Spirit of Revelation

Psalm 110: 1

The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

I love these Old Testament revelations of Jesus. It is common for us to talk about Jesus being seated at the right hand of the Father but think about David writing this 1000 years before Jesus arrived. Just to make it clear, the first use of the word “Lord” refers to God. “My Lord” is Jesus, the Messiah. Do you not find it amazing that David had such a clear revelation of Jesus so far in advance of his arrival?

This is the work of the Holy Spirit and believe it or not, that same Holy Spirit is alive and moving in the earth today. Very few Old Testament writers had this kind of revelation, especially about Jesus. Even fewer knew, explicitly, about the Spirit. One of the things I like most about David is the way he worked with the Holy Spirit. He is unique in his understanding of and flowing with the Spirit of God. Do you find that surprising? Well, the Holy Spirit was not yet fully revealed. The Old Testament saints were looking for Messiah. Jesus revealed the coming age of the Holy Spirit.

The power of the Holy Spirit has not diminished one jot throughout the centuries. He is still revealing powerful truths. One of the other similarities, though, is that there still is not widespread collaboration with the Spirit. He remains a bit of a mystery to many New Testament believers. Did you know you can even pray to him? Well, that may not be a huge revelation, but it may be something you haven’t thought of. He is God. He is the third person of the trinity. Therefore, if you want to walk with him and have him give you the kinds of revelations he gave David, you can. You can talk with him and ask him to partner with you. He responds well to invitations.

The Holy Spirit is moving in this age for those who have the requisite awareness. He wants to integrate into your life and activate all his spiritual gifts with you and for you. Seek him, invite him, talk with him daily. He is there with you right now and will gladly walk as closely with you as he did with David, even as closely as he partnered with Jesus.

Truth Prevails

John 10: 19 – 21

The Jews who heard these words were again divided. Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

If you guessed that the Jews were speaking about Jesus, you are right. Isn’t it interesting that people can be so divided over the message and the message bringer? All of these people heard the same thing yet some attributed his teachings and miracles to his being under the influence of the devil. Still others heard wisdom in these words.

It is no different today and if people accused Jesus of being demon possessed, what will they say about us. We can only hope to stir them up as intensely as did Jesus. I have recently met a woman who is living in the middle of this reality. She longs for the miraculous and has a deep sense in her spirit that there is more of Jesus to experience than we, the church, are currently experiencing. Further, she is actively seeking all Jesus has for her. However, she has run into opposition. The church she attends is not only satisfied with living a watered down Christianity where there is not power, they even go a step further to preach against it. I have a hard time comprehending such a position. You may have read my devotional titled, All my Birthday Presents (read it here: https://iveyministries.org/2015/10/all-my-birthday-presents/). The whole point of it is that I want everything Jesus died to give me. Not one of his good gifts should go unclaimed. Do you agree? And yet, some people, even Christians (or especially Christians) complain and criticize when someone operates in a realm where they have no experience. They elevate their experiences over the Word of God and the ministry of Jesus. That’s nuts!

This lady even has to endure negativity from her pastor and hears it from the pulpit. It bothers me considerably that this pastor is speaking negatively about that which he does not understand. He is hamstringing his congregation and stealing from this woman and others. However, there is grace for him as well. He needs a visit from Christ. Once you have encountered Christ, you really don’t care what some ignorant speaker has to say because you have actual and divine knowledge. I have seen the Holy Spirit with mine own eyes. You cannot convince me he does not exist nor that he is not present in the lives of saints on this earth today. I have been there and seen it.

So why do people like this pastor struggle so? They are spiritually dead or at least unapprised. Jesus said these people have a hardened heart. The thing that makes that such a sad statement is that usually it is we who harden our own hearts. We choose to close our minds and hearts to that which is different or which challenges our current beliefs and knowledge. The hungry Christian need not defend their belief system. We have a Lord so our part is simply to run to him with our confusion and even our doubt. “Teach me, Lord Jesus, what the truth is in this situation!” We also have other Biblical teachers who can bring light if our current associations are ill-informed.

Just like the Jews called Jesus a demoniac, people today criticize and condemn others as blasphemous and demon influenced. First, check the Bible. If what is being criticized is there, then it is of God, not Satan. Second, get further information if you don’t understand. Certainly do not listen to naysayers. Don’t let them steal from you and condemn you to less than Jesus died to give you. If they disparage others, that is a good first clue they are not walking in the fullness of the Spirit. God is love. We do not all have to believe the same but the church is dying from the lack of Jesus’ power in our congregations. Jesus came to give us fullness of life and we are not only settling for much less than he intended, but sometimes we even cut off the flow of his Spirit by criticizing those who are experiencing miracles. Until we are all living in the abundance of life that Jesus intended, we need to keep pressing in to all he would reveal to us. Will some of it be startling? Sure, and even, at times, disturbing but he is the answer to every problem and question. Let’s live big. Let’s start walking on the water.

Spiritual Gifts

1 Corinthians 12: 1, 4, 7 – 11

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues and to another the interpretation of tongues, but one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

I wrote to you last week about the power of God and how it seems to be minimally operational in our culture today. We read 2 Corinthians 2: 4 which says, “My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” This is not the claim, unfortunately of many Christians today, and sadly not even of many ministers. We need to change this.

A couple of years ago I undertook to find every scripture in the Bible which refers to the Holy Spirit. As I looked them up I created a spreadsheet indicating what each verse was about. I also used a keyword for many of the scriptures because I began to notice recurring themes. One of the words which repeatedly occurs in tandem with the Holy Spirit is the word “power”.

In the beginning the Holy Spirit was hovering over the surface of the deep and when God spoke, the power of God through the Holy Spirit manifested and created everything we see and know. He, the Holy Spirit is the power of God. That is why today’s verse is a good response to “The Power is Out.” If we wish to see the power of God manifesting in our lives and in our cities then we must tap into the source. Paul teaches us that these manifestations come through the Spirit of God and they take the form as described in today’s verse. From the word of wisdom to the effecting of miracles, all this is ours in the Spirit. Paul goes on to teach that these manifestations are given to every one of us. They all operate through the Holy Spirit of God; they are His gifts but he is not the one who effectuates the manifestation in the earth. We are the hands and the mouth of God in the earth. The Holy Spirit works in harness with us to bring the power of God to effect in the earth. Miracles, healing, words of wisdom and knowledge are all gifts of the Holy Spirit given to each one of us. You have the ability to prophesy if you have the Holy Spirit because all of the power of God and all of these spiritual gifts are in him.

The conclusion is that the power of God isn’t being seen in our lives because we are integral pieces of the dynamic. Once we understand that the power can and should flow through us then we have the opportunity to step in the realm of manifested gifts. You don’t have to be someone special. You don’t have to be a minister. The gifts are already available through your Father’s Spirit.

Ignorance of these gifts and our operation of them has crippled the body of Christ but we can change that. In fact, in just reading this Word of the Day devotional we are collectively moving towards a renewal of the spiritual energy that is ours through Christ our Lord. I was thinking, it takes a bit of courage or perhaps bravado to move forward, to challenge the status quo and importune God for the operation of these gifts in your life. It is much easier to sit in the stands and watch for someone else to step out. However, on the heels of that thought came another. It truly only takes one person to start and the whole body of Christ can begin to grow in the power of God. It’s like the wave cheer at a football game. It begins with just a few but only is fulfilled when others join in. None the less, someone must begin.

Let’s you and I determine not to be afraid but rather to embrace God’s Word, Paul’s teaching and step out into the things God has made available. God gave us power when He gave us His Spirit. Let’s walk in that power and move some mountains.

Caught Unaware

1 Corinthians 12: 1

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.

Here we find Paul writing to the church, which he established in Corinth. He had a pastor’s heart towards the people in Corinth. He wrote them letters in order to encourage and instruct them. This statement from him makes my pastor’s heart grieve though, for one thing is sure, we are unaware concerning spiritual gifts. Many people who are Christians, even people who attended church for 30 years or more are not even aware that there is such a thing as spiritual gifts much less what they are and how they operate in the lives of believers. In truth, they are not operating in the lives of believers because we are predominantly unaware of even their existence. There clearly is not enough time or space in a devotional to explore this topic at any depth but at least we can make ourselves aware.

Paul lists nine gifts of the Spirit in this chapter. The first important point to notice is that these are gifts of the Holy Spirit of God. Not one of us has to be a special saint in order to exercise these gifts. The Holy Spirit simply manifests his gifts through each one of us. The nine gifts are: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, effecting of miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits, a variety of tongues and interpretation of tongues. All of these work through individual believers and every single believer is qualified in the Spirit of God. They have been given to the body of Christ for our edification. Isn’t that great?

Jesus told us when he was about to leave the earth that he was going to send the Holy Spirit to us who would be with us forever. Obviously, the Spirit of God IS God. He is part of the Holy Trinity. He was with God in the beginning and when God created the earth. The Holy Spirit has specific roles which are described throughout the Bible but most specifically in the book of John. One of the words which often accompanies any Biblical discussion of the Spirit is “power.” He is the creative power of God. This is most clearly observed in Genesis where the Spirit was hovering until God spoke the word. Then the Spirit manifested what God envisioned. That is powerful imagery.

The Holy Spirit has come to manifest God’s presence in the earth. These gifts, Paul writes about, are part of that manifestation. One of the key concepts that seems to elude us modern day Christians is that they are “gifts.” They are presents from God to us. I mean, “Happy Birthday! Have a gift!” I am all for gifts and presents. I love them. Even the simplest gift brings me pleasure. Maybe some of you are like me. How is it, then, that we have allowed gifts from God to go unnoticed? It is a little frightening when I contemplate it.

The most amazing thing to me in this chapter is that Paul spends no time explaining these gifts. He does not write a treatise on what they are and how each one is distinguished or used. He seems to expect his audience to understand their uses. How far I feel we have fallen. If you are hungry for a good Bible study, researching the gifts of God’s Spirit would be a great one. Send me a copy when you are done, please!

Gifted Builders

1 Peter 4: 10

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another.

God has sown his good gifts into the Body of Christ for the building up of the entire body. You have different gifts than do I. Yours are different than your best friend’s likely. That is because we are supposed to use our gifts collectively to build a stronger house. There is no purpose in two of us having the same gifts as there is no reason for us to have two plumbers and no electrician. No one’s job is more important than another’s. It takes them all in order to build a strong house. Are you gifted? Are you blessed? Those blessing and gifts are for you to use to build up others. If you are blessed, then you should be seeking out ways to bless others. God wants to bless you but he also wants you to grow up and be like him. What does that mean? He wants you to outgrow being a consumer only and become a sower. He will continue to sow good things in your life but don’t be the clog in the plumbing. Keep that blessing moving. The more you sow, the more there will be for others to sow with. 

All My Birthday Presents

1 Corinthians 1: 7

[S]o that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Imagine that it is your birthday. The dining room table is decorated beautifully and upon it you see a good-looking cake with your name on it, but that’s not all. The table is laden with festively wrapped packages. There must be twenty or more and they all have your name on them too. Wow! Now, here is the question – which one do you want? What is your answer?

Well, I am just a kid. I love birthdays, especially mine and I will confess I love getting presents. I love opening the presents and seeing what is inside them. So, since I am just a kid and pretty unrestrained when it comes to my birthday my answer is, “I WANT ALL MY BIRTHDAY PRESENTS!”

That is the way I approach my relationship with Jesus, Dad and the Holy Spirit. I very much think of Jesus having provided me with another birthday. Through him we have all been born again. His death, blood, crucifixion, but mostly his victory have provided us with so many wonderful gifts like salvation, redemption, grace and so on. Now which one of his many gifts would I choose not to receive? How about this one, “Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2: 38). I want that one most of all. How shall I leave off the third person of the trinity? The Spirit is the power of God first unto salvation but then for victory in every area of life.

How about this one? “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (Acts 2: 4). Boy, this one makes people flip out and it did me too. I had no understanding about tongues at all and it just freaked me out. But here is the thing, I was not about to let one of Jesus’ gifts to me go unclaimed. So, I sought out wise counsel and guess what? It was all over the Bible. I had no arguments left and I absolutely will not be left out of anything Jesus has for me. I want it all so if it is of Jesus, then I mean to have it!

What about you? What are you leaving on the table? Have you failed to receive his gift of forgiveness? How about the bestowment of grace? Maybe like me you stumbled over tongues. Well, here is my advice. Consult with Jesus about all of these things. Consult with your pastor. Call me. Find out to what you are entitled and then begin unwrapping all those presents. Don’t let one single thing slip through your fingers. Jesus’ ministry is and was all about providing you with birthday presents. Let us not make his sacrifice of no consequence. Rather let us be enraptured with all Jesus did for us and make the fullest use of it all. Do not deny yourself the Holy Spirit, do not deny yourself praying in tongues through the Holy Spirit. Don’t let grace pass you by. Be vigilant to receive the good things of God which he has provided you through the person of Jesus Christ. For goodness sake, open all your birthday presents and enjoy them with the joy of a child. This is why Jesus came, why he died and why he sent the Holy Spirit to us. Be a child and receive.

Fountain of Knowledge

Proverb 1: 7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

I have been blessed to sit under a teaching where we are learning how great men of science have relied on God for their scientific inspiration and discovery. We have learned that we can be as brilliant as Einstein if we will avail ourselves of the same tools he used. No, perhaps we won’t have an IQ as high as Einstein’s but we can receive the knowledge of God through meditation and reliance on the Holy Spirit just like he and others have.

Revering the Lord is what connects us to that unlimited source of wisdom and knowledge. It is almost like hooking up a water hose to the faucet. There is constant availability for each need. All we have to do is turn on the tap and the knowledge flows. Interestingly enough, there is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit called the word of knowledge (1 Corinthians 12: 8). The same verse tells us that there is also a word of wisdom. The point is that God isn’t withholding wisdom and knowledge. He is trying to get them to us. So much so that part of the Holy Spirit’s mission in the earth is to help us to receive them.

In James 1: 5 we are told if we lack wisdom we should ask of God “who freely gives to all men generously and without reproach.” There is no reason we should go through our days, our jobs or our lives lacking the knowledge and wisdom we need. In fact, Solomon tells us that only fools despise wisdom and instruction. Which brings up another point, although the beginning of wisdom and knowledge is a reverential attitude towards the Holy One, there are multiple avenues through which God will deliver wisdom and knowledge. We have already seen that the Holy Spirit is equipped with multiple tools for conveying God’s wisdom but we must recognize that those gifts are exercised by the Holy Spirit through a human being. The anointing of God speaks through people just as God spoke through Solomon when Solomon wrote this proverb. God has also set teachers and others in the body for our edification and instruction. The Lord has given wisdom to people who can transfer those divine insights to us if we will not be foolish.

Lastly, let us not forget two other important ways God conveys His knowledge and wisdom to us. One is meditation. As we meditate on God and His Word the Holy Spirit speaks directly to our spirits giving us precise information for our specific need. Secondly, God speaks to us through His Word. He will lead you to a scripture that speaks to your situation or cause a scripture to practically jump off of the page at you. The main point to appreciate is that God wants to get His wisdom and knowledge to you. It all begins with a heart turned to God, seeking Him, seeking His face.