The Greatest Mystery

The Greatest Mystery

A Christian life is a remarkable life – if we live it as God Intended.

Sadly, many Christians never realize what’s within their grasp. But when we pursue all that God has for us, our lives can be radically changed.

We will find out-of-the-ordinary peace. And joy. And wisdom.  And hope.

When we as Christians dig even deeper, we will find a closeness to God for every season. And our own individual purpose which brings an extraordinary richness and meaning to life.

So how is all of this possible?

It’s possible because of the greatest mystery of all time.

In Colossians 1:26-27, Paul speaks of this great mystery which has been hidden from ages and generations, but has been revealed to the saints. It’s this mystery which makes Christianity so totally different from any other religion in the world. Yet this mystery seems to be misunderstood even by many Christians.

So what is it? It’s Christ in you, the hope of glory. That’s right. The Holy Spirit of God dwelling inside your innermost being.

That’s what it means to be “born again.” God’s Holy Spirit brings life to you – and you are a New Creation.

You now have the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit in the inner most part of you, leading you, empowering you, changing you, and growing you to reflect the attributes of God Himself.

All other religions have laws – lists of do’s and don’ts – which, if followed, are supposed to bring you into perfection.

But our faith is different. In our faith, our lives of sin are forsaken at the cross of Jesus. We accept His sacrifice for our sinful nature – and then we accept the empowerment of His Holy Spirit to  walk away from sin and into the life He has for us.

We walk away from that old nature, and we walk away from the shame and hurt it has brought us.

That’s why we know that we have power over the dark forces which try to hold us back. The “Greater One” lives on the inside of us and causes us to overcome the evils of the world…if we are relying on Him and not on ourselves.

If we will just live “from the inside out,” many of our problems will be solved. Our innermost part is where we hear from God, because His Spirit actually lives inside of us. We will not only overcome sin in our own lives and receive health for ourselves, but we will have wisdom to pray for those around us. We will have answers which will benefit them and God’s anointing to release them.

Stop and think about it.

Man is the only creature which has a choice about the way he lives his life. Animals instinctively know that they should find food, build nests or dens, mate and raise their young. They have no choice but to live from the inside out. They live from the dictates of their instincts.

In the beginning, man was created to communicate with God and to have His thoughts just as naturally as the animals were to have their instincts.. But an had a choice. Before man sinned, he lived from his spirit, not just from his mind. Then man sinned and he no longer had power over that sinful nature.

Until Jesus came and paid the ultimate price.

Now here we are today: born again and filled with His Spirit, the power is restored – but we still have a choice.

Will we live from the flesh, where there is no power? Or will we live from the spirit, where Christ resides as our Hope of Glory? The choice is always ours and we make it daily.

When Christians rise up to live from the inside out – from the spirit within – our world will be changed. Prayers will be answered more quickly, prophecies will be fulfilled, and the world will begin to see God’s true church rising to its place in the earth.

Therefore, If anyone is  in Christ, he is a new creation,

the old things are passed away; behold new things have come.

Now all these new things are from God. (II Corinthians 5:17-18 NASB)

The glory of Christ in us is what the world needs.

So what do we do to appropriate this power within us? We talk to our Father about it. We read His word and allow that to become part of who we are. We listen to good solid teaching which will help us to grow in our faith.

And we step out in faith, allowing God to do what He wants to do in our lives.

It’s a miraculous life, if we live it that way.

Stir Up the Gifts

Stir Up the Gifts

A couple of weeks ago, the Holy Spirit woke me up at 3 am and spoke these words into my spirit. “Stir up the gift which is within you.” (II Tim 1:6)

I knew exactly what He was saying.

You see, our church had been holding a campmeeting with Ted Shuttlesworth and his son, Ted, Jr. The building was packed out with visitors praising and worshiping God, clearly eager to receive the divinely inspired messages. And they were not disappointed. The rafters shook with the booming praise, clapping, dancing, and rejoicing over our God and what He is doing in the earth. Healings were dramatic and often. Throngs were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time.

As the night proceeded, I felt the gifts were being stirred in me – and others. In that atmosphere there is always an awareness of heaven’s touch – and the reality of the Kingdom of God.

It reminded me of earlier days…maybe because it was like earlier days. It reminded me of the days when there was rejoicing in the city by the many people who were turning to the Lord, getting saved, baptized in the Holy Spirit and shouting their newfound truth to the rooftops. (more…)

Stay Strong

The little girl, curls bobbing, confidently nestled into the chair right in front of the podium. She had almost run from the very back in order to acquire this select spot. She didn’t want to miss a thing.

All around her the adults smiled at her anticipation, but they were perplexed. Children didn’t often desire to be up front. It was unusual for children to exhibit such excitement over such events.

Then Oral Roberts, the famous healing minister climbed onto the platform, and a hush came over the audience. Praise filled the tent and an amazing night of God’s presence was underway. This was one of his famous healing services during the days when Dr. Roberts carried his huge tent from city to city.

The little girl was not disappointed. Her jaw dropped as she saw a grapefruit-sized goiter disappear from a lady’s neck. And there was much more. Person after person received God’s touch –  straightening legs, healing cancer, and delivering from depression.

The girl was hooked. At 10 years old she had witnessed some of God’s miracle working power, and she knew from that moment that she wanted to be part of His miracle-working army.

Several decades have passed since that moment.

Last week the evangelist who was that little girl came to our church and it was obvious that she and God have maintained that special connection. Elaine Hollmer has a healing ministry with many testimonies. And a boldness for God’s purposes which is rare. She has made a name for herself as one of God’s “stokers.” When the coals grow dim in the hearts of Christians, God sends her to stoke them, causing the flames to rise again.

Over the decades since I became a Christian I have seen many people come and go. I have known men and women who at one time were on fire for God, but whose hearts have grown cold. There are others who are still going through the motions, but you sense that there is a quiet desperation in their ministry.

Not so with Elaine Hollmer. She exhibits greater zeal – and greater fruit – than she did the first time I saw her many years ago. Full of love, full of anointing, full of God’s healing touch, and changing lives in the process.

Elaine’s diligence is evident. “Through faith and patience she has inherited God’s promises,” (Heb. 6:12)

You can’t stay in ministry for decades without some challenges coming your way. I don’t know what hers have been, but I know that she has met them head on.

Something very interesting is that when you see a person who has walked closely with God for a number of years, you see a sweetness and humility which can only come through time. But also a boldness – and does she ever have boldness! A holy boldness which stirs hearts for more of God.

Well, I’m stirred.

We have some exciting years ahead. There’s a Great Awakening on the horizon and I want to be a full-fledged participant, don’t you?

Let’s Stay Strong – and Finish Strong.

 

 

Overcoming Faith

Overcoming Faith

In the last post, we saw how Jesus marveled at the centurion who was so full of faith. This man was a Roman, and had neither been trained in God’s Word nor an understanding of God’s power. Yet he heard about Jesus, and recognized the authority in which He walked. As a result, he was able to receive a miracle.

In the same chapter – Matthew 8 – we see a different story. This time, Jesus and His disciples were in a boat crossing the sea when a great storm arose. The winds were whirling around and the waves were tossing the thee vessel about. Jesus was sleeping soundly in the midst of the storm until His disciples awoke Him. “Save us, Lord, we are perishing,” they cried.

As Jesus woke up and rebuked the winds and the sea, the atmosphere became perfectly calm. Then He rebuked His disciples. “Why are you timid, you men of little faith?”

Stop and think about that. If you had been one of the disciples, how would you have reacted? Would you have been as the disciples, frightened and worried? That seems like a normal reaction, doesn’t it?

Yet if what they were doing was what He expected of them, why did Jesus rebuke them?

There is a level of faith which is far above anything that any of us has attained but which is available to those who seek Him. But it doesn’t come from seeking Him for the faith. It comes from seeking a deeper relationship with Him. (more…)

Living From the Inside Out

Living From the Inside Out

If you have been with me for awhile, you may remember my post concerning “Life’s Greatest Mystery.” Paul talked about it in Colossians 1:27, when he said it’s Christ in you which is the Hope of Glory.

From my perspective, that is a concept which we cannot overemphasize. In essence, it is the very heart of what Christianity is all about. it’s not about rules and regulations – as with other religions. It is about the cleansing we received as believers – through the blood of Jesus – and it’s about the fact that the Holy Spirit now lives within us. We are truly temples of the Living God – right here on earth.

Now as I say these things, I am quickly reminded of two misconceptions which always come up when we discuss these topics. The first misconception is that every human on earth is right now a temple of the Holy Spirit –  and that is not true. It is true that every human is created in the image of God, and as such, has the capability of becoming a temple of God’s Spirit, but first they have to be cleansed. They have to receive the forgiving, cleansing gift of Jesus and the price He paid. Then they can become temples of the Holy Spirit. (more…)