Thursday, June 4, 2015

Start a Fire... Fan the Flame

... The Power of the Holy Ghost

2 Timothy 1:6-7 (ESV)

"For this reason I remind you to FAN INTO FLAME the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."

Have you ever sensed that God's supernatural power seems to be missing in your day-to-day life, while others seem to get all the miracles?

Do you ever feel empty?

Maybe you feel spiritually weak; or, at times, you actually feel defeated.

If you're in need of more LOVE, more POWER and more of GOD'S SUPERNATURAL ANOINTING, it's time for you to start a fire and fan the flame!

The Holy Spirit of God is that Fire! He (the Holy Spirit) will fill you... guide you... sustain you... convict you... comfort you... heal you... teach you and anoint you!

Jesus told Nicademus, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born-again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." This means that without the supernatural born-again experience as described in 2 Corinthians 7:10, one cannot expect to experience; receive the benefits of; participate in; nor, enjoy the fullness of the Kingdom of God in the way that God desires for them.

God has His Kingdom reserved for His children - alone - and while many seek to get into His blessings through an alternate door, there is only one door that leads to salvation. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is that door. Human beings have access to the door handle that brings forth salvation only when they humble themselves and repent of all known sin with a sincere heart of godly sorrow.

2 Corinthians 7:10

"For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation..."

Upon the true conversion experience, one is supernaturally changed from the inside out, as the Holy Spirit of God takes up residence and begins to teach the new believer the ways of the Kingdom. This is the indwelling Holy Spirit of God given to everyone who becomes a born-again child of the King.

Again, the Holy Spirit will:
  • fill you
  • guide you
  • sustain you
  • convict you
  • comfort you
  • teach you 
  • anoint you

But... there is more! The Lord of all heavens and earth is a God of continual growth, continual healing, continual blessings and continual revelation. In fact, it will take us all of eternity to even get a glimpse of the magnificent wonder of His unfolding splendor, wisdom, and love for His creation. He tells us in His Word that He wants to take us from glory to glory in our relationship with Him. 

In the character and nature of God, and His never ending glory, the Bible teaches us how to go deeper with the Lord spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. One of the ways that the scriptures teach us to go deeper is in that of baptism. In the book of Acts, Jesus (during the time of His appearing after His death, but before His ascension) tells us to be baptized with water and to be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Jesus tells His disciples to "wait" on the promise of the Father and that they would receive the supernatural power needed to effectively share the Kingdom of God with the world.

Acts 1:5

"For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost..."

Acts 1:8 

"But you shall receive POWER after the Holy Ghost comes upon you... Then, you will be witnesses unto me... Throughout all the earth!"

Upon a careful study of God's Word we find that Jesus actually appeared to over 500 people after His death but before His ascension (1 Corinthians 15:3-6)! Sadly, only 120 of those five-hundred "believers" sought the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room. What happened to the other 380+ people who "saw" such an incredible miracle? They actually saw Christ alive even though they knew He was dead!

This seems to be the same consensus within the church today. Some followers of Christ want more, while the vast majority of believers are satisfied to encounter Him only once - or, at least, only once whereby they relinquish every element of human control. Yet, Jesus gave clear instructions that they were to remain in Jerusalem until they received the promise of POWER.

Jerusalem is called "the city of God" and represents the dwelling place of God. Have you been waiting in the dwelling place of God (the secret place) for more of Him?

Acts 19:2 

"Have YOU received the Holy Ghost since you believed?"

If you are anything like one of the original 120 who were baptized (fully immersed) in the Holy Spirit, you might find yourself being mocked. The religious crowd that heard the 120 praising God in tongues said, "they must be drunk." At best, there will be some (even other Christians) who will think you are a little too radical and maybe even a bit crazy for diving in so deep with God. Anything other than mainstream is going to rub somebody the wrong way. Interestingly, Jesus was known for rubbing many (even the religious leaders of His day) the wrong way.

As I study the book of Acts, I find that there was always some sort of miraculous manifestation whenever new converts were baptized in the Holy Ghost. In fact, Simon (the sorcerer) was so intrigued with this manifestation that he wanted to buy it. He, like so many others, didn't realize that the gift of the Holy Spirit - with all of His power - only comes to those who seek more of Him and then determine to wait with expectation, believing for God to show up! So, what was this manifestation or evidence that that Simon saw when the apostles laid hands on believers to receive the Holy Ghost? 

Acts 8

"And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 10:45-47

"And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 'Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?'”

How does the Holy Ghost manifest Himself in your life today? Are spiritual gifts flowing through your life as described in I Corinthians 12:7–11?

The Lord wants to "set you on fire" for the sake of the Kingdom of God! He wants you to be a witness and "share" your story with everyone in your everyday life of influence. He wants you to be a light in a dark world.

But you simply cannot do this in your own strength. Even if you are a Christ follower, you are admonished by Jesus to be "baptized in the Holy Ghost." You see, the "baptism of the Holy Ghost" is what makes your words more effective. It's a mystery. But it is God's way!

Naysayers, complacent Christians, certain Bible scholars, denominational by-laws and religious leaders throughout history have spent way too much energy fighting against God's supernatural plan. The God of the universe cannot be put into a box. He cannot be fully figured out or defined. That is why He is God. He is beyond our natural intellect or human rationale.

In a day and age when the church needs the supernatural power of God to reach a liberal, legalistic, morally corrupt, spiritually confused, blind and desperate humanity - THE CHURCH NEEDS GOD'S POWER! God's supernatural power, that is. There is no program, no contemporary service, no praise band, no technology driven atmosphere and no sermon that can cut to the heart of a wicked and perverse generation without the power of the Holy Spirit. And... the Holy Spirit doesn't automatically show up just because a worship leader is energetic, the singing is incredible, the orchestra is dynamic, the band is phenomenal, the preacher is good or the congregation is mostly a born-again group. No, the Holy Spirit shows up when there is an anointing - the kind that comes from WAITING on God with a humble heart while EXPECTING Him to move in a powerful way.

Now, when the Holy Ghost shows up, He doesn't usually do things according to our organized agenda. Since God is God... He enjoys revealing Himself in all of His glory to individuals or congregations who will let go and let God. Anyone who studies their Bible for any length of time can easily see that whenever God shows up on the scene supernatural things always happen. These supernatural things can seem odd, uncomfortable and, perhaps, out of order to those who are bent on keeping God in their spiritual box of status quo. But... for those who are desperate for MORE LOVE, MORE POWER and MORE SUPERNATURAL ANOINTING from the King of Kings, the manifestation of God's supernatural disruption is exciting!

So, what about the speaking in tongues? This sounds really spooky to some - maybe even, too supernatural. But, Paul said, "I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all." So, Paul believed in speaking in tongues. He said that tongues would be a way for us to edify ourselves, and friend, we will need all the self-edification we can get when we get into the front lines of battle with God's enemy. When persecution comes, when trials come, when heartache comes, when doubt comes, when spiritual warfare seems unbearable - build yourself up in your most holy faith!

Jude 1:20

"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,"

In an effort to bring understanding concerning why some denominations, preachers, teachers and commentaries use scripture to teach against speaking in tongues while others use scripture to explain the value of this gift, I'd like to share an analogy about traveling in a airplane.

Person #1

Has never flown in an airplane. Maybe they have never felt the need to take an airplane as a means of transportation. Or, maybe they have a fear of flying and so they say things like, "If God wants me to fly, He'll give me wings" or "I can get to where I need to go by staying on the ground." Now, if Person #1 were asked to explain what it is like to fly in an airplane, they could either say, "I don't know, because I've never flown in an airplane before" or they could say things like, "Well, it's unnecessary. I don't believe that I need to fly in an airplane to go overseas; I can just take a boat. People who fly in those things are a little cuckoo. I've been traveling for thirty years and I've never once needed to take an airplane. Ooh, you'd better be careful in that thing! It's the devils way of getting around!" While Person #1 may have some valid points about their reason(s) for choosing not to fly, their explanation is from assumption and not from "experience."

Person #2

Is a frequent flyer. They've been all over the world. To them, flying is a gift from God that they want to take advantage of; and so, they are joyful that they can see and experience His creation from another angle. Flying is costly, but to the frequent flyer it is worth every penny. If you ask Person #2 to explain what it's like to fly in an airplane, they'll speak from their "experience" and not from their excuses, assumptions or practical explanations of how an airplane works. They'll be able to help you visualize flying even before you ever decide to do so yourself. Their description is so vivid and exciting that your curiosity will be awakened!

So, which person above would you want to get information on concerning "what it is like to fly?" Naturally, you would ask Person #2. The same should be true concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit with evidence of tongues (your supernatural prayer language), but for whatever reason many are listening to Person #1. Is it their own fear that brings them to accept the many reasons for not flying (not seeking God's power)?

Let me clarify that Person #1 has the right to choose whether he flies in an airplane, or not. Person #1 may actually love to travel, but just prefers to do so on the ground. In fact, flying won't make him a better person if he does, or less of a person if he doesn't. Choosing not to fly will, however, limit his ability to see things from a new viewpoint - far above the clouds!

In 1 Corinthians 14:1, Paul said we should pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts. So many Christians don't desire spiritual gifts. They are satisfied with their intellectual knowledge of God. Satisfied with church as usual. Satisfied with their reputation of high standing in Christian circles. In fact, many have been taught that it is wrong to seek after spiritual gifts because the implication is that God would be disappointed, since they are said to be by-passing Him to get to His gifts. And, quite frankly, many are even apathetic toward a lost a dying world so they have no need of supernatural power and the working of spiritual gifts in their life for the benefit of others. Have you pursued love (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit )? Have you desired spiritual gifts?

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul speaks of the different spiritual gifts given to believers and how each child of God has a unique anointing for administering wholeness and healing to the body of Christ. In fact, Paul says that God will divide these gifts among obedient believers as He sees fit in any given situation so that He can work miracles, signs and wonders in the behalf of those who are desperate for a touch from the Master. Through these gifts, the Holy Spirit endows wisdom, knowledge, faith, healings, the working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. The miracle working power of the Holy Ghost brings healing of body, soul and spirit, deliverance, forgiveness, restoration, wisdom, knowledge, understanding and the manifold benefits of your salvation in Christ Jesus!

It is such a tragedy for articles and commentary to go across the Internet that attempt to explain away the fascinating wonderment of a supernatural God. God cannot be contained. He cannot be fully figured out. I am always wary of anyone who claims to have God all figured out; especially when their explanations take away from His incomprehensible power and magnificent glory - rather than magnify His mysterious wonder.

Waiting for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit after you've believed, perhaps after you've been baptized in water and maybe even after you've followed Jesus already for many years (so had the disciples) is certainly a mystery. Why do you need to? Why would you want to? What should you expect? How do you know that you won't get a demon spirit instead of the Holy Spirit? S-T-O-P! God gives good gifts to them that ask (Matthew 7:11)!

Matthew 7:7-11

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give "good things" to those who ask Him!"

If Jesus said to do it, why aren't we doing it?  If Jesus said we would need God's Holy Ghost POWER to impact the world in a life-changing way, why do we continually try to find a short-cut method or a more rational means for connecting to the power source? If Paul said we need to edify ourself by praying in tongues and Jude said that we needed to build ourselves up by praying in the Holy Ghost, why don't we ask, seek and knock for this amazing worship gift that unlocks the door to the complete nine-fold spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12. These gifts of the Holy Spirit are there for equipping the church to express the fullness of God's love to the world.

God will work through a believer in a given situation to demonstrate His supernatural power. Why does He choose this method? That is a mystery. But it is probably because His ways are higher than our ways! Our role is simply to accept His ways and to embrace His heavenly endowment of power through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Nine manifestation gifts are listed in I Corinthians 12:7–11
  • Word of wisdom.
  • Word of knowledge.
  • Faith.
  • Gifts of healing.
  • Working of miracles.
  • Prophecy.
  • Discerning of spirits.
  • Divers kinds of tongues.
  • Interpretation of tongues

The bottom line is this: It is impossible to LIVE a victorious Christian life without the Holy Spirit! It is impossible for the church to express the fullness of God's love without the Holy Spirit. It is impossible to plug into the supernatural power of God without WAITING on the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Don't let religion, politics, sin, ignorance, denominationalism, doubt, people, fear, false teachings, pride or unbelief stop YOU from receiving ALL that God has for you! Once God has STARTED YOUR FIRE through saving your soul, continue to FAN THE FLAMES of the Holy Spirit by seeking, knocking, asking and WAITING with expectation to be Baptized - fully immersed in His presence, His love, His power... His Holy Spirit!

And, if you've already been Baptized in the Holy Spirit, have you been continually stirring up the gift(s) God has given you? Have you been continually re-filling your spiritual tank by reading God's Word, Praying, Worshipping and WAITING on Him with EXPECTATION and ANTICIPATION?

Start a Fire - Pray for the Holy Spirit of God to Baptize you with power from on high to unleash His spiritual gifts in your life.

Fan the Flame - Encourage yourself in the Lord as David did. When adversity strikes, refill yourself with a fresh Baptism as you dive into God's Word, Pray and WAIT on His glory with an obedient heart and a surrendered will.

The Holy Spirit is that fire that gives supernatural anointing for miracles, signs and wonders. The fire of the Holy Spirit will cause demons to flee. The fire of the Holy Spirit will bring about salvation. The fire of the Holy Spirit is the electricity of the Kingdom of God moving around the earth and giving LIFE more abundantly.

If you feel like a defeated Christian today, why don't you pray for a fresh Baptism in the Holy Ghost?

Ask the Lord to raise you up with POWER from on high!


Listen NOW to an audio message (40 minutes) with Deborah Ross...

There is a popular Christian song on the radio by a band named Unspoken called Start a Fire. The words go like this...

This world can be cold and bitter
Feels like we're in the dead of winter
Waiting on something better
But am I really gonna hide forever?

Over and over again
I hear Your voice in my head
Let Your light shine, let Your light shine for all to see

Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there’s no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need
Start a fire in me

You only need a spark to start a whole blaze
It only takes a little faith
Let it start right here in this city
So these old walls will never be the same

Over and over again
I hear Your voice in my head
They need to know
I need to go
Spirit won't You fall on my heart now

You are the fire You are the flame
You are the light on the darkest day
We have the hope we bear Your name
We carry the news that You have come to save
Only You can save