GLORIOUS PROMISES OF GOD

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.John 14:12-13

Jesus was speaking to his disciples from the heart, in the knowledge that the cross awaited. Contextually, he is talking about his miracles, urging his disciples to believe in him as the Son of God because of the works he has done in their sight. Caught up in the Spirit, he prophesies that those who believe in him, including believers down through the ages, will perform the same, and even greater miracles. In the power and effectiveness of his children, Father God will be glorified. What a glorious promise!

Also, Jesus’ initial statement is that we would do the miracles He had done. The additional clause of ‘even greater things will you do builds on that, rather than diminishes it. 

Most denominational churches do not see or believe miracles occur today so have lost faith in the word of God.

The consequences of believing false traditions over the word of God are serious. We lower our expectations of God, reducing his incredible promises to match our experience. By doing so, we lose our hold on faith, because we are no longer clinging to his Word – our grip has been transferred instead to the tradition, and we are well adrift of the truth. Once we drift from the truth of God’s active, compassionate, interventionist love, and the promises of his miraculous provision, deliverance, and healing, we lose sight of who God is altogether. We paint a lesser picture and worship it instead.

The testimony of Francis Chan is very revealing in regard to miracles. When he was pastoring a church of 5,000 in California and esteemed highly in the World because of the size of his church and authoring best-selling books like Crazy Love he never saw or expected to see miracles.

Speaking during the virtual International Association of Healing Ministries conference this week, Chan said, “What I do know is for many years I didn’t believe in healing, I didn’t believe in miracles, it was pretty much what I was taught in seminary.

“Humbly, I have to say, I used to ridicule people who spoke in tongues or prophesied or believed they could heal, even though when I personally read the Scriptures, I saw this available.”

Earlier this year, Chan shared that he and a team of other Christians supernaturally healed several people in a rural village in Myanmar, including a little boy and girl who were deaf. 

“Every person I touched was healed,” the Crazy Love author said in a sermon delivered at Moody Bible Institute’s Founders Week Conference.

“OK, this is craziness to me. I have never experienced this in 52 years,” he testified then. “I’m talking like a little boy and a little girl who were deaf. We laid hands on her and she starts crying and smiling. These are not Christians who have even heard about Jesus, and she’s freaking out. We lay hands on her little brother, we lay hands on him, and he starts hearing for the first time.

Do you think Francis wants to go back to his church of 5000? No, in fact, he is setting up House Churches with no buildings or paid pastors.

THE “KEY” TO EVANGELISM IS GOD’S POWER

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

Paul was incredibly well-educated and well-versed in the Scripture of his day. He would have had a doctorate and could have been a seminary professor if he so chose. If anyone could have pulled off being wise and persuasive, it would have been Paul. Yet Paul himself said that his message and teaching did not rely on wise and persuasive words but on a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.

A demonstration of the Spirit’s power. That was Paul’s key to evangelism. With no Holy Spirit, there’s no option of demonstrating the Spirit’s power. This leaves us with wise and persuasive words and we know they won’t convert anyone.

How do we begin to demonstrate the Spirit’s power in our life, and how does that lead to effective sharing of the gospel?

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you because our gospel came to you not only in word but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.1 Thessalonians 1:4-5

“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.John 14:25-26

The fruit of the Spirit must be evident in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness, self-control. This will allow you to show supernatural grace: forgiveness, even to your enemies.

The gifts of the Spirit must flow as the Holy Spirit leads: words of knowledge, words of wisdom, prophecy, faith, healing, miracles, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.John 14:12-13

Jesus was speaking to his disciples from the heart, in the knowledge that the cross awaited. Contextually, he is talking about his miracles, urging his disciples to believe in him as the Son of God because of the works he has done in their sight. Caught up in the Spirit, he prophesies that those who believe in him, including believers down through the ages, will perform the same, and even greater miracles. In the power and effectiveness of his children, Father God will be glorified. What a glorious promise!

Torben Sondergaad’s Last Reformation ministry demonstrates the truth of Jesus and Paul’s words. Check it out http://www.lastreformation .com. We must be walking in the power of the Holy Spirit if we are to accomplish anything for God’s Kingdom.

For further excellent articles like this one check out Duncan Edward Pile on the Patheos website.

GIFT OF PROPHECY

This article is by Asher Intrater of the ministry Revive Israel. Asher is a Messianic Jew originally from the USA but now based in Israel.

For my prophetically gifted friends, may I mention three warnings:

  1. Gospel First – if we are focusing on a socio-political issue MORE than the gospel of salvation in Yeshua, then we have missed the priority.
  2. Universal Repentance – if we are calling for one side of an issue to repent, claiming that we are right and they are wrong, we have already missed the point. We are all wrong and need to repent ourselves; and call both sides to repent.
  3. Rebellion/Stubbornness – heavenly wisdom is pure, peaceable, and easy to be reconciled (James 3:17). We are called at times to disobey governments when involving religious freedom and moral absolutes. But we are also called to submit to governing authorities.

There is a delicate balance here. Peter refused to obey the governing authorities in (Acts 4), yet told us to submit to all governing authorities in (I Peter 2). Paul spent much of his ministry in jail but told us that to resist the government is to resist God (Romans 13).

It is interesting to compare Revelation 13 and Romans 13. The first speaks of a worldwide government run by a demonic figure; the second speaks of government workers as ministers of God doing a divine service.

There are a variety of ministries and gifts in the body of Christ. They are called to work together in cooperation, thus complementing and balancing one another from extremist views.

He … gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God…” Ephesians 4:11-13

There is safety in this teamwork. Prophetic ministries were designed to be overseen by someone with apostolic insight. A prophetically gifted person should be in a local community with pastoral oversight for their personal and family needs and also be submitted to a team with apostolic oversight for their ministry direction.

When prophets seek to operate outside this team model, they are more likely to be deceived. Some ‘prophets’ today believe they have received a word and run to social media to announce it. Many of them have no accountability at all. The New Covenant focuses on Ephesians 4 teams that work together.

Such cooperation helps prevent imbalance and rebellion. There are different structures and styles in which this teamwork can take place. I am not promoting one form or another. However, we need mutual submission to guard against extremism and deception during these times of intense conflict.

Throughout biblical history, the prophets spoke to the nation, sometimes in encouragement and sometimes in criticism. Today as well, we greatly need the gift of clear and balanced prophetic discernment in our midst.

GOD DOES HEAL PEOPLE MIRACULOUSLY TODAY

God is in the healing business. He provided you with your immune system. It heals your body of disease. However, on occasions, as this atheist cancer doctor discovered God does answer prayer with miraculous healing.

This article published in USA Today: Cancer Doctor Was an Atheist but Now Has ‘Profound Faith’ After Investigating Power of Prayer to Heal.

A longtime cancer doctor believes prayer can be powerful and effective at healing the afflicted, sharing in a recently-published USA Today opinion piece how his investigation into invocations (the act of calling upon God (Holy Spirit) for healing) led him from “being a scientifically based ’empirical’ atheist to someone with a profound faith.”

Dr. Gary Onik said he has “encountered at least one terminal cancer patient who was healed by a worldwide prayer effort on his behalf,” and shared his journey of investigating how prayer can help the afflicted.

It was the aforementioned case that led Onik to think deeper on the matter.

“Rather than dismiss this miracle as inconsistent with my empiric and rationally based training, it made me consider how the new scientific knowledge of quantum physics and human consciousness might support the idea of prayer-facilitated healing,” he wrote.

Onik spent a decade looking at how prayer and science might coalesce, and then found himself facing his own terminal prostate cancer diagnosis. Like many others, he had a choice: to seek prayer — or not.

Based on Onik’s research, he said he “knew that prayer had to be a major component” of his own treatment. He decided to seek prayer, so he posted a video and people from all over the world — and from a diversity of beliefs — reached out to offer invocations.

Onik decided to avoid surgery for his cancer, which had spread to his lymph nodes and bones, and instead relied on prayer and a special immunotherapy regime he created.

“It is now three years since my diagnosis,” he wrote. “Prayer combined with immunotherapy treatment has left me free of metastatic cancer and potentially cured.”

Onik’s not sure he would have been healed without prayer, but there’s one thing he is certain of: prayer is important, especially when it comes to cancer.

As Faithwire previously reported, the benefits of faith continue to be shown in scientific studies. For instance, a new Gallup poll found better mental health trends among Americans who routinely attend worship services.

Christians, though, know the power of prayer, as the Bible repeatedly implores believers to seek the Lord in this way. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) reads, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This is what Francis Chan had to say about prayer and miraculous healing on a mission trip to Myanmar. His experiences of the miraculous with his wife and family have changed them. They could never go back to the old life regardless of how comfortable it was.

“There’s no way I can communicate to you how much peace I felt,” Chan stressed. “I am sharing the Good News with a village of people who have never heard of this before. I can’t tell you how right it felt.”

Later in his message, Chan revealed that while in the village he asked God to help him heal those suffering. 

“I’m going, ‘God, please, please hear,’” he recalled. “People started coming forward for healing.” “Every person I touched was healed,” “I have never experienced this in 52 years. I’m talking like a little boy and a little girl who were deaf. We laid hands, she starts crying and smiling. These are not Christians who have even heard about Jesus, and she’s freaking out. We lay hands on her little brother, we lay hands on him, and he starts hearing for the first time.” Chan admitted that the entire process was out of his “comfort zone,” adding, “This is stuff I’d read about, but I’m going, ‘Man, it happened. It happened.’ Stuff left and right.” “I thought I had faith, but my faith was at another level, and I think there are some things that contributed — some of it was just faith in His word, that when Jesus says, ‘I am in you and you are in Me,’ to take that literally,” he declared. 

There is no doubt in my mind that in these “last days” before Jesus returns that if we step out in faith and do what God is calling us to do that we will see God’s miraculous power at work just as Francis Chan did, whether it is healing or any of the other eight gifts of the Spirit.,

Are you a spiritual foodie? Chan challenges.

ARE WE WORKING OUT OUR SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING?

Paul tells us “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippian 12-13

“With fear and trembling” sounds daunting and certainly not pleasurable. In fact, is it even possible?

Working out your salvation is not possible if you have not accepted Christ as your Savior. But once you have, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you.

With His partnership you can “work out” your salvation. You can experience practically in your everyday life the unlimited resources of peace, joy, and hope that accompany the Holy Spirit’s presence inside of you.

Sadly, you have to question how many people in our churches today are born again and have received the Holy Spirit as their counsellor, teacher and comforter. It is only the Holy Spirit that produces the fruit of the spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace. patience, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness and self control. It is only the Holy Spirit that provides the gifts of the spirit for ministry: word of knowledge, word of wisdom, prophecy, faith, healing, miracles, discerning of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues.

The “fear and trembling” Paul is referring to is the attitude Christians are to have in pursuing this goal. We are to have a healthy fear of offending God through disobedience and an awe and respect for His majesty and holiness.

How we act right now as followers of Jesus will greatly impact our internal peace. Fear and trembling simply means, approach God with humility and ask him for His peace to be increased to a greater measure than the anxiety you are experiencing. Say to Him, “Lord, I humbly ask for your peace to be increased in me. I need it Lord to get through my day. Please help me Lord.”

And guess what? God will. God promises us in Philippians 2:13 that “He is at work in us both to will and to work for his good pleasure“. This is a promise.

Obedience triggers greater peace in our lives and greater peace triggers greater effectiveness for us as witnesses for Christ. Paul tells us in Philippians 2:15 that obedience brings blamelessness into our lives in the midst of a crooked and twisted world and this enables our light for Him to shine brighter.

We have to hold on to God’s Word, be in God’s Word, and apply God’s Word to our lives if we hope to maintain any sense of peace in this world. If we hold fast to God’s Word we are fixing our gaze on God by reading His Word and applying it to our lives regardless of our circumstances.

Much of this article was taken from a post by Pastor Kelly a Guest Contributor to http://www.patheos.com entitled Working Out Peace In Your Life In 2021

HOLY SPIRIT GIFTS

This is a follow up article to my post entitled “Be An Overcomer Having The Mind Of Christ“. Can I suggest you read it first if you have not already done so. It provides information on all the Holy Spirit gifts and the essential role the Holy Spirit has in every believers life.

Without a doubt, speaking in tongues is the most controversial Holy Spirit gift mentioned in the New Testament. Should believers ignore it, oppose it, or embrace it? There are many legitimate questions regarding the gift of tongues that deserve a thoughtful, biblical response. The most significant.

1. Is speaking in tongues for all believers?

The most important thing you need to know about speaking in tongues is what Jesus said about it, and He did not mince His words in Mark 16:17: “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues.” Jesus declared that tongues is a supernatural sign that can and should accompany everyone who believes in Him. God does not give His children any bad gifts, so we shouldn’t fear or ridicule the gift of tongues. The gift of tongues was the most common spiritual gift in the New Testament church. The Bible tells us in Acts 2:4 that all of the original 120 disciples at Pentecost spoke in tongues in the Upper Room: “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Also, Paul made it clear in 1 Corinthians 14:5 that he wanted every believer to pray in tongues (for personal edification) and prophesy (to edify the church): “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy.”

2. From where does it come, what is its origin and purpose?

The gift of tongues is a heavenly language which the Holy Spirit downloads into your spirit that enables you to communicate directly with God. However it is important to remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:1, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels. but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

In 2006, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania took brain images of five people while they spoke in tongues. Their research was published in The New York Times. The leader of the study team was Dr. Andrew Newberg, who arrived at this conclusion:

“We noticed a number of changes that occurred functionally in the brain. Our finding of decreased activity in the frontal lobes during the practice of speaking in tongues is fascinating because these subjects truly believe that the spirit of God is moving through them and controlling them to speak. …Our brain-imaging research shows us that these subjects are not in control of the usual language centers during this activity, which is consistent with their description of a lack of intentional control while speaking in tongues.”

When they prayed in tongues, their frontal lobes, the willful part of the brain we use to think and control what we do, were quiet. The language center of their brains—the part we use to speak in our native language—were quiet as well. The people were not in a trance; they were fully aware of what was happening. The researchers were unable to pinpoint which part of the brain was controlling this behavior of speaking in tongues. Dr. Newberg went on to say, “The amazing thing was how the images supported people’s interpretation of what was happening. … The way they describe it, and what they believe, is that God is talking through them.”

Speaking in tongues is clearly not a fabricated language, as these scientists have confirmed. It is a spiritual language given to us by God to communicate with Him.

3. Did the gift of tongues cease after the first century, or is it still active today?

The doctrine of cessationism is firmly entrenched in Reformed Christianity. This is the belief that the apostolic and charismatic gifts (including speaking in tongues) ceased after the original 12 apostles passed away. However, several notable early church fathers—such as Justin Martyr (100-165), Irenaeus (115-202), Tertullian (160-220), and Origen (185-254)—recorded that the spiritual gifts, including speaking in tongues, were still active in the church in their days, long after John had passed away around 100 AD.

Peter proclaimed in Acts 2:39 that the gift of tongues is for everyone who is called by God: “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 13:8-9 that when that which is perfect comes, tongues will cease. That is a reference to the Second Coming of Christ. The Bible teaches that no one is perfect except Jesus. When Christ returns, we will not need to speak in tongues to communicate with God because we will be with Him. But until then, the gift of tongues is available to any believer who desires it.

4. What are people saying when they pray in tongues?

The Bible reveals five main things that happen when believers pray in tongues:

1. They are speaking directly to God. 1 Corinthians 14:2, “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.” Tongues is an intimate and direct line of communication with God.

2. They are declaring God’s wonders. Acts 2:11, “We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” When we pray in tongues we are actually declaring the wonders and mysteries and majesty of God.

3. They are praising God. Acts 10:46,For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.” Even if we don’t understand what we are saying when we speak in tongues, we are praising God in the Spirit (1 Cor. 14:16).

4. They are edifying themselves. 1 Corinthians. 14:4, “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.” Praying in tongues is like a spiritual workout—it builds you up and makes you stronger spiritually.

5. The Holy Spirit is praying through them, declaring God’s will. Romans 8:26-27, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express…because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” Praying in the Spirit will bring revelation and insight into God’s will for your life.

If you desire the gift of tongues, pray for it in faith until you receive it. Jesus said in Luke 11:13, “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Sometimes we have to ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, and knock and keep on knocking until we receive our answer to prayer.

If you already have the gift of tongues, use it every day. In 1 Cor. 14:18, Paul boasted about how often he prayed in tongues: “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.” Tongues is a real language, and as with any language, you have to use it in order to increase your fluency and vocabulary.

Are there excesses and abuse with the use of the gift of tongues? Yes, of course, and they need to be corrected, but don’t throw out the baby with the bath water by rejecting the gift of tongues altogether. Let us take the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 14:39 to heart: “Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues” (emphasis added.)

This article is an abbreviated version of the article from Charisma News by Brian Alarid entitled Things You Need to Know About Speaking in Tongues. He is is the lead pastor of Passion Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and an area coordinator for Billy Graham Evangelistic Association/My Hope.

available as an ebook on Amazon

CHURCHES THAT WILL TRANSFORM COMMUNITIES – Part 2

In order for kingdom culture to rule and reign on the earth, we must repent as a church for a mindset that doesn’t foster kingdom culture. We are citizens of heaven on earth, but we must act like it. At Pentecost, we were reminded that Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell all born again believers to empower them to do the things He is calling us to do.

We are living so far beneath our potential. As the church, if we don’t begin to live in the knowledge of His empowerment and guidance, then culture will not change around us. We have been given the Holy Spirit so God Himself can effect the changes He wants to make manifest in the earth, but we have to truly believe and act on it.

Repent simply means to change your mind. The church is not walking in the authority of God and His Word. We as a church are constantly submitting to the things of the world and the strongholds of the enemy that come from the second heavens, yet He has already raised us up and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6).

We need to step out into the world and use the gifts of the Spirit as Paul instructed. The church needs to work in John 17 unity of purpose to build His Kingdom on earth.

My book Living Eternal Now – Empowered by the Holy Spirit is a useful resource and is available as an ebook on Amazon.

“For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:4

PROTECTION & HEALING FROM GOD IS CONDITIONAL

‘If you diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases with which I have afflicted the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you'” (Ex. 15:26).

There is a condition attached to healing and health. It is obedience. In Deuteronomy we find the same condition.

“Now it will be, if you will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I am commanding you today, then the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings will come on you and overtake you if you listen to the voice of the Lord your God” (Deut. 28:1-2).

Although the blessings of God encompasses the totality of our lives, two of the main areas it covers are divine health and financial/material provision and prosperity. And this chapter also outlines the curses that will come upon God’s people if they do not hearken to the Lord’s voice and obey Him.

“But it will happen, if you will not listen to the voice of the Lord your God, by being careful to do all His commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you” (Deut. 28:15).

This is what I wanted you to see. There is a condition attached to the blessings of God that is not only seen throughout the old covenant but carries over into the new covenant as well. This is where many modern day Charismatics and word of faith people have missed it. The Lord showed me that it’s a mindset. To them, it sounds like works. In other words, if we do everything just right, we will be healed. No, that’s not it. The issue is walking in the light that you possess. The issue is obedience to what you know to do or not to do—obedience to both His written word and what He says to you by His Spirit.

“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, then we have confidence before God. And whatever we ask, we will receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another as He commanded us” (1 John 3:20-23).

Here’s the bottom line: If your heart condemns you you cannot have confidence toward God (1 John 3:21). You cannot come boldly before the throne of God. You cannot believe and receive what you ask for. You cannot resist the devil and take hold of the promises of God. You cannot exercise your God given authority unless you have confidence toward God. Condemnation kills that confidence.

Disobedience results in condemnation and condemnation causes your faith to shrivel. Confess and quote the Word all you want. Without obedience your faith won’t work.

Obey the written Word of God, especially concerning your love walk. Obey what His Spirit is saying to your heart. Walk in the light of what He’s revealed to you, and the blessings of God shall be fully manifest in your life.

Great article by Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries