All posts by Robert Eckhard

God’s Promise to pour out His Holy Spirit

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”(Zechariah 12v10)
The pronouncement that God will pour a spirit of grace and supplication on the people is a bitter sweet moment. Sweet in as much that it heralds the coming of Christ who will  facilitate each believer being filled by God’s Holy Spirit. Bitter in that  this coming of the Spirit can only happen after Christ is crucified having taken on himself every sin that will occur in  the world. As he is pierced and dies, so sin dies with him. As he rises and returns to heaven, so will Christ facilitate the Holy Spirit being poured out on those who believe as their spirit being is joined with God’s God’s Holy Spirit.
 

 

 


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Human Nature and the Release of God’s Holy Spirit

‘A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person.’ (Zechariah 12v1)
Okay, we are on the home straight in regard to our three year investigation into the term ‘spirit’ as it’s used in the Old and New Testament.
In regard to the rudiments of how the human spirit is formed within the person, I think Watchman Nee makes some interesting observations in his book the ‘Release of the Spirit.’ In this, he details how the soul in humans is the dwelling place between that which is human (aka flesh’) and that which is ‘spiritual’ from God – hence the conflict that arises between the desires of our human desires that may often rail against the ‘spiritual’ purposes of God. Or put another way, the human desire to do what we want, over and above the will of God who will not force us to comply but who (in love) hopes we will.
The answer? A change of heart to cede to God’s plan and desire over our own self-serving behaviour – this – and only this – act of obedience is the way to facilitate the release of God’s Holy Spirit within our lives in a way that advances the kingdom of God.

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Hard as flint or pierced by the Holy Spirit?

‘They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.’ (Zechariah 7v12)
Okay, after a computer glitch on my websites which made it impossible to send out posts to people, we will in the next few weeks complete our study of understanding the term ‘spirit’ as it occurs in the Old and New Testaments in the Bible.
As you remember- but then maybe not – there are three distinctions made in regard to how the term ‘Spirit’ is understood and used in the Bible.
1. Spirit – God’s Holy Spirit  – part of Godhead, hovering over creation and (since Pentecost) living within believers to assist and enable them in their life as they people about God.
2. Spirit – before  the birth of Christ – God’s Spirit is understood to rest on a person (though not enter within them) to guide and direct them in a specific task they have been singles out to do for God.
3. spirit – note the lack of a capital letter – which relates to the human experience  and emotions in which a person describes how their ‘spirit was crushed.’ In other words, not from God but themselves as they detail the high or low they are experiencing as a result of actions happening to them.
In Zechariah 7v12 we see immediately that Zechariah is referencing the distinction between the early prophets who were responsive to God’s Holy Spirit and the state of those  who refused to listen and rejected Him (God).
All of which means we need to be always mindful as to whether we are being obedient to God or doing are own thing. God bless you (and me) as we attempt to walk in that path.
Til next time.

 


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Back up and running!

Hi all,
Hope you and yours are keeping well and safe? Sorry to be off-line for so long but I ran into problems before Christmas when all of my websites became un-operational due to the same Word Press issue. The posts you receive come from blogs on www.primarygift.co.uk. Anyway, just to say the website is operational if you (or anyone you know) needs to download my free spiritual gift test (paper copy). Hope to have blogs up and running soon! Blessings
Bob

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Avoiding the misrepresentation of God

‘Then he called to me, “Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north. “‘(Zechariah 6v8).

The bare reading of the translated verse above is confusing as it seems to suggest that God’s Spirit found rest with the people of the North. However, the NLT version puts it in context:Then the LORD summoned me and said, “Look, those who went north have vented the anger of my Spirit there in the land of the north.”  

The same verse but how different the two interpretations.  All of which affirms our responsibility to seek out an accurate translation of a verse over an inaccurate one. This means seeking out other translations when a verse or passage does not make sense. To not do so may result in us becoming like the simplistic religious believers that philosopher  Voltaire observed as believing things that are not of God and in the process committing atrocious acts against others while believing we are providing a service to the Divine.


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Angels in waiting?

The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world.”
(Zechariah 6v5)

This is perhaps one of the most unusual ways that the term ‘spirit’ is rendered. For some, it is interpreted as ‘horsemen’ as in ‘The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.’ For others, it is interpreted as ‘angels’ while others have interpreted it as the ‘Four winds.’ Some people believe it is to do with God sending out ‘Four Chariots’ to collect His people from the corners of the earth – that is if a sphere has corners but perhaps in a world before enlightenment where earth was considered flat and not  spherical, it made sense to think God’s reach extended to the North, South East and West?

For me, what is most interesting is that the four ‘spirits’ mentioned are not assigned to God’s Holy Spirit which they would have been had they been denoted with a capital letter (S) in the scripture. No – what we find is that the four spirits are defined as a created entity that is sent by God out into the world. In Zechariah’s vision, the mention that they are standing suggests that these were heavenly creatures which gives support for the referencing of them as angels. However, in terms of this post, what we can take away from this verse is that God is not slow to act but instead proactive in regard to his timescale, plan and purpose. The heavenly beings have been in a state of constant waiting for the Word of God to direct them and once spoken, they leave to fulfil His Will.


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Trusting God’s Spirit!

“So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4v6).

As a new Christian, I’m not sure if I really understood the wording  of this scripture at the time. After all, what is ‘might’ and how does it differ to ‘power’? Moreover, why does God instruct us  to operate in His Holy Spirit rather than rely on human ability?

In researching the scripture for this post , I came across an answer on the Internet in which ‘might’ was described  as ‘strength.’ It was illustrated by the fact that a person can have  ‘might but have no power’ because it is dependent on the ability to do things or know certain information or posses a type of personality that draws people to you. Hence, why Zechariah advises that our human ability to manipulate might, power, popularity, charisma, persuasiveness (et al) need to be set aside if order that the Spirit can be given free reign to convict, encourage, enliven and empower in a way that honours God. In other put our egos aside and allow God through His Spirit to speak.’

 


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When God’s Spirit is among but not yet within?

‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’ (Haggai 2v5)

In the last post taken from the Book of Haggai, we discovered how the term ‘spirit’ was better rendered in that instance as  human enthusiasm. Not so in this verse. The big giveaway is the capital letter which denotes this is the ‘Spirit’ of God. And what an encouragement Haggai brings as he tells the people that while they may have broken their covenant with the Divine, He has not forgotten or done so with them. Not only is God’s covenant ongoing but His Spirit still remains among them. Why? Because a time will come when God’s Holy Spirit will not ‘just’ remain among the people but He will transformationally live within them to guide, encourage and strengthen! Now that is Good News!


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Speaking with enthusiasm?

“So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God. (Haggai 1v14).”
Okay, the use of the term ‘spirit’ in this verse is probably the easiest one to identify as pertaining to human emotions. Interestingly, in my Bible, the New Living Translation translates  ‘spirit’ as ‘ ‘enthusiasm.’ In other words, Zerubbabel and Joshua ‘s enthusiasm for doing God’s work enlivened those around them so that they too were caught up in the desire to be engaged and obedient. While none of them were influenced by the Holy Spirit living within them – as the Counsellor was yet to come and fill the people of God – their enthusiasm to be about God’s work was infectious enough to influence and encourage those around them. An observation we might all take onboard in regard to those times when we may feel disheartened and less than committed.

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Speaking the truth in difficult circumstances?

‘But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.’ (Micah 3v8).To understand the context for this visceral response from Micah, we have to understand how Jacob and Israel have fallen far short of the standards of God. The chapter begins with

“Listen, you leaders of Jacob,
    you rulers of Israel.
Should you not embrace justice,
    you who hate good and love evil;

In fact,  we learn in what follows, that the duplicity of Israel’s leaders and rulers is also echoed in the behaviour and compliance of the people they rule over who also refuse to change and are being crushed by this situation. Not only that, prophets who should have been speaking the truth were receiving payment for favourable oracles to those in the administration. What is God’s response? To choose Micah as a vessel. To choose one who is willing, receptive and open to being directed by the Holy Spirit to tell it as it is!.  Directed and enabled by the Holy Spirit, Micah calls out the rulers and leaders for their rejection of God in favour of greed and evil, challenging them as to who and what they have become.

Unlike most prophets who were often rejected and killed, it appears Micah had a long ministry spanning several decades. A legacy to a man directed by God’s Spirit and fearless in speaking the truth.


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