Tag Archives: Be filled with the Spirit

Unless we are filled with the Spirit we can’t even hear what God is saying properly, let alone do it.

The Yeast of the Kingdom

Today I made some bread rolls with fresh yeast. I made the dough in the bread maker before they went into the oven. It was a busy morning: my mother-in-law died recently and we had a van full of furniture and other items from her house to be distributed round various households. One of these was an electric “riser recliner” chair for our friend and School of Prophesy member Linda, who had been asking the Lord for one of these for John, her father. Another item she needed for him and hadn’t been able to get hold of was a commode. We had one of these as well. The timer on the dough had 45 minutes left when we set off for Linda’s house. Also in the van were a coffee table and a bedside cabinet for the charity shop. Linda and David live 10 minutes away.

The chair was perfect. We wheeled it in.

“Linda, you don’t happen to want this table and bedside cabinet as well, do you?”

“Oh yes, he’d love them in his  room! And you don’t happen to have anywhere you could store this carpet for us, by any chance, do you?” (Conversations are summarised.)

We did. We took her furniture out of the van and put in the rolled up carpet. When we got home there was one minute left for the dough in the bread machine. The timing was perfect.

God’s perfect timing

What’s this got to do with yeast?

Linda had asked God for one thing – the chair; she actually got five: the table, the cabinet, the commode, and storage for her carpet as well. And on top of that, it saved us a trip to the charity shop. God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” The power of the Holy Spirit at work in us is the power of the Kingdom of Heaven. Without the yeast doing its work of multiplication we would not have had bread rolls for lunch. God want to feed us from Heaven, but for that to be possible we need to have His yeast at work in our lives. It looked impossible for Linda’s Dad to come and live with them, but she and David both felt the Lord had told them that He would make a way where there was no way, and they believed Him; and today we were part of that way being made.

I felt that God allowed that perfect timing of the bread rolls to show us something that we would have missed if it hadn’t been so exact: the yeast in the dough represented the multiplication of His blessing in John’s life. John isn’t a Christian yet, but the Lord is on his case. I believe salvation will come to him while he is with Linda and David. And it will be because of three things that are all core to the Spirit-led life:
1) A hunger to hear the word of God;

2) A willingness to trust and obey His word, even when it looks impossible; and

3) An everyday familiarity with the presence of the Holy Spirit, who is “the power that works in us.”

These three are essential if the leaven of the Kingdom of God is going to transform the dough of our daily life into the bread of Heaven.

Fresh bread, anyone?

Faith: The Mind of Christ

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2:16)

Jesus wants His church to be built through works of “faith expressed through love.” (Gal 5:6) James tells us that “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” And since Hebrews 11:16 tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please God,” we are left with the inescapable conclusion that there is a call on the life of every Christian to demonstrate the love of God through acts of faith. But when storms rock our boat, faith and love can be the last things on our minds: all we want to do is cling, shivering, to the gunwales, like the disciples in the tempest on the Sea of Galilee when they saw Jesus walking towards them on the water. So while the storm is crashing all around we have a choice, as they did: we can either grip the side of the boat in desperation and wonder if Jesus is going to get to us before it sinks, or we can step out of it at His word and walk the impossible in His direction.

Paul writesthe whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph 4:16). To put this a bit more simply, the whole of the body of Christ  grows when we all build each other up in love by playing our different parts effectively. The problem, as I have already said, is that we don’t usually feel very effective when it seems like our ship is about to sink. But we can easily miss an important detail of this verse. The word  translated as “effective” is energeia. Energia is a “power word”: it is only used in the New Testament for supernatural power. In other words, the effective working by which every part does its share”- the acts of faith expressed through love by which we build each other up and cause the Body of Christ to grow – have to be supernatural.

Faith is only a theory unless we stand on it. And standing on our faith is like walking on the water: it involves trusting in the supernatural.  We don’t actually live out our Christian lives on the boat; we are only “effective” on the water; either walking on it towards Jesus, or, like Peter, being pulled out of the waves and into His presence. And as Peter found out, even if we do momentarily sink it’s better to be on the water than in the boat.

Great Expectations

Faith isn’t just about trusting in the supernatural; it’s about expecting it. I did a lot of hitch-hiking in the 1970’s, both in the UK where I live, and further afield including parts of Africa where the roads were very different to what they are today. I would set out with a destination in mind, and I knew I would get there eventually. I expected nothing else. Faith is a bit like that: we know where we are going, it’s too far for us to walk, we don’t have any other means to make the trip, so we wait until God shows up and takes us there by a power that is not our own. We expect nothing else.

What expectations do we bring to our journey? The 1949 revival in the Hebrides came about when God answered the persistent prayers of two elderly sisters who drew a circle on the floor and said to the Lord that they were going to kneel there until He poured out His Spirit on their thirsty land. They waited by the road until they got their lift. We have a church intern living with us at the moment. If I say we are going to have some time together at 9.00 pm, there is a knock on my study door at 9.00 pm and a voice saying “Bob, are you ready? It’s nine o’clock!” And if I’m not quite ready I stop what I am doing because I said I would be. Jesus said “knock, and the door will be opened to you.” What has God said He would do, for us and through us? Do we knock on His door and wait until He comes out because He said He would? Because as Smith Wigglesworth famously said: “God is more eager to answer than we are to ask.”

The Heart of the Matter

We talk sometimes about doing something because it is “in our heart,” or conversely not carrying something out because it “isn’t in our heart to do it.” There are many obstacles on the path of faith, but one of them is surely that we have certain promises from God in our heads, but we don’t have them in our hearts. Romans 10: 9 says “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Faith, whether for salvation or for seeing the miracle working power of God, is a matter of the heart, not the head. Mark 11:23 and Matthew 21:21 make this clear: Jesus tells us that we will see the mountains moved if we believe “and do not doubt in our hearts” that God will do what only He can do.

For those of us who sometimes find it difficult to make that shift from head theory to heart faith, help is at hand. Paul wrote: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2:16). The Greek word nous, translated as mind, means all the faculties of perceiving and understanding as well as those of feeling, judging and determining. When we were born again, God didn’t just give us a new heart, but He also gave us His nous. Jesus didn’t doubt in His heart that He had authority over the waves: for a start, they belonged to Him. Our human minds will never grasp the dominion that we have in the Spirit, in Christ; but we don’t need them to because our Father has given His children the mind of His son. It is a gift to all of us, if we will receive it. It is only by the mind of Christ that we can receive the mustard seed “faith of God” (Mark 11:23) that moves the mountain. If we can take hold of this gift we will really get it into our hearts that nothing is impossible with God. Even walking on water.

How do we do that? We go and knock on His door, ask Him for it, and wait. But I’ve got to stop writing now: it’s nearly nine o’clock.

Walking on the Water

This is the full text of what I felt the Lord gave me for this morning’s meeting (Sunday 18th Oct):

We have just sung “My Lighthouse.” Jesus was the disciples’ peace when they were in a boat on the troubled sea of Galilee. But to find His peace, Peter stepped out of the boat and began to walk towards Him. He put his foot on the waves. God wants to teach us all to put our foot on the waves, because in this troubled sea it will actually be safer than trying to stay in the boat. The Holy Spirit is teaching us all to walk on water because the ship of the world system is sinking. We have his power and his authority to do so, and he gives us the faith by His Spirit to trust that who He is in us is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). He says to us this morning: “Learn to listen to my voice so you can hear me calling you to come, step out of the boat and onto the waves; because that is your place of peace, not inside the boat. Do not be afraid, because I am with you, and I will not ask you to step further than I know you are able. Seek My presence in all that you do and be attentive to My voice, because I am going to start giving you opportunities to do by My power what you cannot do in your own strength. The storm is rising and the ship of the world’s system is going to sink, and that is why I am training you now to walk on the water.”

Bob.

Jake also had a word this morning about being on the water. Although the picture is far from stormy, it echoes the theme of God “calling us out onto the water” (as we sing in the song “oceans”) to do by His spirit what we cannot do on our own. While there is a strong sense in what I felt God gave me that He is calling us deeper into the supernatural for our own survival, the burden of Jake’s word is that we need the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to effectively minister God’s love to others. The two go together: we cannot minister to those who are caught in the storm if we are stuck in our own boats ourselves. We are the body of Christ: we need to be on the water, calling “Come!” in His name to the lost and the frightened. Here is Jake’s word, and the picture that goes with it that he took at Trentham Gardens.

“Just like these swans, the Lord is saying that He wants us to be in sync with Him. Only through being in sync with the Spirit can we reveal God’s heart, which is Love, to those around us.”

“You call me out upon the waters,
The great unknown, where feet may fail…” (From “Oceans, by Darlen Zscheck)

Whatever the storm may look like, the place of peace is on the water.

The Plough and the Island

An Island in the ploughing season.

“I am ploughing the soil, cutting off old and unfruitful roots and connections. My church is to be an island in the ploughing season. While turmoil and disruption is going on around My Church, My church will be stable and show My glory when churning and instablity is happening all round. I want My church to stand out be different, not criticizing one another, not criticizing leaders of nations. All this will dim the light of my glory. Instead I want you to be praying for the leaders of the world and publicly praising them for what I am doing through them. For I Have set them in place for such a time as this. For if you do this your ears will be open to My Spirit and to what I am doing. My Glory will shine out to those around you and beyond if you dare to be different and do not conform to what is going on around you.”

Jake saw this “island” in the ploughed field while out on a walk. The Lord spoke to him through it, and he took the photo above. The picture of the church as a place of strength and refuge in the midst of desolation strongly echoes the “tall building” message given through two different people. 2 Corinthians 13:1 tells us that “A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” Here we have one message being confirmed by three witnesses. In other words it’s been underlined three times: we must not ignore what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2)

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

On Sunday the teaching in the “discipleship” series at Wildwood Church was on the need for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gave me “The Time of Unlocking“ the previous Wednesday evening. It specifically mentions gifts and ministries, which of course can only come from the Holy Spirit. The whole sense of the message was that God was “unlocking” a new outpouring of His Holy Spirit, which would be evident in many ways.

Jake (Jacob) sent me the message about the escalator a few days beforehand, the day after I read a devotional about Jacob’s ladder. The escalator takes us up, in the power of God. What we receive in heavenly places we then bring down to earth. Jake’s escalator is Jacob’s ladder for the 21st century; Jacob’s ladder on steroids. It’s the Holy Spirit within us who takes us up the escalator and gives us what Jesus is asking us to bring to down to Earth. God’s words to me, to Jake, and through the message to Wildwood Church (and no doubt many other churches)  on Sunday are all connected: we cannot be effective disciples without the power of the Holy Spirit, and we have to consciously ask Jesus for this baptism, or drenching, in the Holy Spirit, rather than just assume that we have received it. We need to press the button for the stairs to become an escalator. (See the escalator post.)

Three voices independently bringing messages that are connected is not a coincidence, it’s actually one voice: it’s the voice of the Lord. As we keep hearing through many prophetic voices, we are in a new season; and God wants His people equipped. We need to become familiar with the supernatural in our own lives. This isn’t just because revival cannot happen without it; it’s because the world is going to fail us increasingly, so unless we can tap into the supernatural resources of God’s Kingdom we will be struggling. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want that for us.

If you don’t know whether or not you’ve been baptised in the Holy Spirit, then you probably haven’t been. You know if you’ve been baptised in water; you will know if you’ve been baptised in the Spirit. For many people it is evidenced by speaking in tongues, but for everyone the main thing is that it is experiential. The spiritual dimension becomes a personal reality. And as Paul wrote (Ephesians 5:18) – as if we haven’t heard it enough times already – having received it once we need to keep on being filled if we are to keep walking in a fresh experience of God.

So there are three distinct stages to becoming an effective disciple of Jesus Christ. One is repentance and turning to Christ – what used to be called “repentance unto faith.” The second is baptism in water. Again, this is not a “bolt-on” to our faith: it is foundational. Colossians 2:12 says we are “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead:” it’s hard to know the fulness of resurrection life without first passing through burial with Christ. And the third is baptism in the Holy Spirit. Sometimes they all happen together, but you know that they have all happened. All three are essential. All three are foundational to us being “filled up to all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:19) for which Jesus went to the cross. He did not die in anguish for us to receive anything less.

A couple of nights ago Jake had a dream which he has shared with me, which I am including here because I think it is also part of this message. Jake called the dream “Picky Eaters.” In the dream, God had served a generous meal to His people, but some of them were leaving food on the side of their plates. The Lord said “I have served this meal up to my people to make them strong in Me, but some of them are being picky eaters. They pick and choose what they want to eat, but the meal is the full gospel. They cannot discard part of it and still expect to grow strong.”

I want to emphasise again that this is the meal that was paid for on the cross. How can we be picky when such a great price was paid? But if you are uncertain about biblical foundations for the baptism in the Holy Spirit – whether or not it is actually on the plate – you can find more in the article The Name of the Father.

where is Your fire?

I felt a warm gentle breeze blowing, slowly getting stronger, and felt the Lord say: “It’s the breath of my Spirit on coals that were once so on fire but have let the ash slowly build up, so that all that is left is a lump of coal glowing underneath the ash.” The ash represents life’s worries, sin, and settling for a comfortable mediocre Christian life.

I feel the Lord is saying that the warm wind of His Spirit is blowing the ash off the coal, and as His breath becomes more intense the coals will burst into flame – as long as we allow Him to agitate us like one does with a fire, or BBQ, to keep the flames burning hot.

So the Lord is asking again: “Where is your fire?”

(Jake Dominy)