Proclaiming a Message of Good News and Hope to our generation!

Month: September 2015

Baptized in the Fire!

Luke 3:16-17: “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.”

Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Acts 2:3-4: “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Rom 12:10-11: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

For forty years the United States engaged with the USSR in what was known as the cold war. When the Berlin Wall was torn down, and that period of our history seemed to be over, I began reflecting on the existence of a different kind of enemy. This is one that threatens to erode the security and well-being of every worthwhile cause or institution. This is not a cold war. It is not even a war at all by normal definition. This enemy is very deadly just the same. It is the condition of a heart that has become cold and indifferent. Like a contagious disease it spreads from soul to soul, aided by the power of the electronic and paper mass media. It effectively divides and weakens us, by robbing us of the love we both need to share and receive. Even the most passionate and caring are vulnerable to this malady. It’s roots are fear and hopelessness, as it feeds pride and selfishness. The result is a loss of desire and zeal for those things we need the most, and a relentless pursuit for vain and unprofitable diversions.

The fact of this problem is undeniable. We are living in a time when many have become very callused and insensitive, and others do not seem to care much for anything other than a good time. Ah, but this condition presents another glorious opportunity for the Word of God and the Good News of Christ’s Kingdom! In His Voice is the power to arouse the people of God to become a demonstration of what this mighty King of the Universe can do! While millions continue to await a word that will set them free, God is already speaking very loudly and very plainly to those who have ears to hear from Him.

He is at work in this present time, actively kindling His fire in the hearts of many with a zeal to satisfy His Great Heart of Love! No cause could be greater, and no flame could burn brighter than the fire of God Himself, as He consumes us with a vision of His purpose for us and all humanity. How we have tried to stir up and motivate ourselves and others to good works and worthy goals, only to find the desire becoming a dying ember! Oh how it is high time for all to tune in to the Heart of God and become ignited with His Eternal Flame! His is a fire that cannot be quenched, and once we have experienced it, we can never be satisfied with anything else!

Let us take some time to examine the disease, before we implement the cure. This condition has become common to us all at various times. Often those who are inspired and passionate for a message God has given them, become offensive to others who have not been touched similarly. In reality, we may not ever possess the exact same focus or direction from God. He uses each one in a different way to accomplish His overall plan. One thing we must share, however, is the same zeal, love and desire for Him, that liberates us all from the spirit of competition and selfish ambitions.

How do we become cold and complacent? Is it because when we have cared in the past we were hurt or rejected? Is it because the pain becomes too great for us to bear, after having tried and failed to make a difference? Maybe when we have felt helpless and unable to change things, we were tempted to turn away from the needs we were faced with. Those times when we are pressed up against a wall, we can find relief by turning the problem over to God, and this is the correct step. But those whom God will use to reveal His Kingdom to the world must eventually obtain the power from Him to face suffering and pain with the faith, hope and love to make a change.

The Spirit of God is at work at this present time, actively kindling His fire in the hearts of many

Surely the problems of our country, our friends and often our own families can seem to be overwhelming — not to mention the crises taking place around the world. The only answer for anyone is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but that message can only be effective as those who are consumed by it become living demonstrations of His flaming Love! You have the power to spread the fire and fan those flames right in your circle of acquaintances now, whether you are a “mature Son of God” or not! The Love of God and the passion for God is perfect in us, even though we may display many imperfections. God seems to have a habit of using imperfect humans anyway. Often the job can make the man or woman.

It is time for many of us to abandon our preconceived notions of “working for Jesus,” which are often guilt driven and of a religious nature. Actions that are inspired by divine love and compassion may require great sacrifice on our part, but there is no greater satisfaction. It must grieve the heart of the Father to see His children simply going through the motions of serving Him, when they could have so much more joy and satisfaction in their own special spiritual abilities that flow out of a relationship with Him. How miserable we become when we haven’t given “our all,” only because we have not been able to respond to what others compel us to do.

Yes we must exhort, admonish and provoke one another unto love and good works. In fact, that is what I am attempting to do now. The problem is that it takes a spark or a flame to ignite another flame. How can one who is cold and complacent and satisfied create genuine desire for the Lord in another? How can the unenlightened, when they are excited in a measure about the things they are already experiencing become convinced that Christ is alive in a dead, dried up church system?

The fact is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ does change lives — now. It empowers those who possess it to function in the Body of Christ as part of a great, world-wide team. Each of us can see ourselves as really making a difference in the world around us, as together we plant His Seeds of Truth. We not only have hope and the faith to see the change before it happens, but we have His Love within us that never fails. By it we can give and really care, even though at times we seem to be at great risk. Of what value is a life anyway if it cannot be poured out in service to others? Those who know Christ gladly absorb the pain endured if only one soul can be fully set free.

The One Who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit and fire is among us today. If you are willing, you can be immersed in His cleansing, liberating and world-changing fire. I promise you, all you will lose are the ropes that bind you, and all you will gain is a heart full of love for all mankind, with both the power and compassion to make a difference.

A Testimony

Many years ago I had an experience that I have shared with only a few people. Lately I have had the urge to write down what I can remember in hopes that others might be encouraged.

In the early seventies my life was dramatically changed by a series of events which brought me to a place of brokenness before God. I believed in Him from childhood, but in many ways rebelled against His will for my life. Now I was ready to give Him the reins of my life and to trust Him with my future more than ever before. At this time I became obsessed with the truth of Who Jesus really was. My eyes were just beginning to open to the spiritual realities that surrounded me, but ultimately it was the Person of Christ Himself Who would become the center of my universe.

The story of the man Jesus was quite familiar to me, and the sense that He was divine was definitely conveyed when I read the Revelation shared with John. But there came a time when I felt the overwhelming need to know for sure Who He really was. This hunger must have come from Him, for He certainly came to fulfill it. This along with many personal problems led me to regular fasting, sometimes for up to 3 entire days. Fasting seemed to help me clear my mind from the stresses of that time and probably prepared me for what was to come.

To the best of my memory and ability I would like to describe what eventually happened. One day I was home from work and alone after putting my infant son to bed. So I turned on the TV to see Richard Roberts, the son of evangelist Oral Roberts, singing and dancing with his wife Patty. The show was not at all religious. In fact it was typical of many variety shows at that time. As I sat there, a wonderful peace began to come over me. I began to feel light and relaxed in a way that was new to me.

Perhaps days or weeks before, I had an experience where even the world seemed fresh and new to me. This, however was different in that I was truly “caught up” in the Spirit of God for a prolonged period of time. I could go to work, speak to people, go out to lunch with fellow workers, and yet still feel I was in another dimension. It was the first time I really experienced what David must have when He wrote:

Ps 139:6-10:
“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.”

Somehow I became personally aware of how Christ is everywhere, how He fills all things, and how all things are held together by Him! When I read the writings in the Scripture concerning Him, I felt this wonderful kinship with Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, Peter, Paul and others who all had a similar experience! Jesus is real and alive, and more than that, He is God the Creator of this universe!

Before, all the scriptures that expressed this went virtually unnoticed by me. Now it seemed as though every page was about Him. The ancient Greek word for revelation means to have something unveiled. At this time in my life Jesus was being unveiled to me. I cannot describe how liberating and empowering this was. I do know that my problems became much smaller as he became much larger to me!

This sensation of being caught up into heavenly places persisted for some time. For how long I cannot now say, but I do remember quite clearly a sort of climax that was reached. I was lying in bed one night wondering how far into the Spiritual realm I could go. In my mind I felt myself traveling out into space, and knowing that He was there as well. Then suddenly, fear came over me and I came back to the physical world. I Still don’t know how to interpret that, but I remember my heart was pounding, and at the same time I wondered what great thing I might have discovered had I continued.

In that period of my life I came across many others who had been touched by supernatural experiences like this one. We were like the people in Sci-fi stories who gravitated to one another because they all saw strange things in the sky. What we experienced was not our idea. We found ourselves permanently marked by the knowledge that there is much more to reality than is commonly known. It was not until much later that I learned that these kinds of experiences were not as common among Christians as I had thought.

Stories like this one of course do not prove that some people are better or more spiritual than others. I only hope they can inspire faith in the hearts of people who find themselves swallowed up in the cares of daily life. Christ can reveal Himself in a special way to you as well. He can show you how insignificant these things are in comparison to one minute in his glorious Presence!

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