Encounter (Holy Spirit Series Part 7)

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There are so many wonderful things I could say about the Holy Spirit. Tonight I wanted to share more testimonies that will hopefully fuel your faith.

I gave my life to Jesus when I was 7 years old. My parents are pastors. So, I grew up hearing about Jesus and watching them live like Jesus. I saw them open our home to the poor, widows, orphans, and even those who had done horrible things to them. I watched my parents love the man who murdered their oldest son and never served a day in jail for the crime. I didn’t know at the time that their love was a display of one the Holy Spirit’s greatest works-agape love.

My first realization of His work in my life came on Easter when I was 7. I was watching the Easter movie about Jesus. When it came time for Him to go to the cross, I recall being overwhelmed with sorrow and love. I wept. This man gave His life to save mine. The Holy Spirit was so at work that day! I didn’t want to live another day without Him!

Like many Christians I thought God only spoke to special people, like pastors. 😉 Yet, there was this hunger in me for Him that couldn’t be quenched. There were so many things I couldn’t understand, like walking in a place and being able to know if it was good or bad. My mom said I had an uncanny knack of knowing spiritual atmospheres. Later learned it is the gift of discerning spirits.

It wasn’t until college I begin to hear God speak to me. A still voice would bring scriptures to mind, line by line. I had to look them up because my memory was never excellent at memorizing scripture. I began to journal, date, and log those versus. I still have some of those journals. He moved from speaking scripture to providing wisdom, and insight. I keep a journal with me at all times to document what He’s speaking.

Knowing (Prompted to Pray):

One night at a Sunday night worship gathering I was caught up in worship (meaning really into it). I was joyful, excited, and happy. At one point sorrow hit me so profound I felt as if I wanted to die. This was so strange. I began to cry big crocodile tears. I excused myself to the restroom. I begin to pray. I didn’t know what else to do. After awhile the grief lifted. Days later I was talking to a friend and she confessed she was going to take her own life. She said Sunday night she had it all planned. A light bulb went off for me. I asked what time? She said that evening. It was the exact time I was hit with grief. She said something like a wave of God’s love hit her and she couldn’t go through with it.

Healed in a Moment/Delivered in a Minute:

I told you last post about being trapped in my car under water. Well, after that incident, I had awful panic attacks in enclosed spaces. Mainly in my car. I would have to get out of the situation as quickly as possible, or otherwise be overcome with fear. I went to my pastor at the time for prayer. He wanted me to go to counseling. I’m not against counseling. I’m pro take it to God first. I left church discouraged. I drove around worshipping and talking to God. I told The Lord , “I never want to feel this way again. I know You can fix this.” It was in a moment that I felt extreme warmth surge through my body. Fear was gone. I didn’t have anyone pray for me or lay hands on me. God did a complete work in one minute.

He did the same thing for my heart. Years before that awful car accident, I had a bad reaction to medication during a routine surgery and almost died. The outcome was a healthy teenager came out on heart meds and seeing specialists. I told God I knew He healed. Jesus paid for healing. I’m happy to say my heart is healthy!!!! This happened with me and God. One moment changed my life, one act of faith.

There are people who travel all over to see miracle workers or “super” spiritual people. The Miracle Worker is God alone. The Spirit of God is in every born again believer. He doesn’t come in percentages and is fully God. There are so many breakthroughs that can happen with just you and God. I’m an ordinary person who has suffered quite a bit and seen God bring miracle after miracle! I’m thankful for every person who refused to help or could not help because it’s taught me to rely fully on God. Yes, we need people too. God is everything. He is my everything. The Holy Spirit is all powerful. So, I encourage you to fan the flame of your love for God! Get into the secret place with Him. Get to know Him for yourself. Know the Author of the Book (the Bible). Encounter Him. Let Him encounter you!

Greater is He who is in you than in the entire world!~1 John 4:4.

Love in Christ,

Erin

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No One Counterfeits What Has No Value (Holy Spirit Series Part 6)

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Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves, by their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
~Matthew 7:15-16.

This is part 6 in the series. Funny because 6 is the number of man. Human beings are incomplete without God. Seven (7) is the number for perfection. This post isn’t about numbers. It’s about how there are people who don’t believe God speaks, performs miracles, or the gifts of the Spirit are at work today due to the abuse they’ve seen or lack of evidence they’ve seen or simply because of unbelief.

We will address two issues:

1. False prophets, those abusing the gifts, and counterfeit gifts.

A. The Bible tells us there will be people who can do miraculous things that would not be of God. Just read the book of Revelation (the antiChrist will be able to perform miracles) or how the magicians and sorcerers mimicked the miracles God performed through Moses (they could not do them all-but they could do some).

The Bible tells us to be alert, not dismiss the power of God. God has not ceased being powerful because we don’t think He is. God said, “You will know if someone is representing me by their fruit.” What is being manifest in their lives. Is it pointing to Jesus? Is it glorifying God? Is it fueled by Godly love and compassion? Is it drawing people into closer fellowship with God? Or is it drawing people away from God and to worship someone other than Jesus? There is one Savior. Only God is worthy of worship. We don’t worship the gifts or the people He uses, we worship God alone.

No one counterfeits what’s fake or not valuable. We have companies that make tons of money selling fake diamonds, fake Rolex watches, fake Gucci and Coach bags, etc…why? Because the original has tremendous value or worth. God is Spirit. He is the Creator of all things. The devil can’t be God; he can try to imitate him. God is all powerful. The devil is not. God gave His Spirit to partakers of salvation so we could live as Jesus lived: submitted and empowered.

Just look at the movies. Many are focused focused on the spirit realm-something many churches ignore or shy away from. As the Body of Christ, we serve and are empowered by a Superior Kingdom. Darkness is not more powerful than Light. Jesus is the Light of the world and His Spirit lives in every born again believer.

2. Unbelief.

B. Even Jesus was impacted by the lack of faith of the people around Him. Unbelief is the greatest sin because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). I’m almost convinced we don’t see the power of God as fully because we don’t believe or we are relying on ourselves.

When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief,~Matthew 13: 53-58.

There are many unbelieving Christians. It’s acceptable to believe God can save someone from eternal damnation and raise them from the dead for eternal life (a miracle), yet for some to believe that same God will speak to them, heal the sick through them, or do great and mighty things is not acceptable. God has not changed. We may not ever see a parting of a sea like Moses did, but that doesn’t mean God can’t. And then again we don’t know what God will do. He’s not limited to our expectations. He’s God. He can do what He wants.

Restating the Purpose:

Jesus was moved by compassion and love to heal the sick, share the Gospel, and speak for the Father. The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is to bless people.

My dad keeps a book of all the miracles he’s seen in his life: cancers healed, deformed children healed, brain deformities healed, miraculous provision, blind eyes opened, reproductive problems healed, even God raising his son from the dead.

My own life has been blessed by the miracle working power of God. I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for God. Doctors told my mom she would never have kids due to cancer. My birth was traumatic, I could have died. I’ve had multiple issues God has completely healed me of. He’s saved my life so many times. The most profound was being trapped in a car under water and I couldn’t get out. 911 never came. My last phone call was to my mom and she said, “We are going to pray.” The engine had already flooded. The pressure of the water outside and inside making it impossible to open the door. I told her, “It’s no use, I’m going to die. I just called to say goodbye.” She prayed. She said, “Try the engine again!” I needed to get the window down, since the doors would not open. I had already tried. But I tried one more time. The engine turned over for roughly 60 seconds and I was able to get out. That’s no fluke. That’s a miracle. Once your engine floods and stalls, that’s it.

So sweet friends, believe God can do anything! Pick up your Bible and read all the things He has done. Think about salvation and the resurrection! Repent for unbelief. And remember, no one counterfeits what is fake or has no value. The Holy Spirit is the real deal. He is fully God and all powerful. If you’re a born again believer, He’s living in you. You are empowered!

God bless you!

Love in Christ,

Erin

Know, Speak, Do (Holy Spirit Series Part 5)

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I know we took a week off from the Holy Spirit Series. I want to jump back in to talk about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We talked about what they are a few posts ago. I want to encourage you not to limit God to a list. The Holy Spirit is fully God and can manifest His Presence in ways we may not understand.

Scriptures are filled with stories of ordinary people encountering an extraordinary God. Has God changed or have our expectations of what He will do changed? I truly believe we don’t expect much from God anymore. Since we in the Western world have so many options, it’s easy to bypass God. We rely on ourselves, others, intellect, or our abundant resources.

On missions we’ve seen more people giving their hearts to God, healed of sickness and diseases, and encountering God in powerful ways.

What’s the purpose of all these gifts of the Spirit?

To build up the body of Christ. To demonstrate the love of Christ. Love and power combine to bring heaven to earth.

Let’s look at the gifts coupled with the fruit of the Spirit.

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The attributes of God are manifest through the gifts.

Knowing Gifts:
Words of Wisdom:

This is a revelation gift.

…this gift involves having a sense of divine direction, being led by the Holy Spirit to act appropriately in a given set of circumstances, and rightly applying knowlege.

The gift of wisdom is the wisdom of God. It is the supernatural impartation of facts; it is not natural. You can’t earn it. It is received from God through prayer (Ephesians 1:17).

Words of Knowledge:

A word of knowledge is a definite conviction, impression, or knowing that comes to you in a similitude (a mental picture), a dream, through a vision, or by a Scripture that is quickened to you. It is supernatural insight or understanding of circumstances, situations, problems, or a body of facts by revelation; that is, without assistance by any human resource but solely by divine aid.

Discerning of Spirits:

Discerning of spirits is the supernatural ability given by the Holy Spirit to perceive the source of a spiritual manifestation and determine whether it is of God (Acts 10:30-35), of the devil (Acts 16:16-18), of man (Acts 8:18-23), or of the world. It is not mind reading, psychic phenomena, or the ability to criticize and find fault.

Discernment will also enable you to recognize the Holy Spirit in another person.

Speaking Gifts:
Tongues:

Supernatural utterance in languages not known to the speaker; these languages may be existent in the world, revived from some past culture, or “unknown” in the sense that they are a means of communication inspired by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 28:11; Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4, 10:44-48, 19:1-7; I Corinthians 12:10, 13:1-3, 14:2, 4-22, 26-32).

The spiritual gift involving ability to speak in foreign language(s) not previously studied or to respond to experience of the Holy Spirit by uttering sounds which those without the gift of interpretation could not understand. At Pentecost the church received the gift to communicate the gospel in foreign languages (Acts 2). God gave His Spirit to all His people to empower them to witness and prophesy. In Corinth some members of the church uttered sounds the rest of the congregation did not understand (I Corinthians 12-14). This led to controversy and division. Paul tried to unite the church, assuring the church that there are different gifts but only one Spirit (I Corinthians 12:4-11).

Interpretation of Tongues:

Interpretation of tongues is a supernatural verbalization and subsequent interpretation to reveal the meaning of a diverse tongue. This gift operates out of the mind of the Spirit rather than out of the mind of man.

Prophecy:

Prophesy is speaking God’s words and agenda for the building up of the Body and others. It is to encourage, edify, warn, and correct. Paul tells us about prophecy in 1 Corinthians 14:1.

Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives–especially the ability to prophesy,~1 Corinthians 14:1.

All prophecy is to be tested. Meaning we take what’s said and weigh it against God’s word and character.

Prophecy is divinely inspired and anointed utterance; a supernatural proclamation in a known language. It is the manifestation of the Spirit of God – not of intellect (I Corinthians 12:7), and it may be possessed and operated by all who have the infilling of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 14:31).

Doing Gifts:
Faith for Miracles (Gift of Faith):

The gift of faith is the supernatural ability to believe God without doubt, combat unbelief, and visualize what God wants to accomplish. It is not only an inner conviction impelled by an urgent and higher calling, but also a supernatural ability to meet adverse circumstances with trust in God’s words and messages.

Healing:

The gift of healings refers to supernatural healing; it is a special gift to pray for specific diseases.

Healing can come through the touch of faith (James 5:14-15); by speaking the word of faith (Luke 7:1-10); or by the presence of God being manifested (Mark 6:56; Acts 19:11-12).

Miracles:

The greatest miracle is salvation.

A miracle is the performance of something which is against the laws of nature; it is a supernatural power to intervene and counteract earthly and evil forces. The word miracles comes from the Greek word dunamis which means “power and might that multiplies itself.” The gift of miracles operates closely with the power gifts of faith and healings to bring authority over Satan, sickness, sin, and the binding forces of this age.

Miracles can also be defined as supernatural intercessions of God. God exhorts us with energy to do something that is not natural or normal to us. Just as the ministry gift of miracles is the expression of prayer, so is the function of the Holy Spirit to direct our prayers (Romans 8:26).

Italasized text from Christcenteredmall.

The gifts of the Spirit are available to all believers. Some believe if a gift isn’t apparent in their life, then that’s it. Paul encouraged people to desire and ask God for the gifts. Gifts as stated before are not signs of spiritual maturity or to be used to abuse people. They are to be led by the Holy Spirit and measured by the fruit of the Spirit.

Father, I ask we would fully believe the Holy Spirit is capable of all things. He is fully God. He can do all things. Help us to rely fully on Him. In Jesus powerful name, amen.

He’s Controversial (Holy Spirit Series Part 1)

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“…You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Romans 8:9.

“...if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.” Romans 8:11.

The Holy Spirit is a controversial topic when it comes to some believers or non-believers. Some say He only works in certain ways today and no longer operates the way He did through the disciples. Some disagree. I am not writing this series to attempt to convince anyone to change their beliefs. I do want to share testimonies and scriptures that reveal the person of the Holy Spirit.

Why is He so controversial?

Well, I can’t answer that question fully. I can provide information from what I’ve heard, learned, and seen.

1. How do people know it’s God and not some fluke, someone’s imagination, or someone’s attempt to prove they are more spiritual?

A . Faith involves some risk. Learning to hear from God, getting to know Him, submitting to the Holy Spirit is a process. We always measure things against God ‘s word, use discernment, and pray. It’s dangerous to judge people when we don’t know their heart, motivation, or see what God is doing.

If you read the Bible, it’s filled with outlandish things to the unbelieving eye. Examples: God creating all things (many with just His words), God sending Himself to redeem humanity, the Virgin Birth, Jesus’s death and resurrection, our own resurrection and salvation. If we can believe these things which are the cornerstone of our faith, why do we limit God today or in other areas of life? God has not changed. Our expectations of what He will do have changed. Can we celebrate and acknowledge God can do anything?

2. Those Charismatics, Evangelical, and Holy Spirit filled people act crazy! Dancing, jumping, speaking in tongues, etc…shouldn’t Christians be reserved in their reverence for God?

A. Yep! I’ve heard this complaint before. Why is it okay for a person to weep when they have a revelation of God’s love and not okay for someone else to dance or leap for joy? David danced before the Lord, and when his wife was embarrassed by him, he said, “I will become more undignified than this.” God is so good. If we can jump, leap, scream, dance, and cheer for our favorite sports team, why do we pretend expressions for God must be quiet? I’m not stating church should be like a three ring circus. I am stating when we truly have a revelation of God’s goodness, we want to express gratitude. It looks different for everyone. Judging other believer’s encounters with God is not productive. We don’t know our own hearts and motivations, how can we (without God telling us) know someone else’s?

3. Do we really need miracles, signs, and wonders today?

A. Imagine knowing the person who had the cure for every disease and answer for every problem. You then tell the world, you aren’t going to ask him for help because a cure wasn’t needed-everyone was appointed to die anyway.

God still heals. He still performs miracles. He still does amazing things. We live in a world where people are dying daily; they need a miracle. We tell the world our God is all powerful, then reduce God to what we believe He will do. Miracles demonstrate the goodness of God. Salvation is the greatest miracle. We would not say we no longer need to preach the Gospel, yet some will say we do not need to pray for the sick or divine intervention in people’s lives.

4. What about those so called prophets for hire or miracle healers exploiting people?

A. Yes, there are some who misuse the name of God for profit or to exploit or hurt people. That does not mean God doesn’t want to work through His children to bless the world. People don’t counterfeit what’s fake. God’s name is Jehovah Rapha; He is the Healer. God speaks to and through His children. Every prophecy is to be tested. The disciples nor Jesus demanded money to help, bless, encourage, or heal someone. God’s a giver, not an exploiter. Love gives, blesses, and protects.

I will end with this story. This Christmas I was with my family. My uncle was there. We were retelling his testimony. He has seizures. One day he had one while driving. He hit a pole at an excelerated rate. He lost consciousness at the scene. Some man found him and cut open his throat so he could breathe. He flatlined several times (on the way to the hospital and at the hospital). I recall being in the waiting room with my family. I recall when they came out to tell us he was dead. My grandma got up and said, “Please take me to see my son. I need to pray for him.” The doctors looked at us like we were crazy. Why pray for a dead man. He was dead. We continued to pray in the waiting room, while others went to pray for my uncle. Needless to say, he’s alive today. The doctors say there’s no way he should alive or be able to function. His brain was without oxygen too long for him to be able to function even if they believed in bringing someone back from the dead. He walks. He talks. He feeds himself. He can read and write. He loves to talk on the phone. God performed a miracle that day. If I weren’t there, I might be skeptical. I’ve seen too much already to put God back in a box.

Final thoughts:

Please don’t be discouraged over this series if you’ve prayed for a miracle and it didn’t happen. I have those stories too!!! I refuse, though, to allow disappointment to sow bad seeds in my house of faith. My expectations are to be backed by God’s character, Word, and Spirit…not limited by past experience or disappointment. God can do anything! If He doesn’t answer the way we’d like, it doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us, care about us, we didn’t pray the right prayer or have enough faith, or that we should stop contending for healing, miracles, or breakthrough.

My hope is to inspire you to believe God can do anything!!!

God bless,

Erin

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