Categories
Consideration of Biblical Scripture Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

In His Presence examined — The Church needs to Change (Part 5)

When I wait upon the LORD He renews my strength (Isaiah 40:31) . Hallelujah!

What about everything else that needs doing in life?

Following on in the Series “Church needs to Change”, I address the second point on the list, that of engaging with GOD’s presence.

I Corinthians 1:29 says, “that no flesh should glory in His presence”.

Basking in GOD’s presence is a glorious experience: a spirit to Spirit encounter as ours meets with His.

But is it for its own sake? As we spend time with the LORD and when He chooses to anoint us by His Holy Spirit, is it only to draw closer to Him? Is it not also to walk under His direction, to offer solace to others, or healing, or words of wisdom… as and when He may direct us?

In Psalm 119, the Psalmist asks, “Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.” Amen.

Our Walk is Revelation

Jesus loved both Mary and Martha, but it was Mary who sat at his feet, whom Jesus defended against Martha’s criticism that her sister did not help with the practical household duties (Luke 10:38-42).

I have been “sitting at Jesus’ feet” of late — or to say more accurately, I have been spending a lot of time reaching out for GOD’s presence, and receiving. But it has meant I’ve had little else on my agenda. Indeed, I didn’t even post a newsletter last week (as those who usually receive it will be aware). Am I being distracted? Or perhaps it is simply that the LORD has my full attention, at last.

It is difficult to navigate the matter of seeking GOD’s presence. Society is busy and offers plenty of duties and distractions. Covid-19 Lockdown across the world has offered GOD’s children time to spend with him. How have we spent that opportunity, or what, in this regard, can we do going forward?

Day Jobs, Family Ties, Responsibilities and Choices

Paul of Tarsus built tents for a living. He did receive some payment for his preaching and teaching, but by and large, he supported himself — he had a day job. He encourages all who can to work, to be self-respecting and self-sufficient, and in turn to support those who cannot work.

He has also written to us about family ties being a blessing, though singleness he sees as better, being without the distractions of spousal obligations (1 Corinthians 7:34-38).

We all have our responsibilities, yes, and we can make our own choices. There is, after all, “no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1)

But…..

Luxury of the presence of the Holy Spirit

But my current thinking is, we cannot afford to ignore the opportunity of GOD’s presence in our lives. Spending time with the LORD and resting in His presence is a luxury; it is a luxury we must take. How else can we grow and walk continually “according to the Spirit”? How else can we become more like our shepherd, Jesus?

When I rest in His presence, I find my experience sometimes daunting, sometimes sleepy, sometimes like a wave (or waves) of His glory pouring over me. Sometimes I sense peace, other times I gain wisdom. Always it is a bit scary yet totally lovely. I do it for the sake of intimacy with Him, and then I seek to encourage others.

Baptism of Holy Spirit

We all must work out our own salvation “with fear and trembling,” as Paul writes (Philippians 2:12). But our journey needs to have encounters with GOD personally, sometimes through His word, but also through the intimacy of His Spirit.

Jesus prayed. He did nothing His Father did not direct him to do. He is our model.

Jesus said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26) And he said, “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of me.” (John 15:26)

Jesus departed so that the Spirit might come to us. He told his disciples, “…if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)

We need the active presence of the Holy Spirit in our day-to-day lives

Let us no longer engage in our journey without the Spirit of GOD… not only as He resides in us through the act of our salvation when we made our commitment to Him, but also through His repeated anointing, infilling and indwelling, to lead and guide us.

Questions remain

I am aware I’ve not answered my own question about how we use the anointing He brings. I believe it is all dependent upon Him. As He engages with us, He’ll let us know where we walk and when, how we proceed with others. Nothing is meant to be in our flesh, not by our will but by His.

I think we are to wait as long as we can, listening, abiding, allowing Him to fill us.

As for me, as I manage to live in His presence, then my next steps will be directed by Him. That too will no doubt be daunting, exciting, peaceful and enriching. For in His presence “is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).

May we all drink deeply of Him, abide with Him, and grow in Him, Amen.

 

 

Categories
Consideration of Biblical Scripture Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Who is Lukewarm?

Who is Lukewarm?

“So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:16)

No one ever thinks the harsh word of exhortation is for them… Surely, it is for some other person or some other church. But recently, my pastor spoke from the pulpit to our sincere and GOD-fearing church that we are luke warm.

And he is right. For if we do not fully surrender our lives, our prayers, our time, our hopes: to the fullness of GOD’s blessed Holy Spirit, then surely we are luke warm.

Where does the warmth come from?

Passion lies within us; the power and presence of Yehovah spring from the Holy Spirit. Jesus came to save sinners, but he left so that his Holy Spirit would come and indwell those same sinners who were repentant and faithful (John 14:25-27). Tongues of fire came upon those who were waiting for “something” to happen in the Upper Room after Jesus ascended to Heaven (see Acts 2:3).

The Presence of GOD

The Holy Spirit dwells within those who follow Jesus. But the Holy Spirit is not a passive “it”. He is a person, albeit without form, who is available to us to teach, comfort, convict, empower His children. He comes via His spirit to fill ours. As we surrender to the Father, He enables the Holy Spirit to fill us with His presence. It isn’t a one-off at Salvation. It isn’t once and only. But we need to keep going back to the Father for infilling, just as we need water to drink, food to eat, rest for revitalisation.

More of Him; less of me!

As I ask, yield, surrender, wait up on the LORD, He renews my strength (Isaiah 40:31) and fills me with His glorious, peaceful, and powerful presence. 

But only if I allow will there be room for Him. So I rest in Him, I be still in Him, I trust in Him; I make time and space for Him.

Am I luke warm?

I don’t want to be luke warm. I would prefer to love Jesus and behave as though I do. So, I am choosing to move forward and I am choosing to take my call to speak to you dear reader:

May I encourage you to go beyond luke warm to hot for GOD’s Word, for His son and for His truth. The Holy Spirit will come as we submit fully to Him. Then, when we reach out to all those people who are within our sphere of influence, they will see a transformation; they will know that we take our faith very seriously, not only in word but also in deed. 

We are called to fulfil our purpose in Christ Jesus — Messiah Yeshua. Hallelujah! But we cannot do it without Him, and so, as we rely on Him, so He will come.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26)

“Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:32)

“I indeed baptised you with water, but He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:8)

“… but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” (Mark 3:29)

“But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:11)

“John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptise you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16)

Amen.

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ Reflections and Poetry

Living under the Anointing of the Holy Spirit

It’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Snow may have covered the ground until recently, but beneath the snow lay seeds, waiting to germinate, to release new life that will grow toward the sun. Likewise, we who are in Christ have new life which offers freshness, excitement and challenge with the opportunity to grow closer to the Son.

As spring approaches, I reflect on something I’ve experienced which I long to share as I discover how to apply it to my everyday life.

I’ve experienced the anointing of the Holy Spirit. I aspire to live under that anointing, walking as the New Man. I want that anointing so that I can “live and move and have my being” in the LORD.

“… and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:23-24)

The Anointing

It was a deep experience I’ll never forget. For four days, I was living under a sense of Shalom (God’s deep peace which passes all understanding), and moved as though I was living in a warm vat of olive oil. My voice was calmer, my movements slower, my heart full of love, with my mind clear and untroubled.

Have you experienced the presence of God like this? Or like a soft breeze or a hint of oil on your face? His anointing is delicate, sweet, real, and perhaps fleeting, but it tells me I am nearer to God than usual. His anointing draws me into surrender, peace, intimacy and quiet.

Particular scriptures pop into my thoughts as I linger with the Lord. I identify a new significance to their meaning. For example, being “in the world and not of it” means more than choosing God’s morality and closeness with brothers and sisters in the Lord. The scripture also means living in a completely different realm, where a totally different mindset reigns: Grace and the knowledge of Gods’s superior understanding and, perhaps, His revelation supersede logic and methodology. “Living by faith” means more than not taking a salary; it means trusting God for every need, without asking others to fulfil them.

Under the anointing, I am cloaked in God’s presence. I long to remain beneath “the shadow of His wings.” The intangible presence of God is thick enough to cut with a knife and I don’t want to treat it lightly. While I’ve been aware and unaware of the anointing before, this time I understand better and value it more and I pray that I remain under the anointing forever. I want every decision, every bite of food, every song or activity to be an act of intimacy, of grace and of adoration to Him.

How do I know it’s God? I know because the fruit of the Spirit is revealed through me with much more peace, love and joy of Christ.

Have you ever experienced the presence of God like that? Oh Lord, give all of us a taste of your presence, and fill us to the brim that we might draw near to you, perfectly and permanently. Is this madness? Is it eccentric or prophetic? I think Jesus, and after him His disciples, lived in a different realm to where we live. Even we who are in Christ need to put off this earthly existence, where “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28, NIV) takes on a new meaning. Living under the influence of the Holy Spirit is where I want to be all the time

The Challenge

I yearn for more of God: A deeper connection with Him and a greater understanding of what it means to have my life surrendered to Him. “Oh, Lord, teach me more about praying Your prayers (rather than my own) and make me more like you, full of Your love, joy and peace” (Galatians 5:22-23) so that I can do all things through you and not on my own.

And with this blessing of anointing and the awareness that life is meant to be lived under it, how do I apply this practically in my life? How will I allow this discovery to change my day-to-day existence?

I plan to step out further in business. As a creative, to focus on business is like walking on water for me—new, flimsy, uncomfortable—but to take God’s lead on business decisions is a leap of faith. If God is for me, who can be against me (Romans 8:31)?

This is a way out of my comfort zone, I’ll have to rely on Him.

What will be your new challenge?

Have you prayed? Have you heard God’s call? My prayer for all of us is this: “May we be surrendered, fully inspired and led by God, to grow in our endeavours and to have good success.” (Joshua 1:8).