Presence of the Holy Spirit

From ‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 3 section on The Presence of the Holy Spirit

Some argue that the Spirit didn’t ‘fill’ or ‘dwell in’ believers until the first Pentecost (Hebrew Shavuot) after the resurrection of the Messiah. But even a quick look at the Word proves this to be false. The list of people in the OT directly said to be filled with and/or led by the Spirit is long and distinguished. It is clear in the plain meaning of the text that there is very little difference, if any at all, between leading and filling.

Bezalel (Exodus 31:3 and 35:31)
Moses and the 70 Elders (Numbers 11:17, 25, 26, 29)
Balaam (Numbers 24:2)
Joshua (Numbers 27:18 and Deuteronomy 34:9)
Othniel son of Joshua (Judges 3:10)
Gideon (Judges 6:34)
Jephthah (pronounced Yayftah – Judges 11:29)
Samson (Judges 13:25, 14:6&19, 15:14)
King Saul (1 Samuel 10:6, 10, 11:6)
King David (1 Samuel 16:13)
Messengers of Saul (I Samuel 19:20)
Amasai, chief of the 30 (1 Chronicles 12:18)
Azariah son of Obed (2 Chronicles 15:1)
Jahaziel (2 Chronicles 20:14)
The Branch (Isaiah 11:2); My Servant (Isaiah 42:1); the Anointed (Isaiah 61:1)
The people of Israel (Isaiah 63:11)
Ezekiel (Ezekiel. 2:2, 3:12, 14, 24, 11:5)
Micah (Micah 3:8)
Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the people of the land (Haggai 2:5)
The former prophets (Zechariah 7:12)

There are also a number of Scriptures that explicitly state that Old Testament saints had the Spirit (such as Isaiah 63:10-14; 1 Peter 1:11). The presence of the Spirit is not marked only by speaking in other languages or with miraculous actions, or even by prophetic signs and utterances. His primary mark is on a heart that responds to God in trusting and loving obedience. God’s Spirit is all around and works to varying degrees depending on the willingness of people to work with Him.

He may sometimes work in spectacular ways, but that is not the only way He works. For instance, He can be present without salvation, as He is in creation. He makes seeds grow and keeps air on our planet with gravity. The planets revolve and orbit the sun by His hand. The only place He has trouble getting His way is in the human heart.

Screwtape on Humility

The demon Screwtape trying to teach his underling demon Wormwood how to keep an assigned human subject confused about humility in The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.

“You must therefore conceal from the patient the true end of Humility. Let him think of it, not as self-forgetfulness, but as a certain kind of opinion (namely, a low opinion) of his own talents and character. Some talents, I gather, he really has. Fix in his mind the idea that humility consists in trying to believe those talents to be less valuable than he believes them to be. No doubt they are in fact less valuable than he believes, but that is not the point. The great thing is to make him value an opinion for some quality other than truth, thus introducing an element of dishonesty and make-believe into the heart of what otherwise threatens to become a virtue.

By this method thousands of humans have been brought to think that humility means pretty women trying to believe they are ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools. And since what they are trying to believe may, in some cases, be manifest nonsense, they cannot succeed in believing it, and we have the chance of keeping their minds endlessly revolving on themselves in an effort to achieve the impossible. The enemy wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another.” The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis, Macmillan Publishing, 1977, pp. 62-66.

Don Francisco song Beautiful to Me

I always like this song. Learned to play it too. It’s the story of a Pharisee called Simon and the woman who wept on the feet of Jesus at a dinner at Simon’s house, and anointed Him with costly oil.

The story is in Luke 7 starting at verse 36.

This is the original album version. There’s also a more recent live version with an insert of his wife doing ASL.

Beautiful to Me Don Francisco

A New Definition of Cult

From ‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 10 A New Definition of Cult

Cults are traditionally defined by somebody’s opinion of orthodoxy. The dictionary definition of orthodox is “conforming to the approved form of any doctrine.” In other words, orthodox means accepted opinion. Orthodoxy can include the Bible, but usually includes a lot of men’s opinions too. If a person or group is lacking in any of the ‘orthodox’ or accepted doctrine or dogma, then in the opinion of the ‘orthodox’ they must be a cult or part of one. With respect to Dr. Walter Martin, I propose a better definition of orthodox, and of a cult or cultist.

My definition of a cult or cult member is a group or a person who at most gives only lip service to God. This takes into account all those who smugly wrap themselves in church or synagogue doctrine, yet have no intention of anything more than lip synching the Word of God. It includes anyone who is in a ‘religion’ and denies the whole truth of the Word. It also gathers up all those part-Bible people who sit in judgment on the Word, picking and choosing what part of it they want to follow. Throw in all those people with doctrines that are used to separate us from abiding in His living oracles too.

The End of the Matter

The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:11–14, ESV)

Pentecost and Sinai

A few days ago, we posted from Exodus 19:16-20 where Israel meets God. “There were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast,” as well as smoke and flame as God descended. The day of Pentecost was at the same time of year, and similar things happened.

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1–4, ESV)

The gospel was preached at Sinai, and it was preached again at Pentecost.

And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” (Acts 2:8–12, ESV)

For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (Hebrews 4:2, AV)

Walter C. Kaiser on Women

A good article on women in the Body by Dr. Walter C. Kaiser Jr. on his website. He translates the word for ‘helpmeet’ for instance as ‘strength’ rather than ‘helper.’ Although he points out that helper is not a pejorative since God is also called a helper on occasion. Four pages, and has quite a different viewpoint than you might expect. We like what he has to say, and we think most believing women will like it too.

Correcting Caricatures: The Biblical Teaching on Women

Dr. Kaiser is a professor of Hebrew and was president of a seminary.



On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. (Exodus 19:16–20, ESV)

Coming soon, the feast of Weeks also known as Shavuot or Pentecost.

Likes on Facebook

Now that we’ve got more than 30 likes, Facebook shows us something they call ‘insights’ meaning we can see how many people view a post and other statistics.

It’s interesting to note that a post starting with the phrase “Sin is turning from His Word” gets 11 views while a shorter post starting with “I wonder if seven days without leaven has a side benefit for the body?” gets 59 views. Or how a post starting with the Bible verse “But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God.” gets 16 views while a post that starts with the Bible verse “Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me” gets 109 views.

Do you suppose that posts which confront people with a holy God, a need for repentance, and the requirement to abide in the whole of His Word including the Law are less popular than posts that tell us about freebies from Him? That perhaps we don’t want to be reminded of our sin but can’t wait to tell people about blessings? That we like the comfortable truths, but the uncomfortable truths we wish would go away? Do we think that somehow we can gain the fun stuff without going through the cross?

If true, then I tell you without confronting and taking care of our sin there will be no blessings. What is exciting to contemplate now will vanish like a mirage in the waterless desert of our pride. He will not be a light in the darkness to those who sit in hell. There will be no benefits to a week without leaven if sin reigns in our mortal bodies. We serve a holy God, and blessings pressed down and overflowing come from Him as we adjust ourselves to all of His Word and His ways. Some blessings from Him touch everyone, like sunshine for a day at the beach. Many blessings are denied however because He uses the same measure to give them as we use when giving ourselves to Him. If we can’t see the love in discomfort from Him then we don’t know love at all. We cheapen His grace when we accept only the warm fuzzies and deny needed correction.

Dietrich Bonheoffer, a Lutheran pastor who resisted the Nazis till he was hanged by them, said it this way:

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”

God’s blessings and promises are indeed quite exciting. But we don’t get more than a pebble on a mountaintop unless we embrace uncomfortable truth now and work through it with humility and reliance on His mercy.