Two months, Two states and Two nations.

fall journey

This fall is landscaped with some terrific opportunities to travel to different states and nations to serve and encourage others.

The first weekend of October I travel to Indiana to spend a weekend with a fantastic church that has been aggressively pursuing and experiencing revival for several years. While I sincerely hope to encourage them, I know that I will receive much from my time with them.

A week later I travel with a friend that I respect and love to Cuba for a week of Ministry Schools and Crusades.

The first weekend in November I return to my friends in Bozeman, Montana for a conference on the Holy Spirit where I will serve alongside another ministry colleague.

The last week in November I travel back to the Philippines to be part of Philippines 4 Jesus – and do a week of meetings in Ozamiz.

Whenever I travel, I remember Paul’s words in Romans 1, that he was eager to visit the church there in order to impart to them a Spiritual gift  – that is that he and they would be mutually encouraged. This is my prayer once again. PLEASE pray that I may bring to those I serve a gift from the Holy Spirit to build, encourage, strengthen and bless them. Please also pray that in each place I go, I learn, grow, and increase in the sweetness and strength of His anointing.

Thank you for praying with and supporting me as I travel under the covering of Ten Talents International Conferences and Crusades.

 

God bless you much,

‘Dav

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The Oil that Consecrates

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In Exodus 30:22-33, The Lord gave Moses directions to have a special oil made. Its contents are described in vv. 23-25. Certainly there is historical symbolic significance to each of the ingredients, but more significant to me is the purpose and effect of this oil.

After it was blended by a perfumer, it was a sacred anointing oil. In v. 26 The Lord says this oil is used to anoint the tent of meeting and the ark of the testimony and all the utensils, the lampstand, the altars, etc. In applying this oil to these items (anointing them), they became consecrated, and became most holy. Whoa. I slow down and do the math, imagining myself observing and processing this: applying this oil on that object has an effect on that object – it makes it different; it changes its purpose, it is consecrated; it is most holy. This oil on that has made it MOST HOLY. Before the oil, that lampstand was unique and precious. The ark of the testimony was something wonderful. The tent of meeting was uniquely constructed and marvelous. But this oil on those things changed them – the oil wasn’t a reward for their perfection; they weren’t anointed because they were holy. They were (became) holy because they were anointed. Wow. The Lord even says that whatever touches them becomes holy. This is to highlight the reverence prescribed for the anointing oil. It is that sacred and powerful. Wow.

And the next sentence is awesome (in the real, literal sense of that word). That oil is applied to Aaron and his sons. They are anointed with this oil. It consecrates them that they may serve as priests. Can you imagine that reverence, wonder, fear and gratitude? The same oil that anoints and consecrates the ark of the testimony gets poured on Aaron? If that were me, I would feel such a sense of wonder and humility and reverence. I’d say to myself, “I’ve been consecrated to the Lord. This oil has made me holy. I didn’t walk in here holy; I didn’t earn this; it’s not a reward; this is something that has happened to me that must affect everything I do from here on out. I am holy because of this oil; I must live in reverence and wonder of this fact. Even if I can’t see or smell the oil, I know this oil has been applied to my life and I can never be the same.”

Then the Lord says that this oil must never be poured on the body of an ordinary person. It was exclusive. And further, anybody that tried to manufacture this oil on their own… well, don’t (vv. 32-33).

I read this passage today, knowing that this oil represents and speaks to us of the Holy Spirit. His anointing consecrates, makes holy. And I am awe struck and I weep at the concept that this Holy Oil is not applied externally, but has come to abide and saturate my innermost person. And because of Jesus, that oil is for everyone who will trust in Christ. That holy oil, the Holy Spirit, has come to live in me. I am undone. I have become the temple of the Holy Spirit. What He anoints is most holy. The Holy Spirit makes me Holy. He doesn’t validate my own; He imparts His. And I, more than Aaron and his sons, bear the reverent, wondrous, blissful awareness that the Holy One lives in me.

How can I ever live the same way? I am consecrated. I am not my own. I have become His. There is no higher calling or purpose. Consecrated holiness is a reality I live from and because of – not a status I hope to acquire. Even if I fall; even when I plow head-first into the muck and mire of my own sin, there is a greater reality at work. I am defined by this oil; not by my failure. Sin is not my identity and shame is not my destiny. I can quickly repent of and reject filth and folly. I give thanks that because of His Presence effectively at work in me, I can indeed lay aside every weight and sin that easily entangles (Heb. 12). There is a greater reality at work in me, one not of my own doing or invention, one that I neither earned nor can I boast of. He has made me His. It is about that oil. The Holy Spirit makes me holy. The more deeply I believe this, the more boldly and consistently and reverently I live it. If I treat this Holy Oil lightly – as if it were of little import and consequence, then I am little moved and less resolved to live any differently. But I do not. I reverence Him. I trust Him. I trust IN Him. I yield to Him, receiving and relying upon His Person, Power – and Holiness – to live and work in me. I tremble in wonder and gratitude. I rejoice. I am undone. The Holy Spirit makes me holy.

Thanks for reading,

‘Dav

Holiness and Authority

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The man with an unclean spirit in the synagogue (Mark 1:21-28) cried out in fear when he saw Jesus, “have you come to destroy us?” He continued, “I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”

That interaction, that phrase caught my meditation afresh this morning. Mark precedes and follows the story emphasizing that Jesus ministered with authority – this exorcism exemplifying such authority. So, assuming a theme of “authority” reading this passage, I take fresh note of what appeared to intimidate the unclean spirit.

The spirit did not cry out that Jesus was the “mighty one” (although He is) or that Jesus was the “powerful one” (although He is), or that Jesus was the “wise one” (although He is). What tormented this tormentor was this: “You are the Holy One of God.” Is it plausible that the authority Jesus radiated found its epicenter in the Holiness he bore?

I wonder if (our) authority is often muted by a casual relationship with Holiness. I cannot entertain or partner with the unclean in one moment and then expect to exercise dominion over it in the next. I don’t mean that a believer should muster and trust in his or her own “holiness.” That’s just laughable. I mean that the Holy Spirit makes me Holy, and because He does, I choose to live that way. I recognize that the Holy One abides in me. I recognize that I belong to and have been made one with Christ – The Holy One of God. And I live that way because I can and because I should. The Holy Spirit makes me Holy.

I reject a casual relationship with Holiness for this reason among many: I suspect there is a causal relationship between the Holiness I am conscious of and authority I exercise.

Waiting and the Promise of the Father

 

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On one occasion, after His resurrection and during the season prior to His ascension, Jesus was meeting with His disciples and He gave them this command, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4-5). I would like to lean into the brief imperative in verse four, where Jesus says, “Wait for the gift promised by my Father.”

This phrase told them three things: what was coming, where it was coming from, and what they should do.

What was coming was the Gift, the Promise, the Holy Spirit of whom Jesus had told them (some of which “telling” we have record particularly in John’s Gospel, chapters 14-16, but I posit that after His resurrection Jesus spoke more of the Promised Spirit).

He, The Spirit, was coming as a gift from The Father. Wow. Just really: wow. The Holy Spirit is The Promised Gift from our Heavenly Father. He’s not just A gift, He’s The Gift. He’s not a bonus, an extra, an option, an ancillary or an elective. He’s the very “thing” (it pains me to use impersonal nouns in reference to the Spirit – I use them metaphorically only) – the very thing that Heaven yearns to give. He is the final expression of the vibrant, brilliant love of God to us: the Promised Holy Spirit. This gift is what Jesus paid for, prayed for and triumphantly poured out (Acts 2:33).

And they were to wait. Wait. Not beg, and not earn, but wait. The word wait is a compound word that stretched-out could be understood as “to abide concerning,” or “to wait with purpose.” They weren’t just biding time or punching a clock; they were focusing their attention, their affection, as well as their time on anticipating the arrival of the Promise. Of course we know from hindsight that their waiting was necessary until the fulfillment of prophetic timeline. There is no indication, however, that the disciples had idea when the promise was coming. They just kept waiting. A day went by, and two, and three.  They continued to meet together in anticipation for ten days.

I sincerely believe that this period of waiting had far more effect on them than on heaven. They weren’t asking (that we know of) for the Holy Spirit to be poured out. Jesus had already told them He’d prayed for that already. Jesus in no way exhorted them to pray for the promise – rather He gave them assurance the Promise was coming. So their waiting would, I think, have affected them. It would have crystallized the significance and import of this Promise. I think, even, that their waiting would have cultivated a hunger, desire, and appreciation for this Promise.

If they did this – waited in expectation, waited in submission, waited in worship, waited in prioritization… only knowing a promise and a portion of what was to come – what of us? We know what happened. We know Who came. We know what effect He had. We know that those in that room were never, ever the same after His coming. Further, we know that the church was never the same, nor was the world. Everything thing changed when the Comforter came. We know the testimony of fulfillment; we know the explosion of power.

And we, you and I, have the same promise. If they waited, why not us, and how much more us? No, we are not waiting for Him to come – for He already has. Our waiting does not bring Him – but neither did theirs. Their waiting affected them, and so will ours.

How might we posture ourselves toward the promise of the Spirit? Even and ESPECIALLY those who have drunk from His fountain? Even and especially those who have been warmed by His fire? Even and especially those who have felt the blessed bliss of His presence? Even and especially those who have seen and heard of His magnificent power? Might we also wait? Might we also set aside distraction? Might we also submit? Might we also wait in reverent wonder and gratitude? Might we also wait?

For we do not wait like those waiting for something that is not. We wait like those who stand before the magnitude of something that is. We wait like those basking under the radiance of the noon-day sun. We wait like those who with open mouths stand beneath the spring rains. We wait like those who linger over the extravagant fragrance of the finest rose. We wait like those who lay quietly near the serenading sounds of ocean tides. We do not wait in the valley of lack, but in the sea of abundance.

We do not wait with worry. We do not wait without assurance. We do not wait in hopes that time will pass quickly.

We wait with wonder. We wait with boldness. We wait in hopes that time will NOT pass quickly – so that nothing might pull us away from the pristine awareness of His blessed outpouring.

Our waiting is not confined to a room, or a building, or a city.

Our waiting is practiced wherever our hearts and minds are willing. Our waiting is shared, multiplied, intensified when we wait together.

And so – we wait. We wait upon Him; we wait for more of His power and influence. We wait in submission and surrender and in wonder and in worship. We wait.

 

The Fruit of the Spirit

 

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The Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) is not a list of things to try harder to attain or maintain. This is a list of exemplary ways the Spirit will manifest His influence in our lives. The text says, “The fruit of the Spirit is…” not “the results of trying harder are…”

Paul uses the word “fruit,” which is something that is produced when trees are rightly connected to the flow of nourishment. It is not the result of striving or straining, but abiding and yielding.

The emphasis of the passage is on the effective role the Spirit has on the ethical life (5:16, 22), as He is the source of life (3:3, 5:25). When He is yielded to and trusted in, He produces these effects.

By supplying a list of virtues, Paul has informed our expectations with regard to the result of the Spirit’s rule. We are to believe that the Spirit is present, that He is powerful, and that He is producing (see what I did there – “produce” and “fruit”?).

Furthermore, the fun thing about fruit is that there is always more. To hold one apple in my hand is to know that I also hold the potential for an orchard. Likewise, there is no limit to the abundance of fruit the Spirit can produce in and through my life.

All of my expectation, all of my confidence, is in and upon the Holy Spirit. But my expectation is informed, and my confidence is focused. I know what qualities His influence should produce, and I choose to walk in those qualities, believing the Holy Spirit is fully present and powerfully working, and that His work is working.

So, I respond to Galatians 5:22 in prayer this way:

“Holy Spirit, I believe you are Love and produce your love in me.”

“Holy Spirit, I believe you are Joy and produce your joy in me.”

“Holy Spirit, I believe you are Peace and produce your peace in me.”

“Holy Spirit, I believe you are Forbearing, and produce your forbearance in me.”

“Holy Spirit, you are kind, and you make me kind.”

“Holy Spirit, you are good, and make me good.”

“Holy Spirit, you are faithful, and make me faithful and full-of-faith.”

“Holy Spirit, you are gentle, and make me gentle.”

“Holy Spirit, you are perfectly controlled, no one and nothing enslaves you – and your presence in me fully empowers me to control myself.”

Let us deeply, gratefully, and confidently depend upon the Holy Spirit to increasingly re-produce in us His own life.

Thanks for reading; share if you’d like…
‘Dav

 

Come, Holy Spirit

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“Come, Holy Spirit!”

What does this mean?

When I pray, “Come, Holy Spirit” I offer no erroneous assertion. I recognize He is already present – I could never go somewhere where He isn’t. Nor am I capable of summoning the Sovereign of the Cosmos.

For me to pray, “Come, Holy Spirit” is to ask that He manifest His presence and influence in my life – in my person and circumstances. There is little question that there is a difference between the acquiescent (omnipresent) presence of the Spirit and the dynamic, manifest presence. Even if that difference is often (or mostly) only realized by faith (and not necessarily the senses), it is in fact faith that I exercise with the words, “come, Holy Spirit.” By faith I embrace and make myself aware of His presence. Often this results in some form of sensory awareness, ranging from a mild, personal, subjective sensation to a shared, powerful experience with others.

For me to say, “Come, Holy Spirit” is an expression of my own submission to Him. I consciously yield my cognitions, my affections and my actions to His immediate influence and infilling. With gratitude I patiently reflect on my circumstances, surroundings, and concerns and visualize all things surrendered to Him.

For me to say, “Come, Holy Spirit” is to honor Him, to reverence Him, and to welcome Him. I am expressing a sacred awareness of the Presence of the Holy One in my heart and life. I am deeply humbled and pristinely happy to host His Presence.

For me to say, “Come, Holy Spirit” is to value Him above the pressing matters and urgent concerns of the moment. It is to give my attention to Him first and most. It is to magnify Him in my perspective so that He eclipses all other things. Only in this light do I see clearly.

So I quite often, throughout the day, quiet myself and focus with joy uttering the phrase, “Come, Holy Spirit.” And to my immense awe and wonder, He always does; He always “is.”

Blessed Holy Spirit, Come!

*Come, O Creator Spirit, blest, and in our souls take up Thy rest;

Come, with Thy grace and heavenly aid, to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

Great Paraclete, to Thee we cry: O highest gift of God Most High; O Fount of life! O Fire of love!  The sweet Anointing from above!

The sacred sevenfold grace is Thine, Dread Finger of the hand Divine: The promise of the Father Thou, Who dost the tongue with power endow.

Our senses touch with light and fire; our hearts with charity inspire; And with endurance from on high the weakness of our flesh supply.

Far back our enemy repel, and let Thy peace within us dwell; so may we, having Thee for Guide, Turn from each hurtful thing aside.

O may Thy grace on us bestow The Father and the Son to know, and ever more to hold confessed Thyself of each the Spirit blest.

Thanks for reading! Share if you like.
‘Dav

*The Hymnal: Published by the authority of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., 1895

Awareness and Expression

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I have been ruminating on something lately. A friend of mine texted me just prior to a speaking engagement, praying that I’d have an acute awareness of the presence of the Holy Spirt. Ever since, I have been reminded of the powerful relationship between awareness and expression. In short, I believe that our awareness of the Presence of the Holy Spirit has a direct impact on the strength and substance of what we express (in ministry and in all of life).

Cultivating a deeper, deliberate awareness of His presence has a causative impact on His influence upon and expression through my life – in word and deed.

It seems to me that Jesus made this connection clear in Luke 4:18-19. Reading from the scroll of Isaiah (and immediately claiming “these words” were fulfilled in their hearing), Jesus said “The Spirit of The Lord is upon me…” I am intrigued by this rather straight forward statement of fact. He stated what he believed to be true – what he was aware of by faith (faith that was affected by experience, perhaps even informed by experience). The Spirit of The Lord was “upon Him” and had anointed Him to be a liberator, healer, deliverer and herald of good news. I find it fascinating that Jesus professes His awareness of the Spirit’s presence and proclaims how that presence will be expressed in a cause-and-effect manner.

Later in Jesus’ ministry, when touched by a suffering woman who believed that touch would make her well, Jesus claimed that He knew he was touched because He felt power come out from Him. He was aware of the Presence of the Spirit upon Him so acutely that He sensed the movement of His power from Him.

After Pentecost, Peter carried an awareness of the Spirit’s presence and power – with an apparent expectation of expressing that power. In Acts 3, when the man at the gate beautiful asks for alms, Peter answered famously that although did not have money, “what I DO have I DO give.” What I have (what I am aware of, have a deep, acute, assurance of – by faith and by experience) I give (I express now – by faith).

Awareness is often informed and affected by experience (like Luke 3:21-22 or Acts 2:1-4). Awareness is also determined by a decision. Peter in Acts 2 quoted Psalms 16. The quote in Acts is slightly different in some words than the OT version – probably due to Peter’s LXX version or something. But what Peter says, in close proximity to the Pentecostal experience of the Spirit, is this:
~ I have set The Lord always before me:
Do you see this? The Psalmist confessed that he has made a choice to place The Lord ALWAYS before him – in front of him, before his face. It is fair to say the Psalmist says, “I have decided to be always be aware of the Lord’s presence.” The Lord’s presence is “front and center” – the centerpiece of his consciousness.

In the interest of brevity (there are many more passages of scripture and a significant amount of biographical testimony that is relevant to this thought), I offer just one more passage for consideration – or two more. 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19. In both passages Paul is arguing for attitude and behavior changes on the part of the Corinthian church. And his argument is basically this: awareness should influence expression. “Know ye not?” Paul asks. Do you not know that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit? Do you not know that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If they were aware, then they surely would not have been engaging in divisive and dishonorable behavior.

For me, I believe that this means I can (and should) cultivate a confident awareness of the Spirit with a specific anticipation and assurance of that Presence being expressed in a manner congruent with the strength and substance of my awareness. Awareness of His anointing will produce a powerful expression of that anointing. Awareness of His abiding will produce a joy and a peace and a boldness. Awareness of His Holy Presence will produce a life-style that honors and cherishes it.

So, I jot these thoughts down mostly as a way to reinforce my own commitment to cultivate a deeper, stronger, more deliberate awareness of His presence. That awareness will, I hope, continue to be informed and enriched by experience, while remaining secured, protected and promoted by faith.

I share these loosely worded thoughts with you in hopes that, as always, you too will be encouraged.

As always, thanks for reading and feel free to share
~Dav

Reverencing the Holy Spirit

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The more we reverence the Holy Spirit, the greater His active influence will be among us. By reverence, I mean a strong feeling of respect and admiration, a deep and joyful awareness of and honor for the Holy Spirit.

Luke presents this precept in the unfolding life of the early church. In Acts 5, a man named Ananias sold some property and gave the proceeds of the sale to the church. However, he claimed that he withheld none of the money for himself. Peter called him out for lying to the Holy Spirit (not for keeping what was rightfully his). Consider this clearly: Ananias tried to mislead the apostles (in order to appear generous), but Peter called this lying to the Holy Spirit. Peter recognized the prevailing presence of the Spirit in the church. This reverent awareness seemed to allow for or produce a powerfully active influence of the Spirit, so much so that the lying man and his wife (who was part of the plan to “test the Spirit of the Lord”) both fell dead (Acts 5:1-10).

As a result, great fear come upon all the church, and as many as heard these things. And (as further result) many signs and wonders were performed by the hands of the apostles (vv. 11-12). I believe the same joyful awareness of and honor for of the Holy Spirit fueled the compassion and confidence to work miracles. Luke continues in vv. 13-14, describing a broad respect for the church: no one dared join them under pretense, and the community held them in high regard. This sentiment was not due to a program or a strategy of the church; it was not in any way due to the church’s attempts to fit in or be accepted. This was directly because of the reverence the church possessed and practiced toward the Holy Spirit, which fostered His active influence in and through them.

Luke brings the narrative to crescendo in vv. 15-16 when he describes people bringing the sick and oppressed from neighboring cities and lying them on the streets so that Peter’s shadow would fall on them, and “they were healed, every one.” We can probably assume there was no mojo in Peter’s shadow. What we can assert is that Peter walked with a reverent (bold, joyful, respectful) awareness of the Holy Spirit. As a result, both he and the church he helped lead bore a reputation as carriers of divine presence. This reputation fueled not only a healthy respect and admiration from the world around them, but also a robust hope in the Christ they served.

It is easy to hear the Apostle Paul’s affirmation of such reverence: “Do not grieve the Spirit” (Eph. 4:30), “Do not quench the Spirit” (I Thess. 5:19), “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18), “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25). Apostolic faith is that which prizes, prioritizes, cherishes, and reverences the Holy Spirit.

I am challenged to centralize my own awareness of the Holy Spirit, to reverence Him deeply and happily. I am determined to humbly lead my family and encourage my church to foster such reverence for the Spirit. Because, I believe, the more we reverence the Holy Spirit, the greater His active influence will be among us. I want nothing less and nothing else.

Thanks for reading,
~ Dav