When God Pours Out His Spirit!

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams, Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Acts 2:17,18, 21 NIV)

When Peter was preaching to the crowd–who heard those who were speaking and understanding their languages other than their own culture, he had to tell them the people were not drunk as with wine since it was only nine in the morning, but they were responding to the outpouring of God’s Spirit and functioning in His realm. As a reminder, Peter told them what the prophet Joel had already predicted–what would happen in the last days when God poured out His Spirit upon all–men and women–indiscriminately.

There is so much that can be said about this particular passage of scripture that it would take more than one posting, but I’ll try to stick with one primary theme–God is not biased and holds no one in greater esteem than another. In spite of continuing conflict within the Body of Christ as to the roles of men and women–particularly women–in ministry, we see a clear picture of God’s view of who can speak on His behalf and that would be-anyone upon whom God has poured His Spirit and they have received it.

Since Peter reiterated what Joel had said, we can infer that women were present at the time of the outpouring of God’s on the day of Pentecost and we know–there were women in the room from previous accounts as recorded in Acts. If the women were not functioning under the unction of the Holy Spirit--there would have been no need for Peter to remind those listening of what had been said by Joel. But he did and so we can accurately conclude that the women were speaking and ministering to the those in the crowd.

That was then and nothing has changed–in spite of male tendency to think that God will not use women in ministry, God knows who He will use and He doesn’t need permission or approval of any man.  I cannot begin to recount the number of times I was told that, “God don’t call women to preach.” I remember clearly when God woke me to tell me that I was to teach His Word at three o’clock in the morning and I lay in bed, arguing with Him—because I did not see myself worthy or knowledgeable. Later than morning, while in church service, He poured out His Spirit and I received Him with the evidence of speaking in  tongues, with discernment and interpretation. Imagine that! God pouring out His Spirit on me, who knew all the wrongs I had done, but He forgave me and moved me into position to accomplish His plans for my life.

Looking back on where I was and where I am today–I understand that God’s plans–those He purposed to accomplish great things to His glory–will come to pass; even if He has to wait on us to acknowledge Him. His plans never change, but He will not force us to do anything and will always honor our choices–to receive or reject, believe or not believe.“For I know the plans I have for You,” declares The Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29.11).

God’s plans for my life are continually unfolding and even though I don’t know what all of them entail, I am willing to trust Him and know that He only wants the best for me–as He does with all of His Children. For all who call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved and adopted into the family! Hallelujah!

Let’s Keep It Simple!

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.” (Acts 15:19,20 NIV)

All over the land, especially in America, church leaders are shaking their heads, trying to understand why their buildings are not filled to overflowing (depending upon the size of the building). The biggest problem for most churches is this: the leadership and the people would rather beat people up about The Word, than Teach them The Word.

A number of people visit a church and find some interesting reason to listen to a sermon, but before the service is over, they are assailed with the “rules” and are humiliated because they don’t understand the rules. How can they know “the rules” of anything before they have been taught? And why must people make the rules so rigid that no one wants to adhere to them?

There is a better way to win lost souls and James provides us with the perfect method in this verse of scripture. Let’s encourage them to live a sin-free life, not worshiping idols, and teach them how to receive God’s best in their lives. Let’s keep it simple and draw others into the love of Jesus Christ–pointing the way by what we do–not what we say.

To be honest–those who profess to know Christ, but yet don’t know how to live the life they profess before others–keep more people out of churches than they draw into the churches. When we do not live what we say, we are hypocrites and Jesus has warned us that we’ll get to end and hear, “depart from me you workers of iniquity–I never knew you.” What a heartrending statement to hear! This demonstrates the difference from those who “think” they are living according to The Word and those who “know” they are living according to The Word.

Let’s make evangelizing simple–live it, promote it, teach it, and glorify God in all you do! Let your light so shine, filled with His glory, that others will seek you out, wanting to know–why and how you can smile, and never be discouraged on this journey called–life!

What Are We Sowing? (Reblogged)

“Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear” (Luke 8:8 NIV)

Jesus said, when seed (The Word of God) falls onto good ground, it will yield a crop (growth) a hundred times more than there once was. He also goes on to say, “he who has an ear to hear, let him hear.” So why does Jesus relate this parable to his disciples and how does it apply to us today? The point being made here is two-fold; both on a spiritual level, but one pertaining to the wealth that God has entrusted us with and the other, the wealth of souls that God has entrusted to us. If we misunderstand God’s intent, we sow discord and doubt into the midst of the congregations and fuel the unbelievers’ attempts to thwart the Word of God.

First, we must understand that the resources (money) that God provides to us are to be used as seed to be sown in good ground. If we are sowing seed (giving money) to churches in which there is no growth and in fact is being used to promote man’s kingdom instead of the kingdom of God, we do God a disservice. We are to be good stewards—weighing carefully how we use the resources God gives us and making sure that our use—will eventually bring glory to God.

We need to make sure that we are wise teachers (sowers) of the Word and our only agenda is to win souls to Christ; not to us. We must make every attempt to fulfill the commission given to us to go out into all the world, teaching the Word, baptizing in Jesus’ name so that all can come into the knowledge of the Truth (God’s truth, not ours).

The flip side of seeing growth and maturity is to see stagnation of both money and people. Misusing the resources will eventually feel like money placed in pockets with holes—steadily being lost along the way. Manipulating the Word for selfish gains will eventually see more space and vacant seats in churches as people leave. For those who have an ear to hear, let them hear.

We must be good stewards of what God has given us. Are we promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ (salvation, forgiveness, and love) or are we just having church? Are we utilizing the monetary resources to assist the poor and the needy, to promote the Gospel, or are we just having church fundraisers? Church leaders must be accountable to the Word. Church members must be accountable to the Word by studying for themselves. Remember, he/she who wins souls must be wise. They who anticipate seeing growth/increase must make sure they are sowing (or watering) in good ground. We must be willing to do deep soul searching and introspection to make sure we are doing everything we can to glory God. He that has an ear to hear, let him hear.

What are you sowing? Are you sowing in good ground?

(Revised and re-blogged from 12/13/12)

Share The Conviction!

“We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion” (Hebrews 3:14,15 NIV)

Who has come to share in Christ? The writer then was referencing those who were sharing the Good News as they traveled the land. What are we doing now to share the Good News? There are a number of people who may not be able to travel the land, but they are certainly leaving their footprints on the Internet—sharing the Good News—for all who wish to receive it. Even those who do not believe have access to the Good News—what they choose to do with it is up to them. What a marvelous use of technology!

What an awesome responsibility! We have this great expanse to use the Internet wisely and to the glory of God, not self! We, who know God, must exercise care when sharing the love of God and understanding of God’s Word. We must make sure we know The Word and can rightly divide The Word so we do not divide the Body with erroneous information. Having a relationship with God puts us in a good position to hear from Him and He can explain anything we do not understand and help us to explain it to others.

We must also hold fast the convictions we had when we first came to the Lord—knowing we are forgiven, receiving His unconditional love, and sharing our testimony with all who will listen. We must never lose our zeal for the things that brought us to a place where we know we walk in God’s favor so we can help others reach that same place. We must encourage those who do not know Jesus to come to the fountain of love and receive eternal life. We must admonish all to make a decision—today—while they have an opportunity to do so—to accept Him as Lord and Savior.

Today! If you do not know the Risen Savior—won’t you take the time to learn of Him while you have a chance and to make Him the Lord of your life? There are no magic formulas, no magic words, to ask Him into your heart. God knows your heart and He responds to sincerity. Isn’t it time—for you to receive God’s best for your life? Aren’t you tired of trying to figure things out for yourself?  The Gospel of John reveals Jesus in such a personal way that I have always found it difficult to understand how anyone reading it could turn away from Him. The love that covers a multitude of sins richly abides in this segment of The Word.

I do not know who might be reading this, but I will say this much. God loves you and wants only the very best for you. Will you repent of all wrong doing and make room in your heart for His love? He forgives all our sins when we ask for forgiveness. Once He forgives us, He remembers our sins no more—but that does not mean we should go back to practicing sin. We are saved by grace—God’s unearned favor and that same grace will keep us from dishonoring our love for Him.

God bless your decision to make room for Him in your heart so He can guide your life.  God bless those who are already living according to His Word and are sharing The Word with others.