Archive for June, 2013

I like to swim in a creek now and then and Harper Creek’s Lower Falls is ideal. It has two large pools with a 25 foot cascade into the upper one and a place to dive, a rock to slide down into the second pool with a 4 foot deep whirlpool hole in the middle of it, and large rocks to warm up on between plunges. All of this is 1 1/2 mile hike from the parking lot that keeps excess numbers of people away even though it has become quite popular in recent years. I took a friend from church and his daughter. They liked the variety and beauty of the spot as I do. We discussed how that we need to cut out time to recreate and explore and that he wants his children to experience things like these so that they can enjoy them rather than feel uncomfortable in this environment. I am thankful to my Creator that He has made such beauty and given me access to it and breath and insight to give Him praise and thanks for it. It so refreshes me to explore and enjoy the outdoors. Try it out. 

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Regeneration, renewal, sealing, sanctification, leading, filling, gifting the Holy Spirit is mighty in the believer’s life, always glorifying the work of Christ on the cross on our behalf. We finish our study tonight with emphasis on leading, filling, and gifting. Scripture certainly says more about these issues and the working out of them in our lives certainly require more consideration, but here is an overview:

V. Leading of the Spirit

      A. How

            1. Direct leading

                a. Sent Acts 13:4

                b. Forbad Acts16:6

                c. Said…go Acts 8:29-31

               d. Re-location Acts 8:39

          2. As involves truth

               a.Word of God only Deuteronomy 18:20-22

               b. Guides John 16:13

               c. Witness  Romans 8:16; Revelation 3:14

     B. Filling 

          1. Acts 6:5

          2. Acts 2:4, 4:8, 13:9

          3. Ephesians 5:18

          4. Luke 1:15

          5. Luke 1:41,67

          6. Acts 13:52

      C. Gifts

          1. I Corinthians 12:3-11,18

          2. Order    I Corinthians 14:26-33

      D. Result

          1. Romans 8:13-15  sons of God

          2. Galatians 5:18 not under the Law

Study Guide

V. Leading of the Spirit
The following verses each tell something about how
the Spirit leads us. For each verse write down how He leads.
1. Direct leading
     a. Acts 13:4

     b. Acts16:6

     c. Acts 8:29-31

     d. Acts 8:39

2. As involves truth
     a. Deuteronomy 18:20-22

     b. John 16:13

3. The following verses speak of the filling of the Holy Spirit. When does it seem to be happening or should happen: all the time, special occasions, when we ask for it?
     a. Acts 6:5

     b. Acts 2:4, 4:8, 13:9

     c. Ephesians 5:18

     d. Luke 1:15

     e. Luke 1:41,67

     f. Acts 13:52

4. Is there a difference in being led by the Spirit and being
filled with the Spirit? If so, what is it, and if not, are they
just two phrases for the same thing?


5. The following verses speak about the gifts of the Spirit
and how they operate.
     a. What is God’s purpose for the church in putting various
         gifts in the church according to I Corinthians 12:3-11,18?

     b. What are some of the gifts listed?


     c. Based on I Corinthians 14:26-33, what do you think
          edification means?

     d. What is the reason given by Paul for why prophets and
          those speaking in tongues should speak one at a time?

6. What are some results of being led by and filled with the
     Spirit in the following verses?
     a. Romans 8:13-15

     b. Galatians 5:18



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Let’s focus more detail on the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, what He does for us and in us, and how we are involved in His work.

IV. Sanctifying Work of the Spirit

      A. Necessity

          1. Galatians 3:1-18

          2. Galatians 5:17

          3. Romans 7:14-8:4

      B. Transformative work of the Spirit

          1. Galatians 5:22-23      2. Romans 8:13

      C. How we are involved

          1. Romans 6:11    2. I Corinthians 10:13   

          3. Philippians 4:8  4. Galatians 4:24,26

          5. I Corinthians 6:18    6. II Corinthians 5:7

          7. II Corinthians 5:14-15

Study Guide

IV. Sanctifying Work of the Spirit

1. In what ways do the following verses point out that

    the work of the Spirit is necessary?

    a. Galatians 3:1-18


    b. Galatians 5:17


    c. Romans 7:14-8:4


2a. Based on Galatians 5:22-23, who produces the fruits?


b. List the fruits and then indicate on which one(s) of the

    following each one focuses:   inward, outward, upward











3a. According to Romans 8:13 do we have a part in the

       Spirit working in us? If so, what is it?


b. The following verses shed further light on the answer to

#3a. How do each of these verses say we may be involved?

     1) Romans 6:11


     2) I Corinthians 10:13       


     3) Philippians 4:8 


     4) Galatians 5:24,26


     5) I Corinthians 6:18


     6) II Corinthians 5:7


     7) II Corinthians 5:14-15


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The Divine Person of the Holy Spirit, as we have seen is evidenced by many characteristics of both divinity and personhood. Now we want to emphasize the aspect of this divine person’s work in the world and believers.

III. Work of the Holy Spirit

      A. In the World

          1. Creation  Job 33:4

          2. Inspiration of Scriptures  II Peter 1:21

          3. Miracles  Matthew 12:28

          4. Providence  Psalm 104:30

          5. Conviction  John 16:7-9

      B. In Believers

          1. Regeneration  Titus 3:5

                   a. Revealing and convicting of

                             1) sins         2) original sin (intentions)

                             3) failing of own works

                   b. Revealing of God

                             1) holiness  2) mercy

                   c. Revealing of Christ’s saving work

          2. Sanctification

               Salvation is a great gift

              Thought by the Father above

              Received by faith in the work

              Bought by the Son here in love

              In our hearts promoting change

             Wrought by the Spirit, the Dove

          3. Resurrection  Romans 8:11

          4. Teaches  Luke 12:12

          5. Commands  Acts 13:2

          6. Assurance  Ephesians 1:13-14

          7. Leading and filling

      C. Our Response

                1. Ephesians 4:3      2. II Timothy 2:15

                3. Romans 8:16       4. Revelation 3:14,22

Study Guide

III. Work of the Holy Spirit

A. The H.S. has worked and is working in the world.

     How is He at work in the following verses?

1. Job 33:4 


2. II Peter 1:21


3. Matthew 12:28


4. Psalm 104:30


5. John 16:7-9


B. How is He working in believers ? Titus 3:5


6. Regeneration 

a. What is the term in the verse for revealing problems in a

     person’s heart in John 16:7-11?

1) sins  2) original sin (intentions)   3) failing of own works

b. What is being shown the sinner when he/she is convicted

     of righteousness? What and/or who is being revealed?


    1) holiness        2) mercy


c. God is just and sin must be judged. How is the saved

    sinner’s sin judged?


7. Renewing (Sanctification) II Thessalonians 2:13-14

Salvation is a great gift

Thought by the Father above

Received by faith in the work

Bought by the Son here in love

In our hearts promoting change

Wrought by the Spirit, the Dove

8. What other important works of the Spirit are spoken of

     in the following verses?     

a. Romans 8:11

b. Luke 12:12

c. Acts 13:2

d. Ephesians 1:13-14

More on the following in the next days

e. Leading

f. Filling


9. Is God active in the world today? How?


10. Does the believer have a part in the work of Spirit or

      should we get out of the way so He can work?

      a. Ephesians 4:3

      b. II Timothy 2:15

      c. Romans 8:16

      d. Revelation 3:14,22

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The Spirit is both divine and a person. Let us survey the evidence from Scripture that He is indeed both, not subordinate and not a mere force.

II. Divine Person of the Holy Spirit

    A. Divine…not subordinate

         1.  Names

              a. Named separate from Almighty God

                   1) Exodus 31:1-5             2) Psalm 51:1

               b. Called God Acts 5:1-5

          2. Divine Attributes

                a. Omnipresence Psalm 139:7-8

                b. Omniscience I Corinthians 2:10-11

                c. Omnipotence Luke 1:35

                d. Sovereignty I Corinthians 12:11

                e. Eternity Hebrews 9:14

           3. Works

           4. Honors

                a. Unpardonable Sin Matthew 12:31

                b. In Trinity in position and action- I John 5:7

    B. Person…not force

          1. Name John 14:26

               a. Comforter- KJV, ESV

               b. Helper-  NASB c. Advocate- NIV

          2. Personal characteristics

               a. Intelligence- teach  John 14:26

               b. Will- Acts 16:7

               c. Affections- Isaiah 63:10

          3. Actions of a Person

          4. Stands as a separate Person

               a. I Peter 1:1-2          b. II Corinthians 13:14

          5. Separate from His power- I Corinthians 2:4

Study Guide

II. Divine Person of the Holy Spirit

1. What does the word divine mean?


2. Is He subordinate to anyone else?


The following are evidences that the Holy Spirit is divine. 

He is named separate from Almighty God, distinct from Him.

3a. How is the Holy Spirit separated from God Almighty in 

       these verses? 

      1) Exodus 31:1-5

      2) Psalm 51:10-11

 b. How is the Holy Spirit declared divine in Acts 5:1-5?


4. The divine attributes mentioned in these verses point to 

    the Holy Spirit’s divinity. What do each of the following 

    say about Him and His divinity?

a. Psalm 139:7-8

b. I Corinthians 2:10-11

c. Luke 1:35

d. I Corinthians 12:11

e. Hebrews 9:14

5. If the Holy Spirit could do things only God could do, 

   would that give evidence that He is God?


6. Honors

a. Why is speaking against the Holy Spirit an unpardonable 

    sin? Matthew 12:24,28-31


b. In what ways is the Holy Spirit honored as part of the 

    Trinity in I John 5:7?


7. Various names are used for the Holy Spirit in John 


     1) Comforter- KJV, ESV,       2)  Helper-  NASB,

     3) Advocate- NIV. How do these point to the Holy Spirit

          being a person instead of a force?


8. If the Holy Spirit has characteristics of a person that is 

     good evidence that He is a person. What personal

     characteristic does each of the following verses point out?

a. John 14:26

b. Acts 16:7

c. Isaiah 63:10

9. Actions of a person would also give evidence that He is a person.

10. In what two ways does the H.S. stand as a separate 

       person in each of the following verses?

       a. I Peter 1:1-2

       b. II Corinthians 13:14


11. Why does the Spirit’s power in I Corinthians 2:4

     indicate He is a person distinct from the God Almighty?


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Is the Holy Spirit a person or a force, coequal or subordinate, active or passive, divine or not, real or imagined, Old Testament or New, available or aloof?

These are but a few of the questions I hope to answer in a Scripture based study of the Holy Spirit. I hope you will read along and look up the references for your own benefit. The five studies will be divided up in to two parts, an outline and a study guide. The topics are not exhaustive on Scripture about the Spirit but I do believe they are thorough.

Is the Holy Spirit a New Testament invention?

I. Trinity- One God, three Persons      Deuteronomy 6:4

    A. Does the Spirit show up in the Old Testament?

         1.  Use of plural

               a. Genesis 1:26            b. Genesis 3:22

               c. Genesis 11:7

        2. God conversing within the Trinity

              a. Psalm 45:6-7             b. Psalm 110:1

         3. All three mentioned

              a. Isaiah 48:16        b. Isaiah 42:1-4  Who is “My Servant”?

B. Spirit spoken of more clearly after Pentecost

          1. Sent

              a. John 15:26               b. John 3:34

          2. Prophesied in the OT: Ezekiel 36:22-28

Study Guide

I. Trinity

*Is the Holy Spirit a New Testament invention?

1. What does Deuteronomy 6:4 say about God?

2. Does the Spirit show up in the Old Testament?

a. What about the following verses suggest the Holy Spirit?

    1) Genesis 1:26   2) Genesis 3:22   3) Genesis 11:4

b. What is happening within God in the following verses

    and what does it suggest about Him?

    1) Psalm 45:6-7 2) Psalm 110:1

c. Who are the three persons referred to in these verses?

   1) Isaiah 48:16    2) Isaiah 42:1-4  Who is “My Servant”?

3. Why is the Spirit spoken of more clearly after


a. Because He is _______     a. John 15:26   b. John 3:34

b. In the OT this was ____________    Ezekiel 36:22-28


4. Since the Holy Spirit is God, how should you interact

    with Him?

5. What are some ways you find out more about Him?

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No, I’m not Buzz Lightyear but I do have a story. I have trouble remembering my age when the following event occurred, eight or nine years old, but I can narrow it down because of the left over beginning writer’s paper I used. One day, probably a Saturday, my father was trimming the English Ivy that lined either side of our driveway and cascaded over the stone wall extending halfway across our front yard. My brother and I were cleaning it up as he cut the ivy, hauling it to the leaf pile in rear. I asked my father, “What is the biggest number that exists?” He replied, “It looks like an eight laid on its side.” That got him off the hook and me in a pickle. I now imagine him grinning to himself about what I would do with that. Afterall, I had expected a name: thousand, million, billion, and so on. It took me several years to realize he had described the symbol for infinity. So I decided to write to the biggest number I could on my leftover beginner’s writing paper from 1st grade, that tan colored paper with dashed lines for forming letters properly. I would write to each 100 on one side of a piece of paper. I vaguely remember knowing questions from my older brother or mother to the effect, “How long are you going to do that?” I remember that I made it to several hundred past ten thousand. I’ve always wanted to understand infinity.

Recently on a hike with my two youngest sons I asked the 19 year-old who is conversant in Calculus and particularly related to my question, limits, “Is it possible to have +∞ (there’s that silly sideways eight: read “infinity”)?”After some exchange back and forth, we agreed that it is mathematically possible. My son then added the insight that it is possible because “we created zero.” Immediately I saw that zero is the center of the mathematical universe. But the question persists: Is it possible to have +∞? Afterall, how is something infinite if it leaves out half of all that exists, namely -∞?

And this contrast is the difference between God’s eternality and our eternal life in Him. He is self-existent always (-∞ to +∞), period. We are finite, existing in Him, having a beginning, and if we be saved in Christ continuing forever to +∞, well past a few hundred over ten thousand. 

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Gotcha! Thought I was going to talk about eating disorders didn’t you? No, I don’t think it is a laughing matter but at times our language is. I could have said, “What a gorgeous day,” which would at any rate be correct. My two youngest sons and I hiked about 10 miles in Linville Gorge today, and it was challenging, and it was beautiful.

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For those of you who know the Gorge, the following description will make some sense. We parked at Spence Ridge Trailhead and walked the old forest service road to meet the Mountain-to-Sea Trail which heads alongside Table Rock and joins its trail so that we traversed the parking lot. Then we continued along the ridge toward the Chimneys. The picture of the bird is evidently a Junco, though I have never seen one with quite this coloring. The most interesting part to me was its black bill. Now guide or internet picture has one with a black bill. All of the feather coloring shows up in pictures but not in this combination. I thought I’d found a Linville Gorge variety, and perhaps I have. Boy, were the climbers out in force at TR and the Chimneys. We passed quite a few weekend backpackers, too. Out of the more crowded climes,  we continued to Chimney Gap and then veered right onto a little known and unmaintained trail on the spur that runs between the Gap and Shortoff called Cambric Branch Trail. I had attempted it with two of my sons on a winter day with little daylight and missed. I was back to find it from the other end. We succeeded, flying down the narrow,brush grown trail. At the bottom we forded Linville River and headed upstream on the Gorge Trail. I had quite a fright when a water snake moved on a rock next to me. It was harmless. At various points upstream I saw driftwood at least 25 feet above the water level. The flood water must have been awesome to behold and loud. At this point I began to get weary given the frantic pace my youngin’s were laying down and the slight case of dehydration that was developing. It is nigh on to impossible to stay hydrated when you a sweating bullets. I began to think that the bridge had been washed out and I had missed it. Well, it had been washed out but the site was merely further upstream than my legs wanted to admit. The boys were there before me, and so was a crowd of swimmers and backpackers crossing, perhaps 20 people in the 30 minutes we hung out. I went for a swim in the river. Cold water always relieves tire muscles and cooled me below the temperature to need sweating out more moisture. My two sons were pretty chill but didn’t want to swim for some reason. The Spence Ridge Trail is steep but not excessively so we came out reasonably well. Wildflowers, wildlife, blue sky, time with the boys, wilderness, rock cliffs, trees, river, challenge to the body, and finding the trail I’d failed at before made for a good day for which I give thanks to the Creator of it all.

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The first poem I wrote this past week is the last one I am posting because I had to reflect on its content abit. It could so easily be seen as insensitive, or premature, but I consider it neither. I think it is just honest in a constructive kind of way. We have questions; we should voice them and find answers rather than silently or violently remaining agnostic about what is real and true. I offer this poem as a balm to many hurting loved ones who are truly asking. The eleven year old girl who died of leukemia and provoked my mind to write it has God’s best as I understand because she accepted God’s solution:

A purpose in life to glorify God
To enjoy His gifts, obey His commands
Accept hardships and the correcting rod
Challenge potential and all life’s demands

What’s the way forward when we’ve lost such life?
Then come tears and doubts and questions abound
Mind and heart struggle with internal strife
About ultimate issues, life profound

How is God good when there is so much bad?
God’s not the author of evil and wrong
Man disobeys, consequences are sad
Overtaking the ‘innocent’ and strong

God provides a way to overcome death
To have peace with Him and eternal rest
Bought by His Son, finished at His last breath
Now and forever have life and God’s best

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It has been a good week for poetry. I end on an encouraging note. I owe all that I am, have, and will be to the gracious Lord Who enables me to serve Him. His Benefits are far more than I can tell. I want others to bask in His goodness by submitting to His Son. The benefits are eternal.

Father near, sovereign will
Chosen in Christ, what a thrill

Rest from work, all is done
‘It is finished’ by the Son

Peace with God, free from guilt
All because Christ’s blood was spilt

Strength to live, sin abate
His Spirit does motivate

Stress and strife, like a knife
Spirit purifies my life

Help in trials, answers prayers
God is gracious and He cares

Hardship here, glory there
Joy, comfort beyond compare

Tell good news, with you share
Eternal life here and there

Purpose now, glory then
Live for Him, soon free from sin

All that’s good, all that’s fair
Is found in Christ, jewel so rare

Come again, at the end
In His glory, sky will rend


Forever with Him then
Perfect in Him without sin



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My previous poem, “It Is a Moral Issue”, is in our society largely, I believe, the result of believing that chance, time, matter, and energy (CTME) are the cause of all that we observe. If CTME is our god we have no purpose and no responsibility. But the universe screams a different message:

Nothing random in the way the world works
Order and sequence the rule of the day
For observers consistency has perks
Cause and effect reveal the rules at play

What is the source of this order we see?
Of design in the cosmos’s scenery
Even random disorder follows laws
And beauty is objective and enthralls

Design points to an Architect with skill
Information an Intellect reveals
Beauty an Artist with canvas to fill
Order a Mathematician Who wills

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The end of the school year is upon us. It is time for a little reflection and cultural commentary. Caution and disclaimer: This poem might make you mad, or conversely, you might shake your head sadly and say, ‘yes, it’s true’. If we do not take part in the last verse I fear we will not be tolerated very much longer. As one teacher said to me yesterday unprovoked, “We are not approaching crisis; we are in crisis.”

It is a moral issue
Lack of motivation
Rejecting what is true
Rules retaliation
Tolerance the only view

It is a moral issue
Say neither bad nor good
Be careful what you do
Even watch thoughts you should
Or we will certainly sue

It is a moral issue
Immodesty of dress
Crudeness of speech in lieu
Of more polite address
What I want to say and do

It is a moral issue
Lack of hygiene and care
Knowledge, no want or clue
All perversion laid bare
Gratification my due

It is a moral issue
Stealing what is not yours
Cheating and lying too
Coveting brings detours
Not earn what belongs to you

It is a moral issue
With rank and uniform
And age and gender too
Disrespect is the norm
Not even give God His due

It is a moral issue
Death is the focus now
Black the favorite hue
To dark stories they bow
Tattoos and piercings not few

It is a moral issue
Cry out to God, repent
Trust Christ the Savior Who
By grace from wraths relent
Our hope and nation renew

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Overflows from the Heart

"But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart…" Matthew 15:18


Pointing to the One who made, saved, and sustains