A Friday Snippet

I saw this on Face Book and just had to post.  This came from the Prodigal Daughter…

 

theology

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Don’t Give Up…

By Patrick Hawthorne

stony path

 

This post is out of the norm for me.  I prefer to stay with teaching the Word but I feel that a little edifying is needed.  I sense weariness within the Body of Christ and just want to offer a bit of encouragement.

To begin, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  I have been tempted on numerous occasions to quit.  “Quit what?” You might ask.  Well… to quit blogging, to quit teaching the Word, to quit caring about living holy and pure before the Lord… to just quit life and live the remainder of my life as a hermit out in the woods away from people.

Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in. (Galatians 6:9 Amplified)

I don’t know if you are aware, but Satan is a very real enemy who knows that his days are limited.  As such, he is doing his best to cause discouragement among the Body of believers.  Just as he tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he is even so tempting us.  He is tempting us to quit, to give up, and to throw in the towel.

What is the solution?  That is simple… keep your eyes on Jesus.  Look away from all the distractions of the world.  No matter what may come your way, refuse to take your eyes off Jesus.  Consider Him…meditate on Him, talk to and with Him.  (Hebrews 12:1-3.)  Before you know it, the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will encompass you completely.  Suddenly, you will find the urge to quit has been replaced by a second wind so that you may continue your race.

Now, for a little exhortation.  “Shut the blasted news channels off!”  Most – not all mind you – of the major media personalities would not know Jesus even if He walked up, tipped His hat, and said, “How do you do?”  Quit meditating on the words of unbelievers who are promoting their own agenda or fears.  You are not of fear but are of faith.  Act like it!  Keep your eyes on Jesus and quit opening the door to discouragement.

As always, this advice is just as much a pep talk for me as it is encouragement for you.  Be blessed.

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To Fear or Not to Fear…The Fear of the Lord (Part 2)

By Patrick Hawthorne

Long_Distance_Running

In   To Fear or Not to Fear…The Fear of the Lord (Part 1)  , I discussed that the fear of the Lord is not to be fearful or afraid of the Lord but to walk in such a reverence for our Heavenly Father, for the Being and love of His character, that we exercise our faith in total and uncompromising obedience.  It is to have such a love and respect for Him that we would be willing to give our lives for His service.

There are several sides to fearing the Lord.  Many Christians, when asked about fearing the Lord, tend to gravitate to the side of authority; to the side of His demand for perfect justice.  Now, that is not a bad thing at all.  However, if our focus is only on the justice and judgment side of “Almighty God,” we will miss the relational side of “Heavenly Father.”  Both sides deal equally with fearing the Lord.

James 4:8 tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us.  Do you know that you can dictate just how much of a relationship you have with the Father?  If this were not so, why would James tell us, in just a few verses before, that the Holy Spirit yearns for us with a jealousy so intense that it equates with a lust.  Why would the Word say that the sum of God’s thoughts for us is more than the sand of this earth?

Think about it…If you were to say, “I have a reverential fear of the Lord,” but you only thought about Him every now or then, how much effort do you think He would put into the relationship?  Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.  It is your decision.

Another side of fearing the Lord is to not treat as common that which the Lord has sanctified.  Remember when Peter saw the vision of the sheet with the animals come down from heaven (Acts 10:9-16)?  The Lord told him to eat.  Peter’s response was, “No, Lord.  I will not eat anything unclean or common.  The Lord told him, “What God has cleansed, that call not thou common.”

Too often, we Christian’s want to approach our Heavenly Father in the same fashion we would approach a fast food drive through.  We treat coming into His presence as a common thing or an “Oh, it’s you again,” type thing.  Try that with your mate and see how that works out for you.  I’m betting you would be sleeping in the dog house.  No, we should cherish the opportunity to approach our Heavenly Father.

Awhile back I heard a minister say that when he goes before the Lord during his prayer time, he makes it a practice to pause for a couple of seconds before praying and to meditate on the goodness of God.  He had learned to not treat as common his prayer time but to relish in the joy of coming before His Heavenly Father.  The minister said that when he started doing this he noticed an almost immediate feeling of the presence of the Lord.

My thought was, “Well, if it works for him, I will give it a try.”  Sure enough, not only did I begin to feel an almost immediate presence of the Lord, but my prayer time became less feeling like a one-sided conversation and more of a chat time with my Lord and friend.   It’s wonderful!  I have learned the, “Hallowed be Thy name,” part of the Lord’s Prayer.

As I wrote in part one of this two part series, I don’t have the Fear of the Lord perfected.  I’m far from it.  However, I am in the race.  How about you?  Are you ready to put on your running shoes and join me in this race?  Be blessed.

 

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To Fear or Not to Fear…The Fear of the Lord (Part 1)

By Patrick Hawthorne

Oswald-Chambers

 

 

“The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” Oswald Chambers

 

 

To fear or not to fear…that is the question?   If I were a betting man, I would bet that I could ask ten Christians what it meant to fear the Lord and at least two would not know and eight would give the ole standby response, “Why, to fear the Lord means to give Him reverence, awe, and respect.”

My next question would be, “How?  How are we to give reverence, awe, and respect to God?” I dare say that I would hear a lot of crickets chirping and even more hemming and hawing as each person pondered this question.    For you none Southern folk, to hem haw means doing a lot of, “Well…hmmm…uhhhh…”  It means to be indecisive as you squirm in your chair looking for something of substance to say.

If it makes any difference, I too have struggled with this very issue.  For that matter, I still struggle with this issue to some degree.  For instance, we are told in the Bible to fear the Lord.  Yet, at the same time, we are to approach God with the faith of a little child and call Him “Father.”  We are instructed to come boldly before His throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).  But, at the same time, we are to serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling (Psalm 2:11.)

“So, Mr. Smarty Pants…Just what does it mean to fear the Lord?”

“Good question.  I’m glad you asked.  First, let us learn what it is not.

Fearing the Lord does not mean to be afraid of Him.  Do you know that even Jesus feared the Lord?  It’s true.  Look at Isaiah 11: 1-2 (bold/underline mine.)

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.  The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.  His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears;

We know that Jesus is not afraid of the Father.  Yet, His delight is in the fear of the Lord.  So just what is the fear of the Lord?  To answer this question, we need only look to Jesus and follow His example.

To fear the Lord means to have such a reverence for our Heavenly Father, for the Being and love of His character, that we exercise our faith in total and uncompromising obedience.  It is to have such a love and respect for Him that we would be willing to give our lives for His service.

To truly fear the Lord is to have a deep reverence for Him…such a deep reverence that He comes before anyone or anything else.  I believe that Oswald Chambers said it best, “The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”

In my next post, I will take a brief look at the “How” of walking in the fear of the Lord.  For the record, I have not attained a total fear of the Lord; not even close.  However, I am still running my race towards the finish line.  Until next post, be blessed.

 

 

 

 

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Tongues…The Misunderstood Language (Part 4)

By Patrick Hawthorne

joel 2_28

Today I bring you Part 4 in the series “Tongues…The Misunderstood Language.”  For Parts 1 through 3 please click on the following links.

Tongues…The Misunderstood Language (Part 1)

Tongues…The Misunderstood Language (Part 2)

Tongues…The Misunderstood Language (Part 3)

For this last post, I will briefly share how I came to speak in Tongues. For those who are leery, suspicious, doubtful, or any other synonym you can think of to question whether Tongues are for today, my hope – following this series – is that you will find that this heavenly language is not anything to be fearful or doubtful of.

It was several years ago when I began to speak with other Tongues.  I was in my home, alone, praying and listening to worship music.  For a little background… I had been one who was raised in a Baptist church, went through the faith movement of the 70’s, dabbled in Catholicism for a couple of months, went a couple of times to a Pentecostal church, became a member of a Missionary Baptist church, and lastly ended up in a non-denominational charismatic church where I am still to this day.  To say that I was confused was an understatement.

I don’t remember much about my prayer session that day.  I think it went something along the lines of, “Lord, I would like to pray in Tongues, please.”  Just between us, I’ve never been known for praying King James prayers.

As I prayed and worshiped my Lord, I felt something begin to form in the region of my belly.  It is difficult to explain but it is as if I were hearing sounds that were not coming from my head but from within me.  By faith, I opened my mouth and began to speak the sounds that had formed within me.  Next thing you know, I’m speaking in Tongues.  It was that simple.  Suddenly John 7:38-39 made complete sense.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  39  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) John 7:38-39 (KJV)

I have been speaking in other Tongues for approximately twenty years now.  I really cannot imagine my prayer life without it because the more I pray, the greater my faith.  It really is that simple.  With that, I have only one thing left to write on this subject and that is for you to, “Be blessed.”

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Tongues…The Misunderstood Language (Part 3)

By Patrick Hawthorne

woman-well4

 

 

In Tongues…The Misunderstood Language (Part 1) I wrote that, in the Word, there are four distinct operations of tongues.  To recap…

 

 

  1. Tongues for personal edification (Man speaking to God)
  2. Tongues for intercession (Man speaking to God)
  3. Gift of Tongues with Interpretation (God speaking through man to man – Public Ministry)
  4. Tongues for a sign to unbelievers (God speaking through man to man – Public Ministry)

In Tongues…The Misunderstood Language (Part 2) I explained why I believe it is to every believer’s benefit to speak in a prayer language.

In this particular post, I would like to offer an explanation of why I personally believe that God chose to give New Covenant believers the ability to speak with Tongues.  By no means am I dogmatic in this explanation and welcome feedback.

For us to begin, we must first go back to the Garden of Eden.  Prior to the fall, Adam and Eve lived in heaven come down to earth.  As such, Adam operated only on a plane of faith.  He knew nothing other than the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  I can only imagine the conversations Adam had with our Heavenly Father.

With what language they communicated is unknown to us.  There is speculation that it was a pure form of what later became the Hebrew language.  I don’t believe this to be the case for several reasons, but it matters little for this post.  One thing that I do know is that the language was pure and undefiled; it was heavenly in its origin – that is until the fall.

After the fall, the world was turned upside down.  Faith became fear, life became death, and love became hate.  We see the immediate effect of the fall because Adam suddenly went from having a reverential fear of the Lord to SPEAKING of being afraid of the Lord (Gen 3:10).  This heavenly language was now defiled and no longer pure.  Furthermore, the direct line of communication had been severed.  Notice that God had to call to Adam, saying, “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9.)

Following the fall in the garden, Adam and Eve were forced out of Eden (Gen 3:22).  Yet, one thing they obviously took with them was their heavenly language which had now become defiled.  As mankind grew, evil grew.  Eventually, because the evil of man became so great, the Lord flooded the earth destroying mankind, save Noah and his family. (Gen 6).  Despite the flood, one thing that was not destroyed was the now defiled heavenly language.

Fast forward a couple of hundred years, give or take, and we find Nimrod, the great grand-son of Noah. Nimrod leads the populace to build a tower to the heavens in order to make a name for themselves. (Gen 11:4).

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. (Gen 11:5-8 bold mine)

Did you get that?  The Lord Himself said, “…Now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.”  Exaggeration is a lie and God cannot lie.  God knew that, because of their defiled heavenly language and defiled hearts, what man proposed to do would not be withheld from them.  What was the solution?  It was to rid man of this language by confusing their speech.  Babel was the last time that man spoke with that Heavenly language.

So, let us now get to the part of why I believe that Tongues are for everyone who is willing to receive.  The promise of tongues is mentioned in several places in the Old Testament.  However, in one place in particular, the promise is undeniable.

“For then I will restore to the peoples (nations) a pure language that they all may call on the name of the Lord, TO SERVE HIM WITH ONE ACCORD. (Zephaniah 3:9 bold/underline mine).

Notice the word, “Restore.”  To restore something means to bring back – to reestablish.  In other words, to restore a pure language meant that at one time there was a pure language.  As I wrote in part 2 of this series, “When we pray in a prayer language (Tongues) – one that is specific to the individual as given by the Holy Spirit – we are able to pray out secrets that would have remained secret if not for the revelation by God. When we pray in Tongues, nothing that is proposed will be withheld because it is God’s perfect will.

Some might argue that this pure language will be given after Jesus returns to set up his Kingdom of earth.  Others might argue that this pure language is meant for Israel alone and will be a purified form of the Hebrew language.  Honestly, neither of those suggestions makes sense to me.  Why then would God give us Tongues for the here and now?  Tongues are a pure and undefiled heavenly language given to the body of Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, as a way of direct communication with the Father while removing personal bias.

I will end with this…Why do you think the devil strives to get a hold of our tongues; the way we talk?  Why do you think he loves it when we say foolish things such as, “That scared me to death,” or “I just know I’m going to get sick this flu season?”  It is because words have power.  Therefore, pure words have pure power.

In my next post, my plan is to tell my story of how I came to speak in Tongues.  Until then, be blessed.

 

 

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Tongues…The Misunderstood Language (Part 2)

By Patrick Hawthorne

prayer_warrior-2

In  Tongues…The Misunderstood Language (Part 1)  I wrote that, in the Word, there are four distinct operations of tongues.  Two are for personal edification and two are for public ministry.  The two that are for personal edification involve man speaking to God while the other two involve God speaking through man to man.  As a reminder, the four operations are,

  1. Tongues for personal edification (Man speaking to God)
  2. Tongues for intercession (Man speaking to God)
  3. Gift of Tongues with Interpretation (God speaking through man to man – Public Ministry)
  4. Tongues for a sign to unbelievers (God speaking through man to man – Public Ministry)

In this post I would like to explain why I believe it is to every believer’s benefit to speak in a prayer language.  Please note that I am only addressing the first two operations of speaking in tongues that are used for personal edification or for intercession.

Even Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:29-30 “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?  Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?”  Obviously, the answer to these questions is “No.”  However, in light of learning that there are four distinct operations, he is referring to tongues for public ministry.

As for tongues for personal edification his response is, “I wish you all spoke with tongues…” (1 Corinthians 14:5.)  I understand that not all will agree with me.  That is fine.  We can agree to disagree while at the same time remain brothers or sisters in Christ.

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries (spiritual truths.)

(1 Corinthians 14:1-2 NKJV underline/parenthesis mine).

When we pray in a prayer language (Tongues) – one that is specific to the individual as given by the Holy Spirit – we are able to pray out secrets that would have remained secret if not for the revelation by God. In other words, we are praying out God’s divine will and removing our own faulty thinking.

Let me give you an example.  You are asked to pray for the marriage of John and Sally which has hit a rough patch.  As you get alone in your prayer closet you begin to pray in the natural. “Lord, I pray that John and Sally are sensitive to the needs of each other.  May they learn to rekindle their love for one another.”

That sounds like a good thing to pray, wouldn’t you agree?  However, what if that is not their problem?  What if their problem is that they are under spiritual attack by the enemy and need to spend more time as a couple in prayer to fix the problem?

By praying in tongues, we become the vessel by which the Holy Spirit pin points, with laser like precision, the specific thing that needs to be prayed.  This language is pure and undefiled.  Therefore, we can know that we know that what is prayed in the Spirit is in accordance to God’s will.

This may sound spooky to some but I assure you it is not.  Praying in tongues is completely voluntary.  God will not suddenly take over your mouth in the middle of Walmart and have you ranting like a raving lunatic down isle three.  Never forget that He is a gentleman and a God of order.  Just as you have the choice to pray in the natural, you have the choice to pray in the supernatural.  Unfortunately, many have taken such a precious gift and have made a mockery of it by behaving like complete lunatics.  That is another subject for another time.

In my next post my plan is to go back to the Garden of Eden and explain why I personally believe God chose Tongues as a way of communication for these latter days.  Until then, be blessed.

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