Posts Tagged ‘experience’

Wilderness Seasons

Throughout Biblical history, God has used the wilderness to test His servants in order to perfect His purposes within them. His goal is to speak to the independent heart that leans on its own understanding and call His Sons and Daughters into proper alignment with His Divine order (Hos 2:14).

The wilderness speaks of a barren and desolate area. It is a place where inner needs become intensified and there is no available resources to meet those needs. God seems to want to move us there at times to speak to us about the condition of our hearts.

Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?” (Song of Solomon 8:5)

There is a heart quality about this “one” who is coming up from the wilderness that attracts the writers special attention. She is “leaning” upon her Beloved. This position of leaning demonstrates the fact that she has become completely dependent upon Him. Something has changed during her time of being in the wilderness which has resulted in her becoming submissively dependent upon the Lord.

This is the quality of Sonship that God is after in us and we must become aware that its the wilderness that produces this in our heart. How often have we murmured or complained about the wilderness experience only to find that there was increased glory as we emerged from this season.

We entered the wilderness season leaning on our own understanding and emerged leaning on our Beloved.

Shake off the fear of abandonment and draw near to the Father who speaks lovingly to His children. He wants to become the Promised Resource for our abundant life.

Filled Anew!

Here are a few guidelines to answer the question, “How can I be filled anew with the Holy Spirit?”

Ask & Receive: (Lk. 12:23-32)

Confession & Reflection:

As David… “Lord, search me… try my heart and see if there is wickedness in me!” (Ps. 139:23-24)

As the Early Church… “Lord look upon their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your Word.” (Acts 4:29)

Let God, the Redeemer and Master of your Soul; go deep into your heart to search you and show you anything… hindering motives, attitudes, sins or failures in your life. Then confess them to God! He is loving and kind and will forgive and renew a right spirit within you. (1 John 1:9-10; Jms. 4:8) Confession will bring cleansing and will restore you to fellowship in His Glory.

Follow up with these next four steps so you will see the patterns that enable you to stay filled… Never be “empty” again!

1) Renounce the deeds of darkness:

Renounce anything of darkness; any sins or bad habits or false loves, selfish ambitions, and evil desires:
Romans 6:11-13; Col 3:5, 8

2) Make restitution for transgressions against others:

If you have done wrong, make it right if at all possible… as soon as possible!

  • Mend broken relationships
  • Repay what you owe
  • Apologize if you have offended (Mt. 5:23-24)
  • Forgive quickly – those who have done wrong to you (Mt. 6:12)

3) Walk humble, surrendered and yielded to the Holy Spirit:

Surrender everything you have and are to the Savior – Jesus is the Lord of your life!

  • Give every part of your body and every area of your life to Him – Become a living sacrifice! (Rom. 12:1-2)
  • Recognize and meditate upon whose you are – Establishing your identity in Christ! (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
  • Find you purpose in fellowship with the Holy Spirit! (Jn. 16:7-15)

4) Walk in faith, by faith & with faith:

Move ahead, trusting the Father to enable you to live for His purpose and in His Glory. (2 Cor. 4:6 & 5:7) (Gal. 2:20 & 5:6) (Eph. 1:17-23 & 5:8-10)

Wait upon the Lord as the first order of your life: (Acts 13:2)

When we are refilled, the work of the Holy Spirit will go deeper in our lives, taking us forward in the light and life of God (Col. 1:9-(1 Jn. 1:5-7). It must be emphasized that the infilling of the Holy Spirit is not given just for the sake of our experience… but to advance God’s Kingdom in the Earth! The Spirit fills us so that our lives might be effective and compelling evidence for His Glorious Name! When we are filled, we may or may not have strong feelings inside, but we will become His witnesses in our environment (Acts 1:8). Sometimes there may be little feeling at all – only a sense of trusting the Master as Lord… but there may be a great sense of relief, renewal and joy (1 Pe. 1:6-8). Some believers have an indescribable experience in the Spirit, overpowering and flooding them from head to toe. Others find the peace of God increasing as they move forward believing and trusting in the anointing God has promised in His Word. But, what we must recognize… it is always a faith activity that releases fruitfulness and power beyond our natural ability; and strengthens the inner man!

  • The filling of the Spirit usually produces a deep sense of embrace, followed by a spirit of praise! (Heb. 13:15)
  • It rekindles our love for God as “Father” and gives us a deep compulsion to tell people of our Savior’s love! (Acts 4:20)
  • As we walk in the Spirit, the evidence of the Spirit’s work will be seen in our lives! (2 Cor. 3:1-3)

Remind yourself… being filled with the Holy Spirit is the Command of God! (Lk. 24:49) (Eph. 5:15-18)

Revealing His Glory

“This, the first of His miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed His Glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him” (Jn. 2:11).

“…a cloud came and overshadowed them: and they were fearful as they entered the cloud.” (Lk. 9:34)

“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me, may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My Glory” (Jn. 17:24)

Jesus Reveals His Glory:

What are we seeing in these verses? What is it inside of us that shifts when we truly see the radiating splendor of God? Make no mistake the Glory of God is the key to igniting faith in the human heart!

In the New Testament we see that Jesus revealed His Glory in four major ways:
1. through His signs and wonders (Mt. 11:3-6),
2. through His revelation of the Father’s heart (Jn. 5:19-23),
3. through His transfiguration (Mk. 9:2-8)
4. and finally through His cross and resurrection (Rom. 6:4).

To behold His Glory was to see the essence of who He was… the express image of the Father - His Person (Heb. 1:3). Truly He upholds all things by the Word of His Power; and by way of His completed work in the Earth, He has earned His place at the right hand of the Majesty on High.

Beholding Transforms:

Beholding the Glory revealed in Christ affected His disciples so significantly that the Scripture tells us they couldn’t even talk about it (Lk. 9:32-36). That revelation became the birth place of their faith and all they understood was that they could never be satisfied without it.

Notice this rather odd request by James and John: they wanted to sit in His Glory, one of them at Jesus’ right hand and the other at His left… for all of eternity (Mk. 10:35). They were seeing something that transformed their understanding so deeply that they wanted it for all time.

Ah, But There’s More!

I believe that the more we see of the Glory, the more we want to see. It is inexhaustible! We see so much in Scripture, yet the Apostle John wrote, “there are also many other things Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (Jn. 21:25). Christ reveals the Father’s splendor, character and purpose that can never be seen any other way (2 Cor. 4:6). The lame, walking and the deaf, hearing; sickness and diseases being healed without the influence of a doctor; and demons, fleeing with only a word. The dead, raised at the sound of His voice and the living, transformed at the touch of His hands. How, you might ask? He continues to identify the Glory as the real source of His power (Jn. 11:40).

He would still say to us today, “if you will only believe you will see the Glory of God”.

John was clear about the impact of beholding His Glory… it was the reality of walking in the light (1 Jn. 1:7). Peter was clear about the experience… “joy unspeakable and full of Glory” (1 Pet. 1:8). Paul even prayed that the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened to the riches of the Glory of the inheritance among the saints, in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:17). Does it not make you yearn like Moses…

“Lord – Please, show me Your Glory!” (Exod. 33:18)

Jesus Our Sufficiency

...you will dream about!

If there is a glaring truth found in our ministry, its that without Christ we are completely lost. Yet with Christ we are a “basket case”. And that is good news, when you’re holding one of Jesus’ baskets.

Let me explain: Today I was reading the story of where Jesus feeds 5000 weary followers (Mk 6:35-44) and a comment jumped off the page. “…they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish.” After feeding on five loaves and two fish, the disciples are now standing with more than they began.

This is the story of Jesus- Our Sufficiency!

In this story are hidden three of the most profound lessons of ministry:
1st) The needs always exceed the resources.
2nd) I am always inadequate for the task Jesus has for me.
3rd) Jesus is always sufficient in every challenge we face.

We are learning how to trust the Lord. The needed finances always exceed the finances we have. The hurting people always exceed the number of people we need to minister to them. Almost every leader God called felt he was just not ready, adequate or capable: Moses, Gideon, Jeremiah and David, to name a few. The Apostle Paul reminds us, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God…” (2 Cor 3:5). We must recognize that in every task and challenge we face; God has given His Son, Jesus to be our sufficiency, our supply, and our resource.

Baskets Speak:

Our confidence is only as strong as the power at work inside of us. We each need more experience with Jesus to prove the sufficiency of His will and power toward our circumstances. ”Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Eph 3:20). There is just no way to limit your asking and thinking when you stand with a basket full of sufficiency.

Miracle Zones:

The disciples in this story discovered that they stood in the miracle zone. I think they were a “basket case”, picking up the fragments in amazement and  knowing that they started with less than they ended with. Twelve baskets full of fragments has to speak to your heart. If Jesus was their sufficiency for inadequate food; what could He do with their imaginations or their unseen dreams. He was the Resource of miraculous provision and they were holding baskets that challenged their perceptions forever.

This is the testimony of ministry that sees Jesus as Our Sufficiency! This is what every disciple must discover!

Unusual Miracles

Preaching the Word of God

Preaching the Word of God

“Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19:11-12)

I love the expression ”unusual miracles”. I’ve personally seen firsthand the extraordinary impact signs and wonders make as they accompany the preaching of the Word of God. Do we truly understand what Kingdom Advancement implies? The Apostle Paul did… and if we are to become ministry leaders who do the unusual in the eyes of the world, we will need to put on a lot more courage and tenacity.

In the city of Ephesus, a shift in the Spiritual Realm was occurring. The Kingdom of God; which is the government of heaven, was gaining influence over all areas of life from the religious practices to the daily routine. Beliefs were changing and faith was being engaged in unusual ways as people stepped into the supernatural, as if unleashed from natural law. Jesus said when you abide in My Word, you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free (Jn. 8:31-32). The Apostle Paul; like Jesus, was pulling them into revelation rather than letting them stay bound to natural limits.

Whom the Son sets free is free indeed (Jn. 8:36). Freedom implies the ability to move, without hindrance or limitation and it brings fresh perspective on the future. Unusual miracles change the way you think about your reality, limitations and possibilities.

Conflict with Darkness:

The immediate result of the Apostle Paul’s experience however, was that evil spirits were driven out into the open. Conflict is first and foremost a spiritual battle that makes every leader do an inventory of their gifts and training. Are they equipped to handle the battle? Their experience and character set the standard for how they will address visible opposition in the spiritual realm. Perhaps most important is a person’s awareness of spiritual authority. Some do well, some flounder, but every leader must get their skills sharpened by their identity in Christ and their experiences in the field.

“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches. Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, over powered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (Acts 19:13-16)

This account is like a backhanded compliment. In effect Satan’s agents were saying, ‘This preacher is achieving something’. Yet, the victories of our advancement must be maintained and enforced by radical followers who know who they are and what they carry. These sons of Sceva were trying to be helpful without the tools or experience.

Paul’s preaching was breaking through and crushing the occult practices in the city of Ephesus. What also seemed to be happening was that many people became very nervous about the incredible beating those without spiritual authority had just experienced. Believe me when I say the word gets out. But God will get the last word, if we are truly doing unusual miracles by His hand.

“This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified, And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.” (Acts 19:17-19)

Even in the church world today, we see a lot of folks having one foot in the Kingdom of God and the other in the enemy’s camp. These folks need to see the reality of these kingdoms in conflict. When the Apostle Paul preached, the believers brought the books and tools of their witchcraft and burned them publicly. What an impact that would make on a region. The value of the books was fifty thousand pieces of silver. Each silver coin was a day’s wage… this is estimated at $2,500,000 in today’s market.

Unusual Miracles are only unusual in the sense that they reveal an extraordinary shift from the natural limitations we consider normal. When we begin to see through the eyes of faith, what seems common will change and the impossible will become ordinary.

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