• Arise, shine!

    For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.

  • The word of God is food for our spirit

    Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  • The teaching of the Early Church

    The early church is the answer to the questions and the solution to the problems of the end time church.

We are called "to become into the likeness of His son", to be Christ-like
The Kingdom of God and the Challenges of the End Times
Knitting east and west
A call for reconciliation
The union between Christ and the Church, His Bride, is a great mystery

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1 year
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Our daily guideline for reading the Bible.

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Core Value

  • The early church is the answer to the questions and the solution to the problems of the end time church.
    Shine International
  • Spiritual growth towards the purpose of "The formation of Christ" within us, according to the biblical teaching. In other words, achieving a true "Christ-likeness" according to the teaching of the Early Church.
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Latest Teachings

Spiritual Family (5): fellowship with the Trinity

Ministry and learning the Fellowship with the Trinity

The Holy Spirit is the “Grace, the uncreated energy,” proceeding eternally from the Father and sent to us by the Son[1]. This Grace, the Holy Spirit, brings to us all the other graces.

The Holy Spirit is the One who transfers to us these graces because He is the Person of the Trinity who makes us enter into the fellowship of the Father and the Son.

We have a very limited understanding of the Trinity. Theology is not topics that can be understood by the mind; the mind cannot comprehend these matters. But they are comprehended by the spiritual mind because God is its source. This spiritual mind is formed through fellowship with God. Therefore, Apostle John writes: ‘that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full’ (1John 1: 3, 4).

In this short message, I want to draw your attention to few things that are important highlights in the spiritual path. As ministers, you need to understand these things and live them out so that in your ministry you can help others.

Some people may hear the spiritual messages in the meetings and they may not understand everything. As ministers of God, you have an important role in the meetings and after the meetings. In the meeting, a message is delivered and it touches the needs of the people attending. After the meeting, the ministers can have an edifying conversation with the attendees related to things that touched them in the message or things they could not grasp enough. You can help them fill in the gaps that they did not understand.

The speaker presents a message that touches every heart. His message is like cloth material that requires the tailors to make into clothes that fit each person. So the listener may come out of the meeting having heard something that he could not fully understand or is not able to apply. The ministers who should have a deeper experience in the spiritual life and deep understanding of the messages would help make this piece of cloth become a garment that fits each person. This is the role of the ministers. The ministry can be hindered if it relies only on the speaker or the leader of the meeting. We should all be doing the work of the Kingdom together.

The Holy Spirit is the One who does the whole spiritual work in people, working through the human vessels that surrender to Him and obey Him[2].

Each one of us has a different form and a different pattern. The bible calls us ‘precious stones’. In Revelation 21, it is clearly highlighted that there are different kinds of precious stones:

‘The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst’ (Revelation 21: 19, 20).

We are these precious stones because we have been ‘built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets’ (Ephesians 2: 20); and these are their different patterns.

Though we may not be experts in knowing these kinds of stones, we can understand that they are all different from each other. Therefore, we are also different from each other; different patterns having different in spiritual gifts.

 Therefore, when we go out to ministry, we need to be aware of this and aware that God uses each one with others who can fit with his pattern/vessel. We first need to tune our hearts with God and repent. Then one should pray: ‘Holy Spirit, You are the One responsible for our ministry. I surrender myself to You and put myself in Your Hands. Use me as You wish and help me not to hinder Your work.’  After that, we will find that He will allow me to meet certain people; and allow my brother to come across other people and my sister to encounter yet other individuals. We will find that the Holy Spirit is the One who is distributing us according to the needs and our different patterns and the shape of our vessels[3]. Then, when I speak with the people that the Holy Spirit had brought in my way, I will find that they understand and grasp what I say; the words reach their hearts easily and people will be helped in setting their feet on the correct path.

The important point here is that we can only carry out our role in ministry through our fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

I started my talk by referring to our fellowship with the Father and the Son which Apostle John spoke about[4].

What about my fellowship with the Holy Spirit?

Actually my fellowship with the Holy Spirit allows me to have fellowship with the Father and the Son. In other words, the Holy Spirit Himself makes me enter into fellowship with the Father and the Son.

The Holy Spirit then transfers to me the gifts of the Father. It is written: ‘If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him’ (Luke 11: 13). The Holy Spirit is the first and supreme gift that the Father gives. The gifts that the Father bestows upon us are good gifts. It is also written: ‘For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him’ (Matthew 6: 8). It is also written: ‘For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things’ (Matthew 6: 32).

Therefore, it is the heart desire and pleasure of the Heavenly Father to give us gifts, like any father who likes to give gifts to his children. The Father gives us fatherly gifts that express His love for us. He gives us gifts of love.

 The Son gives us graces[5], the grace of Redemption that can be expressed in various ways like healing our illnesses.

In the prayers of the church we see how the Church addresses all the Persons of the Trinity, for example:  ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (2Corinthians 13:14).

Also, in the prayers of the third hour, the litany refers to the grace of the Holy Spirit. According to the fathers of the Church, the Holy Spirit is the main ‘Grace’ through whom the other graces to come to us.

To sum up, the Holy Spirit is the main Grace. When I enter into a fellowship with the Holy Spirit, He makes me enter into fellowship with the Father and hence receive the gifts of the Father that are full of love. He also makes me enter into fellowship with the Son and hence I receive the grace of the Son that grants freedom to the soul and body and that transforms one’s image[6].

If we are honest with ourselves, we may feel that our fellowship with the Father is weak and we do not sense His fatherly love. We probably experience God’s tenderness and the good things He does for us in a general way, but do we truly experience the Fatherhood of God?

The Holy Spirit can help us and make us enter into fellowship with the Father: sense His fatherhood and experience His face reviving us: ‘As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness’ (Psalm 17: 15).

If I have a true fellowship with the Son, His grace penetrates me freeing me from sin[7], cutting off my bonds, and healing my soul[8]. It enters deep within me, truly freeing me from sins.  Sometimes one can have chronic or repetitive sins in his life resulting from a hurt or wound in his soul that gives the chance for the enemy to attack, taking advantage of this vulnerable area in his soul. This weak or vulnerable area can be deep emotional hunger resulting from not having received true or sufficient love. In this case, the evil spirits can attack this person in the area of affections and passions and one can be easily taken by it because of this area of vulnerability.

The Grace of the Only begotten Son heals! I can receive this grace through my payers in my chamber. I can receive it through the Word of God which I eat[9], repeat, and chew on until it heals me: ‘He sent His word and healed them’ (Psalm 107: 20). I can also receive it through Communion and receiving the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ; I eat it and hence eat freedom, healing, strength, victory, and eternal life: ‘Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him’ (John 6: 54 – 56). We eat and drink freedom, strength and victory. It is not fitting or appropriate for the Redeemed to be cast down, weak and paralysed.

This is a great mystery granted to humanity. Ah, if our eyes are opened and we perceive it! During the liturgy, many of the fathers of the Church who had open spiritual insight, used to see the glory of God coming upon the holy mysteries/sacraments and see the angels surrounding.

Ministries of the Kingdom of God:

Going back to the ministers of God, Apostle Paul used this term in his epistles. Let us see what he says about the ministers of God:

‘We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in sleeplessness, in fastings;  by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,  by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true;  as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things’ (2Corinthians 6: 3, 4).

Also in 1Timothy 6: 11, Apostle Paul uses the term: ‘man of God’: ‘But you, O man of God…’

This is what the ministers and servants of God should be. When anyone sees them, he can tell that they are full of grace and the honour of God; when anyone talks with them, he is healed by the grace of God in them.

To conclude, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit makes us enter into the fellowship of the Father to be filled with His love and into the fellowship of the Son to be filled with the freedom He grants us.

A prayer

Thank you, Lord Jesus because though we are sometimes slow in heart and at times stubborn in heart, You are longsuffering; You teach us gently and with tenderness; You make us rise up; You coach us. 

Lord, You sent these words to us and You had taught us few highlights about the fellowship of the Trinity. Now, Lord You desire that through this fellowship we may lean to have fellowship with You as the Father and the Only-begotten Son who has redeemed us so that our joy may be complete, as Apostle John wrote.

Lord, we often pray and ask for this joy. Though we understand the difference between the joy of the world and the joy of the Spirit, we still receive very little of this true joy. Because of our poverty, we take the comfort of the Spirit to be the joy; yet Your joy is eternal and it is written that this joy is ‘inexpressible and full of glory’ (1Peter 1: 8).

The only way to this joy, as the bible tells us, is through the fellowship of the Father and the Son. Lord, we are so estranged from this fellowship and we so much need to be brought into it.

Help us, O Lord, to know You as the true Father who is near to us –as You desire to be. You long that we give You the chance so that we may enjoy Your Fatherhood and Your gifts. We are in great need of this so that our joy may be complete; glorious and inexpressible.

And if our faces shine with the true joy, as the Church fathers wrote, the world will know You, even if we do not say a word. They will surely search for the source of our joy[10]; they will seek it because they need it and cannot find it. This will be their entrance to know You.

Amen, Lord Jesus. All glory be to Your name.

 


[1] Acts 2:33

[2] Acts 5:32

[3] 1 Corinthians 12:18

[4] 1John 1:3

[5] 1Peter 4:10; 1Peter 5:10

[6] 2Corinthians 3:17, 18

[7] John 8:32

[8] Luke 4:18

[9] Jeremiah 15:16

[10] John 16:22; 17:13

Spiritual Family (4): grow together as members

How to spiritually grow together as members of one body

We need to learn how the Church lives together the divine calendar, the seasons of salvation, one year after the other, receiving renewed spiritual experiences that add to the life of each person.

Readings

‘For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ…If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be’ (1Corinthians 12: 12, 15 – 19).

‘For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another’ (Romans 12: 4 – 6

‘The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread’ (1Corinthians 10: 16, 17).

In the above references, we read the biblical basis related to the body of Christ and its members. We experience the same thing in our physical life; each one of us has different members: hands, feet, eyes, etc., where each member has a function and a role. Is it possible that the members of the body decide to stop functioning and leave the head to do everything? If this was the case, the head will be saying things but nothing will be happening. Imagine the head telling the feet that today we need to do so and so, while the feet are just listening but refraining from doing anything. Will anything be achieved? The end result will be that the whole body will be in a stand still mode.

Similarly, on the spiritual level, we can be saying things that need to be done while the members of the body are not functioning or carrying out their roles. The result will be that there will be no actual movement; the body will be in the stand still mode.

What about the state and health of the hands and the feet? What about the nervous system? Is the nervous system transmitting correctly to the organs? What about the connections and the joints between one member and the other? The foot may be healthy; the muscles of the foot may be strong; yet, the connecting nerve may be damaged. If the connecting organ is not linking the feet to the head, the feet cannot move. The person may understand what it needs to do; but the feet remain incapable of carrying it out.

Let us apply this to ourselves on the spiritual level. We are a small unit that has members that are joined together. If each member knew his/her role and carries it out, there will be actual and effective movement.

Yet, let us put the movement aside for now because we first need to grow more in the spirit before reaching the step of moving together in the ministry and work of the Kingdom. When a child is little, he is not given tasks to do; but, he should be growing. If this child stops to grow, he may eventually die.

Similarly, at the moment, we need to make our membership in the one body function at the level of growing in the spirit until we come to the point where we can make it function for the purpose of moving in ministry.

What does this mean practically? How can we work together as members of one body for the purpose of our spiritual growth? And how is this linked to the resurrection and the 50 holy days after the resurrection –which we are living together these days?

If one wants to truly benefit from this season, he would ask the Holy Spirit: ‘I desire to receive the blessing and grace of this season; teach me how to benefit from the holy fifties.’ This person would then read the biblical verses related to the resurrection, contemplate on them, and would receive some understanding. In most cases what the person receives will be limited and not very effective. That is why we do not grow much from one year to the other nor receive noticeable spiritual strength; we only witness a limited effect.

What else can be done so that the person would benefit from this season?

Each one should bring what he/she received to our meeting, where we share about the resurrection. Each one would share what he had received. What each one says is only a fragment or a piece of a puzzle which, on its own, cannot be nourishing food that leads to growth except to a very limited extent. However, each one who shares adds something. Then, among the members of the body, there will be some who are specialised in or called to connecting and joining things together. On the level of the physical body, we all know that there are organs that join the members together. Similarly, when each one starts to share what he received about the resurrection, there will be members who will connect this sharing together. We will be functioning together as a body so that we can grow.

Having finished the stage of being formed into a spiritual family, we are now at the stage of making this spiritual family function and operate as members of a body. We cannot stop at the stage of becoming a spiritual family. It will be a mere title if we do not function as such. The true spiritual family according to God’s mind is totally different from just that and has many other dimensions.

We will start applying that by sharing and collating our sharing and we will come out with few principles. These principles will be true things that are given to us by the Holy Spirit according to our exact needs and they will make us grow. When all what we received is put together, it becomes a spiritual food/meal that can make us grow.

Before this food was put together, it was only one element of nutrition but it was not nourishing food for growth. This is similar to giving someone a powder of carbohydrates and telling him: ‘eat it and it will make you full’. It will actually have no taste nor is it satisfying and it can make him feel sick. But if each one brings the element of nutrition he has and we add them together, put them in the oven, they will come out as a nourishing, filling, and tasty meal.

Isn’t this what happens on the material level to nourish our physical body which is dust and to dust it shall return? How much more on the spiritual level do we need to nourish the inner spiritual man who is called for the fellowship of glory and establishing the Kingdom of God?!

We are hindered in our spiritual walk because we are not working or functioning together as members of a body. We often operate and live by our mind and thoughts not by our hearts. We search for some verses about resurrection and then pray with these verses asking God to help us live the resurrected life. Then, we find that this is not working enough; it gives us a very limited result.

Why is that?

It is because one does not know his particular need each year or in a given year; only the Holy Spirit who dwells in the person knows. It is written that the Holy Spirit ‘intercedes on behalf of the saints according to the will of God’ (Romans 8: 27).  He is the One who knows your need at this particular time, this year. This is similar to a mother bringing up her child; she knows the particular food that he needs at each stage. She cannot feed him meat as soon as he is born; otherwise, he would die straight away. She starts by feeding him milk; then, she weans him, giving him certain solid foods made in a certain way that suits his age from one stage to the other as he grows up.

That is exactly what we need on the spiritual level.

If we read and listen to sermons about the resurrection, this will make the understanding in our mind increase. Yet, where is the food of the resurrection that will nourish our spirit? We need to prepare it together. We will not prepare it out of the blue; we will have to prepare it from what we have read and heard. Yet, these will only be the ingredients which we will then need to add together and cook to make a meal.

Practically, each one receives something about the resurrection. Then, we share them together. Then, the members, who are called to be joints, will join them and connect them together. This will make up our special food for this year. We then take it/eat it and start to live by it; and so, it makes us grow.

Not only does this food make us grow spiritually, but it also binds us together more and more.

Thus, we understand that even our spiritual growth is based on our fellowship together.

Then, the following year, we receive a different food which we may wonder where it came from. It is actually the food that we have prepared together. The Holy Spirit will not give us the same food which He had given us the previous year. He will give us something new that suits each individual person and also suits the other brothers and sisters.

Each year we are given something new, a new meal, and we start to experience that we are truly growing spiritually from one year to the other; we are actually changing. This will be experienced on the individual level and on the corporate level.

Q: What is the level and extent of sharing which we should bring to the group or the spiritual family?

A: What I am explaining here will not happen as such all at once.

If one has learned to have a fellowship with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will make him grow in this family. God requests of this family a certain task. Just to illustrate, let us say that this task requires some members to be doctors, some lawyers, some engineers, some computer experts, and some trade experts because they are called to do a project that requires all these skills. So, as the Holy Spirit is teaching and leading this family, He will teach them these skills. However, if I were in a different family called to go to battle, for example, I will be learning other skills like carrying and using spiritual weapons. I will be learning in a spiritual military school that has no doctors or engineers or any of the skills needed for the other project.

In the body of Christ, there is this diversity and variety so that the body may be able to carry out a complete inclusive work and tasks in the world. The Church of Christ should be the light of the world.

When we start to apply this, we will start by doing so on a limited level. Yet, we will grow in it year after the other until we become experts in preparing our spiritual food together. We will start to discern what the Holy Spirit is teaching us and when we come together we will sense exactly how to connect together. However, this will need time and training like all true spiritual matters which require training.

Our spiritual life and growth are often hindered because we are cut off from being a spiritual family and being members of one body.

I need to see my inner spiritual growth as one connected chain not as sporadic separate events or experiences.

If I am growing spiritually and then I come to a season like the resurrection, I may wonder how to continue my growth within this season. In fact, the Holy Spirit desires for the human soul to grow in connection with the divine seasons of salvation which were set by the Church through a divine mystery. They were not just set as an economy suitable for the life of the church, but indeed by experience it was found that the Holy Spirit does this link between the seasons and the spiritual growth of the person. So, I will find that when the season of resurrection comes, it brings me something related to what I am already preoccupied with spiritually. This is what makes our sharing together effective; otherwise, it will be mere ideas and contemplation about resurrection.

In other words, each one should be growing spiritually throughout the year. Each one can be growing in an area different from the other; one can be growing in the area of emotions and another in the area of the mind. Therefore, when the power of resurrection comes to the mind it will be different from when it comes to the emotions. It will come to the mind with light, discerning the human wisdom and its tactics, exposing the calculations of the fallen human wisdom, separating confused matters, and so on. On the other hand, the power of resurrection will come to the emotions with freedom, love, broadness, getting rid of the inner constriction, getting rid of the desire to possess things or people, and so on. Can you see the difference? Yet, both are the result of the work of the power of the resurrection of Christ. There can be other things in the person’s life that require something different from the power of resurrection; some things for example may require repentance.

If we are growing spiritually throughout the year, the resurrection will come to me with an inner change and growth different from my brother; yet, putting all together makes our meal complete. However, if there is no inner change or growth, we will receive ideas about resurrection in our mind; we will be sharing words and they will all be very similar providing us with one element of food: potatoes for example; some may be mashed, some boiled, some fried, some baked; yet after all they are all only potatoes!

However, if one brings chicken, the other salad, the other potatoes, and so on, it will be a totally different meal. They will complete each other; each is essential; and there will be a great variety. These together make the feast of resurrection.

This happens when each one is growing in the area that the Holy Spirit is working on in that person’s life; and then the resurrection comes to each person in the area he is growing in.

It can be a power that touches ones heart, his circumstances, his ties and bonds, or the darkness of his mind. This will be one’s experience of resurrection that year.

This highlights the true variety and the power of resurrection which actually comes in various ways.

Spiritual Family (3): Psalm 111: 1

‘I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation’

(Psalm 111: 1)

We need to learn certain matters that will help us in our spiritual growth and in having the mind of Christ. We need to learn the divine matters through the Holy Spirit who reveals to us the spiritual treasures and riches.

In Psalm 111: 1, we read: ‘I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.’

Of course, each one of us can praise the Lord on his own. Yet, according to the divine purpose, worshipping within a special spiritual group, by the Holy Spirit, results in spiritual growth in a multiplied way compared to what can happen as a result of the worship on the personal level.  In other words, the spiritual work that takes place in us when we are gathered together is multiplied compared to what one can do alone. 

Knowing and Experiencing God

God revealed Himself in various ways both in the Old and New Testaments so that we can know Him, experience Him, and enter into fellowship with Him. This book takes you on a journey to discover this biblical revelation about the Person of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Do you have the spiritual hunger to enter into a deeper knowledge and experience of God? 

Do you long to ascend the mountain of worship in closer fellowship with God?

Do you know that there are 16 names of God in the Old Testament and that each name reveals an aspect of God which humanity needs so much?

Do you want to learn more about the true spiritual unity which is in accordance to the unity between the Persons of the Trinity?

Do you want to learn about the spiritual situation of this generation, the reason behind it, and how this can be altered?

In this book, you will learn about the mystery of the Holy Trinity, the fellowship between the Persons of the Trinity, and how this reflects on our lives. You will learn the meaning of worshipping in spirit and truth. You will learn about the Person of Christ, His work of salvation and His ministry as Prophet and Teacher, as High Priest and supreme Sacrifice, and as the Risen Lord and King. You will learn about the Holy Spirit and His work in the Church.

This book answers the above questions from a biblical, theological and Patristic perspective, with quotes from the writings of the fathers of the Church that reflect their understanding of the Person of God and their life-experience in the fellowship with the Holy Trinity.

‘He knitted together again the disunited elements, cementing them, as it were, together with the cement of His Divine power, and recombining what has been severed in a union never to be broken. And this is the resurrection’ (Gregory of Nyssa, The Great Catechism).

‘Together with Christ, who ascended through sacrifice and resurrection, we ascend to the peaks of the knowledge of God and of divine life through purification from selfish passions’ (Cyril of Alexandria, Glaphyra).

If you have any question, please contact at shinebooksmedia@gmail.com

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