Posted in anointing, discernment, holy spirit, joseph prince, Joyce Meyer, power

We’ve gone from ministering and serving to releasing. Yes, words matter

Release the hounds!

The phrase ‘release the hounds’ comes from fox hunting. Photo source

Release the Kraken!

Release the Kraken! is a catchphrase and image macro series based on a memorable quote uttered by Zeus in the 1981 fantasy adventure film The Clash of the Titans as well as the 2010 3D remake. Despite the dramatic delivery of the line in the reboot, the quote was perceived as unintentionally funny and quickly became a target of image macro jokes on the web.

You’ve heard the word “release” applied to many different cultural contexts, above are two examples. The word ‘release’ has also been used more frequently these days in Christian situations. “Release” is a frequently used word. It is a very bad word in Christianity. I don’t like it.

Why? It isn’t used to say that prisoner Barabbas was released. It isn’t used to say that Paul was released from jail. It isn’t used in the Old Testament way to indicate a release from debt in the Sabbatical Year (Deut 15:1).

The word ‘release’ is used as a substitute for ministering or serving. When we minister or serve, we are under someone or under an authority. When we release, it means we have the power over something or someone. Here are some examples.

Compassion International has edited their mission statement to say, “our mission of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”

What they are saying is that they have the power over poverty and the authority to release from it the people whom they choose, in this case, ‘children’. They are not saying they are serving or ministering to children in poverty. They are saying they have the power over poverty.

False teacher Joseph Prince preaches how to “release the anointing into your situation.”

Prince is slyly saying that we have an anointing but there is a trick to releasing it. Most false teachers strive to tell you some kind of secret or action or trick to releasing it. However, this mysterious anointing isn’t mysterious and it isn’t laying dormant until you learn the secret password to having power over it. The anointing is the Holy Spirit in us, and all Christians have the Spirit. (1 John 2:27, more here).

What Prince is saying is not that we submit to the Spirit, or minister in the Spirit, but that we can obtain a certain kind of power that we wield as we wish, for ourselves, into ourselves.

Word faith false prophetess Joyce Meyer tells us “What words you choose will reveal what you believe and release the power of that belief.”

She is not saying submit to Jesus in faith and belief, she is saying we have the power to choose certain words that have power in and of themselves, and moreover, these words can release certain powers over myself at my behest, timing, and choosing.

And so on. There is a big difference between ministering and releasing.

Do we have power to release anointings, blessings, beliefs, finances, health, cures, or anything else? No.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1)

Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:10b-11)

To suppose that we have any power on our own is unbiblical.

Now, some might argue that these teachers are not false, that they are saying we are releasing power that God grants us. Not so again. We are His servants … His slaves. Any power in us is from the Holy Spirit. We submit to that power. We serve that power. We minister in that power. God decides when and where His power in us is released, and to what degree. We do not decide when or how to use His power and certainly NOT for our own ends, like to get a bigger house, or a better parking space.

While the false teachers tell you that you have power over things, power enough to release “into your situations”, the truth is actually the opposite. The weaker we are, the stronger we are. God shows His power through weakness. Paul wrote,

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Be aware of the word ‘release’ and how it is used. It isn’t always used in unbiblical contexts. But more and more often, it is.

Posted in comfort, encouragement, god's word, holy spirit, providence, providential care

Jesus’ amazing provision part 1 & 2

Robe of Righteousness, by Lars Justinen

This is a story of how Jesus and God and the Spirit worked in my life this week. I attend a Wednesday night prayer meeting/bible study. We read through a book of the bible a verse at a time. There is no curriculum except for the bible. We have a good teacher. Our teacher allows discussion and comment after he introduces us to the verses and explains.

Last week we looked at Romans 12:9-

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good

This week we looked at Romans 12:14-

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

I find both of those verses very difficult to adhere to the way I should.

About three years ago I started praying for the Spirit to ramp up my sanctification and for Him to grow me in spiritual fruit (Gal 5:22-23), especially love. I had no clue how hard it would be. This is because of my own flesh.

My prayer was more like,

“I think I got this, but just in case I don’t, and I’m only hedging my bets here because really, I’m OK, would you just drip a little note in my heart to help me inch along? Thanks so much.”

And if I was an Old Testament prophet and could hear God reply, it would be like this:

“I will do what you ask. You are not OK. As a matter of fact, you’re a lot worse than you think. Come, I’ll show you. Repeatedly. For three years. You’re welcome.”

And so every morning I’d pray to the Holy Spirit to give me strength to love the way the verse says we should love our enemies. And every day I’d fail. Some days I’d compound my sinful failure with grumbling and hatred in my heart.

And every day I’d come home in tears and sit at my table and repent.

Rinse. Repeat. I felt like my own nation of Israel with all the rebellion, repentance disobedience, and repentance cycles. I learned a lot though.

The bad:

–I really AM worse than I think. Depravity goes so deep I can’t see the bottom of it,
–I disobey God all the time.

The good:

–Every time I repented sincerely, and I did, I felt terrible over my sin, He forgave 70 X 70 times,
–He grew me in all the ways I needed it,
–His grace is one of the most magnificent gifts humankind ever received, therefore my gratitude grew.

So now I have a new opportunity to learn to love the way the bible says to love our enemies. With this new opportunity, maybe I’m a little wiser this time than the last time. Maybe I can love more genuinely and better than I loved before. Since sanctification is ever in-process and won’t be complete until I die, there’s no coasting. This new opportunity began one month after the other situation resolved itself. And so it goes.

Yes I’m a lot worse than I think. But now I know God is a lot better than I think, too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I wrote the above to my teacher after the class. I usually keep thinking about what was taught all night and all the next day and all week. I do try to take the lessons to heart and to participate with the Spirit in sanctification, meditating on His word as Psalm 1:2 says to do. Sometimes I share these follow-up thoughts with my teacher so he can guide me.

As I went on from composing and sending it, I got a bit despondent over my failures. It’s heartbreaking to sin and I abhor it and earnestly strive to please my Savior. Sighing and flipping to the next open tab on my browser, I saw this on Twitter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Christian’s life may be attended with many and exceedingly great imperfections, and yet be a holy life.” ~Jonathan Edwards

“Hey!” I thought, “that is a exactly what I’ve been worrying about! Let me follow up on that to find what book or sermon it’s taken from.”

The things tweeted online and attributed to a particular person are often wrongly attributed. Validation is the first order. Context is the second.

I found that it was indeed a quote from Edwards and it was taken from a series of 16 sermons preached to his Northhampton congregation titled “Christian Love, As Manifested in the Heart and Life

Wow. Very applicable to our discussion in bible study night and my continuing thoughts today. I downloaded the book. LOL his 16 sermons wound up being 505 pages.

The larger context surrounding the tweeted quote is this from Edwards’ sermon:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Christian, the meaning is not, that the life is a perfect and sinless life. On the contrary, a Christian’s life may be attended with many and exceeding great imperfections, and yet be a holy life, or a truly Christian life. It may be such a life as to clearly, and even necessarily show, that the grace which the individual has, is of the kind which has a tendency to holy practice. His fruits may be such as to be good evidence of the good nature of the tree, and his works such as to show his faith.

And if you ask for still further light, then I would say, whatever your imperfections and failings may be, examine yourself whether you find the following evidences of your grace being of that kind which tends to holy practice.

First: Has your supposed grace such influence, as to render those things in which you have failed of holy practice loathsome grievous and humbling to you? Has it such influence in your mind as to render your past sinful practices hateful in your eyes, and has it led you to mourn before God for them? And does it render those things in your conduct that since your supposed conversion have been contrary to Christian practice, odious in your eyes? And is it the great burden of your life, that your practice is no better? Is it really grievous to you, that you have fallen, or do fall into sin; and are you ready, after the example of holy Job, to abhor yourself for it, and repent in dust and ashes, and like Paul to lament your wretchedness, and pray to be delivered from sin, as you would from a body of death?

Second: Do you carry about with you habitually a dread of sin? Do you not only mourn, and humble yourself for sins that are past, but have you a dread of sin for the future? And do you dread it because in itself it is evil, and so hurtful to your own soul, and offensive to God? Do you dread it as a terrible enemy that you have often suffered by, and feel that it has been a grievous thing to you heretofore? And do you dread it as something that has hurt, and wounded, and stung you, so that you would see it no more? Do you stand on your watch against it, as a man would keep watch against something that he dreads, with such a dread as led Joseph to cry “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Genesis xxxix. 9.

Third: Are you sensible of the beauty and pleasantness of the ways of holy practice? Do you see the beauty of holiness, and the loveliness of the ways of God and Christ?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Genesis 3:15

His comfort and His manifold grace is beyond what words can express. I will never be sinless in practice. Yet by His grace I will have a tendency toward higher holy living, and will have an ever growing hatred of sin. What just happened this morning was a moment of real comfort- a manifestation of this verse

2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Is there any doubt Jesus is an ever-present friend in our lives? That the Spirit is daily growing us and comforting us because He knows us better than we do ourselves? And that the Word is living and active?

Why do people seek superficial miracles when the miracle of how VERY PRESENT He is in our lives is so lastingly precious? How can I not love this Jesus with all my strength and soul and mind, and not seek to follow His ways?

Brother or sister, take comfort in knowing beyond knowing that Jesus is with you every step of the way. His grace IS sufficient.

Above: Depiction of the Holy Spirit dove (ceiling fresco in St. Charles’s Church, Vienna, 1700’s). Public Domain
Posted in Father, grace, holy spirit, irresistible grace, salvation

The Irresistible Grace of the Father and its role in Salvation

I had resisted the pull from the Father toward the cross and His moment of justification. (John 6:44). I was not successful, obviously. But I vividly remember the feeling that I was OK about the concept of God but not OK with the sin and the blood of Jesus. It was just too weird. Of course we know the bible teaches that Jesus’ general call to the world (Matthew 22:14) was not an effectual call for each person upon it. (Romans 8:28). My thoughts and opinions of the matter didn’t figure into His process of salvation for me one iota.

I remember feeling like I was being drawn somewhere, (John 6:65) but kicking and screaming. I used to liken it (mentally) to the science fiction use of the famous “tractor beam.”

The 1960s show Star Trek used the tractor beam a lot, with ship engineer Scotty always yelling they were caught in it and they couldn’t get out no matter how many shields they put up or how much force they turned the engined up to. Star Wars too.

We’re caught in a tractor beam! It’s pulling us in!” ―Han Solo, Star Wars

In “Star Trek,” tractor beams were often used to pull spaceships and other objects closer to the focal point of the light source attached to another ship. The term came from a 1931 science fiction story where the author had used the term “attractor beam”.

I used to call this palpable draw ‘the invisible tractor beam’ and now I know it was the Father drawing me to Jesus. I resisted it forcibly.

I was unsuccessful. Thank God!

After I was saved, I was talking with another Christian and I was laughing about my foolishness to resist the Holy Spirit. I said, “I was dragged kicking and screaming to the cross.” They looked at me disdainfully and said “You were not!” I knew I was. The notion that person had, and so many others have, is that we all come to the cross gently and walking on cotton candy rainbows, placidly and willingly. It is such a false view. We resist salvation every step of the way and it is the Father drawing us that gets us there. (So none may boast- Ephesians 2:9)

We resist the grace of Jesus in salvation, we are in a spiritual war in which we are the enemy combatants, and we never, ever seek after righteousness or holiness, in fact we resist it.

I picture Justification as a courtroom where the guilty criminal is hustled by burly bailiffs to stand before the judge in handcuffs for his own safety, the accused yelling he’s innocent, but made to look at the judge and receive his sentence while he writhes against the process. (Sentence: PARDON!). It is all spiritual warfare and none of it is easy or gentle. But Scripture reveals a truth about a call, a summons that cannot be ignored and it cannot be resisted. It is the unyielding summons from God. It is a subpoena to appear before Him in His court for the purpose of being declared righteous… ~John MacArthur

We’re all dragged in the ‘invisible tractor beam’ toward the point of Light, and we all resist – some more than others but resistance is 100% for each person. However just like the science fiction stories say, “Resistance is futile!” lol. Wouldn’t you like to see a behind the scenes view of the process of our own justification, the angels around us, both holy and unholy, and the Spirit doing His work?

My own experience notwithstanding, as I learned by studying the Doctrines of Grace, His grace is irresistible. That is a very good thing, because if we had the strength to resist Him fully we would be sovereign over God. In addition, He would not be God if His will could be thwarted. And finally, none of us would be saved. (Romans 3:11)

Here are three good essays on the Irresistible Grace of the Savior. I’ve included an excerpt from each.

John Piper: Irresistible Grace
“The doctrine of irresistible grace means that God is sovereign and can overcome all resistance when he wills. “He does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand!” (Daniel 4:35). “Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). When God undertakes to fulfill his sovereign purpose, no one can successfully resist him.This is what Paul taught in Romans 9:14-18, which caused his opponent to say, “Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”

“Irresistible Grace – is it biblical?”
“Simply put, the doctrine of irresistible grace refers to the biblical truth that whatever God decrees to happen will inevitably come to pass, even in the salvation of individuals. The Holy Spirit will work in the lives of the elect so that they inevitably will come to faith in Christ. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit never fails to bring to salvation those sinners whom He personally calls to Christ (John 6:37-40).”

John Murray: Irresistible Grace
“When we speak of irresistible grace, therefore, it is not to assert that all grace is irresistible, nor is it to deny the numberless respects in which grace is resisted and resisted to the culmination of resistance in everlasting doom.”

The Doctrine of God’s Effectual Call
Paul understood that he was just grabbed by the neck by God and awakened to the glory of Christ and saved and made an Apostle.

Posted in discern, holy spirit, jesus, mind, philip, study, understanding

Do you understand what you are reading?

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot. So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.” (Acts 8:26-31)

Above, The Monteleone Chariot is an Etruscan chariot dated to ca. 530 BC. It was originally uncovered at Monteleone di Spoleto and is currently part of the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Though about 300 ancient chariots are known to still exist, only six are reasonably complete, and the Monteleone chariot is the best-preserved. Wikimedia Commons

The above is a tremendous passage, full of meaning and worthy of lengthy study. I’ll mention a few things that caught my eye, but the central lesson at this moment, is this:

The mind versus the heart. Then versus now.

Philip was going along and heard a word from the Spirit. Philip obeyed Him. We have the closed canon now but we obey the Spirit-inspired word.

Here was a eunuch reading the text of the word of God. (Isaiah 53). Philip saw him and was directed to the eunuch by the Spirit. Philip obeyed, more than that, Philip ran. Today we don’t obey, or if we do, we don’t hasten to do so.

When Philip arrived at the chariot, he heard the eunuch reading Isaiah. Philip recognized:
–it was the word of God the eunuch was reading, and
–where within the word of God the eunuch was reading from.

Today, biblical illiteracy abounds so that some people don’t even recognize the word of God when it is spoken, or believe that non-words of God are from Him when they’re not.

Philip asked the Eunuch if he understood what he was reading. This is the key thought in this essay today.

“Do you understand what you are reading?”

Manet, The Reader, 1851.

In today’s world, people don’t ask that. They ask, “How did you feel about what you read?” Or, “How did it make you feel?” It’s considered rude and intolerant to ask a person if they understand. The word for understand in the context used is from Strong’s word concordance, “I am taking in knowledge, come to know, learn; aor: I ascertained, realized.”

People get huffy if they’re asked if they understand. You can just see the reaction, either verbal or mental- “What do you mean, understand? I’m not an idiot. Maybe YOU don’t understand!”

In addition, look at the Eunuch’s reaction. Philip didn’t know the Eunuch. He didn’t work for several years to establish a relationship with the Eunuch before talking of Godly things. He didn’t seek to meet the Eunuch’s felt needs. He didn’t make the Eunuch comfortable. He didn’t give him a donut. He simply asked him if he understood it. The Eunuch’s reaction wasn’t huffy or prideful. The Eunuch responded humbly,

“How can I, unless someone guides me?”

Today’s Christianity is all about experience and feelings. This is thanks to Rick Warren, Brian McLaren, and Joel Osteen, among others in the purpose-driven, seeker sensitive, word/faith movements. Osteen in particular is known for what Osteen calls a ministry of encouragement, but unlike Barnabas’ ministry of encouragement in persevering the Lord through the scriptures, Osteen is simply in the pop psychology biz in making people feel good about themselves through the heart. Osteen doesn’t make people even feel good about Jesus, he strives to make people feel good about themselves, turning their mind away from Him and focusing their feelings on themselves.

The Eunuch provides a good example of a man humbly submitting to the Spirit. He admitted his biblical inexperience and his need for a teacher. He acted on his need by inviting Philip up to the chariot.

Understanding the scriptures always leads to a positive action, either obedience, or salvation, or witnessing (Woman at the Well) or ministry. In this case, we see that the Eunuch was baptized immediately.

Lambert Sustris (1515–1591) The Baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch
by the Deacon Philip

The bible is replete with verses that tell us to learn with our mind. Our minds are being renewed, (Romans 12:2.) Difficulties in understanding parables such as in Matthew 13:11-13, and symbols, such as in Revelation 17:9, call for a mind with wisdom, says the verse. We need to understand with our mind, before we decide how we feel about it with our heart. And even at that juncture, feelings are often murky and misleading. Yet so many of today’s bible studies involve circumventing the mind and going straight to feelings, based on experience. And you see where that has gotten us.

The next time you’re in a bible study group, ask the question that Philip did, “Do you understand what you are reading?” If you don’t want to go that far, then ask “Do I understand what I am reading?” That’s a good question to ask anyway. Don’t let the discussion revolve around feelings launched by questions such as “How do you feel about that?” with responses given through personal experiences, therefore coming to a conclusion that is what the verse means.(I.E., ‘I experienced it, therefore it is true.’)

Luke 24:45 says that when Jesus appeared to His disciples post-crucifixion, “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”. He called the men of Emmaus foolish and slow of heart for not understanding.

How you feel about what you read is of no real consequence. Feelings are temporal, ephemeral, and often faulty. Why, even God allows the wicked to rest in a feeling of security. (Job 24:23). The security they feel is unprofitable for them because it is a false feeling. Don’t trust feelings about scripture, but seek to know, to understand, to comprehend. Feelings aren’t bad, but we learn the word of God through our mind. It is study which renews your mind. After that, you gain more and more clarity.

We all have the same guide that the Eunuch had, and in fact that Philip had: the Holy Spirit. He guides us into all truth. (John 16:13). We must study personally and also study under a guide or a teacher or a pastor so the scriptures will become understandable to us. Do you understand what you are reading? Ask the Spirit to deliver wisdom to you, He will do so without reproach. (James 1:5).

Posted in holy spirit, sanctification

Do you look like Jesus?

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

Progressive sanctification means we are continually being transformed by the Holy Spirit into the likeness of Jesus Christ. The Spirit and the sinful, forgiven human are in a partnership. There is responsibility by the forgiven sinner to participate in his sanctification. “Kill the old man” as Paul would say. On the other hand, we cannot accomplish this without the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit. We can’t change ourselves for the good, only He can. But we do bear responsibility. How does this dual union work?

We present our bodies to God for Him to send the Spirit to sanctify. (Romans 6:13; 12:1). We surrender to the Spirit’s work. However we also listen to our consciences, choosing right over wrong. We wash ourselves in the word, actively absorbing His statutes. Like Joseph, we choose to flee immorality. As Philippians 2:2 says, we work out our sanctification in fear and trembling.

In the transformation process of sanctification, we go back to the verse at the top. We are transformed into His likeness. I think of the old married couples who wind up looking like each other. Though Jesus our Groom is not being transformed into the Bride’s likeness, we are being transformed into His.

Anyway, the old married couples looking alike … that is really true. It’s not just perception. Popular Science asked,

American Gothic, Grant Wood, 1930

FYI: Why Do Old Married Couples Look Alike?
Through the years, couples’ wrinkles form in the same places because of a lifetime of shared emotions, he wrote in the journal Motivation and Emotion“.

Why do old couples look alike?
“…[T]he study also offered some answers on why couples may look alike. To start, consider that life experiences can end up being reflected physically. Someone who is happy and smiles more will develop the facial muscles and wrinkles related to smiling. The years of experience of an old couple’s marriage, happy or otherwise, would then be reflected in their faces.

Just think, if two people in a marriage share enough experiences over time, their experience shows on their faces and they end up looking like each other. If that happens on this sinful earth, through mere biology, what will we look like as we continually submit to the Spirit? What power the word has to transform us! What power the Spirit has to metamorphose us into His likeness! How glorious that he adopts us and transforms us into His image.

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (Romans 8:29)

Posted in cessationist, continuationist, holy spirit, miracles, strange fire, tongues

Does it "limit God" to say the miracle gifts have ceased?

This blog post is an answer regarding a common objection continuationists make, and that is, to say that the Spirit is no longer distributing miracle sign gifts (tongues, miracles and prophecy) that this ‘puts a limit on God.’

Pentecost, Giotto, 1310

This is a very important topic. 1 Corinthians 12:10 speaks of four (temporary) signed gifts; miracles, prophecies, languages, and the interpretation of languages. A continuationist is a person who believes these miracle sign gifts have always continued since Pentecost. A cessationist (like me) says they ceased before the New Testament was even finished being written, that they were never meant to be permanent.

Formerly, this ‘continuing-or-ceased’ issue was seen as a secondary issue, or a non-essential to the faith. It was one of those ‘let’s agree to disagree’ things, and everyone went on their way. However, the fastest growing faith sector in the world is Holiness/Pentecostal/Charismatic believers who hold to the notion that men still perform miracles, speak in babbling tongues, and can receive prophecy directly from God which is separate revelatory knowledge distinct from the bible.

The Strange Fire conference showed me two startling things: that the fastest growing religion is not Islam, it is charismania. There are a billion people in the world who believe, in effect, the bible is not the final word of God. This has diluted the word of God and the works of God  -as He has revealed them- from something final, absolute, and with integrity, to something that is secondary to the latest word one has received this day. This has opened the door to everything from merely wayward thinking, to people making a shipwreck of the faith, to the purely demonic. Therefore with this many people at risk, it is no longer a secondary issue.

Every cessationist, like me, and every continuationist knows, that God is infinitely powerful, and can do anything. He has no limit, at anytime. However, there are two things to consider here. First, God does not intervene in a visible, global, or dramatic supernatural way very often. Even in the bible days, seas parting, fire coming down, and resurrections etc. were not common. 

Secondly, God already limits Himself TO US in at least one important way: His revelation of Himself . 1 Corinthians 13:12 says that we know in part now but later we will fully know. He has chosen to limit His infinite revelation to us for now, through creation (Romans 1:19-20) and the bible (Revelation 22:18-19; Hebrews 1:1). It is not germane to any discussion to allow the talk of  “that puts a limit on God” to become part of the discussion. We are talking the miracle Spiritual gifts here, and those gifts were given to humans to employ. THAT is what we are talking about. Humans working the gifts, not God working supernaturally.

Lazarus, come forth, Salvador Dali, 1964

So the Word is where we look for a basis for any discussion about whether miracle gifts continue, or not.

And what the bible says, is that the sign gifts (tongues, miracles and prophecies) were given to men by the Spirit to authenticate Jesus’s message. (2 Corinthians 12:12, Hebrews 2:3). The bible even shows that tongues were not meant for the church, but for those who didn’t believe, a fulfillment of an OT prophecy. (1 Corinthians 14:22; Isaiah 28:11-12.) Now that the message is complete, the Spirit is no longer giving those particular sign gifts to men. Though we all agree God could perform them if He wants, and Revelation is full of examples of how He will do exactly that, in the Tribulation.

The difference is, the Spirit does not give miracle working ability to men like He did before the canon was complete. Today, there are no apostles bringing His message, it’s all of us bringing it (Mark 16:15) and we can authenticate the message through His word, (Acts 17:11) with the Spirit’s help. That is why the miracle sign gifts faded away even as the NT was being written. 

As far as God moving in supernatural ways, no, God has never stopped. That is what providence is. (Romans 8:28). It’s what justification is. (Romans 4:25). It’s what regeneration is. (Titus 3:5). It’s what sanctification is. (1 Thessalonians 4:3). But He did stop giving men the gift of miracles, tongues, and prophecy.

Miracle of the Loaves & Fishes, James Tissot, 1896
Posted in evangelism, glorify, holy spirit

When they reject the Gospel…God is also glorified. Evangelism part 3/3

photo credit: Chris Yarzab
via photopin cc

We are commanded to share the Good News, make disciples, and teach (Matthew 28:19-20). We love Jesus so much that when we share Him and His unique and magnificent work on the cross, we think, why doesn’t everyone just see how clearly He loves us? Why don’t they see how great of a sinner we really are?” But we also know that minds are blinded and hearts are dead. (2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 4:18). Not all will accept the truth.

Jesus was very popular, with all His miracles and feedings and casting out demons. But after He’d fed the five thousand, He shared some hard truths.

When many of his followers heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?” (John 6:60-61)

They did.

photo credit: AlicePopkorn via photopin cc

“After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.” (John 6:66)

Was Jesus doing it wrong? They wanted to stone Him, throw Him off a cliff, and eventually they did kill Him. Many left His ministry after teaching them God’s standards and His words. Did Jesus do it wrong? Should He have been less oft-putting? Watered it down so they would listen?

Jesus would have failed personal evangelism class in almost every Bible college and seminary I know. Matthew 19:16-22 describes a young man who looked like the hottest evangelistic prospect the Lord had encountered so far. He was ripe. He was eager. There was no way he would get away without receiving eternal life. But he did. Instead of getting him to make a decision, in a sense Jesus chased him off. He failed to draw the net. He failed to sign the young man up. Should we allow our ideas of evangelism to indict Jesus? I think we need to allow His example to critique contemporary evangelism. Christ’s confrontation of this young man gives us much-needed insight into reaching the lost. (source)

His truths and the reaction to them should not be alien to you if you’ve been sharing the Gospel at all. One where the Holy Spirit is present, anyway! The truth of the Gospel always divides or angers. Paul’s truths caused riots. Stephen’s sermon caused him to be killed by stoning. They tried to kill Jesus many times. Christians today in Muslim nations are killed outright for their preaching. Jesus said that even families will be divided. (Matthew 10:34-36).

photo credit: daveblume via photopin cc

When there is a reaction, it is because people don’t like their sin exposed and don’t like even a discussion about it. Everyone wants to think they are good, and have a solid “moral compass.” The truth of it though is that we are all evil, rotten, and bad. Only God is good. And He is SO good He sent His Son to bring us evil bad rotten people iniquity to heaven under the covering of His blood. I wish the reaction would be over that fact, where people would shout for joy.

Back to evangelism. The word of God upsets.

When we evangelize the full Gospel, beginning with sin, wrath, and Law, and ending with the Good News of Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected, it will seem to cause some to reject. I say seem because we don’t know what is in store for that person and what work the Holy Spirit will do.

In one case of a street preacher baldly and honestly sharing the truth, one man who had heard the Gospel several times before was suddenly convicted on that day. He repented and was saved.

In other cases, like the Rich Young Ruler, he heard and rejected, and went away sorrowful because he wanted to keep his possessions (and was oblivious to his sins). (Mark 10:17-22)

God is magnified in both cases. How?

Wikimedia Commons

In the former, His Spirit drew the man to God and one sinner was rejoiced over by all of heaven (Luke 15:7). God is magnified immediately by His magnificent act of redemption.

In the second case, and in all cases where a person hears the Gospel and rejects it, God is also glorified, in the future. Here is a template of future glory onto God: God called Ezekiel to proclaim His word and go to where there was rebellion and stubbornness.

“And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them.” (Ezekiel 2:3-5)

When they stand before Holy God they will know He was faithful and true to His promises. He offered redemption, and in stubbornness and sin, they rejected it. His is still glorified, because He is true to His Holy name.

“Salvation is always attributed to God. A sinner’s judgment is always attributed to sinner’s unwillingness to believe.” (source)

My job is to deliver the truth and to pray the Holy Spirit applies it to your heart. Many will not believe and will reject. Some may come to faith. It is in the hands of the Spirit. But the message that is watered down to make you feel comfortable and wonderful is not the message of the Great Commission nor is it the whole counsel of God. We deliver the message that Jesus told us to deliver, how the receiver feels about it is up to them.

Jonathan Edwards wrote of God glorifying Himself,

“But it was his design to make a true manifestation of his glory, such as should represent every attribute. If God glorified one attribute, and not another, such manifestation of his glory would be defective; and the representation would not be complete. If all God’s attributes are not manifested, the glory of none of them is manifested as it is: for the divine attributes reflect glory on one another.”

“Thus if God’s wisdom be manifested, and not his holiness, the glory of his wisdom would not be manifested as it is; for one part of the glory of the attribute of divine wisdom is, that it is a holy wisdom. So if his holiness were manifested, and not his wisdom, the glory of his holiness would not be manifested as it is; for one thing which belongs to the glory of God’s holiness is, that it is a wise holiness. So it is with respect to the attributes of mercy and justice.”

God is sovereign in salvation, and whether they listen or they do not listen, God is always glorified because His attributes of justice, holiness, and mercy, and all His other attributes, are plainly manifested.

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Evangelism part 1
Evangelism part 2

Posted in believers, holy spirit, love

Children of hell and sons of heaven, part 2

I wrote on Tuesday about the verses in Matthew 23 where Jesus pronounces woes upon the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus said they shut the door of heaven in people’s faces and make sons of hell twice as bad as they are. That was part 1: Children of hell and sons of heaven, part 1

Alternately, I got to thinking about the global church. There are those outside the church and those inside the church. I already talked about the children of hell who are outside the church. Let’s talk about our brethren inside. The beauty and glory of the church of Jesus Christ, His church, His bride, is unparalleled.

We each live in a civil sphere. Part of it is private (our home) and the rest is public (work, school, hobby, recreation, local church). But often we forget that part of that sphere is not just local, but global. It is the Bride of Christ.

Often, we tend to let our mind shrink the sphere of what we see and experience as church is the local body. That is fine. We are to make a laser-point focused commitment to the lives of our brethren. And in our secondary sphere, work or school, we see and engage with believers there too. We live out the gospel by living out the commands of Jesus as we go through our daily lives. Occasionally we may know people in our third sphere, community, who are believers. The checkout lady at the grocery store, the soccer mom who sets up her chair near yours, the teller at your bank. We may love on them as brethren and see them as part of our local church or near set of believers.

Sometimes we get involved with missions or go to listen to a missionary story. Who doesn’t love a good missionary story! I am constantly humbled by their bravery and their commitment, and love to listen to their stories about what God has done in the darkest of places. In those times we briefly think of the believers in other parts of the world but then we go back to thinking about and interacting with local believers.

Should I think of the global church body more often? Yes. I don’t mean only the martyrs in the dangerous places or the people we meet on a conference. I mean the regular old people who love Jesus and go to work and go to school and go to church every day elsewhere in all the other parts of the world. They aren’t radical and they aren’t famous and they just love and worship in their spheres like we do.

Do we forget that we’re connected?

I do sometimes. But kind people remind me.

Very loving people think to send an encouraging email. Or a Christmas card. Or sometimes the Lord burdens them and they send a provision through the mail, a gift card or a check. This week someone sent me a gift they made. I was so amazed by this. I really mean it. Amazed.

4 Coasters and 2 cat toys

My ministry is piggy-backed on the gifts the Holy Spirit has delivered to me. (1 Corinthians 12:11). He gave to me the gift of prophecy, discerning of spirits and teaching. (1 Corinthians 12:10, Romans 12:7). So I write, and speak, and write, and speak. I write on the blog and also occasionally within my church. I speak at my church and occasionally at other churches or venues. I am always seeking to make sure the gifts the Spirit distributed to me are used for His glory.

I’m involved in my church and my public sphere is actually very small. Aside from church twice a week, I go to work and I go home. Once a week I go to the grocery store. That’s it. The sphere of my ministry in the local public sphere is restricted to the local body. The ministry with the blog is wide, but invisible. I don’t see you all on the other end. So though I ‘know’ there are people out there, certainly, because you comment, lol, it can become easy to forget the global body that I’m part of.

With so much falsity rising in the world that we have to acknowledge and deal with, the Lord is gracious to show that there is also much love, also. When someone sends a note or an email or a present it reminds me so vividly of the common love we share. It is a nudge that we are part of a body, connected. Because it is not just the note or the email or the present, it is the time and energy and thought behind it. Someone out there who loves Jesus spent some time developing love and enacting it. This makes the church body across the world thrum.

What?

I envision the global church as scattered across the earth but connected like the strings of string theory and each one is thrumming with love. These strings that connect us glow with a heavenly glow. The harmonic strings that connect us vibrate with a supernatural quality because it is the Holy Spirit who weaves them.

He is always at work in believers all over the globe. He indwells each believer and helps us in our weakness. He convicts of sin, brings to mind the scriptures, molds our character and produces fruit. He is doing this in every believer all over the earth and this is the church. The church is love because it is part of the body of Christ who is the head, and HE is love.

We, the church, is His bride. And it is all about love. Though the false and evil in the world is rising and attacking the church, His bride is unbesmirched. It is indwelled by Holy Spirit, growing in fruits and surrounded by love. LOVE. We can’t see each other all over the place but we are out there. We’re beautiful because Jesus imputed His beauty and goodness to us. He is the Head but it is His body.

“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,” (Ephesians 1:15-17).

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.” (Romans 1:8)

The faith of the saints and our love for Christ and one another is a glorious thing. We are united, tied with a scarlet thread of Christ’s blood which redeemed us. We love each other when we see each other. We love each other even though we don’t know each other. We love each other when we don’t see each other. The darker the day the brighter our love for each other grows.

“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.” (2 Thessalonians 1:3)

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” (1 Thessalonians 3:12)

Thank you all for being my brethren May our Holy God purify us even further so that we may love Him with all our soul, strength, mind and heart, and love one another as neighbors both near and far.

Posted in discernment, holy spirit

Discernment tip: the Spirit points to Jesus

Discernment: “Anything that diverts people’s attention away from the bible is not the work of God. It is the work of the enemy.” [Justin Peters]

The context of that statement was a discussion of the best-selling book by Sarah Young titled Jesus Calling. It is a book where the writer, Ms Young, wrote words that she ascribes to Jesus and pens them in the first person. She said she received incoming messages from an entity she claims is Jesus himself, and was instructed to write these messages down. The messages, predictably, are not the full message of God (being only comforting affirmations and never commands, entreaties, or practical methods of how to live out His precepts). In several cases she misuses scripture, thereby ascribing error to ‘Jesus’.

What Mr Peters was saying in his comment in that context, is that when you pick up a devotional, a curriculum, a teaching, a book, any material of a Christian kind intended to instruct you or edify you, even a novel, keep that axiom in mind. There may not be one smoking gun kind of indicting statement you can put your finger on and say, AHA! This book is bad!, but if you use the filter of this following verse you will gain discernment as you thumb through and get a measure of the book’s overall tone.

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,” (John 15:26).

The Holy Spirit always points to God. If the author was operating in the Holy Spirit, the resulting pages will be drenched with pointing to God. If the author was not operating in the Holy Spirit, the book will be drenched with “me”. With things I can do. Things I can get. My power. Things of man and the flesh.

Good tip.

Speaking of smoking gun kind of statements, they are rare. Satan is more subtle than to come out with something stupid or directly heretical. (Genesis 3:1). But there is sometimes a statement you can point to which alone indicts an author.

 I wrote about Sarah Young’s book Jesus Calling on September 10, 2012. I’d commented on just such a statement the author of that book had made in her introduction:

“I began to wonder if I, too, could receive messages during my times of communing with God. I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more…”

That one IS a heretical statement and gives the reader a good insight into her inner man. I’d said, “Is not the bible sufficient for all revelation from God? It is supposed to be. Faith is believing on His name, not the experiences or revelations we receive from an unknown source.”

Sufficiency is the battle. Many teachings and books these days slyly, craftily, intimate that the bible is not enough, and the implanted desire is that there is more. (Read Genesis 3:5!).

On Brannon Howse’s radio show, World View Weekend, his guest, Discernment Minister Justin Peters said of that very statement from Ms Young, saying “The bible is not enough for people any more… Most Christians do not believe in the sufficiency of God’s word, That’s why they go to Jesus Calling, 90 Minutes in Heaven, Heaven is For Real, …all these books claiming Divine authority, but outside of scripture.”

The Spirit always points to Jesus. Any lesson you are taking from any teacher will do the same, if they are operating in the Spirit!

Posted in back to basics, born again, holy spirit, regeneration, sanctification

Hello, Holy Spirit!!

I’d mentioned that I had wanted to get back to basics and do some blog entries on the foundational things. The Holy Spirit is near and dear to me, and I pray to Him daily. But He is often overlooked in the Trinity, in favor of prayers to Almighty God and to Lord Jesus. But the Holy Spirit has an important ministry we’ll take a look at in this essay. We’ll also see how He is prophesied to minister in the last of the last days and in the Tribulation.

The last days are the entire Church Age. They began at Pentecost and they will end at the Rapture. So Paul was in the last days. Martin Luther was in the last days. Charles Spurgeon was in the last days. We are in the last days. But I believe we are in the last of the last days, the moments remaining perhaps but few. However the ministry of the Holy Spirit has been with us since Genesis 1:2 where we’re told “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Don’t you visualize Him as a dove, his wings outstretched and fluttering over the waters almost hugging the world as it was being formed? He is referred to again in Genesis 1:26 when God said “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” Therefore we can conclude the Holy Spirit is God.

He has a personality. In Genesis 1:2 and Job 33:4 we read that He creates life. He directs where to preach and where not to preach. Remember Paul’s seeking of direction for where to go next in his mission fields? The Spirit stopped him from going north, then south, and eventually directed Paul to go to Greece, blessedly bringing the Gospel from the Middle East to Europe. (Acts 8:29; Acts 10:19-20; Acts 16:6-7).

He comforts (Acts 9:31) and He teaches (John 14:26). He imparts the love of God to the saints and joy too. He maintains the church in edification (Acts 9:31). There is so much more I could write about the Spirit, books have been written, but turn to this one,

“Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” (Proverbs 1:23). He is the Spirit of wisdom and understanding! (Isaiah 11:2). And we need Him for that, desperately. Without Him we cannot understand the Word.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). Without Him we cannot understand the Word.

God reveals the things God wants us to know and to have by His Spirit. That is huge. God revealed Himself to us in creation, then He revealed Himself to us in Jesus on earth as His Son, now He reveals Himself to us through His Spirit bringing understanding of the Word, which is Jesus. Kind of circular, you say? Yes, that is the Trinity. They are God but they each are a Person distinct from the other, with different ministries, which are harmonized perfectly and completely in holiness in One. If you don’t understand that, it’s OK, I don’t either! It is one of the mysteries of God that He can be three in one…

His ministry in some ways remains the same and some ways changes throughout the course of the covenants. In most cases in the Old Testament, the Spirit “came upon”, He did not indwell. John the Baptist is an exception. John the Baptist is considered an Old Testament prophet because he died before the cross. Nevertheless, John was filled with the Spirit in the womb. Another example of God filling someone with the Spirit prior to the cross is Exodus 31:1-2, filling Bezalel to know how to build the temple. But normally, the Spirit came upon them for the period necessary to fulfill the task set before them (2 Chron 24:20, Judges 3:24).

God could and did take away the Spirit. The Spirit came upon Saul as King (1 Sam 10:6) but God removed it when Saul rebelled (1 Sam 16:14). David begged God not to take away the Spirit in his rebellion with Bathsheba. (Psalm 51:11).

When Jesus told the Disciples that He was going away but He would send a Comforter, it was the Spirit He was referring to. The Spirit descended on the Apostles at Pentecost, filling them. (Acts 2). However that portion of the Spirit’s ministry changed, He now indwells us permanently. He is the deposit of guarantee of our inheritance and His seal of ownership on us. (Ephesians 1:14 and 2 Corinthians 1:22). If we confess our sins and believe by faith Jesus is Lord, He sends the Spirit into us and we can never lose Him (John 10:29). This doctrine is called “Once Saved, Always Saved” and I believe in it. If we could lose the Spirit as in OT days then there would be no guarantee, would there? If God sends the Spirit to indwell but takes it away, He breaks His own seal, doesn’t He? No, it cannot be so!

But remember the Tribulation is actually a return to the Old Testament days, finishing up those last decreed 7 years as punishment of the Jews and the world for unrighteousness (Daniel 9:24). Therefore the way I read it, the Spirit will return to the ministry of ‘coming upon’ but not indwelling. It is why they will sacrifice in the Tribulation, also.

Jack Kelley explained it this way:

“The only passage that describes the requirements of Tribulation believers is that they obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus (Rev. 14:12). It means they will have to keep the commandments as best as they can, trusting the blood of Jesus to cover them when they fall short. Old Testament standards were essentially the same, except they didn’t know the name of their Savior. Except for taking the mark of the Beast, the Bible doesn’t identify any red lines beyond which salvation would be revoked, but based on what it does say more weight will be given to maintaining their faith than anything else.”

One ministry the Spirit inhabits is the restraining ministry, and it is that one that I’ll finish with. In Genesis 6 we read that God tell us that “My spirit will not strive with man forever…” This is the chapter of the conditions leading up to the worldwide judgment of the Flood. It seems to be telling us that at a certain point, He removes the restraining ministry from man when sin has reached a certain point, or that he removes Him prior to a worldwide judgment. However, He never removes His Spirit from the earth completely because how would we be drawn to the cross, otherwise? The verse goes on to say ‘nevertheness his days are 120 years’.

We know He is the restrainer of lawlessness because Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8.

“And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”

He restrains Lawlessness. The Greek word is defined “lawlessness, iniquity, disobedience, sin”. He restrains sin.

Doesn’t it seem like things are getting worse and worse in terms of morality, crime, greed, apostasy? I’m 51 years old (well, I will be in three weeks 🙂 and I look back and think on the formative images I saw on the news during the 1960s and 1970s. I saw the riots, the homosexual agenda, political upheaval, the assassination of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the Viet Nam war. Women’s rights and abortion and Planned Parenthood and the Pill came in too. When I saw the Democratic National Convention riots, I thought the world was coming to an end, literally. It seemed to my young eyes and heart that everything was crashing down. It looks to me now from the vantage point of half a century on earth, that each new generation was exponentially worse than the previous one, and that lawlessness is compounding.

I believe America in the early to mid 1960s there was an influx of demonic activity. I believe that was allowed to happen because the Restrainer was slowly lifting His hand.

Now, this idea of the Restrainer being removed is biblical, Gen 6 and 2 Thess speaks of it. But I have no clue if He is lifting His hand fast or slow. I do not know at what rate the restraint is being removed. But my opinion is that the sudden change in society in the 1960s is evidence that He had lifted it some, because such a flood of lawlessness came in all at once. I believe that 9/11 was another indicator that He had lifted His hand some more. And in the last year, the cravenness of apostasy and false doctrine in the church is another indicator to me that His hand is going up, faster and faster now. Just look at the headlines on Drudge this Black Friday morning:

Woman pepper sprays other Black Friday shoppers ‘to gain an upper hand’…
‘Competitive shopping’ turns into chaos…
VIDEO: Mayhem over $2 waffle maker…
Woman shot, robbed in SC after midnight shopping trip to WALMART…
NC police use pepper spray to break up melee…
GUNFIRE ERUPTS AT MALL…

And these persistent commercials of the blond woman training for Black Friday are off the charts gross.

I think the worldwide judgment is very close, and one of the reasons I believe so is that the lawlessness (sin) has increased to such a degree, and that is because the Restrainer is restraining less and less until the moment in 2 Thessalonians He does not restrain at all. The Thessalonians verse says the antichrist will not be revealed until the Restrainer is removed, and that is in the middle of the Tribulation, but if things are this bad now, you can get a clue as to how much worse they will be then.

And also, this shows us how bad and destructive sin is. One little sin is the first gangrenous cell in your body desiring to contaminate every other cell near it and march up every limb you have and turn it black from putrefaction. That is how the world will be at the revealing of the antichrist, iniquity having been made full. (Dan 9:24). You can avoid being on earth, and be purified and refreshed if you appeal to Jesus. It is the Spirit that brought you here to read this, He draws one and all to the cross, and then convicts you of your sins. Read Galatians 3:1-5, and this commentary says of it, “The two are linked: the cross opens the door for the Spirit, and the experience of the Spirit is the result of faith in the message of the cross of Christ.” Kind of circular you say? That’s the Trinity, of which the Spirit is a part!

If you are an unbeliever, appeal to Jesus for your sins to be forgiven. This is repentance. You’re sorry for your wrong things you do and you understand that they are crimes against Jesus. He will forgive you if you are sincere, and then He will send the Spirit to come inside you and help you resist more sinning. This is called regeneration, literally being born again as a new creation.

You can never escape sinning but when you do (and we all do, Christians too) appeal to the Spirit for help resisting them and apologize to Jesus for them. We repent after we are saved, too. As you submit more deeply to the Holy Spirit’s ministry, though, you will find that you want to sin less and less. The Spirit is making you a new creation, in His likeness and in holiness. This is sanctification.

So when you share all this with someone and they say, “Man, you’re not crazy, you’re possessed!” you can proudly say yes, “I boast in the Spirit that is in me! Praise Jesus!”
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