Saturday, August 19, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
- Call Him Good (Psalm 104) - Sandra McCracken | by Sandra McCracke, Derek Webb and Don Chaffer
- As If That Were Not Enough (Psalm 40) - Sara Groves | by Lori Chaffer
- Let The Name Of God Be High (Psalm 113) - Derek Webb | by Don chaffer
- Go Outside (Psalm 149 & 150) - Robbie Seay Band | by robbie Seay, Chase Jenkins, Ryan Owens & Seth Woods
- Sing With Great Affection (Psalm 108) - Don Chaffer | by Don Chaffer
- Remarkable Things (Psalm 126) - Jami Smith | by Matthew Perryman Jones and Don Chaffer
- So Much You Have Made (Psalm 104) - Jill Phillips | by Phil Keaggy and Don Chaffer
- He Will Not Rest (Psalm 121) - Christena Graves | by Christena Graves
- Those Who Walk The Fields To Sow (Psalm 126) - Various Artists | by Lori Chaffer
- Please Don't Make Us Sing This Song (Psalm 137) - Lori Chaffer | by Lori Chaffer
- O The Death We Would Have Known If You Had Not Been With Us (Psalm 124) - Seth Woods | by Seth Woods
- Oh, That You Would Be (Psalm 108) - DonChaffer | by Andrew Osenga and Don Chaffer
- OverWrought (Psalm 42) - Don Chaffer and Derek Webb | by Sandra McCracken, Derek Webb and Don Chaffer
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
For couple of months, now, I have been thinking about things that have shaped my life and things that continue to transform me, daily. I have been thinking about my upbringing by my parents – the things that they did and taught has truly impacted my life and right now I can see the fruits of their labour, prayer, dedication, love and discipline.
I remember this very clearly and vividly; every morning we (my brother and I) use to go to our parent’s bedroom and sit by the foot of their bed. My parents would be drinking their morning tea and reading their Bible and praying. There, by the foot of their bed, they taught us many things but primarily both of them taught us strongly about “Fear-Of-The-LORD”.
My father, through proverbs, taught us that Fear-Of-The-LORD is the beginning of all knowledge and all wisdom.Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
…then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
And, my mother, through the Psalms, taught us how to practically live out the Fear-Of-The-LORD.
Psalm 34 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of
See the rest of the Psalms by clicking here.
Fear-Of-The-LORD is not something that we are afraid of, scared of or hide from. It is not something that we our self can do. We can not make it happen on our own. It comes from God, by the Grace of God, by His Holy Spirit, through faith that He has allotted to us; Because, because of our righteousness, who is in heaven and is always constant and never changes, we are righteous. Because of his steadfast love and abundant mercy. Because, in all, it brings glory and honour to Him and we can enjoy Him forever.
(While I am writing this I can see my mother humming the song, a loose translation from Nepali, “Be quite and be still and know that I am your God”)
On the foot of my parents bed, in prayer and cooperate family worship, I learned the first steps of the walk in being immersed in the “Fear-Of-The-LORD” - I learned to be in awe of our awesome God, I learned to love and to cry and sacrifice, I learned to pray and to be in worship of our LORD and saviour Jesus Christ…
We primarily sang three songs as our family worship songs; almost every morning we sang these songs. The first one is a translation from a Nepali song and the other two we sang it in English. (The first one, I can see so vividly my dad singing the song along steady beat of his claps - with his eyes closed softly; And the third one, I can see so clearly my mother singing it out loud with tears rolling down her cheeks).
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.Steadfast Love Of The Lord
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning
New every morning
Great is Thy faithfulness, O Lord
Great is Thy faithfulness
Make me a servant
Make me a servant, humble and meek, Lord, let me lift up those who are weak. And may the prayer of my heart always be, Make me a servant, make me a servant, Make me a servant today.
These songs have continued to ring through my mind and my heart almost every day. Oh!!!! How blessed I am and how thankful I am that God had me be born to such a faithful and obedient servants.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” Proverbs 22:6
"...But when we let the biblical contexts provide the conditions for understanding the word we find that it means something more like a way of life in which human feelings and behavior are fused with God’s being and revelation. There are upward of 138 occurrences of the term in a wide range of Old Testament books but most prominently in Proverbs, Psalms, Isaiah, Chronicles, and Deuteronomy. God is active in the term; the human is active in the term. “Fear-of-the-Lord” designates a way of living that cannot be dissected into two parts, any more than a baby can be dissected into what comes from sperm and what comes from egg. “Fear-of-the-Lord” is a new word in our vocabularies; it marks the way of life appropriate to our creation and salvation and blessing by God. ..."
First verse that popped into my head as my pastor was telling me about the "harmful spirit from the LORD" was “I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.” - Ecclesiastes 14 - 15.
I started looking into more about the sovereignty of God. I came across these verses.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,..
What are these “All things”?
Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
Psalm 44:11 You have made us (God’s people) like sheep for slaughter and have scattered us among the nations.
Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
Exodus 4:11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?
2 Samuel 12:15 And the Lord afflicted the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and he became sick.
1 Samuel 2:7
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
1 Peter 4:19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
Hebrews 12:4-7 (Persecution) In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
2 Timothy 2:25
correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,
Philippians 1:29 For it (salvation from God) has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,
1 Samuel 2:6
The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
Acts 4:27-28 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
God governs all, from the least to the biggest, from death to life, damnation to salvation.
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
God saves for His name’s sake. God’s grace is based on His love for His own name, to preserve and display His glory. If we repentant sinners look upon Him for mercy and lean on His name, He will honor his name and those who lean on it. It pleases Him to make us His own people.
1 Samuel 12:22 For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
You should see the stars tonight How they shimmer shine so bright Against the black they look so white Comin down from such a height To reach me now, reach me now
You should see the moon in the flight Cuttin cross the misty night Softly dancin in sunshine Reflections of this light Reach me now, you reach me now
And, you should feel the sun in the spring Comin out after a rain Suddenly all is green Sunshine on everything I can feel it now, i feel you now
And how could such a thing Shine its light on me And make everything beautiful
And, you should hear the angels sing All gathered round their king More beautiful than you could dream I've been quietly listening You can hear 'em now, i hear em now
And how could such a king Shine His light on me And make everything beautiful And i wanna shine I wanna be light I wanna tell you it'll be alright And i wanna shine and i wanna fly Just to tell you now It'll be alright, it'll be alright It'll be alright.
‘Cause I got nothing of my own to give to you But this light that shines on me shines on you And makes everything beautiful, again. It'll be alright, it'll be alright.
I really recommend this album and "A Collision"
I really recommend this album and "A Collision"
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Saturday, March 25, 2006
King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968. Letter from Birmingham JailRead the rest of the letter
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Friday, March 10, 2006
| You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan. You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath! For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me.
There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.
My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning. For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me. My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off.
Meanwhile, my enemies lay traps for me; they make plans to ruin me. They think up treacherous deeds all day long.
But I am deaf to all their threats. I am silent before them as one who cannot speak.
I choose to hear nothing, and I make no reply.
But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me. I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin. But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully. Those who render me evil for good accuse me because I follow after good.
Do not forsake me, O Lord!
O my God, be not far from me!
Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation!
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Monday, March 06, 2006
“For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried (I have chosen) you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!
Current NIV: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
TNIV (2005): No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. [identical to NIVI (1996)]
NLT:For people can't come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them from the dead.
ESV: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
Change in meaning: There is a loss of clear emphasis on the Father drawing an individual person. “Them” seems to be plural here, referring to a group. It is an incorrect translation of the third-person singular Greek pronoun autos...
Current NIV: Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life. . . .
TNIV (2005): Blessed are those who persevere under trial, because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life . . . . [identical to NIVI (1996)]
ESV: Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
NLT: God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Change in meaning: TNIV removes the example of a single “blessed man” who perseveres under trial and changes it to a group: “those” and “they.” The focus on God’s blessing on an individual believer is removed. The TNIV pictures a group under trial and suggests that reward waits until “they” all have stood the test. “Those” is an incorrect translation of the singular Greek word aner, which means “man,” not “person,” and certainly not “those.”
Read this Article: "World Magazine"Compare Versions @ BibleGateway.com
Friday, February 17, 2006
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
“A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
So, who are these priests…?
“And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it. So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the Lord of hosts. My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts, and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.”
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"
Then, how are we made clean…?
Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying,
“I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
“I will put my trust in him.”
“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. herefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
And, some more…
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one. He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead. Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
For your name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,
and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
for I am your servant.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Ten ways Old Testament believers experienced the Holy Spirit which in these "last days" of Pentecostal fulfillment ought to be enjoyed by the church.
- The Creator and Sustainer of their natural life. (Job 33:4)
- The new birth and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. ( John 3:10)
- The constant presence of God's Spirit. (Psalm 139:7-10)
- As their Counselor or Teacher. (Nehemiah 9)
- Craftsmanship and artistic ability in the service of God was a gift of the Holy Spirit. (Exodus 31:1-5)
- The filling of the Holy Spirit as a power to be bold in denouncing evil and declaring righteousness. (Micah 3:8)
- Victory over fear by the presence of the Spirit. (Zechariah 4:6)
- Extraordinary feats of power (Judges 14:6)
- To interpret God's revelation in dreams. (Acts 2:17)
- A gift of prophecy (Numbers 11:25)
February 19, 1984
The difference between a historian and a preacher is that the historian says, "Was it so?" and the preacher says, "So what?" I took a course in seminary on the Old Testament wisdom literature where we talked about Hebrew poetic parallelism and determinism and HeilesgeschichteGod's sake. "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31). And I can't help but think that knowledge for its own sake or art for arts' sake is a very callous and unloving motto. Surely for a Christian all study and all creative work must justify itself in terms of love. "Let all things be done for edification" (1 Cor. 14:26). "Let all that you do be done in love" (1 Cor. 16:13). Learning and labor which do not lead people in love to God are not prompted by the Spirit of Christ. ("salvation history") and I would generally raise my hand at the end of class and say, "So what?" I never have believed in knowledge for its own sake or art for arts' sake. Such notions have always struck me as profoundly atheistic. Surely for a Christian the only reason to study or be artistic is for
So when I pose myself a question like, How did believers experience the Holy Spirit before Pentecost? I can't think about it more than five minutes without saying, "So what?" Does anybody care? Would it make any difference for our lives today if we knew the answer? I think it will make a difference. I wouldn't bother with the question if I didn't. I want to show you ten ways the Old Testament saints experienced the Holy Spirit. But first let me tell you why I think it is so relevant.
Pentecost was a Jewish festival fifty days after the Passover. Jesus was crucified during the Passover celebration. Seven weeks later, on the day of Pentecost, the risen Lord Jesus fulfilled the promise he had made in John 15:26—namely, that he would send the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist had promised: The one who comes after me "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Luke 3:16). So at 9:00 on Pentecost morning, while the disciples were praying, "a sound came from heaven like a rush of mighty wind … and there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:2-4). Then Peter preached a sermon and said, "This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel, 'And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams …"' (Acts 2:16-17). In other words, Peter says, we have entered the last days: the Messiah has come, he has accomplished redemption on the cross, he has risen and ascended to the right hand of God, and the interval before he returns in glory will be marked by an incomparable outpouring of the Holy Spirit on men and women, old and young, slave and free, near and far. And the people of God in this period are to be a people born of the Spirit, baptized in the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit to bear witness to "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ." We live in the latter days of the Spirit. We live in the days that Isaiah (44:3) and Ezekiel (11:19; 36:26f; 39:29) and Joel (2:28) prophesied and longed to see. There are no more decisive turning points in redemptive history that must happen before Jesus returns to establish his kingdom. This is it. These are the days of Pentecost, the days of the fullness of the Spirit, the days of worldwide mission.
Now let me suggest an analogy to illustrate the experience of the Spirit before and after Pentecost. Picture a huge dam for hydroelectric power under construction, like the Aswan High Dam on the Nile, 375 feet high and 11,000 feet across. Egypt's president Nasser announced the plan for construction in 1953. The dam was completed in 1970 and in 1971 there was a grand dedication ceremony and the 12 turbines with their ten billion kilowatt-hour capacity were unleashed with enough power to light every city in Egypt. During the long period of construction the Nile River wasn't completely stopped. Even as the reservoir was filling part of the river was allowed to flow past. The country folk downstream depended on it. They drank it, they washed in it, it watered their crops and turned their mill-wheels. They sailed on it in the moonlight and wrote songs about it. It was their life. But on the day when the reservoir poured through the turbines a power was unleashed that spread far beyond the few folk down river and brought possibilities they had only dreamed of.
Well, Pentecost is like the dedicatory opening of the Aswan High Dam. Before Pentecost the river of God's Spirit blessed the people of Israel and was their very life. But after Pentecost the power of the Spirit spread out to light the whole world. None of the benefits enjoyed in the pre-Pentacostal days were taken away. But ten billion kilowatts were added to enable the church to take the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ to every tongue and tribe and nation.
So here's my answer to why the experience of the Old Testament saints is valuable for us today. If these saints experienced privileges and powers in the Holy Spirit before the dam was opened, how much more should we in these billion kilowatt days experience these things or more. A survey of Old Testament spiritual experience is needed to wake us up to our privileges in these last days that were inaugurated at Pentecost. The church today is so sleepy that some of us have even fallen behind the Old Testament saints in our appropriation of what the Spirit has to give.
So here are ten ways Old Testament believers experienced the Holy Spirit which in these "last days" of Pentecostal fulfillment ought to be enjoyed by the church.
First, and most basic, the O.T. believers were conscious of God's Spirit as the Creator and Sustainer of their natural life. In Job 33:4 Elihu speaks for all faithful Jews when he says, "The Spirit of God has made me and the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Psalm 104 celebrates the wonder and variety of all living things and says (vv. 29-30), "When thou takest away their breath they die and return to their dust. When thou sendest forth thy Spirit they are created; and thou renewest the face of the ground."
I hope you share this world view with the O.T. saints: namely, that your conception as a person in your mother's womb was a sovereign act of creation by God's Spirit and that every breath you take now and every chemical transaction in the cells of your body is sustained every moment by work of the Holy Spirit. The world we grew up in and live in does not see things this way. And we have by and large absorbed their mechanistic view of things. The world sees a mechanical process of evolution and natural selection. But the Christian ought to see the creative, imaginative work of God's Spirit. And every breath you take ought to be a prayer of thanks that you live and move and have your being in the Spirit of God.
Second, the O.T. believers experienced the new birth and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When Nicodemus was bewildered about Jesus' demand for new birth by the Spirit Jesus responded (John 3:10), "Are you a teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand this?" In other words, I'm not teaching or requiring anything new. Any Israelite who has ever been saved had to be born again by God's Spirit. Otherwise how would they ever overcome their natural hostility to God? How could they have ever submitted to God's law and pleased him—as many did, like Abel and Noah and Abraham and Moses and Rahab and Ruth and Deborah and David? Paul says in Romans 8:7-9, "The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, indeed, it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit if the Spirit of God really dwells in you." There are two groups of humans: those in the flesh (born of the flesh) and those in the Spirit (born again of the Spirit). Those in the flesh are devoid of the Spirit and cannot submit to God's law or please God. Those in the Spirit are indwelt by the Spirit and are enabled by him to fulfill the just requirement of the law.
This means that all the saints of the O.T. who trusted God and followed his ways in the obedience of faith were born again by the Spirit and indwelt by the Spirit. For example, Numbers 14:24 says of Caleb, "My servant Caleb, because he has a different Spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into this land." And Numbers 27: 18 says, "And the Lord said to Moses, 'Take Joshua the son of Nun in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand upon him …"' The O.T. believers were saved the same way we are: they were born of the Spirit, they trusted in God's promises, and they followed his commandments in the obedience of faith.
Third, the O.T. believers enjoyed the constant presence of God's Spirit. Psalm 139:7-10 says, "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, thou art there! If I make my bed in Sheol thou art there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me." Old Testament believers enjoyed the presence of God's Spirit wherever they went. It gives me a lot of encouragement, when I am called to go places where I feel insecure, to know that the Spirit is within to give me the words I need and that he is also already in the place where I am going to prepare the way and to hold me when I get there.
Fourth, O.T. believers experienced the Spirit of God as their Counselor or Teacher. In Nehemiah 9, Ezra gives thanks to God for all his past benefits to Israel and says in verse 20, "Thou gavest thy good Spirit to instruct them and didst not withhold thy manna from their mouth." Probably the Spirit was their instructor in two senses. It was by God's Spirit that the prophets spoke to the people God's word (Neh. 9:30) and it was by the Spirit that the people were enabled to grasp and apply the Word. Today the Spirit still instructs us by the Word of Scripture and we ought to pray earnestly for an outpouring of God's enlightening Spirit so that the Scriptures really live for us and become intensely personal.
Fifth, the O.T. saints believed that craftsmanship and artistic ability in the service of God was a gift of the Holy Spirit. God not only designed how he wanted his tabernacle built; he also equipped the craftsmen to do it. Exodus 31:1-5 says, "The Lord said to Moses, 'See, I have called by name Bezalel … and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting and in carving wood, for work in every craft."' In one sense all craftsmanship and artistic ability is a gift of God just like our breath is. But the text says that God called Bezalel by name and filled him with his Spirit. And I think there was and is today a special touch or filling of the Holy Spirit that elevates the work of an artist or a musician or a craftsman from mere technical skill to divinely empowered ministry that exalts God and builds faith.
Sixth, O.T. believers experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit as a power to be bold in denouncing evil and declaring righteousness. Micah 3:8 says, "As for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin." It doesn't lie within man's own power to risk his life and stand up for the truth of God and denounce sin. The Spirit gives that courage. Luke 1:15 says that John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb—and he got his head chopped off for denouncing Herod's unlawful marriage. Surely we have need today of men and women filled by the Spirit to expose and denounce evils in our society that are hardly blinked at any more: the exploitation of women's bodies and debasement in advertising, the unconscionable destruction of human life through abortion on demand, the maneuvers of our own country to destabilize other governments, the gross waste and gluttony of American life, the cavalier attitude to divorce and remarriage which God hates, and the multi-million dollar promotion of alcohol and cigarettes as anything less than family-destroyers and body-killers. When people are filed with the Holy Spirit they do not blink at evil.
Seventh, the saints of old experienced victory over fear by the presence of the Spirit. When God wanted to encourage the people to rebuild the temple after the exile he said, "Work, for I am with you … My Spirit abides among you. Fear not" (Haggai 2:5). Just think, if Jews returning from God's judgment in Babylonian exile can take heart that God's Spirit will protect them, how much more fearless should we be who have the overwhelming assurance of God's love and power in Jesus' death and resurrection! Old Testament saints knew then and Christians know today that victory over all threats and obstacles belongs to God. Zechariah 4:6 says, "Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts."
Eighth, some O.T. believers were enabled by the Spirit to do extraordinary feats of power to help God's people. For example, in the life of Samson we read, "The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him and he tore the lion asunder as one tears a kid" (Judges 14:6). Or: "The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him and the ropes which were on his arms became as flax" (15:14). It wasn't a common manifestation of the Spirit, but it was real then and it is today. Every now and then in extraordinary circumstances of need the Spirit enables ordinary Christians to perform amazing feats of rescue far beyond their ordinary capacity—like lifting a car off of a pinned husband or escaping from a raging rapist.
Ninth, the Spirit enabled some O.T. believers to interpret God's revelation in dreams. After Daniel interpreted Pharaoh's dream about the coming famine, Pharaoh says, "Can we find such a man as this in whom is the Spirit of God?" On the day of Pentecost Peter said that in these last days "your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams" (Acts 2:17). If these latter days are to be days of dreams and visions from the Holy Spirit we had better pray earnestly for gifted Daniels to arise among us who can discern truth and error in such claims.
Finally, the Holy Spirit gave some in the O.T. a gift of prophecy. For example, when Moses gathered with the seventy elders of Israel at the tabernacle it says in Numbers 11:25, "The Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him and took some of the Spirit that was upon him and put it upon the seventy elders; and when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did so no more." Evidently, God only gave a brief taste of prophetic powers to the seventy elders. It seemed to point to something more that might come in the future. Four verses later Moses says, "Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them" (v. 29). Which again points forward to the last days inaugurated at Pentecost. Peter says, "In the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy." What is this gift of prophecy? Where is it being manifested in the church today? Or is it? At least part of the answer to that is found in the teaching on spiritual gifts in 1 Cor. 12-14, which we will soon begin to study in an evening series.
This morning let me close simply by returning to the Aswan High Dam for a moment. Even before the dam was completed and the reservoir was officially unleashed on the day of Pentecost, the O.T. saints downstream enjoyed stupendous benefits from the river of God's Spirit. We do well to read about these things, and ask ourselves the simple question: if they experienced so much of God's Spirit which was but a trickle of the reservoir, how much more should we enjoy under the dozen turbines of Pentecost?