We professing Christians often seem to think that if we

         talk about a thing earnestly that’s the same as doing

         it. There are multitudes who will gladly get together

         every week to hear somebody talk about how Jesus heals,

         or how Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit,

         or how Jesus sets the captives free, even if they never

         see any of this happen.


         There are men who make a comfortable living talking

         about how Jesus transforms lives even though their words

         are rarely, if ever, confirmed by any genuine evidence.


         But the Kingdom of God is not talk, but power. People

         didn’t gather around Jesus to hear Him talk about heal-

         ing --- they came to be healed. They came to Him because 

         He had the power to make things happen to them that

         needed to happen to them.


         Talking about that power is not the same as having it.


             -  If people aren’t getting healed,

             -  If lives aren’t getting changed,

             -  If there isn’t some solid evidence that

                   this man or woman has been baptized

                   in the Spirit of God,

             -  If captives aren’t actually being set free,


         let’s not pretend that they are.


         Notice that when Jesus laid His hands on the blind man

         and asked him, “Do you see anything?” and the man

         answered, "I see men, but they look like trees walking,”

         Jesus did not say, “Praise the Lord, Brother!

         You’re healed! Hallelujah!” No. Jesus laid His hands

         on him again. He wasn’t satisfied until the man saw



         And Jesus isn’t satisfied until we have what the Kingdom

         of God is quite able to give us.


                   Faith is not pretending the answer

                   has come when it hasn’t.


                   Faith is not exclaiming “Lord, I can

                   see clearly!” when your vision is

                   blurred and men look like trees walking.


                   Faith is believing that God will do

                   exactly what He says He will do, and

                   not settling for anything less.


         If we pretend to ourselves that our lamps are burning

         when they aren’t even flickering, what kind of shape

         are we going to be in when the Bridegroom arrives?

         We may go dancing up to the Banquet Hall with our

         phony burnt-out lamps, but the man at the door will

         say, “Wait a minute! Where do you think you’re going?

         Your lamp is out, you can’t come in here!”


         All of us know very well that the power of God is not

         flowing in any of our fellowships the way it is meant to,

                                                       the way it was promised.

         And it’s not because our God is helpless or because He’s

         changed His mind. The problem is on our side.


         In the days of John the Baptist the religious people of

         Israel were playing the same game that many of us have

         been playing.


              - They were pretending that great things were

                happening in their beloved Temple,


              - They claimed to be looking for the coming

                of the Messiah,


                     - but deep within them they knew very

                       well that all this was mostly talk.


         Then came John who said, “All these things that you talk

         about and pray about so much are soon to happen and you’d  

         better be ready. The Christ is coming and He is going to

         baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Then He’s

         going to clear the threshing floor and separate the wheat

         from the chaff. And if your hearts are not right you’re

         going to be burned with the chaff.”


         Those words of John the Baptist are more apt for this

         hour than for any hour since they were first uttered on

         the bank of the Jordan. What John the Baptist said to

         the multitudes, the Elijah Spirit is now saying to the

         Church on earth.


         There is a baptism of the Holy Spirit coming on the

         Church as never since its beginning. This will be

         followed by a baptism of fire --- trial. This will be

         followed by the Judgment of the earth.


         This baptism of the Holy Spirit will bring to the Church

         all the power it has been talking about for so long but

         not manifesting. By the power of the Holy Spirit the

         Word of God, in the midst of His people, will cause

         blind eyes to open, the lame to walk,

                             broken hearts to heal,

                             captives to come free, with a consistency

        we have never seen.


         Those who permit this move of the Spirit of God to come

         into them and rule them will rapidly be formed into

         the moral likeness of Jesus Christ. Their moral life,

         not just their sexual behavior, but all their behavior


             -   their attitude toward the Heavenly Father,

             -   their attitude toward other human beings,

             -   their generosity,


             -   their patience,



             -   the way they really live,


         will start bearing the unmistakable stamp of the Son

         of God.


         It will be known that that man is baptized in the Holy

         Spirit of God, not merely because he prays in an un-

         known tongue, but because his life,

                              the way he walks,

                              the way he is led day-after-day,

         bears a definite resemblance to Jesus Christ.


                   As many as are led by the Spirit

                   of God they are the sons of God.


         Then when the baptism of fire comes on these saints,

         when they experience trial and persecution, and after

         physical death, instead of being crushed by these

         things, they will rise up and bear fruit right in the

         middle of the fire.


              Unless a grain of wheat falls into the

              ground and dies it remains alone, but

              if it dies it bears much fruit.


         Through a baptism of fire God will use His saints to

         prepare the earth for the appearance of His Son.  

         The message to the Church of Jesus Christ on earth at

         this hour is John’s message:


                “Prepare the way of the Lord!”


         The Lord comes to His church with power. He comes to

         fulfil every promise He ever made. But if the path of

         His coming is blocked by our crooked,


                                                    cluttered hearts, He will

         not come to us.


         “But I already have the Holy Spirit.” If you say that,

         and go on living your half-baked,


                                       unreal life, that’s your choice.

         But remember, friend, when the axe is laid to the root

         of the tree, speaking in tongues and giving God verbal

         praise will not be enough to keep the axe from cutting

         it down.


         If the Spirit of Christ is going to come to us to make

         us what we have to be to get the job done, the things

         that clutter and pollute the path into our hearts will

         have to be removed. And God won’t clear the path for

         us; we have to clear it.


         Bring forth fruits that befit repentance, not talk----

         real changes. It was not enough for the tax collectors

         to shed a few tears, or the soldiers to fall on their

         knees. John told them they had to change their ways.

         That’s what repentance is! Not a half-hour of weeping

         and then back to your old tricks, but real changes. And

         if you don’t know what changes God wants, He’ll help you

         to see.


         For instance, the Spirit of Elijah is telling some of us

         that we are inexcusably prayerless. We want God to do

         many things for us but we never seriously apply ourselves

         to seeking His face. Even some of us who make the time

         every day could hardly call it prayer. We just have

         our minds in neutral for thirty minutes.


         Some of us are thoughtless of others, and we know it,

                                                                and we feel bad

         about it, once-in-a-while. But we make no attempt to

         change, no effort to really consider that brother,

                                                            that sister,

                                                            that child of our own flesh.


         Some of us are stingy. We’re great students of scrip-

         ture but we’re skinflints. We feel a little uncomfort-

         able about it, but we never get around to sending that

         money to that needy brother.


         Some of us give free reign in our thought life to the

         lust of the flesh. We make no attempt to bring this

         lust to the Son of God. We go right on with our fan-

         tasies and then wonder why our spirits are so dull.


         Or, we gossip. We love to pass the time tearing our

         brother’s spiritual condition to shreds. And our

         gossip works like a kind of negative prayer that almost

         desires our brother to be all the ugly things we

         declare him to be.


         The Elijah Spirit moves among us and puts His finger on

         the fact that some of us are lazy. If the devil pampered himself

         as much as we do, he’d be out of business in a week.


              - Some of us are ingrained pessimists --- we

                never expect anything but evil from God

                or man.


              - Some of us are super vain, If people had

                any idea what inflated egotists we are

                beneath these pious masks, they’d faint.

                And we know we’re vain, and we make no

                effort to bring this vanity to the Cross

                of our Lord.


              - Some of us are unforgiving - we have

                fantastic will-power when it comes to

                holding a grudge.


              - Some of us are irresponsible. And we

                wonder why no one seems to have confidence

                in us.


         We’ve been telling ourselves that these “shortcomings”,

         as we like to call them, are something that will disappear

         as the Holy Spirit continues to sanctify us.


         But God is saying to us today, "You make them disappear.

                                                      "You do something about

         them. Start bearing fruits that befit repentance. Then

         you’ll see the Spirit move!”


         The Lord is about to baptize His Church with the Spirit

         and with fire as never before. It’s already begun.

         Wherever there is a heart, anywhere on earth that is

         ready for Him, He is coming with unspeakable power — now.


         May the Spirit of God turn on the light within us to

         show us the things we need to do,

                 the changes we need to make, that He may come

         to us also.




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