BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #65

From “Discipleship and Discipline” by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

““In Romans 12: 9 – 21, Paul describes further The Disciples’ Balancing Act. Paul speaks to a disciple’s internal orientation, how he/she manages himself, his own spirit, his inner man and, manifestly, his relationship to God; his relationship to others in the body of Christ, and even to those who are outside the body of Christ. Disciples are herein first urged “to present your bodies to God as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship”. Here the Scriptures confirm what God said in the first four of the Ten Commandments: our first order priority is our relationship to God. But wait! ‘Living’ sacrifice? How can this be? Sacrifices by definition are dead. If we disciples are to be sacrifices, should we “deliver our bodies to be burned” to honor God? And how does a “sacrifice” live? This is a spiritual paradox that does not make sense in the natural. However, it is the essence of truth and speaks clearly to what is really true worship.””

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #64

From “Discipleship and Discipline” by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

“BALANCING”

“”An important aspect of balancing for a disciple is being able to order one’s priorities. A disciple should “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, (knowing that) all these things (those things needed to fulfill one’s role as a disciple) will be added to you.” It is clear that circumstances will change for a disciple and he/she will have little or no control over those changes- what they may be or when they may occur. How then does a disciple exercise discipline under these conditions? In Philippians 4: 11 – 13, Paul the Discipler says, “…for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.””

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #63

From “Discipleship and Discipline” by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

“BALANCING”

““Another aspect of the balance a disciple must achieve in his/her life is in the content of worship. We are encouraged in John 4: 23 – 24 to “worship the Father in spirit and truth.” In this day and time, there is often a perceived conflict between spirit and truth. Yet the Scripture clearly says that a disciple worships God in spirit and truth. Some teach that worship is not true unless it is primarily an emotionally charged, charismatic, ecstatic experience. If one is not “slain in the Spirit” or “speaking in tongues”, one is not truly worshipping and questions are raised as to one’s salvation! Once I went to worship at a church known primarily for its charismatic style of worship. I was enjoying praising the Lord, but I was seated while doing so. One of the other attendees who was on her feet shouting and dancing actually paused to look at me and ask, “What’s the matter with you?”, because I was not worshiping in the same manner as was she! I could not understand. If she was really focused on God and giving Him praise, how could I and my manner of worship be of any concern to her?! On the other side, there are those who approach worship almost as a purely intellectual exercise, emphasizing the knowledge and “science” of the worship experience. A disciple is not required to “feel” anything at the point of salvation. A disciple does not have to pass a written or oral examination in order to be granted a place as a disciple. Yet, an intimate, personal, loving, living relationship with God and knowledge of His will for you will cause you to rejoice! Emotion and intellect are not incompatible in a disciple. They are complementary.””

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #62

From “Discipleship and Discipline” by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

“We are encouraged to strike a balance in our lives. Not a balance between good and evil. We are admonished to shun evil and pursue good. We will be tested; we will not do the testing. That is in the hands of God. Change will occur; our task as disciples, having been made ready, is to be prepared to face the change; to move about upon the balance beam of life with strength, flexibility and creativity. To glide and jump and swirl and spin with the grace of a figure skater upon the slippery surface of our existence with all the Grace that comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit- with dignity, respect, faith; faith so that when we jump to execute that triple toe loop (because it is in the program of our life), then we can have confidence that we can land it and that the ice will be there to catch us when we come down. “… and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; For in Him (God) we live, move and exist…””

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #61

From “Discipleship and Discipline” by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

BALANCING

“Ever gone to a party and ate too much and got sick? Drank too much and got drunk? Proverbs 25: 16 says, “Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, lest you have it in excess and vomit it.” Sometimes finding balance in your life can be an unpleasant- though unforgettable- experience. Dr. John, a rock musician of some notoriety, once wrote, “I been in the right place, but it must have been the wrong time.” This same Dr. John also wrote (in the same song, no less!) “I done said the right thing, but I must have used the wrong words”. Ecclesiastes 3: 1 – 8 says “There is a season, an appointed time for every event under heaven-…” Ecclesiastes 8: 6-7 makes us understand that “…there is a proper time and procedure for every delight, though a man’s trouble is heavy upon him. If no one knows what will happen, who can tell him when it will happen? No man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind, or authority over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the time of war, and evil will not deliver those who practice it.”

In I Corinthians 13: 1 – 3, the spiritual principle of balancing is described as it applies to our motivations. Paul contrasts God’s agape love with eros, physical love, and phileo, brotherly love. God’s agape love is an unselfish esteem for us, a love given without regard or thought for a receipt of the same in return. Agape is its own motivation. Eros and phileo must be fed by return of this affection; otherwise, it may turn into obsession, or simply, die. We believers should love even as God loves, with a selfless regard for the object of our affection without looking for a “return on our investment.” In verse three, God teaches us that philanthropy and martyrdom without love are egotistical, self serving and unprofitable towards the building up of Christ and God’s kingdom.”

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #60

From “Discipleship and Discipline”, by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

“BALANCING
We come now to the fourth element of discipline, that is Balancing. Most of us have watched in rapt fascination the maneuvers of a gymnast on the balance beam or the grace of a figure skater moving across the ice. Key attributes of their ability to perform are nimbleness, staying upright, blending strength with flexibility and creativity. If you have ever participated in any athletic endeavor, you probably had to select the appropriate footwear essential to your ability to perform, whether the appropriate spikes on the track, baseball diamond or soccer field, or sneakers- flexible, soft-soled shoes- on the basketball or tennis court. Ever notice that if your shoes are tied too tight, your feet hurt, you can’t play well? Recall Jesus’ running discourse with the Pharisees who insisted on prioritizing their michmash, their rabbinical traditions, over the truth in the Word of God. These guys counted every speck of dill and cumin as they made their offerings to God, neglecting the weightier matters of the true Spirit of the Word. “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees!” Ever notice that if your shoes are tied too loosely, you lose the benefit of having them on, you can’t play well. There is no room in the disciple’s life for dabbling in sin, disobedience, and licentiousness. These evidence a lack of discipline. These examples convey a key concept of this fourth element of discipline: managing change in your life (balancing). Dr. Peck wrote that growth = change; there is no growth without pain/discomfort (“The Road Less Traveled”). Growth occurs only when one is already dedicated to the truth; honesty is the predicate to growth. God’s Word is the mirror that gives us a ‘truth’ picture of ourselves (James 1: 22 – 25). Richard Hooker wrote, “change is not made without discomfort, even from worse to better.” But we are encouraged to know that change is inevitable because God is sovereign. Since He is large and in charge, since He is in control of His universe and His will be(ing) done, it is our task to respond to the changes in our behavior that His sovereignty makes inevitable. “Thus, management of organizations (like households and churches), families and the management of ourselves requires a balance between change and continuity.”-Mark Mendenhall, J. Burton Frierson Professor of Business Leadership at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.”

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #59

On the work of the Holy Spirit, conclusion: by Minister William H. Hicks, June 30, 2013

“WE CANNOT DISCIPLE EFFECTIVELY WITHOUT THE INDWELLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!! Paul said that his crown was those Corinthian and Ephesian and Colossian Christians who came to have faith in God- to actively trust God with their very lives- on a daily basis- “Just as you actually DO WALK”. We “quench and grieve” the Holy Spirit when we do not enable and encourage growth in others by how we live before them! When we do not allow Him to have His way in our own hearts and minds, we prevent Him from being seen in us by those around us. HOW MANY DEAD SOLDIERS ARE THERE LIVING AROUND US?! How many lives daily go unaffected because of our failure to witness to our relationship with Jesus? The Holy Spirit is not interested in quantity. He is much more concerned with the quality of our walk with Him. He’s not teaching us just so we can quote lots of Scripture! He wants us to “bear witness”, even as He does, of Jesus Who is called the Christ.

Theme Scripture: John 16: 7 – 15; also, John 14: 16-17, 26; 15: 26;
also, Zechariah 4:6; Isaiah 11: 2 – 4; Isaiah 63: 10 – 11; I Corinthians 2: 6 – 16; Psalm 51: 3 – 11; Psalm 41: 4; Luke 4: 18; Ezekiel 36: 27; Hosea 6: 1; John 6: 40; Matthew 25: 31 – 46, focus 32 and 33.”

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #58

Continuing on the work of the Holy Spirit:
APPLICATION OF SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLES

“Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” ACTS 1: 4 – 8. Also:“For He has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline/sound judgment.” II Timothy 1: 7. With this Spirit we can: a) be faithful; b) resist temptation; and, c) witness to others. What are we to do with all this POWER?! “Go ye therefore into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them whatsoever I have commanded you.”

We “today” Christians crave “spiritual successes”. We tend to think in terms of how many souls we have led to Christ, how many people belong to “our” church, how many “associates” we have or how many “deacons” or how many auxiliaries we serve on. We must realize that one life discipled according to God’s Word, one soul not only led to Christ but encouraged in his growth in Christ, is more valuable to God than a hundred who merely acknowledge Him, but don’t serve Him.

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #57

Continuing on the subject of the work of the Holy Spirit:

“SPECIFICS:
sin: gr. hamartia: John 16: 9: The Holy Spirit convicts/describes what is “missing the mark, falling short of the glory of God.”; the Holy Spirit clearly identifies sin as not believing in the Lord Jesus Christ: JOHN 6: 40- “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” SEE ALSO JOHN 3: 36; PSALM 51: 3 – 11.
righteousness: gr. Dikaiosune: John 16: 10- “right-doing” (a product of right-thinking), conformity by man to all that God commands or appoints; it is what is consistent with the Truth/truth; what matches up with God’s Word. SEE ALSO EZEKIEL 36: 25 – 27; LUKE 4: 18. All our attempts to conform to the Law have been futile; “The Christian who struggles in his own strength to live the Christian life will fail! SEE ALSO Romans 8: 13 – 14; “But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”- Philippians 4: 13.

God’s righteousness is imputed to us and imparted as a gift; it is not earned. We can only accept God’s claims on our lives as we repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior by faith. We “make real” or realize God’s claims on our lives by the miracle of the regenerating action of the Holy Spirit. It is His action in our hearts which results in right-thinking (having been convinced of the veracity and validity of the Truth) which leads to repentance and that repentance results in “right-doing.” Jesus, the Living/Loving Word, the Perfect Example, is no longer to be seen on earth; His righteousness is established by God’s raising Him from the grave; however, He can be seen in the “right-doing” of His people: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

judgment: gr. krisis: the final judgment; implying separation; making a distinction between after a solemn trial; expressing a preference for one vs another; to divide (guilty or not guilty- notice that I don’t say “innocent”). John 16: 11- Satan and his followers have been judged. What about the judgment? SEE MATTHEW 25: 31 – 46; focus: vv. 32 –33.”

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #48

“Still, what do He do? The Holy Spirit convicts: convict is not quite the same as being convicted of a crime, although it has the same force/authority and power to accomplish this. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” If this, from Romans 8: 1, is truth, What then, is this “convicting”? The Greek word, elegcho: implies not merely the charge, but the truth of that charge and, very often, the acknowledgement, if not outwardly, yet inwardly, of its truth. The one confronted with the truth is brought to an acknowledgement of the truth; one comes into agreement with the truth. This action by the Holy Spirit is what enables REPENTANCE of our sins. This repentance then leads to an acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord, faith in Him and THEN a changed life.

This is why there is NO REPENTENANCE without the Holy Spirit! When we deny Him, we deny His truth and we reject His actions in our hearts to convict us of the truth in Jesus Christ. If we say that He is a liar, then we identify with Satan, just as by baptism, we testify that we “identify” with Jesus Christ! This is why blaspheming the Holy Spirit is unpardonable! Because when you blaspheme the Holy Spirit, you say He is a liar and that what He brings is NOT truth! JOHN 14: 17b.”

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