God’s Coronavirus Task Force: A Call to Prayer and Fasting

Friends, in the midst of coronavirus (COVID-19) fear and panic rippling round the world, let’s activate God’s Task Force: the prayer warriors!

Many are already uniting together in spirit to pray for the people in their communities and countries. We want to take this opportunity to join them here on Faith and Fasting. Speaking of fasting, if anyone is able to fast during this time, please do so. One meal, two meals, or longer… Fasting carries with it maximum spiritual power in God’s Kingdom!

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Without any further comment, let’s pray:

Our Great God and Father in Heaven, we stop in this moment to praise Your Holy name! You are in control no matter what circumstances surround us.

You are our Creator, Provider, our all-in-all. You are the one who loves us so much, You sent Your Son to die for us that we might have eternal life if we just trust You.

Forgive us for failing to recognize our need for You every day, every hour. Jesus, we DO need You, in good and bad times, for better or for worse. Forgive us for the sin and selfishness we have allowed to penetrate our lives. We confess and repent now.

Holy Spirit, we surrender to Your wonderful presence! Please fill us now completely as we yield to You. Give us Your wisdom and comfort. Come between us and every foe, seen or unseen.

While nothing surprises You, we acknowledge our nation is gripped by fear and suffering due to COVID-19 spreading sneakily and rapidly. Please intervene on behalf of Your people and the land we love.

Please give wisdom to us, to medical professionals, and to our leaders as to the best way possible to end this crisis.

God, please cover and guide the President, the VP, the COVID-19 Task Force, the Governors, and all across the nation working to help and inform people.

We ask You free up supply chains for all needed medicines and supplies. Speed the process of developing vaccines and treatments that would bring aid and comfort to hurting people.

Please guard us against those who seek to abuse this crisis for personal or political gain.

Guard our children, our elderly, the vulnerable. Bring communities together to make sure everyone has enough supplies and food, and show us how to be smart in protecting ourselves against further spread and infection.

Lord, prepare our leaders and us to work together when it is over to return our economy to full health, in such a way as to show Your glorious hand. Please bring good out of this, as You always do. Put wise, protective measures in place against future crises that are better for Your people, for the good of Your nation.

Bless Your land, Father, and remind us every blessing is from You! Use us to bless the world, to first and foremost spread the good news of Your love to all who will hear.

Thank you, Father, we trust You! We know You will speed healing and calm, peace and recovery, and keep us faithful to give You glory! 

In the mighty and matchless name of Jesus, we pray all these things. Amen!

Precious friends of Faith and Fasting, be lights and beacons of hope in your communities, and encourage all of the people of God to trust and pray, to fast if able. We will get through this, our great God is able.

Be still and know that I am God…’ Psalm 46:10

Peace to you today and always.

Should Women Be Silent In Church?

In recent months I’ve seen teaching online telling the people of God that Paul wanted women silent in church, and were not permitted to teach. Today, I want to reexamine scripture, dig a little deeper, and together discern what it really means in relation to this controversial subject.

In truth, some versions of the Bible make it appear this is actually Paul’s mandate. However, my challenge to everyone reading is this: those who would teach the word of God need to be smarter than to simply trust one version of the Bible without going any further.

Teachers must 1) have access to original languages and, 2) have at least basic knowledge of how to research those languages in order to more fully comprehend the meaning of passages in Scripture.

I’m going to demonstrate for you today how two passages in the New Testament have been used to silence women in the church erroneously.

First, a wee bit of Biblical history.

In ancient Israel, there were two female prophets to the nation of Israel: Deborah (wife of Lapidoth, Judges 4:4) and Anna (daughter of Phanuel, tribe of Asher, according to Luke 2:36). As did the male prophets to God’s nation, they spoke God’s direct word to His people.

In the New Testament, Peter records in Acts 21:9 that Phillip of Caesarea, a member of Paul’s missionary team, had four daughters with the gift of prophecy. Wow!

Between you and me, I’m not sure I would want to live in a household with not just one, but four insightful and outspoken women, but God bless Phillip of Caesarea for raising and nurturing such godly women in early church leadership!

Let’s get to the heart of it. If God gave a woman the gift of prophecy, and by Biblical record we know He did, is she to use it differently than a man? Perhaps only for her personal edification, while men are permitted to speak it everywhere?

According to Paul, the purpose of prophecy given by the Holy Spirit is for proclamation, for teaching, comfort, and edification, to name a few.

1 Corinthians 14:3 says, “But he that prophesies speaks for edification, and exhortation…” But what about, she?

1 Corinthians 14:29-38
29-30 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other discern their words. If anything be revealed to another nearby, let the first hold his peace.
31 For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
32-33 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
34-35 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
36 What? Did the word of God come out from you? Or did it come to you only?
37-38 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

In the 1 Corinthians 14 passage above, Paul laid out the rules for prophecy in the church, and declared blatantly in verse 31, “ALL may prophesy, that ALL may learn, and ALL may be comforted.”

You can then practically hear his air quotes around verses 34-35, “let a woman keep silent, it is a shame for a woman to speak,” because in the verse immediately following, he challenges, “What? Did the word of God come out from you? Or did it come to you only?”

The obvious answer to these rhetorical questions was, “No!”

Think for a minute. How did gospel writer, John, identify “the word” from the very start of his book? “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.”

Readers, the word of God is Jesus! So, when Paul was asking his audience, “Did the word of God come out from you?”, he was reminding them a woman literally ushered the word into the world when Mary birthed Jesus. And, the gift of Jesus, i.e., the Word, was given for all people, not just men! And all who receive Him/the Word are called to proclaim it!

Therefore, ALL prophets may speak, so long as it is done in an orderly fashion. In other words, be gentlemen and ladies… no shouting down everyone else around you just to be heard.

To recap, all prophets, male and female, are to speak what the Holy Spirit reveals to them for the benefit of the family of God.

We’ve just been reminded of at least six women in the Bible who had the gift of prophecy. Six women who SPOKE what the Spirit told them in order to edify the people of God.

These two verses, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, which some have erroneously used to silence women in church, are within the context of a passage where Paul is saying the opposite! He is actually saying this thinking is preposterous…

Note that when Paul spoke in verse 34, “Let a women keep silent…” he also reminded his audience this thinking was connected to old law: “as also says the law.”

The very thing Paul hit so hard in Galatians, Hebrews, and more, is the fact we are no longer under the law. See verses here on this very subject which hit the ball out of the park!

The Law
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. (Galatians 3:13)

If you are led of the Spirit, you are not under law. (Galatians 5:18)

The law is weak, useless and makes nothing perfect. (Hebrews 7:18-19)

God has found fault with (the law) and created a better covenant, enacted on better promises. (Hebrews 8:7-8)

(The law) is obsolete. (Hebrews 8:13)

So, again, did Paul contradict himself in basically saying, we are not under the law and all can prophesy, however women given the gift of prophecy cannot prophesy and are under the law?

No, of course not, to even suggest it sounds crazy. He does not contradict himself. Therefore, it is those misunderstood verses which are the contradiction to the rest of Scriptural teaching on prophecy and speaking, and we must correct our interpretation of them.

Paul was quoting the old thinking about women in silence in order to challenge it with the truth that ALL may prophesy! Men. Women. Children! Whoever receives the word of the Lord is expected to proclaim it!

Sadly, this teaching will continue to be used erroneously by a few, and Paul ends in verse 38 by saying, “If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.”

But, we do not have to continue in ignorance, so I pray all reading today who have previously used or taught this passage wrongly will receive the truth.

1 Timothy 2:11-12

In 1 Timothy 2, we find another controversial passage many have used to prevent women from ever teaching in church. But, with closer examination, the real truth of the passage comes out.

First, let’s read the King James, since that is one of the main versions causing confusion:

1 Timothy 2:11-12 “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

The King James Version clouds this Pauline address heavily, but a closer review and deep dive into original language reveals Paul was actually addressing wives and husbands and their home relationship. And it isn’t quite as harsh as the KJV makes it sound. Let’s take a look.

Read with me the same passage in a more literal version (Young’s):

1 Timothy 2:11-12 “Let a woman in quietness learn in all subjection, and a woman I do not suffer to teach, nor to rule a husband, but to be in quietness.”

When you study the original language (Strong’s Bible dictionaries allow easy deep-diving into nearly every word of Scripture), Paul was literally saying, the wife is not to take a posture of issuing orders to her husband and take away his God-given authority in the home. Rather, she is to have a spirit of gentleness and respect in her marriage, the kind of behavior that does not bustle about, meddle with everything he (or anyone else) does and boss people around.

Paul admonishes in 1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

When a wife steals her husband’s ‘headship’, she is symbolically and spiritually cutting off the head of Christ over her home! Wives, spouses, must learn to live together with respect, and take comfort, we are in the best company: Christ demonstrated this very attitude in relationship with His Father!

Wives, it is our calling to live in peace within the God-designed structure of our marriage, neither as a bossy tyrant nor as an obedient doormat. But rather as a mature woman of God who tenderly nurtures respect in her marriage.

And a wise husband will lean on his wife’s wisdom, her prayers and counsel, and not ‘lord it over her’ in a spirit of harshness either.

Ephesians 5:21 instructs that all in the family of God are to be ‘subject to one another in the fear of God’. This is not exempt in the home. Husbands and wives are also to subject themselves one to another. It is a position of respect and gentleness.

However, reading further in the Ephesians 5 passage, there is a special respect required of wives in the home to their husbands, and an extra charge to the husbands to love their wives sacrificially.

I am admittedly reading between the lines in saying that perhaps the Ephesian women were extra strong-minded (aka, bossy and controlling), and Paul felt the need to call this out in his letter. As we all understand, in the presence of controlling people, we often find ourselves struggling to love instead of react. So, the Ephesian men would have needed that extra push to remember to love sacrificially, as Christ did for all of us!

The bottom line for the home, in proper authority (him under Christ and her under her husband AND Christ), showing gentleness and respect to each other, husbands and wives make a formidable team to raise healthy and stable children and impact their world for the kingdom of God.

To wrap, and returning to women in the church once more, women were clearly given the gift of prophecy in the Bible, and per Paul, all prophets are to speak! Even in the old covenant, they still had female prophets who were anointed, entrusted with great spiritual authority in God’s family!

No need to silence or shun ladies from teaching, just do things in order as expected of everyone, and ladies, take care not to ‘lord’ it over your husbands. Respect and humility are always the best path to a healthy and loving relationship. And, in truth, that goes both ways.

May God bless and transform His people with truth.

The Importance of Fasting – A Comparison of Mark 9:29 in English Bible Translations

MAR 9.17-18 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought to You my son, who has a dumb spirit; And wherever it overtakes him, it tears at him: and he foams, and gnashes with his teeth, and pines away: and I spoke to Your disciples that they should cast it out; and they could not.

MAR 9.28 And when He came into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, Why could we not cast it out?

Mark 9:29 And He said to them, this kind can come out by nothing, except by prayer and fasting.

Many versions of the Bible leave out “and fasting”. Yet, it is in the original language and is vitally important for the people of God today.

As some communities in our nation grow in unbelief and welcome paganism within our borders, spiritual warfare also grows. God’s people are feeling this impact, even at times in their own homes.

I can personally attest to an attempted spiritual infiltration in my home, brought in by a guest on more than one occasion who had an unseen attachment. Sometimes those ‘attachments’ attempt to cling unless godly homeowners know how to detach them! Fasting with prayer cleared the air for us very quickly on every occasion needed.

People of God, we must be ready to go the distance, to apply all of the Lord’s teaching to stand strong against the enemy.

Because teaching on fasting is scarce in some halls of faith and is missing from Mark 9:29 in many versions of Scripture, I want to show the reader the difference between English translations below on just that verse.

My resource is BibleGateway.com. It is easy there to compare ALL English versions against each other in one click.

Please know I do not wish to disparage versions that don’t include the reference to fasting, just to make the reader aware that differences do exist among translations which occasionally lose significant meaning in Scripture. Know the tools you have free at your fingertips that can help ensure you understand a verse more completely.

By the way, my personal favorite is Young’s Literal Translation. It is not for everyone as it is written in old English, but it has a reputation for being one of the closest, if not the closest to the original Hebrew and Greek. Another powerful tool I use for research is a Kindle version of the King James which includes links to Strong’s Bible dictionaries. There are few better ways to see original language than to have those links at your fingertips. I wish publishers would come out with more Kindle versions with links to Strong’s. Having those links to original language helps make us more bullet-proof against misinterpretations.

Mark 9:29 in all English Translations from BibleGateway.com: https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Mark%209:29

All translations including ‘fasting’ in bold. Translation references at bottom.

KJ21
And He said unto them, “This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.”
ASV
And he said unto them, This kind can come out by nothing, save by prayer.
AMP
He replied to them, “This kind [of unclean spirit] cannot come out by anything but prayer [to the Father].”
AMPC
And He replied to them, This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.
BRG
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
CSB
And he told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.”
CEB
Jesus answered, “Throwing this kind of spirit out requires prayer.”
CJB
He said to them “This is the kind of spirit that can be driven out only by prayer.”
CEV
Jesus answered, “Only prayer can force out that kind of demon.”
DARBY
And he said to them, This kind can go out by nothing but by prayer and fasting.
DLNT
And He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing except by prayer”.
DRA
And departing from thence, they passed through Galilee, and he would not that any man should know it.
ERV
Jesus answered, “That kind of spirit can be forced out only with prayer.”
EHV
He said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out, except by prayer and fasting.”
ESV
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
ESVUK
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
EXB
Jesus answered, “That kind of spirit can only be forced out by prayer.”
GNV
And he said unto them, This kind can by no other means come forth, but by prayer and fasting.
GW
He told them, “This kind of spirit can be forced out only by prayer.”
GNT
“Only prayer can drive this kind out,” answered Jesus; “nothing else can.”
HCSB
And He told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer [and fasting].”
ICB
Jesus answered, “That kind of spirit can only be forced out by prayer.”
ISV
He told them, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.”
PHILLIPS
“Nothing can drive out this kind of thing except prayer,” replied Jesus.
JUB
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
KJV
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
AKJV
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
LEB
And he said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing except by prayer.”
TLB
Jesus replied, “Cases like this require prayer.”
MSG
He answered, “There is no way to get rid of this kind of demon except by prayer.”
MEV
He said to them, “This kind cannot come out except by prayer and fasting.”
MOUNCE
And he said to them, “This kind cannot come out except by prayer.”
NOG
He told them, “This kind of spirit can be forced out only by prayer.”
NABRE
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
NASB
And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”
NCV
Jesus answered, “That kind of spirit can only be forced out by prayer.”
NET
He told them, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
NIRV
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
NIV
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
NIVUK
He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer.’
NKJV
So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
NLV
He said to them, “The only way this kind of demon is put out is by prayer and by going without food so you can pray better.”
NLT
Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”
NMB
And he said to them, This kind can come out no other way but by prayer and fasting.
NRSV
He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”
NRSVA
He said to them, ‘This kind can come out only through prayer.’
NRSVACE
He said to them, ‘This kind can come out only through prayer.’
NRSVCE
He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”
NTE
‘This sort’, replied Jesus, ‘can only be cast out by prayer.’
OJB
And Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach (Jesus) said to them, This kind of gerush shedim (spirit) is accomplished only by davening (prayer) with tzomot (fasting).
TPT
He answered them, “This type of powerful spirit can only be cast out by fasting and prayer.”
RGT
And He said to them, “This kind can come forth by no other means but prayer and fasting.”
RSV
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
RSVCE
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.”
TLV
And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out except by prayer.”
VOICE
Jesus: That sort of powerful spirit can only be conquered with much prayer [and fasting].
WEB
He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing, except by prayer and fasting.”
WE
Jesus said to them, `This kind of bad spirit does not come out unless people talk to God and fast.’
WYC
And he said to them, This kind in nothing may go out [This kind may not go out in any thing], but in prayer and fasting.
YLT
And he said to them, `This kind is able to come forth with nothing except with prayer and fasting.’

Translations:

21st Century King James Version (KJ21) Copyright © 1994 by Deuel Enterprises, Inc.
American Standard Version (ASV) Public Domain
Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
BRG Bible (BRG) Blue Red and Gold Letter Edition™ Copyright © 2012 BRG Bible Ministries. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. BRG Bible is a Registered Trademark in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office #4145648
Christian Standard Bible (CSB) The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.
Common English Bible (CEB) Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved; Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society
Darby Translation (DARBY) Public Domain
Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT) Disciples’ Literal New Testament: Serving Modern Disciples by More Fully Reflecting the Writing Style of the Ancient Disciples, Copyright © 2011 Michael J. Magill. All Rights Reserved. Published by Reyma Publishing
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA) Public Domain
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International
Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV) The Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV), New Testament & Psalms ©2017
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Expanded Bible (EXB) The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.
1599 Geneva Bible (GNV) Geneva Bible, 1599 Edition. Published by Tolle Lege Press. All rights reserved.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) Copyright © 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations. Used by permission of God’s Word Mission Society.
Good News Translation (GNT) Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.
International Children’s Bible (ICB) The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.
International Standard Version (ISV) Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.
J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS) The New Testament in Modern English by J.B Phillips copyright © 1960, 1972 J. B. Phillips. Administered by The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England. Used by Permission.
Jubilee Bible 2000 (JUB) Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2010 by Life Sentence Publishing, Inc.
King James Version (KJV) Public Domain
Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) KJV reproduced by permission of Cambridge University Press, the Crown’s patentee in the UK.
Lexham English Bible (LEB) 2012 by Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software
Living Bible (TLB) The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson
Modern English Version (MEV) The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.
Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament (MOUNCE) The Mounce Reverse-Interlinear™ New Testament (MOUNCE) Copyright © 2011 by William D. Mounce. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. “Reverse-Interlinear” is a trademark of William D. Mounce.
Names of God Bible (NOG) The Names of God Bible (without notes) © 2011 by Baker Publishing Group.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE) Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
New Century Version (NCV) The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
New English Translation (NET) NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.
New International Reader’s Version (NIRV) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
New International Version – UK (NIVUK) Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
New Life Version (NLV) Copyright © 1969, 2003 by Barbour Publishing, Inc.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
New Matthew Bible (NMB) Copyright © 2016 by Ruth Magnusson (Davis). All rights reserved.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
New Testament for Everyone (NTE) Scripture quotations from The New Testament for Everyone are copyright © Nicholas Thomas Wright 2011.
Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB) Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International
The Passion Translation (TPT) The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com
Revised Geneva Translation (RGT) © 2019 by Five Talents Audio
Revised Standard Version (RSV) Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE) The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Tree of Life Version (TLV) Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.
The Voice (VOICE) The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.
World English Bible (WEB) by Public Domain. The name “World English Bible” is trademarked.
Worldwide English (New Testament) (WE) © 1969, 1971, 1996, 1998 by SOON Educational Publications
Wycliffe Bible (WYC) 2001 by Terence P. Noble
Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) by Public Domain

The Power of Praise

People of God, do you need a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit to blow through your soul? Awake, and soak in the incomparable presence of our Bridegroom. You will find refreshment and joy!

Praise is a mighty victory, a place of pure love and power. Arm yourself against complacency, against Hell’s attacks, by having a playlist ready to pump your soul with energy and truth. Make it part of your daily life.

A recommendation from my own life: start with YouTube, and search for ‘worship live’. Then, sort the videos by number of views. You will find many to sample. Find your own perfect blend of uplifting inspiration. Then, however you purchase music, through iTunes or other, create a worship playlist from your favorites.

Just below are two of mine to get you started. May He bless you mightily, wash you clean in His precious presence, and fill you with His grace and power!

Hallelujah Here Below (Paradoxology) (feat. Steffany Gretzinger) Elevation Worship

So Will I (100 Billion X) – Hillsong Worship

Does God Really Pour His Spirit upon All Flesh? A Review of Joel 2 and Acts 2

For years now, we’ve been hearing teachers from various halls of Christian faith quoting Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17, declaring that God is pouring out His Spirit upon “all flesh”, meaning all of humanity. They cite examples of cases where non-believers had dreams of Jesus and then came to faith.

While these cases are wonderful and awe-inspiring, they are not proof the Holy Spirit is poured upon “all flesh”. Allow me to explain why this particular teaching is a misinterpretation of the Joel and Acts passages.

Take a look at the wording of the Acts passage from the KJV translation:

Acts 2.16-18 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh*: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

Ok. So, the KJV makes it sound like the Spirit will be poured upon “all flesh”. Case closed, right?

Well, not so fast. What did the original language say? Who is the audience? For, that reveals intention. And, what is the context around the phrase or sentence in question?

First, let’s look at the definition of the word for “flesh” in Greek: “sarx”.

*Definition of Sarx from Strong’s:
(g4561) σαρξ, — sarx; probably from the base of (4563) (σαροω); flesh, i.e. the meat of an animal, or the body… as the means of kindred…
1. flesh
2. the body a. the body of a man b. used of natural origin, generation or relationship

So, “flesh” is half of the original meaning, but with the broader definition from Strong’s Bible dictionary, we see there is more to the story, a 2nd half, “the body”, which implied kindred, or relationship. This narrows the scope to people in relationship with God, His family, not all mankind. With these two shades of the same word, is it one over the other? How do we choose?

Let’s return to the passage to better understand the audience and context.

When we glance a little further back from our phrase in question in both Joel 2 and Acts 2, we see each author was addressing the people of God.

In Joel, he is addressing the nation of Israel. In Acts, Peter is addressing the new believers, the followers of Christ.

Plus, note the wording immediately following God’s declaration of outpouring His Spirit:
“…your sons and your daughters will prophesy… your young men, your old men…”. The word, “your” means those belonging to the audience, again, the people of Israel in the Old Testament and the new believers in the church.

Taking it another step further in subsequent verse, Acts 2:18, God goes even further to clarify: “on My servants and My handmaidens will I pour out My Spirit…”

God was reiterating the object of the outpouring of His Spirit – upon His servants, His body, His people.

We can conclude by translating sarx within this passage as, “the body”, either instead of, or in addition to, “flesh”. This does not contradict but rather complements the tone in the rest of each passage.

Bottom line: God’s promise of outpouring His Spirit was to His people, not to the whole world.

Originally from the prophet, Joel, this prophecy of His outpoured Spirit was fulfilled starting with the disciples at Pentecost. Remember, Jesus promised the Comforter would come to His followers after His Ascension.

And did He! He came and began filling the new believers, aka the body of Christ, from that point forward, giving them His gifts, empowering them for life and ministry. Just as He continues to fill each new believer today!

Perhaps there does appear to be a fresh outpouring of His Spirit in recent years, an awakening of His people and prophecy. If so, no doubt for the purpose of strengthening His body to once more sweep the world for another great harvest, and to face the challenges of the last days before Christ’s return.

At the same time, over decades there has been a shallowing in many branches of God’s people in America, a diluting of Biblical truth. And there is a wide and growing division between the people of God and an ever-darkening world hardening their hearts to His salvation, and even His reality! This division has swept Europe and is gaining ground in America.

What do we do? We ask His help to purify our lives, daily surrender, and pursue loving relationship with our Savior and the filling of His Spirit every day. What can God do with a child of His fully surrendered to His power and grace? Reach the world!

In closing, I will say we can agree with the teachers referenced at the start with one caveat: All mankind is impacted by His outpouring upon His body. For, it is when His people are fully yielded into His mighty hands that He can then use us for maximum reach to “all flesh”.

Jesus, fill us anew today, as we trust You and give ourselves into Your capable hands. Strengthen and use us to reach every last person on earth before You return! Amen.

Scripture and Definition taken from:
Strong, James. A Complete Bible Reference Study Library (4 in 1): [Illustrated]: KJV Bible with Strongs markup, Strongs Concordance & Dictionaries, Lexicon Definitions, and Bible word index (Kindle Locations 104192-104209). Bestbooks. Kindle Edition.

The Language of Dreams

Have you ever had a dream you knew was from God? What about a vision? Did you know some, maybe many of you should be expecting dreams from God regularly?

If you are not aware of having dreams and visions from the Lord, you are not alone. While I have not taken a poll, I would venture to guess the majority of God’s people in America today have not been taught about dream messages or visions from God.

I grew up in a very traditional church environment, and I can guarantee you I never heard the first word about dream fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

In fact, between you and me, when the concept was first presented to me, I recoiled in unbelief. But then I started listening to Biblical reasoning, examined the Scriptures and found the plain and clear precedent.

“I will reveal Myself in visions, I will speak in dreams.” Numbers 12:6

“I was asleep but my spirit was awake, listen my Beloved is knocking.” Solomon 5:2

“For God speaks once, yes twice, [yet man] perceives it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumber upon the bed; Then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction.” Job 33:14-16

Ok. So God expected His people to know He would talk to them in dreams in the Old Testament. And those ancient saints understood the language of dreams. Listen in to this passage where Joseph shared his (unwelcome) dream with his family:

“And (Joseph) dreamed another dream: I have dreamed the sun, moon and the eleven stars bowed down to me. He told [it] to his father, and to his brothers: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What [is] this dream that you dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow down to you to the ground?” Genesis 37:9-10

Jacob immediately understood the symbols in his son’s dream! He knew the language! The passage goes on to say he made note of the dream and watched for it’s significance with expectation.

How did so many of God’s people lose this understanding over the centuries? I can hear the scholars now. “Well, in ancient times God needed to use dreams because we didn’t have the written Scriptures.” That sounds reasonable.

But in the New Testament, when they did have the Hebrew Scriptures (and were taught them at temple), He continued to speak through dreams.

In the Gospels, He spoke to Joseph and the Magi (Matthew 2), and to Pilate’s wife (Matt 27).

You say, ok, but what about after the death and Resurrection of Christ? Surely, we didn’t need dreams then, because we had His Spirit in addition to the Scriptures.

That is what I am trying to tell you. His Spirit apparently likes to communicate to many of us whom He indwells, among other ways, through dreams! Keep reading.

After the Resurrection, God continued to use dreams and visions. He spoke to Saul and Ananias in Acts 9. He spoke to Cornelius and also to Peter in Acts 10, to Paul (formerly Saul) in Acts 16.

It doesn’t take much research to realize God continued to use dreams in the New Testament church the same way He had before Christ! The last book of the New Testament, the entire book of Revelation, was a dream/vision revelation of God to John for His people.

Dreams and visions from God never stopped. He spoke through them to the ancient Hebrews and to His followers in the New Testament. They are still valid today!

But, wait, you say, are Holy Spirit dreams for everyone, or just prophets, pastors and leaders?

In Judges 7, Gideon only overheard the dream of a random villager in a town where Gideon’s army was planning to attack, and he understood it to be a promise of victory from God (and it was)! God used an ordinary person to deliver that dream message.

Both Old and New Testaments tell us, in the latter days the Spirit will pour Himself out upon “all of His body, and ‘young men will see visions, old men will dream dreams’” (Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17)! The verses literally mean, “to all of His body”, to women, children, to all of His people!

Dreams are a method God uses to help us work through our thoughts and emotions, our life challenges, and most importantly, to deepen our trust and relationship with Him.

Honestly, when I first began realizing what was happening in my dreams, it felt like a loving psychologist was giving me insight into myself. That gave me pause because I’ve come on so many levels to disrespect the secular field of psychology, perhaps ironic since I am a trained counselor with a Masters degree.

In learning about dreams, I thought, could God really be acting like my personal counselor every night? This feels self-indulgent, and too much like ‘psychology’. Most often, I’m trying to control my emotions during the day and not dwell on them. And I thought that was pleasing to Him.

Then the Lord reminded me of one of His names right out of Scripture: Wonderful Counselor!

He is the greatest Counselor in existence! He wants us to bring our emotions, thoughts, all of it, to Him, not to deny or avoid them. He then offers us His wisdom and guidance, His wise counseling, not only through His Word, but directly from His Spirit, and often in our dreams! What a deal! Free of charge!

Well, the price was actually His Son on a Cross and our trust in Him for forgiveness and salvation, right? With that profound purchase came this amazing, intimate walk with Him that continues even when we sleep! His promised Comforter comes alongside us and walks us through every challenge, every experience, thought and emotion. Yes, He wants that close of a friendship with us. He wants and deserves to be our Everything.

The time is now. It is time God’s people once again learn the language of dreams from Him. Daniel understood the language of dreams. Jacob understood dreams. Peter, Paul, John, and other New Testament followers understood the Spirit’s involvement in their dreams. We must follow in their footsteps.

Take comfort, dreams do not replace Scripture, and dreams from the Lord will not contradict Scripture. Dreams are most often personal for the dreamer and not usually revelations about other people, except as may relate to our areas of responsibility in ministry. Sometimes they are prophetic. Under and above all, for the surrendered, Spirit-filled believer they are wise, because they come from the all-wise God.

I pray all of my traditional brothers and sisters, like me, will allow the Spirit of the Lord to whisper truth into our soul. Review Scripture and recognize the presence of God’s use of dreams throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Then, allow Him to begin our dream education.

For those black and white traditionalists (as I once was) who stubbornly think God only speaks through the written word, recognize: It is the written word telling us that our Creator talks to us in dreams! Will we continue to doubt?

To offer all wanting more information solid, trusted resources, I want to recommend two books I’ve recently come across: Dream Language, by Dr. James W. Goll, and Hearing God Through Your Dreams: Understanding the Language God Speaks at Night, by Dr. Mark Virkler and Charity Virkler Kayembe.

Begin with Dream Language, and then follow with Hearing God… These are excellent primers to learn how God communicates in dreams, for deciphering the very personal symbols He uses in the dreams of His children.

Remember, God is pouring His Spirit out ‘upon all flesh, i.e., literally, the entire body of His family’ (Acts 2:17). No matter our church denomination, we must open our eyes and ears to Biblical truth from all Spirit-filled corners of Biblical faith.

For the body to be strong and ready to meet the challenges of the future, we must accept each others’ place and gifts as part of His plan and purpose, and work together to encourage and train His people.

Finally, when I began learning to interpret His symbolic dream lessons to me, this powerful truth hit me: God spoke to His people in ancient Israel through dream symbolism. When Jesus taught in symbolic parables, those who had always known His Spirit must have recognized His style. They followed Him, in part, because they already knew His voice! “My sheep know My voice, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).

Are you ready to continue the journey? You won’t be disappointed!

Purposes of Dreams and Visions in the Bible

God used dreams and visions many times in both Old and New Testaments, for many purposes. He gave them to rulers, prophets, apostles, and to ordinary people like you and me!

In one sense, all dreams or visions are a source of knowledge and revelation, for different purposes. The most important of all, to identify His Son. Among the other reasons He used them were to give promises, calling and anointing, comfort, direction, and visions of heaven.

While not intended to be an exhaustive list, see references below with many of the ways visions or dreams were used in Scripture.

Genesis 15:1 God uses a vision to give Abram covenant/promise of protection and reward, that he would be a father and the father of many nations. Promise/Revelation (of Future Events)

Genesis 20:3-7 Through a dream given to King Abimelech, God protected Sarah and Abraham by revealing her identity to the King and telling him not to touch her. Knowledge (of current situation)/Warning

Genesis 28:10-17 God reveals to Jacob in a dream that Abraham’s blessing would be carried on through him. Promise

Genesis 37:1-11 Joseph dreamed of his future success and ministry. Promise/Revelation

Genesis 40 Joseph, in prison, had dreams of the fates of Pharoah’s cupbearer and baker. Knowledge/Revelation

Genesis 41:1-7 God gave Pharaoh a prophetic dream about the future difficulties of his nation. Warning/Revelation

Genesis 46:2-4 God called Jacob/Israel thru visions. Calling (to ministry)

Exodus 3:2-22 God revealed Himself and His plans for Israel within a burning bush to Moses. Direction/Knowledge

Judges 7:13-15 God gave a dream to a man Gideon met, (the barley loaf tumbling into their enemies’ camp and knocking a tent over flat) a symbolic promise of victory in battle. Promise/Revelation

1 Samuel 3:2-15 Samuel had a vision of the coming judgment upon the sons of Eli (Samuel’s mentor). Samuel proclaimed the info to Eli, and continued to hear from God the rest of his life. Knowledge/Revelation

1 Kings 3:5-14 God appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked what blessing Solomon wished from Him. (Solomon asked for wisdom.) Anointing (to rule)/Blessing

Job 4:13-27 Job sees perhaps an angel of the Lord pass in front of his face in the night. The being brings him much wisdom and promise of long life from God.  Promise/Wisdom

Isaiah 6:1-13 Isaiah sees a vision of the Lord on His throne surrounded by angels, being worshipped and receives a revelation of the future. Revelation/Vision of Heaven

Ezekiel 1 and 8 Ezekiel sees visions of beings coming from the heavens in fire and of God’s glory, visions of future things… Revelation

Ezekiel 11:24-25 God took Ezekiel in Spirit by vision to speak to the exiles in Chaldea. He told the exiles all the Lord showed him. Ministry Direction

Ezekiel 37:1-14 The Lord showed Ezekiel future events. Revelation

Daniel 2:19 Daniel was given interpretation of mysteries in night visions. Knowledge/Wisdom

Daniel 2:28 Daniel reveals the meaning of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of future events. Revelation

Amos 7:1-9 God showed Amos the coming destruction of the nation in the form of locusts swarming toward the crops of the King, devouring all the vegetation. Warning/Revelation

Amos 8:1-3 God showed Amos He would spare His people no longer, that the end had come for them. Warning/Revelation

Amos 9 Amos saw the Lord declaring the beginning of the destruction upon His people. Warning/Revelation

Zechariah – The prophet was given many visions of the future in fantastic, symbolic analogies. Revelation

Matthew 1:20 God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to convince him to stay with Mary. Direction/Wisdom

Matthew 2:12 God warns the Magi in a dream not to return to Herod, to leave another way for their country. Warning

Matthew 2:13 God warns Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus to avoid Herod’s decree. Warning

Matthew 27:19 Pilate’s wife has a dream that Pilate should have nothing to do with the condemnation of Christ. Warning

Luke 1:11-17 God tells Zacharias in a vision that he will have an important son (John the Baptist). Promise/Revelation

Acts 9:3-6 Saul has a vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus that brings him to salvation and begins his ministry. Calling

Acts 9:10-12 God instructs Ananias in a vision to go visit Saul/Paul. Ministry Direction

Acts 10:3-6 God spoke to Italian centurion, Cornelius, telling him to find Paul. Cornelius obeyed and his whole house was saved. Calling/Direction

Acts 10:11-16 Peter sees a vision and God gave him instruction about killing animals, even those formerly considered unclean, to eat them, that God had cleansed them. This represented a big change in God’s rules to His people, a removal of Kosher law and indication the Gentiles coming to Christ would be considered clean. Direction/Revelation

Acts 16:9 Paul has a vision of a Macedonian man asking him to come help them. Ministry Direction

Acts 18:9-10 The Lord comforts Paul in a vision urging him to not be silent, nor afraid to speak, to keep preaching in Corinth. Comfort/Ministry Direction

Acts 22:18-21 God warns Paul to leave the town for lack of acceptance of his testimony, and gives him new direction for ministry. Warning/Ministry Direction

Acts 27:23-24 An angel of the Lord appears to Paul and reveals he will appear before Caesar and his shipmates will be with him – which also lets them know they will all survive the tempest they were suffering aboard ship. Comfort/Direction/Revelation

2 Corinthians 12:2-4 God shows the 3rd heaven to a man, per Paul’s testimony. Vision of Heaven

Revelation 1-22 God gives John an extensive vision about future events to come for the world and God’s people! Revelation

 

Sources used for compiling list of verses:
1. How did God use dreams and visions in the Bible? https://www.gotquestions.net/Printer/dreams-visions-Bible-PF.html
2. 39 Bible verses about Visions and Dreams in Scripture  https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Visions-And-Dreams-In-Scripture