Andy Hollifield 4-9-18
1 Kings 18:38-39 Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. (39) And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.
1 Kings 19:12-13 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. (13) And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
There is just something about the presence of the Holy Ghost when it is real. He is always real but there are a lot of times that people will work up emotions and pass it off as the Holy Ghost working in a service when it isn’t. Most don’t do it intentionally but often they getr caught up in the moment. It is especially common after a death in a church. In our grief, if we aren’t careful, we will let our emotions get out of hand and will unintentionally pass it off as the Spirit of God moving in the service. There is one sure way to tell the difference….results. The Spirit of God always gets results. Just as in the scriptures above, the prophets of Baal sincerely believed in their false God and were obviously disappointed that he failed to answer to the point of cutting themselves with stones and jumping up and down on the altar until they broke it, still with no results. They had obviously been quite emotional and I am sure it was a real display but there just wasn’t anything to it. I sometimes make a sports analogy that anyone just about can throw a strike in baseball, but can you put any heat on it? You can tell a real pitcher by whether or not he can put any heat on it and maintain control and produce results. Paul told the Corinthian Christians in 1 Corinthians 14:40 “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Jesus tells us in John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
I am not trying to pass myself off as an authority on the moving of the Holy Ghost. Lord knows that I have missed his will more times than I can count. That was always my fault and not his. A lot of those times, if I had of just waited on the Lord; I would have heard that same still small voice that Elijah heard. Isaiah 55:11 says “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it.” In other words; it always gets results. Acts 15:8 “And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us.” The Holy Ghost won’t be found where whatever is going on is not of the Lord. But, if it is of the Lord, Romans 8:16 says, The Spirit itself bareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” God will let our spirit know if something is from him. The bible says in 1 John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” It is so disheartening to sit in a service with a lot of what appears to be worship going on when you can’t feel a thing. I have begged God to flood my soul and let me get in on it if it was of him. I have repented just in case I had sinned and begged God to remove whatever was hindering me from having communion with him. There have been times when I would leave church and ask God why he wasn’t blessing me like he appeared to be blessing everyone else and his response would be that he wasn’t there. Other times, I would be on the way home and listening to music and a song just flood my soul with his Spirit. He would let me know that what I had seen wasn’t real but what he was giving me at that moment was real. Other times he would convict me and say that if I had of repented he would have blessed me too.
The sad thing is, that we have gotten so used to operating without the Spirit of God, that if he left most churches completely, they would go on as usual and never miss him. We have learned how to preach, we have learned how to worship and praise, and we even have leaders to do that and get the rest of us pumped up. What we really need to learn is how to wait upon the Lord and try the spirits. The Holy Ghost don’t need anyone running interference for him. When he comes on the scene, any heart that knows him knows when it’s real. We have almost completely raised one generation that knows nothing about the moving of the Holy Ghost in our churches because they rarely if ever, have seen the real thing. God don’t need me to prime and pump anyone but he does allow us to exhort one another. Some of the definitions of exhort are to admonish, beg, entreat, console, encourage, strengthen, comfort, and instruct. That is our job to help our brethren. There is only so much I can do to help anyone but the Lord can reach deep into the coldest, darkest, or most hurting soul where my words can never reach. My words may go there but it will be only because the Spirit of God drills deep into that heart and makes a way for my words to reach them. Even in the Old Testament, the bible speaks about the glory of the Lord covering mount Sinai for six days and it was a cloud. What made it different from any other cloud was the glory of the Lord. The phrase, “The Spirit of the Lord” appears 91 times throughout the bible. If you look at them, there is always an action of some kind that follows the moving of “The Spirit of the Lord.”
Although the word “real” does not appear in the bible, the word “true” and “truth” does. Paul warns Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:5 about people that are not real. He said “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” It’s hard to describe the realness of the Spirit. It’s better experienced than told about. If you have ever had the Lord just begin to stir your soul with a song or a sermon or maybe just something someone said; you can tell when it’s real. Jeremiah said that “His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” The two travelers on the road to Emmaus said after they realized it was Jesus they had walked with said, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way…?” There is a difference when it is his Spirit talking to you. It is like no other voice and no other presence. It can settle down on you as a cloud or bubble up from within you as a fountain. It can come as a mighty rushing wind or as a still small voice. However it comes, try the spirits and make sure it’s of him. If it’s of him and you belong to him; it won’t have to be worked up or primed and pumped to get it out. Actually, just like Jeremiah said in so many words, you can’t keep it in. While I know that the Lord don’t save by feelings; I am glad that he gave us something we can feel. God’s Spirit will make your heart burn from the inside out and turn a frown into a smile. It can squeeze your heart until the juice runs out of your eyes. It can make you shout or run or just sob uncontrollably. However it shows up on you; wait and make sure it’s him. Like I said, if it is real; you can’t contain it because it’s bigger than you. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!
Andy Hollifield 4-9-18