The Counselor Helps Renew & Restore

Straighten up2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God does four things. Each of these things is also part of the definition of what the Holy Spirit does as our Counselor: teach, reprove, correct, and train.

The word for correct in this verse is the only time this Greek word is used in the Bible. It is the word epanorthosis. The prefix ep- means upon, at, by, across; and the root word -northosis means:

Do you notice the “re” words in this definition? The Holy Spirit wants to come upon us and use His inspired Word to (a) restore us to an upright state, and (b) renew the life and character of Christ in us. This is part of the meaning of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Jesus lived on earth as a human being, and as such He did not use His God-ness. As a man Jesus could know God’s thoughts (see Matthew 11:25-26, where Jesus is speaking to God in obvious answer to what the Spirit had been speaking to His mind). Jesus also could know men’s thoughts (see Luke 6:6-9) because He was perfectly attuned to the Holy Spirit.

As Christians, this should be our normal life too.

When we discount our worthiness for The Counselor to restore and renew us—we begin to accept sub-normal as normal, and the normal become miraculous and only obtainable by a few “spiritual giants.”

The Father’s desire is for all of us to bear a strong, unmistakable family likeness to Jesus. Christ relied on The Counselor to tell Him God’s thoughts and men’s thoughts, so we must as well. If you would like to receive all that God has for you, ask Him to baptize you in the Holy Spirit. Then you, too, can enjoy the unbroken fellowship—the restoring and renewing—of The Counselor just as Jesus did.

I will be continuing our series on the Holy Spirit as The Counselor this Sunday, and I would love to have you join us!

T.M. Moore On Prayer

T.M. MooreThen the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. (Revelation 8:5)

Commenting on this verse, noted theologian T.M. Moore wrote—

“What the angel threw to the earth were the prayers of the saints, offered to God as a sweet offering of incense for His pleasure (cf. Psalm 141:1-2; Revelation 5:8). God intends the prayers of His people to fill the earth, to pervade it everywhere and at all times, to make the entire earth a sweet offering to Him, and to bring about the earth-shaking realization of His will (cf. Revelation 4:5), is this the way we pray? Are we as earnest, constant, and resolute about prayer as God intends we should be? Do we believe for our prayers what God holds out as expectations for them? We must allow Scripture to teach us how to pray, for then our prayers will be filled with holy fire, great expectations, and emboldening power to guide us in our daily lives. Lord, teach us to pray!” —T.M. Moore (emphasis added)

We have our monthly prayer time this Sunday at 5pm. If you are in the area, I’d love to have you join us. If you cannot be with us, please comment below if you have a prayer request and we will be sure to lift your need up to God in prayer.

The Counselor Brings Reproof

Search meNo one likes being rebuked, but it is necessary. In fact, it is vital for healthy growth. As a Dad, I didn’t look forward to the times I had to rebuke my children. But what’s the alternative? What happens if I just let misbehavior slide? We must rebuke those we love if we want them to mature.

The Counselor—the Holy Spirit—not only teaches us, but He reproves us as well because of His love for us. And we all need it!

  • The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (Jeremiah 17:9)
  • For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing… (Romans 7:18)

This knowledge of my wickedness becomes even more painful when I think that Jesus calls us to perfection (Matthew 5:48). I can’t “do” perfect on my own. But thankfully Jesus didn’t tell us to “do” perfect things, but to BE perfect.

The Holy Spirit reproves us—that is, He shows us where we are deviating from the mark—so that we can BE perfectly at one with Jesus, with our lives demonstrating Christ’s perfect nature.

Warning: the enemy wants to pervert The Counselor’s reproof. He wants to whisper to you that God is mad at you, that you’ve blown it too many times, that you’ll never be good enough.

Just like Jesus countered all of satan’s temptations with the Spirit-breathed Scripture, you need to do the same thing. You tell him, “My Father loves me so much that He sent His One and Only Son to die on a Cross for me! He wants me to display the glory of Jesus in my life because that’s what brings Him pleasure. He only reproves me because He loves me. If He didn’t care about me, He would leave me alone!”

Because He loves you and wants the very best for you, here’s what you can boldly pray:

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

I will be continuing my series on the Holy Spirit as our Counselor this Sunday. If you are in the Cedar Springs area, please come join us!

The Counselor

The CounselorThere are several people in the Bible that are called “a counselor.” But there is only One Who is called “the Counselor.” This is the title Jesus gave to the Holy Spirit, when He said One was coming Who would be of invaluable help to us.

This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. On that first Pentecost after Christ’s ascension, something amazing happened to the followers of Jesus—they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. The Counselor saturated their lives with His wisdom.

From this moment the Christians operated in extraordinary wisdom, power, discernment, boldness, and effectiveness.

Josh McDowell points out, “By AD 100, the apostles had died, but the Christian Church was still in its infancy, with fewer than twenty-five thousand proclaimed followers of Christ. But within the next two hundred years, the fledgling church experienced explosive multiplication of growth, to include as many as twenty million people. This means the church of Jesus Christ quadrupled every generation for five consecutive generations!” (emphasis added)

This type of growth was only possible because of the counsel The Counselor imparted every day to these new Christians. And this same counsel and help and empowerment is available to all Christians today!

This Sunday at Calvary Assembly of God we begin a new series called “The Counselor.” If you are in the Cedar Springs area and don’t have a home church, I invite you to come join us to learn more about this power that is for you.

No, Virginia, Pentecostals Do Not Swing From Chandeliers

Pastor Bill LeachWow! We had an absolutely amazing service yesterday morning at Calvary Assembly of God! All throughout the service we could feel that the Holy Spirit was moving, and we were all blessed by His presence.

Pastor Bill Leach was our guest speaker, and he used Acts 2 as his text to talk about some of the misconceptions people have about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the correct biblical perspective of this empowerment for a Christian’s life. I tried to take notes as fast as I could, so below are the thoughts which especially caught my attention. Pastor Leach’s message was entitled “No, Virginia, Pentecostals Do Not Swing From Chandeliers.”

Our Pentecostal experience must be firmly established in the Word of God. Peter made this clear in his Day of Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:16, 25, 30, 34). This experience is not a fad, but we are involved in the eternal plan of God. So it is an important movement for us to be a part of (Acts 2:39).

When Jesus said “stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4), He said it in the form of a command. Our Savior commands us to receive this Holy Spirit empowerment.

Luke describes the followers of Jesus as being “all together in one place” (Acts 2:1). In other words they were together together. This is a characteristic of followers of Jesus.

God’s temple is not a house, but people. Just as the fire was to be kept burning in King Solomon’s temple, God’s eternal fire fell on His followers on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:3), symbolizing His abiding presence in Christians.

The whole Godhead continually points to and glorifies the other aspects of the Godhead—“This is My Son in Whom I am well pleased”; “The Holy Spirit will testify about Me; and “I have come to glorify the Father.” When man was created God said, “Let Us make man in Our image—worshiping along side Us and enjoying Us!” The baptism in the Holy Spirit empowers us to do this!

Impossible obstacles must give way to the Spirit-anointed trod of the Spirit-baptized Church.

Pentecostals do not swing from chandeliers, but they have yielded their lives to the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, to be Christ’s witnesses and to display God’s glory throughout His creation.

This coming Sunday (May 24) is Pentecost Sunday, and I will be launching a new series about the Holy Spirit called simply The Counselor. Check back on my blog later this week for more details.

Special Guest: Bill Leach

Pastor Bill LeachI am so excited to welcome back to Calvary Assembly of God our District Superintendent Bill Leach and his wife Marilynn! Pastor Leach will be sharing a message with us this Sunday, May 17, in our 10:30am service.

After 27 years of serving our District as Superintendent, Pastor Leach is retiring at the end of the summer. We will miss his leadership, but on Sunday we will have the privilege of celebrating his faithful service.

Please don’t miss this very special service! 

A Mother’s Prayerful Perseverance

Prayerful perseveranceNaomi had it rough. It seemed like everything in her life fell apart. And to add insult to injury, everything around her seemed to mock her pain—

  • She lived in Bethlehem, which means House of Bread, but there was no bread because of the famine.
  • Her husband’s name was Elimelech, which means God is my king, but instead of him trusting God, he trusted his own wits.
  • Her sons were supposed to bring her joy and a hopeful future, but their names also haunted her: Mahlon means sickly, and Kilion means wasting away.

Naomi hit rock-bottom—Now Elimelech, Naomi’s husband died… And after they had lived there about ten years both Mahlon and Kilion both died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband (Ruth 1:3, 5).

Is it any wonder Naomi—whose name means pleasant—wanted to change her name to Mara (bitterness)?

But somewhere deep inside, Naomi had courage enough to hang on to hope. She heard that God had once again provided bread in the House of Bread, and she returned home. She had no prospects for success, and her husband’s debts were still awaiting her, but she went back to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law Ruth.

It was here they encountered Boaz. His name means pillar and he is described as “a man of standing” (2:1). Boaz was a kinsman-redeemer. Boaz is a picture of Jesus. As our Kinsman-Redeemer, only Jesus can…

  • Give our needs a voice as He intercedes for us
  • Bring us peace as He asks us to cast all our cares on Him
  • Pay all of our debts
  • Give us a hope-filled future

Especially as we remember Mothers Day, it’s a great reminder that a mother’s prayerful perseverance on her Kinsman-Redeemer yields blessings now and for generations to come! 

Don’t give up! Jesus is your Kinsman-Redeemer, and He is waiting for you to cling to Him.

(The Book of Ruth is an absolutely amazing, hope-inspiring story. It you haven’t read it lately, you can read it through in just a few minutes.)

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