February 2020



February 2020

February 2

Beginning at Pentecost, the work of the Holy Spirit occupied a place of honor in both teaching and in practice of the First Church. With the passage of time, the practice and later the teaching regarding the Holy Spirit were set aside on a secondary level until the beginning of the 20th century when the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements took place. The teaching about the Holy Spirit is one of the most important teachings of the Bible because it is present in creation, in redemption, and in ministry. This teaching sustains that the Holy Spirit of God empowers, sanctifies, unifies, promotes justice, helps us know the truth, gives gifts to believers… Here are some characteristics of the baptism with the Holy Spirit:
1. Baptism with the Holy Spirit is asked for through earnest prayer: “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13). “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers” (Acts 1:14).
2. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit has the inner signs of sanctification and the fruit of the Spirit: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). “to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:16). “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
3. Baptism with the Holy Spirit has the external sign of speaking in tongues: “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:4).
The Bible presents five events of baptism with the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts:
1. Jerusalem, Acts 2
2. Samaria, Acts 8
3. Damascus, Acts 9
4. Caesarea, Acts 10
5. Ephesus, Acts 19
In Jerusalem, Caesarea, and Ephesus this phenomenon is presented explicitly, and in Samaria and Damascus, this phenomenon is implicit. The performance in the ministry of the apostles was determined by the presence and work of the Holy Spirit both in their inner lives and their exterior lives as well as in the lives of others.
What empowers us, who determines our work?



 February 9


When the Savior asks practicing believers to sanctify their lives and dedicate themselves to missions and evangelism, He knows that this is possible only with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in their hearts. In the lines that follow, I would like to make a case for two of the supernatural works that the Spirit of God does in the lives of practicing believers:
1. The work of transforming sanctification
2. The work of empowering ministry
1. The internal work happens in the heart of a man with the purpose of transforming him, sanctifying his life, a work inside man, for man. This work does not implicate visible wonders or predestination, since it is the beginning of the spiritual life, the product of faith and personal repentance. Faith implies complete trust in God and in His Word from the Bible. Repentance means returning to God with deep sorrow for past sinful deeds. Faith and repentance lead to rebirth, which means the internal renewal of the old man, sinful and corrupt - “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1); “…made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:5). Rebirth is a mysterious work, enigmatic, and leads to the sanctification of one’s life in all its details. Sanctification means the justification made possible by Jesus Christ before the face of God the Father and the continuous transformation of the believer’s life, until he is identified with Jesus Christ.
2. The outer work of the Holy Spirit leads to the practicing believer serving, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, which first began to sanctify his inner being. This work involves wonders and predestination, it is done through a man for the benefit of other people. “Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life” (Philippians 4:3). The empowering work manifests the power of gifts, the authority of ministry and the fruit of the Spirit of God (the spiritual character).
a) The power of the Holy Spirit is expressed through gifts, “there are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them” (1 Corinthians 12:4). The goals of the empowering work through gifts is to “utter mysteries… strengthening, encouraging, and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:2-3).
b) The authority of the Holy Spirit is expressed through ministry, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). The purpose of the authoritative work through ministry is “maturity in the fullness of Christ, the unification of the faith, growing and building in all aspects” (Ephesians 4:12-16).
c) The character of the Holy Spirit is expressed through the Fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). The purpose of the work in the character of a believer is to bring glory to God, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8). This is why the Bible says, “be filled with the Spirit”.


 February 16


Around the year 66 AD, shortly before his death, the Apostle Paul was in jail in Rome, where he wrote his second letter to Timothy. In chapter three, Paul, the man of God, warns the young Timothy, “there will be terrible times in the last days”. Then Paul explains the fact that the difficulty of the times he refers to is not financial or material in nature, but spiritual and moral, reason for which he argues with a list of twenty-one characteristics of the type of man from the “hard times”. Anyone of us reading these characteristics will believe that the apostle Paul refers to the people living in 2020 because in our generation, children’s innocence, monogamous families, the church of born-again Christians, and faith in God are abused.
Paul’s presentation is dramatic in regard to “the end of times”, containing twenty-one negative characteristics. The evangelists Matthew states that, “Because of the increase of wickedness the love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). Using interrogational rhetoric, the evangelist Luke suggests the lack of faith in the end times: “I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Interrogational rhetoric is a figure of speech composed of one or more questions that are not made to obtain a response but rather to communicate an idea or attitude. When the Savior is asked about the signs of the end times by His disciples, He highlights the following characteristics: adversity, armed conflicts, natural disasters, starvation, diseases, persecution, betrayal between brothers, and an increase in false prophets and lawlessness (Matthew 24:4-12). The good part of this otherwise pessimistic outlook is that not all Christians will be compromised, but “many.” “Many,” but not “all;” “Many will be deceived;” “Many will fall;” “Many false prophets;” “The love of many shall turn cold.”
The devil tormented Christians living in Communism through persecution, and tempts Christians living in Capitalism with materialism: “Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies” (Exodus 5:9). In addition, if in past generations many wrongly believed that man is saved by deeds without faith, in our generation many wrongly believe that man is saved by faith without any deeds. However, everyone thinks that “most” live in sin. The apostle’s recommendation is: “Take heed that no man may deceive you.” The Savior suggests a process of observation and assessment: “You will hear of...” and, “When you shall see...”
We must hear, see, study, and draw conclusions. Thus, we will be part of those who survive, not of the many who fall and are destroyed.



 February 23


Addiction is a relatively new phenomenon, and is a very vast, complex and profound subject. The approach below has the role of drawing attention and introducing the dramatic nature of the subject. In the beginning, there is only the intention of experimentation, then there is preoccupation, the accommodation with the new experience, the expectation of repetition, and finally, addiction appears. Addiction leads to social problems, the deterioration of living conditions, social isolation, increases in drug doses and increases in frequency of use.
1. ADDICTION is an automatism that installs itself in the brain based on a function that neuropsychology is trying to understand, explain and treat. The word “addiction” is derived from the Latin “enslaved by” or “forced to”. Addiction occurs when the body adapts to the presence of a drug. In general addiction is evident when a person cannot refrain for a day from using the substance or doing the thing that created the addiction. Addiction is, on the one hand, a behavioral problem that is automated by repetition; but on the other hand, it is a chemical problem, due to the release of neurotransmitter chemicals: endorphin, dopamine (the pleasure hormone), serotonin (the happiness hormone), adrenaline, oxytocin. Dopamine is a neurochemical that causes activity in the brain, stimulating the reward system that we need for survival. Examples: eating, intimacy, sleep, affective links, avoidance of pain, etc. For example, those who have Parkinson’s disease do not process enough dopamine. Persons who are schizophrenic process too much dopamine and this can lead to extreme emotional storms. Once the addiction is installed, the person can no longer give up the repetition of automatism by the simple use of his will. Addiction is a progressive disease and it will not go away by itself. Once installed, it cannot be easily cured.
2. TOLERANCE is a phenomenon in which the brain adapts to the drug dose and then no longer feels pleasure, which is why it then demands an increase in the dose and frequency of use of the substance. Addiction occurs when the body adapts to the presence of a drug. Over time, the brain adapts, and the desired substance or activity causes less and less pleasure. In this situation, the people involved need to use more stimulant (drug) to get the same effect because their brain has adapted – this phenomenon is called tolerance.
3. WITHDRAWAL implies a strong physical and mental suffering, caused by lack of stimulus (drug, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc.). Addiction occurs when the body adapts to the presence of a drug, but the drug loses its initial effect, resulting in the consumption of an increased amount of that drug to achieve the same effect. When the body is deprived of this substance, withdrawal occurs. It manifests through severe pain, nausea, vomiting, sweating, strong cramps, hallucinations, shock and delirium. The Bible says, “I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial” (1 Corinthians 6:12).


Addiction is a psychological resistance that is difficult to control, located in unconscious dimensions, meaning that the addict does not realize that he has a problem. The fact that some people become addicted and others do not is explained by the differences in genetic variability, history and family environment, psychology, social, economic and lifestyle differences, power of will, etc. Substance dependence is different from substance abuse in that in the case of addiction, tolerance and withdrawal occur.
Why do people start using addictive substances?
Neuropsychology is trying to find the cause of addictions and offers several variants: a childhood in which the person has not received attention and love, inborn genetics, the toxic environment of the family, a toxic environment, temptation, stress, decrease of inhibition in adolescents and young people, a precocious family situation, the desire for affirmation in a certain environment, conformity, boredom, routine, desire for fun, desire for integration, low self-esteem, others’ attention, need to consume energy, example or influence of parents, the desire to experience an altered mental state, family or friend problems, issues at school, financial crisis, frustrations at work and personal relationships, a precarious family environment in which the child is under the influence of parents with addictions (smoking, alcohol or drug use), child neglect by parents, the lack of attachment, affection and constant care for the child, poor school performance, belonging to a group of friends with deviant behavior, hope that it will give him strength, courage, success, etc.
Can believers become dependent?
Generally speaking, any person can become an addict when they begin to consume substances that lead to dependence. For a practicing believer, the hardest sin to commit is the first one, and then it becomes easier. In the beginning, man has the capacity to choose whether or not he will use the drug, but after installing the automatism, the addiction, the will of the man is exhausted.
What are the most dangerous addictive substances?
1. Heroin: increases the level of dopamine in the brain’s reward system by 200%
2. Alcohol: has many effects on the brain and increases dopamine levels in the brain’s reward system by 40-360%.
3. Cocaine – distracts the attention of neurons in order to stop the dopamine signal, thus resulting in abnormal activity in the brain’s reward system.
4. Barbiturates – also known as “blue bullets”, “gorillas”, or “pink ladies. They represent a category of drugs that have the role of treating anxiety and sleep.
5. Nicotine – the ingredient in a cigarette that creates the most dependence.

“There is nothing to take hold of you” (1 Corinthians 6:1).