Why we should all arise and go into the city

New York Skyline
New York Skyline

Acts chapter 9 relates the story about Saul, (later known as Paul) well known and feared for persecuting the Christians.  As he is on his way to do more harm, he is blinded, and falls to the ground on the road to Damascus.

Saul ask who are you, “Lord?”   Jesus confirms his suspicions. He replies, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

While on the ground, trembling and blind, we see how quickly Saul changes sides.  He goes from persecuting those of the Way, to asking Jesus, “What do you want me to do?”

The Lord replies with ¨ Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what to do.”

This was the first step of obedience that Paul did.  He arose and went to the city.  His change was so radical, that he became a follower of Christ.  Thanks to the Apostle Paul, we have most of the  New Testament written by him.

I saw several things here.

First the Lord can do anything to draw a person to himself.  This gives me hope, because I know the Lord can turn around the most messed up person to serve him in a most amazing way.

Second, The Lord gave one directive to Paul.  Arise and go to the city.

Third, just obey.

The Lord did not lay out his whole life plan at one time.  He gave it to him, one step at a time.

If the Lord had told him his whole life story, about his imprisonment, stone beatings, being shipwrecked, missionary trips, do you think Paul would have backed out?   I think I would have.

I have a secret for you.  We are not supposed to have the full picture.

When we begin our walk with the Lord, He gives us only so much, one step at a time. For that I am grateful.

God´s ways and plans are always bigger than ours.  As we continue our walk in obedience, the Lord is faithful to equip us to fulfill the calling upon our life.

For us to fulfill our calling there are two things we need to do.  We need to ask the Lord what He would like us to do, and we need to arise and go into the city.  It is then He will gives us the next phase of the plan.

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Was it God speaking?

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A few years ago we attended a small all Spanish speaking church with a very gifted pastor.  Just like any human being, we all have our flaws. There are some flaws that we can overlook, but something this pastor  would often say just never sat right with me or my husband.

He would brag about receiving phone calls, and how the Lord trained him in his prophetic gifting and word of knowledge this way.

He said God would tell him who was calling, and God was always correct.  He got so good at it, that when the phone rang, if it was someone he did not want to speak to he would not answer. (This was before caller ID was around.)

He would brag about this to the congregation, and there would always be oohs and aahs, but at the same time his message was- I know what is going on.

When one receives a prophetic word or word of knowledge, it should always point to Jesus, and it is to bring edification and exhortation to the church.

These “words of knowledge”  this pastor was receiving every time the phone rang did neither.  Its only purpose was to boost his pride and ego.

So was it God speaking to him?  The obvious answer is no.   In case you did not know, there is such a thing as a false prophet spirit.

1 John 4:1  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world

A  way to test any word from God is to ask the following questions. Does it point to Jesus?  Does it bring edification?  What is the purpose of the Lord telling me this information?

It was sad to see how this pastor could not grasp that it was the enemy speaking to him, and not God.

We need to keep ourselves safe from falling into deception and having our pride grow. Our goal should be for edification of the Body of Christ, as the word says 1 Corinthians 14:12

What a true prophet will do

  • A prophet will never expose your sin.  If the Lord reveals your sin to the prophet, it is to steer you on the right path and to draw you to repentance unto the Lord, but the sin should never be mentioned.
  • The prophet will be spending time in prayer and have an intimacy with the Lord, that will include love for His people.
  • A true prophet will give you direction and guidance, and that will always include God’s plan for you and His love for you.
  • The gift is to build and exhort the church, hint: you and me.
  • A  prophet will not call out your faults, embarrass you or cause you shame or bring condemnation.  Jesus loves us too much to hurt us.
  • The prophetic word will bring hope.
  • When prophetic  words or words of knowledge are received, it should always bring Glory to the One that gave us the revelation.

Knowing these guidelines will keep you safe from those claiming to be God’s spokesman/woman.

Have you ever received an incorrect word from a prophet?  If so, how did you handle it, what did you do about it?

Leave your comments below, I would love to hear from  you.

 

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Why women should be in ministry

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1 Corinthians 14:34 Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.

For some time I have heard this passage preached and written regarding women in ministry. I have read and heard both sides of the argument. There are a few things that I have learned that I would like to share with you here.

You will always find an argument for women serving in the ministry.Tweet This

There, I said it.

The Lord has anointed many women to do Kingdom work.  Some are teachers, prophets, pastors, evangelists and yes, even apostles.  So in seeing these women rise up and fulfill the calling the Lord has placed upon them, how does the scripture quoted above fit in?

First we need to understand what the scripture says exactly, and the time it was written in and in the context in was written.

The passage above was written in the first century.  Women sat on one side of the church, and the men on the other side of the church.  Women did not receive an education, as a result, they would have questions during the sermons.  Paul was literally asking them to respect the service, and to ask the questions to their husbands when they got home.

The word ¨speak¨ here in the original Greek refers to chatting, questioning and arguing, and the word  “silence” refers to having a calm undisruptive spirit, and be open to learning.

Other Bible translations read that women should keep quiet during the meetings.

Paul was emphasizing order in the church, not that women should never speak or be active in the church.

Understanding the position of women in the early Church is important because it establishes the foundation for the ministry of women in the Church today.

Women were very instrumental in the church. Let´s look at a few examples:

Intercessors
Women in the early church were intercessors in prayer.  In the city of Philippi, a group of women met by the river to pray

Act 16:13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there.

Women were recipients of the Holy Spirit
The book of Acts records that the Holy Spirit came upon all, men and women:

Acts 2:17 ‘AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE LAST DAYS, SAYS GOD, THAT I WILL POUR OUT OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL FLESH; YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS.

Acts 2:18 AND ON MY MENSERVANTS AND ON MY MAIDSERVANTS I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT IN THOSE DAYS; AND THEY SHALL PROPHESY.

Women  were prophetess:
Acts 21:9  Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.

We have an account of a woman Apostle:
Rom 16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Junia, a woman,  is noted as an apostle, a fellow prisoner.

I have heard testimony from notable men of God;  where they once frowned upon women in ministry,  the Lord changed their mind.

If you remove women from ministry, you are actually removing the gifts, calling and anointing’s the Lord has placed upon them to spread the gospel.

I leave you with this last verse:
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor  female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

I think it´s best to be one, to work as one, and to spread the good news of Christ. Don´t you agree?

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