Monday, September 10, 2018

Expect the Miraculous!

Hello everyone,

The other day I was talking to a friend who was sharing about the home group her pastor had started for the people in his neighbourhood. He had reached out to his neighbours knowing full well that some would never darken the threshold of a church, but were comfortable enough to listen to him share the truth of God’s Word in a home environment. After one of the evenings, where the pastor had shared about the Person of Jesus and His kingdom way of life, one neighbour approached him. With such sadness weighing down on his heart he looked the pastor in the eyes and said, “I want to believe in a good and loving God, I really do, but with all I have seen in this world, I just can’t.” Do you know that is the most common response to the Gospel that people in the world present to the church? The darkness and evil the devil has lorded over this world has so dominated, influenced and blinded the hearts of the unbelievers to the truth of Who God really is. He has deceived them into being ignorant of God’s power and ability; even His willingness to redeem them, set them free, heal them of their physical, emotional and mental pain, and then fill them with Himself, empowering them to overcome and fill this earth with His glory.

The greatest problem the church is facing today is not the overwhelming evil, because Jesus has already given us the authority over it. No, our greatest threat is our ignorance concerning the power of God that is in us and available to us to effectively and supernaturally win the lost to Jesus. That power is also here to activate, encourage, build up and empower the church to raise a mighty standard against the enemy and usher in the greatest influx of souls into the kingdom of God this world has ever seen. The tragedy is our apathy and reluctance to know and experience the Person of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Can you even imagine what this world would look like if we all chose to yield to the Holy Spirit and make it our priority to remain in tune with His leading in our individual lives? Imagine the church working as a body, perfectly in sync with the Spirit of God, to get the job done, while the devil unleashes all He has on the earth… All the evil he has is no match to the power of God in full display and operation in the church!

Well, when we see how divided the church is, it seems like a hopeless task doesn’t it? But, when we look through history, any life surrendered to the Lord, is a powerful tool for the miraculous! Gideon’s small group of men was a match for the armies that outrageously outnumbered them, but God miraculously gave them an overwhelming victory! The fortified walls of Jericho collapsed without one battering ram; Queen Esther and Abigail turned the hearts of kings to save countless, innocent lives. The Prophet Elijah heard the deepest military secrets of the enemy and singlehandedly marched them into the Israelite king’s hands. In the New Testament, people were healed and delivered when Peter’s shadow fell on them as he walked through the streets. Hundreds of people were added to the church daily as believers operated under the power and unction of the Holy Spirit. Today there are countless testimonies of missionaries in China and lands forbidden to preach the Gospel, where the miraculous, supernatural hand of God moves mightily on their behalf and in their midst. 

All it takes is one person to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and obedient to His voice to see the supernatural power of God impact lives and change atmospheres all around the world. If you and I do our part, there is no limit to what the Lord can do in and through us. So where do we begin? 1 Corinthians 12 has three powerful words that have really impacted my life recently. They are: “don’t be ignorant”. Obviously Paul was teaching the church of Corinth about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And quite frankly, he’s teaching us too isn’t he! Operating in partnership with the Holy Spirit is exactly what we are meant to do. If we make ourselves available to the Holy Spirit and remain fine-tuned to hear and obey His promptings and leading, the powerful gifts will flow more readily in our lives.  No matter what gift seems more dominant at a particular time, the other gifts are operating alongside it, supporting and complementing it. All the while we are developing sensitivity to the flow of the Holy Spirit in all the gifts, simultaneously. What a marvellous and exciting privilege for every believer to enjoy!

We can live every day expecting the miraculous!

These spiritual gifts are not only to strengthen and encourage the church; they are powerful tools to win the lost to Christ too. We have been briefly exploring these gifts. In fact, we’ve touched on what we call the three revelation gifts: the gift of a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge, and the discerning of spirits. Then we started speaking about the power gifts, being the gift of faith; and today, we are going to speak about the gift of working of miracles!

Now, when it comes to God’s perspective on life, the miraculous is not unusual at all. It’s actually an everyday occurrence when we open our eyes to what He is doing in the earth today. Pastor Neal Reyes describes this gift as the supernatural power of God operating in a way that goes beyond our natural laws. For instance, in 2 Kings, Isaiah told King Hezekiah that the shadow of the sun would go back ten steps as a sign that God would heal him. In Joshua 10, we are told that Joshua commanded the sun and moon to stand still until the Israelites won their battle, which lasted almost an entire day. In both these instances the law of nature was interrupted and violated by the supernatural. It was miraculous. Moses parting the Red Sea and Elijah parting the Jordan River were again miraculous demonstrations that defied the laws of nature. In the early church, the Bible says in Acts 8:4-8 that when Phillip preached, the people were in one accord and heard and saw miracles that left them full of joy. In Acts 19:11-12, we hear that God performed unusual miracles by the hands of Paul.

Miracles are the supernatural intervention of God in the impossible circumstances of man. Apostle Maldonado made a statement that without the working of miracles, Christianity is just another religion; we have nothing of real significance to offer people; no power to break them out of the bondage of the enemy. It’s miracles, signs and wonders that separate us from all other religions.

How do we flow in this powerful gift? To begin with, Apostle Maldonado speaks about us cultivating a constant expectation for the supernatural. Understanding – and this is so important – that miracles are a mark of the love of God; an visible and tangible extension of His love for people.

Now take note of this statement: “To say ‘we don’t need miracles today’ is a sign of a lukewarm Christianity that has no desire for the tangible manifestation of God’s power and love.” That’s because miracles are God’s sign language. A miracle happens when God dominates the atmosphere with His tangible power and love.  

In Mark 16:15-20, we are told that miracles, signs and wonders followed the preaching of the Word. The full gospel is preached when signs, wonders, and miracles confirm what has been preached. They give the Word tangible substance for unbelievers and believers to grasp and believe the Word of Truth.

Apostle Maldonado explains how miracles can happen sovereignly, or by the working of our faith. When they happen sovereignly, it’s without the touch of man (where someone lays hands on someone to receive a miracle). God just does it as the individual opens his heart in faith to receive. However, the working of miracles involves exercising our faith. For example – and I have seen this with my own eyes – when someone comes forward for a specific miracle, like standing up out of a wheelchair and being able to walk unassisted after being unable to do so before. In many instances, that person will exercise their faith and begin to do something they were not able to do before. In other words, they will begin to stand up, then they begin to take one step, and then another, and keep working that miracle until they are running full strides around the auditorium, or up and down the length of the room. Sometimes it doesn’t happen the first time. 

Apostle Maldonado said he once prayed for a woman who put her faith out with his and attempted three times to leave her wheelchair before she stood up and began to walk unassisted. I’ve seen people who I know couldn’t move their arms above a certain height because of an accident or injury; as they put their faith out, they would keep moving their arms higher and higher until they could swing them around, up and down, with ease! I’ve seen people who have had back injuries and couldn’t bend down, begin to exercise their faith after being prayed for, and they would begin little by little doing what they couldn’t do before until they were stretching down with ease – even touching their toes! Oh my, I have cried and laughed and rejoiced with so many people who have experienced the working of miracles in their lives and experienced the overwhelming love of God in such a tangible way. What a wonderful, glorious way to experience the touch of God like this! 

As we remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit and cultivate an outrageous expectation to have Him work in and through our lives in this gift, I have no doubt that is exactly what we will experience. One key way to do this is to frequently expose ourselves to the atmosphere of the supernatural. There are churches that operate in the supernatural manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit all over the world.

Now remember, you have the Spirit of God living inside you, so you will immediately discern if it’s the Spirit of God at work in those services or not. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to a church that worships the Lord Jesus Christ, preaches His Word and operates in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, demonstrating signs, wonders and miracles. Then, as you constantly expose yourself to that atmosphere that is charged with faith, you will find those gifts begging to develop and flow in and through you too.

Until next week, begin to develop an expectation for the miraculous in your life!

All my love,

Jenny


Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Faith OF God

Hello everyone, 

John Bevere made a statement on social media that thousands of people liked. He said: “Seek deeper friendship and intimacy with the Holy Spirit more than seeking His gifts.” 

I really get what John is saying; in fact, the Holy Spirit is exactly Who we need to have our full attention on in order to live the victorious and fulfilled life Jesus said we can have. The wonderful truth is that in seeking Him first, we unavoidably find ourselves in the centre of experiencing all He has for us.  

God’s desire is to see us transition from living a life that is dominated by our earthly limitations and surroundings, where we are controlled by circumstances, to a life that is dominated by the atmosphere of heaven. That kind of mindset fills our lives with substance. By substance, I mean the true weighty things of life; those things of eternal value and significance. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean we must neglect our responsibilities and be out-of-touch with reality. In fact, I mean the very opposite. When our lives are full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, and we are so fine-tuned to His promptings and voice, we are able to operate in everyday life from His perspective – with His wisdom and power. Then, as we make ourselves available to operate in His gifts, we bring the supernatural atmosphere of heaven right into every area of our lives and responsibilities. The spiritual gifts of God enrich our lives tremendously, giving them true value, and (there it is again) substance. Let’s remember this kind of perspective on life is only obtainable through faith.

Dr. Matthew Stevenson drew a powerful parallel to this truth by highlighting two particular scripture references. In Hebrews 11:6, we are told that without faith it’s impossible to please God. And in Hebrews 11:1 we are told exactly what faith is…it’s the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. That substance and evidence of things unseen include the things of true value in this life. Those weighty, meaningful things that give us purpose and make us effective in all areas. So what truly pleases God is seeing our lives filled with this kind of substance, where we dominate the circumstances in our lives with the atmosphere of heaven. Lives full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, through faith, cause us to have the substance that lifts us out of being dominated by a limited earthly perspective, to God’s very own perspective.  

That is what faith is, and precisely what faith does. Also, according to the Word of God, it is something that we all possess. Scripture tells us in Romans 12:3 that everyone has been given a measure of faith. It also says faith is something we can grow in. It’s something that can develop and increase in our lives. The more faith we have, the less fear we have. Faith and fear are pretty much directly proportional to each other. The less faith we have, the more fear dominates our lives. The Bible also tells us that we increase, or grow, our faith by continually hearing the Word of God. 

Now, all this mention of faith, is really regarding general faith. Faith to believe for salvation, faith to believe God’s Word, faith to develop our relationship and walk with God, that’s all about having faith in God. But there is a special kind of faith that is not faith in God. It’s a supernatural, wonder-working, unearthly faith that gives us an unnatural confidence for supernatural occurrences or resource. It is the faith of God. This is the first of the power gifts we are exploring: the gift of faith.

Unlike general faith, it’s not something we can grow or develop. It’s God’s own faith that He combines with ours to perform supernatural exploits that are beyond human reasoning or ability. It’s designed to accomplish what is completely impossible for man. This is a faith that God, by His Holy Spirit, infuses into us suddenly and unmistakably, for a specific task.  

It’s as though something on the inside of us rises up like an electric current or heat – with urgency. God drops an instruction in our spirits and we are so compelled to act on it immediately; without even an ounce of fear or reasoning, we do or say exactly what He tells us; and our words, carrying His faith, cause the supernatural to occur.  

In the Old Testament, we see many examples of this gift in operation, but it came upon certain people for a specific purpose and then lifted. The three Hebrew boys, who were cast into a fiery furnace, told the king their God would deliver them. There was no sign of fear in them, only an unearthly confidence in their God. When they were retrieved from the furnace, not one hair had been singed and not even the smell of smoke was on them. We see this gift of faith on Daniel before and as he is thrown into the lions’ den.  

In the New Testament, we see Jesus operate in the gift of faith when he fed a crowd of over 5000 people from a little boy’s lunch box of two fish and five loaves. We see it when He commands the wind and the waves to be quiet and still. It is so remarkable knowing that, since the Holy Spirit resides in us, this gift is available for us to operate in whenever we are in a situation that requires it, as the Holy Spirit releases it.  

There are so many powerful testimonies of how this gift operates in believers’ lives. Kenneth Copeland speaks of how this gift of faith rose up in him to rebuke a violent storm. He also has a testimony of how it rose strong inside him to operate in the gift of miracles. Pastor Neal Reyes gives a testimony of how the gift of faith rose up inside him to command a torrential downpour during monsoon season. God told him to command it to clear out of a baseball park because there was a certain man who needed to receive a life altering word from God. If the game was cancelled because of the rain, the man would not receive that word he needed that very day. So Pastor Reyes did what God told him to do, he felt the urgency in his spirit and a fierce boldness rise up inside him as he spoke the words God told him to speak over that storm. As a result the rain cleared around that ball park. The game was not cancelled and there was an unmistakable awe that dominated the players of both teams. God gave Pastor Reyes a particular word of knowledge and as a result a man’s marriage and life was forever altered. I remember how this gift of faith operated in my husband when he had to make an offer for the building our ministry is currently occupying in South Africa, even when we had no finances to buy it. God gave him the amount and the boldness of faith; the offer, as ridiculous as it was, was accepted. After that, the Lord gave him a business plan to get that building paid for and today it’s ours, debt free.

In my own life, I remember this gift rise up inside of me like a burning fire that I simply couldn’t ignore. I was sitting in my high school classroom where our class had entered an open discussion on the reality and existence of God. I sat there listening to the absolute nonsense that my fellow students were declaring about God and how the entire debate was one sided, completely disputing His authenticity. I felt like a bottle that had been shaken and was about to explode, if I didn’t open my mouth. I had no idea what I was going to say, just that I had to open my mouth and speak. There was not an iota of fear in me; just an urgency to stand up and speak – and to do it immediately. When I did, the words that came out had such authority, clarity and conviction that I knew it was God. You could have heard a pin drop in that class room; and when I was done speaking, they all began to clap their hands. The entire atmosphere changed. I was amazed at how many students came to me and confessed they had at one time made a commitment to the Lord, but had grown cold in their relationship with Him. What the Lord spoke through me shook them out of their lukewarm state and into rededicating their lives to Him.  

There is not enough time or space in this letter to tell every testimony I have heard, read or experienced concerning this powerful gift of faith; where God’s own faith suddenly rises up inside us to perform what is humanly impossible.

My prayer is that by reading these letters on the spiritual gifts, you will hunger after a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the Holy Spirit; and in so doing, be a vessel wholly filled and flooded with God Himself, operating in His gifts to connect people with His supernatural presence.

Much love,

Jenny

Sunday, September 2, 2018

The Gift of Discernment

Hello everyone,

Do you know…the more I think about the Spirit of God living inside of me, the more eager I am to experience what that really means for me. Actually, what that means for all of us who are born-again. If the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us, I know He is able to quicken us; which means to infuse us with supernatural life in our bodies, souls, and spirits, and that quickening has to be more significant than we can even imagine!  

I understand that Paul felt the same marvellous expectation when in 1 Corinthians 2:9, he wrote, “... What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed].” Come on, just take a moment to think about this with me…haven’t you ever wondered what the Holy Spirit is capable of doing in and through us if we continuously surrendered our will to Him? I believe we would be able to know and see things that are impossible to know and see with our natural minds and intellect. 

Why would this be so important to us? Well, for one thing, we would be able to see and recognise the truth about a situation that is not at all visible or attainable through our natural senses or abilities. And when we do, we’d know just how to respond so that we come out on top instead of being overwhelmed or led off course by it.  

In 2 Timothy 3, we are told of the type of people we can expect to hear about and even encounter in these last days. The Bible describes them as being those who deceive the body and are themselves deceived. In fact in Mark 13:22, we read of how even the elect, if possible, will be led astray and deceived. Oh I do hope you noticed those two redeeming words in that verse! “...If possible...” That means, in spite of all the deception that is rife and overwhelmingly effective, there is a very real possibility that every born again child of God can avoid being deceived!  

That’s where the Spirit of God comes in! The Bible says that He has given us the gift of discernment. This is one of those spiritual gifts that we should never stop operating in. What I mean is: there are some gifts we only operate in as and when the Holy Spirit prompts us, or as the need for them arises. But the gift of discernment is one that we should constantly be using, day in and day out, for our protection and to efficiently do the work of the Lord.  

To explain this gift more accurately, let’s see it in action in the lives of the Christians in the New Testament. InActs 16:6-7, we see how Paul and Silas were instructed by the Holy Spirit to not preach in certain geographical areas, but were instead led to minister the Gospel in others. How did they know His will? It wouldn’t have been written in the Scriptures, and they didn’t have the natural knowledge to avoid those places. The Bible says they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to go there. That means He would have given them a strong inner witness against entering those places. In Acts 15:28, we find the author (possibly Luke), writing that, “...it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us...” The question isn’t what seemed good to the Holy Spirit, but rather, how could they discern what was pleasing to Him in that given situation? Once again, they were led by a strong inner witness or conviction.

Then, there’s this amazing account in Acts 11, where Peter does the unthinkable. But since he is led by the Holy Spirit, his obedience leads to one of the pivotal breakthroughs for the spread of Christianity to the Gentiles! This is what happened: in his personal time with the Lord, Peter receives a vision that when interpreted by the Holy Spirit, calls things that were previously seen as unclean and prohibited under Jewish law, to be clean because of the finished work of the cross. Just then, he receives some very unusual visitors…Gentiles! They asked Peter to accompany them to another town, to a home belonging to a certain Gentile man and his family.  

Now this was strictly against Jewish custom and teachings, which dictated that Jews and Gentiles did not mix. Jews were not even permitted to enter a Gentile’s home, because they were seen as spiritually unclean. But Peter said the Spirit of the Lord told him to have no hesitation to go with them. He had such a strong inner sense that he should go, that it shouted louder than what had been instilled in him all his life! Well, it turns out the owner of the home, a Gentile, had received a visit from an angel who instructed him to seek out Peter and have him brought to his home. He was told that Peter had a message for him that would result in him and his entire household being saved.
So Peter told them all about the saving grace of Jesus. Right then and there, they received Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour and were all baptised in the Holy Spirit! Can you imagine if Peter had not known and followed the heart of God that day? Once again, the real question is: how did he know the will of God in this situation? What caused him to have such a strong sense that this was exactly what he had to do, to the point of having no hesitation to go along with these strangers, right into the home of a Gentile? Peter knew full well he was violating exactly what he had been taught under Jewish law. Well, if you remember, right before the Gentiles approached him, Peter was in prayer. He was spending time with the Lord and received a clear vision that what he was previously taught to be unclean, because of Jesus, was now clean. That vision and Word from the Lord solidified an inner witness of God’s will inside Peter. When the men asked Peter to come with them, he recognised that same inner witness he felt when he saw the vision and heard the Word of God. He knew in his spirit this was undoubtedly God’s will for him.

Because of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, we have the gift of discernment. We are not only able to inwardly sense what the will of God is for us; we can sense what our natural five senses cannot. In fact, we are able to discern not only what is of God, but also what is of the flesh; and what is driven, or motivated by the devil. This is what makes constantly operating in this gift so essential to every born-again believer.

In 1 Corinthians 12:10, Paul describes this gift as, “...the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones]...” Additionally, Hebrews 4:12 says, “...the Word that God speaks (the Rhema, inspired Word of God) is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.”

Did you know that we can become so fine tuned to the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit that we can distinguish what spirit is motivating the intent or decisions or even the behaviour of a person? This is so valuable when it comes to who we include in our close circle of friendships, or when we make leadership appointments.

The gift of discerning of spirits is also very important for our protection. Pastor Neal Reyes speaks of an incident where he and his family were shopping in a large department store. His two young daughters were playing around while he and his wife were causally looking at some outdoor furniture. When he looked up, his attention was suddenly drawn to a man who was walking down the aisle in their direction. He sensed such a strong feeling of unease and danger and asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to him what it was about this man that was so disturbing.

Immediately, the Holy Spirit revealed that this man was being tormented by evil spirits. So very quickly and quietly, Pastor Neil called his young girls and told his wife to keep them close. I assume he began to quietly pray in the Spirit. By this time, the man had walked directly towards them before suddenly stopping in his tracks. He looked directly at them and instantly changed direction, making a clear arc around them before moving away from them, in the same direction.

You may wonder why he didn’t confront the man, cast those demons out and lead him to the Lord, right there and then. Pastor Neal said the Holy Spirit didn’t tell him to do so, because the man was not seeking to be set free. The Bible tells us that while a demon is operating in a person’s life, it will not leave unless that person is willing to let it go; and even if it does, more demons will return in its place soon after. (Luke 11:24-26).

Nonetheless, because he exercised the gift of discernment, Pastor Reyes was able to keep his family out of harm’s way. There are countless testimonies of similar incidents where the Spirit of God has warned believers of danger through this gift and, essentially, prevented them from harm.

In summary, this remarkable and most necessary gift of discernment of spirits is what causes us to sense, by the Spirit of God, what our natural senses cannot discern. We are able to discern the will of God when it’s not naturally obvious to us. It causes us to discern whether the motivation or intent of someone is of God, or the devil, or even of their own human nature. Since through this gift we are able to discern the intents of the heart, we are able to protect ourselves; our families; our businesses or ministries; and the body of Christ from those who seek to harm or deceive us.

Now, what really strengthens this gift is to have an operating knowledge of God’s Word. That way, when we sense something in our spirits, we can test it against the Word, because the Holy Spirit will never contradict it. After all, the scriptures are inspired by Him.

This week, let’s spend time paying close attention to the voice and promptings of the Holy Spirit, trusting Him to give us “...the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones]...” (1 Corinthians 12:10). What a wonderful privilege to experience the Person of the Holy Spirit in this way!

All my love,

Jenny

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Secrets of God’s Heart


Hello everyone,

In my previous letter, I introduced the marvellous gifts of the Holy Spirit. I know that many of you may already be quite familiar with these gifts and how they operate; on the other hand, there are those of you who have never before been taught concerning them. Either way, I didn’t want to push them aside, but rather briefly talk about them because they are such powerful and important tools the Holy Spirit has given us. They really do help us live out our Christian faith victoriously and effectively; in fact, the Lord has placed so much importance on these gifts, emphasising that every child of God should be actively operating in them continuously, until He returns.  

Which leads me to say this: in taking in what I teach, you will probably recognise that you have been operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, without even realising it. Undoubtedly this will be very encouraging to you and even awaken a desire to pay closer attention to the leading of the Holy Spirit in your everyday life. In fact, what I want to achieve in this series, is to stir a deeper hunger for you to become more aware of and sensitive to the Person of the Holy Spirit Who is living inside you, and is ready and eager to be a more tangible presence in your life.  

Remember the Word teaches us to earnestly pursue love and desire spiritual gifts. Allow me to share a quick personal testimony of something that has happened to me recently, as I’ve been studying these gifts. One afternoon I was watching a teaching on the gift of a word of knowledge by Dr. Matthew Stevenson. What impressed me about his message was how he practically operated in the gift while he taught. He made a statement that all gifts must be tested, and one way to do that is to see if that gift points back to Jesus. In other words, after ministering the gift, Jesus is worshipped, glorified and celebrated far above the person operating in the gift. This is exactly what I experienced when I watched Him minister. I was so moved by how the people He ministered to were significantly blessed and encouraged by the word of knowledge Dr. Stevenson gave them. It really was a manifestation of God’s attention to the details in their lives. I was in tears watching their response when, through the word of knowledge, they felt intimately connected with God in their personal situation. They realised that God really cares about them and that He sees them.  

So many people feel as though they are overlooked, unseen or ignored. They feel that their lives are insignificant compared to others and don’t even expect the Lord to put His finger on them, so to speak, and read their mail to them. While watching this teaching and the effectiveness of this gift in operation I was so overwhelmed by the goodness and kindness of God and the tender love and compassion He has for us.  When I saw the impact it had on their lives I felt such a deep hunger to operate in this gift stir on the inside of me.

Later that evening, while I was sitting with my family around the dinner table, I began to tell them about what I had seen and, right there and then, I felt this flow of joy just begin to rise and bubble up in me; and I burst out laughing! With that laughter came such a joyful refreshing, like medicine to my soul, and I just went with it; I laughed so hard that the tears just flowed; and as I was laughing, I felt something unlock inside me and instead of laughing I began sobbing. I actually managed to leave the table and ran outside to get fresh air and let the Holy Spirit do in me what I knew needed to be done, even though I didn’t understand exactly what it was.  

The sense of peace and love I felt was very powerful and I know the Holy Spirit was ministering to me and significantly touching my life. What He began to do in my heart while I was watching that teaching video, He was continuing to do when I started speaking about it to my family.

My desire to operate effectively in this particular gift, because of the effect it has on people’s lives, has been awakened. Later on, I watched a teaching on this gift by Sean Boltz and he reminded me of how the desire for us to operate in the gifts of the Spirit to see people connect with the tangible love of God is in fact a desire He placed on our hearts in the first place. What a joy to know the desires of our hearts reflect the desires of His heart!

It’s no secret that the gift of a word of knowledge is the gift we are discussing today. Essentially, it’s a fragment of knowledge that is divinely revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. This is knowledge that involves facts and details that we would not naturally know about a particular person’s life. Rick Renner explains the purpose of this gift is to illuminate to the person that God is indeed aware and knowledgeable of the facts and details of their personal lives and situations. In doing this it opens up their hearts to receive and understand the care of God for them. We see this gift operate through Jesus when He met with the Samaritan woman at the well in John chapter 4. At first the woman seems a little put off by Jesus, almost having an attitude of annoyance, especially since He was a Jew and she a Samaritan. Their discussion of where each culture chose to worship certainly revealed a harboured prejudice in her. But as soon as Jesus began to reveal the personal details of her life, those walls of prejudice collapsed and her heart was opened wide to see and receive Him for the Saviour He was! In the desperate desert of her life, this woman found – in one word of knowledge – the source of Living Water that would change her forever. She was so touched that she became the first evangelist to her village!

Now, in his teaching on the gift of a word of knowledge, Pastor Neal Reyes points out that this gift is not identified as someone who is knowledgeable in all things or broad areas of life. It is a supernatural revelation about a current or past situation that we could not have known by our own reasoning or understanding, without God revealing it to us. He shared a beautiful testimony of how this gift significantly touched a lady’s life that was in their home cell. This lady had gone through a rather traumatic and painful divorce and, even though she loved and served the Lord, she just couldn’t feel whole or able to be free in the area of her emotions. The Lord revealed to Pastor Reyes that in the past this lady had an abortion and had never dealt with the pain and guilt it brought her. One evening he and his wife spoke to her about it in private, and when she heard the deep secret of her heart being revealed in such compassion and unconditional love, she was able to fully open her heart and release the shame and pain she had been harbouring for so long. She was able to embrace God’s forgiveness and even forgive herself, and the healing that began in her life brought her to a place where she was reconciled to her ex-husband and today they are serving the Lord together.

When we see the gift of a word of knowledge in operation, we see people have a first-hand encounter with the unconditional love of God. This is such a powerful gift to reach unbelievers too. When they encounter a God Who knows the secret details of their lives, and is not angry with them but wants to see them free and whole, a holy fear and reverence comes over them because He has proved His undeniable reality to them. What a privilege to work with the Holy Spirit, having ‘inside information’ to draw the lost to His saving grace.

I hope your heart has been stirred and a deep desire to operate in this gift has awakened in you, just as it has in me. Firstly, we need to recognise that this gift is from the Holy Spirit and He lives in us, meaning it’s something we already possess! Then we must understand that the desire we feel to operate in it, is His desire for us too. So pray that He would specifically begin to activate this gift inside you, and open the eyes and ears of your spirit to see and hear the secret things of His heart concerning others to you, so you can be a vessel to encourage and connect them to Him.  

Let’s live each day extra sensitive to His voice, expecting Him to activate this wonderful gift of a word of knowledge in us.

Much love,


Jenny

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Discover and Explore

Hello everyone,

Goodness, we have come along quite a journey talking about the power of God that is available to every born-again believer, haven’t we? I think what’s most encouraging and exciting, is the truth that in our relationship with the Lord, there is always a progression! We will never arrive at the place where we know all there is to know, or have experienced all there is for us to experience in Him. It’s like looking at the reflection of a well cut diamond that the light has caught in just the right way to throw out thousands of shiny, colourful, dancing specks of light. There are so many beautiful and wonderful truths to discover and experience in the Lord, I believe it will take an eternity to do it all.

I suppose what is really thrilling is that this Christian faith is alive and the amount of attention we give to developing it always pays dividends. What I mean is: it always enriches us in a significant way. We are never untouched or unchanged by whatever we put in. This is simply remarkable to me! I’ve often told the Lord how learning about Him and living for Him is a win-win scenario for me – every time! There is just no getting the wrong side of the deal with Him, or coming out second best. There is no loss for us when we pursue anything concerning Him.

I’ve been doing a study on the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are listed in 1 Corinthians 12. I’ve listened and watched different teachings about them and their purpose in our lives, and have learnt that they are actually more active in our lives than we realise. Being led by the Spirit of God in our everyday lives paves the way for us to operate in these powerful gifts more frequently than not, and brings such a joy knowing we are operating in an active partnership with the Precious Holy Spirit.

Lester Sumrall made a statement that got my attention. He said as Holy Spirit led children of God, we are the creators of an environment, not partakers of it. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Personally, I agree with Him; I really do believe that since we carry the powerful presence of God in us, we should be the ones defusing what the enemy has set up for disaster and diffusing the peace and love and power of God everywhere. Doesn’t that remind you of 2 Corinthians 2:14, that says, “But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere. Operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit can and will do just that.

Now, even though they overlap and interact with each other, the gifts of the Holy Spirit seem to be categorised into three different groups: the revelation gifts; the power gifts; and the inspiration gifts. Today we are going to begin looking at the revelation gifts which include the gift of a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge and the discerning of spirits. As we explore these gifts, we understand they all operate at the discretion and by the unction of the Holy Spirit, and they must be administrated in a way that benefits and profits all. The Word teaches us to be good stewards of these gifts being sensitive enough to not just receive them, but operate in them at the most appropriate time. 

Remember, even though the Holy Spirit initiates the gifts in us, we are still in complete control of our faculties. We don’t go into some strange spiritual trance or stupor while being held hostage by the Holy Spirit as He forces the words out our mouths, anytime, anywhere, and we have no control over it. That simply isn’t the way the Holy Spirit works. The devil, on the other hand, manipulates, controls and abuses those he possess – not so the Holy Spirit! We maintain our free will to either flow with Him, or not. Of course, if we harden our hearts towards Him and choose to ignore His promptings, we grieve Him; and without a change of heart, we’ll find ourselves in a place where His manifest Presence ceases to operate in our lives as it should. Galatians 5:4 speaks about this.  

Now, most gifts operate primarily in the environment of the church, they can and do operate outside of that environment too – wherever and whenever the Holy Spirit deems it necessary. Every time, it will be for the benefit and profit of the one on the receiving end of the gift.  

Paul was pretty clear on how the gifts should operate in the church. He explains that to just shout out what the Holy Spirit releases on your heart, at any time in the service, on the top of your lungs, is certainly not going to benefit anyone. If anything, it’s going to disrupt the flow of the service and whatever the Holy Spirit is doing at that moment. That’s why Paul says it’s best to quietly submit what the Lord has laid on your heart to the leadership. The pastor, who is called by God to lead the service and is ever sensitive to the flow and direction it should take, will release you to speak what the Lord has given you, at the appropriate time. This way it will strengthen the flow and enhance what the Spirit is doing in the service, benefiting everyone.

Having said all that, we have time to look at one of the gifts of the Spirit today, and it’s called a Word of Wisdom. This is a specific word that the Holy Spirit reveals to you concerning the future. It’s important to note it’s a fragment of wisdom, relating to a specific situation that has not yet happened. It’s not when someone is generally wise about all things in life. Some churches teach that Solomon operated in the gift of a word of wisdom, but that’s not true at all. He may have been wise in some of his dealings, but that doesn’t mean he operated in a word of wisdom. Remember, it’s a specific, fragment of information about a future event that you would naturally have absolutely no knowledge of. That’s why it’s called a revelation gift, where God supernaturally reveals it to you.  

The reason for this word of wisdom will be to give direction or a directive. It can also warn you of something, so you can prepare yourself for it. This is what happened to Noah when God warned him about the impending flood. The warning came along with specific instructions to prepare him for the flood. The Apostle Paul also received a word of wisdom, warning him about a future event in Acts 27. Before he set sail to leave the Island of Crete, the Holy Spirit gave him a word of wisdom, warning him of a terrible typhoon that would cause the ship to sink. Paul warned the captain and his crew to not leave the port for the sea, but they didn’t heed him. And then, away from the safety of land, a terrified crew faced the dilemma of a ship about to be wrecked and their lives most certainly lost to the mercy of the dangerous, stormy sea. But in verses 21-27, we read how Paul calmly and confidently tells them an angel of the Lord had appeared to him saying that not one of them would lose their lives.  And even though they lost the ship, they were all spared. 


Now, the word of wisdom could also be a warning where we need to take heed and change something by the power of prayer. Here, when the Lord warns us about something in the future, His Spirit may stir in us an urgency to pray specifically about it to ensure a favourable outcome. Romans 4:17 tells us we can call things that don’t exist as though they do. I have often been in prayer meetings or church services where a word of wisdom came warning the church of a future event. Right there and then we would pray into the situation, exercise our God-given authority until we felt the urgency lift and the peace of God dominate. Then, we would burst into spontaneous praise declaring the goodness and victory of God over our lives. What a powerful, dynamic gift the Holy Spirit has given us, for victory!  A direct, timeous supernatural revelation; a fragment of wisdom concerning the future… 

In our next letter we’ll explore more of these exciting and powerful gifts!

Much love,


Jenny

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Gifts that Enrich!

Hello everyone,

Lately we’ve been diving into the truth of God’s Word concerning the powerful, enriching grace of God that is available to every born-again believer!  The more I study and look into the truth concerning it, the more excited I get and I’m even more excited to bring you along with me!

The chief scripture we’ve been discussing is 1 Corinthians 1:4-5, where Paul speaks about the grace (charis) of God being poured out, or bestowed on us, in Christ Jesus. He was, at the time, addressing the Corinthian church, explaining how grateful he was to see how they had embraced the teaching of the truth of God’s grace, believed in it, opened their lives to it and experienced it in their lives. Then he speaks of the visible results that grace had on their lives. He said they were in every respect enriched by it.  

God’s Grace is Multi-faceted 

We have discovered that Paul explains the charis grace of God as the manifest presence of God, touching our lives in a significant way, to empower and equip and transform us, to do what naturally and normally we could not do on our own.

Then, when we go over to 1Peter 4:10-11, we see this same charis grace of God, that every believer has received, as being multi-faceted, or many-sided, and it includes the extremely diverse spiritual powers and gifts.  Now I know that a large portion of the church shies away from these spiritual powers and gifts for various reasons; mostly due to incorrect teaching or understanding of them, or misconceptions of their purpose and how they are meant to function.  Either way, we cannot ignore that God has dedicated much of the New Testament to teaching on these gifts and powers, which means He expects us to educate ourselves concerning them, open our lives to them and allow them to work in and through us, as He dictates.

In this letter, without going into an in-depth study of the individual gifts found in 1 Corinthians 12, I want to emphasis how their operating in our lives, enriches us greatly, and why the Bible says they are extremely necessary and vitally important for the church today.  

ALL Spiritual Gifts are for EVERY Believer

To begin with, we must understand that the 9 gifts of the Spirit are the supernatural MANIFESTATION of the works of God, and are given and made available to every born-again child of God.  1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “But to each one is given the MANIFESTATION of the [Holy] Spirit [the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit] for good and profit.”  

What’s important to note is that in 1 Corinthians 1:7, Paul urges that we ALL LACK NO GIFT, until Jesus returns!  In other words we should all be open and yielded to the Holy Spirit to operate in each spiritual gift, as He wills, until the day Jesus comes back for us.  In fact, 1 Corinthians 14:1 says we are to follow after love and DESIRE SPIRITUAL GIFTS.  

In 1 Corinthians 14:26, we are given the primary benefit of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It says they are all to edify the church. There are no restrictions on which gifts are able to be accessed or operated in, all are actively available, at the discretion of the Holy Spirit; and that their purpose is to profit and edify the church.  No only that, they are very powerful witnessing tools to unbelievers.  The first hand experience of seeing the working of miracles and gifts of healing will without doubt have a life transforming effect on anyone’s heart.   

Having said that, 1Corinthians 1:6-9 share 3 specific ways these spiritual gifts enrich our lives.  These are by no means the only benefits, and I know that as I briefly share them, they will be a blessing and encouragement to you.

Benefit 1: The Gifts Make Christ Real to Us

1 Corinthians 1:6 says, “In this way [our] witnessing concerning Christ (the Messiah) was so confirmed and established and made sure in you,”  I find this verse particularly meaningful.  When Jesus walked on this earth, He constantly operated, by the Holy Spirit, in the supernatural gifts of God.  He was always motivated by His deep love and compassion for people, wanting to see them free from the bondage of the curse of sin and it’s terrible affect on their lives.  That compassion for people is still the same today as it was then, only now what Jesus said would happen is being fulfilled!  He said that when He goes to be with the Father, His Holy Spirit would come and live in us, and through Him, we would be empowered to do the very same works He did.  In fact, He said even greater works would be done.  That doesn’t necessarily mean greater in quality, but rather greater in quantity.  It’s a comparison where compared to just one man (Jesus), there would be millions of Spirit filled people operating in those same gifts!  Hallelujah!  The church of God has the power to change the world by God’s manifest love and power operating in and through us!

Now, when those gifts manifest through us, they operate by the unction of the Holy Spirit. We move in obedience to Him, and get to see and be a vessel through which the Spirit of Jesus visibly touches and heals and restores people.  Instead of just hearing or reading about miracles and healings and prophecy and all those wonderful gifts of the Spirit that took place in the Bible; we don’t have to imagine them, we are able to see and experience Jesus touching people the same way, right in front of our eyes.  The image of the Person of Jesus being our healer, prophet, and miracle worker leaves the mental realm, and comes into our reality.  He is confirmed, established, and made sure in us!

Benefit 2: The Gifts Mature Us

1 Corinthians 1:8 says, “And He will establish you to the end [keep you steadfast, give you strength, and guarantee your vindication; He will be your warrant against all accusation or indictment so that you will be] guiltless and irreproachable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).”  When we embrace the grace of God and yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, operating in the gifts of the Spirit, we are kept steadfast in our faith. Whether the gifts of revelation, power or inspiration operate, they bring an establishing maturity into our lives.  Since we are experiencing the voice and work of God, by the Spirit of God and not our own intellect, we are significantly strengthened in our spiritual walk with the Lord.  That’s because the active, tangible role of the Holy Spirit influences us to keep our lives free from sin and a lukewarm relationship with God.  Seeing the gifts operating in and around us stirs up a Holy reverence for the Lord and a deep passion and desire to live pure, clean and wholeheartedly for Him, until He returns for us.

Benefit 3: The Gifts Make us Partners with Christ

1 Corinthians 1:9 says, “God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  

Sometimes the pressures and demands of life can be overwhelming. But with the Spirit of God and His gifts operating in the church, we don’t have to navigate through life alone.  The Holy Spirit has made our partnership with Jesus a concrete reality through the supernatural Presence and power of God operating in our lives through these gifts!  

Let me explain, according to verse 5 of 1 Corinthians 1, we are enriched in Christ.  The prefix en means in and by.  In other words, God’s supernatural presence has secured us in Jesus, at the point of our salvation, and keeps us being enriched by Him. Today and every day, we can intimately know and experience the Person of Jesus as our healer, our prophet, our wisdom, our miracle worker, our comforter, and everything we need Him to be.  And as we follow His lead, He will partner with us to demonstrate  His nature to whomever He leads us to.  As He works His spiritual gifts through our lives, we are able to form a dynamic partnership of love and power with the Spirit of Christ!  He gives us a word of wisdom, or knowledge or prophecy to encourage someone and confirm He is a very real and personal presence in their lives.  As our Partner, He works through us to bring whatever He deems necessary to touch the lives of the people around us.  Whether it’s healing or a miracle, even a tongue or interpretation of a tongue, whichever gift He sees as necessary at the time, He prompts our spirits to step out with Him in faith and flow in His supernatural power, as one, inseparable partnership.

There is no denying the enriching and empowering grace of God that’s available to every believer, demonstrated through the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  There is such an exciting partnership for us to walk in with the Holy Spirit, but unless we educate ourselves concerning them, we will never have the confidence to open our lives to them and live in this glorious partnership.

Remember the gifts of the Spirit are for the benefit and profit of the church.  As we embrace them and learn to operate in them, they will enrich us by making Jesus real to us; by bringing us to a place of spiritual maturity; and by causing us to work in a divine partnership with the Lord, where we touch the lives of others, just as He did when He walked on this earth. 

All my love,

Jenny