Friday, February 22, 2013


The other day I received a coupon in the mail for some items.  One item was free and worth $11 and the others I received at total of $4 off.  Then the store gave me a $5 gift card for buying everything.  The store actually paid me to take everything home!  I felt like I was on a TV show using my coupon skills! I  redeemed those coupons.  I paid in full and had some left over.  The word “redeem” isn’t used much anymore but it is a powerful word and found many times in Scripture.  It means several things:  to recover ownership of by paying a specified sum; to pay off; to turn in something and receive something in exchange; to fulfill; to set free, ransom or rescue; to save; to make up for; to restore with honor worth and reputation.  Jesus did all of these when He redeemed us!

I Peter 1:18-19 tells us, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,  but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”  Christians were not redeemed with gold and silver.  They would never do.  Jesus paid the ultimate price – His life, and used the currency of His blood to buy our freedom from sin.  In the same way a slave was redeemed when someone paid to buy their freedom, Jesus redeemed us by giving His life to set us free from the power of sin and death.

Jesus paid dearly, giving His life for ours.  It was our sin but He willingly endured the cross and resurrected to set us free.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”  You and I have been purchased by the blood of Christ – redeemed from our wicked ways and set free to live the new creation life in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The redeeming power of the Lord is plentiful.  Not only can we be saved from sin and death (eternal separation from God), we can be healed, delivered, and restored.  Psalm 130:7 says, “O Israel, hope in the Lord!  For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.”  His salvation exceeds the cleansing of our souls – but if that was all, Hallelujah!  It heals broken hearts, relationships, redeems time lost, transforms culture, renews minds, and turns even the hardest hearts.  There is truly plenty of redeeming power for your life!

We cannot earn redemption.   It is only made available through the riches of God’s grace and sacrifice of Jesus’ life.  The items I bought on the shelf were new, shiny, and useful to me.  But in our sinful state, we are not like that.  Still, Jesus desires to buy us back and make us new, shiny and useful for His Kingdom.  Redemption is a free gift that can be received by anyone simply by asking for it.  When we do receive it by asking Jesus to be the Lord of our lives we must  remember we are bought with a price and not our own any longer to do whatever we want (1 Corinthians 6:20).  We must glorify God with our lives and use them for Him sin we are now His!

 Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45; Matthew 20:28).  He became the curse to redeem us from it (Galatians 3:13) and adopt us (Galatians 4:5).  We have redemption through His blood (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14).  Jesus redeems our lives from destruction and crowns us with love and mercy (Psalm 103:4).  Because of all He has redeemed us from, and to by the way, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!” (Psalm 107:2) and speak of how wonderful He has been, is, and always will be! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Some people would do anything to be able to do nothing. Laziness, it seems, has become an epidemic in today’s society. More people today are looking for a handout, feeling entitled to the benevolent nature of those who work hard. Sometimes people truly are “down on their luck” and have hit hard times. The economy today isn’t the best. But I’m really speaking to those who refuse to work or put forth effort in things that require work – like marriage, parenting, job, and the biggest one of all…life.

It is so easy to stay in bed sometimes, especially if you don’t want to face what’s on the other side of those warm covers. Postponing decisions and actions is called procrastination, which is form of laziness. Proverbs 6:6-11 tells us that wisdom is not lazy. “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest - then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit. Scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.”

The ant manages his possessions and life without being told to do so (7) and saves up for the future (8). The lazy person stays in bed too long (9-10) and his laziness results in poverty (11). Laziness really is abandoning responsibility. When you procrastinate or are lazy towards working for basic necessities you’ll find that you’ll soon run out of money and supplies. Slothfulness is another word for laziness. Jesus said slothfulness is a sin (Matthew 25:14-30). Proverbs condemns laziness in at least thirty three verses. Slothfulness says, “do it tomorrow, cut corners, don’t strain yourself, someone else will do it.” Laziness cheats on exams, doesn’t change out the toilet paper roll, and never leaves things better than they found them. A lazy man goes hungry (Proverbs 19:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:10).

It is interesting to me the difference of size in the ant and the sluggard. The ant is small and seemingly helpless but doesn’t need anyone telling it to work or prepare for hard times. I’ve seen more times than not an older, frail woman working harder than a young, strong man. Why is that? Wisdom is lived out by overcoming laziness, taking responsibility, and learning not to be a drain on everyone else. These verses in Proverbs encourage and urge everyone, especially youth, to be industrious and prepared. When you are slothful you will reap the rewards of slothfulness. When you are diligent, you will reap the rewards of diligence. Some signs of slothfulness are too much sleep, too much talking, lack of motivation, full of excuses, wastes what you do have, and procrastination.   Laziness does as little as it can to get by but fully expects the biggest rewards.

God desires you to busy, active, and productive with your life. Cutting corners, expecting others to take up your slack, and always looking for someone else to pay your bill is laziness. If you don’t have a job don’t stop putting in applications until you get one. And take the first one – after all, some money is better than no money. Be faithful and work hard at that job and use it to get a better one. No one starts out at the top of any job. If you have a job, be the best worker at your job. When cutbacks come, and they will, let the bosses say, “we can’t cut them, they are too valuable to us.” Bottom line, laziness wastes life. Don’t be lazy, be wise!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Holy Spirit Is Like…

The third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is inside every Christian.  He wants to fill you more and more with His Spirit as more and more of your flesh, sin, and desires of this world are repented of and given over to Him.  In other words, as He becomes Lord of all of your life, you will experience more filling of His Spirit in your life.  The power of the Holy Spirit at work in the life of a Christian brings comfort, boldness, and power to do His will and build His church.    

The Holy Spirit never talks about Himself but about Jesus.  He wants us to understand Jesus better and respond to Jesus in love and commitment.  The symbols of the Spirit help us understand what He’s like. As I was studying about the Holy Spirit in Scripture I noticed a few symbols used to represent the Holy Spirit.  In all, there are over 120 names, titles or emblems for the Holy Spirit in the Bible.  I want to highlight five.  In all five, the Holy Spirit manifests Himself so you and I may experience God and His glory will flood us and spill into the lives of others.

Rain.  Joel 2:23-29 tells us God wants to pour out His Spirit on us like rain.  Rain refreshes.  Rain restores.  Rain brings fruit for harvest.  Without rain, we are all barren, dry and fruitless.  Without the rain of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives we will waste away and dry up.  Lord, bring forth the rain of your Spirit in my life.  Psalm 72:6 says His Spirit showers the earth.  What refreshing!

Wind.  The Holy Spirit breathes life.  Acts 2 tells us the sound of a rushing wind, the Holy Spirit, came in and began to empower the people.  Wind is powerful.  The Spirit is referred to as the Breath of the Lord in Isaiah 40:7 and the Breath of Your (God’s) Nostrils in Psalm 18:15.  His Spirit breathes life into us and rushes in like a powerful yet calming wind. 

Fire.  The Holy Spirit is like a fire.  Acts 2:3 tells us the Holy Spirit came as fire and rested over the heads of men to work out something great in them and us today.  Fire burns off the dross and refines and makes us pure.  The Spirit also works as fire to strengthen or temper us.  Isaiah 4:4 says the Holy Spirit is a “spirit of judgment and burning” that washes away filth and purges.

Oil.  The Holy Spirit is like oil.  2 Corinthians 1:21-22 tells us God establishes us, anoints us, and seals us by the Holy Spirit.  Anointing with oil was a symbol of setting apart for God’s purposes.  The Holy Spirit sets us apart for His purposes. Psalm 45:7 and Hebrews 1:9 refer to God putting His Spirit on us as the “Oil of Gladness”.  The Holy Spirit in your life will give you “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3).

Water.  The Holy Spirit is like a river.  John 7:37-39 tells us how the Spirit is at work like a river of living water.  God wants to flow into your life and then the overflow of the Spirit in your life to flow into the lives of others. Isaiah 41:17-18 tells us of this refreshing water:  “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongues fail for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”

The Holy Spirit is referred to as a dove (Mark 1:10), a doorkeeper (John 10:3), a seal (Ephesians 1:13) and much, much more in Scripture.  How fulfilling and completing the Spirit is in our lives.  With Him in our lives we are never in need of anything!

Bathtub Baptism

Tonight was very interesting and rewarding.  I had the great honor and opportunity to baptize a his own bathtub.  What? you may say?  That just sounds weird.  He is suffering from cancer that has consumed his whole body and recently gave his life to the Lord when I visited him at the hospital.  He called me and wanted to be baptized and we tried to set it up for church this next weekend but he was too weak.  He said, "Can you do it at my home?"  I had baptized many people in swimming pools, the lake, and even in a hot tub one time at on a college campus - now that was exciting!  He said he didn't have a pool but asked about his bathtub.  I instantly rejoiced and said yes. 

Another guy in our church went with me.  We anointed him with oil and prayed for healing according to James 5, took communion with him and his wife, shared scripture together, cried together, repented of sins, worshipped, then I baptized him in his own bathtub.  Odd?  Not at all!  We did more things in scripture at his house than most do at church!  He apologized for not having the strength to make it to church and I quickly told him not to apologize - we had church right there!  What memories he and his wife will have every time they enter their bathroom!  Now that's being church without walls!  What a great memory for me as well.  I'll never forget it. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Names, Titles and Emblems of the Holy Spirit

I'm studying for the class I'm teaching on the gifs of the Spirit and found this list of the names of the Holy Spirit.  126 total.

The Anointing (1 John 2:27)
My Blessing (Isa. 44:3)
Breath (Ezek. 37:9)
The Breath of the Almighty (Job 33:4)
The Breath of God (Job 27:3)
The Breath of Life (Rev. 11:11)
The Breath of the LORD (Isa. 40:7)
The Breath of Your Nostrils (Ps. 18:15)
A Deposit (2 Cor. 1:22)
Like the Dew to Israel (Hos. 14:5)
A Different Spirit (Num. 14:24)
Divided Tongues, as of Fire (Acts 2:3)
The Doorkeeper (John 10:3; New English Bible, cf. Acts 16:14)
A Dove (Mark 1:10)
The Enduement of Power (Luke 24:49, implied)
The Eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14)
An Excellent Spirit (Dan. 5:12)
The Finger of God (Luke 11:20)
Floods on the Dry Ground (Isa. 44:3)
A Fountain of Water (John 4:14)
The Fullness of God (Eph. 3:19)
Your Generous Spirit (Ps. 51:12)
The Gatekeeper (John 10:3, RST)
The Gift of God (John 4:10; Acts 8:20)
The Gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38)
The Glory of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18)
God (Acts 5:4)
Your Good Spirit (Neh. 9:20)
The Guarantee of Our Inheritance (Eph. 1:14; cf. 2 Cor. 5:5)
The Hand of God (2 Chron. 30:12)
The Hand of the LORD (Job 12:9; Isa. 41:20)
The Hand of the Lord GOD (Ezek. 8:1)
He/Himself (John 14:16,26; Rom. 8:16,26)
Another Helper (John 14:16)
The Helper (John 14:26)
The Holy One (Job 6:10)
His Holy One (Isa. 10:17)
The Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13)
His Holy Spirit (Isa. 63:10)
Your Holy Spirit (Ps. 51:11)
The Holy Spirit of God (Eph. 4:30)
The Holy Spirit of Promise (Eph. 1:13)
The Holy Spirit Sent from Heaven (1 Pet. 1:12)
The Holy Spirit Who Is in You (1 Cor. 6:19)
The Holy Spirit Who Dwells in Us (2 Tim. 1:14)
The Lord (2 Cor. 3:17)
A Mighty Voice (Ps. 68:33)
A New Spirit (Ezek. 11:19)
The Oil of Gladness (Ps. 45:7; Heb. 1:9)
One Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 2:18; 4:4)
The Power of the Highest (Luke 1:35)
The Promise (Acts 2:39)
The Promise of My Father (Luke 24:49)
The Promise of the Father (Acts 1:4)
The Promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33)
The Promise of the Spirit (Gal. 3:14)
Rain upon Mown Grass (Ps. 72:6)
Rivers of Living Water (John 7:38)
The Same Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4,8,9,11)
The Same Spirit of Faith (2 Cor. 4:13)
His Seal (john 6:27; 2 Tim. 2:19)
The Seal of God (Rev. 9:4)
The Seal of the Living God (Rev. 7:2)
His Seed (1 John 3:9)
Seven Eyes (Zech. 3:9; 4:10; Rev. 5:6)
Seven Horns (Rev. 5:6)
Seven Lamps of Fire Burning Before the Throne (Rev. 4:5)
The Seven Spirits Who Are Before His Throne (Rev. 1:4)
The Seven Spirits of God (Rev. 3:1; 4:5)
The Seven Spirits of God Sent Out into All the Earth (Rev. 5:6)
Showers that Water the Earth (Ps. 72:6)
A Sound from Heaven, as of a Rushing Mighty Wind (Acts 2:2)
The Spirit (Num. 27:18)
His Spirit (Num. 11:29)
My, Spirit (Gen. 6:3)
Your Spirit (Ps. 104:30)

The Spirit of...
Adoption (Rom. 8:15)
Burning (Isa. 4:4)
Christ (Rom. 8:9; 1 Pet. 1:11)
Counsel (Isa. 11:2)
Deep Sleep (Isa. 29:10)
Elijah (2 Kings 2:15; Luke 1:17)
Your Father (Matt. 10:20)
The Fear of the LORD (Isa. 11:2)
God (Gen. 1:2)
Our God (1 Cor. 6:11)
Glory (1 Pet. 4:14)
Grace (Zech. 12:10; Heb. 10:29)
Him Who Raised Up Jesus (Rom. 8:11)
His Son (Gal. 4:6)
Holiness (Rom. 1:4)
The Holy God (Dan. 4:8,9,18; 5:11)
Jesus (Acts 16:7, NIV)
Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19)
Judgment (Isa. 4:4)
Knowledge (Isa. 11:2)
Life (Rom. 8:2)
The Living Creatures (Ezek. 1:21)
The Living God (2 Cor. 3:3)
The LORD (Judg. 3:10)
The Lord GOD (Isa. 61:1)
Love (2 Tim. 1:7)
Might (Isa. 11:2)
Power (2 Tim. 1:7)
Prophecy (Rev. 19:10)
The Prophets (1 Cor. 14:32)
Revelation (Eph. 1:17)
A Sound Mind (2 Tim. 1:7)
Stupor (Rom. 11:8)
Supplication (Zech. 12:10)
Truth (John 14:17)
Understanding (Isa. 11:2)
My Understanding (Job 20:3)
Wisdom (Exod. 28:3; Deut. 34:9)

His Spirit Who Dwells in You (Rom. 8:11)
The Spirit Who Is from God (1 Cor. 2:12)
The Spirit Whom He Has Given Us (1 John 3:24)
A Steadfast Spirit (Ps. 51:10)
The Voice of the Almighty (Ezek. 1:24)
The Voice of the LORD (Ps. 29:3,4,5,7,8,9)
His Voice (Ps. 95:7; Heb. 3:7)
His Voice (Most High-Ps. 18:13)
The Voice of Your Thunder (Ps. 77:18)
Water (Isa. 44:3)
The Wind (John 3:8)
My Witness (job 16:19; cf. Heb. 10:15)

Total: 126