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The Comfort and Encouragement of the Holy Spirit

A first century doctor makes an interesting observation about the Holy Spirit.  While initially described as the Holy Ghost in the original King James version of the Bible, Luke describes the feeling and sense new believers experienced following their baptism.  Despite being an invisible force, those who walked with God daily received an inner peace in the form of comfort and encouragement.  When I read the passage below for the first time, I pondered “what does it mean to walk in the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit?”

So the church throughout Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace [without persecution], being built up [in wisdom, virtue, and faith]; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it continued to grow [in numbers], Acts 9:31.

The term walking with God is found 62 times in the Bible.  One of the first references of this phrase occurs in the passage below, a command from God to Abram to activate his faith by arising and walking to fulfill God’s calling.  While Adam and Eve walked and talked with God in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 5:22 mentions that Enoch walked faithfully with God.  Subsequently, Enoch was spared death, taken up into heaven like Elijah.  Perhaps, this shines light on the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit.

Arise, walk (make a thorough reconnaissance) around in the land, through its length and its width, for I will give it to you.” 18 Then Abram broke camp and moved his tent, and came and settled by the [grove of the great] terebinths (oak trees) of Mamre [the Amorite], which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to [honor] the Lord, Genesis 13:17-18.

The comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit could also originate from teachings from Moses.  Deuteronomy 28 lists acts that result in blessings and curses from God.  The blessing list lasts 14 verses, followed by 54 verses on curses due to acts of disobedience.  Common sense tells me that if you are walking with God or as the apostle Paul puts it in Galatians 5:25, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, blessings will abound.  Moses states in Deuteronomy 28:2 that” all these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you pay attention to the voice of the Lord your God.”  Therefore, as individuals walk with God, blessings will bring comfort and encouragement to ensure believers that you are on the right track.

by Jay Mankus

A Lesson about the Human Mind

The word mind appears 95 times in the original King James Bible translation.  Many of these references appear in the New Testament.  The Greek word noús is the God-given capacity of each person to think.  This is where the concept of reason is derived, the mental capacity to exercise reflective thinking.  Thus, as an individual reads the Bible for the first time, the idea of an invisible supernatural force may be difficult to grasp.

But the natural [unbelieving] man does not accept the things [the teachings and revelations] of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness [absurd and illogical] to him; and he is incapable of understanding them, because they are spiritually discerned and appreciated, [and he is unqualified to judge spiritual matters], 1 Corinthians 2:14.

The apostle Paul addresses this struggle in the passage above.  Today, agnostics, atheists and scientists  reject initial thoughts of the Spirit of God.  To intellects, taught to expand their mind with natural and worldly ideology, biblical teachings seem absurd, foolish and illogical.  While debating, discussing and sharing the good news about Jesus to educated men, Paul came to the conclusion that many were incapable of understanding spiritual truths.  These stubborn souls are blinded by minds steeped in age old traditions.

But the spiritual man [the spiritually mature Christian] judges all things [questions, examines and applies what the Holy Spirit reveals], yet is himself judged by no one [the unbeliever cannot judge and understand the believer’s spiritual nature]. 16 For who has known the mind and purposes of the Lord, so as to instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ [to be guided by His thoughts and purposes], 1 Corinthians 2:15-16.

In May of 2008, Hollywood released Indiana Jones and the Kingdom Crystal Skull.  This film is based upon gnosis, the knowledge of spiritual mysteries.  After a pursuit for an ancient crystal skull, the climax reveals that knowledge belongs to aliens, higher beings beyond earth.  You don’t have to see this movie to be informed.  Rather, the passage above unlocks the secret to this life.  The Holy Ghost, an invisible counselor guides those who place their faith and trust in Jesus, Romans 10:9-10.  When you let God in, the Holy Spirit opens your mind to spiritual truths once hidden by a sinful nature.  May this blog inspire you to develop a Christ like mind.

by Jay Mankus

The Last Gift

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Since my father’s dad and mother’s mom died prior to my birth, I only knew 2 grandparents.  While my grandmother spoiled me with donuts and money, Grandpa Kautz and I developed a special bond through golf.  In his retirement, he worked part time at Hershey Country Club as a marshal and starter, able to play golf with his friends after each shift.  Before his health quickly faded, my wife and I were invited up for the day to play 18 holes on the East Course, a cherished memory I keep to this day.  A month following his funeral, my Aunt Marcia pulled me aside saying, “Paul wanted you to have this”, pointing to his set of Tommy Armour 845 irons.   Only a few years old, he knew I would appreciate them more than any other relative.  This was the last gift I received.

 
Beginning in John 12:20-36, Jesus pulled his disciples aside, revealing God’s plan for his life.  Trying to comfort their souls, Jesus conveys a message of hope, promising the Holy Spirit in John 14:15-31.  Jesus refers to a counselor who serves as a spirit of truth.  Continuing, Jesus makes a comparison to an orphan, vowing to provide relief to those who miss Jesus, John 14:18-19.  This promise became reality in Acts 2:1-4, as the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the apostle.  The man whom weeks earlier denied Jesus, afraid of being arrested or possibly meeting the same fate of Jesus, Peter is transformed by the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:14-39.  Jesus’ last gift provided a confidence his followers did not possess until after his ascension.

As time passed, some began to wonder if a Pentecost like Spirit was still possible.  The apostle Paul addresses this concern in Ephesians 19:1-6.  Verse 2 implies some believers had not even heard of the Holy Spirit.  However, when examining the original Greek text, the verse actually refers to receiving confirmation, a word from the Lord, on whether or not the Holy Ghost has ceased or continues to move as in the days of Pentecost.  Although this debate continues today, with most theologians clinging to the ceasing side, Joel 2:28 promises a mighty conclusion.  This prophet suggests that God’s last gift, will be poured out upon all people.  May you experience the presence of God like 2 Peter 1:3-4.

by Jay Mankus

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