Daily Discovering the Blessing

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The Inevitability of Seasons – Don’t Despise the Journey – Part Two

As we speak of the seasons in our lives, allow a little instructive side path here! Our Father is the God of revelation knowledge.  Throughout time in His interactions with men He discloses things to come.  In fact, prophetic utterances are necessary to the unfolding of His will. Throughout the Old and New Testaments He communicates with His chosen people concerning things to come through the voices of the prophets.  Through them He speaks His will into being. Without that spoken prophetic word there is no heavenly vision, pronouncement and manifestation. Think of how many prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah fill the books of the Old Testament. This is how God established the operating principles of this world.  Starting in Genesis (“and God said” over and over again) and continuing through the prophets right through Jesus and into the book of Revelation.  Although these words are spoken by Jesus, they could well be spoken by all the prophets: 

This is because I have never spoken on my own authority or of my own accord or as self-appointed, but the Father Who sent Me has Himself given me orders [concerning] what to say and what to do. And I know that His commandment is [means] eternal life.  So whatever I speak I am saying [exactly] what My Father has told Me to say and in accordance with His instructions. (John 12:49-50) 

When a child of God receives revelation knowledge about things to come in their lives that is not necessarily the moment to rush out and try to accomplish it. The Holy Spirit may be speaking of five seasons down the road on your path.  How many stories have been told along these lines!  The wisdom of people who waited on God’s perfect timing is an example for all of us, and the foolishness of those who ran out ahead of schedule in an effort to accomplish what they heard is a cautionary tale. When God reveals future seasons to you it is the time to cherish it in your heart, speak of it to your Father, ask the Holy Spirit for the steps to take (if any at this time).  It is the time to use your words of faith to speak forth the vision – to trust His timing and obey each leading as they come; to take the steps He tells you to take when He tells you to take them.  That is honoring the seasons He has established for your life.

As I have related previously, when I was serving God as Headmaster of a Christian school I received just such revelation knowledge a year in advance.  It became clear to me through times of prayer that I was to step away from that position – that particular season was coming to an end. I sensed in my spirit that there was a new and different direction I was to take.  Had I submitted my resignation the moment that I heard his, I would have been running ahead of God’s purposes.  I would have been out of His will.  I would have been rushing the season. That which He showed me did eventually come to pass, in His time and at the right season.

Correctly discerning the times and seasons of our lives is not a difficult assignment or an overly challenging ability.  Relinquished into His care, trusting in His leading, and acknowledging that God’s plans and purposes for you are so much better than anything you could come up with by yourself is the proper vantage point.  It is that attitude of trust and faith that greatly pleases our Father (Hebrews 10:38). There is a peace about the seasons of our lives when that understanding is in evidence through our words, our actions, and our gratitude to the One Who knows us best and loves us with a “great and wonderful and intense love” (Ephesians 2:4).

{Excerpt from the upcoming book Mornings in the Garden}

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The Inevitability of the Seasons – Don’t Despise the Journey (Part One)

 

 To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes3:1) 

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. (Galatians 6:9) 

While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22) 

Quite often the realm of the physical offers striking parallels with the realm of the Spirit. The inevitability of seasonal change holds valuable lessons for us as we seek to become more familiar with spiritual truths.  There is planting and there is reaping, seed time and harvest.  We are certainly comfortable with seasonal cycles.  In fact, we rely on them.  The rhythm of the seasons ushers in expected changes – depending on our geographic location.  We accommodate our daily routines to the changing of the seasons.  And while some favor one season over another – some welcoming the heat of summer while others long for the cooler days of autumn; some loving long rainy days, others preferring never-ending sunshine – there is the realization for all that we will inevitably live through seasonal cycles.

There are also easily observable seasons in human development.  We would not expect reasonable and mature response to life from an infant or a toddler. We would not expect adult behavior from a young child, or a fully accomplished, consistent, experienced character from someone of  teen-age years.  We recognize that each is a work in progress.  We give them time and space to grow and become.  In fact, we have determined guideposts of development, easily observable markers along the way, to chart expected physical, emotional, and cognitive achievements.

We are, however, not quite so sanguine about this when it comes to the spiritual seasons in our lives. And yet the very same Bible verses that speak of the divine order of things in the natural are also speaking to us of spiritual truths. There are seasons for us in our spiritual growth and accomplishments, and in this understanding there is great benefit.  The result of the acceptance of this truth is peace. To calmly and prayerfully accept the seasons of our spiritual walk gives evidence of our absolute faith in our Father’s plans and purposes for our lives.

One well known and highly respected preacher spoke of hearing from the Lord many years after he had entered the ministry. He heard the Spirit say, “You are now coming into the first phase of your ministry.”  And yet this brother had been traveling and preaching, pastoring and teaching for many years. When we acknowledge that our preparation for each coming season is in God’s hands we are in kingdom rhythm and we are not hindering the work of the Spirit in our lives.

The Lord speaks to us of “Steadfast patience and endurance” (Hebrews 10:35), of “quietness and confidence” being our strength (Isaiah 30:15).  {Tellingly, the end of Isaiah 30:15 says, “But you would not”.}  He also speaks to us of the seasons of our faith walk.  He speaks of the need to plant and water before a harvest can be expected (1 Corinthians 3:6).  He speaks of babes needing milk, while mature believers should be partaking of solid food (1 Corinthians 3:2).  And He speaks of the inevitability, the established law, of the seasons:

To everything there is a season and a time for every matter or purpose under Heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1) 

So what do we do with this Truth?  How can we apply the “law of the seasons” to our confident, peace-filled walk with the Lord? Two simple words will answer that – trust and obey.  Trust that God can do this life of ours far better than we could ourselves so to obey His every leading is only for our benefit. When a person gives over the control of life to Jesus, when he or she is born again, there is much to learn and much to unlearn. There are misconceptions about God to discard; misconceptions due to poor teaching or no teaching at all concerning spiritual matters. There is the much needed time and attention given over to hearing His Word and waiting in His Presence, getting to truly know the Person of our Father; getting to fully realize all that Jesus accomplished on our behalf; getting to understand the extraordinary gift of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  Obedience is faith in action, and the result of that is a maturing spirit that learns to trust that our Father loves us, knows us better than we know ourselves, and that the seasons He has determined for our lives are proper and good, necessary for our growth and maturity in the spirit, preparatory to the plans and purposes He has for each of us.  There is divine purpose for every season we walk through in the Spirit.

Don’t despise the journey!  Our Father knows what He’s doing with your life!  He loves you.  He knows you better than you know yourself.  Relax into the season, knowing and trusting that His love and Holy Spirit guidance will get you to your destination.

{Excerpt from the upcoming book Mornings in the Garden}

The Practiced Life

These are challenging days for the maintaining of Gospel peace, and the practice of, and commitment to, walking in righteousness. The resolve to “get it right” before God is a daily, hourly, sometimes moment-by-moment attention to His ways of doing and being right – never our own notions, personal feelings and sensibilities, or emotional responses to issues and current events.

I’m sure this has been the case throughout history. Every generation must contend with Satan’s efforts to distract focus, diminish effectiveness, and destroy peace. There is nothing complicated about the antidote to all this. And yet the simplicity of it eludes many. Obey God. Trust and rely on His Word. Attend to the daily guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of God Who lives within you if you have been born again (John 3:5-7; 1 Corinthians 3:16) is our daily Teacher, Counselor, and Helper (John 16:13-15). He points out for us areas that need fixing – areas in which we are falling short of the glory of God. Jesus taught us:

…He {the Spirit} will take the things that are Mine, and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. (John 16:15)

The ministry of the Holy Spirit helps us “get it right” before God.

Of late, I have found myself becoming more and more agitated, irritated, and judgmental about the state of American politics. It is so easy to get caught up in the world’s turmoil. (I am reminded here of Smith Wigglesworth, English evangelist, who invited a visitor into his home but insisted that the newspaper the visitor was carrying remain outside!) This process even catches up members of the family of faith as we either condemn or justify the words and actions of our leaders.

Factions and divisions are a part of the human condition. In the first chapter of 1 Corinthians Paul speaks of such dissensions entering into and disturbing the spiritual well-being of the church at Corinth. If these tactics of the enemy can trouble Spirit filled believers, he can succeed in directing us away from God’s expectations, His commands.

This is My commandment: that you love one another {just} as I have loved you. (John 15:12)

And so, because I was incorrectly attending to current worldly affairs, because it was disturbing my peace, because I fell into practicing the judgment of many, and vigorously reviled and denounced those I disagreed with, the Friend, the Counselor, my Advocate intervened! God’s Word is “alive, operative, energizing and effective…exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) And God’s alive and active Word in Luke 6 “exposed and judged” that which was hindering my peace. Reading verses 27-37 , I was clearly expected to repent, relinquish, and readjust. Here were my instructions in righteousness:

– whatever you want men to do for you, you must do exactly that for them (verse 31)
– love your enemies, act nobly toward those who hate you; pray for them (verses 27-28)
– be like God Who is “ kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked” (verse 35)
– JUDGE NOT and you will not be judged (verse 37)

These instructions from the Head of the Church are undeniable. This is how He expects us to think and act. Add to that the admonition to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1) and the caution to us concerning the tongue in James 3:9-10:

With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who were made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren, ought not to be so.

Faith in God’s Word is demonstrated through unconditional obedience. As the Holy Spirit illuminates Scripture for our attention, there must be a willingness to give it first place in our hearts and our corresponding actions. We cannot call Jesus Lord is we do not put into practice what He tells us. (Luke 6:46). It is always only for our benefit. It is where peace lives.

Never-Ending, Unshakeable Peace

John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; My {own} peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. {Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.} (emphasis mine)

John 14:20 – …I am in My Father, and you {are} in Me, and I {am} in you.

John 14:30 – {Satan} …has no claim on Me. {He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me.} (emphasis mine)

Following the progression in the above Scriptures, we are encouraged and instructed through this good Word to receive and constantly evidence deep abiding peace – always. No matter what the day’s circumstances bring, peace is to be a defining characteristic in the life of a Spirit-filled believer. Through the Holy Spirit God lives in us. Jesus lives in us. There is nothing that we will encounter that diminishes that Truth. We see here the overcoming force of the believer obeying and working with the Lord – through His Spirit Who lives in us. Synergy – two working together.

Each believer must own the Truth of these verses. When we, without reservation, without the diminishing power of unbelief, fully accept God’s Word as true, when His Word is more dear and defining to our lives than any other idea or circumstance or attention-grabbing issue, then peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) is the inevitable result.

First, in Verse 27, we understand that Jesus has given His peace to us. When the enemy, the world’s attitudes and troubles, and the concerns and ailments and longings of the flesh try to hinder your faith walk (that’s what the world offers us), Jesus tells us that He has already given us, bequeathed to us, His peace. Knowing that, believing and receiving that, agitation, disturbedness, fear, intimidation, unsettledness have no place to live in us. Our Lord’s instructions to us that help us maintain this peace are very clear. “Stop allowing!” We have a role to play here. The role is to believe that our Lord speaks Truth. His peace is ours, and everything else that falls short of that Truth may not stand in our lives. We need to recognize when our heart peace is being challenged and stolen.

And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule {act as umpire continually} in your hearts {deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state} to which as {members of Christ’s} one body you were also called {to live}. And be thankful (appreciative), {giving praise to God always}. (Colossians 3:15)

In verse 20, the extraordinary, awesome way in which our Creator determined to interact with His children is revealed. Knowing our frame, our weaknesses, He enables us to realize all of His benefits by living in us. The Holy Spirit of God dwells in each believer to teach and guide and come alongside and counsel and strengthen us (John 14:16). The divine interaction of Jesus in God, and us in Jesus and God in us reveals the heart and the love of God for His creation – you! And with this holy impartation, there must be peace. How do we “stop allowing” anything at all that would try to diminish that peace? Faith in the Truth and reliability of God’s Word. True faith in our Father’s character and in His Word exhibits peace.

Finally, in verse 30, the Master speaks of his complete separateness and immunity to the devices of the enemy. “He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me.” Because He lives in us, the same is true of us. The life of God, the Holy Spirit, fills us. There is no place in our lives for the machinations of a defeated foe (Colossians 2:15), the “dictates of the flesh” (Romans 8:1), or the errant philosophies of the world (Romans 12:2). Never-ending, unshakable peace is the heritage of God’s Spirit- filled sons and daughters.

Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (Philippians 4:7 – Message Bible)

A Peace Filled Heart

Psalm 34:4-5- I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him {of necessity and on the authority of His Word} and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.

It is through peace that the Son of God is revealed in your life. A peaceful, quiet, confident spirit is tuned into God’s frequency.

John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; My {own} peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. {Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.} (Emphasis mine)

“Do not permit!” Stop allowing the tactics of the enemy to touch your heart. Recognize his “modus operandi” immediately. Satan’s sole intention is to compromise your walk before God; to sow his negative influences of fear, worry, concern, intimidation; to knock you off balance in your faith walk, and to reduce God’s powerful, alive, and active Word (Hebrews 4:12) to a place of ineffectiveness (Mark 7:13) in your life.

Tuned into Satan’s frequency – he is the god of this world order (2 Corinthians 4:4) – we cannot at the same time tune in and yield to our Father’s Truth. And the enemy is often very subtle in the strategic placement of distraction in our lives. Caught up in (ensnared in) worldly issues – financial, political, familial, social – we are submitting to and yielding to an unsettledness that does not honor God. We – His children! – bicker and argue and waste precious time proclaiming the rightness of our opinions on various issues when we are meant to be “busy with His business” (John 9:4). Let’s follow our Lord’s example in this. When faced with something seemingly insurmountable, the news of a death, He remained unaffected – “overhearing but ignoring” (Mark 5:36).

Our Lord’s instructions in John 14:27 teach us to be persistent in looking to Him – His peace, His constant loving provision, His Word. The steadfast look to Jesus – attentive, expectant, a “steady and absorbing gaze” (Numbers 21:9), considering no other viewpoint (Romans 4:19-21; 2 Corinthians 4:18) – is what pleases our Father (Hebrews 10:38), receives all of the promises (Hebrews 10:35-36), and disables the negative impact of Satan’s tactics. Our thoughts become aligned with His thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5), our words speak only His Word (John 15:7), our days are filled with and focus on Heaven’s purposes, and we flow, unhindered, in Kingdom rhythm.

It is not surprising, living in this present darkness (Ephesians 6:12), that true heart peace can seem to be elusive; carefree living not easy to achieve. I exhort and encourage you this day to place yourself fully, without reservation, in the care and keeping of the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). Look only to our Lord and Master Jesus. Submit only to the indwelling Holy Spirit. Honor God with your joy, reflect Him with your peaceful heart. Jesus gave and bequeathed to us His peace. Purposefully practice it!

What do You See?

In the first chapter of the book of Jeremiah, the Lord asks His prophet, “What do you see?” (verse 11 and again in verse 13). And as Jeremiah’s words spoke forth what he saw in his spirit, as he gave utterance to the heavenly vision, God’s plans and purposes were established and eventually manifested for the nation of Israel. “What do you see?” It is a question I have heard quite often from the Holy Spirit during recent times of quiet listening. Along with this question I have received continuing instruction in the profound importance of the thought life. The Word of God instructs us over and over about how powerful the thought process is in our lives.

Proverbs 4:23 – Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flows the springs of life.

Proverbs 23:7 – …for as he thinks in his heart so is he.

Luke 6:45 -…for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.

What we see in the Word of God is a picture of who each of us is meant to be – God’s promises and provision for our healthy, prosperous, purposeful lives through faith in our Lord Jesus, and all that He accomplished on our behalf. The Holy Spirit is constantly retraining us to understand and walk in kingdom reality -not worldly reality. Through His guidance, yielded to it, we become the person we see in the Word. What do you see? What we see through our faith in the absolute Truth of God’s Word, and our trust in His faithfulness to His Word (Hebrews 10:23), directly and profoundly informs our thought life. And, in turn, our thoughts inform our words, and our words create our future days (Hebrews 11:3).

Does your thought life assume blessings, well-being, answered prayer? Let there be no poverty of attitude in you- never speak beggar, never allow your words to utter a negative report. Let the Presence of the Holy Spirit in you color every moment with divine audacity! It is what pleases our Father (Hebrews 10:38). God’s constant love reaches out to us, encouraging us to fully own our redemption; to fully and joyfully and confidently receive the extraordinary benefits of our salvation through Jesus Christ.

What do you see? How you see yourself in your heart is the person that you are. That is faith (or lack of it) creating your reality. Your thought life creates your reality – positively or negatively. Thoughts of “less than” in any area of your life are not kingdom thoughts. Your thoughts released into words are a powerful force.

Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it {for death or life}.

That is why we are instructed in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to:

…refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the {true} knowledge of God, and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

Step up into a way of approaching and walking through your days that honors God and your placement in Christ. When you see it in the Word, expect it in your life. Treat this with the seriousness it deserves. Whenever and wherever you see something that does not line up and come into agreement with the Word of God, speak to it; speak with authority (Luke 22:29).Capture every thought. Yielded to the Holy Spirit, what we see, what we think, and what we say will bless your days and honor the Lord.

Obedience Releases Blessings

Your level of true success in life, which ultimately means your level of success in serving God, is directly related to how you regard the realities of the spiritual realm; how your daily heart knowledge informs your head knowledge that the realm of the Spirit – God’s domain – not only exists, but that it instructs and determines our physical reality. The unseen directly effects that which we see. When that understanding guides us, then and only then are we in full kingdom “rhythm”. While there are many choices we could make in life, many paths we could walk down, many goals we could pursue, there is only one path that holds and releases all the blessings that are ours in Jesus (Ephesians 1:3). Those blessings, those promises God has made with His covenant people, are not automatically released with the new birth. They are received through our faith in the reality and the authority of the heavenly realm.

I have heard many cautionary stories of brothers and sisters in Christ who have veered off their “appointed course” (Hebrews 12:1) – those who willfully disobeyed the leading of the Spirit; those who received promising prophetic utterance over their life and ministry which was never fulfilled; those who let the stumbling block of idolatry {and that manifests itself in so many forms, but simply put, it refers to holding anything or anyone as more important than God} overcome their first love (Revelation 2:4). But each and every one of these failures, these falling-short-of-glory-stories, can be simply diagnosed as not requiring God as their “first and vital necessity” (1 Chronicles 28:9).

Obedience requires first listening to the Spirit and then acting on what we are told. Careful and correct listening requires the resolve to spend time with God. The determination to spend time alone with God requires the acceptance, the acknowledgment, that GOD IS, and that He is my first need in life.

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come {near} to God must {necessarily} believe that God exists and that He rewards those who {earnestly and diligently} seek Him {out}. (Hebrews 11:6)

When you “search diligently for Him and regard Him as the foremost necessity of your life” (Zephaniah 2:3), when that heart resolve defines us, then obedience to His Word and to His guidance becomes our very reason for being and our vantage point. And when we know that our hearts are right before God in this way, our faith in our Father’s Word, unhindered by doubt and self-condemnation, receives the promise (Hebrews 10:35-36).

Physical beings walking around in this physical world, strongly influenced by the tyranny of our physical senses, need mind renewal (Romans 12:2) and spiritual rebirth (John 3:3) to overcome the influence of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Knowing this, our Creator gave to mankind the life of Jesus to imitate, the teachings of Jesus to obey, and the Gift of the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the realities of His kingdom. True faith receives this new way of seeing what life is actually all about, submits in love and trust to His Word, yields to and obeys the Spirit’s guidance and walks in full manifestation of His promised blessings. Only God living in us could accomplish such a transformation (John 14:23; John 17:21). Daily experiencing this world through the eyes of the Spirit instructs us in the reality of the spiritual realm. Released into His care, relinquishing any personal notions of what we think should be, in order to honor and seek His plans and purposes, is our daily calling. Anything short of that compromises God’s plan for our lives.

Obedience to all of these truths ushers in the blessings of God – all that His Word says is ours. And they are extraordinary blessings. Life lived in the Spirit, yielded to the Spirit, is filled with our Abba’s watchful and tender care and all of the blessings He says are ours in Jesus.

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians3:20-21)

Daily Renewal – Part Four

A third misrepresentation of the Gospel message quite prevalent in the Church is the practice of speaking in tongues. Since Pentecost and the days of the “early” church – as seen in the book of Acts – the gift of tongues has been clearly linked with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And yet so many born again children of God are attempting their faith walk – this life in the Spirit – without this powerful “tool”. It has been explained away as only a phenomenon in the early days of the church; it has been shied away from as strange and weird and excessive. As with every other blessing extended to us by our Father, if it is not taught, if it is not consistently heard, there will be no faith established in the lives of believers to receive and practice it (Romans 10:17). And yet praying in the Spirit – speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance – is available to every believer.

We are speaking here about the Body of Christ stepping up into the fullness of what the Bible says is ours in Jesus. When various churches teach and preach a message that downplays, entirely ignores, or even condemns vital aspects of our faith walk, when what God has equipped us with is shunned and misrepresented through incorrect teaching (or no teaching at all) we do not walk fully in the abundant life God has for us. And whenever God’s blessings, His gifts to us, are diminished in any way, we have played right into the hands of the enemy whose ultimate goal is to disprove God and HIs Word. Misrepresentation of our Father’s plans and purposes for His children deserves such strong words.

The practice of speaking in tongues is spoken of throughout the New Testament. We must hold God’s Word to us – His instructions to our spirits – as more dear and more true than information from any other source. When we see it in the Word we must appropriate it for our lives.

In the book of Acts we observe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was always accompanied with the gift of tongues {Acts 2:4, Acts 8:5-18, Acts 10:45-46, Acts 19:6}. Eight years after Pentecost {Acts 8:5-18}, ten years after Pentecost {Acts 10:45-46|, and twenty years after Pentecost {Acts 19:6} when believers were baptized with the Holy Spirit, the initial evidence of that was speaking with other tongues. As you read these passages, notice that in every instance speaking with tongues was the proof, the convincing demonstration to all, of Holy Spirit baptism and indwelling.

In Mark 16:7 Jesus said:

And these attesting signs will accompany those who believe; in My Name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages.

The Young’s Literal Translation, The King James version, and the New International version have Mark 16:17 as “they shall speak with new tongues”.

But what is the purpose of this “new language” in the believer’s prayer life? What is our Father’s loving intention in this? First, we build up and strengthen our faith walk (our spirit).

He who speaks in a strange tongue edifies and improves himself.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines “edifies” as “to give constant increase in Christian knowledge and a life conformed thereto”. Strong’s Concordance defines “edifies” as “to construct or build up”, which agrees with Jude 20:

But you, beloved, build yourselves up {founded} on your most Holy Faith {made progress, rise like and edifice higher and higher] praying in the Holy Spirit.

How do we know that Paul is referring to speaking in tongues in Jude 20 when he says “praying in the Holy Spirit”? Look at 1 Corinthians 14:14-15 –

For if I pray in an {unknown} tongue, my spirit {by the Holy Spirit within me} prays, but my mind is unproductive {it bears no fruit and helps nobody}. Then what an I to do? I will pray with my spirit {by the Holy Spirit that is within me}, but I will also pray {intelligently} with my mind and understanding.

So there is praying in the Spirit (tongues) and praying in the natural (intelligence).

Kenneth Hagin has written:

“God is a Spirit. When we pray in tongues our spirit is in direct contact with God, Who is a Spirit. We are talking to Him by a divine supernatural means.”

Secondly, the Spirit is helping us pray what He knows we need to be praying about. 1 Corinthians 14:2 says:

For one who speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to man, but to God, for no one understands or catches his meaning because in the Holy Spirit he utters secret truths and hidden things {not obvious to the understanding}.

Weymouth’s Translation says “he speaks divine secrets“. The Message Bible says “sharing intimacies just between you and Him“.

When in our limited understanding we are unable to pray effectively, the Holy Spirit prays through and for us (Romans 8:26-27). When we yield our tongues to the Holy Spirit we are refreshed in our spirits (Isaiah 28:11-12). We are honoring God’s gift to us and acknowledging the truth of His Word when we submit to the Holy Spirit in this way.

As with every blessing our Father has extended to us, we receive as we act in faith. And our faith gets stronger through attending to the Word of God on the subject. Through hearing and hearing and hearing our spirits are edified and we claim as ours what God has established for our blessing. Ask Him to teach you along these lines, for it is clear through Scripture that our Father’s desire for His children is that we speak with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.

Extravagant Asking

What a marvelous, miraculous, awesome, life-altering Gift the Holy Spirit is to us. When we sincerely attend to His placement in our lives, when we understand “the surpassing worth and supreme advantage” (Philippians 3:8-Amplified) of being “baptized with (placed in, introduced into)” (Acts 1:5) the Holy Spirit, joy, peace, power, and the strength of the Lord can define our days.

In Isaiah 11 the Lord prophesies concerning Jesus:

And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the reverential fear of the Lord – (Verse 2)

And that same prophesy speaks of us – His born again children, filled with the Spirit of God.

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby) that He may remain with you forever – the Spirit of Truth…you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you (constantly) and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)

At that time you will know {for yourselves} that I am in My Father, and you {are} in Me, and I {am} in you. (John 14:20)

Jesus answered, If a person {really} loves Me, he will keep My word {obey My teaching}; and My Father will love Him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him. (John 14:23)

God lives in us through the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:13). In the Spirit, through His ministry, we can walk in wisdom and understanding, the counsel of God, and the sure safety of His might. We too, through faith, do not “judge by the sight of our eyes” or “the hearing of our ears“. (Isaiah 11:3) There is such freedom with the recognition of that privilege. Yielded to the Spirit’s tutelage, we stand on what the Word proclaims, not what the world presumes to be true. For a child of God, whatever is in our lives presently that does not line up with, agree with, His Word cannot stand. When we do not willfully or fitfully wander from His precepts we order our conduct and our conversation, our thoughts and actions according to God’s revealed will (Psalm 119:2-3). We “hear It, receive It, love It and obey It”. (Psalm 119:5) We become extravagant speakers and askers!

Watch now! This is weighty. We are told in Hebrews 10:38 that as His children we must live by faith which is:

conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it.

And if we fearfully draw back from walking by faith, God “has no delight or pleasure in us.”Further, Psalm 119:6 promises:

Then shall I not be put to shame {by failing to inherit your promises}

So, walking yielded, submitted, to God’s Holy Spirit, facing each moment of every day with the correct attitude of faith, we please our Father and will never be put to shame concerning the hope we stand on because we are inheritors of all of His promises (Hebrews 6:12, Hebrews 10:35-36) Our lives reflect His faithfulness, His goodness, His love and His good pleasure. And being instrumental in bringing about our Abba’s good pleasure is such a lovely place to be!

Yielded to the Holy Spirit daily, moment-by-moment, we think God’s thoughts, speak forth God’s Word, accomplish God’s purposes. We operate so far above the natural inclinations of this world. We are in Kingdom rhythm, we discern Kingdom sensibilities, we represent Kingdom standards, we receive Kingdom blessings.

“Move beyond your human mind, your human measure, your own strength, and all your resources – and let inspiration take charge of you entirely, and bring you out of yourselves into the power of God… Begin to believe in extravagant asking, believing that God is pleased when you ask large things.”

Smith Wigglesworth

Bubbling Over With Hope!

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing {through the experience of your faith} that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope. (Romans 15:13)

Joy and peace in believing! That is the attitude and character trait that should demonstrate your faith walk. Is there an excitement in you – an expectation concerning your reliance upon the Word of God? The wonder, the awesome promises, the supernatural power and reality of what God has spoken and what Jesus has accomplished for us, once truly realized and relied upon, will create such excitement and expectation. In fact, if you are not excited today, if you are not joyfully expectant, you need to take your faith temperature.

What causes a believer to “exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy”? (1 Peter 1:8) Trust. Trust in our Father – His character and His Word. For if you truly believe that what He says He means; if you truly believe that everything Jesus came to fulfill and accomplish is yours now; if you allow the Holy Spirit to fully represent our Father in your life – to establish His ways of doing and being right as your standard and plumb line – then joy and expectation and excitement will overtake and overcome spiritual malaise.

Every Word of God is filled with power (Hebrews 4:12); is self-fulfilling (Isaiah 61:11) and watched over by God Himself to be sure it is fulfilled (Jeremiah 1:12). When you know beyond all doubt that God loves you (1 John 4), that He desires to be known trustingly and intimately by you:

But if one loves God truly {with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing}, he is known by God {recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him}. (1 Corinthians 8:3),

and when you understand the work of the Holy Spirit in teaching kingdom living and expectations; when you cooperate with Him in yielding to His guidance and instructions, then you are walking in a kingdom rhythm whose life force is the exultant joy and expectation that demonstrates absolute faith in Him.
This is faith – in God, in our Lord Jesus, and in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord constantly taught on the importance of rejoicing, and maintaining peace, and refusing to fear. For because faith is the currency of the kingdom, because it is faith alone that pleases God, anything less than these positive spiritual attributes is the precursor to doubt and unbelief. Joy and expectation are the identifiers of strong faith.
The Holy Spirit searches the deep things of God and reveals them to us – His love, His provision, His watchful care, His expectations and His joy. Allow His ministry and the realities of kingdom life fill you with an expectancy that honors and glorifies our Abba.