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Mistreating the Holy Spirit

Mistreating the Holy Spirit

Prayer of Forgiveness to the Holy Spirit

My Lord, I have mistreated You all my Christian life.  I have treated You like a servant.  When I wanted You, when I was about to engage in some work, I beckoned You to come and help me perform my task.  I have sought to use You only as a willing servant.

I shall do so no more.

I give You this body of mine, from my head to my feet, I give it all to You.  I give You my hands, my limbs, my eyes and lips, my brain; all that I am within and without, I hand over to You for You to live in it the life that You please.  You may send this body to Africa or lay it on a bed with cancer.  You may blind the eyes or send me with Your message to Tibet.  You may take this body to the Eskimos or send it to the hospital with pneumonia.  It is Your body from this moment on.  Help Yourself to it.

Thank You, my Lord.  I believe You have accepted it, for in Romans 12:1 You said, “acceptable unto God.”  Thank You again, my Lord, for taking me.  We now belong to each other.


From Dr. Walter Wilson (1881-1969) regarding his relationship, or lack of relationship, with the Holy Spirit.  And I couldn’t agree more.  How about you?




Podcast 305:  How to Love Those Who Hurt Us

Podcast 305: How to Love Those Who Hurt Us

One truth in the Christian life is that we have all been hurt by those we love and by those who we thought loved us.  Whether it’s our spouse, our family, a former close friend, or someone in the church, we’ve all suffered from the words or actions of someone else we trusted. And the scars run deep.

So what do we do? Mostly, we withdraw, vowing to never trust again.  We pull up the drawbridge, turn out the light, and hide alone deep in our room.  Simon and Garfunkel, many years ago, captured this so well in their song, I Am a Rock.

I’ve built walls, a fortress deep and mighty,that none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock, I am an island.

Don’t talk of love, I’ve heard the words before; It’s sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock, I am an island.

But the Christian life is not meant to be lived in bitterness, fear and unforgiveness.  Why?  Because Christ purchased our freedom and freely offers that freedom to us.  It’s ours for the asking.  So what are you waiting for?

To find out how to love those who have hurt you or the ones you love, keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13.

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Your Day of Atonement

Your Day of Atonement

Today, as I was reading the Scriptures, I found myself drawn to the 16th chapter of Leviticus, to the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, and the elaborate ceremony God established whereby Israel found atonement and forgiveness for their sins.  It’s a fascinating chapter dealing with quaint, prescribed rituals that are difficult to understand but find their fulfillment in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  However, these ancient rituals are literally packed with truth for us today.

From the humility demanded of the high priest in the very clothes he must wear (Lev. 16:4) to the offerings he must make for himself (Lev. 16:6), for the Holy Place (Lev. 16:16) and for the people (Lev. 16:17), we see clearly that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).  Then two goats are chosen by lot: one to die and shed his blood for the sins of the people and the other to be set free (Lev. 16:8-10).  One goat is killed as a sacrifice for their sins and its blood sprinkled upon, and on, the mercy seat (Lev. 16:15).  The other goat, the scapegoat, is to have the sins of the people imputed to it and then led into the wilderness never to be seen again.  It’s a vivid picture of God and His gracious mercy and forgiveness whereby He promises to blot out our transgressions by the blood of His Son and remember our sins no more (Isa. 43:25).

But there is more.

In Leviticus 16:20-22 we read: “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.  The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.”

God has forgiven the sins of Israel and they have been imputed to an innocent goat led far from them into the wilderness to be seen no more.  God wants nothing to do with their former sins and doesn’t want His children to look for them once again either.  They are gone.  Banished.  Removed from His sight and their lives forever.

But watch what happens next.

A “suitable man” (Lev. 16:21) was chosen to lead the goat into the wilderness, far from the children of Israel, and leave it there.  Since the sins of the people were now imputed to the goat, this “suitable man” was to take the sins of the people, the goat, and remove them to a place where they would never be found again.  Why?  Because God wants to show how His forgiveness is forever and to demonstrate the importance of not returning to the sins the blood of the other goat has already atoned for.  Get the point?  What has been forgiven should never have to be forgiven again.  If the shedding of innocent blood was required to forgive a particular sin, then that sin should never be committed again.  Why?  Because it would require more blood, more pain, more death, and more sacrifice and devalues and cheapens the importance of blood and life given to make one free.  It makes the sacrifice seem almost worthless.

Israel was not to go out into the wilderness and look for the goat, their former sin, that has already been forgiven.  They were to remain in the camp, in the presence of the Lord, sanctified, holy, and righteous.

Leviticus states the “suitable man” who led the goat into the wilderness was to “wash his clothes and bathe his body” before he came back into the camp (Lev. 16:26).  Why?  Because he had been in close proximity to the very sin, the goat, the Lord wanted driven far from His people and he was, by that close proximity, contaminated by it.  Also, the man who took the remains of the sacrificed goat outside the camp to burn it must also “wash his clothes and bathe his body in water” before he came back into the camp (Lev. 16:28).  Why?  He was also contaminated by his close contact to sin— and there was no place for sin among the people of God.  In other words, for sanctification to be complete we should abstain, leave, renounce, and forsake anything that had to do with the sin, the old life, God had already forgiven.  There was no place for former forgiven sins among the sanctified, Holy people of God.

We should “abstain from even the appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22).

So how does that apply to us?  How much of your old life do you bring into your new life?  Do you still dress the new you with clothes of the old life?  Do you crucify Him again and again by refusing to renounce the sins for which He died?  Do you continually live in the shadows, the lukewarm areas of our culture, knowing Christ’s death has “set you free from sin”? (Rom 6:18).  Do you live your life in such a way that you “crucify again the Son of God and put Him to open shame”? (Heb. 6:6).

We must leave the sin that was atoned for outside the camp.  We must remove from our lives the trappings, the clothes, the relationships, the affections and passions, the carnal wants and desires, the pride and arrogance, everything that is tainted by sin and be washed by the pure Word of God and joyfully enter into fellowship with Him.  To do anything else is to make light of the atonement Christ provided for us on the cross.

In essence, if you claim to wear the mantle of being a Christian, then act like one.

Anything else is sheer hypocrisy.




Podcast 265:  Agape or Storge, Life or Death

Podcast 265: Agape or Storge, Life or Death

The Pharisees plotted together against Jesus and put forth a lawyer to try to trap Him in His words.  The lawyer asked, “Which is the greatest commandment in the law?”  And Jesus’ answer was twofold:

“’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it:  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37-40)

The word for love is agape.  “You shall agape the Lord and you shall agape your neighbor.”

How do we love (agape) God?  And how do we love (agape) others like we’re suppose to love (agape) God?  How is that even possible?

To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study on the Love (agape) of God.

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Podcast 260:  Go and Sin No More

Podcast 260: Go and Sin No More

Sometimes we accept the forgiveness of Jesus and assume it’s simply a one-sided act.  He does all the work and we reap all the benefits.

It’s like changing the lyrics to the old song that goes: “Jesus paid it all.”  And with this we agree.  “All to Him I owe.”  Uh, not so fast.  I’d rather just take the forgiveness and go home.

But that’s not how it works in the Kingdom of God.  In John 8 we see a woman forgiven by Jesus and left with the following command: “Go and sin no more.”  Did you ever wonder why He said that to her?

To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study on John 7:53-8:12.

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Jesus in the letter to Philemon

Jesus in the letter to Philemon

When I look at the often neglected book of Philemon I assume, unfortunately, that this simple letter from Paul to Philemon about a returning runaway slave has little to offer us today.  After all, there is no great teaching on the sacrifice of Christ or on the doctrine of election or on the imminent fulfillment of prophecy.  There are no instructions to the church in holiness or repentance or sanctification.  It seems somewhat out of place, nestled between the instruction of Titus and the theology of Hebrews.

But I could not be more mistaken.  Let me explain.

For starters, Philemon is about a rich man who lived in Colosse and had been converted to Christ through the ministry of Paul.  We know he is rich because the church meets in his very house.  We also know he has a least one slave, Onesimus, possibly more, who ran away from Philemon and robbed him in the process.  Even though Philemon did not pursue his runaway slave, the Roman law was broken and the penalty for Onesimus, when caught, was death.

Sometime later, possibly in jail with Paul, Onesimus is also converted to Christ through Paul’s ministry.  And, in the course of Paul’s discipleship of Onesimus, Paul urges him to return to Philemon, face his past, pay his penalty, ask for forgiveness, and try to set things right.

So Onesimus does just that.  He returns to the scene of his crime and to the man he wronged, taking with him the letter to Philemon, Paul’s letter on behalf of the runaway slave.

Let’s look briefly at this personal letter from Paul to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus.

The letter begins with the usual salutations characteristic of Paul.  He says:

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Philemon 1-3).

Paul then spends the next couple of verses talking about Philemon, how he misses him, how he prays for him continually, how others have been refreshed by the faith of Philemon.  Then Paul moves into the purpose of his letter.

Paul says he “appeals to you (Philemon) for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains.”  In other words, Philemon, I am coming to you on behalf of my son in the faith, Onesimus, whom I led to Christ while I was in prison.  I am sending him back to you as a forgiven brother and friend and fellow minister and not as a runaway slave.  And I am asking you to receive him as a brother and not as one who has taken from you or has harmed you and your family.  I am asking that you forgive him, restore him, and accept him as you would me.  “You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart” (vs. 12).

Paul’s appeal to Philemon is summed up as such: “If then you count me as a partner (or, as a fellow partaker, a companion in the Gospel), receive him as you would me” (vs. 17).  Or, I appeal to you to treat Onesimus, not as a sinner who has wronged you, but as a saint— a forgiven, redeemed, restored brother in Christ, just as I am also.

And then the crux of the message, the pinnacle of Paul’s’ letter.

But if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account.
I, Paul, am writing with my own hand. I will repay— not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self besides (vs. 18-19).

If Onesimus has stolen from you and has sinned against you, put it on my account.  Let me pay the price for what Onesimus has done to you.  Let me be wronged, let me be punished, let me suffer for his sin.  Let me stand in the place of Onesimus before you and let me bear the wrath of your anger against him who has hurt you so.  Let me be his substitute.  Put his sin on my account, impute his crime to me, and I will repay all that he owes.  See, I am writing this promissory note with my own hand, I will repay.  Let Onesimus, my son in the faith and now your brother, not suffer for his sin against you, but let his punishment fall on me, who is innocent of any charge.

Can you see the pageant, the glorious play unfolding out before us?


Philemon represents God the Father, the One who is wronged, the One who was sinned against, the One who rightfully sits in judgment, the One who holds in His hands both life and death, freedom and bondage, for Onesimus, the rebellious, guilty, runaway slave.


And who are we?  We are Onesimus, the arrogant, ungrateful, rebellious, guilty-as-charged, runaway slave.  We stand before Philemon with no defense, convicted, ashamed, ready to be judged for our actions.  We, like Onesimus, chafed at the yoke placed upon us and decided to run, like the prodigal son, into the world to make our own way with our pockets full of stolen money.  We are guilty, judged, and stand ready to be sentenced.  We have no alibi, no excuse, and we can expect no mercy from the Roman law that must be obeyed.  After all, “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).


Paul represents the Lord Jesus Christ.  He sees value in what the world throws away (vs. 11) and offers grace to those who deserve none.  He knows that Onesimus is guilty and deserves the punishment he has earned.  But Paul, like Christ, also loves the runaway slave and offers himself as the satisfaction of the Law.  “If he has wronged you, and we all know that he has, put the consequences of his sin on me.  Impute his guilt to me.  Let me pay the penalty for his sin and let what I pay atone for what he has done.  Let me stand in his place, as his substitute, and let my payment satisfy Onesimus’ debt.”

It’s an amazing thing when we put the Lord Jesus in the middle of a passage that doesn’t seem to “speak to us where we are” and find, in every case, the picture of His redemption displayed with such breathtaking clarity.  Let us all, as runaway slaves, remember the grace and love and sacrifice of Jesus who bore our sins Himself so we can be free (2 Peter 2:24). And let us live for Him, in that glory of His sacrifice, forever.

Adveho quis may.
Come what may.