Saturday, December 31, 2011

Trips Down Memory's Lane

A lot of us often take a trip down memory's lane. We think of our past attempts and failures. We think of the mistakes we've made. We think of the promises and commitments we've made, that turned out to be like ropes of sand. We think of the many times we've tried to stand but have fallen flat on our face, and we are ready to give up. We think, 'What is the use? Why should I try to stand again?' Oh friend, a baby doesn't learn to stand and walk in a moment. He falls over and over again but he doesn't just give up. He keeps trying even if it hurts, and each time he gets a little stronger and little steadier until finally he can stand and walk and run! A precious promise is given in 1John 2:1:
“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:”
We are told, go and sin no more, but if, per-chance you do fall, there is forgiveness and grace for you, through Jesus. What a blessed hope that is! If you have fallen, there is still mercy reserved for you. In the strength of forgiveness, the grace of God, the love of God and the power of God, you can rise again, and press forward. Sanctification is the work of a life time. The closer we come to God and the more we behold His purity and holiness, the more we will see ourselves the way we really are, sinful, vile, unholy, wretched, poor, blind, naked, dependent, helpless, and nothing! The more sinful will sin appear to us. Of ourselves, we are nothing, but God can make us everything.

Too often we dwell on the past, the failures, the mistakes, the hurts, the sorrows, the rejections etc... and we get so discouraged. It overwhelms us, and we are ready to give up the last shred of hope. Our faith becomes so weak that it's almost non-existent. Oh, then may we look to the future in hope - the new day and new year as a new beginning. Paul said:
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
Let's be like Paul and not cry over 'spilled milk' so to speak. There is nothing we can do to change the past, but the future is ours to make. Let us not dwell on the darkness of the life we lived that will only bring us to despair and discouragement but let's dwell on the brightness of the past that will inspire us with hope and courage and faith. Let us remember the goodness of the Lord, and the way He has led us, the blessings He's bestowed on us, the prayers He has answered, the delights of our hearts He has given to us, the victories He's helped us to gain, the love He's poured upon us and so much more. Let us take trips down memory's lane to remember those bright things of our past, and may they help us to look to the future in hope and courage and faith!

Friend, you are worth so much! You have been created for a special purpose. You are loved, you are treasured. There is forgiveness for you, there is mercy for you, there is grace for you, there is boundless love for you, and there is power and victory for you in God. The future is before us in a new day a new year, let us rejoice!

I wish you all a happy new year and let us remember: This is a new year and a new day, the past is behind us and the future is before us. Let's rise if we've fallen! Let's press forward if we've stopped on our journey! Let's persevere if we've been feeling like giving up! Let's stretch that cord of faith out as long as it is so it can strengthen and hold onto the promises of God! Let's give God our best energies, our best efforts, our love, our everything. Let us grasp onto hope, dream big dreams, and do great things for God. May we not give up, may we not turn back! Will you join me? Will you join me in 'forgetting' the darkness but remembering the brightness of the past and look to the present and future with renewed dedication, consecration, hope, faith and courage in God and press forward?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Sister's Romance, part 7

The photos...

click to read parts, one, two, three, four, five, six

Jana and I, along with our two brother-in-law photographers, left in the convertible. Bethany's Ben, drove the short distance to an elderly lady's beautiful garden.

Ben and Cherith left in their decorated "Just Married" car.

Apart from the neat, beautiful gardens,

Align Center

the lady's place backed onto the river.

Bethany

Multiple cameras clicked constantly.

Problem was, which one to smile at?

The pictures from the lady's place were beautiful.

Handsome groomsmen.

We enjoyed ourselves. That is, until we heard the disturbing news of our next destination.

"You seriously said, 'mental assylum?'" Half of us asked. The answer was "yes." I wasn't too worried, I trusted my brother-in-laws good judgement. The drive wasn't too long.

I recognized the place when I saw it. Lush green fields backed by a creek and weeping willows. The occupants of the field was what I recognized most. The mostly tame kangaroos. All skeptics were silenced. It was beautiful.

We arranged ourselves for bridal party shots. One big boomer decided to join in. My nephew, Caleb ran away, he wasn't to confident about this big one. The last wild, little kangaroo he had tried to pat had lightly scratched his face. This one was very close. I wasn't sure if he would eat my roses, so I kept them out of his way.

Enough of these photos were taken and we were told of our next move.

"There is a really nice old church here. It's just around the bend."

Many piled into cars.

Ben and Cherith stayed behind, they were being captured forever with constant clicking of shutters.

But a few of us decided going around the bend wasn't worth the hassle of getting into a car. We were wrong. The bend produced more bends. Soon, Jessica and I were regretting our choice. Our shoes were not 5 stars for comfort. Finally, we did reach the church. We all crowded on the steps. After that, photos were taken in-between fun and laughter.

The flowergirls went down the long slippery-slide, with their Daddy catching them.

Ben twirled Cherith around until they were both dizzy. Lastly, we made our way to the river.

Ben and Cherith were now the only ones being photographed, so being cold, we girls borrowed the boys' suit jackets. The sun was setting on the lake, making gorgeous shots.

But at 7, the newly-weds had had enough, they left for their honeymoon in the mountains. In moments, they were gone. The rest of us followed en suite, going our different ways.

The end...

Mum and Dad along with a few friends and relatives had stayed at the hall to clean up. We got changed and went to help them finish off. The kind caterers had stayed to clean the kitchen. Even though, they hadn't slept for 38 hours. A few hours later and it was just a few last sibs left there. It was late, but everything was cleaned up. We went back to Ben and Bethany's. Ben was downloading some of the pictures onto his laptop.

Looking at some of them, the reality hit in.

The wedding day was over. But their future had just begun. That day was just one special piece in the puzzle of their life that God was revealing day-by-day, as they now walked together, hand-in-hand.

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

I don't know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.


I don't borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to grey.


I don't worry o'er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I'll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.


Every step is getting brighter
As the golden stairs I climb;
Every burden's getting lighter,
Every cloud is silver-lined.
There the sun is always shining,
There no tear will dim the eye;


At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky.


I don't know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.


But the one who feeds the sparrow,
Is the one who stands by me.
And the path that is my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I'm covered with His blood.


Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.
~ Ira Standphill



Monday, December 19, 2011

A Sister's Romance, part 6


The compatibility test...


click to read part one, two, three, four, five

We returned to our table. Lotzi told us some statistics about marriage. "Married people generally live for ten years longer than single people," he told us, among many other interesting and amusing things.

"Now, I know it's a bit late, but I think we really should do a combatibility test.

"Ben and Cherith, bring your chairs down here. Put them back-to-back.

"Okay now, take your shoes off.

This done, he added the instructions, "Give one of your shoes to the other, so you'll have one of both."

Then began the string of action-answered questions.

"Who gets up earlier?" Ben's shoe went up.

"Who will change the dirty nappies?" Both shoes shot up in their hands instantly.

"Who will wash the dishes?" Cherith put her shoe up, while Ben put up both. That was cute.

Some questions they were hesitated momentarily thinking, but overall they were extremely alike answers.

Obviously they'd talked about such topics beforehand. They were compatible.

In-between spooning down the soup, I noticed Lotzi talking to a few married couples. Next thing I knew, a string of familiar-faced couples were lined up by the wall. All were related. Two cousins of Mum's with their spouses, Mum and Dad and two sister's of mine and their husbands.

Cherith and Ben were asked to guess how long each had been married for. They certainly got our sisters' right. But the more senior couples were somewhat more difficult. The years of marriage ranged from 40 years down to 8.

Each in turn were asked what was the main factor in them being still happily married. The answers were each sweet and worth remembering.

One cute answer came from a cousin of Mum's. Uncle Genna when asked the question said simply, "I won't tell you what has kept our marriage together and happy, I'll show you," he said passing the microphone to his wife who responded, "Like usual, he leaves me speechless."

The Speeches...

Finally, began the speeches. Markus, the best man told of the relationship he'd had with his little brother. He read an amusing story poem he'd written for the occasion.

Ben made a short and sweet speech, typical of his style.

Dad told about how Cherith was his little girl from the moment she was born. Mum made a toast to newly-weds as well as telling some history from when they were both young.

Bethany made a sweet speech about she and Cherith growing up together.

Danica told of her childhood prayers for another baby sister. She told how she and Bethany would make dresses for Cherith and look after 'their little girl.' "Now you can look after Cherith, Ben. Now she is your own little girl," she concluded sweetly.

The mother of the groom made a speech too.

"After we visited Cherith's family, Ben told me, "You know Mum, I think Cherith will make a good wife for someone, one day." Who would have guessed that she would one day be his wife?" she asked. I grinned, back then I'd wondered, but it's true, I hadn't given it much thought since.

We thought the speeches were over, along with any impromtu, un-planned things. But more surprises were to come. Elisha slipped behind us bridesmaids, making his way to the microphone. I knew this was a spur-of-the-moment idea. I was slightly nervous. What was he going to say? It only took a few moments until I found out.

"I have vivid memories of Cherith's deep-seated sense of justice. She liked to be the police. When us little boys would fight, as little boys do, she would come and sit on us. The fight would end then.

"Over the years, we developed a close relationship. One night, Cherith called my mobile. It was late and I could tell something was bothering her. We talked for a while and she hung up, happier. But, I had to work the next day and, thanks to the late conversation, I was quite tired.

"When it happened again, I knew something had to be done. She needed a husband to talk to late at night, not me! So, I decided to pray.

"Cherith and I went to Europe together, there I witnessed her romance begin. It wasn't the perfect solution though, I realized. Now, she kept me up late other ways. Like chatting to Ben. I didn't bargain for that!" It was such a fun and spontaneous speech. I wish I remembered every word of it. He ended, "Here's a toast to Cherith. May she have many happy years with Ben. And may she keep him up late, talking."

On his return to his seat he was met with a shower of applause and laughter. It was truly a memorable speech.

The last of the dessert scraped of our plates, and after the applause had died down, I had to face the fact. It was past four, in the afternoon,

and everyone was heading towards the door, where the guests made an archway.

The new couple ran through and the bridal party loaded into cars. Next was the photos. I'll tell you about that yet.

Part seven.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Sister's Romance, part 5

The reception...
click to read, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4


Over the microphone we heard, "We have Jana and Able..." Arm-in-arm, the look-alikes marched in laughing. Able nudged her away and went to right side of table. "No, you come with me!" she said aloud. He didn't. Everyone laughed.
"Next we have Elisha and Christella!" We smiled, soon I let go of his arm, as we headed to our seats. After watching Able and Jana figure out where to go, we knew what we were meant to do.

Andy and Jessica were followed by Henry and Danica (with her children in her arms).


Bethany and Markus were next and finally, the bride and groom, Mr. and Mrs. Ben!


The food...



At each table the starters were already set out.


Houmous
GF rosemary crackers, which I had helped make.
It looked appetitising. Lotzi prayed for the food and we began. The waiters, classmates of Cherith's began bringing out more starters.



There were kebabs with veggies and tofu.

Then there was sushi rolls. Spring rolls. Some made the silly mistake of stuffing themselves with the starters. But I knew - there was a lot more to come.

The entrees.... veggie soup and salad.





Mains? Salad in a bowl on every table.





Lasagne with a unique twist. OR the alternative, polenta pizza. On the plate was veggies and pasta salad too. Everything was gluten free.

The caterers, were dear friends of ours. Some of the family members never went to sleep on Saturday night. They went home for breakfast in the morning and immediately afterwards came back and resumed work. Their kindness and commitment was astounding. We really appreciate what they did.

After activities, the desserts came. This was the highlight. It seemed they took too long in coming... maybe that's because I knew what they were. I was impatient for them.

Vegan Cheesecake

or Frozen Lime Pie



And the gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free mock-chocolate wedding cake.

Bethany had brought home to us the recipe of the second-mentioned delicacy, from America. We've eaten it on numerous occasions and it's won food-tasting shows. It is GOOD! I didn't have it though. There was only alternates of the food, not both. I wanted to try the cheesecake. So, I did. WOW! It was amazing! Such a delectable dessert. Everyone who tried it, loved it.

The cake.

Jana hated it! Even though it was surprisingly yummy. Even though carob was the brown ingredient, to her, it tasted disturbingly like chocolate. Jana passed her plate to me, she had never liked chocolate. Even though I never had either, I didn't mind. It was guilt-free, delicious.

Cutting the cake...

The song...
"Christella, Jana, do you have a song you can sing?" Danica asked after calling us away from the bridal table.
"Huh? What? Why?"
"Lotzi wants a song."
"What should we sing?" I asked quickly, unsure of this idea.
"One of the songs you girls like to sing."
"Like the "Who will be.." one?" Jana asked.
"I know! The "I love my Mummy and Daddy" song," Danica suggested brightly.
"What? How would we pull that one off?" I asked.
"Say it's dedicated to their children."
I knew it was a plan. And a good one.
"We've got a song, Lotzi," we told him.
He briefly announced us. I began.
"This song is dedicated to Cherith and Ben's future children."
The room erupted in laughter.

At first we were a little nervous and quiet, but we soon got louder and the grins grew wider as the hilarity of the moment sunk in. A completely impromtu, un-practised-for item, dedicated to future children. We sang heartily anyway.

"I love my Mummy, my Daddy too

And I know that they love me.

They are so loving in all they do,

We're one happy family.

We live together in harmony,

We always try to be kind.

There is no better family

That you will ever find."


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Knowing the God of the Bible Part 3



While here on earth, Jesus became the friend to the friendless. Jesus healed the broken-hearted, comforted those who mourned, wept with those that wept. He stepped into our shoes and experienced what we have to go through. He understood us, He over-came so that we could over-come. He loved and forgave the Jews and the Gentiles alike. Jesus won the hearts of many and He never let anyone down.

How sad must the disciples have felt when Jesus had to go away... But Jesus comforted them saying: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

Jesus promised that some day, they could be with Him again, but in the mean time Jesus promised to send the comforter. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” (John 14:16)

Who is this comforter?

Continuing on, Jesus said:
“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.” John 14:17-18

The Comforter is called here the Spirit of truth, and in verse 26 the “Holy Ghost”. Yet in verse 18 Jesus clearly tells us it's not some other being that would come, but, Jesus Himself. As when He said “I will come to you”. In describing the Comforter, Jesus also said “He dwelleth with you” present tense, and “shall be in you” future tense.
Jesus was their Comforter and would always be their Comforter. It is only Jesus who could truly comfort them and help them for He is the one who stepped into our shoes and became like us so that we may be comforted. A lot of comfort that would have been, if it wasn't Jesus that was to come, but some other 'being' they did not know and who could not relate to them!

Jesus promised to be with them always.
“..and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:20

How is Christ with us?

In John 14:17 Christ said that the comforter which is Christ, would “be in you”.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Colossians 1:27

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” John 15:4

How is Jesus, who is a tangible being who has a body and a form going to be with all men and in all men all over the world, at all times when He is at the right hand of God in heaven?
He would be with us in spirit, in the same manner God is.

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” Psalms 139:7-8

Paul also gives us an example.
“For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,” 1 Corinthians 5:3

Jesus would be with us in spirit, that's why the Comforter is called “Holy Ghost” and “Spirit of truth”.

How is Jesus with us and in us in Spirit?

Let's look at the Bible definition of Spirit first of all.
“Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?” Isaiah 40:13
“For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?” Romans 11:34

Spirit = mind. Spirit of the Lord = mind of the Lord.

What two things did Jesus say His words are?

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63

Spirit = life. This spirit/life is in his words. Words express our thoughts/mind. God’s words express His divine mind. Now we can build this formula: spirit = mind = life.

How does Christ dwell in us/abide in us?
We know that Jesus was made flesh in John 1:14, but what else was he made?
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” 1 Corinthians 15:45

The last Adam is Christ Himself (v.22), He was made a ‘spirit that gives life’ or a ‘life giving spirit’. So Christ was made 2 things: flesh and Spirit.

The question again, how does Christ dwell in us/abide in us?

“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,” Ephesians 3:16-17

“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” 1Peter 1:11

“Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” 1 John 4:13

Remember the Bible definition for Spirit is mind, and Christ said His words are spirit and life. Words are the expression of the thoughts/mind, and the words of Christ in the soul are life.

So what is meant when the Spirit of Christ dwells in us?

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Philppians 2:5

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16

Early we read how Christ, the Comforter is called the “spirit of truth” and here we see that the word of Christ is called truth.
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalms 119:11


The Holy Ghost and the Spirit of God is said to dwell in us.

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” 1Corinthians 6:19

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16

We read earlier how the Spirit of Christ is also to dwell in us.
Are there then, 2 or 3 Holy Spirits or one?

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.” Ephesians 4:4

There is only one Spirit, not two or three. This one spirit is shared by the Father and Son. It is both the spirit of God and the spirit of Christ.

“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.” Romans 8:9

So the Spirit of the Father and Christ is the same one Spirit, and that's how God and Christ are one and that is how we are to fulfill Christ's prayer and be one with them.

“That they all may be one;
as thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee,
that they also may be one in Us:
that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.
And the glory which Thou gave Me I have given them;
that they may be one, even as We are One:
I in them, and Thou in Me,
that they may be made perfect in one;
and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me,
and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.”
John 17:21-23

“But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” 1 Corinthians 6:17

So again, how are we to be one in the Spirit?

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11

“Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Philippians 2:2

“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” Philippians 1:27

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13

We are to be one in mind, in heart, in purpose, in truth and that is how we are one in the Spirit – by having the mind/thoughts of God which will work transformation in our character and make us like God in character.

What does God compare His Spirit to?

“For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11

Is the spirit of man a different individual to the man?

“And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.” Daniel 2:1

Who was troubled here? Is it the king himself or someone else? It is certainly the king. His spirit, which is his mind, was troubled. His spirit is not a different individual to him!

“They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.” Psalms 106:32-33

Was it someone else that they provoked or was it Moses? Obviously it was Moses and not some other person.

When we receive the Spirit of Jesus, is that someone different to Christ?

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

So when we receive the Holy Spirit who do we receive?

“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. John 14:23

In receiving the Holy Spirit we actually receive the Father and the Son, not some other 'god being' apart from them.

How can we hurt God?

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30

When we grieve the holy spirit of God we grieve the Father and Son.

“And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Genesis 6:3, 6

God was hurt by the wickedness of man before the Flood. They grieved His Holy Spirit, they grieved Him at His heart.

The Holy Ghost is the the Spirit of the Father.

“But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.” Mark 13:11

“For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” Matthew 10:20

We have seen thus far, how there is only one Holy Spirit, and it's the spirit of God and Christ and we also may have the same Spirit. The Spirit is the mind and thoughts of God, it is truth...
Over and over we see how it is possessive... “Spirit of God” “Spirit of Christ” “my Spirit” etc... Let's look at a few examples.

“He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.” 1Thessalonians 4:8

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Romans 8:11

“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:10

“And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?” Genesis 41:38

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

There are too many verses to list, so I encourage you to look them up for yourself.

How does God pour out His Spirit upon us?

“Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” Proverbs 1:23

What means do we know of by which God communicates His spirit – thoughts and feelings with men? What means does He use to make known His words to us?

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16.

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:21.

This inspiration/communication from God comes through certain channels.

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.” Revelation 1:1.

God gave the revelation to Jesus who sent it by his angel to John. When the writers of Scripture were “moved by the Holy Ghost” or “inspired of God,” God was speaking through Christ and/or angels to men.
The following verse is another example of this:
“And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.” Daniel 8:15-16

The ministry of angels is God’s ordained means of communication with man after his fall.

“And he [Jacob] dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” Genesis 28:12.

Christ is represented by the ladder. He is the mediator, and the angels are the messengers.

“And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” John 1:51.

Angels are ministering spirits/messengers.

“But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Hebrews 1:13,14

When Christ sent His disciples out to preach the gospel, He gave them the promise that God would speak through them.

“But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” Matthew 10:19-20

Each one is given a measure of the Spirit, that he might be a blessing to others.

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” 1 Corinthians 12:7

To those who have named His name Christ says, "You have given yourselves to Me, and I have given you to the world as My representatives." As the Father had sent Him into the world, so, He declares, "have I also sent them into the world."

As Christ is the divine channel for the revelation of the Father, so we are the channel for the revelation of Christ. While our Saviour is the great source of illumination, He is revealed through humanity. Every individual disciple is Heaven's appointed channel for the revelation of God to man.

Angels of glory wait to communicate through you heaven's light and power to souls that are ready to perish. Shall the human agent fail of accomplishing his appointed work? O, then to that degree is the world robbed of the promised influence of the Holy Spirit.” {ST, May 18, 1904 par. 6}

Angels and men are not the Holy Spirit, but they are the carrier, or the bearer of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit is said to search the deep things of God.
“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:10

How does the Spirit search the deep things of God? Because it is the Spirit of God.

“For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11

The Spirit is said to intercede for us:
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27

Who is the Spirit is is referring to?

A few verses back, tells us.
“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.
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin;
but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you,
he that raised up Christ from the dead
shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
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.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:9-14

Verse 34 also tells us that it is Christ who is the one making intercession.
“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Romans 8:34

How many mediators/intercessors are there?

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” 1Timothy 2:5

The great commission:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Matthew 28:19

Why did Jesus instruct us to baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost"?

First, let's ask a few questions.
  • Was Jesus addressing the identity of God in that verse or discourse?
  • Does the verse mention the word “God”?
  • Does the verse tell us that God is made of three beings or persons?
  • Does the verse tell us anything about the nature of these three?
  • Does the verse tell us who the Holy Spirit is?
  • Does the verse tell us that there are three names?

The honest answer to the above questions is "no." The verse is not dealing with who God is and does not tell us the nature of the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit. Yet it does confirm for us that there is a Father, there is a Son and there is a Spirit. There is no doubt about the existence of any of them.

What does the passage mean?
How was it understood by those who heard Christ giving that instruction?

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38

“(For as yet He was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)” Acts 8:16

“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Acts 8:37

“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 19:5

We find that all the baptisms recorded were performed in the name of Jesus and not in three separate names of three separate individuals.
This necessitates the question: Did the disciples misunderstand the command of Jesus?
Were they wrong in baptizing people in the name of the Lord only?
No, the disciples had a better understanding of Jesus' command than many do today.

The word "name" means "authority" (John 5:43 and John 5:27). When we are baptized, we are come under the authority and power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The use of the singular "name" confirms this fact. We are now professing to be stamped with the authority and character of the Father, Son and Spirit.
Therefore, since Jesus has the authority of the Father (His Father), the Son (Himself) and the Holy Spirit (His own Spirit), the baptisms recorded in the book of Acts (in the name of the Lord or in the authority of the Lord) are a recognition of the authority of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the highest authority in heaven and earth. Christ is the only medium whereby we can come under that authority (John 14:6).

One Christian author put it this way.

"Christ has made baptism the sign of entrance to His spiritual kingdom. He has made this a positive condition with which all must comply who wish to be acknowledged as under the authority of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Before man can find a home in the church, before passing the threshold of God's spiritual kingdom, he is to receive the impress of the divine name, "The Lord our Righteousness." Jer. 23:6
Those who are baptized in the threefold name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, at the very entrance of their Christian life declare publicly that they have forsaken the service of Satan and have become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. They have obeyed the command: "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, ... and touch not the unclean thing." And to them is fulfilled the promise: "I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters." 2 Cor. 6:17, 18 {FLB 145.4}

To be baptized in the threefold name means to be under the authority of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which means receiving the impress of the divine name “the Lord our righteousness”. We become children of the heavenly King (singular).

We want the light of the glory of God to shine upon us. Paul says, "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." It is the Father who "so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named." The family is named after the Father. Those who enter the heavenly mansions will have the name of the Father and the name of the city of God written in their foreheads. They will bear the divine superscription, and be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruptions that are in the world through lust.” {RH, July 19, 1892 par. 7}

This is why Matthew 28:19 uses the singular “name” rather than “names”.

Further Biblical passages show that Matthew 28:19 is not teaching the trinity. For example, those who overcome will receive this promise:

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” Revelation 3:12
The special group called the 144,000 is sealed with one name, not three: “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.” Revelation 14:1

These passages shed light on the meaning of the words of Christ in Matthew 28:19. Christ was not teaching a trinity of gods. We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. By this we express our belief in the existence of the one true God, the mediation of his Son, and the influence of the Holy Spirit.

We are told that there are three that bear record, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” 1 John 5:7

  • Is John expounding on who God is or saying how many beings there are? No.
  • Does the verse mention the word God? No.
  • Does the verse tell us that God is made of three beings or persons? No.
If we conclude that 1 John 5:7 is teaching that there are three Gods then we would have to conclude that 1 John 5:8 is also teaching 3 gods: god the spirit, god the water and god the blood, and that these are one as well. "And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."
However, we must take the word of God for what it means and not assume that it means this or teaches this or that, when it doesn't.

So what are these three bearing record of?

"He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son." 1 John 5:10

"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." 1 John 5:11

They are bearing record that Jesus is the Son of God, and that God gave His Son that we might have eternal life as is seen in the context of 1 John 5 in many other verses.

How does the Father testify?

"And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17

"While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." Matthew 17:5

How does the Son testify?

"Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" John 10:36

God's spirit, the Holy Ghost is also witness, because it testified through the apostles and those who believed on Christ and even in us (or those who receive the truth). For in the verse before (verse 6), the Bible says that that Holy Ghost, or Spirit (in the Greek it is the same word (4151)) as truth.

“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:” John 15:26

“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” 1 John 5:10

“And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. Acts 5:32

“And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” Acts 9:20

“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Acts 8:37

This is not a total exhaustive study, but I hope it's been enough to inspire you to go study for yourself.

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