The Fountain & Water Gates

The Fountain Gate –   Nehemiah repaired the Fountain Gate.   This gate reminds me of Jesus – who is the fountain of living water- and also the daily power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.    There is a living well of spiritual water for us to draw from daily.    It is an inexhaustible supply that will never run dry.      Jesus said we never need to thirst again when we come to Him because He is the living water.   He can satisfy our thirst in all areas and bring refreshing to us.    When we are tired, weary or discouraged then we can come to the Fountain Gate and be refreshed.    We can drink deeply of Jesus and be restored.      If we forsake the living water then we will be dry and empty with nothing to give.  Our source of spiritual life is Jesus.

timelapse photography off water fountain
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The Water Gate –    This gate speaks to me of the power of the word of God which is at work in our lives.    The bible teaches us that we are washed by the word of God.      The word of God is powerful and true – a test of our thoughts and intentions.   When we read, meditate and act on the Word of God then we see the fruit if its out-working in our lives and it keeps us on the right path.

The Water Gate was the only gate which didn’t need repair.    The word of God endures for ever.     God’s word doesn’t need to be improved,  added to or altered – it is complete just as it is.   It is the best manual for a successful and fulfilling life.

The Rubbish Gate

Just as the name suggests this gate which Nehemiah rebuilt was the one used to get rid of the rubbish and dung.      I don’t know about you but even after being a Christian for over 40 years, I am still a work in progress and I still sin (even when I don’t want to or intend to) and get things wrong.       However, I don’t write myself off.   Even though I still sin, I know that the power of sin over me has been broken because of the work of Christ at the Cross.    I repent when I know I have done wrong and the Holy Spirit convicts me and I am cleansed by the power of the blood of Christ.    The rubbish is swept out of the door.   When the accuser comes to me I just point to the blood of Jesus and he has nothing on me.   The slate is wiped clean.    I don’t use the grace of Christ as a licence to sin but I rely on the grace of God in my life to convict me of sin.

If there is still rubbish in your life or you are carrying it around then I encourage you to get rid of it.   It is only choking the word of God and the fruit of the Spirit maturing in you.   If we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives then He will convict us of sin. Keeping our hearts soft and not hardened by disobedience.   What rubbish needs to be out of our lives today?  Let’s be ruthless with it and get rid of it – once and for all.  

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The Fish Gate

The fish Gate was another gate which Nehemiah rebuilt.  As followers of Christ we are called like the disciples of Jesus to be fishers of men.   We have been given the great commission to go out and make disciples. It is the mandate from Christ to His church.     If however we just put all of our efforts into catching the fish and seeing converts, but don’t disciple them properly afterwards, then we shouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see any growth or maturity.

Discipleship requires service, commitment, love and sacrifice.    In order to walk alongside people,  especially people who are hurting, we can need grace, patience and love in great abundance.   The Holy Spirit can help us to develop the fruit of the Spirit in discipleship and teach us how to disciple others.     We need to know the truth of the gospel ourselves in order that we can help others to mature in Christ and follow Him.    The Christian life can be one of suffering, hardship and persecution because of our faith in Jesus and preparing people for that is a key part of discipleship. 

Are the nets ready for the catch?    If there is to be a great harvest of souls then we need to get ready to disciple them.    If you are a follower of Christ then I encourage you to share your testimony and life with others who are new to the faith and disciple them.   Help them and strengthen them to grow and mature in Christ and share your experiences with them.    We all have something to offer in service to Jesus.   Is there someone that you can take under your wing today or give a supporting hand?

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Breakthrough

A visiting speaker encouraged us recently to be a bit of kindling and allow the Lord to set fire to us.   A little fire can be all it takes – it can spread like wildfire as nature has shown us with the wildfires which took hold last year in various places. At this time we are to press in and not be discouraged.  Don’t settle where you are but press on in faith.     The breakthrough or miracle you have been waiting for or seeing in faith could be just around the corner.

We may face opposition just before we see the promise and answer come to pass.    When Jesus was on the way to heal the sick daughter of the leader, Jairus, people came to tell him not to bother because the girl was already dead.     Jesus refused to accept that and told them that she was not dead only sleeping.   The people ridiculed him but Jesus silenced them, pressed ahead and the girl was raised up. People may ridicule you or try to stop you pressing in to what God has for you and the vision He has shown you.

When we step out in faith we are His vessels.  It is the oil of His Presence and the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through us to do His good works which He prepared beforehand for us to do.    The people who know their God will be strong and do mighty things.   You may have people telling you opposite things to the promises of God and what God has revealed to you by His Holy Spirit.   Do not listen to them and refuse to believe them.  Stand on the Word of God.    You may have to be bold and silence them.   Fix your eyes on Christ.  Lift up your head and see the King of Glory

In scripture John the Baptist said that Jesus was the one who would baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire.     Tongues of fire appeared on the heads of those who first received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.   I have been baptised in the Holy Spirit but I want to be on fire for Jesus.   I believe this fire is purifying and empowering to enable the Holy Spirit to flow through us in power in signs and wonders to give a powerful witness to the gospel message of Christ.     The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and glorifies Jesus Christ. People are saved and those who are suffering to healed and restored. Hold on to your promise and vision today and believe in faith. It will happen in His appointed time.

Prepare, (Re-)Position, Let Go

As we have been praying recently there has been a great sense of God speaking again about His Fire and Oil being poured out on believers in an incredible way.   A mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit to come suddenly and deluge us just as the rain came in the day of Elijah following years of drought.   The fire first and then rain with a river of His Presence, Power & Glory.    This will see many people being brought into the Kingdom as the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached with power.

I sense in my spirit that the Lord is saying Prepare and Position yourself ready to give and receive.     The Lord gave me this word “Hitch up your garments and take up your position ready”.       I believe preparation and positioning are keys for this season.    In each of our lives we can prepare and position ourselves ready to give and receive and birth as the Lord shows each one of us by His Holy Spirit.     Each of us has different gifts, callings and ministries and resources to use in the body of Christ and for the work of the gospel.     If we have put these down or let them get a bit rusty then perhaps now is the time to pick them up again and start practicing and get ready.

I pray God will show each and every one of us what we need to do to prepare.  I sense that for some people God is saying that you have to let go of the old in order to receive the new.   If you are holding on to something from the past then perhaps it is time to let it go in order that you can receive the new thing God wants to do.

I am reminded of people of faith in the bible who prepared – Joseph prepared provisions for a severe famine,  Esther prepared a whole year for a night with the King, the Jews prepared themselves with weapons to defend themselves against Haman’s plot to destroy them,   the widow in the time of Elisha prepared jars ready to receive the miraculous provision of oil which only stopped when all the jars were used.   At the wedding feast the jars were filled with water ready for Jesus’ miracle.    Jesus gives us the example of the virgins who were prepared for the bride groom’s return with sufficient oil in their lamps.   In times of difficulty God will use his people to be His voice and to help those who are in need.

In Isaiah 54 v 2 the word is “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, do not spare, lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes”.     This was a word on preparation.   The barren woman in this verse did not need room in her tent as she had no children but God was promising that the desolate would have children and to get ready to receive them.     You may feel barren at the moment and your ministry may look barren  but believe in faith that God is going to bring in a harvest and birth something new.  There are green shoots breaking through.      Let us make room to receive the harvest and put in place the necessary support systems so that the stakes are well and truly strengthened.      Let us mend the nets ready to receive the fish.

Some of us may need to re-position ourselves in this season.    Are we in the right place to receive or prepare for what God wants to do through us?   If you are in doubt then ask God to show you.   It may take boldness and a step of faith to move out of a place of comfort – out of the comfort zone and into the new place or ministry that God has for you.    Where does God want to position you for His glory to work through you.     It might be time to move out.

The instruction to “Hitch up my garments” reminded me of Elijah.     In the time of drought Elijah first heard the rain in the Spirit.   Before the rain even came he said to the King to go up and eat and drink “for there is the sound of an abundance of rain”.     Elijah sent his servant to keep looking for the cloud and eventually on the 7th time of looking there was a small cloud.     Elijah saw the sign and knew that the rain he had heard in the Spirit was on its way.    He prepared himself by hitching up his garments in order that he was prepared to run ahead of the rain and presumably the dangerous floods due to the dry and hard ground.   Elijah managed to outrun the chariot of the King over a great distance of about 25 miles.    The people of God will do great and mighty things in these times.  Elijah did something which was not possible in the natural.  He outran a chariot and over such a distance – God enabled it miraculously.

As the people of God, I believe this is a season to prepare ourselves and position ourselves ready to give and receive.     God use us for His glory.  Lord show us how to prepare and how to position ourselves so that we are ready for you.  Ready to go, Ready to run.

It’s time to be free

dawn sunset beach womanGod wants us to be free.  He is the God who sets the captives free.  The God of deliverance.    Jesus died and rose again so that we might live in spiritual freedom.   I believe the church is entering into a season during which God is going to reveal by the power of the Holy Spirit the things in our lives or mind sets which are obstacles or hindrances to us living fully as Jesus wants us to live and doing His works.    The power of the gospel working in and through us.   Jesus wants to set us free from every oppressive work and lie of the enemy which is operating in our lives and restricting us.   It might be fear, unbelief, guilt, lack of self-belief, un-forgiveness, trauma, depression, anxiety, sinful behaviour or addictions – there can be many things which hold us back and from stepping out in faith.   Things which restrict the flow of the power of the Holy Spirit in and through us to others.

 

There is a word for this season from Isaiah 60 verse 1- “Arise, Shine – for your light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you”.    The Lord asked me -What is stopping you from rising – what is trying to stop you from doing things for me?    What is stopping you from shining?   What is tainting the light shining from you?   In my case it was fear – fear which I didn’t even realise was there.   The Lord showed me that a traumatic event in my childhood had left a mark of fear on my life.   It wasn’t a gripping, completely debilitating fear which paralysed me but it still used to rise up out of the blue causing me to question and torment myself over things I had said or done.   Decisions made and actions taken – Was I right or wrong.   It caused me to worry about making mistakes and over analyse the decisions I had made.   Thankfully the Lord set me free and healed me from this fear.   Who the son sets free is free indeed – Fear no longer has a part in me because of Jesus’ finished work on the Cross and His resurrection power.

I encourage you to let the Holy Spirit reveal things which may be holding you back in this season or which may be tainting your light so you are not shining brightly for Him.   Jesus wants you to be free and He alone can set you free.

Praying in the Spirit

 Is it scriptural?

 Ephesians 6:18 “praying always with all prayers and supplications in the Spirit being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”

Jude 7:20 “But you beloved building yourselves up on your most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit

1.What is praying “in the Spirit”?

I believe that we pray in the Spirit when:

a) We allow our prayers to be inspired and directed by the Holy Spirit within us i.e. we are willing to submit our agenda to God and let the Holy Spirit lead us. This is not stepping aside and abdicating responsibility in our prayer lives but being willing to be obedient to how the Holy Spirit wants to lead us and direct our prayers. It is working together with the Holy Spirit – our spirit and the Holy Spirit in communion.

b) using the gifts of the Holy Spirit; i.e. speaking/singing in tongues, interpretation of tongues, words of wisdom, knowledge, discernment etc.

BUT as the apostle Paul taught us we should always seek to pray with our understanding too so that we can interpret what the Holy Spirit is directing within us. i.e. we have revelation of the will of God as we pray.

1 Corinthians 14:13 “For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind”.

c) Speaking in Tongues

Tongues is a spiritual language which is not learned but is inspired by the Holy Spirit within us – it can be a heavenly language or an earthly language previously unknown to the speaker.

Acts 2:4  “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them”.

I believe that Tongues is one of the gifts of the Spirit which can be a springboard to other gifts of the Spirit being released through us.

Paul spoke often of the gift of tongues and its proper use but he did not forbid the use of tongues.

1Corinthians  14:39 “Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way”.

Speaking in Tongues will help you by building you up spiritually, inspiring your worship & praise of God.

1 Corinthians 14:4 “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself”

Acts 2:11 “we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

Interpretation of Tongues – When you pray in tongues ask the Holy Spirit to give you the interpretation of what you are praying. This is not a word for word literal interpretation but a sense of what the Holy Spirit is saying and directing within you. When a public tongue is given it is my experience that the Holy Spirit gives you the first couple of words of the interpretation – you then have to step out in faith believing that you have received the gift of interpretation and allow the Holy Spirit to work through you to bring the whole interpretation. I can only describe it when I have exercised the gift of interpretation as an “unction” in your belly which wells up and has to be released.

2.  Why should we pray in the Spirit

 a) The Holy Spirit directs our prayers and reveals the will of God

Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 “ Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He makes intercession for the Saints according to the will of God”

SO:

According to this Scripture -When we pray the Holy Spirit prays with us and makes our prayers effective because our prayers are then according to the will of God. This is why in prayer we should learn to:

WAIT ON GOD AND BE PATIENT TO ALLOW THE HOLY SPIRIT TO DIRECT OUR PRAYERS. WE SHOULD NEVER PRESUME THAT WE KNOW EXACTLY HOW TO PRAY ABOUT A SPECIFIC SITUATION.

Psalm 62:5 “My soul wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him”.

b) The Holy Spirit gives spiritual wisdom and revelation:

1CO 2:10. “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. v 14 “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned”

i.e. the Holy Spirit brings revelation to our spirit man – Spirit communes with spirit. The Holy Spirit within us reveals things to our spirit man/woman.

You may have heard people ask God in prayer to give them “spiritual keys” to situations. God reveals the things which are hidden particularly, in the spiritual realm so that we can then pray directly into the situation using the keys which the Holy Spirit reveals.

c) How does the Holy Spirit bring revelation to us?

The Holy Spirit may bring revelation to you in dreams, pictures, visions, impressions on your spirit,  scripture verses which are brought to mind, the still small voice of God speaking to us, tongues & interpretations, prophetic words etc.

There are many ways in which the Holy Spirit speaks and many examples are given in scripture of dreams, visions, prophetic words.

d) The Holy Spirit also gives power to our prayers – particularly in spiritual warfare and when we fast and pray.

Jesus said:  “But you will receive power (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit comes on you” Acts 1:88

We need to pray to be continually filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus received the Holy Spirit when he was baptized by John the Baptist. The Holy Spirit came upon Him like a dove.  The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where He fasted and prayed for 40 days then scripture says that Jesus:   “returned in the power of the Spirit and his fame went out abroad” Luke 14:4

We receive and are sealed with the Holy Spirit when we become Christians but I believe we are to seek and receive the full baptism of the Holy Spirit as the early believers did in Acts.

c)How do we start to pray in the Spirit?

i) We need to receive the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit needs to be welcomed and received. Jesus says “Ask & you will receive”. Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit can be received “by the laying on of hands” Acts 8:17 “and when Paul had laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke with tongues and prophesied” Acts 19:6.

Or there are instances in scripture of the Holy Spirit falling upon people as they waited and sought God.  e.g.  the early church waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the upper room and later in Acts 11:15 Paul witnessed to the following “And as I began to speak the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning”.

ii) Actively seek and pursue the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Ask God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be released through you:

 1 Corinthians 14:1 “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy”.

It is important to seek the spiritual gifts for the right reasons. They are given to build up the church.   God is more interested in you developing your character (follow the way of love) first and foremost.

 iii) Test everything:

People often ask how they know it is the Holy Spirit bringing revelation and working in themIf the word testifies of and brings glory to Christ then it is of God.

1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God

1Co 14:29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.

1Th 5:19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good.

In my experience praying in the Spirit will always:

 GLORIFY THE FATHER THROUGH THE SON (John 14:13)

BE ACCORDING TO GOD’S WILL (John 5 14:15)

BE BASED UPON GOD’S CHARACTER, WAYS & WORD (John 15:7)

The excitement of submitting to the Holy Spirit is that the Holy Spirit may lead you into crying, fasting, silence before God, prophetic actions, clapping, marching, shouting etc. as you express yourself in prayer.  The Holy Spirit is creative – never underestimate the work of the Holy Spirit.  Don’t quench the Spirit but allow the Holy Spirit to lead you.  Amen Prayer and The Holy Spirit