ASSEMBLING IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT

Early Sunday morning as Carolyn and I were preparing for two services in two different churches the Spirit of God spoke profoundly to us. After a word of knowledge concerning a woman who was heavily oppressed mentally and physically, the Holy Spirit said, “It takes the faith of a corporate body to lift up such ones who are heavily oppressed. Even the angels participate in aiding such a one for it is the source of great power.”

“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Lk. 15:10).

I know this verse applies to a sinner who comes to repentance, but the principle speaks volumes to us concerning the importance of the one and the faith and agreement of the local body to aid the suffering one or even unbelievers who may be in our midst.

“But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you. How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification” (1 Cor. 14:24-26).

The local body needs to have a revelation of how heaven moves for the one.

When a church comes into agreement for any member of the body who is sick, oppressed, or going through a severe trial it becomes a great source of power for them.

Carolyn was remembering when a man with a mask appeared outside of the place where she worked at as a single woman many years ago. This frightened her and fear gripped her. She went to the local assembly and asked for prayer and one of the pastors led the congregation in proclaiming the protection of Psalm 91 over her. It created such a force in the realm of the Spirit for Carolyn that she was able to go back to work without any fear.

We just returned from some meetings in one city where corporate prayer was made on behalf of the pastor’s wife. Her life appeared to be in disarray. Her business and health seemed to be failing. Fear and discouragement were setting in. Corporate prayer and power were released for her in the assembly. Love and encouragement were given. Soon God began to move on her behalf and manifested answers to her needs.

When Peter was thrust into prison by Herod the church gathered to pray constantly.

Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church” (Acts 12:5).

What were the results of this united praying? The power of God was released and an angel was sent to deliver Peter from prison (vs. 6-11). When he realized he had gained his freedom he went to the house of Mary.

So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying” (Acts 12:12).

The Church has got to learn to assemble in the power of the Spirit.

I heard one old timer tell the story of an epileptic boy for whom the church fasted and prayed two days for. When they came together in the corporate assembly the power of God was manifest and the boy was completely delivered.

God often spotlights an individual so the church can come into agreement and faith for their needs. So much more power is released where there is a spirit of unity and agreement. Most believers in the church today are not familiar with this kind of united power. It is the day where we must discern and judge these things spiritually. There are many examples of this in the Scriptures. Even when there is practice of sin in a known member of the local body the church has tremendous power and authority to deal with that one (1 Cor. 5).

“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (vs. 4-5).

Here is another marvelous scripture containing prayer on behalf of Peter and John who were severely threatened for preaching and healing in the Name of Jesus:

“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:29-31).

Corporate prayer released the power of God and filled them all with the Holy Spirit and shook the place where they assembled. This prayer had to do with preaching the gospel in boldness and power. Unless the spreading of the gospel and the advancement of the kingdom of God becomes the church’s primary motive, we’ll be limited in our prayers. Often we ask amiss to consume it on our own lusts (James 4:3). Seek ye first the kingdom of God (Mt. 6:33).

United prayer not only gives birth to corporate power, but also to revelation and instruction/direction from the Lord. For example, in Acts 13:1-3, five ministers were ministering to the Lord and fasting when the Holy Ghost spoke direction that changed the landscape of the early Church.

“Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”

We’ve got to get into the classroom of the Holy Ghost and learn these things. Too many leaders and churches are following the production of the purveyors of the self-help, motivational, you-can-have-it-all, success in life, grow-your-church seminar founded on the mere wisdom of man which God has not chosen. instead of the power of God. This has caused a great glorying in the flesh that God resists (1 Cor. 1:26-29). Let us remember that the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (v. 25).

Many of the things released in corporate meetings will be instructions and directions of the will of God for the local assembly. Often they will come from guest ministers who move in the Spirit and will speak the wisdom of God into that body. This operation has manifested in our own lives and ministry of late in nearly every place and church we’ve gone to. We will pray forth mysteries and ask God to reveal His will to a people.

For instance, recently in the state of Oregon at least one church came into the dealings of God and the stirrings of the Spirit that were birthed through prayer and the word of the Lord that came through our vessels. The pastors were so moved that they transcribed the utterances that came by the Spirit in the meetings we held there. This has happened a number of times where churches rehearse what the Lord said. That kind of honor and reverence and subsequent obedience to the word of the Lord will produce results in any assembly.

Any church with spiritual leadership can move in these profound and prolific things because of a lifestyle of prayer. In these dark times in our nation heaven on earth will manifest for those who are seeking the Lord right now. The Lord lifts up His voice to His army (Joel 2). Instructions, assignments, and deployments are coming for those who learn to pray and interpret mysteries. The power of God will be released in corporate prayer. All you need is two or three in faith and agreement for Jesus to be in our midst in power.

Let us call to attention and order our solemn assemblies and move into God’s mysteries and miracles for this day and hour.

“Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together…” (Heb. 10:25)

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CARNAL ASSOCIATIONS ARE HINDERING MANY

Here is a word that came to my heart in a recent discussion with my wife Carolyn.

If you follow someone real closely as Elisha followed Elijah you can receive impartations from them that can be life changing and ministry altering, but you can also receive error from them. Be careful how closely you follow someone. Many ministers may teach and preach truth 90% of the time, but it’s the 10% that can throw you off sometimes. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. As the saying goes, have the sense of an old cow – learn to eat the hay and spit out the sticks.

I know of a man who was a great apostle to his nation, but he began associating with some people who subtly twisted the Scriptures and over a long period of time this man converted to Roman Catholicism. It was difficult to believe that this minister who was once mightily anointed by God would revert back to religion. I came out of Roman Catholicism and was never taught the Word. Basic doctrines of Christ such as repentance from dead works and faith toward God (Heb. 6:1-2) were never taught. I was never given an opportunity to be born again or baptized in the Holy Spirit. I never even saw anyone carry a Bible or read a Bible in the RC church. I’m convinced that a seducing spirit got ahold of this minister and deceived him.

I also remember hearing of another man who was a great soul winner, but then he started reading a book about the kind of diet God prescribed to Israel in the Old Testament and what they could eat and couldn’t eat. Soon he became consumed with it, and began to preach and teach on it. He lost his ability to win souls and his ministry ended up on the spiritual junk heap all because of a book he read.

Although our Christian culture is filled with good books, there are also many self-help books, motivational books, and spiritual junk food with doctrinal tangents containing unsound, unscriptural practices. In my 30 years of preaching the gospel I’ve witnessed extreme teachings on prayer and spiritual warfare, angels and demons, personal prophecy, and many other such topics. It seems there is a boredom with the basics of the Bible and a constant insatiable desire for something new and sensational. Be careful who you follow and what you hear and read.

Even the environment and sometimes the city or region you live in can affect your spiritual life to a great degree. For instance, there was much sexual immorality in the city of Corinth that infiltrated and began to defile the early church (1 Cor. 7). They became promiscuous.

My wife and I knew of a godly couple, Mr. and Mrs. X, along with their children who moved to Dallas, Texas years ago. The entrepreneurial spirit that is prevalent in cities like Dallas got ahold of Mr. X and he began chasing the money. Soon his spiritual life dried up and undue stress and strife entered into his marriage ending in divorce. They started out with such a purity and a love for the Lord with a genuine calling on their lives to serve Him in the gospel, but the spirit of mammon spoiled their early innocence and ruined their marriage. Very sad.

In Tulsa where I went to Bible school there is a political spirit in the body of Christ there as ministers seek to build their churches and ministries at any cost. Much strife and division exists there from the competition between churches. Lack of true accountability and ministerial ethics, moral failure, greed and covetousness, and a spirit of control have tainted so many ministries and works in that city. I have friends who live there that have witnessed horrible things being done in the name of Christ that are appalling and unbecoming to the kingdom of God.

Although there are many good and reputable ministries that have come out of that city and produced much blessing, the political spirit has infected many lives and churches and caused damage to the body of Christ there. Callings have been corrupted and motives tainted by the bigness and politicking of churches and organizations. Many ministers have become money minded and lost the anointing. The tragedy is that many don’t even know it, but continue on with business as usual.

Furthermore, in such cities where there are so many churches and ministries it becomes quite easy to slip into something the Lord has not called you to do and even intrude into an office you’re not called to and shorten your life. Add to that, the many believers who sit under pastors who are very controlling and quench the Spirit, affecting entire congregations and some of them don’t even realize how dry they are.

In assemblies where the Holy Spirit is not allowed to manifest Himself you can dry up and stall in your spiritual race where you reach a ceiling of limitation and confinement in your life and calling. Believe it or not, this can affect not only your spirit, but your marriage, your home, your children, and other relationships. It is the moving of the Holy Spirit that renews us and makes everything new, fresh, and alive again in our lives and spheres of influence.

Teaching is very important as Jesus did more teaching than anything else, but we must also be mindful that the letter kills; it is the Spirit that gives life. The apostle Paul prayed for utterance so that Christ would be made manifest (Col. 4:3-4). He always purposed to preach the Word, not with enticing words of man’s speech, but in demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God, so that people’s faith would not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1 Cor. 2:4-5).

These are examples of environments, associations, and ceilings that affect our spiritual lives and callings.

Today there are many churches who are more interested in being relevant to draw people into the congregation and not offend them than they are to follow the plan of God as laid forth in the Scriptures. God’s plan is that His people would be a Spirit filled people who demonstrate the supernatural.

Many churches have toned down on the supernatural and are not allowing the Holy Spirit to move. Some no longer even allow the public use of speaking in tongues, but seem ashamed of it, when many of our young people are intrigued and actually fascinated by it.

Understand this: Whenever the supernatural ceased to operate in Israel of old they returned to idolatry and heathenism. And they only got back into relationship with Jehovah after a series of stunning supernatural manifestations. I see the same type of thing happening today in many churches.

I conclude with a word for the wise. Don’t get stuck. Don’t get in a rut. Don’t dry up. Watch your spiritual diet. Watch your spiritual associations. Be careful who you follow. Make sure they have a strong base in the Word and are sound in doctrine. They must also be men of proven character who are filled with the Spirit and allow Him to move in the corporate assembly.

Be filled with the Spirit!

THE CONSEQUENCES OF IGNORING THE LEADINGS OF THE SPIRIT

When I was in Bible school I was prayerfully considering entering into a serious relationship with a female friend. I was struggling to find the will of God in the matter. One night the Lord gave me a dream of her committing fornication with another man. It happened just as I saw it in the dream. The dream wasn’t “X” rated but zeroed in only on the guilt ridden face of my female friend fully dressed and lying on a bed with a man. As it turned out, she had had sexual affairs with 16 men before she was born again. I saw her as a new creation in Christ and was merciful to her, but the Lord supernaturally led me out of that relationship. I pray that she is clean and free today and doing well, but her concupiscence at that time would’ve damaged my own life and calling and perhaps set be back years.

Then more recently, a few years ago, in a time when we were struggling in ministry I was asked to dissolve our own ministry and take a position with another ministry. The position was attractive but I knew it wasn’t God. If I had taken it, I would’ve been miserable wth no grace to fulfill my distinct calling in the Lord.

Both of these Spirit led decisions have resulted in an increasingly fruitful life full of grace and liberty that has touched every area of my walk with God. It always pays to obey the leadership and direction of the Holy Spirit, especially when it seems hard at the time.

The first thought we usually have when we are faced with certain choices and decisions is, “It can’t be that bad to go this way; or God is forgiving and knows my heart.” But God sees the end. He sees what our choices and decisions will bring. The end is never good for those who forsake the direction and path of the Holy Spirit. Even when you don’t know His will, He will lead you according to the integrity and purity of your own heart. If you really want God’s will, in spite of the initial hardship that His will may bring you into, there will always be grace to overcome. In a sense it costs to obey God, but in the long run, it pays great dividends. God is a debtor to no man.

I wish all stories ended well, as my aforementioned examples did. But there are many stories that due to ignoring the Spirits leadings don’t end well.

As a sobering example, my wife Carolyn had a dream years ago about her older sister. She was living in a large mud house made of stick and straw. Upon a very high shelf she saw a candlelight. It was hidden and unreachable.

Due to the dirt and filth in the home Carolyn took a shower. Then her Mom called her and she told her about the filthiness of her sister’s home, which represented her sister’s spiritual life. Her Mom, who was in a cult at that time, told her not to worry about it and that it was no big deal. This is what many carnal Christians will tell you concerning sin and filth. Good-hearted ministers will also sometimes offer man’s wisdom in critical situations and decision making that can take you off the path of God’s plan for your life. If I took that ministry position I would’ve been miserable today. Yet the offer was made in good will and kind gesture.

Things look so different to God than they do to carnal people and good-hearted ministers offering to help you. He sees where your decisions will lead to and the destructive nature of what you are believing  or doing.

The end of Carolyn’s dream played out with the whole house catching fire and the family running out.

Interpretation: Her sister, who was a believer and played a significant role in Carolyn’s salvation and baptism of the Spirit, had begun to backslide. The candlelight was symbolic of her hiding the light of Jesus that she once shined. We prayed for Carolyn’s sister through the years and watched her make decision after decision that manifested in destruction and disaster for her and her family. First adultery, then divorce, then social drinking, then heavy drinking, then sin and immorality in her children – one in a lesbian marriage, another bearing children out of wedlock and then a subsequent divorce, and a third in more of the same. These were all children who started in the faith with their parents, who were in the ministry at one time. The bitter end was that just two years ago, Carolyn’s sister committed suicide by hanging herself on a fence by a dog leash. Very, very sad ending. We wept for what could’ve been.

What could’ve been if Carolyn’s sister had followed her heart and conscience that was calling for her attention and attempting to divert her from this harm and tragedy? Her entire family may have been saved. I believe the escape from the burning house could’ve also meant that some will still be saved, so as by fire. Carolyn and I are holding out hope that her sister was sick in the head when she hung herself, but somehow got things right in her heart with the Lord before going off into eternity.

Tragic endings like that start with ignoring gentle promptings and leadings of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit always leads us into life and liberty and provision, even when it seems hard or there is hardship involved. There is always grace in the hardship and God will always lead you according to your integrity and purity of heart. He will lead those who will to do His will. But if you are not living in this perfect attitude toward God you will have a multitude of thoughts that are not of Him that will eventually lead you astray from His will and plan for your life.

When I was praying about the relationship with that girl, I was really thinking she was the one for me and I was envisioning what life would be like with her. I had good feelings about it, but I wanted to make sure. I can tell you that I wanted God’s will more than I wanted her. I was crying out for clarity and He gave me that dream and showed me that sexual stronghold in her life. If I married her, my life would’ve taken a much different turn. God gave me that dream for my own protection. I could’ve disregarded it. I could’ve not paid enough attention to it. I could’ve over-ridden God’s warning.

God sees the end; we don’t. He sees the results; we only see what’s in front of us. When we obey one leading of the Holy Spirit, other leadings begin to come. There’s grace to continue, but there is also grace to restore the lives of those who’ve missed it and have bitter pasts and presents.

For those who have missed it, study the story of Naomi. It is one of the most beautiful stories of redemption in the Bible. After losing her husband and two sons to death, she struggled with her identity and said these words:

“Do not call me Naomi (means pleasant); call me Mara (means bitter), for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me” (Ruth 1:20-21).

Imagine her predicament. Then read the end of her story. Her daughter-in-law remarried and bore a son who became the father of Jesse and grandfather of David in the bloodline of Jesus Christ. It is another beautiful account of a disadvantaged woman’s restoration and redemption.

“Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.’ Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, ‘There is a son born to Naomi.’ And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David” (Ruth 4:14-17).

Naomi did hard things to follow God, but God turned her bitterness into sweetness and pleasantry. It wasn’t easy to lose a husband and her two only sons. She could’ve stayed bitter and depressed. The women from her former community had known Naomi before her loss and widowhood, but in the end they are rejoicing in the complete reversal of her state. Her faithful daughter-in-law gave birth to a grandson who was in the lineage of Jesus Christ. What a glorious honor! Her daughter-in-law became better to her than seven sons.

Ruth also did hard things to follow God. It was not easy to follow her mother-in-law into a land with very little promise at that time. It wasn’t easy to lay down her desire to marry quickly instead of waiting.

Your end can be the same if you will follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit for your life. It’s never to late.

AVOIDING THE LAST DAYS SEDUCTION

“I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom: preach the Word; be instant in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but having itching ears, they shall heap to themselves teachers in accordance with their own lusts. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned toward fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.” (2 Tim. 4:1-6).

Paul is describing a day when believers would face a last-days deception in the Church.  He wrote that at the end of the age, just before Jesus returns, that large numbers of people in the Body of Christ would be led astray.

His words are not meant to frighten us but to prepare us so we would not succumb to this demonically inspired seduction that will affect the last days generation and Church.

In this final hour before Jesus returns, the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul said increasing numbers of people in the Christian community “will not endure sound doctrine”.  Even now, this is taking place in great measure as many are gravitating toward teaching and preaching that is more motivational and psychological than Scripturally based. Many don’t even check the spirit nor the content of the messages they hear any more. If it sounds good, feels good, and improves their natural life, many will swallow it.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 Jn 4:1).

A big dark filthy cloud has been released on America and many gullible and disobedient Christians are being sucked into it. Many who profess Christ’s Name are being entangled in a cheap grace gospel that brings no change and leaves us pursuing our selfish ways. The tragedy is that when things get worse these people will no longer be able to resist the evil. They will try but will have no power to do so. Some have even desired the filth of a sinful lifestyle and refused the warnings of God’s true prophets and messengers to repent. A lukewarmness without parallel and a falling away from true Christianity has taken hold of many Christians who have hardened their hearts to penetrating preaching. They don’t want to hear of sin and true grace, the law and real gospel, repentance, and God’s judgments. Instead, many have found a happy substitute – prosperity/happiness and a hip-hip hooray Christianity.

 The important thing has become to have success, to be someone, and to have material things that God never promised in that way. Happy Christianity churches are growing in number while most prayer and soul winning churches remain small. Instead of the preaching we have been used to in past generations such as deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus – entertainment, arts, and culture are invading many churches at a rapid pace. Where we should be having prayer, repentance, and revival meetings we are having motivational speeches on how to live your best life now and improve your status.

While all this sounds like discouraging news, the good news is that I am seeing an uprising in the remnant of God’s people who are hungry for revival and restoration. I am seeing the spirit of the world lose its grip on many believers who are sick and tired of the status quo. Many are leaving their dead churches to find God and a living Christianity that looks more like the gospels and the book of Acts.

While this dark cloud is moving across our land, there is a bright cloud full of fresh rain and a heavenly breeze that has begun to blow on God’s consecrated people and giving birth to great moves of God that many have been praying for. Within that bright cloud there are the greatest miracles humans have ever seen. There are anointings for every kind of sickness and disease, and deliverance for every addiction.  There is also power to overcome every Satanic attack and the filth and sin that permeates the social madness in our godless culture. There is power in this bright cloud to receive truth and reject damnable doctrines of demons and a false gospel. We will see a fuller manifestation of the Spirit of God in these days as we continue to give ourselves to the Lord unreservedly. Prayer will open great doors of utterance for the remnant of God’s people.

“Continue in prayer and watch therein with thanksgiving, besides praying also for us that God would open unto us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak” (Col. 4:2-4).

RICK RENNER QUOTE

Here is something I read from Rick Renner’s “Sparkling Gems” book that describes so succinctly what the Lord has repeatedly witnessed to us by revelation in recent years. It is the reason for three books I’ve written: The Real Salvation, The Real Gospel, and The Real Spirit Of Revival. And a fourth one in this series that I am pressed to finish called, The Real Jesus. These are books for the times we are in right now before Jesus returns that will help people avoid this last days seduction in the Church (you can find these books on Amazon or on our website – (www.holy-fire.org).

“The Holy Spirit doesn’t indicate how many will be pulled in this wrong direction, but the word “they” in the Greek language implies large numbers of people.  According to Paul’s prophetic utterance, a portion of the last-days Christian community will simply no longer endure sound teaching of Scripture.  In fact, the word “endure” is the Greek word “anecho”, which denotes no ability to put up with or to have no tolerance for.

The words “sound doctrine” in II Tim. 4:3 are very telling.  The Greek word for “sound” is “hugiaino”, and it indicates something that is wholesome and healthy and that produces a healthy state of being.  The word “doctrine” refers to the long-held teachings ad tenets of the Christian faith.

Thus, the Holy Spirit foretold of a specific end-time season when a segment of the Christian community would not only lose their appetite for sound doctrine, but they would also actually develop a distaste for it.  Instead, they would acquire a distinct taste for doctrine that is unwholesome, preferring a self-help style of teaching over the teaching of sound doctrine.

In 2 Tim. 4:3, Paul forecast a moment when large numbers of people will no longer have a stomach for sound doctrine.  Instead, “. . After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. . . ”  The word “lusts” describes desires or whims.  In other words, this part of the verse could be translated, “But after their own desires shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.

Paul unequivocally stated that a generation will arise in the very last days that will reject age-tested truth in favor of teaching that is more in step with the times.  According to the Holy Spirit, teachers will appear on the scene in a specific season to satisfy the hankerings of a generation that adheres to the world’s progressive approach.  What these spiritual leaders teach will appeal to people’s emotions and intellect instead of to the deepest part of their being where actual transformation takes  place.  Because these teachers will speak what the crowds want to hear, they will enjoy great popularity among this audience of listeners.

In 2 Tim. 4:3, Paul went on to say that this last-days generation will “heap” to themselves such teachers.  The word “heap” is the future active indicative tense of the Greek word “episoreuo”, which points to piles of “teachers” who will appease an end-time audience with messages to suit them and the whims of the times.

Paul said that these teachers will satisfy the “itching ears” of the people.  The words “itching ears” is used figuratively to depict a person (or a crowd of people) who wants to hear something new as compared to what he has already heard and known.  Having his “ears” filled with something he wants to be told is the only thing that relieves this “itching ear” syndrome.

As a result of this strange period that will develop in the last part of the last days, Paul said many “. . . shall turn their ears away from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:4).  This “turning away from truth” is the rejecting of absolute biblical truth – the time-tested interpretation of the Word of God.

Is it possible we are currently witnessing this turning away from truth that the Holy Spirit predicted nearly 2,000 years ago?  Are we seeing in our own day an accommodation attitude toward the world that produces a brand of Christianity that melds into the environment around it?

Paul wrote that an erring end-time group would discard fixed truth and replace it with “fables” – the Greek word for fantasies.  By using the word “fables”, Paul inferred that what this group of last-days orators taught would resemble fantasy.  These teachers would substitute “fables” for the authentic teaching of the Bible that calls for repentance from sin and a change of behavior that is befitting God’s Word.

The craving and demand for these fanciful messages by those with “itching ears” will produce large numbers of newly fashioned teachers with restyled messages.  The mixture of truth and falsehood these teachers deliver will eventually lead a large segment of people into a distorted perception of who the Christ of Christianity really is.

You might say, “Brother Rick, that sounds like a lot of really bad news.”  But I  need to tell you that in the haze of this deception that Paul prophesied about, another group of spiritual leaders will arise.  Paul wrote about these leaders, calling them “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).

Since there also will be a group of believers emerging who will hold to the ageless Word of Truth and proclaim its timeless teaching, let’s make sure that is the group to which we belong!  In spite of the difficulties these men and women may endure for proclaiming the Bible as utter truth, they will nevertheless stand firm, their feet solidly planted on the integrity of God’s Word.

That, my friend, is the group you want to be a part of in these end times!” – Rick Renner

WHY JESUS CLEANSED THE TEMPLE

My wife is given to dreams from the Lord. In a recent dream I was very upset because there was food being cooked at a friend’s house that wasn’t prepared right. It was not good food and what was needed to satisfy and nourish the body. I was real stern and strong about the food’s lack of quality.

In the last phase of this dream there was a pastor in it who was very indifferent and uncaring concerning the situation of his church and people. He was so far removed from what the body of Christ was to partake of and do – completely unattached with no compassion. Carolyn was trying to get the pastor to look and see the dire state of things, but he was too indifferent and said that it was nothing. She tried to warn him before judgment came in the form of fires and floods, but the pastor told her he didn’t care. Clearly, he was a wolf with no real concern for God’s people.

When we inquired about the dream, the Lord said that this lack of good quality food with proper nourishment was the state of many churches today, and a fulfillment of 2 Tim. 4:3-4:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

Just as the wrong diet and poor eating habits affects the body, so too, the wrong spiritual diet affects the spirit. The Lord also said that a food and a nourishment will come now by the Spirit to correct error and problems in the spiritual body, and in a spiritual sense. Just as I wrote in a recent blog: in the natural, sugar causes many problems, so it is spiritually when messages tickle people’s ears and destroy vital spiritual operations in a saint and causes deficiency, deceit, and delusion. Deception always comes with these kinds of sweet tooth messages.

Here is a word the Lord charged us with that can apply to other ministers as well:

“Be aware of the Lord’s utterances that will come in places and in nations where you are preaching. These utterances will contain food and true meat for the people. Some will refuse it, but some will begin to partake again, and there will be restoration in their spirits, and deliverance, and they will be ready for My return.

“I will show you more unpleasant things to see and there will be an opportunity for many to hear the word of the Lord and change.”

When the needs of God’s people are not being met Jesus gets angry. This is the reason He cleansed the temple.

“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them” (Mt. 21:12-14).

What we ought to see in the temple: Prayer and Power and the needs of the people being met.

What is currently being seen as in the days of Jesus: Prayerlessness, Powerlessness, and Consumerism (money used for man’s purposes).

Even when people refuse to change God still gives them a chance to hear and to change. He is very patient, but eventually He must act. Now is a very serious time for correction, reproof, and instruction given with authority by the Spirit of God. People must be prepared and made ready for the soon return of Jesus.

WHAT HAS GONE WRONG

Many pastors are quenching the Spirit and not cooperating with God. Because many of them are not yielding to the Spirit and preaching the full counsel of God with utterance and authority, not only does deception occur but people do not  get properly activated in their gifts. What some ministers don’t realize is that the utilization of the gifts in God’s people will cause healing and fulfillment in their hearts. Too many are not moving in their callings and doing what they’re called to do and moving in who they’re called to be. Pastors must be ready to assist gifts and graces in others that will help accelerate divine activity in a body and in a community. This will open doors of utterance in an area. This is what the apostle Paul requested prayer for.

“Continue in prayer and watch therein with thanksgiving, besides praying also for us that God would open unto us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds…” (Col.4:2-3).

The book of Acts is the model. In the book of Acts we see what open doors of utterance look like. We see what moves of God look like. We see what the activation of gifts looks like.

Almost a century ago the great apostle to South Africa, John G. Lake, had a mighty angelic visitation. The angel took him through the book of Acts saying:

“This is Pentecost as God gave it through the heart of Jesus. Strive for this. Contend for this. Teach the people to pray for this. For this, and this alone, will meet the necessity of the human heart, and this alone will have the power to overcome the forces of darkness.”

When the angel was departing he said: “Pray. Pray. Pray. Teach the people to pray. Prayer and prayer alone, much prayer, persistent prayer, is the door of entrance into the heart of God.”

That’s why the temple of God is to be called a house of prayer. It is effectual prayer that opens doors of utterance where the word is preached in power and demonstration and the deepest needs of the people are met.

PROPHECY IN PRAYER CONCERNING THE MOVE OF GOD

On the heels of our return from Oregon where God opened a supernatural door of utterance for us, the Holy Spirit continued to minister to us concerning revival and how to carry the move of God in prayer and in His wisdom.

Here are some prophecies recorded during our prayer session that may be of some benefit to you:

Carolyn:

“So learn this and understand this now, that whatever is born of God, whatever is birthed of My Spirit and the things of My Spirit, so too shall it carry a revisiting of the anointing and the intercessions and supplications of the Spirit.

“For you have asked me “how do I pray? How do I go back into these things?” For you have learned how to go forth into the future and to pray with Me and those things that I am touching, but I too now show you something that is of Me and is of truth, and must be also done.

“Pay attention to these things for what has been born of God and of Me also carries the direction and anointing to go back and to pray further, and for Christ to be formed and for My will to be done, and for a move to continue, and yes, in those places You will see and move and deal with things that would be hindrances and that which would stop what is born of God.

“So pay attention to not only where you are going now and what is ahead, for you have learned this well, but pay attention to now what is behind, for what is born of Me also carries an anointing to go back and revisit and cause it to move and to go forth into the fulness and be finished, for what I start, I finish. So therefore it carries an ability to be covered in intercessions and supplications. So pay attention to this, too for I teach you well, now My daughter. This is how it is done. This is how it is. So even as I touched you to go back where you were and visit those things, so shall I do in the days ahead. And it will carry and not lose what I started.”

Bert:

“For you see, things can be conceived and not carried forth into the birthing. And so it is with my pray-ers and so it is with My ministers when something is spoken by Me, oh they jump into it and they jump ahead and they rejoice in that which was spoken but do not pay attention that that which was spoken must be carried forth in continued prayer and watching over that which was spoken so it can come to pass. So do not abort, for many miscarry and many abort My move and My spoken word and that which I desire to do. Do not be as one of those but carry this forth in prayer; carry it forth in your heart until the birthing of it. Then when a child is born there is great rejoicing and their joy is full.”

That’s it. That’s it. Thank You Father.

(At this point we discussed briefly how in the Brownsville revival they were saying that people get tired in revival and need to sit, and rest, and be pastored and can’t live in constant revival. Certainly, the physical body needs rest, but not a rest from revival and the moving of the Holy Spirit. Does not the Holy Spirit reside on the inside of us? Does He not make everything new, fresh, and alive?)

Bert:

“And there was a move of God, but is not God’s will to move continually? Is it really as these men have said in a way of worldly wisdom that there are peaks and valleys in God? But where do you see a peak and a valley in the ministry of Jesus in the gospels? Where do you see peaks and valleys in the book of Acts? Where do you see that? It is continuous. For the will of God is for the continuous flow of the Holy Spirit – always, everywhere, all the time. Some say that everyone needs to rest as if to say that they need a break from revival and the moving of the Spirit.

“But did I not say that those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary and walk and not faint. So that too, is man’s wisdom that people cannot be in revival continually and that they need to rest and be pastored and need to sit. Does not My Spirit produce rest and renewal and refreshing? And even though the body gets tired and even decays day by day, is the spirit not renewed day by day? So stay in renewal, stay in revival, and keep moving with My Spirit.”

(Laughter)…

You’re the great Holy Spirit. You’re the great teacher. It was not God who stopped those revivals, but it was man who got in the way and wanted to do their own thing and their own plan and traditions

Bert:

“The whole head is sick; the head of man is sick.

“The head of man devises ways, and techniques, and methods that are not of Me, for the carnal mind is enmity or hostility against God (Rom. 8), so do not listen to carnal men and the wisdom of men. Keep moving with My mind for does My word not say that you have the mind of Christ. As the Spirit teaches you, you have His mind. So move with His mind and move with His Spirit, and you shall continue to be fruitful and multiply (laughter).”

Every move of God is birthed of Him so it carries all the qualifications of being fruitful.