Gauging the Holy Spirit

Before Grace and I left last week, I posted some questions I was struggling with.  It’s interesting how if I ask and pursue, I get answers.  No, really, I get Truth.  Read the post first, then come back here.

“God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to be held in reverence by all those around Him”.  Psalm 89:7

The following is an excerpt from the book I’m reading now “Drawing Near”, by John Beveere:

“Let’s read the second part of the verse again.  ‘God is…to be held in reverence by all those around Him.’  This is always true and ever remains:  you’ll never find God manifesting His presence in an atmosphere where He is not revered.  He will not come near or dwell in an environment where He is not held in the utmost honor, esteem, and respect.  It doesn’t matter how good the singing or ‘worship’ is, or how good the preaching or teaching is, nor how scriptural the prayer is; if He is not feared, He will not come near to reveal Himself.  It is no different thatn with Eli and his sons.

Over the years I’ve entered auditoriums where hundreds or thousands of believers were gathered, there have been countless times when sadly there was not a hint of God’s presence.  The reason:  there was a lack of holy fear among the people and sometimes even the leadership.  The praise and worship teams can be excellent, with banners waving and dancers, and skilled musicians and singers.  The services can be innovative and high tech with media announcements.  The event can be creative and entertaining where the people are greeted with humor or topics of interest, but there is something missing.  The atmosphere is void of God’s presence.  The heartbreaking fact is the majority in attendance are unaware of how truly empty the atmosphere is.

In these situations, the Lord leads me to share on obedience and the fear of the Lord, and each time the call to repentance is given I’ve witnessed a majority respond, often including the leaders themselves.  Almost without fail before a prayer is uttered, the presence of God manifests, and people begin to weep.  Why does this happen?  Because God is drawn to those who love, honor and fear Him.  For this reason, James says,

‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners;  and purify your hearts, you double-minded.’  James 4:8-9″

One thing I want to be clear on is that I’m not seeking a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.  I’m seeking the actual Man.  Seeking manifestations or as Ron Kopicko calls “worshipping the experience” is empty.  Seeking the manifestation is like seeking manna.  It never satisfied.  I’m simply submitting that as I’m processing through, I am seeing the church that really doesn’t seem to need God but thinks He’s important.  I wonder if it’s a cultural thing in North America.  We’re rich, affluent, and create our own heaven here.  It’s hard.

As I was mowing the lawn last night, I was worshipping.  One of the songs was “Mighty to Save”.  A line that I’ve sung many times jumped out at me as I was engaging.  It was the chourus:  “Savior, He can move the mountains.  My God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save.”  As I was singing (thankful for the mower to cover my voice), I was celebrating in my spirit.  I was thanking the Holy Spirit for moving mountains in my life I couldn’t move.  That I tried to move.  That I gave up on.  I was celebrating his mightiness.  I wonder if, generally speaking, we just don’t get it because God’s never moved any mountains for us.  This causes us to get lulled to sleep.

If you ask me, I read this above and think “That’s my church”.  But what I can’t see yet is how we get past that to a breakthrough.  From everything I’m reading and understanding, I think the breakthrough for our church is going to be when we truly fear God, repent, and turn.  That’s going to come when we move from pretending that everyone’s okay to celebrating the fact that we are all sinners.  But that’s a whole other post I’ll save for later this week…

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