“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.
May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.John 17:20-23
It is illegal in the Kingdom to be born again and yet carry on with the carnal mind. We will not be able to grow in intimacy with God if we are continually mixing the ‘old man’ with the ‘new man’. The ‘old man’ is suppose to be dead. The ‘old man’ is limited because it is fuelled by human nature. The ‘new man’ has no limitations because he is fuelled by the living Spirit of Jesus Christ.Jasmin Frank
“And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.”1 Kings 18:24
There are many false gods today: wealth, popularity, sex, drugs, admiration and worship of others etc., etc.
None of these will sustain us in our needs or rescue us from our dead-end lives. All they will do is increase our death drive. All they will do is increase our hunger and thirst for more and more of that which will not satisfy.
1 Kings Chapter 18 we find the story of Elijah and his challenge to the prophets of Baal.
The prophets of Baal called and called. Begged and pleaded to their false god. He gave no answer.
“They raved all afternoon until the time of the evening sacrifice, but still there was no sound, no reply, no response.” – 1 Kings 18:29
The true God answered in fire and in power:
“Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench!– 1 Kings 18:38
Scripture shows this to be the greatest evidence of legitimacy of The One True God. The Living God comes in Fire and power!
He answered Elijah that way. He came upon the early disciples on the day of Pentecost in this way, with fire and power, baptizing them with the Holy Spirit. He comes upon all believers in the same way.
This is the evidence of God in every believers life: Fire and Power.
The fire of the Holy Spirit manifests it self in peculiar ways sometimes.
Jasmin said something to me once, along these lines, “If you are not involved in the Church, all this stuff would seem weird. We must look like mad men to those looking in on this” (paraphrase)
Does the power of God look strange to those on the outside looking in? Yes it does!
Does the fire of God manifest itself in strange ways? Sure does!
So how are these things not strange to believers? What makes the difference?
Relationship and revelation.
There are several ways that one can react to God’s manifest power.
The people who gathered on that hill with Elijah saw the fire of heaven fall down. Many of those present reacted to this fire by
following Elijah as he put to death the prophets of Baal. (verses 39 & 40)
King Ahab reacted by running back to his wife Jezebel with his tail between his legs. He told her what had happened and together they plotted Elijah’s death. (1 Kings 19:1-2)
Some reacted to the power they saw that day by acknowledging that Yahweh was truly God. (Revelation)
Some reacted to the power they witnessed with fear and anger. Fearful, that THERE IS A TRUE GOD; angry that their false gods were exposed for what they were. Angry that their prophets (keepers of their lies and falsehoods) were slaughtered.
It is the same today. One can see the Holy Spirit move in mighty miracles and react in fear and anger. Many of those who violently oppose the teachings of Jesus fall into this camp. Many others who claim to be Christians do this as well. They discount the works of the Holy Spirit because they would rather make an idol out of a book so they can use it to control and manipulate others. They are fearful of a Living and Active God. They are angry that He would dare move apart from their say so. If the Bible can be used as a static object, rather than “living and active”, then it can be dissected and misinterpreted to give men power over others. When the God of the Bible shows up in power, this disrupts these leaders “teaching” and exposes them as the charlatans that they are. Their natural response to these disruptions (the power of the Holy Spirit) is fear and anger. This is the same religious spirit that moved in King Ahab and Jezebel, the same religious spirit that moved within the Pharisees and Sadducees who put Jesus to death.
Some of those who witnessed the fire of God fall upon Elijah’s sacrifice continued on in their sin and pride while others humbled themselves and submitted and committed their lives to the one true God (Relationship).
“And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!”– 1 Kings 18:39
And God told Elijah, “... yet I will preserve 7000 others in Israel who have never bowed to Baal or kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18)
How will you react to the Living God today? How will you react to His calling, to His power?
The Holy Spirit falls in fire on the sacrifice of obedience. He consumes the sacrifice presented. In Elijah’s day the sacrifice was the flesh and blood of bulls and goats. On the day of Pentecost it was the living sacrifice of the early believers. In both cases the fire of the Holy Spirit fell when the followers of the One True God responded in obedience.
Jesus is calling you into relationship with Himself. He died on the cross to purchase your freedom, to free you from the false gods you have aligned yourself with. He died so that you can come into relationship with Him. He rose again so His power can live within you and flow through you.
Jesus is acting right now for your benefit. He is drawing you close to Himself so that you can become who He created you to be. He works in power to draw all of His lost children back to Himself.
This is the character of Father God.
How you respond to this fire is your choice. How you respond to the revelation of Jesus is your choice! You can react in fear and anger or you can react by coming into relationship with the One True God—- Jesus Christ!
The Spirit of God falls like fire on those who are open to Him. He will consume you with fire and power if you call upon His name.
“ Place me like a seal over your heart,Song of Songs 8:6-7
like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
its jealousy as enduring as the grave.
Love flashes like fire,
the brightest kind of flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
nor can rivers drown it.
If a man tried to buy love
with all his wealth,
his offer would be utterly scorned.”
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“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”Matthew 5:11-12
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“Jesus replied, ‘You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.’”John 13:7
Deeper than the deepest sea,Theodore Monod, “None of Self”
Lord Thy love at last has conquered; Grant me now my heart’s petition None of self, and all of Thee.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20
To live you must die. To be born again you must allow your flesh to die.
To be alive in Christ you must be dead to your self.Byron Frank
“But this is not the way of life that Christ has unfolded within you. If you have really experienced the Anointed One, and heard his truth, it will be seen in your life; for we know that the ultimate reality is embodied in Jesus!
And he has taught you to let go of the lifestyle of the ancient man, the old self – life, which was corrupted by sinful and deceitful desires that spring from delusions. Now it’s time to be made new by every revelation that’s been given to you.And to be transformed as you embrace the glorious Christ-within as your new life and live in union with him! For God has re-created you all over again in his perfect righteousness, and you now belong to him in the realm of true holiness.”Ephesians 4:20-24
Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus the majority of the churches in North America have closed their doors. Some are doing livestreams. Others have resigned to sending emails and prayer chains.
What does this means for the state of the global Church? Is this a massive blow to the Gospel, to evangelism, to the Church’s relevance in our society?
We need to keep praying for our world and for our communities and prepare for the end of this.
Historically, after war, famine and plague there has been massive revivals.
We are believing for revival after the end results of COVID-19. People will be looking for hope.
The Church must be prepared. We must be in prayer and seeking the Lord.
The spiritual climate as of late has been dark. We have seen an increase of sickness and hardships and now a pandemic that has left Canada in a state of disparity, worry, fear and distrust. You can see it in the eyes of those you pass at the grocery store as people in a panic grab everything they can get their hands on. Selfishness rules the day as people worry about number one and act out in irrational fear.
Jesus did not give us a spirit of fear and timidity but a spirit of power, love and of self control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
We cannot afford to buy into the wisdom of the world. We must cling to the wisdom of God which is a wisdom birthed by faith and by the Holy Spirit.
The Church has always risen to the opportunity to love in every terrible situation. In every war, in every natural disaster and in every plague. By being the hands and feet of Christ we cancel the assignments of the enemy. The darkness around us is his doing and he wishes to cripple the Church for the coming revival. I hear of 2020 being a “bad year.” People are resigning 2020 as some sort of write-off due to the present situation. What the Holy Spirit said to me at the beginning of the year and what He is still saying is that 2020 will be a year of harvest. He has told me this prior to this health crisis and He has not changed His mind. What the Holy Spirit has proclaimed will not be superseded by the works of the enemy. However, we must stand firm with the light that is within us.
Last week was Saint Patrick’s day. His life story is very timely in our present state. He was a man radically devoted to being Christ’s light in the darkness. He was a missionary in a society devoted to pagan religion which practised witchcraft and human sacrifices.
I am reminded of when the King of Ireland proclaimed no fire to be lit in all of Ireland in celebration of a Druid holiday.
Saint Patrick defied this order and lit a large fire on the highest hill. It burned bright in the darkness.
When he was brought before the King and was asked why he would defy the order, he preached the Gospel. He stated that Jesus is the light in the dark night. That His flame comes and extinguishes the darkness in our hearts. He expressed the truth of Jesus being the light of the world!
St. Patrick was bold in the darkness. He almost single handily turned the hearts and minds of the people of Ireland to Christ. One man or women with the Holy Spirit can do more then a hundred men and women without Him.
The last two weeks my family and I have been going through struggles not directly tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been up late every night and we are weary. As I lamented to Jesus about my weariness and the way things don’t seem to be going right for us, He spoke to me.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)
This is a call not to be inactive but to trust Jesus with what you cannot control. I cannot micromanage all my circumstances–sickness, pestilence, natural disaster, other people’s actions. Much of this is out of our control. We can only do what we can do. In every actions we need to have faith that the Holy Spirit will use us. With what is out of our control we need to have faith that Jesus will see us through.
If we look at the verses that precede verse 14:
“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.” (Exodus 14:13)
How many times did Jesus say “Fear not”?
This is a command of peace. Stand firm in your troubles. Stand firm at this time of disease and unrest.
What does standing firm look like?
Doing what the Church has always done. Sharing Jesus with everyone you meet.
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, drive out demons. Give as freely as you have received.” (Matthew 10:8)
Leprosy was considered a highly contagious disease in Jesus day. Yet Jesus and His disciples didn’t hesitate to lay hands upon the leper to bring healing. This must be our same attitude facing those ill with COVID-19. Take precautions if need be, like wearing a proper face mask and gloves but do not ignore the need. Jesus has called us to a time like this.
We hear a great deal about using wisdom. Wisdom and fear are miles apart. Fear and faith are total opposites. We serve a mighty God who does not compromise His commands or love on the back of a virus. His wisdom is the wisdom of love not of fear.
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were condemned to be thrown into the fire as a result of obeying God rather than men, they said: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”( Daniel 3:16-18)
They were un-afraid of death for they knew they were doing the will of God. They had faith that they would be delivered. Even more they had faith that they were held by God even in death. Their faith went beyond safety and went into eternity.
That is the hope that believers in Christ are to hold.
“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” (Matthew 16:25)
“For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past.
And I trust that my life will bring honour to Christ, whether I live or die.
For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.
But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ.
So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.
But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.” (Philippians 1:20-24)
Our lives are gifted to us to be used by God. To love Christ, to serve Christ. When we spend our lives in the service of the King there is no throwing away your life. There is no “saving your life” if we are not willing to do the things Jesus has commanded us to do.
Foolishness would be putting yourself in harms way for no purpose or reason. The Gospel is always a worthwhile reason. Every action, every twist and turn of our lives should be focused on the Gospel.
Wisdom says take the precautions you can without subverting evangelism, without subverting your call, your purpose or the Gospel. Trusting the Holy Spirit is protecting you and will protect you until the end. It is trusting that when your life does end, Christ will keep you into eternity.
Above all “Fear not for God is with you.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Don’t allow precaution to turn to fear. Do not allow this virus to make you fearful of people. People need Jesus and many are realizing their need for Him for the very first time. Those around you need the peace you carry.
The Holy Spirit’s power is unaffected by COVID-19 and He lives within you.
His power still wants to flow forth from you, touching the lives of those who desperately need Jesus.
Do you need to lay hands on people? No, most people would not be receptive to that at this time. The Holy Spirit moves and touch’s others at the moment you open your mouth to pray. His peace will rush over all you speak to in Jesus name.
You can bring food to those shut in due to this virus. You can help the more vulnerable in society by running errands for them. There are lineups for the banks, for the grocery stores, everywhere. You are a light of hope. While you stand there waiting. Smile and make conversation. People need to see us unafraid and joyful. We need to share where our joy comes from. Our joy comes from the Lord. There is so much we can accomplish for Christ if we walk forward and do not allow fear to govern our lives.
The enemy would use fear, confusion, and this plague to see the Church grow stale.
Jesus would have us rise to the occasion.
This is the moment when the first sparks of the coming revival are lit.
We are to be those sparks.
We are the light of the world, a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14)
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Choose to be the light in the darkness.
Choose to stand up to fear.
Let your faith increase.
Trust in God. Not in man.
We are here at this junction of history for a reason and a purpose. You were created and formed for Christ’s kingdom strategy at this time. Through this crisis, you are the hands and feet of Christ.
For a time such as this.
Blessings In Jesus’ name.