Wizards and Christians

Hello, beloved. I wanted to share something I hope can help at least one of you:

A man named Simon had previously practiced sorcery in that city and astounded the Samaritan people, while claiming to be somebody great. They all paid attention to him, from the least of them to the greatest, and they said, “This man is called the Great Power of God! ” They were attentive to him because he had astounded them with his sorceries for a long time. But when they believed Philip, as he preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then even Simon himself believed. And after he was baptized, he went around constantly with Philip and was astounded as he observed the signs and great miracles that were being performed. When the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had welcomed God’s message, they sent Peter and John to them. After they went down there, they prayed for them, so the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet come down on any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power too, so that anyone I lay hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter told him, “May your silver be destroyed with you, because you thought the gift of God could be obtained with money! You have no part or share in this matter, because your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” (Acts 8:9-23)

You see, although Simon believed, was baptized, and followed the church wherever they went, his heart was not right before God because he was poisoned by bitterness and bound by unrighteousness. Also, because of the bitterness and unrighteousness he didn’t want to let go of, he wasn’t able to receive the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which gives us the power to stop sinning and walk in righteousness.

So we see that people who truly want to follow Christ give up their sin, their grudges (even if in their mind it seems right to hold a grudge), they simply let go of everything and trust in Jesus. Once they do, they may now receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is different from water baptism.

Water baptism is more of a statement, like saying you now have a clean conscience toward Jesus and are going to walk in a new way of life, in His way of life. But baptism of the Holy Spirit is when you pray for it and really repent, turn away from your sins and run to Jesus, and then He fills you with His Spirit and gives you the power to obey Him and live a transformed life.

Many times (if not every time) someone gets the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they either start to prophesy or speak in tongues. That’s what happened to my sister and I, and several other Christians I know. Well, either way, the baptism of the Holy Spirit needs to happen to you if you really want to follow Jesus.

I love you, and I’m praying for you,

Natasha

If you have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.

I’m a Christian, But I’m Also A Pirate On A Sinking Ship. Arg, A Little Help?

Ever look at a Christian brother or sister and wonder why their life seems to have so much power? Why they used to be a drug addict or alcoholic, or an adulterer, and yet now it’s like they’re transformed and only keep growing and becoming better and better? It’s been years, yet they continue to go up rather than struggle with a roller coaster cycle of up AND down or just stay the same for a long time with not much change or growth. They are just filled with a passion for The Lord that never seems to go out.

Then you look at yourself, and wonder why your life doesn’t look similar, why you still struggle with sin and “bad habits.” Why you’re not as joyful. “Don’t we both believe in Jesus?” You ask. “Don’t we both go to the same church every Sunday and listen to the same pastor? Don’t we have the same Bible?”

The reason their life has been transformed is simple: because they’ve been transformed by the power and filling of the Holy Spirit. They have not only been baptized with water to repentance, but with what John the Baptist called the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire.

“While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? ” “No,” they told him, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” “Then what baptism were you baptized with? ” he asked them. “With John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began to speak in other languages and to prophesy.” (Acts 19:1-6)

“When the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had welcomed God’s message, they sent Peter and John to them. After they went down there, they prayed for them, so the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet come down on any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”(Acts 8:14-17)

The second passage shows there’s a difference between water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The first passage is one of many that demonstrate when one is baptized with the Holy Spirit, the outcome is the person either speaks in tongues or speaks prophecy, or both.

Every believer can experience this most powerful filling of the Holy Spirit, however, I believe there are two obstacles standing in the way: sin and fear.

Some of us want Jesus, but we also don’t want to let go of something: a relationship, an addiction, a career, you name it. And with Christ, it’s all or nothing.

Then there’s also a simple and completely understandable fear. Many charismatics have given the beautiful and powerful gift of the baptism of God’s Holy Spirit a bad reputation. They run around all out of control when a fruit of the Holy Spirit is actually self-control, they tell people to babble a certain phrase or a certain way, they speak in a tongue with no interpreters, and quite honestly, they look crazed. Some of them might actually even be possessed because of all the chaos, disorder, and confusion, which are in complete contrast to God’s Holy Spirit which is peace, order, and self-control.

When I received the gift of tongues, I was praying quietly by myself to God the Father through Jesus, in a pitch black cabin in Romania with over ten women sleeping all around me. I did not fall to the ground and convulse. I did not scream and get hysterical. I felt a wind inside of me (just as Acts 2:2 describes), and at first, I was fearful. I never felt something so amazing and spiritual, it was brand new to me. And the moment fear crept in, that spirit did not pounce and overtake me, throwing me to the ground. It did the opposite: it started to leave. Christ is gentle, He does not force Himself upon anyone, ever. In fact, I had been praying for the gift of tongues for four months before I received it. God patiently waited until I was ready. So, when His Spirit started leaving me, I rebuked my fear and began telling Jesus, ” Yes, Lord, I say yes to your Spirit, I want Your Spirit, Jesus.” And it came back, quicker, until my body was filled and it consumed my heart. The moment it filled my heart, my tongue truly ” loosened” (again, just as the Bible describes it), and I was speaking in tongues. I was filled with incredible joy, just quietly speaking in tongues. It was the most amazing feeling, a taste of Heaven where in God’s presence there’s fullness of joy. From that day onward, I kept growing and growing and have continued to have an increasing passion and boldness for Jesus Christ.

This gift is given to those who truly forsake their old life and desires, and choose Jesus 100% and ask Him for it.

“So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”-Jesus (Luke 11:9-13)

My Earthly Dad Versus My Heavenly One

Every time my earthly dad chuckled at my impersonations, the funny accents I’d do, the costumes I’d parade in, did not my Heavenly Father do the same?

When my earthly dad taught me to ride bike, and cheered me on as I listened to his instruction, and trusting him, applied it and succeeded, did not my Heavenly Father also cheer?

When I had my first accident, where I hurt myself and cried, and my earthly dad held me in his warm embrace and comforted me with kisses, does not my Heavenly Father likewise comfort me?

When my earthly dad let me go out on my own, and hoped I’d do the right thing, does not my Heavenly Father hope the same?

When my earthly dad said yes to the man who is now my husband when he asked for my hand, did not my Heavenly Father desire to say yes to a trust worthy man that will take care of me and tend to me with Christ-like love?

My earthly dad did a good job at taking care of me. He did the best he could. But my Heavenly Father is perfect. He is always good. His love for me far surpasses the love my earthly dad has for me, because God is divine. He has no beginning, middle or end. His love for me reaches beyond the seas, past the ends of the earth, into eternity where there is no bounds.

He extends His hand to me, hoping I will grasp it and never let go. For I am His daughter, his precious baby girl. His diamond in the rough. He seeks to tend to me, to nurture me, to train me in love. He desires to reveal to me just how deep his love goes.

More than my hard-working hands, He wants my diligent heart. He yearns for me to sit at his feet and listen to him, to bond with him, to spend quality time with him, more than he wants me to go out there and serve him.

Who am I, that He desires me to know Him fully? Who am I, that He yearns for me to sit close?

His love is enough. It is more than enough. It is abundant, extravagant, infinite. I want to bathe in it every day. I want it to soak deep inside my pores, to rest inside my soul, to marinate in my heart, every day He blesses me with.

Lord, may the work come only after I’ve swam in your love, only after I’ve acknowledged it and sincerely thanked You for it. Only then.

I love you, Jesus. Please help me to love You more.