Monday, October 21, 2013

Light & Darkness

One morning recently I woke up with the distinct thought on my mind that we have to pray and ask the Lord to shine His light on those dark areas in our hearts that need changing. For only the Holy Spirit can reveal what is hidden in darkness: those things that hinder our growth, those long forgotten hurts that are effecting our emotions, attitudes and behavior; those mindsets which are blocking the entrance of light by the Spirit; those areas where the enemy still maintains strongholds of denial, doubt, fear or unbelief.

Why do we need to do that? Because those things that remain hidden in darkness will have control over us! Those things have to be exposed by the infrared light of the Holy Spirit so we can see them, repent of them and rid ourselves of their ungodly influence. As long as we refuse to acknowledge the presence of sinfulness, remain in denial or justify our behavior, we will be controlled by it. These areas will rob us of the fruit of the Spirit or inhibit us from being fruitful in the kingdom of God. We can be blinded by the god of this world, our own self-centeredness or ignorance. Therefore, it takes supernatural revelation to brings those hidden things into the light.

Night time infrared camera
Our home in North Carolina is located on the edge of a large wooded area where many night time creatures live. During the daytime they remain motionless and hidden in the deep woods away from predators and humans. But after dark they venture out looking for food. This fall the deer were attracted to the ripening grapes in the vineyard and the beautiful hostas we planted in the backyard. Before we realized it, they had eaten about 25% of the grapes growing in the vineyard and nibbled the hostas down to the ground. This unseen predator robbed us of the fruit of our labors as they foraged for food under the cover of darkness. This is exactly how the enemy works to destroy us-- under the cover of darkness through deception and denial. Our enemy feeds off the negative emotions still hidden in our heart. This is why we need the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit leading us out of darkness and into His light.

When we are born-again we are delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of light. Our spiritual position, entitlements and destiny in God's kingdom change when we decide to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for OUR sins and invite Him to come live in our hearts. However, our hearts still need to be circumcised and our minds need to be renewed by the Spirit of God; a process which can take place over a lifetime.

We are no longer subject to the control of Satan and his evil powers. With Christ living in us, we finally have the divine enablement to make godly choices, resist Satan, be delivered from old bondages and walk in newness of life. We are instructed to walk in the light as Christ is in the light.

Col_1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. 1
Eph_5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
1Th_5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Through Christ's death on the cross, we are no longer bound to our old nature-- the person we were before we invited Christ to live in us. Being no longer “bound” means no longer in bondage to the powers of darkness we were exposed to and controlled by earlier in life. However, the old, negative thoughts and wounded emotions stored in the heart will need to be transformed as well. That is not an automatic process, nor something we can do by ourselves. Transformation is a joint effort we undertake with the assistance and anointing of the Holy Spirit. An illustration from nature would be the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The old worm-like body is transformed into a new delicate one with the ability to fly about freely and reproduce life. All things become new in Christ. Through Jesus Christ we are given new attributes, new freedom and new purpose.

Jesus Christ died for our sins and comes to live in us so we become the children of God, the heirs of God's salvation. But sanctification is the job of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us to correct us, to teach us, to remind us of the truth in God's Word, to bring to light those thoughts and emotions that are controlling us in harmful and some times sinful ways.  Sanctification is the process whereby we are made holy, of drawing closer and closer to God so that we turn away from all sinfulness and embrace the righteousness of Christ. Jesus baptizes us with the power of the Holy Spirit so we can experience the deeper work of sanctification. Sanctification takes place gradually over our lifetime as we are given new opportunities to make godly decisions and to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. The quality of holiness increases in us as we submit more and more to the loving control of the Holy Spirit. For the Lord tells us to be holy, as He is holy.
Lev_11:45 For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
Lev_20:7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.

Just because we invite Christ to live in us, our mind and heart is not completely renewed, healed or delivered from all the negative, dark thoughts and emotions stored there. Yes, we become new creatures in Christ and many changes take place: our desires, our behaviors, our relationship to God and His kingdom. We make a conscious decision to follow the commandments of the Lord and to make Jesus Christ our Savior. But our understanding of how to walk out that decision requires enlightenment: wisdom and guidance from the Scriptures and from the Holy Spirit. We need the Spirit of Truth to shine His flashlight on those yet dark areas of our soul that need healing and deliverance. The term enlightenment means to give light to, to gain greater understanding, to give intellectual or spiritual light to; instruct; impart knowledge to. It takes the indwelling, revelatory work of the Holy Spirit to reveal the dark things hidden in our hearts from the past so we can be set free.

What are those “dark areas” stored in our heart? Some common examples would include: fears, anger, rejection, unworthiness, unforgiveness or trauma we experienced in life. These dark areas can be summarized as all forms of shame, fear and control issues we still struggle with in our relationship to the Father God, our relationships with others and what we think about ourselves. Darkness also comes from our participation in idolatry, false religions, or occult organizations. When we take part in these ungodly activities, we open ourselves to the powers of darkness or demonic influence on our hearts and minds. The dark areas of our soul are where demons take up residence and feed off the negative energy stored there.

Yes, it is biblically correct to say there is a dark-side within all of us that still wants to control our mind, will and emotions. And the dark-side of us controlled by demonic spirits can manifest and temporarily take over our attitudes and behavior when triggered by current events. Are Christians possessed by demons? Of course not, because Christ now lives in us! But we can be unduly influenced by demonized thoughts and emotions if we fail to recognize and deal with them properly. It is our responsibility to renounce their power and break agreement with the enemy trying to control us. To do this we exercise the authority of Christ and release the power of the Holy Spirit in us to be rid of their influence.

Christians are not totally transformed or delivered over night from Satan's influences just because we pray the sinner's prayer. We have a mixture of light and dark influences residing in our soul. Our heart contains a mix of good and evil emotions. When we are born-again we are given a measure of light, a measure of freedom, a measure of victory over our issues. Of course, we can also be subject to demonic influence from outside our bodies until the day Christ is formed in us. The good news is that the more deliverance we receive in our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit, the more freedom we achieve. The more freedom we achieve, the fewer devils we will have to contend with. The fewer devils to contend with, the more righteousness, peace and joy we will exhibit in our life. Kingdom living is being able to walk in freedom from demonic influences, walking in holiness and demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit. That's truly living in the light as Christ is in the light!

Luke_6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Rom_14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

About a week after the Holy Spirit spoke to me in the early hours of the morning on light and dark, I received an email newsletter from Pastor Francis Frangipane. He is the founder of “In Christ's Image Training”, Cedar Rapids, IA. Pastor Frangipane has been serving the Lord for many years, but he said there are just two truths that have become the most important in his life. God “has led me to seek for two things and two things only: to know the heart of God in Christ and to know my own heart in Christ's light.” 2
Frangipane went on to say that as he positions his heart before the Lord, “it is with a sense of trembling that I pray the prayer of King David: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way" (Ps. 139:23-24).It is this upward call of God that we pursue. Yet the soul within us is hidden, crouching in fear and darkness, living in a world of untruths and illusions. This is our inner man, the soul God seeks to save. Have you discovered your true self, the inner person whom truth alone can free? Yes, we seek holiness, but true holiness arises from here; it comes as the Spirit of Truth unveils the hidden places in our hearts. Indeed, it is truthfulness which leads to holiness.” 

A common error being perpetuated in the body of Christ is that a Christian cannot have demons residing on the inside of them after they get born-again. Sinful people come to Christ with all kinds of problems and issues in their life. When they enter into the salvation process, they are given the power to overcome Satan, but they have to appropriate their deliverance from satanic influences.They are given the keys to the kingdom, but they have to use the keys to obtain their victory. They are given the power of the Holy Spirit to resist temptation, but they have to break agreement with every demonic entity still influencing their mind, will, emotions and behavior.

The power of Satan and his evil spirits was defeated by Christ on the cross at Calvary. Jesus overcame death, hell and the grave so we could potentially do the same. He paved the way for our deliverance, but we also have to appropriate freedom for ourselves. Often the Lord does provide a new believer with a truly remarkable salvation experience where they are set free immediately from drug or alcohol addiction, sexual sin, the occult, suicide or some other issues. At other times, however, our transformation is accomplished over a long period of time as our mind is renewed by the Word of God, our heart is gradually healed and our flesh is delivered from power of the enemy. As we abide in Christ, we will not continue to sin willfully. Christ in us does not sin, but our heart and flesh are still capable of sinning if we give into temptation and do not resist the power of the enemy. Any areas of darkness remaining in our soul will continue to try to destroy us and make us renounce the finished work of Christ on the cross. However, Christ gives us the enabling power to submit to God and resist the devil so that he eventually flees from us.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Through our salvation experience, we enter into a new covenant relationship with our Father God. The Lord has promised to take out the heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh-- a pliable, loving, tender heart. Healing and deliverance represents a fulfillment of the new covenant and we are transformed gradually into the image of Jesus Christ.

Jer. 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 
 Heb.12:24  And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. 

How many Christians do you know still struggle with a sinful lifestyle, bad habits, unChrist-like temperament, poor identity issues, or not being able to get along with others? Over what personal issues do you still not have the victory? As Christian counselors serving the body of Christ for over 30 years we have prayed with 1,000s of Spirit-filled children of God for healing and deliverance for issues they could not overcome by themselves. And sadly to say, neither could their church pastor or elder help them be victorious overcomers in Christ, because they were not walking in freedom themselves and did not know how to help the sheep in their pasture.

Here are some real-life examples we have dealt with where Christians needed deliverance:
  • Married couples who could not stop fighting and arguing
  • Individuals in bondage to sexual sin, pornography, homosexuality, adultery
  • People in bondage to obesity, smoking or drug and alcohol abuse
  • The church worship leader in bondage to homosexuality and was suicidal
  • The missionary who served in the Philippines and returned with occult demons
  • The woman who switched into a 14 year old, rebellious teenager overnight
  • Pastors and elders who have been caught in adultery
Thankfully, we also have areas of light residing in our hearts. The light areas would be where we are walking in the marvelous truths found in the scriptures. We are walking in obedience to God's commandments, trusting in God's promises and manifesting the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5.

Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 

Francis Frangipane talks about the virtue of humility in his book, The Three Battlegrounds. “Satan fears virtue. He is terrified of humility; he hates it. He sees a humble person and it sends chills down his back. His hair stands up when Christians kneel down, for humility is the surrender of the soul to God. The devil trembles before the meek because in the very areas where he once had access, there stands the Lord, and Satan is terrified of Jesus Christ.” 3

Yet not all our battles are demonic as Frangipane points out. “We need to recognize that the immediate source of many of our problems and oppressions is not demonic, but fleshly in nature. We must contend with the fact that one aspect of our lives, our flesh nature, will always be targeted by the devil. These fleshly areas supply Satan with a ready avenue of access to undermine our prayers and neutralize our walk with God.” 3

The word the Lord gave me early in October was that we needed to ask the Spirit of Truth to shine his light on those dark areas so He can bring healing and deliverance. We have to do this in our prayer closet with the help of the Holy Spirit. It will take some personal time of seeking the Lord and getting quiet so we can hear what the Spirit has to show us. He alone can reveal the secrets hidden in our hearts. That is one of the beautiful ways the Holy Spirit works with us to lead us into maturity in Christ. For complex issues, we recommend you ask an experienced minister or counselor to pray with you. The power of agreement with a trained, anointed minister can bring greater results.

Today's message focused on the importance of knowing that our loving Heavenly Father desires for us to walk in the light as He is in the Light. He has made a way for us to be rid of the darkness that still remains hidden in our soul through His Son Jesus Christ. As we submit to the indwelling power of The Counselor, the Spirit of Truth, He enables us to be transformed into the image of Christ. It is our responsibility, however, to pray and ask the Lord to shine His light on those dark areas in our hearts that need changing.

Luke_11:36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.
2Peter_1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the day star arise in your hearts. 

May the Lord Jesus Christ arise in our hearts to enable us to walk in the light as He is in the light. May we be able to discern the negative influence of our flesh and demonic spirits on our minds, wills and emotions with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. May we appropriate God's divine grace to walk out of the darkness and further into the Light. Arise and shine for your Light has come! 

1. Scriptures are taken from e-Sword Bible Search Program, King James version, 2012. 
2. Frangipane, Francis. The Three Battlegrounds, 
3. Frangipane, Francis. Holiness Truth and the Presence of God. Published in The Elijah List newsletter. October, 2013.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Great Disconnect

 Act 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

Act 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (KJ version)
Receiving water baptism in the River Jordan, Nov. 2012

 Pentecost was truly a phenomenal, supernatural occurrence which took place 50 days after Christ ascended into heaven to be with the Father God. It was the fulfillment of Old Testament scripture and the beginning of the church age. The book of Acts provides us with numerous examples of what took place at that time in Israel and what should take place again and again in the kingdom of God as the church advances through history. Jesus Christ is our head and we, the universal church, are His body. We are commanded to WAIT until we receive power from on high to do the works of God and to establish His kingdom.

Unfortunately, we have not been successful at doing that and many local churches (not all) have experienced a disconnect from the Head. Today the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit available to the early church are woefully absent from our gatherings, our personal lives and ministry for the Lord. Some denominations even teach they are not evident today, because they weren't necessary after the establishment of the early church. We are a mere shadow of what used to be, or maybe never was in the first place in some modern churches, because the traditions of natural-minded men took over the management of church programs and services. What once was a genuine move of God gradually becomes another denomination or network of churches bent on doing their own thing.

The congregation shows up on Sundays and Wednesdays, expecting leaders to perform up to their expectations and present a quality program that includes all the usual elements of “church.” So we throw in the scripture, “Where two or three are gathered in my Name, there I am also,” making the great assumption that God is going to show up and be in charge. The potential is found in scripture, but the actuality is often not what takes place. When the Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit is not yielded to, then men fall back into performance orientation, because “the show must go on.” Remember how the disciples went right back to their fishing when Jesus left to go be with the Father. They went back to what they were used to doing naturally when His Presence was no longer there to guide them. What was the solution? Pentecost! Pentecost should be celebrated every day in the life of a true Spirit-filled believer. Even if we are not a member of a Pentecostal denominational church! Since when did the things that took place at Pentecost become invalid and unnecessary in today's world?
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

When believers receive the Holy Ghost (KJ), they are also offered another unique gift- the supernatural ability to speak in another, heavenly language. This is different from the gift of tongues for use in the congregation to deliver a rhema word from the Lord mentioned in I Cor. 12: 7-11 which requires an interpretation. Tongues are given primarily as a private prayer language to each Spirit-filled child of God. This is a Holy Spirit enabled prayer language we can use to build ourselves up in the Holy Spirit, to strengthen our own spirit, to stir up other gifts (word of knowledge, discernment, wisdom, prophecy), to put our natural thinking on hold while we try to hear clearly from the Lord, or to worship God in a heavenly language. Often our natural language fails to be adequate to express our love and devotion. There are times when the Holy Spirit wants to intercede through us, using our tongue to effect change in the heavenlies. This is the gift of praying in the Spirit and being enabled to sing in the Spirit referred to in I Cor. 14 and Eph. 5:18. 

Praying corporately and quietly in the Spirit during gatherings should be encouraged in order to yield to the Presence of God in the service and see His gifts manifest in the members of his body. Praying in the Spirit enables us to stay focused on God and what He wants to accomplish. It translates us out of the natural realm into the spiritual realm where God is. It enables us to tune in on His radio frequency. The gift of tongues is used to deliver a “thus saith the Lord” word to an individual or a group, whether those words are used or not. Praying in the Spirit enables us, like Jesus did, to look into the Spirit realm and see what God is doing and saying so we can release that into the natural world. When that occurs there should to be someone available to give the interpretation. If that gift is truly being activated by the Holy Spirit, then the Holy Spirit will have someone there ready to give the interpretation. The group then waits quietly for it to come forward. The key here is to WAIT to see what the Spirit of God wants to say through the body, not just proceed with the programed agenda. If after a few moments no one speaks out, then you move on with the service.

Perhaps the person with the interpretation was too timid or unsure to speak it out. Or perhaps the inexperienced person with the gifts of tongues missed God. It can happen when first learning how to cooperate with the Spirit and there should be no condemnation for messing up. How will we learn unless we are provided a safe place to practice our gifts. If some stranger comes into a gathering of believers and begins to disrupt the flow of the service with tongues out loud, then elders may need to attend to that problem. God is not the author of confusion and if that happens the person may need to be corrected, or escorted out graciously. Of course, none of the above happens in a service unless the leadership promotes the gifts and provides perimeters for them to function orderly. See I Cor. 14:26-40.
Therefore, tongues given by the Holy Spirit is a gift which can be manifested privately for one's benefit, or publicly for God's glory. There are times as well when a group of believers can pray in the Spirit out loud or sing in the Spirit simultaneously as an expression of worship. This usually subsides after a short duration and the service continues. Often this is the time when the group WAITS on the Lord to receive direction for the service, to see the various gifts manifest in the group, or to see believers come forward with a testimony that gives glory to God. Corporate singing in the Spirit is a marvelous experience which draws the body of Christ into greater unity and intimacy with the Lord. On occasion the Spirit of God has been known to “sing” His love song back to the body through a willing and yielded believer experienced in doing that.

Now if someone doesn't want the gift that is offered by the Spirit of God, is afraid of it, is afraid of what others may think about them, then they won't receive the gift. They may receive more of the Spirit, but not the gift of tongues. The Spirit of God does not force His gifts or fruit on anyone. They have to want the gift as much as they want the breath of life. Also the person may need to be delivered first of some demonic spirits before this gift is manifested. Sometimes demonic spirits in a person, like doubt, unbelief or occult spirits controlling the person hinder their ability to manifest the gift of tongues. The Spirit of God does not give His gifts to persons not capable of handling them rightly, or using them for God's glory. See the illustration below with Simon the sorcerer. 
Tongues is also a gift that is usually best “caught” rather than “taught.” Learning how to release your natural tongue to be used by the Spirit supernaturally can be problematic too when we can't get our mental activity out of the way. Often children receive tongues more easily than adults do with their child-like faith. So one can have prayer to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the laying on of hands, but their comfort and freedom to pray in the Spirit may come later on. Let's use the analogy of learning how to ride a bicycle for the first time. There is a learning curve of maintaining speed, balance, coordination of eyes, hands and feet that has to occur to be successful.  So it is with receiving your prayer language. For some people it comes immediately and for others it can take some time of seeking and believing for the manifestation.

Usually, there is a very good reason why someone does not have this supernatural ability. That reason becomes a hindrance which has to be repented of, or over come first. Perhaps they have formed a hard judgment against tongues (tongues are of the devil), judged others who have the gift as “less than” or inferior to them spiritually. Pride is a huge hindrance to receiving the gift of tongues! God knows the heart of a man and does not bestow His gifts to someone who doesn't want them or will misuse them. 
Many people believe the gifts of tongues is the primary way we know someone has received the Holy Spirit. It is the primary evidence, but not the only way we can know. Many anointed preachers, teachers, missionaries and ordinary Christians serve God passionately and love God with their whole heart, soul and mind. We can see they are filled with the Spirit by the evidence of their dedication, good works, and the fruit of the Spirit in their nature and character. These people could also receive the gift of tongues if they wanted to. But if they don't believe they need the gift, or don't believe it is important to have a prayer language, or are not “waiting on God” to receive it, then they don't get a prayer language. Some people will say, “If God wants me to have tongues, then he'll give it to me. If not, then he won't.” Thereby putting all the responsibility and blame on God for not receiving tongues when the problem lies within themselves.
Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Act 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

God wants every believer to have this very special Gift, the indwelling power of His Spirit. John 14:15 tells us that Jesus said “If you love me and obey what I command, then I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of Truth.” He was going away and wanted to leave us with the Spirit of truth, the Comforter, the Paraclete to live inside us. Emanuel, God in us! Too many Christians don't wait for the Gift, don't even know the Gift is available today, or think they have the Gift already when they DON'T. Therefore, they live far below their potential in Christ and miss out on the plan, purpose and destiny God has for them.

Pat getting baptized in the River Jordan by Perry Stone
 Act 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

Act 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

Act 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

Act 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,

Act 8:19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.

Simon is a great example of a “believer” in Christ who did not receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 8: 9-13 we see Simon was a magician who boasted of having great power and who amazed people with his sorcery and occult powers provided by demonic spirits. People were following Simon around amazed by the things he could do supernaturally. Simon then heard the gospel message, believed on Christ and was baptized in water for his sins. He then began to follow Philip around astonished by the signs and miracles he saw the apostles do. He witnessed the fact that Peter and John laid hands on people to impart the Holy Spirit to them. 

Still being spiritually ignorant and blind, because he did not receive the fullness of the Spirit at his conversion, Simon tried to buy the baptism from them. He was still operating in spiritual darkness even though he had confessed his salvation through Christ and received water baptism. Peter rebuked him for trying to buy the gift of God and told Simon to repent of the wickedness in his heart. This water baptized believer was still “full of bitterness and being held captive to sin.” (verse 23). Today someone like Simon would need to receive deliverance from the occult gifts and spirits he had allowed to posses him before he could receive the Holy Spirit and the gift of a heavenly prayer language. Now some will debate that Simon must have not been "saved" in the first place, but there is no specific verse that tells us that. In fact it is written that he accepted Christ, was water baptized and was following the disciples trying to learn all he could about this new power of God. Of course, we realize the Christian life is all about having a relationship with God first, then the power will come.

Another example of converts to Christ who evidently did not receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit is found in Acts 5:1-11. Here we have the story of Ananias and Sapphira who sold some property and came to the disciples to give their offering. Peter full of the Holy Spirit and by the gift of a word of knowledge knew that they were being dishonest by holding back some of the money. “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit...You have not lied to men, but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down dead. Three hours later the same thing happened to his wife. Lying to the Holy Spirit has dire consequences for Christians! 
Act 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

Act 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Act 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

Act 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

Act 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. 
This passage sites a very unusual situation which most modern churches have not experienced in their services, although individual believers have reported their conversion in this manner. Peter was sharing the gospel message to a group of Gentiles gathered at Cornelius' house. He told them “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power” and how he went about healing all who were under the power of the devil. While Peter was speaking to this group the Holy Spirit suddenly came on all who heard the message. Once again Joel's prophecy was fulfilled as the Holy Spirit was “poured out” on the Gentiles in that room and they began to speak in other tongues, praising God. (an example of corporate tongues glorifying God in a gathering of believers). Peter who was rather astonished-- immediately agreed that since they were already filled with the Spirit they needed to be baptized in the Name of Jesus with water for the remission of their sins. For this particular group of unconverted men and women, they experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit FIRST, and then were granted salvation in Christ SECOND, not at the same time. Here we read where the baptism in the Spirit was a separate experience for this group. A similar experience is reported in Acts 11:12-18.

Act 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

Act 19:3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.

Act 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

Act 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Act 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 

Praying for a greater infilling of the Holy Spirit


      These examples from the book of Acts prove beyond doubt that Christians, whether they are Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal or Church of God, can not put the Holy Spirit in their doctrinal box and expect Him to do the same thing every time in every place, because we think we have figured out how the great mystery of the kingdom of God is suppose to work. Salvation first and filled with the Holy Spirit at the same time, or subsequently as a separate and distinct experience (if it ever happens at all), represents the traditions of men for most church leadership in modern America. And when God wants to break out of that doctrinal box which we put Him in we say... 
“Oh, but we've never done it that way before.”

God is sovereign and can do what He wants to do IF AND WHEN we learn how to get out of His way, unafraid to let Him be in control of our lives and services. Until then we are setting our natural limitations on the ability of the Lord to have His way in us and through us. The modern, traditional church needs to learn how to YIELD to the Spirit of God in our services and let Him have His way among us. Until then, we're simply going through the traditional modes of operation void of God's dynamic Presence and power. God's will is for church services, home group meetings and family life to be a dynamically powerful, transformational experience where people come to meet with God and see Him face to face manifested THROUGH the people of God! And the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the gift of speaking in tongues is a prerequisite for all this to happen! The great disconnect will disappear and the body of Christ will be functioning in union with the Head. When we learn how to Welcome the Holy Spirit acknowledging Him as LORD over our gatherings, and WAIT upon Him submitting to His Leadership, then we can truly say, “The Presence of God is in this place.” 

Scriptures are copied from E-Sword, King James Version.
(The author would like to say that she has not accomplished perfectly all that she writes about, but views these ideas as goals that must be sought after and attained if at all possible in order to be obedient to the Scriptures. She realizes in many cases she is "preaching to the choir" as well and that many of her readers are walking in much of the revelation shared in these articles.)