Tag Archives: prophetic

An Exercise in Tongues and Interpretation

Some time ago, I experimented with an exercise to help me grow in the interpretation of tongues. I felt the Lord was encouraging me to do it so that I would be more disciplined in listening to Him in general.

As you may already know, when we are in a church gathering, if someone gives a public message in tongues, opportunity is supposed to be given for an interpretation of the tongues message. 1 Corinthians 14:27, 28 instructs us about this:

If any man speaks in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church, and let him speak to himself and to God.

1 Corinthians 14:12, 13 tells us a little more:

Even so, since you are zealous about spiritual gifts, seek to excel to the edifying of the church. Therefore, let him who speaks in an unknown tongue pray that he may also interpret.

If you attend a Spirit-filled church where the gifts of the Spirit are welcomed, you have probably been taught these things. What many of us have not been told, however, is that we can (and should) also ask God for the interpretation of our private prayer languages.

In 1 Corinthians 14:18, 19, the apostle Paul said, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all: yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding….”  If Paul spoke in tongues more than the rest of them, yet preferred not to do so frequently in the church gathering, the implication is that he privately prayed a lot in tongues. Further, he spoke of the importance of also engaging in interpretation of tongues while in prayer.

Let’s look at verse 13 again. This time, we’ll add verses 14 and 15 to it:

Therefore, let him who speaks in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.  For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.  What then?  I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also; I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

Clearly, we are not only to pray in tongues, but also to hear the interpretation at times.

Here’s how I carried out my experiment:

  • I set aside about twenty minutes daily to simply pray in tongues. (I usually pray more in tongues than that, but this was focused time, while usually I pray in tongues as I am doing other things around the house.)
  • Before praying in tongues, I asked the Lord to interpret for me some of what I was praying.
  • I kept a journal in front of me to record any interpretations I received.
  • While I was praying in tongues, if a word, phrase, or picture came to mind, I wrote it in the journal.

The results:

Quite often, what I ended up recording were expressions of praise. How nice to find that much of what I prayed was expressing love and adoration for the Lord! That is how it should be.

Some words and phrases followed a theme. The flow along a theme seemed to be intercession – and sometimes there were enough details to unfold a story. In one particular session, I found I was praying about a nursing home (the name was supplied), which was suffering some type of catastrophe. I was praying for the safe evacuation of the residents and safety for the rescue workers. In still another, I was praying for a Christian man who had been blinded in an accident, whom the Lord was intending to heal through an innovative eye surgery. This much detail occurred only rarely, however. Most of the time, because I was only catching words and short phrases, I did not have much clarity.

Some words I heard seemed random and unconnected. This may be an indication that they were just coming from my own mind, not from the Spirit. When they were far between, they may have simply indicated that I was only hearing slight bits before moving on to a new topic.

Some words or phrases were unfamiliar to me. I usually googled those, out of curiosity. Sometimes they were astronomy, medical, or engineering terms. To my surprise, one peculiar phrase was the trademark expression of a character on a TV show I had never heard of, which had been popular in its day. The Spirit must have chosen to use this unique saying to address whatever I was praying into, but I did not understand it.

Sometimes the interpretation was unusually clear, and led me into more extended intercession in English. I could feel the heavy anointing of the Spirit on those expanded prayers. At other times, the interpretations did not lead me into further prayer along a theme.

I did not expect to receive an interpretation for everything I prayed. I believe that many topics we address in our prayer language remain purposely hidden by the Holy Spirit. When we are interceding for others, some information is not any of our business, so He protects the person we are praying for by not revealing it. Some things we pray for our own future would perhaps upset us if we knew prematurely.

I continued the experiment for about four months, and then stopped. It seemed that the unction to keep doing it every day was no longer there. Perhaps that phase of my education in discerning His voice had come to a close. I still pray in tongues, of course, but I don’t regularly listen deeply for an interpretation as I did then.

Perhaps sharing my experience will inspire some of you to listen to the Lord in this way. It takes faith to believe that the words and phrases you hear are really from Him, not  just your own imagination. And it takes concentration. But it is one more path to becoming sensitive to His voice. You might find that it opens up a depth of communication between you and the Lord beyond what you currently enjoy.

Why not give it a try?

 

Yes, You CAN Be an Intercessor! (CD or mp3 set),
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

 

Growing in the Prophetic (CD or mp3 set),
by Lee Ann Rubsam

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God’s Model for Prophecy

Spirit of truthIn our last post, I listed steps I use in meditating on Scripture. Today, I’m sharing something the Lord showed me as I meditated on a particular verse. Let’s start with the verse, John 16:13:

… When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.”

The NIV renders “He shall not speak of Himself, as, “He will not speak on His own.” The NASB puts it, “He will not speak on His own initiative.”

In this verse, God has given us the Holy Spirit as our role model for how prophecy is supposed to be carried out. And should it not be that way? The Spirit is our teacher (John 14:26).

Furthermore, Jesus followed this same model while on earth. He said, “He Who sent Me is true, and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him” and, “I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father has taught me, I speak these things” (John 8: 26, 28).

A true prophet parallels the Holy Spirit (and Jesus) by not speaking on his own initiative. He speaks only what he hears from the Lord. This is what is meant by speaking as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11). The prophet does not get ahead of God or speak presumptuously. He does not speak what he thinks is right, and then expect God to back him up. He waits to hear God first, and then he speaks.

Unfortunately, some modern-day prophets are not following the model given to us in John 16:13. A popular teaching in prophetic circles says we can “step into” prophecy at will: merely decide to prophesy and just start speaking in faith. God then supposedly backs up the prophet by filling his mouth with the word of the Lord. As a result, we are seeing far too much presumptuous prophecy coming from natural understanding or wishful thinking. Inner anxieties, faulty theological mindsets, and a desire for personal recognition can also contribute to inaccurate prophecy.

In addition, some prophets start out with a genuine, kernel word from the Lord, but then add in their own interpretations as part of their “word” without clearly explaining to their listeners, “This part is what I heard God say, and this part is what I think He might mean by that.”

In the next verse, John 16:14, Jesus adds this about the Holy Spirit: “He shall glorify Me, for He shall receive what is Mine, and shall show it to you.” Continuing with the Spirit as our model, any true prophetic revelation must in some way glorify Jesus. If a word or vision is genuine, it will always point back to Jesus, for He is the absolute Center of all. He never gives His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8). The word might not speak of Jesus directly, but it will ultimately cause us to turn our hearts to Him in greater reverence.

I have majored on just part of what John 16:13 has for us. It also promises that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, will guide us into all truth. I had been pondering this verse in response to a prophetic word I had come across. Some of the things said by the prophet troubled me, and I used this verse as my prayer to know the truth: Spirit of truth, please guide me into all truth. Is this prophet speaking rightly or not? I want to align myself with You. By the end of the day, I had my answer. The Holy Spirit enlightened me with His perspective by recalling to mind some Scriptures which refuted what was being claimed by the prophet.

John 16:13 also promises, “He will show you things to come.” The Lord is eager to share with His people what is yet ahead, so that we are not blindsided. He doesn’t tell us everything, but a good many times He desires to give us glimpses into the future, if we are willing to listen.

Such a rich verse! The Word of God brings life and strength to us. I will not be the same, since seeing these things. I hope sharing what I have learned will be a blessing to you, too.

Personal Prophecy

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy

 

 

Are You Among the Least?

Do you ever feel like you are one of the least of Jesus’ disciples? Maybe your “least” means least of the intercessors, or the prophetic people, or the singers in the choir, or the teachers, or the soul-winners in your acquaintance. It doesn’t really matter what your least is: this post is for you.

I deal with feeling like the least a lot, especially when it comes to intercession or prophecy, my particular functions in the Body. I’ve gotten to know some of the people who read my blog regularly, and I tend to admire them for how succinctly they hear the Lord and how they are able to turn what they hear into such powerful prayer. And then, there is their great faith for answers. Or their ability to move boldly in the word of knowledge or personal prophecy. It’s easy for me to wonder, “What do I have to offer these folks in my writing? Aren’t they already miles ahead of me?”

That’s the way I was feeling some weeks back, and I realized I needed to get free of such a mindset. After all, doesn’t 2 Corinthians 10:12 warn us, “… But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise”? Whether we’re comparing ourselves to others and thinking we’re a notch above the rest, or whether we go the other direction and think we’re on the bottom rung of the ladder, it isn’t in line with God’s view at all.

So, as I was asking the Lord to help me break free from my little inferiority stewpot, He brought to mind John 15 — that familiar chapter where Jesus talks about being the Vine, while we are the branches — “For without Me, You can do nothing” (v. 5).

I started to see myself as one of the branches, attached to the Vine, with an abundance of other branches surrounding me, also attached to the Vine. Each of us who is connected into Jesus as a healthy branch has the same sap flowing to us — the life of His Spirit within us. And because of that continual flow to us, we each produce fruit for Him in just the right amounts. Some branches may have a few more grapes clustered on them than others, but that doesn’t really matter a whole lot, because all are doing what they are supposed to do — bearing fruit. It is only when the sap supply is cut off that the branch becomes withered and dried, so that it doesn’t produce fruit like it should.

If grapevine branches could think, would they obsess about whether they were producing as many grapes as the branches around them? I suppose we can’t really know for sure, but I’m guessing they wouldn’t. They are just enjoying being connected to their vine, the source of all which they produce.

In the same way, whatever we do completely depends upon Jesus. We can’t strain harder to produce fruit and voila! our straining suddenly brings miraculous results. It is Jesus the Vine Who makes it all happen. Sure, we have to cooperate with Him by listening to the Spirit’s promptings and acting upon them, but as long as we are doing that as best we know how in our present stage of maturity, we produce the intended fruit. It may not look exactly like someone else’s fruit, and it may not ripen as quickly, but it is still fruit, and it is good in the Lord’s eyes.

Living in performance mode has become so much the norm in today’s church scene, that most of the time we don’t even recognize what is happening to us — or how wrong it is. Here in America, our independent, pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps work ethic influences our perception of self-worth: If I just try harder, I can do more for Jesus. If I can’t prophesy with all the pizzazz of Sister Susie, I’m not as valuable as she is. If I’m not a superstar with an audience of 5,000, I am insignificant.”

1 Corinthians 4:7 puts our function in the body of believers into better perspective: “For Who makes you different from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now, if you received it [as a free gift from God], why do you glory, as if you had not received it [but had somehow come up with it on your own]?”

The Lord also reminds us that each of us has been given unique purpose and custom-designed functions within His overall plan: “… Every man [or woman] has his proper gift from God, one after this manner, and another after that” (1 Corinthians 7:7).

So let’s find joy in Jesus, our Vine. And let’s rejoice that we get to be one of His branches, whether large or small, enjoying His sap, bearing fruit as He designed us to do. We can be thankful that we are part of a bigger picture, working together with all the other branches. It’s all about Jesus, not us, anyway.

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World, by Lee Ann Rubsam

Things I Look for in a Prophet

Deception is certainly on the rise — not only in the secular world, but in the Church. Truly, we need the discerning of spirits (1 Corinthians 12:10) more than ever. I am personally asking the Lord to increase this essential gift in me.

While ultimately it is by the Holy Spirit that we discern prophecy and those who claim to be prophets, there are practical steps we can take in our discernment process. Living by the direction of the Spirit does not mean we never use common sense. The Lord is the Giver of sense in the first place!

So, from a practical standpoint, I got to thinking about what I personally look for in prophets who are publicly releasing their words, dreams, and visions. Here’s my list:

1.) Is their focus primarily on Jesus, or is it only on giving spectacular words about future events?

Seeing into the future is part of the prophetic function for some prophets, but not for all. The main purpose of all prophecy is to point to Jesus. Revelation 19:10 tells us, “… The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” That might include a call to repentance or prayer; strengthening, comfort, and encouragement (see 1 Corinthians 14:3); or seeing into the future. But the underlying focus is always Jesus.

2.) If they have a website with a statement of faith, does it line up with the core beliefs of Christianity?

This is one of the first things I check, if their “word” seems to be OK. Then I look through their list of articles to see if there is anything odd showing up.

One man, whose teaching on prophecy initially seemed to be very good, had written an article encouraging people to pursue being possessed by angels. Say what? Is being indwelt and guided by the Holy Spirit not enough? I didn’t look into his teachings any further.

3.) Are their prophetic words or visions in agreement with God’s Word?

If not, no further discernment is needed: just throw the revelation out. We all make some theological mistakes while we’re maturing, but if there is gross or continuous error, I wouldn’t bother paying attention to that prophet anymore.

4.) Do they urge people to seek the Lord, or to put confidence in man?

Psalm 146:3 tells us, “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.”

Every time we have a presidential election, there are prophets who are so enamored with a particular candidate that you would think by their prophecies that their man is the savior of the nation. God doesn’t give saviorhood to anyone but Jesus. He can use an elected official hugely, but He still wants our trust solidly and completely placed in Him. Anything else is idolatry.

Pay attention to the emphasis of the words being released. Even if the prophet is correct about the candidate winning, if he or she is encouraging you to put your hope in a human being, the message is off-kilter. Don’t swallow that hook.

5.) Do they accept the discerning of their words by others?

God has set up safety factors for the Church. The discerning of prophetic words is not left up to the prophets who give them. (See 1 Corinthians 14:29 and 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21.)

6.) Do they have connections with (accountability to) honorable men and women of faith? Or are they out there on their own?

7.) Do they love and honor people who differ with them, or do they get angry, lash out, or accuse those who disagree with them?

This is pride, and a really red flag that all is not well in prophet-land.

8.) Do they lead the sheep, or do they drive them? Do they treat God’s people kindly, or threaten and browbeat them?

“You have to believe what I’m telling you. It’s the word of the Lord! If it doesn’t witness to you, you are just not listening to God!” Seriously?

9.) Are they accurate? Are they consistent over time?

Genuine prophets can make mistakes, but what if their prophecies were measured in percentage points? Would they get a passing grade, or an F?

10.) Are they humble? Is it about their reputation and recognition, or is it about God receiving glory?

11.) Do they admit their mistakes and ask the Church’s forgiveness? Or do they make excuses and blame others for their words not coming true?

The prophet who can humble himself to repent and take responsibility for his errors can be trusted in the long run. God can work with a flawed, yet humble, prophet. Sadly, admitting publicly to error is rare in the prophetic arena.

12.) Do they demand allegiance to their revelation, or do they leave the results to Jesus?

Years ago, a young prophetic person told those of us who were under his leadership that we must pray diligently for his “word” to come to pass. He said if it didn’t happen, it would be our fault. Ahem.

13.) Does my spirit feel uneasy while I’m listening to the prophet?

Uneasiness is an important tool by which the Holy Spirit helps us discern. It can mean something is off. Take a little time to weigh your lack of peace, in case it is simply your flesh resisting. But most likely your sense is correct.

Even if you can’t put your finger on it, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Trust the Holy Spirit to help you discern this. There have been times I have sensed the spirit of fear attached to the words of certain prophets. At other times, the sense was indefinable, and yet I knew something was wrong.

Some time back, I watched a video of a popular prophet. It just didn’t set well. Several months later, he was exposed for borrowing the predictions of a psychic and mouthing them as his own prophetic revelation. Ick. My sense of uneasiness bore out to be valid.

14.) Do their prophetic words come across as a curse? Do they only prophesy catastrophes?

God does speak stern warnings to His people at times, but He always has a redemptive purpose in warning us. He does not enjoy the prospect of calamity. A prophet who seems to relish prophesying destruction is not of a right spirit.

15.) What kind of fruit are they bearing?

Are their personal lives an absolute mess? Are they living in sin? Are the people they minister to ending up wounded?

Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree brings forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Wherefore, by their fruits you shall know them.”  — Matthew 7:15-20

Asking questions such as these can help us grow in accurate discerning of what is truly from God and what is only of the flesh (or worse). If we use them as guidelines, the Holy Spirit will step in and fine-tune our discerning of spirits, so that we are not fooled by those whom God is not truly sending.

Personal Prophecy

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy

Let the Word of God Speak for You

Bible Verse -- FreeImages.com/y0s1a

“Bible Verse,” courtesy of FreeImages.com/y0s1a

Several months ago, the Lord said to me, “Let the Word of God speak for you.” At the time, it wasn’t clear to me exactly how to apply it, but He has continued to remind me of that word and to give me understanding of it.

Here are some ways He is showing me to live it out:

1.)  I let the word of God speak for me in prayer. Reading the Bible consistently and becoming familiar with it is a good thing! But we can get to a place where we know the principles in it so well that we pray from our knowledge of what it says without actually praying specific verses to press our point. We paraphrase the Word in our prayers — sometimes quite loosely.

The Lord has been prompting me to slow down in prayer, take the time to look up the actual verses which pertain to what I am asking for, and pray the words of Scripture as my petition. I read the verse to the Lord and then pray it for my particular need. From there, He often brings to mind another verse which expands on the thought, so I look up that verse, and continue on in prayer with it. I expand on what I am praying by interjecting my own thoughts too, but I start with Scripture and keep close to it.

This isn’t the only way I pray, but it is something I am trying to do more of. It is more work to deliberately open the Bible and pray directly from it than it is to just loosely pray the concepts in it. But, I am noticing that when I do pray Scripture directly, I often feel the presence of the Lord intensely all around me. He loves to hear us pray His own words! And I know my prayers are in alignment with His will. There is great, great power in praying the Word.

2.)  I let the word of God speak for me in what I say in everyday speech. We all say things at times about ourselves and others which line up with how we feel in the given moment, but which are at cross-purposes with what God desires for us or the people He has put in our lives: “I do such stupid things all the time.” “So-and-so is not qualified for _______.” “Just give me the gold medal for being the world’s biggest klutz.”

I used to frequently joke about being spiritually obtuse or being a “spiritual pygmy,” because I was afraid I did not possess the prophetic abilities of many other intercessors in my acquaintance. Joking about it was a defense mechanism of sorts against my feelings of inadequacy.

But the day came when the Holy Spirit firmly spoke, “I want you to stop saying that.” I suddenly realized that I had been hindering my own ability to hear and see prophetically by my wrong declaration and twisted perception of myself. I was opposing the truth of John 8:47, “He who is of God hears God’s words.”

Now, I try to be more careful to say what God has spoken over my life — not what I might feel, or even the negative things some people have said. This goes for both personal words I have received from Him and Scripture promises.

The Lord wants us to quite simply let Scripture be our defense against whatever may assail us in our

  • health
  • relationships
  • finances
  • emotions
  • talents
  • business abilities
  • ministry (etc.)

Declaring what the Bible says in our everyday speech, and refraining from speaking contrary to it, takes effort. Circumstances don’t always change overnight. Negative perceptions about ourselves (or others) don’t usually go away immediately. They are strongholds of the mind which must be torn down brick by brick. The Word of God is the spiritual weapon we use for the dismantling process.

This is an area where I have a lot of growing to do yet, but at least I am becoming more aware of how I need to do things differently. I am learning to editorialize less on how the circumstances look and to speak God’s will as communicated in Scripture instead.  The Word of God is powerful to bring changes to us and our circumstances, if we will purposefully declare it over ourselves and over whatever might be happening to us.

Let the Word of God speak for you.

__________________________

The Intercessor's Companion
Do you need help finding Bible verses which apply to your petitions? Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor’s Companion, is a good place to start. It is a compilation of verses arranged by topics. Available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook formats.

 

Making a Place for God’s Presence (Part 2)

Modified Hubble Image, by Lee Ann RubsamIn our last post, I explained what we mean by experiencing the Presence of God. I mentioned that worship, meditating on the Word, and intimate prayer are ways we can, as individuals, invite God to manifest His Presence to us.

Why should we want God to manifest Himself to us? Aren’t mature believers supposed to walk by faith, not by sight?

The truth is, God has built into humankind a hunger to know Him experientially. He is intimately acquainted with us, but He also longs for us to know Him intimately. That’s the way it started out in Eden — mutual knowing of one another between God and man.

In Exodus 33:12 through 34:9, we have the story of Moses’ quest for God’s manifested Presence. “I beseech You, show me Your glory” (Exodus 33:18). God readily granted his petition. He hid Moses in a crevice in the rock and allowed him to see His glory in limited measure as He passed by.

And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and … passed by before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin ….”

And Moses hastily bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. — Exodus 34:5-8

God has made us spiritual beings, who happen to reside in physical bodies. Because we are spiritual in nature, and because we were created to fellowship with God, we quite naturally long for God’s supernatural evidences to show up in our natural world. Encountering God in a manifestation of His supernatural Presence keeps us alive to Him. We need this intermingling with His Presence to sustain us and empower us to do the “greater works” of God, mentioned in John 14:12, which were to be poured out on believers with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Physical healings often take place in us too, as we worship in the Presence of our Healer.

We can encounter God’s Presence when we are alone with Him in prayer and worship, but experiencing Him tangibly should also be a regular occurrence when the Church gathers corporately. In fact, the magnitude of His revealed glory should be multiplied when we join with other believers. We are not meant for a “just me and Jesus” lifestyle. We are all members of the Body of Christ, fitted together as one entity. And when that joining together takes place, God is eager to come down among us.

Yet, many have never experienced the manifest Presence of God in the church setting. Why? We have learned to do without sensing Him in the congregation for so long that we don’t even know we can expect Him to show up.

We fill the void of His Presence with all sorts of substitutes — glitzy worship teams with all the right gestures and singing techniques, flashy lights, beautiful video presentations, music loud enough to blow the doors out. While these things are not necessarily bad in themselves (well, the excessively loud music might be!), they are calculated to appeal to our soul, not our spirit. They stimulate excitement for the mind and body, but they do not connect our spirit to the Lord. So, when the show is over, our inner man has not been satisfied. A gnawing emptiness remains.

Why are so many leaving the local church? They are not hearing the simple gospel of Jesus preached (which is a subject for another day), and they are not being given opportunity to truly meet with God in worship. When little room is made for genuine interaction between man’s spirit and the Spirit of the Lord, disappointment and boredom result. Somehow, the Church has bought into the false notion that we need to artificially entertain people, in order to compete with the world system for their attention and affection.

We can change this. It is not all that hard. It will take a few adjustments, starting with our attitudes and expanding into our actions. That’s where we will pick up next time.

Previous — Part 1
Next — Part 3

Making a Place for God’s Presence (Part 1)

Modified Hubble Image, by Lee Ann RubsamRecently, someone attending one of our prayer gatherings commented that he so enjoyed the weighty Presence of God among us. He asked, “Why do I feel that here, but not in other groups I have participated in?”

My answer was that many Christians are not aware that they can experience sensing the Lord’s Presence, and so they don’t make room for Him to move among them. In our house of prayer, we do a few simple things to make the Lord feel welcome. Basically, we prepare a place for Him, and then He does the rest. The results are glorious!

In this series, I’m going to share with you what we mean by the Glory-Presence of God, why it is important for us to experience Him tangibly, and how to tap into His Presence as individuals and in group settings, such as church services and prayer gatherings. I will provide practical how-to ideas for worship leaders and pastors who desire to see God manifest His Presence in their congregations. In this initial post, we’ll talk about the individual aspect.

When we are born again, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. We begin to interact with God. He speaks to our inner man, convicting us of sin, comforting and reassuring us, and guiding our lives day by day. There is a further experience, clearly laid out in the Bible, which every believer can and should have — the Baptism in the Spirit — which is a full immersion in the Holy Spirit. We are filled up with Him, and fully enveloped by Him. It is a gateway into a deeper, more powerful life in Christ. For those who are skeptical, or who have never heard of being baptized in the Spirit, I have an inexpensive audio teaching for you at my website: The Baptism in the Spirit: Why You Need It & How to Get It. I have also written an article on the subject, What Is the Baptism in the Spirit?

So, every believer already experiences the Presence of God in some measure. We maintain and increase our connection to His Presence through heartfelt worship, absorbing and meditating on His Word, and intimate prayer, where we converse with Him and listen for His responses to us. Ephesians 5:18 exhorts us to “be filled with the Spirit,” indicating that there is an active part we play; worship, the Word, and intimate prayer are how we go about it.

We can experience the Lord both internally and externally. At times, He manifests Himself to His people tangibly in corporate gatherings. We may feel like the air around us becomes heavy, or thick, with Him, as if He is brooding over us or resting upon us. We may sense that He has suddenly entered the room, or, there is a gradual increase in awareness of Him. The gifts of the Spirit, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, may start evidencing. A fog or mist which can be seen with the natural eye might appear. We become very conscious that He is with us, touching us, even though we cannot see Him.

What we are encountering in such times is the kabod, a Hebrew word translated “glory” in our English Bibles. The word also means “weight; splendor; glorious honor; abundant fullness.”

On a personal level, you may experience a warm feeling in your heart, or great peace settling in, or a sense that Jesus is standing right by your side. You may have stronger physical manifestations of God interacting with you:

1.) Fire is coursing through you or enveloping you. The Holy Spirit often reveals Himself and what He is doing as fire.

Jeremiah said “He has sent fire into my bones” (Lamentations 1:13). Moses described Him as “a consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24). John the Baptist said Jesus would “baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16).

2.) You feel a breeze or wind. The Hebrew word ruach and the Greek word pneuma both mean “spirit; breath; wind.” They are the words used in the Bible for the Holy Spirit.

3.) Many believers have felt what they described as overwhelming sensations of “liquid love” pouring over or through them.

4.) During intense manifestations of the Lord’s Presence, you may find it hard to stand, as if you are being pushed downward, or your balance may become unsteady. At the dedication of Solomon’s temple, “… The cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD” (1 Kings 8:10, 11).

These are just a few of the ways you might encounter the Glory-Presence of God personally or in a group setting.

While we should greatly desire God’s Presence in these tangible ways, we must never get off into pursuing the manifestations for their own sake. We go wholeheartedly after the Lord, not how He shows up. We can ask, as Moses did in Exodus 33:18, “Lord, show me Your glory,” but then we let Him decide how and when to release supernatural evidences of His Presence with us. He will not disappoint us.

Next — Part 2