A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Presence of the Holy Spirit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Presence of the Holy Spirit. Show all posts

January 7, 2024

The Importance of God's Word in Unsettling Times

There are so many reasons that God's Word is vital in times of trouble. But before I begin my reasons why, we need to examine the exegesis of what we mean by "God's Word". And naturally, we Christians understand the Bible to be God's Word to us; His expressed [or written] message to mankind. "Word" in Greek is Logos and implies the Divine reason/thought that gives the cosmos its form and order. That's what the Bible means when it says in John 1:1-2, In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. The "He" in this passage is telling us that Jesus is also "the Word"; He represents and embodies the complete message of God to all men. 

So, here we have the idea that both Jesus and the Bible are God's Word. They are connected because the Bible is literally all about Jesus -- if you diligently read it and study it, you will find Him on every page. Paul gives us the duality of that concept when he says, "I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known"

In other words, Paul is telling Believers that it is his job to make the word (Jesus) known to them as the message from God to mankind. He can accomplish that through teaching from the collection of writings that scholars most commonly accept as written, [beginning with Genesis], around 1400 B.C. until Malachi was written, approximately 450 B.C. -- what we know as the Old Testament. That is the written word of God.

But Paul also wants them to understand that the Word of God encompasses more than what's written on the page. God had been speaking into mankind for centuries, revealing Himself in various ways -- in His creation; through the prophets He called into service; through Scripture [of course], and now the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. But by the time that Paul is teaching this truth, Jesus has been crucified and risen. So, Paul wants it clearly understood that God continues to reveal Himself through the Holy Spirit, who will teach us a deeper understanding of what is written on the pages of Scripture. That concept sees the Word of God, as spiritually revealed, or the Rhema Word.

It is an utterance from God to the heart of the receiver via the Holy Spirit, as in John 14:26: But when the Father sends the Spirit of Holiness, the One like Me who sets you free, He will teach you all things in My name. And He will inspire you to remember every word that I’ve told you. In addition, we can see the activity of the Holy Spirit in Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Although the Lord is no longer on the earth, He is still the Word and works through the Holy Spirit, who is living and active in us; separating our soul and flesh from our spirit, and discerning the condition of our heart, that we might clearly hear Jesus and obey His commandments.   

To summarize, Logos is a theological term with a clear reference to Jesus as the Word in the Bible. Rhema is a spiritual encounter with the Word, whereby the principles of the Bible are communicated directly to the heart and spirit of the Believer. The problem is that much of the Church doesn't recognize the Rhema Word or hunger for it. And of course, the Rhema Word must coincide with what is revealed about the Logos in the Bible. I do not believe God or Jesus will speak a word to our hearts or spirits that contradicts His Word in the Bible, but I certainly believe They have a desire to illuminate the Word to those who will receive it.

So why have I taken such pains to elucidate the fullness of this term "Word of God"?  It's so that as we traverse these difficult times in the modern world, we know how to engage and bind ourselves to the Word of God, in all its fullness; to remain grounded and connected to our lifeline [both the Bible and Jesus] when confronted with conflict and dangerous situations. It is important to understand how to do that. 

So, I invite you to consider the following passage in the Bible. I think it expresses much better than I can, what I am talking about ... For we did not receive the spirit of this world system but the Spirit of God, so that we might come to understand and experience all that grace has lavished upon us. And we articulate these realities with the words imparted to us by the Spirit and not with the words taught by human wisdom. We join together Spirit-revealed truths with Spirit-revealed words.  Someone living on an entirely human level rejects the revelations of God’s Spirit, for they make no sense to him. He can’t understand the revelations of the Spirit because they are only discovered by the illumination of the Spirit. Those who live in the Spirit are able to carefully evaluate all things, and they are subject to the scrutiny of no one but God (1 Corinthians 2:12-15, The Passion Translation).  

To us in the 21st Century, this should tell us that there is a valid connection between revelation from God (Spirit-revealed truths) and the Bible (Spirit-revealed words). They are meant to work together to bring us into greater intimacy with the Father and to guide us to not only fulfill our purpose for the Kingdom that Jesus came to establish, but defend it against the spiritual forces that want to obstruct it. And here's an amazing truth that we need to be exceedingly grateful for ... the heroes of the Old Testament had access to the Holy Spirit when God sent Him upon them, but we have been blessed that the Holy Spirit is with us always, living inside us! 

I recently read an interesting article on kingdom citizens.org. Consider that Daniel, in his service to God, did not have the Holy Spirit's presence in him. But he did make obedience to God's Word his fundamental guide. Even when King Darius decreed that no man could pray to any other god but him, Daniel continued to remain obedient to God's command that "You shall have no other gods before Me", by praying towards Jerusalem three times a day. He is an example that no conflict, no law or decree can change the truth of God's Word. Daniel presents a pretty good challenge to the 21st Century believer. If he was willing to stake his life on following God's commands -- no matter what -- and without the Holy Spirit as guide and counselor inside him, how much more should we be able to stand and occupy in times of trouble? 

In the New Testament, the Disciples Peter and John also show us who and what should take priority in our lives. Just like Daniel, they ran up against man-made laws; laws that forbid them to teach about Jesus. They had a decision to make! Would they choose man's law over the truth they knew of the Word -- that He had died for our sins and rose to sit at the right hand of the Father to intercede on our behalf? Or would they continue to witness about the Word, and listen to the Holy Spirit, who teaches us and reveals the power of the Gospel? "We ought to obey God rather than men" was their answer -- not to be rebellious and sow discord and chaos into the society, but to remain obedient to God's law, when man's law went against it.

As our spirits become increasingly aware that conflict is on the rise and may become unavoidable, I know it will not be easy. In our flesh, the Enemy will attack us with fear, doubt, anxiety, and unbelief. But I want to encourage you to make the Word of God your foundation in the midst of the uncertainty, confusion, and disorder. We're already seeing, that in so many areas, wrong is now right; bad is now good. Like Daniel and Peter and John, ask yourself, What does God call me to do in this situation, according to the Bible? What am I hearing from the Holy Spirit?  When you know the Word, both in Scripture form, and in your personal, intimate relationship with Jesus the Word, you will find that you have a foundation to stand on; one that strengthens you, gives you strategies, and provides stability in unsettling times. We will overcome!

#understandingtheword #whatislogosword #whatisrhemaword #kingdomcitizens #obeyGodorobeyman #holyspiritinus #holyspiritinoldtestament #holyspirit  #weoughttoobeyGod #Jesusistheword #revelationofthebible #spiritrevealedtruth #danielsobedienceinthebible

Isaiah 55:11    "So shall My Word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it".



December 14, 2023

Are The Saints Being Equipped?

This is a question that has long plagued me. And what does it mean to "be equipped"? When the Lord first spoke to my husband in a vision in the middle of the night, telling Him God wanted to sanctify us unto Himself for service to Him and His Kingdom, we didn't really know what that looked like. And I will be honest with you, He was silent for awhile after we accepted that momentous calling. So we spent the next few years doing a deep dive in our Bibles, and were amazed at what we didn't know about being called by the Lord and all that the Holy Spirit was beginning to open up and reveal to us.

The first thing that became apparent to us was that the modern Church isn't consistent in its understanding of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Every denomination has its own doctrine, and from what I can tell, too few of them teach that we Christians should be seeking an experience with Him. But I will tell you that if Mark and I had stopped at just trying to understand the literal knowledge of the Bible, we would have missed out on so much of the spiritual knowledge that we needed to understand in order to step into our divine assignment. 

Ask any roomful of Christians about desiring the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or if we should be walking in the power of the Spirit [as Jesus did], and you will get opinions formed by those who have been wounded by the Church because they didn't appear to have a particular gift, and therefore don't desire to seek more of Him; to those who, while unknowledgable about the subject, are curious to know more; to those who flat out reject it; to those who have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and are walking in His empowerment, healing the sick and setting the captives free from bondage.  

But I will also tell you that Jesus desires us ALL to have everything the Holy Spirit makes available. Sadly, I think Believers in this century have been deceived into believing that the knowledge and the power and the gifts of the Holy are only for a chosen few. But if Jesus wants us all to experience the Holy Spirit in His fullness, then it begs the question, Can anybody do what Jesus did, who definitely possessed the completeness of the Spirit? 

First of all, it is important that Christians realize Jesus was 30 years old before the Holy Spirit rested upon Him and He had the power to begin His ministry.  The Bible tells us that As Jesus grew, so did His wisdom and maturity. We must realize that the manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives comes through our own process of gaining wisdom and maturing in our faith; of walking with God and experiencing an increase in His grace, and an increase in the comprehension of the Father’s plan for our life -- and all of that comes from the work of the Holy Spirit in us. We must recognize His presence in us! 

But I think most Christians are scared of the power of the Holy Spirit, primarily because they are unfamiliar with it. The Bible tells us there is a purpose for a five-fold ministry in the Body of Christ. By God's grace, some have been called to be apostles [an ambassador of the Gospel of the Kingdom]; some prophets [a proclaimer of a divine message]; some evangelists [a preacher of the Gospel of the Kingdom]; some pastors [providing tender care and vigilant oversight]; and some teachers [an instructor concerning the things of God and the duties of man]. But Ephesians 4:12 specifically says that these callings are to equip [nurture and prepare] all the holy believers to do their own works of ministry... which is at the heart of this post today. [NOTE: it is to be understood that the Gospel of the Kingdom includes, but is not limited to, the Gospel of Salvation. In fact, the Good News about Salvation is the first essential step in perceiving and entering into the Kingdom of God]. 

And here is the root of that concept of "equipping the saints": God's grace is the power of the Holy Spirit in us to do those things we have been called to... those things we could not do under our own power. And lest you misunderstand, we are all called to do the things that Jesus taught and commanded (defeating the works of the devil) and to walk in the manifestation [the enabling power] of the Holy Spirit to serve God in whatever gifts, achievement, or abilities He has designed for us to carry out. But we must be careful to discern that it is Jesus/God who calls us. It is not ourselves who decide what our calling is to be. Nor is it some committee of elders in a Church. And if a "prophet" reveals it, we must discern if he is a self-proclaimed prophet or appointed by Jesus through a personal revelation. I fear too many of the five-fold ministry have not heard directly from Jesus about their assignment, but rather, have been appointed by men. But this perception is for another post on another day. I want to get back to my original question ... Is the Church equipping the Saints for ministry? Are they nurturing them and preparing them to seek and receive the revelation from the Holy Spirit?

 So, now I ask you this ... how many of us can say that we have experienced any of this nurturing within the Body of Christ?  Jesus is our model, and everything He did was the product of the Holy Spirit working in Him to carry out His commission [ministry] from the Father. AND it is the function of those called by God's grace to equip us to receive that same Holy Spirit power to do our "own works of ministry." But how many of us received that equipping ... that nurturing and preparing ... that instruction and modeling of how to become more like Jesus? This question is pertinent because the Bible says it plainly and clearly ... in Hebrews 10:23-25, we are told to hold tightly to the promise given us [that the Holy Spirit would come to empower us and guide us]; and we should give considerate and deliberate thought to encouraging each other to love and do the good deeds Jesus modeled, not forsaking the gathering together to encourage each other to do these things as we wait for His return. The "gathering together" has been characterized as meeting in a Church building. But that is not the primary focus of this passage; it is the encouragement of each other to walk in the power [and assignment] that God sends us through the Holy Spirit who indwells us.

But here's the thing ... since I would venture to say that a large majority of us were never encouraged or equipped to walk in our own giftings and callings, we are uncomfortable with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and it is easy for the Enemy to convince us that this concept is not from God.  When the power of the Holy Spirit to work in our lives through the gifts and counsel He gives us is never taught; or it is explained away; or it is not used; or it is buried under disappointing attempts that appeared to fail -- then it is easy to believe the lie that this empowerment is not for Today.  And then we end up with powerless Christians who miss out on encounters with God and fulfilling the purpose for which they were called.

So, again, I ask the question, Are the gifts and the experience of the power of the Holy Spirit only for a chosen few? The answer is No! It says in 1 Corinthians 12:6-7, "The same God distributes different kinds of powers [gifts] that accomplish different results through each believer's gift and ministry as He energizes and activates them. Each believer is given continuous revelation by the Holy Spirit to benefit not just himself but all". In light of this Biblical truth, I believe it is up to each believer to seek the Holy Spirit and receive that revelation. It also leads to the truth that it is God who does the calling, but it is the Holy Spirit who begins to reveal the knowledge we will need and provides the power to carry out our assignment.

This intimate experience with Jesus and the Father through the Holy Spirit is the only way to impact this world for the Kingdom of God.  Without experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in one's life, it is my humble opinion that you can't truly know God and know His will for His Kingdom. You can read and study Scripture and recite all the verses from memory, but as my wise husband expressed, "It's like saying you know how to swim, when all you've done is read every book in the Library on swimming, but never actually experienced getting in the water and swimming".  And I liken it to reading every post on Facebook by a friend, and reading every text message she sends me, but if I'm never in her presence and experience her, can I say I really know her?  How can we be ambassadors for a Kingdom when we don't know the King and what He desires?

Finally, Can everybody do what Jesus did? The simple answer is Yes. But can we guarantee success every time? No. But what I can tell you from my own experience in walking in His power, is that the more you do it, the more confidence you get in your identity and the ability of the Holy Spirit to work through you.  In other words, people who pray more for healing, will see more healings happen. John Wimber, one of the founders of the "Power Evangelism" movement in the U.S. prayed for healing for 1,000 people before he saw anyone healed. And I have heard so many similar testimonies from those who walk in Jesus' signs, wonders, and miracles who say the same thing: Christians must make a commitment to press into what CAN happen and SHOULD be happening.

But it is also the responsibility of the Church leadership to seek and hear from the Holy Spirit on how to equip, nurture, and encourage the Body of Christ to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal their particular calling/ministry in the Kingdom of God and earth, and how to discern that they are hearing correctly. That is "equipping"! 

My final analysis of experiencing the Holy Spirit in the Christian life so that we might become equipped to serve God,  is that God brings each of us to a place of maturity that requires our perseverance through the discouragement. The Enemy likes nothing more than to send obstacles to walking in the power of the Holy Spirit [that is in us]. The Body of Christ must begin to overcome the lack of equipping and our long season of apathy and indifference [and yes, fear] towards embracing the power of Heaven within us. The Holy Spirit of God is the key to an effective Christian life of service. Without His ministry to our spirits, our Christian life will be powerless and fruitless for the Kingdom. And this life is all about serving the Kingdom on earth!

#equippingthesaints #seekingyourdivineappointment #whatisGodscallingonyourlife #jobofthefivefoldministry #poweroftheHolySpirit #answeringGodscall #jobofthechurch #belikeJesus #lackofchurchtraining

1 John 2:27    But the wonderful anointing you have received from God is so much greater than their deception and now lives in you. There’s no need for anyone to keep teaching you [the false doctrines of men]. His anointing teaches you all that you need to know, for it will lead you into truth, not a counterfeit. So just as the anointing has taught you, remain in Him.   

June 17, 2022

Treasure the Power and the Presence of the Holy Spirit!


I have spoken before about the awakening in my heart to a hunger to know more of the Holy Spirit. As I have stated, I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but there came a time [within the last ten years] when I experienced a huge shift in my theology and relationship with the Father and Jesus and I came to understand the full personality and ministry of the Holy Spirit. It wasn't that I didn't believe in the Holy Spirit, it was just that in my 30+ years as a Christian I had been given no guidance for a personal knowledge or experience of Him as His own separate and equal Being. It had always been presented to me that He was an extension of Jesus; a substitute or understudy, so to speak. But as I began receiving revelation from the Word, I could see and discern that He was God Himself, just as Jesus was. And with that knowledge came the desire to know Him and experience Him, as the Bible tells me I can.

To be honest, when those revelations came, I was a bit jealous of other Christians who had grown up in denominations where the presence of the Holy Spirit was vibrant and active, and a relationship with Him was customary and familiar. And I was surprised that as I sought to grow in my knowledge of Him and began to develop an intimacy with Him, I also began to see a distancing or separation from some of my other fellow Christians. I was told that the kind of experiences I was looking for weren't possible for today's Believers; that the power and fire that rained down on the First Century Believers was only to jump-start the Church; that the closing of the Canon has left us with centuries of faith in the saving grace of Jesus, and that's all we need. But is that really the case?

That kind of thinking has shown me just how misunderstood the Person of the Holy Spirit is in the 21st Century Church. And let me make a statement here that is not meant to offend, but I feel I must clarify for me. There are times that I distinguish "the Church" from "the Body of Christ", and this is one of those times. For the sake of this discussion, the Church represents those Believers who, like the Pharisees, are clinging tightly to their belief systems and the rules of their particular form of theology. If their denomination holds to the doctrine of cessationism [the gifts of the Holy Spirit were for the establishment of the Church and ceased with the deaths of the apostles], then their interest in developing a relationship with the Holy Spirit will be minimal. But for the Body of Christ, who walk in Jesus's ways as their model, there is a recognition of [and reliance on] the Holy Spirit to convey the thoughts and will of the Father as it pertains to our purpose in His Kingdom on earth. 

For me, the Holy Spirit is that friend that has only your best interests at heart; the One that prays for you, intercedes for you, and whose heart burns to guide you into fulfilling the purpose for which you were created. Because Jesus remains in Heaven, for now, and the Father sits resolutely and powerfully on His throne, the Holy Spirit commits to be with you through, as prophetic minister Graham Cooke says, "every circumstance of life; of warfare, of crisis, and of opportunity". The Holy Spirit wants to see you succeed and overcome; to fulfill all that God has planned for you! He will be with you in good times and bad. He is the One who will not leave you nor forsake you. 

And so, I now find myself talking to Holy Spirit as often as I do Jesus because I know that He is the conduit -- the instrument God uses to protect Jesus's transmission of His will for my life. And I can trust Him. Heaven's message to me will not be corrupted or perverted when I lean on His truth, and not my own understanding. In fact, He has shown me that my understanding is sometimes wrong, and He's not afraid to correct me and discipline me. He desires to help me in my weakness, and encourage me in my strengths. He is with me when my soul is in the depth of despair, and celebrates with me when my spirit bows down in humble adoration before the throne of my God. His Presence is the life force of my faith.

But there is another aspect of the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life that I have had to learn, and which I want to pass on to you to encourage you. I love those times when I am overwhelmed with His presence; experiencing evidence of His presence as it manifests physically in my body; or I hear a word in my mind that I know is Him. And I rejoice in those glorious times! These times are a reminder that, without a doubt, He is ever-present and always exists with me. But there are also those times that my soul and spirit don't sense His presence at all. In other words, I don't have any particular physical or spiritual sensation that He is with me. In simpler terms, I don't "feel" Him. And that's when I have to simply trust the promise that He will never leave me. That's when I have to decide ... "Do I believe in the promises of the Word? Are they mine, or are they just empty hope"? That's a determination each of us must come to if we are to walk in confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

So, I will not be tempted to doubt the Holy Spirit. And I will not limit Him to a ritualistic or denominational doctrine. I will welcome the fruit of His presence in my life -- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. I will ask for all He has to offer. I want to be filled up to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. I want to experience manifestations of His Presence and I won't limit displays of His power in me as I surrender to God's calling on my life. I will seek and ask for the fullness of the Spirit in my ministry and in the gifts He bestows upon me. I will be subject to the Spirit's teachings and His wisdom. And above all else, I will testify that Jesus is the Lord of my life, having been empowered to speak of His saving power through the leading of the Holy Spirit. I praise God for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and I welcome Him as the means of God's gifts, signs, wonders, miracles and revelation in my life and this Age. Holy Spirit, You are welcome here!

2 Timothy 1:14    Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious Truth that has been entrusted to you.