Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Perfect Gift

Did you know that the Same Spirit that Raised Jesus from the dead, Lives in you!
 And if the spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, is living in you, He who raised Jesus from the dead will also give lie to your mortal bodies through His spirit who lives in you.” (Rom. 8:11)
 The SAME Spirit that enabled Jesus to drive out demons while HE was here on Earth lives in you!
“Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matt. 12:26 & 28) 
The SAME spirit that enabled Paul to preach with Miracles, signs and wonders through demonstrations of God’s power, Lives in You!
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.”(1 Cor. 2:4-5)
Question: If the SAME spirit that did all of these things lives in you- why are you not walking in more power (Miracles, Signs and Wonders), more Healing and more Liberty? Let me venture to say that it could be because you have not truly embraced the person and power of Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is more than just a nice deposit, a mystical force or spiritual after thought that God has gifted us with. He IS the Spirit Man of God.  HE is the POWER SOURCE of God and He is an individual “being” within the Trinity. He heals, delivers, guides, creates, instructs, teaches, gives life, testifies, anoints, reveals, wars, does miracles and this is only the beginning of His truly impressive resume!

You will never be able to truly grow close to God or in your spiritual giftings and anointing, without embracing and growing in intimacy with the “person” of the Holy Spirit All Christians need to get to know the Holy Spirit on a personal level. He is the one who releases the current word of Jesus to us for our lives and is the great communicator between God and us. 
“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” - John 16:12
The problem is that not every Christian personally knows Holy Spirit on the level that they should. I was recently reminded of this truth at one of my last ministry events. Upon arriving at this event to speak for the weekend, I was informed by the ministry staff that they had decided to take me up to the top of witch mountain where they would blow the shofar and then let me decree words out against the enemy in their region.  There was just one problem with their plan-the Holy Spirit had not told ME to do this.  I explained to my hosts that the Holy Spirit had not specifically told me to do this on their behalf and that I only did what the Holy Spirit told me to do, especially in regards to spiritual warfare issues. They were confused and disappointed by my response but they kindly relented and gave me the benefit of the doubt.  As it turned out, God had a much better plan he wanted to implement to deal with the enemy in their region. By the end of the weekend, the Holy Spirit had not only revealed a plan, he had also implemented it so that an immediate shift took place over their church and in their region.
Blindly taking on warlocks and demonic principalities over a region can be a dangerous and deadly activity. I shudder to think of what would have happened if I had not checked in with the Holy Spirit to get his word on the subject first. I have learned that Holy Spirit ALWAYS knows what is best and that He always has the fastest, easiest and best plan for the situation at hand.
The Holy Spirit desires to be our closest friend. He longs to share Jesus Christ in his fullness with us. As Christians, we need to develop a close and intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. This relationship starts by PERSONALLY, inviting him into our daily lives. It grows by being mindful of his presence and including him in every decision and aspect of our lives. We must see and treat him like a trusted family member who loves us and is loved by us in return. 
Jesus promised us that through the Spirit we would never be alone and that we would always remain connected to Him. In short, he left us with the perfect gift as our deposit - a greater part of himself. 
“But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.”  John 14:26 amp
Mignon Murrell
Glory Reign Ministries

The best way to grow in relationship with Holy Spirit is to spend time with Him.  However, if you want more resources on the person of the Holy Spirit, I highly recommend Benny Hinn's  Good Morning, Holy Spirit.
  Good Morning, Holy Spirit

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Revelation of Christ

The Lord has been showing me Christ on the cross quite often in worship lately.  In times of prayer I have been asking for increase in revelation of Christ and the cross.  In the images I see, there are several similarities between Jesus in The Passion of the Christ (Full Screen Edition) and the visions I receive.  When I see Christ His whole body is trembling in agony, His face is unrecognizable (very similar to that shown in the movie), and blood is everywhere.  Then it hit me in worship one day: the sheer agony that Christ went through, not just on the cross but to speak on the cross.  Before I go any further here are the 7 things from the Gospels that Christ stated:
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”
“I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise"
“Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit”
“Dear Woman, here is your son!” and “Here is your mother!”
“I am thirsty”
“It is finished!”
In the execution of crucifixion, the individual generally dies by exhaustion.  In order to take a breath he must press on the nail in his/her feet and pull on the nails in his/her hands to alleviate the tension on the lungs.  With that in mind, reread those 7 statements.  Every one of those cost Christ excruciating agony; He had to further wound His flesh and dig those holes in His hands and feet that much deeper just to pray for the forgiveness of His persecutors, to forgive the thief, to cry out to His Father, to assign John as caretaker of His mother, to fulfill a prophecy, and to declare the completion of purchasing our sins.  Today let us keep His sacrifice fresh in our minds, for nothing reinvigorates our passion for Christ like the ultimate act of love upon the cross.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Answered Prayers

“Now when the trial of faith comes, we are naturally inclined to distrust God, and to trust rather in ourselves, or in our friends, or in circumstances.
  “We will rather work a deliverance of our own somehow or other, than simply look to God and wait for His help.  But if we do not patiently wait for God’s help, if we work a deliverance of our own, then at the next trial of our faith it will be thus again, we shall be again inclined to deliver ourselves; and thus with every fresh instance of that kind, our faith will decrease; whilst on the contrary, were we to stand still, in order to see the salvation of God, to see His hand stretched out on our behalf, trusting in Him alone, then our faith would be increased, and with every fresh case in which the hand of God is stretched out on our behalf in the hour of the trial of our faith, our faith would be increased yet more.
 “Would the believer, therefore, have his faith strengthened, he must especially, give time to God, who tries his faith in order to prove to His child, in the end, how willing He is to help and deliver him, the moment it is good for him.”
Answers to Prayer
This excerpt from George Mueller’s Answers to Prayer is one of the greatest summations of a life of faith that I have ever read.  I put it in this way: suppose I asked my wife for baked chicken for dinner.  She defrosts the chicken, after 5 minutes of waiting, I decide, “She must not have wanted me to have the chicken” and I go microwave some Ramen noodles.  I subsequently eat them and go back to the living room.  I will no longer be in the position to receive the chicken I have asked for, when she brings it to the dinner table.  By making the Ramen noodles, I will have “worked my own deliverance” as George Muller refers to it.  However, should I choose to patiently maintain a position of expectation by sitting at the dinner table awaiting the provision I have asked for, I would see the answer to my petition.
Mr. Mueller’s life was a demonstration of a life of faith that we are all expected to walk out.  The observation that our tendency is to work our own deliverance speaks to the heart of the traditional “American Way”.  We are raised under the notion that we must work hard to receive the desired results.  This is not to suggest that hard work is bad, it is Biblical (see Pro 12:24, Eph 4:23, 2 Thes 3:8, Acts 18:3).  However, we have been redeemed from the curse (Gal 3:13) and have inherited faith which releases supernatural provision and multiplication of the results of our toil (remember Peter and the fish the full net or Elisha and the widow's oil jars).
I believe there is a degree of faith with which we can live where we are no longer toiling for our needs, but calling them in by faithful prayer as we wait upon the Lord to be our Provider.  George Mueller reached that point in his life.  Christ started ministry and did the same.  We don’t see Jesus laboring to earn wages, instead when He had need for finances it was obtained supernaturally (Mt 27:24-27).  As we continue to persevere through the test of faith with expectation and patience, our faith grows, until we reach the point where we know that God is not only capable of providing our daily needs… but willing.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Joy of Knowing God

In the churches I was raised in, God didn't seem very fun. In fact, He seemed down right boring. That isn't to say I didn't love the Lord, but my picture of God was the Church... and those were shattered images of the reflection of Christ that churches are called to be. Just for reference purposes: hymnals being sung in a monotone voice were our "worship", the sermon rarely applied to anyone, and the part I looked forward to the most was coloring in the program.. It wasn't until I started encountering the person of God, Himself that I started to realize the absolute joy of knowing God. In his book The Ecstasy of Loving God, John Crowder states:
The problem is not that our feelings are invalid in the Christian walk.  The problem is they are too limited to fully experience God.  The love of God is so huge and intense that when He begins to pour over us, it is like plugging a million-volt charge into a five-vole fuse. 
Try to deny it if you will, but laughter is absolutely of the Lord.  His will does not prescribe a life of devotion void of experiencing His joy.  Psalms 2:2-4 pictures God as laughing in mockery at the enemy.  The foolishness of the devil and man to suggest that anything contrary to God's will be performed is simply humorous.  I have actually been told that someone thought I was a pimp, selling prostitutes, and that the person wanted to kill me... and I laughed like crazy.  The notion was so ludicrous that I couldn't possibly take it seriously (the individual was under serious demonic oppression and hallucinating as the result of a drug addiction).  I knew at that moment, that the enemy had intended to cause fear in me and that is contrary to the Spirit of God (2 Tim 1:7).  Laughter is actually a spiritual weapon!

I'm going to go ahead and confess that I have experienced the controversial Charismatic event called "holy laughter".  Several times at conferences (and now on my own... at home... at will) I have been caught into these joyful fits of laughter that uplifts my spirit and releases joy into situations and places.  I can't exactly explain it other than "once you start you can't stop", but really... who would want to?  There is not a Biblical example of this sort of laughter, but the necessity of joy (which the laughter demonstrates) is essential for us to respond to trials.  James 1:2 states, " Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds".  I've found that as my confidence in God has grown, the size of many trials have diminished in my eyes as I've grown in witnessing God's deliverance.  No matter the trial I know God's deliverance is coming (Ps 37:13).  Remember, the enemy has no authority anymore... he requires our agreement to be empowered.  Instead of agreeing with his intentions, next time the enemy tries to distract you with a lie, a trick, a trial or temptation... try laughing... you'll be amazed at the results.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Persecuted for the Gospel

As I read over this article, the parallels between this young man and myself caused by heart to both ache and swell as I contemplated his situation. 

     Neshan Saeedi, a 27-year-old Christian, has not been seen since his arrest by government authorities in July, according to the Farsi Christian News Network. 
     On July 24, Saeedi was at home with his wife and young daughter in the city of Ahvaz, Iran, when plainclothes security officers entered his house and arrested the family. Security officers searched the home and seized personal belongings, including a computer, CDs containing films of Christian seminars and teachings, Christian books, Bibles and family photo albums.     
     The family was taken to the Chaharshir detention center in Ahvaz, where they were interrogated for several hours before Saeedi’s wife and daughter were released. Officers threatened Saeedi’s wife, saying if the family continued its Christian activities their daughter might be taken away. The family was accused of threatening Iran’s national security by participating in anti-government activities. They were further accused of being spies of foreign powers and of leading people to a pro-Israel ideology.
The article continues to explain that the church he attended has disbanded out of fear, you can read the entire thing here.

In Iran, this young man is being interrogated, arrested, persecuted, and potentially tortured as the result of his dedication to Christ.  The leaders of the Church are being sought out.  Our own nation has been heading in the direction of Christian persecution.  A recent example is Pastor Terry Jones threat to burn a Quran.  The president of our nation pleads with the man not to burn the Quran and sends FBI agents to convince him otherwise.  Our nation, which was founded on Christian principles, is now defending a book over the Word of Truth.  Misguided teenagers burn Bibles every day and it would be rare to find a PTA meeting that addressed the subject.  However, one pastor with almost no influence is able to stir fear in the hearts of our nation's leadership as they reeled at the idea of such an unholy act.  Your treasure is where your heart is.

Yet it is in these times that the Gospel thrives.  It is when met with opposition that the glory of God's love is best demonstrated by His followers.  I genuinely hope to bring the love and power of God to those nations that persecute Christians as so many others so admirably do.  If our country continues in the path it has been on, I might not have to go anywhere to do it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fasting - Escort into His arms

The concept of fasting was foreign in my traditional Methodist/Baptist upbringing, but after only 1 day I saw results!  I had read about fasting and prayer in the Bible, but never actually partnered the idea with reality (this was before I had received the baptism of the wonderful Holy Spirit).  My wife, 2 year old son, and myself were all living at my parents house at the time.  The move from our apartment to my parents was instigated by my wife undergoing several hospitalizations and it had put a large dent in our finances.  My prayer life had recently come alive with passion as I was zealously praying to the Lord in the morning to deliver us from certain circumstances (specifically, we needed a place to live permanently).  For several days I felt the urge to fast, without explanation.  After considering the possibility that the "urge" could be the Lord, I took a day off from eating.  Within a month of that single one-day fast, my wife and I received a check for $14,000! 

So, why fast?  Because God will give you $14,000! But seriously, God responds to a heart that is willing to lay down the desires of the flesh to seek Him.  Some of the Biblical purposes of fasts are:
  • Mourning
  • To inquire of the Lord
  • Repentence
  • Deliverance
  • Power
  • Humility
If you need set free of an oppression, a response from God, or more of the power of God in your life... fasting should be partnered with your prayers.  Fasting is never done outside of prayer but coupled with it.  While many pastors are afraid to suggest fasting from food, there really is no other Biblical example of fasting.  Fasting from television and video games are certainly worthwhile pursuits, but if you expect to raise the dead after spending a week away from Call of Duty you may be disappointed.

In his book titled, The Hidden Power of Prayer and Fasting, Mahesh Chavda reminds the reader that,
Jesus didn't say, "If you should someday decide to try to fast, although I know it's almost impossible for you..." in Matthew 6:16-17.  No, He said, "When you fast..." He didn't give us the option not to fast.
Fasting is intended to be a part of your everyday Christian life!  Christ expects it of us.  We need to fast to continually die to the flesh and sustain a life of victory.  I've actually found that it's quite a joy to fast (once you get past the first couple days), because God's voice is so much clearer.  As the junk seems to filter out of my system, my ears open more... His presence is more tangible... it's almost as though my spirit becomes softened to respond to Holy Spirit and it's wonderful! So if you haven't experienced the joys of prayer and fasting, I encourage you to try it out.  Please share you testimonies and encounters you've had while fasting as comments as well.

Lord I pray for impartation for every reader that looks upon these words.  I ask that you would grant them the grace to fast as long as You have called them to Lord.  Grant them a willingness to respond to Your voice, which is calling Your people to the position of humility through prayer and fasting in Jesus mighty name.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Activating Spiritual Gifts - Exercises - Part 2

This is the second part in the series of Spiritual Gift exercises, you can see the first part here.  This will eventually become a permanent page.

6.  Treasure Hunts - Practices the prophetic gifts (words of wisdom and words of knowledge) as well as the gift of healing and the gift of evangelism
          This wonderful activity has swept the nation as Christians have become dissatisfied with the monotonous ineffective way-of-life that the traditional American church has been raised in.  This began with Kevin Dedmon and you can read more about it in his book Treasure Hunts. So here's how you do it: get a group of people together if possible (it's not required, I started doing these on-my-own before I ever practiced this with a group), wait on the Lord for prophetic revelation for clues for who to pray for and where to go, then go out and find the people God points you to!  
          The way that you can be sure to practice the gift of healing as well, is to ask the Lord for people to pray for that need healing and He will point them out to you.  This is the beginning of walking as true witnesses that we were called to be.  I wrote another article on how essential this practice is to the growth of the believer/Church as a guest post for The Prophetic Life and you can view that article here.

 7.  Hospital Run - Practices the gift of healing
           Okay so this one is just what it sounds like, go to a hospital and pray for the sick.  There are a few things to pay attention to when you go to hospitals.  The first is that security doesn't always like it when you do this.  I have never been personally kicked out of a hospital for praying for people, but I do personally know people that have been (you'd be surprised how many hospitals are branded with the name of a denomination of Christianity that disallow praying for the sick).  There is a tension between submitting yourselves to authority and going through and obeying the mandate from Christ to pray for the sick.  While I have called the clergy at multiple hospitals seeking permission to pray for people there, I have yet to be given that approval.  So how do you get in?  There are two ways that I (and others) do this.
          First, if you can let your pastor or healing team leader know that you want to pray for the sick, oftentimes they will notify you when a congregation member is in the hospital.  This gives you the excuse to be at the hospital.  When a member is in the hospital, not only should you pray for that individual, but visit as many other people as possible!  Just peek your head in and say "Hi, my name is ____ from ____ church, would you mind if I pray for you?"
          The other method can be done more often, but it is a bit more risky: simply go up to the hospital/ER and start praying for people.  We won't see the sick healed if we don't pray for them... and we don't build our faith on what we never do.  Just be aware that people are there for a reason and that Jesus wants to heal every single one of them!

 8.  Spiritual Reading Booth - Practices words of wisdom and words of knowledge
          As seen in Furious Love, this entails setting up a booth or table with a sign Free Spiritual Readings and giving people prophetic words.  This creates excellent opportunities for evangelism as well.  As the Lord reveals things about people's lives, call forth the destiny of their calling.  Sow promise and prosperity over all that you minister to with the love of Christ.  Do not be afraid to use the name of Jesus!  However, it's important to remember when doing this that you are not brow-beating people to Christ.  Nor does a prophetic word necessarily require the salvation of an unsaved person you are ministering to (let the Holy Spirit do His work, so that every time that person thinks about the word you give... he/she will be contemplating the reality of Christ).
         A word of caution for this one, I do NOT recommend starting off in a New Age or Witchcraft festival like you see Jason Westerfield do.  This is a great thing to do for people that are accustomed to walking in the power of God, but especially for people that have experience in battling the demonic.  Those settings can be dangerous for someone that has not quite learned to walk in the authority Christ has given them yet... so just pray about it before you determine to do that in an occult atmosphere.

9.  The Quickdraw - Practices words of wisdom and words of knowledge
          One moderator gets two individuals to be back-to-back, the moderator then counts out 10 paces, after the 10th step the two turn and whoever gives the accurate prophetic word first wins!  Obviously the paces can be increased or decreased to permit more time to receive revelation.  This exercise removes the "logical" human reasoning from the process, since the immediacy of the prophetic word disallows much contemplation on the revelation.  It's important that the winner must also have a correct interpretation if the revelation is abstract.  In other words, you can't turn around and say "I see you looking in a mirror that's shattered into a thousand pieces and then it becomes a solid pane" (the only way that word wins is if that is something that has recently happened to the recipient, because it has no interpretation).  The interpretation has to come with the abstract revelation.  In the example it could be something like, "I feel like the Lord is saying that you see yourself as have a shattered/disconnected life and that the parts don't seem to make a whole, but He is saying that He is making you whole."

10.  Concentric Rings - Practices words of wisdom and words of knowledge
          This one requires at least 6 people.  There is an "inner circle" and an "outer circle".  Every person faces another person.  Those on the "outer circle" give a prophetic word to the person he/she faces.  A moderator allocates a period of time to receive the words and then give them.  After the prophetic words are delivered, the circles rotate and new words are given to the new partners.
          To mix this one up, the moderator can have the group receive the revelation... and then rotate the circles (this prevents the bias of foreknowledge from interfering with the accuracy of the words).  A good starter time limit is a minute.  As the group progresses, the time to receive revelation can be decreased.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Soak in the Spirit

The term "soaking" was birthed out of the Toronto Blessing revival that took place at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship.  While even in charismatic churches this practice can seem New Age, I assure it is both Biblical and essential to our spiritual growth.  This is not something I practice on a daily basis (although it probably should be), but as often as it is feasible.  Soaking brings rest, peace, revelation, vision, and oftentimes divine encounter.  So what is it?

Soaking is when we still ourselves before the Lord in His presence and wait upon Him to work on our spirits.  We get saturated by His Spirit and His presence.  Most of the time, when people soak they listen to soft spiritual music (a couple sites that have free soaking music are Soaking with a Purpose and  If you want to purchase music I highly recommend Glory Reign's Soaking CDs and Joshua Mills soaking music.  I liken this practice to much of what you see David do in Psalms and here's a few verses for it:

  • Psalms 131:2 “But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” 
  • Psalms 37:7 "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him” 
  • Psalms 27:14 "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."
  • Psalms 40:1 " I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry."
  • Isaiah 40:31 "Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
That's just a few starters.  If you have ever experienced a solemn assembly, then the idea of waiting on the Lord should be familiar to you.  Some of the other terms that you'll hear that generally mean the same thing are "waiting" and "tarrying".

There are some things that you can expect when you begin this practice.  First, is that sitting still for 10 minutes (with or without music) is likely to seem like a long time.  Most of us are accustomed to darting from one thought to another in the busyness of life, so the concept of letting your thoughts be still before the Lord seems foreign.  One thing that has really helped me with this is worship.  Before I soak, I worship for a while.  It fixates my mind and spirit upon the Lord.  Soaking is a practice that initially requires discipline.  When most of us started reading the Bible we first had to discipline ourselves to do it, but later grew to love encountering the Lord through the Word.  It's the same way with soaking.  You can expect to see visions, feel Holy Spirit's presence significantly increase upon you in your daily life, and receive divine revelation.

So how is it done?  It's simple and I'll give you my steps for soaking:
  1. Worship the Lord until your thoughts stay fixed on Him
  2. Turn on some instrumental worship or soaking worship music
  3. Get in a seated or lying position that is comfortable
  4. Focus your thoughts on the Lord and holding your mind still before Him
  5. Wait for Holy Spirit to takeover
When I feel His presence it comes like a very light blanket being laid over me, but it gets heavier and heavier the longer I soak.  Hold your mind still before Him and look with your spiritual eyes (similar to your imagination, except you are the one causing what you see/hear).  The more you look the more you'll see.  You may feel like nothing is happening, but as you wait on the Lord He works on your spirit and that doesn't include your mind.  Benny Hinn also has a fantastic teaching on this that makes me jealous (in a good way) every time I hear it.  So I encourage you to take up this practice and pursue God from the place of rest (and please share your experiences with it in the comments to this post)!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How to Ascend Into Heaven

Recently a friend at the Name Above All Names healing rooms I volunteer at gave me Katie Souza's Ascending into the Supernatural CD set.  I have heard teaching on ascending before and it never seemed to work for me, but I'm more than willing to continue trying and failing at something that offers the potential outcome of "being in Heaven".  If you want a thorough Biblical foundation for why we can ascend into Heaven, the saints that have done it in the past, the types of encounters you can expect: I highly recommend getting the teachings from Katie Souza.  Before delving into the step-by-step instructions for going to heaven (without dying), there are a few misconceptions that must be addressed.

First let me state that I've had both out-of-body and in-body experiences with Heaven.  The out-of-body experience, I had no inclination of what was going to happen... I was pulled up and that was all there was to it.  The encounter was not the result of my pursuing Heaven, but God granted me His grace by drawing me up through an open heaven.  Much of that encounter is personal, but I saw some of the Biblical locations in heaven (namely the throne room and banquet table).  This is not the type of experience that I have had as a result of the instructions which follow.  While I believe it is certainly possible to ascend into the heavens, in the natural, at will (Christ did it when He transfigured)... it simply isn't my experience.  However, my experience does not determine the possibilities, faith does. 

Okay, so is it Biblical?  Paul went up (2 Cor 12:2), John went up (Rev 1), Stephen saw into heaven (Acts 7:55), Jesus walked under an open heaven (Luke 3:21), Jesus saw into heaven (Luke 9:18, Luke 10:18), the heavens opened for Ezekiel's visions (Eze 1:1), and much more.  Encountering heaven is a mandate for divine revelation and retrieving God's response to earthly issues. 

So how do you do it?  Katie notes 5 steps on how to ascend and goes into detail on each step, if you need additional information view Expected End Ministries web site.  She also reviews how to bring things back with you from Heaven. 

Here's the steps:
  1. Plead the blood of Jesus over your sins (repent!)
  2. Cultivate an open heaven
  3. Know that you're already seated in heavenly places
  4. Come under the Holy Spirit's power
  5. Activate your faith
The Lord has released me to share my first experience with this.  I was sitting quietly in my chair and I suddenly had the impression that I was in the throne room.  The more that I looked the more I could see myself surrounded by other thrones.  Again, this was not in the natural, but in the same realm as how we receive prophetic revelation.  If you've never done that try some of the exercises I mentioned in this previous post.  Then I saw a hand (which I knew to be Christ's) reach into my heart and turn up a dial on it as you would turn up a thermostat.  Next He took a flame and put it in my heart.  Before descending, I asked to take something with me and a flame appeared in the palm of my right hand.  Afterward, I truly wasn't sure if I'd just been to heaven or not and I asked the Lord to confirm the encounter through His word.  He said "read Hebrews 1 and 2".  I opened it up to Hebrews 1 and read "He makes His angels winds, and His servants flames of fire"!

So I encourage you to try this out on your own.  Let me know about your experiences and encounters.  Remember to ask for confirmation from the Word (the Word is to be experienced and experience must be validated with the Word, never contrasted by it).  Be Blessed!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Activating Spiritual Gifts - Exercises - Part 1

Here's just a few exercises that I've come across for growing in the gifts.

1.  Look at Jesus - Practices the prophetic gifts (words of wisdom and words of knowledge), the seer/visionary gift, and discerning God's voice
          This one comes from the previously mentioned How to Hear God's Voice book by Mark Virkler, with my adaptation.  First, plead the blood of Jesus over your mind, thoughts and imagination; bind any spirits that would interrupt, distract, or hinder your time with the Lord. Get in front of your computer or use a pen and paper (if you want to go old school).  Then picture yourself sitting with Jesus.  Mark suggests using a Gospel setting for the imagery, my recommendation is that you can start with that and slowly adapt to picturing Him where you are.  Remember the reality is that Christ is always with us (Matthew 28:20) so picturing this is actually activating our faith in the Truth.  Then ask Holy Spirit to breath on what you are picturing and journal your conversation with the Lord.  After you've written it all down, be sure to take the conversation to either a spiritual adviser or ask the Lord to confirm it with His word.

2.  Prophecy Line - Practices the prophetic gifts (words of wisdom & words of knowledge)
          This exercise requires a minimum of 3 people but is best done with 5 or more.  One person faces the wall and an administrator organizes the others in a single-file line behind the prophesying person.  The person at the front of the line has 10 seconds to get a word for the person behind him/her before another person moves up to the front of the line (this is monitored by the administrator).  Instead of keeping a normal rotation, it's good to mix up the line frequently.  Prophetic words can be for the individual in the front of the line, but a lot of times we've found that Holy Spirit reveals who is receiving the prophetic words (which is a fun confirmation).  The objective is to remove the analytical side of prophetic words and just use what Holy Spirit gives you.  This is essential for moving in the prophetic in public settings, you don't always have 10 minutes to get the interpretation for the revelation, so you go with what you have and 9 times out of 10 Holy Spirit gives all you need.

3.  Small Group Healing - Practices the gift of healing
          The gift of healing is pretty simple to practice, you pray for the sick.  Kevin Dedmon said, "I used to have see 100% of the people I prayed for getting healed, because I wasn't praying for anyone."  Remember the prophetic gifts and healing are promises for everyone, while there are those with aptitudes and callings that show particular gifts in these arenas, they are both promised to the body of Christ as a whole!  (That means you). The easiest way to learn to pray for the sick is with a group of like-minded friends in a small group or just hanging out.  Find some sickness among you, lay your hands on it, and command it to go.  It's that easy.  Don't despise the day of small beginnings, I still celebrate when headaches are healed through my hands... because it's something I can't heal on my own and God is choosing to do it through me and that's worth celebration!  I didn't actually start praying for the sick this way, I joined a healing team and was visiting malls and hospitals on my own praying for the sick regularly.  One thing that helps to stay encouraged is to read testimonies and record all the ones you see (until they start multiplying beyond your journaling ability).  Bethel, Andrew Womack, Todd White, this blog, Joel2Generation blog, etc.  All of these have great testimonies to encourage you.  But I digress, back to praying for your friends.  Just use simple phrases like "In Jesus name sickness go!" and if you run out of things to say just say the name of Jesus over and over (every knee must bow to His name).

4.  Facebook Prophetic - Practices words of wisdom and words of knowledge
          While the social networking outlet you choose is irrelevant to how this is done, Facebook has shown to be the best for this sort of arena in my experience.  The objective is to join a community of people pursuing the prophetic gifts like yourself, and engage in prophesying over/with them.  (Warning: incoming shameless plug)  I have facebook group called Prophetic Practice where people that are interested in the prophetic go and are encouraged to message other members with prophetic words.  I used to hold weekly/monthly activities but consistent participation was hard to find.  Anyway, all the members of that group are accustomed to prophecy and you can join and give prophetic words to any one of them.  If you are new to the gift of prophecy, I encourage you to start by giving your words to an administrator first because they can offer some valuable feedback to your words.

5.  Specifics - Practices words of wisdom and words of knowledge
          This is simply having fun with the prophetic (who said God had to be boring?!)  Get a group of friends, a small group, or online friends that are familiar with the prophetic gifts and ask a series of questions of each other.  The following is an example we did with my men's group:
  • What did the person eat for breakfast? 
  • What is a circumstance the person is currently going through or dealing with? 
  • What is something the person can expect to see in the next week?
Since we had less than 5 people there we answered these questions for every group member, if you have a larger group... obviously it's best to pick one person to be the "subject" and everyone else can get the words for that person.

These are just a few great little starter exercises for practicing spiritual gifts.  Obviously if your church has a healing and prophetic ministry, I recommend joining that as well.  The most important thing to remember is that we grow by being consistent (doing this once a week rarely yields the results most of us desire).  The more we are willing to steward what God has given us, the more He gives!  Be blessed in Jesus name!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Living Sacrifice

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship."-Romans 12:1 (NASB)
 As I was praying yesterday, I said "Lord I offer myself to you as a living sacrifice today" (it's a fairly regular ingredient of my prayer times).  He responded with "being a living sacrifice is willing to be consistently uncomfortable". While we most certainly are aware of praying to "be living sacrifices" or to "take up our cross daily", the concept of what we have been praying is oftentimes foreign to us.  I noticed that while my heart and spirit meant this wholeheartedly, I had been neglecting the conscious willingness to follow up the prayer with the actions.  When we say things like "Lord I offer myself as a living sacrifice" we are declaring that we intend to submit our will to His. 

To be a living sacrifice, always means giving up our selfish desires in exchange for adopting the Lord's desires.  One example of this is having a willingness to pray for others, regardless of agenda.  Personally, this was a sacrifice when I started doing it, but is now a frequent practice and subsequently no longer a sacrifice.  My agenda when I used to go shopping at Kroger or Walmart never included other people.  I was going with intentions of groceries, not God.  However, as the Lord began challenging me to simply "Do What Jesus Did" I was confronted with the concept that my intentions had excluded His (yes even regarding shopping malls).  So what did "being a living sacrifice" entail in that scenario?  It meant I was to being very uncomfortable approaching strangers and asking them if I could pray for them (initially).  My will was to get some ground beef, His will was to heal the sick.  After all, Christ and all of His followers had no problem going into strange towns and preaching the Gospel, healing the sick, raising the dead, and cleansing lepers so how obscure is it to awaken to the fact that His desire for that hasn't changed? The more we are willing to lay down our lives for His sake, the more we take up His life... and His motives.

Walking out this life as a living sacrifice is a yielding of our will to His, but even more than that.  The degree with which we yield to Christ's will for our lives is the degree to which our hearts are conformed to His.  I rarely struggle with apprehension about approaching people to pray for them anymore.  It has been engraved in my heart, that now I truly love to do it!  So instead of being afraid of this "scary prayer", perhaps we should pray it but also respond to the implications of sacrificing ourselves for His sake.