught values, respect for their country, and love for their almighty God. They were made aware of a standard of life that enabled them to endure the trials and tribulations that it took to enhance the growth of their new nation.

These values and standards of living that our forefathers esteemed important, very much played and important role in the public and private schools of that day. These gallant people knew where their forefathers came from and why they were forced to flee from Europe. Sure, there were various religious denominations scattered throughout the thirteen colonies, but one thing the majority of the population had in common was that they all esteemed their theological belief of major importance, and they agreed that personal values, conduct, and integrity stood for one’s character.

According to some historians, when taking the oath as president of the United States in 1789, George Washington placed his hand on the Bible to take the oath, and then on his own initiative added the words, “So help me God,” then he stooped and reverently kissed the Bible which was being held by the Secretary of the senate.

In 1789, Thomas Jefferson described President Washington’s character in a letter to a member of Congress, saying, “Our intercourse was daily, confidential and cordial. …I think I knew General Washington intimately and thoroughly.”… “He was incapable of fear, meeting personal dangers with the calmest unconcern. Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but, when once decided, going through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motive of interest of consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man.”

President Washington, himself, spoke of God’s (Yahweh) protection on his own life. After the battle of Monongahela, he tells of God’s protective care as he rode through a hail of bullets, four of which tore through the coat of his uniform, and two horses were shot out from under him. Washington told about the miraculous care of Providence that protected him beyond all human expectations. In another example, Washington wrote, “There was never a people who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God, who is alone able to protect them.”

Another of our founding fathers, the second President of the United States, John Adams, felt religious convictions, integrity and morals to be highly important for the growth of family and nation. Mr. Adams wrote in his diary, “I am resolved not to waste my time as I did last year. I am resolved to rise with the sun and to study the Scriptures on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.” In another instance President Adams made his religious conviction apparent in the passages of his inaugural address, saying, “I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land planted them in a country flowing with all the necessities and comforts of life, and who has covered our infancy with this providence and our ripe years with his wisdom and power.”

If these great men felt that the belief in the almighty God was so important, why do so many of our leaders of today forbid even the mention of our Creator in our public schools? Why do they allow immoral ideas and activities to be expressed boldly in the presence of our innocent children? Have our leaders forgotten, or have they intentionally done away with the only positive nucleus of the establishment of this country? I believe they have. What do you think?

In my estimation, considering today’s morals and the modern trend of thought, I imagine our first President, if he were alive, would be mighty pained. For the system of Government that he and men like him, such as: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Ben Franklin established, has definitely been altered to suit the whims and desires of those who are in direct contrast of the principles and sovereignty of our almighty God.

A Horrible Valley

To the southwest of Jerusalem is a deep valley. A valley that down through the ages developed quite a reputation because many people lost their lives in this valley through battles with warring nations and also through the barbaric practice of human sacrifices to foreign deities. The O.T. renders this valley as the “Valley of the Hinnom,” or “Ben Hinnom.”

In the book of Second Kings, chapter 23 the author tells of how children were made to pass through the fire to Molech, the chief deity of the Ammonites. The people of Judah also burned incense unto Baal, a Phoenician deity. They not only burned incense unto Baal, but also to the sun, to the moon, and to the planets. There is even an account in Second Chronicles where King Ahaz forces his own son to pass through the fire unto the Ammonite deity.
II Ki 23:5, “And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.”
II Ki 23:10, “And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.”

Ahaz, the twelfth king of Judah, a strong supporter of the deities Molek and Baal, succeeded his father as king over the nation of Judah while he was in his early twenties in the 740’s B.C. Because of this idolatrous worship of these false deities, Yahweh (the God of the Israelites) allowed Judah to fall into the hands of the king of Syria, and they slaughtered his army. The Syrians captured a large number of them and held them captive, and brought them to Damascus. Ahaz was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who killed a great many of them. Scripture says: “For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men; because they had forsaken Yahweh, God of their fathers.”
Manasseh, the fourteenth king of Judah, the son of Hezekiah, came to the throne at the age of twelve and reigned for fifty-five years. He reigned longer than any other Israelite king and had the reputation of being Judah’s most wicked king. Although his father tried to serve Yahweh, Manasseh reverted to the ways of his evil grandfather, Ahaz.

Manasseh restored everything his father had abolished. He erected altars to Baal. He erected an image of Asherah in the Temple. He worshipped the sun, moon and stars. He recognized the false deity, Molech, and also sacrificed his son to him. He approved of divination and killed anyone who protested his evil actions. Scripture summarizes Manasseh’s reign by saying he “seduced them (Judah) to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.”

Manasseh was temporarily banished to Babylon where he humbled himself before Yahweh. Upon his return to Jerusalem, he tried to reverse the trends he had set, but his son Amon reversed his reforms after his death back to the idolatrous practices.

The prophet Jeremiah foretold that Yahweh would judge this awful abomination of human sacrifices and would cause such a destruction that “The Valley of the Son of Hinnom” would become known as “The Valley of Slaughter.” The place was also called “Tophet.”

Josiah, the sixteenth king of Judah and the son of King Amon and his wife Jedidah, at the age of eight years, succeeded his father on the throne of Judah. He followed in the footsteps of his forefather, King David, and strove to worship the true God, Yahweh. He destroyed the pagan altars to remove any temptation to revert to idolatrous worship from the Hebrew people and brought about reform in the country of Judah.

Years later, the Valley of Hinnom was used as a garbage dump for the growing city of Jerusalem. Refuse, waste materials, and the carcasses of dead animals were burned there. Fires continually smoldered and smoke from the burning debris rose day and night. Those who were convicted of certain crimes were executed and their bodies were thrown into the valley to be burned.
The Israelites esteemed proper burial rites as essential, and the prospect of being thrown into the Valley of Gehenna (Hinnom) was very repulsive to them, especially since the prophecy in the book of Jeremiah indicated that a burial there would be considered judgment direct from Yahweh. To the Israelite of that day, Gehenna was to be avoided at all cost.

Christ, in His rebuke to the rebellious nation, reminded them that the unfulfilled prophecy was to be executed in that generation. Their carcasses were to be dumped into the dreaded ravine for their rejection of His visitation. History tells us those that did not act upon His instruction to leave Jerusalem and hide themselves in the surrounding hills when the break came after Titus and his soldiers encircled Jerusalem suffered just such a fate.

Through the influence of the Septuagint translation of the sacred writings, Hellenistic Greeks and Jews picked up on the term, “fires of Gehena,” and depicted its continual burning as the eternal burning of an under ground abyss and called it “Hell.” Sheol, the Hebrew word used for the unseen state of the dead, was translated Hades, the name of the Greek god of the underground. It was later changed to “hell” by Jerome.

Under “Hel” (same as “hell”), in most encyclopedias, you will see that, in Norse mythology, Hel is the goddess of the dead. She dwelt beneath one of the three roots of the sacred ash tree Yggdrasil and was the daughter of Loki, the spirit of mischief or evil, and the giantess Angerbotha. Odin, and All-Father, hurled Hel into Niflheim, the realm of cold and darkness, itself also known as Hel, over which he gave her sovereign authority.

The Holy Spirit of Promise

As a young man, I loved to listen to country and western music. So I installed a sound booster to my Dodge Dart Swinger along with extra speakers to enhance the sound. This being in the late 70’s, everywhere I went I had that eight-track tape player blasting loud enough for the whole world to hear, trying to satisfy a hunger for attention as being somebody that was cool. In my immaturity, I assumed the natural things that I could show off or have at my disposal would be that which would gain me satisfaction and reward. Thinking with an immature mind, a guy can get himself into a lot of trouble, because he’s listening to and being governed by his five senses. And I’m here to say, with the Bible as my witness, that if we listen to and react solely from our five senses (touch, smell, seeing, feeling, and hearing), we are spiritually immature. But never-the-less, the Holy Spirit worked with me right where I was. When I heard a song sang by Porter Wagoner, called “A Satisfied Mind,” it stuck with me. I loved it and sang along with it every time I heard it, not thinking in my youthful brain what the description of a satisfied mind really was.

Down through the years I searched for the satisfaction that I imagined I needed, but was unable to obtain it. More often than not, I listened to my five senses instead of the Holy Spirit. Eventually, I took the Apostle Paul’s advice (Tim. 2:22), saying, “Flee the youthful lusts, and to pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on Yahweh with a pure heart.”  Through Jerimiah, Yahweh reveals the manner in which He drew me unto Himself: (Jer. 17:10) “I, Yahweh, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.”

In the Gospel of Luke (12:29-34), Christ instructs His Disciples, saying, “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have any anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of Yahweh, and all these things shall be added to you.   “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In His kingdom is a satisfied mind!

In the natural setting of life, we hang on to those things that satisfy the cravings of our heart. We seek satisfaction from material things, things that we can see, feel, touch, or taste while we long for something better. As long as we hold on to our own natural abilities to achieve a satisfied mind, we will never attain it, because we are working and operating on the carnal realm. Our goal, as Christians, needs to be higher; a higher realm of thinking without interference from the five senses.

Paul explains this higher realm to the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 2:13-16), saying, “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” Only in and through Christ can our spirit man be really satisfied and content.

In Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae (1:27-28) he encourages the Christians saying, “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  I’m fully persuaded that as we seek in genuine sincerity, really desiring the righteousness of the Father, the Father will bring us into His kingdom of righteousness by His Holy Spirit.

David wrote to his chief musician, saying, (Psa. 19:14) “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” I, also, desire that the words that come out of my mouth be accepted and beneficial to show that Yahweh is my strength and my Redeemer. My utmost desire is to have the manifestation of the Spirit of Christ doing a work in me to such a degree that He, not me, is seen. Now, the question that comes along with that desire is, Are we willing to take the rejection and the scorn of being too righteous or too religious, or even to be misunderstood and rejected by family members?

Job (Job 16:20), in his quest to find Yahweh God, cried, “My friends scorn me; my eyes pour out tears to God.” Our Savior warned His disciples (John 15:20), “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.”  Then He says to them, in verse 26 of the same chapter, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me.” His disciples believed Him and acted on it, even at the cost of their lives, thus birthing the Church as we know it.

One of king David’s prayers should be ours, even in today’s churches, (Ps. 86:11-13), “Teach me Your way, O Yahweh; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear [to revere] Your name. I will praise You, O Yahweh my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore. For great is Your mercy toward me, and You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”

Our Father spoke through Isaiah, pleading with His people (Isa. 1:18-19), saying, “Come now, and let us reason together,” says Yahweh, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.” I believe with all my heart the Father knew that there would be different opinions and doctrines, but how we get the right answers is by hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. I know for sure “…Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever [Heb. 13:8].”

I thank God that I’m not the same as I was 30 years ago, or even 20. I’ve grown a lot and see things differently now that I’ve served the Lord for over 30 years. I have studied constantly, fasted and prayed and listened to many messages through those years. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’ve grown spiritually and will continue to grow as the Holy Spirit leads.

Christ is not growing spiritually, because he is the same Word that was here from the foundation of the world. The Savior promised us that He will lead and guide us if we do the same as Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Man, that’s a great promise! He said, if I do my part of asking and seeking, He will do his part. Praise the Lord! I don’t think He’s lying. I don’t believe His Spirit is a fairy-tale.

All through the Old and New Testament the Father conveyed spiritual messages for those who have ears to hear. We can read the literal or historical, meanings of the Bible and come away with interesting stories to tell, and still not hear those hidden treasures within that expose the unlimited creative power and plan of our Creator.

The Apostle Paul says, in his first letter to the church at Corinth, that throughout the Old Testament the Father left messages for the generations to come. A good example is Yahweh’s exchange with Abraham, recorded in Genesis, chapters 15-18, which contains an underlying spiritual teaching for those who have ears to hear. The natural circumcision relates to our spiritual circumcision. The attempted sacrifice of Isaac, Isaac born of a free woman and Ishmael of a bond-maid is explained by Paul in his epistle to the Galatians (4:24), saying, “Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.”

Hidden inside the stories in Genesis and Exodus, from Adam and Eve, to the children of Israel leaving Egypt and going into the land of promise, are many allegories. We could see the heart of the Father if only we could see and relate to these spiritual testimonies. I have read many writings concerning spiritual significance relating to a Christian coming out of the bondage to sin and entering into their spiritual land of Canaan. I’m amazed at how many “Christians” still feel that is spiritualizing and changing Yahweh God’s Word. I feel the presence of my Guide and Teacher as I search for more of Yahweh’s treasures hidden between the covers of “the Book” we call the Bible.

In the Psalms of Asaph (Psa. 78:1-4), the Holy Spirit instructs and explains His ways, saying, “Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.  We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of Yahweh, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.”  Here we see that 900 years before Christ the Word was going out. John 1:1-5 explains it this way, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word [Divine expression] was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through [cause to be] Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light [to shine or make manifest] shines in the darkness, and the darkness [dimness/obscurity] did not comprehend  [seize/possess] it.” This goes on to say that our Savior is that Light. I believe these scriptures are saying that we, even if we call ourselves Christians, will not be able to understand the true meaning of Yahweh’s Word without the Anointing. Oh, Halleluiah! He is the foundation of the world. John 17:24-25 says, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation [conception] of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.” Without the Spirit of Christ dwelling within us, we cannot see or understand the true meaning of the allegorical and parabolic verses. Look at both verses just quoted and see what they have in common – they both bring out that those in darkness cannot comprehend the Way, Truth, or Life.

Throughout the Bible, we see the Father ushering His people onward toward the day when they would be able to recognize His Spirit. The Promise was there even though there were none that recognized Him. Our Savior was the Spirit of the Father manifested in flesh to make the Father’s true nature known in to world. Our Savior told the Samaritan woman at the well that “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,” (John 4:23-24). Some may ask, What about Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and all the rest of the Godly men and women of the Old Testament? Paul answers, in Hebrews 11:39-40, “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” We now have something better than a good testimony.

Luke records that the Apostles assembled at Jerusalem after Christ had risen, and He appeared before them (Acts 1:4-5): “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, which, He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’”  Remember, these guys had been walking and talking with Christ for over three years; they had seen all the miracles performed, and even was at the Last Supper, but they still had not been filled with the Holy Spirit. All they could see was those of the Old Testament, the fleshly man. His eleven (minus Judas) had the privilege of seeing the Savior in His physical state and witnessed His superior wisdom and compassion, but all the prophets and teachers who had come before them did not. These men and women who followed Christ came to love that Spirit that emanated from Him, for He led them, nourished them, and loved them with such a love they had never encountered before; so much so, they didn’t want to let Him go. Christ knew He had to ascend unto the Father in order to complete His mission.

What was, and still is, the mission of Christ? Well, in John (3:17), He said, “For Yahweh did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 14:16-20 explains how Christ will fulfill his mission, saying, “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. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.”
Now, let’s go to Acts 1:4 and see the testimony of the Holy Spirit of Christ: “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Remember, the writer of Hebrews (13:8) saying, Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit is available today, also, if only we would subject our minds to the obedience of His Holy Spirit.

After that Day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter boldly began to preach and minister Yahweh’s Word, not only minister, but also healing the sick and raising the dead. Luke records in Acts that many were added to the Church daily. In chapter 2, verse, 41 he records: “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” The young Church grew by leaps and bounds and became a threat to the Judaic religion, even to the Hellenistic Jews, thus causing quite an uproar. Look at what the first part of Stephen’s message was that got him stoned: (Acts 7:51) “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.” But by this action, a resistance to the old Mosaic teaching arose that would separate Christianity from Judaism, and birth the new Church, and there is no type of birthing without birthing pains.

The apostle Paul says, (Rom 8:14) “For as many as are led by the Spirit of Yahweh, these are the sons of Yahweh.” He goes on to say in the same chapter (vss. 18-19), “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of Yahweh.” Oh, the birthing pains.

One can read of people, such as Stephen and Paul, who were killed or beaten for the glory of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Now, more than two thousand years later, countless others have been killed or maimed for the same cause. Never-the-less, the Holy Spirit prevailed and will continue to prevail until eventually “As I live, says Yahweh, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to Yahweh.” Even the Apostle Paul, a persecutor himself, having been converted and then filled with that Holy Spirit of Promise, took the ministry of the Holy Spirit throughout Asia Minor, Europe and indirectly parts of northern Africa. Thus, the young Church grew by leaps and bounds.

Paul wrote in his epistle to the Ephesians: (Eph. 1:13-14) “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

While the Savior was in the flesh, His love was limited to those whom He was near. His Light and Love was just limited to those of Israel. Now, if His saving power and His Holy Spirit was just limited to natural Israel, we had better ignore Paul and Peter because by this time the true lineage of Israel had been scattered across, not only Asia Minor, but also Europe and Africa.
During three and a half years of Christ’s ministry His Disciples were with Him, and as I said before, they saw and witnessed all His miracles, and His testimony being trumpeted all over Judea. His reputation far exceeded the bounds of Judea. He came in the flesh, so mankind could identify with Him and rise above their lower nature.

In John 14:25-26, Christ encouraged His disciples, saying, “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” All those things He told and taught them throughout the three and a half years of his ministry would come back to them along with the understanding.

I believe that all of my Father’s promises are for us all. For all those things in my youthful way of thinking, along with all those years of going to Sunday school as a child caused me to develop into the man that I am today. That being said, I can now look back and see growth that came little by little. Each time I made a mistake, there was my mother’s voice, for she was filled with the Holy Spirit, correcting me and explaining to me those things of the Bible. I did not always understand or comprehend those things of the Spirit, but now I am reaping the benefits because same Spirit that was in Mom, is now in me. A manifold blessing! and I thank Yahweh for the mother I had. Christ working through her made it to where all my siblings (six of us) are believers.

Christ Within

Buried deep in my heart, is a love for what’s right,
I know the path to find out is the Christ within.
His Truth, His righteousness is that heavenly light,
Revealed is my fleshly man, and his hidden sin.
Exposed, carnal Adam snarls and gears up to fight,
A reminder of past deeds and wrong paths taken.
The heavenly voice within says, you do have light,
Listening to His Word the burden will lighten.
By faith in His Word puts the enemy to flight,
Christ, my Light, my Redeemer, is my next of kin.

                                                                                                      Ronnie D. Garner
April 2, 2016