Friday, 29 October 2010

A Mixed Lifestyle Produces a Sterile Future

A Mixed Lifestyle Produces a Sterile Future

“ in perfect harmony and full agreement in what you say... be perfectly united in your common understanding and in your opinions and judgments.
(1 Corinthians 1:10 AMP)

In the last Truth for the Journey we looked at the subject of the Ecumenical movement and the danger points of compromising in an attempt to foster a false sense of peace; in the context of “New Days, New Ways.” However in a continuation of thought and theme we will discuss in today’s article the dangers of “Spiritual Mixtures;” something that I come across daily, not only on my own geographical door step but also when I travel around the world. In fact as I prepare to take to the skies yet again, I am more aware than ever of this growing - although not new – trend. Therefore it s is with genuine concern that I say that “dangerous mixtures - exist within the Body of Christ today.”

So as I explain below... I trust that today’s article will provide much food for thought and much inspiration; albeit a clear-headed topic! We must encourage ourselves to face what faces all of us today; that of toxic-mixes. It exists not only in the Body of Christ of course, but in the world around us. From the food we eat to the air we breathe; there are toxic mixtures that influence us every day of our lives. We don’t have room perhaps to discuss all them here but dangerous mixes exist. God addresses this subject of mixtures Himself in His Word as we will see below, but mixtures include the natural vs. supernatural, psychology vs. the Word of God, Holy vs. unholy spirit etc. We have to agree, that some things in life should just never be mixed; so let’s read on and discover what the scriptures say regarding this.

First let’s see where God first brings this issue out in the Old Testament. Where He warns His people against mixtures especially in Leviticus 19:19 where it says, "You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you." So there are three specific things that God warns against which are: breeding mixed livestock, sowing with mixed seed and wearing a mixed garment.
Consider it this way: sowing with mixed seed, represents the “message” that we bring (when partly in truth and partly in error) and wearing mixed garments refers to our “lifestyles,” (partly scriptural and partly of this world). Whereas allowing livestock breed with livestock that is of an incompatible kind would be equivalent to a Christian ministry or group aligning itself with a group that is non-Christian. Scripture speaks of an “unequal yoking” as seen here in 2 Cor 6:14-17 (KJV) “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you...” In fact we see clearly that God wants us to “separate” ourselves from the mix, backed up again by James 4:4 where it states, “... know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (KJV). Harsh words but when it comes to mixtures, how else do you remedy the mixture but to “separate” the ingredients?
For instance gold usually contains a variety of other metals and in order to “purify” the gold, in other words to take the other metals out, it must be heated; proven by fire. Then and only then is it considered “pure” gold. Now of course there have been extremists in every generation who have incited hatred and ethnic “cleansing.” In recent history there were the likes of Hitler (with his ideological Aryan race) and others more recent such as Rwanda, the Sudan and Bosnia. But we are not discussing mixtures of race in this context; rather our discussion of mixtures is predominantly a spiritual context. The Old Testament saw much physical killing, concerning the nature of mixtures, but this represents a type and shadow of what occurs spiritually in the New Testament.

Dangerous relationships contain dangerous “mixtures” not just in marriage but in all relationships. In fact Amos warned, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3 KJV) Marriage is important in this context as scripture says, “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Matt 19: 5-6 NIV) So there are times that God says we must come out and be separate and other times, which we must not be separated. There is much to this mixture business which practically affects every area of our lives. In fact we have become so accustomed to unnatural mixtures that we hardly notice them anymore. But let’s continue...

Sterile or Barren:
For instance, my father was a farmer and growing up on a farm meant that I had firsthand knowledge of farm life. Therefore I know that mixed breeding produces creatures that are “STERILE” (infertile or barren!) Take for example when a horse mates with a donkey – all that union can produce a “sterile mule” which means that it will “never” re-produce. We could liken this to “mixed breeding” amongst Christians and the world – which too can only produce “sterility and unproductiveness.” Where we wonder why our “projects” don’t produce anything more than weariness! Our fruit is minimal even though our labour is much. Why? Check for the mixtures. Check for the contamination. Perhaps we have become sterile and we never noticed the “mixture” in our lives - that produced it. We must be this real!
For instance on a personal level, my wife and I have always been very selective and careful regarding what we allow into our home; whether through TV, video games and the like... and with growing children this can be very challenging; nevertheless challenge worth taking seriously because as the results are so life altering. In other words, as ministers of the gospel – none of us can afford a potent pulpit ministry while our home lives are sterile! For example sterile children who have just enough of God and the world – to make them dangerous! With a mixture of spirits – secular and spiritual; humanistic and godly; needless to say this grieves the Spirit of God who is jealous for us and our children and their children! He will not share us with the world. He wants us to be “fruitful” not “sterile.” Jesus said “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit” (John 15:5-8).
Is it possible to have a mixture of spirits? Yes of course, mixture exists on every level and this particularly refers to the condition where both the Holy Spirit and unholy spirits in operation. To see this let’s look at King Saul who also operated in a mixture of spirits. We know that in one instance he would prophesy via the Holy Spirit yet in another instance prophesy via a demon. (What a sober warning to all of us!) As King for forty years along with being a successful military commander; “spiritual mixture” became his final undoing. During his life time, he knew what it was to consult with God, but on the last night of his life he consulted a witch; did this produce life or was it sterile? The answer lies in the fact that Saul committed suicide on the battlefield the very next day!

If we apply this to our own lives, every time we approach God it must “produce life” as it says in Gal 6:7-8 (KJV) “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

God does not condone mixtures. Perhaps this is a subject that average believers don’t give much thought to. But in James 3:9-12 it clearly says, “With our tongues we praise our Lord and Father. Yet, with the same tongues we curse people, who were created in God's likeness. Praise and curses come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, this should not happen! Do clean and polluted water flow out of the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree produce olives? Can a grapevine produce figs? In the same way, a pool of salt water can't produce fresh water” (GW).
We must never cultivate spiritual mixtures in our lives. We are not talking mere variety, spontaneity, individuality or diversity; of course all that is healthy. But once again we are discussing spiritual mixtures. God Himself makes this topic clear continual throughout the Bible both Old and New Testaments. For instance even though we have the power and life and death in our tongues, and the opportunity to operate in either, God commands us to operate in one only as seen here in the Old Testament where God said, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). We still ahve the same choice. Life or death. His desire has not altered either. Choose life He said. There can be no mixture. Even Jesus said “ are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth (Rev 3:15-16 NIV).

In fact according to Scripture everything is a matter of life or death (Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Proverbs 18:21), truth or error, light or darkness, blessing or cursing and heaven or hell. And if God has truly translated us from one kingdom to another – out of darkness and into light, then we must not attempt to create grey zones! (Colossians 1:12-13).
Walking with One Spirit:
In James 1:8 says “A double minded (double spirited) man is unstable in ALL his ways.” Therefore it is in our best interest to reject all forms of the mixture. In 1 Corinthians 1:10 we see Paul the Apostle exhorting the Corinthians to remain united (avoiding spiritual mixtures), “...speak the same perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” Therefore it is exhaustively clear from the Old to the New Testament, that God apposes all mixtures and intends us to be single minded, hearted, tongued and spirited! NO MIXTURES.

Confusion and Division
Finally in closing the result of mixture is confusion and division. For instance, where there is a mixed message; part true / part false, people can only respond in two ways. Some will see the good and focus on it, and therefore accept the bad. Some will focus on the bad, and therefore reject the good. Neither accomplishes God's purpose. Confusion brings division and that is exactly what happens in the church: confusion then division. And the devil has three major objectives: to steal, to kill and to destroy; one way to bring destruction is through spiritual chaos. However, “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace...” (1 Corinthians 14:33)
We must be determined to remain single minded in all that we do and avoid cultivating any mixtures in our lives. God wants the best for us and mixtures will only rob us of the blessings that He has for us, our ministry, business or family. So in order to stay blessed, we must stay free of the mix!

Father thank You for helping me to walk and live in “one” direction; by Your Word and by Your Spirit. Your Word says, “...let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matt 5:37; James 5:12) Therefore I simply say “Yes” to You and “No” to mixture. Help me walk this out in Jesus name. Amen

You are pure and unadulterated. No shadow turning with you. No mixtures. You are complete; single minded. Your Words are pure, You are not double tongued! When I turn to You, I find Your the same; unaltered by my imperfections! Hallelujah.


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Is the Ecumenical Movement Promoting ‘NEW DAYS – NEW WAYS’?

Is the Ecumenical Movement Promoting

“They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14 NIV)

Welcome to today’s Truth for the Journey! Today we will cover an interesting topic, especially considering current events, involving such figure heads as the Pope and the Catholic Church. Throughout this article as you will see I have mentioned the Catholic Church numerous times, but within a specific context. However from the outset let me clarify that currently my wife and I are living in Tuscany Italy (even though we have offices in other parts of the world) and I have preached more than once in Catholic churches here, whom I have always found to be “open” if not “more-open-and-hungry” for the things of God than other churches I experience!

For instance, there have been the occasions that I have gone up to preach for Padre Don Stefano, who lives on top of a mountain here in Tuscany – and have enjoyed some spectacular events with him (a mountain that takes roughly 2 and half hours to ascend - even with a car!) The precise reason that he was placed there was due to his sincere belief in the things of the Holy Spirit. Something that his piers in the Catholic Church did not collectively appreciate some decades before and decidedly “put-him-out-to-graze” in order to minimize the influence of his beliefs on others! In other words he was effectively “ostracized” by his own church in an attempt to quench the Holy Spirit’s fire!

However as it says in John 12:32, if Jesus is lifted up, all men will be drawn to Him. Therefore we know and have confidence that the Holy Spirit will always find a way to draw people unto Christ. Despite all their efforts, those in the hierarchy in the Catholic Church were unable to hinder the moving of the Holy Spirit for long, as Padre Don Stefano regularly attracts hundreds upon hundreds to his meetings on the mountain top. Many came via the coach load (totally disregarding the difficulty of logistics!) especially for such calendar events as “Pentecost.” Where typically Don Stefano would invite known “Pentecostals” to come and preach for him on those specific occasions – which is where I came in of course! So as you can tell, I have always and will always preach where the doors are open and where I feel the leading of God’s Spirit, whom over the years I have discovered, will transcend any humanistic boundary and anoint me to preach right across the board; with strong love without ever compromising the scriptures.

So having said all this – by way of small disclaimer - nothing changes the fact that there are obvious discrepancies within the doctrine of the Catholic Church! Yet with nothing posing too great of a challenge or a threat for the Holy Spirit – keeping this in mind - let us read on, from this excerpt taken from my own book material on the End Times - entitled, “Israel, The Church And The End Times.” See also my BLOG:

It was interesting that several years ago, Archbishop Runcie who was the head of the Church of England, told “Time Magazine” that he had given a ring to Pope John Paul 11 as “an engagement ring” in view of the coming marriage between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. Remember the Church of Rome has not renounced any of the fundamental doctrinal errors that provoked the Protestant Reformation in AD 1520. The non-Catholic members of the union are making this Ecumenical union on the basis of theological compromise.

Even Catholic theologians admit that John Paul 11 was the most traditional Pope of this last century and the strongest advocate of worship of Mary, Queen of Heaven, Mother of God, as the “co-redenitrix” along with Jesus Christ. However a process of intense ecumenical dialogue has proceeded quietly during the last twenty years or so! The Church leaders are very close to healing the schism between the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches and the Church of Rome. The Pope has met with Buddhist, Muslim, and Jewish religious leaders from around the world. For the first time in history the Vatican has sought to establish ties with those other churches. He has engaged in ecumenical religious rituals and services with other religions that would have been unimaginable for any previous Pope.

The danger today is that in opting for a man-made unity based on compromise; and abandoning the Protestant Reformation and the truths of the Scriptures that were sealed in the blood of Martyrs, we are heading back to whence we came. Michael de Semlyen says, today in Britain, there is a “love Gospel” about, which confines its self exclusively to what is called “the positive.” It is claimed that as long as Jesus Christ is proclaimed as Saviour and Lord, we are all as one in Him. Differences over doctrine must not be allowed to get in the way of this, they say; ‘we can affirm truth, but not confront error!’

Even Evangelical Alliance, UK Director (at the time), Clive Calver said: “More barriers need to come down if a true alliance of evangelicals in the UK is to emerge. There are thousands more with whom we wish to stand shoulder to shoulder.” Is this part of the New World Order? It must be said that those who are pointing the finger and accusing many whom are standing for truth, as ‘SECTS’, are very often part of the so-called unity at any cost; which is part of the Babylonian church!

A.W.Tozer said that, “Every century needs its prophetic voices. Those men who have been gifted by God with an incisive cutting edge to expose hypocrisy, denounce compromise, and call for holiness.”

He said, “If THE CHURCH in the second half of this century is to recover from the injuries which she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher. The proper ruler of the synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting. Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the throne.

The Protestant Martyrs, godly and loving men, ‘could have taken this same position of, peace at any cost, within the wider Church of their day. They could have confined themselves to avoiding all controversy and to agreeing with their persecutors about many of the ‘positives’. But, the Scripture commanded them to ‘exhort and convince by sound doctrine’ and to ‘flee from idolatry’. They obeyed; they saw the error and the idolatry, and as responsible leaders, as pastors trusted to guide their flocks into green pastures, they exposed and opposed it all roundly. They could so easily have chosen to look the other way and concentrate on the many truths of the Christian faith, which was common ground. They could have elected to please men, rather than please God.”

The Reformers saw the whole Catholic system as anti-Christian. Luther and Calvin went so far as to identify the Papacy with the Antichrist and they like Wycliffe, Tyndale, Matthew Henry, Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones and many others saw the Roman Catholic Institution as Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Harlots, vividly described in Revelation 17. The Spirit-Filled life is filled with testimony of experience which of course is not wrong in its self, but “New Days, New Ways” is a dangerous way of Life!

“I well knew how many smooth arguments can be marshalled in support of the new cross,” says A.W.Tozer. Does not the new cross win converts and make many followers and so carry the advantage of numerical success? Should we not adjust ourselves to the changing times? Have we not heard the slogan, “New days, New ways?” And who but someone very old and very conservative would insist upon death as the appointed way to life? And who today is interested in a gloomy mysticism that would sentence its flesh to a cross and recommend self-effacing humility as a virtue actually to be practised by modern Christians?

These are the arguments along with many more flippant still, which are brought forward to give an appearance of wisdom to the hollow and meaningless cross of popular Christianity.

He says (Tozer) “Doubtless there are many whose eyes are open to the tragedy of our times, but why are they so silent when their testimony is so sorely needed. In the name of Christ men have made void the cross of Christ. ‘The noise of them that sing do I hear’. Men have fashioned a golden cross with a graving tool, and before it they sit down to eat and drink and rise up to play. In their blindness they have substituted the work of their own hands for the working of God’s power. Perhaps our greatest present need may be the coming of a prophet to dash the stones at the foot of the mountain and call the Church out to repentance or to judgement....

Before all who wish to follow Christ the way lies clear. It is the way of death unto life. Always life stands just beyond death and beckons the man who is sick of himself to come and know the life more abundant. But to reach the new life he must pass through the valley of the shadow of death, and I know that at the sound of those words many will turn back and follow Christ no more. But to whom shall we go? ‘Thou hast the words of eternal life.’”

To close, let us be mindful of all that has been brought out in this article here, and resist becoming part of a false ‘Doctrine’, whether Catholic, Anglican, Protestant or Pentecostal that cries “peace” when there is no peace! (Jer. 6:14) For those of us who entered into the life of Christ, we chose to be identified as such; an identity that we cannot afford to compromise. In fact we live in a day where the distinctions are becoming more and more acute – in the context that the dark is getting darker and the brightness is getting brighter! In other words the dividing lines, although fudged for many are still strong. We must make our daily choices wisely and never lean back into deception.

Let us therefore not be fearful of hearing the voice of God’s prophets. Satan has undermined the authority of the “prophet” in every generation, including this one - simply because they threaten him the most! Remember that God Himself singles them out when He declares, “Come not against Mine anointed ones, and against My prophets do not evil” (1 Chron 16:22 YLT). They will always be “singled-out” so we must not be timid about them. Instead let us become a generation that develops “ears to hear” the voice of His prophets – resisting our human instinct that “despises” this gift. They may not be as “smooth-talking” as the other gifts (even much less articulate perhaps) especially to the humanistic crowd; but oh how we need this potent gift in the Body of Christ today! Amen.

Father I want to promote the one and only, true cross of Christ. Help me not fall into the trap of humanism which cleverly marshals smooth arguments in support of a “new cross.” Help me Father to live a life worthy of Christ and His Spirit, because without Him I know that I am nothing. Help me not to soak up or side with the “political correctness” of this generation, which has all but “invaded” Your Church. Help me “fail” to compromise when forced to choose between that and Your Word! Help me make the right choices in everything - “Christ and Christ alone” - whether in word or in deed. Amen.

You are Life. You are my Source and Supply. You are Truth. Nothing that is said “outside” of You can be considered truth at all. You are my Rock and my Deliverer; my Redeemer. I AM REDEEMED. I think as one redeemed. I live as one redeemed. I communicate with the world around me as one who has been redeemed. I don’t hide my redemption. I uphold neither a “false cross” nor a mixture of “humanistic arguments” but truth itself - Jesus Christ - who will draw all men unto Himself. I am not given to humanistic arguments, logic or reason – outside of Your Word. You are light. You are the Way. I follow You with my understanding, I follow with my heart. I follow with my whole spirit, soul and body. You alone are worthy. Hallelujah!


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Friday, 15 October 2010

Experience vs. Truth

Experience vs. Truth

“The Spirit-filled walk demands... that we live in the Word of God as a fish lives in the sea” (A.W.Tozer).

To begin today’s “Truth for the Journey” we are going to look at the reality of experience verses truth. Do we give too much leverage to the experience and too little to truth. Are we out of balance and do we seek maturity in all things spiritual or are we content to be spiritual novices forever?

To get to a place of maturity we have to start off from a place of immaturity. And there is room for all of us to learn. There are many different ways of hearing the voice of God’s Spirit along with different ways to feel His presence. Although it’s not necessary to “feel” anything, especially when it comes to obedience - we must “step out” any way and let the feelings catch us up! Each morning we can wake up saying, “Thank You God that You are here. Where ever I am You are there. In fact there is no place that I could be – that You are not!” In other words we can be totally sure and “convinced” of the presence of God, regardless of whether we “feel” anything or not! In fact if we never “feel” anything... it changes nothing. He is always there! On the other hand it is still important to practice the presence of God, learning to be sensitive; knowing when and how to yield.

The Holy Spirit is always “one” with the Word of God, and will never violate it’s clear boundaries. This is the only way that we can expose the counterfeit. If the experience doesn’t line up with God’s Word, then it does not line up with God’s Spirit either. It is really that simple and we must endeavour to rightly divide the Word so that our private-interpretation doesn’t line up with the counterfeit instead! Some folks spend most of their time trying to get the Word of God to say what they are saying rather than prayerfully studying it and allowing the Holy Spirit to show it to them by divine “revelation.” He is our teacher and leads us into all truth.

Technically we could say that He is obedient to His own Word, in the context that He won’t violate its conditions any more than He expects us not to. So to uncover the counterfeit manifestations of the Spirit we need to know His Word. Then we can be sure of what He would “not” do as much as what He “would” do in any given situation; while always remaining open to learn new things. The Holy Spirit for instance is not always predictable and there will always be new things to find out about Him!

We do need however “discernment,” not “suspicion” but real discernment; as the scripture calls it, the ability (gift) to distinguish between spirits; “To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight ([a]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues...” (1 Cor 12:10 AMP) Another translation simply says, “...can tell the difference between spirits.” Therefore operating with the Spirit of God is not all about the “feel good factor” – rather it is all about lining things up with His Word.

The Holy Spirit stirs things up – including us! Therefore some manifestations are caused. Not everything that we assume is the Holy Spirit – is actually the Holy Spirit. We make far to many assumptions at times rather than knowing! For instance, the Holy Spirit can be resting on a person, while the manifestations are demonic. Simply because His presence stirs things up! Some manifestations that we credit to the Holy Spirit therefore are often not of Him at all... so we must learn not to make too many assumptions like this because we can’t afford to and scripture is quite hot about this subject; “Let not then your good be evil spoken of...” (Romans 14:16 KJV)

Going from immaturity to maturity is permissible and acceptable. Remaining ignorant through spiritual laziness, lack of application or diligence is not. So when manifestations become questionable, especially when attributed to the Holy Spirit - we must turn to the “ancient plumb-line” from the “Ancient of Days” – the Word of God.

The Holy Spirit does not just keep resting upon the same individuals to constantly make them shudder and shake! Especially when there is not real evidence of change in their lives; we know it is the Holy Spirit because when He touches us – we never remain the same! Below is an excerpt about some “pre-millennial mania” that people were experiencing – where folks were just beginning to “experience” the things of the Spirit and how this caused some “concerned approval” by others!

In his 1980 booklet, ‘Charismatic Crisis’, Anglican Renewal leader, Michael Harper noted that; ‘The Charismatic Renewal does not have a particularly good track record when it comes to concern for the truth. I am chiefly here reforming to the truth about Christianity. Because of its emphasis on ‘testimony’ at least in its formative years, it has tended to soft-pedal, even to ignore the truth, largely out of fear that it will divide Christians rather than unite them.

Many Christians have in the past been caught up in sectarian battles over words and doctrines, and it has been refreshing to defuse much of that. Animosity side tracks many off the big issues which previously divided Christians, and to find a new unity in one’s experience of the Holy Spirit. But such a unity is bound to last only so long as one can survive on ‘testimony theology’, and that is not for long!

Dr. Patrick Dixon also writes, “Experience is spreading and has had a major impact in Britain. In 1994, August, 1,500 people took part in the Ichthus ‘Revival Camp’ at Ashburnham. Again extraordinary scenes were witnessed.

On the first night of the Grapevine Bible week in Lincoln at the end of August, around 400 out of 3,000 began laughing during the talk. On the final evening, however, the preaching was totally disrupted as a number of those on the platform began convulsing with laughter. After a number of attempts to finish on a sober and serious subject the speaker was forced finally to cut his address short and return to his seat.

These effects on Bible weeks were being monitored with interest and possibly alarm by some involved in planning the Spring Harvest weeks for April 1995, expected in planning to draw 70,000 from across all evangelical traditions - both pro - and anti-charismatic.

The question was whether Spring Harvest broad base of fellowship would survive if there were major disruptions. At a planning meeting of the worship leaders in September 1994 it was agreed that room would be made for what God was doing, while alternatives were provided on site for those wishing to worship in a more restrained atmosphere.

By the end of August 1994 all Bible weeks were now memories, but the effects on individual churches were continuing to accelerate. Ichthus made a decision to run extra receiving meetings twice every week until the end of the year. Kensington Temple was committed to doing the same throughout September, while Pioneer People in Surrey pitched a huge tent in the grounds of a local school for two weeks, for meetings almost every day at which people like John Wimber spoke.

Martin Wroe of ‘The Observer’ turned up at Queen’s Road Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, 31st August, to see how things were developing.

He wrote; The congregation was rolling in the aisles. Rolling and weeping and laughing and sometimes just lying there, moaning, wailing but in no pain. In other churches, they are occasionally barking, crowing like cockerels, mooing like cows, pawing the ground like bulls and more commonly, roaring like lions. But mainly they are on the church floor laughing.

Hundreds of congregations of normally staid church goers are left shaking uncontrollingably, to all appearances revelling in some killer joke that only their fellow charismatic have been let in on.
To the consternation of traditionalist and sceptics, a primitive Pentecostalism is breaking out in sophisticated Anglican churches throughout the country.

Tens of thousands of British churchgoers are experiencing the ‘Toronto Blessing’. At Hole Trinity Brempton, more than 2,000 people - including recent celebrity converts, such as the topless model and singer Samantha Fox - now attend services on a Sunday, including 1,200 for the evening service. The church is jammed to the rafters. Doors open at 5.45pm for the 6.30 opening chorus, but there are queues of 500 outside by 5.30. Converts are split on whether Britain is on the brink of an authentic religious revival - other revivals, such as that in Wales during 1904, began with ecstasy in the pews and ended with emptying of the pubs as the Holy Spirit fell on the unholy drinkers.

Mainstream Anglicans are horrified by the enthusiasm and unsophisticated antics of adherents, while others dismiss it as P.M.T - pre-millennial tension - or mass hysteria. But the official line of the Church of England is cautious approval.

Believers in Holy Ghost power, whether laughing like hyenas or roaring like lions, dismiss the ridicule, pointing to the ‘drunken’ antics of the first disciples in the Book of Acts, mocked for ‘taking too much wine’ (Dr. Patrick Dixon, Signs of Revival).

Many people have been drawn to what is happening by intense feelings of spiritual emptiness, particularly those in leadership who have been giving out for many years. A great desire for more of God and an overwhelming hunger often comes before the experience - but when things happen, they can often surprise even those who feel they are prepared. Personally I think there has been a need of a good laugh in the Church for many years, but as a Bible Believer, I would have cast some of those manifestations out in Jesus name!

Father I thank you for the ability to hear Your voice and for the ability to line everything up with Your Word. I have confidence in Your Word and in Your Spirit. To lead and to guide me into all truth. Continue to make me sensitive to Your Spirit, so that I can hear His voice without delay and without error. Help me to distinguish the counterfeit from the true manifestations of Your Spirit and to walk worthy of You. Amen.

Today You are by my side. I walk free of deception and fear. The counterfeit is not in my life but You are. You work the ability to distinguish between spirits in my life and I am confident in You.


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

How do we Hear His Voice & can we Talk to the Holy Spirit?

How do we Hear His Voice & can we Talk to the Holy Spirit?

However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you] (John 16:7 AMP).

In Today’s Truth for the Journey we are going to look at how to communicate with the Holy Spirit. Hearing His voice and responding to it, has been the cause of much “theological headache” in every generation! For instance have you ever wondered “can I talk to the Holy Spirit?” or “Am I allowed to speak back to Him if He talks to me?” Again, this may seem elementary for some, but stuff of nightmares for others!

For instance do we only pray to the Father in the name of the Son, or do we ignore the Father completely and only communicate with the Son? How do we focus on all three of the Trinity and yet maintain an intimate relationship with all three? What is God’s truest intention for our relationship with Him - singular and plural? How do we view it and how do we have proper success with it; knowing that everything hinges on our right relations with God?

Therefore as we continue with this focus on the Holy Spirit and in particular our relationship with Him, let us consider the words Jesus spoke as He ascended to heaven. This included the Holy Spirit, and was in effect His last given instructions while still in the flesh on this earth: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight (Acts 1:8-9 (KJV).

So His parting words to His disciples were expressly about their future dealings with none other than the Holy Spirit. This goes hand in glove with what Jesus said prior to that in John 16:7 “However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counsellor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you]” (AMP).

To be in “close fellowship” as the amplified version states it, this must involve close “communication.” If we want to get technical, it is also the exchanging of or the transmission of messages! As my wife often says, meditating, practicing the presence and fellowshipping with the Holy is not akin to contemplating our navels or doing yoga! It is a place of genuine exchange. Exchange of strength (Isa 40:31) of ideas, thoughts, impressions, revelation, teaching, desires etc... In fact so much can come out of it. Time spent with the Holy Spirit can be so rich. Not entertaining but enriching. I use that word “entertainment” because we are becoming so schooled in all-things-entertainment, that we have lost the art of just sitting “still.” It is all a ploy. If our minds are so full, of celebrity gossip that we are unable to be still and know that He is God, then we have lost the plot altogether!

It is a discipline to sit in the presence of God. To stay there long enough to know him in reality; to appreciate him; to lend our minds to Him – in other words to hold our thoughts long enough and our concentration long enough to give Him the quality of time and focus that He alone deserves. First place is first place. He should not have to “compete” for our time, our thoughts, or our exchange. It should readily be given to Him. In a humble expression of love, trust, union, and friendship; all of which is the essence of “relationship.”

We must exercise wisdom of course, plus we must remain open to the genuine manifestations of the Spirit and not allow the weird and wacky to “shut us down.” Plus all things of the Spirit cut “crosswise” with the things of the carnal mind anyway, as we see here in Romans 8:7 “... the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God's Law; indeed it cannot.” Therefore we must never look for acceptance from others when dealing with the things of the Spirit. Instead we must always keep our eyes on Christ and His Word to keeps things pure and accurate.

When folks shake – and I have seen this a lot over the years, this is just the power
of God touching “earthen vessels!”
Shaking is just a power encounter! And some folks are more open to this than others – but they are not more special. All of us must learn to yield more to His presence and allow our vessels to be filled up regularly. For some, the mere “filling of their vessel” creates manifestations. Some of these manifestations are demonic simply because they scramble to get out of the way! However there are some signs we can look for that show when the Spirit of God is resting on someone or whether it is demonic.

We will look at these just quickly here. But a word of warning – signs can lie – so we must not be directed by them, they are just an aid. For instance glittering on people’s faces with a slight sweat; heat, eye lids fluttering, are all signs we can look for when someone is being touched by the Holy Spirit. Whereas eyes rolling backwards and stiffness – can all be signs of demonic manifestation. However pain can sometimes be a word of knowledge to indicate that someone needs a healing. Also we can sometimes “see” things; such as text running across our minds (i.e. scripture), or we can have just a “knowing” about things, as we are meant to be “one” with the Lord. However it is not all about feelings.

Finally – and there is so much to this subject that it can not be exhausted here in one Truth for the Journey – but it provides some pointers. However to close on our original question, “when He talks to us, can we talk back?” the answer has to be “yes of course!” Others will ask “can we be led by the Spirit or only by the Word?” For this I believe that scripture is clear that we must be led by the Spirit, although He never acts independently of the Word - in fact the whole God-head never works separately. Throughout scripture we see them “working together” and one example of this is when Jesus was baptised in the river Jordan; all three where mentioned as being present; Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16). Secondly when Jesus spoke His final words to His disciples all three are mentioned inseparable again, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:18-19).

This means that any error can be avoided by remembering that they work in conjunction with each other and never apart. If we feel directed to do something that is against scripture – then we can be certain that it is not the Holy Spirit directing us, but some “other” spirit. In fact any time we doubt the leading of the Spirit, all we have to do is line it up to the Word, once we can see it there in the Word, we can then have “peace” to move out on it – accepting it as the genuine leading of the Spirit. A strong indication that all is well is the peace of God as seen here in Col 3:15 of the Amplified version, “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds...” (See also Phil 4:7 and Rom 14:17) Scripture promises that He leads us into all truth and will guide us; “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13).

Evidently then the Holy Spirit does “speak”- but it is “what” He speaks that is of the most importance. He speaks “truth” and this is the only distinguishing line that we have where the Holy Spirit is concerned. He speaks truth and nothing else. That is how we know it is Him and not some other spirit. A good reason also to really KNOW the Word! Too many people are easily deceived; we must not be one of them. Particularly like those who get into spiritual things without God’s Spirit or Word – which is only spiritualism – but not Christianity.

Remember the world we live in today, are not unlike those Paul encountered on Mars Hill in Greece; the “great thinkers” of their day. Even today with “information overload” we also have folks who know everything and know nothing! And as those Paul encountered back then – who were willing to “hear- anything” - but not willing to “believe–anything” – the same is true of our generation (see 1 Tim 4: 1).

People want a spiritualism that they can encounter but still be in control of. But those who walk by the spirit of God – have given up control. They are governed by the Father Son and Holy Spirit together and when you meet someone who is genuinely governed by God like this – with the Holy Spirit at the helm – it is never easy to forget meeting this kind of person “And they... yet shall they know and realize that there has been a prophet among them” (Ezekiel 2:5 AMP).

Father I am in awe of the fact that You have made such provision for me in this life. I am lacking nothing especially with Your Spirit. I rejoice in the wonderful fact that He is here for me, my constant stand by and strengthener; my advocate and intercessor. I need never be oppressed. I pursue obedience “with” Him at the helm. Use me today Father and continue to equip me for Your Glory. Amen.

Today I confess that the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what I eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17 NLT). I speak with Him and He speaks with me. He shows me things to come, I am open to hearing His voice. I welcome His voice and I commune with Him. I listen to Him and He listens to me. I have a sound relationship with Him. Things are shared. He guides and leads me. I am governed by Him today; trusting the ministry of the entire God head in my life: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Biblical Mandate for fellowship with God’s Spirit

Biblical Mandate for fellowship with God’s Spirit

"...when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won't draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you...” (John 16:13 - The Message).

I am glad you are with me again for today’s Truth for the Journey as we continue with our third and final part of this topic “Fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit.” During the last study we looked at “Cultivating a deep and daily fellowship with the Holy Spirit” and we will start where we left off, knowing that when it comes to fellowship with the Him, it is vitally important to have a firm understanding of just whom we are relating to. He is not a mystical being for instance, but a distinct person, namely the third person of the trinity.

Let’s go deeper now as we look at what the Spirit does – this aids us in our grasp of who He really is and how we can relate to Him in our everyday lives. I have continual mentioned, “everyday” or “daily” throughout these studies, simply because our fellowship with the Holy Spirit is something that we should pursue daily. Actually there is much about the Lord in scripture that is “daily” such as; “daily bread,” (Matt 6:11) “fresh manna every morning” (Ex 16:21), “mercy is new every day” (Lam 3:22-23) “take up our cross daily” (Luke 9:23) and so forth. Why? Because when something is “living” it is always a “daily experience.” Keeping it “daily” helps keeping it FRESH! Bread is predominantly associated with scripture and is something, which for the most part, goes particularly stale after just one day! Same too concerning our relationship with the Holy Spirit, we must keep it fresh. In fact everything about our relationship with God must be kept fresh - not stale, stuffy or religious! We achieve this by approaching Him and welcoming Him afresh - every single day.

This daily pursuit is a journey of discovery that changes our personality in the process. So why don’t more people in general try it, what is their cramp? One obvious hurdle that folks have grappled with is the fact that unlike Jesus (who we saw dwelt amongst us), people can’t see the Spirit of God with “flesh and bones” (Jn. 1:14; Lk 24:39). This single difficulty throughout church history has led some to either ignore the Spirit completely in their day-to-day Christian lives or keep Him as some kind of spiritual “spare tire” for emergencies only.

However it is only a sheer lack of understanding that can be the culprit here, for such neglect of this significant member of the Trinity. For example scripture certifies that we are born of the Spirit (Jn. 3:6) and that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit - who indwells us, (Rom. 8:9, 11, 14-16) and that His witness gives us assurance that we are children of God. Also as mentioned in the previous Truth for the Journey, we are baptized by one Spirit into the body of Christ and we have access to God by the same Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 2:14). So… with all this in mind – who would willingly dare to be so casual or caviler in their attitude towards the Holy Spirit? Ignorance can be the only cause; including deception and false teaching that has always dogged and hindered believers in their perception of Him. Our adversary works over time to ensure this “dull perception” knowing better than we just how “potent” we would be if fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit.

There is a huge difference throughout church history between Christians who walked with the Holy Spirit and those who didn’t - quite simply they lacked essential power! Still today we have a choice whether to be “thrilled, filled, or spilled.” In other words, mere “excitement” (being thrilled) counts for nothing compared to being fully “surrendered” (filled) and “used” (spilled) by Him!

Nevertheless those who struggle to know the Holy Spirit personally are chiefly those who struggle to see Him as a “personality.” It is usually the religious folks who have the most difficulty with this! Nevertheless a definition of “personality” (on a human level at least) refers in general to a complexity of attributes such as; behavioural, temperamental, emotional and mental - that help characterize the uniqueness of an individual. Whereas a more simple definition of “personality” refers to “person-like-qualities,” such as: the ability to talk and to listen (a.k.a. “the ability to communicate”) to think and to reason; to feel and to have emotions; decision making and free will. When broken down like this - especially in reference to the Holy Spirit - it becomes abundantly clear that He does indeed have a “person-ality” – that of which is unmistakably verified throughout scripture.

For example: Jesus and Paul both continually referred to the Holy Spirit as "He," not "It" (John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26; 16:7, 8, 13, 14). Then our opening scripture refers continually to His “personage” John 16:13; “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me..." To continue Luke 2:26 sees Him “speaking” to man, " was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost" and in various scriptures from both Old and New Testaments, specific qualities of His character are well pointed out; 1). Goodness: (Nehemiah 9:20; Galatians 5:22, 23.) Holiness: (Romans 1:4). Truth: (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). Grace: (Hebrews 10:29; Zechariah 12: 10). Comfort: (John 14:26; 15:26). Patience, love, gentleness, etc: (Galatians 5:22, 23).

Most significantly the Holy Spirit is “one with God” (Is 48:16; Matt 28:19; Acts 5:3, 4; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; 12:4-6; 2 Co 13:14; 1 Jo 5:7). Therefore He has all the attributes of God - He is eternal (Heb 9:14). He was present with God in the creation of the world – (Gen 1:2, 3; Job 26:13; 33:4; Ps 104:30). He is “omnipresent” (Psalms 139:7-10). He is “omniscient” (Isaiah 40:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11). He is “omnipotent” (Psalms 104:30). Yet He is a distinct personality apart from both the Father and the Son besides that scripture uses many types of symbols to describe His many functions and responsibilities including many Old Testament scriptures that identify Him (Isaiah 11:2; 42:1; 48:16; 61:1; 63:9; Ezekiel 36:26, 27). So as far as scripture is concerned the Holy Spirit is undeniably a “personality” and a very powerful one at that!

Consequently those who lack revelation of God’s Word will be the ones who struggle to relate to Him. They will posses limited perception of who the Spirit of God is; for example an impersonal “power” or “force” such as electricity! This impersonal view of Him is the crux of their problem. And while there are “mystical” and “ancient philosophies” that present a plethora of “counterfeit-personalities” for folks to “relate to” – they are no more than cleverly designed plans that appeal to the “spiritual curiosity” of millions who are completely distracted and beguiled from the real McCoy. Every believer however must eliminate “any” obstacle that hinders their fellowship with the Holy Spirit and not be duped by religious doctrines or the infiltration of worldly philosophies – which are equally misleading! For instance it could be said that mainline evangelical Christianity has no problem with the doctrine of the Trinity but their challenge comes with this issue of relating to the Holy Spirit on a “personal” level. Until this is resolved, fellowship with Him will always be disputed; meaning that many will fail to give Him the place that He truly deserves. The Word and the Holy Spirit must be working in conjunction in our lives, without which we have no revelation and our endeavors will be Godless!

To continue both Old and New Testaments report the work of the Spirit extensively. “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6 NKJV). “I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29 NKJV). Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38) and led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan and returning in the power of the Spirit. (Lk 4:1-2, 14) Jesus cast out evil spirits by the Holy Spirit, (Matt. 12:28).

In fact, it would not be incorrect to suggest that the entire ministry of our Lord, was influenced by and “one” with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself qualified this by saying, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19 KJV).

Once we master this continual fellowship with the Holy Spirit, as believers we will also enjoy the intimate bond of fellowship which binds us together in Christ. There is also fellowship with the Father and the Son as seen here in 1 John 1:3 AMP “What we have seen and [ourselves] heard, we are also telling you, so that you too may realize and enjoy fellowship as partners and partakers with us. And [this] fellowship that we have [which is a distinguishing mark of Christians] is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (the Messiah).” Then also in 1 Corinthians 1:9 it speaks of specific fellowship with the Son; “God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” However as ONE yet THREE - Father, Son and Spirit - remain very distinct personalities. Even though our fellowship is with all of them our emphasis remains the Holy Spirit and the following list of sins that are directly hostile to the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit, must be avoided by anyone seeking to cultivate a genuine fellowship with Him.

Grieving Him: (Eph. 4:30) by adopting behavior contrary to the fruits; bitterness, unforgiveness, etc.
Quenching Him: (1 Thess. 5:19) by disallowing the gifts and anointing to work through our lives.
Insulting Him: (Heb. 10:29) through deliberate sin even after receiving knowledge of truth.
Resisting Him: (Acts 7:51) Going in the opposite direction to the definite guidance of the Spirit.
Vexing Him: (Is. 63:10) through intentional rebellion against His leadership.
Lying to Him: (Acts 5:3) by speaking untruths to His anointed men and women in order to
Testing Him: (Acts 5:9) by provoking Him into action – not out of faith but out of fear.
Blaspheming Him: (Matt. 12:31, 32) by attributing the things of Him to demons
Striving with Him: (Gen. 6:3) by walking in the flesh continually against His promptings
Rebelling against Him: (Ps. 106:33) by refusing His instructions.

As believers our lives are supernatural. Our fallen natures continue to rage against us (Gal. 5:16; Rom. 7:14-22) and therefore we continually need to be empowered from within and above in order to live and walk worthy of our calling. Our Lord explained that the Spirit will guide us into all truth and give us ability to cope with life and its stresses. With a cultivated lifestyle that is one with Him, we can avoid doctrinal pitfalls and the trickery of our adversary by trusting our “Paraclete” to outwit him (1 Pet. 5:8; Jn.16:12-13). Sensitivity comes via spending time in His presence and is the only way that we can gain firsthand knowledge and gain the skills of detection that we need (concerning what grieves and pleases him moment by moment). Gradually we experience growth in all these areas, the awkwardness flees and a fluent relationship emerges with maturity.

Finally possibly most importantly, as we have an “abandoned devotion” towards God’s Word - devouring scripture and making it the final word on every issue - also means that we will always respect the authority of the Spirit who never speaks or gives instruction contrary to the Word. All in all we eventually find ourselves enjoying His company above all else which finally determines that we have cultivated such a passion for Him, that counts the passions of this world as dung! (Phil 3:8).

Father today I dedicate myself to walking and talking with Your Holy Spirit. I know that I can trust Him to lead me into all truth so that I can serve you better. Thank you for equipping me with Your Spirit, and allowing me to enjoy such enriching and life changing fellowship with Him. Amen

Today is my day; a day where I know You Spirit of God. I dwell with You and You dwell with me. I am Your Temple and know Your presence intimately. I am equipped for life. You are my Paraclete - my divine stand by. I am never alone. I am radically secure and not easily moved. You are the One who moves me. I move in obedience and never in rebellion to Your Word. Hallelujah!


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Cultivating a Deep Daily Fellowship with the Holy Spirit

Cultivating a Deep & Daily Fellowship with the Holy Spirit

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose” (Philippians 2:1-2 NIV).

Have you ever yearned for a deeper walk with the Holy Spirit? I know that I have, and often desire to go deeper still. I have enjoyed these refreshing articles on the Holy Spirit myself. With feedback already coming in, I know too that you have been enjoying them also. But continue with me in these successive studies on the Holy Spirit and I trust that revelation and inspiration will flood your heart and trigger a level of fellowship with the Holy Spirit that you never previously thought possible!

In the last Truth for the Journey we discussed the beauty of “Fellowship with Almighty God!” and we emphasised on 3 key components of “koinōnia” such as: Joint Participation, Potent Partnership and United Movement. Today we will continue with this theme of “fellowship with the Holy Spirit” in order to exhaust the subject before we move on to “How we Hear His Voice,” in our subsequent articles on the Holy Spirit.

As we have already found out, this Greek word koinōnia (κοινωνία Strong's #2842) which is continually used in the New Testament for “fellowship” has many applications. We can refer to last week’s Truth for the Journey for a recap, but for today let’s move on to the Vines Expository Dictionary where the words given to describe koinōnia are as follows: communicate (-tion), communion, contribution, and fellowship. From this we can see that a major part of fellowship is just straightforward “communication;” something that we must learn to do adequately with the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Again it is a learning process, just as a married couple “never” cease to learn of new and better ways to “communicate” with each other. As the individual grows and their understanding expands, so can the quality of the fellowship involved. In fact fellowship can be a deeply enriching experience that many miss out on, not only in their everyday relationships, but chiefly with the Holy Spirit.

If we would learn better how to communicate, not only would this benefit us, but all those inside our circle of influence. When communications breaks-down, so do the relationships involved; therefore on all fronts must we guard against such break-downs of communication and pursue better methods of communication – but all this is just on a human level. Now however, let’s continue with our subject of “fellowship with the Holy Spirit” as mentioned above in our opening scripture. We can use this in two different contexts, as do the different translations of the Bible; 1). Fellowship “shared” with other believers “in” the Spirit. 2). Fellowship “directly-with” the Holy Spirit.

For example the NIV above states; “if any fellowship with the Spirit” whereas the Authorised Version states, “if any fellowship of the Spirit...” and the Amplified version says; “by whatever participation in the [Holy] Spirit [we share].”

So you see the different emphasis that is covered. I prefer the NIV in this instance; as we are currently emphasising on fellowship “with” the Holy Spirit, as the third “person” of the Trinity. It is therefore accurate to say that - “fellowship with the Holy Spirit” - is a blessing for “all” believers in Christ to enjoy – (as already seen in 2 Cor. 13:14 and Phil 2:1). Remembering that we are “sealed” with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13 for salvation) and then “baptized” with the Spirit (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8; Acts 2:2-4 - receive an infilling). One places us in the Body and the other empowers us for works of service.

To continue; the only thing that can mar this divine fellowship with the Holy Spirit is “un-confessed sin.” Only as we “abide” in Christ and His finished work of the cross - can we “abide” in communion (union) with His Spirit. Therefore when it comes to “sin” we can have confidence that when, “...we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This makes fellowship with the Holy Spirit so vital because we are united to Christ in the bonds of the Holy Spirit.

Our fellowship with the Spirit is of utmost importance because “He seeks partnership with us...” in life and in ministry. His resources are unlimited, inexhaustible, and His power is invincible. We might long for intimate fellowship with Him, but it is absolutely true that, “He longs for and regularly pursues intimate fellowship with us.” He longs to be admitted to the inner life of our souls. Again I use this emphasis that “He” seeks and pursues partnership and fellowship with us, because He knows better than we, that without His partnership and close fellowship; that those things which He has specifically called us to do (on this earth) will go “unachieved.”

It has been said that the wealthiest place on earth is the “Graveyard!” There are many dreams, business ventures and so forth that have gone there unfulfilled. The Holy Spirit however, if allowed, to steer and direct us – will achieve heaven’s mandates in and through our lives. Therefore, true fulfilment can only come via Him! This speaks of PURPOSE – and there is certainly much purpose to this fellowship with the Holy Spirit. For instance it is not idle past-time, which simply enjoys each other’s presence - like young lovers! In fact this often makes me feel so uncomfortable, when I hear people, especially women (of all ages), speak of their relationship with God, as if in a romantic way. Personally I believe that they have bought into a deception.

Our relationship with God, as a whole, can never be estimated in this way. It is erroneous and underlines the attempt that people often make, when they try to see God (who is “infinite”) in a “finite” way. In other words, we cannot ever measure God on mere human levels or standards. There is nothing “sexual” about our relationship with Him, albeit that we often use the word “intimacy” – however this is in context with a “heart-condition” and not something to be confused with “romantic-notions.” Women especially have to be careful with this. Some men do this also of course, but are generally less inclined to go down that route of thinking.

However to continue with this thought of what hinders our “fellowship or union” with the Spirit, let me suggest that there are “many” things such as; attitudes, reservations, interests, disbeliefs, prayerlessness, selfish-ambitions, arrogant pride, anger, bitterness, and many more that grieve and quench His work. This is why we must cultivate our lives; so that we can “remain” in fellowship with Him. This involves as much willing “self-adjustment” as possible! Of course He never leaves or forsakes us, but we are discussing the subject of fellowship here. To illustrate this better; one day in my personal prayer time, I said to God, “Father don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me.” His swift reply to me was simply this, “Don’t leave my presence then...!” That pretty much speaks for itself!

Still we must emphasize on this fact that there is PURPOSE to everything in God, just like Rom 8:28 says, “ them who are the called according to his purpose” (KJV). There is certainly plenty of divine PURPOSE in our daily union with the Holy Spirit. If such was not the case – then perhaps God would have us in heaven already by now! But as we know, there is still much work to be done. Some folks imagine that fellowship with God is just some “dreamy” type of meditation! But in actual fact there remains a very “active” purpose to our “fellowship” with God.

In addition, let me point out that when our lives line up “in agreement” with the Holy Spirit – our personalities becomes “quickened” and “sanctified” and our desire is to be in “constant” fellowship with Him. This is where we get our “recharge;” where we soak up heaven’s resources to make our lives effective. This is echoed and reflected by Isaiah in Chapter 40:30-31 where he states, “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” This “renewing” of strength actually refers to an “exchange” of strength. How awesome this is! During our fellowship with Him then, we actually exchange our own “limited” human strength and resources for His! There is no comparison with this and the joy of fellowship on this level comes only through Christ and His finished work of the cross. Now as a consequence, today and everyday God makes Himself continually available for us to enjoy fellowship with Him like this. Each and every believer is sanctioned (authorized by Christ) to enjoy such a rich and glorious companionship with His Spirit. Hallelujah!

When we learn to cooperate with Him, He comes to give us a daily life that overflows with the fruit of the Spirit. When we are in agreement with Him - His power operates in and through us. Ministry becomes a daily adventure with Him at the helm. Our empathy for the needy is deepened and enlightened. Our compassion for the lost soul is strengthened and our prayer lives invigorated. Ordinary Christians become empowered when clothed with the Spirit of God.
This fellowship, joint-participation, partnership and communion, with the Holy Spirit - is communion with the LORD God. It should affect everything we do in our Christian life and ministry – we must never neglect such sweet and potent fellowship with the Holy Spirit. In fact as Christians, we're “called” to fellowship with the Holy Spirit. It’s not in fact an “option!” (Just for the crazy Pentecostals or Holy Rollers!) Furthermore for some folks, all they know about the Holy Spirit is that He's the one who makes them speak in other tongues. However, there's more to the Person and ministry of the Holy Spirit than this. We are called to fellowship with Him every day and it is then that we discover exactly what He's come to do in our lives.

The Lord Jesus said “...the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.” This reveals the benefits and blessings of daily fellowship with the Holy Spirit in our lives: He'll teach, counsel, help, defend, strengthen and always be there as our standby when we need Him and when our natural strength fails us!

Finally the Holy Spirit is not fire, smoke, wind or a dove; He's a real person. He's the secret of my life. He talks with me and I talk with Him! He shows me what to do, when to do it and how to do it. I can never be confused about anything because the Holy Spirit guides me. He’s not a “spirit-guide” as the world calls it. No! He is THE Guide! Once any of us learn to fellowship with the Holy Spirit each day like this, we then learn to hear His voice as we yield - spirit, soul and body - to Him. Only then will we truly let Him work, talk and function through us. He wants us to enjoy rich fellowship with Him every single day.

Father, I recognize the Holy Spirit as my helper, strengthener, standby, counsellor, intercessor, comforter and advocate. Thank you that it was Your plan for Him to be in my life. Therefore I give Him the place He deserves in my life, by giving Him priority. I allow Him to make me more Christ like and to make-good on my commitment to Christ.

Today I know the Holy Spirit and He knows me. I am recognised in heaven and on the earth as a true believer. I am authorized and deputized to enjoy such rich fellowship with Him. I avail myself to be empowered to be effective for Christ. My witness is sound and will continue steadfast through the One who helps me. My gratitude is overwhelming for the One who equips and helps me. Through Christ and His Spirit nothing is too much for me. I am prepared and ready for anything. Hallelujah!


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Friday, 1 October 2010

The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, [is] with you all! Amen”
(2 Corinthians 13:14 Young's Literal Translation)

The last verse of 2 Corinthians is a powerful one and the Amplified Version says it like this: “The grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the presence and fellowship (the communion and sharing together, and participation) in the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen (so be it).”

Everything in this verse points to a 3 fold companionship with God. Remembering that one of His names is also “Emmanuel” which means “God with us.” This is reflected in the Young’s Literal Translation above where it says “...the Holy Spirit [IS] with you all!” All three Persons of the Godhead; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are active in providing this companionship with us. Jesus brings grace and the Father brings love. Both, grace and love are so potent that they can only originate from God (Eph. 2:8; John 3:16). His grace allows us “entry” into divine companionship while His love “keeps” this companionship breathing and vibrant. However the Holy Spirit also plays a vital role in ensuring our companionship with the Almighty, and it is HIS “contribution” to this relationship that we focus on for today’s Truth for the Journey: “The fellowship of the Holy Spirit.”
We begin by looking into the Greek meaning for the word “fellowship” used in our opening scripture 2 Corinthians 13:14. This Greek word is “koinonia” that literally means: communion, communication, contribution, distribution, joint participation, intimacy. It could be said like this; “communion by intimate participation!” However it also involves words like partnership, (social) intercourse and (pecuniary or economic) benefaction – coming from the closely related words “koinonos” and “koinos” meaning sharer, i.e. associate :- companion, fellowship, partaker, partner (see Strong’s #G2844 # G2839)

So as we can see this Greek word for “fellowship” (koinonia) is a complex, rich, and thoroughly fascinating Greek approach to building community and teamwork. It has such a multitude of meanings that no single English word is adequate to express its depth and richness. Therefore however we look at this word, we can derive so much from it in order to help us decipher what is exactly meant or entailed by “fellowship” with the Holy Spirit. First of all let’s break this up slightly for easier grasp -“koinonia” has three superb applications.

A) We start with “JOINT PARTICIPATION:” The fellowship of the Holy Spirit is not a one-way street! It is a sharing of wills, feelings, and knowledge. We share what we have or know with Him and He shares what He has and knows with us! Jesus said, “He will tell you whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. He will honor and glorify Me because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. (John 16:13b-14 AMP).

Just think, He knows the secrets of heaven and is willing to reveal those to whoever will “jointly participate” with Him. The Holy Spirit has direct access to the Father’s heart which means whatever the Father speaks; He hears and is able to communicate to us! In other words we can enjoy “inside information” if we will only “dare” to draw closer in fellowship with Him, as we are admonished to do in James 4:8; “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” The original Greek here for “draw nigh” or “come close” depending on what translation of the Bible you have - literally means: “approach” or “be at hand” for Him. Once we “approach” God like this, or in other words “make ourselves available by being at hand” then God can reciprocate with His presence! He approaches us in return and is always “at hand” for us! What an awesome reality this is. To have God Himself close by and always “at hand!” Can we fathom the beautiful implications of this and the impact that such fellowship can have on our everyday lives?

The only glitch or claws to this “drawing nigh” business of verse 8 of James chapter 4 is that we must “draw nigh” FIRST! Which quite plainly puts the overall “onus” onto us! The quality of the fellowship that we enjoy with God, or the regularity of such - largely rests with us and our willingness to “approach” Him or to be “at hand” for Him.

For sure “any” approach that we make towards God, could be seen only in terms of a “response” to what He has already “initiated” through Christ. For instance according to 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us...” it was God who “initiated” love – not us! In fact we initiated nothing in this context. It came from and started with God. However in terms of “relationship” (the two way street we are discussing here), our “willingness” is always a “prerequisite” and must always be evident (to God and especially to ourselves!)

As heaven’s divine distributor the Holy Spirit equips and prepares us for the future. Through Him we can face any challenge that life throws at us! And within this type of “fellowship” we are able to communicate our intimate and most personal needs; whether desires of the heart or heart concerns and is a type of fellowship that enjoys both “spontaneity and freedom” rather than dictatorial and dull monologue! In this respect we should always freely “welcome” the Holy Spirit into our lives; appreciating, respecting, adoring and fully recognizing Him in everything that we do.

B) Our 2nd application of “koinonia” is “POTENT PARTNERSHIP.” The type of fellowship that we are discussing here in this particular study - represents a most effective and potent partnership! All partnerships exist to enhance growth, productivity and profit. Partners strategize together and share in all successes and failures. However when we consider fellowship with the Holy Spirit in this way, then we must always recognise Him as the “Senior Partner” (simply because he brings so much more to the table than we do!)

For example consider the infinite resources and knowledge that He possesses; which can only make His strategies and methods perfect and above reproach! In addition regard the fact that no matter how much He outranks everyone, He still leaves room for us to be heard every time! Nevertheless we do well to “allow” Him to strategize on our behalf - as He knows best and the results are always more consistent! We must make ourselves available by always being “at hand” to fellowship with Him, so that He can communicate those strategies with us as He wants to do. We must always “live-ready” to listen to His instruction and be equally willing to receive His specialized help for the “follow-through” of that instruction! The best fact of all is that He not only lends us His expertise but also His “power!” Remembering that even as partners who share victories - the credit must all be His! He is unable to fail and neither will we if we learn to follow and yield in the manner that we are discussing here. It is elementary then, that in the degree to which we “cooperate” is the degree to which we will experience success in and through our personal lives.

Everything the Holy Spirit does, is to empower us. Therefore we can be certain that “fellowship” with Him, will only benefit our lives. Heaven’s intentions can then be realized. It is through deep fellowship like this that History can be changed as a result! NOT sitting in a lotus position meditating and chanting in tongues – that is not “fellowship” – but a religious ritual that some might like to call “fellowship!” But true fellowship with the Holy Spirit is very much “active” and part of our everyday lives. He talks with us “on the go!” Nothing restricts Him. Not time or space! He is always ready and always willing for us to “plug in” and enjoy our “living-connection” with Him. In fact it should never be broken. We should not spend our Christian lives “travelling-in-and-out-of-His-presence” but learn to LIVE there!

In fact the kind of “fellowship” we discuss here is very active and accountable simply because the Holy Spirit specializes in transforming what is “written” instruction from the word of God into practical application in our lives. Therefore it is vital that we learn to partner with Him on every level; being open to His input and advice before making decisions. (I’m not suggesting that we need the Holy Spirit to tell us when to clean our teeth – some things we can work out for ourselves! When to wash and to eat etc; and He gives us enough credit to do that sort of thing on our own!) However when it comes to the larger decisions of life – it is a “learnt” discipline – to pass things with Him first. It takes time but we must pursue such a discipline – especially when the end product of living in such a way – has the potential to change other people’s lives as a result.

Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit on this level means that He can depend on us to ACT in any given situation – no matter what the circumstances say. This is where we allow the “unction” of the Holy Spirit to dictate our thoughts rather than the conditions of the world around us. In addition to that is the fact that our obedience has always a good influence on others, even if we cannot directly see the results of it with our own eyes – we can guarantee that if the Holy is in control – He always has others in mind and an agenda that pursues their freedom and liberty! “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor 3:17 KJV).

It is important to add right now that the Holy Spirit does not just promote the “self-life” that the world does – rather He “demotes” selfishness and “promotes” selflessness! He is not just our spiritual maid, who picks up the pieces that we leave behind or our PR who deals with all the “damage-control” in our lives - for all those mistakes we make! In fact because we live in a generation of “self-help” coaches and gurus – who make millions off the back of people who have no identity of their own - we could easily confuse the Holy Spirit with our own “personal-trainer” but I would like to suggest that He is SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT! It is a danger to limit the Holy Spirit to such “earthly” status!

On the other hand, He never “closes-shop” on us and is always available for us. He shares in our failures as much as our successes, so that the challenges of life don’t overwhelm us. He moves in us, so that our spiritually-natural instincts are to “overcome” in situations rather than indulge in or enjoy “self-pity” too much! In fact the world around us is obsessed with “self” – yet in Christ we learn that life is not all about “self” and we soon learn that we don’t just exist to avoid or rescue ourselves from ourselves! Instead we learn to “overcome” in ways that help others as a result and with His divine influence upon our lives; normal temptations should be more easily overcome.

In fact this is generally how we know if someone is truly walking with the Spirit of God or not – because if they really know Him (and are known of Him), then the “conviction of Holiness” is always present. This means that they will not feel “well” with themselves, in the presence of sin and will conscientiously work on “adjusting” themselves; in pursuit of maturity and self control. Whereas those who are too comfortable around sin, are probably not walking too closely with the Holy Spirit at all!

For the sake of balance here and in the context of “evangelism” we cannot afford to be overly “delicate” about sin. It is then that we must be open to “embrace” those in the deepest sins - without becoming “one” with their sins in the process. For example Gal 6:1 says this, “...if a person gets trapped by wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should help that person turn away from doing wrong. Do it in a gentle way. At the same time watch yourself so that you also are not tempted.”
To continue however, with this application of “potent-partnership” - one of the greatest chapters in the Bible that describes this privileged partnership we have with the Holy Spirit, is Romans 8. The entire chapter is a treasure in fact, but verse 26 just says, “So too the Holy Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness...” What comfort this offers us? With the Holy Spirit “close at hand” like this, everything truly can “work together for good for those who love God” (vs. 28).

C) Our final application is “UNITED MOVEMENT.” This third and final application of “koinonia” is taken from another literal translation meaning; “moving together with...” We could say “travelling together with...!” As we know, the Holy Spirit excels in the area of “distribution” which can be seen in the context of our prayer lives. For instance He moves or travels with us “as” we pray, by “moving or transporting” our prayer from earth to heaven. This is indicated in Romans 8:26. As usual the Amplified Version of the Bible puts it more poignantly like this: “So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.”

So with all this in mind, when it comes time for the “Grace” (2 Corinthians 13:14) to be declared over the people at the end of a meeting again – we must all say it with much more “conviction” because now we possess a better grasp on its original meaning. Fellowship (koinonia) is our greatest life’s honour – because it represents a living “companionship, intimacy and working together with” Almighty God. We must never forget that “KNOWING HIM - IS LOVING HIM” and we must always thank Him for the GRACE, LOVE AND FELLOWSHIP that He has placed in our lives. Hallelujah!
Father I want to walk in divine partnership with Your Spirit. Your provision for my life is complete. He helps me to live for You. Thank You Father for all that You have done for me – especially for giving me Your Holy Spirit. Help me never to grieve Him – as I pursue this life for You. Amen.

Today I am free because of the Holy Spirit. He takes the freedom that Christ purchased for me at the expense of His own blood and makes that freedom a reality in my daily life. Where He is - there is truly liberty – as Your Word says. I confess right now that the Holy Spirit is at the “helm” of my life. I follow His divine instincts and impulses rather than my own “earthy” ones! I have victory today and EVERYDAY because I follow His leadings and make myself available to Him. When I make myself “at hand” for Him, He reciprocates, as a result I WALK IN FREEDOM. Hallelujah!


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries

More than Religious Clichés

More than Religious Clichés

"For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous" (Romans 5:19 NIV).

For those of us who genuinely know Christ as our Lord and Saviour today, we can thank God that we have been made righteous! We can actually declare with confidence each morning in the bathroom mirror, "I am righteous!" To say otherwise would be to deny God's Word that tells us in the above scripture that "...many shall be made righteous." We can of course include ourselves in that. But what does righteousness literally mean for the individual? Religious words can often stay shrouded in mystery and present tiresome clichés that never really gain any meaning in our hearts because their context is always hidden in religiosity. At one point or another many of us have found ourselves in a place where difficult words like, 'righteousness, justification and grace,' have been hard to master until revelation came!

In its most basic form, righteousness means "right standing with God." It means we are "right with God" or in other words we have a "right to stand before Him" - talking to Him as some of us would talk to our earthly fathers. I say, " some of us would" because not all of us have experienced a loving "relationship" with our natural fathers, if at all.

However the meaning of being made righteous, is the reality that God Himself has declared us "RIGHT with Himself," He is willing to receive us anytime and give us unlimited "access" and "proximity" to His throne of grace; a place where we are able to "enter in with all boldness" according to Hebrews 10:19. Without any fear of rejection, judgement or eternal punishment - because His perfect love casts out all fear. Our relationship with Him involves coming freely for "relationship and for prayer," expecting Him to grant every request that lines up with and is "according" to His Word. We are reconciled and prodigal children who have been justified, JUST AS IF WE HAD NEVER SINNED!

Some people think that being right with God means that everything we do now is RIGHT and that we are no longer capable of sin or making any mistakes at all! This of course is nonsense! On the other hand there are others who polarize by going to the opposite end of the extreme; whenever they make mistakes they convince themselves that they are no longer, "right with God" and are going to go to hell. Let me add here, that if we can become so uncertain of our eternal future so swiftly, this is precisely why we must "know" scripture. Not informatively but by revelation. I will also suggest that "being-free" and "staying-free" are two separate phenomena. Why? Only the truth we "know" (have revelation of) can make us free - bring constancy or security into our lives. Only then can we stop living a yo-yo existence of - one day going to heaven - the next going to hell! "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32 KJV).

The truth of the matter of course is that no matter what the mistake - we are just as right with God after our mistake as we were before - why? Simply because our "right-standing-with-God" will never be "governed" by what we have done but solely upon what Christ has done. Walking away from Christ by rejecting His saving grace is something else entirely but we are talking here about "mistakes!" Wilful sin still causes disqualification - of course - but then every one of us has fallen short! "THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. [John 3:18.] (Roman 8:1; AMP)

Besides our "born again" experience meant that we were "born into right standing" through Christ - as new creatures all of the old things have passed away. It is our job to remain in this "rightness" with God and enjoy it! But we must recognise that we "enjoy" such a position through Christ alone. Whereas those who are currently not "in" Christ cannot yet be considered "right-with-God" and cannot reap the benefits of such a position until they too accept Christ and what He did for them. Even though many "good and law-abiding citizens" will fail to "entre-in" because they base their eternal future on what "they" have done and not upon what Christ has done - on their behalf. That's like still paying the bill after someone has already picked up the tab for you! Ignorance is never "bliss!" As many will sadly find out...

Therefore anyone who is not in "right-standing" with God in this way can be considered "un-righteous." Whereas all "born-again and Spirit-filled believers;" have no place doubting their salvation at all. Having said this, if we are truly "born-again" then we are obligated to ACT like so! Not by way of a self-righteous attitude or pious "holier than thou" mentality - but a lifestyle that reflects WHO we are living through and who we are walking with! (Gal 5:16)

It must be added at this particular point that if the devil can get us to feel "crummy-enough" about ourselves, then he can take our effectiveness away from us. He does this by using "condemnation." People who are so easily convinced by this - must learn the difference between the "conviction" that the Holy Spirit brings and the "condemnation" that the devil brings. One demoralizes us and the other progresses us. We must remember too, that our adversary is the "master of accusation" and is meant (by all intents and purposes) to accuse the brethren. So why do we act so shocked when it happens!

His role is to "entice us into sin" and then readily "accuse us" once we yield! Nice plan... but it works every time. People the world over are living between the pendulum of temptation and condemnation. Always feeling bad about themselves - guilt ridden and demoralized. That's just the Christians!! Sad to say, but many believers have not dedicated themselves to "renewing-their minds" enough and such a lack of stability gives Satan all the opportunity he requires.

By the time he's done what he is meant to do - entice, tempt and accuse - we don't feel very righteous at all! And it's when we don't feel very righteous that we allow oppression to come upon us. We get to the point where our backs are so against the wall that we can no longer motivate ourselves; by the time it looks so bad we cry out "Help! I can't go on like this..."

What we really need to do is help ourselves! No amount of prayer or help from anyone else is going to stop this vicious cycle. We need to be convinced of our right standing with God for ourselves - this no one else can do for us! Either Jesus did what He did for us or He didn't. It's that precise and simple. Otherwise we will spend our whole lives analyzing what we "feel" about everything - that we never really "do" anything. Exactly the devil's ploy altogether; "I must make them "feel" so crummy about themselves so that they become so "incapacitated, self-absorbed, insecure and ineffective" that they will pose no threat to me at all!"

It's not rocket-science! And to avoid sounding overly cynical here let me point out the critical fact that when we allow the devil to "condemn" us so much - over our individual weaknesses - to the point that we don't believe we are righteous anymore; this is when we also become convinced that God no longer hears us anymore! Then we don't even bother praying. Because we don't believe that it will work - for us! For everyone else perhaps, but not for us! (Consequently that's another ploy of the devil - the "comparison-gap" - but oh how we don't want to get into that one!)

All said and done - even though we like to think that we believe the Bible from Genesis to Revelation; we will still be quicker to believe the devil when he starts accusing us than believe God. When we listen to his accusations, rather than taking God at His Word; what a travesty this is; especially considering all that Christ has done! Plus considering just how effective our lives "could" be if we would just remain convinced for long enough - of truth rather than the lies. "The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available..." (James 5:16 AMP)

For this reason it is paramount that we each "reach" for spiritual maturity and stop being so spiritually "insecure." The God kind of faith is never based upon feelings! Instead the Bible tells us that righteousness is a gift from God. Therefore we are righteous based upon FACT not upon FEELINGS and we must live according to FACT and not FEELING! When we live in this perspective, placing facts over feelings; the feelings eventually catch up!

Nevertheless the Christian who swings from pillar to post, between feeling and fact are usually insecure. Only the secure Christian is dedicated to living according to FACT before FEELING. They develop the kind of life style that is conducive with "obedience and willingness" as mentioned in Isaiah 1:19 - their feelings following but never lead!

In closing let me emphasise the balance. God created feelings and emotions. Therefore without a doubt they have their place. For example we are not austere robots, but creatures able to express love, happiness and joy. This was God's design. However, it was never God's design for us to BASE our faith upon them. When we put so much stock in our "feelings" we always end up misled, into a place of disobedience. Our feelings were never designed to lead but to follow. This is how we "enjoy" an experience. We first have the experience and then the feelings are supposed to follow. That's how we know whether we enjoyed it or not! First thing first; the chicken or the egg! We must always remember that faith follows fact never feeling. But feelings don't become obsolete. They just follow - and help "complete" the experience rather than create it!

Personally I live my life this way. I base my faith on the facts of God's Word; that I AM righteous and nothing can change that as long as I remain in Christ. My emotions cannot manipulate any of the facts. I just accept the fact and put my faith in it and rejoice that even though I am not worthy - the choice was His and not mine. He chose me anyway! I accept His "divine" decision every day and live with the fact that God counts me righteous. Hallelujah!

Heavenly Father I thank You that You counted me righteous because of Your son Jesus Christ. Today I too can count myself righteous because of Him. Nothing can change this fact, least of all my feelings - as long as I remain in Christ. Help me today to live an effective life - so that Your righteousness will never be wasted on me! Help me reveal Christ today - amen.

My position in Christ is secure. I am the righteousness of God in Him. I have all that I need for this life; to grow, to be effective, to learn, to thrive and to succeed. I have all that I need to be the person that God called me to be and do what He has called me to do. My purpose is in His hands. His blue print is in my life. His plumb-line is in my heart. I have the mind of Christ. I will not be convinced of anything "outside" of His mind-set. Hallelujah!


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries