TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION: THE CROWN JEWELS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

When many Christians speak of tongues they call it a gift. But the word ‘gift’ is not associated with tongues until the 12th chapter of Corinthians when Paul begins his discourse on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We must differentiate between the private and the public use of tongues.

If you want to get technical about it there is no such thing in the Bible as the gift of tongues. Now don’t misunderstand me, generally speaking everything God gives is a gift, but specifically, no.

The initial physical evidence of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. These tongues are attached to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and are for our devotional use. They belong to every born again Christian, but the tongues is not the gift. The Holy Spirit is the gift (Acts 2:38-39).

The gift of tongues is first mentioned in 1 Cor. 12:10 and is called divers kinds of tongues.

There is much ignorance in the church world today concerning the topic and private use of devotional tongues and even more ignorance concerning the public gift and use of divers kinds of tongues. And yet if you think about it, divers kinds of tongues with interpretation of tongues, are the only two gifts that were not operative in the Old Testament.

The prophets and those God anointed in the Old Testament moved in every other gift except those two. God manifested Himself in what has been termed as the revelation gifts (word of knowledge, word of wisdom, and discerning of spirits) and in the power gifts (working of miracles, gifts of healing, and special faith), and in prophecy. You will find references and examples of these gifts being in manifestation throughout the entire Old Testament. But you will not find one reference or example of divers tongues and interpretation of tongues being in manifestation. What does this tell us?

It tells us that Jesus reserved these twin gifts for His glorious Church. They are the signature gifts of the New Testament. They are the crown jewels of the Bride of Christ. And yet many consider them to be the lesser gifts, when actually these two gifts should be in more frequent manifestation then any other. Why don’t we see more manifestations of these two gifts? Once again, it is because there has been much ignorance concerning them, and God does not want us ignorant (1 Cor. 12:1).

It’s also the reason Paul brought so much correction in these gifts (1 Cor. 14). But many pastors and preachers stay away from this chapter. Most don’t understand it.

In our travels, as the Lord leads us, we’ve been exhorting churches, by precept and example on the proper use of these gifts. Often we will give people an opportunity to exercise giving a message in tongues. I am convinced that this is the easiest gift for a Christian to exercise as long as you have an interpreter present.

Here is a marvelous testimony of one dear sister who gave a message in tongues for the first time in her Christian life.

“On March 12, a couple that I know, invited people to come and hear Bert minister.

I really felt the presence of the Lord during worship. To be honest, I didn’t want it to stop -it was so wonderful (Carolyn was leading worship).

Bert started ministering and he started talking on a topic that hasn’t been talked about for a long time and that is speaking in tongues and having the interpretation of that tongue.

After he was finished, he asked for volunteers who have never had this gift used in their lives before. My hand shot right up – almost involuntarily. In times past, I would have never done anything like that because fear of looking stupid or being embarrassed have always kept me back – but not that night. My desire for more of the Lord overruled any fears.

Three of us came forward and I stood there in front of the people that were there and had no fear whatsoever. I was even willing to fail if that’s what happened.

Bert handled us so well. He encouraged us and I felt very comfortable with him when it was my turn to speak. I just stood there with my hands held out waiting for something and then – all of a sudden – I felt the Holy Spirit on me. Bert said, ‘there it is’, and I started speaking in tongues. I could tell it was different from my devotional tongue. When I stopped, Bert had the interpretation of it. That was the first time in all of my 44 years of being a Christian, that I experienced that gift.

So two wonderful things happen to me that night – I was delivered from fear and received a beautiful gift.

I pray that this gift that was given to us by the Lord would come back into the church. I pray for my church – maybe the Lord could even start with me.” S.M.

If you desire training in the gifts of the Holy Spirit you can attend our Holy Ghost Forums up here in New Hampshire. Our next one is April 24-25. You can go to our home page and register from the pop-up window that will come up. Or, if you are a pastor or a leader in your home church you may want to consider hosting one in your area. Let us know if you are interested. We are not live streaming these forums at this time. http://www.holy-fire.org

It is time for local church pastors and leaders to take their rightful place in the ministry of the Holy Spirit and for the Church to move strong in this direction.

THE GOSPEL OF POWER

When I was a young missionary in West Africa there was a song we used to sing, especially when we conducted evangelistic crusades. The main words to the song were:

“Jesus power – super, super power! Satan power – powerless power!”

I loved that song because it always filled me with great joy by reminding me of the eternal defeat of Satan and the victory of Jesus (Col. 2:15).

This revelation was hidden from past ages, but has now been revealed to the saints. The prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesian Christians (Eph. 1:16-23) was so they could understand this mystery. By the spirit of wisdom and revelation – to know the hope of our calling, our glorious inheritance, and the exceeding greatness of His power … to know we’ve been raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places far above all principality and power is the wisdom of God. But this manifold wisdom of God must be displayed by the Church to the powers of darkness (Eph. 3:10).

Here’s a truth:

Maximum damage is done to the kingdom of darkness, and maximum blessing is done to advance the kingdom of light, when miracles accompany its messengers.

The demonstration of God’s power in signs, wonders, and miracles is a major part of the gospel and actually sets the tone for the demands of Christ. You really have no right to demand repentance without demonstrating the power of God. Taking up the cross seems like an unreasonable demand except following a miracle. Jesus rebuked the cities pronouncing woes on the people who did not repent after witnessing His mighty works.

“Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent” (Mt. 11:20).

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you” (Mat 11:21-24).

In the above scripture Jesus infers that mighty works give people a greater opportunity to respond to the gospel, but also a greater condemnation on those who reject Him. To whom much is given much is required (Lk 12:48). According to Jesus, even Sodom and Gomorrah, that wicked city, would’ve repented and not been burned to the ground had they witnessed His mighty works (Mat 10:15). Therefore they will be judged less severely in the day of judgment than the cities where mighty works were done without ensuing repentance.

When Jesus sent out His disciples He gave them power over demons and disease (Mat 10:1). He equipped them with an ability and authority to demonstrate the power of God. Without it the gospel is incomplete.

“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Mat 10:7-8).

Notice in this context that Jesus did not tell His disciples to pray for the sick, the lepers, the dead, and the demon possessed. He commanded them to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and deliver the demon possessed. In other words, Jesus authorized them to heal the sick, not pray for the sick. Of course, it is scriptural to pray for the sick (Jam 5:14), but it’s interesting that in the gospels and in the book of Acts we don’t find one reference to praying for the sick. This tells me that these early apostles had an understanding of the authority they’d been given in a way that much of the Church and its ministers today do not.

It was Jesus’ purpose that the supernatural power of God would signal the kingdom of heaven’s arrival. His purpose has not changed. We who are followers of Jesus can expect to do the same. The power is in the proclamation. He commands us to say, “The kingdom of heaven is here!” He authorizes you to confirm it with power. God will back you up. Act and you will see.

A few years ago I traveled to an interior city in Sierra Leone, West Africa to minister. Upon arrival my hosts escorted me to go see some city officials. When I stepped into the female mayor’s office I was met by approximately 20 of her staff. I asked the Lord what kind of introduction I should give. He told me to proclaim that the kingdom of heaven had come to their city and to heal the sick in the mayor’s office. I asked for a show of hands of who was sick, and instructed them to put their hands on their own bodies, and then commanded them to be healed. Several testified of being instantly healed either through pain leaving their bodies or being alleviated from an afflicted condition. The mayor then told me that I could do anything I wanted to do in the city, that it was my city, and they would give me any assistance I needed.

Kingdom authority can stir up persecution or command instant favor, or both. In this case, we received great favor. They recognized that God was with me. The bolder you are the more results you will see.

Until the power of God is demonstrated the gospel has not been fully preached.

KNOWING GOD IN A NEW DIMENSION

 

 

“Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” (1 Cor 14:13-15)

There’s nothing that satisfies the heart like having a personal, intimate, and growing relationship with the heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Enhancing our communion with God should be the ultimate quest of every born again believer.

Just beyond your eyesight – just beyond what you feel and know with your physical senses – just beyond the thinness of this veil of humanity is a spiritual world that is more real than the natural world. It is a realm where God works, and in which His angels minister provision, protection, and strength to us. Are you seriously aware of this invisible world?

I wonder what would happen if you started looking within your inward man. Turn off the world and everything around you, and turn to the sacred Scriptures and reflect on who God is to you.

Then start turning to prayer and worshipping God, and getting quiet in your daily life and listening for a word, a phrase, and impression from Him. It may come in the way of direction or counsel from heaven to earth, or it may come in a psalm or a spiritual song of love and praise from earth to heaven. Over the years I’ve compiled some of these inspired psalms and songs that the Spirit of God has given me. Here’s a beautiful one:

PURE PLEASURE

Not all pleasure is pure, for seasons of sin,
Thought to be pleasure, turn to misery again.
But oh, of all pleasures in this earth defined
None are so pure as My Savior divine
Ecstacy fills me when to near Him I draw
Joy and delight in the heart when He calls
His voice bellows clear and I know it is Him
The conscience is quiet, cleansed of all sin
Oh purest of pleasures, to my taste ‘tis too sweet
To be in Thy presence and to sit at Thy feet

These types of utterances edify you. They don’t come from a song book and are not rehearsed. Rather they are Spirit-inspired and they build you up, fill you up, teach and admonish you (Eph. 5:18-19) (Col 3:16).

These utterances can be spoken or sung and they should be a part of every believer’s prayer life. They greatly enrich your communion with the Lord.

One of my spiritual fathers, the late Kenneth E. Hagin, taught me these things. He told his students that he made this a regular practice of speaking in psalms in his prayer life, and a few times he had even spoken in psalms all night to God. What a prayer life! You can’t do that without fine tuning your spirit by spending much time praying in tongues.

Start opening the lines of communication in a different manner with God. Start believing deep down in your heart that you are a person of value and that God the Father cares about you so very much. Talk to Him as if He was present, right there where you are. Your expectation and intensity will rise when you pray and believe into the now.

When you commune with God in a concentrated and focused way like this you are creating a space in the spiritual realm where God can work and move. Too many people’s prayers are not faith-filled so they are void of this reality. Being aware that God is always ever present with you is one of the great secrets of cultivating rich communion with Him.

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 20-21)

God calls you beloved. Let that soak in. See yourself in that high precious state of saintliness. You need a personal revelation of how dear you are to God your Father. This is where many believers falter. They labor under condemnation and being so familiar with their own weaknesses and shortcomings, but God doesn’t see that. He sees your new spirit, your burning heart for Him, your yearning desire to know Him and please Him, and your eagerness to learn to commune with Him. God delights in His saints (Ps 16:3).

Our heavenly Father tells you to be built up on your most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, thus keeping yourself in the love of God. Here once again we see the significance of praying in the Spirit or in other tongues. It stimulates our faith and keeps us in His love. This happens through our communion with Him.

Remember that your spirit uses your tongue to speak in the same way your mind does. The difference is that when your spirit speaks in tongues you are speaking to God. You’re talking to Him, but without the limitations of your mind by which you are often unable to know what to say to God. Your spirit is the only part of you that is unlimited.

Reach out to God further than you ever have before. Let your spirit rise to the realm where God and His angels live. Believe right now that you are capable of knowing God in a new dimension.

WALKING WITH GOD: WHY SOME CHRISTIANS STRUGGLE

One of the greatest hindrances to walking with God is the common habit of dividing our lives into two categories: the natural and the spiritual. Certain activities are associated with the spiritual such as prayer, Bible study, attending church etc. Other activities are associated with the natural such as eating, sleeping, working, and other needs and duties of the body.

We do the natural things reluctantly and apologize to God, claiming that these activities are draining us of spiritual strength. We’re always straining and striving, uneasy, and pushing ourselves to one day be super-spiritual. For many of us this is a big struggle.

We need to understand that Jesus never divided His life into categories. In the presence of God He walked and lived. God accepted Jesus’ total life. He made no distinction between what we call natural and spiritual activities. “I do always those things that please the Father” (John 8:29). Jesus did not have a spiritual life and a natural life. Every act of His life was God’s.

Every act of our lives should be a contribution to the glory of God. “Whether you eat or drink, do all for the glory of God.” All acts are not equal in importance, but God accepts them all. God is everywhere (Ps 139), and “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Even when you’re not thinking of God, He is there.

Don’t let the natural world become the enemy of the spiritual world.

Why do some people find God’s presence so wonderful while others struggle? It is because some Christians have an awareness of God and a  spiritual receptivity others do not have. It is those who develop and cultivate that awareness and receptivity who enjoy God’s presence.

Receptivity is by degree. You can have more or less. It is increased by the exercise of awareness and destroyed by neglect. Being receptive or responsive to God’s presence means your desire is bent toward Him and you are aware of Him. It doesn’t come on you like a thunderbolt but like the gentle rain.

Jesus died for you and sent the Holy Spirit so you could be aware of His power and help and walk with Him.

Most Christians do not seek God’s counsel as if He were real. This lack of reality results in lack of faith, lack of expectation, and lack of direction. It also prevents believers from walking in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Cultivating an awareness of God in you and with you at all times will change that.

Start paying attention to the Holy Spirit within in and develop your sensitivity to Him.

THE SACREDNESS OF TIME IN THE SPIRIT

Here is a very recent revelatory Spirit-inspired utterance from a minister whom I greatly respect.

“You’re going to see a change-over of the generations (in the body and in politics). In the coming days, weeks, and months several notable ministers will die (and there will also be political turnover in the future). Look at the generation that is taking their place. There are no ‘big names’ as in times past for this move is a move of the body.”

Since this prophecy a number of notable ministers have gone on to be with the Lord, so a part of it has already come to pass, thereby proving its accuracy. In a conversation with friends recently I was talking to them of the number of prominent ministers who’ve gone to heaven in the last 20 years. All of them were pioneers in their various fields and callings. They were men full of the Word and the Spirit. I was asking my friends who will take their place. Who is carrying what they carried? I realize now that I was looking at it, at least partly, from a man-centered perspective. Although God will continue to use individuals as He always has, the focus is more on the body of Christ and not as much on the marketing of big name ministries and popular trendy themes in the church as in the past.

The prophecy continued with a warning.

“Be warned though. You will hear of people trying to market the Father’s presence as other themes have been marketed and risen and fallen over the years in my body, and many will run here and there to be ‘in the Presence’. But the true move is a move of purity, where the Father’s presence will be known and those who experience Him will know the sacredness of their time in the Spirit. They will value and esteem time in the Spirit, and hold it dear to them. These are not interested in having their ears tickled nor do they want merely an experience – they long for our abiding Presence in their lives. They are throwing off the shackles of man-made religion and running to the Father with desperation. Didn’t I say the Father seeks those to worship Him in spirit and truth? These are the days you will see a mighty move in this area….”

The whole body of Christ functions by revelation, therefore the most important thing we can do in our gatherings and church meetings is to seek His presence and revelation. This may come through inspired teaching and discussion, worship, a time of silence in His presence, and ministry to others whereby the gifts of the Spirit may flow (1 Cor. 14:26). I just know this – If we truly enter into His presence when we meet, the rest falls into place.

Our Holy Ghost forums revolve around this purpose. There are no big names attached to it. It is rather small in number with usually not more than 40-50 people in attendance with a few ministers, but it is pure and His presence and gifts are manifested. Let’s not miss the purity of our gatherings because of their numerical smallness or absence of hype and popularity of big names. The important thing is that His presence is in manifestation and revelation is flowing. We can all be in the Lord’s presence and be filled with His Spirit individually and corporately.

THE MANCHILD RAPTURE

“Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days” (Rev. 12:1-6).

In the account of the Sun-Clothed Woman and the Manchild that is caught up to heaven in Revelation 12, the rest of the seed of the woman is left behind on the earth. Now some may argue and say that the symbolism in this account is mainly dealing with Israel and Christ, but a closer look will reveal a fuller picture.

Spiritual Israel is certainly included in the Sun-Clothed Woman, but we must understand that she represents more that Israel. She is a heavenly sign which is more symbolic of the glorious Church than of Israel.

Most dispensational interpretations say that the Sun-Clothed Woman is national Israel, but how can that be? National Israel rejected Jesus Christ. Certainly Israel is represented in the symbolism of the Woman and the Manchild, but it is spiritual Israel. It would be absurd to interpret that national Israel who put Christ to death is symbolized in the glorious Sun-Clothed Woman!

The Christ-rejecting Jews are more clearly represented as followers of the dragon than the Woman (Rev. 2:9). Even Jesus told the unbelieving Jews that they were of their father, the devil (John 8:39, 44). Paul himself said a Jew is not one outwardly, but inwardly by the Spirit (Rom. 2:28-29).

The more accurate and complete interpretation of this marvelous symbol of the Sun-Clothed Woman is that she represents the people of God of all ages which does include Israel. She is the Church in the wilderness of the Old Testament whom Israel escaped when they fled from Egypt, but she is also the glorious New Testament Church. She is the Church of all dispensations of time who is depicted here in Rev. 12 in an age long conflict with the dragon Satan that began in the garden of Eden. Again, she does include spiritual Israel, but certainly not national Israel.

Notice that the great fiery red dragon has 7 crowns on his 7 heads, which in the symbolism, most Bible scholars agree, represents the entire period of human history seen in its 7 empires, the 7th being that of the Antichrist. The Manchild which has been interpreted as being applied solely to Christ is also incomplete because Christ did not escape death by being raptured, and secondly, Christ was born 100 years before this prophecy. All prophecy relates to the future and not the past. Certainly, in a general way, there is a parallel here with Israel and Christ in the symbolism of the Woman and the Manchild, but it is not the primary fulfillment of this prophecy.

Thirdly, notice in Revelation 12:5 that the remnant of the Woman’s seed is left behind and flees into the wilderness for 1260 days which is approximately 3 ½ years, the same duration of the great tribulation when the Antichrist comes into power. The expression “the remnant of her seed” tells us that a large number of her seed has been taken away in rapture. Again, this remnant also cannot be natural Israel because they “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17).

There is a definite distinction between the saints at the end of the age. Indeed at the end of the Church age some saints are ready for the Lord’s return at the first phase of the His coming called the rapture. Clearly, some are not. Some are taken, and some are left. Some are caught away before the great tribulation, and some go through it. The Manchild is not one person, but a company of those caught up to the throne, who are the firstfruits unto God. The remnant of the Woman’s seed are those left behind, who are the tribulation saints.

A closer look at another golden clue identifies the time period of this symbolism. Observe that the dragon has 7 heads and 10 horns. Notice that the horns are not yet crowned, but in Rev. 13:1 they are crowned. What does that mean? Most Bible scholars agree that the 10 horns in this imagery represent the 10 kings who have power only when the Antichrist reigns. This means that he is not yet reigning at the beginning of Rev. 12, but is in Rev. 13:1.

Through this symbolism we can safely determine that the Sun-Clothed Woman and the dragon Satan are indeed portrayed as spiritual enemies throughout the ages with the moment of action marked by the travail, birth, and subsequent rapture of the Manchild. This is the glorious rapture of the Church for those who are watchful, prayerful, consecrated, and ready.

How thrilling of a possibility it is to be included in this company! It should be the supreme preoccupation and magnificent obsession of every saint.

BIRTHMARKS OF A MOVE OF GOD

As soon as I walked into the building I could sense the presence of God.

We were visiting one of our spiritual sons who has planted a work in the southeast part of our country. We were only passing through. It was just Carolyn, me, and him. The atmosphere in the small building where he was holding services was charged with the presence and power of God. I knew him to be a man of prayer so that did not surprise me.

Our visit encouraged him and birthed some things in him, but it also left its mark on  my wife and I. I have not been able to shake it. In a day when many churches are toning down on the move of the Spirit, structuring their services in such a way where it leaves no time and space for the Holy Spirit to work, and following the latest Madison Avenue tactics and cultural church trends, it was refreshing to hear the testimony of a brother who is moving in the opposite direction.

There are always certain birthmarks of a real move of God in a church or a city. Here are the ones we witnessed in the testimony of this unnamed brother and the work he is doing.

1. He is not following the money. God has led him to be high intensity on the power and glory of God and low profile on money emphasis. Of course, we are not opposed to receiving offerings, but in his particular case he is not receiving conventional 10-15 minute offerings that are attached to a tithing/offering message. Instead he leaves a basket in a corner where people can give if they choose to.

I used to think this method was a form of shame, that most people wouldn’t give, and it would cheat the people out of a blessing. But because of the day’s extreme emphasis on finances and the diminishing level of trust in Christian leadership, this brother has chosen to allow people to give out of the move of God that is touching them instead of a forced agenda. It is working for him.

Money doesn’t control him. He stays detached from the system of unbelief. Some men recently tried to manipulate him with a large tithe and he sent them on their way, refusing to let them use money as a form of manipulation to control him. How refreshing that is in today’s church culture!

2. He is following the glory. This work is marked by a passion for the glory of God. Many miracles, signs, and wonders are taking place. Instead of the focus being on the wealthy and those who can give, it is on the poor and those who cannot give. The example of this is seen in at least two places in Scripture: the parable of the great supper (Lk. 14:16-24) and the cleansing of the temple (Mt. 21:12-14). Instead of the traditional ministry philosophy where the members of the church serve the pastor and his vision, the pastor and the vision serve the people and empower them to fulfill their calling and destiny. There are rules, boundaries, and protocol but love is the law that prevails.

In January the church did an outreach in the open air for the drug addicts, the prostitutes, the sick and diseased, and the outcasts of society. Miracles were reported and many were saved, healed, and delivered.

They began taking the gospel to the projects on Sunday afternoon after their church service. They would pray and then go out. The power of God started moving in these projects. One day about a dozen gang members and hoodlums came out and this brother talked to them about the Lord. They wanted nothing to do with church or God. In the south, religion, man’s traditions, and hypocrisy have choked the life of God from its churches and embittered many.

This brother challenged them and asked them if God were to come down and touch them, would they serve Him? They answered yes. Then he prayed a short prayer and the fire of God came down on the street and they were all slain in the Spirit. Glory to God!

Every time this unnamed brother goes to the projects some of these men now go with him. Word of mouth advertising is spreading quickly and people keep coming and the Lord keeps adding to the church.

One millionaire businessman who owns the plaza (strip mall) where their facility is located has begun to tithe to the church because since they’ve been there the businesses in this plaza have been revitalized. At one time they were all close to foreclosure. Empty buildings are now being filled. This millionaire is not even a church-goer and is giving to this church and work because God has touched his business.

3. Finally, the work is built on true worship and prayer. There is a love affair going on with the Lord here, and it begins at the leadership level. People are learning through precept and example to seek the face of God more than His hand. The birthing of the glory of God and the movement of Divine activity have come out of that place of true worship and prayer.

Here is something every pastor needs to know in this hour. The glory of God will take care of a thousand concerns that you have. When you satisfy the heart of God and let Him build His house of prayer He perfects everything that concerns you. His glory touches other areas of your life and ministry so you will never have to address them. Take care of His business and He will take care of yours.

I have known for years that there is a move of the Spirit that modern day Charismatics know nothing about, and we’ve got to get it back. He wants to build houses of prayer that are filled with His glory. This alone will satisfy God’s heart and the heart of every man.

The works of God that will stand the test of His holy fire are gold, silver, and precious stones. Conversely, works of wood, hay, and stubble will be burned up.

My fervent admonition to you today is to go for the gold. Go for the glory. For unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain that build it (Ps 127:1).

Oh ministers of the Lord and you who bear His vessels, the Holy Spirit has been sent to help you. Pray, listen, and follow Him. This is the season He wants to make everything new, fresh, and alive again.

LET US MAKE MERRY

Let us make merry.” The father in response to his prodigal son’s return home uttered those words (Lk. 15:23). The lost being found and the dead coming to life should cause great rejoicing. Soul winners especially possess these purest of joys.

As the world grows darker I am constantly reminded these days to rejoice in that which eternal – to rejoice that my name is written in heaven (Lk. 10:20).

As evil, destruction, and death compass us about in this fallen world I am admonished by the Word to look within, wherein we have a building from God not made with hands, that is not subject to death and can never be destroyed. I’m sure it is this holy thought that has sustained many a Christian martyr throughout the ages.

This is where the true Christian joy originates. It is what produces a merry heart that outshines in a cheerful disposition.

“A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance” (Pr. 15:13).

A happy face is a winsome thing, isn’t it? Beauty may be pleasant to the eyes, but cheerfulness is better to live with. I should know. I have the most cheerful wife on earth.

Those of us who could never win a prize at a beauty contest, may all have a “cheerful countenance” that provides a sparkling light in the eye, and readiness to smile about the lips, that brightens the dullest corner of any room, and enlivens the most uninteresting occupation.

Cheerfulness is indeed true beauty. A merry heart makes it so. It begins inwardly. The world puts it on but we have it in us – the joy of the Lord! A joyful countenance is a constant, unspoken, testimony to the saving and satisfying power of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have it!

All real enjoyment of life comes from a condition of heart. A merry heart finds a feast in all sorts of unlikely places, and extracts the very best out of life at every turn while the miserable  heart fails to even get an ounce of joy out of a ton of luxury.

“He who is of a merry heart has a continual feast” (Pr. 15:15).

Pentecost is a continual feast. Is it any wonder that the Spirit fell on one of the Jewish feast days and intoxicated the 120 who were waiting?

The Comforter has come to abide, and has brought with Him the secret of a sanctified “merry heart” for ever. Our finest feasting here on earth is only an earnest, a foretaste, of the feasting that awaits us yonder, where hearts are made merry by the redeeming love of our Savior and shall sing eternally in the halls of Zion.

As we ponder and meditate on this eternal bliss even the hard times lose a bit of their earthly sting and stir our hearts to never cease rejoicing.

Under a lesser covenant Habakkuk visualized circumstances about as bad as they could be:

“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation (Hab. 3:17-18).

Paul and Silas found something to feast about in prison even with their backs bleeding through undeserved beatings (Acts 16:25).

A simple unwavering faith in the promises of God will ignite your joy.

“Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).

And finally, a merry heart is a tremendous aid to health of mind and body.

“A merry heart does good, like medicine” (Pr. 17:22a).

The condition of the heart does affect our mind and body. It is one of heaven’s most sensible prescriptions for sickness. The opposite is true also. A broken spirit dries the bones (22b). Bitterness, sorrow, criticism, skepticism, regret, disappointment, worry, fear, and doubt all work together in creating a dryness that affects our health.

The forgiveness of sins brings release from a broken spirit – receiving God’s forgiveness and forgiving others. It is again the reason the father called for great rejoicing at the return of his prodigal son.

“And they began to be merry” (Lk. 15:24). They began. They began. Therein is a sweet suggestion of eternity.

This holy merriment will never end.