Saturday, October 23, 2010

Power Of Love - Part II

Experiencing love is the only meaningful matter when it comes to love. As I said, there is no way for us to know what love is unless we experience it. If I am writing this blog on this subject without knowing what love is, it means I have no experience of love then. Even if I can impress someone with this blog, it only proves that I only have the knowledge about love. But I will be one of the saddest people as well if I do not know what love is.

There are many street children in Africa, living on streets and eating whatever they can find in a mountain of garbage. Their parents are gone, but they must live, and some are only 3 years old. Those children are the most saddest and hopeless people, I would think. They survive somehow but there is no love in them. Compared to that kind of extremeness, I think we all have experienced the love of parents one way or another. Of course the parents are not perfect. They do not always do right things to their children. Nevertheless, the very source of power was given to us, and this is why we are now adults and still live. Imagine what God's love can do to you then.

Love gives power, and the power is to sustain our life. Didn't Jesus give His love so that we can live? This is the rock solid hope we all have and the base of our faith. We believe in Him because He showed us His love fully. We live because of His love. Thus, His love keeps our spiritual life alive. Are you spiritually dead? Go back to the base. Ask Him to show His love. Let Him love you.
You feel you just have no hope and came to an dead end of your life? The answer and the solution is God's love. Don't underestimate its power. It can heal your condition or situation.

Let me help you to experience God's love. You may read this article till the end, but that is not enough. All you are doing now is just getting the knowledge. Your mind can grow, but your heart needs to be fed also. You need to exercise the knowledge next. I have put a great worship song attached below. Just listen to it and open up your heart to the Lord. And ask Him to show His love. Expect something to happen. Healing may not come on your way so quickly, but God's love, you better expect to experience right away, is always available! Thank you Jesus!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Power Of Love - Part I

"What is the most important thing in the universe?" Or as a personal question, "What is the most important thing to you?" These questions would be probably the most suitable ones when you want to ask someone about love in its true meaning. To those who know what love is spiritually more than just an emotional word like many people perceive it so, you can ask them, "What could be the most powerful and life-changing impact on a human soul?"

To know what love is, you must experience it. Except the unfortunate ones who did not experience love from their parents as they were growing up, most people have experienced it actually. Christians or not, most people who grew up in a healthy environment know the basic idea of love. That's right. Our lesson of love started when our parents loved us when we were children.

I read an article on a cruel biological experiment on a human baby fed by scientists but with absolutely no provision of parental care or emotional supports. The baby survived for only few months. It was to prove if a human could live without any emotional support or love. There is no doubt that human beings can not live without love by others. And love truly is the source of our survival. Without love, we can not live. Love gives power for us to live, just like all the wonderful touching true stories of others'. There is something so powerful in love that moves human beings even in the midst of their struggles. The greatest motivation for us to do impossible things. I would like to say that love is power.

Another thing about love is, I think, peace. With this indescribable quietness in your soul, you can just know you do not worry about anything. There is no stress or anxiety about people or future. You know everything is settled, and you are happy about it. You feel light and free.

To be continued...

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Heart Of Worship II

Focusing on His presence

The presence of God is the very thing we all need in worship. If we worship Him and are not in His presence, something must be wrong. The only way to get into His presence is by worshiping Him because He dwells in the worship atmosphere. In heaven, there is this on-going, non-stop worship service by angels. Really, no worship, no God. If you want the Lord to visit you today, worship Him. Invite Him in your life. In fact, He will find you the moment you start to worship Him because He seeks true worshipers.

This means though we must need to know how the Lord wants us to worship Him. It will never be about us after all. It's not a matter of how we want to worship Him. It's always about Him, not us. So, let's not claim freedom in worship while we simply claim it to worship Jesus in the way we want. The desire to worship the Lord freely has its own place, but let's not get carried away with it but be more matured. Let's invite the Holy Spirit first, who is the one brings the freedom. And in that freedom only we can see God's miracles, signs and wonders. When the Lord is, there is no sickness, nor demons.

The lack of presence of God in worship exists because of our lack of knowledge in worship. As I said in the previous post, we sometimes get carried away with our emotions and stressed by man's traditions, doing things religiously. Only emotions take off and try to lead the worship in that case, not led by the Spirit of God. That's why we don't see God's miracles in churches even though we worship Him, trying to invite Him. As a result, we tend to get used to this, feeling somewhat frustrated, but that frustration is weakened day by day because things like that happens all the time. We simply get used to have a worship time with no miracles. This creates a wrong thought about God's miracles and His presence/worshiping Him being irrelevant.

Invite Him as you worship Him

We should never start a worship service without inviting the Holy Spirit. Let Him lead the atmosphere. If His presence is not there, don't keep worshiping/performing! I have seen those services more than enough in the past several years. There are times that I can no longer stand to be in that atmosphere. I would want to get out there so I can worship Him alone! It is a very sad situation. You go to a church and hope you can enjoy worshiping the Lord, but you only find out that there is no presence of God there. The atmosphere is rather disturbing sometimes, just a noise. When you worship, focus on Him. Focus on His presence. If He is not in the atmosphere of worship, you really lose the main purpose of it. Welcome Him in the way He likes to be invited. Remember, He always knocks on the door gently. So, we must open it gently, too. Another key to the heart of worship is to be with Him by focusing on His presence, inviting the Holy Spirit.

The Heart Of Worship I

Years ago, I have mentioned a phrase which struck someone who was near me. He asked me if he could write that down on his note. I don't know if it was so meaningful to him even today, but I remember that I said, "Worship is my hiding place".

Now I look back and think of those days I spent my days at the Church On The Way in Van Nuys California. I think what I wanted to say was something like:
  • I worship the Lord in my quiet private place.
  • Worshiping the Lord itself is protection. I feel no fear in His presence.
  • Worshiping Jesus helps me to forget all the troubles I face.
Of course, I acknowledge that there is more than just hiding myself to be protected, comforted, and strengthened. Now I worship for a pure joy and adoration. That's definitely the most important reason for me to worship Jesus. Perhaps, I was so young in spirit and needed lots of protection and comfort, like a baby needs.

The heart of worship is simply this; To love Jesus back. Remember we can never love our Lord if He didn't show His love first. His very love was expressed at the cross as He died for our sins. Because of that, we can love Him now, and we are to love Him back. That's all our God wants really. He wants our love because He loves us so much.

The most beautiful emotion is love. Never hold yourself back to express your love to Him. He did not hold His love when He died for you. However, He is so awesome that He can show more of His amazing love in your life. My guess is that His love at the cross could be just the glance of it. We will know His never-ending love in eternal time. His love is that big!

If love is the most important thing in Christian life, we never position it secondarily. It has to be the number one priority at any time. Focus on His love and love Him back. That's the greatest commandment Jesus spoke to us. Do you know the best way, as well as the most spiritually appropriate way, to express your love to Jesus? You can do so by worshiping Him. There are many ways to express your love, I am sure, but the Father is looking for true worshipers who worship Him in spirit and in truth. I would be thrilled about your unique way to love Him, but never put anything before worship when it comes to expressing your love to Him.

Freely express your love

Because of Jesus's work at the cross, we can boldly come before our Father to worship Him. Jesus redeemed us. The Father will not see our sins any more. Praise Jesus! We are free to come to our heavenly Father to love Him. No wall of sins is between us any more.

In churches, worship is a part of the service. It is very biblical and spiritually important. The first reason we gather in a public place is to worship our Lord. I don't care what sort of meeting that is. As long as you get together with your brothers and sisters, it is very appropriate to worship Him. Rejoice in the Lord with other people. That's what heaven is like. We might as well practice that now. Freely worship Him at any time! Let worship songs always be in your mouth.

In many pentecostal, charismatic churches, they often worship the Lord freely in their services as oppose to those in certain denominations where worship songs sound like requiem because of their religious performance. However, freedom is not a mere proclamation of it. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." Freedom or liberty only exists where the Holy Spirit is. This means that we are only free and free to worship the Lord when the Spirit of God is with us.

I also mean that where the Holy Spirit is not welcomed, there is no freedom. In fact, a worship service where the Holy Spirit is not welcomed is dead. It is sad to see our fellow Christians who do not know this truth. They claim freedom all they want, but they are merely doing so on their own terms. Their free-style worship is not Spirit led at all. It is the mercy of God that lets us do mistakes, of course. But worship must be led by the Holy Spirit. And we need to invite Him so that we can have freedom to worship Jesus.

Flesh led freedom

When the Spirit of God is not really moving in a worship service, people are merely enjoying the music by the worship team. Worship team is also merely performing and a part of church programs, instead of a Spirit led dynamic service. Singers are also mere performers, singing to the congregation, not to Jesus. This happens when people worship without the Holy Spirit. In fact, they don't worship God. They just think they do. The truth is they are all just a part of church programs, a bunch of performers doing a religious thing.

When the Spirit of God flows freely, as He is the one to bring the freedom in our lives, in a worship service, He will help us focus on Jesus. Then we can sing our love songs to Jesus. Otherwise, there will be a struggle to focus on Him, a struggle to lift your hands, even a struggle to sing your favorite worship songs. If the Spirit of God is not in a worship service, people will not sing to Jesus. They will be led by their own flesh. The sings of dead or half-dead worship service are such as:
  • Worship team only focuses on their performances and skills.
  • Somewhat out of order. Freedom is produced by men.
  • Only emotionalism is emphasized. No tears in people's faces.
  • No genuine prophecies.
  • No miracles.
If you have experienced a genuine worship atmosphere even once, you know what I am talking about. The thickness of His presence penetrates to your bones and soul as you feel like you can not move. It's the atmosphere where the Lord's Spirit is moving freely, and you see miracles and His loving hands on the sick. There is this incredible sense of awe in the air. People usually cry. Some cry bitterly, feeling the love of Jesus strongly. There, you see demons flee like cowards. A powerful prophetic word is also delivered to touch people's hearts. It really is a divine encounter.

In many cases, a typical worship service in your local Pentecostal or charismatic church is somewhere between "hot and cold", where the presence of God is there, but Holy Spirit can not move freely. It's rather rare to see a great presence of God in their worship services. Most of the time, even strong believers who have knowledge of the power of the Holy Spirit, miracles, signs and wonders of God, would expect not to see any miracle when a pastor prays for a sick person. If this sick person doesn't get healed, they wouldn't make a big deal about it because that's what they are used to! They wouldn't wonder why any more even though they do believe miracles. However, when a miracle does happen, they will be so amazed and make a bigger deal about it even though they do believe in miracles! Why does this reality exist, even among pentecostal churches?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The issue of tongues - Part V

Never spoke in tongues?

There are few prerequisites involved before you want to speak in tongues. First, you must be born again. Second, you must be baptized with the Holy Spirit. I'm not saying this to mean that speaking in tongues is the only evidence for you to know you received the Holy Spirit. But receiving the Holy Spirit is the very key for any spiritual experience. Without Him, you can't even start a spiritual life, a balanced one. Very commonly, people speak in tongues after receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It doesn't have to be right after you receive the baptism though. But the Holy Spirit is the help for you to release the gift. Let's make it clear. If you have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you can pray in the Spirit, speak in tongues. "Then why can't I speak in tongues?", you may want to ask. In many cases, people don't speak in tongues at the baptism of the Holy Spirit are not well instructed by their pastors or simply lack the knowledge. But all you need to do is release the gift.

Some factors that block the lead of the Holy Spirit:
  • Fear
  • Doubt
  • Lack of knowledge
If you can trust God in everything, you shouldn't be afraid or have negative feelings or thoughts on speaking in tongues. It is a great challenge for some of you when it comes to release this gift because it does sound strange to our ears. Fear or doubt naturally get in our minds for this reason. They block the blessing of this gift. Lack of knowledge also causes people to miss the blessing. Many pastors do not encourage to speak in tongues because they themselves are afraid to see some sort of chaos in their congregations because they think like that in their minds. Pastors like to control every movement during the church services. Also, when receivers don't have any knowledge of git of tongues or how to release the gift, they simply can not cooperate with God.

Why speaking in tongues is so important
  • It increases of our faith faster
  • A mean for a deeper relationship with God
  • A mean for receiving revelations
Let's take a look at some verses on speaking in tongues.

" yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit." - Jude 20 - The Bible commands us to pray in the Spirit. That itself is enough if you have a strong faith. But in that verse, we discover that praying in the Spirit is the key to build our faith.

Of all things the Word tell us about faith, releasing the spiritual language is the very key to increase our faith. When you pray in the Spirit, you are doing so with your spirit, communicating with the Lord. There is this spiritual dynamics when you speak God in the Spirit, unleashing the power of the Holy Spirit, to grow your spirit, and also to release God's power according to the need.

If you find your spiritual journey is full of trials and ups-downs, welcome to the club. It's the life of suffering, but to those who have the love of Jesus, they can conquer anything. But how do we conquer those difficulties and trials? Ephesians chapter 6 tells us about spiritual warfare. We all are in spiritual warfare as you know. To stand strongly, you must equip yourself with the armor of God. Ephesians 6:18 says,"praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit". Why did Paul say that? Considering the context is about spiritual warfare, it is appropriate to associate verse 18 with a matter of spiritual warfare. It could easily be read that praying in the Spirit is what he wanted to say at the end of spiritual warfare.

The armor of God holds no meaning if you are not with God. You must be tuned in the things of the Spirit. Wait on the Lord and know when to attack or defend yourself. You can do that by prayer, praying in the Spirit. Do you need a victory in the area where you struggle often? It could be an attack from the demonic. It could be a spiritual oppression or curse on you which must be broken in the name of Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit. He is our Helper. Pray in the Spirit today and begin a victorious spirit filled life.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The issue of tongues - Part IV

Tongues for sinners

Another type of the gift of tongues functions for sinners to repent. This works as a sign, so they can recognize the supernatural power of God and come to repentance. See it in Acts 2:7 - 10. "Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

While many speaking tongues sound very odd and strange, when God anoints a person with this type of the gift, he will be able to speak in another foreign language which someone else can understand. It could be Chinese, Hebrew, or any other known language.

As I said, this is for sinners. Usually, they are the ones to hear and experience God's power. Here is a story I have heard some time ago in an European country. It actually happened. A guy with a gun broke in a church service, trying to kill people within. But a certain woman suddenly started to speak in tongues, not knowing she was perfectly speaking naturally with the very language that this insane man with a gun speaks. She didn't understand the language at all while she was praying, but the man heard everything she said. Later on they found out that as she was speaking in tongues, she was exposing this man's life, his parents, his name, why he came to the church, and all. He then ran to the front saying, "I want to be saved!"

Quite powerful, isn't it? In this case, there is no gift of interpretation is needed. No pastor should worry about how to handle it either. It would be very obvious because the sinners in the meeting would know and see the power of God, and you will see the result of the power. Praise God!

Let's review. When a person speaks in tongues in a public meeting, it is appropriate if:
  • during a worship time or prayer
  • supported by the gift of interpretation - functions as exhortation, edification, and comfort
  • used for sinners to come to repentance
Condition and situation of everything else could be considered as inappropriate behavior, especially one speaks in tongues interrupting someone or church service suddenly. Also, the speaker should be able to control himself if corrected. Pastors need to correct the person gently. This is very important. Sometimes pastors don't want to cause a problem so they don't correct them. Pastors are usually very soft and caring (that's why I think it could be more appropriate for a prophet or apostle to correct those people), but let's not handle with emotions here. Correction must be taken place. Otherwise, there will be a chaos and bigger damage to the entire congregation. Speaking in tongues in a public meeting often works like prophecies as I said, so pastors need to be very careful. Let's not kill the flow of the Holy Spirit.

The issue of tongues - Part III

In the previous post, I have talked about common problems with the gift of tongues among churches and people. I would like to focus on a possible way to solve them in this post by giving basic knowledge of the gift. Let's review this scripture once more.

1 Corinthians 14:39-40,
"Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues." That really is the bottom line. The balance. In addition to this post, you might wan to read my old blog post for Balancing Spiritual Equations.

How can we have a balance in that so we won't get caught up with the gift or its phenomena in a wrong way, neglecting other things, blinding and deceiving ourselves that is just emotionalism rather than genuine pursue of this wonderful gift of God? The key is this. We are to use any gift of Spirit as the Holy Spirit encourages us and leads us. But we don't do that on our own.

Your will to speak

If you have an experience of speaking in tongues even once, you know that when it happened for the first time, the language came out of your mouth rather naturally. I am sure it wasn't like you were force to speak foolish sounds. That's because the Holy Spirit led you to do so. The reason why it was natural was that you trusted His lead. You could have resisted it to stop. And those who speak in tongues on a regular basis know that it is their will to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to use the gift. This means that they have a choice to speak in tongues. You don't need to be over emotional to exercise the gift even when you have just started to learn it. Let the Spirit of God lead, you follow. Trust Him in His lead fully. He won't make you mistake if you let Him lead you completely. If you make a mistake, He will gently correct you and teach you not to go ahead of Him.

Know when to speak

If you understand well about any gift of the Spirit, being operated by the Holy Spirit with your willingness and surrender to His lead, you then should know that your will to act in faith determines when to release and exercise the gift. Make no mistake. The Holy Spirit only leads you. He never pushes you to use the gift. This means that you are the one to know when to speak in tongues as He leads you and let you know when. Using/exercising the gift is always right, but the timing can be inappropriate. You must get the knowledge to know general idea on when and how to speak in tongues.

Speaking in tongues in devotional time

Obviously, many people don't know why God uses this gift for their spiritual growth. That's why they either abuse or prohibit. If only they know the first purpose of its spiritual benefit, they wouldn't act so silly like they do. The gift is not a mere spiritual experience or stimulus for getting excited. Not to judge or condemn those folks, but I am simply to say we do dumb things while we don't have knowledge of it. I myself was one of the fools some time ago, so there is no need to be discouraged or judged.

1 Corinthians 14:2 says, "For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries". Two things to pay attention here. First, there is a kind of tongue that speaks to God. The gift of tongues in 1 Corinthians 12 verse 10 "different kinds of tongues, plural, indicates there are more than one kind. A kind that you exercise in your devotional time is to God in your private prayer, not to men. In your devotional time with God alone, you have the best time to do everything freely. You should be able to open up your heart before Him. Let Him know what you concern or think. In this private time, the Holy Spirit is always ready to lead you to release the gift of tongues. When you are with God alone, you should be worshiping Him as that is the real meaning of having relationship with Him rather than asking the same requests. So, get caught up with Him in His presence as you adore Jesus. Worshiping God and praising Him will stir your heart and the Holy Spirit will lead you to pray in spirit, speaking in heavenly language.

Speaking in tongue in a public place

Same chapter, 1 Corinthians 14, verse 11 says, "Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me." The verse 12 continues to say, "Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel". Another kind of tongues is for a public ministry. This one comes along with the gift of interpretation of tongues. The verse 13 and 14 say, "Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful".

This type of tongue has a similar function to prophecy in terms of exhortation, edification, and comfort. There is no such operation of the Holy Spirit with the gift of tongues without any of these three purposes. So, if one is exercising this type of gift of tongues and doesn't edify the church, the person needs not to interrupt the serevice. The tongue must be followed by another person who operates the gift of interpretation by the unction of the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind though we have freedom when the Spirit of God flows in the place of spiritual gatherings. It is then appropriate to exercise the gift of tongues, the one that speaks to God in praise and worship. Many people misunderstand this part though. That's because they don't know what corporate worship is. Some may think speaking in tongue is ok as long as you keep it to yourself in your devotional time with God. However, when the Holy Spirit leads us in a church or spiritual gathering in the atmosphere of worship, everybody should worship our Lord. And it is most appropriate to speak freely to the Father with a spiritual language. Where the Spirit is there is freedom.

Pastors have to recognize the flow of the Spirit, so that they would know if people are led by the Holy Spirit when they speak in tongues or simply making noises to get other's attention. This is done by gift of discernment. Normally, when a person speaks out loud with another tongue there is a short silent moment. As a person speaks in a tongue, not interrupting the service, another person should interpret the meaning of what's spoken. You can see this Holy Spirit's guide often right after a good worship time. It's the same way you have seen in prophetic word being delivered by a prophet. The Holy Spirit does those things in order. As the scripture in 1 Corinthians 14:40 confirms, "Let all things be done decently and in order", it is possible to see God's manifestation revealed in order.