Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Prayer Ministry of the Holy Spirit

Sermon Notes-Pastor Milton Vincent
Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church
November 27, 2011

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  Romans 8:26-27

intercede: to take up a case on behalf of another; to seek to obtain what is necessary for that person


1. He intercedes for us (not against us).
We often grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30) and we can quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thess 5:19). And yet, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us!

2. He intercedes for us as a way of helping us in our areas of weakness.
helps: to enter and share in the burden of another and to ensure that burden gets addressed; to enter the task of another so that the task gets done together
Weakness = Lack of strength
Weakness from sin
Weakness from temptation
Weakness as a result of difficult circumstances
Weakness in comparison to the difficulty of a task
Even in our weakness the Holy Spirit does not turn away from us but towards us.

3. He intercedes for us when we don’t know how to pray.

4. He intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
The word “groanings” denotes tremendous passion and sympathetic feeling, yet articulate and intelligent-not just wordless groans. Denotes the fact that the full satisfaction of the Spirit is dependent upon us getting the help we need in our weakness.

5. He intercedes for us according to the will of God.
The beauty of the Holy Spirit’s prayer is that not only does He exactly represent us, but He completely understands the will and heart of God.

6. He intercedes for us in a way that succeeds with the Father.
i.e. Psalm 1:6
Knowing is opposite of failing. God knows and approves what the Spirit prays for because the Spirit knows the mind of the Father.

Note from Terrie: This sermon was especially encouraging for me. To think that the third member of the Trinity intercedes before the Father on my behalf! Very humbling and reassuring at the same time. If you have a chance, check the Cornerstone website and listen to the sermon in its entirety.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

This prayer was taken from The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. This little book is filled with beautiful words of praise to God. I’m sharing this one with you in honor of Thanksgiving.

Oh my God,
Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admires, adores, loves thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before thee
in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
for adorning it, sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou hast given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express,
for what thou art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, Oh my God,
Through time and eternity.

(From The Valley of Vision, p. 26)


By His Grace and for the Gospel,

I Am the One Percent

If you’ve followed the Occupy Wall Street protests on the news, you know that the “One Percent” are the rich. Let me be clear; the purpose of this post is apolitical, and I’m using the term, “one percent” quite loosely. But make no mistake, I am rich! Incredibly, fantastically, and amazingly wealthy!

I am rich in spiritual blessings: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… (Eph 1:3)

I am rich in forgiveness: …for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matt 26:28)

I am rich in mercy: …his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…(Lam 3:22-23)

I am rich in God’s Grace: And from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace. (John 1:16)

I am rich in freedom from sin: For sin will have no dominion over you…(Rom 6:14)

I am rich in peace: …since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom 5:1)

In fact, I am rich in everything I could ever desire or need: His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…(2 Peter 1:3)

And how did I ever become so wealthy as all of this (and there’s much, much more!)? Like any inheritance, I did not have to work for it. I was born into it, or in this case, born again into it. The abundant life I now enjoy is a result of my Gospel Inheritance. God’s glorious, beautiful and free Good news!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

The beauty of my inheritance is that it is eternal. My assets are not dependent upon the stock market, the housing market, or subject to the status of the Euro Zone. My wealth is safe from thieves and immune from depreciation. My inheritance will never wear out, never break, never deteriorate. My riches are not subject to taxation, deflation, or devaluation. Here is why:

I am rich in my Gospel Inheritance: …according to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again…to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, reserved in heaven for you…(1 Peter 1:3-4).

How about you? Have you trusted the Lord Jesus for salvation and received your inheritance?

I am the One Percent. 

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

The Sin of Unbelief

For this post, I’m defining the sin of unbelief as doubting what God says and/or doubting His power to accomplish what He says.

In short, unbelief is sin because it calls God a liar. Unbelief is an insult to God’s character.

With that in mind, here are some things I am learning about the sin of unbelief in my own life:

When I doubt my Heavenly Father, I bring Him down to my level. I mistakenly believe that He is like me, created rather than Creator. When I am blinded by the circumstances of a trial, I act as if He cannot see. He is weak, like I am weak. Like me, He is confused and doesn’t know what to do. And, even if He could act, surely He lacks the power to do so.

When I am operating under the sin of unbelief, I see my trial in vivid detail. I note its structure, study its components, and give it my rapt and unending attention. I spend a good amount of energy projecting the consequences of the worst case scenario and its effect on my future. Rather than taking my fears to God, I coddle and feed them. My prayer life withers in direct proportion to the growth of my unbelief. In the end, God simply fades from view.

The sin of unbelief breeds impatience. In my restlessness, I conclude that the Lord just isn’t “making it stop” quickly enough. When this happens, I am often tempted to take matters into my own hands. The sin of unbelief gives birth to temptation and temptation gives birth to sin. Sin begets sin.

Failure to believe God can result in disastrous consequences. Most notably, Eve disbelieved God in the Garden of Eden. She doubted that God had only her good in mind when He issued instructions not to eat of the tree in the midst of the garden. She thought God was holding out on her. Hmm… How did that work out?

Yes, it is only human to doubt. Without question God’s Grace is sufficient, even to cover the sin of unbelief. However, I think it’s important (at least for me) to recognize the root problem. It’s arrogance and pride that keep me from believing God. Unbelief looks at God and asserts: “I do not believe you are who you say you are or that you can do what you say you can do!”

In its most elemental form, unbelief is my desire to put myself above God.

God is not man that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (Num 23:19)

Thanks to the Holy Spirit working in my heart and mind I am growing in this area, but I have a long way to go! I am learning that it’s best to stay close to the Lord when things are going well.  That way, when the trials of life do appear, I am already where I am supposed to be… beneath the shadow of His wings. Safe in my strong tower which is the Lord.

I believe; help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

You Are Not Alone

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction… 2 Corinthians 1:3-4a

The afflictions we experience and the suffering we endure do not fall outside of the sufficiency of the comforting arms of our Heavenly Father. There is nothing we face that can long threaten or remove the peace that is ours for the sake of His Beloved Son. Truly He is the God of all comfort. Comfort that is eternal in scope and scale.

The truth of the cross calls. You are not alone. 

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows… Isaiah 53:4a

Jesus bore our griefs and carried our sorrows on the cross. He is intimately acquainted with the things that burden us. Have you been forsaken? Falsely accused? Mocked and abused? Betrayed? Are you suffering physically? Emotionally? Do the pressures of your present trials conspire to overwhelm you?

The truth of the cross calls. You are not alone.

But the Helper (Comforter), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.  John 14:26

The Holy Spirit comforts us in times of uncertainty with the very words of Christ: “Believe in God; believe also in me…I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again and take you to myself…I am the way, and the truth, and the life…Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you…Let not your hearts be troubled…” (John 14)

The truth of the cross calls. You are not alone. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses… Hebrews 12:1a

God has shown himself faithful to the saints who have gone before us. People like us of flesh and blood who have seen the hand of God and His power to save. In the midst of war, injustice, false imprisonment and death, their witness gives voice to the faithfulness of God.

The truth of the Cross calls. You are not alone.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

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