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 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

The Solution

Often, I catch myself fretting over the continual cultural slide and division in the United States. The fabric of our American soul is being pulled so hard at both ends, it is thin and close to being torn to shreds in the middle. At least, it seems that way sometimes.

One sleepless night recently, I lay in bed pondering the condition of America. This time I was listening more than whining, earnestly seeking His comfort and wisdom.

In this quiet, honest reflection, He reminded me the American people, including me, too often think politics, political leaders are our hope, the solution. We fight and argue and try to persuade others to agree with us, yet end up feeling powerless as we watch disharmony continuing to grow.

We wear political hats and t-shirts, hold rallies and wave signs and flags. And maybe we convince a few. But violence increases, attacks grow, divisions form widening chasms in our worldviews, and we despair of seeing our beloved nation come together in peace and unity.

Children of God, followers of Christ, our true power is not in sign-waving politics. It is in surrendered relationship with Him. Real power is in giving ourselves up to His Holy Spirit. It is found when we invite Him to fill every inch of our personal temples and give Him control, every hour, every day.

More, real hope and change for our nation is found when the people of God, the ‘Israel of God’, in this land unite in surrender to His Spirit and in seeking Him for their nation, His nation. This land belongs to the Lord, having been dedicated publicly to Him by George Washington in its founding days! No amount of white-washing our history or denial intending to erase our Biblical founding will remove who we are to God.

So, as I lay in surrender and restful listening to the wisdom of His Spirit, the quiet voice of inspiration whispered the Solution:

Pray for the youth of this nation to have another Holy Spirit-led awakening. Pray for the young of My people to fall deeply in love with Jesus, to claim their schools and universities again for Christ! To take their youth groups, neighborhoods, clubs and community groups, by storm! Pray, Holy One, sweep this land for another harvest of young souls. Begin with the children of Your people, raise up a generation, two generations, three generations, of surrendered, Spirit-filled young people! Through them, usher in a great revival that restores Your Spirit and Your values to every corner of this very divided land.

Friends, instead of fretting over the divisions, the degradation of our culture or political landscape, instead of having one more argument with friends on social media about party politics, pray today for the people of God to awaken to His Spirit and fully surrender to Him. Pray for revival to begin in the lives of His children, our children. As II Chronicles 7:14 reminds us, when we are fully His, humbly, purely seeking Him, He heals our land!

Watch and see what the Lord will do!

God bless you today, and God bless America!

If My people, who are called by My name, will 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.
II Chronicles 7:14

Day of the Cross

Good Friday. It is the day of the cross. Those who celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ remember this day as the day He hung on the cross for our sins nearly 2000 years ago.

For Jesus, it was the worst day of His human life. A day of torment, utter agony and humiliation. He could have stopped it with a word, but He chose to give His life out of love for us.

Sacrifice to end all sacrifices, atonement purchased for humans with God. If they would only trust Him.

He identified Himself as one with God and as the only way to God. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6

His life, every word and deed, proved this to be true. He was the culmination of every Old Testament prophecy.

The prophets centuries before all foretold a myriad of details about the One who would come, His life, what His death would be like, what it would accomplish. He fulfilled them all, 100%.

For just a taste of Biblical prophecies fulfilled by Jesus, check out this article on cbn.com. There are many additional articles available with a quick search online.

Once you believe Christ was the prophesied One, God Himself come to earth to give His life for us, the next step is to admit you need Him, and to trust His sacrifice was enough. It does not matter how bad your life has been, if you believe Christ and trust His death on the cross covers you, God says you belong to Him.

There have been some teachers who have said all anyone has to do is “believe” to be God’s child. They quote John 3:16 in the most popular English translations of the Bible, “whoever believes on Him will not perish…”

But the Greek from which the English translations came reveals more than simple belief. The definition of the word English translators changed to believe is actually “have faith in, or trust”. It is more than head knowledge, it is a giving of mind and heart.

For those who have struggled their entire lives to trust another, this is a big step of faith, isn’t it? On the testimony of many humans who lived thousands of years ago, to trust a man claiming to be God. Believing that faith in Him, that His death was for you, is enough to earn you God’s forever forgiveness.

And yet, that is the true story. This day in history changed the world. It is the single most important and pivotal event. God came down to reach us, to prove His love and restore us to Himself. He had to do it all for us, that we might be forever secure in Him.

For anyone needing help, wanting evidence, to believe, I recommend you search out this book or movie: The Case For Christ. It is the personal story of Lee Strobel. He was an award-winning legal journalist for the Chicago Tribune, an atheist, when his wife came to faith in Christ. Lee set out to disprove Christianity, but ended up coming to faith, based on the mountain of overwhelming evidence.

The culmination of his journey reminds me of a favorite line in Star Wars, episode VII, when an aged Hans Solo tells the young Rey and her companion something to the effect, “Everything you’ve heard is true, the force is real.”

The story of Jesus Christ is real. The evidence is undeniable. He loves you so much, He gave His life for you. Will you trust Him?

‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so it is good the Son of Man to be lifted up, that every one who is trusting in Him may not perish, but may have life eternal, for God did so love the world, that His Son – the only born – He gave, that every one who is trusting in Him may not perish, but may have life eternal.

For God did not send His Son to the world that He may judge the world, but that the world may be saved through Him; he who is trusting in Him is not judged, but he who is not trusting has been judged already, because he hath not trusted in the name of the only born Son of God.

John 3:14-18 YLT (slightly modernized) Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible (Revised Edition, with one-touch navigation) (Kindle Locations 52684-52688). Kindle Edition.

Holy Spirit Transforms Remnant into Living Menorah

So, then, be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time because the times are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Stop getting drunk with wine, which leads to wild living, but keep on being filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:15-18

The key to understanding truth and experiencing God’s power in the life of a child of God is the Holy Spirit. Everything He has called us to do is made possible when His Spirit is in control.

Jesus told the disciples before His earthly departure that the Comforter would come to dwell with them and guide them. In the book of Acts, the Spirit was described as coming dramatically with a rushing wind and flames of fire appearing above everyone’s head in the upper room. They found themselves filled with joy, inspiration and power, speaking in languages they’d never known.

Can you picture it? A flame hovering above each of the heads of those in the room. Do you realize what had happened?

In that moment, the disciples, the first Jewish remnant – believers in Christ who had literally survived the transition from Old Covenant to New upon the death and resurrection of Christ – had become a living Menorah!

Christ, the servant lamp, had sent His Spirit to His people as promised, and each of them were set aflame to comfort His people and reach the world. They were His Menorah in His temple! And He had visibly identified them as His, set apart to carry out His mission.

From that point on, the disciples were empowered, emboldened, guided to exhort the people with divine wisdom, heal the sick, speak in foreign languages when needed to evangelize the lost, and more. All because of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit infilling each believer today continues to enable God to flow through us in every situation. He then uses us to reach the lost world through every means necessary. We continue to be His living Menorah! The entire Body of Christ, His magnificent, living temple!

Sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise…’ Ephesians 1:13

Certainly, the presence of Christ in our lives is sealed upon the moment of salvation, but the full power of the Holy Spirit is not constant. His ability to flow requires constant surrender.

The believer will struggle with surrender, finding it so tempting and easy to take back over his own life. But, only one can be in control at any given moment. When we are in control, He is not.

We have to relinquish the reigns and give them to Him every day, every hour, every moment. Perpetually willing the Spirit to take over is an absolute must in order to live a life flowing with the power and wisdom of Christ. It is why Paul in Ephesians 5:18 exhorted us to, “Keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit.”

It means simply, all the time!

Interpreting Scripture in the Spirit

This may be one of the most important truths I’ve ever shared. Fellow believers, please understand, when someone is not surrendered and filled with the Holy Spirit, their teaching of Scripture may actually be dangerous. Yes, dangerous. For, they will be studying and understanding in only human wisdom, and will often miss the mark, get it wrong. Many others are misled when a teacher is off target.

Have you ever watched a scene in a movie where the good guys are trying to decipher computer code in order to save the day? Until the moment they enter the right key to break the code, the characters on the screen are a jumble, gibberish impossible to interpret.

That is exactly what it is like, trying to understand and fully interpret the Word of God without the Holy Spirit. I’ve said before, the Bible is an incredible, 3D matrix of truth. It is deep and wide, long and mysterious with only a small portion obviously visible, like an iceberg. Without putting on the mind of Christ through surrender and filling of the Holy Spirit, we may scratch a little on the surface, but will miss the whole picture.

The Spirit is the key to the depths of Scriptural knowledge. Everything changes when He is put in His proper place, in the lead. The Word comes alive, springing into 3D focus, and the heart and purpose will be breathed into your being by the Spirit.

Walking in the Spirit will be even more vital in coming decades while voices of deception grow louder and more dominant, and truth becomes harder to discern. Only those filled and surrendered will keep their heads above water and be able to call out frauds and deceivers. The rest will be vulnerable to following false prophets and even well-meaning teachers who take us far away from our real priorities and away from our first love, Jesus.

‘His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness.’ 2 Peter 1:3

Practice today and every day surrendering and asking the Holy Spirit to fill you. Give Him charge of your day and of your study every time you open the Bible. He will keep you on center and will reveal truth.

In addition, His presence will comfort and guide you in every relationship and circumstance. It is His role, promised by Christ to the precious people of God. Don’t miss His wonderful gift to us, of Himself!

2 Chronicles 7:14 – How to Change a Country for Good

Hello, friends of Faith and Fasting! Happy New Year!

My prayer and encouragement is broadly for the people of God today, not just in America, but around the world. God’s precious people fill the whole earth, just as Isaiah prophesied they would some day, after the Redeemer had, well, redeemed them.

The followers of Messiah, Jesus Christ, have indeed, spread worldwide. But the densest population of His people live in the United States. By more than 30%, we contain more Christians than any other nation. This means we contain the metaphorical heart of Christianity, whether we want to be known that way or not.

America has not always been true to her role as heart of God’s people. Many have tried to make this a political battle. Maybe there is a place for that, but I prefer to see it as a spiritual battle.

Let’s revisit one of my favorite passages, 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.”

I’ve spoken of this before, but it is my strong belief the way to apply this for our country (and for your country, wherever you may live), is to recognize God said “if MY PEOPLE will do these things… I will hear… forgive… and heal their LAND!”

God’s formula for blessing His land is for His people to get right with Him. The entire nation benefits.

In the same spirit, the entire point of this blog overall is to call American Christians to renewal. For, when we are right with Him, His blessing falls upon our nation. When God’s favor and blessing is upon this nation, we in turn bless the whole world with aid and refuge for the hurting.

A few years ago in my personal life, I came to a point where I began surrendering to the Lord every morning before getting out of bed. I tell Him, “I am Yours, fill me Holy Spirit, and take over this day.” At night, before going to sleep, I pray, “Holy Spirit, take over even my sleep and dreams!”

Try it, if you haven’t already, surrendering and asking the Holy Spirit to fill you, and then give Him even your night. You may be surprised how differently you see your circumstances, relationships, and beyond.

The Spirit brings every good gift with His presence, such as patience, wisdom, and love. Everything we don’t have, He has and gives freely to those surrendered to Him.

This is how we change our country. We begin by taking this first step of trust in relationship to the Lord, putting our hand into the hand of our great Savior, Jesus, and giving His Spirit full authority. Any other changes needed in our lives are up to Him from that point forward.

This is abundant life. This is the path to wholeness for individuals and nations!

God bless America, and may she continue to bless the world. God bless your nation, wherever you may be, through YOUR obedience to Him! That is the promise of God to His people, and isn’t it just amazing?