Source:Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease – Numerous studies have found a strong connection between deeply held religious beliefs and less likelihood and incidence of depression. For example, a study of more than 600 middle-age and older adults, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, examined how both men and women experienced the influence of religious beliefs that protected them against symptoms of depression.
Researchers found that these were some of the protective experiences: “I feel God’s presence,” and “I feel comfort in my religion or spirituality.” Benefits were comparable for both men and women.
Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) – Ephesians 6:18 stated, “18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
Life Application:iLumina Bible Studies – This verse, although not naming another “weapon” in the believer’s armor, does continue the thought of Ephesians 6:17.As we take the sword of the Holy Spirit, God’s word, we must also pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Praying in the Spirit means that the Holy Spirit helps us when we pray (Romans 8:26); the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf (Romans 8:27); the Holy Spirit makes God accessible (Ephesians 2:18); the Holy Spirit gives us confidence when we pray (Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:6). He inspires and guides us when we pray. He helps us communicate with God and also brings God’s response to us.
Paul was giving the how-tos for taking up the armor described in the previous verses. We must not underestimate Satan’s forces. He will strike in different ways at different people; thus, we need to pray “all kinds” of prayers, allowing for all kinds of requests. Satan will attack at various times, but he will always be attacking someone. Satan will attack when we least expect it, so we need to stay alert to prayer needs when they arise. Satan will rarely let up if he thinks he can win the battle, so Born-Again Christian believers must be persistent in praying, no matter how long it takes. No believer is exempt from being Satan’s target – Satan demands battle against his enemies (we as Born-Again Christian believers). Thus, all Christians everywhere need our prayer support.
How can anyone pray at all times? Make quick, brief prayers our habitual response to every situation we meet throughout the day. Order our life around God’s desires and teachings so that our very lives become all kinds of prayers. We can make prayer our life and our life a prayer while living in a world that needs God’s powerful influence.
Elias A. Busuego, Jr., PhD, DTM is self-described as “proud of the only two women in my life – my wife and my daughter (with her husband and one grandson & one granddaughter). I am also proud of my three sons: John and his family (two sons & 1 daughter); Christopher and his family (with his wife and one grandson & one daughter); and Elias Jr. IV and his family (with his wife and one son & one daughter), who are all serving in the U.S. military.” The author states that he read the Bible back-to-back, and learned the history behind it, but did not understand its deeper spiritual perspective until he experienced of being Born-Again, born in spirit.
Since he was Born-Again on March 17, 1972, he started understanding the Passage and/or Scripture on John 3:3-7 NLT.
These are most of his favorite verses. In John 3:3-7 NLT says, “3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again? "Jesus replied, “I assure you; no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’
In John 3:5 – This statement has perplexed and divided commentators for many centuries. Some traditions have taught that the water denotes physical birth (referring to the “water” of amniotic fluid or even semen) and Spirit to spiritual birth – in which case our Lord Jesus Christ would be saying that a person has to have two births: one physical and the second, spiritual. This view builds upon the preceding context when Nicodemus referred to physical birth. It also points to the parallel our Lord Jesus Christ makes in verse 6. According to this position, our Lord Jesus Christ would have been granting the Pharisee’s point in order to highlight the nature of the second birth as spiritual. Two strengths of this interpretation are that it avoids making the physical act of water baptism a necessity and that it avoids bringing almost a “third birth” idea into the discussion. If water doesn’t refer to natural birth, say its defenders, then our Lord Jesus Christ seems to be saying that a person must be born of their parents, born of water, and born of the Spirit.
Other traditions have taught that the water refers to baptism and the Spirit to spiritual regeneration – thus, our Lord Jesus Christ would have been saying that a person must both be baptized and receive the Spirit in order to enter the Kingdom of God. This view is at times influenced by the belief that the sacrament of baptism is itself a requirement for salvation.
A parallel view makes water refer to baptism but places the emphasis on teaching two steps of baptism; one by water, the other by the Spirit. For support, these views point to the larger context in John where John the Baptist and water baptism are mentioned just preceding the events in Cana and following this encounter with Nicodemus. They also rely on the tendency of previous generations of Christians to equate the mention of water with baptism. But in the first seven chapters of John, water appears in some way (naturally or symbolically) in each chapter. To associate water and baptism too closely makes baptism a higher priority than the Scriptures give it. Here, for instance, if our Lord Jesus Christ was speaking of two completely separate acts, two baptisms, it is odd that the rest of the discussion between our Lord Jesus Christ and Nicodemus never again refers to the subject but revolves entirely around the work of God’s Spirit.
Still other traditions have taught that our Lord Jesus’ reference to water is not physical in either the sense of birth or baptism. The term water is simply another description of the Spirit – or the Spirit’s activity of cleansing and giving life (see John 7:37-39).
In John 3:6 – Humans can produce only more human beings; this answers Nicodemus’s question in verse 4. Only God the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven. At the same time God puts His Spirit into us, we are given a new regenerated human spirit. It is God’s Spirit, not our effort, that makes us children of God (John 1:12). Our Lord Jesus’ description corrects human hopes that we might somehow inherit goodness from parents or earn it by good behavior, church background, or correct associations. At some point we must be able to answer the question: Have I been born of the Spirit?
In John 3:7 – Our Lord Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus that evening has been heralded to all the world ever since. Both Jew and Gentile have heard the divine mandate: You must be born again. Without the new birth, one cannot see or enter into the Kingdom of God. In those words, millions have heard our Lord Jesus Christ speaking directly to their hearts and our hearts. Behind our Lord Jesus’ challenge is His invitation to each of us –” You must be born again; allow me to do that for you.”
Since he was born again on March 17, 1972, he started also understanding his other favorite Passage on Romans 12:2 NLT.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
When Elias offered his entire self to God, a change happened in his relation to the world. As one of Born-Again Christians, he believes we are called to a different lifestyle than what the world offers with its behavior and customs, which are usually selfish and often corrupting (Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:14).
He commented that Born-Again Christians are to live as citizens of a future world. There will be pressure to conform, to continue living according to the script written by the world, but Born-Again Christian believers are forbidden to give in to that pressure.
But refusing to conform to this world’s values must go even deeper than the level of behavior and customs – it must go to the transforming of the way we think.
In Elias testimonies as a Born-Again Christian believer, he emphasized that born-again is an experience and he experienced a complete transformation from the inside out. And the change must begin in the mind, where all thoughts and actions begin. Much of the work is done by God’s Spirit in us, and the tool most frequently used is God’s Word. As we memorize and meditate upon God’s Word, our way of thinking changes. Our minds become first informed, and then conformed to the pattern of God, the pattern for which we were originally designed. When we as Born-Again Christian believers have had our minds transformed and are becoming more like our Lord Jesus Christ, we will know what God wants and we will want to do it for it is good, pleasing to God, and perfect for us.
It is from those gleanings that he was able to write this book.
View all posts by Elias A Busuego Jr PhD DTM
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