FALLING UNDER THE POWER

John 18:4-6 – So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

I used to have a really hard time with people falling under the power. It seemed forced to me. I guess seeing some evangelists shoving people over didn’t help much. All of that has changed for me now. The change started when I was caught by surprise by falling on the floor for myself. I was embarrassed at first, I had fallen down and couldn’t get up. After laying on the floor for a while I began to yield. As I was laying on the floor, I became more and more aware of a strong presence on me and frankly I no longer wanted to get up. I was hooked. From that point on I began to go on my search in the Bible and into historic Revival to see if this manifestation of the Spirit was tenable. Of course the Bible is full of examples. Today’s verse from the Garden of Gethsemane saw the soldiers coming to arrest Jesus fall down under the power. Of course there was Saul of Tarsus rolling in the road on the Road to Damascus and Daniel in his time of fasting and prayer doing a face-plant in the dirt. We also can’t forget John on the isle of Patmos, he fell on his face when he saw Jesus shine like the noonday sun. The Bible is full of these examples.

As for historic Revival, John Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, and Charles Finney experienced this phenomenon in their meetings. People would often fall into an unconscious state and be there for extended periods of time. This manifestation was also common at the Azusa Street Revival, the Charismatic Renewal, as well as the outpourings under John Wimber in the 1980’s. This is nothing new and has been in the church from the beginning.

What happens when someone is under the anointing experiencing this manifestation? I like to call it the Holy Ghost operating table. Whatever needs to come out is removed by the Lord. He can heal us physically, restore us emotionally, bring deliverance from oppression and addictions into our lives.

He also pours into us. Whatever we are lacking for the task at hand He can add to us. He is passing out gifts for ministry and even giving us instruction and creative ideas. He pours into us exactly what we need.

So what shall we do? I say press in until you are lost in His glory, that’s where it all begins to happen.

TAKING KINGDOM MATTERS INTO OUR OWN HANDS

JN. 18:10:11 – Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”

You would have to admit, Peter would be classified as ‘on fire’. A band of soldiers is coming to arrest Christ led by the traitor Judas, taking matters into his own hands Peter actually cuts off someone’s ear (I hardly think Peter was aiming at an ear). Jesus response, like always, goes right to the heart of the matter, Jesus says to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”

Of course the cup Jesus is speaking of was the cup of redemption, Peter was making a last ditch effort to avoid the cross. There are two basic issues here that are very important and go into our everyday serving the Lord. First, like all of us do, Peter was trying to do the will of God with human effort. His heart was in the right place but confidence in our selves can never accomplish the things of the kingdom. How do these things show themselves in our modern world? Actually they are all around us. Studying marketing strategies, rather than the word of God, trying to provide ministries to accommodate every human whim rather than focusing on the Lord Himself, trying to build ministries rather than ministering to hurting people. A lot of the activity may look the same on the outside, but often our hearts become cold and calculating. At the end of the day the numbers are for our on ego rather than the glory of God.

Secondly, Peter was avoiding the cross. His eyes were still on an earthly kingdom. Remember the crowd after the miracle of the loaves and bread, they wanted to make Jesus an earthly king. Judas had fallen into the same lie, he wasn’t interested in a cross, he wanted power and influence. Today we easily slip into the same mess, we look to the size of the crowds and the income or success of our business or any earthly efforts and miss the whole point, His kingdom is not of this world. So what is the answer? Slow down, look to the Lord. Follow His lead rather than asking Him to follow ours.

HOLINESS SUITS YOU

Ps.93:5 -Your testimonies are fully confirmed; Holiness befits Your house, O LORD, forevermore.

Just as Israel kept being pulled into the world’s quagmire, the church tends to struggle with the foolish distractions of this world’s culture. This scripture shows the foolishness of falling prey to this culture’s allurements. What is the solution? Why its right there in today’s verse; holiness befits you. In other words, you wear holiness well. This reminds me of the shocking changes that began in my life when I was converted at the age of 21. No one gave me a list of the do’s and don’t’s of Christianity, I think the “list” was written on my heart. The things I had lived for; alcohol, drugs, and promiscuity; became unattractive to me. Rather than being driven for my next high, I began to find pleasure and comfort reading the Bible and being with my new Christian friends. There was an about face in my life that was not dictated but was flowing from deep within, holiness had settled down deep into my life. Here is how Spurgeon describes today’s verse.

“As in providence the throne of God is fixed beyond all risk, so in revelation his truth is beyond all question. Other teachings are uncertain, but the revelations of heaven are infallible. As the rocks remain unmoved amid the tumult of the sea, so does divine truth resist all the currents of man’s opinion and the storms of human controversy; they are not only sure, but very sure. Glory be to God, we have not been deluded by a cunningly devised fable: our faith is grounded upon the eternal truth of the Most High. Holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever. Truth changes not in its doctrines, which are very sure, nor holiness in its precepts, which are incorruptible. The teaching and the character of God are both unaltered. God has not admitted evil to dwell with him, he will not tolerate it in his house, he is eternally its enemy, and is for ever the sworn friend of holiness. The church must remain unchanged, and for ever be holiness unto the Lord; yea, her King will preserve her undefiled by the intruder’s foot.”

So the church does not have to dress itself up in the popular attire of this world to make it attractive, it is beautiful dressed in the garments of the Lord. So go ahead and dress yourself up today. How do you do that? Draw near to the Lord and He will cloth you with His beautiful garments.

COOPERATING WITH VISITATION

1 Peter 2:12 – Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Peter has an interesting approach to criticism and persecution. He has obviously been effected deeply by the reality of life beyond this world. His response smells of heaven. Peter says that we are to respond to our attackers in such a way that when the Lord comes near in visitation they will willingly yield their lives to the Lord. I wonder if Peter was thinking of Steven and Paul when he said this? Steven had no idea that Paul’s day of visitation was imminent when Paul led an attack on Steven that brought about Steven’s death. Steven was caught up in a vision of heaven at his death. He was doing exactly what Peter said, Steven prayed for the Lord to forgive His attackers even as he stepped into heaven. Not long after Steven’s death Paul had his visitation on the Damascus Road. I wonder if he thought of Steven as he yielded himself to the Lord? I doubt that Steven had any idea the way his testimony would change the world. You could say Steven’s response to persecution brought a visitation that changed everything. Here are some thoughts from the UBC.

“The promise of divine visitation appears constantly in the OT and suggests God’s intervention in support of his people in mercy and in judgment. Peter’s words may be taken as meaning that on that climactic day unbelievers will be won over by acknowledging the beauty of the Christians’ lives. The eyes of opponents will be opened to the rightness of the believers’ conduct and thus to the glory of the God whom Christians honor.”

We are surrounded every day with lost people drawing close to their day of visitation. The thing you may not realize, they are all watching you. I mean they are really watching you. This is how we win. Let the love of God fill you on a daily basis. Let this filling govern your life. Seeing Christ in you is the hope of the lost community. What causes us to respond properly in times of persecution? Of course its our own visitation that helps us to see what really matters in life.

VISIT US LORD

Lk.7:14-16 – Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!”

This is an amazing story to me. The Lord obviously answered this poor woman’s cry but more than a boy being raised from the dead was happening here. The Lord was giving this city a special supernatural visitation. If we are not careful, it is easy to miss what is really happening when the Lord comes down and answers our prayers. Yes, Jesus obviously brings dead things back to life but He also does much more. For this widow from Nain, her son, and all the people from that region, they could never go back to life the way life was before Jesus visited their town. The Son of God had visited them, His presence not only brought the dead boy back to life, He brought the whole city back to life. That’s what happens when we get a visit from the Lord. Here are some words from Dick Mills on God’s visitation.

“The word visitation has always been associated with great revivals occurring in church history. This includes the reformation in the days of Martin Luther. It also includes the revivals during the time of George Whitefield and John Wesley. The unusual outpourings of the Spirit during Jonathan Edwards’ day was known as the Great Awakening. In Lk.7:16, when Jesus stopped a funeral procession, and brought a young man back from the dead those seeing it had a most powerful response, “He who’s is dead sat up and began to speak. Jesus presented him to his mother. The fear seized them all. They glorified God saying, ‘A great prophet has risen among us’ and ‘God has visited His people”. The greek word for visit means far more than to visit. It means to go to the help of someone.”

I love that, when the Lord visits us His very visit brings care and help into every arena of our lives. What kind of help are you needing today? Maybe something in your life has died. One visit from the Lord can change that. Suddenly every part of your life is overflowing with life itself.

CHRISTIAN PRIVILEGE

Jn 16:7 – But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

In our toxic political environment we hear a lot about white privilege and American exceptionalism. I am not a politician and those topics are not what this is about but another kind of privilege and exceptionalism that we have as Christians. I have always believed that Christians have an unfair advantage in every arena that we are involved in, the Bible calls it the blessing of the Lord. In today’s verse Jesus pointed to where this privilege or advantage comes from. He was telling His followers that the result of His crucifixion and resurrection would be the coming of the Holy Spirit Who would anoint us to do great exploits in this life. Talk about exceptionalism, there is no other people who can come close to the power and favor on the Lord’s people. Here is how J.C. Ryle describes our advantage.

“If Christ had not died, risen again, and ascended up into heaven, it is plain that the Holy Spirit could not have come down with special power on the day of Pentecost, and bestowed His manifold gifts on the Church. Mysterious as it may be, there was a connection in the eternal counsels of God, between the ascension of Christ and the outpouring of the Spirit.

If Christ had remained bodily with the disciples, He could not have been in more places than one at the same time. The presence of the Spirit whom He sent down, would fill every place where believers were assembled in His name, in every part of the world.

If Christ had remained upon earth, and not gone up into heaven, He could not have become a High Priest for His people in the same full and perfect manner that He became after His ascension. He went away to sit down at the right hand of God, and to appear for us, in our human nature glorified, as our Advocate with the Father.”

And there you have it; His death, burial, resurrection, and glorification made it possible for us to be anointed with the power of His presence. Since He returned to heaven the Spirit is not limited by a human body to be in one place at a time, the Holy Spirit is working simultaneously in the whole world. He is also able to function as our High Priest before the Father in heaven. I have to say, I like the idea of being privileged.

YOUR ADVANTAGE

Jn.16:7 – But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

What a shocking statement! Knowing all that Christ is, He said it was to the disciples advantage that He go away. How could that be possible? Jesus is the imprint of the Father, the Word Who became flesh. How on earth could it be better that He leave? The disciples had no way of knowing what He meant. The Holy Spirit would come only after Jesus left. That would be a radical game changer. Before the Holy Spirit came the disciples were fixated on an earthly kingdom. The coming of the Holy Spirit instantly changed their understanding of the kingdom of God. Before the Holy Spirit came the disciples did not have the anointing to teach and preach like Jesus did nor did they have the consistent anointing to heal the sick and cast out demons. The Holy Spirit would also change all of that. Here is how John Gill described this advantage or expediency that Jesus spoke of.

“The Spirit of God in some sense had come, before the death of Christ; he had appeared in the creation of all things out of nothing, as a joint Creator with the Father and Son; he was come as a spirit of prophecy upon the inspired writers, and others; the Old Testament saints had received him as a spirit of faith; he had been given to Christ as man, without measure, and the disciples had been partakers of his gifts and graces; but he was not come in so peculiar a manner as he afterwards did; as the promise of the Father, the glorifier of Christ, the comforter of his people, the spirit of truth, and the reprover of the world: there are reasons to be given, why the Spirit of God should not come in such a manner before…”

So we have access to far more than the Old Testament believers and the disciples before Pentecost. We have an anointing to testify to the gospel of Christ, we have power to prophecy, cast out demons, and heal the sick. It really is to our advantage that Jesus went away. He took His place at the Father’s right hand and the Holy Spirit began to be poured out on all flesh. More Lord !!!!

THE UNPOPULAR WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

John 16:8-11 – And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

Look at what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do when He comes. These verses are some of the most important in the Bible. The Holy Spirit would come to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement.

First we will look at this unpopular word called sin. The Holy Spirit is the One who comes to us and reveals to us our own sinfulness. Only He can reveal to us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. For me it was as if someone had removed the covers off of my life, suddenly I realized how messed up I was. I was a sinner and I needed to change.

Next, let’s think about what Jesus meant by saying the Holy Spirit would convict us of righteousness. First of all, the Holy Spirit presents Jesus to us as the only righteous man that has ever lived. His life was perfect and seeing our sinfulness in light of His holiness can be quite devastating.The Holy Spirit brings us to the end of ourselves preparing to change our lives.

Finally He shows us about judgement. As Paul said, the wages of sin is death. All of us deserve judgement, all of us have violated the justice of God. We see our lives deserving God’s righteous judgement against sin. Now here comes the best part, Christ bore the wrath of God for us on the cross. He took all of our judgement on Himself at Calvary. God’s justice was satisfied, man’s sin was judged in Christ.

The Holy Spirit helps us to sort all of this out; first, I am a sinner in need of a Savior. Secondly, Christ was and is completely holy and righteous. Third, all sin requires judgement by a holy and just God. Finally, we begin to see the light breaking in on us, the righteous One took my sin, He actually became sin on my behalf at the cross. All of those who see this and believe it become justified, declared righteous by faith. We actually take on the very righteousness of Christ as a gift received by grace through faith. Until the Spirit opens our eyes the gospel seems like foolishness for weak minds. Once the Holy Spirit opens our eyes we truly see, the gospel is the wisdom of God and the power of God.

He was there

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS-

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God

He was the light shining in the darkness. John 1:1

Before the world was, there was Christ and he gave the world its existence. The more we dive into the word the more we remain in awe of a mighty Savior, the more redemption takes on a fuller and deeper meaning. He forever is the “the light shining in the darkness” over fallen man. It does one well to ponder the present ministry of Christ. Christ was “there through it all”. He saw Adam and Eve as they grabbed the first bite of unbelief, he watched Noah as he built the ark, stood by Abraham before he killed Issac and he provided another offering. He oversaw the killing of all the firstborn of Egypt while the plague passed over the Israelites. He has been on task throughout eternity and he ever lives to make intercession for us now. Christ is there and he is ever there and he made his way among us.

Far too many of us negate the work of Christ in our lives. In our hustle and bustle of everyday life the precious blood of Christ seems to slowly loose its mark upon us. Our redemption story becomes more like a fairytale of bygone years. Somehow we make it all about ourselves again. Going to church, reading his word, being thankful all become laborious! No wonder our faith grows weak and our prayers silent. He becomes a God that once was rather than he is and will continue to be. My friend your lamp has run out of oil and the light is slowly becoming extinguished. The Shulmaite in the Song of Solomon experienced a Holy Ghost awakening when she desired his kisses again. When he took her into his chamber she exclaimed. “look not upon me for I am black, they made me a keeper of the vineyards and my own vineyard I have not kept”. She knew somewhere, somehow she had left her first love. She got caught up in the things that make her sorrowful (the blackness of life) and spent her years toiling under the burning sun. She had forgotten how he loved her and brought her out of all of that. How precious it is that Christ comes to us again and again, telling us how we are loved, like his special rose. He takes each part of us and shows us the beauty in it. My friend Christ can be the light shining in your present darkness. Somehow the little foxes came and took your joy away, ate away the words sown deep within and left you barren. He is there with you now waiting for you to turn to him.

SUPERNATURAL HELP

And I will ask the Father, land he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
Jn.14:16,17

The night before Jesus was killed, He spent the evening with His disciples, telling them about the season of the Holy Spirit that was about to begin. “I will not leave you as orphans”, He said, “I will send the Helper to be with you”. The phrase Jesus used was actually allos paracletos, which means another helper exactly like Him. The disciples had no idea of the magnitude of His promise, but they were certainly about to find out. After about fifty days, the Holy Spirit came upon the followers of Jesus, nothing could ever be the same after that.
What kind of help did the Holy Spirit offer? His help is limitless and effects every area of our lives. Here are some of the ways He helps us today. In Acts 11:18, He gives us the ability to repent, to change our lives. In Romans 8:26, 27, He enables us to pray supernatural prayers. He helps us to worship, in John 4:23,24, we see the Spirit and His involvement in true worship. The Spirit also equips us to testify, in Acts 1:8 He is said to empower us to be witnesses of His work. He is also involved with our spiritual understanding, in John 16:13 we see Him leading us into all truth. Concerning addictions, habits, and fleshly weaknesses, the Holy Spirit joins together with us to overcome all of our struggles in this carnal arena. Paul describes this help quite graphically in Romans 8:26. As far as ministry is concerned, He is the supernatural power of God distributing His gifts for the purpose of ministry and outreach. Just as in the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit will help us reach our world by equipping us with the power of signs, wonders, and miracles.
What kind of help do you need today? The Helper has come, His power is unlimited, and His love is immeasurable. If you are sick, He is the Healer, if you are lost, He is the Savior, if you feel weak and powerless, He is the mighty power of God available to you today. How can you receive His help? That part is simple, call upon the name of Jesus. He promised, that when you call He will answer and all that call upon His Name will be saved.