Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Not A Girlie Jesus!

Dear Friends,

Look at these two images of Jesus. Which one best represents the “real” Jesus to you? Why do you think that is? Now, which image do you think would be the more accurate representation of your Lord? The image on the left is called the “Pantocrator” (God Almighty) and is the oldest known icon (image) of Christ from the 6th century. The image on the right is how Jesus is typically portrayed today. How on earth did Jesus Christ morph into a feminized, blue-eyed Jesus with Lady Clairol wavy blond hair?

Over the years, Roman Catholic artists have created the images of Jesus that we typically see today in our Children’s Bibles and on our Protestant Sunday School walls. The feminization of Jesus continues today. Fr. Donald Cozzens is the president-rector of a Catholic seminary and in “The Changing Face of the Priesthood,” he writes that the problem of pedophile priests attracted to young boys is because the “Catholic priesthood has become a gay profession” and quotes Catholic studies showing that 58% of today's priests are homosexually oriented. He notes that the percentage of young seminarians who are gay is significantly higher. Their homilies tend to de-emphasize the masculinity of Jesus and present Him as gender-neutral. 

In nearly all liberal Protestant churches, God has been neutered and in one Evangelical Lutheran denomination, pastors are banned from referring to God as “He” or “Lord” in order to not offend women. Some in the ELCA Lutheran church are even preaching a "woke" Jesus who is transgender. The Episcopal church often refers to Him as “Mother God.” Methodist church pastors are instructed to use gender-neutral terms when referring to God and Jesus and to use the pronoun “she” when referring to the Holy Spirit. These modern church movements have tamed the rebel Jesus. The dangerously righteous Man of God who sits on the throne in judgement of the world Rev 20:11-15 has been gentled and made nice and safe. 

Even in many Evangelical churches, the great God Almighty has now become our boyfriend or our buddy. Kari Jobe is a Dove Award winning Christian artist. Here are the lyrics to her popular worship song, “The More I Seek You.”

The more I seek you, the more I find you; 

The more I find you, the more I love you

I wanna sit at your feet, drink from the cup in your hand.

Lay back against you and breath, hear your heart beat

This love is so deep, it's more than I can stand.

I melt in your peace, it's overwhelming.

I truly love the Lord God with all my heart. I love Jesus. But as a man, I gotta say that this sexualized worship song would be way too creepy for me to sing in church. Image a wife finally convincing her husband to attend church with her and then expecting him to stand in a congregation of mostly women and sing this love song to a man – Jesus!

And then we wonder why the majority of American men see church as a “women’s thing” in a category with aroma-therapy, chick flicks, and quilting. And that’s why the neutering of God and the feminization of Jesus should matter to us. Women make up over 60% of every American church congregation and the more that our churches have demasculinized the church to make it comfortable for women, the less appealing it has become to men. And then when men are in church, typically the only man who actively practices his faith is the pastor. The church needs to teach the reality of Jesus. The dangerous and rebellious firebrand that He actually was.

Jesus was killed by the church authorities not because He was a mild-mannered, non-offensive kind of guy. He was crucified because He was an agitator. The Son of God was not a spiritual snowflake but a subversive troublemaker. We need to picture Jesus not like a Hugh Grant but more like Clint Eastwood. Jesus was not a boyfriend or a buddy, He was a guerilla revolutionary who attacked the Pharisees and religious leaders. This maverick scorned the elite upper-crust and partied with the disreputable deplorables. He was accused of being a gluttonous man and an alcoholic because He hung out with tax collectors and other assorted sinners Matthew 11:19 and let a public prostitute wash His feet. Luke 7:37-39 Jesus flaunted the religious regulations and He healed on the Sabbath. When it came to demons, J.C. was the Terminator! He showed a complete disregard for other people’s livestock by sending demons into a large herd of pigs and drowning them. Luke 8:26-33 This rabble-rouser displayed a mocking disrespect for wealth and material goods. In fact, He was the antithetical prosperity preacher! He got into the face of the rich young guy and told him to “Sell everything you have and give the money to the poor!” Matthew 19:21

The Son of God was not a spiritual snowflake 
but a subversive troublemaker.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a dreamy nursery tale, it’s “Superman.” Think of Peter and Paul and the “Sons of Thunder,” John and his brother James. These were action-hero, take charge kind of guys. They were blunt, honest men who loved God and they were the church leadership.  Jesus built a church on twelve physically and spiritually strong men who rocked the world and changed it forever. In the book of Acts, we read that the ancient church attracted mostly men. Today’s church repels men. We need to reverse this trend and get the guys back. I’m not advocating a male-dominated church but a church that is equally filled with spiritually mature men and women. If we want to see revival in our country today, we need to preach about the God-Man. The rebel Jesus Christ. Amen?

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Spiritual Mothers and Fathers

Dear Friends,

Many years ago, when we had first started the Wednesday ministry at the assisted living home, a woman came up to me and addressed me as “Father.” As an Evangelical Protestant pastor, I was uncomfortable with that title and asked her to call me “Pastor John.” She looked at me, hesitated a moment and said, “Okay Father.” I soon gave up trying to correct those who attended the church services and all of the residents and staff called me “Father” or “Padre.” (Padre is from the Latin word “pater” and literally means “father priest.”) Most of the residents were decades older than me and their own fathers had passed on a long time ago. But as they were journeying through this last season of life, they were reaching out to a spiritual father to hold their hand and help them through it. It was humbling and more than a little disconcerting when I realized that God had given me to them to fill that role. It seems like no matter where we are in our life, we need a father.

My birthday was last week and while I’m normally too engaged with the present to concern myself with the past, my birthdays always seem to bring me to a place of nostalgic remembrances of my life to date. Faces, names and episodes that had been buried in my memory and long forgotten about are vividly recalled. Then last Sunday was Father’s Day and, because I never fathered a child, I’ve been uncomfortable when people wished me a “happy father’s day.” As when people at church called me “Father,” it’s always felt like an undeserved title. Was I really a father? really. 

But then during a birthday week a few years ago, God showed me something through the personal “documentary” of my life that had been the focus of my thoughts. He was showing me that, from when I was a young man, He had called me to be in the role of “spiritual father” to many of those He had brought into my life.  When I became a pastor, my mother had told me that she was not surprised because I’d spent so much of my life helping others by being their listener, counselor and mentor long before I was ordained. 

I didn’t have to be ordained to be a spiritual mentor. Neither do you. I’ve known men who had been the spiritual father to many and known women who were the spiritual mother to many. Some were also biological parents to children and some were not. But they were the “father” that their friends sought out for help when life got tough. They were the “mother” that a co-worker turned to for advice. They were the one who offered love, support, empathy, encouragement and sometimes loving correction. In this day when we are told that we must be strong and self-sufficient in all things and at all times, we will still sometimes need that spiritual father or spiritual mother to help and guide us through the circumstances of our lives Proverbs 19:20 and help us to build our faith and grow in the Lord.

I read about a Baptist pastor who had a friend that was an Episcopal priest. The Baptist envied his friend because those in his Episcopal church called him “Father” and saw him as their spiritual father. In the Baptist pastor’s church they called him by his first name and saw him as a casual friend. The Baptist pastor was struggling because he saw the need of many in his church for a “father” figure, but in most Protestant congregations, the pastor is just the one who has been hired to manage the church, lead the service and preach a sermon. The Baptist pastor was wistfully longing for all male clergy to once again be called “Father” and to be the spiritual parent that the church so desperately needs today. For most of us, the word “father” brings a feeling of love, trust and security, but for some, that same word may elicit feelings of shame or fear. Pastors hear father stories of neglect, indifference, abuse and abandonment that some psychologists call the “father wound.” 

Psychology Today says “Fatherhood turns out to be a complex and unique phenomenon with huge consequences for the emotional and intellectual growth of children.” When we grow up with a father who abandoned or abused us, we will unconsciously seek a Godly father to fill that void in our life and heal that “father wound.” People come to church to seek God and to find healing and wholeness for their lives. In too many churches we attempt to accomplish that by using uninspiring lectures (sermons) that simply tell people how they should live their life. Sometimes that works, but contrast that with the ancient church where, through the grace of God, seekers found spiritual fathers and spiritual mothers who gave them wisdom, advice, empathy and encouragement and who took them by the hand to lead them to their Heavenly Father.

If you feel called by God to be a spiritual parent to another, a caveat here: If we have an unresolved father or mother wound, we cannot be a spiritual parent to others until we have been healed by God and made whole again. In our current relationships, we tend to replicate our childhood family dynamic that we experienced in our family of origin. Proverbs 22:6 NIV For example, if our father was kind, loving, compassionate, we tend to treat others as he did. If we were abandoned by our father, we tend to have difficulties connecting and committing to another person. If a parent was abusive, we have a tendency to replicate that characteristic as well. Before we can be a spiritual parent, any soul wounds of our own must be fully understood by us and be healed by God in order to prevent us from passing on the hurts we suffered as a child to those who we mentor. 

Are you called to be a spiritual father or a spiritual mother? The need is great. Your church is filled with those who need a spiritual parent. They need the love of Jesus radiating through you. May God guide you and give you wisdom.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

What Were Your Good Old Days?


Dear Friends,

A certain loved one has been incessantly reminding me, and with considerable uncalled-for delight, that my birthday is this week. She’s just far too young to know that at some point in one’s life it’s best if birthdays, like certain personal medical procedures, are left unspoken about and politely ignored. So, I’d be too mortified to tell you how old I am, but let’s just say back when I was learning how to drive, I remember how outraged my dad was at the budget-busting price of gas. It was 30 cents a gallon. And now as I spend $118 to fill the tank, I can’t help but to remember with fondness, what us old-timers call the “Good Old Days.” 

Of course your Good Old Days memories will be different from mine. I know this is kind of nerdy to say, but I loved Laurel Elementary School in West Hollywood. Back then, the Bible was read in public schools and in my secular school’s music classes we sang hymns, “Mine eyes have seen the coming of the glory of the Lord” and what were known as “Negro Spirituals” that gave our all white school a sense of the pain and sorrow of the slave along with the joy and hope they had in Jesus. Today, White children would be viciously attacked for cultural appropriation by singing “Oh, nobody knows the trouble I've seen. Nobody knows but Jesus” but singing these spirituals gave us kids a beginning understanding of slavery, the cruelty of it and an empathy for African-Americans. We sang “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” with the hidden meaning about a band of angels (abolitionists) that takes the slaves to freedom. “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child” was about the slave’s pain and despair. And one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar and still play today is “Michael Row The Boat Ashore” – about Michael the Archangel rowing the escaping slaves across the river and to the promised land. 

In the Good Old Days, my secular school taught about slavery by having us memorize and sing the Christian spirituals that portrayed the human pain suffered by the slaves and provoked our empathy. Today, some school districts use a curriculum that provokes divisive guilt and shame for those who are White and is resulting in more anger than empathy between the races. I personally think that what was taught, in my school, about slavery and the Civil War was far more effective in reaching us kids with what we needed to hear.

But you might wonder why Christian hymns and spirituals were being taught in secular public schools. Back in the 50's and 60's, America was still thoroughly steeped in the Christian world-view that had been woven into our Nation’s founding documents by the Founding Fathers. State laws even enforced some of the Ten Commandments. For example, God had said to keep the Sabbath holy and do no work Exodus 20:8-11 and, of the forty-eight states in the 1950's, forty-six of those had Blue Laws requiring that businesses be closed on Sundays so that people would do no work and they could attend church instead. 

And back then, a large majority - 63% of all adult Americans - regularly attended church. Biblical morals and values from scripture determined what was “true” and the “right thing do.” The Judeo-Christian work ethic was instilled by parents into their children. In those days, people disagreed but were civil and there was an overall kindness in the way most people treated others. Church-going adults genuinely tried hard to love their neighbor and taught their children to do so. Contrast then versus now. In 2021, only 28% of American adults went to church and a large segment of our society hates their neighbor, cancels them out, ruins their business or causes them to lose their jobs and attacks them and their family for their beliefs. Is it possible that faith and church was what has made the difference between what we experienced in the Good Old Days and the breakdown of America’s civilization that we see today? 

At age 7, I’ll never forget the thrill of seeing the delivery van pull up to our house with our brand-new, state-of-the-art, black and white Zenith television set. In those days, it didn’t hang on the wall. It was a hundred pound piece of furniture. One of the neat things about summer was being able to watch Sheriff John while eating your lunch. For those of you who didn’t grow up in L.A. during the 50's, "Sheriff John’s Lunch Brigade" was a live television show for children that showed cartoons. Sheriff John opened the show by leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance and he talked about respecting your parents, helping others, being courteous and the importance of good manners. Sheriff John had a glass of milk and a sandwich as he and all his viewers had lunch together. But first, he led us all in a prayer: “Heavenly Father, great and good. We thank Thee for our daily food. Bless us even as we pray. Guide us and keep us through this day.” And remember, that was a secular television show!

In the Good Old Days, nearly all kids in elementary schools did not drink, have sex or do drugs. Things are different now.  Elementary schools are where it starts and by High School, 30% of students binge drink at least monthly. We knew about gay men, a few went to our Episcopal church in Hollywood, CA, but we didn’t celebrate them in parades and honor them for their sexual practices as we do today. In the Good Old Days, it would have provoked great hilarity if we’d been told that we could choose whether we would like to be a boy or a girl. My elementary school library was that special place where I could check out the books I loved to read. Today school libraries are the venues for near-naked Drag Queens performing for students as young as those in the first grade. 

Our Good Old Days music was different back then too. We listened to Elvis, Connie Francis, The Everly Brothers, Paul Anka and Brenda Lee singing love songs. Today’s rap/hip-hop “music” uses obscene lyrics and exalts shootings, violence and sexual assaults. Frankie Avalon never sang a song glorifying the rape of a woman. In fact, most of the country songs and some of our Nation’s most popular songs in the Good Old Days had Christian references or imagery. 

The Gospel spiritual, "Michael Row Your Boat Ashore" with the strong Christian imagery, was recorded by the Highwaymen in 1960 and it became the #1 hit single at the top of the Billboard music chart for two weeks. "He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands" went from church to #1 on the Billboard charts in 1957, and "Wings Of A Dove" was number one on the country lists before it crossed over and became a hit on the popular music charts. "Spirit In The Sky" and the beloved Gospel song, "Oh Happy Day" and many others were some of America’s most popular hit songs. It is inconceivable in our minds, that in today’s world, a contemporary Christian praise song about Jesus could become the most popular song in our country, but then of course, all things are possible with God.

In the 50's, even in urban L.A., children were able to go outside and play anywhere they wanted. Gangs, sexual assaults, kidnaping, shootings and pedophiles were almost non-existent in those days. There were no gun restrictions and guns were available and affordable to all. You could walk into any Sears, Roebuck store and pick up your package of underwear, a socket wrench and an inexpensive handgun or a rifle. There was not a single mass shooting in the 1950s. We had no fear of violent mentally ill people. They were safely confined in State mental hospitals; they were not living on our sidewalks. We could walk anyplace at all day or night. We had no fear of our neighbors. We helped them. They helped us. It sure was different in the Good Old Days. Young boys are raised today on violent video games where their score is based on how many people they kill. I was raised on Superman who stood for “Truth, Justice and The American Way,” along with The Cisco Kid, Zorro, Sky King, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. Those were our heroes!

Roy and Dale
I have a Roy Roger’s coffee mug with Roy’s Rules printed on the side: 

1) Be neat and clean. 

2) Be courteous and polite. 

3) Always obey your parents. 

4) Protect the weak and help them. 

5) Be brave and always be careful 

6) Study hard and learn all you can. 

7) Be kind to animals and take care of them. 

8) Eat all your food and never waste any. 

9) Love God and go to Sunday School. 

10) Always respect our flag and our country. 

When I was a kid, no movie celebrities were looked up to and respected more than Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Evans. They dedicated themselves to Jesus and lived their lives not like the Hollywood stars they were, but like the committed Christians God called them to be.

Thank you for accompanying me on my trip back to the Good Old Days! Along with the resurfacing of some fond memories, I think it’s worth knowing that things were different then because, like the apostle Paul, Romans 1:16 people were not ashamed of the Gospel. Men and women were bold and stood up for their Christian values and beliefs. Today, surveys show that most Christians fearfully hide their beliefs in order to avoid being attacked for their faith. But if there is going to be a change in our culture, it will start with the men and women of God. People like you and me. We are called to be unashamed of the Gospel and boldly live out our Christianity, both in our words 1 Peter 3:15 and in our lifestyle 1 Peter 1:15. Just like in the Good Old Days!  Amen?

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

The Power From On High Can Be Yours!

Dear Friends,

Our three most holy days are Easter, Christmas and the Day of Pentecost which was last Sunday. It was on the Feast of Pentecost in A.D. 33 that the Christian church was born. God ushered in His presence and His glory fell on his disciples with a mighty rushing wind. Now some of us have been taught that the Spirit of God fell upon only that exclusive and select group of Jesus’ twelve disciples. We believe that because that’s church tradition and because most of the religious art from the medieval period shows the flames descending on twelve men. But that’s not what the Word of God says in our Bible. 

Don’t we just hate it when that darn Bible of ours contradicts the dogma and doctrine of our church? Early Catholic teaching was the Holy Spirit fell only on the twelve disciples – the first “Catholic priests” – because priests were the only ones anointed by God. That belief is reflected in the medieval religious art we see. Catholic doctrine today teaches that the Holy Spirit fell on Mary, the disciples and their followers, but some priests are uncomfortable with that doctrine and prefer the exclusiveness of the Spirit being given only to the twelve.

Most Protestant churches are uncertain and cautious about Pentecost because the result of the Holy Spirit falling on the disciples resulted in them speaking in tongues, and those churches want little or nothing to do with the Holy Spirit and especially the “infilling” of the Holy Spirit subsequent to conversion. They teach that every believer is “filled with the Holy Spirit” at the moment they accept Jesus but according to the New Testament, that’s obviously not the case.

Baptist, Reformed, Presbyterian and Anglican traditions teach the “doctrine of cessation” – that all spiritual gifts referred to in the New Testament, along with all miracles, ceased once the scriptures had been written at the end of the apostolic age. Other mainline liberal churches have increasingly changed their historic doctrine to eliminate even Biblical miracles that contradict modern rational thought and going so far as to downplay or eliminate the resurrection and ascension as biblical fact. Mainline churches (except some Methodist) teach their congregants that they will not receive spiritual gifts and on Pentecost Sunday, typically avoid the theologically messy business of the Holy Spirit falling on anyone but the original twelve disciples.

So let’s see what that pesky Word of God says. Jesus promises His disciples that God will send to them the Holy Spirit who will live with them and within them forever. John 14:15-17 Then in the first Chapter of Acts, we find that after Jesus ascended into Heaven, the disciples came down from Mt Olivet and returned to the upper room in Jerusalem where they stayed united in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the other women and the brothers of Jesus. There is no description of the house with the upper room, but we must assume that it was very large because we are told that about 120 people were staying there. Acts 1:12-15 They were awaiting the Jewish holy day, the Feast of Pentecost that was to come ten days after Jesus ascended into Heaven. 

So picture in your mind the twelve disciples and Mary and about 107 more women and men who had been Jesus’ followers that today we would call “Christians.” And now, Luke tells us that all were gathered together on this Day of Pentecost. That’s when there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm that filled the house where they were sitting. And the tongues of fire settled on each of them. On each man. On each woman. On Mary the Mother of Jesus. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages (tongues), as the Spirit gave them this ability. Acts 2:1-4 

We may have been taught in church that Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit to His disciples, John 14:16 was made to only the twelve gathered around Him. But then it’s clear in Acts that the Holy Spirit is not meant solely for those twelve – the Spirit of God is available to all followers of Jesus Christ. We need to jettison from our mind the picture of the Holy Spirit falling solely on that exclusive group of the twelve disciples and replace it with the Biblical description of this monumental world-changing event.

And then all throughout the book of Acts, as it records the experiences of the early church, we read that Christian believers were filled with the Holy Spirit. But why then do so many Christian believers today become so uncomfortable with the reality of the Holy Spirit? I received an email from a pastor’s sermon resource website that acknowledged Pentecost Sunday and asked, “Was the Holy Spirit ever meant to be an easy subject to address? How do you preach such a controversial and volatile topic?” We’re good with God the Father, we’re absolutely okay with God the Son.. But then really? God the Holy Spirit is controversial and volatile? 

A Southern Baptist theologian wrote that in most churches, “The Holy Spirit is talked about, if at all, in hushed tones and with some anxiety.” A Lutheran pastor once told me that he loved dressing in the red vestments on Pentecost Sunday but never knew what to say about the Holy Spirit so he always just emphasized the festive “church birthday” aspect of Pentecost in his sermons. I tried to reassure him by telling him that just teaching about the Holy Spirit doesn’t necessarily mean that tongues would suddenly burst forth from his congregation!

I honestly think that we’re afraid of the power of the Holy Spirit! The New King James refers to the Holy Spirit at Pentecost as a “rushing mighty wind” but another translation calls it a “violent wind.” And we’re afraid of that violent wind blowing through our lives because we are fearful that God really will change us into the man or woman He wants us to be. We’re afraid of being truly committed to Jesus. We’re afraid of becoming passionate about God. We’re afraid we may become that zealous believer we’ve always made fun of. We’re afraid of the Holy Spirit because we have become far too comfortable with our complacent spiritual indifference. 

If we are at the point in our apathetic Christian walk where the most disturbing thing at church was when Edna forgot the potato salad for the potluck barbeque, then we most certainly would not tolerate any life-changing violent winds blowing through our congregation! (Heaven forbid that the Spirit of God would have actually fallen upon my pastor friend’s Lutheran congregation!) We’ll have nothing to disturb our Christian complacency, thank you very much! There is something safe, reassuring and peaceful about the grace of God and the love of our Lord Jesus, but that meddlesome Holy Spirit just cannot be trusted to leave us well enough alone!

But who is this Person that we’re afraid of? The Holy Spirit is God. He is a Person. He is not an impersonal force or power. We refer to the Holy Spirit as an impersonal “it” but Jesus says, “You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17 The New Testament tells us that the Holy Spirit speaks, comforts, convicts and can be grieved. The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity 1 John 5:7 who was sent to us from God and through the Son but the Holy Spirit has existed from all time. John 14:26

The Spirit of God that fell upon Mary, and the twelve disciples and on all the men and women that were there on that Pentecost day is available to you as well. Peter tells us that when we repent and are baptized, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit Acts 2:38-39 and that is called the “Indwelling of the Spirit.” That’s our new birth that we call “born again.” But the “Infilling of the Holy Spirit” is subsequent to our conversion and is the “power from on high” that Jesus promised His disciples Luke 24:49 and that “infilling” was what was manifested in their lives on Pentecost. Note that Jesus had told His disciples that the Holy Spirit dwells with them and in them (Indwelling) John 14:17 but it was not until much later that they experienced the Infilling of the Spirit in that upper room.

My friends, if you feel like you are floundering in life instead of flourishing, you need the power of God. If you’re feeling spiritually empty, you need to be as Paul said, “filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18 Jesus promises us an abundant life John 10:10 and Paul tells us that God is able to give us that abundance according to the amount of Holy Spirit power that we have in our life. Ephesians 3:20 NIV But if we are afraid of the Holy Spirit and reject or limit His power, we’ve limited the abundance from God that He wants for us to have.

I’ve known too many good, church-going believers who felt that their Christian religion had become dull and their faith could no longer be described as life-changing. They had too many doubts and realized that church had become a nice place to go to meet friends but it was no longer spiritually fulfilling. What they needed was the Holy Spirit power of Pentecost, and while the Word of God had promised that they could have that, their church tradition had lead them to believe that they could not.

Don’t be satisfied with a comfortable non-threatening two-thirds of the Trinity in your life! We were created to live in the fullness of God and with a joyful abundance of life. For some of us, the first step towards a more spiritually abundant life is simply the desire to have the Holy Spirit fully operate in our lives. Raise your hands and your voice to Heaven and ask God to give you the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Allow His refreshing wind to blow through your spirit and be filled with Him. All you need to do is ask!

“You fathers – if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people 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 11:11-13 NLT