Monthly Archives: August 2017

Life in the Spirit

August 2017

 

Life in the Spirit

John 16:7 [Amplified Bible] – However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you].

My wife and I have focused our attention this summer on the Holy Spirit. Unless we’re reminded, we Christians tend to forget about this wonderful Helper Who has come to reside in us. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be in us like a bubbling artisan spring, and coming out of us like rivers of living water!

The Amplified Bible uses seven different titles to identify the Holy Spirit: Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, and Standby. Let’s take a quick look at each of these so we’ll not miss any of the benefits of Jesus’ gift to us.

Comforter. This is one who gives comfort. (Duh!) According to the dictionary, “comfort” means to give strength and hope to; to ease the grief or trouble of. There’s no reason to be weak or hopeless when the Holy Spirit lives in us. With His help we can do what Jesus told us [John 14:27] by taking the peace He gives and refusing to let our hearts be troubled or afraid.

Counselor. This is defined as a person whose job it is to give advice. There are a couple of things to consider here. First of all, even the best advisor does us no good unless we listen! Reading the Bible and praying in the Spirit are ways of listening. Then also there’s the principle of application. The best, most precise and wisest counsel in the world does no good unless it’s applied to one’s life.

Helper. The dictionary goes deep on this one. “Helper” is defined as “one who helps.” Okay. I think the key here is that the Holy Spirit is always there for to help, but not to do it for us. The Apostle Paul tells us the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. [Romans 8:26] The concordance says that these weaknesses can be “inability to produce results.” The Holy Spirit doesn’t do this FOR US, but helps us, assists us, in the process as we apply His advice in our lives.

Advocate. What is great about “advocate” is that we have two! Jesus is our Advocate in heaven. [I John 2:1] And the Holy Spirit represents us here. The dictionary gives these definitions: one who pleads the cause of another, specifically before a tribunal or judicial court; one who defends, maintains, supports or promotes. We might use the word “lawyer.” We are represented by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit partners. [Talk about heavy hitters!] And the great part is they represent us NON GRATIS! No charge. Jesus has already paid the fee! Unlike some worldly advocates, this team can be reached any time – day or night – 24/7 – toll free! Amen!

Intercessor. This again is a team effort. We’re told that Jesus ever lives to intercede for us. [Hebrews 7:25] This is an interesting word in the original Greek. According to Strong’s it means: to go to or meet a person, especially for the purpose of conversation, consultation, or supplication. One thought that jumps out at me here is that this means I always have Someone to talk to – Someone whose infinitely wise, and who cares about me deeply! Wow, talk about good news!

Strengthener. This is quite self-explanatory, isn’t it? He gives us strength! We can do as the Bible instructs and say we’re strong, even when feeling weak, because the Strengthener resides in us.

Standby. The dictionary cites this as “one to be relied on especially in emergencies.” The Holy Spirit – in any emergency – is more reliable than any first aid kit. After all He is God! That makes Him omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), and omnipresent (always there)!

So, my advice is, get to know your Helper! Cultivate your relationship with Him. Learn to recognize His leading. Apply His advice in your life. Pray in the Spirit regularly. This is not a duty – it’s a privilege!

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Should Christians Be Involved in Politics?

Politics – A Christian Enters the Fray

Presently we are a divided nation. We’ve fallen a long way from “One nation, under God, indivisible …” It seems that citizens either fear other citizens, or they’re angry at them. Yet being angry or afraid of people with whom we disagree is not only divisive, it’s unproductive. We need brave leadership to lift us above the anger and fear. We need our leaders to be our GPS – to work together and discover a route leading America out of this rut and back on a path to unity.

God has given us the Bible as an atlas to guide us forward. It provides us with God-given principles by which to live. Whenever we can find a potential leader who already endeavors to live their lives by these principles, we should take note. We have such a person in Loretta Rigney.

Loretta is currently running for Schenectady County Legislator. Recently I posed a few questions for her to answer. With her answers we can get a sense of what kind of leadership she would provide. Here is a record of these questions and her answers.

What steps brought you here?

Over the years, God has put wonderful people in my life who have helped me develop good relationship and community building skills. After watching the division that the Presidential election caused in our country, I began to think that perhaps those skills would be useful in local government so I wrote down a simple goal: “To run for public office”.  In my mind, it was a five year goal, but God opened doors so quickly that within a few months I had an interview for an open Town of Glenville Board seat.  I wasn’t selected for that position, but I made a good impression on the interview team which included members of the Schenectady County Republican Committee.  They asked me to interview for the County Legislator race and a week later they called me and asked me to run. It’s definitely been an exciting whirlwind.

Is your family on board?

I discussed running for office with my husband, Tom before I interviewed for the Town Board position and he was in agreement with me.  We discussed it again when I was asked to interview for the County race and again we were in agreement.  We prayed together before each interview.  When I got the call to run, I called him first and together we made the decision that I would accept the offer.  Campaigning is extremely time and energy intensive.  I’m out of the house a lot and the time away will continue to increase as we approach the election in November.  To have a supportive spouse is absolutely essential if I’m going to come home to a happy and peaceful house at night.

What has been the biggest surprise so far?

The biggest surprise was the impact that the minor parties have in the election of the major party candidates.  In NYS, in addition to the Democratic and Republican parties, there are also the Conservative, Green, Working Families, Independence, Women’s Equality, and Reform parties.  If these minor parties do not have their own candidates to run, they can endorse the major party candidates and their names will appear on that line of the ballot.  It’s agreed that the more times your name appears on the ballot, the better chance you have of winning, so getting those endorsements is highly sought after.  Candidates who were not endorsed can choose to get enough signatures from registered members of those minor parties to hold a primary in order to get their name on the ballot instead, but that can cause friction between the parties. Candidates have to decide between potentially “burning a bridge” with the influential leaders of the minor parties or fighting for that space on the ballot.   In this race, my running mates and I were endorsed by the Republican and Reform Party.  We decided not primary for the Conservative and Independence Parties and we have collected enough signatures to hold a primary for the Green Party.  We decided not to go after the Working Families and Women’s Equality endorsements due to conflicts with some of their positions.

What do you say to Christians who think we should stay out of politics?

God can use government to influence society. Since He works predominately through His people, if we’re not involved His opportunities to influence America are diminished.  Not all of us are called to run for office, but there are lots of ways to be active.  Good government is kingdom business.

Is there room for disagreement on political issues?

WWII General George Patton said, “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” When disagreements become personal attacks or lead to deadlock, nothing is accomplished and people are hurt and frustrated.  When differences in opinion lead to new ways of thinking and creative problem solving with everyone having a respected voice then amazing things can happen. We need people in office who can facilitate healthy discussions that result in high levels of efficiency, impact, and outcome.

How much influence can Christians have in the political arena?

Every American citizen qualified to vote can influence the political arena by casting a ballot in every election, especially local elections where the races could be very close. Parents should take their children to the polls with them to firmly instill this value.

As Christians we must be praying for our elected local, state, and federal officials.

At election time we must actively seek out accurate information on each candidate to make an informed decision on how to vote.  If possible, find an opportunity to speak personally with a candidate such as at a community event, a “Meet the Candidates” night, or if they come to your door. Reach out through social media or email and ask them about the issues that are important to you.

If a Christian wants a deeper level of involvement or strongly supports a particular candidate, there are opportunities to volunteer for the campaign. Things that can be done include donating money, putting a yard sign in front of your house, passing out literature, and making phone calls

What are the most important issues here locally?

I’m running in District 3, which includes Glenville, Scotia, and Niskayuna.  We are very concerned about the unfair distribution of sales tax revenue from Schenectady County to our towns.  Buying locally might keep sales tax within the county, but it’s not trickling down to our towns because our share of the revenue hasn’t increased since 2004. If you include inflation, that’s actually a decrease of 34%. The towns have been working hard on economic development including a new Target, Panera, Shop Rite, etc., but we get less than 1% of that new sales tax revenue back.  Beyond, the sales tax issue, if you look at the Schenectady County budget and compare it to other NYS counties of similar size, our spending is extreme! We can definitely do better and still take care of our residents.

Where do you see yourself going from here?

I’ll always be seeking out opportunities to use my skills and talents to serve our community.  Every morning, my prayer is that God will use me to execute some of the plans that He has for His world today.  Right now, He has me running for office and after Election Day on November 7th, He will have new plans for me. I just don’t know what they are yet.

How can your brothers and sisters best support you?

The support and encouragement that I’ve already gotten from those closest to me has been humbling.  Going forward my brothers and sisters can help by praying for me regularly, especially for wisdom in every situation. They can also give financially into the campaign, put out a yard sign, introduce me to their friends and family within the District, like and share our Facebook page, walk door to door with me in their neighborhoods, and make phone calls right before Election Day to encourage people they know to get out and vote. My goal is to really engage with the voters in the district so that they feel good about casting their ballot for me. An introduction to a candidate or a phone call from someone you know has much greater impact than a mailing, a billboard, or a television ad. I’m committed to building relationships, both with the voters and other leaders in the county, regardless of party affiliation.  It’s similar to building unity within the Body of Christ. We may come from different denominations, but we can find common ground and work together to achieve a common goal for the good of those we serve.

So, now you’re a little better acquainted with Loretta. Let’s take her final advice and be less fearful and angry. Find leaders like Loretta that you can wholeheartedly support and enter the fray.

 

Life in the Spirit

Life in the Spirit

John 16:7 [Amplified Bible] – However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you].

My wife and I have focused our attention this summer on the Holy Spirit. Unless we’re reminded, we Christians tend to forget about this wonderful Helper Who has come to reside in us. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be in us like a bubbling artisan spring, and coming out of us like rivers of living water!

The Amplified Bible uses seven different titles to identify the Holy Spirit: Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, and Standby. Let’s take a quick look at each of these so we’ll not miss any of the benefits of Jesus’ gift to us.

Comforter. This is one who gives comfort. (Duh!) According to the dictionary, “comfort” means to give strength and hope to; to ease the grief or trouble of. There’s no reason to be weak or hopeless when the Holy Spirit lives in us. With His help we can do what Jesus told us [John 14:27] by taking the peace He gives and refusing to let our hearts be troubled or afraid.

Counselor. This is defined as a person whose job it is to give advice. There are a couple of things to consider here. First of all, even the best advisor does us no good unless we listen! Reading the Bible and praying in the Spirit are ways of listening. Then also there’s the principle of application. The best, most precise and wisest counsel in the world does no good unless it’s applied to one’s life.

Helper. The dictionary goes deep on this one. “Helper” is defined as “one who helps.” Okay. I think the key here is that the Holy Spirit is always there for to help, but not to do it for us. The Apostle Paul tells us the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. [Romans 8:26] The concordance says that these weaknesses can be “inability to produce results.” The Holy Spirit doesn’t do this FOR US, but helps us, assists us, in the process as we apply His advice in our lives.

Advocate. What is great about “advocate” is that we have two! Jesus is our Advocate in heaven. [I John 2:1] And the Holy Spirit represents us here. The dictionary gives these definitions: one who pleads the cause of another, specifically before a tribunal or judicial court; one who defends, maintains, supports or promotes. We might use the word “lawyer.” We are represented by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit partners. [Talk about heavy hitters!] And the great part is they represent us NON GRATIS! No charge. Jesus has already paid the fee! Unlike some worldly advocates, this team can be reached any time – day or night – 24/7 – toll free! Amen!

Intercessor. This again is a team effort. We’re told that Jesus ever lives to intercede for us. [Hebrews 7:25] This is an interesting word in the original Greek. According to Strong’s it means: to go to or meet a person, especially for the purpose of conversation, consultation, or supplication. One thought that jumps out at me here is that this means I always have Someone to talk to – Someone whose infinitely wise, and who cares about me deeply! Wow, talk about good news!

Strengthener. This is quite self-explanatory, isn’t it? He gives us strength! We can do as the Bible instructs and say we’re strong, even when feeling weak, because the Strengthener resides in us.

Standby. The dictionary cites this as “one to be relied on especially in emergencies.” The Holy Spirit – in any emergency – is more reliable than any first aid kit. After all He is God! That makes Him omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), and omnipresent (always there)!

So, my advice is, get to know your Helper! Cultivate your relationship with Him. Learn to recognize His leading. Apply His advice in your life. Pray in the Spirit regularly. This is not a duty – it’s a privilege!

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.