Thursday, February 14, 2019

New Wine Skins

Behold, I make all things new! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? - Isaiah 43:19

The Lord has really been speaking to me this year about the new things he wants to do and the importance of having "new wine skins" in order to perceive these new things he is doing. In Matthew 9 it says unless we have new wine skins to hold the new wine, the wine will run out and the wine skins will be ruined.

Since many of us can not relate to the analogy of a wine skin, a modern day analogy might be a can of vegetables. If you emptied out a can of vegetables, you wouldn't reuse the can and put vegetables back into it, especially if the can was rusty. The vegetables would become contaminated and wouldn't be edible anymore.

The wine skin or tin can represents our mind. Our mind needs to be constantly renewed by the Holy Spirit in order for us to perceive the new things God is doing.

Just as there are mysteries in the natural world yet to be discovered, there are mysteries in the spiritual realm that have yet to be discovered and the Lord is looking for people whom He can share these mysteries with. We could never exhaust the mysteries of God. Even with the gifts of the Spirit, scripture says there are many variations of the same gift (1Cor. 12). You may have the same gifting as other people but it is not necessarily going to look the same.

Often we want to hold onto the old ways of doing things or cling to what God did in the past. We want what feels safe and familiar. When we do this, we put God in a box and we become blind to what God wants to do.

Times are changing however and what worked in the past isn't going to necessarily work in this day and age.

This type of attitude is rampant in the Church! People like what is comfortable and they like to do things the same way they have always done them, even if it doesn't seem to be working anymore. Tom and I have also seen this attitude to a large extent in the Charismatic movement. Often times, people who were involved in the Charismatic movement in the 70's, want it to stay the same, with the same songs, same speakers, and same way of doing things.

Currently, there is a group of us that meet in our home and at the church once a month for praise, worship, an opportunity to practice the gifts of the Spirit and pray for one another. We do not call it a "Charismatic" prayer group because we believe the gifts are available to the Church as a whole and not just a fringe group of people. Also, hearing God speak is not just a "charismatic" thing. All believers are called to have a 2-way relationship with God. The way our God is different from the so called gods and idols of the nations is that we can hear Him speak to us in the depth of our heart. There are many Saints that heard God speak to them, had visions and other mystic experiences but were not labeled "charismatic". They also were not considered "Saints" at the time they had these experiences. 

As far as our meetings go, we don't want to limit the people who come, so we don't want to get caught up in labels. There are also many Charismatic prayer groups that still meet in a small room or closet in their church and they haven't branched out from that or invited others in. They also do not use the gifts of the Spirit outside of these meetings. That's not what the gifts are for! They were meant to be taken out, beyond the 4 walls of the church and used to reach unbelievers! 

Quite frequently we get people asking if we can play the older charismatic songs. There were some good things that came out of the Charismatic Renewal. If it weren't for the Renewal, I don't know if I would be alive or following Christ. Personally however, I have no desire to go back to what God did in the past. I want to move beyond that and be open to the new things he wants to do now! The next great move of God if going to look completely different than what He did in the past. 

We need to allow Christ to renew our mind. There are great spiritual mysteries that have yet to be discovered and that God wants to reveal to us but we will miss it if we are only looking at what He did in the past. 

1 Cor. 2:9-10 - "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed it to us by the Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God." 

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Countdown is On

When I was a senior in high school, I had my first Psychology class and I was hooked! I found it really fascinating and decided to major in Psychology in college. My senior year I switched to Mental Health because I couldn't pass Statistics. I would tutor other students in it, watch as they would end up getting A's and I would fail because of test anxiety, but that is another story.

One thing I learned in Psychology was about all the different defense mechanisms people use to protect themselves. The Lord in his great kindness has provided a way for all his creatures to protect themselves. In Zoology, I even learned how simple, single cell organisms have built in mechanisms for self defense.

As children of God however, it is not ideal to hold onto our own defense mechanisms. In fact, if we do, they could be likened to moth balls. Moth balls protect against moths but they sure do stink!

Eventually, if we want to come up higher, mature in the Lord and become more like Jesus, we need to be willing to let go of our own defense mechanisms. It is important that we follow Jesus' example, allow ourselves to be vulnerable and surrender to His Divine protection under the shelter of his wings (taught by the early church to be Jesus' outstretched arms on the cross).

It is often tempting to escape when the pressure in on and when life gets hard but if we will find refuge in the cross instead, the reward will be great!

Some of the most beautiful mysteries of creation are formed under intense pressure, irritation, darkness and heat. Pearls, gold, diamond and crystals to name a few.

Likewise, when we are in the dark valleys of life facing intense pressure, heat and irritation, we can become more fully alive and refined when joining those trials to the sufferings of Christ.

When praying about 2019, I believe the Lord showed me some exciting things for this year! 

In the past, when trying to step out to do the works that Jesus did, I would get pelted by the enemy and experience setbacks. 

A new day is dawning however, the countdown is on and we are now coming into a season  of unprecedented protection for those who will let go of their own defenses and hide themselves in the shelter of the Most High like Psalm 91 talks about.

We have a green light to go forth in the power of His name, lay hands on the sick and see them recover.

We are coming into a season of Mark 16:15-18
These signs will accompany him. In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not harm them, they will place their hands on the sick and they will recover.
Besides the Divine protection this scripture talks about, another verse that struck me with is, "they will place their hands on the sick and they will recover." It doesn't say, after praying for a long time, begging and pleading, they will recover.

Healings are starting to become more common place as God's people are realizing the authority they have in Christ. As Christians begin to realize their authority and that they can pull down their inheritance now, healings will be more common place than in the past. It will become the "new normal". Instead of begging and pleading, often times we just need to lay hold of that which is already ours. 

The next great move of the Holy Spirit is upon us! I prophesied about it 20 years ago:

"You are about to witness the greatest move of my Spirit that has ever been poured out on the earth! Unlike the Charismatic movement, it will not be able to be contained. It will start with the youth and spread to the four corners of the earth."

Rise up Church! Hide yourself in Christ! The rain/rein of God is here!