The Godhead and Temptation

God provides Himself not as a resource to temptation, but as your Life. Relationship, not thing.

You experience the first tug of temptation. Soon the tidal wave is there, and it is going to crash you into sin and shame.

It always does so, when your relationship with Him is lacking.

So what do you do?

You first recognize that all Three Persons of the Godhead are in you by Their choice and great desire!

Why is it critically important to know Them in you?

 

Because in everything, you embrace in your spirit your heavenly Father Who knows how to calm and comfort you.

Have a good imagination as to how your Father calms and comforts you.

Consider it a spiritual bear hug.

He knows what you need and provides Himself in this way to you. Your relationship with Him is unique and personal. God is so great that He can do this for each of us at every moment you need Him. You are not stealing time away from Him for the needs of others!

Maybe in your bear hug, you have a sense of Him in your spirit telling you, “It’s going to be okay. I’ve got you. We’re going to get through this together.” Together? Does that make a difference? Absolutely, for your fears have often been on feeling alone and distant from God. In fact, He is intensely near – He’s one with your spirit!

Your Father does calm and comfort you – it is impossible for Him not to. In effect, you sense, “Are you settled now?” “Yes, Father.” “Ready for Me to show you your Way out of the temptation?” “Yes.” “You know My Answer, My Way, is always Jesus, don’t you?” [smile] “Yes, Father.” [you smile back] “Okay, I’m handing you to Him.”

Another bear hug from your Lord, your Brother Who gave Himself for you and forever lives for you and in you.

Christ is your Life (Col 3:4). You have been redefined in and with Him in the new creation. His intention has always been to be together with you in your spirit (1 Cor 6:17). He has provided Himself to be all and in all (Col 3:11). As your all, He Is All Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Self-Control, and Everything else. He is love embodied, He is the embodiment of these – these fruit are not to be mistaken as attribute things. He IS All, not HAS all, as if we could cheapen a relationship with Him into merely getting love, patience, etc. from Him. His best Gift is Himself.

All that He Is, He shares with you. After all, you’re no longer your own (1 Cor 6:19-20). You’re now one with Him. He doesn’t live by any of your strengths. He only lives by His Own. Is your faith inadequate? Yes, it always is and always will be inadequate by His design. He designed you for Him. He is gloried by your coming to Him and living by Him.

You were designed to be one with Him and to share His Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Self-Control, and Everything else. He is the Patience of God. Again, it is incorrect to think He will give you patience. He gives you Himself.

And, specifically in regard to temptation, Christ asks you, “Would you like to share Me being self-controlled in you?” “Are you offering me Yourself to face my temptation in and with me?” “Absolutely, for I’m your life.”

“For we do not have a high priest Who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15

Will He overcome your temptation in and with you, if you believe with Him by His faith? Yes, He cannot do otherwise.

 

[We’ve spoken of The Father and The Son.  What is The Spirit doing? The Spirit helps you know Christ The Son Who shows you His and your Father.]

 

 

 

 

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What Does The Holy Spirit Do?

Most pastors, teachers, and theologians have been taught to focus solely on the Holy Spirit in us as if The Spirit is God’s focal point. But The Holy Spirit never speaks of Himself (John 16:13), nor claims to be the life—Jesus is the life, (Col 3:4). In fact, God puts us in Christ (1 Cor 1:30) so that when He died on the cross, we too died in Him. When He was buried, we were buried in Him. When He rose from the dead, we rose in Him (Romans 6). “By Him you are in Christ Jesus, Who of God Is made to us Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption, (1 Cor 1:30).”

 

Christ is The Preeminence of God:

“(13) [The Father] has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: (14) in Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (15) Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (16) for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they are thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: (17) and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. (18) And He is the Head of the body, the church: Who Is the Beginning, the Firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. (19) For it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell in Him; (20) and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things to Himself; by Him, I say, whether they are things in earth, or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:13-20

 

Then what is the Holy Spirit doing? He is in our spirits working primarily that we know Christ Who Is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

 

The Holy Spirit points us to Christ. Even the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 points to Christ, for Christ is the Vine and we are His branches. Christ is the One Who bears fruit through the branches (John 15). Christ is Spirit in us – we have mis-attributed the fruit of the Spirit to be the Holy Spirit’s, when in fact the fruit is The Son’s.

The Holy Spirit bears witness of Christ, as if saying “You need to meet The Son!” Then Christ bears witness of the Father, as if saying “You need to meet My Father!” (John 14).

Let’s not fragment God Who cannot be divided. The Father, Son, and The Spirit are one with us and in us.

Thank You, Father, for Your Holy Spirit by Whom we get to know You!

 


Here are descriptors of the Holy Spirit’s work:

“But the Comforter, Who is the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.” John 14:26

“(13) Nevertheless when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. (14) He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it to you. (15) All things that the Father has are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it to you.” John 16:13-15

“and hope does not shame or disappoint us; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by The Holy Spirit Who is given to us.” Romans 5:5

“I say the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in The Holy Spirit,” Romans 9:1

“for the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in The Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of The Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

“that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering The Gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by The Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:16

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which The Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:13

“I want you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, except by The Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:3

“by purity, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by The Holy Spirit, by love unfeigned,” 2 Corinthians 6:6

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of The Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

“(5) For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in The Holy Spirit, and in much assurance; as you know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. (6) And you became our followers, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of The Holy Spirit:” 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6

“by The Holy Spirit Who dwells in us, keep that good and beautiful Treasure Who [not doctrine, but The Person] was committed to you.” 2 Timothy 1:14

“not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of The Holy Spirit;” Titus 3:5

“God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with various miracles, and gifts of The Holy Spirit, according to His Own will?” Hebrews 2:4

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made sharers of The Holy Spirit,” Hebrews 6:4

“The Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:” Hebrews 9:8

“The Holy Spirit is also a witness to us: for after He had said before,” Hebrews 10:15

Branches to Burn

The branches were quite beside themselves. Prayers didn’t get past the ceiling, life seemed so drab and dry. And the weather was continually cool. But at least they’d made that commitment long ago and far away. Far away did seem to describe their distant and separate God. He’d seemingly left them hunkered down in little spiritual fortresses of each of them and the Holy Spirit. It didn’t make sense these fortress perimeters were constantly reduced by onslaughts from the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world hated them for being judgmental fools enslaved to sins, who were no better than they were. So what do you do with salt-less salt and darkness instead of light? You throw it out. And who could blame the world for its hate and rejection? Didn’t the branches hate themselves more than the world did?

It was kind of funny, yes sad too, that these parading branches, who were luke-warm at best and cold at worst, kept congregating. What in the world did they gather for? There wasn’t enough heat generated by the crowd to even get the hands warm. But they looked good in the American dream three piece suits of funeral pallor that were oddly mistaken for whitewashed tombs.

The good thing was that their dues were paid. And when the ultimate collection time came, they were owed. They had put up with theology that didn’t work, personal relationships with God that were anything but, slavery to sin that never ended, and expectations that never became reality. What could He say, when finally in contempt they would tell Him, “Pay up, Old Man. You owe us heaven. We regularly showed up at church for you. We tithed for you. We jumped through hoops playing church games for you and experienced no significant change our entire lives. Frankly, we are sick of the endless loop to nowhere.”

Victory in Jesus? Oh, no. Defeat without Jesus, for the branches had never intimately known Him. The branches never seemed to understand that branches don’t walk around trying to do something to be something. Branches only find their joy and fulfillment in being attached to their Vine, something they had never known. And the result of not knowing Him is that their dead branches are cast into the fire.

 

What Will Be Your Epitaph?


“(1) I Am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vine Keeper. (2) Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes, that it may bring forth more fruit. (3) Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you. (4) Remain in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine; neither can you, unless you remain in Me. (5) I Am the Vine, you are the branches. He who remains in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. For without Me, you can do nothing. (6) If a man does not remain in Me, he is cast away as a branch, and withers, and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are consumed. (7) If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you. (8) In this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be My disciples.” John 15:1-8

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them who do not know God, and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” 2 Thessalonians 1:8

“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and reprobate to every good work.” Titus 1:16

“He, who says he remains in Him, walks like He did.” 1 John 2:6

“He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:8

“(19) You will say, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. (20) Well; they were broken off because of their unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be high-minded, but fear: (21) If God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you. (22) Behold the goodness and severity of God: severity on them who fell through unbelief; but goodness toward you, if you continue in His goodness through faith: otherwise you also shall be cut off.” Romans 11:19-22

 

You Won’t Want to Miss “Johnny Lingo”

Want to have a memorable picture of the trait of God’s love and our worth to Him?

Johnny Lingo demonstrates it to us. You will always remember this short video.

A synopsis by this writer follows.

Johnny comes to the island to court Mahana, the Polynesian girl who bore the ridicule of father Moki and the village people. According to her father, she was less desirable than a three-legged dowry cow. “I should just give her to him for nothing, so I could be rid of her!” Mahana was unchosen, bypassed by life. Yet, Johnny had always loved her and had come for her. On the appointed day, he asked Moki, “How many cows do you want for Mahana, that she may be my wife?” The father consulted with the wise man. Outrageously, Moki echoed, “Three cows!” Cackles and backslapping arced through the onlookers. “Three cows!” they hooted. Mahana in earshot recoiled under the wave of hateful derision. Johnny repeated the dreaded words, “Three cows.” Then he continued, “Three cows are not nearly enough for Mahana. I will give you eight.” Johnny Lingo’s declaration was as a blow to the face, for only a stunned silence met his words, as the height of five cows plunged into the equivalence of a dog. Mahana heard, but could not believe. “He will never come with eight cows.” No one had ever committed to her nor fulfilled any promise. She was considered unworthy of both. The next morning rose to the sound of “Hiyaahh!” as cows appeared, one by one. Four and five were swallowed up by eight of the biggest, shiniest-coated cows that had ever grazed the island. Her worth in Johnny’s eyes helped change Mahana into the princess she always had been to her heavenly Father.

Christian Intellectual Irrelevance

The title of the talk and its description:

“Was Jonathan Edwards a Christian Hedonist?”

“Dr. Piper will explore the teaching of the 18th century American revivalist preacher and theologian, Jonathan Edwards, in relationship to the philosophy of Christian life which holds that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”

Relevant?

Relevant as to what? As to improving Christian marriages? As to overcoming addictive behaviors? As to Christians once again becoming salt and light to the culture? As to rekindling your first love with the Lord?

If these are what are relevant, then Dr. Piper’s talk is irrelevant.

It is as irrelevant as to considering whether “Frankenstein,” “The Bride of Frankenstein,” and “The Son of Frankenstein” were actually attacks on the Christian church as to how Roman Catholic doctrine and dogma were mutilating it.

I made this Frankenstein trilogy question totally out of thin air. Can you see how someone might try to sell you something as relevant, when it is not?

If people want to avoid the real questions, they can certainly invent intellectually irrelevant straw-man arguments that they can easily knock down.

But if these arguments are off in the wilderness of the weeds, maybe it’s time to call out Christian intellectualism for what it has become. Irrelevant.

God posts no job positions for super-heroes of the faith apart from Him.

Cease and desist the pseudo-intellectual nonsense, and answer the real questions. Are marriages being improved through you? Are people finding freedom from sin through you? Is the culture coming to Christ through you? Are people rekindling their first love with the Lord through you?

Don’t be irrelevant.

Seek Him and speak of Him instead.

 


If an idea is intellectual in His sight, it is also spiritual.

If it is not spiritual, neither is it intellectual.

Therefore it is foolish.

 

The Rare Tree and Forgiveness

There was a rare tree of exquisite beauty that The Tree Maker desperately loved. Its inner and outer form was lovely, its branches embraced the sky. Even the shade danced with joy beneath the glory of its leaves. Yet the tree was by itself. Somehow in heart, it had grown away from its grove. The tree of its life had harmed the grove and the rare tree had cried for the other trees and itself. “Why had the source of its life done what it did? Why had it said those horrible things? Why was it never there for me?” Tears were not the way trees were to be watered.

Hopes and expectations were dashed, but new branches pushed newer expectations to even loftier heights. Those who discovered the rare tree stretched to reach those lofty fruit, but even with ladders, they could not attain them. The fruit was ever out of reach. Sometimes they said harmful things to spite the tree, to bring it down from its regality.

Something started blighting its appearance. “Why did they say that?” “They didn’t support me.” “Don’t they care that they hurt me?” The rare tree’s response to them was departure and silence, and though the tree was a diadem in The Tree Maker’s crown, so was forgiveness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9J6xOT3Ldw&t=280 [shorter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1Lu5udXEZI  ]

The movie The Shack is a powerful showcase against judging others and for forgiveness .

A Tribute to Jesus

I woke up this morning thinking about Him. The joy in my heart of knowing Jesus feels like it will break it.

It’s an exquisite pain, a small and poor parallel to what our Lord felt. “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.”

Through his sacrifice, we could come and be with Him. It was His exquisite pain, worth every heartache, blow, and nail it took for Him to realize The Godhead’s dream.

If describing ultimate beauty, no one can compare to Him. But it’s His heart that causes mine to fall at my Lord’s feet to worship Him.