The apostle Paul urges us to pursue love, desire the supernatural, but to especially desire the ability to speak prophetically (1 Corinthians 14:1). When we prophesy, we are speaking what we’ve heard the Holy Spirit say. We’re not speaking our words, but we are speaking words given to us through the Holy Spirit. Truly, all followers of Jesus hear His voice (John 10:27). If we hear His voice, then we can speak what He’s saying. Jesus lived and ministered speaking only what the Father spoke to Him (John 12:49-50). If Jesus operated in that manner, then we’re to do the same (see Luke 6:40). Holiness is Christlikeness, isn’t it?
God is awakening His Church, but not without its challenges.
We are less than a week away from the National Awakening (Prayer Conference) in Arlington, Texas, where there will be 1500 people gathering from all over the United States and also from other countries. The very first Awakening conference was nine years ago in a little building in Fort Worth, Texas. It was launched because Corey Jones, pastor of Crossroads Tabernacle, heard the call of God to lead a prayer conference. Despite his reluctance, nearly seventy people gathered for the first prayer conference at his church. I don’t believe he had any idea at the time that one day so many hungry people would assemble to cry out to God.
There is no doubt that spiritual healing is foundational. When someone who was dead in their sins and trespasses is gloriously redeemed and transformed by the grace of God, it is cause for great celebration. But today I want to briefly examine physical healing. When it comes to the subject of physical healing in the New Testament, Jesus made some very clear and bold statements.
What do you see in the midst of a conflict?
Throughout this summer, I’ve been studying David’s 27th Psalm of victory in the midst of peril and persecution. At the very beginning of his psalm, David posed two questions that each of us must answer. He asked, “who shall I fear and whom shall I dread?” His questions were stated in confidence because he already had determined that the Lord was his light and his defense. Because of his position in God there was nothing nor anyone that he needed to fear. He continued, “When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident” (Psalm 27:3-4). Note the challengers that were coming against him: evildoers, adversaries, enemies, and a host. They were coming to wage war against and devour David’s flesh.
There are two indispensable characteristics necessary for our Christian life.
Before we examine what they are, the writer of Hebrews states, “But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end” (Hebrews 6:9-11).
How quick are you at hearing God’s Word?
After explaining that we were brought forth by the Word, James continued by stating that everyone must be quick to hear (James 1:19). The context of that verse implies that we are to be quick to hear the Word. According to Jesus, we are blessed when we hear the Word (Luke 11:28). Can we become even more sensitive to the Word? I believe that we can, but I also believe that we can become dull of hearing. This problem was evident for the believers in the epistle of Hebrews. After explaining that Christ had become the source of eternal salvation in the order of Melchizedek, the writer paused in his message and stated, “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing” (Hebrews 5:11).
I was greeted this morning as I sifted through my inbox with an email titled, “We can help your Church’s brand”, sent from a church branding company. I had not solicited help from this company and was about to move the email to the trash folder when I paused, and was captivated by the following thoughts: What is the brand of the church, not just my local church but the Church of Jesus Christ? Is there a difference between the brand of the broader Church of Jesus Christ and my local church? Have we, in western culture, elevated our local church brands above the core brand of Christianity?
Is it possible to walk in holiness?
I believe it’s not only possible but it’s imperative. This week I’m teaching a college level course in Doctrine of Holiness through the Peniel School of Ministry in Texas. I’m challenged by the scriptures that paint a picture of what it looks like to walk in holiness. There are many passages to choose from, but let’s examine Colossians chapter 3. Paul wrote, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3). These verses describe a holiness lifestyle in several ways.
My friend Michael Perkins wrote a Facebook post about a week ago that touched my heart because the Lord had been speaking to me about the same issue. I have been concerned that people need to go beyond an encounter into a transformed lifestyle. Michael’s post spoke to the issue that encounters with God are actually invitations for Him to exchange what’s in our lives with what’s in His (see 2 Cor. 5:21). When we allow that to occur, there is little doubt our lifestyle will become transformed. I asked him to write the blog this week.
My heart was overjoyed as I listened to one of our general superintendents Dr. David Graves speak on the subject of the Holy Spirit during our recent General Assembly for the Church of the Nazarene. He called our Church to receive a fresh touch of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t matter what denomination that you are affiliated with, all believers can and should receive fresh baptisms of the Holy Spirit. Why? Because it is necessary to our life and ministries and foundationally, it’s biblical.