Tag: Holy Spirit

7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Here are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit:

1.) Piety:

The gift of piety aids us to love God, our merciful Father, and to obey his precepts out of love for him. It moves our heart from serving God out of rites and obligation into a relationship of love. “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant, does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have revealed to you” (John 15:15).

2.) Fortitude:

While the gifts of knowledge and wisdom assist us to understand what we should do, the gift of fortitude empowers our will so that we can actually fulfill what is true, good and beautiful. This gift is sometimes called the gift of courage and aids us to stand firm, even when persecuted, in doing the right thing. “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you … This will be a time for you to bear testimony … I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your enemies will be able to withstand … you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish” (Luke 21:12-17).

3.) Fear of the Lord :

Commonly misunderstood as the fear of a wrathful God ready to smite us, the gift of fear of the Lord is actually more positive than negative. It comprises of a recognition of the grandeur of God and his primacy over all things. Fear of the Lord reveals that God is the creator and sustainer of the universe and we are his creatures. This gift aids us to comprehend how we must depend on God for everything. In other words, he is God, we are not. “If God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you” (Luke 12:27).

4.) Wisdom:

We receive the gift of wisdom to assist us to comprehend the things of God, and to direct our whole life and all our actions to his honor and glory. Wisdom assists us to see the world in different perspective and from God’s point of view. “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33)

5.) Understanding:

The gift of understanding helps us to know more clearly the mysteries of faith. “I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord; and they shall be my people and I will be their God” (Jeremiah 24:7).

6.) Counsel:

The gift of counsel assists us to discern what is right and what is wrong. It helps us in our ability to decide the path of God. “Go in by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is difficult, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7: 13-14).

7.) Knowledge:

When we receive the gift of knowledge, it helps us to discover God’s will in all things. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).

3 Ways You Can Experience the Holy Spirit

3 Ways You Can Experience the Holy Spirit

When it comes to the Holy Spirit, most evangelicals fall into one of two extremes. Some seem obsessed, relating to him in strange, mystical ways.

Other Christians neglect his ministry altogether. They believe in the Holy Spirit, but they relate to him the same way I relate to my pituitary gland: I’m really grateful it’s in there; I know it’s relevance for something; I would never want to lose it . . . but I don’t really interact with it. For these Christians, the Holy Spirit is not a moving, dynamic person. He’s more of a theory.

Yet Jesus made his disciples the most astounding promise about the Holy Spirit, one so astounding I think many of us do not really take it seriously: it was to their advantage, he said, that he return to heaven if it meant they receive the Spirit (John 16:7). If you ask Christians if they would rather have Jesus beside them or the Spirit inside them, which do you think most would select?

Doesn’t that show how far apart we are from grasping what Jesus was offering to us?

The Holy Spirit appears 59 times in the book of Acts, and in 36 of those appearances, he is speaking. “But wait,” some say, “we can’t use Acts as a pattern for our time! The apostles were a unique group.” And I comprehend that Acts shows a special epoch of apostolic history. But you cannot convince me that the only book God gave us instances of how the church walks with the Spirit is filled with stories that have nothing in common with our own. As John Newton put it, “Is it really true that that which the early church so depended on—the leadership of the Spirit—is important to us today?”

How We Experience His Presence

How then do we experience his presence? We probably have seen this question greatly abused. As I noted, many equate his movements with emotional flurries, irrational impressions, or random confluence of events. As I study Scripture, I see three ways we experience his presence: in the gospel,  in our spirit by communion with him in prayer, and through his sovereign control over our circumstances.

1.In the Gospel

For instance, in Ephesians 3:14–18, the apostle prays that the Ephesians would have the strength to understand the love of Christ—its breadth and length and height and depth—so that they may be “filled with all the fullness of God.” According to Paul, those two things—knowing the love of Christ in the gospel and being filled with “all the fullness of God”—are synonymous.

Puritan Thomas Goodwin compared this experience to that of a toddler son when his father swoops him up into his arms, spins him around, and tells him, “You are my son and I love you!” At that moment, the boy has become no more his father’s son, rightly speaking, than he was the time before. But being caught up in his father’s arms he feels his sonship more closely. When God’s Spirit fills us, he sheds abroad God’s love in our heart, making our spirit rise up to say, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 5:5, 8:15)

2. In Our Spirit

From the scripture, we see that God guides his people in a mission by putting special burdens into their spirits. When Nehemiah left for Jerusalem to rebuild its walls, he didn’t have instruction from God. He simply said that God had “put it into his heart” to do it (Neh. 2:12). When Paul came to Athens, Luke records his spirit was “provoked” within him about the idolatry in Athens (Acts 17:16). He evidently took this provocation as a direction to stay and preach the gospel there. Later in his ministry, he would identify a holy “ambition” that God had put in his heart to preach Christ only where he had never been named (Rom. 15:20). Up until then, his ministry had been broad—debate the gospel, build up the churches everywhere—but the Spirit later narrowed the focus of his ministry. Throughout our lives, we (at times) pass through a “holy discontent” about a specific issue or the pressing in of a specific promise of God to our context. This is often the Spirit’s invitation to go for a particular ministry.

3. Through Our Circumstances

Throughout Paul’s life we see him interpret open and closed doors as evidence of the Spirit’s leadership. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he makes it clear he will stay in Ephesus to preach because a “wide door for effective work” has been opened, which he evidently took as the Spirit’s leadership (1 Cor. 16:8). Again, no special prophetic word, no handwriting in the sky, no Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich—just an open door.

This one can be tricky, because an open door doesn’t always mean something is God’s will. Jonah happened on a ship to Tarshish, but God’s will for him was 180 degrees in the opposite direction. Likewise, a closed door doesn’t always mean something is not God’s will. In Paul’s explanation to the Corinthians of why he would stay in Ephesus (stated above), he notes many difficulties lay ahead of him. He didn’t interpret these hardships as evidence God wanted him to leave, but to stay.

Symbols Of The Spirit

Symbols Of The Spirit

Part of the richness of our Catholic sacramental life is its tangibility — its gets to our senses. Natural elements like water and fire are used in our sacraments to remind us of holy intangibles. Yet these symbols aren’t things that Church folks dreamed up — it’s been the way God has showed himself since the beginning. God uses familiar things to assist us come to know his way, truth, and life. God is pure spirit. From the ages, God has used a variety of symbols to disclose his closeness to us. The Catechism of the Catholic Church shows many symbols of the Holy Spirit.

Water

Our Baptism puts into us into the very life of God by power of the Holy Spirit. For us, it is really a new birth.

After the invocation of the Holy Spirit [water] becomes the efficacious sacramental sign of new birth: just as the gestation of our first birth took place in water, so the water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the divine life is given to us in the Holy Spirit. (CCC, 694)

Anointing

Anointing with oil is similar with the Holy Spirit. King David was anointed, and much later, Jesus was called the Christ, which shows the one “anointed” by the Holy Spirit. Christians are anointed, too, in Confirmation.

The symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit … anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation. … Its full force can be understood only in relation to the primary anointing done by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus. (CCC, 695)

Fire

Fire symbolizes the transforming power of the Spirit. The Catechism cites Scriptural examples, including the words of Jesus and the day of Pentecost.

Jesus will say of the Spirit: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled” [Luke 12:49]!

In the form of tongues “as of fire,” the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself  [Acts 2:3–4].  (CCC, 696)

Cloud and light 

Several Old Testament manifestations of the Holy Spirit took place via clouds and light. The New Testament has more.

The Spirit comes upon the Virgin Mary and “overpowers” her, so that she might conceive and give birth to Jesus [Luke 1:35]. On the mountain of Transfiguration, the Spirit in the “cloud came and overpowered” Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter, James and John, and “a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him’” [Luke 9:34–35]! Lastly, the cloud took Jesus out of the sight of the disciples on the day of his ascension [see Acts 1:9; Luke 21:27]. (CCC, 697) 

The seal

In Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, a holy seal on the soul follows the anointing.

“The Father has put his seal” on Christ and also seals us in him [John 6:27; see 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30]. Because this seal shows the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit … to express the indelible “character” imprinted by these three unrepeatable sacraments. (CCC, 698).

The hand      

The hands of Jesus remind us how God uses the sanctified hands of priests.

Jesus heals the sick and blesses … by laying hands … [see Mark 6:5; 8:23; 10:16]. … Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles’ imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given [see Acts 8:17–19; 13:3; 19:6]. … The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epiclesis. (CCC,699)

The finger

The Spirit’s “finger” writes his law in ways both physical and spiritual.

If God’s law was written on tablets of stone “by the finger of God,” then the “letter from Christ” given to the care of the apostles, is written “with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts” [Exodus 31:18; 2 Corinthians 3:3].  (CCC, 700)

The dove

Finally, Christian art often represents the Holy Spirit as a white dove, as based in Scripture.

When Christ comes up from the water of his baptism, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes down upon him and stays with him [see Matthew 3:16].  (CCC, 701)  

The Person of the Holy Spirit as Most Abused

The Person of the Holy Spirit as Most Abused

Do you know that you have the Holy Spirit in you? Are you able to say with conviction that he is working in your life?

Ephesians 1: 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

He is the difference between the productive and unproductive Christian. Look at the Apostles. Jesus himself told them to wait for the Holy Spirit before they start work. They were so scared that they locked their door. But when the spirit came all that changed. Fearless Christians are spirit filled Christians.

LET US PRAY

Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of thy faithful…

At our third priestly anniversary at St Michael Anguldi hated by Father Timothy there was a question and answer session and someone asked: why is there no Holy Spirit in the Catholic Church?

Permit to respond in an elementary way:

The Eucharist is the greatest sacrifice and worship which Jesus himself has instituted but it is not possible without the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is responsible for the transubstantiation. We start our prayers and liturgy in the name of the Trinity. No Church professes the prayer (Glory be…). The creed which is used by all Christians even though they don’t know the implication is the product of our faith. It says: “I believe in the Holy Spirit.” In the whole of Christian practice there is no place where a feast is dedicated to the events of Pentecost which is the feast of the Holy Spirit with a complete and elaborate Novena akin to the waiting by the Apostles in the upper room. The life in the spirit seminar has been effective in introducing people into living by the power of the spirit. Unfortunately only CCRN and CBM members take it serious.

In all humility, if truth be told, this accusation should not be ignored because it bothers on the integrity of the Church and is one of the reasons our members are deceived to leave the faith and join the bandwagon.

The fact is while others make the noise about scripture and God, we do the commands of scripture and God. We practicalize the Bible.

REAL PURPOSE OF PENTECOST

We must be careful at Pentecost not to give the impression that it is time of waiting on the Holy Spirit. The Apostles did wait as Jesus commanded. And since then the Holy Spirit has been with the Church as promised by Jesus. In our own case we received the Holy Spirit at Baptism and it is commissioned in us at confirmation.

We commemorate Pentecost to:
. Celebrate the birthday of the Church
• “Recall the powerful event that took place when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples.”
• “Revive our life in the Holy Spirit”
• “Pray for the renewal of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives.”
• “Ask God to renew again the Church and the face of the earth.”
. ToCrown and conclude the Easter celebration.
. Celebrate the third person of the Blessed Trinity.

SOME MODERN DAY ABUSES OF THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

TRUE AND FALSE SPIRITS

I John 4:1 says dear friends do not believe anyone who claims to speak by the spirit. (Meaning people can claim to speak by the spirit) but test the spirit to see if it comes from God.

In Nigeria, the easiest way to cheat people and deceive people be it in business or politics and even religion is to say ‘the spirit ministered to me’ or ‘the Lord spoke to me’ or ‘God revealed to me’ or ‘I saw a vision.’

No wonder we have gifts of the spirit(The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD) but no fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).
This because these gifts are no longer gifts since we have established schools to how to have and manifest these gifts especially of tongues, prophecy and healing. A boy came from the village to serve his uncle. He could not speak in tongues and this got him a reprimand from his master. The boy decided to speak in tongues too by learning one of the tongues spoken in the house. When next the boy started, the master had to shut him up because he was speaking his wive’s tongue which he learned since she spoke it everyday at prayer.

THE ‘HOLY GHOST FIRE’ PHENOMENON

The tongues of fire that came on the disciples at Pentecost are the fire of love and not hatred and malice or revenge. When God says he is a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24; Heb 12:29) and is a jealous God, he means that we should worship him alone and offer him pleasing sacrifice of our lives not to call on him to burn our enemies. In any case, it is the same God who says vengeance is mine. (Deut. 32:35 and Rom. 12:17) The same God who rebuked the disciples in Luke 9:55 when they wanted to call down fire from heaven upon their enemies. “He said you do not realize what kind of spirit you are made of.”

THE RAMPANT BELIEVE IN ANCESTRAL SPIRITS AND GENERATIONAL CURSES

It must be acknowledged that evil exist. But those who believe that ancestral spirits and generational or whatever curses control their lives are yet to be born in Christ. The Holy Spirit is yet to take roots in their life. 2 Cor. 5:17 says those who are in Christ are a new creation. Old things have passed away. To be baptized is to be forgiven the debt of sins you owe since the time of Adam not just the sins of your ancestors who are even more recent after the coming of Christ.

It is dubious pastors and ignorant faithless Christians who carry the baggage of belief in ancestral spirits and generational curse. We have heard of charge and bail Pastors and prayer warriors who demand all sorts of amount to liberate families and entire communities from ancestral spirits and curses and all. We take our spirituality to ridiculous levels when we blame all our failures on generational curses. Let us be smart and hard working. Then let us love God and one another. The way it is, if all poverty and backwardness only is only explained by these problem of spirits and curses then the whole of Africa will need deliverance because we are all poor, backward and suffering. Thanks to our wicked hearts and failure of governments.

In Numbers 14:18-25 the lord is declared as slow to anger, abounding in love forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet not not declaring the guilty guiltless but punishing children to the third and fourth generation for the sins of their Fathers. God forgave that sin when Moses interceded but those who rebelled by doubting God to save them from the giants that Caleb and the rest saw when they went to spy where the ones to die. Paul has told us the wages of sin is dead. Why can’t we just live in obedience to God’s commands instead of obeying the devil and living in fear of his wicked evils.

How many of us keep our baptismal promises: do we even remember them?

TIPS TO RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT

THE SACRAMENTS OF BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION.

“On Pentecost day God formed a new Israel, a new community that was beyond the geographical confines of Israel. This time, He presented to this new community of believers, not the law but the Holy Spirit. God foretold this significant through the prophets, when he said, ‘Deep within their beings, I will implant my laws and write it in their hearts’ (Jeremiah 31:33). At the beginning of creation, Adam was born into natural life when God breathed into him; on the day of Pentecost the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary were reborn into supernatural life when Jesus breathed into them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).”

Likewise, this is what happens at Baptism and Confirmation. We read in Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

PRAY FOR IT

God is eager to give us the Holy Spirit. In Luke 11:13 Jesus asks if evil us know to give good things to our kids ‘How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who asked?’

Pray with Mary. Her intercession ensures the fulfillment of the promise to receive the holy spirit. On Pentecost day when the spirit came she was there praying for the disciples to receive the Holy Spirit she who had first received at the annunciation when the angel said in Luke 1:35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most Highwill overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. “Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin Mary too much. You can ever love her more than Jesus did.” (St. Maximillian Kolbe).

OBEDIENCE TO THE COMMANDMENTS

John 14:15-17 puts it simply. If you love me keep my commandments. And I will ask the father to give you another advocate, the spirit of truth who wil, teach you all things.

FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHERS

The account of the descent of the Holy Spirit said “they were all together in the upper room praying when the spirit came upon them.” 1 John 2:19 says 18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming,even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. Scott Han says: “when we see divisions in the church then we see a need for the Holy Spirit.” Stop doing TV and radio church and solo spirituality. It is satanic. Stan wants to isolate to deal with you.

SIGNS OF THE PRESENCE OF THE SPIRIT

Obviously we go straight to Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness
23 Humility, self control: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Jesus said in Luke 6:27-30 “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. Paul said in 2 Cor. 12:9 my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Pope Francis says there is no humility without humiliation.

FEARLESSNESS

The letter to the Romans 8:14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[a] And by him we cry, “Abba,[b] Father.”

LOVE OF GOD AND OTHERS

1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen,cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. the greatest means to test the presence of the spirit. His parting instruction is by your love all men will know that you are my disciples, John 13:34-35. In Romans 13:8&9 Paul says love is the fulfillment of all the commandments.

SERENITY AND GRACEFULNESS IN TRIALS

Paul said in Philippians 4:12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Job 8:7 says “Though your beginning was insignificant, Yet your end will increase greatly. Remember the Holy Spirit is called the Comforter.

CONFIRMATION

Testimonies of answered prayers and light in the confusions and challenges of life. Jesus has said in John15:5I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.

LET US PRAY
Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of thy faithful…

Written By Rev. Fr. George Barde.



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