A Wife’s Countenance

NIGHT LIKE FOR COUPLES

“He is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” Deuteronomy 24:5

If you really want to know about a man and what kind of character he has, you need only look at the countenance of his wife. Everything he has invested, or withheld, will be there.”

That was the message Bill McCartney, then head coach of the University of Colorado football team, heard in a 1994 sermon. The words cut straight to his heart. McCartney had built the Colorado football program into a powerhouse that won a national championship in 1990. He had also cofounded a national men’s movement, Promise Keepers. But those achievements came at a price. For years McCartney had withheld his time and energy from his wife, Lyndi, and their four children. In 1994 Bill McCartney didn’t like what he saw in Lyndi’s countenance— so he resigned his position at Colorado to devote more time to his wife and family.

As a husband, you bear the primary responsibility for your wife’s welfare and emotional well‐being. What do you see in her face tonight?

Just between us…

  • (husband) Do you ever feel like you’re competing for my attention?
  • (husband) Do I appear preoccupied by my work or recreational activities?
  • (wife) What do you imagine it was like for Bill McCartney to walk away from his successful coaching career?
  • (wife) Do you ever struggle with trying to care for my emotional well‐being? Is there anything I can do to help?

(husband) Almighty God, with Your help I wholeheartedly accept my responsibility to care for my wife’s emotional well-being. May I increasingly become a master at it, so that I can see joy and contentment in her face. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Quotation from From Ashes to Glory by Bill McCartney (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers, 1995).

Strength to Carry On

NIGHT LIGHT FOR PARENTS

Our competence comes from God. 2 Corinthians 3:5

Every mother deserves our support and admiration, but the single mom (or dad) merits a double dose. She must locate available and safe child-care services, work for eight or more hours every day, pick up the kids, stop by the grocery store, then come home to cook dinner, wash the dishes, change the diapers, help with the homework, bathe the preschoolers, read a story, dry a tear, say a prayer, and tuck the kids into bed. Then, after perhaps twelve hours of such toil and mothering responsibilities, she must tackle the household chores. It’s an assignment that will overwhelm even the most skillful and dedicated parent. That’s why those of us in two-parent families must reach out in Christian love to single moms and their children.

No matter what your circumstances, Mom, your best avenue to success is daily dependence on the Lord. Without regular prayer and supplication on behalf of your children, your task is simply too daunting. When you’re feeling that one more runny nose or whiny cry will send you over the edge, lay your burdens at His feet. The “Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3) will give you the strength to carry on.

Before you say good night…

Do you know a single mother who needs encouragement and help?

When you feel discouraged, do you turn to the Lord for solace?

Do you regularly seek direction in Scripture?

Father of compassion and comfort, thank You for loving and caring for us! We know that no matter how difficult the journey, You are there to pick us up and point us in the right direction. Wrap us daily in Your arms as we do the same with our children. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Will the Holy Spirit Ever Leave a Believer?

The Holy Spirit dwells in every believer permanently and guarantees our eternal salvation. However, disobedience to God’s Word and Spirit could suppress the activity of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Philip Wijaya
Paper airplane flies from the others

The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, is the Spirit of God who remains active and manifests God’s power and presence in the life of every believer today. This Triune God shares equal divine attributes. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit never contradict each other.

Thus, as the Heavenly Father has promised, “I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5Deuteronomy 31:8) and so has Jesus Christ, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:18), so the Holy Spirit will also never leave a believer (John 14:16).

It is consistent with the eternal security of the believer’s salvation in Christ. A genuine born-again Christian cannot lose salvation because of the permanent indwelling of the Spirit of God that makes the person belong to Christ forever (Romans 8:9). Therefore, a believer can neither lose salvation nor the Holy Spirit.

But then, how about God’s people in the Old Testament, like David who seemed to fear losing the Holy Spirit (Psalm 51:11), Samson who did not realize that the Holy Spirit had departed from him (Judges 16:20), or Saul who was troubled after the Holy Spirit departed from him (1 Samuel 16:14)? Possible explanations for this question are associated with the different ministries of the Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testaments.

The Holy Spirit’s Ministry in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit ministered selectively and temporarily to certain individuals for special assignments. There are many instances, such as:

  • The Spirit of God spoke through Moses to the Israelites (Numbers 12:2, 6-8).
  • The Spirit of God appointed Joshua (Numbers 27:18) and Caleb (Numbers 14:24) to lead the Israelites entering the Promised Land.
  • The Spirit of God empowered Othniel (Judges 3:10), Gideon (Judges 6:34), Jephthah (Judges 11:29), Samson (Judges 13:25) to deliver the Israelites from their enemies.
  • The Spirit of God inspired David to write many psalms (2 Samuel 23:2).
  • The Spirit of God equipped Bezaleel with wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and special ability in crafts (Exodus 31:1-3). The Spirit of God even came upon Balaam, the false prophet (Numbers 24:2), causing him to bless the nation of Israel rather than curse them.

Notice that the Holy Spirit worked through people with different personalities and backgrounds (e.g., prophets, priests, kings, soldiers, political, and religious leaders). The Holy Spirit came upon these people to accomplish God’s purposes through them.

The Holy Spirit’s ministry in the Old Testament is for the introduction and revelation of Jehovah God (Yahweh) through the Israelites to the other surrounding nations.

The Holy Spirit’s Ministry in the New Testament

In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit also ministered to various types of people (e.g., prophets, priests, preachers, teachers, apostles, Pharisees, fishermen, tax collectors).

Jesus promised to His disciples that God would send the Holy Spirit in His name to teach and remind them all things He said to them (John 14:26). As a result, the gospel was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The role of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus said, is to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). In other words, the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the New Testament is for the salvation of Christ’s believers through the revelation of Christ to the world.

After His resurrection and before His ascension, Jesus reiterated His promise on the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5), which was already predicted by John the Baptist (Mark 1:8). It is noteworthy that it is Jesus Himself who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. This promise was eventually fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), bringing about believers’ union with Christ and with other believers in the body of Christ.

Pentecost was a unique, single event in history that marked the inception of the Church. This event remarkably fulfilled Christ’s prophecy on Peter (Matthew 16:18), whose preaching to the international crowd on that day drew 3,000 souls to Christ (Acts 2:38), resulting in the unprecedented church growth (Acts 2:40-47). It is amazing to see how the Holy Spirit has graciously worked through a person who denied Christ three times — obviously, the Holy Spirit never left Peter!

The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Life of Every Believer

The Holy Spirit remains active today — this is good news for Christians living over 2,000 years after the Pentecost. All this means is that the same Holy Spirit, who worked in the Old and New Testament times, is still at work today — He can work through every believer including you and me! The Holy Spirit’s ministry in every believer can be summarized from the Bible as follows:

The regenerating work: A divine impartation of a new nature or spiritual birth to the repenting sinner (John 1:12-13, 3:5; 1 Corinthians 12:3).

The baptizing work: A divine identification and union of the new convert (believer) with Christ (the head) and His body (the Church) (Mark 1:8Acts 11:16).

The indwelling work: A divine inhabitation or permanent residency within the believer (John 14:161 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19; Romans 8:9).

The sealing work: A divine stamp of approval that guarantees the salvation of the repenting sinner upon believing in Christ (Ephesians 1:13-142 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5).

The filling work: A divine control in the believer’s life (Luke 1:15Acts 4:31, 13:52).

The sanctifying work: A divine consecration and transformation of the believer into Christlikeness (2 Thessalonians 2:132 Corinthians 3:181 Peter 1:2).

The empowering work: A divine anointing upon the believer to perform special tasks from God to accomplish His purposes (John 14:26Acts 1:81 John 2:27).

All of these ministries happen instantaneously to the believer at the moment of salvation. The first four ministries can never be lost and therefore, need not be and should not be asked for again (Willmington’s Guide to the Bible).

The last three ministries, however, are ongoing work — they can be lost and therefore should be asked for as many times as needed through our intimate love relationship with God by His Word and His Spirit (Galatians 5:16Ephesians 5:18John 17:17Psalm 51:7).

What Does This Mean?

The Holy Spirit will never leave a believer. The moment we believe in Jesus Christ and accept His lordship in our lives, the Holy Spirit gives us a new nature through the new (spiritual) birth, gives us a new identity in God’s kingdom, dwells in us permanently, and guarantees our eternal salvation. As we continue to walk in the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit will be manifested in and through our lives.

While our internal conditions are renewed, our external circumstances however do not necessarily change. Trials, troubles, and temptations do not go away and our free will also remain. Our decisions could be either led by the Spirit or by our own will depending on who takes the control: The Spirit or the flesh.

God is love, so He will not violate our free wills. But God has offered His Word and His Spirit to guide and help us to walk in His ways. If we disobey Him, we quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) and bring sorrow to Him (Ephesians 4:30).

In other words, disobedience is the reason why God’s people could temporarily lose the effects of the control, purification, and/or anointing of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Therefore, “If you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13).

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/phototechno


Philip Wijaya is presently a graduate research student at the University of British Columbia living in Vancouver, Canada with his wife, Sandra. His interest in science and faith in God has encouraged him to write in a blog (philipwijaya.com), with a hope of better understanding the truths in the Bible in relation to scientific views and discoveries. Besides research and study, he also enjoys sports, music, and traveling.