Friday, April 8, 2016

The Parrésia Anointing

On July 4, 2015 I posted a blog called God's Freedom of Speech Definition. (Read it here). It is about Peter and John being arrested for preaching in the Name of Jesus. It's taken from Acts 4 & 5. I discuss the word parrésia which is used to describe the confidence of Peter and John that the authorities saw, as well as the confidence they prayed for so they could continue to speak the word. Parrésia is also used to describe the boldness they continued to preach with after this happened. As I explain in the blog, parrésia means freedom of speech and confidence. When reading these Scriptures, you can replace the words confidence and boldness with "freedom of speech" to get a better understanding.

I bring this up again because there is more we need to see about this type of freedom of speech that God gave them, and will give to us if we ask for it as they did. There are three different levels to this kind of free speech.

1. The freedom to speak freely without harassment or persecution. 
This type of freedom of speech is what we have enjoyed in America for so long, up until recently. We've had the freedom to say what we want and others have the freedom to disagree with us. We have not had to fear being persecuted or arrested for speaking of Jesus or preaching in His Name.

2. The courage to speak freely even if there is persecution or consequence.
This is the kind of boldness I typically thought of when reading about Peter and John's arrest in Acts 4. This is the kind of courage that some American Christians are starting to have to display because of persecution and laws that are attacking our freedom of speech. This is the kind of courage a true believer must have in order to stay loyal to the Lord during times of opposition. The early church displayed this type of courage, many of them to the point of death.

3. The power-filled, anointed speech that brings light and freedom to blinded minds.
This is the kind of speech that not only reaches the ears of the deceived because the speaker had the boldness to speak, but these are words that carry the power to penetrate into the brain of the person bringing light, understanding, freedom and faith to the hearer! This is where we see God backing the words we speak with power. We see this displayed throughout the book of Acts and described here:
...After it (the Word) was spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. Hebrews 2:3-4
So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. Mark 16:19-20 
Words are more than sound waves that hit an eardrum. Sound waves continue through the ear and into the brain where they are decoded so the hearer understands what the speaker meant. God-anointed words have the power to eradicate the darkness of deception that blinds the minds of unbelievers so they can see the truth and believe!
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."  2 Corinthians 4:3-4
The minds of the unbelieving are blinded by darkness. They don't see the light of the gospel. They don't see the glory of the Lord. They don't see that He is the image of God Himself. We need to have the courage of level two described above, but also the power of level three. We need to speak the Word of God with the anointing of His Spirit so His Light can penetrate the darkened minds.
The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130 NKJV
So how do we get this level three kind of God-anointed words? We first display level two courage, but look at what Peter and John also did. After they were threatened by the authorities they went to their own people and they all prayed.
"And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence (parrésia), while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus." And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. (parrésia). (Acts 4:29-31).
They gathered with their people and prayed for parrésia. When they did the whole place shook and they were filled with the Spirit. We know that they were already filled with the Spirit, but they received a fresh, or greater anointing of the Spirit. Rather than backing down and giving in to the dark threats of the authorities, they responded by asking the Lord for more parrésia so they could speak His word while the Lord healed and displayed signs and wonders. This kind of parrésia anointing on our words brings the light and power of God into the earth in such a way that the works of God are demonstrated and God is glorified!

If you grieve over a loss of the level one kind of freedom of speech, make a decision to speak the Word courageously. Pray for this parrésia anointing and for the Lord to display signs and wonders through His Name. Remember, the light shines brighter in the darkness. There may be a stronger conflict, but light overcomes the darkness!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Keys to Speaking Powerful, Creative Words

"The Lord heard the voice of Elijah,
and the life of the child returned to him and he revived."
1 Kings 17:22
Don't we all want God to hear our voice in such a way that miracles like this one--a child being raised from the dead--happen when we pray? What Christian would not want to speak life-giving words, the kinds of words that create miracles and bring the realm of the Spirit into this physical realm? Can we speak creative words of healing and miracles? Is this possible today? Does God still respond to the voices of people in such a way as this? To answer that, let's look back to the beginning. God created the physical world we live in by speaking it into existence.

"Then God said, "Let there be light; and there was light."
Genesis 1:3
God spoke words, which are sound vibrations. But words are not just meaningless sounds. There was intent behind the sound vibrations (words) that God spoke. There was a thought, an image, a vision, an idea, or whatever you want to call it, it was an expected result to the words He spoke. He intended to create the earth. It was an intentional act. He knew what He was doing. He was speaking for the purpose of creating.

The earth didn't just respond in a random way to random sound vibrations--it did exactly what God told it to do. Words come from breath. So where does breath come from? Breath is Spirit. The Words that God breathed out released the thoughts and intent of the Spirit--His Spirit--resulting in the creation of the earth as we know it. The breath of these words were the substance of His Spirit. When these words were breathed/spoken they were the very expressions of the ideas of the Spirit of God being sent out to accomplish the task.

Let's back up a bit and look again at Genesis 1:3 in relation to verses 1-2.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was formless, and void,
and darkness was over the surface of the deep,
and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
"Then God said, "Let there be light; and there was light."
Here is the order of events:
There was nothing.
The Spirit of God moved over the nothing.
God spoke light.
Light became.
Born within the Spirit of God was the idea, the plan and the purpose of what He was about to create. It was formed within Him first. Then He spoke--breathed words--and it moved from the spiritual realm of thought and idea into the physical matter of existence that we see today. His Spirit is the breath that makes up the words as well as the intent of what they are to accomplish.
"So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11

Words that create life will not just be meaningless sound vibrations, they will be words which come from the Spirit of God--the breath of God. When we pray, are we looking to breathe out words from the Spirit of God or just speak meaningless sound vibrations? Do our words have intent? Do they have purpose? Are they from God, because His words do not return to Him empty! If we want them to go out and actually accomplish something these are things we need to consider.

"Thus Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fail."
1 Samuel 3:19
None of Samuel's words failed. The Lord Himself did not let any of his words fail. That means when they came out of Samuel's mouth, they went and accomplished what they were sent out to do. Have you ever felt that your words went out of your mouth and just fell to the ground, not accomplishing what they were meant to do? (Anyone with kids could say yes here). This is frustrating if you are trying to speak words of life and healing, yet a good thing if you are angry and cursing! Imagine if every word you spoke went out and actually did what you were telling them to do. This could be a blessing, but it could also be quite dangerous.

"Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven
and consume them?"
But He turned and rebuked them, and said,
"You do not know what kind of spirit you are of;
for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them..."
Luke 9:55-56

Thank God James and John asked Jesus first before they just called fire down from heaven to consume those Samaritans who did not receive Him! Their words would have destroyed, when Jesus was sent to save. We must look for His intent when we speak.

Back to our opening verse where Elijah raised the widow's son from the dead, after he did so she said to him,
"Now I know that you are a man of God
and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth."
1 Kings 17:24  
The word of the Lord in Elijah's mouth was truth. In some people's mouth, the word is not truth. How can that be? How can a person speak the word of the Lord and not have it be truth? Because the truth is both the Word of God and the Spirit of God combined. Jesus said:
"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth." John 17:17
"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth,..." John 14:17
The Word of God is truth and the Spirit of God is truth. Both of them are truth. Truth is not just facts. It is more than that. It is not just quoting Scripture either. It is words spoken by the Spirit of God, in agreement with the Word of God. The character or fruit of the Spirit needs to so fully saturate our hearts that everything we speak carries His anointing. Love is the evidence of maturity in the Spirit. (See 1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
The Apostle Paul wrote that we are to grow into maturity and not be led astray by deceitful doctrines. He said,

"but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ," Ephesians 4:15
We're told to speak the truth in love. I question whether speaking the truth without love is still the truth. Because God is love. His Spirit is truth. His words are truth. They must all mesh together. Once again, truth is not simply spouting off facts. For example, let's say my husband Tim does the dishes and keeps leaving dirt on the cups. I let it go a time or two, but after a while I say something. If I say something in a spirit of criticism, anger, resentment, arrogance or any ungodly character of spirit, I may be speaking facts, but since it is not in love, is it still the truth? It's not what the Word of God says about him. It's not in character with the Spirit of God, so is it truth? I will need to be concerned about the condition of my heart, not whether he gets it right and does what I want with the dishes. If I attack him with my words I am not moving in a spirit of love, or truth.
Let's get back to the question of whether or not we can speak creative words of healing and miracles today. There are two things we need to consider. The measure of the Spirit and the consistency of our words.

The Measure of the Spirit
God gives the Spirit without measure. (John 3:34). How do we get filled with the Holy Spirit today?

1. Jesus appeared to His disciples after He rose from the dead and sent them out as the Father had sent Him. then He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." (John 20:19-22)
2. He told them to wait in Jerusalem until they were clothed with power from on high. They did and the Holy Spirit fell on them and filled them. (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5, 2:1-4)
3. The Apostle Paul told the church to "not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ." (Ephesians 5:18-21)

Here we see the Spirit was received by His disciples when Jesus breathed on them/spoke to them. They were filled to overflowing when they waited on Him together, and they were told to remain filled with the Spirit through praise and thanksgiving. These are ways to receive and maintain a filling of the Spirit.

Jesus spoke of being filled to overflowing. He said, regarding those who believe in Him, that out of their belly will flow rivers of living water--speaking of the Spirit of God. (John 7:37-39). So not only do you need to be filled, but filled to overflowing. There is a filling of the Spirit within you and for you, and there is an overflowing of the Spirit to benefit others.

The Consistency of our Words
The second thing we need to consider regarding whether we can speak words of creative miracles and healing today, is the consistency of our words. Consistency in the sense of being constant and faithful to only speak words of life. Not consistency in the sense of the thickness of a substance like cake batter. However, it's kind of a play on words because if you are consistent to only speak words of life then the consistency--or intensity--of the power of your words will also increase. Think of 100 proof alcohol, which is more powerful--or intense--than 60 proof. If you want the intensity or power of your words to increase, then you will need to be consistent in speaking life, not death.

"from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing.
My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
Does a fountain send out from the same opening
both fresh and bitter water?"
James 3:10-11
If we cannot be trusted to speak blessing and life with our words, then our words will not be backed with much power of the Spirit. This is a protection for us and those around us. Do you want to be able to speak powerful words of life? Words that bring deliverance and healing? This is one thing to keep in mind--keeping the words of your mouth consistently life-giving.

If we back up a couple verses, we see right before this James says:
"But no one can tame the tongue;
it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
With it we bless our Lord and Father,
and with it we curse men,
who have been made in the likeness of God."
James 3:8-9
If we want our tongue tamed, we must grow in the fruit of the Spirit. We must desire and embrace the character of the Holy Spirit as our own character. Jesus said "the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart." (Matthew 12:34). What is in our heart is evidenced by what comes out of our mouth.
When you are faced with situations where you want to complain, gossip, curse etc. this is a golden opportunity for you to prove consistency with your words! Don't fail this test! Realize the importance of what is going on here. God is trying to increase the intensity/authority of your words so you can speak life to others! Once this happens, you can say as the Apostle Paul did:
"and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom,
but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men,
but on the power of God."
1 Corinthians 2:4-5