Thursday, April 17, 2014

Humility Is Necessary For Growth

For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones (Isaiah 57:15)
Pride challenges us all. Lucifer became prideful of his exquisite beauty and became corrupted. He lost his lofty position and fell. Pride brings us low. Humility exalts us.
Throughout scripture we are encouraged to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God so that He can exalt us when we’re fully prepared to handle promotion.
In my first year with the Lord, the Father revealed the above scripture to me. Pride ran deep in my person. I knew it could hurt me and others. When I found out that the Father will draw near when we humble ourselves, I began to pursue humility.
I began my times of prayer with, Lord, I humble myself under your mighty hand. I saw roots of pride in so many things I did, wanting others to see my skill, my achievements, dressing to bring attention to myself, having to be in control in social situations, shifting blame instead of taking responsibility. Even self-pity is a form of pride and I was full of it.
If allowed, pride will destroy all that is lovely in a personality, wrapping its tentacles around that which is wholesome and degrading it.   
We’ll have to deal with this pride as long as we live. Our relationship with the Father and the degree that He will use us will be determined by how we deal with the noxious weed of pride.
Knowing that pride was born in the heart of Lucifer makes it repulsive to me. That makes me want to push it out of my life and resist it. Rancid food will make you sick if you eat it, and pride will destroy you unless it’s brought under control.
The Father draws near the contrite heart. Let’s humble ourselves today. Open your heart and share your deepest thoughts and needs with the Father. Purposely humble yourself before Him. Ask Him to reveal how pride affects your behavior and ask Him to root it out of you. You’ll find yourself asking others to forgive you for the unkind word or the selfish display. Motivations and attitudes that have been seated in you for years will begin to yield as you purposely pursue the path of humility.
As water ever seeks the lowest place, so the presence of God seeks the humble. Give yourself to humility today!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let Me Introduce You To My Father

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord (Psalm 104:33-34)

My Father reigns supreme over all. When I’m lonely or confused I go to Him and pour my heart out. He knows exactly how I feel and infuses me with courage and strength.

When unrelenting fear comes, I go to Him and He brushes the fear away and points me to my faith in Him. He replaces the fear with a knowing that things will work out well for me. He always causes me to triumph in Christ.

When I’m faced with financial loss or lack, I go to Him and He provides wisdom for the next step. He assures me that He is my supply, and urges me to look away from the foreboding circumstance and keep my focus on Him.

When the enemy attacks with sickness, my Father urges me to stand my ground on His word and never cower or back down. He and His Word are one. He sent His Word and it heals me, and delivers me from my destructions.

When a friend turns his back on me and forsakes the relationship we’ve had, My Father takes me in His arms and comforts me. He shows me that though others may fail me and bring disappointment, He is a safe place for my emotions and my thoughts.

My Father has proved His love for me over and over again. When I get involved with something that would eventually bring me pain, harm, or hurt, He pulls me aside and talks to me about it. And then He shows me the proper way to deal with the issue.

He shows me when my motives are wrong, and allows me to pour my heart out to Him about it. He never threatens or loses patience with me. He calmly listens, then I can He His soft voice beckon me to obedience.

He always leads me towards peace. He is the tenderest person I have ever met. I feel safer with Him than with any person I have ever known. I often wonder what it will be like to actually meet Him for the first time face to face. In my mind, I see myself just melting to the ground in awe of Him. Then I see Him pick me up and hold me to Himself as He brushes away insecurity and self-consciousness. I see Him infusing me with His own nature through and through, finally releasing my soul from every trace of debris from my past. He looks away and points into the future. There I see the ages to come, where in eternity I experience what it means for mortality to be swallowed up by life.
So that for all future time He could show the very great riches of his grace by being kind to us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:7 – NCV).

But, on the contrary, as the Scripture says, What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, all that God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed (1 Corinthians 2:9 – Amplified).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rest And Refreshing Come When You Pray In The Spirit

Praying in the spirit or in other tongues is a gift that accompanies the baptism with the Holy Spirit. It is the will of God that every believer has the ability to pray in the spirit.
With the Holy Spirit baptism comes a greater degree of the presence of God in your life. And by praying in the spirit, there comes a deeper intimacy with Him.
Isaiah 28:11-12 reads: For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, To whom He said, "This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest," and, This is the refreshing...Talking to the Father from your human spirit brings rest and refreshing! It’s a wonderful thing to be able to sit quietly in His presence and pray from your spirit. In this way intimacy with the Father is available to you twenty four hours a day anywhere in the world! During times of difficulty and emotional and mental turmoil, you can turn to your Father and pour your heart out to Him in words that He alone understands.
There’s just something about being totally real with someone that releases stress from your life. When you’re involved in challenges all around, praying in the spirit can take you to that place of solace where the Father can minister His rest and peace to your spirit!
As you work today you can quietly pray in the spirit and commune with the Father under your breath. As you shop, or as you mow the lawn, you can enjoyed uninterrupted communion with the Father of spirits . Take advantage of this “closet experience” throughout the day and you’ll find renewed strength for the task at hand.
He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak (Isaiah 40:29). Praying in the spirit will enable you to wait on the Lord through your busy day today. Take advantage of it!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Praying in the Spirit Deepens Spiritual Sensitivity

As I mentioned in my last post, the Baptism with the Holy Spirit enhances you’re ability to connect spiritually with the Lord. Let me go into more detail on what I mean.
When I pray in the spirit, my human spirit is talking to the Lord without the involvement of my mind. This direct spiritual connection to the Lord is so vital to effective prayer, for it enables you to pray the perfect will of God over a person or situation. It’s make prayer limitless!
But another part of this is that when I pray in the spirit, it helps me to tune into the voice of God in my human spirit. Notice again 1 Corinthians 14:14 (Amplified): For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit by the Holy Spirit within me prays, but my mind is unproductive; it bears no fruit and helps nobody. You see the Holy Spirit is in my spirit. That’s where He contacts me. His first contact with my human person is not with my mind, but with my spirit. And praying in tongues regularly helps me stay sensitive to my human spirit. And since the Holy Spirit is in my spirit, I become sensitive to Him too by praying in tongues.
Here another interesting tidbit about praying in tongues. It also helps me sort out the will of God in general for my life as well as the details of daily choices. 1 Corinthians 2: 9 (J.B. Phillips) reads: For who could really understand a man’s inmost thoughts except the spirit of man himself. How much less could anyone understand the thoughts of God except the very Spirit of God. God’s Word Translation of this verse reads: After all, who knows everything about a person except that person’s own spirit. My spirit intuitively knows things that my mind does not know, because the Holy Spirit is in my spirit. So praying in tongues helps me tap into the wisdom of God for life’s particulars.
1 Corinthians 14:13 tells us to ask for the interpretation of what we need to know when we pray in the spirit. Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. So I regularly remind the Lord that I want to know what I’m praying about when I’m praying in tongues when He desires to tell me.
Back in November of 1993 I was praying in tongues one morning and thinking about what the Lord wanted me to do in my future. At the time I was pastoring a church for a pastor while he took a year away to start a church in another country. His time to come back to his church was approaching and I was wondering what the Lord had for me. After I finished praying in tongues for an hour, the words already existing church just seemed to float up to my mind from somewhere. I knew this came from my spirit and that the Lord was talking to me about my future after this pastor came back.
I kept this phrase already existing church in my heart for six months and it evolved into you will go to pastor an already existing church. And that already existing church is where I having been pastoring for the last almost 14 years! How did this come about? It happened because I took time to pray in the spirit and ask the Lord to let me know when He wanted to about what I was saying when I prayed in tongues.
Don’t underestimate the value of praying in tongues. Making it a daily practice will tune your spirit to hear the voice of God more clearly. And if you keep it up, then one day your future and God’s plan for your life will l blend into one!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Praying in the Spirit Every Day Will Enrich Your Life!

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20).
One of the great benefits of receiving the Baptism with the Holy Spirit is the ability to pray in tongues or pray in the Spirit that comes with it. Praying in tongues is God’s method of bypassing the human mind in prayer and allowing spirit to Spirit communion with God.
Some people would lead you to think that there is little value in praying in tongues. But let me ask you a question; is there any value in talking to God? 1 Corinthians 14:2(Amplified) reveals: For one who speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to men but to God, for no one understands or catches his meaning, because in the Holy Spirit he utters secret truths and hidden things not obvious to the understanding.
Praying in tongues provides a way for the believer to talk to the Father about things he would otherwise no nothing about.
I pray with my mind throughout my day in English. But I also take time throughout the day to pray in tongues. When I exhaust my limited understand of how to pray for a person or situation I tell the Lord that I’m going to pray about that in tongues so that I cover anything that my didn’t know about the situation. Notice Romans 8:26-27: Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Praying in the Spirit or in tongues provides a way to pray the perfect prayer!
Praying in tongues will build you up or edify you spiritually. 1 Corinthian 14:4 reads:
He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. The word to edify in the Greek means to build up. A car battery is built up by the alternator while the car engine is running so that it has energy for the next time you need to start your car! Praying in tongues provides similar spiritual edification or building up. I pray in tongues for a couple of hours before I minister the word because it produces the necessary spiritual building up I need before I preach. I get up every morning and pray in the spirit to build myself up spiritually for the day.
Some people question the validity of praying in tongues, saying that it is an emotional experience that produces no fruit. I say that a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument! I’ve benefitted so much over the years that it’s a mute point to discuss with those who don’t or won’t believe in this experience. My life has been dramatically altered for the better as a result of praying in tongues every day!
I’ll talk about this awesome experience more next time. Take time today to pray in the spirit!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Three Things That You Experience in the Baptism With the Holy Spirit

I’m continuing to address the subject of the baptism with the Holy Spirit today.

Three things happen to the person who receives the baptism with the Holy Spirit. They receive boldness to witness, an increase in understanding of the word, and they receive a new way to pray!
Acts 1:8 reads: But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. The Greek word for power here is dunamis and from this word we get our English words dynamic, dynamite, and dynamo.

There is inherent power produced within the believer when baptized with the Holy Spirit. The day after I was Spirit baptized, I noticed a boldness that rose up within me that I had never experienced before. As a 17 year old, I was working in a grocery store the day after I received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and a girl asked for a cigarette. Well, I threw mine away the day before, and simply had no desire for them.  I started to tell her that I quit, but before I could speak the Holy Spirit from deep within me prodded me to tell her that Jesus set me free from smoking. When I told her that, she was so surprised that I thought she would fall in the floor! And then a joy rose up in me that I had never experienced before. Ever since then that boldness has risen up in me.
The second thing that you will notice after having received the baptism with the Holy Spirit is that a greater hunger for and understanding of the Word will come. 1 Corinthians 2:14 reads: But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The Holy Spirit authored the Bible. He inspired men to write as they were moved or inspired by Him. When He comes into your life in fullness, He will take the Word and unfold its deeper meanings to your spirit. It one thing to intellectually understand the Word, but it’s an awesome experience to suddenly gain the spiritual application of it when you read. I experienced this the day after I was Spirit baptized in 1976. As I read passages that I had known since childhood, suddenly the revelation of their spiritual application to me poured from the pages I read! It’s totally amazing.
The third thing that you receive with the Holy Spirit baptism is a new way to connect with God. Praying is in a whole new realm. It’s one thing to try to connect with the Father with mind to Spirit communication; that is, your mind seeking to make contact with Him who is the sum total of all knowledge! But it’s awesome to be able to contact the Father directly spirit to Spirit. When you pray in tongues after being Spirit baptized, you gain an ability to speak in tongues which is your human spirit making direct contact with the Father of spirits!

1 Corinthians 14:14 (Amplified) declares: For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit [by the Holy Spirit within me] prays, but my mind is unproductive [it bears no fruit and helps nobody]. Things that were pent up in me for years were released as I prayed in the spirit or in other tongues. This is the perfect way to pray, because when you’re praying in tongues, you’re praying the perfect will of God for whatever you’re praying about!
Don’t neglect the precious gift of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Allow it to be a door that opens you to a new realm of spiritual experience and understanding as you receive boldness, illumination, and a new prayer language. If you haven’t received, get before God and ask Him for it today!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Immersed in the Holy Spirit!

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).
The baptism with the Holy Spirit changes you. Let me explain why it should. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo. And this word simply means to immerse into something. When a person is baptized into water, the substance that they are baptized in or immersed in is water. The person’s relationship to water changes in that water completely surrounds the person baptized.
Well, then when a person is baptized with the Holy Spirit, what is the person immersed into? They are immersed into the Holy Spirit. I often use an illustration of a cup being filled with water, which is illustrative of a believer being born again and the Holy Spirit indwelling them. In the new birth, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the believer. Then, I took the cup full of water and immersed it into a pitcher of water. The cup’s relationship with water changed. Not only did water fill the cup, but it surrounded it!
When you receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit literally encapsulates you, that is, he closes you in on all sides. Understand that the Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come when He left the earth and would be to the disciples everything Jesus was to them. The main job of the Holy Spirit is to make Jesus real to us!
My life took a dramatic turn with the Holy Spirit baptism in 1976. When the Holy Spirit engulfed me with Himself that Sunday night at 7:20 P.M., I had an awareness of Jesus that I never had before. As I worked the next day, my thoughts were constantly on the Son of God! I found myself relating my experiences throughout the day to my relationship with Jesus in a very natural way. I thought of my relationship with Jesus all the time.
The Holy Spirit brings spiritual power and insight when He comes into your life. You have this spiritual power and insight with the new birth in a measure. But with the baptism with the Holy Spirit it is magnified many times over.
If you’ve baptized in the Holy Spirit, I encourage you to walk in the light of the experience. Nurture your relationship with the Holy Spirit daily by spending time in the Word and in prayer and meditation. His presence will get stronger if you do. And if you have not yet received this precious experience, cry out to the Father for it. They that hunger and thirst after righteousness will be fill. If any man thirsts let him come unto me and drink!  He promised to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him!