Monday, 21 November 2011

A Tweet of T F Tenney

What u r by minutes hours and days is what u wi. b by years , and eventually eternally.(Rev.22:11)

Monday, 14 November 2011

Staying Free in the Spirit

"...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" - II Cor.3:17

In the process of learning to be led by the Holy Spirit, it's important we understand that the Holy Spirit gives us liberty - He doesn't bring us back under another type of fear and bondage. If we're not careful, that which was intended to give us liberty can end-up bringing us into another type of bondage. I'll explain...

Perhaps we were once bound by obligations and limited by our own thinking, and then we began to become free of it through learning to be led by the Holy Spirit. We began to experience the freedom and limitless blessing that come by following the Spirit instead of remaining bound by obligation or limited by our own understanding.

But then while enjoying the new lifestyle, if we're not careful, we can allow a fear of missing God's perfect leading to begin to negatively effect us. We can become nervous, harsh, irritable, judgmental, condemned, regretful, sorrowful, stressed and striving. That which was intended for our liberty turns into bondage.

The key is to remember that God gave us the Holy Spirit to help us, to empower us, to make us happier - not to give us a harder set of rules to follow.

It can happen in church-life too. For example, in the pre-reformation days when much of the Church was bound by the wrong belief that only the ordained clergy could minister in the church, God began revealing to believers that anyone can contribute to a church-service even if he's a layman. So the Brethren Church was inaugurated in order to have a freer, more blessed type of church-service where any of the brethren could contribute as the Spirit leads.

But in their zeal to cherish that new concept of freedom, some of the Brethren went too far and felt it's wrong to ordain a pastor. In an effort to protect their newfound revelation about the liberty of the brethren, they created another stringent rule of their own: that it's wrong to have a Senior Pastor. It negatively affected some of their consciences and hindered the growth of some of their congregations. Some Brethren churches got free of it, ordained pastors, and grew.

Whole denominations have been founded because they mistook a leading of the Holy Spirit to be a hard-set rule. For example, a century or so ago someone saw in the Word that preachers went two-by-two and didn't preach in buildings. Instead of understanding that that was a helpful, Spirit-led strategy at the time, he applied it as an unalterable rule: that all preachers should travel two-by-two, and the church should never own real estate. The group now has thousands of followers all around the world, because their preachers did get out and evangelize - but they are in bondage because there's nothing wrong with owning real estate and there's nothing wrong with a preacher traveling alone or in a larger group than two. Something that Jesus was led by the Spirit to do on one occasion was turned into bondage by them. Jesus never meant all evangelistic teams always had to consist of exactly two people (Jesus Himself often had a larger team; so did Paul - and sometimes they both ministered alone).

The Welsh revival of 1904 is another example. It was started because someone learned to be led by the Holy Spirit. Every effort was made to allow the Spirit to lead the meetings. There was great freedom. Consequently God manifested greatly. But then the leader of the revival began to feel stressed about following the Spirit exactly - so stressed that he had to take a break from the ministry and never again returned to the ministry. A revelation about the leading of the Holy Spirit produced perhaps the greatest revival the world has ever seen - but becoming stressed about the leading of the Holy Spirit hindered a great revivalists' emotional health and ministry.

So the key is to remember that the purpose of the Holy Spirit's leading is not to give us a new type of stringency, but to free us from stringency in order to experience greater blessing. We don't have to let something that was intended for our freedom make us more miserable than we were before!

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty!
He is not a spirit of bondage and fear. He is the Spirit of power, love and of a sound mind.

If you find yourself becoming stressed, confused, fearful, judgmental, stringent - then give yourself a break and remind yourself that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of freedom, power, love and of a sound mind.

We are not justified by following external instructions - even if we feel the instructions are coming from the Holy Spirit. We are already justified freely by His grace. We don't lose our sonship entirely just because we feel we've missed a prompting of the Holy Spirit. Instead, the Holy Spirit is given to us to enhance our happiness. He helps us express the fullness of the blessing which we already have in us. He is given to confirm that we are already justified. He is not a new set of rules. He is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost! He leads us in order to help us enjoy the freedom already purchased for us. Enjoy!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Peace Comes Before Receiving

The temptation to be anxious ought to be resisted just the same as any other temptation.

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."

If we do that, then "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

From that point onwards, what do we do? Keep being anxious? Keep praying about the same worry over and over? What we are to do then, is:

"...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

It's up to us to decide what and how we think!

If we do what we have both "learned, and received, and heard, and seen" then "the God of peace shall be with you."

Prayer and Faith

Sometimes praying shows a lack of faith. Often it's just an expression of worry. Expressing our worries to God doesn't obtain anything - but casting our cares on the Lord does. Casting our cares on the Lord means we don't care for it anymore. If we still care for it, then we haven't cast it upon the Lord. Cast it upon Him - and leave it there! If we've cast our care upon Him, we won't need to pray about it anymore. Instead of asking God about it again, we can just confess that we have whatever we've asked, and thank Him for it. Once we've prayed and asked and cast our care upon the Lord, it shows more faith to do nothing - just to speak positively and to thank God - rather than to ask again. This is the rest of faith.

Sometimes fear may tempt us to go and pray about it again. But doing so negates our confidence that we believe we have already received what we asked for. It puts us back in a position of having-without. Instead, seeing we know we have received, we should just stand our ground and say, "Oh no, Devil - I don't need to pray about that again, because I believe I've already received what I asked for. I don't need to worry about it, because I've already cast my cares upon the Lord."

The Spirit of Jesus is God

Only God is omnipresent. An angel cannot be omnipresent. A man cannot be omnipresent. But God's Spirit is omnipresent. And the Bible says that Christ is in you and He is in me, if we believe. The Spirit of Christ is in all believers all over the world. Therefore, Christ - the Spirit of Christ - is omnipresent. Therefore, Christ is not a mere angel nor a mere man - Christ is divine. Jesus is God!

If someone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. To receive the Spirit of Christ, you have to believe that it is possible for all believers all around the world to receive Him. In order to believe that to be possible, you have to believe that Jesus is divine. He's not just an angel - not just a man. Jesus is God.

Jesus is equal with God in one sense - and yet in another sense He said the Father is greater than He and most often the title God goes to the Father. Yet Jesus Christ is God in every sense. And there is only one God. In order to be saved, this needs to be believed in the heart, even though one might not be able to explain it with his understanding.

Jesus - God's Firstborn

"Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth" - Psalm 89:27

The Scripture prophesied that God would make Him (Jesus) His firstborn. If the clause "...make him my firstborn..." referred to the time when Jesus was to begin His existence, the Scripture would not have said "...I will make him my firstborn..." - it would have simply said, he will be born.

But notice it didn't just say Jesus would be born - it says He would make Him something - make Him His firstborn. To make somebody something, the person has to already be in existence!

"...make him my firstborn..." is a clause that looked forward to the future, not back to the past. Therefore the clause could not have referred to some past event before the creation of the heavens and the earth at which time Jehovah's Witnesses allege Jesus began His existence.

Neither can the clause infer that Jesus' virgin-birth was the beginning of His existence - because someone has to already be in existence before you can make him something.

Jesus has existed eternally with the Father, and the Scripture prophesied that God would make Him His firstborn. To make Him His firstborn means that although Jesus pre-existed eternally with God, God sent Him into the world as the only person ever to be born of a virgin, and that God would demonstrate that He (Jesus) is indeed the eternal Son of God - that Jesus existed eternally and that Jesus is Himself God. It means that God would demonstrate Jesus' pre-eminence not only on the basis of His pre-existence, not only on the basis of His person, but also on the basis of God's unfolding plan, and also on the basis of Jesus' own conquest by the will of God.

The Scriptures therefore support that Jesus has always existed and that Jesus is God.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

What it Means to Let the Spirit Move

Singing about the Holy Spirit, and letting the Holy Spirit move, are not necessarily the same thing - sometimes they are two different things. Sometimes the Holy Spirit wants to move - but instead of letting Him move, we keep singing about letting Him move. We can sing a song, "Welcome Holy Spirit". But singing that He is welcome does not mean we are welcoming Him.

A meeting leader can say, "You are welcome in this place, Holy Spirit." But saying that He is welcome does not mean He is welcome.

Welcoming Him means to deliberately give Him time in the service to do what He wants.

Sometimes that involves stopping what we're already doing - because sometimes two things can't happen as well together.

It's hard to sing or talk, and drink a glass of water at the same time! Similarly, singing can get in the way of receiving from the Holy Spirit.

Praying and interceding can get in the way too. If we want to pray but the Holy Spirit wants to do something else in the meeting, then our praying can be a hindrance. Speaking in tongues, doing warfare, dancing, giving announcements or news, and preaching can all get in the way of what the Holy Spirit wants to do. Sometimes those things are exactly what the Holy Spirit wants us to do - but at other times He wants to do something different.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit will interrupt what we are doing and do what He wants anyway. When He does, we can be aware of it and can flow with Him rather than carry on with what we were doing and obstruct Him.

At other times, the Holy Spirit will wait for us to let Him move. Letting the Holy Spirit move is something we can do on purpose. When we make room for the Holy Spirit to do what He wants to do in our meetings, on purpose - it shows we are practically welcoming Him. When we deliberately give Him time to move, it shows we have a desire and are acting our faith that He will move. Then He will move.

So we can help or hinder the move of the Spirit in our meetings.

Sense what He wants to do at any given point in the meeting, and when you sense it, flow with it 100%. Encourage the congregation to flow with it. If the musicians keep playing, make sure they are helping the congregation to flow with Him. If the congregation is meant to be receiving from the Spirit or manifesting the Spirit in other ways, then if the band is encouraging the congregation to sing instead, it can be a hindrance.

That's the reason we sometimes see a greater manifestation of the Spirit when the music stops. It shows the music wasn't functioning as a 'ministry of helps'. It was dominating the proceedings of the meeting, rather than assisting the will of the Spirit.