Spirituality and the Holy Spirit 2014-47

 Spirituality and the Holy Spirit 2014-47

Spirituality and Religion are two words that are mentioned, frequently in the same context; that of going to a church (religious) and not going to church (but being spiritual). “I am Spiritual but not Religious,” is a statement by many that says to others, I DO believe in God, but I don’t go to church.  OK, I understand that, but what is really meant by both words? I have written the below, not to really explain the differences, but give a brief idea of the words.

Spirituality is a phrase that is part of today’s everyday life now. We have a Spirituality Director at my place of worship, who is trying to bring us closer to God via many ways.  One of our parishioners asked me at a meeting in 2013 when we hired him, “What exactly is a Spiritual Director?” This was a good question and I answered it, somewhat, at the time and I hope it gave that person and the rest of those in attendance some insight as to what a Spiritual Director actually is or does. Another member recently asked, “What will he do for us?” and we are finding out as he gets more involved.

Since then, I have been asking myself some questions about a number of things.

“Where are we as far as having Spirituality?”

“Does the Holy Spirit yearn to be included in our lives?”

“What can we do to be led by the Spirit of God?”

“What can I do personally for myself to be more spiritual” and the list goes on and on…..

I went to sources for information and the best source was by my bedside in the form of the Holy Bible, but more on that later.

Spirituality

But, before I continue, let me explain what Spirituality itself might mean:

The term spirituality lacks a definitive definition,  although social scientists have defined spirituality as the search for “the sacred,” where “the sacred” is broadly defined as that which is set apart from the ordinary and worthy of veneration. The use of the term “spirituality” has changed throughout the ages.  In modern times, spirituality is often separated from religion and connotes a blend of humanistic psychology with mystical and  traditions and eastern religions aimed at personal well-being and personal development.  The notion of “spiritual experience” plays an important role in modern spirituality, but has a relatively recent origin.

I take the meaning as a simple “Something that concerns the Spirit” – The Holy Spirit!!!!

I believe we can become spiritually connected or to feel the Holy Spirit within us. Perhaps some more than others (which is normal), but overall we have a feeling for the Holy Spirit that is part of our religious beliefs and practices.

I was also asked once, if I was religious or spiritual.  I can probably say both.   Religion is a form of “re” meaning again and the Latin “ligare” meaning ligament or a connection, so it is somewhat of a re- connecting and in the sense of belief, it is reconnecting to God every day. Religion has the meaning also of “respect for what is sacred, and reverence for God, so again, my saying I am “both” religious and spiritual, is somewhat true.

Holy Spirit

How I look at the Triune God of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit may be different than what others see or feel, but it is  not important what I perceive, but more of what we all experience.

I believe the Holy Spirit DOES yearn to be included in our lives.  Not just at church services, or when we pray to God Almighty for thanks, help or just to communicate with God.  The Holy Spirit wants to be in our hearts, our Soul and minds all the time. Simple as that!  The Holy Spirit therefore, desires to be included in your everyday thoughts, words and deeds. Simple as that!  That is what I believe. The Holy Spirit used to be referred to as the “Holy Ghost” and was from the Old English for Spirit, but in reality they have identical meanings. Ghost now generally refers to an apparition of a dead person, so it is out of style and usage and Holy Spirit is mostly a 20th century reference.

The following is taken from a letter by Brother Lawrence of the Carmelite monastery who lived from 1614 to 1691. It came from his book, “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence

Letter 7

“He requires no great matters of us; a little remembrance of Him from time to time, a little adoration. Sometimes to pray for His grace. Sometimes to offer Him your sufferings. And sometimes to return Him thanks for the favors He has given you, and still gives you, in the midst of your troubles. Console yourself with Him the oftenest you can. Lift up your heart to Him at your meals and when you are in company. The least little remembrance will always be pleasing to Him.

You need not cry very loud. The Holy Ghost is nearer to us than we are aware. And we do not always have to be in church to be with God. We may make an oratory of our heart so we can, from time to time; retire to converse with Him in meekness, humility, and love. Everyone is capable of such familiar conversation with God, some more, some less. He knows what we can do.”

   Now I ask: How can we be led by the Holy Spirit?

First let me describe the Holy Spirit:  The Holy Spirit is seen by most Christians as one part of the Triune God, who revealed His Holy Name, YHWH, to His people of Israel, who sent His eternally begotten son Jesus to save them from their sins, and sent the Holy Spirit to sanctify and give life to His Church.  The Triune God manifests as three persons,  in one divine being called the Godhead,  the Divine Essence of God.

An important verse in the Bible (Romans 8:14) states, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”  The sons of God are led by the Holy Spirit in this life. Again, The before mentioned, “sacred” is broadly defined as that which is set apart from the ordinary and worthy of veneration as part of the Spiritual awakening in our lives.

We CAN develop a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit!! Just as we pray to God and Jesus Christ at church service or daily on our own, we can and are allowed to communicate with the Holy Spirit.  Let me use the apostle Paul as a source for this thought:

  1. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the                                      Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)
  2. “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship                              of the Spirit …” (Phillippians 2:1)

The two words, communion and fellowship, again, means a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. Not only can we develop a close personal relationship with both God the Father and Jesus Christ, but these two additional verses are telling us that we can also develop a close personal relationship direct with the Holy Spirit Himself. How wonderful that can be for all of us!

Not only can we develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit, but we can also have the Holy Spirit be our personal guide and teacher in this life we live.   Again, I use the Holy Bible as my source for this thought:

  • “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”  

 

  1. (John14:26)
  2. “However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth …” (John 16:13)

The great thing is this regarding having a relationship with God, which IS the basis of Spiritualtiy. There is NOTHING you have to do to have a relationship with Him and you cannot do anything to merit having one.  We will have an eternal life with God (a relationship) because Jesus died for all of us. Having faith in Jesus Christ gives us the promise of eternal life. That is a wonderful thing and something to relate to in our daily lives.

When the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will “teach us all things” and “guide us into all truth,” this tells us that the Holy Spirit has the ministry with each one of us as being our personal Guide and Teacher in this life. And if He is going to be our personal Guide and Teacher in this life, then this means He will start to communicate to us, so He can teach us what He wants to teach us. And our part will then be to learn how He will communicate to us so we can pick up that communication when He does start to release it to us. At this point I will encourage you to read my discourse on “Communicating with the Holy Spirit”, in my next blog.

Put these two verses together with the first two verses above about having direct fellowship and direct communion with the Holy Spirit and you can tell that God is letting all of us know loud and clear that we can enter into this supernatural realm with the Holy Spirit. If God is telling us that the Holy Spirit will be guiding us and teaching us in this life, then we can comfortably enter into that realm with Him so He can then begin to do that kind of deeper work with each one of us.

I would like to continue, but enough is enough for now.  Spirituality is something we will delve into with in various ways.  I welcome his knowledge, his education and experience in this realm of being with the Holy Spirit, the Son Jesus Christ and the Father in Heaven.   It will be up to us to reach out and experience any teachings for guidance.

Thank you for your time.

May the peace of the Lord be with you always!

Den Betts

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GUIDANCE – Discipline 2014-16

Guidance – Discipline   2014-16

So what is Guidance in relation as a Discipline?

This Discipline is listed as “Guidance”, which really does not say much as a title. It could be called Corporate Guidance, since it is listed as a Corporate Discipline. We can begin by acknowledging the prime word of “Guide” as something that teaches, instructs, assists, supervises, leads or accompanies.

Couple the word “guide” with “Spiritual” and we can see that it may pertain to something to do with finding our way toward God, by being led, or taught something toward that end. There has also been teaching— good teaching— on the exceptional means of guidance: angels, visions, dreams, signs, and more. But we have heard little about how God leads through his people, the body of Christ. On that subject there is profound silence.

By stressing its communal side as a Corporate Discipline we may be able to ascertain just what this Discipline means. God does guide the individual richly and profoundly, but he also guides groups of people and can instruct the individual through the group experience.

Although Jesus was an outsider to his own people, being crucified beyond the city gates, some people embraced his rulership. And they became a gathered people. “Now the company of those who believed was of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection” (Acts 4: 32, 33). They became a fiery band of witnesses, declaring everywhere that Christ’s voice could be heard and his will obeyed.

Perhaps the most astonishing feature of that incendiary fellowship was their sense of corporate guidance. It was beautifully illustrated in the calling forth of Paul and Barnabas to tramp the length and breadth of the Roman Empire with the good news of the kingdom of God (Acts 13: 1– 3). Their call came when a number of people had been together over an extended period of time. It included the use of the Disciplines of prayer, fasting, and worship. Having become a prepared people, the call of God arose out of their corporate worship: “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13: 2).

I should stop right here and say this explains it all and leave it up to the reader to try to understand anything further.

 

Some examples of Corporate Guidance

Ok, let us say that we as a church have a problem that needs to be solved involving something involving the congregation. We could have a “meeting of clearness” whereas it would be called specifically to seek the mind of the Spirit for the question at hand. We could get together and announce the problem or situation and discuss it. We could take time to probe the issue, pray about it, and ask questions plus do some soul searching to find the answer. Maybe we will throw the issue away for the future as the answer. Hopefully the answer is confirmed by the prayers and interaction of the congregation as a whole.

In reality we ARE doing this already; using Corporate Guidance for answers. Let me quote a portion that our Church Council is working on to implement soon. “The congregational council will be a discerning body of spiritual leaders within the congregation. Instead of a maintenance board, the group will gather to not only discuss the business of the church, but also vision where we are going and how we are going to get there.” Notice the words “discerning”, “spiritual”, and “vision” mentioned in just that one sentence. One more sentence:  “Decisions will be made through a consensus-based model of decision-making interspersed with prayerful moments.”

A recent guest at a recent a church council meeting stated,  “You really have a different way of conducting your meeting affairs, it is very Spiritual” eluding to his more Roberts Rules of Order type business meetings he has at his Church, whereas ours was, as he said,  more spiritually administered.

Scripture must pervade and penetrate all our thinking and acting. The one Spirit will never lead in opposition to the written Word that he inspired. There must always be the outward authority of Scripture as well as the inward authority of the Holy Spirit. In fact, Scripture itself is a form of corporate guidance. It is a way God speaks through the experience of the people of God. It is one aspect of “the communion of the saints.”

This Discipline is also complex to understand, but it really comes down to using the Spirit in getting advice, taking action, leading and instructing towards the goal of obtaining what the Spirit wants us to understand.

I would challenge those that are not sure of using the Disciplines to give them a go at it and see if something works. It does take time for something to work, so don’ be disappointed if nothing happens right away.  Perhaps, you will have to “tweak” your attempts to get a reaction that you want. God is patient and maybe you should be also.

I can remember being frustrated when NOTHING OCCURRED right away. I wanted results NOW, and not later.  I found that what I wanted in my time was not God’s Time.