Are you silently suffering from the aftermath of your church being torn in two? It was many years ago now, but the memories burned a painful yet necessary lesson into my heart. I wish I could say that I was blameless in what happened, but I can’t. My intentions were good, but I was blind to the fact that I played into the enemy’s hand. Continue reading
We all have many choices before us…will we return to Church? Will we go to the gym? How about returning to the office? Fear of covid 19 screams for our attention. The question is, will we give fear the power to guide our decisions? Don’t get me wrong. We all need to use wisdom in what we do and where we go. Something will guide our decisions. If fear of sickness is something you’re struggling with, you’re not alone. Continue reading
If so, you’re in good company. King David felt the effects of it too. I haven’t found a ton of scriptures that talk about the spirit of slumber, so I try to give careful attention to the ones that do. This morning, I was paying special attention to the context of the main chapter that talks about this spirit. I’ve been a little baffled by Romans 11:9-10: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs bent forever.” (Romans 11:9-10) Continue reading
“…he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound…to comfort all that mourn; To appoint to them that mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…” Isaiah 61:1b-3 Continue reading
“‘In the last days’, God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people.'” (Acts 2:17)
When God pours our His Spirit, it isn’t a little trickle. It’s a gushing of His Spirit. What does an outpouring of the Holy Spirit look like?
Those who look for God will find Him. Ezekiel 39:29 says, “I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.” Who are the people of Israel? It’s people of faith who choose to believe God. (Galatians 3:6-7)
When there is an outpouring of God’s Spirit, there is an increased sense of intimacy with God. Encounters with God satisfy thirsty souls. We not only know about God. We know God. Facts about God give way to relationship with Him.
Many of those who come to a saving faith during an outpouring of God’s Spirit will be sons and daughters of believers. There will be an increase in prodigals returning home. Isaiah 44:3-5 says,
“For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children. They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank. Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the LORD.’ Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’”
Another indication that God is pouring our His Spirit is that barren places come to life. Picture a desert that becomes a garden. (Isaiah 32:15) This garden is filled with abundant fruit. When God pours out His Spirit, it’s harvest time. This means a harvest of all the hard work of God’s people. The people of God will reap where they have sown. Their efforts will bear fruit. Fruit that will last. Believers will plunder the camp of the enemy. God will repay His people “for the years the locusts have eaten.” (Joel 2:25) He will vindicate His people for all that the enemy plundered from them. It will be a time of spiritual “fatness” as God restores the grain, the new wine and oil. Joy will rest upon God’s people. We’ll walk in the anointing of the Holy Spirit, enabled to do all that God calls us to do. God will use the financial restoration of His people to fund His kingdom agenda.
“…once more God will send us his spirit. The wasteland will become fertile, and fields will produce rich crops.” Isaiah 32:15
When God pours out His Spirit, we also see rest restored to God’s people. Isaiah 32:15-18) God’s people will find rest for their souls. Strongholds of shame will break off. (Joel 2:27) Minds once ravaged by fear and depression will experience rest. Emotions that were once tossed to and fro like the waves of the sea will become calm. When we lie down to sleep, our rest will be undisturbed and restorative.
When God pours out His Spirit, we can also expect to see believers walk in an increased level of power. The early church experienced this on Pentecost. (Acts 1:8) Jesus’ disciples, once timid and vacillating, became bold and courageous. They preached the gospel with authority. They knew what their mission was, and they did it even in the face of persecution. God will make His word known on the earth through His people. God will cause believers to walk in obedience to His word. (Ezek 36:27)
Dreams, visions and prophecy increase when God pours out His Spirit. (Acts 2:17-18) We are already seeing this increase. God is speaking much more frequently through dreams. As believers seek God for accurate interpretations and applications of God’s revelation, God’s kingdom moves forward.
“And afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on My menservants and maidservants, I will pour out My Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth…” Joel 2:28-30a
As we approach Pentecost this year (May 31st), I pray that we as a Church will invite God to pour out His Holy Spirit upon us. As we cry out for times of refreshing, God will hear our prayers! The Holy Spirit is trustworthy. He our gentle, guiding friend. May we know Him as our constant companion,
What are your marching orders in this season? Is it, “Run hard and fast?” Or, “Wait.” I’m in the latter category. Like a runner waiting for the signal that the race is on, I want to run. The waiting feels like it’s taking forever. Waiting can be one of the hardest things to do. I’d much rather roll up my sleeves and get to work. But God keeps saying, “Wait. Trust My timing. I will determine when it’s time to run.” If you’re waiting too, I hope to encourage you with some things that have helped me:
In one split second, I went from peace to panic. I felt like my lungs were being compressed, making it almost impossible to speak. One word at a time, that’s all I could force out. Fear of the Corona virus beckoned for me to take it’s hand. Fear was an old familiar enemy. It had taken me years to break free from it’s grip. It screamed, “I’m baaaack!” But this time, I knew where to turn. Or rather, Whom I needed to turn to. Continue reading
How taking part in on-line worship services keeps us connected
This beautiful young mama is my friend Joey. In a season when they could be cut off from fellowship with other believers, Joey and her precious family are staying connected. I absolutely love this picture. It personifies the tenacity that overcomes whatever obstacle we may find in our way. Shelter at home? No problem. The church still advances. The church isn’t about a building. We ARE the church.
If someone had told me 6 months ago that today the stock market would be tumbling, that we’d see churches, cruise lines, malls, gyms and hair salons shutting down, I’d have thought you were crazy. But then, life can get a little crazy at times. In times like these, we need a safe place to go. We need an emotional safe house. Continue reading
What The Psalmist Teaches Us About Recovering Joy
We hear the anguish in the words of Psalm 77, “I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help…Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion?”
Maybe you can relate. Maybe there have been times in your life when your perception of God didn’t line up with God’s description of Himself in the word…Compassionate. Promise keeper. Comforter. Our help in times of trouble. Rescuer. I have certainly been in that place. And it feels like anguish. So what can we learn from the writers of the Psalms about depression? Continue reading