Sheptock, Rudy

Pastor Rudy Sheptock.

The word translated for Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John, chapter 14 is “Helper” or the Greek word, “paraklētos.” It is this word that we have transliterated into English to form the term “paraclete.”

The Greek term can also be translated as an “advocate,” “encourager,” or “coach.” In modern terms, the word carries the idea of a “personal trainer” coming alongside of the protégé amidst the course to provide appropriate counsel, constant correction, positive hope, necessary comfort, and the most important big-picture perspective.

As the paraclete helps another towards excellence and reaching the goal victoriously, so the Holy Spirit is essential if we, believers, want to win the race that we were called to participate in. 

I can relate to the term coach for the Holy Spirit because he provides the guidance and instruction that I must have if I am going to become the person Jesus has called me to be. I must surrender my will to the Spirit’s leadership or I will be wandering aimlessly on the path of life.

The Holy Spirit literally trains Christians to dedicate themselves, to discard hindrances, and to become obedient like Jesus. The Helper does this supernaturally, in part, by recalling the word of God that has been committed to memory in the mind so that they may be transferred to the application in the heart.

Scripture warns us against quenching the Holy Spirit, which we do when we refuse to show up for daily practice and ignore the signs of our heavenly coach, so we can play the game God’s way. 

We can also quench the Holy Spirit by not accepting the difficulties of life, by being bitter and angry, by not being prayerful, and by not enjoying consistent company with our God. We can quench the work of the Spirit by not being worshipful and by not being willing to cast our cares upon him. We can quench that work of the spirit by operating in our own strength and relying upon our own agendas by not running to God for everything we need.

Apart from the Lord, we can’t do a single thing that leads to eternal treasure. We quench the Holy Spirit by feeling inadequate, by not trusting God’s love, and by living like we lack all the key ingredients that the Lord has already graciously supplied.

Any of those and more would cause us to quench the work of the Spirit. When we quench the Holy Spirit, we grieve him also.  

This is why we must be dedicated and determined to make holy progress. This is why we need to stick to the Holy Spirit’s process. 

1 Peter 2:1-3 says, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 

Acknowledge our sin as quickly as possible. Don’t rationalize what needs to be recognized and removed as soon as possible.

Rid ourselves by the power of the Holy Spirit of what will eventually poison the fuel tank of our hearts and souls. This means dealing realistically with all malice, all deceit, all hypocrisy, all envy and all slander of every kind. 

Here are some warning signs that maybe things aren’t as spiritually healthy as you hoped they were:

* Your priorities are suspect. You make no time for reading scripture, prayer, church, or even your loved ones.

* You live like you have more control than you really do.

* You’re spending more time with your favorite vices — trash TV, social media, caffeine and more caffeine, a glass of wine or two or three, a pint of ice cream or too much pizza.                                                                                 

* You overreact to small inconveniences — traffic, on hold with customer service, a long line at the grocery store.

* Your personality is disrupted by an anxious heart.

* Your mood is influenced solely by your current circumstances with no eternal perspective.

* You forget and behave in a way that you have little value to God.

* You harbor unforgiveness in your heart by rationalizing what you should be repenting of and you justify the sin that needs to be confessed. 

* You feel burdened by the unfairness of life and it spoils even good days.

* You struggle to extend grace to anyone and act self-righteously and judgmental, especially with those you love. 

We need to be in the Bible so the Bible will be in us. If we have trusted in Jesus, we have within us the presence and power of the almighty God.

The Holy Spirit lives within us. We need to allow Him to come out and shine bright. Let Him make the Bible come alive to you and through you.

Be in it and be about it. Like newborn babes, let’s crave it and savor it, like a summer day without ice cream should be any day without time with our savior via the Holy Spirit and scripture.

Use it and we won’t lose it. The more we practice what we see on the pages, the more we will need to brush up so that we can run the current plays. Knowing Jesus leads to growing in our connection to the Holy Spirit.

We can’t be saved without a Savior. Have you tasted that the Lord is good?

In everyday life, when we speak of someone being saved, we communicate two basic things.

First, someone was in danger and unable to rescue himself from a terrible fate. Second, someone else rescued, redeemed, and delivered him.

Sandra McCracken, on her album ‘Live Under Lights and Wires,’ shares a story of two young boys in Missouri who spent their summer playing by some sandbag levees that had held back some of the extreme flooding that happened over the past decade on the Mississippi River. 

Tragically, the two boys found themselves in some quicksand resulting from a breach in the levy.

When rescue workers finally found them and came to them, they found only the younger boy standing in the sand.

“Where is your brother?” asked one of the rescuers.

“I’m standing on his shoulders,” answered the young boy. 

The older brother had sacrificed his life to save his younger brother. Just as this young boy needed saving, we too were once sinking in the sand of our sin, and it took our older brother Jesus to sacrifice himself so we could be saved.

Like the little boy, we are still in the sand of sin but saved from the death it would cause, and one day, the rescue worker Jesus will come and pull us out completely.

This is the basic sense of what the Bible means when it says that we’re saved in Christ. It is what happens when we taste and see that the Lord is good and the Lord is God.