Monthly Archives: January 2023

The Holy Reminder


I was listening to a fine preacher talking about some famous people. He had gotten off into the weeds to make a point and on the spot couldn’t think of several specifics. What he had forgotten didn’t make any difference to his point, so he moved on. But I didn’t.

Billy Graham was connected to Youth for Christ where I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord.

Laura Hildenbrand wrote the book, Unbroken. It is the story of Olympian Louie Zamperini who became a POW and then a disciple of Jesus. I heard him speak at a Youth for Christ meeting in Des Moines.

Forest Home Camp in the San Bernadino mountains is where Billy Graham worked through questions he had about the Bible. From there he went to the Los Angeles Crusade which established him as a national spiritual leader. The camp was established by Henrietta Mears who served at First Presbyterian in Hollywood, Ca as Christian Ed Director. Her counsel influenced Graham and Bill Bright of Campus Crusade. We studied her books on Christian Ed.

During my thinking and recalling those names and places, something stirred in a deep place in me. The word reminding is not translated from the Greek word Parakletos, (paraclete) but is an activity of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised.

“But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you” (John 14:26—Amp).

What Jesus said Holy Spirit would come to remind us: “everything that I have told you.”

What I remembered was more than digital printouts. My soul was flooded with reminders of all I originally experienced and learned in the lives and experiences of those people.

On my desk is an unopened bottle of Guinness Beer. When I was reading the books about the Guinness family, I realized the missions they founded and encouraged—ministries, people, places had reached through the centuries to influence me. Judson Taylor was one of the missionaries the Guinness family advocated, and that name reached me as a boy through my grandmother’s radio.

The preacher mentioned Heidi Baker, missionary to Mozambique where she has to date introduced Jesus to over a million souls. Ms. Baker is part of our memories. She ministered in our daughter’s church and as a little girl our granddaughter went on stage to wave a worship flag and encountered those seeking God and participating in the ministry of Ms. Baker. All the experiences are stored in my soul in a bag of influential memories.

Six months ago, I began to utilize Philippians 4:8 to move my brain off anxiety-producers. If it is Monday, true is the trigger word if Wednesday, then just. Praise-worthy works every day.

Think On These Things:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” KJV

Philippians 4:8, ESV: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

  • True
  • Honest—honorable
  • Just
  • Pure
  • Lovely
  • Commendable
  • Excellence—Virtue
  • Praise-worthy

We are not instructed to think about truth, or any of the other seven, academically or theoretically, but how truth or excellence has been lived out in us or exampled for us. Switching the mind to an alternative subject is not a catechism question, but like: What is true—who do I know who tells the truth as a lifestyle? What does the word true, honest, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellence, praise-worthy, remind you to do, say, believe, think, live?  Think about that!

“Holy Spirit, remind me.”

The Psalmist said, “Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). The Psalmist did not have a Red Letter Bible to refer to as he calculated what God had said. He referred to what God revealed to him. In 1 Corinthians 12:8 Paul teaches about the “Word of knowledge.”

I grew up in a cessationist church. That means they believed when the New Testament was completed there was no longer a need for the gifts of the Spirit, so no one presented words of knowledge. They empathized Paul’s words: “decently and in order.” Interesting to me, at Cane Ridge it was the Presbyterians and Methodists who were shouting in tongues and shaking.

Carole, on the other hand, grew up in a church that believed all the gifts, graces, and fruit of the Spirit were still functioning. When a healing evangelist would minister in her church, she would sit behind a tall person or a pillar. She didn’t want to be called out about an affliction she did not even know she had.

I am not a cessationist. I passionately believe in The Gifts of the Spirit. All of them. Because I am wired the way I am, however, I push 1 Corinthians 14:39-40: “So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But all things should be done decently and in order.”

An aside here. I question (but not positive about every incident) that falling out or the holy jerks are the work of Holy Spirit. I tend to think Holy Spirit moves upon us and it is our bodies—nervous system and muscular system—that reacts to His touch.

I have used all the words above to lay groundwork for God’s revelation—word of knowledge—when we are distressed, confused, super-anxious and needing information. We can ask Holy Spirit to reveal the source of our own panic/anxiety/depression. Words of knowledge usually come through another person—a counselor, altar worker, a minister or someone in a koinonia prayer group, for a really good reason. But He is our Helper, Companion, Convicter and open to our request for help.

Holy Spirit, remind me. One of my singing companions would remind me that in any gathering of Jesus’ people where a need was unearthed, Holy Spirit would anoint someone to step into a Gift role to minister.

What did Jesus say or teach that you want to be reminded about when you are troubled? How about “Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:1). I probably would respond, “Too late! It is already troubled!” How about Jesus stepping into your awareness as He stepped into the Upper Room and said=declared, “Peace!”

The reminding business can become personal, and should. What do you want to hear? What brings peace? What will coax you in off the ledge? Words that have been special to me and still carry healing influence:

“You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last” (John 15:16).

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).

Holy Spirit, Remind Me whose life influences me:

Our friend Beverly Mathews Coupe wrote this:

“My grandmother was a prayer warrior. She was taken to jail because of a prayer meeting a neighbor claimed was too loud. When she prayed, you didn’t want to fool around. The power of God and the presence of God was so strong it either made you want to run away or run toward it.”

Holy Spirit, Thou Art Welcome, Terry MacAlmon

Remind Me—Dottie Rambo (writer of song), Reba Rambo, Reba’s daughter/Dottie’s granddaughter Destiny. Recorded fifteen years or more ago.

Remind Me—Terry Blackwood

©2023 D. Dean Benton

Nor Is Holy Spirit a Silent Partner


Holy Spirit listens to us and talks with us. He may utilize our conscience, but He is more than what socialization has or has not taught us. To be born again means we accept Jesus’ experience on the Cross as on our behalf. That choice brings our spirit into a living relationship with God.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:16).

We use “Advocate” regularly referring to attorneys, lawyers, court room people and legal actions. An advocate is one who represents another and pleads their case. Our Advocate walks beside us through incriminations, indictments, accusations including self-disparaging and blaming.

Holy Spirit does not have to plead our case before God the Father. If we have accepted and trusted Jesus as Savior, the Father sees us and refers to us through the shed blood of Jesus. Holy Spirit is not the prosecutor on Yahweh’s behalf, He is our defender against the accusations of Satan. “Satan” means accuser.

“For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10).

Holy Spirit is our legal counsel against the dark spirits, the universe, self-accusation. Holy Spirit comes along side us to plead our case—we plead the blood.

The legal aspect is how the original disciples would have understood Jesus introducing an advocate. In our time and reference, we think of advocacy as someone who cheers us on, teaches us, mentors, and walks by our side encouraging us. The word still fits. His assignment is to come alongside, especially during our dark hours and storms. Jesus defines Him as our friend and helper in mind mending.

Jesus’ words “…and He will be in you…,” would have confused Jesus’ friends. Up to this point in history, Holy Spirit had timely but temporarily “come upon” selected people. Holy Spirit lived in only Jesus. At Pentecost that living arrangement changed. From “upon” to “within.” Now, we must question His activity in us from two locations. He lives within us, and He is our companion and legal counsel as He comes along side us.

Microscopic surgery comes to mind. When I am bewildered by fear, I question where that fear came from and how it became my issue. I desire a minimum-invasive revelation. Who has access to the inner-workings of my soul—the archives, experiences, trauma, and what experiences morphed into anxiety, fear, or incapacitation? Holy Spirit does and has since I invited Jesus into my life. When I ask, He will focus the “microscopic camera” onto the event or feeling (emotions, imbedded events, lack of clarity, and show me what happened, results and how to free and whole. As my counselor, Holy Spirit will tell me what happened. I absolutely know that I’m not just asking for diagnosis. I need healing and freedom which He can guide me to receive and maintain.

More than diagnosis. The purpose of the work of Holy Spirit in us is “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The result is at least the building of a creative, positive mindset in place of destructive thinking and inappropriate, inadequate behavior habits.

I don’t know what Holy Spirit would wear to a meeting at Starbucks. I don’t know what He would wear in a lab with a microscope or telescope focusing on 2030 or 1948 or 2024 or 1987 and experienced by you or me. Pretend He is wearing a ball cap or hoodie and aviator sunglasses—make Him real in your imagination. Or imagine that you are with Him in a lab with “tools” that can see into your past, the present—how you are currently feeling and acting—and the outcome of the active data Holy Spirit is privy to.

“Take a look at this,” He says. “Can you understand how emotional bruising and wounding could come from that act? Those words?” Purpose of that exam would be to build or rebuild a healing and renewed mind—a plan leading to healing and a choice to view a healthier reaction to scary stimuli. There will also be times when Holy Spirit will look into the eyeglass and say with kindness, “We need to bring in a specialist from our healing team—your doctor, a friend, therapist, pastor, prayer team.” (Again, that is an imaginary description of Holy Spirit revelation.)

What is not fiction is that Holy Spirit can see inside us. We are invited to open our eyes, perception, ears, and souls. He will say, “This is what I can do.” He may say, “Even after I’ve done everything what I do, this demands you do this….”

A husband and wife in one of my favorite singing groups talk about one of their adult daughters who has struggled emotionally most of her life. Therapy, drugs/meds, prayer were inadequate, so they asked Dr. Daniel Amen to examine her. After doing a brain-scan (or something like that) he said, “We can help her.” (Advocate!) His team found something in her physical brain that indicated a trauma that caused her to process data incorrectly or inadequately. The Amen Clinic did help her! Indeed!

Holy Spirit knows the future. (See Acts 11:27-30.). Can you gather your faith to ask Him, based upon his view, how you can prepare to benefit during the tough times? As our paraclete—counselor—it is not outrageous to expect a Spirit-revelation so strategies can be wisely formulated. This is not insider-trading! It is a dimension of what Jesus says in John 14-16.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11).

Luke 11:13 translates the words of Jesus this way:

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!

As Jesus’ friend, I think it is not only appropriate, but our inheritance prerogative to question, “What am I supposed to do—what do You want me to do?”

Deep inside we carry images of memories, experiences and dreams abandoned or not yet attained. There are also action-dictated mindsets carved by trauma or misunderstandings of intent or misinterpretations of personal inadequacies. That archive may also hold the “sins of our fathers” meaning caretakers, teachers, peers, etc.

Jesus promises an advocate—paraclete. When shaken by anxiety or the permeating instability, we need Holy Spirit—our advocate/counselor—to guide us. He takes the deep dive and “finds” causes. I’m wondering how He will “transmit that information to the surface.”

Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:18: “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all….” I say: I probably speak in tongues less than any of you. But I see it as therapeutic, and a possible way data hidden in our sub-conscious or soul can be brought to our awareness. We “speak it up.” A different language coming out of our mouth is just that: different. Not automatically understood. That is why Scripture calls for an interpreter, (See 1 Corinthians 14).

What I am talking about here is personal, private, and happening in our personal prayer language. When we process what our mouth is saying, Holy Spirit transitions the message or information to our brain, so we have data to work with and guidance what to do next.

Holy Spirit is also our advocate in career, vocation and business decisions and choices. Our history and emotions are stored in us. Therefore, The Spirit speaks and calls forth from our inner depths—emotions, thinking patterns that develop negative mindsets.

Asking Him about business conditions requires Him to look elsewhere—most of us are not privy to what stock markets or the market status will be in five years. He desires to guide us in every detail, so information leading to our decision to start a business to fast-deliver widgets will include research of that industry. A mindset that resides in you about The Spirit accompanying us in that research will be helpful.

Even strict dispensationalists believe Holy Spirit knows about the future, for He is already there. Sometimes Holy Spirit will reveal outcomes. He is our advocate/counselor to battle for us as we contemplate vocation selection or investments of time, energy, money. I recently asked a fourteen-year-old if she had given thought to what college to attend or what her major would be. She smiled and said she had not. Not is not unusual. She had written a paper on a possible career choice. I was reminded that my 9th grade class had written a similar paper. I chose the career of professional baseball player. A couple of my classmates remember! The problem is I didn’t have the talent or abilities to play in high school ball, let alone the Bigs. Two years later I had more capacity to hear.

Holy Spirit does not pin-point such things unless the knowledge will be timely and within my ability to grasp it and do something with the information.

Of what I am certain: Holy Spirit cannot be captured in a box; His plan is not a lab-proven formula. For sure, He is dependable! He has security clearance and knows all the entry codes. He is dedicated to The ecclesia and equips people for ministries. He is equally dedicated to you and me personally as an individual. I am certain that Holy Spirit wants to do what will bring the “more” into your abundantly by healing, delivering and teaching how to sustain the freedom.

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6 NIV).

©2023 D. Dean Benton

The Comforter

Jesus said to His team of twelve:

But the fact of the matter is that it is best for you that I go away, for if I don’t, the Comforter (helper) won’t come. If I do, he will—for I will send him to you. (John 16:7 TLB).

When He told them, He noticed their reaction. Despair. And why not? He was talking to them face-to-face—sometimes furrowed brow, usually on the verge of a smile. What or who will replace that? Who or what will take the place of Jesus on the water or speaking to the demonized?

I’ve been thinking about the day a few years ago when I drove out of the Nashville airport alone. I had put Carole on a plane to Iowa to be with her mother who was scheduled for heart surgery. I remember exact words I said as I pulled onto the Interstate and what I was feeling. I don’t travel well alone, and my concert-seminar commitments were expecting at least one pretty lady, maybe two. I had music tracks from our albums, with studio back-up singers. Carole and Debi sang back-up on some of my songs. I didn’t have a cellphone, but I could call Carole from any public phone. Just not the same as face to face!

I’m sure one of the disciples said to Jesus, “I miss you, already.”

How does a human give or receive comfort from a different time zone or zip code? How about from the spirit world to earth?

So, Jesus told his troupe that having an invisible friend would work for them better than having his (Jesus) face, arms, laughter, conversation, voice, and explanations. He also told them He would rise from the dead. Which He did! (Anyone who can pull that off and keep that promise should be listened to.) The convincing argument would be that Jesus in the flesh could be in one place at a time while Holy Spirit could be in five billion places at once. (Jesus didn’t explain how.)


But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:26 KJV ).

When I think of a comforter, the heavy blanket on our bed comes to mind as does the many images of friends being hugged by human comforters. The task of self-comforting came to mind. This does not replace Paraclete as our comforter, it moves His comforting from solely within a crisis, but includes His comforting as a life resource. A psychiatrist said that depression is hardwired into our brain. When we experience loss, disappointment, confusion, our body, soul, and spirit we “back off” to recoup energy and brain sustenance. But then what?

“People feel more anger, sadness, pain, worry, and stress than ever before since Gallup began tracking happiness-; but we cannot blame the rise of unhappiness on the pandemic alone. In fact, according to Gallup, unhappiness has been steadily climbing for a decade….”

Inc. Magazine recommends Blind Spot, Jon Clifton (CEO—Gallup) to help understand and bring change to mental illness:

It seems to me that Holy Spirit comforts us as a preparation.

From The Daniel Plan, by Rick Warren, D. Min., Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D., Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D., give us the habits and resources that prepare us, heal us, and give us energy. These great habits deal with toxic energy such as smoking, drinking, sleep deprivation, loneliness, sedentary lifestyle, as well as the list from Gallup.

  • Faith
  • Food—There is a reason it is called “comfort food.”
  • Fitness
  • Focus
  • Friends

Holy Spirit comforting is not an opiate to help us learn to be comfortable in our sadness, anger, depression, or ignorance. Walking in the Spirit is not dismissive of our pain. Comforting is affirmation of our dilemma. Holy Spirit comforting is about strengthening and companionship and movement toward eventual healing and strategies.

“Gaslighting” —is the word of the year-2022. It means, “behavior that’s mind manipulating, grossly misleading, downright deceitful.” We are living in a saturated environment of gaslighting. That can increase the emotional sensitivity the world is experiencing.

The scripture verse of 2022 is Isaiah 41:10:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

What makes that comforter on the bed comforting is what it does: it keeps us warm. We also have weighted comforters which makes a heavier affect. The reason the person hugging my grieving friends is a comforter is the feel of embrace. So, when Isaiah quotes God: “For I am with you…,” what is happening?

How does God “embrace” us or comfort us? Jesus said the Father would send The Comforter so we would not be orphans—“You’re not alone in this.” Sparrows and cats. Jesus made it very clear that in God’s eyes there is no creature over which it can be said, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. It’s just a bird. It is just a feral cat.”

Comfort greeting cards focus on loss. I’m thinking Holy Spirit comforting is broader than that. We need comforting when disappointment ravages us. Or, when we are feeling or thinking, or being incompetent, inadequate, beside ourselves, lacking clarity or direction. I think when we are scared, we need comfort that strengthens and helps us maintain stability to do what needs to be done. Stability that keeps us from being sucked into a dark hole. Comfort coming from our Friend Holy Spirit is spiritual energy—a positive infusion.

An injured young cat showed up on our daughter’s porch. Deborah suspected the kitten was rolled by a car or fell from a height Maybe a broken leg and bruised ribs. Now that the 4–8-week-old cat has decided Deb can be trusted she invites her touch. The kitten rolls over and asks to be belly scratched.

Turns out the kitten is older than guessed. Vet thinks she was pregnant when struck by the car and now has infection where her own kittens had been. Now she needs surgery. Comforting is now needed for pain, memories, and a mother’s loss.

A couple of days after the “kitten” went to the vet, one of our granddaughters let us know that one of her cats also needed to go the vet. Rachel thought her cat was in dire condition. The vet agreed as he found pneumonia. An overnight at the clinic appeared to help Gus the Cat. Rachel had adopted the cat when it became obvious it had been abandoned on her apt. parking lot. It was as if the two—Gus and Rachel—had found each other. The rescuer was relieved Gus would recover. Then, a day later, Gus died in Rachel’s arms. Now a different dimension of comfort was needed.

It has been about a month since the “kitten” whom Deb named “Hope” came into our lives. Setbacks, then rallying, more meds and belly rubs. Deb took Hope back to the vet. Something wasn’t working right. After the cat spent another night at the clinic, Debi went to pick up the stray cat who had started eating again. Hope! As Debi stepped into the clinic, the staff was busy trying to resuscitate the cat named Hope. Hope was gone.

Did Holy Spirit—the comforter—hear Jesus’ sermon about sparrows? How does He comfort us, now? Debi didn’t need the grief or weeks of sleepless nights. No one in our family has life insurance policies on our pets. We invested lots of prayers and energy. Does Holy Spirit comfort in such a way that disappointment doesn’t turn to anger, and decisions not to try again?

Deb texted us, “So Hope had a home, and a name and lots of love and was never hungry this last month. I’m glad I named her.” Later another text: “Walter the cat is staying close to me. I think my tears concern him.”

Trying to explain comfort as an entity and as an act is difficult. I do not want to sound as if I’m trivializing the isolation, pain, and heart break. Jesus knew what He was promising.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To be comforted is an intimate and personal thing.

When I heard President Biden kissed Mrs. Macron on the lips, I wondered if she was pleased or wanted to quickly wipe it off with a shop cloth, followed by vigorous spitting. Comforting comes from a variety of sources.

“The Comforter Has Come”