"We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will." ~Paul
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Paul: “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline”.
This excites me! Can you imagine? Sitting in a chair facing Paul. He looks you in the eyes. His face is scarred from the many beatings and stoning he has endured. His nose is crooked from being broken. His hands are as rough as a stone masons. But it is his smile that captivates you. It is full of love….
He leans over and places his hands on your shoulders. He begins praying in the name of Jesus, asking specifically that God will give you a bold spirit, full of power, love and self-discipline. Then you feel the warmth of God flow through you and you know, that you know, beyond any shadow of doubt, you will never be the same person. Can you imagine?
God has not changed. If He is in you, His power is resident, also. As Paul says, “fan the flame“.
It seems like a life time ago, a pastor friend and I were on our faces before God crying out. “God. Whatever you plan on doing. Please don’t let us miss IT.” In God’s grace and timing I think He has chosen to allow each to participate in “IT” as best as we were prepared to engage. He’s grown us along the way to experience a deeper “IT” year by year.
Something I have noticed through the years is that “IT” seems to be only as deep as the body of believers “buy-in”. Every “body” has a level of comfort that is indicative of the personality displayed in “IT”. There is the deeply rich traditional church where “IT” can be found in a great pipe organ playing “Amazing Grace”, but “IT” is threatened if one were to request a prayer of healing or some other manifestation of the Spirit that does not fit in.
I am a blue blood believing baptist boy that enjoys worshipping wherever I can find God. I was traveling one time and stopped in to an evening worship service at a Pentecostal church. I didn’t know the songs and I wasn’t comfortable to lift my arms. It wasn’t long into the service that they began trying to drive out the devil. It turned out they were exuberant when they drove me out. They thought they had “IT”. I thought I had “IT”. Likely, we were both confused.
So here’s the point of the blog. Your body of believers known as the local church may think they have “IT”. It is likely you and I only have a very small portion of God’s total “IT”. It is also likely that everything outside your predetermined ideas of what “IT” looks like may be uncomfortable. But before you and I squash “IT” with expectations of casting out the devil, you might check to see if “IT” has a “blue blood believing baptist boy” chasing after the Spirit and visiting from out of state.
LAGOS, Nigeria, Aug. 7 (Compass Direct News) – With 12 Christians, including three pastors, confirmed killed in rioting ignited by an Islamic sect opposed to Western education, the Christian community in northern Nigeria’s Borno state is still counting its losses.