Saturday, March 26, 2016

This Same Power

As I contemplate the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord this year I can’t help thinking that there is another resurrection that many in today's church need to experience.  We need a resurrection of the power of God that only comes through the baptism of the Holy Ghost.  For Many years the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and the ministration of the gifts of the Spirit has been going through a process of disintegration.  Definitely not from God’s perspective, but from man’s.  In particular, in my opinion, in so called “Full Gospel” churches.

It seems that many “Full Gospel” churches have reached the place where the baptism of the Holy Ghost has been reduced to the mere acknowledgement of an indwelling presence of Jesus experienced by all believers.  Today within many churches there is not only a depreciation for speaking with other tongues as the spirit gives the utterance as the initial sign and evidence of being spirit filled, there is tremendous opposition against speaking in tongues period.

Many preachers are teaching that it is putting emphasis on the wrong thing, and that by acknowledging speaking in tongues as the initial sign and evidence of being baptized in the Holy Spirit, that we are belittling those who do not speak with other tongues.  But it is my opinion that if we are going to be New Testament believers and followers of Christ then we must do what he told us to do and follow the example given to us by the early Church in the book of Acts.

On the day of Pentecost all that were in the upper room were filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke with other tongues as the spirit gave them utterance.  And every occasion after that whenever scripture mentions anyone being filled with the Holy Ghost they spoke with other tongues. When the door of grace opened to the gentile nation, they received this same gift and spoke with other tongues.

Why is this such a big deal?  Because it the reception and activation of this initial gift of the Holy Ghost, speaking in other tongues, that opens the door to the operation and the manifestation of the nine supernatural gifts of the Spirit.  It is through this initial gift that is the sign that the believer has received the indwelling supernatural power of God.  The Holy Spirit lives in you by virtue of the baptism in the Holy Ghost.

John 7:38-39
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Notice there are no rivers until we receive the Holy Spirit. It is impossible for us as believers to experience the abundant life that Jesus came to give us without the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It is impossible for us as believers to bring the blessings of the supernatural power of God into contact with men’s needs without the gifts of the Spirit.

We must come back to the original purpose and power of the giving of the Holy Ghost; He is to first be in us as helper, teacher, comforter, illuminator, counselor, friend, and power to live a holy life.  Then He is to flow out of us by virtue of the gifts of the Spirit to bring salvation, healing, deliverance, miracles, signs and wonders to aid us in the ministry of setting people free.

Luke 4:18
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, (because) he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised”

And this is an important question that I feel must be asked when contemplating this issue; How did Jesus do those things?  By the power of the Holy Spirit that was in Him.  Every blind eye opened, every demon cast out, every miracle, every sign, every wonder, every sick body he healed, the feeding the multitudes, the walking on water, the calming the storm with His word, and the raising lazarus from the dead were all one or more of the gifts of the spirit at work in his life.

Acts 10:38
“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”

That’s how Jesus did it.  By the anointing of the Holy Ghost through the mighty gifts of the Spirit.

John 14:12
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”

Someone might say: Well the gifts of the spirit are only for certain individuals.  Yep, Humans: Born again, Holy Ghost filled, washed in the blood humans.  1 Corinthians 12:7  - “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.”

Why should we desire spiritual gifts?  Because the bible tells us to, so that we can participate in the process of building up the body, and to overthrow Satan’s kingdom in the hearts and lives of men and women.  Satan’s kingdom is real, it is through the gifts of the spirit that we must meet the challenges of the enemy and bring deliverance to the oppressed.

The reason so many people remain unconcerned about the gifts of the spirit and their operation in their lives is because they are not committed to the building up and edifying of the church.  They are unconcerned about the condition of the world around them, unconcerned in the sense that they are unwilling to take steps that can make the difference.  To not know these mighty gifts of power are available is ignorance, but to know and not care and make no steps to receive them is foolishness.

I think during this Easter celebration we need to be reminded that the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in every believer that receives the baptism of the Holy Ghost.  Our spiritual lives depend upon this power to thrive, in a world that is filled with the spirit of the Antichrist, we must lean upon that power to survive.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

I Call Out To Dry Bones...Come Alive!

I’ve been going through a struggle for a about a month with my health, but I’m getting better.  I shared that just to say that sometimes it’s difficult to understand the messages that God puts in my heart to share.  I even asked my wife how I could share this one considering what I  been going through.  How?  She said, “You just do it. “

I want to declare that your season of resurrection and restoration is within your reach.  It doesn’t matter what your situation looks like, sounds like, or feels like, I want to prophesy that transformation is a breath away.  There is nothing too hard for the God we serve.

I don’t know what your situation or your problem is, but I can tell you that God is bigger than whatever it is.

He can turn a red sea into an interstate to freedom, He can make living water to flow out of a rock, He can open blind eyes, unstop deaf ears, make the lame to walk, and He can burn cancer out of your body.  Our God can raise the dead, walk on water, calm the storm, and feed the multitude with a sack lunch.  Our God can deliver the drug addict, free the alcoholic, save them from sin, and fill them with the Holy Ghost in one step.  He can heal broken hearts, restore marriages and put families back together again.

I just wanted to remind you, and maybe remind myself too, that our God can do anything!

Ezekiel 37:1-37

Our text begins by saying, “He set me down in a valley full of bones.”

The Bible is very clear here, this valley is filled with bones; not bodies, but bones.  It is not a picture of encouragement.  It is speaking of brokenness, separation, confusion, disorder, and pain.  This scene tells us that there has been a very destructive encounter that has created great suffering and pain.

I’m writing this for some people who know exactly what I’m talking about.  You are experiencing something in your own life that has caused a brokenness, separation, and has brought disorder and pain into your life and it has left you hurt and confused.

Proverbs 17:22 - “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

I’m writing this for someone who is suffering from a broken heart, somebody who has lost the moisture of life, the joy of living is gone and you are just going through the motions.
Somebody reading this message has been wounded: That’s just part of life, it’s going to happen sooner or later.

The problem is that many who have been wounded, have never gotten healed, and if a wound does not heal it will become infected and poison will begin to enter the body and get in the blood stream and if it is not caught soon enough it will kill you.

I’m not criticizing anybody, I’m not putting you down, and I’m not making fun of you. It happens to everyone, if you live long enough somebody is going to hurt you.  That’s called life: And if you don’t get healed, your heart will become dry and calloused, and you will become dull, insensitive, and indifferent.

God supernaturally, divinely, and sovereignly deposits his prophet into the middle of this tremendous misery and chaos.  God put his prophet where he needed him and he told him to prophesy:

“So I prophesied as I was commanded, and as I prophesied there was a noise and a shaking.”

As I prophesied: not as I preached, or sang, or even prayed, but prophesied!  To prophesy in this context means to boldly declare the will and purpose of God in a particular situation or circumstance.  As the divine revealed will and purpose of God was declared over these bones there was a noise. There was a work taking place deep on the inside, of those bones and they were shaking under the anointing of the Power of God that was being released in the realm of the prophetic.

As these bones were shaking they began to move around and they begin to knock up against each other.  There began to be some fellowship, and communication.  Where there had been complete isolation separation and division, now there was contact and communication.

Just because you are in the same place at the same time, doesn’t mean that there is fellowship and communion.  Just because you are singing from the same song book, and listening to the same sermon doesn’t mean you love each other.  There are families that live under the same roof that seldom ever speak to each other, they never sit down to dinner together, and not because they’re too busy, it’s because they don’t want to.

There are husbands and wives that sleep in the same bed, but resent being touched by each other, and there are churches in the same shape.  There are people sitting in our churches today that can’t stand each other, they sit on opposite sides of the church and cut their eyes back and forth, and criticize everything they see each other say and do. There are people sitting in our churches that have unforgiveness, and resentment, and bitterness in their hearts.

These bones represent lives that are in a mess.  There is strife, envy, and confusion.  There is competition, pride, and resentment.  There’s rebellion and selfishness.  And the result: The spirit is gone, the life is gone, the joy is gone, the anointing is gone, and nothing is left but a pile of dry bones.

We need the Holy Ghost to begin doing a work on us from the inside out: You see I have come to understand that we are pretty good at hiding our ”stuff.”  We have learned how to hide pride, unforgiveness, and resentment and still shout: We have learned how to dress up rebellion in religion and tradition and oppose anything God tries to do.

I don’t know what your reason for being dry is today.  I don’t know who hurt you, or who took advantage of you, or if you just decided you were going to be resentful, selfish, and rebellious.  I don’t know if somebody broke your heart and now you’re calloused and indifferent and dry.  But I know that the same God that brought these bones back to life is waiting to heal you right now.

As Ezekiel Prophesied something began to happen not just to those bones, but in those bones.  I’ve heard the old timers use the phrase, “I can feel it in my bones!”

Something started happening in those bones.  We get all excited about what we see happen to those bones, but I’m just as excited about what you couldn’t see happening in those bones.  You see before sinew, and the flesh, and the skin, there was an inner healing that took place, While the prophet was prophesying something was happening in the realm of the spirit, in the hidden place.

While Ezekiel was prophesying : Confusion was leaving, anger was leaving, brokenness, pain, and disappointment were leaving. Criticism, jealousy, selfishness, and pride were leaving.  God doesn’t do a halfway job. It’s not just about looking good.  It’s not about knowing how to have church, knowing when to shout, when to cry, when to lift your hands, or when to dance; it’s about being healed, and restored, it’s about the Joy of the Lord that is our strength, it’s about having the Spirit of God on the inside flowing through me like a river.  It’s about a life that glorifies God.

I choose to be healed!  I choose to forgive!  I choose to be merciful!

How many marriages today are just going through the motions?  How many of God’s people have lost their first love, lost their hunger and lost their passion for God, and now they’re just going through the motions.

It is not my goal to criticize you, to accuse you. or put you down, I want to prophesy to you:

The Spirit of God is moving in the secret places, the healing oil of God is saturating dry bones!  Rejection is being healed, anger and unforgiveness are being healed, bitterness and hatred are being healed, fear, confusion, and disorder are being healed!

The wind of God is blowing right now!

“I prophesy to the wind, come from the four winds O breath and breathe upon these slain that they may live”

I prophesy to you and declare to you: It ain’t over!  You will love again! You will dream again!  You will sing again!  You will laugh again!  You will preach again!

Can these bones live?  Can they ever be what they were intended be?  Will they ever be the mighty army of God?

Yes they can!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

His Power Completes Us

There is only one source of power that a true follower of Christ can tap into to overcome life’s struggles.  There is only one place that we can go to receive the power that we need to live in a manner that brings glory to the name of Jesus.  As believers we need the power that Jesus promised his disciples in Acts 1:8.  A believer that is filled with power, is one who is living by the power and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:5-8
“For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”  Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 2:1-4
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
Pentecost marked the introduction of a completely new source of power to live according to God’s standards.  In the Old Testament (OT) they relied on their own ability to follow a rigid set of standards to achieve a right relationship with God, to be “righteous.”  Now, in the New Testament (NT) with the infilling, baptism, of the Holy Spirit the believer now had a source of power for righteous living that dwells within us and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
Every covenant with God is intended to be sealed in blood.  In the OT God gave Moses the Law which laid out the rules for sprinkling the blood of animals over the sins of the people to restore them to fellowship with God.  In the NT Jesus sealed the covenant with his own blood.  His blood is the signature that life in the power of the Spirit is now available to every believer who wants it
Every believer should be experiencing the power of a Holy Spirit filled Life.  I am going to make a very bold and controversial statement now, please don’t stone me.  The Son of the “Most High God” did not shed his blood just to save you from your sins. That blood cleanse you from your sin, but it also seals you into a life of covenant living.  Because of this wonderful blood we have become joint heirs with Jesus, the seed of Abraham and children of the promises of God.  
Leviticus chapter 14 tells of the cleansing of the leper.  First the blood of the guilt offering was applied to the unclean person’s body and then the priest would apply the oil.  This is symbolic of how the blood prepares us for the anointing.
How it must grieve the Lord for us to stop short of what he paid so high a price for us to have.  To be filled with the Spirit was not a mere suggestion, but rather a command to his disciples, which we are if we continue in His Word.  Luke 24:49 – “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Ephesians 5:17-20
“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The will of God is that you be filled with the Spirit.  The will of God is actually that we become the channels through which His spirit flows, that we become ministers of that anointing.
2 Corinthians 3:5-6
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.”
John 7:37-38
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
In Ezekiel 37:7-10 we can see “type” of, or picture of the New Testament Church, The power filled church.
“So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.  And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.  Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus says the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”
Notice: Everything from a natural standpoint may be perfect, but from God’s perspective it is dead until the Spirit has come upon and into. It is the Spirit that turns these bones into an army.  The greatest need in our country right now is not different leaders, it is not a better economy, what our country needs now more than anything else is for the Church of Jesus Christ to receive a fresh outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit and to be revisited with New Testament Power and Anointing.
People look and they see in many churches a bunch of people who are covered in skin, with muscles and ligaments, everything from the outside looks normal.  But their preachers are endorsing men who are evil to lead our country, the members are voting for men who are openly vulgar in their speech and character.  And the assessment of the world, the media even, is what is going on?  And the only answer that I can give is, there is no life n them.  They have stopped following the leading of God’s voice.  I am not endorsing any one candidate, from what I have seen they’re all a bunch of idiots, but it is sad, in my opinion, that men of God in the evangelical churches can longer see what the the Pope so easily discerned.
We need a fresh outpouring of power in the church, we need for this valley called the United States of America full of dry bones to come alive!  It is time for us to go back to the river and to be dipped in the fountain of the life giving anointing of the Holy Ghost!  It is necessary to be washed in the blood to cleansed of your sins and to begin the healing process from your past, but without the anointing the healing is incomplete.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

There Is A River

Ezekiel 47:1-7

The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side. As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?” Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river.

I believe that the river in Ezekiel’s vision represents the life giving water that flows from the throne of God available to all who immerse themselves in the presence of the Holy Ghost, and that the gradual steps that Ezekiel is led through speaks of the progression of a life submitted to the power of God.  

The Lord desires to see all of us progressing in our walk with Him.  From the time we accept Christ until we are in the grave the Lord expects us to move forward and to progress in our personal relationship with Him.  We are expected to be move forward in maturity and in knowledge.  We are expected to move from the shallow edge of the river which represent a simple trust in God, out into the deeper water as our faith becomes stronger and we learn to submit ourselves to His authority and completely trust in the power of Jesus’ name.

I like to think that I’m making progress, and I am, but honestly at times it seems like I take a few steps forward then I either step back a little or I get stuck in the mud on the bottom of the river.  But as Paul said, “I strain to move forward.”  

Moving forward isn’t always easy and many times we must trudge through life’s difficulties to make progress.  I have not “arrived,” and I know I am not the man the Lord wants me to be, I am not even everything that I would like to be; but by the grace of God I am no longer what I once was, I am making progress, and  I am moving forward.

In the vision Ezekiel was led out in steps from ankle deep water, into water so deep he had to swim.  This symbolizes the progression God wants us to make in our journey to know Him more.  When we first receive the Lord we start off wading in the waters of the unknown and then gradually we move into a deeper knowledge of Him.  Eventually we get to the point where the knowledge of Him and His presence in our lives sweep over us like the waters too deep for us to walk in and we allow His living water control the direction of our lives like the currents of a mighty river.

There are many who are saved but still struggle with the same sins over and over again.  They continue to wrestle with their “demons” for years.  They are saved but not sanctified.  They are saved but still struggling to die, still selfish.  Sometimes they stay on the bank of the river and never really wade out.  They dip their toe in once in awhile but once they realize the sacrifice they are unwilling to make it.

Some are in the water, but just barely.  They want to maintain control.  They are in the water but still struggling with anger, lust, addiction, and unforgiveness.  They are in the water ankle deep but still struggling with resentment and bitterness.  They have waded out a little but are still struggling with the desires of their flesh.  You can usually tell who they are.  The waters around them are always murky with the gunk they continue to stir up around them.  If you are stuck at this level in your walk, I urge you to take another step.  Move to the next level in your relationship with the God.  At least up to your knees for now.

Once a person moves up to their knees spiritually they spend more time in worship, they pray more and humility begins to become a larger part of their character.  Their focus begins to shift from their own will to God’s.  They begin to understand that life is not about them, but about the giver of life.  Now they no longer are constantly seeking to fulfill the desires of the flesh; they now are more focused on pleasing God.  

The deeper you go into the water, your flesh will naturally become less visible.  The farther you venture out in the deep, the stronger the current’s influence will become. The deeper you get, the less of an influence the things of the world will have over your life.  Once the river has more influence over your life you begin to have enough faith to move into even deeper water.  Now you can move up to your waist.  Then out to where you will have to swim.  That is God’s desire that we move forward, continually experiencing the change that comes from going deeper until He fully guides our steps.

Too many of God’s people are satisfied spending their lives in ankle deep water.  They are unwilling to take the next step; stuck in the confines of tradition, they simply accept the status quo.  God has so much more for His people.

One of the worst examples of this I can think of is those who miss out on the power that is received from the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Because of the traditional teachings regarding the Holy Spirit in many denominations, there are droves of believers who have been stripped of the very power they need to thrive and survive in a battle against an enemy who seeks to destroy anything that God loves.
Many never go on to receive the gifts that God has for them.  They hedge at moving into the experiences that are the result of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  They are stuck in mud at the bottom of the ankle deep waters of tradition.
My wife’s father was telling me that he went fishing last summer in one of Eastern Washington’s select fishery lakes.  You have to use a boat or a float tube to get into this lake, there is no other way to access the deeper waters of the lake where the fishing is spectacular, most of the time.  He was amazed at how much silt and mud there was as he waded out in his float tube.  If he had given up because of all the resistance from the mud he would have missed out on the benefit and pleasures of fishing the deeper waters of that great lake.  He didn’t catch any fish that day, but he had an opportunity he couldn’t have had if he had let the mud keep him back; trust me there is great potential in that lake, I’ve fished it many times and the trout are huge.  

Everyday believers miss the opportunity to do great things for God and others because they let the mud keep them from deeper water.  Have you ever heard of shallow sea fishing?  The Church of Jesus Christ needs a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit and I believe it’s on the way.

After Ezekiel had reached the deeper waters where he could no longer wade but had to swim; after he came to the place that was so vast, so deep, then his focused was returned to the bank where there were many trees.  Ezekiel seen trees, fruit, that would not wither.  Fruit that that could be used to heal and to sustain life.  Because the source of the fruit came from the overwhelming presence of God that now controlled him.

Once God has liberated you and set you free from the bondage of religion, and tradition; once you come to the realization that God is bigger than your church, far greater than any organization and deeper than your opinions.  When you finally arrive at the place where you realize that you don’t know it all and you are willing to accept that there may be more for you than what you have, then you have arrived at the place where God can stir up the gifts in you, and once those gifts are activated by the power of the Holy Ghost, He will sustain your life and heal you, and God will use you in ways you never imagined.  

Don’t get stuck in the mud, it’s time for you to take the next step.

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