Once again, we are coming to the end of one year and the beginning of another, a change of seasons. There’s all the excitement of shopping for Christmas gifts, Christmas parties, plays, parades, etc. and then we will be welcoming a new year. There are natural transitions and then there are spiritual ones. Lately I have been feeling like I’m in the midst of a spiritual transition.
My husband and I listened to a message on transition by Jentezen Franklin yesterday (Kingdom Connection). He talked about how it’s like being in the birth canal. It’s a place of discomfort, frustration and pressure; a waiting period when you’re coming to the end of one season in your life and the beginning of another.
Some of the things I was doing for the Lord seem to have come to an end or at least a pause and new opportunities have presented themselves. It seems anytime we start something new, there’s a lot of work involved, some frustrations and waiting, but more than that, I have felt dissatisfied spiritually, like there is something missing and I need a fresh touch from the Lord.
I was standing outside our Church (Solid Rock Church of God in Inverness), next to Pastor Jeff, yesterday chatting in between people coming out after the service and he shared with one man about how he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit at 16 years of age in front of his Baptist youth group and how there were rumors that went around that he was on drugs. We both thought of the scripture in the book of Acts 2:15-18 “These men are not drunk, as you imagine…but this is the beginning of what was spoken through the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out of My spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy (telling forth the divine counsels) and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Yes, and on My menservants also and on My maidservants in those days I will pour out of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy.” (The Amplified Bible).
I started thinking today about my own experience. As I shared before, I went to the Methodist Church from the time I was 5 years old until I was 14. After my family moved back to Pasco County, a family friend took me and my friend Terri to the Baptist Church, where I got born again. I continued to go there until I graduated from high school, but when I would go visit my friend Pam Simon (Burke), I would go the the Inverness Church of God with her. I had never heard or been taught anything about the gifts of the Holy Spirit or the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, it was all new to me. All I knew was that when Anne Daniels led the praise and worship and when the gifts of the Holy Spirit were in operation, I sensed the tangible presence of God, the same Holy Spirit that entered my heart and life when I was born again at 14 years of age, and in my heart I said, whatever these people have, I want it. I began to study the scriptures about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and gifts of the Spirit and pray about receiving this experience in my life.
Prior to this time, I went through a dry time in my walk with the Lord. It seemed like the services where I had been going became so dry, I didn’t sense the presence of the Lord there anymore and I was hungry for something more. When I asked the Pastor what he thought about the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, he said “we don’t understand it, so we leave it alone”, but this did not satisfy me. I moved back to Citrus County for about five months, lived with my friend Pam and her family and attended the Inverness Church of God during that time. After I moved back to Pasco County, I started attending the Dade City Church of God, where I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit a few months later. Again, it was the same Holy Spirit that entered my life when I got born again, but this was a new fresh powerful experience that made my walk with God really come alive again. It gave me a greater hunger for God, his word and prayer and a greater sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and His leading in my life.
Often, when we go through a dry spell, that is the Lord’s way of trying to get us to draw closer or redirect us. When the anointing begins to lift or God’s grace for you to be somewhere, whether it be a church, a job, etc., that is often because the Lord is bringing you into a time of transition. He’s getting you ready for a change. It’s not about the denomination of the church you go to, it’s about being where The Lord wants you in that season of your life. The Lord may lead some people to stay in the same church all their lives, but for others, He has a different plan.
We spoke with our Pastors yesterday about the Praise and Prayer meetings that are to start at our church on Sunday nights, starting December 30th. This morning my husband had a dream that we were at our church when the joy of the Lord; the laughter, started breaking out. He said he got almost to the door, he was trying to make it out before it hit him, but he didn’t make it. He burst into laughter and it was like a dam breaking. He was stuck in the door way and couldn’t leave. This reminded me of when we went to the Rodney Howard Browne Revival in Lakeland, Florida years ago. People were breaking out in laughter, some laying on the floor for extended periods of time. My friend Mary Rock couldn’t seem to get off the floor to make it to the car on one particular evening. The whole time we went, I didn’t receive what others seemed to be getting. We went back home and went to church on Sunday. After the preaching, I went to the altar to pray and that’s when I started getting the laughter. Some of the people there looked at me like I was strange, because they had not been to the revival and didn’t understand it. Psalm 126:1-2 says “When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing.” (KJV) Sometimes when we go through long trials and times of stress, we need a fresh touch of supernatural joy. This was during the time I had been encountering a lot of spiritual warfare and was again dealing with some depression and the Lord knew I needed that kind of touch from Him.
After the service, we went to the Chinese Restaurant and I got a fortune cookie after the meal with the following scripture in it, three different pieces of paper, all with the same scripture, all in red: “A merry heart does good like a medicine.” (If the Lord can use a donkey to speak to a person, he can use a fortune cookie also, especially one with scripture in it). I knew the Lord was confirming that He wanted me to have the joy of the Lord, this move of God was from Him.
I feel a sense of anticipation, like the Lord is getting ready to do it again. I encourage all of you to seek the Lord for His direction for your life. May he refresh all of us in the new year/new season that is coming. Acts 3:19 says: “So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return (to God), that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord.” (The Amplified Bible). The Weymouth New Testament calls it “seasons of revival.” Be blessed everyone.