Thursday, January 26, 2012

Maxie Dunnam on the Holy Spirit

Maxie Dunnam, the former president of Asbury Theological Seminary was asked how he viewed the Holy Spirit at work in the world.  He gave this insightful answer:
“The Acts of the Apostles might well be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit and two great truths stand out: where there is much prayer, there is vivid expression of the Holy Spirit; where there is the vivid presence of the Holy Spirit, there is much praying. This dynamic relationship—prayer and the presence of the Holy Spirit—produces that which is beyond us; in fact, this is the source of miracles. One of the reasons we don’t see more miracles is that we don’t expect more miracles.  
There is an intimate connection between the Holy Spirit and intercessory prayer. Intercession is at the heart of our relationship to the Father, the risen and reigning Christ and to the Holy Spirit. Two verses of Scripture combine to give us the picture. Romans 8:27 says, God, who searches the heart, knows it is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Put that with the exhilarating fact that Christ ever liveth to make intercession for us, and you have the dynamic work of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God searches our minds and the Holy Spirit becomes the intercessor of our hearts. As the Risen Lord, Jesus is the great intercessor, so the intercessions of the Holy Spirit and the Christ are one. As we abide in Christ, our intercession is one with the Holy Spirit and Christ, the Great Intercessor, in the throne room of heaven.”
May we pray much, expect much and see much.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Surely Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me

A Christian friend on Facebook has a quotation that I like; she chose a section from the Psalms:
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. (Psalms 16:5-6 ESV)
I like that; don't you?  And from what I can tell about my friend and her lovely family, it is an accurate description of their lives.  They are blessed and I am blessed to know them.

Recently the Holy Spirit stirred my heart to consider a verse so well-known that I dare say it is often ignored.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalms 23:6 ESV)
It is said that familiarity breeds contempt and I am afraid this has happened in my life.  Consider how monumental these promises are for the child of God!

The Hebrew word for "goodness" is טוב and its semantic range is rich, depending on context. By Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions:
1) good, pleasant, agreeable (adjective)
1a) pleasant, agreeable (to the senses)
1b) pleasant (to the higher nature)
1c) good, excellent (of its kind)
1d) good, rich, valuable in estimation
1e) good, appropriate, becoming
1f) better (comparative)
1g) glad, happy, prosperous (of man’s sensuous nature)
1h) good understanding (of man’s intellectual nature)
1i) good, kind, benign
1j) good, right (ethical)
2) a good thing, benefit, welfare (noun masculine)
2a) welfare, prosperity, happiness
2b) good things (collective)
2c) good, benefit
2d) moral good
3) welfare, benefit, good things (noun feminine)
3a) welfare, prosperity, happiness
3b) good things (collective)
That's quite a list!  God's goodness is for me!

The Hebrew word for "mercy" is חסד and is translated by BDB as:
 1) goodness, kindness, faithfulness
This is a difficult word to translate.  Different English versions may have "mercy" or "kindness" or "lovingkindness."  In a nutshell, chêsêd means the "covenant love" or the "covenant faithfulness" of God.

David said that Yahweh gives his children beneficial goodness, favor and blessing.  What I find even more fascinating is how the Shepherd King describes these gifts coming to us.  The Hebrew verb which has been translated as "shall follow" is a Qal Imperfect.  BDB translates it as:
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to pursue, put to flight, chase, dog, attend closely upon
1a2) to persecute, harass (figuratively)
1a3) to follow after, aim to secure (figuratively)
1a4) to run after (a bribe) (figuratively)
A Hebrew Imperfect verb means the action has yet to be completed; the action isn't finished.  God's blessings continue to chase his children!  The blessings keep coming!  I like how the Emphasized Bible renders the verse:
 Surely, goodness and lovingkindness, will pursue me, all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of Yahweh, evermore. (Psalms 23:6)
Appropriate this by faith!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Craig Keener: My Sister-in-Law Was Raised from the Dead

Dr. Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary, gives two examples of people who have been raised from the dead by Christian prayer.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Asbury Seminary's Craig S. Keener: Not So Fast, David Hume!

Just because a person hasn't witnessed a miracle doesn't disprove the existence of them!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Daniel Radcliffe is an Atheist

Daniel Radcliffe, forever tagged as the talented actor who portrayed Harry Potter, is an atheist.  From an interview in Parade:
 Your dad is a Protestant from Ulster and your mom is English and Jewish. Were you raised in a particular religion?
"There was never [religious] faith in the house. I think of myself as being Jewish and Irish, despite the fact that I’m English. My dad believes in God, I think. I’m not sure if my mom does. I don’t. I have a problem with religion or anything that says, 'We have all the answers,' because there’s no such thing as 'the answers.' We’re complex. We change our minds on issues all the time. Religion leaves no room for human complexity."
Radcliffe is a sad casualty of postmodernism, the prevalent worldview in Western society today.  It is a viewpoint that celebrates doubt, champions uncertainty and ennobles pluralism.  This is why confessional Christianity is seen as intolerant: a faith that declares there are absolute moral truths and that people can know those truths is politically incorrect and considered rude, bigoted and ignorant.  Simply to take Jesus at his word when he said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," (John 14:6b ESV) is today labeled extremist, fundamentalist and right-wing.

So be it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Guy On A Buffalo

Sometimes we just need a good laugh. Don't over-think this one; don't analyze it. Just laugh.