That place in the Spirit

The further I travel in my walk with God, the more I can see my need for a greater measure of the Holy Spirit. In Christendom too, I can see that we have only received a limited unction from God; we have received the Spirit only in a measure. There is a life described in the Bible that is expected of any person who has received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, which I find to be out of reach of most Christians, the reason not being a lack of effort on our part but a lack of unction. There is a place we must yearn for and reach in the Spirit where the Spirit of God rests so fully upon us that we will be able to experience the Christian life described in the Bible. Does’nt Paul pray for the Ephesian believers to be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19)? Had’nt they already received the Spirit? Certainly!

How does the Bible describe this life? Lets look at some verses.

1. 1John 2:6 “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” This verse speaks of living as Jesus lived.

2. 1Corinthians 2:16 “But we have the mind of Christ.” This speaks of thinking as Jesus thinks.

3. John 14:12 “Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do because I go to my Father.” This speaks of doing what Jesus did.

None of the above is remotely possible without the Holy Spirit.

I have had the privilege of leading people to Christ, baptizing people in water, leading people into the baptism of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands, casting out demons and healing the sick in the name of Jesus. I can tell you that I do get a great sense of fulfillment while in ministry, however there is still a deep yearning within my soul for I know that there is a higher place of union and communion with Christ that alone will truly satisfy. All ministry is just the natural outcome of the union and communion we have with Christ.

The soul can only be satisfied with more of God; ministry can never take God’s place. I believe that is why Paul, despite the wonderful ministry and the miracles he performed, still yearned to know Christ in a greater measure.

May the Lord Jesus, the baptizer in the Holy Spirit, pour out His Spirit upon us in a greater measure so that we can enter into this supernatural life that he promised.

Anointings

Christianity is divinely supernatural from beginning to end. Everything about Christianity is supernatural. It is about receiving, not achieving. Take out the supernatural element from Christianity and you have nothing left. Why, Jesus coming to earth itself was supernatural ! Jesus dwelling in me is supernatural ! Salvation is supernatural ! The Christian is a person with a divine supernatural experience from God through Jesus Christ throughout his life on earth.

I just returned from a short ministry trip to the Philippines this morning and among other things, I was filled with a great desire to experience more of God. Both yesterday and today I was meditating on the word “anointing” and would like to pen my thoughts on the subject for your edification.

1. Anointing with the Holy Spirit (for ministry)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He (the Lord) has anointed me to ……..” Luke 4:!8. When Jesus spoke of the anointing, He referred to God anointing him with the Holy Spirit. God had placed His Spirit upon Jesus. Just as the prophets of old anointed with oil or poured oil upon the heads of kings or their successors, God had anointed Jesus not with oil, but with the Holy Spirit. When the anointing of the Holy Spirit was upon him, he received supernatural ability to preach, to teach, to heal, to raise the dead and to set people free from bondage to demons. The purpose of the anointing of the Holy Spirit was to grant supernatural ability for ministry.

2. Anointing with power (for ministry)

In Acts 10:38, we see that God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power. The power of God rested upon Jesus to work miracles and to heal the sick.

3. Anointing with joy (for living)

In addition to God anointing Jesus with the Holy Spirit, we also read of God anointing Jesus with joy. In Hebrews 1:9, we see, “…..God has anointed you with the oil of joy more than your companions.” A supernatural joy was placed upon Jesus.

When I see that God anointed Jesus with supernatural joy, I am inclined to consider that it is possible for God to not only anoint us with joy, but with the other fruit or characteristics of the Holy Spirit, such as love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control, humility and the fear of God. These verses in Galatians 5 speak of the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of the natural man, not the product of trying and striving and changing. The fruit is of the Spirit, not out of self-effort. It is the divine supernatural – beyond the natural; that which is impossible for man to achieve or experience by his own effort. The fruit of the Spirit refers to supernatural love, supernatural joy, supernatural peace, supernatural patience, supernatural kindness, supernatural goodness, supernatural faithfulness, supernatural self control, supernatural humility and the supernatural fear of God.

I believe that we can experience the various anointings of God. The anointings for ministry refer to the anointing with the Holy Spirit and the anointing with power. These anointings empower us for ministry. The anointings for our daily life refer to the anointings that bring the supernatural characteristics of the Holy Spirit into our daily experience, the only condition being our yieldedness to Him.

I greatly desire the anointings of God in all of their variety, to rest upon my being. Some of them come upon us for a season, while others rest upon us permanently.

May the chief pursuit of our lives be intimacy with God, fellowship with Him, us containing more of Him and Him having all of us.

The dual work of the presence of God

Worship, prayer, experiencing God’s presence and receiving revelation from the Word are times in my Christian walk that I forever treasure. The best times of my life have been these times with God and the time that I spend with my family. I would not trade these for the world. When the Lord speaks to you during your meditation upon His Word, you come away with your spirit so full of His presence and His Word. Every part of your being rises up to respond to that revelation in wonder and adoration and rest, which just validates the fact that man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

When we consider the manifest presence of the Lord, we ought to realise that His manifest presence brings different results to different people. We know that there are two basic categories of people in this world – those who are of God and those who are under the control of the wicked one (1John5:19). Within the church too, the Bible describes different categories of people –

Wheat and tares

Spiritual and carnal

Vessels of honour and vessels of dishonour

Those who call on God from a pure heart and those with an impure heart

Godly and those with a form of godliness

In the Spirit and in the flesh

Approved and disapproved

Lets look at what the Lord’s presence does to different people –

1. Exodus 14:19,20 “And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to one and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.” The presence of God brought light and assurance to Israel but darkness and confusion to the Egyptians.

2. Isaiah 8:14 “He will be as a sanctuary but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” The presence of God was a sanctuary to some and a stumbling stone, offense, trap and snare to others.

3. 1 Corinthians 11:29,30 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgement to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” The presence of God in communion brings blessing, strength, health and long life to some, while bringing judgement, weakness, sickness and premature death to others.

4. 1 Corinthians 1:18,23, 24 ” For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” The cross, message about Jesus and presence of God in Jesus Christ is salvation to some and a stumbling block and foolishness to others.

5. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 “These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power when He comes to be glorified in his saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” Psalm 68:1-3 shows us that the wicked perish at the presence of God, while the righteous are glad and rejoice in God’s presence. The presence of God brings glory to some and punishment and destruction to others.

The Anti-Christ will be consumed by the breath of Christ’s mouth and be destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s appearing 2Thess2:8.

As we read this, may we be filled with reverence for God. May the Spirit of the fear of the Lord keep us always. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God. How unsearchable HIs judgements and His ways past finding out!

What is the presence of God doing in your life?

 

Where is the power of God?

The chief outcome of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is not speaking in tongues, but divine power – spiritual power. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said that we would receive power when the Spirit comes upon us and be witnesses unto him as a result. Although the book of Acts shows us that the outward evidence of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is the speaking in tongues, one cannot help but notice multitudes of Christians, including ourselves, who speak in tongues but do not have much spiritual power. What has happened to the power that was promised to disciples of Jesus who were baptized with the Holy Spirit? Where is the power to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, preach the gospel, suffer for the gospel and to live holy lives? Have we really received the baptism with the Holy Spirit? Or have we just received the ability to speak in tongues because we have sought tongues and not power? Or have we quenched the power of God by constantly sowing to the flesh? I believe that there are a few reasons for this lack of power in our lives –

1. We have received the Spirit in a limited measure. In John 3:34, John says that the Father gave Jesus the Spirit without measure. We, the disciples of Jesus have received the Spirit in a limited measure. Although why this seems to be so cannot be identified with certainty, it may have to do with the extent of brokenness in a person or the extent of thirst one has for God. It is worth noting here that we can receive greater measures of the Spirit.

2. We have desired tongues and not power, and got what we desired. Some of the methods used nowadays in getting people to “receive” the baptism with the Holy Spirit are bizarre, to say the least. They range from “repeat what I say” to “blank your mind” to repeating “Hallelujah” amongst others. The entire focus is on speaking in tongues and the moment the person starts uttering a few syllables, he is declared to have been filled although he has not even experienced the Spirit “coming upon” him. Some of these dear believers are clearly oppressed before and remain unchanged after the experience.

3. We have grieved the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is to be yielded to and followed all along the way. James tells us in 4:5 that the Spirit within us yearns jealously as He does not want us to be defiled by the world. He can be grieved (Eph 4:30) and will not strive with us or compel us to follow his leading. If we choose to do things our way, He will just allow us to – after trying to get our attention prior to that.

4. We have sown to the flesh. Gal 6:8 shows us that sowing to the flesh will result in a harvest of corruption. No matter the dosage of the teaching about grace we may have been fed, sowing to the flesh will always result in reaping decay and death. I know only too well of the periods when I have experienced the power of God working through me, for it to cease when I have given in to the flesh.

5. We have not been out on the front-lines. The power of God is absolutely critical for those on the front lines of the work of preaching the gospel and making disciples. For those who are content to just stay at home, this power is not necessary – only a measure will do. The soldier who is at the beach on a sunny day needs an umbrella, not a weapon. This divine supernatural power is necessary when we are occupied with following the Great commission – so that we can use it to demonstrate the truth of the gospel. Jesus is the baptizer with the Holy Spirit. The only condition that was to be met before the Spirit could be poured out was the ascension of Jesus to the Father’s right hand. Once that was done, He received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and He poured out “what you now see and hear.” Its not about the upper room or the ten days of waiting or the sound of the rushing wind or the tongues of fire – its just about desiring the baptism fervently and looking to Jesus. We have spent too much of our time and lives having replaced the shields of gold with shields of brass like the Israelites did of old. What we have is not what was promised and the sooner we recognise this, the sooner will be our emancipation. Let us cry out to God for a greater measure of the Spirit and yield completely to Him that He may work out his perfect will through us.