Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Think About a Hymn

Open Hymnal

Lord Keep us Steadfast in Your Word 

Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word;
Curb those who by deceit and sword
Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son
And bring to naught all He has done.

Lord Jesus Christ, Your pow’r make known,
For You are Lord of lords alone;
Defend Your holy Church that we
May sing your praise eternally.

O Comforter of priceless worth,
Send peace and unity on earth;
Support us in our final strife
And lead us out of death to life.

By Martin Luther
Text is in the public domain
Source: http://www.hymnary.org/text/lord_keep_us_steadfast_in_your_word

  • The hymn addresses the three persons of the Trinity in sequence, but each verse focuses on a specific element of godly living. What three things does Luther consider essential to the Christian life?
  • In your daily life, where do you see people who work by deceit to destroy Christ’s kingdom on earth? In a choice between deceit and sword, which weapon do you think does the most damage to the people of God’s kingdom?
  • What does Luther think is the best way to resist enemies of God’s kingdom?
  • Where do Christians find the power to stand strong when under attack?
  • What Bible verse comes to mind when you read the second verse of the hymn?
  • Who is the Comforter mentioned in the third verse? What essential role does this Comforter fill when we read the Word, mentioned in the first verse?

By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com. Watch for the release of Thrive! Live Christian in a Hostile World, planned for release in the winter of 2016

Image: Open Hymnal Source:http://foter.com/
License: CC BY-NC-SA

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Bible Study is not about Passing a Quiz

Open BibleWhen I was nine years old, my church gave me a Bible for my very own. A whole Bible. Just for me. Talk about proud! Up to that time, my only Bible was a New Testament my grandmother gave me when I was five. I loved it, but it was only part of the Bible. I was so excited about that new Bible that I almost floated away.

In the years after that moment, I pretty much wore out that Bible. I learned to say all the books in order. I learned every memory verse assigned for Sunday School. I could find a Bible verse in my new Bible faster than just about anybody could. I “knew” my Bible.

Unfortunately, Bible “knowledge” did not really translate into Bible behavior for a long time. I was really good at answering Bible questions. Where does the Jordan River end? Whose name was Saul before it was Paul? What amazing thing did Elijah do on Mount Carmel? I “knew” those answers, but I studied the Bible the same way I studied science; I wanted to learn the facts.

Do you have that problem? Do you perhaps think that it is not worthwhile for you to read the Bible, because you need to look in the table of contents to find the first page of Isaiah? Do you think that you do not know enough “about” the Bible to understand it?

Do not let this problem keep you from reading and learning from the Bible. God did not inspire and preserve the Bible in order for us to become professorial about it. God gave us the Bible as a guide for faith and life, and if you can read, you can learn from the Bible. No matter who you are, no matter where you are, you have access to the finest Bible teacher available, and you do not need an internet account. God provided the Bible, and God provided the best teacher, too—the Holy Spirit.

This is why prayer and Bible study go hand in hand. When you read the Bible, you do not need to read it alone. You can read it with understanding, as the Holy Spirit guides you. Jesus promised us this guidance on the night before his crucifixion.  He knew the horror that lay ahead of him that night and the next day, but before he endured it, he spent the evening with his disciples, comforting them and reassuring them in advance. He promised them that the Holy Spirit would come and that the Holy Spirit would teach them everything they needed to know. Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth… the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things” (John 14:16-17, 26 ESV). Every believer who asks the Holy Spirit for help will receive the help he needs in order to understand what he reads in the Bible.

This does not mean that you should scorn Bible teacher, pastors, commentaries, maps and books on biblical backgrounds. The more informed your mind is, the more the Holy Spirit has to work with when you read the Bible. You will be blessed repeatedly as you participate in group studies, read devotions by faithful fellow Christians, worship and study in formal classes. All these forms of education are excellent, and you will grow as you engage in these studies. However, do not confuse them with the work God wants to do in your life when you read the Bible. It is the leadership of the Holy Spirit as you read that actually has the power to transform your life. “Book learning” does not transform you; answering all the questions in a Bible quiz does not transform you; the Holy Spirit transforms you.

You can make time to read the Bible.

You can understand the Bible.

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you can be transformed.

The daily chaos of life is stressful and maddening. The world often looks upside down. What is happening, and what can you do about it? You can make time to pray and read the Bible, and let the Holy Spirit transform you. That is what you can do.

By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com.

Image: Open Bible
Source:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AOpen_Bible.jp
Attribution:  By Wnorbutas (Own work)
License:CC BY-SA 3.0 

National Name Yourself Day

flaming tongue

My good friend Kathi Macias daily informs her friends on Facebook of all the different things being celebrated on any given day. I was blown away today when she announced “National Name Yourself Day.” This is my day! I want a new name. I know that in heaven Christ will give me a new name, but today, I want to name myself.

I choose the name Firesinger.

I sing the songs the Holy Spirit sang as the tongues of fire lingered over the heads of those gathered in the upper room on Pentecost. I don’t know if all my songs will be lyrical. Some may be lists. Some might be essays or scribbled notes. But they are songs, nonetheless, because if I can name myself, then I can label what is a song and what isn’t. After all, if I sing it, it is a song!

Each of us is to be a flaming tongue in the world. When Jesus went back to heaven, he told us to get busy sharing his love everywhere, and in that role, each of us is a tongue, flaring wherever there is darkness, evil, oppression, hatred, lies, and slavery to sin. The light of Jesus flames over the world as the Holy Spirit visits each of us.

My song is the song of everyone who has met Christ and welcomed him inside. I sing of the joy every person discovers when he is set free by God’s forgiveness through Christ, made clean because of Christ’s death on the cross, resurrected from the dismal, dark, despairing grave because of Christ’s resurrection.

Sing your song today and don’t let anyone shut you up.

Love,

Firesinger

By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com.

Original Image: Image URI: http://mrg.bz/hNjE1l

 

A Hymn for Meditation

hymnalBe Thou My Vision

Be thou my vision,
O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me,
save that thou art;
Thou my best thought
both by day and by night,
Waking or sleeping, t
hy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom,
and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and
and thou with me Lord.
Thou my soul’s shelter
and thou my high tower,
Raise thou me heavenward
O Power of my power.

Light of my soul,
after victory won.
May I reach heaven’s joys,
O heaven’s Son.
Heart of my own heart,
whatever befall,
Still be my vision,
O Ruler of all.
 

  • Who sits on the throne of your heart? Do you ever need to give SELF  a quick boot to make room for the real king?
  • What will change in your day if you act only on wisdom revealed by the Holy Spirit? How can you assure that the Holy Spirit lives in every word you speak? 
  • Can you think of a victorious experience when you felt that the Holy Spirit lighted up your soul? Can you think of more than one such experience? Is there a single characteristic that stands out as a unique element of this experience?
  • What do you think the hymnwriter means by addressing the Holy Spirit as “Power of my power?”
  • The Apostle’s Creed includes the statement, “I believe in the Holy Spirit.” What comes to mind when you speak those words?

A Hymn For Meditation

hymnalCome gracious Spirit, heav’nly Dove

Come, gracious Spirit, heav’nly Dove,
With light and comfort from above;
Be Thou our Guardian, Thou our Guide,
O’er every thought and step preside.

The light of truth to us display,
And make us know and choose Thy way;
Plant holy fear in every heart,
That we from God may ne’er depart.

Lead us to Christ, the living way,
Nor let us from His pastures stray.
Lead us in holiness, the road
That we must take to dwell with God.

  • The Holy Spirit is often depicted as a dove. Why? Where in the Bible is that image depicted?
  • Are you conscious of the presence of the Holy Spirit guarding and guiding you through the day, or do you get busy and forget all about it? When was the most recent time that you suddenly realized how the Spirit had protected and guided you even though you were not paying attention?
  • Why does this hymnwriter expect that the Holy Spirit can show us the truth? Why is it important to have a reliable source of truth?
  • How can anyone possibly walk on Christ’s road in holiness? When someoneaway  accuses Christians of doing all the things they disapprove of, how can you answer that accusation? How do you point people away from sinful Christians to Christ as the One they need?

by Simon Browne