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Not too long ago, I had the opportunity sit down with an individual who was no longer involved in organized religion. This person had not just been an average Sunday morning attendee, but a board member who, along with his co-deacons, assisted the Pastor in ministering to the people. It did not take much prodding to get him to share what went so tragically wrong. His story is not unique. There are many individuals who have become casualties of spiritual warfare. These are good people who happened to be in the right place with a wrong attitude. I know there are some who will read this article with a quick resolve to discredit any premise that would challenge their misunderstanding.
If we all could just step back from conflicting issues and take a deep breath. If we could look at negative situations with the attitude that God is allowing the fire in our life to provide a period of refining. If we could look at turning our cheek instead of our back, we might learn a little more about being a true disciple. If we could learn to count up to 490, we might learn with Peter the true principle of forgiving. (See Mt. 18:21, 22) If we could learn to be a conscientious objector, we could be the peacemaker God has called us to be. If we could learn how to wear the full armor of God, we would never run away from a conflict. Jesus preached that if we hear and obey His Word, our life will be like a house build upon a rock. No matter what is blown our way, we will never be moved.
There are many Christians who have walked away from situations that conflicted with their weaker moments. When conflicts interweave with a spiritually idle mind, there will be human responses that generate exaggerated responses. Whenever we respond to carnal or misunderstood accusations by counter actions that are based on our feelings and emotions, we have fallen into Satan’s snare. We all share responsibility for how things sometimes get out of hand. No one is without sin. The problem is that it is always the other guy that started it. Well, if he truly did, then we need to end it. We must stop wearing our feelings on our ear! If somebody hurts us with words and deeds, we need to bring healing with our words and deeds. If somebody hates you, we need to learn to love them. If somebody spreads lies about you, we need to love them all the more. Much of the hurt in the Church today is brought about by weak Christians who do not understand God’s Word. Instead of leaving the Body of Believers, we need to see the opportunity to bring the Gospel to those within the Body. Africa can wait; Asia will be still be there. We need to look within the Church; the field is ripe for harvest! I know there are people within the Church that are enemies of Christ and are there for the dividing of the Church. Those people need to be removed. (See Titus 1) But the harvest I am talking about is the spiritually blind that need to see the light of the Gospel, those who have the vocabulary, but don’t understand the words.
If you have been hurt and have left your position within the Church, its time to get back! God is not done with you yet. If you have been self inflicted by your reception of the hostility of others, receive your healing. If you let your spiritual guard down, restore the perimeter. Weakness comes from fasting the Word; strength comes from feasting on the Word. It is time for all Christians to “man up” and be the person God has called us to be! Remember, “I AM” said, “You are,” so no more excuses!
Prayer is communication with God. It is being in the presence of God. It is having a conversation with Him. It is an intimate sharing and expressing of our concerns. It is a requesting for intervention, not only in our lives, but in the lives of others. It is interaction with the One who created all things. It is a time of sharing our needs and even our wants. It is a time of not only speaking, but listening. For many years, I looked at prayer as simply petitioning God, with no thought as to what I was actually doing. I knew that God heard my prayers, but the evidence expressed in my countenance would go unchanged. I would finish my prayers with the assurance that my blood pressure would still be the same as it was before I prayed. There was no sense of awe as I ended my predetermined verbal expressions. My attitude was that I fulfilled my communication requirement and there was nothing more to do than hope my requests would be answered in a timely fashion. I would exhibit more excitement in talking to a socially elevated individual than I would with talking to God. Have we come to a place where God seems so distant and inaccessible to our consciousness?
When we begin our prayers, there is a transformation that takes place that, if understood, would change our understanding of prayer forever. The Catholic Church believes that during Eucharist (Communion) the wine is instantly turned into the blood of Christ when the recipient takes of the Cup. The term for this transference is Transubstantiation. I am not Biblically persuaded as to the validity of the claim, but I am convinced they have touched upon something that needs to be pursued. How would this concept of transference fit into our prayer life? Would it be acceptable to conjecture that when we begin our prayers we are brought into the presence of the Living God through the name of Jesus? If that is possible, would that not affect us to the point of elevated reality?
The recording of Jesus’ transfiguration could possibly shed some understanding as to the environment in which our prayer life brings us. The Bible says that as Jesus was praying in a certain mountain, His countenance was altered, and His raiment became white and glistering. During this time of Prayer, both Moses and Elijah appeared with Him. The Scripture states that they discussed Jesus’ decease that would be accomplished at Jerusalem. Peter, John, and James, who had accompanied Jesus, were asleep and awoke just in time to witness the encounter. As they became conscious of their surroundings, they saw Jesus in His glorified state. A cloud descended upon them and they heard God say to them, “…this is my beloved Son: hear Him.” (See the account in Luke 9:28-36) What we see is that the prayer of Jesus brought Him into the realm of the Heavenlies. What the witnessing disciples saw was the transference from the natural setting to the supernatural experience. One is reminded of Elisha at Dothan when he asked God to alter his servant’s eyes so that he could see the angels of the Lord surrounding their city while their enemies stood at the city gates. (See II Kings 6:17)
I am saying that we need to shake up our dry bones and visualize our appearance before our loving Heavenly Father. Let us desire a prayer life that is more than a simple exercise of words and hopeful expectations. Let us stop our soliloquy of phrases and spiritless words and realize to whom we are talking! Let us see ourselves in the presence of God. When we do that, our prayer life will take on a whole new meaning.
Jesus ministry was first and foremost to the Jewish people. He said to the woman of Canaan who desired that Jesus deliver her daughter from an evil spirit, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24) Jesus continually frequented the synagogues with the specific purpose of turning the hearts of Jews back to God. When He sent the twelve into the country side to preach, He commanded them to go only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10:6) God had a covenant with Israel that no matter how rebellious they became, He would never forsake them.
We also have a covenant with God through the blood of Christ. Jesus said He would never leave nor forsake us. No matter how rebellious we become, we can’t escape His forgiveness and love! In Luke fifteen, we have the account of three lost things and their consequent recovery. There is the shepherd who lost one of His sheep. He left the other ninety-nine and went in search of the stray. When he found it, he called all his friends and neighbors and together they rejoiced and celebrated over the found lamb. There is the woman who lost a coin. She searched her house diligently until she found it. When she did, she called all her friends and neighbors and they rejoiced with her over the recovered coin. Finally, there is the account of the son who rebelled against his father and went out into the world. His father would continually look out toward the horizon hoping that he would return. One day he made out his son, “…Yet a long way off…,” and ran to embrace him. There was a great celebration, for the son that was “dead” was “alive again.”
All the things that were lost belonged to the person who lost them. The lamb and the coin were owned by the shepherd and the woman. The son was part of a family. There was no discovery, but a recovery of what was already theirs. There are many people today who were once part of the Kingdom of God but are no longer serving the Lord. In fact, for every new Believer that comes into the front door of the church, a backslidden Christian goes out the back door. It is pretty much a wash. Many Believers are so excited about “new blood” coming into the church that they fail to see the bleeding and wounded going out of the church. Last year, the media related the story about the sinkhole in Florida where a man’s bedroom disappeared into the ground. Looking at the outside of the house, one would think nothing was wrong. It is just like so many churches today; it looks good on the outside, but inside there is a “sinkhole” into which many are disappearing.
Jesus realized the importance of reaching the backsliders and those with the Egyptian syndrome (returning to their former lives). (See Numbers 12:2-4) We cry for lost souls, but shrug off the misguided souls. We rejoice over new members, but write off the lost members. We attempt to establish new relationships, but fall to reestablish old relationships. We throw out our arms in acceptance of the seeking, but fold our arms when it comes to lost saints. If the Church is to reign victorious, it needs to reach out to those who were once strong in the faith, but are now weak in the flesh. Evangelism is a two way street: it must reach those who were once part of the faith, but are now in the world, and then reach out to those who have never been given the chance to be part of the family of God.
My life’s desire has always been to be more like Jesus, to live a life exemplary of my Savior and Lord. But no matter how hard I try, it seems I always fall short of my quest. I have spent years studying the life of Jesus, but I seem to lose touch with the reality of being Christ-like. I marvel at the victory Jesus had over His flesh. He was tried, tempted, and enticed to pursue the dictates of the flesh, but not once did He succumb to its offerings! We know that Jesus was Divine as well as human. We know the Divine nature in Him could not sin, but the human aspect of His being was not immune to the temptations in life. He struggled just as much as any other individual, yet without fault, slip, or failure. What was the ingredient in Jesus’ life that made Him victorious throughout His brief earthly ministry? What was it that enabled Jesus to overcome every trial and testing? He was not immune to sufferings and struggles, yet there was never a situation in which He failed to achieve the victory. Is it possible to achieve such a Christ- like life that we can say at the end of each day, “It is no longer I that live, but Christ?”
I believe that the key to Jesus’ success was His prayer life. Beginning at His baptism, He stood in the water praying. ( Luke 3:21) He would go up into a mountain and pray all night long. ( Luke 6:12) Just before selecting His twelve disciples, He spent all night praying. ( Luke 6:12) After the feeding of the five thousand, He took His disciples with Him and prayed. ( Luke 9:18) One time, He took Peter, James, and John up into a mountain to pray and as He was praying, He was transfigured before them. ( Luke 9:28, 29) There were times He would get up before dawn and go and pray. ( Mark 1:35) Jesus’ life was highlighted by prayer. All the way to the cross, His road was covered in prayer.
When I look at my prayer life, I see my spiritual scale completely out of balance. I pray, but not with the regularity and sincerity that is required from God’s children. I pray, but it is more with an attitude of compliance and obedience than with a heart-felt desire to commune with my Heavenly Father. We Christians tend to traditionalize our prayers around the food table and the bed. Between our regimented petitions, we scatter our supplications of wants and needs. If time permits and we don’t forget, there are the quick prayers for those for whom we said we would pray. When is the last time we remember “saying” our prayers at the end of the day and being able to say “amen” before the “zzzzzs” take over?
I want to be more like Jesus, but without understanding the value of prayer and its role in my life, I will never be able to achieve the Christ-likeness that I desire. We love to talk about the miracles, signs, and wonders Jesus did, but we fail to understand the importance of prayer in His life. Jesus followed God’s directions for His life, and His destinations were achieved through His communion with His Father! We may be able to quote Scripture by heart. We may be able to exhibit some of the characteristics of Jesus’ life, but we will never to able to truly be like Him until we understand the importance of prayer in His, and our, life.
For many Christians, the subject of forgiveness through God’s wonderful Grace has been stored in the recesses of our minds. We know through God’s Word that, when we accepted God’s offer to expunge our sins through the blood of His beloved Son, we became a new creature. We realized that our old life passed away and the reality of continual fellowship with our Redeemer lay before us. It has been hard for me to fathom how soon we forget what was accomplished through God’s intercession in our lives. Look around next Sunday as we gather to worship with our spiritual peers. How many of us are displaying the joys and thankfulness for God’s intervention in our lives? If we are honest, we will readily admit that our foundational Christian experience of repentance and forgiveness is no longer holding a place in our consciousness. Yet, if it were not for that experience, none of us would be where we are today. We must never loose sight of our salvation for that is how it all started. Have we become so calloused that our inauguration into the Faith has little significance to our lives today? When we think of what we were before Christ, how can we sit in our Sunday morning pews/chairs looking bored and complacent?
Take a look at the forgiven sinner who came to Simon the Pharisee’s house to hear the teachings of Jesus. (See Luke 7:36-50) As Jesus was sharing with His host and company, this woman came in and stood weeping behind Jesus. As her tears fell upon Jesus feet, she knelt down and began to wash His feet with her tears. She then took her hair down and wiped His feet with her hair. Reaching for her alabaster box of ointment, she then anointed His feet. Reading this account correctly, one would assume that Jesus had previously encountered her and had forgiven her sins. Simon was incredulous and could not understand why Jesus would let such a sinful woman touch Him. For Simon’s benefit, Jesus reiterated what He had done previously and said to the woman, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.” There is so much more to this story, but the important teaching is that when one is forgiven much, that person will love much and that is not an inaugurated love, but an everlasting love!
How can we ever forget God’s forgiveness? How can we ever become complacent? How can we ever let our joy fade into obscurity? How can we ever close up our tear ducts of thankfulness? How can we ever become a spectator instead of a participant in Kingdom living? How can we ever take our salvation for granted? How can we ever stop worshipping? How can we ever stop expressing outwardly what has happened inwardly? How can we ever live like the world when we are not of this world?
When we walk into our worship arenas this week, let us enter His gates with thanksgiving and praise, for we were once lost and are now found! Let us exchange our lemon faces for smiley ones. Let us exchange those defeats into feats of victory and adoration. Let us exchange our cosmetic frowns into the image of our Creator. When is the last time we fell to our knees and shed tears of thankfulness? If it has been sometime, let us resolve to start exhibiting our gratitude daily! We can all do this because of what God has done for us and in us!
I marvel at how many times we misread or misinterpret God’s Word. Maybe we think that God needs our help in explaining the intent of the Scripture. Maybe we think we need to translate His Words into an easier rendering and application so people can have a greater understanding. Maybe traditionalizing the Holy Book into our own personal experiences will help develop a better connection between God and man. Maybe we think paraphrasing the Word will help gain a greater audience. Piecemeal Scripture, in which only the feel good verses are promoted, has caused the Word of God to be downgraded to simply Christian psychology. When are we going to accept God’s Word as He intended it? It is not simplifying the Word to a common denominator; rather, it is lifting the reader to the realm of spiritual understanding through the Holy Spirit’s tutorage. It is amazing how much literature is produced to explain the Bible and its relevance to our daily lives. There are books that are keyed to explaining Biblical overviews. There is even one entitled “DUMMIES GUIDE TO THE BIBLE.” Much of the Christian literature today is keyed to learning how to get from God: as long as one is willing to give something green to the promoter. It seems we are in the neo-DaVinci Code era in which secret codes are supposedly hidden in the Bible. We are challenged to unravel the secrets that will lead us to such things as financial prosperity and weight loss. We need to stop looking for hidden treasure and realize the wealth of God’s Word is right before our eyes. We need to stop trying to unveil what has not been veiled. We need to have an attitude of simply accepting God’s Word as He said it. It is true that the Bible will make little or no sense to the unregenerate reader, but to the true Believer, it is the inerrant, infallible, and eternal Word of God. We must never dilute the Word through human interpretation, but promote its truth to one another in love. Many of the false doctrines that have been activated through out the years are so aligned with real Truth that it is has been hard to separate truth from fiction. Verbal promotion of heresy is usually hidden within the tenets of faith in Christian organizations. Whenever we find something is taken away from or added to the Scripture, there should be alarm bells sounded in the heart of the true Believer. Whenever promoted Scripture conflicts with other Scripture, there should be a spiritual uneasiness. One case in point is water baptism. Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19); yet, some believe that after Pentecost, people should be baptized in Jesus’ name only. (Acts 2:38) After commissioning His disciples, Jesus told them not to start their ministry until they had received the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4) Jesus’ command did not include a change or contradiction of direction; rather, an enablement to carry out His orders through the authority of the Holy Spirit. The Scripture is God’s Word dictated to His scribes through the Holy Spirit. We must learn to accept God’s Word by faith, and not to scrutinize the intent of the Scripture to our own satisfaction. As we open God’s Word, we will discover His unlimited riches. There is no need to look for hidden treasures and new truths for they are already before us in plain sight!
When is the last time we stopped in the middle of our problems and simply began to praise the Lord? Ignorantly, we have limited our praises to only times of jubilation and victory. When an answer to prayer or an unexpected blessing is experienced, we are quick to express an internal joy and celebration. If we were not so concerned with how others would respond to our emotional outbreak, we could easily express our emotions outwardly. Have you noticed how some Christians act at a sporting event? There is no hesitation to have an “out-of-body” experience of controlled insanity when our team scores the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Where is that joyous expression when someone walks down the aisle to surrender his life to the King of Kings? Should we not jump to our feet and extend our hands in praise and adoration to God who has drawn that lost soul to Him through His Son? Why is it that during an invitation the instruction is for everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes: someone is about to sneak into the Kingdom? When someone is on their way to a new life, should we not run with them to the waiting Savior? In the churches that still have invitations, should we not shout encouragement as people join the army of the Lord? Should we not high-five each other as they round their last hesitation and head for home? Should we not surround the “prodigal” and have a celebration, for he that was lost is now found? Christians have a tendency to get excited about sensual things, but show little emotion about the spiritual. We need to fine tune our priorities, and then learn to correctly express our adoration through praise.
Some people say they are not wired to be emotionally expressive when it comes to spiritual things. Yet, when a problem comes, there is a large range of outward emotions that are displayed through their countenance. Anger, sadness, depression, pouting, doubting, temper, blame throwing, and an out-of-control tongue are all expressions that come out of people who claim they can’t express themselves. All of us have a choice as to how we will respond to life’s situations. Praise is as natural as breathing. Take the “P” off praise and you have “raise;” we are called to raise our hands, voices, and countenance unto Him who has so gloriously saved us. When we are in difficult situations, we need to praise our way to the victory. When we praise Him in the trials, we are acknowledging that God is in control and will not let us go it alone, but will be there with us all the way! The next time Satan attacks begin praising God, knowing that Satan can only do what God allows. Many of our challenging situations can bring glory to God if we just understand what praise is. God and you make a majority. When we are not praisers, we become grazers that walk around with our heads down, looking for some crumbs so we can survive.
Why not start right now and lift your hands and face toward Heaven and just begin to praise Him? No one is looking, go ahead! Once you start, you won’t want to stop. When you feel comfortable, ask someone else to join you; like your wife, husband, and kids. How about in church next Sunday? Some say they don’t “feel” the presence of the Lord in their church service. Praise is the answer. The Bible says God inhabits the praises of His people. (Ps. 22:3 KJV) Praise Him and you will never be the same again! Praise Him and you will never doubt His presence again!
The phrase “led by the Spirit” has been so maligned and misunderstood. The populist view is that if you let the Spirit direct your life you will experience the joys of Christian living as well as enjoying the benefits of the Kingdom of God. There is a reality of truth to these viewpoints, but we fail to realize that the trip to the mountain top sometimes includes a guided tour through the valley. There are times the Holy Spirit will lead us into situations that will try our faith. These “trials by fire” are intended for our refining that our faith may be found unto praise and honor at Jesus appearing. (I Peter 1:7)
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to face Satan and his temptations. After 40 days of relentless pressure, Jesus walked out of the battlefield in the power of the Spirit. Notice how the Spirit worked in His life. First, the Spirit descended on Him at His baptism, (Mk. 1:10) then he was led by the Spirit, and finally He experienced the power of the Spirit.
There are some Christians that want the power of God without the daily influence of God’s Spirit in their life. They desire the supernatural signs and wonders, but to be led by the Holy Spirit is only acceptable when they can dictate the direction. Some seek the experience of being overwhelmed by the Spirit, in which they are literally taken off their feet. This “slain in the Spirit” phenomenon electrifies their minds as they charge ahead in pursuit of emotional releases that overshadow their lack of spiritual obedience. Within shouting distance of these spiritual pep rallies are people who are “slain in the flesh” by drugs, alcohol, and immorality. As long as Satan can keep Believers seeking emotional and personal gratification, his legions of lost souls will continue their march to self destruction.
When will Believers understand directional motivation? Instead of analyzing why a certain path is awaiting our journey, we need to look forward to a time of learning and discipline. We must never be afraid of the road less traveled. Let us stand in unity and proclaim that where He leads, we will follow.
The Apostle Paul learned through the Holy Spirit how to be abased and how to abound in all situations. There was nothing Paul could not accomplish when directed by God’s Spirit. Let us realize the Spirit is our enabler. He is our lifeline to God through Jesus Christ. He is our source of power. He gives us boldness to present the Gospel message. As He enters our lives and leads us through the courses of life, an explosion of power develops that will affect all those with whom we come into contact. Sadly, some look at this power as an implosion, affecting only them.
Church, we must get this right. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is not to emotionally satisfy, but to spiritually motivate us to reach out to the lost! If you are looking for a great spiritual rush in life, it will not be upon your back, but on your feet as you bring the Gospel to the lost!
If Believers have truth, which can take the negatives in life and make them into positives, why are there not more converts to this great Faith? It seems to reason that the presentation of that Truth is dwarfed because of the inaction of the Believer. Inaction stems from head knowledge of the Truth instead of heart changing reality. Jesus made it clear that if one wants to enter the Kingdom, one must be born again. In fact, He even said that no one can see the Kingdom without dying to the natural and becoming alive to the spiritual. (John 3: 5, 3)
Nicodemus came to Jesus to question the reality of what He was teaching. What he encountered was a life changing experience. Nicodemus was a leader of the Jews, yet his Scriptural understanding was shallow and misguided. When Jesus told him that he must be born of the water and the Spirit, he should have recalled Ezekiel 36:25-27, but due to his “selective reading” he missed the essential Truth that the true meaning of life begins within, not without.
To be able to reach the unconverted with the life changing truth of Jesus Christ, one must have not only an acceptance, but an understanding of God’s Word. When the Believer achieves the foundational Truths, he is then called upon to be a living example of those Truths. It is then that he becomes a living epistle, a light in the darkness. When there is Scriptural ignorance, there is a danger of man made doctrines. There are many well intentioned Believers that have a zeal for God, but not according to Biblical knowledge. Man made doctrines and biased interpretation of Scripture produces flawed individuals that are easily recognized by the world. There are many Believers today that have adopted theology without first seeking verification through their own reading of the Bible and the confirmation of the Holy Spirit. All Believers must learn to “trust, but verify,” whenever they receive teaching from the Christian community.
Believers need to understand that when they have received spiritual truth, they are to share it with others. When a prayer has been answered, tell somebody. When victory over situations in life has been achieved, tell somebody. When valley challenges have given way to mountain top victories, tell somebody. When defeats have turned into victory, tell somebody. The same zeal that was used to petition God should be used to display God’s Grace. Believers need to be contagious. Believers need to be salt that awakes a thirsting within others. Believers need to be a light that draws people from the darkness. Where are the converts? Waiting for the Believers to show them the way!
What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Believer? Some Christians believe the Holy Spirit only functions in a secondary role in their lives. They acknowledge His role in the New Testament church, but believe that is not how the Holy Spirit works today. They see the Holy Spirit as a dispensational factor in which His ministry was limited to the birthing and expanding of the early Church; the Spiritual Gifts which include healings and miracles had a purpose unique to the Biblical generation, but not for modern day Christians. They believe that the Fruit of the Spirit is what really matters. There is also a group of Believers that sees the Holy Spirit as the primary focal point of worship. The Dove replaces the Cross as Believers seek the Gifts of the Holy Spirit for personal gratification. Signs and wonders become the evidence of God’s pleasure with His followers. It is not my intent to address the polarization of these different movements, but to draw attention to how the Holy Spirit interacts with Believers today.
The Scriptures make it clear that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is three fold in purpose. He will convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. (John 16:8) To achieve this ministry, He will use the Believer to represent the Kingdom in power. Under the Anointing and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Believer will be the physical manifestation of the Kingdom and will draw people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will also illuminate the Believer with a holy and contagious righteousness that will draw the world to the righteousness of God. Finally, the Holy Spirit will reveal through the Believer God’s judgment on the world. The Holy Spirit is never to be the center of attention; rather, He will glorify the Son and will reveal unto the Believer whatever is revealed to Him. (John 16:13-15)
One of the favorite phrases that are uttered around emotional worship services is, “I feel the Spirit in this place.” The evidence of His presence is not goose bumps and emotional releases, but an empowering to spread the Gospel message. The Holy Spirit is the revealer of our Savior and Heavenly Father. When we do not respond to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to reach out with God’s message, we are “grieving” the Spirit, which is to cause Him grief and sorrow. (Eph. 4:30) To those who don’t understand the Holy Spirit’s ministry, His role becomes secondary in their lives. The problem is that without the Holy Spirit, the continuation of Jesus earthly ministry is severely handicapped. By not responding to the leading of the Spirit, we not only grieve Him, but are in danger of “quenching” Him, which is to limit and extinguish the spiritual fire within us. (I Thess. 5:19)
Many times we hear sincere Christians promote the ministry of the Holy Spirit by claiming that if one does not exhibit a certain evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit, then he does not have the Spirit. Scriptures are elasticized and taken out of context to promote teachings that support biased interpretations. The real evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is the outreach we exhibit. If we do not share the Gospel message, or exhibit the righteousness of God’s Kingdom, or climb the watchtower to proclaim the coming judgment, we have grieved the Holy Spirit and are in danger of quenching His consuming fire. The Holy Spirit is a vital part of the Divine Commission. He does not keep us warm and cozy until Jesus returns; rather, He sets a fire within us that will continue to burn until all the lost are found or God calls us home!