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Christian Living

The Bible Shows Us the Holy Spirit

The New Testament Centers on Jesus, but the Holy Spirit Emerges as Key in the Book of Acts

We’ve talked about how the Bible Reveals God the Father to Us and how the Bible Points Us to Jesus. The Holy Spirit forms the third part of the Trinity, the supernatural mystery of three spiritual deities in one package.

Though the Bible doesn’t mention the word Trinity, most Christians accept the concept of a triune God, albeit with variations of understanding.

The Holy Spirit emerges as the star of the church, guiding the followers of Jesus into a fuller understanding of him and showing them how to live their faith in a way pleasing to him.

The book of Acts, the record of the early church, serves as a descriptor of how the church functions with the Holy Spirit at the helm. Acts contains nearly one hundred references to the Holy Spirit. In fact Acts talks about the Holy Spirit more than it mentions Jesus.

While Acts should serve as our practical guidebook to community and faith through Holy Spirit power, most followers of Jesus diminish or even dismiss him as part of our spiritual heritage and present experience.

But the Bible doesn’t relegate the Holy Spirit to the book of Acts. He shows up, by name, in all the Gospels and a majority of the books in the New Testament.

The phrase “Holy Spirit” is even in the Old Testament, though “Spirit of God” is more common. The simpler label of “Spirit” occurs in about half of the Old Testament books and all of the New Testament books, except for 2 and 3 John.

The Holy Spirit takes part in creation and in the end times. He is present with us today. Click To Tweet

In the beginning we see the Holy Spirit taking part in creation to form our reality (Genesis 1:2). In the end of time the Holy Spirit serves as the central player while God wraps up our physical existence, reality as we know it (Revelation 22:17).

Clearly the Holy Spirit moves throughout the entire Bible, just as he moves through the church of Jesus and in the lives of his followers today—or at least how he should move, if only we will let him.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Three Things to Know About Sin

The book of Genesis in the Bible gives a concise three-point teaching about sin. This was written about Cain, but equally applies to us.

1. Sin Is Crouching at Our Door

The word “crouch” reminds me of a cat getting ready to pounce on its prey. The situation is ominous.

2. Sin Desires to Have Us

Once the cat leaps for its quarry, there’s little doubt over the outcome. Sin is crouching for us; it is getting ready to leap and destroy us. There’s little we can do—or is there?

The potential for sin is there, but it’s not actual sin. It’s temptation. Click To Tweet

3. We Must Master It

Sin is much easier to master beforehand rather than in the midst of it. When it is crouching, the potential for sin is there, but it’s not actual sin; it’s temptation. We know what to do with temptation and the devil who promotes it; we are to resist.

[Genesis 4:7, James 4:7]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

She’s Not My Wife; She’s My Sister

Abraham, the great man of faith, did not always act that way. Once, when fearing for his safety, he lied to king Abimelech, claiming that Sarah was his sister and hiding the fact that they were married.

Assured by Abraham’s lie, Abimelech felt free to take Sarah into his harem. Fortunately, God intervened before anything happened to her, revealing the truth of the situation to Abimelech in a dream.

God’s instructions to Abimelech were simple: return Sarah to Abraham and then Abraham would pray for Abimelech.

Abimelech quickly returned Sarah as instructed. He also gave many gifts to Abraham, as well as to Sarah. Then Abraham prayed for Abimelech and everything was made right.

How many times we act in the same way, doing things that God didn’t ask us to do and that he didn’t require. Click To Tweet

What is interesting is that God never told Abimelech to give gifts to Abraham and Sarah. Abimelech did that on his own; God did not require that.

I wonder how many times we act in the same way, doing things that God didn’t ask us to do and that he didn’t require.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Questions in Genesis: Number Six

Asking respectful questions about the Bible is not a sign of rebellion or indication of disbelief, but can be a means of more fully pursuing the God who is revealed in the Bible. It is from this perspective that I’ve been pondering the creation account and asking some questions.

My final query is:

Question 6: People were not made until midway through the sixth day, so there were no eyewitnesses to most of God’s creative efforts. How then could details that no one saw have been known, passed down from one generation to the next, and then recorded in the Bible?

The solution is that God would have had to tell his creation of how they came to be. Just as a parent leaves out details when a young child asks “Where do babies come from?” so, too, God must have left out details when he explained our origins to us. Still, I want to know more.

However, Moses puts my inquiring mind into perspective, confirming that God has kept some things from us:

God is, in many ways, a mystery—and that is one of the things that draws me to him. Click To Tweet

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever.”

God is, in many ways, a mystery—and that is one of the things that draws me to him.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Deuteronomy 28-30, and today’s post is on Deuteronomy 29:29.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Questions in Genesis: Numbers Three through Five

Continuing with my questions about the Genesis account of creation—but never doubting that we and the world we live in were created by God—focus on the person of Cain—who killed his brother Abel—asking questions 3, 4, and 5.

Question 3: At this point in the story, only three (living) humans have been identified: Adam, Eve, and Cain (Abel is dead). So, who did Cain marry? The conventional answer is his sister. Yuck! In addition, it would have been a genetic disaster. A more reasonable answer is that God had created other people as well, and from them, Cain picked his bride.

Question 4: If there were only Adam, Eve, and their offspring, why would Cain need to build a city? Surely, one couple and their offspring would not warrant Cain constructing a city. The reasonable explanation is that as Cain wandered the earth, he encountered other people to live in it.

Question 5: Cain was afraid that the people he encountered in his wanderings would kill him. God’s solution was to put a mark on him to protect him. Why did Cain need this mark for protection? Certainly, his family would know him. Only if there were numerous other people, would this be an issue.

Again, I ask these questions, not to poke holes in the Bible’s creation account, but to acknowledge that we are lacking details. In my next post, I will pose my final question and offer my conclusion.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Genesis 3-5, and today’s post is on Genesis 4:13-17.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Questions in Genesis: Numbers One and Two

By faith, I believe that God created us and the universe in which we live. But that resolute statement does not preclude questions about the biblical account of our origin. Here are two of them:

Question 1: On the fourth day of creation God made the sun to separate day from night and to mark the passage of time. If it wasn’t until day four until we knew what a day was, how then could the first three days have been measured and counted?

Consider that if someone was in pitch-black, solitary confinement for a period of time and then later given a watch, he would still not know how much time had already passed.

Question 2: What about Eve? In Genesis 1, it says that on the sixth day God created man and woman—at the same time. In Genesis 2, the timeline is different. The world is made. Adam is created and placed in the garden of Eden to care for it and all the animals.

Then God realizes that his creation is incomplete. Adam is alone. So then God makes Eve. This occurs after he made everything else and not at the same time he created Adam. Which is it?

More Genesis questions will be asked in the next post about Cain.

[Genesis 1:14-19, Genesis 1:27-31, Genesis 2:4-22]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Questions In Genesis

In my prior posts, In the Beginning, Creation or Evolution, and the Time-Space Continuum I pondered about the reality behind our origins.

The Bible’s book of Genesis provides us with an explanation of how things began. This is an account that would have been comprehensible to ancient man, one that would have sufficiently answered the timeless question of “Where did we come from?” in a way that a primitive people would have understood.

But the debate for a modern man is if the Genesis saga is mere mythology, scientifically sound, or theological truth. I hold firmly to this third view and am simultaneously open to the second, while firmly rejecting the first.

As I read the creation account in Genesis, many questions come to mind. These are not faith-confronting issues, but rather ponderings that lead me to conclude that there is more to the story than what the Bible provides.

I will share my creation queries in future posts, not to poke holes in the creation narrative, but to stand in awe of a creator who has all the answers, but didn’t feel it germane to share the details.

So, despite unanswered questions, I am unfazed. Isn’t that what faith is?

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Reviews of Books & Movies

Video Review: Genesis with Max McLean

Reviewed by Peter DeHaan

In Genesis with Max McLean, which was recorded live, Max McLean gives a dramatic recitation of the first 35 chapters of the book of Genesis from the Bible. As the quintessential storyteller, Max powerfully delivers with passion, expressiveness, and occasional humor.

All the while, he faithfully follows the text as presented in the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible.

This video is ideal for anyone who wants a fresh perspective on the book of Genesis—or for anyone who wants to know the story, but doesn’t like to read!

[Read more reviews by Peter DeHaan of other faith-friendly videos and movies.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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